May 12 2010
Sorry again for the light posting. One thing I forget is how much work backs up when you are on travel for two weeks!
Some interesting tidbits in a basically slow week.
Pakistan looks to be close to extraditing a key Taliban warlord to Afghanistan, which could open the door to some major intel:
U.S. ally Pakistan captured at least four Afghan Taliban leaders, including top military strategist Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, early this year. The Afghan government has asked Islamabad to hand them over.
But Khalid Khawaja, a former Pakistani intelligence officer turned campaigner for Islamist causes, petitioned the Lahore High Court seeking to block their extraditions, which it did in February, pending its final decision on the petition.
However, the court on Tuesday threw out the case following the death of the petitioner.
The poor sap who petitioned the court was taken hostage by the Taliban and killed. I guess that’s what you get for trying to help.
Why is this important? Marc Theissen explains in the WaPo:
On Sunday, Obama administration officials, including counterterrorism chief John Brennan, declared that the Taliban was behind the attack and that Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, had “extensive interactions” with Taliban leaders in Pakistan. Yet just a few months before Shahzad attempted to blow up a car bomb in the heart of Manhattan, U.S. and Pakistani officials captured the highest-ranking Taliban leader ever detained in the war on terror — Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. This raises a critical question: Could Baradar have warned us about the Times Square attack?
Baradar was detained in Karachi, Pakistan, in late January — the same city where several of Shahzad’s associates were just detained. Shahzad left Pakistan on Feb. 3, just days after Baradar’s capture, which means he was meeting with Taliban officials while Baradar was still at large. Why did Shahzad flee right after Baradar was taken into custody?
Baradar is second only to Mullah Omar in the Taliban hierarchy. Newsweek described him as “arguably the most important terrorist suspect captured since the detention of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in spring of 2003.” But unlike KSM, Baradar has not been taken into American custody for interrogation by the CIA. Instead, he has been held and questioned by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
Excellent questions. Along with the rumor that Mullah Omar was captured not long after Baradar, it seems we have had some huge progress in bringing the Taliban to justice. Is this why the US is all of a sudden scrambling to find other ‘lone wolf’ terrorists trained in Pakistan and holding US or EU passports?
On a completely different note it seems the anti-government fever taking hold across the nation is growing, not easing. Jay Cost notes the ‘thunder on the mountain’ raging in the electorate:
And yet for all this, the people do indeed rule. While their power is limited, it is nevertheless unconditional where it exists. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi need the assent of the people of the United States to govern this country. But the people don’t need any such thing. In the limited sphere where they rule, they are supreme.
This is easy to forget because it is rare to see the people actually wield their power in its full force. Between 1954 and 1994, the Democrats controlled the House, whether they deserved to or not. The Republicans controlled it from 1994 to 2006, again regardless of merit.
This kind of stability can give the impression that the people do not rule. We so rarely see the full force of their power that it is easy to think that the real bossess are the decades-long denizens of the prestige committees, the high-powered lobbyists, the king-makers in both party establishments, or the plugged-in Beltway journalists. We see them all the time, preening about their power and influence. They seem like they’re really in charge.
This is the thunder on the mountain, the early warning that something bad is about to blow through the District of Columbia. I don’t think there’s anything anybody there can do about it. The people have a limited role in this government – but where the people do possess power, they are like a force of nature. They cannot be stopped.
That’s bad news for the establishment this year. They’re going to wake up on the morning of November 3rd and be reminded of who is actually in charge of this country.
The vaunted Political Industrial Complex has been a rolling failure and joke for the last 20 years or so. The media enablers along with the political consultants have been packaging up idiots and zealots as leaders – and the country has seen through the deception with the coming of the internet age. The internet has given voice to millions of people who are every day Americans, leaders in their respective areas, independent of the power mad denizens of the Political Industrial Complex.
In 2010 Americans will take back their country again. News media corporations are failing, network TV is failing. Their stranglehold on information completely broken now, people can investigate issues for themselves, make their own conclusions.
And the big conclusion this year is that government has grown way outside its usefulness and is now the greatest threat to the individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Which explains a lot about what just happened in Maine with the Tea Party’s infection of the GOP platform:
Conservative activists backed by â€œtea partyâ€ groups have rejected the Maine Republican Partyâ€™s proposed platform, replacing it with a document praising the tea-party movement and calling for a number of potentially radical changes, such as the sealing of borders.
Let me stop here and say the article notes a huge problem with the tea party – and that is the fine edge needed when dealing with illegal immigrants. We are not going to close our borders, we are going to protect them. But this is the one item out of many excellent points being put forth:
Maine, the newly adopted GOP platform outlines various changes, although its ambiguous language leaves the meaning of many sections open to interpretation. Thereâ€™s a call to restore â€œConstitutional Law as the basis for the judiciary,â€ to â€œreassert the principle that â€˜Freedom of Religionâ€™ does not mean â€˜Freedom from Religion,â€™ â€ to â€œreturn to the principles of Austrian Economics,â€ and to remove â€œobstacles created by governmentâ€ to the private development of natural gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power.
Other parts are clearer: a rejection of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, elimination of the US Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, and a freeze and prohibition on stimulus spending. Healthcare is â€œnot a rightâ€ but â€œa serviceâ€ that can be addressed only by using â€œmarket based solutions.â€
Nothing wrong here. The message is very clear – scale back the federal cancer and put Americans back in charge of their daily lives. Let the direction of the country grow organically from the myriad of American dreams being played out across this land every day. No more dictating from fools in DC.
Update: Drudge has the best example I’ve seen yet of a dysfunctional government in all its glory:
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold hearings Wednesday on the “Potty Parity Act,” a bill that seeks to address the shoddy restroom facilities for women in federal buildings.
The bill would require any federal building constructed for public use to have similar toilets in women’s and men’s restrooms.
Jeez! Just upgrade the damn toilets!
Update: And no, I could care less if the Elena Kagan is gay. Personally the entire invasion of her privacy disgusts me.