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Were They Lying?

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What did the administration know and when did they know it?

As everyone knows by now, on September 11th, US personnel in Cairo, Egypt, Benghazi, Libya and other areas across the Middle East were attacked by Muslim terrorists who killed four American diplomats in Benghazi.

At first, the Obama administration disingenuously attempted to pass the terrorist attacks off as an understandable reaction on the part of ordinary Muslims offended by the amateurish, stupid, grotesque and childish anti-Islamic YouTube video, Innocence of Muslims. The video, the product of an as yet unnamed, probably insane and reprehensibly idiotic sub-human from California, quickly went viral, and was seized upon by the White House spokespeople as the reason for the attacks resulting in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Stevens’ death was the first violent assassination of a US diplomat since 1979.

In response to the attacks, for which even a grade-school child could connect the dots, seeing their occurrence on the 11th anniversary of the despicable destruction of New York’s twin World Trade Center towers by 19 men, 15 of whom were Saudi Muslims, was not a coincidence. White House spokespeople were deployed to promote the administration’s spin that the crowds attacking Ambassador Stevens’ mission, though armed with antiaircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), were, as State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland put it in a presser on September 13, when she was asked, “Whether the Benghazi attack was purely spontaneous or was premeditated by militants,” Nuland replied, “[W]e are very cautious about drawing any conclusions with regard to who the perpetrators were, what their motivations were, whether it was premeditated, whether they had any external contacts, whether there was any link, until we have a chance to investigate along with the Libyans … [O]bviously, there are plenty of people around the region citing this disgusting video as something that has been motivating.”

The next day, September 14, White House press secretary Jay Carney said at a White House press briefing that the attacks were, “In response not to United States policy, not to, obviously, the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting … This is in response to a video that is offensive and — to Muslims.”

A reporter asked, “At Benghazi?”

“We certainly don’t know, we don’t know otherwise,” said Carney. “You know, we have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims, find offensive. And while the violence is reprehensible and unjustified, it is not a reaction to the 9/11 anniversary that we know of or to U.S. policy.”

On September 18th, a full week after the attacks, Carney still insisted, “We saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack.” Also a week after Ambassador Stevens’ horrific death, UN Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters covering the General Assembly meeting, “What happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction . . . as a consequence of the video, that people gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent.”

These statements were made two, three and seven days, respectively, after the attacks. Akthough a case might be made that in the beginning, it was too dificult for officials to assess the attacks thoroughly, but remember that those “crowds” were armed with military grade weapons and eyewitnesses noted that the attackers were disciplined and on point when they attacked the consulate in Benghazi and this was reported immediately by eyewitnesses, some of them Muslim. Further, Roll Call, in an article by Niels Lesniewski published on September 17th, tells us that on Sept. 16, Mohamed Yusuf al-Magarief, president of Libya’s General National Congress, said on Face The Nation, “The way these perpetrators acted and moved, and their choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.”

According to Michael Graham, writing for Boston Heralddotcom, “Multiple sources confirm that [the] administration knew it was a ‘preplanned, premeditated attack’ within 24 hours. Far from having ‘no evidence,’ [the] administration had already identified a possible target for retaliation within a day of Stevens’ murder.”

There is one lone federal agency attempting to excuse and protect the administration from itself: the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, whose spokesman, Sean Turner, said in a statement that U.S. intelligence agencies’ understanding of what happened in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, has evolved as they’ve collected and analyzed information on the incident. “As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists,” he said.

Turner notwithstanding, it would seem that either the administration’s original Libya story was a deliberate, cynical lie, or President Obama and his entire White House staff are frighteningly naive and clueless.

Either way, the administration comes out of it a loser.

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I agree with you that “the Administration comes out of it a loser”, Clav, but fail to see how they could not have. It was a horrible situation to be in: failing to protect your own ambassador from a mob.

    From a domestic perspective, saying something along the lines of “we regret any offence the movie caused, but in America, while we believe passionately in natural rights, we also remember that notably absent from that list is the right not to be offended” might have struck the right chord, though it almost certainly wouldn’t have cut any ice with the Right. (Personally I would have added, “So grow the fuck up”, but that’s just me. :-) )

    Also, in a country as anarchic as Libya currently is, the fact that some members of the mob were hefting some pretty serious military hardware perhaps isn’t as remarkable as all that.

  • Clav

    Doc, I like the way you present your POV; I find myself in agreement with you often as a result of the way you express it.

    “Grow the fuck up” probably would have resulted in even more turmoil with more casualties, so it’s just as well it wasn’t used, but like you, it has a certain je ne sais quoi about it for me.

    I agree that there was no clear path out of it for the Obama boys and girls, but my contention remains that, if it is true that they knew the true nature of the events in Benghazi as soon as 24 hours later, they should have used that knowledge immediately. Instead, they were still spouting the fictitious “It’s because of the video” theory a whole week after the attacks, which made them look foolish and well…like liars.

    Granted, the military hardware is near ubiquitous in that neighborhood, but it still should have caught their attention that this wasn’t your garden variety “protest.”

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    How do you know they didn’t use that knowledge immediately? I’d expect misdirection rather than the CIA or military putting out press releases and giving away what they are up to.

  • Clav

    We have yet to see what the military and/or CIA were “up to,” but my guess is: nothing; they received no orders.

    Admittedly, the US reaction thus far is well in tune with our policy the past few years of appeasement in the region.

  • Zingzing

    This may be the only time in history the CIA was up to “nothing.” given the amount of your inside knowledge, clavos, which is none, you might as well flip a coin. Yet given the choice, you say the most meddling, secretive, possibly evil organization in the us gov’t was up to “nothing?” I dunno… in any other circumstance, I’d bet you say the opposite, but hey, this is politics, where logic, history and common sense have no meaning. It’s all guess-work and sheer desire.

    And nice use of the word “appeasement.” “Diplomacy” not in your dictionary? One man’s dictator is another man’s statesmen, I suppose.

  • Baronius

    This is a bit off-subject, and I’d love to just bash away at the administration on this, but why in the world does the White House press secretary exist anyway? It’s ridiculous, no matter who is in the White House. The position is half governmental, half partisan, which means they can’t be trusted for facts or opinions. And no one person has answers to every question in real time. That’s why the press secretary always looks foolish. There are about a thousand agencies, each with their own press secretaries, each with developing stories and changing policies. Sure, if one person could act as a clearinghouse for all that information, it’d be impressive, but they can’t. And every day the press secretary proves it.

    Of course, the blame also has to fall on the media outlets for being so lazy. It’s a lot easier to pass along an official administration response than actually find out the real answer to a question. And there’s a lot of clout in occupying one of the chairs in the press room. Being a senior White House correspondent is as tough as being a model, and requires just about the same skill set.

    So yeah, the administration should be held accountable if they’re knowingly spreading falsehoods, and this article makes a good argument that they are. But on the breaking story, we had no reason to go to Jay Carney in the first place.

  • http://danmillerinpanama.wordpress.com Dan(Miller)

    Well, yeah. But President Obama’s masterful address at the United Nations doubtless calmed all Islamic discontent and we can now look forward to a new day dawning, when there will be peace everlasting.

  • zingzing

    see, for that joke to be funny, someone might have to think that one man could in one speech actually create peace in the middle east. of course, that won’t happen, so the joke is nothing but relishing human misery for the sake of scoring political points. yay, dan! we all prove we’re pieces of shit at various points in our lives, and that’s one of yours. good for you, dan, good for you. tomorrow, it may be my turn, but the night belongs to you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    How many men does it take, zing? A whole battalion? After all, aren’t we talking about one of the leaders of the Western world?

    So what exactly is your point, other than that Rome wasn’t built in a day?

  • Zingzing

    What if most of my point was that Rome wasn’t built in a day? You and I and Dan all know that a speech by the president wasn’t going to solve the problems in the middle east. So what’s you’re point, other than duh?

    The other portion of my point was that Dan seems to be reveling in the death and destruction of those less fortunate than him. It’s only by lucky chance that he finds himself in a more stable situation. most of us commenting here are so damn lucky. To laugh at another’s misfortune seems a bit crass to me, given the scale of human suffering in some parts of the world. Some man dan’s age is waking up to find his grandchildren dead right now and Dan seemingly finds that humorous.

    It takes more than one man, Roger, and it takes more than a battalion, it takes entire nations and entire religions and cultures to put this kind of bullshit to bed. What’s going on in the middle east was made by history, not men now living, and its solution will take everyone involved putting it to rest. One man can cause it to erupt, but it’s everyone who has to keep the peace.

  • Clav

    More on the administration’s lies from The Washington Examiner.

    Newsweek’s senior national security correspondent, Eli Lake discusses the timeline of when US intelligence agencies uncovered evidence of terrorist involvement in the attacks.

  • John Lake

    Number one, it might have been less than prudent to blame al Qaeda, or major organized groups for the attack, particularly in view of the fact that many demonstrators were making reference to the reprehensible video.
    Number two, as “Dreadful” points out, it is highly likely these days that even the man in the Libyan street has access to military weapons. In that light, pointing prematurely to one group or another would be indeed careless and counter-productive.
    We have a case wherein a government representative carefully weighs her words, clearly stating that the video responsibly was only a starting point, clearly saying that the investigation was ongoing, and still the Republicans rant and rave about administration early perceptions.
    As to irresponsible, anyone accusing Ms. Rice of deliberately disseminating false knowledge is irresponsible by any standards.
    Politics should be kept current, not stored for decades to be brought out at four year intervals.

  • Clav

    Sorry, John, but the evidence refutes your defense of the administration, to wit:

    It “might have been less prudent to blame Al-Qaeda??” How so? Intelligence services (ours) are saying they were involved; the more we expose them to the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful citizens of their respective countries, the more we neutralize and weaken Al-Qaeda’s influence and power in the Muslim world; without the support of their fellow Muslims Al-Qaeda will become a nonentity.

    As seductive as Doc’s speculation is, there is no real, provable evidence; it’s just speculation, If you know of such evidence, please, share it with us.

    The “government’s representative” (Ms Rice) would have been far more prudent and served her country better had she just kept quiet until more accurate information was available; she wasn’t even on the scene to be able to observe firsthand the events which were the subject of her intemperately speculative (and false) remarks, which, as I pointed out in the article, were immediately refuted by the president of Libya’s General National Congress, Mohammed el-Megarif.

    As to her irresponsibility in making those remarks: are you so naive as to ignore the swiftness with which she was fired after making them; a swiftness and decisiveness heretofore
    uncharacteristic of her boss and his administration?

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    When was she fired? All I find are links of Repubs calling for her resignation as late as Friday

  • John Lake

    I didn’t actually say it was “less prudent” to blame al Qaeda.My sentiments (above) were that it might be “less than prudent”, given the general principle that one should be hesitant to blame others without due consideration.
    In fact a reasonable person would conclude that following the ouster of Qaddafi, there would be plentiful weapons around and about.
    If Ms. Rice has been removed, I haven’t heard of it yet. I seem to remember that the administration was solidly behind her.

  • Clav

    Well, Señor El Bicho, you’re right: apparently it was just projected wishful thinking on my part that Susan Rice had been fired; she hasn’t, despite her recent ill-considered remarks to the media jackals at the UN building. Not yet. We’ll see what happens in January if Obama is fired in November.

  • zingzing

    heh. right wing projection and wishful thinking seems to be their chosen mode of engaging reality these days.

    i read somewhere that canada has banned fox news from the airwaves for lying. i dunno if it was an onionesque article or not. are there any canadians around here anymore?

  • John Lake

    Don’t count on Mr. Obama being ‘fired’ in November. the Republicans fail to consider the new more sophisticated and informed voter, this the result particularly of the Internet and to some extent of national news sources which have thus far been reliable.

  • Clav

    Those new more sophisticated and informed voters, and even more so us old, uninformed and stupid voters are looking at the sorry mess that is our economy.

    We’re doing the math…

  • Clav

    To Glenn and others who scoffed at my observation that if the income tax burden for the wealthy becomes too onerous, they may leave, here’s some food for thought…

  • Clav

    Yet more evidence that the administration was behind the eight ball even before the attacks (not “riots” or “demonstrations”) in Benghazi on 9/11.

    Increasingly, it looks as if Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues died because their country wasn’t paying attention.

    Some interesting quotes from the Washington Post article linked above:

    “In Libya, security was lax before attack that killed U.S. ambassador, officials say…The two U.S. Benghazi compounds that came under attack the night of Sept. 11 proved to be strikingly vulnerable targets in an era of barricaded embassies and multibillion-dollar security contracts for U.S. diplomatic facilities in conflict zones, according to interviews with U.S. and Libyan officials and eyewitnesses in recent days.”

    “On the eve of his death, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was ebullient as he returned for the first time in his new role to Benghazi, the eastern Libyan city that embraced him as a savior during last year’s civil war. He moved around the coastal town in an armored vehicle and held a marathon of meetings, his handful of bodyguards trailing discreetly behind.

    But as Stevens met with Benghazi civic leaders, U.S. officials appear to have underestimated the threat facing both the ambassador and other Americans. They had not reinforced the U.S. diplomatic outpost there to meet strict safety standards for government buildings overseas. Nor had they posted a U.S. Marine detachment, as at other diplomatic sites in high-threat regions.”

    And:

    “The two U.S. compounds where Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a sustained, brutal attack the night of Sept. 11, proved to be strikingly vulnerable targets in an era of barricaded embassies and multibillion-dollar security contracts for U.S. diplomatic facilities in conflict zones, according to interviews with U.S. and Libyan officials and eyewitnesses in recent days.”

    “Eager to establish a robust diplomatic presence in the cradle of the rebellion against Moammar Gaddafi, the ousted autocratic leader, U.S. officials appear to have overlooked the stark signs that militancy was on the rise…The attack marked the first violent death of a serving ambassador in a generation…It also raised the prospect that a country Washington assumed would become a staunch ally as it recovered from its short civil war could turn into a haven for fundamentalists.”

  • Zingzing

    There seems to be a voter registration fraud blowing up… Strategic allied Consulting… 7 states at least… At least it appears that state GOP orgs are firing the company. Acorn for the right wing?

  • Zingzing

    (and this time it’s real instead of trumped up nonsense…)

  • Clav

    Yay zing! What a good, well trained Democrat you are! Bet they teach you that when you’re just a wee tadpole at your neighborhood Democratic school, don’t they. Whenever you’re caught with yore hands in the preacher’s wife’s drawers, obfuscate, counterattack and change the subject. Ah, you Dems are sooo good at those distraction tactics, sooo good! You poor backwoods Southern boys take training so well and become such good soldiers in the Democratic Army, marching to the beat of the egalitarian drums.

    Sooo. Maybe voter registration isn’t such a bad idea after all, huh? At least you could stop those despicable fratboy Republicans from subverting the Democratic process…

    Bwahahaha!

  • Zingzing

    It was just a place to put it where people were talking, clavos.. I’m not shocked that you went overboard into conspiracy theories… Well-trained right winger that you are. “soooo” you’re being an idiot. And dramatic about it as well, although I have no place to critique you on that… Bwahahawhat?

    Feel free to go on about how the gov’t is lying and the CIA is dormant.

  • Zingzing

    And yeah, voter registration is a good thing. Just don’t ask who they’re voting for before you register them… I’m not sure you know what voter registration is.

  • Zingzing

    Do you really disagree with the idea of a level playing field?

  • Clav

    Depends on what’s being played, zing. If it’s the yacht sales game, you can bet I will do whatever I can that is legal and ethical to make it uneven in my favor.

  • Clav

    Sorry, I said voter registration when of course I meant voter ID.

  • Zingzing

    To # 28, I’d bet you would. And in that field, I wish you luck. Sell those dick boats to dick bots, and I hope you take as much profit as you can. But I hope you view national politics with a more wide lens. It’s not just about you at the macro level. If you prosper in the short term, and 90% of the other people suffer during that term, you can bet that you’ll suffer for that down the line. Productivity doesn’t change because of politics, only where the reward goes changes.

    I’m sure you’d like to see productivity rewarded, right? Each for his own should suggest that our labor is rewarded. And yet it’s not, not by a long shot. Since I was born, American productivity has gone into the pockets of the rich. Do you think I’m dumb to question that?

    To # 29, that’s a different ballgame, and has nothing to do with the GOP trying to game the game in this situation. They’re recreating their fantasy of acorn in their own advantage. Shameful. At least it’s original, as in they made it up years ago.

  • Clav

    If you prosper in the short term… And I do, and not short term, either; I have prospered since I began working at 16, and politics ain’t got dick to do with it; I work hard, harder than most, for my success. The only effect I’ve experienced from politics in all those years has been negative — usually some dickhead pol trying to steal my money, as Obama is advocating (and attempting) now.

    You can call ‘em “dick’ boats if you want, but here in Florida (and in a number of other places, both in the US and around the world), those “dick” boats provide an above average living to many families. In Florida, the yachting industry, Floida’s third largest, behind only tourism and agriculture, employs more than 200,000 people and its financial impact adds almost $17B annually to the state’s GDP.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    1) I think you would agree that it’s fairly common for police in the middle of an investigation to swear up-and-down to the media that they have no evidence yet, or to give false or misleading indications about what they know…and I think you’d agree that it is often necessary to do so in order to keep the culprit(s) from knowing how much the police know or don’t know. Since then, there have been eight arrests, but even then, if we look a bit more closely, we find that it ain’t that simple to just go arrest people in a third-world nation with a very weak government.

    You see, Clav, what the administration was doing was to at least identify who the culprits were. Sure, on this side of the pond we all assumed right away that it was a “9/11 thing” and related to al-Qaeda. BUT as you know, there are MANY splinter groups of al-Qaeda, and probably several within Libya itself. Heck, all it takes is a couple of idiots with a computer making claims on the internet to make themselves a Really Scary al-Qaeda splinter group!

    So it’s NOT and never was properly a matter of “let’s send the military and go kill us some more al-Qaeda because they killed the ambassador”. It was a matter of not-so-simple police work (and spy work, of course) to find out whodunit, and which splinter group he belongs to…and sooner or later we send someone in pop that particular blister.

    Simple? Never. But it’s a heck of a lot better than sending out the military to spend more of our blood and treasure to get this one group that the locals can’t (or won’t) arrest…and make a whole lot more enemies in the process.

  • Clav

    Bull, Glenn; just bull.

    What they were doing was trying to cover up what they knew were some serious errors and omissions on their part. And they continued stonewalling for a week, until finally it dawned on them that they were looking like the fools they are.

    If you think otherwise, you’re letting your partisan blinders overrule your common sense, and are reducing yourself to naive partisanship.

  • Clav

    Whoa!

    I just realized something; it’s not naive partisanship; you’re spinning, like the loyal little democratic trooper you are!

  • Deano

    I think that Clavos has actually hit the nail fairly squarely on the head. The administration (and you can claim it was the State Dept.’s responsibility) demonstrated

    a). Significant lax judgement in not prepping and beefing up the security levels. Whether you do this because you think Sept 11 is a significant date for potential violence or because IT MAKES SENSE to beef up your diplomatic security capabilities in an environment shaped by the anarchic, violent aftermath of a civil war which involves some extremist parties that you have hitherto had violent relations with.

    b). Not coming clean sooner on the pre-planned nature of the assault whic is pretty damned evident from the nature and timing of the attack.

    I think the niggling back and forth on the messaging by the government is just so much smoke and mirrors and political posturing but the Obama administration delivered a genuine screw-up that cost four lives because of inadequate protection and a sense of blissful complancency that the situation was resolved.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    AND Clav –

    To Glenn and others who scoffed at my observation that if the income tax burden for the wealthy becomes too onerous, they may leave, here’s some food for thought

    I usually read your references, remember? And if you’d read the actual report by the Manhattan Institute with a critical eye, you’d find several problems.

    First of all, I think you’d have to agree that when it comes to migration, it doesn’t happen right away. Things turn good, and THEN people start coming, first as a trickle and then by the droves. Things turn bad, and THEN people start leaving, first as a trickle, and then by the droves.

    The reason is obvious – people don’t all lose their jobs at once. The middle-class lose their jobs, and even then they don’t move right away – they’ve bought homes and built lives and it’s not easy to uproot families (and especially children) to move to other states. So instead of moving right away, they strive to find other work, any other work even for less pay, so they don’t have to leave…but that doesn’t always work, and so they finally leave for greener pastures. And this has a follow-on deleterious effect on all the other jobs these middle-class workers support – the 7/11 and Pizza Hut and Safeway workers, what have you…

    …and all this takes TIME. It never happens right away when things turn bad.

    Now look at table (1) in the original article. If you’ll notice, the early- to mid-nineties CA migration deficit follows the early-nineties recession. More tellingly, the 2000s migration deficit follows the dot-com bust, just as the migration surplus of the mid- to late-1990’s followed the dot-com boom. Can you say, “Silicon Valley”?

    Of course you can. High tech figured most strongly in California, and Silicon Valley was the epicenter of the growth and the high-paying jobs. But when recessions hit, the jobs that are most vulnerable are for non-necessary items…like computers and construction. So of course the recessions hit California more severely than other parts of the nation. AND as you can see in Chart (9), the Great Recession hit California worse than most parts of the nation.

    If you want more proof, look at Chart (1) in the article – the biggest drop in migration came during the Great Depression. Are California’s tax rates to blame for that one, too? But of course you want to blame it all on taxes, and not on other exterior causes. After all, all real conservatives know that tax cuts are the cure for all that ails us, right?

    NOW, let’s look at something else in the article:

    What has caused California’s transformation from a “pull in” to a “push out” state? The data have revealed several crucial drivers. One is chronic economic adversity (in most years, California unemployment is above the national average). Another is density: the Los Angeles and Orange County region now has a population density of 6,999.3 per square mile – well ahead of New York or Chicago. Dense coastal areas are a source of internal migration, as people seek more space in California’s interior, as well as migration to other states. A third factor is state and local governments’ constant fiscal instability, which sends at least two discouraging messages to businesses and individuals. One is that they cannot count on state and local governments to provide essential services – much less, tax breaks or other incentives. Second, chronically out-of-balance budgets can be seen as tax hikes waiting to happen.

    The article doesn’t really examine in detail WHY California’s unemployment went up – instead, it’s making an assumption that it was all about “fiscal irresponsibility” by the state and local communities with “out of control spending”. Even when the author admits that the communities are not able to provide essential services, he assumes that it’s all due to “fiscal irresponsibility”. He lays ZERO blame on exterior factors like the early-90’s recession, the dot-com bust, and the Great Recession, much less connects the dots of how the migration patterns strongly tend to follow economic downturns.

    IN OTHER WORDS, Clav, NO, high taxes didn’t drive everyone out of California. The timing of the migration deficits strongly indicate that the major factors were exterior: national recession, dot-com bust, Great Recession (and let’s not forget the Great Depression).

    And your “food for thought” is suddenly not quite as fresh and nutritious as you thought it was.

  • Clav

    Um, Glenn:

    My point, as was the author if the article’s, is that California is a Democratic-governed state which has been very badly administered by the Democrats who have been in charge there for most of the last 100 years.

    And that article makes an excellent case for that premise.

    But you knew that…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    What they were doing was trying to cover up what they knew were some serious errors and omissions on their part. And they continued stonewalling for a week, until finally it dawned on them that they were looking like the fools they are. If you think otherwise, you’re letting your partisan blinders overrule your common sense, and are reducing yourself to naive partisanship. Whoa! I just realized something; it’s not naive partisanship; you’re spinning, like the loyal little democratic trooper you are!

    Clavos, do you really think that it is advisable for the government to say everything it knows – or thinks it knows – right away? Do you really? Come now! If you think that Obama or Bush or Clinton or Reagan or any other president is going to stand up and say “this is what we know and what we think we know” within hours or a few days of a major incident, really, Clav, who here’s being naive?

    As I recall, Dubya’s having gone off half-cocked on assumptions without first verifying what he THOUGHT he knew (“Saddam’s in bed with al-Qaeda!!!!”) is what got us into the Iraq War…and that’s what most of us thought at the time, too, remember? Many of us – including me – were Absolutely Sure that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. But Dubya didn’t do due diligence. He didn’t check his facts first…especially when the facts didn’t match up with what he thought he knew. And what did that cost us?

    Everybody Knew that al-Qaeda played a part in the ambassador’s assassination in Benghazi, just like Everybody Knew that Saddam played a part in 9/11. Gotta be careful about what Everybody Knows, don’tcha think?

    So LEARN the lessons of history, Clavos! I don’t blame the Obama administration for a moment for keeping their cards close to their chest until they could VERIFY what they almost certainly thought they knew.

    Ah, but I forget! I’m violating the First Commandment of American Conservatives: Thou shalt assume that everything the Obama administration does is WRONG, and anyone who thinks that the Obama administration is right about anything must be cast out into the outer darkness where there are LGBT’s and smoking of pot!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    My point, as was the author if the article’s, is that California is a Democratic-governed state which has been very badly administered by the Democrats who have been in charge there for most of the last 100 years.

    Some point! Especially given that the authors themselves stated:

    For decades after World War II, California was a destination for Americans in search of a better life. In many people’s minds, it was the state with more jobs, more space, more sunlight, and more opportunity. They voted with their feet, and California grew spectacularly (its population increased by 137 percent between 1960 and 2010).

    It’s only been the past two decades that people started leaving, and I SHOWED you that it was likely that EXTERNAL factors played the biggest role in the migration deficit!

    If Democrats governing California for the past 100 years is the problem, then don’t you think that the problems would have shown up LONG before the 80-year point????

    You made the SAME logical error that I did in this article wherein I showed the VERY strong correlation between red states and a LOWER standard of living…and you were the one who pointed out that particular logical error, remember (for which I sincerely thanked you (and have done so several times hence for the education), and have since taken a perverse delight in pointing out when you make the same error).

    AND besides, let’s not forget that NO, California has not been under Democratic control for 100 years. I think that someone named Ronald Reagan would have something to say about that….

  • Clav

    I don’t blame the Obama administration for a moment for keeping their cards close to their chest until they could VERIFY what they almost certainly thought they knew.

    One more time, Glenn:

    They knew within 24 hours — govt. officials (both American AND Libyan) have admitted that. They stonewalled with their cockamamie story for a week!. And you talk about me defending the Republicans!!

    They effed up; it’s not the first time. They are a bunch of effups, and the biggest one is Barack.

    Glenn, I have this bridge in Brooklyn…

    What a naive, starry-eyed idealist you are! Betcha believe in god, too…

  • Clav

    I SHOWED you that it was likely that EXTERNAL factors played the biggest role in the migration deficit!

    Uh uh.

    You postulated. NOT the same thing as “showed:”

    From Merriam-Webster:

    Definition of POSTULATE

    1 : demand, claim
    2 a : to assume or claim as true, existent, or necessary

    NO, California has not been under Democratic control for 100 years.

    Didn’t say that, did I Glenn? Go ahead, go back and look; I’ll wait…

    [Waits patiently, smiling at the pretty girls passing by…]

    Yup. I said MOST of the last 100 years

  • zingzing

    “I said MOST of the last 100 years”

    and then a republican ran it into the ground. big whoop. what’s your point?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    They knew within 24 hours — govt. officials (both American AND Libyan) have admitted that. They stonewalled with their cockamamie story for a week!. And you talk about me defending the Republicans!!

    So…why then would they do that? What would be the gain? What would (in THEIR opinion) be the positive result of lying about what happened?

    What I’m asking you to do, Clav, is to present THEIR side of the story, to show that you can be even-handed in your presentation of an issue. And don’t go telling me that you won’t because I don’t, because no liberal on this blog has defended Republican presidents more than I have, since with the exception of Iran-Contra I’ve had nothing but good to say about Reagan and Bush 41, I’ve repeatedly held Eisenhower as worthy of emulation, and I don’t think I’ve ever said much bad about Nixon! The ONLY Republicans I’ve gone after – and I’ve done so with relish! – are the looney-tuners that have been in control of the GOP since Bush 41 left office.

    Come to think of it, you said:

    What a naive, starry-eyed idealist you are! Betcha believe in god, too…

    Gee, which party is it that wears religion on its sleeve? Oh, yeah, the REPUBLICANS. But since they’re quote-unquote conservative, well, THAT makes their religious delusions okay in your eyes, I guess.

    And as far as ‘showed’ goes, did you see the words immediately following: “it was likely”? The only certainty I presented was that there was a likelihood…

    …and in any case you did not – more likely, could not – effectively detract from my refutation of the article, but decided to cherry-pick instead. I showed – SHOWED – you the problems with the article. Feel free to SHOW me where I was wrong.

    Oh, and one more thing! Your claim that California has been MOSTLY controlled by the Democrats for the past 100 years is patently FALSE, since of the 32 governors since 1862, 20 of them have been Republican. Furthermore, of the 39 terms served by CA governors since then, 25 of them were served by Republicans.

    If we limit it to only the past 100 years, the ratio of governors is 12 Dem and 10 GOP, BUT the more important metric – actual terms served – is NINE Democratic and SEVENTEEN terms of GOP governorship.

    So…how are you going to tap-dance out of this one?

  • Clav

    What would (in THEIR opinion) be the positive result of lying about what happened?

    It was an admittedly stupid (but then stupid has been the hallmark for most of this administration — stupid and, as my friend Dan Miller notes, hubris) attempt to deceive the public into thinking that the “riots” were nothing more than reactions to the silly YouTube film — it was a distraction, an attempt to prevent the voters from connecting the dots that point to the gross mismanagement and mishandling of the problems in the Middle East by Obama and his administration — mismanagement which has resulted in incidents like Bengazhi, resulted in the Muslim Brotherhood completely taking over Egypt during their watch and losing us the strongest ally we had in the Arab world, and of course the cowardly and craven betrayal of Israel. Each of these can and should cost them the election, and they know that, hence the clumsy attempt to minimize a very serious situation and pass it off as a reaction to some foolish kid’s idiotic piece (for that’s all it is, it’s not even complete) of “film.”

    And you think you have “refuted” the article?? You really are living in your own alternative Democratic la-la land. You haven;t even scratched the surface. Much of the fourth estate, even some traditionally liberal papers like the NYT and the WaPo are all over the “president” and his clowns on this one. Go do some reading Glenn, and this time try to comprehend what you read.

  • Clav

    But since they’re quote-unquote conservative, well, THAT makes their religious delusions okay in your eyes, I guess.

    Nope, I think you’re all (believers, worldwide, regardless of race, nationality or party affiliation), fruitcakes in that regard.

  • Zingzing

    Clavos, what exactly would you have him do? I’m not sure how much control he has over middle eastern nations, much less nations that are in the middle of revolutions. Should Obama have supported the former regimes? Would it have made a difference? And why do you give him the apparent power to decide what gov’t the people of these nations have? (it’s rather odd that you bitch about him exercising too much power, then not enough… Dizzying stuff.) Should the USA be in charge of everything? I’m guessing you’re not really thinking through your froth at this point.

    As for Israel, conservatives and libs have disagreed about our policy concerning Israel for years. You can call it “cowardly” and a “betrayal,” but it’s a bit like complaining the other football team would dare want to score on you.

  • Deano

    Clavos,

    I think you are accurate in your summation of the administration’s response to the events in Libya, but its a bit rich to lay the long-simmering problems across the Middle East at Obama’s feet. The issues with unemployment, political opposition , economic malaise and fundamentalism have been brewing for thirty years. Obama just ain’t that important and neither is the US – this has local roots that run far deep. You honestly just don’t have that much influence.

    In all honesty I suspect that Bush “shattering the chalice” by overthrowing Saddam and encouraging “democratization” was probably more of a significant factor than anything Obama has or hasn’t done. Wasn’t the “winds of democracy sweeping the region” the overall cited plan?

    Obama’s foreign policy has been relatively status quo aside from attempting to mend the many fences and relationships Bush trampled.

    Lastly I can’t see a huge amount that anyone else would have done differently. You can’t sound off about the glories of a democratization and then turn around and support the dictatorial crushing of the uprising and movement you were encouraging….

    well, maybe you can but it doesn’t generally end well.

    Your original point about the admisnitration screwing up was valid and stands, but the rest of your dung flinging argument with Glenn is mostly just the usual political claptrap….and Glenn, c’mon, its pretty clear they screwed this one up badly, unless you’re up for a Congressional seat you might want to admit it.

  • Igor

    @37-Clav: actually, California had republican governors 25 of the last 30 years. The legislature is democrat dominated, but money bills are controled by the super-majority requirement, which works in republican favor.

  • Clav

    Interesting article about the Benghazi SNAFU in today’s Wall Street Journal.

    Here’s a quote:

    “The U.S. ignores warnings of a parlous security situation in Benghazi. Nothing happens because nobody is really paying attention, especially in an election year, and because Libya is supposed to be a foreign-policy success. When something does happen, the administration’s concerns for the safety of Americans are subordinated to considerations of Libyan “sovereignty” and the need for “permission.” After the attack the administration blames a video, perhaps because it would be politically inconvenient to note that al Qaeda is far from defeated, and that we are no more popular under Mr. Obama than we were under George W. Bush. Denouncing the video also appeals to the administration’s reflexive habits of blaming America first. Once that story falls apart, it’s time to blame the intel munchkins and move on.”

  • Clav

    Igor:

    Thanks for the clarification. I amend my original comment about California to: it’s a great example of what happens when politicians and the government are allowed free rein over the people.

    It really doesn’t matter whether they are Democrats or Republicans; they will screw up regardless.

    And they are. Daily.

    cf: Benghazi.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    If you aren’t going to place any blame for CA’s financial woes on the voters who pass propositions the state can’t afford to fund, you shouldn’t be talking about CA politics.

  • Clav

    Bicho, that’s self evident. In the final analysis, the voters bear the ultimate responsibility for every fuckup who gets elected (and much more rarely, the credit for every “good” politician elected).

    Still, you bring up an interesting point, because it would seem that CA voters are much more inclined to elect the kind of candidates who will “give” them things (like phones?) than the voters of, say, Georgia.

  • Clav

    Bicho, apologies for not focusing directly on your exact point in my 52, but I know you get the idea anyway.

    For me, the scariest thing about the contemporary American political scene is that we seem to be in a headlong rush to vindicate the prophetic aspect of this quote from an unknown author:

    “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.”

    As it so often seems to have been throughout my lifetime, CA is once again the point man of a new American trend, only this time, a disastrous one.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Thanks for the clarification. I amend my original comment about California to: it’s a great example of what happens when politicians and the government are allowed free rein over the people. It really doesn’t matter whether they are Democrats or Republicans; they will screw up regardless.

    Gee, talk about spin! Exactly how is this different from any particular politician saying “I misspoke”? Be careful about letting personal pride get in the way of honor, Clav.

    Bicho, that’s self evident. In the final analysis, the voters bear the ultimate responsibility for every fuckup who gets elected (and much more rarely, the credit for every “good” politician elected). Still, you bring up an interesting point, because it would seem that CA voters are much more inclined to elect the kind of candidates who will “give” them things (like phones?) than the voters of, say, Georgia.

    Clav, you do know that the ‘free phones’ thing started under Bush, don’t you? Or did Fox News forget to tell you that? And it looks very much like you want to compare the success of blue states versus red states! Should I AGAIN bring out the list of metrics about how crime, education level, income level, percentage of people with health insurance, teenage pregnancy rate, life expectancy, and birth mortality rate are ALL generally better in blue states than in red states?

    “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.”

    Like, say, Switzerland?

    Tell me, Clav – after the end of the great empires, what form of government on earth has lasted longest?

    Democracy.

    AND, in the modern world, what form of government has lasted longest?

    SOCIALIZED democracy.

    AND how many first-world socialized democracies have declared war upon one another?

    NONE.

    It’s hard to argue with concrete results, Clav. But you’ll still try, I know.

  • Clav

    you do know that the ‘free phones’ thing started under Bush, don’t you?

    So what? He’s one of the bad ones; everybody but he and his Mom and Dad agree on that point. Why do you ALWAYS have to get partisan, Glenn? I didn’t even use the words Democratic or Republican; I was talking about politicians, Glenn, I wasn’t talking about parties, so your pointing out that Bush was the first to give that greedy woman on the video a phone is irrelevant, except that it adds to Bush’s reputation as a shitty prez

    AND, in the modern world, what form of government has lasted longest?

    SOCIALIZED democracy.

    Well, let’s see if they (and we) are able to dig themselves out of the financial hole we’re all in; CA hasn’t succeeded yet.

    But your whole diatribe about “first world democracies” is inconclusive, Glenn, it ain’t over until the fat broad sings…

    And it looks very much like you want to compare the success of blue states versus red states!

    Where did I say that?

    Like, say, Switzerland?

    Switzerland? Where they keep all the money discreetly? THAT Switzerland? No, I have no beef with Switzerland and have never visited it and probably never will.

    I was thinking more of the Untidy States of America..

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    I disagree that’s it’s self evident, Clavos. Certainly not to the majority of CA voters, and it goes beyond putting the wrong people in office, which can at least be remedied. In CA, the citizens get to vote directly on spending and they don’t get enough blame for their wrong-headed decisions that are sending the state to bankruptcy.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    I didn’t even use the words Democratic or Republican; I was talking about politicians, Glenn, I wasn’t talking about parties, so your pointing out that Bush was the first to give that greedy woman on the video a phone is irrelevant

    Except for the “controlled by the Democrats” bit which you ‘amended’ (which is really not any different from “misspeaking”), and then your clear comparison between a blue state and a red state. Do you not see how transparent you are, despite your attempts to “ahem, well, what I really meant was…”

    In today’s political environment, Clavos, you know very well that the GOP is almost exclusively conservative and the Dems are fairly liberal (though a case can be made that we’ve gone somewhat towards the right). So when you make a comment about a certain type of state or political attitude, it is quite obvious about whom you’re referring.

    Well, let’s see if they (and we) are able to dig themselves out of the financial hole we’re all in; CA hasn’t succeeded yet. But your whole diatribe about “first world democracies” is inconclusive, Glenn, it ain’t over until the fat broad sings…

    EXCUSE YOU, but what governments are the longest-lasting in the world today? That was the question, and you’re trying your damnedest from admitting the answer. Not only that, but you’re presenting precisely zero alternatives, and it would reflect better on you if you showed the wherewithal (which you DO have) to not just bitch about something, but to present a better idea with which to replace that something. You presented the quote bitching about democracy…but you not only presented zero alternatives but also flatly ignored the obvious fact that in the modern world, there’s no other political system that is as long-lived.

    Switzerland? Where they keep all the money discreetly? THAT Switzerland? No, I have no beef with Switzerland and have never visited it and probably never will. I was thinking more of the Untidy States of America..

    EXCUSE YOU, but when you post something that states that democracy itself is only temporary, you bring a lot more than just America into the equation. You know very well why I included Switzerland, and it ill becomes you to pretend otherwise.

  • Clav

    GOP is almost exclusively conservative

    Not “almost,” Glenn it IS…

    EXCUSE YOU

    Not your place, Glenn.

    When I want to be “excused,” I’ll ask for it myself.

    I finally figured out what you’re going on about in terms of my supposed comparisn of a red stae to a blue state; I know you won’t believe me, but I only mentioned Georgia because my wife was born and raised there and has returned to accept a job there — get this: with the state!!! She will soon be an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at Georgia State University — she’s gonna be a gummint employee!!. My wife!!! Oh, the shame! The shame!

    So, that said, I’ll change half of my comparison, because it really wasn’t my intention to do the red/blue thing, I find it tiresome, and certainly don’t want to promote the concept. So, NOW I’ll say, … it would seem that CA voters are much more inclined to elect the kind of candidates who will “give” them things (like phones?) than the voters of, say, Washington [state].

  • Clav

    I must admit, EB, that I had forgotten about all those pesky “Propositions.” I see your point (I think), but why would the elected officials be motivated to rectify the situation when they benefit so directly when the people vote to spend more money?

    I’d say that mess is a hell of an object lesson for the rest of the states.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Oh, I don’t mean to deflect from the elected officials and their poor handling of things. They have undeniably done a fine job making a mess of things. I just prefer to see everyone responsible take their fair share of the blame.

  • Igor

    In CA most of the propositions are put forward by corporations or groups of corps, referred to as “trade groups”. They are VERY designed for advantages to those corps and against the general citizen. But they always have a thin patina of popular support: for example, an auto insurance prop this year sounds like it will reduce auto insurance rates, but actually it will increase rates. Corps have found it easy to hire a slick-talking lawyer to draft these things and they have plenty money to finance petition pushers to get signatures at every shopping mall, etc.

    The poster child for bad propositions is the famous “Prop 13″ from IIRC 1978, which sounds like a property tax break for retiring people, but has actually turned into a HUGE property tax break for corps (they finesse the re-assessment-at-sale clause by incorporating the land separate from the building so that the land is never sold, just the holding corp).

  • Igor

    So you can’t blame CAs money problems on witless childlike citizens, when most of the problems were caused by corporate greed and manipulation.

    For example, CA is the only oil-producing state that does NOT require an extraction tax.

  • Clav

    most of the problems were caused by corporate greed and manipulation.

    Which, in large part, succeeded because the citizens (not just of CA) are, in addition to “witless and childlike,” greedy.

    And the predators are smart enough to take advantage of that greed.

  • Clav

    The “blame,” (if that’s the word) belongs, to some degree, on both ends of the equation.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Now, now, Igor, you know very well that Thou Shalt Not blame corporations or anyone else on the Right. Clavos has already laid the blame where it belongs – on everyone but himself. He attacks what he doesn’t like, but rarely says what he supports. He says all political parties are just as bad as all the others – though strangely enough, rarely attacks the Right and almost exclusively attacks the Left (especially since this article was straight out of the Right-wing media).

    But come to think of it, this reminds me of a saying back in the Navy: “Sailors ain’t happy unless they have something to bitch about”. So I guess if I consider Clavos in that light, he’s not so bad, and probably someone you’d love to have a beer with.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Which, in large part, succeeded because the citizens (not just of CA) are, in addition to “witless and childlike,” greedy. And the predators are smart enough to take advantage of that greed.

    Didn’t you say something untoward about “70% of everyone”?

    Clav, though you know I think highly of you, I really feel for you when it comes to your cynicism, for it means that for the most part, you don’t seem to allow yourself to empathize with others…for without some form of empathy, it’s impossible to really know what’s in the hearts of people, and what their motivating factors really are.

    Without empathy, all you’re left with are assumptions.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clav –

    Depends on what’s being played, zing. If it’s the yacht sales game, you can bet I will do whatever I can that is legal and ethical to make it uneven in my favor.

    But is it ethical to do that which will prevent many thousands from voting supposedly to stop “in person” voter fraud – which is known to be almost nonexistent?

    And is it ethical to shorten the number of voting days in Democratic-leaning counties but keep the longer number of voting days in Republican-leaning counties, as the Secretary of State (a Republican) in Ohio tried to make happen?

    And THEN there’s the Democratic voter registrations that were thrown away by a GOP-hired voter-registration firm, and the registration forms where the GOP-hired registrars changed the party affiliation of the people from Democratic to GOP after the forms were turned in and the registrants left. ACORN’s voter registration fraud caused not a single fraudulent vote, but these efforts by the GOP WILL prevent thousands of properly registered people from voting.

    Of all our rights, perhaps the most precious one is the right to vote. What are we to say of those who would go out of their way to stop people from voting…especially since the firm (that the GOP has since fired) that largely committed these acts had already been caught doing some of the same things in previous elections!

    AND this voter registration fraud that has been committed on a nationwide basis is not present AT ALL on the Fox News website…which means that most right-wingers have no clue that their side has engaged in fraud that was much worse than anything committed by ACORN.

    “Ethics” means that the end does not justify the means. But we have one party that is just fine with stopping people from voting, and one side that wants everyone to vote. Truly, Clavos, which is more ethical? And before you reply, remember that in-person voting fraud is NOT a factor.

  • Clav

    Glenn,

    Need I point out that you are arguing from the specific (my comment about my personal position on my personal ethics in the performance of my job) to the general (your entire comment #67), which constitutes the Fallacy of Composition, which in turn, is one of the variations of the Fallacy of Distribution?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    That’s why I like you – you’re not afraid to toss a challenge in my direction that forces me to do some research!

    While on the one hand you’re quite right that it is wrong to argue from the specific to the general, on the other hand, is it wrong to examine one’s own ethical stance and expect to some extent a similar level of ethics from a group or organization? Or does acceptance of an organization despite its ethical shortcomings say nothing about one’s own ethics?

    And those are honest questions, only my curiosity asking, not my hair-trigger political reflexes.

  • Igor

    Corporations are neither good nor evil, intrinsically, but they have so much power and so much legal cover that they amplify the power of the people who operate them, and that is mainly the executives, because in modern corps the board of directors (which might represent the interests of all stakeholders) have been marginalized, a fact which is no mystery to anyone who’s watched the decline of the BoD in the past 30 years. There is little or no defense against executives willing to do evil things.

    Thus, when a CFO goes to the CEO and says “I can save a million dollars a year in CA property tax by incorporating a holding company to own the land our billion dollar headquarters are being built on because of the loophole in Prop13″, the CEO is going to say “do it”, in spite of that action depriving CA of justified property taxes.

    The basic problem is that corps have too much power and are exempted from too much responsibility. Just like the banks that fleeced us during the last few years.

    You’ve GOT to have good regulations, properly enforced, in the business world.