Saturday, May 07, 2011

Vindication: Three Controversial Bush Policies Help Take Down bin Laden

The mission was undeniably carried out on Obama’s watch, but evidence continues to mount that it could not have occurred without crucial intelligence gleaned through policies enacted by the Bush administration after September 11, 2001. Specifically, Osama bin Laden was found because the United States military exploited actionable intelligence extracted by subjecting terrorists to enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) in secret CIA prisons, by questioning enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, and by capturing a top al Qaeda source in Iraq.

As long as some liberals remain intent on keeping political score, it must be pointed out that all three sources of these indispensible data points were direct or indirect results of Bush policies – EITs, Gitmo, and the Iraq war – that much of the American Left, including Barack Obama, fought tooth and nail.

We now know the critical key to unlocking the frustrating secret of bin Laden’s whereabouts was identifying and tracking one of his must trusted couriers and confidants. US intelligence and military officials learned of his existence and pseudonym in the years after 9/11 from a terrorist detained at Guantanamo Bay, Muhammad Mani al-Qahtani. Equipped with this information, interrogators were able to wring supplemental information from two high-value prisoners being held at the time in black site CIA prisons: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the 9/11 plot, and his radical colleague, Abu Faraj al-Libi. This single piece of information, after years of scrutiny and investigation, would be bin Laden’s undoing.

When the American media revealed that the CIA was operating secret prisons during the Bush administration, the Left professed shock and indignation. They spent years demonizing and persecuting American intelligence operatives for engaging in “torture,” insisting that harsh interrogation techniques were an affront to “our values,” and – besides – they didn’t even work. Multiple public opinion polls taken over the last decade have shown, despite the Left’s protestations, the American people aren’t scandalized. US voters overwhelmingly support the limited use of harsh questioning tactics to prevent terrorist attacks on US soil – even when the loaded term “torture” is included in the question.

One such technique is waterboarding, a process employed against exactly three terrorists, and halted altogether in 2003. Waterboarding is widely acknowledged to have broken KSM, who had shown himself to be a hardened and skilled resistor of traditional interrogation methods. Information extracted from KSM disrupted active terror plots, saved innocent lives, and led to the capture or killing of other al Qaeda leaders.

In other words, waterboarding KSM and others may or may not have produced direct information about the identity bin Laden’s courier, but the use of coercive interrogation methods were instrumental in gathering additional strands of intelligence from certain detainees. That waterboarding cracked KSM’s resistance cannot be ignored in this context.

But the mere knowledge that an unidentified bin Laden lackey was roaming the planet under an assumed name was not nearly enough to nail him down or monitor his communication. That imperative piece of the puzzle fell into place after 2004, when the US captured a terrorist operative named Hassan Ghul. Ghul was a key member of Al Qaeda in Iraq, an entity whose very existence many liberals were reluctant to even acknowledge, based on a zealous adherence to the faulty premise that the Iraq war was untethered to our fight against al Qaeda. Ghul was detained in Iraq and shipped off to Pakistan for intense CIA questioning; he eventually provided the true name of bin Laden’s elusive courier: Sheik Abu Ahmed, a.k.a. Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Officials have described this morsel of intelligence as the “linchpin” of the bin Laden mission. US spies monitored al-Kuwaiti for several years. A lone phone call in 2010 eventually led them to bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

This web of intelligence – as sketchy, painstaking, and complex as it may be – is extraordinary: Al-Kuwaiti’s existence was flagged by at least one Guantanamo Bay detainee, his role and pseudonym were confirmed by KSM and al-Libi, and his true identity was spilled by an Al Qaeda terrorist operating in Iraq.



Obama's Scandalous War Against Domestic Oil

Do you remember the terrible things the left was saying about President George W. Bush when gas prices soared under his watch? Yet President Obama, whose policies and actions are actually contributing to rocketing gas prices today, gets the usual mainstream media pass.

Is it that the liberal media exempt Obama from accountability because they're on his team in general? Is it because they think he's blameless in the equation even though they sprang to the unfounded conclusion that Bush was culpable? Or could it be that they aren't critical because they share his bias against conventional energy and believe the pain caused by his policies is necessary to move us toward alternative energy sources?

During Bush's term, gas prices went down 9 percent, adjusted for inflation. Yet, preposterously, he was excoriated for allegedly colluding with "big oil" to drive up prices. When prices spiked later in his term, he took proactive steps to increase our supply and reduce prices, and they worked. But Obama has taken action to impede conventional energy sources and shove us into alternative ones. Even so, liberals ignore any possible causal links.

Obama told us he would bankrupt the coal industry. He's pushing high-speed rail down our throats despite the lack of public demand for it and our inability to finance it. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the administration intended to coerce us out of our cars. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."

In view of exploding gas prices, why aren't these statements seen as scandalous? Where are the calls for investigations?

Obama demeans "big oil," pushes alternative energy every time he gets a chance and does everything in his power to suppress domestic oil production, then looks us in the face and tells us he's increasing domestic production -- kind of like how he says his budget won't add a penny to the national debt. The audacity is of Hollywood magnitude, and so is the lack of scrutiny that enables it.

Behind the smoke and mirrors of his rhetoric, it's hard not to conclude that Obama's on a mission to suppress or shut down the existing oil infrastructure in the United States in pursuit of his stated alternative priorities.

The Heritage Foundation's Rory Cooper reports that, as of February 2011, at least 103 permits were awaiting review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. And since February, the administration has issued on average only 1.3 permits a month, a 78 percent reduction in the monthly average according to the latest Gulf Permit Index.

Obama even reversed an earlier decision to open access to coastal waters for exploration, placing a seven-year ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Oil production in the Gulf is expected to drop by 220 thousand barrels per day in 2011, which is going to cost the U.S. some $1.35 billion in revenues in 2011.

Not only are we losing oil production and revenues, the administration's actions are destroying jobs in the oil industry and elsewhere. Many companies are going out of business. The Heritage Foundation reports that Seahawk Drilling, of Houston, laid off 632 employees before recently filing for bankruptcy as a direct result of Obama's moratorium and subsequent "permitorium." Seahawk owned and operated 20 shallow-water rigs in the Gulf. Randall Stilley, president and CEO of Seahawk, said, "As an American, you never want to look at your own government and say they're hurting you personally, they're hurting your business and they're doing it in a way that's irresponsible. I'm not very proud of our government right now and the way they handled this."

Cooper explains that these crippling policies are having a negative rippling effect throughout the economy. Many vendors, suppliers, restaurants and retailers are losing revenues or going out of business. More than 30 deepwater rigs, which each employ around 200 people, have moved from the Gulf to other markets. While the industry is on "life support," Obama is at war with it, brazenly spending billions to support foreign oil and jobs in Brazil.

Making matters worse, the administration and congressional Democrats are considering legislation that would further damage energy businesses by significantly increasing taxes on domestic oil and gas concerns. And just in the past few days, we've been reading that the administration is floating a plan to tax cars by the mile.

Can you imagine the insanity and insensitivity of raising taxes on this ailing industry and its consumers (drivers) at a time when both need all the relief they can get?

Obama is no less determined to cram his preferred energy alternatives down Americans' throats than he was to force feed us socialized medicine. Again, where is the outrage?



Obama Economy Will Make You Poor

While Barack Obama spends his time running victory laps around the country over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the American economy is careening toward a dangerous cliff. Royal Weddings, Obama's multiple birth certificates, and absurd arguments about the NFL lockout dominate the news while daily Americans get poorer.
Obamanomics is a disaster. A greater disaster hasn't been visited on the United States in our economic history because we are taking no substantial steps toward recovery. The real news, which should be screaming from every television and newspaper isn't pro Obama, therefore, it is ignored.

Here are the stories on which we should be focusing. The US dollar has slumped to a record low against major currencies. Since we have devastated our manufacturing base over the last two decades, this will result in Americans paying substantially more for goods on the store shelves in retailers from Walmart to Costco.

The outlook for the recovery has diminished to almost zero. If you subtract the impact of inflation, many economists believe we are actually still in a recession. When I talk to my friends and neighbors outside of Washington DC, we unanimously agree we are still in recession.

Here are some statistics which will help you understand the pain. More Americans are on food stamps today than at any other time in history. That's right-the most in history. The number of persons on food stamps is 44.2 million according a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Those not on food stamps feel a different pain when they buy groceries. We see unbelievably high prices at the grocery store. The cost of living in the U.S. rose at its fastest pace since December 2009 in the 12 months ended in March. Wheat, meat, vegetables and other grains are all surging in price. But if you don't have a job, it is hard to shop for groceries.

Bloomberg reported this week, "Applications for jobless benefits jumped by 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ended April 30, the most since August, Labor Department figures showed today." This is a serious darkening in the employment clouds just as the recovery was supposed to be broadening.

The unprecedented easy money policies from the Federal Reserve haven't helped the real economy. Sure, they did pump enough billions of dollars into Wall Street Banks and Government Agencies to make sure the leather loafer wearing crowds in New York City and Washington DC are still swimming in cash. But for the majority of Americans, they have felt only the pain of higher food and energy prices from the misallocation of dollars.

This week, as we fueled a rental car near the San Diego airport, we paid fifteen dollars for three gallons of gasoline. At these prices, Americans are spending as much as $100 a week just to fuel the car to commute to work. Why hasn't the president cleared the decks to deal with this energy crisis? It is a crisis when it costs as much to commute to work as you make in take home pay. Many Americans are already at this tipping point. Obama mutters on about windmills and electric cars. We need off shore drilling and increased production to ease this pain.

At least open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down prices in the short term.

While the nation shudders under unmanageable regulatory and monetary burdens, Obama is oblivious. Obama is flying from city to city collecting cash for his re-election drive. And don't let us forget he is spending over a hundred thousand dollars to a teleprompter coach.

And we thought standing and delivering a prepared text in front of a teleprompter was a skill he had already mastered. How about a coach on how to manage the American economy? Obama's priorities are obvious, and they aren't on helping everyday Americans, but his buddies and himself.



Walmart Benefits Everyone

When a store opens, there is an immediate need for hundreds of jobs. There are also many more jobs created because of all the businesses that try to locate near the Walmart development. Simply put, it is easy to imagine over a thousand jobs being created in a community where Walmart locates itself. Even though mom-and-pop type shops might be forced to close because they couldn’t compete, everyone still wins. The people that lost their job at the mom-and-pop operation can simply try to work for Walmart or the plethora of businesses that open around it.

Progressives bemoan Walmart because they see it as a greedy capitalist industrialist that preys on the poor and exploits them. Quite the opposite is the truth. Indeed many people of lesser means are drawn to Walmart exactly because of the lower prices, and as I mentioned earlier, that can only benefit them. They are able to save their few precious dollars. Can anything be wrong with that?

I asked the group Respect D.C., an organization that opposes the development of Walmart in Washington D.C., why they thought Walmart was bad for a community where unemployment hangs around 9.5 percent. They tweeted back with five responses to that question, (which you can read by clicking 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). One response from them did stand out though, and it was their claim that Walmart pays a “slave” wage.

Such a silly argument has long been shouted at Walmart. Of course, it isn’t true. A slave’s wage is $0, and clearly the employees of Walmart make much more than that. As George Mason University economics professor Dr. Don Boudreaux puts it, “the plausibility of slaves producing manufactured goods for sale by Wal-Mart is just as implausible as the wackiest alien-abduction allegation.”

Walmart will always be under attack from progressives that worry that anything that makes a profit must somehow be up to no good at the expense of defenseless humans who know nothing of the con that is being pulled on them. But it appears that the con is completely created by the progressive worrywarts who conjure up notions of slavery when they have no evidence to back up such claims.

Fortunately for Walmart and consumers all over the world, we are able to enjoy low prices and dollars saved. This benefits each and every consumer, each and every community, and countless other businesses worldwide. It is because of businesses like Walmart that we enjoy the relatively high amount of wealth that we have in America. So you better not fall for the slick arguments from groups like Respect D.C. and other community organizers, because the benefits that we all reap from Walmart’s success could quickly disappear.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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