White House Blames GOP For $500 million Syrian Rebel Training Fiasco

September 29, 2015

But of course. Having craftily plotted to destroy Obama’s genius-level Syria strategy, Speaker John Boehner could retire a happy man.

Nice Deb

We’ve had seven years now of Obama screwing things up and not taking responsibility for it, so it should come as no surprise that he is blaming the GOP for his latest fiasco.

Obama’s $500 million program to train and arm the Syrian rebels has flopped in spectacular fashion,so naturally the craven Obama regime is pretending they had nothing to do with it – it was all the Republicans’ fault.  Obama never thought it would work. He just went along because John McCain and Lindsey Graham were just so goshdarn insistent he couldn’t say no. He didn’t want to hurt John McCain’s feelings, so he magnanimously let him try something big.

It’s offensive frankly, that anyone would point fingers at this president, when the fault so clearly lies with the Republicans in Congress. Obama’s fighting to make the world a better place for you and me, and other people…

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Obama’s “war” against Isis falls apart

September 23, 2015

These guys would be an improvement.

Writing in the liberal New York Observer, national security analyst John Schindler paints a bleak picture of the Obama administration’s efforts against the Islamic State, which all but concede Syria to Russia:

For the Obama administration, the news from the Middle East keeps going from bad to worse. Vladimir Putin’s power play, moving significant military forces into Syria to support his ailing client, Bashar al-Assad, caught the White House flat footed and unsure how to respond.

Although the administration gave the Kremlin de facto control over American policy in Syria some two years ago when it walked away from its own “red line,” granting Russia a veto on Western action there, President Obama and his national security staff nevertheless seem befuddled by this latest Russian move.

The forces Mr. Putin has just deployed to Syria are impressive, veteran special operators backed by a wing of fighters and ground attack jets that are expected to commence air strikes on Assad’s foes soon. They are backed by air defense units, which is puzzling since the Islamic State has no air force, indicating that the Kremlin’s true intent in Syria has little to do with the stated aim of fighting terrorism and is really about propping up Russia’s longtime client in Damascus.

The White House is left planning “deconfliction” with Moscow—which is diplomatic language for entreating Russians, who now dominate Syrian airspace, not to shoot down American drones, which provide the lion’s share of our intelligence on the Islamic State. The recent meeting on Syrian developments between Mr. Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who clearly finds dealing with the Russian strongman preferable to parleying with President Obama, indicates where power is flowing in today’s Middle East.

Did you catch that last part? After seven years of being pimp-slapped by an at-best indifferent (1) American administration, our strongest enemy in the Middle East feels a need to protect its own interests by “reaching out” to the new power in the area, since we can no longer be counted on.

Team Obama’s foreign policy (and that includes former Secretary of State Clinton) has been an accelerating avalanche since the day it took office and, in the last couple of years, we’ve started seeing the bitter fruit of “smart power.” From the Russian reset and the backstabbing of Poland and the Czech Republic on missile defense, to the withdrawal from Iraq and the total misreading of the Arab Spring and the monumentally bad deal with Iran, I don’t believe our foreign policy has ever been lead by such a toxic mixture of leftist dogmatism and sheer incompetence. What we’re witnessing in the Middle East is the utter –and perhaps deliberate— destruction of an American position built up over 40 years by administrations of both parties.

Go ahead and read the whole thing. And have a stiff drink handy.

Footnote:
(1) And, arguably, anti-Israel or even antisemitic.


I was wrong: the #ChinaHack is indeed an espionage “Pearl Harbor”

June 17, 2015

Blown covers?

The other day I mildly disputed Jim Geraghty’s description of the break-in by the Chinese of the OPM’s database as a “cyber-Pearl Harbor.” After all, I offered, bad as the hack was (and it was bad), there was no destruction of an important national security asset, unlike the sinking of much of the Pacific Fleet by the Japanese back then. But I was wrong. I missed the smoking wreckage made of our espionage capabilities:

But there’s an even more serious aspect of this compromise: the threat it poses to American intelligence operations abroad, particularly to officers serving under various false identities, or “covers,” overseas. The Intelligence Community employs myriad cover mechanisms to protect the true identity of its spies posted outside the United States. Cover protects our officers and allows them to conduct their secret work without drawing as much attention to themselves. While many intelligence officers pose as diplomats, that is only one option, and some covers are deeper than others. Regardless, all espionage covers are based upon credible narratives that rely on plausible details. Through a process the Intelligence Community calls back-stopping, any officer’s cover needs to look real and check out if tested. Thus, an American spy who is posing as an oil executive, for instance, has to have a “legend” in that industry that bears that out. Think business cards, company websites, or a team of ersatz oil industry colleagues. Just as another intelligence officer who poses as a diplomat better have his or records in State Department systems, to look plausible.

And now the Chinese have their hands on a database (which may be for sale) that could allow them to sniff out whose bio is real and whose is a cover. To continue:

For American spies abroad, this can be a matter of life or death, and any personnel sent into countries where they could be targeted for kill or capture—which in the age of the Islamic State is a depressingly long list—need to be deeply concerned about how much the OPM breach has complicated, and perhaps threatened, their lives. How bad this is was explained by Joel Brenner, who from 2006 to 2009 served as the Intelligence Community’s top counterintelligence official. Describing the hack as “crown jewels material, a goldmine” for China, who Washington insiders believe is behind the theft, Brenner added: “This is not the end of American human intelligence, but it’s a significant blow.” The only good news in all this is that several of our big spy services like CIA and NSA don’t rely on outside agencies for security clearances. They do their own background investigations, while ninety percent of the Federal government relies on OPM. But that’s cold comfort since the CIA uses other federal agencies as cover so often. Besides, given the enormous extent of this compromise, which gets worse with each new revelation, many are wondering how much information the Chinese don’t have at this point.

Indeed. Remember all the security problems, potential and proven, pointed out regarding Obamacare? Anyone care to bet that those problems have been fixed and that someone hasn’t already riffled though the records of millions of applicants, or used Obamacare’s myriad connections network connections to other agencies to break in elsewhere? Add to that the Snowden operation, Bradley Manning’s data theft, the likely Russian hack of the White House (via the State Department), and you’re left wondering if anyone in the federal government has any real concern or even competence with data security.

More immediately, the Obama administration came into office proclaiming itself the most tech-savvy administration, ever. One would think they would be enraged, not just by these acts of war by China, but the gross, utter, bumbling incompetence displayed by their department heads. And yet, in spite of having been warned for years that the OPM servers were insecure, all they can do is offer free credit monitoring. No resignations. No firings. No consequences.

Except for our clandestine agents in the field.


(Video) Obama’s clown-car diplomacy

April 10, 2015

You know, this really does explain things:

Hey, it’s Friday. We could all use a laugh. smiley rofl

Lest we cry, instead. smiley crying


We’ve known for a while , but it bears repeating: Obama is monumentally incompetent

May 22, 2014
Liar.

A winning smile isn’t enough.

Writing at Commentary after Obama’s pathetic press appearance yesterday on the VA scandal, Peter Wehner wrote on the administration’s overarching theme, what future generations may most remember it for: epic incompetence. Looking first at his domestic and then his foreign failures, Wehner sums up with the Veteran’s Administration scandal:

More and more Mr. Obama speaks as if he’s a passive actor, a bystander in his own administration, an MSNBC commentator speaking about events he has no real control over. We saw that earlier today, when the president, in trying to address the public’s growing outrage at what’s happening at the VA, insisted he “will not stand for it” and “will not tolerate” what he has stood for and tolerated for almost six years. His anger at what’s happening to our veterans seems to have coincided with the political damage it is now causing him.

We’ve learned the hard way that Mr. Obama’s skill sets are far more oriented toward community organizing than they are to governing. On every front, he is overmatched by events. It’s painful to watch a man who is so obviously in over his head. And more and more Americans are suffering because of it.

In fact, Obama’s responses to the various crises and challenges of his time in office have been right in line with the modern progressive vision for the nation: we are all victims, even the President:

In his speech on the VA, the president said that he would not stand for things that he clearly and undeniably has stood for some years now, and swore that he would not tolerate that which has has been tolerating since 2009.

He’s been described as acting like a bystander to his own presidency, but it’s more like he’s a victim of it, as though the presidency were this terrible thing that just happened to him one day that he’s now courageously dealing with.

(…)

It’s a remarkable talent he has. When he was getting beat up politically for his association with that goofy racist clergyman, he lectured us on the evils of racism, as though we’d been the ones sitting in on those hateful sermons. Every time he has some spectacular screw-up, which seems to be about once a quarter, he pronounces himself outraged, as though he had not failed us but had been failed himself.

“It’s not me. It’s you.”

In his Morning Jolt newsletter, Jim Geraghty (sorry, no link available) wishes Wehner had expanded on his essay in more depth and himself offers many more examples of Obama’s failings in office, but one in particular strikes me as the reason for all the rest:

A Focus on What Matters Most:  His own staffers have described him as “impatient and disengaged” in key meetings, and the intelligence community has wondered how closely he reads his briefings. With increasing frequency, he says he learns about problems within his own administration from media reports. (See the NRCC’s new “Obama Excuses” page.) He really enjoys the good life of the presidency and doesn’t see any reason why he should limit public expenditures on himself and his family during hard economic times. He recently laughed, “That’s the good thing about being president, I can do whatever I want.

Translation: Color me shocked that a narcissist can’t see beyond himself.

Moments like these make me ask a question I never thought I’d ask: “Would Joe Biden really be all that bad?”

Of course, like I said in the subject line, we’ve known since about 2007 that Obama was unqualified to be president, though I think many of us were surprised by the depth and breadth of his incompetence. And he has more than two years left to impress us even more!

Yay?

It took a perfect storm of circumstances, including, but not limited to, an economic crisis, the desire of many to “make history” by electing the first Black president, and an MSM that was almost wholly the media arm of the Democratic Party, in order to put this bumbler in office. I’d like to think that won’t happen again anytime soon, and there’s some evidence that some folks are learning from the recent past, but one never knows until the day after election day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


DOJ: First “Fast and Furious,” then bribery, and now kiddie porn?

February 2, 2012

Oh, for Pete’s sake! (1)

Looking at child porn online is a sure-fire way to get yourself into serious legal trouble — even if you were only looking at it for the sake of academic research. Internet law guru Eric Goldman calls child porn “toxic;” any brush with it results in potential criminal charges as well as civil liability if the victim decides to seek damages. The war on child porn is the justification given for many a government initiative to curb Internet freedoms and reduce Internet users’ ability to stay anonymous on the Web.

So, it was with a great deal of surprise that Senator Chuck Grassley learned that an Assistant U.S. Attorney had child porn on his computer (for his pleasure, not as part of an investigation) — but faced no legal consequences.

This is from 2011, and guess who was the Attorney General?

Worst. Attorney. General. In. History.

Via Christian Adams, whose post gives further examples of corruption at the Obama-Holder Department of Justice.

Footnote:
(1) Hey, ST! Remember when I mentioned on Twitter what happens to my language when I get really mad? Yeah, I had to edit this post.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Lying or incompetent? The Janet Napolitano edition

October 28, 2011

So, which is it, Madame Secretary? Or is it both?

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet “The System Worked” Napolitano testified before the House Judiciary Committee and did her best Sergeant Schultz impression, claiming she knew nothing about Operation Fast and Furious (aka Gunwalker) until Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed late last year:

House Republicans on Wednesday turned their sharp questioning over “Operation Fast and Furious” toward Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who acknowledged her agents were twice told to “stand down” in deference to what she called a “very troublesome” operation.

Napolitano, at one point likening the questioning to a cross-examination, said repeatedly she only learned of “Fast and Furious” after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December. She emphasized the operation, conceived and run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “was an ATF operation,” under the auspices of the Justice Department, not her department.

Well played, Janet! Denying knowledge of Gunwalker while pointing a big finger at Justice! Guess your boss isn’t the only one who can throw people under the bus.

Call me “cynical,” but Secretary Napolitano’s testimony lacks a certain something… Let’s call it “credibility.”

Look at the facts: Janet Napolitano was Governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009, when Barack Obama appointed her DHS Secretary. Arizona has a huge problem with cartel-related smuggling and violence. She would have been intimately familiar with the problems on her southern border. It is inconceivable that, both as the immediate past governor of a key state, a cabinet official,  and head of the agency charged with security of the US border, she would not have been briefed on a major cross-border gun-smuggling operation, particularly when we were running it.

Consider also that Dennis Burke, her former chief of staff when she was Arizona’s governor and a senior adviser to her at DHS, was the US Attorney for Arizona during Operation Fast and Furious and participated in the inter-agency task force overseeing the operation fiasco.

This is Napolitano’s former chief of staff, someone she worked closely with for years, whom she probably helped get the US Attorney’s job, and who was her protege in Arizona politics. Does she seriously expect us to believe he never briefed her, never even mentioned it to his friend and mentor? Remember, Gunwalker started in mid-2009; Agent Terry was killed in November, 2010.  For over a year, Burke told his friend the Director of Homeland Security nothing? Nor was she briefed by anyone at the DoJ?

Seriously, Janet?

Lying, incompetent, or both, folks. You make the call.

RELATED: Earlier posts about Gunwalker.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


A Mideast crisis by September?

May 24, 2011

And it’s not the one you’re probably thinking of, a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Fatah-Hamas Palestinian administration. Rather, analyst Barry Rubin has in mind the Egyptian elections scheduled for that month, elections that will very likely bring to power an anti-American, anti-Israeli, Islamist government — a situation made much worse thanks to Obama administration ineptitude and a failure to recognize even now what the dangers are.

Rubin’s articles are worth reading “cover to cover,” but let me cite a portion in which he asks what our “leaders” will say when the near-inevitable happens and Obama’s Mideast policy collapses:

Imagine the day after that election. What will the mass media say? What will the American politicians say?

–That they were wrong about the Egyptian revolution and the Muslim Brotherhood?

–That by helping to bring down the old regime, U.S. policy foisted a disaster on the region and on its own interests?

–That by celebrating how great the “Arab Spring” is and refusing to acknowledge the real threats and problems, Obama made catastrophic errors.

–That his policy has led to many advances for America’s enemies?

–That Israel is in a far worse strategic situation and certainly can’t and shouldn’t make any more concessions?

–That the Islamists are emboldened and thus both Hamas and the radicals who run Fatah are taking an even harder line?

–That the loss of faith in America by its Arab allies is now undeniably clear and they are scrambling to make their own deals with Iran and other extremists?

–That there is a real possibility of a war in which Egypt either joins directly or backs Hamas? Imagine, Egypt stays “neutral” but nobody stops thousands of Egyptian volunteers from crossing into Gaza to fight or even across the Egypt-Israel border to launch terror attacks?

–What will the Obama Administration do if in practice Egypt tears up the Israel-Egypt peace treaty even if it pretends that it isn’t doing so?

–People are insisting that if Hamas in practice becomes part of the Palestinian Authority that the United States, and certainly Congress, will cut off aid. But what will happen when the Obama Administration does everything possible to prevent an aid cut-off and nothing possible to pressure the PA into changing its policy or behavior?

These are not speculations. These things WILL happen. Nobody in the United States or Europe is seriously discussing these scenarios and what should be done about them.

As I said, that’s not the half of it; Lebanon is increasingly under Hizbullah’s dominance (and thus becoming a satrapy of Syria and Iran), Assad is showing he will kill however many it takes to stay in power in Syria, and Iran marches on to nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. And all of this has been made worse by bumbling US policies since Obama took over.

Yet he and his administration (and his defenders in the media) show no sign that they understand what is happening, continuing instead to pretend that territorial concessions will solve anything.

The Hippocratic Oath is often paraphrased by “First do no harm.” Someone should whisper those words to President Obama before it’s too late.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama on Libya: pathetic and dangerously incompetent

February 26, 2011

When I vented my disgust at the administration renting a ferry to get Americans out of Libya, instead of sending in the Marines, I had missed part of the story, the instructions given to Americans desperate to get out:

In a notice sent to U.S. citizens in Libya, the department said Americans wishing to leave Libya should report to the As-shahab port in the capital of Tripoli with their passports starting at 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday. The ferry will depart for the Mediterranean island of Malta no later than 3 p.m. local time.

It said boarding the vessel would be on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to those with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions. Travelers will be allowed one suitcase and one small carry-on item, the notice said, adding that pets would be allowed on the ferry but that they must meet European Union requirements.

Those who want be evacuated should be prepared to wait several hours and bring food, water and other necessities to the pier, which is on the sea road across from the Radisson Blu Mahari Hotel in Tripoli.

Those who take the ferry will be expected to reimburse the government for the cost, estimated to be equivalent to the one-way commercial ferry crossing of the distance from Tripoli to the Maltese capital of Valletta, it said. Any onward travel from Malta must be paid for by the passengers, the notice said.

Immediate family members of U.S. citizens who are not themselves citizens will be able to board provided they have travel documents valid for their final destination.

So, American citizens would have to pay to get out of country torn by civil war, and the non-American wife and in-laws would be extra? Gee, why not make them sign over their life savings, too?

Oh, but the best part of this extravaganza of incompetence is highlighted above: evacuees were told to wait on a pier, in the open, water on three sides, like sitting ducks with no protection in case Qaddafi’s goons showed up for a bit of hostage-taking… or other revenge. My God, we are lucky there wasn’t a massacre.

But the British could send in the SAS to get their people out.

Pardon me, I need to go find a wall to beat my head against.

h/t Pundit and Pundette via Truth and Commonsense

UPDATE: Welcome Hot Air readers, and thanks, Ed!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Libya: Just how pathetic is Barack Obama?

February 24, 2011

The British have dispatched the Royal Navy and their SAS –their elite Special Air Service— to evacuate their citizens from Libya:

The SAS was ordered into Libya on Thursday to oversee the evacuation of hundreds of British nationals after the Government’s response to the crisis came in for widespread criticism.

Nearly 500 Britons were successfully repatriated throughout the day after three RAF Hercules transport aircraft and a Royal Navy frigate were pressed into action.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that special forces were on the ground in Tripoli to ensure the evacuation of all British nationals went smoothly.

SAS officers offered support and advice to private security firms drafted in to rescue more than 170 oil workers stranded in remote desert compounds.

Last night the frigate HMS Cumberland set sail from Benghazi with 200 passengers on board, many of them British.

Rescue efforts were still under way last night but the Government insisted that it was close to getting everybody out.

That is how the government of a world power is supposed to take care of its people!

So, what did President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama, Commander in Chief of the mightiest military the world has ever seen, do? Dispatch a carrier battle group with Marines to rescue our people? Drop in Special Forces to secure an evacuation zone? Declare a no-fly zone and crack a few sonic booms over Tripoli as a warning to Qaddafi?

Nope. The 45th President of the United States, successor in office to Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, TR, FDR, Reagan, and all the rest… rented a ferry:

Right now, in Libya, there are hundreds of Americans waiting for evacuation … by ferry.

Seriously.  The State Department has chartered a ferry to take the hundreds of waiting Americans to Malta.  But rough seas have delayed the ferry’s departure until Friday.

A ferry. We have the biggest navy in the world and all that wimp can do is rent a ferry, as if this were some excursion in the bay instead of an evacuation in the middle of a civil war.

Others offered earlier the reasonable argument that Obama wasn’t doing more because he didn’t want to do something that might set Qaddafi off to take revenge on Americans. But that obviously isn’t a concern if the Brits feel they can send in the SAS…

Yet we rent a ferry.

Unbelievable.

Mr. President… Barry… Stop it. Just stop. You’re embarrassing us.

UPDATE: After three days, the ferry has finally left the dock in Tripoli and the Americans are out. Maybe next time we should ask London to do it for us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Wisconsin: one out of three eighth graders can read! Yay, teachers!

February 22, 2011

Well, isn’t this special? With teachers union members demanding the right to keep better medical and pension plans better than almost anyone else has in Wisconsin, and with Democratic state senators Fleebaggers showing their support by running away from their jobs in order to block representative democracy, it’s nice to know that these teachers truly earn their money and benefits.

I mean, what’s wrong with a 66% illiteracy rate among Wisconsin 8th-graders?

Jeez, what do you people expect — that our children should actually know how to read and write?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bill Whittle: “Obama’s friends and enemies”

February 20, 2011

I’ve said many times over the past couple of years that the guiding principle of the Obama administration’s foreign policy can be summed up by “Hug your enemies, pimp-slap your allies.” The studied insults toward and downright betrayals of allies such as Poland, Israel, and Great Britain, and the almost fawning treatment given toward those who despise us speaks to the truth of that.

Bill Whittle has noticed the same pattern and, in this latest video looks at events both great and minor over Obama’s term so far and concludes that this is not incompetence, but deliberate, ideologically-driven policy.

Fair warning, the video contains some horrific images in one segment:

I’ll disagree with Bill on one point: while I’m certain Obama’s foreign policy is driven by the same Socialist ideology that informs his domestic policies, it is also incompetent. Just look at its execution. The latest example in Egypt is a case study in blundering. “Ideology” and “incompetence” are not mutually exclusive, and in Barack Obama they’ve come together in a particularly dangerous mix.

Dangerous for us, that is.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


So, how soon will they call Professor Ferguson a racist?

February 15, 2011

Yesterday I quoted Niall Ferguson’s article in which he ripped the Obama administration’s foreign policy from stem to stern for the incompetence it revealed in the Egyptian crisis. That same day he appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show and proceeded to demolish the feeble attempts of the hosts, particularly the clueless Mika Brzezinski, to defend and praise the administration’s handling of Egypt. Click the image to watch at Hot Air; you won’t regret it.

For shame, Dr. Ferguson. You denied the genius of The One, He Who Is The Smartest President Ever. Obviously, you are a racist who wants to lose the future and see Obama fail*.

*Dear DNC, did I get the talking points right?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Our CIA Chief is a clown, too

February 11, 2011

I wonder if he and Clapper bring rubber chickens and squirting flowers to meetings? After seeing this reassuring bit of news last night, I wouldn’t be surprised:

CIA Director Leon Panetta caused confusion when he suggested Egypt’s president was poised to step down, reinforcing questions about the spy agency’s ability to track unrest in the region.

Amid furious speculation that Hosni Mubarak was preparing to announce his exit in the face of mass protests — which later proved to be wrong — Panetta appeared to endorse the media reports before a congressional committee.

Asked about news accounts that Mubarak about to relinquish power, Panetta said: “I got the same information you did, that there’s a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening.”

But a US official later had to explain that Panetta was merely referring to media reports and not privileged information from inside the Central Intelligence Agency.

Emphasis added, after I was done banging my head on the desk.

So, let me get this straight: the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the guy in charge of the main electronic and human intelligence apparatus of the world’s mightiest power, one that costs us billions per year, in the midst of a crisis says he has no better source of information than CNN? Really, Leon??

Hey, can I have his job? I can turn on a TV, too, and I bet my analysis will be more accurate.

And think about this: We’ve been Egypt and Mubarak’s patron for 30 years. They returned the promise ring to the Soviets so they could go out with us. They’ve worked with us against Iran, Iraq under Hussein, and al Qaeda. Our military and theirs has a close patron-client relationship.

So what must’ve Mubarak and the government there thought when their patron’s top spy publicly kicks the legs out from under the Egyptian by saying he has information that Hosni will be out by that evening? “News to me?? Is this an order from Washington?” And then to find out that Panetta’s source is nothing more than TV talking heads… Well, I imagine he said something like that famous Strother Martin line from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid:

“Morons! I’ve got morons on my team!”

Morons. Clowns. Obama administration. There’s a difference?

PS: Just as I’m writing this, word comes that Mubarak is out in what looks like a military coup. As to what comes next… Maybe we should do like Panetta and just turn on the TV.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the day: Sarah Palin on the Wikileaks fiasco

November 30, 2010

Palin. Nightstick. Boom:

The White House has now issued orders to federal departments and agencies asking them to take immediate steps to ensure that no more leaks like this happen again. It’s of course important that we do all we can to prevent similar massive document leaks in the future. But why did the White House not publish these orders after the first leak back in July? What explains this strange lack of urgency on their part?

We are at war. American soldiers are in Afghanistan fighting to protect our freedoms. They are serious about keeping America safe. It would be great if they could count on their government being equally serious about that vital task.

Think that has some heads exploding in the White House?

You betcha.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Impeach Eric Holder

November 18, 2010

I warned last month that Eric Holder’s decision to try al Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Ghailani in a civilian federal court was a mistake and that the government’s case was in deep jeopardy. Well, those chickens have come home to roost:

A New York City jury acquitted alleged Al Qaeda accomplice Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani of all major terrorism charges in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in the first trial of a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner in civilian court.

The Tanzanian was convicted on just one count of conspiracy to damage or destroy U.S. property and cleared of 276 counts of murder and attempted murder in the bombings that took 224 lives, including 12 Americans.

This is an incredible screw up that denies justice to the victims of those killed in the embassy bombings, and it was easily avoidable by using the military commission system set up by Congress for this very purpose. But Holder and Obama, with their hard-Left ideological axes to grind, had to “make a point” and show how they were different from that evil Bush adminstration.

I could go into a long rant here about the lousy situation the Holder and the administration have left us in through their incompetence, but Ed Morrissey beat me to the punch:

The administration is left with three choices in regards to Ghailani: announce that they will release him at the appointed date whenever his sentence ends, announce that they will hold him indefinitely without regard to the court’s ruling on the matter while referring the case back to a military commission despite his acquittals, or refuse to state which they will do and hope the issue falls to the next administration.  The first will mean that the US will knowingly release a master al-Qaeda terrorist with more than two hundred murders under his belt; the second will mean that the trial they staged was nothing but a sham.  And the third will be a cowardly dodge.

Such is the state in which Holder as Attorney General has left the US.  Either the US is so inept that it will eventually release a man who attacked two of its embassies abroad (which was an act of war by al-Qaeda) or that the DoJ may commit an impeachable act by knowingly submitting a defendant to double jeopardy, whether in this administration or a future administration.  By committing to the civilian criminal system and assigning judicial jurisdiction where it never belonged, those are the only options left.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

I’m already on record with my contempt for Attorney General Holder. If he had any sense of honor or even decency, he would resign immediately. If his boss had any sense of responsibility at all toward the duties of his office, he would fire Holder. Neither, I fear, is the case, for both are committed ideologues.

It falls, therefore, to the incoming Congress, to investigate the full range of AG Holder’s actions: not just the Ghailani trial, which is bad enough, but the department’s racially biased enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, its attempts to politically smear a sitting governor, the witch-hunt against CIA interrogators – all of it.

And, when the facts are laid bare, the House must bring articles of impeachment against Eric Holder and place him on trial before the Senate. Yes, I know a Democratic-controlled Senate would almost never convict him, but the exposure of his incompetence and misdeeds would almost certainly force him from office, regardless of a trial.

That would be a good thing for the Department of Justice and the nation as a whole.

LINKS: More from my blog-buddy, Sister Toldjah. Power Line discusses the failure option. Fausta is outraged.

UPDATE: From Big Peace, “They came within a hair’s breadth of losing the case entirely.” Jennifer Rubin calls it a debacle.


Come on, Congresswoman, read the bill!

October 12, 2010

Oh, for Pete’s sake! It’s bad enough when “representatives” and senators can’t be bothered to read proposed laws because they’re too long and complicated (cue sounds of a toddler whining), but “Representative” Jan Schakowski (D-IL) couldn’t even be bothered to read a bill on an important matter that was one page long. In fact, she hadn’t even heard of it:

There’s really no excuse!

H.R. 3808 would make states recognize documents notarized in other states. It has drawn wide criticism, since many banks have recently admitted that they have been using people called “robo-signers” to sign hundreds of documents without reading them. That is partly why Bank of America and other banks have halted foreclosures in the past few days.

H.R. 3808 could theoretically allow abuses of the foreclosure process to happen more easily. Yet it passed unanimously and without debate in both the House and the Senate, because nobody bothered to read it or object to it.

Unlike the ObamaCare legislation, H.R. 3808 is not thousands of pages long. In fact, it is less than one page long.

Yet almost nobody, Republican or Democrat, bothered to examine it or to think about its possible effects.

Okay, I’m picking on “Red” Jan here, and she definitely deserves it, but all these schmucks who casually voted “aye” need a good whack on the head with a rubber chicken. The banking system has been in a mess for around two years now, largely due to toxic mortgages issued to people who weren’t creditworthy. The restoration of health to the system requires a properly functioning foreclosure process, so the lenders have a chance to recover some of their money. So you would think that a short bill dealing with foreclosures would maybe, perhaps –if you don’t mind, sir or ma’am– garner a bit of attention from the people we hired to pay attention to these things.

Good grief.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Adventures in government incompetence, L.A. County edition

August 24, 2010

It takes a special kind of genius to burn $50,000,000 in a failed effort to save $13,000,000:

After spending more than $154 million for a system of locking turnstiles and electronic payment cards for the county transit system, officials are discovering that at least a third of the money may have been wasted because they can’t use the new devices as planned.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority placed the locking turnstiles at subway and light-rail stations to stop fare scofflaws and end what had previously been an honor-based system.

Installed under a $46 million contract, the turnstiles were predicted to save $13 a million a year in lost revenue and reduced fare inspector costs.

But the turnstiles can’t be configured to lock until Metro fully converts to a new electronic Transit Access Pass system – and that is proving nearly impossible.

The stalled effort has raised questions from critics about whether the turnstile contract has turned into a costly boondoggle.

“Raised questions?” I should think pitchforks and torches are in order. The subway itself was a grandiose and monstrous waste of money, do we have to keep throwing ever more into its tunnels?

(via Mayor Sam’s Sister City)


Is incompetence an impeachable offense?

June 29, 2010

I ask that only half-tongue in cheek, because right now I am ready to put the whole Executive Branch on trial, from Obama down to the night janitor. Time and again in the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster, we’ve been treated to one mind-boggling example of hitherto unimaginable ineptitude after another. First there was the overall lackadaisical response. Then we learned of miles of containment boom sitting in Maine, unused and unwanted, even though the scale of the disaster called for every square foot of it and more.

Now comes the capper. Word has been going around for weeks that foreign governments had offered their expertise and equipment to help deal with the crisis. As I said at the time:

When your neighbor offers to help put out a fire on your property, don’t you say “yes, thanks?”

Hell yes you do!

But, we were told, the situation wasn’t quite as it seemed. Not as bad as it looked. The Dutch weren’t being blown off and, by the way, Sarah Palin is an idiot.

Guess what? It’s worse than we thought and the idiot lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Avertible catastrophe

(…)

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment –unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, “We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water–the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that.” In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls “crazy.”

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.

Funny. I thought it was the American instinct to “dive into action” in an emergency. I guess it goes dormant whenever we have a President who’s “too cool to care.”

Meanwhile, the Gulf states are seeing their beaches destroyed and economies ruined in a disaster that could have been prevented, all because we first turned down the best available help and then dragged our feet after accepting it to appease labor unions. This lack of urgency and initiative and any sense of priorities falls squarely at the feet of President Obama, who could have set relief efforts in motion much faster had he actually kicked some bureaucratic tail, instead of just talking about it.

But that would interrupt tee-time, wouldn’t it?

Tell you what, Mr. President. You go golfing, but, before you leave, how about putting someone in charge of this who actually knows what to do to clean up the mess?

After all, she was right about the Dutch.

(via Ace)

LINKS: More from Fausta, who brings us the news that the Feds have finally asked for help, and Allahpundit, who links to this beauty.

Pardon me, but I need to pull my hair out.  At wits end


Incompetent or just plain dumb? You make the call.

June 11, 2010

Three days ago, I linked to a Pajamas Media article that exposed the stunning fact that millions of feet of containment boom were sitting unused and unbought at a factory in Maine, in spite of the owner’s efforts to get the government’s attention.

So you’d think that, in the intervening time and with the slick spreading wider and wider, the government would have jumped right on this, bought Packgen’s entire stock, and ordered more.

I bet you believe in the tooth fairy, too.

TAPPER: I talked to a guy who runs a company in Maine that offers boom, and he has – he says – the ability to make 90,000 feet of boom a day. High quality. BP came there 2 weeks ago, looked at it, they are doing another audit today. He is very frustrated, he says he has a lot of high quality boom to go and it is taking a long time for BP to get its act together. Don’t you need this boom right now?

ALLEN: Oh we need all the boom wherever we can get it. If you give me the information off camera I’ll be glad to follow up.

That’s from an interview of Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the man in charge of the federal “response” to this disaster, by ABC’s Jake Tapper. I’m so glad the admiral’s willing to get right on this; I’d hate to think it’s interfering with something important, like his tee-time.

“Sense of urgency?” What’s that? No wonder Governor Jindal is blowing a gasket.

Forget basic competence; does anyone in the federal government even care?

(via Hot Air)

UPDATE: A follow up from Jake Tapper:

Coast Guard finally got back to me: “The boom manufactured by Packgen did not pass an initial quality control test.”

Fair enough. I assume this means they’ve tested it since Tapper gave Admiral Allen the phone number, though it begs the question of why it took them this long to even check.