End Of Day Report

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

BREAKING NEWS: Nidal Hasan sentenced to death for the Fort Hood shootings.

The Water’s Edge

I received dozens of responses from folks who felt strongly enough to let me know that they disagreed with my argument for action in Syria. I have no doubt that many more of you are ambivalent at best about our possible involvement in Syria.

I worry that the damage to America from not acting after a “red line” has been crossed will be substantial and will come back to haunt us. Columnist Charles Krauthammer was on the “O’Reilly Factor” last night and warned against similar weakness. Specifically, Krauthammer cited Bill Clinton’s weak reaction to the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

In response, Krauthammer said, Clinton “launched a few cruise missiles into empty tents in Afghanistan, and the message that Bin Laden got was America is the weak horse, America is unserious. Three years later we got 9/11.” We are facing a similar danger today.

Good conservatives can disagree on this, and we do. What struck me in the responses I received overnight was how many of you cited Obama as the reason to do nothing.

You think he is duplicitous and weak (see next item). And given the number of “conspiracies” from the Benghazi cover-up to the IRS and NSA scandals, no small number of you feel even this situation in Syria could be some convoluted plot.

I hope nobody missed the fact that I made it clear Obama needed to go to Congress and make his case there, and not just to the U.N. Scores of members of Congress (82 so far and the list is growing fast) are demanding Obama seek congressional authorization.

As for the evidence, Israel has the best intelligence in the region and reports indicate Israel intercepted communications indicating the Assad regime carried out the attack. Obama should present that evidence and anything else he has got to the U.S. Congress.

Now let me raise a more troubling issue here. In the horrible aftermath of 9/11, George W. Bush rallied the country for war. He struck the Taliban in Afghanistan and took out Saddam Hussein because intelligence indicated he was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, which we were never able to find. (There were credible reports that, if they existed, they might have been shipped to Syria. How ironic that their use there might be setting off this mess!)

I supported President Bush, as did the overwhelming majority of my readers then. We were shocked and mortified when people on the left denounced the response to 9/11, claiming it was a “manufactured crisis.”

There were all kinds of bizarre charges: “This is the right-wing and the Israel lobby.” “9/11 was an inside job.” “It’s all a plot to get control of Middle East oil.” I was furious that Democrat leaders refused to condemn the feverish nonsense on the left.

We should be careful today that we are not doing the same thing — reflexively alleging conspiracies when in fact the events in Syria are exactly what they appear to be. I am not suggesting that Obama is George W. Bush. He is not. I am arguing that conservatives should not mimic the left’s behavior simply because Obama is wrong on so many other things.

But let’s put Barack Obama aside for a moment. Here is a fundamental truth we cannot ignore: Every hour of every day the world is becoming more dangerous from the stand point of the U.S., Israel and our allies.

China is a rising military power.

War could breakout on the Korean peninsula on one miscalculation.

Our ally Japan is trying to quickly rearm as China routinely threatens it.

With the rising of the sun this morning, Iran is 24 hours closer to developing nuclear weapons.

Communism is dead in Russia. But it is led by a former KGB officer who seems to yearn for revenge from losing the Cold War.

Al Qaeda, far from being destroyed, has metastasized throughout the Middle East.

Polling suggests there are millions of Islamists living in Europe and America who believe it is okay to blow up civilian infidels.

If we are at the point, domestically in this country, where there will be an outcry from the left any time a conservative president has to engage one of these enemies, and opposition from the right any time a liberal president concludes he had better confront a particular threat, then the republic is greatly weakened and our enemies will certainly be emboldened.

Many of us yearn for the day that, when it comes to confronting our enemies, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, can put our differences aside and do what is best for America.

As the saying goes, “Politics ends at the water’s edge.” Or at least it should.

Obama Already Sending Wrong Signals

The use of weapons of mass destruction is hardly a trivial event. That such weapons may fall into the hands of terrorists remains one of our greatest fears. So the response from the United States and its allies should be one that cannot be misinterpreted by our enemies. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is already sending all the wrong signals.

Virtually every press report indicates that our response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons is likely to be “brief and limited.” The administration is letting it be known that we are not seeking a regime change.

So the message to Assad and Hezbollah essentially is that crossing a “red line” amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist. As Charles Krauthammer suggested, a brief and limited strike is little more than a “demonstration of unseriousness” that is unlikely to dissuade Assad or our enemies from using such weapons in the future.

How ironic that Mr. Obama began his presidency with his grandiose address in Cairo, Egypt, promising to reorient our foreign policy with the Muslim world. Now Cairo is in chaos and Mr. Obama is fretting about having to bomb another Muslim nation!

I wonder how Obama is dealing with this stress. Well, we don’t have to speculate. His former personal assistant, Reggie Love, admitted during a recent interview that he and Obama played cards during the bin Laden raid. Love said, “[President Obama] was like, ‘I’m not, I’m not going to be down there, I can’t watch this entire thing.’ We must have played 15 hands, 15 games of Spades.”

NOTE: Barring urgent developments in Washington or the Middle East, the “End of Day” report will be suspended until Tuesday, September 3rd.

End Of Day Report

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

Getting Serious With Syria?

A confrontation with Syria appears inevitable. Here’s what has happened in the past 24 hours:

  • Yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference and declared that the Assad regime had in fact used chemical weapons, crossing Barack Obama’s “red line.” Kerry called the use of such weapons “a moral obscenity” that was “inexcusable and undeniable.”
  • According to the Washington Post, U.S. naval assets in the eastern Mediterranean Sea are “already positioned” for cruise missile attacks. British jets are scrambling on Cyprus. Reuters reports that Syrian rebel groups have been told to “expect a strike against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces within days.”
  • Russia, China and Iran warned against military action. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that “the use of force without a sanction of the U.N. Security Council is a crude violation of the international law.” So much for Hillary’s famous “reset” of U.S./Russian relations.
  • One Iranian military commander predicted nothing would happen.  Mohammad Reza Naqdi said, “[The Americans] are incapable of starting a new war in the region, because of their lacking economic capabilities and their lack of morale.”  Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran threatened Israel, warning that an attack on Syria would have “perilous consequences” that “will not be restricted to Syria.”
  • The Israeli government is taking such threats seriously. It has begun distributing gas masks to the public, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “respond forcefully” to any attack against his country.

The American public and conservatives are deeply conflicted about the proper course of action. A Rasmussen poll released yesterday found that only 31% of voters supported increased military assistance, even “if it is confirmed that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.” Part of it is war weariness.

Some is also due to the failure of Obama to regularly explain what our national interests are in the Middle East. And make no mistake about it — we have significant interests in the Middle East.

Another problem is the difficulty in identifying the good guys in Syria’s civil war. Israeli intelligence estimates there are as many as 90 groups battling the Assad regime. They range from a few pro-Western groups to Al Qaeda extremists. It is hard to see a good outcome in this mess.

But in the broader context of American power and credibility, here is our dilemma: Obama set a red line. Assad crossed it. Iran is egging him on, providing military assistance and watching to see if Washington has any credibility when it issues an ultimatum.

If the Middle East can’t trust Obama to act against the Syrian government when it crosses a red line of chemical weapons, why would it believe him when he says he will not allow the mullahs in Tehran to have nuclear weapons?

Even the New York Times gets it. Yesterday, the Times editorial board wrote:

    “Mr. Obama put his credibility on the line when he declared last August that Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons would constitute a ‘red line’ that would compel an American response. …Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through. Many countries (including Iran, which Mr. Obama has often said won’t be permitted to have a nuclear weapon) will be watching.”

I doubt if anybody reading this report is an Obama fan. But America is stuck with him, and if he continues to be weak our national security will be in jeopardy long after he is gone.

That is why I joined with other conservative leaders yesterday in urging Obama to act, and asking for increased efforts to identify who, if anyone in the Syrian opposition, would be worthy of American assistance.

By the way, it is infuriating to hear Obama suggest he needs U.N. approval or international cooperation. The only thing he needs is the approval of Congress, which he did not seek when he committed U.S. forces to overthrowing former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

On that point, there is some division among conservatives. I believe the president, as commander-in-chief, has the authority to initiate military action in defense of U.S. interests in emergency situations. Surely the president has the authority to respond to an attack or to prevent an attack on U.S. citizens.

But while a military response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria may well be justified, it does not rise the level of an attack against America that would permit Obama to act on his own. There is no reason, as the world debates, why Congress should not be part of this discussion. George W. Bush sought and received congressional approval to take military action against Saddam Hussein. Barack Obama should seek congressional approval to act against Bashar al-Assad.

Beyond this immediate crisis, the larger question we face is: What will be left of our economy, our values and our foreign policy credibility after three more years of Obama’s failures?

“If Dr. King Were Alive Today…”

Yesterday I offered some thoughts about the issues and causes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., might champion if he were alive today. I’m proud to tell you that Bob Woodson, a former civil rights activist, a black conservative and a big fan of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, offered similar sentiments during a speech before the Republican National Committee yesterday.

Woodson blasted race-hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, saying: “We must be honest about those black politicians who are standing on those who sacrificed and are using that position for corrupt purposes. We need to call them out, because they are moral traitors. They are moral traitors.”

Referring to the condition of the black community, Woodson said: “Blacks today, we’re talking about the dream, for many the dream … is a nightmare. Everybody has come in front of them on the bus. Gays, immigrants, women, environmentalists. We never hear any talk about the conditions confronting poor blacks and poor people in general.”

On the exploitation of Trayvon Martin, he said: “If Dr. King were alive today, he would not just be talking about justice for Trayvon Martin, but he would also give a prayer for the 18-year-old man, for this little baby who was shot in the face by two black kids, or the World War II veteran who was beaten to death for $50. Or the Oklahoma player who was killed.”

By the way, Bob Woodson is looking for the next Jack Kemp to carry the conservative message to the black community. And he may have found him.

End Of Day Report

Monday, August 26, 2013

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

50 Years After The March

Periodically, I recommend things you should read with your children and grandchildren, such as Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address or Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech. Since it is in the news, I would also recommend Reverend Martin Luther King’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial 50 years ago, as well as his “Letter from a Birmingham jail.”

This weekend, there was a major celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Reverend King’s “I have a Dream” speech. Sadly, if media reports are accurate, there was little said from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that was of much value. It was as if the speakers had collectively been asleep for the last 50 years and had not noticed that most of the legal discrimination that infected America then had since been obliterated.

With a black man twice elected president, a black attorney general, a black Supreme Court justice, a black man representing the state of South Carolina in the United States Senate, it would seem there was much to celebrate. Instead you heard a litany of leftist demands and demagoguery of the first order.

The Trayvon Martin case was invoked as proof that blacks continue to be gunned down because of the color of their skin.

Some speakers attacked voter ID laws, suggesting that conservative governors and state legislators are leading us back to the era of Jim Crow. Such rhetoric is disgusting and blatantly false. (See next item.)

The sponsor of Rhode Island’s voter ID law is a black Democrat. In fact, voter participation among blacks exceeded that of whites for the first time in history during the 2012 elections.

But in keeping with the spirit of the day, the Washington Post ran an editorial asking what Reverend King might be marching for if he were still alive today. You guessed it — according to the Post the Baptist pastor would be fighting for gay rights and abortion.

Here’s what I think Reverend King, if he were alive today, would be focusing his efforts on:

He would demand that black men fulfill their responsibilities to the women they impregnate and the children they create.

Far from promoting Planned Parenthood’s agenda, Reverend King would expose its racist roots and point out that it deliberately locates abortion facilities in inner city communities. He would weep at that fact, which has resulted in more than 20 million aborted black babies, a death toll the KKK could not reach in its most deranged dreams.

King would pound his fists on the podium, demanding that black youths stop killing each other. And I think he would have the courage to condemn the kind of racially-inspired violence we have seen in Oklahoma and Washington, where young blacks brutally murdered defenseless white victims.

I believe King would lead the charge against an educational establishment that will do anything to defeat school choice so that poor families cannot get their children out of failing schools that are a national embarrassment.

And last but not least, I think Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., would be mortified that the God he regularly appealed to as the basis for racial equality (since God made us black and white in His image) is now routinely stripped out of the public square by the very liberals who routinely try to claim King’s mantle.

Liberal Media Distortions

Just as it was with the Trayvon Martin/Christopher Lane murders, the coverage of voter ID laws demonstrates the propaganda power of America’s leftist Big Media establishment.

Almost every day, millions of us are being told that mainstream legislators are trying to take America back to the days when minorities could not vote. In fact the threat is so serious that the Obama Justice Department is suing the state of Texas.

Why is that? A number of states are trying to pass a simple requirement: Present a photo ID to vote. And these states are even doing extraordinary things to make that requirement easy to fulfill.

Americans overwhelmingly support voter ID laws. And they overwhelmingly reject the left’s attempt to demagogue the issue. A July 2012 Rasmussen poll found that 73% of Americans rejected the notion that asking someone to show a photo ID to vote amounted to discrimination.

Like many conservatives, I am often infuriated by former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough. But he was absolutely right this morning when he repeatedly challenged Politico’s Mike Allen to explain why the left keeps equating voter ID with racism. Watch the exchange here. And notice the curious silence of Scarborough’s liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski.

End Of Day Report

Friday, August 23, 2013

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

BREAKING NEWS: Major Nidal Hasan guilty on all counts.

Can America Survive Our Growing Virtue Deficit?

Yesterday we commented on the brutal murder of Christopher Lane, a young college student in Oklahoma, and how his death is being treated by the media compared to the Martin/Zimmerman confrontation, which was shamelessly exploited by the left. The Oklahoma incident will soon be purged from the public’s consciousness because there is no narrative that serves the left.

Today we have more evidence of why the left doesn’t want to talk about the brutal Oklahoma murder. The evidence is growing that the shooter was a black racist who rejected everything that Dr. Martin Luther King believed in.

President Obama sent the FBI to Florida to find evidence that George Zimmerman was a racist. Finding none, the Justice Department set up a call-in line to solicit anonymous tips. Still, nothing was found.

But in the case of Christopher Lane’s killer, all anyone has to do is check out the shooter’s social media page. There he posted several tweets such as, “90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM,” and “With my ni–ers when it’s time to start taken life’s.” Hate crime, racism, anyone?

Today we have news of another vicious murder in Spokane, Washington, where two thugs brutally beat to death an 88 year-old World War II veteran.

I repeat: We are living in a country of disintegrating families, fatherless children, a declining Judeo-Christian moral code and aggressive secularism. This “culture war” is being stoked by left-wing politicians who constantly exploit identity politics to attack cultural norms and inflame tensions.

President Obama won’t address it because he has regularly played the race card. Too many Republican leaders won’t address it because they are afraid of being labeled bigots.

If men and women of goodwill of all races don’t step up soon, our budget deficit and growing military weakness won’t matter. Our virtue deficit will destroy this great experiment in ordered liberty under God.

The Not-So-Affordable Care Act

The daily drip of bad news about Obamacare continued this week. Health insurance premiums are up more than $3,600 on average since 2008, in spite of Obama’s repeated promises that the Affordable Care Act would lower premiums by $2,500. With Obamacare driving up costs, companies are taking steps to cut back.

UPS is dropping health care coverage for spouses. According to CNN, a company memo ironically told employees, “We are making these changes to offset cost increases due to the [Affordable Care Act].” 

The University of Virginia, which endorsed Obamacare, is dropping spouses too. So much for being able to keep your current plan if you like it.

This growing trend highlights another of the perverse incentives in Obamacare: it encourages companies to end health care coverage entirely and dump entire families into Obamacare’s exchange programs. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Barack Obama has spoken openly about his support for a socialist single-payer system, adding, “But I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process.”

Obamacare is that “transition process” of “eliminating employer coverage,” one giant step in the “fundamental transformation” of America into a European-style, socialist welfare state.

Will Obama Shut Down The Government?

It is because of these and other negative consequences that congressional Republicans continue to fight Obamacare. Eighty House Republicans have signed a letter to Speaker John Boehner urging him not to include funds for Obamacare in upcoming spending bills.

Let’s be clear about the facts: Republicans ARE NOT trying to shut down the government. They will fund the government — EXCEPT FOR Obamacare — which is failing miserably and remains politically unpopular. So much so, even Big Labor is turning against it.

There will only be a government shutdown if Barack Obama and his liberal Senate allies continue to demand that we fund his job-killing, government expanding fiasco.

Who Cares About You?

In politics, perception is reality and, sadly, issues do not always carry the day.

Let’s consider some data from the 2012 exit polls. Here’s how voters split when asked which candidate qualities decided their vote:

  • Values: Romney 55%, Obama 42%
  • Strong Leader: Romney 61%, Obama 38%
  • Vision for the future: Romney 54%, Obama 45%
  • Voters who said the economy was their most important issue split 51% to 47% for Romney.

So how did Romney lose? A big reason was that he lost 81% of voters who said the most important quality in deciding their vote was that the candidate “cares about people like me.” Unfortunately, this perception problem continues to haunt the GOP and its candidates.

There are only a couple of notable elections this year — the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia. In the Garden State, Governor Chris Christie is cruising to reelection. Many voters do not even recognize his opponent. So the race in Virginia is getting most of the media’s attention.

According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, best known as Bill Clinton’s chief fundraiser, has opened up a six-point lead among likely voters over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Beyond the Washington, D.C., beltway, Virginia is a conservative state. Values issues are not Cuccinelli’s problem. Cuccinelli is leading among independent voters and has a huge lead on the question of which candidate has the “right kind of experience.” So why is he trailing?

When asked which candidate better understands the “problems of people like you,” voters are roughly evenly divided on McAuliffe. But by a 14-point margin, voters think Cuccinelli does not understand their problems. That said, Cuccinelli should be able to turn those numbers around, especially against Terry McAuliffe!

But how did the party of Reagan and Lincoln get this label? The GOP allowed itself to be branded as “the party of rich white men.” (See Mitt Romney.) It is so emotionally invested in the rhetoric of “cut, cut, cut” that a message of how conservatism helps grow the economy is not being heard.

The GOP invested tremendous political capital in fighting tax increases for “billionaires and millionaires” and became seen as the party of “Big Business” and smaller Social Security checks.

Don’t get me wrong, friends. I understand all the economic arguments. I know the conservative agenda would be best for small business too. I know we need to reform entitlement programs if we are going to save them. But obviously the voters are not hearing that.

The GOP is not losing because of values issues. All too often it refuses to even bring them up.

I believe the party is losing because of ineffective messaging over certain aspects of its economic agenda. In a time of tremendous economic uncertainty, voters want to know that a government of the people and by the people is still FOR the people too.

End Of fDay Report

Thursday, August 22, 2013

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

Obama & U.S. Credibility

The apparent chemical attack in Syria and the recent shutdown of America’s Middle East embassies starkly demonstrate the meltdown of Obama’s leadership and America’s credibility in the region.

French and Israeli intelligence reports indicate that this was a real chemical attack against Syrian civilians and not a contrived event by the Syrian opposition. But an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council yesterday yielded little but a tepid statement.

In war weary America decent people can disagree over what our response, if any, should be. But there should be no disagreement over Obama’s disastrous approach to this and virtually every foreign policy issue, which can be best summed up as the antithesis of Teddy Roosevelt’s maxim, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Obama, with his usual lack of foresight and enthralled by the sound of his own voice, said this about Syria, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus; that would change my equation.”

Obama said that on August 20th — of last year! — after the first reported use of chemical weapons in Syria. If a president says something like that, he’d better to be prepared to back it up. Obama wasn’t, and increasingly no one in the Middle East cares what Obama says.

Yesterday, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki, presumably attempting to defend the Obama Administration, told Fox News, “Let’s be clear…The president made clear a line was crossed. We expanded the scope and scale of our aid. That’s on-going. We continue to consider all options.”

If the American response to crossing red lines amounts to little more than expanded aid, I suspect Bashar al-Assad is ready to cross quite a few of Obama’s red lines while the administration ponders its options.

The Decline Of The West?

We now know that an intercept of an Al Qaeda leadership conference call led to the recent mass closure of U.S. embassies throughout the so-called “Muslim world.” We learned from that call that Al Qaeda is not on the run, despite what Barack Obama has been saying for the past few years.

According to respected national security reporter Eli Lake, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s new leader, took part in that call and “compares America’s regional position with the Soviet Union in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell and the communist empire collapsed. Zawahiri urged others in the conference to take advantage of America’s declining influence in the region.”

Why would he conclude that America’s influence is declining? Well, Obama has repeatedly promised to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to re-orient America’s foreign policy. But you can’t decide when a war ends without your enemy surrendering. Al Qaeda clearly has not surrendered. Zawahiri seems to see America under Obama as a nation in retreat and is preparing to counterattack.

Can We Learn From Christopher Lane?

The left rarely hesitates to exploit a tragedy. That Trayvon Martin is a household name speaks volumes about the power of the political left and its liberal media allies. The left and Obama seized on Martin’s death and it quickly became an international news story.

Not so with Christopher Lane. Lane was a 22 year-old Australian attending college in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship. He was gunned down last week in Duncan, Oklahoma. His murderers were three teenagers, ages 15, 16, and 17. Two were black, one was white.

Unlike the Trayvon Martin case, self-defense was never an issue — Lane was shot in the back while jogging. According to the police report, the teens were “bored” and “just wanted to see someone die.”

There is evidence from social media that Lane’s killers were heavily into the “gangsta” culture of rap music. According to one report, Lane’s murder may have been a “gang initiation.” The three teens were threatening to kill another youth they had tried to recruit into their gang when they were captured by police.

What does it say about our culture that three teenagers have so little respect for innocent life that they can so callously kill a young man jogging down the street?

The attitude of one of the murderers, 15 year-old James Edwards Jr., shocked investigators. Less than an hour after Lane was murdered, Edwards showed up at the courthouse to sign papers related to juvenile probation charges. Police say they have video of him “dancing, laughing and carrying on” as he was being booked for Lane’s murder. The prosecutor said, “It was a great big joke to him.”

Increasing numbers of youth today are gripped by nihilism — a belief in nothing. Unfortunately, our modern society is teaching it to them. They are told repeatedly in school and in the popular culture that there are no reliable standards of right and wrong — whatever feels good, do it.

They are told that we are all the result of a cosmic accident, that human life is just an accident, instead of being created in the image of God. We destroy over a million innocent babies a year and tell our children it is merely a choice.

The kind of senseless violence we witnessed in Duncan, Oklahoma, appears to be more and more frequent in America. It should set off a national conversation about the breakdown of the family, the absence of fathers, the rap/gangsta culture, the flight from Judeo-Christian values and the expulsion of God from our national life.

But since so many of these things go against the ethos of modern-day liberalism and because there is growing aversion to discussing anything related to values by many on the political left and right, we are not likely to have such a national conversation and America will continue its decline.

End Of Day Report

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

The No Accountability Administration

As you know, four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, were killed on September 11, 2012, during a series of attacks against our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. An independent commission, led by former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, blasted Hillary Clinton’s State Department for “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies.”

In response to the report, then-Secretary of State Clinton placed four mid-level officials on administrative leave in December. They have been on paid leave for the past eight months. (Wouldn’t you love to get “punished” like that — no work and with pay? Only in Washington, D.C.)

But this week, after another “thorough review” determined that none of the individuals “breached their duty,” the bureaucrats were cleared of all responsibility and installed back in their jobs by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Keep in mind that their suspensions had nothing to do with covering up the events that took place in Benghazi that night. These individuals were suspended because of the dereliction of duty in responding to repeated pleas from Americans on the ground for more security PRIOR to the attack.

You may recall that Eric Nordstrom, a former security officer in Libya, testified before Congress about his frustration in dealing with the State Department, which kept rejecting his requests for additional security. Nordstrom said, “For me the Taliban is on the inside of the building,” referring to the State Department.

So if these folks didn’t do anything wrong, why did Hillary kick them out? One of the four, Raymond Maxwell, has always maintained he was wrongly scapegoated.

Members of Congress are furious. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said:

    “Instead of accountability, the State Department offered a charade that included false reports of firings and resignations and now ends in a game of musical chairs where no one misses a single day on the State Department payroll. It is now clear that the personnel actions taken by the department in response to the Benghazi terrorist attacks were more of a public relations strategy than a measured response to a failure in leadership.”

Under pressure from senators during her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as to why our consulate in Benghazi was attacked, Hillary famously screamed, “What difference does it make?” It is increasingly clear that to this administration none of it makes any difference. No one is being held accountable — not the terrorists who attacked our consulate nor the bureaucrats who denied requests for additional security.

Speaking of zero accountability, even though she claimed responsibility for Benghazi, Hillary now demands $200,000 in speaking fees. Unless the GOP is able to get its act together, she is on the way to becoming president of the United States in spite of the Benghazi fiasco.

Stand With Egypt’s Military

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal arguing that America should stand with Egypt’s military and against the murderous Muslim Brotherhood. He makes a persuasive case. Here are some key excerpts.

    “We need not dwell on the Brotherhood’s Islamist ideology to grasp its authoritarian nature. It desires confrontation with Egypt’s military because it rejects the legitimacy of any government it does not control. …Should it ever regain power, whether through free elections or otherwise, it will never let go, as Mohammed Morsi was busy demonstrating in his year as president.

    “Opposing the Brotherhood are Egypt’s military and a collection of citizens who refuse to live under an authoritarian theocracy: Coptic Christians, pro-democracy intellectuals, a middle class that desires a functioning economy, and women who do not yearn for the burqa. Without the military’s support, however, this group would be hopelessly outmatched. …

    “Hand-wringing about abstract political theories or calling on all sides to exercise restraint is divorced from Egypt’s reality. …In recent days, Mr. Obama has put his thumb on the scale for the Brotherhood — by calling off next month’s joint military exercise and, according to the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), by secretly halting aid. …

    “This is the wrong move. The U.S. should support the military because even with its obvious flaws, it is more likely to support the palpable U.S. interests at stake. Three are basic.

    “First, it is in the U.S. interest to have an Egyptian government committed to upholding the Camp David Accords with Israel, the foundation of U.S. Middle East policy since 1979. The Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Anwar Sadat in 1981 for negotiating Camp David, and it has never accepted it. … With Iran nearing its long-sought nuclear capability, America and Israel would be worse off than before 1979. The U.S. is doing little to stop Iran, but we can still save Camp David. Backing Egypt’s military is the best bet.

    “Second, and closely related: If the Sinai Peninsula slips from Cairo’s control, terrorists like Hamas (a Brotherhood subsidiary) and al Qaeda will use the area as a haven and a highway for smuggling arms to Gaza for use against Israel and to both sides in the Syrian civil war. Egypt’s army is far more likely to prevent this nightmare scenario than the Brotherhood.

    “Third, for purely economic reasons, the Suez Canal must remain open. Annually, some 14% of global shipping and 30% of oil supplies pass through the canal. The Brotherhood is far more susceptible to suicidal impulses if it means harming the West. Egypt’s military does not prize martyrdom.”

End Of Day Report

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

Obama’s Weak Response

I have no illusions that Americans are sitting around kitchen tables fretting over U.S. policy toward Egypt. But events in the Middle East can have tremendous implications for the everyday lives of folks on Main Street, U.S.A. And today’s headlines once again demonstrate how the Obama White House is making a mess of the Middle East.

There is a lot of irony here given that Obama launched his presidency with a major address in Cairo, Egypt, that sought to re-orient U.S. foreign policy after the Bush years. Now Cairo is gripped by chaos and the Obama White House is clueless.

As I reported yesterday, the BBC declared that U.S. foreign policy, as well as our reputation and credibility in the Middle East, was “in tatters.” It’s not hard to understand why.

Today there are conflicting reports regarding the status of U.S. aid to Egypt. After the Egyptian military removed radical Islamist Mohamed Morsi from power, the Obama Administration — and I am not making this up — decided not to decide whether the intervention constituted a coup.

Now Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) office is saying that aid to Egypt has been stopped. A Pentagon spokesman denied the report. Has the Obama Administration finally decided? Not exactly. As one administration official explained:

    “The decision was we’re going to avoid saying it was a coup, but to stay on the safe side of the law, we are going to act as if the designation has been made for now. By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it.” 

Clear as mud, right?

Whatever Obama is doing, America’s influence in the region is clearly waning. The Washington Post reports today that Saudi Arabia has “promised to compensate Egypt for any aid that Western countries might withdraw.”

For decades, going back to the Camp David Accords of the Carter Administration, Egypt has been a pillar of stability in the Middle East. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia, while far from ideal, has generally been one of respect based on shared strategic interests.

It is difficult to imagine the Saudis so publicly confronting an American administration as they are doing with Obama. Riyadh, rather than Washington, appears to be calling the shots now.

Here’s an interesting thought exercise: Let’s say that under Obama’s pressure the Egyptian military loses heart and invites the murderous Brotherhood into some sort of coalition government. History teaches us that in such coalitions the most bloodthirsty member will end up with the upper hand.

What do Obama and Rand Paul (who has been urging that we cut off aid to the Egyptian military) think the Brotherhood will do to every Egyptian — from the Christian Copts to newspaper editors and moderate Muslims — if it gets power back? It will exact revenge, and it will not care what Obama, Rand Paul or world opinion says in reaction.

Politicized Weather

Watching one of the major news networks last night (I don’t remember which one — they tend to blend together), I was struck when the anchor started a segment by announcing that it has been “a summer of extremes.” Well, as the popular Bob Dylan song goes, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

First we were told that forest fires, phenomena that happen every summer, are ravaging Western states. Then we were told that torrential rains and flooding are soaking the Southeast. My heart goes out to the folks in the communities affected by these fires and floods.

But without sounding too cavalier, how did we get to the point where predictable weather is now described in apocalyptic terms rather than part of everyday life?

In the last couple of years, several Southern states suffered from terrible droughts. Lakes receded. We were told that was the “new normal” due to global warning. Last night’s headline could have been “Rain Breaks Drought.”

This has not been a “summer of extremes.” If anything, this summer has been blessedly “moderate.” There have been record-low temperatures. Here in Washington, in what is usually sweltering August heat, we have seen daytime highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s at night.

Normally, we would experience about 1,200 tornadoes by this time of the year. So far there have been just over 700.

In 2012, there were 11 weather disasters causing more than $1 billion in damage. In 2011, there were 14 such disasters. This year there has been just one.

And while we are not out of the woods yet, predictions of a “hyper-active hurricane season” are being scaled back too.

The way the weather is reported reflects a news culture that, in searching for sensationalism, has turned normalcy into catastrophe. But it also reflects a liberal political culture that turns every event into an excuse for bigger government, more bureaucracy, higher taxes and less freedom. You don’t need to be a weatherman to know the weather has been politicized.

Christie Knows Best

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in the news for signing legislation banning gay conversion therapy. With Christie’s signature, New Jersey becomes only the second state in the union (after California) to prohibit the practice of attempting to reorient someone’s sexual desires through counseling and therapy.

Such overbearing, Big Government-knows-best legislation is not surprising from America’s left coast or from the liberals in the New Jersey legislature. But it was surprising that a Republican governor would support it.

According to Governor Christie, the practice of gay conversion therapy subjects children to “critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”

I have written before that our culture appears on the verge of criminalizing the Book of Genesis. The left is intent on equating any opposition to the homosexual political agenda or any defense of normal marriage as the equivalent of racial bigotry.

If medical efforts to treat homosexuality can be outlawed, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch before the state steps in and denies parents the right to teach their children that homosexuality is wrong or immoral.

But Christie did more than just add his name to this legislation. When he signed the bill, his office made it a point to issue a press release restating Christie’s view that he does not “look at someone who is homosexual as a sinner.”

Signing the bill should have been enough. But Christie evidently felt he had to do more to demonstrate his moderate bona fides and to apologize for his Catholic faith.

By the way, Governor, we are all sinners. Traditional religious teaching does not condemn individuals. Instead, we are called to resist immoral choices and actions.