May 3, 2011

Obama: Let Me ‘Sleep On It’ (Ace: 7 Minutes vs. 16 Hours)

In honor of our Commander in chief doing the following, based originally on a New York Times item, with bit of British paraphrasing supplied by the UK Daily Mail

Obama took SIXTEEN HOURS to make up his mind about Bin Laden mission

Barack Obama kept military commanders hanging by declaring he would ‘sleep on it’ before taking 16 hours to give the go-ahead to raid Bin Laden’s compound.

… I hereby bring you “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights,” with that immortal line from Meat Loaf — “Let me sleep on it” (readers, please forgive the borderline “R” content):

In all seriousness, it’s a good thing that the mission didn’t get compromised by this sadly characteristic dithering.

Related, at Ace’s Place (HT Instapundit): “Seven Minutes vs. Sixteen Hours”:

Sixteen hours later (hours during which Osama might have fled– bear in mind, his courier’s name had just been outed by WikiLeaks), he made up his mind.

… So, after 16 hours of vacillation, during which the operation might have been rendered a failure by intervening invents, he fist-bumps a piece of furniture and finally makes up his mind.

This is something to brag about? This is, in Howard Fineman’s words, “almost Biblical”?

Seems like a very cautious, feckless, indecisive individual delaying and delaying on critical decisions and then attempting to sound heroic when he finally does what he’s being paid to do.

… So why should I praise Obama for a choice that every single one of his predecessors and every plausible successor would also make?

And probably not requiring 16 hours to do so, either.

I think we now know why the speech was so good (and yes, it was uncharacteristically very good). He had 16 hours, which turned into 40 because of a weather-releated operational delay, to prepare.

They’re Not Really Letting This Thing Fall Apart, Are They?

Currently at Drudge (Drudge archive link):

DrudgeHeadlinesOnOBL050311

Links: First, second, third, fourth (go to 4:55 p.m. and 2:59 p.m. items), fifth.

At Hot Air: “The Story Shifts on the Abbottabad Raid; UPDATE: Carney Revises Again, Says There Was “Resistance” from bin Laden”

One thing I have little patience with is the idea that having assassination as a mission objective if there is meaningful resistance by the target or his accomplices is somehow not okay, But the hand-wringers are starting to crawl out of the woodwork:

As more details of the death of Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden surfaced Monday, some individuals suggested that the killing of the Al Qaeda leader by U.S. special forces may have violated international law.

However, human rights and civil liberties groups that have sharply criticized the Obama administration for its use of lethal force against terror suspects outside of war zones remained largely mum after the notorious bin Laden was shot by U.S. Navy SEALs in an operation that took place in Pakistan, where the U.S. is not involved in formally declared combat.

Some legal scholars and intelligence analysts are also expressing concerns that the covert military operation in Abbottabad was further evidence to them that the U.S. is taking the wrong approach in the so-called “global war on terror.”

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern went as far as to say that bin Laden was “martyred by U.S. forces acting arbitrarily and independently in a Muslim nation.”

“The professor turned president was out to show how tough he is and how his crackerjack extrajudicial assassins can get their man,” McGovern said. “There are commonly accepted legal ways to capture and bring such people to a court of law — yes, even the ‘bad guys’ like Osama bin Laden.”

What the ironically named McGovern is saying is in my opinion horse manure — but it happens to have been the prevailing narrative of the left and many in the Obama administration, certainly including Eric Holder, until Sunday afternoon.

Additionally, someone needs to acknowledge that making Osama bin Laden a martyr was something a certain presidential candidate said he did not want to do:

OBAMA: BIN LADEN WON’T BE A MARTYR

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama said he would bring Osama bin Laden to justice in a way that would deny the al Qaida leader the chance to become a martyr.

Mr Obama’s comments, following a meeting with his new team of national security advisers, marked another push by the first-term Illinois senator to battle criticism by presidential rival John McCain and other Republicans that he lacked the national security expertise needed to become president.

… Meanwhile, Mr Obama told reporters that if Bin Laden were found during his watch, he would bring him to justice in a way that wouldn’t allow the terrorist mastermind to become a martyr, but he may be killed if the US government finds him.

“First of all, I think there is an executive order out on Osama bin Laden’s head,” Mr Obama said at a news conference. “And if I’m president, and we have the opportunity to capture him, we may not be able to capture him alive.”

Mr Obama’s campaign said he was referring to a classified Memorandum of Notification that President Bill Clinton approved in 1998 – revealed in the 9/11 Commission report – that would allow the CIA to kill Bin Laden if capture were not feasible.

But at crunch time, Obama issued orders to kill unless, as Leon Panetta said today, “he suddenly put up his hands and offered to be captured …” Unfortunately, that’s not the only situation during which capture him alive is feasible. The fact that he was unarmed may — emphasis may — indicate that capture was feasible.

The series of what appear to be missteps and snafus are opening up the possibility that bin Laden will become more widely seen as a martyr that necessary (it was going to happen anyway with some, regardless of the care taken). It’s not helpful. Get it together, people.

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UPDATE: John at Powerline

The administration’s missteps do not significantly tarnish the achievement of getting bin Laden, but President Obama and his minions can be grateful that the press will, for the most part, pass over its errors and contradictions in silence.

He’s most probably correct, but there does seem to be a bit of press opportunism here. Perhaps they’re thinking that if the administration’s narrative deteriorates further, it will starting rubbing off on the heroes who carried out the mission and the military in general. Denigrating the military is media obsession no matter who’s in the Oval Office.

Hide the (Bigger) Declines: Audit Bureau’s Newspaper Circulation Report Redefines the Term, Avoids Prior-Year Comparisons

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 6:47 pm

How convenient. Via Editor and Publisher, the newspaper industry’s Audit Bureau of Circulations, in issuing its March 31, 2011 circulation figures, tells us we shouldn’t try to compare this year’s numbers to last year’s:

Because of the new and redefined categories of circulation on this FAS-FAX report, ABC recommends not making any direct comparisons of March 2011 data to prior audit periods.

As readers will see, if the ABC was really interested in enabling us to make apples-to-apples comparisons, it could have done so with appropriate definitional caveats. But it didn’t; instead, it revised its definition of “total circulation” this year without disclosing the impact of the switch.

I’ve made the comparisons where possible for daily editions anyway, and they follow after the jump (original info links: March 31, 2011; March 31, 2010; Boston Globe data obtained here):

NewspaperCirc033111v033110

Because it appears that there is inconsistency in their treatment, I passed on comparing publications with branded editions (if you take out branded editions, you’re left with small declines at most papers listed, but a very large, inexplicable slide at the San Jose Mercury News).

Before moving on to the year-over-year comparison problem, I should note that daily circulation at the ever less influential New York Times is down by over 200,000 copies in the past four years.

Setting aside the “branded edition” issue, even publications without branded editions are not directly comparable between 2010 and 2011. Jim Romenesko at Poynter.org lays it out, based on info in a press release from the ABC:

An ABC release explains:

In FAS-FAX reports prior to March 2011, the top-line metric that was commonly reported was “Total Paid Circulation.” This category no longer exists on ABC reports. The new top-line number is “Total Average Circulation,” which consists of a publication’s paid and verified print and digital editions. Total average circulation also includes any paid and verified branded editions.

* … Paid circulation is defined as copies purchased by the individual recipient or a specialized distribution channel (business/traveler)

* Verified circulation includes much of what used to be reported in “other” paid circulation (including third-party copies and copies distributed to schools and newspaper employees)

… In FAS-FAX reports prior to March 2011, the top-line metric that was commonly reported was “Total Paid Circulation.” This category no longer exists on ABC reports. The new top-line number is “Total Average Circulation,” which consists of a publication’s paid and verified print and digital editions.

Much of what used to be considered “other” paid circulation (which had been excluded — Ed.), including third-party sales and NIE (newspapers in education — Ed.) copies is now reported as “verified” circulation and included in the total average circulation number.

In a nutshell, ABC has added “verified” to “paid,” and has included copies in “total average circulation” which were formerly excluded from “total paid circulation.” Yet the industry’s top players with rare exceptions still showed circulation declines despite the alleged economic “recovery” many of them continue to tout.

Clearly, the ABC’s redefinition is hiding further declines at many if not most of the papers listed above. It would appears to be potentially quite big in the case of USA Today, which relies heavily on hotel readership for visibility. It’s just as clear that if the ABC was okay with enabling the general public to appropriately compare year-over-year numbers, it could release the relevant info with little additional work. Though they’re obviously not required to, it’s quite odd, and I would argue more than a little hypocritical, that a trade group representing publications which scream so frequently about “transparency” wouldn’t do so.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Newspaper Circulation Detail as of March 31, 2011

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 5:06 pm

Archived for future reference. Numbers in parentheses represent circulation “from branded editions.”

(more…)

At American Thinker: ‘OBL’s Death a Victory for the Adults’

Via C. Edmund Wright; read the whole thing (bolds are mine; internal link added by me for the skeptical):

… Now by adults, I mean folks mature enough to understand that the world is a mean place ruled by the aggressive use of power and that the only way to stop evil from ruling is for the good guys to use more power and to use it more aggressively.

… And by children, I mean the overgrown juveniles who refuse to understand this reality as it is and who like to think the Muslim world adored us until Bush-Cheney and Rumsfeld came to power. Long before election day of 2012, this will become evident.

Because when you drill down, the death of bin Laden has nothing to do with the core beliefs of this President or the entire liberal movement.

The death of bin Laden has nothing to do with closing Guantanamo Bay. It has nothing to do with trying Kahlid Sheik Muhummad in New York City. It has nothing to do with avoiding collateral damage at our own soldiers’ peril and it has nothing to do with Patti Murray’s gushing about bin Laden’s day care centers.

… In fact, as I add it up, there is not one single scintilla of liberal thought or policy that had anything to do with the successful operation by Seal Team Six.

In fact, under Obama’s government shutdown program, Seal Team Six team members would not have been paid.

When you get right down to it, the successful taking out of bin Laden is a stunning defeat of everything childish about liberal foreign policy and national defense. That a liberal kid was in the White House when all of this happened reminds us of the cliché of the rich kid who “was born on third base but acts like he hit the triple.”

… it is instructive that candidate Obama campaigned against the idea of even killing bin Laden.

… What really happened is that the intel trail that ultimately culminated in Sunday’s events started in 2007 at Guantanamo Bay. The first key piece of intel was the identification of the couriers who kept bin Laden informed. I guess we’ll never know for sure if waterboarding led to this first nugget of information, but you can bet that whatever it was it falls under the very adult notion of “enhanced interrogation” techniques. In other words, Obama is the beneficiary of tactics he campaigned against — that were performed at a location he campaigned against.

The credit belongs the adults who put in place these interrogation techniques and who decided they would take place at Gitmo. That would be Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. Three adults.

… To sum it up, everything we as conservatives believe about our country’s defense, the War on Terror, interrogation, special ops / black ops, Gitmo, and the realities of the world was validated. Our ideas won. Our tactics won. An enemy we never hesitated to call out was killed.

Everything liberals believe about the same was defeated.

As suggested, read the whole thing.

To be clear, the figurative rich kid born on third base made the right call, and deserves congrats for that. Otherwise, this is, as noted, a victory for an adult view of the world’s realities.

History Rewrite in NYT’s OBL Obit: ‘Intelligence Was Never Good Enough to Pull the Trigger’

The New York Times’s supposedly momentous decision to omit “Mr.” from references to Osama bin Laden in its Monday obituary is apparently working to distract critics from the item’s other problems.

Along with Michael T. Kaufman, Kate Zernike, whose primary vocation seems to be finding racism in the Tea Party movement where none exists and otherwise smearing its participants, comes off as almost critical of how bin Laden was “elevated to the realm of evil in the American imagination once reserved for dictators like Hitler and Stalin.”

Imagination (“the faculty … of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses”)? Babe, I don’t know about you, but we didn’t imagine September 11. We saw it. Others directly experienced it. Many died. Do you remember?

The obit’s topper for me is the (in my opinion) deliberate historical revisionism in the following passage (bolds are mine throughout this post):

The C.I.A. spent much of the next three years (after attacks on two American embassies in August 1998) hunting Bin Laden. The goal was to capture him with recruited Afghan agents or to kill him with a precision-guided missile, according to the 2004 report of the 9/11 Commission and the memoirs of George J. Tenet, director of central intelligence from July 1997 to July 2004.

The intelligence was never good enough to pull the trigger.

Horse manure, per ABC’s Brian Ross on September 10, 2006:

Missed Opportunities: The CIA and bin Laden

“CIA provided an American president, first Bill Clinton, multiple opportunities to capture or kill bin Laden,” (former CIA officer Gary) Bernstein said. “We provided those opportunities, tactical opportunities which were not taken.”

In its exhaustive report, the 9/11 Commission identified at least five separate times in 1998 and 1999 when operations were underway to get bin Laden.

… “After the embassy bombings, we developed a very elaborate plan to go after bin laden and the al Qaeda network,” (then White House Director of Counter-terrorism Richard) Clarke said.

That plan started with the launch of cruise missiles against a training camp where bin Laden was expected to be.

… But the U.S. missed its primary target, bin Laden.

“It was clear that he had been there, and the CIA believes he left a couple of hours before the missile struck,” said Marcus.

… Each time it would get close, CIA director Tenet would pull the plug, according to Clarke.

… And on three occasions, CIA sources, not CIA personnel, but people, Afghans, who were working for CIA, said they thought they knew where bin Laden was. And on all three occasions, those cruise missiles in the submarines were activated and began to spin up and get ready to launch. And on all three occasions, the director of the CIA, George Tenet, said he could not recommend the attack because the information from his one source wasn’t good enough.

CIA officers in the field disagreed. And the 9/11 Commission report calls the third of those aborted attacks, Kandahar, May 1999, the last, most likely best chance to get bin Laden.

The previous day, ABC’s Jake Tapper relayed an e-mail from Michael Scheuer, former chief of the Osama bin Laden Unit at the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, which, concerning the TV movie “The Path to 9/11,” which appeared on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but which has never been released on DVD:

… the core of the movie is irrefutably true: the Clinton administration had 10 chances to capture of kill bin Laden.

The assertion by Zernike and Kaufman that “the intelligence was never good enough to pull the trigger” is the opposite of what the 9/11 Commission concluded, and the opposite of what Scheuer, who is certainly in a position to know, alleges. At a minimum, the New York Times pair should have noted the commission’s and Scheuer’s disagreements. But what they really should have done without getting into the he-said, she-said back and forth is to acknowledge that the U.S. had at least one definite chance and several other likely opportunities to take bin Laden out, and declined to do so.

Excuse-makers may counter that some of the go-aheads didn’t occur because of fears of civilian casualties, which was true in several instances. But that’s not what Zernike and Kaufman are claiming. They apparently want readers to believe there were never any real chances to get bin Laden. They are obviously, and disgracefully, wrong. Unless corrected, they have permanently marred the Old Gray Lady’s bin Laden obituary.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Is This a Great Country or What?’) Is Up (Left on the Cutting-Room Floor: Capitalism As ‘Slavery’)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Marvels,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:03 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Thursday (link won’t work until then) when the blackout expires.

__________________________________________

Left on the cutting-room floor: The column recounts a 1,500-mile trip I took just before Easter to deliver a vehicle to my son and the taken-for-granted marvels employed and encountered on the trip.

I was hoping to weave in a phone call into Rush Limbaugh that I heard during the last couple of hours of the drive. But it’s probably better that I didn’t, because it would have messed with the column’s upbeat tone.

While I was benefitting from outstanding roads built by private companies engaged by the government, using communications tools that were the stuff of science fiction not that long ago, driving an outstanding four year-old SUV that was getting about 25 miles a gallon, going through sections of the South for the first time in 30 years which had so obviously improved in meantime, taking advantage of incentive programs no government would ever have devised, and spending a relative pittance to accomplish all of this, Rush’s caller from Kalamazoo, Michigan was telling him that capitalism is just another form of “slavery.” Really, he used that word.

The guy’s case was in essence that once entrepreneurs achieve a certain level of success and lifestyle, they become intent to maintaining it, and if they have to do it on the backs of their employees by paying and treating them like dirt, they will, turning the employees into de facto “slaves” of an oppressive regime.

Rush’s reasonable question after hearing this was (paraphrasing): “Where did you learn this garbage?” Because, of course, it is total garbage.

Sadly, the answer is more than likely the following: “an educational system whose teachers all too often have NO concept, let alone appreciation, for how wealth is created, or how free-market capitalism has done more to improve the human condition for virtually all of its participants than any other system ever devised.”

From the employees’ standpoint, the most obvious response is that they need to vote with their feet and find another job in instances where this happens. The caller and lefty readers should note that an entrepreneur and company exercising such poor judgment is more likely to hang onto his or her employees in these circumstances when the economy, like the private-sector-hostile Pelosi-Obama-Reid economy, is in historically lousy shape.

Thanks to competition for employees as well as customers, companies which consistently treat their employees like dirt often end up paying the ultimate price by putting themselves out of business, e.g., Circuit City (last item at link). When oppressive governments which economically enslave their people treat them like dirt (read: the old Soviet Union, today’s Cuba), there is no alternative, and things just get “progressively” worse. Cubans “live” on $20 a month plus whatever they can buy with a government-issued ration card. Yet Castro and his thugs still get treated with kid gloves or are even praised by people in the educational establishment.

It takes a special brand of ignorance to use the marvels around you on a daily basis while arguing that the system which produced them leads to “slavery.” But our schools are apparently producing all too many people who “think” this way.

Positivity: Royal Wedding: RAF rescue hero honored by wedding invite

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From England:

Published on Saturday 30 April 2011 06:23

MOST of us had to make do with watching the Royal Wedding on TV – but a couple from Sheffield went one better by attending the service in person.

RAF serviceman Richard Taylor and his wife Kathryn attended Westminster Abbey after Prince William invited all of his military colleagues from the air force’s search and rescue team in Anglesey, Wales.

Richard is originally from Woodseats, while Kathryn is from Sheffield Lane Top, and the pair told The Star it was a “great honour” to be present at the momentous occasion.

“We were quite shocked to be invited, really – a lot of people thought we were going down to spectate outside so they were quite surprised when we said we’re going to the wedding,” said Kathryn, aged 48.

Richard, 41, is a master air crewman in the RAF’s 22 Squadron ‘C’ Flight, and works as a helicopter winchman, carrying out rescues in perilous situations.

The wedding wasn’t the couple’s first brush with royalty – last year the couple visited Buckingham Palace when Richard was awarded a medal for rescuing passengers from the Riverdance Ferry, which ran aground off the Blackpool coast.

“It’s absolutely fantastic that William’s invited everyone, it shows he’s a really nice lad,” Kathryn said. “He wanted all of his mates to be there with him.”

Go here for the rest of the story.