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Belmont Club

Monthly Archives: October 2012

XX

October 31st, 2012 - 3:07 pm

A number of relatively unnoticed articles on the web suggest that the line between the militias and the fluid Libyan officialdom was blurred and porous. That may have made it possible for al-Qaeda to turn “allies” of the State Department into infiltrators; creating the ultimate Green on Blue opportunity to attack the US consulate in Benghazi.

Walid Shoebat cites Libyan sources who allege that some of the locals entrusted with consular security had ties to al-Qaeda. “The National Transitional Council, which represented the political apparatus that opposed Gadhafi in 2011 and served as the interim government after his removal, made an extremely curious appointment in August of 2011. That appointment was none other than Abdel Hakim Belhaj, an Al-Qaeda ally and ‘brother’”. In other words the post Khadaffy government put a cat among the pigeons. The appointment of Belhaj reads:

We would like to inform you that you have been commissioned to the duties and responsibilities of the military committee of the city of Tripoli. These include taking all necessary procedures to secure the safety of the Capital and its citizens, its public and private property, and institutions, to include all international embassies. To coordinate with the local community of the city of Tripoli and the security assembly and defense on a national level.

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Electoral Stardust

October 31st, 2012 - 11:30 am

There’s spring fever and cabin fever.  And you’ve must have heard of ‘election fever’. The very word ‘election’ conjures up a plethora of disease sounding words. There’s ‘psephologists’ — persons who undertake “the study and scientific analysis of elections. Psephology uses historical precinct voting data, public opinion polls, campaign finance information and similar statistical data. The term was coined in the United Kingdom in 1952 by historian R. B. McCallum to describe the scientific analysis of past elections.”

So if you’re electorally sick, visit your nearest psephologist. Also there’s the ‘lunatic fringe’, redolent of insanity in contrast to ‘educated voters’ who are presumably engaged in the serene ‘deliberative democracy’ that Andrew Sullivan would understand. There’s the well and the unwell. Where do you fit?

Consider that even liberals can fall under the weather. John Cassidy at the New Yorker in fact has an Rx for residents of the Big Apple who are afflicted with so burning an ‘election fever’ that they just have to do something. They are political junkies — there’s a disease word again — and they need a fix. Cassidy writes:

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For Pity’s Sake

October 30th, 2012 - 5:10 pm

From Drudge we have the story of the great walnut caper. “Authorities are investigating two thefts of more than 80,000 pounds of walnuts from Northern California valued at about $300,000 … They have not identified the suspect although they do have a suspect description.”

Maybe the locals can organize a posse

Suppose the description fit that of a giant squirrel. Well who could possibly want to jail a squirrel? Wikipedia examines the case for cuteness as a survival trait.

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Who Votes There?

October 30th, 2012 - 8:09 am

Readers who are interested in seeing who’s running where they are registered to vote might want to look at Strawpoll. You can create a mock ballot you can share with friends and look at who has voted for whom so far — not just at the national, but on any level. There are some problems with the data — one or two states like New Hampshire — do not have accurate listings for state lower legislatures — but most places are just fine.

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The Design Margin

October 29th, 2012 - 7:59 pm

When storms disrupt utilities as they have done in New York City it is always good to have a few things in stock. Some canned goods in the cupboard. Maybe the hated Spam and baked beans. A stock of ordinary candles and matches are in order as are 25 gallons or so of drinking water. A full bathtub of water for flushing the toilet in case the water pressure fails would be good. And one or more flashlights, preferably with some spare batteries.

There are a few tips and tricks in their use that may prove useful. One, never use your flashlight for extended illumination. The candles serve that purpose. To keep from burning your house down ground the candles in the bottom of shallow glasses (don’t use plastic) so that you can carry them around without drippings falling on your hand.

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3 AM Telephone Calls

October 29th, 2012 - 12:24 pm

Jake Tapper describes the President’s steely resolve to get to the bottom of the Benghazi fiasco. Americans are dead, murdered. And someone is responsible.

In an interview that aired today, President Obama said that “if we find out that there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job” regarding the attack on the U.S. outposts in Benghazi, Libya, “then they’ll be held responsible.”

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Happenstance

October 29th, 2012 - 8:25 am

Lefty Gomez once remarked that in baseball he would “rather be lucky than good”. A lot of Americans were unlucky on the night of September 11, 2012 in Libya.  The Washington Times says that “as U.S. Africa Command waited for any order to rescue Americans on Sept. 11 at the besieged consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, it was missing a key unit that the Pentagon gives every regional four-star commander — an emergency strike force.”

on that day, AfriCom, the Pentagon’s newest geographic combatant command, which is still in the building phase, lacked what is called the “commander in-extremis force,” said a senior special operations official.

“All geographic combatant commands have one allocated to them, except AfriCom,” the senior official said. “AfriCom’s is in the process of being established.”

That momentary gap proved a lucky break for the ‘mob’ of Libyan attackers who also knew the location of a “sensitive safe house or annex a kilometer away. It remains unclear to U.S. and Libyan officials whether the militants knew of that facility or just followed a U.S. convoy to it after the consulate attack.”

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Children Singing

October 27th, 2012 - 4:39 pm

Since the beginning of recorded time men have been visited by dreams.

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Paranormal

October 27th, 2012 - 1:45 pm

The Washington Post chronicles the evolution of a new way of doing … well … something.  Suppose we refer to it as ‘force’.  The role of applying force has gradually moved from the Armed Services to one of the President’s aides accountable only to him. “Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it.”

They’ve created an assembly line for ‘direct action’. Drones and other targeted hits, once regarded as a temporary expedient to strike at fleeting targets have now become a mainstay of President Obama’s whateveryoucall it on whomeveryoucallit — a permanent activity without without a regular or accountable institution . At the heart of the process is the management of a database called the “disposition matrix”.

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The Thing From Our World

October 26th, 2012 - 3:02 pm

When there’s something strange in the neighborhood.

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