Clinton Blames Stevens for Own Death
In testimony before the House Committee on Benghazi former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid the blame for the Benghazi debacle squarely on slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens. "He was the person on-the-ground in Libya, I was thousands of miles away," she pointed out. "He should have taken better care of his own safety."
Clinton brushed off evidence of several emails from Stevens expressing concerns about inadequate security for diplomatic personnel in Libya, alleging that "I never saw any of those 600 emails" and that "Ambassador Stevens didn't even have my private email address, which, I think, shows a lack of initiative on his part."
The former Secretary also speculated that Stevens' emails "may have been a joke. Chris was legendary for his sense of humor. Inasmuch as he was an integral actor in a scheme to smuggle weapons through Libya and into Syria it is understandable that the Department personnel who did receive his emails on this matter may have dismissed them as just another demonstration of his rapier wit."
As to why she didn't support sending a rescue team in response to requests for aide during the attack, Clinton asserted that the absence of the key code word "cornhole" in the desperate messages from those under attack raised doubts as to the source of the pleas. "Without this code word we had no way of authenticating who was asking for intervention," Clinton said. "It could have been a ruse deployed by our enemies."
"Tragic as the deaths of the four Americans killed in the raid on the Consular compound may have been to the families involved, we shouldn't lose sight of the greater tragedy avoided by the actions we took that day and in the immediate aftermath," she continued. "September 11, 2012 was less than two months prior to an election that would determine who would lead this country for the next four years. The dissimulation that the Administration's enemies are so worked up about now was essential for fending off the bigger threat represented by Mitt Romney and the Republicans who sought to topple our government."
Finally, Clinton challenged the need for further investigation, claiming that "I already took responsibility for what happened in Benghazi. That should have ended the matter. Continuing to probe into those long-ago events is an unprecedented violation of common courtesy. Once a government official acknowledges responsibility there is no need to further belabor the issue. It's time to move on."
Sanders Says Despotism May Be Fair Trade-off for Free Health Care
The discovery of a 1985 video in which Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-Vt) praised the "progressive" policies of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro failed to dent the candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination's enthusiasm for socialism.
"The right wing in this country likes to emphasize the bad side of the Castro regime—the suppression of dissent, the imprisonment and execution of counterrevolutionaries—but they totally ignore the benefits it provided for the common people."
Chief among these benefits, according to Sanders, is "universal free health care. Unlike the complex and discriminatory system we have here in the United States, the Cuban system gives the same level of care to everyone free of charge. No one has to struggle with sorting out confusing options within a time-constrained 'open enrollment' period. All are granted the same coverage without having to lift a finger."
"While I personally can't endorse the oppression the Castro government meted out to its opponents, let's not lose our perspective," Sanders added. "The persons affected by this oppression numbered in the thousands. Those affected by the free health care numbered in the millions. From the standpoint of the average Cuban I think this has to be seen as a worthwhile trade-off."
Sanders speculated that "it is not out of the question that a similar mathematical ratio might be applicable in our country. Far more people would be benefited by a government-run universal health care system than would be hurt by the suppression of anti-government agitators. The 2016 elections will show whether voters agree with me and the other Democrats on this issue."
In related news, citing the inadequacy of current public education, Sanders called for making college free for all. "The fact is that too many of those graduating from our high schools are functionally illiterate," he declared. "Clearly, twelve years of schooling are not enough to prepare our children for the modern world. By making college available to all we not only grant a four-year reprieve from the cruelties of the work-a-day world, but we also introduce another layer of academic credentials for a larger share of our population."
Pelosi Claims Pope Sides with Democrats
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) denounced renewed GOP efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and claimed to have Pope Francis on her side.
"Pope Francis urged that political leaders shun dogmatic rigidity and make pragmatic compromises for the good of the whole," Pelosi contended. The "compromise" she suggested the Pope would support would be "to allow women to preserve their health by accessing the services of organizations like Planned Parenthood and to pursue the Catholic reverence for innocent life by sustaining those who cannot support themselves."
"If you pay attention to what Jesus actually said, you'll find numerous mention of the need to care for the poor," Pelosi observed. "You won't find a single word denouncing abortion. The fact is, we don't have any documentation of God's opposition to this medical procedure. The GOP's attempt to insinuate some sort of anti-abortion commandment into Christian theology is pure fabrication."
Pelosi also said "the hysteria over videos exposing the sale of aborted fetus tissue is blind to the important role these tissues can play in extending and improving the lives of those afflicted by serious medical conditions. Is ending the life of an unwanted child really too high a price to pay for extending the life or easing the suffering of those we love? I'm confident the Pope would say no."
In related news, Planned Parenthood spokesperson Sari Stevens maintained that "the refusal of the major media outlets to cover the Center for Medical Progress videos vindicates our contention that these videos are an unreliable source of information on a very complex topic. Rather than being given an opportunity to confront our accusers, Planned Parenthood employees were ambushed by undercover operatives covertly taping private conversations. The media's rejection of this so-called evidence validates its illegitimacy."
Democrats Block Vote on "Kate's Law"
Senate Democrats filibustered a vote on a law that would have increased penalties for dangerous illegal immigrants. The measure nick-named "Kate's law" after Kate Steinle—a murder victim of a violent illegal immigrant—was torpedoed when a cloture vote failed to garner the necessary 60 votes.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned the Democrats "for choosing to stand with convicted felons like the murderer of Kate Steinle rather than with the American people."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) characterized the measure as "profoundly undemocratic. The victims of crimes committed by those in the country illegally are a tiny minority that is vastly outnumbered by the undocumented population of this country who are denied the right to vote for who shall govern them. We cannot allow the interests of the lesser number to trump the interests of the greater number."
In related news, Reid vowed to similarly block a GOP effort to impose penalties on so-called "sanctuary cities" that eschew compliance with federal law mandating the deportation of illegal aliens convicted of felonies. "To deny these cities access to federal aid is an attempt to use extortion to induce them to comply with laws with which they disagree," Reid complained. "This is as blatant a tyranny as I have ever seen."
The Senator sought to differentiate this proposed law from a plethora of measures attaching conditions for receiving federal aid, saying that "using financial incentives to prompt states and cities to comply with warranted federal guidelines and preferences is an entirely different thing. If policies and programs are good there is nothing wrong with deploying coercive sanctions to ensure obedience."
Kerry Urges Israelis to "Take the High Road"
US Secretary of State John Kerry implored Israeli civilians to refrain from shooting knife-wielding Palestinian assassins. "I know from an individual perspective the temptation to save one's own life by deploying superior firepower is hard to resist, but the bigger picture needs to be considered," Kerry argued.
"The whole world was sympathetic when the suffering of the Jews under the Nazis was revealed after World War II," the Secretary said. "Their status as unadulterated victims won them virtually universal respect and empathy. The Jews in Israel are endangering that universal respect and empathy by outgunning their attackers."
Kerry maintained that "losing the status of helpless victim could have incalculable costs over the long run. Already, we have seen sympathy shifting toward the Palestinians slain by the Israelis' extreme self-defense measures. The few Jewish lives saved by these measures don't strike me as a worthwhile gain in a broader historical context."
In a similar vein, Kerry also condemned British Prime Minister David Cameron's new "Counter-Extremism Strategy," calling it "a dangerous escalation. It's certainly unfortunate that Islamic extremists are inculcating hatred toward non-Muslims, but trying to counter this by characterizing it as hateful puts the British government down in the gutter with those it is trying to distinguish itself from. I think people will find this confusing. I find it confusing. We in the West ought to set a better example."