Thursday, May 8, 2014

The cancer is spreading -- or, more accurately, the cancer is being discovered to have spread. As we suspected would be the case.

Beyond the longstanding allegations and evidence of widespread neglect and egregiously substandard care, various systems and facilities within the Veterans Affairs healthcare network have been accused of falsifying records in order to escape scrutiny and accountability for those failures. The first salvo came from a doctor who blew the whistle on the corrupt modus operandi within the Phoenix system. Top administrators there have been placed on leave. Nearly identical claims have since arisen in Colorado, and now two more apparent examples have cropped up in Texas:
A Department of Veterans Affairs scheduling clerk has accused VA officials in Austin and San Antonio of manipulating medical appointment data in an attempt to hide long wait times to see doctors and psychiatrists, the American-Statesman has learned. 
In communications with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal investigative body that protects government whistleblowers, the 40-year-old VA employee said he and others were “verbally directed by lead clerks, supervisors, and during training” to ensure that wait times at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic and the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio were “as close to zero days as possible.” The medical support assistant, who is seeking whistleblower protection and has been advised to remain anonymous by federal investigators, said he and other clerks achieved that by falsely logging patients’ desired appointment dates to sync with appointment openings. That made it appear there was little to no wait time, and ideally less than the department’s goal of 14 days. In reality, the clerk said, wait times for appointments could be as long as three months.
The dam has broken. The VA's endemic 'cover-up' culture is exposed. One incident can be fairly dismissed as isolated. A second begins to generate some smoke. Four and counting is a political conflagration that demands a thorough investigation and accountability; the inferno may end up bringing down Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. Two Senators have now called for his resignation, as has Senate candidate Scott Brown in New Hamsphire. The American Legion wants Shinseki gone, too -- though the VFW is being more circumspect on that question, while expressing grave concerns over what's come to light. So far. Here's Kansas Senator Jerry Moran making the case that Shinseki should lose his job:

Click on link to see video:

The Obama administration -- which has become notorious for its lax commitment to accountability -- has thus far expressed confidence in Shinseki, who defiantly says he isn't going anywhere. America's sweetheart, Harry Reid, even took a brief detour from his pet obsession to go to bat for the embattled cabinet secretary:
Reid responded to the Republican complaints by saying talk of a departure is premature. ”This is the same guy that was ordered to step down [from the U.S. Army] when he said we would need more troops in Iraq. He was fired there. He is a fine man. He’s a disabled veteran from the Vietnam conflict,” Reid said. “The issue that came up in Phoenix, these are allegations and there will be a complete investigation of that that’s gone on. “Certainly it doesn’t call for the general to resign. He’s been given a tremendous burden,” Reid added. “We have millions of veterans who are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Ed Morrissey fact-checks Reid's historical commentary and blows a major hole through his primary apologia on Shinseki's behalf:
Shinseki wasn’t “fired” for his advice on the Iraq War; his retirement had already been announced prior to that, although he was pointedly not asked to stick around. Reid talks about the burden that Congress imposed on Shinseki by demanding better record-keeping at the VA, but he’s been VA Secretary since January 2009, more than five years ago. Shinseki is responsible for the issues of access and wait times, and now it appears that multiple offices have been told to falsify records to comply with Congress’ mandate on wait times. If Shinseki’s not responsible for the VA’s performance and lack thereof after 5-plus years, exactly who is?
An entirely reasonable question to which Reid would likely have a ludicrous answer. I'm not going to flog the single payer point in this post, as it would feel like beating a dead horse. But that policy horse isn't dead on the Left; liberals are intent on ushering America toward a nationalized regime in which the entire system would operate like the dysfunctional, impersonal VA. This controversy might serve as a "teachable moment," as the president likes to say.
Iran’s rulers brutalize their own citizens, sponsor terrorism on several continents, and openly vow “Death to America!” They are determined to acquire the ability to develop nuclear weapons and deliver them to targets anywhere in the world. Can President Obama stop them? That’s not the question.

Or rather, that’s not the question now being asked by the keenest observers of the diplomatic dance underway between Iran and the U.S. What they are asking instead:

Is Obama serious about trying to stop Tehran’s revolutionary theocrats from becoming nuclear-armed – or is that not really his goal at this point?

“The fear,” a former senior intelligence official told me, “is that the Iranians are going to pretend to give up their nuclear weapons program -- and we’re going to pretend to believe them.”

Similarly, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) last week told a large audience at the annual Washington Forum of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (the think tank I head): “No one wants a diplomatic solution more than I do. But it cannot be a deal for a deal’s sake. And I am worried they [President Obama and his advisors] want a deal more than they want the right deal.”

Michael Doran, a former senior director of the National Security Council, former Defense Department official, and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center, considered this possibility in a penetrating article in the journal, Mosaic, a few months back. He recalled that in 2012, Obama reiterated his pledge to do whatever might be necessary to prevent Iran from developing nukes -- even if that necessitates the use of force. “As president of the United States,” he emphasized to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, “I don’t bluff.”

Subsequently, of course, Obama not only bluffed – he had his bluff called by Iran’s client, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Obama had warned Assad not to use chemical weapons against his own people – if he did, he would cross a “red line” that would bring swift and painful punishment.

But, Mr. Doran wrote, after an August 2013 chemical attack that killed some 1,500 Syrians, “instead of ordering military action, the president decided to seek congressional authorization for the use of force, knowing full well that such a bill had little chance of passing.”

Mr. Obama’s aversion to the use of military power is understandable – and shared by most Americans. But one of the clearest lessons of history is that those who project strength end up using it sparingly, while those who project weakness invite their enemies to test them.

By declaring himself “war-weary,” by insisting – against the evidence – that al Qaeda is “on the path to defeat,” and “the tide of war is receding,” by shrinking the U.S. military, punting on Syria and responding fecklessly to Russian incursions in Ukraine, Mr. Obama has diminished his own credibility. That increases the likelihood that he will be left with a binary choice: war or capitulation.

And capitulation, albeit wrapped in fancy diplomatic language, looks increasingly likely in regards to Iran.

Economic warfare can be an alternative to military force but not when it’s pursued half-heartedly. A robust sanctions package carefully constructed by Congress (Republicans and Democrats alike) and signed by the president (to his credit), brought Iran to the negotiating table. But at that table, in Geneva in January, the president’s envoys concluded an interim Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) that eased the economic pressure -- a new IMF report finds Iran now experiencing a modest economic recovery -- in return for small potatoes on the weapons side.

Specifically, under the JPOA, Iran’s rulers are not required to dismantle their nuclear program – even in part. As Mr. Doran notes: “It pauses some aspects, while others proceed apace. A ‘research’ loophole allows the Iranians to continue work on advanced centrifuges. In short, Iran gets to have it both ways: to enjoy sanctions relief (the West’s part of the deal) while continuing to build up its nuclear program (Iran’s part of the deal).”

If stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program is not Obama’s real goal, what is? Most likely he foresees a system of deterrence and containment -- akin to the strategy that the U.S. pursued against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. What’s wrong with that?

First, it misreads history: The Cold War was a time of regional and proxy wars (for example in Korea, Vietnam, Latin America, Africa and Afghanistan), as well as moments when World War III could have broken out but didn’t thanks to American presidents willing and able to make credible threats (think of President Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962). In other words: A policy of containment most emphatically does require a major military component.

Second, even the most hardcore Soviets understood that “mutually assured destruction” would not be in their interest. By contrast, Iran’s theocrats may seriously believe that “martyrs” killed fighting “infidels” reap rewards in the afterlife. In other words: Deterrence, though effective against atheist ideologues, is a dubious policy against those whose religious duty is to defeat the enemies of God.

If a deal is struck with the Iranians over the coming months, expect it to feature technical formulas comprehensible only to experts: complex rules on how many centrifuges the Iranians may spin, how much uranium may be enriched to what levels, the size of stockpiles, and what international weapons inspectors may see.

Such a deal would let Iran’s rulers continue to move toward the nuclear finish line, while lifting most of the remaining economic pressure. Both sides would claim diplomacy had succeeded. About that, one side would be telling the truth. The other side, however, would be pretending.

Pamela Geller, Breitbart Column: Benghazi Cover-Up Blowing Up

Go over to Breitbart (here) and read what I gleaned from the Benghazi docs:
“Benghazi Cover-Up Blowing Up.”
Pamela Geller, Breitbart, May 7, 2014
We now have the evidence that the State Department knew right away that Benghazi was a jihad terror attack. We know that Susan Rice knew. Barack Obama also knew and lied to the American people.
The Democrats are threatening to boycott the select committee on the Benghazi jihad attack on September 11, 2012. The media is cheering their subterfuge on, hoping to normalize glaring un-Americanism, so that the president can easily follow suit. Once again, the Democrats overreach. Does the Watergate-flogging party mean to stump for the suppression of the truth about the slaughter of our countrymen? Is that their campaign platform? Do they really believe they are going to win on a platform of propaganda?
The emails make it perfectly clear that it was known from the outset that Islamic terrorists planned and coordinated the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi.
Treason is the accurate term for the actions of the Obama administration in the aftermath of Benghazi. The president knew within 24 hours that it was Islamic terror.
And yet in the post-Benghazi fallout, Obama continued to attack and blame free speech for the Benghazi slaughter. Obama, along with Hillary Clinton, starred in a paid advertisement condemning the video insulting Islam. These paid advertisements (funded with American taxpayer dollars) ran in Pakistan. This presidential attack on our freedom and our Constitution was the Obama administration’s primary response to the deadly Islamist attack on September 11, 2012.
He knew. He knew from the very first.
In reviewing the cache of new documents just released …continue reading here.
The post Pamela Geller, Breitbart Column: Benghazi Cover-Up Blowing Up appeared first on Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs.

Muslims against the First Amendment concoct a report saying criticism of Islam on the internet, which it defines as ‘hate speech,’ can lead to violence

From: Bare Naked Islam

amicCorrectnesse13672765842211-viA new report shows that ‘Islamophobia’ is metastasizing on the Internet. After anti-Muslim sentiment crystallized in 2010 around the proposed Ground Zero Victory Mosque in Manhattan, there’s been a sharp increase in such feelings.

The Progressive (aka The Communist)  “In recent years, we have seen hate groups and anti-Muslim activists use the Internet and social media platforms to spread hate,” Madihha Ahussain, staff attorney at Muslim Advocates and lead author of the report, tells me. “For example, Pamela Geller, a well-known anti-Muslim proponent who has her own blog, had 19,000 supporters on Facebook last summer. Today, less than a year later, she has over 78,000 supporters.”


The report is entitled, “Click Here to End Hate: Anti-Muslim Bigotry Online & How to Take Action.” It mentions several hate groups.


BDS0rk3CIAA3Za4_jpglargevi-viThere’s Act! for America, led by Brigitte Gabriel, who, the New York Times reports, “presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion.” Her outfit claims to have roughly 875 chapters and 279,000 members nationwide. 


Its Facebook page has almost 84,000 likes.


The United States Defense League, dedicated to “exposing Shariah law,” has nearly 23,000 likes for its page.



A blog named Bare Naked Islam has a reported 51 million hits since 2008.


The report does a good job of highlighting disturbing use of social media by elected representatives.


“It’s quite troubling to see the extent of hate online, particularly when it comes from public officials and public figures that are using their personal Facebook pages or social media accounts to encourage violence against American Muslims,”  Ahussain says. “It’s clear that anti-Muslim bigotry online is alive and well on these various social media platforms.” 


The report cites the case of a Tennessee county commissioner, Barry West, who posted a Facebook picture of a man aiming his gun with one eye closed. The photo was captioned: “How to Wink at a Muslim.”



And there is the online spewing of hate by public commentators. After the April Fort Hood shooting, Patrick Dollard, a documentary filmmaker and past Breitbart News contributor, tweeted, “If there is even one more act of Muslim terrorism, it is then time for Americans to start slaughtering Muslims in the streets, all of them.” In the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings, Fox news contributor Erik Rush was more succinct: “Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.”


Ahussain and her colleagues recommend some things that can be done to fight such hate without violating free speech. “The report focuses on two methods of responding to hate online: using the tools that Internet companies have put in place to report content that violates their policies, and engaging in counterspeech,” Ahussain says. 


blasphemylawcrime-vi“Counterspeech has been a powerful antidote to bigotry that can completely transform a hate-fueled conversation into something productive and positive,” she adds. “We were inspired by the research surrounding counterspeech and how powerful it can be. In research that Twitter shared with us for the report, we saw that social media users often use ridicule and humor to drown out hate and we hope that this report will encourage others to do the same.”


Ahussain wants the White House to address such bigotry. “We recommend that the White House convene a national-level dialogue on hate against religious communities,” she says, “and invite Internet companies to participate in discussions about how to address this issue.”


Islamiscoming610x400-viRecent events have proven the report’s relevance.


“Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures,” Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is reported to have said in remarks that leaked public in the past few days. “They didn’t bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship.”



And California GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly recently reposted on his Twitter account an article accusing primary opponent Neel Kashkari of assisting in the imposition of Shariah law when he was part of the Treasury Department in the Bush Administration.

Dick Morris: We're Missing the Wrong Benghazi Talking Points
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

  / Newsmax

We’ve been looking in the wrong place.

Until now, anyone trying to figure out what really happened at Benghazi has examined the “talking points” prepared by the CIA on Sept. 14, 2012 that Obama’s former UN Ambassador Susan Rice supposedly relied on. Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows two days later and on each show, she falsely claimed that an internet video caused a “spontaneous” demonstration that eventually erupted into the deadly violence in Benghazi.

But that never made sense, because the CIA memo never mentioned anything about a video.

So where did she get that completely erroneous information?

Straight from the Obama White House, that’s where.

Last week’s release of the “smoking gun” email from White House NSA staffer Ben Rhodes demonstrates that he provided Rice with additional talking points for her upcoming appearances, and makes it clear that there was a second secret set of talking points. Those were the ones Rice actually relied on. That’s where she got the phony stories about the internet video and the unplanned demonstrations.

Almost immediately after the attack, Obama’s political operatives began a coordinated public relations campaign - on two fronts - to protect the President’s image during the presidential campaign. This was done by creating parallel talking point memos on Benghazi.

One set came from the CIA, at the request of Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. That’s the one we all know about.

But there was another, more extensive, more political and more explosive document that was also in the works on Sept. 14, 2012. That secret memo advised then UN Secretary Susan Rice to make the false claims.

The CIA talking points -- which have received endless scrutiny --never even mentioned the Internet video. Indeed, former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell confessed to being surprised when he saw Rice blame the Benghazi attack on the video. He later told Congress “that’s not something the [CIA[ analysts have attributed the attack to.” According to Morell, he didn’t even know that Rice was going on TV and he didn’t know if she even received the “talking points.”

Morell knew it wasn’t about the video and he also knew there had been no protest, either. Just hours after the CIA sent its “Talking Points” memo to Congressman Rogers on Sept. 15, 2012, the CIA Libyan Station Chief reported that there had been no ground demonstrations. Morel reported this information to Denis McDonough, Obama’s National Security Adviser (the CIA didn’t bother to correct their own talking points).

So before Rice went on TV, the White House knew that the directions they were giving to Rice lacked even a shred of truth. But that didn’t stop them from spreading the fake propaganda.

Until this week, only the CIA “talking points” were made public. There was no reason to assume there was another set of talking points.

But now we know.

The second set of talking points was pure political spin created by the White House in order to maintain the campaign fiction that al-Qaida was on the run after the assassination of Osama bin Laden. And they didn’t want anyone to know about it.

The directive to Rice was found in an extensive email only recently disclosed after a court order in the Judicial Watch lawsuit. The White House failed to produce it to Congress when it subpoenaed documents related to Benghazi in 2013. It's not surprising that the Obama administration wanted to keep it from the public. Entitled “PREP CALL with Susan,” the email included specific propaganda goals and inaccurate points they wanted Rice to make on the Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16, 2012.

Straddling between the two documents was Obama speech writer and foreign policy spinner Ben Rhodes, who along with authoring the email to Rice, was busily emailing back and forth with CIA, NSA, and State Department policy makers. Rhodes was ambidextrous that day - working on the CIA Talking Points on the one hand and Rice Talking Points on the other.

Rhodes circulated the White House talking points to all the political operatives in the Obama universe and to Rice’s deputy. He sent it to the Obama campaign spin doctors and political staff, including former Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe, who The New York Times described at the time as “the main orchestrator of the White House message, political strategy and day-to-day presentation of the candidate [in the 2012 election]," and to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest, then-White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer and then-White House Deputy Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri., So all of Obama’s close political cronies were aware of the audacious decision to invent an alternate narrative about the cause of the attack.

Unlike the CIA “talking points”, the Rhodes directives to Susan Rice emphasized the importance of maximizing the false storyline of “Internet video” that triggered the “protests:”

Rhodes suggested specific goals for the interview:

“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy…

Since we began to see protests in response to this Internet video, the president has directed the Administration to take a number of steps. His top priority has been the safety and security of all Americans serving abroad (emphasis added)."

Rhodes also attached Hillary Clinton’s previous remarks blaming the attack on the video,a press report discussing the video and the need to respect all religions, and some sample answers to anticipated questions. So, it was from the Rhodes memo, not from the CIA talking points that Susan Rice got the idea that she had to blame the Benghazi deaths on the video.

And for the past year and a half, neither Rice nor Obama’s political operatives have disclosed the second memo when questioned about the basis for Rice’s statements.

By concocting a second set of “talking points” and pushing a fake storyline that deliberately mischaracterized the attack a the Obama Administration was groping for political cover.

Now, instead of cover, they’ve got more political problems.

Stay tuned.

Kerry and the pipeline...more reasons to seethe
By: Diane Sori 
"Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game."
- Darrell Issa's response to John Kerry's refusal to testify on Benghazi

What a surprise this is NOT as our ever-loving Secretary of State, John 'Swiftboat' Kerry, will NOT comply with the subpoena he received to appear on May 21st before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But hey, this is the very same man who last year went yachting and kayaking as Egypt was on fire.

In a statement released by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, it appears Kerry had prearranged plans to be in Mexico on the day Issa wanted him to testify, but if truth be told he needs to cancel those plans and reschedule them for another time as right now Benghazi trumps all, and anyway Mexico needs him butting into their business as much as Israel needed him butting into theirs.

“We were all surprised, quite frankly, that instead of working with us and reaching out to us and offering first an invitation to testify, that Chairman Issa jumped immediately to subpoenaing the Secretary,”
Harf said.

Typical response as Issa knew what the answer would be NO matter what date he put on the subpoena as this administration and all in it are masters of excuses and running in Obama jetting off to a Las Vegas fundraiser in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attacks. And while the State Department spokeswoman did say they are still open to discussing a possible Kerry appearance before Issa's committee at some other point in they really have a choice...this stonewalling just delays the inevitable as Benghazi is NOT going away NO matter how the Democrats wish it would. Remember, the reason Issa issued the subpoena in the first place is that all in the Obama administration refuse to give answers... truthful answers that is. And NO matter how much the Democrats whine that the Issa investigation...along with the newly announced 'select committee' headed by Trey NOTHING but political posturing by the Republicans it...Benghazi... still is NOT going away...period.
And know that political posturing has NOTHING to do with this subpoena as the reason John Kerry is being called to testify is because he...the man who became Hillary 'What Does It Matter' Clinton's replacement and who now has access to all the Clinton State Department's Benghazi documents....and now his State Department failed to produce all the documents "to meet its legal obligations" relating to the Benghazi attack and the State Department's response to it when Issa asked for them.

“This disregard for the rule of law is even more disturbing considering your agency’s role in encouraging governments throughout the world to respect the rule of law and the authority of representative government brought to office through free and fair elections,” Issa said in a letter to Kerry.

And of course playing tit-for-tat the State Department's response was, "We strongly disagree with that...We've produced tens of thousands of documents." Yeah they have but NONE of what they produced dared to produce the truth about what happened that fateful night...all the released documents proved was the existence of LIES and cover-ups...something Issa and the rest of us already knew.

And then adding to this is that last week Speaker of the House John Boehner...after fearing for his Speaker position and only because of that...announced he is creating a 'select committee' to examine all things Benghazi and that Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) would head the investigation that would include seven Republicans and five Democrats...that is if the Democrats do NOT boycott this election-year investigation that could add to their election problems on top of the problems they're now encountering because of ObamaCare.

Again thinking only of themselves and getting re-elected to their cushy jobs instead of doing what's right for the country and doing what's right for the families of Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty...the Democrats prove their loyalties continue to lie with the Obama agenda instead of with the truth. 
And so as we wait for the vote to authorize the 'select committee'...expected to come sometime this week...'Prince' Harry Reid is trying to stall yet again a Senate vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline...a pipeline that would put thousands of Americans back to work...because supporters of the bill want it voted on as an amendment to an energy efficiency bill that is up for vote next Tuesday. NOT yet announcing how amendments will be handled, Reid knows a standalone vote on the Keystone bill would avoid the risk of it becoming part of said energy efficiency bill...a bill that could result in a veto from Obama.

57 Senators...three short of the 60 needed for passage...have put forth a bi-partisan bill to authorize an immediate start to construction of the pipeline. Sponsored by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and John Hoeven (R-ND) this bill would try to bypass the Obama administration's long review process that would essentially stall a vote until after the November mid-terms. And Reid just might pull it off because right now there is NOT enough support to overcome a filibuster from Democratic opponents of the know those Democrats in the money pockets of the big environmental lobby.

So now we have the Benghazi investigation getting much unneeded added drama thanks to Mr. Swiftboat himself and 'Prince' Harry once again being a thorn in all things good for America...and you wonder why I'm seething again...but hey...Michelle Obama says her life is more difficult than a soldier’s so all must be OK on the home front...yeah right.