Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Logan Takes her Leave

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Iran Deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Apologizing for Peace

Just don't call it an apology.

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

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

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

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

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

THE LETTER  11/21/13

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

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Phony Scandal Update

Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, AP and Rosen phone logging/snooping, misleading on Obamacare and perhaps now rigging the unemployment numbers before the election...
And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today. “He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.
Extreme caution is advised here, for two reasons, 1) this is the NY Post, and 2) it could become a huge distraction over the next month then turn out to be a nothingburger, just as 404care.com is being propped up with toothpicks and painted with an Amazon sign.

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


...you might be a racist.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

National Journal piece on "the next Bin Laden"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

That Place in Eastern Libya Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cut and Dried

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aviation Update

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mea Culpa's are Easier...

....when they mainly damage conservatives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE  11/11/13

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

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

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

SO LONG, LARA?  11/11/13

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

MORE  11/12/13

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

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

Doubling Down, Part 1

No, this is not about Obama's health care lies.  It's about the new book "Double Down" by the same two dudes who wrote "Game Change".   Having forked over good money to purchase this political gossip tome take this as a warning--it's largely sympathetic to the big guy.  At least through page 70, the point I've reached so far.  Confident in saying it will not diverge much from that point on.

Yes it dishes dirt, some of it unflattering, some of it revealing and illuminating as to how the current Decider Guy operates.  Assuming any of it can be believed.

Some interesting items regards the birth certificate and Obama's character in general, but came across the following related to Middle East peace on page 56, which is rather timely:
He talked about Israel and Palestine. We all know that Bibi Netanyahu is a pain in the ass, Obama said. But the president blamed himself for accepting the distorted political prism through which every effort to achieve a settlement in the region had been mediated.
No quotes around the above because it's second hand, but there's a tape out there that basically confirms it.  So if the above is true does it explain the recent attempt at negotiating a nuke deal with Iran, which is currently smoldering on the side of the road in Geneva?  Was our bored Commander-in-Chief genius just playing games with PM Pain in the Ass for fun or was he actually trying to shaft him?

Too bad somebody at the LA Times can't leak that Rashid Khalidi going-away party tape. We have been assured by the Times that there is nothing to see, move along, just Obama being Obama, playing both sides of the fence, the Ayers' just happened to be there , etc.   But it might say something about our current reality.

Friday, November 08, 2013

60 Minutes: Back in the Fold?

It must have been a tough week for the 60 Minutes staff and CBS in general.  After Lara Logan's bombshell expose on Benghazi back on October 27 chances are there were some really pissed off people, both at the network and in the administration.  Didn't they know that only Fox News cares about Benghazi and they are a bunch of partisan hacks trying to make a tragedy political?  

Curiously, after Logan's report aired there was not one CBS reporter who asked any follow up questions about it during both the White House press briefing or the State Department briefing.  Matter of fact, normal CBS State correspondent Margaret Brennan wasn't even present in the room during the week after airing, which seemed strange.

Suddenly now they tell us that wait, their report on Benghazi was wrong!   The State Department contractor responsible for security at the facility was never there--he was lying all along.  60 Minutes takes their sources seriously and they are going to do a full mea culpa this weekend.    

Here is the original report..

Ah, sorry again, apparently they've spiked the video.  RCP has a transcript here (along with an embedded CBS video that will not play).  Have they really spiked this video?  That would be something else.  
The question is whether they will now use the alleged phony testimony of Davies to scuttle the entire report despite the fact that the real bombshell was never Davies, who is writing a book, but former Green Beret Andy Wood, described in the report as "was one of the top American security officials in Libya. Based in Tripoli, he met with Amb. Stevens every day".

Wood told Logan he reported to the State Department in Washington that AQ was threatening to attack and the compound was vulnerable and should be abandoned.
Andy Wood: I made it known in a country team meeting, "You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It's gonna happen. You need to change your security profile."
Lara Logan: Shut down--
Andy Wood: Shut down--
Lara Logan: --the special mission--
Andy Wood: --"Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Ch-- or change locations within the city. Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted. They are-- they are-- they are watching you. The attack cycle is such that they're in the final planning stages."
Time will tell if they will come back and discredit Wood's comments, or those of Deputy Ambassador Greg Hicks, also in their report.  Curiously, 60 Minutes claims they were finally convinced that Davies was a fraud when the FBI told them his after-action interrogation wasn't consistent with what he said on the show--which he claimed otherwise.  And how did they find out?   Wow, a leak from the FBI, which up to this point has encircled the case in a vacuum:
The information he provided in an F.B.I. interview was described on Thursday by two senior government officials as consistent with an incident report by the Blue Mountain security business,
Something smells very rotten here.

MORE  11/8/13

The New York Times expands on its 60 Minutes story (emphasis added):
But the program seemed to make a crucial error in going ahead with its report before it knew for certain what was in the F.B.I. interviews. Mr. Fager said CBS had made extensive efforts to determine what Mr. Davies told the F.B.I. He said the network had sources who led the program to believe that the report was “in sync” with the account Mr. Davies gave to “60 Minutes.”
Sounds like they had multiple sources telling them to trust Davies' account.  They won't give up those sources so for all we know they are the same, with 60 Minutes engaged in some kind of elaborate stunt to help close the book on Benghazi once and for all.   Wondering if the president authorized the FBI to leak the 302 interviews that now allegedly prove Davies a liar or did they come from somebody in the mailroom at State?

How about those leaked 302s, will the public get to see them?  Right now we are left to trust 1) 60 Minutes and 2) the New York Times...
Informed Thursday night by The Times that the F.B.I. version diverged from what Mr. Davies said on “60 Minutes,” CBS News quickly checked its own F.B.I. sources, Mr. Fager said, and learned that what Mr. Davies had told the F.B.I. “differed from what he told us.”
Which makes it sound like 60 Minutes was checking sources but didn't bother to check ITS OWN sources at the FBI before going to press, which is frankly unbelievable.  The rotten smell in Denmark is wafting in.

It is now confirmed that 60 Minutes removed the segment from their website, which means the testimony of  ex Green Beret Andy Wood, who tried to warn Washington about an impending AQ attack, has also been wiped out.  In some ways the tarring of Davies drags Mr Wood's credibility into the gutter, since they've pulled the segment and apologized all over themselves.  One would hope they would clarify this distinction on Sunday's mea cupla show, but what difference, at this point, does it make anyway?

MORE  11/8/13

This feels like it should be making more waves than it is.   Lee Stranahan agrees..

And this is a shared concern..

Here's his blog post, which includes some excerpts from the now-banned book.

And here are more links to some coverage..




MORE 11/9/13

As expected, this is making more noise on the left than the right.  There's a kind of feeling that the Benghazi thing itself has been exposed as a political fraud, just in outing this so-called liar "Mr. Davies".   Here's a story on Talking Points Memo playing up the idea that 60 Minutes was just trying to appeal to a more conservative set of viewers in covering the story, which is itself outlandish, as if everyone on the left thinks Benghazi was actually about the Mohammed filmmaker...
A former "60 Minutes" producer who was fired over a 2004 story about then-President George W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard said Friday that CBS' now retracted story detailing the attack in Benghazi, Libya was done to appeal to conservatives.
"My concern is that the story was done very pointedly to appeal to a more conservative audience's beliefs about what happened at Benghazi," Mary Mapes told Media Matters. "They appear to have done that story to appeal specifically to a politically conservative audience that is obsessed with Benghazi and believes that Benghazi was much more than a tragedy."
The name Mary Mapes should ring a bell--she was the producer that ran with the Bush TANG documents that turned out to be forgeries. So, she might just have a tiny little reason to hold that viewpoint.

How about just giving us the truth? Anyone? Bueller?

MORE 11/9/13

Notice how the WaPo describes the fallout from this story:
CBS’s withdrawal of the story not only undermined its reporting, but that of Fox News, which apparently relied on Davies as a source for stories that have challenged the Obama administration’s account of events. Fox had cited the “60 Minutes” story repeatedly to validate its earlier reporting.
Indeed none of the major news reports on this story are commenting on whether Andy Wood's testimony presented during the same show was legit or not--he was the one who claimed to have told State (Hillary) that AQ was planning an attack. Odd, that.

Or not, especially if the goal was to de-legitimize the upcoming testimony of CIA witnesses (next week) while trying to embarrass Fox News. The White House has repeatedly tried to turn every question on Benghazi into a partisan witch hunt, questions that mostly come from Fox. Now they've got some red meat to back it up--the whole thing is just as phony as "Rather-gate". Is it within the realm of possibility that CBS took a bullet for the team?  Where are the 302s?


Perhaps as ordinary citizens we cannot handle the truth, especially if this expose is anywhere close to the truth:
It appears to be more plausible that the entire Benghazi/Syrian arms operation had been compromised by Russian intelligence, and the 9/11 attack was mounted to intercept the weapons intended for the rebels, and redirect them to either the Assad regime itself or to Hamas in Gaza for use against Israel should the conflict widen.
This would serve Russian interests by once and for all halting the massive arms shipments funneled through Benghazi to Turkey, and from there to the Syrian rebels. Clearly, in the eyes of the Russians, the Benghazi gun-running represented an unacceptable intervention by the Americans in the Syrian civil war. Russian President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly warned Obama not to meddle in the Syrian conflict.
It was widely discussed among the attendees of the G20 summit that Putin feared that the fall of the Assad regime would result in yet another unstable Islamist government, as had already resulted from the other "Arab Spring" revolts.
His theory makes more sense than anything else I've read to date. It's always been puzzling as to why AQ or AQ-backed groups would have attacked the Benghazi operation if indeed Stevens, with Turkey's help, was moving weapons into their war against Assad in Syria.  Seems self-defeating.  But if the Ansar group is actually backed by Iran the entire thing makes perfect sense and explains why the administration went to such lengths to cover up the event.

It does not, however, comport with Andy Wood's statements made on the 60 Minutes segment regarding AQ backed groups wanting to attack our mission, other than perhaps a general conclusion that "Islamic militants" were likely to attack.  There may be many shades of gray in play.  Of course, if any of the above story is even remotely true there is no way the public will be hearing about it anytime soon.  We should also expect more hijinks in the coming weeks to dissuade or confuse or diminish the testimony of anyone involved as an eye-witness.

One could make the argument that perhaps the public should not know the brutal truth, that there's a limit on sunshine in a dangerous world.  But considering the current events occurring now in the Middle East, with the administration now on a course to sign a 'peace' deal with Iran after the embarrassment of Syria--and the possible longer term consequences of such a deal--maybe we need to know.   

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Side Tracks

Saw this last weekend and did an LOL.  Hey, it's a golf-themed blog...

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

It's the Credibility, Stupid

Jay Carney is in a near melt-down trying to defend the indefensible on the health care lies but such displays can be quite useful in determining just who is controlling the levers of power in this country. And the verdict ain't good..
“I know it’s spoken in tones of dramatic revelation,” Carney continued, “but it was a known fact at the time. We never pretended otherwise.” “But Jay,” Karl began. “That’d be that tone I was talking about,” Carney cracked.
Carney cannot take criticism.  It's bizarre to watch coming from a spokesman for the United States government.  But he really doesn't expect criticism  from anyone except the Fox News reporter, whom he often ridicules as a hack.  After yesterday's dustup ABC sent a new reporter and Carney repeated his talking points with a bit more tact, but Karl's colleagues took his place, peppering the bespectacled befuddler with question after question about whether the president needs to address the peeps over his iron-clad guarantee about insurance in the 0-care era, which some of them cannot keep, but Carney (like the president) just kept doubling-down.  His screaming message is basically "don't worry about yesterday, the law is gonna be so goooood".

But is that really what he wants to tell the public, that it's OK to lie for the cause so long as the cause is gonna be awesome in the long run, a sort of official ends justify means policy?   From the sunshine administration?  Or is this all just words again?

Saturday, November 02, 2013

LAX shooting follow-up

The murdered TSA agent has been identified, a Mr. Gerardo Hernandez aged 39. What a terrible waste. This man was not evil, he was just doing his job and supporting his family.

As to the TSA agents not being armed at the checkpoints, of course not.  Putting guns in holsters on people doing pat-downs and frisks would not be a very good idea.   Another report this morning says they are trained to 'save themselves' when gunfire rings out.   Another duh.  What could an unarmed TSA agent do to stop someone with a gun or bomb?   That's why they have law enforcement.

Another story details the decision of LAX officials to remove armed police from checkpoints and put them on roving patrols, a move made just recently.  That begs the question as to whether the suspect had been to the airport during the weeks prior for surveillance purposes.  Unless somehow this information had made it into the press beforehand.

As to the confusion of witnesses, there are possible explanations.  Some reported the shooter as wearing camo pants or clothes.  That appears to be correct based on the bloody clothes seen lying on the floor of the airport where he was shot.  Others said he had blond hair, which appears to be erroneous since the ambulance picture seems to show his natural dark hair.  At the same time others claimed he wore all blue or something similar to a TSA official's uniform, both of which could explain why initial reports said he was an off-duty officer.  People may have been seeing an agent with a gun drawn moving to confront the shooter.

As to the note discussing TSA and 'pigs' and 'pissed off patriots', this information has been leaked to the media despite it being evidence in a criminal case against a suspect, who at last report is still alive.  Unless the suspect dies in hospital it's unlikely the full note will be released, unlike what happened with the 'manifesto' written by the guy who flew a light aircraft into the IRS building in Austin, TX a few years ago.  So the leaker is only leaking what authorities want to leak right now.  

Finally, this picture in the Daily Mail needs an explanation.  Who is this person and why was he in handcuffs?

The most reasonable speculation is because he was in a restricted area during the melee.  But according to live feeds this event occurred after the shooter himself was 'down'.   Also, some witnesses claimed the shooter was wearing dark or blue clothes that appeared bulky, which appears to the case with this person.  None of which means there is a conspiracy afoot, only that witnesses are sometimes dismissed for seeing things that weren't there, when in fact sometimes their reports are accurate but they didn't see what they thought they saw.  This information can then be relayed instantaneously by security officials in the 'fog of war' and result in innocent people being scooped up or detained.


NBC News goes to the go-to source on right wing terrorism, Mark Potok's SPLC, and doesn't come away disappointed:
But a blog post by Mark Potok, an expert on U.S. hate groups with the Southern Poverty Law Center, added new details about what he described as a one-page “manifesto” that included references to the Federal Reserve and “fiat currency.”
Citing a knowledgeable source with ranking law enforcement contacts, Potok said Ciancia also had a note containing derogatory comments about former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
So who is this knowledgeable source? Obviously someone in a high position of government who would have access to the 'one page manifesto' (that hasn't been fully released to the general public) and would benefit by giving Potok a look-see so he could get the word out to NBC, et al.   

It's true the Patriot Movement includes some people who aren't really patriots, regardless of what nutballs like this guy say (who tried to defend these guys).  But when describing such things to the public it's beneficial for Potok and others to leave some fuzziness between the philosophies of fringe groups and people like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Tea Party members in general.  So they will.  Ciancia appears the be the 'terrorist' they've been waiting for.   After all, the mid-terms are coming and Obama is having a spot of trouble with the website. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

Iraq Update

Things are not going well there...
When demonstrators took to the streets in the aftermath of the arrest of the Iraqi finance minister's bodyguards in December 2012, they were carrying Ba'athist flags. Some were even waving al-Qaeda flags. And then in January 2013 Saddam Hussein's former deputy and surviving ranking member of the Ba'ath, Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, made an appearance on television, supporting the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, across the border in Syria, the al-Qaeda franchises Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham are growing in strength. Iraqis see the evidence for this on YouTube every day. The resurgence of the Ba'ath party and the resurgence of al-Qaeda, for Iraq’s Shia politicians, is all of their nightmares at once.
Al-Duri is like the Ba'ath Party energizer bunny, he just keeps going, somehow avoiding capture.  Whether he's involved in helping ISIS send fighters to Syria to help topple Bashar Assad (who in their spare time are setting up an Islamic caliphate in the northern part of the country) is unknown. 

Perhaps his longevity can be explained by a relationship to the US of some kind (double agent) or perhaps it's due to something he knows that could be harmful.  Whatever the answer seems destined for future history books.

Meanwhile in America people have forgotten Iraq--for good reason--but this surge in chaos could conceivably become a ticklish political problem for Obama due to his much-trumpeted departure and even more visibly, the optics of America siding with AQ in Iraq over Syria while the president opens rhetorical cans of whoop-ass on AQ franchises everywhere else around the globe (except Benghazi).

President al-Maliki has been in Washington this week pressing the flesh and urging a break in the bottleneck of military hardware his country has ordered that was designed to help fight terrorism.  He met with the president today, something described by both sides as discussing a long-term security relationship, so here's Jay Carney tap dancing around the obvious questions...

Short version, Iraq was a dumb war and we ain't going back, even if AQ attacks America from Iraq, at least as long as Obama is president.  It's Iraq's job to fight our war on terrorism against AQ in Iraq and besides, we are busy using our resources chasing people like Joseph Kony. 

Of course this construct won't last forever.  Should Team Billary get elected in 2016 would they have the same qualms about sending special operators if necessary?  After all, neither have firmly apologized for their tough stance on Iraq over the years.  How are they going to combat the criticism about her vote, especially if the country itself is still in chaos?   Will Hil finally apologize and blame Bush, which still leaves her vulnerable for siding with Bush, or will she or Bill authorize somebody in the know to leak something about Saddam's past actions that makes her vote look much better in retrospect, which would also rescue Bush's long term legacy?   Should be interesting.  

LA Shooting

Another senseless tragedy in America. Once again the media tripped on itself in reporting the facts in the initial rush for breaking news, but it seems they are getting better.  Which means they are learning from their mistakes due to the frequency of such events.  Which is grotesque.

Surely there will be a healthy (or unhealthy) level of conspiracy theories over this, if nothing else due to the alleged shooter's own last name, which includes the words "cia" twice.  But if feels more like another young man who was probably a loser with women, possibly suicidal, who wanted to end it all in a blaze of glory as if living the ending of a video game.  Most probably not very religious or even conservative for that matter.  But that's just speculation. Which is OK for a blog, but not for CNN or the LA Times.

The media is harping on material  found in his possession that they claim indicates "strong anti-government views", which means everyone knows where the discussion is going next.  Specifically they claim it said he wanted to "kill TSA and pigs".  Hmm, is the slander term 'pig' still widely used to describe the police?   It's not in my circles.