Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hsu to the Pokey

And this time it's for real.

Props to the AP for prominently listing his political affiliation in the headline--sometimes that little D doesn't show up at all. But notice how they described it (emphasis added):
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero sentenced the 58-year-old Hsu, who raised money for Hillary Rodham Clinton and others, to 20 years in prison for his guilty plea to fraud charges and another four years and four months in prison for his conviction at trial for breaking campaign finance laws.
Others? Like Barack Obama and Joe Biden?

Polanski

My take is simple--bring him back, just like any other captured fugitive. And I'm a big fan of vintage Hollywood.

Not surprisingly this has divided the left coasters and flyovers. To some, Polanski was probably one weirdo among many, feeding the beast. For Hollywood, just another day at the movies. After all the 13 year old seventh grader was, according to him, radiating sexual tension. Some supporters may see a kind of Fatty Arbuckle story here while others see a lech.

But the bottom line is he raped someone, whether 13 or 31. It was not consensual, and even if she had agreed it still wasn't due to her minor status. He skipped town before sentencing and didn't return, and rule of law systems function best when practicing (blindly) the rule of law. Why is that so hard to understand?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dreams We'll Never See?

The Times still hasn't moved on reviewing or even mentioning the Andersen book containing the Ayers co-wrote Dreams revelation. Searching their web site returns a paltry this:



Cashill recently got an interview with Andersen, who claims to have two Hyde Park sources for the Ayers story who aren't named Jack Cashill. The trouble is, both wish to remain anonymous, which of course solves nothing. It does suggest Cashill wasn't Andersen's source as some on the left have claimed, unless both men are lying through their teeth. But if they aren't...well somebody will soon ask a few questions and get to the bottom of this, just like Van Jones. And no, Protein Wisdom doesn't count.

Winning Af-Pak

The Secretary General of NATO met with Obama today to discuss Af-Pak and made the most decisive statement yet from anyone in the west regards winning this war. Obama also spoke:


Nice comparison--the speech of a leader versus the speech of a policy wonk. What did Obama say other than we're now in a NATO war (funny how it's now a shared effort when during the campaign Afghanistan was entirely Bush's fault)?

Meanwhile, the WaPo provided some backdrop to the Af-Pak problem:
As American troops move deeper into southern Afghanistan to fight Taliban insurgents, U.S. officials are expressing new concerns about the role of fugitive Taliban leader Mohammad Omar and his council of lieutenants, who reportedly plan and launch cross-border strikes from safe havens around the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta.
And this is news? Conventional wisdom says the government should already be intimately familiar with a terrorist hub like Quetta, Baluchistan province, Pakistan because after all, two of the worst terrorists to ever plague our nation called it home, one even leaving a family there. Maybe they do, and maybe they understand too well how much of a problem it is.

The hanging question continues to be our next move. Pundits say Obama should do this, that or the other; personally speaking the strategy is best left to generals and the fighting left to soldiers with speculation left to the armchair warriors and pundits. As one from the latter group it seems logical that if we cannot make a dent behind enemy lines in places like Quetta then we're wasting our time and our troops' lives in Afghanistan while helping AQ win this war.

So, either leave a strike force in the Indian Ocean with a bold and widely advertised promise to rain fire down should the next attack be linked to the region (and take the propaganda lumps) or commit to a Powell Doctrine-sized force and try to overwhelm the Taliban in both Afghanistan AND Pakistan once and for all, with the full understanding we will lose many heroic men and women in the process. Obama could even leverage his popularity in Hollywood and the Arts community to urge their assistance with this fight with all their might, just like they did in World War II.

Whatever the final decision, strong leadership and charisma will be key to victory and Sec-Gen Rasmussen made a good start of it today.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Speaking of Vast Conspiracies..

Yet another Clinton points to a vast right wing conspiracy. Strange that, considering it now seems fine and dandy for a former president to believe in a conspiracy involving millions without proof but if right wingers so much as whisper about Obama's missing college records they are labeled kook birther racists. Yes yes, Clinton says this stuff for political reasons and the media surely knows it, but they could be so much more useful by doing their jobs.

For instance, asking the First Conspiracy Buff about the recently released Oklahoma City bombing tapes that contain, according to the Salt Lake City lawyer who FOIA'd them from the FBI, Nixon-like gaps shortly before the explosion:
"Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995. There ain't no such thing as a coincidence," Trentadue said.

He said government officials claim the security cameras did not record the minutes before the bombing because "they had run out of tape" or "the tape was being replaced."

"The interesting thing is they spring back on after 9:02," he said. "The absence of footage from these crucial time intervals is evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn't want anybody to see."
The story also contains this comment:
An FOIA request by Trentadue for 26 CIA documents was rejected in June. A letter from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which reviewed the documents, said their release "could cause grave damage to our national security."
Surely he of vast conspiracies could have shined some light on that puzzling question. The David Gregories of the world told us the Murrah complex was taken out by a couple of right wing nuts operating in a small rag tag group in retaliation for Waco (which Clinton once obliquely blamed on Rush Limbaugh) so why would anything associated with this case harmful to national security?

Well, they could be BS'ing to prevent release. Or perhaps the answer lies with the mythical John Doe number two. The FOIA lawyer happens to be the brother of convicted bank robber Kenneth Trentadue, a federal prisoner who evidently committed suicide by beating himself to death while passing through the US Marshal prisoner transfer center in Oklahoma City in August 1995. Lawyer Trentadue believes his convict brother was beaten to death by the Feds after they either mistakenly placed him in an Ayran gang or mistook him for John Doe Two. For reference here's a picture comparison:



Not a striking resemblance. Anyway, why would they want to crop the surveillance videos, assuming they did? The only reason that makes sense is if they showed two people in the Ryder truck, giving the story a kind of Jayna Davis direction.

Actually this speculation isn't new but for some reason has never taken off in a Dan Brown kinda way. Here's Fox in the late 90s:
"The government tried to tell us that there was no John Doe 2 in the truck with McVeigh," Lawton said. "We got witnesses that saw him in the truck, saw him get out of the truck, walk across the street and get into a brown Chevrolet pickup with two more John Doe 2's. That makes three."
But aside from shadowy Arab connections Fox also provided the domestic angle:
“There's also some bank robbery surveillance tapes that were disposed of in some way that could've involved McVeigh with the Midwest robbery gang. There's just a lot of unanswered questions there,” former FBI agent Danny Coulson said.

Between the years of 1992 and 1996, a gang of white separatists who called themselves the Aryan Republican Army robbed banks throughout the Midwest and stole nearly $500,000 before being caught. Rumors have persisted that the ARA was tied to McVeigh.

“The Midwest bank robbers of course are somebody that should be looked at. Terrorists historically finance their operations through bank robbery, armored car robbery,” Coulson said. “Coincidences just aren't coincidences, there's some reason for it.”

Peter Langan, one of the gang’s leaders who is serving a life sentence for his role in the robberies, told FOX News in an exclusive interview that some of the Midwest bank robbers were involved in the Oklahoma City bombing.
What if Nichols and McVeigh were connected to a vast anti-govt cabal the FBI decided didn't need to become dinner table conversation? Such a scenario might explain some loose ends, like why Nichols wasn't sentenced to death (they wanted a chance to glean some intel out of him later--indeed mafia hitman Greg Scarpa later got Nichols to give up a huge ammo stash under his Kansas home while in prison), or why Nichols traveled to Cebu City in the Philippines in 1994, the same location where Ramzi Yousef was hiding out and planning Bojinka. There were similarities between the WTC 93 bomb and the Murrah bomb.

Which brings us to the significance of Richard "Boogie to Baghdad" Clarke. In his book "Against All Enemies" he spoke about the Oklahoma City bombing--here's Laurie Mylroie describing what she saw as a Clarke dichotomy:
But while Clarke totally rejects the possibility that Iraq was behind the first attack on the Trade Center, he nevertheless entertains the possibility of a foreign dimension to the Oklahoma City bombing: "Ramzi Yousef and [Terry] Nichols had been in the city of Cebu on the same days.... Could the al Qaeda explosives expert have been introduced to the angry American?... We do know that Nichols's bombs did not work before his Philippine stay and were deadly when he returned. We also know that Nichols continued to call Cebu long after his wife returned to the United States."
There was other circumstantial evidence suggesting someone named "the farmer" made contact with the AQ cell there. Nichols wrote out a will on his last trip, which either made him deathly afraid of flying or deathly afraid of dealing with an Islamic terrorist cell.

Continuing the wild speculation for a moment, if Nichols did get his bomb recipe from Yousef's group perhaps John Doe Number Two was an Arab there for support or to witness. Or perhaps he was actually another white supremacist helper. Maybe the FBI thought Trentabue was their guy or was involved with the gang and used some enhanced interrogation techniques before they were legal. Perhaps any new Obama investigation of torture should be extended back into the 90s.

Of course this may also be a big load of hooey. The Trentadue family received a 1.1 million wrongful death settlement in 2007 but the govt has continued to fight the award, so there's a monetary aspect in play. The Jayna Davis stuff has never been overly compelling to me, a lot less so than the Philippines connection, which itself is circumstantial, although it's beyond dispute there were many Islamists in the Oklahoma City area during the 90s, including Zacarious Moussaoui. Cashill is the only major writer covering all these conspiracies and he's no doubt making a living off them right now. The money must always be followed.

Whatever the case, the bombing and subsequent investigation will remain one of two weird events during the mid 90s, both of which happened on the watch of both Clinton and Clarke. If there was an Islamic terrorist connection in either or both events perhaps history would look different right now. Perhaps a few things might make more sense.

But conservatives would be foolish to completely dismiss the threat of anti-govt militia terrorists recently defined in Napolitano's DHS alert. Doubtless some of that was for political effect but she was was also involved in the Oklahoma City investigation. Stop and consider the after-effects of a neo-Nazi group pulling off an attack against this president and the resulting chaos and possible rioting in American cities. Sounds made to order for AQ, recently shown to have a few followers in place here already.

Presidential Priorities

According to Bob Woodward, here's Obama regards his troop decision on the critical war in Afghanistan:
He said he expects two of the meetings to be held the next week but stressed that there is no target date to complete the review. "I don't have a deadline in my mind. I think the most important thing is to do it right. But it is going to have a high priority in the administration to do this pretty relentlessly. We have a lot of other things on the table as well."
No hurry--gotta get it right.

Now, according to ABC here is Obama speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on health care reform:
"We have been waiting for health reform since the days of Teddy Roosevelt. We've been waiting since the days of Harry Truman," he said in remarks at the caucus foundation's annual dinner. "We've been waiting since Johnson and Nixon and Clinton."

"We cannot wait any longer," Obama said.
So health care must be done now without delay, but fighting the enemy that attacked us on 9/11 on the central front in the War on overseas contingency operation is an after-thought?

Hmm. Well, according to the New York Times he's got a few 40 pound brain advisors helping him, like Colin Powell, who's apparently warning him against using the Powell doctrine of overwhelming force to win the fight of our lives. Another brain--although nowhere near 40 pounds--is part of the mix as well. John Kerry, who famously advocated for getting our fight against terrorists back to nuisance level, is also chiming in and urging him to figuratively head for the hills as well. For all we know Kerry just returned from a meeting in bin Laden's cave.

But snark aside, this is a pivotal decision. It's clear (as the Times says) the March strategy was just a knee-jerk based on politics leaving the real decision for later, which is now. From a distance it seems logical that if we can't affect conditions on the ground in Pakistan and we can't get enough forces to hold captured towns in Afghanistan then we should either address those issues aggressively or pull out completely. Doing this job half-arsed is nothing more than wasting the lives of our military volunteers.

MORE 9/27/09

Scott Shane of the Times is suggesting the threat of terrorism might now be on the decline despite recent arrests and new tapes from both bin Laden and Zawahiri:
Al Qaeda and its ideology of global jihad are in a pronounced decline — with its central leadership thrown off balance as operatives are increasingly picked off by missiles and manhunts and, more important, with its tactics discredited in public opinion across the Muslim world.
That is now, this was then, a Shane piece entitled "6 Years After 9/11, the Same Threat" discussing a 2007 report (a lot of reports came out that year after Pelosi and Reid took Congress) that suggested that Bush, by not engaging heavily in Afghanistan and focusing on Saddam, had made us less safe:
All told, despite the absence of any new attack on American soil since 2001, the conclusion that Al Qaeda “will continue to enhance its capabilities” to attack the United States suggests some miscalculation in the administration’s basic formula against terrorism: that attacking the jihadists overseas would protect the homeland.

“I guess we have to fight them over here even though we’re fighting them over there,” said Steven Simon, a terrorism expert who served in the Clinton administration and is the co-author of “The Next Attack.”
This generates some confusion. If, as Shane suggests, the threat has been diluted, something that may factor into Obama not honoring McCrystal's request, doesn't that mean Bush's 'fighting over there' strategy worked?

And if the answer is that Obama's presence in the White House turned the tide, why have there been so many domestic threats of late? And does Obama even realize his success? A few months ago he told a group of vets there was no more important war than Afghanistan, one we must win:



While Obama says it's a must-win others now seem to be saying it's a war we might have already won in some respects by dispersing the threat. So what changed since 2007?

Well, assuming Iraq was making us less safe and assuming the surge worked to quell that threat by knocking back AQ in Iraq and demoralizing the international jihad, that would seem a big part of the story, something rather downplayed by Shane. Obama was adamantly against going into Iraq initially and later against the surge, and he has done nothing different in Iraq since taking office while increasing troops in Afghanistan, a war the generals now say we're losing. So how could we be winning against the global jihad?

On Reviews

Will the Times Book Review take on Christopher Andersen's new book? After all, they took on the Kitty Kelly book about the Bush family published during the election year 2004. The Times called it "a perfect artifact of a cultural climate in which gossip and innuendo thrive on the Internet". Their problem was mainly centered around too much fluff and not enough complaints issues..
"The Family" is seeded with some spicy allegations about drugs and sex, but has little to say about national security, the Florida election standoff or the Bush family's ties with the Saudis.
So far the mainstream press has been much more fascinated with the fluff in the Andersen book than the complaints, choosing to ignore the issues-based snippet about William Ayers having creative input into a book Obama took full credit for, at a time Ayers claimed he had not yet met the future president. Fluff is now good.

Meanwhile, Ayers spoke at Purdue University Friday night, and was met by a cheering section of sorts (good for them). Ayers wasn't phased by it, but then the controlled crowd didn't ask him about the book, either. Will anybody?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Side Tracks



More cowbell? I'd say more of the above.

Persian Ruse?

Frankly, this Iran thing doesn't make much sense. We are being asked to believe Obama knew about a covert nuclear facility when he took office in January yet pursued an engagement policy without pre-conditions anyway, perhaps to fool the Iranians.

He then dumped missile defense in return for the Russians' help with Tehran only to have A'jad drop a dime on the covert facility, which seemingly left him no place to go but back to an old Bush hardline while trying to explain why if America isn't the exceptional, shining city on the hill anymore--just a nation who's made many mistakes (cough Bush)--then why are we trying to stop the Iranians from having defensive nukes in case we make another mistake?

It's hard for the average Joe the Plumber to keep up. Back in 2007 we got an NIE that said Iran was no longer pursuing a nuclear weapons program and had not been since 2003, surprise, surprise you right wing warmongers (paraphrasing). This sent many tingles up many liberal legs hoping that hope had finally made a comeback, but Thomas Joscelyn was planted firmly in reality at the time:
The inconsistencies are more troubling when we realize that, according to the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Fingar is one of the three officials who were responsible for crafting the latest NIE. The Journal cites "an intelligence source" as describing Fingar and his two colleagues as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials." (The New York Sun drew attention to one of Fingar’s colleagues yesterday.)

So, if it is true that Dr. Fingar played a leading role in crafting this latest NIE, then we are left with serious questions:

* Why did your opinion change so drastically in just four months time?

* Is the new intelligence or analysis really that good? Is it good enough to overturn your previous assessments? Or, has it never really been good enough to make a definitive assessment at all?

* Did your political or ideological leanings, or your policy preferences, or those of your colleagues, influence your opinion in any way?

Many in the mainstream press have been willing to cite this latest NIE unquestioningly. Perhaps they should start asking some pointed questions. (Don’t hold your breath.)
Depending on who one believes that either stopped Bush from listening to Cheney, or maybe got Bush out from under Cheney's thumb, or maybe came indirectly from the new House mother herself. Whatever the case, bombs weren't dropped and it held through the election, only to have another assessment recently say that Tehran wasn't as far along as they previously weren't in making bombs and were no longer interested in the ICBMs they weren't building, which allowed Obama to toss the Poles and Czechs under the bus. Or thereabouts.

One has to wonder if this elaborate theater is just smoke designed to hide an IAF attack (assuming we don't shoot them down over Iraq)? Netanyahu seemed pretty determined in his speech, even if most analysts say they cannot get the job done alone. Well, they say you go to war with the air force you've got unless you can get someone else's air force to do it for you. But would we? Could we? Can we--didn't we make a deal with the Russians?

Meanwhile, health care remains the real job one for team Obama regardless of what's happening overseas and they haven't given up on a public option yet, meaning the tea partiers' influence might be waning enough to try a stunt. They best hurry--stuff like this might get the kids all fired up and they tend to hurl things and break stuff.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Change is Reparations?

Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis is in the news again, well the local news. The morning paper dropped his name for being praised at a conference on slavery reparations held by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Recall it was Cohen who was behind the Congressional apology for slavery passed recently. You know where this is going.

Yes, it's a juicy article filled with tasty post-racial chops, but before getting into the meat let's deal with the concept of check payments to people for past sins. Here's noted reparations proponent Charles Ogletree, from the article:
Getting the study bill passed in this Congress is finally possible, said Ogletree, because "my sense is we could not have a more propitious time."
Ogletree, of Harvard, has been called Obama's "legal mentor". He once said that by electing Obama white America shouldn't get excited about the end of racism because Obama is half white. Like Reverend Wright, Mr. Ogletree seems to believe America had 9/11 coming to us.

That aside, even if America could somehow agree on providing some form of compensation for past slavery actions it's beyond debate that we're currently out of money. How would we get there from here?

Actually the thought has occurred to the proponents, whose solution seems to be to spread the wealth around. Here's Congressman James Clyburn, the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, explaining to Chris Matthews that nationalized health care, cap and trade and their cousins are actually a form of reparations. Making sense now?

But some are harder to satisfy than others. Here's Detroit city council member JoAnne Watson, again from the article, laying out a post-racial template on how reparations would be handled:
Detroit City Council member JoAnne Watson said that the apology was a first step. She said the second step is investigation, the third step is compensation, and the fourth step is consequences for wrongdoing.

"We are worth it," Watson said. "We're not begging. It's ours."
"Consequences for wrongdoing"? Hmm, does she mean hauling Rush and Beck to Leavenworth? Naw, probably something more like this:
On March 26, a former law student and her attorneys filed a class action lawsuit against several corporations accusing them of profiting from the enslavement of African Americans. Filed in federal court in Brooklyn, the suit names railroad corporation CSX, the Aetna insurance company and FleetBoston Financial Group, and promises to add an additional 100 corporations to the list. The plaintiffs beat a high-profile team working on the same issue to the courtroom, For two years Harvard University law professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. has been searching for a reparations legal strategy. Members of his Reparations Coordinating Committee include, among others, attorney Johnnie Cochran, incoming Bennett College president Johnetta Cole, University of Maryland political science professor Ronald Walters, Cornel West and the former law student who beat him to the punch.
In other words, the punitive phase might be about suing large companies whose histories go back into the 1800s, for starters. Boiled down, going into the deep pockets. Spreading wealth. Notice the name Cornel West--another Obama advisor (who also had a rather unique opinion about 9/11) even though he was pissed when O didn't come to Memphis, was part of the team. And yet we're to believe it's the tea partying old white people who are so racist and threatening?

Nothing done in the name of national subterfuge is good unless it's done to protect the country from external enemies. And even then it might still be bad. Obama seems to like subterfuge.

It's Hard Being President

Check out this composite video of Obama smiling for PR photos with hundreds of people at the same event..

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.


Amazing. While some on the right might think it's creepy (there's no doubt he's practiced that smile) it's also probably indicative of how fairness rules the liberal mind--the only explanation that makes sense is that he tried very hard to flash the same smile with every person so nobody would feel slighted if he smiled more for some than others.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stunt Heard Round the World

For those outside Memphis, the man who fist-bumped the Dalai Lama yesterday was our current mayor pro-tem Myron Lowery, who is currently running for the full-term mayoral position. Early voting has started, the election is next month.

The man to his right in the picture is county mayor A.C. Wharton (the other A.C.), who's also running for city mayor and who holds a substantial lead in the polls at the moment. So, not to say the fist bump was a last ditch effort to connect with the electorate using a gesture made famous recently by a couple of Washington notables, but it was. At any rate, his holiness didn't seem to mind. Evidently he's a pretty open minded guy.

As for what the stunt did for Memphis, well our last mayor had a child out of wedlock, got in the ring with Joe Frazier, and said God had appointed him. So things are definitely looking up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ayers and Dreams

It appears that Jack Cashill, of TWA 800 conspiracy fame, may have cracked the "Ayers wrote Dreams" conspiracy...
To flesh out his family history, Obama had taped interviews with various family members. Andersen writes, "These oral histories, along with a partial manuscript and a truckload of notes, were given to Ayers." Andersen quotes a Hyde Park neighbor, "Everyone knew they were friends and that they worked on various projects together. It was no secret. Why would it be? People liked them both."

Andersen continues, "In the end, Ayers's contribution to Barack's Dreams From My Father would be significant--so much so that the book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers's own writing."
If this is correct--and it's certainly more powerful coming from what appears to be an independent source than from a partisan--how in the world will it be explained? Does it vindicate Palin? And finally, will it lend more credence to Cashill's other big theory?

MORE 9/24/09

Darleen at Protein Wisdom weighs in here but most conservative bloggers are not touching this story with a ten foot pole, probably out of concern about the writer's reputation (or perhaps Cashill's). These things have a nasty habit of blowing back and they don't want any part of anything labeled conspiracy, for obvious reasons. It's also Andersen, who interviewed people close to the first family without actually being the first family. That's close to what Kitty Kelly did. So there's that.

But some in the cable media are biting on the book in general. Here's Anderson on Hannity, who's obviously out for the Ayers and Wright angle:



Chris Matthews also mentioned the Hillary thing and didn't put down Anderson in his segment, but didn't mention the mention of Ayers.

And here's an interview on CNN with the lovely Kiran Chetry, who also doesn't quiz him on Ayers. Here's Harry Smith, as predictable as the morning sunrise.

The entertainment tabloids are on this like ripe red meat, of course. Here's People (not mentioning Ayers).

As to the defense, Media Matters weighed in with a very frail pushback, only quoting a literary expert without refuting the claims in the book. As to the White House, they canceled a CNN interview with a 'top advisor' after they found out Andersen was on, and Gibbs was not asked about it during a shortened presser today.

Even if true this story will likely be going nowhere, just like the Van Jones story. As Andersen mentioned to Hannity, everyone expects some level of dishonesty from politicians today. So even if former WeatherMan founder Jeff Jones's group helped write the Stimulus bill, and even if former WeatherMan founder Bill Ayers helped write his acclaimed autobiography, no big deal, right?

MORE 9/25/09

Other than a brief mention on JOM, Protein Wisdom seems to be the only big blog covering this. Jeff Goldstein had the presence of mind to do what the mainstream press won't--email Cashill and ask him if Andersen coordinated beforehand. His response is here.

Frankly, if Cashill wasn't involved the story is about Ayers and Obama, based on what Andersen's sources said. They should be asked about it. But the lefties know that Cashill is the weak link due to his conspiracy books so he'll be the focus should this now-dying story proceed any further.

Fidel Castro: Brilliant Man



Well, except for that little part about wanting the Soviets to nuke America. Otherwise, he's just a jolly green giant. And very civil. Always civil.

Hello? Ray?

Ray LaHood is a hard Republican to figure out. He works with Dems. He backs the quasi socialist agenda of the president. He believes in earmarks. He likes public transport. And now he thinks there's too much trash talk coming from the right wing noise machine. But is that him or just a talking point?

OK he has a point, the right wing sometimes does go too far. Sometimes Hannity is so filled with koolaid his eyes turn red and sprouts a handle. But this is America. As he indicated, radios and TVs have that little knob for a reason. Mathews, Maddow, and Olby spent the last half decade trash talking the previous president every friggin night. People keep listening to the talking heads only because they have something pertinent to say. The noise machine is not inventing stuff out of whole cloth, nor did LaHood say they were.

It's as if he thinks it's OK to lie or misdirect if done civilly. That sort of goes towards his boss hiring Van Jones, hardly a paragon of civil discourse, while berating the right for being uncivil. Jones would still be employed if not for that very same noise machine. Same goes for the guy at the NEA. There's some meat on dat bone.

The real problem--the thing that is irking the crap out of the left right now--are the DINOs. Even Rush Limbaugh can't stop a Congress with a super majority, but he can affect outcomes when a large number of conservative Dems owe their very congressional existence to Bush fatigue, not leftist ideology.

Those farmers (ex-constituents) LaHood berated don't usually make a habit of getting all wee wee'd up over a bunch of claptrap nothing. Amazingly, some probably have electricity in their homes and even the internet, and have noticed that the stimulus tracking website Obama promised doesn't even work. Or maybe they just heard some of the president's rhetoric during the half-hour news blip on country AM-1200.

After all, if the administration really wanted a more placid electorate maybe they wouldn't have promised change then delivered a pack of distortions, lies, and misdirections while calling their fellow citizens unruly teenagers just for living their daily lives. Stuff like that.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dealing with Afghanistan

It's amazing how after four appearances on the Sunday shows and one on Letterman the talk of the town is the central front in the GWoT, Afghanistan. The same CIC who mocked Bush and McCain for not knowing where bin Laden lives is now stuck in a box of his own making with a top general on the verge of quitting. Thing is, the war SHOULD be the number one issue right now, not health care or anything else.

Now, from a political point of view, what can he do? Well, he could always try blaming Bush. He sort of did that on Letterman.

But will the same old lefty complaints work? Obama can say his hands were hopelessly tied upon arrival, not realizing until his first briefing just how bad things were, just like the economy. But this goes against his March speech outlining a new strategy, besides, he campaigned on winning. Americans like winning, especially against clear enemies like the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, the people Obama vowed he would send to hell. Retreating to the horizon just doesn't have the same feel. No, using his words Obama now 'owns it'. Abandoning the fight against AQ for a fight against domestic teabaggers over health care could be seen by historians as complete insanity.

But there are of course legitimate concerns. Bush's strategy was apparently to deflect attention to Iraq by killing that bird while leaving a small footprint in Afghan in trying, unsuccessfully, to get Pakistan's help via bribes to kill the other birds. He didn't have enough stones. The far left and libertarians (and some conservatives) argue that our 'empire' will surely die if we stay, which could be true if history proves a reliable guide, but the real question is still one of national security--the Brits and Greeks were there on missions of conquest, we are there to stop terrorists.

A retreat gives that very same enemy (and the states that sponsor it) an historic and colossal victory and the ensuing spoils, which cannot be in the long-term interests of America. It's a big decision point and one resting right at his pay grade. And one he seems to be heavily floundering on.

But he's a scrappy tough kid from Chicago, where they know how to deal. Maybe it's time to approach some of the states not officially sponsoring the terrorists wink wink and broker some kind of a deal (not including the Taliban). Or maybe he should just put the requested troops in, ring up the art, music and theater community to go in with him gangbusters on some cool propaganda posters, and try to win the damn thing outright.

Monday, September 21, 2009

On Coups

So Jimmy Carter says Bush might have been behind an anti-Chavez coup attempt in Venezuela. Assuming it's true surely a lot of locals down there and ex-patriots up here are still disappointed it didn't come off.

But Jimmy thinks it's a bad thing. What about Clinton's coup to get rid of Saddam in 1996? Does Carter even know? And if he does, would he be willing to entertain that had it been successful perhaps the 2003 war would not have been necessary, saving US lives?

That's A Winner! Er, Never Mind

This may be one of the more bizarre non-endings to a baseball game in a while. Click on the image for the story, a story of hard-nosed baseball a bit wide of the rules, shall we say. The victory fireworks actually went off. No way to pull those babies back into the chute. Ouch.

Of course, with such an embarrassing ending there was no way the Cubbies wouldn't come back and win in extra innings, and they did.

For the record, and as a long-time Cards fan, the ump got the call correct. [whine] Although if Matt Holiday were a Yankee playing in a World Series game against the Cardinals he might have looked the other way.[/whine] OK, with that out of the way, baseball has a colorful history of controversial calls, several that include the aforementioned Matt Holliday and Cub manager Sweet Lou Piniella.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bears, Eagles, Ayatollahs, and Spooks

The events of the past week regards Iran, missile defense and Russia leave the average schmoe saying 'what the'? The Russian president:
An attack would lead to "a humanitarian disaster, a vast number of refugees, Iran's wish to take revenge and not only upon Israel, to be honest, but upon other countries as well," Medvedev said, according to a Kremlin transcript.

"But my Israeli colleagues told me that they were not planning to act in this way and I trust them."
Link. Menvedev went on to detail a secretive meeting:
During a meeting in the Russian resort of Sochi in August, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel would not attack Iran, Medvedev said. After the meeting, Peres told journalists Medvedev had promised to reconsider a contract to sell S-300s to Iran.

"When he visited me in Sochi, Israeli President Peres said something important for us all: 'Israel does not plan to launch any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country and we will not do this'," Medvedev said.

Asked about the possible delivery of S-300s, Medvedev said Russia had the right to sell defensive weapons to Iran.
That meeting was timed suspiciously close to the Arctic Sea adventure from last month, in which it was rumored that Mossad agents were the "hijackers" trying to stop S300 missiles from reaching Iran. Now Russia, after we've dropped the missile shield on the basis of Iran having no more intention of building long-range ICBMs, comes out and spills beans on Israel. Is this part of the play? Because to this internet dope it appears Israel is getting the short end here.

Jerusalem is now on record as saying they don't want to attack. If they do, they look even worse than they normally would. If not them, who? Surely the Russians wouldn't, which leaves us, which seems to leave the Iranians with a nuke program. But surely Gates and his crew can't be that gullible and incompetent.

Remember, it was Robert Gates who came back on the scene during his involvement in the Iraq Study Group, which prepared a report to Bush recommending no troop surge. Bush then proceeded to surge, and things proceeded to get better. Gates is a former spook. Things are not as they seem. They simply can't be.

Six Degrees of Apollo

Like the Van Jones story, the Apollo story has never been a front page topic in any of America's daily papers. It's easy to dismiss Glenn Beck as a nut, but if you haven't seen this video it's worth watching..



Far left progressives will try to counter this by saying that Apollo "didn't write the Stimulus Bill" as charged by crazies like Beck, but listening closely reveals that Beck didn't say they singularly wrote, just 'helped write it'. And they did.

Why is this significant? It's significant in understanding who is actually running the government and their goals for America. Does all of America know that a group called Apollo drafted a Stimulus package in 2008, before Obama's inauguration, that was very similar to the bill he and Pelosi would later rush through Congress without reading? Does everyone know that Obama's green jobs czar Van Jones was instrumental in setting up Apollo?

Could that be the reason why most mainstream media outlets failed to vet Jones when he entered the administration and why most of them later ignored his embarrassing revelations and apology, only reacting when forced to by the midnight holiday weekend resignation?

And does everyone realize that the leader of Apollo's New York affiliate is former domestic terrorist/Weather Underground founder Jeff Jones? Is he officially 'washed up' like Ayers? And why did the White House ask Fox News to stand down on the Ayers thing just recently? Does Brietbart's coming revelation 'out of left field' have something to do with all of this?

As Beck says in the video, Obama seems to take pains to distance himself from these affiliates as he did just today when asked about the ACORN scandal. For some reason his media tour did not include Fox News. Perhaps they knew what the questions would be.

Look, I'm a democracy guy. If America wants to go in the direction of Apollo, ACORN and the other far left organizations run by hippies and radicals from the 60s that's fine--as long as it occurs honestly and openly via the ballot box. That's certainly not what happened last year.

Happy Eid

Here's the Sec State delivering an Eid message to all Muslims:



Nothing wrong with a friendly message in general. America has always been about freedom of religion, unlike places such as Saudi Arabia where Eid originated, so it's good to point this out from time to time. What's NOT alright is her (and Obama's) repeated verbiage about a 'new beginning' or 'fresh start', as if Bush and Blair really were at war with Islam but just lying about it, wink, wink.

Here are their words...



And here's a vintage shot of Karen Hughes and Fran Townsend pandering their little arses off.... just like Hillary. Meanwhile the FBI is making a deal with a possible domestic terrorist who was allegedly messing around with TATP.

It's clear this new government is trying to publicly suggest that if only America had been nicer and more understanding we wouldn't have been a target, thinking this will sit well with the crowd overseas. But of all people Hillary should be irritated by such a view, especially knowing the 9/11 plotters came to America during her husband's second term. She even admitted in the video they started their Eid thing in 1996, and we saw how effective it was at lowering suspicion, hate and fear.

Oh well. Maybe the new era of change has made her a believer that the new guy can pull it off.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Side Tracks

This is without question live (at least the vocals)--listen for the mistakes..but not bad..



Dig those crazy costumes, definitely something that won't be repeated soon. That song sorta reminds me of this one..



And here are the supposed lyrics.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Lecture Circuit

Howard Dean and Keith Olbermann talking about the coarsening of the dialogue.. must-see TV..



More..



Here's Dean as Chair of the DNC, speaking of folks who were "evil, corrupt and brain dead". It was so bad at least one conservative actually questioned his cover.

Watching people like Pelosi and guys like Bob Cesca from Huffpo (who was calling Republicans terrorists in early 2008) lecture Republicans about civility can only lead to the conclusion these people live in their own private vacuums. But they don't, of course. They live in a world where they can say anything and get away with it scot-free. Sort of like infants.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

KSM Tried in Manhattan?

As the country remains embroiled in a cowardly debate over race (again) and amidst Pelosi's crocodile tears over our new domestic terrorists, the Gitmo deadline looms ever closer. Remember that? Yesterday the administration asked for yet another delay as they try to get their act together and dropped this trial balloon out the window in the process:
The government’s legal papers said the Justice Department and the Pentagon would decide within 60 days whether to seek criminal charges in federal court against the Sept. 11 defendants, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused chief planner, and those accused of being associates, like Ramzi bin al Shibh. If the men are indicted, government officials said, the case is likely to be tried in New York.
Speaking of which, apart from this, we haven't heard much about that Blue Ribbon interagency panel tasked with changing our interrogation policies.

But what about KSM coming to New York? From the sound of the Supermax it appears to be hell compared to Gitmo. Giving them life without martyrdom might not be a bad ending--much worse than death. Khalid would get to see his nephew-in-crime and swap stories with him and Terry Nichols about their former tradecraft. Of course the victims might want to see them all thrown off the Empire State Building on fire. It's an emotional issue to say the least.

Which is why it's prudent to ask whether Obama would really risk bringing them to trial there. What would happen if they go to New York then end up walking due to tainted evidence? It will be an election year (2010) before everything is said and done and he won't be able to blame Bush because Bush never wanted them tried in criminal courts anyway--precisely due to a fear they may walk (among other things).

Exactly how this might tie in with the hush-hush Justice investigation of CIA interrogators seems to have Josh Gerstein puzzled.

MORE 9/17/09

Michael Scheuer was just on O'Reilly and dropped a bomb about what was learned through harsh interrogation that the Obama administration won't reveal--a plot to seed midwestern universities with sleeper agents in prep for the next attack (they are patient). Also, an attack on the UK was revealed along with names. What he did sounded like a crime but he knows they can't go after him because it would bring to light the fact they aren't revealing the CIA department level feedback to the 2004 IG report. Should be interesting.

TRANSCRIPT 9/19/09

I'm still intrigued with Scheuer's spillage of what seems like classified info on O'Reilly Thursday night. It's hard to find a video of this. I did find a transcript of sorts here, of which contains this snippet:
00:13:30 Joining us now from washington, former cia official michael schurr once the head of the bin laden unit and author of the book marching toward hell.
00:13:41 Doctor, I understand you have new information for us tonight.
00:13:43 What is that?
00:13:45 Well, bill, I wanted to try to explain to the american people a little bit about the interrogation program and what we found in it or what resulted from it.
00:13:54 For example, after the interrogations of can a lead sheik mohammed, we were able to stop an al qaeda plan that was already in process to enroll its fighters in midwestern u.s.
00:14:10 Universities in order to prepare for the next round of attacks in the united states.
00:14:13 And in addition, after talking to khalid sheik mohammed and zubaydah.
00:14:22 We were able to stop an attack inside the united kingdom led by another gentleman.
00:14:29 I think those are important for america to know.
00:14:33 why hasn't that information been forth coming?
00:14:35 Because you have the attorney general holder saying ok, look, I'm going to set up a panel and look at the cia guys who waterboarded zubaydah and khalid sheik mohammed.
00:14:46 We are going to do that and rattle their cage at the cia.
00:14:48 We are going to give them a hard time.
00:14:51 And no -- americans don't know what you just said, that a midwestern plot was foiled.
00:14:57 A u.k. plot was foiled.
00:14:59 Why don't we know that?
00:15:00 >> We don't know that, sir, because the president and holder and the white house generally have been lying to the american people directly about the success of the interrogation program.
As the man who oversaw rendition during the 90s as the chief of the bin Laden Unit at Langley he definitely has a legacy to protect and could even get caught up in a broadened investigation down the line, but even still, this should have made bigger news. Maybe the commentators on the Sunday shows will ask Obama about it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cracked

In the midst of our wonderfully productive national conversation on race we suddenly get this story dumped onto the pile:
The FBI is investigating as a possible hate crime an incident in which a woman was beaten to the ground in front of her child at the entrance to a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Morrow, Georgia, south of Atlanta.
For some reason this story wasn't a story on September 9 when it occurred. Now, whether that's because the FBI didn't release it until today or because the media wants to continue showing us their curious methods of story selection and timing is beyond the scope of my current research budget. But let's just say the timing is interesting coming right after all this other stuff and alongside Jimmy Carter's ignorant rant. He's also from Georgia.

Bottom line, politicians are incapable of not using the race card. There's no doubt the GOP would use it, in a more subtle manner, if Colin Powell were president and was having trouble getting anything passed while being called a warmonger. On the other side, there's no surprise that people who wished for failure in Iraq to help their party win back power would tar an entire group with only scant evidence to help the same party retain power. Simply put, we're not post-racial as a people.

When a president who looks like Obama reaches approval ratings in the neighborhood of George W. Bush, without people blaming his skin pigment, we'll be there. Our present mess is simply a waypoint on that highway, but we do race better than any country on earth. We will get there--and without help from politicos.

AND...09/16/09

I failed to properly condemn the action at the Cracker Barrel--a despicable action even if race wasn't involved--not on purpose but because I got too caught up in explaining everything. So yes, I'm also part of the problem.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is Turnabout Not Fair Play?

Today's big news is the alleged racist (reverse racist) bus beating in Illinois of the white kid by several blacks. Before that it was Kanye J. West humiliating a young white girl at a national awards show, and over the weekend we saw Michael Jordan and Serena Williams showing their rears (well not literally) in public forums. Only the school bus story was spun as racist, and the offending cops are now backtracking.

Yet here's Newsweek's Susan Jacoby laying it down hard on those teabaggin' crackers for sowing the seeds of discontent and racism:
I am also sick of hearing the talking heads point out that liberals can be just as "uncivil" as these right-wing haters bringing loaded guns to crowded rallies and praying for the president's death. The "liberals are just as bad" mantra is nonsense. Historically, anti-rational movements have existed on both the left and the right, but it's all coming from the right today. I hated President George W. Bush's policies, but I didn't hate him personally. Were any liberal congressmen yelling "you lie" at Bush during his State of the Union speeches? Were liberal Unitarian pastors and Jewish rabbis delivering sermons in which they prayed for Bush's death? No, we liberals were doing what we generally do--expressing our dissent in writing. Real wimps, we are.
Is this supposed to be about healing? Aside from the obvious fact she's spent the past eight years cloistered on the Isle of Pitcairn, foraging for coconuts ala Tom Hanks while building giant strawmen, that's a rather odd way of sowing the seeds of content. Loaded guns? How many loaded guns were carried by black men amongst the 800,000 70,000 tea partiers (or does she prefer the more civil "tea baggers") at the DC event? Were they part of that zero arrest figure?

Not to mention that Ms. Jacoby's bully pulpit contains no laptop with an internet feed so she could Google "Cheney Afghanistan death wish Huffington Post" and similar things about contractors dangling from bridges in Falluja or political pie throwing. No, chastising political enemies using feigned moral outrage and myopic thinking coupled with a lack of historical reference is so much more fun, in a Christian kind of way of course.

We now live in a world where Obama can grandstand about Professor Gates and a racist cop, or call Kanye West a jackass, or call his own grandmother a typical white person while trying to deflect from sitting in reverend Wright's church for years, and there is no outrage whatsoever from the moral authority police. Bizarrely, some of these events are even blamed on white GOP America (funny, it wasn't always white GOP America before the election).

Only in this bizarroworld can a mild-mannered white Congressman from South Carolina call out the president for dissembling on health care, which has nothing to do with race whatsoever, and be labeled a racist, get a censure, and end up the crux of columns about the death of civility in American culture. As if Van Jones and the above-named people don't exist. And they don't in the court of racial opinion and political correctness otherwise known as the Elite media.

Evidently Ms. Jacoby and others haven't stopped to consider that this double standard they so tirelessly defend, now in nuclear warhead mode in the age of Obama, could be part of the reason why people have taken to the streets. That doesn't mean all those people are correct, it only means they are frustrated and tired of being whipped by arrogant bullies- whether on a bus or while reading the morning paper.

MORE 9/15/09

This is how a real writer does it (VDH).

The Johnson Factor

Charles Johnson continues his quest to win friends and influence people by lobbing missiles towards his former friends:
Open talk of revolution, Hitler, Hitler Hitler, pictures of dead babies with a fanatic screaming “Repent,” and more people with signs that say, “We came unarmed ... this time.”
Some will no longer hotlink to his posts; Power Line recently de-linked him off the link list. Linking to his post doesn't bother me because one, this blog is like a speck of dust on the moon and two, I'm a dumb southerner myself, so dumb I'll even concede his point: there are some white racists attending these TEA events who haven't yet come to grips with a black president. There are even some religious folks a few cards short of a deck. And there are certainly a few salt-of-the-earth southerners (who seem to be his target du jour lately) who have trouble adequately articulating their fears in a manner suitable for an east or west coast intellectual. Gotta give him that.

But I think he's losing the forest for the trees. For most folks, even the southerners, it's not a skin thing at all, it's a socialism, spread the wealth around, hide behind slick syrupy rhetoric while lying his ass off about darn near everything thing, then blaming southerners or nondescript people clinging to AR-15s. Sorry Charles, but rural America is what it is--a bunch of bitter clingers who hate jazz. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the writing on the walls. Mocking and obsessing on the TEA faults might be necessary for perspective but in reality it just gives more cannon fodder to the left (if LGF is actually down with teh hopenchange now pardon the omission--it's no longer a daily read).

Mr. Johnson should find an event down here and make the trek, even bring along some of his lizard people. Unlike in certain parts of LA he won't get shot, not even for his skin color or opinions. Well, unless he happens to wander into the hood at the wrong hour (racist!) or stops and asks for directions in west podunk Arkansas after a Razorback loss while eating a granola bar and wearing a purple fishnet shirt. No, you know what, he won't be hassled there either. They'd probably offer him an iced tea and a piece of pound cake for the road, or if he's real lucky some watermelon wine, fried catfish or a bowl of grits.

That is unless he gets too close to some of those Deliverance type people. But I hear they're mainly in Alabama.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama 1, Osama 0

Although Obama isn't shy about condemning his main domestic enemy--the leaderless GOP opposition trying valiantly to derail his socialism express--he saves no such venom for actual world enemies.

On 9/11 our commander-in-chief raised some righty hackles by proclaiming that he would "apprehend" those who attacked us. Interesting, since we've been apprehending a lot of them lately via warhead. But speech words are always chosen carefully and with Holder recently kicking off a criminal investigation of those who were only waterboarding terrorists rather than vaporizing them, it was probably necessary.

Things got more interesting over the weekend. It was announced that detainees at Bagram prison in Afghanistan would get more rights, which the administration had opposed just as had their monstrous predecessors. Then Osama (notice the spelling) released a new missive towards Washington (where the 70,000 to 1.5 million domestic enemies were marching):
"reasonable people knew that Obama is a powerless man who will not be able to end the war as he promised," bin Laden said.

"If you end the war, so to it," bin Laden said. "But if it is otherwise, all we will do is continue the war of attrition against you on all possible axes."
OK, aside from the fact that Axelrod and Gibbs are probably right now focus-grouping a crafty way to call bin Laden a racist teabagger without actually doing it the president seemed to have a quiet response today. Mr. Hellfire, meet Mr. Saleh.



Boom. So long, sucker. Hopefully they didn't miss--his body was nabbed for evidence. Yes, snark could easily be used here as well to point out the lack of habeas rights, no enhanced interrogation, and no ACLU court-appointed lawyers. But the overriding point is our military did a good thing. This guy was in the business of killing westerners and was implicated in the SAM attack on an El-Al airliner taking off from Mombassa Kenya in 2002. Sort of ironic, eh.

Additionally, there was a pre-emptive terror bust in New York today on a group suspected of having sympathies towards the bearded one. No word on whether they were just a bunch of rag tags or whether Kos has proclaimed the feces yet. We await the updates, or for someone to dig through the wayback machine.

Sherlock Holmes, He Presumes

Are all the public officials in Chicagoland clowns or are they just good actors?

Geez, as if the Christopher Kelly death isn't suspicious enough we have a suburban mayor during a news conference holding up the drivers license of the woman who drove Kelly to the hospital. Is it standard protocol for the police to seize the drivers license of people not yet accused of crimes then flash their name, picture and address to the media? Who didn't bother to ask where they got it?

Whatever, the mayor certainly seemed to be enjoying his time in the limelight. Here are some gems: she (girlfriend) "lawyered up, as we say in the trades" and we're "giving it all the bells and whistles" as if other cases don't get such treatment. And finally they will have to wait for the "toxology reports". The girlfriend's lawyer had a more colorful opinion:
“The mayor's a jackass. You can print that,” Gillespie said.
Ah, Chicago. One crazy place, to the point that to an outsider it seems as if the entire Blago tale is a made-for-TV dark comedy. Surely Patrick Fitzgerald will get to the bottom of this tangled web before he's eligible for retirement.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Collins on the Public Option

Hmm, maybe Susan Collins really is a Republican:
Asked on CNN’s State of the Union if the use of the trigger would make inclusion of the public option more acceptable, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, unequivocally replied “no.”

“The problem with trigger is it just delays the public option,” Collins told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “because the people who are going to be making the determination about whether the market is competitive enough, want the public option.”
This can be looked at a couple of ways. One, Collins has suddenly realized she's a Republican and that if she doesn't stand for something she'll fall for anything; or, she's so confident her vote won't be decisive she's free to expose this Democratic flim-flam for what it is. Sounds good either way.

If in the end the Dems backtrack and handle health care reform in a more piecemeal fashion without the public option (that everyone knows will lead to single payer one day) the tea partiers can take the credit. Meanwhile president Obama, claiming that those opposing his massive government program/debt have 'coarsened the dialogue' (how long has he been in politics again?) has himself been egging them on from the beginning with his flaming rhetoric, even yesterday telling a crowd, "they can't stop us". Yes, they can, sir.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tea in DC

From Saturday's million mobster march..



It's kind of sacrilegious but it pretty much sums up everything going on right now.

MORE 9/13/09

New York Times web site front page coverage...midnight central 9/13



US POLITICS
"thousands rally in Minnesota for Obama ..."
"thousands rally in Capital (sic)..."
"on the hill: Congress can't rely on public opinion"

According to the Star Trib, the 'thousands' in Minnesota for Obama's speech totaled 17,000. Is the Times so shamelessly low they would try to make an offhand comparison of that number to this number?

MORE 9/13/09

Don't get me wrong; this horrible ABC News story mentioning hate, Hitler signs and only 60,000-70,000 people in attendance, is not unexpected. On the contrary, it simply confirms Hannity's charge that the mainstream media in America is utterly compromised.

FINALLY

I don't know why this surprises me. Maybe it's just disappointment or shock or an inability to accept what's going on. But if one were to stumble upon the Washington Post's web front page at 12:30pm central today, they would not readily know there was up to a million people protesting in their own city the previous day...




They would know, however, that Serena Williams lost on a foot fault. Oh wait! There it is, buried in the Kennedy story.

update..
The link to the Amorian web site was changed due to a bad link. It appears somebody misattributed a photo of another event as the tea party (figures), so they must have pulled it. Ouch. At any rate, the YT time lapse is enough to prove it was much more than media outlets will admit and certainly enough to get Congressional attention, which is what matters.

Side Tracks

In tribute to Joe Wilson..



Hey, it ain't beanbag. Now, the master..

On negotiating with Iran

The great campaign promise is about to come true, so says the Times:
The Obama administration said Friday that the United States would accept Iran’s offer to meet, fulfilling President Obama’s pledge to hold unconditional talks despite the Iranian government’s insistence that it would not negotiate over the future of its nuclear program.
Here's a suggestion for Mr. Obama. Since he doesn't seem all that interested in foreign policy why not make Sarah Palin our special envoy to Iran? She's not doing anything except Facebook at the moment and besides, she seems to get responses every time she speaks out, proving her effectiveness. If she fails it can be blamed on the right wing. Who knows, her natural beauty and charm may disarm the Iranians, allowing us to bamboozle them into giving up their nuke program.

For a guy who prides himself in bringing sides together, it's a winner.

Going Fishing?

Firedog Marcie Wheeler, who has seemingly devoted the rest of her life to bringing down the Bush administration ex post facto, is living vicariously through the new CIA investigation that's quietly being led by John Durham. Ms. Wheeler seems excited at this tidbit gleaned from a recent interview of Colin Powell's former chief of staff Larry Wilkerson:
No. My wife thinks that ultimately there’s going to be something. I’m a little more cynical than she, but she’s convinced that this investigation that’s been going on [by John Durham] — very low-key, the guy’s very persistent, he’s very determined, he reminds me of [Patrick] Fitzgerald on the Valerie Plame case, and his starting point is the destruction of the videotapes, and I’m told he’s got a plan, and he’s following that plan, and I’m told that plan is bigger than I think. [my emphasis]
Bigger than he thinks, eh? Ole Honest Obe told everyone it would be very narrow when he spoke through Holder's press release.

Matter of fact, so narrow that Ms. Wheeler herself and others figured it would be a pointless exercise, which in hindsight was not very reality-based based on Fitzgerald's actions in the Libby caper and the truthiness emitting from 1600 to date. Recapping, the situation has morphed from "looking forward, not back" to "only a narrow investigation" to potential sugar plum fairy frogmarch land. There's always hope.

The bigger news from the Wilkerson interview was his characterization of dastardly Dick Cheney as 'just now crazy'. As if the old boy has only recently flipped but was lucid while fighting dirty with the terrorists (man-causers; Islamic; not right wing domestic variety). Well, at least he can get sympathy and treatment if he's crazy, and of course won't be responsible for his actions. Back when he was an evil genius or just evil he had no hope at all.

But this rhetoric is funny coming from a man who recently produced some scoff-worthy material himself, losing his timeline on the Rachel Maddow show during an attempt to paint crazy Darth as so diabolically twisted that he would expect Sheik al-Libi to admit under water torture that Saddam was a bloody-thirsty murderer who had extensive links to terrorism and hated America. As if! But in the Colonel's way of thinking, just a bunch of chickenhawks:
"One day," says Powell's former chief of staff Larry Wilkerson, "we were walking into his office and Rich turned to me and said, 'Larry, these guys never heard a bullet go by their ears in anger ... None of them ever served. They're a bunch of jerks'."
Hope nobody tells him about Biden and all his deferments. By the way, some may consider it jerky to say something like this in 2008 in an interview in Foreign Policy:
FP: What’s your take on the tone of the campaign?

LW: I was fully expecting the grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan to arrive from Maryland and endorse McCain. I was becoming frightened that we were returning to 1968, when they assassinated Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Those were bad times.
Bottom line, he's a Powell supporter, was on the other side of the internecine Bush war, became an Obama booster, and hates Cheney, Rove and crew just the rest of liberal land despite guys like Van Jones. Some may call that crazy.

But this next bit might be more interesting. In the same interview Wilkerson, responding to a hypothetical, elucidated a vision of how a good presidency might progress from day one:
LW: That’s an easy question to answer, but hard to do. On Inauguration Day in my inauguration speech, I would do two things: I would ban torture and I would direct the closure of Guantánamo. And then I would do other things in the first 100 days: I would take a look at negotiations with Iran and at the six-party talks with [North] Korea. I would take a look at U.S.-Cuba relations. Those are actions that would indicate that America is back.
All those things have occurred just as he outlined. Let's see, might someone have been listening (or talking, such as Colin Powell)? And are we back yet?

Friday, September 11, 2009

To Those Who Desire Another Investigation...

Eight years have now passed since that terrible day. A little over eight and a half years passed between the first attack on the WTC in 1993 and 9/11. We don't give enough credit to the hard men and women of action who've protected our freedoms and ability to mindlessly watch sports and Dancing with the Stars without much worry about airplanes crashing into buildings or suicide bombers at malls. "Kudos" hardly seems enough.

The attacks affected everyone differently. Some got mad, others scared, others internalized the event and blamed presidents or America itself. Charlie Sheen is currently narrating a tape asking Obama to re-open the 9/11 investigation. While this might evoke Tower 7, thermate, and all sorts of other truther nonsense it also opens the door wide to investigating the "other side"--the history of what occurred before Bush 43 arrived in the White House.

The title of Sandra Harmon's new book "Mafia Son" doesn't give the impression it would interest those searching for the truth about 9/11. It's filled with all kinds of gory details about the evildoings of mobsters, specifically Columbo family member Greg Scarpa, Sr. and his son Greg, Jr. But aside from the stories and tall tales there's one indeed related to terrorism, a very interesting story told by Greg, Jr about his stay in the Manhattan lockup with 93 WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef during the mid 90s.

Before going further it's prudent to remember that most crooks are pathological liars; they lie during trial to stay out of jail and once in, they lie trying to get out. The story begins with Scarpa Jr's confinement in Manhattan, under indictment on RICO charges including 5 murders, who was angling for a reduction. Yousef was there too, charged with 6 murders (but they could have charged him with about 200,000 attempted murders) for trying to knock down the trade towers and a few airplanes. Scarpa was enlisted to snoop on the super-terrorist.

Harmon goes into detail starting in chapter 30 of her book. Scarpa, who had a cell between Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad (the other bomber who was working on Bojinka), was involved in "kiting" coded messages between the two terrorists:
Before forwarding the messages, however, Gregory photographed the kites (which included recipes for making homemade bombs), using a miniature spy camera provided by the FBI.
Included in the presumed treasure trove were detailed information about Uncle KSM, bin Laden, previous plots, and plans to blow up a 747 using micro bombs. Indeed:
Yousef told Gregory that a terrorist attack on a plane during his Bojinka trial would surely prejudice the jurors against him, allowing Yousef to request a mistrial...
As Harmon tells it, rather unbelievably Scarpa convinced Yousef that the mob had a secret conduit to smuggle in a cell phone undetected by the jail, and he fell for it. Of course the FBI tapped the line and heard many calls to KSM about attacks and such, including this:
On March 5, 1996, Yousef told Gregory that Al-Qaeda had already positioned "four terrorists...here in the United States" who were awaiting orders from bin Laden to poison New York City's drinking water, attack government installations, or take down a plane.
But the smoking gun in this whole encounter was undoubtedly when Yousef told Scarpa that AQ would bring down New York with "flying massive bombs". Harmon says Patrick Fitzgerald, then the AUSA in the SDNY, laughed when told of this plot. You'll have to read her book for the rest, including messages about the downing of a 747 on Iraq Liberation Day, July 17.

Needless to say, the gist of her story is that the Clinton administration and the Freeh FBI took these threats far too lightly and perhaps even covered up attacks or threats in the years before 9/11. In large part this is 20/20 hindsight; assuming the information presented to be truthful it's hard to say whether things would have been different had they pursued stronger defensive measures or gone harder after bin Laden. It's also worth remembering that the GOP was hammering Clinton at the time and accusing him of 'wagging the dog', so it's doubtful our increasingly divided population would have put down the remotes and paid any more attention back then as they are nowadays, even after 9/11.

But if they're gonna do another 9/11 investigation it seems imprudent not to take a little closer look at exactly what went on in that jail cell back in the mid 90s.


DOES THIS COUNT AS REMEMBRANCE? 9/12/09

Since 9/11 is officially a day of remembrance perhaps it should be extended back to other 9/11s before the 2001 version. September 11, 1990 was a fairly memorable day in world politics, since it was the day George W. Bush's father proclaimed to Congress that America and the civilized nations were on the verge of a "New World Order". Most older adults have no trouble remembering that but few know what day it occurred.

In the same speech Mr. Bush said the following:
Vital issues of principle are at stake. Saddam Hussein is literally trying to wipe a country off the face of the Earth. We do not exaggerate. Nor do we exaggerate when we say Saddam Hussein will fail. Vital economic interests are at risk as well. Iraq itself controls some 10 percent of the world's proven oil reserves. Iraq plus Kuwait controls twice that. An Iraq permitted to swallow Kuwait would have the economic and military power, as well as the arrogance, to intimidate and coerce its neighbors -- neighbors who control the lion's share of the world's remaining oil reserves. We cannot permit a resource so vital to be dominated by one so ruthless. And we won't.
He was forthright about the oil, wasn't he? There's more:
Our interest, our involvement in the Gulf is not transitory. It predated Saddam Hussein's aggression and will survive it. Long after all our troops come home -- and we all hope it's soon, very soon -- there will be a lasting role for the United States in assisting the nations of the Persian Gulf. Our role then: to deter future aggression. Our role is to help our friends in their own self-defense. And something else: to curb the proliferation of chemical, biological, ballistic missile and, above all, nuclear technologies.

Let me also make clear that the United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Our quarrel is with Iraq's dictator and with his aggression. Iraq will not be permitted to annex Kuwait. That's not a threat, that's not a boast, that's just the way it's going to be.
When Yousef arrived in America in 1992 his phony passport had a date stamp-- September 11, 1990.