Author Archives: mike

If a picture is worth a thousand words…

…then here is something that should dovetail nicely with Doug’s post below:


Picture source: REUTERS/Jason Reed

h/t: Radley Balko, who also posted a video that was pulled just a few minutes ago. It featured a bunch of celebrities (so I know, it shouldn’t be taken seriously) but it included the line “I pledge to be a servant to our President.” Creeped the hell out of me.

Quote of the Day, Part Deux

Comes from this AP story on our soon to be President’s activities on the day before his inauguration:

Then his motorcade headed for the Sasha Bruce House, a facility for homeless teens, where he grabbed a paint roller and helped volunteers who were fixing up rooms.

“We can’t allow any idle hands,” he said. “Everybody’s got to be involved.”

I don’t know about you, but the idea of the government deciding who has “idle hands” and then forcing them to “be involved” terrifies me.

The best part of this is the irony inherent in the way the article was structured…before the section about using government to force people to be involved there was a bit about the President-elect visiting wounded troops at Walter Reed, people who VOLUNTEERED to serve their country. After the section there was a bit about him visiting VOLUNTEERS working at a local high school.

End the War

The enemy has changed tactics yet again and as a result we are left scrambling to catch up. Despite a large U.S. military presence, he still manages to elude detection and moves with impunity in order to accomplish his objectives. After an investment of billions of dollars and several years of operations, it’s time to cut our losses and pull out.

MIAMI – U.S.-directed seizures and disruptions of cocaine shipments from Latin America dropped sharply in 2007 from the year before, reflecting in part a successful shift in tactics by drug traffickers to avoid detection at sea, senior American officials disclosed Monday in releasing new figures.

Navy Adm. Jim Stavridis, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in the region, said seizures fell from 262 metric tons in 2006 to about 210 tons last year.

“It’s difficult to say why that is,” he said in an interview with three reporters who visited his headquarters with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who expressed concern at the shift.

The 2007 figure was the lowest since 2003, other officials said. Last year’s drop broke a string of yearly increases in cocaine seizures and disruptions dating to the late 1990s. The numbers include estimates of cocaine thrown overboard or scuttled with vessels — a common response by smugglers who are detected at sea.

The biggest dropoff last year was in seizures at sea, which fell from nearly 160 metric tons in 2006 to about 100 metric tons last year, according to the figures, which are preliminary but were described by officials as reliable estimates.

“In any given contest of offense and defense you’ve got to adjust your tactics,” Stavridis said, alluding to a conclusion reached by Mullen and others that the drug cartels are nimbler than the U.S. government. They are finding new ways of eluding detection at sea, such as shipping drugs in semi-submersible vessels, and are flying drug routes from sites in western Venezuela that are harder to stop, officials said.

Mullen put it more directly during an exchange earlier Monday with several dozen officials at the headquarters of Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Fla., where military and civilian agencies — including the Pentagon and the CIA — coordinate the tracking of drug shipments and drug leaders.

“The bad guy is moving faster than we’re moving,” Mullen said.

The Joint Chiefs chairman also said he is concerned at how long it might take to regain the upper hand.

“I worry a little bit about how we as a government are able to focus on this mission,” he said, noting that the counterdrug mission is a lower national security priority now than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What war did you think I was talking about?

Not that increased seizures are any evidence that the Drug War is going well, but unlike increased seizures there’s no way this can be spun into a good thing for the U.S. government. I find it a little scary that Adm. Mullen would even mention the counterdrug mission with the actual wars we’re fighting.

For that matter, does anyone else find it disturbing to see the Chairman of the JCS discussing how he’s going to prevent Americans from getting high? Not that it’s anything new, but still, it just struck me as particularly incongruous.

“Young man, turn off your camera.”

Absolutely despicable:

Brian D. Kelly didn’t think he was doing anything illegal when he used his videocamera to record a Carlisle police officer during a traffic stop. Making movies is one of his hobbies, he said, and the stop was just another interesting event to film.

Now he’s worried about going to prison or being burdened with a criminal record.

Kelly, 18, of Carlisle, was arrested on a felony wiretapping charge, with a penalty of up to 7 years in state prison.

His camera and film were seized by police during the May 24 stop, he said, and he spent 26 hours in Cumberland County Prison until his mother posted her house as security for his $2,500 bail.

Kelly is charged under a state law that bars the intentional interception or recording of anyone’s oral conversation without their consent.

There is, of course, an exception in the law in order for police to record citizens during traffic stops. The most chilling part of the story?

First Assistant District Attorney Jaime Keating said case law is in flux as to whether police can expect not to be recorded while performing their duties.

“The law isn’t solid,” Keating said. “But people who do things like this do so at their own peril.”

Move along sheep, nothing to see here. You wouldn’t want to hold the police accountable by filming them because that would be very perilous for you.

Ron Paul’s Reading List

Ron Paul has given Rudy Giuliani a reading assignment:

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Longshot Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Thursday gave front-runner Rudy Giuliani a list of foreign-policy books to back up his contention that attacks by Islamic militants are fueled by the U.S. presence in the Middle East.

“I’m giving Mr. Giuliani a reading assignment,” the nine-term Texas congressman said as he stood behind a stack of books that included the report by the commission that examined the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.”

Okay, I don’t care what your political views are…this is pretty dang funny. A reading assignment. So how do you feel about Mr. Giuliani, Rep. Paul?

“I don’t think he’s qualified to be president,” Paul said of Giuliani. “If he was to read the book and report back to me and say, ‘I’ve changed my mind,’ I would reconsider.”

Mr. Giuliani, your response?

“A spokeswoman for Giuliani derided Paul’s latest comments.

“It is extraordinary and reckless to claim that the United States invited the attacks on September 11th,” Maria Comella said in an e-mail.

“And to further declare Rudy Giuliani needs to be educated on September 11th when millions of people around the world saw him dealing with these terrorist attacks firsthand is just as absurd.”

Judging by his comments (outlined by Kevin here) that “they hate us for our freedom,” I’d say that Mr. Giuliani could probably use a bit of an education. In case you were wondering what the books were:

Among the books on Paul’s reading list were: “Dying to Win,” which argues that suicide bombers only mobilize against an occupying force; “Blowback,” which examines the unintended consequences of U.S. foreign policy; and the 9/11 Commission Report, which says that al Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden was angered by the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.

Another book on the list was “Imperial Hubris,” whose author appeared at the press conference to offer support for Paul.

“Foreign policy is about protecting America,” said author Michael Scheuer, who used to head the CIA’s bin Laden unit. “Our foreign policy is doing the opposite.”

An interesting reading list. While I don’t agree wholeheartedly with the viewpoint of many of them, the only way we’re going to win this war is by stopping people from subscribing to the terrorists’ ideology in the first place. Mr. Giuliani’s simplistic “they hate us for our freedom/kill ’em all” rhetoric certainly isn’t going to do it.

1 2 3 8