To all my friends and followers; may 2010 bring peace, prosperity and happiness your way. May we all unite together to bring about real hope and change for our great nation.
Another Black Conservative
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of U.S. voters say waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques should be used to gain information from the terrorist who attempted to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 30% oppose the use of such techniques, and another 12% are not sure.
Men and younger voters are more strongly supportive of the aggressive interrogation techniques than women and those who are older. Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party favor their use more than Democrats.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters think the attempt by the Nigerian Muslim to blow up the airliner as it landed in Detroit should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act. Only 22% say it should be handled by civilian authorities as a criminal act, as is currently the case.
There has been a lot of discussion online and in the mainstream media about our response to various critics of the President, specifically former Vice President Cheney, who have been coming out of the woodwork since the incident on Christmas Day. I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer.
First, it’s important that the substantive context be clear: for seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq – a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion – Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years. It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda – more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan, and building partnerships to target al Qaeda’s safe-havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened, and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.
To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.
Second, the former Vice President makes the clearly untrue claim that the President – who is this nation’s Commander-in-Chief – needs to realize we are at War. I don’t think anyone realizes this very hard reality more than President Obama. In his inaugural, the President said “our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” In a recent speech, Assistant to the President for Terrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan said “Instead, as the president has made clear, we are at war with al-Qaida, which attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 people. We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al-Qaida’s murderous agenda. These are the terrorists we will destroy; these are the extremists we will defeat.” At West Point, the President told the nation why it was “in our vital national interest” to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, adding that as Commander in Chief, “I see firsthand the terrible wages of war.” And at Oslo, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the President said, “We are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land.”
There are numerous other such public statements that explicitly state we are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic (“terrorism”), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered.
Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director
HONOLULU -- Conservative radio talk host Rush Limbaugh was rushed to a Honolulu hospital on Wednesday afternoon with chest pains, sources told KITV.
Paramedics responded to the call at 2:41 p.m. at the Kahala Hotel and Resort.
Limbaugh, 58, suffered from chest pains, sources said. Limbaugh was sitting in a chair in his ninth-floor hotel room at the Kahala when emergency crews arrived, sources said. He told medical crews that he was taking medication for a back problem, sources said.
Paramedics treated him and took him to Queen's Medical Center in serious condition. He will not be released from the hospital on Wednesday night, sources said.
Officials wit the Rush Limbaugh Program released a statement Wednesday night.
"Rush was admitted to and is resting comfortably in a Honolulu hospital today, after suffering chest pains. Rush appreciates your prayers and well wishes, and he will keep you updated via RushLimbaugh.com."
He was seen golfing at Waialae Country Club earlier this week. The country club is next to the Kahala Hotel and Resort.
The radio show host had been in the islands during the holidays. Coincidentally, his visit comes at a time when two of the nation's most powerful Democrats, President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are also staying in Hawaii.
"As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won’t be at war.
“He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al Qaeda trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, ‘war on terror,’ we won’t be at war. But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe. Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency – social transformation—the restructuring of American society. President Obama’s first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war."
“A systemic failure has occurred, and I consider that totally unacceptable,” Mr. Obama said. He said he had ordered government agencies to give him a preliminary report on Thursday about what happened and added that he would “insist on accountability at every level,” although he did not elaborate.
Mr. Obama alluded to the intelligence in his statement. “Had this critical information been shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged,” the president said. “The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America.”
The investigation's ongoing. And I spoke again this morning with Attorney General Eric Holder, the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, and my counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, John Brennan. I asked them to keep -- continue monitoring the situation to keep the American people and members of Congress informed.
Here's what we know so far: On Christmas Day, Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was en route from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit. As the plane made its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a passenger allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on his body, setting off a fire.
Thanks to the quick and heroic actions of passengers and crew, the suspect was immediately subdued, the fire was put out, and the plane landed safely. The suspect is now in custody and has been charged with attempting to destroy an aircraft.
Since I was first notified of this incident, I've ordered the following actions to be taken to protect the American people and to secure air travel.
First, I directed that we take immediate steps to ensure the safety of the traveling public. We made sure that all flights still in the air were secure and could land safely. We immediately enhanced screening and security procedures for all flights, domestic and international. We added federal air marshals to flights entering and leaving the United States. And we're working closely in this country, federal, state and local law enforcement, with our international partners.
Second, I've ordered two important reviews, because it's absolutely critical that we learn from this incident and take the necessary measures to prevent future acts of terrorism.
Before I leave, let me also briefly address the events that have taken place over the last few days in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in detentions, injuries, and even death.
Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.
American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.
Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.
Both Saudi nationals have since emerged in leadership roles in Yemen, according to U.S. officials and the men's own statements on al Qaeda propaganda tapes.
Both of the former Guantanamo detainees are described as military commanders and appear on a January, 2009 video along with the man described as the top leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, Abu Basir Naser al-Wahishi, formerly Osama bin Laden's personal secretary.
In the second photo (below), the packet of actual explosive powder has been removed from the underpants and displayed separately.
It is a six-inch long packet of the high explosive chemical called PETN, less than a half cup in volume, weighing about 80 grams.
A government test with 50 grams of PETN blew a hole in the side of an airliner. That was the amount in the bomb carried by the so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid over Christmas 2001.
The underpants bomb would have been one and a half times as powerful.
Lauer pressed: How does a guy who’s on this general terror list, who buys a one-way transtlantic ticket with cash, who checks no luggage, and who’s own father has flagged him to authorities, get on the plane? Napolitano said that “our system did not work in this instance” and no one “is happy or satisfied with that.” She maintained “air travel is safe.”
Federal officials and police are interviewing a Nigerian man, who allegedly tried to "explode" a powdery substance aboard a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, injuring himself and two other passengers, law enforcement officials said.
The man said he was directed by al Qaeda to explode a small device in flight, over U.S. soil, ABC News has learned. Authorities have no corroboration of that information, and the credibility of the suspect's statements are being questioned, officials said.
The suspect was identified as Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, who according to federal documents is an engineering student at University College of London.
He was flying from Nigeria to the United States for a religious seminar, according to his entry visa, which was issued June 16, 2008 and was good until June 12, 2010.[MORE]
The political dangers of this situation could not be clearer.
Witness the losses in New Jersey and Virginia in this year's off-year elections. In those gubernatorial contests, the margin of victory was provided to Republicans by independents -- many of whom had voted for Obama. Just one year later, they had crossed back to the Republicans by 2-to-1 margins.
Witness the drumbeat of ominous poll results. Obama's approval rating has fallen below 49 percent overall and is even lower -- 41 percent -- among independents. On the question of which party is best suited to manage the economy, there has been a 30-point swing toward Republicans since November 2008, according to Ipsos. Gallup's generic congressional ballot shows Republicans leading Democrats. There is not a hint of silver lining in these numbers. They are the quantitative expression of the swing bloc of American politics slipping away.
And, of course, witness the loss of Rep. Griffith and his fellow moderate Democrats who will retire. They are perhaps the truest canaries in the coal mine.
Despite this raft of bad news, Democrats are not doomed to return to the wilderness. The question is whether the party is prepared to listen carefully to what the American public is saying. Voters are not re-embracing conservative ideology, nor are they falling back in love with the Republican brand. If anything, the Democrats' salvation may lie in the fact that Republicans seem even more hell-bent on allowing their radical wing to drag the party away from the center.
All that is required for the Democratic Party to recover its political footing is to acknowledge that the agenda of the party's most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans -- and, based on that recognition, to steer a more moderate course on the key issues of the day, from health care to the economy to the environment to Afghanistan.
For liberals to accept that inescapable reality is not to concede permanent defeat. Rather, let them take it as a sign that they must continue the hard work of slowly and steadily persuading their fellow citizens to embrace their perspective. In the meantime, liberals -- and, indeed, all of us -- should have the humility to recognize that there is no monopoly on good ideas, as well as the long-term perspective to know that intraparty warfare will only relegate the Democrats to minority status, which would be disastrous for the very constituents they seek to represent.
The party's moment of choosing is drawing close. While it may be too late to avoid some losses in 2010, it is not too late to avoid the kind of rout that redraws the political map. The leaders of the Democratic Party need to move back toward the center -- and in doing so, set the stage for the many years' worth of leadership necessary to produce the sort of pragmatic change the American people actually want. [Read the whole thing here]
UPDATE: This same nut tried to attack the pope in 2008.
FOX News reported:
French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, an 87-year-old Vatican diplomat, fractured his hip in the commotion and will be operated on at Rome’s Gemelli hospital, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.
Benedict appeared a bit unsteady as he approached his chair on the loggia overlooking St. Peter’s Square to deliver his traditional Christmas blessing and was steadied by an attendant.
But he then spread open his arms, blessed the crowd and delivered his “Urbi et Orbi” speech, Latin for “To the city and the world,” without any problem. He followed with Christmas greetings in 65 different languages that drew sustained cheers and chants from the crowd…
Lombardi identified the woman who toppled Benedict as Susanna Maiolo, 25, a Swiss-Italian national with psychiatric problems. He said Maiolo, who was not armed, was taken to a clinic for necessary treatment.
She was the same woman involved in a similar incident at last year’s Midnight Mass, Vatican officials said. In that case, Maiolo jumped the barricade but never managed to reach the pope and was quietly tackled by security.
You’d think they would have kept an eye out for this crazed woman before the service. You’d think.
The Senate approved sweeping healthcare reform legislation by the narrowest of partisan margins early Christmas Eve morning, placing President Barack Obama closer than ever to signing a longtime Democratic priority into law.