Drones for Yemen

September 30, 2012

This strikes me as a very bad idea:

Amid a series of controversial U.S. air strikes against high-level Al-Qaeda officials in the Arabian Peninsula, and renewed military cooperation with Yemen, officials in Sanaa are now expecting to get a supply of weaponry from the Pentagon, including four of their own UAVs.

An anonymous Yemeni defense official, who was not authorized to speak with the press, tells Aviation Week that Yemen is receiving four AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven UAVs. The 1.9-kg Raven is equipped with sensors for target acquisition, and infrared cameras capable of displaying persons carrying weapons.

The Yemeni government is riddled with Jihadists, and we’re sending them drones?

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The Chicago Way

September 29, 2012

The Obama administration doesn’t want layoff notices to go out before the election, whatever the law might say:

The Labor Department issued guidance in July saying it would be “inappropriate” for contractors to issue notices of potential layoffs tied to sequestration cuts. But a few contractors, most notably Lockheed Martin, said they still were considering whether to issue the notices — which would be sent out just days before the November election.

But the Friday guidance from the Office of Management and Budget raised the stakes in the dispute, telling contractors that they would be compensated for legal costs if layoffs occur due to contract cancellations under sequestration — but only if the contractors follow the Labor guidance. . .

Senate Republicans, who accused the White House of trying to hide job losses after the first guidance, said Friday that the new OMB statement “puts politics ahead of American workers.”

“The Obama Administration is cynically trying to skirt the WARN Act to keep the American people in the dark about this looming national security and fiscal crisis . . . The president should insist that companies act in accordance with the clearly stated law and move forward with the layoff notices.”

The president follow the law? Not this one.

UPDATE: The WARN Act, explained. (Via Instapundit.)


Sunk cost

September 28, 2012

The Obama administration is refusing to sell its stake in GM because then it would realize a multi-billion dollar loss. This fallacy is literally the very first hit if you Google “classic investing fallacy”.

POSTSCRIPT: My accountant points out that if the government followed GAAP (Generally accepted accounting principles), they would have recorded the loss already. But of course the government never follows the accounting rules that are required in the private sector.

(Via IMAO.)


Benghazi security failed minimum standards

September 28, 2012

Security at the Benghazi consulate was below minimum standards, which was permitted only because of a waiver from Washington:

The U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was operating under a lower security standard than a typical consulate when it was attacked this month, according to State Department officials.

The mission was a rented villa and considered a temporary facility by the agency, which allowed a waiver that permitted fewer guards and security measures than a standard embassy or consulate, according to the officials. . .

Allowing a waiver would have been a decision made with input from Washington, Libyan officials and the ambassador, according to diplomatic security experts.

(Via Hot Air.) (Previous post.)


Cock and bull story

September 28, 2012

The US government’s original story about what happened in Benghazi was really quite absurd. You have to see it to believe it. (Er, to believe that they would really put out such an absurd story, that is.)

(Previous post.)


NYC transit bans anti-Islam ads

September 28, 2012

Oh, this is just great:

Just one day after an Islamic activist attempted to cover over private property in spray paint (and a woman who got in her way), the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York has announced they will amend their rules to prohibit the types of advertisements that offended her.

The New York Times reports the MTA will prohibit any advertisements that it “reasonably foresees would imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace.” Those “viewpoint” ads that do not meet this criteria will be allowed, so long as a disclaimer is included saying the MTA does not endorse them. . .

Self-proclaimed “proud-liberal Muslim” activist Mona Eltahawy served as the impetus of the ruling after she spray painted a pro-Israel advertisement placed in the New York City subway. . .

If I’m reading this right, the policy literally bans any advertisement that someone might use violence to protest. Do these people think at all about the incentives they are setting? Is the cause of free speech completely orphaned?

POSTSCRIPT: The activist who successfully got the ads banned by spray painting over them proclaimed when she was arrested, “this is what happens in America when you express yourself.” That is called chutzpah.

UPDATE: Fixed the title to be more precise.


To the shores of Somalia

September 28, 2012

The reign of Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean may be at an end. All it took was for the civilized world to start fighting back:

The empty whiskey bottles and overturned, sand-filled skiffs littering this once-bustling shoreline are signs the heyday of Somali piracy may be over. Most of the prostitutes are gone and the luxury cars repossessed. Pirates while away their hours playing cards or catching lobsters. . .

Armed guards aboard cargo ships and an international naval armada that carries out onshore raids have put a huge dent in piracy and might even be ending the scourge.

While experts say it’s too early to declare victory, the numbers are startling: In 2010, pirates seized 47 vessels. This year they’ve taken five. . .

“We have witnessed a significant drop in attacks in recent months. The stats speak for themselves,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jacqueline Sherriff, a spokeswoman for the European Union Naval Force.

Sherriff attributes the plunge in hijackings mostly to international military efforts — European, American, Chinese, Indian, Russian — that have improved over time. In May, after receiving an expanded mandate, the EU Naval Force destroyed pirate weapons, equipment and fuel on land. Japanese aircraft fly over the shoreline to relay pirate activity to nearby warships.

I found it quite astonishing that people thought the best way to deal with piracy was to keep paying them off. (“Fighting pirates is dangerous!” Not fighting them is more dangerous.) A lot of people are just stupid I guess.


The youth of Portugal demands liberty

September 28, 2012

Sarah Hoyt’s story is well worth reading.


Nakoula arrested

September 28, 2012

Nakoula Nakoula, the producer of the anti-Islam film that was used as a pretext for the Benghazi consulate attack, has been arrested and held without bond. The judge brushed aside his lawyer’s concern that Nakoula would not be safe in the LA jail.

Please let’s not have any nonsense about how this is about a probation violation. If he had produced a film attacking Mormonism, no one would have cared. (Heck, he might have gotten a contract from the Obama super-PAC.) In fact, it’s only because of a federal investigation — that never, ever should have taken place — into the film that we even know who this guy is.

(Previous post.)


WTF?!

September 28, 2012

Who would say this, a fundamentalist imam charging people up for their Friday riot, or the president of the United States?

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

Apparently both of them.

This is wrong on so many levels. Firstly, if the future must belong to anyone, it is those who support free speech, not those who have people arrested for criticizing Islam.

Second, why is Islam set aside for such delicate treatment? He’s not upset about attacks against any other religion. A broadway show satirizing Mormonism gets nary a peep, and even in the wake of this very controversy, the White House has refused to condemn a notorious anti-Christian art display that was funded by the federal government. (Of course, Mormons and Christians don’t riot. But wouldn’t it be a better policy to discourage riots, rather than reward them?)

Third, how exactly was the Innocence of Muslims video slanderous? I haven’t seen it, but I gather it called Mohammed a pedophile. Slander? The man married a six-year-old girl! (Oh, but he didn’t consummate the marriage until she was nine.)

Fourth, the remark is even worse in context. He had a whole litany of “the future must not belong” lines. All the others refer to murders, thieves, and the like. That’s the category Barack Obama would put critics of Islam in: “the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people.”

In other contexts, the president has been saying that it’s not okay to denigrate any religion. He clearly doesn’t really mean it; heck, he’s been staging a whispering campaign against Mormonism (Mitt Romney’s religion) of his own. But let’s pretend that he does mean it. The very idea is insulting. It is okay — no, more than that, it is good — to debate religious ideas. Recently someone discovered a scrap of an old manuscript that suggests that Jesus might have been married. Are Christians calling for its suppression? No, Christians have the confidence to debate their ideas. This notion that we can’t debate religion puts religion in a special category that reason must not enter, and that is frankly insulting. That’s not friendly to religion, it’s hostile to it.

The media clearly agrees that this remark was awful, because they’ve gone complete radio silence on it. The New York Times even had the chutzpah to “Obama Tells U.N. New Democracies Need Free Speech”, because of a throwaway line in support of free speech that he clearly didn’t mean.

(Previous post.)


Smart diplomacy

September 26, 2012

For the first time since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, the United States did not walk out during his speech to the UN.

(Via Instapundit.)


Environmentalism today

September 26, 2012

When your environmental rules require a minimum gasoline purchase of four gallons, your policy has clearly gone off the rails.

(Via Instapundit.)


“Highest ethical standards”

September 26, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reports (as quoted by Red State):

The National Labor Relations Board’s internal watchdog has found the agency’s top lawyer violated its ethics standards by participating in a case involving a company in which he had a financial stake.

The NLRB inspector general, in a report dated Thursday, said an investigation found that Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon made decisions about how to proceed in a case involving Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in which Mr. Solomon owned more than $15,000 in stock. The case focused on whether the retail company’s social-media policy violated federal labor law.

I’m sure Solomon will receive the same harsh discipline as Kathleen Sebelius.


DOJ works with Media Matters

September 26, 2012

The Daily Caller uncovers emails that show that the Justice Department regularly colluded with the far-left, Soros outfit Media Matters to fight news stories on the department’s myriad misconduct.

Sometimes the collaboration took the form of rapid response to Media Matters inquiries (conservatives never get anything out of Holder’s DOJ without a Freedom of Information request); sometimes the DOJ actually called Media Matters up.


Your lips are moving again

September 26, 2012

Obama speaks to a campaign rally of 18,000 people, in an area that accommodates only 5,000. It turns out that the media uncritically repeats any count the Obama campaign gives them, without doing even the modicum of fact-checking that would show that the number is impossible.

This is a truly nasty pattern. Anything a Republican says is aggressively “fact-checked” (and usually ruled false even though it was true), while anything from Obama is accepted at face value. This has been going on for a long time.


Mother Jones standards

September 26, 2012

I haven’t commented on Mitt Romney’s 47% “gaffe” because I don’t think it matters (and the tracking polls seem to bear this out), but there is one aspect of the matter that strikes me as interesting. Whenever Obama says something politically damaging, the legacy media always informs us that his words were taken out of context, even though that’s almost never true. On the other hand, in Romney’s they never say any such thing, even though the far-left magazine Mother Jones really did edit his remarks.

Once taken to task on this, Mother Jones released the whole video, sanctimoniously proclaiming:

Romney says we posted “snippets” & not full answers in the secret videos. Uh….no. See for yourself. The full tape: . . .

Except that it turns out they didn’t release the whole video. The “full tape” is missing an unknown amount of time (probably several minutes, based on changes in the lighting). Not only that, the missing material is from Romney’s 47%-don’t-pay-taxes remarks.

Despite their snarky “Uh….no”, their defense is simply untrue; they did not post the full remark.

It gets worse. Originally Mother Jones did not even acknowledge that the middle of the recording was missing. Once called on it, they inserted a disclosure:

Update: According to the source, the recording device was inadvertently turned off between these two segments. The source noticed quickly and began to re-record, resulting in an estimated a one-to-two minute loss of tape.

But it still gets worse: Even the belated disclosure seems to be untrue.

Recording devices are not designed to turn themselves off after 36 minutes and 39 seconds. If one does, it means that the device has somehow failed. Such a failure would nearly always be due to a dead battery, but it could be because of some sort of software error. In any case, you’re not going to fix the problem without picking up the device.

Yet somehow the person who illegally recorded the meeting was able to correct the problem without even touching the recorder. You can see this from an animated picture comparing the final frame of the first segment and the initial frame of the second, at the end of this post at Not Yet Europe. The camera’s positioning is essentially identical in both frames, with no more difference that one would expect from the waiter bumping the table.

I can imagine one way that this might legitimately happen: if the camera had a remote control. But it’s clear from the fussing and clattering at the start of the video that the source was not using a remote control. In any case, Mother Jones has not offered any such explanation.

It’s not entirely conclusive, but almost certainly the video was edited after-the-fact and someone is lying about it. We can’t know whether the liar is Mother Jones or their source, and it doesn’t really matter. Moreover, either way, Mother Jones certainly lied about releasing the full video. They did not.


Steal for Obama

September 24, 2012

The Obama campaign has released a web ad encouraging Obama supporters to steal their neighbors stuff, sell it, and send the proceeds to the campaign.


Plunder

September 24, 2012

Ancient Rome, it is said, had a simple economy. It exported armies and imported grain. Today’s Washington, DC, is similar:

The American Community Survey released last Thursday found seven of the nations top 10 wealthiest counties now surround Washington, D.C. They include Loudoun County, Va., ranked No. 1, with a median household income over $119,000 dollars a year. Fairfax County, Va., was second with $105,000 and Arlington County, Va., third with just over $100,000 a year in median household income.

For most of our nation’s history, the capital was a backwater. That was proof the founders had done something right. We need to make it so again.


Slinking back to reality

September 24, 2012

Obama now admits that the Benghazi attack “wasn’t just a mob action”.

(Previous post.)


Trouble in Sudan

September 24, 2012

Sudan won’t allow us to reinforce our Khartoum embassy with marines:

Sudan has rejected an offer by the United States to send Marines to increase security at the U.S. embassy in Khartoum, amid protesters and police clashing.

The announcement Saturday follows the United States saying it was sending Marines to Sudan to bolster security at the embassy, where Sudanese police reportedly fired on protestors trying to scale the compound walls.

“Sudan is able to protect the diplomatic missions in Khartoum and the state is committed to protecting its guests in the diplomatic corps,” Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti told the state news agency SUNA, which Reuters reported Saturday.

As a result, the deployment has been delayed and possibly curtailed, said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to disclose details on the troop movement.

Even more troublingly, there is no indication to suggest that we’re not taking this lying down. If they won’t let us defend it, we ought to close the embassy.


Obama to release one-third of Guantanamo detainees

September 24, 2012

What could go wrong?

President Barack Obama is about to release or transfer 55 Gitmo prisoners, despite reports that the Libyan believed to be behind the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was a former Guantanamo inmate transferred to Libyan custody.

The large percentage of those scheduled to be released are Yemeni, according to a list made public by the Obama administration.

The administration will argue (with the blessing of the “fact checkers”) that these guys aren’t being released, they’re just being transferred to a Yemeni prison. However, Yemen is curiously unable to keep Islamic militants in prison. (Note that those are three separate links, to three distinct jailbreaks.)

But at least released Guantanamo prisoners never do much. Oh.


Pro-life Democrats, your party doesn’t want you

September 24, 2012

Democrats cannot be pro-life. That’s the position of the Democratic platform committee, who voted down an effort to include a statement in the party’s platform saying that that you can be pro-life and still be a Democrat.


Nice poll, shame if something happened to it

September 24, 2012

These guys are thugs:

Senior Obama Campaign adviser David Axelrod reportedly contacted The Gallup Organization to discuss the company’s research methodology after their poll’s findings were unfavorable to the President. After declining to adjust their methodology, Gallup was named in an unrelated lawsuit by the DOJ. . .

In response to that email, a third senior Gallup official said he thought Axelrod’s pressure “sounds a little like a Godfather situation.”

“Imagine Axel[rod] with Brando’s voice: ‘[Name redacted], I’d like you to come over and explain your methodology…You got a nice poll there….would be a shame if anything happened to it…’”


Fake steelworker

September 24, 2012

ABC News reports:

The Democratic National Convention on Wednesday featured three speakers billed as “former employees of companies controlled by Bain Capital.” They each told compelling stories about jobs lost, allegedly because of the actions of Bain under Romney’s leadership. But it turns out one of those employees never actually worked for a company controlled by Bain Capital.

David Foster was a union organizer (one of the guys who actually brought down GST Steel) and never worked for the plant. But even now, despite having been busted, the Democrats still describe him as “Former employee at a Company controlled by Romney’s Bain Capital”, and his speech certainly gives the impression that he worked for GST Steel:

I’m David Foster, and I was a steelworker for 31 years. For 15 years, I laid brick and tapped the furnaces, and did all that hard, dirty work that turned molten metal into the cars and bridges and buildings that make America what it is today.

I also led the steelworkers in the upper Midwest, including GST Steel in Kansas City, a 100-year old company bought by Mitt Romney and his partners at Bain Capital in 1993.

Liars.

(Via Jammie Wearing Fool.)


Our genius president

September 24, 2012

. . . can’t use an iPhone. Then, of course, since the man is incapable of admitting a mistake, he blames the phone’s owner.

(Via Moe Lane.)


The iPhone 5

September 24, 2012

In all the reviews of the new iPhone, I haven’t seen anyone comment on what seems like the biggest deal of all to me; the thing is much bigger:

(Photo due to CNET.)

The thing has to fit comfortably in my pocket. I’m not sure that thing will. So what if it’s thinner; it was thin enough already. Am I the only one who doesn’t want a bigger phone?

Apparently so.


Why I still like Romney’s chances

September 24, 2012

If there’s one message we’re getting from the legacy media, it’s that Romney has blown this election. It’s all over, Obama has won, and we really all ought to stay home and accept that government will be running our lives from now on.

In the past, I’ve resisted the temptation to deny the polls are wrong. Basically, that strikes me as loser talk, and I don’t want to indulge in it. In a rout like 1996 or 2008, I’d rather just accept reality. But this election is different. If you look at most of the polls, they simply don’t reflect reality.

The thing is, pollsters don’t simply ask people who they will vote for and report the results. After polling, they reweight the results to some desired balance of Democrats, Republicans, and independents in the sample. That weight is not determined by polling; they simply make it up. And that weight is the single greatest factor in the result of the poll. So despite all the talk of scientific polls, they aren’t.

If they guess the turnout correctly, weighting makes the polls more accurate, but the weights that most polls are using are simply insane. In 2008, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the electorate by 7%. Anyone who thinks that the electorate is more Democratic now than in 2008 is just crazy, but most polls are overweighting Democrats by more than 7%, often even in double digits. Basically, they’re lying.

In fact, according to Rasmussen’s poll of party identification, Republicans actually outnumber Democrats by 4.3% now (37.6% Republican, 33.3% Democrats, 29.2% independent). That’s roughly a ten-point difference from the targets that most polls are using, which corresponds to roughly a ten-point swing in the polls. The website Unskewed Polls takes the major polls and reweights them with Rasmussen’s party numbers and finds that every one of them puts Romney ahead, by an average of 7.8 points.

Now I would caution against taking too much comfort in those numbers. I doubt that things are going that well. Rasmussen was the most accurate poll in 2008, and they have the race dead even. (Today they have Obama up by one.) We’re not where we want to be, but I think our chances are better than even.

The other reason I discount the polls that show Obama taking a big lead is they are completely at odds with the tracking polls. The great thing about tracking polls is they use the same methodology all the time, so even if you don’t believe their bottom-line result, they are effective at tracking movement. Here’s the Rasmussen tracking poll:

Except for a fleeting convention bump for Obama (nobody tells tall tales quite like Bill Clinton), the state of the race hasn’t moved much. Obama may have improved his standing by about 2 points.

And here’s the Gallup tracking poll for the last month, which has supposedly been a disaster for Romney:

All of Romney’s imaginary gaffes of the last month have amounted to essentially nothing.

So why are the media lying about the state of the race? Of course they want Obama to win, that’s a given, but how do they expect skewed polls to help make that happen? One theory is that they want to depress Romney voters into staying home. I’m skeptical of that theory. Here’s the problem: The polls today are gimmes; they can say whatever they want because there’s no benchmark to compare them against. The important poll for their credibility is the final poll before election day. Between now and then they have to de-skew their polls, and when they do, it’s going to look like a big shift toward Romney. That will help his turnout, not hurt it.

I think this is all about fundraising. No one wants to contribute to a losing cause, but everyone loves a winner. I think they are trying to depress Republican donors and — especially — to encourage Democratic ones. (Romney and his allies have much more money on hand than Obama.)

And sure enough, last night I accidentally watched about ten seconds of 60 minutes and what was Steve Kroft asking Romney about? How Romney can convince his donors that he hasn’t already lost the race.

(Via PJ Tatler.)

UPDATE: I’ve been reading elsewhere that, contrary to some accounts, most polls do not weight for targets for party identification. But then I don’t understand how they come up with such outlandish numbers. Even if we stipulated that Democrats somehow will increase their turnout from 2008 — despite Democrats’ lessened enthusiasm and despite the observed shift in party identification from Democratic to Republican — the number ought not be all over the map. If the skewed populations are not deliberate, then these polls have some fundamental methodological problem.


Distrust

September 22, 2012

A very interesting poll result from Gallup:

Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.

The poll finds that 31% of independents and 26% of Republicans trust the media, compared with 58% of Democrats. The poll also finds that Republicans and independents, despite distrusting the media, pay much closer attention (48% and 39%) than do Democrats (33%).

It would be interesting if there were a way to tease out cause and effect. Do Republicans and independents come to distrust the media because they also listen to alternative sources that show how bad it is? Or is it that people who believe the media’s pro-Democrat line naturally become Democrats? I can see a role for both.

(Via Newsbusters.)


Off the pedestal

September 22, 2012

The Onion is lampooning the media:

Media Having Trouble Finding Right Angle On Obama’s Double-Homicide

More than a week after President Barack Obama’s cold-blooded killing of a local couple, members of the American news media admitted Tuesday that they were still trying to find the best angle for covering the gruesome crime. . .

So far, the president’s double-homicide has not been covered by any major news outlets. The only two mentions of the heinous tragedy have been a 100-word blurb on the Associated Press wire and an obituary on page E7 of this week’s edition of the Lake County Examiner.

Still, they don’t quite nail it. They leave out the part where the media attack Romney for his gaffe of criticizing Obama’s murders.


That spontaneous attack

September 22, 2012

Fox News reports:

The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last week appeared to be a joint operation orchestrated by an Al Qaeda affiliate in North Africa and the Islamist militia Ansar Al-Sharia, an intelligence source told Fox News, citing evidence collected so far in the investigation.

About 100 attackers carried out the “coordinated assault,” intelligence sources said, further discrediting earlier Obama administration claims that the deadly attack was a “spontaneous” outburst in response to an anti-Islam film.

Fox News’ sources say the attack came in two waves and involved rocket-propelled grenades, as well as mortar fire, and both the consulate and safe house were attacked seemingly with inside knowledge.

(Previous post.)


No intelligence

September 21, 2012

Mitt Romney is now receiving regular intelligence briefings. This means that he is better informed that Barack Obama, who skips most of his intelligence briefings. Over the past year, the president attended just 38% of his briefings. He missed every briefing in the week leading up to the 9/11/2012 attack.

Always eager to be too clever by half, the White House is actually trying to spin this as a strength for Obama. They argue that he is so smart he doesn’t need briefings; he can get everything he needs from the briefing book. It’s only dullards like George W Bush that actually want to hear from the intel guys directly, ask questions, and have a conversation.

I’m not making this up: Dana Milbank actually says that Bush held intelligence briefings because he didn’t like to read:

This is how it was done in the Clinton administration, before Bush decided he would prefer to read less.

How it was done in the Clinton administration is not a record to emulate. CIA Director James Woolsey lamented his lack of access to President Clinton, and was never once able to obtain a one-on-one meeting. Woolsey said “It wasn’t that I had a bad relationship with the president. It just didn’t exist.” He also reportedly once joked “Remember the guy who in 1994 crashed his plane onto the White House lawn? That was me trying to get an appointment to see President Clinton.”

UPDATE: Since the story broke, Obama’s attendance has improved dramatically, with him attending the meeting five days in a row. The last time that happened was February.

But wait, I’m confused! I thought that Obama was too smart to need intelligence briefings. Did he get dumber? Explain it to me, Dana Milbank!

(Previous post.)


Dear censors

September 21, 2012

Now that we’re abandoning free speech, can we censor Gangnam Style too? (Warning: do not click on link.) After all, it’s causing riots too.


Intel warned of embassy attacks

September 21, 2012

Prior to the 9/11/2012 embassy attack, US intelligence warned of attacks against embassies, but no action was taken:

According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.

After this report came out, the administration vigorously denied it, sort of. Actually, they issued very carefully worded non-denial denials. The National Intelligence Director’s office said:

This is absolutely wrong. We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.

The White House said:

The story is absolutely wrong. We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the US mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent. That report is false.

Note that both these statements use almost exactly the same words: there was no actionable intelligence that an attack in Benghazi was planned or imminent.

What neither said is that there was no intelligence that an attack against US embassies in general was likely, which (as you can see quoted above) is what the report actually said. Given that the administration’s phrasing was so precise, and given that they surely would have liked to make a broader claim, we have to take this as more of a confirmation than a denial.

And, in fact, later developments confirm that impression. Days later, Reuters reported:

A U.S. intelligence cable warned the American Embassy in Cairo of possible violence in response to Arabic-language broadcasts of clips from an anti-Muslim film, U.S. government sources said on Monday.

The cable, dispatched from Washington on September 10, the day before protests erupted, advised the embassy the broadcasts could provoke violence. It did not direct specific measures to upgrade security, said the sources. . .

Copies of the cable were not sent to other U.S. outposts in the region, including the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where violence took the life of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

We’ve also learned that there were several attacks against western targets in Benghazi leading up to 9/11/2012, and just three days before, a local security official says he warned US officials of deteriorating security in Benghazi. Despite all that, the consulate was left nearly undefended.

UPDATE: I’m not the only one to notice the non-denial nature of the denial; John Hinderaker observed it too. So why isn’t anyone in the press asking for clarification of this key point?

(Previous post.)


No feck whatsoever

September 21, 2012

Another US embassy apologizing for criticism of Islam:

The American Embassy in Islamabad, in a bid to tamp down public rage over the anti-Islam film produced in the U.S., is spending $70,000 to air an ad on Pakistani television that features President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton denouncing the video.

(Previous post.)


This election is getting stupid

September 21, 2012

You can’t make this stuff up: They’re attacking Mitt Romney for paying too much in taxes.


Fact-checkers, call your office

September 21, 2012

This is an outright lie, and a blatant one at that:

Asked about the Fast and Furious program at the Univision forum on Thursday, President Obama falsely claimed that the program began under President George W. Bush.

“I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration,” the president said. “When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. . .”

In actuality, the Fast and Furious program was started in October 2009, nine months into the Obama presidency.

The White House then walked back the statement, saying that, even though Obama specifically said Fast and Furious, he actually was referring to the Wide Receiver program. Wide Receiver was entirely unlike the Gunwalker scandal in that it was done with the consent of the Mexican government, and in that  in Wide Receiver the agents actually tried to track the guns, while in Fast and Furious they did not. Even Holder rejected the comparison of the programs.

Moreover, Obama’s claim is still a lie, even if taken to refer to Wide Receiver. Wide Receiver was not shut down by Holder; it was shut down in 2007 after accidentally losing some of the guns.

(Previous post.)


Administration contemplates releasing WTC bomber

September 21, 2012

What could go wrong?

The U.S. State Department is actively considering negotiations with the Egyptian government for the transfer of custody of Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as “the Blind Sheikh,” for humanitarian and health reasons, a source close to the Obama administration told TheBlaze.

In case it’s not obvious, these prisoner transfers often don’t work out very well.

For what it’s worth (to my mind, just about nothing) the Justice Department denies the report. The State Department hasn’t responded to requests for comment.


Propaganda

September 21, 2012

California is planning a big propaganda campaign on behalf of Obamacare, funded by tax dollars of course:

Realizing that much of the battle will be in the public relations realm, the exchange has poured significant resources into a detailed marketing plan — developed not by state health bureaucrats but by the global marketing powerhouse Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, which has an initial $900,000 contract with the exchange. The Ogilvy plan includes ideas for reaching an uninsured population that speaks dozens of languages and is scattered through 11 media markets: advertising on coffee cup sleeves at community colleges to reach adult students, for example, and at professional soccer matches to reach young Hispanic men.

And Hollywood, an industry whose major players have been supportive of President Obama and his agenda, will be tapped. Plans are being discussed to pitch a reality television show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage,” according to the Ogilvy plan. The exchange will also seek to have prime-time television shows, like “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and Univision telenovelas, weave the health care law into their plots.

Americas stubborn refusal to accept what they have been clearly told must be frustrating to these guys.


War on women

September 21, 2012

Obama (that’s the woman-friendly candidate, we’re told) doesn’t think women can be experts on Pakistan:

Just before the White House announcement of a new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, Obama asked Riedel and his team to come to see him in the Oval -Office so he could thank them. . . Obama looked at the CIA officer, who was sporting stiletto heels, and said with clear amusement, “You don’t look like a Pakistan expert.”

If you’re wondering about the provenance of that, that’s the leftist Daily Beast reporting.

(Via Instapundit.)


Defenseless

September 21, 2012

One aspect about the 9/11/2012 attacks that has been neglected (probably because of the administration’s absurd effort to deny that they were planned terrorist attacks) is the fact that the Benghazi consulate was left largely defenseless by State Department policy:

According to a source close to Breitbart News and high up in the intelligence community, the Obama administration’s policy following Muammar Gaddafi’s death has been to keep a “low profile” during a chaotic time.

For this reason, according to the source, American Marines were not stationed at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli or the American mission in Benghazi, as would typically have been the case. In the spirit of a “low profile,” the administration didn’t even want an American company in charge of private security.

The story also refers to a “no bullets” rule imposed on the security contractor. It’s not clear who the rule applied to. The Wall Street Journal’s account makes it clear that some of the security were armed, and others were not. The State Department’s refusal to answer any questions will make it difficult to find out.

Nevertheless, the Pentagon confirms that no Marines were stationed at the consulate:

Libya:
-Contrary to open source reporting, there are no Marines currently stationed at the Embassy in Tripoli, or the Consulate in Benghazi.

POSTSCRIPT: Reports that the Marines at the Cairo embassy were unarmed appear to be false. (Although it is curious that only the far left Mother Jones seems to have the memo. I can’t find it anywhere else.) But it’s important to remember there were two different outputs; it was Benghazi where the ambassador was murdered. The left would like to use the reporting error regarding Cairo to make the disaster in Benghazi disappear.

Moreover, the Free Beacon’s reporting on the matter seems to have been entirely responsible, despite what its critics would like to suggest. The article clearly attributes the information to “reports” and equivocates appropriately: “If true, the reports indicate . . .” Furthermore, the Free Beacon sought comment from official sources, who refused to answer. The Pentagon’s answer didn’t come out until after the Free Beacon published. It might have come out only because of their reporting. (The memo’s timestamp indicates it was issued 15 minutes later.)

POST-POSTSCRIPT: As noted above, the State Department has announced that it will not be answering any more questions about Benghazi, even to the point of leaving inaccurate reports uncorrected. Their official justification for clamming up is the fact that an investigation is ongoing, which is complete nonsense.

UPDATE: The State Department initially denied this report, before later admitting it was true. (I’m not sure why they violated their announced policy of not correcting misinformation.)

(Previous post.)


You didn’t build that

September 20, 2012

Awesome.

(Via Instapundit.)


Gitmo detainee linked to Benghazi attack

September 20, 2012

Fox News reports:

Intelligence sources tell Fox News they are convinced the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was directly tied to Al Qaeda — with a former Guantanamo detainee involved.

That revelation comes on the same day a top Obama administration official called last week’s deadly assault a “terrorist attack” — the first time the attack has been described that way by the administration after claims it had been a “spontaneous” act. . .

Sufyan Ben Qumu is thought to have been involved and even may have led the attack, Fox News’ intelligence sources said. Qumu, a Libyan, was released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007 and transferred into Libyan custody on the condition he be kept in jail. He was released by the Qaddafi regime as part of its reconciliation effort with Islamists in 2008.

I don’t understand the released-on-condition-he-be-kept-in-jail idea in the first place, but expecting Qaddafi to honor the agreement was truly foolish.

Once the Obama administration gets past its cock-and-bull story about how the attack was spontaneous, the result of a YouTube video, expect them to start playing the Bush-did-it line. They will hope that people forget who it was that wanted to shut Guantanamo down entirely.

(Previous post.)


Was the Benghazi attack planned?

September 19, 2012

Despite the considerable evidence that the attack on our Benghazi consulate was pre-planned and that the anti-Islam film was just a pretext, the White House denies it. More than that, the White House press secretary says the attack was “obviously” not directed at the United States or (ahem) the Obama administration, but was a response to the video. Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, echoed that line, saying in several appearances that the attack was “spontaneous” and “not a pre-planned, pre-meditated attack”.

This is utterly idiotic. I hope they are lying, because the alternative — that the people in charge of national security actually believe this nonsense — is too scary to contemplate.

These people either believe, or want us to believe, that these protests over a YouTube video that had been out for months just happened to fall in 9/11. The “protesters” just happened to have stored away mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, and they just happened to have penetrated the consulate’s security.

The details of the attack certainly sound coordinated:

Fox News was told that the assault on the consulate came without warning and included RPGs and mortars — including at least one round that hit the consulate roof.

There were two waves to the assault, Fox News was told. According to the intelligence source, in the first wave, the attackers were heard to say “we got him” — a reference to Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack. Word spread, the attackers regrouped and the second wave went after the motorcade and support personnel.

It’s even been reported that there were no demonstrations before the attack began, although other reports contradict this. (Via Hot Air.) Al Qaeda announced that the attack was staged as revenge for the latest killing of Al Qaeda’s #2 man.

The Libyan president says the attack was pre-planned, and that the notion that the whole thing was spontaneous is “completely unfounded and preposterous”. Of course, it’s in his interest to say that, but the Libyans have also arrested several people in connection with the attack. They could be just rounding up the usual suspects, but isn’t this the sort of thing we should be taking a close look at, rather than dismissing out of hand?

Now Jay Carney has backed off his earlier statement, saying “we’re not making declarations ahead of the facts here.” It’s a bit late to be saying that now.

Even stranger than the administration’s position that the attack was spontaneous, is the White House’s apparent belief that it is better if it was spontaneous. They think that means the United States and (more importantly) the Obama administration are off the hook.

That’s more nonsense. It’s much worse if the attack was spontaneous, at least for America. It’s no secret that there are terrorists out there who want to attack us, but we can fight terrorists. If the general public in the Muslim world will spontaneously rise up and stage sophisticated attacks against us, with no more provocation than an obscure video, the situation is quite hopeless.

UPDATE: Added a few additional points.

UPDATE: The White House is now reversing its idiotic position:

The Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was in fact “a terrorist attack” and the U.S. government has indications that members of al Qaeda were directly involved, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday morning.

“I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,” Matt Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. . .

“We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda’s affiliates; in particular, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” he said.

I can’t fathom why they thought it made sense to promote such an idiotic line.

(Via PJ Tatler.)

(Previous post.)


Please let’s not trade free speech for riots

September 18, 2012

An op-ed in the LA Times argues that movies attacking Islam are not protected by the First Amendment because they are inciting violence. The author claims several experts share her view.

This view would be the death of free speech. No one suggests that the movie in question called for violence. She argues that the speech becomes unprotected because other parties might become offended and riot over it.

Thus, free speech remains protected only to the extent that no one opposes it. Once someone opposes it (enough to riot), it’s no longer protected. It’s not hard to see where this incentive will lead us: no free speech but lots of riots.

(Via the Corner.)

UPDATE: William Jacobson: Empowering people who start fires to define freedom of speech is how freedom of speech dies.

(Previous post.)


Turkey hawks

September 17, 2012

Democrats are attacking Mitt Romney for failing to praise our troops in Afghanistan in his convention speech. It’s no secret that Romney wants the election to be about the economy, while Barack Obama wants the election to be about whether Osama Bin Laden is still alive.

But attacking Romney for supposedly slighting the troops just strikes me as absurdist theater. Our military knows the score. They can see that the Democratic convention’s tribute video featured Russian ships and Turkish planes. No one at the DNC knew any better.

They remember how Obama said that our troops in Afghanistan were just air-raiding villages and killing civilians. They remember how, once president, he dithered for most of a year over whether to send more troops.

Our troops don’t like him. It’s no coincidence that when Obama gave a speech to troops at Fort Bliss at the end of last month, they sat impassively, waiting for him to finish.

But this isn’t really about the troops. He’s not trying to get their votes; he knows that most in the military will vote against him. In fact his party is suing to make it harder for troops to voting. (Obama’s mouthpieces claim their lawsuit is being misrepresented, but the legal documents make their position clear.)

No, this attack is aimed at persuading voters who support the military, but know little about it, and are gullible enough to buy it.


Stonewall

September 17, 2012

Morgan Wright, the Obama administration official who ran the program that funded Solyndra and other green boondoggles, refuses to testify before Congress, despite a subpoena.

Among other things, Darrell Issa (R-CA) wants to ask Wright about his use of a non-official email account to avoid scrutiny of the loan process.


Race baiting

September 17, 2012

We knew this already, but you don’t hear it admitted out loud very often:

A top official at a liberal super PAC with the goal of eradicating tea partiers from Congress is telling activists that it’s more effective to label Republicans as racists than criticize their policies.

According to an audio recording obtained by The Daily Caller, Matthew “Mudcat” Arnold, the national campaign manager of the liberal CREDO super PAC, told a gathering of supporters in Aurora, Colo., on Sept. 8 that they’ve realized “policy did not move voters.”


Capitulation

September 17, 2012

As bad as he is, I never thought Barack Obama would make a serious run at the title of worst American president, with Woodrow Wilson and James Buchanan having staked such strong claims. But then this happened:

That’s Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies bringing in for questioning Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man who apparently made the film as the center of anti-American riots throughout the Middle East. A man who, to be clear, is guilty of no crime.

As Glenn Reynolds puts it:

WHY BARACK OBAMA SHOULD RESIGN. Just for the record, this is what it looked like for a man who made a film that made the Obama Administration uncomfortable . . .

When taking office, the President does not swear to create jobs. He does not swear to “grow the economy.” He does not swear to institute “fairness.” The only oath the President takes is this one:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace. . . By these actions he is, I repeat, unfit to hold office.

That’s right. The US government is doing the bidding of Islamist rioters.

Just to make a few points clear: This was not LA County’s doing. It was the United States Justice Department that investigated the filmmaker and revealed his identity. And once the deputies brought him in, he was interviewed by Federal authorities.

The authorities say that Nakoula came in for a voluntary interview. Take another look at that picture. Does that look voluntary to you? Do you think the man really wanted to be perp-walked with a scarf on his head in the middle of the night? They could have interviewed him in his own home during the day, but they didn’t.

Finally, this is not about probation violations. (Nakoula is reportedly barred by his probation from using a computer.) You don’t send five deputies in the middle of the night to pick someone up for a technical probation violation. In fact, liberals generally don’t care about probation violations at all.

Moreover, we should never have even known about Nakoula’s probation in the first place! He has no involvement with the attacks on our embassies and never should have been investigated in the first place. We shouldn’t even know his name.

Is it now US government policy to investigate anyone whom the Arab street hates, to see if maybe he happens to have some outstanding warrants? This is absolutely appalling.

But wait, they didn’t stop there. Just hours after Obama pledged to “uphold the rights for individuals to speak their mind”, his administration asked YouTube to censor the video:

Obama administration officials said Thursday that they have asked YouTube to review the video and determine whether it violates the site’s terms of service, according to people close to the situation but not authorized to comment.

To their credit, Google refused to do so. (Although they are censoring it in India and several Muslim countries.)

We must be clear. This isn’t the usual self-censorship by mob veto. This is the sovereign power of the United States government being used to censor what the Islamists considered blasphemy.

Of course, all this is exactly what the Islamists want. It ought to be obvious, but apparently is not, that this sort of capitulation only promotes violence and additional demands.

Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t satisfied:

We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions. Otherwise, such acts will continue to cause devout Muslims across the world to suspect and even loathe the West, especially the USA, for allowing their citizens to violate the sanctity of what they hold dear and holy. Hence, we demand that all those involved in such crimes be urgently brought to trial.

In light of all this, it would be appropriate for the Obama administration categorically to rule out ever criminalizing blasphemy. Unfortunately, less than two months ago, the administration pointedly refused to do so. UPDATE: Given a second chance later in the session, he did seem to rule it out. That’s good. Still, it oughtn’t be hard to get this question right the first time.

UPDATE (9/28): Nakoula has now been arrested and is being held without bond.

(Previous post.)


“Highest ethical standards”

September 15, 2012

The Office of Special Counsel has found that Kathleen Sebelius violated the law by using an official event to campaign for Barack Obama:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act in February when she called for re-electing President Obama during an official department appearance, the Office of Special Counsel said Wednesday. The finding could possibly cost Sebelius her job.

Cost Sebelius her job? Good one. The White House quickly announced that the administration holds itself  “to the highest ethical standards” and therefore she will not be disciplined. (I might be making up the word “therefore”.)

The White House apparently thinks that retroactively reclassifying the event from official to political is plenty. That might make sense if they could also retroactively send the government employees who attended the event back to work.

POSTSCRIPT: Sebelius sure is a piece of work.


Smart diplomacy

September 15, 2012

President Obama says that Egypt is not an ally of the United States. (The White House has since “clarified” that he didn’t mean it.) It’s surely idiotic to say it publicly, but, to be fair, I think that’s true now.

(Previous post.)


EPA celebrates Che

September 15, 2012

The left’s favorite communist murderer is the centerpiece of the EPA’s memo on Hispanic Heritage Month. For the record, most of Che’s victims were Hispanic.


Duh

September 15, 2012

What, arming merchant ships deters pirates?! Who would ever have imagined such a thing?

(Via Greg Pollowitz.)


Benghazi and Cairo

September 15, 2012

At first I was too outraged to comment on the 9/11/2012 attacks against our embassy in Cairo and consulate in Benghazi. Then it took time to write out how truly horrible the whole mess is. There are three different aspects of the story, each demanding a different sort of outrage at different people.

The terrorists

The first is the terrorists themselves. We now know that the attacks were planned in advance, and the street protests against an anti-Islam movie were merely a pretext. We also know that the diplomats in Libya were betrayed by Libyan security. (The story doesn’t make clear whether “Libyan security” refers to security forces of the Libyan government, or just Libyan nationals hired by the consulate.)

These people are evil, and they need to be destroyed. But there is little else to say on the matter. Despite all the promises of justice, we know that nothing will be done. The history of attacks against our embassies and consulates in such places as Tehran in 1979, Beirut in 1983, Tel Aviv in 1990, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998, and Beijing in 1999, among others, shows clearly that attacks against our embassies will always be forgotten when pursuing justice is inconvenient.

The diplomats

But since those people are evil, we don’t expect any better of them. The same is not true of the pusillanimous fools at the US embassy in Cairo, who condemned the anti-Islam movie that the attackers used as their pretext. They reiterated the statement multiple times, and it was later echoed by the Secretary of State and by the President.

The embassy originally issued the statement before the attacks, and the attacks took place anyway, which demolishes any pragmatic defense that might be offered for their attempted appeasement. And as a matter of principle, their statement is a disaster:

Our entire message regarding any criticism leveled against Islam or anything else should be this: The United States government is not in the business of approving or disapproving anyone’s speech. This should not be hard!

Not only did the embassy’s statement give short shrift to the value of free speech, it was simply untrue. They said “we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions”. Well, no, actually you don’t!

We don’t condemn offense to Mormons, Catholics, Evangelicals, or Orthodox Jews. Those people and their beliefs are insulted all the time. This is true every day, but especially during election season: Our president’s re-election campaign is running a whisper campaign targeting Mormons; attacking Catholicism gets you a prime-time slot at the Democratic convention; and our president famously denigrated Evangelicals and conservative Catholics as bitter clingers. No, it’s only Muslims whom it is forbidden to offend.

Moreover, there is nothing wrong with denigrating a religion (or all religions), at least as a general matter. We call that debating ideas! Religious ideas are important, and should be debated openly. To suggest that religious ideas, unlike others, are not worthy of open debate is simply demeaning.

On the film in question, I have no opinion. I have not seen it, nor have I seen the trailer. Many people who have seen the trailer say it doesn’t look very good. That does not matter one iota. Freedom of Speech is not limited to skilled craftsmen.

The press

Finally there’s the Obama campaign and the press (who are one and the same). On the day after terrorists attack our embassy and consulate, killing our ambassador and three others, with Obama’s foreign policy lying in smouldering wreckage, Romney holds a press conference and these tools don’t ask about foreign policy. No, they want to talk about whether Romney committed a gaffe by criticizing the Embassy’s aforementioned craven statement:

It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

ASIDE: We actually get here a rare glimpse of how the press coordinates its anti-Republican message. On an open microphone we can hear reporters from NPR and CBS discussing how to phrase a question to make Romney look bad, and how to ensure that question gets asked no matter whom Romney calls on.

It’s true that Romney got one fact wrong: the Embassy first issued its apology before the embassy attack, not after. But since the Embassy reiterated its apology multiple times after the attack, that really makes no difference.

Beyond that, I honestly don’t understand what they see wrong with Romney’s statement. It can’t be that the Embassy’s statement was right. It was terrible for all the reasons I discussed above, but even if you don’t agree with a single word of that, the Obama administration itself also repudiated the Embassy’s statement:

The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government.

It is suggested that he commented too soon; that by rushing to comment he missed the chance to adjust the tone for the murders that became public later. But that makes no sense. By that reasoning,  you would never comment on anything, lest something else happen afterwards. Moreover, Romney’s statement wasn’t released from embargo until the Obama administration had already repudiated the Embassy’s statement.

It’s suggested that it was unfair for Romney to blame the Obama administration for the actions of the Cairo embassy. I find this maddening. These people refuse to hold President Obama accountable for any action of his administration. Our economic woes aren’t his fault. Trafficking guns to Mexican drug cartels isn’t his fault. He apparently doesn’t even control his own administration’s policy toward Jerusalem.

ASIDE: Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is answerable for every stupid comment made by any Republican anywhere. He’s even somehow responsible for the death of a woman who is six degrees of separation from even a flimsy connection to Romney.

No. The Embassy is part of his administration. That doesn’t mean that every action is his personal responsibility, but it’s perfectly fair to refer to it as part of the “Obama administration”.

Finally, there’s the notion that Romney shouldn’t have weighed in at all. “Politics should end at the water’s edge.” “Playing politics while people are dying.” This is such a load of crap it’s awfully hard to take.

Perhaps politics should end at the water’s edge. But if it ever did, which I doubt (is there even a single example of Democrats ever supporting a war or military action initiated by a Republican president?), that notion was killed during the Reagan administration, and its corpse was dismembered during the Bush 43 administration.

The centerpiece of John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign was opposition to the war in Iraq. And here’s Barack Obama attacking President Bush (and John McCain) for the conduct of the War on Terror, in which he explicitly cites a “brazen attack on a US base where nine servicemen were killed”:

(Via Hot Air.)

Clearly, this suggestion that one should refrain from criticizing the administration while people are dying overseas is completely disingenuous. Or perhaps they think it should only apply to Republicans.

What you have here is a disgusting display of appeasement, set against the backdrop of the complete failure of Obama’s policy toward the Muslim world. Obama said his inauguration would end the hostility of the Muslim world toward America. Instead, his weakness has exacerbated it. The media, in their role as praetorian guard for Obama’s image, naturally need to distract from that.

Their vigor in doing so has led them to coordinate at attack against Mitt Romney that makes no sense. And it has also led them to tell outright lies. On Thursday morning, I heard NPR try to isolate Romney from other Republicans, saying that other Republicans had refused to join Romney’s criticism. (This isn’t the story I heard, but late in the piece it makes the same allegation.)

This is grossly misleading on its face; they failed to note that a lot more information had come out since Romney and the White House issued their statements. Of course Congressional Republicans were going to be more circumspect. But it’s also an outright lie. At the very least, Senator Kyl (R-AZ), the number two Republican in the Senate, and Senator Blunt (R-MO) both echoed Romney’s criticism. I’m sure others did as well.

In short, we have a ruthless enemy determined to hurt us, a feckless and pusillanimous foreign service incapable of dealing with the threat, and a dishonest media determined — for narrow partisan reasons — to do all it can to obscure those facts. What a horrible, horrible affair.

UPDATE: Some have been defending the embassy, saying that its statement was not an apology. That’s actually true; it’s worse. An apology would identify with the society that permitted the video (which is to say, us). They were expressing solidarity with the Islamists.

UPDATE: Patterico says that CBS’s Jan Crawford (the one coordinating the Romney questions) is getting a bum rap. If so, she should explain herself.

UPDATE: The White House has refused to respond to calls for them to condemn a notorious anti-Christian “art” display. Well, it’s not like Christians are likely to attack any embassies.

(Previous post.)


Obama snubs Netanyahu

September 12, 2012

While Debbie Wasserman-Schultz prattles on about President Obama’s “stellar” record on Egypt, the Israelis’ far different perspective keeps being confirmed by events. In the latest snub, Obama just can’t find any time to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu during Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the United States:

An Israeli official, who declined to be identified, said the White House had refused Netanyahu’s request to meet Obama when the Israeli leader visits the United States to attend the U.N. General Assembly, telling the Israelis, “The president’s schedule will not permit that.”

And this spin is just pathetic:

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor denied that Netanyahu’s request had been spurned, insisting instead that the two leaders were attending the General Assembly on different days and would not be in New York at the same time.

Obviously they don’t have to meet in New York. Netanyahu is travelling halfway around the world; he can take a half-hour flight to Washington. But don’t take my word for it:

One well-placed Jewish-American leader told Fox News that the White House has not yet fully ruled out moving things around on the schedule to accommodate Netanyahu. But as of now, Obama is scheduled to be on the campaign trail during the window of time when Netanyahu can make it to Washington.

UPDATE: No time for Netanyahu, but he has time to chum around with Beyonce, Jay-Z, and David Letterman.


Defending voter fraud

September 12, 2012

The career staff of the Department of Justice Voting Section recommended that South Carolina’s voter ID law be cleared, but they were overruled by political appointees.

Furthermore, the DOJ has been stalling the ensuing litigation by filing absurd motions, like objecting to South Carolina submitting its brief in 12-point font instead of 13-point font. I am not making this up. This is presumably an effort to run out the clock until after the election, since the South Carolina law cannot go into effect without the approval of either the DOJ or a court.


Feckless

September 11, 2012

Islamists mark 9/11 by storming the US embassy in Cairo and the US consulate in Benghazi. The Islamists hoist the Al Qaeda flag over our embassy. One diplomat is dead. The Cairo embassy responds by apologizing to the Islamists.

(Via Instapundit.)

UPDATE: Make that four diplomats that are dead, including the ambassador to Libya. This Arab Spring is going just great.

UPDATE: The apology was actually sent out before the attack on the embassy, but they reiterated it after the attack.


Priorities

September 11, 2012

Mitt Romney’s first tweet of 9/11:

On this most somber day, America is united under God in its quest for peace and freedom at home and across the world.

Barack Obama’s first tweet of 9/11:

The election is in 8 weeks. Sign up to volunteer:

(Via Instapundit.)


Never forget

September 11, 2012


That was yesterday

September 10, 2012

What a difference one day can make! The day after pledging, in his convention speech, that he would never turn Medicare into a voucher program, his administration announced that it would be shifting 2 million seniors on Medicare into a voucher program.

There is a difference between the Romney-Ryan proposal and Obama policy though. Well, lots of them, but this one is key: In Romney-Ryan, the voucher program is voluntary; participants would choose whether to enter or not. The Obama program is opt-out, so (in some states) participants are in unless they take some action to stay out, which of course most won’t know to do.

I don’t know the program’s details, but it sounds like a good idea. (Indeed, it sounds a lot like Ryan’s plan.) It’s the hypocrisy that’s striking.


Pro-choice

September 5, 2012

Sigh.

(Via the Corner.)


Democracy in action

September 5, 2012

The “Democratic” Party, amending its platform to make it a little less extreme (by adding language on God and on Jerusalem that existed in previous platforms), skips the messy process of counting votes and simply decrees the motion carried. This despite the fact that it clearly did not get the required 2/3 majority:

Since this party is fine with falsifying floor votes in the US House of Representatives, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that they would falsify a floor vote of their convention.

(Via the Corner.)

UPDATE: What a clown show.


So who makes Obama administration policy, anyway?

September 5, 2012

So the Democrats have belatedly changed their position on Jerusalem to match what the party says is Obama’s position, but that position is most emphatically not the position of the Obama administration. How is that exactly?

The Obama campaign explained that Obama’s position and administration policy are two different things.

I am not making this up.

Harry Truman famously said “the buck stops here.” But in the Obama administration, it seems the buck doesn’t stop anywhere at all. Administration policy is some faceless thing that even the president isn’t responsible for.

(Via the Corner.)


From the horse’s mouth

September 5, 2012

We all belong to the government:

Statists.

(Via the Corner.)

UPDATE: Fred Thompson comments, “I’m sure it sounded better in the original Chinese.” Heh.


I never said half of the things I said

September 5, 2012

At a session for Jews at the Democratic convention, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said this:

We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.

In fact, Michael Oren never said it. At least, there’s no public record of him saying it, and Ambassador Oren “categorically” denies saying it.

So, when Fox News’s Shepard Smith asked her about it, she denied ever saying it:

I didn’t say he said that. And, unfortunately, that comment was reported by a conservative newspaper. It’s not surprising that they would deliberately misquote me.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is a liar. Here’s the audio of her making the statement (cue to 0:25):

And here’s the video of her saying she never said it (cue to 0:45):

Not only is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz a liar, she’s that worst kind of liar: the kind who dishonestly says that someone else is lying. She says that the Washington Examiner deliberately misquoted her, when in fact their quote was verbatim.

Keep this mind if you’re ever inclined to make the mistake of believing something that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz says.

POSTSCRIPT: In fact, it’s President Obama’s policies that are damaging to Israel. In fact, he is not only damaging, but openly hostile. (Here’s just one example. Here’s two more. Oh what the heck, here’s a litany.) Michael Oren obviously can’t come out and say this, but Israelis certainly get it. Only 4 percent of Israelis see Obama as friendly to Israel.

POST-POSTSCRIPT: It doesn’t have anything to do with this incident or with Israel, but if you still think you might be able to believe words that come out of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s mouth, watch this video in which Anderson Cooper eviscerates Wasserman-Schultz for lying about Romney’s position on abortion. I had no idea that Cooper had it in him.

POST-POST-POSTSCRIPT: If the so-called fact checkers wanted to do some actual fact-checking, this is the sort of situation where they could be useful: a factually false statement, rather than a rebuttable argument. (UPDATE: This one was too obvious for the fact-checkers to skip.)

UPDATE: This woman’s lying goes beyond ordinary political mendacity. She is pathological. When questioned by CNN’s Don Lemon about her lies about her other lies, she just lies some more. I can’t embed the video, you can find it here. She said:

Don, if you look at what the Examiner — which is a conservative blog site, so it’s not surprising that they would deliberately misquote me — and I’ll reiterate that they did deliberately misquote me. First, they took only the first line of what I said, and then they cut it off. And so you haven’t played the rest of what I said. And what they did was, they reported that I said that Republican policies were dangerous for Israel, and actually that’s what Ambassador Oren commented on. I never said that Republican policies were dangerous for Israel.

This is a big soggy mess that’s hard to tease apart:

  1. She maintains that Examiner misquoted her, even when presented with the recording that shows that the quote was verbatim.
  2. Apparently she means that her quote was taken out-of-context (which is not the same thing as being misquoted), but she never uses that phrase. Lemon uses it on her behalf, though.
  3. Her quote was not taken out of context. She says that she wasn’t talking about Republican policies, but about Republican criticisms of President Obama, which is in fact exactly what the Examiner said she said in their report’s very first sentence:

    Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz claimed on Monday that Israel’s ambassador to the United States has accused Republicans of being “dangerous” to Israel by criticizing President Obama’s record.

  4. She says that the Examiner cut off the rest of her remark, and CNN didn’t play the rest either. In fact, the Examiner’s recording went well past the quote and included all the context that Wasserman-Schultz alludes to. CNN played all that context as well.
  5. She says that the Examiner reported falsely that she said that Republican policies were hurting Israel. It seems this is her key point, and it’s yet another lie. The Examiner never reported any such thing. Not only did the article correctly report her intent in the very first sentence, it never used the word “policy” at all.
  6. Finally, returning to her original material, she reiterates her claims of unverifiable private discussions with Michael Oren. (Cue to 3:10 if you want to hear that part; I’m won’t bother to transcribe it.)

Amazing. This woman is a pathological liar.

(Via Commentary.)


Yesterday’s wind

September 3, 2012

Barack Obama is trying to replay his 2008 campaign:


The face of the Democratic party

September 3, 2012

The Democrats want to make Todd Akin and his crazy ideas the face of the Republican party. They even reportedly plan to make him the theme for an entire night of the convention.

But Akin is just a congressman from Missouri. How much more significant is the misconduct of the Democrats who run the state of New York? The state assembly’s speaker (possibly the state’s most powerful politician) and the attorney general are implicated using taxpayer funds to pay hush money to silence a sexual harassment scandal.


Thin skin

September 3, 2012

Obama says he wasn’t offended by Clint Eastwood’s speech. I guess he realized how bad it looks for the president of the United States to punch back at an entertainer, but it’s a little late for that now.

Obama gets this part right, though:

“One thing about being president or running for president – if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession,” Obama told USA Today.

That’s true; which is why his first reaction is so telling.

(Via Jim Treacher.)


The emperor has no clothes

September 3, 2012

The so-called fact-checkers, which is the to say the opinion police, seem to have finally gone too far. Their recent performance has been so egregious, at a time when people are paying close attention, that everyone on the right and many in the center are realizing that the “fact-checkers” are worse than worthless.

The latest is moderate Democrat Mickey Kaus, who counters the bogus fact-checks of Romney’s ad attacking Obama for gutting welfare reform. In truth, the ad is neither fact nor falsehood, but opinion. Moreover, it is opinion firmly grounded in fact. The “fact-checkers” who grade it false based on the administration’s counter-argument are (at best) being misled.

The fact-checkers cite Sebelius’s pledge to issue waivers only to states that get at least 20% more people off welfare. Kaus points out that (1) that pledge was issued only after Republicans starting attacking the new policy, and (2) the easiest way for states to attain that 20% “improvement” is to increase the number of people on welfare by about 20%, at which point simple math will provide the 20% increase in people getting back off welfare. So Sebelius’s pledge doesn’t improve the new policy — it may make it even worse.


The neverending campaign

September 1, 2012

Obama says his main mistake of his first term was not spending enough time attacking Republicans:

If he wins a second term, Mr. Obama plans to remain in campaign mode. . . He has told some aides that a sizable mistake at the start of his administration was his naiveté in thinking he could work with Republicans on weighty issues.

So, America, if you want this campaign to end, you need to elect Romney.

(Via Instapundit.)

POSTSCRIPT: Of course, Obama was never interested in striking any compromises with Republicans. By “work with Republicans”, Obama means “persuade Republicans to do his bidding.” And yes, he was naive if he thought they would agree to blow over a trillion dollars on useless stimulus and nationalize health care.


How’s the weather in OIHO?

September 1, 2012

Okay, first the chuckle. Obama was caught misspelling OHIO:

Then comes the media failure: The Washington Post quickly reported that the photo was a fake. (Down the memory hole now, but you can see a Washington Post tweet to that effect halfway down the page here.) That reporting was based on, apparently, nothing whatsoever. The Post later retracted.

What happened, it seems, is that the Obama campaign sent out a second photograph of him spelling the word correctly, and the Post reporter jumped to the conclusion that the first photograph must therefore have been fake. (Since no one ever respells a word correctly after making a mistake.) You can only make this kind of mistake when you’re in the tank.

Even after retracting, the reporters still held out the possibility that it might have been fake, writing “I don’t know if the first one is photoshopped.”


Stimulating MSNBC

September 1, 2012

Since Obama’s stimulus money was allocated primarily according to political affiliation (with the money going primarily to Democratic districts, and with more strongly Democratic districts getting more money than marginal ones), I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that a sizeable chunk went to MSNBC.


Discovering Alinsky

September 1, 2012

J Christian Adams says that Republicans are finally learning to use Alinsky tactics against Democrats. I suppose that’s a good thing. The future of our country is too important to leave those tactics — which are undeniably effective — to the other side. Having taken the high road will be cold comfort when the statists are taking control of every facet of our lives.

But I think it’s lamentable. We’re seeing a coarsening of our politics that is probably irreversible. I hate to see the good guys lower themselves to the bad guys’ level.

In the end, as is so often the case, this comes down to media malfeasance. If conservatives and libertarians had gotten credit for taking the high road, there would have been some benefit to it, and conversely there would have been some cost to playing by Alinsky’s rule book. But with the media in the tank for the left, the left faced no consequences for their actions, and the right was branded dirty tricksters no matter what they did.


FACT: The New York Times is full of crap

September 1, 2012

With the rise of bogus fact-checking, the New York Times laments that people aren’t listening any more:

But while there is arguably more fact-checking now than ever — and, thanks to the Web, more ways to independently check what candidates and campaigns say — verdicts that a campaign has crossed the line are often drowned out by dissent from its supporters, who take it upon themselves to check the checkers.

Brendan Nyhan, an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College, said nonpartisan fact-checking groups now compete with ideologically motivated groups from both sides that consider their work to be checking facts as well. (The political campaigns also call some of their own news releases “fact-checks.”)

“The term ‘fact check’ can easily be devalued, as people throw it onto any sort of an opinion that they have,” Mr. Nyhan said. “The other problem is that the partisans who pay attention to politics are being conditioned to disregard the fact-checkers when their own side gets criticized.”

Internet Scofflaw rates this analysis “half true”. (See how easy that is?) Yes, fact-checking has been devalued as people throw onto it any sort of opinion they have; but no, there aren’t any competing nonpartisan fact-checkers.

And that’s the best part of the article. Then there’s this:

The cycle was on display at the Republican convention when Mr. Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, made a number of questionable or misleading claims in his speech. Even before he stopped speaking, some of his claims were being questioned on Twitter. Soon fact-checkers were highlighting some of the misleading statements. More partisan sites rushed to Mr. Ryan’s defense with posts finding fault with the first round of fact checks.

Internet Scofflaw rates this claim “mostly false”. Ryan did make claims in his speech that were “questionable”, in the sense that Democrats did in fact question them. But, as it turned out, all of the “fact-checks” either were not fact but argument, or were simply wrong. This claim gives the misleading impression that Ryan might have actually said something that was false.

And then there’s this but, which the article leads with:

Mitt Romney highlighted the nation’s dire unemployment crisis, its record number of home foreclosures and the rising national debt, and showed video of President Obama delivering this arresting remark: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”

There was one problem: the quotation was taken so wildly out of context that it turned Mr. Obama’s actual meaning upside-down. The truncated clip came from a speech Mr. Obama gave in 2008 talking about his opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona. The full quotation? “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ ”

It’s a fair point. But the New York Times and other so-called fact-checkers leave out the full context as well. In fact, Obama was lying in 2008 when he attributed the statement to the McCain campaign. The statement came from a story in the New York Daily News (a liberal tabloid), which quoted an anonymous source who they described as a “top McCain strategist” making the statement. Internet Scofflaw rates this reporting “mostly true” (although, to be fair, Politifact has gone full “pants on fire” for less).


Railroad

September 1, 2012

Something is seriously wrong with Milwaukee’s courts:

The case took many twists and turns as Davidian filed motions. At one point, Davidian was found guilty by default when he wasn’t in court. He said he later had to rely on his own recording of a previous hearing to prove he had been told he needn’t be present that day. That’s when he was told he could no longer record hearings.

The rest of the story isn’t much better.

(Via Instapundit.)