A Tacit Endorsement

Posted in 2008 Election on November 2nd, 2008

It seems that Sen. Obama has received an endorsement – though a very tacit and roundabout one – from a much unwanted quarter. An October 30th, 2008 video received by Reuters in Dubai shows Al-Qaeda giving their tacit endorsement to Senator Obama.

From DUBAI (Reuters):

An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be “humiliated,” without endorsing a party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to an Internet video posting.

“O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him,” Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.

Libi, a top al Qaeda commander believed to be living in Afghanistan or Pakistan, called for God’s wrath to be brought against Bush equating him with past tyrants in history.

The remarks were the first from a leading al Qaeda figure referring, albeit indirectly, to the U.S. elections. Muslim clerics often end sermons by calling on God to guide and support Muslims and help defeat their enemies.

Terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group said in a report on Wednesday that militants on al Qaeda-linked websites have for months been debating the significance of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama or Republican John McCain.

Some posters have also argued over the merits of trying to attack the United States before the election or waiting until later, the report said.

But SITE said it did not expect al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden or deputy Ayman al-Zawahri to openly favor a candidate.

“To support a particular candidate would debase al-Qaeda’s long-standing argument that the United States government is a corrupt institution no matter who is at the helm,” SITE director Rita Katz said in the group’s November newsletter.

In 2004 bin Laden issued his first video in more than a year just days before the U.S. elections. It derided Bush and warned of possible new September 11-style attacks.

Bin Laden made little mention of Bush’s Democratic challenger, John Kerry, telling Americans: “Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe.”

Kerry has attributed his loss in part to the video’s high-profile reminder of the terrorism issue.

In 2006, after Democrats captured Congress, Zawahri issued an audio message saying all Americans remained al Qaeda’s enemies regardless of party, SITE said.

SITE said militant postings on al Qaeda-linked websites typically discuss Obama in terms of his race, or his religion and foreign policy. Some forecast a racial crisis dividing the United States if he wins. Others say his planned phased withdrawal from Iraq would be a boon to al Qaeda’s affiliate and give it a base for Middle East expansion.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain has been portrayed as likely to allow “the continuation of Republican control and aggressive policies toward the Islamic world.”

H/T to Bold Color Conservative

It must be noted that this is at best – or worse – a tacit endorsement. However it does seem that Al-Qaeda views Sen. Obama as “the lesser of evils.” One wonders if the media will bury this story. One also wonders what effect Al-Qaeda’s tacit endorsement will have on Obama’s chances of being elected.

Some Intel Analysis

There’s not a great deal of insight into the mind or workings of Al-Qaeda that can be taken away from this article; it’s too short and too filtered to provide good intelligence for analysis. A few points can be inferred though:

Bush & The War on Terrorism
Al-Qaeda doesn’t like and probably fears President George W. Bush and anyone that they feel will continue to prosecute the war against them in a similar fashion to how it’s been prosecuted so far.

We have hurt them and continue to hurt them. That is something worth knowing, no matter who is elected on November 4th.

Iraq
Al-Qaeda still has active operations in Iraq, but those operations are currently in disarray. Al-Qaeda needs the US to pull out of Iraq before it can further its agenda within within that region. The Surge has achieved – or come close to achieving – it aims.

Afghanistan & Pakistan
This is is much harder to analyze because I’m forced to analyze the meaning of an absence of rhetoric rather analyzing the content of existent rhetoric. I see a couple of possibilities:

Possibility #1
Al-Qaeda isn’t worried about Sen. McCain’s or Sen. Obama’s approach to prosecuting the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan because they have few if any assets in those areas.

There has always been some debate on how Arab-centric Al-Qaeda was. Osama bin Laden may have – or have had – close ties to the Taliban and to the Afghans and Pashtun Pakistanis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Al-Qaeda as whole has similar ties.

Possibility #2
Al-Qaeda prefers Obama’s more hawkish and unilateral approach to prosecuting the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan over McCain’s more cooperative approach to that theater.

Al-Qaeda may hope that Obama will will follow through on his promises and that this will embroil the Us in an open war with Pakistan. This would further galvanize the Muslim world against the US and keep the Waziristani region of Pakistan as a relatively safe haven for Muslim extremists such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Please understand that this analysis has a fairly low Confidence Factor. Most of it is nothing but inference substantiated by general analysis of the long running situation as it has been reported over the years.

I think that the important point to take away from this analysis is that Al-Qaeda is hurting and hoping that America will back off on direct military action in the Middle-East and approach that theater in a softer and more diplomatic manner. If they favor Obama – as the video by Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests – it is for that reason.

Show Some Respect

Posted in 2008 Election, Ethics & Morality on October 20th, 2008

To all my Conservative readers,

Barack Obama will suspend campaigning for a day and a half so that he can fly to Hawaii to be at the side of his gravely ill grandmother, a campaign aide said late Monday.

Madelyn Dunham, 86, was released from the hospital at the end of last week and returned to her home in Honolulu with a health condition the aide described only as “very serious.”

Please show some respect for his family as we would hope others would show to ours. Back off a bit unless his surrogates take the fight to us in his absence.

We are better than those who would use something like this against a candidate.

If you worship a God or Goddess or both, please add your prayers for Obama’s grandmother’s recovery or easy passing.

Thank you,

jonolan

P.S.: Thank you to Chamay0 for posting the notice, though she has less than favorable expectations from McCain and we Conservatives.

China: Olympic Gymnasts

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Humor on August 15th, 2008

A rare photo of one of China’s 2012 Olympic gymnastics hopefuls. She’s training hard for 2012 Summer Games – between naps and diaper changes.

Chinese Olympic gymnastics hopeful training for 2012 Summer Games
With a grateful H/T to Dame Wiggy!

Darfur Yes, Cheek No

Posted in 2008 Olympics on August 6th, 2008

By Chris Chase-Photo via Getty ImagesThe 2008 Summer Olympics – also called the 2008 Genocide Games – will start on Friday August 8th, but they’ll start without Olympic gold medalist Joey Cheek. China has revoked the athlete’s visa.

Joey Cheek is co-founder of Team Darfur, a group of 70 athletes who are striving to raise global awareness of the human-rights violations taking part in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Chinas military, economic and diplomatic ties to Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir’s regime have apparently made it undesirable – for the Evil Old Men in Beijing at least – for Cheek to enter China during the Games.

I am saddened not to be able to attend the Games. The Olympic Games represent something powerful: that people can come together from around the world and do things that no one thought were possible. However, the denial of my visa is a part of a systemic effort by the Chinese government to coerce and threaten athletes who are speaking out on behalf of the innocent people of Darfur.

— Joey Cheek

China has also revoked Cheek’s partner and Team Darfur’s co-founder, former UCLA water polo player Brad Greiner’s visa as well. Both activists were told that they had no recourse in the matter and that China did not owe them any explanation as to why they had been banned from the country.

This seems like another typically stupid and childish move by the Chinese. It’s not like any new damning evidence would be brought forth by Cheek or Greiner. The whole world is quite aware that China has consistently violated the 2005 UN Arms Embargo against Sudan by providing the weaponry that al-Bashir needs to complete his ethnic cleansing of Darfur. The whole world is also quite aware that Sudan pays for those arms with oil that China needs to fuel its growing industrial sector.

I guess the Chinese are just tired of hearing about about their collusion with other genocidal states and their utter inability to conduct themselves with anything remotely resembling human decency.

Punishing Profitability

Posted in 2008 Election, Society on August 4th, 2008

Presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama has published his “Emergency Economic Plan.” Given the current perceived state of the US economy, this is neither surprising or unwarranted in and of itself. Sadly but still not surprisingly, as with many politicians published plans during an election cycle, Obama’s plan is more firmly based in pandering to the voters than to addressing the issues at hand.

Obama “Emergency Economic Plan” comes in two parts. The first part , which is the only one I can really speak to, is an “energy rebate” ($500 to individual workers, $1,000 to families) he would like to send out as soon as this upcoming fall. These “rebates” would be fully paid for with five years of a windfall profits tax on record oil company profits!

Obama describes this in his plan as “Forcing big oil companies to take a reasonable share of their record breaking windfall profits and use it to help struggling families with direct relief.”

OK, let’s start with what are Windfall Profits? They’re technically defined as “profits that occurs unexpectedly as a consequence of some event not controlled by those who profit from it.” So essentially Obama is saying that the US federal government should enact legislation to ensure that companies – at least certain companies – are forced to share their unexpected gains with the public at large.

Where does a profit margin become excessive? Below is a listing of the average profit margins for some of the major economic sectors in the US.

  • Beverages & Tobacco: 19.10%
  • Pharmaceuticals: 18.40%
  • Electronics & appliances: 14.50%
  • Computers: 13.70%
  • Chemicals: 12.70%
  • Manufacturing: 8.90%
  • Oil & Gas: 8.30%
  • Aerospace: 8.20%
  • Machinery: 8.20%

That’s right, Oil & Gas ranked 7 out of 9 by sector when it came to profit margins, and maintained profit margins of less than half of that maintained by Beverages & Tobacco and Pharmaceuticals. Yet, Obama and a bunch of other Democrats aren’t gunning for other sectors with larger profit margins and margins more sustainable over the course of years.

Why would Obama want to take money away from a sector of American industry that maintains less than a 10% profit margin during most years? Have the oil companies been engaging in profiteering or market manipulation? No.

Obama’s plan as published doesn’t even try to hide his intent or reasoning. He makes no claim that that “Big Oil” is engaged in profiteering or any other form of market manipulation. In his plan Obama even states that the oil companies committed no wrong, but had benefited from “changes in the price of oil because of factors like supplies in the Middle East, demand in Asia, and disruptions and distortions in the oil market.” So Obama isn’t for regulation of profits; he’s for commandeering profits from companies that experience good fortune in their business endeavors.

This idea sounds more like something that would be enacted into law in some socialist nation like Venezuela than the US. Oh wait – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez did enact almost identical legislation in April of this year. Less than a month later House Democrats tried to get that law enacted here in the US, but were blocked in the Senate. Now Obama is giving it another shot – or at least acting like he is.