Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

E-mails: Hillary Clinton’s top aides knew in minutes that Benghazi was a terrorist attack

National Review reports on released e-mails from a FOIA request by Judicial Watch.

He says:

From the very first moments of the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aides were advised that the compound was under a terrorist attack. In fact, less than two hours into the attack, they were told that the al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility.

These revelations and others are disclosed by a trove of e-mails and other documents pried from the State Department by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The FOIA litigation focuses on Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the government actions before, during, and after the Benghazi attack, in which Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was murdered by terrorists. Also killed in the attack were State Department information management officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who were contract security employees and who had fought heroically, saving numerous American lives. At least ten other Americans were wounded, some quite seriously.

At 4:07 p.m., just minutes after the terrorist attack began, Cheryl Mills, Secretary Clinton’s chief-of-staff, and Joseph McManus, Mrs. Clinton’s executive assistant, received an e-mail from the State Department’s operations center (forwarded to her by Maria Sand, a special assistant to Secretary Clinton). It contained a report from the State Department’s regional security officer (RSO), entitled “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi is Under Attack.” The e-mail explained that approximately 20 armed people had fired shots at the diplomatic mission, that explosions had been heard as well, and that Ambassador Stevens was believed to be in the compound with at least four other State Department officials.

About a half-hour later, another e-mail — this one from Scott Bultrowicz, then director of diplomatic security (DSCC) — related:

15 armed individuals were attacking the compound and trying to gain entrance. The Ambassador is present in Benghazi and currently is barricaded within the compound. There are no injuries at this time and it is unknown what the intent of the attackers is. At approximately 1600 [4 p.m.] DSCC received word from Benghazi that individuals had entered the compound. At 1614 [4:14 p.m.] RSO advised the Libyans had set fire to various buildings in the area, possibly the building that houses the Ambassador [REDACTED] is responding and taking fire.

At 6:06 p.m., another e-mail that went to top State Department officials explained that the local al-Qaeda affiliate had claimed responsibility for the attack:

Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU):  “(SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and call for an attack on Embassy Tripoli”

Despite this evidence that her top staffers were informed from the start that a terrorist attack was underway and that an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group had claimed credit for it, Secretary Clinton issued an official statement claiming the assault may have been in “response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Here she is lying to the American people on camera about the nature and cause of the attack:

You’ll remember that she repeated the lie again to the family of the victims.

Should we elect a liar to be President in 2016?

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Obama administration giving away the store in nuclear deal with Iran

Map of Iran Nuclear Facilities

Map of Iran Nuclear Facilities

(Source: BBC)

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress this week that no one should pre-judge a nuclear deal with Iran because only the negotiators know what’s in it. But the truth is that the framework of an accord has been emerging thanks to Administration leaks to friendly journalists. The leaks suggest the U.S. has already given away so much that any deal on current terms will put Iran on the cusp of nuclear-power status.

The latest startling detail is Monday’s leak that the U.S. has conceded to Iran’s demand that an agreement would last as little as a decade, perhaps with an additional five-year phase-out. After that Iran would be allowed to build its uranium enrichment capabilities to whatever size it wants. In theory it would be forbidden from building nuclear weapons, but by then all sanctions would have long ago been lifted and Iran would have the capability to enrich on an industrial scale.

Is Iran our friend? Not really:

That is some gamble on a regime that continues to sponsor terrorist groups around the world, prop up the Assad regime in Syria, use proxies to overthrow the Yemen government, jail U.S. reporter Jason Rezaian on trumped-up espionage charges, and this week blew up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz.

Charles Krauthammer comments:

News leaked Monday of the “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.

Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would re-enter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview last December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.

The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.

Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.

Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.

[…]The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping barrel bombs on civilians.

Based on past deals, we shouldn’t be surprised by this news.

This Heritage Foundation article re-caps our negotiating blunders.

What makes these deals even worse is that they are all about constraining us, not the other guy. New START didn’t require Russia to destroy a single nuclear missile: it only reduced the size of the U.S. stockpile. The Arms Trade Treaty won’t stop the lawless and incompetent nations of the world from selling arms irresponsibly, but our lawyers will guarantee that it restrains us.

The essence of the Syrian deal was that it saved the U.S. from having to carry out Secretary of State John Kerry’s “unbelievably small” retaliatory strike on the Assad regime, which gets to remain in power. The Iran carve-up removes the lingering threat of any U.S. military action and makes Israeli action all but unthinkable, while the Iranians keep on enriching uranium and can zoom up to weapons-grade levels far faster than we can reimpose sanctions.

The administration is more afraid of having to respond to an Iranian nuclear breakout than it is of a breakout itself. The deal has bought only a six-month delay in the Iranian program, at the cost of easing UN sanctions the U.S. had carefully built up since 2006.

At the core of the accords is the belief that the U.S. is the nation that needs to be restrained. That is why they involve big concessions from us in exchange for far less from the other side. Since we are the problem, we are the ones who need to give things up to get a deal.

And what about the global warming deal with China?

We got fleeced there, too:

When the United States and China announced a surprise carbon-emissions deal, the environmental Left squealed in delight. Al Gore declared it “groundbreaking progress from the world’s largest polluter” (i.e., China), while John Kerry patted himself on the back in the New York Times, gushing about how “the world’s most consequential relationship has just produced something of great consequence in the fight against climate change.” Despite the extraordinary fanfare, there’s abundant reason for skepticism.

Though the announcement is politically expedient for both Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, China almost certainly won’t take significant steps to reduce carbon emissions.

[…]Beijing hasn’t actually agreed to much: It will try to “stop increasing” carbon emissions by 2030 — which is a slanted way of saying its emissions will continue to grow for another 16 years — and derive 20 percent of its energy from renewables by then, up from about 10 percent now. Though these goals may be codified into Chinese law, the CCP does not have a reputation for respecting the rule of law. And the United States and the international community won’t have any way of enforcing these goals. No wonder Reuters called it a “largely symbolic plan.”

[…]Critics of the president’s environmental policies have noted that even the most stringent emissions reductions from the First World won’t have much of an impact unless the developing world also cuts back. The environmental Left is marketing the new U.S.–China deal as a way to eliminate that objection and plow forward with the president’s hardline proposals for carbon regulations. “Now there is no longer an excuse for Congress to block action on climate change,” Senator Barbara Boxer said in today’s New York Times. “The biggest carbon polluter on our planet, China, has agreed to cut back on dangerous emissions, and now we should make sure all countries do their part because this is a threat to the people that we all represent.”

Boxer ignores the myriad other valid objections to the Obama administration’s proposed regulations, which seek to cut carbon emissions 30 percent from their 2005 levels by 2030. In reality, it’s bad policy because, despite enormous economic cost, it would yield very few environmental benefits.

And of course we have the complete surrender to Russia in the Arctic.

We are cutting deals with every bad actor on the planet that will undermine our interests at home and abroad for years to come. And why? Well, it’s because Democrats think that United States is more of a threat to world peace than a force for good, and so they think the best way to save the planet is to strengthen countries like Russia, Iran and China. I think in one way this plan will work – Democrats will feel as if they are doing something, and they will congratulate themselves on their moral superiority. But as far as actually achieving good results? It’s not going to happen.

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Mike Licona explains the As, Bs, Cs, Ds and Es of New Testament reliability

Mike Licona is one of my favorite Christian apologists, and here is an excellent lecture to show you why.

In the lecture, he explains why the four biographies in the New Testament should be accepted as historically accurate: (55 minutes)

Summary:

  • What a Baltimore Ravens helmet teaches us about the importance of truth
  • What happens to Christians when they go off to university?
  • The 2007 study on attitudes of American professors to evangelical Christians
  • Authors: Who wrote the gospels?
  • Bias: Did the bias of the authors cause them to distort history?
  • Contradictions: What about the different descriptions of events in the gospels?
  • Dating: When were the gospels written?
  • Eyewitnesses: Do the gospel accounts go back to eyewitness testimony?

This is basic training for Christians. It would be nice if every Christian was equipped in church to be able to make a case like this.

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New study: scientists discover that inverted retina / blind spot is not a “bad design”

Here’s what atheist Richard Dawkins says about the inverted retina:

Any engineer would naturally assume that the photocells would point towards the light, with their wires leading backwards towards the brain. He would laugh at any suggestion that the photocells might point away from the light, with their wires departing on the side nearest the light. Yet this is exactly what happens in all vertebrate eyes. Each photocell is, in effect, wired in backwards, with its wires sticking out on the side nearest to the light. This means that the light, instead of being granted an unrestricted passage to the photocells, has to pass through a forest of connecting wires, presumably suffering at least some attenuation and distortion (actually probably not much but, still, it is the principle of the thing that would offend any tidy-minded engineer!)

Source: Dawkins, Richard (1986). The Blind Watchmaker. London: Penguin Books; pp. 93-94.

Now let’s look at a new study reported in Science Daily.

They write:

From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye — a product of our evolutionary baggage — doesn’t make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye — resulting in light scattering by the nervous fibers and blurring of our vision. Recently, researchers at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology have confirmed the biological purpose for this seemingly counterintuitive setup.

“The retina is not just the simple detector and neural image processor, as believed until today,” said Erez Ribak, a professor at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology. “Its optical structure is optimized for our vision purposes.” Ribak and his co-authors will describe their work during the 2015 American Physical Society March Meeting, on Thursday, March 5 in San Antonio, Texas.

Ribak’s interest in the optical structure of the retina stems from his previous work applying astrophysics and astronomy techniques to improve the ability of scientists and ophthalmologists to view the retina at high detail.

Previous experiments with mice had suggested that Müller glia cells, a type of metabolic cell that crosses the retina, play an essential role in guiding and focusing light scattered throughout the retina. To test this, Ribak and his colleagues ran computer simulations and in-vitro experiments in a mouse model to determine whether colors would be concentrated in these metabolic cells. They then used confocal microscopy to produce three-dimensional views of the retinal tissue, and found that the cells were indeed concentrating light into the photoreceptors.

“For the first time, we’ve explained why the retina is built backwards, with the neurons in front of the photoreceptors, rather than behind them,” Ribak said.

You can read more on some other reasons why the inverted retina is not a bad design in this article by agnostic scientist Michael Denton. But this study is a good reminder of why Christians need to keep up with science and how we need to talk about science.

The importance of having a narrative

All Christians should be familiar with the following basic pieces of evidence which fit the war between science and naturalism narrative:

  1. The origin of the universe
  2. The cosmic fine-tuning
  3. The origin of life (biological information)
  4. The sudden origin of the Cambrian phyla
  5. The habitability/observability correlation

It’s very important to present these five basic evidences to non-Christians in the historical context. And here is the story you must tell: “In the beginning, there was the naturalism, and the naturalism tried to argue from ignorance that God was not Creator and God was not Designer. And then came the science, and now people have to give up their naturalism in order to not be crazy and irrational”. That’s the narrative you use when talking to non-Christians about science.

In the beginning was the naturalism:

  1. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the universe was eternal
  2. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that a life-permitting universe was as likely as a life-prohibiting universe
  3. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the cell was a simple blob of jello that could spontaneously emerge in some warm pond
  4. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the sudden origin of the Cambrian phyla would be explained by subsequent fossil discoveries
  5. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that there was nothing special about our galaxy, solar system, planet or moon

But then science progressed by doing experiments and making observations.

Here are some examples of discoveries that undermined the primitive atheism:

  1. Scientists discovered redshift and the cosmic microwave background radiation (evidence for a cosmic beginning) and more!
  2. Scientists discovered the fine-tuning of gravity and of the cosmological constant and more!
  3. Scientists discovered protein sequencing and exposed the myth of “junk DNA” and more!
  4. Scientists discovered an even shorter Cambrian explosion period and the absence of precursor fossils and more!
  5. Scientists discovered galactic habitable zones and circumstellar habitable zones and more!

Atheism, as a worldview, is not rooted in an honest assessment about what science tells us about reality. Atheism is rooted in a religion: naturalism. And the troubling thing we learn from looking at the history of science is that this religion of naturalism is insulated from correction from the progress of science. Nothing that science reveals about nature seems to be able to put a dent in the religion of naturalism, at least for most atheists. Their belief in naturalism is so strong that it repels all scientific evidence that falsifies it. Atheists simply don’t let science inform and correct their worldview.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

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Jeb Bush’s bussed-in supporters applaud driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for illegals

Jeb Bush and Barack Obama

Jeb Bush and Barack Obama

Did you know that Jeb Bush supports driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants?

He faced questions about his tenure as governor of Florida, when he tried to provide driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and, later, supported letting undocumented students pay in-state tuition at state colleges.

Bush drew some boos, but stuck to his position that illegal immigrants have to be brought into the American fold.

“I know there’s disagreement here,” he conceded.

Not all CPAC attendees boo’d Bush’s leftist speech at CPAC – some just walked out of the room.

But Breitbart reports that some neither left the room, nor boo’d him – who were they?:

Perhaps in fear that he didn’t have enough backers willing to show up on their own, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign organized to bus supporters to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to cheer during his appearance on stage and vote for him in the straw poll.

The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin writes that Bush brought people in from Washington, D.C.: “Mr. Bush’s supporters organized caravans of his Washington backers to attend his speech, and they cheered whenever anyone else booed,” Martin wrote.

Those same bused in cheerers also will likely be expected by Bush’s campaign to vote for him in the famed straw poll.

Betsy Woodruff at the liberal outlet Slate also obtained emails that prove Bush’s team was busing in supporters from K Street.

“Emails provided to Slate show that backers of the former Florida governor are busing supporters from downtown Washington D.C. to CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland, and organizing to get them day passes into the event,” Woodruff wrote.

One person behind the effort to bus in Bush backers, Woodruff confirmed, was former George W. Bush advance man Fritz Brogan. “A Bush insider confirmed to Slate that Bush’s Right to Rise PAC is helping organize the transportation,” Woodruff wrote.

And the Bush leftists are lying about it, too:

Before CPAC, when asked if Bush’s supporters would be paid and bused in, Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell denied it flatly. She said in an email that she “can confirm that we are not trying to play in the straw poll – despite what anyone else is telling you.”

Campbell, Bush’s spokeswoman, told Breitbart News on Saturday afternoon: “We aren’t trying to play in the straw poll. Some supporters in the DC area who were planning to attend CPAC expressed concerns about getting over to the Gaylord. We helping by providing some limited transportation on Friday only (specific to the time of the Governor’s speech.)”

Maybe there is still time for him to switch parties and run against Hillary? Run to her left, I mean. Maybe he can be Elizabeth Warren’s running mate or vice versa.

I went back to look at Bush’s CPAC speech from 2013.

Here’s what he said:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush beseeched a gathering of conservatives in remarkably frank terms on Friday night to change the course of the Republican Party and to become a more diverse, welcoming and understanding party to minorities and low-income Americans.

Bush, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference annual dinner, made the heart of his speech a call to the GOP to “learn from past mistakes.” He made his case in some of the bluntest language he has used.

“All too often we’re associated with being ‘anti’ everything,” Bush said. “Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates even though they share our core beliefs, because those voters feel unloved, unwanted and unwelcome in our party.”

[…]In his book, written last year, he said he favored a path to residency, but not a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He changed that position in interviews after it was pointed out that the current plan in the Senate includes citizenship.

Bush penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that went live online Friday, in which he again voiced support for a path to citizenship. But while his speech Friday night used much of the content from his op-ed, he cut the lines about the path to citizenship and made only passing mention of immigration reform.

This is what these points mean, in my opinion:

  • He’s very concerned that he not be perceived as anti-immigrant = AMNESTY.
  • He’s very concerned that he not be perceived as anti-woman= ABORTION.
  • He’s very concerned that he not be perceived as anti-science= GLOBAL WARMING.
  • He’s very concerned that he not be perceived as anti-gay = SAME-SEX MARRIAGE.
  • He’s very concerned that he not be perceived as anti-worker = SOCIALISM.

He wants to make sure that Democrats approve him – that’s his primary concern. He wants to be liked by people on the secular left.

Bush likes to portray himself as very concerned about the poor, but what would he know about poverty?

Look:

In 1999, Columba Bush, the famously private wife of then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was detained and fined by federal customs officials for misrepresenting the amount of clothing and jewelry she had bought while on a solo five-day shopping spree in Paris.

The incident left the Florida first lady deeply mortified and her husband politically chagrined. Jeb Bush said the first lady had misled customs officials because she did not want him to know that she had spent about $19,000 on the trip.

“The embarrassment I felt made me ashamed to face my family and friends,” Columba Bush said in a July 1999 speech to the Central Florida Make-a-Wish Foundation, not long after the incident. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”

The ordeal did not stop her from spending freely, however. Less than a year later, she took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry on a single day, according to records filed with the state of Florida by Mayors Jewelers.

That purchase was part of a pattern by Columba Bush of borrowing to buy tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry at a time from the South Florida store over a 14-year period. Documentation available online, which does not include the details of two transactions made less than six weeks apart in 1995, shows that she spent a total of more than $90,000 at the store.

No wonder the CPAC conservatives were booing him – they probably don’t make $90,000 in a year of working.

However the leftist mainstream media is very much in favor of Jeb Bush:

  • CNN: Jeb Bush survives — and thrives — at CPAC
  • Washington Post: Jeb Bush was very, very good at CPAC today
  • Politico: Jeb Bush survives at CPAC
  • Bloomberg: The Conservative Contempt Awaiting Jeb Bush at CPAC
  • NPR: Jeb’s Rowdy Supporters Help Him Escape The CPAC Lion’s Den
  • National Journal: Jeb Bush Survives CPAC

From a left-wing media point of view, Bush did a great job at CPAC. They love him! But then, they love amnesty, Common Core and Obamacare, just like he does.

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