Sunday, December 30, 2012

Countdown to Zero

The networks are in a tizzy.  Fox News even has a fiscal cliff countdown clock.  Leave it to Washington to mess up New Years Eve (well, for those paying attention).  I still have no idea what will happen but continue leaning towards an butt-covering drop kick into March after the proper posturing.  Either way Obama wins.  That's why he went on Meet the Press today.

And what an interview!   David Gregory was masterful---at asking the first question.  His follow-ups were meager but not unlike anything seen over the last four years (with the possible exception of O'Reilly's Super Bowl interviews).  Hey, was David actually crying at one point?  It must have been an emotional experience with all those references to Lincoln.

The Benghazi question/answer sequence was typical.  Gregory asks about it, the president points to the accountability report (which is mostly a McGuffin) so he can ensure that all those unintentional clumsy missteps from the underlings will be addressed by Hillary and hey, they've already come down hard on four State employees for it.

Possible follow-ups: "How is Hillary doing?  Have you spoken to her?  When will she be back to work?  Will she testify?  Are the 4 people at State fired, demoted, suspended?  Do you agree they were the only ones responsible?  Why was the Ambassador in Benghazi with minimal security anyway, since it wasn't an embassy or even a consulate? You called it a bump in the road, have we restaffed the Benghazi operation yet?  How long will it take the FBI to discover who did this?  You said there would be retribution, can you tell us in what fashion, especially if the FBI finds links to Iraqi or Egyptian terrorists?   

Instead, David asked whether O left his pal Susan Rice twisting in the breeze.  And the answer was a politician's reply--Rice didn't know anything more than what she was told and the criticism was 'political'. 

Possible follow-ups: "Why was Ambassador Rice sent out there if she wasn't the expert?  Didn't you know it was a terrorist attack early on?  You told Romney that in the second debate with Candy Crowley and the accountability report made it clear there was no protest, which was known early on.  You also told 60 Minutes on September 12th that it was not the same type of thing as Cairo, which was not broadcast on their show.  So why did your administration continue blaming the video? 

But of course, none of those questions were asked.  You all know the reasons why.   Anyway, onwards towards the GOP-created cliff.  Give the president his due--he has taken advantage of what has been given.  And the gift continues to give.

COUNTDOWN TO -1?    12/31/12

Obama's afternoon presser was odd considering he had been teasing that a deal was close.   Then he comes out with guns blazing.  So WTFork?  Well, one could say he's a socialist Marxist Kendonesian commie and such, or maybe this is the best indication yet of his strategy--go over the cliff so the Dems can come back in 2013 and bring a 'tax cut' bill to the floor that stops at 250K, forcing the GOP to vote against tax cuts.  If the GOP dawdles the rest of the day and passes the bill tomorrow in the House--after taxes have officially gone up--it would take away that very effective bullet from Obama's arsenal.

Also, since the time between now and then includes New Years Eve and New Years Day, with few paying attention to politics, Obama, Reid and Pelosi won't have much time or audience to hit the media and accuse the GOP of going off the cliff.  It could work!  


There's no real fiscal cliff on the sequestration.  Why?  Because the government is operating under a 'Continuing Resolution' through the end of March, meaning all agencies are currently funded at previous rates and would not be subject to any draconian cuts until after March.  And hey!  The debt ceiling expires in March.  So.... bottom line, don't get fooled by any rhetoric on cuts to the military or Head Start, etc, they cannot take effect until after March. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Guns and the Media

Yesterday Instapundit pointed to an Ed Driscoll column regarding the major media's apparent advocacy for gun control and other big issues, as opposed to simply reporting on them--like reporters.

Bias comes in many forms, from the outright advocacy Driscoll mentions to simply not covering stories that shine a poor light on the cause.  Most conservatives are convinced of this, however many on the left disagree and say there is no media bias whatsoever aside from Fox News.

So here's something from the MRC archives on media bias circa 2005, taken from a University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy survey of 300 print and TV media figures on a variety of topics. Not only did it confirm that a large majority voted for Kerry over Bush, it also contained this nugget:
When asked about the Bill of Rights, nearly all journalists deemed “essential” the right of a fair trial (97%), a free press (96%), freedom of religion (95%) and free speech (92%), and 80 percent called “essential” the judicially-derived “right to privacy.” But only 25 percent of the journalists termed the “right to own firearms” essential, while 42 percent called that right “important but not essential,” and 31 percent of journalists rejected the Second Amendment as “not important.”
Bold added to confirm that our advocacy media is just continuing to do what they do best.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The VRWC Strikes Again

Have no fear right wingers, Secretary Clinton is apparently fine and dandy and will return to work next week, according to a note from the Dept of State sent to "The Cable", Foreign Policy Magazine's blog.
Outrage over the charge that Clinton has been misleading the American public about her illness extends well past Washington. The NFL Players Association, apparently concerned about the seeming trivialization of similar injuries, felt compelled to weigh in and admonish those who would downplay the secretary's ordeal.
Now wait, the 'outrage', such that it was, consisted mainly of mere curiosity based a dearth of information.  Despite writer Josh Rogin's best attempts to make this into something from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (VRWC) it really wasn't anything more than a person named Clinton suddenly coming down with a mystery stomach bug and concussion just when it was time to testify under oath about an event that could put a dent in her long-term chances to become president.   Some remember the last time the VRWC defense was evoked.

Besides, Mr. Rogin (formerly of the Brookings Institution) is deceptively vague with his timeline. Since he says Mrs Clinton will be returning to work next week one assumes she's fit for duty (another consideration).  She was scheduled to take this holiday week off anyway so when did she actually become fit for duty?  Last week?  Right now?  What's the latest doctor's assessment?  Rogin mentions her team of doctors announced on December 15 that..
Bolton's accusation came three days after Clinton's doctors, Lisa Bardack of the Mt. Kisco Medical Group and Gigi El-Bayoumi of the George Washington University, issued a detailed statement about the secretary's injuries. "Secretary Clinton developed a stomach virus, leading to extreme dehydration, and subsequently fainted. Over the course of this week we evaluated her and ultimately determined she had also sustained a concussion. We recommended that the Secretary continue to rest and avoid any strenuous activity, and strongly advised her to cancel all work events for the coming week," they said.
He says she 'fell ill' on December 7; was that when the fall occurred or the stomach flu first started?  He says she was on an IV drip--when did it start and stop?  Why wasn't she in the hospital?  Did she have medical personnel in the home?  When did they leave?  According to the above quote her doctors--on Saturday the 15th (a strange day for an official announcement and coincidentally the day after the Newtown shooting), 'strongly advised her to cancel all work events for the coming week', which presumably was the week of December 17-21.  One assumes the concussion event occurred on December 7.  According to Rogin's ABC link from the 17th:
A U.S. official tells ABC News that Clinton is feeling more “like herself” and would like to go back to work, but doctors have advised it may take several weeks and want the secretary to rest. That is standard for concussion treatment.
An intrepid reporter unafraid of offending government officials might ask the State Department press spokesperson about all of this during their semi-daily briefing but they've apparently taken the week off, too, which also means nobody can ask about the status of the four employees mentioned as being sacked over the Benghazi report (which came out on the 19th, a day before Mrs Clinton was scheduled to testify).

According to the NY Post (one of those flaming right wing sites mentioned by Rogin) those State employees really haven't technically been sacked at all, merely reshuffled.  Surely the NY Times would like to know seeing as how they reported on them as four firings.   But none other than Josh Rogin himself has already partially answered that question (1:25 mark)--only one has 'resigned' and the others are on administrative leave. The Post is saying the one who resigned only resigned a portfolio but not his job at State, we await confirmation.   

Anywho, it looks like Mrs. Clinton will have a full plate during the three workdays next week.  The Senate has vowed not to vote on confirming Kerry until Clinton testifies, so presumably she will announce the dates and clear up these other loose ends before bidding adieu.   

MORE  12/28/12

Captain Ed sums up the situation at Hot Air, including some of the backstory before Mrs. Clinton came down with her stomach ailment.

More interesting is the speculation over what might occur if several GOP Senators stand behind their threat to hold John Kerry's confirmation hearing until she testifies.   The Captain rightly points out that this might cause a problem for Kerry pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham--remember, Hillary was somewhat a part of that little friendly group when she was a senator.   So Obama/Clinton might try to play that angle to pressure other GOP senators into backing down, which might include testimony limited to certain questions or other niceties.

But if the other senators play hardball Obama can always make hay with the crisis, going on TV to chastise the Republican Party as a pack of wild-eyed obstructionists, all of which would be greatly magnified if we go off the fiscal precipice.

Matter of fact, perhaps this Clinton deal is the best harbinger yet of what might happen on the cliff.  If they want to protect Hillary and her future chances--go off the cliff.  That will suck all the air out of any other Washington story, rendering the chances of seeing a hearing anytime soon about the same as seeing a report from the two US Attorneys about administration leaking over Yemen and Iran. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Side Tracks

Dedicated to Bill O'Reilly..

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cliff Diving

Might as well weigh in,  assuming everything is shut down until the middle of next week. 

The instinct is to call for a punt.

Ergo, pass an 11th hour stopgap measure to keep everything the same until March when the newly elected Congress can take it up.  Besides, that's when the debt ceiling comes up anyway.

But thinking about it further that would favor the Democrats.  In March they will have more members in both the House and Senate and a frustrated electorate sick to death of congressional inaction.   That may also bring in the possibility of another credit rating hit. 

Thing is, the hard-line Hannity Repubs do not show any signs of bending.  They may not want the punt.  Which means we go off the cliff because there's no way Obama will cave completely.   Yes, they would blame Boehner, the Tea Party, Grover Norquist, Wayne LaPierre and even Bush, but Obama would get some blame as well for jetting off to Hawaii instead of 'getting it done'.  He doesn't want any blame.

Besides, going off the cliff would be insane for America's accountants and tax professionals while shaking the markets and causing a paycheck shock across the American landscape.  People would be forced to revisit the 90s (say what, those were the rates under Clinton?).  Such a shock wouldn't really help the Hill-Bill legacy since the GOP would not fail to remind everyone the Bush tax cuts weren't really just for the rich.

So how about an 11th hour bill raising taxes on those making over 750,000, made possible by crossover Democrats and some moderate Republicans (and perhaps costing Boehner his Speakership) but getting it done with a one year debt limit increase and some concurrent real spending cuts? 

Hey, it's just a WAG--I really have no clue what will happen and haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in years.


Newt not fear the cliff

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's an Insult, Alright

Here's the president explaining to some fawning press hamsters why he sucked in the first debate:
But part of it also just has to do with the fact that that particular format has never been a strength of mine. I don’t approach most interactions with people trying to insult them or show how stupid they are. And that’s how you score points in those things. It’s a very artificial construct. It’s theater.
Yes, as if using insults was how Romney won the first debate.  So in explaining it he insulted Romney.  Meanwhile here are two of his highlights from the second and third debates...

He seems to be a good enough actor. But it helps to have friendly interlocutors (compare that interview to a typical Obama presser).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Benghazi Report

The State Dept has released an unclassified version of their Accountability Report on the Benghazi incident; the classified version (presumably containing the real truth) will only be seen by Congress.

Some questions are answered in the unclassified version, many remain unanswered.  Here's what I noticed:

1.  Stevens was in Benghazi for the first time in 10 months (since becoming Ambassador).  The report says he was there to spell a temporary-duty head of mission and to attend a ceremony at a local school.  His meeting with the Turkish Ambassador was mentioned but not explained.  Was the Turk person there to attend a school ceremony, too?

2.  The report lists a series of incidents in the months leading up to the attack, including two apparently pulled off by a jihadist group named after Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (the Blind Sheikh locked up here in the US), which suggests a link to Egypt and AQ. This linkage was apparently unremarkable to United States personnel. 

3.  The tic-toc on the attack still seems thin in spots. If the complex was initially attacked and virtually overrun how did the annex security staff get back in?  The report mentions the first 2 car convoy to leave the mission heading to the annex and its precarious journey, including taking fire from automatic weapons and attempts by several locals to lead it into a trap, yet it doesn't list any problems with annex personnel either heading to the mission later or leaving the mission. Was that classified?  Did they use some kind of James Bond vehicle or had the crowds dispersed by then?

The dispersal explanation doesn't sound logical since the report says the annex security team was told by local militias to leave immediately--even without recovering the ambassador's body--because the mission might be 'overrun', even though it was presumably overrun earlier resulting in the bombing and arson of several buildings and the deaths of Stevens and Smith.  

4.  The report denies there was any 'stand down' order at the annex, it merely mentions a time gap of about 20 minutes after they learned of the attack and the teams leaving for the mission.  One report several months ago stated that two of the annex security contractors denied the stand down orders and proceeded to the mission on foot; this was not mentioned but it was not ruled out.

5.  It still seems strange that the lead mission security officer or various others could not locate Stevens' body after several attempts to return to the building yet the Libyan locals apparently found him in a room inside later.  This could be explained by the thick smoke but presumably the ambassador had strayed far from the route taken by the lead mission security officer from the bathroom to the outside.  Would gas masks or night vision goggles have worked in the smoke?   

5.  There was no mention of AQ leader al-Liby and Zawahiri's message on 9/10/12 calling on the faithful to avenge his death. There was no explanation of the notebook (diary) found by CNN reporters several days after the attack wherein Stevens feared he was on an al Qaeda 'hit list'.

6.  Was there a gap between the time the quick-reaction force from Tripoli landed at Benghazi airport and the time they got to the annex to join in the fight?  The tic-toc handles this on page 27:
The seven-person response team from Embassy Tripoli arrived in Benghazi to lend support. It arrived at the annex about 0500 local.
Notice the tic-toc did not provide a time of arrival of the Embassy Tripoli quick response team at Benghazi airport, just that 'they arrived'. It then lists their time of arrival at the annex.  Fifteen minutes after the arrived at the annex it came under attack by rockets and mortars, which tragically resulted in the loss of Mr. Doherty and Woods.

This failure to nail the time gap seems consequential since one can presume that if the Tripoli team had arrived earlier and begun an evacuation to the airport earlier then the second attack might not have occurred or at least would not have been successful. Hopefully Congressional members can get answers to some of these questions, including the back-links to jihadist groups in Cairo and elsewhere who might have planned the attacks.

Overall the report blames no one; doesn't get into details about how connected the White House was to the event; whitewashes the time gap between the Tripoli quick-reaction force and their arriving at the annex; downplays any intelligence related to AQ; and doesn't comment on whether Stevens was on a 'hit list' as per his own diary; doesn't mention the CIA whatsoever; says the military could not have responded in time. The main shortfalls noted included the use of temporary duty personnel to staff the facility; the residential nature of the mission; and denials for added security.  Of course extra security might have been crucial in running the operation they were running, which also wasn't mentioned in the report.  

But since the report mentioned lapses in security it will satisfy part of Obama's two-pronged response to the event, which was finding out what happened and making sure it never happens again and finally, retaliation.  This report basically blames no one so nobody was at fault; security will be increased here and there; and at some point they will retaliate although the report lists no single responsible entity.  Nevertheless Hillary agrees with all the recommendations despite her concussion so this is what the media will run with, which has a near-zero interest level for the public.  The lack of a protest mob was mentioned but had been established some time ago--besides, Susan Rice is no longer in the running for SoS anyway.  Problem solved, back to gun control.  

LET ME BE CLEAR  12/20/12

State sent a couple of unknowns up to the hill to testify on behalf of Mrs. Clinton, who was presumably still foggy-headed from her football injury.  Nothing occurred except the usual finger-pointin-politickin (to the delight of the administration). 

Jay Carney was 'grilled' a little about the report today and said the president stands by all the recommendations and findings in the report, including the accountability fallout of lowering the axe on four subordinate State employees (only one resigned, the others may be reassigned). 

So let me be clear...the report is a McGuffin.  

The real questions are 1) what the hell was going on there in the first place, 2) why did the administration blame it on a video even though the report today indicated there was not a mob protest outside the facility, which was NOT a consulate nor even a mission, it was a 'special mission', 3) why did Hillary tell the father of one of the slain ex-SEALS that the government was pursuing the filmmaker?   These questions were not addressed by the report, obviously by design.  It's up to the press to ask, and they did not. Instead the spokesman chastised the reporter and his news organization for daring to insinuate that any funny business might be going on.   We are screwed as a nation when the press becomes as cowed as they are now.   

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

American Jihadist

Face it, that's basically what Adam Lanza was--a jihadist.   AQ (what's left of them, and while they are running) must have been jealous in watching reports of this because it's right out of their playbook.  He had the element of surprise just like they had on 9/11.

Meanwhile many liberals/politicians/luminaries are demanding a national conversation on guns.  Townhall writer Kurt Schlichter eloquently explains what that's likely to mean:
Wait, we can’t have that conversation. In fact, we’re not supposed to have what people might commonly describe as a “conversation” at all. We’re supposed to shut-up and listen as liberals, barely masking their unseemly delight at the opportunity, try to pin the murder rampage of one degenerate creep on millions of law-abiding Americans who did nothing wrong. The conversation is then supposed to end with us waiving our fundamental right to self-defense.
Because that is what the goal is – a total ban on the private ownership of firearms. There’s always another “common sense” gun law which fails because it is targeted at law-abiding citizens and not criminals, thereby inviting another round of onerous new restrictions until finally no citizen is keeping or bearing anything more than a dull butter knife.
Not a total ban on firearms of course--the rich elites, including Hollywood hypocrites and politicians would get to keep theirs 'for protection'. The real goal is to disarm the bitter clingers.  It's almost a certainty that we'll be hearing about the Tea Party and other GOP entities in regards to blame for Newtown if only the tiniest of links can be established, probably during the 'discussion' phase in the weeks ahead.  If anyone is expecting much out of this national discussion aside from liberals trying to heap guilt on conservatives in order to foist more 'change' they are fooling themselves.

What about the jiadist parallel (unlikely to be part of the national discussion).  Let's assume Lanza was a jihadist.  Let's say he was heard screaming Allahu Akbar while gunning down those children.  Would it change anything?  Would gun control be in the forefront of the national conversation right now or would the urgent question be about how the FBI, NSA, somebody should have had access to his computer to intercept his planning?   Would the president have been shedding a tear on TV or would he have come on in stern tone urging everyone not to jump to conclusions?   Even if the same guns were used in the attack? 

So far religion has been relegated to the unfortunate utterings of Mike Huckabee, ie, this was caused by a lack of God in the schools.  Actually, one could make the argument it was about a lack of God in Mr. Lanza's life.  Religious beliefs--or a lack thereof--most certainly played a role.  Nobody who walks into a school and murders first graders then kills himself has any worry about the afterlife.  Lanza, even if he was off mentally, could not have believed in a literal hell.  He likely had a nihilistic vision of simply pulling the trigger and going to sleep for eternity, ie, relief from his hellish existence on Earth.

On the contrary, Islamic suicide attackers believe in an after-life complete with a 72 virgin sex orgy.  Both views allow nuts to kill themselves and almost look forward to it.  As we've seen over the years it's very hard to stop someone unafraid to die.  What good is a law when someone won't be around for prosecution?

MORE  12/18/12

While this story has featured more misinformation from the authorities--passed on by the media--than any in recent memory (and the cops had the balls to threaten people with prosecution for passing on false info)  there are a few loose ends that need tying up.  One, what happened to the other guy caught in the nearby woods wearing camo?  Was that real or fantasy?   Two, what about the supposed altercation the shooter had with someone in the school a day before the attack?  

Now we find that Lanza's hard drive has been destroyed.  That's a little strange since just a few days ago the authorities were saying they had real hopes of finding a motive based on what they were discovering in the home.   But it's hard to tell the information from the misinformation.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Now that Susan Rice has withdrawn her name as future Secretary of State leaving John Kerry as the nominee it will be interesting to see if McCain, his BFF in the Senate, shows up on the Sunday shows with outrage over Benghazi.    After all, Hillary apparently fell and suffered a hip pointer and can't make it to testify this coming week--apparently not even in a wheelchair--so it would certainly seem that deals have been made in DC even if the fiscal cliff still looms.

What kind of deal?  Maybe none, but maybe one where the GOP agree not to pursue Benghazi (and whatever clandestine operation was blown there resulting in four deaths) in return for Obama picking Kerry for SoS so Massachusetts will have to hold another special election for his seat, which Scott Brown might win again. Or at least that's what Lawrence O'Donnell has been saying.

Conspiracy or no, the whole thing certainly doesn't exactly pass the smell test--Rice withdraws on the same day Foreign Policy reported that the State investigation into Benghazi might not be released to the public, then Hillary come down with a flu-related injury and can't testify just as Kerry gets the nod, all in the span of three days. 

Do they think the public is that dumb or tuned out?  Yes, of course.

Now, perhaps the tell of whether this is actually a conspiracy/deal per O'Donnell is McCain.  Will he show up on the Sunday shows today outraged over this development?  Will he question Hillary's health issue and demand she put the nation first and hobble in for the good of the country?  Or will he demur and become all statesman-like?  Or be a complete no-show?   We'll see.


Wall to wall coverage on the shooting.  That's logical and expected, but at the same time fortuitous for Hillary, McCain and Graham.   

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cultural Quick Fix

Once again unspeakable, mindless violence has visited the American psyche.  Evil manifested itself in a nerdy white guy to whom few paid much attention to--until the end.  It's been a common theme for awhile now but one few seem interested in exploring. 

Instead, everyone wants an instant blame and an instant cure.  We are an instant society.  In his first message on the event the president wept while wasting no time stealthily advocating more firearm restrictions.  In today's weekly address he reiterated this call, without giving specifics.  Protests are occurring outside the White House along with online petitions calling for tighter gun laws.  The evil perpetrator--the gun--has been fully charged and convicted. 

But while it's true we have easy access to firearms and a culture of violence in this country, where does this culture originate?  Is it coming from southern rednecks riding around with shotguns in their pickup trucks down here in Jesusland?  If one looks at the mass shootings this past year there are only a few in the rural south, one being a domestic issue, one being a process server and the other a racially motivated event.  Yet if there's anywhere in the nation people associate guns with culture, it's the south.   But if not the south, where?

Maybe if guns are going to get blamed and restricted they should also take a look at violent video games, online videos, and rap music permeating society, along with bounties in pro football, ultimate fighting, and ruthless reality-TV shows about competition and survival.    

Side Tracks

Here's some Christian Rock, a genre I haven't done much of on here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's a Secret

From the WaPo via Maguire--
After a contentious closed-door vote, the Senate intelligence committee approved a long-awaited report Thursday concluding that harsh interrogation measures used by the CIA did not produce significant intelligence breakthroughs, officials said. The 6,000-page document, which was not released to the public, was adopted by Democrats over the objections of most of the committee’s Republicans.
The outcome reflects the level of partisan friction that continues to surround the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other severe interrogation techniques four years after they were banned. The report is the most detailed independent examination to date of the agency’s efforts to “break” dozens of detainees through physical and psychological duress, a period of CIA history that has become a source of renewed controversy because of torture scenes in a forthcoming Hollywood film, “Zero Dark Thirty.”
As Maquire says, such a secret report will convince no one, with the possible exception of those who watch and report for MSNBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and the major newspapers. But the real kicker is whether those who work in the White House, or used to until recently, will be happy.

White House?  Why, Obama deplores torture, dumb wars and cowboys.  Nevertheless he employed guys like the current Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, John Brennan, and current Interim Director of CIA Michael Morell--Bush's personal CIA briefer!  Until July 2011 Michael Leiter led the National Counterterrorism Center.  Of course there was Petraeus, who might still be at CIA had he been able to keep his pants on.   All served Bush in the torture era.  

The most ironic of the bunch is Brennan, who once had to withdraw his name as a candidate for DCIA in 2008 due to left wing pressure over the torture thing.   His name is now coming up again to replace Petraeus, which will be a fun little test of the liberal memory banks.

Meanwhile Susan Rice also announced today she was pulling her name from contention to be the next Secretary of State due to the uproar her confirmation hearings might cause due to unfair criticism, racism, sexism, misogyny and various other future sins yet to be committed by several old white guys. Oddly enough Rice's SoS dreams were scuttled not by them, but by the fact she carried administration water to cover up the latest CIA war on terror related scandal-intrigue in Benghazi, which according to Petraeus' flame was about prisoners of some kind, look over there, a squirrel.  

As Rice bails out and takes away the specter of being asked tough questions like why she lied and what she was protecting, evidently it's become better to let that agitated dog go back and lie down.  It was also reported today that the State Department investigation into the matter might not be made public and that Hillary, already scheduled to testify in front of Congress, may not.  Sounds like at least somebody is making deals in DC.   Anyway, back to football and the Cornball Brothers (apparently a new movie coming soon starring Dave Chappelle) as RG3 has some advice for all of us. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Portland Shooting and other Crazy Things

Welcome to upside down world.

So there's a random shooting at a mall--during Christmas shopping season--by this guy...

By the way, is that a keffiyeh he's wearing?  And yet, there no mention of possible terrorism.  The media scratches its collective head and says, "we may never know the motive".  Well hell, other than some kind of insane crazyperson justice there are a few other possibilities.  Perhaps he just saw the Mohammed video. 

Apparently we've reached a point where the media doesn't even bother quoting an FBI guy ensuring it wasn't connected to terrorism before an investigation has even begun anymore.   Now the media is perplexed because he had no apparent connection to the victims.  Yeah--just like the 9/11 hijackers, Major Hasan, Abdulmuttalab, Abdulhakim, Shehzad and almost all jihadists or highway serial killers.  But don't worry, evidently Barney and Andy up there in the Clackamas PD will be handling it.

MORE..  Jawa says "crazy guy".  Yessir, he's crazy regardless of whether he's a lone nut, lone sudden jihadist, lone wolf, lone hockey mask killer, lone mall killer, etc.   That fact has never been in question.  During the Clackamas Sheriff press conference the spokesman did address the terrorism angle--adamantly dismissing a report that the FBI had taken the lead on the case as a terrorism investigation. 

Other items--his birth name was not Roberts, he was raised by a woman named Roberts, no mentions of his father or background in the press reports so far.  Questions remaining would be who he reportedly stole the gun from and his ancestry.  It's looking like loser snap syndrome.  Not sure which is worse to consider for the future--sudden jihadists or nuts who for some reason can't just kill themselves in a stairwell without first trying to take out scores of others.     

Here's a headline for you...

"Tea Party protesters punch Democrat, tear down Center for American Progress tent".

Or how about this one...

"Andrew Breitbart declares a coming 'civil war'".

Yet we have the Crowder punchout and Hoffa, Jr. stories being covered a little differently.  You remember Hoffa, who once appeared at an Obama rally and said they had to 'take these son-of-a-bitches out' referring to the violent, gun-toting "Tea Baggers".     


Finally, Senator Robert Menendez allegedly had an illegal alien sex offender working for him in his office.   The stuff is now hitting the fan--perhaps delayed intentionally until after the election, which he won.  The illegal is in the process of being deported. 

Contrast that to Meg Whitman, who employed an illegal maid through an employment service.  The maid, possibly coerced by the Brown campaign into coming out in return for something, splashed herself all over the media and was likely instrumental in taking out Whitman's bid to become the California governor.  As far as is known that Maid, Nicky Diaz, is still in the country.   She was even honored at a 'gala'.  

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Fit to Print

Now that the election is safely over the New York Times has been doing some excellent work reporting world events.  Recently they featured a leak story about weapons funneling into Libya from the UAE and Qatar; a few days ago they crystallized the administration's flip-flopiness on drawing red lines about Syrian WMDs; and today they're running an expose on the AQ-backed groups operating in Syria to rid Bashar Assad:
The group is a direct offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi officials and former Iraqi insurgents say, which has contributed veteran fighters and weapons. “This is just a simple way of returning the favor to our Syrian brothers that fought with us on the lands of Iraq,” said a veteran of Al Qaeda in Iraq, who said he helped lead the Nusra Front’s efforts in Syria. The United States, sensing that time may be running out for Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, hopes to isolate the group to prevent it from inheriting Syria or fighting on after Mr. Assad’s fall to pursue its goal of an Islamic state.
It doesn't take a Henry Kissinger to figure out a likely strategy--allow the AQ jihadist groups (the best fighters) to topple the regimes then swoop in and isolate them after the battle is over.  That seems precisely what our plan was in Libya--did it take the lives of the four in Benghazi?  Sometimes useful idiots resent being played for useful idiots.

It's interesting that AQ in Iraq fighters were reportedly involved in Benghazi and now the Times is saying they are all over Syria as well.  Any reader of this blog from the past might wonder about our old friend Izzat al-Duri, once in charge of Saddam's Revolutionary Command Council and after the war a wanted fugitive who has died several times while popping up every now and again in phantom sitings and belligerent recordings.  Since he was once reported to be hiding in Damascus one might wonder where he fits in with this recent Syrian thing--here's one opinion from the region: 
As Reidar Visser notes, Douri's political outlook on the wider region reflects an alignment with the Sunni Arab states against the regime of Bashar al-Asad, together with an opposition to any perceived Israeli, American, and Iranian interference in regional affairs.[43] Thus, he is critical of the intervention against the Qaddafi regime, which entailed NATO airstrikes against loyalist forces, but at the same time he praises the Saudi king for trying to resolve the political crisis in Yemen.[44] His criticism of the Syrian government means that it is unlikely that he is in Syria. Instead, a location in the Gulf area or the southern Arabian Peninsula seems to be most plausible, with Saudi Arabia or Yemen as possible hiding places.[45]

The Allawite Syrian Ba'athists were not exactly buddy-buddy with the more-or-less-Sunni Iraqi Ba'athists.  Not only that, but Assad's relationship with Tehran would make him a natural enemy of al-Duri.  At the same time it's likely Izzat was himself treating the jihadists as useful enemies while in Iraq and probably doesn't want to see a Salafist takeover of the greater Middle East, so it's tempting to think the CIA might try to work with him. 

In other words, the whole thing is as messy as ever.  While it's tempting to continue hoisting the One on his own petard for condemning the Bush administration's efforts in the region as he deals with AQ blowback and WMDs the bottom line is a western victory (of sorts) in the aftermath of this Arab Spring.  No doubt the AQ-backed rebels fighting in Syria are aware of their useful idiot status and plan to re-do the Iraqi insurgency in all the Arab Spring countries they are helping liberate if indeed we turn on them, which we will, so let's hope the reset administration has a double-secret plan to stop such a thing. 

Side Tracks

It's that time of year.   Here's an edgy way to start it off..

Friday, December 07, 2012

Saving Syria

While the president draws red wavy lines in the sand over the presumed WMDs in Syria (instead of calling for UN inspectors) and the prospect of shock and awe 2.0 lingers over the region, it seems Obama should unclench his fist and open the hand of diplomacy.  We've got some top notch diplomats just sitting around while they could be saving the world.

There's Nancy Pelosi:
Dennis Kucinich:
And Diane Sawyer:
Gee, maybe if someone just took some new music to load on Assad's iPod this whole warmongering, WMD thing could be avoided..

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Investigation Update

Here's an update on the investigation being run by two US Attorneys regarding national security leaks (purportedly from the administration) over Yemen and Iran:

Stay tuned for another update after Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, the investigation into what occurred in Benghazi continues to languish, which has forced a leak to the New York Times (apparently a possible Pulitzer is too good to pass up now that Obama has safely been reelected).  So, will the administration hunt down and punish the Times leaker, perhaps adding that charge to the docket of the two US Attorneys?  Or will they go after the Times for leaking about an investigation they are most likely stonewalling, knowing the Times is involved in the other investigation?   So many questions. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Pop Quiz

The latest insane Benghazi spin:
Pop quiz: Who said this about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, shortly after it happened? “The violence in Benghazi coincided with an attack on the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, which was also swarmed by an angry mob of protestors on September 11, 2012.”
Was it U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice? No, it was the United States Senate. The Senate passed a resolution the day after the attack in Benghazi, on Sept. 12, S. Res. 551. The resolution was updated and passed again Sept. 22 to add the names of those who had died. The original resolution and the update were approved by “Unanimous Consent,” meaning that all 100 senators were officially listed as sponsors or co-sponsors. Neither resolution uses the words “terrorist” or “extremist” or “al-Qaeda.” Both resolutions use the phrase “swarmed by an angry mob of protestors” to describe the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi.
So because the Senate assumed this was a protest gone awry as some in the administration and media were saying (and not a clandestine point relating to weapons confiscation) that nullifies the comments of a cabinet level official privy to insider info the Senate never had?   The Senate didn't know the facts; Rice most certainly did.  Senate was putting out a statement of sympathy; Rice was putting out talking points.  Yet some of these media clowns find similarity.  McCain's office was correct in their characterization:
“This is total nonsense,” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said in a statement to ABC News.
Not to be outdone, the administration's president czar, Tim Geithner, told CNBC today that sure, they're willing to go off the 'fiscal cliff' if the GOP doesn't raise taxes on the evil rich.

Just think about that for a sec. Obama has already said that raising taxes on everyone could cause the loss of 200 billion to the economy.  He's warned that it may spoil Christmas.  He's accused the Republicans of being unreasonable in their willingness to negotiate. Yet his official negotiator happily announces they are more than willing to drive the fiscal car into the ditch if they don't get their way.  And somehow it's the Senate resolution the media makes hay over.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Subject Matter Experts Head to White House

One might think that an invite to the White House for a TV network's entire evening lineup would warrant a few blog or news posts or news stories but alas, NBC is strangely quiet.  Huffington Post is jealous..
Bendery also reported that a White House spokesperson says the meeting was between President Obama and various “influential progressives” with the intent to “discuss the importance of extending the Bush middle-class tax cut.”
Notice the spokesperson didn't say "discuss extending...", they said "discuss the importance of..".  As if MSNBC pundits don't already know?  C'mon, they must get faxes from Chicago and DC daily!

One wonders if there might be some kind of transcript of this discussion available.  Or does this count as lefty revenge for Cheney's secret meeting with oil execs?  Anyway, like clockwork Sgt Schultz had Ms Frozen-smile on his show this evening who was tingling about yet another procedural trick the Dems are planning to pull in the name of bi-partisan cooperation in an effort to kick the GOP's ass off the game board.

Oh well, even if NBC is pretending nothing occurred (despite Drudge reporting it) Maddow will surely explain this clandestine affair in due course--we'll leave a link to her blog just in case.  Meanwhile it will be fun to watch the evolving coverage of this story on NBC News in the upcoming weeks.  It can't be any worse than their hatchet job on George Zimmerman.  

Monday, December 03, 2012

Meanwhile, in Syria

Hell didn't just break loose, it's been on the loose for some time. As the US media focuses on NFL suicides and fiscal cliffs the Assad regime is reportedly mixing chemicals in preparation for a sarin attack on its own population. And unlike the recent statehood vote for Palestinia, this WMD threat has drawn a US response:
“I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching,” the president said in a speech at the National Defense University, in Washington. “The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable."
Obama has been quoted as saying he doesn't bluff. Are we to assume that means another war will be automatic if the crazy-necked dictator sprays chemicals on his population? Obama is already on record as bragging about ending the war in Iraq and responsibly winding another down in Afghanistan; can he afford to start one in Syria?

Or does it matter? He knows that no matter what he does the media will be there to either 1) not report it, or 2) glorify it, while blaming Bush for anything that goes wrong.

While I'm no expert by any stretch it seems the WMD red line rhetoric is a box-in. If Assad calls the apparent bluff and uses WMD and we don't respond Obama will de-legitimize both himself and the United States position.  If we do engage it figures to be extremely messy considering both Russia and China--and of course Israel and the surrounding Arab countries--are greatly interested in the outcome and likely involved behind the scenes, with the same outcome not preferred by all players.   Meanwhile Iran's centrifuges spin.

And how about this wild and crazy wildcard scenario--what if some of the chem-weapons Assad is playing with originated in Iraq and Assad makes it known to the US that if we engage he will spill the beans, threatening Obama's dumb war position?   Would Obama call that bluff now that he's gained a second term? It would certainly help Hillary's status.  One might think it would also help Bush's legacy, that is if the white house press didn't manage to convince everyone the WMDs that weren't in Iraq are in Syria because Bush invaded Iraq to get rid of the WMDs, which was dumb.   Don't discount such things.    

Whatever the case it's a good thing Christmas is coming.  When is Charlie Brown on? 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Where is the Ambassador?

So, the administration sent their UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, on five network Sunday shows after the 9/11 Benghazi attacks to explain a terrorist attack but they don't send her out similarly today to explain why the Palestinians told us to screw off regarding pleas not to pursue the recent statehood vote?  In the UN?  Her bailiwick?  

It would be nice if someone, anyone, in the mainstream media could pivot off the former and onto the latter.  Maybe that someone anyone could explain why the administration or at least the UN Ambassador should not receive any blowback over what seems like a failure.  What does it mean when the United States, Canada and the Czech Republic are the only major nations to vote with Israel against Palestinian statehood?  Anyone?

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Politics of Fear

No, not something from Karl Rove. The fear of rising oceans:
A new study finds massive ice sheets at the Earth's two poles are melting three times faster than they did in the 1990's; What does that mean for shorelines?
Good Lord. The ice on Antarctica is not melting. The floating sea ice covering the north polar cap is decreasing on a yearly basis--but people need to understand it comes back every winter. It's impossible for it not to come back due to the earth's axis tilt.

If it doesn't come back in winter nobody will care anyway because the hot earth would have long ago barbecued everyone. Either that or the survivors would all have ocean-front property at Pt Barrow.  Even Mercury has ice on its polar regions.

Yet they continue to scaremonger. This morning on ABC radio news the broadcaster reported there were 19 named tropical storms this season, one a category 3, "obviously Sandy". No, sorry. Sandy was a weak category 2--as it passed across Cuba.  It was a Category 1 when it neared landfall in New Jersey it merged with a land system to become a 'superstorm', doing a lot of damage of course, but NOAA was calling it a 'post-tropical storm'.   Issac hit the Louisiana coast as a Cat 1 and most of the other named storms in the 2012 season drifted around harmlessly in the middle of the Atlantic.  Many probably wouldn't have been named at all 40 years ago.

If people want to be scared, this could do it. Not a sting operation, either. Was the story released on a Friday afternoon on purpose? Oh well, just remember, bin Laden is dead and AQ is on the ropes. It's sea level we must worry about.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tough Room

Wow, these guys are serious critics:
An Egyptian court convicted in absentia Wednesday seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor, sentencing them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world. The low-budget "Innocence of Muslims," parts of which were made available online, portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and buffoon...
. ..Egypt's official news agency said the court found the defendants guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam, and spreading false information -- charges that carry the death sentence.
Even Roger Ebert can't touch that kind of a review. Wonder what Bubba the Love Sponge would get for deep frying the Koran on You Tube?  It's hard to top death but surely they would try.  "Zero stars--death to you fatboy!" 

Meanwhile here in reality the White House press corpse--apparently no longer constrained by the reelection--have been freed up to practice journalism again and they are not disappointing. Yesterday they actually asked Carney why they sent Rice out to talk about something not 'in her lane' (because she's wicked smart and stuff) while today they asked who changed the talking points.  Apparently they learned that it doesn't matter because there's an investigation going on to determine what really happened, which is all that matters, an investigation that could be wrapped up tomorrow by asking the Libyan Assembly president (who wasn't running for reelection) because he basically had it figured out on day one

Speaking of which, will no one ask Jay Carney why AQ in Iraq jihadists were participating in the attack?  Were they outraged about the movie and flew to Libya to participate with the other 'extremists not named AQ'?  If they were involved how do we 'bring them to justice' and make sure they never attack anyone again?   We would ask Peter Bergen but he doesn't seem to think any of this matters either. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Those Evil Clinton Tax Rates

The admin handed reporters a Cyber-Monday press release today:
"As we approach the holiday season, which accounts for close to one-fifth of industry sales, retailers can’t afford the threat of tax increases on middle-class families," the White House said in an email Monday.
Their report claimed that allowing the Obama tax rates to expire would reduce consumer spending 200 million billion dollars.   In other words, the GOP needs to get onboard the coming DNC tax increase before they completely ruin Christmas.  It's for the children.  

But wait, this is interesting. First off, why is Obama bashing Hillary Clinton's husband? Wasn't the budget balanced in the 90s after Newt got control of the purse strings and reined in spending after Billy Jeff's massive 1993 tax hike?   Those are the same rates the administration is fear-mongering about, calling them onerous. Wait again--apparently only the low-end part of those rates were onerous because those who'll have their taxes raised under Obama, back to the Clinton rates, that Bush cut, in this new Obama tax cut that keeps most rates the same except the top end, would apparently not effect consumer spending whatsoever.  Sounds like a Christmas miracle! [ed- edited because none of the above made any damn sense--it still doesn't--just like the current tax rhetoric]

The question is whether any of the various Mr. Potters in the GOP will be bothered to agree with the administration that, yeah, tax cuts do tend to spur spending while tax increases retard growth--see, we told you so.  Or will they cower in a corner somewhere mumbling?   Time will tell.

Good Start, NY Times... finish the job.  You've now told us more about the amateurish Coptic Christian who produced "Innocence of Muslims" and distributed it on You Tube, which later became fodder for worldwide protests and violence along with a rationale for the Benghazi attack as relayed by our Ambassador to the UN. 

Now, what about the other part--the part where it got translated it into Arabic and broadcast on YT, becoming a convenient tool to whip up the very Islamic frenzy the film criticized on our most sensitive day, 9/11?  

C'mon, you guys can do it!  Tell us why and how the film inflamed as it did, the players who used it, and whether those players were connected to AQ and/or trying to get the Blind Sheikh released.

Or would that be too close to a double-link to Islamic terrorism, both from Benghazi and Cairo, therefore inconvenient until Susan Rice is safely confirmed?        

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Side Tracks

I liked this kind of country in the 90s..

Lead singer-songwriter Van Stephenson, who began at seminary, wrote hit songs for Crystal Gayle, Restless Heart, Kenny Rogers, Dan Seals and John Anderson before fronting Blackhawk.  Sadly, he succumbed to  cancer in 2001.   One of my favorite Blackhawk tunes was this one

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Rice to McCain: See ya in the Hearings

The Times covers Susan Rice's defense of her flawed 'talking points' (she throws the intel community under the bus) by offering a tease at the end:
Ms. Rice said Wednesday that some statements by Mr. McCain about her were “unfounded.” “I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with him,” she said.
In other words, you'll see me in the confirmation hearings, you addled old cracker.

Maybe by then she'll have an answer as to what she actually knew about the incident at the time as opposed to whether she was just a know-nothing supplied with erroneous talking points to push a narrative, and if so, why she was sent out to five Sunday shows to push that narrative on the American public.  One can hope.

Anyway, since today is Thanksgiving it's traditional to express thanks for all our blessings, of which the McCloud ranch has certainly seen its share, as has America at large despite any recent setbacks.  As to a timely message, it's hard to top this one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Burying bin Laden

A strange story showed up today on Drudge and other sites about bin Laden's burial:
Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no American sailors watched Osama bin Laden's burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson, and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the secret ceremony.
The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al-Qaida leader's death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.
Well, that might start some conspiracy theories.  But wait--even a modicum of shallow thought might explain the lack of sailor witnesses: the brass didn't want any play-by-play descriptions leaking out to the web that could inflame the moderate Muslims (the ones who weren't happy the terror leader died).  Indeed, the government has been using the state secrets reason to withhold most everything about the event under that same premise since 2011. 

The veil over Benghazi is partially associated with the same thing--fear of outrage, which is one reason they blamed the obscure movie and bought ad time in Pakistan to apologize--after the Susan Rice appearance on the Sunday shows blaming the movie.   But such things also help the political narrative.  Anyway, check this:
In a response to separate requests from the AP for information about the mission, the Defense Department said in March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden's body on the Vinson. The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden's body if he were killed.
Why would releasing DNA tests inflame anyone?   Here's something else weird.  When the last round of Wiki Leaks came out there was a brief sensational Drudge story about the body:
Fred Burton, vice president for intelligence at Stratfor, wrote to a colleague at 5.51am on May 2, the day the al-Qaeda leader was killed, saying: “Body bound for Dover, DE on CIA plane. Than [sic] onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda.” An earlier email from Burton to colleagues stated: “Reportedly, we took the body with us. Thank goodness.”
Burton's not some guy sitting around in his pajamas, he's a former State Department intel professional.  After about an hour Drudge took the story down and completely disappeared it off his site.  Burton later emailed Stratfor's founder George Friedman and said that UBL was with the fishes. 

And no doubt he is--somewhere.  Maybe off the coast of Maryland, maybe the Persian Gulf, who knows.  That's the thing, we must have faith. 

Not everyone has faith.  Some will say this latest information proves the entire raid was as phony as a million dollar bill.  Possible?  Well, the circle of knowledge isn't huge:  high level CIA and a few operatives, high-level military (to include Petraeus), the SEALS, a few helicopter pilots, the command staff of the Carl Vinson and one Muslim sailor who prepared the body--and the bin Laden wives.  And of course Obama. Obviously there was no embedded media at any location for any of the events.  There have been no pictures or other documentation released other than a book by a former SEAL team member, who divulged from the official narrative.

If you think this is silly imagine Bush/Cheney getting rid of UBL in the same fashion, a year before an election!  The late great Walter Cronkite thought Rove might have been keeping UBL alive by faking the recordings in the basement.  That bastard, Rove! 

But c'mon, Obama may be gutsy but it's hard to believe he'd risk everything on a fake raid pulled off just to help end the WoT and get reelected, right?   Somebody would talk somewhere.  With the stakes so high a lot would be required to keep the lid on everything, which itself could be problematic.  Think Chicago.

But not everyone could talk even if they wanted to.  For example, if indeed UBL disappeared in 2001 then Bush insiders could hardly talk, nor could the Taliban, the remaining AQ higher-ups (who aren't dead), Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.  If Iran knew it's hard to think they wouldn't have dropped the dime on Bush long ago.   The SEALS can't talk--they have to keep their clearances and oaths and the bin Laden wives have disappeared--to Saudi Arabia!  

A few others would definitely know and have no reason to keep it quiet--KSM and cohorts.  Does everyone know they are on trial down at GITMO right now?   We'll see what they say, if it gets reported.  And Obama--he would have known coming in the door in 2009.  But if he knew UBL was dead and was playing along to surge troops in Afghanistan that itself was a liability.  Best to remove the liability. 

OK, OK!  Flimsy!  Yes.  Matter of fact his post is probably racist.  And maybe sexist.  Somebody would have leaked, surely.   Sure, it's weird that we have all this secrecy but Obama was reelected and everyone should just look forward now.  The wars are over.  GM is alive.  It's time to nation-build at home. 

The Same Boring Questions

Things have quieted down on the Benghazi front somewhat, which is fortuitous for the administration going into the Thanksgiving week. Obama and Hillary have been gallivanting across Southeast Asia (their mission is important there) along with their press flacks, which tends to stifle any coverage.  December will be dominated by fiscal cliffs so the week after Thanksgiving is probably the only time Congress has to make any headway towards sorting out the truth before this story evaporates into the dust (along with the investigation into administration leaking).

Despite the lull some questions remain unanswered, seemingly clouded by the administration's fear of sunshine. A good summary was posted in comments at Maguire's blog, reposted here:
  • Why was there substandard 9/11 security in the Benghazi consulate to begin with?
  • Why were repeated requests by Ambassador Stevens for increased security disregarded?
  • What is being done by the State Dept. so this doesn't happen again?
  • Were Navy SEALS/CIA contractors Woods and Doherty definitively told to stand down?
  • If Woods and Doherty were told to stand down...why?
  • Was anyone else at the CIA annex told to stand down?
  • If stand down decisions were made... who made the stand down decisions?
  • Why did they get no backup support despite repeated requests?
  • Were air assets really too far away to respond?
  • If they were to far to respond...why were they so far away?

There are actually 21 more at the site. Included therein are some of the promises made by the president, who summarized them for a local Denver reporter on October 26--specifically, a vow to find out what happened, make sure it never happens again and to bring the people who did it to justice (he still wasn't calling them terrorists even at that late date).

It's unclear how we're going to make sure a terrorist attack never happens again against a lightly defended diplomatic mission but this blog is written by one of those inferior types who is out of touch with America and won't be leading us into any futures. Even still, the superior types should want the truth just the same.

So let's add a few more.  What's the status of Egypt's (specifically president Morsi's) request to trade the Blind Sheikh Abdel-Rahman for a player to be named later?  What about Ayman al-Zawahiri, are we any closer to rounding him up?  Do we have any idea where he might be?  It's not as if he's harmless.  And what if some of the fighters participating in Benghazi were from AQ in Iraq?   Will part of bringing them to justice involve penetrations of that group in Iraq?  Does the Baghdad government support us this?  Do they even have any comment?   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Maybe Cheney was Right

..about Patrick Leahy...
CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week. Revised bill highlights Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge. (CNET obtained the revised draft from a source involved in the negotiations with Leahy.)
To refresh the memories of those who've forgotten, this is the Cheney reference.

Now, shouldn't this have been the lead story on every network today?  In previous days?  Especially in light of the past outrage from folks like Leahy about the Bush abuses of the Patriot Act?   Yet finding it on CNN required a search; checking NBC, CBS, and ABC as of this post, and using the search "Patrick Leahy emails", here's what came up:

ABC-- Danica Patrick is getting a divorce.
NBC-- Danica Patrick is getting a divorce.
CBS-- John Yoo torture emails remain missing.

But never fear! Before the story could get any legs on the major American news outlets CNET was already reporting that Leahy is standing down on the bill.  So it's almost like it never really happened.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It was either al Qaeda, or al Qaeda

Perhaps if Tom Joscelyn was married to an ABC producer he might be a regular guest on "This Week".  Too bad, America would be a much smarter country.

Alas, he remains a stalwart terrorism analyst (none better in my book) working for Long War Journal and the Weekly Standard.  His latest column is a reminder of why it really doesn't matter whether General Petraeus or the White House massaged or didn't massage the Rice talking points because the attack in Libya was AQ-related either way...
While there was no film protest in Benghazi, however, there are reasons to suspect that the events in Egypt and Libya on Sept. 11 are linked. But that link isn’t an anti-Islam film. They are linked by the fact that known al Qaeda-affiliated individuals were directly involved in both,
 .. It is not a coincidence that an al Qaeda flag was raised in the place of the stars and stripes in Cairo, or that protesters chanted: “Obama! Obama! We are all Osama!”
In what may seem a bending of space-time, CNN has actually been all over this story from the get-go. Nic Robertson had a piece about the Cairo protest before the riot began; later they found Ambassador Stevens' diary in the burned out mission, which stated he believed he was on an AQ 'hit list' and came under fire from the State Department for going to press about it (which Hillary lied about denied); then reported that AQ in Iraq fighters were present in the attack mob.

All of those stories were buried in the reportorial rubble but all were instructive as to what happened.  Few other journalists, even with an obvious Pulitzer dangling, have delved into how the obscure Nikoula video came to be manipulated by the Egyptian Islamists (which appears to be very fertile ground) or how it was used to advance the transfer of their hero Sheikh Rahman from a US prison back to Egypt.  Even CNN refused to follow up on their own reporting. There's apparently a red line all refuse to cross regardless.    

But even if one ignores everything CNN reported and the Petraeus he-said, he-said there's still this--the president of the Libyan Assembly told anyone who would listen on day one that it was a terrorist attack featuring foreign fighters. Apparently few believed him, including those who briefed our Ambassador to the UN.

Side Tracks

This somehow seems appropriate this week..

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Almost Over

The Democrats/admin may be nearing another victory, this time on Benghazi.  General Petraeus gave an interview to CNN's Kyra Phillips (who has interviewed the general in war zones, oh my), while Eric Holder was asked questions about why he didn't tell the White House he was investigating their CIA chief.

First Petraeus:
"He insisted to me that he has never passed classified information to Paula Broadwell," Phillips said. "He said this has nothing to do with Benghazi, and he wants to testify. He will testify."
In other words, he passed along nothing about the prisoners she mentioned in the October 26 Denver speech.  And the stuff found in her home didn't come from him.  And the affair had nothing to do with Benghazi, he just wanted to come clean and do the honorable thing right after the election, which includes testifying.  Was he going to reveal the affair all along after the election and take his medicine or only after the FBI mentioned it to Clapper?  

Holder was equally deft:
In his first public comments on the matter, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that Justice Department officials did not tell the White House about related FBI investigations -- including looking into possible breaches of top-secret information -- because it was determined national security was never at risk.
So why did someone at the FBI call James Clapper on the evening of the election to tell them? Why was the FBI still raiding Broadview's home a week afterwards if they knew there was no security issue? Is national security the only reason to ever tell a president the FBI is investigating a cabinet member?  Will the press ever ask a follow-up to any administration figure on anything?

Meanwhile, from Gretawire, the female wrecking crew called Jill was bragging on September 28 of being at the White House:
"Btw I was made the (honorary) Ambassador to US Central Command's Coalition!" she told a Times reporter in a Sept. 28 email. "In addition to that, I was just recently appointed to be the Honorary Consulate General to South Korea! I'm in DC today — just left from breakfast at the White House. . . . I really hope to see you soon!"
So the State Department made her a consul to the base and South Korea? That's an amazing closed loop. But even mentions of John Kerry, Sheldon Whitehouse, Joe Biden or the White House are not enough to keep this going without something else. Petraeus will testify behind closed doors, the weekend will be upon us, then Thanksgiving, then the fiscal cliff.

So say hello to another loss, GOP.   They've turned Benghazi into a cheap sex tale, which has nearly run its course with no official criminal damage.  They are going to get away with this just like they are getting away with leaking classified info to the Times and AP on Yemen and Iran. The double standard is firmly in cement now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Investigation Update

Obama was presumably not asked today at his presser about the progress of the investigation into administration leaks to the Times and AP, even by the fan reporter.  Not that he could answer of course--it's still "under investigation".  It must be a doozy of one, too, since it's been under investigation since summer.

Anyway, the press conference was fairly predictable.  Neither Helen Thomas nor Sam Donaldson showed up but there were a lot of follow-ups asked now that the election has passed.  Here are some paraphrased questions-answers..

"Did you order anyone to protect the people in Benghazi?"  He ordered his underlings to do everything to keep them safe.  So the underlings apparently failed. 

"Did the American people and Commander-in-Chief deserve to know the CIA director was under investigation by the FBI before the election?"   Protocol.  And procedures.  And protocol.  And an ongoing investigation.  And boy that Petraeus really screwed up.   

As to his defense of Susan Rice, his taunting "they should go after me" almost sounded as if he was accusing the two old white Senators of being racist or misogynist.  But it was not followed up with the obvious question-- WHY WAS SHE THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?   If she was only responding with the information given her then maybe she shouldn't have been sent out there to look foolish.  Explaining terrorist attacks at Department of State facilities was surely above her pay grade.  It's certainly within Hillary's.  Or Patraeus'.  Or the top banana's.  But nobody asked why.  They already know. 

In the end this seemed a fitting conclusion:
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) on spending, the $1.2 trillion figure, is that something you see in the short-term or is there...
OBAMA: That was a great question, but it would be a horrible precedent for me to answer your question just because you yelled it out. So thank you very much, guys.
Apparently Helen Thomas did show up--her role has been taken over by Obama.

MY FRIENDS..  11/15/12 

Good Lord, what a stupid move.  One of the leading detractors on Benghazi missed the closed door hearings today about Benghazi.   He was confronted about it by CNN and proceed to show his ass, royally:
"I have no comment about my schedule and I'm not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media," McCain said. Asked why he wouldn't comment, McCain grew agitated: "Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?” When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, "I'm upset that you keep badgering me."
For his sake there better be more reasonable lame explanation than "scheduling error". If not, well give it up. Obama wins again, thanks to clownish handlers.  By the by, notice how CNN treated the old war hero--asking him over and over why he wasn't there. Imagine if they treated the president that way. He scares and intimidates them after the first tough question.