Where Do We Go From Here?

I am sure that by now much of the testimony from the Benghazi hearings is up on YouTube. If not there, I am sure it is floating around the Internet somewhere.  If you were not able to watch any of the hearings, I strongly recommend finding them on the Internet and spending some time.

The Benghazi hearings told us much of what we already knew–before the attack there were incidents that should have resulted in increased security rather than decreased security, during the attack the help that was needed never arrived, and after the attack almost everything we were told by the Obama Administration was a lie.

So where are we and where do we go from here? We do actually need at least one more hearing. We need to know who ordered the Special Forces that wanted to go to help at Benghazi to stand down. We need to know who changed to talking points for the Sunday news shows for Susan Rice and why. We need to know why Susan Rice was sent out rather than Hillary Clinton (we probably can make some pretty good guesses on that one). We need to know what Chris Stevens was doing at the annex without adequate security on September 11.

Will we ever get answers to any of those questions? Not unless we demand them from our representatives. If we as Americans do not hold our politicians accountable, they will not be accountable. The ball is in our court.

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What Difference Does It Make ?

On Monday, Investors.com posted an article about Hillary Clinton‘s testimony before Congress last week. The sound bite of the week seems to be Ms. Clinton’s rather heated statement, “We had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Notice that she does not mention a planned attack in her list. The problem is not actually the motive behind the attack–the problem is that the Obama Administration lied about the motive even after it became obvious that they were lying.

The article concludes:

In a larger context, the Benghazi attack showed that you cannot unilaterally end the “war on terror” or the terrorists’ war on us, by declaring victory.

For years, the Bush administration’s phrase “war on terror” was avoided like the plague by the Obama administration, even if that required the Fort Hood massacre to be classified as “workplace violence.”

But, no matter how clever the rhetoric, reality nevertheless rears its ugly head.

Once the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi is seen for what it was — a highly coordinated and highly successful operation by terrorists who were said to have been vanquished — that calls into question the Obama administration’s Middle East foreign policy.

That is why it still matters.

The war on terror will continue whether or not we choose to fight it. Those who wish to do America harm will continue to train and arm themselves for the fight whether we are fighting or not.

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An Intentional Lie Or A Lack Of Knowledge ?

Fox News posted a story today about one aspect of Secretary of State Clinton’s testimony before Congress yesterday. I am sure there will be many stories about her testimony to come, but there was one aspect that was very telling.

As I listened to Secretary Clinton, it became very obvious that although she ‘accepted responsibility’ for the deaths at Benghazi, she placed part of the blame for the attack on budget cuts–indirectly blaming Republicans because Democrats only do budget cuts in the defense budget.

When you examine the State Department budget numbers for the past several years, blaming budget cuts does not hold water.

The article at Fox News points out:

Budget numbers, though, show the overall diplomatic security budget has ballooned over the past decade. While there were modest decreases in funding in recent years — and Congress has approved less than was requested — the overall security budget has more than doubled since fiscal 2004. 

For that year, the budget was $640 million.  It steadily climbed to $1.6 billion in fiscal 2010. It dipped to $1.5 billion the following year and roughly $1.35 billion in fiscal 2012. 

Slightly more has been requested for fiscal 2013. 

It’s difficult to tell how much was specifically allocated for Benghazi. Tripoli was the only post mentioned in the department’s fiscal 2013 request — funding for that location did slip, from $11.5 million in fiscal 2011 to $10.1 million the following year. Slightly more has been requested for fiscal 2013. 

Ignoring requests for increased security is not a budget issue. If the money was not available to protect our ambassador and staff at Benghazi, the ambassador and staff should have been moved elsewhere. The other part of this story that seems to be ignored is the report that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. were asked to stand down rather than help.

I am sure there will be more questions as Secretary Clinton’s testimony is analyzed. What I am not sure of is whether the picture of what actually happened at Benghazi will become any clearer.

What Has America Become ?

Today’s New York Post is reporting that the four State Department officials who resigned in the wake of the Benghazi attacks really didn’t resign–one has a new job and the other three took a short leave of absence.

The article reports:

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “has accepted Eric Boswell’s decision to resign as assistant secretary for diplomatic security, effective immediately.” What Nuland omitted was that Boswell gave up only the presidential appointment as assistant secretary, not his other portfolios.

The other officials — Deputy Assistant Secretaries Charlene Lamb and Raymond Maxwell, and a third who has not been identified — were found to have shown “performance inadequacies” but not “willful misconduct,” Pickering said, so they would not face discipline.

It is so sad to see what has happened to America. The political class now rules at the expense of the people, at the expense of the concept of responsibility, and at the expense of honor.Enhanced by Zemanta

The Buck Stops Somewhere Down There

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the resignations at the State Department after the Benghazi report was released. Four people have resigned. The names of three of them have been released–Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and Raymond Maxwell, a deputy assistant secretary who had responsibility for North Africa.

The article reports:

Patrick Kennedy, the under secretary for management, apparently will keep his job, even though he has vigorously defended the State Department’s decision-making on Benghazi to Congress. A blogger who monitors goings on at Foggy Bottom suggests that the State Department is erecting a firewall to protect officials at the Undersecretary level and higher.

The ARB report did not criticize Kennedy or other officials at that level. However, it did find that there was a culture of “husbanding resources” at senior levels of the State Department, and that this culture contributed to the security deficiencies in Benghazi. According to the report, the culture at State “had the effect of conditioning a few State Department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation.”

There are some real questions as to how much responsibility for the death of Ambassador Stevens these people actually bear. Were their superiors aware of the previous attacks? Were their superiors aware of the increase in terrorist activity in the area? Were their superiors aware of the attack after it began?

The article reports:

Congress apparently intends to pursue the question of whether, and to what extent, blame should be assigned higher up the chain. Rep. Ed Royce, the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that “the degree that others bear responsibility warrants Congressional review, given the report’s rather sweeping indictment.” And, he added, “the Foreign Affairs Committee must hear from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton concerning her role, which this report didn’t address.”

Secretary Clinton needs to appear before Congress and testify about this matter. She is the Secretary of State, and this occurred on her watch. Her appearance will not necessarily make things any clearer–I doubt she would answer any questions directly if she were to appear. My feeling is that her schedule will not allow her to testify in front of the committee before she steps down as Secretary of State, and after she steps down, she will simply say that since she is not longer Secretary of State, there is no reason for her to appear. The Clinton playbook really hasn’t changed much.

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Finding More Ways To Spend Americans Tax Dollars In Other Countries

CNS News reported today that the new Women’s Entrepreneurship Trust Fund, announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month on a visit to Peru, is making an initial contribution of $900,000 to launch pilot programs here in Peru and in El Salvador, What??!!!

The article reports:

The money, according to Clinton, will be used to train rural women in Peru and in El Salvador for jobs as entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Clinton said the U.S. and Peru were working together as partners to support women in rural areas who “are replacing thousands of hectares of illegal coca fields with profitable crops, like chocolate and coffee and palm oil.”

Approximately $500,000 of the money will go to Peru. The program will go far beyond job training, Clinton said.

“With $500,000 in initial funding, we’ll focus on helping Peruvian women advocate for their own needs, mobilize broad national support for issues affecting them, particularly rural women.

Why is the American government doing this? What guarantee do we have that the money will go to the people who actually need it? Could this money be better spent to help American entrepreneurs and small business owners who are struggling under the Obama economy?

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More Under The Radar

The New York Post is reporting today that the Obama Administration is in negotiations with the new government of Egypt to release the blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman to Egypt as a gift to the new government of Egypt. The Obama Administration denies that this is the case, but the story can be found on at least two reliable internet sources that I am aware of. As I am sure you remember, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman was responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

The New York Post reports:

His incarceration was the subject of Arabic-language message-board rants two days before protesters stormed the US Embassy in Cairo and later killed the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, according to a Department of Homeland Security report obtained by Fox News.

They wrote he should be released, “even if it requires burning the embassy down with everyone in it.”

King and other congressional Republicans sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying, “The release of Abdel-Rahman or any terrorist who plots to kill innocent Americans would be seen for what it is: a sign of weakness and a lack of resolve by the United States and its president.”

I will bet anyone a steak dinner that sometime after the election, when the Obama Administration thinks no one is looking, the Blind Sheik will be sent back to Egypt. It may be framed as a compassionate move, as the Sheik is elderly, but he will be sent back to Egypt.

Please consider this when you vote in November.

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Are We Back To The Days Of Czechoslovakia ?

On Tuesday, Frank Gaffney posted an article in the Washington Times about the treatment of Israel by the Obama Administration.

The article begins by reminding us:

In October 2001, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon issued a prophetic warning: “Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938, when enlightened European democracies decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for a ‘convenient temporary solution.’ ” He declared: “Israel will not be Czechoslovakia.”

Mr. Gaffney compares the statements of the Obama Administration that indicate Israel is on its own to the statements made by western nations in 1938, which Hitler took as a green light to invade the nation of Czechoslovakia. The Obama Administration does not seem to notice that Iran is closely watching the statements the administration is making regarding Israel.

The article reminds us:

Even more troubling has been the cumulative effect of Obama policies toward the Middle East that are helping transform large swaths of the region into a festering Islamist sore, prone to jihad — most immediately against Israel and, inevitably, against the United States. In particular, Mr. Obama’s determination to legitimize, empower and enrich the government of Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi adds materially to the danger confronting the Jewish state and American interests.

The legitimization will reach new heights later this month when Mr. Morsi gets the red-carpet treatment in New York and Washington. The empowering included not just demands conveyed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in July that the Egyptian military surrender power to the Brotherhood-dominated presidency and legislature. It also apparently entails U.S. acquiescence to Mr. Morsi’s moves to remilitarize the Sinai in violation of the Camp David Accords. The enriching piece involved an unconditional, lump-sum payment earlier this year, over bipartisan congressional objections, and is reportedly to be followed by the incipient transfer of a further $1 billion.

Predictably, as with the sellout of Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, what such concessions will produce is an emboldening of freedom’s enemies. That will not be good for its friends — here or abroad.

We can sit and watch as Egypt remilitarizes the Sinai Peninsula or we can choose to develop a backbone and cut off any aid to Egypt until it removes its troops and weapons from the area. Unfortunately, I think under President Obama, we will sell out Israel just as Europe sold out Czechoslovakia. Selling out Israel may bring us a temporary period of something that looks like peace, but it will not bring us peace.

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Rats Deserting A Sinking Ship

As the Republicans hold their convention in Tampa, the Democrat convention to be held next week is taking shape. Mostly it seems as if major Democrats are choosing not to attend.

The Daily Caller reported yesterday that although Bill Clinton will be speaking at the Democrat convention, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be out of the country. She will be visiting the Cook Islands, Vladivostok, Russia, and Manchuria, China.

The article reports:

U.S. unemployment, debts and deficits are at record heights, while wages and investment are in decline.

Clinton’s departure prevents Obama from using her popularity to boost his outreach to swing-voting unmarried and married women.

Instead, Obama has awarded a speaking slot to her husband, former President Bill Clinton. That could be risky, because relations between the two presidents have been frosty, and the former president may subtly undercut the current president.

Clinton’s high-profile exit from the country and from party politics forcefully underlines her effort to distance herself from Obama’s waning political fortunes.

But it also protects her fortunes, just in case she decides to run in 2016.

On July 18, Hot Air quoted Representative Nancy Pelosi:

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi says that Democratic members should stay home and campaign in their districts rather than go to the party’s national convention in North Carolina.

“I’m not encouraging anyone to go to the convention, having nothing to do with anything except I think they should stay home, campaign in their districts, use their financial and political resources to help them win their election,” Pelosi said in an exclusive interview for POLITICO Live’s On Congress, a new weekly show to be streamed live on POLITICO’s website and broadcast on NewsChannel 8 on Wednesdays. …

“We nominated a president last time. We have an incumbent President of the United States. We’re very proud of him. There certainly will be enough people there to express that pride, but I’m not encouraging members to go to the convention no matter what the situation was, because they can be home. It’s campaign time. It’s the first week in September,” she said.

That really doesn’t sound like a comment made by a winning team. At this rate, I wonder how many average Americans will be able to get into the Democrat convention just to fill the seats!

 

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An Interesting Development In The Presidential Race

Today’s Washington Examiner is reporting that Hillary Clinton has rejected the idea of running as Vice-President on President Obama’s re-election ticket in order to prepare for her own 2016 run for President.

The article reports:

But Clinton, exhausted from four years of international travel and diplomacy, shrugged off the suggestion to lay the groundwork for her own 2016 bid with her husband at her side, according to author Ed Klein.

“As recently as a couple of weeks ago, the White House was putting out feelers to see if Hillary Clinton was interested in replacing Joe Biden on the ticket,” Klein told Secrets. “Bill Clinton, I’m told, was urging his wife to accept the number two spot if it was formally offered. Bill sees the vice presidency as the perfect launching pad for Hillary to run for president in 2016.”

I think Hillary made the right decision. If the polls are any indication of anything, there is no way President Obama wins a second term in an honest election. It would not do Hillary any good to be on a losing ticket. If President Obama wins a second term, it is quite possible that some of his policies would be well outside the mainstream of America. President Obama’s comment to Russian President Medvedev (rightwinggranny.com) about having more flexibility during his second term is not comforting.

The video included in the article adds some details:

There are only 20-some days to change the ticket. This may be interesting.

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How’s That New Diplomacy Initiative Working For You ?

CNN is reporting today that protestors threw tomatoes at the motorcade carrying Hillary Clinton in Egypt. The protestors shouted, “Monica, Monica, Monica” as Mrs. Clinton left the U.S. Consulate in Alexandria. That’s just tacky. This is Hillary Clinton–not Bill. She wasn’t the one involved with Monica. I just think it is tacky and cruel to do that to a wife who has been treated badly by her husband. I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but I think that was over the top. Anyway, back to the story.

The article reports:

But after this year’s elections, the military council issued a decree stripping the presidency of much of its power. And more than two weeks after Morsy took office, the country remains in the throes of domestic political chaos. The president has no Cabinet and the country has no parliament.

Clinton met with Morsy on Saturday and urged him to assert the “full authority” of his office. She stressed that it is up to the Egyptian people to shape the country’s political future, but also said the United States would work “to support the military’s return to a purely national security role.”

Morsy, the new President of Egypt, resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party shortly after the results were announced, in an apparent effort to send a message that he will represent all Egyptians. Lifelong members of the Muslim Brotherhood don’t just resign. This would be like resigning the Mafia (or the CIA)–it really doesn’t happen. The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is the establishment of the worldwide caliphate through social, political, and military action. The Muslim religion includes the practice of Taqiyya, generally described as lying for the sake of Islam–particularly toward infidels. We need to keep this in mind when dealing with Egypt.

Meanwhile, The Blaze reported yesterday that the Reverend Michel Louis and a 39-year-old Boston woman named Lisa Alphonse and a tour guide were kidnapped Friday when an Egyptian Bedouin stopped their bus on a road linking Cairo to Mount Sinai.

ABC News reports:

Jirmy Abu-Masuh, 32, of the Tarbeen tribe, said in an interview that he stopped their tour bus and also kidnapped their 28-year-old tour guide Haytham Ragab as well so he could translate.

Abu-Masuh told The Associated Press that the Americans are being treated well — they’ve been given tea and a traditional Bedouin meal of lamb — but they won’t be released until his uncle, who is in an Egyptian prison, is released as well. He also said that if his uncle is not released, he will abduct more people.

“If my uncle gets 50 years (in prison), they will stay with me for 50 years. If they release him, I will release them,” he told the AP. “Tomorrow I will kidnap other nationalities and their embassies will be notified for the whole world to know.”

Do you think this would be happening if America had a strong President? Does anyone remember Osama Bin Laden saying that when he planned the 9/11 attacks, he never dreamed that America would retaliate. When we vote in November, we really need to consider which candidate is actually willing to defend America and Americans.

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The Secretary Of State In A Second Term Of Obama

The Weekly Standard posted a story on Monday about the choice of Secretary of State if President Obama wins a second term. Evidently, the conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton will step down in order to run for President in 2016. Senator John Kerry is the expected replacement.

An editorial in the Globe and Mail by Yossi Klein Halevi related the following story:

Last year, I was part of a group of Israelis who met in Jerusalem with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Mr. Kerry had just come from Damascus with excellent news: Bashar al-Assad was ready for peace with Israel. When one of the participants mentioned that demonstrations had begun to challenge Mr. Assad’s legitimacy, Mr. Kerry’s response was: All the more reason to negotiate while he’s still in power. In other words: Israel had the golden opportunity to give up the strategic Golan Heights to a dictator who might be deposed by a popular revolution, which might or might not recognize whatever peace agreement he signed.

That kind of wishful thinking has resulted in Western policy toward the Middle East that is strategically incoherent.

A second term of President Obama would be a nightmare both domestically and internationally. Keep this in mind when you vote.

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The Wayward Child Of The Democrat Party

Bill Clinton has provided a lot of entertainment lately in a rather vicious political climate. I truly feel that President Clinton is simply attempting to pave the way for Hillary‘s campaign of 2016. Well, President Clinton is at in again.

The Hill is reporting today that the Republicans are pointing to President Clinton’s recent statement that he would continue the current tax rates as they are, rather than only continuing tax breaks for the middle class. He’s off the reservation again. It seems as if he has been encouraged to alter his statements slightly.

The article reports:

Clinton, in an interview on CNBC, said he had “no problem” with extending all of the tax cuts temporarily to avoid the year-end “fiscal cliff” that economists warn could slow the economy or even cause a recession. A spokesman for the former president later clarified that he “does not believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended again.”

Notice that the clarification is different than the original statement. Must have been another trip to the woodshed!

There is a tax bomb scheduled to hit the middle class on January 1, 2013. It is a combination of the Bush tax rates expiring and the additional taxes imposed by Obamacare. If something is not done to stop the new taxes, the American economy will be seriously slowed by the extra tax burden.

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Congress? What Congress?

Big Government posted an article yesterday about America’s military aid to Egypt. Congress has halted aid to Egypt until and “unless the State Department certifies that Egypt is making progress on basic freedoms and human rights.”  President Obama evidently has other ideas. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce that America will resume funding Egypt’s military despite Congressional restrictions.

The article reports:

Even Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), a man with whom I’ve never agreed on anything, sees the foolishness of this endeavor: “I believe [sending the aid] would be a mistake. The new [restrictions were] intended to put the United States squarely on the side of the Egyptian people who seek a civilian government that respects fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, and to clearly define the terms of our future relations with the Egyptian military.”

If Congress ever intends to be relevant, it needs to get its head out of the sand and confront President Obama on this power grab. Never-mind that Christians, Jews, and innocent civilians are being killed in Egypt on a regular basis by the government brought about by the ‘Arab Spring,’ this is simply unconstitutional.

Sending military aid to Egypt at this time will do nothing except destabilize the Middle East and make Israel more vulnerable to attack. I think Congress may have figured out that the new government of Egypt is not our friend, but evidently the President hasn’t.

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This Will Never Happen But It Is A Wonderful Idea

"...they shall beat their swords into plo...

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On Friday CNSNews posted an article about a bill that just passed the House Foreign Relations Committee in the House of Representatives with a vote of 23-15. The bill is the U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829).  It would force the U.N. to change its funding mechanism from the current system of “assessed” contributions to voluntary ones. In simple terms the bill would allow the United States and other members of the United Nations to fund only those activities and agencies it regards as being efficiently managed, and in the national interest. Obviously, had this law been in effect in the 1990’s, we might have avoided the food for oil scandal. Frankly, what the bill would actually do, other than save taxpayers millions of dollars, would be to defund the United Nations. Considering that the United Nations lost its way a long time ago, I really think that is a great idea. Unfortunately, I am probably not the majority opinion.

The article reports:

In a letter to Ros-Lehtinen [Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)] on Wednesday, Clinton (Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State) expressed strong opposition to the measure, saying if it reached the president, she would recommend a veto.

Citing U.N. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as examples, she argued that international engagement through the U.N. comes at a fraction of the cost of acting alone.

“This bill also represents a dangerous retreat from the longstanding, bipartisan focus of the United States on constructive engagement within the United Nations to galvanize collective action to tackle urgent security problems,” she wrote.

“If we act to diminish our global stature, the United States would surrender a key platform from which to shape international priorities, such as obtaining tough sanctions on Iran.”

During the hearing, Ros-Lehtinen referred to Clinton’s letter, and in particular the suggestion that the legislation could harm U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because other countries would not share the burden by paying for U.N. missions in those countries.

“Does the administration have such little faith in our allies and in our diplomacy – which they pride themselves on –  to think that they would not share the burden of fighting Islamist extremists unless the U.N. forced them to?” she asked.

Has it occurred to anyone that the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is the most powerful bloc in the United Nations and is not going to do anything to significantly limit the actions of radical Islam?

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