Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kill Lists and Birthers

Some weird stuff in the news right now.  Zombies in Florida, people throwing their entrails at the cops, porn movies being filmed at the LA Coliseum, Mitt Romney is a unicorn.   Wait, wtf?

Yes, CNN, apparently celebrating their lowest ratings in 20 years, has a story about Mitt Romney being a unicorn:
Call them "unicorners." A liberal group says it has collected more than 19,000 e-mails requesting Arizona officials to confirm Mitt Romney is not a unicorn. Without such proof, the group Left Action argues with tongue in cheek, Romney may indeed be a unicorn -- his dark mane hiding a horn -- and therefore ineligible to be on the presidential ballot in November. The farcical campaign mimics efforts by "birthers," and some top supporters of certain Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to continually raise the already-settled issue of whether President Barack Obama meets the Constitution's requirements for citizenship.
Fit to print.  Cutting edge stuff.  But wait, it's not just CNN, WaPo also had a story on it and probably others. Clearly they are trying to leverage Donald Trump's recent birther rants against Mittens, rants which are becoming increasingly more interesting in a sort of 'hey, is he working for Obama' kind of way.

But OK, let's have some fun with the Mitt birthers a moment. Some are claiming that since George Romney was born in Mexico, even though he was a US citizen, that makes Romney ineligible for the POTUS because birthers have claimed that Obama's father was a citizen of Kenya and the UK or something.   If they are going to use the parents' heritage argument they are making the birthers' point--Romney's father doesn't have to be born in the US to make Mitt eligible--he only has to be a citizen.  Even if Mitt wasn't born in Detroit he might still be eligible similar to McCain.  That's not the same as having one American citizen parent and another parent who is not.  Stupid indeed.  But the insane frivolity is just beginning.  When you don't have anything else you throw poop.  And sometimes the candidates do, too. 

Speaking of insane frivolity, Farrakhan is making news again. The Blaze has him warning that an attack on the Mullahs, even by Israel, will result in toppling US skyscrapers, evidently by moderate Muslims. Question, shouldn't this qualify him for Obama's kill list?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

She Should Write a Book

Wonder if former ambassador Barbara Bodine will ever write a book?   She would certainly have a lot say, being in the middle of a string of interesting and dangerous developments in the middle east during her time at the State Department.  Yet her appearances seem few and far between both on TV and in print. 

For instance, she was evidently stationed in Baghdad during the 80s and later became deputy chief of mission in our Kuwait embassy just before Saddam Hussein attacked in 1990, becoming one of the 27 hostages held there for four months.  Harrowing.  Wonder how well she knew Joe Wilson, who was deputy to Ambassador Glaspie during that time in Baghdad?  She later returned to Baghdad with the CPA after the invasion, leaving when Jay Garner was replaced.  

After Kuwait she went back to Foggy Bottom and served as Associate Coordinator for Operations and later served as the Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism.  She has also served on the secretariat staff of Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance.  Then in 1997 she was named Ambassador to Yemen.  A lot would happen immediately thereafter.

In 1998 UBL, whose family hails from Yemen, again declared war on Americans, this time a bit more forceful than his first declaration in 1996.  His second manifesto included grievances about our treatment of Iraqis.  Later in 1998 the African Embassy bombings occurred, which were operationally planned in Yemen.

Then in late 2000 the USS Cole bombing occurred in the port of Aden.  Several prominent writers have touched on Ms Bodine's frosty relationship with FBI super-agent John O'Neill but aside from a few op-eds, some random video and an appearance on Bill Maher's show (this clip exists, but it's limited to criticism of Bush and Iraq) we still haven't heard her extended version.  Some even blame 9/11 on her alleged intransigence with the FBI, which seems vastly unfair without knowing all the nuances.

Other questions linger.  Was she aware of the al Qaeda communications hub located in Yemen being monitored by a prominent US spy agency, which allowed agents to discover the 'terrorist summit meeting' in Kuala Lumpur in 2000 being held there to discuss coming plots?  The Iraqis almost certainly had an agent there

And was it really a 'coincidence' that a Yemenia Airlines flight she was on in January 2001--three days after Bush's inauguration--happened to be hijacked by a 'lone nut' who was loyal to Saddam Hussein?  He demanded to be flown to Baghdad, but they ended up in Djibouti.  Strangely enough, former Yemeni president Saleh was also loyal to Saddam and Bodine and her entourage were on their way to meet with him to discuss the Cole.

Wouldn't it be interesting to get her take on the excitement that went on in the cabin of that flight as the crew was overpowered and her impression of whether the man was actually a lone nut or an operative?  She wouldn't have seen the ending--reports say the crew subdued the lone nut after all the passengers were released--but one might assume she knows what happened to him and the other lone nuts the Yemeni government rounded up for questioning.  It seems the epilogue to that story has never come out.

Maybe one day it will.  She is said to have 'a taste for danger'.  Partisans on both the left and the right blame her.   But she was there.  It could be a real page-turner.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mitt and the Military

ABC News has a hilarious article about the military records--or lack thereof--of the two presumptive presidential candidates, which is really a clever way to bring up the fact that Romney got deferments to miss Viet Nam. But in setting things up they begin with a real howler...

Did you catch it? Yeah no, Obama's uncle didn't serve in the Red Army. That's the only way he could have liberated Auschwitz.  And yes, that's a screen shot, for posterity since it's hard to believe a major news org could execute such a screwup, ie, it may be heading to the memory hole.
ABC goes on to say that Obama has several relatives who were in the military, as if that means something (while not mentioning whether Mitt does or not) before getting to the real meat:
Romney, meanwhile, received a draft deferment because of his status as a Mormon minister of religion while he was a missionary in France. The former Massachusetts governor, 65, later signed up with the Selective Service, but his draft number was too high for him to be called into service.
Time will tell if Axelrod decides to question those deferments, which probably occurred about the same time Ayers was throwing bombs--when Obama was eight.

Ironically, polls show Romney with a comfortable advantage with military folks.  Wonder where Mitt was on Iraq?  Ah yes, the same place Hillary was.  Meanwhile Obama was out today doing his traditional Memorial Day Bush bash, saying he will never send troops into harm's way without a legitimate mission, wink wink, the dumb war is over.   No word on how we're doing chasing Joseph Kony or how his Christianist terror organization threatens America but since it's not a news story maybe it's not really happening. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday on the River

Some random photos of the downtown air show last evening as the city wraps up "Memphis in May" with a performance by the Memphis Symphony and the Bar Kays.  It was warm, but the wind was blowing--and for once they got it done without any severe weather warnings...


There was a lot of police presence, even in the water.   But nobody was in a fighting mood.  People were just enjoying the freedom to come downtown, watch some airplanes and listen to some music and enjoy the beginning of summer, all courtesy of the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes. May those sacrifices never go in vain.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back to Zero

This is the best article I've seen lately on the political games being played by Obama over gay marriage. An excerpt:
Newsweek editor Tina Brown—she of the “First Gay President” cover—described Obama’s reaction thusly, “He stumbled into it because of Joe Biden. The hero of the hour is Joe Biden, right?" Obama had a different take.
Asked about his inspiration, he cited not Joe Biden, but the Living Word. “When we think about our faith,” said Obama speaking for himself and Michelle, “the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”
For the record, Jesus summed up the Golden Rule thusly, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Given this understanding, Jesus implored his disciples to treat the marginalized, like, say, Mary Magdalene, with respect. He did not demand that they legalize prostitution. He certainly did not call them “bigots” if they hesitated.
He also mentions them using the "old school socialist exploitation of Christianity", which is really the girding underbelly of Obama's true ideology.  Oh, and not to keep harping on Biden, but he came out of the closet in late 2010, right after the mid-term shellacking.  So Obama didn't 'stumble on' anything due to Joe. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Investigation Update

James Clapper, head of national intelligence, is supposed to be conducting an investigation into the leak of the gutsy Obama-approved CIA 'double agent' who uncovered underwear bomb 2.0 but turned out to be under the control of UK and Saudi Arabian intelligence.  The FBI is also investigating, but had to be 'urged' to include the White House in their sphere of investigation.

Chances are we probably won't hear much about this story again unless 1) a conservative turncoat in the administration or career conservative bureaucrat is fingered, or 2) an aircraft crash occurs.  And the first is more likely to draw coverage than the second.   

Even today's odd story about the French woman of Cameroon descent on a US Airways flight from Paris to Charlotte who claimed to have a surgical implant 'device' in her body didn't warrant any mention of the leak despite mention of AQAP.  By the way we've been told she's just a nut.  Might be true--but some additional confirmation would be nice. 

Speaking of leaks, Judicial Watch has obtained some documents in relation to some proposed football spiking.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lockerbie Bomber Finally Departs

According to sources:
His son, Khaled al-Megrahi, confirmed that he died in Tripoli in a telephone interview but hung up before giving more details. Saad Nasser al-Megrahi, a relative and a member of the ruling National Transitional Council, said al-Megrahi's health had seriously deteriorated in recent days and he died of cancer-related complications.
This news saturated the net this morning likely due to the closure it may provide to the families of victims on Pan Am 103.  But the AP-generated story used by many sites contained, shall we say, some skeptism:
Al-Megrahi's lawyers also claimed that British and U.S. authorities tampered with evidence, disregarded witness statements and steered investigators away from suggestions the bombing was an Iranian-financed plot carried out by Palestinians to avenge the shooting down of a civilian Iranian airliner by a U.S. warship -- in which some 290 people were killed -- several months before the Lockerbie bombing. The judicial body, however, discounted theories of intentional misdirection.
Iran was certainly outraged at the time, but Gaddafi also had his reasons for revenge of course--Reagan's raid on his palace in 1986.  As with most of these events there are theories aplenty--others believe the CIA engineered the crash for some reason or another (this would have been the evil CIA of Reagan-Bush not the good CIA under Clinton and Obama, where glamorous blonds speak truth to power and mystery double agents penetrate AQAP).

None of the theories explain why Gaddafi was also blamed for the downing of UTA 772 a year later using the same methodology. However, it wouldn't be surprising if Megrahi was some kind of fall-guy, although it's a bit harder to imagine the Persians were involved that fast after the loss of Iran Air 655. It's just as believable to consider that Saddam Hussein was involved in some way relating to their mutual affection for Abu Nidal, after all one of the alleged bomb-makers was reputedly hiding in Iraq before the invasion:
Khala Khadar al Salahat, a member of ANO, surrendered to the First Marine Division in Baghdad on April 18, 2003. According to an August 25, 2002 report in the Sunday Times of London, a Palestinian source claimed that Salahat and Nidal had furnished Libyan agents the Semtex (plastic explosive) bomb that destroyed Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland in 1988. Among the 259 persons killed in the air and 11 killed on the ground were 35 American college students.
Everyone knows Abu Nidal committed suicide in Baghdad in 2002 by shooting himself in the head, several times, as the Iraqi Mukhabarat stood by and watched.

As to Megrahi there was one man who claimed to know the truth; a man who defected to the west as soon as the excrement began to hit the fan in Tripoli:
Former justice minister Mustapha Abdeljalil told Swedish newspaper Expressen that he had proof Gaddafi personally ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing 270 people, mostly Americans.
Whatever happened to that guy?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's the Follow-Up, Stupid

CBS sets up their hit piece of Breitbart by couching them as birthers before getting to the money paragraphs:
The birthers made their presence felt once again on Thursday. A conservative reporter tracked down a 1991 promotional booklet from a literary agency in which Mr. Obama was listed as having been "born in Kenya." Conservative news aggregator Matt Drudge gave the report huge play, leading his site with it Thursday evening. He followed up Friday with a series of links tied to the story, including one asking, "How did the mainstream media miss this?"
The literary agent responsible for the listing released a statement in the wake of the story reading in part, "This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me -- an agency assistant at the time. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii."
But that, of course, was not going to placate those eager to seize on the 1991 listing as a smoking gun proving their theory. Interestingly, the website that posted it,, seemed uncomfortable with putting it into the world - it said in a note above the article that it "has never advocated the narrative of 'Birtherism,'" arguing that the listing is evidence "not of the President's foreign origin, but that Barack Obama's public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times."
Indeed, Breitbart's reporters were recently blasted by some of the hard-core birthers for not getting on the train.   But in the world of elite media reporters such as Mr. Montopoli everyone on the right is a closet racist/birther, meaning the mere mention of a flyer showing Barack Obama as being born in Kenya qualifies the producer of said story as a crackpot.  And of course once a story can be labeled 'birtherism' there's no need to pursue it any further.

Edward R Murrow must be spinning in his grave.  A true reporter would have seen the Breitbart story, said "that's interesting"; seen the follow-up comment/statement from the literary agent and said "that's interesting, too', then picked up the phone.   They were not afraid of the truth because they kept their own dogs out of the fight. 

In other words, instead of mocking Breitbart's journalism and trying to turn them into birthers the CBS reporter could have called the literary agent--and certainly the White House--and asked some questions.  Here are just a few suggestions from a hack blogger to get things started; surely an elite reporter could think of a few more.  For instance,  to the agent:

"how often did you put out a bio on a writer and not let the writer see it first? Was it common to do your own 'fact checking' rather than just asking the writer?

Where did you do the fact checking and why/how do think you got it wrong?"

Why wasn't the flyer corrected until 2007?

Such a reporter might call the White House press office and say,

"Could you tell us if Obama himself remembers the bio and if so, did he get to approve it before it went to press?" 

It's almost as if some are afraid to ask.  Think of how much more powerful Mr. Montopoli's piece on Breitbart would have been had he been able to pop out a few of those secondary, drill-down questions/answers, ie, "we talked to Ms so-so and she said it was common for new authors to not be involved in their bios, etc".  As it was he appeared to be filing his report from Chicago HQs. 

In other words, it's about the follow-up!   Our modern advocates have lost track of that concept, a simple premise that says you don't immediately believe a press release or take a canned statement as gospel.  You don't blindly believe a politician without checking their story--and checking doesn't mean asking their press officer or Media Matters and declaring, "case closed, you crazy wingers".  They used to know this. 

The reporter even mocked the 'vetting' charge Brietbart made.   So yeah sorry Jack, not to bust your bubble but this kind of crap is exactly what you can expect from the Breitbart story, nothing more.  The only wildcard is whether Breitbart has something else in the can waiting to trickle out.  Their namesake was pretty good at that--he had learned their game.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

White vs Indian

It's been pointed out on the web already.. now we learn that certain fine educational establishments once celebrated diversity by considering Elizabeth Warren a "person of color".  The same intelligensia probably believes George Zimmerman is whiter.  Does anyone really need to point out the preposterousness?

Yet here we go again--in a story MSNBC is heralding about Martin being shot at "an intermediate range" (they don't define intermediate) the writer actually penned the following:
But after questions about possible racial motivation for the slaying – Martin was black; Zimmerman is a white man of Hispanic heritage – a special prosecutor took over the case and, on April 11, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder. He was released on April 23 on a $150,000 bond and has been out of the public eye since then.

Bold to back up what Tom Maguire points out--some lefty memes never die.  Even now Warren is saying she's still proud of her "Native American" (not American Indian, as they prefer) heritage.

MORE  5/17/12

The New York Times is out with information sure to run tingles up a few legs in the higher educational warrens of America:
After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July, according to Census Bureau data made public on Thursday, while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority for the first time in the country’s history.
So the Census folks don't count White Hispanics as white, preferring to count them as minorities. The media will of course make a big deal out of this 'tipping point' without realizing the irony.

KENYAN?   5/17/12

Breitbart has the scoop, of course the answer is that it was a mistake.  The person who edited the circular says it was a "fact checking error".  That will probably satisfy the elite media and who knows, maybe it was an error. But perhaps the question should be asked, "where did the initial facts come from"? In her statement Goderich says Obama had nothing to do with his own bio, the remainder of which looks legit. So where did the erroneous info originate? Of course anyone who asks will be labeled a birther, so there ya go. Oddly enough the Breitbart piece anticipated this response and mentioned Goderich:
According to the booklet itself, the text was edited by Miriam Goderich, who has since become Dystel's partner at Dystel & Goderich, an agency founded in 1994. Breitbart News attempted to reach Goderich by telephone several times over several days. Her calls are screened by an automated service that requires callers to state their name and company, which we did. She never answered
Ms. Dystel remains dummied up, and why not--probably a big payoff coming for her one day.  But since this is a blog we can simply be dummies by WAGing aimlessly, so here goes.  The evidence O was born in Hawaii is sufficient sans pure fraud, which is something Hillary would have exploited had it been there.  But the lockdown on grades, transcripts and other literary accomplishments has always been strange, especially for a man who prides himself on such accomplishments.  Did those people in Minnesota Iowa get prosecuted for sneaking a peak at Obama's student loan records because it was illegal, or because they looked at the wrong person?  The woman in Ohio who went after personal records on Joe the Plumber got off much easier--and is now back working for the state again, of course that wasn't a federal matter.     

Maybe if there's any there there it's more about academic exaggerations with the birth cert being a convenient red herring.   Or maybe this is just another attempt to feed the conservative press information to change the narrative off the economy.  Romney was out today insisting that Rev Wright is a non-story.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Path Back to 9/11

Isn't it strange.  In a rare moment of candor, or perhaps shoddy editing, 60 Minutes allowed their Sunday guest--a former CIA terror warrior with a long record of battling AQ--to utter the following on air:
Lara Logan: And what did you see there?
Hank Crumpton: We saw a security detail, a convoy and we saw bin Laden exit the vehicle.
Lara Logan: Clearly?
Hank Crumpton: Clearly. And we had-- the optics were spot on. It was beaming back to us, CIA headquarters. We immediately alerted the White House. And the Clinton administration's response was, "Well, it will take several hours for the TLAMs, the cruise missiles launched from submarines, to reach that objective. So you need to tell us where bin Laden will be five or six hours from now." The frustration was enormous.
Lara Logan: So at that moment you wanted to kill him?
Hank Crumpton: Yes.
Lara Logan: But you couldn't get permission?
Hank Crumpton: Correct. He couldn't get permission to do anything, including allowing the CIA's Afghan agents on the ground to attack bin Laden's compound. That missed opportunity in the late summer of 1999, led Crumpton and his CIA team to figure out how to arm the Predator drone with hellfire missiles.
Anyone following along would not be surprised. His story backs up people like Michael Scheuer, former head of the Alec Station UBL unit and it follows pretty close to the scene in "Path to 9/11" that the Clintonistas didn't want shown.  Perhaps CBS felt safe to air it with UBL now killed by another Democrat president and Bush safely retired in Dallas (and maintaining media silence). Romney is running on the economy.

Meanwhile some in the intelligence business are still piping hot mad over the presumed US leak about super double agent underwear bomber 2.0.  Everyone presumably except the US elite media.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Nothing But the Truth


That remains the question regarding the person(s) who leaked the underwear bomb plot to the AP.  According to Diane Feinstein, this person needs to be run to ground:
"The leak really did endanger sources and methods," Feinstein said. "And the leak, I think, has to be prosecuted." She said an investigation is being conducted and expressed hope that "criminal charges will go to the Department of Justice."
Not to mention the possible harm to the brave person who inserted himself into the belly of the beast and others who may still be there, or the trust between our spy agencies and their friendly counterparts.

But hmm....she seems quite passionate about it.  Does she know or suspect who it might be?  Perhaps political operatives smelling a Scooter Libby-like witch hunt of a Democrat political operative need to be careful what they wish for. 

Anyway, some questions come to mind based on her comments.  If charges are filed with Holder will they indicate the source agency or entity of the leaker? Seems the request to file would have to come from some official capacity based on knowledge of the possible culprit. Or will they go after the AP and attempt to reverse engineer the source? Could be messy with all that reporter-source privilege and so forth, that is unless the AP isn't really passionate about protecting said source (they know who it is, obviously).   Chances are we'll hear much more about it depending on who it is, but then again, cynicism is well rooted here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Side Tracks

That's the same John Wetton from Uriah Heep, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Wishbone Ash and Asia. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Show Must Go On..

Do we have a media in this country anymore?

So Joe Biden "apologized" to the president for getting out ahead of him on the gay marriage thing?  Apologized, really?  For getting out ahead?  When?   BIDEN HAS ALREADY COME OUT FOR GAY MARRIAGE, BACK IN 2010.   The story is right here.  Of course, the video appears to be unavailable for some reason.  

And what about this crappola regarding Obama pushing a girl that the right is using to respond to Romney's high school homophobia haircut (a story perfectly timed to come out after Obama's epiphany)?  The girl says it didn't happen.  In other words, just another composite story manufactured by the writer of "Dreams", whoever that might have been but clearly someone the media doesn't want to discover.  Thank heavens we know about Mitt's high school romps but we still haven't seen the Rashid Khalidi tape.  

Crackies, what a load of horsehiite.

MORE  5/11/12

CNN does some research, including mentioning the creator of "Will and Grace", the TV show used by Biden as an example by how NBC educated the nation:
The show's creator, Max Mutchnick, said Wednesday on CBS's "This Morning" that Biden had used similar language at a private fundraiser three weeks prior to the interview. He added that the White House was recording Biden while he made the comments at the event. "This says to me that it was all very choreographed," Mutchnick said. "It just doesn't seem right to me because it was verbatim to what he had said three weeks earlier....He was testing the material out of town, and then he took it to a larger house, which was 'Meet the Press.'"
Funny, social conservatives have been claiming for years that the networks were using these kinds of shows more as education than entertainment, and Biden basically confirms it.  Meanwhile yeah, they still won't mention Joe's comments from December 2010.  But at least CNN had the stones to refer to Obama's 1996 starting point on the issue...

 ..while completely avoiding it it in the actual story when detailing the "evolution".

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not so Fast

Say the Saudis, presumably..
The agent who penetrated al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and returned from Yemen with the group's new "airline bomb" was always under Saudi control and was not a double-agent, two sources briefed by Saudi counterterrorism officials have told CNN.
Guess they didn't like the double agent term anymore than some of us here did.  The source continues..
One source said Saudi counterterrorism officials were upset that details of the operation had emerged in the United States because they had a network of agents inside AQAP who could be compromised by leaks from Washington.

The sources also questioned suggestions that the infiltrator's information led to the successful drone strike over the weekend that targeted Fahd al-Quso, a leading figure in AQAP. The Saudi agent did not meet al-Quso while in Yemen, according to one source.
To be fair, he wouldn't have had to actually meet al-Quso to know where he was in general terms and pass that along.  It appears that about 2 weeks elapsed between the underwear bomb's disappearance and al-Quso's demise, which either means al-Quso wasn't involved in Saudi agent's penetration zone or he was stupid enough to remain in place after the compromise.  Or we were given a trail and he remained on it.  The Saudi source seems to indicate no correlation, however.   The source also leaves open a more sinister possibility.  *If* their agent didn't finger al-Quso then the delay of reportage until after the bin Laden anniversary could have been for reasons other than killing Quso.

And that's the interesting thing here--the pushback.  Why?  Aren't the Saudis team players?   It's almost as if they think their agents were used to score political points.  Maybe the upcoming investigation into the leaker will reveal something of interest.  Obama has prosecuted more leakers than any of the past several presidents combined, so an investigation should be a certainty.  Of course everyone is now talking about gay marriage. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Obama Finally Takes a Position..

..and comes around to Dick Cheney's stance on gay marriage.   So which was gutsier, Cheney bucking most of the GOP conservative establishment or Obama deciding to stop pandering to blacks and moderates? 

No matter, it was a a gutsy call following Biden like that.  After all, gay troops are out there fighting for him!  Forward!!

BIG FNG DEAL  5/8/12

Everybody seems to be focused on Biden's big mouth leading to Obama finding his landing pad on the issue.  Maybe--we are talking about Joe.   But what's to say the entire thing wasn't scripted?  After all, Biden came out Sunday on an NBC program, mentioning an NBC sit-com as being transformative, which leads to Obama's revelation.   Why didn't Biden's comments in 2010 trigger an Obama revelation?   And c'mon, we already know the O favored gay marriage when he was loosely backed by the Democratic Socialists in 1996, so as Jon Stewart says, what did he evolve to?   Sounds like another orchestrated stunt designed to talk about something other than the economy and make Romney look like a neanderthal.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Aviation Update

Big news of the day--the FBI caught another underwear bomber, saving a crash.   Wait, no, it was the CIA.  And they only captured the underwear

What the devil?

Time for speculation (this being a blog).   Maybe this is the CIA's way of letting the AQAP guys know they have a mole in their midst.  Instead of picking off a low level ordnance guy they allow them to go through an internal struggle wondering who the infidel might be, causing division, all while still roiling over the loss of al-Quso, the Cole suspect.   If so, well played guys. 

The CIA might also be letting America know that indeed, the war on terror is not quite over yet.  Or perhaps they were letting Axelrod know.  David Petraeus is the DCIA--we haven't heard much about him since he got to Langley.  He seems to be an out-of-the-boxer.    

Or, Obama might just be releasing some catnip to the media.  But that wouldn't really comport with his get out of Afghanistan and reap the peace-with-terrorists dividend.

Meanwhile, apart from these package bombs the investigative bodies have yet to announce what caused UPS flight 6 to crash in the UAE back in September 2010, several months before the package bombs became a story.  The general notion is that the lithium batteries shipped as cargo on board caught fire and the FAA has issued directives on handling such things.  But we've yet to be told how the fire started.  The flight originated in the Arabian Peninsula.  AQAP took credit.  The government pushed back.  No probable cause released yet.

MORE  5/7/12

The trickle continues.  It appears the CIA might have been tipped by a partner intel service, or at least that's the current narrative.  I found this funny
Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said counterterrorism officials had said of the bomber: “We don’t have to worry about him anymore.” He is alive, officials said, but they would not to say whether he was in foreign custody.
Sounds like he was rendered somewhere (shhhhh, don't tell the left). This was also a bit weird:
Mr. King, of the Homeland Security Committee, said information on the unfolding case had been “tightly held,” without the usual briefings for members of Congress on continuing operations until Monday. He said officials “were shocked that this had gotten out” before the announcement planned for Tuesday.
In other words, while the administration was saying there were no credible threats of a May 1 anniversary attack they were running down a credible threat involving underwear but couldn't trust briefing the House Intelligence Committee. Sounds rather Bushian.  But no worries, Obama did it, so all is well.  The leak also sounds Bushian. Thing is, it was passed to AP at least a week ago if not longer but wasn't printed until today, so it really didn't work as planned.  Presumably.

MORE  5/8/12

Peter King is questioning the administration as to how they downplayed, or some would say lied, regarding the question as to whether any threats existed relating to the anniversary of whacking bin Laden.  The admin is using some Clintonesque lawyer-talk to say they didn't mislead anyone.  Technically this, specifically that. OK.

Maybe they had to--as they said the plot was supposedly ongoing.  But is there the slightest possibility they didn't want the AP to run the story before May 1 because it might throw water on the surprise trip to Afghanistan to announce the way forward?   Or were they afraid that all the credible threat stories boiling through the media might dampen the euphoria of the gutsy call and all the media specials planned?   Just askin.


Like the aftermath of the bin Laden raid,the administration is being forced to trickle out more details to keep the media and certain yahoo bloggers from over-speculating, or even charging them with "electioneering".  I think today's revelation that the insider who tipped on the underwear also gave up al-Quso changes the dynamic--it certainly suggests they had to remain silent before the drone attack lest al-Quso get spooked and head for the cave. As with all this GWoT stuff, Churchill's quote always applies, which makes things hard to figure sometimes.  In the end it turned out to be a pretty good day for the good guys.

Perhaps the only questions left are, 1) what happened to the would-be suicide bomber?  The govt is saying he is "no longer a threat" but the Bush boys would never have gotten that by the press, 2) would the AP have granted a similar request to stand down from a president Bush or Romney and 3) who initially leaked the plot to the AP, and why?

UPDATE  5/8/12

Scott Shane and the Times rides to the rescue with some answers, including calling the would-be suicide bomber a "double agent".  From reading their story it would appear the only thing double about him is that he was working for Saudi Intelligence as an 'agent' while helping the CIA, and had infiltrated AQAP.  They didn't refer to him an 'asset', which would be an AQ guy recruited by an intelligence agent.   A true double agent would be an AQ guy also working for our side, which this doesn't seem to fit here.   

While this explains why they couldn't provide information about him or his whereabouts, and explains why they wanted the AP to wait for publication, it doesn't really explain the comments made just recently that the double agent was "no longer a threat".  As described by the Times he was never a threat--he was working for our side all along.  Actually, it was Peter King who characterized the agent as no longer a threat; Brennan basically said he was 'never a threat', which sounds more consistent.  But did King misspeak or did someone tell him the agent was at one time a threat?  For someone to be 'no longer' a threat they would have to have been a threat at some point, an important distinction.  It's hard to believe they are manufacturing this stuff as they go, so let's assume King was a bit sloppy with the explanation (or they were trying to misdirect).       

Anyway, there's your answer to question one.  Question two is an unknown and always will be.  As to question three, the Times story says that government officials "plan an investigation" into finding the leaker.  Hmm, what's Patrick Fitzgerald doing nowadays?    

Friday, May 04, 2012

Document Dance

This past week the USG released around 17 documents captured from the bin Laden safe house in Abottabad via the CTC.  Those wishing to receive downloads had to provide an email request and go on their mailing list, for some reason. 

Of course there were many more. Writers from the Long War Journal are asking why just 17:
Overall, however, the government should declassify and release nearly all of bin Laden's files. Some of the files were authored more than a decade ago, yet none of those dated documents were released today. The earliest document released by CTC is dated September 2006. This means that any documents pertaining to the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Oct. 12, 2000 USS Cole bombing, and the Aug. 7, 1998 embassy bombings were not released. Yet, these are the types of documents that deal directly with al Qaeda's assault on American interests that precipitated more than a decade of controversial counterterrorism measures and wars.
Wonder what might appear on some of those communiques vis a vis Iraq? Iran? Sudan?  Etc.

It's understandable that the govt would want to sequester some of the docs from public view to protect diplomatic relations, agents or troops in the field, or national security in general.  Perhaps they may affect the terror trials about to occur at Gitmo.  But this controlled release sounds similar to the trove of documents captured in Iraq that trickled out over the course of several years, including some that tied the Taliban to Iraq (which almost every major media sans Fox ignored).  The official flow stopped but the Joint Forces analysi center released a report, which was largely spun by mainstream reports.  Not sure all the docs have ever been analyzed. 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Obama Before Michelle- True Lies Version

Is there any other way to describe David Maraniss' 8 page Vanity Fair tome to Obama's "compressed" girlfriends other than "Maraniss fires back at Cashill"?

Cashill has led the charge, even writing a book, on the notion that Bill Ayers wrote Obama's biography and is otherwise a lot more intertwined in his life than anyone will admit.  One aspect is the composite white girlfriend in "Dreams" bearing a lot of resemblance to Ayers' true love Diana Oughton.  This article by Maraniss was clearly designed to push back on every one of his charges, just in time for the election.

The comments are funny- "guess they'll have to move this one into the fiction section".  Yeah, that's how it reads to me as well--simply too convenient.   But in doing so it attempts to answer several questions:

1) can Obama write?  Well, he writes all the time according to the piece, which even features some of his love letters.  It appears just as flowery as Dreams.  Cashill may be wrong about Obama's writing skills, but that doesn't mean Ayers didn't want a piece of writing the book and pushing along a political natural. 

2) Where are Obama's girlfriends?   There they are, compressed, in New York.   One comes and goes, the other stays a bit. Her name is Genevieve Cook.  Another is in Chicago and there were 'hook ups, but none of those were described.

3) What about the GF's parent's home that was described almost exactly the way Ayers described Diana Oughton's parent's home in Illinois?  It's right there in New York state just north of the city.  Just another coincidence, Jack!

4) How did Obama get into community organizing in Chicago?  By simply answering a classified ad.  No references, no connections.  Just a resume.   

Maraniss goes over major girlfriend Genevieve's diary of the rise and fall of their relationship, noting the final entry, "hard to say, as obviously I was not the person that brought infatuation. (That lithe, bubbly, strong black lady is waiting somewhere!)".  How utterly conveniently prescient--she foresaw Michelle.   Wow.  

Many will notice that while Genevieve was attending Bank Street College in New York for her Masters (only a few football fields down the street from Columbia where Obama was attending) so was Bill Ayers.  Mariness is certainly aware of that but talking about the washed-up terrorist is like touching a third rail for many lefty writers, so he didn't go there, not even to mock.   

Anyhow, we await the Cashill response.

MORE  5/3/12

While we're waiting here's a picture of what could be the Jessup home in Norfolk, CT, presumably described by Obama in the book:

...described, or at least mentioned by Genevieve to Maraniss.  The estate has a lake surrounded by woods and is palatial.  Since Obama didn't mention anything about the library being outside or detached it could have well been inside the home.   The book says the lake is 'round', so for comparison here's a picture of the lake near Oughton's home in Illinois:

Technically, neither is 'round' and one is more of a lake, the other a pond.  However, the Oughton pond has more rounded edges. However, it's a stretch to say it's 'surrounded by woods'.  Then again according to the excerpt  Obama didn't say the lake/pond was necessarily surrounded by woods, he said "we" were.  In other words, it could have been a reference to being in a wooded area.  While it's possible the Oughton estate had more trees in the 80s this fits more with Norfolk.

Obama describes the lake as being "filled with small gold leaves that collected along the shore".   Take a look at the trees and lake size in the top shot and ask yourself which body of water stands a better chance of being 'filled' with leaves.  There are a lot of trees around the Jessup lake but it's more likely for a small pond to be filled with leaves than a lake.   Then again, one could say Obama didn't mean 'filled' literally--maybe he was compressing the leaves. 

Inconclusive, but leaning towards the story being real.   Since there are pictures of Obama with Genevieve it would appear the only way the girlfriend is fabricated is if they weren't actually lovers but only friends and Genevieve stepped in to rescue her old pal with a convenient cover story.   But how bizarrely coincidental for her to have a convenient mansion with a lake to reference for yahoo internet bloggers.

MORE  5/4/12

Daily Mail has located Alex McNear, part of the duo of compressed girlfriends written about in Dreams and uncovered by Maraniss.   Apparently they had an email exchange:
In her first comments since the story broke, Miss McNear told MailOnline: 'I am not giving any interviews. 'I did that one interview with David Maraniss for reasons I won't go into. 'I have nothing more to say about the whole subject'.
The bold was mine because I found that comment interesting.   It could mean a variety of things, but the bottom line is that Maraniss somehow got this very shy woman to talk.  Wonder what it was?  Was it to push back on the Cashill meme?

Meanwhile the Mail talks about how McNear ended up meeting her future first husband, a boxer named Bozic:
His most serious brush with the law came in 1980 when he was broke and in a bad mental place - supposedly he was sent over the edge when faced with going to the opera on his own.
Why was a broke boxer going to the opera alone?
Mr Bozic then walked into a branch of the Manufacturers Hanover bank in Manhattan and told them than men outside had guns pointed at the bank. He asked for $60,000 and was taken to the vault before the police arrested him. He was given a lenient sentence of probation after admitting robbery in the third degree. It was after this that he met Miss McNear whilst working as a bouncer at a transvestite club in New York, a job he had only taken to try and keep the judge in his court case happy. She was working as a lawyer in Chicago at the time phoned up the club asking for a place to hold a benefit night. He told her his life story and, against all odds, they began to fall for each other.
Chicago, eh? Another coincidence. And why would lawyer McNear be looking to hold a benefit in a transvestite bar in New York? For whom?  It's all so bizarre as to not seem real.


Rather than focusing on the Vanity Fair outing of the girlfriends he focuses on the other 'composites' in the book, and there are many--and many that have been proven fraudulent or simple exaggerations.  He makes a good case that Ayers manhandled the book.  But he did not cover the presumption that Ayers' true love Oughton was used for the girlfriend composite, which appears less likely now, or even touch on the fact that Cook attended Bank St. College at the same time Ayers was there.   Does any of this mean anything?  Probably not.   Integrity isn't a campaign theme anymore.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Mission Accomplished?

Obama made another play in the war on Romney tonight, basically giving a victory speech at Bagram.  He informed us that he killed bin Laden, he destroyed AQ, he got us out of Iraq, and he is getting us out of Afghanistan.  He, him, along with some various and sundry troops.   And based on what Romney said in an edited debate in 2007, Mitt wouldn't have, smirk, smirk (I've hoisted these bastards by their own petards).   

So OK, the unthinkable is nigh- victory.  But it's a strange-feeling victory.  The Taliban is still around.  Mullah Omar's head isn't on a pike and we know from the trove grabbed from UBL's safe house that the Taliban was still part of the decision-making as to targets in the region.  The creators of the Taliban, Pakistan, is still a bit ticked off by the gutsy call.  As the Arabs say, an enemy of my enemy is my friend.

All this could be just fine, of course.  We surely want to win and the Pakis deserve to be ticked off since they were likely holding UBL in a safe house while extorting money from our bankrupt treasury.  Obama has shown that he'll practice Chicago-style smash-mouth politics on any issue and Romney has to be able to take the kitchen heat.  It might be shameless and debased but it still ain't beanbag.  The polls will tell. 

Still, this is our national security.  While it might be a good political strategy to snatch the warmongering mantle away from the GOP it's a bit unnerving to witness an ever more arrogant quarterback dancing in the red zone before crossing the goal line.  There's still an enemy out there.  Zawahiri and others are still on the loose and we have no idea what might explode in the 'new and improved' Arab Sprung Middle East vis a vis Israel.  If a terrorist attack were to occur tomorrow on American interests--on the Pakistani anniversary of the UBL killing, May 2--how would that go over?  Some of the heroes are a little unnerved.  This ain't politics or beanbag.