In lands whose history goes back millennia, there are ruins of great buildings that rulers ordered their subjects and slaves to construct. They stood proud and splendid once, monuments to the prowess of the rulers and the nations. Now, although ruined, they remain as memorials.
Obamacare will be Obama’s memorial. The difference is that it starts off as a ruin.
Mark Steyn tells the story of how the ruin was built here:
For much of last year, a standard trope of President Obama’s speechwriters was that there were certain things only government could do. “That’s how we built this country — together,” he declared. “We constructed railroads and highways, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. We did those things together.”
As some of us pointed out, for the cost of Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill alone, you could have built 1,567 Golden Gate Bridges — or one mega–Golden Gate Bridge stretching from Boston to just off the coast of Ireland. Yet there isn’t a single bridge, or a single dam (“You will never see another federal dam,” his assistant secretary of the interior assured an audience of environmentalists). Across the land, there was not a thing for doting network correspondents in hard hats to stand in front of and say, “Obama built this.”
Until now, that is. Obamacare is as close to a Hoover Dam as latter-day Big Government gets. Which is why its catastrophic launch is sobering even for those of us who’ve been saying for five years it would be a disaster.
It’s as if at the ribbon-cutting the Hoover Dam cracked open and washed away the dignitaries; as if the Golden Gate Bridge was opened to traffic with its central span missing; as if Apollo 11 had taken off for the moon but landed on Newfoundland.
Obama didn’t have to build a dam or a bridge or a spaceship, just a database and a website. This is his world, the guys he hangs with, the zeitgeist he surfs so dazzlingly, Apple and Google, apps and downloads. But his website’s a sclerotic dump, and the database is a hacker’s heaven, and all that’s left is the remorseless snail mail of millions and millions of cancellation letters.
For the last half-century, Obama has simply had to be. Just being Obama was enough to waft him onwards and upwards: He was the Harvard Law Review president who never published a word, the community organizer who never organized a thing, the state legislator who voted present.
And then one day came the day when it wasn’t enough simply to be. For the first time in his life, he had to do. And it turns out he can’t. He’s not Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. And Healthcare.gov is about what you’d expect if you nationalized a sixth of the economy and gave it to the Assistant Deputy Commissar of the Department of Paperwork and the Under-Regulator-General of the Bureau of Compliance. …
[Obama] broke the lifelong rule that had served him so well — “Don’t just do something. Stand there” — and for the first time in his life did something, terribly.
It will bear his name forever.
By 2020, in the Land of the Rising Sun, adult diapers will outsell baby diapers: The sun also sets.
Mark Steyn writes about a people – the Japanese – dying out, and reminds us that Europeans are too. Whole nations have embraced “voluntary societal self-extinction”. It could also be called “auto-genocide“.
To Western eyes, contemporary Japan has a kind of earnest childlike wackiness, all karaoke machines and manga cartoons and nuttily sadistic game shows. But, to us demography bores, it’s a sad place that seems to be turning into a theme park of P. D. James’s great dystopian novel The Children of Men. … Baroness James’s tale is set in Britain in the near future, in a world that is infertile: The last newborn babe emerged from the womb in 1995, and since then nothing. … The Japanese seem determined to live up to the book’s every telling detail.
In Lady James’s speculative fiction, pets are doted on as child-substitutes, and churches hold christening ceremonies for cats. In contemporary Japanese reality, Tokyo has some 40 “cat cafés” where lonely solitary citizens can while away an afternoon by renting a feline to touch and pet for a couple of companionable hours. In Lady James’s speculative fiction, all the unneeded toys are burned, except for the dolls, which childless women seize on as the nearest thing to a baby and wheel through the streets. In contemporary Japanese reality, toy makers, their children’s market dwindling, have instead developed dolls for seniors to be the grandchildren they’ll never have: You can dress them up, and put them in a baby carriage, and the computer chip in the back has several dozen phrases of the kind a real grandchild might use to enable them to engage in rudimentary social pleasantries.
The loneliness, the hopelessness, the frustration of biological purpose and the profound longing it naturally gives rise to – the story is infinitely sad.
P. D. James’s most audacious fancy is that in a barren land sex itself becomes a bit of a chore. The authorities frantically sponsor state porn emporia promoting ever more recherché forms of erotic activity in an effort to reverse the populace’s flagging sexual desire just in case man’s seed should recover its potency. Alas, to no avail. As Lady James writes, “Women complain increasingly of what they describe as painful orgasms: the spasm achieved but not the pleasure. Pages are devoted to this common phenomenon in the women’s magazines.”
As I said, a bold conceit, at least to those who believe that shorn of all those boring procreation hang-ups we can finally be free to indulge our sexual appetites to the full. But it seems the Japanese have embraced the no-sex-please-we’re-dystopian-Brits plot angle, too. … A survey by the Japan Family Planning Association reported that over a quarter of men aged 16–24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” For women, it was 45 percent. … 49 percent of women under 34 are not in any kind of romantic relationship, and nor are 61 percent of single men. A third of Japanese adults under 30 have never dated. Anyone. Ever. … It’s a flight from human intimacy.
They’re not alone in that, of course. A while back, I flew from a speaking engagement on one side of the Atlantic to a TV booking on the other. And backstage at both events an attractive thirtysomething woman made the same complaint to me. They’d both tried computer dating but were alarmed by the number of chaps who found human contact too much effort: Instead of meeting and kissing and making out and all that other stuff that involves being in the same room, they’d rather you just sexted them and twitpiced a Weineresque selfie or two. As in other areas, the Japanese seem merely to have reached the end point of Western ennui a little earlier.
By 2020, in the Land of the Rising Sun, adult diapers will outsell baby diapers: The sun also sets. In The Children of Men, the barrenness is a medical condition; in real life, in some of the oldest nations on earth, from Madrid to Tokyo, it’s a voluntary societal self-extinction.
In Europe, the demographic death spiral is obscured by high Muslim immigration; in Japan, which retains a cultural aversion to immigration of any kind, there are no foreigners to be the children you couldn’t be bothered having yourself.
In welfare states, the future is premised on social solidarity: The young will pay for the costs of the old. But, as the West ages, social solidarity frays, and in Japan young men aren’t even interested in solidarity with young women, and young women can’t afford solidarity with bonnie bairns. So an elderly population in need of warm bodies to man the hospital wards and senior centers is already turning to robot technology. If manga and anime are any indication, the post-human nurses and waitresses will be cute enough to make passable sex partners — for anyone who can still be bothered.
We who counted ourselves luckier than the general run of humankind because we live in the United States of America are no longer standing on firm ground but on shifting sands.
What accustomed ways, what assumptions on which we’ve always relied, what expectations we’ve long held, what values we’ve taken for granted, are not being interrogated anew?
Customs, values, standards, principles – the elements that cement civilization – are being let go, one after another, at ever increasing pace as we are moved away from liberty into serfdom.
Have you relied on custom? On long accepted moral norms? On the probity of public servants? On high standards of medical practice? On the intellectual openness of universities? On the integrity of scientists? On the solidity of old established institutions? On common values of decency, civility, and honesty?
You, we, can do so no longer. The wrecking crew is out. The fundamental transformation of America is underway.
Immense progress in science and technology will not help us because all invention will come under the ever-expanding control of the government and its ideological army of wreckers.
Over what part of our lives, even the most intimate, is government not taking control?
Our freedom of speech has been qualified by political correctness. Certain words are taboo, and it is widely accepted that they ought to be, on the grounds that some might take offense if they hear them.
In almost everything we commonly do, in almost every sphere of normal activity, we find ourselves in a state of uncertainty. So multitudinous are the regulations continually heaped upon us by government that we could be unknowingly breaking the law every hour of every day, in our businesses, our professions, our leisure, our shopping, our travel, or while simply breathing inside our own homes. The hand of government is on our thermostats. Its scolding tongue lashes us if we use more water than it deems necessary to our survival. It tells us what we ought to eat and drink; what we must do with our garbage; what we may not carry on a plane; what we may not move from one state to another. If we unintentionally break an obscure business regulation, we can be raided by an armed SWAT team and heavily fined. If we gather people together at regular intervals in our home to share a common interest we can be sentenced to a term in prison. (The example our link leads to concerns a bible-studying group. We would hate to attend it ourselves, but we defend the freedom of everybody.)
Do not expect the money you earn, save, or invest to keep its value. Our currency is being continually debased. We cannot even be sure that our cash will be safe in a bank. It’s all too possible that government will summarily confiscate it. What happened recently to private deposits in Cyprus banks could happen here – a blatant act of government theft:
According to in-house memos now circulating, the DHS has issued orders to banks across America which announce to them that “under the Patriot Act” the DHS has the absolute right to seize, without any warrant whatsoever, any and all customer bank accounts, to make “periodic and unannounced” visits to any bank to open and inspect the contents of “selected safe deposit boxes”.
We can no longer rely on our title deeds to protect our property tenure. On the grounds of “eminent domain” any real estate, including your own home, can be snatched away by government and handed over to someone else who wants to change its use for his own benefit. In the case of land, the government can declare it subject to environmental laws that make it impossible for its owners to use it as they choose.
Government agencies which many or even most considered irreproachably honorable (if also terrifyingly powerful) – such as and chiefly the Internal Revenue Service - have turned out to be rotten with corruption.
We are surveyed by government all the time. We have come to expect that we cannot make a phone-call 0r send an email that government doesn’t know we made or sent. And government can look at what we said in them at any time it chooses. Under “Obamacare” we cannot have an ingrowing toenail, a terminal disease, a deformity, an embarrassing whatever that untold numbers of persons will not be informed about.
In the matter of our health and “Obamacare”, we do not know how we will pay for medical consultations and treatment in future; what insurance we may have, at what price, or what it will cover.
The political principles on which the Republic was founded are no longer the bedrock of the American nation.
The values our civilization was built on – which are not in any religion but in pre-Christian classical antiquity and the Enlightenment – are no longer esteemed. Worse, they are despised, mocked, and discarded.
Mark Steyn, recognizing the rot, writes of a recent momentous day in the decay of America – June 26, 2013:
First thing in the morning, Gregory Roseman, Deputy Director of Acquisitions (whatever that means), became the second IRS official to take the Fifth Amendment, after he was questioned about awarding the largest contract in IRS history, totaling some half a billion dollars, to his close friend Braulio Castillo, who qualified under a federal “set aside” program favoring disadvantaged groups — in this case, disabled veterans. For the purposes of federal contracting, Mr. Castillo is a “disabled veteran” because he twisted his ankle during a football game at the U.S. Military Academy prep school 27 years ago. How he overcame this crippling disability to win a half-billion-dollar IRS contract is the heartwarming stuff of an inspiring Lifetime TV movie. …
The so-called comprehensive immigration reform is so comprehensive it includes special deals for Nevada casinos and the recategorization of the Alaskan fish-processing industry as a “cultural exchange” program, because the more leaping salmon we have the harder it is for Mexicans to get across the Bering Strait. While we’re bringing millions of Undocumented-Americans “out of the shadows,” why don’t we try bringing Washington’s decadent and diseased law-making out of the shadows?
Just when you thought the day couldn’t get any more momentous, the Supreme Court weighed in on same-sex marriage. When less advanced societies wish to introduce gay marriage, the people’s elected representatives assemble in parliament and pass a law. That’s how they did it in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, etc. But one shudders to contemplate what would result were the legislative class to attempt “comprehensive marriage reform,” complete with tax breaks for Maine lobstermen’s au pairs and the hiring of 20,000 new IRS agents to verify business expenses for page boys from disparate-impact groups. So instead it fell to five out of nine judges, which means it fell to Anthony Kennedy, because he’s the guy who swings both ways. Thus, Supreme Intergalactic Emperor Anthony gets to decide the issue for 300 million people.
As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben so famously says in every remake, with great power comes great responsibility. Having assumed the power to redefine a societal institution that predates the United States by thousands of years, Emperor Tony the All-Wise had the responsibility at least to work up the semblance of a legal argument. Instead, he struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that those responsible for it were motivated by an “improper animus” against a “politically unpopular group” they wished to “disparage,” “demean,” and “humiliate” as “unworthy.”
What stump-toothed knuckle-dragging inbred swamp-dwellers from which hellish Bible Belt redoubt would do such a thing? Well, fortunately, we have their names on the record: The DOMA legislators who were driven by their need to “harm” gay people include notorious homophobe Democrats Chuck Schumer, Pat Leahy, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, and the virulent anti-gay hater who signed it into law, Bill Clinton. …
In his dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that “to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions.” Indeed. With this judgment, America’s constitutional court demeans and humiliates only its own. …
As I say, just another day in the life of the republic: a corrupt bureaucracy dispensing federal gravy to favored clients; a pseudo-legislature passing bills unread by the people’s representatives and uncomprehended by the men who claim to have written them; and a co-regency of jurists torturing an 18th-century document in order to justify what other countries are at least honest enough to recognize as an unprecedented novelty. Whether or not, per Scalia, we should “condemn” the United States Constitution, it might be time to put the poor wee thing out of its misery.
Hayek warned us that an over-mighty state would put us on “the road to serfdom”. Well, we’ve arrived. We’ve passed the sign at the side of the road saying “Welcome to Serfdom” and we are now in Serfdom itself. It is built on a quagmire of erroneous theory. Serfs may console themselves with an illusion of security, but serfs are not secure; they exist at the whim of their masters.
By the time Islam takes over and imposes sharia law over the whole of North America, we’ll hardly notice any difference.
Afterword: One of our readers and commenters, Roger, laments the drop in standards of personal presentation among his professional colleagues with this description. (Please note we make no judgments of a person by his taste or appearance. We quote this comment because it conveys how some American citizens feel they have strayed into an alien world.)
Yes, our society is changing. I attended a construction “kick-off” meeting yesterday, at which all of the construction “professionals” were present as well as the major trades. This project is for the renovation of a very high end residence, if I mentioned the Client’s name many of you would know the person. The Architect wore an ill fitting suit that looked like it had been piled into a corner of the utility room for weeks, bare feet and flip-flops (on a construction site!) The project manager wore a loose undershirt of the type colloquially known I believe, as a “wife beater”. His entire upper body was covered in multicolored tattoos depicting what seemed to be scenes from robot wars featuring children’s Saturday morning cartoon characters. The representative of one of the mechanical trades wore a patched and worn out dungaree overall and sported a bone through his nose. [They all] wore various metal items in different parts of their faces; earrings, nose rings, lip rings, etc. None seemed in the least bit surprised at the attire of the others. I admit my concentration suffered as I wondered when it was exactly that I had been abducted and brought to this planet, and when the hell could I go home.
Back in Benghazi, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty held off numerically superior forces for hours before dying on a rooftop waiting for back-up from a government that had switched the answering machine on and gone to Vegas.
Mark Steyn writes cogently at National Review Online:
Hillary Clinton had denied ever seeing Ambassador Stevens’s warnings about deteriorating security in Libya on the grounds that “1.43 million cables come to my office” — and she can’t be expected to see all of them, or any. Once Ambassador Stevens was in his flag-draped coffin listening to her eulogy for him at Andrews Air Force Base, he was her bestest friend in the world — it was all “Chris this” and “Chris that,” as if they’d known each other since third grade. But up till that point he was just one of 1.43 million close personal friends of Hillary trying in vain to get her ear.
Now we know that at 8 p.m. Eastern time on the last night of Stevens’s life, his deputy in Libya spoke to Secretary Clinton and informed her of the attack in Benghazi and the fact that the ambassador was now missing. An hour later, Gregory Hicks received a call from the then–Libyan prime minister, Abdurrahim el-Keib, informing him that Stevens was dead. Hicks immediately called Washington. It was 9 p.m. Eastern time, or 3 a.m. in Libya. Remember the Clinton presidential team’s most famous campaign ad? About how Hillary would be ready to take that 3 a.m.call? Four years later, the phone rings, and Secretary Clinton’s not there. She doesn’t call Hicks back that evening. Or the following day.
Are murdered ambassadors like those 1.43 million cables she doesn’t read? Just too many of them to keep track of? No. Only six had been killed in the history of the republic — seven, if you include Arnold Raphel, who perished in General Zia’s somewhat mysterious plane crash in Pakistan in 1988. Before that you have to go back to Adolph Dubs, who died during a kidnapping attempt in Kabul in 1979. So we have here a once-in-a-third-of-a-century event. And at 3 a.m. Libyan time on September 12 it’s still unfolding, with its outcome unclear. Hicks is now America’s head man in the country, and the cabinet secretary to whom he reports says, “Leave a message after the tone and I’ll get back to you before the end of the week.” Just to underline the difference here: Libya’s head of government calls Hicks, but nobody who matters in his own government can be bothered to.
What was Secretary Clinton doing that was more important? What was the president doing? Aside, that is, from resting up for his big Vegas campaign event. A real government would be scrambling furiously to see what it could do to rescue its people. It’s easy, afterwards, to say that nothing would have made any difference. But, at the time Deputy Chief Hicks was calling 9-1-1 and getting executive-branch voicemail, nobody in Washington knew how long it would last. A terrorist attack isn’t like a soccer game, over in 90 minutes. If it is a sport, it’s more like a tennis match: Whether it’s all over in three sets or goes to five depends on how hard the other guy pushes back. The government of the United States took the extremely strange decision to lose in straight sets. Not only did they not deploy out-of-area assets, they ordered even those in Libya to stand down. Lieutenant Colonel Gibson had a small team in Tripoli that twice readied to go to Benghazi to assist and twice was denied authority to do so, the latter when they were already at the airport. There weren’t many of them, not compared to the estimated 150 men assailing the compound. But they were special forces, not bozo jihadists. Back in Benghazi, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty held off numerically superior forces for hours before dying on a rooftop waiting for back-up from a government that had switched the answering machine on and gone to Vegas.
Throughout the all-night firefight in Benghazi, Washington’s priority seems to have been to do everything possible to deny that what was actually happening was happening at all. To send “soldiers” on a “mission” to “fight” the “enemy” was at odds with the entire Obama narrative of the Arab Spring and the broader post-Bush Muslim world. And so the entire U.S. military was stood down in support of the commander-in-chief’s fiction.
As Mr. Hicks testified, his superiors in Washington knew early that night that a well-executed terrorist attack with the possible participation of al-Qaeda elements was under way. Instead of responding, the most powerful figures in the government decided that an unseen YouTube video better served their political needs. And, in the most revealing glimpse of the administration’s depravity, the president and secretary of state peddled the lie even in their mawkish eulogies to their buddy “Chris” and three other dead Americans. They lied to the victims’ coffins and then strolled over to lie to the bereaved, Hillary telling the Woods family that “we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.” And she did. The government dispatched more firepower to arrest Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in Los Angeles than it did to protect its mission in Benghazi. It was such a great act of misdirection Hillary should have worn spangled tights and sawn Stevens’s casket in half. …
What are the press toadies of the administration doing to shelter Obama and Clinton now that the truth is coming out?
The dying Los Angeles Times reported this story on its homepage … under the following headline: “Partisan Politics Dominates House Benghazi Hearing.”
Chris Stevens was the poster boy for Obama’s view of the Arab Spring; he agreed with the president on everything that mattered. The only difference is that he wasn’t in Vegas but out there on the front line, where Obama’s delusions meet reality. Stevens believed in those illusions enough to die for them. One cannot say the same about the hollow men and women in Washington who sent him out there unprotected, declined to lift a finger when he came under attack, and in the final indignity subordinated his sacrifice to their political needs by lying over his corpse. Where’s the “partisan politics”?Obama, Clinton, Panetta, Clapper, Rice, and the rest did this to one of their own. …
And Hillary Clinton dismissed the question of what really happened in Benghazi on that hellish night with the angry retort “What difference does it make?”
The embassy security chief, Eric Nordstrom, had the best answer to that: It matters because “the truth matters” — not least to the Libyan president, who ever since has held the U.S. government in utter contempt.
Truth matters … [and] for the American people to accept the Obama-Clinton lie is to be complicit in it.
Will the majority of the American people accept the Obama-Clinton lie about Benghazi? Time will tell.
Margaret Thatcher’s reign over Britain was a pause in the decline of the nation. That is the verdict of almost all the most insightful obituaries that have appeared since her death. She changed Britain, held it for a while as a model to the world of how capitalism can restore wealth and prestige, but did not succeed in reversing its downward trend.
Nevertheless she was one of the British people’s greatest leaders.
Mark Steyn writes:
In Britain in the Seventies, everything that could be nationalized had been nationalized, into a phalanx of lumpen government monopolies all flying the moth-eaten flag: British Steel, British Coal, British Airways, British Rail . . . The government owned every industry — or, if you prefer, “the British people” owned every industry. And, as a consequence, the unions owned the British people. The top income-tax rate was 83 percent, and on investment income 98 percent. No electorally viable politician now thinks the government should run airlines and car plants and that workers should live their entire lives in government housing. But what seems obvious to all in 2013 was the bipartisan consensus four decades ago, and it required an extraordinary political will for one woman to drag her own party, then the nation, and subsequently much of the rest of the world back from the cliff edge.
Thatcherite denationalization was the first thing Eastern Europe did after throwing off its Communist shackles — although the fact that recovering Soviet client states found such a natural twelve-step program at Westminster testifies to how far gone Britain was.
She [Margaret Thatcher] was the most consequential woman on the world stage since Catherine the Great, and Britain’s most important peacetime prime minister. In 1979, Britain was not at war, but as much as in 1940 faced an existential threat.
Mrs. Thatcher saved her country — and then went on to save a shriveling “free world,” and what was left of its credibility. The Falklands were an itsy bitsy colonial afterthought on the fringe of the map, costly to win and hold, easy to shrug off — as so much had already been shrugged off. After Vietnam, the Shah, Cuban troops in Africa, Communist annexation of real estate from Cambodia to Afghanistan to Grenada, nobody in Moscow or anywhere else expected a Western nation to go to war and wage it to win. Jimmy Carter, a ditherer who belatedly dispatched the helicopters to Iran only to have them crash in the desert and sit by as cocky mullahs poked the corpses of U.S. servicemen on TV, embodied the “leader of the free world” as a smiling eunuch. Why in 1983 should the toothless arthritic British lion prove any more formidable?
And, even when Mrs. Thatcher won her victory, the civilizational cringe of the West was so strong that all the experts immediately urged her to throw it away and reward the Argentine junta for its aggression. “We were prepared to negotiate before” she responded, “but not now. We have lost a lot of blood, and it’s the best blood.” Or as a British sergeant said of the Falklands: “If they’re worth fighting for, then they must be worth keeping.”
Mrs. Thatcher thought Britain was worth fighting for, at a time when everyone else assumed decline was inevitable. … [But for her and] anyone with a sense of history’s sweep, the strike-ridden socialist basket case of the British Seventies was not an economic downturn but a stain on national honor.
A generation on, the Thatcher era seems more and more like a magnificent but temporary interlude in a great nation’s bizarre, remorseless self-dissolution.
She was right and they were wrong, and because of that they will never forgive her. … For eleven tumultuous years, Margaret Thatcher did shock them. But the deep corrosion of a nation is hard to reverse …
Not just hard. Impossible. What great power that declined and fell ever rose to greatness again?
China had to turn to the capitalist model set by Margaret Thatcher to save its economy – which it did, spectacularly.
But far from acknowledging a debt, this obituary published in China belittles all her achievements, putting her whole career through the Marxist class-analysis mincer.
Petty, mean, and puerile, it is an exercise in Schadenfreude; sneer after sneer concluding with a spiteful joke:
Thatcher grew up in a classical English petty-bourgeois family. Her father owned two grocery shops in Grantham. He preached the word of God, was staunchly patriotic, and became the town’s Mayor from 1945-6. His self-confidence derived from selecting food that commanded a good price and turned a good profit. His daughter, Margaret, also formed her intellectual outlook around the petty proprietor’s fetish for the magical qualities of prices. …
Her marriage to Dennis Thatcher in 1951 elevated her into the ranks of the bourgeoisie. He had inherited his wealth and felt that business distracted him from dabbling in amateur military escapades. He was generally seen as a blithering incompetent buffoon to be shunted out of ears reach, in case some bigoted diatribe escaped his lips, but Margaret dearly loved him and treasured the life opportunities his wealth had opened up for her. Dennis funded her career change from studying the chemical composition of ice cream, to studying to become a barrister …
The 1960s were characterized by an entrenched social-democratic consensus whereby social and economic development was widely seen as the product of an alliance between theclasses. Employment was easy to come by and wages rose, and public housing, health care and education expanded rapidly. This all smacked of communism to Margaret Thatcher, who was allowed to bark vitriol against socialism to the gleeful cheers of her bourgeois-aristocratic colleagues in parliament.
The victory of the mineworkers against the Conservative government in two strikes in 1972 and 1974 led to an election, which the then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, claimed would answer the question “who runs Britain?” He lost the election to a minority Labour government and Margaret Thatcher became the Conservative Party leader in 1975.
The shopkeeper inside her, meant she automatically gravitated toward economic theory based on price. Her ideology imagined a world of free and unrestricted competitive pressures where atomized individuals replace organized workers. The pathway to this free market utopia involved selling off state resources and public housing at prices that were absurdly low. This created a significant constituency within the working and middle classes who suddenly acquired money from nothing. In this way the shopkeeper’s delusion, that an economy is simply a nation of buyers and sellers, was materially anchored in the minds of those who suddenly had loads of money. In this way a significant minority acquired a material stake in Thatcher’s “property owning democracy.” Making goods and services was replaced by selling second hand bricks; producing coal, steel, ships, trains and cars was replaced by speculative instruments conjured up by a Thatcherite tribe of arrogant barrow boys who were encouraged to take over the trading floors of the City of London, elbowing aside the “toffs” in bowler hats, and revolutionizing financial markets in a cocaine fueled [?] speculative orgy.
So severe was the economic dislocation and the scars of social conflict that the government was thrown into deep crisis. However, luck was on the side of Mrs. Thatcher, as President General Galtieri of Argentina used their nation’s historical conflict over British occupation of the Malvinas Islands to launch a war to take them by force. Thatcher dispatched the British fleet and reconquered the Islands, whipping up a wave of jingoistic flag-waving. Riding a new tide of popularity, the real war began. Its objective was to smash the central core of trade union strength, the National Union of Mineworkers. Huge reserves of coal were stockpiled, the police were militarized, and war was declared on millions of British workers. Thatcher proclaimed the miners’ union to be agents of the Soviet Union. When she described them as “the enemy within” she had the look of hysteria in her eyes. The strike lasted a year and was defeated. This was a result of Thatcher’s determination and an impotent response by the majority of Labour and Trade Union leaders. The defeat of the miners union led to greater control by capital over labour and a long period of passive industrial relations.
The greatest nonsense is spoken about Thatcher’s significance in the struggle against what she called “the Evil Empire” of the USSR. The role of the U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was insignificant and peripheral. Even though the Soviet press had given her the name, “the Iron Lady,” of which she was so proud. The collapse of the USSR was a result of internal disintegration and not external pressure. …
May the Iron Lady rust in peace!
China’s prosperity is the result of allowing private enterprise. It makes China a rising world power.
“Criticism of religion is not only the starting point of all criticism. It is the prerequisite of any kind of criticism. In a society where religion cannot be criticized, everything becomes religion from the length of your beard to what hand to use when wiping your backside. Where there is no criticism of religion, life and society in their entirety become religious and the littlest squeak against the existing order is an act of blasphemy.” – Lars Hedegaard.
Mark Steyn quoted these words in a speech he made when he presented Lars Hedegaard with a Defender of Freedom award - somewhat startlingly, at the European Parliament.
Mark Steyn said inter alia in his speech (all of which is a must-read, for the importance of what he says, and for the enjoyment of his wit):
After I accepted the invitation to come here, I received a couple of emails from prominent persons saying wasn’t I a bit worried that some of the people here are a bit controversial and it might not be a good idea to be seen in the same room as them. … Obviously, it would be far safer for one’s reputation to appear in the same room as less controversial figures such as the chaps appearing last weekend at the Muslim Council of Calgary’s big event in Alberta. Their keynote speaker was the Saudi-educated imam Dr Bilal Phillips, who’s on record as saying that every male homosexual should be executed. He later clarified his position: He only wants all male homosexuals in Muslim countries executed. “The media tends to take my words out of context,” he said.
Also on the bill was the moderate Muslim Shaykh Hatem Alhaj, who supports the introduction of female genital mutilation to North America. … The head of the Calgary Police Diversity Unit and multiple representatives of the Canadian state had no problem whatsoever being in the same room as Messrs Alhaj and Phillips.
There is literally nothing a prominent Muslim can say – about gays, about Jews, about women – that would render him persona non grata. That’s the world we live in: sharing a stage with a man calling for compulsory execution for homosexuals isn’t controversial; sharing a stage with Lars Hedegaard is.
I’m bored by this double standard; I’m tired of one-way multiculturalism. Like Lars, I am guilty of crimes against humanity – I always think that looks good on a chap’s resume. And you’d be surprised how much work it brings in. As with Lars, it was a thought-crime prosecution, in which truth is no defence. Unlike Lars, I beat the rap without having to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Maclean’s magazine and I were acquitted of quote “flagrant Islamophobia” for essentially political reasons – because neither the British Columbia court nor its travesty of a “human rights” code could withstand the heat of a guilty verdict. (I never did find out quite what the difference is between “flagrant Islamophobia” and common-or-garden Islamophobia, but I think flagrant Islamophobia is a lot camper.) Unlike Denmark, where the law under which Lars was prosecuted remains on the books, in Canada just a few days ago, and as a result of my case and the publicity it generated, the House of Commons finally voted to repeal the relevant provision of Canada’s Human Rights Code. At some point, it will go to the Senate and then receive Royal Assent, and a disgraceful law at odds with eight centuries of Canada’s legal inheritance going back to Magna Carta will finally be consigned to the garbage can of history. So, for those of you fighting these battles in Denmark, in Austria, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, victories are possible. But they’re hard fought, and far too few people in the multicultural west have the stomach for them. Lars Hedegaard does. …
Lars was charged, acquitted, re-charged, convicted, fined 5,000 kroner and forced to appeal to the Supreme Court – for the crime of expressing his opinion about Islam. He won, but he lost. He lost three years of his life. The point of these new heresy trials is that the verdict is ultimately irrelevant – the process is the punishment. After I saw off the Islamic enforcers in my own country, their frontman crowed to The Canadian Arab News that, even though the Canadian Islamic Congress had struck out in three separate jurisdictions in their attempt to criminalize my writing, the lawsuits had cost my magazine (he boasted) two million dollars, and thereby “attained our strategic objective—to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.” …
In the same way that the left embarked on its long march through the institutions, so too has Islam. Its Gramscian subversion of transnational bodies, international finance, human rights institutions, the academy and the justice system is well advanced.
At one of his trials … Lars quoted John Milton:
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
Milton wrote that in 1644. Three hundred and seventy years later, it falls to our generation to fight that battle all over again. Lars Hedegaard has led that fight, a fight that so many of his fellow Danes, his fellow Scandinavians, his fellow Europeans have either ducked or joined the wrong side of. In some of the oldest free societies on the planet, far too few are doing the heavy lifting for all of us, and paying a very high price.
Do not miss Mark Steyn’s column on Obama’s Big Government handling of Hurricane Sandy and the Benghazi crisis.
Each of Mark Steyn’s columns as it appears seems to be his best ever. This one is no exception.
Here’s a slice of it to taste:
In political terms, Hurricane Sandy and the Benghazi consulate debacle exemplify at home and abroad the fundamental unseriousness of the United States in the Obama era. In the days after Sandy hit, Barack Obama was generally agreed to have performed well. He had himself photographed in the White House Situation Room, nodding thoughtfully to bureaucrats (“John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; David Agnew, Director for Intergovernmental Affairs”) and Tweeted it to his 3.2 million followers. He appeared in New Jersey wearing a bomber jacket rather than a suit to demonstrate that when the going gets tough the tough get out a monogrammed Air Force One bomber jacket. He announced that he’d instructed his officials to answer all calls within 15 minutes because in America “we leave nobody behind.” By doing all this, the president “shows” he “cares” – which is true in the sense that in Benghazi he was willing to leave the entire consulate staff behind, and nobody had their calls answered within seven hours, because presumably he didn’t care. So John Brennan, the Counterterrorism guy, and Tony Blinken, the National Security honcho, briefed the president on the stiff breeze, but on Sept. 11, 2012, when a little counterterrorism was called for, nobody bothered calling the Counterterrorism Security Group, the senior U.S. counterterrorism bureaucracy. …
No hurricane hit my county. Indeed, no hurricane hit New Hampshire. No hurricane hit “17 states,” the number of states supposedly “affected” by Sandy at its peak. A hurricane hit a few coastal counties of New Jersey, New York and a couple of other states, and that’s it. Everyone else had slightly windier-than-usual wind – and yet they were out of power for days … because of a decrepit and vulnerable above-the-ground electrical distribution system that ought to be a national embarrassment to any developed society. …
Our government is more expensive than any government in history – and we have nothing to show for it. … One Obama [stimulus] bill spent a little shy of a trillion dollars, and no one can point to a single thing it built. Washington … spends $188 million an hour that it doesn’t have … And yet, mysteriously, multitrillion-dollar Big Government Obama-style can’t do anything except sluice food stamps to the dependent class, lavish benefits and early retirement packages to the bureaucrats that service them, and so-called government “investment” to approved Obama cronies.
So you can have Big Government bigger (or, anyway, more expensive) than any government’s ever been, and the lights still go out in 17 states – because your president spent 6 trillion bucks, and all the country got was a lousy Air Force One bomber jacket for him to wear while posing for a Twitpic answering the phone with his concerned expression.
Even in those few parts of the Northeast that can legitimately claim to have been clobbered by Sandy, Big Government made it worse. Last week, Nanny Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, rivaled his own personal best for worst mayoral performance … This is a man who spends his days micromanaging the amount of soda New Yorkers are allowed to have in their beverage containers rather than, say, the amount of ocean New Yorkers are allowed to have in their subway system … Imagine if this preening buffoon had expended as much executive energy on flood protection for the electrical grid and transit system as he does on approved quantities of carbonated beverages. But that’s leadership 21st-century style: When the going gets tough, the tough ban trans fats.
Back in Benghazi, the president who looks so cool in a bomber jacket declined to answer his beleaguered diplomats’ calls for help – even though he had aircraft and Special Forces in the region. Too bad. He’s all jacket and no bombers. This, too, is an example of America’s uniquely profligate impotence. When something goes screwy at a ramshackle consulate halfway round the globe, very few governments have the technological capacity to watch it unfold in real time. Even fewer have deployable military assets only a couple of hours away. What is the point of unmanned drones, of military bases around the planet, of elite Special Forces trained to the peak of perfection if the president and the vast bloated federal bureaucracy cannot rouse themselves to action? What is the point of outspending Russia, Britain, France, China, Germany and every middle-rank military power combined if, when it matters, America cannot urge into the air one plane with a couple of dozen commandoes? … In Washington the head of the world’s biggest “counterterrorism” bureaucracy briefs the president on flood damage and downed trees. …
Barack Obama and Joe Biden won’t even try [to fix things] … therefore a vote for Obama is a vote for the certainty of national collapse. Look at Lower Manhattan in the dark, and try to imagine what America might look like after the rest of the planet decides it no longer needs the dollar as global reserve currency. For four years, we have had a president who can spend everything but build nothing. Nothing but debt, dependency, and decay.
So vote the wind-bags out. Obama and Biden.
And treat yourself. Read it all. It’s very funny and at the same time very serious – which, as its author says, the Obama administration is not. And the American electorate must decide whether to get serious in time to save itself.
In different ways the response to Hurricane Sandy and Benghazi exemplify the fundamental unseriousness of the superpower at twilight. Whether or not to get serious is the choice facing the electorate Tuesday.
But let him keep the bomber jacket.
Why are we posting so much, so often, on the events of 9/11/12 in Benghazi, Libya?
Because what happened there is extremely grave. The US ambassador’s death was an enormity committed against the United States of America. The deliberate sacrifice of American soldiers was also deeply criminal. These were grave deeds, but gravest of all is the probability that these events were the result of treason.
Treason committed by whom? By the President of the United States of America.
Could any American in the history of the Union have believed such a thing to be possible? Or even thinkable?
We are not alone in thinking the unthinkable. See Roger L. Simon’s thoughts on the subject here at PJ Media.
Our Constitution defines it [treason] this way: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Aid and comfort to the enemy — what is that? When you ascribe an action to the protest of a video when it is actuality a planned terror attack by Ansar al-Shariah, an established offshoot of al-Qaeda (if that’s not your “enemy,” then who) — and you knew that all along, you watched it live without doing anything, and then you told those who wanted to help to “stand down”? Meanwhile, our government may have been conspiring to arm another offshoot of al-Qaeda in Syria. How much more treasonous can you get? Benedict Arnold was a piker.
And Bob Owens considers the question of treason in the highest places also at PJ Media. Some of his conjectures as to what happened when the secret CIA center was attacked are even more shocking than the revelations that have been leaking out slowly over the last few weeks. If what he surmises is right, then a charge of treason against President Obama is fully justified.
For starters, we now know that not a single American life should have been lost. Trucks with with the Islamist cell’s logo and with heavy machine guns mounted on them took up blocking positions around the consulate no later than 8:00 p.m., according to Libyan eyewitnesses. These so-called “technicals” did not let anyone in or out for one hour and 40 minutes, until the attack began at 9:40 p.m. local time.
In that time, air assets based in Italy, Sicily, and the Mediterranean Sea could have easily dispatched the forces preparing for an attack, using precision weapons to destroy these logo-identified blocking vehicles. There is every reason to believe that the timely launch of air assets would have destroyed the attacking force as they prepared for their assault, without the loss of a single American life. For reasons as yet unknown, these easily identifiable enemy assets massing for an attack on the U.S. consulate were met with indifference by U.S. forces.
Our CIA assets, which seem to have been composed of former SEALs and other special operations personnel, conducted an unsupported rescue mission under fire. They saved the lives of the remaining consulate staff and recovered the body of Sean Smith, whom they then escorted back to their safehouse a mile away.
Once there, they came under fire again — including fire from a terrorist team armed with mortars. Then something truly extraordinary and troubling took place:
“At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according to those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing, and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. special operations forces to provide support to special operation teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.”
After reading this, I was simply stunned. According to the article, an American CIA agent had a laser on a target and was attempting to call in close air support — and was denied. While this article never explicitly says so, some have suggested that the “security officer” in the article was Ty Woods, soon to be killed by that same mortar.
Let’s unpack this.
In this context, there are two ways to “lase” a target. One is simply using a visible laser designator/laser sight to point out the target’s location. The second is the use of a laser target designator (LTD), which is a far more sophisticated device. An LTD uses coded pulses of a band of light not visible to the human eye, and these pulses communicate and synchronize with an aircraft-mounted module to direct a finite and fairly exclusive family of air-launched guided weapons.
If the CIA officer was lasing a target with the laser designator/laser sight on his weapon, one might argue (and some have) that this was an act of improvisation — a hope that the visible lasing would convince the mortar team to flee their position in fear of being bombed. This position is not without merit but overlooks two salient facts. The first is that these security officers lasing the target were manning a heavy machine gun, which presumably would have the reach and power to eliminate the mortar team, or at least suppress it, without air support. It also overlooks the fact that the article directly states that the target was being lased for a specific asset, a “Spectre.”
Airborne gunships have been around since the Vietnam war, when C-47 transport planes were first equipped with port-side mounted miniguns for close air support missions, becoming AC-47s. By 1967, a desire to improve upon the concept involved replacing the aged twin-engine C-47 base aircraft with the four-engine C-130, which had greater speed, more fuel, and a greater capacity for weapons and ammunition. These AC130s carried various nicknames, including “Spooky” (inherited from the AC-47) and “Spectre,” the latter of which has been the most publicly recognizable name of these powerful ground support aircraft.
If the CIA operators were using an LTD, it additionally means that air assets were not in Italy or Sicily on the ground. It means that strike aircraft were overhead, and were denied permission to fire from someone in the chain of command. LTDs must sync with overhead aircraft; they have no deterrent effect since they use a spectrum of light we cannot see and can only communicate with craft overhead.
I will caution that this is highly speculative, but an LTD would presumably not be used for just any variant of the C-130-based gunships. While we did have AC-130 gunships based close to Benghazi, they would not make the best use of targets lit by an LTD. The AC-130 uses guns, not guided weapons. [But] the same cannot be be said of another “Spectre” variant, the MC-130W.
The MC-130W is built to use precision-guided weapons, including the GBU-44/B Viper Strike glide bomb and the AGM-175 Griffin missile. Both are laser-guided weapons that can be directed using a ground-based LTD. Both are weapons designed to be highly accurate, with small warheads to greatly reduce the danger of collateral damage. They are precisely the kind of weapon an experienced CIA operator would call in if they wanted to reduce the threat of collateral damage, like the kind of damage that might be caused by firing an HMG from a rooftop.
If this is what occurred, it seems that even in weapon selection, the primary concern of the HMG operator was saving innocent lives.
But we do not know at this time which actually occurred. Based upon the information we can glean, we’re left with two most probable outcomes.
Either the Obama administration refused to launch close-air support aircraft from nearby bases that could have eliminated enemy forces attacking Americans trapped on the ground, or we had close air support aircraft overhead that could have taken out the terrorists that had Americans under fire with precision weapons — and the administration refused to let them fire.
The moral cowardice of both decisions is unconscionable. …
Retired Admiral James Lyons notes various sources claiming: ”One of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadhafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 — portable SAMs — to Islamists and other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria.”
Barack Obama has long had a cozy relationship with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and their alliance with Islamists in Syria battling Bashir Assad has been criticized before. If Ambassador Stevens was facilitating weapons transfers from Libya to Syrian Islamist forces aligned with al-Qaeda, via his Turkish alliance, then we are at a troubling, perhaps catastrophic point in this republic’s history.
We have been at war with the Islamist hydra of al-Qaeda for more than a decade, and now sources are accusing a sitting president of arming this enemy.
18 USC § 2381 provides us with a legal threshold for treason: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
Providing munitions to al-Qaeda-aligned Islamist forces would seem to meet that standard. The Obama administration has the most damaging charge of all to which it must answer, and can be offered no quarter.
Aggravating the frustration and fury of those who want the truth about what happened and punishment of those to blame for it, is the unbearable indifference that Obama and Hillary Clinton have displayed to the suffering of the murdered men and their families, as well as to the fact that America was attacked and the battle thrown away or gifted to the enemy.
Mark Steyn’s comments highlight their vicious, shallow, self-important, impenetrable insouciance – and their cruel, glib lies:
Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods fought all night against overwhelming odds, and died on a rooftop in a benighted jihadist hell hole while Obama retired early to rest up before his big Vegas campaign stop. …
Ty Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens were left to die, and a decision taken to blame an entirely irrelevant video and, as Secretary Clinton threatened, “have that person arrested.” And, in the weeks that followed, the government of the United States lied to its own citizens as thoroughly and energetically as any totalitarian state, complete with the midnight knock-on-the-door from not-so-secret policemen sent to haul the designated fall guy into custody.
And “that person” – a horrid little anti-Semite who invented a Jewish film-maker for him in turn to accuse, but nonetheless one who is entirely innocent of the murder of Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith, of the sacrifice of Woods and Doherty – is sitting in a prison cell in California, having had these crimes heaped on his head by the great political messiah of the Democratic Party, Barack Hussein Obama. Even for such a victim of injustice and political persecution decent men and women must express outrage.
And for these grave, these monstrous wrongs in foreign lands, the real perpetrators - be they the President of the United States and the most highly placed members of his administration – need to be punished with the full force of the law.
Postscript 10/31/12: It now emerges that Glen Doherty was one of the 8 Marines sent from Tripoli, met by a (terrorist) escort, delayed by the escort for 45 minutes at the Benghazi airport, and eventually taken to the secret annex which soon after their arrival was pounded with mortars, one of which killed him.
Members of a terrorist organization called the February 17 Martyrs Brigade were employed by the State Department to guard its legation in Libya.
Who are they ? What happened to make martyrs on some February 17?
Following Friday prayers on Feb. 17, 2006, thousands of Benghazians attacked the Italian Consulate to punish the temerity of an Italian minister, Roberto Calderoli, who several days earlier had publicly defended free speech in the West. The world was then experiencing another cycle of Islamic violence, this one orchestrated to punish a tiny Danish newspaper for publishing a sheet of Muhammad cartoons and, in turn, Denmark itself for refusing to punish the journalist-transgressors of Islamic law, which outlaws any critiques and all depictions of Muhammad.
Calderoli didn’t merely defend free speech. During his TV interview, he dramatically unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a T-shirt featuring a cartoon of Muhammad. Referring to Islamic rioters worldwide, he added: “When they recognize our rights, I’ll take off this shirt.”
He was forced to resign from his post the next day, a sacrifice on the altar of Shariah (Islamic law) by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. It wasn’t enough.
“We feared for our lives,” the wife of the Italian consul later told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, describing the attack in which the consulate was set on fire. All personnel were safely evacuated. Libyan police used tear gas to try to disperse the rioters, later opening fire and killing 11 attackers.
Those are the “martyrs” for whom the February 17 Martyrs Brigade named themselves. When Arab brigades name themselves in honor of dead terrorists, they are announcing that they are sworn to avenge their heroes. They are terrorist groups, every one of them.
So the State Department, under the inspired leadership of Hillary Clinton, employed vengeance-thirsty members of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade to guard its legation in Libya.
We found that information in a column by Diana West at Townhall. (She also tells us in passing that Benghazi literally means “city of holy warriors“.)
Next we learn from Mark Steyn that the terrorists paid for by the State Department were acquired through the agency of a British company based in Wales:
The State Department outsourced security for the Benghazi consulate to Blue Mountain, a Welsh firm that hires ex-British and Commonwealth Special Forces, among the toughest hombres on the planet. …
That should be okay then: tough hombres defending US representatives in foreign lands.
The one-year contract for consulate security was only $387,413 – or less than the cost of deploying a single U.S. soldier overseas. On that budget, you can’t really afford to fly in a lot of crack SAS killing machines, and have to make do with the neighborhood talent pool. So who’s available? Blue Mountain hired five members of the Benghazi branch of the February 17th Martyrs’ Brigade and equipped them with handcuffs and batons. A baton is very useful when someone is firing an RPG at you, at least if you play a little baseball. There were supposed to be four men heavily armed with handcuffs on duty that night, but, the date of Sept. 11 having no particular significance in the Muslim world, only two guards were actually on shift.
Let’s pause right there … Liberals are always going on about the evils of “outsourcing” and “offshoring” – selfish vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney shipping jobs to cheap labor overseas just to save a few bucks. How unpatriotic can you get! So now the United States government is outsourcing embassy security to cheap Welshmen who, in turn, outsource it to cheaper Libyans. Diplomatic facilities are U.S. sovereign territory – no different de jure from Fifth Avenue or Mount Rushmore. So defending them is one of the core responsibilities of the state. But that’s the funny thing about Big Government: the bigger it gets, the more of life it swallows up, the worse it gets at those very few things it’s supposed to be doing. So, on the first anniversary of 9/11 in a post-revolutionary city in which Western diplomats had been steadily targeted over the previous six months, the government of the supposedly most powerful nation on Earth entrusted its security to Abdulaziz Majbari, 29, and his pal, who report to some bloke back in Carmarthen, Wales.
Was there a connection between the guards and the attackers? Yes. A very close one according to Diana West:
Ansar al Sharia (“Supporters of Islamic Law”), the al-Qaida-linked militia believed to have led the consulate assault in September, is a spinoff of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade.
Which explains how the attackers knew where Ambassador Stevens would be on the night of 9/11/12, the lay-out of the campus, and the location of the “safe-house”.
What says the State Department to that?
Diana West tells us:
The State Department reminds us not to forget the service of two brigade members who were beaten and two who were shot defending the compound. “But there were some bad apples in there as well” …
Was the whole tragedy a result of the State Department being granted too little money to pay for proper security ? Joe “the Clown” Biden alleged as much in his “debate” with Paul Ryan recently.
According to this article by Daniel Greenfield, there was no shortage of money, but Obama and Hillary Clinton had what they considered better uses for it than squandering it on protecting US personnel and property:
The last, generally disavowed, excuse is that the Benghazi consulate lacked proper security because of budget cuts. This has already been disproven, but let’s take that excuse at face value. The State Department has a 50 billion dollar budget. Within that 50 billion dollar budget there was no money for reasonable consulate security in a city rife with Islamist militias who had already attacked the consulate and other diplomats in the city. But here’s what there was money for…
The 770 million dollar Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund for the Arab Spring.
7.9 billion dollars for Obama’s Global Health Initiative.
2.9 billion for international debt relief.
2.2 billion to strengthen democratic institutions in Pakistan.
469 million for global climate change.
587 million for student exchange programs.
And of course there is the always popular Mosque renovation program …
Which raises questions connected with the First Amendment, as this report in the Washington Times points out:
The mosques being rebuilt by the United States are used for religious worship, which raises important First Amendment questions. U.S. taxpayer money should not be used to preserve and promote Islam, even abroad. …
Section 205.1(d) of title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations prohibits USAID funds from being used for the rehabilitation of structures to the extent that those structures are used for “inherently religious activities.” It is impossible to separate religion from a mosque; any such projects will necessarily support Islam.
So would not Obama be shocked, shocked to learn that his State Department is supporting Islam?
Stephen Hayes writes that the murder of US Ambassador Stevens and three of his staff in Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of 9/11 is a “scandal of the first order”:
Either the intelligence community had a detailed picture of what happened in Benghazi that night and failed to share it with other administration officials and the White House. Or the intelligence community provided that detailed intelligence picture to others in the administration, and Obama, Biden, Clinton, Susan Rice, and others ignored and manipulated the intelligence to tell a politically convenient — but highly inaccurate — story.
If it’s the former, DNI [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper should be fired. If it’s the latter, what happened in Benghazi — and what happened afterwards — will go down as one of the worst scandals in recent memory.
It seems far more likely that it’s the latter. After all, is it conceivable that White House officials at the highest levels were not actively engaged in interagency meetings to determine what happened in Benghazi? Is it conceivable that intelligence officials, knowing there was no evidence at all of a link between the film and Benghazi, would fail to tell the president and his colleagues that their claims were unfounded? Is it conceivable that somehow the latest intelligence on the 9/11 attacks was left out of Obama’s intelligence briefings in the days after 9/11? It would have been a priority for every professional at the CIA, the State Department, and the National Security Council to discover exactly what happened in Benghazi as soon as possible. Is it conceivable that the information wasn’t passed to the most senior figures in the administration?
No, it’s really not. And therefore, the fact that these senior figures misled us — and still mislead us — is a scandal of the first order.
We agree. We think it is more shameful than Watergate, or the disgracing of the office of president by Bill Clinton.
Mark Steyn writes with his usual wit and acerbity that the events in Libya annoyingly distract the Obama administration from its self-assigned most vital duty of keeping some TV puppets in existence at public expense.
“The entire reason that this has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.” Thus, Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s deputy campaign manager, speaking on CNN about an armed attack on the 9/11 anniversary that left a U.S. consulate a smoking ruin and killed four diplomatic staff, including the first American ambassador to be murdered in a third of a century. To discuss this event is apparently to “politicize” it and to distract from the real issues the American people are concerned about. For example, Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki, speaking on board Air Force One on Thursday: “There’s only one candidate in this race who is going to continue to fight for Big Bird and Elmo, and he is riding on this plane.” She’s right! The United States is the first nation in history whose democracy has evolved to the point where its leader is provided with a wide-body transatlantic jet in order to campaign on the vital issue of public funding for sock puppets. Sure, Caligula put his horse in the Senate, but it was a real horse. At Ohio State University, the rapper will.i.am introduced the President by playing the Sesame Street theme tune, which, oddly enough, seems more apt presidential walk-on music for the Obama era than “Hail To The Chief.”
Obviously, Miss Cutter is right: A healthy mature democracy should spend its quadrennial election on critical issues like the Republican Party’s war on puppets rather than attempting to “politicize” the debate by dragging in stuff like foreign policy, national security, the economy and other obscure peripheral subjects. But, alas, it was her boss who chose to “politicize” a security fiasco and national humiliation in Benghazi. At 8.30 p.m., when Ambassador Stevens strolled outside the gate and bid his Turkish guest good night, the streets were calm and quiet. At 9.40 p.m., an armed assault on the compound began, well-planned and executed by men not only armed with mortars but capable of firing them to lethal purpose – a rare combination among the excitable mobs of the Middle East. There was no demonstration against an Islamophobic movie that just got a little out of hand. Indeed, there was no movie protest at all. Instead, a U.S. consulate was destroyed and four of its personnel were murdered in one of the most sophisticated military attacks ever launched at a diplomatic facility.
This was confirmed by testimony to Congress a few days ago … [Yet] for four weeks, the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and others have persistently attributed the Benghazi debacle to an obscure YouTube video – even though they knew that the two events had nothing to do with each other by no later than the crack of dawn Eastern time on Sept. 12 …
Given that Obama and Secretary Clinton refer to Stevens pneumatically as “Chris,” as if they’ve known him since third grade, why would they dishonor the sacrifice of their close personal friend by peddling an utterly false narrative as to why he died? You want “politicization”? Secretary Clinton linked the YouTube video to the murder of her colleagues even as the four caskets lay alongside her at Andrews Air Force Base – even though she had known for days that it had nothing to do with it. It’s weird enough that politicians now give campaign speeches to returning coffins. But to conscript your “friend’s” corpse as a straight man for some third-rate electoral opportunism is surely as shriveled and worthless as “politicization” gets. …
“Greater love hath no man than this,” quoth the President at Chris Stevens’ coffin, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Smaller love hath no man than Obama’s, than to lay down his “friend” for a couple of points in Ohio.
The Democrats have lost the plot. Even their own plot. They desperately want to stay in power in order to … stay in power. Give them the bird.