May 4, 2011

OBL Death Photos NOT to Be Released (Update: Did Panetta Really Give the Order? Obama as Walter Mitty?)

WHsituationRoom050111Moved to the top because of updates.

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I’d have less of a problem with this if the intent to release Osama Bin Laden death photo(s) hadn’t been the administration’s initial and occasionally stubbornly stated position.

But it was. So now, as Michelle Malkin writes, “dhimmitude and non-disclosure prevail.” Certainly in perception — and the bin Laden death deniers will have more of a field day than they deserve.

I especially have little patience for the “we don’t want to offend others’ sensibilities” argument. Help me remember: Did the innocent Nick Berg’s murderers hold back on releasing the video of their cold-blooded decapitation of him? Did journalist Daniel Pearl’s kidnappers? No? Then why are we holding back, when we did the right thing by taking out the monster who admitted to and celebrated the 9/11 attacks and the murder of thousands of innocents?

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UPDATE: Drudge links to this UK Daily Mail item and asks — “Muslim ‘sensitivities’ trump transparency?” Unfortunately, he didn’t need the question mark.

UPDATE 2: Holman Jenkins, at the Wall Street Journal

Civilization Vindicated
It took an advanced society to visit vengeance where it belonged.

It also takes an advanced society to appropriately show those who need to unequivocally recognize it that we will visit vengeance where it belongs when it needs to happen to preserve civilization.

Maybe we’re not so advanced after all — or at least the people in charge aren’t.

UPDATE 3: From the incomparable Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs, what is effectively a follow-up to my “months” questions in today’s Lucid Links post (third item) –

It is disturbing that the safe-house was discovered last August and that we risked losing OBL over the course of the past nine months. The courier’s name who led to Bin Laden through Bush’s CIA interrogations was leaked in the latest WIKILEAKS dump. So it was only a matter of time.

“Osama bin Laden had 500 Euros in cash and two telephone numbers sewn into his clothing when he was killed, CBS News has confirmed.” It was a miracle we got there in time.

But OBL appeared not to be worried. OBL was at the compound without armed guards or any sort of organized unit of protection. OBL was so confident, so safe, so assured. He lived there for some time (as opposed to moving from cave to cave under Bush). Clearly he was not worried under an Obama administration, and it’s a miracle he was still there.

The media won’t vet this story. So once again the blogs will go about getting to the bottom of things. The following update makes sense of what we know about Obama’s reluctance to fight jihad. He seemed more concerned with getting Obama’s Islamic burial right and the “Muslims sensitivities” that might be inflamed by the release of the OBL’s death photos. Striking when Obama has insisted OBL was “not a Muslim leader.”

Oh, it gets better, as she links to a claim that “Obama Hesitated – Panetta Issued Order to Kill Osama Bin Laden” –

“What Valerie Jarrett, and the president, did not know is that Leon Panetta had already initiated a program that reported to him –and only him, involving a covert on the ground attack against the compound.”

Obama’s apparently recent discovery about this covert operation by the CIA’s Panetta might explain why he’s suddenly heading over to Defense while Petraeus, who one might expect would have been read the riot act about ever thinking about doing something similar, is set to replace Panetta at the CIA.

Read the whole thing.

If (emphasis if) the above is true, we have a veritable Walter Mitty in the Oval Office acting out his fantasies in public. Heaven help us.

April ISM Non Manufacturing Index Drops (See Update)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:31 pm

April came in at 52.8%, down from 57.3% in March.

The employment component dropped 1.8% to 51.9%, while the new orders component cliff-dived from 64.1% to 52.7% (an all-time record drop, per Zero Hedge).

I’m not going to join the gloom and doom bandwagon yet, because those readings are all still in expansion (anything above 50% represents expansion). But the next two months are pretty critical, the headwinds are mighty strong, and the Obama administration isn’t doing what it should be doing to promote the kind of recovery that can withstand the pressures. (Also see the May 5 Update below.)

Related, via AP:

Analysts predict the economy created 185,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.8 percent. But some are saying the service-sector report and other new data suggest the numbers may be weaker when the government issues its employment report Friday.

UPDATE, May 5, 7:30 p.m.: Just noticed that the prediction was that the index would increase to 57.8%.

A miss that wasn’t this big between forecast and actual is what led me to identify the existence of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy in early July 2008. That 3%-plus miss caused a predicted continued expansion to turn into contraction, so I’m not saying we’re heading into the land of another recession as normal people define it — yet. But the 5% miss is a potentially bad sign of deterioration.

Memo to US CEOs: Before You Use That Cheap Help From India …

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:16 am

… don’t make unsupported assumptions about its quality — or even its origin.

An e-mailer tipped me to a great WSJ item from April 5 (bolds are mine throughout):

India Graduates Millions, But Too Few Are Fit to Hire
(more…)

Rush xRefs TB’s NewsBusters Post on the Relevance of Enhanced Interrogation Info in OBL Mission

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:43 am

Though it’s included in the evolving thread on the the OBL mission, I didn’t post separately at BizzyBlog on the Associated Press’s brief three-paragraph item reporting that enhanced interrogation techniques contributed to the intelligence supporting the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.

Here’s that AP report, presented in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes:
(more…)

ADP’s April Employment Report: +179K Private Sector Jobs

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:02 am

From the report’s home page:

Employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose 179,000 from March to April on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report® released today. The estimated change of employment from February 2011 to March 2011 was revised up to 207,000 from the previously reported increase of 201,000. Today’s ADP National Employment Report® shows that labor market conditions continued to improve in April, but only at a moderate pace. The increase of 179,000 is close to consensus expectations both for today’s report and for Friday’s jobs number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Contrary to ADP’s “consensus expectations” claim, Bloomberg’s median estimate was 198,000.

A +200k overall jobs number when the government’s report comes out on Friday — even if there’s no accompanying pickup in jobs at temporary help services — would mean that the economy has still lost non-temp jobs 22 months after the recession ended. As of March, the non-temp job loss was 263,000:

TotalAndTempJobsThru0311

Creating an atmosphere of pervasive, government-induced business uncertainty has inflicted and continues to inflict horrible consequences on millions of American individuals and families — and it didn’t have to happen.

By contrast, in July 1984, the 22nd month after the 1980s recovery, the economy under Ronald Reagan added 312,000 jobs — based on population, replicating that performance today would require a reading of at least +400,000 — bringing its post-recession total to just over 5.6 million (the equivalent of least 7 million today).

Choosing long-discredited “stimulus” instead of Reagan’s (and Coolidge’s, JFK’s, and Bush 43′s) proven public policy remedies has also inflicted horrible consequences.

UPDATE: Really, why did ADP feel compelled to say that its results are “close to consensus expectations,” when the indications are that they’re not. There’s the Bloomberg item above, plus these reactions recorded at Reuters

ELIZABETH MILLER, PRESIDENT OF SUMMIT PLACE FINANCIAL ADVISORS IN SUMMIT, NEW JERSEY

“This is something of a disappointment and it will put a greater focus on the jobless claims and non-farm payroll numbers coming out later this week.

TIM GHRISKEY, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER OF SOLARIS ASSET MANAGEMENT IN BEDFORD HILLS, NEW YORK

“April was not a great number, certainly weaker. March was revised upward slightly. … Certainly people will look into this and be pessimistic or cautious about Friday’s numbers.

“(This is) a miss nonetheless and shows the economy continue to improve but at a very slow, modest rate.”

Lucid Links (050411, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:11 am

And now, a word from a guy the left has wanted to prosecute and attempted to professionally ruin, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

From Guantanamo to Abbottabad

Mr. Obama deserves credit for ordering the mission that killed bin Laden. But he should also recognize that he succeeded despite his urge to disavow Bush administration policies. Perhaps one day he will acknowledge his predecessor’s role in making this week’s dramatic success possible. More importantly, he should end the criminal investigation of CIA agents and restart the interrogation program that helped lead us to bin Laden.

That guy is John Yoo, who “is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an official in the Justice Department from 2001-03 and is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.”

He has also been the target of “vigilante stalkers” who “have decided on their own that John Yoo is guilty of a crime and needs to be punished.”

Yoo also wrote the following at Ricochet on Monday:

The majority of the credit for the operation that killed Osama bin Laden goes to the Obama administration. But it is also a vindication of the Bush administration’s terrorism policies and shows that success comes from the continuity of policy, not its rejection (as Obama has tried for the last two years).

… Imagine what would have happened if the Obama administration had been running things back in 2002-08. It would have given Miranda warnings and lawyers to KSM and other al Qaeda leaders, no Gitmo, no military commissions — instead civilian trials on US soil with all of the Bill of Rights benefits for terrorist defendants. There would have been no enhanced interrogation program, no terrorist surveillance program, and hence no intelligence mosaic that could have given us the information that produced today’s success. In the war on terror, it is much easier to pull the trigger — the truly hard task is to figure out where to aim. Obama can take credit, rightfully, for the success today, but he owes it to the tough decisions taken by the Bush administration.

Game, set, match. Even the New York Times (“It wasn’t until after 2002, when the agency began rounding up Qaeda operatives — and subjecting them to hours of brutal interrogation sessions in secret overseas prisons — that they finally began filling in the gaps about the foot soldiers, couriers and money men Bin Laden relied on”) and the Associated Press have had to report — surely while gritting their teeth — that enhanced interrogation-obtained info was important.

The left was enraged a few weeks ago when Obama’s Department of (Arbitrary and Selective) Justice begged off on prosecuting Yoo: “The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned a statement by the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicating that it will not prosecute two lawyers who helped develop the Bush-era … program.”

Update: You want bipartisanship? I’ll give you bipartisanship, from Jim Treacher at the Daily Caller’s DC Trawler

  • Headline, supported by the content: “If you’re determined to believe waterboarding had nothing to do with tracking down Bin Laden, don’t listen to Leon Panetta”
  • From post-scripted content at Treacher’s post — “Donald Rumsfeld to Sean Hannity: ‘Anyone who suggests that waterboarding did not produce an enormous amount of valuable intelligence just isn’t facing the truth.’”

Next thing you know, they’ll be holding hands and singing “Kumbay-Osama.”

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Glenn Reynolds’ reaction to the Jerusalem imam’s vow to to take revenge on Obama for taking out OBL (“You should know that soon you’ll hang together with Bush Junior”) starts with sarcasm and ends with a warning:

Okay, first, any talk of hanging is just plain racist. Stupid racist imam.

… if this dumbass keeps talking, people might get the idea that we’re at war with Islam or something. And trust me, your Imam-ness, you don’t want Americans to decide that.

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Questions of the day: How many “months” did the Navy Seals really need to prepare for the operation that took out OBL? For how many “months” prior to the operation did the Seals consider themselves ready to conduct it? How many “months” did Obama know beyond reasonable doubt that OBL was where he was?

Reason for the questions: “Several media outlets identified the courier Monday as Maulawi Abd Khaliq Jan based on a U.S. military assessment file on Libbi (Abu Faraj Libbi, another captured Al Qaeda leader) that was released by WikiLeaks last week. An administration official said that name was incorrect. Officials have so far declined to identify him.”

Leading to the ultimate question: Was Obama, who dithered at crunch time, sitting on the “go” decision for a lot longer than currently portrayed, and pushed into it?

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From the “Being a Jerk Has Consequences” Dept. (“Bush declines Obama invite to Thursday’s Ground Zero event”) –

Only two possibilities. One: Bush recognizes that this is, more or less, an Obama campaign commercial and would rather not be part of it. Two: Bush doesn’t want to encroach on the singular role that Obama, as president, should rightly have in leading the ceremonies marking Bin Laden’s demise. Given how gracious Dubya has been in retirement, does anyone doubt that the second explanation is correct?

Assuming that Number 2 is fundamentally correct, there’s still this overhang, noted by Michelle Malkin: “Given how Paul Ryan was treated upon his Obama unity invitation, you could hardly blame him.” Add to that how the Supremes were publicly dressed down by Obama at his 2010 State of the Union Address for having the nerve to rule as they did in the Citizens United case.

Obama has proven by his own actions that you can never predict when what looks like an outreached hand is really an invitation to an ambush. Acting like a petulant punk has its consequences.

Positivity: Teen able to save girl he met in an online chatroom

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Talladega, Alabama:

Apr 28, 2011

There is currently no shortage of cautionary tales of the dangers lurking in cyberspace, especially for young people. But sometimes it also presents opportunities to do tremendous good, and even to act heroically. Blake Robinson’s actions Friday night fall into that category.

Robinson, 17, lives in Talladega with his mother. He frequented a teen oriented site called Chat Roulette, where he first met a 14-year-old girl named Jillian who lives in a small town in Arizona.

“We were Skyping, and she was showing me all these hats she had,” Robinson said, referring to the video telephone service. “She had this black, furry one, and I asked her for it. She asked me for my address, and I gave it to her and then I asked for hers.”

That was about a month ago. They continued to talk, and on Friday night, a little after 11, Robinson said something was wrong.

“At the beginning, she said she wanted to tell me she loved me, and that she was sorry if these were the last words I’d ever hear her say. I kept asking her what was wrong, and she finally told me.”

She had swallowed four bottles of Oxycontin.

“I started out with Google, trying to find the closest police department in Arizona. I found one that was about 20 or 30 miles away, so I called them. They told me I needed to call the Showlow Police and gave me that number. But when I dialed that number, it said if it was an emergency to hang up and dial 911. But when I did that, it called 911 in Talladega County.”

He called the first agency back, got a different number for Showlow, and finally reached a dispatcher there.”

He gave the dispatcher the address and apartment number, although he says now he “wasn’t 100 percent sure. They started trying to find her place, and they had somebody call me who was a little closer. They found her about 5 minutes after that.”

Jillian was rushed to the hospital and is expected to recover.

Her mother sent Robinson a text message saying, “Jillian is in the icu and is in stable condition. Thank U for calling for help. You saved her life. Thank U so much.”

The next day, she sent another text saying, “She is in the icu and is awake and talking. She will b going 2 a treatment program 4 a couple of weeks. From the bottom of my heart, thank U. U r my hero. If u ever need ANYTHING, Im here.”

A later text came from Jillian herself, who wrote, “Thank you. You made a lot of people better. Even me, I don’t what wudve happened if you didn’t call. I love you sooo much blake.”

The mother also posted on Robinson’s Facebook page, saying, “Sometimes God answers our prayers through the most unlikely and inexplicable of ways. A young man who lives thousands of miles away, who I’ve yet to meet or speak with, was God’s answer to my prayers. Blake, you are my hero and I can never thank you enough. I thank God for you. You will forever be in my thoughts, my prayers, and my heart.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.