Thursday, July 28, 2016

Some Thoughts on the Ties of American Allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to Osama Bin Laden and 9-11


With friends like Saudi Arabia, who needs enemies?
asks Benny Huang.
Last week we learned that the Saudi government almost certainly played a role in the 9/11 terrorist attack and that our government kept that secret from the public for about fourteen years.

A brief history of the coverup is in order here. In 2002, a joint congressional committee investigated the intelligence failures that led to the attack. That committee found suspicious clues that pointed toward Saudi Arabia—an official “ally” of the United States known for exporting radical Wahhabi Islam across the world. In a 28-page summary, the committee detailed the connections between the 9/11 terrorists and agents of the Saudi government, including Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a friend of the Bush family. When the 9/11 Commission report was released in July 2004, the 28 pages were still classified and thus not included. Robert Mueller, then-FBI director, pushed hard for the findings to remain under wraps. For the next twelve years they sat in a secret vault in the basement of the US Capitol—until last week when they were finally released with some redactions.

The real hero in this sordid tale is former US Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida). Graham, who chaired the Senate side of the investigation, spent years advocating for the documents’ public release. Graham noted that as late as January 2016 the White House was dragging its heels. 

Until the documents were declassified Graham was not able to speak about their contents, though he did promise a “real smoking gun.” He was right. In one FBI memorandum dated July 2, 2002, agents claimed to have found “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government.”

 … Saudi Arabia is clearly the worst ally we have.

But if Saudi Arabia is the worst, Pakistan must be a close second. After Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s hideout in May 2011, it became startlingly obvious that the Pakistanis had been his willing hosts for about nine years. For six of those years he was living in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, about a thousand yards from Pakistan’s prestigious military academy. His home was essentially “drone proof” because it fell under the air defense umbrella surrounding the academy.

Further proof of Pakistani government complicity can be found in the fact that government census takers apparently skipped the bin Laden residence. Could census takers have been warned to leave that house alone?

The Pakistani regime’s actions after the raid are also incriminating. Just days after bin Laden’s death, Pakistan claimed that it had had the compound “under sharp focus” since its supposed construction in 2003. How sharp could their focus have been if bin Laden had continued to live there for years? It also claimed to have once searched the compound in hopes of finding an al Qaeda fugitive but came up empty-handed. It didn’t take long for that story to fall apart. According to satellite imagery the compound did not exist until 2005. It seems that someone in the government spun a hasty lie without realizing that the details could be verified.

Pakistan’s treatment of Dr. Shakil Afridi, a physician who assisted the CIA in confirming bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, has been unconscionable. Rather than giving him a medal, as he deserves, they gave him a trial at which he was deprived of legal counsel. After the cursory guilty verdict they tossed him in prison for what will probably be the remainder of his life. Top Pakistani officials called it “payback” for the bin Laden raid. Dr. Afridi was originally sentenced to 33 years in prison though that sentence was later overturned. He remains in prison on an unrelated murder charge that certainly seems contrived.

Osama bin Laden’s sojourn in Abbottabad was likely not the first time that he benefitted from Pakistani protection. After the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the United States launched seventy cruise missiles, at a cost of about $1 million each, against al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. The strike amounted to a costly failure because most of the bad guys, including Osama bin Laden, split the scene. A cloud of suspicion has hung over Pakistan’s intelligence service—the ISI—ever since. A very plausible theory is that the US gave the Pakistanis a heads up to expect cruise missiles passing over en route to Afghanistan and then someone within the ISI tipped off bin Laden.

New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall, who spent twelve years covering Afghanistan and Pakistan, claims to have inside sources that confirm the plot to save bin Laden’s neck.

 … Those are our “friends”—the Pakistanis. They’re as crooked as a corkscrew, though perhaps not as crooked as the Saudis. We really have to learn how to choose better company. Our alliances with these two countries have done us great harm. Have we learned anything? 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Liberals love to tell the rest of us what to do, but politicians implicitly admit the unreasonableness of their own demands by exempting themselves from them

American liberals trumpet a “wage gap” between men and women, notwithstanding reams of social science data demonstrating that men’s higher average earnings reflect life choices, not discrimination. White House salaries are published, so analysts have shown that Barack Obama’s own staff manifests the same “pay gap” that Obama and Hillary Clinton decry in private industry. Democrats have no response; as usual, they count on voter ignorance.

It is entertaining to see the same drama play out in the United Kingdom: “Jeremy Corbyn accused of hypocrisy for refusing to publish gender pay gap of Labour staff.”
Thus writes Powerline's John Hinderaker (cheers to Austin Bay).
Politicians love to impose burdens, sometimes impossible burdens, on others, especially business people, but they are much more understanding when it comes to their own conduct. In 1994, Newt Gingrich and his colleagues drafted a Contract With America, a key provision of which was that Congress should live by the same laws it imposes on the rest of us. That proposal was wildly popular, given that Congress had made a regular practice of inserting an exception for itself in legislation.

The basic issue hasn’t changed: liberals love to tell the rest of us what to do, but politicians implicitly admit the unreasonableness of their own demands by exempting themselves from them. (If you haven’t read Peter Schweizer’s Do As I Say (Not As I Do), you should.) This whole phenomenon is an important reason for the rise of Donald Trump.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Echoes of 1984: What "Open-Mindedness" Means, Exactly, to Liberals


George Orwell, call your office.
The Washington examiner's Michael Barone (cheers to Ed Driscoll) links to an article featuring what is perhaps the epitome in Orwellian newspeak:
Prolific blogger Steve Sailer has spotted an Orwellian passage in a New York Times convention week story on the decision of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel to support and speak at the convention in behalf of Donald Trump. The central thrust of Silicon Valley-based reporter Farhad Manjoo's story is that Thiel's Trump endorsement is widely unpopular in Silicon Valley.

"People here pride themselves on a kind of militant open-mindedness," Manjoo writes. "It is the kind of place that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought."

Got that? Open-mindedness means you severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought.

Memo to the literary estate of George Orwell: you may have a cause of action for violation of copyright.
Related: How Harry Potter can make you hate Donald Trump:
Study finds J.K. Rowling books made people more tolerant
and lowered their rating of Republican nominee


Comments Ed Driscoll:
If you’re “more tolerant,” why would you “hate” a political figure you disagree with, instead of attempting a bit of empathy to understand both what makes him tick, and what his supporters admire about him?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Black Man Tells White Leftists a Few Hard Truths About American History


r_bq"> I did my bit today writes Antipodius on Ricochet after seeing this thing of beauty.
I sat with the OR resident leftists- a couple of hearts on their sleeves white folks who keep telling me how horrible Republicans are and why I should agree with them that religious people are the source of every problem in the world, and that American police love to kill black people.

Well, this black man let them have it. I walked them through the history of the Republican party, the speeches and writings of Frederick Douglas… and I was just getting started. I told them who founded the KKK, and which states in the South were for segregation and which party their governments belonged to. I kept going, indices of economy, family stability, education of black people in America and how that has declined since welfare.

Some idiot in the corner piped up about how blacks in WW2 were not educated and welfare and the 60’s had changed all that. Well, I happen to have a picture of a Tuskegee P51 Mustang as my laptop wallpaper…. I waded in with their glorious history. I spoke of the honour and character of the American “Negro” at the height of segregation and contrasted that with the black lives matter hooligans today. I quoted excerpts from Martin Luther King’s speeches and contrasted them with those of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

It was dead quiet. And then, I put on my Texas operating hat… and walked out, but not before saying..
“next time I’m in the tea room… we can really talk about the state of the American black.. and who exactly is to blame for his current state.”
Mic…. consider yourself dropped.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

¡NO PASARÁ EL COCA-COLA! In the Wake of Obama's Cuba Accord, Le Canard Enchaîné Shows the Castros' New-Found Love for "the Empire"

¡NO PASARÁ EL COCA-COLA!

In the Wake of Obama's Cuba Accord, Le Canard Enchaîné
Posted a Kiro Cartoon Showing the Castros' Love for "the Empire"

More on Cuba on the No Pasarán blog…

Founded in 1916, the satirical weekly is fêting its 100th birthday this July…

Friday, July 22, 2016

Some Questions for the GOP's Cruz Despisers


Some questions are in order:

1) Isn't it true that most Republicans are not known for accusing their adversaries or their challengers (inside the party or outside, i.e., Democrats) — or one of their parents — of having been involved in the JFK assassination, or in the the Reagan assassination attempt, or in the Challenger explosion, etc…

(With Democrats, it's a different story, obviously, as they accused all conservatives in Dallas, in Texas, in the South, even in the entire nation of having somehow caused the death of Camelot's noble young president. Which, not entirely incidentally, is far from a bad reason to vote against the Democrats…)

Wouldn't Trump's immediate counter-attack on Heidi Cruz mean instead that if there is someone in the cry-baby department too thin-skinned for politics, it is him?

Related: If Somone Ought to "Get Over It", in Order to Unify the Party, and Forgive and Forget, Shouldn't That Person Be… Donald Trump?!

For your information, I read on a blog a couple of hours ago (I've searched for the link for 15-20 minutes, but I can't find it again) that at the 1976 convention, Ronald Reagan also gave a rousing speech while refraining from expressly supporting Gerald Ford…

2) Couldn't the assertion that Ted Cruz not being liked, by his fellow politicians in DC, be — very easily — construed as a good thing? Couldn't someone not willing to play by the rules of, being disrespectful of, the Washington establishment be construed as a good thing? Not wanting to raise taxes, not wanting to add ever more rules and red tape, not wanting to add ever more functionaries to the rolls of the federal bureaucrats, shouldn't we wish for that in all our politicians, rather than taking without a grain of salt those peoples' (self-serving) opinions about one of their number not being a player?

Do you want to hear me tell the truth? I would love to see a leader come in the Oval Office, who is not lauded, à la Obama, as a charismatic revolutionary, as a Che Guevara come to help the poor, to feed the sick, to lead the people towards a bright new future. A boring president? One who keeps speaking of little else than his faith and the Constitution and following the law? Yay-es! Bring it on!!

Related: If it's true that Ted Cruz as “dishonest,” or “unlikable,” how can we support him for President?
 … how can we hand the reins to that so-called “jerk,” Ted Cruz? Well, we happen to know him quite well. And we know that the vast majority of these characterizations are completely false; that Senator Cruz is an honest and decent man; that the negative portrayals of him are purposeful and a direct consequence of his willingness to fight for the American people against the massive power of the ruling class that our founding fathers predicted would occur; and that it would be an incredible disservice for you not to take a serious look at him as the only nominee who will lead this country away from its current path and toward the American promise of freedom, security and prosperity our children deserve.

3) As for Donald Trump, isn't it true that there is — unfortunately — a far wider problem regarding the man? Isn't it true that there are doubts, perhaps even serious doubts, regarding his conservative credentials? (For instance, his being pals with the… Clintons (!) and his having adopted conservative policies only a year or so ago, his having indeed lauded Democratic policies in the past and even endorsed Hillary for president.)

CERTAINLY, all the above is not a reason to vote for Hillary Clinton. Far from it.

HERE IS WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO: there are many who are truly frightened at the prospect of a set-up, one in which the White House and the Democrats (and ostensibly through no fault of Trump's) have maneuvered and manipulated to get the only candidate in the GOP set up as a candidate who could possibly be beaten by an Obama successor after eight years of Obama in the White House. Not to mention creating a truly untenable reputation for the Republican Party while helping Democrats get elected to the House and perhaps take over the Senate. Examples? For instance, by the mainstream media bringing to a complete halt the (lucrative) Republican debates as soon as Donald Trump emerged on top — while giving said Trump 2 billion dollars in free advertising as part of their "news" operations.

Finally, let me direct you to Trump supporter (and Trump VP short-lister) Newt Gingrich (thanks to Austin Bay) who said that
I think you misunderstood one paragraph that Ted Cruz, who is a superb orator, said, and I just want to point it out to you, Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution. In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution. … So to paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the Constitution of United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket.
Indeed, Sean Cash asks:
When he asked people to vote for a candidate who shares your values and would defend the constitution, why didnt you think he was talking about Trump?
Which brings us to The Federalist, in which Sean Davis points out that
Trump's campaign could've made lemonade out of Cruz's speech. Instead, it opened the wound Cruz caused and squirted lemon juice into it. … A savvy, disciplined campaign could have used the three words from Cruz that set off a political firestorm — “vote your conscience” — to the campaign’s advantage.

 … The only sensible Trump response to “vote your conscience” and “vote for freedom and candidates with principles” was to thank Cruz for the rousing speech and his commitment to conservative principles. Praise him for his defense of freedom, and then turn his call to “vote your conscience” into an endorsement of Trump’s agenda. After all, there’s only one candidate in the race who wants to put America first, there’s only one candidate who wants to keep America safe, there’s only one candidate who has what it takes to Make America Great Again.

If you believe in restoring American greatness, then your conscience can only tell you one thing: vote Trump. If you believe in restoring the values that made America the greatest in nation in history, then your conscience can only tell you one thing: vote Trump. If you believe that strong leadership and a commitment to the American people are what’s required to keep this country strong, then your conscience can only tell you one thing: vote Trump.

That’s all Trump’s team had to do.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

If Somone Ought to "Get Over It", in Order to Unify the Party, and Forgive and Forget, Shouldn't That Person Be… Donald Trump?!

In response to his non-endorsement of Donald Trump during his speech at the GOP convention in Cleveland, Ted Cruz is told, "why can't you get over it?", "this is politics", to "forgive and forget," to "unify" the party…

Those all sound like very good advice, and very sound recommendations, but the question becomes, why don't people give this advice to the appropriate person?

Why, to be specific, don't they give these recommendations to… Donald Trump?

As the Texas senator explained the next morning to the Texas Delegation:
That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I'm going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say "Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father." …/… neither he [Trump] nor his campaign has ever taken back a word they said about my family.
Isn't it Donald Trump that it is up to to get over it, to say "this is politics", to forgive and forget, and to unify the party? 

In other words, isn't it up to the Donald to make amends?

Related: Some Questions for the the GOP's Cruz Haters

PS: In answer to the question,
What about the personal attacks against Melania that started this whole thing?
I replied as follows:
Was that attack (not those attacks), that meme, really, on Melania made by Ted or by his campaign? They certainly say it wasn't. Although a pro-Cruz Tea Party was behind it, they deny all involvement. You think that they are lying? Sure, that happens.

But the attacks on Heidi (also a meme) and on Ted's father (something far far worse) were certainly made by the Donald and by his campaign. Doesn't it seem that accusing another candidate's father of not only being involved in murder, but to be a conspirator in one of the 20th century's grandest tragedies, might — generously — be described as "beyond the pale" (not to mention, uh, ludicrous)?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What If… Hillary Has Been Planning All Along to Drop Out of the Presidential Race


You're right.

Call me crazy.

But what if — with the Democratic primary following the Republican one — Hillary Clinton — along with the top honchos of the Democrat Party — had been planning all along to drop out of the presidential race, once Donald Trump is nominated?

Drop out in favor of a far more electable Democrat?

And have that Democrat run along the problem-riddled New York billionaire? 

Joe Manchin? Evan Bayh? Andrew Cuomo? Terry McAuliffe? Amy Klobuchar?
Even Joe Biden or Al Gore?!

Yes, I know it sounds crazy. I know it doesn't sound like Hillary's — or Bill's — personality to bow out in favor of a fellow politician.

But after eight years of let's-bash-Americans policies, I am far less willing to dismiss crazy conspiracy theories out of hand…

This hasn't been on my mind incessantly, but for a month or so, maybe more, it has been bugging me on and off, and t'is what came up again upon reading Matthew Sheffield's Praxis article (thanks to Ed Driscoll) on a somewhat different subject.

Let us hope, let us pray, that I am indeed crazy…

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to Know Whether We Live in a Democracy or Whether We Are in the Throes of Populism

From Mumbai, Anand Pandya writes:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb has put it best:
“When people vote the way of the intellectual-yet-idiot elite, it is ‘democracy’. Otherwise it is misguided, irrational, swayed by populism and a lack of education.” 
Or, as I like to put it:

When the left wins elections, it is the proof that democracy is at work.
When the right wins elections, it means we are in the throes of populism.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Disastrous Claims About Rising Sea Levels Run Into One (Un?)fortunate Fact


The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity,
writes Justin Gillis as he claims that the Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries,
and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported Monday.
Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling.

The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days.

Though these types of floods often produce only a foot or two of standing saltwater, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocking neighborhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of freshwater and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland.

Such events are just an early harbinger of the coming damage, the new research suggests.

 … scientists … also confirmed previous forecasts that if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100.

Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many coastal cities.
As I wrote in a post at the time of the New York Times article five months ago:
think of New York City, of Miami, of Galveston, of San Francisco, of Tokyo, of Sydney, of Goa, of Alexandria, of Saint Tropez, of Copenhagen.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in the past 5 years, in the past 50 years, even offhand in the past 500 years (?), has the sea level in any of those places risen by even one inch, by even one centimeter?
To the Gray Lady's February article, of course, we must add John Raphael's recent Nature World News report on another study, one that finds that Antarctic Sea Ice Continues to Expand Despite Global Warming.

This is of course to everything the drama queens have been telling us for years, so the authors of the study in the journal Nature Geosciences must scramble to dig up an explanation. (how 'bout "natural climate fluctuation"? Alright; that'll do.)

Does part of the opening sentence contain the kicker?
 … the increase of sea ice in the Antarctic despite global warming caused by climate change
That must be the first time that I read the expressions global warming and climate change in the same sentence. I thought the second was supposed to replace the first.

But no, it turns out that the one (global warming) is caused by the other (climate change). You might be forgiven for thinking that the leftists' main object is to confuse us.