“Clueless” Describes Our Entire Intelligence Apparatus.

RealClearPolitics – Video – Napolitano Most Surprised By “Determination Of al-Qaeda”

Question: What was the most shocking, stunning thing that you found out of the review? And, Secretary, to you, as well.SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: I think, following up on that, not just the determination of al Qaeda and al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula, but the tactic of using an individual to foment an attack, as opposed to a large conspiracy or a multi-person conspiracy such as we saw in 9/11, that is something that affects intelligence.

You mean that the tactic of the “suicide bomber” surprised them?

I guess that’s not too surpising when you consider that our inteeligence agencies were taken by surprise by the the Iranian Revolution, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of Hugo Chavez, pretty much anything the North Koreans do, the first WTC bombing, the embassy bombings, the USS Cole, Khobar Towers, 9/11, the lack of WMD in Iraq, the Iraqi resistance,…..pretty much any important development in the world in the past 50 years.

So, they didn’t see this coming? It probably would have been more surprising if they had.

Glad To See That Some Economists Agree With Me.

Why Government Spending Does Not Stimulate Economic Growth: Answering the Critics

Why Government Spending Does Not End Recessions

Moving forward, the important question is why government spending fails to end recessions. Spending-stimulus advocates claim that Congress can “inject” new money into the economy, increasing demand and therefore production. This raises the obvious question: From where does the government acquire the money it pumps into the economy? Congress does not have a vault of money waiting to be distributed. Every dollar Congress injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending power is created. It is merely redistributed from one group of people to another.[7]

Congress cannot create new purchasing power out of thin air. If it funds new spending with taxes, it is simply redistributing existing purchasing power (while decreasing incentives to produce income and output). If Congress instead borrows the money from domestic investors, those investors will have that much less to invest or to spend in the private economy. If they borrow the money from foreigners, the balance of payments will adjust by equally raising net imports, leaving total demand and output unchanged. Every dollar Congress spends must first come from somewhere else.

For example, many lawmakers claim that every $1 billion in highway stimulus can create 47,576 new construction jobs. But Congress must first borrow that $1 billion from the private economy, which will then lose at least as many jobs.[8] Highway spending simply transfers jobs and income from one part of the economy to another. As Heritage Foundation economist Ronald Utt has explained, “The only way that $1 billion of new highway spending can create 47,576 new jobs is if the $1 billion appears out of nowhere as if it were manna from heaven.”[9] This statement has been confirmed by the Department of Transportation[10] and the General Accounting Office (since renamed the Government Accountability Office),[11] yet lawmakers continue to base policy on this economic fallacy.

Removing water from one end of a swimming pool and pouring it in the other end will not raise the overall water level. Similarly, taking dollars from one part of the economy and distributing it to another part of the economy will not expand the economy.

This is basically what I have been harping on since the recession began.

I initially agreed with the first bailout, the one that was supposed to be used to buy “toxic assets” and keep the financial system running. I was OK with some corporations folding, but thought that while the economy can recover from the bankruptcy of normal companies it would be much harder for it to recover with the collapse of the financial system.

Unfortunately the Fed and Treasury changed their minds as soon as they got the funding, and the Congress was so panicked that they were ready to rubber-stamp anything that was put in front of them. It was basically the Tonkin Gulf Resolution all over again. Congress, whichever party controls it, is basically stupid and easily frightened. They’re first instinct is to “do something” and their second is to find a way to blame it all on the opposite party.

How Will They Handle This Without Admiting That Bush Was Right?

U.S. May Revive Guantánamo Military Courts – NYTimes.com

[I]n recent days a variety of officials involved in the deliberations say that after administration lawyers examined many of the cases, the mood shifted toward using military commissions to prosecute some detainees, perhaps including those charged with coordinating the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The more they look at it,” said one official, “the more commissions don’t look as bad as they did on Jan. 20.”

No doubt they will spin it as a difficult choice forced on them by Bush’s mishandling of the orignal prosecutions. And the media will accept that.

No, It Didn’t.

FDA allows first test of human stem cell therapy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for the first trial to see if human embryonic stem cells can treat people safely, a company involved in the controversial research on Friday.

Geron Corp, a California biotechnology company, said it plans a clinical trial to try to use the stem cells to regrow nerve tissue in patients with crushed, but not severed, spinal cords.

This article gives the impression that something happened that would not have happened if Obama had not signed an Executive Order.

That’s not true. Research using embryotic stem cells has never been banned. It was just restricted to existing lines on embryotic stem cells and the Federal government was banned from providing money for it.

Research on stem cells, both embryotic and adult, has been going on for some time. The only advances I have read about have come in the adult stem cell research.

The tests they are doing have already been done with adult stem cells and could have been done just as easily under the Bush administration. In fact, in order for them to announce this today, it had to have been in the works for some time. The FDA has never made a quick decision in all the time it has existed. If they did now it would be an example of political interference, which is not healthy.

I Wonder If People Realize What A Huge Favor Bush Did For Obama?

US reaches deal on Afghan supply routes to troops

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Russia and neighboring Central Asian nations have agreed to let supplies pass through their territory to American soldiers in Afghanistan, lessening Washington’s dependence on dangerous routes through Pakistan, a top U.S. commander said Tuesday.

The problem of insuring safe supply routes to Afghanistan has been one of the biggest thorns in our side since the closing of K2. But now the Bush State Department has made an agreement for another route so they don’t have to rely only on the routes from Karachi.

That can be good and bad. Good that we have the supply routes and the bad we won’t know until we find out what was given to achieve that. One thing we know is that Russia didn’t do it because they wish us well. Maybe they think we are going to fail as badly as they did and want to help us along for that reason.

Why We Can’t Catch Osama

I was at the supermarket this afternoon and saw the latest issue of Time magazine on the rack there. The cover is white with a picture of Osama Bin Laden and the caption “Why can’t we catch him?” I think Time’s question is wrong and serves no purpose as far as the War on Terrorism goes. It is a handy question for Bush haters to breat the Administration about, but it is actually quite irrelevant.

Why should we catch Osama? What would it possibly do for us?

Well it might cut off some of the funding for Al-Queda and give us a trophy prisoner to display, but the funding would find other routes and displaying him raises its own problems. No, capturing Osama is useless. It could even be counterproductive.

If Osama were to be captured alive, the U.S. would have to give him a trial. A trial that would entail lawyers and the media. Even if he were to be tried by a military tribunal he would still get a lawyer and media coverage. What an opportunity for Osama, he gets a fair trial and gets his message out courtesy of CNN, Fox and the networks. What a deal.

What do we do with him then? It is kind of a hot potato issue. If we find him guilty and execute him, the “Arab Street” erupts and the EUnuchs huff and puff and glare in out direction. His supporters use his execution as a pretext for more violence. The countries of Europe, though secretly relieved, condemn the U.S. action so as to mollify their Muslim population and what have we solved? We still have the network, probably with some new recruits. We still have the EUnuchs glaring at us. And we still have a war.

Finding him “Not Guilty” is not even a consideration. The outcry over that in the U.S. would be overwhelming. It would be political suicide for any politician to support and possibly real suicide for the Judge and panel members, even in America.

I think the best thing that should happen if Osama were to be captured would be to interrogate him, “robustly” if need be, and summarily execute him. Of course we are going to be accused of executing him anyway if it is known he is in U.S. custody and he dies, regardless of whether it is natural or not. So just do it, maintain that it was natural, and ride it out. Put it in Oliver Stone, black helicopter fringe territory and ignore it. It may come back years later, but passions cool with time. There might be an uproar in thirty years when it comes out, but it will be as timely as the news of JFK’s affairs and will die quickly.

If it can be kept quiet, do all the above, keep some DNA samples and cremate the rest. Announce to the world that the remains were found in a tunnel in Tora Bora or somewhere.

Under no circumstances allow the body to be returned to his family. Just look at the funeral of the Pakistani who was executed for killing the two CIA employees. Osama’s would be a thousand times larger.

I think the answer to Time’s question “Why can’t we catch him?” should be “because we don’t really want to.”