Thursday, June 30, 2011


Was Drudge trying to say something by using that juxtaposition of photographs regarding IMF chiefs (disregard Beck)?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Floating President

So Obama gets testy in a presser about his disengagement from the budget process (after tasking Big F'ing Biden to deal with it) by saying he's amused about criticism he's not more active, pointing out his awesome multi-tasking skills of scolding the Congress to get off their duffs while handling Greece, the Afghanistan victory retreat and killing bin Laden, all while squeezing in 18 holes every week.


It's just another example of our floating president. Obama floats above every issue, either tasking subordinates or directing operations from on high, convinced he's above the fray and blameless. Occasionally he'll get frustrated by criticism and peer down from Mt. Olympus to scold the little people for their slacker ways, pointing out the harm their ineptitude may cause, such as allowing poisoned food, unwarned tornadoes and lack of a college education for illegal immigrants. And he never forgets to remind about white men's greed in a world of need.

He even scolded Al Gore and RFK Jr. today for using private jets! Well not directly, but they must have blushed. And geez, talk about blushing...
In these days of deep governmental budget cuts, one tech company has received some remarkable sweetheart deals from Uncle Sam.

Consumer Watchdog’s six-month investigation has produced a 32-page report detailing how Google has inappropriately benefited from its close ties to the Obama administration, including how NASA’s Moffett Airfield, near Google’s world headquarters, has been turned into a taxpayer-subsidized private strip for Google executives used for corporate junkets.

A growing fleet of jets and helicopters stand ready to ferry the company’s top executives near or far, for business or pleasure, for vacations or schmoozing, including at least three wintertime trips to the Caribbean and a trip by Google chief executive Eric Schmidt to the Cannes Film Festival. Humanitarian groups, by contrast, have been denied access to the airport.
And he even scolded himself--candidate Obama--for his views on the War Powers Resolution vis a vis Libya, testily pointing out the thousands of lives saved or created unlike that dumb war in Iraq. Just who does this guy think he is?!

MORE 6/30/11

Here's the entire thing. The Chuck Todd question around 15:00 provided a glimpse at the new neocon Obama, who suddenly doesn't want to talk about 'process' (WPR) anymore now that he's engaged with the terrorist in Libya who has "killed more Americans than just about anyone". And anyone who questions the process or doesn't speak with a unified voice about getting rid of this madman who gave up his nuclear program to Bush's diplomacy is not patriotic or something.

Later a reporter asked about "days not weeks", which he defined as the length of time American forces would be 'in the lead'. "Promise made, promise kept" is how he defined it. Wonder how many Americans watching that speech understood that particular nuance? Nobody bothered to quiz him on his initial comment that we were not targeting Gaddafi.

He also wasn't asked to definition of "hostility". Overall he called the whole pushback thing a 'fuss' and refused to say whether he thought the WPR was constitutional--he wasn't even going to 'get there'. Which is crazy, because his administration has already gone there:
President Barack Obama and his administration believe that the War Powers Resolution is constitutional, but that it doesn't apply to U.S. military action in Libya.
But now, after saying our actions don't meet the definition of hostilities, he won't even admit whether the Act itself is constitutional (as he put it, not wanting to put on his constitutional law professor hat).

But he DID put on the hat to definitively say DOMA was unconstitutional! Without question! Can anyone figure out just where the hell Obama stands on gay marriage, by the way?

The Latino reporter that asked about "Fast and Furious" was courageous and asked a follow up. Perhaps she was the only reporter in the room who could devine an answer (imagine Les Kinsolving asking it) but Obama simply said he didn't know and was going to get to the bottom of it and take appropriate actions, whatever those might be. But since the investigation was ongoing he couldn't comment. Sounds like the Plame thing. Of course it's worse.

On granting illegal aliens amnesty, they deserve it because they are muy bueno, and happy Cinco de Quatro everybody!

Obama went on and on scaring about what might happen if the Debt Ceiling deadline is ignored, then went on and on about how he didn't want to 'spook' and scaremonger about it. He rightfully bashed Congress by claiming they "ran up" the bills but didn't specially point out that America is still operating on a fiscal year 2009 budget because Pelosi wouldn't bring one to a vote in either 2009 or 2010 for political reasons. That's what floating is all about.

Media performance summary-- once again the White House press corpse has failed America by refusing to risk hurting the president's feelings by interrupting him or demanding adequate follow up answers or busting his filibusters. Pathetic display, again. No wonder MSNBC suspended Halperin for inappropriately calling the president "a dick" at the presser, even though more than a few might privately agree.

Presidential performance summary-- Obama came across at times as dogmatic, inflexible, churlish and some k word that completes the acronym. It's clear he's the tip of a Democratic spear designed to force McConnell and Boehner into raising taxes on 'the rich' so Obama can go into the 2012 campaign boasting of fulfilling his promise to spread the wealth, while putting a wedge between the GOP and Tea Party--perhaps with hopes that Bachmann, Palin or Cain will split off and run as an independent, thereby ensuring Obama's reelection.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The NY Gay Marriage Decision

Pat Robertson is making news again, saying the NY gay marriage decision will be the end of America. This same man also thought 9/11 was punishment from God for our collective sin (whereas Reverend Wright blamed it on our overseas policies and white men).

But this seems a little extreme. Homosexuality is one of many sins God mentions in the Bible, so it can't by itself be the end of us. It could be a beginning to an end, but it will be hard to top the destruction already caused by a breakdown of hetero marriage, among other national vices.

At any rate get ready for the predictable comparisons between Robertson and nuts like the Westboro Baptists, but one thing you will NOT see is a comparison between him and people like Imam Rauf. Or any Muslim, for that matter. And nobody will be saying 'we are creating more terrorists' by allowing this new freedom as they did when we locked up religious killers at Gitmo.

Wonder if there are any gay rights activists planning to ride along on the "Audacity of Hope" as it floats to Gaza in support of Hamas? Judging from the penalties enacted in that part of the world for such behavior it's unlikely, but then again it's hard to figure out the left sometimes.

In truth, if there's any significant downfall from a sweeping legalization of gay marriage it will probably be in the realm of a new intolerance of those opposing such things, where opposers are publicly ostracized and perhaps eventually prosecuted for hate speech. Well, except for Muslims.

Friday, June 24, 2011

On bin Laden Courier Cellphone Story..

The NY Times has an intriguing story today about ties between bin Laden's courier and the Pakistani ISI. As Thomas Joscelyn says, this itself should not be surprising--it's clear UBL had help living where he did. The surprise is the name that showed up in the courier's phone, Maulana Fazlur Rahman. Some have pegged the former Pakistani MP as a founder of the Afghan Taliban.

Rewind to Iraq--unlike the Palin email trove the Times never asked readers to help them go through the Project Harmony database of Iraqi government documents captured by Coalition forces after the regime fell. One of the documents mentions a suspected meeting between a Maulana Fazlur and a high ranking official in Saddam's government:
Part One of the Saddam Dossier appeared to chronicle Rahman's meeting with Taha Yassin Ramadan, the then-vice president of Iraq and Saddam's chief enforcer. Part Two describes a meeting with an unidentified Iraqi official referred to as “M.O.M.,” who possibly is Tahir Jalil Habbush al Tikriti, the director of the IIS. This translation refers to the previous meeting of Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Ramadan. It also mentions a future meeting between the Maulana and Saddam Hussein. A second document captured in Afghanistan seems to confirm that a relationship existed between Saddam and the Maulana. The document is posted under the identifying Harmony number AFGP-2002-601693 at the West Point Terrorism Center.
If the meetings actually occurred it's sorta like Fazlur having the number of Iraqi officials in his cellphone just as bin Laden's courier had Fazlur's number in his. Yes, a disparate dot as yet connected. Just sayin'.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Whose Side Are you On?

Which side? On America's side, which requires the president to simply swallow his basketball-sized pride enough to come to Congress.

It's simple. When threatened, or when our interests are at risk we go to war to win. If time is critical we go right away. If there's time for diplomacy, we do that first. If diplomacy fails the president takes it to the peeps. In the case of Libya our president has not ONCE offered to sit down and negotiate with Moammar Gaddafi to end the hostile non-hostilities after promising to do so with all our enemies, without pre-conditions. Yes, just words.

Perhaps we should ask Mrs. Dissent is Patriotic whose side she's on--Bashar Assad's? Ahmadinejad's? The Bahraini King? Kim Jong Il, jr? Was she on Saddam's side?

This kind of rhetoric is not helpful, but it is quite ironic considering she's advocating no diminution to our (non) efforts in Libya while her boss just heralded his diminution of forces in the country he promised to scale up forces in to win a war on terror his predecessor forgot while dabbling in a country that never attacked us on 9/11.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who Won?

Trying to boil down the Commander-in-Chief's Afghanistan drawdown victory retreat speech, and it's shaping up like this:

We were attacked on 9/11 and everyone was united and we went in to displace the Taliban and kill AQ. Bush sucks, Iraq. The Taliban came back because Bush sucks, so I had to go in with 30K extra corpsemens because it was the real front in the overseas contingency operation. We sent bin Laden to hell, yeah--no thanks to the Pakistanis, who are still important allies helping us end this war responsibly in victorious retreat. Now it's time to come home and nation build here in America by passing another trillion dollar stimulus.

Er, except in Libya, where we don't have a single soldier on the ground mind you, because they are behind computer terminals in safe zones targeting drones dropping hellfire missiles to exact regime change that doesn't violate the War Powers Resolution like Bush did by going to Congress.

I promised to end our wars, win or lose, because I'm not Bush. And don't worry about the Taliban coming back or AQ opening bases there and attacking us again after we're completely out by 2014 because, well, they won't. Besides, by 2014 it will be the waning years of my second term and it won't matter as much because my legacy will be about health care and immigration reform. Anyway, don't forget that Bush started the wars that I'm having to end responsibly and he used torture.

At least that's what I took from it. But I might be a tad cynical.

What to do with Vargas

Interesting conundrum for the Obama ICE patrol..

They announced recently that 2400 illegals have been rounded up over the past month. Then today there was also a story about a person shot to death trying to climb a border fence along the Mexican border in California by a Border Patrol Agent. Obviously all those folks met the cold, uncaring arm of the law. Some are even blaming the huge southwestern wildfires on illegal alien trafficking.

But today we also found out that a former Washington Post/Huffington Post reporter--who owns a Pulitzer Prize--is actually an illegal. Not only that, but he got help from California state officials:
His grandfather imagined the fake documents would help Vargas get low-wage jobs. College seemed out of reach, until Vargas told Mountain View High School Principal Pat Hyland and school district Superintendent Rich Fisher about his problem. They became mentors and surrogate parents, eventually finding a scholarship fund for high-achieving students that allowed him to attend San Francisco State University.
The newspaper required a driver's license, so Vargas said his network of mentors helped him get one from Oregon, which has less stringent requirements than some other states.
The bold is a creative description of what others might call criminal conspirators. But he seems like a smart, sensitive individual who considers himself American even without papers.

So, what's the next move for Obama ICE? Will they publicly deport a Pulitzer winner and public figure and be left to explain why the other poor bastard trying to cross the border fence deserved a slug (he probably just wanted a scholarship, too). Or will they try to let the story fade away like the undocumented maid who helped scuttle Meg Whitman's chances for governor of California?

The money's on the latter, but the money's also on liberals and perhaps even Obama trying to parlay Mr. Vargas' story and his new "Define American" campaign into amnesty "immigration reform" at some point in the very near future. That of course would keep Mr. Vargas in the news, not allowing the Whitman strategy to work, but then again he might get more press by being deported. Of course that would be pegged on Obama, in effect defeating his status as a reformer.

If only someone could find a way to blame Bush. Wait, Bush was also a reformer! Cheney? No--maybe the Tea Party. Obama can claim he was forced to deport Vargas because America is full of xenophobes clinging to their guns and God who don't want anymore brown people around unless they are cutting the grass. Hey, if anyone could get away with it....

MORE 6/22/11

It appears that while everyone was celebrating TGIF Obama's ICE issued a clarification directive to exercise prosecutorial discretion on whom to deport. There's a long list of do-not-touchers, which you can find by going to this link and drilling down. Can we question Mr. Vargas' timing now? It appears he has nothing to worry about.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Negotiating Retreat

As Ole Gutsy readies a speech to presumably announce his further intentions for Afghanistan now that bin Laden is gone it will be interesting to see if he touches on another name--the guy on the left. He probably won't. He'll probably address all the talk about deals. Or to use political speak--the way forward.

A cynic might look at the bin Laden hit and and see some pre-conditions to a deal. In other words, Obama couldn't very well leave the theater with UBL still lurking around--he promised to send him to Hell--so he needed him Tango Uniform and fast. Drawdown time needed to come before 2012 to keep a promise. Surely a few unsavory characters knew where he was. Then presto, dead UBL. The climate is now right for a Monty Hall moment.

Up to this point we've been told that Pakistan 1) knew nothing about bin Laden hiding in plain sight, 2) didn't know we were coming to kill him, and 3) is mad as fire about the whole thing and have retaliated by tipping off other terrorists, rounding up CIA assets who helped get UBL, and kicking other CIA officers out of the country.

But here's that name--Mullah Baradar. Remember him? When the he was captured in early 2010 it was a big deal--he was the number two man in the Taliban.
Yet he soon faded away like the balloon boy. Interesting, since one would think a number two would know a lot about AQ number one, and two, and maybe three, four, five, etc. Rumors said he was going to be sent to Afghanistan for interrogation but last anyone heard he was still languishing in Pockeston.

Then bin Laden was killed. What did Baradar know about it? Few mentioned his name. He wasn't part of the extensive narrative, which featured a courier named al-Kuwaiti and some lucky luck. But what if Baradar knew? What if he confirmed everything?

Some say he did:
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Baradar is believed to have told US investigators the location of the Al-Qaeda terror chief’s hide-out.

In return they ­promised to ­withdraw US troops from Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan once Bin Laden had been killed or captured.

He was shot dead at his compound in Abbottabad on May 2 after US President Barack Obama sent in a team of elite Navy Seals.

Details of the extraordinary “deal” emerged after a confidential American briefing was found at the hide-out.
Nobody can vouch for the accuracy but what if it's true? What would it mean? Let's see, it would mean either Pakistan was in on the deal and helped, then feigned outrage.... or they didn't know. But how could they NOT know--after all, they still have Baradar, right? Well....
The terror chief, a close ally of one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar, was interrogated in prison before being released last October.
The Pakistani journalist who reported it was recently found tortured and killed. But OK, if he was actually 'released' he surely wasn't released outright, rather, he would have been released to either US or Afghan custody as rumored last year. And if so he's possibly involved in the presumed negotiations. Perhaps the entry fee for a seat at the table was to give up a big name or two. Perhaps Pakistan presumed he wouldn't divulge. Maybe that's why there was no concern in Abbottabad until they heard the choppers. But if there really are negotiations going on it seems almost impossible to believe Pakistan wouldn't have know what Baradar would say.

Either that or the entire story was made up by Pakistan to discredit the US. The only trouble there is it would force Pakistan to confirm Baradar's ongoing incarceration, and they seemingly have not. Instead journalists that report on it are turning up dead.

But such is the problem with all of this stuff--the lies. As an almost giddy outgoing Secretary Gates told Senator Leahy in Congress last week--all countries lie to each other--it's how business gets done. He should know--he was a spook chief. But the bottom line here for the United States isn't lying, it our national security.

We're broke and the deployment is costing millions. We're not going to change that backwater even if we stay 20 more years, and Pakistan will never give up their proxy terrorists as long as India exists. So if there's a reasonable certainty we can keep Afghanistan from becoming another terrorist club med like it was in the 90s then leaving might be a good idea. The only way to do that is to make a deal.

But any carrot thrown to Pakistan/Taliban has to contain large sticks. Assurances, in other words. They need to understand what kind of deterrence awaits them should another attack be traced back to them--and Pakistan needs to understand that the prevailing westerly winds will blow that deterrence right into their country. That's hardly victory, but anything less is unacceptable and will represent a waste of patriotic soldiers and a massive loss in the Global War on Terror.

MORE 6/21/11

From Drudge this afternoon..

Interesting how we just got a story that said O ignored his lawyers on the WPR and Libya, now Drudge is framing this as another episode of ignoring top advisors--this time his generals--ahead of his big South Asia speech tomorrow.

The generals want him to be careful; Obama wants to start drawing down. To do it he'll have to say we've won, something. After all, Iraq can return to hell and he can say, "that was Bush's fault" and be correct. But he owns Afghanistan. It was secured during the campaign with all the rhetoric about UBL and the true front in the GWoT, then solidified with the surge, which has cost the lives of many good American men and women these past two years. He can't just get up there and say "time to go" and hope to be reelected.

Well, he can, but the right will have little trouble finding all his past quotes about how Bush was an idiot for ignoring the true battle yada yada, so cutting and running would be an admission he was wrong. Expect lots of back-slapping about the UBL killing, drones, and other progress from the surge. And it will probably work--politically speaking.

Politics isn't always reality. The true measure lies in what the generals are concerned about--the long term effects of not finishing the job (even though it's hard to know what that looks like). We're there to essentially drain a terror swamp. Leaving might make the electorate feel good and maybe help win him another four years but the real question is whether it will stop another terror attack. Our leaving will eventually be spun as the greatest victory in history of radical Islam and terrorism in general, which of course would have far-reaching effects across the globe, which is no trivial matter.

Indeed, Afghanistan was the end of the Soviet Union and has long been known as the graveyard of empires. Obama's chess move is probably a lot more crucial than the media will admit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What the People Want?

They want someone who can stand up for what they believe in and won't back down under criticism. That's why Palin, despite her occasional self-inflicting wounds, continues to enthrall so many. It's why a carnival barker named Trump rose to the top of the polls for daring to question the birth cert and showing no fear of the consequences. Think of the current GOP names--Romney, Pawlenty, Huntsman, blah.

In this speech Rick Perry grabs a hint of what the electorate wants..

For the record, not sure they want another white conservative Texan who isn't that slick with words, but they definitely don't want a perceived weakling who practically apologizes to the media and left while triangulating their core beliefs to curry favor with the moderate voters. Maybe it's not Perry, but it's certainly someone like him.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Summit at Somewhere

It's time for Obama and Boehner to hit the links in their own private golf showdown on US Open weekend. Call it the US Closed--it's almost almost as secretive as the Bilderberger event or a Cheney getaway. The only course eliminated so far is Congressional Country Club.

The NY Times isn't very curious but provides a breakdown of the players for us, including this word of caution:
Mr. Boehner is friends with the golf legend Jack Nicklaus. He has also played with Tiger Woods in a pro-am tournament two years ago at the Congressional Country Club outside Washington.

Scared yet, Mr. President? Don’t be. You’ve got Biden.
Yes, we are told the mighty don't mess with Joe has a handicap index of 6.3. Nobody ever talks about his golf but he must get out there often carrying that kind of number, especially after starting the game around 50. Of course he IS the Vice President and probably has plenty of time on his hands with Recovery Summer currently on hold. Meanwhile Kasich is said to be a "wild card", meaning the Times didn't bother digging very deep because they don't really care.

The big question is whether Obama will practice scorecard transparency. The Moonie Times tells us not to expect an after-action report and they may be right--if team GOP wins--but there's not a soul alive on planet Earth who doesn't think the scorecards will be front and center of every news outlet if team OB manages to keep it in-bounds and slays the evil deficit monsters. There will be glowing hole to hole coverage and some may even use the word gutsy. Maybe a bigger question is whether team GOP will publish the cards if they exact a thumpin', since it would likely be spun by the same journalists as bad form or even racist. Guess we'll see.

As to real golf, Roy McAvoy, er Rory McIlroy is apparently playing his own Open this year. He's only 22 years old and 11 under par with a 6 shot lead over the nearest contender and 9 shots on everyone else in the most difficult tournament in the world. Impressive, but he doesn't quite have the same flair as the Golden Boy back at Pebble Beach in the late 90s. He does however bear a slight resemblance to a famous person...

Although as far as we know he's not from Kansas, or Seattle, or Honolulu, or Kenya, just Northern Ireland. Wait, Obama claims roots in Ireland!

MORE 6/17/11

Looks like there should be some good hole to hole chatter out there tomorrow. Or how about this--the event gets canceled after 12 holes with team GOP up by a million due to the announcement that Gadaffi has been killed or captured. It would be just like Obama to do that to invited guests.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

War Update

Speaker Boehner recently issued a challenge to the president on Libya:
“Given the mission you have ordered to the U.S. Armed Forces with respect to Libya and the text of the War Powers Resolution, the House is left to conclude that you have made one of two determinations: either you have concluded the War Powers Resolution does not apply to the mission in Libya, or you have determined the War Powers Resolution is contrary to the Constitution,” Mr. Boehner wrote. “The House, and the American people whom we represent, deserve to know the determination you have made.”
Either or. Today his weekend golf partner's lawyers replied:
“We are not saying the president can take the country into war on his own,” Mr. Koh said. “We are not saying the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional or should be scrapped, or that we can refuse to consult Congress. We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of ‘hostilities’ envisioned by the War Powers Resolution.”
So it all depends on the meaning of hostilities and 'boots'. Really, do we want the meaning of "not hostile" to now include hellfire missiles coming from unmanned drones targeting the leaders of countries we don't like? Gaddafi might disagree with that characterization. Not that anyone cares--he deserves to go down based on his past if not for the al-Megrahi f-you by itself (is he dead yet?), but this is about the rule of law.

Boehner has previously supported the Libyan theater and is not about to pull the plug willy nilly without cover, so we await his retort. But here's some advice for the weekend--watch out for those foot wedges and only give one mulligan. No need to let the big guy win.


Meanwhile in Pockeston, the Pockestonis have rounded up five patriots who helped rid the world of UBL by talking with the CIA. Yeah, another cartoonish story about our supposed 'ally' in the GWoT and yeah, it makes one long for the Armitage solution sometimes. But this sounds like a reasonable explanation.

Wait though, weren't we told the move was gutsy-risky because it was only a 55/45 shot that UBL was in that encampment? If we actually had five (maybe more?) CIA informants along with a CIA listening post nearby, together with satellites, stealth drones, and a Pakistani general on the payroll feeding information then really, was it really a 50/50 shot? Also, if a Pakistani general was helping us gather intelligence where was he getting his information?

Oh well. If the president is not troubled by bending the truth about just almost everything else then nobody should be surprised if he bent the truth on this a little, too. Rest assured he's tirelessly at work for us peeps, focusing like a laser on all kinds of stuff.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bombshell From Alaska Email Quest

Here it is:
"I'm a centrist Democrat, and would have loved to support my hunch that Ms. Palin is illiterate," said 2tor Chief Executive Officer John Katzman.

"However, the emails say something else. Ms. Palin writes emails on her Blackberry at a grade level of 8.5.

"If she were a student and showing me her work, I'd say 'It's fine, clear writing,'" he said, admitting that emails he wrote scored lower than Palin's on the widely used Flesch-Kincaid readability test.

"She came in as a solid communicator," said Paul J.J. Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. The emails registered as an 8.2 on his version of the test. "That's typical for a corporate executive."
Not only wasn't she involved in evil doings her Blackberry communications were that of a CEO. Double bummer.

BTW, last time they checked Obama he came in with an 8.8 for his first State of the Union speeches, pretty low but it was from a prepared draft for teleprompter so they could have dumbed it down. However, since Palin's score was largely based on email jibber-jabber the only fair thing for the Times and WaPo to do is to request Obama's Blackberry/email records of his time in the US Senate for comparison. Presuming they are available.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Side Tracks

CBS Sports is using this track on the coverage of the Fed Ex St. Jude golf tourney this weekend and it got in my head. So here it is..

Friday, June 10, 2011

Palin Derangement Update

The jackals are salivating over today's document dump--the Palin email release, convinced they'll find what eluded them in Palin's "Wasilly" trash dumpster long ago (or via the hack). Early results must be disappointing for team seek and destroy but make no mistake, something will eventually turn up they can exploit--and it will be hugh.

Under the off chance there's no there there they can always fall back on the "they held the good stuff back" defense. Because like Birtherism, Palinmania will never end as long as she remains in the public eye. Speaking of birthers, finding the smoking gun email on Trigg has to be in the top three 'finds' being frantically searched for as we speak.

There's nothing wrong with the media vetting political candidates--they should with vigor--but our mainstream media clowns probably don't even realize their own double standard. Here we are in the 3rd year of Obama's presidency and already we know more about Palin than will ever be necessary and about the same on the actual president despite the unanswered questions.

But the media clowns are not only advocates and fans, they're also likely scared to death of being called racists for doing anything close to a full court press on the first liberal black president. Sexism for hammering a woman? No, wait sorry, Palin isn't a woman, she's a Republican.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Changing of the Guard

Not that I'm the first one to notice the likely motivation behind the musical chairs game between Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, but that motivation is worth at least a couple of paragraphs of blog-scribble.

Leon Panetta was an odd choice for CIA but not to the point of raising a flag. His great claim to fame will of course be the capture of bin Laden, which will likely overshadow anything else that occurred on his watch rendering his Senate confirmation a rubber stamp. But do we know all there is to know about the man soon to be in charge of our military?

The New Zeal blog has a piece (some would say a hit piece) out on him making reference to his time in the House during the 80s and a supposed friendship with known Communist Hugh DeLacy, a former member of the House from Washington State. Wingnut smear or just a story unreported?

Looking around there's not much on the web about DeLacy. Here's a short blurb from the University of Washington--sounds like a reputable source--claiming he was indeed a communist but died in 1976. That's odd, because New Zeal says Panetta penned a letter to DeLacy in 1977. Wikipedia says he died in 1986--so much for the U of Washington's page.

Meanwhile Wiki provides very little about his political views to challenge New Zeal, which points out that Panetta wrote a series of letters to DeLacy and placed a tribute to him in the Congressional Record along with speaking at his memorial service. Is it appropriate to ask why he was so close to a known communist or whether he shared any of his views or rather just thought of the man as a friend without endorsing his politics? Yes, a rhetorical question, but if ANY Republican had similar interaction with say a John Birch Society member it would likely be a big story in the press.

History tells us that since that time--the 80s--Panetta has shown himself a moderate lefty and loyal party man, doing nothing to indicate he's anything less than a patriotic liberal American. Besides, no Senator in their right mind would start going McCarthy on a guy who just helped score the bin Laden hit. Come to think of it, that itself could become a rather useful cloak against further criticism. Regardless, he will soon be in charge of our nation's military, so what does it mean?

Politico has a piece out detailing the 5 challenges for the first Democrat Secretary of Defense since William Perry in the 90s. It makes sense to think a liberal administration would want a party man in place to shepherd the end of "don't ask, don't tell", the drawdown in Iraq, the escape from Afghanistan, the non-war in Libya, the Arab Spring Middle Eastern clusterfark, and an almost certain DoD budget cut. That's really the main takeaway aside from any shadowy associations that cannot be proven.

Meanwhile, putting General Petraeus at CIA most likely indicates the direction the administration may take in the GWoT--a more John Kerryish Special Ops clandestine approach less dependent on boots on the ground. Whether it also says anything about how America will interrogate future HVTs is uncertain; most in the military were against "enhanced interrogation" but not much is known about the HIG unit (keeping a low-pro) now that its formation doesn't serve any political goals. But maybe we'll soon be told that after the death of bin Laden and withdrawal from the war zones the WoT is effectively now just a nuisance, so it won't matter. Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

DOE, Freeze!

The net is buzzing over another no-knock raid on a homeowner, this time from a Department of Education paramilitary team looking for someone regarding a problem with student loans:
The U.S. Department of Education issued the search and called in the S.W.A.T for his wife's defaulted student loans.

"They busted down my door for this," Wright said. "It wasn't even me."

According to the Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General, the case can't be discussed publicly until it is closed, but a spokesperson did confirm that the department did issue the search warrant at Wright's home.
They've since clarified to say it wasn't just some poor schmuck in arrears on their college loan but something more, but they can't discuss details. Hell with that--the story here is that the Department of Education has what amounts to a SWAT unit. From this story (last year) there's a DOE fact sheet that lists all the busts related to education fraud [digress] a few involving employees accessing Obama's student loan records [/digress]. Looking back most of the incidents seem to be fraud not late or no payments.

Their mission statement talks about stopping "waste, fraud and abuse involving Federal education funds, programs and operations", which is fine, but it seems like a job for actual law enforcement agencies. Most of those are white collar crimes that don't involve public safety. So why again do they need a police force? And now that the student loan program has been entirely federalized, any need to worry? Sounds like the DOE Public Affairs officer has his/her work cut out.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Weiner Fallout

What a difference a day makes. This time yesterday the few mainstreamers bothering to cover the Weiner story were lecturing on sloppy journalism and the pitfalls of sexting. Today--editorials and defensive re-posturing.

Here's CNN's Roland Martin, who was doing fine until the end of his piece when he said:
Should Weiner resign? Nope. I simply don't think what we know right now is worthy of a resignation.
After excoriating the man for an entire column--not about the act itself but about the lying--Martin seems to think the only appropriate consequence for Weiner is to become fodder for the late-night comedy shows. That meme--"they all lie, big deal" will be repeated elsewhere.

The NY Times has a column explaining the quest of right wing "blogger" Andrew Breitbart along with some commentary. Their own "blogger" Michael Shear gives reasons why Weiner may or may not "survive" the scandal, including a bullet on lying:
The Lying. Many people who might have forgiven Mr. Weiner’s online antics are going to find it hard to ignore the repeated, insistent lies that he told over the last week as he tried to hide the truth. He lambasted reporters. He constructed elaborate stories for CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. He misled his staff and his colleagues. And he did so repeatedly and with gusto. Even if he convinces people that his actions online were not that bad, he may find it difficult to earn back the basic trust necessary for public service.
But unlike Martin this blogger refuses to take a stand, preferring just to throw out 5 reasons for and against resignation. Another Times opinion writer says "it's time to go" while yet another laments the political instinct of lying while remaining noncommittal as to whether Weiner's lie should control his fate.

The Washington Post has some opinions today. Greg Sargent from the Plum Line says:
Why promising young politicians — he has long been expected to run for mayor in 2013; now that seems far less likely — do these things is one of the mysteries of the ages. I don’t know if Weiner has successfully put this to bed in the eyes of the major news outlets or not. Maybe now that he’s copped to lying they’ll decide he’s done his pennance. It’s certainly possible that only conservative media outlets will try to pursue the story from here on out, though you can expect them to pressure the major news orgs to say on it.
In other words, it's a pickle trying to pretzel a reason why pathological lying should not be a career-killer for a talented attack dog like Weiner. Dana Milbank, a former regular on the Olbermann Show, called Weiner's presser an "apology-fest", cataloging all the apologies and to whom without making an editorial comment as to what should happen to him. Bold and biting commentary! But as Sargent says--the 'conservative sites' will keep their memory fresh.

MSNBC didn't provide much commentary, preferring to go with a story that mirrored Martin's stuck on stupid line followed by reassuring feedback from his constituents who don't mind stupid when it comes to a "talented public servant". They did report that major Democrats like Pelosi and Hoyer aren't standing by their man. Of course, how could they?

No shock here. The media was prepared to move on and leave the hack prank in the lap of Breitbart until he forced them into covering it by showing pictures. It was almost as if the mainstream reporters were mere puppets of the 'blogger', acting only after another morsel of red meat was thrown out but completely afraid to look for any red meat themselves. Such is the state of today's fourth estate when it comes to things that embarrass their ideology.

What about Weiner's wife? Huma Abedin, a Democratic Party insider and former close confidante of Hillary Clinton (herself no stranger to scandal) did not appear with hubby at the dais. No surprise there, but it also won't be surprising to never get a story about whether any advice was moving between the Secretary of State or her advisors and the Weiner camp, and what that advice might have been. Surely if the Representative from Craigslist (Lee) was married to a close advisor of former Secretary of State Condi Rice there may have been some inquiries.

Finally, conservatives should be careful about 'spiking the football' too hard on this one. Probably best to do a weak spike or a drop, or handoff to the ref. After all, this is congress we're discussing here--hardly a paragon of virtue on either side. As stated (and this is true), it's worse when a GOP congressperson gets caught with the hooker because the public tends to think of them as champions of family values. Sin is not confined to one side of the aisle. So the same media that has been spending equal time of late castigating Palin for her Paul Revere quote will not need a swift kick to pursue a payback story, especially after having to sit through Breitbart's victory lap presser.

As we speak Democrat oppo research agents are likely searching furiously for the something and it's likely more than a few of those folks are on the same cocktail circuit as some of our fearless media truth-tellers. Just saying.

MORE 6/7/11

In the game of politics revenge has become an arena sport. Rathergate blogger Charles Johnson, who turned from Bush backer to wingnut hater, had pinned his hopes on finally bringing down Andrew Breitbart over the Weiner hack "nontroversy". Obviously he found himself in front of a great big Jethro bowl of crow yesterday. So did he man-up and stand up? Never! Breitbart is still evil!

Showing even more signs of derangement, his latest post was published without even a fact-check (he admitted as much), which featured a breathless headline about the NY Times about to unload a sex scandal on John Boehner. Turns out it was from last year before the mid-terms. Ouch. This whole thing must be painful for him. BTW, between the time it took to first read it and do this post he has already altered it (screen cap here of the alteration). Maybe the blog fairy will come by tonight and disappear the entire thing.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Weiner Update

Only an alien who just arrived from another planet or a bumpkin who just fell off a turnip truck would express shock over a sexual scandal involving a congressman. No, the story here is coverage and balance.

After ignoring the blogs for three days last holiday weekend the mainstreamers finally woke up and noticed Weinergate and put on a full court press, questioning his story aggressively. It was refreshing to see them carry the same journalistic skepticism they usually reserve for people like Bush, Cheney, Craig, Foley, Vitter, the "Craigslist Congressman" and of course Sarah Palin, to name but a few.

In response to the surprising flurry of real journalism Weiner circled his wagons, lawyered up, and claimed his Twitter account was "hacked" but would not waste taxpayer money asking for an investigation because it was only a "prank" (his legal advice, no doubt). No further comment--important work to be done for the children and old folks. The four-corners rope-a-dope basically shut down the story for another weekend.

A quick check of mainstream websites this morning produces only this story from ABC about the pitfalls of sexting, and one in the WaPo condemning the NY Post and Politico for shoddy journalism. Nothing about Yfrog's announcement last week that their system had not been compromised, or the obvious conclusion to this whole thing--have someone check the access of his Twitter account to see if any foreign IPs logged in around the time of the tweet. So simple. After all, the ABC story noted:
"Gossip Girl" actress Lively is the latest Hollywood starlet to get caught up in a nude photo scandal. She said the iPhone pictures that surfaced last week are 100 percent fake. The FBI is investigating a ring of hackers accused of releasing photos of young celebrities including Vanessa Hudges, Scarlett Johansson and Miley Cyrus.
Doesn't a congressman rate anymore?

But then comes Breitbart. He's teasing out a story this morning involving another woman and even racier pictures. In doing so the story will re-emerge, but he may actually be giving the media a way to divert from Weiner to Brietbart himself. The poster who first noticed the tweet and retweeted it--Patriot76--had been tweeting about a coming sex scandal involving a congressman well before the Weiner story broke and claimed it was a rumor going around the web coming from a big right wing blogger. But his story doesn't jibe with his online friend "Goatsred". Enterprising mainstreamers may see this as a conspiracy even if there's no evidence thereof, giving them an opening to write stories questioning his role.

Maybe it needs to be questioned, but the photo release today should leave little doubt about the congressman, and little doubt about his eventual fate if he wore the dreaded (R) beside his title.

MORE 6/6/11

Weiner comes clean, exonerates Breitbart and PatriotUSA76. Good for him, we all have our sins and they're all the same in the eyes of God. His political sin was the cover-up and trying to blame the messengers but he says he won't resign. We'll see. His rep is going to be diminished and it'll be hard to throw him up as the TV attack dog role anymore. As to the media handling of the event, it's likely they would have never noticed if not for the blogs and especially Breitbart. And 'never noticed' doesn't mean they didn't know, only that they were forced to cover it.

MORE 6/6/11

CNN--who cut away from the Breitbart presser hijack--is now asking in their international edition whether it's "time for introspection in US Politics?" Er, were they asking the same after the "congressman from Craigslist" resigned? No CNN, the introspection should be directed at places like the Daily Kos for allowing stuff like this on their site:
NEW DETAILS: Weiner's Press Conference was FAKE!!
And....if as some commenters are saying it's a 'prank diary' the same logic applies. Yeah, and they said the right was wacky for questioning a birth cert. Keep in mind this is the same Daily Kos that hosts the Yearly Kos convention featuring past visits from Hillary and Barack, to name two. The real introspection should be focused on how we can get better people to represent congressional districts.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

James Arness, RIP

For all the Gunsmoke fans..

He embodied the American male hero of a bygone era--honest, strong, and relatively silent until he needed to say something, and when he did people listened. Yes, just a character, but Gunsmoke would not have persisted for all those years without that character.

With that here's this week's musical selection, a song from another 60s-era TV show based on what made Dodge City famous (in real life)..

Friday, June 03, 2011

Bailout Bamboozle?

As Barack Obama came into office the US auto industry was in miserable shape. President Bush had already loaned GM and Chrysler money and that was quickly running out. Many saw the move to save two of the big three automakers as another necessary evil in a world of companies 'too big to fail'.

But stepping in to save the day was one thing (as Carter did with Chrysler in 1979); hoodwinking the public over the payback and profit potential of these companies is another.

First GM tried last year to snooker the taxpayers by trumpeting that it had paid back all its debt to the government early--which was a deception the mainstream media largely ignored (they were probably chasing down a Palin rumor). CEO Ed Whitacre, who presented the partial falsehood on TV and was named the permanent CEO in early 2010, eventually resigned shortly before the company's September IPO.

Today Obama was at an auto plant in Toledo heralding his gutsy auto call that saved the US manufacturing sector and made the following remark:
"Chrysler has repaid every dime and more it owes the American taxpayer," Obama said in his speech. "And, by the way, you paid it six years ahead of schedule."
Yet in the preceding paragraph of this CNN story the reporter stated:
The Treasury will sell its 6% stake, of 98,461 shares, to Fiat for $500 million. While the repayment closes the book on the bailout, taxpayers are still about $1.4 billion short of recouping all the money given to Chrysler in 2009 to keep it afloat during bankruptcy.
So, if we're still out 1.4 billion (or some figure) how are we repaid every penny and more? What about this--was it included in the 7+ billion payback? Or is the president simply rehearsing for the next episode of the Flim-flam Man? Maybe next he'll be throwing in some ginsu knives.

Meanwhile according to this Fiat now owns more than a 50 percent stake in the company. Doesn't that technically make Chrysler a foreign car company? Hopefully they won't start outsourcing.

But OK libs, Chrysler is still there, GM is still there, the union jobs and pensions were saved, and the trickle down disaster was averted. Fiat will start pushing tiny Euro-cars on the public here. There just wasn't much choice at the time--even Bush might have gone all socialist on it. But can we really say "mission accomplished" with such lackluster stock performances and generous union contract concessions that will need to be renegotiated?

And what if? History doesn't allow alternate versions so we'll never know what would have happened had they allowed Chrysler to go through a standard bankruptcy in 2009. Cars might now be rolling off the line under Fiat or another label coming from Chrysler factories purchased and re-tooled from a bankruptcy sale. They might be better. Or many of us might be in soup lines, hard to say.

Of course had the company gone belly up the unions would have been largely cut out of the deals. Under that scenario it's doubtful anyone would have been granted as much access as the big boss, who is now squawking that he didn't get enough, just like those whiny evil rich guys.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The War on Photographers

This was on Drudge today...

First off, this young man held his constitutional ground as well as anyone. His continued filming throughout the event was pretty gutsy, only to have officers make fools of themselves when he wouldn't give in to intimidation. Putting clothing over the lens was almost comical.

Second, if citizens are someday prevented from photographing common things in the public world from public places the terrorists have definitely won. The cops mentioned 9/11, presumably referring to the surveillance videos shot in Manhattan, but they were not of transit vehicles. Do those cops believe that tourists should no longer be able to film the Empire State Building on their once-in-lifetime vacation? If so the terrorists have won.

Now, in defense of the police the intelligence cache grabbed in bin Laden's villa did mention attacks on public transportation, including railroads, so it's not surprising our law enforcement professionals might be a little ancy about dudes filming the rails right now. But that's where police work comes in. We can't have a society where police indiscriminately harass and detain law-abiding citizens and demand their papers just for videoing in the middle of a city.

MEANWHILE.. 6/3/11

While transit police harass the hearing-impaired train buff in Baltimore thieves are actually out stealing the rails right off the tracks. This one in Massachusetts, and this one in California. Desperate times and desperate measures apparently.