Saturday, October 29, 2011

WaPo vs Rubio vs Obama

Surely this has been pointed out already, but the WaPo seems to have put a lot more effort into their investigation of Marco Rubio's family narrative than they have on Obama's family narrative. Along with the major story they've had a series of followup critiques from their ombudsman, keeping the issue alive.

Meanwhile Jack Cashill and a few others could stand naked on the Capitol steps asking the WaPo to do a little digging into Obama's family history and get nothing but back page coverage in the police blotter. Guess it's more important to expose the truth about an up-and-coming conservative Latino whose name has been mentioned as a possible 2012 VP nominee than of the Commander-in-Chief, who will also be running in 2012.

Not to say they shouldn't be doing their job to root out embellishments, half-truths and lies from those who run for office, only that it should be consistent. Surely they wouldn't want anyone to think they are less than objective.

Side Tracks

Ode to the Rhythm Guitar players...

A good rhythm guy usually goes unnoticed, but if their part were to be removed from the song it would be quite noticeable.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Game Six for the Ages

Game Six---I don't believe what I just saw. What a season this has been for baseball fans, and what a ride it's been for Cardinals fans.

As to the call, like father, like son..

Hopefully game seven won't be a let-down, but it's gonna be hard to top what happened last night. I almost wish both teams would line up and shake hands after it's over before either team goes crazy.

THAT'S A WINNER!!! 10/28/11

What a series for baseball, the Midwest, and the pride of the National League and second most successful franchise in the sport, the St. Louis Cardinals. Neither team really deserved to lose, but let's face it--the Rangers got run over by destiny. The Cards got the Wild Card on the last day, got home field advantage thanks to the NL winning a rare All Star Game, then got a very fortunate one-day rainout that not only took the momentum away from the Rangers but allowed ace Chris Carpenter to get an extra day of rest and pitch 6+ strong innings. They were used to playing with their backs against the wall, and just kept doing it. The stars were aligned.

That was no more evident than with game six where the series was basically won--in my opinion and with all due respect to the Red Sox and Carlton Fisk and many others--the best World Series game ever played. Not because of the quality of play, but due to the gritty quality of the character and heart of BOTH teams who kept fighting and fighting like a pair of heavyweights going 15 rounds. Who has ever been down to a last strike twice and come back 2 runs in an elimination game?

They're in no mood now, but congrats to Nolan Ryan and the Rangers for another successful year and for building a classy team. But my personal thanks (for what they're worth) go to Tony LaRussa and John Mozeliak and the Cardinals for giving this long-time fan, who used to listen to KMOX on a transistor radio in bed under the covers (sorry Mom), the baseball thrill of a lifetime. Somewhere Jack Buck is smiling.


Here's CNN covering the victory and giving credit to a catcher who doesn't play on the Cardinals:
Another one of the stars of Friday's game was Cardinals' catcher Bengie Molina, who had two hits and knocked in two RBIs.
That's a neat trick, since Yadier Molina is the one who plays on St. Louis. His brother Benjie got a ring playing with Anaheim in 2002, as did his other brother Jose. It's a picky error to point out, but hey, it's CNN.

There were some good signage at the ballpark seen during the postgame. My favorite--"We messed with Texas" (with all due respect to my Texas friends). And of course, "baseball heaven"--one of the few remaining enclaves in football-crazy America.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tea Party Erupts...

..into the violence everyone said would happen. That's what happens when people show up at rallies with automatic weapons, after all...
In Atlanta, police in riot gear and SWAT teams arrested 53 people in Woodruff Park, many of whom had camped out there for weeks as part of a widespread movement that is protesting the wealth disparity between the rich and everyone else.

Mayor Kasim Reed had been supportive of the protests, twice issuing an executive order allowing them to remain.

Reed said on Wednesday that he had no choice to arrest them because he believed things were headed in a direction that was no longer peaceful. He cited a man seen walking the park with an AK-47 assault rifle.
These Tea Partiers must be stopped now, before someone gets hurt. Maybe it's time for another speech on civility from the "bully" pulpit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Iraq Documents, Again

The NY Times has a feature today about a trove of documents and recordings taken from Saddam Hussein's regime, featuring Saddam himself. They should not be confused with the last release of regime documents wherein the Times objected to their release online. But that was then.

This is a rather large stash and will require much reading, but it's interesting how they focus on Hussein's conspiratorial view of the region (and world) while linking to a purported Iraqi plan to trick Islamists into siding with Iraq. Since the conventional wisdom says Saddam and al Qaeda were harsh enemies and would never work together this evidence is in the Times' wheelhouse--ah ha, see they WERE enemies, Bush lied! The problem is that by admitting they were trying to trick the Islamists it leaves open the possibility they were actually working together in certain areas for mutual gain, something the Bush administration had warned.

This should not be news to those paying attention. Many were aware of Izzat al-Duri's task of reaching out to Islamists while Saddam had "Allahu Akbar" inscribed on the Iraqi flag after the Gulf War. The question is how far Iraq was willing to go in their cozying up, to include using jihadists as useful idiot proxies. Maybe the documents will confirm something (probably nothing supporting Bush or they wouldn't be publishing them). In reading several pages the transcripts have a weird scripted feel, as if the regime members were performing. Hopefully they know what they've got.

Speaking of the late Mr. Hussein (to use Times' parlance), where in the world is Ramsey Clark these days? One might think the former lawyer for Saddam would make an appearance during this whole Gaddafi mess. But wait, he did--in support of Gaddafi.

Let's see, Saddam identified himself as a "national socialist" while Gaddafi had his "little green book". Think Mr. Clark is conflicted by populist 'rebels' fighting for freedom then assassinating the courageous African leader Mr. Moammar?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good Bye Gaddaffi

Yeah, he dead.

Congrats to the rebels. They did this the hard way, a way that wouldn't have worked in Iraq and isn't working so far in Yemen or Syria. We helped, although it's unknown how many civilians we successfully protected by bombing and strafing--hopefully Amnesty International and the other lefty war groups will have those numbers soon.

And too bad they didn't capture him alive so the world could see the trial, which could have allowed some revelations about his connections here, there and yonder. But so it goes. Another dictator ends his reign in a hole. Now the international community has to figure out their role in helping to stand up the new country, and the Libyans have to figure out what kind of country they want. Hopefully it's one that will stand with the west in fighting terrorism/extremism.

Oh, and before anyone goes on a victory parade of accolades for our leader, they should remember this.

GIDDY 10/20/11

We came, we saw, he died. Don't mess with Hillary the warmonger neocon!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Clowns to the Left, Jokers to the Right

That's what Decision 2012 is beginning to feel like. When the assumed winner of last night's debate is Newt Gingrich only because he didn't lowrate himself by engaging in petty bickering with his fellow running mates (although he got a bit testy when Mitt accused him of originating the health care mandate), there may be some trouble. Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment rattles hollow and distant in the tunnel of time.

Who else got the feeling that Perry was just a few additional harsh words from Mitt away from turning the debate into an episode of the Jerry Springer show? Romney was also flustered to the point of actually looking human for the first time. So he probably came out ahead on the exchange, by default. Meanwhile Santorum comes across sort of like an internet joker trying to stir things up for attention while Cain remained composed despite attacks designed to make him look like a moron. He's impressive, but keeps making goofy mistakes.

Sigh. Yet the alternative remains clear.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Flight!

St. Louis wins the battle of the beers (as Yankee fans switch channels and pretend the season is already over and they won by default). The Cardinals, who squeaked into the Wild Card on the last day of the season thanks to a Phillies sweep of a hollowed out Braves, went on to bite the hand that fed them--the best team in the NL--with an NLDS game five 1-0 shutout over those same Phils. Tonight they polished off the second best team in the NL in a slugfest, a series where the starting pitchers never went beyond the 5th inning. Now they get home field advantage in the World Series courtesy of that very same team's slugger, whose home run helped win the All Star Game. What a bizarre season.

Did I mention the Yankees are out of it?

Oh well, extra baseball is good, at least for real baseball fans who don't live on the east coast. Onward ho to to face the Texas hombres of George W. Bush and Nolan Ryan. The Cards are going to need more than a rally squirrel, most likely.

And yes, it's a mid-America World Series, no doubt a ratings nightmare for Fox TV with an audience consisting of mainly flyover country bitter clinger redneck George W. Bush. Bring it on!


Drudge has a story suggesting the local chapter are considering some kind of occupy action at Busch Stadium, possibly to include a streaker. Maybe the Occupy Wall Streeters have realized that the last two teams standing in baseball--St. Louis and Texas, are owned or associated with rich evil neocons. The Cardinals are owned by Yale grad Bill DeWitt, good friends with George W. Bush--himself the former owner of the Rangers. Texas is now owned by Republican Nolan Ryan. Maybe they can get a new truther movement going.

Meanwhile First Lady Michelle Obama will be in attendance Wednesday on behalf of military families, and of course to witness any streaking activity by her husband's newly adopted movement. No word on who will throw out the first pitch. And reportedly there's also a game.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Terror, Con't

As the skepticism grows about the far-fetched Iranian assassination plot evidently the administration has decided to reveal a few more details. The WaPo's Peter Finn relays the information from "officials", who explain that Arbabsiar had a failed marriage and financial problems in Texas and had "moved" to Iran:
This year, the 56-year-old Arbabsiar, running from a series of failed businesses and a collapsing marriage, returned to Iran to live. And Shahlai apparently decided that he had found another proxy to strike at two of Iran’s principal enemies: the United States and Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, is a key foreign policy adviser to King Abdullah.

U.S. officials say that Shahlai hoped that Arbabsiar, by virtue of his time in Texas, might be able to get in touch with Mexican drug traffickers who would kidnap Jubeir. The plan allegedly later evolved into assassinating him in Washington.
It goes on to say that Shahlai (the guy behind the Karbala ambush in Iraq) gave him the wherewithal to return to the US and look up contacts in the Mexican drug gangs to pull off the plot. Supposedly Arbabsiar thought the nephew of a female friend was connected with Zetas and that turned out to be our mole.

Early reports did not emphasize that Arbabsiar had 'moved' to Iran, they just painted him as a happy-go-lucky Texan named Jack. If he had indeed moved back home that certainly could explain an unpatriotic turn. Also, "Jack" was married to a Latina. So it's not out of the question he could have some Mexican connections. It's also not out of the question the US knew he was a cousin of Shahlai and were watching him closely when he returned to Iran. Or even deeper Clancy-esque stuff. No doubt money was involved, maybe on both sides.

None of which gets Iran off the hook or removes their snookering. People ask why they would risk working with Arbabsiar--good question--but perhaps part of the overall thinking in Tehran was to create the image that the Mexican drug gangs were in league with Iran to create more terror and fear in America. If so, well it's ashamed it backfired in their fat faces. But whatever the rationale this plot looks more and more reality-based and suggests the Mullahs might be getting desperate. Let's hope they don't do what desperate men often do.

Meanwhile the Drone Contingency Operation to combat man-caused disasters is going quite well. Ah, remember the days when the Global War on Terror was just a bumper sticker under George W Bushitler who kept terrorists locked up in secret eastern European gulags? Well, we've moved on to kill, kill, kill! Hey, it's a war. Er, a contingency. Whatever, we're kicking ass.

Of late they've knocked out a major Haggani leader and of note, the Blind Sheikh Omar Rahman's son. He was just recently around Tahrir Square stirring up trouble with the Brotherhood. And this morning we learn that Awlaki's son was turned into desert in south Yemen. That's a lot to put on a bumper sticker.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another War

Way to cut to the chase, MSNBC...

The fightin' advisers! But it's accurate. From the White House press announcement:
In furtherance of the Congress's stated policy, I have authorized a small number of combat equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield. I believe that deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter LRA efforts in central Africa.
Exactly how this relates to US national security is fuzzy at the moment, as is the idea of sending combat troops to support US foreign policy. Of course the left is beyond outraged--look at all the protests across the country that have already pooped up! But it's good there was some kind of congressional blessing this time, which is now apparently the sole responsibility of global warming denier and noted flat-earther Jim Inhofe. So it's all good.

MORE 10/15/11

Speaking of Obama's claim about national security, Uganda was the site of a terror attack during the 2010 World Cup where several Americans were killed..
November 6, 2010: Al Shabaab, the Somalia militant Islamist group, once again threatened Uganda with new terrorist attacks. Al Shabaab is trying to force Uganda to withdraw its peacekeeping contingent from the African Union's AMISOM peacekeeping operation in Somalia. Al Shabaab took credit for the July 11, 2010 terror attacks in Kampala. A man identified as an Al Shabaab senior commander recently threatened revenge attacks for what he said were violent acts committed by Ugandan troops in Somalia. The Ugandan government continues to hold 34 people in prison for alleged involvement in the July terror attacks.
Yet the same link begins as follows:
November 19, 2010: The government now estimates that the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has only 200 fighters. Other sources put its strength at 350 to 400. The LRA remains dangerous, having murdered around 2000 civilians in the last two years. They have hit unprotected villages in the Congo, Central African Republic, and southern Sudan. This is why many insist the government's campaign has failed. That depends on what you call failure, at least if considered from the Ugandan perspective. The LRA's ranks have been substantially diminished. In 2002 and 2003, LRA strength ran from 4,000 to 5,000 fighters. At that time the LRA had bases in southern Sudan but also maintained active cadres in northern Uganda. Northern Uganda has now been relatively free of LRA cadres for around three years. Indeed, the LRA is now a regional terrorist and criminal problem. That's terrible, and no one argues the organization should not be stopped. The LRA commits heinous crimes. But from a political perspective this means the remnant LRA has more enemies. That's fine with the Ugandan government.
So unless things have gone dramatically downhill in less than a year it appears Obama has reasonable confidence he can jump in and help finish off the LRA, with perhaps some leverage to battle the AQ affiliates. Not sure why he can't make the case this involves Al Shabaab if indeed it does, since they are an affiliate of the enemy who attacked us on 9/11, but evidently there's a reason. There's a lot of oil in the Sudan, and China gets most of it.

Cain in Memphis

About 1000-1500 people, according to the local paper. A 35 minute speech, well delivered. Here are some shots..

The Cain bus..

The media, and the Tea Party flag, were there...

The 999 signs were also there...

Cain takes the stage..

..and among other things announced he was born in Memphis and his aunt was in the crowd. Later he wise-cracked about the black people in the crowd, calling them Tea Party racists and also said his teleprompter fell off the bus on the way in. He didn't need one.

Faster and more Furious

This is rather fascinating, considering it's coming from CNN..

So it's pretty clear Holder was not truthful in his first appearance and that a subpoena to testify under oath could be a major problem. The question many are asking is whether the release of the Iran murder plot details (remember, the arrest occurred in September) was non-coincidental or a cover/distraction from this Holder issue. There's no doubt about the timing. As to the meat of the case, one would assume they have tapes and transcripts and some method to the madness in releasing something so sensitive requiring a public response.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Iran Sting

Several questions on the Iran thing from a stream of consciousness perspective..

Plausible? Of course. The Departments of State and Treasury only recently accused Iran of harboring AQ terrorists. Iran has been running operations for years using the Revolutionary Guard and Qods Forces, with a proxy via Hizb'allah, the Saudi branch of that outfit once killing a number of our soldiers in Khobar Towers. So of course they could consider knocking off a Saudi diplomat in the US using Los Zetas proxies.

But why? What was to be gained from a hit on the Saudi Ambassador? Were they trying to start a regional war? If so, why use a drug cartel cutout? Will there be a new truther movement on this?

Good fortune.. how likely is it that the Iranian-American tasked with the plot would stumble onto Los Zetas, and specifically onto a DEA mole? Was this perhaps some kind of 'good deed' done by the cartel to make points? And how likely is it that Iran would trust someone with such a plot who was not an intelligence agent? Or maybe we know all their agents.

NSA. Were they listening to this Iranian-American's calls? Is their a civil rights violation in that? When did they know he was involved in the plot?

CIA. Where were they? The event was carried out via foreign operators involving a belligerent country, targeting an Ambassador. We must presume there was CIA involvement, but perhaps we shouldn't.

Timing. Yes, Holder was on the verge of being subpoenaed on Fast and Furious when suddenly comes this plot involving a Mexican drug cartel. Interesting, if nothing else. But Holder has an interesting past. Also, it's fortunate that A'jad just released the two 'hikers' held in Iranian custody. Surely this story would have never seen daylight had they still been locked up. So who actually paid the million dollar ranso, er, bail?

Revenge. Let's speculate wildly that Obama released this story to knock attention away from Fast and Furious, Solyndra, his defeated jobs bill, etc. That would be the ultimate 'wag the dog' since it would require a public indictment of Iran. They actually promised to take 'appropriate action', something we haven't been able to do since Beirut. So Iran can't be too worried. By the way, imagine Bush or Cheney making this bust and then saying they would take appropriate action. The lefties and the crazies would be apoplectic, and Joe Biden would already be urging the House to start drafting the impeachment articles.

So it sounds like a very risky move just to score points, unless 1) this president is really desperate, 2) it's on the up and up, the timing is an innocent coincidence, and they hope this will put international pressure and embarrassment on Iran so they can reach a deal on the nuke program, or 3) this kills two national security birds with one stone. The other bird? Who knows, unless it's a way of telegraphing that certain other "birds" will soon be flying.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Columbus

With each passing year he seemingly becomes a more reviled figure in the history of western civilization. Here's one assessment of a man for whom we celebrate today's holiday. He was just as human as anyone else, but also intelligent, devoted and courageous, going where no European man had gone before. As the writer states, it was the Europeans who 'discovered' the rest of the world in the middle ages; the inhabitants of the West Indies discovered Columbus--and the rest of the world they never knew existed--when he sailed up...
They [the crew] could stand it no longer. They grumbled and complained of the long voyage, and I reproached them for their lack of spirit, telling them that, for better or worse, they had to complete the enterprise on which the Catholic Sovereigns [Isabel and Fernando] had sent them. I cheered them on as best I could, telling them of all the honors and rewards they were about to receive. I also told the men that it was useless to complain, for I had started out to find the Indies and would continue until I had accomplished that mission, with the help of Our Lord.7
Columbus was in some ways the beginning of the enlightenment period, as his journey was like a capstone of the Reconquista of al-Andulusia and an end to the western expansion of the Muslim caliphate. Had Ferdinand and Isabella not come back to power when they did Columbus doesn't set sail and America--and maybe the world--is probably a different place today.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Hello, Nancy

There's so much wrong with this clip it's not even funny--not only from Pelosi but from the doe-eyed reporter letting her get away with it. But OK, Miss Nancy is still rolling with the unproven meme about a congressman being 'spit on' by a Tea Party protester in DC and thinks the OWS folks are basically patriots for simply expressing their voice as the constitution allows. Time to call up the wayback machine for a minute...and not so wayback at that..

You see, the OWS people are simple patriots speaking their mind, but Americans she doesn't like are robotic fascist astroturfers..

Maybe she doesn't realize there's an internet. Or maybe she doesn't care, knowing that only bloggers and talkers like Limbaugh will be calling up such relics from her past while mainstream reporters will be struggling hard to understand why those drums and tambourines are being beaten so loudly, and how the GOP was responsible. As Herman Cain says, anything but focusing on the actual problem. BTW, Cain is very poised but he needs to be--these same people will soon be calling him a racist without pausing one second to consider the absurdity.

MORE 10/10/11

This comment jumped out at me from a Daily Mail roundup up of the festivities:
'We realise that Occupy Wall Street is calling for systemic change. We are honoured to join you in this call to take back our nation and democracy' -Ben & Jerry's
Ah yes, Ben and Jerry's...which is now owned by Unilever. In other words Ben and Jerry sold out, just like capitalist pigs. As to the support statement, it's likely just a marketing ploy. Who are the protesters going to "take back the country" from? The Democrats hold a majority of power and Obama was elected to take back the country. But it's the symbolism that counts, not the substance.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Contrasting the Grassroots

CNN, trying to figure out what the Tea Parties were mad about..

CNN, trying to figure out what the Occupy Wall Streeters are mad about..

Okay, CNN yelling at a protesters seen as hostile to Obama while propping up protesters rooted in socialism is a dog bites man. What's interesting is that both videos show some crosscutting bogeymen--mainly big money, ie, Wall St., bankers, etc, except their solutions are 180 degrees apart. And both groups claim they don't have a political side, yet both sides clearly do. At what point will some mainstream media person parrot a cutesy, perversion-related nickname given to the OWS crowd? I'll take never for 100, Alex.

None of this should not be surprising based on history--the same happened during the 30s, and Obama is probably the most liberal president (and administration) since FDR. Fortunately America's free market republic came through that period relatively intact after the war. Will it this time?

BY THE WAY... 10/8/11

CNN may not be able to figure out what they want, but to me this says it all:
Mike Keane, who owns O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub, said that the theft of soap and toilet paper had soared and that one protester had used the bathroom but had failed to properly use the toilet. Both Ms. Tzortzatos, owner of the Panini and Company Cafe, and Mr. Keane said the protesters rarely bought anything, yet hurled curses when they were told that only paying customers could use their bathrooms.
They think they deserve free stuff. It's not hard to imagine how some of these folks might react if a banker came up and took a dump on their tent or their IPad, but they likely wouldn't learn their own lesson. Cussing at small businesspeople who get annoyed by disrespectful behavior equates to a lack of respect for the roots of American liberty itself, which means pursuing happiness through the fruits of one's labor then protecting what has been earned. Perhaps CNN can discover whether it's a theme. Actually, perhaps CNN should be trying to discover who might be trying to capitalize on these crazy idealistic kids. Crisis, go to waste, etc.

Side Tracks

Friday, October 07, 2011

Where Speculation Ends

Jack Cashill points to a kind of truthery indy film project called "Who is Rich Blee", the brainchild of two filmmakers on the trail of the two west coast 9/11 hijackers al Hazmi and al Mihdhar, and has the temerity to ask the question "what about Iraq"? Despite all the official denials that Saddam had anything whatsoever to do with anything related to either terrorists or threats to America, in this case it's a good question (Mr. Blee apparently took over as head of the bin Laden unit, or 'Alec Station', after Michael Scheuer in 1999).

The film centers around the 'terrorist summit' held in 2000 at Kuala Lumpur in which both of the above-mentioned hijackers were present. Also thought to be in attendance--Cole bomber al-Nashiri, Hambali, and KSM. According to History Commons, so was an Iraqi greeter Ahmad Hikmat Shakir.

The filmmakers interviewed Richard Clarke, who paints a rather weird picture in talking to these two young filmmakers who look like they could have just left the Occupy Wall Street protest. But Clarke spins a fantastic tale--seems he wasn't briefed about the two terror summit attendees coming to America, and he believes the CIA was trying to keep the intel under their hats so they could flip them and get someone inside AQ.

And you know what? Maybe that's not so fantastic. The FBI botched the first attempt on the WTC when they lost their mole back in 1993, so perhaps the CIA felt they were not going to lose these two to G-men. Clarke goes on to mention that CIA finally must have figured out they had bitten off more than they could chew as they finally informed others in government on September 4 that two AQ terrorists were possibly in America, but didn't provide enough info so Clarke himself could have prevented 9/11. Clarke jokes in the interview about waterboarding Tenet and company, but would he have been in favor of waterboarding the two AQ guys had we caught them on September 5, 2001? Surely they wouldn't have given up the plot, and it's unknown as to whether UBL would have issued a stand-down order.

He does seem to have one good point regarding Tenet not telling Rice about the two hijackers in their hair-on-fire, red alarm bells ringing meeting that occurred in August 2001 (mentioned in his memoirs and many news reports). But let's be fair. Hindsight is 20/20. If the CIA was trying to get a mole inside AQ they were literally doing their jobs. Clarke seems to be bashing them for not knowing the future.

Then again Clarke said bin Laden might boogie to Baghdad if we missed him in Afghanistan in 1998. He said that Iraqi scientists were probably working for UBL at al-Shifa. And he said Terry Nichols might have gotten help for his Oklahoma City redneck bomb by talking to AQ bomb makers on his trips to Indonesia. And he spun wildly about TWA 800. But all those speculations, especially regarding Saddam, are water under his bridge nowadays, apparently.

What Cashill noticed, and what's interesting to me as well is how the wild speculation always seems to stop at the water's edge when it comes to Saddam nowadays. The filmmakers seem to have little curiosity about Shakir, who appears to have been an Iraqi Intelligence Officer. What was an IIS agent doing greeting the AQ terrorists in Malaysia? When stopped on his way back to Baghdad he had contact information on his person for Abdul Yasin's brother. Abdul Yasin was one of the bomb mixers on the first attempt to knock the towers down in 1993. He was last seen in Iraq, just like Shakir. It's possible Saddam was tracking the movements of AQ just like our CIA, wondering what the hell they were up to. It would be reasonable to assume he got the answer with a mole at the meeting, or in a worse case scenario, gave instructions.

Another participant at the meeting was Yazid Sufaat, a biologist who was tasked with producing WMDs. Sufaat was picked up after 9/11 but amazingly, he was let out of prison in 2008. Why? Did they flip him and send him back out as an agent or do they think he was reformed? Zawahiri is still out there, and Ayman was the germ man of AQ. Terrorists from his Egyptian Islamic Jihad group were called to Baghdad before our invasion. Hope they know what they're doing.

Another name not mentioned by the film, at least yet, is Anwar al-Awlaki. He was an imam in San Diego where the two hijackers lighted after the terror summit then later moved to the Falls Church, VA mosque about the same time the hijackers did. Since everyone is speculating wildly why not speculate that Awlaki was actually working for us as a mole providing intel to the alphabets, who burned us on 9/11? Then turned? Rep Peter King was investigating ties between him and the plot right before Anwar got dead. But there's an old saying about dead men..

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Railroad Strike Threatened, No News?

News flash, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have threatened to walk off the job at midnight tonight, possibly paralyzing the nation's railroads if the Obama administration doesn't appoint a Presidential Emergency Board to stop it. There is almost zero national coverage.

Yeah, the explanation is that the administration probably will send it to a board, but isn't it still newsworthy? If airline pilots were in the same boat would the press ignore it?

Obama spent the day demonizing bankers and tacitly approving the quasi-Marxist protesters occupying Wall St. He even had a "rare" presser today but the baby bird media didn't have a chance to ask about it, even if they desired, due to his use of the filibuster in answering about six questions over an hour. Better to spend the time with the usual litany of blame shifting towards the Tea Party, Europe, Arab protesters, weather events and Bush.

Here's the Brotherhood:
“It is unfortunate that, in this time of record industry profits, the carriers insist upon attempting to take advantage of a weakened general economy to further line its corporate pockets at the expense of the railroad workers whose labor generates those profits,” Pierce said. “And it is shameful that the carriers have chosen to specifically target those railroad workers who are most vulnerable — older workers and the sick and injured — to shoulder a disproportionate share of the demanded givebacks.”
That's right up Obama's alley! Well, except for the fact these guys already have jobs and are wanting more. So he'll likely be forced to create the emergency board to in effect shut down their strike because a railroad stoppage during the peak shipping season and during a down economy would be devastating to Recovery Summer (which has suddenly become Crisis Autumn, or pass this damn bill now you wingnuts--or we'll turn more hipster protesters loose on capitalism).

MORE 10/7/11

Not that this story and it's predictable conclusion should have been big news, but the only coverage seems local from one Kansas City paper. Threatened transportation strikes used to garner at least a few national headlines. Can't decide whether that had something to do with railroads being almost invisible in this country anymore or that the big media didn't want to embarrass the president for having to shut down a union strike, or report that the BLE members were not satisfied with a 17 percent raise proposal.

The New Decider Guy

Bush once told reporters he was the "Decider Guy". That was his fancy way of telling them where the buck stopped.

The current occupant doesn't seem to get that concept of responsibility:
American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

The panel was behind the decision to add Awlaki, a U.S.-born militant preacher with alleged al Qaeda connections, to the target list. He was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen late last month.

The role of the president in ordering or ratifying a decision to target a citizen is fuzzy. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to discuss anything about the process.
Bold added to point out that Obama didn't actually kill al-Awlaki, some fuzzy non-transparent committee did. Not that Anwar didn't deserve a hellfire for breakfast, but where is the decider guy on this?

No endzone dancing, no spiking of the football. And apparently no accountability or transparency.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Sheer Nonsense

Here's Harry Reid, proposing a 5 percent surtax for the next ten years on those making over a million per year, to pay for Obama's jobs bill. Remember, Obama was planning to pay for it by raising taxes on Dick Cheney, or big oil, whichever was determined to be more evil, until Democratic Oil Senators like Mary Landrieu balked:
“I applaud Senator Reid’s leadership in finding a way to pay for President Obama’s jobs package that doesn’t onerously target a single sector of our economy that is critical to our economic recovery and energy security,” Landrieu said. “The oil and gas industry contributes billions of dollars to our economy each year and supports more than 9 million American jobs, including 300,000 in Louisiana. I am pleased that Leader Reid heard our concerns and has taken a much-improved approach to paying for this important legislation.”
Meanwhile, the hack WaPo story that included that quote includes this one:
One of the few groups opposed to increasing taxes on those earning more than $1 million dollars a year is tea-party supporters.
Which is odd, because in the NY Times writeup on Reid's Class Envy Tax it says the following:
“It’s interesting to note that independents, Democrats and Republicans and even the Tea Party agree it’s time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes,” Mr. Reid said Wednesday.
In other words, they are just pulling this crap out of their collective arses.

Let's face it, the Democrats are forced to stick with Keynesian fixes, which haven't worked, which means the economy won't come back before 2012. The only thing left is to pull a class envy card and make it appear that it's not Obama and Keynes failing to bring back jobs, it's the Tea Party of No.

And there are enough morons in this country who will fall for it.

Hell, there are enough people out of work and desperately wishing for any miracle out of Washington that it will work. Hence the poll--75 percent believe millionaires aren't paying 'their fair share' (as determined by Democrats). And the GOP has never been good at refudiating this stuff. Can Herman Cain?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Cheney Again

So it appears Dick Cheney is siding with Obama on Awlaki, but at the same time he's asking for an apology for the way Obama trashed the Bush administration on their pursuit of the terrorists. Talking about 'heads exploding', what's Obama going to do, disavow Cheney?

Speaking of Cheney's memoirs, I'm about 3/4ths of the way through and haven't really seen as many rolling heads as advertised, although he does seem to have an opinion on just about everyone, not always flattering. One thing of interest is his description of the Plame affair.

If we can believe his version--that he asked his briefer to get more info about a report of Iraqi interest in Niger uranium but never received a follow-up briefing, then wondered what the hell was going on when Wilson's allegations began coming out over a year later--it brings up a couple of interesting points. One, the CIA analysts who saw Wilson's report claimed it actually strengthened the case against Saddam due to a 1999 trip made by a delegation of Iraqis (to a country whose largest export is yellowcake uranium).

And as Cheney says, the 1999 trip was actually the basis of the intelligence that went into Bush's "16 words" in the 2003 State of the Union speech that the administration later backpeddled and apologized about. Cheney describes Condi Rice as 'tearful' as she later admitted he was correct in his advice not to apologize (what a gentleman--we'll see what Condi says in her book). But as he points out, the UK's Butler Report said the Niger intelligence was "well-founded" and in the end the apology was what started the whole "Bush lied, people died" meme the Democrats tried to ride back to power.

The sticking point seems to be whether Cheney was updated on his request or not. If not then who or whom in the CIA decided not to brief Cheney on what Wilson didn't (and did) find in Africa? Did they intentionally withhold the 1999 information in hopes Bush wouldn't use it to invade Iraq, but later after the apology (and no WMD stockpiles in Iraq) use it against the administration by concocting the whole Joe Wilson thing with the help of certain administration and media figures? Were we actually watching a bloodless coup in motion run by ideologues, or were they patriots? We still don't know for sure. But certain people do know.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Side Tracks

No Endzone Dancing?

Jake Tapper grilled White House flaksman Jay Carney about the demise of al-Awlaki today, to which Carney replied "I've got nothing" when asked about the details surrounding the death.

That's quite a change from the near nonstop gutsy call coverage of the UBL raid. Wonder why they are being so mysterious? Tapper kept pressing the constitutional authority, ie, now that he's dead why not release some details, but still nothing. Strange. Or perhaps there are more operations in the wings or they are being more careful to protect the operators this time.

Civil libertarians have a pretty good argument on this one--from whence comes Obama's authority to extra-judicially kill folks--but then again, so does everyone else who points out that it's pretty clear about his terrorist leanings. It's not like his name wasn't on emails to jihadi sleepers and or he didn't blare jihad talk on the web or his organization didn't take credit for downing a Boeing 747 or was not demonstrably involved in the package bomb plot. In reality he was on the top of a CIA most wanted list and his face was on Rewards for Justice and the FBI list.

Wait, his face was NOT on RFJ or the FBI lists. There was no reward for him. Nor was the face of the "Inspire" twerp Khan. Maybe a little weird at that. Surely there's a reason. Maybe Tapper can ask Carney next week.

MORE 10/1/11

First update, I can't believe it's October. Second, Debbie has more on Awlaki, including a story indicating that he wasn't the leader of AQAP, just one of their best outreach men. Still a blow to the western face of jihad, especially with the addition of Khan. Third, here's the Huffpo explaining how a secret DoJ letter (finding) authorized the targeting and accounted for "a due process in war". So now, after all these years, we are officially at war. Some of us have known that for awhile now.

Fourth, more good news--NATO/Afghan forces captured a senior member of the Haqqani network in Afghanistan last Tuesday, another guy named Khan, announcing it this morning after confirmation (and after blowing away Awlaki). Looking at several stories it's not clear where he was taken or whether the HIG group will get involved with any interrogations. Since he's the uncle of the current leaders of the network he should know a lot, which highlights why it's not always a good thing to simply blow people away.