Friday, May 31, 2013


MAY 31, 2013


by Wes Pruden

Drip, drip, drip. And then the deluge.

After that the roof falls in. The perfect storm dashing Barack Obama’s second term onto the rocks is not the consequence of a sudden squall. This storm has been a long time coming.

The White House still doesn’t get it. Sending the president out to make another speech won’t change anything. Calling in a favored few to listen to more bloviating won’t do it, either. Neither will sacking Eric Holder, which is an idea whose time has come, but that would only buy a little time, with the emphasis on little.

The president may be tempted to cast the perfect storm as a matter of national security. When his speech to the National Defense University, declaring that the war against the terrorists was over because he had vanquished all the bad guys, landed with the thud of a noisy dud, he invited a gaggle of media elites to the White House for a session of the familiar argle-bargle. That didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. Mr. Obama’s administration is the enemy “foreign and domestic” the founding documents warned us about.

An invitation to the White House is ordinarily the invitation no good citizen declines without a very good reason. If a president, or one of his deputies, summons a citizen to come to the aid of the government, a good citizen catches the next streetcar to Pennsylvania Avenue, even if the streetcar is a bus. This time it’s fashionable to say thanks, but no thanks. Eric Holder’s invitation to media executives to “air concerns and exchange ideas” is not necessary because if he wants to hear the concerns he can read about them in the morning papers. Meetings to “ensure that First Amendment rights are respected by the Department of Justice” are not necessary, either, nor are conversations with news executives, lawyers and intelligence and investigative ‘experts’.”

The First Amendent needs no explanatory help from politicians, lawyers or anyone else. The language of the amendment, the cornerstone and guarantor of all the other rights of Americans, is as plain as the language of the Gospel, written so that the humblest among us can understand it. Presidents and their administrations have understood the words of the First Amendment for two centuries, with the further understanding that trifling with the words and meanings is always reckless and foolish.

Hiring new public-relations help for Eric Holder is not the answer to the president’s troubles, though a new flack is always the aspirin a president reaches for when he feels a presidential headache coming on. Mr. Obama’s headache is not merely the messenger, but the message that everyone, at last including the sleeping beauties of the media, now hears loud and clear.

The president’s headache is compounded by the harsh reality that the organs of mainstream media, for so long the altar boys of the president, have become allies of partisans on the right whether they like it or not. Facts are stubborn. When Republicans in the House of Representatives assail Eric Holder for targeting journalists to plug leaks, even The New York Times has to take grudging notice. The canard that critics of Mr. Obama are racists by definition has been rendered permanently “inoperative.”

The letter from the chairman and a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee asking Mr. Holder to explain the contradiction between his sworn testimony and reliable news accounts is the red meat journalists usually crave. A fortnight ago Mr. Holder told the committee that he had never taken part in any pursuit of a journalist for criminal prosecution, and it would not be “wise policy” to do that. No equivocating there. But Reuters news agency reports that Mr. Holder had approved the search warrant to retrieve email archives of Fox News, and approved a subpoena for the network’s telephone records.

Mr. Obama and his administration face a long, hot summer of charge, countercharge, whistles and whistleblowing. He’ll need more than aspirin. Obamacare as it is revealed looms as another storm.

All of this is exciting news for prospective Republican candidates. Incumbent presidents nearly always take a licking in the midterm congressional elections, particularly in their second terms. The president can take hope, thin as it may be, that Republicans are capable as always of blowing slam-dunk opportunities.

Republicans should have taken the Senate again by now, but insist on nominating Doofus and his little brother Dumber. They must avoid nominating aspiring gynecologists this time, and stick to candidates who want to come to Congress for the funerary rites of a misbegotten presidency.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Thursday, May 30, 2013



A view of our peaceful Muslim friends who we helped free from persecution from Colonel Gadhafi, this is obviously their way of saying thanks.
WW II - British Military Cemetery in Libya .Every time a joke and or cartoon is made about the Koran, the wholeworld turns upside down...!! and we are all called racists!!!!!!!!However they appear to do what ever they like and no one says anything...and the majority of people remain SILENT.

See this video whilst it's available and before it is removed !!!




Western Cultural Suicide
We are blind to the contradictions in welcoming an immigrant but not making him one of us.

Multiculturalism — as opposed to the notion of a multiracial society united by a single culture — has become an abject contradiction in the modern Western world. Romance for a culture in the abstract that one has rejected in the concrete makes little sense. Multiculturalists talk grandly of Africa, Latin America, and Asia, usually in contrast to the core values of the United States and Europe. Certainly, in terms of food, fashion, music, art, and architecture, the Western paradigm is enriched from other cultures. 

But the reason that millions cross the Mediterranean to Europe or the Rio Grande to the United States is for something more that transcends the periphery and involves fundamental values — consensual government, free-market capitalism, the freedom of the individual, religious tolerance, equality between the sexes, rights of dissent, and a society governed by rationalism divorced from religious stricture. Somehow that obvious message has now been abandoned, as Western hosts lost confidence in the very society that gives us the wealth and leisure to ignore or caricature its foundations. The result is that millions of immigrants flock to the West, enjoy its material security, and yet feel little need to bond with their adopted culture, given that their hosts themselves are ambiguous about what others desperately seek out.

Why did the family of the Boston bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, even wish to come to Boston? If they really were in danger back home in the Islamic regions within Russia, why would members of the family return to the source of their supposed dangers? And if the city of Boston, the state of Massachusetts, and the federal government of the United States extended the Tsarnaevs years’ worth of public assistance, why would such largesse incur such hatred of the United States in the hearts of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar? Obviously, the Tsarnaevs had some sense that the United States was a freer, more humane, and more prosperous place than the Russia they left, but they also felt no love for it, felt no pressure from their hosts to cultivate such love — and believed that they could continue to live as Russian Muslims inside the United States. Did not the Tsarnaevs flee the Muslim hinterlands of Russia because they did not like the thought of things like pressure cookers full of ball bearings exploding and killing and maiming the innocent on the street?

Why for that matter did Major Nidal Hasan, a Palestinian-American citizen whose family was welcomed into the United States from the war-torn West Bank, so detest his adopted country that he would kill 13 fellow Americans and injure 32 others rather than just return in disillusionment to the land of his forefathers? Was it the idea that he could square the circle of being a radical anti-American Muslim, but with the advantages of subsidized education, material security, and freedom of expression unknown in Jericho? When General George Casey worried that the army’s diversity program might be imperiled after the slaughter, did the general ever express commensurate concern that Hasan apparently had never taken, as part of his military training, any course on the Constitution and American history, one that would have reminded him why he was sworn to defend his singular country’s values and history?

Why would Anwar al-Awlaki, another U.S. citizen, whose family was welcomed to the United States for sanctuary from the misery and violence of Yemen, grow to despise America and devote the latter part of his adult life to terrorizing the United States? He certainly need not have conducted his hatred from a Virginia mosque when all of the Middle East was ripe for his activism. Was Awlaki ever reminded in school or by any religious figure why exactly America was more tolerant of Muslims than Yemen was of Christians? Or did he hate his country because it treated Muslims humanely in a way that he would never treat Christians? Why did Mohamed Morsi wish to go to university in the U.S. or teach in the California State University system — given that California values were antithetical to his own Muslim Brotherhood strictures? Was it because Morsi understood that American education would not do to him what he will soon do to Egyptian education?

The United Kingdom is currently reeling from the beheading of a British soldier by two British subjects whose fathers had fled from violence-prone Nigeria. Why did they not return to Nigeria, carve out new lives there, and find their roots? Is it because there are too many in Nigeria like themselves who take machetes to the streets? For that matter, why do some Pakistani immigrants in cold, foggy Britain brag of establishing Sharia there? Is it because they wish to follow their version of Sharia in a liberal Western society that is more accommodating than are the radical Islamists whom they so often praise from afar?

Is Britain to be run in the shadows by some diehard Western traditionalists pulling the levers of free-market capitalism, democracy, and freedom of the individual, so that in its plazas and squares others have the freedom and wherewithal to damn just those values? In Britain, as in the West in general, deportation is a fossilized concept. Unity is passé. Patriotism is long suspect. The hip metrosexual cultures of the urban West strain to find fault in their inheritance, and seem to appreciate those who do that in the most cool fashion — but always with the expectation that there will be some poor blokes who, in terms of clean water, medical care, free speech, and dependable electricity, ensure that London is not Lagos, that Stockholm is not Damascus, and that Los Angeles is not Nuevo Laredo.

These cultural hypocrisies are not always violent, and they do not always involve fundamentalist Muslims waging jihad against their own adopted nations. In June 2011 the United States national soccer team played the Mexican national team in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena before a supposedly “home” crowd. Instead, the Americans were continually booed by the pro-Mexican fans of Pasadena. The L.A. Times account of the event quoted U.S. resident Victor Sanchez explaining the booing of Americans by fellow U.S. residents in this way: “I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it. But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.” But obviously Mr. Sanchez as an adult residing in a free country does have a choice — he could return to Mexico, where his heart could at last find rest. Was Mr. Sanchez’s problem that once he had screamed for the Mexican national team while in Oaxaca, he would still have been in Oaxaca?

We understand the notions of both ethnic pride and hyphenated Americanism, but many of us are still bewildered about contradictory impulses: the emotional need to display Mexican decals on cars and hang Mexican flags on houses and businesses — or boo an American team at a soccer match — coupled with equally heated expressions of outrage that anyone might suggest that those who broke American law in coming to the United States would ever have to return where their hearts would “always be.” That paradox is the most disturbing — and ignored — aspect of the immigration debate: the contradictory impulse to fault the United States for a litany of sins (exploitation, racism, xenophobia, nativism) without commensurate attention to why any newcomer would wish to reside in a place that is so clearly culpable. Has anyone ever heard an immigration activist, as part of his argument for amnesty, explain why so many Mexicans do not like living in Mexico and must leave their homeland, or, alternatively, why the United States is such an attractive alternative that it demands such existential risks to reach it? How strange that most of the elites who resent ideas like the melting pot and assimilation are often those who most successfully have abandoned the protocols of the way life is lived in Mexico.

America was born as an immigrant nation. It went through many periods of nearly unlimited immigration, coupled with xenophobic backlashes when particular groups — Germans, Jews, Irish, Mexicans, or Poles — came in such numbers and so abruptly that the traditional powers of assimilation were for a time overwhelmed. But the eras of ethnic ghettoes and tribal separatism were usually brief, given the inclusive popular culture and official government efforts to overwhelm identification with the home country. Yet now, when we talk grandly of the “Latino vote,” are we assuming something in perpetuity that will not go the way of the Civil War–era “German vote” or the turn-of-the-century “Irish vote” — because the United States will no longer insist on full assimilation, or because immigration from Latin America will continue to be massive and in contradiction of federal immigration law?

Sociologists and psychologists can adduce all sorts of reasons for an immigrant’s contradictory behavior, whether the lethal kind of the Tsarnaevs or the more benign expression of the tens of thousands in the Rose Bowl. It is tough being a newcomer in any country, and tribal or religious affinities serve to offer familiarity and by extension pride to one who is otherwise alienated from contemporary culture.

More practically, in the last half-century, having some identity other than white Christian made one a member of a growing “Other” that could level grievances against the surrounding culture that might result in advantages in hiring or college admission — or at least in a trendy ethnic cachet.
What happened to create such fissures among America’s diverse tribes? At no time in our history have so many Americans been foreign born. Never have so many foreign nationals resided in America, and never have so many done so illegally. Yet at just such a critical time, in our universities and bureaucracies, the pressures to assimilate in melting-pot fashion have been replaced by salad-bowl separatism — as if the individual can pick and choose which elements of his adopted culture he will embrace, which he will reject, as one might croutons or tomatoes. But ultimately he can do that because he senses that the American government, people, press, and culture reward such opportunism and have no desire, need, or ability to defend the very inherited culture that has given them the leeway to ignore it and so attracted others from otherwise antithetical paradigms.
That is a prescription for cultural suicide, if not by beheading or by a pressure cooker full of ball bearings, at least by making the West into something that no one would find very different from his homeland.

Is not that the ultimate paradox: The solution to the sort of violence we saw in Britain and Sweden the past week, or to the endless acrimony over “comprehensive immigration reform,” is that the Western hosts will so accede to multiculturalism that the West will be no longer unique — and therefore no longer a uniquely desirable refuge for its present legions of schizophrenic admiring critics. If the immigrant from Oaxaca can recreate Oaxaca in Tulare, or the Pakistani second-generation British subject can carve out Sharia in the London boroughs, or a suburb of Stockholm is to be like in one in Damascus, then would there be any reason to flee to Tulare, London, or Stockholm?

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals is just out from Bloomsbury Books.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013



Liberals Are Now Shocked, Shocked at Obama’s Culture of Intimidation

Now that the Obama administration has conducted an unprecedented intrusion into news gathering activities, it’s dawning on liberals–four years and four months into the Obama presidency–that something is slightly amiss.

For example, the New York Times, Dana Milbank and Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post have all expressed concerns about the Obama administration tactics. They have done so, of course, with a fraction of the umbrage they would be showing if this had occurred under a Republican administration. But at least it’s progress.

It’s late in coming, however, and let’s be honest: it would have been helpful if liberals had expressed some alarm years ago when top Obama White House aides like David Axelrod and Anita Dunn were targeting Fox News in an effort to de-legitimize it. Some of us warned at the time that “The White House’s effort to target a news organization like Fox is vaguely Nixonian.” Yet very few members of the elite media shared those concerns. In fact, they seemed to be sympathetic to what the White House was attempting to do.
But what the White House was attempting to do was quite problematic.

 On this site back on October 23, 2009, we read this:

We have seen from this White House Nixonian tendencies and, it would appear, a burning anger and resentment toward its critics. Whether it’s Fox News, the Chamber of Commerce, or companies that sponsor reports that take issue with the administration’s assessments, there seems to be a cast of mind that views critics as enemies, as individuals and institutions that need to be ridiculed, delegitimized, or ruined… there are lines that ought not to be crossed, temptations that need to be resisted, and people in the White House who need to say “no” to tactics that begin to drag an administration, and a country, down.

And then came this warning:

The Obama White House is showing a fondness for intimidation tactics that might work well in the wards of Chicago but that don’t have a place in the most important and revered political institution in America. To see these impulses manifest themselves so early in Obama’s presidency, and given all that he has said to the contrary, is rather startling. The danger is that as the pressures mount and the battles accrue and the political heat intensifies, these impulses will grow stronger, the constraints on them will grow weaker, and the voices of caution and reason will continue to be ignored. If that should come to pass — if what we are seeing now is only a preview of coming attractions — then the Obama administration, and this nation, will pay a very high price. Mark my words.

Like Captain Renault, liberals are now shocked, shocked to discover Obama & Co. have been using intimidating tactics (including punishing whistle blowers and slandering Romney campaign donors). But these tactics were obvious long ago to those who were not blinded by ideology.

Liberals in the press have been enablers of this president. Now that Mr. Obama has turned out to be a rather minacious chief executive, overseeing an out-of-control executive branch, I wonder if the president’s press courtiers are having second thoughts.
I doubt it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013



MAY 21, 2013

Mr. Obama and green persimmons

The Republicans who can’t wait to talk impeachment should sit down, shut up, and be patient. President Obama may yet deserve impeachment, but we’re not there yet. Patience, as anyone old enough to remember Watergate knows, is how this game is played.

Republicans tempted to reach too far too soon should remember that when impeachable presidents, like persimmons, are picked green, they’re inedible. Once ripened, they’re delicious.

Like guilty presidents finally run to ground, ripe persimmons can be eaten fresh, dried, raw, or cooked. Properly ripened persimmons have the texture of pudding, with no risk of becoming “a pudding without a theme,” as Winston Churchill once complained of a dessert unfit for a prime minister. The flesh of a mature persimmon, like a mature presidential scandal, is very sweet on the tongues of a president’s enemies.

Green persimmons, bitter and acidic, only inflict the pain of an unexpected pucker. It’s important to pick neither persimmon nor scandal before its time.

Republicans, on the run only a month ago with no sure strategy for stopping President Obama’s runaway second term, with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder holding his horse, now have a surfeit of scandals, particularly satisfying since it’s served up by a reluctant mainstream media. If you’re weary of Benghazi, there’s the tasty pursuit of uppity journalists. You can sample a little of the latest Benghazi salad or sauteed journalist while anticipating the main course, deep-fried tax collector. Or you can shake up all three scandals and change the order on the menu for tomorrow. There’s a new delight coming out of the kitchen almost on the hour.

The mainstream media, so called, thought it had the Benghazi scandal safely bottled up until the other two broke. Benghazi seems to be misfeasance of office, lawful but awful, probably legal but something that earlier generations of Americans would have regarded as unforgivable – a commander in chief abandoning Americans in distress to the mercies of a brutal enemy. Abusing journalists and using the Internal Revenue Service to punish political enemies is more like malfeasance, unlawful and dreadful. If these are not high crimes they’re at least misdemeanors, and either is constitutional grounds for impeachment.

The White House is furiously peddling the excuses that Benghazi isn’t a scandal because it happened a long time ago, abusing journalists is outrageous, terrible, contemptible, abominable (pick your own approved adjective) and maybe the IRS was naughty but nobody in the Obama administration can be held responsible because the evil-doers were only rogues. Besides, it happened in Cincinnati, and two lowly IRS grunions have been sacked.

Thin gruel, indeed, and less persuasive with every news cycle. An official of the IRS in the Cincinnati office told The Washington Post over the weekend that the Cincinnati office is blameless because it was only doing what Washington headquarters asked for. “We’re not political,” the IRS official told The Post. “We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. That’s why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”

The Justice Department has been after reporters for a long time, through Republican as well as Democratic administrations. John Solomon, former deputy Washington bureau chief of the Associated Press and later executive editor of The Washington Times, tells in The Times’ Tuesday editions how his phone calls and email exchanges from both home and office were monitored for years by the Justice Department. And not just his telephone records. Once, when a source in the Philippines sent a package of material by FedEx, it was lost. Suspecting that it was not lost but “lost,” he tracked it to a FedEx clerk who told him, with a raised eyebrow in his voice, that “it fell off a horse cart in Manila and must have gotten lost.”

Like so much that the Obama administration has borrowed from its predecessors, the illegal pursuit of journalists continues. James Rosen, a correspondent for Fox News, is the latest example. The Justice Department tracked his telephone records, emails and even his movements to meet sources face to face. The government says it was pursuing “national security leaks,” but the more we learn, the greater the suspicion that the government is monitoring hostile politics.

This story is just beginning, and before we learn how far and wide the corruption goes, the president will be buying aspirin by the pound. Mr. Obama, like presidents before him, just thinks he has preserved credible deniability. Patience, as his critics will learn if they keep their voices down until it’s time to shout, can be its own reward.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Friday, May 17, 2013



Morning Jolt
. . . with Jim Geraghty

 National Review Online

May 17, 2013

Mass Seizure of Reporters' Phone Records . . . Over a Grudge about Story-Release Timing?

The Washington Post reports that the administration's explanation for the AP phone-record snooping may not be accurate:
For five days, reporters at the Associated Press had been sitting on a big scoop about a foiled al-Qaeda plot at the request of CIA officials. Then, in a hastily scheduled Monday morning meeting, the journalists were asked by agency officials to hold off on publishing the story for just one more day.
The CIA officials, who had initially cited national security concerns in an attempt to delay publication, no longer had those worries, according to individuals familiar with the exchange. Instead, the Obama administration was planning to announce the successful counterterrorism operation that Tuesday.
AP balked and proceeded to publish that Monday afternoon. Its May 2012 report is now at the center of a controversial and broad seizure of phone records of AP reporters' home, office and cellphone lines. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the unauthorized disclosure about an intelligence operation to stop al-Qaeda from detonating explosives aboard a U.S. airliner was among the most serious leaks he could remember, and justified secretly obtaining records from a handful of reporters and editors over a span of two months.
Now, some members of Congress and media advocates are questioning why the administration viewed the leak that led to the May 7 AP story as so grave.
The president's top counterterrorism adviser at the time, John O. Brennan, had appeared on "Good Morning America" the following day to trumpet the successful operation. He said that because of the work of U.S. intelligence, the plot did not pose an active threat to the American public.
Holder said this week that the unauthorized disclosure "put the American people at risk."
Bryan Preston: "Get that? The administration wanted to own the story, and wanted AP to hold off publishing until Obama et al could announce it themselves."
Doug Mataconis: "Even if this leak didn't compromise national security, the fact that there's someone in the government leaking information like this raises the possibility that they'd leak something damages in the future. At the same time, however, it seems fairly clear that the claim that this leak was among the most damaging in American history simply doesn't add up. If that's the case, then why would the CIA have told the AP that the national security concerns it had previously expressed were 'no longer an issue?'"
That sound you heard was the "national security" justification going POOF! The AP dutifully held back on reporting the story in order to protect national security and the Obama administration screwed them anyway. The AP reported the story only after it was made clear that the information wasn't sensitive anymore. The information was going to be used for PR purposes by the Obama administration and the AP essentially stole their thunder.
Stealing the Obama administration's thunder is now grounds for secret subpoenas on the press.
What's the Big Picture to Keep in Mind During This Scandal-Mania?
Quite the week, huh? A lot of wise voices are urging us to keep our eye on the ball in these day-to-day developments.
Listen to the National Review editors:
Democratic scandal does not take the place of a Republican agenda. It does not reform the tax code or reduce the debt or ease regulatory burdens on small business. It cannot substitute for a strategy to replace Obamacare. By all means, Republicans should run against the president and his party — against their refusal to take the entitlement crisis seriously, against the implementation of their "train wreck" health-care law, and even against the unusually politicized executive-branch culture that contributed to the post-Benghazi cover-up. They should at the same time understand that a purely negative message, however justified, will not produce the governing majority Republicans should be aiming for in the next two elections.
Even worse than relying on scandal would be advertising the fact. Republicans should not indulge in public speculation about the electoral repercussions of these scandals for 2014 (much less 2016!). Doing so plays into the Democrats' hands by making legitimate inquiries seem like opportunistic partisan exercises, and is thus likely to be a self-canceling prophecy.
Listen to Kevin Williamson:
I myself doubt very much that the president or any of his immediate circle had a hand in [the IRS scandal] — it is in the nature of the Left (and in the nature of political power itself) that no marching orders from the top are necessary. University presidents do not tell hiring committees to discriminate against conservative academics, they just do it. No president or Treasury secretary had to tell the IRS to do this.
In some ways, the received version of events is worse than would be a top-directed cabal of rogue IRS agents acting on orders from political superiors. A corrupt element within an agency can be rooted out, and a criminal conspiracy can be unraveled. When the agency is the criminal conspiracy, then the challenge of reform becomes that much greater.
The point is that these scandals cut at the core conceit of Obama's ideology: the healthy and enduring confidence of big government to be good government. As technological capabilities advance and the scope of government expands, the types of domestic scandals we're seeing here are only going to increase in frequency and invasiveness, with personal information shared more frequently, easier for even low level bureaucrats to acquire and manipulate. At the same time, Americans are becoming increasingly skeptical and cynical about their public institutions, with their trust in the federal government at historic lows. They distrust the agencies and bureaucrats even as the politicians of our age are investing more and more power in them.
Today, the media, the Obama administration, and David Axelrod are undertaking the task that conservatives could not: illustrating with each passing day that the progressive approach to modern governance and policy is inherently flawed and that vast governments are ripe for abuse. What we are seeing from the IRS and the DOJ is not something new, nor does it represent a perverse approach to benign bureaucracy: it is the inevitable consequence of an approach which puts mechanisms in place and then assumes they will not be used for ill. You should expect government to go as far as it can, whenever it can, in any ways that it can, toward the full exploitation of the power made available to it. Expecting government to behave otherwise is to expect the scorpion not to sting the frog . . .
When this period of scandal draws to a close, if the idea still survives that a more competent and ethical president would be able to effectively govern a $4 trillion bureaucracy, it will be a sign Republicans have failed. They can succeed by ignoring the tempting bait of making this about the president they despise, and focusing instead on the false philosophy of expansive government which represents the true danger to the American experiment. Doing so will require them to go against their own short-term viewpoint, so prevalent in recent years, and look instead to the long game. 



MAY 17, 2013

Obama’s indifference to incompetence

There’s an immeasurably deep cleavage between left and right in America, illustrated vividly in the way Americans regard the Benghazi scandal and outrage. It’s in the DNA.

Democrats generally and liberals in particular can’t understand what the noise from Benghazi is about, though they’re willing to concede that the deaths of the American ambassador and three colleagues was a shame and maybe even a tragedy. The families of the dead deserve the nation’s thoughts, and even the prayers of the guns-and-religion clingers, and if any of the families can find condolences in mass-produced clichés they’re welcome. But whatever bad happened in Benghazi was a bureaucratic failure and the word at the White House is that bureaucrats can fix it.

Republicans generally and conservatives in particular can’t figure out why the ambassador and his three luckless colleagues were allowed to twist slowly, slowly in the toxic smoke of the burning consulate, and can’t understand why everyone else is not as outraged as they are. How much is a human life reckoned to be worth?

The left, which weighs everything on the scales of political expediency, can’t understand why American “special operations” standing by in Tripoli were so eager to fly to the rescue. Liberals and lefties can’t understand why, after being told to stand down, the soldiers were “furious,” as Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 diplomat in Benghazi, eloquently described them in his testimony to the House committee inquiring into the episode. The ambassador and his colleagues died pleading for help that never came because the president’s men and women were too surprised, too timid, too frightened to send it. “None of us should ever have to experience what we went through in Tripoli and Benghazi,” Mr. Hicks told the panel.

Ordinary Americans have thrilled with pride to the stories of blood and flesh spent to attempt the rescue of the helpless, whether the exploits of the famous 7th Cavalry riding through heat and choking dust to save the settlers and their families on the plains, or George S. Patton’s Third Army racing through ice and snow to relieve the 101st Airborne at Bastogne at Christmas 1944, or the Marines’ fighting retreat from the Chosin Reservoir in similarly frozen Korea in the winter of 1950. Soldiers throughout the nation’s history have redeemed the promise that no one will be left behind. The retreat from the reservoir, though not a triumph of arms, is rightly regarded as a special moment in the history of the Marine Corps. The photographs and newsreel footage of the Marines bringing out their wounded and frozen dead, stacked on their tanks, are iconic reminders of the debt fighting men owe to each other. Somebody tried.

The besieged defenders of Bastogne owed their rescue to Patton, often reckless and always spoiling for a fight. The Americans were trapped at Bastogne, having been ambushed by the Germans in a last attempt to force a negotiated surrender. They seemed on the lip of success. Patton promised the skeptical Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander in Europe, that he could turn his three divisions around overnight and fight their way more than a hundred miles to the rescue: “The kraut’s got his head stuck in a meat grinder, and this time I’ve got hold of the handle.” Ike gave the word, Patton gave the order, and Bastogne was soon relieved. Thousands of Americans were saved and the Germans never again mounted a sustained offensive. Somebody tried.

This is the lesson of the fighting spirit that seems no longer prized in certain precincts in Washington. There’s no evidence that this White House appreciates courage, reckless or otherwise, and the can-do spirit that saves causes otherwise lost. Barack Obama prefers to lead from behind. He’ll take the credit if everything works out OK - and if nothing good works out, he’ll make a nice speech (though lately even his gifts of gab have departed from him). He’s willing to mock the guns-and-religion clingers and still hasn’t figured out where the nation’s enemies are.

Hillary Clinton, celebrated at the Clinton White House for throwing lamps and for her contempt for anyone in uniform, has always had trouble recognizing enemies, too. (She thought it was the vast right-wing media conspiracy.)

Maybe we can’t blame these folks. It’s in the DNA. But a nation won’t long survive inability to recognize enemies and indifference to incompetence. It has to defend itself from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Let the investigations begin.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Friday, May 10, 2013


MAY 10, 2013



The Benghazi hearings have come and gone, and Barack Obama and the Democrats turn now to stuffing charge and countercharge down the memory hole. The lies the president and his men and (mostly) women told in the days after the great betrayal must be swept from sight. Can’t everybody shut up?

The Democrats are getting the usual help from the correspondents and pundits who haven’t recovered from the bite of the tsetse fly. They don’t want to be awakened until it’s all over and it’s safe to go on to more exciting things, like budget hearings, elections in Lower Slobbovia and the environmental whine of the day. The New York Times reduced the Benghazi hearings to an antiseptic blip for the personnel file with its headline: “Envoy Testifies/Libya Questions/Led to Demotion.” A demotion is not what Benghazi is about, as the man demoted would agree.

The Benghazi panel set out to ask big questions, one still unanswered and one with an answer now clear enough. The first was why the diplomatic post in Benghazi was allowed to be an unguarded fort among hostile Apaches, the second was why the Obama administration was so persistent with its lies in the days after the attack.

Jay Carney, the president’s press agent, repeated the official White House view Wednesday that it’s all “politics.” Which of course it is, but not in the way Mr. Carney wants everyone to think it is. “Politics” is to Washington what “sex” is to a bordello; what would you expect to find in either place? Benghazi is not politics, but criminal incompetence and worse.

The House hearings on Wednesday produced no smoking gun, to employ another popular capital cliché, but added heartbreaking detail to the astonishing story of a smoking consulate and how the lives of an American diplomat and three of his colleagues were weighed by a cynical White House against the requirements of a close-fought presidential campaign. The ambassador and his men lost. Once lost, an ambassador can be replaced. The State Department is full of replacements. A political campaign once lost is done and gone.

Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 man in the American embassy in Tripoli, gave riveting detail – some of the sleepy journalists finally forced to cover the story were riveted awake – about how the ambassador was left twisting slowly, slowly in the poisonous smoke of the burning consulate. American special operations teams were enraged when they were told they couldn’t fly to the rescue. It was too far, senior officials said, and the rescuers would get there too late. There was no point in trying; the embassy would send an inspection team after breakfast the following morning.

The rescue teams were “furious,” Mr. Hicks testified, and couldn’t understand why they were told to stand down. “None of us should ever have to experience what we went through in Tripoli and Benghazi,” he said.

These riveting details would have given the lie to the campaign assurances of President Obama that everything was OK in the Middle East, that he had personally destroyed al Qaeda. The war on terror was over. It was back to “re-setting” relations with a warmer, friendlier Islam. No one understood this better than the campaign mavens at the White House, for whom the only national security concerns were to get their man a second term. Nothing and nobody else mattered.

That’s why they put out the absurd story that nobody in Libya, including the Libyans, believed: The attack on the consulate was caused by an “anti-Muslim” video that nobody had seen. Faithful if excited Muslims had been provoked by evil infidels in the U.S.A. The president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave us lectures about religious tolerance, expressed in the usual empty condolences (“our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the dead”) and then they dispatched Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to flood the television channels with carefully contrived disinformation.

This is a very different White House than any the country ever had before. We’ve left Americans to die before, when there was no alternative. The defenders at Wake Island and Corregidor were left to the tender mercies of the enemy, but no president before this one left Americans to die, begging for help, just to save an election. Benghazi was a brutal betrayal, writ large with the blood of innocents. The perfidy of the guilty, including any someone who may be dreaming up a campaign for 2016, won’t be forgotten.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


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May 7, 2013     

Payback time in the hen house

By Wes Pruden
The noise in the hen house this morning is the flutter and cackle of the chickens from Benghazi, scuttling home to roost. The House committee opening hearings Wednesday on what happened there is likely to serve up chicken surprise.

The four whistleblowing witnesses scheduled to testify to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are said to be eager to tell a story far different from the various accounts, all confused and all contradictory, peddled by the Obama administration. Someone at the White House should have remembered that old Washington chestnut, as true now as ever, that “it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” Smarter men than even Barack Obama, wiser women than even Hillary Clinton, have paid dearly for lapses of convenient memory. (The crime was bad, too.)
Mark Thompson, the ex-Marine who is now the deputy co-ordinator for operations in the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau, is expected to testify that Mrs. Clinton tried to cut the bureau out of the loop when Ambassador Chris Stevens was pleading for help from Benghazi. The administration was preoccupied in the midst of a presidential re-election campaign and cries for help at a consulate surrounded by radical Islamic killers was not something the White House thought was fit to hear. The war on terror was over.

Mr. Thompson’s lawyer, the pugnacious Joe diGenova, says his client has been subjected to threats and intimidation from his superiors at the State Department, but they all deny that and insist that everything everybody else says are fibs, stretchers and “full growed lies.” That’s what superiors always say (and once in a while they’re right). Mrs. Clinton convened an internal review board to look into such allegations and several coats of whitewash were duly applied, but the facts are still showing through. “You should have seen what [Mrs. Clinton] tried to do to us that night,” a second official in the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau told his colleagues in October.

Emails and documents from the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Administration, published in the current edition of the Weekly Standard magazine, reveal that officials of those agencies tried to delete all references to the involvement of al Qaeda in the talking points, and identify Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the State Department, as complaining that the revisions did not go far enough to satisfy “my building’s leadership.” The leadership of the “building,” and no doubt the people in it, wanted all evidence of al Qaeda involvement, not only in the attack on Americans in Benghazi, but in attacks on other Western target, removed from the “talking points.”

Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the Republican who will chair this week’s hearings, told “Face the Nation” interviewers Sunday that both the CIA and Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya when the ambassador and three colleagues were slain, knew at once that the Americans were under attack, not under protest.

Mr. Hicks watched the Sunday talk shows after the attacks on the consulate in September and was astonished by the claims of Susan Rice, the ambassador to the U.N., in five appearances, contradicting the emphatic assertion of the president of Libya that he had “no doubt” that the attacks were the work of terrorists, not mere community activists. “The net impact of what has transpired is that the spokeswoman of the most powerful country in the world has basically said the president of Libya is either a liar or doesn’t know what he’s talking about. My jaw hit the floor as I watched this,” he told investigators for the House committee. “I’ve never been as embarrassed in my life, in my career, [as I was] on that day.” He is expected to repeat that to the committee this week.

All politicians are interested most in what happens to them. It’s the bipartisan reality of how things work. But the Obama White House, perhaps unique in our times, plays partisan politics 24/7. Bubba, for all his sins, frequently interrupted politics for a roll in the White House hay and gave us a little comic relief. If Hillary isn’t paying attention to the politics of 2016 she isn’t the player we all think she is.
Hillary Clinton
It was easy for her to take the long view when Chris Stevens was pleading for his life, but she may pay yet for forgetting the Bard’s warning in Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2) that “murder, though it have no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ.”
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Saturday, May 4, 2013



Suicide Rate Spikes in Vietnam Vets Who Won't Seek Help

Every Christmas Rudi Gresham, a former combat soldier in Vietnam, gets a Christmas card from a fellow veteran who was nearly pushed to the brink of suicide because of despair.
"The guy was in his late 50s and his wife had left him and he came down with cancer from Agent Orange, he was broke and he had to move in with his mom and dad--he didn't know where to go from there," said Gresham, who was then serving as senior advisor to the Department of Veterans Affairs under the George W. Bush administration.
"Everything had gone to hell," said Gresham. "But I communicated with him."
Now 68 and retired in South Carolina, Gresham was able to get the veteran the 10 years of back pay he deserved by authenticating his service with a commanding officer. Today, the man's cancer is under control and he has a new woman in his life.

Gresham said getting that thank you card for saving the veteran's life was "the most gratifying moment" in his eight-year career with the VA. "I tell my kids, this is the reward for my work."
But three other depressed friends were not so lucky and took their own lives, becoming statistics in a rising tide of suicides among baby boomers, many of them Vietnam War veterans.
Just this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its latest statistics on suicide rates among Americans, finding that the number of middle-aged Americans who took their own lives was up more than 28 percent.

Annual suicide rates among U.S. adults aged 35 to 64 increased from 13.7 to 17.6 suicides per 100,000 people between 1999 and 2010.
The greatest increases in suicide rates were among people aged 50 to 54 years (48 percent) and 55 to 59 years (49 percent).
For the whole population, the national rate was 12.4 per 100,000 in that decade, according to the CDC. The most common mechanisms were suffocation or hanging, poisoning and firearms. Increases were seen among both men and women.

The CDC cites the recent economic downturn, a "cohort effect" among baby boomers who had unusually high suicide rates during their adolescent years, and a rise in intentional overdoses because of increased availability of prescription opiods.

But suicide rates among Vietnam veterans are the highest of any particular group, according to John Draper, project director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Eight million Americans report suicidal thoughts, and 1.1 million will attempt suicide. An estimated 38,000 will succeed in killing themselves, according to the CDC. Most are male, by a four to one margin, and are single and lack a college education.

The suicide rate jumped higher for women (32 percent) than for men (27 percent).
"Men tend to be more lonely and have a harder time maintaining and replacing relationships than women, especially when they get into middle age," said Draper. "Men are busy working or tie their relationships to work and when they lose their job, they lose their relationships."

Those who are less stable in their personal lives are also less stable in the workforce, he said.
"I don't have all the answers," said Draper. "But we know about suicide prevention and people who are more socially connected and have a sense of belief and self-worth and are valued at work and in their relationships are way more protected and generally happier people."
Post-traumatic stress disorder and associated mental health problems are to blame for many of the suicides among war veterans, according to Draper.

"The most important thing to remember is we can do something to stop this," said Draper, who, like Gresham, said that communication and support from others can help to prevent suicide.
Since 2001, more than two million service members have been deployed to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost for treating veterans of all eras and conflicts is estimated at $48 billion, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

PTSD was not even recognized until after the Vietnam War, according to Gresham, who recognized at the onset of his government career in 2000 the importance of increasing the VA budget after predicting the staggering number of cases that were to follow. "I knew mental problems would exceed the physical," he said.

"I feel sorry for the younger soldiers," he said. "They are now married, got a wife and kids and suddenly come back and they can't find a job. These things all compound."

As for the Vietnam veterans, they found less support in the 1960s and 1970s, when they returned from combat service. "The older veterans don't trust the government and they don't go for help," said Gresham.

Unlike World War II soldiers who were hailed as heroes, these servicemen returned to "feel a bit outcast and rejected," according to Gresham, who sits on the Vietnam Veterans Foundation.

Many of that generation refused to acknowledge they had PTSD and are suffering the consequences later in life. "Believe me, we have a real problem," he said.
"These guys were the first generation not to trust the guys in the white coats, and they didn't trust the government," said Gresham. "A lot of the Viet vets with PTSD held it in.
"They didn't want to let their family know their dark secret. They wanted to be in the workforce and be productive like the generation of World War II, but they were not respected by society."
The VA in the 1970s was not responsive to the needs of these veterans, he said. "I've seen what has happened to a lot of these older vets."

At a town meeting in Los Angeles several years ago, Gresham said he told a group of Vietnam vets. "You know Hollywood was correct when they did the movie the 'Fourth of July' with Tom Cruise. The VA did a lousy job of taking care of vets."
But today, according to Gresham, "The VA has made "tremendous efforts to spend lots of money on [PTSD]," he said.

In 2007, the VA partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to create a dedicated line manned by veterans on the National Suicide Lifeline.
The so-called Veterans Crisis Line has fielded more than 250,000 calls a year from veterans and active members of the military, according to Lifeline director Draper.

"It's a brilliant idea and it's saved taxpayers money and saved lives," he said.
Draper said it is too early to see the impact of this collaboration but predicts that CDC suicide numbers will eventually drop, at least among veterans.
Gresham, who was involved in the creation of the hotline, is also hopeful. "It's so much better for veterans to get help from other veterans," he said. "There is a strong bond."
"If you have suicide thoughts and there's another veteran on the line, you trust your brother, whether it's a man or a woman," he said. "If they have been in combat, there is someone who understands you."

"They didn't trust the VA for a long time and now the VA has its arms open," said Gresham. "They do very good work now. They understand the problem."

If you or a loved one are in emotional distress, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). We are here to help 24/7. You are not alone. Help is available. Veterans should press option 1.



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May 3, 2013 SHARE

A resistant culture of corruption

By Wes Pruden
The 21st century is a hard sell to a culture that prefers the 8th. The Europeans, loosely defined, keep trying in Afghanistan. It’s 12 years and counting since the Americans replaced the Russians, and a lot longer than that since the British decided they had had enough, and beat it back to London.

We’ve made a considerable investment in blood and money in Afghanistan. The changes that all the sacrifice bought are mostly cosmetic, and we’re learning that cosmetic changes last about as long on an 8th-century culture as lipstick on a pig. Tribal warfare is the national sport and the gross national product, insofar as anyone can find it big enough to measure, consists mostly of refugees and asylum-seekers. Coffin-makers do a good business but almost nobody else does.

This is the land that hope and change forgot, and President Obama is determined to bring most American troops home, or at least to send them to another semi-hopeless place. The alternative to doing nothing may be even more dreadful, but the depth of American frustration in Afghanistan is measured in two U.S. audits that spell out why a world policeman’s lot is not a happy one. Not in the Middle East, anyway.

The first internal audit, uncovered by the Washington Guardian, an aggressive Web newspaper (, concludes that the Afghan military, despite years of expensive American tutoring and training, is only “marginally capable of repelling attacks from the Islamist extremists who antagonize large parts of the country.”

The Afghan National Army still has weak command and control capabilities, and only succeeds on the battlefield with American and allied assistance. “Assistance” usually means the Afghans step back and let the Americans and the allies do the heavy lifting - when they’re not doing the dying. The Afghans can sometimes steer the car in a wobbly more or less straight line, but only as long as daddy’s there to accelerate, brake and supervise.

“In its present state of development and given the threat environment,” the Defense Department inspector general concluded, “we found the [Afghan] command, control and coordination system to be marginally sufficient to respond effectively to insurgent attacks . . . and to conduct effectively other short-term offensive operations.” Translated from government-speak, the inspector general concludes that this is the army that can barely shoot straight when it shoots at all.

It’s not altogether the fault of the men in the ranks. One high-ranking U.S. officer who has worked directly with Afghan forces tells the Guardian that even after meeting basic levels of competence, the Afghan soldier’s efforts are undermined by corruption in the government of President Hamid Karzai. “If the Afghan soldier doesn’t get paid when he’s supposed to, he will either leave or get recruited by the enemy.” The pay from the enemy may not be better or even more forthcoming, but looting opportunities are more abundant. Men in the highest ranks of the government do it, so why not the dogface soldiers?

This hasn’t been a happy spring in Afghanistan. In trying to impose the 21st century on the reluctant country, the Americans are building first-world hospitals that probably won’t be sustainable in the third world when Mr. Obama delivers on his promise to quit the battlefield. The Guardian reports that one of the two hospitals the Americans are building in eastern Afghanistan will be 12 times the size of the hospital it replaces, and annual maintenance costs will soar to $3.2 million. The other hospital now spends $98,000 annually on maintenance and will have to come up with $587,000 annually to maintain the replacement.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, says it has been assured by the Afghan government there will be “no problem.” It’s not rocket science to figure out who the Afghans expect to pick up the check. The skeptical inspector general says USAID could make better use of the money available for the five hospitals the agency funds. Three of the five have no anesthesiologist, two have no obstetrician or gynecologist and one has no pediatrician. But the two new hospitals, built at a cost of $18.5 million, will by shiny and new.

President Hamid Karzai (USAF photo)

Nation-building is for suckers, as we learn to considerable pain. It’s probably not possible to avoid trying to resolve the problems of others, but we should do it only when those problems, left unresolved, make trouble for us. And we shouldn’t expect to make good small-d democrats or small-r republicans out of those who prefer to live in the squalor of the 8th century. It’s important to keep great expectations realistic.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Friday, May 3, 2013



In three days, most people in The United States of America will have this message.
This is one idea that really should be passed around
*Congressional Reform Act of 2013
1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/31/13. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.
Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time?
If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.