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Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

I don’t often put stock in conspiracy theories.  But I do have a very healthy skepticism about any politician whose lips are moving.  And whenever unusual things happen in Washington, I can’t help but wonder what we don’t see going on behind the scenes.  Politicians are naturally deceptive creatures.  They will hold up a shiny object in one hand and demand we all look at it.  All the while, with their other hand, they are picking our pockets or signing away our liberty.

Today we are still watching as President Obama battles Congress and public opinion to use military force in Syria.  Come on, how weird is that?  Obama castigated President Bush for military actions in the Middle East.  He was the guy who was going to end it all and bring peace.  He could use his words to end the discord.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before he ever did a thing but get elected.

But now he finds himself seemingly on the wrong side of this argument.  How the heck does this happen?

Nothing of this magnitude just happens in Washington.  Those in charge use constant polling of public opinion and know who they can and can’t count on in Congress.  I reject the idea that any of this is a surprise to our president and members of his administration.  It’s just impossible for that to happen.

And if that’s the case, why is all this going on?  Why are we having such a public discussion?  Why is the president on the side we didn’t expect him to be on?

Could it be the shiny object?  Congress returns today.  Prior to problems with Syria, the two big items waiting for members of Congress were the immigration bill and funding the government.  These are both hot button issues, but we have not been talking about them, have we?  While our representatives were home and holding their town hall meetings, we were not demanding they oppose amnesty or withhold funding for Obamacare.  We were too busy demanding they not get us into a no-win situation in the Middle East.

Could it be that the Obama administration did not want the news filled with videos from town hall meetings showing constituents demanding their representatives vote against amnesty and against Obamacare?  Did they want to steer the conversation in another direction, thereby providing cover for members of Congress?  Both these issues are vitally important to this administration.  How far would they be willing to go?

President Obama didn’t have to do this.  There is enough gray area about who exactly used those chemical weapons.  We are not the only country on the planet opposed to these weapons.  And as for the military “strategy” proposed?  It’s quite laughable.  Should it even be believed?  Do Barack Obama and John Kerry have an ounce of credibility promoting war?

I could be all wrong about this.  Who knows?  But it nags at me.  After all, how much of a price will Obama pay for this down the road?  The accepted talking point is that if he loses this battle with Congress that he will be ineffective for the remainder of his presidency.  Really?  Do you honestly believe our fawning, compliant media would turn on him?  I don’t.

And if he wins the amnesty vote, installing tens of thousands of new lifetime democrat voters, and he wins the last chance against stopping Obamacare, setting the nation irreversibly on the road to socialism, what else is there?  What else does he need to accomplish?

His level of effectiveness won’t matter then, with or without the media’s blessing.  He will have already achieved his objectives.

-Kathy

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For nearly 3 decades Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt.  He wasn’t always our favorite guy, but he kept his country relatively peaceful and probably more importantly, he kept the peace with Israel.  America rewarded him with friendly relations and cash.

Then came the Arab Spring.  While many of us had grave concerns about the uprising, America’s leaders embraced the movement and the revolutions.  President Obama supported Mubarak’s ousting and called for a “free and fair” election.

Well, that free and fair election put Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, in power.  In spite of his known ties to terrorism, our leaders said they would work with him.

That is, until the people of Egypt decided he had to go too.  Egypt’s military moved in and took over the government in a military coup.

Except our leaders don’t call it a coup.  They can’t.  We have a law that says we don’t give aid to countries that have been taken over in a military coup and they don’t want to stop the aid.  So President Obama says the situation is “complex” and it was “the military’s intervention.”  Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, said Egypt’s military was “restoring democracy.”

So I guess our official position is that we support that thing that was kind of like a coup, but not really.

Now the streets are on fire in Cairo.  The military has moved in on protesting Morsi supporters.  It’s being reported that over 600 are dead and thousands are wounded.  Today, the Muslim Brotherhood is holding a “Day of Rage” so don’t look for conditions to improve there.

CairoMilitaryAction

Man wounded in Cairo clash

Burnt out St. Moussa Church in Cairo

Burnt out St. Moussa Church in Cairo

I don’t know that it matters, but as an American citizen I’m confused about who my country supports in all this.  We like the leaders who keep the outside appearance of peace even if they trample what we consider to be civil rights in order to do so.

Then we say we support democratic rule and elections by the people.  But when they make what we believe to be the wrong choice, we play along only until we don’t have to.

Then we’re free to support a military take-over as long as we don’t call it what it is.  That is, until there is bloodshed and people are dying in the streets.

Now what?

I think we ought to get out of the way and let these people work out their own problems.  We would like to transfer American values and an American point of view on others who simply don’t share either of these with us.  Our meddling too often leads to more problems.  Especially when we can’t make up our minds.

Until we figure out just whose side we’re on, and are willing to make it official, perhaps we would be best to keep our opinions to ourselves.  As long as we continue to play the part of fair-weather friend, America’s relevance and influence in the region will continue to diminish.

-Kathy

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The last in our trifecta of scandals is Benghazi.  This saga is another long and often twisted one, so in an effort to reach out again to our LIVs who are trying to catch up, I’ll try to keep it simple.

On 9/11/12 our consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by Islamic terrorists.  Our ambassador, Chris Stevens, was killed as were three other Americans, and dozens were wounded in the attack which went on for hours.

The Obama administration told us that the attack was in response to a You Tube video, made by a guy in California that none of us had ever heard of, that insulted Islam.  This was just a spontaneous demonstration that got out of hand.

Since then, we have learned that this was not true and the reason for the deception is one of the three main questions we’ve all had about what happened that night.

The first question is about the lack of security.  Since the attack it has become common knowledge that Ambassador Stevens had repeatedly requested more security, but it was denied by the State Department.  Initially, this was blamed on budget cuts caused by Republican lawmakers, but we have since learned that the State Dept. security budget actually had a surplus.

The second question is about why no one went to rescue these men that night.  We’ve learned that Stevens and others asked repeatedly through the night for help, but none was sent.  Those who were close enough to go and were prepared to do so, were told to stand down.  We would like to know who gave that order.

The third question is about the video fantasy.  We now know that there was no question that night that what was happening in Benghazi was an attack by Islamic terrorists.  So who decided to put out the story of the video and why?

More than eight months later we still have not gotten answers to these questions.  We’ve had investigations and hearings, but no one wants to tell the truth.  Some have given answers, but they are always inadequate, inaccurate or simply lies.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks are now famous.

Her feigned indignation still makes me cringe.  But this has become the battle cry of the Obama administration – what difference does it make?

Well, apparently it makes a big difference, because instead of answers, all we get are more mysteries.  Dozens of people survived the attack that night.  But we don’t know who they are.  They were put into hospitals under assumed names.  Members of Congress have asked the administration about these people, but they refuse to even supply their names, let alone allow us to question them about the events of that night.

Who was in charge here at home that night?  Where was our president?  We all know where he was the night Osama Bin Laden was killed.

SitRoomBinLaden

Who was in that room on 9/11/12?  As far as we can tell, it looked like this.

SitRoomEmpty

Obama went to Las Vegas the next morning for a reelection campaign event.  Didn’t he think this was important enough to warrant his attention?

Where was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

Who was making decisions while Americans were being slaughtered?

Who made up the story about the video?  Why?  Who sent Susan Rice out to all the Sunday talk shows that weekend to tell the lie?

And of course, what the heck was Stevens doing there.  Benghazi is a very dangerous place.  Yet he was there with a tiny security force on that date.   Why?  Some have speculated that he was on the front lines of a program to run guns to the Syrian rebels and was meeting with someone about that.  This certainly would answer a whole lot of our questions.  But no one’s talking.

This scandal wears on and on and already the president’s spokesman has tried to tell us that this is “an old story” and that we should all move on.  There’s nothing to see here.  Their tactic seems to be to drag it all out for as long as possible, until people finally give up, or some other shiny object comes along to divert their attention.

Sorry, but that’s not good enough.  And it’s certainly not good enough for the families of those who were killed.

As with the other scandals currently facing the administration, it’s time for a little truth, please.

-Kathy

Next- why these thngs matter to all of us.

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No there there?

Then why did you lie about it?

Why did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lie about it?

You say you called the Benghazi attack terrorism right out of the gate.  But for weeks following the attack you went around blaming the video, even at the United Nations.

So did Hillary Clinton.

You bought airtime in Pakistan to blame that video.

No there there?

How about there?

SeanSmith

And there?

GlenDohertyAnd there?

TyWoodsAnd there?

ChrisStevensCrowdNo Mr. President, this is no “circus sideshow” and there is a there there.  Chastising the families of these men and the rest of us who demand to know who is trying to wash the blood from their hands won’t work this time.  Intimidation and ridicule of those who dare to question you won’t stand.  Contrary to your claim, there are far too many still unanswered questions.

There’s a big, whopping there there.

And we want the answers.

-Kathy

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Some random thoughts about the attack yesterday:

Live the life you have today.  Stop waiting for the one you wish you had.

The bombing in Boston yesterday afternoon is the second successful terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11/01.  The first was at Fort Hood in 2009.  Our government can call it whatever they want but we know what it was.

BostonBomb1

This morning we know for sure that an 8-year-old boy is one of the three killed.  This is the only evidence we need to be certain that the person(s) who set the bombs is a cowardly animal.  There is no humanity present in such people.  The bombs were designed to indiscriminately cause pain and to maim and disfigure anyone in range.  What kind of hatred does that take?

The reported “facts” changed minute to minute yesterday afternoon.  Some reporters I heard tried to be responsible, but it was nearly impossible.  Some members of the old media just couldn’t control themselves.  CNN’s National Security Analyst, Peter Bergen, suggested we may be dealing with a “right wing extremist.”  On MSNBC, Chris Matthews’ remarks were similar and predictable.

“Normally, domestic terrorists, people tend to be on the far right…do they just hate America so much or its politics or its government that they just want to do the damage, they don’t care if they get public credit, if you will?”

What’s wrong with these people and why do their employers tolerate them?  What benefit do they provide to society?

There were reports from areas in the Middle East that people there were celebrating the event.  Our government continues to send our money to these people and makes every effort not to offend them with words.

The reports about cell phone service being turned off changed back and forth, over and over.  But the providers say they did not interrupt service.  So is our government capable of turning off our phone service?  That subject will most likely be dropped.

It didn’t take much searching to find the pictures that the TV news censored.  The injuries are horrific.  As many noted, these are the injuries common to our soldiers who have witnessed them or been victims.  Is it any wonder they come home with emotional scars?  How hard is it to witness the cruelty some humans are capable of on a regular basis?  What is it like to live each day where this is routine and not a major news story?  What is it like to wonder if you will be the next to lose a leg?  What’s it like to live this day after day, week after week?

When I heard there was a “person of interest” in the hospital and that he was being treated for burns, my first thought was, “I hope they are slow and stingy with the morphine.”

Does that make me evil?

On live TV we watched the selflessness of Americans rushing to help.  The scene was not secure and there had already been two explosions.  Yet hundreds of people, professional or not, did anything they could to save lives.

BostonBomb2

That’s what we’re about.  That’s who we are.  Those are the people who make America great.

The bad guys, involved in the bombing yesterday or not, are watching all this closely.  They are looking to see how we react and what plans we have in place.  They will use all this against us in the future.

We are all Bostonians today.  We are all Americans today.  We are the good guys.  We wear the white hats.  Don’t let anyone tell you any differently.

God bless those in pain today.

Live the life you have today.

Stop waiting for the one you wish you had.

-Kathy

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I’m starting the week with a few things I didn’t get to last week.

Carrying on the tradition of the Bush administration’s Visa Express, DHS is planning to give “trusted traveler” status to Saudi Arabia.  Saudi citizens will be able to fast-track their visa applications and pass on all those pesky interviews and investigations – for a fee, of course.  It seems worthwhile to remind everyone here that 15 of the 9/11/01 hijacker/murderers were from Saudi Arabia.  This service is not extended to citizens from Germany and France.

Bob Beckel, one of FOX News’ liberal commentators (yes, FOX has liberal commentators) is pretty angry at CBS.  He has been asking CBS to apologize for the episode of The Amazing Race shot in Viet Nam.  Bob’s so mad he can’t even get his words out straight.

CBS stood firm for several days, offering no comment.  Apparently they did offer an apology on last night’s show.  Good.

And Bravo to Beckel.  There are things that bridge our left/right divide.  I’m not sure just what our kids are being taught about Viet Nam and communism, but if you have youngsters in school, you might want to check.

NY State has a hotline that residents can call if they suspect someone has an illegal firearm.  There’s even a $500 reward.  I can’t help but wonder how this works.  If you’ve got a beef with your next door neighbor, can you make life miserable for them by calling the hotline and saying you “think” they “might” have a gun and it “might” not be legal?

A student at FAU was suspended from an intercultural communications class for complaining about an assignment.  Professor Deandre Poole instructed his class to write Jesus on a sheet of paper, put it on the floor and stomp on it.  This student refused and complained to Poole’s supervisor, at which point he was suspended.

This seemed so bizarre and I thought there must be more to it.  I did not report it as it didn’t pass the smell test.  But at the end of the week, FAU issued an apology.  So I guess the student was telling the truth.

Oh, and by the way, Professor Poole is the vice chairman of the Palm Beach County Democrat Party.

Another Palm Beach County Democrat was in the news – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  The Washington Times reports that Wasserman Schultz is concerned about House staffers.  She says the staffers, who earn between $60,000 and $160,000, are being priced out of the Capital cafeterias by all the budget cuts.  According to the Times “An 8-ounce bowl of Ham and Bean soup at the Cannon Office Building’s carry-out café costs $2. A gourmet wrap or sliced bread sandwich sells for about $5. And in the Longworth Building’s sit-down cafeteria, a serving of stuffed chicken, asparagus and mashed potatoes sells for about $7.”

Sounds like a deal to me.

FlyingPig

Late last week pigs flew as the U.S. Senate passed a budget for the first time in four years.  It’s not a very good budget, but I suppose it’s a start.

Oh, and an amendment to prohibit illegals from accessing Medicaid or Obamacare was voted down.  But don’t worry.  All those lawmakers who are talking about “comprehensive immigration reform” have no intention of bestowing benefits on illegals.  None.

They said so, didn’t they?

-Kathy

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Late last week I saw an interview on TV with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC.)  He said that he has spoken with several survivors of the Benghazi attack on 9/11/12.  He has somehow managed to make contact with them outside of official channels.

Graham said they told him they have been told to keep quiet about what happened.

Wow.  I thought this was a bombshell.  I thought that the investigation would be substantially advanced and we might finally get some answers.  Or more likely some confirmation of what most of us have already surmised.

Boy, was I wrong.  It’s been nothing but crickets chirping.

If it were some commentator or reporter who made this charge, I might be inclined to say the statement has little worth without evidence.  But this is a United States Senator, saying these men are fearful of some sort of reprisal if they come forward with the facts that are being hidden from us.

If the accusation were not true, I would expect the White House to put out a strong statement saying so.  But that hasn’t happened.  They have had nothing to say about it.

And they can do that because the mainstream media is also ignoring it.  I haven’t been able to find a single question that’s been asked.  I actually had a hard time finding anything about this when looking for the information even several days later.  What I did find is at FOX News, who carried the interview and some of the right leaning blogs.

You can see the interview here at The Blaze.

Lindsey Graham isn’t my favorite Senator and he’s certainly not my favorite Republican.  But he doesn’t have a reputation for telling big, fat lies.  And if he’s lying about this, it’s a whopper.

It’s also clear from this interview that he has some personal interest here and is definitely promoting himself.  But that doesn’t change the significance of this charge that the Obama administration is putting pressure on these men to keep their mouths shut.

Remember President Obama’s “fireside chat” and what he said about transparency and Benghazi and how it was driven by “campaign stuff?”

“Congress is sort of running out of things to ask?”

Well, Congress has been asking for months for the names and locations of the survivors and to have access to them.  It doesn’t seem that there are too many questions, but that the administration is short on answers.

I guess (then) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented the administration’s position quite clearly when she told us that it doesn’t matter.  At least not to them.

-Kathy

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