Let’s pretend for five seconds that Sen. Menendez was a Republican


Think the MSM would be treating him with the kid gloves they’ve treated the Democrat version?  Via Politico:

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is denying any allegations of wrongdoing after FBI agents raided the business of a Florida doctor close to him.

FBI agents searched the office of Dr. Salomon Melgen on Tuesday night, according to a report from the Miami Herald. Melgen runs the Vitreo-Retinal Consultants Eye Center in West Palm Beach and is a big donor to Menendez and other Democratic lawmakers, Federal Election Commission records show.

Melgen has been tied to several trips to the Dominican Republic by Menendez over the last several years. Melgen owns a private jet and flew Menendez to the Caribbean island on multiple occasions, according to campaign disclosure reports.

“Dr. Melgen has been a friend and political supporter of Senator Menendez for many years,” Menendez’s office said in a statement. “Senator Menendez has traveled on Dr. Melgen’s plane on three occasions, all of which have been paid for and reported appropriately. Any allegations of engaging with prostitutes are manufactured by a politically-motivated right-wing blog and are false.”

In November, the Daily Caller, a conservative publication, reported that Menendez allegedly had sex with prostitutes while staying with Melgen at an exclusive resort in the Dominican Republic.

Last week, the Caller reported that the FBI was looking into whether the prostitutes were underage. Under U.S. law, it is illegal for any American citizen to have “commercial sex” with anyone who is under 18 years old.

Menendez strongly denied the initial report by the Daily Caller two months ago, but the FBI’s involvement in the case has dramatically raised both the legal and political stakes for Menendez, who just assumed the gavel at the Foreign Relations Committee with the departure of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be secretary of state.

How fascinating yet not surprising that a conservative news site rather than major mainstream media outlets has done most of the heavy digging and reporting on this case.  If this were a Republican, the MSM would hound him endlessly, could never get enough, probably would have resigned at this point.

Move along, nothing here to see …

Israel blasts Syrian convoy in Lebanon: was it carrying chemical weapons?


**Posted by Phineas

If PJM’s Barry Rubin is right, it’s the development many have feared: a desperate, vengeful Bashar Assad giving WMDs to the genocidal jihadists of Hizbullah:

It has been reported that a number of Israeli planes flew over Lebanon and attacked a convoy near the Syrian-Lebanese border. The fact that this comes shortly after Hizballah and Syrian forces had moved in growing numbers toward known chemical-weapons storage areas implies that the Syrian regime was in the act of shipping chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shia Islamist group (which also happens to dominate the Lebanese government and to be involved in a lot of anti-Israel terrorism) Hizballah. This story has not yet been confirmed by Israel.

During the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war, Israel frequently hit convoys delivering weapons to Lebanon the moment they crossed the Syria-Lebanon border, showing a very strong intelligence capacity on such events.

The Israeli position has been that it will not allow any transfer of advanced weapons by the Syrian regime to either Hizballah or radical Lebanese Sunni groups. Israel had previously made this point clear through public statements to the Syrian government. It has not been explicitly reported whether the weapons on the convoy were chemical ones.

While Israel isn’t commenting officially, a retired general gave what may be an oblique confirmation:

But Brigadier General Amnon Sofrin, a retired army intelligence officer and former head of intelligence for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, gave a press conference in which he made the following points.

 “I think that if we have solid evidence shared by our own partners all over the world, that chemical warheads are being transferred from Syria to Lebanon, to Hezbollah, I think that no one will condemn Israel for trying to prevent it.”

This should be read as explaining that Israel notified the United States and others of its intelligence information prior to the attack.

Given relations between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, you can bet Jerusalem was not asking for permission, either.

Rubin speculates that these may also have been Russian surface-to-air missiles, meant to shoot down Israeli recon drones so they couldn’t spot later transfers of chemical weapons.  Regardless, this is ominous news. The common wisdom has been that the Assad regime is either doomed or will soon be reduced to a small rump state in the mountains. The question, then, is what becomes of the chemical weapons they’re known to have? (Including those that may have been smuggled from Saddam’s Iraq as it fell?)

The danger is not just that these would be given to Hizbullah in some last act of revenge, though that would be a potential nightmare for Israel. There is also the grave risk that these weapons could fall into the hands of al Qaeda-aligned Syrian rebels, who might then pass them along al Qaeda Central.

And you just know whom Zawahiri would love to unleash these on, if he could get his mitts on them.

This is a good moment to remember that we are still at war, that there are still very determined people on a religious mission to see us dead or subjugated.  They take this very seriously, and so should we.

And I hope, behind the empty brags of having al Qaeda “on the run,” so does President Obama.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Horrific: Cannibalism in North Korea


**Posted by Phineas

Hope and Change?

At least he’s well-fed.

This is the end-state of totalitarianism, if it doesn’t reform like China or collapse on itself like East Germany and the USSR — parents eating their children:

A starving man in North Korea has been executed after murdering his two children for food, reports from inside the secretive state claim.

A ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae is believed to have killed up to 10,000 people and there are fears that incidents of cannibalism have risen.

The grim story is just one to emerge as residents battle starvation after a drought hit farms and shortages were compounded by party officials confiscating food.

Undercover reporters from Asia Press told the Sunday Times that one man dug up his grandchild’s corpse and ate it. Another, boiled his own child for food.

Despite reports of the widespread famine, Kim Jong Un, 30, has spent vast sums of money on two rocket launches in recent months.

There are fears he is planning a nuclear test in protest at a UN Security Council punishment for the recent rocket launches and to counter what it sees as US hostility.

One informant was quoted as saying: ‘In my village in May a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.’

The government had apparently been requisitioning stealing food from the countryside to make sure those allowed to live in the capital (and thus most likely to be seen by foreigners) had plenty to eat. Then a drought hit, crops failed, and the last shreds of humanity fell away.

Meanwhile, Boy-Emperor Kim Jong Un and his disgusting toadies throw a banquet to celebrate their latest toys.

I’ve often described North Korea as “the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation.” Scratch that. It’s the world’s largest abattoir.

Republican insiders "help" Paul Ryan

North Korean country home cooking

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Irony alert: Eyes finally open, liberals hope for military coup in Egypt


**Posted by Phineas

From Andy McCarthy’s post at NRO’s “The Corner” blog on commentators rising calls for the Egyptian military to intervene as that country starts to fall apart:

Here’s the really interesting part: The [Egyptian] Left does not have the numbers needed to defeat the Islamists at the ballot box. That is why the latter have won election after election, usually by overwhelming numbers, thus putting Islamists firmly in charge of the government and ensuring passage of the sharia constitution. So what has finally happened: the Left-leaning press in the West is suddenly discovering that maybe popular elections do not equal democracy after all. Maybe there really is something to the notion that democracy is not merely a procedural means by which majorities achieve power; maybe democracy, as us Islamophobes have been contending all along, really is a culture that is committed to equality and respect for such minority rights as freedom of conscience and speech.

The liberal left’s obsession with procedure, seeing elections as synonymous with democracy, is a good portion of what lead to the folly of the Obama administration’s support for democratic-in-name-only “Arab Spring” revolutions in the Sunni Arab world. Instead we cut the legs out from under a friendly but authoritarian regime in Egypt, in the process doing untold damage to 30 years of American policy in the region, and we removed a cruel, crazy, but nevertheless harmless to us dictator in Libya, creating chaos in North Africa. (c.f., Mali)

But, at least, they’d have elections, so all would be good. Majority rule, and all that.

Except that the majority is turning out to be the very groups most hostile to the democracy we hold dear. smiley d'oh!

And now that their Wilsonian unicorn dreams have turned into nightmarish reality, they want a military coup.

Welcome to the waking world, kiddies.

PS: Longtime readers will recall that I supported the liberation of Iraq under George W. Bush, including the effort to help democratic, constitutional government to take root there. I still think it was worth trying –for reasons local to Iraq, I felt it was the one country in the Arab world in which this might work– but, thanks to the Obama administration’s precipitous and premature bug-out from Iraq, my opinion of that country’s democratic future has become much bleaker.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#MSDNC again caught in dishonest video editing hit against political opposition


Twitchy.com has been all over this non-issue that ballooned into an issue (more here and here) yesterday, and the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple provides a comprehensive write-up:

MSNBC is reviewing its portrayal of the testimony of Neil Heslin, the father of a Sandy Hook victim, at a legislative hearing in Hartford on Monday. The 33-second video clip in question, embedded above, features a graphics box saying “Mocked and Loaded. Sandy Hook Victim’s Father Heckled by Gun Rights Advocates.”


Smart move, considering that Heslin wasn’t, in fact, heckled. Audience members merely answered a challenge that Heslin posed from the microphone. Here’s a transcript of how things unfolded:

Heslin: “I don’t know how many people have young children or children. But just try putting yourself in the place that I’m in or these other parents that are here. Having a child that you lost. It’s not a good feeling; not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket or looking at your child with a bullet wound to the forehead. I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question: Why anybody in this room needs to have an, one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips…..Not one person can answer that question.”

Crowd/Alleged Hecklers: “Second Amendment shall not be infringed”

Public official: “Please no comments while Mr. Heslin is speaking. Or we’ll clear the room. Mr. Heslin, please continue.”

That transcript comes from a look at the session’s full, 17-minute video, which is below. MSNBC excerpted a short bite that starts with Heslin saying, “Why anybody in this room…” and ends with the appeal from officialdom to “clear the room.” Accordingly, it skips over Heslin’s initial challenge to the public seated behind him: “I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question…”

Those 18 words of context are crucial to the alleged heckling. They show that Heslin made a pointed attempt to rope in members of the Hartford crowd. His was apparently not an idle or rhetorical question.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell votes in favor of the “heckling” interpretation. He said on last night’s show, “Heckling’s when you say something stupid from the audience. And when a speaker rhetorically or directly asks an audience why you need 30-round magazines and assault weapons, and you yell a response which is basically ‘I think the Second Amendment says I can have them,’ you have not answered the question about why you need them.”

Clever thing that O’Donnell has done here — redefine the term “heckling” to apply narrowly to what happened in that hearing room. In doing so, he bypasses a more common definition, one that doesn’t help his case quite as much.

What was it I said yesterday about liberals and the redefining of words? Toldjah So.

The article goes on to note that Heslin, who Piers Morgan had on last night in an attempt to once again create a false characterization of gun rights advocates as “violent extremists”, didn’t even view the incident as “heckling.” Oops.

What MSDNC did here is absolutely sickening, but should surprise no one, considering the fallout from NBC’s deceptive edit of the 911 call George Zimmerman made about Trayvon Martin that they edited to make him look like a racist (Zimmerman is suing the network), and also considering how, in the summer of 2009 when the opposition to ObamaCare was being broadcast loud and clear at town hall meetings across the country, MSNDC showed an edited video of a man openly packing heat at one such gathering but only gave you the neck-down view so as to give the impression the “potential assassin” was white (and therefore raaaacist) when in fact the guy was black.

Remember the Shirley Sherrod videos where the mainstream media tried to discredit Andrew Breitbart by bogusly accusing him of “selectively editing” the initial video to make her look like a racist towards whites? The national media repeated the false allegation against him and hammered him over and over again, basically saying that “at this point forward we will not take anything you broadcast seriously anymore” (not that they really ever did) yet MSNBC has actually done deliberate selective editing over and over that COMPLETELY distorts and changes what happened in a video clip and yet they are respected by their MSM peers and are rarely, if ever, called out.

Kinda shows you where the real allegiances of many in the MSM are, right? Hint: It’s not with honest journalism, but instead with their narrative-creating allies at like-minded, left wing pro-Obama “news” organizations. By any means necessary, and all that.