Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all.   Hope you can spend it with those closest to you.  

Lot's of buzz about Google showing Cesar Chavez on their Easter doodle--Chavez was a devout Catholic and it's doubtful he would have preferred such a thing in his heyday--but his buzz phrase 'Si, se, puede' was Obama's victory slogan and Google is a major Obama supporter, so they made their choice of saviors. 

Speaking of the Catholic church, I'm not of that faith but I'm very much liking their new Pope, Francis..

This kind of subservience and humbling is what Christianity is all about, and what most of us fall short of in our daily lives.  Pomp and ceremony might make followers feel warm and fuzzy in its tradition--and tradition is fine--but it does nothing to move the faith forward or make people understand it.  Martin Luther left the church of Rome for this very reason.  At the same time such things can be dangerous in this world, so hoping for the best.   But then again, we all have a destination.   

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ten Years After

MSNBC is still yelling from their local rooftops trying to sell David Corn's (the father of Plame-gate) "Hubris, or how Bushitler hornswoggled Hillary and other Democrats into taking out a guy they had been demonizing for eight years straight" (or thereabouts).  In other words, why aren't Bush and Cheney in some international gulag yet.  

Meanwhile squishy beltway RINOs are still blaming the failure of Bushitler to quietly take out Iraq with no casualties on the current media demise of the GOP without explaining how the Tea Party revolution occurred in 2010 or why so many state governors are Republicans, or why John Boehner is the only thing standing between the USA and the Marxist pitchforks.

So ten years after the mother of all battles lurched back into a hot war nothing much has changed, except conventional wisdom, which is that Iraq was the worst foreign policy mistake ever in the history of the United States, including Vietnam where over 50,000 men died basically for nothing.  

But ten years later the puzzling question of why Bush and his inner circle never provided more evidence to back their incursion into Iraq does remain unanswered.  When asked, Bush, Condi Rice, Rove, Cheney and the others usually reply with steely resolve--they would do it again.  The world is safer.  So what do they know and why can't they say anything?  Nobody really believes the world is safer right now with Saddam gone because few believe he was even a threat.   But they do. 

So is the truth so steeped in international diplomatic minefields, such as maintaining relations with Russia and China and some secret roles they may have had, or even presumably trusting European allies, that any kind of 'brutal honesty' would cause more harm than winning some kind of domestic political urinating contest?  Or are they all just covering their butts?

Back in 2001 president Bush stood before America and declared an 'Axis of Evil' that was menacing the planet--Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.  He didn't include al Qaeda in that mix per se, but terrorist groups are understood to be useful cats paws for the evildoers.  Now ten years later the Iraqi regime is gone, Iran is still working towards a nuke while their client state Syria teeters on the brink, held up by Russia (the same client state who worked with North Korea to build a clandestine nuclear facility) while North Korea threatens to blow up Seoul, San Francisco, Okinawa, Honolulu and our equipment remaining on the Moon.   Where was Bush wrong, exactly?

Anyway, it's traditionally time for some music.  The title gives it away... to the late guitarist Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, shown in all their hippie glory.  But their socialist-sounding frustrations can cross over...

"Tax the rich, feed the poor, til there are no rich no more".  I always took that as a slap at socialism as in Thatcher's comment that one day you run out of rich people to tax.  But who knows, maybe it was just a general frustration that it's hard to really change anything in this mean ole world. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Newtown: Give the Media Another Award

Is there any news story in modern history that has been as hacked up by the press as the Sandy Hook school shooting?  Not even the Trayon Martin case, although some elements of that one come close, oddly also involving a gun.

Within the past 24 hours the Connecticut State Police has released details about the case, which amazingly just happen to coincide with Obama's media speechifying on gun control (the timing is questionable, but it's hard to say which side was orchestrating things--probably Obama's, knowing the release was coming).

Many stories today characterized the guns found in the home as an 'arsenal'.  Our local paper calls it a 'huge weapons cache".  These nitwits just can't help themselves.  Joe Biden's gun collection would probably qualify.  Or Harry Reid's.  When someone says arsenal people tend to think of David Koresh's compound or the local National Guard depot.   

And no, the NRA isn't denying any evidence.  Lanza was not a member.  Having an NRA 'certificate' doesn't mean one is a dues-paying member. Even if he was, so what?  Unless they've recently put out guides on how to mass murder school children it's irrelevant and the worse kind of guilt by association.

It's almost as if America is in the process of being taken over by a band of ignorant, drooling commies.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gitmo Update--Torture!

Wow, why isn't this a front-page headline
Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay say they are being denied access to drinking water as a hunger strike grinds on and apparently grows at the U.S. base in Cuba. An emergency court filing based on complaints from a Yemeni prisoner says guards have refused to provide bottled water to hunger strikers and told the men to drink from taps in their cells. The motion filed in Washington also alleges that the temperatures in the prison have been kept at "extremely frigid" temperatures.
As of this post none of the mainstream news sites, including Fox, were heralding the story. Or this one:
President Barack Obama famously promised in early 2009 to close the US military's detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within 12 months. But new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is instead considering a proposal from his top commanders to spend $195.7 million renovating it and erecting a new prison building.
Bold added because, damn.   And as usual, we are shocked, shocked.

Investigation Update

Remember this?  Supposedly it's being investigated by the CIA as well.  The news media seems fairly uninterested.  Assuming they remember.  Oh well, it didn't affect the election.

So, how does a liberal politician make a sticky thing go away in our 24/7 media cycle?  Announce an 'investigation'--sometimes with a 'blue ribbon' panel--making sure to explain that investigations take time.  They are doing the same with possible chemical attacks in Syria (red line action in the balance) and the Benghazi affair (shhh).

In only a few weeks the people will forget as long as the media lets them forget. Now, if there's a Republican and a blond spy involved, forget it--saturation coverage for years and maybe a movie. But some courageous Arab person going out on a limb for the UK, ie, the US?   Not so much.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Back from the 90s

The 90s were an interesting time.  Great economy, peace in our time.  Except for AQ and the menace overseas..

Now MSNBC is running a 10 year anniversary Bush lied special.  So if Bush lied wasn't Bill Clinton lying back then?   Does Bush lying prove that Bubba was really wagging the dog after all to avert attention away from Monicagate?   He had most of the same intel, after all.  When will MSNBC ask Bill Clinton these important questions?  

Meanwhile the same impeached president once felt strong enough about gay marriage to sign the Defense of Marriage Act.  Now he has evolved.  The same guy said 'the era of big government is over'.  The era of big government is back--what does he think about it?    

And Hillary. Once opposed to gay matrimony, now all warm and fuzzy smiley pants suity over it.  Once an Iraq hawk and now... well, wait, she's never really come down off that position, despite it costing her the election, which is weird.   Either she truly believed or she's covering her husband's legacy.  Maybe she'll have to climb off that mountain before 2016.    

Speaking of Obama, he was smart on Iraq.  He didn't call Bush a liar, he just said it was a 'dumb war'.  Triangulation, a Clinton trait!  He knew there were too many of his fellow compatriots who called Saddam a menace or voted for the war that calling Bush a liar might leave them in the same box, which would be counter-productive.  It worked. 

In other words, any way the wind blows. But too few in the country care enough to remember. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Aviation Update

Responding to Jazz Shaw on Hot Air regards tower closings..
Assume there is some sort of public outcry this year after a couple of regional jets clip wings on the runways of some municipal airports. At that point, Washington gets the excuse they need to staff at least some of the towers back up. Will they go back to the private contractors, or will the unions move in with their “much more efficient” practices?
Wizened insight. But God forbid there is more than a wing clip. Our aviation safety record for commercial airlines is excellent--never better--but imagine if something tragic happens, even away from a small tower, during the sequester.  Just think about who might get the blame.  There was a reason some Republicans tried to pass a measure stopping these closures and it's called being on the record

Meanwhile a poll of pilots finds that closing all these towers might not be the worst thing in the world. Perhaps the FAA, in their most private moments, feels the same?  Perhaps this is about not letting a crisis go to waste?  That would be 180 degrees of what Shaw suggests, but management doesn't always want the same thing the union does.   As he says, we shall see.


Here's a nice story regarding the 'barefoot bandit'.   America is the land of second chances. 


If the TSA starts allowing Swiss Army knives back on airplanes wonder if they will allow this one?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Iraq and Syria

The 10 year anniversary of the attack of Iraq is upon us and the anti-Bush stories are flowing.   The more powerful come from ex-soldiers who feel Bush lied.  Most of the mainstream articles just insinuate Bush lied, mainly about the stockpiles of WMDs.  

Obama has never said Bush lied, only that he was dumb.  The president ended the war in Iraq, despite the war continuing on without us.   A war is going on in Syria as well, completely apart from Bush's evil handiwork, and lo and behold WMDs are a part of that war, too.

Today Obama reiterated his 'red line' on those WMDs in front of the Israeli people: if Assad uses them, he should expect consequences.  While Iraq war anniversary stories lament the estimated 100,000 people who died in Iraq--blamed on the presence of US troops--70,000 are now estimated dead in Syria without a trace of the United States. Both wars were/are presumably for the purposes of regime change and a chance at self-governance.

Meanwhile Saddam had already used WMDs and had a ten year history of fleecing international bodies and working with America-hating terrorists while attacking his neighbors.   Wait though, Assad's father also used WMDs, back in the early 80s with perhaps 30,000 being killed.  Son now works with Iran, another sponsor of terror.  If Bashar uses chemicals (these didn't come from Rummy) as Saddam did; and Obama steps in with our military to stop it, how is that much different than our meddling in Iraq?

Any US involvement would be complicated by their relationship with Iran and Hizballah, which could produce a regional conflagration.  Additionally, if Assad were to use his stuff it would suggest rank desperation, meaning any American troops inserted would be in jeopardy of future WMD attacks.

But the line is drawn--we're committed.   America cannot go back on the line.  Doing so would greatly weaken us on the world stage and embolden the tinpots.  So if an attack is confirmed something has to happen. Chances are it might be dumb as compared to Iraq.   But if small chemical attacks happen, as presumed the other day, and the politicos manage to keep them under the rug--and we don't do anything--the death toll will continue to rise while the axis between Syria, Iran and Russia will strengthen over time.   That could also be considered dumb.

Of course, the least dumbest route might be for Obama to completely hide our clandestine role in arming the Syrian rebels, with help of the incorrigible media, until right before Assad is pulled out in the street and beaten to death, whence he could jump in and take credit.  We'll see. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Tale of Two Hacks

The now notorious hacker "Guccifer" is at work again, this time targeting former Clinton insider Sidney Blumenthal.  The Smoking Gun reported it last night..
Most of the e-mail recipients were sent four separate memos that were e-mailed to Clinton by Blumenthal during the past five months. Each memo dealt with assorted developments in Libya, including the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. One memo marked “Confidential” was sent to Clinton on September 12.
So far there has been no leak of the details within the mainstream press, despite the subject matter being Benghazi.  In today's State Dept press briefing the Fox News reporter was the only one to ask about the leak and he was summarily flipped off by the spokeswoman. Jay Carney at the White House was equally dismissive. 

And perhaps that's appropriate.  But contrast this story to the one about Bush family emails being hacked by Guccifer, which was covered widely by the mainstream media. We found out the former president is a pretty good dog painter. 

Granted, the debate about ethics is certainly valid but recent practice has been to publish if the leaks get loose, aka, Wikileaks.  Now that the hacker has crossed party lines to attack another political family (one of whom might run for president in 2016) it will be interesting to see whether the press suddenly finds their inner ethics.

Maybe they'll publish something if any bombshells exist.  But odds are greater the public will hear more about the investigation into leaks of State Secrets about Yemen and Iran than anything negative about Hillary.  After all, the most awesome Secretary of State ever just came out in favor of gay marriage.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


The recent capture of Suleiman Abu Ghaith should, at least theoretically, bring to light the history of Iran keeping certain key AQ members under 'house arrest' since 9/11.  But why, some people may ask, would they do it?  After all they are Shia, AQ is Sunni. 

While the answer may be obvious to the Jessica Chastain type characters in the CIA--perhaps as leverage to keep the west from attacking and bide time for the nuclear program, the bigger question may be whether Iran had any foreknowledge of 9/11 (as a federal judge in 2011 ruled in a civil trial).  Such a revelation, if true, is certainly not something that would make headlines at the moment for obvious reasons, nevertheless it might explain a lot about the War on Terror in general.

Poking around on this subject invariably unearths the name Thirwat Shehata.  A lawyer and senior member of Zawahiri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad (his resume is deep), he was/is among the house arrestees in Iran.  He was also one of the senior members of EIJ that was believed to be operating in Iraq before the invasion in 2002-03, as mentioned by Tenet and Cheney (as casus belli for the attack).  His presence there is disputed, but one thing is sure, he's still around and hasn't been caught and is known as a right-hand man to Zawahiri.

But there's more than just safe harbor in Mullah-ville.  Shehata married the sister of Mahmoud Jaballah, who operated in Canada until he was picked up after 9/11 and placed in their "Gitmo North' without charges.  A judge released him and fellow detainee Mohammed Mahjoub to 'house arrest' in 2007 although the Canadian CIA (CSIS) has been closely monitoring them since.  Mahjoub was connected to "Vanguards of Conquest" (possibly the second in command) and was associated with Essam Marzouk, also a VoC member.  The Vanguards were associated with Zawahiri and Mohammed Atef, who was working on a project when he was droned in 2001. Abu Ghaith threatened America with millions of deaths via WMDs in 2001.  So yes, surely the FBI was very interested in what he might know.   

This blog did a piece on the Canadian connection back in 2008, tying them to suspected AQ figures Mohammed Loay Bayazid, one of the founding members of AQ, and Muburak al-Duri, an Iraqi whom the 9/11 Commission called a WMD procurement person for bin Laden.  Despite all kinds of circumstantial evidence placing these two in connection with AQ or EIJ members, neither have ever been arrested.   Both deny any involvement with terrorism, so maybe the FBI believes them, or maybe there's an inconvenience factor in play. 

At any rate, those not as smart as the Jessica Chastain character might see the dots between AQ, Iraq, Iran and WMD--and even the new Muslim Brotherhood ascension in Egypt--and try to connect them.  Some might even see the "death to America, death to Israel" scribbled in the anthrax letters after 9/11 as the calling card it was intended to portray, ie, don't mess with us, we have sleepers.  Which would line up with keeping AQ figures in-country under house arrest.  Sort of like keeping UBL locked up in a house in a Pakistani military garrison town.  Insurance.  And what about Benghazi?  Any loose connections?  

Or maybe it's all too convenient and Halliburton and friends are still the real enemy.   As usual, mystery and confusion reigns. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Side Tracks

Charlie Daniels with some advice..

Wait, What?

Here's Bill Maher absolutely blowing Rachel Maddow's mind...


Notice the cheers when she laid out the stock class envy boilerplate and the the lack of when he spoke. Funny thing is, he's a liberal comedian, not some 'corporate jet owner' or a 'well-connected Wall St banker', the normal caricatures of the rich used by the Maddows and Obamas of the world.

Matter of fact, more comments like that from people like Maher might just blow a hole through the socialist double-speak currently being employed to 'change' America. So thank you, Bill Maher.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Attention, Deficit

Deficits are not a problem?   My gosh, the president is so discombobulated he is now channeling Dick Cheney!
In 2002, Vice-President Dick Cheney and the Bush administration’s economic team met to discuss a second round of tax cuts, which would follow Bush’s 2001 cuts. At the meeting, “then-Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill pleaded that the government — already running a $158 billion deficit — was careening toward a fiscal crisis.” Allegedly, Cheney replied by saying that “deficits don’t matter.” Six years later, the Bush administration’s consistent belief that deficits don’t matter has increased the national debt to over $10 trillion. This is the highest dollar amount ever, and pushes the debt to 69% of the gross domestic product, which is the highest percentage since 1955.
Back in the good ole days Dick Cheney, Shrub and their massive federal debt was irresponsible and even unpatriotic.  President Transparent was going to take it on, line by line..

In today's White House briefing Jay Carney had a chart showing how the deficit as a percent of GDP has been coming down since the record deficit set by Obama in 2009, that was quite the high benchmark that makes all subsequent deficits look small.  Here's the screen grab:

One reporter asked him why they were satisfied with deficits at 3 percent of GDP instead of actually balancing the budget as Clinton and Gingrich did in the 90s, to which Carney replied that George HW Bush's recession wasn't near as massive and crippling as his son's, so we should all be satisfied with annual deficits and a spiraling funny money-like national debt as far as the eye can see.  Well, he actually didn't put it quite that way. No reporter followed up.

And while the tour imbroglio made some news (of course the WH canceled them) the better questions came from both ABC News and NPR, who for a few seconds almost harassed Carney about how the executive office of the White House, ie, the president, will be affected by the sequester.  In other words, since the Secret Service has to cut back covering tours, will his golf games (which require Secret Service coverage) or his weekly campaign-like jaunts on AF1 (which require SS as well) be impacted as well or will they go forward uninterrupted? Carney's answer, as near as anyone on planet Earth can tell, was that the president is the president, and go consult the OMB. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Al Qaeda in Iran

With the capture and presumed interrogation of Abu Ghaith some interesting questions are cropping up on Iran's relationship with AQ.

Before going any further let's not pretend this is any kind of revelation--none other than the US Treasury Department has stated that Iran was helping our mortal enemy AQ and the 9/11 Commission determined that some of the hijackers had passed through their territory before Bushitler was even on the scene to blame Iraq.  Western media has been reporting about AQ in Iran for years.

And good grief, a federal judge even ruled that Iran was complicit in the 9/11 attacks themselves based on testimony from several defected Iranians who were presumed to have worked for Iranian intelligence after a civil trial in 2011:
In presenting evidence gathered by the attorneys and their outside investigator, Timothy Fleming revealed tantalizing details of still-sealed videotaped depositions provided by three defectors from Iranian intelligence organizations.
One of those defectors was “physically present” when al-Qaida’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, came to Iran in May 2001 for four days of intense closed-door meetings with the top leadership in Iran to discuss the impending attacks. Another took part in writing up the debriefing reports of Iran’s al-Qaida liaison, Imad Mugniyeh, once he returned to Iran from Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.
The most dramatic moment of the hearing came when Fleming unveiled the identity of a third defector and described in detail the information he had provided. The defector, Abdolghassem Mesbahi, had been a confidant of Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder, and headed up European operations for the new regime’s fledging intelligence service in the early 1980s. Then, Mesbahi actively took part in developing a set of terrorist contingency plans, called “Shaitan der atash” — meaning “Satan in the Flames,” or “Satan on Fire” — to be used against the United States.
“This contingency plan for unconventional or asymmetrical warfare against the United States was the origin of subsequent terror attacks against the United States, up to and including the terrorist attacks of 9/11.” Fleming said. “Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda joined the Iranian operational planning in the early to mid-1990s.”
How did that not become a huge story? Keep in mind Zawahiri also reportedly traveled to Iraq to visit members of the Saddam regime in 1998.  What the Yahoo story didn't report was an allegation that Mohammad Atta's cell phone was called on 9/11 by an Iranian pilot instructor who had worked in Florida. Since that suggests Iran might have had an "operational relationship" with AQ it proves a bit inconvenient.

Whether any of this will get new traction is unknown, but Peter Bergen, writing for CNN, today provided some interesting unknown nuggests, such as this one:
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence learned that some al Qaeda operatives were living in the northern Iranian town of Chalus, on the Caspian Sea. In 2002 a U.S. Navy SEAL operation into Chalus was planned and then rehearsed somewhere along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Richard Myers, called off the assault because the information about where precisely the al Qaeda members were living in Chalus was not clear.
Of course Bergen finds "irony" because at the time the Bush warmongers were still toeing Clinton's line about WMDs in Iraq and warning that bin Laden might Boogie to Baghdad and so forth. In other words, they didn't want to publicize the possibility of AQ members being in Iran when they were making the case they were working with Iraq.  But Bergen is basically sympathetic to the lefty version of GWoT theory.

He should acknowledge that Saddam himself was holding various terrorists who had killed Americans and had himself used WMDs before, while also trying to assassinate an ex-president.   Moreover, he should acknowledge it's possible that Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen and others were all in some form of loose cahoots against the United States leading up to 9/11, perhaps refreshing his memory on Hasan Turabi and his enemy of my enemy crusade back in the 90s, which appears to be corroborated by the testimony of the Iranians posted above and the fact we now know Tehran was hosting AQ members.

At any rate, it's nice to see the HIG group finally got some work (hopefully they won't be prone to furlough in case anyone else pops out of Iran in the next few months).   And, as Bergen says Abu Ghaith is more a rabel rouser than terrorist, so perhaps he did provide some useful information about the relationship between the Mullahs and AQ.   Obviously western intelligence would like to know what kind of sleeper arrangement they may have with Iran should Israel or someone else launch an attack on their nuke facilities, or in the least to better understand the Syrian conflict.   But even if something is learned the bigger question might be whether they are ready to do anything about it yet. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

Sky is Falling Update

One study, two stories: 

The New York Times:
Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years
We are seeing temperatures increase at a rate not seen in at least 11,300 years, researchers say.
Nice contrast. Both are referring to the same study.

In another diversion, CNN's story blames the warming on human-kind but doesn't mention the "Medieval Warm Period" as the Times does:
The cooling was interrupted, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, by a fairly brief spike during the Middle Ages, known as the Medieval Warm Period. (It was then that the Vikings settled Greenland, dying out there when the climate cooled again.)
Yet the Times doesn't explain what caused this interruption in the data over 1000 years ago. CNN doesn't mention this interruption at all but warns that the last time it's been as warm as it's projected to be in 2100 was over 130,000 years ago:
The last time Earth has been as warm as it is projected to be by 2100 was before the last Ice Age started -- over 130,000 years ago. That's too long ago to gather reliable data on, he said.
So, if Earth reaches a projected temperature by the year 2100 it will be as warm as it might have been before the last Ice Age, a period so long ago the data is unreliable.  Meaning it's also unclear what caused the Earth to be so warm back then.  Well it surely wasn't Republicans driving SUVs and building factories, that much is known. But this was perhaps the most starting conclusion from the paper:
Scientists say that if natural factors were still governing the climate, the Northern Hemisphere would probably be destined to freeze over again in several thousand years. “We were on this downward slope, presumably going back toward another ice age,” Dr. Marcott said. Instead, scientists believe the enormous increase in greenhouse gases caused by industrialization will almost certainly prevent that.
In other words, anthropogenic global warming has saved the planet? 

Well, there's no question the temperatures have been warming during the last 120 years.  The Times story mentions that the decade from 1900-1909 was among the 95 percent of coldest decades on record in the last 11,000 years (which is strange because they seem to be glossing over the Little Ice Age from a century previous).  The fact it was so anomalously cold also tends to dramatize the warming that occurred through the 1940s and again between 1980 and the 2000s. 

But since human-kind didn't cause this downward slide it's unlikely human-kind can stop our recent upward spike, even with Chavez-like command socialism or giant windmills from sea to shining sea.  What will occur--and make us forget about global warming--is the new technology that will inevitably come along and make carbon-free non-polluting energy cheap and abundant for the masses like fossil-fuels are now.  

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Yes, But Was He Interrogated?

This story recently hit the wires:
Prosecutors unsealed an indictment against a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden on Thursday that charged him with conspiracy to kill Americans, after U.S. government sources said he was arrested overseas and brought to New York.
Shortly after president Obama entered office he developed the "HIG", or high-value interrogation group, which was supposed to supplant the evil torture regime of George W. Bushitler and Dick Cheneyburton. So was the HIG used with Suleiman?

After all, he was a legacy AQ member and the brother-in-law of AQ's leader. Seems like he should have at least been sent to Bagram, if not GITMO, before reaching a lower Manhattan jail.  Or was he taken somewhere already and they aren't telling us? Like maybe a Navy ship in the Red Sea, perhaps?

According to FBI Director Mueller the HIG has been used 14 times since 2010.  The examples given were terrorists wanna-be's whom nobody knew about until they almost blew something up, like the Underwear bomber and Times Square almost bomber.  As recent congressional testimony and this story from 2012 suggests, there has only been one AQ capture since Obama took office, Warsame, the guy interrogated on the ship.

So is it really possible Holder thinks we should return to the glory days when he was Deputy AG during the 90s and America treated AQ members like bank robbers, followed by 9/11?  Or are they really just doing what Bush did but not telling anyone anymore?   

MORE  3/8/13

The White House is playing coy with the interrogation aspect of Ghaith's capture.  Reporters asked today if it was more important to bring the man to justice or get information, and the spokesman said they are going to get both.  He did not explain whether the interrogation was ongoing, occurred with the HIG people before transfer to New York, or when he was read Miranda rights.  

But let's be clear!   There's nothing wrong with taking terrorists to Article III courts if the case is fairly solid and there is no intelligence to be gleaned from the suspect.  The track record is pretty good.   But they can't have it both ways.  They can't claim to be at war when discussing drone strike protocol then say terrorism is a law enforcement matter when someone is caught.  Let's see them 1) try to explain to the public why an Abu Ghaith walks out the front door of the court a free man because of a technicality, or 2) is acquitted then taken into custody as a enemy combatant and shipped to GITMO.   That's why it's not a law enforcement issue. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

What's that Sulfur Smell?

Ah, our favorite South American tinpot has died.   Who could forget his poignant speech about "the devil" back in 2006?   Surely a few libs were secretly clapping over that one.

Of course his nutcake regime is blaming some American secret program. But hey, Chavez seemed fine in 2009 when he met with our current president for the first time.  And he basically endorsed Obama for reelection.  So it had to be a Cheney death squad hit.    

Anyway, hopefully Sean Penn and Bill Ayers are too torn up about it.  Or Dolores Huerta.  Or Code Pinko. Or the Iranian Mullahs.  Or Hizballah sleepers.   And for gosh sakes let's hope this doesn't spike oil prices.

MORE  3/6/13

When AC messed with Hugo.  That really showed him!   But hey, it does seem there are less CITGO stations around these days.  Just sayin.  

Boogie Back to Baghdad

Boogie to Baghdad.  As the ten-year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war arrives few may remember that refrain from Richard Clarke, discovered in documents presented at the 9/11 Commission hearings regarding Clinton-era targeting of Bin Laden and how, if they missed, he might high-tail it to Iraq.

Which is weird, because everybody knows that Bush screwed up.  Everybody knows there were no WMDs.  Everybody knows that Saddam wasn't working with bin Laden.  Everybody knows it was the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of America. Everybody knows Saddam was no threat to America.  The Dixie Chicks were right

At least the Democrats know.  They know it's the political gift that keeps giving.  The GOP knows it's a loser and it's not worth fighting a loser PR issue, so they've moved on.  Besides, even if there is some evidence to link Saddam with the evils spelled out in the Congressional Resolution that both Hillary and Biden voted for there's not enough concrete proof to crack the cement wall known as popular culture and the media.

Maybe the GOP's moving on strategy is correct--the flagship lefty network's misty-eyed bombshell expose was pretty much a dud.  The issue has been argued to death on the internets for years.  Minds were made up long ago.  But the left won't be giving up, it's just too easy to score the points.  Expect more reminiscing.   

History, though, should not be made from political points.  The president still calls Iraq dumb, but what would have been the likely outcome in the Middle East had we left Saddam in power?  Would an Arab Spring have overwhelmed the region by now, despite the strong sectarian differences between Kurd, Shia, Sunni?  Or would thousands more be dead, killed by Saddam in a similar fashion to the 60,000+ reported to have died at the hands of Bashar Assad?  Those are legitimate questions. 

Questions that still need answers.  For instance, the Iraqi connections to terrorists were real, but how did AQ fit into the puzzle?   Were they cleverly designed cat's paws of an Islamic alliance or an inside force run by Dick Cheney?  Or Bill Clinton?  Were we tricked into doing bin Laden's work for him?  Was it just about oil?   Had we not gone into Iraq would the Taliban have been stopped from fleeing into Pakistan and regrouping?  Who was behind the Taliban anyway, especially in light of the bin Laden lair in Abbottabad? 

Ensconced in the McCloud library is a book called "Both in One Trench", a look at some of the Iraqi regime documents captured after the invasion written by former Iraq Survey Group participant Ray Robison.  The book makes a case that a Pakistani politician/Islamist, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, a Pakistani politician best known for his ties to the original Taliban, met with Saddam.   Rahman also supported Bhutto in the 90s when she was Prime Minister, a bit strange for an Islamist.  A military coup toppled her successor, Nawaz Sharif and brought Pervez Musharraf to power in 1999.  According to Robison it was only a few months later when Rahman purportedly showed up in Baghdad.  This isn't to vouch for Mr. Robison, he seems a little out there sometimes.  But if the document exists, it exists.  What does it mean? 

1999 was a pivotal year.  The US and Britain had bombed Iraq a year earlier and ABC News was tying Saddam to AQ via leaks from intel insiders.  The Taliban were protecting bin Laden/AQ.  The 'planes' (9/11) plot was just about underway and two US embassies had been destroyed in Africa.  The Millennium and Cole plots were in the works, all being planned and blessed from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.   If Rahman indeed made the visit to Iraq what did he want?  What could Saddam--safely in his box--have offered the Pakistani that would be of any value?   It's the same question Joe Plame Wilson should have asked about why the Iraqis sent a delegation to Niger that same year, 1999.  As Hitchens said, they weren't there to discuss the price of goats.

Zawahiri supposedly made a trip to Baghdad in 1998 and his former organization, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, was represented in Baghdad in a meeting before the invasion.  Was any of this stuff ever confirmed?   We know Iraq sent emissaries to Sudan to meet with AQ and later to Afghanistan to meet with the Taliban.  Why did the 9/11 Commission call an Iraqi named Mubarak al-Duri, likely a Sunni Muslim with the same tribal name as one of Saddam's lieutenants, a "WMD procurement" person?  Why was he only a footnote in the report when we went to war over the possibility of Iraq handing WMDs to AQ?    Why was he never picked up, rendered, etc?  Did he renounce WMDs and terrorism?   He supposedly still hates America. 

What about Ahmed Shakir, the Iraqi Kuala Lumpur airport greeter who handled two of the 9/11 terrorists in their summit meeting in 2000?   The left dismisses him by claiming his name was mixed up with someone in the Saddam Fedeyeen, so no problem, but he didn't have to be Fedyeen to be important or connected to the regime.  Was he ever located? Interrogated?  Why did the Iraqis kill Abu Nidal?  What happened to Tahir Habbush, the "Jack of Diamonds" and head of the IIS intelligence service, who is still wanted?   Was he a double-agent or allowed to flee as per Ron Suskind?   What about Abdul Yasin, one of the 1993 WTC bomb mixers, last seen in Iraq? 

Or Abu Ibrahim, a legacy terrorist and bomb-maker emeritus coddled by Saddam and still on most-wanted lists for various crimes, who was in Iraq until a few years ago?    
These questions and many more have never been answered.   There was no official non-partisan commission on Iraq, just a few slanted partisan investigations by Congress on both sides, one new one slated to hit the streets soon at the Democrats' choosing to enact more political damage.  Bush ain't talking, but his brother is talking about running in 2016, along with Hillary.  So the issue may linger. 

Maybe if we knew whether there was any correspondence found in the 'treasure trove' of documents recovered in UBL's mansion between himself and the Maulana Fazlur it would shine some new light on both the gutsy call and the Iraq connection in general.   Or maybe it's dumb to ever expect the truth when so much is at stake.    

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The GOP has even killed Airshows

Craven sons-of-guns!  Those sequester-happy Republicans were not satisfied with starving children, taking away medicine from old people and causing forest fires, now they've taken out the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds. 

Hagel announced this morning that this lone aircraft represents the new Blue Angels..

That is, as long as they can afford the aviation gas.

Seriously, this is getting ridiculous.  Never before have we seen an administration willing to do anything to destroy their opposition in Congress.  People don't seem to grasp it, but this a battle for the future of the country right now, right here.  Forces behind the president want to address the runaway entitlements and size of government by turning us into Europe with its high taxes and regulations.  The Tea Party is trying to draw the line somewhere.  The weak-kneed Repubs are being used as leverage by the Democrats against those Tea Partiers while the media is being counted on to spread the divisive message (which is why they got so mad at Woodward for refusing to toe the line). 

If the House goes blue in 2014 we will become Europe or some new configuration of lite socialism, which will destroy the United States as we know it.  That sounds dramatic or maybe hyperbolic, but the misdirections from the White House press room podium over the past week should lend credence to the seriousness of how bad they want this.   Then again, according to the freedom fighters trying to make that happen the current US is racist, greedy and is killing the planet, so we deserve it.