Monday, June 21, 2010

Last Call

And from our good friends the Israelis...
Israel should launch a pre-emptive strike to prevent arch-foe Iran from going nuclear, a former head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency said on Monday.

"I am of the opinion that, since there is an ongoing war, since the threat is permanent, since the intention of the enemy in this case is to annihilate you, the right doctrine is one of pre-emption and not of retaliation," Shabtai Shavit told a conference.

Shavit, who served as chief of Israel's foreign spy agency from 1989 to 1996, was speaking at a conference held at the hawkish Bar Ilan University outside Tel Aviv.

"To use retaliation as the main strategy means to sit idly and wait until the enemy comes to attack you," a university statement quoted Shavit as saying.

"But we are dealing with an enemy that plans all the time and waits for the opportunity to arise in order to attack, so what is the point, even morally, to wait and do something only when we are attacked," he said.
Part of me honestly believes that Netanyahu's final trump card over Obama is this right here.  We get Israeli officials and former Israeli officials saying this whenever Obama decides to play hardball.  "Gee it would be a shame if we attacked Iran.  You'd be forced to fight our war for us.  Do you really want to do that?  Better think twice, then."

As long as doing whatever Israel wants has 85 US Senators supporting it, Obama knows Bibi doesn't have to hold all the cards.  He just has to be willing to play exactly one.

Law Enforcement, It Works

You know, instead of the Jack Bauer stuff.  Faisal Shahzad is completely copping to the Times Square bombing attempt.
Faisal Shahzad, the 30-year-old Pakistani-American suspect in the failed Times Square bombing case, entered pleas of guilty Monday in federal court to all 10 counts he was facing.

Shahzad, wearing a white skullcap, gray prison jumpsuit and orange T-shirt, was wearing handcuffs as he was escorted into the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum.

Before entering his pleas, he told the court: "I want to plead guilty 100 times because unless the United States pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq, until they stop drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen and stop attacking Muslim lands, we will attack the United States and be out to get them."

Cedarbaum then placed Shahzad under oath and asked him questions about the crime.

A law enforcement source told CNN the decision to plead guilty was Shahzad's.

Shahzad is accused of attempting to set off the botched vehicle bomb in Times Square on May 1. He was arrested two days later while trying to leave the country on a flight from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
No torture necessary, no years in Gitmo, no disappearing the guy, no waterboarding, no psy-ops crap, no predator drones, no cruise missiles, no Space Command, no memos trying to authorize enhanced interrogation, no Legion of Doom supervillainy and the guy's entering a guilty plea in less than 60 days. It's almost like the Obama administration knows what they are doing with basic law enforcement techniques.

Imagine that.  We can stop terrorists using detective work.  Now we can put this assclown behind bars where he belongs.

World Cupdate

The last day of the second round of matches opened up with Portugal at North Korea in Group G, and unlike nearly every other game in this Cup of Draws, the outcome of this match was never, ever in doubt.  Portugal's 3-3-4 offensive assault featuring Ronaldo, Almeida and Simao cracked North Korea's 1-2-2-5 bunker starting with Meireles at 29', and for a while the North Koreans held on.  But the second half was all the Seleccao das Quinas as they pummeled North Korea with SIX second half goals as their defense disintegrated totally and Portugal put North Korea out of its misery, eliminating them from the round of 16 in one of the most embarassing losses in modern World Cup history.  They came in an unknown, but they leave fully known: a massively exploitable weakness in the fullback and keeper position that a strong team can crack like an egg.  portugal played like Brazil should have, and for all intents and purposes North Korea should have a minus double digit goal differential by the end of their match with Ivory Coast.

Moving to Group H, it was Chile versus the surprising Swiss in match two as both teams were playing to assure an advance, as both teams posted 1-0 wins last week.  The Swiss were looking for another phenomenal upset as they did to Spain, but La Roja were having none of it and went 3-3-4 with Suazo, Beausejour, and Sanchez up top, versus an interesting Swiss 2-4-4 formation with Frei and Nkufo at point. Chilean tempers flew hot however and several bookings in the first half limited how aggressive La Roja could be, but then it was the Swiss right half Valon Behrani sent off with a red card at 30' as the referee clamped down on the game.  With a man up, Chile went on the assault again as the Swiss bunkered up.  The second half had what would have been an early Sanchez goal called back due to the offsides flag, and the Swiss were able to hold off the Chilean onslaught for a good long while, but at 75' Gonzalez off the bench finally headed one home, and that was enough to give La Roja the win as the one solid Swiss chance in stoppage time went wide of the net, and Chile takes the 1-0 win to lead the group.

That meant both Spain and Honduras needed wins to keep up in Group H, and to find the Spanish facing elimination at this point was a shocker indeed. La Furia Roja led off with a 2-4-4 front with David Villa and Fernando Torres at striker, while Honduras went with the popular 1-3-2-4 plan with David Suazo at point, to try to clog the middle and counter on the breaks.  La Furia Roja lived up to their name by exploding out of the gate and leading a barrage of shots early, one by Villa at 17' found the back of the net and Los Catrachos were suddenly facing a long, long night. The second half found Villa agin scoring at 51', and the rout was on.  Villa almost had the hat trick but actually missed a penalty kick at 62', and nearly scored again in stoppage, but Honduras never recovered.  Spain's 2-0 win sets up an intersting possibility where Spain beats Chile and the Swiss finish off Honduras, giving 3 teams 6 points and goals scored matter to see who will advance from Group H.

What Digby Said

On our old friend, Iowa GOP nutjob Steve King:
I'm hard on journalists, but sometimes a reporter writes something sublime and it deserves to be complimented.

This article appeared in the Denver Post about that that racist oddball Steve King coming to Denver for a 9-12 teabag rally after having been uninvited to two others. You just have to love the juxtoposition of the last two sentences:
King said he felt it was important to come to Colorado.
"I've been through all kinds of controversy, and I always have to ask myself, 'Did I say something that wasn't founded in truth?' No. 'Did I say something that hurt someone's feelings?' I don't think so."
King said Obama has misinformed the public about Arizona's law.
King said that under only one circumstance does he support amnesty for illegal immigrants: "Every time we give amnesty for an illegal alien, we deport a liberal."
Nancy Rumsfelt, who started the Loveland 9-12 group and organized the event, said the goal of the movement is to unite America the way it was immediately following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Brilliant. Hats off to Bianca David of the Denver Post.
Yes, to unite America, to ignore liberals who said we were rushing to a pointless war, and then boom.  Sure, they want that zeitgeist again.

I'm curious however, does that also entail questioning the President being tantamount to treason like it was in in 2002 as well?

They're not even trying to disguise their disgust for those who don't agree with them anymore.  Now it's "deport liberals".

And The Meek Shall Inherit...Nothing? Part 2

Things are getting worse for Kendrick Meek in Florida...big time.  Josh Marshall:
We have another poll showing Charlie Crist in a solid lead over both Democrat Kendrick Meek and Republican Marco Rubio. This one is sponsored by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and done by a GOP polling firm. And it shows Crist up by 11 over Rubio and by 28 over Meek. 
And it gets worse.

Clearly Crist is siphoning off Meek's support from Democratic voters, and Rubio is remaining rock stead at third of the vote.  You'd think Crist was the Dem and Meek was the independent.  Crist is certainly running like a Democrat right now and it's working.

Voters don't seem to be paying much attention to Crist's friend, former Florida GOP head Jim Greer.  Greer's in real trouble and it's hurting Rubio some too. The problem is they're not paying attention to Kendrick Meek either.  Crist is playing the anti-tea party backlash like a pro in Florida and it's all coming at the expense of Meek.

Will the Dems dare ask Meek to withdraw soon, especially if he gets under 10% in the polls?  The speed at which Meek is being thrown under the bus here is impressive, even for Florida politics.  But it looks like Dems are siding with Crist.

Warmed Up Leftovers

USA Today lets Dow Corning CEO Andrew Liveris pull out the stale old Bush/Club For Growth ideas to bring back US manufacturing jobs:  tax breaks for new technology, tax cuts for corporations, and deregulation, deregulation, deregulation.
America needs an integrated and strategic approach that will incentivize manufacturers to create the jobs of the future. The patchwork of incentives launched to address the recession has not turbo-charged the private sector growth engine of the world's largest economy. Many more permanent private-sector jobs are needed quickly. We face deep-rooted economic and policy headwinds that discourage good private job formation. These can be addressed through an "advanced manufacturing plan," if the U.S. is ever to prevail in global competition. We are playing with our children's future because if America gives up on manufacturing, we are surrendering their future to others.

We can either have the future we choose, or settle for the future we allowed.
Right, because tax cuts and deregulation, free trade agreements, and tort reform (yes, he throws that one in too) has done wonders for our economy and saved so many jobs over the last two decades.

Tell you what, Andy.  Go down to Venice, Louisiana, smell the oil coming off the water and see the damage to the wetlands there, and tell me right now what we need is corporate tax cuts, less regulation, and to limit lawsuits.


Let Them Eat Cake (Extra Crude Edition)

If you have any illusions what the big money people think about BP, let hedge fund maven Dennis Gartner illuminate you as to what us "little people" should be expecting.
Congressional questioning of BP CEO Tony Hayward was "amazingly idotic, repetitive and ill-mannered," said hedge fund manager Dennis Gartman, who is "embarrassed today for being American."

The author of The Gartman Letter, a daily investor guide, compared the questioning to the Spanish Inquisition and said Hayward—brought to Washington to defend his company's role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill—conducted himself admirably despite the circumstances.

"And yet Mr. Hayward was made to remain before this commitee for hours yesterday, subjected to idiocy of the first order, expected to remain gentlemanly and in complete control...(despite)  hopes, apparently, that he'd make one slip of the tongue that would doom BP to a legal hell," Gartman wrote. "He did not. He kept his composure in a way we could not imagine that we could ever do under the same set of circumstances."
Hayward a hero resisting Obama.  Gartner "embarassed to be an American" for Congress asking BP's CEO what he plans to do about that massive oil geyser that will basically wipe out the Gulf Coast economy.  And guess who the only real Congressman on the Energy committee is?
And he praised Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) who came under fire for apologizing to Hayward after the administration strong-armed BP into putting up a $20 billion reserve fund for the spill cleanup.

"He was the only one on the committee with a sense of fair play, with a sense of honor and who was in fact embarrassed by what his fellow members of Congress were doing before the cameras yesterday," Gartman said. "We know nothing more about Mr. Barton but we know this: when others were taking the lowest road, he took the one much higher when the chips were down."
What a guy, that Barton.  Gartner's position?  Of course Congress should be apologizing to BP.  That should be their natural state.  How dare Obama think he's allowed to run this country or get BP to pay for the hundreds of thousands of folks directly affected by BP's catastrophic negligence.

It's a good thing we have hedge fund bazillionaires like Gartner here to defend America's most precious resource in the Gulf...oil companies!


For Better Or Worse

So at this point Mississippi GOP Gov. Haley Barbour is arguing that the six month deep water drilling moratorium is now worse than the oil geyser.

No, really.  Steve Benen:
As part of the federal response to the BP oil spill disaster, the administration imposed a six-month moratorium on drilling new deepwater wells. The point, of course, was to prevent another crisis -- Deepwater Horizon had undermined confidence in the industry and its practices. Before companies start new drilling, it's reasonable to make sure the industry's doing it right.

Conservatives, and some regional Democrats, are less than pleased about the six-month pause. Yesterday on "Meet the Press," Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) went so far as to argue that the moratorium is actually worse than the oil spill and its effects on the region. Seriously.

Host David Gregory specifically asked, "[W]hat's worse, the moratorium or the effects of this spill on the region?" Barbour replied, "Well, the moratorium. The skill -- the spill's a terrible thing, but the moratorium is a, is a terrible thing that's not only bad for the region, it's bad for America."
Oy.  Republicans will do anything to attack Obama over this, won't they?

Rahm-Go, Last Blood?

The UK Telegraph is reporting that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is leaving at the end of the year.
Washington insiders say he will quit within six to eight months in frustration at their unwillingness to "bang heads together" to get policy pushed through. 
Mr Emanuel, 50, enjoys a good working relationship with Mr Obama but they are understood to have reached an understanding that differences over style mean he will serve only half the full four-year term.

Friends say he is also worried about burnout and losing touch with his young family due to the pressure of one of most high profile jobs in US politics.

"I would bet he will go after the midterms," said a leading Democratic consultant in Washington. "Nobody thinks it's working but they can't get rid of him – that would look awful. He needs the right sort of job to go to but the consensus is he'll go." 
Odd thing to drop to the press six months before going.  The White House's heavy hitter reduced to whining to the UK press?  I can understand this story coming out around Thanksgiving, but on late Father's Day weekend?  It's not like Rahm will get more respect from this.  The Village certainly is going to be damn miffed this one went to the Telegraph and not the Grey Lady or the WaPo.

No reason for Rahm to leak this.  He doesn't benefit unless he's trying to pre-martyr himself as the guy who could have saved the Democrats from big losses in November, but that's not his style, and it makes him look like an ass.

The Firebaggers are happy this morning.  The Wingers say its rats deserting a sinking ship of state.  But given the Village efforts to rehabilitate Rahm in February and again in March, I asked who was going to win that battle, the other combatants were the team of Obama budget guru David Axelrod and OFA campaign head David Plouffe.

Given this weekend's article on Team Obama fully backing Plouffe's OFA as the winning strategy for 2010, it looks like Rahm has immediately countered to...exact revenge?  That still makes no sense.  We'll hear nothing but WHITE HOUSE IN TOTAL DISARRAY for the next, oh, 30 months.

Not sure what Rahm's long game here is, and the Guardian article doesn't use Rahm as a source, but has "Washington insiders" saying they believe he will now leave and can totally understand why.

As I've said before the target's been Obama, and I think it's true again here.  Somebody's burning the White House and it's not Rahm.


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