Sunday, September 29, 2013

They call that Negotiation?

Is Reid about to make a tactical mistake? From the New York Times coverage of the latest episode of theater of the absurd:
The Senate is expected on Monday to dispense of the House bill quickly and then send back to the House a budget bill that Republicans there have already rejected.
“Until they send us a clean bill, we’re going to table whatever else they send us,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Senate Democrat.
In other words, the Senate Democrats are arrogantly telling the elected House majority that they will consider nothing short of an Obama-approved bill.

Outlandish.  As Boehner has said, it doesn't work that way.  The Dems need to go back and study Reagan and Tip O'Neill (back when a minority party leader was seen as noble, speaking truth to power) and understand that the House has a certain amount of power even as a minority and therefore, some negotiation must occur.

Meanwhile, Reid wants Americans to believe that by taking this intransigent attitude, John Boehner is responsible for shutting down the government.  In other words, the Senate Democrats are sitting around today watching football or whatever, not doing their jobs while hoping the clock runs out so they can blame everything on the Tea Party, their goal from day one.  And that could be a huge mistake if the Republicans can get the message across through the baby-bird media.  Which is hopefully at least a 50/50 prospect with all the division and weak spines.

MORE  9/30/13

The GOP indeed did try to use their limited megaphone to call out Reid for being lazy (how about Obama) in not opening the Senate yesterday.  So a shutdown looms.

But that's fine.  House members should school each other on the history of shutdowns.  It's not the end of the world.  Screw the media, they are never going to change.  Caving on the other hand, as in allowing a vote on Reid's clean CR bill, would be the end of the world for the GOP as we know it.

MORE  9/30/13

Looks like the move to conference by Boehner is a dismissal for the night and a shutdown, barring some kind of special rules miracle.  There was no way the conservative caucus was going to let the Speaker vote on a clean CR, thank heaven.

And now, a word from our president..

Did the president ever call Major Nidal Hasan an extremist? Just wondering.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Side Tracks

For the hard-core Marshall Tucker fans..

Reflecting back (I bought this album as it came out) this song is maybe the perfect MTB song. Tucker fans may want to listen to this live version (sound only) which is amazing and makes my point. Why perfect? All elements of their talent and style are on full display in one song. While it has a bluesy, southern riff, which both Toy Caldwell and George McCorkle handle at various times on guitar, it also has a jazz-influenced mid section. George even does some fill-in solos (he rarely ever played lead in the band) during this jazzy part while Toy switches to an awesome steel guitar, the beat handled beautifully by drummer Paul Riddle and bassist Tommy Caldwell. Singer Doug Gray has to cover his entire vocal range to hit the high notes while Jerry Eubanks not only sings back-up with Tommy Caldwell, but also plays both the sax and flute in the same song. It may not be the best known or most favorite Tucker song, but to me it exemplifies the band perfectly.

Sympathy for the Devil

Here's the New York Times describing the historic phone call that healed the sick and cured the planet:
In a hurriedly arranged telephone call, Mr. Obama reached Mr. Rouhani as the Iranian leader was headed to the airport to leave New York after a whirlwind news media and diplomatic blitz.
The two agreed to accelerate talks aimed at defusing the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and afterward expressed optimism at the prospect of a rapprochement that would transform the Middle East.
This isn't rocket science. Obama needs to get his poll numbers back up and salvage the Syria disaster. The call was also beneficial--coming moments before his hastily arranged speech in the press room--as a contrast to the group he is currently refusing to negotiate with, his one true enemy the Tea Party.

Second-term presidents are all about legacy and this one wants to be the socialized medicine, spread-the-wealth, peace in the Middle East president. As for the Iranians, this is about strategy pure and simple.

The Ayatollahs run the country, not the 'presidents', who are mere figureheads chosen to address whatever threat they feel is on the horizon. When Bush the Cowboy was president the Iranians needed an attack dog to counter him, hence Ahmadinejad. Now that a quasi-Marxist has been reelected they feel less threatened so the world gets to see the kinder, gentler Rouhani.  The long-term goals haven't changed. 

These are the same people who arranged for the Khobar Towers to be blown up and might have had some hand in 9/11, while doing their best to disrupt military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Death to America is a normal chant in their ruling body, as was evidenced today upon Rouhani's return.  As Krauthammer and others have said, they are clearly stalling for time to finish their nuke.  As long as official diplomatic talks are proceeding it will be difficult for Israel to attack their centrifuges, especially if Obama is saying they have a right to peaceful nuclear power.

What does the US, the West, and Israel get from these talks?  Diplomacy is designed to provide benefits for both sides.  The Iranians surely get extra time and a de facto guarantee they won't be attacked for awhile.  Unless this is part of the most clever ruse in military history, Obama gets a useful diversion and a short-term poll bump.   But if he really cares about the fate of the region he needs to demand they stop enrichment NOW, before anymore hastily arranged phone calls or meetings occur.  To quote John Kerry--this is not a game.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Theater of the Absurd

Absurd.  That's the only thing that describes it.

We have a president whose administration likens his American political enemies to suicide bombing terrorists, yet is in negotiation with the Taliban to retreat from the country where 9/11 was launched (including allowing Pakistan to release their Number Two leader) and has just now announced a phone call with the 'president' of one of the biggest state sponsors of terror on earth.

And he does it with conviction--it's pretty obvious that he sees the Tea Party as a bigger enemy than Iran or even AQ, who he's actually helping in Syria and helped in Libya.   And what was the leader of the free world's solution to the horrific onslaught at a Jewish-owned mall in Nairobi where Americans were injured?  He will provde "whatever law enforcement support that is necessary".   As if that's working out so well to solve the Benghazi attack.  The same guy hasn't 'dismantled' the terrorists in Syria who ate a man's organs.

But the Republicans are just as disgraceful, withering like deflated clowns amongst the perceived pressure of how a government shutdown might be spun by the baby bird mainstream media, half of whom are waiting for their security clearances to join the administration.  The House is majority GOP, that's leverage.  Use it without fear.  Do what Tip O'Neil would do and go on the offensive--the debt ceiling has to stand for something, so get out there and make the point and don't let the dissembler define you.  Or, do nothing and look like bigger morons.

Glad it's Friday.       

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cruz Control

Cruz' filibuster is truly must-see TV for those who care about politics or current events.  I actually had to search for C-SPAN on Directv because I can't recall ever watching it on satellite.   The senator is a fantastic speaker, perhaps one of the best ever--and NOT because he has good pipes or can enunciate well or can read well from a prompter, but because he appears to be speaking from his heart and head right to the people.  I want to believe Cruz.   He comes off as simply a guy doing the right thing the way the Founders intended for our government to work.  I've seen a lot of slick-talking politicos though, so trust but verify applies.

Whether this is a golden moment for him, elevating him above the Irish mafia (McCain and McConnell, who are going to come off as old dinosaurs yelling for people to get off their lawns) or young guns like Rand Paul (where is he tonight?) remains to be seen, but it certainly seems it can't hurt him with independents and those being affected by Obamacare already.

Two things that are being talked about that should sting the Congress--and not just Democrats: the Obama-provided exemption for Congress out of the bill and the idea that many Dems are looking past Obamacare towards single payer, knowing the train wreck this bill has become.  Obama is certainly on record as being in favor of that outcome (will any reporter ever ask?) so it's nice to see it raised.

REACTION  9/24/13

Dana Milbank has already declared the filibuster a defeat and lambastes Cruz for being all about Ted.   As if the president never says "I".

The New York Times basically says that nobody likes him, even on his own side.

ABC is keeping track of his 'best lines'.

CBS is giving far more importance to a story about a toad with wings than Cruz, who is participating in a 'faux filibuster'. 

NBC is basically handling it as a news story, making sure they have Obama's response (unprecedented attempt to scare people) right under their Cruz story, while Fox isn't headlining it but does have several stories under their main headline about Kerry's intention to sign a UN treaty on arms control despite having no support for ratification in the Senate.  So wait, he's doing exactly what they say Cruz is doing. 

Allahpundit has a good summary with the usual opinions: Ted's all about himself and wants the presidency; he's an enigma who won't play team ball; he's a wacko bird; he's courageous and a man of his word.

As to the Ted is about Ted theory, let's say you have someone come to Washington, DC, let's call him Senator Smith, and he really is an outsider, he really is a man of principle, he really does care about the hinterlands and not the cocktail party set (as pointed out brilliantly in the book "This Town"), and who really loathes the cronyism and insularity of establishment politics.  How would that person be treated?    That's the conundrum here.  Fortunately we've got plenty of time to get a true measure of this man before he might run for higher office.

Investigation Update

***Long post, executive summary below!***

Ron Machen, the US Attorney who became famous for pulling 40 AP phone lines in the investigation of the Yemeni spy leak while also going after Fox's James Rosen in a North Korean leak by classifying him as a "co-conspirator", has announced a bust in the Yemen leak case:
Donald Sachtleben, a 55-year-old from Carmel, Ind., was an FBI agent for 25 years and worked on major cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the hunt for the Unabomber. According to paperwork filed in federal court, Sachtleben provided the national security information to the AP just nine days before he was arrested on the child porn charges, in a separate investigation.
Here's the charge sheet. Notice there is only a disclosure to the AP reporter on the existence of a bomb, which occurred via telephone on May 2, 2012.  He did not give up the existence of an agent on the 'inside', nor did the AP story, which first appeared on May 7 (after being cleared by the Obama administration after a five day delay, likely to allow us to drone al-Quso, one of the wanted USS Cole bombers).  Eric Holder has called this leak one of the worst ever in the history of the United States, which begs the question of why this man is getting more time for child porn than for leaking such a dangerous secret.

To set some backstory,  once the AP story was published John Brennan, at the time an intelligence advisor to the president, called a telecon for a bunch of talking head generals and former spies to coordinate messaging before they went on TV to discuss the AP story. Why?  Because he claims that they had to push back on the idea that the AP story made earlier stories saying there were no credible threats of any attacks during the one year anniversary of the bin Laden takedown look like fables, so they had to push back.

Here's Brennan explaining it during his confirmation hearing:

While it's true the Obama folks were not talking about credible threats they were talking about possible threats--mainly due to the reemergence of AQAP bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri. Here's one such story that appeared on April 29th, 2012, before the leak:
While the intelligence community sees no credible or specific threat related to the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, counterterrorism officials remain anxious about the Yemen group plotting attacks and aren't taking any chances.
Even Brennan himself had been building up the threat from AQAP in the weeks prior.  While it's feasible to think that once the story got out it might make Brennan and his boss look like liars the bottom line is whether that political hit was worse than losing a valued asset inside the terror group.

In other words, the leak was bad (and it didn't come from an Obama insider as speculated) but the decision to burn the agent DID come from the Obama administration.  Senator Coats even asked Brennan if divulging that information, ie, we have inside control, itself amounted to a leak, to which Brennan replied that it's not a leak if it has been declassified (which means POTUS wanted it out there).

But there's potentially more to this story.
For instance, was this lone wolf contractor AP's only source or did they cross check his info with other sources before going to get confirmation from the White House? From the charge sheet, here's an explanation of what the reporter did after hearing from Mr. Sachtleben about a bomb in custody:
Approximately two and-a-half hours later, Reporter A and another reporter from Reporter A's news organization contacted multiple United States Government officials and said that they knew the following facts:
So there were two reporters (Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman).  The charge sheet only mentions 'Reporter A' communicating with Sachtelben.  AP told someone at the White House they knew there was a bomb and FBI was analyzing it, but didn't know for sure whether it came from AQAP or not.  Interestingly enough, in an earlier conversation with Sachtleben (April 30) Reporter A speculated in a text message that the FBI might have a bomb. This would be BEFORE Mr. Sachtleben had confirmed one:
...SACHTLEBEN and Reporter A exchanged text messages about al-Asiri and Reporter A's speculation about the FBI's recovery of a surgically implanted body bomb (also known as a "cavity bomb").
It goes on to say it wasn't the bomb recovered from the airplane plot and uses paragraph 7 to suggest that ABC's World News Tonight had set up the mention of cavity bombs, leading readers to believe that's where Reporter A got his curiosity, but this begs the question of why the AP reporter would be asking about a "recovered" bomb, which was not mentioned by ABC.  Had Reporter A been talking with other people and hearing things, then trying to get Sachtleben to confirm?

Indeed, the text message string shows the initial question asked about a recovered cavity bomb, followed by a vague comic reply by Sachtleben, then "not totally sure though" back from the AP guy. One normally doesn't say 'not totally sure' unless they've already heard something.

Yes, it could be a way to fish for information by making it appear he'd heard something, but Mr. Sachtelben surely doesn't seem to know as he says he thinks a 10am news conference by the FBI might be about the bomb.  When the press conference turned out to be about the Occupy Wall St bridge terrorists in Cleveland Sachtleben texts back that he 'got that one wrong' but that there still might be something up and he would get back.  So it sounds like he was trying to be a good source and confirm what the AP reporter had asked.  His trip to the FBI lab was previously scheduled, so he wasn't going there on an intel mission. 
Since no reputable reporter would go to press with only one source it's unlikely they would take a sole-sourced story to the White House for confirmation.  The White House could simply deny it.  The text says after Sachtleben got off the phone the two AP reporters were calling around to administration and/or government officials, telling them what they knew.  Or were they trying to get confirmation?  The charge sheet makes it sound like they were telling the White House they knew something and were going to report. Consider this line from the AP story eventually released:
The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought a plane ticket when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It's not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.
White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said President Barack Obama learned about the plot in April and was assured the device posed no threat to the public.
Funny, the charge sheet says the bomb plot was 'disrupted', with the bomb for a 'US bound airliner'. But notice the rest--the White House added information to their story via a spokeswoman.  And when you tell reporters the bomb was 'no threat to the public' and that the 'CIA stepped in' and got it without any further clarification that only leads to more questions, questions the administration knew would still need to be answered.  One might ask whether the White House added the information when initially confronted or later.

We're left to wonder whether the AP had other sources, whether anyone in the White House saw fit to add to the AP's story and if so, when, and whether the asset really needed to be burned.  The irony here is that Machen later dragnetted the AP's phone lines without notification, which smacks of punishment.  Yes, right, nobody will care about any of it.

MORE  9/24/13

The indispensable Tom Maguire looks at the story and sees a few more questions:
So in the world being presented by the Justice Department and the Times, government officials became aware of an important leak when reporters began calling on May 2 2012 but only tracked the initial leak back to Schachtleben a year later.
But in the world I have been reading about lately the NSA has pretty much real-time access to all sorts of phone record metadata. So in a slightly different world from the one described by the Times, worried intelligence officials found out almost immediately who the AP reporter had recently spoken with that might have compromised the Yemen probe (which involved British and Saudi intelligence in an operation that was ongoing as of May 2, so the US leak was a potential international embarrassment).
And the next day the improbable kiddie porn raid shuts the guy up. Seriously - a guy with 25 years with the FBI was trading kiddie porn under the crafty account of ""? Hide in plain sight has been done.
In other words, the NSA could have potentially known immediately whose phone line connected with Apuzzo or Goldman at AP, perhaps by later in the day of May 2 when it became known the bomb story had been leaked, but since it was a domestic call they couldn't admit they knew.  The charge sheet makes it clear they got the electronic data off Sachtleben's computer (ie, it didn't come from the NSA).  That leaves the question of why it took so long to finally bust the guy, but obvious answers might be 'the election' or 'had to make it look good', or 'we had to enact punishment on the AP for going to press before we could make the announcement on May 8'.  But other possibilities are possible.  

In early reports Mr. Sachtleben seems overly contrite and apologetic for his crimes. That may be heartfelt, let's hope so, but with all the coincidences and questions left dangling it may be something else.  Again, will anyone care?


This is a long and wordy post that contains a lot of material that must be followed closely, so for those with little time or patience here's an executive summary:

The FBI had the computer and phone of the AP leaker a week after he leaked.  They had the PC due to a separate investigation into child porn, but they only looked for child porn on the PC, not national security leaks.  They are diligent.   Then it took one year to plod along and do the interviews and tap the AP phone lines--not that it was any kind of punishment for releasing their story before the White House could take credit, mind you--and realize the Mr. Sachtleben on the records was the same one they were trying to bust for child porn, an investigation that had apparently been put on hold for some strange reason.

So they busted him, but he didn't leak about the 'inside control' of the Yemeni AQ cell, John Brennan did.  But Brennan didn't leak because according to him that information--that we had inside control--was not classified.  The only way it wouldn't be of course is if the president had declassified it so they could tell the media.  So it was.  Now they are perp-walking Mr. Sachtleben as closing the case, yet we don't know if there were others the AP used to confirm their story or whether it was appropriate for the AQ insider story to be leaked, burning a spy, just to explain some talking points.

MORE  9/24/13

Here's the Politico's story, which contains this interesting segment:
”The phone records were necessary to identifying [Sachtleben] as the suspect,” said a federal law enforcement official. However, the official acknowledged that the FBI already had in its possession evidence linking him to the leak. Investigators in the separate child porn probe had his computer, which contained classified information.
But they didn’t search it for national security secrets because that wasn’t relevant to that inquiry, the official said. Only after the AP phone records pointed to Sachtleben as a suspect in the leak was the computer checked for classified information, setting in motion the leak charges, the official added.
This begs a couple of general questions. First, the above states that it was the AP call logs, which they claim occurred early in 2013, that nailed Mr. Sachtleben.  But the above quote says, "However, the official acknowledged that the FBI already had in its possession evidence linking him to the leak." That seems to go against what other outlets are reporting, such as the Guardian:
The justice department said in a statement that its pursuit of Sachtleben was made easier by the child pornography investigation, but that Sachtleben was not identified as a suspect in the leaks case until after investigators had analysed the AP phone records and compared them with other evidence in their possession.
So what was this other evidence they had? The computer?  Are they saying they didn't know what they had until they clandestinely studied the call logs?  Strange way of framing it, unless there are technical things we don't know about.

Also, when they are looking over a PC for something like child porn how do they avoid seeing things like pictures of grandma, financial statements, passwords and bank statements and copies of national security information? Once an agent has seen them can he somehow un-see them?  Or does it become a whisper to the boss--hey check this and they go out and get admissible evidence in a standard fashion?  

Anyway, here's a final thought on this from the Emptywheel.


Here's a story of Sachteben's initial arrest in May 2012 for child porn.  Notice the potential time he was facing:
If convicted, Donald Sachtleben could face 20 years in prison on the distribution charge and 10 years for possession.
So he was facing 30 years on the child porn by itself, with a serious espionage charge on top of that, but will be serving only 11?  Sounds like a pretty good plea deal.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Same as it Ever Was

In 1948 the Egyptian Prime Minister dissolved the Muslim Brotherhood in his country:
In December 1948, the Egyptian government released a decree ordering the dissolution of the Society. The police had discovered caches of bombs and other weapons accumulated by the secret apparatus, and though the Brothers insisted that these were for use in the Arab-Israeli war, the government suspected that the Brothers were planning revolution; it was also keen to remove what it saw as one of the main causes of the general political unrest that had become increasingly violent, and increasingly threatening to its authority, since the end of the Second World War.
Moreover, because the Brotherhood had its own hospitals, factories and schools, as well as an army in the form of the secret apparatus, the government saw it as a potential parallel state, which Egyptians might come to see as more legitimate than the official one
Several years later Nasser pretty much finished them off, at least for awhile. What followed was an underground movement that gave many AQ terrorists their starts in Islamism. The Brotherhood returned by decrying violence and showing themselves as a moderate political entity.  But they are what they are. 

Which leads to today, against the fading backdrop of an Arab Spring, as a new Egyptian ruling military government has banned the Brotherhood again:
An Egyptian court on Monday ordered the Muslim Brotherhood to be banned and its assets confiscated in a dramatic escalation of a crackdown by the military-backed government against supporters of the ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
Where is Morsi, by the way?

At the same time the banning of the Brothers in Egypt may open a can over recent reports in the Libyan press about possible Egyptian Brotherhood connections in the Benghazi attack, illustrated by Walid Shoebat.

In other words, if Morsi was somehow operating the puppet strings or had ordered MB proxy groups to kidnap Christopher Stevens so they could trade him for someone like the Blind Sheikh (Morsi's backers were pressuring him over this) that might explain a lot of things.  Meanwhile the arrest of Clinton pal Gehad Haddad sure does nothing to dispel the crazy suggestions of congressman Gohmert and Michele Bachmann, who mentioned Hillary's Gal Friday Huma Abedin.   But the left will probably live on in their blissful world where enemies and 'hate groups' are all of a domestic flavor.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nairobi Islamic Terror Attack

Once again the religion nobody wants to mention is being used to justify an attack--this one in an upscale Nairobi mall.  Just civilians out for a nice day of shopping, mown down by grenades and AKs.

AQ-affiliated al-Sheebab took credit for the attack, which is still in progress as of this writing.  They have hostages.  Meanwhile our State Department has weighed in and is decrying the attack by 'violent extremists'. Even the Secretary of State will not call the spade a spade, despite the loss of a indigenous Nairobi US embassy employee in the attack:
Secretary of State John Kerry called the attack "a heartbreaking reminder that there exists unspeakable evil in our world which can destroy life in a senseless instant."
"Attacks like this can't change who we are, a people committed to peace and justice for all, but rather must reaffirm our determination to counter extremism and promote tolerance everywhere," Kerr[sic] said in a statement. "As we prepare to bring the world's leaders together at the United Nations next week, we are reminded again in tragedy of our common humanity."
So if someone has just returned from a spaceflight and didn't know the details they might think Joseph Kony had attacked the mall.  After all, he's in Africa, is also called a violent extremist, and our military is supposed to be chasing him.  Or wait, not anymore (sorry, it didn't make the headlines and had to dig).  Since he didn't identify anyone or any philosophy maybe Kerry means that some of the 'violent extremists' who attacked our embassy in Benghazi are involved.  After all, none of them have been brought to justice yet.  Or maybe he means someone like the Navy Yard shooter or Adam Lanza.  

Despite the fuzziness from Foggy Bottom the Israelis certainly know the score and have sent teams down to assist the Kenyans (the mall was Israeli-owned). One can't help but recall the infamous raid on Entebbe when discussing Africa and hostages.  Wonder if any of the Nairobi hostages are Israeli?  Whoever they are let's hope they share the same fate.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, a Christian church gets attacked on a Sunday morning, killing scores:
A suicide attack on a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 75 people on Sunday in one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan in years.
The obvious culprits are Sunni terrorists.  And to think, the Pakistanis just released Mullah Baradar as an act of good faith towards these barbarian cannibalistic head-choppers. 

Which illustrates the bottom line with all of these 'violent extremists'; they must be eradicated, along with their twisted interpretation of Islam.  Kerry is correct in that our goal is perpetuate a policy of tolerance and aggressively counter extremism, and we can't kill them all, but pretending they don't exist and hoping they go away isn't much of a policy either.  The UN General Assembly next week in New York should be used to issue a call for Islamic leaders worldwide to condemn this bullshite.  That's what they would do with Israel.   

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rep Gowdy at the Benghazi Hearing

This dude is a little attack dog.  And he got some results..

It would appear the biggest news nobody will hear from this 'hearing' was that Admiral Mullen gave a heads-up to Hillary's State Dept lawyer that soon-to-be witness Charlene Lamb was not going to come across well (or something).

His innocent explanation requires a willing suspension of disbelief.  Everyone knows it should not be appropriate for an "independent" investigator to be providing back-channel updates to a department head on the status of a review of something that occurred under that department head, that is if they want anyone to believe it's an independent review. They decided early on that Hillary played no part in the decision-making, so they could keep that channel open.  Which smacks of a fix. 

Another nugget Gowdy pulled out was that Hillary was compelled by the 1998 ARB review--crafted during her husband's presidency after AQ terrorists bombed the African embassies--to personally review security at high-threat diplomatic posts.  She has repeatedly claimed that she wasn't aware of the situation or involved in the decisions, yet Gowdy pointed out that she should have been according to that previous ARB and Mullen became mumbly-mouthed in his response--of course they didn't ask her about it because they determined she wasn't involved.    That should be a wow.   

But what difference, at this point, does it make?  The entire process is a red herring anyway.  It would be like the CIA Director and White House Chief of Staff being chosen to investigate 9/11. Yes, they found some internal problems but nobody has been punished in the government, the victims still don't have closure and no terrorists have been caught.  And the politicians got away with lying after the fact. Yet everybody keeps saying move on.   

MORE  9/21/13

Scott Johnson at Powerline sums up the situation nicely.   He's right--this would be a big story under any other administration. 

Taliban Number Two to be Freed

Here was the news back in 2010, as Obama was surging in Afghanistan (the good war on the front lines of the GWoT):
His capture could cripple the Taliban’s military operations, at least in the short term, said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer who last spring led the Obama administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy review.
And of course it was a big deal for Obama, who had yet to gutsily capture bin Laden.  Here's how then Senator--now Sec of State--Kerry put it..

It was just an 'effort to go after the Taliban wherever they are'.   No comment on whether it was done for leverage on some kind of a deal, which now appears to be the case.   As to the speculation it would help find bin Laden, well, no--we were told a woman in the CIA, played by Jessica Chastain in a movie, led to the capture.   Besides, the official story is that the Pakistanis knew nothing about UBL living in their backyard, so if Baradar provided info on UBL it had to be wrong or the entire narrative about the raid becomes false. 

Now today:
"In order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, the detained Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, would be released tomorrow," the Foreign office spokesman said in the statement.
Hopefully Sgt Bowe Bergdahl will be part of some of these upcoming reconciliations, that is, if we are now bargaining with terrorists.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What About..

A picture is beginning to emerge of the Navy Yard shooter, including some anger at white people and for America in general:
"He felt a lot of discrimination and and racism with white people especially," she said. There was also a growing sense of entitlement and disrespect, she said. "He did have the tendency to feel like people owed him something all the time."
At least that's the picture today.  It will be interesting to see how the gun control zealots might play this kind of a victim angle.  Chances are they are still confused.  

But notice something missing?

The man was in his mid 30s but so far hardly any stories mention girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-wives or anything of a romantic nature. They have quoted a female "friend", but not identified her a girlfriend. Was he a loser with women? If so that would certainly fit the profile of almost all of spree killers, a pattern that seems to cross racial, religious and cultural boundaries (to include suicide bombers and other jihadies).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Very Imaginable, Unfortunately

Here's the CinC's short message today about the Navy Yard shooting..

Notice his phrasing (after lamenting about 'another mass shooting')..
"..they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn't have expected here at home"
Well yes, had they no knowledge of what happened at Fort Hood. or LITTLE ROCK.   Sort of like this CNN anchorette.  There was certainly precedence, regardless of how both events have been spun. 

Also, in saying we would 'do everything we can to try to prevent them', ie, mass shootings or whatever this turns out to be, he seems to be hinting that something can be done to stop crazed jihadies or lunatics bent on murder-suicide or just plain mass murder.  Ironically he used the same language after Benghazi over a year ago--how we were going to investigate to prevent such events from ever happening again--and nobody is currently in custody.   But it's pretty clear what he means

Saturday, September 14, 2013

PDS Strikes Again

PDS- Palin Derangement Syndrome.  Some publisher is suing her for using the iconic flag picture from the 9/11 rubble on her Facebook page.   It's like suing someone for using the Iwo Jima flag picture.

More than likely that photo has been used in some form millions of times on the web since 9/11 thanks in large part to.... Google.

So why don't they sue Google?   Yeah, you know why.


What Just Happened?

Well, we seem to have a deal:
The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.
Under a “framework” agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.
Alrighty then.  For some reason Putin punted last Monday under the incredible pressure placed on him by the Obama administration and victory is at hand.  Obama the master tactician--pressuring war made peace!  The new doctrine. 

This despite the fact that last Monday the threat of an attack was perhaps at its lowest probability. Putin/Assad were facing the specter of a miniscule bombing run designed to take out a few bridges and rocket launchers at a time when even that plan had little if any support in either Congress or the international community.  Obama was like a marionette dangling in the corner he'd back himself into with no way out aside from becoming a hated war criminal or calling everything off and losing his entire legacy.  His scribes were rewriting his Tuesday war speech every hour.    

Then Putin saved his bacon.  So what the fork happened?

The agreement will of course be spun by our fair and balanced media as the greatest comeback since the days of Clinton, which will elevate the president just when he needs it--facing a fight against the real enemies and terrorists and neanderthals of the GOP and Tea Party over debt and government funding. Biden will probably call this outcome the gutsiest move since Obama's Bin Laden raid back in 2004.

Of course the true test for our country and the world will be 1) can Assad truly be disarmed, and 2) will Assad be punished for already using WMDs?  It's going to be a herculean task to disarm a tyrant during a civil war, probably impossible without a legitimate cease-fire and somebody's boots on the ground, both of which are problematic.  But this doesn't have to start happening until November according to the 'framework' agreement so Obama can have a free shot at the Republicans before things get tricky again towards Thanksgiving and Christmas (unless somebody shoots off WMDs again in the interim).

That gives the regime a few months to continue dispersing their arsenal and killing the rebels, which include head-chopping cannibals associated with AQ, or even perhaps moving some out of the country to friendly neighbors.  But the story can now disappear off the front pages for awhile. 

As to a true outcome, IF, and it's a big if, the chemicals can be located, counted, moved and destroyed then part of the victory will become real, but only part. The UN cannot leave a precedent where a dictator can gas his own people and then when pressured give up the weapons under agreement, only to escape completely without consequences.  So Assad will either have to be hauled off to the ICC at some point or sent to Allah to hobnob with Saddam. 

If that last step doesn't occur this will be a failure, whether the media or historians admit it or not. But surely the present situation is better than the bombing that was being considered, making it a preferred outcome despite the president literally stumbling into it.  For some reason we can thank president (and Times editorialist) Vladimir Putey Putin for enabling that stumble....for reasons still unknown.

MORE  9/14/13

This article, purportedly of several ISIS fighters (AQ-related) in Syria, explains in very vivid detail why the west/United States is losing the Global War on Terror.   These young men are committed soldiers for a cause, whereas the population of the United States (and the west at large) is not committed to the fight at all, mainly because our leadership is afraid to make us committed lest it appear to be a war on Islam.

We are going to lose if we don't see the stakes involved.

A NEW DAY  9/14/13

...and the strategy and rhetoric seems to change with every sunrise.  Here's Jay Carney on Wednesday, explaining how the threat of force alone had forced Putin to the negotiating table...
There is no question that the credible threat of U.S. military force brought us this diplomatic opening.

Just three days later here is the Decider Guy in his weekly address:
This week, when I addressed the nation on Syria, I said that – in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military force – there is the possibility of a diplomatic solution.
What will tomorrow bring? 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What if..

Can someone explain why Putin and Assad decided to 'blink' on the weapons standoff?   The Obama people are trying to describe it as Putey Poot getting scared into taking the international road due to the threat of a miniscule bombing raid designed not to change the regime or eliminate the chemical weapons.  Which sounds a little incredulous.

The most credible threat of force existed during the days leading up to Friday August 31st when every pundit thought the bombs would fly over the weekend.  Then Friday night Obama took a walk around the White House grounds with a trusted advisor only to announce Saturday that he had decided to take his burden to Congress.

So why didn't they blink that Friday when everyone thought the attack was eminent?   It seems more like our president blinked that Friday night. 

Following Obama's about face (and afternoon round of golf) everyone watched as public opinion tanked while Congressional straw polls showed very little support.  No major world governments were pledging military support for a coalition.  Yet with a possible Congressional vote coming up that looked hopeless somehow this pressure convinced Assad/Putin there would be an attack and they caved?   Either Putin's dumber than he looks and let Assad blink, or something's up.  

Maybe the eye doctor blinked and Putin couldn't stop him.  That doesn't sound completely impossible, except for the fact he gave an interview to Charlie Rose on the same Monday that Kerry blubbered out his rhetorical goof (that Putin and Assad immediately pounced on).  He didn't say anything to CBS that would indicate he was about to blink, and nothing more was threatened by the administration that day.

So what if there's something up?   Well, it's sure fun to wildly speculate.   For instance, what if Snowden has delivered some very private information to the Kremlin?  Something about the president perhaps. After all, the NSA had been snooping for years before Obama came to power.  Or what if Putin knows something about the origins of Syria's WMDs?   Obama keeps bringing up Iraq in every speech about Syria, thinking that somehow he can always shine in comparison to Bush/Iraq no matter what.   The bluffing is over now, so they either know something and have threatened to spring it or they are out of options and stalling for time.  Taking an op-ed in the New York Times was a very interesting move.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What We Need to See Tonight

So the Commander Guy will likely want his use of force resolution passed by the GOP, er, House, regardless of any international doves flying around the Middle East at the moment.

OK fine, it's not a bad idea.  Some of us have been saying they need to take the international route for weeks now.  Of course the administration is acting as if they've had this in the hip pocket since September 1st or sooner.  Thing is, if President Peace Prize had this worked out with Putey Poot weeks ago why did he go to Congress at all?   What would be the need to go to Congress when they could just push it in the UN and get the resolution?  Obama says he doesn't feel he even needs to get their approval.

Which leaves the question of whether the move to Congress was entirely political.  Think of the possible perks for sabre-rattling then trying to pull the Tea Party and RINOs into a vote on war designed to weaken both before 1) the debt showdown, 2) coming Obamacare rollout, and 3) immigration reform.   Throw in old mentions of Bush and Iraq and it's tempting to believe in their conspiracy.

Not only that, but such wild theatrical hysterics would take the focus off the myriad of scandals and the 9/11 anniversary (just ask someone from the administration a question about Benghazi and marvel as their mouth clenches up and the subdued vitriol pours out).  The ultimate distraction.  

Of course, to believe this administration tale takes some faith.  For instance, Kerry would have to be in on it, requiring a willing suspension of disbelief.  And we would also have to wonder what kind of parting gifts Putin might get for his role in such a screenplay.  Obama did promise to be more flexible.  

Oh yeah, the post title: what we need to see tonight.  Well, the president says he needs the support of the GOP in this mess to get authorization for bombing.  At the same time his administration has in the past called conservatives 'enemies' and 'terrorists'.  He's called a previous war to hold a chemical weapons user accountable 'dumb'. He's demonized the conservatives on the Supreme Court and harped on big business while jamming his unilateral finger in the Constitution's eye in a host of ways.

So maybe he can start tonight with an apology for being such a divisive ahole thus far.  Maybe then some progress can be made.  And make no mistake, not everybody wants that moon faced Putin to punk the USA or win on the international stage, regardless of who's in the Oval Office.  But Obama could at least make it little easier to root for him. He could start the healing tonight.


He had a chance to mend some fences but it was just too tempting to toss in a Bush bash by claiming we didn't go through congressional channels in taking down Saddam.
But I’m also the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possessed the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support of Congress, and I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.
This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the president, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.
That's just complete bullshit.  He also airbrushed Iraq out of the brief history of chemical weapons users.  Why?  Is everything politics and finger pointing?

Overall the speech provided nothing new except that he wants the Congress to hold off on a vote while they consider John Kerry's rhetorical mistake.   Looks like Peggy Noonan was right.  

Monday, September 09, 2013

Arctic Ice Update

The latest on the Polar Bear Front:
About a million more square miles of ocean are covered in ice in 2013 than in 2012, a whopping 60 percent increase -- and a dramatic deviation from predictions of an "ice-free Arctic in 2013," the Daily Mail noted.
One must note that the current 2013 extent is still less than normal, but the point of this post requires a trip on the way-back machine to 2007 and the dire projections from climate scientists about the year 2013:
"Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007," the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC.
"So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative."
Emphasis added to emphasize the fact these scientists not only thought summers would be ice-free by 2013, but probably well BEFORE. Talk about going down in flames. Of course this hyperventilation was picked up and used by none other than Al "millions of degrees" Gore as proof that Bush was killing the planet and that we only had five years to act before doom. Yet here we are. Ready to believe yet?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Thank God

From Yayhoo:
A Maaloula resident said the rebels, many of them sporting beards and shouting Allahu Akbar, or God is great, attacked Christian homes and churches shortly after moving into the village overnight.
"They shot and killed people. I heard gunshots and then I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street in the old quarters of the village," said the resident, reached by telephone from neighboring Jordan.
These moderates were probably just trying to shout a friendly greeting to the Christians inside the village as they came into town and the Christians overreacted.  "Thank God, thank God"! Right Mr. McCain?   

CNN is reporting on this as well, asking the question, "What the capture will mean for the Christian residents waits to be seen". For a possible answer let's return to the Yahoo/AP article:
Another resident, a Christian man, said he saw militants forcing some Christian residents to convert to Islam. "I saw the militants grabbing five villagers Wednesday and threatening them (saying): 'Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded,'" he said.
Since such a thing is not conjecture--it's been done in the past--the Obama administration really needs to explain why beheading and forced conversion is somehow not as bad as a chemical weapons death.

UPDATE  9/8/13

Yahoo has already scrubbed "Allahu Akbar" out of the story.  The original was the blockquote above, also seen on Gateway Pundit's story this morning.   Only 30 minutes later somebody went in and stripped those words out. Here's what it looks like now:
A Maaloula resident said the rebels, many of them sporting beards and shouting God is great, attacked Christian homes and churches shortly after moving into the village overnight.
They indicate no updates to the story. One could ask who, and why, but what difference, at this point, does it make?

Fighting for War

While the score on Syria doesn't look good the Obama administration has not yet begun to fight, according to the NY Times:
To improve its odds, the White House is enlisting virtually every senior official from the president on down. In addition to members of Congress, it is reaching out to Jewish groups, Arab-Americans, left-leaning think tanks and even officials from the George W. Bush administration, some of whom are acting as surrogates.
It is also getting help from the nation’s most powerful pro-Israel group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is mounting its own campaign for military action.
By the way, here's the Senate Resolution. It's pretty much the kitchen sink of 'whereas-es' but it does try to tie the hands of the Commander Guy by putting a no boots restriction and a 60 day time clock on the war kinetic action.  

One thing that will be interesting to watch--and what could sway some votes--is the idea that if we don't bomb somehow AQ groups will get control of Assad's WMDs.  Which is odd, because that should force the administration into explaining just how this could happen when they are saying most of the rebels are secular. 

But right now the vote looks pretty grim.  The 64K question is what it will look like in a few days.  Will they stoop to using 9/11 as a vivid reminder of how we need to eradicate WMDs so they don't fall into the hands of terrorists, being careful not to remind everyone that Bush said the same about Saddam during the dumb war? Might they tie Benghazi memories into making a new case to protect us from radicals while continuing to not answer any questions about it?     

Or will new revelations pop up from out of the ether from mysterious think tanks pushed by fresh faces with last names like O'Bagy?  Congress is now being shown the gruesome pictures of death by chemical weapon--but really, is that any worse than some sleazy jihadi using a butter knife to cut someone's head off for having an iPod or dancing or letting a little girl get an education?   

Which is why the people at large are skeptical.   Precious little can top the barbarism of Islamic radicals.  The public recently saw a bomb explode at the Boston Marathon and watched as a US Major turned on his comrades while yelling Allahu Akbar, pardon, Thank God, as he took out 13 troops and wounded many more, an act which the US government still considers something other than terrorism.  

So not surprisingly the Congress is currently where the people are on Syria.  Now, if suddenly a bunch of votes start changing at the last minute it will be interesting to see whether a new round of Obamacase-like deal making is going on, such as on the debt ceiling, immigration or Obamacare.  Will our Congress, with an approval rating in the single digits, altogether chant "what difference, at this point, does it make" and stoop to bargaining over a war resolution so long as they bring home some bacon?  We await the outcome.  At least the all-important Oval Office speech about the all-important and dire situation in Syria won't interrupt Monday Night Football.  Whew, that would be tragic.

Friday, September 06, 2013

What about the UN?

If ever an international event was prime for a UN solution, it's Syria.  Here we have a country that did not attack the United States and poses no imminent threat, not even to our Gulf allies including Israel.  Yet our new UN Ambassador has largely been missing in action during this entire crisis.

She finally popped up and showed herself, saying the following:
Ms Power told a news conference in New York: "Even in the wake of the flagrant shattering of the international norm against chemical weapons use, Russia continues to hold the council hostage and shirk its international responsibilities. "What we have learned, what the Syrian people have learned, is that the Security Council the world needs to deal with this crisis is not the Security Council we have."
So she's already given up on the UN after a month on the job?  Part of which was spent on vacation?

Good Lord, one could almost deduce Mrs Cass Sunstein wants this to fail.  She strongly believes in using our military as a world morality police force, otherwise known as "George Soros' Responsibility to Protect". Such an idea might sound noble but it's hardly constitutional and as we see, perhaps dangerous.

Obama's strong desire to blow off the UN and bomb, bomb, bomb Syria falls right in line with the concept of RtP, as does an AWOL Samantha Power and her later comments.  She should be pounding her fists on the table every day, condemning Russia and China for defending a chemical weapons user and world norm crosser. Instead she's telling the media it's a lost cause.

Of course, it could be a little more complicated. For instance, if Yossef Bodansky is correct about this:(emphasis added)
On August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major and irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and representatives of Qatari, Turkish, and US Intelligence [“Mukhabarat Amriki”] took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.
Very senior opposition commanders who had arrived from Istanbul briefed the regional commanders of an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development” which would, in turn, lead to a US-led bombing of Syria.
Then Putey Poot could be correct that Kerry is lying and therefore might have a little more latitude to veto a resolution.  Which could explain why Power isn't banging on any tables. Perhaps someone should insist on giving Congressman Grayson the information he is requesting before any new international norms are set in concrete.


President kick-ass had a press availability at the G20 summit today, which means he hand-picked a few journalists to ask questions allowing him to meander and filibuster untouched for minutes on end, basically saying nothing.   The stats-- he allowed questions from AP, Reuters, NBC, ABC, CBS, and AFP over 40 minutes. He got short with Jon Karl from ABC for daring to ask a follow-up.  He did not allow a question from the most-watched cable channel, Fox News, which is not uncommon.  Americans that watch Fox don't deserve a voice.  Yet we're supposed to believe he sent his war bill to Congress so the people could have a voice.

No teleprompter, so there were some useful moments.  At one point he said--paraphrasing--that he's spent the last 4 1/2 years trying to decrease America's military power in solving problems in place of diplomacy.   He also bristled at several questions as to whether he would proceed with the attack if the Congress votes it down.  Failure is not an option--the State Dept and almost all admin talkers are saying the same, which is odd considering taking it to Congress is supposed to be about respecting the opinion of the people.  They should be able to say 'we will respect the wishes of the people'.   They will not. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

We are the World, Red Line Version

The Commander Guy has announced that, contrary to boldly leading from the front when he set the red line back in 2012, he was actually leading from behind then, too!

Yes you see, the world set the red line and the president was just reiterating the world's red line by making it seem like it was his own, using words like "my" and "mine".  But don't let that fool you, he was speaking for the world not the US presidency at the time.  Sort of as president of the world.

Criminy.  In the world of bullshit artists this guy is absolutely tops.  Wedged into a corner by having to finally uphold an ultimatum no previous president had articulated before 2012 (including him in his 2002 "dumb war" speech), he somehow has found a way to blame the US Congress and every other world leader as he removes any blame for himself, all with a straight face.  Amazing.    

OK, nobody should be amazed.  The question is whether anyone will buy it, including his media water-carriers.  Already the administration appears afraid of the media, blowing off their two primary press briefings (White House and State) since last Thursday.   They are desperately trying to control the message here in what ranks as a rock bottom moment of his presidency.  Obama himself has not taken questions standing by himself since the day before the chemical attack.  In all other interviews he's been in the company of other world leaders, who act as pseudo human shields with the hope the press won't go too wild on the questions and embarrass the other leaders.  Every trick in the book. 

Does he not realize that by placing the blame on the world (and Congress) he runs the risk of legitimizing the dumb war in Iraq?   Saddam used chemical weapons and nobody intervened to stop him or punish him specifically for that act.  It wasn't until he invaded Kuwait that strong sanctions over WMDs were erected and an inspections program begun to find and destroy the arsenal.  That should beg the question as to why the Iraq war was dumb if 40 countries were involved in trying to stop an unstable dictator who had crossed an international norm.  And if it happens that some of Syria's stocks came from Iraq--as Obama's own DNI once contended--would that change his calculus on the notion of dumb?  Would it then only be dumb because of the post-war mishandling?  

No, of course not, they would find more spin.  As to the congressional votes, whoopdee doo.  Obama was going to attack anyway, which should allow each member to vote conscience and not be bothered.  They will try to use the votes to split the GOP and bring Iraq and Bush back into the political mix again but far too much water is under that bridge for it to be effective.  It just looks desperate.  Of course they'll do it anyway.

The Republicans need only remind them of the differences between the two situations. They are not the same.  Iraq was actually a more immediate and palpable threat and Saddam killed more people, including those from another country, while later invading a neighboring nation and firing unprovoked scud missiles on Israel.  All those things could be taken as crossing international norms, especially in a post 9/11 environment. Or maybe they could take a page out of the liberal playbook and blame the Syria war on oil.  

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Just let the UN do its job

On Syria we have a dictator with WMDs, who has likely used them, who is killing his own people. The president is going around DC like a chicken without its head looking to sign up any support he can so he doesn't have to lead from the front.  Why go to the trouble?  Why not have the liberals tell him to do what they told Bush to do in Iraq after the fact--let the international community solve it!?

Here's a scenario: first outstretch a hand to offer talks without preconditions.  In a few weeks when the UN determines that Assad indeed used chemical weapons based on their ground inspection report, push for a UN resolution condemning him, along with international sanctions.  Have the resolution talk about 'serious consequences' for any further use while demanding he disarm immediately for his crossing the international norm.

Then when he ignores the call to disarm push for another round of talks followed by an international team of UN weapons inspectors to go in and find the WMDs.   Give Hans Blix another chance!

After the UN weapons inspection team has looked in every cave, mosque and children's museum for the weapons and not found them (with perhaps a rogue American team-member tossed off the team for trying to sell influence); and after their final report claiming no WMDs exist so the sanctions should be dropped for the sake of the children (brought about in part through Russian and Chinese influence)--then and only then would Obama consider some limited and narrow shock and awe strikes without boots on the ground that won't change the regime.  That is, after Kerry's global test for military intervention is passed first of course!

Yes, Obama might be out of office by the time all of that was accomplished and thousands more might be dead with perhaps AQ members in possession of WMD weapons, but anything less would be, well, dumb.

Sharyl Attkisson Computer Hack Update

More updates to follow as they become available....

Sunday, September 01, 2013

About Face, Forward March

The WaPo reports that John Kerry, the good soldier, is 'pivoting with Obama'...
Two days after he stood in the ornate Treaty Room at the State Department to deliver a forceful address on the justification for an imminent U.S. military strike against Syria, Secretary of State John F. Kerry returned to the same venue Sunday to defend a different approach.
Yes, hanging by ropes, twisting in the breeze.  Kerry does look a little plastic these days.

If you've been wondering why the president hasn't come out and either extensively talked to the press or given a big Oval Office speech, right up to the moment he was going to make the gutsy call, then this explains it.  Get Kerry to do the talking and the calling and the TV ranting so if the trial balloon pops in the choppy waters and plan B is called for, the damage is lessened to the big guy.  Since August 21 the president has basically said he will do something narrow and punitive and quick but there won't be boots on the ground because we don't want to get stuck in Iraq like Bush, which is in no way comparable to Syria until it is. 

So once again an administration official is sent out to five Sunday shows to hold the fort on a narrative, which was that delays are good and healthy and constitutional and this new plan is awesome and just the right thing to do when WMDs threaten the world and urgency is called for.

With Kerry tearing up the teleprompter with war wompums over several days it's likely that Obama's Brain was monitoring the polls and pundits, and told Jack Lew to take the Decider Guy out for a Friday evening walk.   That led to his speech on Saturday, which was about 9 minutes too long, which gave nobody in the world warm fuzzies except Assad and his thugs, the Mullahs and Putey Poot.  And there's Mr. Reporting for Duty, standing there holding the bag.  He soon got the new orders.  

Gawd, what to make of this mess?  Sure, Obama took a safety. Even Fareed Zakaria can't defend this. And do read Tom Maguire's dispatches from the front piece relating a Times story on how the Syrians actually feel about everything.

While it's tempting to venture a guess on what happens next, other than another round of golf Monday or maybe a fundraiser, this entire thing is really too strange for fiction.  It sure seems that the Strategist-in-Chief found a way to back himself out of the corner by trying to hang part of his Commander Guy decision on the Tea Party, but the whole thing is so shameless as to not even guarantee his own Obama-approved mainstream media will play along with it.  Just look at some of the NY Times articles of late.

The bigger question is will the Republicans get penalized for not banging the war drums to take out a guy who really bears no comparison to the former Butcher to his east whose least most sinister plot was to kill an ex president.

Or is this just the biggest head fake in history?  

But if it's a head fake the Congress would have to be in on it lest they end up under the Jeremiah Wright/Bill Ayers memorial tour bus.  Saying he wants a vote then attacking anyway would be, well, unbelievable but still believable in a Imperial Presidency kind of way.   So really not seeing a political windfall in getting the Congress on record because if it was such a windfall it would have been done in the first place a week or more ago.  Yet he appears stuck with the idea now, yea or nay. 

Feels more like a stall for time, hoping further events preclude further actions.  Consider that we're still waiting for a resolution on the IRS and Benghazi scandals, the Rosen and AP snooping plots, the Yemen leak investigations, and for a determination on whether Egypt was a coup or not.  Maybe this gets added to the list. Maybe something else comes along to grab away attention.   That is, unless Assad ups the ante and attacks again.  

By the way, those who've looked at the rather open-ended draft resolution may notice that it says "biological weapons" in the mix.  Was that for show or have we not been talking about the most important threats here?


Harken back to presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, wrinkles and all, who made the following statement:
"No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."
Emphasis to point out that only France and the Arab League have signed on to Kerry's Syria attack (sponsored in part by Obama).  Oh well, there's always Bush to blame at some point.