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December 29, 2012

Cops In Schools

Yes, it's old news, but it's a story worth repeating.  It's about the liberal outrage over Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association.  Last week he held a press conference where he offered the N.R.A. perspective on the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  Some excerpts:

LAPIERRE: You know, five years ago after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy. But what if -- what if when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he’d been confronted by qualified armed security? Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 little kids, that 26 innocent lives might have been spared that day?

...

I call on Congress today, to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. And, to do it now to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in January.

...

So, why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect the president of our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to protect our children in our schools? They’re our kids. They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them, it’s our right to protect them.

The New York Daily News was one of those liberal news organs that took LaPierre's proposals badly.

Less than two hours after the moment of silence for the dead of Newtown, after the solemn sound of church bells ringing for the children and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary on the last school morning before Christmas, there was Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association, calling for more guns in America, not fewer.

So LaPierre wasn’t just the biggest gun guy in the whole country on Friday, he was the dumbest, and most delusional, and most dangerous.

...

LaPierre’s solution is a “police officer in every single school and a protection plan for every single school.” More guns! He talks about the Secret Service guarding one President and makes it sound simple to establish a Secret Service for every school in America.

Dumb!  Delusional!  Dangerous!  Deranged!  Really?

Flashback.  The date is November 1, 1998.  The New York Times reported,

Two weeks ago, President Clinton announced a program called Cops in Schools, aimed at making it easier for school districts to get money to hire police officers in hopes of preventing the types of shootings that have resulted in the deaths of students and teachers in half a dozen schools in the last three years.

Governor Whitman recently encouraged local school districts to invite police officers to patrol schools. And the state Attorney General's office and Department of Education have just drafted new guidelines for school-police partnerships.

Although most school districts have police officers teaching the DARE antidrug program, the police are still rare in schools in other capacities.

Security is usually handled by private firms, except in some urban settings like Jersey City, where officers have patrolled five city high schools for more than a decade.

Turns out Clinton's proposal for Cops in Schools was adopted.  The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which falls under the United States Department of Justice, includes a COPS in Schools (CIS) program.

COPS has announced 19  rounds of funding under the COPS in Schools program, including five that were a part of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, a joint initiative between the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services. The Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant program was developed to provide students, schools, and communities with the benefit of enhanced educational, mental health, and law enforcement services to promote a comprehensive healthy childhood development.

COPS announced the first round of the CIS program in April 1999, and the most recent in July 2005. COPS has awarded in excess of $753 million to more than 3,000 grantees to hire more than 6,500 SROs through the CIS program. COPS has provided more than $10 million to hire approximately 100 SROs through the Safe Schools/Healthy Students program.

The contradictions that coexist in the progressive mind are pretty easy to figure out, though.  A cherished progressive goal is the disarming of American citizens.  If progressives had their way, private ownership of firearms of any kind would be strictly forbidden and the ban would be vigorously enforced. 

Bill Clinton was a champion of gun control.  His administration was responsible for the first assault weapons ban, a predictably useless piece of legislation from the stand point of preventing violent crime.  But it's purpose wasn't so much to prevent crime as it was to condition the American public to the gradual infringement upon the citizens' right to keep and bear arms.  So when the great and wonderful Clinton called for Cops in schools, what a great idea.  The New York Times concluded its article on Clinton's proposal on a positive note.

''The bottom line is to make schools safer,'' said Chief Stephen J. White of the Doylestown, Pa., police department who is a juvenile justice expert with the International Association of Chiefs of Police. ''And you're going to do that by making officers more accessible to students and teachers, especially in schools that have trouble with crime and violence.''

What a contrast from the reception given Wayne LaPierre.  As head of the N.R.A. Mr. LaPierre is a defender of the U.S. Constitution, in particular the Second Amendment rights.  He opposes gun control and so the liberal/progessive media opposes him.  Here's a more recent reaction from the New York Times to essentially the same proposal as the one implemented by Clinton in 1999.

We cannot imagine trying to turn the principals and teachers who care for our children every day into an armed mob. And let’s be clear, civilians bristling with guns to prevent the “next Newtown” are an armed mob even with training offered up by Mr. LaPierre. Any town officials or school principals who take up the N.R.A. on that offer should be fired.

Mr. LaPierre said the Newtown killing spree “might” have been averted if the killer had been confronted by an armed security guard. It’s far more likely that there would have been a dead armed security guard — just as there would have been even more carnage if civilians had started firing weapons in the Aurora movie theater.

Is police protection in schools a good idea only when Democrats propose it?  Is armed security appropriate for, let's say the New York Times building but not for the elementary school down the street?  According to the liberal media, the answer to those questions would seem to be, "Yes." 

And the children of Sandy Hook?  They've just become the latest symbols in the political cause of gun control.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 28, 2012

The "Atruthful" Obama

Amoral is defined this way:

1. not involving questions of right or wrong; without moral quality; neither moral nor immoral.
2. having no moral standards, restraints, or principles; unaware of or indifferent to questions of right or wrong: a completely amoral person.

Substitute the words "truthful" and "untruthful" for "moral" and "immoral" in the definitions above, and you get a pretty good feel for Barack Obama's politics.  For Obama, truth is completely irrelevant.

Benghazi is a good example.  Five days after the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans at the consulate in Libya, Obama ordered his UN ambassador Susan Rice to go out to all the Sunday news shows to blame their deaths on a Youtube video that was supposedly so insulting that it sparked rioting throughout the middle east.  It was such an unlikely story, but it was one that fit in with Obama's image.  His presidency by itself was supposed to cast a new and attractive light on America for the Muslim world to see.  The planned terrorist attack destroyed that narrative.  Benghazi was a protest. 

Later on President Obama himself went to the UN where he repeated his protest story in a speech to the General Assembly.  Then weeks later during a presidential debate against Mitt Romney he contradicted all that.  To Romney's obvious bafflement, Obama said that he had called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror the day after it happened.  Almost everybody was caught be surprise, except the debate moderator.  In what looked to have been a beautifully choreographed move, Candy Crowley jumped into the debate to declare that, yes, it was true.  She had specifically looked into it and she could confidently support what the president said.  Time to move on to our next debate topic.  Sorry, we really don't have time for more questions on this.  Obama would not have to face questions on where the protest story came from.

Remarkably, Barack Obama went on to win the election.  In the midst of the most dire economic circumstances we've experienced in the last half century, Obama managed to beat out the guy who made a fortune rescuing companies from their own dire economic circumstances and putting them back on their feet.  If ever there was a man equipped to deal with the hardships facing our country, it was Mitt Romney.  Yet the atruthful Obama beat Romney, the turnaround artist.

He did it without offering any kind of a plan to deal with the worst unemloyment in 30 years, or any plan to deal with the rest of our economic problems.  After running trillion dollar deficits for four straight years, boosting the national debt from $10.6 trillion to more than $16 trillion, he managed to sucker just enough people into believing he would fix everything by taxes on 2% of American taxpayers.  Arithmetic anyone

Obama said what he had to say, himself and through surrogates.

He said that Romney and the Republicans were waging war on women because they didn't believe the Catholic Church should be forced, against Church doctrine, to pay for women's birth control.  He said that Romney got rich destroying companies, not rescuing them.  He said Romney was a felon, that he misrepresented his position on corporate filings to the SEC.  He said Romeny was responsible for a woman's cancer death.  Her husband lost his job when the company Romney rescued went under, long after the rescue and long after Romney's involvement.  The woman died six years later.

No matter that there was no truth to any of it.  Barack Obama said whatever would defeat Mitt Romney.   And that's where we are now.  America's rescue has been put on indefinite hold.  Obama won.

In place of any expectation of economic growth we have a "fiscal cliff" before us.  A confrontation between Obama and Republicans over spending and taxes looms.  It was contrived by Obama because he thinks that any confrontation with Republicans is one that he will win it.  He might.   Obama will say whatever he has to say to do it.  He said so.

In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn't reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault.

It will be hard for the two sides to reach an agreement.  The give and take one might expect during any negotiation are not there.  Obama won the election.  End of story.

At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, "I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?"

"You get nothing," the president said. "I get that for free."

There is no middle ground.  In one sense that's a benefit.  There is next to no time left for negotiating any kind of a deal.  When there is no middle ground there's not much to be negotiated.  The process won't take a lot of time.

After the election, Boehner aides tried to shape the debate by offering early concessions, including that the GOP would agree to raise new tax revenue. A speech Mr. Boehner planned to give was rewritten 18 times and included input from top Republican leaders.

He and Mr. Obama didn't sit down together for another 10 days.

So many other things to do.  Most recently it was vacation.  With only days remaining the Obamas jetted off to Hawaii.  He doesn't want an agreement.

One of the speaker's aides, Brett Loper, asked the president's legislative liaison, "Can you get back into the zone of where you were in July 2011?"—when Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner were close to a large deal on revenues, spending and entitlements. The president's man replied, "No, we were probably overextended then, and there's no way we would do it now."

July 2011.  Think about that.  Here we are a year and a half later, still, with no agreement on revenues, spending, and entitlements.  For a year and a half Barack Obama has been inching the bar higher.  When agreement seems close Obama backs away.  He preserves the confrontation.  Suddenly there are new demands, ones that Obama knows are unacceptable to Republicans.  How about let's permanently raise the debt ceiling?

It's pretty safe to say no opposition congressional majority is going willingly cede power to a president.  If Obama's condition for reaching a deal is permanent removal of the debt ceiling, there will be no deal.  Obama is content with that.  His governing purpose is partisan advantage above all else.  As Kimberly Strassel wrote in the Wall Street Journal today,

For all the ugliness of this lame-duck session, it did have one merit: It has exposed how President Obama intends to govern in a second term. He's intent on narrow political victories and on damaging his opponents.

Where confrontations don't exist, Obama will contrive one.  He'll say what he has to say so that Republcans are blamed for something.  The country will suffer damage as well, but like the truth, that's irrelevant.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 23, 2012

Silent Night

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December 14, 2012

A Well Scripted Mission Accomplished

Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration to be the next Secretary of State. 

In a letter to the president, Ms. Rice wrote she had been honored to be considered. "However," she added, "if nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly—to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities."

Timing has been perfect.  Rice, you may recall, was trotted out to the Sunday talk shows immediately after Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were murdered in an 8-hour terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  Her story on five different shows was the same:  There was no evidence whatever that the attack had anything to do with terrorism.  It was really a protest by Muslims, justifiably outraged in administration minds, over a YouTube video that was said to be insulting to the Prophet Mohammed.  According to Rice, it was sheer chance that the protest took place on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks on America.  Just as it was sheer chance that the protesters were armed with mortars and RPGs.

Rice's appearances on the Sunday talk show circuit changed the conversation.  When Republicans reacted with skepticism to Rice's wildly unlikely explanations, the mainstream media switched their coverage away from Benghazi and over to the unfair, partisan mistreatment of poor Susan Rice.  No need to bring up any embarrassing questions about why there was no help for Ambassador Stevens and his staff members during the eight hours they were under attack. 

So the questions remain.  Whose idea was it to normalize operations at the Libyan missions?  Libya is not quite like Paris or London, you know.  What happened after the president ordered the military to do everything possible to save the ambassador and his staff?  Wouldn't an order like that have been transmitted in writing?  Where is it?  Why were the ambassador's earlier written requests for more security for the Benghazi mission ignored? 

Those questions and more awaited the confirmation hearings for Secretary of State nominee Susan Rice.  Not that there would be answers.  We already know what Rice would say.  She doesn't know anything about any of that stuff.  But the questions would have been asked anyway, and Susan Rice would have gone on record saying that she knew nothing.  She would have said, yet again, that she relayed the best information available at the time. 

But there might be a problem.  She did say, on those Sunday shows, that there was no evidence of a planned terrorist attack.  We know that's not true.  There most certainly was evidence.  What could she say about that now?  And how would the press cover it? 

The press might actually have had to get to the real story:  How could the administration have left the Ambassador Christopher Stevens unprotected after he repeatedly asked for more security forces?  How could the administration have been caught be surprise on the anniversary of 9/11.

But with exquisite timing Rice withdrew her name from consideration, and all those questions have been avoided for now.  Now President Obama signals the media.  Let's get the coverage back on track.  This is about the mistreatment of Susan Rice, not Benghazi.

"While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first," Mr. Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

The media are only too happy to oblige.  Here's a sample of what we get from just the Washington Post today on the topic of Susan Rice:

Text of Susan Rice's letter to Obama withdrawing her name for secretary of state
Susan Rice, the embattled U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, abruptly withdrew from consideration to be the next secretary of state on Thursday after a standoff with Republicans. Here is the text of the letter she submitted to President Barack Obama:
Associated Press,  AP   4:21 AM ET

Susan Rice, really the victim of conservative media?
So Chuck Todd says that Susan Rice was the victim of insufficient PR staff, the conservative media and other forces. Hmmm.
Erik Wemple,  The Washington Post   DEC 13

O'Malley blames Susan Rice's exit on 'a small cabal' of GOP senators
The Maryland governor defended Rice on the Rev. Al Sharpton's MSNBC show.
John Wagner,  The Washington Post   DEC 13

Susan Rice withdraws as candidate for secretary of state
Action ends weeks-long fight with Republicans.
Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan,  The Washington Post   DEC 13

President Obama's statement on Susan Rice's decision
The statement released by the White House on Thursday in which President Barack Obama accepted the decision by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to withdraw from consideration to be the next secretary of state:
Associated Press,  AP   DEC 13

The ignoble hounding of Susan Rice
Three senators belittled her experience, questioned her competence and wondered about her temperament for a job that she was only rumored to be considered for.
Jonathan Capehart,  The Washington Post   DEC 13

An ugly end to Rice's non-nomination
The lengthy public twisting-in-the-wind process reflected badly on nearly everyone involved.
Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post DEC 13

Why wasn't Hillary Clinton the one to make the talk show cirtcuit back in September instead of Ms. Rice?  2016, maybe?  Hillary was a principal.  As Secretary of State she was in the murdered ambassador's chain of command.  She was somebody who had knowledge and some degree of control over events in Benghazi.  She knew that Christopher Stevens thought he was in danger.  Did she have enough control to comply with his request for more security?   Or was that somebody else's decision?  Inquiring minds may never find out.  That is, if the coordinated efforts of the media and the administration win out.

This has been such a well orchestrated diversion.  Rice was the administration spokesperson that day precisely because she could plausibly say she didn't know anything.  She could say just what she said:  She was just passing along the information that was available at the time.  She was only there because Hillary was on a trip. 

But Hillary promised to come back and testify to congress.  Naturally, she'd want to let things cool down a bit before she makes an appearance.  Now it looks like Hillary wants things to cool down even more.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has also already announced its Dec. 20 hearing featuring Clinton's testimony. The title of the HFAC hearing is "Benghazi Attack, Part II: The Report of the Accountability Review Board"

But State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said today that the ARB is not complete, might not be complete by Dec. 20, and Clinton has not agreed to testify on Dec. 20.

"The Hill has talked about a planning date on the calendar. That presumes that the ARB is finished," Nuland said. "That's dependent on all of the work getting done between now and then... The ARB is continuing to do its work, to my knowledge it has not yet completed its work."

Clinton has not agreed to testify in open hearing at all in fact, only to brief the House and Senate foreign relations committees on how she interprets the ARB report, whenever it surfaces.

Susan Rice's well scripted mission has been accomplished.  Her performance in September brilliantly drew attention away from Hillary and Barack.  And just when we might expect congress to begin getting to the bottom of what went wrong about Benghazi, she withdrew.  It's about Susan Rice all over again.  Legitimate questions about administration competence have gone unanswered for months, and we can expect them to go unanswered for months more.  Hell, they may never be answered.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 09, 2012

How 'Bout a Little Perspective?

So what's so bad about Susan Rice, asks Frank J. Fleming.

This idea that President Obama should only appoint honest, competent people is really unfair. The guy is a Chicago politician; he’s probably never once met anyone like that.

Just look at his first Cabinet to see how out-of-the-blue this demand for competency is. He has a treasury secretary who couldn’t figure out how to pay his own taxes. His attorney general leads a Justice Department that somehow thought selling guns to Mexican drug cartels would have good results.

Then there are Obama’s secretaries of commerce, who were supposed to be promoting job creation and economic growth — who in the world knows what they’ve been up to these past four years?

...

So as long as Rice is reasonably loyal to the United States (i.e., identifies it as one of her five favorite countries) and probably won’t accidentally start any wars (or, given recent history, not more than one), we can declare her as “good enough.” And what more can we expect from government?

Posted by Tom Bowler at 07:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack