Archive for the ‘9/11’ Category
This transcript from Sunday’s Fox News Sundays shows how Chris Wallace caught Xavier Becerra’s spin. Here’s a perfect example of that:
WALLACE: Congressman Becerra, you have been talking about the committee as a kangaroo court, your words. First of all, how do you know that before it even begins meeting? And do you really believe that all the questions about Benghazi have been answered?
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIRMAN XAVIER BECERRA, D-CALIF.: Well, what leads us to believe it could be a kangaroo court or a smokescreen from having to deal with the real issues Americans want to deal with like job creation and so forth, is that we’ve done these investigations some seven times, five of the investigations coming out of five of the House Republican committees.
Rep. Becerra’s logic is that the Select Committee on Benghazi is a kangaroo court because Republicans won’t change the subject to the topics Democrats prefer talking about. Wallace called Becerra and the Democrats out for this spin because Democrats want people to be prejudiced against the committee before the committee has met.
This exchange is telling:
WALLACE: Let me ask you a question and maybe you can answer it for me. Where was the president? And what did he do the night of the attack?
BECERRA: I believe the president was at the White House and he was in communication with some of the folks with his administration in and around time of the attacks.
Becerra insisted earlier that we knew everything we needed to know because there’d been in his words, 7 different investigations. Clearly, those investigations weren’t proficient because the best Becerra could do when asked about President Obama’s actions during the terrorist attack was say what he believed, not what he knew. That’s rather instructive. Compare Becerra’s answer with Chairman Gowdy’s reply:
WALLACE: Do you — do you know, Congressman Gowdy, where the president was and what he was doing during the seven hours of the attack?
GOWDY: No, sir, I do not. Nor do I know what communication if any he had with Secretary of State Clinton, nor can I tell you why we were still in Benghazi despite the fact that there was an escalation in violence in the months leading up, nor do I know whether or not the president called any of our allies in the region and said, can you get any assets to Benghazi? We’re under attack. I have more questions than answers despite the fact that committees of Congress have looked at this attack for 19 months now.
Chairman Gowdy’s honest response highlights the important things we still don’t know about the Obama administration’s decisions. Still, no exchange caught Rep. Becerra than this one:
WALLACE: Wait. Wait. You keep pointing to that. We didn’t find out. and they have subpoenaed all the State Department documents — excuse me, sir — they had subpoenaed all the State Department documents, and it took until last week for the administration finally to release the Ben Rhodes e-mail in which two days before Susan Rice appeared on this show, he was suggesting that she’d say that it was because of the video, not because of a policy failure.
BECERRA: You got juiced (ph). You know that that email shows nothing new. It simply — WALLACE: I don’t agree with that. I think it shows something dramatically new. It shows that despite what the White House — it shows despite what the White House has been saying for the last year and a half, it shows that inside the White House, they were telling Susan Rice what to say.
That’s what I’d call a classic slapdown. Saying that the email didn’t showing anything new is Democrat spin. Saying that the email showed “something dramatically new” is the truth. This ‘closing argument’ by Chairman Gowdy must’ve stung, too:
GOWDY: Yes, which is exactly why I said I will never and have never sent out any fund-raising literature trying to raise money in the grief and tragedy of four dead Americans. I have asked my colleagues to follow suit.
But my friends and colleague Tommy Cotton from Arkansas did a magnificent job on the House floor of pointing out the duplicity and hypocrisy of Democrats all of a sudden concluding that certain things are above politics. They raise money on Sandy Hook. They raise money on Katrina. They raise money on Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, for me, I will not raise money on Benghazi just like I never raised money using crime victims when I was a prosecutor and I’ve asked my colleagues to follow suit. But it would be helpful, it would be helpful if our colleagues on other side of the aisle did not have selective amnesia when it comes to what’s appropriate to raise money off of and what is not.
After watching that closing argument, I’m reminded of G. Gordon Liddy’s comment that he “wouldn’t fight a battle of wits with an unarmed man.” Clearly, Becerra was outmatched against Chairman Gowdy.
Bret Baier’s interview with Tommy Vietor, the former spokesman for the NSA, is feisty but it’s more informative than feisty. Here’s a brief clip of the interview:
This sentence jumps off the page:
VIETOR: He told Tom Donnilon and his joint chiefs and his SecDef to begin moving all military assets into the region.
This is significant because of what was happening throughout northern Africa, which Andy McCarthy highlights beautifully in this article:
As we have covered here before (see, e.g., here), the release and return to Egypt of the Blind Sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman (whom I prosecuted in the Nineties), has been a cause célèbre in Egypt for many years. On September 10, 2012, the day before rioting at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, an Egyptian weekly, El Fagr, reported that several jihadist organizations, including the Blind Sheik’s group (Gamaat al-Islamia, or the Islamic Group) and al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri’s group (Egyptian Islamic Jihad), were threatening to burn the American embassy in Cairo to the ground. The promised action against the embassy was an effort to extort the release of Abdel Rahman and other jihadists jailed by the United States.
Apparently, the administration didn’t take the Blind Sheikh’s son’s threat seriously. That’s apparent because, according to Mr. Vietor, more than 24 hours later, President Obama still hadn’t moved military assets into the region.
That’s incredible for multiple reasons. First, it’s the anniversary of 9/11. That alone is reason to preposition troops and put them on high alert. Second, the Blind Sheikh’s sone threatened to raid the Cairo embassy and take hostages in an attempt to free his terrorist father. Third, the riots at the Cairo Embassy happened as predicted, with the hostage-taking the only thing that didn’t happen. Fourth, the distance between Cairo and Benghazi is only 400 miles by air. A flight that distance takes less than an hour in the Navy’s and Air Force’s fastest jets.
This begs a totally new set of questions that haven’t been asked yet.
First, why didn’t President Obama and Secretary Clinton take threats seriously enough to preposition troops in the eastern Mediterranean Sea? Second, why didn’t President Obama order military assets be moved into the Mediterranean when the Cairo attacks happened as predicted? They started 4 hours before the initial attack on Benghazi. Third, why didn’t President Obama head to the Situation Room the minute the first reports of the Cairo riots happened? According to Mr. Vietor, President Obama never went to the Situation Room.
President Obama and his administration spent an entire convention bragging about what a great national security president he was. Vice President Biden said that “bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive.” Then-Sen. Kerry said “Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off now than he was 4 years ago.”
The reality is that President Obama, Secretary of Defense Panetta and Secretary Clinton didn’t position military assets in the Mediterranean. Thanks to their inaction and inattentiveness, 4 American patriots were murdered by an emboldened group of terrorists. Those terrorists still haven’t been brought to justice.
It’s time we got a real commander-in-chief who worries more about Las Vegas fundraisers than he worried about 4 American patriots who were murdered.
Technorati: Tommy Vietor, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Situation Room, Cairo Protests, Benghazi Terrorist Attack, Christopher Stevens, Blind Sheikh, 9/11, John Kerry, Joe Biden, Bret Baier, Fundraiser, Election 2012
Catherine Herridge’s reporting in this video is the smoking gun that the Left’s apologists say doesn’t exist:
Here’s part of Herridge’s article:
Several Al Qaeda members emerged as “leaders of the pack” in last year’s Benghazi attack, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News following release of a bipartisan report blowing apart claims the assault was the work of local extremists with no formal terrorist connections.
The former Guantanamo detainee Sufian bin Qumu, first identified by Fox’s Bret Baier as a suspect 16 months ago, at the very least helped lay the groundwork for the operation.
“Certainly Qumu was involved in planning in this…he is a member of a group that is affiliated with Al Qaeda so in my mind that makes him Al Qaeda,” said Chambliss, R-Ga.
According to the timeline that’s been put together from the House Armed Services Committee testimony, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama knew that Benghazi was a terrorist attack within fifteen minutes of the start of the attack. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report said that there were direct ties to a former Gitmo detainee who was part of al-Qa’ida’s network. That’s proof that President Obama and Hillary Clinton lied about the origin of the attack. We know this because Hillary accused an obscure filmmaker of triggering the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
This information from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report doesn’t help the administration either:
It concludes that the Benghazi attackers came from two official Al Qaeda affiliates, bin Qumu’s Ansar al-Sharia, and a fourth group, the Jamal network, whose leader is connected to the Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.
“Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups including AQIM, Ansar al-Sharia, AQAP and the Mohammad Jamal Network participated in the September 11, 2012 attacks,” the report said.
That doesn’t leave the administration any wiggle room on whether this was a professionally coordinated terrorist attack. This information mocks the State Department’s spin that “core al-Qa’ida” wasn’t involved in planning the Benghazi assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens. People in New York, at the Pentagon and across the country don’t care whether “core al-Qa’ida” planned Stevens’ assassination. They’re just worried that Detroit is bankrupt and al-Qa’ida is alive and well in north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and southwest Asia.
People are worried that the terrorists are gaining more sanctuaries where they can plan and train for their next major terrorist attack. People don’t care whether the State Department’s narrative is spin. They care about whether their families are safe. Based on what we’ve seen happening during this administration’s time in office, people have a right to be worried that another terrorist attack is right around the corner.
The Obama/Hillary/Panetta national security team has been close to worthless. They killed bin Laden, the leader of a psychotic movement. Then they let that movement grow and flourish. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq had been demolished. Their training bases in Afghanistan had been demolished. Then President Obama and Secretary Clinton abandoned Iraq to appease their nutjob anti-war supporters. Now al-Qa’ida is alive and well in north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and southwest Asia.
Sunday St. Cloud Times includes an Our View editorial that demands Michele Bachmann prove a connection exists between the Muslim Brotherhood and Keith Ellison. The reality is that Michele Bachmann could provide boxes of documentation proving that connection and the Times wouldn’t believe it.
It isn’t that the evidence doesn’t exist. In fact, this Strib article ties Rep. Ellison to the Muslim Brotherhood:
Tax records show the group that paid Ellison’s expenses, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, received nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money in 2006 and 2007 from a rental arrangement for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), an Inver Grove Heights charter school.
MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood:
In May 2005, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross reported in The Weekly Standard that MAS is a U.S. front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, a claim supported by a September 19, 2004 Chicago Tribune story that stated: “In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation’s major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.”
It took me less than 5 minutes to find that information. You can’t get more convincing than official documents filed with the State of Illinois saying that MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood.
Rep. Ellison argued that his trip was paid for by this charter school. He can’t hide behind that because they’re inextricably linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
What’s more is that Rep. Ellison is the subject of an ethics investigation as a direct result of that trip. Isn’t it amazing that Mr. Krebs trusts someone who’s the subject of an ethics investigation? The only thing more amazing is that Mr. Krebs doesn’t trust Rep. Bachmann even after terrorism experts like Andrew McCarthy and Walid Shoebat said Rep. Bachmann was justified in asking tough questions?
That’s just the beginning of Rep. Ellison’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Over the Memorial Day weekend of 2007, Keith Ellison delivered the keynote speech at a MAS-Minnesota event. At the time of Ellison’s speech, MAS-MN’s website was littered with this anti-semitic filth:
- “The Holy Prophet (and through him the Muslims) has been reassured that he should not mind the enmity, the evil designs and the machinations of the Jews, but continue exerting his utmost to establish the Right Way in accordance with the Guidance of the Quran.”
- “In view of the degenerate moral condition of the Jews and the Christians, the Believers have been warned not to make them their friends and confidants.”
- “If you gain victory over the men of Jews, kill them.”
- “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’”
- “May Allah destroy the Jews, because they used the graves of their prophets as places of worship.”
It’s sickening to think that Rep. Ellison didn’t criticize MAS-Minnesota’s anti-semitic bigotry. Why does Mr. Krebs ignore this information about Rep. Ellison? Rep. Ellison didn’t speak out against this vile bigotry. What does that say about Rep. Ellison’s lack of character?
Shouldn’t Mr. Krebs and the Times’ insist that Rep. Ellison distance himself from this anti-semitic organization? They won’t insist on that because it isn’t the PC thing to do. Krebs and the Times will ignore Rep. Ellison’s questionable connections. We know this because they’re ignoring Rep. Ellison’s questionable connections.
Instead of questioning Rep. Ellison, they’re insisting that Rep. Bachmann is conducting a witch hunt based on conspiracy theories. It’s sad that their ideological blinders prevent them from recognizing how biased they are.
This week, I attempted to submit an LTE defending Michele Bachmann. I tried highlighting the fact that the questions Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Trent Franks, Lynn Westmoreland and Tom Rooney asked were both legitimate and substantive. I used information from Andrew McCarthy’s article to show that Huma Abedin’s parents had significant ties to radical Islam, including to the Wahhabist movement that produced 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists.
Despite quoting Mr. McCarthy’s impeccable documentation for the LTE, Mr. Krebs told me that they wouldn’t publish an LTE based on “unsubstantiated allegations.” It’s insulting that Mr. Krebs would argue about “unsubstantiated allegations,” especially considering this research by Walid Shoebat. Shoebat’s research is detailed, on topic and damning. Mr. Shoebat was a “radicalized Muslim willing to die for the cause of Jihad” until his conversion to Christianity. Here’s what he said about the Muslim Brotherhood:
We focus on Al-Qaeda, yet the danger is not only from Al-Qaeda but also other Islamic terror groups. Our administration, however, focuses on a narrow tunnel. Let’s look at some examples: Abu Mezer, during 2007, intended to blow up a subway system. He was a member of Hamas, not Al-Qaeda. Najibullah Zazi was a member of Al-Qaeda, Shahzad belonged to the Taliban and Abu-Mezer was a member of Hamas; which one is a greater threat? All of these terrorists were influenced in one way or another by the Muslim Brotherhood, the cartel and mother umbrella of all terror organizations.
That isn’t the only thing Mr. Shoebat said that people need to hear. Here’s the other thing he said that people should know:
It is understandable that many want to get to the bottom of this story regarding Huma herself. Many even demanded that Bachmann offer a public apology to Huma Abedin. Others watch the media and listen to politicians that provide short, nondescript arguments.
An apology by Bachmann in this case is unnecessary since we have established what is probably the most extensive research done to date on the matter; the readers can decide for themselves by examining the overwhelming evidence to see that, in reality, that it is Bachmann who is owed an apology and has a valid point to demand the vetting of Huma Abedin, the aid to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Bachmann’s focus was hardly on Huma Abedin, but the infiltration of extremist Muslims into government. An issue that was completely ignored is the level of importance that should be given to vetting government employees.
Walid Shoebat didn’t mince words in saying that Rep. Bachmann asked legitimate questions. Likewise, he didn’t mince words in saying that Republicans like Sen. McCain and Speaker Boehner spoke out against Michele and her colleagues because they wanted the media’s adoration more than they worried about doing the right thing.
Mr. Krebs admitted that Rep. Bachmann “literally does not accuse her of being a terrorist. But using her as an example has the same effect.” That’s a first. Mr. Krebs is accusing Rep. Bachmann of speaking in code. That’s a joke.
Michele Bachmann says what she means and means what she says. There’s no pussyfooting around with Michele. It’s what endears her to voters. It’s what gets her in trouble from time to time, too.
The St. Cloud Times’ credibility has been hurt. It’ll take time to regain their credibility. It’ll take a change in their practices, too, starting with eliminating Mr. Krebs’ bias.
During Monday night’s debate, Ron Paul was asked a foreign policy question about the Middle East. Paraphrasing him, he said that “America is bombing all these countries. Is it any wonder why they’re attacking us?”
There’s just one problem with Paul’s theory: it isn’t accurate. 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, as was Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden’s second in command at the time was Ayman al-Zawahiri. al-Zawahiri is an Egyptian national.
Call me crazy but I don’t recall the United States or its allies bombing either Saudi Arabia or Egypt recently.
The reality is that Ron Paul’s foreign policy isn’t based on reality. It’s based on unicorns and pixie dust.
Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege of participating in a magnificent celebration of America’s resilience. I was privileged to attend a 9/11 fundraiser for a great organization called Building Homes for Heroes. The fundraiser’s chief sponsors were John and AJ Kern, Henry Gruber and KNSI.
First, the story behind Building Homes for Heroes, like most aspects of the organization, is an inspirational story:
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Andy joined thousands of New Yorkers who volunteered in the rescue effort at the World Trade Center site. While it turns out that this event was one of the underlying reasons for the formation of Building Homes for Heroes, it wasn’t until a few years down the line that the idea of helping severely wounded men and women of the United States Military became his passion. After a couple years of volunteering and contributing to a similar group, Andy decided to form his own charitable organization, Building Homes for Heroes.
Like many stories about that day, the backstory to Andy’s story is awe-inspiring. After volunteering in the rescue effort at Ground Zero, Andy was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors think it’s a direct result of the toxic fumes at Ground Zero. Thankfully, Andy’s cancer is in remission. Andy says that he’ll keep working to build homes for America’s heroes until he draws his last breath.
Staff Sergeant William Castillo also spoke at the event. Here’s an abridged version of Sgt. Castillo’s story:
In 2007, while on a mission to rescue Marines who were under attack, Army SSG Castillo’s vehicle was struck by an IED. Despite head trauma and numbing throughout his body, he courageously continued to fight. While under heavy enemy fire, he fought his way back to the vehicle in an attempt to save fellow soldiers.
During the battle, SSG Castillo was shot five times; twice in the chest, once on the top of his head and once in the right leg. Still struggling to get back to the Humvee, he was struck again. This round struck him under the chin and exited out his mouth. As he reached the driver of the burning vehicle, an RPG struck the Humvee and severed his left leg above the knee. William was the only survivor.
For his courage and bravery, he was awarded The Purple Heart. Castillo has dedicated himself to help other wounded soldiers. William and his wife Katherine have four children. The Castillo family will be the recipient of a home provided by Building Homes for Heroes.
Here’s a picture of SSG Castillo with Rep. King Banaian:
Another impressive aspect of Building Homes for Heroes is their commitment to transparency and honor. Here’s a brief review of their financials:
Andy Pujol, founder and president of Building Homes for Heroes, doesn’t take a salary. In 2011, 94 cents of each dollar that comes in will go to building homes or retrofitting homes for these heroes. Just 2 cents of each dollar goes to fundraising expenses, with another 4 cents going for management and general expenses.
This event wouldn’t have happened without the work of John and AJ Kern, pictured here:
I can attest to the fact that John and AJ worked tirelessly to make the event a success. And what a success it was. A major tip of the hat for John and AJ for pulling this all together and introducing us to heroes like Andy Pujol and Staff Sergeant Castillo.
The last of the guest speakers was Rep. King Banaian, who did a great job of putting things in perspective. Here’s a picture of Rep. Banaian giving his presentation:
I won’t forget where I was when the terrorist attacks were first reported. Thanks to Andy Pujol, SSG Castillo and John and AJ Kern, I won’t forget how I commemorated the 10th anniversary of the terrorists’ attacks.
Thanks to Andy Pujol’s labor of love and SSG Castillo’s sacrifice, the dark cloud of 9/11 has its silver lining.
For that, I will always be grateful.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. It also marks the 10th anniversary of what President Bush rightly calls “the first counteroffensive in the war on terror.”
Ten years ago today is the day that terrorists interrupted a gorgeous autumn morning with the despicable acts of terrorists whose goal it was to destroy those who disagreed with them. Fear reigned as the sun set that night, with Americans horrified and fearing that more attacks were coming.
Nine days later, however, President George W. Bush delivered a stirring, emotional speech that set the course for our nation for the rest of his administration. That speech, in my opinion, is the greatest presidential speech in many generations, certainly the greatest presidential speech of my lifetime. Here are the most noteworthy parts of President Bush’s speech delivered Sept. 20, 2001, starting with a strong opening:
Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tempore, members of Congress, and fellow Americans, in the normal course of events, presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the union. Tonight, no such report is needed; it has already been delivered by the American people.
We have seen it in the courage of passengers who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground. Passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me welcome his wife Lisa Beamer here tonight.
Continuing with the theme that ordinary Americans had done heroic things under the most unthinkable conditions, President Bush continued:
We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion.
We’ve seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made. My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our union, and it is strong.
I can’t forget the thought of workers at Ground Zero attempting to rescue people trapped inside the rubble of the collapsed trade towers. None of us will forget President Bush’s iconic, brief speech standing atop a pile of rubble with now-retired firefighter Bob Beckwith.
That memory is forever etched into our nation’s memory. This is another part of President Bush’s speech on Sept. 20,2001 that won’t be forgotten:
America has no truer friend than Great Britain. (APPLAUSE) Once again, we are joined together in a great cause.
I’m so honored the British prime minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity with America. Thank you for coming, friend.
That night, the nation saw the first chapter in the strong friendship and partnership between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Between them, they represented a powerful force fighting for worldwide liberty.
Thanks to their partnership and persistence, 50,000,000 people were freed from the tyrannical rule of Islamic extremists.
This was the most powerful part of the speech:
These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us because we stand in their way.
We’re not deceived by their pretenses to piety.
We have seen their kind before. They’re the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies.
This was the clarion call of the speech. This defined our mission. It stated that we would be resilient until the last jihadist was killed on the battlefield or was executed in a military prison.
It’s important that we remember the heinous, despicable acts of 9/11. It’s the day we learned that the terrorists had been waging war on us for a generation.
As important as it is to remember the horrific acts of violence of 9/11, it’s equally important that we remember that a great speech on Sept. 20, 2001 restored our confidence and our determination to end the war on terror on our terms.
When the world is shaken, it’s important to remember the basics. That’s what President Bush supplied in this passage:
I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity; they did not touch its source.
America is successful because of the hard work and creativity and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11, and they are our strengths today.
As we commemorate the horrific attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, let us never forget those who paid the ultimate price to save others. Let us never forget the resolve we felt shortly after those horrific attacks.
Most importantly, let’s forever remember how we rallied to carry the fight to the jihadists.
That fighting spirit, not the physical symbols of the Twin Towers or even the Pentagon, is what truly makes America great.
Few things were settled during yesterday’s SOS address. The two things that got settled were that Gov. Dayton isn’t qualified for the job and that he’s thoroughly committed to unions. In fact, if you read through Gov. Dayton’s speech, it reads like one sop to the unions after another.
That isn’t surprising considering how the unions supported his campaign and his ex-wife’s shadow campaign.
Gov. Dayton’s trips down Memory Lane, whether he was talking about Artco or his congratulating Wendy Anderson for “gracing the cover of Time Magazine”, weren’t about vision. They were about seeing yesterday, not tomorrow.
We’re facing serious financial decisions yet we’re dealing with a governor who’s in over his head. If Gov. Dayton includes in his budget all the things that he listed off in his SOS speech, he won’t come close to submitting a balanced budget.
There wasn’t a fresh idea in the speech. If not for the applause for people in the gallery, that would’ve been the driest speech in Minnesota gubernatorial history.
For instance, there should’ve been applause from the DFL when Gov. Dayton announced his billion dollar bonding bill. Instead of hearing hearty applause from the DFL caucus, there was polite applause from a handful of DFL legislators.
Gov. Dayton’s education initiative was mostly about spending more money. Education insiders were probably excited to hear the proposal. The accountants, though, had to wonder how he’d pay for his initiatives.
Gov. Dayton, in fact, still appears to have difficulty balancing budgets. He didn’t put together a balanced budget during the campaign even though he tried 3 times.
I don’t think Gov. Dayton is evil. I just think he’s incompetent.
After reading the transcript of Gov. Dayton’s speech, I noticed something that I didn’t pick up on during the speech. Here’s what I’m referring to:
On the night of 9/11, I stood with my fellow United States Senators and Representatives on the steps of our Capitol to assure our fellow citizens that our government had not shut down, would not shut down, could not be shut down.
I remember watching the press conference on the Capitol steps. It’s one of the most stirring events I’ve ever watched. Tears welled up in my eyes when, spontaneously, these partisans broke out in singing God Bless America, which replaced the National Anthem at Yankee games for quite some time.
Eventually, that unity wore off and the partisan bickering restarted again. Just prior to the 2004 election, a senator didn’t assure his fellow citizens “that our government had not been shut down, would not shut down [or] could not be shut down.” That senator was Mark Dayton.
Isn’t it odd that he’s now using this rhetoric for his own political advantage. Here’s what he said in the following paragraph:
It is absolutely unthinkable that we would even contemplate doing so here in Minnesota. So, I ask you, legislators; I invite you; I implore you, to join with me now, right here in our Capitol and pledge to the people of Minnesota that we will NOT shut down their government, our government, not next July 1st, not any July 1st, not any day ever.
Gov. Dayton, should we assume that when you say we won’t shut down the government on any day, that you really mean not any day unless you hear about a fictional terrorist attack?
Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) said yesterday that he was closing his Capitol Hill office because of security concerns in what appeared to be an atypical response to intelligence information that has been shared with senators about terrorist threats.
Senate leadership aides said they knew of no other senator who plans to follow Dayton’s example. Sergeant-at-Arms William H. Pickle scheduled a meeting today for senators’ chiefs of staff to assure staffers that there are no new threats, according to the aides.
I’ll try following Gov. Dayton’s logic, which is risky. Here goes: it’s ok to shut down the government over a possible terrorist attack that nobody else has heard of but it’s wrong to shut down the government by living within the state’s means.
Let’s hope Gov. Dayton’s logic is more solid than Sen. Dayton’s logic.
Over the weekend, people across the internet have said that there shouldn’t be a problem having Kenneth Feinberg administer the funds from BP, citing his work as administrator of the 9/11 funds. From the outset, I’ve thought that comparing the two responsibilities as comparing apples with oranges. Thanks to this op-ed, I can now illustrate the difference:
9/11 Fund: Once Was Enough
By Kenneth R. Feinberg
Thursday, September 11, 2008
As we reflect on the awful events that took place seven years ago today, it is inevitable that we will think about the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Congress passed the act creating the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund just 11 days after the attacks, and President Bush quickly signed it into law. This bipartisan statute was the first of its kind, providing generous tax-free public compensation to the physically injured and to the families of the dead.
Over the next 33 months, the fund paid out more than $7 billion to 5,560 people; the average award for a death claim was just over $2 million, and the average award for a physical injury claim was more than $400,000. (Sadly, there were few injury claims resulting from the attacks; people either escaped from the World Trade Center towers or the Pentagon, or they didn’t.) Never before in American history has there been an example of such taxpayer generosity.
Since the 9/11 fund was created by an act of Congress, there was never a lawsuit brought so that a court could appoint someone to administer to the paying of settlements. Instead, the legislation had a provision in it that required the appointment of someone to authorize settlements to the victims of 9/11.
By the time President Obama burst onto the settlement scene to ‘negotiate’ on behalf of the victims, BP had already started paying settlements to 20,000 victims. We know this thanks to Michele Bachmann’s interview with CNN’s John King:
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: They say, the administration says this process with Ken Feinberg, who did this for 9/11 victims will be faster. They hope more efficient than any court system would be. You disagree?
BACHMANN: Well, I donâ€™t know. I hope that thatâ€™s true. I will give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt that I agree with them, that I hope thatâ€™s what it will be. A lot of people donâ€™t realize that BP already had, I was curious on this, they had 600 people who were already paying out claims. There were 43,000 claims filed. 20,000 claims had already been paid off. It was in BPâ€™s best interests to make sure the claimants were satisfied otherwise the claimants could go into a court system which is far more expensive. So as long as people are getting their claims paid, everyone is happy. We want that to happen, because as you showed earlier on your tape, real people with real lives and real livelihoods are at risk right now.
There was no legal need to name Kenneth Feinberg to oversee the settlement payments. There was a political need for it, however. Let’s remember that President Obama was getting hammered for his disappointingly lackluster speech. If he hadn’t done something, anything, he’d still be getting hammered as doing nothing about the BP-caused crisis.
President Obama still hasn’t given us proof that he’s doing anything to clean up the Gulf Coast’s beaches and wetlands. There’s no proof that he’s getting all the skimmers they need down there. There is proof that he won’t support the waiving of the Jones Act, thanks to this letter:
America needs a strong and vibrant U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine. That is why you and your members can continue to count on me to support the Jones Act (which also includes the Passenger Vessel Services Act) and the continued exclusion of maritime services in international trade agreements. American Merchant Mariners always have answered the nationâ€™s call from the first days of the Revolutionary War to today. In peace and in war, our Mariners have stood with us and my Administration will stand with them.
To make sure our Armed Forces have the equipment and ammunition they need at the time the materiel are required, my Administration will solidly support the continuation of the Maritime Security Program. The MSP has proven itself since being enacted in 1996, making sure our troops deployed overseas have no worries about when their supplies will be delivered.
President Obama is repeatedly highlighting the fact that he’s siding with the mariners, not the victims of this environmental catastrophe.
The bottom line is this: When Kenneth Feinberg worked to administer the 9/11 funds, he stepped into a role created by an act of Congress to alleviate the pain of the greatest terrorist attack in our nation’s history.
That’s a stark contrast to his administering the BP funds, where he’s responding to a political crisis of President Obama’s making. There can be no other explanation because BP was already paying out settlements. With that fact established, there isn’t a BP payout crisis.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
In 1992, James Carville infamously wrote “It’s the economy, Stupid” on a chalkboard inside the Clinton war room. If there’s a modern application for that cliche, it would be the American people telling the Obama administration saying “It’s the war, Stupid.” It seems utterly lost on the Obama administration that al-Qa’ida is still at war with us.
Last night, a criminal defense attorney named Tamara Holder argued on O’Reilly that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should be prosecuted like a criminal. Former CIA operative Gary Berntsen dismantled her arguments in this video:
Here’s a partial transcript of the interview:
ERIC BOLLING: As you may know, the Nigerian man who attempted to set off a bomb on a plane in Detroit was arrested, Mirandized, and taken to a federal prison in Michigan. He was charged in the criminal court system, where he faces up to 20 years in prison. But should he have been taken to Gitmo, interrogated and treated like an enemy combatant? Joining us now from Chicago is criminal defense attorney Tamara Holder. And with us in studio is a retired CIA operations officer, Gary Berntsen.
Tamara, this guy tried to blow up 300 innocent people in the air over Detroit on Christmas day. We should give this guy a break?
HOLDER: I’m not saying give him a break. Whoever said that? He needs to be charged in America. Look, there’s something called Special Aircraft Jurisdiction. What that means is that, if you are in an American plane bound for America, you do something or you commit a crime, you are subject to American courts. Just because we give him rights, just because we give him a trial, that doesn’t mean that we have some failed American justice system.
I don’t know what the big deal is. We’re gonna send him to Guantanamo and then what? Send him back to Illinois like we’re gonna do with all the other detainees? That doesn’t even make sense.
BOLLING: Well, Tamara, I’m trying to figure it out. Is it a crime or is it a terrorist attack? Because if it’s a terrorist attack, you can be held as an enemy combatant and be interrogated.
HOLDER: No. You’re wrong. Actually, in March, Obama dispelled the word enemy combatant. There is no word enemy combatant. I don’t know why Hoekstra and Candace Miller and all these people are saying that he’s an enemy combatant. There is no such term in America anymore. Obama dispelled with that. He is a terrorist. He did commit a terrorist attack. He was not on the battlefield. He is supposed to be tried and convicted in America. Just because we give him his rights and we read him his Miranda warning doesn’t mean that our American justice system has failed.
BOLLING: Alright Gary. Go ahead.
BERNTSEN: Well, first of all, the term enemy combatant does exist. Enemy combatants are defined by the Geneva Convention. They’re not in uniform. They’re carrying their…they’re hiding their weapons. They’re not being led by a competent authority and they’re not following the rules of war.
BOLLING: And they want to kill us.
BERNTSEN: Al-Qaida is an organization. It is a non-state actor that has declared war on us. We need to recognize that we are actually at war with these guys. This guy didn’t do a carjacking. He didn’t hold up a 7-11. He tried to commit mass murder as part of and in support of Al-Qaida’s war on the United States.
If we treated him and tried him in a military tribunal, as Roosevelt did in 1942 with those Germans that came ashore in Long Island, near where I’m from, and in Florida, we would have the military at him interrogating him. And what we’re fighting with right now is time. The more access we have to him right now, to find out everything that he knows without having his lawyer between us and him, the quicker we can track down other people who are planning to conduct mass murder against us.
BOLLING: Follow that up, Gary. What else can we find out?
BERNTSEN: Where was he recruited? Who trained him. What other people were trained along with him that are planning on committing mass murder against America?
BOLLING: Tamara, Gary makes a very good point. This a little different than a guy holding up a 7-11.
HOLDER: Of course but at the same time, he was attempting to commit a crime against American whether it is holding up a store and trying to kill one person or whether he’s trying to kill a whole group of people. The issue is that he committed a crime in America on an American plane and he should be tried accordingly. To interrogate him any differently…he’s still gonna give us plenty of information.
This appears to be the Obama administration’s mindset, too. This isn’t a crime. It’s an act of war. This isn’t even mass murder of the Dahmer or Bundy types. Everything about Friday’s attempted terrorist attack screams jihadist martyr attack. Abdul Mutallab was prepared to die that day on that plane. That’s why he got a window seat right next to the wing (Seat 19A) where the fuel is stored.
Officer Berntsen is exactly right. Abdul Mutallab was acting on al-Qaida’s behalf in their war against the United States. Ms. Holder is exactly wrong about the terrorist giving us “plenty of information:”
“Authorities are holding out hope that [Abdulmutallab] will change his mind and cooperate with the probe, the officials said.”
Mr. President, it’s time you realized that all your diplomatic initiatives are utterly ineffective. We’re fighting a real, honest-to-goodness war with a bunch of persistent, ruthless terrorists. There’s only one proper response to acts of war: aggressively pursue these jihadists with our military and intelligence assets. Fighting this war with intensity and with total ruthlessness is the only way we’ll defeat these jihadists.
The Obama administration’s unwillingness to admit that their policies have failed has led them to push back against their critics rather than reviewing and changing their policies. While the Obama administration’s allies decry the Republicans’ attempts to “score cheap political points”, Americans wonder whether this administration is serious about fighting the jihadists with everything in this nation’s arsenal.
It didn’t help that, after President Obama declared that his administration wouldn’t rest until the terrorists were defeated, he left to return to his round of golf in Paradise, aka Hawaii.
It’s often possible to tell what’s important to a person by how much time he devotes to the subject. We’ve known for some time that taking over America’s health care system is President Obama’s highest priority. Day after day, week after week, President Obama has fought for and gave speeches on health care reform.
By contrast, President Obama has spent almost no time talking about the importance of defeating the terrorists. Now the DCCC is pushing back, saying that President Obama “has been much more aggressive about going after al Qaeda than the Bush administration.”
That’s insulting. Was President Obama’s procrastination a sign of President Obama’s commitment to aggressively attacking the jihadists?
It’s insulting because it took President Obama more time to figure out whether he’d increase troop levels in Afghanistan than it took the Bush administration to destroy al-Qaida’s sanctuary in Afghanistan.
Mr. President, if you’d spent half as much time focusing on fighting the “real war” as you spend talking about it, the troops would’ve already been in theater. Next time, don’t talk. Get it done.
Thus far, it’s accurate to say about the Obama administration that after everything is said and done, more was said than done.
Cross-posted at California Conservative