Thursday, February 28, 2013

Woodward at War

Catchy title, eh? Yeah, it's a play on his books, just in case you don't follow Hollywood Bob. Anyway, the Politico is out with the email exchange, designed to make Woodward look petty for taking things out of context.  But this paragraph deserves scrutiny:
I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest.
So what is this 'forest'?  Simply the notion of a 'balanced approach' to cutting the deficit or perhaps a shiny Utopian redistributive city on the hill?  Sperling et al have admitted they were wrong about the sequester question Woodward broke last weekend, so that paragraph seems to be chastising him for falling off the bandwagon.  Is it possible Woodward is such a purist and took so much offense at being called a traitor to the cause that he trotted right over to the heart of liberal TV and complained on both MSNBC and CNN?  Let's hope so, for the sake of the country, assuming he's correct in his perceptions.

But his perceptions are getting a boost.  Ron Fournier of the National Journal is out with his own tale of cuss word tirades and threats from administration sources so perhaps it's not Woodward who will be regretting things going forward.  A few weeks ago there was the story about the "Puppet Master" and Ed Henry's complaint to the White House press office regarding lack of access to the weekend with Tiger show.  Two Fox News liberals, Kirsten Powers and Juan Williams, also gave strong credence to Woodward's perception.

None of which will resonate very deeply with Joe Average of course, but at the same time it can't be a manufactured distraction either as it certainly isn't helping the 'cause' by gumming up coverage just as the world is supposed to end.  Even if they dig up something shockingly dirty on Woodward, like say a dalliance with a blond spy or GOP operative or thereabouts, it will appear transparently vindictive at this point. 

MORE 2/28/13

In retrospect this article is very illuminating.  One has to think that the reporter's obscurity kept it from becoming a big issue when written (2008) but as time goes by a lot of old stories have gotten new looks.  After reading it there's almost no doubt who's running the puppets in the war on Woodward, and no doubt about why Woodward and others have felt compelled to keep the big guy out of the blame loop.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to do an Interview on MSNBC

This is how you do it..

Patience, then fortitude. 

Are You a Citizen?

Reason is trying to make this viral..

We came across one of these on a trip across the southwest last year.  It was at least 50 miles from the border, in the middle of nowhere.  We had no idea what it was about while pulling up.   They asked if we were citizens of the US, we said yes, they said move along.  OK.   But after driving off the comment was "why did that just happen"? 

Basically they are suspecting everyone driving down the interstate of being an illegal alien until you say otherwise.  They aren't asking anyone to prove it by showing ID, but chances are if someone looks nervous--or maybe Hispanic--they will try to detain you if they don't like the reply.  

Even the Arizona bill didn't allow cops to ask for proof of citizenship without having a valid reason to pull someone over or detain them on the street. The Obama administration sued over it, yet their own CBP agents are out on the interstate asking everybody in every car about their citizenship without any probable cause to suspect they aren't citizens.

And now, the DHS has released actual detained illegal immigrants from lockup--an illegal move--to score political points.  Yeah, good thing that ole Bush is not still in power. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

20 Years Ago Today

The War on Terror got started on American soil.
A noontime ceremony is planned to honor the six people who died in the 1993 blast in an underground garage below one of the twin towers. More than 1,000 people were injured. The attack was the first dramatic demonstration that "terrorism is theater and New York is the biggest stage," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
The event was quickly overshadowed by the siege of Waco, which started only days later and lasted a couple of months. Oddly, one of the suspects of the 93 bombing is still at large--last seen in Iraq, while the main perp Ramzi Yousef pleads for leniency in his Supermax solitary and new Egyptian president Morsi continues to make public pleas for the release of Sheikh Rahman, who blessed the attacks.

MORE  2/26/13

Weird.  After 18 years informant Emad Salem has suddenly reappeared from witness protection to warn about the dangers of letting Rahman go:
"He will kill Americans," said Salem. "He will kill anyone who disputes what he says with a fatwa." Salem, a one-time Egyptian military officer, had warned officials about the looming 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but his warnings were ignored after a lie-detector test was inconclusive and he said he would never testify at any trial.
The same link contains a warning from one of Rahman's sons, saying death will rain down on America if the old man isn't released and Benghazi was just a first step. Funny, no mention of the Mohammed video clip.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Ran across this picture today from recent news..  pay attention to the actions the men are taking and the first sentence of the caption:

Damn, what a couple of Popeyes!  Re-railing freight cars by themselves!   Or maybe abject morons.   No, apparently this is a time honored process in getting minor train derailments cleared up by using wood blocks or metal pieces under the wheels to guide them back on the rails.  But the train cars are not moved along by the men using crowbars, they are moved along by an engine. 

Speaking of derailments...

Watched the Academy Awards last night for the first time in years.  Yes, it was mainly due to the possible political fireworks with Zero Dark Thirty along with a need to retreat from the machine.  And it was fairly enjoyable show--right up until the end.  Enjoyed Shirley Bassey singling "Goldfinger" again--she's still got a little left in those amazing pipes.  Her stage presence far outshines Adel's but the rookie's voice is certainly golden.  And yes, Babs Streisand still has a gift.  For singing.  

But the stunt with Michelle O at the end wiped out any good comments uttered along the way.  What a cheap sucker move.  And Jack Nicholson taking part?   Sad.  As reported, some of the media and critics even groaned.

But the question is, did the White House know the winner beforehand?   Would Zero Dark Thirty and its 'torture' sequences been as easy for Mrs Obama to roll off the tongue after her little we-are-the-world speech?   How would that movie winning look to the billion-strong world audience?   America--the land of Bush torture, brought to you by the Obama White House!

Sorry, going to have to suspend a bit disbelief.   As to how Hollywood landed her?  Of course this is what they would say.  


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Side Tracks

This ole classic by Merle Haggard was sung at a tribute at the Kennedy Center by Brad Paisley and  Vince Gill.  Notice who's in the audience--the POTUS--and notice they left out a key verse of the song...

Sure, it was probably an abridged version, but here's a studio version of the entire song performed by a great trio of Diamond Rio, Steve Wariner and Lee Roy Parnell that contains that key verse and a refrain that might not have been so popular with certain attendees.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Transportation Update

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood came before the White House press corpse with his new solution to sequester, which sounded like something out of a disaster movie.  In an apparent spirit of bi-partisanship, or maybe thuggish Illinois politics, he urged them to go see the movie Lincoln:
"I suggest my colleagues on the Republican side go see Lincoln," LaHood said, noting that in the Spielberg film, people on both sides talked to each other.
That led him into chiding them for not coming to the table but he wouldn't admit urging any of them to raise taxes to allow Obama to win another issue.  One has to wonder if he's been getting together with Powell and Hagel for beers to ponder strategy and reminisce about the good old days of the GOP when they were all Democrats.         

At least it was a lively interview, unlike Carney's usual pompous dreck. When asked about effects on Amtrak he said 'none'.  That's interesting, since the DOT doesn't just house the FAA but also has regulatory control over the nation's highways, waterways and railroads.  Won't freight trains suddenly fly off the tracks across the country if taxes aren't raised?  Won't barges crash into bridges?  Won't Grandma and Grandpa fly off the road as highways suddenly crumble and bridges collapse unless the stubborn GOP does their patriotic duty and raises taxes for the second time in three months?

And to what level should taxes be raised anyway?  Does the administration want to balloon the top federal marginal rates above 40 percent?  If so, to what level?  And why does Obama only want to
"strengthen the middle class"?  Doesn't he care about strengthening the lower class?       

Finally, people like Carney and administration flaks and the president himself keep calling tax increases 'revenue increases'.   So why didn't they call the Bush tax cuts "Bush revenue cuts"?   Why is the word revenue only used by Democrats when talking about tax increases but not cuts (yes, it's rhetorical)?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fearing Sequester

The deadline is March 1.  And nothing adverse may happen on March 2 aside from harsh rhetoric.

Despite the fear-mongering the kick-in of Armegeddon is in dispute should they cross the rubicon.  That's because there are laws in place that govern furloughs. Most federal workers require a 30 day notice before actually being laid-off, and since many agencies haven't sent these notices out yet, waiting to see what happens on March 1, then nothing draconian can occur until around April.

Additionally, the Continuing Resolution to fund the government runs out on March 31st.  Few are making an issue out of the time offset, but it's huge.  If the CR runs out and is not extended the government completely shuts down.  EVERYBODY is furloughed.  That's what happened when Gingrich failed to submit a budget or a CR to Bill Clinton in 1995.  Yet emergency employees remained on the job back then, which they were later paid back-pay.  Boehner could also play this card if he went into Dr. Evil mode, but he won't.  

Even so, he could agree to a so-called buy down of the sequester, kicking the can into the next government fiscal year in October, but there will still need to be legislation to keep the government running at the end of March unless they rolled it into one deal.  But why would Boehner throw away all his cards at once?

Put it this way.  The administration is asking Boehner to...

1.  Raise taxes two times within three months just to end a sequester Obama wanted, and
2.  Extend the Continuing Resolution in the process, taking away the March 31 showdown, without getting a thing for it. 

Meanwhile, the press was their usual timid self today in the White House briefing, allowing the spokesgoofball to drone on and on about his talking points.  But there were a couple of shining moments.  First, Ed Henry from Fox News..
Q Before the election, though, the White House tried to stop those furlough notices -- right before the election.
MR. CARNEY: We were hopeful -- well, first of all, before the election -- the election was, what, November 6th, November 8th? That was not 10 days before implementation of the sequester. That’s one.
Actually, as government contractors under the WARN Act they were compelled to notify their employees 90 days before any cuts were expected. Henry failed to follow up on that one.  That also brings into question the current situation--are the defense contractors getting a 90 day notice?  If so, they won't be laid off for awhile per the law. 

Here's an unknown but courageous journalist asking Carney how many White House employees might lose their jobs from sequestration:
Q Two quick questions. Does the White House have any estimate about White House jobs that may be lost or furloughed?
MR. CARNEY: I’ll have to take the question and refer you to OMB.
Q If you can get back to us on that?
Q Really get back to us.
MR. CARNEY: I’m looking forward to -- no. (Laughter.) I’ll have to take that question.
Q And would he cancel his trip to the Middle East if the --
MR. CARNEY: I’m not going to speculate.
Q Well, you have to plan.
MR. CARNEY: I’m not going to speculate. We believe Congress should act next week to avoid the sequester. It is inherently the right thing to do, using -- if you just look at what the Speaker of the House himself has said all on different occasions about the terrible consequences of the sequester to our national defense and to jobs, it makes the point -- he makes the point, as the President has made and others have made, that Congress should take the appropriate action to avoid the sequester so that Congress can then proceed to deal with our larger budget challenges. Donovan.
Q But you don’t rule out canceling the trip?
Q Yes, if you could get back to me --
MR. CARNEY: We have no schedule changes to make or announce.
Q If you could get back to me about the White House job numbers and planning process, that would be great. Separately, North Korea has released --
MR. CARNEY: I could also encourage you to call OMB, but we’ll do both.

What a great question.  They certainly aren't fear-mongering about White House cuts or cuts to the president's trip schedule.   Why not include Congress in the furloughs, too, although there is probably some obscure law that says they are immune.  By the way notice how snotty he was to this reporter, the second day in a row he's been engaging in a kind of war on women who ask tough questions.  Yesterday he dismissed a CNN reporter as a 'fill in' for asking whether Obama himself invented the sequester.  Ann Compton has some thoughts

Finally, before he left the room he was taken to task for constantly demonizing corporate jets in trying to get Boehner to raise taxes.  Nobody ever points out the job losses that would come from getting rid of energy and airplane manufacturing subsidies, but this reporter did:
Q About the tax-exempt status of the corporate jets -- there are tens of thousands of people who are middle-class workers who work in corporate aviation. My question is -- including several tens of thousands in Kansas, Washington, Oklahoma. They are very worried about the President's comments about eliminating the tax exemption because in their words, every time it's been eliminated before, there has been layoffs. And there have been thousands of layoffs in Kansas since the President started mentioning this in the corporate aviation area. These are middle-class workers. What would you say to them?
MR. CARNEY: I would say that making budgets and choices about deficit reduction always involves difficult choices, and that when it's a choice between laying teachers off or affecting our national security or, in the broader scheme, reforming our tax code in a way that eliminates these tax breaks -- special interest tax breaks or subsidies, that is a better option than voucherizing Medicare or cutting education investment or throwing people -- kids off of Head Start. I think that --
Q The guy that lost his job last week -- or last June --
MR. CARNEY: No, I understand --
Q -- he left me a message and said, I lost my job because of this. I'm sure -- I mean, he supports a family.
MR. CARNEY: Again, I think that the question here is what choices do we make, and do we choose to protect narrow, special interest loopholes that, by the way, the Speaker of the House said just late last year, there were so many of them that he could come up with $800 billion in revenues that he would direct towards deficit reduction just by closing loopholes like that and capping deductions like the ones we've discussed. I don’t doubt that there are benefits that are enjoyed by companies and others that flow from these loopholes and special provisions in the tax code. But the broader interest here is in making choices that are fair for everyone in the way that we reduce our deficit. And closing --
Q -- the middle class is employed, so it will affect them.
MR. CARNEY: I take your point. I think I've answered the question, which is that we have to make choices here. And I think that, overwhelmingly, a decision to close a special interest tax break as opposed to throwing 70,000 kids off of Head Start is a pretty clear choice. None of these are cost-free, but it's a pretty clear choice.
So there you go--they are willing to take some middle class job losses to realize their agenda of maintaining payments to illegal aliens.  Just for the record.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gitmo Update

Remember the GITMO trials?  KSM and cohorts?  The families of the victims surely do; the rest of America, not so much.

They are trying to resume them.  In the process an interesting revelation was recently leaked:
"I said, Mr Guard, is that a listening device, and he said, 'Of course not'," she said. "Well, guess what, judge? It's a listening device". The prison's lawyer, Captain Thomas Welsh, told the court he discovered the room was fitted with hidden microphones early last year and reported it to the then warden, Colonel Donnie Thomas, to seek assurances that meetings between the accused and their lawyers were not being spied on.
Bogdan said he was not informed when he took over. He told the court that the FBI was in control of the room until 2008 and that he has since discovered that the bugs were accidentally disconnected in October during renovations but then secretly reconnected by an unnamed intelligence service two months later, suggesting they were still in use.
And by an 'unnamed intelligence service' we can assume it wasn't Lichtenstein's.  Since it was presumably restarted in December 2012 that also means Cheney didn't order it.

So unless one of our agencies has gone rogue that means the bug order came from up the chain of command at some high level position.  Was someone trying to sabotage the proceedings?  Force the trials into an Article III court?  Undermine the entire tribunal process? 

Surely such planners would have to consider that if KSM were to be acquitted in such a court he wouldn't be given his belongings and 100 bucks and released into lower Manhattan, it would be back to prison in leg irons.  How would that make America look like a beacon of justice? 

Or maybe some are worried about the influence KSM might still have even after 10 years in jail.  The Blind Sheikh managed to get messages to his followers back in Egypt (kill all the infidels, etc) after being locked up for a few years and KSM's erstwhile nephew Ramzi Yousef was able to successfully communicate in code with Uncle Khalid while sitting in a New York City lockup (under the watchful eye of the FBI).

Good grief, we can't even trust Richard Clarke to keep the lid on a secret mole inserted into AQ in Yemen so the idea terrorists or their pro bono lawyers can be trusted not to babble or pass along secrets is fantasy.  Which in part explains the listening devices.  But again, revealing the devices undercuts the tribunals, which would open the door for more leaks.   Perhaps the solution is a 'prison break' and a well-positioned drone. After all, these guys aren't even citizens.

MORE  2/18/13

Speaking of Yousef, he's back in the news:
"I request an immediate end to my solitary confinement and ask to be in a unit in an open prison environment where inmates are allowed outside their cells for no less than 14 hours a day," he wrote the warden, according to confidential government records obtained by The Times. "I have been in solitary confinement in the U.S. since Feb. 8, 1995, with no end in sight.... I further ask not to be in handcuffs or leg irons when moved outside my cell."
Aww, the poor thing.  The traumatized terrorist.  Just a few years ago Basit Karim (supposedly his real name) claimed to have concerted to Christianity.   Of course letting this guy mingle is a bad idea based on past history--read the above link in the main post by Chris Carson if you don't believe it.  But this story should go towards the larger question of allowing the most dangerous terrorists have any kind of freedoms.  In one sense his current existence might be a harsher punishment than a martyr's death, so long as the authorities can keep him from contacting the outside world. 

By the way, this isn't the first time he has sued--he filed against the Bureau of Prisons back in 1998 for similar treatment:
On September 11, 1998, Yousef sued the Bureau of Prisons over what he called "Draconian" restrictions imposed on him in Colorado.
Wow, what a weird, wild coincidence. And surely the signature date on his Iraqi passport was also a coincidence.  If you believe in those things.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Side Tracks

Never was close to being called a Dead-head, but this song was catchy..

Stuck Reset Button

Making some news this week, at least on the Saturday of a three-day weekend:
Two Russian bombers, capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles, circled the U.S. island of Guam in the Western Pacific this week, U.S. military officials told NBC News. U.S. Air Force F-15 jets scrambled from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam to intercept the bombers.
According to one military official, the Russian Bear bombers remained in international airspace, the encounter between the U.S. and Russian aircraft “stayed professional” and there was no incident. The official said it’s impossible to determine whether the Russian bombers carried any nuclear weapons.
Provocative and reminiscent of the Soviet era. One could easily tie this action to the fact that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is refusing to return John Kerry's phone calls--a story trending all week long.  Surely this is all tied to Syria, which sounds reasonable. But nobody in the press is mentioning the reset button anymore.

MORE 2/16/13

In light of the above is it surprising that some Russians would suspect the US of launching some kind of secret fake asteroid weapon, especially since the impact area was Chelyabinsk?   Oddly enough, another fireball meteorite was seen near the San Fransisco Bay Area last evening.   Sometimes one has to wonder about Russia and their connections to certain things in the past, such as Victor Bout or even obscure individuals like Sergei Davidenko (and his connection with the local area, still a cold case).   Add to that Dick Cheney's persona from 9/11 in point, from his most recent video (heavily edited) appearance:

Go back to the quote from Woodward's book attributed to Cheney.  After all these years, wonder who he was talking about?  


Friday, February 15, 2013

Still in Benghazi

Are the Republicans done with Benghazi?  McCain and others are now saying they'll put Hagel on a path to confirmation next week.  Ed Schultz' crew believe it was vengeance angle--they got their pound of flesh by hacking up Hagel for defecting on Iraq while getting the Decider Guy to admit he never made any calls on the night of the attack.  Which is frankly what it looks like on the superficial level where Ed operates.  But all the questions aren't answered yet.  

Besides, just last night the administration apparently felt it was necessary for more talking points, and who better to provide them but Susan Rice?   This time she went on the Daily Show with Stewart to defend the mothership and spouted the new improved talking points, mentioning the numerous briefings to Congress, 10,000 documents, and hey, they've provided 10,000 documents.  10,000.  Stewart tried to be dogged but he withered in the end, craving that buttery love of democratic populism.  But at least he asked some hard questions. For instance, he succeeded better than anyone in pointing out how confusing the story was regarding the suspect talking points.

As to the whereabouts of President Gutsy, these clips have shined some light ..

Of course not making any calls doesn't mean he didn't receive any, but it does suggest he didn't lend his weight to the issue with any foreign leaders or the military.  And it also makes him look fairly out of the loop considering he's on record of telling his people to make sure our people were all protected--saying this at least five hours before the annex attack.  Did he go to bed?  Watch the game?  Chip a few balls on the lawn?

But performance wasn't the only question. Steward didn't dare dig into whether the bogus talking points were actually designed to preserve the DNC narrative that AQ was on the ropes, UBL dead, GM alive, etc. to help the president get re-elected.   Manipulating the public over a terrorist attack is supposed to be a Republican trademark, after all.  Perhaps team McCain doesn't want to go there either.  Maybe a deal was struck.  

Meanwhile Fox News hasn't quite given up yet, even if they are becoming a bit tepid. Today a Fox reporter asked the State Dept spokesperson about Rice's appearance last night:
Please. Can you tell me who you are, please?
QUESTION: Jake Gibson, FOX News.
MS. NULAND: Right.
QUESTION: Last night, Ambassador Rice was on The Daily Show, and she was – she said she was given bad intelligence regarding Benghazi for the Sunday talk shows on September 15th. Yet Defense Secretary Panetta testified on the Hill recently he knew immediately it was terrorist-related. How can – can you reconcile these apparently conflicting statements?
MS. NULAND: Sounds like those are questions for Ambassador Rice and the Pentagon, not for the State Department.
QUESTION: Can I get one more --
MS. NULAND: We’ve been clear about where we were on this, both in our – in the Secretary’s testimony and in previous testimonies.
It's obvious they are reluctant to dig too deep and suffer the evil eyes from the White House press machine. They really can't because they don't have support from their peers--other journos have long ago moved on after Hillary's convincing testimony, which is likely why they sent an unknown reporter in place of regular State reporter James Rosen. The same reporter yesterday asked about the status of the one suspect in the attack--the guy released from Tunisia, making a point to say Hillary testified she was keeping track of the guy, to which Ms. Nuland referred him to the FBI.  Remember, Americans were promised justice, but justice is blind, deaf and dumb at the moment.

So the questions linger. 

Meanwhile a new book has come out that disputes the entire narrative yet not one official question has been asked of the administration press office, who has spent the week hiding on Air Force One.  Yeah, the administration and most of their mainstream friends have taken Hillary's core answer to heart.  And yeah, there's a likely answer as to why.  But with all due respect....that's known as the same ole Washington politics. The questions about Benghazi are not. 

MORE  2/16/13

If you place the information contained in this video, assuming it's accurate, in context with Panetta and Brennan saying they didn't brief the president it becomes hard to square the circle on this event.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Freedom of Expression Update

So the newest bin Laden story writer has some interesting connections?   And the e-book on Benghazi is out--released Monday, which contains a very different narrative than the several told to the public so far? 

Alrighty then, what does the government say about these potentially explosive stories?  Nothing, basically.  The White House did a press briefing Monday but Obama is now back on the campaign trail lobbying for the destruction of the GOP, so there probably won't be anymore televised briefings this week.  The next obvious choice would be the State Department, but even the Fox News reporter failed to bring it up in their presser today (nobody brought it up yesterday either).

Not that any administration press person would comment anyway (after mocking the question) but it's important to get the question out there because a deflection, spin or anger could reflect some reality.

Meanwhile, speaking of Benghazi and the State Department, someone actually asked the spokeswoman last week about the YouTube ban in Egypt due to the Mohammed video still being up and her response was as follows:
..And forgive me if you’d spoke to this on Friday, I wasn’t here, but the Egyptian court’s decision to block YouTube because of the American-made anti-Islam film that was linked to the violent protest that broached the U.S. Embassy last September, whether that was an appropriate decision.
MS. NULAND: Well, first on YouTube. It’s – we’ve seen the reports about censorship of YouTube. It’s actually not quite clear to us at this moment how and whether that’s going to be enforced across Egypt. But as a general matter, you know that we reject censorship as a response to offensive speech. That kind of action violates the universal rights of citizens to exercise their freedom of expression, association, and assembly. We would rather see these kinds of concerns settled through dialogue.
The bold was to illustrate a contrast with the White House's view during the height of the event:
The White House has asked YouTube to review an anti-Muslim film posted to the site that has been blamed for igniting the violent protests this week in the Middle East. Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, said the White House has “reached out to YouTube to call the video to their attention and ask them to review whether it violates their terms of use.” However, the video remained on the site as of Friday afternoon, and it is posted many other places on the Internet.
Of course the movie maker was later whisked off to a year in jail.   Sadly, the reporter completely missed this rather stark hypocrisy and never brought it to her attention.  So it's like nothing happened.

Water Fall

The Rubio 'watergate' story is trending, as the twits say, and as usual the sides are squaring off.   I'm breaking ranks--to a degree. 

Seeing the deer in the headlights water grab live was cringeworthy.  A true face-palm moment.  A politician recently tagged with being the 'savior' of the GOP simply cannot do such a thing in that setting, period. 

Seeing it live was bad; seeing it in freeze frame later is, well, funny.  It's not something you see a professional speaker do in that setting.  Couldn't he have had the water bottle in front of him?   It was like he'd never been on TV before.

Sorry, but that's my personal reaction.  My reaction was similar when Rick Perry had a brain fart moment in the debates. The sides lined up on that one too but it was effectively the end of Perry, and everyone knew it.  The difference with Rubio is that he has time--almost four years to recover and erase the moment from memory.   And he can do it with the correct approach.   So saying it's a 'career ender' is silly, wishful, "lamestream media" reportage.  But saying it didn't matter at all is also silly, wishful thinking.  It took away from the power of the speech in the moment and made the party look silly for not supporting him better.   

Monday, February 11, 2013


Released over the weekend...blurbs of a new e-book by two respected ex-Special Forces members about the true story of Benghazi

Out today, a new out-of-the-blue version of the UBL takedown by 'the Shooter'.  Yes, the real shooter.  Purportedly, at least.   Neither story was mentioned by the press at today's White House briefing. 

Bronstein's SEAL story is fascinating reading, even at 20+ pages, but it raises problems on the narrative.  The mystery shooter's version doesn't comport with Mark Bisonette's print version or the official government version.  Matter of fact, mystery shooter actually puts himself in the same place Bisonette put himself--in position number two going up the stairs into bin Laden's third floor lair.

In Bisonette's version, the lead SEAL got to the top of the stairs, saw a figure in the doorway of the bedroom, fired some shots only to reach the room and find UBL already dead on the floor.  They pumped a few more rounds into his torso for good measure.  In Mystery Shooter's version the lead SEAL fired some shots from the second floor, then both he and Mystery Shooter--just those two--went up the stairs.  Lead SEAL grabbed a couple of bin Laden's wives or girlfriends who had been jettisoned into hall from the bedroom and that allowed Mystery Shooter, the second SEAL, to enter the room and pump three rounds into Laden's noggin, splitting his head into a "V".   He admits that others came later and riddled the dead corpse with a few more rounds for good measure.

John Brennan provided the initial government version, which said something about bin Laden pushing his wife in front of him as he was lurching for his trusty assault weapon or thereabouts after a 40 minute firefight.  Zero Dark Thirty's version was closer to the mystery shooter. 

So who's telling the truth?   

As usual, it's hard to tell.  Mystery Shooter doesn't seem very harsh with Bisonette, so could this be in coordination in an attempt to fully obfuscate who the real shooter was, in an effort to protect all their families?   Or maybe this is about correcting the record, once and for all.  But that's what Bisonette said.

Whatever the case, these heroic SEALS have to live with this looming threat the rest of their lives and it doesn't appear the DoD really cares about their plight.   Or maybe that's a ruse, too, after all, Bisonette was threatened with criminal action for printing secrets without permission but so far seems to have gotten away with it completely.  Or maybe what he printed cannot be used against him because it was bogus.   Confusing.

Perhaps we'll have to treat everything with a grain of salt, just like Mystery Shooter's revelation about bags and bags of opium stashed under a bed in UBL's mansion and what that might actually mean.  One thing is sure, somebody probably needs to take care of these guys and their families.  After all, Obama helped GM.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Final Brennan

Since this series has been somewhat critical of Mr. Brennan it's only fair to give him his final say, or at least a snippet of what could be the bottom line...

One would think such a comment would go over very well with the rank and file at Langley.

Politics aside, Mr. Brennan is a very smart, very tough and very savvy individual, which seems perfect for the job.  The Committee spent 3 hours reminding him to be forthcoming while spicing their questions with politics; the above reply was a candid and forceful reminder to them that responsibility is a two-way street.  It brings back memories of this clown show:

But in the end the public didn't learn much about his dealings with the flawed follow-up reporting on bin Laden or why they felt it was necessary to burn an agent on the inside of AQAP to defend a political attack.  And of course, none of the Senators could really drill down too deep on Benghazi, such as whether any of this stuff might be true...
The book claims that neither Stevens nor even Petraeus knew about the raids by American special operations troops, which had 'kicked a hornet's nest' among the heavily-armed fighters after the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. John Brennan, President Barack Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser, had been authorizing 'unilateral operations in North Africa outside of the traditional command structure,' according to the e-book. Brennan is Obama's pick to replace Petraeus as head of the CIA.
Who knows. These players are in the big leagues, and politics ain't beanbag.

MORE  2/10/13

The closed-door hearing on Tuesday might be interesting.  Graham has vowed to put holds on Hagel and Brennan until the administration answers the question of who changed the talking points and what interaction did the president have with his team during the night of the attack. 

Meanwhile the new e-book alleging an alternate Benghazi history (which if true would certainly explain the silly movie cover story) may not be sourced, but some version of it feels possible, if for no other reason that Petraeus' girlfriend told a college audience that prisoners were being held at the annex.  Still, it's a tough sell to believe that the general had no knowledge of a JSOC operation under his nose in Libya.  One could suppose that he found out, got ticked, threatened something and they dropped the girlfriend bomb on him.  But that would just be a wild WAG.
The Senators may ask about some of this Tuesday since they won't need to grandstand in front of cameras. Or perhaps they know they won't get any answers, even in closed session, and they are angling for something else.  If that's the case then Graham knows he won't get answers but also knows the administration can't go public to refute the issue, so he might be looking for some kind of domestic goody in exchange for dropping the hold. 

Brennan and the Secret Senate Report

A common theme during this hearing was echoed by Democrats referring to an SSCI report (their committee), which apparently undermines the Zero Dark Thirty notion that EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques, known by Obama, Holder and others as torture).  They kept asking Brennan his thoughts about it--he said he'd only read the executive summary and not the entire 6000 page report, and that he would get back to them as CIA Director with Langley's response.

In other words, he refused to take a position that 1) waterboarding was torture and 2) the EITs had no effect on anything.  The problem is--the viewers had no idea what the dickens they were talking about since the report has not been issued to the public, even in redacted form.  Enter Saxby Chambliss.  He was the first Republican to shoot a hole in this report in this back-and-forth..

Brennan maintained his ambiguous response, saying his previous beliefs might evolve with the Senate's report (odd, because he was there), but the most effective question was when Chambliss asked if he agreed with outgoing DoD Secretary Panetta, who just recently admitted (again) that EITs had been part of the chain of events leading to UBL as indicated by Katherine Bigelow in her interviews about ZDT.

Chambliss explained that he's not happy with the Democratic-led SSCI report's conclusions and even inferred that Brennan himself might not have been so happy with them either despite his tap dance in the hearing.  He pointed out again that the report contradicts Brennan's own views expressed in 2007 when he was in the agency.  In other words, the report sounds like a political whitewash designed for politics--probably in advance of the 2014 mid-terms so they can again use Bush to sway an electorate.  But that would mean Brennan and others were lying in the past, which would mean the Senate is on the verge of confirming a lying Bush stooge, unless they believe he was easily swayed or clueless, which should be grounds for not confirming him.   So which is it?  

No doubt this will become bigger news when the Democrats decide it's time to make it news. Senator Chambliss, with a twinkle in his eye, reminded Brennan to be honest if indeed the CIA review he promised happens to disagree with the Senate report's majority partisan conclusion.  We'll see if Mr. Brennan can maintain his model citizenship on the matter.

Droning on with Brennan

Here's DiFi asking Brennan about Anwar al-Awlaqi, pointing out that he wasn't exactly a model citizen..

That he was a bad guy is largely indisputable, but it's not the point.  The point is having the executive determining who the model citizens are and who belongs on the kill list, with only marginal oversight from the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to keep them honest.   Cue the Machiavelli.   Someone should have asked whether a president Palin would be trusted to make those lists.

Errata-- notice DiFi asked about the underwear bomber, Hasan and Shazad.  Once again they ignored Abdulhakim, the Memphis jihadist who shot two Army recruiters in Little Rock and killed one.  He also spent time in Yemen and swore oath to AQ, yet the US Govt allowed the State of Arkansas to try him on capital murder charges instead of federal terrorism charges.   Too bad Brennan didn't have to answer that question, but he would have certainly had a complex one.

Another errata-- notice also how tight-lipped Brennan was about Awlaqi's terrorist ties.  Could it be due to some connection to this dude?   After all, what hadn't been reported in the press about him?    

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Finding Nemo

Blizzardmagedonpocalyse is finally swirling out to sea, leaving a lot of snow and power outages in its wake and unfortunately some loss of life, which the state-issued threats were apparently designed to prevent...
Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island ahead of the storm ordered motorists to stay off the streets under threat of imprisonment and fines -- up to a year in jail and $500 in Rhode Island.
And the state handling and media reportage is certainly a part of this story.  In retrospect, were the severe threats about driving necessary or would strongly worded cautions not have accomplished the same thing?  One year in jail for venturing out during a storm, really?  Free citizens should not be subjected to such draconian warnings--they should deduce as much through common sense and not be treated like children.  Besides, the roads were going to be near impossible to traverse anyway.

Regardless, the storm was indeed a monster.  But despite the early hype about it being record-breaking in Boston, the President's Day storm of 2003 (and it's 27.5 inches), and the Blizzard of 78 (and it's 27.1 inches) began the day with their top spots still secure in Beantown weather record books..
But Connecticut saw the most accumulation with up to 38 inches in cities like Milford, while the Massachusetts cities of Worcester and Boston received 27 and 21 inches, respectively, with winds howling up to 75 mph.
The winds did howl, or rather gust to hurricane force in some areas, but not inland at places like Worcester, it was mainly along the shoreline communities, not quite fulfilling the exaggerated predictions. The weather sensor at Boston Logan airport reported a wind gust to 76 mph and another to 98 mph overnight but those are not confirmed--the one to 98 was almost surely an equipment malfunction unless one of the Kennedy clan got control and tweaked the reading.  But it was certainly blizzardy, no doubt.   

All in all a big, bad Nor'easter, bigger than most, but not entirely unusual in the northeast during winter....
Since 1969, accounting for measured snowfalls in communities within the Route 128 belt and not just Boston proper, we've had 10 storms that have eclipsed 20 inches.
More than one per decade, in other words. 

Looking back, the storm was well predicted by the weather people and the media did what they do.  Looking forward, it will be interesting to see whether it becomes a political football in the days, weeks and months ahead. 

Brennan Hearing, Investigation Update

In a final clip here's Dan Coats grilling Brennan over the Yemen bomb plot revelation that led to a formal investigation not many remember and few are keeping up with because there are no blond spies involved..

In a nutshell, somebody in the US Govt leaked a story to AP about a week before the UBL takedown anniversary about a foiled bomb plot, which looked good for Obama.  In the meantime the administration came out and told media there were no credible threats on the anniversary.   That prompted the AP to go forward with their story, which made the administration suddenly look bad because they had said there were no threats.

In effect the White House sent Brennan out to calm the masses and reassure the press that hey, we've got 'inside control' so there was never a threat, so we didn't lie!   But as Coats points out, in doing so Brennan may have telegraphed that indeed there WAS a mole on the inside.  Eventually the mole, being run by the UK and Saudi Arabia, was determined to be burned and they removed him, which took away our inside man.  Brennan vigorously denied he did anything wrong, but said the FBI was still investigating (which has been a frequent refrain of late--surely the investigation at large will be completed by December 2016).  It certainly seems possible that the WH was more concerned about damage control over their earlier assessment of threats than they were about the inside man.    

Brennan Hearing.. Return to Prague

Levin used the final minute or so of his time to dust off an old file--Atta in Prague.   He claims the CIA sent a cable about the situation (evidently at that time), with information coming from Czech intelligence, which the CIA has released to the committee but in almost completely redacted form.  Here's the clip:

Maybe Levin is right--maybe Cheney leaned on Vaclav Havel and got him to fabricate a report about Atta meeting with Iraqi Intelligence agent al-Ani, who was stationed there, in order to support the war.  Maybe the redacted document will show what they really suspect--some tie between Cheney and oil, etc.  Yet for some reason Colin Powell did not bring up Atta in Prague as a basis for the invasion.  The FBI never could confirm his whereabouts on the day in question.  And who knows, maybe there's something in that redaction that Levin would find inconvenient.  We'll know for sure if it never comes up again.  

Friday, February 08, 2013

Brennan Hearing..Torture

More clips from the Brennan hearing.  Senator Carl Levin won't give up on sending Cheney and Bush off to the World Court.  His focus during questioning was to get Brennan to admit that waterboarding is torture (something Eric Holder and his boss have no trouble admitting), which he simply cannot...

Brennan is on record as saying the enhanced interrogation was 'valuable' back when he was a CIA exec during the Bush administration.  But in a rather bizarre turnaround he now says he's evolving on his earlier assessment based on a report from Levin's Senate committee on what was actually learned by EIT.  And this coming from a guy WHO WAS THERE!   Smells like something. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Where is the HIG?

Remember?  HIG- "High Value Interrogation Group"?   That was the structure the president set up back in 2009 to interrogate captured prisoners in the War on Terror.  Apparently, in the climate of the recently released judge-jury-executioner white paper on drone strikes nobody is even bothering to ask about capturing terrorists anymore much less how they will be interrogated.  Which suggests the HIG was simply something set up to fool people.  Maybe it's something they can ask Brennan about in his hearing.         

MORE  2/7/13

Here's Saxby Chambliss asking nominee Brennan about the number of HVTs the US has captured during Brennan's time with the Obama administration.  Pay particular attention to the second question, asking him to specify US captures, and the answer, which was to say that he would be happy to get the Senator information on how many were captured with US intelligence, which could mean captured by foreign governments, which means he wasn't answering the question.

But Chambliss answered for him.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Tax Changes.. to what?

Both the NYT and WaPo led off their afternoon web editions with the story about Obama offering a plan to avert the sequestration cliff.  

Here's the Times:
President Obama on Tuesday called on lawmakers to quickly pass a new package of limited spending cuts and tax changes that can head off the automatic, across-the-board reductions set to begin March 1.
Here's the WaPo:
President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to pass a small package of spending cuts and tax changes to delay the start next month of deep reductions in domestic and defense spending that could deliver a fresh blow to a fragile economic recovery.
Only in the hallowed halls of the nation's two top newspapers are tax increases "tax changes".  Neither mentioned the phrase 'tax increase' until quoting John Boehner, who announced today that the House has already sent two measures up to die at the hands of Dirty Harry, thank you very much.  

Surprised?  Shucks. The Times isn't even headlining Isikoff's big leak of the judge-jury-and-executioner white paper legalizing extra-judicial drone killings. One would think their reporters might want another crack at a Pulitzer after uncovering all the secret Bush-era anti-terrorist programs.   But Times change.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

CNN's Erin Burnett- Skeet Birther?

With the photo release of Obama shooting at a clay target yesterday the White House and their faithful servants in the reality-based community are attempting to create another set of 'birthers'-- 'skeet birthers'.

Do they not remember who in the press corpse first asked about it during the White House daily briefing?  Yes, it was that radical nutball Jessica Yellin of CNN, whose report showed up on a skeptical segment of Erin Burnett's show:

That was followed by the WaPo's Glenn Kessler in his 'fact-checker' column, to which he labeled it "undetermined".   The Times followed up yesterday by informing readers that the New Republic's new owner is Chris Hughes, a former Obama aide.  They asked the original question.

It's completely predictable that administration staff would try to turn this into a new birtherism--they certainly need the distraction in their hip pocket as the economy teeters, Menendez is investigated, the Middle East rages while the gun control mandate appears to be waning.   And there will be a contingent of those who don't believe

The interesting thing to watch is how the mainstreamers cover this going forward.  Notice how CNN followed up yesterday with this report, which tried to pretend Erin Burnett wasn't right there alongside Marsha Blackburn in questioning the notion.  Recall that the initial stories coming out about the TNR interview were gushing about Obama's comments about hunters, ie, he's not a loony liberal gun-hating commie pinko fag who wants to disarm tough guys with scary assault weapons.  He's just a regular guy who wants to ban some guns not used for hunting, skeet, and photo-ops. Tomorrow he will be using Minneapolis as a photo-op for his gun control 'package' so let's see where things lead.  One can guess.  

GAGGLING  2/4/13

Press Sec Carney had a gaggle aboard the aircraft heading to the Minneapolis gun control photo op (starring Al Franken) and of course, skeet shooting came up:
Q Actually I have one more -- on skeet shooting. Why did the White House --
MR. CARNEY: I was wondering. (Laughter.)
Q Why did the White House decide to release the skeet shooting photo two days before this trip, particularly when the press corps had requested any photos of skeet shooting days earlier? And will you now release a list of friends or family or guests with whom the President has skeet shot, since you do that with golf partners? Thank you.
MR. CARNEY: Let me say this. I thought the question was going to be, why did we wait five days. The fact is the President was asked a question -- did not volunteer, but was asked a question -- about whether or not he had ever shot a weapon. He answered with the truth, which is that he has enjoyed shooting competitively with friends at Camp David on multiple occasions.
I think it's fair to say that we believed that would have been answer enough. And when I said from the podium that as a rule we don’t treat his private time at Camp David with friends and family as matters for public consumption, that's the truth, as you know. But there were persistent questions about this, so we decided to release a photo of the President shooting at Camp David. The timing of that I think is explained by what I just said.
Bold to point out that nobody should challenge anything the president says, ever.   That's what this entire thing was about, trust in the assertions of a president currently jetting around trying to get gun bans through Congress and threatening that if they won't act, he will.   Yes, this is all about isolating and freezing then ridiculing the Tea Party, not guns. 

But such is what passes for transparently answering questions these days. The reporter's first question about timing was adroitly dodged.  Another about his guest list of fellow competitors was also discarded.  Might Harry Reid be on that guest list?  Another pertinent question was why White House aides were Tweeting about 'skeet birthers' right after the pic was released when it was CNN who asked the first question. Finally is there any video? After all, there was video of JFK from 50 years ago.

Saturday, February 02, 2013


Here's the most transparent administration's latest press briefing, as of post time, which was not uploaded to their website until after the evening news last night:

Private?  Does one have to sign up for their press briefing now?  Surely they will have this glitch fixed soon. It's not like McCain is running things. 

Speaking of press briefing weirdness, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had a somewhat weird exchange yesterday with a reporter who asked about her department's interaction with Senator Menendez over issues in the Dominican (that video was not private). If you're interested in the footage it's on their web site, daily press briefing. The weirdness begins immediately after the reporter says "Menendez".
MS. NULAND: Elise, yeah.
QUESTION: It’s about Senator Menendez.
MS. NULAND: Nice necklace.
QUESTION: Thank you. There were some reports this morning, particularly in The New York Times, that Senator Menendez was reaching out to the State Department on behalf of this doctor in question, Dr. Melgen, for this ports contract. And I’m wondering –
MS. NULAND: What country are we in?
QUESTION: Dominican.
QUESTION: Dominican.
MS. NULAND: Right. Okay.
QUESTION: That Senator Menendez reached out to the State Department to help this – on the behalf of this doctor that had this ports contract in the Dominican. And I’m wondering if you have any information that he was working on behalf of this contract.
MS. NULAND: I’m going to take that one, Elise, and see what we have.
The reporter in question was CNN's Elise Labott. Not saying the exchange was out of orbit only that she seemed to be trying to trip her train of thought by injecting the compliment then asking what country, etc.  It looks weirder on the video.  State spokeslady Nuland has been a bit flip with certain reporters in the past. She has also been on the other side. To be fair, contrary to Breitbart's headline she was not objecting to Fox reporters in the pool, simply their tactic of sending different ones, which perhaps she feels is an effort to confuse her.  It probably is.  But then again, she's admitted to being dumb.

By the way the tactics aren't limited to the press room--behind the scenes communications with the networks occur and occasionally get leaked to the delight of the usual suspects, unless of course they stray too far out of line.     

Friday, February 01, 2013

Turkish Embassy Attack

The attack on our embassy is troubling...and not only because it was an attack...
According to Reuters, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the bomber was a member of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a far-left group designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. There was, however, no claim of responsibility.
..but because we have leftist/Marxist groups now using suicide bombers like AQ.  If that sounds similar to the old Arab-Marxist terror groups 20+ years ago like the ANO (which was basically Marxist in name only) then you're probably over 45.  Press reports are making it sound like these DHKP/C guys--who also have a long history--aren't Islamic; perhaps they are only Muslims who are Marxists.  Or maybe there's no great difference

Reports are also saying they do contract work for Syria and Iran so they could be cat's paws, but it sounds a little too convenient to peg this on a group who hasn't taken responsibility yet without any DNA testing or an autopsy.  AQIM and others just recently threatened more attacks.

MORE  2/2/13

From the Times:
“I’m rarely stumped on these things, but I am stumped,” said Bruce Hoffman, a specialist in terrorism at Georgetown University in Washington. He explained that Islamic terrorism would seem far more likely, and the swift manner in which the Turks said they had solved the case raised skepticism. “When a terrorist crime is solved within 24 hours it is suspicious,” he said.
Yes.  Still like the cat's paw explanation until something else shows up.

SHOWS UP?  2/2/13

CNN has a piece on the suspected leftist radical bomber, Sanli, which includes this:
Ozertem told CNN he is unaware of any links between DHKP-C and al Qaeda-type actors, but the possibility can't be entirely dismissed because al Qaeda sympathizers have become increasingly active in the region. The Turkish National Police assessment of the group says, "American, European and Israeli companies and enterprises are also among the targets of DHKP-C since they are considered by the terrorist organization as assets of global imperialism."
Bin Laden had many things to say about global imperialism that inconveniently mirrored some of the things believed by American leftists.  But it's hard to believe religious zealots could hold their noses enough to get in bed with leftist-Marxist terror groups.  These are the same folks whom we were told could never work with a guy like Saddam Hussein. 

As to the suicide aspect, the story says this guy was released from a Turkish prison in 2002 for a 'neurological disorder' and that another recent bomber was suffering from cancer. That might explain it.

Laying Blame

Let's take a trip back into time with Doc Brown and look at what the New York Times wrote in October 2004 about the 'jobless' rate, formerly known as the unemployment rate, with key words highlighted for effect...
It's official. President Bush will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to face re-election with fewer people working than when he started. No president may have more than an indirect influence on unemployment, and Mr. Bush had the bad luck to take office in January 2001, just before the economy was about to slide into a recession.
Still, despite the stimulus from three rounds of tax cuts, a spectacular expansion of the federal budget deficit and enormous assistance from the Federal Reserve, which slashed interest rates 13 times, the nation has at least 585,000 fewer jobs now than when Mr. Bush took office.
On Friday, as the Labor Department issued its last update on job creation before the elections, the Bush campaign aggressively defended its record in a barrage of interviews and in a new television advertisement, declaring that the nation has added "nearly two million jobs'' since August 2003. "Nearly two million more people with more security,'' the ad declares. "Nearly two million more reasons why Americans are optimistic about our future.''
But the overall track record is much less sunny. In contrast to previous economic recoveries, including the so-called jobless recovery that helped Bill Clinton defeat Mr. Bush's father in 1992, this economic recovery was nearly two years old before the nation stopped losing jobs. That is far from what the Bush administration predicted when it was pushing Congress to approve its third round of tax cuts in early 2003.
At that time, the White House Council of Economic Advisers predicted that the nation would add 306,000 jobs a month through the end of 2004, an annual pace of more than three million jobs. It forecast that the tax cuts alone would add more than one million new jobs. Economists estimate that the nation needs to add roughly 150,000 jobs a month to keep pace with the growth in the working-age population, and it needs to add many more than that to make up for the ground that has been lost.
But job creation over the last year has barely kept up with current population growth, much less overtaken the job losses from the recession and its aftermath. More troubling, employment growth is once again sputtering. Over the last three months, job creation has averaged below 100,000 a month and has failed even to keep pace with the increased number of workers.
Sounds miserable. By the way, the unemployment rate in November 2004--after the election so as to assuage the Times' paranoia about Bushco tinkering with the numbers--was 5.4 percent. And isn't it funny how they once said that pre-election number was 'always' political; did they remind us of that in October 2012?

Anyway, here's their take on recent news, including a contraction in growth and higher unemployment. No need to post any quotes--it was a reasonably fair analysis of the current gloomy situation with one exception---the article contained not one mention of Barack Obama.  Not one.  The article posted above contained 11 references to Bush.  And that's how media bias works, Charlie Brown.