The Democrats’ rationale for boycotting the #Benghazi committee just died


**Posted by Phineas

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

Oh, they might still try it, though I think they’d be dumb to do so (1), especially when Obama’s former Secretary of Defense and Deputy Director of the CIA say they welcome it:

But Panetta and Morell, noting the attack has been subject to many investigations already, said they welcome the latest one in the House.

“If you look at the polling numbers a not insignificant percentage of the American people still have questions,” Morell said.

Morell, who said he already has testified four times about Benghazi, said he is 100 percent confident the upcoming investigation will show that allegations “the intelligence community politicized its analysis” are false.

Panetta, a former Central Coast congressman and Democratic Party stalwart, said there needs to be an investigation to lay out the full story to the public. “The problem has been sometimes bits and pieces of information keep coming out” that raise more questions, he said.

“Obviously there is a concern whether it’s going to be a political effort to target an issue for a campaign,” Panetta said. “I hope Democrats participate, and it really is a legitimate effort.”

Spoken like two men who have nothing to hide, or at least think they can come through the hearings relatively unscathed. It also makes it very difficult for the White House and State to continue to denounce the committee as a farce or a political stunt (2) when two key former officials say “fine by me.” Given the questions about Obama and Clinton’s actions (or non-actions) with regard to Benghazi, continued resistance may well convince more and more people that there really is something to hide.

One other thing to bear in mind: there’s been friction between the White House (and to a lesser extent State) and the intelligence and military communities for years. One has to wonder if the latter aren’t relishing the opportunity for a little payback.

via Power Line

(1) Come on, if you were Hillary Clinton or Susan Rice or Tommy “Dude” Vietor, among others, would you want to go before this committee with no allies there to at least try to cover for you? And, if you’re the Democrats, do you really want to leave the field to the Republicans, who smell blood?
(2) Of course it’s political — this is what Opposition parties do. But the key is that it is not solely political, and there are indeed very serious questions to answer.

PS: It would help if I placed the update on the right post.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The Selfie administration. Updated.


**Posted by Phineas


This opinion piece by Eliot Cohen, former State Department counselor during the George W. Bush administration, pulls no punches when dealing with the inadequacies of Team Obama. While European magazines suddenly wonder just “what America will fight for,” (1) Cohen advises not even asking the question, given the administration’s fundamental lack of maturity and judgement:

Often, members of the Obama administration speak and, worse, think and act, like a bunch of teenagers. When officials roll their eyes at Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea with the line that this is “19th-century behavior,” the tone is not that different from a disdainful remark about a hairstyle being “so 1980s.” When administration members find themselves judged not on utopian aspirations or the purity of their motives—from offering “hope and change” to stopping global warming—but on their actual accomplishments, they turn sulky. As teenagers will, they throw a few taunts (the president last month said the GOP was offering economic policies that amount to a “stinkburger” or a “meanwich”) and stomp off, refusing to exchange a civil word with those of opposing views.

In a searing memoir published in January, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes with disdain the trash talk about the Bush administration that characterized meetings in the Obama White House. Like self-obsessed teenagers, the staffers and their superiors seemed to forget that there were other people in the room who might take offense, or merely see the world differently. Teenagers expect to be judged by intentions and promise instead of by accomplishment, and their style can be encouraged by irresponsible adults (see: the Nobel Prize committee) who give awards for perkiness and promise rather than achievement.

If the United States today looks weak, hesitant and in retreat, it is in part because its leaders and their staff do not carry themselves like adults. They may be charming, bright and attractive; they may have the best of intentions; but they do not look serious. They act as though Twitter and clenched teeth or a pout could stop invasions or rescue kidnapped children in Nigeria. They do not sound as if, when saying that some outrage is “unacceptable” or that a dictator “must go,” that they represent a government capable of doing something substantial—and, if necessary, violent—if its expectations are not met. And when reality, as it so often does, gets in the way—when, for example, the Syrian regime begins dousing its opponents with chlorine gas, as it has in recent weeks, despite solemn deals and red lines—the administration ignores it, hoping, as teenagers often do, that if they do not acknowledge a screw-up no one else will notice.

That’ll cause a snit in the Oval Office, but it’s not the first time this administration has been cited for its narcissism and lack of seriousness. Over the years I’ve several times described Obama as “callow,” most recently when talking about a George Will piece that decried the administration’s adolescent tactics.

An administration takes its overall tone from the man who heads it, the guy sitting behind the Resolute Desk. In this case, we’re stuck with a man-child who’s unable to handle the challenges the world throws in his face with sobriety and the sense of duty and tradition his office carries — and demands. And this attitude is reflected in those he hires, and those they themselves hire.

And there are still just under three years to go.

(1) That’s bloody rich of The Economist. Now they whine about a lack of American leadership, but, back when W was in office, they were aghast and outraged by “cowboy Americans shooting up the world.” (To paraphrase) Make up your minds, guys!

UPDATE: John Bolton weighs in, via IJR:

“I think it’s, unfortunately, typical of much of the way the administration has conducted policy these last several years. It’s all about politics and communication and spin and a lot less about performance, conducted by a lot of relatively young people who are not schooled in foreign policy. Don’t get me wrong, I love children, I just don’t think they should be in charge of our foreign policy.”

Maybe we should give them a time-out.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Iranian women rebel against headscarves, start #MyStealthyFreedom campaign

Iranian women

Image courtesy of the #MystealthyFreedom FB page. Click the photo to go to the page for more images.

Now this is REAL feminism. I love it:

Iranian women are posting pictures of themselves online without headscarves and racking up thousands of Facebook likes in the process, the latest challenge to Tehran’s strict morality laws mandating that women keep their hair covered in public.

A Facebook page called “Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian women” showing hundreds of women without the hijab — a veil that covers a person’s head — has garnered more 142,000 likes. Women have used the hashtag #mystealthyfreedom to post pictures of themselves without headscarves riding bikes, dancing, or even sitting in flower beds, flouting rules that have been in force since the 1979 Revolution.

The page was started by journalist Masih Alinejad, who explained her reasoning in a May 3 post:

“This page is not only for women who are against the hijab, this is also for religious women who wear the hijab but don’t believe it should be enforced on people and think it should be a choice. So you if you are a religious woman who wears a headscarf but doesn’t think it should be enforced, please send in a picture of your friend, family member or daughter not wearing a hijab.”

More power to them!   And to think we have women here who feel oppressed because they can’t get “free birth control.” Really!

I’ve done my part and have liked their Facebook page and will help them raise awareness on Twitter, too.  All it takes is one person to make a change – but fortunately there are many Iranian women asserting themselves in this campaign to fight for the right to walk around with their hair uncovered.  It’s one step. But it’s a big step.  These women are bold, brave, beautiful and deserve our support. It’s hard for them to get the message across due to the Iranian government’s censorship of social media websites, so please do your part in helping spread the word worldwide of their movement, too!

QOTD: New York Times discovers that #Obamacare “narrows choices”


The NYT’s HQ.

Sorta kinda finally paying attention to reality:

In the midst of all the turmoil in health care these days, one thing is becoming clear: No matter what kind of health plan consumers choose, they will find fewer doctors and hospitals in their network — or pay much more for the privilege of going to any provider they want.

These so-called narrow networks, featuring limited groups of providers, have made a big entrance on the newly created state insurance exchanges, where they are a common feature in many of the plans. While the sizes of the networks vary considerably, many plans now exclude at least some large hospitals or doctors’ groups. Smaller networks are also becoming more common in health care coverage offered by employers and in private Medicare Advantage plans.

Insurers, ranging from national behemoths like WellPoint, UnitedHealth and Aetna to much smaller local carriers, are fully embracing the idea, saying narrower networks are essential to controlling costs and managing care. Major players contend they can avoid the uproar that crippled a similar push in the 1990s.

What’s this? Obamacare limits doctor and hospital options? Ya don’t say.

Hate to say we Toldjah So, NYT, but …

Runner up for today’s “quote of the day” was in the very next paragraph of the NYT piece:

“We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” said Marcus Merz, the chief executive of PreferredOne, an insurer in Golden Valley, Minn., that is owned by two health systems and a physician group. “We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks.”

Got that? “Choice” and a desire for “open access” are habits we must break. Guess insurers have adopted the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality when it comes to the realities of the so-called “Affordable Care Act.” Oh well, when your choices are, um, limited in that regard ….

#NCPOL news: Clay Aiken’s #NC02 primary opponent Keith Crisco dies at home

Keith Crisco

Keith Crisco

Via the Asheboro Courier Tribune:

ASHEBORO — Asheboro businessman and congressional candidate, Keith Crisco, 71, died suddenly at his home today.

Information is incomplete; however, early information indicates he suffered injuries from a fall around 1 p.m. at his home on 1263 Thayer Drive in Asheboro. He was reported dead at the scene when emergency workers arrived there.

John Ogburn, Asheboro city manager, confirmed that the Asheboro Police Department and Asheboro Fire Department responded to the scene. He said the case will go to the state medical examiner to determine an exact cause of death.

In a statement from the city, local officials said they were saddened to learn of Crisco’s death. During his time on the Asheboro City Council, from 2003-2009, officials said he consistently demonstrated the intellect and steadfastness that made him so successful.


Crisco had a long history of involvement on Asheboro’s business and local government scene. His impact reached to the state and federal level due to his involvement in industry associations, his tenure as state commerce secretary and, most recently, his run for congressional office.


Clay Aiken, Crisco’s opponent in the 2014 Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives District 2 race, also sent his condolences.

“I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco’s death,” he said in a statement. “Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose – to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor’s Cabinet – he never forgot where he came from. He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him. I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.”

Both men were running for the chance to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers. Ellmers sent the following statement from her office in Washington.

“I am deeply saddened by this sudden and painful tragedy and wish God’s blessings for Keith’s family through the coming days,” she said. “His kindness and dedication to his principles were models we should all strive toward, and he will be dearly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Keith’s family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Condolences also poured in from other prominent state figures here in NC, including from Governor Pat McCrory as well as former Governor Bev Perdue.

As the article noted, Crisco and Aiken were battling for the Democrat nomination to take on NC-02’s Congresswoman Ellmers in the fall election. Their primary battle had been “too close to call”, which Aiken having only a very narrow lead – and at a tiny bit over 40%, just enough to win the primary outright – barring a challenge. Crisco was supposed to announce by Wednesday whether or not he would challenge the close results, but multiple media outlets reported yesterday that he had planned on conceding the race to Aiken today.

One tweet from the local media stood out to me yesterday among all the other ones about Crisco, and I think you’ll appreciate it as well:

Sounds like he was doing a lot of things right in his life, doesn’t it?

I add my sincerest condolences to Mr. Crisco’s family to the many others coming in. Death is inevitable for us all, but the “preferred” way is for it to be of natural causes. That his death apparently came from an accidental fall in his own home has to be absolutely devastating to Mr. Crisco’s family. May they be comforted by God’s loving embrace during this extraordinarily difficult time.