Blog Archives

What A Navy Seal Wants You To Know About Obama

(thanks to Linda Bartash for passing this around. You should, too.)

The next time you hear Romney say that Obama has no experience in the military (which Romney, btw, doesn’t either) haul this out.

Looks like the CIA foiled a potential Al Qaeda plane bomber in Yemen…

From the LA Times:

WASHINGTON — The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by Al Qaeda‘s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials said.

The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Dec., 25, 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger’s underwear, but this time Al Qaeda developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said.

The FBI is examining the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an airplane, officials said. They said the device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.

The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought his plane tickets when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It is not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.

The operation unfolded even as the White House and Department of Homeland Security assured the American public that they knew of no Al Qaeda plots against the U.S. around the anniversary of Bin Laden’s death. The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way. Once those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday.

U.S. officials, who were briefed on the operation, insisted on anonymity to discuss the case.

It is thought that senior Al Qaeda leader in Yemen, Fahd al-Quso, was behind the potential bombing… he had been involved in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen’s Aden harbor. However, al-Quso was hit by a missile as he stepped out of his vehicle along with another operative in the southern Shabwa province of Yemen.

 

What if we’re not the Good Guys we think we are?

One thing that comes out of elections is the creation of positive images by candidates, developed by their campaign staff. The reason for this is we often know very little about the candidate’s previous life  and real opinions and find it easier to depend on definitive quotes rather than actual knowledge.

A quote from Mitt:

And the American people are the greatest people in the world. What makes America the greatest nation in the world is the heart of the American people: hardworking, innovative, risk-taking, God- loving, family-oriented American people.

So who are the American people that Mitt talks about? Perhaps these quotes make it more (or less) clear:

“This is not who we are.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the US massacre of 16 Afghan villagers.

“This is not who we are.”
— General John Allen, commander of forces in Afghanistan, on Koran burning

“This is not who we are.”
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on troops posing with enemy body parts

“This is not who we are.”
— Secretary of State Clinton, also on troops posing with enemy body parts

Spying by the New York Police on Muslims in Newark, NJ, which the Newark Police Chief was alerted to, is “not who we are”
— Newark Mayor Cory Booker

“I can tell you something all of you know already – that using pepper spray on peaceful protesters runs counter to our values. It does not reflect well on this university and it absolutely is not who we are.”
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, who ordered campus police to use force to clear peaceful student occupiers from the campus, leading to pepper spraying of students

“You can’t say, well, we developed trade and the economic relations first and the disregard of human rights. That’s not who we are. We are the United States of America.”
— Sasha Gong, director of the China branch of Voice of America

 

Mitt’s “hardworking, innovative, risk-taking, God- loving, family-oriented American people” are a concept… but does he really think they are a reality?

In other words, who does Mitt think we are and how will he twist that around to get votes? No one really believes we are perfect and moral… if they did, they never would listen to Mitt (or Newt, or even Barack.)

Someday it may be possible to have a government that is trusted to tell the truth. Meanwhile, we are not the good guys we think we are.

Join science experts like the Unabomber if you believe in Global Warming…

Who? What? Ted Kaczynski? And other billboards with Charles Manson and Fidel Castro. Coming soon are billboards featuring Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

What nutjobs are responsible for this terrific promotional campaign showing us how science proves there is no Global Warming? Why, The Heartland Institute, a 28-year-old organization whose mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

And, of course, to create the kind of stimulating, educational pieces like these billboards.

Heartland also produces books and brochures with titles like Climate Change Weekly: New York Times Misrepresents Global Warming Surveys and EPA Official Says Goal Is to ‘Crucify’ Oil and Natural Gas Companies, all of which seem to be written by noted scientist James M. Taylor, J.D. Senior Fellow and Managing Editor, Environment and Climate News.  (J.D. is that a scientific degree or a law degree?) Their Science Director is Dr. Jay Lehr, author of recent articles like Nuclear Fears Trumping Reality in Wake of Fukushima and An Open Letter to the Oil and Gas Industry: The Ethical Case for Fracking. Hmmm, support of Nuclear Industry and Hydrofracturing (Fracking).

Needless to say, given their support of corporations over individual citizens, my guess is that they will be advising Romney and the Republicans.

Help!

So now what do you think of Obama’s “Leading From Behind” policy in Libya?

Remember when the Republicans had to run around in circles and find ways to downplay it when Obama took out Osama Bin Laden?

Well, now they will have to rethink statements they made about Obama’s Libya strategy as apparently his policy of dealing with the rebels has pushed Ghadafi out of power:

United States Senator Rick Santorum, sponsor o...

Rick (the Schmuck) Santorum

“As for Libya: It is a morass. If we were going to support the rebel forces, we should have acted swiftly in the early days of Benghazi‘s uprising by recognizing and arming the rebels and immediately enforcing a no-fly zone. Decisive action against [Qadhafi] would have been the end of him.” – Rick Santorum

“At a time of historic change and great opportunity in the Arab world, he’s hesitant and uncertain.” –Mitt Romney
“You have a spectator in chief, not a commander in chief.” – Newt Romney
… and things like that.
They’ll be running in circles today as well… since he carried out an apparently successful policy while he was on his much maligned “vacation.” I didn’t see Congress working on the legislation they should be crafting to provide jobs while THEY are on vacation.

A Quote to Kick Off Your Afternoon…

“They found him? Finally. I want my sister to come home.”

– Margaret McCusker, Catherine Greig’s sister, when told of Greig and Whitey Bulger‘s arrest.

McCusker lives in Whitey’s old stomping grounds of South Boston. I guess she doesn’t realize that her sister is implicated in one of the 19 murders as a co-defendent.

Two Quotes for the Morning… and the stupidity of Rick Santorum

The other day, in a long and meaningful speech based on his own experience, Senator John McCain lashed out at the support of waterboarding by his fellow Republicans.

Rick Santorum has now responded to John McCain’s claim that torture didn’t lead to Bin Laden’s death by insisting that on the subject of torture, McCain has no idea what he’s talking about:

Everything I’ve read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation. And so this idea that we didn’t ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative. And that’s when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that’s how we ended up with bin Laden.

Perhaps Santorum forgets that McCain was held and tortured by the North Vietnamese and bases his opinion on real experience. McCain has even written that he did not become cooperative under “enhanced interrogation” at all, and in fact gave his tormentors false information to get them to stop.

So in response to the question of what does McCain think of Rick Santorum’s  comment, McCain spokesperson Brooke Buchanan made a one word reply:

Who?

(Source: Justin Elliott in Salon)

And the truth shall set you free… unless it is banned by religion.

NY Hassidic paper ‘deletes’ Clinton from iconic photo 

NEW YORK – The photograph showing President Barack Obama and staffers in the White House Situation Room carefully watching the raid in progress by US forces in Pakistan on the bin Laden compound last Sunday has been published far and wide.

One Hassidic paper in Brooklyn, however, has chosen to alter the photo – excising Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and another female staffer from the picture.

First reported in the blog failedmessiah.typepad.com, the photoshopped picture was published in the Yiddish newspaper Der Zeitung (The Time) on Friday, with empty spaces where Clinton had been sitting and where the female staffer had stood.

– from The Jerusalem Post

If you used this picture, as we did here at Under The LobsterScope, you would have had to follow these rules…after all this is copyrighted material that the White House is allowing distribution of:

“This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, e-mails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.”

Der Zeitung’s Photoshopped reproduction removes Hillary Clinton and one other female staffer from the mix. Reason? Der Zeitung had no comment as to why it altered the picture, but the likelihood of women and men in the same working environment… a concern that it exemplified immodesty or showed strong feelings that women should not be in positions of power… violated an extreme religious position.

Whatever the reason, it is a violation of truth on the part of the Hassidim… odd because conservative Muslims have similar restrictions on women. And for that matter, as my wife pointed out, conservative Christians have restrictions on women, mostly body related, as well.

Some day it would be nice to get past all this stuff.

Saturday night thoughts as I watch Doc Martin reruns…

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I’m getting so tired of listening to the conservative candidates, congressmen and capitalists complain about paying taxes at the level they should be… say, at the rate they were taxed at before George W. Bush lowered them.

As you recall, he lowered the taxes while, at the same time, getting us involved in an Iraq war for dishonest reasons without actually putting the expenses in the reported budget. It is as if bookkeeping and government spending had no relationship.

If a candidate cannot say “Yes, I will have to raise taxes, especially on the rich,” then he (or she) is being completely dishonest. As citizens, we should demand tax increases… and demand military cuts (and demand that we get out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and just about everywhere else in the Middle East.

So how do we make it happen?

What does Pakistan use Lobbyists for?

Asif Ali Zardari.

Asif Al Zardari opens his wallet.

According to Reuters, they use them to deny that anyone in the Pakistani government knew that bin Laden was hiding near the Capital for close to six years in the biggest house in the neighborhood:

WASHINGTON (Reuters/Tim Reid) – Pakistan‘s Washington lobbyists have launched an intense campaign on Capitol Hill to counter accusations that Islamabad was complicit in giving refuge to Osama bin Laden.

Alarmed by lawmakers’ demands to cut off billions of dollars of U.S. aid after bin Laden was found living in a Pakistani safe house for six years, President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered a full-court press to quell mounting accusations that it helped the al Qaeda leader avoid capture.

Mark Siegel, a partner in the Washington lobbying firm of Locke Lord Strategies — which is paid $75,000 a month by the Pakistani government — told Reuters on Thursday he had spoken twice to Zardari since U.S. special forces killed bin Laden on Sunday, and “countless” times to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington.

“They are certainly concerned,” Siegel said, adding that suggestions the Pakistani government knew about bin Laden’s whereabouts was nothing more than speculation.

Wow. $75,000 a month to put out press releases.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy isn’t buying it, however. He told Vermont Public Radio:

“It’s impossible for them not to have some idea he was there.

Mark Siegel, referring to claims by the Afghan government that Pakistan must have known bin Laden’s whereabouts, said:

“Must have known doesn’t mean knew.”

Sure.

Afternoon Quotes of Republican Duplicity…

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, who was responsible for the act? Obama? Hardly likely.

As revealed in Talking Points Memo:

Karl Rove Assistant to the President, Deputy C...

Karl Rove, American Citizen

“I think the tools that President Bush put into place — GITMO, rendition, enhanced interrogation, the vast effort to collect and collate this information — obviously served his successor quite well,” former Bush adviser Karl Rove said on Fox News.

Also on Fox News, Bush’s one-time Chief of Staff Andrew Card claimed his former boss “made sure that everything was in place so that President Obama could have an opportunity to — to get Osama bin Laden, and it finally happened.”

Perhaps we shouldn’t forget who Accomplished the Mission those many years ago… Oh, wait, that was in Iraq looking for weapons of Mass Destruction. Nothing to do with bin Laden. Sorry.


On the appropriateness of celebration…

There has now been a day to ponder the responses of the killing of bin Laden which, let me assure you, I think was an important and rightful act.

I am bothered, however, by the New Year’s Eve-style celebrations which went on for hours after the announcement: delerious street dancing, people wrapping themselves in flags, yelling and screaming… I would have expected something much more somber. I would have expected candles, thoughtful silence, remembrance of so many lost in the name of getting this one man.

I’ve been reading blogs, watching television, flipping through the newspapers and listening to radio for 24 hours or so (about half of which I was disconnected from the internet thanks to my friends at Frontier… boy, these guys are driving me to the Hughes Network) and finding there were a lot of people who also thought the party-like atmosphere made us seem as bad as Al Qaida, who did the same kind of thing after the twin towers went down. I had hoped we would be better than that, but I should know from experience that we, as a people, are easily tipped into emotional release.

Having had the day to think about everything I hope folks will be a little more reflective today. This, of course, means different things to different people. I spent five minutes switching from CSPAN‘s Morning Edition, Morning Joe, Fox News and CNN and each had their own perspective. CSPAN was taking calls from the public… at least two who were pushing the idea that 1.) bin Laden was not dead, but we really had scooted him off for secret interrogation without the rest of the world knowing about it, and  2.) that he has been dead for a couple of years and we have been keeping him on ice so Obama could stage this event in order to get reelected. In their usual reluctance to comment or get in the way of the craziest responses, CSPAN just let it go by with a “Thank You.”

Fox seemed to be devoting the morning to making sure there was plenty of focus on George W. Bush whose plans were in place to be carried out by Obama… plus repeated videos of Bush with megaphone at the 9/11 site, Bush doing the “Dead or Alive” speech, etc. Damned little focus on Obama.

My favorite was public radio which found part of the Seth Myers’ speech at the Correspondent’s Dinner the night before the attack and the one bin Laden joke he made… which the President did a deep laugh at… we know now that he knew what was about to go on in Pakistan and he kept it in unleaked control.

Morning Joe had the usual mix of conservatives and liberals and CNN was more concerned with a troop of missing boy scouts and massive flooding in Cairo, IL. Their Obama thoughts ran as a tickertape stream at the bottom of the screen.

Frankly, I’m going to start reviewing the “what do we do next” scenarios… with a certain amount of hope that we MAY no longer need to be in Afghanistan – that it becomes the new Iraq, the war that we have no reason to be in. I don’t really believe it will happen… after all we still have thousands of folks still in Iraq. If we could only get away from the need to be an empire!

I’ll comment on what I find later. Have a nice day.

A few non-bin Laden related updates…

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”

Jack Handey, Saturday Night Live

The news this morning and into the afternoon has been fairly single focused and I haven’t had a chance to get back to some things I’ve been discussing in  the last week or so. I’m sitting over at Mellow Moods having a cup of coffee  and a vegan sandwich (black bean burger with fruit and salsa roll-up) and their wifi is working… so here goes:

4 Days into my SuperFocus glasses…

Focusing... a snap!

I know I bored everyone over the last few weeks with my enthusiasm and expectations for the SuperFocus glasses I ordered and have bee. waiting for. Well, they arrived late on the 28th and I’ve been wearing them for a hair over four days now.

And they are spectacular!

It took a little over a day to get used to changing the focus manually depending on what distances I was looking at. And I found out that, unlike my old bifocals, there were at least five regular viewing ranges I use regularly: reading, short distance, average distance, driving and very long distance. I’m amazed at how minimal a concern as my daily crossword puzzle now doesn’t require squinting and tilting my head to make sure I was at the close bifocal distance. And I can actually read road signs quite a way down the highway now.

I really like them. My wife got so interested that she just made an appointment with her optometrist and will be ordering her own soon (right now she wears trifocals and has great trouble with computer-use distances.)

—–
Getting Excused From Jury Duty

I got called up for a month of Jury Duty in June and I had to call my Doctor and get a note about my ischemic seizures which can happen at any time (the meds I take have them pretty much under control, but I’ve had at least one in the last few weeks.) It would be awfully embarrassing to go into a seizure while watching testimony… not to mention the fact that there’s a lot of driving back and forth and my wife is convinced I’ll have an attack at 60 miles per hour.

Anyway, my Neurologist’s office is giving me the note to attach to the form I had to fill out. Apparently they do this kind of thing all the time.

—–

I’m working this afternoon on the basis of my podcast. I’m still very unsure of how everything is done, but I’m doing it live at 10 AM tomorrow. If you listen to it then, or get it later, please excuse my early user mistakes. I’ll get better.

We all knew someone…

The World Trade Center, one of three sites on ...

The final destruction of Osama Bin Laden has brought to my mind, of course, the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center and what… and who… was lost in that event of evil.

Many years ago I wrote, while living in Marlborough, CT, of the loss of Jim Hobin, my son Buddy’s basketball coach. Jim usually worked out of our little central Connecticut town, but on that day he had left early in the morning to get to the main office of the company he worked for in New York. In the World Trade Center.

It was a loss that everyone in Marlborough felt… this was a town united by the sporting programs for its children, by congregation for morning coffee in the bakery, by well attended selectmen’s meetings. 9/11 would always mean Jim Hobin’s death to us.

Quote of the Day – This sums it up

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

“Osama wasn’t a Muslim leader, he was a mass murderer of Muslims

President Barack Obama

Indeed, Al Qaeda killed many more Muslims than Americans. Although Americans in the Middle East have been warned against immediate reprisals, The general response from local governments has been to congratulate Obama for the action and to breathe a sigh of relief.

“Justice has Been Done” – Obama / Osama Bin laden has been killed.

Osama Bin Laden

I woke up this morning to the news I should have heard last night (I went to bed early) – Osama Bin Laden has been killed in a U.S. strike ordered by Barack Obama and based on US Intelligence. This was actually done on April  29th in an action that was kept in tight secrecy. It is notable that not even the Pakistanis were informed that this was going to happen (in the past, every time they were informed of such an action, Bin Laden curiously escaped just in time to save himself.)

Bin Laden Death Photo

From early reports, Bin Laden was shot in the head by a Navy Seal and, reportedly, he was hiding behind a woman at the time. The attack was made by four helicopters and a small team. No Americans were harmed. The US took custody of Bin Laden’s body after the attack and then followed Islamic law by having him buried at sea so that no tomb could be made on land… since Bin Laden was not a sailor, but the burial at sea was a traditional burial of an enemy.

Pakistan was informed after the action began. Al Qaeda, btw, has now declared war on Pakistan.

This attack plan began in June of 2009 when Obama ordered CIA director Leon Panetta to have as his primary goal locating Bin Laden. The plan was kept in complete secrecy – even from members of Congress – and no information was leaked before its occurence.

My wife’s comment this morning was “This will get Obama reelected.”

More later.

There is a good Forbes article on how the Mosque issue effects worldwide Muslim view of US…

Here are some clips, but I suggest you read the whole thing as this point of view is not being discussed on television:
clipped from www.forbes.com
The furor over the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero makes me think back to one of the most important lessons I learned from al Qaeda terrorists I interrogated–that they have a warped view of America. To them–and this they get from Osama Bin Laden‘s rhetoric–the U.S. is a country at war with Islam and Muslims, and so they had a duty to fight us.
While I was serving on the frontlines I found that this distorted view of America was common among ordinary Muslims too, and it was only by correcting this image did we encourage locals to help our investigations and turn against al Qaeda. Our efforts were helped by public statements, like from President Bush in the days after 9/11, declaring that America was at war with al Qaeda and not with Islam.
We should have been highlighting that al Qaeda has killed thousands of Muslims and blown up dozens of mosques around the world.
When we eventually did this, we had great successes.
blog it

Quote of the Day – and from an unlikely source…

“By leaving Bill Clinton in office, preoccupying him with a sex scandal and diverting attention away from the growing threat of bin Laden, Al Qaeda and terrorism in general, the Republican leadership laid the foundation for a serious cancer to grow — one that ultimately metastasized into September 11, 2001.”

– Larry Klayman, right-wing founder of Judicial Watch and author of “Whores: Why And How I Came To Fight The Establishment.”

HuffPo has a great article on Klayman, one of the prime attackers of Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky brouhaha, who also attacks the Bush Administration and Fox News.