Monday, November 12, 2012

Was the Petraeus resignation all it seems?

Prominent Australian conservative commentator, Andrew Bolt,  accepts the official story and gives his reasons below.  I add my comments at the end

There’s a lot of conspiracy mongering about the resignation of CIA chief David Petraeus over his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell - as in: was this to nobble him as he prepared to blow the whistle on the Obama Administration’s cover-up on Benghazi? But the facts, as reported, seem to speak for themselves:
[A]n FBI source says the investigation began when American intelligence mistook an email Petraeus had sent to his girlfriend as a reference to corruption. Petraeus was commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan from July 4, 2010 until July 18, 2011.

The investigation began last spring, but the FBI then pored over his emails when he was stationed in Afghanistan. …

Given his top secret clearance and the fact that Petraeus is married, the FBI continued to investigate and intercept Petraeus’ email exchanges with the woman. The emails include sexually explicit references to such items as sex under a desk.

At some point after Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director on Sept. 6, 2011, the woman broke up with him. However, Petraeus continued to pursue her, sending her thousands of emails over the last several months, raising even more questions about his judgment.
“Thousands of emails” in just the last few months sounds like a man obsessed, and an indiscreet one for a CIA boss.  Then there is this:
The biographer for resigning CIA Director David Petraeus is under FBI investigation for improperly trying to access his email and possibly gaining access to classified information, law enforcement officials told NBC News on Friday.

So I’m inclined not to buy the post-election conspiracy theorising of a Lt Col Ralph Peters, among many:
The timing is just too perfect for the Obama administration. Just as the administration claimed it was purely coincidence that our Benghazi consulate was attacked on the anniversary of September 11th. Now it’s purely coincidence that this affair—extra-marital affair—surfaces right after the election, not before, but right after, but before the intelligence chiefs go to Capitol Hill to get grilled. As an old intelligence analyst, Neil, the way I read this—I could be totally wrong, this is my interpretation—is that the administration was unhappy with Petraeus not playing ball 100% on their party-line story. I think it’s getting cold feet about testifying under oath on their party-line story. And I suspect that these tough Chicago guys knew about this affair for a while, held it in their back pocket until they needed to play the card.


I agree with Bolt but for rather different reasons.  As a social psychologist, I have studied a bit about male/female attraction and have myself been married 4 times (and still have a patient lady in my life) and to me the pictures above say all that needs to be said.

The top picture is of the girlfriend, the second picture is of Petraeus and his wife of 37 years. Petraeus would be queer if he didn't leap at the younger woman's availability.  He would have to be superhuman to have resisted the temptation.  But the security risks of extra-marital liasons are well-known (vide the Profumo affair in Britain) so he had to be dismissed from his very sensitive job. That the timing was held over until after the election is however beyond doubt  -- JR.

Another view -- from "Former Spook":

David Petraeus's sudden fall from grace invites a rather obvious question, namely who leaked information about his affair.  In our experience, someone at the general's level typically resigns over an affair when the story is about to hit the press.  We're guessing that someone in the media was given the details about the CIA Director's extra-marital affair, and they called Langley asking for a statement.  Realizing his indiscretion would soon become public, Petraeus took the pro-active step of submitting his resignation, which was "regretfully" accepted by President Obama.

So, who "got" David Petraeus?  Beyond his own, deplorable conduct, there is the list of ususal suspects.  We'll begin with veterans of the CIA clandestine service and paramilitary operations directorate.  They are furious over Petraeus's conduct in the aftermath of the Benghazi debacle, when his statements on the attack were similar to those of administration officials, who suggested the attack on the consulate was the result of  an "out-of-control" protest, sparked by outrage over an internet video that offensive to Muslims.  Two CIA contractors were among the four Americans killed in the attack and other agency personnel were wounded.  Yet, the administration did nothing to send assistance to the besieged consulate, other than a quick reaction force from the embassy in Tripoli.

As we've noted before, no one plays the "leak" game better than the spook community.  As the White House clung to its "video" narrative, operatives involved in the Benghazi operation began passing details of that fateful night, raising new questions about what actually occurred.  The leaks were aimed (in part) at the administration, but they were also directed at Petraeus and the Director of National Intelligence (James Clapper) who were viewed as not only abandoning operatives on the ground, but doing little to defend the reputation of intelligence professionals when various administration officials suggested the community "got it wrong" before Benghazi.

Then, more than six weeks after the attack, Petraeus did something a bit unusual.  Realizing the White House's well-deserved reputation for throwing people under the bus, the CIA Director announced that no one at his agency had taken steps to prevent assistance from reaching our diplomats and intel operators on the ground in Benghazi.  That assertion shifted the blame squarely on the administration and the Pentagon.  Needless to say, Petraeus's comments didn't exactly win him any friends in the West Wing, or on the E-ring of the Pentagon.  And, if he was trying to rally support in the spook world, it was probably too late for that as well.

So members of the intel community had plenty of motive for exposing the CIA Director's extra-curricular activities.  And, it wouldn't be that hard to discover what he was up to.  As a former senior commander (and more recently as head of the CIA), Petraeus has been living in a 24-hour security bubble for years, so his protection detail was probably aware of the affair, and it didn't take long for word to leak to other spooks, who had plenty of motive to get rid of Petraeus. Additionally, there are now reports the affair began during his military days--possibly dating to the general's tenure as our commander in Iraq and Afghanistan--so there were plenty of people in a position to "know."

But don't exclude the possibility of a White House "job," either.  Relations between the retired General and Mr. Obama were never good; there were disagreements over U.S. policies in Afghanistan and many in the administration viewed Petraeus as "too independent" for the job.  And, when the CIA Director blamed the lack of support in Benghazi on the White House, the administration had a clear reason for getting rid of General Petraeus.  As President Obama reviews candidates for his second term cabinet (and other senior positions) we keep hearing the term "pliable" being tossed about.  In other words, the Commander-in-Chief is looking for individuals who will take orders without question or complaint.  David Petraeus clearly didn't fit that mold. So, with his affair under investigation by the FBI, it wasn't hard for Team Obama to obtain that information and use it when it became convenient.



The impoverishing drift Leftward of the American electorate

Mark Steyn foresees below something of an American collapse.  I agree but doubt that it will be sudden.  Other countries -- such as Britain -- have been impoverished by socialism but the decline has been gradual.  America faces a dismal rather than a chaotic fate.  American exceptionalism will gradually fade away.  The great experiment is over.

That America's debts will be "paid" by inflating the currency is certain, however.  So holders of significant savings (e.g. the elderly)  will be hard hit.

Hardest hit -- absolutely hugely so  -- will however be the governments of China and Japan.  Will China "accidentally" drop a big one on San Francisco to say thankyou?  It's possible. There'd be no risk of retaliation from Obama.  They'd just have to apologize and he would bow to them -- JR

In the weeks ahead, Democrats and Republicans will reach a triumphant “bipartisan” deal to avert the fiscal cliff through some artful bookkeeping mechanism that postpones Taxmageddon for another year, or six months, or three, when they can reach yet another triumphant deal to postpone it yet again. Harry Reid has already announced that he wants to raise the debt ceiling — or, more accurately, lower the debt abyss — by $2.4 trillion before the end of the year, and no doubt we can look forward to a spectacular “bipartisan” agreement on that, too. It took the government of the United States two centuries to rack up its first trillion dollars in debt. Now Washington piles on another trillion every nine months. Forward!

If you add up the total debt — state, local, the works — every man, woman, and child in this country owes 200 grand (which is rather more than the average Greek does). Every American family owes about three-quarters of a million bucks, or about the budget deficit of Liechtenstein, which has the highest GDP per capita in the world. Which means that HRH Prince Hans-Adam II can afford it rather more easily than Bud and Cindy at 27b Elm Street. In 2009, the Democrats became the first government in the history of the planet to establish annual trillion-dollar deficits as a permanent feature of life. Before the end of Obama’s second term, the federal debt alone will hit $20 trillion. That ought to have been the central fact of this election — that Americans are the brokest brokey-broke losers who ever lived, and it’s time to do something about it.

My Hillsdale College comrade Paul Rahe, while accepting much of my thesis, thought that, as an effete milquetoast pantywaist sissified foreigner, I had missed a vital distinction. As he saw it, you can take the boy out of Canada but you can’t take the Canada out of the boy. I had failed to appreciate that Americans were not Euro-Canadians, and would not go gently into the statist night.

But, as I note in my book, “a determined state can change the character of a people in the space of a generation or two.” Tuesday’s results demonstrate that, as a whole, the American electorate is trending very Euro-Canadian. True, you still have butch T-shirts — “Don’t Tread On Me,” “These Colors Don’t Run” . . . In my own state, where the Democrats ran the board on election night, the “Live Free or Die” license plates look very nice when you see them all lined up in the parking lot of the Social Security office. But, in their view of the state and its largesse, there’s nothing very exceptional about Americans, except that they’re the last to get with the program. Barack Obama ran well to the left of Bill Clinton and John Kerry, and has been rewarded for it both by his party’s victory and by the reflex urgings of the usual GOP experts that the Republican party needs to “moderate” its brand.

I have no interest in the traditional straw clutching — oh, it was the weak candidate . . . hard to knock off an incumbent . . . next time we’ll have a better GOTV operation in Colorado . . . I’m always struck, if one chances to be with a GOP insider when a new poll rolls off the wire, that their first reaction is to query whether it’s of “likely” voters or merely “registered” voters. As the consultant class knows, registered voters skew more Democrat than likely voters, and polls of “all adults” skew more Democrat still. Hence the preoccupation with turnout models. In other words, if America had compulsory voting as Australia does, the Republicans would lose every time. In Oz, there’s no turnout model, because everyone turns out. The turnout-model obsession is an implicit acknowledgment of an awkward truth — that, outside the voting booth, the default setting of American society is ever more liberal and statist.

The short version of electoral cycles is as follows: The low-turnout midterms are fought in political terms, and thus Republicans do well and sometimes spectacularly well (1994, 2010); the higher-turnout presidential elections are fought in broader cultural terms, and Republicans do poorly, because they’ve ceded most of the cultural space to the other side. What’s more likely to determine the course of your nation’s destiny? A narrow focus on robocalls in selected Florida and New Hampshire counties every other fall? Or determining how all the great questions are framed from the classroom to the iPod to the movie screen in the 729 days between elections?

The good news is that reality (to use a quaint expression) doesn’t need to swing a couple of thousand soccer moms in northern Virginia. Reality doesn’t need to crack 270 in the Electoral College. Reality can get 1.3 percent of the popular vote and still trump everything else. In the course of his first term, Obama increased the federal debt by just shy of $6 trillion and in return grew the economy by $905 billion. So, as Lance Roberts at Street Talk Live pointed out, in order to generate every dollar of economic growth the United States had to borrow about five dollars and 60 cents. There’s no one out there on the planet — whether it’s “the rich” or the Chinese — who can afford to carry on bankrolling that rate of return.

According to one CBO analysis, U.S.-government spending is sustainable as long as the rest of the world is prepared to sink 19 percent of its GDP into U.S. Treasury debt. We already know the answer to that: In order to avoid the public humiliation of a failed bond auction, the U.S. Treasury sells 70 percent of the debt it issues to the Federal Reserve — which is to say the left hand of the U.S. government is borrowing money from the right hand of the U.S. government. It’s government as a Nigerian e-mail scam, with Ben Bernanke playing the role of the dictator’s widow with $4 trillion under her bed that she’s willing to wire to Timmy Geithner as soon as he sends her his bank-account details.

If that’s all a bit too technical, here’s the gist: There’s nothing holding the joint up.

So Washington cannot be saved from itself. For the moment, tend to your state, and county, town and school district, and demonstrate the virtues of responsible self-government at the local level. Americans as a whole have joined the rest of the Western world in voting themselves a lifestyle they are not willing to earn. The longer any course correction is postponed the more convulsive it will be. Alas, on Tuesday, the electorate opted to defer it for another four years. I doubt they’ll get that long.



Fake picture circulates the world this morning

This is being tweeted today relentlessly as though it is a picture of what occurred last night. In reality it dates from 2008 (see it here), and even back then its authenticity was questioned.

Why are we seeing it now? Why is it being pushed across the world's social media networks tonight?

Heavy fighting has going on in southern Israel and inside Gaza since early this evening. It began when an IDF patrol was hit by an anti-tank rocket fired from within Gaza around sundown. Several Israeli servicemen are seriously injured. In a country where most people's children serve in the defence forces, an attack like this does not go un-noticed. Throughout Saturday night, Israel has channeled some of its sophisticated weapons, including helicopters and drones, at very carefully selected targets in the Gaza Strip, an area dominated by the Hamas terrorist organization and bristling with tens of thousands of rockets stashed away inside homes, mosques and hospitals.

The terrorists for their part have fired off dozens of rockets. Frightened families throughout most of southern Israel are inside safe rooms and bomb shelters, or within a few seconds' dash of one, as we write this. School classes throughout the area have been canceled (Sunday is a school day in Israel). This will not prevent foreign media channels from saying - as they will certainly do in the coming hours - that Israel is responding disproportionately.

Militarily, the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza are far less-well equipped with military equipment than the IDF is. But strategically, the Gazan side has the 'advantage' of being ready, willing and able to do anything that will un-nerve the Israeli side and bring criticism onto Israeli heads. If this means telling lies, taking steps that provoke Israeli reactions that will certainly injure their neighbours, or firing rockets indiscriminately at towns, farms, homes, buses, cars, schools - well, that's what they have been doing for years. It's how they fight.




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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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