Mountaintop, PA– I’m here at the Quaker Oats facility in Mountaintop.  After weeks of rain, we’ve got some serious sunshine, and it’s a welcome thing. We’ll see middle 60’s around here today. I’ll be in New Jersey, tonight.

A glorious view from Mountaintop, PA (Drill for full size)

Got the truck washed this morning, it looks wonderful. Things with the truck continue to come together and I’m nothing but pleased. I took Friday off, which allowed the wrenches to spend some quality time with it, and they managed to get lots working that wasn’t. Bloody miracle workers those guys… And I got to spend some quality time with Donna, in the bargain, which is something I’ve not had much chance to do of late. We had a whole weekend together, which is something that is of a premium with this job.

We got to spend some time with my Mom, as well, being Mother’s day. All in all a fine weekend, and I’m refreshed and ready to go.

Looking around:

  • Betrayed? I doubt it: In The Daily Mail yesterday:

    Osama Bin Laden’s deputy led U.S. troops to the Al Qaeda leader’s hideout so he could take over the terrorist group, it was claimed today.

    Egyptian Ayman Al Zawahiri, who has been touted widely as the man who will succeed Bin Laden as the head of Al Qaeda, turned his back on his terrorist leader following a prolonged power struggle, according to a Saudi newspaper.

    The plot to get rid of Bin Laden began when Zawahiri’s faction persuaded bin Laden to leave the protection of the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

    If true, it would seem that Zawahiri played US intelligence like a fiddle. But I’m unsure if that’s the end of it.  UBL, didn’t strike me as someone who would let such betrayal go on. Moreover,  Zawahiri doesn’t sound like the kind of animal who would… or even could… plan such a coup. He’s simply neither that smart nor that bold. As such,  I begin to get the uneasy feeling that Zawahiri may have been acting at UBL’s direction. It sounds strange, and I grant you, it’s pure conjecture. But think on this; It all fits… perhaps even a little too well.  Look, gang, we’ve known for several years, now, that UBL has had health issues. kidney problems, at least.  Probably, good deal more.  Such things never get better with the passage of time, they invariably tend to get worse.  Particularly once one gets to dialysis, which has been rumored to be UBL’s situation.

    So now think; What does a leader faced with the situation do?  He not only sets himself up as a martyr , but manages to expose the level of US intel gathering, as well as the people involved with it, sets Zawahiri up as the new leader of AlQuieda, and goes out on top of his game, hero to Islamic extremists everywhere.  I don’t suggest that this is precisely what happened, I merely lay it out as a possibility.

    If it’s true, our intelligence services and particularly the White House were played as inept fools.  No shock for that since  the mishandling of the information , and the number of various, constantly shifting scenarios concocted by the White House to cover someone’s backside on this one, of themselves seem to suggest a serious ineptitude on the part of the Obama White House. That vision would seem to be directly online with them falling for a plan  of AQ, UBL and Zawahiri, et al.  And that would seem to me to make killing UBL a pariahic victory…. Hmmm?

    Here’s the sad part; If my guess is correct here, we’ll probably never know.  At least, not for years. Certainly not while Obama is in the White House and the Democrats remain in power in the Senate.

    Ohhhh and yes… Of course the other possibility (and one that seems more likely to me given the history of the thing)  is that the Saudis have reasons of their own to spread the idea that UBL was betrayed. And the reasons behind that, I can’t speculate on just now without more info.

  • Stacked deck: And would they pick just now to play this ruse on the US? The same reason the Pakastanis figured they could get away with hiding UBL.  The great Mark Steyn:

    The belated dispatch of Osama testifies to what the United States does well – elite warriors, superbly trained, equipped to a level of technological sophistication no other nation can match.

    Mark Steyn

    Everything else surrounding the event (including White House news management so club-footed that one starts to wonder darkly whether its incompetence is somehow intentional) embodies what the United States does badly.  Pakistan, our “ally,” hides and protects not only Osama but also Mullah Omar and Zawahiri, and does so secure in the knowledge that it will pay no price for its treachery – indeed, confident that its duplicitous military will continue to be funded by U.S. taxpayers.

    Well, exactly. And I submit that the current occupant of the White House is exactly why Pakistan correctly got that impression. But Steyn as usual goes on from there:

    Bin Laden famously said that when people see a strong horse and a weak horse they naturally prefer the strong horse. Putting a bullet through his eye is a good way of letting him know which role he’s consigned to. But the strong horse/weak horse routine is a matter of perception as much as anything else. On Sept. 12, 2001, Gen. Musharraf was in a meeting “when my military secretary told me that the U.S. secretary of state, Gen. Colin Powell, was on the phone. I said I would call back later.” The milquetoasts of the State Department were in no mood for Musharraf’s I’m-washing-my-hair routine, and, when he’d been dragged to the phone, he was informed that the Bush administration would bomb Pakistan “back to the Stone Age” if they didn’t get everything they wanted. Musharraf concluded that America meant it.

    (Compare that to now as…)…our troops are running around Afghanistan “winning hearts and minds” and getting gunned down by the very policemen and soldiers they’ve spent years training. Back on the home front, every small-town airport has at least a dozen crack TSA operatives sniffing round the panties of grade-schoolers. Meanwhile, at the UN, the EU, at the Organization of the Islamic Conference, in the “Facebook revolutions” of “the Arab spring,” the Islamization of the world proceeds: Millions of Muslims support bin Laden’s goal – the submission of the Western world to Islam – but, unlike him, understand that flying planes into buildings is entirely unnecessary to achieving it. Will being high-flying Jetsons with state-of-the-art gizmos prove sufficient in a Flintstonizing world? The Pakistanis are pretty sure they know the answer to that.

    Now, of course much of that train of thought should and will disappear should we actually get someone into the White House . with the stones to deal with such matters correctly. And here’s a clue; That’s not Obama. But… and here’s the key…Nor is it any other Democrat or Centrist establishment Republican.

  • Civilian Trials for terorists, but not for UBL? I asked a few days ago, Isn’t Obama’s Execution of UBL, a Rejection of Civilian Trials for Terrorists? … and f course was beset by a number of lefties who as a matter of routine miss the points being made. Let me be clear, here; I echo Lee Smith in this:

    To fret over bin Laden’s end, to lament the killing of an American enemy, identifies you as something other than a friend of the United States.

    And, yes, I’m very much aware of what that implies in terms of foreign relations. The point, however, is that all bomb ahead card is back on his campaign promises because of something that Democrats very seldom allow for in their world view, and progressives less often than that;  Reality.  The reality is that terrorism cannot be dealt with in civilian courts effectively.  That was proven when Clinton tried it after the first WTC attack  and the attacks not only continued but escalated.   Reality: Such things cannot be dealt with simply by hauling the individual off to the slam after making sure that his stone age religious requirements are dealt with.  There is one way you deal with such animals.  You kill them.  End of story.  This goes directly to what Marc Steyn was talking about earlier, when he mentioned how gloriously ineffective the “hearts and minds” tour of our military is.   If you can’t get your mind around that concept, you’re probably a progressive.

    One of those progressives happens to be our very own attorney general, Eric Holder, who Andy McCarthy notes:

    chose to file an amicus brief on behalf of Jose Padilla, the al-Qaeda terrorist sent to our country by bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to carry out a post-9/11 second wave of attacks.

    Andy McCarthy

    In the brief, Holder argued that a commander-in-chief lacks the constitutional authority to do what his boss, the current commander-in-chief, has just done: determine the parameters of the battlefield. By Holder’s lights — at least when the president is not named Obama — an al-Qaeda terrorist must be treated as a criminal defendant, not an enemy combatant, unless he is encountered on a traditional battlefield.

    It would be useful if staffers at congressional oversight hearings passed around copies of Holder’s Padilla brief. It is a comprehensive attack on Bush counterterrorism, an enthusiastic endorsement of the law-enforcement approach in vogue during the Clinton era (when Holder was deputy attorney general under Janet Reno, who also signed on to the Padilla brief). This might explain why Holder sometimes has difficulty answering seemingly easy questions. That’s what happened this week, when the Senate Judiciary Committee quizzed the attorney general on the lawfulness of the U.S. military’s targeted killing of bin Laden.

    That issue is something that this administration dares not address.  Nor, apparently, its supporters.  Those who have been following the thread over at Outside the Beltway, will know very well of what I speak.

    Consider, please; if Obama and company really believed that tripe they been feeding us about the war on terror, they could have easily and at any time,ordered the military to transfer all prisoners held at GITMO, and for that matter all of the rendition prisons around the world as well, to military prisons in the U.S., and there wouldn’t have been thing one that any other branch of government could do about it. Further, in the more recent case of the killing of UBL, make no mistake… That mission against UBL left no doubt that it was all about killing the animal, not capturing it and putting it on a civilian trial. Remember,  UBL was unarmed.  Since I find it difficult to believe that Seal Team Six who are assumptively all in fine shape, could not at their will subdue a sickly old man who was unarmed instead of killing him.  The only conclusion to draw all was that he was intentionally assassinated.  Mind you, I have as I say absolutely no problem with that order being given, (assuming my guess above is incorrect) .  It was the right thing to do. That said, though, we have to consider the context in which the order was given.

    There’s but one conclusion to draw…that we have is an administration working in direct conflict with its own pre- election positions. They know it, too, which is precisely why they’re so silent on the matter.
    Again, let me be clear… the killing of UBL was very much the correct thing to do.  The reason this administration refuses to address that point just now, is rather simple.  The reality runs in direct conflict with their stated positions, and their leftist-progressive mantra. The importance of exposing this internal conflict in their lack of thinking, cannot, I think, be overemphasized.

  • Job creation vs the “greens” (Reds):

    Private sector hiring, including a big jump in the retail sector, boosted overall nonfarm payrolls by 244,000, the largest increase in 11 months, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists had expected a gain of only 186,000.

    Well, all well and good, if you accept the word of NBC as gospel. But let’s look a little deeper and put this
    in perspective:

    Recently there has been a surge in cherry picked employment charts highlighting that the Obama administration has done a great job in rescuing the economy. The premise goes: after dropping to as much as 700K+ jobs lost per month, the administration has managed to pull off a miraculous recovery and now we are riding on a wave of 8 consecutive “private jobs” beats in a row. This argument is so shallow we won’t even bother with it.

    Perhaps the “economists” who espouse this theory will be so kind in their next iteration of their charts to overlay the monthly US debt issuance side by side with the jobs number. Because you see if you drown the economy in unrepayable debt, while using transfer payments to fund the digging of trenches by every man, woman and child who makes up the labor pool, then yes – you may get 0%, or even negative, unemployment overnight. Will it bankrupt the country (even faster)? Why, of course.  But whoever said those who discuss politics subjectively ever care about the long-term implications of reality.

    So in the vein of sharing pretty charts, here is one: we show job losses since the beginning of the Recession (excluding for the impact of census hiring), juxtaposed to the natural growth rate of the Labor Pool (and not the artificial one, which according to the BLS is the same now as it was a year ago).

    We discover that i) 7.6 Million absolute jobs have been lost since the beginning of the Recession; ii) that a record 10.5 Million jobs (and you won’t find this statistic anywhere), have been lost when factoring in for the natural growth of the Labor Pool of 90-100K a month (we use the lower estimate, which also happens to be the CBO’s estimate), and that iii) assuming we expect to return to the jobs baseline level as of December 2007 (or an unemployment rate of 5%) by the end of Obama’s second term (and we make the big assumption there will be a second term), Obama needs to create 230,000 jobs each and every month consecutively from September through November 2016 in order for the total jobs lost to be put back into the labor force, and that iv) an optimistic (if more realistic) projection of jobs returning to the work force means the return the baseline will occur in 2019, some 7 years after the start of the last recession.

    Now, note the passage about an unpayable debt, which Obama has massively added to since this article was written…. and also that the number of total unemployed has risen dramatically since the time it was written.

    Victor Davis Hanson puts a face on this:

    Here in Fresno County, in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley, the official unemployment rate in February to March ranged between 18.1 and 18.8 percent. I suspect it is higher in the poorer southwestern portions, especially near my hometown of Selma, about two miles from my farm.

    Since 2000 we have both lost jobs and gained people, and the per capita household income is about 65% of California’s average, the average home price about half the state norm.

    Victor Davis Hanson

    In some sense, all the ideas that are born on the Berkeley or Stanford campus, in the CSU and UC education, political science, and sociology departments, and among the bureaus in Sacramento are reified in places like Selma — open borders, therapeutic education curricula, massive government transfers and subsidies, big government, and intrusive regulation. Together that has created the sort of utopia that a Bay Area consultant, politico, or professor dreams of, but would never live near. Again, we in California have become the most and least free of peoples — the law-biding stifled by red tape, the non-law-biding considered exempt from accountability on the basis of simple cost-to-benefit logic. A speeder on the freeway will pay a $300 ticket for going 75mph and justifies the legions of highway patrol officers now on the road; going after an unlicensed peddler or rural dumper is a money-losing proposition for government.

    Oh, it gets better:

    I often ask business people on the coast why there are not more industries in places like Selma other than agricultural related work that is locale specific. I would sum up their responses as something like the following: Our workforce does not have the educational and linguistic skills to justify, in global terms, the amount of wages and benefits necessary to employ them, hence jobs are mostly in service and government. Software engineering, computers, or Silicon Valley-like industry are out the question. But apparently so are large manufacturing jobs, despite an abundant workforce. As I understand employers, they seem to suggest that steel pipe, electrical wire, or radios would not be better manufactured or fabricated here, and yet still cost two to three times more than a counterpart assembled abroad.

    In addition, they believe that the state government would look upon any employer of a large industry not as a partner that would alleviate unemployment and lessen county expenditures, but more or less a sort of target to regulate, advise, lecture, and chastise, both to justify the expanding government regulatory work force and to achieve a fuzzy sort of social justice. There are, of course, large plants and businesses here, but hardly enough to absorb the thousands entering the work force.

    The result is about one in five adults is not working in the traditional and formal sense. A morning drive through these valley towns confirms anecdotally what statistics suggest: hundreds, no, thousands, are not employed. Construction is almost nonexistent. Agriculture is recovering, but environmentally driven water cut-offs on the West Side (250,000 acres), increasing mechanization, and past poor prices have combined to reduce by tens of thousands once plentiful farm jobs.

    We live in one of the most blessed climates in the world, without major floods, earthquakes, fires, or tornadoes. The soil is unmatched. The Sierra and its rich snowpack loom immediately to the east with all its recreational, hydroelectric, and timber wealth; we are but three hours from either San Francisco or Los Angeles. And yet this is now one of the most impoverished areas in the United States, statistically in many categories of income, education, and employment well behind Appalachia.

    That’s the direct result of leftist policies… just now being pushed by Obama… and the fact is, that from any even nearly objective viewpoint, those policies are resulting in our not even breaking even in Job creation. They are in fact making things worse, not better.   Such policies never will make things better since as history proves, Socialism is failure. It’s been shown time after time and the left refuses to believe it. We need look no further than our own constantly swelling unemployment rolls.

    This blight is what results from massive government spending, and an insistence on “green” which in reality is the new “red”. Socialist policy, in short.  Those policies of the precise reason that we’re in this situation we’re in, make no mistake about it.

    I tell you true… The only way that’s going to turn around is to remove those responsible for said policies are cut administrative and seem to think the EPA is our friend.  To the point where the EPA now has powers which even Congress can’t question.  I’ve been saying for a long time, my friends, that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  That there are consequences for the kind of feel good policies that we’ve been chasing for a long time.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when no pain that price.  It also shouldn’t surprise us that the last still can’t get its arms around that fact, even while the country drowns itself in a sea of unemployment and debt… cannot bring itself to understand that it’s own policies are the proximate cause of that unemployment and that debt.
    Further reading

    It’s time to eliminate the EPA, and it’s supporters in the seats of power. It’s time to worry more about creating jobs than those jobs being ‘green’. It’s time to stop worrying about the planet. The goals of the enviro-whack-job left are in direct conflict with the goal of getting and keeping our economy moving.
    Listen to George speak to the point:

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