Is it the end of the world as we know it, or just a new phase in the battle for America’s soul?

I’ve had the same ten tabs open in Firefox this entire day.  I feel like a madman, trying to create order out of the chaos in my mind.  I’m convinced that there’s a thread tying together these articles, but I can’t figure out precisely what that thread is.  Maybe it’s just that each is another indicator that we’re starting to slide very quickly down some slippery slope, and I don’t think that we’re in for a soft landing.

Here are the articles, which I present in the order the presented themselves to me as I read through my normal websites and my email today.  If you can catch the elusive thread tying them together, please let me know.

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I admire Jack Cashill greatly.  He’s a smart man and a superb investigator.  Nevertheless, I’ve long thought he had something of a bee in his bonnet with his insistence that TWA Flight 800 was anything more than a tragic disaster.  Now that I’ve had the dubious pleasure of watching the Obama administration work with the media to cover up events in Benghazi in order to salvage his reelection, however, I’m much more inclined to believe Cashill’s theory about the 1996 plane explosion — namely, that it was a terrorist attack, possibly of Iranian origination, and that Clinton and the media covered it up in order to secure his reelection.

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I know this sounds callous, but I think that the only way to save America is to let Obama take it off the cliff.  Here’s my thinking regarding the “fiscal cliff” talks:  The Republicans have three choices:  (1) compromise; (2) stonewall; and (3) walk away.  If they compromise, they’ve lost, as a smugly victorious Obama clearly is not in a compromising mood.  He knows that, once the Republicans are a party to any economic plans, no matter how minimal or reluctant their participation, they will get the blame when things inevitably go wrong (or, in the unlikely event things go right, Obama will get all the credit). The Republicans will be irreparably smeared and become irrelevant.

If Republicans stonewall, the exact same thing will happen:  the media will blame them for anything that goes wrong, and give Obama credit for anything that might stay right.  And as this election showed, Americans listen to the media, despite knowing that it lies and conceals.

The only thing left for Republicans is to tell both Obama and the American voters, “The voters wanted Obama and his economic plans, so they shall get them.  We wash our hands of this.”  If things go well, then Republicans will have to accept that their policies are wrong.  If things go badly — and I suspect that they will, and quickly too — Republicans will finally have a convincing platform from which to sell true fiscal conservativism, rather than once again being enablers for Progressive profligacy. That platform, I believe, is the only thing that can return America to her status as a light of freedom and constitutional prosperity.

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California health insurance rates are skyrocketing.  The usual suspects are blaming the insurance companies for having the temerity to want to earn enough money to pay their employees, pay-out to their insureds, and have money for stockholders (who are, after all, the ultimate owners of these companies).  You and I knew that this was inevitable under ObamaCare, since people no longer need to buy insurance when they’re healthy, but can wait until they’re sick.  And we knew that the media would blame the insurance companies — just as we know that, if there’s a single Republican fingerprint on any budget plan, the Republicans will get the entire blame for any failures.  Being a Progressive means never having to acknowledge that you’re culpable.

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Speaking of the appalling, biased media, the IDF provides a detailed glimpse into the way the media and the Palestinians work hand-in-hand to destroy Israel, both in the battlefield and in the war for hearts and minds around the world.

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It’s official:  Harvard will have a student society dedicated to S & M (that’s “sadism and masochism” for the innocents among you). Please remind me why Harvard is still considered a respectable educational institution, worth the millions of dollars taxpayers that send to it, both by funding direct federal grants and by picking up the costs of all the taxpayer-guaranteed loans its students conveniently forget to pay upon graduation.

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Yes, Susan Rice is every bit as bad as you think she is — and it has nothing to do with her skin color and everything to do with her personality, political ideology, and ugly track record.

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One of my high school friends calls himself a life-long conservative, something I did not know about him back in high school.  I think, though, that he could more accurately be summed up as a libertarian, since he is not at all a social conservative.  To that end, he’s expressed dismay with the increasingly high profile of fervently religious candidates in the Republican party.  He’s wondering if he can twist himself around to believe in the Democrat party, which he sees as non-religious.  I countered his concerns by sending him Dennis Prager’s article explaining that socialism is not just a religion, it’s currently the world’s most dynamic religion.  I recognize that the Republican party can be weak and pathetic, and that it is too often made up of RINOs or true ignoramuses who hide behind religion to excuse that ignorance.  Nevertheless, my friend needs to understand that the alternative is worse.

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One of my long-time peeves (and one of the things that turned me to conservativism) is the way that Progressives mangled Title IX, which was, in relevant part, supposed to remove hurdles to women’s participation in college sports.  Equality of access?  It’s a good thing.  What Progressives have done, though, is to demand perfect equality of numbers.  Because college women have stubbornly refused to participate in college athletics at the same rate as college men, the only way to achieve this artificial parity is to slash men’s athletic programs.  James Taranto explains here, and makes us fully aware of yet another travesty inflicted on America thanks to Progressive politics.

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And finally, it wasn’t your imagination that, for the first time in America, the 2012 election was openly predicated upon socialist class warfare. Just to make it official, a top Democrat political action group (conveniently working with George Soros funds) has started a website explicitly dedicated to class warfare.

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So, was I right?  Is the common thread to these links the dissolution of America at every level?

I’m sorry if I sound bipolar.  Yesterday I was enthusing about the possibility of an American Margaret Thatcher and today I’m talking about imminent Armageddon.  The latter is how I feel; the former is how I want to feel.

In any event, I’m not sure one can ever fight a battle unless one simultaneously fears the opponent and feels optimistic about ones own abilities. In other words, success requires an honest assessment of the forces arrayed against you, as well as the belief that it is possible to prevail.  Without that belief, why bother to fight?

This and that, from here and there — the good and the evil from today’s news

There’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing someone slice and dice Paul Krugman’s latest idiocies.  Randall Hoven does a magnificent job.  The only sad thing about it is that he’s preaching to the choir.  The ones who really should read his article — namely, the ones who think Krugman is actually smart and honest — will resolutely turn their eyes away from anything that doesn’t bear the liberal media’s imprimatur.

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I’ve been feeling smug because, next month, I’m going into San Francisco to hear Stephen Moore speak about his new book, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America. I’m feeling even more smug now, because the inestimable Thomas Sowell gives it the highest possible praise:

If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore’s new book, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America, Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide.

Now I’ve added excitement to my previously existing smugness.

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There’s something wrong with America when it’s Germany that leads the way in announcing that it will not back the formation of a Palestinian state at the UN.  Germany’s absolutely right, of course.  The Palestinians, despite getting Gaza to themselves, have done nothing to create even a semblance of a state.  They have no civil structure, no law, and no economy other than handouts from other nations.  All they’ve got is a thriving genocide-centered terrorism industry.  I wonder when Susan Rice, who currently does occupy the position of the U.S.’s ambassador to the UN, will get on board with this one.

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Speaking of Rice, Republicans on Capitol Hill, and those few RINOs to whom the media grants access, are again allowing themselves to be silenced by the strident Progressive/Democrat bleat that they are “racist” for opposing Susan Rice’s possible nomination to be Secretary of State.  As for me, I hadn’t realized Rice was black.  I’ve seen her pictures, but I just assumed she was darker of complexion than I am.

Frankly, everyone is darker of complexion than I am.  When I was a baby in my stroller, my mom stepped onto an elevator that already held a woman and her young child.  The woman took one look at me, and then pulled her child towards herself, saying “Say away from that baby, Amanda.  She’s a very sick baby.”  I was not sick.  That was me in the pink of health.  I just assumed that Rice was really healthy.  That she self-identifies as black actually surprised me.

But back to the topic at hand, which is the real reasons Rice is unqualified for the post of Secretary of State.  (Although I will say that anyone who takes on the job from Hillary Clinton is in the fortunate position of having  very little shoes to fill.)  For those who lose their brain power every time the word “racist” comes from the Democrat party, Joel Pollak has assembled a list of the top ten substantive reasons to oppose her nomination.  Because I wasn’t really paying attention in the 90s, I didn’t realize that her habit of lying to protect the Democrats is an old habit:

9. Refused to call Rwanda genocide a “genocide,” for political reasons. According to Obama advisor Samantha Power, Rice urged the Clinton administration not to call the Rwandan genocide what it was, for fear of the political impact on U.S. congressional elections in 1994. She and others worked to sanitize references to the genocide, scrubbing government memos to remove words such as “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.”

The other facts in the top ten list are equally damning.  It’s not Rice’s dark skin that means she’s not fit to serve.  It’s her absence of any sort of moral compass.

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And finally, while we’re on the topic of people lacking a moral compass, here’s a short primer on all of the photo and video fraud that Hamas and its media enablers were able to propagate during a conflict that lasted a mere seven days:

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Consider this an Open Thread, and feel free to add your own interesting comments and links.

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.

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.

Now where have I heard that before? Obama’s taunt, before a complacent media, that Republicans should target him, not Rice *UPDATED*

Yesterday, during his first press conference in months, Obama tried a little swagger:

But let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work.  She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace.

As I’ve said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.  If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.  And I’m happy to have that discussion with them.  But for them to go after the U.N. Ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.

And we’re after an election now.  I think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi, and I’m happy to cooperate in any ways that Congress wants.  We have provided every bit of information that we have, and we will continue to provide information.  And we’ve got a full-blown investigation, and all that information will be disgorged to Congress.

And I don’t think there’s any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that’s a problem.  And we’ve got to get to the bottom of it, and there needs to be accountability.  We’ve got to bring those who carried it out to justice.  They won’t get any debate from me on that.

But when they go after the U.N. Ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me.  And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity of the State Department, then I will nominate her.  That’s not a determination that I’ve made yet.

Reading that, I’m irresistibly remind of an old joke:

Two men are hiking, when suddenly they meet with an angry bear.  They both take off in the opposite direction, running as fast as they can.  After a few seconds, the slower runner says, “Why are we doing this?  We can’t outrun a bear.”  To which the faster runner replies, “We don’t have to outrun the bear.  I just have to outrun you.”

Obama is pretending to be the slower bear, making himself available to the media in order to provide the chivalrous protection a gentleman should give both a female and a subordinate.  But the real joke here is on the American people, because Obama knows that there’s no bear chasing him or, if there is, it’s a teddy bear.  A compliant and complacent press means that no one is really going to go after him.  As this election showed, reports of the MSM’s death were greatly and too optimistically exaggerated.  The MSM still has a flow on the information streaming to the American people.  The media will block negative news about Rice and Obama, and it will heap the full measure of ridicule on anyone who dares to go after one of Obama’s chosen representatives.

As Individualists (as opposed to Statists), our job in the next year isn’t to challenge the President.  It’s to appreciate Breitbart’s magnificent insight about the way the media has corrupted American discourse, and to challenge — and topple — media control over the free flow of information.

UPDATE:  In the “great minds think alike” department, when I wrote the above, regarding Obama’s “chivalry,” I wasn’t aware that Kristen Powers had zoomed in on precisely the same point:

Don’t pick on the little lady.

Wednesday, President Obama bizarrely cast the U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, as some delicate flower the boys should stop picking on for her dissembling claims on five Sunday talk shows following the killing of 4 Americans in Benghazi.  But, there is no damsel in distress and Obama’s paternalistic bravado in defense of a top administration official is going to come back to haunt him.

Yeah.  What she said!