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Monday, April 30, 2012

Supposed you were an idiot. And supposed you were a 60 Minutes reporter. Then again I repeat myself.

I have little use for 60 Minutes but then again most of the main stream press is worthless now. But I found this report of the man who ran the enhanced interrogation for the US government being advertised and had to see it. All in all it’s a very through interview but it would be a good interview without the typical selective leftist outrage.

Extracts below. You can see the full story here
...The man who ran the interrogation program was Jose Rodriguez, a CIA spy in Latin America, who rose to become head of the Clandestine Service, the CIA's dark side.

Lesley Stahl: You had no qualms? We used to consider some of them war crimes.
What specifically were war crimes? Lesley I think we call this a straw man argument. It indicates weakness.
Jose Rodriguez: We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days. But we did the right thing for the right reason. And the right reason was to protect the homeland and to protect American lives. So yes, I had no qualms...

...Jose Rodriguez: We were flooded with intelligence about an imminent attack. That al Qaeda had an anthrax program, and that they were planning to use it against us. And that they were seeking nuclear materials to use in some type of nuclear weapon. So we were facing a ticking, time bomb situation and we were very concerned.

Lesley Stahl: So you were getting pressure from Congress and the White House to take the gloves off. Did you go to the dark side?

Jose Rodriguez: Well, the dark side, that's what we do.

Lesley Stahl: You are the dark side.

Jose Rodriguez: We are the dark side.
Thank you Mr Rodriguez. I love a man who tells a woman who is feigning outrage to rhetorically “Drop Dead”.
Yes Lesley he is the adult side, who does things that may not be something comfortable to discuss openly but we need men like Mr. Rodriguez handing our country’s dirty work.
His first big operation came after the capture of a Palestinian, thought then to have high level al Qaeda connections, named Abu Zubaydah when he was taken prisoner in Pakistan in the spring of 2002, Abu Zubaydah was badly injured in a firefight.

Jose Rodriguez: He actually was on the verge of dying. So we brought in a surgeon from the U.S. to help him out.

Lesley Stahl: You brought in a top-rate surgeon from Johns Hopkins?

Jose Rodriguez: Yes, the best that we could find.

Lesley Stahl: You save him so you can squeeze everything out of his brain that you can?

Jose Rodriguez: So we could elicit intelligence that would allow us to keep our country safe. So we took him to a black site.
Yes Lesley, you get relatively little from a dead man. They don’t seem to wanna talk much after they assume room temperature.
...Jose Rodriguez: If there was going to be another attack against the U.S., we would have blood on our hands because we would not have been able to extract that information from him. So we started to talk about an alternative set of interrogation procedures.

Lesley Stahl: So you're the one who went looking for something to break this guy.

Jose Rodriguez: Yes. And let me tell you something, you know, because years later the 9/11 Commission accused, or said that 9/11 was a failure of imagination. Well, there was no lack of imagination on the part of the CIA in June 2002. We were looking for different ways of doing this.

His search led him to a former military psychologist who had helped train American soldiers in how to resist torture if they were captured. The psychologist adapted the brutal tactics of our Cold War adversaries into what the CIA called "enhanced interrogation techniques." A team of interrogators -- about six of them -- was given a two-week training course and while Jose Rodriguez himself never engaged in any of the sessions with detainees, he supervised the program.

Lesley Stahl: Did the psychologist, did he tell you how long it was going to take, if you use these techniques, to break Abu Zubaydah and anybody else that you might capture?

Jose Rodriguez: You know, he had speculated that within 30 days we would probably be able to get the information that we wanted, yes.

But before moving forward, Jose Rodriguez got his superiors, right up to the president - to sign off on a set of those techniques, including waterboarding....

...Lesley Stahl: How does the water boarding that you engaged in, how did that work?

Jose Rodriguez: The detainee was strapped to an inclined board with his feet up so that no water would go--

Lesley Stahl: So his head was back.

Jose Rodriguez: So his head was back. And a cloth was placed over the mouth and nose. And water was applied to it.

Lesley Stahl: Oh he couldn't breathe through his nose.

Jose Rodriguez: So when he was saturated, then the air flow would be stopped.

Lesley Stahl: And he'd have the sensation of drowning.

Jose Rodriguez: And he would have the sensation.

Lesley Stahl: And was he naked?

Jose Rodriguez: In many cases, nudity was used extensively. And it worked well.

Lesley Stahl: Why is nudity effective?

Jose Rodriguez: It is effective because a lot of people feel very vulnerable when they're nude. And also because of the culture. Nudity, it is not something that is common.

Each step they took was specifically spelled out in the Justice Department memo. For instance, uncooperative detainees could be put in a small, dark: "cramped confinement box with an insect" in it. As for waterboarding, the interrogators were allowed to pour water for up to 40 seconds at a time... quote applied "from a height of 12 to 24 inches"... using about a liter of water per session.

After Abu Zubaydah was subjected to the CIA's menu of interrogation techniques, Jose Rodriguez says he became compliant in less than three weeks.

Lesley StahlWas it waterboarding that broke the dam with Abu Zubaydah?

Jose Rodriguez: I think he was more taken aback by the insult slap.

Lesley Stahl: Oh, what's the insult slap?

Jose Rodriguez: It's just slapping somebody with an open hand so that you don't hurt 'em.

Lesley Stahl: By "hurt," you mean you don't break his jaw?

Jose Rodriguez: We don't break his jaw. And the objective is not to inflict pain. The objective is to let him know there's a new sheriff in town, and he better pay attention.

Lesley Stahl: You also employed stress techniques?

Jose Rodriguez: Uh-huh. There was a technique where the detainee would sit on the floor and would raise his hands over his head.

Lesley Stahl: In other words, he had to hold his hands up there forever and ever, right?

Jose Rodriguez: Forever & ever? I was thinkin' about this the other day. The objective was to induce muscle fatigue, and most people who work out do a lot more fatiguing of the muscles....

...Lesley Stahl: Yeah.

Central to the interrogation was sleep deprivation. Abu Zubaydah was also kept awake for three straight days.

Jose Rodriguez: Sleep deprivation works. I'm sure, Lesley, with all the traveling that you do, that you have suffered from jet lag. And you know, when you don't get a good night's sleep for two, three days, it's very hard.

Lesley Stahl: Now, you don't really mean to suggest that it's like jet lag. I mean, you make it sound like it's benign when you say stuff like that.

Jose Rodriguez: Well, I mean, the feeling--

Lesley Stahl: And you go into the gym and jet lag--

fJose Rodriguez: Well, the feeling that you get when you don't sleep.
Lesley in my last exercise at Fort Huachuca AZ in 1988 I went four days on four sleep. I guess the Army tortured me right?

...In total, the CIA picked up about 100 detainees, subjected 75 of them to harsh interrogation techniques - three of them to waterboarding, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - or KSM, the mastermind of 9/11. When KSM was first captured in 2003, he was in no mood to talk.

Jose Rodriguez: Oh, he was not going to talk. I mean, Khalid Sheik Mohammed is one of the toughest killers out there.

Lesley Stahl: I heard he was brilliant.

Jose Rodriguez: He was brilliant. He was scary smart. But he's also evil. And he will use that intelligence to define different ways of coming after us.

He says that in the beginning, KSM would respond to questions by reciting verses from the Koran.

Jose Rodriguez: He eventually told us, "Well look, I will talk once I get to New York and I get my lawyer." He knew that if he got into the criminal process in the U.S. that he would get a lawyer and he would use that forum.

Lesley Stahl: He'd use it as a platform for his ideology.

Jose Rodriguez: He would use it as a platform.

Faced with KSM's obstinance, CIA interrogators began ratcheting up the severity of the questioning step-by-step.

Lesley Stahl: Did you make him wear diapers?

Jose Rodriguez: Diapers? I don't recall specifically to him. But diapers is something that is approved.

Lesley Stahl: It's so humiliating.

Jose Rodriguez: It's standard. Standard. Yeah.
Hey Lesley he’s humiliated. He’s also alive. And after he was instrumental in killing 3000 people on 911 I’m really not concerned much about his modesty.
According to an internal investigation by the CIA's own inspector general - this is a heavily redacted declassified copy. KSM was denied sleep for 180 hours in a row or about seven and a half days. And still he didn't break.

Jose Rodriguez: He was the toughest detainee that we had. No doubt.

So he was subjected to waterboarding, specifically 183 "pourings" of water in about half a dozen separate sessions. Jose Rodriguez said the average pour lasted10 seconds.

Jose Rodriguez: Can I say something about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? He's the one that was responsible for the death of Danny Pearl, the Wall Street reporter. He slit his throat in front of a camera. I don't know what type of man it takes to cut the throat of someone in front of you like that, but I can tell you that this is an individual who probably didn't give a rat's ass about having water poured on his face.

Lesley Stahl: He never believed for one second you were going to kill him.

Jose Rodriguez: No. And let me just tell you. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would use his fingers to count the number of seconds, because he knew that in all likelihood, we would stop at 10. So this doesn't sound like a person who is afraid of dying.

Lesley Stahl: If he's sitting there counting off, he knows you're not going to kill him. He knows he's not going to drown. Then why do it? What's the point?

Jose Rodriguez: Well, I think that the cumulative effect of waterboarding and sleep deprivation and everything else that was done eventually got to him.

Lesley Stahl: So what happens? Does he break down? Does he weep? Does he fall apart?

Jose Rodriguez: No. He gets a good night's sleep. He gets his Ensure. By the way, he was very heavy when he came to us and he lost 50 pounds. So--

Lesley Stahl: What his Ensure? You mean like people in the hospital who drink that stuff?

Jose Rodriguez: Yes. Dietary manipulation was part of these-- our techniques.

Lesley Stahl: So sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation. I mean, this is Orwellian stuff. The United States doesn't do that.

Jose Rodriguez: Well, we do.
Yes Lesley, we do. Generally it’s not discussed much in such an open source but we do do stuff like this.

...Lesley Stahl: Mock executions. People threatened with power drills.

Jose Rodriguez: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: People told that, that you were gonna go and hurt their children, rape their wives.

Jose Rodriguez: Stupid things that were done by people who had no authority to do that.

Lesley Stahl: And they just took it on themselves.

Jose Rodriguez: Correct. And we found out about it and we self-reported, and actually called in the I.G. and said, "You better take a look at what these people did and do what you need to do."

Lesley Stahl: You have some people out there who were taken to black sites. They were subjected to terrible treatment. And they hadn't done anything. I mean they were taken mistakenly. They disappeared. What about them?

Jose Rodriguez: No doubt when you are involved in complicated covert action programs like this one, that some mistakes will be made.

Jose Rodriguez retired from the CIA in January 2008. He has spent the last year writing his book, published by the CBS company Simon and Schuster. In the book he says that by canceling the interrogation program, President Obama has tied the government's hands in the war on terror.

Jose Rodriguez: We don't capture anybody any more, Lesley. You know their default option of this Administration has been to kill all prisoners. Take no prisoners.

Lesley Stahl: The drones.

Jose Rodriguez: The drones. How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them. I never understood that one.
Mr Rodrigues I believe you do. The people running the foreign policy of this country are morons. And it’s showing. If Bill Casey or Bill Donovan were running the CIA we would have people alive to interrogate.
Lesley Stahl: President Obama has said that what we did was torture.

Jose Rodriguez: Well, President Obama is entitled to his opinion. When President Obama condemns the covert action activities of a previous government, he is breaking the covenant that exists between intelligence officers who are at the pointy end of the spear, hanging way out there, and the government that authorized them and directed them to go there.

Lesley Stahl: John McCain. A huge critic of this program. He had been tortured, so we know where he's coming from. Here's what he said: "It's killing us that America will sink to the level of its worst enemies. We forfeited our values," he said. And I guess what I wanna ask is, didn't it actually change who we are? What we think we're about? I mean, we think we-- we're the country that doesn't do that. Right?

Jose Rodriguez: I am very secure in, in what we did and I am very confident that what we did saved American lives.
Lesley, reference Mr Obama, see my comment on foreign policy. He’s a fool. And although I have immense respect for what Captain McCain endured in the Hanoi Hilton Senator McCain is wrong on this. The enhanced interrogation techniques of the CIA are not torture. Thanks to the interrogations of the Hanoi Hilton Senator McCain can’t raise his hands very high. The men coming from Club Gitmo are actually in better shape then after a year there.

Mr Rodrigquez’s book will be on my Amazon list tomorrow. From an intel geek to an intel stud, well done bro. Your country owes you.

Ride for Kids 2012

Yesterday I was able to ride in the 2012 Ride for Kids, a charity run to raise money for child brain tumor research and treatment. In spite of a weak economy the group still raised $321,675 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation® (PBTF).

Here is a video of the bikes coming out of the parking lot of the Humble TX Civil Center.

Houston Ride for Kids®

Motorcyclists’ hearts are as big as the Lone Star State—just ask any of the 13 young brain tumor survivors who attended this year's Houston Ride for Kids®. The area’s 20th ride for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation® (PBTF) raised $321,675.

Hundreds of bikes left the Humble Civic Center on a warm morning with many of those survivors in the lead. After passing farms and woodlands, the 660 participants learned more about their reasons for riding: Ava, Calvin, Dylan, Ethan, Garrett, Jake, Josh, Javier, Kaitlyn, Leon, Michael A., Michael G., and Nick.

Six-year-old Ava said she tells people she’s a miracle when they ask her about herself. Added Michael G., 16, “It’s hard on us kids, but harder on our families.”

Ride for Kids® helps families by funding support programs and medical research. “The PBTF is a first-rate organization, and they provide more funding for pediatric brain tumor research than any other organization,” said Dr. Will Parsons of Texas Children’s Hospital. “Without people like all of you here today, that wouldn’t be possible.”

This is the twentieth year Blue Knights TX VII has helped with the ride and several cops from the local area donated their time to assist in the escort. Getting ready for the ride our clue president gave us the story of a then two year old who was there for the first one twenty years ago. And now he's fully cured, just got a motorcycle and is looking forward to riding in the Ride for Kids 2013!

On the back it said "It's a girl thing."

Here my HOG!

The bikes assembled before the ride

Blue Knights TX VII

Rolling Thunder at 25

Every Memorial Day I have my friends and family over for a crawfish boil. But sometime in the near future I can see making a ride to DC. The article is awesome but the TV report on The Lone Marine will bring tears to your eyes. As someone once said, "Where do we get such men!"

Rolling Thunder: A Quarter Century of Thunder
By Craig Roberts

Nobody on Capitol Hill paid much attention to John “Top” Holland until he changed his wardrobe. In his earliest days of lobbying, when the Vietnam generation was young, a gentleman would never visit a place or person of importance dressed in anything other than a well-pressed business suit.

And so it was that Holland, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, climbed Capitol Hill in his Sunday best to deliver his message to Congress. To hear his friend Walt Sides tell it, Holland blended right into the halls of Congress – in fact, a little too well, he finally decided.

To get anyone’s attention, Holland needed an image change. He went for an almost sinister-looking combination of militaria and Harley Davidson leathers, apparel he and his friends felt most comfortable wearing. It paid off. Dressed as they were, they began getting more and more attention when pleading with lawmakers to address what they viewed as official neglect of POW/MIA issues.

The biker garb wasn’t a gimmick, but normal weekend attire for Holland, Sides, retired Marine Cpl. Ray Manzo and Ted Sampley – co-founders of Rolling Thunder, which has grown into the massive annual “Run to the Wall” motorcycle procession in Washington. This Memorial Day, Rolling Thunder celebrates its 25th anniversary, and The American Legion is an official sponsor.

Holland, a Legionnaire, was born in 1927. He left his family’s farm in southern Indiana just before his 15th birthday, a month after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He lied about his age to a Marine Corps recruiter and got in. He was in the Marines for the duration of World War II, then joined the Army in 1947. He saw action in Korea and later with the Special Forces in Vietnam, pulling four tours as one of the original Green Berets. He retired from the service in 1970, but took up the POW/MIA cause with a vengeance. It would be his calling for the rest of his life.

Prior to Holland’s funeral in July 2010, Rolling Thunder colleague Danny “Greasy” Belcher wrote on various websites, “EVERYONE with a POW/MIA patch or who claims to care about the POW/MIA issue should attend John’s funeral. He was the first to get the POW/MIA issue moving by trying to change the 1942 Missing Service Personnel Act, which let a POW/MIA be declared dead after one year ... John Holland was the one who got us off our complaining asses and calling and visiting our congressmen and senators ... He made us accountable for our fellow abandoned Americans and showed us that we could do something besides complain.”

Manzo, the man credited with actually conceiving the now-famous motorcycle run, was not much different. Sides recalls that the idea was first advanced by Manzo on a “nice, warm, sunny day in June 1987” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Sides and Holland were sitting there, thinking back on their years in the service, when they were approached by fellow vet Bob Schmidt, who was leading a stranger, Manzo.

“Ray come walkin’ up there with Bob, and Ray said he wanted to do a motorcycle run, and we talked about it a few minutes. John said, ‘Whaddya think?’ And I said, ‘Man, I don’t know.’ So that’s how it started.”

Despite doubts about the run’s viability, the veterans went to work on the National Park Service and local authorities to gain permission for a motorcycle parade. Initially, public-safety officials resisted the idea of a horde of leather-clad bikers invading the broad avenues and green expanses of the capital. “They didn’t wanna hear ‘boom,’” Sides says.

Sampley, a former Green Beret, has a history of activism on behalf of Vietnam War veterans dating to the early 1980s. His public demonstrations for the POW/MIA cause were legendary. He once chained himself to the White House gates, waged highly charged public attacks on Sens. John McCain and John Kerry, displayed bamboo cages housing mock POWs, and spent more than one night behind bars himself for his actions...

...In 1956, at 16, Walt Sides joined the Marines after “getting in a little trouble.” Like Holland a decade and a half before, Sides lied about his age to get in. After his hitch, he took advantage of the GI Bill and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, where he played football. There, he explains, he soon found himself “in a little more trouble” and headed back to the Marines. This time, he stayed in for 21 years.

Sides worked as a sniper-scout platoon leader in Vietnam. After retiring from the service, he took up the POW/MIA cause and remains vocal about the issue today...

...Sides concedes that there is little chance any vanished warriors from Korea or Vietnam are still alive. But the Rolling Thunder Run to the Wall grows each year, raising awareness about those whose fates remain unknown.

In 1988, with a turnout of about 2,500 bikes, Rolling Thunder was born. This year, the event is expected to attract approximately 1 million people – bikers and spectators alike – for the annual procession from the Pentagon’s parking lot to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

In recent years, the Run to the Wall has become something of a national sensation. Those who cannot participate say they follow the run online and in social media. A YouTube video of Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers – known as “the lone Marine” – saluting Rolling Thunder riders during the 2011 run has been viewed more than 2.7 million times...

2014...ROAD TRIP!

A good summary of B Hussein Obama and his reign of error!

I love reading Victor David Hanson and again he knocks it out the park. The full article is worth the read but here are the key points.

Sitting Out Obama - National Review Online

...Take also new mandates. The problem with Obamacare is not just that it represents a vast new entitlement at a time of record annual deficits, but that no one knows how much it will cost employers to enroll their employees. Potential hirers instead suspect only that their health-care expenses will spike, and those who are politically connected for that very reason have sought and obtained exemptions from the Obama administration: All companies, liberally owned or not, want out, not in — exactly the opposite of what the administration forecast. The public likewise suspects that Obamacare will come to resemble the hated TSA they see at airports — lots of employees milling around, little guarantee that the job at hand is done well, and an evident resentment of federal employees toward the public they serve. Will X-rays for our kidneys resemble the sort of scanning process and pat-downs we endure at airports?...

...The only thing more discouraging to investors than class warfare generally is a certain type of class warfare: a hypocritical crusade that emanates from the upper classes and selectively targets enemies on the basis not of wealth, but of the degree to which they have failed to buy exemptions with their wealth. Meanwhile, on the other end, the message is more weeks of unemployment insurance, vastly more food-stamp recipients, and constant promises of mortgage-debt relief, credit-card-debt relief, and tuition-debt relief. If one were to dream up a perfect way to destroy incentives on both the top and bottom ends, one could do no better than what we have seen since 2009.

The net result is that those with capital, even if they are small businesses, do not believe that the Obama administration likes them. They feel that regulations will increase, that taxes will increase, that energy costs will increase, and that as they pay more to government and keep less, government will nevertheless become even more arrogant and inefficient — and they will become even more demonized. When people pay over 50 percent in payroll, federal, state, and local taxes and are still caricatured as “not paying their fair share,” a sort of collective shrug follows and bodes ill for the economy at large. One need not be liked to make money, but the constant presidential harangues finally take their toll in insidious ways.

Countless times each day, a contractor chooses to hire only a part-time electrician, a CEO hoards cash rather than opens a new plant, a renting family declines to buy a reasonably priced new house, an indebted graduate heads home to kick back and wait until “something turns up,” and an unemployed worker wonders whether it is not wiser to receive all two years of federal benefits before reentering the work force.

I don’t know whether Mitt Romney’s economic package will bring instant prosperity. But I suspect that the fact alone that it is not what we have seen and heard for the last four years will unleash a pent-up energy of the sort we have not seen in a long time. In short, President Obama has achieved the impossible — he has convinced millions of rational, profit-minded Americans eager to invest, buy, and hire that he doesn’t worry much whether they do.

Fighting voter fraud....oh yea, it's Democratic voter fraud so there is a problem

For years academics, journalist, etc have lamented people won't get off their dead asses and do something about society's problems. So in 2009 people did and these same academics, journalists, etc were horrified that America's unwashed were getting off their dead asses and doing something about the day's issues. The TEA Party was a grassroots movement against the abuses of the leftist who control the Democratic party and who had uncontrolled power in 2009.

One part of this was sending poll watchers to insure there were no irregularities at Houston area (read Democratic) voting areas. Now the Houston Chronicle which editorializes for people to get involved in the political process is excited about that right? Not exactly.

Tea partiers confer in Houston to fight vote fraud

"There are only so many protests you can go to," Spring romance novelist Barbara Smith said Friday night, explaining between speeches in the ballroom of a suburban Houston hotel why in 2009 she joined the King Street Patriots, a local tea party group and got active as a poll watcher in 2010. She was among some 350 people from 32 states who signed up for a two-day True the Vote conference devoted to recognizing and rooting out election fraud.

A controversial project of the King Street Patriots, founded in 2009 by Richmond resident Catherine Engelbrecht, True the Vote trained some 700 poll watchers to look for voting irregularities in the 2010 election. Its volunteers combined to send 800 complaints of improper voting to Harris County officials, who investigated a few but ultimately took no legal action.

Poll watching was a new experience for Smith, the author of 28 historical romances. "I had never done anything like it in my life. I enjoyed it," she said.

Those being watched were not so pleased. The King Street effort resulted in numerous complaints about voter intimidation, particularly in minority neighborhoods, as well as a lawsuit filed by the Texas Democratic Party, an ethics complaint from the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. (Attorney General Eric Holder is the group's bĂȘte noire)...

What is the bigger joke? The fact Eric Holder is the Attorney General or the fact his "Justice Department" investigated a group working against voter fraud in Harris county after they let the Black Panthers slip.
...Engelbrecht, 42, has not been deterred. She told the weekend gathering that True the Vote anticipates training 1 million poll watchers around the country for this year's election. The group also pressures counties to purge their voting rolls of duplications and the dead.

"True the Vote is very much a roll-up-your-sleeve, get-down-in-the-trenches kind of job. And that's what it's going to take to turn the country around," she told the Houston gathering. "It's going to take all of us doing all we can to put our country on the right track."

Like Smith, the romance novelist, most of the attendees were from the Houston area, although William Ames Cutright, 67, a scientist and frequent candidate for governor of Oregon, said he came to Houston to visit with "Tom DeLay, my friend." He said he also hoped to learn how to combat "election fraud in Oregon, which is huge."...

...Longtime political strategist and Fox News analyst Patrick Caddell - "a Democrat until the day I die" - said he first observed voter fraud when the George McGovern's presidential campaign was victimized in Ohio in 1972.

"The question about Voter ID is the biggest lie in history," said Caddell, whose full-throated remarks Friday night roused the crowd...

Purging Democratic districts of the dead. That might take some doing since many voters in Chicago have had voters voting for generations after their death. Something like a reverse of the end of days.

But again this article seems conceded that conservatives are looking at voter fraud in Democrat districts. If this was an object news source shouldn't it be applauding the efforts of these people and asking the other local community activists to join in their efforts?

Ann Coulter is back in the swing of things

I love Ann Coulter. Any woman who calls Joe Biden what he is (Assassination Insurance) has got to be someone you love. Although she has gone off the beaten path a bit recently (Christy, Romney) she is still a great conservative thinker and this is a great piece on why Hollywood is hated by Americans. Hint, they've eared it!

Hollywood & Politics: Ann Coulter on Why America Hates Hollywood (Opinion)

Americans love movies and would like to love Hollywood, but I suspect they are getting a little sick of Hollywood hating them.

By "them," I mean:

► Southerners (as portrayed in A Time to Kill, Deliverance, Easy Rider, Talladega Nights, Pulp Fiction, Raising Arizona and Law & Order)

► Residents of small towns, except the Hamptons and Malibu (Footloose, The Last Seduction, Pleasantville and Law & Order)

► Christians (The Virgin Suicides, Easy A, Seven, Straw Dogs, Carrie and Law & Order)

► Connecticut WASPs or their equivalent (Ordinary People, Far From Heaven, Caddyshack, Trading Places, The Ice Storm, every single movie on "Lifetime: TV for Women" and Law & Order)

► Priests (Primal Fear, Stigmata, Priest, Godfather III and Law & Order)

► Conservative politicians (The Contender, Good Night, and Good Luck, The West Wing, any movie by Oliver Stone and Law & Order)

► The rich -- but never rich trial lawyers, rich environmentalists, rich educators or rich-off-the-taxpayer politicians (Titanic, Sleeping With the Enemy, Wall Street and Law & Order)

► Businessmen (Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action, The Insider, Silkwood, Michael Clayton, every John Grisham adaptation, even The Muppets, where they reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon! And Law & Order).

Southerners are dumb hicks, presumptively Klanners. Residents of small towns are narrow-minded xenophobes, presumptively Klanners. Christians are hypocrites and anti-everything (even dancing!), presumptively Klanners. Businessmen are cheating, soulless vermin, presumptively Klanners (unless they are in a Hollywood-approved business like making solar panels). And Connecticut WASPs are dull, sexually neurotic snobs who beat their wives and molest their daughters. Presumptively Klanners.

Hollywood's heroes are just as odd. Moviegoers flocked to a film about a prostitute who was not only gorgeous and charming but disease-free because they wanted to see a Cinderella story. We know Pretty Woman's winsome streetwalker was as plausible as a talking bear, except we've always wanted to see a talking bear.

It was the same with The Da Vinci Code. That movie mocks the most sacred belief held by a majority of Americans -- the divinity of Christ -- but we ignored that because we just wanted to see an exciting Hollywood thriller.

Out in America, the country is fairly bristling with crosses and American flags, but in the Hollywood oeuvre, those symbols appear rarely, and when they do, they generally show up as signifiers of White Supremacists or child-molesting Connecticut WASPs. In real life, there are a lot more girls wearing cross necklaces than teenagers with Che Guevara posters in their rooms, a peculiar staple of Hollywood movies.

In the remake of Cape Fear, the psychotic killer, Max Cady, was recast as a Christian fundamentalist, sporting biblical tattoos and constantly reeling off scriptural verses. Other than the raping and murdering part, the person in real life he most resembles is Tim Tebow.

Is that what Hollywood thinks of Tebow? And why is there never a character like Tebow in any movie or TV show? Never, ever, ever.

...Whenever a priest walks onto the screen these days, you can be pretty sure he's a Nazi or a pedophile. Most people's actual experience with clergymen is closer to Montgomery Clift's portrayal in Hitchcock's 1953 thriller I Confess. That movie probably was the last time Hollywood showed a priest as a true man of God.

Even after the priest-pedophilia scandal, priests still haven't molested as many children as teachers have. Now, guess what profession is more revered than even prostitution in Hollywood movies? That's right: public-school teachers!

To piggy back on that. Since Tom Bosley on The Father Dowling Mysteries every priest in TV and movies has at least been accused of being a pedophile. It's so bad you would swear the priesthood was filled with Duke lacrosse players.
They are closely followed by trial lawyers, who would never, ever be anything like John Edwards; environmentalists, who would never be anything like Solyndra executives; Democratic politicians, who would never be anything like Bill Clinton or the tax cheats in the Obama administration. But Tebow is Max Cady, murdering psychopath.

I remember just after George HW Bush was President the movie Clear and Present Danger came out. In it President Bennett (never out and said it but it was implied he was a Republican) instigated an illegal war in South America to interfere with Columbian drug trade. And he just happens to have a jar of jelly beans on his desk. But later on in the Clinton years we have a president who is moral and firm (Michael Douglas in The American President), a real leader (Harrison Ford in Air Force One) or all of the above (Martin Sheen in The West Wing). All liberal Democrats for some reason. Is there a pattern here?

Let me give you the plots of two true crime episodes I recently watched, back-to-back, on ID TV. The show was titled Unusual Suspects -- "unusual" only if it were a Hollywood production. In the first, a woman was raped at home, stabbed through the heart and her house set on fire. The police looked at suspicious white guys in her life. Then, in the last five minutes of the show, DNA proved that her rapist/murderer was a Hispanic who wanted to have sex with a virgin. In the second, a married couple and their son were stabbed to death in their sleep. Various white guys were arrested, but all were let go when their DNA didn't match or they had airtight alibis. Then it turned out to be a random Hispanic kid who committed the murders as a gang initiation.

In other words, the exact opposite of a Law & Order plot. I like watching beautiful rich people with fabulous Manhattan apartments killing one another as much as anyone. Maybe more. But why do ALL the wealthy white people, Christians, Southerners or WASPS in these scripts have to be racist, misogynist snobs? Whatever happened to diversity? Hollywood learned to stop stereotyping black characters. Can't it learn to stop stereotyping the rest of America?

Not to brag, but I've been to America. The natives do not need coaching in tolerance, certainly not from beautiful airheads who are paid like Enron executives to lecture us -- the child-molesting, greedy racists -- about learning to be decent human beings.

Ann I think you got a point here. We need multicultural specialists in Hollywood. They need to let producers, writers, actors etc know what America is really like.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A long Sunday and some good news...

As I sit in my chair after the Ride for Kids 2012 (future post coming) and I'm watching Leslie Stahl make a compete ass out of herself interviewing Jose Rodriguez who supervised enhanced interrogation against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (another post to follow), the girls are acting life they are passing a kidney stone for cleaning their room. Ah, ain't family life grand.

But I did get some really good news on our greatest recent traitor.

No Luck for Bradley Manning: More Motions Denied in WikiLeaks Case

The judge in the case of accused WikiLeaker PFC Bradley Manning has denied a defense motion to dismiss the charge of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge Manning will face during his court martial.

On the third and final day of pre-trial hearings in Manning’s case, presiding judge Col. Denise Lind on Thursday denied two other defense motions. They included an assertion that prosecutors unreasonably multiplied charges against Manning, and a motion to dismiss a charge dealing with publishing information on the Internet knowing the enemy has access to the Web.

Manning’s civilian defense counsel, David Coombs, argued on Wednesday that the charge of aiding the enemy was too vague.

Outlining specific instructions in her decision to deny the motion, Lind told the government that it must prove Manning knew that by putting information on the WikiLeaks site the enemy would access it...

...Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public property or records, and transmitting defense information...

...The judge also disagreed with the defense’s argument that the charge Manning faces for “wrongfully and wantonly caus[ing] [information] to be published on the Internet” knowing it would be accessed by the enemy is redundant, saying it is not preempted by the charge of “aiding the enemy.” She said that the alleged crimes were distinct and separate criminal acts.
Mr Coombs I think the government will have little problem showing your client, the traitor Bradley Manning knew this would lead to the enemy having intelligence. And unlike John Walker et all this POS has little to sell. I don't know if the government has decided to seek the death penalty but he is eligible. And deserving.

Girls screaming...gotta go.  Hope you had a great weekend and even  better week.

You know this won't play well in Chicago.

So it's no wonder the B Hussein Obama regime is against it.

A punishment for a crime.

As someone who's been hit twice by drunk drivers and almost killed in the line of duty by a DWI SOB (whom an idiot DA let plea to probation although it was combined with felony evading and his second time getting caught, but that's another rant for another day) I like this. This driver is getting off easy. The family he destroyed has to really bear something.

Judge, if you are concerned for security add to his fine payment for a couple of off duty cops to protect his ass. Again, he's going home at the end of the day.
DWI driver's suspension of punishment rallies NW Harris residents - Houston Chronicle

A driver convicted of a DWI after causing a fatal accident has been temporarily suspended from serving his public punishment at the site of the northwest Houston crash.

On Friday, Harris County Court-at-Law Judge Michael R. Fields ordered that for his safety, Michael Giacona, 39, would withdraw from his intended post at the intersection of Huffmeister and Spring Cypress, said family members of the victim, Aaron Pennywell, 20. The court will re-evaluate the sentence and finalize a decision on Wednesday.

Despite Giacona's absence, Pennywell's relatives and friends gathered at the intersection Saturday around the wrecked black Mustang that had been retrieved to serve as a warning of the dangers of driving under the influence. T-shirts were sold by Buddies Against Drunk Driving, an organization aimed at raising awareness of drunken driving.

"Friends of Aaron put together this ad to be able to get the word out. Make people aware of the impact it has on families," said Lisa Dentler, 50. "It is just disheartening that he's just going to get a slap on the hand again and walk away."...

Last summer, Giacona ran a red light at that intersection, crashing into Pennywell's Mustang. Pennywell was thrown from his car and died at the scene. Giacona spent 90 days in jail and was ordered to a rare public punishment.

He was convicted of a second degree felony and served 90 days. Who the hell agreed to that deal?

Giacona was met with hostility by passers-by while serving last Saturday, the first of what would have been four Saturdays that he was originally ordered to stand at the crash site with a sign reading, "I killed Aaron Pennywell."

"There were some kids that came that walked up to him and cussed him out. We have no idea who it was," said Kae Pennywell, the mother of the victim. "The judge put him out there for public humiliation. He should have expected some of that. But nobody threatened his life."...

And he has done something to earl more than humiliation. You're getting off with only county time, don't complain. You should be at Huntsville for at least a decade.
...Locals pitched in their support by making an appearance at the crash site.

"I'm shaking. I don't know them; my daughter just graduated with him," said Karon Frigo, who was holding her own makeshift sign against drunken driving. "I knew there had been a terrible accident and of course, I drive by this every day. And then when I read in the paper what this guy got, it was unacceptable."...

Sometime in the 50/60s the morons who run academe and the upper echelons of our justice system took public humiliation out of the punishment phase of justice. And it's something that does work. If you need any proof look at Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County AZ. Not many people come back to his jail after they spend time there.

Judge Fields, again, he's getting off easy. If he's not going to get the time he really deserves send him back to at least receive the public humiliation I have no doubt was part of his plea margin.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I wonder if they call this a Post-Palin Endorcement

Within the last few weeks someone (I think a columnist for National Review) said this was a "Post-Palin Election". I wonder if the people in the magazine realize Palin is the only reason McCain had a chance ian 2008. Bill Bacuckley would have never made that cheap shot.

Now the Governor has come and endorsed a real conservative for a senate seat that has been occupied by a RINO for six terms and who actually was shocked that people expected him to live in the state he represents. But now some new news:

As the Tea Party continues to challenge comfortable incumbents across the country, Gov. Sarah Palin has shaken up the race for U.S. Senate in Indiana by endorsing state Treasurer Richard Mourdock over Sen. Richard Lugar in the Republican primary.

Palin wrote on her Facebook page:
Richard Mourdock is the conservative choice for Indiana. Senator Lugar’s 36 years of service as a Senator are appreciated, but it’s time for the torch to pass to conservative leadership in Washington that promises to rein in government spending now.

One of the biggest issues in the campaign--aside from a controversy about Lugar's residency--has been Lugar's support for both of President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominees, despite concerns about their left-wing records and philosophical beliefs.

Palin's emphasis on conservative beliefs reflects the debate that is taking place within the Republican Party in Indiana and nationwide, as well as a general weariness--shared by all voters--with long-term incumbents...

Lugar your time has come and gone. Decades ago to be exact. You, Bennett, Specter and McCain are exactly the RINOs we don't need right now and you are the problem if that's not obvious. So again man, don't go away mad...just go away.

This is really multifunctional stuff...

Thanks Jim G for the pic!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I thought the plate was F. Obama.

The state let him have it and it doesn't say a dirty word. If you take that letter as something dirty maybe the problem is in your mind! ;<)
Devilish DMV Revokes Virginia Man’s F.Osama License Plate

A Virginia man says his Osama bin Laden-inspired license plates are being taken away by the Department of Motor Vehicles for being offensive. But he says the DMV’s new plates are even worse.

Rick Sanders has had his “F.OSAMA” license plates for seven years. He received a letter this week from the DMV saying the plates would be replaced because they are “profane, obscene or vulgar in nature.”

“Right after the attacks of 9/11, I decided I wanted to do something to show that I’m patriotic,” Sanders told ABC affiliate WVEC.

The plates are being replaced with “6668UP.”

“I’m offended by this,” Sanders told the station. “I don’t like anything with 666 on it.”

The numbers 666 are widely viewed as a satanic symbol and Sanders said he reads his new license plate as, “The devil ate you up.”...

...Sanders told WVEC he will probably exchange the plates for new ones, but is also considering challenging the DMV’s decision to pull his plates.

“People come up behind me, they’re laughing, they’re giving me the thumbs up. They’re laughing at me. I’ve never had anybody look at me and tell me I can’t believe you have that on your license plate,” Sanders said.

Sanders says “F.OSAMA” can mean anything you want, but for him it’s a symbol of his patriotism.

“I didn’t want to offend anybody by it. I wanted people to realize that I don’t want you forget what those folks did to us.”

Mr Sanders, please appeal this. During WWII a lot of the Allies leaders showed their contempt Hitler's Germany. George Patton urinated in the Rhine. There is a picture of Winston Churchill with a scotch in his hand leaning against the border marker of the Thousand Year Third Reich. This is your way to show your contempt for this despicable human waste. If Virgina DMV can't understand that they need to pull their heads out of their ass!

Allah be Praised!

I found out how to blog old school!

A little over a week ago blogger changed it's interface. And it may be a case of the 10% Rule in full effect but for me is was a cluster f$%^!. For some reason typing enter would not put a line in, when I tried to edit a post it would delete the post, etc. What Harvard genius came up with this!

Well as I was screaming at the computer I saw a options bar and it had "Old Blogger Interface" listed. And I hit it! And I saw the classic interface I loved and actually worked. So I should be blogging a bit more now.

Oh, the 10% Rule. You must be at least 10% more intelligent than the equipment you are trying to operate!

Security Weekly: Al Shabaab's Threat to Kenya, April 26, 2012

By Scott Stewart

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, released a message April 23 informing U.S. citizens in the country that it had received credible information regarding a possible attack against Nairobi hotels or prominent Kenyan government buildings. According to the message, the embassy has reason to believe the attack is in the last stages of the attack planning cycle.

The warning comes as thousands of Kenyan troops occupy much of southern Somalia. Along with a force of Ethiopian troops, local militias and a contingent of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, the Kenyans are placing heavy pressure on the al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group al Shabaab in southern Somalia.

This external military pressure has exacerbated internal frictions within al Shabaab between nationalist elements and those with a more transnationalist ideology. Mukhtar Robow, aka Abu Mansur, leads the nationalist faction, which is based in the Bay and Bakool regions. Ahmad Abdi Godane, aka Abu Zubayr, leads the transnationalist faction, which is based in Kismayo.

It has been almost two years since we last examined al Shabaab's interest in conducting and ability to carry out transnational terrorist operations. The current warning in Nairobi provides a convenient opportunity to do so once again.

Al Qaeda in East Africa and the Birth of al Shabaab

Al Qaeda and Somali militants have long interacted. In a 1997 CNN interview, Osama bin Laden told Peter Bergen that his fighters helped the Somali militants in the 1993 battle of Mogadishu, the events memorialized in Mark Bowden's book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (1999). Bin Laden and a good portion of the al Qaeda leadership relocated to Sudan in 1992, where they remained until 1996. During that period, they established a network of business and operational contacts across East Africa. By that point, they had trained militants in camps in Afghanistan for years. They could well have had operatives in Mogadishu in 1993 and could have provided training to militants involved in the incident.

After leaving Sudan in 1996, al Qaeda maintained its network in East Africa. It used the network to plan and execute the August 7, 1998, twin bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Nairobi attack proved deadlier. A massive vehicle-borne improvised device (VBIED) heavily damaged the embassy in Nairobi and several nearby buildings, including the adjacent Ufundi Cooperative Plaza, a high-rise that collapsed from the blast. The attack killed 213 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded some 4,000 others.

Some of the men allegedly affiliated with the 1998 attacks, such as Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Abu Taha al-Sudani and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, would later be accused of planning and executing the Nov. 28, 2002, attacks in Mombasa, Kenya, in which a VBIED was used to target the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel and two SA-7 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles were launched at an Israeli Boeing 757 passenger jet departing Mombasa's airport. The missiles missed the aircraft, perhaps due to countermeasures, but the VBIED killed 10 Kenyans and three Israelis.

Abdullah Mohammed, al-Sudani and Nabhan all fled to Somalia, where they worked with and were protected by organizations, such as al-Ittihad al-Islam, a long-standing Somali militant group later folded into the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC), formerly the Islamic Courts Union. When Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in late 2006 and overthrew the SICC, many of the more hardcore elements joined the SICC youth wing, al Shabaab, which then became a separate militant organization. As noted, al Shabaab is not a unified organization. Instead, it is comprised of a number of factions led by individual warlords who each possess a slightly different ideology. The al Qaeda-linked foreign fighters in Somalia tend to associate with the more transnationally minded militants, such as the group led by Godane.

Since al Shabaab's spinoff, al-Sudani was killed in an airstrike in southern Somalia in January 2007. Nabhan was killed by a helicopter ambush in southern Somalia in September 2009, and Abdullah Mohammed was reportedly shot at a police checkpoint in Mogadishu in June 2011.

Al Shabaab Attacks Outside Somalia

Just over a month after we published our assessment of al Shabaab as a transnational threat, the group conducted suicide bomb attacks against two targets in Kampala, Uganda, on July 11, 2010. The twin attacks, which targeted people watching a World Cup soccer match, reportedly killed 74 and wounded another 70.

Following the Kampala attacks, al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage claimed credit for the attacks and said they came in response to Uganda's participation in AMISOM. Rage threatened additional attacks against Uganda and also threatened Burundi, which has furnished forces for AMISOM. But the group has not followed up on these threats, and there have been no additional attacks in Uganda or attacks in Burundi.

Kampala is not the only regional capital where militants associated with, or sympathetic to, al Shabaab have conducted attacks. On Oct. 24, 2011, a Kenyan who claimed to be affiliated with al Shabaab conducted two hand-grenade attacks in Nairobi, one at a bus stop and the second at a disco. The attacks killed one person and wounded 20 others. On March 10 of this year, several hand grenades were thrown at a busy bus stop in central Nairobi while a bus was loading passengers headed to Kampala. The March 10 attack killed six and wounded 63. Kenyan officials have called the March 10 attack the deadliest terrorist attack in Nairobi since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing.

To date, the attacks in Nairobi have involved only grenades and have all been directed against soft targets (as were the Kampala attacks). In Somalia, by contrast, al Shabaab has carried out devastating attacks against hardened targets. For example, on Feb. 22, 2009, the group launched a suicide VBIED attack against an AMISOM base in Mogadishu that killed 11 Burundian soldiers. On Sept. 17, 2009, a suicide VBIED attack against the AMISOM headquarters at the Mogadishu airport killed 21, including AMISOM's deputy commander, and wounded 40. And on Oct. 4, 2011, al Shabaab detonated a massive VBIED outside a compound that housed government offices in Mogadishu. The attack killed at least 65 people and wounded hundreds of others. Al Shabaab can also conduct standoff attacks with rocket-propelled grenades or mortars launched at hardened targets, as seen by the frequent targeting of the presidential compound in Mogadishu.

Al Shabaab has also shown the ability to attack hotels in Mogadishu. On Dec. 3, 2009, a suicide bomber dressed as a woman attacked a graduation ceremony in a hotel meeting room and killed some 20 people, including four government ministers. On Aug. 24, 2010, al Shabaab gunmen disguised as government security forces conducted an armed assault on a hotel near the presidential palace in Mogadishu that killed 30, including seven parliament members and two government officials. On Feb. 8, 2012, a suicide VBIED was rammed into a cafe outside the Muna Hotel, killing 11.

Capability and Intent

Whenever judging the threat posed by a group, one must examine its capabilities and its intent to conduct such an attack. In this case, we need to look at al Shabaab's capability and intent to attack prominent government buildings and hotels in Nairobi.

Al Shabaab has proved it can conduct attacks against soft targets in Nairobi. The group has also demonstrated the ability to strike soft targets in Kampala, though it has not shown the ability to follow up on its threats to conduct attacks in Burundi. Inside Somalia, the group is capable of conducting devastating attacks against hardened targets and against hotels in Mogadishu, as outlined above.

It is interesting to note that two days prior to the Oct. 24, 2011, Nairobi grenade attacks, the U.S. government posted a warning that the U.S. Embassy in Kenya had received "credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate such as malls and night clubs." In the wake of the warning, it appears the attackers shifted from high-profile malls and places where foreigners congregate toward softer targets in the form of a low-profile local bar and a bus stop. This is perhaps due to the increased security at high-profile venues because of the warning and Kenyan government initiatives to crack down on al Shabaab in Somali neighborhoods in Nairobi. Likewise, the March 10 attacks were against a soft target in the form of a bus stop. This suggests the attackers were either unable -- or unwilling -- to target a more heavily secured facility. Notably, none of the incidents in Kenya were suicide attacks.

The wording in the April 23 warning is similar to that of the October 2011 warning, and the October 2011 warning proved accurate. Therefore, the U.S. Embassy likely has received credible information that another plot is being planned. Unless the attackers change their mode of attack, they are highly unlikely to succeed in targeting a prominent government building or a hotel housing Westerners -- especially in the wake of the warning, which undoubtedly has resulted in increased security at such sites.

In order to change their mode of attack from those using merely grenades to an attack that could damage a government building or a well-secured hotel, such as an attack involving a VBIED, al Shabaab would have to devote significant resources. While al Qaeda was able to do this in Nairobi in 1998, the present security environment in Kenya is quite different. While ordnance is still available in the country, it is far more difficult to obtain a large quantity of explosives today than it was in 1998. Even smuggling them in from Somalia in small batches would be a difficult, though not impossible, task.

For al Shabaab to undertake such a process, it would need good operational security, something that would be difficult to achieve given the fractious nature of the jihadist movement in Somalia. As the warning prior to the October 2011 attack demonstrated, there was an intelligence leak somewhere.

Furthermore, al Shabaab would have to expect significant benefits from such an attack to warrant such a risky mission. And it is doubtful they would. At present, Kenyan troops with the help of local Ras Kamboni militants have occupied a buffer zone in southern Somalia, but they have not made much effort to approach al Shabaab bases in cities farther southwest than Afmadow, such as Kismayo. Kenyan public opinion has been quite outspoken about the price tag attached to the Somali Surge, known as Operation Linda Nchi. Many Kenyans consider it an expensive venture that adds to the country's mounting debt. A repeat of the August 1998 bombing, only this time directed against a Kenyan government ministry, could radically change public opinion, steeling it in favor of dramatic military action against al Shabaab. Even though the current Kenyan military offensive has been poorly supported and planned, an angry Kenyan public could see the military offensive become much more aggressive, directly targeting al Shabaab. The issue would also gain notable political traction in the unfolding 2013 Kenyan presidential election.

Because of this dynamic, it seems the group is more likely to take any explosives it could devote toward a VBIED attack in Kenya and use them to conduct attacks against Kenyan forces in Somalia to make their presence in Somalia as uncomfortable -- and bloody -- as possible. The goal would be to influence Kenyan morale enough to encourage them to withdraw. Kenya, and specifically Nairobi, is also an important financial and logistical hub for al Shabaab. If the group did something to rouse the anger of the Kenyan government and alienate the population, its ability to use Kenya as a logistical hub for its operations in Somalia could be severely hampered.

Due to the importance of al Shabaab's Islamic base in Nairobi, Kenya's backlash against that community has been a point of concern in intra-al Shabaab politics. Notably, al Shabaab has denied responsibility for the past attacks in Nairobi, blaming them instead on its supporters. A major attack in Nairobi demonstrating an advanced degree of terrorist capability would make it difficult for the group to deny responsibility.

Even if al Shabaab could somehow muster the capability to conduct a spectacular attack in Nairobi, it would seem unlikely it would want to conduct a spectacular attack inside Kenya. We therefore believe it will stick to low-level attacks in Kenya for the foreseeable future.
Security Weekly: Al Shabaab's Threat to Kenya COPYRIGHT: STRATFOR.COM

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Concealed Carry Fashion. I wonder if it will make the runway in Little Rock!?

I have to say I'm not much of a fashion hog. Blue jeans from Wal-Mart (Beth hates the mention of the place) and shorts from Sams do me fine. But I gotta say this clothing line is more my style.

Woolrich, a 182-year-old clothing company, describes its new chino pants as an elegant and sturdy fashion statement, with a clean profile and fabric that provides comfort and flexibility.

The company has added a second pocket behind the traditional front pocket for a weapon. Or, for those who prefer to pack their gun in a holster, it can be tucked inside the stretchable waistband. The back pockets are also designed to help hide accessories, like a knife and a flashlight.

The chinos, which cost $65, are not for commandos, but rather, the company says, for the fashion-aware gun owner. And Woolrich has competition. Several clothing companies are following suit, building businesses around the sharp rise in people with permits to carry concealed weapons.

Their ranks swelled to around seven million last year from five million in 2008, partly because of changes to state laws on concealed handguns.

Shawn Thompson, 35, who works at an auto dealership in eastern Kentucky, bought two shirts last month from the Woolrich Elite Concealed Carry line. Both, he wrote on his blog, are a step up from more rugged gear.

“Most of the clothes I used in the past to hide my sidearm looked pretty sloppy and had my girlfriend complaining about my looks,” he wrote, adding in an interview, “I’m not James Bond or nothing, but these look pretty nice.”

The shirt has a barely discernible side slit with Velcro through which, he said, he can yank his Colt 1911 from his waistband holster. Depending on circumstances and mood, he might also carry a folding knife and, at night, a flashlight in a pair of Woolrich chinos his girlfriend bought for him.

Carriers of concealed guns say the new options are a departure from the law enforcement and military look, known as “tactical,” long favored by gun owners.

The latest styles, by contrast, are called “concealed carry” or “covert fashion.

“What we’ve tried to do is create a collection of garments that allows the end user to have stylish lifestyle apparel but have features in the garment that enable them to carry a weapon and draw the weapon quickly,” said David Hagler, a vice president at 5.11 Tactical, who was lured from Nike to work at 5.11, one of the biggest makers of clothing for soldiers and police officers.

The company’s growing concealed-carry line includes a lightweight water-resistant vest coming this fall — the sort of vest that is standard and trendy at any mainstream outdoor shop but has strategic pockets for guns. It also includes a stealth compartment in front so the wearer can appear to be warming his hands while actually gripping a pistol in a waistband holster.

Other companies are rushing to meet the demand for concealed-carry clothing. Under Armour, best known for its sports and action gear, will be adding a jacket and a plaid shirt with Velcro pockets for easy gun access.

Kevin Eskridge, senior director for outdoor product and design at the company, said the company had seen demand double in the last year for such clothing from traditional outdoor and sporting goods stores, like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Cabela’s.

Mr. Eskridge said the Under Armour apparel was catching on because of fashion but also because of its features, including moisture-wicking fabric.

“Others are making shirts with gun access but using regular cotton,” he said. With his company’s fabrics, “there’s no stink factor,” he said. And if gun owners do not use fabrics that wick away moisture, “You’ll literally rust out,” he added...

...The clothing lines address a perceived need in the concealed-carry subculture. Gun owners say they want to practice “maximum uncertainty,” meaning that if a gun is sufficiently concealed, a potential criminal will be unsure whether to attack. Gun experts say the research is inconclusive about whether such tactics reduce crime. Regardless, the clothing makers are jumping on the line of thinking.

“When someone walks down the street in a button-down and khakis, the bad guy gets a glimmer of fear, wondering: are they packing or not?” said Allen Forkner, a spokesman for Woolrich, which started its concealed-carry line in 2010 with three shirts.

The company has since added new patterns for shirts, pants and the Elite Discreet Carry Twill jacket, in dark shale gray and dark wheat tan. In addition to its gun-friendly pockets, the jacket has a channel cut through the back that the company says can be used to store plastic handcuffs...
I gotta loose some weight first but I think I see some clothing purchases in the future!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I wonder if this will be classified as a hate crime.

A good posted was accidentally DXed...damned I hated this new blogger interface. Thank God I am able to go to the old one!

I wonder if they will met...

I got this from Hotair.com this am, the Internet now has a Hall of Fame. Had to happen. Now some are absolutely understandable, like Mr Vint Cerf.

Father of the internet, Vint Cerf, is taking one on the knuckles this week for the inevitable diminution of the world's IPv4 addresses. Last Friday, The Sydney Morning Herald ran a sensational story titled, "Internet Armageddon all my fault: Google chief," in which Cerf warned of an end to unique IP addresses "within weeks." The story was, of course, a bit tongue-in-cheek, considering the industry has long anticipated and prepared for said Armageddon. Back in 1977, Cerf led a team of DARPA researchers in creating IPv4, which limits IP addresses to four 8-bit numbers or 32-bits total, providing for 4.3 billion addresses: not nearly enough by today's standards. In the article, Cerf said he never expected his protocol to take off, adding, "Who the hell knew how much address space we needed?" The IPv4's successor, IPv6, which enlists four 32-bit numbers or 128 bits total, was developed soon after Cerf's protocol and is now getting attention from internet giants like Google and Facebook, who will launch World IPv6 Day this June. Considering IPv6 makes for 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 unique addresses, we probably won't be hearing of an IP apocalypse anytime soon.

Some make you wonder why he is anywhere near this but you know why. The people running this are leftists and they like him. ALGORE ladies and gentlemen.
Al Gore: ex-VP, environmentalist, gadget freak We all know former-VP Al Gore loves his Apple gear. Besides sitting on Cupertino's board of directors, he was happy to be shown toting his then-PowerBook around giving that wacky Academy Award-winning Keynote presentation of his. But today in Time's photo essay of his life, we got to see another side of Al Gore: gadget junkie. It's not too often you catch a glimpse of these high profile figures' inner info-sanctums, but we're not at all disappointed in how he holds court over the internet kingdom legend holds he created. From here it looks like the dude's all hooked up with a triple-head 30-inch Cinema Display rig (daaaamn!), what appears to be a Sharp HDTV on the wall (we're gonna guess that's a LC-32D7U), Humanscale Freedom ergo-chair, and an iPod (didn't the President, who owns one, help develop 'em?), whose box sits up in his shelf. Not to get all political and stuff, but surely this office, messy though it may be, is a step up from Bush's humbler means of input, no? P.S. -Yeah, fine, we're creepy gadget stalkers, what of it?
I like the reasons he's in. "ex-VP, environmentalist, gadget freak." As VP I'm still wondering what he did to spread the Internet. Just curious. The private sector did the overwhelming majority of it. Enviro Nut Job, well that don't mean much in this nomination. For an Academy Award or Peach Prize, yes, but not here. Gadget freak? Please! I know many a 10 year old who are more gadget freaks than him. Anyone going to nominate my nephew for the HOF? Well we know there are people who do and people who say they do. May I refresh your memory:
But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.
Again what did he do in the Congress or the VP to push the Internet, other than be shown on a computer and with a PDA?

Now conspicuous by their absence:

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates: Both expanded the use of computers to millions and Jobs jobs used the Internet to revolutionize music, books and the mobile phone.

Jeffrey Preston "Jeff" Bezos: The founder of Amazon.com may not have been the first but he is the greatest internet marketer of our time. Starting with books you can now get food and jewelry on his web site all around the world.

Pierre Omidyar:  Inventor of EBay.  Need I say more.

OK HOF. If you have your heads out of your collective asses you should be able to see these men belong here on first ballot. Why are they not?

Also can any of you think of anyone to add?

Geopolitical Weekly: Russia's Strategy, April 24, 2012

By George Friedman

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 reversed a process that had been under way since the Russian Empire's emergence in the 17th century. It was ultimately to incorporate four general elements: Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Siberia. The St. Petersburg-Moscow axis was its core, and Russia, Belorussia and Ukraine were its center of gravity. The borders were always dynamic, mostly expanding but periodically contracting as the international situation warranted. At its farthest extent, from 1945 to 1989, it reached central Germany, dominating the lands it seized in World War II. The Russian Empire was never at peace. As with many empires, there were always parts of it putting up (sometimes violent) resistance and parts that bordering powers coveted -- as well as parts of other nations that Russia coveted.

The Russian Empire subverted the assumption that political and military power requires a strong economy: It was never prosperous, but it was frequently powerful. The Russians defeated Napoleon and Hitler and confronted the far wealthier Americans for more than four decades in the Cold War, in spite of having a less developed or less advanced economy. Its economic weakness certainly did undermine its military power at times, but to understand Russia, it is important to begin by understanding that the relationship between military and economic power is not a simple one.

Economy and Security

There are many reasons for Russia's economic dysfunction, but the first explanation, if not the full explanation, is geography and transportation. The Russians and Ukrainians have some of the finest farmland in the world, comparable to that of the American Midwest. The difference is transportation, the ability to move the harvest to the rest of the empire and its far-away population centers. Where the United States has the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio river system that integrates the area between the Rockies and the Appalachians, Russia's rivers do not provide an integrated highway to Russia, and given distances and lack of alternative modes of transport, Russian railways were never able to sustain consistent, bulk agricultural transport.

This is not to say that there wasn't integration in the empire's economy and that this didn't serve as a factor binding it together. It is to say that the lack of economic integration, and weakness in agricultural transport in particular, dramatically limited prosperity in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. At the same time, the relative underdevelopment of the empire and union made it impossible for them to successfully compete with Western Europe. Therefore, there was an economic motivation within the constituent parts of the empire and the union to integrate with each other. There could be synergies on a lower level of development among these nations.

Economics was one factor that bound the Russian Empire and Soviet Union together. Another was the military and security apparatus. The Russian security apparatus in particular played a significant role in holding first the empire and then the union together; in many ways, it was the most modern and efficient institution they had. Whatever temptations the constituent republics might have had to leave the empire or union, these were systematically repressed by internal security forces detecting and destroying opposition to the center. It could be put this way: The army created the empire. Its alignment of economic interests was the weak force holding it together, and the security apparatus was the strong force. If the empire and union were to survive, they would need economic relations ordered in such a way that some regions were put at a disadvantage, others at an advantage. That could happen only if the state were powerful enough to impose this reality. Since the state itself was limited in most dimensions, the security apparatus substituted for it. When the security apparatus failed, as it did at the end of World War I or in 1989-1991, the regime could not survive. When it did succeed, it held it all together.

In the Russian Empire, the economic force and the security force were supplemented by an overarching ideology: that of the Russian Orthodox Church, which provided a rationale for the system. The state security apparatus worked with the church and against dissident elements in other religions in the empire. In the Soviet Union, the religious ideology was supplemented with the secular ideology of Marxism-Leninism. The Soviet Union used its security apparatus to attempt a transformation of the economy and to crush opposition to the high cost of this transformation. In some sense, Marxism-Leninism was a more efficient ideology, as Russian Orthodoxy created religious differentials, while Marxism-Leninism was hostile to all religions and at least theoretically indifferent to the many ethnicities and nations.

The fall of the Soviet Union really began with a crisis in the economy that created a crisis in the security force, the KGB. It was Yuri Andropov, the head of the KGB, who first began to understand the degree to which the Soviet Union's economy was failing under the growing corruption of the Brezhnev years and the cost of defense spending. The KGB understood two things. The first was that Russia had to restructure (Perestroika) or collapse. The second was that the traditional insularity of the Soviet Union had to be shifted and the Soviets had to open themselves to Western technology and methods (Glasnost). Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was a reformer, but he was a communist trying to reform the system to save the party. He was proceeding from the KGB model. His and Andropov's gamble was that the Soviet Union could survive and open to the West without collapsing and that it could trade geopolitical interests, such as domination of Eastern Europe, for economic relations without shattering the Soviet Union. They lost the bet.

The Soviet Collapse

The 1990s was a catastrophic period for the former Soviet Union. Except for a few regions, the collapse of the Soviet state and the security apparatus led to chaos, and privatization turned into theft. Not surprisingly, the most sophisticated and well-organized portion of the Soviet apparatus -- the KGB -- played a major role in the kleptocracy and retained, more than other institutions, its institutional identity. Over time, its control over the economy revived informally, until one of its representatives, Vladimir Putin, emerged as the leader of the state.

Putin developed three principles. The first was that the security system was the heart of the state. The second was that Moscow was the heart of Russia. The third was that Russia was the heart of the former Soviet Union. These principles were not suddenly imposed. The power of the KGB, renamed the FSB and SVR, slowly moved from a system of informal domination through kleptocracy to a more systematic domination of the state apparatus by the security services, reinstituting the old model. Putin took control of regional governments by appointing governors and controlling industry outside of Moscow. Most important, he cautiously moved Russia back to first among equals in the former Soviet Union.

Putin came to power on the heels of the Kosovo war. Russia had insisted that the West not go to war with Serbia, what was left of the former Yugoslavia. Russia was ignored, and its lack of influence left President Boris Yeltsin humiliated. But it was the Orange Revolution in Ukraine that convinced Putin that the United States intended to break Russia if someone like Yeltsin led it. Ukraine is economically and geographically essential to Russian national security, and Putin saw the attempt to create a pro-Western government that wanted to join NATO as Washington, using CIA-funded nongovernmental organizations pushing for regime change, attempted to permanently weaken Russia. Once the Orange Revolution succeeded, Putin moved to rectify the situation.

The first step was to make it clear that Russia had regained a substantial part of its power and was willing to use it. The second step was to demonstrate that American guarantees were worthless. The Russo-Georgian War of 2008 achieved both ends. The Russians had carried out an offensive operation and the Americans, bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, could not respond. The lesson was not only for Georgia (which, similar to Ukraine, had also sought NATO membership). It was for also Ukraine and all other countries in the former Soviet Union, demonstrating that Russia was again going to be the heart of Eurasia. Indeed, one of Putin's latest projects is the Eurasian Union, tying together Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, a large economic and military part of the former Soviet Union. Add to this Ukraine and the former Soviet Union emerges even more.

Remaking the Union

For Russia, the recreation of a union is a strategic necessity. As Putin put it, the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical catastrophe. Russia needs the economic integration, particularly given the new economic strategy of post-Soviet Russia, which is the export of raw materials, particularly energy. Aligning with states such as Kazakhstan in energy and Ukraine in grain provides Moscow with leverage in the rest of the world, particularly in Europe. As important, it provides strategic depth. The rest of the world knows that an invasion of Russia is inconceivable. The Russians can conceive of it. They remember that Germany in 1932 was crippled. By 1938 it was overwhelmingly powerful. Six years is not very long, and while such an evolution is unlikely now, from the Russian point of view, it must be taken seriously in the long run -- planning for the worst and hoping for the best.

Therefore, the heart of Russian strategy, after resurrecting state power in Russia, is to create a system of relationships within the former Soviet Union that will provide economic alignment and strategic depth but not give Russia an unsustainable obligation to underwrite the other nations' domestic policies. Unlike the Russian Empire or Soviet Union, Putin's strategy is to take advantage of relationships on a roughly mutual basis without undertaking responsibility for the other nations.

In achieving this goal, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were a godsend. Until 9/11, the United States had been deeply involved in peeling off parts of the former Soviet Union such as the Baltics and integrating them into Western systems. With 9/11, the United States became obsessed with the jihadist wars, giving Russia a window of opportunity to stabilize itself and to increase its regional power.

As the United States extracts itself from Afghanistan, Russia has to be concerned that Washington will supplement its focus on China with a renewed focus on Russia. The possible end of these conflicts is not in Russia's interest. Therefore, one piece of Russian external strategy is to increase the likelihood of prolonged U.S. obsession with Iran. Currently, for example, Russia and Iran are the only major countries supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Russia wants to see a pro-Iranian Syria -- not because it is in Moscow's long-term interests but because, in the short run, anything that absorbs the United States will relieve possible pressure on Russia and give more time for reordering the former Soviet Union.

The crisis in Europe is similarly beneficial to Russia. The unease that Germany has with the European Union has not yet matured into a break, and it may never. However, Germany's unease means that it is looking for other partners, in part to ease the strain on Germany and in part to create options. Germany depends on Russian energy exports, and while that might decrease in coming years, Russia is dealing with the immediate future. Germany is looking for other potential economic partners and, most important at a time when Europe is undergoing extreme strain, Germany does not want to get caught in an American attempt to redraw Russian borders. The ballistic missile defense system is not significant, in the sense that it does not threaten Russia, but the U.S. presence in the region is worrisome to Moscow. For Russia, recruiting Germany to the view that the United States is a destabilizing force would be a tremendous achievement.

Other issues are side issues. China and Russia have issues, but China cannot pose a significant threat to core Russian interests unless it chooses to invade maritime Russia, which it won't. There are economic and political issues, of course, but China is not at the heart of Russia's strategic concerns.

For Russia, the overwhelming strategic concern is dominating the former Soviet Union without becoming its patron. Ukraine is the key missing element, and a long, complex political and economic game is under way. The second game is in Central Asia, where Russia is systematically asserting its strength. The third is in the Baltics, where it has not yet made a move. And there is the endless conflict in the northern Caucasus that always opens the door for reasserting Russian power in the south. Russia's foreign policy is built around the need to buy time for it to complete its evolution.

To do this, the Russians must keep the United States distracted, and the Russian strategy in the Middle East serves that purpose. The second part is to secure the West by drawing Germany into a mutually beneficial economic relationship while not generating major resistance in Poland or an American presence there. Whether this can be achieved depends as much on Iran as it does on Russia.

Russia has come far from where Yeltsin took it. The security forces are again the heart of the state. Moscow dominates Russia. Russia is moving to dominate the former Soviet Union. Its main adversary, the United States, is distracted, and Europe is weak and divided. Of course, Russia is economically dysfunctional, but that has been the case for centuries and does not mean it will always be weak. For the moment, Russia is content to be strong in what it calls the near abroad, or the former Soviet Union. Having come this far, it is not trying to solve insoluble problems.