The Bookworm Beat — August 15 Friday wrap-up (and, of course, Open Thread)

Woman writingOne of the things I’ve noticed about modern medicine is that, once doctors start poking around inside the human body, they find all sorts of things that aren’t picture perfect. I remember a long ago hearing an NPR story about a small town with a scary increase in the number of children with benign brain tumors. After an exhaustive search into power lines, drinking water, and bacon, some bright soul figured out that the increase in diagnoses happened because the small local hospital could now do brain scans, a procedure it had started performing on all children brought in with concussions.

My test yesterday showed nothing about my anemia, but has sent the doctors haring off in a different direction about something else that looked funny. I feel fine, so I’m not worried . . . much. Even feeling just fine isn’t a total defense against the niggling fear that comes up when the doctor says that something in there is out of the ordinary. I’ll let you know when they finally determine that, as I suspected all along, I’m a very healthy specimen.

But there are much more interesting things out there than the medical treasure hunt inside my body, so let me get to it….

That the white police behaved badly is no excuse for the black citizens to behave even more badly

Since Ferguson, Missouri, is convulsing the media, and even managed to drag Obama away from his golf game for seven whole minutes, I’ll open with a couple of Ferguson related items. First, Megan McArdle noticed something important about Ferguson: Twenty-four years ago, it was a majority white town. Fourteen years ago, it had the slimmest of black majorities. And four years ago, it was almost 70% black. Although the town demographics changed rapidly, the police demographics did not.

Indeed, the only thing that seems to have changed with the police over the years is that they’ve turned themselves in a military organization, although one sadly lacking in military intelligence. And just as an aside about our police departments turning themselves into faux-military outfits, just two months ago, Ferguson’s own Democrat representative voted against a law that would have stopped military surplus transfers to local police.

Frankly, I’m not surprised that the police department is barricading itself behind advanced grade weapons, even though it’s a stupid, dangerous, and (for all citizens) frightening practice. Blacks don’t like the police. One black man, however, has gone on an epic rant explaining that the problem isn’t with the police, whether or not they are racist, but with blacks themselves. You’ll quickly see why this video has gone viral:

The media concedes Hamas played it, and Hamas complains that the media wasn’t sufficiently compliant

There are a few updates today on the Hamas front, although the most recent ceasefire seems to be holding for now. The biggest news, of course, is the fact that the same media outlets that slimed Israel for the past month are admitting two things: First, that Hamas lies and, second, that the media allowed itself to be intimidated into lying for Hamas (something Hamas is now freely admitting itself).

Sadly, the Hamas/MSM disinformation tactic has worked. Donald Douglas has a disturbing video taken near UCLA, along with the comment that “It’s like we’re back in the 1930s, and it’s a definite transnational scourge.”

To the question “why is this war different from all other wars,” Israelis answer “because tunnels”

My mother spoke yesterday to her oldest friend, a 91-year-old woman who has lived in Tel Aviv since 1934 or so. Many of her grandchildren are on active duty or in the reserves. This friend told my mother “This time it’s different.”

For one thing, Iron Dome has made those in Tel Aviv feel much more secure against air attacks, although the friend says it’s peculiar to see the bombs bursting in air, rather than down on the ground. The other reason this war is different is the tunnels. They have shattered Israelis’ sense of security. (And yes, it’s funny that they felt secure when they’ve been constantly under attack, but those attacks were from land and water, not underground.)

Although Netanyahu says that the IDF destroyed the vast majority of tunnels, neither my mom’s friend, nor anyone show knows, believes that. They’re certain that there are at least as many tunnels unaccounted for as were blown apart.

My mom’s friend is not unique. In an opinion piece at Bloomberg, an Israeli writer says exactly the same thing: because of the tunnels, this time it’s different.

Against Hezbollah, Israel won’t bother to try for proportionate force against civilians

Given all of the above, is it any wonder that Israel is letting it be known that, if Hezbollah starts acting in Lebanon, Israel will use disproportionate force to defeat it:

On a recent trip to Israel, I spoke with government officials who laid out likely scenarios for the next, almost inevitable, round of Israeli hostilities with Hezbollah. Needless to say, given Hezbollah’s ever-increasing strength on the ground, those scenarios are incredibly grim. In short, the Israeli military proposes that in the next conflict with Hezbollah all of Lebanon will be treated like Dahiya, the Hezbollah stronghold that the Israeli air force destroyed in the summer of 2006. “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on,” as one Israeli official explained. “We will apply disproportionate force on it, and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.”

Insane, no? The problem is, the Israelis are right. It’s not that Israel wants to kill Lebanese civilians. As one Israeli official told me, it is largely because thousands of innocent Lebanese will lose their lives that Israel is reluctant to move against Hezbollah right now. The issue is that the Shia militia has turned all of Lebanon—not just the regions it controls like the Dahiya, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon—into a military installation, holding every man, woman, and child in the country hostage to its supposed love of death. What are the Israelis supposed to do when Hezbollah starts shooting the next time—refuse to fight back, and let the missiles keep hitting Tel Aviv, while the entire country cowers in bomb shelters?

As I noted myself, if there’s a choice between killing a hundred thousand of the enemy’s civilians, or letting the enemy kill 6-8 million of your civilians, the moral choice is to attack the enemy, and let the civilians fall where they may. This is especially true if your efforts to protect civilians are not appreciated in any event. If you’re going to be accused of disproportionate force when aren’t actually using it to protect yourself, you may as well embrace the accusations and use truly disproportionate force the next time around in order to keep yourself safe.

I finally believe Obama is a Muslim

Can I say anything else but that it’s unconscionable for Obama to refuse to sell to Israel the rockets that Iron Dome fires at incoming missiles from Gaza? Unconscionable seems like such a weak word. I’ll add despicable, vile, immoral, disgusting, and anti-Semitic.  Moreover, for the first time I truly believe that Obama may well be a Muslim, rather than just a Leftist who supports Islam because Islam opposes America (the nation, of course, that Obama swore an oath to protect).

If you were to ask me what a member of the Muslim Brotherhood would do if he were in the White House, I’d pretty much describe everything that Obama has done throughout the Middle East — including his administration’s most recent decision to lift the ban barring Libyans from flight schools and training in nuclear programs. I mean — honestly! — can you just imagine the memo that went around in the White House: “Yes, we know that all sorts of radical Islamist factions have taken over in Libya, and that it was a hub for delivering weapons systems to other radical Islamists, and that the state has Islamic anarchy written all over it, but we really think there are Libyans that ought to know how to fly our plans and control our nuclear facilities.”

Not only that, but there’s also the administration’s malevolent combination of blindness and ineptitude in Syria, which has acted as a warm, comfy incubator for the most extremist Islamist groups ever seen in modern times. You know a group’s extreme when it makes Al Qaeda seem temperate.

Put all of these things put together — Obama’s conduct regarding Libya/Benghazi, Syria, Egypt, the hostility to Israel, etc. — and it starts to look less like ineptitude and more like a plan, even if the plan is just to foul things up so as to destroy any possibility of moderation in the region.

The administration’s (and Congress’s) failure to protect America against electric annihilation

While the administration keeps stirring that Middle Eastern pot, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, dissing Israel, opening doors into the Middle East for Russia, handing dangerous secrets to Libya, the administration and Congress both assiduously ignore the one thing that has real potential to throw us back into a pre-industrial era, and that is a major EMP attack:

The cost of protecting the national electric grid, according to a 2008 EMP Commission estimate, would be about $2 billion—roughly what the U.S. gives each year in foreign aid to Pakistan.

I guess it’s just too important right now to spend time and money opening our southern border to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and then burdening our system with the cost of those immigrants. This seems like the Cloward-Piven strategy played out in real time.

A brilliant way to get colleges to be honest about their alleged “1/5 rape” statistic

Ashe Schow pens yet another article that destroys the disgraceful canard about the number of rapes at American college campuses (a statistic that, if true, would make American colleges almost as dangerous for women as, oh, I don’t know, being a white woman in Malmo, Sweden). Glenn Reynolds’ adds a brilliant idea to the debunking:

To get universities to debunk it, start running ads telling women not to go to college because they have a 1-in-5 chance of being raped if they do. With pictures of university campuses labeled “rape factory” and pictures of university presidents labeled “rape-factory president.”

Dog bites man; or another story of Leftist hypocrisy in Chicago

If you like hypocrisy, you’ll enjoy the story of Karen Lewis, who heads the Chicago teacher’s union and is now running for mayor against Rahm. She’s one of those people who loves to bash the wealthy and believes firmly in wealth redistribution. I won’t tell you more, except to say “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

I think I need to read a Dean Koontz book

Did you know that novelist Dean Koontz is conservative/libertarian? He won’t define himself using those terms, but his political outlook, which apparently dismayed Publishers Weekly so much that it wondered at the fact that he leaked this sensibility into his books, holds that a powerful government is a dangerous, expensive, and useless government. As an aside, I wonder if Publishers Weekly ever expresses concern about Leftists leaking their politics into their books.

I’ve never actually read anything Koontz has written, but to the extent I support his politics and I like thrillers, I’m willing to give his stuff a try. I mean, who couldn’t love someone who says things like this:

• In an online chat on CNN.com (September 10, 2001), Koontz said, “Any time I’m looking for a good psychopath [as a character for a novel], I first check out the current crop of Congressmen and see what they are up to.”

• In The Dean Koontz Companion (Headline Book Publishing, 1994), Koontz said, “It had become apparent to me that the worst enemy of the working man and woman is the state, and that the average person is safest in a country that struggles to limit the size of the state.”

• In an interview with the Mystery Guild (2000), Koontz said, “We just left a century that gave us the worst mass murderers in history: Hitler, Stalin, Mao. History shows us, over and over again, that large groups of people given too much power over other people lose their humanity.”

Andrew Klavan explains “income redistribution”

Andrew Klavan offers a user-friendly explanation of “income redistribution” (which our Marxist, Muslim president thinks is a good thing):

Income redistribution that damages the poor will play out next year at America’s gas pumps

By the way, we California’s may be closer to other people in America when it comes to seeing what income redistribution is all about, since laws set to go into effect in January will raise gasoline prices to $8-$9 a gallon. A couple of things:

First, this “redistribution” “for the planet” will cause the most harm to poor people. I can afford $9 gas, although it will leave me with less wealth for my children and my retirement. My cleaning ladies will not be able to afford it. It will destroy their business, which consists of driving around Marin every day to clean as many houses as these energetic, reliable ladies can manage. Second, these gas prices are Obama’s dream, as reflected in his choice of energy czar.

What’s really sad is that the hyper-credentialed, Ivy League educated morons who surround me in Marin undoubtedly think this tax is a brilliant idea because it will “save the planet.”  Did I say morons?  Let me say it again.  Morons!

This is why I have no time for myself

This song’s chorus explains why, as my house fills with more and more people (mostly teens), I have less time to blog:

Pictures

Mind if I play through

A flaw in the constitution

Items that should be banned

To stupid to own a gun

Israel doesn't hate America

Liberal logic about Palestine

Rape tips

Fleeing a blood soaked land

Fairness to troops and criminals

Throwing links at you before I head to lunch with conservative friends

Quick Link and Open Thread imageI’m off to lunch with two conservative friends (one I knew for years without either of us realizing the other was conservative), so I’m just going to throw these links at you.  Take a deep breath, ’cause here goes:

The 1950s study saying most Americans are mindless, Nazi-esque sadists was a fraud.

The IRS is issuing rules that retroactively and proactively enable it to shut down Tea Party organizations — and only Tea Party organizations.

Charles Krauthammer reams Obama’s incompetence and absence from governing, even as David Brooks insists that this is why now is a perfect time to increase executive power.  Brooks even has a two-liner that will become a classic of sycophantic stupidity:  “This is a good moment to advocate greater executive branch power because we’ve just seen a monumental example of executive branch incompetence: the botched Obamacare rollout. It’s important to advocate greater executive branch power in a chastened mood.”

I think Brooks is delusional to think that the lying-ist administration ever will suddenly become honest and effective.

England, the land that gave us the entire notion of freedom and self-sufficiency, sinks ever deeper into the abyss of political correctness and bureaucratic tyranny.

A weak leader makes our country look like the equivalent of a wounded wildebeest.  No wonder the jackals are running up and taking painful nips at our downed carcase, curious as to whether we’ve still got some fight in us.  The answer, sadly, is no.  No wonder the jackals in Libya are geared up for a second bite.  After all the administration’s response to their first attack was to pretend that it really hadn’t happened.

And then there’s this, which I thought was a hoax, kind of like Ted Cruz’s pwning an Obama tweet, only to learn that it’s real:

 

Found it on Facebook: The red lines Obama chose to ignore

One of the more perfect posters I’ve seen regarding the intersection between Syria and Obama’s values (thanks to Danny Lemieux, who posted it on Facebook):

The red lines Obama chose to ignore

I hope everyone is clear on the fact that this war talk about Syria does not reflect an Obama value. This is about his saving face after his throwaway line last year about “red lines.” In addition, now that everyone has turned against him (European leaders, Congress, the American people), our narcissist in chief is going to bully through his agenda because we’re all Obama’s enemies now.

This is not about Syria. This is not about the 1,400 people who were gassed either by Assad/Iran or by Al Qaeda. This is about Obama. And he is willing to drag the whole word towards Armageddon rather than to have his ego damaged.

Perhaps, though, Obama’s arrogance in the past many years might be what saves America. Keith Koffler says that Obama’s rebuff in the house is Obama’s personal flock of chickens coming home to roost:

If this were Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, I’d think yeah, it will pass in the end. But not this guy. I can’t say that Obama’s motion to attack Syria will fail, but I can’t say it will pass either. Because Obama has acted very unpresidential for the past four and a half years.

Usually that would mean “undignified.” But in this case I mean that he has failed the basic test of the politician that a president must be – schmoozing members of Congress while staying in touch with the public on important issues.

You really get the feeling with this president that he’d rather be left alone in the Oval Office or on the golf course with his little friends than hang out with the riffraff from Capitol Hill. Obama lacks strong relationships there, even with his allies.

I covered both Bush and Clinton, and I’d constantly see a line of lawmakers’ cars parked on the West Wing driveway while their owners hashed something out with the president in the Oval Office. With Obama, the driveway is always nice, tidy and empty.

Please read the whole thing.

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 post expresses my thoughts, some of it is more a reflection of others’ ideas.  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.

Hollywood may inform Obama’s Washington more than we realize — all theater, no substance

Sometimes one reads something and thinks “That’s it!  That explains what’s been going on.”

I do believe that Elliott Abrams is on to something when he discusses the administration’s approach to Syria, and his point is much larger than the already ugly fact that the president may have misspoken American right into a war.  (Which kind of makes Bush’s gaffes, malapropisms, and linguistic mangles seem a whole lot less significant, right?)

Abrams points out that the New York Times report revealing that Obama’s red line was an ad lib, and a dangerous one at that, also reveals that the White House never actually had a plan.  Here’s what the Times reports:

Mr. Obama’s advisers also raised legal issues. “How can we attack another country unless it’s in self-defense and with no Security Council resolution?” another official said, referring to United Nations authorization. “If he drops sarin on his own people, what’s that got to do with us?”

But they concluded that drawing a firm line might deter Mr. Assad. In addition to secret messages relayed through Russia, Iran and other governments, they decided that the president would publicly address the matter.

After a detour to note how ironic it is that the same President who established an “Atrocities Prevention Board” a few months ago (“‘never again’ is a challenge to nations”) now has people saying “What do we care?”, Abrams gets down to the nitty-gritty of Obama’s approach to foreign policy — it’s all theater:

Second, the issue of bluffing. It is noteworthy in the Times story that the administration officials were dealing with words, with lines, with messages—never it seems with tougher decisions about actions. This is of course a huge mistake, as just about everyone now acknowledges, though how it comes to be made in year five of an administration is more mysterious.

Abrams contrasts this superficiality — figuring out how to sell an attitude, without having an actual attitude — with what went on under Reagan when the Soviet Union wanted to send advanced fighter planes to Nicaragua.  Abrams was the assistant secretary of state for Latin America, so it was up to him to read formally to his Soviet counterpart the administration’s stand:  “there was a unanimous view that we would not permit Russia to put advanced combat jets into Nicaragua and change the power balance that had existed in the region since the Cuban missile crisis. Everyone agreed.”

That’s what played out in the world.  But what Abrams remembers is that this is also what played out behind closed doors:

But what preceded such talking points was the NSC meeting. There, after everyone said yes, let’s deliver that message, James Baker spoke up. As I recall it, Baker said something like this: Look, we are not agreeing here on sending a message. We are agreeing now that if they act, we will act. We’re not going to come back here in a month or three months or six months and say, gee, now what do we do? If you are agreeing on taking this line and sending this message to the Soviets, you are agreeing now, today, that if they put those jets in, we will take them out. That’s what we are agreeing. Today.

Although Abrams says he wasn’t then and isn’t now a Baker fan, he was then and is now a fan of that type of sober, realistic thinking.  Abrams’ conclusion about the administration’s hollow, theatrical approach to the rapidly unfolding disaster in Syria applies with equal force to every single foreign policy situation Obama has faced.  As you read the words below, think not only about Syria, but about Libya, the Arab Spring, the Israeli/Palestinian debacles, etc.:

It seems there was no one at these Obama administration meetings wise or experienced enough to say “Hold on, what do we do when they call the bluff?” My boss back in the Reagan years, Secretary of State Shultz, was, like Baker, an ex-Marine and a serious guy. At these White House meetings on Syria this year and last, was there one serious guy? Seems not, and seems that that problem has not been solved.

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.

Over the next four years, will Obama be the only one celebrating?

In my latest newsletter (which you can view here and subscribe to here) I asked whether Republicans will be the only unhappy people over the next four years.  My starting point is that Republicans are deeply depressed right now, while Progressives are gloatingly triumphant.  Their man won.  Their agenda is the one he’ll enact.

The problem as I see it is that almost nobody — Republican or Progressive — is going to be happy with the outcome.  Unlike the Reagan years, which saw the economy soar, so much so that even the most embittered Democrats couldn’t complain directly about the economy (so they had to focus on inequities instead), Obama’s first four years have seen everything going negative:  the economy is perpetually saggy at home and disastrously bad abroad; the nation is more divided than ever before at this precise point in a President’s second term; nations that the U.S. had previously stabilized are collapsing; and there is, to borrow Carter’s term, a terrible malaise throughout the land.  More than that, it my money is on the fact that all of these trends will worsen with Obama’s policies.

Given that things are going to go from bad to worse, will any but the most die-hard Progressives be happy?  Right now, my Progressive friends (and I have many) are convinced that just a little bit more of the Obama magic will turn everything around — and then they’ll be happy.  But what if it doesn’t turn around?  Will they rationalize downwards what constitutes happiness?  That is, will we hear that it’s wonderful to be unemployed for so long, because you can do some serious navel gazing; and hey, isn’t it great that all those European and Middle Eastern nations are at war or heading to it?  I don’t think so, and here’s why.

I can say with a fair amount of certainty, because I’ve been on both sides of the political divide, that most Democrats and Progressives want wealth, security, and stability.  They’re just sufficiently foolish to believe that these things are best attained with an all-powerful state, rather than through maximum individual freedom within a legal framework that applies a few, clear laws equally to all citizens.  They might learn something when they realize that their ideology doesn’t achieve their ends.

But Obama….  His ends are very different.  I don’t think anything makes this more clear than what Jonathan Tobin noticed when he watched Steve Croft’s sycophantic 60 Minutes interview with Barry and Hillary.  Buried amidst the snowstorm of fecal matter, and the steady browning of Steve Croft’s nose, Barack Obama made one startling admission.  In defending his “lead from behind” approach to the Middle East, Obama had this to say:

President Obama: Well, Muammar Qaddafi probably does not agree with that assessment, or at least if he was around, he wouldn’t agree with that assessment. Obviously, you know, we helped to put together and lay the groundwork for liberating Libya. You know, when it comes to Egypt, I think, had it not been for the leadership we showed, you might have seen a different outcome there.

Tobin immediately honed in upon what’s so dreadfully wrong in that statement: Barack Obama is actually boasting about Libya, where al Qaeda has taken over and Obama’s own ambassador was brutally murdered, and about Egypt, which is in the increasingly vice-like control of a radical Islamist wannabe dictator who calls Israel (America’s ally) a nation of apes and pigs that should be wiped from the face of the earth.  As Tobin says:

Let me get this straight. President Obama is not merely bragging about a conflict in Libya that led to chaos not only in that country that produced the murders of four Americans including our ambassador. He is also saying that he thinks he positively impacted the outcome of the power struggle in Egypt over the last two years and actually thinks his “leadership” helped create a situation about which we are happy. So what he’s telling us is that he’s not merely pleased with what he did or didn’t do, but that he thinks the current situation in Cairo in which the most populous Arab country is now run by a Muslim Brotherhood government led by a raving anti-Semite is a good thing about which he can brag on national TV.

(You can read the rest of Tobin’s analysis here.)

Most Americans, including the millions of misguided Democrats, won’t celebrate the potential detritus of eight Obama years:  America’s economic collapse, Israel’s destruction, the Islamic takeover of the Middle East, and Europe’ ugly retreat to the 1930s.  Obama, however, has clearly signaled that he’s going to pat himself on the back for a job well done.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that the future is not written in stone.  Things can change in an instant.  The winner can go down and the loser can suddenly take the lead.  Ever since the 2006 Winter Olympics, and Lindsey Jacobellis’ fatal hubris in snowboarding, I’ve always told my kids “winners never quit and quitters never win.”

The only thing that will absolutely and certainly defeat America’s future resurgence as a bastion of individual freedom and success is if we quit. No quitting, guys. Grieve, but come back fighting. (And to cheer you up further, I’m betting that Progressive/Obama overreach and hubris will work in our favor on the road back.)

A French military victory in Mali — and a dismal American record

The Malians are thrilled, as they should be, and the French should be pretty darn proud themselves:

French troops headed to Mali

Residents of Mali’s northern town of Gao, captured from sharia-observing Islamist rebels by French and Malian troops, danced in the streets to drums and music on Sunday as the French-led offensive also drove the rebels from Timbuktu.

The weekend gains made at Gao and Timbuktu by the French and Malian troops capped a two-week whirlwind intervention by France in its former Sahel colony, which has driven al Qaeda-allied militant fighters northwards into the desert and mountains.

So, let’s see what we have here:

Another hanging in Iran

Another hanging in Iran

On the US side, President Obama, without consent from Congress, brings US forces to Libya to destroy a nominal US ally, creating a power vacuum that al Qaeda fills, with disastrous results for four Americans serving their country in Benghazi.  Also, President Obama uses the full force of diplomatic pressure in Egypt to force out a nominal US ally, creating a power vacuum that the Muslim Brother fills, with disastrous results for the Egyptian people, who are now rioting in the streets, and quite possibly creates an existential threat Israel.  When it comes to Syria, whose tyrannical leader Obama and his political friends had praises, Obama does nothing at all, leading to mass murders throughout the country, and another major Middle Eastern refugee crisis.  Likewise, in Iran, when the people rose to challenge a tyrannical government that had abandoned even the pretense of democratic procedures, Obama stood by silently.

Obama's bitch is Egyptian dictator

Meanwhile, on the French side, in two weeks the French destroyed al Qaeda’s tightening group on a moderate Muslim nation, leading historically moderate Muslims to celebrate and to beg the French to stick around.

Obama, in common with all Progressives, tends to believe that there’s a “right side to history.”  Perhaps he ought to revisit the notion, because he seems to be on the wrong side every time.

It’s a mad, mad, mad homophobic, antisemitic, anti-Christian, Leftist, Islamist world

In today’s news, we learned that Muslims in Libya kidnapped twelve men that they claimed were homosexuals in order to execute them:

Extremists say they will execute a dozen men they allege are homosexuals, whom they abducted last Thursday at a private party in Tripoli’s Ain Zara district.

A body calling itself the ‘Private Deterrent Force’, which is believed to be part of the extremist Nawasi militia group, has posted images of the men on their Facebook page. One picture (above) shows them, heads covered, standing with their hands against a wall.

At the time of writing, the picture had received 315 ‘likes’ and had received comments such as “flog them hard”, “lets see the bullets”, and “ride them like camels”.

Accompanying text describes the men as “the third sex” and says that they are to be mutilated and executed.

I posted this on my Facebook page, along with a comment saying that, lately, nothing good has come out of Libya.  Within a few minutes, a high school classmate, very gay, commented on this post.  Interestingly, he didn’t comment on the post to excoriate a culture that brutally murders his fellow homosexuals.  Instead, he said that the Middle East isn’t very gay friendly, but neither are any Christian countries, including the U.S.  Before I could take him to task for that manifest idiocy, another friend of mine — a Democrat gay man who is a closet conservative — chimed in to say that this was the stupidest comment he’d ever heard, and that it was impossible to conflate the Muslim’s murderous approach towards gays with any attitude towards gays displayed in a Western, majority-Christian country.

Since my closeted conservative friend had dealt more than adequately with this gay Leftist idiocy, I opted for a different line of thinking.  Assuming that, as a Leftist, he’s fairly pro-Israel, even as he supports the same countries that murder gays, I decided to put in a plug for Israel.  I therefore pointed out that there’s a sad, funny irony in the fact that the safest place for gay Palestinians is Israel, with accords full civil rights to the LGBT crowd.  Since I always like to back up my statements with evidence, I went trolling on Google for news stories about how Palestinian gays find sanctuary in Israel.

What I found, to my surprise, were savage attacks from the Left about the fact that Israel is hospitable to gays.  The previous sentence is not the result of a typographical error.  The Left finds it absolutely infuriating that Israel treats gays like people (just as it does women and its Arab citizens).  As far as the Left is concerned, this is all a despicable trick aimed at hiding the fact that it is an Imperialist Nazi-like nation bound and determined to commit genocide against its Palestinian neighbors.  (The Left conveniently ignores the soaring Palestinian population, something inconsistent with decades of alleged genocide, just as it ignores the genocidal, antisemitic rantings emanating from all parts of the Muslim world, rantings that have no anti-Arab corollary in Israel.)

This is not fringe stuff.  Perhaps because I was busy with Thanksgiving travel last November (2011), I missed completely a Jewish lesbian’s nasty opinion piece in the New York Times accusing Israel of “pinkwashing”:

After generations of sacrifice and organization, gay people in parts of the world have won protection from discrimination and relationship recognition. But these changes have given rise to a nefarious phenomenon: the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel.

In the Netherlands, some Dutch gay people have been drawn to the messages of Geert Wilders, who inherited many followers of the assassinated anti-immigration gay leader Pim Fortuyn, and whose Party for Freedom is now the country’s third largest political party. In Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, the extremist who massacred 77 people in July, cited Bruce Bawer, a gay American writer critical of Muslim immigration, as an influence. The Guardian reported last year that the racist English Defense League had 115 members in its gay wing. The German Lesbian and Gay Federation has issued statements citing Muslim immigrants as enemies of gay people.

These depictions of immigrants — usually Muslims of Arab, South Asian, Turkish or African origin — as “homophobic fanatics” opportunistically ignore the existence of Muslim gays and their allies within their communities. They also render invisible the role that fundamentalist Christians, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jews play in perpetuating fear and even hatred of gays. And that cynical message has now spread from its roots in European xenophobia to become a potent tool in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

[snip]

The growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation has named these tactics “pinkwashing”: a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life. Aeyal Gross, a professor of law at Tel Aviv University, argues that “gay rights have essentially become a public-relations tool,” even though “conservative and especially religious politicians remain fiercely homophobic.”

Pinkwashing not only manipulates the hard-won gains of Israel’s gay community, but it also ignores the existence of Palestinian gay-rights organizations.

Sarah Schulman, who wrote that putrid little piece, should be given a one-way ticket to Iran or Saudi Arabia or Libya or Gaza to see what kind of “gay rights” exist in those parts of the world.  The “rights” usually boil down to “Do you want to be hanged, stoned, flayed, or beheaded for the crime of being a homosexual or lesbian?”  Of course, that’s not what would happen if she went to those backwards countries.  Backwards they may be, but they know a useful idiot when they see one.  Schulman would be feted and stuffed full of propaganda about the love Muslims feel for gays.

What’s just as bad as Schulman’s willful obtuseness is the fact that she’s got a nice platform from which to indoctrinate equally stupid, blind gays here at home.  (I’m not saying all gays are stupid and blind.  I am saying that those who believe Leftism is more important than human rights are willing vessels for this kind of propaganda.)  You see, Schulman is a “Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island and a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University.”  Not just a professor, but a “distinguished” professor.  To my mind, she is distinguished only by being either evil, or stupid to the point of being evil.

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.

A foreign policy/war powers law establishes that the unnecessary deaths in Benghazi were Obama’s responsibility

Here’s what didn’t happen in Benghazi on September 11, 2012:  Despite advanced warning of the attack, and despite urgent, detail rich phone calls from the CIA/former Navy SEAL operatives under attack, and despite real time video feeds of events unfolding on the ground,* no one came to help.  No one came to help the 30-odd people trapped in the embassy, no one came to help Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith, and no one came to help Glen Doherty and Lance Woods as they rescued those trapped people and then spent seven terrifying hours on the roof of the administration’s CIA outpost, holding off an al Qaeda affiliate’s attack before they were finally killed.

During this long night, Obama seems to have hung out a bit watching events before going to bed in preparation for a campaign junket to Las Vegas.  (One Las Vegas paper does not appreciate that effort.)  The next day, the administration started playing the blame game.  First, Obama and his shills blamed a 14-minute nothing of a video.  To add verisimilitude to an otherwise unconvincing narrative, the government ignored the First Amendment, arranged for the video maker to be arrested for exercising his right of free speech and, seven weeks later, keeps him imprisoned.  (And yes, he was ostensibly jailed for a parole violation, but I think we all know that the way he was treated was a farcical overreaction that can only be explained as part of a larger cover-up.)  Just so you know, they do the same kind of thing in China, which is not blessed with a First Amendment.

When the video story fell apart, Hillary said events in Benghazi were her responsibility (although she was careful to blame unnamed subordinates for the actual security failure).  Interestingly, neither the administration nor the media demanded her resignation or even an investigation.  When the Obama administration started to turn its knives on Bill Clinton for allegedly giving bad campaign advice, Hillary leaked that, well, no, really, she’d done everything she could to increase security, but nobody (read:  the White House) would let her.

With the State Department pushing back, the next obvious culprit was the CIA — especially once we learned that Woods and Doherty had begged the CIA for help.  The media and the White House were thrilled.  Thrilled, that is, until General Petraeus said that no one on his watch had refused help.  Suddenly, all eyes (except, of course, for mainstream media eyes) were back on the White House.

Next up for blame?  The Pentagon, of course.  Leon Panetta lamely explained that “Golly, it was dangerous out there and the military never sends its troops into danger, don’t you know.”  Panetta’s excuse was ridiculed by people who care and accepted as the God’s honest truth by the mainstream media.  The White House again heaved a sigh of relief.

But then, darn it, Lance Woods’ father refused to slunk back into the night.  Instead, he told a few home truths:  Obama was a cold fish, Hillary lied again about the video, and Joe Biden . . . . Well, there really aren’t words for a man who walks up to a bereaved father and makes vulgar remarks about his dead child’s anatomy.  The MSM kept silent on this one too, but enough people (plus Fox, of course) were agitating that the story suddenly started to spread — and that despite the media’s by now quite valiant efforts to ignore it to death:

Mother Nature suddenly seemed to send a reprieve to Obama: A Category 1 hurricane that, while not strong, managed to blow directly landward, wrecking havoc across vast swaths of the heavily populated Northeastern seaboard.  While Obama has not been forthcoming with pictures of him handling Benghazi, he rushed out photos of him meeting with his Council about Hurricane Sandy, hugging bereaved Hurricane victims, and generally looking manly and noble amidst the rubble.

Too bad for the President that, four days before the election, things aren’t going so well in those areas damaged by the Hurricane.  People on Staten Island are suffering terribly and vocally. This may well be because, as Danny Lemieux suggested to me, Staten Island is staunchly Republican.  However conservative political leanings certainly don’t explain the disaster in New York’s Public Housing apartments, which have no power and no plumbing.  As always, Matt Drudge neatly sums up the situation:

So, here we are, President Obama, four days before the election, and you’re still not off the hook. Indeed, as of today, it’s entirely possible that things are about to get a whole lot worse for you. Your blame game started falling apart when all the other suspects (the State Department, the CIA, the Pentagon) seemed to have followed your absent lead.  That was all negative evidence, though, that you weren’t doing anything to help Americans under Jihadist attack in Libya.  That is, there was no smoking gun pointing to your involvement and subsequent dereliction of duty as Commander in Chief.  But now there is (emphasis mine):

The Benghazi debacle boils down to a single key factor — the granting or withholding of “cross-border authority.” This opinion is informed by my experience as a Navy SEAL officer who took a NavSpecWar Detachment to Beirut.

Once the alarm is sent  – in this case, from the consulate in Benghazi — dozens of HQs are notified and are in the planning loop in real time, including AFRICOM and EURCOM, both located in Germany. Without waiting for specific orders from Washington, they begin planning and executing rescue operations, including moving personnel, ships, and aircraft forward toward the location of the crisis. However, there is one thing they can’t do without explicit orders from the president: cross an international border on a hostile mission.

That is the clear “red line” in this type of a crisis situation.

Please read the whole thing.  What’s apparent is that, as a matter of law, the only person who could have helped in Benghazi was the president himself.  The President’s authority in this regard is the equivalent of the famous nuclear brief case or red phone or red button that featured so prominently in voters’ minds during the Cold War years.  Back then were always asked to consider “whose hand should be on the button.”

Regarding Benghazi, everyone else could plan and argue and organize, but only the President had the power to make it happen.  And nothing happened.  Hillary was right:  it was 3 a.m. and Obama didn’t answer the phone.  Damn him!

______________________________

*A spokesman for the National Security Council denies that there was a real-time video feed.

What Obama is really hiding in Benghazi

What we think Obama is hiding in Benghazi is disgraceful executive conduct on September 11, 2012, which lead to the deaths of four Americans, including a United States Ambassador.  What Frank Gaffney thinks the administration is hiding is much worse:  gun-running.

The evidence suggests that the Obama administration has not simply been engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East. Starting in March 2011, when American diplomat J. Christopher Stevens was designated the liaison to the “opposition” in Libya, the Obama administration has been arming them, including jihadists like Abdelhakim Belhadj, leader of the al Qaeda franchise known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Well!  Does this mean that, if he gets re-elected in November, he gets impeached in December?  And does that mean VP Biden, who seems increasingly senile, suddenly becomes President Biden?  There’s no way to put a pretty face on things if Obama wins again.