Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Punishing Middle America 

Last week we warned that the administration seemed determined to make the sequester cuts as painful for the American people as possible in order to justify a tax and spend, big government agenda. Yesterday we got more proof.

An agricultural official in North Carolina recently asked his superiors in Washington for flexibility in managing the sequester cuts so that vital inspections would not be affected. Here is the response he got back: 

"We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that [your agency] would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs. So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be."
In other words, there is flexibility to "manage that reduction," but because the administration has said it would be painful, you better make sure it is! 

Meanwhile the White House has taken a look at where they can find some savings. Did they cut back parties? No. How about the first family's separate vacations requiring twice as much taxpayer money or the largest White House staff in history? No. In the end, they decided to find savings by cancelling White House tours, for you, the American taxpayer. 

Who goes on White House tours? By and large, it's working class folks from all over the country, many of whom save for years to take their kids on a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the nation's capital. 

A big highlight of the trip is the chance to see the White House -- which represents America and all its greatness, where leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan once lived. These are the folks who are being punished in yet another attempt to turn the public against relatively small budget cuts. 

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) introduced legislation to prohibit the use of federal tax dollars to pay for any trip President Obama takes to play golf until the White House tours are reinstated. Obama's golf outing with Tiger Woods cost taxpayers nearly $1 million -- enough money to prevent the furloughs of hundreds of federal employees. 

Benghazigate Continues 

Yesterday the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12-to-3 to approve the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA. But the vote came with a price. The administration was forced to turn over documents related to the Benghazi attacks and the infamous talking points used by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. 

According to CBS News, references to Al Qaeda were stripped out of Ambassador Rice's talking points by a press officer either at the White House, the FBI or the Defense Intelligence Agency. Ambassador Rice refused to blame the attacks on jihadists, and insisted that they were the result of spontaneous demonstrations over an anti-Islam film. 

But the idea that a press shop would make that kind of a major edit to a CIA memo is laughable. If it did so, it was very likely done only with permission from someone higher up the chain of command. 

Moreover, the documents indicate that the administration had specific warnings of "an imminent attack" within days, and virtually all messages from Libyan officials to Washington blamed Al Qaeda or its affiliated cells for the attacks. 

The handling of the Benghazi attacks is scandalous. But we should not lose sight of the bigger issue, which is that the entire Middle East is in chaos. 

  • Egypt is on the verge of economic collapse. The pro-democracy demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square were betrayed. They traded the authoritarian Mubarak regime for the theocratic dictatorship of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. 
  • Libya is an ungovernable state. It is now a distribution center for weapons and jihadists.
  • Iran is accelerating its nuclear weapons program. 
  • Syria is in a chaotic civil war. Tens of thousands have been killed and one million people have fled the country. The future of the country looks bleak as the main forces battling for control are Shiite extremists and Sunni extremists. 
  • The smaller Gulf states are all facing radical Islamic uprisings of varying degrees.
  • And insiders tell me that it is only a matter of time before the pro-Western king of Jordan is overthrown and another anti-Israel regime is installed.
The Arab Spring continues to yield very bitter fruit. 

Liberals Mourn Brutal Dictator 

Somebody had better break the news to Michael Moore -- Hugo Chavez is dead. Moore once claimed that Cuba had the best healthcare system in the world, and Chavez chose Cuba's "outstanding" healthcare system for his cancer treatments. 

No sane person will miss Mr. Chavez. He was a brutal thug and a dictator. Sadly it appears his cronies will try to maintain their grip on power. 

But what jumped out at me is that so many of our liberal media and political elites are mourning his passing. Larry king described Chavez as "fascinating" and "huggable." I doubt if many of his political prisoners in jail or those whose assets he stole would feel that way. 

Jimmy Carter released a statement praising Chavez for his "vision to bring profound changes to his country." It went on to note that as Venezuelans mourn his death, they will "recall his positive legacies." 

Actor Sean Penn said in a statement, "Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have." Director Oliver Stone said, "I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place."  

And what in the world was Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) thinking when he tweeted, "Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President"? 

This kind of mindless adulation reminds me of the praise that many world leaders heaped upon Hitler for rebuilding Germany's economy during the 1930s. Many leaders at the time thought his Nazism -- national socialism -- was the wave of the future. 

Chavez was a thug who suspended constitutional liberties, shut down critical media outlets, had no understanding of economics and stole from his own people. It is estimated that Chavez and his family amassed a fortune well into the billions of dollars! 

As the Miami Herald notes, his socialist policies destroyed the country economically. Venezuelans have suffered repeated currency devaluations. It is an energy-rich nation with frequent blackouts. And it has a murder rate today that is four times higher than the year before he assumed power. 

It speaks volumes that Iran's oppressive regime has declared a day of national mourning in Chavez' memory. Sadly, many of America's left-wing elites will be joining in.