Friday, January 29, 2010


Until Monday.

I have to say - the single best day of skiing I have ever had - Friday, Mammoth. 

The best day ever.

Sunday was as good or almost better

Thursday, January 28, 2010

AP v Obama. Now you are in trouble.

FACT CHECK: Obama and a toothless commission

Jan 28, 3:12 AM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama told Americans the bipartisan deficit commission he will appoint won't just be "one of those Washington gimmicks." Left unspoken in that assurance was the fact that the commission won't have any teeth.

Obama confronted some tough realities in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, chief among them that Americans are continuing to lose their health insurance as Congress struggles to pass an overhaul.

Yet some of his ideas for moving ahead skirted the complex political circumstances standing in his way.

A look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts:


OBAMA: "Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't."

THE FACTS: The anticipated savings from this proposal would amount to less than 1 percent of the deficit - and that's if the president can persuade Congress to go along.

Obama is a convert to the cause of broad spending freezes. In the presidential campaign, he criticized Republican opponent John McCain for suggesting one. "The problem with a spending freeze is you're using a hatchet where you need a scalpel," he said a month before the election. Now, Obama wants domestic spending held steady in most areas where the government can control year-to-year costs. The proposal is similar to McCain's.


OBAMA: "I've called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad. This can't be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solved a problem. The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline. Yesterday, the Senate blocked a bill that would have created this commission. So I will issue an executive order that will allow us to go forward, because I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans."

THE FACTS: Any commission that Obama creates would be a weak substitute for what he really wanted - a commission created by Congress that could force lawmakers to consider unpopular remedies to reduce the debt, including curbing politically sensitive entitlements like Social Security and Medicare. That idea crashed in the Senate this week, defeated by equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Any commission set up by Obama alone would lack authority to force its recommendations before Congress, and would stand almost no chance of success.


OBAMA: Discussing his health care initiative, he said, "Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan."

THE FACTS: The Democratic legislation now hanging in limbo on Capitol Hill aims to keep people with employer-sponsored coverage - the majority of Americans under age 65 - in the plans they already have. But Obama can't guarantee people won't see higher rates or fewer benefits in their existing plans. Because of elements such as new taxes on insurance companies, insurers could change what they offer or how much it costs. Moreover, Democrats have proposed a series of changes to the Medicare program for people 65 and older that would certainly pinch benefits enjoyed by some seniors. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted cuts for those enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans.


OBAMA: The president issued a populist broadside against lobbyists, saying they have "outsized influence" over the government. He said his administration has "excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs." He also said it's time to "require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or Congress" and "to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office."

THE FACTS: Obama has limited the hiring of lobbyists for administration jobs, but the ban isn't absolute; seven waivers from the ban have been granted to White House officials alone. Getting lobbyists to report every contact they make with the federal government would be difficult at best; Congress would have to change the law, and that's unlikely to happen. And lobbyists already are subject to strict limits on political giving. Just like every other American, they're limited to giving $2,400 per election to federal candidates, with an overall ceiling of $115,500 every two years.


OBAMA: "Because of the steps we took, there are about 2 million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. ... And we are on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year."

THE FACTS: The success of the Obama-pushed economic stimulus that Congress approved early last year has been an ongoing point of contention. In December, the administration reported that recipients of direct assistance from the government created or saved about 650,000 jobs. The number was based on self-reporting by recipients and some of the calculations were shown to be in error.

The Congressional Budget Office has been much more guarded than Obama in characterizing the success of the stimulus plan. In November, it reported that the stimulus increased the number of people employed by between 600,000 and 1.6 million "compared with what those values would have been otherwise." It said the ranges "reflect the uncertainty of such estimates." And it added, "It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package."


OBAMA: He called for action by the White House and Congress "to do our work openly, and to give our people the government they deserve."

THE FACTS: Obama skipped past a broken promise from his campaign - to have the negotiations for health care legislation broadcast on C-SPAN "so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." Instead, Democrats in the White House and Congress have conducted the usual private negotiations, making multibillion-dollar deals with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders behind closed doors. Nor has Obama lived up consistently to his pledge to ensure that legislation is posted online for five days before it's acted upon.


OBAMA: "The United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades."

THE FACTS: Despite insisting early last year that they would complete the negotiations in time to avoid expiration of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in early December, the U.S. and Russia failed to do so. And while officials say they think a deal on a new treaty is within reach, there has been no breakthrough. A new round of talks is set to start Monday. One important sticking point: disagreement over including missile defense issues in a new accord. If completed, the new deal may arguably be the farthest-reaching arms control treaty since the original 1991 agreement. An interim deal reached in 2002 did not include its own rules on verifying nuclear reductions.


OBAMA: Drawing on classified information, he claimed more success than his predecessor at killing terrorists: "And in the last year, hundreds of al-Qaida's fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed - far more than in 2008."

THE FACTS: It is an impossible claim to verify. Neither the Bush nor the Obama administration has published enemy body counts, particularly those targeted by armed drones in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The pace of drone attacks has increased dramatically in the last 18 months, according to congressional officials briefed on the secret program.

Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn, Jim Drinkard, Erica Werner, Robert Burns and Pamela Hess contributed to this report.


Dumb as Dodos

Will the silly Retardicans never learn.  They are not the equal of the Democrats.  Rarely will they ever rise to the occasion.  They should simply give up and concentrate on small issues, like counting dots on the ceiling.

New 'Watergate'? Republican activist arrested in plot to have fake repairmen tap phones in Democratic senator's office

By David Gardner

28th January 2010
Daily Mail

The FBI has foiled a Watergate-style plot to bug phones in a U.S. Democrat Senator's office.

Four conservative activists, including Republican activist James O'Keefe, face up to ten years in jail after being arrested in connection with a break in at Senator Mary Landrieu's office on Monday.

Two of the suspects posed as repairmen, wearing denim work suits, fluorescent vests, tool belts and hard hats, to tamper with the telephones in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The failed plot was being compared in Washington last night with the infamous Watergate break-in at the Democratic Party's national headquarters that triggered Richard Nixon’s historic ousting from the White House.

The disgraced president was drummed out of office in 1974 after he was exposed for trying to cover up the politically-motivated burglary.

It was unclear whether the New Orleans plan was a prank intended to be captured on camera or a more serious attempt at political espionage.

While O'Keefe filmed, Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel 'manipulated the telephone system' in the reception area of Landrieu's office on Monday, the FBI said.

The men were held by U.S. Marshals after Flanagan and Basel, tried to gain access to telephone equipment in the U.S. General Services Administration office in the same building.

The two later admitted that they were not telephone repairmen, according to the affidavit.

A fourth man, Stan Dai, was arrested for having helped the three men in 'planning, coordination and preparation of the operation,' the FBI said in a statement.

O'Keefe, from New Jersey, said only 'veritas,' Latin for truth, as he left jail today with suspects Dai, from Virginia, and Basel, from Minnesota, both 24.

As he got into a cab outside the prison, O'Keefe said: 'The truth shall set me free.'

The fourth suspect, Flanagan, 24, from Louisiana, was released earlier yesterday.

His father, Bill, the acting U.S. Attorney based in Shreveport, Louisiana, said: 'That would not be something that I can even imagine him doing.

'I think this is going to be blown out of proportion.'

All four were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a £155,000.

'It was poor judgment,' Flanagan's lawyer, Garrison Jordan, said in a brief interview outside the courtroom.

'I don't think there was any intent or motive to commit a crime.'

Flanagan recently criticised Landrieu for her vote for the Senate health care bill after negotiating an increase estimated in value at up to £226million for her state's funds for Medicaid, the government's health care programme for the poor.

Conservatives accused Landrieu of selling her vote but she insisted no 'special deals' were made.
[Not true - As soon as the vote had occured, she walked out and told the world, publicly, that it was not a $100 million dollar deal, it was $300 million.]

'Do not be fooled into believing Landrieu is helping the state of Louisiana,' Flanagan wrote on November 25 in a post on the website for the Pelican Institute, a Louisiana think tank that promotes the free market and limited government.

O'Keefe's arrest drew the ire of the Democrats, who blasted Republicans for supporting him and for a House of Representatives resolution signed by 31 Republicans honouring the filmmaker for his attempt to root out corruption and the abuse of tax dollars.
Hari Sevugan, Democratic National Committee spokesman, said in a statement: 'The last time Mr O'Keefe was in the news, Republicans broke land speed records to praise him as an American hero and fell all over themselves to outdo one another in expressing disgust, outrage and indignation at what he brought to light.

'The silence by Republicans in the face of these criminal acts by one of their own speaks louder than then their wails of outrage ever did.'

A spokesman for Landrieu declined to comment on the arrests.

Dai, who authorities said was arrested outside the building, is a former assistant director of a programme at Trinity Washington University that taught students about careers in intelligence, university president Patricia McGuire said.

He was also active in the conservative newspaper and other organisations at George Washington University.

O'Keefe, 25, became a darling of America's right-wing during the presidential campaign in 2008 when he exposed a liberal group with ties to Barack Obama.

Using a hidden camera on that occasion, Mr O’Keefe posed as a pimp and brought a young woman posing as a prostitute to the offices of ACORN, a liberal advocacy group that Mr Obama worked with when he was a community organiser in Chicago.

During the secretly taped visit, ACORN staff appeared to offer illegal tax advice and to support the misuse of public funds and child trafficking.  [Correction - they did not just APPEAR to offer illegal advice, they did.]


Biden: Amazing he can say this with a straight face

Joe Biden's Filibuster Hypocrisy

January 19, 2010 02:58 PM ET
By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Vice President Joe Biden has a short memory.

While speaking Sunday at a fundraising event in Florida, the vice president denounced the Republicans' use of the filibuster to block key Democratic initiatives in the U.S. Senate. "As long as I have served," Politico quoted Biden as saying, "I've never seen, as my uncle once said, the Constitution stood on its head as they've done. This is the first time every single solitary decision has required 60 senators." Adding, "No democracy has survived needing a supermajority," Biden described the parliamentary tactics of the GOP as putting what the paper said was "a dangerous new roadblock in the way of American government."

What is truly amazing about the vice president's observation, however, is that he apparently made it with a straight face. Biden, who served in the Senate for more than 30 years, was a longtime proponent of the filibuster as a way to block Republican presidential appointments and legislative initiatives. He was also an active opponent, on philosophical grounds, of the so-called nuclear option, a Republican effort to change the rules of the Senate to end the filibuster as a way to block judicial nominations.

Speaking on the Senate floor in May of 2005, Biden said, "At its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill, it's about compromise and moderation. The nuclear option extinguishes the power of independents and moderates in the Senate. That's it, they're done. Moderates are important if you need to get to 60 votes to satisfy cloture; they are much less so if you only need 50 votes. Let's set the historical record straight. Never has the Senate provided for a certainty that 51 votes could put someone on the bench or pass legislation."

When the Senate was considering President George W. Bush's nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court, Biden held out the prospect of a filibuster to block it. "If he really believes that reapportionment is a questionable decision … then clearly, clearly, you'll find a lot of people, including me, willing to do whatever they can to keep him off the court," Biden said, adding, "That would include a filibuster, if need be."

During his years in the Senate, Biden could be counted on to routinely join Democratic efforts to support filibusters of Republican programs--from the second President Bush's energy bill to the first President Bush's effort to cut the tax on capital gains in order to stimulate the U.S. economy and blunt the impact of the early-'90s recession. Now that he is vice president, and the entire Obama agenda is imperiled, he has changed his mind in an apparent deathbed conversion. It won't last.


Global Warming: The Big Lies, Manipulation and Deception.

And Obama wants to spend billions on this.

From The Times January 28, 2010
The Times Online

Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data

Ben Webster, Environment Editor, and Jonathan Leake

The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.

The stolen e-mails , revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university’s Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails.

Professor Phil Jones, the unit’s director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO’s decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post.

Details of the breach emerged the day after John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser, warned that there was an urgent need for more honesty about the uncertainty of some predictions. His intervention followed admissions from scientists that the rate of glacial melt in the Himalayas had been grossly exaggerated.

In one e-mail, Professor Jones asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He also told a colleague that he had persuaded the university authorities to ignore information requests under the act from people linked to a website run by climate sceptics.

A spokesman for the ICO said: “The legislation prevents us from taking any action but from looking at the emails it’s clear to us a breach has occurred.” Breaches of the act are punishable by an unlimited fine.

The complaint to the ICO was made by David Holland, a retired engineer from Northampton. He had been seeking information to support his theory that the unit broke the IPCC’s rules to discredit sceptic scientists.

In a statement, Graham Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the ICO, said: “The e-mails which are now public reveal that Mr Holland’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Act makes it an offence for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information.”

He added: “The ICO is gathering evidence from this and other time-barred cases to support the case for a change in the law. We will be advising the university about the importance of effective records management and their legal obligations in respect of future requests for information.”

Mr Holland said: “There is an apparent Catch-22 here. The prosecution has to be initiated within six months but you have to exhaust the university’s complaints procedure before the commission will look at your complaint. That process can take longer than six months.”

The university said: “The way freedom of information requests have been handled is one of the main areas being explored by Sir Muir Russell’s independent review. The findings will be made public and we will act as appropriate on its recommendations.”

global warming

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The One Has Spoken

Obama acknowledged "my share of the blame" for not adequately explaining his plans to the public and connecting with their everyday worries. At the same time, he offered an unapologetic defense of pursuing the same agenda on which he won.

He said that includes the health care overhaul, as well as an aggressive approach to global warming (though without a plug for the controversial cap-and-trade system for emissions that he favors), sweeping changes to address the nation's millions of illegal immigrants, "serious" reform of how Wall Street is regulated and children are educated.

Now the rest of the story.  He may wish to believe it is because he was not communicating with you, but ...

SPEECHES, COMMENTS & REMARKS: 411.   Includes 52 addresses or statements specifically on his health care proposals.

(CBS)NEWS CONFERENCES: 42   Of which 5 were formal, solo White House Q&A sessions. Four were in prime time. His last one was July 22, 2009.  Nearly all of the other press availabilities were joint appearances with foreign leaders at which as few as 1 question was taken by Mr. Obama.

INTERVIEWS: 158. This is a striking number of interviews and far more than any of his recent predecessors in their first year. Ninety of the sessions were TV interviews. Eleven were radio. The rest were newspaper and magazine. The number reflects the White House media strategy that Mr. Obama can best respond to questions in an interview setting.

TOWN HALL MEETINGS: 21 excluding foreign town hall meetings, at which he would have an opportunity t connect directly with voters.

CAMPAIGN RALLIES: 7.  The rallies were for Gov. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, D-Va, and U.S. Senate Candidate Martha Coakley, D-Mass. All of them lost.   Despite the fact they all lost - he still had the chance to connect with voters at every stop, every occasion, and give his opinions on the issues of the day.

Source:  CBS News, January 20, 2010.

So is his problem that he didn't connect with the people, he didn't communicate, get the message out?

And no, Ellie Light, it is not that we gave up because he didn't fix everything - rather, he is not fixing anything and is breaking even more stuff.  That is why the public has turned on him.


Airlines: We Lost Our Passengers

Airlines suffered record drop in traffic in 2009: IATA

Jan 27 05:19 AM US/Eastern

International airlines suffered their biggest decline in traffic since 1945 last year as passenger demand fell 3.5 percent, the International Air Transport Association said Wednesday.

Freight also fell, by 10.1 percent, as "full-year 2009 demand statistics for international scheduled air traffic that showed the industry ending 2009 with the largest ever post-war decline," IATA said in a statement.

"In terms of demand, 2009 goes into the history books as the worst year the industry has ever seen," said Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the world's biggest airlines' association.

"We have permanently lost 2.5 years of growth in passenger markets and 3.5 years of growth in the freight business," he added.

Wait, I thought that 2001 was the worst year, all those losses, needing bailouts.
But no, a year in which no US aircraft were destroyed by terrorism, and they had their worst year.
A few suggestions then, and of course, just my opinion, but heed the warning or find yourself losing more passengers every day until 1-2 airlines go belly up, and the others begin cutting routes.
We are tired of waiting in lines to wait in a line to get on an aircraft that sits, in a seat that is uncomfortable, with flight attendants that sell us drinks and food.
I don't recall the exact specifics, but if a large aircraft, 777, filled its First Class with paying customers, the rest of the plane could sit empty, and the airline paid for the fuel and all costs associated with the flight, to their destination.  That is less than 16 people in First Class and the flight is paid for.  There are 16 seats, one of those seats is used by the crew.  15 paid seats and the flights is paid for.
So - how about you remove 16 seats from the aircraft. That is two rows.  One from the very back, allowing the final section of the plane to have a few more inches each, and one from the mid-section of the plane, providing more room to those overcrowded passengers.  Spread the seats out, give more room, leg space, elbow room ... in general, more space.   Provide everyone with the same movie options as they have in First Class, albeit you could charge for the additional films not regularly provided.
Provide a meal without cost, refill the drinks, and offer the peanuts or crackers without charging.
Do these things and you will make EVERYONE on the plane happier, you will secure a clientele that will not abandon you for another airline.
Expedite.  Expedite.  Expedite.
No waiting around.  You do not need to wait.  Stay on schedule.  If you are more than 5 minutes late taking off, you should refund 10% of the ticket cost, back to the passengers.  Yes, there are ways to accomodate this: planes will not land and take off every 15 minutes.  A plane may be scheduled to land at 10 am, but it is late.  That is fine because the next flight doesn't leave until 11:30 am.  Plenty of time to get the plane in, emptied, cleaned, and restocked.  That means you do not have 20 flights a day from the gate, only 15.  Those 15 will all be filled and you will be able to add additional flights that will also be filled.  There will always be a gate available.  Not all airlines run 24 hours a day.  Move the next flight to another gate.
More cost you say?  Not really.  What will happen is your profits will drop a bit, BUT you will fill every aircraft, even the additional planes added.  You will secure a clientele that will NOT abandon you, and in fact, your numbers will grow.
Expedite the process - your inane questions are just that, inane.  If a terrorist gave me a bag to carry, do you think a) I would tell you, or b) I am stupid enough to carry it.  If I am, I sure won't tell you.  If I have a bag, it is my bag, and whoever packed it, clearly must have my confidence.  Your questions are not going to suddenly alert me to a hitherto unstated suspicion - oh my god, my wife packed it, I always wondered if she worked for al qaida and wanted to get rid of me.  I never thought the hijab was anything important, nor was her interest in learning Arabic, but your question made me realize how .... bloody inane your questions really are.  Or what about while you were in the airport - could someone have gotten to your bag.  Sure, I left it alone for a few hours, I wanted to see what would happen, and yeah it is a little heavier, but I never thought anything of it.   I am just not sure the point of those moronic questions, except to waste time.
That is something we are tired of.  Provide the male or female who usually stands at the end of the line with a hand held machine that can do something - perhaps provide details on flights or times or gates.  This will assist some passengers who get to the counter and proceed to waste time by asking idiotic questions.  You want gate 21b ... up the escalator and watch for the signs.  About 4 gates in.  21b, 4 gates after the security checkpoint.   This may, MAY save some time.  Idiotic questions will still be asked by morons who should not be flying.  They ask questions even though they know the answers, fearful that the airline changed the rules to trick them.

  Boarding:  Allow First Class and Business Class on first.  Then STOP for 5 minutes.  At the end of the 5 minutes, allow old people, handicapped, families with small children to board, and then stop for 5 minutes.  Why?  Because these people clog up the arteries when passengers are attempting to board the aircraft and then we get in long lines and just stand waiting.  Add the 5 minute wait period between boarding, stop and actually end boarding for that time.  It helps clear the arteries and will expedite boarding for all those able bodied people without issues.  Then ask if anyone who has any physical or mental condition that requires tremendous effort to put their bags up in the racks, to board.  Send someone on with them to throw their bags into the rack.  Then board the rest expeditiously - starting with the BACK of the aircraft first.

On Board:  When the plane is in flight, the flight attendants do not need to disappear.  Be available.  We just paid hundeds of dollars to sit on YOUR aircraft, serve us.  Sure, don't wash our feet, that is a little overboard, but we deserve some degree of consideration.  You give them goat and feta cheese and champagne/juice if they choose, in First Class, the least you can offer the Coach passengers is a soda or juice, crackers maybe, and go ahead, we don't need glass drinking cups, we can use plastic.
Security:  On all flights, get a sky marshall on board.  If the government doesn't provide one, get your own, charge us all $2 more per flight, but get one on every flight.  At the gate, have a final security check point, as they do at Heathrow.  A dog, that can smell explosives, sits at the side while everyone is checked a final time.  Is this slowing the process?  Not really, remember, the plane isn't on the ground, we have time.
Provide me with the security I need to fly across 3000 miles of ocean and not be blown up, treat me well, provide me with reaosnable services and ample room, and I will fly, even more than I do now.
Otherwise, I will cut back, and continue cutting back - why bother, I can be harassed on the freeway, I don't need an airport.



All Presidents reference themselves in their speeches, but Mr. Obama has taken that ego to a whole new level. 

This speech, given on January 26, 2010 is remarkable.  It is all about him.  Him, Him, Him.

January 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm - Americans for Prosperity

Dateline: Elyria, Ohio

For liberals, it is hard to understand the point of this.  He is simply explaining things, he is providing the audience with a brief insight into his life.

The problem is - it isn't about Him.  I admit to not reviewing ALL of W's speeches, but I did go back and look at a sample.  16 to be specific, 2 from each year, and W referred to himself a total of 112 times, in all 16 ombined.

W simply does not and did not have the ego H does.

So, does it matter?

Yes.  It does matter.

Men who act based upon their ego issues, act contrary to the will of the people and never understand why the people oppose them, because after all, they are doing what is best for the people.

This is a very dangerous road to travel.


The Healthcare Fiasco is Not His Fault

Mr. Obama played no role in all the deals that occured while the healthcare fiasco was brewing.  He was not involved.  He did not authorize the billion dollar deals, nor the hundred billion dollar deals.  No sir, he did not.  Or so he says.

“Let's just clarify. I didn't make a bunch of deals [on health care]. ... There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked.”

And yet, the White House had envoys at the meetings in Reids office, discussing, settling, adding, changing ... but of course, none were involved. 
Mr. Obama is doing a Bill Clinton ... HE as in 'I didn't make a bunch of deals' is accurate, it was other minions from the White House who operated under his authority, one would assume - unless people in the White House are acting on their own.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Robert Reich: Making up facts to support his hate

Liberals hate FOX News.  It doesn't matter whether or not Fox News is more right than center, the liberals hate it simply for being.  The look one gets when they say they watch FOX News, the sighs, the moans, the look of angst on the faces of liberals.  You could have said you slaughtered your family and ate the baby and they would not look at you any worse than revealing you watch FOX News.  Often they will try to get you to explain why, and why you don't watch something more informative like MSNBC, or more centrist, like CNN.  Liberals hate Fox News, for real and imagined reasons.

Robert Reich, former Clinton Secretary of Labor wrote a column for in which he stated:

In December 1994, Bill Clinton proposed a so-called middle-class bill of rights including more tax credits for families with children, expanded retirement accounts, and tax-deductible college tuition. Clinton had lost his battle for healthcare reform. Even worse, by that time the Dems had lost the House and Senate. Washington was riding a huge anti-incumbent wave. Right-wing populists were the ascendancy, with Newt Gingrich and Fox News leading the charge. Bill Clinton thought it desperately important to assure Americans he was on their side.

The problem for Mr. Reich is ... Fox News didn't first air until 1996, one month prior to the election.

fox news

Obama and Biden - liar liar pants on fire, hypocrits and liars galore.

Several days ago Biden informed the Iraqi Prime Minister that the US would re-file charges against the employees of Blackwater who had been charged with killing innocent Iraqis.

Interesting, espcially given the revelations that Obama is using the firm, once called Blackwater, now known as 'Xe Services', for assassination and kidnapping inside Pakistan.  When Bush was president, Democrats and liberals called Blackwater, Cheney's "executive assassination squad" - now they have moved up, they are Obama's Personal Executive Assassination Squad.  But why aren't liberals and Democrats excoriating Obama?

You see - Ellie, it isn't that we placed too much hope in this naive and inexperienced fool, it is that he not only breaks his promises, he contradicts everything liberals like yourself attacked Buish over - he is doing.  That is for me, more significant than whether he is a naive fool or not.

Report: Obama using Blackwater for assassinations in Pakistan

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, November 23rd, 2009 -- 10:45 pm
The Raw Story
The Nation

 The Obama administration is using mercenaries with the firm formerly known as Blackwater to kidnap and assassinate high value targets in Pakistan, according to a published report.

The program, operated out of the US Joint Special Operations Command, "is so 'compartmentalized' that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence," an unnamed source with direct knowledge of the program told The Nation reporter Jeremy Scahill.

Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater, is also allegedly involved in intelligence collection for a drone bombing campaign in the country.

Scahill's report added: "A defense official, on background, specifically denied that Blackwater performs work on drone strikes or intelligence for JSOC in Pakistan. 'We don't have any contracts to do that work for us. We don't contract that kind of work out, period,' the official said. 'There has not been, and is not now, contracts between JSOC and that organization for these types of services.' The previously unreported program, the military intelligence source said, is distinct from the CIA assassination program that the agency's director, Leon Panetta, announced he had canceled in June 2009. 'This is a parallel operation to the CIA,' said the source. 'They are two separate beasts.'"

A Blackwater spokesman told The Nation that none of its forces are operating in Pakistan. However, a "former senior executive at Blackwater" told Scahill that Xe's mercs are indeed working in Pakistan, sometimes employed by the country's government to operate alongside soldiers. The arrangement allows the Pakistani government to deny any U.S. military presence in the country, while allowing them to tap former U.S. special forces members for high-risk missions.

Scahill added that the CIA is also employing the firm in parallel operations.

"Targeted killings are not the most popular thing in town right now and the CIA knows that," Scahill's source reportedly said. "Contractors and especially JSOC personnel working under a classified mandate are not [overseen by Congress], so they just don't care. If there's one person they're going after and there's thirty-four people in the building, thirty-five people are going to die. That's the mentality. They're not accountable to anybody and they know that. It's an open secret, but what are you going to do, shut down JSOC?"

During the Bush administration, the JSOC was reportedly being commanded by the vice president's office, effectively making them Dick Cheney's own "executive assassination squad," according to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.

President Obama's top official on the occupation of Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, oversaw the JSOC from September 2003 to August 2008.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment, Scahill reported.

The NATION report by Scahill can be found by clicking here.

liberal losers

Harry Reid on the cost of Obama's Health Care Plan (when it had a chance)

HARRY REID: "He talked about CBO saying that there would be $54 billion saved each year if we put caps on medical malpractice and put some restrictions — tort reform — $54 billion. Sounds like a lot of money, doesnt it, Mr. President? The answer is yes. But remember, were talking about $2 trillion, $54 billion compared to $2 trillion. You can do the math. We can all do the math. Its a very small percent."

October 15, 2009

Hopefully we will not need to worry about this.


WMDs - Perhaps it will be carried out by a 'Nigerian student' - by 2013.

The problem for us is Obama.  He does not believe this can happen.  It is not in his worldview.  islam is peaceful, the bad guys are a few disgruntled students who would change, if only the US hugged them, and gave them coffee and tea rather than bombs and death.  When this happens, as it will, if he is still the president, I cannot imagine the mayhem.  We will be told not to jump to conclusions, that his administration will find those responsible and bring them to justice.

The problem - tens of thousands of Americans will be dead, and he will want to bring someone to justice. 

Of course the Bush administration is not free of responsibility - had they simply ignored the Democrats for the last several years and plowed ahead with intelligence gathering methods, perhaps we would know more.  Had Bush ignored the rights of killers, and used whatever methods necessary to extract inform ation when possible, perhaps we would have known more.  Had Bush spent more time pushing for the rapid response teams, more satellite  coverage of our cities and coasts to analyze whatever we can detect from those tools, perhaps we could have found them while they were planning their evil deeds.  I am sure there are other tools we could have been using and should have, rather than to be tied down to hearings and investigations into intelligence gathering methods.

Instead, Americans will die for their failures; and then many innocent Muslims will die as a result of the response to their failures.  It never ends.

Al-Qaeda seeks WMD, US unprepared: reports

Jan 26 11:27 PM US/Eastern
Agence France Presse

The United States has not done enough to protect the country against the threat of weapons of mass destruction even as Al-Qaeda appears intent on staging a large-scale attack, reports said.

A bipartisan panel warned that the government had failed to adopt measures to counter the danger posed by extremists using WMD, saying the administration lacked plans for a rapid response to a possible biological attack.

"Nearly a decade after September 11, 2001, one year after our original report, and one month after the Christmas Day bombing attempt, the United States is failing to address several urgent threats, especially bioterrorism," said former senator Bob Graham, chair of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.

He said that Washington no longer had "the luxury of a slow learning curve, when we know Al-Qaeda is interested in bioweapons."

In its "report card," the commission also gave the federal government low marks for failing to recruit a new generation of national security experts and for failing to improve congressional oversight of intelligence and homeland security agencies.

The findings came as a former CIA officer wrote in a report that Al-Qaeda's leaders have been working methodically since the 1990s to secure weapons that could inflict massive bloodshed.

Although other extremists had looked into obtaining such weapons, Al-Qaeda "is the only group known to be pursuing a long-term, persistent and systematic approach to developing weapons to be used in mass casualty attacks," wrote Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, who led the CIA's WMD department.

He acknowledged that the failure to find WMD in Iraq had damaged the US government's credibility and had spread skepticism about the threat posed by Al-Qaeda getting its hands on nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

"That said, WMD terrorism is not Iraqi WMD," he wrote in the report released by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

He argued that intelligence on Al-Qaeda's activities was much more extensive and reliable than the information about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs.

His report said Al-Qaeda's efforts to develop biological and nuclear weapons were not "empty rhetoric" and that the group's leaders appeared to have ruled out smaller-scale attacks with simpler devices.

"If Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants had been interested in employing crude chemical, biological and radiological materials in small-scale attacks, there is little doubt they could have done so by now," he wrote.

In a "highly compartmentalized" operation, Al-Qaeda had pursued parallel tracks to try to secure the destructive weapons, building a biological lab and separately acquiring strains of anthrax bacteria before the attacks of September 11, 2001, the report said.

The anthrax was apparently never successfully placed in a weapon and scientists working at a lab in Afghanistan had to flee when US-led forces invaded after the 9/11 attacks, it said.

In 2003, US officials feared that Al-Qaeda was on the verge of obtaining atomic weapons after intercepting a message from a Saudi operative referring to plans to secure Russian nuclear devices.

The sensitive intelligence was passed on to Riyadh and the Saudi government then arrested Al-Qaeda suspects in a major crackdown.

But US officials were never sure if the nuclear plot was disrupted or merely pushed underground.

The former CIA officer also said Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in 2003 had called off plans for a chemical attack on New York's subways "for something better," a cryptic remark that remains a mystery.

The bipartisan commission on the WMD threat, created by Congress, had said in its initial report in December 2008 that it was "more likely than not" that a terror attack using weapons of mass destruction would be carried out somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.


France: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity ? And NO Veil

Me thinks there will be a new threat issued by the religion of peace concerning this abrogation of the rights of the many who choose the veil - the Crusader war continues.

French report wants limits on Muslim face veil

 Elaine Ganley, Associated Press Writer – Tue Jan 26, 3:04 pm ET

PARIS – Mass transport, hospitals, post offices — these and all public services in France would be off-limits to Muslim women wearing face-covering veils if a parliamentary panel's recommendations, released Tuesday, become law.

The panel's No. 2 predicts such a ban by year's end.

As envisaged by the 32-member multiparty panel, a woman seeking unemployment benefits or other state aid, for instance, would walk away empty-handed if she refused to uncover her face. She would also be denied entrance to the local town hall, the bus, the Metro and the university classroom.

A panoply of recommendations aimed at dissuading Muslim women from hiding their faces is contained in the report, which was drawn up after six months of hearings from experts, Muslim leaders and others. One of the other recommendations: denying resident cards and citizenship to women who wear all-encompassing veils.

However, the panel was bitterly divided over recommending a ban on face-covering veils on the street, and that was not among the 15 recommendations retained after a vote.

President Nicolas Sarkozy put the issue before the French in June when he told a joint gathering of parliament that face-covering veils "are not welcome" in France.

Only several thousand women in France are thought to wear burqa-style garments, usually pinning a "niqab" across their faces to go with their long, dark robes. Such veils are widely seen as a gateway to extremism and an attack on gender equality and secularism, a basic value of modern-day France.

"The all-enveloping veil represents, in an extraordinary way, everything that France instinctively rejects. This is the symbol of the enslavement of women and the banner ... of extremist fundamentalism," said Bernard Accoyer, president of the National Assembly, the lower house, after being presented with the report.

Despite the acrimony, the recommendation to ban the veils in public sector facilities could be in place "before the end of the year," conservative lawmaker Eric Raoult, the panel's No. 2, told The Associated Press.

"We need maybe six months or a little more to explain what we want," he told The AP, adding that "by the end of 2010" there could be such an interdiction.

Accoyer was more vague but told a news conference that "we can certainly find solutions in a brief time."

Numerous experts have noted that a 2004 law banning the Muslim headscarf and other "ostentatious" religious signs in primary and secondary schools has pushed some young girls out of school and contributed to the founding of private Muslim schools.

Muslim leaders have said the face-covering veil is not required by Islam and is an "extreme practice." However, the main body representing Muslims has also voiced displeasure with the panel's work, saying it contributed to stigmatizing Muslims, along with an ongoing debate on France's national identity that has focused on immigrants.

France has the largest Muslim population in western Europe — estimated at 5 million — and discrimination has become a grave source of concern.

On Tuesday, just hours after the report was presented, Sarkozy visited a Muslim cemetery in northern France that has been desecrated twice. Secularism, he said in a speech honoring Muslims who fought and died for France, "is not the negation of religion." But it is "an essential component of our identity."

Bitterness spilled beyond the lawmakers' forum as a group of hardline Muslims forced their way into a mosque in Drancy, northeast of Paris, threatening the imam, or prayer leader, who came out last week for a full ban on the veils.

Hassen Chalghoumi, known for his outreach to the Jewish community, said on Radio Orient that the intruders objected to his stance on the veil and "want me to stop talking and stop showing a tolerant Islam." He filed a legal complaint alleging "death threats" and met with officials at the Interior Ministry.

The president of the parliamentary panel, Andre Gerin, has stressed that the goal of any ban is not to stigmatize women with face-covering veils but to rout out people he calls "gurus" who indoctrinate and force even young girls to cover themselves.

The recommendations show attention, too, to public sector employees dealing with women in full veil who refuse to remove it. In particular, there have been reports of confrontations in hospital settings in which a husband refuses to allow his wife to be treated by a male doctor.

Among the 15 recommendations that passed a panel vote is one calling for special training by state employees to manage such confrontations and another to "systematically signal" when minors are seen wearing full-body veils.

Neither the parliament nor the government is obliged to act on the panel's recommendations. No action is likely before March regional elections.

The most likely first step would be passing a resolution denouncing the veil and, if the current text is kept, "proclaiming that all of France says no to the veil."


Democrats, the Washington Post, and Republicans

From the Washington Post, January 26, 2010, A13.

The White House and congressional Republicans spent much of last year bickering over whom to blame for their inability to work together, as the administration constantly blasted the House GOP for unanimously opposing the economic stimulus, while Republicans said Obama and House Democrats refused to incorporate their ideas. A private meeting at the White House that included Obama and House Republicans in December on job growth turned into a griping session, with the president accusing the GOP of "scaring" Americans about his policies while Republicans said the anxiety in the country stemmed from his agenda.

The writer apparently spends little time dealing with facts and more with accusations.  There is a difference.  Accusations are simply that without facts.  Facts - are well, indisputable.

The Democrats have ignored Republicans on every major bill.  They have held private meetings, refused Republicans any involvement, had meetings outside of chambers exlcusing Republicans, and made it very clear to Republicans that 'we won, get over it.'  Over and over and over and over they repeated this mantra, explaining why Republicans were not relevant to the discussion.  Either Republicans get on board, or Democrats would roll right over them.

With an attitude like that, why in the heck should Republicans pretend all is well.  It isn't because Republicans were marginalized, they were excluded, they were ignored, they were prevented from having any voice unless it was in agreement.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Ukraine, Russia, and the US

Remember - Obama told us about how he was changing things, rebuilding relations, creating a strong consensus to stop Iran.

That has fallen apart and in large part due to the ineptitude and naivete of Obama / and or those who were charged with defining policy.

Under Bush, the US was pushing for the Ukraine to be added in to NATO.  The Ukraine wanted it - the military wanted it, the government wanted it, the people wanted it.  Poland is another case - the US wanted Poland admitted, and Bush was pushing for their inclusion.

Russia on the other hand didn't want either to join NATO and it exerted the only force it could - cutting off fuel supplies to the Ukraine.  Russia did this several times, a threat, or promise unstated - do not join NATO or worse will happen, the US cannot help you.  Bush pushed for the missile defense system, and then under Obama everything changed.

Obama made it clear the US could not get involved in foreign issues, we stopped the missile defense system - a capitulation to Russian demands.  But what did we get back from them?  We were to get Russian support against Iran, and for a few moments it seemed like Russia would.  In public statements Russia said it would consider all options, for five minutes, and then, with the missile defense system safely taken out of Eastern Europe, Russia reneged.

Still, NATO wanted the Ukraine, and until Obama made it clear that NATO would not be expanding - the Ukraine and Poland felt safe, and then the floor fell out - the US would not be a stand-up partner for them, they were alone. 

In the Ukraine, the US pulled back on ther NATO deal in an effort to secure Russian assistance against Iran.  Russia decided to push several pro-Russian candidates in the Ukraine into running for the presidency.  Both candidates in the Feb. 6 runoff (opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko) are effectively in favor of accommodation with Russia. Therefore, the American strategy in Russia just vaporized.  The one thing the Russians wanted from the US was recognition of their sphere of influence, and Iran was the carrot they were using to achieve that end.  Now, it doesn't matter - Russia has achieved what it wanted in the Ukraine without the US.  The entire American diplomatic effort in Iran depends on what the Russians do now and the US strategy on Russia is in shambles.



BHO - One Term President? He would prefer that.

Mr. Obama has said he would rather be a really good one term president (seat warmer) than a two term mediocre president. It is too bad he will not get a chance to do either.

At least he understands that he has potentially serious problems!

"I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president," he told ABC's "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview today.

Obama sat down with Sawyer two days before he will deliver a State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress, and he acknowledged the political setbacks of his first year in office.

The State of the Union will be Obama's chance to jump start his agenda, but he ducked when Sawyer asked if he could guarantee there would not be a tax increase for anyone making less than $250,000.

"I can guarantee that the worst thing we could do would be to raise taxes when the economy is still this weak," he replied.

That is not answering the question BHO.  You know what - I'd support any of his policies if it means he would not run again!


Obama and the State of the Union

With unemployment going up, the national debt now nearly 2 trillion more than it was but one year ago, we now learn that housing sales on existing homes are worse than they have been in forty yearsOf course all of this is Bush's fault - for that matter, so is global warming.  Everything is his fault and nothing is Obama's fault - I suppose we will hear that when Obama takes to the teleprompter to give his version of what he has done for us.  Mr. Obama cannot go anywhere without his teleprompter - to an elementary school, on the campaign trail, for speeches, statements to the press ... the man is tied to his teleprompter.  We can only imagine what would happen without his teleprompter!  Perhaps show us how inarticulate he really is.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obama and the Stimulus Money: Saving Jobs Wherever He Spends It.

The STIMULUS money didn't create a few jobs according to the White House, it saved millions of jobs. 

Valerie Jarrett had the most conservative count, saying “the Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs,” while David Axelrod gave the bill the most credit, saying it has “created more than – or saved more than 2 million jobs.” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came in between them, saying the plan had “saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”

I would expect that Obama will use a number between 1.5 million and 2 million.  IMPRESSIVE. 

Except, I can say I saved 1 million jobs, no wait, 2 million 300,000, no wait, 3 million 250,000, no no wait, wait, 4 million jobs were saved or created.

And who will prove me wrong?  Hard to prove I didn't SAVE any.


The Perpetual Campaign

Several articles -

In the US News and World Report, February 2008 edition, almost a year ago, Obama explained what his qualifications for office were.  

1) Bringing people together - the funny thing is, he did galvanize opposition to him, but he never brought anyone together, not even within the Democratic party.  The left in that party never accepted the center, and the Retardicans never accepted him.  The independents were willing to listen, and have since heard enough and have abandoned him.

2) a track record of opposing special interests - laughable.  The exemptions for the unions if his health plan went through (unions are a special interest); his exemptions for pharmaceutical companies from taxation he would levy (they are a special interest) on the rest of the industry; his exemption for nearly all special interest groups - most have been around to see him, secret meetings with Biden when Biden isn't making some of the dumbest remarks ever, off the record conversations with Obama.  Special interests are whoever you say they are.  When it was Bush, Obama railed against those interests (typically ones who supported Republicans) and invited other special interests (those aligned with the Democrats) to pay homage.  Today they do, regularly, in donations.

3) 20 years of fighting for the working class - and raising taxes on nearly every industry, business, service in the country - that would not hurt the working class?  Eliminating deductions, replacing the marriage penalty ... that doesn't hurt the working class.

4)  All of the above is evidence he is straight with the people?  Not likely.

That however isn't really the point of this post.  It is an interesting sidebar.

The more interesting part of the interview Obama gave was in the 3rd paragraph.  The Bush White House was too busy running a perpetual campaign to govern.  Must have received a lot of applause from some of the 48% of the electorate who today do not support Obama.  Probably more support and cheers from the 47% who still do suppoort him.

There is a slight problem with his statement and the many promises ...

Obama Explains His Campaign Strategy

And that includes his thoughts on Ronald Reagan and Obamicans

By Kenneth T. Walsh
Posted February 15, 2008


"When I decided to run," he says, "my calculation was that it was a long shot but that there was a possibility that the skills I had to offer—bringing people together, a track record of pushing against the special interests, a 20-year history of working at a grass-roots level to help working families, pretty well-developed evidence of being straight with people—that that might be what the country needs right now," he says. "And you know for us to have achieved what we've achieved so far is less, I think, a testament to me than it is to the American people and their eagerness for a fundamental shift in how we do business."

He says the key moment came after he lost the New Hampshire primary to Clinton. It could have been a crushing blow, but Obama says that "it showed me that even in the face of hardship, our base of support held rock steady, and they got even more enthusiastic and more energized after that."

After seven years of what Obama called the failed policies of George W. Bush's administration, "this is a moment where you don't have an incumbent president, you don't have an incumbent vice president, where it is possible for somebody like myself, who has a different tone and approach to politics, to emerge," he says. "What I think people are persuaded about is that it's not enough just to change political parties in the White House, that there's something deeper that ails us, that our politics has gotten out of touch, that it is too sharply partisan, and it's too tactical, and it's (Bush White House) obsessed with the perpetual campaign as opposed to governance."

The problem is  (from the January 24, 2010, New York Times) ...

Obama Moves to Centralize Control Over Party Strategy


WASHINGTON — President Obama is reconstituting the team that helped him win the White House to counter Republican challenges in the midterm elections and recalibrate after political setbacks that have narrowed his legislative ambitions.

Mr. Obama has asked his former campaign manager, David Plouffe, to oversee House, Senate and governor’s races to stave off a hemorrhage of seats in the fall. The president ordered a review of the Democratic political operation — from the White House to party committees — after last week’s Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, aides said.

In addition to Mr. Plouffe, who will primarily work from the Democratic National Committee in consultation with the White House, several top operatives from the Obama campaign will be dispatched across the country to advise major races as part of the president’s attempt to take greater control over the midterm elections, aides said.

He has been in office for one year, and he is bringing in campaign people.  Now of course his supporters will say the campaign people are dealing with Congressional and Senate elections one year away, and then, in theory they will go away ... for one year before they return to aide in his re-election bid.  More than two years of campaigning out of four.  That seems almost very much like perpetual to me.

Now supporters will say Obama called Plouffe in, but Plouffe isn't going to work IN the White House.  True, but PLOUFFE will not report to "David Axelrod, or Jim Messina, the deputy White House chief of staff, or to Jen O'Malley Dillon, the DNC executive director or to Gov. Tim Kaine, the DNC chairman, or to Patrick Gaspard, the political director. He reports to the President. Informally. But this informal channel is Plouffe's and Plouffe's alone," so says The Atlantic's Mark Ambinder.

Obama is in perpetual campaign mode, busying himself with accomplishing very little while sending the Dow into the tank, yet again.  He has pissed off the banking industry, health care industry, many Democrats, virtually every Republican, most independents, most of the Muslim world, most of our allies, the leftists in his party, the centrists in his party ... he is the definition of someone unable to govern, either because he is unable to, or because he cannot - and this at a time when there is concern that the latest statement from bin Laden is the green light for a new wave of attacks on the US and or on Western countries (remember, the UK changed their terror level to critical / imminent).  The US has not changed anything nor has anyone said anything about changing it.  I am sure Obama wishes the color system would simply go away - he is plagued with comments from within the White House and other agencies about raising the color code.  He spends more time on that issue, than he does on most any other issue - yet, we will, or could be, attacked soon, and the White House is asleep. 

A word of advice Mr. Obama - if we are attacked, and you didn't mention it either publicly or through the color code ... you won't need Plouffe or anyone for any campaign - the Democratic party will be ousted, with serious talk about removing you.



We have no jobs.  Officially unemployment is around 10%.  When Bush left office it was several points lower.  Obama introduced the trillions in stimulus to pump start the economy - and less than 100,000 jobs were created.  Costly program.  The unemployment rate is much higher - closer to 17.5%, and in some areas as high as 20% (Chicago and Detroit).  It is not a record to run on, and after all the money spent, fewer people are employed today than before the stimulus.

Oh but some will argue it is Bush's fault.  That is why 77% of investors believe Obama is anti-business.  If I owned a business, and was faced with the possibility of huge fines or taxes over health care - I wouldn't hire anyone, and so the unemployment rate will continue higher.


Bin Laden: We are Responsible

For several reasons, American officials publicly state bin Laden has little influence. 1) It does not comport with the Obama view of terror, 2) bin Laden is isolated in a cave or mud hut in Waziristan or Southern Afghanistan and cannot direct anyone to do anything, 3) the attacks in the last few years have been very narrowly focused, and less against the US than against specific places or people unconnected to the larger quest bin Laden outlined in 2001.

The problem with this thinking is - the people offering these arguments are 1) either trying to diminish the seriousness a) to force bin laden into making a mistake, or b) it does not comport with the Obama view of terror.

It is possible these officials know and understand the seriousness, but it is also possible they are all as clueless as Obama, when it comes to terrorism and al qaida.

Al Qaida is not a Western invention. Stop thinking of al qaida using Western constructs. The paradigms you have used to understand everything from the SLA to FLQ to IRA do not work. Stop trying to super impose a great power theory onto al qaida or bin Laden - that when great powers lose their power they recede in importance and a period of chaos ensues until another power fills the vacuum.

You forget how Khalid Sheikh Mohammad approached bin Laden with plans for the 2001 attacks, or how Ramzi Yousef with the 1993 plans on the WTC. KSM traveled to bin Laden, into the hills, over the dales, down through the valleys, up to the peaks, and into the cave. Bin Laden gives his approval, discussion on funding ensues, and KSM leaves with bin Ladens approval. Later other agents will leave the cave and begin the process of background support - financial, transportation. These agents will travel to Peshwar and call their cousin or brother, son, father, or uncle in England, and begin the process for assurance of funds - the way in which most terror money is transferred. The person in England will call his: uncle, brother, nephew, or son in Atlanta and tell him to provide the money to individuals who will eventually approach him for money - all of this without any money being moved around yet. We don't do this in the West, based upon our word - but they do it. The Patriot Act was useful in tracking these sorts down.

Sometime ago, someone travelled to see bin Laden, had the same conversation KSM did, years before, and bin Laden gave his approval for the larger plan. He didn't care about the details of how the larger plan would come into fruition; just that it did - he understood to get from A to C, meant lots of little B's ... and the Nigerian was a B.

Bin Laden is as responsible for the attack on the Saudi Prince as he was for 2001, as he was for the London attacks, the Spain rail attacks, and the Nigerian and his failed attempt to blow up a plane and kill more than 200 people. For Obama, and many others who have tired of the war on terror - they refuse to acknowledge that the problem is as widespread as it is, with as many people involved and collaborating, for to accept this fact, would necessarily require you to accept we are at war with individuals who are unrelenting, whose influence stretches across the seas and deserts, with thousands of minions ready to act, and tens of thousands more willing to help. It is not a Western paradigm of war - where one army marshals its forces on a battlefield and the enemy lines up against them, and they do battle, and because it is not, it requires people to understand what is not clear - and that is where Obama fails.

Obama does not have the skills necessary; neither do most of those who went with him to DC.   Until we recognize publicly how the enemy acts, we will always be playing catch-up.

Bin Laden takes responsibility for Christmas Day airline bombing plot

The Al Qaeda leader vows to continue targeting the U.S. as long as Washington backs Israel. But American officials doubt he played a meaningful role in planning the failed attack.

By Borzou Daragahi and Greg Miller
9:53 AM PST, January 24, 2010

Reporting from Washington and Beirut

Al Qaeda's leader claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day attempt to blow up an American civilian jet in an audiotape broadcast today on Arab television.

In the clip, Osama bin Laden said his group was behind the failed attempt, allegedly carried out by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight.

Speaking directly to President Obama, he vowed to continue launching terrorist attacks against the United States as long as Washington supported what he described as Israel's unjust treatment of Palestinians.

"From Osama to Obama: Peace upon the one who follows guidance," he said on the tape, broadcast on the pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite news channel, his image appearing on the screen as he spoke. "America will not dream of security until we experience it as a reality in Palestine."

U.S. intelligence officials did not cast doubt on the authenticity of the tape, but expressed skepticism that Bin Laden or his lieutenants played a meaningful role in conceiving or executing the Christmas Day plot.

"Al Qaeda in Yemen takes strategic guidance from Al Qaeda's leadership in the tribal areas in Pakistan," a U.S. intelligence official said. "But we've never seen indications that the senior Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan have directed tactical, day-to-day operational planning for them in Yemen. Their relationship hasn't really functioned that way."

No evidence has surfaced to indicate that Abdulmutallab traveled to Pakistan in preparation for the plot. Instead, U.S. spy agencies in recent weeks have had to acknowledge their failure to recognize significant clues that began to surface last year indicating a terrorist plot was taking shape in Yemen, and that Abdulmutallab allegedly was being groomed by Al Qaeda operatives there for an attack.

U.S. officials described the message from Bin Laden as an attempt to take propaganda advantage of a plot hatched by Al Qaeda's offshoot in Yemen.

"Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was behind the failed attack on Christmas Day. That's clear," the U.S. intelligence official said. "So a message like this -- no matter whose voice it may be -- should come as no surprise."

In his message, Bin Laden likened the arrested Nigerian national Abdulmutallab, who authorities say claimed that he received instructions for carrying out the bombing plot from a cleric in Bin Laden's ancestral home of Yemen, to those behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"If our messages to you could be carried by words, we would not have delivered them by planes," he said on the tape, which could not be independently verified. "The message we want to communicate to you through the plane of the hero, the holy warrior Umar Farouk . . . is a confirmation of a previous message, which was delivered to you by the heroes of [Sept. 11] and which was repeated previously and afterward."

[For those nutters who can read - bin Laden is AGAIN taking credit for September 11, 2001.  Something he has done aboput 200 times since 2001.]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an apparent offshoot of Bin Laden's loosely defined organization, had claimed responsibility for the attempted attack, in which the 23-year-old Abdulmutallab allegedly tried without success to detonated explosives attached to his underwear.

The nature of the plot and the device employed are strikingly similar to a suicide bombing Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula carried out last year against the head of Saudi Arabia's anti-terrorism program. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef survived that strike, in part because he may have been shielded from the force of the blast of a bomb the attacker had hidden on his body.

Many analysts have speculated that the Christmas Day attack was carried out without Bin Laden's input, in a sign of Al Qaeda's continued splintering.

Bin Laden, believed to be holed up somewhere in the lawless tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, began concentrating on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict only in recent years. He fought against Soviet occupation for years in Afghanistan before turning his sights on the 1990s U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars over the last decade.

But the Israeli offensive against Hamas-ruled Gaza, which ended a year ago this month, has proved an effective rallying cry for Islamic radicals in the region.

"It is not fair that you should live peacefully while our brothers in Gaza are experiencing the most miserable living," Bin Laden said in his message, apparently addressing Americans directly. "Based on this, with the permission of God, our raids against you will continue as long as your support for the Israelis is continuing."

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David dismissed Bin Laden's attempt to link attacks against the U.S. to Washington's support for Israel.

"This is nothing new, he has said this before," David said, according to the Associated Press. "Terrorists always look for absurd excuses for their despicable deeds."

bin laden

Biden to Iraq: We'll Prosecute Blackwater

I am surprised Obama has allowed Biden out.

U.S. to appeal dismissal of Blackwater charges: Biden

Sat, Jan 23 2010

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The government will appeal a court decision to dismiss charges against Blackwater security guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007, Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday.

The U.S. federal court found last month that the defendants' constitutional rights had been violated, angering many Iraqis. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government has hired U.S. lawyers to prepare a law suit against Blackwater, a security contractor now called Xe Services.

With Iraqi President Jalal Talabani at his side at a Baghdad news conference, Biden expressed "personal regret" for the violence in a Baghdad traffic circle when Blackwater guards were accused of opening fire on innocent civilians.

The guards said they shot in self-defense in the incident, which occurred during some of the worst sectarian violence in Iraq.

"The United States is determined, determined to hold accountable anyone who commits crimes against the Iraqi people," Biden said.

"While we fully respect the independence and integrity of the U.S. judicial system, we were disappointed by the judge's decision to dismiss the indictment, which was based on the way in which some evidence had been acquired," Biden said.

The U.S. Justice Department would file the appeal next week, he said.

The incident came to symbolize for Iraqis what they saw as foreigners' disregard for their lives after private guards protecting U.S. personnel were given immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

It also threw a critical light on the U.S. use of private security contractors in Iraq.

U.N. human rights experts have called on Iraq and the United States to ensure that the case is prosecuted, saying it underscores the need for credible oversight of private security companies working for governments in war zones.

Does anyone else regard the above as assuming something that is not in fact?  Assuming .... guilt?
The wording of the article, the statements of the various parties - having a not guilty verdict is just not acceptable.  It assumes much more than the facts provide.

Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.