Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quick Hits - November 14, 2012

The Middle East is continuing to be a major contention point for President Barack Obama's foreign policy initiatives.  The reality of the situation in the region seems to be considerably different from the spin that is being offered by President Barack Obama, SecState Clinton, UN Ambassador Rice, and elements of the State Department / Defense Department.   On top of this, there remains many questions, still unaddressed and unanswered, regarding the Administrations actions over the 'Arab Spring', the Benghazi terror attack, the rush to remove combat forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, the carnage of Syria, and the actions of Iran - including their attack on a US drone flying over international waters that was withheld from the US people until after last week's Presidential election.

Adding to the challenges that the American people are facing to get a factual story on the terror attack conducted on September 11 against the US consulate in Benghazi which resulted in the murder of US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, Diplomat Sean Smith, and Security Personnel Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, we have the latest diversion - the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus related to an inappropriate relationship and questions about his testimony to Congress over the terror attack.

The President and his Administration remains challenged with trying to answer the questions about not only their lack of response to the nearly 8 hour long terror attack on the two US facilities in Benghazi, Libya by an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist organization, but with nearly two weeks of messaging that blamed the attacks on an obscure You Tube video released nearly three months earlier as opposed to islamic terrorists affiliated with a resurging al-Qaeda.

In today's press conference, the first in 8 months by the President, he referenced that US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, appeared on half a dozen Sunday talk programs pressing the attack was the result of demonstrators angered by the You Tube video - and not a deliberate terror attack conducted on the anniversary of the 9/11/01 terror attack - at the specific request of the White House.  President Obama also noted that the Ambassador commented based on her / current intelligence information - despite the fact that we know today that before the attack was over, the CIA and other Administration elements had termed the attack a deliberate terror attack.

Falling back on his standard use of strawmen to deflect from the truth, the President also pushed back against the press and members of the Senate, specifically John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who are trying to take not only the Administration, but Ambassador Susan Rice, to task for not only not authorizing a military rescue while the attack was underway, but also lying to the American people about the nature of the attack.

Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist, is looking at the Administrations actions (and lies) around this combined with the 5 months long investigation by the DoJ / FBI into CIA Director David Petraeus, and believes that the Administration has been using the investigation, only publicly released last Friday when Petraeus resigned, as leverage over the CIA Director to ensure that his testimony to Congress over the Benghazi terror attack would provide favorable cover for the Administration's lies and cover-up.

Lost within the sensationalized coverage of David Petraeus / Paula Broadwell and months of lies, obfuscations, and spin on Benghazi, are two other major flash points in the region.  One of these remains the continued carnage in Syria perpetrated by the dictator Bashir al-Assad against not only his own people, but which is expanding to impact Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel.  Syrian air force and artillery units continue to fire into Syrian refugee areas in Turkey - while over the past weekend, Syrian artillery fire hit Israeli occupied Golan Heights prompting Israel's first military strikes in the region in decades.

As this escalation is taking place, the radical Islamist organization Hamas, which refuses to accept the right of Israel to exist, has spent the last five days firing dozens of missiles each day from Gaza into nearby Israeli towns.  During this period of time over 100 missiles were fired targeting Israeli civilians - which ultimately prompted the Israeli Defense Forces to undertake a surgical strike into Gaza earlier today...

...killing Ahmed Jabari, the top Hamas military commander, and one of Israel's most wanted terrorists.

The killing of Jabari has Hamas declaring war on Israel (how can one declare war when they are already at war with Israel?) and other islamic terrorist groups operating from Gaza calling for revenge and terror strikes on Israel.

What makes this even more of a concern is the new Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt and that country's Islamist dominated government.  Will they use this as a pretense to support terror actions against Israel or end the current peace treaty between Israel and Egypt?

Unfortunately, the domestic fiscal situation is not improving either.  Not only are we looking at a 5th consecutive year of annual budget deficits exceeding $1 trillion, but last month's deficit, $120 billion, is up 22% from the October 2011 monthly deficit - which set the pace for last year's $1.1 trillion deficit.

Little of this was discussed during the questions in todays's presser on the domestic fiscal challenges - as the entire focus was on both the fiscal cliff the nation faces on January 1, 2013 and the President's latest demand for new revenues - ie taxes - that are needed to address the deficit, debt, and fiscal cliff.

Just so we are on the same page - here's a graphic that highlights the impacts of the fiscal cliff....

In his proposal to prevent the country from rushing over this fiscal cliff, the President has laid out his demands that House Republicans will have to meet in order to get a deal.  Key within the President's demands are not only the insistence that the 'wealthy', those earning more than $200,000 annually for individuals and $250,000 annually for families, would have to pay at least 10% higher taxes than they currently do, but that additional individual and corporate taxes would have to be increased in order to generate $1.6 trillion in new revenues over the next decade.

This is a major change by the President - and is effectively tossing the gauntlet at the GOP at the 11th hour.

During negotiations late in 2011, a deal was apparently reached between the President, House Speaker John Boehner, and Senate Democrats where in return for about $2.4 trillion in additional spending reductions over the next decade, the House GOP would accept $800 billion in new taxes.  At the 11th hour, the deal was scuttled when President Obama reneged on the $800 billion in new taxes and demanded that the Speaker accept an additional $400 billion in new taxes.  John Boehner rejected the additional demand.

In the spring of 2012, when the President submitted his proposed FY2013 budget, he pushed for $1.6 trillion in additional taxes along with substantially lower spending cuts - particularly on discretionary domestic programs and entitlements (they focused primarily on National Security spending).  This budget was so untenable, that it failed to garner a single vote of support in either the House (0-417) and Senate (0-97).

Now the President seeks to pick up the last minute negotiations to prevent rushing over the cliff by demanding double the new taxes he did last fall - showing clearly what his priority is.  As Ace of Spades notes - during the summer, the President campaigned for reelection promising the American people that he would support $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in new taxes.

During the debates, the President changed his promise, now saying that he would accept $2.50 in spending cuts for every $1 in new taxes.

Now, post election, and believing he has a 'mandate', the President is arguing for $3 in new taxes for every $1 in spending cuts - something that will not only continue to damage the national economy - but ultimately bring us to a fiscal cliff that makes January's cliff appear tiny....

... as he proposes hiking welfare spending another 30% over the next four years.  [Talk about buying not only this past election - but setting the stage to buy the next election as well.]

Combine these actions along with the recommendations by clueless leading Democrats like Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Patty Murray, that we should go over the cliff in order to create a crisis that would provide the progressives with a stronger negotiating position to increase spending and taxes, and we have not only a very real possibility of a 2013 recession, but a country will continue to economically stagnate for the next four years as it emulates California, Illinois, New York, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and France.

Despite California's fiscal challenges - and the growing exodus of the middle class and businesses from the state, today is the first day that the state begins to fully enact AB32 - the state's Cap and Trade controls targeting businesses in the name of climate control.  These steps will significantly increases costs for businesses and consumers in order to attempt to address, at a state level, the alleged threat of man-made global warming / climate change.

Among the negative impacts, raising California's already near highest in the nation's energy costs to businesses and consumers by at least a third.

While cap and trade did fail during the President's first term, reading between the lines of the President's comments on climate change / global warming (and his touting of false data on temperatures and ice), it is very likely that cap and trade will be enacted via Executive Branch fiat during his 2nd term.

Maine's new Senator, Angus King, a very liberal 'Independent', has surprised no one when he committed earlier today to caucusing with the Democrats in the Senate.  This gives the Senate Democrat caucus 55 seats - still 5 below the 60 votes needed for cloture / ending a filibuster.

Few questions are being asked, as is standard, by the mainstream media over a number of significant discrepancies that are being uncovered over last week's election.  Voter fraud is something the progressive left will continue to tell us does not exist - except when there is an ID requirement for voters as that, according to them, represents voter suppressions and discrimination.

Among the issues that are not being looked into - continued reports of key precincts / areas in battleground states where the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters for those precincts / areas.  Nor does anyone think investigations are needed in 59 voting divisions in Philadelphia where Barack Obama outscored Mitt Romney 19,605 votes to Zero votes.  Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice already set the precedent in 2008 that the New Black Panther Party, and African-Americans, could not commit voter intimidation on whites - so there is little that can be done for the NBPP doing the same in a number of Philadelphia polling places last week.

Does it bother anyone that there is no rush to count 307,000 absentee and provisional votes in Ohio - which the press told us Barack Obama won by 107,000 votes last Tuesday?

Or, finally, does it bother anyone that yet again, the policies of the Democrat Party is to disenfranchise our military voters?

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