Thursday, December 27, 2012

EPA chief, Lisa Jackson, resigns as scrutiny mounts over her alias, transgender email account

Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson, who, recently, has come under scrutiny over her use of an alias email account, announced Thursday that she's stepping down after four years in office.

Christopher Horn reported in November as follows:
The Environmental Protection Agency is the latest Obama bureaucracy exposed for embarrassing efforts to avert transparency. Its administrator, Lisa Jackson, has been using the email alias "Richard Windsor" to conduct agency business, which might allow some policy conversations to avoid scrutiny and circumvent public records laws.

So far, the EPA has offered a two-part defense...: First, everybody does it: "For more than a decade, EPA administrators have been assigned two official, government-issued email accounts: a public account and an internal account." Second, the masses made us do it: the overwhelming volume of mail an administrator would receive from the public meant she needed an account she would actually read and write from."
Incidentally, as others have already noted, Jackson - in her secondary email account - could have simply rearranged her name, or used her initials. But she chose a different route.

“Why would you pick a fictitious name of someone of different gender?" said Anne Weismann, chief counsel of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "To me it smacks of…trying to hide.”

Perhaps Ms. Jackson was merely trying to bolster the President in his efforts to facilitate and engender transgender equality....... Lol.......
Both [of the EPA's] excuses, though slight on detail, prove too much.

Consider what lies behind the anodyne phrase "for more than a decade." While researching my book, I discovered a 2008 EPA memo to the national archivist reporting a records management problem. The agency had discovered "secondary" nonpublic email accounts for EPA administrators instigated earlier, under and with the active participation of Clinton-era EPA administrator Carol Browner.

That is remarkable because in 2000, a federal court ordered Browner to preserve her records -- specifically her email.... Although she later pled ignorance of the order, the next morning Browner instructed EPA information technology staff to erase her hard drive and backup tapes, as a computer contractor later testified.

Her defense for having records destroyed was that she didn't use her computer for email.

You can imagine my surprise, then, to read of her involvement in arranging what is fairly described as a secret email account. The April 11, 2008, memo that I obtained acknowledges that Browner had such an account, and that such accounts were initiated for the first time under her because it would be impractical to correspond with an email account whose address was known to the public.

This, and that she had assisted in creating the account also raised further questions about her explanation for having her computer's history erased...

The same court ordered thousands of hard drives examined in search of Browner's. Once it was found, the FBI conducted a forensic examination leading only to the conclusion that her hard drive had indeed been "reformatted."...

Obama officials have moved government over to private email accounts, private computers and even privately owned and managed servers. All of these acts indicate a desire to hide what the supposedly most transparent administration in history is up to...
Nevertheless, I wish the best of luck to Lisa Jackson. Who knows. Maybe the President will put her on administrative leave and reassign her to a different desk, like he reportedly [allegedly] has done, and reportedly [allegedly] plans to do, with the State Dept. officials who resigned in the wake of a recently issued report that blamed "leadership and management deficiencies" in the State Dept. for the September terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Administrative leave means that their pay and benefits remain intact.

Perhaps Lisa Jackson will receive the same treatment.

But ultimately Ms. Jackson must find herself a more protected environment to work in....... Heh...... And hopefully, her next job is a reassignment........ Lol.......

Obamacare mandate: Royal Farms convenience store chain reduces employee hours

Royal Farms, the Baltimore-based convenience store chain, with approximately 150 stores, recently reduced employee hours to less than 30 hours a week to offset future expenditures mandated by the Affordable Health Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Royal Farms is just one of a host of store chains, and businesses, that have decided to cut employee hours as a result of the Obamacare mandate.

And, sadly, left with little choice, lots of more businesses will, of course, do the same.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Aetna CEO: Obamacare could double health care premiums

Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna health insurance company, told investors at the company’s annual investor conference earlier this month that health insurance premiums could double in price as a result of Obamacare implementation, Forbes reported last week.

“In some markets", increases in premiums could “go as high as 100 percent", Bertolini said.

"And we’ve done all that math," he added. "We’ve shared it with all the regulators. We’ve shared it with all the people in Washington that need to see it. And I think it’s a big concern.”

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Bertolini stated once again that insurance premiums, in some places, will increase by as much as 100 percent as a result of Obamacare.

Bertolini added that, "If we're going to insure all Americans, which is a worthy and appropriate cause, then somebody has to pay for it."

US holiday retail sales weakest since 2008

U.S. holiday retail sales in the U.S. this year were the weakest since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession, the AP reported on Wednesday.

Holiday sales are a crucial indicator of the economy's strength, the AP noted. The last two months of the year account for up to 40 percent of annual sales for many retailers.

Consumer spending constitutes 70 percent of overall economic activity, the AP noted, hence the two-month holiday shopping season is seen a critical time of the year for retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and companies at every other point of the supply chain.

Retailers will likely offer steeper discounts in the coming days to clear some of their unsold inventory, the AP pointed out, which may help to soften some of the blow. But according to Michael McNamara, vice president for research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, this year's weak holiday sales could have repercussions for 2013.

Retailers will make fewer orders to restock their inventory, he said, and discounts will hurt their profitability. Wholesalers, in turn, will purchase fewer goods, and orders to manufacturers for consumer goods will likely decline in the coming months.

Related Post from Dec. 4: U.S. Manufacturing sinks to 3-year low

Monday, December 24, 2012

Obama, Holder Push to Loosen Gun Sale Restrictions—for Legal Immigrants

From Breitbart:
While the shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School has prompted a national gun control debate, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder will still push to allow immigrants to purchase firearms more easily.

Normally, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requires legal aliens to live in a state for 90 days before buying a gun. The ATF does this through a rule attached to the Gun Control Act of 1968.

In June, Holder’s DOJ proposed to eliminate that 90-day residency requirement rule...

The move to allow aliens easier access to firearms is now in its final stages...

While the administration makes it easier for legal aliens to get guns, Obama, Holder, and congressional Democrats have expressed a desire to restrict gun sales to American citizens.
And let's not forget that the administration allowed thousands of firearms to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels via the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation. Let us also not forget that President Obama secretly approved an arms transfer to the Libyan rebels, many of whom are linked to Al Qaeda. Some experts believe that there may be a possible connection between the weapons that were transferred to the rebels and the attack that killed an American ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

Gun control, my foot.....

Afghan policewoman kills US adviser in Kabul

From the AP:
An Afghan policewoman walked into a high-security compound in Kabul Monday and killed an American contractor with a single bullet to the chest, the first such shooting by a woman in a spate of insider attacks by Afghans against their foreign allies...

The NATO command said that while the investigation continued, there might be "some temporary, prudent measures put into place to reduce the exposure of our people."
Incidentally, in September, U.S. and NATO officials acknowledged that, in the rush to implement President Obama's politically riddled timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Afghan troops were not properly vetted, which resulted in a large number of casualties among coalition members - most of them Americans - at the hands of their supposed Afghan allies.

This prompted the senior commander of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan to announce - rather belatedly - the suspension of training for all new Afghan recruits until they could be re-vetted.

The Washington Post quoted a U.S. official at the time as saying that there was a lot of pressure to increase the size of the Afghan forces. Consequently, the vetting process was "was cast aside" because it was viewed as an impediment to achieving President Obama's artificial, and politically riddled, troop withdrawal timeline.

However, the suspension of training for Afghan recruits was short-lived, for ultimately the President's political timetable takes precedence over the lives and well-being of our armed forces. Hence, on September 27, the administration announced the resumption of training of Afghan forces.

Back to today's AP report:
Insider attacks by Afghan soldiers or police have accelerated this year as NATO forces, due to mostly withdraw from the country by 2014, have speeded up efforts to train and advise Afghan security before the pullout.

The surge in such attacks is throwing doubt on the capability of the Afghan security forces to take over from international troops... It has also stoked suspicion among some NATO units of their Afghan counterparts...

As such attacks mounted this year, U.S. officials in Kabul and Washington [lied and] insisted they were "isolated incidents" and withheld details
The AP noted in March that "the Pentagon's casualty announcement", on a number of U.S. soldiers' deaths, did not "mention that the Americans were killed by their supposed Afghan allies", a blatant omission, which, I noted at the time, can only be attributed to politics.

The AP has also noted, previously, that the Pentagon did not publicly disclose insider attacks in which coalition troops were wounded, but not killed.

Back to today's AP report:
An AP investigation earlier this month showed that, [in 2012], at least 63 coalition troops — mostly Americans — had been killed and more than 85 wounded in at least 46 insider attacks. That's an average of nearly one attack a week.
"Isolated incidents," yeah, right......
In the latest attack, the governor said the Policewoman, police Sgt. Nargas, who like many Afghans goes by one name, had asked bystanders where the governor's office was located before confronting the American... She fired only one shot that struck the American in the chest. He died either on the way or just upon arrival at a hospital.....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Afghanistan: Backward march for Women's rights, Obama moving 'Forward'?

President Obama has been touted [in the Liberal mainstream media and among his loyal devotees] as a so-called defender of women's rights. Indeed, the President has also championed himself as the ultimate, staunch and fearless protector of women.

On the campaign stump, Obama proclaimed, with regards to women's rights and other issues: "The choice between going backward or moving forward has never been so clear."

"We've come too far to turn back now," he asserted, despite the fact that, during his tenure in office, hundreds of thousands of women in America have lost their jobs, and poverty among women in the U.S. is highest in nearly two decades.

For accuracy's sake, rather than say, "We've come too far to turn back now", Obama should have correctly stated: "I've pulled all of us into too deep of a rut to turn back now."

Likewise, in Afghanistan, where women had seen a vast improvement in their everyday lives, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the situation is sharply deteriorating as a result of Obama's policies, specifically his "exit strategy".
CNN - [On December 10], an unknown gunman shot and killed Najia Sediqi, acting head of the Afghan government’s Department of Women's Affairs in the eastern province of Laghman, as she traveled to work that morning. Sediqi’s murder is appalling, but not surprising.

Sediqi had held her post only a few months following the murder of her predecessor, Hanifa Safi. Safi was killed on July 13, when an improvised explosive device attached to her car was remotely detonated. Safi’s husband and daughter and six other civilians were wounded...There have been no arrests in either case.

The murders of Sediqi and Safi are more than just a measure of Afghanistan’s ongoing slide toward lawlessness and violence that is likely to accelerate as the international community draws down its support in concert with the departure of international combat troops by the end of 2014. They are also highly symbolic attacks on the tentative progress toward women’s rights, embodied by the Department of Women’s Affairs offices, since the U.S. invasion toppled the repressive Taliban regime in 2001...

4,000 cases of violence against women occurred in April through October of this year...

Foreign support for women’s rights in Afghanistan is... on the wane. International engagement in Afghanistan is declining sharply... The reality is sinking in that guarding the slow-but-important gains in women’s rights in Afghanistan will only get harder in the years ahead.
"The choice between going backward or moving forward has never been so clear. We've come too far to turn back now!"

Yep, "we've come too far", and we have fallen into too deep of a rut "to turn back now!"

Forward March!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Time Magazine names Obama Person of the Year because "his Presidency spells the end of the Reagan realignment"

The Reagan era was undoubtedly the most prosperous period in recent U.S. history; the Obama era is without doubt the least prosperous period in recent U.S. history.

America, under Reagan, became a strong and successful country; Under Obama, America has become an incredibly feeble and hapless country.

Nevertheless, Time Magazine has named Barack Obama its Person of the Year, because, as the Magazine explained on Wednesday, "his presidency spells the end of the Reagan realignment that had defined American politics for 30 years."

That's right, Obama is Time Magazine's Person of the Year because he is the antithesis of the great Ronald Reagan, who was one of the most successful and outstanding Presidents in U.S. history.

Obama was also Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2008; they really are infatuated with Obama!

Nevertheless, Time Magazine's 2012 and 2008 pick is not really all that surprising when you consider the fact that the magazine has a unique method in how it chooses its Person of the Year.

In 1979, Time Magazine named Ayatollah Khomeini its Person of the Year.

Case closed!

Obama: After the Newton shooting what the country needs is a tax hike; Flashback: Obama played politics with Virginia Tech tragedy

Speaking at a White House news conference on Wednesday, President Obama said that, after last week's shooting rampage in Sandy Hook elementary school, what the country needs is higher taxes.

"When you think about what we've gone through over the last couple of months - a devastating hurricane and now one of the worst tragedies in our memory - the country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good," said Obama. He added, "I remain eager to get something done. I'd like to get it done before Christmas."

"If this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective," he said. "I mean, if there's one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what's important", tax hikes.

"I would like to think that members of that [Republican] caucus would say to themselves, 'You know what? We disagree with the president on a whole bunch of things,'" he said. "'But right now what the country needs is for us to compromise" and to raise taxes.

On April 16, 2007, the day of the Virginia Tech shooting, then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke at a campaign rally in Milwaukee, WI, where he cunningly associated the tragic act of violence to a host of unrelated political issues, thereby politicizing the horrific tragedy - as he craftily stretched and squeezed the definition of the word "violence". See the video below.

Hillary Clinton's panel whitewashes Obama administration - Benghazi consulate attack

From the AP:
An independent panel [consisting of 4 members who were appointed by Hillary Clinton - including the notorious left-winger, Thomas Pickering - and one other member] charged with investigating the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans has concluded that systematic management failures at the State Department led to inadequate security that left the diplomatic mission vulnerable.

Despite those failures, the [Hillary Clinton appointed whitewashing panel] determined that no individual American officials ignored or violated their duties and found no cause for any disciplinary action.
"No cause for any disciplinary action"?! Hmmm......

However, the New York Times notes that the panel "faulted State Department officials in Washington for ignoring requests from officials at the American Embassy in Tripoli for more guards and safety upgrades to the diplomatic mission," in light of the numerous attacks that had occured in the country, and in Benghazi, prior to the September 11 attack, including two seperate incidents in which explosives were set off at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi [and "a string of assassinations", and "an attack on a British envoy’s motorcade"].

So, let me get this straight:

Despite all the violence, and the attacks, that were taking place in Libya, State Department officials ignored requests from the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya for more security. And yet, the Hillary Clinton appointed panel "determined that no individual American officials ignored or violated their duties and found no cause for any disciplinary action"?!!!

Hmmm. A whitewash, indeed......
The report appeared to break little new ground about the timeline of the Benghazi attack during which Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens, information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods — who were contractors working for the CIA — were killed.
"The report appeared to break little new ground about the timeline of the Benghazi attack"? Heh. Come on now! We already know the timeline!
But [the panel] confirmed [what is already widely known] that contrary to initial accounts, there was no protest outside the consulate and said responsibility for the incident rested entirely with the terrorists who attacked the mission.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, administration officials linked the attack to the spreading protests over an American-made, anti-Islamic film that had begun in Cairo earlier that day. Those comments came after evidence already pointed to a distinct militant attack. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on numerous TV talk shows the Sunday after the attack and used the administration talking points linking it to the film.

The report said there had been several worrisome incidents in the run-up to the attack that should have set off warning bells...

[The Hillary Clinton appointed panel also asserted] that, "There was simply not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference."
Sadly, the Obama administration's storyline as to why no action was taken to save the U.S. diplomats in Benghazi kept changing from day to day; it was nearly impossible to keep track of the administration's dizzying, ever-changing, vacillating narrative without getting a severe headache.

Suffice it to say that Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, admitted to reporters, during a press briefing in October, that the U.S. military had the resources in the region to rescue the diplomats.

"We quickly responded... in terms of deploying forces to the region," Panetta said. "We had FAST platoons in the region. We had ships that we had deployed off of Libya. And we were prepared to respond to any contingency and certainly had forces in place to do that."

"But", Panetta said, "you don't deploy forces into harm's way... without having some real-time information about what's taking place.[They didn't have real time information, my foot] And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation."

But shortly after the aforementioned briefing, the storyline changed. According to the revised version, the military didn't have the resources nearby, hence the rescue teams could not reach Benghazi in time to save the lives of the U.S. diplomats...

The administration's narative received a few additional facelifts, and twists, over the next several weeks; I'm still waiting for the final cut.

In an interview with Fox News, in October, Rep. Jason Chaffetz concurred with Panetta's initial account, except for one significant sticking point:

Panetta conceded, in his initial account, that the military had resources in the region, but he claimed that both he and "General Ham... felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation."

Likewise, Rep. Chaffetz told Fox News that, "in my meeting with Gen. Ham", the General was "asked very specifically, 'Did we have resources in the area?' The answer is, 'yes'. Did we have proximity? The answer is, 'yes'."

However, according to Rep. Chaffetz, the reason Gen. Ham did not send in a team to rescue the U.S. diplomats, contrary to Panetta's claims, is because he did not receive a directive to take action.

Gen. Ham was asked, "why we didn't send in some of those assets? The Gen. said he was not requested to do so, meaning that somebody higher up than him - he's a four star General; there aren't a whole lot of people between him and the President - did not request him to take action. That's what's so concerning."
Concerning, indeed. Of course Panetta's distortion is also concerning. [Incidentally, shortly after Rep. Chaffetz met with Gen. Ham (in early October while on a fact finding mission trip to Libya), Panetta announced (on October 18) that President Obama would soon nominate Gen. David Rodriguez to succeed Gen. Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command.]

So Why didn't Obama send in a rescue team to rescue the diplomats?

Well, I've already offered a response to that question in a previous post, but first let me preface my remarks with something else I previously noted:
We now know that Al Qaeda terrorists/"rebels" are working inside the new Libyan government [inside the interior ministry etc.]. They have also been put in charge of border security, thus allowing more and more Al Qaeda terrorists to flow into the country.

Moreover, an Al Qaeda member, Abdelhakim Belhaj, had been put in charge of, among other things, overseeing security at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli from 2011 until at least the spring of 2012.

Obama's good buddy, Mustafa Abdul Jalil - the head of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) - appointed him to this position.

And, Obama, in his efforts to oust the Gaddafi regime, went along with all of this and effectively empowered Al Qaeda to wreak havoc upon Libya.

And now, as a result of this shocking, calamitous foreign policy decision, four U.S. diplomats are dead.

Hence, the cover-up.
Okay, fine, but why didn't Obama send in a rescue team to rescue the diplomats?
Among the various reasons as to why Obama refused to send in U.S. troops [who were stationed nearby] to rescue the U.S. diplomats, I would posit, and add, the following explanation:

Obama had assured the American people, during the Libyan uprising, that he would assist the Libyan rebels without sending in American boots on the ground.

With the Presidential election looming, he wasn't about to alter that plan. Hence no boots were to be sent on the ground, even if it meant jeopardizing the lives of the 4 U.S. diplomats. For ultimately, their lives had to be sacrificed for the greater good: Obama, and his re-election.

Additionally, the President did not wish to engage in a brand new battle with Al Qaeda terrorists before the election [and even now, he appears to be unwilling to take on the Al Qaeda thugs who murdered the U.S. diplomats], especially when it was he who was responsible for giving Al Qaeda the scepter of power and the reigns of destruction inside Libya.

The deaths of the four U.S. diplomats were essentially a trade-off that helped Obama retain his seat in the Oval Office.

Ultimately four American diplomats sacrificed their lives for the greater cause: Obama.
The reason the President didn't send in a rescue team to rescue the diplomats is because he had already promised that no American boots would be sent on the ground to Libya. Hence no boots were to be sent, even if it meant jeopardizing the lives of the 4 U.S. diplomats.

One final point:

Obama lectured us, and bombarded us, for several weeks about an anti-Islamic video that had absolutely no connection to the Benghazi attacks. It was a desperate cover-up on his part.

But even more nauseating is the fact that Obama, in the aforementioned lectures, appeared to offer some justification to the cold-blooded and barbaric acts of murder. Obama seemed to suggest that a video that is deemed 'naughty' can somehow explain, and rationalize, a brutal and horrific act of murder.


Good grief....

Monday, December 17, 2012

Afghans turn to AK-47, fearing Taliban return or civil war

Gun-control may be a hot item here in the United States, but, in Afghanistan, the underground gun trade is flourishing.

President Obama's plan to end the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 has left the Afghan people with little choice but to arm themselves in preparation for the inevitable: The return of the Taliban.
Afghan father-of-four Mohammad Nasir has a secret he's been keeping from his family.

The aid worker pulls a television bench out from the living-room wall of his Kabul home. Behind it is a carved out shelf, hiding what he hopes will keep loved ones safe when Western troops withdraw by the end of 2014 -- an AK-47 assault rifle.

Arms purchases are soaring in Afghanistan, along with the price of weapons, a sign that many Afghans fear a return of the Taliban, civil war or rising lawlessness.

An assault rifle cost $400 a year ago. Today, some arms dealers are selling them for triple the price.

And it's not just ordinary Afghans who are buying. Warlords who control militias, and former anti-Soviet mujahideen fighters are also boosting the trade.

"Whenever you turn on the TV or radio, the discussion is 2014. I'm not feeling safe now, it's become like doomsday for Afghans," said Nasir... "People are saying security will collapse, or soldiers will join warlords or the Taliban, so we need something to protect our families when there's a crisis."...

For many Afghans, the threat of a descent into chaos is real so a growing number are investing in weapons, despite exorbitant costs. The average Afghan family earns only about $200 a month...

Buyers and sellers of illegal arms in five provinces... each cited the foreign troop withdrawal as the main driver of the underground trade... Afghans fear they will be abandoned by the United States once again. Most don't want the Taliban to return, so they are determined to protect themselves.

Russian or Pakistani-made AK-47 assault rifles are the biggest sellers, followed by light machine guns. In some areas, the militias go for rocket-propelled grenades...

"I'm sure if something goes wrong in 2014, I'll face lots of problems," said Nasir. "If the Taliban return to power they'll kill me because I work with the government. If warlords come to power it's bad news for everyone."
Related Post: Taliban attacks have increased sharply since Obama took office in 2009

Why didn't Obama seek stricter gun-control measures in Libya?

In the wake of last week's tragic shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the White House on Monday said that President Obama would seek some stricter gun-control measures as part of a "comprehensive solution" to curb gun violence.

The question arises, however, why didn't President Obama seek stricter gun-control measures in Libya?

The Eurasia Review reported last week:
President Barack Obama secretly approved an arms transfer to Libyan rebels through Qatar at the height of the rebellion against Moamar Khadhafi...

Some of those U.S. weapons ended up in the hands of radical Islamists, including associates of al-Qaeda, according to a law enforcement source who trained police in the Middle East.

Some Americans who are retired from the military, as well as intelligence and law enforcement agencies, believe there should be an investigation into possible connections between the weapons provided by the Qataris back then and the attack that killed an American ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
Incidentally, I noted last month as follows:
The facts are slowly trickling in. And we now know that Al Qaeda terrorists/"rebels" are working inside the new Libyan government [inside the interior ministry etc.]. They have also been put in charge of border security, thus allowing more and more Al Qaeda terrorists to flow into the country.

Moreover, an Al Qaeda member, Abdelhakim Belhaj, had been put in charge of, among other things, overseeing security at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli from 2011 until at least the spring of 2012.

Obama's good buddy, Mustafa Abdul Jalil - the head of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) - appointed him to this position.

And, Obama, in his efforts to oust the Gaddafi regime, went along with all of this and effectively empowered Al Qaeda to wreak havoc upon Libya.

And now, as a result of this shocking, calamitous foreign policy decision, four U.S. diplomats are dead.
Rather than seek stricter gun-control measures in Libya, Obama actually facilitated the flow of guns, and other weaponry, into Libya, into the hands of Al Qaeda rebels.

It is still unknown whether any of those weapons were used in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, but we do know that Al Qaeda terrorists/rebels, in Libya, got a hold of many of those weapons.

If the President wishes to be consistent [and not a hypocrite], he must explain why he favors stricter gun-control measures in the U.S and not in Libya. He must explain why Al Qaeda & Company are allowed unfettered access to American made guns and U.S. arms? Why are they exempted from the aforementioned gun-control measures?

Stricter gun-control? Well, let's start with Al Qaeda.........

P.S. While we're on the topic of gun-control, we must also strengthen oversight of the Obama administration, and put an end to all gunrunning operations.

Congress must enforce stricter gun-control measures on the Obama administration and end the rampant proliferation of firearms via gunrunning operations so that Fast & Furious will never be allowed to happen again - we owe it to Brian Terry and his bereaved family.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Insurgent attacks in Afghanistan have increased sharply during Obama Presidency, Nevertheless, U.S. forces in Afghanistan may be smaller than expected after 2014

More than 2,500 insurgent attacks [in Afghanistan] were recorded every month from April to September this year, well above violence levels when Obama first took office in 2009.
Source - LA Times

In May of this year, I noted that, contrary to President Obama's [phony] assertion that the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan had been broken as a result of his failed policies, both Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Mike Rogers, the leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees, upon returning from from a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan, asserted that the Taliban has grown stronger over the last three years, and that they are stronger now than they were before Obama announced his 18 month troop surge, while simultaneously announcing - and telegraphing - to the Taliban - his timetable for withdrawal.

Likewise, the Los Angeles Times reported today that, "More than 2,500 insurgent attacks [in Afghanistan] were recorded every month from April to September this year, well above violence levels when Obama first took office in 2009." And yet, despite this perturbing and unsettling statistic, the Times is reporting that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, after 2014, may be even "smaller than expected".
The Obama administration plans to keep 6,000 to 9,000 troops there despite requests from military commanders for a larger presence.

The Obama administration plans on keeping 6,000 to 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014, fewer than previously reported, and will confine most of them to fortified garrisons near the capital, leaving Afghan troops largely without American advisors in the field to fight a still-powerful insurgency, U.S. officials said...

Contours of the plan have become increasingly clear in the weeks since President Obama's reelection. Officials close to the discussions say the final U.S. presence will be substantially smaller than the 15,000 troops senior commanders have sought to keep after most of the 68,000 remaining American troops leave...

The massive bases that the Pentagon built in Kandahar and Helmand, two southern provinces where the Taliban is strongest, probably will be turned over to Afghan control, the officials said. So will a string of U.S. combat posts near the eastern city of Jalalabad, a key staging ground for military operations along the Pakistani border.

In most of the country, Afghan troops and security forces will be left to fight on their own against the Taliban and its allies... The plan already has sparked internal criticism at the Pentagon, where some commanders say more U.S. troops are needed.

"This will significantly limit what can be accomplished," one official said.

U.S. military commanders argue that a sizable military presence is needed in the south and east, where the insurgency remains the strongest, and to provide enough forces to protect American diplomats and aid workers outside Kabul...

Commanders also say a U.S. decision to slash troop levels will make it more difficult to persuade fiscally strapped allies in Europe to contribute more than a token number of troops...

A Pentagon report released Monday showed only one of the Afghan army's 23 brigades can operate independently without U.S. or allied air support and other assistance.

A senior Defense Department official who briefed reporters on the report acknowledged that the Afghan army and police could face enormous difficulties after most U.S. troops leave. More than 2,500 insurgent attacks were recorded every month from April to September this year, well above violence levels when Obama first took office in 2009.

Even U.S. officials do not expect the insurgency to wane by 2014.

Since 2008, an 80% increase in children living with unemployed parents

The number of children living with unemployed parents in the U.S. grew from 3.5 million to 6.3 million over the last five years - 2008 through 2012 - a whopping 80 percent increase, according to a recent study conducted by the Urban Institute.

The study would appear to be proof positive that the President's economic policies are working according to plan. Ahem..........

The number of children living with long-term unemployed parents rose from 754,000 to 2.8 million over the last five years - that's almost a four-fold increase.

Of particular concern, according to the Urban Institute, is the dramatic increase in unemployment that lasts six months or longer.

45% of children living with unemployed parents have seen their parents out of work for six months or longer.

Good thing Obama was re-elected. Ahem.........

Democrats seek delay in Obamacare Medical Device Tax

From AJC:
How cute: Fifteen Democratic senators who voted for Obamacare back in 2009 are asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to see that the excise tax on medical devices is not implemented for now.

[The Democratic senators made the argument to Mr. Reid that] Rather than moving forward with another punitive tax on a particular industry, it would be preferable “to develop a long-term solution to help move our economy forward, reduce our debt and reform our tax code…”

Not moving forward with this tax “will benefit patients, innovators and boost our country’s economic growth.”

All of which are arguments that would have been helpful for these Democrats to make three years ago when they were rushing to pass Obamacare in the first place. Conservatives made these very same arguments at the time, only to have Democrats ram the law through Congress anyway.

It turns out that some of these senators represent states where the medical-device industry is particularly important. I guess they had to pass the bill to find out what was in it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Taliban underwear bomber wounded Afgahn intelligence chief

The Taliban suicide bomber, who posed as a peace enjoy and detonated a bomb while meeting with Afghan government officials on Thursday, concealed his explosives by placing them in his underwear and wrapping them around his genitals, Afghan intelligence offiicals revealed on Friday.

Afghanistan's intelligence chief  was wounded in the attack but is reportedly recovering and in stable condition.

It is believed to be the first time in Afghanistan that a suicide bomber has carried the explosives in his underpants.

On Christmas Day 2009, a Nigerian Al-Qaeda agent, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarded a flight from Amsterdam to the US and tried to detonate plastic explosives concealed in his underpants.

But I find the following statement from Afghanistan's intelligence service even more ironic:

"The results of the NDS investigation regarding Thursday's terrorist attack shows that the designers of this suicide attack placed explosives around the genitals of the suicide bomber," the intelligence service said in a written statement.

This "is against all Islamic and cultural standards … and shows that the enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan have no regard for Islamic teachings and standards".

The implication being that only a suicide attack involving a bomb wrapped around someone's genitals "is against all Islamic and cultural standards", and only this kind of suicide attack "shows that the enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan have no regard for Islamic teachings and standards". But an ordinary suicide bombing, well, that's a different story altogether........

An ironic statement from Afghanistan's intelligence service - but then again, 'irony' is in the eyes of the beholder...........

Previous Post: Phony Taliban peace envoy detonates explosives and wounds Afghan intelligence chief

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Phony Taliban peace envoy detonates explosives and wounds Afghan intelligence chief

Reuters reported on Thursday:
A Taliban suicide bomber posing as a peace messenger wounded Afghanistan's intelligence chief in Kabul on Thursday, another sign that the government is struggling to improve security ahead of a NATO pullout in 2014...

"The bomber was a peace messenger sent by the Taliban to the Afghan government, around 3 p.m. in a meeting with the head of NDS, detonated his explosives," said NDS spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiri.

"Right now the head of the NDS is in good condition. The surgery was a success."

The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, which highlighted Afghanistan's ongoing instability as U.S.-led NATO troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014.

After more than 10 years of war against Western forces as well as Afghan troops, militants are capable of striking in the heart of the capital.

The attack was almost a carbon copy of last year's assassination of Afghanistan's chief peace negotiator, Burhanuddin Rabbani.

He died at his Kabul home when an insurgent posing as a peace envoy detonated explosives concealed in a turban.
The Obama administration, in its desperate attempts to reach out, and to make nice, to the Taliban, has also been duped by phony peace envoys.

The New York Times reported in November of 2010 as follows:
For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.

But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”...

NATO and Afghan officials said they held three meetings with the man...

The fake Taliban leader even met with President Hami Karzai, having been flown to Kabul on a NATO aircraft and ushered into the presidential palace, officials said.

The episode underscores the uncertain and even bizarre nature of the atmosphere in which Afghan and American leaders search for ways to bring the nine-year-old American-led war to an end.

As recently as last month, American and Afghan officials held high hopes for the talks...

The American officials said they and officials of other NATO governments were helping to facilitate the discussions, by providing air transport and securing roadways for Taliban leaders coming from Pakistan...

Last month, White House officials asked The New York Times to withhold Mr. Mansour’s name from an article about the peace talks, expressing concern that the talks would be jeopardized — and Mr. Mansour’s life put at risk — if his involvement were publicized....

Some officials say the man may simply have been a freelance fraud, posing as a Taliban leader in order to enrich himself.

Others say the man may have been a Taliban agent. “The Taliban are cleverer than the Americans and our own intelligence service,” said a senior Afghan official who is familiar with the case. “They are playing games.”
You've got to give credit where credit is due: Obama and the Taliban are equally proficient in the art of duping; in the art of pulling the wool over people's eyes.

Obama has managed to dupe more than half of the American people [registered voters] into believing his phony rhetoric, and the Taliban managed to dupe Obama; they gave the crafty and cunning Chicago pol a taste of his own medicine.

However, the question arises as follows:

Obama is an 'appeaser' - the ultimate appeaser - and like most appeasers, he allows himself to be duped by the worst elements of society, even cold-blooded terrorists.

But the American people? What's their excuse for letting themselves be duped by Obama?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

U.S. Manufacturing sinks to 3-year low

U.S. manufacturing fell to its lowest level in over three years.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to a reading of 49.5 in November, the lowest its been since July 2009.

Readings below 50 indicate contraction; the index has been under 50 in four of the last six months.

The manufacturing employment [jobs] index fell to a reading of 49.5 in November, the lowest since September 2009.

New orders fell to 50.3 in November, their lowest since August.

Prices paid fell to 52.5 from 55.0 in October.

Opposition to Obamacare remains high; Most voters disapprove

52% of registered voters oppose President Obama's signature health care legislation, affectionately known as Obamacare [ahem], while 42% approve, according to a CNN/ORC poll conducted between November 16 & 18 of 2012. But among independent voters, opposition to Obamacare is even higher. 57% of Independents voters disapprove of the legislation, 35% approve.

"When the American people speak loudly enough, lo and behold, Congress listens."
Barack Obama - November 28, 2012

Obama's 'Concealment Strategy' in Afghanistan: Insider attacks

As I've noted previously, on a number of occasions, Afghan culpability in the killings of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan has been routinely omitted from the Pentagon's casualty announcements.

The reason for this omission is due to the fact that Obama's [politically riddled] 2014 withdrawal deadline [Exit Strategy] is premised on the notion that the U.S. military can successfully hand over the security and control of Afghanistan to the Afghan forces, many of whom are Taliban sympathizers, who possess utter contempt for the U.S. and the U.S military.

Hence, the Obama administration has tried to conceal the facts so as not to raise any red flags with regards to the President's exit strategy.

Here's the latest from the AP on Obama's 'Concealment Strategy':
It was a sneak attack, but not by the enemy they feared.

U.S. Army Capts. Joshua Lawrence and Drew Russell were inside a small command post on an Afghan army base, wrapping up a long day of coordinating the safe arrival of nearly 100 Afghan religious and tribal leaders for a peace conference at a nearby palace.

Darkness had fallen...

All seemed well.

But as several soldiers sprawled on nearby cots, playing cards, the calm collapsed catastrophically at 9:27 p.m.

An exploding grenade shattered the stillness, followed in seconds by bursts of gunfire. Before any of the Americans could raise a hand to defend themselves, Lawrence was dead from a bullet to the head, and Russell was dying, shot three times in the back.

They were not killed by the Taliban, as the U.S.-led military coalition indicated the day after the Oct. 8, 2011, assault. Lawrence, 29, of Nashville, Tenn., and Russell, 25, of Scotts, Mich., were killed in what U.S. investigators later called a “calculated and coordinated” attack by Afghan soldiers entrusted to work alongside their U.S. partners.

This is the first published account of the attack and is based on internal Army records and interviews in the U.S. and Afghanistan...

The Associated Press learned details of the attack from formerly secret Army investigation records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act...

The investigation — a standard process in a war zone — found that security at the U.S.-Afghan command post was so relaxed that guards were not told to check anyone entering... Thus the killers had unfettered access and moved about without arousing suspicion.

Only 10 designated Afghan security personnel were supposed to be in the compound, but U.S. guards were given no access roster. Unknown numbers “freely entered and exited the compound unchecked,” an Army investigator found.

The Americans had been told to treat the Afghans as if they were mingling in Iron Horse Park, a recreation area on their home base, Fort Carson, Colo., according to a staff sergeant who was present...

As the attacks mounted this year, U.S. officials in Kabul and Washington insisted these were “isolated incidents.” They routinely withheld details and, until pressed by the AP, did not publicly disclose attacks in which coalition troops were wounded but not killed.

At least 63 coalition troops — mostly Americans — have been killed, by the AP’s count, and more than 85 wounded in at least 46 insider attacks so far this year. That’s an average of nearly one attack a week. In 2011, 21 insider attacks killed 35...

The attack that killed Lawrence and Russell in the southern city of Kandahar was the 17th of 2011... The two officers and five other U.S. soldiers were inside a soft-skinned, tan-colored tent that served as a temporary “tactical command post” on an Afghan army base... Their partners that day included liaison officers from Afghan security services, including the national intelligence agency and the army. The four liaisons excused themselves for the night and left the compound shortly before the attack. They had been working inside the tent and would have been in the line of fire had they stayed.

The Army investigator called this circumstance “worth noting,” but he established no proof of complicity by the Afghan security officers...

The killers escaped — apparently with inside help. They remain at large...

In a two-sentence statement the next day, the U.S.-led military command in Kabul said two service members had been killed in an “insurgent attack.” A day later, in identifying Lawrence and Russell as the casualties, the Pentagon reported that “enemy forces” killed them.

The Army’s investigation records show that U.S. officials in Afghanistan were told immediately after the assault that it was perpetrated by one or more Afghan soldiers — not insurgents...

In April the AP was alerted to the attack’s true circumstances by an American soldier who knew the real story...

The story of the killing of Lawrence and Russell raises hard questions about the insider attack problem, starting with this: How can it happen to arguably the world’s best-trained, best-equipped army?
I've already given the correct answer to this question in a September post in which I noted the following:

"U.S. and NATO officials have acknowledged that, in the rush to implement the President's politically calculated troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan troops were not properly vetted, which resulted in the deaths of 45 coalition members since the beginning of the year [as of today, the casualty number has risen to at least 63] - most of them Americans - at the hands of their supposed Afghan allies...

"One U.S. official said that there was a lot of pressure to increase the size of the Afghan forces. Consequently, the vetting process "was cast aside" because it was viewed as an impediment to accomplishing this goal...

"Hence, in an extremely belated response, the senior commander of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan has finally decided to suspend training for all new Afghan recruits until they can be re-vetted, the Washington Post reported."

In October I noted, sadly, "that the suspension was short-lived, for ultimately the President's politically calculated timetable takes precedence over the lives and well-being of our armed forces. Hence, on September 27, the administration announced the resumption of training of Afghan forces. And, a few days later, an Afghan solider turned his gun on two U.S. soldiers... And, on Thursday, two U.S. soldiers were killed by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform."

As of today, at least 63 coalition troops have been killed by their supposed Afghan allies.