December 13, 2012
Reporters think of themselves as bloodhounds, or bulldogs. Once they get on the trail of a good story nothing can deter them. Actually, reporters are far more like cattle or sheep. Someone pours some feed into the trough and they completely forget about everything else and stampede over to feed. Then someone throws out some bales of hay and they run over to the hay.
What happened to Benghazi? Four Americans, including an American ambassador, were murdered during a terrorist attack at a government compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11. We don't know how it happened. We don't even know what happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens and why a group of Libyans ended up taking him to the hospital. According to some reports he was still alive when he arrived at the hospital.
Why wasn't the compound secured after the attack? Why were people, including reporters, allowed to wander around the site and pick up sensitive, if not top-secret, government documents and personal effects? Why did it take three weeks to get an FBI team in there and why did they only stay a few hours?
Not to mention why did the White House lie to the American people about what happened? Shouldn't the reporters covering the White House be asking some of these questions every day until they get some answers?
We don't know why no aid was sent to an American compound under attack for seven hours by al Qaeda. It appears that nobody is asking questions, because the national reporters are being fed the fiscal cliff story. The fiscal cliff is largely smoke and mirrors.
If the Republicans raise taxes on the so-called "wealthiest" Americans, as President Barack Hussein Obama insists on doing, then it deserves to be called the stupid party and should just go off in a corner and curl up.
Obama doesn't want any restrictions on his spending. He has made that clear. He wants Congress to give him the power to raise the debt limit on his own. He is already spending over $1 trillion more dollars a year than the government collects in revenue, but that isn't enough.
The fiscal cliff is not real. It was created by Obama and Congress and can be dissolved by Obama and Congress. Benghazi was real. Four Americans died at Benghazi, including the first ambassador killed in the line of duty since President James Earl Carter was in the White House wearing cardigans and turning down the thermostat.
Speaking of that, Carter was president during tough financial times. He turned the heat down in the White House and publicly took other austerity measures to set an example for the American people, and also to send the message that we were all in this together.
Obama has taken the opposite approach. He and his family live more lavishly than the royal family of Great Britain. The Obamas have 54 holiday trees, what most people call Christmas trees. They fly on vacation in separate 747 jets because Michelle Obama wants to get there a couple of hours early. White House parties cost millions of dollars each.
The administration has never explained "Fast and Furious," a program that armed Mexican gangs and resulted in countless deaths. Congress was interested for a while, but the fiscal cliff seems to have grabbed all the headlines.
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The federal government encourages and rewards risky behavior. This is apparent in a multitude of policies, but it's nowhere more apparent than in the policies concerning coastal development.
If you build a million dollar house with waves breaking on your doorstep and, lo and behold, a hurricane destroys your house, the government builds you a new one. Many people actually benefit from having their homes destroyed.
With Hurricane Sandy this is demonstrated again in the attitude of beach towns about sand dunes. Some towns had already spent millions of dollars building sand dunes and they had relatively little damage. Other towns refused to build any sand dunes. According to The New York Times, it was largely an aesthetic debate – with sand dunes you couldn't see the ocean from the boardwalk. As it turns out, those towns that spent the money on sand dunes suffered relatively little damage and those that refused to build sand dunes were wiped out. It would be nice to think that the federal government was going to say to the towns that didn't prepare and now need hundreds of millions of dollars to repair the damage – "too bad," you should have thought about hurricanes earlier. But that isn't how it works.
The federal government treats people like that too. People who go to school, work hard and get high paying jobs are rewarded by having huge chunks of their income confiscated by the government in the form of taxes. People who drop out of school, don't look for a job, don't work and make no money get big checks from the federal government every month for food, shelter and even cell phones if they want them.
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Republicans are and will continue to talk about why Mitt Romney lost. According to an article in the National Review, it is because although the economy is bad it is getting better. Of course, if it's the case that all the economy has to be doing is improving, then former President George Herbert Walker Bush should have been reelected because the recession had ended and the economy was improving. The news media failed to report that fact until after the election, but people knew things were improving.
But here is an idea on how the Republicans might do better next time – insist that at least two of the presidential debate moderators be registered Republicans who will admit to having voted for Republican presidential candidates in at least two out of the last four presidential elections.
It will be tough to find two journalists who are registered Republican and have actually voted for Republicans, but maybe Rush Limbaugh would do a debate. He is no more partisan than Candy Crowley, or Martha Raddatz. I would bet that the total number of Republican candidates those two have voted for in their lives could all meet in a telephone booth, and the only problem would be finding a phone booth.
Imagine the moderator at a presidential debate, who is just supposed to ask questions, saving President Obama from a disastrous line of questioning from Romney by stepping in and offering the answer herself. (By the way, that would have been disconcerting and weird if she had been right, but she was definitely wrong. However, it doesn't matter that she was wrong because the disaster was averted and her friends in the media have protected her.)
The real story of the election appears to be the media. It is going to be nearly impossible to get a Republican president elected with the media that currently exists. What Republicans should be doing is encouraging conservatives to go into the news business. Fox and talk radio are just not enough. The right needs more media clout. The right has nothing to rival The New York Times or The Washington Post.
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Now, long after the election, we find out that the Labor Department is revising its estimates of job growth downward – in September by 16,000 jobs and in October by 33,000 jobs. That is about 10 percent in September and 20 percent in October. Certainly that somehow affects the unemployment rate. ...continued on page 2