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. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Timing is Everything, Part Deux

So tomorrow is the first of two major congressional hearings on Benghazi, the one Petraeus was supposed to testify in before an episode of Falcon Crest broke out.  And what happens?
U.S. President Barack Obama will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT) on Wednesday, the White House said on Tuesday.
Just in time to suck all the air out of the hearings. 

Prediction--no knowledge of General P, five or six questions to pre-picked journalists mainly about taxing the rich, filibuster answers.  If he picks a Fox reporter he'll squeeze in some jab at Rove in the answer. In other words, no change. 

But there's a wildcard.  Now that Obama has been safely reelected will the media put on their Sam Donaldson, Helen Thomas suits?   Will we actually see someone try to interrupt one of the filibustering replies?   Will pigs fly?

A word on Secession

Any serious talk of states seceding from the union over Obama's reelection is disturbing and embarrassing, and yes, stupid.   America remains the best country on earth.  Furthering the destruction from within doesn't sound like fighting, it sounds like organized sour grapes.  It sounds like the left making 'I'm sorry' websites.   

Is the disappointment understandable?  Hell yes, but life goes on.  Nothing has yet occurred to go to such an extreme, there are ways to rationally and peacefully fight back within this great system of checks and balances given to us by some of the smartest men to ever live. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

General Mystery

As the Petraeus mystery crumbles along the big papers are now trickling out revised and extended administration narratives to explain what happened. Both the WaPo and NY Times are out with new stories, both claiming the White House wasn't notified until 5pm on Election Day:
A senior intelligence official said Saturday that Mr. Clapper had learned of Mr. Petraeus’s situation only when the F.B.I. notified him about 5 p.m. on Tuesday. That night and the next day, the official said, the two men discussed the situation, and Mr. Clapper told Mr. Petraeus “that he thought the right thing to do would be to resign,” the intelligence official said.
In his original reporting Ron Kessler claimed to have FBI sources telling him they were mad that the admin was keeping the event under wraps to prevent damage before the election. If that's true then obviously the 5pm thing is spin fantasy designed to get the White House off any hooks about Benghazi.

Because let's face it, if the admin knew about the affair and let it percolate to prevent political damage, then it subsequently came out that the general was busy emailing his mistress while the consulate was going down in flames, that's perhaps something that could have been prevented had earlier action been taken.

At the same time a lack knowledge the Justice Department had discovered salacious details about the DCIA, or that he was simply being investigated at all is impossible to believe.  Impossible.  Such news would certainly land in Holder's inbox unless Mueller was keeping it quiet, which itself would be hard to believe.  Neither outcomes would make the WH look very functional.  But, both Mueller and Holder are reportedly heading for the door soon so perhaps it doesn't matter anymore.

Meanwhile the New York Times claims that odd ethicist column featuring the guy with the wife cheating with a 'government executive' involved in an important project with worldwide leadership visibility for the United States was NOT related to Petraeus.  Sorry, not buying that yet.  First, how many people are in such positions?  Second, it seems some of the recent reports are trying to shorten the timelines.  We are now told it was only weeks ago when this investigation took place, like hmm, maybe AFTER 9/11?  The letter was handled in the column in July 2012.  Of course if it wasn't the general, who was it?   Sounds just as big.     

Well, surely the hearings next week will clear everything up.   If they actually occur. 

MORE  11/12/12

A lot of folks are making an issue of Broadwell's speech at the University of Denver about the CIA having prisoners at the annex, which could have prompted the late attack that killed Doherty and Woods.   I think they are conflating stories.   We learned early on that people at the annex reportedly captured several jihadists and were holding them at the annex but had to return them to Libyan custody when leaving.  What we HAVE NOT been told is that their presence could have triggered the late night counter attack, which suggests Broadwell might have had insider info.

If so, where did she get it?  The NY Times claimed Saturday that the affair had ended 'four months ago' according to one of the general's close friends so it sounds implausible that she would still have him as a connection.  Then again, she was connected elsewhere so it's probably not much of a smoking gun.  She could have also deduced it herself based on some of the reporting of Jennifer Griffen, which she mentioned in the response. So to me this isn't a bombshell. 

Matter of fact all of the recent information certainly sets up the "just a coincidence" explanation nicely.   The FBI and Justice Dept knew in the 'late summer', which could mean they were told after 9/11 but before 9/23.   The affair ended four months ago, so it wasn't going on during 9/11.  We don't exactly know when the investigation started but they were still investigating up to the last minute before the election, when someone finally called Clapper and informed him of what the Director and Attorney General almost certainly already knew.   There was classified info found on Broadwell's yahoo account, but it wasn't important because there was no criminal case pursued against her, despite that account being part of the Stratfor hack in December 2011.

Summing up, nothing to see here, move along wingnuts.  


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Side Tracks

Some new country.  Looks like the genre has rotated back towards the pop vein of late...

I'll leave it to you to make any connections to the present. 

Spin Winner

As we are being treated to advice on why the Republicans lost and how they can win again from jackanapes like Paul Krugman, Frank Rich and David Frum consider the real reasons Romney lost-- he got out-spun.

The Democrats successfully created an image of Mitt as a richie rich boy who didn't pay his fair share of taxes, destroyed or even killed hard-working Americans and their unions, hated women's freedom and wanted to regulate their sex and end abortion, hated dogs, puppets and gays, all while developing programs to round up all the Mexicans and put blacks back into slavery.    That's what got their base out to vote.  

Romney stuck with the obvious--the economy is not recovering and Obama made a bunch of promises he hasn't kept that have weakened America.  They thought it was enough.  It just had to be.  But it wasn't.  The political experts underestimated their business--politics.  Chicago is the capital of politics. So here we are.

Friday, November 09, 2012

It's Friday...

..Friday afternoon after the election and before a holiday weekend, what better time for a dump?  No, not a document dump, just dumps taken everywhere, as in layoffs, plea deals, a stock market dive and now the resignation of General Petraeus.
Speculation is rampant of course.  It's easy to see why he would wait til after the election to announce this--nothing nefarious in not wanting to drop a bomb on the election, except for the scheduled congressional hearing on Benghazi next week. Allahpundit points to this story that also came out today:
Incoming Lockheed Martin CEO Christopher Kubasik has resigned after allegedly carrying on an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate employee, according to a company statement. He'd been appointed this summer and was set to take over Jan. 1. He previously served as president and COO of the defense giant.
Remember, the sequester will hit the military and defense contractors big time, should it occur.  And remember, it was Lockheed who threatened to issue WARN furlough notices a few months ago before the election, then backed down.  Interesting day.

MORE  11/9/12

So we now know the who and the relative when.  Why is not really important.   Reports are saying the FBI was investigating a breach of his email account--evidently by his mistress--when they ran across evidence of the affair.
The FBI was investigating Petraeus' biographer, Paula Broadwell, for strange activity on the Internet when it discovered some emails that raised concerns, according to officials familiar with the probe.
Sounds strange. How did that investigation begin? CNN elaborates:
According to a U.S. official, the FBI had a tip that Petraeus was involved with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and investigated the alleged affair to determine whether it posed a security risk. The FBI was not investigating Petraeus for wrongdoing. The concern was that he could potentially be blackmailed or put "in a vulnerable spot," the official said.
Hmm. Someone tipped the FBI. Well, the DCIA position is one vulnerable to all kinds of infiltration efforts, including the old 'honey trap'. The General was also accused by some of throwing Hillary under the bus on Benghazi just a short while ago. So there ya go.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Timing is Everything

Amazing, this news cycle thing.  Only short days after the election--while lefties lecture everyone on how to win, Boeing lays off thousands, we hear about a possible debt limit increase this year, and now find out about a US drone being attacked by Iranian fighters.  Apparently superstorm Sandy was just too overwhelming for anything else to make a headline. 

Driving home from work yesterday heard the ABC radio news person describe a 300 point drop in the Dow a day after election as being caused by "whatever".   Today WaPo tells us that Jesse Jackson, Jr is bargaining for a plea deal after winning reelection in his House seat race by a landslide.   He checked himself back into the Mao Clinic, er, sorry, the Mayo Clinic for more 'treatment' after his crushing victory and while these minor legal peccadilloes are solved.   Any Republican analog would have never been in a race. 

Oh yes, the mainstream media did report the JJ, jr story but they never tried to tie him to Obama like they tried to tie Mourdock and Akin to Romney.   And sometimes that's what bias looks like.

Oh well, back to the lectures about how to win elections. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Obama must be really looking forward to today.  An end will come no matter what happens--if he wins, no more campaigning. If he loses, no more campaigning.  He's been campaigning nonstop since 2004. That has to be tiring.

I have no clue who's going to win this thing. Gut feeling says Obama due to his press office known as the national elite media who've dutifully helped him dodge every incoming missile for the last four years. For instance, we've heard not a peep about the investigation into national security leaks being undertaken by two US Attorneys. Obama will even tell you his administration has been the toughest ever on prosecuting leakers--yes, except the ones from his own administration. One might think this subject would hit home with the media. One might think.

The press corpse also allowed them to run out of the clock on Benghazi and Fast and Furious. Any one of those might have scuttled a sitting Republican president's re-election hopes. 

But it wouldn't be stunning to see Romney pull it out. He's not Bob Dole. He's not George HW Bush, or even John McCain. He comes across as a moderate businessman with a decent family. And the American people are frustrated. Do a cross-country drive and you'll see a lot of lost hope in the small towns, a lot of closed stores and factories. Things have improved some since 2008 but the numbers don't support the kind of economy Obama is talking about in his last minute commercial blitz.  This isn't a typical American rebound.  It's not Reagan 1983.  So we'll see.

One thing we'll also see--if Romney wins Nate Silver might end up back at the Daily Kos.   Then again, maybe he could get a job with Fox.  After all, they pay Dick Morris.


Michelle Malkin is a bit twitchy about some of the tweets coming in threatening anyone who voted for Mitt; she should realize the left is very good at talk but not so good about coming through.   Meanwhile Obama is reportedly spending the evening with another feisty reverend who seems to believe all whites are going to hell.    Notice that when it's too late to affect the election he longer cares about being seen with someone controversial.  Might as well invited Bill and Bernadine over as well along with Farrakhan.   After all, they're right down the street.

PROPS  11/6/12

To Silver.  Looks like he nailed it.

Now, the questions.  If the GOP can't defeat an incumbent with 8 percent unemployment when can they?  Was it just the candidate?  It will be interesting to see if the evangelicals got out the vote for Mitt.  If not then the GOP may be in real trouble going forward on a national basis.   

WINNERS  11/6/12

The mainstream media.  They did a great job for president Obama.  They emerge a big winner here.
Gays and gay marriage. Openly gay senator elected.  So much for the Chick-Fil-A effect.
Deficits. Obama never put forth a rational plan to tackle them other than....
...taxing the rich.  The pressure to raise taxes and redistribute wealth will be greater than Boehner can bear and he will eventually cave or the Dems will take back the House in 2014.
Obamacare and free stuff.
Negative campaigning.
Local conservative control, as in, 30 GOP governors and other ballot measures.  

The losers were anyone and everyone who opposed the above.  Welcome to Barack America 2012, or as Drudge calls it, the Divided States of America.  The president says he has more work to do; well he did inherit a mess from his predecessor.  

CONUNDRUM  11/7/12

So the military vote in Virginia split down the middle between Obama and Romney?    Well, that sounds bizarre.  One could speculate, especially a blogger, about why such a thing could occur.  One, the military is becoming more blue because more people are joining in a bad economy.  Two, they were afraid of the sequester.  Obama made that comment during the debate that the sequester was 'not going to happen'.  That probably spoke to some pondering an extended hitch.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

On the Ropes

The White House has finally released a picture of Obama in the Situation Room controlling the Benghazi response..

Seriously, the foreign policy resume the administration was likely trying to protect with their tepid response and silly movie meme--that UBL is dead and AQ is on the ropes--is still alive but damaged.  Axelrod probably planned a coordinated attack down the stretch to bolster foreign policy, beginning with Biden at the DNC, expanding to the campaign trail while bolstered by a bin Laden movie by Harvey Weinstein and several killing UBL books by the likes of Peter Bergen and Mark Bowden.  They never figured on Benghazi.

Reading the Bowden book now; he tells the story in a fairly straightforward way while weaving in political and personal narratives about the players.  It's not overly partisan and he certainly didn't begin his story on 9/11 like Bergen (to protect the Clintons) but the book was surely Obama-approved, especially the parts about O refocusing the hunt, then commanding this, ordering this and that, showing off his commander guy skilz.  You all know how it ends. 

Curiously there was one reference that won't get any play except from eccentric weirdos doing blogs like this one.  On page 43 Bowden begins talking about one of the sons of the original Mujaheddin commander-guy Abdullah Azzam, himself assassinated in Afghanistan in 1989 (presumably due to a power struggle between himself, bin Laden and Zawahiri or others unknown).  Bowden apparently interviewed Azzam's son Huthaifa, who told a story about a meeting between Ramzi Yousef, KSM, and Shiekh UBL in 1995 at some kind of terrorist conference in the Sudan:
The younger Azzam was attending a conference in the Sudan in 1995 when he dropped in to see bin Laden. During his visit, he recalls, he met Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who had brought his notorious nephew, Ramzi Yousef, a Sunni extremist who was at that time a fugitive sought by the United States for the first attack on the World Trade Center, two years earlier. Azzam described Yousef as a scrawny man whose bearded face had been scarred in a bomb-making accident. Both he and his uncle would later be characterized in The 9/11 Commission Report as "rootless but experienced operatives."
Yousef would be captured in Pakistan later that year. According to Azzam, the Sheik listened as Yousef outlined a plan to attack targets in the United States again, including the World Trade Center towers, this time by hijacking commercial airliners and flying them into buildings. He wanted al Qaeda to help with recruiting martyrs and raise money for them to travel to the United States for flight training. As Azzam recalls it, the Sheik said, "We have nothing to do with the United States, why should we attack them?"
Emphasis added to show the important stuff.  If this is true....

One, the window for Yousef to attend a conference in the Sudan in 1995 was tiny.  He had been in the Philippines in December 1994 to place a micro-seat bomb on Philippine Airlines flight 434 (a Boeing 747 that barely escaped crashing) and was involved in the chemical mixture explosion with Murad in the Doña Josefa Apartments on January 6, 1995.  He reportedly fled to Pakistan, then flew to Thailand in late January to meet an operative who was to place rigged explosive suitcases on two US flights. The operative chickened out then turned in Yousef, who was captured back in Pakistan on Feburary 7, 1995.

It could have been a conference hosted in November 1994 by Sudanese Islamist leader Hasan al-Turabi, whose claim to fame was holding such conferences to bring all the terror factions of Islam together to fight the west. By the way, here's a Rolling Stone interview with Turabi--and bin Laden--during that same time frame, perhaps the same conference, where the former predicts future events of the Arab Spring:
America is so arrogant, he says. Your government feels it can buy anything it wants.... A bit later, he notes — and correctly so — that a free election in Egypt would install fundamentalist allies of his into power. The United States stands in the way of the truth. Don't you see that?
What a prophet.  The New York Times reported about another Islamic conference in Sudan featuring many terror kingpins but that one was held on April 3, 1995, at which point Yousef was already sitting in a correctional facility in lower Manhattan.

Two, Bowden handles the obvious dichotomy of UBL poo-poo'ing the idea of attacking America in 1995 by saying he was BS'ing for Azzam's benefit, thinking he might be on the payroll of some western intelligence service.  Otherwise such an admission would be extremely odd since the likes of Bergen, Wright, and others have been scribbling for years that bin Laden's America-hating really took root when Saudi Arabia rebuffed his offer to allow muj fighters to take out Saddam in 1991 instead of the US Military. America's lingering presence in the Kingdom was supposedly infuriating to Binny.  A year later he would declare war on the US,  followed by another declaration in 1998.

So Bowden is probably correct--assuming the meeting ever occurred.  And to that should go a heavy dose of skepticism, especially since he didn't include any attributes or even an index in the book.

But let's say it did.  Notice the way Azzam described Yousef's plea for UBL to help finance the movement of men to hatch this planes plot, as if they two were separate entities.  Neither KSM nor Yousef were working for AQ, especially since the meeting was described as their first encounter, which calls into question any narratives about AQ pulling off the first WTC attack.  They clearly didn't, which is why bin Laden was never indicted for it.  

Again, we're left puzzled at why a Baluchi native born in Kuwait would be so mad at the United States--even after we liberated Kuwait from the infidel Saddam--that he would come to New York using an Iraqi passport, with help of another Iraqi, and attempt to knock down the towers and kill 250,000 people two years before ever meeting bin Laden.

Chances are he and uncle KSM were freelancing for the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (Yousef was purportedly summoned to New York later in the plot, along with Iraqi Abdul Yasin).  Yes, that would be the same Abdel-Rahman stuffed in jail forever for plotting to do worse damage to New York than did Hurricane Sandy, and whose release was at the center of the Cairo protest riots on 9/11, orchestrated in part by Ayman Zawahiri's brother Mohammed, which the administration blamed for causing Benghazi except they used a movie clip as a foil.

But OK, the extremists are "on the ropes". Well, we can always hope.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Investigation Update

Not the Benghazi investigation--that's still coming along.  No, the investigation of national security leaks from the Obama administration conducted by two US Attorneys.  For Yemen.  And the Iran nuclear computer worm.  Involving the New York Times and AP. 

How is that coming along? When will we be seeing their report? Christmas Eve?

Meanwhile the guy who helped interrogate Abu Zubaydah and later worked on John Kerry's Senate staff was convicted under the IIPA a few weeks ago for outing a spy.

John Kiriakou, a CIA officer from 1990-2004, was convicted only of one count of divulging the name of an operative to Matthew Cole of ABC News who was investigating those who waterboarded AQ terrorists. In exchange for pleading guilty three fourths of the charges were dropped by the government, including allegations he provided information to Times reporter Scott Shane and also published his book without proper CIA scrubbing.

He's about to get as much time as Scooter Libby--who was convicted of lying to the FBI, not outing a spy. And if you don't know who this Kiriakou guy is that's by design.  Doubtful there will be a book or movie though because this guy is hard to pigeonhole.  He blew the whistle on Dubya's waterboarding, then took a job with John Kerry, then was prosecuted by Obama.  Hard to figure out the partisan hero angle.    

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Big Picture

The WaPo has a headliner this evening detailing the government's version of events in Benghazi.  For being an official account it's startlingly empty of new information--we already knew the Tripoli folks sent a team to the consulate--that's how one of the lost ex-SEALS got there.  We didn't know whether the drone was armed--it was not--but the CIA report doesn't seem to mention any C130s, which could have been armed and nearby but would be military assets. 

Again though, focusing on 20/20 hindsight and minute details about decisions during the raid misses the larger point of Benghazi.  While this CIA report cobbles together a few more bits of information what hasn't been pieced together is a picture of the Obama doctrine.  Remember Charlie Gibson asking Palin about Bush's doctrine in the 2008 season, which was an attempt to tie her to Bush, but nobody asked anybody about the Obama doctrine, including Obama.  Part of the mystery lies in the CIA presence of an 'annex' in the first place.  Are we working with Islamists now in this global war on terror?

James Lewis of the American Thinker has some good thoughts on the matter, bouncing off  earlier reports suggesting Libya was being used as a forwarding base for Gaddafi's old weapons to given (or sold) to the Free Syrian Army in an effort to bring down Assad.  From one of Lewis' links:
It was reported there was a fight about the weapons and who got what "between the free Syrian Army and the Muslim Brotherhood."

Yes, that would be the same Muslim Brotherhood that incubated bin Laden, Zawahiri, and KSM.   And yes, we've not heard as much whining from the Syrian rebels of late after they threatened to bring AQ forces into the mix to fight Assad.  So is that what they are really hiding with these crazy narratives and McGuffins? 

International politics is complex, especially with Islamic radicals in play, but if it's the weapons thing that itself sounds a tad scandalous.  Something known as Iran-Contra dogged president Reagan during his second term, which was a clandestine operation where his men tried to sell arms to the Mullahs (prohibited) in exchange for hostages and cash to be funneled to the Contras in Nicaragua (prohibited by Congress as well).  The Gipper was trying to stop Soviet meddling in Central America and get American hostages released, a noble cause.  

If this whole thing isn't what it seems on the surface--a stall tactic designed to keep the "I killed bin Laden and have AQ on the ropes" meme from dying before the election, then the lack of sunshine might be related to an overall scenario where Obama helped knock off Gaddafi (in an illegal war), took his arms, and is giving them to the FSA to help knock off Assad (no Congressional approval for involvement in Syria) with the goal of knocking off another dictator and keeping the SAMs out of the hands of the real jihadists.  Another noble goal.  That is, unless we are being double-crossed.  

There's some irony--Obama went to Cairo and apologized for American meddling in the region and promised change only to meddle in the region like everyone else, catching the "blowback" (or as Obama called it, a bump in the road) liberals and Ron Paul always warn about.  We know AQ in Iraq fighters were involved in the attack and they've also been involved in Syria against Assad, so was that the double-cross as Lewis suggests?  Can Americans handle the truth? 

Hard to say.  If Romney had engineered such a thing the Dems would be drawing up impeachment charges. But with a cool liberal in the White House don't expect to see Seymour Hersch exposes or Pulitzer-winning New York Times leaks.  Or Jay Carney explanations.  Or even any lengthy debate discussions.  No questions will be taken.  Just tune in to the Discovery Channel and watch the UBL takedown movie and be satisfied that we whacked the big mole, so it's over.  Time to come home and do some socialism nation building.