Wednesday, August 23, 2017
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My latest article for Dispatch International sets out to explain to Europeans how it could be that the mayor of Philadelphia is investigating whether the First Amendment covers free speech about  Philadelphia -- specifically, the Philadelphia Magazine cover story, "Being White in Philly."

It's not easy.

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WASHINGTON, DC. In the summer of 2002, the Philadelphia Daily News published a cover story headlined, “Fugitives Among Us: Sometimes, Murder Suspects Hide in Plain Sight”. Forty-one mug shots of murder suspects illustrated the story, overflowing from the tabloid’s cover to the inside pages. The suspects were mainly black men, with a smattering of Hispanics and Asians. There were no white fugitives in the line-up.

Why? There were no white fugitives in Philadelphia at the time. This reality did nothing to ward off protests by activists who accused the newspaper of “racism” for publishing the facts. Soon, the newspaper issued an apology, and maybe Philadelphia civic...

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This week's column focuses on what David Petraeus could do, besides talk, about a small group of veterans whose punishments for "murder" and related charges on the COIN battlefield he ordered them onto are unjust, excessive or even corrupt. One of those veterans is Sgt. Derrick Miller (above with daughter Kaitlyn), who joined the " Leavenworth Ten" in 2011.

Below is an email exchange I had in July 2011 with Derrick's original defense lawyer Charles Gittens after Derrick was sentenced to life in prison.



Hello, Mr. Gittins,

Saw a brief story about Sgt. Miller's sentencing (first I'd heard of  the story). Can you send me any more information about his case? Best wishes, Diana West Charles Gittins replied:

...

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This week's syndicated column

Talk is cheap, Gen. Petraeus.

You may not agree. After all, your Washington, D.C., “super lawyer,” Bob Barnett, charges you something like $900 an hour for a kind of talk best described as “reputation reconfiguration” or “image management,” and that’s not cheap. Still, you probably consider it effective.

Judging by your recent coming-out party at a University of Southern California dinner to honor the military – your first public foray since you disappeared in a cloud of Paula Broadwell – whatever advice you’ve been buying seems to be working. You came, you apologized, you received a standing ovation. The media melted all over again into a puddle of admiration, further obscuring the real reasons you should be not apologizing before a gala crowd, but rather testifying before the American people: those national scandals you have so far successfully left in your dust.

I have previously addressed such scandals and will do so again: lying to the...

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The Death of the Grown-Up is now available as an e-book.

Kindle or Nook, take your pick.

CBS reports:

David Petraeus apologized Tuesday night to an audience of many veterans for the conduct that led to his resignation as head of the CIA following the disclosure of an extramarital affair.

"Needless to say, I join you keenly aware that I am regarded in a different light now than I was a year ago," Petraeus said. "I am also keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing. So please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret — and apologize for — the circumstances that led me to resign from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters."

It was clear at the time that the Broadwell affair was providing Petraeus with the perfect smokescreen to evade responsibility for lying to Congress twice...

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This week's syndicated column

Found myself in a group conversation that included one of the more instantly recognizable media figures -- someone who personifies the phrase "mainstream media." Since this isn't something that happens every day, why not make the best of it? Why not ask this VIMP (Very Important Media Person) a question or two on the topics that I frequently criticize the press for not covering?

The problem was how to do so without unduly alarming the poor thing. My favorite kinds of questions might be distressing to VIMPs who never ask them, or even seem to think of them. I didn't want to scare off her (or him) without eliciting an answer. I had to consider carefully while my VIMP remained at hand in a perpetual state of high-definition recognition.

There was no doubt about what was uppermost on my list: Had this journalistic personage ever had the curiosity to download and examine the online document posted at the White House website that purports to be President...

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CNN reports that David Petraeus will make his first public appearance since resigning in multi-varied if only partly limned states of disgrace, all overshadowed by L'Affaire Broadwell. He will deliver a speech this month at a dinner honoring the military.

The brief article cites two "persons" as sources.

Petraeus will attend a March 26 dinner at the University of Southern California, an annual event hosted by the president of the university to honor the military. He was asked a year ago to attend and accepted. He will deliver a speech at the dinner, according to one of the people who spoke with CNN.

That person said Petraeus is not yet ready to announce his future plans.

Person #2:

But the second person, who is equally close to the former Army general, said Petraeus is considering whether to be represented by a speakers bureau for future public...

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Is that what a police car in small town America should look like?

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Dear Mainstream Media,

Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama went off his teleprompter and added a couple of sentences to the text of a speech about expanding the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. Over rolling applause, the soon-to-be president of the United States said: “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

At the time, Joseph Farah of WND.com wrote a column calling on you to help shine a light on what this shocking statement really meant. In a permanent state of vapors over Obama’s candidacy, you were of no use when it came to extracting anything but press releases from Team Obama.

Nearly five years later, it hardly matters that candidate...

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Heard about the chaplain from Ohio whom Uncle Sam has recognized with a Bronze Star for a PowerPoint presentation? Must have been some PowerPoint presentation -- and so it was.



A Bronze Star for this?

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The Dayton Daily News reports:

Trainer, who’s now in the running to be named Chaplain of the Year for the entire Air Guard, was in the third month of his voluntary deployment to Afghanistan last February when U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield mistakenly burned copies of the Muslim holy book.

The ensuing outrage claimed more than 30 lives, including two U.S. troops and two U.S. military advisers.

Within 48 hours, Trainer developed a PowerPoint presentation on the proper handling and disposal of Islamic...

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Andy McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor formidable and, bonus, great  friend of mine, has weighed in on the Rand Paul filibuster at NRO and finds it so much misguided theatrics. Further, he describes what I see as Paul's electric efforts to focus attention on executive overreach and obfuscation as a "crusade to have the Constitution ban a bogeyman of [Paul's] own making."

The "bogeyman" here is what Andy describes as the "killing of American citizens on American soil by America’s armed forces" -- which sounds pretty scary to me. This, he dryly notes, is "a scandal that clearly cries out for action, having occurred exactly zero times in the 20 years since jihadists commenced hostilities by bombing the World Trade Center."

Whether non-occurrence is reason for non-action -- or, in this case, public debate in the filibuster spotlight -- I leave to history's witness of Pearl Harbor, the 1972 Olympics, and the use on 9/11 of passenger jets as humanly guided...

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This week's syndicated column

Republican Rand Paul took to the floor of the U.S. Senate this week to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination to become head of the CIA. “I will speak as long as it takes,” the junior senator from Kentucky said, “until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”

I imagine many Americans following news of the filibuster, which lasted nearly 13 hours, were finding out for the first time that lawmakers such as Paul, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and a handful of others are gravely concerned about a possible threat from the executive branch against these unalienable rights. This makes the filibuster a success. As Paul said, sounding the alarm from “coast to coast” was exactly his aim.

Was this unusual event...

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Via Drudge, a Hollywood Reporter story on a $5 million lawsuit filed by a consultant who was cut out of a share of the Current TV/Al Jazeera deal. What is even more interesting is the key role David Blum, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's husband and a Current TV boardmember, played in presenting the deal to the rest of the board.

The plaintiff, media consultant John Terenzio, seems to specialize in handling propaganda-disseminating organs of state dictatorships (China, Qatar) for US markets.

Terenzio says that in June, he identified Current TV as a potential acquisition target for Al Jazeera given its vast distribution network and well-publicized financial woes.

At Terenzio's direction, Nanula is said to have approached Richard Blum, a member of Current's board of directors (and the husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein), who was interested because "he and other Current investors were concerned about the prospect of losing their shirts in the financially troubled Current."

...

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The following exchange is from Hour 4:

SEN. CRUZ: After three times declining to answer a direct question -- would killing a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil with a drone strike, when that U.S. citizen did not present an imminent threat, would that be Constitutional -- after three times simply saying it would not be "appropriate," finally the fourth time, attorney general holder responded to vigorous questioning.

In particular, the course of the questioning, the point was made that Attorney General Holder is not an advice columnist giving advice on etiquette and appropriateness. The attorney general is the chief legal officer of the United States. And I will note that I observed it was more than a little astonishing that the chief legal officer of the United States could not give a simple one-word, one-syllable, two-letter answer to the question: Does the Constitution allow the federal government to kill with a drone strike a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil who is not posing an immediate threat? The proper...

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Yesterday, March 6, 2013, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), embarked on a filluster to block the nomination of John Brennan to director of the CIA pending confirmation from the Obama White House that it agrees the president is bound by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees Americans' right to due process, and therefore will never use drones to kill American non-combatants on American soil.

To date, the White House answer is silence.

Here are Paul's opening remarks, which began at 11:47 am, excerpted from the uncorrected transcript to be found at Paul's official website. Paul's dramatic, public, and instructive defense of Constitutional rights against executive overreach is the best thing to have happened to America in a long time.

SEN. PAUL: I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that...

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Waste, fraud and US-taxpayer-abuse.

The final Special Inspector General's Iraq Report (SIGIR) is out this week. Curl up with it and find out where $60 billion taxpayer dollars went in Iraq (spoiler alert: down the drain). Boosters point to the relative success of Iraqi security forces in "keeping order" (trained at a cost of $20-plus billion) -- and Petraeus and Crocker, in their introduction to the report, still burble on, old Western-serial-style, about providing "new opportunity to the citizens of the Land of the Two Rivers" -- although somehow it seems relevant to note that Iraqi security forces under dictator Saddam Hussein also "kept order," sans such costly US training.

Out of Afghanistan, the waste, fraud and abuse story is even more grotesque. Afghanistan's Special Inspector General estimates that Americans have spent $100 billlion (and counting) on construction projects....

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The photo (above) is of a protest against Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) in Arnhem, Holland in 2009. As a Leftist account of the vigil put it: "Many voices spoke out against the PVV party and the statements made by its leader, who is well-known for his `anti-immigration' and racist comments."

Wilders, of course, is the leading opponent of the Islamic wave bringing totalitarian supremacism to the West, which certainly includes the casually vicious anti-Semitism and pro-Hitler sentiments of Arhem's Turkish-Muslim youth as broadcast on Dutch television last month.

The response? Mainly silence -- and no candlelight vigils.





Watch this video (click on the title or "read more"), subtitled by my friend Ken Sikorski of Tundra Tabloids, as Turkish-Muslim "Dutch" boys freely express their visceral hatred of Jews, trading the 20th-century-tragedy of Anne Frank for a 21st-century-defense of HItler. Bonus: the hapless interviewer, a social worker in this city of Arnhem, who bets the boys 50 Euros that with sufficient "knowledge" that he will provide them, they will change their minds about Judaism (although not their animus toward Israel, which as *geopolitics, not Judaism,* he seems to agree with).

Hannah Arendt's famously articulated the "banality" of evil -- but sitting through even six minutes turns out also to be as excruciating as it is appalling.

Israel News reports on the reaction to the video, which aired on Dutch television last month, here:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/165913#.UTdciRmhAeO

   

...

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Business Insider has the best account of Awaleed's announcement that he has "severed" his relationship with Forbes magazine's billionaire-ranking project, and will instead work with Bloomberg's Billionaire List.

Why?

Forbes isn't valuing Alwaleed's worth as highly as he does -- and, further, the Forbes' valuation process, the press release from Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Company maintains, "seemed designed to disadvantage Middle Eastern investors and institutions." Forbes tells Business Insider, meanwhile, the huffy press release was Alwaleed's answer to some fact-checking questions.

The four examples KHC offers of Forbes "bias" will be as amusing to bilionaires and non-billionaires alike for revealing the factors behind the Saudi's pique. They are:

1) "A sudden refusal after six years to accept share values as listed by the Tadawul, Saudi Arabia's fully regulated, 21st-century, high-tech stock exchange ..."

We are not some Third World backwater ...

2) "A completely...

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March 3, 2013, "Prince Alwaleed Receives Lebanese Head of Mission to Discuss Economic Issues":

The meeting began as Mr. Anouti thanked Prince Alwaleed for giving him the opportunity to meet with him.

Same old, same old, right?

March 4, 2013, "Prince Alwaleed Receives Former US Secretary of State James Baker":

The meeting began with Prince Alwaleed greeting Mr. Baker, after which the two discussed issues of mutual interest pertaining to their respective countries.

Interesting!

The meeting was attended by Dr. Walid Arab Hashem,...

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Fox News reports that following Senate fury (when?) over a heavily redacted set of White House documents pertaining to the 9/11/12 attack on the US compound in Benghazi, a second set of documents "were delivered to Capitol Hill Thursday night which had only minimal redactions." 

... Senators have asked to see the documents as a part of their inquiry into the attack on Benghazi. Senators also wanted the documents before they were willing to vote on John Brennan to be Director of Central Intelligence.

A committee vote on Brennan’s nomination is set for Tuesday.

The documents reveal various email traffic about the “talking points” which were passed through a litany of Washington power centers: The White House, the FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department. The source questions why it took the Obama administration months to deliver the information when all of these agencies had dealt with the email traffic.

Sources said the emails revealed heavy editing by then-CIA Director David Petraeus. The talking points evolved as they were passed around various intelligence and security hubs, and scrubbed of language referring to “al Qa’ida.” They also seemed to indicate an effort to paint the Sept. 11 attack as a demonstration and not a planned attack, the source said.

...

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James Murdoch and Alwaleed at the far end of the table, Savoy Hotel, February 5, 2013

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So what's Rupert Murdoch's Saudi Prince Moneybags up to lately?

March 13, 2013, "Prince Alwaleed Receives Lebanese Deputy Head of Mission to Discuss Economic Issues":

The meeting began as Mr. Anouti thanked Prince Alwaleed for giving him the opportunity to meet with him.

February 26, 2013, "Prince Alwaleed Receives Outgoing Head of European Commission":

The meeting began as Mr. Narbone thanked Prince Alwaleed for giving him the opportunity to meet him ...

February 24, 2013, "Prince Alwaleed Receives Former German Federal Chancellor":

The meeting began as Mr. Schröder thanked Prince Alwaleed for giving him and the delegation the opportunity to meet with him.

February 19, 2013, "Prince Alwaleed Receives NIgerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia":

The meeting began as Mr. Bunu thanked Prince Alwaleed for giving him the opportunity to meet with him ...

...

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The Atlantic Wire notes the appearance of the above image in Inspire magazine, which may be described as Al Qaeda's English-language jihad glossy, a naseous-making and surreal propaganda product of global jihad.

Not surprisingly, the AQ magazine's Hollywood-style artwork is nauseous-making and surreal, too. Here we see Al Qaeda, adopting the cartoonish lexicon of George Bush, the Old West (Wanted, Dead or Alive), the Obama administration and Communist/labor/Left organizing ("Yes We Can") to remind its followers and, probably more important, the rest of us that it is targeting a list of law-abiding, peaceable people whose *crime* in the eyes of Islam is *blasphemy.*

Below is an analysis of the AtlanticWire's Daschiell Bennett's account, which I can assume took me longer to write than the hasty-seeming account. (As did, no doubt, this lengthy post on...

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This week's syndicated column

One last question about newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Why?

Why for nearly two months (a Washington eternity) did this nominee above all others galvanize GOP Senate opposition?

I ask the question in genuine wonderment. After all, there was John Kerry with that giant bull’s-eye on his record for giving outrageous aid and comfort to America’s enemies by, among other things, entering into negotiations with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in 1971. How does a U.S. citizen tapped to lead the State Department not have to answer to U.S. senators for such treasonous behavior while a young but already noted public figure?

He was never asked the question, that’s how. Kerry sailed, or even windsurfed, through his confirmation hearing right into Foggy Bottom with only three little dissenting bumps (no votes from GOP Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas and James Inhofe of Oklahoma).

Then there’s John Brennan, President...

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