Sunday, December 29, 2013

Times to the Rescue

Suddenly the New York Times is covering the Benghazi story. And wonder of wonders, they are essentially protecting the cover story of two female Democratic stars, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice. The lede is all one needs:
The reality behind the attack on American outposts in Libya is murkier and more complex than initially believed, but months of investigation turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda had any role in the assault.
The hearty among us, or bloggers wanting to comment on it, will read the whole thing, only to find no mention of people on the ground in Libya who've testified before Congress, such as Greg Hicks.  His testimony was in fact part of the what the Times is refuting in their story.  Their newfound "reality" is that the video clip was a factor after all, something which can only help certain favorites.  Gotta love how they pretend to set the record straight once and for all, shut up.

So, does it matter that their newly announced reality was largely gathered by talking to taxi drivers and street vendors with the occasional jihadi leader thrown in (who of course would never lie)?  Does it matter that they mentioned, then discounted the Ambassador's own diary, found by CNN, which stated his fears over being on AQ 'hit lists'?  Does it matter that jihadists had already hit the embassy months prior to the "Innocence of Muslims" clip being shown on Egyptian TV? Does it matter that Fox has already pushed back with a piece of their own, countering most of the fantasy contained in the new reality?

Not a whit.

This is about building an immunizing wall around Rice and Clinton to keep out the GOP Benghazi hoards by rebranding Benghazi as just another wild conspiracy theory.  Rice herself was already featured on 60 Minutes just a few weeks ago, wherein she was asked about Benghazi and called it a "false controversy".

This is the same 60 Minutes who ran Lara Logan's piece then later pseudo-fired her due to a questionable source--questionable based on anonymous sources in the federal government who never released the FBI 302 forms to back up their claims.  Meanwhile, CBS memory-holed an entire interview segment, which also included Lt Col Andy Wood, whose testimony suggested the administration was warned about attacks from jihadists well beforehand:
Andy Wood: I made it known in a country team meeting, "You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It's gonna happen. You need to change your security profile."
Lara Logan: Shut down--
Andy Wood: Shut down--
Lara Logan: --the special mission--
Andy Wood: --"Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Ch-- or change locations within the city. Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted. They are-- they are-- they are watching you. The attack cycle is such that they're in the final planning stages."
The Times may counter that his comments above line up with their story insofar as the jihadists were warning the State Department as well (which begs a question of why CBS spiked them) but Wood did not equivocate about the nature of the enemy, even mentioning Abu Anas al-Liby (as core as one can be--wonder what our HIG team learned about Benghazi from him).  So contrary to the Times view these were not just locals riled up by a video, they had an 'attack cycle' and some foreign backing, which lines up with Stevens' own fears.  Yet Wood's testimony on the show has been thrown into the same trash heap as the presumed lies from Davies, never to be seen again. 

Hey, this ain't rocket science. There is no bigger cause for concern on this for Media Matters.  David Brock will be slinging poo on this til the votes of the last dead voters are counted--they know how serious this is.

It remains to be seen whether another Candy Crowley debate moment will occur in 2016, ie, a leftwing moderator holding up the NY Times article and waving it around on cue from Hillary or Rice when the GOP candidate brings up the subject (depending on the kind of nominee the GOP picks).  It sounds unbelievable to think such a stunt would work a second time after four years, but we live in a new reality.  If the left can effectively turn Benghazi into a weak GOP conspiracy ("false controversy") akin to birtherism then they've got a decent chance of burying it forever.  Yes, that would be craven beyond imagination, but in our new reality, anything is possible.

CRAVEN   12/30/13

Following the Times' historical revision nonsense the State Dept showed up today in their press briefing and said why no, we don't consider the Benghazi killers part of 'Core AQ'.   So there it is again, the equivocation between AQ and 'core' AQ, which is supposed to be the people in the caves who attacked us on 9/11.   In other words, this wasn't the real AQ because the real AQ is decimated.   This despite the ties illustrated by Thomas Joscelyn between likely actors in the attack and Ayman al-Zawahiri, a founding member of 'core' AQ.  

Clearly the Pajama Boys in the White House strategy room are using this sillyass distinction not for national security reasons, but to protect the 'we got bin Laden' legacy while maintaining the 'AQ on the run' narrative while trying to keep Hillary in play by tacitly supporting the New York Times.  It means nothing as it relates to the Global War on Terrorism, but the Pajama Boys know that the Times and State are authoritative sources and will be used as benchmarks to knock down any GOP 'phony scandals' or 'false controversies'.     

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Odds n Ends

This one tweet describes the Obama press corpse better than anything I've done here in the last five years..

As if more evidence was needed, here's an  AP report on Obama's excellent Christmas Hawaiian vacation, informing readers that the president has scheduled nothing for two weeks except fun, reminding everyone that previous attempts were, ahem, rudely interrupted by the Tea Party or trivialities like the failed Abdulmuttalab Detroit underwear bombing.  OK, correction, they forgot to mention the underwear bombing.  The story ends with sugar plum fairy hopes that this one will be stress-free...
Conditions seem ripe this year for a few weeks of interrupted family time. Obama did spend part of Saturday morning conferring with top national security aides about the situation in South Sudan, where U.S. military aircraft evacuating Americans from the violence-plagued African nation came under gunfire and had to divert to Uganda. The White House said four U.S. troops were injured in that incident.
Delaying golf for important briefings?  Wonder if he also got an update from the Health Department?  Anyway, here's to aces,  shaved ice, and a stress-free vacation for everyone (we should all be so lucky).  God forbid there be any 3 AM phone calls.  But if there are, well, blame Bush!   So merry Xmas, yo.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Don't Panic, All is Well

That seems to be the takeaway from the Presidential end-of-year presser today, featuring Baghdad Bob Obama. Don't worry, everything is fine, off to Hawaii, choom mihalo!

It was called 'feisty', which is absurd based on the idea that Helen Thomas and Sam Donaldson once inhabited the same press pool, but feisty represents a good analysis of how easy he's had it so far.  As to any content, well, aside from the typical domestic filibustering BS answers the single most important subject was Iran.  Several reporters tried to get him to comment on the pressure coming from Congress on sanctions--pressure that includes many Democrats.  He would not back down.

And in a way his position seems reasonable, at least in a perfect world.  We finally have the Iranians at the table after all these years, so is really necessary to give them reasons to back away?   But the world is not perfect, despite liberal dreams.  It never will be.  In the imperfect world Obama heralded a nuclear deal on November 23rd that was supposed to feature a six-month period to allow the Iranians to comply, yet the six month clock is still not ticking.  The average person might say, "hey, don't we have a nuke deal with Iran?"  Not yet.  But MSM sound bites equal reality. 

Maybe that's why the pressure is coming from Congress.  Perhaps the pressure is not designed to make sure Iran complies as much as it's designed to pressure the administration to force action while stopping them from creating an open-ended negotiating session where six months lasts three years, allowing Iran more time to advance their program.  And they aren't that far away according to experts.

It's trite to say that nobody cares--that everyone is focusing on gay sex and duck callers.  It's true America has entered an age where few care about foreign policy anymore, but there's a good reason.  It's called a decade of focusing on nothing but foreign policy and war.

So in a perfect world the president would be expending inordinate amounts of time and political capital explaining the disaster that has come to define the Obama Doctrine.  But in the imperfect real world the peeps are burned out about looking outward.  Our battle has shifted inward now.  We don't need foreign enemies anymore, all the enemies are within.  As for the president, well, he must consider himself to be one of the luckiest men alive.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fahrenheit All Over Again

The ultra-right Murdoch financed New York Post published a story today about possible Saudi involvement in 9/11.  Some in the lefty media are screaming "vindicated' in the direction of Mikey Fahrenheit 9/11 Moore, although Post writer Paul Sperry, when contacted about it, wasn't willing to give him much cred.

Looking over the piece it's mainly an amalgamation of snippets that have been available for years with the addition of a 28 page redacted section of the 9/11 Commission Report some believe implicates certain nation-states in the attack. That would be the same report that called the attackers "rootless, non-state actors".   Some of us have never completely bought that description.  

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan's name was dropped, suggesting his 'donations' in 2001 were material support to the west coast highjackers.  So that begs the question--is/was Bandar a cigar-smoking, NFL watching, scotch drinking double agent like Ali Mohammed, or was he or the Kingdom being blackmailed by bin Laden and other associates?   Neither outcome would be surprising.

Sperry claims some of his FBI contacts think Bush is a traitor for spiking their investigations into the House of Saud after the attack.   That still doesn't mean the House of Saud was behind the attacks. 

Actually, this section of Sperry's article stands out the most, emphasis added: 
A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks. Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can’t reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law.
So they’ve proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, “Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”
Is it "state" or perhaps "states"?  They ain't saying (or they'd have to kill us).  If the mystery 28 pages implicates Saudi Arabia, well just try to imagine Bush pointing the finger at the hub of Islam a few months after the attack, entirely based on circumstantial evidence linking certain monetary transactions back to Kingdom officials.  The American public would have demanded an attack on the KSA, which just happens to house Mecca and Medina.  Talking about a global war against Islam.  Many would just not understand. 

Or let's say Iran was implicated. Lots of problems there as well.   Bill Clinton was once convinced they shot down TWA 800, and stood by idly after Iranian proxies killed US service personnel at Khobar Towers---in Saudi Arabia (1996).   Even George Warmonger Bush didn't attack Iran despite their involvement in killing US soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan during the Iraq war.

Or how about Pakistan? AQ Khan was roaming around at the time peddling their nuclear technology to various rogue states, including a meeting with bin Laden.   

And of course there's Iraq, where Saddam Hussein had never stopped fighting the "Mother of all Battles".   Yes, that would be preposterous of course.  

Or going for bigger fish, how about involvement from Russia or China, the latter angling to keep us our of the Gulf Region and the former trying to protect their own oil interests.

Lots of sticky diplomatic problems involved in making warlike proclamations of that nature, even now.  But consider this--Obama knows everything. If there's something in the closet he could use for leverage, would he do it?   Or, if there's something there that makes him look bad, would be keep it buried?   Judge yourself.

In the meantime rehashing the mother of all conspiracy theories, or more recent ones, would certainly make for an excellent distraction going into the new year.  Of course that itself is a conspiracy theory!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Real Story of Arapahoe?

No, not the fact the kid appeared to be a liberal ideologue.  Nobody expects the mainstreamers to make a story out of that.  Obviously if the kid was even rumored to be a rapid Tea Party fan with pictures of Sarah Palin on his bedroom wall--or they had found similar writings on the web from an innocent person with the same name--it would be the number one story bullet on every alphabet network.  The best guess is that he was a disturbed kid and likely not martyring himself for the Democratic Party. 

Actually, the real story could be the length of time he was engaged in shooting/bombing.  CNN and others are saying it was 80 seconds.  They quote local law enforcement of saying he could have killed or injured many others:
"His intent was evil, and his evil intent was to harm multiple individuals," Robinson said about Pierson, whose entrance into the school was documented on security cameras, as was the bulk of the one minute, 20 seconds of violence that ensued.
So he had enough ammo to kill many people, yet he only killed himself after 80 seconds. Why? Well...
The rampage might have resulted in many more casualties had it not been for the quick response of a deputy sheriff who was working as a school resource officer at the school, Robinson said. Once he learned of the threat, he ran -- accompanied by an unarmed school security officer and two administrators -- from the cafeteria to the library, Robinson said.
"It's a fairly long hallway, but the deputy sheriff got there very quickly." The deputy was yelling for people to get down and identified himself as a county deputy sheriff, Robinson said. "We know for a fact that the shooter knew that the deputy was in the immediate area and, while the deputy was containing the shooter, the shooter took his own life."
He praised the deputy's response as "a critical element to the shooter's decision" to kill himself, and lauded his response to hearing gunshots. "He went to the thunder," he said. "He heard the noise of gunshot and, when many would run away from it, he ran toward it to make other people safe."
Wait--doesn't that sound like it should be the HEADLINE here? A good guy with a gun prevents a tragedy? Yeah, it doesn't sound as hopeychangy as the government solving all these problems, but it certainly sounds like the press might be downplaying a hero, or at least a narrative.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Aviation Update

A couple of sensational stories are making news and are worth exploring a bit.

One, the would-be white jihadist in Wichita.  According to CNN:
Loewen, who became the subject of a federal investigation early this summer, hoped to commit an "act of violent jihad against the United States" and spent months studying the airport's layout, photographing airport access points, researching flight schedules and assisting in the acquisition of car bomb components, Grissom said.
Not much elaboration there other than 'an act of violent jihad', which should explain itself. CNN goes on to list the charges:
Loewen is charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Officials did not answer questions or elaborate on the third charge during a Friday news conference.
The third charge, "provide(ing) material support" to a terror group, doesn't really seem to comport with the authorities calling him a "lone wolf". So, we must venture over to "Faux News" for more:
The complaint says an undercover FBI employee told Loewen about a recent trip overseas and a meeting with members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This agent told Loewen that "brothers" were interested in his airport access, and asked if he'd be willing to plant "some type of device," the complaint said. Loewen allegedly responded, "Am I interested? Yes. I still need time to think about it, but I can't imagine anything short of arrest stopping me."
The U.S. citizen allegedly wrote to the FBI agent that he was inspired by Usama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki.
Interesting that none of this was available on the CNN story but oh well, maybe they believed that business about AQ being on the run.  But let's cut to the chase here.  From all initial stories this guy indeed sounds like a lone nutcake someone brought to the attention of the Feds, who then set him up for a sting op, which occurred today.  He wasn't communicating with terrorists nor did he visit Arabia, he's just a lone dope duped by the Feds.

Some may use this to generate more conspiracies about the Feds trumping up events to justify the NSA's eavesdropping program (especially if it turns out to be part of the investigation) but such is to diminish the idiots out there who have a legitimate crush on the bin Laden wing of Islam and whose conversion involves visions of spectacular death of American innocents.  This same violent aspect will undoubtedly be downplayed by people who will be using the Colorado school shooting to suggest more gun bans.  Such is America 2013.  

UPDATE  12/14/13 

This story in the Wichita Eagle is very informative as to the days and months leading up to Friday's arrest.  The FBI affidavit suggests they became aware of Loewen's jihadi desires via his postings on a jihad website, using an undercover FBI agent to start communicating with him, which eventually led to the operation.

The story illustrates two things--1) the bush-league nature of Loewen's efforts to wage war.  Anyone in this day and age should realize they are being monitored while online.  Most probably the real dangerous jihadies have found other ways to communicate by now.  And 2) the derangement and commitment available to a real jihadist should they have found Loewen before the FBI did.  He fits the profile of the typical suicide bomber and although a lone kook, this event shouldn't be trivialized.     


Meanwhile CNN and several other networks made a point to mention the 'birther' aspect of the tragic death of the Hawaiian Director of Health Loretta Fuddy, who certified the legitimacy of Obama's released long form birth certificate back during the Trump birther trump in 2011.

They were basically reporting about the birther aspect and conspiracies before the tinfoil hatters even realized what was happening.   No doubt some in our mainstream media welcome the conspiracy theories as a way to deflect away from the health care fiasco while also piling extra dung on the Tea Party.    

So, what about the incident itself?  It was a short over-water flight from one coastal Hawaiian airport to Honolulu via a single engine Cessna Caravan 208, which holds about 10 passengers and a pilot.  Nine were on board--they all survived impact but only one died while awaiting rescue, Ms. Fuddy.  One survivor, a man over 70 years old, swam to shore while the others were picked up by police/Coast Guard helicopter rescue.

There seems to be some confusion about what happened after the aircraft ditched in the ocean. Here's the LA Times, playing up the conspiracy aspect headline:
The eight other people on the plane, including the pilot, were rescued, but one "person remained in the fuselage of the plane," Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig told KHON-TV. "It's always a different situation when you're not able to get everybody out."
Hey LA Times, if you don't want conspiracies about Obama maybe you shouldn't hold onto videos of him hobnobbing with Bill Ayers and Palestinian radicals before national elections.  Sorry, digression.  Notice the Times is saying there was one person still inside the aircraft, hinting that this person was the one who didn't survive.  But that's completely bizarre, because here's the AP from late yesterday:
"He recounted how he said he helped Loretta into her life jacket and he held her hand for some time," the priest said. "They were all floating together and she let go and there was no response from her."
Later today they updated it to provide more about the swimmer:
"Everyone was real quiet. We hit (the water) and it was all about getting the belts off," he said, describing how everyone started putting on life jackets and remained on the plane until it seemed to start sinking. "There wasn't panic or anything. It was very orderly. It wasn't like any of the movies or the TV shows."
Bobbing in the water, Hollstein noticed the pilot and seven other passengers seemed fine. "I didn't want to sit out there bobbing, so I figured I'd take a shot at going to the shoreline."
So he's basically saying everybody got out as the plane began sinking, saying he saw the 'seven' other passengers. This same guy later expressed surprise that Fuddy had died, saying:
"She was doing fine out of the airplane," Hollstein said. "Her assistant was really watching her. He was taking care of her."
Absolute proof everybody got out, at least according to this witness.   But wait--the Honolulu paper had a different version:
The Rev. Pat Killilea, pastor of St. Francis Church at Kalaupapa, said he didn't see the plane hit the water, but watched rescue operations from Kalaupapa's airport where the survivors were taken. Killilea said the pilot swam to shore to get help for the passengers floating offshore.
"He (pilot) had been able to get the passengers out of the plane wearing their life vests. However, once in the water they were beginning to drift apart and so he decide to swim to shore to get help," Killilea said this morning in a phone interview. He added, "There was blood on his (pilot's) chest when he arrived at the airport."
Hmm, so a reverend is telling a different story than one of the survivors, a story full of graphic detail including evidence of injury despite swimming ashore.  Note to the LA Times again--when you quote a Honolulu fire department official as emphatically saying someone was still in the aircraft when the aircraft was submerged by the time the rescuers arrived, and when a reverend contradicts later reports from the AP about the identity of the pilot, that tends to fuel conspiracies.

Yes, confusion and misinformation often reign after air disasters but usually officials don't get that specific.  Not to say this isn't all shoddy reporting, so with that in mind it's a little hasty to talk about any conspiracies.  Bizarre things happen in life every day, and certainly Ms. Fuddy seems an unlikely target for a black ops hit squad (no offense intended) as she seemed a team player, recently working to enact Obamacare on the Islands.

The autopsy should reveal the exact cause of death and will help nail this down.  It would also help if the NTSB could retrieve the wreckage from the ocean floor to study the engine, which should be largely intact, but they have said they probably won't be attempting it. Stay tuned, as they say.

UPDATE   12/17/13

The NTSB has decided that maybe they will try to salvage the aircraft after all.  They claim to have spotted it via helicopter submerged about 500 yards offshore.   Meanwhile the autopsy was completed Friday the 13th but has not been publicly released.   Maybe it has been privately released and maybe it's now safe to bring up the wreckage and find out what actually happened.   

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Return of Hersh?

Seymour Hersh:
The administration buried intelligence on the fundamentalist group/rebel group al-Nusra.
It was seen, Hersh says, as an alarming threat by May, with the U.S. being aware of al-Nusra member able to make and use sarin, and yet the group – associated with the rebel opposition in Syria – was never considered a suspect in the sarin attacks.  Hersh refers to a top-secret June cable sent to the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency that said al-Nusra could acquire and use sarin.
But the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of the Defense Intelligence Agency could not find the document in question, even when given its specific codes: "Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, told a press conference: ‘It’s very important to note that only the [Assad] regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses sarin.’
For those who don't know Hersh, he's the reporter who exposed the Mei-lei massacre in Vietnam and a Pulitzer Prize winner.  He was very active during the Bush years, hounding the president with numerous exposes about the Iraq war based on insider information from military sources that angered many conservatives.   After pretty much disappearing for Obama's first term he recently popped up and accused the administration of lying about everything regarding the bin Laden raid.   A story which made nary a ripple.

So this of course should be a huge allegation, but not unsurprisingly it's getting very little play in the mainstream media or even on Fox so far (Hersh claims the media is coddling the president in a dangerous fashion).

The interesting thing about it is how it might play with allegations that were swirling around the time of Obama's threat to bomb Assad.  Consider this story put out by Iranian FARS propaganda service, on the question of al-Nusra's use of chem-weapons and where they might have obtained them:
"The chemical weapons used in the attack on Khan al-Assal area had been prepared by former Iraqi Military Industries Brigadier General Adnan al-Dulaimi and supplied to Ba'ath-affiliated terrorists of the Nusra Front in Aleppo through Turkey's cooperation and via the Turkish town of Antakya in Hatay Province," an informed source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of his life, told FNA on April 6.
The source who has been an aide to Izzat Ibrahim - the most senior member of Saddam Hussein's inner circle who is still on the run and heads the outlawed Ba'ath party after the apprehension and execution of Iraq's former Dictator Saddam Hussein - defected from the group a few months ago, but holds substantiating documents on Izzat Ibrahim's plans.
Gen. Adnan al-Dulaimi was a key man in Saddam's chemical weapons production projects. After the fall of the dictator and when the Ba'ath party was divided into the two branches of Yunes al-Ahmad and Izzat Ibrahim, he joined the latter group and was deployed in Northwestern Iraq, which is a bastion of Ba'ath terrorists, to produce chemical substances.
"The 80mm mortar shells which landed in Khan al-Assal and killed dozens of people were armed with the latest product of Dulaimi's hidden laboratories sent to the Nusra members for testing," the source added. "Also at his order, several former Iraqi military industries engineers trained the Syrian terrorists on how to use these chemical weapons," the source said, adding that all plans in this connection were prepared by Adnan al-Dulaimi and staged after the approval of Izzat Ibrahim.
It's not beyond the pale to think the Iranians planted a story on Izzat al-Duri, who was a top level lieutenant to Saddam Hussein who for for some reason remains free despite a 25 million dollar bounty.  Some have speculated that he might possess some kind of get-out-of-jail free card to use if caught, such as access to WMD weapons or embarrassing information.  So this would fit with the former.

Others consider him a bumbler whose reputation has been blown well beyond his capabilities and that various factions simply use him as a bogeyman for political reasons.   Whatever the case it is strange that he's never been caught.  It's also strange that few in America know who he is.  Imagine a former bigwig in the Nazi party still running around loose years after Hitler's regime was crushed.  People would know. 

Yet nobody knows.  Applying some speculative logic let's say the al-Nusra gang does possess Sarin and did use it to kill innocent Syrians.  In doing so, they would have crossed the 'red line' set by Obama in 2012, forcing some kind of US action.  The action wasn't forced immediately though, since there were reports of at least two previous attacks prior to the major one near Damascus that killed over 1000, where nothing was done whatsoever.  Up until that point America was only providing 'non-lethal' aid to the Syrian rebels (assuming there was no gun-running operation between Benghazi and Turkey as some have suggested).

The attack that killed over 1000 had to force some action--but where was the action to be directed?  If the government were to come out and say al-Nusra launched the attacks that would force them to explain why the United States was aligning itself with WMD-using AQ-connected terrorists.  Some could even claim the United States was tangentially responsible by helping the rebels.

Such would also require a presidential explanation of why America doesn't hesitate to use drones all around the globe to combat AQ factions except in Iraq and Syria.  Finally, admitting al-Duri was involved would possibly tie Saddam's former Ba'athist regime to the very WMDs Obama claims they didn't have, which produced the worst foreign policy mistake ever.   Some political inconveniences, for sure. 

Again, who knows.  Hersh's sources might be feeding him some BS because they don't like Obama or because they are still mad that forces were aligned for an attack then cut off.   But it's no easier to believe the administration after some of the whoppers told about Benghazi, the IRS scandal and Obamacare.  Whether Hersh's story fades away quickly during the holiday season or shines a new light on the recent report that chemicals were used just last week in Syria--on the same day the Nobel-winning OPCW declared that Assad's chemical arsenal was completely destroyed, remains to be seen. 

But one thing is reasonably predictable. If this story does get legs Hersh will be heading under the bus with it, background or not.  There is no loyalty with these Chicago guys.   If history repeats itself being audited would be the least of his troubles.  How about rounded up and pressured to divulge his anonymous leakers so they can be prosecuted as have many others during the last five years.  Is it possible the Justice Department is already in possession of his emails, web cam views, cell phone calls or text regarding his sources?  Sounds crazy, but it's already happened with James Rosen and the AP.   Yeah, Hersh is old school and might have taken care to do his work face-to-face, but technology is everywhere. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Side Tracks

As the Christmas season rolls in this amazing video from Ace of Spades made me think of the fantastic 'modern' arrangement of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach recorded in 1972 (amidst Americans landing on the Moon) by the infamous Apollo 100. 

The video also brings back some turntable memories. 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Syria Update

Surprisingly little news was made about this recent proclamation....
The group tasked with overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons said Friday that it had verified all of Syria’s unfilled munitions had been destroyed.
The statement from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) marks another milestone in the effort to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles. The group was able to very all of the munitions were destroyed after reaching locations in the city of Homs that were previously inaccessible.
One might think the Nobel-winning OPCW's announcement that Syria was now 'disarmed' of its chem-weapons would be huge wet kiss news story for the Obama-approved media to broadcast.  But it really didn't get much press.  Perhaps they've been too distracted reporting about the repaired healthcare website or the great economic news, or the Mandela story. Or maybe somebody warned them not to get too far out on the announcement, because...
Syria has been accused of using poison gas to attack a rebel-held town, despite agreeing to dismantle its chemical weapons and production facilities earlier this year, reports Reuters.
Yes, somebody is saying there was a chemical weapons attack on the same day OPCW declared all the weapons destroyed.  Rather embarrassing, if true. 

Such an event--assuming it occurred--should be the number two news story on all networks (Mandela will be number one for awhile) because it would mean that 1) Bashar Assad just fooled the OPCW/West and is crazy enough to jam it in the POTUS' face, or 2) the rebels, which include AQ elements, have chemical weapons.   Chances are the storyline will become that it never occurred.   Which might work, until the next event. 

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Family Ties

Another one of Obama's illegal alien relatives is in the news today, this time "Uncle Omar":
President Barack Obama's Kenyan-born uncle, who ignored a deportation order more than two decades ago, was granted permission to stay in the U.S. on Tuesday.
Judge Leonard Shapiro made the decision after Onyango Obama, 69, testified that he had lived in the U.S. for 50 years, been a hard worker, paid income tax and been arrested only once.
OK, no surprise there. No way were Omar or Auntie Z going to get deported with 'immigration reform' still pending.  So they simply got away with breaking US law and the President of the United States seems completely fine with it (just as he seemed fine visiting illegal aliens on hunger strikes in DC the other day).

The more interesting tidbit here is a credibility issue, not reported in the NBC piece but picked up in a WaPo "blog":

WaPo goes on to mention..
The White House said following Omar Obama's arrest that he and the president had never met. The president was not close to his father's side of the family given his father's absence in his life.
The NBC report mentions that Obama claimed to have met an Uncle Omar while on a visit to Kenya, according to "Dreams from my Father".   So what's the calculus here?

Well, Dreams was written in 1993-94.  Uncle Omar was still living in the United States at the time, having blown off deportation orders.  Obama was back from Harvard, evidently after bunking with illegal alien Omar to save cash.

So maybe Obama (or Ayers) had to lie in the book.  Then they lied again on the campaign trail.   If so these will be described to us as "noble lies", meant to protect both Obama's political future as the bringer of health care and Omar from the racist policies of xenophobic white Americans clinging to their god and guns.

The real question is whether Uncle Omar was using that little lie, ie, Obama did know him after all, as leverage against the administration to prevent deportation or whether it was something a little bigger.  Keep in mind Omar threatened to call the White House after he rammed his car into a police cruiser under the influence, as if such a call might accomplish something.  Whether that was just a drunken taunt to the police as in "do you know who you're dealing with" or a drunken taunt to the administration as in, "don't reject me or I'll spill some beans" remains unknown.  Like so many other things.


So Omar spilled the beans and admitted that Obama actually roomed with him while attending Harvard back in the 90s--AFTER he had blown off two deportation orders.  Ed Henry of Fox News was the only reporter yesterday to challenge this, to which our own Baghdad Bob crafted a fiction so ridiculous and unbelievable that even a child might not attempt it..

So let's get this straight.  The president's staff is saying they responded to a question in 2011 about whether the president had ever met his Uncle Omar by not actually asking the president, rather, they did their own research, including looking through Obama's book, this despite the fact Obama's book suggests he met an Uncle Omar in Kenya.   Now they ask American adults to believe that this time they asked the big guy himself, and lo and behold!   He said 'yeah, we met'.

Yes, liberals and John McCain might say "who cares", "small potatoes", "there are bigger issues" and "all presidents lie".   But when presidents get caught lying they usually pay a price for it because it reflects on their character and represents breaking trust with the public.   That's the only reason this matters, although some might be looking for more under the rock.    

As to firings, IF this story is true (which seems about as likely as fast food workers getting 15 dollars an hour anytime soon) then the staffers who originally answered the question are incompetent and perhaps would be better served working in the fast food industry.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Belief in What?

CNN's "Belief Blog" is on a roll. 

A few days ago they had a post up attacking Financial Peace guy Dave Ramsey, basically criticizing him for advising that poor people develop good habits to assist their climb out of poverty.  The writer hits back by suggesting that Ramsey doesn't understand the poor, then bashes him as a hypocrite for being wealthy, using passages from the Bible about wealth as cudgels.  The writer ends the piece by saying..
God does not bless people with money; God blesses people with the good and perfect gift of God’s presence, which is available to rich and poor alike.
Which is true.  Which overturns her entire point about wealth, because if wealth alone were a disqualifier for entrance into Heaven it would be empty.   Even the poor have to account for their financial choices.  We will all be judged on how we act, not how much we made.  Ramsey has helped thousands of people get out of debt.  His radio words are hard to listen to in a sea of political bickering, but very much needed.   

Now today the Belief Blog tells us that C.S. Lewis wasn't exactly a saint.  Keep in mind both Ramsey and Lewis are heroes of the evangelical sect.  Writer John Blake summarizes him as a perverted, drunken hypocrite who didn't take care of his house and eventually stopped his apologetics because he could no longer oratorically defend Christianity.   Of course, Lewis himself has admitted to various personal iniquities, including an early life as an atheist, but very little context was provided.

Looking over Mr. Blake's writings on Belief Blog they do not appear to be over the top.  A much needed look into the on-line world of arguing over religion was worthy.  But digging a little deeper into his resume a few red flags appear.

For instance, he recently penned his own apologia over Obama's lie about health care, telling CNN readers that hey-- ALL presidents lie, including that guy Bush Junior who lied about WMDs, even though no lie was ever proved. The White House couldn't have written a more vile piece in defense.  Blake explains the difference between 'unforgivable' and 'noble' lies.  He doesn't pin either on Obama, giving that to history wink wink, O was just trying to get people covered so just sayin, but after discussing this he goes back to bash Bush again, then tells us we indeed need a president who can lie. 

Here's another gem.  Right before the 2012 election Blake wrote a well-crafted screed linking Obama with Nineteenth Century racism.  Clever writers are subtle in their point; Blake was trying to bring an image of a beleaguered mixed race president suffering the daily slings and arrows of racism just like his predecessors during reconstruction, despite Obama himself being fairly well-insulated from such cruelties for most of his life and the sheer unlikeliness of a black man even being on the presidential ballot during the Jim Crow era.  

So in the final analysis the CNN Belief Blog could be seen as a cloaked political blog designed to knock down mainly right wing Christian apologetics via a post-modern search for religious truth, while engaging in their own form of apologetics in defending noted earthly figures.  If someone were to judge them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Logan Takes her Leave

The mainstream media cannot say they aren't reporting on Benghazi...

60 Minutes did their internal review and the result was a time-out (or perhaps more time off with the family) for Lara Logan and her producer over the supposed phony Benghazi story.

"Supposed phony" because 1) Davies himself has not been interviewed after the fact and indeed, claims his family was threatened, and 2) the only confirmation he lied came from anonymous sources within the FBI or administration who've never released any supporting documentation (FBI 302 forms, etc).  60 Minutes presumably took the word of the administration and quickly said 'sorry', which has allowed all the other mainstream outlets to frame their future Benghazi reporting on the presumed lie.  Sounds rather Orwellian.

But this apology-time off thing is interesting.  We assume Logan didn't purposely deceive her viewers on Davies--if anyone did, he did.   If media members were put on leaves of absence for reporting on hoaxes and erroneous stories there may not be many of them left.

For instance, CNN reported blindly that a lesbian waitress was denied a tip because she was a lesbian. Now, maybe not.  Will there be any outrage from the left if it was a hoax?   Will all the reporters with bylines on the original story but who didn't check all the facts be given leaves of absence?  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Iran Deal

While everyone--including Israel--tries to get a handle on what just happened last night (which appears to largely be a secretly-forged US deal with the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism using the P5+1 as backdrop while tossing Israel under the bus) the mainstream media is trying to report the story without resorting to a full Obamagasm.

Speaking of terrorism, it's as if it no longer exists.  Iran may still be harboring al Qaeda operatives such as Ali Saleh Husain or Saif al-Adel.  They were most recently tied to a plot to derail a train traveling between the US and Canada.  Their Hizballah proxy reportedly has cells around the world.  But evidently this is no longer a concern because nobody is including it in reports. 

As to the deal, many outlets are covering it relatively fairly but there are a few examples of political opportunism: 

Here's ABC News:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized the deal, as have congressional Republicans.
So, the leading detractors are the evil Israelis and some GOP congressional extremists. In truth, some congressional Democrats and neighboring Arab states have also criticized--or shall we say expressed concern--over the deal.   Here's how "Faux News" reported it:
Congress expressed bipartisan concern Sunday about the deal the United States and allies reached overnight with Iran to halt that country’s nuclear program. ...Corker was joined on the show by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., also a member of the chamber’s foreign relations committee. “We are very concerned as to whether Iran will live up to these agreements,” Cardin said. “Congress needs to be prepared.”
Meanwhile, here's how the network of defecating in Palin's mouth reported it:
While the administration has urged Congress to hold off on any new sanctions and give the accord a chance to prove its worth, several members of Congress criticized the deal when it was announced.
At bit more neutral in the setup, but NBC went on to quote only two Republicans in that report.

But it's far from a full Obamagasm.  The WaPo is playing up the "skepticism" angle, quoting Dem Senator Menendez, while the LA Times admitted that both Republicans and Democrats had expressed doubts along with Arab states and went on to describe what could be the prime reason a deal was reached:
“This negotiation is not the art of fantasy or the art of the ideal. It’s the art of the possible,” Kerry said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. The alternative “if you didn’t do what we’re doing, they would be marching forward” with the nuclear program and “moving closer to a weapon.”
Actually the other alternative would be kicking the Ayatollah's backsides back to the Stone Age.  Let's not forget that Obama had set a hazy red line, then clear red line (and even some secret ones) on Iran's nuclear program.  Only recently they released assessments saying the Iranians were only a few months away from having enough enriched material on hand for a bomb (breakout) to press for the 'historic deal'.  Surely some of this is about avoiding another embarrassing broken promise. 

But it's clear from the public reaction to the proposed bombing of Syria that a war-weary West wants nothing to do with any attacks on Iran. To wit--none of the coverage today is quoting any administration officials as holding to the 'all cards are still on the table' rhetoric, ie, threatening military action.  They would say it if pressed but they aren't volunteering it--only saying the sanctions will come back. 

With a military threat effectively off the table the Iranians got a sweet deal: the ability to tell their public that they have a right to enrich while getting a relaxation of sanctions, which should help their economy.  They got a 6 month reprieve (there are inspections, but everyone saw how well those worked in Iraq and Libya under the dictators).  They also get to laugh at the Israelis, who appear to have been frozen out of the secret dealings and appear to have been left twisting in the breeze, at least on the world stage.

Now the Ayatollahs know the Israelis are the only credible military threat left on the table.  Netanyahu is making a point to say that Israel is prepared to 'stand alone', ie, go it alone.  But they know the "pain in the ass" would take a great risk to attack Iran without US backing due to the international wrath such a move could bring in the midst of this most recent peace in our time.  The Persian powers are indeed subtle, nuanced and cunning, and right now they appear to have made some decent chess moves

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Apologizing for Peace

Just don't call it an apology.

In case you missed it, it appears that the agreement to draw down US combat troops in Afghanistan (and leave some protection forces and bases behind) hinges on a proposed letter to be signed by the President addressed to the Loya Jirga assembly of Afghan tribal leaders meant as a sort of de facto apology for past sins.  Here's an initial report:
According to Reuters, an Afghan spokesman said Tuesday that Obama agreed to write the letter, to be presented with the draft security pact at a meeting of tribal elders later this week.
The New York Times, citing a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, reported that Secretary of State John Kerry proposed the letter in a conversation with Karzai. Karzai asked that Obama sign it, and Kerry reportedly agreed.
The letter apparently helped them reach a tentative deal authorizing U.S. raids on Afghan homes in certain circumstances, which had been an area of disagreement.
Would they? Is even this president capable of such a craven act, apologizing to the country who harbored Mullah Omar and UBL? Well, Susan Rice says no:
"No such letter has been drafted or delivered. There is not a need for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan," National Security Adviser Susan Rice said on CNN's "Situation Room." "Quite the contrary, we have sacrificed and supported them in their democratic progress and in tackling the insurgents and al Qaeda.
So that (letter of apology) is not on the table." Rice said she has seen news reports but has no idea where they are coming from, describing the claims as a "complete misunderstanding of what the situation is."
Then again, how can anyone fully believe the messenger of lies about Benghazi?  It's likely she was crafting her crafty reply based on the word "apology" and the definition of "letter".  Based on the State Department's press briefing today they did not rule out either a letter or apology.

Interestingly, the initial reports were attributed to Kerry but he came out today and said no, no, no, there will be no "apology".  But that doesn't mean there won't be a letter with some apology-like wording.  All these folks are lawyers.   

As to Rice, there are reports of an interesting dynamic between the would-be Secretary of State (if not for those evil Repubs exposing the Benghazi fraud) and the actual Secretary of State:
“John Kerry doesn’t agree with Susan Rice on big portions of our Egypt policy, and he made a deliberate and conscious decision not to mention Morsi in his Cairo meetings,” an administration official told The Daily Beast. “Susan Rice wasn’t happy about it.”
So to recap we have Kerry being fingered as the peacenik who suggested Obama bow on paper to the Afghanis, followed by Rice shooting it down in the context of a formal apology, followed by the State Dept refusing to completely rule out anything, after their own leader emphatically denied there would be an apology but didn't really rule out some kind of letter.  And for some reason Jay Carney was given the day off from the podium (or they withheld Wednesday's briefing). 

In the end, if someone writes a letter to these tribal leaders claiming our troops won't do bad things in the future by using examples of the past, like swooping in during the night terrorizing women and children or air raiding villages and killing civilians as we've heard about during the GWoT at large--and if Obama signs it--then it may not be a formal apology but it would dang sure be a healthy substitute.

Whatever.  There are peace treaties to do and wars to end and countless other examples for our children of how the ends justify the means, which appears to be the new Obama Doctrine.  We'll see what the Loyal Jirgaists say.   

THE LETTER  11/21/13

The published letter from Obama to Karzai was actually pretty good and didn't mention any apologies or get too deep into past 'sins', that is, in the English version.  There's a Pashto version included in the official release so we assume there are no major--or even minor--translation differences.  Because the media would tell us.  

Karzai seems to be trying to hose Obama on his way out.  He told the Jirga they should wait until the election in the Spring to sign the agreement.  The administration, for some reason, is demanding an agreement before January 1 or they say it might jeopardize keeping residual troops behind (or money).   Wonder if Harry Reid has any kind of power he can take away from the Loya Jirga to get them to come into line?  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Phony Scandal Update

Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, AP and Rosen phone logging/snooping, misleading on Obamacare and perhaps now rigging the unemployment numbers before the election...
And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today. “He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.
Extreme caution is advised here, for two reasons, 1) this is the NY Post, and 2) it could become a huge distraction over the next month then turn out to be a nothingburger, just as is being propped up with toothpicks and painted with an Amazon sign.

Congress should and probably will investigate (well, the GOP House). But even if they find something it doesn't mean anything will happen. If the IRS can snoop on people of a certain political party and obstruct their applications before an election without any major recriminations or accountability then surely something as petty as rigging the unemployment numbers will not move any needles. 


 might be a racist.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

National Journal piece on "the next Bin Laden"

Michael Hirsh from National Journal has a long report about small wars terrorist Abu Musab al-Suri, otherwise known as Setmariam Nasar, or the "Red Headed Terrorist". Hirsh wonders aloud if al-Suri is 'the next bin Laden'. The column is worth some analysis.

First, on al-Suri's whereabouts.  Reports surfaced in the early days of the Syrian civil war that Bashar Assad had released him as sort of a punishment to the west.  Hirsh finds some problems with that:
Yet even the senior diplomatic, intelligence, and defense officials who run the U.S. government's "Rewards for Justice" program, which offers money for tips leading to top terrorists, are unsure whether al-Suri is at large: A State Department official told National Journal this week that defense and intelligence agencies are still discussing whether to put him back on the wanted list.
Interesting, most assumed he was on the loose.  But hold on a sec, how can the State Dept talk to the NJ about deliberations regarding putting al-Suri on the list--a guy who some say might be the next UBL--but won't comment to Fox or AP on whether they've even deliberated over placing any of the Benghazi suspects on the list?  Then come back later and say they are actually on the list but in stealth mode due to 'sensitivities' with the investigation?  Bin Laden was pretty sensitive.  Perhaps it has to do with Nasar himself--maybe he moved to Libya or has been directing arms flows into Syria from elsewhere.  Oh to be a fly on the wall of the secret interrogation of Abu Anas al-Libi.  

Anyway, Hirsh sets up al-Suri as an ideological foe of UBL, saying Binny was "deeply opposed" to his ideas of small guerrilla jihad (UBL wanted spectacular attacks). Yet in the same article Hirsh admits that al-Suri's perfect attack would end in the use of WMDs, which sounds pretty darned spectacular, even if on a small scale.   We know UBL was not opposed to the use of WMD nor is the current Numero Uno, who tried to get an anthrax program launched in the years before 9/11.

Interestingly enough, al-Suri was never a member of AQ and did not pledge allegiance to the big guy. He was involved in the radical arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and allegedly took part in the 1982 uprising against Bashar Assad's father in Syria, which was reportedly crushed by using chemical weapons.  He then fled Syria and went, well, somewhere..
He then joined the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood organisation in exile, receiving training at their bases and safe houses in Iraq and Jordan.
The idea he was in Iraq is somewhat controversial for obvious reasons, since it brings in the possibility that Saddam knew about it and looked the other way. Saddam certainly wasn't BFF with the Assads despite their shared Ba'athist philosophy for many reasons, the most obvious being their Iranian connections. Would it be surprising to learn that Iraq approved of the Syrian Brotherhood's 'safe houses' in their country?  It's not like they hadn't been dabbling in the affairs of Lebanon during the time of the uprising.  And all were Sunnis.  Enemy of my enemy stuff. 

But OK, al-Suri is the new breed of international terrorist, favoring Boston bombing or Kenya Mall style attacks. How can these be stopped? 
And the consensus of senior defense and intelligence officials in the U.S. government is that NSA surveillance may well be the only thing that can stop the next terrorist from blowing apart innocent Americans, as happened in Boston last April. "Al-Qaida is far more a problem a dozen years after 9/11 than it was back then," Arquilla says.
Interesting, considering that neither the Boston or Nairobi attacks were smoked out by the NSA trolling.  Continuing, Hirsh quotes former NSA Director Hayden on the cause-effect of Congressional or constitutional interference in data trolling:
Says Michael Hayden: "People have to understand these actions [against the NSA] will have consequences." He adds that the U.S. intelligence community believes that it is mostly on top of the "big, complicated, multiple-actor, slow-moving plot [like 9/11]. But [the terrorists] are not doing that now. They're into much lower-in-threshold things. Which again demand very good intelligence, very comprehensive intelligence" that casts as wide a net as possible around the world.
But if they are on top of the big 9/11 plots then it seems anything smaller done by the terrorists, like Boston, should be 'manageable' and handled with law enforcement.  Do we want to throw our liberty out the window to possibly thwart small attacks?  Speaking of which:
Obama administration officials say they know about the mushrooming new threat and insist they did not mislead the American public by claiming success against core al-Qaida.
Only in the world of Obama can AQ be "mushrooming" as they run off to the horizon clinging to the end of their ropes.  But these are the same guys who said if you like you policy you could keep your policy, period.  Right now a blue ribbon panel is discussing the NSA collection methods (the preferred method of kicking a scandal down the road) and will probably report back around Christmas Eve that the NSA collection program is pretty awesome and should be increased.  Meanwhile,
Obama administration officials hope many of these new jihadist groups will remain mostly engaged in local fights, as against the Syrian regime. And that if they do attack U.S. interests at home or abroad, they are expected to focus on small-scale terrorist acts, like the Marathon bombings.
That's why Obama says the United States should stop calling the conflict with radical Islamists a "war" and view it instead as it was seen pre-9/11, as an inevitable, but manageable, law-enforcement problem.
Following that logic?  AQ is decimated but mushrooming, so we should treat them the same as liquor store robbers but we must use a nationwide dragnet against the population to stop this.  Does the NSA get involved in trolling the phone lines of future liquor store robbers?  After all, four people might die in the holdup or an ensuing high speed chase.  And God forbid Obama ever have to consider using drones or bombers to stop AQ terrorists in Iraq, who appear to be free to operate without fear of retribution as long as they focus on Syria.

Of course this is not like liquor store robberies at all, it's still a GWoT run by fanatics who aren't afraid to die and who want to create as many mass casualties as possible.  Liberals have always wanted it both ways--Kerry ran on the law enforcement approach in 2004--because a global war/threat must be addressed with all our assets, including far-flung military resources, which drains tax monies from their domestic spending agendas amidst a 17.5 trillion dollar debt.  Can't very well decrease the military spending in favor of food stamps if Setmariam Suri bin Laden is waiting around the corner to release chemicals on Times Square or a Navy ship or one of our embassies.

It's clear from reading the piece it's a veiled defense of the current NSA surveillance program. Not everyone is automatically opposed to such methods to defend the nation, by the way.  Some believed president Bush when he said the program was designed to track terrorists making phone calls to people in the United States and vice versa.  That turned out to be a lie--it was much larger.  The irony is that Hirsh hobnobbed in the same liberal circle of those who thought Bush's program was unconstitutional yet now seems to be defending an even larger program during Obama because national security.  That old fear of overreach is much more nuanced now..
Yes, there is ample reason to think the NSA has overreached in recent years—as even Secretary of State John Kerry has conceded—by prowling for diplomatic and economic information from rival and even friendly powers rather than focusing narrowly on counterterrorism. German Chancellor Merkel's cell phone and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's conversations may be a SIGINT bridge too far, causing unnecessary disruption of diplomatic relations and global stability for meager intelligence returns.
Spying on external targets is the mission of the NSA. Funny how that now represents the "bridge too far" when during the previous administration the far bridge was merely listening to the phone calls of people who might be dialing up the likes of an al-Suri.  Here's the closing comment:
But the very real danger now is that, in seeking to prevent the NSA from conducting such operations in the future, Congress may throw out the baby with the bathwater. And the world of omnipresent terror that Abu Musab al-Suri wants to create could become a far more perilous one for Americans.
Actually some are concerned that the "baby" is actually the founding document, or as some liberals once claimed Bush called it, that 'GD piece of paper'.

Look, if we could trust the NSA to just collect phone call records of Americans, available for review if a warrant were issued with requisite probable cause--based only on their legal snooping of foreign persons--that may be acceptable to some degree. We are still threatened.  And if they are correct about al-Suri, we are threatened with terrible weapons, even if on a smaller scale.

But as the Snowden leaks point out it's too easy for the protectors to go too far.  Who watches the watchers?  If we lose the country we lose the war.  If indeed the jihadist threat has been minimized to the local scale, within the capabilities of law enforcement, then perhaps it's time for the constitutional scholar-in-chief to have an adult conversation with Americans to discuss the cost of protecting our liberties.  But if the trans-national threat is still as bad as it was on 9/10/01--or even close--then maybe that conversation should be about the trade-off of giving away some liberty to gain a little temporary security.  

Yeah, sounds naive.  We can't really handle brutal honesty

Friday, November 15, 2013

That Place in Eastern Libya Again

Watching with an interested eye to see what becomes of Lara Logan and her Benghazi story, especially the whereabouts of Dylan Davies. The Daily Beast has more information on the man that anonymous administration sources basically called a liar:
In the message, which was sent on Friday morning to Simon & Schuster vice president Jennifer Robinson, Davies said someone had threatened to harm his family if he continued to defend his account of events in Benghazi to the media. The email was obtained by The Daily Beast.

Now, it wasn't speculated in the article but this "they are threatening my family" story could well be the perfect BS escape narrative for a man who lied to sell a book.  It appears he sent the message shortly before the book was pulled but after CBS did their initial mea culpa on their Morning Show, so that timing is very interesting, especially since he claims the first threat arrived on November 3rd (CBS didn't run their apology until the 8th).

Then again, with this Benghazi story would it really be shocking to find out it's true?  At the same time, if it's true it should be totally shocking.  Think about it.  Perhaps 60 Minutes will investigate.  

And thankfully the Beast finally mentioned the 302 forms.  They are the first prominent outlet to do so, which brings into play the fact that somewhere written evidence likely exists to either prove or disprove Davies story but for some reason they didn't feel compelled to leak it.  Everybody seemed to buy it anyway.

Meanwhile, the State Department has now admitted they actually put the Benghazi suspects on their Rewards for Justice program, offering up to 10 million dollars for info leading to their capture.  Thing is, they do not appear anywhere on the website.  In other words, they are offering an unpublicized reward.  Here's the AP's Matt Lee:
A State Department official familiar with the letter sent to Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, by Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield acknowledged that it's unusual not to publicize offers of rewards, but said investigators have other ways of making sure the information is known "as needed." In the course of the probe, investigators have made it known to individuals that cash is available for those coming forward with actionable information.
Emphasis added to point out what appears to be a double secret RFJ program.  Good grief, they had bin Laden on the site, what could be so sensitive?   It only makes things look worse.

By the way, Matt Lee is the AP's primary State Dept reporter. For several weeks he's been sitting in the State Dept press room while a junior Fox reporter hectors the State spokeswomen about why the Benghazi suspects weren't put on RFJ only to be stonewalled, as Lee mentions in the last paragraph.  He has joined in a time or two to get clarification or chide State for a lack of transparency.  Nobody else in the room will take that ball and run with it except Lee a few times, which the Dept has deftly exploited over the last year to tamp down inquires.

So, going forward it will be interesting to see if 1) Davies ever shows up anywhere, 2) what becomes of the information gathered this week as the House interviewed five CIA officers involved in the firefight, and 3) whether the rest of the media will join in the story again despite the Logan embarrassment and in light of the glow fading from the presidential halo.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cut and Dried

It's not easy to find this video, but here it is... the House Speaker dryly recommending O-care be 'scrapped':

Boehner's a better politician than people think.  He refused to throw the Tea Party under the bus during the shutdown showdown, setting himself up now to appear as the consistent and principled leader.

By the way, compare and contrast a Boehner press conference with Obama's ridiculous 51 minute filibuster in which he took all of 5 questions.  By the time Obama reaches the second reporter Boehner would already be standing on the third tee.   And the press would have had the same amount of questions.   

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aviation Update

Is the Chicago shake-down machine now kicking into gear on the airlines now?   The strange lawsuit against the proposed American-US Air merger launched by Eric Holder has now been settled out of court leaving some industry experts confused:
“By guaranteeing a bigger foothold for low-cost carriers at key U.S. airports, this settlement ensures airline passengers will see more competition on nonstop and connecting routes throughout the country,” Mr. Holder said.
But hold on a minute. That doesn’t sound like the position taken by the government three months ago when it filed a lawsuit challenging the merger. Back then, the Justice Department suggested that merely turning over space at airports to JetBlue and Southwest wouldn’t rid the merger of competitive consequences.
The new deal basically calls for the mega-airline to give up gates (slots) at LaGuardia, Reagan National, O'Hare and LAX to supposedly even the playing field.  Digging deeper:
The combined airline agrees to divest 104 slots at Washington’s Reagan National, 34 at New York’s LaGuardia and two gates at each of five other airports.
So, who will decide which airline gets those new slots?
The Justice Department will select which airlines are eligible to buy slots that the airlines must sell as part of the proposed settlement, according to a source close to the deal who was not authorized to speak publicly.
But not to just anyone:
Delta Air Lines made a bid for expansion at Reagan, saying it was "best positioned to continue competitive nonstop flights from Reagan National to small- and mid-sized cities."
But the source close to the deal said JetBlue is expected to buy the Reagan National slots that it is leasing from American, and that United Airlines and Delta are not expected to be on the list of qualified buyers.
"The list of qualified buyers".   Well, there may be nothing to see here, but based on the track record of the Attorney General and the crowd from Chicago it certainly feels like something funny just happened.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mea Culpa's are Easier...

....when they mainly damage conservatives.

CBS issued another unprecedented apology about their October 27 Benghazi story tonight.  It's almost as if they really believe their credibility wasn't already shot for about half the country several decades ago due to their overly partisan story choices and slant.  Anyway, WaPo writer Eric Wemple left his readers with a useful comment at the end of his Friday piece, which is worth repeating....
The lesson from all of this: When it comes to Benghazi, trust no one.
He probably wasn't thinking of the administration or Hillary Clinton but he definitely meant CBS and anyone else who reports on the story going forward.  Which could become quite convenient. 

Meanwhile on the right this story is getting almost zero attention, unlike the initial report, which is too bad because in some ways it's bigger than the original story. They should be asking "WTFork just happened here"?   A published book was pulled from the shelves and an entire 60 Minutes program was pulled from the web over the allegation that a single man on their show was lying, despite his actions having no effect on the overall story.  Sounds fishy.

The left is taking every advantage and will use the apology to claim the entire Benghazi story is bogus in an attempt to chill future questioning. Just today CNN's Candy Crowley, the same one who was involved with Mitt Romney's Benghazi meltdown in the second debate with Obama, questioned Senator Graham's hold on nominees by pointing to the story. So it begins.

But it actually began the day after the initial 60 Minutes episode.  Hillary-friendly Media Matters made debunking it cause number one, two, and three in order of importance. Why, though?  What about that episode was so damaging?  There were basically no huge revelations. 

Maybe the reason David Brock and company were so livid was due to the network involved.  For the most part Benghazi has been a Fox News story, which the left can point to and call partisan.  The main alphabet networks have declined to play along.  If suddenly CBS--and especially 60 Minutes--were to join the chorus that would lend instant credibility to the story and to Fox News.  Too much at stake.

That said, it's not hard to imagine a conspiracy theory where the entire thing was planned to fall apart in an effort to once and for all drive a stake in the heart of the scandal and clear Hillary for 2016.  The epic way it failed seems to support it, including the unbelievably shoddy background work done on the piece. But logic says it was also possibly due to an internal struggle at CBS News.

60 Minutes reporter Lara Logan was sexually abused in Cairo during the Arab Spring uprisings by protesters (or goons).  She's been fairly outspoken about the threat from radical Islamism, to the point of condemning the Obama administration over Afghanistan.  It's hardly believable to think she made all that up just to gain credibility on this story so they could shoot it down.  Doesn't sound too healthy for the ole career. Add to that the reporting done by fellow CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson on Benghazi and the weird things that have happened to her and it sets up a scenario where internal debate at the network might have led to some sloppiness for ratings.  Maybe they really smelled the rats and got kneecapped by one. Or more than one. 

But the facts known and unknown will keep this story weird.  The entire apology was predicated on the word of anonymous administration officials and FBI sources for the New York Times (and later 60 Minutes) without any supporting documentation, fake or otherwise.  By the way, wonder if Eric Holder authorized those leaks?  Wonder if the president found out by reading the Friday paper?  Will anyone ask?  

Somewhere out there an FBI 302 form of the Davies interview(s) exists and could back up the anonymous sources.   Will anyone ask about them?  Chances are nobody will ask FBI Director James Comey, the lefty hero famous for speaking truth to power over eavesdropping during the Bush era, then appointing Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate Scooter Libby for leaking.   This is the same James Comey that received a letter from Republicans after his appointment this past summer urging him to help in their investigation of Benghazi.   Just this coming week they are set to interview three CIA witnesses--wonder if that will go as planned or be postponed? 

Not to be hyper-partisan--maybe Issa's committee knew about this Davies fellow and knew he was lying and said nothing.  Maybe some were even acting as sources for Logan.   The truth would be nice, no matter what form it takes.  Despite smears from the left and politics played by the right Benghazi has never been a partisan exercise, only an exercise in learning the truth.  Some people actually want to know what happened.

In the meantime maybe 60 Minutes can investigate itself.  While they're at it maybe they can locate Mr. Davies', who has reportedly gone into hiding.  Maybe he's suddenly come across a large sum of money somehow, maybe from winning a lottery, who knows.  Until then this new narrative calls for a willing suspension of disbelief.

MORE  11/11/13

Here's an example of why the right needs to be involved in this debate.  Lefty commentators are simply lying about it unchallenged.  To wit, here's TPM's Josh Marshall:
If you'd come to this 90 seconds without knowing anything that had happened over the last couple weeks, you would probably think that one person interviewed in a 60 Minutes segment may have been misleading in some of the things he said.
This gets to the core issue. 60 Minutes allowed a complete charlatan top billing on their show. He wasn't part of a segment. He was the segment. And the piece made a big, big splash.
Sorry, no. While Davies was the sensational hook and main attraction the show also included an interview with Andy Wood, who talked about his repeated warnings about a pending AQ attack in eastern Libya (which were ignored by Hillary's State Dept) and the deputy ambassador in Tripoli Greg Hicks.

That's why CBS's scrubbing of the program was important.  It's harder now to go back and debunk such lies without video or transcripts.  Why lie?   It's obvious Marshall and others want to paint a different picture because they've been afraid of this story since it occurred.  That's why ObamaCO told the whopper about the Mohammed video and tried to scrub the CIA's talking points days later--they see the damage potential.  All of this recent brouhaha will damage the credibility of the witnesses that House investigators plan to bring in this week---how convenient is that?

Yet most on the right are cowering in the corner because on the surface this appears to be a colossal embarrassment.  They miss the point.  If there's more than meets the eye here then CBS or the professional left or even the administration have managed successfully to spike a story and berate those who would report about it, which has huge implications going forward.  Maybe someone can send Hillary an email and ask her if she knew anything about Mr. Davies and his evil warmongering Blue Mountain contractors or remembers getting any intelligence about a pending AQ attack on Benghazi.  Just for the record.

SO LONG, LARA?  11/11/13

It's amusing.  The right continues to miss out on one of the best and most mysterious stories of the year so far.  The WaPo and other lefty outlets are now doing hit pieces on Lara Logan, basically demanding her scalp.  Check out part of their outrage over her reaction to Obama's response to Benghazi...
“When I look at what’s happening in Libya, there’s a big song and dance about whether this was a terrorist attack or a protest,” she said. “And you just want to scream, ‘For God’s sake, are you kidding me?’ The last time we were attacked like this was the USS Cole, which was a prelude to the 1998 embassy bombings, which was a prelude to 9/11.
And you’re sending in the FBI to investigate? I hope to God that you are sending in your best clandestine warriors who are going to exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil, its ambassadors will not be murdered and the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”
Here here!  Yes that spot on analysis is unbelievably counted as a sin in lefty world presumably because she took a position off the air on national security without it being some negative about Bush or Cheney.  Which is why this story is fascinating.  So many tentacles.  The left only cares about the political fallout surrounding Hillary and will say, think, defend or repeat any grotesquely stupid premise or meme to make it go away.  It will not.  As to Logan, as the pressure rises it will be interesting to see how long CBS defends their star and if they don't, where she ends up.  Wonder if Al-Jazeera America would hire her?

MORE  11/12/13

Here's Salon asking how Logan can possibly not be fired..
Still: Lara Logan has made an egregious journalistic error. She has a rather obvious agenda. Her apology was laughably inadequate. CBS clearly expects to just hurry past this with a quick “sorry” and no internal review. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post helpfully fact-checked “60 Minutes” for CBS, but now that the story’s been retracted, there’s no reason for it to continue making headlines unless people keep making a fuss about it. In 2004, the fuss was massive and sustained. It would be nice to see the rest of the mass media take as much of an interest in this fiasco as they did in that one, until some heads roll.
The operative words/phrases have been outlined in bold for the sake of humor.  Logan's 'obvious agenda' is that the United States should do what the president said he would do and kick the asses of those who killed our guys (officially, "bring them to justice").  That's a pretty good agenda that most of us share.  So far none of these lefty caterwaulers seem the least bit concerned about justice, unless it involves Hillary.  As to the Times and Post 'helpfully' fact-checking CBS, yes, they got timely leaks from the most anti-leak administration in history.  People are in jail right now for leaking under these guys.

Back when Dan Rather ran with the TANG story he was eventually embarrassed, but the first one fired was his producer Mary Mapes...
CBS terminated Mary Mapes and demanded the resignations of 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard and Howard's top deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy, as well as Senior Vice President Betsy West, who had been in charge of all prime time newscasts.
Murphy and West resigned on February 25, 2005,[107] and after settling a legal dispute regarding his level of responsibility for the segment, Josh Howard resigned on March 25, 2005.[108] Dan Rather also resigned as anchorman in 2005. It is unclear whether or not Rather's retirement was directly caused by this incident, although many believe that he had to step down a year earlier than planned
No doubt Logan will probably have to go. But Rather wasn't fired right away. We have not even heard from all parties yet.