Benghazi: Obama vs. Bush (Memes)

Reposted For The Anniversary

below are pieces posted 6-13-2014 but the original date posted was 2012 on FaceBook.

Also note the phone calls that also showed almost immediately that Benghazi was a well-orchestrated terrorist attack. All covered up to ensure reelection.


Here is a portion (large portion, but I recommend reading it all) of Kyle Becker’s article from the Independent Journal Review:

 

One of the best-known versions of this meme is the ridiculous screed at Huffington Post “13 Benghazis That Occurred on Bush’s Watch Without a Peep from Fox News,” which has around 90K shares and likely well over a million views.

The post was nearly replicated on numerous left-wing sites, such as DailyKos, the Daily Banter, and PolicyMic.

Here goes: the “13 Benghazis That Occurred on Bush’s Watch Without a Peep from Fox News” – cases versus reality.

1.  HUFFPO: THIS WAS JUST LIKE BENGHAZI.

January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.”

REALITY: NONE WERE AMERICAN. (The Tribune)

 2. HUFFPO: THIS WAS JUST LIKE BENGHAZI.

June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al Qaeda attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.”

REALITY: NONE WERE AMERICAN. (BBC)

3. HUFFPO: THIS WAS JUST LIKE BENGHAZI.

October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of ‘Bali Bombings.’ No fatalities.”

REALITY: NONE WERE AMERICAN.

You said it, Huffington Post.

4. HUFFPO: THIS WAS JUST LIKE BENGHAZI.

February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.”

REALITY: NONE WERE AMERICAN. (Fox News)

5. HUFFPO: THIS WAS JUST LIKE BENGHAZI.

May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al Qaeda terrorists storm the diplomatic compound, killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.”

REALITY: NINE AMERICAN DEFENSE CONTRACTORS KILLED.

After numerous State Department warnings, and Saudi Arabia investigating al Qaeda for a potential planned attack, three defense compounds were assaulted with car bombs and armed attackers. Nine defense contractors were killed.

Bush immediately called the attack part of the “war on terror,” and two of the attackers that survived the raid were killed by Saudi police forces. You know, just like Benghazi. (CNN)

6. HUFFPO: THIS WAS JUST LIKE BENGHAZI.

July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.”

REALITY: NONE WERE AMERICAN. (BBC)

7. HUFFPO: THIS WAS JUST LIKE BENGHAZI.

December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.”

REALITY: NONE WERE AMERICAN. (Guardian)

[….]

13.  HUFFPO: THIS WAS JUST LIKE BENGHAZI.

September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.”

REALITY: NONE WERE AMERICAN.

“Attackers used vehicle bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons to mount a coordinated assault on the U.S. Embassy here Wednesday, leaving 10 guards and civilians dead outside the main gate but failing to breach the walled compound. No Americans were killed.” (Washington Post); (CSM)

(Even if there was misreportage, no embassy officials were killed or missing, and those who were killed were done so in a matter of minutes.)

So of all the Americans killed, only one was a diplomat, and he was killed almost instantly. Nine others were defense contractors.

It is my belief that this “13 Benghazis” post was published with the intention of deceiving the public. It may have been an attempt at persuading Americans to dismiss further inquiry into how the Benghazi terror attack was handled and how it was reported to the public….

…read it all…


I wanted to update this post (5-2013) just a bit with a challenge along similar veins by Bob Beckel on the Five, and Dana Perino’s response to his muddled thinking (the short exchange is HERE if you wish):

Bob Woodward compares to Watergate:

(Original 2012 post)

Back to the older response to an acquaintance:

Media Matters, a Soros funded org, has infected liberal blogs with what they feel is a good argument or response to both Democrats and Republicans wanting to know what the failure was in Benghazi, Libya and how 4-Americans can die when they requested help a month prior. Here is a cut-n-paste of it as it was presented to me on FaceBook:

  • 2002 U.S. consulate-Karachi,Pakistan-Attacked-10 killed,51 injured 2004 U.S. Embassy bombed-Uzbekistan-2 killed,9 injured 2004 Gunmen storm U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia-8 killed 2006 Armed men attack U.S. Embassy in Syria-1 killed,several injured 2007 Grenade launched into U.S. Embassy in Athens 2008 Bombings at U.S. Embassy in Yemen-10 killed 2012 U.S. Annex in Benghazi, Libya attacked-4 killed. Republicans outraged and suddenly concerned with the safety and security of American’s abroad. Now they demand investigations.

Years of discussing religion and politics has taught me to check out what is presented, so I at least (I do have a life) looked into the first two examples… and a patter emerged.

Here are a couple of my responses to the above via my FaceBook.

The first is this:

Suicide Bomber for your 2002 example (Karachi), not a long, preplanned attack that more boots on the ground (that was both requested and called for earlier than the attack) could have prevented. IF in the 2002 Karachi, Pakistan attack they requested because they saw pre-planning on the terrorists part with additional intelligence an attack was eminent and they requested better fortified positions to stop vehicles (suicide attacks) from coming in [and these requests were denied], then I would be interested. Plus, NOT A SINGLE U.S. person died in the attack. All Pakistani. PLUS, even if U.S. personnel have died in an attack similar to Benghazi… they were most likely Marines protecting sovereign U.S. soil. The expectation of an ambassador is to be protected, not to fight. So your “well aware of the risks” argument is another conflated comparison.

You are creating straw-men arguments through conflation and non-sequiturs, and then comparing the two as if the same. Sloppy thinking Ross. No idea of the requested help a month before and during the attack. Dumb.

Here is the second example examined:

Your 2004 example of the U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia-8 killed

(BBC — 2004) …A Saudi security source told Reuters news agency that heavy security had prevented the attackers from getting into the Jeddah consulate by car…. All Americans who were at the consulate are reported to be safe…. Correspondents say security around the consulate has been extremely tight since a series of bombings by Islamic militants in Saudi Arabia began in 2003, mainly targeting buildings that house foreigners. They add that the attack must have been very well planned, given the security measures…. The embassy and the mission in Dhahran had been closed as a precaution following the Jeddah attack…. (BBC)

So, a synopsis of your 2004 example:

★ Many Defenses Due To Intel Because of Previous Attacks;
★ No Americans Died;
★ Other Sites Temporarily Closed Due To This Attack.

Libya:

★ No Defenses Even Though Previous Attacks On This Site and Intel and Requests;
★ Security was Decreased;
★ Not Closed Temporarily Even Though Attacked, Intel Was Coming In, And 9/11 Date.

APPLES AND ORANGES ~ Compare to Benghazi:


The U.S. mission in Benghazi, at an “emergency meeting” less than a month before the Sept. 11 attack, drafted a contingency plan to suspend operations as security deteriorated — and in the near-term, recommended that consulate operations be moved to the CIA annex about a mile away, according to a classified cable reviewed by Fox News.

The State Department’s senior representative at the consulate told those at the Aug. 15 meeting that the security situation was “trending negatively” and reported “this daily pattern of violence would be the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future, particularly given the minimal capabilities” of the Libyan security forces.

With no apparent reason to believe conditions would improve, the cable notified the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the “Emergency Action Committee” was updating “Post’s tripwires in light of the deteriorating security situation … to include a ‘suspension of operations’ section.”

The term “tripwire” refers to lines in the sand which, if crossed, cover personnel levels, security measures, and in this case, the extreme step of suspending operations.

The cable marked “SECRET” also said, of the possibility of moving the consulate operations: “Mission personnel could co-locate to the Annex (CIA outpost) if the security environment degraded suddenly. … (There was agreement) to formal weekly meetings to discuss the security environment. … In the longer term, we believe formal collocation with the (Annex) will greatly improve our security situation.”
The warnings reflected a grave concern among officials on the ground that the Libyan militia charged with protecting the consulate had been compromised, perhaps even infiltrated by extremists.

Summarizing the Aug. 15 meeting, the cable sent the following day reported that “certain sectors of the 17 February Brigade were very hesitant to share information with the Americans, but as the largest brigade they acted as a buffer for the Mission against some of the more anti-American, Islamist militias in town.” The brigade was charged with protecting the consulate.

Moving the consulate operations to the CIA annex might not have ultimately saved the four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in the Sept. 11 strike. The annex ended up coming under fire and was the site where two of the four Americans were killed.

But the concerns in the cable — which also warned Washington that the consulate could not be protected in the event of a “coordinated attack” and that “approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps” were known to operate within Benghazi — are further evidence that the U.S. mission in eastern Libya repeatedly warned Washington that they were a target.

The reference in the cable to the February 17 Brigade was significant.

This week, new documents recovered from the Benghazi compound by Foreign Policy magazine further support the classified cable’s prescient warning that the Libyan militia was compromised. In the early morning hours of Sept. 11, the consulate staff believed they were under surveillance. A document found by the magazine stated “this person was photographing the inside of the U.S. special mission and furthermore … this person was part of the police unit sent to protect the mission.”

This reporting is consistent with an online post from Sean Smith, an avid gamer, shortly before the consulate was overrun by terrorists and Smith was killed. As reported by Wired magazine shortly after the attack, Smith wrote: “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”

Days after the attack, an intelligence source on the ground in Libya told Fox News: “One thing for sure is that the 17 Brigade was nowhere to be found and the Americans were left on their own in the assault.” On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very bad, the intelligence source said the consulate security was “A 10 — total security failure. Benghazi was known to be a major area for extremist activities. Militias’ loyalty is easily bought and sold. Deals with militia leaders are worth nothing.”

The cable also shows the consulate staff and CIA leadership in Benghazi agreed to work hand-in-glove, which included reviewing “emergency action plans” and addressing areas of collaboration. ….

Read more: FOX NEWS

Also, there is more info about what the annex was capable of:

Sources who have debriefed the team that was at the CIA annex the night of the attack in Benghazi say that the CIA operators from the Global Response Staff, or GRS, were equipped with Mark 48 machine guns and had two types of laser capability. Each weapon had both a “passive” as well as a “visible” laser that could be used against the Libyan attackers.

The presence of laser capability on the roof of the CIA annex confirms what Fox News sources that night in Benghazi originally said, which is that they had laser capability and for 5 hours and 15 minutes were wondering where the usual overhead air support was, especially since, according to this source, they radioed from the annex beginning as early as midnight asking for it.

The presence of lasers raises more questions about why air support was not sent to Benghazi even protectively once it became clear that the fighting had followed the CIA rescue team back to the annex.

U.S. military officials say they “thought the fighting was over” after the team left the consulate and that there was a lull in the fighting.

Fox News has learned the guns were fitted with PEQ-15 lasers. The “passive” laser is not visible to the naked eye but can help team members identify hostile forces when the shooter is wearing NODS, or Night Observation Device attached to their helmet. The visible laser system places a red dot on the attacker and warns the attacker not to shoot, encouraging them to flee the scene. U.S. troops often use the visible laser to scare children or other civilians who find themselves in the middle of combat activity. When civilians see the laser they often back off in order not to be shot.

The GRS team that was present at the CIA annex provided security for the CIA station, as they do around the world. They are highly trained in countersurveillance, close target reconnaissance and in depth reconnaissance. Enemy fighters have learned in Afghanistan and Iraq to use their cell phones to follow or intercept these “passive” lasers without having night vision or NODS.

The Annex team also had Ground Laser Designators, or GLD. This kind of laser equipment emits code and signal when there is overhead air support, unmanned aerial surveillance, drones or Spectre gunships, for instance.

A source present the night of the attack says that the GRS team that was defending the annex asked where the air support was at midnight. Former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed 5 hours and 15 minutes later.

Read more: FOX NEWS

Political Mantras

Minimum Wage

(I am changing some of my “Pages” to “Posts,” so some of this info is older to my site)

The above video is a good one-two-three punch explanation that is concise and short!


These people must be crazy! When there is near [damn] consensus on a topic… people should know about it, especially when the raising the minimum wage hurts the black community. But the left thinks and rants that not raising minimum wage is hurting the poor and minorities… when it is the exact opposite. What a crock!

Hurting the Poor

Thomas Sowell (left) and Walter Williams (right) explain the negative effects of the minimum wage.

(Minimum wage laws make discrimination on ethnicity and gender easy, via Milton Friedman) Here is Walter Williams referencing some statistics to make his point (including Neumark), followed by the excellent lead-up to the debate between [included as well] between L.A. Times columnist, Michael Hiltzik, and professor of economics at UC Irvine, David Neumark:

….University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He states that the White House claim “grossly misstates the weight of the evidence.” About 85 percent of the studies “find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.” A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. If you’re looking for a consensus in most fields of study, examine the introductory and intermediate college textbooks in the field. Economics textbooks that mention the minimum wage say that it increases unemployment for the least skilled worker.

As detailed in my recent book “Race and Economics” (2012), during times of gross racial discrimination, black unemployment was lower than white unemployment and blacks were more active in the labor market. For example, in 1948, black teen unemployment was less than white teen unemployment, and black teens were more active in the labor market. Today black teen unemployment is about 40 percent; for whites, it is about 20 percent. The minimum wage law weighs heavily in this devastating picture. Supporters of higher minimum wages want to index it to inflation so as to avoid its periodic examination….

…read more…

From the video description:

Larry Elder has on an L.A. Times columnist Michael Hiltzik on to defend his statements made in the column*, as well as professor David Neumark to debate some of the finer points. I do include the build up to the interview/debate, which includes and evisceration of anything deemed moderate at the L.A. Times — pointing out the bias lays firmly on the political-left.

More by Walter Williams:

How will the forced raising of the minimum wage hurt the poor?

As the #FightFor15 movement get fast food workers to strike in order to get a $15, and they watch businesses in Seattle closing because of the forced raise in wages. Automated cashier options are now an option to be weighed. Of course a business wants a human face to represent it. But the business wants to stay in business, so many are being forced to choose a cheaper, more sustainable option for its budget.

McDonald’s is buying 7,000 automated machines to replace people

Would you like some microchips with that burger? McDonald’s Europe strikes another blow against human interaction by installing 7,000 touch-screen computers to take your order and money.

[….]

McDonalds recently went on a hiring binge in the U.S., adding 62,000 employees to its roster. The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.

The BELOW is and update to the above story about MceeDee’s in Seattle:

Via BizPic!

While it seems liberals may think that raising the minimum wage will raise living standards for poor Americans, they should have seen this coming.

With Los Angeles joining Seattle in setting a $15 minimum wage (Los Angeles by 2020, and Seattle by 2021), it stands to reason that McDonald’s would find a way around simply paying workers more, as Vox pointed out the obvious fact that “the reality is that McDonald’s just wants to make money.”

In a very real-world example of big business’ response to liberal policies, a conservative Twitter user sent Labor Day wishes from McDonald’s workers whose minimum wage never goes up.

And this real world affect of what politicians can merely raise taxes to meet budgets with (or, on the Federal level just print more money [a dumb move BTW]) is that small business go out of business, thus affecting the poor who want jobs.

But now the option through technology is to replace workers for businesses altogether:

(Washington Policy Center) Everyone is predicting what the real world impact of Seattle’s newly passed $15 minimum wage will be. The truth is there will not be a mass exodus of businesses from the city, nor will the economy crash.

Certainly, some businesses will move or close down, consumers will pay more, some workers will receive fewer benefits and the lowest skilled workers will have a harder time finding a job because they are competing with more experienced workers.

But many businesses will simply figure out how to employ fewer low-wage workers. They will do that by substituting machines and technology for people.

Service industry CEOs have cautioned a higher minimum wage is “encouraging automation,” which can improve efficiency. Even Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates warns that a higher minimum wage would “encourage labor substitution” and incentivize employers to “buy machines and automate things” and ultimately “cause job destruction.”

He’s right. When government increases the cost of labor, employers find other ways to save money.

Just look at how McDonald’s has responded to France’s $12 an hour minimum wage. In 2011, McDonald’s invested in 7,000 touch screen computers in France to reduce the number of workers needed. Restaurants around the country are already exploring automation as a means to cut costs; Applebee’s is installing 100,000 tabletop tablets for ordering and payments.

Many food businesses are considering a machine that can freshly grind, shape and custom grill 360 gourmet burgers per hour, no human labor needed. Alpha, the burger-making robot, can even slice and dice the pickles and tomatoes, put them on the burger, add condiments and wrap it up. The manufacturer makes the point that cashiers or servers aren’t even needed: “Customers could just punch in their order, pay, and wait at a dispensing window.” The maker says Alpha will pay for itself in a year.

…read it all…

See also: Businesses Forced To Hurt The Poor ~ Thanks Dems

  • “I’m hearing from a lot of customers, ‘I voted for that, and I didn’t realize it would affect you.’” (IJ-Review)

Powerline has a great short article about minimum-wage laws pushed by Democrats bumping into the steel reinforced wall of reality:

Via InstaPundit, a lesson in economics for liberals. This time, it’s the minimum wage:

San Francisco’s Proposition J, which 77 percent of voters approved in November, will raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2018. As of today, May 1, [Brian] Hibbs is required by law to pay his employees at Comix Experience, and its sister store, Comix Experience Outpost on Ocean Avenue, $12.25 per hour. That’s just the first of four incremental raises that threaten to put hundreds of such shops out of business. …

Hibbs says that the $15-an-hour minimum wage will require a staggering $80,000 in extra revenue annually. “I was appalled!” he says. “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb.” He runs a tight operation already, he says. Comix Experience is open ten hours a day, seven days a week, with usually just one employee at each store at a time. It’s not viable to cut hours, he says, because his slowest hours are in the middle of the day. And he can’t raise prices, because comic books and graphic novels have their retail prices printed on the cover.

If he can’t stay in business, all of his employees will lose their jobs.

[….]

“Why,” he asks, “can’t two consenting people make arrangements for less than x dollars per hour?”

Exactly. Conservatives should oppose minimum wage laws on fairness grounds. If a person is willing to work for, say, $8 an hour, how dare liberals tell him he must remain unemployed instead? There are many, many people whose best offer of employment will be for less than the $15 an hour that San Francisco will soon mandate. Liberals are, in effect, making it illegal for these people to work, even though they are ready, willing and able to do so.

Minimum wage jobs are overwhelmingly entry level employment. They provide valuable training, experience and opportunity for advancement. Making it illegal for young people, especially, to seek employment at the wage they can command isn’t just economically stupid, it is deeply unfair.

…read more…


Click to Enlarge


MINIMUM WAGE


“Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: ‘The higher wage reduces
the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment’.”
(Larry Elder)

Economists aren’t certain about many things, but on the minimum wage, nearly all of them (90 percent, according to one survey) believe that the case is open and shut. All else being equal, if you raise the price of something (for instance, labor), then the demand for it (for instance, by employers) will decline. That’s not just a theory; it’s a law.

James Glassman, “Don’t Raise the Minimum Wage,” Washington Post (Feb 24, 1998).


A majority of professional economists surveyed in Britain, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States agreed that minimum wage laws increase unemployment among low-skilled workers. Economists in France and Austria did not. However, the majority among Canadian economists was 85 percent and among American economists was 90 percent. Dozens of studies of the effects of minimum wages in the United States and dozens more studies of the effects of minimum wages in various countries in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Indonesia, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand were reviewed in 2006 by two economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research. They concluded that, despite the various approaches and methods used in these studies, this literature as a whole was one “largely solidifying the conventional view that minimum wages reduce employment among low-skilled workers.”

Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, 4th Edition (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2011), 241. [Link to 5th edition]


…percentage of economists who agree…. A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers. (79%)

Robert M. Beren, Professor of Economics at Harvard University ~ (More: Wintery Knight)


Economically, minimum wages may not make sense. But morally, socially, and politically they make every sense…

Jerry Brown (Reason.org)

Military Spending vs. Education and Health-Care Spending

(I am changing some of my “Pages” to “Posts,” so some of this info is older to my site)

Total GDP Expenditures on

★ MILITARY (2014): 3.5%

★ EDUCATION (2014): 4.9%

★ HEALTH (2014): 17.1%

NATIONAL REVIEW has a great article on this:

A few more thoughts on the view from 1957. Relative to the size of the U.S. economy (which is to say, as a share of GDP) we have cut military spending to barely a third of what it was in 1957, from 9.8 percent of GDP then to 3.3 percent of GDP now. Even though we were spending three times as much on national defense in 1957—and even though we had lower taxes (17.2 percent of GDP then vs. 17.7 percent of GDP today) we ran a budget surplus. It’s usually described as a “modest” surplus, but at 3.4 percent of GDP, the budget surplus of 1957 was proportionally larger than military spending is in 2015.

So, where’d the money go?

Feel free to consult the historical data yourself, but the short answer is: welfare spending.

The broadest budget categories are national defense, human resources, physical resources, net interest, other functions, and undistributed offsetting receipts. National defense, net interest, other functions, and undistributed receipts are pretty self-explanatory; human resources includes welfare and health-care programs, entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security, and education spending. Physical resources means things like energy development, transportation, natural resources maintenance, environmental conservation, and community- and regional-development programs, the “infrastructure” we’re always going on about.

[….]

Recap: In GDP terms, we spend about a third on the military today compared to what we spent in the late 1950s. We spend almost exactly the same on interest on the debt. We spend 20 percent less on energy, transportation, the environment, and natural resources. And we spend almost four times as much on welfare. Again, that is in GDP terms, and our economy is a heck of a lot bigger than it was in 1957. As a share of all federal spending, welfare has gone from 23 percent of spending to 73 percent of federal spending. In constant-dollar terms, we spend 17.5 times as much. In nominal-dollar terms, we spend 150 times as much.

(Read It All)


Michael Medved dismantles a callers charge that we (as a country) spend more on the military than education and other social programs (2009).

One General says that 4% on military (GDP) if the floor… very bottom… we should not go below this percentage: Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called four percent an “absolute floor” (New York Times). Here Forbes explains a bit:

Bullets vs. Band-aids: Is Health Spending Crowding out Defense?

….But as an empirical matter, the share of GDP absorbed by federal taxes has been astonishingly stable since 1946—averaging less than 18 percent and exceeding 20 percent in only one year (2000).[3] The president’s own budget shows federal receipts going no higher than 19.2 percent of GDP by 2017. But he has put us on a path that his own Department of Treasury has declared is “unsustainable.” Why? Because health entitlements under Obamacare will grow so rapidly that federal spending as a share of GDP will grow by more than 40 percent by the year 2085. Rising health entitlements will account for every penny of that increase!

With projected federal spending topping 34 percent of GDP and the known politically acceptable levels of federal tax revenues falling below 20 percent of GDP, we are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Being able to afford even 4 percent of GDP for national defense—we’ve averaged 6.4 percent since 1946—will grow increasingly problematic. This is not just some future hypothetical: as it is, we currently are spending $50 billion less on defense in FY2013 than outgoing Secretary of Defense said just two years ago would be needed this year. And remember that Obamacare spending kicks in with a vengeance in 2014.  Thus, the choice between bullets and butter will be harder to make each year we keep kicking the can down the road instead of addressing health entitlements….

While the following video is about Bernie Sanders… the portion starting at about the 4:54 mark:

In another excellent “myth busting” article at The Heritage Foundation, we read some examples of the importance in the GDP metric for healthy ~MILITARY~ spending:

Defending Defense:
Setting the Record Straight on US Military Spending Requirements

(To see references, download PDF)

Myth

Additional defense spending is unnecessary as the United States already spends more on defense than half the world combined.

Fact

No other country in the world has the enduring vital national interests of the United States, and therefore the U.S. military has global reach and responsibilities. Comparing the unique needs of U.S. security and the resources required against those of other countries is misleading. Further, it is not surprising that the richest nation on earth and history’s “sole superpower” should have a first-rate military; the overall dollar cost is mostly a measure of the size of our economy. What is surprising is that we get so much from such a small proportion of our wealth. As Mackenzie Eaglen of the Heritage Foundation writes,

Defense spending is near historic lows… Between 2010 and 2015, total defense spending is set to fall from 4.9 percent to 3.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), even though the nation has assigned more missions to the military over the past two decades.[1]

A narrow focus on strictly dollar figures is also misleading. Consider China’s military budget, which Beijing claims is $78 billion for this year. The Pentagon estimates that the relative “purchasing power” of the Chinese military is actually closer to $150 billion, in good part because China does not have to pay their soldiers, sailors, and airmen anything comparable to what the United States pays its servicemen and women.[2]  By this yardstick, China moves from fifth place in overall military spending among the nations of the world to second.[3] And more to the point, China’s defense expenditures are focused primarily on gaining military leverage in a distinct region of the world—Asia—while the U.S. military has responsibilities everywhere. The resources the U.S. military can actually deploy “in theater” are not vastly superior to those of the Chinese. Simple comparisons of defense expenditures are deceptive measures of the unique needs of America’s armed forces.

Myth

Pentagon budgets were a “gusher” of new money in the Bush Administration.

Fact

In his recent drive to cut overhead, Defense Secretary Robert Gates indeed described the emergency supplemental appropriations for the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan as a “gusher.”[4] But as AEI’s Gary Schmitt and Tom Donnelly have written,

The budget increases that have occurred…are largely tied to fighting the wars. When Bill Clinton left the White House and Dick Cheney told the military that “help [was] on the way,” the defense burden stood at 3 percent of GDP—a post-World War II low. When George W. Bush headed out the door, the figure for the core defense budget was about 3.5 percent. This is an increase, to be sure, but not one to make the military flush after a decade of declining budgets and deferred procurement.[5]

One of the consistent and correct purposes of the wartime supplementals was to “reset” the force—to return the military to at least pre-war readiness levels. This goal is still a long way off. The backlogs at service repair depots will take years to work through.

More profoundly, very little wartime funding went to increase the number of U.S. ground forces. The strains on soldiers and Marines—reflected in rising suicide rates, for example—have yet to be fully calculated. And despite the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq and President Obama’s deadline for drawdown in Afghanistan, the Army and Marine Corps will continue to deploy overseas for years, an effort that can only be sustained by a reduced pace of operations, sharing the constant burden across a larger force.

There is a moral obligation not only to bind the wounds and tend to the families of those who have fought so well and so long, but also to give them what they need to continue to answer the call to service. Further, the government’s Constitutional obligation is to “provide for the common defense,” and to “secure the blessings of liberty” now and for future generations. This is the government’s fundamental obligation to its citizens and its cardinal contribution to our liberties.

[….]

Myth

Current levels of defense spending are unaffordable.

Fact

The defense budget is a relatively small slice of the $14-plus-trillion American pie. And it’s a shrinking slice: as a percentage of our economy and as a percentage of the federal budget, the burden of defense is declining. President Obama’s long-term budget projections also reduce Pentagon spending in real dollars.

Moreover, the idea that defense cuts will restore fiscal health simply does not add up: suppose Pentagon spending for 2011—$720 billion—were eliminated entirely.[7] This would only halve this year’s federal deficit of $1.5 trillion. And defense spending is a drop in the ocean of today’s $13.3 trillion of government debt. From the Korean War to the collapse of the Soviet Union, total U.S. defense spending was about $4.7 trillion.[8] So had there been no military spending at all during the Cold War, the savings would not equal even half our current national debt.

Talking about defense spending in isolation while discussing the overall federal budget is also misleading. Defense is not the source of the federal government’s fiscal woes. As Mackenzie Eaglen notes,

The substantial decline in the defense share of the budget largely reflects the dramatic growth of entitlement spending. Entitlements now account for around 65 percent of all federal spending and a record 18 percent of GDP. The three largest entitlements— Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—eclipsed defense spending in 1976 and have been growing ever since. If future taxes are held at the historical average, these three entitlements will consume all tax revenues by 2052, leaving no money for the government’s primary constitutional obligation: providing for the common defense.[9]

Over the past decade, necessary defense spending increases are responsible for less than 20 percent of all new spending from 2001 to 2009. This does not even include 2009 stimulus spending totaling $787 billion, with almost no money for defense.

Myth

The United States should not be “the world’s policeman.”

Fact

At a cost of less than one nickel of the American taxpayers’ dollar—and only 4.9 percent of U.S. GDP—the United States has fought two wars and provided the essential backbone for a system of global security; by any measurement, it’s an amazing bargain.[10]

The investments made during the Cold War—including the Reagan build-up— continue to pay global dividends. Europe, for the first time in centuries, enjoys a durable peace. East Asia, for millennia a theater of violent competition, is emerging as an economic dynamo, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty.

Yet this peace and the prosperity it helps to create are not self-generating or selfsustaining. No other nation, or group of nations, is ready, willing or able to take on America’s role. As the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel observed, the future is

…likely to place an increased demand on American “hard power” to preserve regional balances. While diplomacy and development have important roles to play, the world’s first-order problems will continue to be our security concerns….As the last 20 years have shown, America does not have the option of abandoning a leadership role in support of its national interests….Failure to anticipate and manage the conflicts that threaten those interests…will not make those conflicts go away….It will simply lead to an increasingly unstable and unfriendly global climate and, eventually, to conflicts America cannot ignore.[11]

In short, the cost of preserving America’s role in the world is far less than would be the cost of having to fight to recover it or, still greater, the cost of losing it altogether. While many Americans would prefer to see our allies and partners play a larger part in securing the blessings of our common liberty, no president of either political party has backed away from America’s global leadership role —a bipartisan consensus that remains strong evidence that American leadership is still necessary to protect the nation’s vital interests.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) makes the continuing point of just-how-much burden is put on the U.S. military around the world (Defense Spending 101 PDF):

We are spending more on our military than half of the rest of the world combined is spending on defense. Do we really need to spend that much?

Questions about what America spends on defense versus what other nations spend on defense should be understood in the context of what we ask our military to do, what our role in the world is, and who our enemies and adversaries are and are likely to be.

From the Cold War to the post-9/11 world, US spending on national defense has given our country a military preeminence that, in turn, has yielded enormous strategic returns by:

  • Protecting the security and prosperity of the United States and its allies;
  • Amplifying America’s diplomatic and economic leadership throughout the globe;
  • Preventing the outbreak of great-power wars that marked previous centuries;
  • Preserving the international order in the face of aggressive, illiberal threats.

As the congressionally mandated, bipartisan Independent Review Panel of the Quadrennial Defense Review spelled out, this has required a military that has four “enduring” tasks:

  • Defense of the homeland
  • Assuring access to the sea, air, space and, now, cyberspace
  • Preserving a favorable balance of power across Eurasia that prevents authoritarian domination of that region
  • Providing for the global common good through such actions as humanitarian aid, development assistance, and disaster relief

These are obviously large tasks, requiring significant military resources. They are also complicated, as the panel also notes, by five global trends:

  • Radical Islamist extremism and the threat of terrorism
  • The rise of new global great powers in Asia
  • Continued struggle for power in the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East
  • An accelerating global competition for resources
  • Persistent problems from failed and failing states

The strength of this global international order provides America and its allies with real security at a low price while imposing tremendous costs on would-be adversaries. Consider the case of China’s rise. Over the past generation, China’s meteoric economic development has also allowed for a steady, now two-decades-long program of military modernization. Estimates are that Beijing now spends about $170 billion per year on its formal defense program, but that figure would be considerably higher if the Chinese military had to pay its soldiers, airmen, and sailors’ salaries comparable to what their counterparts in the US military earn.

Moreover, China’s expenditures are focused primarily on gaining military leverage in a distinct region of the world—Asia—while, as noted above, the US military has global responsibilities. The tasks in this equation are disproportionate: America seeks to keep the peace in East Asia because it is a vital element in the international system and important to America’s interests. while East Asia seeks to disrupt the regional balance and have no comparable stakes elsewhere.

The fact that we can afford to maintain a military capable of keeping the great powers of the world at peace is a bargain at four cents on the dollar. And the fact that our allies. including former adversaries, have renounced the use of force except in support of American-led coalitions should be thought of as a triumph. The further fact that a potential challenger like China has such a steep hill to climb is an advantage to maintain: it would be preferable to deter China than to fight her.

Dispelling the “CIA Trained-Funded Bin Laden/Taliban” Myth/Mantra

Politicians and leaders from both sides of the aisle make mention of this myth that we funded/created Al Qaeda via weapons, training, and money to the likes of Osama Bin Laden. The Daily Caller in 2013 notes some of the positions:

…in just a one-month span, Sen. Paul has — not once, but twice — advanced a conspiracy theory that says that during the Reagan era, the U.S. funded Osama bin Laden.

During John Kerry’s secretary of state confirmation hearing, Paul said ”We funded bin Laden” — a statement that prompted Foreign Policy magazine’s managing editor, Blake Hounshell, to fire off a tweet saying: “Rand Paul tells a complete falsehood: ‘We funded Bin Laden.’ This man is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

But that didn’t discourage Paul. During a much anticipated foreign policy speech at the Heritage Foundation today, Paul doubled down, saying: “In the 1980’s the war caucus in Congress armed bin Laden and the mujaheddin in their fight with the Soviet Union.”

The only problem is that this is, at best, highly speculative — and, at worst, the perpetuation of an outright myth.

This also puts Paul in the same camp as Michael Moore, who said: ““WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden! Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA!”….

…read it all…

And, this is the crux of the matter: truthers took Michael Moore’s non-evidential presentations and statements and ran with them.

Another example that shows this myth isn’t necessarily one owned by strictly by politicians, as, this conversation on a friends FaceBook shows:

Antony: failed foreign policy means today’s buddies are tomorrows boogiemen.

Hunlsy: I just love the fact they’re fighting us with the weapons and training that we gave them.

Antony: Oh where oh where did Iran get those P3s and F-14 Tomcats?

Antony: it was the US – we used to be buddies with Iranians too. We played both sides of the Iran/Iraq war, which predicated Gulf I.

Hunsly: Likely from the Russians. Regardless, we’re fighting a group, not a country. This group makes all of its IEDs & buys all of their weapons with the money that we gave them.

Here is my short intercept of the above conversation. More info will follow it:

Weapons
This is somewhat of a myth — that we sold the majority of weapons to the Taliban, to Iraq, and the like. For instance, in the following graph you can see that (in the instance of Iraq, which I was told over-and-over-again was weaponized by the U.S.) you have to combine the U.K. and the U.S. to equal 1%.

Iraqi Weapons

Moral Position
Much like us supporting Stalin in defeating Hitler, we were aligned with people whom we didn’t see eye-to-eye with in order to beat the USSR during the Cold War (WWIII)… a war that was fought from 1947–1991.

History
And thirdly, the Taliban didn’t exist when Reagan said this:

Reagan didn’t say that about the Taliban because the Taliban didn’t exist yet. He said that of the Mujahedin, the same men who would later go on to fight the Taliban under the name “Northern Alliance”

The Afghan Northern Alliance, officially known as the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (Persian: ‏جبهه متحد اسلامی ملی برای نجات افغانستان‎ Jabha-yi Muttahid-i Islāmi-yi Millī barā-yi Nijāt-i Afghānistān), was a military front that came to formation in late 1996 after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) took over Kabul. The United Front was assembled by key leaders of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, particularly president in exile Burhanuddin Rabbani and former Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud. Initially it included mostly Tajiks but by 2000, leaders of other ethnic groups had joined the Northern Alliance. This included Abdul Rashid Dostum, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Abdul Qadir, Sayed Hussein Anwari and others.

The Northern Alliance fought a defensive war against the Taliban government. They received support from Iran, Russia, India, Tajikistan and others, while the Taliban were backed by al-Qaeda. The Northern Alliance was mostly made up of ethnic Tajiks, but later included Uzbeks, Hazaras, and Pashtuns. The Taliban government was dominated by Pashtuns with other groups being the minority. After the US-led invasion and establishment of the Karzai administration in late 2001, the Northern Alliance broke apart and different political parties were formed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Alliance

The mujaheddin fighters who had previously defeated the communist government and formed the Islamic State of Afghanistan (ISA) came under attack and in 1996 lost the capital to the Taliban. At this juncture the Mujahedin resorted to the creation of UIF because Rashid Dostum and other warlords who belonged to various tribes but to no specific political party did not want to recognize the ISA as a legal entity, so the defeated government devised a military strategy to utilize these forces while not offending their political sensibilities.

In October 1996 in Khinjan, Ahmed Shah Massoud and Dostum came to an agreement to form the anti-Taliban coalition that outside Afghanistan became known as the Northern Alliance.

CNN was doing a special on Afghanistan and Peter Bergen asked for questions from viewers that he would answer. One of the questions is as follows:

  • “If it’s true that bin Laden once worked for the CIA, what makes you so sure that he isn’t still?” ~ Anne Busigin, Toronto, Canada

Peter Bergen responds:

This is one of those things where you cannot put it out of its misery.

The story about bin Laden and the CIA — that the CIA funded bin Laden or trained bin Laden — is simply a folk myth. There’s no evidence of this. In fact, there are very few things that bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the U.S. government agree on. They all agree that they didn’t have a relationship in the 1980s. And they wouldn’t have needed to. Bin Laden had his own money, he was anti-American and he was operating secretly and independently.

The real story here is the CIA didn’t really have a clue about who this guy was until 1996 when they set up a unit to really start tracking him.

One person in a forum that was similarly challenged pointed out that this surely wasn’t the Taliban because they hated women in any position of authority — look at the pic at the top again.

As you read on, keep in mind Mr. Bergen was not a fan of conservatives, or Republicans. With that in mind, enjoy the rest, it is posted here so it will never disappear on me:

U.S. government officials and a number of other parties maintain that the U.S. supported only the indigenous Afghan mujahideen. They deny that the CIA or other American officials had contact with the Afghan Arabs (foreign mujahideen) or Bin Laden, let alone armed, trained, coached or indoctrinated them. Scholars and reporters have called the idea of CIA-backed Afghan Arabs (foreign mujahideen) “nonsense”,[6] “sheer fantasy”, and “simply a folk myth.”

They argue that:

  • with a quarter of a million local Afghans willing to fight there was no need to recruit foreigners unfamiliar with the local language, customs or lay of the land
  • with several hundred million dollars a year in funding from non-American, Muslim sources, Arab Afghans themselves would have no need for American funds
  • Americans could not train mujahideen because Pakistani officials would not allow more than a handful of U.S. agents to operate in Pakistan and none in Afghanistan;
  • the Afghan Arabs were militant Islamists, reflexively hostile to Westerners, and prone to threaten or attack Westerners even though they knew the Westerners were helping the mujahideen.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri says much the same thing in his book Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner.

Bin Laden himself once said “the collapse of the Soviet Union … goes to God and the mujahideen in Afghanistan … the US had no mentionable role,” but “collapse made the US more haughty and arrogant.”

According to CNN journalist Peter Bergen, known for conducting the first television interview with Osama bin Laden in 1997,

The story about bin Laden and the CIA — that the CIA funded bin Laden or trained bin Laden — is simply a folk myth. There’s no evidence of this. In fact, there are very few things that bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the U.S. government agree on. They all agree that they didn’t have a relationship in the 1980s. And they wouldn’t have needed to. Bin Laden had his own money, he was anti-American and he was operating secretly and independently. The real story here is the CIA did not understand who Osama was until 1996, when they set up a unit to really start tracking him.

Bergen quotes Pakistani Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf, who ran the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Afghan operation between 1983 and 1987:

It was always galling to the Americans, and I can understand their point of view, that although they paid the piper they could not call the tune. The CIA supported the mujahideen by spending the taxpayers’ money, billions of dollars of it over the years, on buying arms, ammunition, and equipment. It was their secret arms procurement branch that was kept busy. It was, however, a cardinal rule of Pakistan’s policy that no Americans ever become involved with the distribution of funds or arms once they arrived in the country. No Americans ever trained or had direct contact with the mujahideen, and no American official ever went inside Afghanistan.

Marc Sageman, a Foreign Service Officer who was based in Islamabad from 1987–1989, and worked closely with Afghanistan’s Mujahideen, argues that no American money went to the foreign volunteers.

Sageman also says:

Contemporaneous accounts of the war do not even mention [the Afghan Arabs]. Many were not serious about the war. … Very few were involved in actual fighting. For most of the war, they were scattered among the Afghan groups associated with the four Afghan fundamentalist parties.

No U.S. official ever came in contact with the foreign volunteers. They simply traveled in different circles and never crossed U.S. radar screens. They had their own sources of money and their own contacts with the Pakistanis, official Saudis, and other Muslim supporters, and they made their own deals with the various Afghan resistance leaders.”[14]

Vincent Cannistraro, who led the Reagan administration’s Afghan Working Group from 1985 to 1987, puts it,

The CIA was very reluctant to be involved at all. They thought it would end up with them being blamed, like in Guatemala.” So the Agency tried to avoid direct involvement in the war, … the skittish CIA, Cannistraro estimates, had less than ten operatives acting as America’s eyes and ears in the region. Milton Bearden, the Agency’s chief field operative in the war effort, has insisted that “[T]he CIA had nothing to do with” bin Laden. Cannistraro says that when he coordinated Afghan policy from Washington, he never once heard bin Laden’s name.

Fox News reporter Richard Miniter wrote that in interviews with the two men who “oversaw the disbursement for all American funds to the anti-Soviet resistance, Bill Peikney – CIA station chief in Islamabad from 1984 to 1986 – and Milt Bearden – CIA station chief from 1986 to 1989 – he found,

Both flatly denied that any CIA funds ever went to bin Laden. They felt so strongly about this point that they agreed to go on the record, an unusual move by normally reticent intelligence officers. Mr. Peikney added in an e-mail to me: “I don’t even recall UBL [bin Laden] coming across my screen when I was there.

Other reasons advanced for a lack of a CIA-Afghan Arab connection of “pivotal importance,” (or even any connection at all), was that the Afghan Arabs themselves were not important in the war but were a “curious sideshow to the real fighting.”

One estimate of the number of combatants in the war is that 250,000 Afghans fought 125,000 Soviet troops, but only 2000 Arab Afghans fought “at any one time”.

According to Milton Bearden the CIA did not recruit Arabs because there were hundreds of thousands of Afghans all too willing to fight. The Arab Afghans were not only superfluous but “disruptive,” angering local Afghans with their more-Muslim-than-thou attitude, according to Peter Jouvenal. Veteran Afghan cameraman Peter Jouvenal quotes an Afghan mujahideen as saying “whenever we had a problem with one of them [foreign mujahideen], we just shot them. They thought they were kings.”

Many who traveled in Afghanistan, including Olivier Roy[20] and Peter Jouvenal, reported of the Arab Afghans’ visceral hostility to Westerners in Afghanistan to aid Afghans or report on their plight. BBC reporter John Simpson tells the story of running into Osama bin Laden in 1989, and with neither knowing who the other was, bin Laden attempting to bribe Simpson’s Afghan driver $500 — a large sum in a poor country — to kill the infidel Simpson. When the driver declined, Bin Laden retired to his “camp bed” and wept “in frustration.”

According to Steve Coll, author of “Ghost Wars”, the primary contact for the CIA and ISI in Afghanistan was Ahmed Shah Massoud a poppy farmer and militia leader known as the “Lion of the Panjeer”. During the Afghan Civil War which erupted once the Soviets had left, Massoud’s army was routed by the Taliban (who were being helped by Pakistan’s ISI) and restricted to the northern region of the country. A loose entente was formed with several other native tribal militias which became known as the Northern Alliance who operated in opposition to the Taliban. On September 10, 2001 a camera crew was granted access to Massoud under the premise they were interviewing him for a documentary about the Mujahadeen. The crew members were actually Al Qaeda operatives who detonated a bomb killing themselves and Massoud. The purpose of the assassination was to eliminate a key ally for the US in anticipation of an invasion in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks which were to take place the following day.

(Northern Alliance ~ WIKI)

And here is another great post responding to the non-evidential/conspiratorial [leftists] on the subject:

“Osama bin Laden was trained and funded by the CIA” – you’ll read the claim everywhere, and it’s rarely opposed: everyone just seems to accept that it’s true. But why? How much evidence have you ever seen presented to support this?

The reality is that there are many people who say this is simply a myth. And we’re not just talking about neo-con friendly journalists, either.

Take Jason Burke, for instance, a major contributor to the BBC documentary “The Power of Nightmares”. In his book “Al Qaeda”, he wrote the following:

It is often said that bin Ladin was funded by the CIA. This is not true, and indeed it would have been impossible given the structure of funding that General Zia ul-Haq, who had taken power in Pakistan in 1977, had set up. A condition of Zia’s cooperation with the American plan to turn Afghanistan into the Soviet’s ‘Vietnam’ was that all American funding to the Afghan resistance had to be channeled through the Pakistani government, which effectively meant the Afghan bureau of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the military spy agency. The American funding, which went exclusively to the Afghan mujahideen groups, not the Arab volunteers [bin Ladin’s groups], was supplemented by Saudi government money and huge funds raised from mosques, non-governmental charitable institutions and private donors throughout the Islamic world. Most of the major Gulf-based charities operating today were founded at this time to raise money or channel government funds to the Afghans, civilians and fighters. In fact, as little as 25 per cent of the monet for the Afghan jihad was actually supplied directly by states.

Page 59, Al Qaeda: The true story of radical Islam, Jason Burke

Steve Coll, former Managing Editor of the Washington Post, also suggests bin Ladin passed largely unnoticed by the CIA, in his book “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001”:

…According to [Ahemd] Badeeb, on bin Ladin’s first trip to Pakistan he brought donations to the Lahore offices of Jamaat-e-Islami, Zia’s political shock force. Jamaat was the Pakistani offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood; its students had sacked the US embassy in Islamabad in 1979. bin Ladin did not trust the official Pakistan intelligence service, Badeeb recalled, and preferred to fund his initial charity through private religious and political networks.From the beginning of the Afghan jihad, Saudi intelligence used religious charities to support its own unilateral operations. This mainly involved funneling money and equipment to favoured Afghan commanders outisde ISI or CIA control… “The humanitarian aid-that was completely separate from the Americans”, Badeeb recalled. “And we insist[ed] that the Americans will not get to that, get involved–especially in the beginning,” in part because some of the Islamist mujahedin objected to direct contact with Western infidels…

In spy lexicon, each of the major intelligence agencies began working the Afghan jihad–GID [General Intelligence Department, Saudi Arabia], ISI and the CIA– began to “compartment” their work, even as all three collaborated with one another through formal liasons…

bin Ladin moved within Saudi intelligence’s compartmented operations, outside of CIA eyesight…

Page 86/ 87, Ghost Wars, Stevel Coll

In a Q&A session following the release of his book, Coll said:

Wheaton, Md.: There have been accusations from the left that have directly accused the CIA of funding and training bin Laden. Is there any truth to this ? Steve Coll: I did not discover any evidence of direct contact between CIA officers and bin Laden during the 1980s, when they were working more or less in common cause against the Soviets. CIA officials, including Tenet, have denied under oath that such contact took place. The CIA was certainly aware of bin Laden’s activities, beginning in the mid- to late-1980s, and they generally looked favorably on what he was doing at that time. But bin Laden’s direct contacts were with Saudi intelligence and to some extent Pakistani intelligence, not with the Americans.

Missouri EDU

Peter Bergen expanded on the supposed CIA/ bin Ladin links in his book, Holy War Inc:

But were the CIA and the Afghan Arabs in cahoots, as recent studies have suggested? One author charges: “The CIA had funded and trained the Afghan Arabs during the war”. Another refers to “the central role of the CIA’s Muslim mercenaries, including upwards of 2,000 mercenaries in the Afghanistan war”. Both authors present these claims as axioms, but provide no real corroboration.Other commentators have reported that bin Ladin himself was aided by the CIA. A report in the respected British newspaper The Guardian states: “In 1986 the CIA even helped him [bin Ladin] build an underground camp at Khost [Afghanistan] where he was to train recruits from across the Islamic world in the revolutionary art of jihad”…Bin Ladin, meanwhile, had expoused anti-American positions since 1982, and thanks to the fortune derived from his family’s giant construction business had little need of CIA money. In fact, the underground camp at Khost was built in 1982 by an Afghan commander, with Arab funding.

A source familiar with bin Ladin’s organisation explains that bin Ladin “never had any relations with America or American officials… He was saying very early in the 1980’s that the next battle is going to be with America… No aid or training or other support have ever been given to bin Ladin from Americans.” A senior offical unequivocally says that “bin Ladin never met with the CIA.”

While the charges that the CIA was responsible for the rise of the Afghan Arabs might make good copy, they don’t make good history. The truth is more complicated, tinged with varying shades of grey. The United States wanted to be able to deny that the CIA was funding the Afghan war, so its support was funneled through Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI). ISI in turn made the decisions about which Afghan factions to arm and train, tending to fund the most Islamist and pro-Pakistan. The Afghan Arabs generally fought alongside those factions, which is how the charge arose that they were creatures of the CIA.

Former CIA officer Milt Bearden, who ran the Agency’s Afghan operation in the late 1980’s, says: “The CIA did not recruit Arabs,” as there was no need to do so. There were hundreds of thousands of Afghans all too willing to fight…

Moreover, the Afghan Arabs demonstrated a pathological dislike of Westerners. Jouvenal says: “I always kept away from Arabs [in Afghanistan]. They were very hostile. They would ask, ‘What are you doing in an Islamic country?” The BBC reporter John Simpson had a close call with bin Ladin himself outside Jalalabad in 1989. Travelling with a group of Arab mujahideen, Simpson and his television crew bumped into an Arab man beautifully dressed in spotless white robes; the man began shouting at Simpson’s escorts to kill the infidels, then offered a truck driver the not unreasonable sum of five hundred dollars to do the job. Simpson’s Afghan escort turned down the request, and bin Ladin was to be found later on a camp bed, weeping in frustration. Only when bin Ladin became a public figure, almost a decade later, did Simpson realise who the mysterious Arab was who had wanted him dead.

Page 67/68, Holy War Inc, Peter Bergen

This level of hostility to Westerners doesn’t suggest a warm working relationship with the US, and there’s some confirmation in a story retold by Richard Miniter:

…the handful of Americans who had heard of bin Ladin in the 1980’s knew him mainly for his violently anti-American views. Dana Rohrabacher, now a Republican congressman from Orange County, California, told me about a trip he took with the mujihideen in 1987. At the time, Rohrabacher was a Reagan aide who delighted in taking long overland trips inside Afghanistan with anti-Communist forces. On one such trek, his guide told him not to speak English for the next few hours because they were passing by bin Ladin’s encampment. Rohrabacher was told, “If he hears an American, he will kill you.” 

Page 16, Disinformation, Richard Miniter

Bin Ladin was himself asked about US funding by Robert Fisk:

Fisk: …what of the Arab mujahedin he took to Afghanistan – members of a guerilla army who were also encouraged and armed by the United States – and who were forgotten when that war was over? bin Ladin: “Personally neither I nor my brothers saw evidence of American help…

Fisk interview, 1996

And Ayman al-Zawahiri, second-in-command of al Qaeda, explains more in his text “Knights under the Prophet’s Banner”. Here he claims the “Afghan Arabs” had plenty of funding from various Arab sources, and points to other indications that they never supported the US:

“While the United States backed Pakistan and the mujahidin factions with money and equipment, the young Arab mujahidin’s relationship with the United States was totally different.”Indeed the presence of those young Arab Afghans in Afghanistan and their increasing numbers represented a failure of US policy and new proof of the famous US political stupidity. The financing of the activities of the Arab mujahidin in Afghanistan came from aid sent to Afghanistan by popular organizations. It was substantial aid. “The Arab mujahidin did not confine themselves to financing their own jihad but also carried Muslim donations to the Afghan mujahidin themselves. Usama Bin Ladin has apprised me of the size of the popular Arab support for the Afghan mujahidin that amounted, according to his sources, to $200 million in the form of military aid alone in 10 years.

Imagine how much aid was sent by popular Arab organizations in the non-military fields such as medicine and health, education and vocational training, food, and social assistance (including sponsorship of orphans, widows, and the war handicapped. Add to all this the donations that were sent on special occasions such as Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha feasts and during the month of Ramadan.”

“Through this unofficial popular support, the Arab mujahidin established training centers and centers for the call to the faith. They formed fronts that trained and equipped thousands of Arab mujahidin and provided them with living expenses, housing, travel, and organization.”

Changing Bin Ladin’s Guard

About the Afghan Arabs’ relationship with the United States, Al-Zawahiri says in his book: “If the Arab mujahidin are mercenaries of the United States who rebelled against it as it alleges, why is it unable to buy them back now? Are they not counted now-with Usama Bin Ladin at their head-as the primary threat to US interests? Is not buying them more economical and less costly that the astronomical budgets that the United States is allotting for security and defense?”

“The Americans, in their usual custom of exaggeration and superficiality, are trying to sell off illusions to the people and are ignoring the most basic facts. Is it possible that Usama Bin Ladin who, in his lectures in the year 1987, called for boycotting US goods as a form of support for the intifadah in Palestine, a US agent in Afghanistan?….

“Furthermore, is it possible that the martyr-as we regard him-Abdallah Azzam was a US collaborator when in fact he never stopped inciting young men against the United States and used to back HAMAS with all the resources at his disposal?

“Is it possible that the jihadist movement in Egypt can be a collaborator movement for the United States when Khalid al-Islambuli and his comrades killed Anwar al-Sadat, even before the phenomenon of the Arab mujahidin in Afghanistan emerged?”

“Is it possible that the jihadist movement in Egypt can be a US collaborator movement when in fact it brought up its children, ever since the movement started, to reject Israel and all the agreements of capitulation to it and to consider making peace with Israel as a contravention of Islamic Shari’ah?”

Book, His Own Words: A Translation of the Writings of Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri

Richard Miniter has a little more on this in “Dispelling the CIA-Bin Ladin Myth“, and while you may not exactly trust the source, there were further comments worth at least a look on the US State Departments “Identifying Misinformation” site.

(Via 9/11 Myths)

Democratic Strategist Starts Twitter Hashtag: #HuntRepublicans

While the story from BREITBART below notes James Devine apologized… he is actually doubling down on his #HuntRepublicans hashtag via his TWITTER:


BTW, that first Tweet (above) of his is easily disproved, here are a few places to go:

  • No Evidence Sarah Palin’S Pac Incited Shooting Of Rep. Gabby Giffords (POLITIFACT)

According to news reports, Loughner became fixated on Giffords several years before his Jan. 8, 2011, shooting rampage that killed six and injured 14, including the Arizona congresswoman…. According to the Washington Post, there is no evidence Loughner was aware of Palin’s maps. And according to an interview with one of Loughner’s high school friends, the gunman did not watch the news. His rampage was akin to “shooting at the world,” said Loughner’s friend Zach Osler.

Despite the facts which have come out showing that Jared Loughner was not a political person and was motivated by his own delusions rather than politics…. Remember, there is not a shred of evidence that Jared Loughner ever saw the map.  As discussed here numerous times, the connection of the map to the shooting was a complete fiction concocted moments after the shooting by certain left-wing bloggers who spread the connection into the mainstream media.

  • The New York Times Runs The Worst Editorial In Human History, Blames SARAH PALIN For Giffords Shooting AGAIN (DAILY WIRE)

Jared Lee Loughner wasn’t a conservative. He wasn’t a Republican. He wasn’t sane. There is no evidence whatsoever that he ever saw the infamous Palin targeted district map. None. The rumor was discredited within hours of the shooting. But six years later, The Times is still repeating the lie as true — and not just as true, but as the ultimate example of political rhetoric prompting violence.

See more at NEWSBUSTERS and LOUDER WITH CROWDER! Oh, and there are some people late to the Party!

(Via BREITBART) A New Jersey Democratic strategist is capitalizing on the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) by launching the hashtags #HuntRepublicans and #HuntRepublicanCongressmen, and he is showing no signs of backing down, claiming “the chickens are coming home to roost.”

James Devine, a longtime political strategist in the Garden State, tweeted in the wake of the shooting at a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria on Wednesday that “we are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people”…

[….]

He also accused Republicans of starting a “class war.”

“If you want to invite a class war,” he said, “then you have to expect people to fight back at some point.”

On his website, Devine claims to have served in multiple roles in the state, including as the Democratic State Committee political director between 1992-3, where he “authored the coordinated campaign plan that helped Bill Clinton become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win New Jersey since 1964.”

Here is his information and self aggrandizement:

James J. Devine is a masterful Democratic Party campaign strategist, a crusading journalist and an accomplished leader with extensive experience managing large organizations.

Over the past 35 years, Devine accumulated experience in every facet of politics (running campaigns for local school board, city council and mayor to state legislature, governor, congress and the presidency) and government (as a top level legislative staff member and manager of a federal agency with 1,150 employees under his command).

Contact Jim Devine at 908-458-6397 or devine@usa.net

(ABOUT ME)

Some Objections to the AHCA via Facebook (w/Responses)

I will first post a serious challenge/worry that the MSM (mainstream media) will be using as “special cases.” BUT FIRST, why is this not a good way to write law? That is, write law using special cases. Being that I am “conservative” and lean towards this bias, I will use some examples from these similar thinking people. The first zeroes in on a separate issue, but in regards to writing laws, it is the same:

…Proponents of gay marriage fail utterly to comprehend the idea that laws are made with society, not the individual, in mind. That is why they also fail to grasp the idea that law is predicated upon averages, not outliers. Interestingly, both libertarians and progressives suffer from this lack of understanding…

…But more often they try to undermine the link between marriage and childrearing by pointing to outliers—marriages in which couples choose not to have children or cannot have them because at least one partner happens to be infertile. But this argument only reveals the weakness of the progressive understanding of the law. Put simply, rules that are justified by the average case cannot be undermined by the exceptional case, otherwise known as the outlier. Thus the old maxim, “Hard cases make bad law.”…

Mike S. Adams, Letters To A Young Progressive (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2013), 81, 82.

The following two media files are the same analogy of car insurance explained by Dennis Prager, but two different times:

PREEXISTING CONDITIONS

With the above in mind, here is my first response via Facebook to a thoughtful post:

This is a thoughtful and understandable challenge by a single mother who is on a fixed income… she asks a question about her child with a malady and what the change in “pre-existing” is according to the current bill (remember, it will go through the senate, then most probably “conference,” reconciliation [by this time the CBO will have gone through the bill then — which will be tweaked from the one we are speaking to currently], and then be re-voted on)…

…here is her concern:

✦ My child’s digestive and respiratory issues caused by her being born prematurely and her grief depression caused by her farther dying when she was 5 are all considered pre-existing. As a single mother on a fixed income, her health care is an issue I do get very excited about!

With the AHCA, and the future fixes, premiums will fall dramatically. If you are caught without insurance for 63-days, you will pay about 30% more, but again, the overall payment will be much lower. Due to Obama-Care imploding (the latest example out of the many is Iowa having zero insurance coverage options, in other words, if you are a single mother on a fixed income in many states, you have zero options.

This was and is untenable. One of the GOP’s goals is to allow cross state competition for insurance groups that will increase pool sizes and lower costs dramatically. This has been illegal. Also, tort reform would be the single most beneficial thing that could be done… This is hard because injury lawyers are the first or second largest donors to the Democrat Party, so until we get enough conservative and other Republican’s to take this part of the issue seriously, the Democrats will continue to stand in the way of effective ways to lower your cost and increase your coverage options.

ADDENDUM 1
Just to add to make what I said clear (wanting clarity to reign). If you have not had insurance for 63-days — and AFTER this point you get an illness, this is when “pre-existing” kicks in. You see, I run a warehouse, and while the owner (a close friend) could afford the rise in his premiums, and I had insurance through my wife, the responsible young man who made $12 bucks an hour had insurance through Blue Cross on his own, lost his insurance because of Obama-Care. When he could find a policy again, it was more expensive. Two years after this it was more than twice as expensive as he was paying before O-Care. And he made the least in the warehouse. Why was it so expensive? His plane included pregnancy tests, Pap smear, mammogram, etc.

This way, through this legislation, the premiums should drop (esp. through more free market options in the future), but the cost won’t be a burden to poorer responsible people who have health insurance.

I just wanted clarify the above, as, I feel for you. Your concern is real! The call at the end of this interview is similar to your case (via my YouTube upload):

ADDENDUM 2
Sorry, one last thing, and this is to help you get through the weeds of Main Stream Media and all the other sources you will come across — yes, even me. The best non-partisan summary is this:

➤ States may opt-out of requiring premiums to be the same for all people of the same age, so while individuals with pre-existing conditions must be offered health insurance there is no limit on the cost of that insurance. A new $8 billion fund would help lower premiums for these individuals.

So even with the “ding” against “pre-existing” cases, there is money set aside for people just like you… if your state chooses to participate. BTW, this is called Federalism light… it is more Constitutional than the previous plan. Something we should all be moving towards.

The above Kellyanne Conway Tweeting of a WASHINGTON POST OP-ED by Cathy McMorris Rodgers:

Hearing late-night host Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional monologue this week about his son’s condition and his family’s experience in the moments after his birth, I had a flashback to the day my son was born and we learned he had Down syndrome.

My husband and I had a lot of questions about Cole’s future. Whether he’d have health care shouldn’t have had to be one of them. When you’re facing years of doctor’s appointments, you want to know that having a preexisting condition, such as an extra 21st chromosome or a heart defect, won’t prevent you or your loved ones from accessing the care you need.

Protections for children such as Cole Rodgers and Billy Kimmel have long existed, as they should. And despite what people are saying, House Republicans aren’t seeking to strip these protections — or anyone’s protections — away.

[….]

To me, protecting people with preexisting conditions isn’t just good policy — it’s a personal mission.

All across the country, families like mine have real concerns about the future of health care, and they are why we’re focusing on results and working on these reforms. Obamacare is wrong for America. It has failed, and it’s only getting worse — making health care more expensive and less accessible. To stand by and do nothing would be irresponsible. The AHCA is a monumental step forward that trusts the American people — not the federal government — to make the best decisions for themselves and their families….

She does state elsewhere that for two years premiums will still rise, but that this is a “PART 1” of a three-part “fix,” and from all I have read, they will not rise nearly as fast as under O-Care.

OTHER NATIONS OFFER HEALTH-CARE…

…EXCEPT THE FASCIST GOP…

Here is another challenge, albeit not so thoughtful:

  • The United States Government is stupid… every civilized nation on the globe offers citizens health care…this country can’t and won’t because of greed and big business! Fuck Trump and the fascist GOP!

Just a quick note… Hitler’s Germany offered single-payer health care… speaking of “fascists.” Here is my FB response, I will add something a bit later:

Canada, the UK, Norway, etc., Are all moving toward free-market health-care as their single payer systems fail… I have read quite a few books on this over the years (a classic I recommend is “Code Blue: Reviving Canada’s Health Care System”) dealing with the issue, it is a bit more complicated than your “erudite” synopsis. For instance, to exemplify my point a bit, here is some commentary by the guy who is the founder of the Canadian model of health care, which the UK also used for their model:

“Back in the 1960s, (Claude) Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health reform and recommended that his home province of Quebec — then the largest and most affluent in the country — adopt government-administered health care, covering all citizens through tax levies.

The government followed his advice, leading to his modern-day moniker: “the father of Quebec medicare.” Even this title seems modest; Castonguay’s work triggered a domino effect across the country, until eventually his ideas were implemented from coast to coast.”

Four decades later, as the chairman of a government committee reviewing Quebec health care this year, Castonguay concluded that the system is in “crisis.”

“We thought we could resolve the system’s problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it,” says Castonguay. But now he prescribes a radical overhaul: “We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice.”

But that is why most insurance companies backed O-Care to begin with, as a way to weed out competition. Private practices could not compete, other option (that allowed for groups of private citizens to form their own catastrophic care groups became illegal), etc… So greed plays a part, but not the way you think. Here are a couple of short examples of Econ 101 to make my point on my site: BAM! WHAT IS CRONY CAPITALISM


Here Is My Addition Here On My Site

SCANDINAVIAN SOCIALISM


One can read and listen/watch all the media on my main post about “

Economics 101

In an excellent Bloomberg article entitled, “Booming Sweden’s Free-Market Solution,” the myth is dismantled in toto by Anders Aslund. Here is a snippet:

…From 1970 until 1989, taxes rose exorbitantly, killing private initiative, while entitlements became excessive. Laws were often altered and became unpredictable. As a consequence, Sweden endured two decades of low growth. In 1991-93, the country suffered a severe crash in real estate and banking that reduced GDP by 6 percent. Public spending had surged to 71.7 percent of GDP in 1993, and the budget deficit reached 11 percent of GDP.

TURNING POINT
The combination of the crisis and the non-socialist government under Carl Bildt from 1991 to 1994 broke the trend and turned the country around. In 1994, the Social Democrats returned to power and stayed until 2006. Instead of revoking the changes, they completed the fiscal tightening. In 2006, a non-socialist government returned, and Finance Minister Anders Borg, with his trademark ponytail and earring, has led further reforms. Sweden successfully weathered the global financial crisis that started in 2008, and the Financial Times named Borg Europe’s best finance minister last year.

Before 2009, Sweden had a budget surplus, and it has one again. For the past two years, economic growth has been 4 percent on average, and the current-account surplus was 6.7 percent in 2011. The only concerns are the depressed demand for exports caused by the current euro crisis and an unemployment rate that is about 7.5 percent.

Sweden’s traditional scourge is taxes, which used to be the highest in the world. The current government has cut them every year and abolished wealth taxes. Inheritance and gift taxes are also gone. Until 1990, the maximum marginal income tax rate was 90 percent. Today, it is 56.5 percent. That is still one of the world’s highest, after Belgium’s 59.4 and there is strong public support for a cut to 50 percent.

The 26 percent tax on corporate profits may seem reasonable from an American perspective, but Swedish business leaders want to reduce it to 20 percent. Tax competition is fierce in some parts of Europe. Most East European countries, for example, have slashed corporate taxes to 15-19 percent….

[….]

A Challenge Directed At Me

In conversation about an audio upload to my YouTube Channel of Dennis Prager discussing Bernie Sanders, I was challenged with this:

  • Sweden is not a Nato member so how does the US pay for Sweden defense? Pointing at Whittle and saying “because he say they do” won’t cut it.

To which I responded with a quote from an International Business Times article:

Finland is joining military exercises with other Scandinavian countries, as well as several members of NATO, in late May, Finnish media report. The maneuvers called Arctic Challenge will span 12 days, starting May 25, and include nine countries and close to 100 planes. The drills, over Sweden and northern Norway, come amid increased tensions between Russia and its Baltic and Nordic neighbors.

Sweden and Switzerland, which like Finland are not members of NATO, are expected to join the exercise, along with NATO members Norway, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Germany and the United States. Finland plans to send 16 F-18 Hornet fighter jets, while the other countries will supply Gripen “multirole” fighters, F-16s, Eurofighters and Jet Falcons, as well as transports and tankers, Russian news agency Sputnik reported. The Norwegian armed forces said the purpose of the Arctic Challenge exercise is to “learn to coordinate efforts in complicated flight operations conducted in cooperation with NATO.”

Russia has ramped up military activity along its borders with northern Europe, causing consternation in several Baltic and Nordic countries and pre-emptive actions to head off — or prepare for — a possible military crisis. Latvia, which reported a Russian submarine near its coast in mid-March, is beefing up security on its eastern border, while Finland recently began a letter campaign notifying some 900,000 reservists of their duties in a potential crisis. Sweden also intercepted four Russian planes flying over the Baltic Sea in March with their radios off. Russian jets have been intercepted in other instances while flying in European international airspace….

I also pointed out that this promise went back to the Cold War, and was not known about till a Swedish defense think-tank/security firm uncovered the agreements in 1994. The original story’s link has been lost, but it is here on FOI’s site. FOI’s “about us” page has this:

  • FOI is one of Europe’s leading research institutes in the areas of defence and security. We have 1,000 highly skilled employees with various backgrounds. At FOI, you will find everything from physicists, chemists, engineers, social scientists, mathematicians and philosophers to lawyers, economists and IT technicians…. The Armed Forces and the Swedish Defence Material Administration are our main customers. However, we also accept assignments from civil authorities and industry. Our clients from the defence sector place very high demands on advanced research, which also benefits other customers.

Here is the info from the old article via WIKI:

Initially after the end of World War II, Sweden quietly pursued an aggressive independent nuclear weapons program involving plutonium production and nuclear secrets acquisition from all nuclear powers, until the 1960s, when it was abandoned as cost-prohibitive. During the Cold War Sweden appeared to maintain a dual approach to thermonuclear weapons. Publicly, the strict neutrality policy was forcefully maintained, but unofficially strong ties were purportedly kept with the U.S. It was hoped that the U.S. would use conventional and nuclear weapons to strike at Soviet staging areas in the occupied Baltic states in case of a Soviet attack on Sweden. Over time and due to the official neutrality policy, fewer and fewer Swedish military officials were aware of the military cooperation with the west, making such cooperation in the event of war increasingly difficult. At the same time Swedish defensive planning was completely based on help from abroad in the event of war. Later research has shown that every publicly available war-game training, included the scenario that Sweden was under attack from the Soviets, and would rely on NATO forces for defence. The fact that it was not permissible to mention this aloud eventually led to the Swedish armed forces becoming highly misbalanced. For example, a strong ability to defend against an amphibious invasion was maintained, while an ability to strike at inland staging areas was almost completely absent.

In the early 1960s U.S. nuclear submarines armed with mid-range nuclear missiles of type Polaris A-1 were deployed outside the Swedish west coast. Range and safety considerations made this a good area from which to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike on Moscow. The submarines had to be very close to the Swedish coast to hit their intended targets though. As a consequence of this, in 1960, the same year that the submarines were first deployed, the U.S. provided Sweden with a military security guarantee. The U.S. promised to provide military force in aid of Sweden in case of Soviet aggression. This guarantee was kept from the Swedish public until 1994, when a Swedish research commission found evidence for it. As part of the military cooperation the U.S. provided much help in the development of the Saab 37 Viggen, as a strong Swedish air force was seen as necessary to keep Soviet anti-submarine aircraft from operating in the missile launch area. In return Swedish scientists at the Royal Institute of Technology made considerable contributions to enhancing the targeting performance of the Polaris missiles.

…READ IT ALL…


End Of Addition For This Posting


REPUBLICAN’S EXEMPTED THEMSELVES FROM THE BILL

After a friend posted something asbout the house passing the American Health Care Act (AHCA), his own flesh and blood… his mother… wrote:

American Health Care Act (AHCA),

  • If their legislation is so great why did they vote themselves exempt from it? Good enough for us – not ok for them🤔

I respond,

Yes, this is a great example of misinformation via the MSM [the Left]. But the reason that separated the two is explained well in this article…. BUT BEFORE THAT EXCERPT, which is more in-depth, let’s go barney style first:

NYT CORRESPONDENT FALSELY REPORTS HOUSE MEMBERS VOTED TO EXEMPT THEMSELVES FROM GOP HEALTH CARE BILL

A New York Times correspondent falsely reported Thursday on Twitter that members of the House of Representatives unanimously voted to exempt themselves from the Republican health care bill.

A day earlier, reporters noticed that a provision in the American Health Care Act would exempt lawmakers and their staff from losing some of the repealed Obamacare provisions. In response to the criticism, House leadership announced they would vote separately on the issue.

The House voted 429-0 to pass a bill rectifying the mistake, preventing lawmakers from being exempted. But the New York Times‘ chief White House correspondent, Peter Baker, apparently misunderstood the vote…..

(WASHINGTON FREE BEACON)

OKAY, now that the short synopsis is done, let us get into the weeds for those interested in how BIG GOVERNMENT works.

This comes from BUSINESS INSIDER:

HERE’S WHY CONGRESS EXEMPTED ITSELF FROM THE NEW HEALTHCARE BILL

Last week, Vox dug into the Republican healthcare bill and found a provision that would exempt Congress and its staff from many of the bill’s effects.

This provision was bad “optics,” as they say in Washington.

But instead of taking it out — like you would usually do with a provision you aren’t wedded to and can’t defend politically — the House passed the American Health Care Act with the exemption intact after first passing a separate bill that would repeal the exemption that would be created by the AHCA if both bills became law.

There’s a reason for this mess, and it’s not about Republicans in Congress not wanting to be subject to their law.

It’s about Senate procedure.

Republicans are attempting to pass the AHCA through a process called reconciliation. This process, created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, allows the Senate to pass certain bills relating to the federal budget with just a simple majority. There is no need to get 60 votes — and, in this case, some Democratic support — as there is for other legislation.

A variety of complex rules govern what matters may and may not be considered through reconciliation.

One of those is that reconciliation must be conducted pursuant to reconciliation instructions passed by both chambers of Congress. That happened earlier this year — Congress sent reconciliation instructions to two Senate committees (finance; and health, education, labor, and pensions) that were designed to allow those committees to write bills making changes to healthcare policy.

The problem, as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget explains, is that Congress’ healthcare is governed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and that committee was not sent any reconciliation instructions.

Therefore, if a reconciliation bill makes changes to the way Congress gets its healthcare, it might become subject to a 60-vote threshold because it addresses a matter that is supposed to be the purview of a committee that doesn’t get to participate in reconciliation this year.

(BUSINESS INSIDER)

Here I add some information I came across a day later:

ADDENDUM 1
And also from FACTCHECK.ORG, there was this updated insight that confirms the above:

….Indeed, Republican Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona proposed a stand-alone bill to strike the exemption of Congress from state waiver provisions should the AHCA be enacted into law. From the House floor, McSally said that “due to very arcane Senate procedural rules within the budget reconciliation process,” the MacArthur amendment “does not and cannot apply to members of Congress.”

“I believe that any law we pass [that] applies to our constituents must also apply equally to members of Congress,” McSally said. “Individuals who are stewards of public trust must abide by the rules that they make.”

McSally’s bill passed on May 4 by a 429-0 vote. Unlike a reconciliation bill, the McSally bill would require 60 votes in the Senate to pass.

So there are now two bills that the House sent to the Senate. The AHCA — for esoteric procedural reasons — would exempt members of Congress and their staffs from state waiver provisions. But then there’s a bill that would strike that exemption if the AHCA becomes law. Clearly, based on the unanimous vote for the McSally bill, there is bipartisan agreement that a health care law Congress passes should apply in the same way to members of Congress.

NOW, to the last, and the worst of them all… and I will link to the many articles refuting it with a couple commentaries from a few.

RAPE AS A PREEXISTING CONDITION

It is the — yes crazy — understanding that RAPE is a pre-existing condition. Dumb! [<<< my commentary]. Here is the first “non-partisan” [left-leaning] POLITIFACT notes this claim is… WAIT FOR IT

~ MOSTLY FALSE! ~

And the WASHINGTON POST gives it their MAXIMUM debunking rating of FOUR PINOCCHIOS

I know… crazy huh? Someone told my wife — roughly this:

  • “I hope you never get raped… because that is a pre-existing condition.”

I sent her this post from the not Trump friendly REASON.ORG website… to which yesterday the last article makes clear their bottom line:

If Democrats and progressives would just stick to actual details of the AHCA, they would still have plenty of material to make Republicans look bad (and the same goes for traffic-thirsty bloggers). But once again, that’s not enough for them. In their zeal to portray Donald Trump and the current GOP as worse than Nazis, the actual details of the bill don’t matter—and if that terrifies a ton of sexual-assault survivors and terrorizes American women in the process, so be it.

Since yesterday the article has been updated substantially, which I will post a portion of:

Update | May 6, 11:30 a.m.: Since I posted this, several other media outlets have investigated the rape-as-preexisting-condition claims and come to similar conclusions as mine. Politifact declared the claim “mostly false,” and The Washington Post—which yesterday morning published an op-ed yesterday perpetuating the rape claim—ran a Fact Checker column today giving it Four Pinnochios. “The notion that AHCA classifies rape or sexual assault as a preexisting condition, or that survivors would be denied coverage, is false,” wrote the Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee. In addition, “almost all states (at least 45 to 48) have their own laws protecting survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.”

“It takes several leaps of imagination to assume that survivors of rape and sexual assault will face higher premiums as a result of conditions relating to their abuse,” Lee continues.

A person would need to be in the individual or small-group market (most Americans under 65 are on employer-provided plans), in a state that sought waivers, and in one of two to five states that did not prohibit insurance-company discrimination against survivors of sexual abuse.

In other words, this claim relies on so many factors — including unknown decisions by a handful of states and insurance companies — that this talking point becomes almost meaningless.

We always say at The Fact Checker that the more complicated the topic, the more susceptible it is to spin. Both media coverage and hyperbole among advocates are at fault for creating a misleading representation of the House GOP health bill. We wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios, but the out-of-control rhetoric and the numerous assumptions pushed us to Four Pinocchios.

[….]

Pre-Existing Sub

What is also sad is that people do not read the bill outside it being put into political talking points outside the media or their organizations. I have already noted the following above:

The best non-partisan summary is this:

➤ States may opt-out of requiring premiums to be the same for all people of the same age, so while individuals with pre-existing conditions must be offered health insurance there is no limit on the cost of that insurance. A new $8 billion fund would help lower premiums for these individuals.

But here is more of a response to the broader challenge at hand:

Myth #2: People with pre-existing conditions will lose their coverage or pay more.

In fact, people who have health insurance and want to make changes to their coverage during open enrollment or after a qualifying life event (birth of a child, job loss, marriage, death, divorce, move, etc.) cannot be charged more for health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

That said, if someone went uninsured and waited until they got sick to enroll in a health insurance plan, the MacArthur amendment to the AHCAgives states the authority to try to prevent that from happening.

One of the things a state could do, under this amendment, would be to allow insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions more money for their health insurance, if they’ve been uninsured for an extended period of time.

Those higher charges can last a maximum of one year. 

The AHCA also provides $138 billion to help states cover the high cost of caring for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

(eHealth)

One of the authors of the AHCA has a congenetital heart issue, he says this in an op-ed:

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that I voted for and passed in the House does just that:

  • It establishes a healthcare system built upon free-market and consumer-driven principles that will revive competition, increasing quality, drive down costs, and expand coverage.
  • Cuts $1 trillion in burdensome ObamaCare taxes.
  • Congressional members and staff are not exempt from the AHCA. The McSally Amendment made sure this legislation applies equally to everyone.
  • THOSE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS CANNOT BE DENIED COVERAGE. I HAVE A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION WITH MY CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT, AND I UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO MAINTAIN COVERAGE FOR OTHERS.
  • Low-income Americans are not losing coverage and will still receive coverage under Medicaid.

(THE HILL)

And finally, here are a repition of what is above, but for good measure:

1. The Upton Amendment: The Upton Amendment, named after Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mi.), adds another $8 billion on top of the aforementioned $100 billion to cover high-risk patients with chronic and/or pre-existing conditions. This amendment was put in place to help satisfy more moderate-leaning Republicans who felt the AHCA took too much away from their constituents.

Here is the final explanation to be clear:

….As the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities puts it, without community rating, “Insurers could increase premiums by unlimited amounts for people with a history of cancer, hypertension, asthma, depression, or other conditions.”

Likewise, lifting the essential health benefits requirement would allow insurers to offer plans that don’t cover chemotherapy, maternity care, prescription drugs, or other expensive treatments.

In other words, insurers could effectively turn away the sick by refusing to sell policies that cover the services they need at any price, much less an affordable one.

These concerns are wildly overstated.

First, the only people supposedly at risk of being denied affordable coverage by these waivers are the 7 percent of Americans who buy coverage in the individual insurance market.

Insurers have long been banned from discriminating against the sick in the employer-sponsored market, where a little less than 160 million Americans get their coverage. Those with pre-existing conditions who get their coverage from Medicare, Medicaid, or another government program have nothing to worry about, either.

Second, the House-passed American Health Care Act would only allow insurers to base premiums on the health status of an applicant if that person went without coverage for 63 days or more the previous year. Those in waiver states who maintain continuous coverage could not be medically underwritten — and so would be protected from egregious premium hikes.

Further, pre-existing conditions are far less common than Rep. Pallone and his fellow travelers claim. A 2010 congressional investigation found that, pre-Obamacare, insurers denied just one in seven applicants in the individual market because of a pre-existing condition.

That means that about 1 percent of the total non-elderly population has a health problem serious enough to even need those pre-existing condition protections.

Even if we add the entire uninsured population to the individual market and assume the same denial rate, the share of non-elderly people declined coverage because of pre-existing conditions would be less than 3 percent. That estimate is almost certainly high, as a number of the uninsured are probably eligible for coverage elsewhere, whether through work or a government program.

For this small share of the population that could potentially be priced out of the individual market because of pre-existing conditions, the AHCA includes several additional layers of protection. The House bill seeds a Patient and State Stability Fund with $130 billion over ten years to reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs for these folks.

A last-minute amendment to the AHCA provides an additional $8 billion over five years specifically earmarked to help those with pre-existing conditions in waiver states who let their insurance coverage lapse for more 63 days or more pay their premiums. Insurers can consider these folks’ health status when determining premiums — but only for one year. After that, they’d pay the standard rate for their age.

Many waiver states will choose to direct at least part of that $138 billion toward high-risk pools — programs that offer subsidized coverage to those rendered uninsurable because of a serious medical condition.

By removing these most costly patients from standard risk pools, high-risk pools would help keep premiums down throughout the insurance market — and ensure that younger, healthier patients have affordable coverage options.

The AHCA has plenty of flaws. But it’s dishonest to argue that it abandons individuals with pre-existing conditions.

(FORBES)

LINKS

Here are some other sources:

  • Liberal Media Claims Trumpcare Makes Rape A Pre-Existing Condition, It Doesn’t (Young Conservatives);
  • FAKE NEWS: No, The Republican Health Care Bill Didn’t Just Make Rape A Pre-Existing Condition (DAILY WIRE);
  • No. Rape Is Not A ‘Pre-Existing Condition’ Under The Republican Health Care Bill (CHICKS ON THE RIGHT);
  • No, Rape is Not a Pre-Existing Condition Under GOP Health Bill: Hysterical allegation vastly misstates impact of partial Obamacare repeal passed by House (POLIZETTE);
  • When the GOP Isn’t Murdering People, It’s Exploiting Rape Victims (NATIONAL REVIEW);
  • Just Stop: No, the AHCA Does Not Make Rape a Pre-Existing Condition (VICTORY GIRLS);
  • NY Mag Falsely Claims Rape Is a Pre-Existing Condition In AHCA (NEWSBUSTERS).

Minorities Cannot Be Racist

I had a person say “yes, I agree with that” to my following analogy:

  • It is the common belief via university that someone cannot be a racist who does not have power. So – the story goes – blacks cannot be racist because they are a minority. I have a name memorized that I use in an analogy (I remember it because I associate it with General Mills — the cereal maker). I say, “So, you’re telling me that if the co-founder of the white supremacist prison gang, the Aryan Nation, Barry Mills, boards a plane in America and flies to The Federal Republic of Nigeria, the moment he touched his foot on the tarmac he is no longer a racist?” I will then sometimes have some fun and mention Barry might have ceased being a racist in midair through time zones, and then magically become one again when reaching another.

But this short video explains the ludicrous nature of this thinking, well:

Slavery Made the South Poor, Not Rich

This is the article Larry Elder was referencing: “INDUSTRY AND ECONOMY DURING THE CIVIL WAR” (Also see “The Truth Behind ’40 Acres and a Mule’) —  here is the excerpt from chapter 22 of MY BONDAGE AND MY FREEDOM:

…The reader will be amused at my ignorance, when I tell the notions I had of the state of northern wealth, enterprise, and civilization. Of wealth and refinement, I supposed the north had none. My Columbian Orator, which was almost my only book, had not done much to enlighten me concerning northern society. The impressions I had received were all wide of the truth. New Bedford, especially, took me by surprise, in the solid wealth and grandeur there exhibited. I had formed my notions respecting the social condition of the free states, by what I had seen and known of free, white, non-slaveholding people in the slave states. Regarding slavery as the basis of wealth, I fancied that no people could become very wealthy without slavery. A free white man, holding no slaves, in the country, I had known to be the most ignorant and poverty-stricken of men, and the laughing stock even of slaves themselves—called generally by them, in derision, “poor white trash.” Like the non-slaveholders at the south, in holding no slaves, I suppose the northern people like them, also, in poverty and degradation. Judge, then, of my amazement and joy, when I found—as I did find—the very laboring population of New Bedford living in better houses, more elegantly furnished—surrounded by more comfort and refinement—than a majority of the slaveholders on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There was my friend, Mr. Johnson, himself a colored man (who at the south would have been regarded as a proper marketable commodity), who lived in a better house—dined at a richer board—was the owner of more books—the reader of more newspapers—was more conversant with the political and social condition of this nation and the world—than nine-tenths of all the slaveholders of Talbot county, Maryland. Yet Mr. Johnson was a working man, and his hands were hardened by honest toil. Here, then, was something for observation and study. Whence the difference? The explanation was soon furnished, in the superiority of mind over simple brute force. Many pages might be given to the contrast, and in explanation of its causes. But an incident or two will suffice to show the reader as to how the mystery gradually vanished before me.

My first afternoon, on reaching New Bedford, was spent in visiting the wharves and viewing the shipping. The sight of the broad brim and the plain, Quaker dress, which met me at every turn, greatly increased my sense of freedom and security. “I am among the Quakers,” thought I, “and am safe.” Lying at the wharves and riding in the stream, were full-rigged ships of finest model, ready to start on whaling voyages. Upon the right and the left, I was walled in by large granite-fronted warehouses, crowded with the good things of this world. On the wharves, I saw industry without bustle, labor without noise, and heavy toil without the whip. There was no loud singing, as in southern ports, where ships are loading or unloading—no loud cursing or swearing—but everything went on as smoothly as the works of a well adjusted machine. How different was all this from the nosily fierce and clumsily absurd manner of labor-life in Baltimore and St. Michael’s! One of the first incidents which illustrated the superior mental character of northern labor over that of the south, was the manner of unloading a ship’s cargo of oil. In a southern port, twenty or thirty hands would have been employed to do what five or six did here, with the aid of a single ox attached to the end of a fall. Main strength, unassisted by skill, is slavery’s method of labor. An old ox, worth eighty dollars, was doing, in New Bedford, what would have required fifteen thousand dollars worth of human bones and muscles to have performed in a southern port. I found that everything was done here with a scrupulous regard to economy, both in regard to men and things, time and strength. The maid servant, instead of spending at least a tenth part of her time in bringing and carrying water, as in Baltimore, had the pump at her elbow. The wood was dry, and snugly piled away for winter. Woodhouses, in-door pumps, sinks, drains, self-shutting gates, washing machines, pounding barrels, were all new things, and told me that I was among a thoughtful and sensible people. To the ship-repairing dock I went, and saw the same wise prudence. The carpenters struck where they aimed, and the calkers wasted no blows in idle flourishes of the mallet. I learned that men went from New Bedford to Baltimore, and bought old ships, and brought them here to repair, and made them better and more valuable than they ever were before. Men talked here of going whaling on a four years’ voyage with more coolness than sailors where I came from talked of going a four months’ voyage…

“Ten Things You Can’t Say In America” |CSPAN|

C-SPAN Washington Journal FLASHBACK book discussion by Larry Elder and his first book, Ten Things You Can’t Say In America:

Mr. Elder talked about his book, “The Ten Things You Can’t Say In America,” discussing the political correctness, racial issues, and racism within the U.S. government. He also responded to telephone calls, faxes, and electronic mail.

TAKE NOTE in this playlist of Larry Elder on YouTube, I have some audio from my channel included.

Myth #5: The Rich Get Richer, The Poor Get Poorer

A series of 5-myths via Daniel Flynn’s excellent book — Machiavelli said, “One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.”

  • Daniel J. Flynn, Why the Left Hates America: Exposing the Lies That Have Obscured Our Nation’s Greatness (Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 2002), 138-143.

MYTH #5: THE RICH GET RICHER, THE POOR GET POORER

WRITER JAMES L0EWEN laments the fact that publishers re­frain from printing “a textbook that would enable readers to understand why children of working-class families do not be­come president or vice-president, the mythical Abraham Lin­coln to the contrary.” Without a hint of irony, the author penned these words when the occupant of the Oval Office was a man abandoned by his father and raised in poverty by his strug­gling mother in Hope, Arkansas. The writer’s ideological my­opia regarding class and success in America is a central tenet of leftist philosophy. The Left’s propaganda campaign has been so effective that a majority of Americans now believe that the American system benefits the rich at the expense of the poor. A December 2001 Harris poll, for instance, revealed just how the belief in class rigidity remains entrenched in the collective consciousness. Sixty-nine percent of Americans agreed with the assertion that, in their country, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” The facts do not support this popular belief. Nor do they buttress the idea that the system is set up to bene­fit the rich.

The burden of taxation overwhelmingly falls on the rich. The federal government relieves the poor of paying even a nominal amount of income taxes. The Internal Revenue Ser­vice reports that in 1999, the richest 1% paid more than a third of all income taxes it received. The richest 5% paid well over half of all federal income taxes. Only $1 out of every $25 collected by the IRS came from taxpayers on the bottom half of the economic ladder. To state that such a system unfairly ben­efits the rich, as many politicians perennially do, requires an abandonment of the facts as well as common sense.

The poor’s share of the economic pie has undeniably shrunk, however slightly, in recent decades. But the size of the entire pie has grown larger. Every economic class now receives a larger piece because they feast on a larger pie. From 1967 through 2000, the household income of the poorest tenth of the population increased by more than 33% in inflation-adjusted dollars. Surely it is better to have a smaller piece of a massive pie than it is to have a larger piece of a small pie. Countries exist, of course, where income equality is more pronounced among the masses. Economic equality for the populace (but not the leadership) is far more evident in China, Cuba, and Libya than it is in the United States. But what good is equality if it results in making everyone equally poor? Only one consumed by envy prefers equality of condition to increased prosperity for all.

A $9 trillion economy hardly leaves much room for what the rest of humanity considers true poverty. In more than 100 countries, America’s poor would be considered the moneyed elite. To its critics, the obscenity of our free-enterprise system is that some still go poor in a nation that houses Bill Gates and Leona Helmsley. Strangely, the system where everyone shares financial degradation equally earns higher marks from such critics. Such utopians fail to realize that only the system that keeps in place the natural rewards for hard work and ingenuity realizes the desired widespread prosperity. Government schemes that remove incentives seal the degraded fate of their own citizenry.

The United States is a free country. Any country that values liberty necessarily shuns the socialist’s conception of equality. The two ideals are incongruous. Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek astutely observed in The Constitution of Liberty,

From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their ac­tual position, and the only way to place them in an equal posi­tion would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either the one or the other, but not both at the same time.

A variety of income levels usually reflects the health of free­dom in a nation. What truly would frighten would be no differ­ences in income.

Ignoring the absolute gains of the lowest economic class while stressing their relative losses serves as one example of the mathematical legerdemain the Left plays in the service of class warfare. A second trick involves the portrayal of “the poor” as a static group of individuals rather than as an economic class whose membership constantly rotates. The people we refer to as “the poor” today are not at all likely to be the people we refer to as “the poor” a few years from now. This reality alone rebuts the notion that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Today’s rich are often yesterday’s poor.

Hard statistics demonstrate that economic mobility is widespread. A Treasury Department study tracking class move­ment from 1979 to 1988 discovered that 86% of 1979’s poor no longer remained in the lowest income quintile in 1988. More of 1979’s poorest quintile actually found themselves in the richest 20% of Americans in 1988 than were still mired in the poorest 20%. Considering that the bulk of the survey focused on the Reagan years, the very time the Left describes as an era of un­precedented misery for the poor, the numbers are quite devas­tating to any claim of a static class structure.

An Urban Institute study at around the same time yielded similar results. The group found that the greatest proportional income gainers from 1977 to 1986 were 1977’s poorest quintile. This bottom fifth of the economic ladder saw their incomes climb 77% during the time period. By way of comparison, the average income gain during the 10-year period was 18%. Con­spicuously, 1977’s richest quintile experienced an anemic 5% increase in their earnings. In many ways, the Urban Institute’s findings merely confirm common sense. Poor people, having nowhere to go but up, experience more rapid proportional gains in income than the rich. To advance an ideology that ig­nores this reality flies in the face of common sense.

Over the past two decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has tracked individual income fluctuation from one year to the next on seven occasions. Even over a period as short as two years, the studies reveal a startling fluidity in the economy. In each of the Census Bureau’s seven two-year studies, at least three-fourths of all individual incomes fluctuated up or down by 5% or more. The studies affirm that the average American sees his earnings change significantly from year to year. A similar Census Bureau study of poor people in the mid-1990s found that nearly one-quarter of impoverished citizens in the first year of the study es­caped poverty by the end of the next. Again, the poor are not a fixed group of people. Poverty is a condition that different people find themselves in at different times. Students, the young, and newly arrived immigrants may constitute “the poor” during one still frame but live quite comfortably once we fast-forward their lives.

Just as the extremely poor are not typically chronically im­poverished, the extremely rich usually were not born into afflu­ence. Historians generally regard John Jacob Astor as the first man to be worth $10 million, Cornelius Vanderbilt, $100 mil­lion, and John D. Rockefeller, $1 billion. Significantly, each of these men earned his own wealth and rose from a fairly modest background. When we look at the rich today, the tradition of self-made wealth still holds true.

The self-made rich constitute the majority of wealthy people. Someone born into wealth stands a far greater chance of dying wealthy, of course, than someone born into poverty. But this hardly supports the claim that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Nor does it indict the American system. The advantages of inherited wealth occur not just in the United States but everywhere else in the world as well. In viewing the Forbes 400, the annual ranking of America’s superrich, one finds quite a few spots on the list that, like the publisher’s chair of the magazine compiling the report, are occupied by the inheritors of great wealth. Sam Walton’s wife and children constitute half of the Forbes top 10. A brood of Rockefellers populate the list. Five generations after the launch of Johnson & Johnson, nu­merous members of Forbes’s exclusive club bear the genes of the company’s founders. Old money has its advantages.

Yet these people are the exception. A perusal of the most recent list of the 400 richest Americans yields a count of 252 men and women, 63% of the total, described by Forbes as “self-made.”74 Their stories are truly amazing.

Texan Red McCombs (ranked at 158), the son of an auto mechanic, made billions selling the cars his dad was paid a few dollars to fix. Equaling McCombs in wealth is Kenny Troutt (158), a man who grew up in a housing project, only to establish one of the most successful communications companies in the United States. Andrew McKelvey (172), founder of Monster .com, got his start selling eggs. He later graduated to peddling ad space in the Yellow Pages, which undoubtedly planted the seeds in his mind for his successful Internet classified-ad com­pany. Both Marcus Bernard (60) and Arthur Blank (136) grew up in dilapidated tenement housing in and around New York City. After Bernard and Blank were fired by the Handy Dan home improvement store, they decided to launch their own venture. Handy Dan is out of business. Home Depot is one of the most successful stores in history. West Coast financier Leslie Gonda (136) escaped the Holocaust. The odds do not get much worse than that. Yet he made it. The lives of Mississippi sharecropper’s daughter Oprah Winfrey (280), college dropout Steve Jobs (158), and paperboy, horse breaker, and greeting card salesman H. Ross Perot (47) all serve as testimony to the reality of the American Dream.

These aren’t Horatio Alger stories. The rags-to-riches tales found in the Forbes 400 really happened. If the American Dream can become real for a Jew fleeing from under the jack­boot of Nazism, whom can’t it become real for?

Dr. Sommers Debunks The Gender Wage Gap – Yet Again

Is there a gender wage gap? Are women paid less than men to do the same work? Christina Hoff Sommers, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, explains the data.

Via CHICKS on the RIGHT:

  • If you’re like me, every time some screechy feminist starts whining about the “wage gap,” your eyes glass over (or they roll right out of your head). I honestly don’t know how many times we have to explain basic math, economics, and sociology to these harpies before they understand that this wage gap nonsense is precisely that.