No photo, no video

Curiouser and curiouser:

Yet another backtrack and change of tune from the White House has emerged over the fact that Obama did NOT watch the raid live and did not see the moment Osama bin Laden was shot dead. In fact the video feed stopped before US special forces stormed bin Laden’s hideaway.

The White House originally said that President Obama and Hillary Clinton watched the raid as it happened and in effect encouraged the world’s media to report that they had watched “the drama unfold”.

But now CIA chief Leon Panetta has admitted that, not only was there a 25 minute delay in the live feed and a blackout as has already been reported, in fact the video being played to the president stopped as troops got to the bin Laden compound. And the president did not see any subsequent action on the ground, including the fatal shooting of Osama bin Laden.

For those who wonder why I distrust everything the government says about anything on principle, note that about half of the information initially released by the government about the raid in Pakistan has already been publicly retracted. And the White House is refusing to release any evidence that would confirm the remaining claims.

A semblance of sanity

IP addresses are not people. And in related news, routers will not be permitted to vote in the 2012 election:

A possible landmark ruling in one of the mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the US may spell the end of the ‘pay-up-or-else-schemes’ that have targeted over 100,000 Internet users in the last year. District Court Judge Harold Baker has denied a copyright holder the right to subpoena the ISPs of alleged copyright infringers, because an IP-address does not equal a person.

I’ve never understood the idea that an Internet connection can reasonably be pinned to a single individual. Even if there is only one computer connected to the local area network, who is to say that a different individual was not on the machine? But, given the 40-year war on common sense being waged by the U.S. judicial system, I suppose any semblance of sanity is to be celebrated.

Has Ron Paul flipped on immigration?

From my 2007 interview with him:

VD: Do you believe in open borders? That’s the Libertarian position, after all.

RP: Some libertarians believe in totally open borders. I don’t. Remember, I was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president in 1988 and I ran as a Right-to-Life Libertarian. I don’t support totally open borders, because although I think the federal government should be small, protecting borders and providing national defense – which excludes occupying other countries – are two of its legitimate functions. I would beef up the borders and not worry about the Korean and Iraqi borders. It’s ironic that we’re taking border guards off our borders and paying them to go and train border guards over there. I do understand the libertarian argument. The more we deal with our neighbors, the better off we are. I like the idea of trade, I like the idea of free travel and friendship. When that happens, you’re less likely to fight. But that doesn’t mean anyone can come in and get easy citizenship.

My biggest argument is different than those who want to shoot anyone crossing the border. When you subsidize things, you get more of it, and we subsidize immigration. We need to stop that. I want to deny the benefits that draw people here. If we had a healthier economy, we could have a generous work program but we don’t need it.

From the Numbers USA’s review of Dr. Paul’s new book:

In his book, Dr. Paul sounds very much like supporters of Comprehensive Amnesty measures by talking about the impossibility of sending back home 11 million illegal aliens. Like most amnesty supporters who say they oppose “amnesty,” Dr. Paul seems to buy the false choice between “legalization” or mass deportation. Since he says mass deportation isn’t possible, he feels he has to choose some kind of legalization.

He fails to support Attrition Through Enforcement, which is the middle way supported by most anti-amnesty Members of Congress.

He would limit the legalization by perhaps not allowing the illegal aliens to ever be citizens or to vote. But they still would get to stay in the U.S. and to keep their U.S. jobs, while millions of Americans who want the jobs would have to stay unemployed.

“It could be argued that (this system) may well allow some immigrants who come here illegally a beneficial status without automatic citizenship or tax-supported benefits — a much better option than deportation,” Rep. Paul writes on page 156.

I completely disagree with this statement. Deportation is absolutely the only option for illegal immigrants. While removing the temptations of automatic citizenship and the elimination of tax-supported benefits are definitely to be preferred to the present system, the political history of American immigration clearly shows that any such technical measures will be rapidly overturned, or as is more likely the case, declared to be unconstitutional and invalid by an immigration-friendly judge.

It seems politicians never learn that tweaks and fine-tuning are totally irrelevant when it comes to the art of governance. It’s like attempting to drive a semi on a particularly convoluted rally course. However, I think it is a bit harsh to give Paul an F for a position that is better than a) the status quo, b) the other Republican candidates, and c) the Democratic candidate. I’d make it at least a D.

Who is in charge of the White House?

Is it Valerie Jarrett or Leon Panetta? Either way, Obama doesn’t sound so much over his head as completely disengaged in this description of the evolution of the attack on the compound in Pakistan:

What happened from there is what was described by me as a “masterful manipulation” by Leon Panetta. Panetta indicated to Obama that leaks regarding knowledge of Osama Bin Laden’s location were certain to get out sooner rather than later, and action must be taken by the administration or the public backlash to the president’s inaction would be “…significant to the point of political debilitation.” It was at that time that Obama stated an on-ground campaign would be far more acceptable to him than a bombing raid. This was intended as a stalling tactic, and it had originated from Jarrett. Such a campaign would take both time, and present a far greater risk of failure. The president had been instructed by Jarrett to inform Mr., Panetta that he would have sole discretion to act against the Osama Bin Laden compound. Jarrett believed this would further delay Panetta from acting, as the responsibility for failure would then fall almost entirely on him. 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….

I have been told by more than one source that Leon Panetta was directing the operation with both his own CIA operatives, as well as direct contacts with military – both entities were reporting to Panetta only at this point, and not the President of the United States. There was not going to be another delay as had happened 24 hour earlier. The operation was at this time effectively unknown to President Barack Obama or Valerie Jarrett and it remained that way until AFTER it had already been initiated. President Obama was literally pulled from a golf outing and escorted back to the White House to be informed of the mission. Upon his arrival there was a briefing held which included Bill Daley, John Brennan, and a high ranking member of the military. When Obama emerged from the briefing, he was described as looking “very confused and uncertain.” The president was then placed in the situation room where several of the players in this event had already been watching the operation unfold. Another interesting tidbit regarding this is that the Vice President was already “up to speed” on the operation. A source indicated they believe Hillary Clinton had personally made certain the Vice President was made aware of that day’s events before the president was. The now famous photo released shows the particulars of that of that room and its occupants. What that photo does not communicate directly is that the military personnel present in that room during the operation unfolding, deferred to either Hillary Clinton or Robert Gates. The president’s role was minimal, including their acknowledging of his presence in the room.

This might offer several alternative explanations to the inexplicable decision to immediately get rid of the body, the dithering over the evidence of the corpse’s identity, as well as the bizarre nature of the compliments that the various White House officials were paying Obama after the operation concluded successfully. They struck me more like an uncertain little boy being patted on the head than as soldiers complimenting their commander; no one who has read the deferentially enthusiastic reactions of the English captains to meeting Admiral Nelson before Trafalgar is likely to mistake the various statements from Washington officials with the admiration of warriors for their victorious commander. Nor, in the picture of the temporary situation room, does Obama look like he’s anything more than a passive observer. That means nothing in itself, but it is certainly in line with the perspective provided in the insider’s account.

Obviously, other than checking on the weather patterns on the night of the aborted mission, we have no ability to ascertain the truth of this supposed insider’s account. It could simply be a complete fiction inspired by the photo. But if it is true, it is further support for my contention that Obama is likely going to be replaced by the Democrats next year.