Special Report: Alexander on Benghazi -- Need to Know...
Editor’s Note: In today’s edition, Mark Alexander provides concise analysis on what you need to know about Benghazi. Don’t miss the rest of the Digest after this special report.
“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.” –Thomas Jefferson (1785)
Amid all the media saturation regarding the 2012 assault in Benghazi, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our own soil in 2001, there are some important developments you need to know.
Those developments fall into two categories:
First: Who within the Obama administration knew what, and when, and who told our Special Forces operators to stand down and not respond? The answer to this question is crucial, because it allows us to determine what motivated that stand-down order. In addition, the answer might shed some light on where the president was after 5 p.m. on September 11, when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey informed him that our embassy was under attack and that our people were fighting for their lives. That we still don’t have any idea what the commander in chief was doing during this crisis tells us all we need to know about our shamefully incurious mainstream media.
Second: Who within the administration changed the narrative talking points about the Benghazi attack, why, and under whose direction? The CIA immediately (and correctly) asserted that it was a terrorist attack, so why did the Obama administration tell the American people that it was a protest in response to an utterly obscure YouTube video that was deemed offensive to Muslims? The answer to this question is crucial for determining who in the administration advanced the fraudulent narrative in order to provide Obama political cover ahead of the upcoming presidential election.
As to the first question regarding the stand down order, here is what we do know:
Regarding the stand down order, questions raised about what could have been done to save Americans in Benghazi are legitimate, but hindsight is 20/20, and second guessing military commanders on the ground, or at the Pentagon, should be done with all due respect.
If the response team was ordered to stand down because they would have arrived too late, or because the response could have escalated into a much larger conflict resulting in the deaths of the responders, or both, that is one thing.
On the other hand, if the response team was ordered to stand down because of political concerns in advance of the upcoming election that a larger confrontation would undermine the appearance that Obama was conqueror of the al-Qa'ida threat, that is quite another thing. Were these Americans sacrificed as part of a political campaign calculation? We won’t know the answer to this question until it’s clear how far up into the Obama administration that stand down order was issued.
The second-highest-ranking American official in Libya at the time of the attack, Gregory Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S., testified this week that he received a call from Ambassador Stevens, who told him, “Greg! We’re under attack!”
Hicks said that after U.S. Special Operations Command Africa was alerted, then ordered to stand down (or “not to go” as the DoD is parsing it), the operations commander “was furious.” Hicks said, “I had told him to go bring our people home. That’s what he wanted to do,” adding “everyone in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning.”
When asked about his reaction to the repeated assertion on Sunday morning talk shows by UN Ambassador Susan Rice that the attack was a “protest” related to a YouTube video, Hicks responded, “I was stunned. My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed. … The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya.”
When Hicks raised objections to the administration’s utterly inaccurate narrative, he says he was “effectively demoted.”
In the final analysis of the attack in Benghazi, the Accountability Review Board assessment may be correct, even though the Board was chosen by Hillary Clinton and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper – both of whom have career stakes in the outcome of that review.
However, the question of who changed the talking points narrative after the incident was not addressed by the ARB.
As to the second question regarding who changed the narrative about the Benghazi attack for political reasons, here is what we do know:
Days before the Obama administration began pushing the “YouTube video protest” narrative, it was clear that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist assault. Department of State counterterrorism officials, the CIA and military intelligence sources immediately reported that the attack was a terrorist assault.
Within 24 hours of attack, the acting assistant secretary for Middle Eastern affairs at the State Department, Beth Jones, confirmed that Ansar al-Sharia, a radical Islamic terror group with known ties to al-Qa'ida, was the perpetrator.
Although the official Benghazi account generated by the CIA immediately after the attack makes no mention of a protest regarding a YouTube video, the Obama administration intentionally altered that accurate account into a fraudulent one that blamed the video. This was done to create political cover for Obama so the incident would not derail his re-election campaign momentum.
Indeed, an email from State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland warned that the original CIA talking points “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that?” Nuland and Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes, were the key conspirators in the talking point alterations. They are now Obama’s “cutouts,” who will be encouraged to “fall on their swords,” in order to provide Obama plausible deniability.
Three days after the attack, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood in front of the flag draped caskets of four dead Americans and asserted, “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that, because it is senseless and totally unacceptable.”
That was a lie of Bill Clinton proportions.
White House spokesman Jay Carney asserted, “The unrest around the region has been in response to this video. We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”
That, too, was a lie.
NOTE: Carney has become Obama’s orchestral point man for the whole Benghazi deception, and it should be noted that while his title is “White House Press Secretary,” Carney is, in fact, the proxy spokesman for the President of the United States. His lies are Obama’s lies.
Four days after the attack, then-CIA director David Petraeus emailed Chip Walter, head of the CIA’s legislative affairs office, objecting to the scrubbed talking points.
Five days after the attack, Ambassador Susan Rice saturated the Sunday morning network news circuit with the YouTube claim. “What happened this week in Benghazi was a result, a direct result, of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated…” It is not clear if she knew this to be an administration fabrication.
By that time, the original CIA assessment had been revised 12 times by Obama’s political handlers.
A full two weeks after the Benghazi attack, Obama himself told the UN General Assembly, “That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.”
That was a lie, and Obama knew it was a lie.
On October 15, 2012, ahead of the second presidential debate, The Patriot Post submitted to key Romney campaign officials a thoughtful compilation of talking points that would resonate with grassroots Americans. Among those talking points was the recommendation for Romney to make the case that Obama was concealing the truth about Benghazi in order “to shield his administration from the appearance of incompetence and to maintain the errant perception that the al-Qa'ida threat died when he (actually Navy SEALs) killed Osama bin Laden. Thus, Obama and his key administrators insisted that protests over a web video led to attack in Libya, knowing full well that it was actually a well-executed terrorist assault. This obfuscation clearly was, and remains, a political calculation in advance of his re-election, to ensure this incident does not detract from the perception that Obama is adequate as commander in chief.”
Romney never made that case, nor did he reference any of the other grassroots talking points we submitted – and by the narrowest of margins, he lost the election. Unfortunately, the Republican National Committee also pulled its pre-election ad on Benghazi.
In November, Carney proclaimed, “Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the [intelligence community’s] best assessments of what they thought had happened. The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility'…”
That was a boldface lie.
In January, Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”
Her phony indignation is evident, and it’s downright despicable. This was neither a protest over a video nor was it “guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans.” Clinton is not calling it what everyone knew it to be within hours of the incident.
“What difference at this point does it make?”
The difference now is that we know she, and Obama, were lying.
Asked about the revisions again this week, Jay Carney explained, “The only edits made here at the White House were stylistic and non-substantive. They corrected the description of the building, or the facility in Benghazi, from consulate to diplomatic facility and the like.”
Fortunately, fact trumps fiction, however. After twelve revisions, Obama’s team had not only removed the original CIA al-Qa'ida talking point, “We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa'ida participated in the attack,” but removed all references to al-Qa'ida and Ansar al-Sharia, and CIA references to advance warnings of Benghazi threats, and substitute those points with phony references to the YouTube video. Those alterations constitute something more than “stylistic” changes.
Challenged to defend his description of these changes as “stylistic,” Carney said, “I accept that 'stylistic’ may not precisely describe a change of one word to another [but] these were intelligence community talking points…[which reflected] the intelligence community’s view of what they knew at that time about what happened.”
That is a lie on top of a lie.
Carney then delivered the centerpiece of the Obama’s rebuttal to cover the political trail of the original (adulterated) talking points: “Ultimately…the attempt to politicize the talking points again is part of an effort to chase after what isn’t the substance.”
Current Secretary of State John Kerry, who as you recall, launched Obama into the national limelight by featuring him as the keynote speaker at the 2004 Democrat Convention, picked up on Carney’s theme this week: “I respect the people who spoke up in the course of these hearings…but I hate to see it turned into a pure, prolonged, political process that really doesn’t tell us anything new about the facts.”
Clearly, it is the Obama administration that politicized the talking points last September. Blame-shifting from terrorism to the video narrative achieved two political goals. It framed the attack in one of the Left’s favorite themes, “intolerance,” and removed it from the specter of the Obama administration appearing incompetent and having overstated the demise of al-Qa'ida. But the blame-shifting charade is rapidly falling apart.
In short: Obama, Clinton and Rice lied after Americans died. It is time for Congress to ramp up the investigation into the politicization of the attack narrative, form a bipartisan Select Committee and appoint Special Counsel.
It is also time for the Leftmedia talkinheads, at least those who still call themselves “journalists,” to go after this Obama administration fabrication with the same vigor the went after George Bush’s famous “16 words” in his 2003 State of the Union.
As you recall then, President Bush said, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Bush was skewered for this claim, with the Left accusing him of “lying us into Iraq.” Turns out, of course, that Iraq was indeed seeking uranium from Niger, and President Bush was correct.
Time to challenge Obama’s infamous “7 words”: “A crude and disgusting video sparked outrage.” Those words are now clearly know to be part of an well organized charade to protect Obama’s re-election campaign.
Meanwhile, on the eve of the congressional testimony on Benghazi this week, Susan Rice was honored by The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies for “her work in advancing U.S. interests, strengthening the world’s common security and prosperity, and promoting respect for human rights.”
And Ms. Clinton was in Hollywood the day of the testimony for a Beverly Hills gala to receive the Warren Christopher Public Service Award from the Pacific Council on International Policy. It is no small irony that the late Christopher, who was deputy secretary of state under Jimmy Carter and secretary of state under Bill Clinton, was awarded by Carter the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for his failure to successfully negotiate the release of the 52 American Embassy hostages held in Iran for the final 444 days of the Carter presidency.
That was another Middle Eastern debacle, which contributed to Carter’s defeat by Ronald Reagan.
No doubt Obama heeded the lesson from Carter’s re-election defeat, and was determined to do whatever needed to be done so that the Benghazi embassy attack would not threaten his re-election bid.
For the record, Carter awarded that medal to Christopher just days before Reagan took office. Also for the record, on January 20, 1981, at the moment President Reagan completed his inaugural address, Iran released all of the American Embassy hostages. Iran understood that Reagan would not be a pushover like Carter – as the leadership of the Soviet Union would soon learn.
If only Obama could learn that lesson…
Government and Politics
News From the Swamp: Online Sales Tax Advances
The Senate this week passed legislation to create an online sales tax by a vote of 69 to 27. The so-called Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to collect taxes from Internet sales anywhere in the country. This bill would also affect sales of products in catalogs, and through radio and TV ads, but the focus is on the rapidly growing e-commerce sector that up until now has been a beacon of growth for small business in an otherwise moribund economy.
Supporters of the bill claim that online retailers currently enjoy an “unfair” advantage over brick-and-mortar stores because they don’t charge sales tax on interstate purchases, and that this bill will “level the playing field.” In reality, though, the bill will put online sellers at a distinct disadvantage because they will now be required to comply with literally hundreds of different state and municipal tax codes. According to the bill, it will be up to the states to create an infrastructure to collect the new taxes, but online retailers will still have to sift through fresh reams of paperwork and add new accounting mechanisms at considerable expense to ensure compliance. This bill is not so much about fairness as it is an attempt by cash-strapped states to plug budget loopholes with a fresh source of revenue. It also creates a dangerous precedent by allowing states to reach beyond their borders to collect taxes from residents in other states. Our hope is that the Republican-controlled House refuses to bail out these profligate states.
Immigration Front: Heritage Puts a Price Tag on Reform
As the Senate Judiciary Committee began this week to examine some 300 proposed amendments to the immigration reform package, a Heritage Foundation study claims the overall cost to taxpayers for immigration reform will top $6.3 trillion. The study analyzes the average government benefits and services received by illegal alien households and the taxes they paid, using 2010 as a baseline, then plugs in those numbers to the various phases of immigration reform as outlined by the Gang of Eight. Factors including education, employment status, and the average consumption of welfare and other entitlements were all considered. Heritage determined that over the course of their lifetime, the current population of illegals that would eventually become citizens would receive $9.4 trillion in benefits while paying just $3.1 trillion in taxes.
Reform supporters have attacked the study as flawed because it doesn’t use dynamic scoring to account for changes in the economy over time. They also claim that Heritage doesn’t account for a decrease in the reliance of government benefits or a general rise in wages for illegals who graduate to citizenship status. And, of course, it’s racist. The total number of people that will be affected by this bill remains largely unknown because there is no consensus on just how many illegal immigrants reside in this country. Even at lowball estimates of 11 million, this reform package is larger than any previous bill by orders of magnitude. And the bottom line is that no one has even tried to evaluate the real economic impact of this legislation.
Hope ‘n’ Change: Florida Flip; Disparity of Health Costs
In Florida, the Republican-controlled state legislature effectively halted GOP Gov. Rick Scott’s plans to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare by tabling legislation before adjourning for the year. Scott is the latest of a group of GOP governors who have contemplated taking the ObamaCare bribe to federally fund Medicaid expansion in their state for only a few years until the program gathers steam – or crashes under its own awful bureaucratic weight. The catch is that if ObamaCare isn’t ultimately dismantled or repealed, states will eventually have to fund the expansion on their own, leading to even higher taxes and fees for medical services. Republican governors in Ohio, Arizona and Michigan are also having trouble selling this lemon to their legislatures.
In related news, the federal government for the first time released information on the charges hospitals submit for Medicaid or Medicare payment. The disparity in cost for the same procedure – even between hospitals on the same street – is staggering. There is no doubt our health care system has been broken for some time. One of the primary problems with ObamaCare, though, is that it simply makes the system bigger.
From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File: Racial Hypocrisy
There is no doubt that were the party affiliations reversed, the implied racial slur uttered at Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley by the state’s Democrat party chairman would be front-page, above-the-fold news. Even the leftist co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” admitted as much: “If a Republican did this,” said Mika Brzezinski, “we’d be running it like crazy.”
Dick Harpootlian shared his fervent hope that in 18 months his favored gubernatorial candidate, Vincent Shaheen, “will have sent [Haley] back to wherever the hell she came from.” He first tried to clarify his remarks by saying he was referring to Haley’s hometown, but then he was given the free pass to further walk back his statement – on MSNBC, of course. “All I’m suggesting” he then said, “is she needs to go back to being an accountant in a dress store rather than being this fraud of a governor we have.” Harpootlian further explained that the racial overtones assigned to his remark were an attempt “to feign insult.” Never mind that Haley, who was born in the state but is the daughter of Sikh immigrants from India, took over bookkeeping at her parents’ business at the age of 13.
A Haley spokesman shrugged off Harpootlian’s remarks as playing to “the lowest common denominator,” but in a state where electoral policies are still covered by the half-century old Voting Rights Act, it was clear what divisive message Harpootlian was trying to convey, even in what’s supposed to be a post-racial era.
Jobs R Us
In yet another desperate attempt to kick-start his second term that has thus far been on life support, the Chosen One traveled to Austin, Texas, this week to kick off his “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour” – Yay. Of course he has no choice but to tour only Red states, as all the Blue states are already in, or teetering on the edge of, economic collapse.
Never mind that the economic policies of these states bear directly on whether they grow or stagnate, that Texas has fostered a pro-growth environment for years, or that Blue states in this five-year long “recovery” have been doing anything but recovering. No, the important thing is that Barack Obama finally has a solution so the nation will grow: Get Congress to spend more – you know, like the $11 million he’s spent so far for each green job. What a novel idea!
With workforce participation at just over 60 percent – a historic low – and GDP growth still well under three percent, the minimum level most economists say will lead to any hope of sustained economic growth, Americans with any sense understand that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result really is the definition of insanity, especially with respect to economic policy.
What makes the Lone Star State different? For starters, lower state taxes, lower state spending, less regulation, and robust state tort law reform. Beyond that, Texas state government tries to “[get] out of the way and [allow] employers to risk their capital and create jobs,” according to a spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Meanwhile, entrepreneurship in America is rapidly declining. Per capita startup jobs have dropped almost 30 percent since Obama assumed the throne, and job prospects for newly minted college graduates have likewise plummeted.
What’s the common thread? What’s the Rosetta Stone to unwinding the riddle of our current economic doldrums? President Ronald Reagan said it best in 1981, in his First Inaugural Address: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
Around the Nation: Boom to Bust
Aside from its cowboy image, Texas is also famous for its oil – indeed, there’s good reason for the old slang “Texas Tea.” After a long, slow decline in production, the state’s oil fortunes turned around a few years ago once the technology to secure oil from shale became common and profitable. The newfound wealth has enabled the state to add more jobs than any other since the end of the recession, and it has created about $80 billion in annual economic activity, thus fattening state coffers to the tune of $12 billion, according to the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Texas now produces as much oil as the next four leading oil producing states combined.
One of those second-tier states is California. Locked underneath its land and adjacent waters is enough oil to give Texas a run for its money – the Monterey Basin alone could contain 15 billion barrels of shale oil. The potential for job creation and economic growth is tremendous in a state that’s among the worst of the financial basket cases.
Yet environmentalists who affect much of the state’s policies will hear nothing of the possibility of developing California’s resources. A bid by Occidental Petroleum to begin hydraulic fracturing in the Monterey Basin was quickly slapped down by a judge who sided with environmentalists, leading one local Sierra Club leader to exclaim, “We’re very excited [about the ban]. … I’m sure the champagne is flowing in San Francisco.” They may think it’s great that the bubbly is cheaper than gasoline in California, but the state’s refusal to drill affects their struggling citizens as well as the rest of the country too.
So is it any wonder that Texas is considered one of the 10 best states in which to do business? Incidentally, all of the top 10 states in a recent survey have Republican governors. Take from that what you will.
Syria Remains a Puzzle
Another week, another twist in the story of the Syrian uprising. This week the UN reported it believes the Syrian rebels may be responsible for the chemical weapons use reported last month. Citing evidence that is admittedly circumstantial, UN rep Carla del Ponte confirmed the probable use of Sarin nerve gas, but added, “This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.” As we have previously noted, it’s certainly not out of the question, but cynical observers might question the UN’s impartiality and ask if this isn’t an attempt to forestall U.S. action on behalf of Syria’s benefactors in Russia.
Adding to the confused plot, Israeli warplanes destroyed at least two facilities in Syria this week, including one facility in Damascus. Israeli sources indicated the target of one strike was a shipment of Iranian Fateh-110 ballistic missiles destined for Hezbollah. The Fateh-110 is a mobile, accurate missile with a range of more than 150 miles, which would allow Hezbollah to strike all major population centers in Israel from launch sites deep in Lebanon. Israel obviously considered the delivery of Fateh-110s to Syria to be a red line, and acted accordingly. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has threatened retaliation, but the last thing he wants is for Israel to unleash the full weight of its military power against his tottering regime.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues dithering over his own recklessly threatened “red line,” and whether it has or hasn’t been crossed. The implications of this blunder – publicly pronouncing a red line with no idea what to do if the Assad regime actually crosses it – are enormous. In a similar vein, the president warned Iran that going nuclear is “unacceptable” and that he “will not allow” Iran to attain nuclear weapons. But what are the mullahs to think as they watch Obama walk back his Syrian red line? Still, the options for intervening range from bad to worse. None of the jihadist rebels are fighting to install a free democratic government in Syria, and some of them are no doubt worse than the Assad regime. But inaction is also rather unattractive. It would perpetuate the ongoing humanitarian tragedy, undercut U.S. credibility, increase the chances of wider chemical weapons use, increase the chances of another Israeli-Hezbollah war, and shake our various allies’ faith in our security guarantees. A bad plan is still better than no plan at all, however, and the White House must come up with something soon.
Department of Military Correctness: SEAL Families Speak Out
Just months after Osama bin Laden was sent to his 72 virgins in May 2011, a helicopter crash in Afghanistan killed 30 Americans, including several members of Seal Team 6 – the famed unit that raided bin Laden’s Pakistan compound. On Thursday, three families of fallen SEALs and one family of an Army National Guardsman held a press conference at which they claimed that the U.S. government is “as much responsible for the deaths of their sons as is the Taliban.” They charge that, among other things, the team was sent on a mission without special operations aviation or proper air support and that such ill-prepared missions are a regular occurrence. They also say that restrictive rules of engagement inhibited the team’s ability to respond to attack.
Furthermore, in an outrageous display of PC ingratitude and insensitivity, military brass invited to the soldiers’ funeral a Muslim cleric who offered a prayer disparaging the fallen as infidels. Attorney Larry Klayman, who is representing the families, paraphrased what the imam said: “[T]he fallen SEALs should be damned and go to hell as infidels.” The funeral was a “combined” service that included several Afghans who were also killed in the crash. But their loyalty – or lack thereof – to the mission is part of the families’ complaint in addition to the grotesque prayer.
Islam expert Stephen Coughlin, who offered one translation of what he called a “standard funeral rite among Muslims,” wouldn’t go so far as to say that the offense was specifically intended, but said, “Even a standard prayer is actually a little bit offensive because … it comes from a book of the Koran or a chapter of the Koran that’s basically about defeating the infidels.”
It remains to be seen what will come of this, but one thing’s for sure: The families are not satisfied that the government genuinely honored their sons’ last full measure of devotion.
Second Amendment: Gun Crime Is Down … Again
Crime committed with guns is down dramatically over the last 20 years. According to Pew Research Center, “Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower [per 100,000 people] in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm – assaults, robberies and sex crimes – was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.” In a separate report, the Justice Department said that the actual number of homicides (as opposed to the rate per 100,000 as Pew considered) committed with guns is down 39 percent.
Readers of The Patriot Post won’t be surprised by this information, but in spite of this long-term decline, most Americans think the trend is actually the opposite. That’s because Democrats and their Leftmedia allies continually play up “gun violence” as if it’s a growing plague brought by the evil Nazis at the NRA. Facts simply don’t matter when their gun-grabbing agenda is on the line.
There are many theories for the reduction in crime, but we’ll note just this: State concealed carry laws have been widely adopted and expanded over this same 20 years. It’s also worth noting that if the U.S. could solve its chronic problem with inner-city gangs, the murder rate would plunge even further, but that problem is in turn inextricably bound to the ObamaNation Poverty Plantation welfare society.
As for the gun grabbers, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is working on a ban of 3-D printable guns. Schematics for “the Liberator,” a plastic 3-D printed gun, were downloaded more than 100,000 times after its web release early this week – until the State Department shut it down. Schumer says that people printing a gun at home without a background check is “stomach-churning.” In the House, New York Democrats Steve Israel and Charlie Rangel are working to expand the “Undetectable Firearms Act” to include not just 3-D guns, but possibly even plastic magazines such as Magpul’s popular PMAGs. Of course, it doesn’t stand a chance of passing, but that doesn’t mean Democrats aren’t trying.
Obama has said repeatedly that the defeat of a series of proposals in the Senate was “just the first round.” Inquiring minds want to know: How many rounds is he capable of firing?
The BIG Lie
“We understand that the root cause of violence that’s been happening here in Mexico for which so many Mexicans have suffered is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States. … We recognize that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States. … We’ll keep increasing the pressure on the gun traffickers who bring illegal guns into Mexico, and we’ll keep putting these criminals where they belong – behind bars.” –Barack Obama, once again bad-mouthing his country, this time at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City last Friday
First of all, the “most of the guns” stat he’s referring to is bogus and has been repeatedly debunked. Second, and predictably, he neglected to mention Operation Fast and Furious, his own administration’s ill-conceived program that supplied hundreds of semi-automatic rifles to Mexican thugs and then lost track of them. Rather than “increasing the pressure on gun traffickers” his administration has increased the supply for gun traffickers. Finally, would it be too much to ask for the president to quit traveling to other countries and blaming their problems on us?
Faith and Family: Small Win Against Contraception Mandate
In a temporary concession to the obvious, the Obama administration backed off its ObamaCare push to require Tyndale Publishing House to provide contraception to its employees. The administration claims that the publishing house doesn’t qualify for a religious exemption, despite being one of the largest Bible and Christian book publishers in the nation and an organization that donates most of its profits to religious charities. Last November, a judge issued an injunction against the Department of Health and Human Services, preventing HHS from enforcing the mandate against Tyndale. The administration appealed the injunction, but in the latest turn of events, it then asked a federal appellate court to dismiss the appeal.
But don’t assume Obama has suddenly seen the light – indeed, the only light he sees is that which radiates from his self-affixed halo. As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey points out, “[L]et’s emphasize the word temporary here. The fight was over an injunction issued in federal court preventing HHS from enforcing the mandate while the court considered the lawsuit.” Recognizing his no-win position, Obama backed off this particular battle. But he’s shown no sign whatsoever of recognizing that the inalienable right to religious freedom is not subject to government qualification. Indeed, he continues to try to force Americans to violate their consciences to obey his mandate. Far from signaling a change of heart, Obama’s retreat signals merely a change of tactic. But it also demonstrates the utter absurdity of his case.
Climate Change This Week: Spin Cycle Slows
During the monster tornado year that ran from June 2010 to May 2011, a lot of hot air was exhaled by environmental talkingheads who insisted that the record spike in the number of tornadoes (1,050 rated EF1 and stronger) during that period was due to – what else? – global warming. However, as has been the case with so many other claims, scientists are once again left scratching their heads. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a preliminary report that is in stark contrast to the aforementioned blockbuster year. In fact, between May 2012 and April 2013, NOAA estimates that just 197 tornadoes were recorded. The official numbers will be verified in July, but regardless, it appears to be headed for the record books – as in, a record low for a consecutive 12-month calendar period. The previous low was between June 1991 and May 1992 with 247 tornadoes. The last spike occurred in the 1970s, which is consistent with the last time the ocean oscillations began to flip. What’s so hard to see here?
In other eco-news, we all know that former vice president and climate change huckster Al Gore loves to demonize the “rich” and their love for “dirty oil.” Lost in the gas cloud is this pesky inconvenient truth: Gore has raked in at least $200 million since losing the 2000 election to George W. Bush. A large share of this came from his recent sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arabic news network which is, ironically, funded by Big Oil. It’s amazing how all that “green” propaganda turns a massive profit. It’s almost – well, dirty.
On Sunday, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, we’re reminded that among the 10 Commandments there is but one that comes with a promise: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation in 1914 proclaiming Mother’s Day a national holiday. But then again, we don’t need a holiday to express our appreciation to moms everywhere. May God bless each and every mother among our Patriot readers!
For 25 years, Rush Limbaugh has maintained his post behind the “golden EIB microphone” defending conservative thought on the issues of the day. He remains the highest-rated talk-radio host in the U.S., with an estimated weekly audience of 15 million, and he’s in the middle of an eight-year $400 million contract. Limbaugh’s incredible success is drawing to an end, however, according to some guy named John Avlon who writes for a website called “The Daily Beast.” Avlon cited radio-industry insider Jerry Del Colliano to back up his charge. “We’re watching the end of right-wing conservative talk radio,” says Del Colliano. “Rush is at the end of his career. His constituency is all wearing Depends.” Del Colliano is no spring chicken himself, however, having graduated college way back in 1968. And Avlon has been harping on “dying right-wing radio” for years.
Incidentally, The Daily Beast is the online version of what used to be Newsweek magazine – the once-giant newsweekly that was recently sold for a gaudy $1 and no longer offers a print edition. So they know a thing or two about the end of things. Physician, heal thyself!
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team