Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mohamed to the Rescue

The world has been hearing a lot about Mohamed ELBaradei since the Egyptian unrest, but will the world hear about his affiliation with International Crisis Group?

This who's who of left-leaning luminaries' other noted board members include Kofi Annan, Jan Egeland, and Mark Mallock-Brown from UN fame, and notables Wesley Clark and Sandy Berger (socks) from the US.

And George Soros.

They also count Prince Turki al-Faisal from Saudi Arabia and former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo (now head of the Yale University School of the Study of Globalization) as special consultants. Here's a humorous quote from the blog source of this gem, from poster 'Narciso':
It's like Dr. Evil's conference table, maybe El Baradei can be Will Farrell's beturbaned fellow.
LOL. Beck will probably be all over this on Monday if he hasn't already covered it.

But is it really sinister? The group also includes former Bush guy Kenneth Adelman and long time diplomat Thomas Pickering, the latter who was deputy undersecretary of state in 1998 when Clinton bombed al-Shifa in Khartoum and felt there was indeed a Sudan-Iraq connection. Then again he also felt the Bush administration(s) both dropped the ball on Iraq, and as Obama (whom he voted for) was coming into power he vocally advocated for bi-lateral talks with Iran without pre-conditions. Surely these things have put him at odds with the Bush crowd in recent years.

As to Mr. Adelman, he has apparently had a falling out with his neocon past a few years ago.

Anyway, these international ties are certainly interesting considering how ELBaradei always appeared so patient with the Iranians on their nuke program and so impatient with George W. Bush when combined with the current rumblings. And of course a Soros connection is always interesting.

MORE 1/30/11

This is kind of a bunny trail but it ties in with Ambassador Pickering's adamant stand on the al-Shifa intelligence. Right after the completion of Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, Newsweek magazine's cover for their January 11, 1999 issue was titled "Saddam + Bin Laden? The subhead read "It would be a marriage made in hell. And America's two enemies are courting". Not really a man bites dog; there were several connections made by mainstream journalists and government officials at the time. But from the article, note this comment from "an Arab intelligence officer who knows Saddam personally":
Washington is somewhat skeptical, but this source says plans have already been put into action under three "false flags": one Palestinian, one Iranian and one "the al Qaeda apparatus," the loose collection of terrorists who receive bin Laden's patronage. "All these organizations have representatives in Baghdad," says the Arab intelligence officer.
Right there in black and white, the lefty leaning Newsweek saying AQ had an office in Baghdad, 2 1/2 years before 9/11. As to the unnamed intelligence officer, chances are he wasn't an Egyptian, maybe Yemeni, but Mubarak was one of the sources given by Tenet and others as to confirming Saddam's stash.

At any rate, Stephen Hayes pointed out later that one of the writers would be backtracking all over himself when it appeared likely Bush was actually going to do something about it in 2003. Were they just covering for Clinton all along?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Side Tracks

? and the Mysterians..

They have an interesting history:
The band's frontman and primary songwriter was ?. Though the singer has never confirmed it, Library of Congress copyright registrations indicate that his birth name is Rudy Martinez. His eccentric behavior helped to briefly establish the group in the national consciousness. He claimed (and still claims) to be a Martian who lived with dinosaurs in a past life, and he never appears in public without sunglasses. He asserts that he has traveled into the future and visited other planets.
Frankly I was a bit too young to remember all this, but he does look a bit 'different' in the video..

Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt Riots

Not sure there's a sure fire play for the US in this Egyptian mess but it can't be backing Mubarak. He's old and has not groomed a viable successor and he cannot control technology and social media forever without risking more violence--and those things bring news of a better world and allow the peeps to coordinate action. Besides, they love their toys and will only part with them from cold dead hands.

So, the US is left to back the protesters and hope the Muslim Brotherhood (with help from their extensive networks) don't worm their way in and take over (the reason Obama didn't reach out to protesters in Iran was because he knew they wouldn't win).

That seems to be the consensus on the left side of the aisle right now, a sort of Francis Fox Piven solution, which is odd considering that when Bush pushed democracy in the middle east many of the same folks poo-poo'd it as fantasy that would never work. Besides, Saddam was needed as a barrier to the Iranian madmen. Funny how Mubarak isn't needed as a buffer against other Arab countries attacking Israel. But times change, evidently.

MORE 1/29/11

So what's the Iranian connection in this? They seem pretty happy about things but then again, it might be a moment of opportunism and payback. Recall from history that Anwar Sadat was a vocal critic of the Khomeini movement, calling them loons and such:
Sadat had been feuding with the mullahs since he had negotiated peace with Israel at Camp David in 1978. At the time, Khomeini had called Sadat a traitor to the Palestinians and to Muslims everywhere, while Sadat, a Sunni Muslim, branded the Shia Khomeini "a lunatic madman ... who has turned Islam into a mockery."

Death did nothing to lessen the feud: When Pahlavi died of cancer in July 1980, Sadat granted him a state funeral and buried him at Al Rifai, in a room by the tombs of two former Egyptian kings. And, when a young Egyptian soldier named Khalid Islambouli emptied his machine gun into Sadat a year later, Tehran promptly issued a postage stamp in Islambouli's honor, named a street in Tehran after him, and painted a nearby building with a four-story mural of the glorious martyr (he was captured and executed).
So there's a history there. Whether it's coming into play in the events of today in more than just a 'neener-neener' fashion is the question. We know the Iranians have made some peaceful overtures in the last decade, but then again..
Perhaps sensing that Egypt's enmity is an obstacle to its ambitions, Iran has made some efforts to woo Egypt into its sphere of influence. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he wants to open an Iranian embassy in Cairo, and, a few years ago, the Tehran city council changed the name of Islambouli street. But a sign bearing the shooter's name still stands at an entrance to the street, and the giant mural still towers overhead. And, last summer, Cairo was whipped into a new frenzy when Iranian television broadcast Assassination of a Pharaoh, a documentary that celebrates Sadat's murder, featuring, among other things, a slow-motion count of the bullets that Islambouli fired into the doomed president's body. In response, Egyptian police raided an Iranian TV station in Cairo, and Egypt cancelled a soccer match between the countries. It doesn't seem like Obama needs to worry that his crucial Arab ally is about to align with Tehran. The Shah certainly isn't going anywhere soon.
Incidentally, the above comments are from the New Republic's senior editor Michael Crowley, who goes on to tout Obama's cunning play to eradicate the Iranian dictators by leveraging them with the Egyptian dictator:
And it appears that official Obama administration policy will be to exploit that tension to the fullest. That explains why the president is cozying up to Egypt's authoritarian dictator, Hosni Mubarak--saying nothing at Cairo University about Mubarak's penchant for political repression and torture. Obama clearly appreciates that this Egyptian-Iranian blood feud well serves his struggle to reach peace in the Middle East and stop Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed regional superpower. Democracy and human rights can wait.
Hmmm. Wouldn't that make recent events an epic fail for Obama's middle eastern policy, along with a surviving Iranian nuke program, Hizballah-controlled Lebanon and the ongoing chaos in Afghanistan? Axelod is trying to say that Obama was all over Mubarak about this potential over the past few years. Wonder how the NR will cover it now.

MORE 1/29/11

Politico's Josh Gerstein calls Axelrod out on his prevarication. History is indeed being spun left and right on this, but it's important to remember who was front and center on the freedom bandwagon before it was cool. Rice's speech--in Cairo--was much more provocative than Obama's and left no doubt about where reforms were needed. The Bushies later backed down after freedom began to fail in various locations, taking the more pragmatic view, but if TNR version is correct it suggests Obama was winking at Hosni all along. Until now of course.

The Wrong Cut

A lot of folks, including disabled veterans and the organizations who speak for them, are upset at Michelle Bachmann's spending cut proposal:
notably her recent State of the Union rebuttal address -- has also touched a serious third rail with her own budget proposal: Freezes and cuts to veterans' benefits.
Bachmann is going to find out how hard it is to cut entitlements and benefits in general, especially to those who deserve them most. Since she knows history she must know about the "Economy Act" signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933:
Its most important provisions, however, repealed all federal laws regarding veterans' benefits.[15][16] Section 17 of the Act declared: "All public laws granting medical or hospital treatment, domiciliary care, compensation, and other allowances, pension, disability allowance, or retirement pay to veterans and the dependents of veterans of ... the World War, ... are hereby repealed, and all laws granting or pertaining to yearly renewable term insurance are hereby repealed. ..."[17] However, the Act allowed the president to re-establish these benefits for two years via executive order at levels the President deemed appropriate.[18] Benefits for non-disabled veterans fell more than 40 percent, creating deep resentment among former soldiers and officers and leading to the establishment of the Veterans of Foreign Wars as a major force in American politics.[15][19] The Economy Act caused a second Bonus Army to form.
FDR got significant pushback as well, including lawsuits, and eventually was forced to restore the benefits a year later. So why include veterans benefits in any new spending cut proposal? It makes very little political sense.

By the way, Adam Cohen of the New York Times covers this and many other New Deal doings of the 'brain trust' in his book "Nothing to Fear". Although liberally slanted, it does a good job of laying out the players and their actions during America's previous dabbling with socialism, including an illustration of how pointless the Economy Act was while FDR was spending his rear off in almost every other area. Lewis Douglas, the man in charge of shepherding the EA through to passage, was constantly at odds with the other cabinet members about spending and eventually left in a huff in 1934 after FDR ballooned the deficit with a Keynesian stimulus package.

Fast forward to today, we have the new New Deal president giving the illusion of cutting spending (and comparisons to Reagan) while he talks about 'investments'. History does tend to repeat, doesn't it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pack It In

"As Air Force Once touched down in the chilly home of the team that ousted his beloved Bears from the NFL playoffs last weekend, Obama was presented with a Packers jersey that bore his name. "They're rubbing it in," Obama said to reporters on the tarmac as he accepted the jersey from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and James Schmitt, the mayor of Green Bay."
Either CNN did a poor job of matching their picture with the story or they are cleverly trying to tell the birthers that Obama's real last name is actually "Woodson". Hey, just another attempt to stoke more interest in Obama's mysterious past to divert from the real problems! Don't put it past CNN.

Or maybe since the jersey shown in the photo said "Woodson", and since the Pack's Charles Woodson recently made news by saying this, perhaps the actual jersey number presented to Obama was zero (they said oh) and CNN didn't want that photo-op for obvious reasons. Anyway, I have no problem with Obama's sports trash talk unless he picks on my teams.

The Bi-Partisan Come- Back Kid's Great Speech

This is how AFP French press described President Obama's State of the Union speech last night:
Obama's confident State of the Union address Tuesday mixed straight talk with a patriotic call to action, as he rode a tide of improbable political momentum less than three months after a Republican mid-term election rout.
O'Reilly was groping around last night wondering how Obama's formerly dismal poll numbers could be rising so strongly when nothing very positive is occurring. Even a simple man should know that the answer is hardly 'improbable', it started after the last vote was counted in the mid-term shellacking; moved into the "most productive lame duck session ever", which spawned the 'come-back kid'; morphed into the great Tucson speech on civility (take that, Sarah Palin) and continued last night with a speech that was apparently almost Christ-like in delivery. O'Reilly needs to DVR Chris Matthews every so often.

But here we are, in the new age of bi-partisan cooperation. Remember, Captain Bi-Partisan was talking trash just a few months ago..

But as fortunes change and winds shift so does the White House narrative, which sucks up our intrepid media and renders them incapable of providing cogent analysis of how this past might affect the future but only about our shiny new present. They know his smoked salmon is meaningless pap and that his true secret ideology aligns best with what he told Joe the Plumber in that one silly moment of candor back in 2008 (which is why they had to kill it). But they continue down the yellow brick road anyway, undaunted and un-bothered by reality, parroting the blast faxes sent from their buddies across town. It's almost Orwellian.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SOTU time

Some pre-game thoughts on the big speech tonight.

Will Obama say the state of the union is 'strong'? If he doesn't wouldn't that reflect on him after two years? Bush is a little dot in the rear view now.

Will O talk about the disintegration of the Middle East and South Asia? Does that reflect on Hillary?

Will he try to craftily keep the Tucson right wing hate meme alive, or condemn the perpetrators?

How many times will he say "let me be clear"? Put me down for two. And here we go...


Will the 'date night' (Congressmen of different parties sitting together instead on their 'sides') produce the image of a full blown standing O for O? Let's see if the mainstreamers report it that way.


Obama introduces Boehner-- did Biden just mouth " BFD"?


It's refreshing not to see Pelosi smiling in the background while the president talks about keeping the Republicans from using the car they stole the keys to, er, I mean getting along for a more perfect union.

And is it already apparent that the clapping has been minimized? If so, that's a good thing.


He just said he wanted to remove the subsidies for oil companies, as gas moves towards 3 bucks in a down economy. That was his first stab at reducing the deficit, apparently.


Education- a good analogy between Super Bowl and science fair. Think he's used it before. Then he said we needed an investment of 100K more dues paying teachers. Finally, he pushed for investments for the kids of illegal aliens, and amnesty. More or less.


Now O is calling for investments in infrastructure, which we thought was part of the Stimulus (so far the only cuts mentioned have been removing the subsidies to oil companies). Now he's talking about reducing the corporate tax code without reducing the deficit. They used to call that smoke and mirrors in the old days.


Obama keeps acting like his review of government regulations is something he came up with. It's mandated every decade. Don't expect much "change".


He's in health care mode now. Still nothing about Iraq or Afghanistan. You know, the wars.


The worst of the recession is over! Do the unemployed feel better now?

And OK, this five-year freeze is probably not going to happen. It's probably a trojan horse designed to placate the GOP without actually getting rid of things. Besides, we must invest! Invest! Invest!


Now we are allowed to discuss malpractice reform in health care. And by golly, we can't have grandma living and dying on the Dow Jones, even if nobody has ever proposed such a thing, ever.


Tax increases on the rich! Tax increases in the rich! It's an investment in America, you tightwad scrooge capitalist bastards.


And now the big government president is yukking it up about the bloated big government, created by liberals. He may have a legitimate carrot to the right with this re-organization of government proposal, but he's talked like this before. Remember, three days online for all bills before his signature? An up and down review of all programs? Just words.


Foreign policy time. Violence is down in Iraq (except for all those suicide attacks of late). But we are leaving anyway (applause). And the Tollybon is on the run or something, and we're getting the heck out of dodge there, too (applause). We will never waiver, bend and we will defeat the bad Muslims, at least while we are still there, until we leave. And Iran, we are kicking ass there! We are shaping a world of peace all over the place despite the news reports of chaos in Tunisia, protests in Egypt, and as Lebanon falls into the hands of Nasrallah. Otherwise, the world is fine.


"Nobody will be prevented from serving the country they love because of who they love." Unless they fail the ASVAB.


Oh no, Boehner is crying again.


Shout out to the guy who helped save the Chilean miners. "We do big things". Yes we do--and for most of our history people have done it without a government program. I'm not sure Obama isn't trying to use the 'big things' analogy to explain his government's approach.

But he did say the union was strong, and he didn't say "let me be clear" even once.

MORE 1/25/11

What exactly is Sputnik? I listened to the speech and it didn't really connect. Back when Sputnik was Sputnik we were competing to get into space and reach the Moon, cheered on by President Kennedy. But that was tangible--the Moon. Something everyone could see. This Sputnik appears to be green energy of some sort, perhaps curly light bulbs for GE at the behest of Immelt. Or electric cars and a closing down of coal mines, even though we'll need much more electricity. It just seems more ambiguous.

Also, notice Obama said nothing of significance about global warming. With Browner leaving and another cold winter across America, they've wisely punted.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jack LaLanne

Gone at 96.
LaLanne ate healthy and exercised every day of his life up until the end, Hersh said.
And maybe those habits explain why he lived so long and could keep up with a 51 year old wife (Elaine, lol).

Then again he fell four years shy of George Burns:
Happiness is a good martini, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman... or a bad woman, depending on how much happiness you can stand.
So who knows...

MORE 1/24/11

OMG, Jack was inciting violence (in this day and age he might get banned on CNN).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Before Tucson...

Remember the media frenzy back in September when an angry man with a knife and history of mental problems tried to assassinate the governor of Missouri. No?

Maybe that's because in the realm of the mainstream media, it never happened:
In September 2010 Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was scheduled to speak at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City.

At some point, wearing black clothes and a bullet-proof vest, 22 year-old Casey Brezik bolted out of a classroom, knife in hand, and slashed the throat of a dean. As he would later admit, he confused the dean with Nixon.

The story never left Kansas City.
To be precise, it DID leave Kansas City, it just didn't get very far. Here's coverage in the Huffington Post:
The suspect, 22-year-old Casey Brezik, did not know Nixon and had no particular beef with the governor, but he decided to attack him because he was a top government official, Kansas city police spokesman Darin Snapp said.
The Huffpo story lays out the facts without speculating about his political motives. No blame of Sarah Palin, rhetoric, incivility, nothing of the sort.

Googling for the story produces a bunch of nothing from the alphabet mainstreamers. One could say, well, that's because he was just a nut doing what nuts do, so it's a local story. Maybe, but his target wasn't some innocent bystander at the bus stop, it was the governor of Missouri--a political target. You'd think it at least worth a brief mention in America's 'paper of record'. But nope.

Meanwhile the parallels to Loughner are stunning. Read the rest of the Huffpo column and the guy comes off as a near carbon copy, right down to the premise of being an under-treated paranoid schizophrenic who caused disturbances. But there are big differences. Casey Brezik is not white. And there's no way he was influenced by right wing talk radio. He probably hated right wing talk radio, if he listened at all.

But just imagine how the Tucson story might have been handled with this story in the recent backdrop. Sheriff Diptet and his acolytes in the big media would have found it much harder to blame right wing rhetoric with the target commentators constantly reminding them of Brezik. And gosh, Andrew Sullivan's head may have exploded.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


That's all anyone can reasonably say about Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie's recent birther stunt:
Abercrombie, who was a friend of Obama's parents and knew him as a child, launched an investigation last month into whether he can release more information about the president's Aug. 4, 1961 birth. The governor said at the time he was bothered by people who questioned Obama's birthplace for political reasons.

But Abercrombie's attempt reached a dead end when Louie told him the law restricted his options.
As if. He knows the score--Obama has spent millions to stop birther lawsuits to presumably keep discovery away from the so-called vault copy. Unless he's an abject burnout or crazy like a fox he had no business wasting time by launching an 'investigation' he knew was going nowhere. It's completely unbecoming of a state governor, and certainly has the stench of stunt all over it, probably to divert from the incoming GOP House. Fail so far, if so.

But someone should ask Abercrombie why he thinks anyone running for president should be against producing any reasonable document requested by the citizenry he wishes to govern, since to do so is in effect to honor the constitution itself. That's what McCain did when his birth thing came up. And that's what Abercrombie was supposedly doing on Barack's behalf, to stop the speculation. Seems an easy fix to all of this nonsense, that is, unless it's being done for politics--which if so would be rather unbecoming of a president.

Oh well, here's this week's musical selection. The title seems apropos:

BTW, here's Sugarloaf's big hit, performed live in 2008.

Friday, January 21, 2011

KSM and Pearl

As rumors start flying about bringing KSM back to federal court in the states, the WSJ reports on an interesting technology used to "prove" that KSM was the murderer of Daniel Pearl:
The Pearl Project's report details how U.S. officials used vein analysis—the mapping and comparison of vascular structures—to compare the picture of a hand seen in a video of the killing with pictures taken after Mr. Mohammed's capture and conclude that his confession was genuine and not a bit of self-promotion by a committed follower of Osama bin Laden.
The Pearl Project is an effort by one of Pearl's former colleagues at the WSJ (and author) Asra Nomani. Aside from the vein analysis their report also contains new information about how KSM came to be involved in the kidnapping, originally masterminded by a fellow name Omar Sheikh (if that name is familiar it's the one mentioned by the late Benazir Bhutto during an interview with David Frost where she claimed he had "killed" bin Laden. She almost certainly meant Daniel Pearl but it caused a bunch of wild conspiracies).

According to the Pearl Project the initial kidnappers were somewhat hapless and even close to releasing Pearl when suddenly 'al-Qaeda' was called in by somebody. The WaPo fills in more details:
According to the report, Mohammed told FBI interrogators at Guantanamo Bay that he received a call from Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian and a senior figure in al-Qaeda.
Which is pretty significant, since al-Adel is a very high-ranking member of the group--as high as KSM if not higher. He was at times mentioned as a liaison to Iran, staying in that country 'under house arrest' for nine years. From there he was apparently able to control Zarqawi in Iraq, saying in an email (still under house arrest, remember) that AQ had nothing to do with Saddam. Recent reports suggest he left Iran late last year to return to the Pakistani territories.

But the notion of hapless jihadies calling in the pros strikes a parallel with the first World Trade Center bombing. In that event a bunch of green American jihadists had been planning an attack as revenge for the jailing of Meir Kahane's killer when suddenly somebody called in terrorist mastermind Ramzi Yousef and an Iraqi-American named Abdul Yasin. Phone records showed numerous calls to Baghdad before this occurred, for what it's worth. Within months of their arrival the WTC had become the new target and on February 26--the anniversary of Kuwait gaining independence from the Iraq invasion forces--a huge hole was blown in its basement and 6 people were dead. Cyanide was also involved.

The Pearl Project describes KSM and accomplices as "pros" as well. One of those accomplices was Yousef's cousin Ammar al-Baluchi (what individual family has done more harm to America?). And to keep the world small, one of the FBI agents who ventured to Gitmo to get this information from KSM was Frank Pelligrino, who once led the international manhunt for Yousef in the mid 90s. It seems pretty clear that KSM's Baluchi family acted as a team of international jihadi killers for hire, a nasty bunch for sure and likely one of the reasons Baluchi's scientist wife Aafia Siddiqui was sent away for a long time. The big question is who or where this clan of killers actually pledged their allegiance.

The WaPo story closes with this:
The report said it is still unclear how Adel, who remains at large, was able to direct Mohammed to the kidnappers.
Yes it is, especially since Mr. Adel was most likely in Iran at the time. With all the wiki leaks flying around one might think we'd have some answers by now. At any rate, perhaps the timing of this revelation related to Mr. Pearl has something to do with getting the Mukhtar trial back on the mainland. We will see.

MORE 1/22/11

Why does the Pearl murder matter? After all, many journalists have died covering the GWoT and others have been kidnapped. The difference seems to be Pakistan. Pearl was chasing a link between shoe bomber Richard Reid (incarcerated at the Supermax despite failing to kill anyone at all) and a Pakistani Cleric, ie, the ISI or rogue elements thereof. Perhaps he didn't understand the import of that charge at the time.

Think of a story published in 2002 detailing a relationship between members of the Pakistani religious elite and terrorism against the US. Perhaps that reality would have been seen as worse to some than a brutal al Qaeda terrorist being involved; KSM is now seen as a bin Laden soldier rather than a freelance proxy terrorist for hire. Pin the crime on him and the Omar Sheikh connections tend to fade. Indeed, Sheikh's attorneys are pushing for retrial.

KSM made an interesting remark in his testimony at Gitmo:
He went on to say the killing was “not related” to Al Qaeda, but just to Pakistani “mujahedeen” groups. He said Pearl drew attention by seeking to track Richard Reid’s activities, and he repeated unfounded allegations that Pearl was working for the CIA and Israel’s Mossad.
Reportedly UBL didn't react positively to the beheading, thinking it went too far (as if the Trade Centers didn't) so perhaps KSM was trying to give his presumed 'boss' some cover while trying to leave the impression he was just trying to get rid of a Mossad agent for his Pakistani brothers.

And maybe that's all there is to it. But go back to al-Adel's phone call triggering KSM at the outset--"he said he wanted to make sure it’s an Al Qaeda thing,” according to sources familiar with the interview". Why? Opportunity comes to mind, but one would think such a plan would have to have been approved by bin Laden, who would have known what KSM would do. That doesn't fit with bin Laden being upset. So if UBL disapproved, who directed al-Adel to direct KSM?

Put another way, was he ordering KSM--based on orders from some entity above him--to put an AQ stamp on the kidnapping to protect a larger conspiracy involving heretofore unheralded actors in this GWoT thing? Keep in mind KSM's brother Zahid Mohammed, whereabouts unknown, reportedly had/has ties to high levels of the Pakistani government--at one time to include the former president. If so, should any of this tell us anything about the sudden appearance of KSM and family in the middle of almost all the terror events against America since 1993? Perhaps we can't handle the truth.

Speaking of family ties, one of the characters mentioned in the Pearl Project, Musaad Aruchi, aka Karim Yousef, is reportedly a cousin of Ramzi Yousef and the nephew of KSM. The PP says he was arrested in Karachi in 2004 but he's listed as unaccounted for after the closings of the secret prisons. According to some reports he claimed to be a member of Jund'allah, with whom the US and west have been accused of working with against the Iranians.

Some have said Aruchi is actually Adel Anon, Ramzi Yousef's twin brother, who is also whereabouts unknown. According to the NY Times he was arrested in the Philippines in 1995 after being suspected as part of the Bojinka plot (he was one of the terrorists who would be placing a micro-seat bomb on one of the 747s), yet if it's the same person he was evidently released only to be re-arrested in Karachi ten years later under another name. Very confusing.

One has to wonder how much of that kind of stuff, or this kind of stuff. or this, would come spilling out during a public trial for KSM.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lies, per Usual

Everyone lies (especially politicos) but the damn lies are lately coming from the left. The latest is from Arianna Huffpo re Iraq in a smear of Joe Lieberman.

Here's some truth for the head Huffster--of course Saddam used WMDs. Of course WMDs were found, buried in shells scattered around the desert. Of course he didn't have an active program, but was trying to get out from under the sanctions to re-start another program, exactly that the Duelfer report stated. And no, she has not read the report or she would have noticed this key finding (emphasis added):
Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.
...or maybe things like this (taken from a captured Iraqi presidential recording):
Saddam: We will never lower our heads as long as we are alive, even if we have to destroy everybody.
But it doesn't matter, it's all about political victories. She declares he's wrong, a loon, then slaps up a headline of "clueless Joe" and goes whistling on her way, condemning the poisonous rhetoric with a smile while knowing she won't be fact-checked on the evening news.

The rabble rousers have apparently been alerted and instructed--do anything to derail the new Congress. Anything, including accusing the right of murdering people through free speech or comparing them to Nazis or murderers when they oppose Obama policy. They know accusations about Nazis, Palin, birtherism, or no WMDs in Iraq really gets the right in a lather, and they know why--because their repertoire of commentary is almost complete and total BS.

But they also know it drives conservatives absolutely nuts. They know conservatives are more troubled by lying or the use of an ends justify means strategy, and they know that if conservatives are out defending all these things they aren't making the case for repealing Obamacare, cutting the budget or unearthing scandals. Sinister stuff but really just politics as usual--and something Boehner has to ignore.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Boehner is Hitler!

Leave it to our wacky 9th Congressional District Rep Steve Cohen to embarrass left Tennessee again:
“They say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels," Cohen said. "You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That's the same kind of thing
Cohen has long history of saying outlandish things to further a meme. He's sort of like Alan Grayson without the girth and that s**teating grin. Just last week he announced locally that he was applying for conceal-carry permit due to the Tucson shooting (he already has a gun) and some crazy encounter in a local supermarket involving a constituent talking about Jesse Ventura. Both of these moves are almost surely an attempt to keep the hate narrative alive to take away from the GOP's legitimate debate about health care--the debate most of us never got. Good Lord, it's not like Memphis just suddenly became dangerous last week.

This is interesting:
Cohen made his comments late last night, but they have attracted no attention because his speech was made to a virtually empty House chamber with no reporters around to watch.
Well yeah, he didn't need any actual congressional members present because the point was to get ABC or the other mainstream alphabets to pick it up. And they did. So sorry to disagree Cap'n (giving kudos for coverage) but the theory here is quite likely similar to a lonely puppy tearing up the furniture for attention--any attention is better than none. Cohen must actually believe it'll work.


Cohen is just another actor in this Pelosi blitzkrieg offensive leveled against the new GOP sheriff in the House. Sheila Jackson Lee not only said repealing Obamacare was unconstitutional, she then appeared on Cavuto's show with a cheesy photo backdrop of a sick woman whom she said could die without Obamacare. Meanwhile smiley was on the Maddow show trying to explain that the reason the Dems got shellacked had nothing to do with health care.

Really, there's nothing new to see here. The Dems have long been the part of ends justify means and many have no problem going gutter if the situation calls for it. They know the media will help. So it will get worse. Boehner is starting off just fine though, taking a real low key attitude. He knows that responding in kind is just what they want. Paul Ryan knows how to respond in-kind, and has a few charts and props of his own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cheney on Tucson

Interviewed on NBC's Today show:
I think our politics can get pretty rough at times. Having been vice president for eight years, maybe I'm more (CHUCKLES) sensitive to it than others, but the fact of the matter is, a good, tough political fights is one of the great strengths of our democracy.
As spoken by one of the most maligned vice-presidents in history. Gotta love how this guy always seems to have a clear, adult perspective on things with that dry, biting sense of humor (powered by a heart pump).

MORE 1/18/11

Gotta wonder when this Cheney interview was planned or whether he just popped up after the Tucson shooting as an attempt to throw a speed bump in the lefty narrative about conservative hate. Take a look at the comments section on HuffPo's story about the interview, or any political message board and you'll notice what amounts to an Obama waiver on civility when discussing ole Darth.

Yet there's Darth calmly mentioning Obama's about-face on Bush terrorism policies (as he instructed in 2009) while the partisans drop into a zombie-scream zone of Cheney hate. Do they even realize?

Meanwhile he dropped at least a small bomb when asked about his relationship with Dubya after Libby didn't get a pardon--strained--and only pretty good now, which begs the question of whether one of the 'scores' Cheney might decide to 'settle' in his memoirs has anything to do with what really happened with Plamegate.

Violence and MLK Day

On this day America honors a man who was shot right here in the Memphis area, one who paved the way to finally correcting a mistake that lingered for a century and a half. He had a persistent and consistent Biblical approach to solving the problem--non violence, even though his message actually stirred some to violence. Still, we are better now than we were then.

Robert Kennedy was also assassinated in the 60s; today's Huffington Post has a guest column by one of his daughters, the former wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Kerry Kennedy. She quotes her father's address after King's death:
We've had difficult times in the past. We will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.
All true. It was a good speech. But why is her HuffPo column entitled, "Tucson, King and Kennedy"? What does Tucson have to do with MLK or racial violence in general? Wasn't everyone involved white?

BLAME GAME 1/17/11

This attempted tie between politics and Tucson should surprise no one--the reason Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are popular at all is due to years of blame. The monolithic lefty media controlled the narrative from the 70s through the 80s and determined right from wrong, usually coming down on the right for being wrong. Limbaugh pushed back--I first found his show by trolling the AM dial in the early 90s searching for news about the Gulf War. There was no 'mind numbed robot' effect, it was a 'hey, this guy doesn't believe I'm to blame for everything' effect.

It's quite possible the left believes their own memes, but it's also quite possible they believe they are far smarter than the right and can make them chase their own tails by starting them. I believe that's what Hillary Clinton did by indicting a mythical "vast right wing conspiracy" in the 90s--she knew the pushback was only normal politics and she knew more about Bill than she let on, but it was a great diversionary tactic during a crisis.

Now the left has a new crisis--the huge House majority mandate coming in. So what happens? Another meme created to cause tail-chasing. They really don't care if the civility argument is valid as long as it continues getting play. That's the point (and yes, I'm falling for it by commenting here about it). It's time to defeat the tactic. It's time for the war of ideas to commence.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Is Matthews Trying to get Himself Fired?

First he demands Obama's long form birth certificate be released (by the way, what happened to Abercrombie?), now he's calling white people 'crackers'.

Any Fox News commentator using similar banal racial slang would already be a memory. Heck, even their lowliest of reporters would likely get the axe (with sneering sops like Matthews cheerleading from the sidelines). It would be a huge story--Bill O'Reilly says the N word.

Yet there's Tingles, still in his chair drawing a check, blathering away. It's pretty embarrassing ratings wise, almost as if Matthews could do an entire show of just saying nothing but the F word and few would care--because so few are watching. NBC could have bleeped the word but they apparently want the controversy. Too bad Russert isn't around, at least he would have cared. He's just spinning now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Civil Union

Nobody really does speech like Obama. He's a pro's pro (sorry Slick). And last night he gave a good one, impressing some conservatives and even himself. The media will hesitate to admit it but he'll get a bump in the polls from it. They should feel no shame after handicapping it ahead of time.

But what about the true takeaway? Most speeches have takeaways. He spoke of the victims and their lives and stressed a message of hope for a better country, all very presidential, but were people talking about that on the way home? Much was made of his short, terse comment about the discourse--"it wasn't", as in, it wasn't at fault, a part he ad-libbed. Most saw that as a refudiation of the Krugmans, Dupniks, and those View lady liberals who went into tilt mode on their PDS, but then again he didn't specify, which tended to leave Palin lingering in the crosshairs.

In the real world, takeaways would probably include mental illness, gun control (or not), the state of America's yoots, or the horrors of Nihilism. But the takeaway seems to be about civility:
Overnight, she became a national symbol of a longing for civility - a young girl full of innocent magic, curious about the world around her, brimming with excitement over her recent election to her student council.
Is that what she really became, a longing symbol of civility? What happened to a longing for locking up nuts who've previously come into contact with the police but never got sent away?

Time will tell, memories are short, but if the takeaway blossoms into a political civility construct it will become quite obvious the true intent of Obama's speech (or wishful offshoot) was chilling political speech. Feel free to question the timing just as the GOP congress arrives with their sights set on repealing Obamacare. Figuratively speaking, of course. Consider this bold proposal regarding the upcoming State of the Union Message:
“I appreciate Senator Udall’s thoughtful suggestion and believe it is worth serious consideration. We need to look for more ways to be bipartisan. This morning I spoke with Democratic Whip Hoyer and Senator McConnell about the proposal and we will discuss it further next week. After this tragedy, it’s important for our country to see that we all stand together as Americans and this could be one way to demonstrate that.”
That's Reid talking about non-segregated seating for the State of the Union for the first time in 200 years to show civility (say goodbye to the good ole days when Obama could rebuke sitting Supreme Court judges sitting in the front row who can only mouth things). That won't sit well with Boehner but he'll be hard-pressed to come out against civility. That would be uncivil! And going past the SOTU they know the press will be there to catalog all acts of GOP incivility and token levels of lefty incivility just as the tea party expects their favorite candidates to enact some change to believe in, which will become ugly divisiveness.

If this conspiracy theory were to be proven true as a crafted plan it would represent a giant hoodwink for the president, somehow getting the narrative focused back on sheriff Dupnik's original blood libel while simultaneously getting credit for civility while telling everyone that incivility had absolutely nothing to do with the crime. Vintage Barack. They've gotta do something.

Of course, it could run into trouble the next time one of our resident Arab/Muslims decides to do some damage for the cause--something extremely uncivil. One might think the civil police would be forced to actually blame the terrorist and not Palin but they could always blame the right for blaming the terrorist, then blame Palin. Never misunderestimate a desperate Democrat-media complex.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Descending into Madness

The more that comes out about Loughner the more it seems he was mentally unbalanced and not overly influenced by divisive political rhetoric.

The more that comes out from the mainstream media about Sarah Palin, the more it seems we have widespread mental illness in the press:
BOTTOM LINE: Sarah Palin, once again, has found a way to become part of the story. And she may well face further criticism for the timing and scope of her remarks.
What else but utter madness would compel such a flip-flop? They should be apologizing. The big media rode the Krugman, Olbermann, Dupnik express to hatertown and brought her into the story unnecessarily--the sheriff even treating her as an accessory to murder--then when she responds they accuse her of making it all about Sarah and playing the victim card? Insane.

If not craziness then it must be craziness like a fox. Or crazy after Fox. In other words, they baited her into coming out by tying her to s shooting spree, completely disregarding the human tragedy and all legitimate debate points. Right now some are hyperventilating over the term 'blood libel', which apparently the Jews had exclusive rights to (well, not all of them). Whatever it takes to punish their enemies.

Hey, it's not kosher (oops) to throw around unsubstantiated allegations, but perhaps the real finger of blame in ascribing Loughner's actions--assuming they come from anywhere outside his strange head--is that he lives in a society where such disingenuous hacks are not laughed out of town or ridden out on rails. Instead they are given important titles like anchor, journalist, reporter or sheriff.

BTW--Yes, the timing of her remarks was strategic, coming before Obama's address tonight. Not sure if she just wanted to get something out to preclude more damage (assuming Daley will let the O stray from the tele) or something else. The press obviously keyed on the blood libel phrase to divert from the rest of her remarks, which were excellent and to the point and condemned the hades out of -- them. But that's how team Alinsky rolls. I will say that team Palin should have considered that Giffords is Jewish and realized how that might be spun.


I'll try to be magnanimous here--the president gave a good eulogy and stayed within partisan bounds. Memorials are strange sometimes as to reactions. And the best way to memorialize someone is to talk about their positives and attempt to project those forward. He did that. I'll not comment on the cheering section other than to say it was weird and probably part of the program. After all, this was about Obama as much as the victims. The newspapers even handicapped that beforehand. And if so, he scored a few goals with the crowd's help.

Otherwise, the Mexican Indian's "blessing" was bizarre but I guess that's an Arizona thing. I kind of like how the Indians believed in God (great spirit) without ever being told of one by the white man; and for some reason they never take any grief for believing in one.

Jan Brewer's speech was good, about the right length, but I thought I faintly heard some boos before she went on. Napolitano got raucous cheers for reading a passage of the Old Testament--that's even wilder than the Indian. And Holder said Jesus, also to applause.

But the 20 year old was the most impressive of all due to his humility, steadiness, and genuineness. Mr. Hernandez is quite a man.


What was the takeaway from this speech? Was it cherishing the memories of those slain and wishing for a better tomorrow along with finding cures to mental illness? Or was it improving the tone of partisan debate? If most people say the latter then Obama has successfully hoodwinked the masses and media.

If the speech was intended to promote better dialog, etc, then Obama should have self-confessed. Otherwise it was a stern lecture despite the emphatic "it's not" rejoinder made to sound like a rebuke. The only rebuking required was towards those who acted stupidly and jumped to conclusions, so if the press/masses come away with the civility lesson above a genuine concern for the victims of what looks to be a man with mental illness, then it was an epic fail.

Limbaugh was remarking about the warm fuzzies thrown around by Fox while typical liberals were actually chastising the 'rally' atmosphere. As usual he's onto something. Fox may well have been afraid to chastise the speech for fear THEY would be accused of souring the debate during a memorial. It's the same goal sheriff Dupnik was trying to promote--chill speech on the right. And just as the House is spinning up towards repeal. Boehner was smart to stay away--after all, no congressperson was being memorialized--she survived.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Managing the Narrative

The sheriff of Pima County has essentially called right wing talk radio/TV (Fox) accessories to murder, something like un-indited co-conspirators, if you will. As to be expected one of the suspects in this murder, Rush Limbaugh, pushed back on his show yesterday by calling the whole thing "silly". But that only energized the sheriff, who quadrupled down by actually naming Limbaugh by name (as if a 'person of interest') and accusing him of complicity before the fact. Most bizarre.

So, how does CNN handle this? Look at this teaser on their front page this morning..

"TICKER- Limbaugh Remark Raises Brows".

Hmm. "Raises brows" is a phrase usually reserved for brow raising things like county sherriffs making political statements during law enforcement briefings after mass shootings. Someone responding to such allegations usually gets characterized otherwise. But for those who only scan headlines it's mission accomplished--Rush Limbaugh said something outrageous again, not the sheriff.

Funny too because CNN, like most other networks, participated in the right wing tea party crackpot fest that erupted Saturday and completely overshadowed the human tragedy, in large part due to the official blessing from the sheriff. Now days later, after evidence appears clarifying the shooter's non-partisan insanity, CNN suddenly finds it eyebrow raising for Limbaugh to point out this silliness. Give us a break.

The reason we have a Rush, Fox News, etc in the first place is because they've taken the position as the new fourth estate because the previous bunch showed themselves to be liberal advocates disguised as journalists. It's no wonder this sheriff, some in the Obama administration, certain TV talking heads and a few Congressmen have cherry picked a few "brow raising" comments over the years to justify criminalizing speech. Guess they missed the former Vice President screaming "he lied to us", etc.

The sheriff is right--it's bad. It's actually so bad the lefty talking heads have shown very little outrage over a law enforcement officer publicly complaining about free speech and suggesting it be chilled. In the old days they would have called him a Nazi.


..spouting off about how Bush lied, here's an oldie but goldie from the current Secretary of State..

Ah yes, the good ole days before the rhetoric was poisoned by tea partiers..

MORE 1/11/11

Speaking of CNN, this exchange with Neal Boortz must be seen to be believed. How can a CNN news anchor not recognize quotes from the president? Or is he just an ignorant Republican?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Obama to Arizona

Pima sheriff Dupnik has doubled down, and now tripled down on his accusatory rhetoric by actually naming Rush Limbaugh as a sort of political unindited co-conspirator to the Tucson murder spree. This is beyond bizarre.

The question is why, but the more interesting question is when will the MSM begin to smell a rat? Would they find it investigation-worthy if the sheriff was a Republican and came out railing against Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, or Obama, while not talking much about his own department's history with the madman? That would also be outrageous.

Allahpundit asked some good questions and made some good suppositions in covering the mysterious but thinly sourced blog story about what the Pima Sheriff's Dept knew and when they knew it, and notes the sheriff's weird reaction when questioned on his naming el-Rushbo:
Just watch him answer Diane Sawyer’s question about whether it’s appropriate for an investigator to tie his pet theories about talk radio to this case without any evidence. Answer: “Well, that’s my opinion. People can have their own opinions.”
Well yes, "people" can have their own opinions, but he's speaking on behalf of his county and their sheriff's office. Such a thing is cartoonish behavior for a law enforcement officer. He's up there in years, did he never watch Dragnet? It's almost as if he's doing it on purpose, by script.

But why? Is this just the manifestation of grief? If so, they could easily get another county official to take his place as the spokesman. They have not. Or perhaps he knows something the rest of us don't about Loughner's intent? Maybe he's a card player. Maybe another shoe is about to drop.

Meanwhile, Obama is now planning a trip to Arizona for a speech on Wednesday. Assuming no bombshell, er, sorry, significant development occurs between now and then surely he won't show up and echo this sheriff's partisan rants. That seems to leave two options--simply sticking to the somber job of eulogizing the victims or doing so then trying to also sooth our partisan edges by condemning his own ranks for politicizing a tragedy. Gently bashing the sheriff could raise his stock on the right just as the new Boehner Congress presses forward.

And all of it would be predicated on destroying a strawman built by the same sheriff and rolled forward by Krugman, Olbermann and the MSM clown posse. Remember Rahm's mantra about not wasting a crisis.

So we'll see. The WaPo wonders what he'll say--as do I--since it might clear up a mystery.

Symbols of Hate?

Much has been thrown around about Sarah Palin's bullseye political map 'targeting' certain politicians she thought needed to be defeated back in the November 2010 mid-terms (Google results). This kind of sums it up, yet there goes that Pima sheriff again, blaming you know who.

This despite admitting to Fox News yesterday that he has no evidence whatsoever of a connection between political rhetoric on TV and radio, yet we must chill some speech anyway. As if on cue a Pennsylvania congressgoof actually wants to codify the silliness into a law (would "congressgoof" be illegal?).

It's much more likely the shooter depended on the fever swamps of the internet for his daily news rather than Glenn Beck or Rush. Since the Sheriff is a Democrat, and since only old Republicans like John McCain (about the same age) are ignorant of the powers of the interweb, then the Sheriff must be saying this stuff for political reasons. Right?

Speaking of Beck, on his radio program today--after advocating for the non-violent approach of Jesus and Ghandi in dealing with differences--he addressed the symbology associated with Palin's target map and asked whether all such symbolism or rhetoric should be targeted addressed. Like Target stores...

Even Target is not immune from targeting.

How about that ABC News "Blotter" emblem? What's the thing in the 'O'? Looks suspiciously like a target...

And what about media reports like, " is targeting Palin"? Was CNN trying to get her shot? Or hung? Or how about targeting generals in the middle of a war?

Pretty silly, and all minimizing the actual tragedy and likely reasons for it. Had the usual suspects paused and reflected as Obama asked everyone after Major Hasan yelled for Allah and began shooting then perhaps the nation could have moved from this trauma into a meaningful discussion about political rhetoric, mental illness and the net in general, but they've only made things worse by slapping a pointy finger towards starboard.

MORE 1/10/11

This makes more sense than anything I've read lately: "Jared Loughner and Travis Bickle".


With each interview the Pima County sheriff seems to be getting more and more political. Here he is naming names with Geraldo (of course). Funny though, he says he thinks the vitriol may set off lunatics like Loughner--but if so, isn't it his job to make sure they get put away or at least checked by mental health professionals after making death threats?


Is the right being lured into a Dick Morris trap by figures like Dupnik and Brady? The OKC bombing strategy formulated by dirty Dick was for Clinton and the left to lure the GOP into aligning with their far right wing by suggesting new strict gun laws or other strictures designed to keep the public safe. Fast forward to now and we have a very partisan sheriff egging the right on by suggesting Palin was responsible for a mass murder and a congressman trying to crush speech by banning symbols. I smell rats.


Snow in the mid-south, for the third year in a row. This time temps were in the 20s and as a result, the roads are horrible. Here's the main north-south artery in eastern Memphis, at rush hour this morning...

Too bad the traffic isn't like this every day. And notice the effective snow removal. Hey, this is the south, I guess they figure the sun will eventually come out and do it for them. Besides, drivers will eventually create little ruts to substitute for the white lines. Arkansas looks worse, according to the TDOT traffic cams in West Memphis:

Of course it's always fun to get behind a nervous nelly doing 7 mph up a small grade..

Actually, for the amount of snow (3-4 inches) and the condition of the roads there were remarkably few accidents. Are we getting used to this? After all, only 3-4? Peanuts!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Inflaming Vitriol?

Why is Keith Olbermann anchoring MSNBC coverage of the Giffords shooting? He's not a newsman, he's a biased commentator. Could it be they suddenly realized a huge opportunity to ride a "right wing nut" meme for all it's worth? Head of the Southern Poverty Law Center describing shooter's right wing beliefs; Olbermann posting Sarah Palin's target map. Guess he missed the left wing version of that map.

By any objective measure the 'shooter' is flat nuts, pure loony tunes. Such folks are not serious ideologues or partisans, they are nuts. He sounds a lot like the flake who flew into the IRS building in Austin, a confused person who's probably an atheist, something not at all akin to Palin.

As I type this, Olbermann has Eugene Robinson on the air to focus the vitriol where they think it belongs--the right wing. Oh they're being coy about it--Robinson mentioned that the left held the domestic terrorist mantle during the past, even mentioning washed up terrorist Bill Ayers, but moved on to say it's now almost exclusively on the right. This despite absolutely no evidence of increasing violence from the right; actually the evidence shows that the most violent protesters of our day are socialist anarchists.

They're using the Pima County Sheriff's idiotic speculation during his news conference regards TV and radio personalities inflaming the loonies (apparently no speculation is allowed about the shooter but the Sheriff can speculate wildly about who motivated him) to move their political points. Olbermann is right now giving us a "special comment" about how everyone needs to shut the hell up, and that means Sarah Palin, who he says is responsible. Meanwhile Fox has been running basic news coverage with Shep Smith and Bret Baier and their other news team members and trying to paint a fair picture of the suspect.

Mad as hell, Sheriff Dupnik? You bet. As a person leaning right I'm mad that a nut took out his frustrations on a decent and honorable congresswoman and killed others in the process, including a little girl who in attendance to see the political process because she was serving in student council. Mad that said nut is still alive. Mad that said nut is apparently exercising his constitutional rights, using the same constitution he evidently derided in his online activity.

I'm also mad that the very thing that he so passionately interjected--stoking the vitriol--is being practiced at this very minute by opportunistic left wing ideologues on TV who are trying to frame this event as an image of the modern right wing to score cheap political points.

This is NOT to say that we shouldn't all take a step back and think before we post or speak and understand the meaning and impact of our words. We should. We live in turbulent times. I'm troubled about what seems to be a crumbling of our society and a loss of basic feelings for our fellow man; the crushing debt; illegal immigration leading to a breakdown in the rule of law; wars that don't seem winable and corrupt and mindless politicians forcing their will on the public.

But Olbermann's outrageous and shameless vitriolic attempt to blame this on Palin, or Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly--before all the facts are known--and even if he threw himself in the pot as well with a mock apology, is just as dangerous as anything the sheriff was talking about. MSNBC should be ashamed of itself and it's so-called news department.

MORE 1/8/11

Speaking of using the word "target". And that's not a condemnation of Kos, either. It's a condemnation of Olbermann and anyone else trying to make hay with maps and words in an effort to score points off murder.

MORE 1/9/11

The narrative is being set all around the MSM-- Repubs need to denounce their hate mongers. Here's MSNBC channeling the NY Times:
Not since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 has an event generated as much attention as to whether extremism, antigovernment sentiment and even simple political passion at both ends of the ideological spectrum have created a climate promoting violence. The fallout seemed to hold the potential to upend the effort by Republicans to keep their agenda front and center in the new Congress and to alter the political narrative in other ways.
So wow, with hardly any facts as to motive the Times is already proclaiming this to be Oklahoma City redux while coyly including the left to make it seem fair. There's even a John Doe Number Two figure running around on the loose.

If this story really is about right wing extremism why is the left-leaning mainstream press trying to fan the flames? Some couldn't wait to bring up Clinton and McVeigh, harkening back to how Bubba's response to the tragedy saved his presidency (he blamed it indirectly on Rush Limbaugh at the time) and fantasizing about how Obama could do the same. Mark Penn even mentioned this before the fact--after the mid-term election shellacking, so clearly it was on some minds. Meanwhile nobody was ever curious about where Terry Nichols got his bomb training. It didn't matter.

More nuanced writers like Matt Bai of the Times are getting the message across in a sneakier way. His column today indicts both sides of the political food fight but contains this:
The problem here doesn’t lie with the activists like most of those who populate the Tea Parties, ordinary citizens who are doing what citizens are supposed to do — engaging in a conversation about the direction of the country. Rather, the problem would seem to rest with the political leaders who pander to the margins of the margins, employing whatever words seem likely to win them contributions or TV time, with little regard for the consequences.
That's not Olbermann he's talking about. He's talking about Beck, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity, et al., and we know this because he mentioned Tea Parties in the preceding sentence.

Funny, when Major Hasan ripped off multiple rounds amongst his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood some of these same folks bent over backwards to keep him out of the jihadist ranks (even though he yelled for Allah while shooting), with the president even urging Americans not to "jump to conclusions".

There was nothing much written by the mainstreamers about how free speech had contributed to Hasan's rage, just ruminations about PTSD or basic workplace violence. And when a Muslim convert from Memphis shot two soldiers in Little Rock several months prior it wasn't a huge story at all, despite his connection to Yemen and Awlaki. In recent interviews Carlos Bledsoe, aka Abdulhakim, keeps insisting he was a jihadist and they keep sending him back for mental examinations. Holder didn't even charge him with federal crimes--he's being tried on state charges in Arkansas (by the same prosecutor who excoriated Mike Huckabee for letting the convict out who pulled the police shooting in Oregon). There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy in this blame game. And how does that help to calm the discourse?

MORE 1/9/11

More thoughts here. Also, the fact that Giffords is Jewish is yet another reason to wait for all the facts to come out, since her religion isn't exactly beloved by either Muslim terrorists or those on the far right in the US. The video where he burned the flag wearing a weird hoodie and a hefty bag could be interpreted as jihadi-sympathetic, or right wing sympathetic, or left wing lunacy ala Ayers, but perhaps the only way to understand this guy is to be on acid or peyote.

FINAL 1/9/11

This is what a professional interview looks like: Megan Kelly on Fox interviews Pima Sheriff Dupnik, who admits he has no factual basis for linking this crime to radio/TV vitriol or rhetoric. Well, how nice of him to share his political views with the nation in a time of crisis.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Wheeler Mystery

A West Point Grad, former Asst SecDef, founder of the Vietnam Vets Memorial and someone currently working with super secret defense contractor Mitre Corp engaged with cybersecurity, suddenly becomes disoriented and lost in Delaware, in the process losing his briefcase (with God knows what inside), only to tragically end up in county landfill.

Lots of wild arse speculation, including mention of birds and comic disinformation from the Russians. But wait, cybersecurity? There was another smart guy from British Intelligence on loan to NSA working in this area who also recently met a terrible demise, found zippered in his duffel bag padlocked on the outside in his MI6-provided apartment. They are currently looking for some folks who might know something.

That doesn't mean Mr. Wheeler's story doesn't have a benign explanation. Why would someone intent on taking out an expert cyberdefense consultant not just take him out, instead of say bumping him on the head and allowing him to wander the streets only to later find him and place him in a trash bin? Common sense says it's more likely he was a victim of two random criminals, or one criminal who left him hopelessly injured and doomed without help from strangers, who didn't help. Then again, the case is getting a lot of media attention, isn't it?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Times Leaker Finally Caught?

One of James Risen's intelligence sources for his award winning book "State of War" has finally been indicted:
A former CIA officer has been indicted on charges of disclosing national security secrets after being accused of leaking classified information about Iran to a New York Times reporter.

Federal prosecutors charged Jeffrey Sterling with 10 counts related to improperly keeping and disclosing national security information.

The indictment did not say specifically what was leaked but, from the dates and other details, it was clear that the case centered on leaks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen for his 2006 book, "State of War." The book revealed details about the CIA's covert spy war with Iran.
This guy sounds like a real trip:
Sterling, who is black, filed a complaint against the CIA in 2000, claiming racial discrimination and later sued the agency unsuccessfully. He also submitted his memoirs to the CIA to be published and was extremely unhappy with the review process.

The indictment said Sterling's anger and resentment grew towards the CIA and claimed that he retaliated against the agency by attempting to cause the publication of classified information. The indictment said that government officials warned Risen, identified only as Author A, and his newspaper employer, that Sterling's information could endanger a human asset's life and that in May 2003 the newspaper agreed not to publish it.
If found guilty both him and Manning should hang. But "State of War" contained more than one leak. The book coincided with Risen's Pulitzer winning Times column unveiling the "Terrorist Surveillance Program", the compartmentalized NSA effort to run down calls to AQ. Here's Jed Babbin from last year:
If the NYT report is right, there is a selectivity in the Obama Justice Department’s investigation that will compound the errors made by the Bush Justice Department. Why seek the source of the Iran leak and not that of the NSA program leak, arguably the most damaging in recent history? And if the Obama Justice Department wants to prosecute the leakers, why not pursue cases on the SWIFT, CIA secret prison and other leaks which caused significant damage?

How far will the Justice Department pursue the leakers? Will James Risen be jailed, as Judith Miller was, for refusing to reveal his source? Will the most damaging leaks – the CIA secret prisons, the NSA terrorist surveillance program, the SWIFT program and the black satellites – even be pursued?
Interesting they got an indictment without Risen--the article goes to great lengths to mention he had maintained a Sargent Schultz posture with the Feds. And how about the timing, just as the GOP formally takes over leadership in the House. Still, Babbin's questions remain valid.

And let's add another--the Wen Ho Lee affair, another leak case Risen was involved in that resulted in a cash settlement for Mr. Lee coming from several major news orgs that conveniently protected Clinton-era sources. Hmm, wonder if any of those sources are back working in government now, or rumored to be coming back any time soon?


My harsh feelings about the proposed punishment for those who willfully leak classified information for personal or emotional gain applied to Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of feeding the info to Wikileaks. I was not suggesting in any way that Peyton Manning be hanged just because the Colts finished ahead of the Titans and made the playoffs.

As to timing, it's interesting. Maguire picked up the date mentioned above--May 2003--when the CIA convinced the NY Times not to publish the Iran leak. At the same time one of their reporters, Judy Miller, was evidently being fed info about Joe Wilson and Plame and also didn't take it to press, while down the road another Times reporter, Kristoff, was being fed info about Cheney and Bush from Wilson and, Plame, the former allowed to publish secret info in the paper, which played into the 2004 election (since Wilson would become a Kerry team member).

As JOM points out, the CIA convinced the Times that the Iran story wasn't fit to print, but when Novak called the CIA after receiving the Plame leak from Armitage the very same outfit, only 2 months later, could not convince him to stand down. The story then also played into the 2004 presidential election.

The report also suggests that Risen had the Iran story in 2003 and sat on it until late 2005 when his book was published, which led into the 2006 mid-term campaign season. Wonder what changed the minds of the Times editors? Around 2005 reports were beginning to surface about Iran's involvement in Iraq, and some were suggesting that Iran needed to be dealt with more forcefully.