Monday, October 15, 2012

Quick Hits - October 14, 2012

Unlike the front pages of the majority of US newspapers, the Libya scandal dominated the Sunday morning talk shows on television.  Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Obama campaign consigliere David Axelrod made official what Joe Biden started during the Vice Presidential debate - that the Administration is going to toss the State Department, SecState Hillary Clinton, and the US intelligence community under the bus in order to bail out the Administration.

But with this, Axelrod not only continues to lie about what happened, but also is continuing the practice of lying to the American people over the actions and response of the President and other senior staff from the White House when he referenced that the President DID refer to the 9/11 attack as a terrorist attack from the getgo - which is defined as September 12th.

As has become far too commonplace with the dishonesty from the Administration, it takes very little or effort to uncover that Axelrod (and Biden and Jay Carney) is lying yet again in order to provide political cover for Barack Obama. has the details:
Obama mentioned the word "terror" once in his Sep. 12 statement: "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for." But the context of that statement suggests strongly that President Obama was referring to terror in general, not specifically to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi or the violent demonstrations at the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

Furthermore, Obama's reference to "terror" came near the end of his statement. His initial description of the attacks, at the start of his statement, portrayed them as an excessive response to the anti-Islam video upon which the Obama relied for days and weeks thereafter: "Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence."

Obama did use the word "terrorists" in his Sep. 18 appearance on the David Letterman Show. But he used it to claim that the "terrorists" had acted only in response to the anti-Islamic video, taking advantage of public outrage against it. As we now know--and as the administration (at least the State Department) knew at the time--there had been no public demonstration of outrage at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

That marked the beginning of a subtle distinction that the administration attempted to make for several weeks: the difference between terrorism as an action (or reaction), and terrorism as an independent motive or cause.

On Sep. 20, for example, when the administration first began to backtrack, White House spokesman Jay Carney suddenly told reporters that it was "self-evident" that the Benghazi attack had been a "terrorist attack"--by which he meant specifically that "Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials."

In other words, the attack was "terrorist" because it was violent--but not necessarily because it was carried out by terrorists.

Carney did not allow that the attack had been premeditated, leaving the administration enough wiggle room to continue to blame the video--as President Obama subsequently did again, five days later, at the United Nations on Sep. 25. In his speech, Obama failed to use the word "terror" or "terrorism" to describe the attack.

Later on Fox News Sunday, during the panel discussion with a panel comprising of Brit Hume (Fox News), Bob Woodward (WaPoo / Author), Laura Ingraham (Talk Radio Host), and Jeff Zelany (NYTimes), both Brit Hume and Laura Ingraham take Jeff Zelany to task, and by inference all of the print media that did not have the Libya scandal story as the Page One banner article.  Ingraham in particular was quite hard hitting in her simple question as to what would have been on the front page of so many Sunday papers if the party of the President was Republican as opposed to Democrat - linking the witch hunt tactics of the mainstream media over the Valerie Plame kerfuffle (camping out on the doorstep of Scooter Libby) to the complete lack of similar actions over this scandal.

The intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the mainstream media is obvious by their actions to not report or ask serious questions around not only the scandal around the terror attack on the Benghazi consulate that resulted in the deaths of 4 Americans, but more importantly on the cover-up and lies of the Administration as well as the now frequent finger pointing and denials which defy the common sense test.

Who beyond Fox News, which is now apparently, persona non grata at Foggy Bottom [they were left off a major conference call / brief with the media conducted by the State Department] and the Romney campaign asking the pointed questions of the Administration and their decisions / actions?  The media wasted no time attacking Governor Romney for his comments on the evening of the 11th referencing the sacking of the Cairo Embassy - linking those comments to the attack on Benghazi, while ignoring not only the White House's lack of commentary during the day, but the departure of the President to Las Vegas for a campaign fundraiser that evening - even when not knowing the whereabouts or condition of the US Ambassador to Libya.

It's ironic that Bob Woodward was on this panel.  One of the lessons that should have been learned from the Watergate scandal is that the cover-up is far worse than the initial crime in most cases.  But in this case, it seems as if the naive fecklessness in both the State Department and the White House contributed to a condition where Ambassador Chris Stevens and others were placed in peril with inadequate security when threats were known to exist against both the Ambassador and diplomatic facilities.  To cover-up this failure, the Administration then embarks on a cycle of lies that spirals further and further as they scramble to apply political protection in a election cycle that is turning more and more against President Obama.

Obama: 'Jim, you may wanna move on to another topic...'
Ok, Mr. President.

The aforementioned NY Times reporter, Jeff Zelany, did make an interesting admission while on the Fox News Sunday panel, acknowledging the real change in election momentum to Mitt Romney...

Zelany notes that the crowds that Mitt Romney has been getting this past week in the key battleground state of Ohio are similar to the size crowds Barack Obama got in the days of 'Hope and Change' during the 2008 campaign.  This confirms the surge in enthusiasm that I have oft referenced as I point out the absurd polling samples that claim to model a turnout that is at or in excess of the D+7 voter enthusiasm levels of 2008.

Adding to the President's challenges, even the liberal former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, is admitting that Barack Obama is facing real trouble regarding his record over the past 45 months.  Brokaw says that 'Obama is going to have to answer for' the exploding budget deficits 'on his watch'.  Blaming his predecessor is not going to work, particularly for 2010-12.

Victor Davis Hanson has another 'read it all' essay that succinctly summarizes the challenges that the President has to face with the electorate and asks if we are at 'The Obama Breaking Point'...
In the first debate, Romney was not just far better-informed and spoken, but far more likeable. Joe Biden’s frenzied rudeness was the sort of debate performance that mesmerizes one by its very boorishness, eliciting a weird reaction in the room like “Come over and check this out: I can’t believe the Vice president of the United States is trumping The Joker” (after all, the sick Joker is more entertaining that the sober and judicious Batman) — but within hours leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth of something along the lines of “Surely, we could have done better than that rude buffoon?”

The election is not over, but it is starting to resemble October 29 or November 1 in 1980, when, after just one debate, the nation at last decided that it really did not like Jimmy Carter very much or what he had done, and discovered that Ronald Reagan was not the mad Dr. Strangelove/Jefferson Davis of the Carter summer television ads. Like Carter, Obama both has no wish to defend his record (who would?) and is just as petulant. In the next three weeks, he has only three hours left to save his presidency.
The big question that will come from Tuesday's 2nd Presidential debate is going to be if Barack Obama can take a real step to save his Presidency?  In 1980, there was only one debate.  Once Ronald Reagan proved that he was not Dr. Strangelove, the die was cast.  His televised campaign address where he asked his famous question, 'Are you better off today than you were four years ago?' was the icing on the cake for his election victory.

Mitt Romney's performance in the first debate, combined with Barack Obama's miserable performance, undid $150 million in negative campaign advertisements and millions of words of press attacks on the Governor.  One person looked and acted presidential just as one person looked and acted vice presidential during that debate last week.  The Romney / Ryan ticket is now surging -and winning the key voting block they need to win - the independents and political center.  Middle America sees all that VDH covers in his essay.  They saw what they needed to see from Mitt Romney during that debate and to a large extent got the info they needed to make their decision.  I doubt that a superb performance by Barack Obama at this next debate and the last debate will sway those who just made up their minds. A superb performance does not  invalidate the dismal record of this President.

Finally, I will wrap with a salute to Felix Baumgartner.

Felix Baumgartner rode a balloon to an altitude of 128,000 ft - about 24 miles up - and then jumped.  During his freefall, he hit a speed of 833 mph - Mach 1.24, becoming the first person to break the speed of sound during a freefall, before landing safely.  The records he broke for balloon flight altitude, highest parachute jump, and speed of descent, were all set in 1960 - 61.  Joe Kittinger, who held the highest parachute jump and longest freefall records, was part of the mission control team for Felix Baumgartner.

One last interesting link to history... On Oct. 14, 1947, USAF pilot Chuck Yeager became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound as he piloted the Bell X-1 through the sound barrier.  65 years later to the day, Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break through the sound barrier during a freefall.

On a side note, the 89 year old Chuck Yaeger had his own commemoration of his historic 1947 flight - flying in the rear seat of a F-15 fighter jet today, he broke the sound barrier 65 years to the minute of his first step into supersonic flight.

Today in History

1066 - King Harold II of England is defeated, and loses his life, while fighting the Norman invaders led by William the Conqueror, at the Battle of Hastings.  Two weeks earlier, William had invaded England to press his claim to the English throne.  With the victory and the destruction of Harold's forces, William would march on London and be crowned the first Norman King of England on Christmas Day, 1066.

1912 - Progressive Party Presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt is shot in the chest prior to making a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The injured candidate then delivered an 80 minute long campaign speech before being taken to the hospital.  The bullet's damage was limited by being slowed by hitting a glasses case and the manuscript of his campaign speech.

1913 - 439 Welsh coal miners are killed during an explosion at their mine making this one of the worst British mining disasters.  Nearly 500 miners who were working in the mine when the explosion took place were rescued / able to escape.

1944 - German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, known as 'The Desert Fox' for his leadership of the Afrika Korps in North Africa, and implicated as a co-conspirator in the July 1944 failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, is offered to be allowed to commit suicide as opposed to being exposed in a trial.  Rommel accepts the offer and commits suicide.

1947 - Captain Chuck Yeager, USAF, flying the rocket propelled Bell X-1 aircraft, breaks the sound barrier becoming the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.

1962 - The Cuban Missile Crisis begins as a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft takes photos proving that the Soviet Union is building intermediate range nuclear missile bases in Cuba, just 90 miles from the US mainland.

1964 - Martin Luther King Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his actions promoting civil rights in the US.  Also on this day, Nikita Krushchev is ousted as the Premier of the Soviet Union and Head of the Communist Party in the USSR after 10 years in power.  Krushchev protege, Leonid Brezhnev replaced him as Party head, and ultimately would be named the next Premier.

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