Sunday, December 29, 2013

Times to the Rescue

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

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

Not a whit.

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

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

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

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

CRAVEN   12/30/13

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

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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Odds n Ends

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

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

Friday, December 20, 2013

Don't Panic, All is Well

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fahrenheit All Over Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Real Story of Arapahoe?

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

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

Friday, December 13, 2013

Aviation Update

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

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

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

UPDATE  12/14/13 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE   12/17/13

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

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Return of Hersh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Side Tracks

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

The video also brings back some turntable memories. 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Syria Update

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

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

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Family Ties

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Belief in What?

CNN's "Belief Blog" is on a roll. 

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

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

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

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

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

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