Thursday, April 30, 2009

Outing CIA Agents

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ABC News tonight had a story on Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, the two psychologists who helped design the CIA waterboarding program.

It seems that with the release of the torture memos there is now a new focus on these two. ABC lurked outside their office, then followed them around with cameras but both declined comment, citing confidentiality agreements with the CIA.

So what was the focus of the story? I'm still trying to figure it out. But here's a quote that helps:

"It's clear that these psychologists had an important role in developing what became the CIA's torture program," said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Does Jaffer think that somebody should take legal action here? Is he going to try to hold them responsible for doing a job they were hired as private contractors to do? Here's more:

"But it turns out neither Mitchell nor Jessen had any experience in conducting actual interrogations before the CIA hired them.

"'They went to two individuals who had no interrogation experience,' said Col. Kleinman. 'They are not interrogators.' The new documents show the CIA later came to learn that the two psychologists' waterboarding 'expertise' was probably 'misrepresented' and thus, there was no reason to believe it was 'medically safe' or effective."

They "misrepresented" their expertise? Is THAT the point of the story?

Then, finally, there's this:

"A federal judge in New York is currently considering whether or not to make public the written logs of the interrogation sessions.

"The tapes were destroyed by the CIA, but the written logs still exist, although the CIA is fighting their release. "

I'm not surprised the CIA is fighting their release; I think we've given out enough information already.

Vanity Fair did a hit piece on Mitchell and Jessen in June 2007:

"Two psychologists in particular played a central role: James Elmer Mitchell, who was attached to the C.I.A. team that eventually arrived in Thailand, and his colleague Bruce Jessen. Neither served on the task force or are A.P.A. members. Both worked in a classified military training program known as sere—for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape—which trains soldiers to endure captivity in enemy hands. Mitchell and Jessen reverse-engineered the tactics inflicted on sere trainees for use on detainees in the global war on terror, according to psychologists and others with direct knowledge of their activities. The C.I.A. put them in charge of training interrogators in the brutal techniques, including 'waterboarding,' at its network of 'black sites.' In a statement, Mitchell and Jessen said, "'We are proud of the work we have done for our country.'"

The whole thing has rather a witch hunt feel to it and in a way reminds me of the outing of Valerie Plame. While these guys weren't necessarily agents or spies, they were attached to the CIA and worked an extremely sensitive operation. We might as well paint a target on their backs in case anybody wants to get revenge. ABC News splashed their faces all over the news and on their website.

I'm not sure what would be gained at this point by dragging them further into the spotlight. The release of the torture memos was bad enough without continuing to dump more information into the hands of our enemies.

Update: Allahpundit has now put this up on Hot Air:

This one's a closer call than when the Times outed KSM's chief interrogator against Michael Hayden’s wishes. That was really a story about America’s counterterror apparatus after 9/11; the interrogator was a minor character, which made the outing gratuitous. ABC’s piece is about how these two guys masterminded the CIA’s program — while allegedly not really knowing what they were doing. Can you break a story like that, affecting national policy on a subject of public interest, without saying specifically who you’re talking about?

Memeorandum has other blog links on this as well.

From Weekly Standard:
"ABC's conduct here, exposing two men who will now become obvious targets for terrorists and left-wing extremists, is deplorable. Will the Obama administration investigate who leaked their identities? Or is it now open-season on Americans who were only doing what their government asked of them in order to protect their country from attack?"

Torture Memo Release = Big Mistake

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thirtysomething on DVD!!

I got a message today from Nikki who wanted to be sure I knew that thirtysomething is coming out on DVD (legally) finally! Woot!

This was my all time favorite show from day one of its run until the bitter end. I watched and taped every single episode. Hope and Michael were like old friends and Elliot got on my last nerve. I had a weird fascination with Miles Drentell! Loved the music in the show too - lots of Van Morrison.

Here is the scoop if you were also a fan.

Remember these guys!?

D'Oh Bama

At an appearance in Arnold, MO yesterday, Mr. Obama skewed a few of his facts, according to the AP:

OBAMA: "Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.... That wasn't me. Number two, there is almost uniform consensus among economists that in the middle of the biggest crisis, financial crisis, since the Great Depression, we had to take extraordinary steps. So you've got a lot of Republican economists who agree that we had to do a stimulus package and we had to do something about the banks. Those are one-time charges, and they're big, and they'll make our deficits go up over the next two years." — in Missouri.


Congress controls the purse strings, not the president, and it was under Democratic control for Obama's last two years as Illinois senator. Obama supported the emergency bailout package in President George W. Bush's final months — a package Democratic leaders wanted to make bigger.

To be sure, Obama opposed the Iraq war, a drain on federal coffers for six years before he became president. But with one major exception, he voted in support of Iraq war spending.

The economy has worsened under Obama, though from forces surely in play before he became president, and he can credibly claim to have inherited a grim situation.

Still, his response to the crisis goes well beyond "one-time charges."

He's persuaded Congress to expand children's health insurance, education spending, health information technology and more. He's moving ahead on a variety of big-ticket items on health care, the environment, energy and transportation that, if achieved, will be more enduring than bank bailouts and aid for homeowners.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated his policy proposals would add a net $428 billion to the deficit over four years, even accounting for his spending reduction goals. Now, the deficit is nearly quadrupling to $1.75 trillion.

There is more here.

Maybe if he'd get his facts straight and get a real grasp of how his massive spending plans are screwing up the economy he might understand what the tea parties are about, since he also seems to have a failure to grasp the idea behind those as well.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama's Holocaust Speech

I somehow missed the Obama speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day earlier this month. But Michael Ledeen didn't and he wrote about it here. The speech, as Mr. Ledeen says, isn't all bad, but there is a passage which illustrates a bigger global philosphy that we should note.

I've studied a lot about the Holocaust and I'd have to agree with Ledeen when he says that Obama's view of the genocide is a great deal different than pretty much everyone else's. In NRO's The Corner this afternoon, Ledeen highlights a passage of the speech and expounds:


"We find cause for hope as well in Protestant and Catholic children attending school together in Northern Ireland; in Hutus and Tutsis living side-by-side, forgiving neighbors who have done the unforgivable; in a movement to save Darfur that has thousands of high school and college chapters in 25 countries and brought 70,000 people to the Washington Mall, people of every age and faith and background and race united in common cause with suffering brothers and sisters halfway around the world. Those numbers can be our future, our fellow citizens of the world showing us how to make the journey from oppression to survival, from witness to resistance and ultimately to reconciliation. That is what we mean when we say 'never again.'


"It may be what he means by "never again," but most everybody else means "we're going to act to throttle the next would-be Hitler." Not "resistance and ultimately . . . reconciliation." Action, quite possibly military action. But Obama doesn't talk about military action anywhere in his speech. There is no mention of the Second World War, nor, for that matter, the belated military action that terminated the slaughter in Rwanda, or the decades-long police action in Northern Ireland, and of course no criticism of the total lack of action by the "international community" in Darfur.

"And yet he has the nerve to suggest that we should learn from 'our fellow citizens of the world showing us how to make the journey . . . ' Isn't it the other way round? For if "our fellow citizens" in Europe had had the same willingness to fight evil that we have so often displayed, there wouldn't have been a Holocaust to remember. But such unpleasant facts would have led him to praise American exceptionalism, and, as we know, he's not comfortable with such themes."

Certainly this was not the occasion for a militant speech. But one thing that stands out here is how his perspective fits right in with his apology tour, which Ledeen aptly points out. It is also consistent with his policy to never praise America. Americans helped liberate the camps - doesn't that count for something? Not in Obama's world; at least, he gives no indication that was the case.

He does speak of "the hope of a chosen people who have overcome oppression since the days of Exodus, of the nation of Israel rising from the destruction of the Holocaust, of the strong and enduring bonds between our nations," but some in Israel are questioning those strong bonds right now and doubting that Obama feels them.

I'm willing to be that had he been president during the Holocaust he'd have been willing to meet with Hitler "without preconditions" and search for that reconciliation he mentions.

While dipolomacy and conversation has its place, not all problems can be solved that way despite what Mr. Obama seems to think. There are times when military action is necessary. Obama does not seem to think so. Ronald Reagan left no doubt for our enemies that he would respond with force when necessary. He drew the line in the sand. No nonsense.

Our enemies need to know that we are willing to take action if necessary. The only message Obama seems to be putting out is "Let's talk!" Clearly Iran isn't afraid of us, nor is North Korea or Cuba or Venezuela or Hamas, or any of the other global terrorists who have challenged him.

Gird your loins kids; it's going to be a long four years.

Update: Via Memeorandum, here is a great post on the same topic.

Obama Refuses to Meet with Netanyahu
Louis Van Thyn

Are You Reading...

...the Immersion blog? Her photos from Kyoto are fabulous! You'll have to go to the blog to look at the rest...

Political Correctness Gone Amok

Political correctness gone amok:

"The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday. Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and 'we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu,' he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel."


"At a news briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took pains to repeatedly refer to the flu as the 'H1N1 virus.'"

The "Mexican flu" is better because....? why? We don't mind offending Mexicans? Stupid.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On the Fly-By Photo Op Fiasco

I haven't weighed in yet on the fly-by-photo-op fiasco, and to be honest, I've been rather flabbergasted by it all. A total WTF moment.

How in the bloody hell we are supposed to believe that BHO didn't know anything about this is beyond me. I'm willing to bet that he knows EVERYthing that goes on, but at the very least, he would know if the AFOne back-up went out. Give me a break.

I'd hate to be the crapweasel that tried to pull this off without telling him. I just don't believe it happened that way.

I don't.

And if it did, that's even worse.

Who is in charge of this playground, anyway?

I'm on board with Little Miss Attila:

"Thank goodness these people will be in charge of making cars at GM and Chrysler, and that Obama is going to personally figure out what the best credit card would be for me—and for all Americans, since we are all basically interchangeable. The only thing that could improve the situation is nationalized health care, and the Administration is busily ramming that one through.We’re in the very best of hands."

Holy crap.

Bankrupting the Coal Industry

On November 2 I posted the widely circulated YouTube video of the Chronicle interview where Obama promises to bankrupt the coal industry (there were some lively comments on that post, also!).

Now it seems as if this is a promise Obama is determined to keep. You might remember that he said this:

What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.
The only thing I’ve said with respect to coal, I haven’t been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.
It’s just that it will bankrupt them.

Right. So last month the EPA, striking fear in Appalachia, announced they will review 150 to 200 coal mine permit applications. They singled out two proposed mines in West Virginia and Kentucky (McCain won in West Va., 53% to 46% and McCain carried Kentucky 58% to 41%).

The National Mining Association estimates these reviews could threaten 77,500 jobs. How's that for a stimulus? Of course, environmentalists see it differently - they see it as an "opportunity" to spark new green jobs.

In addition, Ed Morrissey writes today about the EPA decision to "renege on a permit already granted to open a coal-generator plant" in New Mexico:

"In a dramatic move yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew the air quality permit it issued last summer for the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant, which is slated to be built on the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners region just southwest of Farmington, New Mexico. …

"Jeff Holmstead, former head of the air program at EPA and now head of the Environmental Strategies Group at Bracewell & Giuliani, the law firm representing the plant’s developer, Sithe Global, said in a statement that he has “never seen anything like it.”

"'I don’t think anyone ever imagined that the new team at EPA would seem to have such little regard for due process or basic notions of fairness,' Holmstead said. 'Everyone understands that a new Administration has discretion to change rules and policies prospectively. But I’ve never seen any Administration try to change policies and rules retroactively.'"

Yesterday, the WSJ had an article about the Obama administration attempting to reverse a Bush rule regarding mountaintop mining. The coal industry defends this practice as a safer and cheaper alternative to underground mining, but the environmentalists argue that it damages water quality and stream habitats.

This reversal will affect the central Appalachia region in West Virginia which produces about 10% of U.S. coal.

I honestly don't know enough about the mountaintop mining issue to pass judgment; I do know that the coal industry is required to restore much of the land that they damage, but this can't be done in it's entirety. I also know that you can't have it both ways. We are a nation dependent on the coal industry; you can't simply cut that off overnight because the new administration decides that some streams and fish are getting the short end of the stick.

Taken all together, however, these recent decisions by the Obama administration against the coal industry appear to advance his promise to bankrupt the coal industry.

Overall, this seems to me a reckless policy when also taken with his decision to limit offshore drilling and the long-standing position of restricted domestic drilling (ANWAR, for example). We do not have these fantasy renewable energy policies in place.

If Obama wants to go tilting at windmills and build wind farms, lets get those things in place and running effectively before we decimate our other sources of energy and put thousands of people out of work.

Larry Summers on Obamacare

Matthew Vadum (via John Lott) points to this Larry Summers interview that aired on Meet the Press over the weekend. Summers pretty much reveals the intentions of Obamacare which will be, as we suspected, to ration health care to American citizens.

Summers said, "But the really important issue for the long run, David, is changing the way in which we deliver health care in this country. You know, there have been a whole set of studies done, they look at health care, the frequency of different procedures, whether it's tonsillectomies or hysterectomies in different parts of the country, and what you see is that in some parts of the country procedures are done three times as frequently and there's no benefit in terms of the health of the population. And by doing the right kind of cost-effectiveness, by making the right kinds of investments and protection, some experts that we--estimate that we could take as much as $700 billion a year out of our health care system. "

Rationing. So the government intends to tell you which procedures are cost-effective and acceptable for you to have. If I need a knee operation or a hip replacement or any other kind of procedure, that decision should be between me and my doctor and should have nothing to do with the federal government.

Remember, the Democrats have already hijacked this debate via the Reconciliation process so there will be no national debate on the issue.

During the campaign, Obama promised that if you have your own insurance he would not attempt to change that. Let's see how long THAT stands up under his new program.

Update: Holy crap I've been linked by Little Miss Attila! Welcome, readers! I'm in blog heaven!

Monday, April 27, 2009

David Brooks Fisking Day? Already?

Is it David Brooks Fisking Day? Rush thinks so. Rush quotes last Thursday's Charlie Rose show:

David BROOKS: The biggest shock to me, I thought, the guy's 47, the guy's barely been in Washington. Can he run an effective administration? Yes.

Charlie ROSE: And an effective campaign, too.

BROOKS: He has run a tremendously effective, efficient managerial administration. That is the biggest surprise and I think the biggest story of the first hundred days. Because if he didn't do that, if he didn't have the essential level of competence, nothing else would matter, people would not trust him. But he is a competent manager.

RUSH: I don't want to spend a lot of time refuting any of this because it's pointless. Competent manager? He's running a marketing campaign rather than being president. He's running a PR campaign rather than being president. He's being president, don't misunderstand, but it's all perception. It's not reality. Everything that they're trying to fix is falling apart. Everything they're trying to fix is getting worse, and yet, the perception is this guy's brilliant, is great, great managerial skills, competent, very, very intelligent, like me, these people all think. I hate to do this to you, folks, but you gotta hear it. This is Charlie Rose and David Brooks just slobbering, literally slobbering over Barack Obama.

Sununu on Reconciliation

John Sununu has a nice piece on the reconciliation process in today's WSJ.

A couple of excerpts [any emphasis is mine.]

"Reconciliation was established in 1974 as a procedure to make modest adjustments to mandatory spending such as farm programs, student loans and Medicare that were already well established in law. Over the past 35 years, it has been used only 22 times -- and three of those bills were vetoed. There are good reasons it has been used so rarely."
"The power of a reconciliation bill is this: Senate rules allow only 20 hours of debate and then passage with a simple majority of 51 votes. This represents a lightning strike in the normal deliberative time-frame of the Senate. The historic precedent of open debate, and the requirement of 60 votes to close debate, are completely short-circuited.

"Budget reconciliation was never intended to push through dramatic and expansive new programs. It was created as a way to help a reluctant Congress curb spending, reduce deficits, and cut the debt. Moreover, changes made under reconciliation expire after five or 10 years, depending on the budget. This is clearly not the appropriate process for implementing significant new policies."

"Misusing reconciliation undermines [Obama] on two counts: It shows a lack of confidence in his own ability to pass an agenda using the regular legislative order. And it exposes his limited experience with the history, traditions and temperament of the U.S. Congress."

As I wrote previously, nationalized health care is a subject that needs bipartisan support. There are some serious problems with the whole nationalized health care issue. It is fraught with problems in other countries and there's no consensus that the majority of Americans even want that kind of system here. A full and open debate is important in this case.

Obama has already slipped in part of the groundwork for nationalized health care when he inserted computerized health records into the Porkulus bill and a health care czar. All that was in the bill that nobody read.

At any rate, read Sununu's whole article. We can debate health care in a bit.

Obama's Budget Cuts, Visualized

Via American Spectator (Philip Klein)

The Day After Massive Yard Work

Aches and pains. What I had intended to be a "few hours" of yard work ended up being an all day affair. I mowed, edged, fired up the blower, raked, cleaned three flower beds, planted impatiens and caladiums in two beds, put down five bags of mulch, dug up one ugly plant with a root ball the size of Texas, filled the gaping hole with new dirt, and planted two calla lilies.

Today there are aches and pains in places I didn't know could ache OR pain and I have a throbbing headache. Too much sun. Too much work. But it will be worth it later.

And today I'm off to teach Shakespeare to tenth graders. This should be fun.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Getting Dirty

I'm offline for most of the morning. I'm finally getting around to my annual planting and flowerbed cleaning today. I'm behind schedule but part of that I can blame on the soaking rains we've had around here lately.

Through the years I've moved more toward perennials and things that stick around all year, but I always like to plant some pretty impatiens for color and I love my while caladiums. Each year I try to pick up something new to add to the mix just for fun, and this year I found a pretty miniature calla lily. I'm not sure if it'll make it but I'm going to try.

I also have my normal marigolds because they do well in my yard and are colorful. A bonus is that they repel some bugs.

Last year my new addition was larkspur. I ordered the seeds from Monticello (oh, I know, you can get larkspur seeds at the supermarket, but THESE came from Thomas Jefferson's garden! Wow!) They bloomed for the first time this year and it's just gorgeous. I've really been enjoying those.

I've also got major flowerbed cleaning to do and grass to mow, so I better get to it. Time to get dirty.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rule 5 Sunday Linkage

Your gratuitous Rule Five Sunday picture this week is Jake Gyllenhall! What a cutie!

My Sunday linkage:

First of all, Nikki has fired her blog back up again after a little break. Her blog reflects her super fun personality and you should check it out. It's a great blog and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mother!

Speaking of fun blogs, Sandy in Minden has a wonderful little place on the net! If you aren't reading her blog, you're missing a little sunshine in your day.

American Power has a great review of Mark Levin's book. I'm about halfway through it. I got sidetracked by the Leo Thorsness book and I'm also halfway through a second reading of Atlas Shrugged. I last read that one thirty years ago and I've forgotten a lot!

Speaking of books, Robert Stacy McCain provides a reading list.

Cynthia Yockey has a tribute to Bea Arthur.

Pundit and Pundette has a great post on Janet Napolitano. Is there anymore MORE inept than JaNo? Good grief.

I'm linking Sippican Cottage this week because this guy is a damn good writer; I loved his Al Capone post!

To get another Louisiana perspective, be sure you read Red Stick Rant!

Critical Narrative had a great post on the "Obama is Hip" article that appeared this week. I absolutely adore Yukio's blog.

That ought to keep you busy for a while. Check back later for updates!

The Sixth Amendment Under Attack

The Sixth Amendment:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to overrule the 1986 Michigan v. Jackson decision in which the Supreme Court said that police may not initiate questioning of a defendant who has a lawyer or has asked for one unless the attorney is present. I can't believe the left isn't coming unglued on this one, or the ACLU for that matter. I'm betting that they will.

The left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center has weighed in: Stephen Bright, a lawyer who works with poor defendants at the Southern Centre for Human Rights in Atlanta, described the administration's position as "disappointing - no question".

Ed Morrissey questions the logic behind finding this out from a British newspaper, which is a valid point. Not a word in the New York Times. He also writes:

"Rolling back Michigan v Jackson would be a mistake. People who ask for an attorney should get one without further questioning. Americans have the right to counsel at all stages of the process, not just in court, as Obama argues. The adversarial process begins with arrest and interrogation, not when people first face a judge. While Miranda has been turned into a fetish, Michigan actually does the work Miranda promises — to get people counsel when they most need it. That does serve a real purpose, despite what Obama argues."

There seems to be the possibility for a domino effect here; once you lose one of your constitutional rights they all are in jeopardy. The Second Amendment is constantly under attack. The Fairness Doctrine attacks the First Amendment. And now the Sixth Amendment is under fire. Where will it end?

How many criminal convictions would later be questioned because the accused didn't get a lawyer under interrogation? What about the poor, the mentally deficient, the unsophisticated, the handicapped? No lawyer?

If Michigan v. Jackson is overruled, what of Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)? That ruling said counsel must be provided in criminal cases for defendants unable to afford their own attorneys or lawyers.

HuffPo says a decision to hear the case could come as early as Friday. It seems that this administration is treating the terrorists better than American citizens.

Update: Related Link: SCOTUS Blog

Porter Goss Speaks Out

Be sure to read Porter Goss in the Washington Post today:

"Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

-- The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

-- We understood what the CIA was doing.

-- We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.

-- We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.

-- On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues. They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed "memorandums for the record" suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately -- to the committee chairs, the briefers, the House speaker or minority leader, the CIA director or the president's national security adviser -- and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have."

Nancy Pelosi is lying when she says she didn't know. She knew. We knew she knew when she said she didn't know. She's a buffoon. (She's the same buffoon that Obama left in charge of the Porkulus bill.)

Goss is absolutely correct in pointing out the long term detrimental consequences of this mess. We will pay. Obama may have scored some political points with his base, but the payback will be hell. Too doomsday for you? Just go back to those days right after 9/11, when the smoke was still in the air, and all those people were asking how we did not know something like this was coming. All the blame that was placed for not being informed. Goss again:

"The suggestion that we are safer now because information about interrogation techniques is in the public domain conjures up images of unicorns and fairy dust. We have given our enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate. The terrorists captured by the CIA perfected the act of beheading innocents using dull knives. Khalid Sheik Mohammed boasted of the tactic of placing explosives high enough in a building to ensure that innocents trapped above would die if they tried to escape through windows. There is simply no comparison between our professionalism and their brutality.

Our enemies do not subscribe to the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury. "Name, rank and serial number" does not apply to non-state actors but is, regrettably, the only question this administration wants us to ask. Instead of taking risks, our intelligence officers will soon resort to wordsmithing cables to headquarters while opportunities to neutralize brutal radicals are lost. "

Obama Promises Reconciliation

According to the Huffington Post, BHO is "thin-skinned" and hurt that the GOP did not support his outrageous spending bill earlier this year. The GOP refused to appropriately bow down to the emperor and respond to his grand efforts at bipartisanship. Payback time.

"In a meeting with House Republicans at the White House Thursday, President Obama reminded the minority that the last time he reached out to them, they reacted with zero votes -- twice -- for his stimulus package. And then he reminded them again. And again. And again.

"A GOP source familiar with the meeting said that the president was extremely sensitive -- even "thin-skinned" -- to the fact that the stimulus bill received no GOP votes in the House. He continually brought it up throughout the meeting.

"Obama also offered payback for that goose egg. A major overhaul of the health care system, he told the Republican leadership, would be done using a legislative process known as reconciliation, meaning that the GOP won't be able to filibuster it.

"Congress has until October 15 to pass health care or student lending reform under the normal process. If it doesn't, reconciliation can be used to eliminate the 60-vote requirement."

No dissent is allowed, people! You vote my way or you don't vote at all!

Seriously, health care reform is much too serious an issue for the Dems to hijack and ram through Congress. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said,

"Fast-tracking a major legislative overhaul such as health care reform or a new national energy tax without the benefit of a full and transparent debate does a disservice to the American people. And it would make it absolutely clear they intend to carry out their plans on a purely partisan basis."

ObamaCare is an issue that NEEDS bipartisan input. He's shooting for a drastic overhaul of the healthcare system, much like the European system where health care is rationed. I've written about it here and here. Many, many Americans are as yet uninformed as to what is coming. To ram it through Congress via reconciliation is not the way to go.

It is still possible that a bipartisan agreement on health care reform could be reached before October 15 and reconciliation would not be used. But it's a heavy-handed threat that hangs over the entire process and it shows Obama's Chicago style politics.

Not all Democrats are supportive of using reconciliation as it does not come without risks to their objectives. The Commonwealth Fund has an excellent article on the pitfalls involved suggesting that:

"Some of the most significant parts of potential health care legislation could be killed under a Senate rule that requires provisions in reconciliation bills to be related to tax or spending decisions, not major unrelated policy changes with little budgetary impact. The vulnerable provisions include some of Democrats' highest priorities, such as requiring insurers to offer health care to everyone, regardless of preexisting conditions and without charging patients different rates based on their health. Another provision that could face a challenge would require all individuals to buy insurance. Facing slightly less risk is a proposal to require all employers to offer or pay for coverage for their workers.

George W. Bush used reconciliation to get certain tax cuts through. The process is not unique to Obama. I'm not defending Bush's use of the process either. It's not the way Americans want to see business done in Congress and it goes against what Obama campaigned on. He promised bipartisanship and transparency, both of which reconciliation negates.

More to the point in this case is that Obama is using it as a threat - 'you didn't do what I wanted then so I'm not going to do what you want now'. It reminds me of his "I won" reminder.

All in all, it's petty politics whether it is a Republican or a Democrat using it, and it's not in the best interest of the country. In the case of health care, as the Commonwealth article points out, Max Baucus says "The resulting bill would end up looking like "Swiss cheese."

(Welcome Sheeples readers! Thanks, Sheeples, for the link!)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Uighur Release Coming Soon

I don't even know what to say on this anymore. We're one step closer to adopting seven Chinese Uighur terrorists from Gitmo into the United States. It alternately depresses and enrages me.

Via Hot Air, and according to the LATimes, "There are 17 Uighurs ... at Guantanamo. A U.S. official familiar with the discussions over their release said that as many as seven could be resettled in the U.S., possibly in two or more small groups. Officials have not said where in the United States they might live. But many Uighur immigrants from China live in Washington's Virginia suburbs, and advocates have urged that the detainees be resettled near people who speak their language and are familiar with their customs."

Remember, these guys were picked up in Afghanistan and had trained at the Tora Bora al Qaeda training camps. They were undergoing terrorist training, by their own admission, so they could return to China and fight for an independent Uighur Islamic nation there.

These guys are such volatile characters that they smashed their big screen television at Gitmo when they saw a woman with bare arms at a soccer game:

"But the TV privileges underscored potential difficulties to come, according to one current and one former U.S. official. Not long after being granted access to TV, some of the Uighurs were watching a soccer game. When a woman with bare arms was shown on the screen, one of the group grabbed the television and threw it to the ground, according to the officials."

Are these the kind of neighbors you want?

And pardon me for asking the obvious, but why in the world are we going to import terrorists into the country? There is no case to be made that they are not terrorists. If you're picked in in an al Qaeda training camp, it's a safe assumption that you are a terrorist. "Where's your sign?"

And when you admit you were training to return to your home country in order to overthrow the government in order to replace it with another faction, you're probably a terrorist.

And what happens to them when we get them here? Will they be monitored? Given a financial settlement? Health care? How long will they stay? Will they learn the language? Get jobs? Become productive citizens? Have civil rights that we'll later be accused somehow of violating?

Taken in combination with the events of the past week with the release of the OLC memos, and the impending release of 44 prisoner abuse photos, we're getting a pretty clear picture of a much weaker national security situation than was the case on November 3. It's not a pretty picture and it's damn depressing, really.

Related Posts:
Overruling Urbina - One for the Good Guys
The Chinese Uighurs

(Photo credit: Erik de Castro/Reuters/Corbis)

What Dana Thinks

Dana Perino this morning on the memo release, keeping the country safe, and having a life:

Watch CBS Videos Online

H/T: The Swamp

Photos to be Released

This is another terrible call from the Obama administration; from FOX News:

"The Department of Defense -- on the heels of the firestorm over the release of Bush-era memos on CIA interrogation techniques -- said Thursday it plans to make public at least 44 photos depicting potentially abusive treatment of detainees at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The decision to release the photos was announced Thursday in a letter filed in a federal court in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2004."

Following closely after the selective release of the torture memos, this can only encourage our enemies against us. The Bush administration had effectively refused to release these photos, which reportedly are not nearly as inflammatory as the Abu Ghraib photos, and the Obama administration should as well.

It seems as if every move the Obama administration makes lately only serves to weaken our national security. If they don't believe these photos will do just that, they should only refer back to the reactions around the world of the Abu Ghraib photos which appeared on the front page of the NYTimes almost daily for weeks.

There's a line you must draw between transparency and national security.

We are quickly reverting to a 9/10 mindset and it is incredibly dangerous.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fuzzy Math

Excerpted from The Corner:

How many times have you read and heard in the mainstream media that terrorists were waterboarded more than 180 times?

It turns out that’s not true. What is?

According to two sources, both of them very well-informed and reliable (but preferring to remain anonymous), the 180-plus times refers not to sessions of waterboarding, but to “pours” — that is, to instances of water being poured on the subject.

Under a strict set of rules, every pour of water had to be counted — and the number of pours was limited.

Also: Waterboarding interrogation sessions were permitted on no more than five days within any 30-day period.

No more than two sessions were permitted in any 24-hour period.

A session could last no longer than two hours.

There could be at most six pours of water lasting ten seconds or longer — and never longer than 40 seconds — during any individual session.

Water could be poured on a subject for a combined total of no more than 12 minutes during any 24 hour period.

You do the math.

Now go read the rest of the post.

Just Say No to Yemen

Shocker. WHO didn't see THIS coming (via Memeorandum)?

"The Obama administration’s effort to return the largest group of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, their home country, has stalled, creating a major new hurdle for the president’s plan to close the prison camp in Cuba by next January, American and Yemeni officials say. “We’re at a complete impasse,” said one American official who is involved in the issue, speaking without authorization. “I don’t know that there’s a viable ‘Plan B.’

"The Yemeni government has asked Washington to return its detainees and has said it would need substantial aid to rehabilitate the men. But the Obama administration is increasingly skeptical of Yemen’s ability to provide adequate rehabilitation and security to supervise returned prisoners. In addition, American officials are wary of sending detainees to Yemen because of growing indications of Al Qaeda activity there.

"The developments are significant for the Obama administration because the 97 Yemeni detainees make up more than 40 percent of the remaining 241 prisoners. The question of what to do with them “is integral to the process of closing Guantánamo,” said Ken Gude, a scholar at the Center for American Progress who has written about closing the prison camp."

And to give credit where credit is due, the Obama administration is making the right call. Our problem with closing Gitmo and sending these enemy combatants back to Yemen is because of the high recidivism rate.

Just goes to show, you should think before you speak. If you're going to close down a perfectly good prison, one that meets Geneva, you should probably know ahead of time what you're going to do with the very dangerous people that live there. Of course, now we've just go to hope that they don't decide to release them into the United States.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ann Coulter Eulogizes Her Mother

So sad. Such a sweet tribute.
We are all vulnerable, sometimes.

Urban Wildlife

I have a possum. An opossum. Whatever. This picture is not my possum, but some random internet possum. Looks like mine, though.

Yesterday morning I pulled into my driveway around 7:45, just in time to see a creature run out from under my neighbor's house, across the driveway and under my house. WTF??????

We have lots of cats in the neighborhood. It was not a cat. The last thing I saw was a rat-like tail slinking under my house. Not a cat. But not a rat - too big. And furry. Not a cat - too round.

So I went inside and forgot about it. I mean, we've had raccoons around here through the years. One time I had a family of four living in my garage; that is, until the mama got her paw stuck in the door and then moved the family out once she got free.

This morning, getting ready for work, I let Checkers out (she's a Boston Terrier/French Bulldog mix.) Normally she will go out, do her thing, sniff around a little, and come on in. She stayed out longer than usual so I went out on the deck looking for her. And there she is in the back corner of the backyard sniffing what looks like a dead cat. No! Can't be!

I called her off and walked, cautiously, over to check it out. It's a possum. He (she?) was curled up as if sleeping, rat-like tail curled around him. The long, pointed snout sort of surprised me; I've never actually seen a possum up close. But then I had to figure out what to do about it. I wasn't thrilled about a dead possum in my yard.

I decided to wait for Steve to come and let him bury it. Meanwhile, my dog smelled like dead possum.

Of course, by now you have figured out he was not really dead - just playing possum. When I went back out a few minutes later he was gone. Gone! A little online research and I learned that possums will emit a putrid odor while playing dead which is why my dog smelled bad.

So where is possum now? I have no idea. What I read said that they won't usually attack, but I saw pictures of some terribly unfriendly looking possums. I just hope if Checkers finds him again, he decides to play dead again.

Another Word on the Torture Memos

Since Obama released the torture memos last week there has been a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking and analysis of it all and I doubt my own two cents will matter much in the whole scheme of things.

We've all digressed into the merits of torture and whether or not it works, and what may or may not have been gained or lost by the release of the memos. We've even argued about whether or not it's "torture" or "extreme interrogation." I posted my opinion that I thought releasing the memos was a big mistake, and I'm probably repeating some of that here.

I've spent much of my time today reading opinions of the whole thing and on the issue of torture in general. Memeorandum has been filled with articles and postings on this topic.

What I want to do, for the moment, is to focus on the issue of the future rather than the act of torture. To me, what the release of these memos does is to absolutely cripple and handicap our military and the CIA from doing their jobs. And what do you think the result of that will be?

David Ignatius at the Washington Post wrote:

"One veteran counterterrorism operative says that agents in the field are already being more careful about using the legal findings that authorize covert action. An example is the so-called "risk of capture" interview that takes place in the first hour after a terrorism suspect is grabbed. This used to be the key window of opportunity, in which the subject was questioned aggressively and his cellphone contacts and "pocket litter" were exploited quickly.

"Now, field officers are more careful. They want guidance from headquarters. They need legal advice. I'm told that in the case of an al-Qaeda suspect seized in Iraq several weeks ago, the CIA didn't even try to interrogate him. The agency handed him over to the U.S. military.

"Agency officials also worry about the effect on foreign intelligence services that share secrets with the United States in a process politely known as "liaison." A former official who remains in close touch with key Arab allies such as Egypt and Jordan warns: 'There is a growing concern that the risk is too high to do the things with America they've done in the past.'"

His assertion that agents are "slow-rolling" isn't corroborated anywhere else and so I can't actually verity what he is saying except by my common sense.

There's more: "Sad to say, it's slow roll time at Langley after the release of interrogation memos that, in the words of one veteran officer, "hit the agency like a car bomb in the driveway." President Obama promised CIA officers that they won't be prosecuted for carrying out lawful orders, but the people on the firing line don't believe him. They think the memos have opened a new season of investigation and retribution. "

So yeah, if I'm an agent, or a soldier, and I know that political whims shift every four or eight years, why am I going to expose myself to possible legal retaliation based on a political stunt that might come down the pike? I capture a guy in the field and rather than put myself at risk and interrogate him, let him go; turn him over to someone else... pass the buck and the responsibility to someone else.

Meanwhile, our nation becomes more vulnerable.

Another problem I see with the release of the memos is this. Our enemies got them too and they will be used against us. They'll be copied, photoshopped, reproduced, altered, and no telling what they'll say by the time the enemy gets through with them.

Yet another problem: our very own military undergoes Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training (SERE). This training includes everything the Gitmo Gang endured. They are waterboarded, deprived of sleep, forced to stand in heat and in cold, dropped in remote locations and expected to find their way out...probably even saw a caterpillar or two. None of this compares to what the North Vietnamese did to Leo Thorsness, John McCain, or any of our other POWs, by the way.

I'm not saying what they went through at Gitmo was torture or it wasn't - that's not even my point. My point is whatever was in those memos, our enemies will train and prepare for. And they will now KNOW that there is a limit to whatever they must endure and that no lasting harm will come to them.

In other words, the simple version is this.

Obama's release of these memos is devastating. He has declared open season on America. He has broadcast our weakness, our limits, and our secrets to the entire worlds. Why? Why would he do it?

The only answer so far has so the world will like us better and forgive us. That, and he promised transparency. If he wants transparency, open all the freakin' memos up, then. Show everyone about the lives that were saved from foiled plots. Show everyone the details on the plot to attack Los Angeles. If all he wants is transparency, throw the whole damn book out there! Otherwise, it's just a political stunt. It's crap.

That is total crap. Total weakness and we are so screwed. So screwed.

Related Post:
Torture Memo Release = Big Mistake

Quote of the Day

"Our plan? We put into practice that noble historical precept: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Everybody in the factory, from the charwomen to the president, received the same salary - the barest minimum necessary."

Ivy Starnes
to Dagny Taggert
Atlas Shrugged

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Would You Do....?

"Lionel" with No Last Name, wants to know, What Would You Not Do to Stop a Nuke?

"Lionel" has an inflated sense of his own self-importance. From his bio, he explains his moniker:

"What’s with the name 'Lionel'? No last name? Nope. Mononymous, like God. Get over it. "

Not quite like God, Lionel. Not quite.

"Lionel", using his best Air America reporting skills, and deep original thought, asks:

"Assume, arguendo, this hypothetical.

It is Inauguration day. President Obama is about to be sworn is as 44. Virtually everyone in federal office is there. Congressmen, Senators, the Supremes, the new cabinet. Get the picture? You, a federal law enforcement type, have in your custody a man who you reasonably believe knows where a nuclear device is to be detonated nearby. Remember, this isn't just any old nuclear device threat. If this baby is detonated, virtually every aspect and player of and in our government will be vaporized. The device will be detonated within the hour. There's no time to evacuate, no place to run. Any warning will be futile and just inspire mayhem and chaos.

Now, the question. What would you not do to locate that nuclear device?"

Does it sound familiar? No, probably not because you've wondered that deep in your psyche just yesterday, but probably because you've already read this hypothesis from Professor William Jacobson posted on his blog Legal Insurrection.

Yesterday, Jacobson posted, quite eloquently I might add, and with significantly deeper introspection and analysis, on the very same conundrum. He wrote:

"And if a President of the United States had information, from the best sources available, that a nuclear weapon, or nuclear materials which could be used in a "dirty bomb," had been or were about to be smuggled into the United States, is there anything that President should not do? If a leader of al-Qaeda -- or a member of the Pakistani military -- believed to know the location of the nuclear weapons and the plans of attack were captured by the CIA in Pakistan, would waterboarding be off limits?"

"And if you are morally absolute as to waterboarding, then please tell us, which American city you would sacrifice? This is the honest debate which needs to be had, once again."

It somehow does not surprise me that a writer with an Air America email address posting on HuffPo would have trouble coming up with an original thought, but a tenth grader would have been more clever at plagiarism.

I'm not shooting for a libel suit, but it doesn't take a genius to see that "Lionel No Last Name like God" has ripped off Jacobson's premise and just turned it to his own perspective.

Is it possible he came up with this premise all on his own and never even saw Jacobson's post? Possible, but doubtful. Jacobson's post has been linked on Memeorandum since early last night and most of today, not to mention he likely has far more readers than "Lionel" does, it is more likely to assume that Mr. No Last Name is just using Jacobson's brain power to substitute for his own lack of creative thought.

In the blogging community, if I've learned anything from my mentors, the whole purpose is to link and give credit where credit is due. Did "Lionel" do that? Of course not. Should he have given proper credit? Of course he should. Will he deny that he used Jacobson's idea? What would you do? Should we put him in a box with an insect?

I might be a "right wing extremist" but even I know how to create a link and give credit.

This is My Head Exploding

Excuse me, I know I'm a right wing extremist so maybe I'm not the brightest color in the box, so can somebody please translate this for me?

We need $80 million to close Gitmo, move the prisoners and relocate military personnel but we don't know where we're going to move them or what we're going to do with the personnel and really we don't NEED to close the prison at all because it meets Geneva, even Eric Holder said so, but part of the $80 million is for those foreign countries that are going to take prisoners, even though nobody has volunteered yet and we have to detain people someplace, and, and, and.....

...and I can't freakin' stand it.

Seriously, though, here is the excerpt:

"Obama seeks $30 million in Justice Department funding to shut down the Guantanamo detention center, review U.S. detention and interrogation procedures and fund future litigation.Another $50 million in Defense Department funds sought by Obama would support the relocation of the 240 prisoners at Guantanamo, which Obama has ordered closed by January, and redeploy military and support forces associated with the detention center on the Navy base.Some of the $50 million would also "provide assistance to foreign nations" as detainees are relocated."

Does this make any sense? We HAVE to detain people; the case has already been made about Bagram being the next Gitmo, so why not just keep Gitmo open and SAVE the $80K?

I'll never understand politics.

Oh wait - I think I get it. The going price on filling an empty campaign promise guessed it - $80K.

Quote of the Day

"What struck me (aside from its unfortunate echoes of his self-absolvement with regard to what William Ayers did when young Barack was eight years old) was the reductive narcissism of the answer. Barack Obama is not a banana-republic coup-leader resetting the calendar to Year Zero. When he travels abroad, he represents two-and-a-third centuries of constitutional continuity. The impression he gives that that's all just some dreary backstory of no real relevance to the Barack Obama biopic he's starring in 24/7 is very unusual in the chief of state of one of the oldest democratic polities on the planet. And not entirely reassuring."

Mark Steyn
on Obama's response
to Ortega's diatribe at the
Summit of the Americas

Related Posts:
Venezuela is Just a Tiny Little Country, Right?
History Begins...When?

Blogging for Bucks?

Michael Calderone's blog on Politico pointed me to this WSJ article about blogging.

According to Penn's WSJ article, he has looked at studies that say there are over 20 million bloggers in the nation right now. 1.7 million of those make a profit and 452,000 use blogging as their primary source of income. That's incredible.

The article also points out that generally "bloggers are extremely well educated: three out of every four are college graduates." I fit that category - I am a college graduate. Then he says, "most are white males reporting above-average incomes." No on both accounts. He also says, "It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year." Definitely not - if I get 100 a day, I'm having a good day, and those are not "unique" visitors. The days I've received "instalanches" have been courtesy of Robert Stacy McCain and the wonderful Professor William Jacobson who has been extremely kind and generous to me.

Penn goes on to talk about paid bloggers, those folks who blog for other individuals or companies. I know a couple of those lucky folks.

I'm rather new to blogging - this blog started in August of last year. I still have a lot to learn and I see, probably better than most, my own flaws. I don't always proofread as well as I should and I make punctuation errors. I'd prefer to be more journalistic than I often am. I've never figured out how to use "Digg" and those other sharing things. I can't figure out how to make my Technorati authority move up - I currently have "no authority." I know people have to link you, and they do, but ... still "no authority." That's a real blow to your self-esteem - "You currently have no authority." God.

Oh well. I have ads and I have a tip jar, but I suspect I will never make a living from blogging. I do it because it's fun, I enjoy it, and to be honest, I've "met" a lot of really nice people. So, I'm grateful for my readers and I'm going to keep on blogging even if I never make a dime. It's like teaching - you don't do it for the $$$.

Update: Har! RSM seems to have been blogging on the same article at the same time! Great minds...! :) Of course, he has a much more professional perspective than mine. That's why he gets the big bucks.

Obama Refuses to Meet With Netanyahu

Via Memeorandum, The Jerusalem Post reports that "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday canceled his plans to attend the upcoming AIPAC summit, after it became clear that US President Barack Obama would not meet him during the conference. " Why will Obama seek out Hugo Chavez at a conference yet refuse to meet with our allies?

This has been brewing for a few days. Consider this excerpt from an article by Jason Koutsoukis: "Can Israel still call the United States its best international friend? Apparently not, if you believe the tone of the local media.

"Watching the drama unfold inside Israel, the increasingly tense dialogue between US President Barack Obama and new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking on all the trappings of a duel. Almost every day brings news of another sore point between the two countries, a source of yet further inflammation of their once warm relations.

"One could be forgiven for thinking that the more immediate threat to Israel's national security lay across the Atlantic rather than from closer to home. It is bad enough that President Obama uses almost every opportunity he can to set the parameters of a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Now US officials are openly using Israeli anxiety over Iran's fledging nuclear program as a bargaining chip to force Israel's hand on giving up control of the West Bank Palestinian territory.

"No less a figure than White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel — whose father fought with the militant Zionist group the Irgun, and whose appointment had provided such reassurance to Israeli officials — was quoted this week laying down the law to Israel.

"If Israel wants US help to defuse the Iranian threat, Mr Emanuel was reported to have told Jewish leaders in Washington, then get ready to start evacuating settlements in the West Bank. Talkback radio blazed with fury across the country the same day, as Israelis protested that no US official had the right to tell them where to live."

There is an increasing tension in relations between Israel and the United States. Benjamin Netanyahu has become increasingly outspoken in his concern over Iran's nuclear program, as well as the apparent United States reticence to do anything about it. Given that our response to North Korea's missile launch was basically, 'don't do that again!', one can understand Israel's concern.

Shmulev Boteach wrote in the Jerusalem Post "Like many Americans, I have been awed by our president's capacity to draw those who hate us near. He is a man of considerable charm and grace. But I have to admit that I am increasingly troubled by his seeming inability to call out rogue dictators." Boteach and the Israelis are not alone in that feeling; many Americans are concerned as well.

Boteach went on, "All this leads to one important question. Suppose Obama succeeds in building friendships with Chavez, Castro, Ahmadinejad and the Taliban. What then? Does America still get to feel that it stands for something? Will we still be the beacon of liberty and freedom to the rest of the world, or will we have sold out in the name of political expediency? And do any of us seriously believe that presidential friendship is going to get a megalomaniac like Hugo Chavez to ease up on the levers of power, or are we just feeding his ego by showing him he can be a tyrant and still have a beer with the president of the United States? Will the Iranians really stop enriching uranium through diplomacy rather than economic sanctions? "

Netanyahu acknowledges that Iran threatens other countries besides Israel. He has also said that nonmilitary pressure may also work. An Atlantic article by Jeffrey Goldberg quotes Netanyahu, “I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means.”

In October 2008 Jessie Jackson was quoted as saying that Obama would end "decades of putting Israel's interests first" and that“Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” will remain strong, but they’ll lose a great deal of their clout in an Obama nation."

I guess he was right.