Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obama Defeated on Warrantless Wiretapping

Catchy headline, eh? Yep, they lost the last active case:
The judge's 45-page ruling focused narrowly on the case involving the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, touching vaguely on the larger question of the program's legality. Nonetheless, Al-Haramain lawyer Jon Eisenberg said the ruling had larger implications.

"By virtue of finding what the Bush administration did to our clients was illegal, he found that the Terrorist Surveillance Program was unlawful," Eisenberg said.
It took Huffpo until the 13th paragraph, below the fold (commercial), to mention the Obama administration, who had joined with the Bush position on the matter. Yes, that means they took the loss. Olbermann was having trouble rationalizing this on his show tonight along with figuring out what to think about the new drill baby drill plan--so he named O'Reilly worst person and moved on. Even the more moderate A.C. Junior thought that was a cheap tool move.

But the downplay is not surprising considering our new media's near silence on anything derogatory to the second first black president so near the end we get this, without context:
In another wiretap case targeting the Bush tactics, the Center for Constitutional Rights asked the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday to order government officials to disclose if officials eavesdropped without warrants on electronic conversations between 23 attorneys and their clients held at Guantanamo. Lower courts had tossed out that request.
Wow, isn't it a wonderful country when terrorists who wanted to kill innocent Americans can be referred to as 'clients'? Gitmo lawyers were recently accused of illegally passing information to the terrorists clients, which is the reason Bush tried to compartmentalize a lot of this stuff. Loose lips and all.

Anyway, the Center for Constitutional Rights is a far left outfit run by a guy named Michael Ratner. Marc Thiessen mentioned him prominently in his book, such as CCR awarding Holder's law firm Covington and Burling the "Pro-bono law firm of the year" award in 2008. Here's Thiessen relaying part of an interview with Ratner:
In his book, Ratner wrote evocatively of his love of Che. So while Ratner reviles America’s treatment of terrorists held at Guantánamo Bay, he idolizes the man who created Cuba’s KGB-style political prisons and served as Castro’s chief executioner. I asked Ratner if he had ever worked for Cuban prisoners. “No one’s asked me to do it; I haven’t done it,” he said.

Of course, no one asked Ratner to represent Majid Khan, Jose Padilla, Mohammed al-Qahtani, or the other al Qaeda terrorists on CCR’s client list. CCR sought them out. The fact is Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights have made it their business to represent America’s enemies for more than four decades. This was their business during the Cold War, and it is thriving during the war on terror.
You certainly won't get such commentary at Huffpo--especially anything like this:
Ratner is nothing if not consistent. As recently as 2006, in an interview with Socialist Worker Online (yes, such a thing exists), Ratner called America a “police state,” compared the Bush administration to Nazi “storm troopers,” and equated 9/11 to the burning of the Reichstag, which Hitler used to establish his absolute grip on power: “Really, the best analogy for people to understand is the Reichstag fire in Germany in 1933, when the parliament of Germany was burned to the ground. That night, Hitler and the storm troopers gained power. .  .  . They used the Reichstag fire the same way Bush used 9/11. .  .  . [T]hat’s really the beginning of the coup d’etat in America.” This is the man behind the campaign to grant the right of habeas corpus to captured terrorists.
CCR's ultimate goal, through use of 'lawfare', is to get Bush indicted for war crimes using an international court. They now seem to be in a lover's spat with Holder--we'll see if Justice appeals this ruling or stands by while CCR attempts to use it as a springboard to an indictment, or how it may impact the remaining clients at Gitmo. Surely Obama has a few cards left up his sleeve with the KSM thing pending and a coming mid-term election.

In Gaia he Trusts

It's pretty bad when righties are forced to agree with the guy who coined the term "Gaia":
Trying to save the planet 'is a lot of nonsense'
The "largely cleared" climate scientists will probably throw him under the bus but he's too damn old to care. Why does it seem like so many people are at war with common sense?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Go Jump in the Lake, FDL

Screaming FDL message, beside a picture of Tim McVeigh:
In the Wake of Arrests in Three States, Right-Wingers Rush to Defend Terror Suspects, Criticize FBI
It really is amazing how coordinated the strategy is becoming on the left. Are they all allowed on the journolist now? Apparently jumping to conclusions is back in style.

But really, should they even be using McVeigh as a comparison here? He wasn't an ardent Christian like these Michigan loonytoons and besides, one of the left's great heroes, former Clinton and Bush counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke wrote in his book "Against All Enemies":
(On Page 127, Clarke notes that it's possible that al-Qaida operatives in the Philippines "taught Terry Nichols how to blow up the Oklahoma Federal Building." Intelligence places Nichols there on the same days as Ramzi Yousef, and "we do know that Nichols's bombs did not work before his Philippines stay and were deadly when he returned.")
And note to the Fire Dogs--that's Slate, quoting Clarke, not some story in World Nut Daily. It's never been settled as to whether Nichols took a bomb-making lesson from Yousef or one of his al Qaeda pals in the Philippines. Evidently Clinton never interrogated Yousef enough to find out very much so we'll probably never know. But if he did, well--that would change everything, wouldn't it?

Monday, March 29, 2010

That Didn't Take Long

Give some committed liberals a bit of power and their heads balloon into the size of the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man:
Kathleen Sebelius warned the insurance industry Monday not to look for loopholes in health care legislation and informed it that she will be writing regulations to ensure that the industry covers children with preexisting conditions, which some insurers insist is not a requirement of the law.
And she was threatening them for catching a loophole that Congress created. But no worries, the insurance companies have already bent over and thanked her while asking for another. Welcome to the new world--just don't call it socialism.

The obvious overriding takeaway from the story is her bullying tone, a harbinger of life to come under this scary group of self-congratulatory autocratic do-gooders. Funny, mainstream lefties whined for eight years about Bush being a fascist and now they are applauding this diminution of liberty by doubling down, as did Huffpo's Ryan Grim:
Sebelius's letter is an attempt to persuade the private industry to follow the spirit of the law. When Congress returns after the two-week recess, progressive Democrats will again be looking at ways to add a public option to the law. By threatening to refuse to insure sick children, insurers only make the case that much more persuasive.
Ah yes, whatever it takes (emphasis added):
Leadership is telling members to reach out to local chapters of the hundreds of national organizations that endorsed the health care legislation to help organize events in town. Instead of just holding a town hall, members are advised to find constituents who would be helped -- a child with preexisting conditions who can now get health insurance, or a small business that will benefit from new tax credits -- and host events with them showcasing how the bill reforms the health care system.
How appropriate, coming from Talking Points Memo. And how democratic. Of course the mainstream media will be there to help wherever they can. The only question now is whether this giant 50 foot woman can be stopped before she expands anymore.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Classifying Carlos Bledsoe

Carlos who, you say? How about Abdulhakim Mohammed, the self-described jihadi who shot two Little Rock Army recruiters last summer. The local Commercial Appeal has a lengthy article today focused on his father, who appears to be grief-stricken about losing a son to radicalism. As he said, tomorrow it might be somebody's blond-haired, blue eyed son lost to this ideology--true enough. Maybe Jihad Jane and the woman from Colorado have already proved him correct.

Two things stand out from the article. One, the Little Rock prosecutor Larry Jegley will be trying Bledsoe for standard murder and will not explore any al Qaeda roots:
"All I care about is what he did and what I think I can prove that he did. Whether he claims to be a Martian who flew in here on a spaceship or whatever doesn't matter."
If the name Larry Jegley rings a bell it's because he was all over the place slamming Mike Huckabee after the Washington state police assassinations. Hopefully he'd use the same analogy if the crime allegedly involved Tea Party members.

The second thing is the senior Mr. Bledsoe, who wonders:
He wants to know why his son's case isn't in federal court, and how he was able to buy a gun at a Walmart in Little Rock despite being interviewed previously by the FBI.
Because thankfully American citizens are still allowed to purchase a long rifle in Walmart without passing a background test and Bledsoe had no record. But yes, the FBI questioned him in Nashville after his return from Yemen, which means they knew of him, which again points out the feasibility of a law-enforcement approach to jihadies.

Bledsoe's father isn't alone in questioning why this case is being treated as a garden variety street crime--here's slain soldier William Long's father:
"Being gunned down in uniform by a self-described Islamic warrior obviously does not rise to the level of a terrorist act as far as I can tell under this administration," the retired Marine officer
Oddly enough, it's hard to find any stories detailing whether Bledsoe was interrogated and if so, whether they got anything useful about his ties in Yemen. Odd, because we got all kinds of info about Abdulmuttalob's questioning and how awesomely effective it was, and yet he killed no one. Was the HIG notified? Oh right. Then again, if the government doesn't consider Bledsoe a terrorist it's a moot point anyway. Maybe 60 Minutes will do an investigation.

Let's end this post with some words of wisdom from Mr. Jegley back when he was discussing the Seattle shooting:
I think the clemency power was -- was overused by our former governor. And I think that this is a bitter harvest that we're reaping because of it.
Not sure how engaging in denial will help prevent bitter harvests on this front--maybe it denies the jihadies their publicity--but it also seems to help an administration who heavily demagogued Bush's handling of terror suspects avoid a publicized federal case and a sticky classification decision.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Side Tracks

Here's vintage Linda Ronstadt

I've always liked the harmony at the end and this appears live and performed quite well.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mayer Vs Thiessen

Readers of Marc Thiessen's book "Courting Disaster" will find a frequently mentioned name--Jane Mayer. For those unaware, she is a prize-winning writer for the New Yorker Magazine. Thiessen seems to have quite a beef with that writing, especially related to waterboarding and his 2006 speech written for Bush about closing the secret CIA prisons.

I came to this post by reading about the Frum scrum, where Colin Friedersdorf mentioned Mayer's response to Thiessen in the process of attacking Frum's unspoken contention that he was fired. He calls her rebuttal 'devastating', along with this Slate piece. Both appear to be garden-variety liberally slanted anti-torture efforts but I suppose devastation is in the eye of the beholder. Here's some of Mayer's:
Thiessen’s claim about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed looks equally shaky. The Bush interrogation program hardly discovered the Philippine airlines plot: in 1995, police in Manila stopped it from proceeding and, later, confiscated a computer filled with incriminating details. By 2003, when Mohammed was detained, hundreds of news reports about the plot had been published. If Mohammed provided the C.I.A. with critical new clues—details unknown to the Philippine police, or anyone else—Thiessen doesn’t supply the evidence.
Here's what Thiessen says (we know Mayer made it at least as far as page 7 of his book), regarding one of the supposed 6000 reports his EIT generated:
In one of those reports, KSM describes in detail the revisions he made to his failed 1994-95 plan known as the "Bojinka plot"--formulated with his nephew Ramzi Yousef--to blow up a dozen airplanes carrying some 4,000 passengers over the Pacific Ocean."
My emphasis. He goes on to say an unnamed CIA agent busy analyzing a cell the Brits were watching noticed a similarity (presumably based on the EIT-generated plan update) and notified the Brits who, while initially skeptical, eventually came around. Now, it's true this is an anonymous CIA source and they might be jacking him around to tweak their MI5-6 counterparts or involved in some kind of urinating contest, but it's hardly unsurprising a CIA analyst would speak off record. Mayer got a guy from Scotland Yard for her pushback, who said:
“version of events is simply not recognized by those who were intimately involved in the airlines investigation in 2006.”
But he doesn't provide any names either. He says Scotland Yard knew about liquid bombs due to the Tube attacks in 2005 but Thiessen's book doesn't say exactly what information the CIA analyst provided. It might have been about something else.

Looking back for stories, there was clearly some friction between agencies at the time with the US worried the Brits were going to dilly-dally too long before rounding them up but it's doubtful that either Thiessen's contention (or Mayer's contention he lied) can be proved via open sources. That hardly seems devastating.

Besides, the devastation may be more focused on Thiessen's main assertion challenging her honesty regarding her segment about the 2006 speech and her claim about a counter draft making the rounds nixed by Darth Cheney. Thiessen was there and talked to people who should know; she was not there and talked to people in State who might have had axes to grind. So we have a he said, she said situation, which is apparently good enough for some to call devastation.

As to my own opinion of his book, the main critique would be that in defending his own actions and those of the Bush administration in trying to protect America (easily forgotten) he's far too dismissive about the nastiness of waterboarding. If it's a necessary evil then it's still evil. He probably would have been more credible to the left had he volunteered to be waterboarded himself like Hitchens before writing the book but maybe they wouldn't have believed him anyway.

I have a feeling the real reason for their nastiness has more to do with his hit on Obama than the torture. In the 'Double Agents' chapter he listed the many lawyers who volunteered to work for suspected terrorists who later went to work for Holder at Justice along with some of their fairly radical support group ties. One such group was called the "1848 Foundation" (no web site but the year featured many revolutions and one manifesto). And yes, the name 'Che' comes up.

Health Care Corpse

Perhaps Obama should start practicing the correct pronunciation of the word "corps" with this meme starting to go viral:
Subtitle C–Increasing the Supply of the Health Care Workforce
Sec. 5201. Federally supported student loan funds.
Sec. 5202. Nursing student loan program.
Sec. 5203. Health care workforce loan repayment programs.
Sec. 5204. Public health workforce recruitment and retention programs.
Sec. 5205. Allied health workforce recruitment and retention programs.
Sec. 5206. Grants for State and local programs.
Sec. 5207. Funding for National Health Service Corps.
Sec. 5208. Nurse-managed health clinics.
Sec. 5209. Elimination of cap on commissioned corps.
Sec. 5210. Establishing a Ready Reserve Corps.
Emphasis on the notion of the meme--that the totally awesome health care act of 2010 has secretly created a private army of brownshirts to enforce Obamacare.

OK, before being accused of acting like a hyperbolic, paranoid teabagger who sees commies around every corner from a president determined to treat former enemies better than friends it's important to determine what this is and how it relates to our current national guard structure for handling emergencies.

First of all, some of this already exists. The National Health Service Corps has been around awhile and provides a trade off to students--serve as doctors in underserved areas upon graduation and get some of the student loans paid off. Sort of like the military.

Then there's a Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, again an outfit that was around during Bushitler as well. Actually, they're both part of the Public Health Service, established by FDR during World War II.

So here's the thing--in an age of natural disasters and terrorist attacks these people could very well be life savers. The question is whether or how the structure and duties of these corps will be changed and utilized under nationalized health care as opposed to our former private care system.

To make matters more confusing some people have asked (even a few in Congress) why student loans were part of a health care bill. It's logical to wonder how a college loan takeover might interact with a civilian corps, as in changing the terms of paying off the debt. In other words, the government is now dictating insurance purchases so can they dictate to the holders of student loans as to where they practice their craft? After all, the government gave them the opportunity to gain the skill.

With potentially 30 million more new patients guaranteed care it seems we might need more doctors, but in different places. What if too many doctors decide to practice away from places the government considers 'underserved'? Didn't Hillary slip up and utter something about this during the election (can't find it on the web now)? Will they continue to use incentives or just start ordering people around?

Speaking of Hillary, in 1992 she told the graduating class of Wellesley College:
Today, our greatest national threat comes not from some external Evil Empire, but from our own internal Indifference Empire that tolerates splintered families, unparented children, embattled schools, and pervasive poverty, racism, and violence.
By "Indifference Empire" she meant a government that allows its people to fail due to their free choices. This is the heart and soul of hard-core leftism. Don't forget that during the campaign she was for mandates and getting rid of private student loan providers. We are seeing her vision materializing now. This ain't just Obama, folks, it's a cadre.

But hey, I'm just a teabaggin fool. Obama could have proved all of this wrong by simply hosting a few prime time press conferences before the bill passed to explain everything. He could have walked out there and said, 'bring it on'. Maybe a few would have changed their minds. Instead the press took Pelosi's "wait and see" to heart and left us with only our Dreams.

MORE 3/26/10

Back in the day it was fear of a coming fascism (see, it really can't come here--only socialism is allowed) and hate speech about certain bumper stickers. That was then.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Selling Us What We've Already Bought

It's a crazy world. The health care bill is now law but the president is out on the campaign trail trying to sell it to everyone. And he's daring the opposition to repeal what nobody fully understands:
"If they want to have that fight, we can have it," Obama told a university crowd in Iowa two days after putting his name on the most sweeping change in U.S. social policy in decades.

"I don't believe the American people are going to put the insurance industry back in the driver's seat. We've been there already. We're not going back," he said.
Sounds sort of absolute. Has anyone informed him that the American people put the current government in office and can damn well take them out (note to libs--this is a figure of speech related to voting, not a death threat)? As to selling it, how about taking some questions from real reporters in a prime time press conference?

Or not. CNN is actually admitting they did a crummy job of reporting on the bill specifics beforehand by now admitting their failure and offering to explain its awesomeness:
So we've done the work for you. If you're going to take away just five things from the new legislation, here they are. If you manage to comprehend these five, give yourself an A+.
Do they think we're a bunch of stupid twits? Here's CNN's five awesome things:

1) Health insurance companies can't discriminate against you because you have a pre-existing condition. No, now you can discriminate on the health insurance companies and your fellow citizens by not buying a plan until you get sick. Of course that will cost you plenty for being high-risk, but never fear--the Dems will legislate that out by 2014.

2) Young people can remain on parents' insurance until age 26. If they are enrolled in universities full-time. That's the restriction, wait, that's not--they still qualify even if sitting around in the basement all day in their underwear playing the Wii.

3) You could get a subsidy to buy insurance if you make less than $88,000 per year for a family of four. Why not just give subsidies to the truly poor and destitute and be done with the whole thing? That might take all of 20 pages.

4) If you don't get insurance from your employer, that might change. Nothing about the fines to individuals for some reason.

The health care reform legislation has some benefits for senior citizens, but it might have some disadvantages as well. Really? Was CNN spotlighting all these 'disadvantages' before Sunday or did it just dawn on them? Imagine the missed outrage.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Threats and Rumors of Threats

It may not be right to justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior, or even purported bad behavior, but it does provide a sort of temporary devilish satisfaction.

I'm referring of course to the racial charges made by several black congressmen as they walked amidst the Tea Party protesters in DC this past Saturday. The story blossomed from them to the lefty media, to the reality-based bloggers and now it's becoming tacky conventional wisdom cement, all despite the numerous cameras and video devices on the scene without one of them coming forward to provide corroboration. It's possible a few hacks yelled something, but a chorus of N-words?

Personally I agree with Jack--cui bono. The left is simply much better at devious strategerizing than conservatives. It's probably in the blood. The Saturday story cemented a charge they've been trying to make against tea partiers from day one and the timing couldn't have been better--the day before cramdown. It's completely unarguable as to whether the big media will carry their water--they will. And so it goes.

That said, Boehner's response was dead-on correct (*using the term 'dead-on' in no way signifies anything to do with actual human death*)-- the right should respond the right way, targeting (oops) vulnerable legislators through peaceful, non-violent means. No pies, no shout downs, no phony stories. The high road is the best road in the long run.

As to the other bad behavior..

Obama: standing between the bankers and the pitchforks.

Film: what if Bush were assassinated

Ignored: far left radicals openly calling for Bush's death

OK... 3/24/10

Here's Gibbs trying to explain the need for the EO. If the federal law (Hyde Amendment) is clear and the EO was just fancy window dressing that means Stupak was holding out for nothing, at least on the surface. Shoot (southern colloquialism libs, don't take it literally), maybe they hatched the whole thing as a plot to make it appear to his backwoods constituency that he's a fighter for the unborn while lulling the GOP into a false sense of security about low possibilities for passage. Alinsky tactics 1, 3, 5 (which is always in play), 6, and 9 appear to be in play, with lucky 13 being hammered as we speak due to the outcome, fueled in part by some bonehead events.

Of course, does anyone really know who actually placed the coffin in the congressperson's yard? Take the phony noose stories, for instance. Google "noose placed on door college"
and the first page lists several stories that seem like a rather sinister pattern. But Google "noose story false" and some truth comes out.

Stupak's Ceremony

Here's the story with its staged photo at the closed-to-press gala ceremony (was Biden wandering around?). But never fear, we here at the Fore Left newsroom were just handed a secret shot taken right before Obama signed the writ guaranteeing he will uphold the existing law (until such time he deems not to)..

By gosh I think we've all been hoodwinked. Actually no--he told Joe.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Era of Big Govt Has Begun Again

Bill Clinton, State of the Union, 1996:

Barack Obama, signing ceremony 2010, heralding the end of the end of the era of big government:

And looking aghast in the direction of Biden as if he just dropped another F bomb. Say this about Joe: he always knows how to say just what everyone is thinking.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Houses

Imagine getting Mississippi, Nazis, the Tuskegee experiment, Iran, WHO, and health care reform into the same story:
A US doctor and a development consultant visited Iran in May to study a primary healthcare system that has cut infant mortality by more than two-thirds since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Then, in October, five top Iranian doctors, including a senior official at the health ministry in Tehran, were quietly brought to Mississippi to advise on how the system could be implemented there.
Hmm, a health system modeled on Iran's coming to rural Mississippi? This one's gonna be a bit hard to take at face value seeing as how that same government used its own citizens as "human waves" in the war against Iraq (after taking our embassy staff hostage) and is currently run by a dictator prone to publicity stunts. So please bear with my skeptical questions for a spell.

Now, we have a pioneering Mississippi physician and civil rights activist named Aaron Shirley who discovered the apparent successes of Iranian "health houses" formed after the Islamic revolution and figured they could work in the Delta region, where health rates lag the national average. A meeting with Iranian doctors was arranged and the two parties exchanged visits, then hatched a plan entitled "Mississippi/Islamic Republic of Iran rural health project".

There were two major stories on this, one from the London Times (quoted above) and another more recent version from the LA Times, which was a lot more informative, including this quip from Dr. Shirley regards the fact-finding trip:
"I felt safer in Iran than I felt in Mississippi in the 1960s,"
OK, well perspective is important. The LA version mentioned the involvement of Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson and the 30 million federal dollars the group is seeking for a pilot program but it did not mention them keeping the program secret from governor Haley Barbour, something the London Times had previously revealed. Why keep it from Barbour other than the fact he's a GOP bigwig? OK, perhaps rhetorical, but what did they think he might do?

Both versions mentioned some involvement from the US and Iranian governments--a given really--but neither specifically mentioned Ahmadinejad. And that's odd, since the Iranian crown must certainly be aware of such a thing otherwise heads would be rolling--literally down the street. So we can presume the Mullahs know and are in favor.

In another twist the London Times decided to consult with a peace health expert for the story, a Dr. Paula Gutlove, who also shared some historical wisdom about the cold war while trumping the hopeful partnership:
Gutlove points out that similar meetings between American and Soviet scientists in the 1980s helped pave the way for the end of the cold war. “What we did in the 1980s created lasting relationships which cut across the divide,” she said.
At first I thought she might have been referring to the Federation of Atomic Scientists, which would have included current Obama administration science czar John Holdren, but I think she means the 1985 Nobel winners in medicine:
The 1985 Nobel Peace Prize was given to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, (IPPNW), a group founded with the explicit involvement of the Soviet dictatorship. In fact, Yevgeny Chazov, Soviet Deputy Minister of Health, served as one of IPPNW's three co-chairmen.
Anybody but Reagan. Surely Ms Gutlove wasn't suggesting the Soviet scientists were any more rogue than these Iranian doctors with both operating in totalitarian regimes? But darn, I thought the left had given most of the credit for beating the Soviets to Charlie Wilson. So confusing.

Anyway, what to make of this? Well, we know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure therefore something like this might actually work in impoverished, undereducated areas. We know that throwing money at the problem didn't help. We know we can't always judge a book by its cover. And we know we'd like to see the numbers improve.

We also know that Utopian lefties would love nothing more but to rub something like this in the face of every arrogant Muslim-hating American redneck teabagger, and we know A'jad and maybe Obama stand to gain from any successes as well. But if health improves, who cares, right?

That depends. As with the recently passed healthcarepalooza bill there's always a price to pay and at some point the risk can surpass the reward. The health houses in Iran function as more than health houses; the practitioners also keep tabs on the community. Might they also be reporting to the state? Might bears be pooping in the woods?

The London version mentions a Mr. James Miller as coming up with the idea initially, whom they describe as managing director of the Oxford International Development Group in Oxford, MS, an entity which doesn't seem to have much of a web presence. The LA version describes him as such:
The proposal to emulate Iran came from James Miller, a medical services consultant in Oxford, Miss.
This blurb mentions Miller, and mentions that indeed the health workers employed at the health houses will be carrying around messages other than just the importance of flossing and eating some fruit. So it's a legitimate concern to wonder what those public health messages might be and who will control them.

And, while the London paper omitted it, the LA Times mentioned another participant--Dr. Mohammad Shahbazi, an Iranian-American teaching at Jackson State University who helped to arrange the trip to Iran. If A'jad indeed blessed this endeavor where does that leave Shahbazi? Was it just his medical connections and the Farsi language conduit?

No relation to Shahbazi, but this narrative from the London Times' expert Ms Gutlove provides at least some glimpse into the mindset of those backing these efforts. I think most American people realize that the average Iranians are being held hostage by their government after watching the election riots and were perhaps confused by our lack of a strong response, an angle she didn't play. But her trip came during the Bush years when Scott Ritter was predicting yearly attacks.

Granted, everything above is circumstantial. It very well may be a harmless example of strange bedfellows that works out in the end. Sometimes liberals do have good ideas! But it seems strange so few have asked questions about a story containing such notorious foreign players. So I'll leave you with this comment from a senior citizen in the Delta:
"I ain't never heard of Iran," she said. "But we could sure use somebody's help."
Hitler, Iran, whatever it takes. These guys plan to spread this program nationwide if successful--just imagine the PR for Tehran good will fostered between our two peoples and how it might impact future negotiations. So has anyone quizzed Hillary?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Liberty for Security

Representative Ryan called it "Fiscal Frankenstein", and now the beast lives despite the best efforts of the GOP congressmen and racist, spittle-ridden "teabaggers" (evidently not all spitting is the same). March madness, indeed.

When addressing whether to harshly interrogate our enemies Obama once said, "a democracy as resilient as ours must reject the false choice between our security and our ideals". He and most of his party now appear fine with giving away some liberty for health care security, an irony insofar as many of them spent nearly eight years hammering Bush with the Ben Franklin quote (or a close proximity). Having the IRS enforce mandated purchases? No problem now.

But tally ho, onward to social justice. I'm hoping Obama shifts his ire to the car insurance companies--I could really use a break on my auto right now. And while he's at it the utilities are a little high, too. It's only right that my neighbor should chip in his fair share. He's a Dem after all.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sounds Like a State Income Tax

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has written a letter to Senator Bob Corker and Congressman Bart Gordon (who is retiring this year) warning them of coming problems should health care pass. Here's a snippet:
Bob and Bart, the problem we face is simple: by 2013 we expect to have returned to our 2008 levels of revenue and will have already cut programs dramatically--over a billion dollars. At that point we have to start digging out--we will have not given raises to state employees or teachers for five years, our pension plans will need shoring up, our cash reserves (rainy day fund) will have been considerably depleted and in need of restoration, and we will not have made any substantial new investments for years. There will have been major cuts to areas such as Children's Services that we really need to restore. On top of these, there are all the usual obligations that need to be met--Medicaid, for example, will continue to grow in excess of the rates of the economy and our tax revenues. It's going to take at least a full decade to dig our way back out and back to where we were before the recession.

In this environment, for the Congress to also send along a mandatory bill for three quarters of a billion dollars for the health reform they've designed is very difficult. These are hard dollars--we can't borrow them--and make the management of our finances post-recession even more daunting than it already is.
Emphasis added to hammer the message--Tennessee need will need more revenue, period. He didn't call for an income tax but how else will they meet obligations?

Before the current tea parties were all the rage Tennessee had their own version of tea parties in 2001-02 in response to former Republican governor Don Sundquist, who was among a group in favor of an income tax. As a result, citizens converged on the capital and began honking their horns for hours on end until they eventually caved. It took two iterations to do it. That's the precedent.

Our current governor knows it well but at some point the money is going to run out and the leadership will either have to raise more taxes outside income or enact draconian cuts. As he says, the health care mandate will force the issue.

And there's no doubt Pelosi and company understand this perfectly. They probably see the health care bill as a force multiplier for spreading the wealth around and more government solutions, which is why she said "pass it and find out what's in it". Once passed they will use the intervening window of time before enactment to explain what 'kicking open the door' means, most likely rescuing us from the house of cards through government takeovers not simply limited to health insurance (all temporary of course).

The GOP will be forced to counter this by running on a platform the Dems and major media (sorry for the redundancy) will happily describe as kicking granny to the curb. They best come up with some better responses soon.

THE GORDON 3/20/10

Looks he found a way to help the Med and in turn the financially struggling TennCare public health care system:
"You lose money on every TennCare patient that crosses the threshold already. Trying to absorb more cuts is just not feasible."
For some reason Tennessee's socialized healthcare problems are not seen as a predictor of what's coming with Obamacare.

Could David Headley Have Become President?

David Coleman who? David Coleman Headley, the American terrorist enabler recently convicted (yes, in an article three court) and sentenced to 12 years for assisting the Mumbai killers. Here's CNN with some background:
David Coleman Headley was born in 1960 in Washington, D.C., but with a different name: at birth, he was given the Urdu name Daood Gilani.
He was born to a rebellious American mother and a strict Pakistani diplomat father, who parted ways a few years later. Headley stayed with dad in Pakistan while mom moved to Philly and oped a bar called "Khyber Pass".

Eventually mom brought son back to America and he got corrupted, getting caught up in a drug bust during the 90s and reportedly becoming an informant for the DEA while simultaneously turning his life over to Mohammad. This eventually led to his involvement in terrorism and an ultimate downfall.

So why the title? A naked bashing of Obama? Is McCloud a closet birther? Nope. Obama was definitely born in Hiwayer. And one cannot realistically compare Headley's life choices directly to the prez's--one went on to higher education, had a great family, and became president; the other slid down the toilet and became a traitor. The comparison is in background and eligibility.

Both were born of an American mother and a foreign Muslim father. In the case of Obama he later had a Muslim step-father as well. Headley, raised in Pakistan, clearly had leanings towards that life and culture. Yet according to most scholars he was qualified to become the President of the United States, just like Obama.

I think the founders delineated "natural born citizen" from "citizen" in an attempt to protect against a David Headley ever becoming president. So what are we to make of anchor babies, citizens by birth, who can also become president even if their illegal alien parents swept them back to the home country all through childhood? Is that really what the founders wanted?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Isn't it Time?

Bret Baier interrupted interviewed the president for about 15 minutes Wednesday evening and apparently that's as close as we'll get to a final prime time press conference before Obama tries to inhale 1/6 of the economy. Maybe he'll give the prime time press conference after passage to 'explain what's in it'.

The Fox interview was interesting though. Why did the WH feel compelled? Isn't the time for talk over? Maybe Axelrod figured they could trample the young anchor by blitzing his every question with talking points to eat up the clock, thereby allowing them to check their "we reached out to other side" box before passage.

Obviously they didn't expect a bow at the end but they also probably didn't expect to see 'belligerent Bret' show up either. Nevertheless, still a win for the admin since they've got new cause for ignoring Fox for another six months by claiming he was disrespectful (he was, kinda). O'Reilly must be fuming!

Still, a curve ball was thrown: Obama's great Hawaiian earthquake kickback explanation. Media Matters thinks he means this one:
A strong earthquake occurred about 10 miles (15 km) north-northwest of Kailua Kona or 65 miles (100 km) west of Hilo, Hawai`i at 11:07 AM MDT, Oct 15, 2006 (7:07 AM HST in Hawaii). The magnitude and location may be revised when additional data and further analysis results are available.
Felt Reports

Numerous people suffered minor injuries, at least 1,173 buildings damaged, roads damaged and landslides blocked roads on Hawai`i. Power outages occurred throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Damage estimated at 73 million dollars.
If so, then lumping it with Katrina (to justify a carve-out) sounds a lot like a bonehead comparison considering the damages and deaths from Katrina compared to zero deaths in this Hawaiian quake. Then again, Obama thought 10,000 people were killed in the Greensburg, Kansas tornado so maybe he's just confused on what's in the bill (surely it can't have anything to do with the Hawaiian National Guard being overtaxed by their deployment in Afghanistan).

By the way, was this the Hawaiian carve-out Baier was referring to:
Other lawmakers won carve-outs for their state healthcare systems. Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) got her state’s existing health program exempted by what the Honolulu Advertiser called the “Hirono Amendment.” As a result, the reform measures will be a non-event for many people in Hawaii.
A non-event?

MORE 3/18/10

The CBO shell game has begun. Whatever it takes. This, by the way, will backfire. The GOP should explain that they tried everything, stood as one and fought the good fight, but the Dems controlled the process and rammed it through by trickery. This only gives the Dems a chance to flip the tables in the press.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Trying Our Patience

CNN featured a guest editorial today from a JAG college professor who advocated for the trying of terrorists in criminal courts by starting his piece with the following premise:
Suppose that shortly after 9/11, when it became clear that Osama bin Laden and other members of al Qaeda were responsible for the attacks, President Bush had made the following announcement:

"Those responsible for these attacks are cowardly, vicious murderers, and we will pursue them to the ends of the earth to capture them. They are not warriors, they are criminals, and they will be treated accordingly. And once we catch them, we will bring them back to the United States and put them on trial right there in lower Manhattan so that a jury of 12 fair-minded New Yorkers can decide their fate."

Such an announcement
would not have been controversial in the slightest and undoubtedly would have been met with widespread approval. After all, putting terrorists on trial in federal court is how we always dealt with terrorists, including the first group of murderers who tried to blow up the World Trade Center.
Emphasis added to point out that yes the hell it would have been controversial! Americans--especially those in New York and Washington--wanted shock and awe, not the deployment of a squad of G-men in black suits. So right off the bat his entire piece was flawed. He's not the only military person in favor of trying terrorists in courts rather than commissions (wonder what he thinks about battlefield justice using CIA predators? ), which is also still a goal for the administration.

And indeed, Obama may get his way. He'll probably get health care and with it the ensuing standing ovation from the media for an 'historic accomplishment', which he'll then parlay into a color commentator appearance during March Madness basketball and perhaps a the return of KSM to federal court.

The latter was the focus of questions for Eric Holder in Congress on Tuesday where he indicated that once again, they are weeks away from another "decision" on the matter. Isn't this a form of torture itself?

Keep America Safe has some excerpts from the testimony, focusing on the one where he compared the rights of bin Laden to those of Charles Manson. Allahpundit showed how it wouldn't matter because Holder thinks we're never gonna take him alive anyway. Click through to view (it's very long).

Holder stuck with the non-answer on bin Laden even under follow-up, which was key. The man hasn't changed his stance on terrorism since he worked in the Reno Justice Dept., that it's a criminal matter, not a military matter. Well check that, he did see the wisdom in not giving them Geneva rights after 9/11. But that was then! This is now, a more tranquil period where the Attorney General can sit in front of Congress and advocate for the same failed policies of the 90s and get away with it.

For instance, further testimony revealed that Holder didn't know where the HIG group was to be based in the DC area. Not surprising, since Obama created the HIG and the other blue ribbon panels to deflect his closing of Gitmo and the EIT program, not to actually do anything productive. The media played along by never asking questions until Abdulmuttalob threw a monkey wrench in the works, and even after that, very little has been asked. Nobody wants to think about it. The administration knows this--they don't either when there are domestic legacies to be forged.

Rep Culberson made a decent point on the possible leaking of material in the Ghailani trial in New York (hey we can always trust the lawyers!) but then made a fool of himself by saying there was no precedent for trying foreign nationals in court. Holder smilingly threw out Aafia Siddiqui--a foreign national brought to federal court in Manhattan by Bush and recently convicted. Apparently he and his staff have no memory of Ramzi Yousef or the Blind Sheikh, either (had he known about Siddiqui he could have pointed out that she was convicted of attempted murder of the officers, not terrorism). So it's true, liberals are smarter even when pursuing stupider policies, and Holder handed him his rear.

But it didn't have to be that way. Holder's main argument for using federal courts is the availability of making deals, something not possible in military commissions. This is designed to take the place of enhanced interrogation (except when Obama renders someone to Egypt, something else not mentioned). His example--dangle the specter of spending a life in the Supermax in return for information. Few challenged him on this but sure, low level ordnance like Abdulmuttalob may take a deal but they don't know much. The big fish are a different matter.

Before 9/11 Bush was widely quoted as telling Condi Rice that he was tired of 'swatting at flies' in pursuit of terrorists and preferred a bolder course of action, which we eventually saw. That's because the policies of the Reno Justice Dept had done nothing to stop the rise of bin Laden because they were reactionary and not designed to cull information. This is now lost on people as the waters calm.

Which is why he punted the question about capturing bin Laden. He knows the hard cores will never willingly give up sensitive information without being tortured. The reason Bush used waterboarding was not because he was an evil Republican, no more than Clinton was evil for starting the rendition program in the 90s to whisk terrorists to countries that used "enhanced" interrogation. It was because there was no other way to get time-sensitive information with WMDs possibly in the mix.

And Holder is not dumb enough to think the big fish can be given deals. It's both practically and politically out of the question (imagine cutting a deal with Osama) yet for some reason his GOP interlocutors didn't hammer this point, which is the crux of the entire problem--what do we do with the big fish who refuse all deals and efforts to persuade and exercise their right to remain silent? When the bomb goes off will people demand a new posse of FBI agents to chase down the perps as Holder and the JAG suggest? Or will they want another round of shock and awe?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thoughts on Health

First of all, good health is a good thing. It would be nice if we all lived forever, but doubtfully such a guarantee is included in the 2300 page health care bill Pelosi is threatening to pass without a vote. If so Kennedy was a bit unlucky.

Of course the Slaughter solution was once 0pposed by--Slaughter. And Obama might be skinny but he's tough and comes from Chicago:
The president will refuse to make fund-raising visits during November elections to any district whose representative has not backed the bill.
Change we can believe in, or else! The president has now broken the record for tossing allies under his bus. That says something.

Here's my view on all this, for what it's worth. The baby boom generation is retiring. There is soon going to be a crisis with Medicare, Social Security, and pensions (across the board). Obama is correct that health care prices ARE spiraling out of control and if left unchecked only the rich will be able to afford care in the future--businesses will not be able to provide it anymore without something changing. Meanwhile our increasing federal and state debt is becoming crushing and shows no signs of reversing as the Chinese dangle us on strings while barbarian terrorists chuck explosive underwear at our gates.

The Democrats and Repubs both see all this very clearly but have different ideas on how to handle it. Obama and company seem to believe the only way to protect all the entitlements/unions/power is to grab as much control of the government and industry as possible. This is likely what Obama means by 'change' and what Pelosi sputtered out in an interview the other day:
“Kick open that door, and there will be other legislation to follow,” she said. “We’ll take the country in a new direction.”
She also said we are basically at a crossroads and they are giving people a choice--and she's correct. The Dems are now clearly offering up socialism as their solution, which means confiscatory taxation on the 'rich' to pay for ALL the entitlements, which will be regulated by the government to ensure fairness (think death panels, etc).

So what's the GOP solution? Apparently they would roll back federal spending and decrease the size of government as espoused by Tea Partiers--apparently--since they really haven't offered anything in concrete yet and have no history of effectively doing much on that front aside from Gingrich. The only thing they're united in is stopping Obama before the America we know and love is gone, but at some point they've got to offer some ideas. And there you have my view, complete with a money-back guarantee..


So Kucinich is onboard, after going onboard AF1 and getting a replica toy plane. This one's really a no-brainer, isn't it? After being pointed to Obama's You Tube video where he said single payer was a process that would take time and a few winks he was a convert.

They will not be denied, not matter what the people say.

Learning Us Some Global Warmin'

From the head of NOAA, one month ago:
“It is important that people recognize that weather is not the same thing as climate,” said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
From Al Gore, yesterday:
“Just look at what has been happening for the last three days,” Gore said. “The so-called skeptics haven’t noted it because it’s not snow. But the downpours and heavy winds are consistent with what the scientists have long warned about.”
Well, is it or isn't it? Seems Dr. Lubchenco has a long way to go in educating the public about climate change when the same guy who won the Nobel Prize and an Oscar for his work on climate change can't even get it right.

Add the climategate emails along with the IPCC's embarrassment over mistakes in the AR4 assessment--and the global cap-n-trade taxation solution to all of this--and it's no wonder the average Jane and Joe doesn't trust this stuff.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Peter Graves

The secret revealed..

My favorite memories are from "Airplane" but he had many fine roles, such as the German spy in "Stalag 17". For some reason, like his older brother James Arness, he seemed better suited for the good guy roles. RIP, Mr.Graves.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Geneva and Holder

Mentioned in Marc Thiessen's book, regards Eric Holder:
ZAHN: The president will be meeting with his National Security team this morning to talk about, well, the apparent discord here. Give us a preview of what this discussion might entail. When you have Secretary of State Powell saying, "Let's abide by the Geneva Convention," and then folks on the other side, we are told, saying "Wait a minute. If we hold them to that kind of status, then all they'll be required to give us is their name, rank and file number."

HOLDER: Yes, it seems to me this is an argument that is really consequential. One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people.

It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohammed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.

And yet, I understand what Secretary Powell is concerned about, and that is we're going to be fighting this war with people who are special forces, not people who are generally in uniform. And if unfortunately they somehow become detained, we would want them to be treated in an appropriate way consistent with the Geneva Convention.
Emphasis added. BTW, this interview has been discussed several places on the web (video here), although not so much in the mainstream domain in the age of Obama. There was this, regards the former counsel for Johnny Taliban (discussed in the Holder interview):
The most prominent is perhaps Assistant Attorney General Tony West, who previously represented "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh.
Nobody should be saying a lawyer who does pro-bono (or paid) work for accused terrorists is unpatriotic or unfit to serve but on the flip side, sometimes people donate to causes near to their hearts. Was Lynne Stewart patriotic? How many lawyers would jump to defend accused Neo-Nazis? Was John Adams doing the same when he defended Red Coats accused in the Boston massacre, even though we were still a British colony at the time and the Red Coats were no comparison to fanatical Islamist terrorists?

The issue cuts to the very heart of our democracy--stand firm by a constitution in the age of WMDs and suicide fanatics, or hand the commander-in-chief too much power in an effort to save the lives of citizens? It's not an easy call. Holder's flip-floppy answers belie that nature--if it were simple someone would have done it long ago. It's certainly simple to demagogue, 8 1/2 years after 9/11. Hmm, 8 1/2 years--that rings a bell.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kneejerk Alert

The left seems to be engaged in a colossal knee-jerk over the Texas board of education's reform of text in public school literature. Here's HuffPo, pointing to Think Progress, pointing to the New York Times, all using some degree of hyperbole and scare mongering--including a picture of Jefferson with a red X and rhetoric such as "Jefferson removed".

But those are just liberals being liberals. Did the Texas board really go overboard? Are they re-writing history or just decades of liberal history? Judge for yourself, from the Times report:
Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

“Republicans need a little credit for that,” he said. “I think it’s going to surprise some students.”
A "dentist" (scorn), as if only lawyers and college professors should have any input on history books. But isn't providing both sides usually called balance?
Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation.
Since liberals don't generally believe in any unintended consequences of social programs the anger over this shouldn't be a surprise but it will be nice to see Bill Clinton's State of the Union comment, "the era of big government is over", and his ensuing welfare reform possibly getting some page space.
He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.
This happens to be quite topical with the Tom Hanks' recent comments about wartime racism making news. Wait, were Germans and Italians actually interned? Sort of.
Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.
In other words, McCarthy might have been a pompous ass but he was partially correct, there were communists hiding in plain sight. This is something that usually gets lost in the shuffle of history. Matter of fact, Obama's own communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis most likely moved to Hawaii in the 40s to escape such "McCarthyism".
Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.” It was defeated on a party-line vote.
Sounds like they could have given the Democrats this one since it's clear that while the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution the founders were wary of religion in state affairs. By the way, wonder if Texas school books include the full history of Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates?
In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”
Friedman and Hayak weren't already in there?
In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.
So Texas conservatives are agreeing with the New York Times, and the Times is upset? Don't they listen to Obama's speeches? And wait, backing up a minute, the welfare reform act of 1996 had a similar label.

The Times ended their coverage with what appears to be an editorial comment:
(Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)
But surely Jefferson will still be taught in Texas schools, along with all the juicy stuff about Sally Hemmings, etc.

In summary, this kneejerk is perplexing. Leftists usually pride themselves on upholding and demanding fairness in all areas of society, yet for some reason they seem upset about adding some historical balance to school books after decades of one side guiding the ship. A lot of the angst is about the addition of material rather than the removal.

Some of this may be a secret fear these Texas yahoos are getting too close to bringing that Jesus fella into the school books--you know, the one who, if he were around today would likely be a social justice supporter of government-run health care and spreading the wealth around.

But nobody on either side should be for having history controlled by one side of the political spectrum. When it comes to education both sides need to be kept in check as much as possible, so perhaps the board will take a careful look at the reaction to this story before the final vote in May. At least both sides should be able to agree on this one:
[The Board] Struck the word “democratic” in references to the form of U.S. government and replaced it with “constitutional republic.”
Presumably, at least.

Side Tracks

Wow, it's hard to believe this song is so old-- Dennis Miller was hosting the Clinton inaugural ball..

Friday, March 12, 2010

Is This Really Change to Believe In?

Here's the Politico trying to report on the complex rules as to passing the health care bill, including the mention of "sidecars" and "parliamentarians". Try reading the following and making any logical sense of it:
For example, if the big bill itself amends some Social Security statute, reconciliation could be written to do the same --with changes sought by the House. Then if reconciliation is passed and signed by President Barack Obama after he signs the larger bill, the changes made in reconciliation would prevail.
This jives with what Pulse sources were saying soon after the first wave of stories hit – in essence, don’t take the reported parliamentarian’s declaration to the bank.

House leaders are hoping to approve the Senate bill, but hold onto it until the package of fixes also passes both chambers. Otherwise, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have to convince members to vote for a Senate bill that they strongly dislike without a guarantee that the fixes get approved as well. House Democrats are worried that if they pass the Senate bill – and it is signed into law – the Senate would not act on the package of fixes.
Is the most transparent president in history really going to push through a bill that few understand and in such a manner that Joe the Plumber, or even Joe the mathematician, can't easily follow? One that a majority of Americans don't approve of, and one that the Speaker of the House admits must be passed so we can "find out what's in it"? Are they stark raving mad?

Frankly, the jury is still out..

Anyone who could watch Maddow's show and call her 'non-partisan' is either a too clever liar by half, or living in a bubble.

MORE 3/12/10

In Pelosi's interview she mentioned Republican intransigence once or twice and others have murmured that if health care goes down the GOP will be to blame despite the Dem super majority. If such a campaign takes full sail the natural reaction for Repubs will be to recoil on the defensive since they know the MSM will be helping Dems propagate the blame by calling into question their compassion, which is tried and true since it's always a loser for the right.

The better reaction would be to go on the offensive, calling the failure a mandate for the GOP's more measured, step-by-step approach to reforming HC and pointing over and over to the polls to say they listen to the peeps and the Dems overreached with their 'risky scheme'. Could work.


Newsbusters and others are making a big deal about her comment "you've got to get this for him" to Dem Congressman Elijah Cummings. She's right. Obama has everything riding on this vote, which is why I think Pelosi/Reid and company are going to jam this through somehow, some way. They have no other choice.

Obama's Nobel Donations

Obama announced the charity targets of his Nobel Prize money yesterday and appeared to choose wisely across the spectrum of needs, selecting military, humanitarian (Haiti), college funds, American Indians, East Asians, Hispanics, Hillbillies and Africans. Nothing to pick on, but there's also nothing earmarked for the health care industry, such as St. Jude's, Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic. Perhaps he couldn't give directly to them.

But never fear, Darth Cheney is here:
The Cheneys first donated $2.7 million in 2006 to establish their institute, which held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony in July 2007. Since then, Dick and Lynne Cheney have donated annually, upping the total amount of money to $3.5 million.

The Cheney Cardiovascular Institute focuses on heart research, education and community service, with one of its local projects focusing on placing external defibrillators in community gathering spots in all of D.C.'s wards.

"These devices are critical to saving lives of those suffering from sudden cardiac arrest," a spokesman for Cheney's office said in a statement.
Heartless bastard. Here's hoping the institute survives Obama Care.

Singing Terrorists

Washington Examiner reports that Taliban number two is supposedly 'singing like a male canary'. First of all, what's the difference between the song of a female and male canary as it relates to intelligence? Second, singing doesn't necessarily equal results; is he producing results, like more captures, caches, etc? Third, the story said some US officials are there interrogating him, which presumably means we aren't enhancing it, at least our part of it. But how do the Pakistanis do it? If they use rough treatment will our guys walk away like Ali Soufan did?

And lastly, where in the world is Azzam the American? Was he captured or not, and if not, who is this terrorist from Pennsylvania? If he's an American citizen by birth isn't is logical to ask why he's not in America talking with the HIG and getting his rights? After all, it's not like Karachi is 'the battlefield'--Pakistan is our ally.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CNN and Kernell

This CNN story about the upcoming trial of David Kernell, the UT-Knoxville student charged with accessing Sarah Palin's email account during the presidential campaign of 2008, is emblematic of sly lefty news slant.

Notice the picture CNN chooses to use--compare to the one at left, which would have been just as appropriate since she's nearly expressionless. Second, notice the reference to Kernell being the son of someone famous in Tennessee:
The case involves University of Tennessee student David C. Kernell, the 22-year old son of a Democratic state representative.
That's correct, but as Jim Croce once crooned, "he's got a name". And his name happens to be state rep Mike Kernell of Memphis. Third, here's how they described the alleged infraction, emphasis added:
Kernell was indicted in October 2008 after he allegedly used information freely available online to guess the password to Palin's personal Yahoo! account, the name of which was posted on numerous Web sites at the time. Kernell accessed the account around the same time questions were being raised about Palin's use of personal e-mail accounts to conduct state business as governor of Alaska.
Well, that sounds rather harmless--for Kernell, and a tad sinister for Palin. But Knox News described, as the late Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story:
At a time when the national media was probing Palin's use of her personal e-mail account for gubernatorial business, Kernell used publicly available information to figure out Palin's password security question. On that, even Davies agrees. He is not accused of hacking into her e-mail account or computer.

The Justice Department contends Kernell's crimes came when he reset her password and used the new one to peruse her e-mail in what turned out to be a fruitless search for politically damaging information. A team of federal prosecutors, headed locally by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Weddle, allege Kernell posted the new password on a Web site, allowing at least one other person to access Palin's e-mail.
While CNN mentioned the password reset and the broadcast of her allegedly private information the facts really don't really jump right out like the Knox News story. There's no mention of the word 'hack' in the CNN version.

In contrast, CNN and the rest of the big media seem to rarely bother using the word 'alleged' when talking about the climategate emails (once they finally started talking about it). Here's a CNN story that uses the word "hacker" and "stole" in the first paragraph, despite there being no official determination of how that particular CRU zip file escaped into the open web. Hey, maybe it was "freely available online", who knows?

At any rate, Kernell's defense lawyer is saying the crime is no more than a misdemeanor due to Palin's celebrity status (which might be true) but then has the balls to demand this:
Kernell's defense attorney, Wade Davies, wants Palin to bring any documents relating to that account - when it was opened, how it could be accessed and why, and who was allowed to use it. ... Federal prosecutors have insisted Davies' records request of Palin is a veiled fishing expedition.
But that's what lawyers do. Interesting that in an age of moral call-outs and preachy sermons about greed the president has yet to find any appropriate targets in the legal profession.

Holder/Reno Amicus for Padilla

Power Line points to an Amicus Brief signed by noted terror warriors Janet Reno and Eric Holder in 2004 for the benefit of suspected dirty bomber Jose Padilla. Here are a few observations beginning in the section entitled "intelligence ..
A listing of some of these cases illustrates the effectiveness of the investigative tools we have described to stop terrorists before they carry out their plans:

Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his followers were convicted of plotting a “day of terror” against New York City landmarks, including the United Nations building, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the George Washington Bridge. The government used traditional investigatory powers, including physical surveillance, search warrants, and informants, to track the activities of this group, and arrested them when they had begun building an explosive device
And in the process we found out squat about their network and friends around the world plotting more death and destruction. Lawyer Lynne Stewart later kited messages from the Shiekh to his followers in Egypt a year or so after his followers murdered 58 tourists in the Luxor massacre. Then a few years later 9/11 happened.
Ahmed Ressam, the so-called “Millennium Bomber,” was arrested in December 1999 as he attempted to enter the United States in a rental car containing homemade explosives and timers. Ressam eventually pleaded guilty and cooperated extensively with the government in its prosecution of others involved in the planned attacks. He also provided more general information about al Qaeda and its training camps in Afghanistan and identified potential terrorists.30
Ressam was captured by a vigilant border guard, not anything to do with the Reno Justice Dept. Interestingly, it was the case that later prompted Sandy Berger to steal materials from the National Archives in front of the 9/11 Commission hearings. And boy, did his intelligence ever help us nail down that AQ network--Atta and company were basically streaming into the country as he was being questioned.
Iyman Faris pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism. Faris visited an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and investigated the
destruction of bridges in the United States by severing their suspension cables. The government developed evidence through physical and electronic surveillance
This was somewhat of a success before and after the fact since Faris was persuaded into becoming a double agent under the threat of being deemed an enemy combatant, which he knew might means years of detainment. He then retracted his guilty plea and sued George W. Bush when the New York Times exposed the NSA eavesdropping program, since indications were it was used to supply the evidence in nailing his plot to down the Brooklyn Bridge.
It's a common strawman to say people on the right desire torture or that innocent people should be detained for indefinite periods without charges or access to lawyers--we know a lefty president might abuse this power much worse than did George Bush. It comes down to solutions. Or in other words, what's a president--sworn to protect the public--to do when suicidal terrorists threaten mass destruction? The constitution is not a suicide pact.

Part of the problem is the left's overall failure to recognize the threat. AQ has considered itself at war against America since the Gulf War but it's not clear the left believes this, despite Obama's contention of such and despite the nearly 100,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting against extremists to stop them from allowing terrorists to have a base. Accomplishing this requires using force without Miranda or a trial every day. Such is common for a shooting war.

Yet if one of those same combatants gets on a plane to America with a bomb he suddenly is no longer a combatant but rather a common criminal and worthy of all the rights of our constitution. That's never been done in a war before, especially one where the enemy is utterly determined to the point of suicide of using WMDs should they ever obtain any. Nevertheless it's a tough question that pits Americans against each other and strains our very system, something that surely pleases the enemy greatly.