The Patriot Post® · Monday Digest
“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” –John Adams
‘60 Minutes’ on Benghazi
In Sunday night’s episode of “60 Minutes,” CBS correspondent Lara Logan reported even more damning information regarding the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead. It’s now firmly established that al-Qaida was responsible for the well-planned attack and that the Obama administration lied about its being a spontaneous protest about a YouTube video, all in order to preserve its “al-Qaida is decimated” narrative in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election. But Logan did have some interesting revelations.
Logan reported, “Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and long-time al-Qaeda operative, was one of the lead planners.” Bin Qumu was sent to Gitmo in 2002, but was transferred by the Bush administration in 2007 to Libya, where he was eventually released.
Logan also interviewed a former British soldier and security officer at the installation with the assumed name Morgan Jones. He told of the advance flags and warning signs he saw from the moment he arrived five months before the attack. First, there were the al-Qaida flags flying openly. Then there was the absence of any security forces when he arrived at the U.S. compound. He said, “They were all inside drinking tea, laughing and joking.” Morgan says he spent the next five months warning about lax security to no avail. It’s shocking that the warning signs were so clear, and yet nothing was done.
Greg Hicks, Ambassador Stevens’ deputy based in Tripoli, spoke with Logan about the horror of learning during the attack that no help was on the way. “For a moment, I just felt lost,” Hicks recounted. “I just couldn’t believe the answer. And then I made the call to the Annex chief, and I told him, ‘Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.’ … For the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they’re coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it’s not, it’s a terrible, terrible experience.” It’s tragic that four Americans needlessly lost their lives, only to have their story lied about for political gain. Worse, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was ultimately responsible for all embassy security, will run for president in 2016 based on her resumé.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Food Fight in the Farm Bill
House and Senate negotiators will sit down this week to hammer out details for a new farm bill, and then the wheeling and dealing will kick into high gear. Special interest groups are already lining up to protect their piece of the pie, hoping to ensure continued subsidies for sugar, corn and other favored products. The scope of the final bill will be huge, affecting some 16 million jobs in food service, production, trade and conservation.
Perhaps the most controversial element of the package will be funding for food stamps – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – which, thanks to a loosening of eligibility provisions, has ballooned into a massive program in which one in seven Americans now take part. The House split food stamps from the rest of the farm bill, but, naturally, Democrats oppose this effort because serving their carefully crafted constituent groups is far easier in a massive bill. The Senate proposed trimming a mere $4 billion over 10 years from SNAP, while the House wants to cut $40 billion over that same decade. Total farm bill spending runs about $97 billion a year and roughly 80% is on food stamps.
According to The New York Times, “Food banks and other advocates are hoping to stop huge cuts to the food stamp program that they say will cause millions of people to go hungry.” And Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) warned, “The farm bill should not be making people hungry.”
However, as we noted recently, food stamps don’t always combat hunger, and, worse, SNAP is rife with fraud and abuse. Democrats would call that a feature, not a bug. Along that vein, the South Dakota Argus Leader newspaper is currently pursuing a Freedom of Information request to learn just how much the government is reimbursing retailers that take part in the food stamp program. The government claims that is privileged information. After all, just what business is it of ours how our tax dollars are spent?
Fraud and abuse aside, suffice it to say that spending $93 billion this year instead of $97 billion is hardly a case of Republicans starving the poor.
ECONOMY, REGS & TAXES
Income Redistribution: General Welfare
Like night following day, it’s a truism that politicians don’t keep their campaign promises. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Obama’s 2008 campaign vow to “fundamentally change” America, a nebulous statement that left his many followers with a tingle up their legs and the rest of us with an icy shiver up our spines. Five years later, he is fundamentally changing the country – into a European-style welfare state. Not surprising, considering he spent his first term telling the world that he disagrees with the concept of American exceptionalism.
Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee report that since Obama took office, taxpayers have spent $3.7 trillion on welfare – more than transportation, education and NASA combined. Moreover, that amount does not include Social Security or Medicare, both of which recipients paid into. Rather, it only covers the “means-tested” programs, which are free, income-based benefits. There are 80 such programs, many of them overlapping and therefore hard to oversee. For example, a household on food stamps may also receive benefits from one of the 14 other food assistance programs. In fact, the IRS has revealed that in the past 10 years, the government gave away $133 billion in bogus payments, at least that’s as much as they admit.
Welfare reform advocates have applauded the UK’s overhaul. Facing their own problems with “the dole,” the Brits consolidated their programs into one, then capped the amount. This reform resulted in more benefits for recipients while saving taxpayers money (a concept similar to a flat tax). But the chances of similar changes happening under the Obama regime are slim to none. Based on the projections of the Congressional Budget Office, welfare spending will increase by 80% over the next 10 years. Perhaps by then we’ll have leadership that turns our fiscal policy around before we turn into Europe West.
CULTURE, SCIENCE & FAITH
Inspiration: An Adoption Story
Davion Only is a 15 year-old orphan from Florida whose recent plea for recognition garnered sympathy from thousands around the world now intent on adopting the young man. Only was delivered in a prison cell and has no familiarity with his biological family. He wanted to learn more about them over the summer. Unfortunately, while seeking information in a public library, he discovered his mother’s obituary.
But rather than give up hope, the dismayed teenager told his adoption agency of his desire to find a family – any family – that would obligate themselves to his care. Addressing the congregation of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, Only declared, “I’ll take anyone, old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.” That moment of appeal has so far delivered nearly 10,000 requests from individuals around the world interested in calling him their own.
He said, “If you can, reach out and get me and love me until I die. I’m praying and still hoping. I know God hasn’t given up and I’m not either. I just want people to know that it’s hard to be a foster kid. People sometimes don’t know how hard it is and how much we try to do good.” Indeed, many don’t know the difficulties experienced by these embattled orphans, but their cry for adoration rings clear. And perhaps the most telling aspect of this young boy is his desire to live his future with the help of a family instead of succumbing to other malicious characterizations that often surround children in need of role models – characterizations often encouraged by agencies such as Planned Parenthood.
The building block of society is the family, and while Davion made his intentions clear, there are many more silent – and unborn – children who undoubtedly feel this same calling. Amid all the callousness of these trying times, let’s never forget these heartwarming stories of love and grace.
For the Record
Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski tried to call the HealthCare.gov helpline and got an operator. That’s right: an operator! The call went through! MSNBC, the unofficial AV department of the Democratic Party, had a scoop. The network tweeted out the big news along with a link to the video: ‘Mika called the Obamacare hotline and got through with no problems – right on air. WATCH.’ It’s a sure sign that the bar has been lowered to curb height when spinners are touting the exciting news that phone calls actually go through. Someone picked up the phone! Quick, hang that ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner. Never mind that you simply cannot buy insurance from the exchanges over the phone. But the fact you can get someone on the line to tell you that is, I suppose, progress of a kind. … [T]here’s an old saying: ‘The plural of anecdote is data.’ Now we’ve entered the era of, ‘The singular of anecdote is data, too.’”
Faith and Family
Columnist Mona Charen: “If what ‘matters’ is that adults treat one another with respect, etc., what is the principled case against polyamory once same-sex marriage has become legally enshrined? What is the principled basis for objection? … Personal happiness and fulfillment are frequent benefits of marriage, but they are not its purpose. Marriage is the institution that provides social stability because it attempts to ensure, insofar as possible, that the mother and father who create a new life commit to caring for that child until adulthood. No other adult arrangement has ever been shown to benefit children as much. To enshrine gay marriage is to say that two mothers, or two fathers are just as good for children as a mother and a father. And if sexual complementarity is dispensable, by what logic are the other aspects of traditional marriage – exclusivity and permanence – to be maintained? It’s indisputable that traditional marriage was in crisis before the gay marriage movement began. The behavior of heterosexuals accomplished that. But … the gay marriage movement had done a different kind of damage by undermining our understanding of what marriage is.”
“We should always remember that our strength still lies in our faith in the good sense of the American people. And that the climate in Washington is still opposed to those enduring values, those ‘permanent things’ that we’ve always believed in. … Washington is a place of fads and one-week stories. It’s also a company town, and the company’s name is government, big government. … In the discussion of federal spending, the time has come to put to rest the sob sister attempts to portray our desire to get government spending under control as a hard-hearted attack on the poor people of America.”
For more, visit The Right Opinion.
Anglo-Irish satirist and author Jonathan Swift (1667-1745): “[W]hoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.”
DNC Chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Democrats will run on the Affordable Care Act [in 2014] and win.”
The BIG Lie
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: “The majority of people calling for me to resign I would say are people who I don’t work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place.”
From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File
Barack Obama: “Now, some of these ideas I’ve laid out before. … Some of them do require Congress to do something. And one way we can start is by Congress passing a budget that reflects our need to invest in our young people. I know the budgets aren’t the most interesting topic for a Friday afternoon, even in a school where young people like math. And, by the way, I just sat in on a lesson called Real World Math, which got me thinking whether it’s too late to send Congress here, for a remedial course.”
Actor Morgan Freeman: “The lengths that people will go to to show their prejudices! You see some of these signs that say, ‘TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK!’ What the f–k is that? Whose country are you talking about? They are being pushed to the side, which is a good thing for them to realize: you don’t have the power you think you have in this country. … I think the Republicans have pretty much destroyed themselves by allowing themselves to be controlled by a small contingent of people with a lot of money.”
CBS’ Bob Schieffer: “November 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John Kennedy, a day that many believe changed America forever. … The nation was plunged into shock. Nothing like this had ever happened.”
Do the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln (1865), James Garfield (1881) or William McKinley (1901) ring a bell?
“Obama said that if for some reason you aren’t able to obtain insurance through the website, you’ll be just fine. Or maybe he said ‘fined.’” –humorist Frank J. Fleming
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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