Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quick Hits - November 23 - 29, 2012

If nothing changes, we will drive off the fiscal cliff in about 33 days...

While this cliff is not nearly as high as the other cliffs that we are rapidly approaching, the debt cliff and the entitlement cliff, the effects of driving off of this cliff without taking real steps to address our spending, debt, and entitlement liabilities will be very painful in an economy that is continuing to stagnate except for massive government spending.

Every single taxpayer will get a 10% across the board tax increase as we go off the cliff.  On top of this, the 2% temporary payroll tax reduction pushed by Barack Obama (and touted as his 'tax cut' for 95%) will end.  The estate tax will resume - at a punitive level.  The tax rate for Dividend income will soar from 15% to 43%, while the tax rate for Capital Gains will jump from 15% to 23%.  Hundreds of thousands of the middle class will find themselves trapped by the Alternative Minimum Tax - paying substantially higher income taxes as the AMT once again is not adjusted for inflation.  On top of these tax increases will come nearly a dozen new taxes designed to fund Obamacare.

Between now and the end of the year - we're also going to hit hard up against the debt ceiling which will prevent new government borrowing to fund the greater than $1 trillion annual budget deficit that has become the new normal.

And that brings us to the other major effect of our fiscal irresponsibility - the massive spending, the massive expansion of the size and scope of the federal government, and the unprecedented expansion of government entitlement programs.

Like the Dependency Agenda...

...which has transformed the US into a different country...

Which brings us here...

One would think with the near immediate effect of the January 1, 2013 'Fiscal Cliff', or the $16.4 trillion in national debt (and growing by more than $1 trillion per year), or the $86 trillion in unfunded liabilities related to the three largest elements of government spending - Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security - the President would be focused on ensuring that we do not just rush headlong off these cliffs at full speed.

One would also think that with the economy killing effects of new tax increases, the burden of Trillion dollar plus annual deficits, the massive expansion of government entitlements (in both costs and numbers of people dependent on the government), the rapidly approaching insolvency of the three largest entitlement programs, and the one-third growth in spending - the President and his supporters, if they really feared taking the nation over these cliffs, would be looking at reducing spending, reforming the tax code, and getting people off of government dependency as their primary solution to the problems we face.

Unfortunately, we now live in a universe where normal logic has been replaced by political expediency - and the definition of many words have been quietly re-defined to fit the combination of political expediency and ideological agenda.

Despite Election Day being a little over three weeks ago, the newly re-elected President has declined to lead and instead continues to campaign and plot the demise of his political enemies, the GOP.  This agenda is being supported and enacted by the same media allies who helped facilitate his election win.  These allies, despite the President's reelection win, continues to focus on attacking the GOP as sexist, racist, and fiscally evil putting partisan ideology before what is best for the country.

They combine to hammer the GOP position that one of the key fiscal challenges we face are not our revenues, which are nearly pre-recession 2008 highs, but the irresponsible and excessive spending of the federal government.  They continue to focus on the importance of new revenues for the federal government irregardless of the damage done to the economy by touting the need for 'fairness' and 'balance'.

We're told that we need to have 'balance' - addressing the fiscal challenges by a combination of tax increases (new revenues) and spending reductions.  We're also told that we need to balance out these tax increases in the name of 'fairness' - by putting the burden of new taxes on the wealthy who can afford to pay more in order to reduce the national debt.

But rarely are we told how specious these terms really are - or that for the President and his progressive allies, going over these cliffs are necessary steps to facilitate their "fundamental change" of America.

Various pinheads spew forth the fallacy that the reason we had a large economic expansion from 1995 to 2000 was because of the 'Clinton-era tax rates' which were 10% higher than the rates we've paid for the last 10-12 years.  But where is the balanced approach to match these 'Clinton-era tax rates' with Clinton-era spending levels - and the acknowledgement that the reason why 1999-2000 ended up in budget surpluses were because of strong private sector economic growth and reduced levels of federal spending?

Or where is the balanced approach towards addressing spending by including the three largest elements of federal spending, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security with Defense spending and all of the other elements of federal spending?  Do we really need to spend over $300 billion in farm subsidies, rural electricity subsidies, ethanol subsidies, and other entitlements funded by either borrowing or yanking more funds away from the private sector where they fuel growth?

How about the fallacy around 'fairness' - were the President wants to focus on the 'wealthy' to pay their 'fair' share in order to reduce the debt?

Where's the fairness when half pay no taxes whatsoever - or that the top 5% of tax filers, who account for 32% of the nation's total income, already pay 59% of all the taxes?

In the President's 'solution' to our problem - we're told that the 'wealthy' have to pay more taxes, 10% higher, in order to reduce the deficit.  But one has to wonder just how far $40 billion in additional revenues from taxing the wealthy their 'fair share' will go into an annual federal government deficit of $1.2 to $1.4 trillion?  And that $40 billion of 'new revenues' is assuming that 'taxing' the 'wealthy' will not damage the private sector...which would be the case despite the misrepresentations of the President to the contrary...

All of this debate, however, pales in comparison to the actual offer that the President made towards the GOP Congressional leadership earlier today [Nov 29th] as their solution to prevent the nation from plummeting off this first cliff.

The offer, made by SecTreas. Tim Geithner to senior GOP members of Congress, including Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, clearly demonstrated that the President could care less not only about taking the nation over the cliff, but in achieving a compromise with the GOP.  He seems firmly convinced that if the country goes off the cliff, the blame would rest [courtesy of media propaganda] entirely on the GOP - and the more dire the conditions become, the more likely he will be able to get what he wants along with more 'fundamental change'.

The offer focused on several key demands.  First was the demand for $1.6 trillion in new taxes.  Second was the demand for a new round of stimulus spending - to the tune of several hundred billion dollars per year.  Third was for Congress to completely surrender their oversight of the national debt ceiling - effectively ending the ceiling.  Finally to 'balance' these, the President agreed to some vague spending reductions - in amounts far less than the amounts of the new spending levels demanded - which would need to be negotiated over the next year and be non-guaranteed.  In other words, if an agreement couldn't be reached on which programs to cut - no programs would be cut.

In fact, the President has no real plans for any significant spending cuts...

The offer was so one-sided and absurd that Senator McConnell's initial response was to laugh out loud at it.

I seem to recall in 1986, Democrats approached the President and made a solemn promise - if President Reagan would agree to several tax increases in order to boost revenues, the Democrats would guarantee to respond by supporting spending cuts so that the compromise would result in deficit reductions.

Ronald Reagan is still waiting for those promised spending are the rest of us.  I don't think they're coming.

I think we need to factor this into whether or not we believe the current promise for spending cuts tomorrow if we give them tax increases today.

Perhaps the Mayans were right after all....

The saddest part is that this is not the limit of the absurdity around the fecklessness of the Obama Administration or the Progressive agenda or the anti-Western Agenda.  Over the next several days we'll look in more detail at:

  • Susan Rice 
  • Reports of California's Economic Turnaround 
  • Time Magazine's Person of the Year
  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • UN General Assembly granting the so-called Palestinian state official status as a non-observer member
  • Eurozone Crisis - Our Future?
  • Media Bias
Hold on - as the ride will not be getting any smoother....

Friday, November 23, 2012

Quick Hits - November 20-22, 2012

Perhaps it is just me, but I continue to be stunned when so many of us completely fail to learn the lessons of history - or embrace Einstein's definition of insanity as we continue to try the same thing again and again while expecting different results.  Bloomberg News looks back into history and highlights the links between how things look today (2013) and how they looked in 1937 - as the nation continued to wallow in not only the effects of the Great Depression, but the real failures of FDR's New Deal to stimulate a real economic recovery.

But for many, 1937 is like ancient history - too far back to really understand how the FDR initiatives around entitlements and labor are still vexing and creating problems for us today.  I don't believe we need to go that far back into history to see this cycle at work.  We only need to go back to the mid to late 1970's, in the US, and in Britain, to see the effects of the course we are currently on.

How many people remember the near bankruptcy of New York City -

- or the similar fiscal challenges that affected nearly every major US city?

The 1970's started with the first US Postal Strike - one of the 10 greatest labor actions taken in the US, and continued with the first Major League Baseball strike as well as newspaper strikes in NYC, a NYPD strike, 1974's Baltimore municipal worker, teachers, and police strike which crippled the city, coal strikes, UAW strikes against the auto industry, and sanitation strikes - all of which were designed to generate massive increases in wages and benefits for unionized workers.  The strikes against cities directly contributed to massive fiscal challenges as the cities tried to hike taxes and fees to cover their higher costs - but found that costs and entitlements always seemed to outpace revenues....and efforts to hike revenues via taxes only created new problems as people fled the cities to avoid the higher taxes and fees.

A common element throughout all of these troubled cities was the progressive political leadership of those cities - and their implementation of the progressive agenda which effectively set those cities on the path of stagnation and destruction in the cases where the progressives remained entrenched in power.  The industrial belt cities of the Midwest soon became the rust belt cities of the region - with Detroit becoming the poster child.  Look closely at a city that is trapped within stagnation, massive fiscal challenges, declining population, and ineffective schools, and you will find the common elements around decades of progressive political leadership and politically powerful unions.

Today, these challenges have moved beyond just cities - as there are now states that share not only the same symptoms - but the same cause and effects.  California, the once golden state that in the late 1960's early 1970's was one of the top ranked states in nearly every possible measurement, now ranks in the bottom 5 of states in almost all of the same measurements.  Public and private sector unions dominate and control the political process with hundreds of millions of union dues flooding the airways advocating both the progressive and union agenda.  Politicians elected by the float of these millions now approve sweetheart deals for union workers that cripple businesses and the state.

California's largest city - Los Angeles, is the newest poster child of the fiscal disaster that results from a progressive and pro-union agenda.  The City Council, one of the few across the country that officially endorsed the odious OccupyWallStreet movement, is now bringing a measure to LA voters that will hike it's already highest in the nation sales tax by .5% to try to cover it's growing deficits....despite evidence that hiking these taxes will not result in higher city tax revenues.

Wednesday, one of the biggest travel days of the year, the SEIU union bussed in over 1,000 activists to disrupt traffic going into Los Angeles International Airport - under the guise of complaining about 'unfair labor acts' conducted on workers by a company that provides laborers for the airlines to operate services at the terminals for passengers.  The biased media wasted little time to hype the union demands that the company pays workers far below a 'living wage' and is seeking to eliminate their healthcare coverage (an effect of Obamacare) - but fail to mention the truth of the situation.

One year ago, the workers of that company voted by a 52% majority to remove themselves from the SEIU and the crippling union rules and dues.  Since decertifying their local and leaving the union, their wages have gone up and their benefits have expanded - as the company returned to the workers much of the additional profits they have made.   As a result, of the 1,000+ union demonstrators marching - not one was an employee of the company.

The union thugs were there to send a message to other locals at LAX who see their labor contracts expiring and might be contemplating following the example of the other workers - as well as sending a message to the companies doing business at LAX - kowtow to the union or else.

Today on Black Friday, at numerous WalMart stores across the country, union thugs are attempting to disrupt shoppers in their ongoing effort to expand their tentacles into WalMart stores.  In direct violation of current labor laws, a number of unions have spent months / years trying to 'organize' WalMart stores even as employees resist the efforts - seeing no direct benefit to them to unionize.  WalMart has attempted to fight back by filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board - which is responsible for the enforcement of national labor laws - and gotten nothing back from the NLRB but the sounds of crickets chirping.  Under the Obama Administration, the NLRB has been moved from an unbiased board set on enforcing the labor rules to a pro-union advocacy group that has as its mission of expanding union power and control - not to mention membership.

Hostess Brands Inc, employing 18,500 workers, received approval from their bankruptcy judge to commence the liquidation of the company after the one day mediation effort with the Bakers union, 6,000 Hostess employees strong, failed to generate a compromise that would permit Hostess Brands to remain in business and cost-competitive.

The Bakers union, part of the AFL-CIO, refused to accept an 8% pay cut and 15% in benefit cuts in order to reduce the costs to the company and allow it to compete / exit bankruptcy.  This despite the Teamsters, representing the largest number of company employees, agreeing to accept the cuts in return for an equity stake in the company as well as seats on the Board of Directors.  So adamant was the union about rejecting any cuts - the President of the Bakers union didn't even bother to attend the mediation session.

What is amazing of all of this is not the stupidity of the union leadership playing chicken with 18,500 jobs - but with the moronic and asinine rules imposed on the company by the unions which made the company unprofitable and unsustainable.

Among the brands of Hostess were not only the iconic Twinkie, but Wonder Bread.  But according to union rules, the company had to establish and manage two distinct distribution networks - one for the bread division and another for the snack cake side of the business.  Trucks making deliveries to grocery stores could carry either Wonder Bread or Twinkies - but not both.  Each type of product had to have their own personnel move the product off the truck into the store - and then stock the shelves of the store.  One worker for bread - another for snack cakes.  With this overhead, it's no surprise that the company was unable to stay out of bankruptcy - the unions enforced massive inefficiencies in the operation of the company.

Even with costing their membership, and every other Hostess Brand employee, their jobs, the Union leadership remains unapologetic for their intransigence - now seeking a government bailout to save the 18,500 jobs (just as the Obama Administration 'saved' the Auto Industry) or hoping that whichever organization acquires the liquidated assets will hire the unionized workers to continue their efforts to be irresponsible and greedy.

In the 1970's, the labor unions directly contributed to the economic challenges with their demands for wages and benefits damaged companies and drove up costs for consumers.  We're now repeating this cycle as part of the agenda of the Obama Administration and their progressive allies - as they enact a massive effort towards encouraging class warfare - and buying votes.

The above video is a controversial 'Talking Points Memo' from Bill O'Reilly that highlights the effects of the class warfare promoted by the Obama Administration and his union allies - effects which led to buying sufficient votes to re-elect Barack Obama.  As BOR notes, 20% of those who voted on Election Day earlier this month earned less than $30,000 per year.  Of these, 63% voted for Barack Obama - totaling 7 million more votes for Barack Obama than for Mitt Romney and well more than the 3.5 million votes that separated the popular vote totals between the town candidates.

I disagree with BOR on two key points that he makes.  First, the progressives know that their entitlement programs and open support for labor unions do 'buy votes' and they are quite comfortable with using the power of government to 'buy' votes.  For them, the ends justifies the means.  If they need to buy votes - then they will buy votes because doing so expands and empowers their agenda.

Conservatives see capitalism as providing an equal chance of success with a focus on the individual's efforts and actions towards success.  We also see the importance and need of a safety net that has to be in place that will provide help for those individuals who need a net for failing to achieve success or have been denied the basic tools with which to compete.

Liberals, on the other hand, see their role as being the steward of ensuring success is achieved, of ensuring that 'fairness' exists - and doing so regardless of the actions of the individual.  They also see and promote the division of society into 'special groups' with a goal of delivering 'fairness' to those groups as a collective as opposed to addressing the individual needs.

The second point is with BOR's contention that Mitt Romney was unable to sell to the people the advantages of conservative economics to counter the social divisions and 'buying' of votes promoted by Barack Obama. I contend that Mitt Romney did a fine job selling conservative economics.  But what Romney failed to do was effectively counter the massively negative character assassination he was subjected to via hundreds of millions of negative advertisements and the even greater contributions in-kind delivered by the massively biased media attacking both the GOP candidate and conservativism / capitalism.

What the mainstream media basically did was enact a modern version of the Josef Goebbels propaganda campaign to defame and divide the electorate.  MSNBC, the 'Lean Forward' network of hard left progressives, did not do a single negative story in 2012 about Barack Obama - just as they also failed to produce a single positive story in 2012 about Mitt Romney.

In fact, across the entire mainstream media, they were incredibly 'in the bag' for their candidate, Barack Obama - flooding the airways in  the days / weeks before the election with positive Barack Obama stories and negative Mitt Romney stories.

Unsurprisingly, the media bias has not ended with the reelection of Barack Obama.  The media is hard at work minimizing and marginalizing the increased assertiveness of the labor unions since the election.  They are also hard at work protecting the Obama Administration in the wake of more information, and lies, becoming known over the Administration's incompetence and fecklessness around  the Benghazi terror attack which murdered four Americans.

We now know where the edits were made in the original CIA assessment in the immediate wake of the terror attack which redefined the terror attack as a spontaneous demonstration based on an obscure You Tube video that turned violent - the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

This isn't the first time that James Clapper has demonstrated both his incompetence and his willingness to skew intel / testimony to Congress for political purposes.  During the Muslim Brotherhood sponsored 'Arab Spring' demonstrations intended to overthrow Egyptian President Hosani Mubarak, Clapper attempted to spin the MB as a 'largely secular organization' and not a fundamentalist jihadist organization.

Yet, since the MB took power in Egypt, via the election of Mohamed Morsi, we've seen government sanctioned persecution of Christian Copts, the push for the establishment of Shari'a as the legal basis, and today, President Morsi's unprecedented power grab where he assumes near dictatorial powers - including oversight and control of Egypt's judicial system which has so far been the only remaining obstruction to increased Muslim Brotherhood control of this major MidEast player.

For almost 6 years of the tenure of President George W. Bush, the rabid left and mainstream media, castigated the Bush Administration for their 'obvious politicization' of intelligence information and attempts to mislead the US public (ie - No weapons of mass destruction in Iraq despite evidence being found and that there were, in the 10/10/02 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq passed by a bi-partisan Congress, 27 other reasons to justify the Iraqi invasion) - with little evidence of that Administration actually politicizing intelligence.

But as is commonplace in the projection and moral equivalency fallacies promoted by the progressive left, they are the one's who have embarked down this path - all in the name of political expediency.

I'm going to wrap this post with a large quote from a superb post by Mark Steyn - who writes about the Election Day vote earlier this month in California's Orange County Register - 

On Fox News, Democrat Kirsten Powers argued that Republicans needed to deal with the reality that America is becoming what she called a "brown country." Her fellow Democrat Bob Beckel observed on several occasions that if the share of the "white vote" was held down below 73 percent, Mitt Romney would lose. In the end, it was 72 percent, and he did. Beckel's assertion – that if you knew the ethnic composition of the electorate you also knew the result – turned out to be correct.

This is what less-enlightened societies call tribalism: for example, in the 1980 election leading to Zimbabwe's independence, Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU-PF got the votes of the Ndebele people while Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF secured those of the Shona – and, as there were more Shona than Ndebele, Mugabe won.

Everyone talks about this demographic transformation as if it's a natural phenomenon, like Hurricane Sandy. Indeed, I notice that many of those exulting in the inevitable eclipse of "white America" are the same people who assure me that demographic arguments about the Islamization of Europe are completely preposterous. But in neither the United States nor Europe is it a natural phenomenon. Rather, it's the fruit of conscious government policy.

According to the Census, in 1970 the "Non-Hispanic White" population of California was 78 percent. By the 2010 census, it was 40 percent. Over the same period, the 10 percent Hispanic population quadrupled and caught up with whites.

That doesn't sound terribly "natural" does it? If one were informed that, say, the population of Nigeria had gone from 80 percent black in 1970 to 40 percent black today, one would suspect something rather odd and unnatural had been going on. Twenty years ago, Rwanda was about 14 percent Tutsi. Now it's just under 10 percent. So it takes a bunch of Hutu butchers getting out their machetes and engaging in seven-figure genocide to lower the Tutsi population by a third. But, when the white population of California falls by half, that's "natural," just the way it is, one of those things, could happen to anyone.

The short history of the Western Hemisphere is as follows: North America was colonized by Anglo-Celts, Central and South America by "Hispanics." Up north, two centuries of constitutional evolution and economic growth; down south, coups, corruption, generalissimos and presidents-for-life. None of us can know the future. It may be that Charles Krauthammer is correct that Hispanics are natural Republicans merely pining for amnesty, a Hallmark Cinco de Mayo card and a mariachi band at the inaugural ball. Or it may be that, in defiance of Dr. Krauthammer, Grover Norquist and Little Mary Sunshine, demographics is destiny and, absent assimilationist incentives this country no longer imposes, a Latin-American population will wind up living in a Latin-American society.

Republicans think they're importing hardworking immigrants who want a shot at the American Dream; the Democrats think they're importing clients for Big Government. The Left is right: Just under 60 percent of immigrants receive some form of welfare. … While Canada and Australia compete for high-skilled immigrants, America fast-tracks an unskilled welfare class of such economic benefit to their new homeland they can't even afford a couple of hundred bucks for the necessary paperwork.
We are more firmly on a very tenuous and dangerous path.  We have to look back at history and learn from it - making the right observations over what has happened in the past - and undertaking the correct measures to put us back on the right path.  My fear is that we are not only failing to learn from history - but repeating Einstein's definition of insanity by doing the same things all over again and expecting different results.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quick Hits - November 17-19, 2012

Through the weekend, Islamic terrorists in Gaza - members of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad - fired over 840 missiles into Israel targeting Israeli cities and towns.  In response, the Israeli Defense Reports conducted dozens of precision strikes against not only the launching sites for these missiles, but against leading members of these terror organizations.  Unfortunately, as is common place, the anti-Israeli / anti-Western elements of the mainstream media are quick to push the terrorist propaganda and blame Israel for the conflict and the civilian casualties.

This propaganda ranges from pushing the meme that the multitude of missiles being fired into Israel are just in 'retaliation' for the Israeli strikes into Gaza targeting the missile launch points and terrorist leaders to parading the bodies of children before the jackals in the media claiming that their deaths were the result of Israeli war crimes and aggression.  Here in the US, the leading media elements pushing these lines of crap include the NY Times - which focused on an Israeli strike against a senior Hamas terrorist that killed 11 - including 4 children, to ABC News - which breathlessly touted the false meme that the Hamas missile fire was provoked by Israeli attacks, to Mistress Death, Christiane Amanpour who castigates the Israeli Defense Forces for their 'history' of indiscriminately targeting / killing civilians during the last major Gaza conflict, to CNN and the BBC hyping Hamas faking dead children for propaganda purposes - all in the embracing of the standard media justification, 'Fake but accurate'.

Lost within this flood of anti-Israeli propaganda is the truth.

The truth around the fact that for virtually every day of this year 5 to 10 missiles are fired from Gaza into Israeli cities and towns.  We're told by the media bigots that this is 'inconsequential' - that the warheads of the missiles are small (only the size of 500 pound bombs) and the number of casualties are 'uneven' - reducing Israeli civilian dead and wounded to being immaterial in the rush to embrace a moral equivalency argument.

The truth that, in violation of international law, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorists launch their missiles from locations that are using civilian structures - apartments, schools, and mosques - as shields.  That the terrorist leaders also have no compulsion to use their own families, including children, as human shields in order to try to gain additional protection from Israeli retaliatory strikes.  That the terrorist thugs where civilian clothing and when killed are called civilians despite the fact that they were carrying arms and actively engaged in illegal hostilities against the state of Israel.

In the above link where the media breathlessly touts a dead child as 'proof' of Israeli 'aggression' - none apply any skepticism around the stories that are spun by the terrorists - or the fact that when the child was killed, no Israeli airstrikes took place - and  that the damage is far more consistent with a missile fired from Gaza that malfunctioned and exploded into that Gaza home.  As the NY Times states in their own report - contradicting their own breathless report...
It is unclear who was responsible for the strike on Annazla: the damage was nowhere near severe enough to have come from an Israeli F-16, raising the possibility that an errant missile fired by Palestinian militants was responsible for the deaths. What seems clear is that expectations for a pause in the fighting, for at least one family, were tragically misplaced.

Where is the outrage of the Islamic terrorists in Gaza using civilians, schools, and mosques as shields?  International law holds that the guilty party for the death of non-combatants in this situation is not the attacker but the one's who use civilians as shields.   In the majority of the cases, precision munitions now allow pinpoint strikes on the military targets while limiting the damage to non-military sites and personnel.  But in a number of cases, the human shields are held so close that it is impossible to avoid 'collateral' damage.

One of the attacks over the weekend by the IDF that raised the ire of the righteous mainstream media was a strike on the tower in Gaza that housed the area's media center.  But what these media nimrods didn't report is that on the second floor of the building, a top terrorist leader of the Islamic Jihad hid - believing he was safe using those same useful idiot journalists as human shields.  The IDF launched a precision strike on that floor - and successfully killed the terror leader - without killing any of the anti-Israeli media that were apparently quite happy to be used as a shield.

I know I shouldn't be surprised by the fecklessness of so much of the media - putting their hatred and bias against Israel before any semblance of journalistic integrity.  But it continues to shock me as they are spurring the carnage with their bias and hate.  Even former 'allies' of Israel, like the reprehensible Charles Johnson of LittleGreenFootballs, puts ideology and hate before any semblance of integrity and intellectual honesty. LFG has now started to out 'DU' the vile Democratic Underground commentators.

One of the most common aspects of creating and pushing a 'successful' lie is to have buried within the lie something that is true / factually accurate.  Whenever one is called on the lie, one only has to point to the minor aspect that is true and then declare that since that point is true, the entire statement has to be true.  It's one of the most common fallacies that we see tossed at us in debates with the progressives (the others are simple projection and the moral equivalency fallacy).

This is now standard operating procedure of the Obama Administration when it comes to their deflection of the lies they told in the name of political expediency regarding the Benghazi terror attack which killed 4 Americans.  In the wake of former CIA Director David Petraeus's closed door testimony Friday where he stated that the CIA briefing to the White House identified the 9/11/12 attack as a terrorist attack launched by an al-Qaeda surrogate - and that this was subsequently scrubbed by someone outside of the CIA - the White House has decided to push the big lie that they were not responsible for altering the intelligence and continue to obfuscate and cover-up their culpability...
What we also said yesterday, though — because this question came up as to whether the White House had edited Susan Rice’s points and the points that were provided to Congress and the administration — the only edit that was made to those points by the White House, and was also made by the State Department, was to change the word “consulate” to “diplomatic facility” since the facility in Benghazi had not — was not formally a consulate. Other than that, we worked off of the points that were provided by the intelligence community. So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made within the intelligence community.
Only edit?  I don't doubt that some pinhead in the WH changed the word 'consulate' to 'diplomatic facility' - that's the type of edit that someone embarking down a path of marginalization and CYA would undertake.  But only?  That is the part that stretches believability.  This isn't a complex issue - and it should be pretty easy to identify who within the WH / National Security Office who has the authority to make edits to CIA reports.  The problem is - with few exceptions - there is little interest to get to the truth or hold the Obama Administration accountable for their callous and arrogant behavior.  The mainstream media isn't interested in finding out the truth - with the possible exception of Fox News which doesn't have it's lips locked onto Obama's rear end.

To the MSM, this scandal is as newsworthy as the politicization of the DoJ, the dropping of racism / voter intimidation charges against the New Black Panther Party, the massive election financing and fundraising fraud of the Obama campaign, the crony capitalism of Solyndra, A123 Systems, and Fisker, the EPA's war on fossil fuel and coal, the failures of FEMA to assist the victims of Sandy, and Fast and Furious.  It doesn't matter that 4 are dead - just as it doesn't matter that the Obama Administration is directly culpable in the death of hundreds in Mexico.  There is a 'D' after the name of the President - not a 'R'.  [Which is also why Vice President Joe Biden can get a complete pass for calling his boss a 'Homeboy'.]

At least key members of the House and Senate are not going to let the Benghazi lies disappear...

Has Senator Chambliss notes in the above video, 'Everybody there was asked do you know who made these changes; and nobody knew. The only entity that reviewed the talking points that was not there was the White House.'

Today, we are now learning that in the Presidential Daily Brief - the daily intelligence and security brief provided to the President - 72 hours after the attack (that Friday - and 2 days before Ambassador Susan Rice's dog and pony show across the Sunday news programs) directly referenced the Benghazi attack as being an act of terrorism by an al-Qaeda surrogate timed for the 9/11 anniversary.  Yet, despite this specific information, the President and his surrogates spent another 10 days saying that this was not a terror attack and was the result of an obscure three month old internet video that allegedly insulted Muslims.

Given that the President has only participated in about half of the daily security briefs - perhaps the latest effort to extend the President's 'plausible deniability' will be to say that the President missed this brief because of the demands of his campaign?

What is the media focusing on besides their anti-Israel agenda?  They're busy trying to tell the GOP just what they need to do in order to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Americans - become more like the Democrats.

Across almost all of the Sunday morning talking head shows, 'experts' told us that the GOP has become too 'conservative' and needs to compete with the Democrats on the basis of expanding government and becoming progressivism / liberalism light.  We're also being told that since the mainstream media dislikes conservatives - and will continue to run their propaganda against us - we need to counter this by being nice to the mainstream media, move to the center-left, and then the media will not hammer us incessantly.

What a load of ________!

None of these 'experts' or 'brilliant' and 'non-partisan' media nimrods have the best interests of the country or the GOP in their advice.  These are the same idiots who not only routinely ignore the hypocrisy of the left - but embrace that hypocrisy.  As Powerline noted last week...
In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama criticized President Bush for being a partisan and running a permanent political campaign following his re-election in 2004:

Maybe peace would have broken out with a different kind of White House, one less committed to waging a perpetual campaign–a White House that would see a 51-48 victory as a call to humility and compromise rather than an irrefutable mandate.

The ironies are thick. Obama, too, was re-elected by a 51-48 margin, but certainly hasn’t seen that fact as a “call to humility and compromise,” nor has the Democratic Party. Moreover, Bush genuinely sought bipartisanship, and it is Obama who knows no higher calling than extreme partisanship...
This hypocrisy is fully embraced by not only President Barack Obama as he seeks to interact with the GOP in Congress, but also by the mainstream media who sees their primary responsibility is to 'influence and change the world' as opposed to dispassionately report on facts.

We see this plainly in the 'negotiations' over the first major fiscal cliff that we face about 40 days from now.

The President remains locked on demanding $1.6 trillion in new taxes over the next decade - on top of the nearly $3 trillion in new taxes from the 10% across the board tax increase that will take place on January 1, the near tripling of dividend taxes, the increase in capital gains and corporate taxes, and the collection of taxes being imposed to fund part of the Obamacare health insurance boondoggle.  It doesn't matter that these steps will plummet the country back into a recession (just like the Eurozone), or cost 700,000 to 1.5 million jobs.

No, we're hearing that Congressional Democrats are perfectly fine with running the country off this first major cliff.

We've got mental midgets like the Marxist thug in charge of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, who believe that the fiscal cliff is overstated.  Then there are the ideologues in Congress like Harry Reid, Patty Murray, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin - who see the only solution is higher taxes because only the government can adequately determine how and where to spend money and control the economy.

One has to wonder if we are watching the latest example of  'not letting a crisis go to waste' - even when one has to create a crisis.  Are they making the cold Alinsky-ite calculation that killing the national economy is just a necessary step in order to expand their agenda?  They obviously know quite well that their allies in the media will be writing incessant stories blaming the GOP for their stubbornness in 'compromising' which will be the 'official' reason we plummet off that cliff.

The Obama Administration, the Obama campaign, and the mainstream media worked overtime during this past political campaign to hide and diffuse the grim economic statistics brought on by the failure of the Obama / Progressive economic agenda.  They shamelessly cooked the books.  Minions of progressivism argued that Bush, who left office 4 years ago, was to blame for the dismal economy we now have - and that an 'evil capitalist' Mitt Romney would unleash such horrors on the American people as not having the government provide women with free contraceptives or taxpayer funded abortions on demand.

Investor's Business Daily lists out just some of the grim economic news that was withheld by the Obama Administration until after Election Day...
** Real average hourly earnings dropped again in October
** The number of poor people in America climbed 712,000 in 2011.
** Food stamp enrollment exploded by more than 420,000 in August.
** The number of new jobless claims shot up to 439,000 last week, up 78,000 from the week before
** We also learned that the annual inflation rate climbed to 2.2%
** Coal plants are closing
** Small banks are shutting down
Shamelessly, the WaPoo this weekend published their look at the Obama 'recovery' compared to the average recovery from a recession since the end of the Second World War...

That's a record that deserves reelection... doesn't it?

The Department of Homeland Security's US Citizenship and Immigration Services now has a new mission - being the primary gateway for new immigrants to access government benefit programs like food stamps, welfare, disability, Medicaid, etc....

Well, if they do as well as this mission as they do on their old primary mission of enforcing US immigration laws - perhaps the damage will not be that bad...

Speaking of mental midget union leaders, Frank Hurt, the President of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union whose arrogance just cost 18,500 employees of Hostess Brands, Inc their jobs as he drove the company off a cliff, is now embracing the delusional wish that whomever purchases the assets of Hostess Brands, Inc will hire his members and put them to work so they can drive another company off a cliff....
Frank Hurt, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union, told the WSJ he was comforted by the rush of consumers to purchase Twinkies and other products for fear the popular brands will go away.

“People are going crazy because they think they’re not going to be able to get any Twinkies or Ho Hos or Wonder Bread,” he told the WSJ. “They’ll be produced somewhere, some time and by our members.”
Would you rehire the same nimrods who forced their previous company into insolvency and liquidation?  I didn't think so.

The World Bank is now confirming that they are yet another multi-national non-government entity that has moved into the 'utterly irrelevant' category - joining other feckless entities like the United Nations and the Obama Jobs Council as they tout their latest fearmongering climate change report.

This 'report' warns that a simple 4 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures would likely trigger widespread crop failures and massive famine.  The only solution to prevent this catastrophe?  The immediate adoption of far left socialism / statism / progressivism that replaces capitalism - combined with massive government spending to 'fix' the climate and therefore 'end' climate change.

Not referenced in the report is that global warming / temperatures have not increased since 1997 or that the total temperature increase in the last century / 125 years has been a whopping 0.8 degrees Celsius.  Also not referenced is how embracing a political ideology will effect climate change, how wealth redistribution from Western nations to everyone else will effect climate change, or the effects of solar cycles on climate change.

Why let a few facts stand in the way, eh?  Can't let a crisis go to waste - even if the crisis has to be created.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Let’s recap….

9/11/12 – On the anniversary of the 9/11/01 al-Qaeda attack against the US, the US Consulate and an Annex compound in Benghazi, Libya is attacked over a nearly 8 hour timeframe starting at about 9:40pm local time. In the Consulate, the US Ambassador to Libya and a State Department employee are murdered by the attackers. Several Americans escape from that compound and under rifle and RPG fire from attackers, flee to the Annex compound. Not too long afterwards nearly 200 heavily armed terrorists attack the Annex compound under supporting mortar fire. Two Security officers man a machine gun on the roof of the Annex to defend the compound and call for airstrikes / assistance – even lasing the attacking mortar positions for precision munitions. They are killed after running out of ammunition and after covering the escape of others from the Annex compound whom fled to the Benghazi airport and the protection of a State Department rescue team held in position at that airport.

- No one ordered any rescue, relief, or support military missions to assist those in either of the compounds…. Yet these forces were within reach of the area and ready for orders.

- The State Department had live / real-time video and audio from both compounds during the attack.  An unarmed Predator drone circled overhead as well as communication with US personnel in both the Consulate and Annex compounds.

- Units / people in Libya, Italy, Germany, at sea in the Med, and in Washington DC knew of these contacts.

- The President was made aware of the attack – then went to bed prior to heading out from Washington DC to a Las Vegas campaign fundraiser.

- The Administration – White House and State Department – initially defined the attack as a public / popular demonstration against the US sparked by an obscure video hosted in June on You Tube that was ‘insulting’ to Islam – a demonstration that turned bad and resulted in the storming of the Consulate / Annex and the four deaths. This coincided with other demonstrations and violence against US Embassies in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Pakistan.

- Secretary of State made several high profile speeches / briefs for the press condemning the obscure video and its creator as the cause for the demonstrations and violence – asking for an end to the violence since the US government neither condoned or produced the video.

- The President and the Secretary of State participated in public service messages on Pakistani TV blaming the violence on the video and its creator and saying the US government had nothing to do with it.

- According to the father of one of the murdered security officers, the Secretary of State told him at the service marking the return of the murdered Americans to the US, that the US government would ensure that the creator of the video was going to be prosecuted for his role in igniting the violence (ie creating the video).

- The US Ambassador to the United Nations appears on all 6 major Sunday morning news programs to assert that that violence in Benghazi was a spontaneous popular demonstration against the US motivated by the obscure video that unfortunately turned violent. Denies all links to terrorism or the 9.11 anniversary.

- The President calls for a full investigation into the attack and the government’s response / handling of the attack.

- The President, appearing on ‘The View’ on Sept. 25th, continues to push the case that this was a demonstration motivated by an anti-Islam video on You Tube that unexpectedly turned bad – and that the investigation needs to continue to know details.

- State Department spokesperson stops answering questions – citing the on-going investigation.

- The White House stops answering questions – citing the on-going investigation.

- Mid-level State Department employees testify before Congress that the State Department knew during the attack that it was linked to terrorists. They also acknowledge that the murdered security officers had requested military assistance which was not authorized or provided. [Later we learned that Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods apparently killed 40-60 of the attackers as they made their last stand trying to defend the Annex compound as the attack took place over 2-3 hours.  They even had a laser target designator scoped in on the terrorists' mortars ready for a requested air strike to assist their defense of the Annex compound.]

- Memos and materials from the murdered US Ambassador to Libya, including materials recovered a week (plus) from the wreckage of the Consulate compound, show that the Ambassador had major concerns about a) security for the US facilities and people in Benghazi, b) requested additional security protection, c) noted that Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organizations, including an al-Qaeda affiliate are expanding their power and control over Benghazi, d) that the new Libyan government had lost effectiveness and control of the city, e) that the security for the US facilities was provided by a small British firm that depended entirely on unvetted local personnel, f) that the local security not only fled just prior to the attack, that members of the local security were busy in the days prior to the attack obtaining intelligence on the people and buildings in the US compounds, and g) and a dedicated security team for Tripoli and Benghazi were ordered out of the country by DC one month prior to the attack.

- In the wake of this information, and the State Department testimony, the ‘official’ description of the attack turned to be that it was a terrorist attack – but all references to being done by the local al-Qaeda surrogate continued to be scrubbed.

- The President and his campaign team began to press the terror attack meme – including the claim that the President called the attack a terror attack as early as his statement on the attack made on September 12th from the WH Rose Garden. This became a major issue in the 2nd Presidential debate – when the moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley substantiated the President’s claim during the debate – and disavowed the claim during a post-debate statement.

- Attention started to focus on why the message from 9/11/12 to 9/26/12 focused only on the meme of a demonstration accidentally turned violent – in particular the statements of the President and Susan Rice.

- The White House tosses the CIA under the bus – blaming the 2 weeks of incorrect messaging on the terror attack on incomplete and inconclusive intelligence from the CIA – despite the real-time communications / proof of the contrary from the State Department.

- CIA Director David Petraeus chafes at the CIA being blamed for the Administration’s effort to spin the 9/11 attack – and instructs his aides to provide a CIA developed timeline of what they knew and when. [As this is happening, the DoJ and FBI are investigating the CIA Director over his extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell. The relationship started in fall 2011 and didn’t end until sometime late summer 2012 or fall 2012. The investigation began in May 2012. According to the AG, FBI Director, and WH – the President was never told that his Director of the CIA was being investigated over the affair or misuse of classified information.]

- October 26, the CIA releases their timeline saying that they determined this was a terror attack from the start based on the evidence – including that evidence from the State Department. CBS News releases copies of the CIA briefing from the first week after the attack, used by Susan Rice for her comments to the press and American people, that does not reference terrorism or al-Qaeda.

- In the wake of the release of the CIA timeline, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, begins to express doubts about CIA Director David Pretraeus.

- On November 2nd, Clapper is briefed that the FBI has an active investigation underway into David Petraeus. [He claims he did not advise the President that the FBI is investigating the Director of the CIA.]

- CIA Director Petraeus is asked to testify before Congress on what he and the CIA knew and when. Pressure increases on Petraeus from the DNI to support the Administration’s story.

- When Petraeus refuses to play ball – the DNI tells the Director that the WH has lost faith / trust in him and that he needs to resign. Petraeus resigns, stating the affair as the reason, and it is accepted by President Obama on November 9th.

- During a Nov. 14 Presidential Press Conference, the President notes that a) US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice only spoke on the basis of the intelligence on what she was briefed – that the CIA didn’t see the attack as related to terrorists or al-Qaeda until much later, b) that Susan Rice made the appearances on the 6 Sunday news programs at the behest of the White House, and c) Susan Rice had nothing to do with Benghazi, the intelligence, or the determination of what happened. This raises questions as to why, if she had nothing to do with Benghazi, the US Ambassador to the UN was sent out as the Administration’s official spokesperson on the attack, and why was she told that there was no evidence of terrorist / al-Qaeda involvement when the State Department knew this as the attack took place.

- Former Director David Petraeus agrees to testify before Congress behind closed doors on Nov 16. On the 15th, the Wall Street Journal publishes a long story about the last days of Petraeus as the Director of the CIA and the confrontations between the Director, his aides, and the National Intelligence / National Security arm of the White House and their allies inside the CIA.

- During closed door testimony before Congress, Petraeus says that the he and the CIA determined almost as the attack was still on-going that the attack was a terror attack being conducted by an al-Qaeda surrogate timed for the Sept 11 anniversary. He also testified that the assessment / brief from the CIA sent to the WH / National Security Office stated this – and that someone unknown outside of the CIA altered the brief to remove all references to terrorism and al-Qaeda / AQ surrogates – as the brief cited by Susan Rice and the WH was not the brief sent by the CIA.

Beyond these facts – which continue to raise numerous questions about the WH / Administration, we also need to consider the following:

The Obama standard campaign stump made the following claims:

a) The Arab Spring was secular and pro-democracy – deposing dictators in numerous countries.

b) The US / NATO assistance for the Libyan revolution was based on humanitarian grounds and to support and protect the Libyan Arab Spring uprising that ultimately overthrew the Libyan dictator Qaddafi.

c) Democracy is expanding the Middle East because Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt held elections to form new governments.

d) The expansion / control of these new governments by Islamic fundamentalist / radical organizations is not a threat to the interests of the United States in the region.

e) Administration policies and actions against al-Qaeda, ranging from increased drone attacks to friendly outreach to Arab governments to killing the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, have reduced the reach, scope, and terror activities of not only al-Qaeda, but other Islamic fundamentalist jihadist groups. This is not only making the US safer, but the region / world safer.

In the midst of the President’s reelection campaign – a successful terrorist attack which murdered an US Ambassador (the first in 31 years) conducted in an increasingly jihadist / radical Islamic Benghazi by an affiliate of al-Qaeda – discredits the Obama campaign stump.

The knowledge that the Administration reduced security for the compounds - in the face of contrary evidence including numerous requests by the late US Ambassador to Libya would discredit the Obama campaign stump.

The knowledge that the Administration refused to dispatch military / security teams to rescue or assist Americans under terrorist attack in Benghazi would discredit the Obama campaign stump.

Blaming the attack on a demonstration unexpectedly turned violent would reduce the culpability of the Obama Administration in the failure to anticipate the attack, prevent the attack, or order rescue / support forces to the area [citing risk of ‘innocent civilian casualties’].

During the first Obama term – the FBI has scrubbed virtually all references to al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, and other jihadist organizations from their training manuals – replacing references to Islamic jihadists with ‘violent extremists’ as part of their institutional policy to not focus attention on ‘jihad’.

The only reason they Administration admitted it was a terror attack was because they could no longer hide the evidence / testimony of Executive Branch workers which stated that the attack was not a spontaneous demonstration sparked by an obscure anti-Islam video from three months earlier.

The reason the CIA information was ‘spun’ was to provide cover for the US Ambassador to the UN who was asked by the WH to become the ‘official’ WH spokesperson on the attack – and whom the President later told the American people ‘had nothing to do with Benghazi’ including the messaging. Questions still remain as to why the SecState, or some Dep. SecState, or National Security / DNI official did not make that ‘dog and pony show’ as the ‘official’ Administration spokesperson.

When pressed for additional information or to answer contradictions – the President has offered that he cannot say more because of the ‘ongoing investigation’.

And questions raised about Susan Rice’s selection / participation in the Administration’s messaging are now being called by Democrat members of Congress as ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ attempts to defame a senior African-American woman in the Obama Administration.

Does any of this raise any questions or concerns with you?

Quick Hits - November 16, 2012 - UPDATE #3 ADDED

After announcing the mobilization of 30,000 reservists yesterday, the Israeli Defense Minister has called for the additional mobilization of 75,000 more in the wake of continuing rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns launched by Hamas and other Islamic terror organizations in Gaza.  Yesterday, one major 'red line' of Israel was crossed as Hamas fired on the Israeli city of Tel Aviv - and earlier today, several long range missiles from Gaza struck Jerusalem - another 'red line' defined by the Israelis.

Today, the Egyptian Prime Minister visited Gaza - demonstrating 'solidarity' with the terrorist thugs who continue to pummel Israel with rockets - including those with warheads comparable to that of a 500 pound bomb.  Leading anti-Israeli groups and media outlets, including the BBC and the New York Times, are focusing their attention on the Israeli counter-fire against the hundreds of missiles being launched per day - with numerous propaganda photo-ops of Palestinian 'civilian' casualties while ignoring the toll of the Palestinian missiles which have killed 4 Israeli civilians and wounded well over one hundred.

Also lost within the biased reporting from the region - the common tactic of the Palestinian terror organizations of basing / hiding their missile batteries, launch sites, and missile storage facilities in extremely close proximity to civilian structures like schools, playgrounds, apartment flats, and mosques...

In the above photo released by the IDF - one major missile launch site was half a block away from a mosque and playground, in addition to a gas station and factories occupied by Palestinian workers.  It is a standard operating principle of Hamas and other terror organizations to use their own civilian population and civilian structures as shields in an effort to protect their terror operations against Israel.

With the continued escalations of Hamas and other groups in firing their missiles, it is more likely that this weekend will see a full-fledged invasion of Gaza by the IDF as the terror organizations continue to refuse to halt their constant rocket attacks on Israeli towns.

These actions make it perfectly clear that these organizations, and by extension the Palestinian leadership, has no interest in a peaceful resolution to the issues in the region or recognition of the Israeli right to exist.  They will continue to fire missiles and hide behind their own women, children, and the useful idiots of the mainstream media as they provoke retaliation.

Hostess Brands Inc is petitioning their bankruptcy judge for permission to close and liquidate the company as the 6,000 member strong Baker's Union, the company's second largest union, continues to strike and oppose a court approved plan to restructure the current union contracts to lower costs to the company in an effort to keep the company solvent, competitive, and operational.  Unlike the Teamsters, the company's largest union, the Baker's Union is opposing a plan to reduce wages and benefits over the next five years in exchange for a 25% equity stake in the company and an equal representation on the company's Board of Directors.  The union is claiming [unsubstantiated] that when they took a pay and benefit reduction during a previous trip into bankruptcy - the management rewarded themselves with massive pay increases and bonuses.

Because the Bakers Union is insisting on trying to get blood from a stone, and preventing the company from operating today, 18,500 employees are going to lose their job because of the intransigence of the Union leadership / membership.

The Teamsters, somewhat surprisingly, is laying the full blame on the decision to close the 82 year old company firmly at the feet of the Baker's Union - noting in their statement that the Baker's Union sandbagged  both company management and the Teamsters by walking out on strike as opposed to voting on the court approved resolution which was a major step to permit the company move beyond its bankruptcy filing.

Hot Air has some specifics on the deal that the leadership of the Baker's Union is refusing to accept - 
The proposed new labor deal consists of an immediate 8% wage cut and work rules more favorable to the company. Employer contributions for health insurance would decrease 17%. Hostess contributions to multi-employer pension plans would cease until 2015, at which point the current required level of funding would plummet from $100 million to $25 million. According to Rayburn, the proposal has been endorsed by Hostess’s key secured lenders, which are led by hedge funds Silver Point Capital and Monarch Alternative Capital. One estimate put cost savings for Hostess in the neighborhood of $200 million.

For their part, the unions would receive two seats on a restructured nine-member board of directors and 25% of equity. That would make the unions part of Hostess’ capital structure for the first time.
The stupidity of the union leadership is just unfathomable.  Rather than accept a reduction in wages and benefits in exchange for roughly an equal equity stake in the organization, the unions would prefer 0% wages, 0% benefits, and 0% equity stake not only for themselves, but the other 2/3rds of the company's employees.

Since the progressives like to harp on 'fairness' as their mantra - here's my recommendation for 'fairness' regarding the decision by the clueless nimrods of the Baker's Union:

If you are a member of the Baker's Union at Hostess Brands, you are not entitled to ANY PUBLIC ASSISTANCE in ANY FORM.  No unemployment.  No food stamps.  No welfare.  No job transition training.  NOTHING.  Meanwhile, all of the others at Hostess Brands who lose their jobs get all of the public assistance that they are entitled to.

These safety net programs are designed and intended for those who lose their jobs from no fault of themselves.  But if your own greed, arrogance, stupidity, and intransigence is such that you cost yourself your job - then you get bupkis.  Decisions have ramifications people.  Live the ramifications of your assinine decision - and the knowledge that you not only effed yourself over - but 12,500 of your fellow employees.

Now, Hostess Brands will become the latest example of what is wrong with unions- and their unwillingness to partner with anyone to save a company already in bankruptcy and trying to claw their way out.

Earlier this morning, David Petraeus testified before the House of Representatives on the Benghazi terror attack, the timeline, the causation of the attacks, and the Administration's deliberately confusing and misleading communication regarding the attack as they spun the meme for political expediency.

Key around the testimony are the spinning of the Administration around the terror attack which killed four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya.

Despite real-time video and radio communications from the US Consulate and Annex facilities during the attack which clearly show that the attack was not a spontaneous demonstration sparked by an obscure You Tube video that turned violent - the primary message of the Obama Administration for two weeks after the attack was that this was a spontaneous demonstration sparked by a video on You Tube seen by some to be anti-Islam.

Messages from the President, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and infamously, the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice to half a dozen Sunday news programs, all stressed that the attack was not a terror attack and the result of a demonstration sparked by the obscure video.  Only when more detailed information and testimony before Congress took place in mid to late October did the real truth become fully known - that the  attack was a deliberate terror attack on the anniversary of 9/11 launched by an affiliate / surrogate of al-Qaeda which had been expanding its power and influence in Benghazi since the end of the Libyan revolution.

But even as the President, who on September 25th told the viewers of the ABC program, The View, the spin that this was a demonstration sparked by the video, he reversed course three weeks later in the second debate when he contended he 'correctly' called the attack a terror attack on Sept. 12th from the Rose Garden.  He never called it a terror attack until the evidence that it was became public and could no longer be spun by the Administration.

I've long contended that the President and Administration were lying about the terror attack from the start for the reason of pure political expediency.  At that time, the President's standard campaign stump speech focused on the 'positive nature' of the Arab Spring replacing Arab dictators, 'establishing democracy' in the region, and the success of the President's policies in reducing Islamic terror and putting al-Qaeda 'on the run'.

All of this would implode under the reality of the circumstance - where the Arab Spring replaced secular dictators with radical Islamic fundamentalists who hold the US and the West as their primary enemy, where 'democracy' is a joke, and where al-Qaeda is being resurgent in the region and increasing its violence against the US / West.

In yesterday's QH, I detailed what we have learned since the resignation of David Petraeus - and the information / timeline that the his resignation had more to do with his decisions to not provide CIA cover for the Administration's efforts to lie to the American people for political expediency.  The fawning and feckless mainstream media is ignoring their responsibility to question the President and other Administration officials on the obvious discrepancies in the Administration's spin.  As the President himself noted to the silence of the press, Ambassador Susan Rice was selected by the White House to spin her story to the American people even though 'she had nothing to do with Benghazi'.

The 'excuse' offered for Ambassador Rice's pathetic spin was that she spoke based on the current and best intelligence the Administration had from the CIA that the Benghazi attack was a demonstration sparked by the You Tube video that spontaneously turned violent.  CBS News highlighted the CIA talking points earlier this week - as the Administration sought to toss the CIA under the bus to protect itself.

As Director of the CIA, David Petraeus, strongly opposed the tossing of the CIA under the bus when State Department officials had already testified that it was known DURING the 8 hour long attack that it was a terror attack launched by an al-Qaeda affiliate.  This opposition brought him into conflict with the incompetent Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who is not only a loyal political minion of Barack Obama, but known best for calling the Muslim Brotherhood a 'largely secular institution' during the Egyptian Arab Spring.

Now out of his position as the Director of the CIA, and with little left to lose, David Petraeus testified behind closed doors today.  In his testimony, according to statements from members of Congress at the hearings, he stressed two primary points.

First, he testified that he believed from the first that the Benghazi attack was a deliberate terror attack planned against the Consulate and Annex facilities timed for the anniversary of 9/11.  Not only was this a deliberate terror attack, but al-Qaeda was ultimately behind the terror attack as an al-Qaeda affiliate / surrogate conducted the attack.

Petraeus noted that the initial attack on the Consulate was more disjointed and uncoordinated than the later attack on the heavily defended Annex which included heavy weapons (mortars).  One possible explanation for the lack of coordination on the earlier attack was that the attackers met far less resistance than expected and were unprepared to easily breach the main residence and key outbuildings - needing time to organize themselves as to what they would do.

The second major point is that the initial CIA talking points / assessment of the attack as provided for briefing other Administration officials - like Ambassador Susan Rice - differed significantly from the talking points that were later released and claimed by Ambassador Rice and others to be basis of their comments.  The initial assessment referenced terror and al-Qaeda - but someone within the Administration or CIA 'altered' the talking points to fit the political message the Administration was pushing.

The alteration of intelligence determinations to fit a political agenda / viewpoint is not unknown.  Democrats accused the Bush Administration of doing this repeatedly throughout 2002-2008.  But while there was / is no concrete evidence of this being done - we do have evidence of 'shadow warriors' within the CIA selectively leaking / preparing materials intended to politically embarrass the Bush Administration.  Therefore, it is not much of a surprise that another of these 'shadow warriors' or politically motivated operatives buried within the CIA would alter the initial CIA assessment of Benghazi so that it would match the politically expedient message of the Obama White House as it was deep within an election campaign.

David Petraeus said that he does not know who within the chain of command who was working on the CIA assessment made the change - but was adamant that the Administration altered the talking points to fit the preconceived meme of a video sparked demonstration that spontaneously turned violent.

This is a major point - and reflects yet another callous and arrogant decision by the Administration to embark on a politically motivated CYA to hide their incompetence, fecklessness, and agenda despite the cost in lies.

Fast and Furious is the DoJ program to 'justify' increased gun controls resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths from the weapons that the DoJ gave Mexican Drug Cartels.  When exposed, the Administration embarked on a massive cover-up to hide the details about this feckless program and protect key Administration members.

Now we have a similar undertaking with regards to the Benghazi terror attack, and the refusal of the Administration to do it could to protect / rescue American lives because to do so would expose the naive and incompetent Administration policies towards the Middle East and terrorism.

We now know that the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, was selected by the White House to lie to the American people because they knew she would be a loyal political operative and do so.  We also know that the White House / Administration altered determinations by the CIA around the cause of the attack in order to protect the political expediency of the Administration.

Unlike Watergate, the massive cover-up by the Nixon Administration undertaken to protect President Nixon, people died because of the machinations of the Obama Administration in Fast and Furious and Benghazi.  Members of the Obama Administration lied in order to protect their responsibility and accountability around those deaths - proving once again how laughable it is to believe this is the 'most ethical and transparent' Administration ever.

For this, we have to hold the President fully accountable as he dared us to do in his press conference earlier this week.  And if the President is so arrogant as to nominate Susan Rice to replace the outgoing Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, we owe it to the four dead Americans to oppose her confirmation as Secretary of State.  We need a diplomat in that role - not a partisan political hack.

Update I - Unsurprisingly, pathetic wankers like the third highest ranking Democrat in the House, James Clyburn, and other House Democrats are wasting little time playing the race card against those who want to hold Susan Rice accountable for her willingness to shill and lie to the American people.  No one is going after Rice because she is an African-American woman.  We are going after Rice because she shilled for the Administration and lied to the American people in order to promote the politically expedient spin of the Administration.  Her race and gender has nothing to do with it.  It's her lack of judgment and ethics.  We do not need a political dupe in the role of either SecState or US Ambassador to the UN - but that seems to be the requirement of the Obama Administration - that all senior officials need to be political dupes first and foremost.

Playing the race card in this manner only highlights that those who do play this card are reprehensible scoundrels - and that we are on the right path in our investigation and affixing accountability and responsibility.

Update II - In an interview between Fox News Megyn Kelly and Congressman Peter King, the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, the initial CIA talking points / assessment left Langley (the CIA Headquarters) containing the conclusion that the attack was a deliberate terror attack.  At some point outside of the CIA - when the material was in the control of the Administration / White House (National Security office / State Department / White House proper), the references to the attack being a terror attack conducted by an al-Qaeda surrogate were removed.  This places even stronger blame on Barack Obama and his Administration for their efforts to lie to the American people and mask their accountability / responsibility in the deaths of four Americans all in the name of selfish political expediency.

Update III - While several Democrat's, including California Representative Adam Schiff have rushed out to counter the testimony of David Petraeus by denying the former CIA Director testified behind closed doors that the CIA assessment had been altered once it was received by the White House - more information comes out to confirm this from a separate House Intelligence Committee briefing by Director National Intelligence James Clapper and acting CIA Director Mike Morell:
Fox News was told that neither Clapper nor Morell knew for sure who finalized [the talking points the White House initially relief on]. And they could not explain why they minimized the role of a regional Al Qaeda branch as well as the militant Ansar al-Sharia despite evidence of their involvement.
Could not explain why they minimized the role of a regional al Qaeda branch despite evidence of AQIM's involvement....

Let that sink in for a minute. 

How hard can it be to make this determination?  It's about as hard as determining who gave the orders to NOT send relief forces to rescue the two security personnel trapped on the roof of the Annex and under heavy attack by the regional al-Qaeda branch. Someone has to give a 'Go' order - someone has to give a 'Do Not Go' order.

Someone, in or around the White House, is actively working to not only write al-Qaeda out of the Benghazi attack, but lie to all of us about the utter fecklessness and failures of the Obama Administration ranging from their observations and assessments of the region to their incompetence / unwillingness to protect American lives - finding that protection is less necessary than providing political cover for the President and his agenda / campaign talking points.

Someone is clearly lying here [not to mention in full on CYA mode] - and it doesn't appear to be David Petraeus or the Congressional Republicans who are asking for public hearings on the decisions and actions of the Administration.  Hearings only threaten the incompetent and guilty.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Quick Hits - November 15, 2012

The simmering conflict against Israel being conducted by Hamas has escalated to high in the wake of the IDF attacks in Gaza to counter the regular missile and rocket fire from the region into Israeli cities and towns.

Since midnight, Hamas has launched over 300 missiles - including one which hit the suburbs of Tel Aviv - in their response to the IDF counter-strike yesterday over the 100+ missiles fired in the previous 5 days at Israeli targets.  These strikes have killed 3 Israeli civilians.  The counter-strike killed the top military commander for Hamas.

Unsurprisingly, the usual anti-Israeli collection idiots has taken to condemning Israel.  Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is planning major demonstrations against Israel as the Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, is planning a supportive visit to Gaza.  Here in the United States - we have the useful idiots of Code Pink demonstrating against Israel and calling Prime Minister Netanyahu a 'war criminal' who is conducting 'genocide'.

But the best example of the fecklessness of the anti-Israeli morons comes from the New York Times who put their bias in plain view in the lede of their story on the escalating conflict....
Israel on Wednesday launched the most ferocious assault on Gaza in four years after persistent Palestinian rocket fire, hitting at least 20 targets in aerial attacks that killed the top military commander of Hamas, damaged Israel’s fragile relations with Egypt and escalated the risks of a new war in the Middle East.
[Bold added]

How dare those Israeli's defend themselves from 'persistent Palestinian rocket fire'.

The Hill's special team of Obama sycophants bring us another comedic classic in the guise of a 'news article' as they write their summary of the President's press conference yesterday -
'Obama gives no hint if he will lean to center or left during the second term'
One has to wonder just how effin' clueless these two nimrods really really are.  Did they miss the latest 'I Won' statement made by the President during the press conference when asked about taxes and the fiscal cliff?  Blogger JammieWearingFool brings the snark against the clueless Niall Stanage and Amie Parnes in his post...
Let’s see: The most radical leftist we’ve ever had in the White House gets re-elected and knows he has cadre of subservient media lapdogs to do his bidding. He’s calling for a massive tax increase, promoting a junk science agenda and plans to promote an incompetent hack as Secretary of State. He plays the class warfare card at every opportunity and we’ve never seen a president work so hard at dividing Americans. But other than that, nobody has any idea if he’ll be “leaning” left.
These feckless hacks work harder spinning the President's agenda than Robert Gibbs, David Axelrod, and Stephanie Cutter - and are the poster children for just a small part of what is wrong with journalism profession today.

Providing evidence that we have a similar problem within the field of college education - we have the sycophantic fawning over 'The One' by a college professor who is busy collecting an undeserved paycheck from Florida A&M University as she shills in a book she wrote that...
'Obama is an apostle sent by God himself to create 'Heaven on Earth''
Yes, Barack had worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people, especially those who elected him in 2008. His followers needed to re-elect him to a second term, so that he could continue to accomplish the promises he made, thus, realizing his vision of America as a more perfect political union or “heaven here on earth.”

Then, as I began to contemplate ways to assist Barack in his 2012 re-election bid something miraculous happened. I felt God’s (His) Spirit beckoning me in my dreams at night. Listening, cautiously, I learned that Jesus walked the earth to create a more civilized society, Martin (Luther King) walked the earth to create a more justified society, but, Apostle Barack, the name he was called in my dreams, would walk the earth to create a more equalized society, for the middle class and working poor. Apostle Barack, the next young leader with a new cause, had been taken to the mountaintop and allowed to see over the other side. He had the answers to unlock the kingdom of “heaven here on earth” for his followers. The answers were repeated – over and over – in speeches Barack had made from his presidential announcement to his inaugural address. Those speeches or his teachings contained the answers to the middle class and working poor people living in a “heaven here on earth.” For when the answers were unlocked and enacted, Apostle Barack’s vision of America would be realized.
No wonder so many of those under 30 believe in the Marxist-Socialist-Progressive utopian vision.  Between the media and education professionals - they are subject to non-stop fawning propaganda over this morally, ethically, and fiscally bankrupt agenda.  [More on this subject later....]

During the President's hour long press conference, his first in 8 months, where he took 7 softball questions and 1 tough one, the President spoke at length regarding the fiscal cliff, negotiations with the GOP led House, and taxes.  He wasted little time demolishing his campaign promise that he would be willing to work towards a compromise with leading Congressional Republicans - reminding all present that 'I Won' last week - and that, according to exit polls, more people support his tax and economic vision than the GOP tax and economic vision.  [At least the President waited until Feb 2009 before tossing down the 'I Won' gauntlet after his first electoral victory- here he couldn't wait more than 8 days to gloat and toss the gauntlet.]

President Obama also admonished the GOP plan saying that their 'math' doesn't work when it comes to addressing the effects of massive overspending and the unprecedented increases of the national debt over the past four years.

But what's clear in the President's pontifications is that if someone's math isn't working - it's the math of the President and his uber-progressive agenda based around higher taxes, continued spending growth, and class warfare.

The liberal Tax Policy Center, which the President repeatedly touted during his campaign, said in an October 17, 2012 report that their analysis of one key aspect of the Romney / Ryan plan to cap itemized deductions would generate significant additional revenues for the Federal Government.  They found that if itemized deductions were capped for the 'wealthy' at $50,000 - over the next decade, $749 billion in additional revenues would be received.  If the cap was set lower, at $25,000, we would realize $1.286 trillion in additional revenues over the next 10 years.  Finally, if the cap was set at the level that Mitt Romney suggested at one point, $17,000, the Federal Government would receive an additional $1.747 trillion in revenues.

Barack Obama is making the case that the best and first solution would be to expire the 2001-3 tax reduction for the 'wealthy' (earning more than $200K individually, $250K families) - increasing their income rate by 10% - even though this would, in a best case and assuming the higher tax rate would not have a negative impact on the economy - only produce $823 billion in additional revenues over the next 10 years.

That's just $82.3 billion per year - a fraction of last year's $1.1 trillion budget deficit or the projected $1.4-$1.5 trillion FY2013 deficit.  So much for taxing the rich in order to reduce the deficit.

So, which plan would actually do more (and at less risk of damaging the economy) to raise additional revenues for the Federal Government?  Clearly, capping the maximum itemized deductions available to the 'wealthy' would do more towards addressing the growing debt issue - but this doesn't have the social / political cache of hiking the top tax rates for the 'rich'.

But what should be even more of a red flag for all of us is that even this step does very little to address the current size and scope of our deficit.  That is simply because we don't have a revenue problem - but a spending problem.  Short of massive across the board tax increases and tax changes - impacting every single American - there isn't enough money, income, or assets among the wealthy to cover the levels of fiscal irresponsibility the President and his supporters have made the new 'normal'.

The President really doesn't care about the fiscal cliff or the impact on the economy.  His primary interest is on his agenda and his legacy.  He no longer has to worry about voter accountability.

Which is probably one of the reasons that the bulk of the sycophants in the mainstream media are not talking about today's dismal new jobless claims numbers which shot up to an 18-month high - 439,000 - well above the expectations of a number around 375,000.  Last week's numbers were also revised upwards by 2%, to 361,000.

As we look at this agenda, let's look across the pond to Europe where they have spent most of the last half century embracing the same agenda - albeit at a smaller scale.  The Eurozone, in the 3rd Quarter of 2012, has fallen back into recession - and anti-austerity demonstrations in Spain, Portugal, and Greece have turned violent in the last several days.  Greece is running out of cash - and has failed to hit any of their economic targets.  Will they get yet another traunche of cash - or a needed 3rd bailout from the EU / ECB?  Or are we  finally looking at their default as they run out of road to kick the can down?

Despite the bleatings of the Marxist union thug leading the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, who claims that the 'fiscal cliff' is just a 'manufactured crisis' that does not really exist - we are facing not only the cliff but another recession in early 2013.

Dogmatic ideologues like many who lead or are members in today's unions refuse to see that despite their fanaticism and beliefs, economic laws, like those of physics, do not change based on the votes of the people.     Hostess Brands, Inc, the company that is responsible for producing 'Wonder' bread and the 'Hostess Twinkie' announced yesterday that they are asking a bankruptcy judge to allow the company to close and liquidate in response to a union worker strike that has shuttered a number of key production locations.  They are saying that they cannot afford the union demands regarding salary and benefits and remain in business.

This isn't unique for the private sector either - as features an article as to 'How Public Sector Unions bankrupted San Bernandino, California.'

And don't doubt that unions have a major role behind the United States Postal Service's record breaking $15.9 billion loss this year.

The House released a 97 page report based on their investigation of the failure of MF Global and the loss of $1.6 billion in client funds - laying the bulk of the blame on the former Chairman / CEO of MF Global, Jon Corzine.  The report terms the collapse of the firm 'avoidable' and point to Corzine's authoritative rule and his incredibly bad bets / excessive control on the trading of the company which generate the huge losses which drove the company into insolvency.  Corzine, a former NJ Governor, NJ Senator, Obama campaign bundler, and Goldman-Sach's Chief Exec, is still yet to be charged for his malfeasance which cost clients of MF Global $1.6 billion.  He should have had his perp walk months ago.

Hearings will take place today and tomorrow in both the House and Senate regarding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the US Consulate and its Annex in Benghazi, Libya which resulted in the murder of 4 of Americans.  Among those testifying will be the outgoing Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and former CIA Director David Petraeus who resigned late last week.

The Administration has been actively lying about the Benghazi terror attack - and is continuing to do so as they prance around trying to spin their fecklessness and incompetence regarding the attack and subsequent efforts around pre-election political cover.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting insight into CIA Director Petraeus's last days which raise more questions around the dishonest actions of the Administration to spin not only the political fallout from the terror attack, but the failure of the Administration's policies in Libya and their apparent abandonment of at least 2 of the 4 killed during the 8 hour long attack.

During his final days as the Director of the CIA, David Petraeus saw his relationship with the chiefs of other US intell / security agencies and the National Intelligence Director, James Clapper, turn extremely contentious over the issue around the CIA breaking it's silence on the Benghazi attack and subsequent messaging in order to counter the criticism being leveled at the Agency and Petraeus.

The Agency was chafing at the decision by the White House / Administration to blame the nearly two weeks of messaging that the attack was nothing more than a demonstration that accidently turned violent over an obscure You Tube video placed on the internet in June that was seen as insulting to Islam on bad intelligence from the CIA - and that not until more information was received did the WH / Admin know this was a deliberate terror attack timed for the 9/11 anniversary.

Director Petraeus and his aides at the CIA wanted to push back hard at this message and release it's own timeline of the September 11 attack as well as what it knew when.  DNI James Clapper wanted Petraeus to remain silent - but Petraeus ordered his aides to proceed.  All of this started around October 26th, when the CIA released their own timeline - and culminated in Clapper telling David Petraeus on November 7th 'that the right thing to do would be to step down'.  The Director would resign on the 8th, which President Obama would accept and announce on the 9th.

But the official reason given for the Director's resignation is the effects and knowledge of the extramartial affair between David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell that took place between November 2011 and the early summer of 2012 -with Clapper's spokespeople saying quite clearly that the resignation had nothing to do with the CIA explaining its role during the Benghazi terror attack and messaging afterwards which raised more questions.

As I noted yesterday, one of the challenges about lying is that one is then committed to telling the same lie in exactly the same manner going forward if they hope to keep the fact that it is all a lie hidden.  Lies which beget new questions only point out the fact that someone is lying.  That remains the real issue here (as it did in Watergate, or does with the Fast and Furious scandal).

If the CIA, as their original timeline and via the testimony of David Petraeus to Congress on September 15th,  was telling the truth that the Benghazi attack was from a demonstration sparked by the You Tube video and not a terror attack - why did President Barack Obama define it as a terror attack from the Rose Garden on September 12th as he famously contended in the 2nd Presidential debate?

This is no different from the question we asked yesterday regarding the President's statement about US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice's appearance across half a dozen Sunday talk shows making the same claim - and the President's assertion that she only made the appearances at the request of the White House and had no 'real role' regarding Benghazi.  If no 'real role' - then why send out Ambassador Rice?

What is now coming out in the wake of the resignation of Director Petraeus is that the White House / National Intell apparatus / CIA allies of the WH are now attacking the management and leadership style of David Petraeus during his tenure leading the CIA - opening a new front to discredit David Petraeus prior to his Congressional testimony which could reflect a less than kindly view on the actions of the Administration over Benghazi.

We're seeing that his 14 month tenure was marked with real challenges behind the scenes as few close to the President trusted or supported David Petraeus as he was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  This is a common reaction within a hierarchy that is focused on control of all things - in particular control of the messaging and protecting the President - and someone who is seen as being a challenge to control.

Adding to this being the real reason behind pushing Petraeus out - and the ongoing efforts to discredit his tenure in the event that Petraeus retaliates against the Administration tomorrow - DNI James Clapper was told on November 2nd about the months long FBI / DoJ investigation into David Petraeus and his affair with Paula Broadwell.  This is 5 full days before Clapper told Petraeus that he needed to resign.  Looking at the timing, it seems far more plausible that the request had less to do with the affair / investigation and far more with the growing efforts of Petraeus and his CIA aides to not let the Administration toss him and his Agency under the bus regarding the Administration's lies about Benghazi.

Which brings us to another question that we need to ask / get answered -  Is it believable that the President of the United States was not notified by either the Director of the FBI or the Attorney General that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency was currently under FBI investigation?  After all, even the DNI was told about this on November 2nd - prior to Election Day.  Didn't even the DNI mention this to the President on the basis of the national security risk?

In addition to being a entity that promotes the political control of information - the Obama Administration, from the top down and throughout the highest levels of the Executive Branch, appear to embrace a very strong practice of compartmentalization of key agenda items and initiatives.

It's as if it is designed to provide not only plausible deniability for Barack Obama and his closest advisers, but also provide legal and political protection for those times that their actions and agenda ignite a scandal - like the politicization of the DoJ, Fast and Furious, Solyndra and Crony Capitalism, DHS counter-terrorism failures, State Department policy failures, EPA, Dept of Interior, and etc.

If someone appears to move out from that CYA mode - then they become a nail and the rest of the Administration becomes the hammer.  And that is what is appearing is happening to David Petraeus - with the sycophants in the media now focusing on the sensationalism of the affairs / relationships as opposed to the malfeasance of the Obama Administration.

It's going to be a very long 4 years....