Dear White House press secretary Josh Earnest–This Is Not A Narrative Fight

Yesterday Hot Air posted a story quoting White House press secretary John Earnest on the bombings and stabbings that occurred this weekend.

The Washington Free Beacon has the full quote:

“When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight, a narrative fight with them, a narrative battle, and what ISIL wants to do is they want to project that they are an organization that is representing Islam in a fight and a war against the West, and a war against the United States,” he said. “That is a bankrupt, false narrative. It’s a mythology, and we have made progress in debunking that mythology.”

After laying out advances made militarily against ISIS, which the Obama administration calls ISIL, Earnest again repeated the U.S. had made progress in “debunking this mythology.”

“We can’t play into this narrative that somehow the United States or the West is fighting against the Muslim religion,” he said. “The fact is there are millions of patriotic Muslims in this country right now that make our country proud. They serve in our armed services. They serve in our law enforcement … These are individuals who make a substantial and positive contribution to our country, and that is an inconvenient fact for the ISIL narrative.”

This statement infuriates me. We have had to put soldiers back in Iraq because President Obama decided to unilaterally end the war. Those soldiers are not fighting a narrative–they are fighting real bullets.

The article at Hot Air tells us a few important things about the bombings in New York City on Saturday:

A top law enforcement official said the pressure cookers in the two bombs in Chelsea on Saturday night were filled with “fragmentation materials.” The bomb that exploded, at 23rd Street, was filled with small bearings or metal BBs. A second device on 27th Street that did not explode appeared to be filled with the same material, the official said…

At the same time, pressure cookers have been a container of choice for many improvised explosive devices over the years. They were used in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 based on a model in publications put out by Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

An expert on improvised explosive devices used by terrorists around the world said that a device constructed with a cellular phone as a timer and Christmas lights as an initiator would indicate a higher-than-average competence than what is usually found in the United States. “Most of what we see in the United States is a pipe bomb with black powder or smokeless powder or a simple hobby fuse,” said the expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he does sensitive work for government agencies. “This would be the high end of sophistication for I.E.D.s in the United States.”

The article at Hot Air also includes the irony that thieves prevented the second bomb from exploding:

The day Ahmad Khan Rahami allegedly planted two bombs in Chelsea — one of which detonated on West 23rd Street — two thieves accidentally helped to disable his second pressure cooker bomb left inside a rolling suitcase on West 27th Street, sources said.

The young men, who sources described as being well-dressed, opened the bag and took the bomb out, sources said, before placing the explosive into a garbage bag and walking away with the rolling suitcase.

In doing so, investigators believe they inadvertently disabled the explosive, sources said. That allowed investigators to examine the cellphone attached to the bomb intact and discover that it was connected to the family of Rahami.

This is not a narrative fight–this is a fight where people get injured and killed. It is time those in the Obama Administration realized that and admitted it.

 

Irony?

Last Tuesday I wrote an article about the New York Times interview by Ben Rhodes. The Sunday New York Times Magazine featured a rather lengthy interview with Mr. Rhodes. In the interview, Ben Rhodes essentially brags about taking advantage of the ignorance of young White House reporters in spinning the Iran nuclear deal.

The New York Times article quotes Ben Rhodes:

Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Well, Congress asked Mr. Rhodes to testify about the Iran nuclear deal and his actions in selling it. Mr. Rhodes (and President Obama) were not interested in talking to an audience that might be less than friendly and that might actually be seeking the truth.

Fox News posted a story today about Mr. Rhodes’ refusal to testify.

The article states:

Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, wanted the deputy national security adviser to testify at a hearing set for Tuesday titled, “White House narratives on the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

“We’re planning as if he is attending, and he’ll have a comfortable seat awaiting his arrival,” Chaffetz said Monday afternoon of Rhodes.

But W. Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, sent a letter to Chaffetz late Monday saying Rhodes would not attend.

He cited what appeared to be an executive privilege-related claim, asserting that such a senior presidential adviser’s appearance “threatens the independence and autonomy of the President, as well as his ability to receive candid advice and counsel.” For those reasons, he said, “we will not make Mr. Rhodes available to testify.”

Chaffetz earlier had made a last-ditch attempt to pressure Rhodes into appearing. After White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest initially said he should invite GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, whom he accuses of spreading false information about the deal, Chaffetz did exactly that — inviting Cotton to testify, on condition that Rhodes appeared as well.

“[Earnest] suggested that you should be invited to appear at the hearing as well, because you have some ‘interesting insight’ into the JCPOA [the Iran deal]. Therefore your appearance before the Committee would be contingent on Mr. Rhodes’ appearance at that hearing,” Chaffetz said in a letter Friday.

It seems very ironic to me that Mr. Rhodes is willing to tell all to The New York Times but not willing to talk to Congress.

The article at Fox News explains why Congress requested Mr. Rhodes to appear:

Sources tell Fox News that the committee was keen for Rhodes to appear voluntarily so they avoid the territory of a possible subpoena.

The magazine article that touched off the controversy outlined how Rhodes created a narrative of the deal coming out of the 2013 election of “moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s subsequent “openness” and willingness to negotiate.

In fact, the story stated, the majority of the deal was hammered out in 2012, well before Rouhani’s election. However, the Rhodes narrative was politically useful to the administration as it presented them as reaching out to the moderates who wanted peace.

Congress needs to hold the President (and his ‘truth-spinner’) accountable for the lies that were told to gain acceptance of a treaty that will eventually be a threat to America‘s national security. It is very telling to me that Ben Rhodes was willing to spend as many hours as it took to get his interview in The New York Times but is not willing to talk to Congress.

Is The Justice Department Just?

The American Thinker posted an article today about some recent remarks made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. In what I am sure was an innocent attempt to blunt the force of new revelations about Hillary Clinton and her emails, Mr. Earnest stated, “That will be a decision made by the Department of Justice and prosecutors over there. What I know that some officials over there have said is that she is not a target of the investigation. So that does not seem to be the direction that it’s trending. But I’m certainly not going to weigh in on a decision or in that process in any way. That is a decision to be made solely by independent prosecutors but again, based on what we know from the Department of Justice, it does not seem to be headed in that direction.”

There are some problems with this statement. How do ‘we’ know anything from the Department of Justice?

The article reminds us:

It would be entirely improper for the White House to be in communication with the Justice Department over an ongoing criminal investigation. This would constitute political interference. A congressional committee could well issue a subpoena for Earnest, which would raise the Watergate flag when executive privilege likely would be claimed.

Second, this claim is likely to infuriate the FBI and those DoJ prosecutors with integrity. The normally staid ace reporter Catherine Herridge used the expression “super pissed off” to describe it to Greta Van Susteren.

There are people of integrity working in our government. I suspect they are having a very difficult time right now. I wish this story would go away. I am tired of it, as I am sure most Americans are, but there is the concept of ‘equal justice under the law’ which on the surface seems to have been violated. That aspect of this needs to be investigated, along with finding out what damage was done by the mishandling of classified information that Secretary of State Clinton exhibited.

There Are Rules For This?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the charges that Planned Parenthood is selling aborted baby parts for profit. Since the Obama Administration has been a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked about the charges.

The article states:

On Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the group’s explanation was good enough for the White House.

“I did read the news reports indicating that the policies that are followed by Planned Parenthood are entirely consistent with the strictest ethical guidelines that have been established in the healthcare industry,” Earnest said.

He then tried to refer questions about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with those standards to the group itself, and deflected when a reporter pressed him on whether the president believes it is ethical to sell aborted fetus remains.

“There are medical ethicists that have taken a close look at this, and Planned Parenthood, I understand, has said that they follow those ethical guidelines and in fact the highest ethical guidelines,” he said. “But for their compliance with them and exactly what that means, I’d obviously refer you to them.”

“I don’t have intimate knowledge of the kinds of practices that they engage in,” he added.

Evidently there are rules for selling aborted baby parts and Planned Parenthood is following them. It is truly sad that our culture has fallen to this level.

Remember The Tenth Amendment?

The Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Hill is reporting today that the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, formed by President Obama after three events last year which involved the death of black Americans, has recommended that all officer-involved shootings be reported to the federal government. I believe that this recommendation is in direct violation of the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The states are in charge of local police departments–not the federal government. This is a dangerous consolidation of power by the federal government.

The article reports:

The Obama spokesman said the administration would take into account whether a state or local agency was following the recommendations when considering grant applications.

“[T]he president has asked the Community Oriented Policing Services Office at the Department of Justice to take responsibility for advancing the work of the task force, including prioritizing grant funding to law enforcement agencies that meet appropriate benchmarks that are related to these recommendations,” Earnest (White House press secretary Josh Earnest) said. 

This is how government takeovers work–we have seen it in education–the government gives money for education to states if the states are willing to comply with certain government programs. If the states do not comply, they do not get government money–it is a subtle takeover of something that the states are supposed to control.

A government takeover of local police departments is a serious threat to our representative republic. Also note that the government has been giving used military equipment to our local law enforcement agencies–equipment that is not appropriate for use on the streets of towns and cities in America.

Ignoring The Truth Doesn’t Really Help Anyone

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the verbal gymnastics the Obama Administration is going through to avoid calling the attack in Paris Islamic terrorism.

The article reports:

Earnest explained to White House reporters during the press briefing that this is a question of “accuracy.”

“We want to describe exactly what happened. These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism, and they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam in their own deviant view of it,” he said.

The White House may call it a deviant view, but there seem to be an awful lot of armed Muslims who share that view and are ready to die for it.

It is not an incredible coincidence that a Kosher Deli was attacked. Antisemitism is a serious problem in France, fueled in part by the growing Muslim population in France. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has whitewashed the terrorism briefings of our military and diplomatic corps, taking out the words Islamic terrorism and replacing them with the word extremism. The report on September 11, 2001, has also been purged of the words Islamic terrorism. Sun Tzu, the great Chinese strategist stated that the first rule of war is to “know your enemy.” Someone needs to remind the Obama Administration of that rule.

An Interesting Perspective On The Coming Amnesty

On November 16, The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial entitled, “The Missing Immigration Memo.” The editorial asked if President Obama has sought or received written legal justification from the Attorney General or the Justice Department‘s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for his coming Executive Order on amnesty.

The editorial points out that on previous actions such as drone strikes or targeting U.S. citizens abroad, the President asked the OLC for advice on the boundaries of Presidential authority.

The editorial states:

It’s possible Messrs. Obama and Holder haven’t sought an immigration opinion because they suspect there’s little chance that even a pliant Office of Legal Counsel could find a legal justification. Prosecutorial discretion is a vital legal concept, but it is supposed to be exercised in individual cases, not to justify a refusal to follow the law against entire classes of people.

White House leakers are also whispering as a legal excuse that Congress has provided money to deport only 400,000 illegal migrants a year. But a President cannot use lack of funds to justify a wholesale refusal to enforce a statute. There is never enough money to enforce every federal law at any given time, and lack of funds could by used in the future by any President to refuse to enforce any statute. Imagine a Republican President who decided not to enforce the Clean Air Act.

The President and the Democrat party need to realize that the President’s actions have resulted in the decline of the Democrat party. Do they really want a Republican President who operates under the precedent of this sort of power grab?

Someone Finally Takes Responsibility

Fox News reported yesterday that Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned. Her resignation comes after a number of security breaches have been made public.

The article reports:

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced the resignation in a written statement, and the White House confirmed her decision shortly afterward. President Obama “concluded new leadership of that agency was required,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Johnson said: “Today Julia Pierson, the Director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it. I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation.”

A source familiar with the situation told Fox News that Johnson told Pierson the resignation would be effective immediately, after she offered.

The fact that an intruder was able to enter the White House is troubling. Many of us, myself included, have home security systems that would prevent that–not to mention the simple step of locking the doors.

It is time to take another look at the entire Homeland Security Department.  As is historically typical of government agencies, it has grown very large and very inefficient. It is time to streamline the department and separate it into manageable entities. I am sure there would also be some financial savings in that reorganization.

Governments Run Amok

CNN posted an article today about the detention of David Miranda at London’s Heathrow Airport when Mr. Miranda was returning to his home in Brazil. Mr. Miranda lives and works with Glenn Greenwald, the man who released the information Edward Snowden collected regarding government surveillance in America and England.

The article reports:

Greenwald’s partner, 28-year-old David Miranda, was held for nearly nine hours. He was reportedly passing through the airport on his way home to Brazil after leaving Berlin. Authorities seized his laptop, phone, and other materials.

The White House knew the move was coming.

“There was a heads up that was provided by the British government,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

So the United States knew it “was likely to occur, but it’s not something that we’ve requested and it’s something that was done specifically by the British law enforcement officials there,” he said.

He would not comment on whether the United States has obtained material from Miranda’s laptop — and would not say whether President Obama condemns the detention.

The Guardian also posted this story today. Their article stated:

David Miranda‘s detention should be seen in the context of the implicit acceptance by the Home Office, which is bringing forward the current changes, that parts of the law are too sweeping. But Mr Miranda’s detention is extraordinary nevertheless. It raises important new issues that parliament cannot now ignore and will have to debate if its terrorism law reform bill is to be in any way meaningful, just or proportionate.

Part of this is because there is not the slightest suggestion that Mr Miranda is a terrorist. But Mr Miranda does live with and work with Mr Greenwald, who has broken most of the stories about US and UK state surveillance based on leaks from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. None of that work involves committing, preparing or instigating acts of terrorism, or anything that could reasonably fall within even the most capacious definition of such activities. Yet anyone who imagines that Mr Miranda was detained at random at Heathrow is not living in the real world.

This is alarming. Whether you see Edward Snowden as a hero or a traitor, there was no reason to detain Mr. Miranda. There was also no reason to seize his computer, cell phone, and other possessions. There was no suspicion that Mr. Miranda was a terrorist–he was simply guilty of partnering with Glenn Greenwald. The government needs expanded power to deal with terrorists at border locations–airports, etc.–but it needs to use those powers carefully. This is not the way free societies should act.

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Those Pesky Fact-Checkers

In his latest comments on the Keystone Pipeline, President Obama claimed that the Pipeline would create approximately 2,000 jobs during construction and later approximately 50 and 100 jobs. Doesn’t sound like much, does it?

The Daily Caller fact-checkers reviewed those statements in an article posted on Wednesday.

The article quotes the White House response when asked about these numbers:

“There are a range of estimates out there about the economic impact of the pipeline,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “What the president is interested in doing is draining the politics out of this debate and evaluating this project on the merits.”

The State Department reported that the pipeline would directly create 3,900 jobs per year, and 42,100 jobs if indirect jobs are included. Even the Sierra Club, one of the leading groups campaigning against the pipeline cites the 3,900 jobs figure — higher than the president’s unsupported numbers.

The only estimate that even comes close to what President Obama claimed was one done by the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations Global Labor Institute, which opposes the pipeline.

The thing to note here is that the Pipeline would create jobs. America desperately needs jobs. Aside from the concept of energy independence and national security, it might be a really good idea to build the Keystone Pipeline, but meanwhile Warren Buffett‘s railroad is earning millions hauling the oil by rail. Notice, the oil will travel. The question is how it will travel and where it will travel. If America stalls on approving the pipeline long enough, the oil will travel by a new pipeline across Canada to a seaport where it will be shipped to China. It is not in America’s interest to oppose the Keystone Pipeline.

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I’d Love To See The Guest List

Yesterday Breitbart.com reported that the White House announced that it would hold a meeting to brief reporters on Benghazi. The meeting was initially referred to by Politico as ‘off-the-record,’ but the White House changed that to ‘deep background.’ I agree that the word deep is probably a good description, but background is not the word I would place after it.

Fourteen news organizations were invited to the closed-door meeting.

Politico reported yesterday:

The meeting was conducted on “deep background,” according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, but sources told POLITICO that the existence of the meeting was “off the record.” The meeting began around 12:45 p.m. and postponed the daily, on-the-record White House press briefing until mid-afternoon.

The session was announced to reporters in the wake of an ABC News report showing that White House and State Dept. officials were involved in revising the now-discredited CIA talking points about the attack on Benghazi.

I would love to see which fourteen news organizations were invited to the meeting! Can you imagine what would have happened if Nixon had tried this with Watergate?

Breitbart.com tells us what to look for as a result of this meeting:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “Deep background means that the info presented by the briefers can be used in reporting but the briefers can’t be quoted.” So expect a fair number of “White House sources” to appear in reportage for the next few days.

Four people died at Benghazi because they did not have adequate security, and when they asked for help they did not get it. Later the Obama Administration lied about what happened. Also, remember that the man who made the video that was not responsible for the attack is the only person in jail as a result of the attack. He is still in jail. It’s time to stop playing games and explain what happened.

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