A short, sweet Easter afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s Easter Sunday, and that means all family all the time.  No complaints here, though.  It’s been a lovely day so far and I anticipate an equally pleasant afternoon and evening.  Full blogging will not happen today, but here are a few (a very few) links that intrigued me:

I’ve long known in a vague sort of way that Egypt is one grain of wheat away from a famine.  Having read David Archibald’s article, though, I now know in a very specific way precisely what kind of famine may be facing the world’s most populous Muslim nation.  While the Western world seems to have managed to stay one step ahead of Malthus, that’s not the case in Egypt, where bad things — overpopulation, underproduction, lack of diversification, political upheaval, and probable drought — are coming together to create a Perfect Storm of advanced hunger.

***

One of my favorite non-fiction books is Thomas Cahill’s The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels. In authoring the book, Cahill has no ego. To the extent that he’s vastly well-informed, he wants to share his knowledge with people, not overwhelm them with his erudition. The result is a book that is simultaneously scholarly and accessible. I mentioned it here because Shmuley Boteach has written what could be the short version of that same book, describing how the Jews have contributed to the world’s well-being.

***

Two very specific things in the early 1980s taught me that socialism cannot work. The first was the fact that, when my father visited his sister in East Germany, shortly after she retired from her decade’s long career as a high level Communist Party functionary, he discovered that she had lived for nine years with a broken and unusable kitchen sink. Not to worry, this true believer told my father.  She was “on the list” and was confident that the glorious Communist Party would one day get around to fixing her sink.  I suspect that it was still broken when the wall came down.

The second thing that taught me that socialism cannot work was the story of two hip replacements. Back in 1974, my father got his hip replacement two months or so after he was told that it was the only way to keep him from spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. He walked, albeit with pain for the next twenty years of his life, until his death.

Meanwhile, in 1981, while I was living in England, I met a woman who had been told back in 1979 that a hip replacement was the only thing that would keep her out of a wheelchair. When I met her, she’d been barely functioning for two years, although she’d avoided the wheelchair. After I left, she went into the wheelchair. I lost contact with her about two years after a left England (i.e., four years after the referral for hip surgery), at which time she was still in that wheelchair. I don’t know whether she ever got that hip.

Keep those realities in mind when you read about Sweden’s socialized medicine, which works wonderfully only if you live long enough to benefit from it.

***

The DiploMad may not be in the State Department any more, but he has friends who are. He’s learned from these friends that the State Department has a new initiative to ensure that something like Benghazi never happens again. Let me just say that I’m with the DiploMad in thinking that the movers and shakers in State are delusional — and to despair that they’re pursuing their delusions using our dollars and American lives.

***

A lawyer friend of mine is brilliant, informed, and an incredibly good writer.  I hope those are adequate reasons for you to check out his post about the Free Speech (and Association) implications of the attack on Brendan Eich.

Benghazi is not news at the Times; Michael Sam’s sexuality is

Michael SamI know this is a politically incorrect thing for me to say, but I couldn’t care less about Michael Sam’s sexuality.  If it were up to me, it wouldn’t be news at all, or it would be at the bottom of page three in the sports section. I’m not homophobic; I’m homo-disinterested.  Peculiarly enough (nowadays), I measure people by attributions other than their sexual orientation.

The New York Times, however, considers Sam’s announcement that he is gay to be major news, not non-news, and has given him lavish coverage (which I haven’t bothered to read, because I really don’t care).  As far as the Times is concerned, a gay college football player is front page news:

New York Times on Michael Sam

Think about this:  in the world of the New York Times, it’s minimally newsworthy that (a) the Secretary of State failed to provided necessary security for an Ambassador in a tremendously dangerous region, where he and three others subsequently died; (b) that the Secretary of State and the President both seem to have been AWOL while the Ambassador and three others were dying; (c) that the Secretary of State, the President, and the entire administration lied about events leading up to and including these four deaths; and (d) that the Secretary of State loudly proclaimed that none of this mattered.  The New York Times also thinks this same Secretary of State would make a stellar president.  (And maybe that’s true, if you like your presidents to be utterly unprincipled and un-accomplished.)

Considering that the New York Times styles itself the paper of record, wouldn’t you love to ask the petty, squabbling, arrogant staff there, “Just what record are you talking about there?”

Europeans look at Hillary and Obama through the Benghazi lens

The American media won’t touch Benghazi with a ten foot pole, since there is no way that either Hillary or Obama come out of it looking good.  The Europeans, however, are not so squeamish.  (Hat tip:  Snoopy the Goon, a fellow Watcher’s Council member who blogs out of Israel at Simply Jews.)

Benghazi cartoon 5

Benghazi cartoon 4

Benghazi cartoon 3

Benghazi cartoon 2

Benghazi cartoon 1

Understanding scandals — it’s not what’s done, it’s who’s done it that counts

His Girl FridayI haven’t been much of a Chris Christie supporter lately.  In the beginning, I admired his ability to stand up to the teacher’s unions.  Since then, I’ve decided that this was less a principled position and more a reflection of a highly aggressive personality.  Outside of the unions, he’s too much of a RINO, and I’m suspicious about his Saudi ties.  He’d be a better president than Obama, but that’s a low bar.  If he ended up on top of the Republican ticket opposite Hillary, I’d vote for him, but primarily because Hillary would finish the job Obama’s done, and anything is (I think) better than that.  So that’s my view about Chris Christie.

What I want to talk about here is the scandal.  It seems that nothing has ever happened before that’s been as thrilling as the fact that a Republican governor’s employee had a nearly unspoken agreement with another of the governor’s employees that, if a Democrat mayor ticked them off, they’d use their power to create traffic havoc in his town.  (For punsters, we finally have a “toll-gate” scandal.)  A 91-year-old lady whose ambulance got stuck the traffic jam died later, and her death could be attributed to the delay.  (Only God knows for sure.)  The whole affair is nasty, unprincipled, and petty.  The employees deserved to be fired, and Christie fired them.  The media is having what Matt Drudge describes as a feeding frenzy.  Fine.  It’s their job to sell the news.

But what about a few other scandals that probably could have sold news too?

A Secretary of State, despite repeated pleas from an ambassador in one of the world’s most dangerous areas, refuses to heighten security.  The ambassador and three others die.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s diplomatic mission in a foreign country is attacked.  Four people die and unknown numbers of confidential documents vanish.  The besieged nation’s President Secretary of State speak once and then both refuse to explain their whereabouts.  Rumors are that the president went to bed early to prepare for a campaign event.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A president deputizes one of his employees to go on Sunday talk shows to explain that an attack on its diplomatic mission, which left four dead, including an ambassador, occurred because of a 10-minute YouTube video that was perceived as being uncomplimentary to Islam.  To add an air of verisimilitude to this otherwise unconvincing narrative, the administration trumps up charges to arrest the video’s maker, in what many see as a blatant attack on free speech in the service of Islam.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

An Attorney General arranges to have hundreds of guns smuggled into Mexico.  There are two theories about this, neither good. The first is that the guns were supposed to be traceable, so as to track gun and drug crime coming out of Mexico, but that the AG’s incompetent employees forgot to add the necessary electronics.  The second is that the AG deliberately released weapons into Mexico to support his anti-gun campaign.  “See,” he would say.  “We told you that our nation’s guns are despoiling the world.”  In any event, the guns with the AG’s name on them killed one of his own border agent as well as hundreds of Mexican civilians.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s troops, most notably its Marines, sweat, and bleed, and die in a terrorist-ridden town in Iraq.  Their success there helps turn a years’ long war around, paving the way for a simulacrum of democracy in a country whose people lived for decades at the mercy of a sadistic tyrant.  It’s not true democracy, but it’s close enough; people are experiencing relative freedom for the first time in their lives; and the government is relatively friendly the liberating western nation.  At the end of WWII, faced with this situation, the victorious nation stuck around for another 60+ years to hang onto that victory.  This time, though, the president walked away without a second glance and without any effort to secure hard-won gains.  Two years after the president declared, not victory, but “war over,” that same town has once again fallen to the terrorists.  The president is silent.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s people learn that the government is spying on their every communication.  It started before the current president, but has escalated madly during his administration.  Even some media outlets learn that the government has been spying on their telephone calls.  One would think that this outrage would encourage them to reconsider their blind faith in the current administration.  It does not.  After a few huffs and puffs, the media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s tax-collecting agency, which is it’s most feared and powerful agency, turns out to have been engaged in a systematic effort to silence all conservative and pro-Israel speech.  The timing shows that the effort was manifestly intended to disrupt the 2012 presidential election, and it may well have done so, giving a squeaker of an election to the candidate from the Democrat-party.  All people of good will, regardless of party, should be horrified by this type of partisan overreach from a nation’s most powerful agency.  The media, however, is unperturbed.  It does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

Beginning in 2009, a president tells his people a series of bald-faced lies.  The documentary evidence shows that he knew that they were lies when he told them.  That is, it wasn’t ignorance or wishful thinking on his part.  Instead, he was running a scam.  This giant fraud begins to unravel on October 1, 2013, and with every passing day, the public learns more about the administration’s lies, incompetence, and cronyism.  This knowledge is made manifest in the most painful of ways, as millions of people lose the security of insurance plans, doctors, and hospitals, even as they are being forced to pay more money for fewer benefits.  Although the media dutifully points out the problems in the first month, by the second month, it returns to lap dog status, crowing about thousands of sign-ups, with scant attention to the fact that it’s unknown whether those who signed up have actually paid  for new policies.  The same media downplays the certain fact that more people have lost beloved policies than gained lousy ones under the new system.

Yes, I tried to keep that nation’s identity anonymous, but you’ve figured it out.  The nation in which a president and his administration, through a combination of fraud, lies, and incompetence, have caused people’s deaths, wasted military deaths, destroyed a functioning health care system, spied on its citizens, and possibly corrupted election outcomes, routinely gets a pass from the media.  Our MSM does just enough reporting to lay claim to some credibility as a “news” outlet, and then ignores as hard as possible whatever issue could hurt a Democrat president.  The whole thing is declared “over” after Jon Stewart, through selective clips, announces that Fox News is insane.  The media heaves a sigh of relief, and goes back to guarding the administration.  That system, of course, doesn’t apply when a vaguely Republican governor is tied to a traffic jam (admittedly, a malicious, unprincipled traffic jam).  In that case, the 24-hour news cycle kicks into overtime.

Looking at today’s headlines, I’d have to say that the biggest scandal of them isn’t either Christie’s toll-gate or Obama’s just-about-everything-gate.  Instead, it is the fact that we have a Democrat lap-dog media that still has the temerity to call itself a “free press.”

The Big Lie is already making the truth irrelevant; or, Republicans are once again waiting for the manure shower

Biff manureA friend sent me a very funny email.  I don’t know if the numbers are precisely accurate, but I do know that they’re accurate enough to serve a larger truth, namely America’s overwhelming turn in 1942 from a peacetime nation into a fully armed, fully operational wartime nation. In this way, the facts stated distinguish themselves from the Progressive concept of “truthiness,” which means “fake, but [God alone knows how] accurate”:

During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the U.S. produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks.

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.

It’s worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama administration couldn’t build a functioning web site.

To me, living in my  head as I do, a head filled with news and political commentary, the above is both funny and devastating.  It puts into perspective the pathetic disaster that was the Obamacare exchange launch and should remind everyone that a government this bad at one thing is almost certainly also a government incapable of performing the most basic functions . . . such as protecting us from our declared enemies.

Immediately after getting the above email, I read that the New York Times is working hard to re-write the Benghazi slaughter so as to clean up both Hillary’s and Barack’s reputations. And I know, and you know, that even though the New York Times is losing subscribers like mad, that fact is kind of irrelevant, because the Times still the news source for all sorts of other newspapers across America.  Go ahead.  Check out your morning local rag.  You’ll see that at least one story comes direct from the Times or from the Washington Post or from the Associated Press.  As Conan proved in a funny, fluffy video, no matter the outlet, the story’s always the same.

The Obama administration is now boasting that one million people signed up for Obamacare in December.  Maybe it’s true; maybe it’s not.  The two things we know with certainty are (1) that the media won’t press for the truth and (2) that the media will work as one in the coming months to shill for Obamacare.  The glitches are over; the wonders are on their way.

Yes, we who have not drunk the Kool Aid know that Obamacare will collapse under its own weight, but that doesn’t matter.  All that the media hustlers need to do is keep those plates spinning until the day after the November 2014 election.  After that, they’re home free no matter what happens.

And please don’t look to the Republican Party for help.  It’s so busy trying to take out the Tea Party (it’s bad for business, doncha’ know?) that it’s ignoring the most wondrous political opportunity handed to it since . . . well, since never before.  Rick Moran sounds the warning, but don’t expect the money guys in the GOP to hear that tocsin:

Are Republicans smart enough to counter this propaganda with nightmare stories about sky-high premiums, the cancellation of perfectly good insurance policies, website errors, and other tragic experiences that ordinary people have had with Obamacare? Democrats couldn’t accuse them of cherry picking bad news when they’re cherry picking good news.

This is a long-term war to be played out over the coming years. What I don’t see yet is a commitment from the national Republican Party to engage the resources necessary to counter the Democrats move for move. There doesn’t appear to be a plan in place which means they’ll be improvising on the fly. That just won’t cut it.

With the Obamacare website now largely operational, the first phase of the battle is over. But unless the GOP stays on its toes, they are likely to be buried by the administration PR machine.

The Leftist PR machine is gearing up hard.  Moreover, with this video as a graphic illustration, please remember that the agile Democrats are already on the move, while the Republicans are the ones sitting in the car:

Media Rule No. 1: Never ever abandon Democrat spin — but Charles Martel shows we can spin too

Earl Aagaard caught something in the very first line of an AP report about the fact that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is about to be freed from prison.  If Nakoula’s name doesn’t ring a bell, let me refresh your recollection.

Nakoula posted on YouTube a short video that purported to be a trailer about Muhammad’s life.  It was as inconsequential as any bit of fluff ever put onto YouTube.  For the Obama administration, however, it was a life saver.

In the immediate aftermath of riots at the Egyptian embassy and the al Qaeda-related slaughter of four Americans in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, the administration discounted both its own responsibility and resurgent anti-American Islamist terrorism by saying that Nakoula’s video triggered events in both Egypt and Benghazi.  To the extent that his ten-minute nothing of a video trailer for a non-existent movie was seen as an insult to “the Prophet,” the administration implied, Muslims got righteously upset and, pretty much by accident, attacked a US embassy, a consular office, and a CIA outpost, killing an American ambassador, a consular aide, and two former SEALS.

Nakoula poster

(You can see other cleverly-captioned Nakoula arrest posters here.)

Well, put that way, what else could our government do but arrest someone who had so much blood on his hands?  Within just a day or two, administration flunkies discovered that Nakoula had violated his parole (nobody says Nakoula is the most savory character in the world), had him arrested, and kept him hidden away in the bowels of the American prison system.  Now, over a year later, he is finally to be free.

In that intervening year, of course, we’ve learned that everything the administration said about Nakoula’s little video was a lie.  The rioting in Egypt took place because of the September 11 anniversary, while the attack on the Benghazi consulate was a carefully planned attack by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  To the extent the jihadists talked about the video, it was an ex post facto cover for their terrorist activities — and the Obama administration knew this from the minute the riots in Egypt and the attack in Benghazi came into being.  After all, Ambassador Christopher Stevens had seen the attack coming for some time and had begged for increased security in Benghazi.  Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, turned a deaf ear to his pleas.

When the attack finally came, barring Hillary’s single phone call and Obama’s quick visit to the situation room, both Hillary and Obama were AWOL.  We don’t know what Hillary was doing, but we know that Obama was getting some rest before campaigning in Las Vegas.

With those facts in mind, how does the Associated Press report on the fact that Nakoula, the Obama administration’s designated scapegoat, is finally being set free?  This way:

A California man behind an anti-Muslim film that led to violence in parts of the Middle East is due to be released from federal custody this week.

Wow!  That the AP can say that when we know with certainty that Nakoula’s film did not lead to violence is a breathtaking example of pro-administration spin.  In the year since the attack, AP, which is supposed to track actual news, must have known that Al Qaeda used the film as a cover for a coordinated, planned attack against American outposts in the Middle East, and a sleazy, dishonest, incompetent administration seized on that cover in an effort to hide its own gross culpability.  Pravda couldn’t have done a better job of covering its government master than AP did in that single, dishonest sentence.

Fear not, though, because two can spin at that game.  The brilliant and inimitable Charles Martel, whom I count as one of my dear friends in both the real and the cyber world, has put forth his own idea for spin supporting a pro-American effort in the Middle East:

President Charles Martel’s address to the nation, September 24, 2013:

“My fellow Americans, as you know by now, two U.S. cruise missiles were accidentally launched earlier today and fell inadvertently upon two of the holiest shrines in Islam.

“One careened into the sacred well at Iran’s holy city of Qom, where, according to Shi’ite belief, the 12th Mahdi awaits his return to lead mankind from Daar al Habib—the world at war with Allah—into Daar al Islam, the world in submission to Allah.

“Fortunately, our concern that the misdirected missile may have prematurely awakened the Mahdi remains unfulfilled. U.S. satellite images show that the well is a shambles and apparently whatever lifeforms existed at the bottom of it now lie crushed beneath tens of thousands of tons of rock.

“Nevertheless, we send the Iranian people our deepest apologies and sincere wishes that the Mahdi gets out from under.

“The other missile ended its totally erratic course at the Kaaba in Mecca, the sacred black rock at the very center of Islam’s earthly manifestation. It, like the Mahdi’s well, is a complete wreck. Luckily, the accidental launch took place when only the janitors were buffing the Kaaba, so there was little—although regrettable—loss of life.

“We know that in Muslim belief Allah wills all that happens, and that man himself is predestined to carry out that will. Somehow Allah willed the launch of those two missiles—and believe you me, we are hunting down the man or woman and ship that launched them—and He can will the Kaaba’s  instant restoration. If not, the United States stands ready to deliver building supplies to the good people of Mecca, although given the harsh terrain and conditions there, we would probably have to use M-1 tanks to make those deliveries.

“Again, we apologize for the bad lobs. We trust that Allah, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, will rebuild the Kaaba in the wink of an eye and dust off the Mahdi, thereby restoring His people’s faith in His ability to do anything He wants—including launch missiles against them.

“Good night and God bless the United States of America.”

House Democrats stage mass walkout before parents of Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith testify before Oversight Committee

Darryl Issa has tweeted out one of the most appalling photographs I’ve ever seen emerge from the United States House of Representatives.

Today the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing about events in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. You remember what happened on that day, don’t you? If you don’t, I’m happy to give you the official Obama administration version:

That was the day that a Libyan movie review got a little bit out of control. Apparently Libyan fighters coincidentally affiliated with Al Qaeda took umbrage at a poorly made seven minute YouTube trailer promoting a movie that was never actually made about Muhammad’s life. Since Libya has no popcorn to throw at the screen, these same outraged movie critics inadvertently managed to overwhelm our under-guarded diplomatic mission in Benghazi, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens (and perhaps torturing him before doing so), as well as U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith.

The same crazed movie reviewers then shifted their attack to the nearby CIA Annex where they engaged in a several-hour-long firefight with former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Both men died at their stations.

Meanwhile, back at home, some unknown person, but definitely not Barack Obama (even though he had sole authority to do so), told nearby troops told to stand by. Also, after a single phone call early in the attack, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was sufficiently well informed about everything to vanish from the scene entirely. (And really, what difference at that point, did it make?) As for Barack Obama, well, he really did need his beauty sleep before an upcoming Las Vegas campaign stop.

The administration later assured us that, despite a slew of increasingly desperate emails from Ambassador Stevens about security concerns, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had absolutely no idea whatsoever that an American embassy outpost in a war-torn land riddled with al Qaeda operatives might need more than a couple of local guards at the front door. That’s why the Marines weren’t there to fire any of those “shots across the bow” that Obama suddenly loves so much.

In sum, the incompetence of a Democrat administration left a U.S. outpost vulnerable to a terrorist attack; that same Democrat administration could not be bothered to rouse itself to protect Americans fighting for their lives in a tiny outpost of America on foreign soil; and the Democrat administration then tried to cover-up its gross dereliction of duty by lying consistently in the days and weeks following the attack. Other than that, of course, the Democrats have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to events in Benghazi.

The Democrats’ sordid Benghazi history may explain a shocking tweet that Rep. Darryl Issa sent out two hours ago right before Patricia Smith, who is Sean Smith’s mother, and Charles Woods, who is Tyrone Woods’ father, were to have testified about their sons’ lives and deaths:

Townhall explains what you’re looking at:

The far side of the room, shown empty in the photo, belongs to the Democrats. The only Democrats who stayed were Ranking Member Elijah Cummings and Rep. Jackie Speier.

Absent further information about this mass retreat, it appears that the Democrats, having presided over these men’s deaths, do not have the decency to look their survivors in the face, if only to apologize.

(Cross-posted at Gateway Pundit, where I’m helping out as Jim Hoft recovers from a very scary month, health-wise.)

Four articles that might interest you

I’m juggling family and work right now, so cannot blog at length (something that plagued me yesterday as well).  Still, I have four articles I think you might like to read.

One:  I’ve ruminated often here about the nature of heroism.  I’m not talking about the Leftist version of heroism, which is to stand up in a room full of Leftists and say “George Bush is stupid.”  I’m talking about real heroism, of the type displayed on the battlefield by Medal of Honor winners (and many who aren’t so honored), or in daily life, when one hears about the incredible risks people take to rescue strangers.  I’m physically cowardly, and I’m plagued by chronic analysis paralysis.  The Anchoress, who is not a coward, nevertheless writes about her moment with analysis paralysis.  I think she’s too hard on herself, since she was analyzing a possible threat, rather than dealing with a real one.  Even more interestingly, the Anchoress writes from a Christian perspective, which adds another layer to her ruminations.

Two:  All I can say is that this is one woman who must have a very peculiar sex life if her mind works this way.  (H/t:  Sadie)

Three:  It’s shocking that Dakota Meyer’s translator at the Battle of Ganjgal, in Afghanistan, cannot get a visa to the U.S.  Here’s a view from a Military Times blog, and here’s the write-up I did at Mr. Conservative.  As you read about this, you’ll probably think of the Pakistani doctor who helped us catch bin Laden, but who is languishing in a Pakistani prison.  The rule in America under Obama is that the American government (especially the State Department) will abandon you if you serve us with your life:  we’ll abandon you in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan, and in Benghazi.  There are no limits to how badly we will treat our friends.

Four:  I mentioned in an earlier post Dennis Prager’s article about the fact that several self-righteous Leftist publications have announced that, regardless of what the Redskins’ management, players, and fans want, these magazines will never again sully their paper or electronic pages with the evil “R” word.  I was especially struck by the way Prager, attacking The Atlantic’s explanation for supporting this stand, honed in on the perverse moralizing that characterizes the Left:

Argument Four is the key argument, offered by The Atlantic, in its support of Slate:

“Whether people ‘should’ be offended by it or not doesn’t matter; the fact that some people are offended by it does.”

Response: This is classic modern liberalism. It is why I have dubbed our age “The Age of Feelings.”

In a fashion typical of progressives, the Atlantic writer commits two important errors.

First, it does matter “whether people ‘should’ feel offended.” If we ceased using all arguments or descriptions because “some people” feel offended, we would cease using any arguments or descriptions. We should use the “reasonable person” test to determine what is offensive, not the “some people are offended” criterion.

[snip]

Teaching people to take offense is one of the Left’s black arts. Outside of sex and drugs, the Left is pretty much joyless and it kills joy constantly. The war on the “Redskins” name is just the latest example.

Second, it is the Left that specializes in offending: labeling the Tea Party racist, public cursing, displaying crucifixes in urine, and regularly calling Republicans evil (Paul Krugman, in his New York Times column last month, wrote that the Republican mindset “takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.”) For such people to find the name “Redskins” offensive is a hoot.  (Emphasis mine.)

Please read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the view of the scandals from the Left

I really love Facebook.  It helps me hone my epigrammatic skills, since I believe it demands some brevity; it allows me, in sneaky fashion, to expose my liberal friends to articles and ideas that don’t normally appear on their horizons; and it allows me to get a window into what ordinary liberals (as opposed to internet activist liberals) are thinking.

For the past week, as scandal after scandal emerged — Benghazi, AP, IRS — my friends have been conspicuously silent.  They’re starting to re-group, as the memes beginning to flow.  I’m not seeing the overwhelming deluge of posters that they latched onto after Todd Akin opened his mouth, but they’re definitely headed somewhere.

On the Benghazi scandal, we have this one:

Trying to relitigate Iraq

Who cares that the intelligence leading up to the Iraq War was the best available at the time? Who cares that much of it proved to be true? Who cares that Plame and Wilson were inveterate liars and self-promoters?

For the Left, Bush is the magic inoculation: Because Bush was once president, there is nothing Obama can do wrong because no matter his culpability or wrongdoing, Bush was worse.  Nyah!  The fact that the Benghazi incident reveals politically-motivated failures, lies, and negligence simply doesn’t matter, because Bush was worse.

Even if one accepts, solely for the sake of argument, that Bush indeed was exactly as morally culpable for carelessness and cover-ups, that’s a dreadful standard.  “Hey, I know I killed those two guys, but you can’t arrest or imprison me, because Charles Manson was worse.”  “Yeah, okay, so I killed millions of my own countrymen, but what are you going to do?  Mao killed more.”

The fact is, though, that Bush was never guilty of anything more than relying on bad intelligence — or for making bad decisions based upon good intelligence.  Nothing he did was done behind the scenes, nor did he walk away during the night, leaving Americans to die.  And there’s no evidence whatsoever of a cover-up.  After all, post-Watergate, it’s been received wisdom that it’s not the act, it’s the cover-up that’s the problem.

The other thing my Leftist friends are finally catching up with is the umbrella thing.  This poster is now making the rounds:

Umbrellas and presidents

When one of my Facebook friends posted that image, and repeated the question (“What’s the difference?”) I politely pointed out several differences:  First, the other umbrella holders are not Marines. They’re Army or aides, and they’re clearly along to lend a hand, not stand guard. Second, Marines do not carry umbrellas, and for the Commander in Chief to demand that they violate standing orders is bad. Third, Marines only carry umbrellas for women, which makes the president look wussy in the midst of scandals that have even his acolytes questioning his leadership abilities (because he’s either ineffective or corrupt, so they’ve chose ineffective). And fourth, the President’s own words were dreadful: “They’re going to look good next to us.”

(Incidentally, after Hillary’s famous, dishonest, prevaricating, cover-up question “what difference at this point does it make?” I would suggest that Democrats/Progressives henceforth avoid that question entirely.  It invariably means that it makes a big difference, and not one that looks good for them.)

Those words yield themselves to two interpretations, both dreadful. Either Obama thinks of the Marines as props (which is entirely possible given how Michelle framed herself with troops in dress uniform when she handed out the Best Picture Oscar) or he actually thinks that his overwhelming God-like-ness will make the Marines — the Marines! — look better. Or, as some wit showed in a poster:

Obama the Marines and an umbrella

The one thing that none of my liberal Facebook friends has dared to touch is the IRS scandal. I know why, too. Doing so would force them to admit one of two unpalatable things: (1) either they think it’s okay for the IRS to be used for partisan purposes or (2) they would have to acknowledge that conservatives were right that Obama’s administration is corrupt and that big government is a dangerous infringement on individual liberties. They choose silence.

Is Obama’s puppet master to blame for all the scandals?

Barack Obama -- small and helpless

Scandals, scandals, and more scandals.  My list so far includes:

1.  Benghazi:  politics before, politics and apathy during, and politics and a wall of lies and cover-ups afterwards.

2.  Fast & Furious:  a completely bungled effort to track cartels in Mexico or a deliberate attempt to gin up gun crime as a way to feed anti-gun fervor.

3.  IRS:  Deliberate targeting of conservative groups and individuals in order to disable them in the lead-up to a tight election.

4.  AP:  Justice Department eavesdrops on media, with recent news indicating that this wasn’t about national security but was a tit-for-tat step taken because the AP mis-timed releasing a story about a thwarted terrorism plot.

I feel as if I’ve forgotten something. I’m sure there’s something else, but I’ve reached the outer limits of my brain’s capacity for the scary, sordid, disgusting, and illegal.

Anyway, the above is a starter list, which shows a distinct trend-line:  the Obama government is about politics before country, revenge before law and morality, and cover-ups above and beyond everything.  That’s why the New York Times’ desperate attempt to blame Republicans for all these things makes for amusing reading.  Although the Times was absolutely outraged by the AP scandal (and I agree with their outrage), everything else is just business as usual.  Nothing to see here.  Just move along:

The Internal Revenue Service, according to an inspector general’s report, was not reacting to political pressure or ideology when it singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny in evaluating requests for tax exemptions. It acted inappropriately because employees couldn’t understand inadequate guidelines. The tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, never a scandal to begin with, has devolved into a turf-protection spat between government agencies, and the e-mail messages Republicans long demanded made clear that there was no White House cover-up.

The only example of true government overreach was the seizure of The Associated Press’s telephone records, the latest episode in the Obama administration’s Javert-like obsession with leakers in its midst.

(A total aside here.  The myth is that reporters are, at heart, curious people who want to know what’s going on.  Although they’ve been temporarily blinded by ideology, once they catch the scent, they’ll be like the crazed reporters in His Girl Friday.  That’s just wrong.  Today’s reporters signed on, not because they like sniffing out information, but because they’re ideologues who want to pursue an agenda.  The Times perfectly exemplifies this.  It does not report on all the news fit to print.  It doesn’t report at all.  It simply works like a Leftist propaganda arm, reporting all the spin necessary to advance an agenda.  It’s utterly incurious and cares only when it, personally, gets poked.  And now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.)

Wow.  Just wow.  For one thing, it’s clear that the New York Times wrote this editorial before the head of the IRS went before Congress and confessed that the IRS denied what was going on before the election (a lie) and that it timed the release of information to bury it in the news cycle.  And then there’s all that other fascinating stuff that’s been oozing out from the single most powerful coercive entity in the federal government.

In every single statement she made, Lois Lerner, the IRS official who every so casually broke the story, lied.  Just some examples are the fact that the IRS didn’t target, maybe, 75 groups.  It targeted at least 470 groups.  And it wasn’t just wacky Tea Party groups that got caught it the cross hairs, it was any group that appeared even vaguely to oppose Obama’s policies.  The targeting wasn’t just confined to a rogue Ohio office, it went to the top.  And, indeed, the very top person got over $100,000 in bonuses and was promoted to head the — ahem — nonpartisan branch of the IRS in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

We also know that the IRS illegally leaked information about Obama’s political opponents — which definitely has a kind of mirror-like Watergate quality to it.  Nixon’s henchmen stole data directly from his political opponents; Obama’s henchmen release data about Obama’s political opponents to Obama’s supporters.  And of course, speaking of stealing things, it appears that the IRS stole tens of thousands of medical records — this would be, of course, the same IRS that’s in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

Worried yet?  I know I am.

Despite all this, Obama remains perched precariously atop ignorance mountain.  His line is consistent:

Either Obama’s lying, which is entirely possible, because he’s a compulsive liar, or he was as ignorant as he seems.  Those Leftist media figures who are not in total denial have latched on this as the excuse to protect their idol, now that they know there’s a lot of clay mixed in with his feet.  He’s a little too disengaged, he’s not a micro-manager, he’s too pure to know what evil lurks in the heart of men, etc.

John Fund, however, has a very different idea, and I think he may be on the right track.  His version of events posits that Obama has never actually been president.  We’ve been operating, instead, under the shadow presidency of consigliere Valerie Jarrett:

So if Obama is not fully engaged, who does wield influence in the White House? A lot of Democrats know firsthand that Jarrett, a Chicago mentor to both Barack and Michelle Obama and now officially a senior White House adviser, has enormous influence. She is the only White House staffer in anyone’s memory, other than the chief of staff or national security adviser, to have an around-the-clock Secret Service detail of up to six agents. According to terrorism expert Richard Miniter’s recent book, Leading from Behind: “At the urging of Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving” the mission for May 2, 2011. She was instrumental in overriding then–chief of staff Rahm Emanuel when he opposed the Obamacare push, and she was key in steamrolling the bill to passage in 2010. Obama may rue the day, as its chaotic implementation could become the biggest political liability Democrats will face in next year’s midterm elections.

A senior Republican congressional leader tells me that he had come to trust that he could detect the real lines of authority in any White House, since he’s worked for five presidents. “But this one baffles me,” he says. “I do know that when I ask Obama for something, there is often no answer. But when I ask Valerie Jarrett, there’s always an answer or something happens.”

You really should read the whole thing.  That theory explains so much….

Nailing the heart of Benghazi

I wrote a lovely post, right here, last night.  Cheerfully hit the “publish” button and went to bed — only to wake up this morning to discover that the post not only didn’t get published, it vanished entirely.  I’m not sure I can replicate it, but I’ll try.

The point I was trying to make was about the morality that can or should undermine political systems.  I’d had a talk with a very mature, thoughtful teen, whose parents raised her to revile capitalism as an evil system that needs to be tempered by big government.  I said that it needed to be tempered by morality.  I pointed out that Adam Smith came up with his “invisible hand” theory at a highly religiously moral time, when it was inconceivable that any government would exist in a moral vacuum.  He knew, of course, that there were hard, cruel people who had no truck with morality, but it was also probably inconceivable to him that there could a paradigm without an overarching moral sense.

Texas booms, I suggested, not just because it’s capitalist, but because it’s in the Bible Belt.  China has slave labor, practically slave labor, and tainted goods (melanin in foods, antibiotics in bees, etc.) because it’s capitalism without a moral paradigm.  The State has no room for morality and when the state is the only thing Left, morality leaves society.

The next day, I read Darren Jonescu’s scathing indictment of the particular brand of evil that Hillary and Obama exemplify.  I’m quoting a lot, but there is a lot more to read, and I urge you to read it all:

In the first months after the Benghazi attack, the most urgent question, and one only rarely asked, was “What were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton doing during the seven and a half hours between the initial emergency communications from Benghazi and the final American deaths?” A negative answer was provided in February by Leon Panetta: they were not engaging with their subordinates; they were not contacting anyone to discuss options; they were giving no orders for action; they remained entirely uninvolved.

We are left to speculate about the positive answer to that question. Were they sleeping? Curled up by the fire with a good manifesto? Playing poker with Huma and the gang? Practicing jokes for a fundraising speech? Your guess is as good as mine.

And none of these guesses really matter in the end, compared to the looming horror that attends any of thepossibilities, namely this: the president and secretary of state of the most powerful nation on Earth are impervious to shame. They can do — they have done — what you hope you could never do, what you pray your children will never be able to do, what psychologists fill academic journals attempting to explain. They were informed that their countrymen — their appointees — were being attacked, were issuing repeated cries for help, and, if nothing were done to intercede, were likely to be killed. Knowing this, and knowing, further, that they had at their disposal the most powerful military in the world, no risk of personal harm, and many subordinates prepared to leap into action at their word, they blithely walked away from the desperate men pleading for their help, and carried on with whatever they happened to be doing that night. They let other men suffer unto death without lifting a finger to help, or even indicating a moment’s regret for their inaction after the fact.

They demonstrated a cold lack of interest in the suffering of others — not the abstract, theoretical suffering of collective interest groups, such as “the poor” or “gays” or “women,” but the real physical pain and mortal terror-style suffering of individual human beings in mortal crisis.

Walking home one evening, you hear men across the street shouting for help, as they are in the process of being overwhelmed by a gang of thugs. You walk away, unconcerned with their cries or the sounds of bats smacking down on their flesh. You do not call the police or volunteer any assistance. You go to bed and sleep well. The next day, and each subsequent day, you carry on with your life of fun, friends, and self-indulgence, never giving a second thought to the men who died because you did not care to help. If a neighborhood reporter asks you about the crime, you put on your gravest voice and say, “Gosh, that’s so sad; I hope they find the creeps who did it.”

Right.  What he said.  Both Hillary and Obama claim to have been raised religiously.  Hillary showed up for church in her days as First Lady, but doesn’t seem to bother to do so now.  Obama gave up the pretense of religion the moment was elected.  For both, there are only two Gods:  the state and their particular political needs at the moment.  Neither has a sense of right or wrong independent of their particular pragmatic concerns at any given time.

I’ve mentioned before a year 2000 movie called The Contender, about an upstanding Democrat woman whom the evil Republicans falsely accuse of group sex to derail her appointment to fill a vacant Vice Presidency.  The most interest part of the movie comes when the woman, played by Joan Allen, makes her statement to Congress, a bastion of wholesome Democrats and foul Republicans:

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of Church and State, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism.

[The Founders could not have made it more clear that Freedom of Religion, which is contained in the First Amendment, protects religion from government, not vice versa.  The Amendment's language is unequivocal:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." There's nothing in there mandating that no religious person can serve in Congress or have a say in America's government.]

Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves [that would be the Republican sect of the church], that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.  [And there you have it -- President Obama's creed writ large:  "I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes.  I need my heart, my brain, and this (Progressive) church.]

When it rains it pours (and that’s bad for the Obamites)

Obama sweating

In the past four years, conservatives have felt disheartened by the Obama deluge.  Since he first took office, conservatives have been playing defense on so many things:  ObamaCare, changes in the military to allow gays to serve openly and women to serve in combat roles, attacks on Israel, a non-declared war in Libya, caving in to Iran, announcing defeat in advance in Afghanistan, attacks on Second Amendment rights, far-Left political appointees, etc., etc.  You know that I’ve frequently blogged about feeling disheartened and overwhelmed.  The only victories that have come down the pike are Obama’s having to retreat from his attacks against Israel (but a little more on that later) and the Democrats’ recent gun control loss.  The first came about, not because of anything conservatives did, but because reality interfered with Obama’s grand plans.  The second seemed to come about because of conservative efforts, but it also happened because it turns out that Obama’s second term is not going to be as shiny as the first.

This time around, Obama is on the receiving end of the “if it rains, it pours” expression.  In the last week, all the straws he thought he’d gathered neatly in his hands have been scattered to the winds.  Here’s my list of the last two week’s worth of scandals and mishaps.

1.  The most recent round of Benghazi hearings revealed that Obama’s hand-picked Secretary of State bungled affairs in Libya so badly that four men, including an American ambassador, died on a teeny plot of U.S. soil, at the hands of terrorists affiliated with al Qaeda.

2.  Those same hearings revealed that a significant part of Hillary’s failure resulted from her need to align with Obama’s officially stated policy position on al Qaeda:  It was decapitated when Barack Obama, practically single-handedly except for a small assist from some expendable Navy SEALS, killed Osama bin Laden.

3. Those same hearings revealed that, while the attack was going on, both the President and the Secretary of State got some much-needed sleep to prepare for the next day’s campaigning.

4.  Those same hearings revealed that Obama absolutely refused to send help, whether because it would have interfered with his political narrative, or because he was afraid of “coming on to strong” in the Muslim world, or because that would have interfered with his beauty rest.  We don’t know the motive; we just know the fact.

5.  Those same hearings revealed that Obama and Hillary (and by using that term I mean the entire chain of command that ends with them at the top of the heap) worked frantically to create a cover-up pinning the attack, not on al Qaeda, but on an obscure, slightly shady Christian film-maker, who languishes in prison even today.

6.  Obama’s Justice Department, headed by Eric “Fast & Furious” Holder, tapped 40 different phone lines at Associated Press, including it’s official line in the House of Representatives.  Associated Press, which has been an untiring water carrier for the administration — touting its agenda, hiding its troubles, attacking its enemies — might just have been mugged by reality.

7.  The families of the 17 SEAL Team 6 members who died on August 6, 2011, when a Taliban rocket took out their insufficiently-armed helicopter (and killed 21 other military personnel) are on the warpath.  They claim that it was Obama’s and Biden’s boasting about SEAL Team 6′s role in the Osama bin Laden killing that paint a target on their sons’ (and brothers’ and husbands’ and fathers’) backs.  To rub salt in the wound of seeing their brave men die, not in the service of their country, but as necessary sacrifices to Obama’s political ambitions, Obama’s Pentagon, when it conducted the official memorial service at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, refused to allow these men’s Judeo-Christian God even to be mentioned, but invited a Muslim Imam whose invocation, of necessity since it was an Islamic prayer, cursed them for being infidels.

8.  News broke that the IRS deliberately audited conservative groups who were seeking tax exempt status because their primary goal was education.  Any groups with giveaway words in their names such as “Tea Party,” or “Patriot” or “Constitution” were swept up in the effort.  In addition to audits, the IRS also asked intrusive questions aimed at eliciting information about donors. Although the IRS tried to claim that the problem was a local office, it quickly became clear that the directive came from Washington and that the IRS has known for years what was going on and denied it.

9.  The dust had scarcely settled on this IRS revelation when it emerged that the IRS had also targeted pro-Israel groups, who advocated policies different from Obama’s “get Israel at all costs” approach to foreign affairs.

10.  And the dust was still floating on the IRS’s attack on pro-Israel groups (and do keep in mind that Israel is America’s ally), when it emerged that the IRS had leaked to a Leftist advocacy group tax information about organizations on Obama’s political enemies’ list.

11.  Obama’s EPA granted almost all waiver requests from friends of Obama and denied almost all waiver requests from Obama’s political opponents.  Coincidence?  I think not.  This isn’t a huge scandal — yet — but it could develop in interesting ways.  I mean, we all understand that the EPA is filled with far-Left political hacks.  That’s why it’s not as shocking as the IRS scandal.  We’ve always assumed that the IRS is an equal opportunity money grabber.

11.5  It’s not really an administration scandal, but the verdict against Kermit Gosnell, which came from a jury that was 3/4 pro-Choice, shows that the Leftist pretenses about late-term abortion, and life-birth baby care (which Obama opposed) is starting to float into the public awareness.

I haven’t looked at the headlines in the past half-hour, but I suspect that more sordid scandals are popping up now that the dam is breaking.  Conservatives find all four corners of these scandals (Benghazi, IRS, Navy SEALS, and AP intimidation) disturbing.  Leftists, predictably, care only about the IRS and the AP intimidation.  Whatever.  As long as the media starts taking corruption in the Obama administration seriously, it’s all good.

Here are some good links for more information about the scandals.  (You’ve probably noticed that I was too lazy to hyperlink any specific facts, because I had opted for this end-of-the post data dump.)

Richard Baehr talks about the President’s silence as his lies are revealed.

Leftists may be right to pretend Benghazi is not a problem, because the public doesn’t care.

Barry Rubin explains why Obama will not be getting any further mileage out of attacking Israel.

The Anchoress has a perfect visual to explain Jay Carney’s role in life right now.

Richard Fernandez asks whether the breaking wave of scandals is just a cosmic coincidence or if we’re witnessing a breaking p0int.  I think it depends on how angry the media is about the AP story, and how fearful they are about a politicized IRS.

Bryan Preston helpfully sums up the four major scandals (no, make that five major scandals) currently plaguing the administration.

Michael Ramirez has the perfect cartoon.

And my friend Wolf Howling has two great posts summing up precisely what’s wrong with the whole Benghazi debacle:  the lack of a military response (which goes straight to Obama) and the reason, contra Obama, that there is a “there there.”

Found it on Facebook — what came out of the Benghazi hearings today

One of my Facebook friends who is, like me, a refugee from the Left, put together a perfect summary of what came out of today’s testimony.  If you’re on Facebook, please share this article or just block and copy this summary and send it around:

What the Obama administration did to America's ambassador

What the Obama administration did to America’s ambassador

What have we learned so far the from Benghazi hearing:

1. Security support was denied before and during the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the US Benghazi Consulate by the State department.

2. Ambassador Stevens’ last words “Greg, we are under attack!” [To Greg Hicks - his second in command in Tripoli]

3. It was clear to everyone in Libya that this was a coordinated attack – NOT a demonstration over an obscure YouTube anti Islam video.

4. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked to Mr. Hicks – then the top diplomat in Libya – during and after the attack. She knew exactly what was going on.

5. During the attack, President Obama did not speak once with the Pentagon, and most likely went to bed while a US embassy was under attack.

6. Five days later UN ambassador Susan Rice in a media campaign orchestrated by State tells the world repeatedly that this was a demonstration over the anti Islam video – no one consulted Gerg Hicks – now the top diplomat in Libya over the talking points.

7. The obscure movie maker is jailed (and is still in jail in California)

8. Greg Hicks – the top diplomat in Libya – is shocked and embarrassed by Susan Rice’s appearances. When he raises the issue with his superiors at State they turn hostile.

9. When a congressional investigation team comes to Libya, Greg Hicks – still the top diplomat in Libya – is ordered by State Department lawyers for the first time in his 22 year long career not to talk to a Congressional committee. A State Department lawyer is sent along with the committee to make sure Hicks is kept away.

10. When he does talk to the committee, a furious Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, calls Hicks and demands an explanation and a report.

11. Gregory Hicks – a diplomat with a stellar record – has been harassed by the State Department and has not had an appointment since the Benghazi affair.

To which I will add what I’ve said before, this is Watergate (crime and cover-up), Iran-Contra (probable arms running), and a possible new one — an American president and Commander in Chief who deserves to be court-martialed for gross dereliction of duty.

Is Commander in Chief Barack Obama at risk of court martial?

Obama saluting

I wrote a long post at Mr. Conservative about Barack Obama’s potential vulnerability to serious action based upon his conduct as president.  Some of the expresses my thoughts, some of it is more a reflection of others’.  I’ll post here the redacted version that’s pure me.  I’d like your feedback:

Barack Obama became a national player in significant part by presenting himself as an anti-war politician. It would be the height of irony if this “anti-war” president ended up being indicted for war crimes, impeached for war conduct, or court-martialed for dereliction of duty. The unraveling of his Benghazi narrative, however, may mean that those are precisely the possibilities facing him.

[snip]

With Libya, Obama thought he could play both sides of the game. He would get America “involved” in al Qaeda efforts in Libya to remove Qaddafi, but he’d never actually declare war. It would just be an “action” or a “support” or a whatever else that wasn’t actually war and that therefore needn’t neither a formal declaration of war nor Congress’s consent. Obama’s non-war successfully removed Qaddafi from power and, as always happens when a strong man leaves, left a power vacuum.

It turns out that Obama forgot to heed the words liberal columnist Thomas Friedman repeatedly said to President Bush: “You break it, you own it.” Bush took those words seriously in Iraq (and must have been horrified when Obama’s precipitous withdrawal undid all his good work). When it came to Libya, though, Obama thought he could just walk away. Any efforts he took to secure U.S. interests in Libya were minimal or perhaps, as we discuss below, dangerous and under the table.

Burned by his non-war failure in Libya, Obama opted to go for a “we won’t even speak of it” approach to Syria. He might have gotten away with this except that, when rumors began that Bashar al-Assad was gassing his own people, Obama forgot that he was supposed to stop with making clucking noises about how bad chemical weapon use would be. Instead, he went off teleprompter and announced that, if there was evidence that Assad was using chemical weapons on his people, that act would be a “red line” and the U.S. would have to act. Obama got very lucky when Israel, which became concerned by the Hezbollah/Iranian/Syrian build-up of weapons immediately across its border, did some surgical strikes, taking the heat off Obama, and putting it back on Assad.

[snip]

And then there’s Benghazi. The wheels are really coming off the bus with that one. The testimony before the House today and in the coming days reveals that, from start to finish, the Obama administration was negligent, at times criminally so. What the whistleblowers knew from the start was that the September 11 consulate attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. People on the ground saw it coming in the months before it happened and begged then-Secretary of State Hillary (“What difference does it make?”) Clinton for help. She refused. When it was actually happening, people on the ground (especially Glen Doherty and Lance Woods, who were manning a stalwart, doomed defense) begged for help – but the available help was given a stand down order.

Only the president can issue stand down orders. That’s because doing so is that big a deal. Obama, however, appears to have been minimally interested in the whole thing. He left the White House situation room early, got a good night’s sleep, and went campaigning the next day. There are no records that he was in contact with the situation room after he Left – even though he is Commander in Chief and this was an attack on American soil. He left his troops to die. No one has ever explored whether the American Commander in Chief can be court-martialed for dereliction of duty. This would be a good time to check out that issue.

What Obama, along with Hillary Clinton, did do instead of coming to the aid of their people on the ground was to engage in a massive cover-up. We can guess as to the reasons, with Obama’s desire to win the upcoming election surely being one of them. Rather than acknowledging the terrorist attack, Obama, Hillary, and their flunkies made the rounds everywhere saying that the attack was because of an obscure video that inflamed devout Muslims. Once Obama & Co. gave the video this kind of massive publicity, members of the Religion of Peace rioted throughout the Muslim world, resulting in dozens of deaths. Those deaths lie at Obama’s feet.

And lastly, there’s the question of why we had such a busy consulate and CIA station in Benghazi. Rumors are swirling that the Obama administration was using the Libyan facilities to do some gun running. In other words, what happened in Libya was like Iran-Contra (gun running), plus Watergate (cover-up), plus something entirely new (a Commander in Chief’s gross dereliction of duty).

Will Obama be impeached now or indicted as a war criminal or court martialed? No. As long as he owns the Senate, this won’t happen. Should Obama’s behavior in Benghazi and in Libya and with the drone strikes in Pakistan come under scrutiny with an eye towards indictment or impeachment or court martial? Absolutely. And here’s how to make it happen: In every single election between now and forever, vote for Republican candidates who believe that Obama has committed crimes and failed in his duties to the American people and to the men and women who serve under him.

Will Benghazi cause the wheels to fall off the Obama bus

Bloody fingerprints in Benghazi

(I wrote another post yesterday for Mr. Conservative that is pure Bookworm Room — so much so that I almost hesitated to put it on the Mr. Conservative site.  I did, though, because I had deadlines.  And now I’m publishing it here, in slightly modified form, so that I can have the conversation I always enjoy so much with you guys and gals.)

Will Benghazi be the Obama administration’s Waterloo? From Day One, the Obama administration has been trying to sweep under the rug a terrorist attack on American soil – and yes, it was on American soil since the consulate was a small piece of America in the middle of Libya. Obama breathed the word “terror” once, in an undertone aside, and then the administration, with the mainstream media’s help, got down to its responsiblity-avoiding narrative: the attack was all because of an obscure YouTube video. Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along.

The administration’s cover-up might have been successful were it not for three things: (a) Special Forces kept the the pressure up, because they refused to see former SEALs’ Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty’s deaths go unavenged; (b) Republicans in Congress began to push hard for hearings, and announced that attack survivors, who have been discretely hidden away, would finally appear in public to testify; and (c) Fox News’ aired an interview with a whistle-blower who revealed that American intelligence has long known who did the attack and could have taken the attackers into custody or otherwise acted against them.

Suddenly, things started moving. First, the FBI finally released photos of three suspects. Second, CNN reported yesterday that those who doubted the administration and media narrative about a film review run riot have been proven right. According to an unnamed senior U.S. law enforcement official, “three or four members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP]” were a part of the attack.

Once having started with a few tumbling rocks, the Benghazi avalanche started going full force. Retired Navy SEAL Billy Allmon wrote a column for The Western Center for Journalism stating that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama deliberately left four Americans to die in Benghazi. Hillary did so by failing to give them adequate security (and then lying about events to Congress). Obama, though, is the one who really has blood on his hands because he refused to send readily available help over to rescue the besieged Americans – despite the fact that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, former SEALS who died at the scene, provided a steady stream of usable information. Instead, he got a good night’s sleep while they were fighting and dying, and then went campaigning the next day.

Today, information came out suggesting that the Benghazi avalanche that may be the thing that finally buries forever the Obama administration’s “bad video” Benghazi spin. It turns out that the State Department whistle blowers who will testify before Congress aren’t low level desk jockeys. They are, instead, extremely highly placed officials who have first hand knowledge of what happened in the lead-up to the terrorist attack and during the attack itself:

• Gregory N. Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and, at the time, the highest-ranking American diplomat in Libya;

• Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and

• Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya, the top security officer in the country in the months leading up to the attacks (although, as someone who had previously offered testimony, he does not consider himself a whistle-blower).

Nordstrom’s October 2012 testimony before the House oversight committee was an early indicator that the Obama administration wouldn’t be able to run away from its gross culpability. Hillary’s State Department, according to Nordstrom, absolutely refused to provide security for the consulate in the months leading to the attack. As far is Nordstrom was concerned, “For me the Taliban is on the inside of the [State Department] building.”

All these stories, which will continue to grow bigger with Congressional testimony, reveal that something rotten was (and is) happening in the White House. Doug Ross, who runs the Director Blue website, has put together a timeline of everything we know with certainly about the Benghazi attack. His analysis reveals “four inescapable conclusions”:

a) Hillary Clinton lied under oath to Congress.

b) Barack Obama went to sleep knowing that a U.S. Ambassador and other Americans were under terrorist attack.

c) Barack Obama awoke refreshed the next day to begin fundraising.

d) The entire Executive Branch lied repeatedly to the American people to save Obama’s chances for reelection.

Since the attack on the consulate, the administration has lied and the media has run interference. It will be interesting to see how these two branches of the Democrat machine handle earth-shaking testimony establishing that the administrative could have prevented the attack from ever happening and that Obama deliberately left Americans to die. And it will be even more interesting to see whether the American people actually care that their president was responsible for these shocking practical and moral failures.

Obama is trying to focus attention on gun control, but Special Forces haven’t forgotten their own

(This is another Mr. Conservative post that perfectly reflects my views on the subject.  If you’d like to join the Special Operations Speaks’ petition, you can find it here.)

For the past several months, the administration has worked hard to keep the public focused on gun control and gay marriage, with all its attendant fascist hysteria. By doing so, it has kept the public from paying attention to what is the biggest scandal of the Obama administration: the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attack that saw four Americans, including a U.S. Ambassador, die horribly at terrorist hands.

After the Benghazi attack, the administration lied repeatedly to the American people. At first, it appeared that these lies were to hide the fact that al Qaeda, rather than being as dead as Obama had stated just days before, was very much alive. It then appeared that the lies were intended to obscure the disgraceful news that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been warned about the upcoming attacks, but had done nothing to increase security. Recently, though, it’s begun to appear that the lies came about because the administration was covering-up its use of the Benghazi outpost as the operations base for an illegal gun running scheme into Syria.

Two of the men who died in Benghazi – Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty – were former U.S. Navy SEALS. Not only may they have saved dozens of American and friendly-Libyan lives (we don’t know because the administration is silencing survivors), but they also took out unknown numbers of terrorists before they died themselves. While Obama’s administration has been trying to brush these men aside, their fellow Special Operations comrades have not forgotten them.

More than 700 Special Operations veterans, gathered together under the umbrella of a group called “Special Operations Speaks,” have put their names and reputations behind Sen. Lindsey Graham’s flagging effort to get information about Benghazi. They have sent a letter to Congress urging that it start a special probe into the Benghazi attack. The signatories set out their purpose clearly:

The purpose of this letter is to encourage all members of the US House of Representatives to support H.Res. 36, which will create a House Select Committee on the Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. It is essential that a full accounting of the events of September 11, 2012, be provided and that the American public be fully informed regarding this egregious terrorist attack on US diplomatic personnel and facilities. We owe that truth to the American people and the families of the fallen.

The letter identifies sixteen specific topics they believe Congress should investigate, including the absence of a military response, the actual number of Americans injured, the location of the survivors, the identity of those present in the White House situation room for the full 8-hour duration of the attack, the failure to even consider sending F-16 fighters stationed only 2 hours away in Italy, the presence or absence of strike aircraft that could have responded to SEAL Tyrone Woods’ use of a laser to designate targets, and the nature of Ambassador’s Stevens’ business in Libya when the attack occurred.

These former Special Operations veterans may find that fighting a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House is one of the hardest battles of their careers. The stakes here aren’t spilled blood, but are possibly much higher: impeachable, and possibly criminal, corruption at the highest echelons of American government. Cornered corrupt politicians are as vicious in their own way as the most hardened terrorist. We wish Special Operations Speaks, and all its members, the best of luck with this battle.

Proportional response in the Obama era — “Let’s pretend it never happened”

Congressional Republicans have been working hard lately at something we all should care about — talking to the Benghazi survivors.  Sen. Lindsay Graham has been making it something of a personal crusade.  As far as he’s concerned, there’s a cover-up going on:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, in an extensive interview with Fox News, alleged that the injured survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been “told to be quiet” and feel they can’t come forward to tell their stories — as he urged the House to subpoena the administration for details if necessary.

The South Carolina senator said he’s “had contact” with some of the survivors, calling their story “chilling.” He told Fox News that “the bottom line is they feel that they can’t come forth, they’ve been told to be quiet.”

I have no doubt but that this is true.  I mean, this is the same administration that lied for weeks about what happened in Benghazi.  If they’d lied a a ruse to lure the attackers out from cover to kill them, that would be one thing.  But the administration, from Obama on down, seems to have lied solely to hide two facts:  (a) contrary to Obama boasts, al Qaeda is not dead, and (b) Hillary is incompetent.

Hillary is also hiding what went on.  When she appeared before the Senate to testify about Benghazi, and was asked about the fact that four men died on her watch, her response was the equivalent of “Come on!  Stop crying over spilled milk.”

The fact is we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

To answer Hillary’s question (not that she wanted an answer), it makes a big difference.  It makes a difference because we should weed out incompetents before it happens again; it makes a difference because the dead deserve justice; and it makes a difference because the living deserve justice.

If this seems like I’m rehashing an old issue . . . well, maybe I am.  But it’s back in the news because of Sen. Graham’s push for info.  It’s also back in my mind for a funny reason.

My kids love the TV show Psych, which they watch on Netflix. Every kid in the neighborhood loves Psych.  It’s a cute show about a flaky, extremely observant young man (James Roday) who pretends to be psychic to help solve crimes, and his knowledgeable eccentric sidekick (Dulé Hill). The kids especially love Hill’s character, and it’s no wonder that they do. He’s a charming comedic presence, and he and Roday work well together.

If Dulé Hill’s name seems familiar to you, you might remember him as the president’s personal assistant in the Aaron Sorkin TV Show The West Wing.  That show, of course, was about the perfect Democrat president.  As far as Sorkin was concerned, President Bartlet was Bill Clinton without the character flaws and with all of his past mistakes corrected.

My kids wanted to see a young Hill, so we managed to find (again on Netflix) the episode in which Hill first appeared.  He did a nice job, but what really captured my attention was a bit of dialogue that Sorkin put in the mouth of the “perfect Democrat president.”  The episode is entitled “A proportional response” and one of its plot points revolves around the fact that Bartlett is figuring out how to respond to a terrorist attack in the Middle East that brought down a plane on which his personal physician was flying:

President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is furious about a plane carrying his personal physician being downed in the Middle East. After initially requesting a retaliatory attack that would kill a great many people, Bartlet’s military advisors try to convince him to take a more cautionary maneuver.

So, keep that in mind — one American dead in an attack against an American plane.  Here is what Sorkin would have the perfect Democrat president do under those circumstances (emphasis mine):

Bartlet: What’s the virtue of the proportional response?
Admiral Fitzwallace: I’m sorry?
Bartlet: What is the virtue of a proportional response? Why’s it good? They hit an airplane, so we hit a transmitter, right? That’s a proportional response.
Admiral Fitzwallace: Sir, in the case of Pericles 1 –
Bartlet: [talking over him] They hit a barracks, so we hit two transmitters.
Admiral Fitzwallace: That’s roughly it, yes, sir.
Bartlet: This is what we do. I mean, this is what we do.
Leo: Yes, sir, it’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done.
Bartlet: Well, if it’s what we do, if it’s what we’ve always done, don’t they know we’re going to do it?
Leo: Sir, if you’d turn your attention to Pericles 1 –
Bartlet: I have turned my attention to Pericles 1. It’s two ammo dumps, an abandoned railroad bridge and a Syrian intelligence agency.
Admiral Fitzwallace: Those are four highly-rated targets, sir.
Bartlet: But they know we’re gonna do that. They know we’re gonna do that! Those areas have been abandoned for three days now. We know that from the satellite, right? We have the intelligence. [over Leo's attempt to speak up] They did that, so we did this. It’s the cost of doing business. It’s been factored in, right?
Leo: Mr. President –
Bartlet: Am I right, or am I missing something here?
Admiral Fitzwallace: No, sir. You’re right, sir.
Bartlet: Then I ask again, what is the virtue of a proportional response?
Admiral Fitzwallace: It isn’t virtuous, Mr. President. It’s all there is, sir.
Bartlet: It is not all there is.
Leo: Sir, Admiral Fitzwallace –
Admiral Fitzwallace: Excuse me, Leo…pardon me, Mr. President, just what else is there?
Bartlet: The disproportional response. Let the word ring forth, from this time and this place, gentlemen, you kill an American, any American, we don’t come back with a proportional response. We come back with total disaster! [He bangs the table]
General: Are you suggesting that we carpet-bomb Damascus?
Bartlet: I am suggesting, General, that you, and Admiral Fitzwallace, and Secretary Hutchinson, and the rest of the National Security Team take the next sixty minutes and put together an American response scenario that doesn’t make me think we’re just docking somebody’s damn allowance!

President Obama might want to start studying a few old episodes of The West Wing. Maybe if he familiarizes himself with it, he’ll figure out that it’s no response at all, let alone a “proportional one” to let the deaths of four Americans, including an Ambassador, get buried in order to hide the President’s (and his team’s) lies and mistakes.

By the way, if you have followed Sorkin’s career, you’ll know that he’s a drug-fueled genius with a true gift for words and a passion for using TV and movies to convince people of the Democrat Party’s virtues.  He also runs to the well a few too many times:

Hillary underestimated just how bad Obama would be at 3 a.m.

Hillary told voters that, when the 3 a.m. phone call came and the White House answered that call, she would have better qualifications to deal with whatever emergency awaited the President:

I don’t think even Hillary could have envisioned that Obama would ignore the call entirely:

The White House left Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and Sean Smith on their own on September 11 in Benghazi. That is the upshot of today’s Capitol Hill hearing featuring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey.

After a pre-scheduled afternoon meeting, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified that he never heard from President Obama the night of September 11. In fact, Panetta said, he had no further communication from the White House that night—even as the attack turned deadly. This is truly extraordinary—and appalling.

And both Panetta and Dempsey admitted in today’s hearing that they were not in touch with Clinton at all the evening of 9/11. “[W]e never received a request for support from the State Department,” Dempsey said, explaining why the American military had not made any attempt to save the endangered Americans.

So the Cabinet officials weren’t in touch with each other, and the president wasn’t in touch with anyone.

The irony, of course, given the portentous warning in the ad, is that Hillary was also MIA when the phone call came through — and had been for some months before that blooding night.

Undaunted by slow progress, I continue to empty my spindle (aka my email backlog)

I will never give up — or at least I won’t give up until I’m down to the last 30 emails.  Before I dive into that, though, I want to encourage any conservative woman to consider joining the National Federation of Republican Women.  You can find your local chapter here, and then connect with conservative women (and their husbands or other interested family members) in your community.

Funnily enough, when you think about it, conservatives used to be joiners.  They joined the Masons, and the Elks, and the Shriners, and the Kiwanis, and they were active in community politics.  When did conservatives get chased away from community political organizations?  Or is my view warped because I grew up in the Bay Area?  Please weigh in on this one.  I’m interested.

This is an old post from Doug Powers chastising Democrat media hack Joe Klein for insisting as late as the end of November that Benghazi was nothing more than a bad movie review run amok.  It makes for interesting reading in light of Hillary’s prevarications before the Senate today.  Here’s what Hillary knows:  It doesn’t matter what she knew or what she did regarding Benghazi. If she’s still the media’s darling in 2016, the subject will be buried so deep you can’t even smell it.  And if she’s not the media’s darling (as happened to her in 2008) nothing matters anyway, because they’ll work to elect her Democrat-rival.  In other words, there’s no downside to lying, bobbing, and weaving.

Going through my emails reminded my that, with the gun debate raging, I was terribly remiss not to direct you to Stately McDaniel Manor.  Its proprietor, Mike McDaniel, is a blogger who could readily enter any “most knowledgeable about guns” contest.  Add to that knowledge a lovely writing “voice,” a sharp and informed mind, and a stinging wit, and . . . well, I need to be beaten around the head for a while for hiding him from you.  However, on the principle that, when it comes to the important factual and ideological stuff, it’s never too late, I’d like to recommend his “A good day for children.

Speaking of my smart friends, have you bought your copy of Laer Pearce’s Crazifornia: Tales from the Tarnished State – How California is Destroying Itself and Why it Matters to America yet?  I know it’s about California, but with four more years of Obama to come, it’s also a good preview of coming attractions for the rest of America.  Would I sound hysterical if I said “be afraid; be very afraid”?

One can always tell when a society has gotten too successful:  non-procreational sexuality comes to the fore.  Because we are rich, we have the luxury of onanism (isn’t that a nice, old-fashioned world) and homosexuality, two practices that have no place in a society where the next generation must be born to keep the current generation from starving.  Which leaves one with a question:  when America collapses financially, and our reproductive rate is too low to replace the producers, will gay rights vanish?  Will gays vanish?  As to that second, I’d say that “practicing” gays will vanish.  There will be too much societal pressure (assuming some sort of coherent society) to allow for it.

Whew!  I’m down to 110 emails and still finding plenty of good stuff.  I’ve got to be a mom, though, so I’ll leave you with one picture, and continue this intellectual smorgasbord later today, or perhaps first thing tomorrow.

I got this from a friend who freely confesses that he doesn’t know where the data came from.  I don’t either.  But it sure looks good:

Death in America

President Silver-Tongue is remarkably tactless of late

My post title says President Obama has been tactless of late.  That’s not true.  He’s always been tactless.  Remember him denigrating handicapped people on the Jay Leno show?

Lately, though, the President has upped his game.  Last week, shortly before the Sandy Hook shooting that saw myriad children die, Obama “jokingly” told Barbara Walters why he really ran for president:

Secret service guarding Obamas

We joke sometimes about how Malia’s getting to the age now, and boys start calling and, you know, sort of, I always talk about how one of the main incentives for running again was continuing Secret Service protection to have men with guns around at all times. . . .

For a president who has sat back while hundreds of black children have died on the streets of Chicago and other cities, it’s impossible to imagine a more tactless remark.  The remark reverberates especially strongly now, since Obama’s minions have gotten hysterical at the thought that the children of ordinary Americans should also be protected by armed guards.

You’d think Obama had topped his game with that one, but you’d be wrong.  Unaided, our esteemed President just came up with another spectacularly tactless remark, this one about Benghazi (where four men, including an American ambassador, were brutally murdered on Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s watch) (emphasis mine):

Bloody fingerprints in Benghazi

When you read the report, and it confirms what we had already seen based on some of our internal reviews, there was just some sloppiness, not intentional, in terms of how we secure embassies in areas where you essentially don’t have governments that have a lot of capacity to protect those embassies.  So we’re doing a thorough renew. not only will we implement all the recommendations that were made, but we’ll try to do more than that. You know, with respect to who carried it out, that’s an ongoing investigation. The FBI has sent individuals to Libya repeatedly. We have some very good leads.

Videos don’t kill people.  Terrorists don’t kill people.  Nooo, nooo.  What kills people is sloppiness.  I’m sure the families of the four dead men were relieved to hear that nothing really bad killed their loved ones.

Susan Rice: Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.

Who knew that Susan Rice was a Thomas Gray lover? He was the poet who, in his widely forgotten “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,” penned the unforgettable line that, “where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

Rice, whom Obama would like to have serve as his Secretary of State is reveling in her ignorance about events in Benghazi. As you recall, five days after Islamists engaged in an organized terrorist attack against the American presence in Libya, killing four, she made the rounds of the talk shows assuring Americans that this was all a movie review run amok.

By this time, of course, the CIA, the DNI, and the White House all knew this for the lie it was. Heck, the Times, inadvertently betraying the administration it serves, had already revealed information in news stories proving that Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

Rice isn’t backing down, though. She’s doing the only thing someone who is either a liar, or incurious to the point of imbecility, can do: she’s blaming others. Thus, when a reporter asked her about her talk show presentations, she cheerfully pleaded ignorance:

As a senior US diplomat, I agreed to a White House request to appear on the Sunday shows to talk about the full range of national security issues of the day, which at that time were primarily and particularly the protests that were enveloping and threatening many diplomatic facilities—American diplomatic facilities—around the world and Iran’s nuclear program. The attack on Benghazi—on our facilities in Benghazi—was obviously a significant piece of this,” Rice explains.

When discussing the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers. Everyone, particularly the intelligence community, has worked in good faith to provide the best assessment based on the information available. You know the FBI and the State Department’s Accountability Review Board are conducting investigations as we speak, and they will look into all aspects of this heinous terrorist attack to provide what will become the definitive accounting of what occurred.

Interestingly, Gray’s little remembered Ode paints a grim view of the knowledge that comes with experience. Looking down in Eton, he envies the young boys their innocence, joy, and resiliency. For him, at least, real life is the kind of thing that makes you want to run and hide:

Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond today:
Yet see how all around ‘em wait
The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune’s baleful train!
Ah, show them where in ambush stand
To seize their prey the murtherous band!
Ah, tell them, they are men!

These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that skulks behind;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart,
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visaged comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow’s piercing dart.

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy.
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness’ altered eye,
That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
And keen Remorse with blood defiled,
And moody Madness laughing wild
Amid severest woe.

Lo, in the vale of years beneath
A grisly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their Queen:
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring sinew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
And slow-consuming Age.

To each his sufferings: all are men,
Condemned alike to groan;
The tender for another’s pain,
The unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise.

I was planning on ending this post by saying that I’m sure Rice would agree with Gray’s sentiments. On the the hand, given that she’ll soon be failing upwards, it’s questionable whether she has any regrets at all.

Random links to interesting things

I hate cooking.  That’s not hyperbole.  Restaurants are a constant temptation, but I resist because, during my young lawyer days, I spent way too much of my money on restaurants.  With college and old age to plan for, I can’t eat out whenever I like — which is every night.  So here’s one good thing about ObamaCare:  it’s looking as if it’s going to remove temptation from my life.  Restaurants, which run at the thinnest possible margins, cannot afford full-time employees anymore.  Further, given the low pay at restaurants anyway, coupled with the requirement that the uninsured buy insurance, it’s likely that no one will be able to afford part-time work at restaurants.

“How dumb do you think I am?”  We’ve all asked that question at one time or another when someone was getting a little too freewheeling in pulling the wool over our eyes.  Ralph Peters asks precisely that question of a White House that has lied consistently — and quite badly — since the Benghazi attacks on September 11.  It seems as if Obama’s compulsive lying is affecting the entire executive branch.  That’s no surprise, since an organization’s behavior always begins at the top.

I’m not the only one who realized that Obama statement that Israel has the right to defend herself was only a prelude to undermining her once again.  Smarter minds than mine, equipped with more facts and greater analytical ability, have reached the same conclusion.

Is Jake Tapper the last true journalist in America?  He’s objective, almost obsessively non-partisan, rigorous, inquisitive, and a very good writer.  It sounds as if his new book, The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, is a very good thing indeed.

Why does Marco Rubio’s opinion about the earth’s age matter to his political abilities?  It doesn’t — or, rather, it doesn’t unless you’re the MSM trying to set him up as an ignorant fundamentalist who wants American to remake America in a 10th century model (or, in other words, like an Islamist sharia nation).  Ace isn’t sure if Rubio gave the right answer to the question, but I believe Rubio gave the best answer he could.  In future, though, he should have a quip ready to deflect the question.  I’m not good at quips, but you all should see if you can think of any.

And speaking of quips, over at the Watcher’s Council Forum, we Watcher’s tackle an important question:  Are Comedians And Comedy Less Funny Today Than They Used To Be?

The questions the media resolutely refuses to ask about Benghazi

So, now we know that Susan Rice made the talk show rounds relying on an information sheet that “somehow” got modified between the CIA and Rice.  Hmmm.  Who had the authority to do that?  Hmmm.  I’m sure it wasn’t someone subordinate to Petraeus.  Maybe it was someone higher up the food change who reports directly to the President.  (Right about now, you should be hearing the name “James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence” floating through your mind.)

If Petraeus is telling the truth this time around (and sadly, his reputation for honor is somewhat besmirched), we can draw a few conclusions:

1.  If Obama knew, he deliberately committed a fraud against the American people.  If he didn’t do so for national security reasons, but did so for purely political ones, he and the American people have a problem.  This is especially true if it turns out that he made the decision not to send aid to the Americans under siege in Benghazi, because he feared that to do so would have created a spectacle that could have harmed is reelection chances.

2.  If Obama did not know, we have a serious problem in that we’ve elected the Sergeant Schultz of Presidents.  He knows nothing:  Not Fast & Furious, not Benghazi, not the post-Benghazi cover-up.  He is, as he himself said, just there for set decoration.  To the extent that he’s incapable of handling the duties of Commander in Chief and Chief Executive Officer, he and the American people have a problem.

Regarding these problems, it’s fun mental exercise to bandy about the word “impeachment.”  I am not a constitutional scholar, so I have no idea if either of these is an impeachable offense.  Both, however, severely harm the Obama brand in the wake of a close and hard-fought election.  That’s fundamentally bad for the American body politic.

Back to my list:

3.  If Rice didn’t know that the talking points had been doctored, she’s an idiot.  All the information was there, so that ordinary people reading the news could figure it out.  I think being an idiot should preclude you from serving as Secretary of State.

4.  If Rice did know that the talking points had been doctored, she’s a liar and dishonest broker.  This brings us back to point one:  if her lies were told for national security, that’s one thing; if they were told to insulate the president’s reelection chances from ugly publicity about a failed Middle East policy, that’s something else altogether.

I’ll close, not with any words from me, but with an email from a reader:

Today’s newspapers, radio, tv, internet blogs, etc are full of discussions about who knew what when concerning the participants in the attack on our consulate in Benghazi.  Fingers are pointing in every direction.  Hopefully, one day we shall know the truth.

One thing that is lost in this discussion is the fact that four Americans are dead, including a US Ambassador.  Were there calls for help?  Who from?  Who to?  Why no response?  Sec of Def Panetta’s explanation that “we don’t send troops into unknown situations” or something similar seems to have shut the discussion down.  What????  The new military doctrine is “We must know everything before we send in the military.”  Really????????

Four Americans are dead and Washington is focusing on what started the attack?  Don’t get me wrong, I think that is important to know – especially in light of what seems to be purposeful lying to the public. But as an American, and the mother of an ROTC son who might be called to serve, I want to know why we didn’t, and now apparently don’t, do rescue operations.  Also, if I was a member of the US Consular Corps, I would be rethinking my career choice.