(Humor) Klavan on why crony capitalism isn’t capitalism

October 31, 2012

One of the occasional frustrations I experience happens when I discuss economics and the economy with liberal friends (1). When I praise capitalism and free markets, they point to corrupt practices by business and its government allies as proof that capitalism can’t work, and that we need more government regulation to make the system “more fair.” (“Fair” must be the new “F-word.”)  (2) When I counter that the problem is government intervention and that the picking of winners and losers is what creates the cronyism, they just roll their eyes in pity at my lack of understanding and we go on to the next topic.

Well, Andrew Klavan (3)  makes the same point I do, only –as usual– in a much more witty and entertaining fashion. Maybe, the next time the topic comes up, I’ll just whip out my Kindle Fire and play this video for them:

via Roger Kimball

Footnotes:
(1) Hey, this is California. You can’t avoid having a few. And, other than being wrong, they’re really nice people.
(2) Their faith in government is touching. Childlike and in denial of reality, but touching.
(3) Who used to make the “Klavan on the Culture” videos I’d post. He needs to start that series again. Now. Please?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi Consulate Massacre: pushback for Petraeus, and what’s important

October 30, 2012

What really matters

In an earlier post, I quoted news reports that called into question the role General David Petraeus, the CIA director, regarding his analysis of the attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Since then, PJM’s Bryan Preston published information that speaks in Petraeus’ defense:

A U.S. intelligence official disputed the characterization of Petraeus’ briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14, saying: “The first briefing (to the Hill) carefully laid out the full range of sparsely available information, with briefers noting that extremists — including those with possible links to AQIM and Ansar al-Sharia — were involved in attacks that appeared spontaneous. The talking points (from that weekend) clearly reflect the early indications of extremist involvement in a direct assault.”

As for the current assessment of the Benghazi attack, a U.S. intelligence official said no one is ruling out the idea militants may have aspired to attack the U.S., though the bulk of available information supports the early assessment that extremists — with ties to al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia — did not plan the attacks for day or weeks in advance.

One source who heard Petraeus brief also told Fox News, “I can confirm that he explicitly stated both to the House and the Senate oversight committees that members of AQIM and AAS participated in the attack in Benghazi. That assessment still stands.”

So, who’s right? Right now it’s the word of one side’s source against another, with, it seems, the White House and its political appointees on one side, and the Defense and Intelligence bureaucracies on the other, both with daggers drawn.  Meanwhile those of us outraged over the multiple scandals apparently wrapped in the Benghazi affair are left to throw our hands in the air and demand someone –anyone– tell us the truth.

Amidst all the details of who said what when, let’s not forget what’s important here: After months of Washington failing to give adequate security to our diplomatic mission in Libya, the consulate in Benghazi was attacked by an al Qaeda-aligned force, resulting in the death of our ambassador and three other Americans, two of  whom were former SEALs who fought like lions to defend their fellow Americans until help could come.

But that help never came, denied by someone for some reason never adequately explained. And the Ambassador, the mission staff member, and the two SEALs died.

And the ultimate responsibility for that lies with President Barack Obama, who has been blowing smoke in our eyes over this since the day it happened, hoping to get past the election.

Like the deaths in Operation Fast and Furious, the dead of Benghazi and respect for their survivors demands answers, accountability, and, if need be, punishment.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Hurricane #Sandy and a tale of two campaigns

October 30, 2012

Call it a study in character, where actions speak louder than words:

As Sandy slammed into the East Coast, the Romney campaign in Virginia asked supporters to bring relief supplies to its campaign offices, which it would then distribute on one of its own buses:

Having canceled campaign events in the area, Romney spokespeople are saying the bus will be used to transport donations of basic supplies to those in need.

“Bring donations to VA Victory offices. Romney bus will deliver them to those affected by #Sandy. #RomneyRyan2012,” Curt Cashour, Romney’s Virginia communications director, tweeted.

ABC’s Emily Friedman added: “Romney campaign will load storm relief supplies into Romney bus in Arlington Va today an will collect supplies at all VA victory offices.”

Conservative-leaning sites are describing the move as a “true example of leadership,” though the more politically cynical could interpret the move as a shrewd campaign strategy to shake off Romney’s “elitist” image.

And from CNN:

“Governor Romney’s concern is the safety and well-being of those in the path of Hurricane Sandy,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Monday morning.

The campaign is loading supplies into a campaign bus for delivery in Virginia. In Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania – all battleground states in the presidential campaign and all expected to be impacted by this storm – Team Romney is collecting supplies at their campaign offices for local relief efforts.

Now, I have no doubt the cynics mentioned in the first quote have a point; I’m sure anyone in the Romney campaign with more than minimal wits can see the potential political benefit in this.

But I also have no doubt that scoring political points is of secondary concern to the candidate and his campaign, well-behind a straightforward urge to help during a crisis. The Romneys are well known for their acts of charity and kindness, several examples of which we heard about during the convention. I’ll point to just one: the time when “heartless capitalist” Mitt Romney essentially shut down “evil” Bain Capital to lead his staff in a search for a missing girl.

Contrast that with the Obama campaign. Sure, the president flew to D.C. to monitor developments regarding the storm (1), but what was the Obama campaign doing during Sandy?

Asking supporters in the affected areas to call other people to stump for The One.

GOT A PHONE? GET HIS BACK. CALL.BARACKOBAMA.COM

Classy, no?

And before anyone says “that’s just the campaigns,” think about this: the campaign reflects the candidate. Each candidate sets the tone and attitude of their respective campaign, and each campaign absorbs the values and priorities of its candidate.

One campaign redirects itself to help those in need. The other says “Hey, you’ve got nothing better to do, how about making some calls for our guy?”

Think about that. Think about what it says about the character of each man and then ask yourself which candidate would serve the nation better in the Oval Office.

I think the answer’s pretty clear.

PS: Romney-Ryan 2012, because after four years I’m sick of narcissistic, callow jackasses in the White House.

PPS: You may not have your own bus, but you can still help.

Footnote:
(1) So, he thinks it’s important to be in D.C. to monitor Hurricane Sandy, but, when our consulate was under attack and our people dying in Benghazi, he went to bed? Okay….

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi Consulate Massacre: lawmakers briefed on al Qaeda role two days after the attack

October 29, 2012

US Consulate, Benghazi

And yet the White House and its spokespeople maintained for weeks afterward that the attack on September 11th was the result of a mob demonstrating against a video, a spontaneous “happening,” like a 60s love-in. They went so far as to have our UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, proclaim this on all five Sunday shows the week after the attack. Secretary Clinton swore to get the maker of the video. And Obama himself repeatedly blamed the video in his speech before the UN General Assembly on September 25th.

So why, then, were the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) telling lawmakers it was likely an al Qaeda operation on September 13th, just two days after the massacre?

Two days after the deadly Libya terror attack, representatives of the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center gave Capitol Hill briefings in which they said the evidence supported an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated attack, Fox News has learned.

The description of the attack by those in the Sept. 13 briefings stands in stark contrast to the now controversial briefing on Capitol Hill by CIA Director David Petraeus the following day — and raises even more questions about why Petraeus described the attack as tied to a demonstration.

The Sept. 13 assessment was based on intercepts that included individuals, believed to have participated in the attack, who were celebratory — as well as a claim of responsibility.

FBI and NCTC also briefed that there were a series of Al Qaeda training camps just outside of Benghazi, where the attack occurred and resulted in the deaths of four Americans. The area was described as a hotbed for the militant Ansar al-Sharia as well as Al Qaeda in North Africa.

Fox News is told there was no mention of a demonstration or any significant emphasis on the anti-Islam video that for days was cited by administration officials as a motivating factor.

The FBI and NCTC did not immediately respond to a request from Fox News for comment.

(Emphasis added)

This raises several troubling issues, including the recurrent question of why the administration stuck to its ludicrous story about an obscure video being at fault for weeks after the event, even when their own counter-terrorism people were saying otherwise. Remember, the only target of this… “fable spinning” was us, the American people. Everyone else, including al Qaeda, knew the truth.

My own guess is that the Obama administration, facing a tight election and having promoted itself as the slayers of bin Laden and the team that beat al Qaeda, now found themselves facing proof that not only were they wrong, but fatally so. In a panic they latched onto some reports about this video, which had been mentioned in jihadist forums in the weeks preceding the attack, and decided that would be their scapegoat, so they could avoid blame for their incompetence. And once the lie was told, they couldn’t abandon it without looking even more foolish, until they were finally forced to, and then lied about having lied.

The main issue raised by this report, though, is the role of CIA Director Petraeus, who apparently insisted to Congress that fault had to lie with the video and its maker, and that the deaths of our people were the result of demonstrations that got out of hand. We have to ask ourselves, and Congress must ask Director Petraeus, why he…

…characterized the attack as more consistent with a flash mob, where the militants showed up spontaneously with RPGs. Petraeus downplayed to lawmakers the skill needed to fire mortars, which also were used in the attack and to some were seen as evidence of significant pre-planning. As Fox News previously reported, four mortars were fired — two missed the annex, but the mortar team re-calibrated and the next two mortars were direct hits.

Fox News is told that Petraeus seemed wedded to the narrative that the attack was linked to a demonstration and was spontaneous as opposed to pre-meditated.

Fox News is told that Petraeus was “absolute” in his description with few, if any, caveats. 

Petraeus, of course, is the architect of our victory in Iraq in 2007-08, literally saving was was becoming a losing effort, and so he has a lot of credit banked with Congress. One can understand their anger at being given such a faulty, even nonsensical, report by someone they trusted, presented as fact when it flew in the face of information being reported by other intelligence agencies.  It calls into doubt his judgment, and perhaps his integrity.

There are many, many questions unanswered about the massacre in Benghazi, from the decisions leading up to it, to the events and decisions made that night and the evident coverup that’s taken place since.

To that list of questions we now have to add the role of the CIA Director.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi Consulate Massacre: Petraeus throws Obama under the bus

October 26, 2012

I’ve said before the intelligence community will not play the sap for Obama. And now The Weekly Standard reports (via JWF) that CIA Director Petraeus has thrown his boss under the bus:

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”

As Bill Kristol writes, the decision to do nothing in Benghazi had to have been a presidential decision. (If not, that has its own scary implications.)

This is unraveling fast. You can bet more will come out before the election.

The spooks won’t play the sap.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi Consulate Massacre: was there an AC-130 over the battle? UPDATE: Yes

October 26, 2012

If so, this makes an awful situation even worse. Bob Owens at PJMedia writes:

There were two AC-130Us deployed to Libya in March as part of Operation Unified Protector.

The AC-130U is a very effective third-generation fire-support aircraft, capable of continuous and extremely accurate fire onto multiple targets. It has been used numerous times in Iraq and Afghanistan to save pinned-down allied forces, and has even been credited with the surrender of the Taliban city of Kunduz

It was purpose-built for a select number of specific mission types, including point-defense against enemy attack. It was literally built for the kind of mission it could have engaged in over Benghazi, if the administration had let it fire. As the excerpt above clearly shows, we had assets on the ground “painting” the targets with the laser.

…and…

What this means is that we have the forces in the air and on the ground to have stopped the attack at any point, eliminating the terrorists and saving American lives.

I’m not as sure as Bob that a gunship was circling Benghazi during the fight, though it would explain why the American on the roof was painting the mortar crew with a laser (and, God, what he must have been thinking!), though the fact remains we had forces within a couple of hours’ travel that could have done something. Yet Obama did nothing.

Except go to bed. And then Las Vegas.

I honestly hope there wasn’t an AC-130 overhead — can you imagine what they must’ve felt when told to hold fire?

UPDATE: via Blackfive, a retired Delta Force soldier says it was either an AC-130, or an armed Predator:

Having spent a good bit of time nursing a GLD (ground Laser Designator) in several garden spots around the world, something from the report jumped out at me.

One of the former SEALs was actively painting the target. That means that Specter WAS ON STATION! Probably an AC130U. A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser. You do not “paint” a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station.

Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.

If the AC130 never left Sigonella (as Penetta says) that means that the Predator that was filming the whole thing was armed.

If that SEAL was actively “painting” a target; something was on station to engage! And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS!

This is awful…

(via Fausta)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi Consulate Massacre: CIA refused help?

October 26, 2012

“You’re on your own.”

Message from the Obama Administration to all overseas personnel: If you get into a jam, the cavalry isn’t coming:

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack several hours later was denied by U.S. officials — who also told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.”

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the Consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The quick reaction force from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the Consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.

(Emphases added)

And why were they denied help? From the Los Angeles Times:

U.S. military commanders decided against sending a rescue mission to Benghazi during the attack against the American diplomatic mission last month because they didn’t have enough clear intelligence to justify the risk to the troops, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday.

Panetta, in his fullest comments yet on the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, said Pentagon officials were aware of the assault by armed militants soon after it began Sept. 11. But he said they never had more than fragmentary information during the course of the attack.

The “basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s taking place,” Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. “This happened within a few hours, and it was really over before we had the opportunity to really know what was happening.

He said he, Army Gen. Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all believed“very strongly that we could not put troops at risk in that situation.

(Emphases added, h/t The Anchoress)

I have a one-word response to Secretary Panetta, but I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination.

No opportunity to know what was happening? Go read that FOX article, again. They were in constant radio contact with the CIA annex, from which the brass in DC were told at least twice that they needed help — and I bet they got plenty of detail about what was going on. They knew enough to move a Special Forces team from Central Europe to Sigonella — and then told them to stand down?

Remember, the attack started at 9:24 PM local time. Woods and Dougherty, the former Navy SEALs who defied orders in order to rescue their fellow Americans, weren’t killed until 4 AM, when they were taken out by a mortar round. That’s more than seven hours after the fighting started, yet Panetta says they didn’t know enough?

This is disgraceful. My father was in the US Navy in China in the 1930s. The place was a bigger mess than Libya: weak government, bandits everywhere, civil war. It regularly happened, he would tell me me, that Americans and other foreigners would find themselves in danger, so his ship’s CO would form an armed shore party to go deal with it.

No hesitations over not having enough intelligence, no qualms about risks. American lives and property were in danger, you’re the military and you go protect them.

And don’t tell me Panetta and Ham made these decisions on their own. We know the White House was in the loop. On something this big, the decision to intervene would have gone to Obama. Maybe he was getting warnings from the DoD about not risking “another Mogadishu,”, which, yes, is something he would have to take into account, but that was his moment to exercise leadership and say “find a way.”

But he didn’t. While our consulate burned and our people begged for help before dying, our forces were told to stand down.

Imagine what those people were thinking. Did they hold out hope that help would yet come? Or had they resigned themselves to their fates and decided to sell their lives dearly, knowing they had been disowned by their own government?

At the memorial service on the return of our dead to America, Vice President Joe Biden asked the father of Tyrone Woods, one of the SEALs killed in Benghazi, “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?”

I don’t know, Joe. But I do know your boss and his administration have none.

LINKS: More at Hot Air (and here), Pirate’s Cove, Q and O, and Power Line. Legal Insurrection thinks this revelation came from the CIA, which is refusing to take the fall. Earlier on Public Secrets, “Where was the military help?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi Consulate Massacre: a word of caution about those emails

October 25, 2012

Yesterday I wrote about emails sent from Libya to the State Department and the White House, among others, indicating that an al Qaeda subsidiary, Ansar al Sharia, had taken credit for the assault on our consulate that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. These emails seemed to confirm what many have suspected all along: that the White House knew quickly the attack had nothing to do with an obscure video, that they knew who had really perpetrated it, and that they were lying to the American people to cover up their incompetence and to protect Obama’s reelection chances.

While I still think that’s largely true, last night Daveed Gartenstein-Ross pointed followers to an article containing an observation by Anthony Zelin that makes the “the White House knew within two hours” narrative much less certain:

However, an examination of the known Facebook and Twitter accounts of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi reveals no such claim of responsibility. Aaron Zelin, a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tracks dozens of jihadist websites and archives much of what they say. He told CNN he was unaware of any such claim having been posted on the official Facebook page or Twitter feed of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi.

Zelin, who said his RSS feed sends him any new statement from the group, provided CNN with a copy of that feed. It shows no Facebook update between September 8 and September 12, when a posting late that afternoon first referenced the attack. Zelin notes that the posting referred to a news conference the group had held earlier that day in Benghazi in which it denied any role in the assault on the consulate, while sympathizing with the attackers.

This is an important point: these groups are not shy about claiming credit when they strike at the infidels (that’s us); not only is attacking us an act of religious piety that, in their view, is something to be proud of, but bragging about it also boosts the prestige of their group. Yet they first said nothing, then denied involvement.

The article continues by describing the difficulties of obtaining solid information in a place as chaotic as Libya:

In the hours following such incidents, it is not unusual for “spot reports” from agencies and overseas posts to pour in to the State Department. They typically include intercepts, what’s picked up on social media, witness accounts and what’s being said by local officials. They often contain raw, unfiltered information that is then analyzed for clues, patterns and contradictions.

In the case of the Benghazi attack, there were plenty of contradictions. Such situations are frequently chaotic, with claim and counter-claim by witnesses unsure of what happened when, according to U.S. officials. Building a complete picture without access to first-hand-accounts and little visual evidence can be a major challenge to government experts working from thousands of miles away.

So too have been the attempts to pin down who represents Ansar al-Shariah and their movements on the night of the attack.

Wings of Ansar al-Sharia, which means “partisans” or “supporters of Islamic law,” are based not only in Benghazi but in the Libyan town of Derna, east of Benghazi. The group’s leaders in Derna are thought to include Abu Sufyan bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

A different Ansar al-Sharia is affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, and budding franchises are said to exist in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt.

In other words, with groups as decentralized as al Qaeda and its affiliates, the leadership in one place might take false credit, while that in another might deny  it altogether, while a third, wholly unrelated group that happens to have the same name might (or might not) be the real perpetrators. (In fact, there is some indication al Qaeda jihadis from Iraq were part of the attack.) Thus the emails from Tripoli are not necessarily as damning as they may seem.

So, while I’m reasonably certain that this was an organized al Qaeda hit and not just a “flash mob with mortars,” I’m withdrawing my specific contention from yesterday that Obama had to have known within two hours that this was a terrorist hit and who did it — for now, until we get better information.

I am not, however, withdrawing or walking-back or wavering in my belief that the administration knew at some point early on that there was no anti-video demonstration and that this might well have been an al Qaeda attack. The evidence is too strong to believe otherwise (such as from drone surveillance during the fight). It appears much more likely, indeed probable, that they desperately latched onto any rumor that would allow them to claim it was someone else’s fault — an obscure film producer in California, for example. And then they stuck with it and lied to us for weeks afterward.

Forget about exactly when they knew: that they knew at all -and Obama and company had to have known- and continued to blow smoke in our faces in order to avoid responsibility is what we need to remember on Election Day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi consulate massacre: Obama knew who did it within two hours and lied to us. UPDATE: emails withheld from Senate?

October 24, 2012

US Consulate, Benghazi

Dear Mr. President: Let this be a teaching moment for you not to throw the intelligence and foreign service communities under the bus. They know things you’d rather be kept secret. Try to make them the fall guys, and those things will …somehow… become public:

Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.

The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.

Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.

(Emphasis added)

It wasn’t just “for days” that the administration tried to blame the disaster on a video few had even heard of; with very few exceptions, it went on for two weeks, including an infomercial in Pakistan bought and paid for with US taxpayer money and a presidential address before the UN General Assembly. The film’s maker was rousted out of his home by the sheriffs at night and made a public scapegoat, his free speech rights gut shot and left to bleed.

But it didn’t end after just a few days or even a few weeks, or even after US officials finally acknowledged what our “lying eyes” had been telling us all along, that this was an al Qaeda terrorist operation. Let’s roll tape and review a moment from the second Obama-Romney debate that the president I’m sure wishes we’d all forget:

Remember those first 45 seconds.

The three emails (via PJM) mentioned in the Reuters report detail the early stages of the attack on the consulate. They arrived within the first two hours of a battle that lasted seven hours. There are two key takeaways here:

  • First, amidst all the addresses in the headers, note “nss.eop.gov.” That is the White House Situation Room, President Obama’s emergency command center. It is almost unthinkable that Obama himself wasn’t informed.
  • Second, the subject line of the last email, beginning “UPDATE 2,” reported that Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for the attack. Ansar al Sharia is al Qaeda’s subsidiary in Libya.

In other words, within 120 minutes of the battle’s beginning, while there still might have been time to send help and save lives, the president, who almost certainly was informed, instead went to bed, lied to us the next day in the Rose Garden (and for weeks after), and that night went to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.

As I’ve written before, these lies could not have been meant to keep secrets from the enemy; al Qaeda knew what they had done. It wasn’t to protect a retaliatory strike, for none was underway. (We were still “investigating,” trying to find out what happened, y’see.)

No, the only purpose of this repeated, serial lying from multiple administration officials, from the president to Secretary of State Clinton to Ambassador Rice to Mouth of Sauron Press Secretary Jay Carney and God knows how many others, was to lie to us, in order to protect Obama’s reelection.

Bear in mind that Obama had spent months spiking the ball over killing bin Laden, culminating at the Democratic convention in Charlotte early last September and proclaiming that al Qaeda was crippled. Then the Benghazi attack occurred, clearly planned in advance, clearly an al Qaeda operation, and, so clearly that even a blind man couldn’t miss it, demolishing Obama’s one great claim to foreign policy success, something he desperately needed in his race against Governor Romney.

And thus the “fables” about a “spontaneous reaction to a hateful video” and “no evidence of terrorism” were born. Thus the midnight knock on the door for guy who had made the video. The only question is who came up with the idea. Axelrod? Jarrett? Cutter? Obama, himself?

We’ll probably find out in a tell-all memoir after the election, when all these wretches are in retirement and pointing fingers at each other.

But I doubt we’ll ever find out who released these emails. That’s a secret that will be kept.

UPDATE: Oh, this is special. Apparently the Senate Intelligence Committee had been asking for the emails for weeks, but the White House –I just know you’ll be shocked– stonewalled them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama’s apology tour and last night’s debate

October 23, 2012

I didn’t watch the debate last night (1), but I saw on Twitter that Governor Romney went after the President for his simultaneously smug-yet-craven “apology tour” of the Middle East in 2009. Obama, of course, denied that’s what he had done, but Romney wouldn’t let it go. And, sure enough, it appears as an ad today. I think it’s effective:

It works on several levels, contrasting the chaotic, anti-American  state of the Mideast today, without mentioning it, to Obama’s pusillanimous attempts to curry favor there just three years ago. It leaves the viewer asking, “What good did he do?” The answer isn’t good for Obama.

Compare how the two men are presented, too: Romney as respectful, but firm and in-command of the facts. Obama, on the other hand, looked… odd. Like a petulant student mocking his teacher by staring too intently, almost a caricature. While one could argue that’s just the editor at work, from what I read last night, that was the demeanor of both men through much of the debate. If so, I think the average American liked what they saw in Romney, and quite the contrary in Obama.

We’ll see in the next few days as the polls begin to account for last night.

via Power Line

Footnote:
1) Hey, football was on! There are priorities in life, ya know.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi Consulate Massacre: where was the military help? UPDATE: “Not a foreign policy failure”

October 22, 2012

One of the unanswered questions surrounding the assault on our consulate in Benghazi is why no rescue mission was launched. We already know that multiple requests from the ambassador and others for heightened security –or even to keep the security they had– were turned down by the State Department. Two former Navy SEALs died trying to protect the consulate, but where, in that great American tradition, was “the cavalry?”

CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson asks that same question, but the answers are, well, less than satisfying:

Some lawmakers are asking why U.S. military help from outside Libya didn’t arrive as terrorists battered more than 30 Americans over the course of more than seven hours. The assault was launched by an armed mob of dozens that torched buildings and used rocket propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles.

CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.

The State Department, White House and Pentagon declined to say what military options were available. A White House official told CBS News that, at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.”

But it was too late to help the Americans in Benghazi. The ambassador and three others were dead.

(Emphasis added)

Attkisson interviews a former Special Forces soldier, who is less than impressed with the “we checked all options” line:

Retired CIA officer Gary Berntsen believes help could have come much sooner. He commanded CIA counter-terrorism missions targeting Osama bin Laden and led the team that responded after bombings of the U.S. Embassy in East Africa.

“You find a way to make this happen,” Berntsen says. “There isn’t a plan for every single engagement. Sometimes you have to be able to make adjustments. They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”

Remember, this “battle” went on for seven hours. That gave the US time to put a drone overhead, so we could watch the last few hours of fighting. But this begs the question: If we could get a drone overhead, why not a rescue force?

In fact, Attkisson reports that the military had assets at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, assets that included AC-130 gunships, which could have at least buzzed the crowd to drive them off before opening fire.

And that help was only an hour away in a battle that lasted seven hours.

Another interviewee mentioned military risks and potential diplomatic problems from intervening. My response is “So?”  All combat operations involve risk. When American lives were in danger, that was a time to take that risk. And “diplomatic difficulties” with the Libyan government? Puh-leeze. One phone call from Clinton or Obama should have settled that with a reminder to the Libyan government that a) they wouldn’t exist without us and b) that we remember those who help us… and the implication that we also remember those who don’t.

And if that doesn’t work, you go in anyway and worry about Tripoli’s feelings later.

What you don’t do is worry about the niceties when this is happening:

US Consulate, Benghazi

You cannot tell me that the mightiest military the world has ever seen could do nothing useful in Benghazi. That we didn’t speaks volumes about the lack of leadership in D.C., including a Commander in Chief who went to bed while the fighting still raged. And if we really couldn’t, then that testifies to the lack of judgement on the part of policy makers who didn’t have the foresight to position assets ahead of time, just in case there was trouble in a region that is a known al Qaeda recruiting ground.

Either way, this incompetent crowd has got to go, before they get anyone else killed.

RELATED: More at Hot Air. The Anchoress makes a Catch-22 reference and asks some darned fine questions.

UPDATE: Doing her own rendition of “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”, Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter claims the only reason the Benghazi consulate massacre is a controversy is that those mean old Republicans are politicizing it, that it could have happened anywhere, and that it was not a failure on the part of the Obama administration. Be sure to read Ed Morrissey’s response to Cutter’s tripe; it drips with well-deserved scorn.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) “He’s only had four years”

October 21, 2012

Another good ad from the Romney campaign, contrasting Governor Romney’s record of accomplishment over his four year term with President Obama’s in his. I think it’s especially effecting when comparing Romney’s ability to work with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature in Massachusetts to Obama’s utter failure to work in any meaningful way with the Republican House:

PS: Romney-Ryan 2012, because it would be dumb to give another four years to the guy who wasted the first four.

via Blue Crab Boulevard

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Friday Funnies: Mitt Romney, comedian

October 19, 2012

Both Governor Romney and President Obama spoke last night at the Al Smith dinner, hosted annually by the Alfred E. Smith Foundation in New York City. It’s quite the event and, during election years, it’s a chance for presidential nominees to poke some fun at each other and themselves.

That they did, and I heard Obama was actually pretty good. But I never, ever expected a man with as wooden a reputation as Romney’s to turn out to be such a  funny guy:

Enjoy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Romney closing on Obama in… Michigan??

October 18, 2012

Signs of an electoral apocalypse?

A new statewide poll shows a tight race between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, as well as growing enthusiasm among Republicans for their nominee.

Released Wednesday, the poll of 600 likely voters showed Obama leading Romney in Michigan, 44.2 percent to 40.5 percent, but Romney also within the sampling error of 4 percentage points — meaning it’s a tight race.

The poll was conducted by the Michigan polling firm Denno Research and commissioned by Grand Rapids-based Lambert, Edwards & Associates, which also has offices in Lansing. Dennis Denno, president of Denno Research, also is chief of staff to state Sen. Virgil Smith Jr., D-Detroit.

Note that last: this is a Democratic poll. Maybe the partial nationalization of the auto industry isn’t as popular as assumed?

Also:

In addition, the poll found that Romney had a 6 percent lead over Obama with independent voters — 36 percent to 30 percent — strengthening Romney’s chances of closing the gap.

This is crucial: Obama may or may not have “fired up” his core Democratic supporters after the last debate, but it’s the unaligned who provided him with much of his margin of victory in 2008. If Romney, who’s already enjoying growing Republican enthusiasm according to the poll, is stealing the independents, then we may find Team Obama having to spend its scarcest resource, campaign time, not as much as they’d like in genuine battleground states, but in states that should be safe for them, such as Minnesota.

Looks to me like they’re the ones playing defense, falling back to their second line of fortifications while denying rumors that they’re abandoning their outer works in North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado. Romney still isn’t likely to win Minnesota or Michigan (though I predict a red Pennsylvania), but that more and more polls in Blue states are narrowing has to worry them with the election so near; that they spend any time or money in those places at all is a visible sign of this.

Or consider it another way: when was the last time Romney-Ryan campaigned in Texas?

Maybe an electoral strategy based on Big Bird, binders, and Tagg Romney’s violent urges doesn’t resonate with the American public?

What. A. Shock.

via Hot Air

UPDATE: Beware of irrational exuberance, but Gallup has Romney up 52-45 in likely voters. Analyst Sean Trende is reasonably skeptical. But it sure is pretty.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


And if that last chart didn’t convince you…

October 17, 2012

Here’s another, this time of the growth in food-stamp recipients under Barack Obama:

(Click the image for a larger version)

There are now nearly 20 million more Americans on food stamps now that there were when Obama took office. Gee, do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that, since Obama’s inauguration, ten times as many people gave up looking for work as those who found jobs?

This is disgraceful, and yet the Obama administration’s Department of Agriculture celebrates and encourages people to get on food stamps, and rewards states for signing up more. I have no problem with a small welfare state that helps the truly needy; it’s a mark of our compassion as a society. But I have a big problem with government policies that a) have the net effect of encouraging people not to look for work; b) encourages them to become long term dependents on welfare (no matter how they brand it, the dole is what it is); and c) acts as if this is a good thing.

It isn’t. In fact, it’s a record the Democrats should be ashamed of (rather than suggesting people hold parties), and it is an outstanding reason to vote Obama out of office. Depending on welfare is nothing that should ever be praised — it should be a mark of shame and embarrassment for those on it; shame is a healthy emotion that pushes us to correct what’s wrong, such as by looking for work as much as one is able to do, trying to be productive and a net contributor.

But the biggest shame is the government’s, for encouraging freeborn, productive citizens to become infantilized, dependent clients — and then acting as if that’s a good thing.

Come to think of it, to the Progressives it is a good thing.

This chart, and the one in the preceding post, represent an assault and danger to the character of the American people by Leftists obsessed with redistribution. On Election Day, we need to redistribute them out of power.

via Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The chart that’s worth a thousand sound bites

October 16, 2012

Kind of says all you need to know, doesn’t it?

You can enlarge it to get the full effect, but the upshot is that the number of people no longer in the labor force has grown by ten times the number of people who have been added, who’ve found jobs.

This is a function Obama’s obsession with redistribution over recovery, with “reform” over growth. It is the near-inevitable result of combining Keynesian economics and the Progressive love for statist, technocratic solutions, the delusion that an economy can be directed from above and that a nation can borrow, tax, and spend its way out of economic difficulties. Think I’m nuts? Then ask yourself why the Great Depression lasted seven years longer than it had to. We saw the same hubris then as now, and once again the American people are suffering for it.

So, tell me again, why anyone with a lick of sense would vote to reelect Obama?

via Blue Crab Boulevard

PS: Romney-Ryan 2012, because it’s past time for the non-delusional to be in charge.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, gosh. It seems “global warming” stopped about 16 years ago. UPDATED: Met Office replies

October 15, 2012

Now there’s an “inconvenient truth” for the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming. And the source is none other than the UK’s Met Office, a veritable temple of the faith:

The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.

The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.

This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.

The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued  quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported.

This stands in sharp contrast  to the release of the previous  figures six months ago, which went only to the end of 2010 – a very warm year.

Ending the data then means it is possible to show a slight warming trend since 1997, but 2011 and the first eight months of 2012 were much cooler, and thus this trend is erased.

Some climate scientists, such as Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, last week dismissed the significance of the plateau, saying that 15 or 16 years is too short a period from which to draw conclusions.

Others disagreed. Professor Judith Curry, who is the head of the climate science department at America’s prestigious Georgia Tech university, told The Mail on Sunday that it was clear that the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply flawed’.

Even Prof Jones admitted that he and his colleagues did not understand the impact of ‘natural variability’ – factors such as long-term ocean temperature cycles and changes in the output of the sun. However, he said he was still convinced that the current decade would end up significantly warmer than the previous two.

Be sure to click through for the rest of the article and the Chart of Doom.

You won’t be shocked to learn the Met Office released this data without any publicity — not surprising since it blows a hole in their precious theory theology big enough to drive a 16-wheeler through. Later in the article it’s observed that the current “plateau” period has been about as long as the warming trend that preceded it. A little bit of reading and some thought based on observable evidence (and not computer models)  might lead one to think this is part of a natural cycle, not some sign that man has angered Gaea and will be punished for it.

That’s the theory I prefer, at any rate, and I think it’s more empirical than anything the Met Office, the University of East Anglia, Phil Jones, James Hansen, Al Gore, and the rest of the alarmist, Green Statist, rent-seeking cult has ever produced.

This will not stop them, of course, as Jones’ bleatings and pleadings in the article show, even while he admits they don’t know enough about natural cycles. Well, then doesn’t that make their oracles –their computer models– worthless?

Not to the true climate alarmist. They’ll just wait a little for the fuss to die down, then go back to selling their predictions of doom and claiming mathematical proof in the hope of convincing a few more uncritical suckers.

And we’ll be waiting for them.

RELATED: More from Pirate’s Cove.

UPDATE: The Met Office has replied, attacking the author and his article.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


October 14, 2012

Phineas Fahrquar:

They say they’re saving the Earth, but, really, it’s all about their bank accounts.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Excerpted from The Liberal War on Transparency by Chris Horner

So, Al Gore came to do good and ended up doing really, really well, according to the Washington Post. That’s actually not unique for Washington, except possibly as a matter of scale: Gore went from being worth $2 million when leaving office to about $100 million now.

Gore, of course, “invested” in or otherwise found profitable arrangements with many companies whose financing mostly comes courtesy of the taxpayer, either directly, or indirectly in that private money flocks to that which politicians wed themselves to — the “halo effect” — on the knowledge that once the spigot opens it is difficult to turn off for fear of having a taxpayer-funded flop on their hands.

View original 803 more words


(Video) I think this guy knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Socialism

October 13, 2012

Born in Budapest in 1944 under the Nazis, he lived under he Soviet boot until he left for America at age 21. Having achieved the American Dream, he’s worried:

He’s not running for office. He’s not part of a super PAC. He’s not lobbying for or against any ballot measures.

But billionaire Thomas Peterffy is spending millions on television ads this election season with one cautionary message: Avoid socialism.

(…)

Peterffy was born in Budapest in 1944 during the deadly Soviet offensive that ended in the capture of Hungary’s capital the following year. From then, the republic remained under communist control until it gained independence in 1989.

The new ad features images of Peterffy as a child in Hungary and the impoverished conditions in his native country.

“As a young boy, I was fantasizing about one day going to America, making a success of myself. The American Dream,” he says.

Peterffy left his country and moved to New York in 1965, where-without knowing English–he got a computer programming job on Wall Street. He later purchased his own seat on the American Stock Exchange in 1977 and, fast forward a few years, found himself the creator of Interactive Brokers, one of the first electronic trading firms.

Forbes Magazine now estimates Peterffy, 68, has a net worth of $4.6 billion.

And then there’s this:

“I’ve paid $1.9 billion in taxes in my lifetime, now I am being told that I am not contributing my fair share?” he said in an interview.

Here’s the ad:

Here’s a difference between the Left and the Right. The Left will look at Mr. Petterfy and see him through the lens of class warfare, the evil profiteer whose money had to come from hurting and exploiting others. How dare he want to keep more of what he earned? The Right, on the other hand, sees someone who came to America and added value to the nation, creating a successful business with the attendant jobs. Creating wealth for himself and, directly or indirectly, others. By engaging in his own pursuit of happiness, he helped others achieve theirs.

Put it another way: A Righty and a Lefty see Mr. Petterfy’s ad on TV. How do they react?

Right: “I want to be that guy!”

Left: “I”m going to get that guy!”

Mr. Petterfy’s ad is running on national cable networks and test markets in some battleground states. I’d say he’s putting his money to good use — and his adopted nation’s service.

via Fausta and Ace, who highlights a facepalm-worthy comment from a reader

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) A walk through a liberal time capsule

October 13, 2012

Bill Whittle recently spoke at Oberlin College, one of the most liberal of liberal arts schools, where he says he had a great time. His hosts couldn’t been any nicer.

But he was struck by something else, too: he was in a progressive time capsule. At various moments in his visit to Oberlin, he saw shocking examples of the intolerance of the supposedly tolerant campus Left, especially for anything that disagreed with their false dogmas, which haven’t changed in 60 years.

Gotta love that open-mindedness that lets you say and think whatever you want, just so long as you say and think the right things.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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