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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!



My son's jack-o'-lantern.

The Evil of Liberalism Explained

This reminds me of some discussions I had with my daughter about why liberalism is evil, rather than simply misdirected concern for others. A review by Jim O'Neil of the "Kindergarden [sic] of Eden."
“If they weren’t so dangerous and destructive, one could smile and pat the Modern Liberal on the head and tell him how cute he is and go on about the business of being an adult. But he is dangerous and destructive, with the True Believer’s very purpose being the total destruction of everything that God and science—most obviously Western Civilization—has ever created. ...The Modern Liberal will invariably and, in fact, inevitably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success.”—Evan Sayet “The Kindergarden of Eden”.

. . . Of all the harmful doctrines promulgated by liberals, perhaps none has been as devastating in its effects as relativism. Put simply, relativism is the belief that there is no such thing as objective truth—truth is relative—one person’s “truth"is no more or less valid than another person’s. Relativism has been incorporated into several insidious offshoots such as moral relativism, cultural relativism, deconstructionism, postmodernism, political correctness, and multiculturalism.

I would be more than happy to slice and dice the concept of relativism like a Cuisinart blender, but time will not allow for it at the moment. Suffice it for now to point out that one of the basal claims of relativism—“there are no absolutes”—is self-refuting. That is, if the axiom is right then it is wrong, for the statement itself is asserting an absolute.

Leftists will of course counter that argument with one of their own, and so on until you have boxed them into their ultimate fall-back position of nihilism—at which point they will tell you that words are meaningless, logic is senseless, science oppressive, and nothing matters. Why they do not just say that up front and spare us all the song and dance is beyond me—luring in the gullible I suppose.

(Sidebar: If you would like to delve into the subject in more depth, let me suggest the paper “Relativism”(available online) by Allen Wood, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. Dr. Wood is more refined than I in his dialogue with relativists, e.g.: “If relativists say that this isn’t what they mean when they assert a proposition or say they believe it, then they are apparently using the terms “assert” and “believe” in a new and mysterious sense, which they apparently can’t explain. Until they do explain the meanings these words have for them, we can’t be sure what (if anything) they are really saying when their mouths make noises that sound (to us) like assertions of relativism”).

Moving right along, let me next touch on the decline and fall of American education—triggered in no small part by members of the Frankfurt School. Most readers are at least somewhat familiar with the Frankfurt School—that group of German Marxists who were welcomed into the United States during the Nazi’s rise to power in the 1930s. Members of the Frankfurt School repaid America’s largesse by stabbing her in the back and spreading an especially virulent form of anti-Americanism throughout US academia. Perhaps the most infectious carrier of their disease was Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979).

“Sex sells"is a well known advertising axiom, and Marcuse hit upon the diabolically clever stratagem of combining sex with soft-sell Marxism. In 1955 Marcuse published his book “Eros and Civilization,“which lit the fire that would erupt into “the sexual revolution"of the 1960s (aided and abetted by the bogus “scientific findings"of pervert extraordinaire Dr. Alfred Kinsey—“Marquis de Sade with a research team"as Selwyn Duke describes him).

Eros and Civilization“popularized the concept of polymorphous perversity (a term coined by atheist and hater of Judeo/Christian tradition Sigmund Freud). Polymorphous perversity was put into the vernacular in the 1960s as “If it feels good do it.“Skillfully hidden within the “if it feels good do it"camouflage, Marcuse included anti-capitalism, anti-freedom, anti-American Marxist propaganda.

Polymorphous perversity leaves everything and anything of a sexual nature on the table—pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, you name it. Whatever floats your boat is considered tr√®s
[sic] chic, and any opposition to such perversions is considered to be hopelessly retardataire, repressive and anti-revolutionary. “No discrimination"is the operative catch-phrase, and as Evan Sayet observes, “Once you subscribe to indiscriminateness everything else is the evil of having discriminated.”

And here we come to Evan Sayet’s book “The Kindergarden of Eden"and its surprising, even stunning, conclusions concerning the mindset of America’s modern liberal. Although Sayet has a background as a humorist, his description of modern liberalism is no joke. Andrew Breitbart described Sayet’s talk given at The Heritage Foundation in 2007 as “one of the five most important conservative speeches ever given.“The video of his speech (”How Liberals Think”) on YouTube has had over 600,000 views.

Sayet’s description of the modern liberal mindset is summarized in the quote that opened this article: “...the Modern Liberal will invariably and, in fact, inevitably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success.”

. . . In its simplest form, the culture war is a war being waged by the people who don’t do anything against the people who do everything. ...For the first part of the Modern Liberal era, the abject stupidity of the permanently infantilized could be absorbed…. So long as there were a sufficient number of people of God and science doing things and making things, these Modern Liberals could remain forever like Adam and Eve in Eden, or a child in a kindergarten playground….So long as there were people of God and science who could provide for him when he couldn’t provide for himself, he was sure to be safe and comfortable just being himself and doing whatever feels good. Today we are at a tipping point where the people of God and science will soon be overwhelmed by the demands of taking care of the permanently infantilized. It is unsustainable.
 Read the whole thing.

Was Global Warming Responsible for Sandy?

Short answer: no. 

From the New York Times, a discussion of whether global warming (in particular, the alleged man-made global warming) was responsible for making Sandy stronger than it otherwise would have been. (H/t Weasel Zippers).
There are several areas in which greenhouse-driven warming is thought to be a potential influence. The first is in the buildup of heat in southern surface waters. A paper published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was the latest to draw this conclusion, in this case through detailed analysis of storm surges recorded by Atlantic coast tide gauges:
We find that warm years in general were more active in all cyclone size ranges than cold years. The largest cyclones are most affected by warmer conditions and we detect a statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events (roughly corresponding to tropical storm size) since 1923.
But on longer time scales, the situation is murky because so many factors shape the formation and growth of tropical cyclones. I wrote in 2007 about a Nature paper by Jeff Donnelly of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and others. Here’s the core conclusion:
Over the last 5,000 years, the eastern Caribbean has experienced several periods, lasting centuries, in which strong hurricanes occurred frequently even though ocean temperatures were cooler than those measured today, according to a new study.
That’s the Caribbean, of course.

What about the Northeast? Here’s Hurricane Sandy. Last year was Hurricane Irene and then there was Hurricane Floyd in 1999. But when you look back in time in this region, big questions arise about just what constitutes a superstorm.

As I’ve written before, the great tropical storm and floods that devastated Vermont in November 1927 (and after Irene) appear to have been minor compared to repeated past hill-scouring superfloods, according to an important study of lake-bed sediments revealing storm patterns and intensities in recent millenniums.

Here’s the lede from my story on that paper, published one decade ago:
Four times since the last ice age, at intervals roughly 3,000 years apart, the Northeast has been struck by cycles of storms far more powerful than any in recent times, according to a new study. The region appears to have entered a fifth era in which such superstorms are more likely, the researchers say.
 In an update to the author's post, he also includes the following:
Martin Hoerling, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration focused on the forces influencing extreme weather, sent this note:
Great events can have little causes. In this case, the immediate cause is most likely little more that the coincidental alignment of a tropical storm with an extratropical storm. Both frequent the west Atlantic in October…nothing unusual with that. On rare occasions their timing is such as to result in an interaction which can lead to an extreme event along the eastern seaboard. As to underlying causes, neither the frequency of tropical or extratropical cyclones over the North Atlantic are projected to appreciably change due to climate change, nor have there been indications of a change in their statistical behavior over this region in recent decades (see IPCC 2012 SREX report).

So, while it will rain like “black cats and Frankenweenies” over the midatlantic, this is not some spell conjured upon us by great external forces….unless you believe in the monster flicks of Universal Stuidios fame!
 Comments from other scientists also discount that Sandy was caused by man-made global warming.

So, in short, this is just another example that the 20th Century was actually rather benign in terms of extreme weather and other natural disasters, but we may be entering more "normal" periods. The greater destruction of property is simply a result of people building in flood-prone areas, and a greater concentration of people and buildings. If we had weather and climate events, earthquakes and tsunamis, comparable to the first two decades of the 19th century, we would be seeing hundreds of millions of people dead or displaced.

Facebook Stock Continues to Fall as Employees Begin Selling Shares

And this, despite a it seeing "its biggest one-day gain last Wednesday after posting strong third-quarter results. The day before, Facebook detailed for the first time how much money it makes from mobile ads." (Story here).

PBS Journalist Sees Danger in Fragmenting Nation

Somehow, the United States survived and prospered for over 100 years without mass media and the news being controlled by an oligarchy of three networks and a handful of major newspapers. Yet Jeffrey Brown (co-anchor of PBS News Hour) laments that "a fragmented news" makes for a fragmented nation that is more difficult to control. From McClatchy:
A generation ago, before cable news channels and internet news sources, most people got their news from the same small collection of sources: three major TV networks and a hometown newspaper or two, Brown said. People gathered around their televisions for the assassination of a president, a walk on the moon, and other major events.

"It was an age of mass media news, one audience sharing a common experience," Brown said. "For the most part, the mass audience experienced such things together."

Brown, featured speaker for the university's Fall Family Open House Saturday, Oct. 27, contrasted that world with the one we live in today, in which Americans can restrict themselves to cable news stations and internet news sources they find most congenial.

"For the most part, we now live in the world of niches," Brown said.

He acknowledged that the availability of more choices was a good thing, but also noted that the change seems to be part of a far more divided and bitter political atmosphere.

"If we only connect with like-minded people, how do we hear other views?" Brown asked. "It's hard not to feel it has some relationship to the divisions around us."
Echo says, "How do we hear other views when the news is controlled by a like-minded cabal of  journalists?"


Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/10/30/173073/pbs-newsman-sees-danger-in-fragmented.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Moon Suffered Enormous Collision

The largest dark spot on the moon, known as the Ocean of Storms, may be a scar from a giant cosmic impact that created a magma sea more than a thousand miles wide and several hundred miles deep, researchers say.

These findings could help explain why the moon's near and far sides are so very different from one another, investigators added.

Scientists analyzed Oceanus Procellarum, or the Ocean of Storms, a dark spot on the near side of the moon more than 1,800 miles wide.

The near side of the moon, the side that always faces Earth, is quite different from the far side, often erroneously called the moon's dark side (this side does in fact get sunlight — it simply never faces Earth). For example, widespread plains of volcanic rock called "maria" (Latin for seas) cover nearly a third of the near side, but only a few maria are seen on the far one.

. . . The researchers analyzed the composition of the moon's surface using data from the Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya/Selene. These data revealed that a low-calcium variety of the mineral pyroxene is concentrated around Oceanus Procellarum and large impact craters such as the South Pole-Aitkenand Imbriumbasins. This type of pyroxene is linked with the melting and excavation of material from the lunar mantle, and suggests the Ocean of Storms is a leftover from a cataclysmic impact.

This collision would have generated "a 3,000-kilometer wide magma sea several hundred kilometers in depth," lead study author Ryosuke Nakamura, a planetary scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, told SPACE.com.

The investigators say that collisions large enough to create Oceanus Procellarum and the moon's other giant impact basins would have completely stripped the original crust on the near side of the moon. The crust that later formed there from the molten rock left after these impacts would differ dramatically from that on the far side, explaining why these halves are so distinct.

Rome's Lost Aqueduct

The hunt for the Aqua Traiana (“Aqueduct of Trajan”).

Halloween Optical Illusions

Halloween and optical illusions--a slide show from Scientific American.

Sandy--The Aftermath

NBC News has a good summary of the aftermath and impact of the storm. Some highlights:
  • More than 7 million homes and businesses were without power across many states, and nearly half of the outages were in New York and New Jersey. NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins warned to "expect the cleanup and power outage restoration to continue right up through Election Day."
  • A massive fire destroyed at least 50 homes in Breezy Point, a seaside community in Queens, N.Y. Firefighters had difficulty reaching the blaze due to the severe weather. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
  • Seven subway tunnels under the East River in New York City were flooded, leading MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota to declare: "The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night."
  • PATH train service between Manhattan and New Jersey is likely to be suspended for 7-10 days, Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday.
  • Half of Hoboken, N.J., was underwater, preventing emergency crews from reaching areas of the city, according to Mayor Dawn Zimmer. "We want people to be aware that it's a very dangerous situation," she told MSNBC.
  • At least four towns in north New Jersey — Moonachie, Little Ferry, South Hackensack and Hackensack — were submerged by up to 6 feet of water after a levee broke.
  • New York University Medical Center evacuated 215 patients to other hospitals because its backup generator was out. Critical patients — including infants in neonatal intensive care — were taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and New York Presbyterian Hospital.
  • The storm surge destroyed a number of houses on Fire Island, N.Y., where some people had decided to sit out Sandy.
  • Over 15,773 flights have been canceled so far, including 6,047 Tuesday morning and 635 already listed for Wednesday. Rail traffic was also heavily affected, with Amtrak canceling all of its Northeast Corridor service, in addition to some other lines.
  • Rising waters sparked an alert at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey Monday night, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. The alert was the "second lowest of four NRC action levels," it added, and was "due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant’s water intake structure." Exelon said there was no danger to equipment and no threat to public health or safety.
They also report:
Seawater surged into lower Manhattan and areas of Brooklyn, submerging entire streets and parks Monday. An all-time record tide level of 13.88 feet was set at The Battery in Lower Manhattan, Monday night, breaking the previous record of 11.2 feet from 1821, as well as Sandy Hook, N.J., shattering the previous record from the Dec. 1992 Nor'easter and Hurricane Donna in 1960, according to weather.com.
 And:
Blizzard warnings have also been posted for the mountains of West Virginia, western Virginia and Garrett County, Md. The largest amount of snow reported as of Monday evening was 16 inches in Tucker County, W.Va.
Fox News has a summary as well. It notes:
New York was among the hardest hit, with its financial heart closed for a second day and seawater cascading into the still-gaping construction pit at the World Trade Center. The storm caused the worst damage in the 108-year history of New York's subway system, and there was no indication of when the largest U.S. transit system would be rolling again.

But the full extent of the damage in New Jersey was being revealed as morning arrived. Emergency crews fanned out to rescue hundreds.

A hoarse-voiced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave bleak news at a morning news conference: Seaside rail lines washed away. No safe place on the state's barrier islands for him to land. Parts of the coast still under water.

"It is beyond anything I thought I'd ever see," he said. "It is a devastating sight right now."

The death toll from Sandy in the U.S. climbed to 18, including several killed by falling trees. Sandy also killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Eastern Seaboard.

Airlines canceled more than 12,000 flights. New York City's three major airports remained closed.
Fox News also has a slide show of images of the destruction and the storm.

A few articles from the Daily Mail on the disaster. First, the death toll has been raised to 39 people (and, of course, the article includes more photographs of the disaster). 750,000 people in NYC were without power Tuesday morning (millions more, elsewhere), and power may not be fully restored for several days (which raises the question of whether we might see looting). And New Yorkers face infestations of rats driven into homes and businesses from the flood waters.

Obama's New "Forward" Slogan Has Marxist and Socialist Roots

Not surprising. Full story here.

Further Developments on Benghazi

The Washington Times has an op-ed from Admiral James A. Lyons calling for full disclosure on what happened in Benghazi. He writes, in part:
There is an urgent need for full disclosure of what has become the “Benghazi Betrayal and Cover-up.” The Obama national security team, including CIA, DNI and the Pentagon, apparently watched and listened to the assault on the U.S. consulate and cries for help but did nothing. If someone had described a fictional situation with a similar scenario and described our leadership ignoring the pleas for help, I would have said it was not realistic—not in my America – but I would have been proven wrong.

We now know why Ambassador Christopher Stevens had to be in Benghazi the night of 9/11 to meet a Turkish representative, even though he feared for his safety. According to various reports, one of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadhafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 – portable SAMs – to Islamists and other al Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria. In an excellent article, Aaron Klein states that Stevens routinely used our Benghazi consulate (mission) to coordinate the Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Qatari governments’ support for insurgencies throughout the Middle East. Further, according to Egyptian security sources, Stevens played a “central role in recruiting Islamic jihadists to fight the Assad Regime in Syria.”

In another excellent article, Clare Lopez at RadicalIslam.org noted that there were two large warehouse-type buildings associated with our Benghazi mission. During the terrorist attack, the warehouses were probably looted. We do not know what was there and if it was being administrated by our two former Navy SEALs and the CIA operatives who were in Benghazi. Nonetheless, the equipment was going to hardline jihadis.

Once the attack commenced at 10:00 p.m. Libyan time (4:00 p.m. EST), we know the mission security staff immediately contacted Washington and our embassy in Tripoli. It now appears the White House, Pentagon, State Department, CIA, NDI, JCS and various other military commands monitored the entire battle in real time via frantic phone calls from our compound and video from an overhead drone. The cries for help and support went unanswered.

. . .

Once the attack commenced, Stevens was taken to a “safe room” within the mission. It is not known whether his location was betrayed by the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, the local force providing security to the consulate, which had ties to the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist group conducting the attack, and to al Qaeda. . . .

The Obama national security team, including CIA, DNI, State Department and the Pentagon, watched and listened to the assault but did nothing to answer repeated calls for assistance. It has been reported that President Obama met with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in the Oval Office, presumably to see what support could be provided.
He goes on to note that the U.S. had available military resources, including fighters and a special forces team in Italy, and an AC-130 gunship, that probably would have been able to disperse the fighters, but nothing was done. (I would note that this matches with what the Military Insider told the Ulsterman Report a day ago).  The Admiral concludes:
Somebody high up in the administration made the decision that no assistance (outside our Tripoli embassy) would be provided, and let our people be killed. The person who made that callous decision needs to be brought to light and held accountable.
On a slightly different, note, there has been various rumors and stories circulating about General Ham's role in this, and why he is leaving as commander of AFRICOM (African Command). The Washington Times reports that General Ham is retiring. It also notes:
. . . on Monday October 29 a defense official told The Washington Times that "the decision [to leave AFRICOM] was made by General Ham. He ably served the nation for nearly forty years and retires after a distinguished career." Previously all that was known was that General Ham would be rotating out of AFRICOM at some future date, but not that he was leaving the service. General Ham is a few years short of the mandatory retirement age of 64, but it is not unusual for someone of that rank to retire after serving in such a significant command.

The questions concerning General Ham's role in the September 11 events continue to percolate. Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said that General Ham told him during a visit to Libya that he had never been asked to provide military support for the Americans under attack in Benghazi. Former United States Ambassador to the U.N. John R, Bolton also mentioned Mr. Chaffetz's account, and contrasted it with Mr. Panetta's statement that General Ham had been part of the team that made the decision not to send in forces. "General Ham has now been characterized in two obviously conflicting ways," Mr. Bolton concluded. "Somebody ought to find out what he actually was saying on September the eleventh."

 


Is Benghazi Another Gunrunning Scandal? (Updated Jan. 5, 2013))

Benghazi may be another gunrunning scandal. From Front Page Magazine:
Over the weekend, the newest, and by far the most disturbing, revelations surrounding the Benghazi attack were revealed. Several sources have pointed to the possibility that a major CIA gun-running operation aimed at arming anti-Assad Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces was in danger of being exposed. If true, the information casts an even more devastating pall over the Benghazi terrorist attack and the administration’s botched handling of the region.

The decision to stand down as the Benghazi terrorist attack was underway was met with extreme opposition from the inside. The Washington Times‘s James Robbins, citing a source inside the military, reveals that General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, who got the same emails requesting help received by the White House, put a rapid response team together and notified the Pentagon it was ready to go. He was ordered to stay put. “His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow,” writes Robbins. “Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.”

If true, Ham has apparently decided he wants no part of the responsibility for the decision not to help those in harm’s way. He is not alone. As the Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol revealed late Friday, a spokesperson, “presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus,” released the following statement: ”No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”

Obama himself is stonewalling.

. . . Several sources have come up with explosive answers accounting for the administration’s reticence.

According to WND’s Aaron Klein, “Egyptian security officials” revealed that Ambassador Christopher Stevens “played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.” Stevens was reportedly a key contact for Saudi Arabian officials, who wanted to recruit fighters from North Africa and Libya, and send them to Syria by way of Turkey. The recruits were ostensibly screened by U.S. security organizations, and anyone thought to have engaged in fighting against Americans, including those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, were not sent to engage Assad’s regime.

Yet as Klein further notes, reality is far different. The rebels the administration armed to fight Gaddafi, as well as those we may have armed to fight Assad, do include al-Qaeda members, and fighters from other jihadist groups as well.

As to the nature of the arms themselves, an October 6 report by the New York Times’ Robert Worth reveals that “Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling money and small arms to Syria’s rebels but have refused to provide heavier weapons, such as shoulder-fired missiles, that could allow opposition fighters to bring down government aircraft, take out armored vehicles and turn the war’s tide.” The reason they have refused to provide more lethal weapons to the rebels is partly because “they have been discouraged by the United States, which fears the heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists.”

Yet as Business Insider reveals ”there’s growing evidence that U.S. agents–particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens–were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels” (italic mine) and that, beginning in March 2011, Stevens was “working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group–a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.” In November 2011, the Daily Telegraph reported that “Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, ‘met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,’ said a military official working with Mr Belhadj.” Reportedly, many of the militia groups that helped oust Gaddafi were eager to export their revolution to Syria.

Three days after the attack in Benghazi, it was revealed that ”a Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria…has docked in Turkey,” with a cargo that “weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.” Business Insider speculates the weapons came “most likely from Muammar Gaddafi’s stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles–the bulk of them SA-7s–that the Libyan leader obtained from the former Eastern bloc.”

The Insider then reaches a devastating conclusion. “And if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey–a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact (meaning Belhadj) during the Libyan revolution–then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.”

But not just Turkey and the U.S. Canada Free Press columnist Doug Hagmann, citing a ”well placed source with extensive knowledge about the attack,” claims that “Russia was fully aware of this operation and warned the U.S. not to engage in the destabilization of Syria, as doing so would endanger (Russian) national security interests.” He further asserts that Stevens’ final meeting in Benghazi on September 11 was with ”his Turkish counterpart, who reportedly warned Stevens that the (gun-running) operation was compromised.”

That the administration was helping to arm the worst elements in the region — jihadist rebels also at war with the United States — may explain the administration’s vigorous stonewalling to date. Far from just a diplomatic mission in Libya, the evidence suggests that one of the explicit functions of the U.S. “consulate” was to oversee the transfer of Libyan weapons from the Gaddafi regime’s stockpile, including to the opposition in Syria.

“In short, it seems President Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale,” Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney explains in the Washington Times. “The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies, as well. That would explain his administration’s desperate, and now-failing, bid to mislead the voters through the serial deflections of Benghazigate.”
What is interesting to me is, shortly after the attack (Sept. 20), the White House Insider (WHI) at the Ulsterman Report speculated that gunrunning to terrorists may have been behind the Benghazi attack:

UM: How about the Middle East stuff? The embassy attacks? I have been trying to get out as much information on that as possible. Is that going to hurt Obama like it should?

WHI: It will – it IS hurting him. Not as much as it should – media is in 24/7 protect mode. That whole things stinks…not just the president’s reaction to it. Not just the lying by the administration…but the fella who was killed…that ambassador. Now this is me – this is just me thinkin’ here. What my gut is tellin’ me on this…that guy was no ambassador. Officially yeah – but off the books. He was CIA. Had to have been. You made a comment in one of your stories…’bout how it was like Fast and Furious except in the Middle East. Somethin’ like that.

UM: That if Obama was willing to arm Mexican drug lords, why not Muslim extremists.

WHI: Right – somethin’ like that. Think you might a nailed it there without knowing it. You meant it as…like a bit of sarcasm there at the end of what you wrote – but you actually said what the real deal is. Obama sent a sh-tload of weapons into Libya during the Gaddafi thing. Had no idea who they were going to…just…tens of millions of dollars worth of high grade weaponry. Now you think folks like al Qaeda and other militant groups won’t notice? It was a take what you need weapons supermarket courtesy of the Obama government for them! Not much different than what happened in Egypt.

UM: How so?

WHI: You got Egypt. You got Libya. Both of them were run by…basically they guys running the show were non-practicing Muslims, right? Mubarak – he couldn’t stand the Muslim hardliners and he beat the sh-t out of them every chance he got. Him and his military cronies. So he kept the peace that way. He kept business open to American and European interests. Things weren’t perfect, but a hell of a lot better than say,Iran. He could tell Iran to shut the f-ck up, and Iran had to consider it because Egypt had some real muscle. It had a military, and it had the backing of the West.

Now Libya…Gadaffi was a real sh*t. Sick bastard. But like Mubarak – he didn’t like the Muslim hardliners in Libya either. Especially if they were gonna cause trouble for him. So he would intimidate the sh-t out of them too. At least over the last decade or so. Gaddafi had two coming to God moments in his life. The first was when Reagan bombed the hell out of his palace. He knew he coulda died then. He knew the West could come in and take his life if it wanted. So he moderated. Then there was 9-11. And when Bush went into Iraq and did his thing – they found Hussein and put him on trial and hung the bastard…that scared the hell out of Gaddafi. Really got inside his head. So he moderated some more. He was actually…my understanding…he was actually becoming a regular contributor to our Intel. By that time he couldn’t stand al Qaeda anymore than we could. Maybe less so because they posed an even more direct threat to him.

And what happens? The dumbest pile of sh-t that has ever sat in that White House helps to force Mubarak and Gaddafi out – and we got no real plan for the aftermath. All kinds of people are telling the administration the Muslim Brotherhood could take overEgypt. Could take over Libya. They either ignored those warning or that is EXACTLY what they wanted to happen.

They are warned that Gadaffi’s departure will create more chaos in Libya and there are a sh-tload of weapons that will be unaccounted for. That is exactly what happens. Obama doesn’t give a sh-t. Too busy golfing. Doing the talk shows. Right? Telling Israel to go f-ck themselves. Dancing around Iran instead of punching them right in their f-cking face. Jarrett is Iranian. Jarrett has long ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. You would think, maybe for one f-cking second, enough people in the media would think maybe – just maybe…we should take a closer look at all this.

(Pause)

What if that ambassador fella…what if he was killed by weapons sent there by Barack Obama? Just like you said in that off-handed way. And what if there are tens of thousands of those weapons being used by al Qaeda right now? Maybe on their way to the Israeli border? And not just guns ‘cause that’s not all we were sending into Libya you know. We’re talking some high powered take down an airliner kinda stuff.

And take it a bit further. We did that. And we did it knowingly. We did it willingly. The Obama White House. Their hand picked stooges in the military, in State. They did that.

Now let me go one little step more here. What if that ambassador…well…let’s say he came across certain information…damaging to the administration. Why is he flying into that consulate in Benghazi? Cover of night. No security precautions. Anti-Western sentiment reaching critical levels. It’s almost like he was trying to keep his whereabouts unknown to his own government. Right? And that bullsh-t little YouTube video thing? It had been out for…what – months? Nobody gave a sh-t about it. NOBODY.

But then it is being used as the spark to start the fire? Who did that? Who would want to get those sand…get those people are riled up like that? And the administration – they are saying it was that video right out of the gate, right? Like it was a packaged excuse ready to go. Packaged means it was part of something bigger. A bigger plan, right?

UM: (Interrupts) Hold on – I apologize. I just want to ask you if this is all your own speculation – or if you received information. (Military Insider?) You’re getting pretty specific here – and that usually – all the times we’ve done this…usually means you received information from another source.

WHI: This is me. Just me.

…so like I said…the video thing…it’s part of a packaged plan. They are running that excuse HARD. Libyans are saying it’s bullsh-t. London media…they got a sh-tload of people in Libya too who know – there is stuff going on between us and the Brits…they ain’t happy with Obama. Not all of them.

So basically everyone BUT the Obama administration is saying the Benghazi attack was pre-planned, right? Terrorist attack. And what is Barack Obama doing right at that time? He’s flying to Vegas. He’s doing goofy interviews. His White House just keeps repeating the video excuse over and over again.

So is this all just a pile of incompetent sh-t by the Obama administration? By Clinton? Did you notice how Defense said very little? And the CIA…Petraeus… has said nothing? In this town, some times the ones speaking the loudest are the ones not saying a word.

UM: And then we get the “secret” Romney 47% video released.

WHI: Right – right. Obama was starting to take on just a little bit of heat on the Middle East sh-t and that tape comes out. That thing wasn’t meant to come out this early. Late October, maybe – certainly not now. But they are so spooked and confused over the polling data, they released it sooner. That means the Middle East situation has them afraid. People are actually asking some questions now. Sniffing around the situation just a bit. And if they get somebody in the military…somebody like that…to go on the record with this…with whatever had that ambassador acting so strangely right before he was killed…well-well-well…

UM: So you’re going conspiracy on this?

WHI: Oh yeah. That was no accidental killing of the ambassador. And it wasn’t just al-Qaeda acting alone. They had approval. From somebody linked with our side of the fence.

UM: And you’re really just speculating here?

WHI: (Pause)

…Sure. Just me on this…just me thinking on Barack Obama – the Butcher of Benghazi.
 Update: (January 5, 2013) Fox News is reporting:
Egyptian authorities seized six U.S.-made missiles in the Sinai Peninsula Friday that security officials said were likely smuggled from Libya and bound for the Gaza Strip.

Libya's 2011 uprising and subsequent civil war left the country awash in weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, automatic rifles and other munitions. Since the end of the country's eight-month conflict, smugglers have transferred some of the weapons to Islamic militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which has faced a security vacuum since the country's own uprising, and from there onward in underground tunnels to neighboring Gaza.

Security officials said that police working on a tip from local Bedouin discovered the six U.S.-made missiles hidden in a hole in the desert outside the northern Sinai city of el-Arish before dawn on Friday. They said the anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles have a range of up to one mile.

The officials, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to media, did not specify the make of weapon.

Over the past year, Egypt's Interior Ministry has confiscated hundreds of weapons smuggled from Libya, often near the Egyptian city of Marsa Matrouh, which is located along the Mediterranean coastal highway some 270 miles northwest of Cairo. Last month, security officials seized 17 French-made missiles near el-Arish, east of Marsa Matrouh along the coast, before they could be smuggled through tunnels to the Gaza Strip.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Something New on the Murder of Saad Al-Hilli and His Family

This story sure is generating some interesting twists and turns. From the Daily Mail:
Saddam Hussain gave £840,000 to the family of the British engineer who was murdered with his wife in the Alps, it was claimed last night.

The former Iraqi dictator is said to have deposited the sum in a Swiss bank account in the name of Saad Al-Hilli’s father.

The claim, which apparently originated with German intelligence, adds a sensational twist to the baffling case. . . .

It raises the possibility that Mr Al-Hilli had managed to gain access to the account, which is thought to have remained in his father’s name, and that this was known to his killer.

The story was reported in the respected French newspaper Le Monde. It said that a French police source had revealed that the money’s source had been discovered by German intelligence agency BND.

The agency’s operatives routinely monitored the flow of cash to and from Baghdad as Germany did more business with the Saddam regime than any other country.

An intelligence source in Munich said last night: ‘They know the money trail, and they know how to follow it. They have spent decades monitoring money transactions between the West and Iraq. The BND is the first port of call in such circumstances.’

The BND said they had no comment on the report, saying: ‘We do not comment on operations.’

The Le Monde story was published under the headline: ‘The potential links between the Al-Hillis and Saddam Hussein.’

It said: ‘According to a French police source, the German secret service informed the gendarmerie’s anti-terrorist branch that there were links between the Al-Hilli family and Saddam Hussein’s fortune.

‘The tensions began after Saad Al-Hilli’s father [Kadhim] was struck off the list of beneficiaries of the former Iraqi dictator.’

It has always been suggested that Kadhim’s multi-million pound legacy – he died last year – led to conflict between Saad, who lived in Claygate, Surrey, and his brother Zaid who lives in nearby Chessington. However Zaid strongly denies there was any such feud.

Shortly after his murder, it emerged that Saad Al-Hilli had put a block on his father’s will, which effectively stopped his brother from inheriting his share until ‘unknown’ disputes were resolved.

But Le Monde says it was the money in the Swiss bank account – not the rest of the legacy – that may have caused friction between the two brothers.

. . . Shortly before the dictator was executed in 2006, it was revealed that he withdraw around £620 million from the Iraqi central bank in 2003, which he had begun to hide around the world. The assets would have been added to millions already deposited in accounts in other countries – mainly through Iraqis who had moved abroad.

Saddam is known to have concentrated large amounts in Switzerland and France, where he had at least two homes and moored a £17 million yacht.

If Saad Al-Hilli was party to this secret information – and indeed the location of the hidden millions – then he would have been an obvious target for an attack.

. . . In a separate development, it emerged yesterday that Mr Al-Hilli made a desperate attempt to drive his family to safety under a hail of bullets, but his car got stuck on a verge. The gunmen then moved in to finish them off at close range. Investigators believe the killer was alone and used only one weapon, a pistol common in the Swiss army in the Twenties and Thirties.

Obama Tried to Normalize Relations With Iran

This would explain his lack of support for the Iranian "Green Revolution." From the Israeli Times:

Soon after he took office, President Barack Obama began a process ultimately designed to reestablish full US diplomatic relations with Iran, including a reopening of embassies, an Israeli daily reported Sunday. The initiative, part of a wider shift in America’s diplomatic orientation, aimed at reaching understandings with Tehran over suspending its nuclear program, Maariv claimed, citing “two Western diplomats very close to the administration.”

The initiative led to at least two US-Iran meetings, the report said. Israel was made aware of the contacts, and opposed them.
But Iran rebuffed the “diplomatic hand” offered by the White House, Maariv reported. The Islamist regime “opposed any sign of normalization with the US, and refused to grant a ‘prize’ to the Americans,” according to an anonymous Israeli source quoted by the paper.

The information — the lead item on Maariv’s front page, headlined “Obama offered to renew relations with Iran” — comes on the heels of reports earlier this month that the US and Iran held back channel contacts toward establishing direct talks over Tehran’s nuclear program. Both the White House and Iran denied those reports.
According to Maariv, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met with chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili for an hour in 2009, and one other meeting between officials from both sides took place as well.

Included in the diplomatic incentives package offered by Washington would be, in the first stage, the opening of interest sections in Washington and Tehran, with the possibility subsequently of expanding to full diplomatic ties, including US and Iranian embassies and ambassadors in each other’s capitals, Maariv claimed.
As part of restored diplomatic relations with Iran, Maariv reported, Washington was ready to hold senior level diplomatic contacts, to agree to reciprocal visits, to approve security cooperation between the countries, direct flights between the US and Iran, and the granting of visas to Iranians wishing to visit the US.

NYC Gang Slang

Article at the New York Post. What is notable is the Crips abandoning their traditional gang colors in favor of using Adidas branded products, probably because the easy (and therefore, stupid) solution to gang problems used by many cities and schools is to ban gang colors. Are they now going to ban brand names and logos?


Saturday, October 27, 2012

And That's The Rest of the Story...

While most of the focus on Benghazi has been the dishonorable conduct of political leaders, here is more detals on the two ex-Navy SEALS that died when they went to the aid of the consulate:
So what actually happened at the U.S. embassy in Libya ? We are learning more about this every day. Ambassador Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, along with administrative staff, were working out of temporary quarters due to the fact that in the spring of 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring, the United States cut ties with then president Moammar Gadhafi. Our embassy was looted and ransacked, causing it to be unusable. It is still in a state of disrepair. Security for embassies and their personnel is to be provided by the host nation. Since Libya has gone through a civil war of sorts in the past 18 months, the current government is very unstable, and therefore, unreliable

A well-organized attack by radical Muslims was planned specifically targeting the temporary U.S. embassy building. The Libyan security force that was in place to protect our people deserted their post, or joined the attacking force. Either way, our people were in a real fix. And it should be noted that Ambassador Stevens had mentioned on more than one occasion to Secretary of State, “Hillary Clinton”, that he was quite concerned for his personal safety and the welfare of his people. It is thought that Ambassador Stevens was on a “hit list.”

A short distance from the American compound, two Americans were sleeping. They were in Libya as independent contractors working an assignment totally unrelated to our embassy. They also happened to be former Navy SEALs. When they heard the noise coming from the attack on our embassy, as you would expect from highly trained warriors, they ran to the fight. Apparently, they had no weapons, but seeing the Libyan guards dropping their guns in their haste in fleeing the scene, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty snatched up several of these discarded weapons and prepared to defend the American compound.

Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire, twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.

As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!

WSI--Situation in Europe Stabilizing

The Wall Street Insider tells the Ulsterman Report that the situation in Europe is stabilizing:
You questioned my work in Europe. I cannot publicly disclose the specifics of those doings, but will simply say much danger remains, but for now, the patient, if you will, has been stabilized. Italy’s condition is not nearly so dire as it was, and some who helped to manufacture its demise are now being held accountable for their action or inaction. Germany remains resolute in its determination to push back against the demands of the Socialists. How odd is it for me to be working so closely now with a country whose people once destroyed so many of my own? God does indeed work in mysterious ways. The opportunity of redemption is always provided, is it not?
He also notes:
I was so pleased to read the words of our mutual friend yesterday! To think upon Mitt Romney as a man who truly recognizes that God’s will is what must be done if this country is to be saved, how long has it been such a person has occupied the People’s House? And how much do so many of us now yearn for such a man to lead America? I did not actually realize the depth of that yearning until I read that story of Mr. Romney’s quiet prayer amidst the sound of thunder. What a beautiful and powerful telling, and I am left to now wonder how many, like me, are so hopeful to have a humble and dedicated servant of God in the White House once again.
The story he is talking about was from the White House Insider's repeating some observations from Romney's Colorado rally the other day. WHI related:
Got this feedback earlier today and thought you’d like to hear it. You know, I’ve gone from just trying to defeat Obama to really trying to help Governor Romney be this country’s next president. I’m really starting to believe there might be something very special about this man. This took place out in Colorado. Just a couple days ago. Probably my favorite campaign trail story that’s come back my way so far this election. Wish I had been there. I’m going to try and get a little poetic on you here. Hope I pull it off OK and do this story justice.

. . . The governor returns backstage and he is smiling and shaking hands, taking congratulations from everybody around him. He’s saying how great it was. Somebody yells out he’s going to win Colorado and the governor laughs and says he thinks so too. And then something very interesting happens. He moves away from the group of people just a bit. Maybe ten or fifteen feet or so. Just enough to have a little space to himself. And enough people notice that the area gets a lot more quiet, and they are trying to watch the governor without looking like they are watching the governor. They can all kind of tell something is happening right then. It was described as something very peaceful and powerful that came over that backstage area for a moment. And the governor, he lowers his head and his eyes shut tight and you could see him take a slow deep breath and then he lets it out and says quietly, but just loud enough for some to hear, “Lord, if this is your will, please help to make me worthy. Please give me the strength Lord.” And then his eyes open up, and he’s back to smiling and laughing and shaking hands and being the candidate once again.

I’m 100% convinced Mitt Romney was shaken to his soul right then and there. I think at that moment it was sinking in he might really be the next American president, and it humbled him right to his core, in every nerve of his body. And as he was saying that little prayer, you could hear the sound of thunder from all those thundersticks outside. Like this huge low rumble that just surrounded all of them at once. A quiet little prayer, and the sound of thunder.

The sound of God.

Benghazi Scandal Getting Worse (Updated)

The reports coming out show that the Administration and senior military officials were well aware of the attack in Benghazi, including that it was by terrorists, even while the attacks were underway, yet did nothing. (CNN story about emails to the Administration) (CBS story about drones in the area)

The CBS story relates:
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday defended the U.S. military response, saying the situation on the ground was too confusing.

"You don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's on, without having some real time information about what's taking place," Panetta said.

He said senior officers, including Gen. Carter Ham, the U.S. commander for Africa, and General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all opposed military intervention.

"General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation," Panetta said.

When asked whether they had forces on any heightened alert in that area because of the approaching 9/11 anniversary, Panetta said they did.

Gen. Dempsey added: "And let me point out, it was 9/11 everywhere in the world."
However, Fox News reported on Friday that CIA security personnel in the area were twice told to stand down, and denied military backup. The report states:
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.
This prompted a statement from the CIA that it (the CIA) had not told anyone present to stand down.

Significant here, though, was that there were two Predator drones in the area, "boots on the ground" including a CIA security officer with a laser target designator, and, at some point, a Spectre gunship. How much more intelligence and observation did they need? Not every mission can be like the raid on Bin Laden's compound where there are months to plan every little detail.

However, it appears that more may be about to become public. The White House Insider at the Ulsterman Report indicated yesterday (Friday, Oct. 26):
Got word an all-call went out at the WH A.M. today.

That means they are doing what’s called “huddling”. Has to be related to the Benghazi news now hitting. Have good source in Chicago saying their office is acting very odd today as well. Can’t say if this will break out all the way now, but we are getting very close to an all out WH red alert scenario. Not there yet but very close.

Significant activity from Ruemmler’s office over the last 24.

In this situation there will likely be 1 of 2 responses from WH.

-Highly controlled briefing response. Attempt explanation, then hope story gets buried over weekend and race to election day.

-Announced resignation of someone inside administration. President apologizes for mistakes by some in his administration. That deal could be under negotiation at this very moment.
(Kathryn Ruemmler is the White House legal counsel).

What could be going on? Well, it probably was that they had advance warning of the Fox News story, but might also have to do with an unsubstantiated report from Tiger Droppings:
The information I heard today [from a trusted military source] was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.


The story continues that now General Rodiguez
[sic] would take General Ham's place as the head of Africon.
Tiger droppings then notes this story from Stars and Stripes reporting that:
President Barack Obama will nominate Army Gen. David Rodriguez to succeed Gen. Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command and Marine Lt. Gen. John Paxton to succeed Gen. Joseph Dunford as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Thursday.
Just saw this from Yahoo News:
The White House on Saturday flatly denied that President Barack Obama withheld requests for help from the besieged American compound in Benghazi, Libya, as it came under on attack by suspected terrorists on September 11th.

"Neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News by email.
(Update): I decided to do a little more looking around about General Ham. Here were two articles that caught my attention:

First, this article from CNN on September 24, 2012, indicated that General Ham had warned three months earlier (i.e., in June 2012) about the growth of Al Qaeda in Libya:
Just three months ago, the four-star chief of the U.S. Africa Command warned of a growing threat from al Qaeda and other militant groups in Libya.

"There is a real concern in Libya. As Libya is coming out of the revolution and forming its new government, there very clearly are those who wish to undermine the formation of that government," said Gen. Carter Ham in a speech to senior military and civilian officials from Africa, Europe and the U.S.

"We see some worrying indicators that al Qaeda and others are seeking to establish a presence in Libya," Ham warned. Ham often worked closely with the late Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Ham has been trying to establish the initial stages of a military relationship with Libya, but the effort has been slowed by the presence and influence of armed militias, such as those suspected of being involved in the attack. Ham noted back in June the problem of bringing even more mainstream groups under the control of the central government.

. . . Ham has particularly made the case that al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb poses an increasing concern and that the group is operating unconstrained in a large portion of Mali and coordinating with other extremist elements across North Africa.
The second is from the September 19, 2012 New York Times:
Gen. David M. Rodriguez, a former top Army commander in Afghanistan, has been chosen by the Pentagon to take charge of the military’s Africa Command, which in the wake of the Arab Spring has become one of the Defense Department’s most challenging theaters of operation.

Under plans that still need formal approval from the White House and confirmation by the Senate, General Rodriguez, who is now head of the Army’s Forces Command, which trains and equips troops, would take over early next year from Gen. Carter Ham in what two American officials said was a routine change of command.
Ham had only been commanding AFCOM for about a year, which seems a pretty quick turnover. Interesting that only a week after the attacks, the decision was made to replace Ham.


(Second Update): Ace of Spades refutes that Gen. Ham was relieve of command.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

The Telegraph reports that "China has angrily denounced and censored a report that claimed the family of premier Wen Jiabao has amassed a $2.7 billion (£1.67 billion) fortune." As if the Western main stream media has anything to complain about, considering how it has covered up for Obama for the last 4+ years.

Expect Things to Get Worse

Most of the worst recessionary periods in the last several decades have been preceded or accompanied by oil shocks--dramatic jumps in petroleum products such as gasoline and fuel oil. So, what does Obama--who recently was bragging about how much oil production has increased under his administration--plan to do about this? Make things worse:
Carol Browner, Obama's former global warming czar now at the left-wing Center for American Progress, promised environmentalists on a September campaign conference call that the president has "a big to-do list for them" in a free-wheeling second term.

What's on that to-do list? Browner's not saying. And what's on the lame-duck to-do list if he loses?

Last week, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released a report titled "A Look Ahead to EPA Regulations for 2013." It reveals Obama's to-do list -- 13 specific job-killing Environmental Protection Agency regulations that have been quietly put on hold until after the election.

"To-do" means imposing harsh greenhouse gas regulations, banning hydraulic fracturing (fracking), taking federal control over all water, shutting down cement plants, "cleaning" gasoline to make it cost more, stopping farm dust -- and on and on, one economic bloodbath after another.

In 14 fact-filled pages, Inhofe's investigative staff goes into detail about why and how. A peculiar Obama insider quote struck me: "The only decision metric that matters for the next 14 months is, 'Will this help us get reelected?' If a regulatory decision is a liability, we should fully expect the administration to delay until Nov. 7" -- the day after the election.

I had the opportunity to ask Inhofe if he was certain of this. He told me, "There is no question, that if re-elected, President Obama will move forward with numerous EPA regulations that will destroy jobs and strangle economic growth."

But is Obama really that afraid to show his legislative agenda? The senator was emphatic: "Absolutely. He doesn't want the American people to know. He has told his friends on the far left to be silent until after the election, promising them that he will then have the flexibility he needs to impose his green agenda. Big Green gets it, and that is why they have fully endorsed Obama and his far-left agenda for the next four years."

A New Plan to Combat Somalian Piracy

Thomas Kelly, the US State Department official in charge of counter-piracy policy, told The Daily Telegraph a small group of very wealthy men were instrumental in the growth and spread of Somalian piracy.

Mr Kelly's campaign to prosecute the men under corruption and money laundering laws could be the coup de grace against pirates that at one point represented the gravest threat to world trade in decades.

"That's how we got Al Capone, he went to jail because of tax fraud. One of the main areas of multilateral work and in places like Interpol is to try to focus on the kingpins," he said. "Just incarcerating young Somali men who are the foot soldiers isn't going to eradicate the problem by itself."

With global backing, all of the men could be facing the courts with the next "couple of years", he added.

"You have to go after the people who are buying the boats, buying the weapons and then laundering the money in Africa and other places. Money laundering is a global business they're not keeping it in one place you need to have law enforcement in many different places talking to each other." 
. . . Taking into account higher insurance premiums and other costs to shipping firms, the overall economic cost to the world economy inflicting by Somalia piracy was estimated as $12 billion (£7.5 billion) in 2010 alone.

Figures released by the International Maritime Organisation show a dramatic drop in piracy this year. It catalogued just 70 incidents in the first nine months, a 75 per cent fall off from the same period in 2011 and a three year low.
But take note of this:
Mr Kelly said that the combination of increased patrolling by navies from the US, Europe and Asia as well as the employment of armed guards on ships was a turning point in the battle against piracy.

"There was a lot of reticence in a lot of places about using these crews but people learned through experience that this was a critically important factor in reducing the number of instances," Mr Kelly said. "Its hard enough to climb up the side of a ship with a Kalashnikov on your back but it's harder when you have some someone shooting down at you."

Four fifths of container ships and tankers now carry armed guards, leaving pirates with fewer targets to go after.

"Pirates break off attack and look for softer targets," he said. "We estimate 80 per cent of ships are using private security. We'd like it to be 100 per cent."
 (Underline added).

Hindus Across India Celebrate Festivals

The Telegraph has an interesting slideshow of Hindus across India celebrating several festivals: the Navaratri, Durga Puja, and Dussehra festivals.

CIA Denies Standdown Orders

The background here is a Fox News report that CIA security personnel at a compound near the Benghazi consulate wanted to help the Ambassador but were repeatedly refused permission. The CIA responded to suggestions that it ordered the stand-down. The Atlantic reports:
. . . the CIA says it never instructed any of its personnel from helping the four Americans who died on Sept. 11. In an e-mailed statement, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood says "no one at any level in the CIA" told operatives at a local CIA annex in Benghazi not to help Amb. Stevens[.]
As pointed out in the story, however, the CIA has only denied it made any decisions--it has not denied that other agencies or officials may have issued the orders.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two Glasses of Wine Per Day Can Almost Halve Number of New Brain Cells

Just two glasses of wine a day could be harmful to the brain, new research suggests.

Even moderate drinking can decrease the production of adult brain cells by as much as 40 per cent, researchers from Rutgers Unviersity
[sic] in the US have found.

Hurricane Sandy Might Disrupt the Presidential Elections

Full explanation at the Weather Nerd blog. It's lengthy, but worth the read.

Libyan Weapons Make Their Way to Gaza

Earlier today I had posted about the disappearance of between 10,000 and 20,000 shoulder-fired surface to air missiles in the chaos following our "kinetic military action" involving Libya. I came across this story which indicates that other Libyan weapons are finding their way into the hands of terrorists. From the Firearms Blog:
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades in Gaza has acquired a number of FN FN2000 rifles complete with grenade launchers. Given the relatively few potential sources of these rifles, the most obvious explination is that former Libyan rebels are exporting the weapons they captured during the civil war.


The Atlantic had a photo-essay in 2011 on Libyan DIY weapons, but included (at photo #25) is a photo of an FN2000 with grenade launcher, just like the one in the photo above.


Kids' Instincts

Obama is reported as having said: "‘You know, kids have good instincts,’ Obama offered. ‘They look at the other guy and say, “Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.”’” A certain nine-year old sure did:
While closing out its daily broadcast from a coffee shop at the Mizner Park shopping center in Boca Raton, Fla. a crowd booed a 9-year-old after she expressed support for Governor Mitt Romney to win the presidential election.


Men Are Better Than Women At Multitasking Than Women...

... according to a recent Swedish study.

Successful Test of Counter Electronics Missile

The Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), led by Boeing's Phantom works, promised to change the face of contemporary warfare, and its test was a complete success.

CHAMP flew over the Utah Test and Training Range last Tuesday, discharging a burst of High Power Microwaves onto the test site and brought down the compound's entire spectrum of electronic systems, apparently without producing any other damage at all. Even the camera recording the test was shut down.

Struggling to contain his enthusiasm, Boeing's Keith Coleman says, "We hit every target we wanted to. Today we made science fiction into science fact."

. . . it's just one weapon in a growing arsenal meant to take down increasingly sophisticated foreign radar systems.

Passive radar is being heavily marketed abroad as the system to use if a country wants to identify U.S. stealth planes including the forthcoming F-35. The passive system evaluates a wide spectrum of anomalies to track a jet, but a burst from CHAMPS, or the new active electronically scanned array (AESA) will render that threat useless.

The Disposition Matrix

Obama has institutionalized targeted killings according to this article from the Guardian:
A primary reason for opposing the acquisition of abusive powers and civil liberties erosions is that they virtually always become permanent, vested not only in current leaders one may love and trust but also future officials who seem more menacing and less benign.

The Washington Post has a crucial and disturbing story this morning by Greg Miller about the concerted efforts by the Obama administration to fully institutionalize – to make officially permanent – the most extremist powers it has exercised in the name of the war on terror.

Based on interviews with "current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies", Miller reports that as "the United States' conventional wars are winding down", the Obama administration "expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists
[now called the "disposition matrix"] for years" (the "capture" part of that list is little more than symbolic, as the US focus is overwhelmingly on the "kill" part). Specifically, "among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade." As Miller puts it: "That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism."

In pursuit of this goal, "White House counterterrorism adviser John O Brennan is seeking to codify the administration's approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced." All of this, writes Miller, demonstrates "the extent to which Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war."
. . . The "disposition matrix" has been developed and will be overseen by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). One of its purposes is "to augment" the "separate but overlapping kill lists" maintained by the CIA and the Pentagon: to serve, in other words, as the centralized clearinghouse for determining who will be executed without due process based upon how one fits into the executive branch's "matrix". As Miller describes it, it is "a single, continually evolving database" which includes "biographies, locations, known associates and affiliated organizations" as well as "strategies for taking targets down, including extradition requests, capture operations and drone patrols".
Additional analysis here and here.

"Did Economists Doom Obama's Presidency?"

An article from Real Clear Markets (h/t Instapundit) that discusses whether it was Obama's over-reliance on incorrect economic predictions that doomed his Presidency. Here is the relevant part:
If President Obama loses the election in November, economists may well end up taking a share of the blame - for good reason. Their models misled him into applying ambitious stimulus therapies to jump start the economy and boost employment that haven't worked, vastly undermining his re-election prospects.

Back in January 2009, a now infamous study coauthored by Christina Romer, the future chair of the President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, and Jared Bernstein, the future chief economist for the Vice President, predicted that an $800 billion economic stimulus targeted toward boosting consumer demand would stave off a severe recession and hold unemployment below 8 percent by the end of 2009.

What was so compelling about their study was the illusion of precision. The Obama administration used their statistical analysis to aggressively promote specific policy proposals, including the package of tax cuts and discretionary federal spending embodied in the so-called stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

But little of what they predicted has panned out.
(emphasis mine).

I haven't read the study, so I don't know the specifics of what they called for, or how well the President followed their recommendations. However, the reason for the failure is apparent just looking at the underlined portion above. We never had an $800 billion economic stimulus targeted toward boosting consumer demand.

Under classic Keynesian economic theory, to pump consumer demand, you have to get money into the hands of consumers. In the 1930's, this was done (to a certain extent) by creating massive job programs that built critical infrastructure. Under George W. Bush, they got rid of the middle-man and just simply mailed people stimulus checks. However, Obama never bothered (or, I would suggest, intend) to get this money to the consumer. Instead, the money went to banks, which sat on it when they weren't paying it out as bonuses; it went to companies, government agencies, and local governments that spent hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in some cases, for each low paying job they created; billions disappeared into green-dream companies that went bankrupt (but were successful in siphoning off money to rich Obama supporters). On top of that, Obama instituted policies that took more money out of the pocket of consumers--such as closing refineries, oil wells, and power plants, thereby increasing energy costs; forcing people to buy stupid, expensive fluorescent bulbs instead of cheaper traditional light bulbs; passing huge regulatory and tax increases such as Obamacare that discouraged business growth; and continued the war on air travel. In short, none of the money got to consumers. And that is why it failed.

I would go farther, however, and suggest that Obama and his administration never intended it to succeed. In their twisted minds, American consumers are evil wasters of the environment and downtrodders of the poor. America was evil simply because it was more successful than other nations or peoples. Thus, the money went where they wanted it to go--the coffers of public sector unions (to ensure continued political support) and to Obama's rich supporters and friends . . . and not into the hands of the consumers where it would have boosted consumer demand.