Witch’s Will For A February Morning
My Pick of the Litter Today
You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way Journalists Blow
When it comes presidential kill lists, too many in the media dig power absolute power absolutely.
by Nick Gillespie
Remember back in what was it – 2006 or thereabouts – when left-leaning critics of President Bush couldn’t stop talking about how nothing was more red, white, and blue than good old-fashioned American dissent? Why, our very country was founded by an act of dissent, didn’t you know! So back when Vice President Dick Cheney – routinely likened to Darth Vader and Voldemort – was running things, the very air was filled with cries of “not in our name” and all that, because it was so damned important that the United States not contravene its basic principles even in the name of self defense!
Those were good times, friends, and they stopped pretty much the minute that liberals and Democrats took control of the federal government. The antiwar movement disappeared once it became clear that Barack Obama wasn’t going to shut down Gitmo or stop bombing places or give a rat’s ass about that constitutional stuff he used to teach in law school.
But cheer up, because things can always get worse, as the last few days have demonstrated.
There’s that report from the Open Society Justice Initiative that despite Obama’s soothing intonations to the contrary, the U.S. is complicit in torture up the ying-yang. And of course there’s the leaked memo outlining what passes for Obama’s decision tree regarding killing suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens. It’s a relief to that the president has put his top men – anonymous yet “informed, high-level” officials – on figuring just who should be pinged and when. No need to share information or evidence or anything with either the legislative or judicial branches because that would just get in the way of getting the job done, right?
Checking your math and making sure you’re not making a bone-headed unconstitutional mistake is for losers. We’re at war, don’t you see, a new and different sort of war in which the old rules don’t apply. And besides, doesn’tthe authorization of war powers signed three days after September 11, 2001 mean that whatever Obama does is A-OK? So even if we do need rules, Obama’s got that covered! Nothing to see here, move along please.
Clint Romesha, the bravest of the brave
By Jake Tapper
It’s not often that someone you know and consider a friend is awarded the Medal of Honor.
I first met then-Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha in Colorado in 2010. We had dinner with three of his fellow soldiers — then-Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Hill, Sgt. Tom Rasmussen and Sgt. Eric Harder. Over beer and Mexican food, they talked about their time in the Army and their experiences at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan. I was working on a book about the remote outpost in which they’d served; the four troops candidly and generously shared their thoughts with me.
Romesha (pronounced ROE-muh-shay) was dark and sardonic. It was clear that he respected basic military values of selflessness, courage and efficiency, and had little tolerance for those who did not. It’s not surprising, because he comes from a military family. Both of his brothers joined the military after high school, following in the footsteps of their father, a Vietnam veteran, and their grandfather, who served during World War II. For the Romeshas, military service is a family tradition.
At the dinner, Romesha talked about leaving the Army and spending more time with his wife, Tammy, and their three children. Within a year, he did exactly that. They all now live in Minot, North Dakota. Romesha works as a field safety specialist for an oil field construction firm 90 minutes away.
Romesha is modest about the actions for which President Barack Obama will award him on February 11 with the nation’s highest honor for courage. Maybe you saw his modesty in our interview of him, which aired in an hourlong CNN special on Thursday, February 7, at 10 p.m. ET.
Maybe you saw the way he talks about that horrible day — October 3, 2009 — when he and about 50 other American soldiers faced overwhelming Taliban forces numbering more than 300. Even more terrifying than their numbers was their positional superiority: a 360 degree assault from the high ground. Combat Outpost Keating had been built at the bottom of three steep mountains, providing the enemy from day one with a tactical advantage.
For all the glory bestowed on Romesha, he is still torn apart because of those he couldn’t save that night, those whom no one could have saved. The humility in the interview, his disappointment in not having been able to save every troop’s life, is haunting.
Sleazy Pol of the day award… Robert Menendez!
Menendez Can’t Escape Mounting Reports
The allegations against Sen. Robert Menendez may have started with unsubstantiated stories about trysts with prostitutes, but questions about the lawmaker’s conduct have reached the point where they’re not focused on sex.
A slow drip of national news reports about the New Jersey Democrat and his ties to Florida ophthalmologist and political donor Salomon Melgen have put his office on the defensive over an assortment of issues including a port contract in the Dominican Republic and a possible intervention in a Medicare billing dispute involving the doctor.
What’s Up With the Democrats?
Senate Democrats struggle to craft plan for sequester replacement
Senate Democrats are struggling to come up with a replacement for the $85 billion spending-cut sequester set to begin on March 1.
Key Democrats huddled Thursday in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office to discuss options for preventing the looming cuts after returning from a retreat in Annapolis where they discussed strategy with President Obama.
What Up With Republicans?
Rove staffer attack on MRC’s Brent Bozell as “hater” ignites anti-Rove backlash.
Talk about a political disaster.
The other day I closed a piece on Karl Rove by saying that in launching what he called the “Conservative Victory Project” Mr. Rove had made a big mistake.
A really big mistake.
The group, described here in the New York Times as “intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles,” has had a horrific reception among conservatives
Yesterday the big mistake became bigger. Much bigger. A thunderstorm became Katrina.
Yesterday, American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio went on Washington, D.C. radio station WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall show hosted by Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor.
And among other things casually dismissed Brent Bozell, the president of the Media Research Center as a “hater” — and worse.
Here’s the link to 8.27 minutes worth of the WMAL audio.
Toward the end of the interview, Collegio is asked about criticism of Rove from Bozell. Bozell had appeared on the show the day before to voice his unhappiness, and written a column about Rove’s effort as well.
Bozell, the nephew of the late William F. Buckley, Jr., whose father wrote the bestselling conservative classic Conscience of a Conservative with Barry Goldwater in the early 1960’s, wrote in part:
Rove argues that Republican fortunes have been ruined by“far-right conservatives,” but he’s shamelessly calling this entity the “Conservative Victory Project.” Yes, and I could call myself Ray Lewis, but it doesn’t make it so.
Whaddaya know? The liberal Democrats at the Times love this idea. They call it “the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party.” They would love a group to “discipline” conservatives right out of the GOP nominating process. What the heck? They could call themselves“conservative,” too.
It’s reminiscent of all the reporters who desperately wanted Colin Powell to run for president in 1996 because apparently Bob Dole was too fringy, and, as Howard Fineman said at the time, reporters “want a Republican Party they can live with.”
SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT…
Dr. Benjamin Carson is a neurosurgeon and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
America Gives Up
The other day, I learned that President Obama has canceled our Mars Rover explorations, along with all other planetary missions. NASA’s science mission chief just quit in disgust, and who can blame him? Apparently, even robots’ lives are too precious for us to risk these days, so America is giving up the thrill of discovering space.
While I was stewing over the news that the Russians will now take over our Mars missions (the Red Planet is turning that kind of Red), I decided to relax by watching the Super Bowl — just in time to see the lights blow out.
It’s getting humiliating to be American; don’t you think? The only thing we’re Number One at anymore is embarrassing ourselves in front of the world. Once upon a time, we were admired as Can-Do America; now we can’t even manage to keep on the lights.
Here’s a quick list of some things we’re giving up these days, with little more than a shrug: Making babies (lowest birth rate since 1920). Saturday mail delivery. The Constitution. Hostess Twinkies (though there’s a ray of hope for them). And the natural order of the sexes.
That last remark could refer to a thousand things, but I’m specifically thinking of the madcap decision to send women into combat. Who’s going to fight to the death to protect the home front when the hottest girls are in the next bunk?
Of course, it only makes sense to send co-eds to fight if you’ve already given up on the concept of victory, which, in case you haven’t noticed, we most definitely have.
Remember when Obama said on TV, chuckling in an ironic-David-Letterman-kind-of-way, that he was “always worried about using the word ‘victory,’ because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur”?
Well, once the Commander-in-Chief openly mocks the very idea of winning wars, we might as well go right ahead and turn the military into one big pajama party of girls and gays. Why not?
In fact, I breathlessly await the inevitable appearance of Brigadier General RuPaul on the national scene. But, hey, maybe I’m not giving Obama enough credit. Maybe Obama’s secret plan is to have our enemies laugh themselves to death.
Obama Drone Protesters Force Feinstein To Clear Brennan Hearing Room
Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff ‘bothered’ by lack of security in Benghazi
The nation’s top military leader testified Thursday that while he was “bothered” by the lack of security at the U.S. facility attacked by terrorists in Libya, he never got a request for help from the State Department.
Asked by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) if he was aware of the U.S. Embassy’s repeated requests for additional security and the deteriorating situation prior to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said he was “tracking” that information. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified last month that the requests for more help were handled by officials under her and she did not see the cables detailing the embassy’s concerns.
We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric in the last couple of months after the Newtown tragedy to the effect that the National Rifle Association was responsible for the murder of the children killed in that atrocity and other mass shootings. Whatever one might think of the NRA’s stand in opposition to any change in the gun laws, this sort of over-the-top attempt to delegitimize advocates of a point of view did nothing to help us understand that or similar crimes. But there has been at least one instance in which a national advocacy organization did directly incite and abet a crime involving gun violence.
As the Washington Examiner reports, the person charged with an attack on the Family Research Council in which a security guard was shot last summer did so after he read an entry on the Southern Poverty Law Center website designating the conservative organization as a “hate group” because it opposed gay marriage and helped him find its offices.
Floyd Corkins II plead guilty yesterday to a federal firearms charge and D.C. terrorism and assault charges. His intention had been to slaughter as many employees of the FRC as possible. As an added indication of the political intent of this crime, his plan had been to smear the faces of his victims with Chick-fil-A sandwiches because the head of that company opposes gay marriage.
But it was only because the SPLC had inappropriately labeled the FRC a “hate group” did the shooter launch his unsuccessful attempt to murder people that he thought opposed his views on the issue of gay marriage.
Dereliction of Duty: Obama Did Nothing to Save Lives in Benghazi–and Lied About It
Nothing. That is what President Barack Obama did on the night of September 11, 2012, as terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed four Americans, among them Ambassador Christopher Stevens. President Obama’s inaction was revealed in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday by outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.
Under direct questioning by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Panetta admitted that he had no communication with President Obama after their “pre-scheduled” meeting at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The attack on the consulate had already been under way for 90 minutes at that time. Neither the president nor anyone else from the White House called afterwards to check what was happening; the Commander-in-Chief had left it “up to us,” said Panetta.
Panetta’s testimony directly contradicts President Obama’s own claim to have issued “three direectives” as soon as he learned “what was going on” in Benghazi. As he told a Denver reporter in October:
I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and that we are doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.
That same claim was subsequently repeated by other Democrats, including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who came to the president’s defense. But if those directives were indeed given–and proof has never been produced–they were given long after the attack, not while the attack was going on, during which time the president did nothing.
Barney Frank’s Strange Obsession With Misogynistic Henny Youngman Line
What’s with Barney Frank and his odd obsession with a Henny Youngman line that—had virtually any other politician used it—would result in him being accused of the worst kind of misogyny?
Back in 2011, I noted that, appearing on Morning Joe, Frank had quoted the hoary Henny line: “How’s your wife? Compared to what?” Yet there was Barney again this evening, this time on Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show, breaking out the identical line. Really: what gives? And imagine the feminist outrage if, say, Mitt Romney had dared use the line during his presidential campaign.
Catholic Bishops: We Reject Obama Administration “Compromise” on Contraception
Last week the Obama administration issued a bogus compromise on the contraception mandate in ObamaCare through Health and Human Services. The deal? Institutions deemed “religious” by the government get a pass while businesses morally opposed to the mandate still must provide insurance plans to employees that provide contraception without a co-pay.
The nation’s Catholic bishops on Thursday rejected the Obama administration’s latest proposals to broaden accommodations for religious groups in regulations that require insurance companies or employers to provide free birth control coverage.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the proposals fail to address or ease all of the hierarchy’s concerns, and said the bishops would continue to press ahead with efforts to overturn the mandate in court.
“Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage,” Dolan said in his statement. “We remain eager for the administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions — we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks.”
In fact, while criticizing the latest accommodation in what has been a yearlong dispute, Dolan made it clear that the bishops are hoping to work with the White House to find an acceptable compromise.
Unfortunately, talks with the White House are likely to continue to fail. The most likely place we’ll see this issue resolved is at the Supreme Court.
Inside the White House Press Corps
WASHINGTON – Several years ago I was sitting at a hotel bar in Waco, Texas, with Ron Hutcheson, then the White House correspondent for the old Knight-Ridder News Service, simultaneously watching the Daytona 500 and competing in a video trivia game.
Naturally the discussion turned to the job of covering the president of the United States, George W. Bush, who was at that moment busily clearing brush out at his ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas, leaving reporters with little to do but watch race cars circle a track, answer dumb questions and drink beer.
“Hutch,” deservedly one of the most respected members of the corps, took that opportunity to offer a most straightforward description of what it’s like to be a White House correspondent.
“The best part of the job,” he said, “is telling people you have it.”
Indeed, unless your idea of fun is working with dozens of others congregated in an area about the size of a Metro car, tripping over television wires with almost no access to the individual you’re supposed to be bird-dogging on a minute-by-minute basis, then being a White House correspondent probably isn’t the job path you ought to seek.
Yet it’s almost unheard of for anyone to decline. Only the best – present company excluded – get the job and, as Hutch said, you can lord it over everyone else. So when the brass at Scripps Howard News Service ordered me to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in 2000 I raced over before they could change their minds. I stayed six years.
One of the first things a new correspondent discovers is that the White House press corps remains one of the world’s last remaining caste systems, something that seems to be modeled after the raj days in India. It’s the networks, along with heavy journalism hitters like The Washington Post and The New York Times, that call the tune while almost everyone else scrambles to collect the crumbs off the floor.
Correspondents are only visitors in the White House – there’s nothing in the First Amendment that says the nation’s chief executive has to turn over a section of his crib to a bunch of ill-mannered ne’er-do-wells with no viable job skills just so they can pepper him or his staff with unwanted questions. Most negotiations regarding accessibility and opportunity are conducted between the office of the White House press secretary, that being Jay Carney, a former scribe himself, and the White House Correspondents Association, currently headed by Ed Henry of Fox News.
Ann Coulter: Mainstream media ‘a threat to democracy’ [VIDEO]
Worth a Read:
So God Made a Fawner
by Peggy Noonan
Paul Harvey’s ad was terrific. Steve Kroft’s interview was shameful.
MSNBC: Damn These Conservatives for Trying to “Kill the Post Office”
Oh-oh, must be some “union” jobs in danger.
Restored Payroll Tax Pinches Those Who Earn the Least
Former Green Bay Packers Cheerleader Gives Amazing Response to Bullies
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” ~ Stephen R. Covey