According to Democrats we shouldn't touch abortion, even when it means preventing another Kermit Gosnell. Yesterday Utah Senator Mike Lee offered a resolution to increase sanitation requirements in abortion clinics, specifically referencing Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell who is accused of murdering a woman and many babies born alive after late term abortion attempts. Gosnell's clinic hadn't been inspected by health officials for years, was unsanitary as he kept the feet of babies in a jar on his desk and was a place where helpless human beings had their spinal cords snipped with scissors. Democrats, of course, objected to his resolution and specific targeting of abortion clinics:
Democratic senators offered objections to Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee’s Gosnell resolution Wednesday, responding with their own resolution to condemn illegal activities in all health-care settings.
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee attempted to bring his resolution to express “the sense of the Senate that Congress and the States should investigate and correct abusive, unsanitary, and illegal abortion practices” to the floor Wednesday afternoon for consideration under unanimous consent.
Lee’s resolution highlights the alleged crimes of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, currently awaiting judgment on more than 250 charges, including first-degree murder in the deaths of four babies born alive in attempted abortions and third-degree murder for the death of a woman from a drug overdose during an abortion.
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal objected to Lee’s resolution, which focuses on abortion crimes, and offered his own resolution with California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen condemning “all incidents of abusive, unsanitary, or illegal healthcare practices.”
As a reminder about Sen. Barbara Boxer's support for infanticide and late term abortion:
The man who gave us “God Bless America” was not born in America; he was born in Russia. The man who gave us “White Christmas” was not a Christian; he was Jewish. If you made his life story into a movie, critics would say it was too improbable. It is that American.
Read the rest of Lee Habeeb's great piece at NRO.
The biggest Benghazi-related story that took place outside of the House Oversight Committee's hearing room today is this item in Politico, regarding CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. She's the reporter who famously drew White House officials' profane ire over her unapologetic pursuit of the Fast & Furious scandal story; now she's apparently facing searing criticism from another source: Her own bosses. Why? Because she's been covering the Benghazi story too aggressively. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you media bias:
"Attkisson, who holds a third-degree black belt in taekwondo, takes a fighting stance when she feels she’s being stonewalled. Which is exactly what she thinks the White House has done to her on Benghazi," Farhi writes. But from where Attkisson is sitting, there are actually two Goliaths, one of which is almost entirely absent from the Post profile. The second Goliath is CBS News, which has grown increasingly frustrated with Attkisson's Benghazi campaign. CBS News executives see Attkisson wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue, network sources have told POLITICO. Attkisson can't get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized. That, in part, is why Attkisson is in talks to leave CBS ahead of contract, as POLITICO reported in April. Farhi mentions "internal conflicts" in the final paragraph, though he seems to dismiss them. The "internal conflicts" are indeed real -- Attkisson is still eyeing an exit, according to sources -- and provide important context for today's piece. Today, CBS News is celebrating Attkisson's commitment to the Benghazi story. It's good press. But that support is an aberration.
"Dangerously close to advocacy"? That's how CBS News apparently views the work of a reporter who is doggedly seeking truth about an issue of enormous importance that many of her colleagues have scrupulously ignored. Remarkable. And as Ed Morrissey noticed, Attkisson's Twitter feed went curiously silent very early on during today's hearings. What happened? Allahpundit thinks he knows what's going on here, and I agree with him:
[The media establishment and liberals] can’t stop conservative media from existing, but they can ghettoize it as illegitimate and “partisan” in a way that their own partisan garbage isn’t....Skepticism about Benghazi is fine for the wingnuts at Fox, but bringing such unhelpful nonsense into an “impartial,” i.e. pro-Obama, outlet like CBS risks lending credence to the GOP’s accusations. The proper line to take on Benghazi is to dismiss the new hearings with a sneer, a la Joe Klein, or, in the case of “impartial” news coverage, to dismiss them more lightly by referencing Hillary’s long-ago whining about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to discredit the Clintons. “Going where the story leads” is unhelpful to liberalism in this case, ergo it’s advocacy by definition.
Who's tweeting about Benghazi? Rich, middle-aged men and Chick-fil-A lovers wapo.st/18YFgKP— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 8, 2013
"The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya." This simple statement of fact explicitly and forcefully contradicts the White House's dishonest "online video" spin, which was repeated ad nauseam by numerous high-ranking administration officials and certain members of the media. The president's hand-picked spokesperson on the matter -- UN Ambassador Susan Rice -- told the American people on the Sunday after the attack that the raid was the "direct result of a heinous and offensive video." The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes obtained the original and revised talking points last week; the documents leave little doubt that the White House and State Department wanted to white-wash the clear terrorism angle. Hicks told the committee that he found Rice's comments on national television "stunning" and "embarrassing." When he sent his objections up the food chain at State, he was subjected to a "blistering attack" and was "effectively demoted." Hicks also testified today that he personally informed Sec. Clinton by phone that the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi was under terrorist attack in the opening minutes of the incident. Days later, she stood next to the flag-draped coffins of the fallen and blamed the raid on an "awful internet video."
CAPITOL HILL - Testimony given Wednesday on Capitol Hill by Greg Hicks, Benghazi whistleblower and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, exposed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a liar.
Hicks, who was on the ground in Libya on September 11, 2012, said Clinton called him around 2 a.m. from Washington to ask "what was going on." Hicks responded by saying the consulate was under attack. He never told her about a protest outside the consulate because there wasn't one.
"The only report that our mission made through every channel was that this was an attack," Hicks said. "No protest."
In his recollection of events the night of September 11, 2012, Hicks stated that U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens called him and said, "We are under attack," just before he was brutally murdered and dragged through the streets. Again, no mention of a protest.
"The video was not instigative of anything that was going on in Libya," Hicks said. "We saw no demonstrations related to the video anywhere in Libya."
Hicks also noted that Twitter feeds were being monitored and showed Ansar al-Sharia took credit for the terrorist attack and had control of the hospital where Ambassador Stevens was taken.
Despite knowing Benghazi was a terrorist attack from the very beginning, after all she was briefed by Hicks who was on the ground, Clinton shamelessly stood in front of the flag draped caskets of dead Americans and blamed a YouTube video anyway. Watch starting at the 6 minute mark.
"We've seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that, because it is senseless and totally unacceptable."
Shortly after, when violence in the Middle East was raging, President Obama in partnership with Hillary Clinton spent $70,000 in taxpayer money on a commercial that aired on Pakistani television apologizing for the "video."
The American Embassy in Islamabad, in a bid to tamp down public rage over the anti-Islam film produced in the U.S., is spending $70,000 to air an ad on Pakistani television that features President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton denouncing the video.
The State Department said Thursday the embassy had compiled brief clips of Obama and Clinton rejecting the contents of the movie and extolling American tolerance for all religions into a 30-second public service announcement that is running on seven Pakistani networks. Obama and Clinton's comments, which are from previous public events in Washington, are in English but subtitled in Urdu, the main Pakistani language.
Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the aim was to get the messages to the widest possible audience in Pakistan, where tens of thousands of protestors angry about the film tried to reach the U.S. embassy before being turned back by Pakistani police. She said embassy staffers had decided the ads were the best way to spread the word. The seven networks have a potential audience of 90 million people, she added.
And then of course, Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice went on five Sunday talk shows to blame the video.
And so did President Barack Obama and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
"It is in response to a video." -Jay Carney September 14, 2012.
President Barack Obama blamed the irrelevant video in front of the world at the United Nations. Not to mention, Obama described the man who made the video, who is still in jail after being dragged out of his house and arrested in the middle of the night, a "shadowy character."
"It was a crude and disgusting video. I have made it clear the United States government had nothing to do with this video."
Hillary Clinton lied, Rice lied, Barack Obama lied, Jay Carney lied, the Obama administration lied. The men in Libya were left to die as military forces were told to stand down.
Bring on the perjury hearings. What difference does it make? A big difference.
CAPITOL HILL - During his opening statement to Benghazi whistleblowers Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings gave the room a lecture about life and death.
Referring to the murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012 Cummings said, "Death is part of life" and that they "sadly passed away."
If this sounds familiar, it's because Cummings said the same thing to the mother of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry two years ago during a hearing about Operation Fast and Furious. Because really, what difference at this point, does it make? Right Hillary?
"Let's find out the truth!"
A new announcement from the Food and Drug Administration could bring stringent regulations on caffeine—including age limits. Michael R. Taylor, a deputy commissioner for the FDA released a brief Q+A to address what actions the administration planned to enact.
The “Consumer Health Information” report coincides with the release of Wrigley’s new caffeinated gum, a product that contains the same amount of caffeine as half a cup of coffee. The FDA recently noticed the increased marketing of caffeine towards younger demographics, including decisions by companies to add caffeine to products such as oatmeal, jelly beans, and marshmallows.
“The gum is just one more unfortunate example of the trend to add caffeine to food,” explains Taylor. “Our concern is about caffeine appearing in a range of new products, including ones that may be attractive and readily available without careful consideration of their cumulative impact.”
In response to these growing concerns the FDA will begin to study what the acceptable levels of caffeine are and determine what effects the stimulant has on early development. According to Taylor:
“We’re particularly concerned about children and adolescents and the responsibility FDA and the food industry have to protect public health and respect social norms that suggest we shouldn’t be marketing stimulants, such as caffeine, to our children.”
This isn’t the first time the FDA has imposed regulations on caffeine. Most recently in 2010 the administration banned alcoholic beverages from including caffeine. Studies had shown that the combination often impaired consumer’s ability to determine their level of intoxication.
The FDA’s attempts to control caffeine levels will instantly draw comparisons to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his failed attempts to regulate the consumption of soda. And critics have already begun to pick apart the FDA’s reasoning—as an editorial in The Washington Timesobserves:
“Makers of energy drinks such as Monster and Rockstar appear to be on the government’s radar as well. The FDA is investigating whether these were responsible for the hospitalization and deaths of some teenagers, but did not inquire whether coffee played a role in these tragedies. Coffee-drinking among teenagers has exploded, and a Monster drink has about 50 mg of caffeine — an eighth of the caffeine in an oversized cup of coffee at Starbucks.”
Despite a mounting opposition, the FDA will continue to investigate ways to end the addition of caffeine in foods and beverages. The administration hasn’t ruled out using enforcement as a way to curb production, and could even “go through the regulatory process to establish clear boundaries and conditions on caffeine use”—which would lead to age restrictions, potentially paving the way for “21 and up” coffee laws.
CAPITOL HILL - According to testimony given by whistleblower and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya Gregory Hicks, the hospital where Ambassador Chris Stevens was taken after the Benghazi attack was being operated by Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamic militia group. The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate on September 11, 2012 were from Ansar al-Sharia.
The body of Ambassador Stevens was missing for hours during the attack after being dragged out of the consulate. Stevens' cause of death was deemed smoke inhilation and asphyxiation. The fire in the Benghazi consulate was a petroleum fire which produces cyanide gas. One full breathe of this kind of smoke is incapacitating.
CAPITOL HILL - According to testimony given by former Tripoli Regional Officer Eric Nordstrom Wednesday in front of the House Oversight Committee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waived security requirements for the U.S. consulate in Benghazi despite extremely high risk levels. The security of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and diplomats occupying the building on September 11, 2012 are at the center of questioning by lawmakers.
In written testimony, Nordstrom detailed that the Benghazi consulate was one of the rare locations with high and critical threats in all categories at the time of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2012 which left four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead.
Security standards for diplomatic facilities are established by the Overseas Security Policy Board [OSPB] and the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 [SECCA]. As a result of critical threats in all categories, the Benghazi consulate met none of the standards. The only person who has the authority to waive security standards and approve occupancy with such high threat levels is the Secretary of State, who was Hillary Clinton at the time. This responsibility cannot be delegated to anybody else in the State Department.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), six threat categories inform the SETL: international terrorism, indigenous terrorism, political violence, crime, human intelligence, and technical threat. A rating is then assigned for each category, on a four-level scale.
•Critical: grave impact on American diplomats
•High: serious impact on American diplomats
•Medium: moderate impact on American diplomats
•Low: minor impact on American diplomats
The protective measures for each post are dictated by the post’s overall threat level. At the time of the Benghazi attack, only a small number of the 264 overseas diplomatic posts were rated either HIGH or CRITICAL in all of the threat categories. Our posts in Benghazi and Tripoli were 2 of the 14 posts rated either HIGH or CRITICAL in all of the threat categories on SETL and the only two facilities that met no OSPB or SECCA standards.
"If the Secretary of State did not waive these requirements, who did so by ordering occupancy of the facilities in Benghazi and Tripoli?" Nordstrom wrote.
The Obama administration has argued that the United States was depending on the Libyan government for security, despite knowing about high threat levels, waving security standards and approving diplomat occupancy.
"Benghazi and Tripoli were not located in a country where the Department of State could count on effective support or response from the host nation -- a fact that was clearly and repeatedly reported to policy makers in Washington, DC," Nordstrom wrote.
In addition to contradicting Obama administration accounts about security, Nordstrom revealed people at the top of the ranks in the State Department are being protected as the Benghazi scandal continues to unfold.
Nordstrom charged in his opening statement that the State Department's Accountability Review Board [ARB] has failed to focus attention on Department employees above the Assistant Secretary level, leaving those at the top unaccountable for what happened in Libya on September 11, 2012.
"I found the ARB process that I was involved in to be professional and the unclassified recommendations reasonable and positive. However, it is not what is contained within the report that I take exception to but what is left unexamined," Nordstrom wrote. "Specifically, I’m concerned with the ARB’s decision to focus its attention at the Assistant Secretary level and below, where the ARB felt that “the decision-making in fact takes place.” 1 Based on my personal knowledge of the situation in Libya prior to the attack, I received and reviewed several documents, which included planning documents for operations in both Tripoli and Benghazi, drafted and approved at the Under Secretary of Management level or above."
Nordstrom's description of the ARB's review process are all too familiar in Washington D.C. Those at the lower levels of government are often blamed for mistakes and bad decisions made by those at the top.
"These decisions included the type and quantity of physical security upgrades to be implemented; types and locations of properties to be leased for the facilities in Benghazi and Tripoli; approval of occupancy of facilities that did not meet required Overseas Security Policy Board standards and provisions of Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999; approval for the usage of commercial aircraft into and out of Libya in lieu of a Department of State aircraft; approval of all visitors, temporary duty, and permanent staff at post, as well decisions on all funding and resource needs," Nordstrom wrote.
UPDATE: Near the end of the hearing, Nordstrom said a political decision was made to keep the consulate open despite the risks.