A Woman Scorned

CBS benched Sharyl Attkisson until she ultimately resigned.

Bad move, CBS:

Benghazi Bombshell: Clinton State Department Official Reveals Details of Alleged Document Review

Sharyl Attkisson

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

New Benghazi allegation puts spotlight on Hillary Clinton confidants, alleged after-hours document review.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’”

Maxwell, 58, strongly supported President Barack Obama and personally contributed to his presidential campaign. But post-Benghazi, he has soured on both Obama and Clinton, saying he had nothing to do with security and was sacrificed as a scapegoat while higher-up officials directly responsible escaped discipline.

Maxwell spent a year on paid administrative leave with no official charge ever levied against him. Ultimately, the State Department cleared Maxwell of wrongdoing and reinstated him. He retired a short time later, in November 2013.

Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.

“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you,’ ” Maxwell recalls.

“I told her that ‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’ Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016.’ ”

How does this make you feel, Madame Secretary?

Don’t take it too hard. As the lady said, “it’s not about you”:

Attkisson said that the White House is misleading the public about the ongoing releases of information that they’ve offered regarding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2012 on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

She stated that one of the goals of the committee will be to investigate President Obama’s movement that night and how he reacted to the attack.

“I do think that they will reach out at some point, not in the beginning, to the White House and probably to President Obama directly, in some form, to get a timeline and an accounting of what he did that night, which has remained, mysteriously, and I think, unacceptably private when he’s the Commander-in-Chief acting on our behalf at a time when Americans are under attack on foreign soil.”

Ultimately, Attikisson confessed she has little hope that this committee will change the public narrative on what happened that night.

Allow me to elucidate, Sharyl. Obama was prepping for a fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day. Check his schedule; it’s public record.

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Illin’ Oy

ISIS beheadings, IRS emails, bad “optics” and poor “theater”—it hasn’t exactly been a fun summer for poor Barack Obama, golf very much aside.

But there’s always ObamaCare!

To say this fall’s 2015 Obamacare open-enrollment has the potential to be problematic is an understatement.

The HealthCare.gov backroom is not built yet––a year and counting after it should have been.

How many people are enrolled in Obamacare? Without a government to insurance company accounting system yet built, no one knows.

Five to ten million people all trying to get through exchange websites between November 15 and December 15? Add however many people are going to sign-up for the first time this November to all of those existing participants re-enrolling for January 1, who will all be hitting the still fragile Healthcare.gov and state exchanges during that four week period, and it is not hard to see how Obamacare could be back in the news.

While the open-enrollment is now scheduled to begin until 11 days after the November election there will be plenty of renewal and cancellation letters going out in October.

Does this all sound confusing? Just wait until we approach the next open-enrollment with millions of people hearing about all of this complexity and having just four weeks to get their enrollment validated for January 1. The Obamacare anxiety index is going to be off the charts well before November 15th.

Add to all of this bigger deductibles for 2015 (those go up with cost trend as well as the rates) and more narrow networks as well as generally larger rate increases for the plans that got the most enrollment and there will be lots to talk about.

Then there is the still unanswered question: How many people are enrolled in Obamacare?

Any bets on how many more months it will be before the Obama administration has the administrative wherewithal to answer that simple question and give us the real number?

A few other coming cluster[bleeps]:

For the roughly 8 million people who signed up this year, the administration has set up automatic renewal. But consumers who go that route may regret it. They risk sticker shock by missing out on lower-premium options. And they could get stuck with an outdated and possibly incorrect government subsidy. Automatic renewal should be a last resort, consumer advocates say.

Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Protection Bureau would bring up ObamaCare on charges faster than you can say “high cheekbones” if it were a private business.

Proceeding:

Of those enrolled this year, the overwhelming majority received tax credits to help pay their premiums. Because those subsidies are tied to income, those 6.7 million consumers will have to file new forms with their 2014 tax returns to prove they got the right amount. Too much subsidy and their tax refunds will be reduced.

One quirk troubling the industry is that policyholders who want to update their subsidies and stay in the same plan will have to type in a 14-character plan identifier when they re-enroll online. That’s longer than a phone number or a Social Security number, and customers may not know where to find it.

Millions of tax returns and millions of 14-character ID #s—what could go wrong? On a website that’s already been hacked!

Cherry picking:

Tens of millions of people who remained uninsured this year face tax penalties for the first time, unless they can secure an exemption.

“It’s the second open enrollment, but the first renewal and the first tax season where the requirements of the Affordable Care Act are in place,” said Judy Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which advocates for low-income people, and supports the law.

“The fact that it is all going to be occurring within an overlapping and relatively short time frame … means that there will be many issues,” she added.

Issues, she says. Issues. I’ll show you issues:

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said in an interview that he disagrees with making people pay back part of their premium subsidy. That would happen if someone made more money during the year and failed to report it to HealthCare.gov.

“Why should individuals be punished if they got a bump in salary?” said Pascrell. “To me, this was not the ACA I voted on.”

Oh, but it is, Congressman, it is. It is exactly as promised—if you read the bill.

To end on a lighter note:

Alex Stevens, a dishwasher at an Austin pizzeria, got covered this year and said he’s planning to re-enroll. A skateboarding enthusiast in his late 20s, Stevens broke a leg skating with friends this summer. It was a bad break and he had major surgery the next day. But his insurance paid most of the $55,000 bill, and he only owed $750.

So, ObamaCare does work for skateboarding enthusiasts in their late 20s who make a living washing dishes at a pizza shop. So there’s that.

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Number 32 With a Bullet

To the head:

On Monday the Tax Foundation, which manages the widely followed State Business Tax Climate Index, will launch a new global benchmark, the International Tax Competitiveness Index. According to the foundation, the new index measures “the extent to which a country’s tax system adheres to two important principles of tax policy: competitiveness and neutrality.”

A competitive tax code is one that limits the taxation of businesses and investment. Since capital is mobile and businesses can choose where to invest, tax rates that are too high “drive investment elsewhere, leading to slower economic growth,” as the Tax Foundation puts it.

The index takes into account more than 40 tax policy variables. And the inaugural ranking puts the U.S. at 32nd out of 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

One small correction: the authors of the study list Slovenia and Slovakia separately when everyone knows they’re the same thing. And is there really a Switzerland and a Sweden? Someone should clean that up.

Aside from that, however:

Any day now the White House and Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) will attempt to raise taxes on business, while making the U.S. tax code even more complex. The Obama and Schumer plans to punish businesses for moving their legal domicile overseas will arrive even as a new international ranking shows that the U.S. tax burden on business is close to the worst in the industrialized world. Way to go, Washington.

With the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate at over 39% including state levies, plus a rare demand that money earned overseas should be taxed as if it were earned domestically, the U.S. is almost in a class by itself. It ranks just behind Spain and Italy, of all economic humiliations. America did beat Portugal and France, which is currently run by an avowed socialist.

The new ranking is especially timely coming amid the campaign led by Messrs. Obama and Schumer to punish companies that move their legal domicile overseas to be able to reinvest future profits in the U.S. without paying the punitive American tax rate. If they succeed, the U.S. could fall to dead last on next year’s ranking. Now there’s a second-term legacy project for the President.

And people wonder why Recovery Summer V has been no more successful than Recover Summers I-IV. (People wonder, but the media seem not to.)

But get a load of this remedy. Are you sitting down?

Rather than erecting an iron tax curtain that keeps U.S. companies from escaping, the White House and Congress should enact reform that invites more businesses to stay or move to the U.S.

OMG! You are one bad-ass newspaper, WSJ. Next you’ll be arguing for a cut in the capital gains tax rate:

A rising tide lifts all boats, but Obama warned us that the tide would stop rising if he were elected president. One promise he kept.

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Forgive and Forget. Or Just Forget

There are certain things one tries to forgive South Africa, and certain things one cannot. The Gods Must Be Crazy one can forgive; apartheid not.

Nelson Mandela, forgive (barely) (no, not really):

Desmond Tutu, definitely not:

Untitled

There is no forgiveness for this:

South Africa’s ruling party condemned Israel as a nation founded on the basis of apartheid, and branded the establishment of the state a crime against humanity.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the statement “shocking and unacceptable.”

“The state of Israel is the fulfillment of the millenary dreams and aspirations of the Jewish people and is the only safe haven for a persecuted nation,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said in a written statement. “In Israel all citizens enjoy equal rights, regardless of their creed and religion. The ANC statement is a shameful surrender to Israel hatred, promoted by anti-Semites and by haters.”

Precisely. Pity the ANC didn’t get ebola.

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About That Palin Melee

Don’t know the “truth”; don’t care.

Do know, and do care very much, that you can’t trust the lame-stream media.

Can’t trust ‘em ever:

But with The Washington Post, “Good Morning America,” the New York Times and dozens of other media outlets all filing reports on the incident over the last few days, it’s clear that there’s a high level of interest in the events that transpired on that regrettable night in Anchorage.

But RealClearPolitics spoke with a source close to the Palin family, who wanted to provide their version of the events in question.

What no one disputes is that several members of the former first family of Alaska arrived at a well-attended birthday party, at which several competitive snowmobile racers were present.

Todd Palin, himself an elite racer of “snow machines” (as the vehicles are known in the 49th state), was celebrating his 50th birthday that night, though the party was not being held on his behalf.

With a live band, dancing, and the former governor rocking red-white-and-blue high-tops, everyone seemed to be having a good time.

But then, some words were exchanged. And that’s where the stories diverge significantly.

According to previously published eyewitness reports, the fracas began when Track Palin, the former governor’s adult son, confronted a former boyfriend of his 20-year-old sister, Willow.

But according to the Palin family’s version of events, the instigator was actually the former boyfriend.

The initial tussle occurred, the source said, after the young man in question “tried to get in” to the Hummer limousine after he’d engaged in some unspecified “questionable behavior.”

Track Palin soon found himself struggling to fend off four men who had “piled on him,” according to the source.

Todd Palin then inserted himself into the brawl, which left the former “First Dude” of Alaska bleeding.

According to the source, as her husband and son were trading blows with their adversaries, Palin was yelling (in reference to her son), “Don’t you know who he is? He’s a vet!”

This rendition of her words differs slightly but significantly from a previous report, which had Palin shouting, “Don’t you know who I am?”

“From my understanding, she was in full ‘mama grizzly’ mode defending the kids,” the source said of Sarah Palin’s mindset.

According to the source, Track Palin left the fight nursing four cracked ribs, while his father was bloodied up.

In an unrelated episode, a 25-year-old man was arrested last Sunday on charges of stalking Bristol Palin after allegedly sending her approximately 1,000 Facebook messages and then appearing in her driveway — an incident the Palin source described as “scary.”

I left out the part that mentioned Sarah Palin had just returned from Houston where she had been raising money for wounded vets.

Everyone gets a story wrong now and then, but not everyone so relishes getting the wrong story on Sarah Palin. The MSM does, always, but that’s the herd instinct at work. And Sarah Palin knows how to cull a herd.


Sarah Palin with Katie Couric

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Do Numbers Lie?

Do voters? Do pollsters?

We’ll see:

If this week’s polling is any evidence, Democrats are facing an even tougher road come November. With President Obama’s approval sinking below former president George W. Bush’s, the latest Fox News poll finds Republicans hold the advantage as they seek to reclaim the Senate. In states with active U.S. Senate races, likely voters say they would back the Republican a 9-point margin. And when looking at the results in just the 14 Fox News battleground states the GOP edge widens to 18-point margin. Fox News: “The president recently claimed that ‘by almost every measure’ the nation’s economy and American workers are better off now than when he took office. Voters dismiss his boast as ‘mostly false’ by a 58-36 percent margin. That includes 37 percent of Democrats who think it doesn’t ring true.”

[The battleground list: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia]

The better question would be: does Obama lie? A 22-point margin says he does. Which might explain this troubling (to Democrats) stat:

Women surveyed [in the WaPo/ABC News poll] said they disapprove of [President Obama ] by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin — nearing an all-time low in the poll. It’s almost the reverse of the 55 percent to 44 percent breakdown for Obama among female voters in 2012, according to exit polls…His approval rating among women has slipped four percentage points from a year ago and 16 points since his second inaugural in January 2013, when his approval was 60 percent among the group.

Dames don’t dig Obama the way they used to. Again, I have to wonder if some of these stories aren’t connected:

The White House this week assured anxious Hispanic lawmakers on Capitol Hill that President Obama will use executive action before the holiday season closes to reform U.S. immigration law, after breaking his pledge to make changes by the end of summer.

Roughly 11 million people are now living in the U.S. illegally.

Voters have been warned, and if the numbers are close to accurate, voters are taking the warning seriously. Here’s hoping Republican legislators are.

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A Good Day to Drive [UPDATE]

As my first post of the day (and who knows, only?), I note that today’s weather on the eastern seaboard is cool and bright. Yesterday was a little stormy, making golf less fun than it usually is. Fifty Bloodthhirstan shekels says Obama golfs today, Sunday, September 14.

UPDATE
Anyone can report the news. It takes talent to predict it:

Closing in on Round 200 of his two-term administration, President Obama hit the links yet again on Sunday, squeezing out the last days of golfable weather in the Northeast by going to the greens.

Really, it’s enough by now to make you think the guy’s doing it out of spite.

That, or he’s never wrong. Even when he seemed to admit error, he blamed the “optics” and “theater” of the press. But mostly I think he knows free stuff when he see it. He took up golf up only when he moved into the White House. Who’s going to tell the nation’s first African American president that it’s unseemly to take a motorcade to Andrews or Ft. Belvoir every weekend?

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All About the Benjamins

So now that ISIS and we are at w—…what is it again? A “very significant counter-terrorism operation [that's] going to go on for some period of time.” Yeah. Now that we’re doing that, how is the anti-w—…counter-terr—oh, eff it! How’s the antiwar crowd taking it?

Medea?

Medea, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you respond to President Obama’s speech and the fact that the vast majority of Americans polled support taking military action in Iraq and Syria?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: I think President Obama has been hounded by the media, by the war hawks in Congress, mostly from the Republican side but also from the Democrats, and is going into this insane not only bombing in Iraq, but also talking about going into Syria, at a time when just a couple of months ago the American people had made it very clear that we were very tired of war.

So, the most powerful man in the world, a man gifted with such intelligence, such articulateness, such cleanliness—and “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one”—has been “hounded” by the press and the Republicans into “insanity”.

That’s your story?

Oh, Medea, and we remember you when you had guts:

Literally.

Now, this is the best you can do:

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, the peace movement was really decimated when Obama came in, and has been trying to rebuild ever since. But I think now we have to think of all of us as the peace movement. Now is the time to say, if you’re an environmentalist, you better understand that war is the greatest environmental disaster and the U.S. military is the greatest polluter on the planet. If you care about having money for youth groups or for infrastructure or for green energy, you better understand that sucking money into the military—we’re now paying $7.5 million for just the bombing in Iraq.

Seven-and-a-half million to bomb Iraq? What a bargain! Screw the youth groups and “green” energy (algae?), hit the bid! At that price, it would be a waste of money not to bomb Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan, are you going sit idly by and take that?

Cindy Sheehan, peace activist
I believe the reason that the presidents of the US can continue to make such belligerent and jingoistic speeches and follow through with the continuation of endless wars is because the American people keep falling for the propaganda and the lie that either one of the two major political parties is better than the other when it comes to war for profit. I think last night’s speech by Obama was just a regurgitation of any speech by GWB and shame on anybody who is falling for this same tired, yet hostile, rhetoric. It would be funny if so many lives weren’t unnecessarily compromised because of US aggression.

Regular readers know that we check in on Cindy’s rantings from time to time. She may be mad as a hatter, but we share this: we’re consistent. She’s always against “time-limited, scope-limited military actions”; we’re usually for them. The only difference being we trusted George Bush and his people to get it right (eventually). We have no such faith in Obama.

But if bombing ISIS is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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On the War* With the Islamic** State***

*It’s not a war.

**It’s not Islamic.

***It’s not a state.

So, what is “it”, and what are we “doing” about it? Hey, we just told you what it’s not—why can’t that be enough? Next you’ll want the recipe to Michelle’s kale cupcakes.

Some in the Obama administration run from the w-word like the French fun from w itself (cheap shot). Others therein wrap themselves in the battle colors like a latter day Barbara Fritchie. But this is the same administration that blamed the Benghazi atrocity on a YouTube video—and then successfully dodged responsibility for doing so (for a time).

Speaking of Benghazi, remember that Libya was no war either.

Remember what it was?

It’s not a war, the White House says.

Instead, Libya is “a time-limited, scope-limited military action, in concert with our international partners, with the objective of protecting civilian life in Libya from Moammar Gadhafi and his forces,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Pressed on the point by reporters, Carney said, “I’m not going to get into the terminology,” but Libya is not an “open-ended military action, the kind of which might otherwise be described as a war.”

“There’s no ground troops, as the president said,” Carney said. “There’s no land invasion.”

“A time-limited, scope-limited military action”: wonder why they didn’t bring back that gem from 18 months ago? Look at what it did for Libya. Oh wait…

Libya Closer To Failed-State Status, Ushering In Possible ISIS, Jihadist Haven

Well, that was from yesterday. Maybe things are better now.

So, our “strategy” against a non-Islamic non-state is to conduct a non-war, which is, rather, a non-Iraq, non-Afghanistan, quasi-Libyan-cum-Yemen “very significant counter-terrorism operation [that's] going to go on for some period of time.”

Got it?

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Don’t Mention the War! [UPDATED] [TWICE!]

Just so everybody understands: we aim to “destroy” ISIS, not go to war with it.

Got it?

“What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation,” Kerry said on Thursday. “It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”

In a separate interview with CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan, Kerry said “war is the wrong terminology” to describe U.S. operations against ISIS.

“We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity,” Kerry said.

We can all agree that that is patently absurd, right? No need for further discussion? Good.

If I had to guess, such equivocation is in line with Obama’s left-foot-in-left-foot-out strategy:

Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.”

In a nationally-televised speech on Wednesday evening, President Obama repeatedly emphasized that U.S. forces will not have a combat role in Iraq. “We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” the president said. He specifically underscored that “this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and will resemble U.S. counterterrorism campaigns in Yemen and Somalia.

Austin’s predecessor, Marine Gen. James Mattis, told the Washington Post that the president’s decision may place the mission at risk. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis told the paper. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative for a longer period.”

You may understand war, General, but you’re a but you’re a buck private at politics. You can’t wrap yourself in the Not Bush Cloak for six years, and then slough it off to reveal yourself as the drawling Texan himself. Soldiers and American people be damned, he’d rather lose as Obama than win as Bush.

PS: Oh wait. There’s an even more obvious (and absurd) reason John Kerry won’t call it a war. They’d have to get Congress’s permisssion. Which is also what Bush did. Can’t have that.

UPDATE: To war! To war! Fredonia’s going to war!

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday during his daily press briefing that the battle against ISIS now mirrors the ongoing War on Terror closely enough to use the ‘W’ word.

‘The fact is ISIL has indicated that they’re ready to go to war against the world,’ Earnest said, ‘and this president – as is expected of American presidents – is stepping up to lead an international coalition to confront that threat and to deny ISIL a safe haven. And ultimately this international coalition will be responsible for degrading and destroying ISIL.’

‘So I think what you could conclude from this is the United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates all around the globe.’

Of course you know, this means war.

UPPERDATE

Or does it?

BLITZER: It sounds like a war to me. Is it fair to call it a war?

[SUSAN] RICE: Well, Wolf, I don’t know whether you want to call it a war or a sustained counterterrorism campaign or — I think, frankly, this is a counterterrorism operation that will take time. It will be sustained. We will not have American combat forces on the ground fighting, as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is what I think the American people think of when they think of a war.

So I think this is very different from that.

Be as Earnest as you like, Josh, you wouldn’t know war if it bit you in the ass. I just hope this isn’t literally the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Sraight.

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Shoot First, Shoot More Later

The following preview is rated X, for X marks the spot, Israeli drones:

Arab terrorists were caught on camera as they rained a potentially lethal hail of rocks on Israeli cars Thursday afternoon on Highway 60, which runs the length of Judea and Samaria.

The terrorists, who carried out their attack near the community of Ofra in the Binyamin region of Samaria, were filmed by a crew of the company IS, which provides legal and security advising.

As they captured the attack on film, the IS crew called security forces, and thanks to their actions and film evidence, the two terrorists were quickly apprehended.

It should be noted that rocks thrown at cars driving at a high speed can easily break windshields and inflict lethal damage, aside from potentially causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash.

There have been numerous lethal rock attacks, including the case of Asher Palmer and his baby son Yonatan who were murdered in 2011.

Recently rock terror has been on the rise, as just on Thursday, the say day the rock throwers were filmed, a family in Jerusalem made a wrong turn into the Wadi Joz neighborhood and was set upon in a planned Arab ambush that nearly took their lives.

In Jerusalem?

Really?

A family accidentally drove into the Arab neighborhood of Wadi Joz in Jerusalem on Thursday night, and nearly paid for the wrong turn in Israel’s capital city with their lives.

After entering the neighborhood, the family car was beset upon by a hail of potentially lethal rocks and massive bricks that broke the windshield, in what the mother of the family Etti Cohen described to Yedioth Aharonoth as “nearly a lynch-mob.” Fortunately the family managed to escape with only minor physical wounds.

“I feel like we got out of there by a miracle,” Cohen recalled tearfully. “I woke up this morning and the first thing that happened to me was hysterical crying, because I don’t believe that we’re at home and safe.”

“Suddenly a boy around 12-years-old came to the window of my husband, who sat on the left side. …The child started knocking on the window as we were driving,” recalled Cohen, noting suddenly there were screams in the street and three cars blocked their forward movement.

At that point, Cohen said the bricks started flying, with the first breaking through the rear windshield: “that was a shock. I didn’t believe it was happening to us. Another rock hit the window of my husband who sat behind my daughter who was driving, and broke it in. A third rock came through the broken rear windshield and hit the headrest of the friend of my son who was with us.”

Cohen’s daughter snapped out of her shock, stepping on the gas and driving onto the sidewalk to get around the stopped cars, as Cohen got the police on the phone and “simply screamed on the line. Everyone in the car screamed, there was fear.”

The police phone operator told Cohen to get off of the road because “it’s dangerous” according to Cohen, who said “I just prayed to see something Jewish; the officer who took the call told us to drive through the wadi (valley), and there after a few minutes we saw Border Patrol officers.”

“It truly ended in a miracle, the car was completely smashed up and that’s okay as long as we are safe. My daughter is suffering awful trauma. My husband is a little wounded in the face but it will pass in a day or two. I look at the kids and say ‘thank you’ that they are here with me,” said Cohen, who warned drivers not to rely on their GPS systems.

Reports on Monday revealed that in the past few months terror attacks in Jerusalem have been growing exponentially, with 152 terror attacks and incidents in July and August, a stark rise from previous months.

These Arabs have to stop acting disproportionately.

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Project 2,996, 2014 Edition

Five years ago:

These remembrances were prompted by blogger Dale Roe, to pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 innocent people who were murdered by terrorists eight years ago today. I volunteered to write one, then saw that many more needed to be covered, and asked for seven more, for a total of eight—one for each year.

It wasn’t easy. These people weren’t special—or, rather, they all were. The eight, my eight, deserved their posthumous fifteen minutes of fame, and I had to see they got them.

I called these portraits “remembrances” earlier, but truthfully there’s nothing for me to remember: I didn’t know them; some I could barely relate to. But I feel came to know all of them. Through small details in their life stories, through remembrances of loved ones, through the depth and breadth of the influence they had on people they barely knew (or, like me, didn’t know at all). It would be unseemly to declare a favorite, but I can’t help smiling warmly at the thought of my first portrait, Curt (the flirt) Noel: wassup, yo!

Dale assigned a cross section of the extraordinary population of 9/11: WTC, Pentagon, UA, AA, black, white, male, female, straight, gay, old, young. They were Americans all.

I present them in the order I wrote them. I have no expectations for how these will be received, except for one. I hope the love with which these people were held by those who knew them comes through. That’s all I want, and I want it for them. It’s all any of us could really want.

Lt. Kenneth John Phelan
Cmdr. William Howard Donovan Jr.
Sgt. Tamara Thurman
Carol Flyzik
Hilda E. Taylor
Mark Bavis
Patricia Cushing

I remember “Curt the Flirt” as my first remembrance. But the record says I misremembered. He followed the next year:

Curtis Terrence Noel

For the record, I reposted twice:

2010 UPDATE:

I’ve reposted these remembrances (and this introduction) as I wrote them last year. What was there to add? Another year has passed since their lives were terminated in an instant, and their biographies remain locked in amber.

Some of the details still get to me—certain nicknames, hobbies, interests. What is clear of these eight people whom I chose to write about (from online obits and tribute sites) was that in their time they touched many lives. But as fascinating as they were to learn about, they were not unique in that regard. I think the lesson is that we all do, from the crustiest anonymous blogger to the wildest moonbat (hello, Chris, one and all). With apologies to Reverend Wright, I learned nothing about the nesting habits of fowl in researching these stories, only senseless loss.

The one detail I’d like to extract and leave as a marker comes from the remembrance of Patricia Cushing. She was fond of Debussy’s Clair de Lune, and it was played at her memorial service (see her story for the haunting details).

Let it be the soundtrack for our memories of that day nine years ago.

2011 UPDATE:

It’s all been said already. I want to run these remembrances a third (and I think final) time to let the missing of 9/11 speak for themselves. Humanity isn’t an exceptional feat, but these eight people, and their lamentably lost brothers and sister, are memorable and compelling. Still, who among them wouldn’t have traded their special status for another ten years of anonymity on this earth?

PS: Some of the images originally posted are no longer there. That’s probably my bad. The way we used to capture images stretched our storage limits, and I’ve had to cull most older pictures.

But if I hadn’t reased them, Nature might have:

Untitled

A decade after officials inaugurated it in a quiet corner of the Boston Public Garden, the muted memorial to the 206 people with ties to Massachusetts who died in the terrorist attacks appears to be deteriorating.

“It’s heartbreaking, like the names are being washed away,” said Keith Graveline, 53, of Easton, while trying to decipher the inscribed names on a recent afternoon. “This is a memorial that should be maintained.”

The Stony Creek granite, which came from a Connecticut quarry, was supposed to last between 50 and 100 years, but officials from the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund, which oversaw the creation of the memorial and endows its upkeep, fear it may have to be replaced much sooner.

“Our maintenance plan has to be reevaluated,” said John Curtis, vice president of the fund’s board. “Some of our expectations haven’t been met.”

See the name in the upper right, Carol Flyzik? See name number four, above. Haunting.

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