Tuesday, May 26, 2009


In my work as a lawyer, I attend hearings at the county courthouse. In Texas, even licensed concealed-carry permit holders are not allowed to bring firearms into a courthouse. Not a problem. I took my gun out of my purse beforehand.

What I did not remember to do was take out the small plastic case containing twelve Gold Dot 9mm jacketed hollow point rounds inside. So when I put my purse through the x-ray scanner, Toni the Security Guard stared wide-eyed at the monitor for a long moment and then asked incredulously, "do you have bullets in your purse???"

The question took me by surprise and as I suddenly remembered that little plastic case, my boss and other attorneys looking on, I said slowly, "yeesssss...." I felt a sense of embarrassment akin to someone loudly pointing out that your fly is open. I started to wonder if I was about to be arrested or the object of some other unnecessary law enforcement overreaction.

Thankfully, all I had to do was leave the offending ammunition in her custody. When I returned to retrieve it on my way out of the courthouse, she told me all about how her dad and her husband each have an extensive collection of firearms.

What an icebreaker...

Monday, May 25, 2009

If only Biden had been wrong about this, too

Joe warned us that Obama would be tested within six months of taking office, and so far he's spot on. Iran and North Korea are competing over who will be the first to see just exactly how limp-wristed our super-fabulous new President is:

North Korea conducts underground nuclear test; readies three short-range rockets for launch
"Russian officials said the nuclear bomb that the North detonated underground Monday was comparable to those that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, raising fears that the communist country could spread such technology abroad.

In a further sign of the North's mounting standoff with the world, a report said the country was likely preparing to fire short-range missiles Tuesday off its western coast."

Iran, fresh from successful long-range missile test, dispatches six warships to the Gulf of Aden
"Iran has threatened to block the [nearby] strait of Hormuz, through which about 40 percent of the world's traded oil is shipped, if it were attacked over its nuclear program."

God, I just want to dig myself a bunker, crawl in it, and not come out for the next three and a half years.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cultural Survival

And once I had recognized the taste of the crumb of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give me . . . immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like the scenery of a theatre to attach itself to the little pavilion, opening on to the garden, which had been built out behind it for my parents . . . and with the house the town, from morning to night and in all weathers, the Square where I was sent before luncheon, the streets along which I used to run errands, the country roads we took when it was fine. And just as the Japanese amuse themselves by filling a porcelain bowl with water and steeping in it little crumbs of paper which until then are without character or form, but, the moment they become wet, stretch themselves and bend, take on colour and distinctive shape, become flowers or houses or people, permanent and recognisable, so in that moment all the flowers in our garden and in M. Swann's park, and the water-lilies on the Vivonne and the good folk of the village and their little dwellings and the parish church and the whole of Combray and of its surroundings, taking their proper shapes and growing solid, sprang into being, town and gardens alike, all from my cup of tea.

- Marcel Proust (1871-1922), Remembrance of Things Past

After a Long Emergency, when the economy has begun to rise from the ashes of self-immolation, when there is some semblance of normalcy and people are no longer focused on obsessive thoughts of where their next meal will come from, your family will look around and wonder,

"How did Mom make pot roast?"

"Do you remember Grandma's pecan pie? Man, I wish I had a piece of that."

"I thought I remembered how to make this, but it just isn't turning out."

This is cultural survival, and if you really believe your family has a chance of surviving a crisis, it is important. Do not impoverish your children's future by allowing them to inherit a world in which they physically survive, but the memories and shared experiences that they have known and loved perish, never to be recovered.

In my Texan, barbecue-loving, deep-fat-frying family, only two generations removed from the farm that my grandfather grew up on, food is love made visible, a ritual that we re-enact every year as we come to the table to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. There are the black-eyed peas that my mother cooks every New Year's Day to bring us luck, served steaming over a golden slab of sweet cornbread to sop up the bacon-flavored broth. There is the rose-colored Christmas ham, encrusted in its sugary glaze, studded with fragrant cloves and bejeweled with translucent pineapple rings the color of sunshine and ruby-red maraschino cherries. And there is the pot roast, a humble piece of garlic-studded beef served with potatoes, onions and carrots roasted alongside, dressed with ivory ribbons of thick cream gravy flecked with pepper.

And there are the recipes that haven't survived. Two of my grandmother's recipes are gone, probably forever: her divinity, a temperamental meringue-like dessert made of egg whites and sugar that melted like a cloud on your tongue, and her corn souffle, kernels cut fresh from the cob, mixed with whole milk, obscene amounts of butter and somehow roasted in the oven until the middle was tender and the edges - my favorite - were brown and chewy.

I suspect most families' shared experience revolves around food. Even Jesus made a point of holding a Last Supper, now symbolically re-enacted weekly by millions of followers around the world who break bread together.

While you have the chance, please make a list of all the dishes that your family has made countless times over the years -- the ones you grew up with, the ones that you ask for every time you go home. Ask the resident Food Priest of your family to help you write down the recipes for these dishes, and then make them yourself. Trust me, you will think the recipe is clear until you are half-way into it, the pot is boiling on the stove, and suddenly you are grabbing the phone to speed-dial your mother to ask her why the gravy isn't thickening. You will understand exactly what you don't know, you can analyze why it didn't quite taste like mom's, and you will have the chance to hone your skills so that you can get it right -- now, and after the Long Emergency.

Knowledge survives best when written down and widely disseminated. Once you have your catalog of recipes, you can publish them and provide copies to every member of your family so that no matter what, the family culture will survive, despite time, distance, and separation.

A final thought from Marcel Proust:

"I think that life would suddenly seem wonderful to us if we were threatened to die as you say. Just think of how many projects, travels, love affairs, studies, it - our life - hides from us, made invisible by our laziness which, certain of a future, delays them incessantly.

But let all this threaten to become impossible for ever, how beautiful it would become again! Ah! If only the cataclysm doesn’t happen this time, we won’t miss visiting the new galleries of the Louvre, throwing ourselves at the feet of Miss X, making a trip to India.

The cataclysm doesn’t happen, we don’t do any of it, because we find ourselves back in the heart of normal life, where negligence deadens desire. And yet we shouldn’t have needed the cataclysm to love life today. It would have been enough to think that we are humans, and that death may come this evening.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Torture Debate: A Pointless Waste of Time

If you have a pulse and digest any news coverage whatsoever, it's been pretty difficult to avoid being force-fed a never-ending diet of news media debate over "is waterboarding torture?"

I personally don't care if waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" ARE torture. I tend to think of torture as lying more along a continuum, anyway. The whole argument of "is it torture?" misses the point. It's just semantics. The point is, if a detainee has waged war against us and we believe he has high-level information, we should do whatever we need to in order to persuade him to talk.

This is similar to the "just war" theory (which was endorsed by the Vatican prior to the invasion of Iraq). How is it any different to make a decision to declare war, with all the attendant loss of life, in order to achieve larger peaceful goals, than to decide to inflict pain and suffering on an individual in the pursuit of saving lives?

If you are a liberal who is squeamish about giving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a toilet-bowl swirlie, or putting a teensy-weensy caterpillar in Abu Zubaydah's cell (those sick bastards!), I have a simple solution for you: don't run for office or volunteer for the military. Running the freest nation in the world - although it becomes less free every single day - requires constant confrontation with evil, and that requires getting your hands dirty. There's a reason Presidents take the oath of office as virile young men and leave it four to eight years later white-haired and wizened.

Wow. I think I just dispatched this entire debate in thirty seconds or less. Which leads me to the real question: Why is this being endlessly hashed out in the media?

By the way -- I totally flabbergasted my friends about a month ago when we were discussing the issue and I matter of factly said, "I'm pro-torture." The room went quiet for about 5 loooong seconds. And they're a pretty chatty group. So next time you're at a cocktail party, I suggest you drop that little zinger and watch the hilarity that ensues.

I'll leave the reader with one parting thought. Saddam Hussein's men tortured innocent civilians, for fun, by doing things like skinning their face alive, or raping and executing a man's wife in front of him, then setting his beard on fire, then shooting his skull full of nails with a nail-gun. That is torture, people. Be incredibly grateful that you live here, and not there.

Related article: Obama and Cheney engage in Lincoln-Douglas debate on torture

The Empowered Woman: Less Pretty, More Fierce

I have considered myself to be a feminist since my pre-teen days. I grew up in a rural setting where an independent, strong, career-minded woman was not considered to be the most attractive thing. There were plenty of times the label "lesbian" was thrown at me because I valued studying over dating. Once, my opponent in high school debate class (who incidentally was the son of a local minister) ordered me to "go home and make his lunch." I'm not sure I'll ever forget that moment.

Feminists love to discuss "empowerment." By this they usually mean being financially self-sufficient; earning an income that is equal to or greater than that of their significant other's. It can mean valuing yourself as a person and not an object, as being more than a pretty face (although we usually objectify ourselves more than men ever could). Empowerment can also mean prioritizing career or education, or simply having the freedom now to make choices that our mothers and grandmothers did not have.

These are all valid, but I think it's time to discuss a new variety of empowerment. From time immemorial, women have been the keepers of the hearth and the protectors of the home. Pioneer women knew how to shoot marauding coyotes in between putting the harvest by and mending the family clothes. Japanese women historically were as versed in self-protection as their samurai husbands. My own mother has the ability to shoot without hesitation or remorse anyone who threatens the safety of any one of her family. (Knowing her, she'd probably have a bit of swagger afterwards. "All seven rounds, center mass!!!") They have all known that you cannot always count on the husband to be around when a threat materializes.

I'm not minimizing the mens' contribution to the home; their role in the family is irreplaceable. But the entire responsibility cannot fall on their shoulders. I'd like to see women quit pouting about their cellulite and idolizing Manolo Blahniks and get serious about their role as the defender of the family. The money they spend collecting all six (seven? who gives a shit?) seasons of Sex and the City on DVD would be better spent at the firing range.

Women ought to take seriously their responsibility to defend their homes and children from anyone who does not have their best interests at heart - physically, and lethally if necessary.

They should take responsibility for ensuring their families are fed, clothed, and sheltered no matter what our nation's economic future holds.

They should be interested in learning how to care for and comfort their families when no doctor is around and no medicine is available.

They should be wise stewards of the family finances, directing the money towards lasting safety and security, or towards alleviating the suffering of others, rather than towards status items or indulgences.

And lastly, they should be proactive, alongside their spouses, in instilling in their children spiritual faith and discipline that will lead them to become responsible, self-sufficient, contributing members of society as adults.

That, I think, is worth a hell of a lot more than a bitchin' Fendi bag and some Botox injections. And, just my opinion, it's sexier too.

Image: Hangaku Gozen (aka Itagaki), Genpei War-era female samurai, circa 1200. From the Library of Congress Prints Collection.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Texas Senate passes concealed-carry for college students; bill is not law just yet

The Houston Chronicle is reporting the passage in the state Senate of a measure that would allow college students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses; private institutions would be able to opt out. Students would be required to be over the age of 21 and to possess a concealed-carry license.

The House has until midnight Tuesday to pass the measure into law.

Totally sweet. [/end Cartman] One step closer to my dream of an open-carry society.

Iran test launch of medium-range missile successful

From Fox News:

U.S. government officials confirmed Iran's provocative long-range missile test Wednesday as they worked to study details of the launch.

"At this point it appears Iran launched a medium ranged ballistic missile and the test appears successful," a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told FOX News.

The U.S. official said the Pentagon is trying to determine the missile's range, trajectory and other details about the solid-fuel Sajjil-2 surface-to-surface missile Iran launched Wednesday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the launch was a successful test-firing of a new advanced missile with a range of about 1,200 miles -- capable of reaching Israel and U.S. Mideast bases.

It is a new version of the Sajjil missile, which Iran said it had successfully tested late last year with a similar range. Many analysts said the launch of the Sajjil was significant because solid fuel missiles are more accurate than liquid fuel missiles of similar range, such as Iran's Shahab-3.

"Defense Minister (Mostafa Mohammad Najjar) has informed me that the Sajjil-2 missile, which has very advanced technology, was launched from Semnan and it landed precisely on the target," state radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. He spoke during a visit to the city of Semnan, 125 miles east of the capital Tehran, where Iran's space program is centered.

The announcement comes less than a month before Iran's presidential election and just two days after President Obama declared a readiness to seek deeper international sanctions against Tehran if it did not respond positively to U.S. attempts to open negotiations on its nuclear program.

Mexican drug cartels use Texas ranch to train members on home invasion, guns, kidnappings

From the Houston Chronicle:

The FBI is advising law enforcement officers across the country that a Texas cell of Los Zetas — an increasingly powerful arm of the Mexican Gulf Cartel drug trafficking syndicate — has acquired a secluded ranch where it trains its members to "neutralize” competitors in the United States.

In order to ensure its share of the lucrative illegal drug trade, the cartel’s members reportedly are operating north of the border to collect debts and spy on competitors. They have also protected cocaine and heroin shipments that were bound for Houston, where they were repackaged and shipped on to Alabama, Delaware, Georgia and Michigan, according to the FBI. The information, which was disseminated Monday to state, local and federal agencies, does not provide specifics, such as the location of the ranch, but includes a notation that the information came from reliable FBI contacts.

Trainees are reportedly taught about home invasions, firearms and ways to run vehicles off the road in order to kidnap occupants who owe drug debts. The Zetas have achieved almost mythical status in Mexico, as the small band of military deserters has become a managing partner for the Gulf Cartel, terrorizing rivals with beheadings, torture and mass killings.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SHTF Fiction Review: "One Second After" by William Forstchen

Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.
- Jessamyn West
The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world.
- Thomas Robert Malthus, "An essay on the principle of population"

One second after an unknown enemy detonates an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon high above the United States, civilization grinds to a halt. Cars drift to a stop on the highway, permanently stalled, their onboard computer systems fried. Cell phones are dead. The power goes out, taking with it climate control and refrigeration. Tractor trailers are abandoned on the highways of America, their shipments of food and medical supplies ransacked inside a day. Nearly every plane in flight across America spontaneously crashes, setting off fires that can't be put out because the fire trucks are inoperable. Hospital patients in the middle of surgery die as their ventilators and monitoring equipment power down. And because there is no communication with the outside world -- no television, email, or phone service -- no one knows what has happened or why.

The hero of this tale is John Matherson, retired Army Colonel and small-town history professor. John's knowledge of history gives him a unique and rare ability to place these catastrophic events in context, and to show the people of his town (and the reader) that America, heretofore the most privileged of nations, is not immune from experiencing the sort of grim Malthusian realities that have confronted other nations in times of crisis.

The story that unfolds details the heartbreaking choices that people are forced to make when there is no food, no medicine, no transportation, and no one has the skills to scratch a living from the earth. I give Mr. Forstchen a good deal of credit for not sanitizing the situation or allowing his characters to skirt painful issues. When your children are starving, should you shoot your beloved family pet and eat it? If there isn't enough food to go around, do you feed everyone equally and face total extinction within months, or do you allow the weak and useless to starve so that the strong and capable may survive? In answering these questions, the citizens of Black Mountain, North Carolina attempt not only to survive but to maintain their sense of decency, moral compass, and shared identity as Americans when circumstances dictate that it is every man for himself.

There's no question that factually, the book is meticulously researched and entirely plausible. A Congressional committee has been issuing reports on the threat to America from an EMP attack since 2001. As a work of fiction, "One Second After" is tightly plotted and engages the reader in the protagonists' struggle to survive. There are a few unfortunate moments when the dialogue between characters feels stilted; they make observations to each other that in reality most people would keep to themselves. John and his love interest, Makala, also tend to show a level of psychological insight and self-awareness that I believe few people possess. On the whole, however, the book is eminently readable. I can only hope it finds a broad audience.

This book may encourage those who read it to renew their conviction to prepare. But aside from spurring its audience on to greater levels of preparedness, I hope it will also prompt people to contact their Congressional representatives in the (perhaps vain) hope that in the midst of all the wasteful, ridiculous spending that is taking place today, some money can be allotted to mitigate the potential damages of such an attack.

"One Second After" is available for purchase from Amazon.com (hardcover edition - Kindle edition) and Barnes & Noble.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Swine flu forgotten, but not gone; free speech dead for Christians

A Houston elementary school shut down today until May 26 over a cluster of 12 confirmed swine flu cases. However, 400 out of 712 students total were home from school today. Earlier in the week, 76 were out; one day later the total jumped to 242 and then to today's 400. It's not known how many students are home sick and how many are home trying to avoid becoming sick.

Two things about this catch my attention:

  1. It's pretty late in the year for a flu outbreak. Temperatures in Houston this week have been in the 90s. These are really not ideal conditions for transmission of the flu virus.
  2. The growth rate in cases from day to day was rather prodigious.

And our second news item:

A graduate student at a Michigan public university was kicked out of her program for refusing to be "re-educated" about her evangelical Christian views of homosexuality:

Ms. Ward was enrolled in a graduate program at the school and as part of her education was required to enroll in a counseling practicum. In that practicum, she was assigned a case involving a homosexual who needed help. Ms. Ward did not feel that she could affirm the student's homosexual lifestyle because of her Christian beliefs, so she asked her supervisor what she should do. His advice was to refer the student to a counselor who had no qualms with affirming homosexual behavior. That is what she did, and it was all done before she saw the student. There was no counseling that took place between the two, there was no confrontation between the two, and there was no condemnation of homosexuality -- just an honest confession of her deeply held religious belief. But the story doesn't end there.

Julea was summoned to appear before a disciplinary hearing and told that if she wanted to continue on with her graduate program, she would have to submit to a "remediation" program so that she could see "the error of her ways." She refused to be forced into a re-education program designed to convert her from biblical faith, and as a result, she was kicked out of school. There's your tolerance.

I sincerely hope she files a lawsuit for discrimination and violation of her First Amendment rights -- and wins. What the hell happened to the establishment clause? Someone seriously needs to woodshed most of the academics in this country.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-gay. In fact, I've been vehemently pro-gay most of my life even though I live in a state that is very socially conservative. (Gays just don't thrive in Texas (except Austin and one part of Houston). Why, I couldn't say...) Recently I've become more lukewarm on the matter as I've watched the gay community launch the most vitriolic, disrespectful attacks on Christians over Proposition 8 in California and the Carrie Prejean controversy. I think I'm done sticking my neck out for them, since they definitely don't seem inclined to grant me the same measure of respect that I've extended to them over the years.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

U.S. an Electronic Police State?

WND reports that a private firm has ranked the U.S. as 6th in the world for the development of intrusive government electronic surveillance of its citizens.

"In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every e-mail you send, every Internet site you surf, every post you make, every check you write, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all criminal evidence, and they are held in searchable databases, for a long, long time," the report said.

"Whoever holds this evidence can make you look very, very bad whenever they care enough to do so. You can be prosecuted whenever they feel like it – the evidence is already in their database," the report continued. "Perhaps you trust that your ruler will only use his evidence archives to hurt bad people. Will you also trust his successor? Do you also trust all of his subordinates, every government worker and every policeman?

"If some leader behaves badly, will you really stand up to oppose him or her? Would you still do it if he had all the e-mails you sent when you were depressed? Or if she has records of every porn site you've ever surfed? Or if he knows every phone call you've ever made? Or if she knows everyone you've ever sent money to?" the report asks.

"This system hasn't yet reached its full shape, but all of the basics are in place and it is not far from complete in some places," the report said."
Access the full report here.

In related news:

"Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has sponsored H.R. 2159, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009, which permits the attorney general to deny transfer of a firearm to any "known or suspected dangerous terrorist." The bill requires only that the potential firearm transferee is "appropriately suspected" of preparing for a terrorist act and that the attorney general "has a reasonable belief" that the gun might be used in connection with terrorism. . . .

Pratt further warned WND of the potential overlap of H.R. 2159 and a recent DHS memo that warned against potential violence from "right-wing extremists," such as those concerned about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty."

Doesn't take much to connect the dots and see how the government could use its surveillance databases to document how someone could be a "dangerous terrorist" under this statute for purposes of abrogating their Second Amendment rights.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Obama Administration Leaves Israel in the Dark

WND reports that the Obama Administration has cut off briefing of Israeli contacts on Mid-East policies and intelligence.

"Unlike the Bush administration, the staff of President Obama is not coordinating its policy on Iran or the greater Middle East with Israel and has not been informing the Jewish state of its plans or recent diplomatic developments in the Mideast, according to sources in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office."

This is, in my opinion, an open invitation for Israel to take unilateral action to abate Iran's nuclear capabilities. They won't want to, but Obama is really leaving them no choice. James Lewis at the American Thinker concurs ("Why Attacking Iran May be Morally and Militarily Necessary").

In other news, you may have noticed the frequency of posts has dropped off a bit here lately. Work was very busy last week, and currently I am working on some posts that will take a bit longer to research and to write. Upcoming topics include:

  • Urban survival
  • Sprouting
  • Solar cooking
  • Pet preparedness

...and more. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Iran May be Closer to Nukes than Previously Believed

From Fox News: Congressional Report Warns U. S. Underestimating Iran's Nuclear Progress

"The report examines material provided to the IAEA by U.S. intelligence from a laptop computer that reportedly was smuggled out of Iran. In 2005, U.S. intelligence assessed that information as indicating that Tehran had been working on details of nuclear weapons, including missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads."

Note that nuclear weapons can be used not just for thermonuclear warfare but also to launch an EMP attack, which happens when a nuclear weapon is exploded at an altitude of 30 to 300 miles. This suggests that Iran may be contemplating such an attack.

Are you unfamiliar with what an EMP attack entails? You need to be. Read the sobering details here.

CIA May Act to Undermine Obama

It seems that finally, perhaps Obama has allowed his mouth to write a check that his ass can't cash. From Real Clear Politics:

The CIA's Fight With Obama

By Jack Kelly

Has Barack Obama made an enemy who can sabotage his presidency?

The presidency of George W. Bush began to unravel when some in high positions at the Central Intelligence Agency began waging a covert campaign against him.

It began in the summer of 2003 when officials at the CIA asked the Justice department to open a criminal investigation into who had disclosed to columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, wife of controversial former diplomat Joseph Wilson, worked at the CIA.

The officials knew at the time the Intelligence Identities Protection Act did not apply to Ms. Plame, who'd been out of the field for more than five years.

Another blow was struck with the publication in 2004 of the book "Imperial Hubris" by Michael Scheuer, who'd headed the bin Laden desk during the Clinton administration. It was harshly critical of the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terror in general, and the invasion of Iraq in particular.

Never before had a serving officer been allowed to publish such a book. The CIA typically slow-rolled and censored books even by retired CIA directors. "Why did the CIA allow such a controversial book to be published in the first place?" asked attorney Mark Zaid, who specializes in national security law. "There is simply no question that the CIA could have prevented the publication of Scheuer's book if it had wanted to do so. And no court would have sided with him."

Why would some at the CIA want to sabotage President Bush? One motive might have been to deflect blame for intelligence failures. The CIA confidently had predicted Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. But none were found. The tactical intelligence the CIA provided to the U.S. military forces invading Iraq proved nearly worthless. And the CIA was caught flat-footed by the insurgency that developed several months after Saddam's fall.

There may have been a simpler motive. The novelist Charles McCarry was a deep cover CIA operative for ten years. "I never met a stupid person in the agency," he said in a 2004 interview. "Or an assassin. Or a Republican."

The CIA's war against President Bush was motivated by ass covering, or by political partisanship. But with President Obama, it's personal.

Many are furious about his disclosure of explicit details of the interrogation methods used on some al Qaida bigwigs, and his waffling on whether or not those who employed them will be subject to prosecution.

Others are incensed by his decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and to let some of those incarcerated there (17 Chinese Uighurs) loose in the United States.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held two hush hush meetings with CIA Director Leon Panetta and Democratic members of the Intelligence Committee last week.

"Her fear and frustration have apparently given way to panic after word reached her of the CIA's reaction to the damage she, President Obama and other Democrats have done to the spy agency in the last three months, wrote Jed Babbin, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, in Human Events May 1. "Pelosi learned that her actions and those of President Obama have so damaged CIA morale that the agency's ability to function could be in danger."

The upshot of the meetings was an unprecedented letter from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex) to Mr. Panetta, making a quasi-apology. Rep. Reyes asked the CIA director to "disseminate it to the CIA workforce as soon as possible."

But the CYA nature of the letter, and Mr. Reyes' pledge of more oversight are unlikely to mollify many at Langley. Other Western intelligence services regard the Obama administration with contempt and rising concern, an officer of the DGSE, France's military intelligence agency, told my friend Jack Wheeler (the real life IndianaJones) last week.

"All of us in our little community are worried -- us, our friends in Berlin, London, Tel Aviv," the DGSE officer told Jack. "It is not like the barbarians at the gates. It is every barbarian horde in the world being told there are no gates."


And here's the full article on that conversation Dr. Jack Wheeler had with the French intelligence officer:

100 Days of Being a Laughingstock in Paris

by Dr. Jack Wheeler, To The Point News

Paris, France. It is very cool to be a French intel guy. A spectacular meal at a Parisian bistro with $90 entrées and a $200 bottle of Bordeaux? No problem. I’d known this fellow since he got me out of a jam in Sudan years ago. His James Bond days are over, but still, riding a desk for the DGSE — Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (General Directorate for External Security), France’s military intel agency - in Paris has its decided benefits.

One of them is not being infected with Obamamania. “My agency considers him a joke,” he confides. “Every day there is some fresh lunacy that we cannot believe. Mr. Bush would often make us angry. But at this man we just laugh.”

“In truth, it also makes us sad,” he continued. “French resentment towards America is strong, so being able to laugh at your country feels good. But it is such a sad and strange thing to see America - America The Great! - do something so crazy as to elect this ridiculous man.”

“There are many people in America who think he isn’t a legitimate president as he wasn’t born in the US and isn’t a natural citizen. What do you think?” I asked.

He shrugged. “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never had reason to make an inquiry.”

“There are a lot of people convinced he is a traitor who hates America and is actively determined to destroy it. Any opinion on that?”

He didn’t shrug at this. After a long slow sip of wine, he mused, “I would not go that far. Many of his actions, however, are very puzzling because they are so counter-productive regarding America’s best interests. There seems to be a consistent pattern in that direction.”

“What does Sarkozy think of him?”

“Nothing but contempt.”

After a pause he asked, “And Langley?” (the CIA)

“Well, if you thought the war they waged against Bush was intense, it was nothing compared to how they’re going to screw Obama. He has tried to gut them with the ‘torture memo’ release and slashing their budgets. The morale is depressed, sullen, and enraged. You know what a left-wing outfit Langley is. They thought he was their boy and they feel betrayed. All kinds of damaging stuff on him will be appearing via their media friends.”

He nodded. “And in Tel Aviv City?”

He was referring to the huge underground city complex of Langley’s underneath the US Embassy in the Israeli capital. “That’s an interesting question. You know how vast and deep the relationship is there. Langley is making every effort to overcome the total and massive distrust their Israeli colleagues have for Obama, whom they know is selling them down the Jordan River. So far though this effort is in words. The Israelis are waiting to see what Langley does.”

He said nothing. I smiled. “You guys wouldn’t be Langley’s cutout for thwarting BO regarding Israel, would you? I’d never suspect that…”

He continued to say nothing, gave me only a slight smile in return, and poured me another glass of wine. “The Bordeaux is good, yes?” I nodded.

“You know, the French media worships this man the same as yours in the US. All of this ‘100 days’ talk, it is impossibly stupid. Most anyone in the French elite, the business leaders, Sarko’s people, they all know this. They all think this is some crazy joke of the Americans. But it is a very, very dangerous joke. For 100 days your president has been a laughingstock among the tout le monde of Paris. No one may be laughing 100 days or 10 months from now.”

He leaned forward. “The world can go - how do you say - sideways with this man very quickly. No one he has working for him knows what they are doing - possibly excepting Mrs. Clinton - and he certainly does not. All of us in our little community are worried - us, our friends in Berlin, London, Tel Aviv, and Langley too as you say. It is not like the barbarians at the gates. It is every barbarian horde in the world being told there are no gates. The Somalis, Chavez, Iran, Putin, Beijing, the ‘Norks” as you call them, the list is long and it is growing. We are not sure what to do.”

It took me a moment to respond. “The best thing that has happened now is Obama making Langley his enemy. They will be cooperating with you more, be more a part of your worried community. Working together, you can undermine his efforts more effectively, block and maybe even repair the damage.”

It was my turn to lean forward. “Then again, all together you could be more pro-active. The man is a mystery. Nobody can make public his actual birth certificate, or even the particular hospital he was born in, or his college grades, or how he got into Harvard, or how he made editor of the Harvard Law Review and never wrote a single article for it. It goes on and on. He really is a Zero. I think all of you guys should find all of this out and make it known.”

I added, “The quicker the better, before the laughing stops and the real dangers begin.”

“What is that phrase you use?” he asked. “Something to consider?”

I laughed. “Yes, there is much to consider - and much that you can do. I mean, really, if the Soviet Union could be dismantled, so can this presidency.”

It was a beautiful April afternoon in Paris. He walked me back to my hotel. It could be that the times we live in may get even more interesting.