Watch this video and be the judge. This fellow says he’s all about making a better world. “Citizens of the world live within the sovereignty of man-made borders but also within the realities of a global community.” Citizens of the world? This is what we’ve got leading the country? One guy has an imaginary flying dog and another sounds like a Miss America also-ran. Help!
Archive for the 'Religion' Category
Apes and pigs again. Where have we seen this before? And Mac Owens and Captain Katie Petronio weign in on the latest offense to common sense from the faculty lounge. The Tatler explains that the faculty lounge looked a lot more like Google than GM when it came to running an election company. Take a look. Very impressive. Imagine if they applied that same discipline and savvy to supporting the expansion of the private economy. Fat chance.
Finally, Egan-Jones, which downgraded US debt three times, has been “barred from grading government debt and asset-backed securities for 18 months” by the SEC. We’re all trapped momentarily inside a video game whose narrative is shaped by government and the media. It won’t last forever, and this hectoring of S&P and Egan-Jones is going to look very bad in retrospect.
Spengler discusses the removal of the fuel rods at Bushehr and what that might mean. He has a thesis that the birthrate collapse in Iran looks a lot like that in France in 1914 and that therefore Iran might be spoiling for a war now rather than later. Whether right or wrong, it’s interesting reading.
Iron Dome was designed to defend against short-range rockets and uses Tamir interceptor missiles, which house warheads that explode in proximity to inbound rockets. Iron Dome is well suited for dealing with rockets fired from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, and with shorter-range rockets fired from Lebanon, but it is ill equipped to deal with longer-range rockets — its modest success at defending against the Fajr-5 rockets notwithstanding…
David’s Sling is capable of intercepting artillery rockets with ranges of 70 to 300 kilometers (approximately 45 to 185 miles). Developed jointly by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the United States’ Raytheon, the system uses two-stage Stunner interceptor missiles that, unlike the Tamirs, hit inbound rockets directly and destroy them with sheer kinetic impact. The Stunner is also larger than the Tamir, and with its more sophisticated guidance and propulsion systems it can travel farther. David’s Sling eventually will be able to intercept unmanned aerial vehicles, short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles…
Hezbollah, the Shiite militia in Lebanon,…has far more and far better rockets than do Palestinian militants in Gaza. Hezbollah’s inventory is thought to hold 100,000 rockets, ranging from 122mm BM-21 type rockets to the much larger and longer-ranged 610mm Zelzal-2 rockets. According to unconfirmed reports, the group may have even acquired Scud missiles from Syria…
Hezbollah has enough rockets to overwhelm Iron Dome defenses (Israel would need to deploy 10-15 batteries for full coverage). Before reloading, each Iron Dome battery holds a maximum of 60 Tamirs, which are often fired in waves to ensure interception. Even if Iron Dome’s purported 84 percent success rate were maintained, there would not be enough interceptors available to stop all short-range rockets from Lebanon.
We’ll be hearing more about these things, and probably pretty soon, since the terms of the “ceasefire” do not appear to have been clearly agreed upon.
The gulf is so wide between the blue and the red that there is no bridging it. So we return to that old chestnut, catastrophic climate change caused by CO2 from fossil fuels, etc. In a bowl full of 10,000 blue marbles, one turned red over the last century. What a leap of faith it must require to believe that this means Doom! (Or what a fat paycheck!)
Doom! Pay no attention to the 7800 nitrogen marbles! Pay no heed to the 2000 oxygen marbles! That one CO2 marble spells Doom! Doom! And they say the skeptics are anti-science.
So Petreaus changed his testimony and now he knew Benghazi was obviously terrorism day one. News reports focus on the question of who altered the CIA talking points for Rice. Very odd. Isn’t the main question that if all the decision makers knew that it was an organized attack in real time, was any available assistance made unavailable by some decision maker. (Was he asked this?) If so, who was it and why? Roger Simon has some speculations. The odor of this is not improving with age.
Edward Jay Epstein has questions. Ben Stein has answers. (The bit about Romney is interesting; if he agreed to a briefing, it was a terrible decision.) Spengler has a discussion that is critical of Petraeus on policy matters. Over the last four years, we seem to have been living in a novel with an absurd and implausible plot.
Excerpt at around 35 minutes into the video:
the greater challenge is that it’s political hunting season, and so this whole thing has been turned into a very political sort of arena, if you will…The fact that came out today is that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements…They were requesting the – it’s called the C-in-C’s In Extremis Force – a group of Delta Force operators, our very, most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and the CIA annex. Now, I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back.
It’s interesting that a day or two before the election, CBS chose to make public the unaired portions of the 9-12 60 Minutes interview with the president on Benghazi. In our opinion, it’s a bit of CYA, just like the Washington Post’s Saturday editorial harumphing about the administration’s conflicting stories and non-disclosures about Benghazi. “We’re not part of any cover-up. Prior to election day, we released all the material we had and went on the record that the administration has an obligation to tell the straight story to the American people.” Yeah, right.
“The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation,” officials briefed on intelligence told the Wall Street Journal, and there’s evidence that U.S. agents—particularly murdered U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens—were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to Syrian rebels. WSJ reports that the State Department presence in Benghazi “provided diplomatic cover” for the previously hidden CIA mission, which involved finding and repurchasing heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals. These weapons are presumably from Muammar Gaddafi’s stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles, the bulk of which were SA-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles.
What’s odd is that a Libyan ship—which reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7s—docked in southern Turkey on Sept. 6 and its cargo ended up in the hands of Syrian rebels. The man who organized that shipment, Tripoli Military Council head Abdelhakim Belhadj, worked directly with Stevens during the Libyan revolution.
Stevens’ last meeting on Sept. 11 was with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi “to negotiate a weapons transfer in an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.” Since Stevens and his staff served as “diplomatic cover” for the CIA—only seven of more than 30 Americans evacuated from Benghazi worked for the State Department—the spy agency would certainly know about heavy weapons and Libyan jihadists flooding into Syria if Stevens did.
Given that most of the weapons going to hard-line jihadists in Syria are U.S.-made and are being handed out by the CIA, it’s not a stretch to wonder if the CIA is indirectly arming Syrian rebels with heavy weapons as well. If President Obama’s position is to refrain from arming rebels with heavy weapons, but regime change in Syria is advantageous, then a covert CIA operation with plausible deniability seems to be the only answer.
Wouldn’t it then have made sense to bring some really senior opposition people like John McCain into the picture instead of the imbecility of blaming a YouTube video that no one has watched?
The editorial board of the Washington Post:
Fox News reported this week that a secret cable described an Aug. 15 “emergency meeting” at the consulate, at which the State Department’s regional security officer “expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support and the overall size of the compound.”
Fox reported that the cable, dispatched to Washington, said the emergency meeting included a briefing about al-Qaeda training camps in the Benghazi area and Islamist militias, including those that allegedly carried out the Sept. 11 attack. In another cable on Sept. 11, hours before the attack, Mr. Stevens described “growing problems with security” in Benghazi and “growing frustration” with the local militias and police, to which the State Department had entrusted the consulate’s defense. Separately, according to a report on ForeignPolicy.com, Mr. Stevens may have dispatched a letter to Benghazi authorities, complaining that a policeman assigned to guard the consulate was photographing it on the morning of Sept. 11.
Fox’s aggressive reporting, though undercut by blustery and often scurrilous commentary, nevertheless seems to have prompted the CIA and Pentagon to provide reporters with their accounts of Sept. 11 — even as the State Department and the White House insist that all should await the official investigation results. From these, and a report Friday by the Wall Street Journal, it emerges that the CIA mission in Benghazi was considerably larger than the consulate and may have been partly responsible for its defense. According to the CIA account, on the night of Sept. 11 a six-member paramilitary force set out to rescue consulate personnel…
the White House appears determined to put off any serious discussion of Benghazi until after the election. Sooner or later, however, the administration must answer questions about what increasingly looks like a major security failure
What’s interesting is that the editorial contains zero references to the WaPo’s own reporting. Even CNN did more. What a disgrace.
on Aug. 8 Stevens signed a two-page cable that he titled “The Guns of August: Security in Eastern Libya.” In it, he noted a dangerous “security vacuum” had developed in and around Benghazi, symptoms of which were an attempted assassination of the British ambassador, two previous attacks on the consulate itself as well as attacks on the Red Cross. “Islamist extremists are able to attack the Red Cross with relative impunity,” he wrote. “What we have seen are not random crimes of opportunity, but rather targeted and discriminate attacks.” So not only did we know Benghazi was the target of a “targeted and discriminate” attack, but also we knew at least a month before. After the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was damaged by a bomb in June, Stevens reported that an Islamist group claimed credit for the attack and “described the attack as targeting the Christians supervising the management of the consulate.” Yet the Obama administration did nothing, not even provide a Marine security detachment that it provided our embassy in Barbados, where the greatest danger is a drunken tourist
IBD needs to lighten up. The administration was busy addressing the really important issues of our time like our carbon emissions.
CIA officials on the ground in Libya dispatched security forces to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi within 25 minutes and made other key decisions about how to respond to the waves of attacks on U.S. installations on September 11, a senior American intelligence official said on Thursday. Officials in Washington monitored events through message traffic and a hovering U.S. military drone but did not interfere with or reject requests for help…”At every level in the chain of command, from the senior officers in Libya to the most senior officials in Washington, everyone was fully engaged in trying to provide whatever help they could,” the official said. “There was no second-guessing those decisions being made on the ground, by people at every U.S. organization that could play a role in assisting those in danger. There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support,” the official added.
This latest ridiculous statement from the administration smells like another Clapper caper to us. You know, the fellow who said that the Muslim Brotherhood was secular and so forth. A denial by a fool, meant to help the boss limp across the finish line on Tuesday. Then what? Worry about that then. HT: RS
BTW, this is the same Reuters that said this on September 13: “this much is clear: a crowd gathered at dusk, about 7 p.m. (1700 GMT), chanting slogans against the film and angry at Washington’s failure to act against its promoters. At some point, shooting began, with some in the crowd thinking they were under fire from the consulate. Around 10 p.m., rioters surged into the compound.” Perhaps the report above came from the same fine source.
Sean Smith’s mother talked with all the most senior administration officials and couldn’t get a straight story about her son’s death. The video is very disturbing in that all the senior people she spoke to lied to her face, brazenly and ridiculously. This is the sort of thing that gets worse with age. Rumors abound, and even outlandish ones can gain traction in the absence of credible and coherent explanations. The sort of behavior on the part of the secretary of state, the head of the defense department, the US ambassador, as well as the vice president and president is mass-resignation-worthy not only for its vileness, but even more for its stupidity.
As for the facts, they seem to get ever murkier. Maybe there were troubling surveillance activities on the morning of the attack; maybe not. Maybe there were urgent written requests for additional security a couple of days before the attack (and other damning documents at the consulate); maybe not. The longer this goes on, the more confusing all the finger pointing becomes. ABC devoted 1200 words to a Benghazi update and we learn the administration is investigating, but that the president is not involved in that. If the media manage to drag their man across the finish line next week, we think they’re going to live to regret it.
We reprint two endorsement editorials in their entirety. St. Louis:
Four years ago, in endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president, we noted his intellect, his temperament and equanimity under pressure. He was unproven, but we found him to be presidential, in all that that word implies. In that, we have not been disappointed. This is a serious man. And now he is a proven leader. He has earned a second term.
Mr. Obama sees an America where the common good is as important as the individual good. That is the vision on which the nation was founded. It is the vision that has seen America through its darkest days and illuminated its best days. It is the vision that underlies the president’s greatest achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Twenty years from now, it will be hard to find anyone who remembers being opposed to Obamacare.
He continues to steer the nation through the most perilous economic challenges since the Great Depression. Those who complain that unemployment remains high, or that economic growth is too slow, either do not understand the scope of the catastrophe imposed upon the nation by Wall Street and its enablers, or they are lying about it.
To expect Barack Obama to have repaired, in four years, what took 30 years to undermine, is simply absurd. He might have gotten further had he not been saddled with an opposition party, funded by plutocrats, that sneers at the word compromise. But even if Mr. Obama had had Franklin Roosevelt’s majorities, the economy would still be in peril. Extraordinary, perhaps existential, economic challenges lie just beyond Election Day. The nation’s $16 trillion debt must be addressed, but in ways that do not endanger the sick and elderly, or further erode the middle class or drive the poor deeper into penury.
The social Darwinist solutions put forward by Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, are not worthy of this nation’s history, except that part of it known as the Gilded Age.
Mr. Obama has not been everything we expected. In his first weeks in office, Democrats ran amok with part of his economic stimulus package. His mortgage relief program was insufficient. Together with his Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, the president has been too deferential to the financial industry. The president should have moved to nationalize troubled banks instead of structuring the bailout to their benefit. Regulatory agencies and the Justice Department were unable to bring financial crooks to heel.
We had hoped that Mr. Obama would staff the executive branch with the best and the brightest. There have been stars, but there have been egregious failures, too. The “Fast and Furious” operation at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was a disgrace. The vastly expensive and unaccountable intelligence and Homeland Security agencies need stronger oversight. The now-renamed Minerals Management Service could have used some best-and-brightest inspectors before the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
People who don’t understand the word “socialist” accuse Mr. Obama of being one. But as president he has proven to be pragmatic and conciliatory. He is not one to tilt at windmills. He did not close Guantanamo. He cut deals with anyone who’d come to the table. In health care, banking regulation and most other policy areas, he has practiced the art of the possible.
In foreign policy, after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for doing little more than not being George W. Bush, he has been a centrist. He has stood with Israel, but not as its surrogate. He brought the last of the U.S. troops out of Iraq. He began to wind down the war in Afghanistan — too slowly in our view. He let the nations of the Arab Spring follow their own course to democracy. He used thumb drives instead of bunker busters in Iran.
Against the advice of his senior advisers, he approved the SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden. He has been almost ruthless in his pursuit of terrorists, reserving to himself the right to approve targets. Regretfully, he massaged “due process” to allow himself to assassinate an al-Qaida leader who was an American citizen.
He is not a happy warrior, literally or figuratively. He is careful, cautious, private and deeply thoughtful, almost introverted. His rhetoric soars because he is a good writer, and good writers tend to be solitary souls. He is not as good working off the cuff, as was demonstrated in Wednesday’s debate with Mr. Romney. But being careful and thoughtful is a good thing in a president.
As to Mr. Romney, we are puzzled. Which Mitt Romney are we talking about? The one who said of himself, in 2002, “I’m not a partisan Republican. I’m someone who is moderate and … my views are progressive.” Or is it the Mitt Romney who posed as a “severely conservative” primary candidate? Is it the Mitt Romney who supported abortion rights and public health care subsidies in Massachusetts or the one who is pro-life and anti-Obamacare now? Is it the Mitt Romney who wants to cut taxes by $5 trillion or the one who can’t remember saying that now? Is it the Mitt Romney who said in May that 47 percent of Americans are moochers or the one who said last week that’s not what he believes?
Mr. Romney apparently will say anything that will help him win an election. As a president, he might well govern as a pragmatic chief executive, or he might sell himself to the plutocrats and the crazies who have taken over his party. He is asking Americans to take a lot on faith — there’s nothing to see in his tax returns; he can cut taxes and whack away debt while trimming deductions he will not specify.
Mr. Romney’s business career is the only way to judge his foundational beliefs: He did not run a company that built things and created jobs and strong communities. He became fabulously wealthy by loading up companies with tax-deductible debt, taking millions out up front along with big management fees. Some companies were saved. Others went bankrupt. Mr. Romney’s firm always got out before the bills came due, either in lost jobs, bankruptcies or both. If the nation’s most pressing issue is debt, why elect a president whose entire business career was based on loading up companies with debt?
In picking Mr. Ryan as his running mate, Mr. Romney signaled that he’s ready to perpetuate that model in public office. The middle class hasn’t had a raise in 20 years. Income inequality has reached record heights. Mr. Romney is the very embodiment of what’s gone wrong with the economy: Too many people at the top create vast wealth that they do not share, either by creating jobs or by paying fair tax rates.
If more Americans were paying attention, this election would not be close. Barack Obama would win going away, at least 53 to 47, perhaps even 99 to 1. But the atmosphere has been polluted by lies, distortion, voter suppression and spending by desperate plutocrats who see the nation’s changing demographics and fear that their time is almost up. They’ve had the help of a partisan Supreme Court.
The question for voters is actually very simple. The nation has wrestled with it since its founding: Will this be government for the many or the few? Choose the many. Choose Barack Obama.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in a well-planned military assault on their diplomatic mission in Benghazi seven weeks ago, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So why are details surfacing, piecemeal, only now?
The Obama administration sat by doing nothing for seven hours that night, ignoring calls to dispatch help from our bases in Italy, less than two hours away. It has spent the past seven weeks stretching the story out, engaging in misdirection and deception involving supposed indigenous outrage over an obscure anti-Muslim video, confident that with the aid of a docile press corps this infamous climax to four years of misguided foreign policy can be swept under the rug, at least until after Tuesday’s election.
Charles Woods, father of former Navy SEAL and Henderson resident Tyrone Woods, 41, says his son died slumped over his machine gun after he and fellow ex-SEAL Glen Doherty – not the two locals who were the only bodyguards Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration would authorize – held off the enemy for seven hours.
The Obama administration was warned. They received an embassy cable June 25 expressing concern over rising Islamic extremism in Benghazi, noting the black flag of al-Qaida “has been spotted several times flying over government buildings and training facilities.” The Obama administration removed a well-armed, 16-member security detail from Libya in August, The Wall Street Journal reported last month, replacing it with a couple of locals. Mr. Stevens sent a cable Aug. 2 requesting 11 additional body guards, noting “Host nation security support is lacking and cannot be depended on,” reports Peter Ferrara at Forbes.com. But these requests were denied, officials testified before the House Oversight Committee earlier this month.
Based on documents released by the committee, on the day of the attack the Pentagon dispatched a drone with a video camera so everyone in Washington could see what was happening in real time. The drone documented no crowds protesting any video. But around 4 p.m. Washington received an email from the Benghazi mission saying it was under a military-style attack. The White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA were able to watch the live video feed. An email sent later that day reported “Ansar al-Sharia claims responsibility for Benghazi attack.” Not only did the White House do nothing, there are now reports that a counterterrorism team ready to launch a rescue mission was ordered to stand down.
The official explanation for the inadequate security? This administration didn’t want to “offend the sensibilities” of the new radical Islamic regime which American and British arms had so recently helped install in Libya. The official explanation for why Obama administration officials watched the attack unfold for seven hours, refusing repeated requests to send the air support and relief forces that sat less than two hours away in Italy? Silence.
An open discussion of these issues, of course, would lead to difficult questions about the wisdom of underwriting and celebrating the so-called Arab Spring revolts in the first place. While the removal of tyrants can be laudable, the results show a disturbing pattern of merely installing new tyrannies – theocracies of medieval mullahs who immediately start savaging the rights of women (including the basic right to education) and who are openly hostile to American interests.
When Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney promptly criticized the security failures in Benghazi, the White House and its lapdog media jumped all over him for another “gaffe,” for speaking out too promptly and too strongly. Prompt and strong action from the White House on Sept. 11 might have saved American lives, as well as America’s reputation as a nation not to be messed with. Weakness and dithering and flying to Las Vegas the next day for celebrity fund-raising parties are somehow better?
This administration is an embarrassment on foreign policy and incompetent at best on the economy – though a more careful analysis shows what can only be a perverse and willful attempt to destroy our prosperity. Back in January 2008, Barack Obama told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle that under his cap-and-trade plan, “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” He added, “Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” It was also in 2008 that Mr. Obama’s future Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, famously said it would be necessary to “figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe” – $9 a gallon. Yet the president now claims he’s in favor of oil development and pipelines, taking credit for increased oil production on private lands where he’s powerless to block it, after he halted the Keystone XL Pipeline and oversaw a 50 percent reduction in oil leases on public lands.
These behaviors go far beyond “spin.” They amount to a pack of lies. To return to office a narcissistic amateur who seeks to ride this nation’s economy and international esteem to oblivion, like Slim Pickens riding the nuclear bomb to its target at the end of the movie “Dr. Strangelove,” would be disastrous. Candidate Obama said if he couldn’t fix the economy in four years, his would be a one-term presidency.
Mitt Romney is moral, capable and responsible man. Just this once, it’s time to hold Barack Obama to his word. Maybe we can all do something about that, come Tuesday.
To one paper the president could or should win 99 to 1. To the other he’s a narcissistic amateur retailing a pack of lies. Not much overlap between the two Americas.
McCain on Benghazi:
this is either a massive cover-up or gross incompetence on the part of the president of the United States. There were ample warnings ahead of time. There was two attacks on our consulate in Benghazi, one in April and one in June. The British ambassador, there was an attempt to assassinate him in Benghazi. The British consulate was closed. The Red Cross left. From our Lt. Col. Woods, there was request after request for security. Why didn’t the president of the United States know about what was happening in the deteriorating situation in Benghazi as al Qaeda-affiliated groups moved in? Then, of course, a seven hour firefight. A seven hour fight, and we’ve got forces all over that region. On September 11th, why didn’t we have forces on alert? Why couldn’t we get people there? A couple of these brave Americans were murdered in the last hour or so.
And then, the massive cover-up – does the President really think that we don’t know that he came out for days and days afterwards saying that this was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video? By the way, Hugh, one thing about continuous flow of information? He gave us everything after they got bin Laden, right, including betraying people’s very lives in their eagerness to give us all the details. There was surveillance cameras throughout the consulate in Benghazi. So the FBI finally got in there. Do you know where those recordings are kept now?…
Top secret. Is that a flow of info? Why, Mr. President, did you send out Susan Rice, your ambassador, to say that this was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by the hateful video? Why did you, Mr. President, on Letterman, why did you, to the United Nations, say that same thing when everybody knew that was wrong? That was absolutely false. So the president of the United States either out of stupidity or willing desire to deceive the American people continued this absolute falsehood about a spontaneous demonstration…
he keeps saying they’re going to have an investigation? You don’t need an investigation to know that the president of the United States told people absolute falsehoods when he continued to say this was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video. There was nothing, nothing that showed that. If I sound angry to you, I knew Chris Stevens. I knew him well. I was in Benghazi with him during the fighting. I was in Tripoli with him at the time of elections. The last message he sent out, Hugh, was a request for, and his concern about the lack of security at the consulate in Benghazi…
I promise you as the person who would be the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will not rest. And I will not rest, because the American people cannot be deceived like this.
Roger Simon is appealing to knowledgable people to contact PJ media before election day. With regard to cover-up or incompetence, John McCain (as fired up as we’ve ever heard him) is wrong. It’s not either-or, it’s both-and. The Jarrett-Axelrod-Obama administration both dithered and covered up. Disgraceful behavior, made even worse by treating the American people as gullible children, and made even worse than that by the complicity of the corrupt media establishment.