Three Very Telling Pictures

From the Daily Mail:

What they show are three acts of worship performed in the East End of London within a few hundred yards of each other at the end of last month.

Two of the photos show Sunday morning services in the churches of St George-in-the-East on Cannon Street Road, and St Mary’s on Cable Street.

The third shows worshippers gathered for Friday midday prayers outside the nearby mosque on the Brune Street Estate in Spitalfields.

St George-in-the-East

St Mary's Cable Street

Mosque on the Brune Street Estate

The difference in numbers could hardly be more dramatic. At St George’s, some 12 people have congregated to celebrate Holy Communion.

What these pictures suggest is that, on current trends, Christianity in this country is becoming a religion of the past, and Islam is one of the future.


In Contempt

From Andrew C. McCarthy:

You can always rely on the administration of Barack Obama, a former constitutional-law lecturer (or as his résumé-inflating fans put it, “professor”), to do the sleazy thing when it comes to the Constitution the president is sworn to defend. Thus, the performance on Wednesday of Lois Lerner, chief of the Obama IRS’s Conservative Harassment Division, before the House oversight committee.

There’s an old scam criminal defendants occasionally pull. They give a bit of exculpatory direct testimony – just enough to gaze plaintively at the jurors and swear, cross-their-hearts, that they are pure as the driven snow. Then, just as the moment of submitting to cross-examination approaches, they announce that, even though they’re really, truly innocent, they just can’t answer the mean prosecutor’s questions – on advice of counsel, of course, in reliance on the Fifth Amendment.

Everyone familiar with this area of the law knows that this is contemptuous conduct. To testify, by definition, is to agree to submit to cross-examination. Once you begin to answer questions – i.e., to testify – you waive your right not to testify – i.e., not to answer questions.

In a trial, the judge does not put up with such shenanigans, which are, after all, a fraud on the process. The court rules that, by giving exculpatory testimony on direct examination, the defendant has waived his Fifth Amendment privilege; therefore, the defendant is directed to answer the prosecutor’s questions on cross-examination. If he persists in refusing to answer, he is held in contempt. Thereafter, each refusal to answer is a separate contempt, for which the defendant can (a) be jailed by the judge (until he relents and agrees to be cross-examined), and (b) later prosecuted by the government, because contempt is an indictable crime, too.

The point of the scam is obvious. The defendant wants to get his proclamation of innocence out in the public domain – maybe it will influence a juror or two. Lerner is not on trial (not yet, anyway) but her tactic had the desired effect: all day long the networks have been running loops of her assertions of innocence.


The Culture of Intimidation

From Eliana Johnson:

Since his emergence as a national political figure, Barack Obama has managed to deflect accusations of wrongdoing and impropriety with ease. Republicans on Capitol Hill are determined to put that to an end by making him pay for the unfolding scandal at the Internal Revenue Service.

“Ultimately responsibility lies with the president. Obama has spent the better part of the last five years doing non-stop campaigning,” says a senior Republican Senate aide who points to the administration’s larger pattern of “using political offices to intimidate and harrass” its opponents. “When bureaucrats see the leader of an organization doing that, it shouldn’t shock us when they start doing the same. That appears to have been what happened here.”



Thank you, Democrats:

Many countries around the world have introduced government health systems since 1945, but, as I wrote here last year, “only in America does ‘health’ ‘care’ ‘reform’ begin with the hiring of 16,500 new IRS agents tasked with determining whether your insurance policy merits a fine.”

Mark Steyn

A Calculated Lie

From Thomas Sowell:

There can be honest differences of opinion on many subjects. But there can also be dishonest differences. Last week’s testimony under oath about events in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 makes painfully clear that what the Obama administration told the American people about those events were lies out of whole cloth.

What we were told repeatedly last year by the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the American ambassador to the U.N., was that there was a protest demonstration in Benghazi against an anti-Islamic video produced by an American, and that this protest demonstration simply escalated out of control.

This “spontaneous protest” story did not originate in Libya but in Washington. Neither the Americans on duty in Libya during the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, nor officials of the Libyan government, said anything about a protest demonstration.

The highest American diplomat on the scene in Libya spoke directly with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by phone, and told her that it was a terrorist attack. The president of Libya announced that it was a terrorist attack. The C.I.A. told the Obama administration that it was a terrorist attack.

With lies, as with potato chips, it is hard to stop with just one. After the “spontaneous protest” story was discredited, the next claim was that this was the best information available at the time from intelligence sources.

But that claim cannot survive scrutiny, now that the 12 drafts of the Obama administration’s talking points about Benghazi have belatedly come to light. As draft after draft of the talking points were made, e-mails from the State Department pressured the intelligence services to omit from these drafts their clear and unequivocal statement from the outset that this was a terrorist attack.

Attempts to make it seem that Ambassador Susan Rice’s false story about a “spontaneous protest” was the result of her not having accurate information from the intelligence services have now been exposed as a second lie to excuse the first lie.

Despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s loudly proclaimed question “What difference, at this point, does it make?” the difference is between an honest mistake and a calculated lie to deceive the American people, in order to win an election.

Barack Obama’s election campaign oratory had proclaimed the death of Osama bin Laden as an accomplishment of his administration, as part of a general defeat of Al-Qaeda and other terrorists. To admit that these terrorists were still in action, and strong enough to kill an American ambassador and three other Americans in a well-coordinated military style attack, would be a politically devastating admission during the election campaign.

Far better, politically, to come up with a story about a protest demonstration that just got out of hand. This could be presented as an isolated, one-time event, rather than part of a continuing pattern of terrorism by groups that were still active, despite President Obama’s spin suggesting that they were not.

The problem with telling a lie, or even a succession of lies, is that a very small dose of the truth can sometimes make the whole thing collapse like a house of cards. The State Department’s own foreign service officer Gregory Hicks was in Libya during the attack, so he knew the truth. When threats were not enough to silence him, it was then necessary to try to discredit him.

After years of getting glowing job evaluations, and awards of honors from the State Department for his work in various parts of the world, Mr. Hicks suddenly began to get bad job evaluations and was demoted to a desk job in Washington after he spoke with a Congressman about what he knew. The truth is dangerous to liars.

The Obama administration’s excuse for not trying to get help to the Americans in Benghazi while they were under attack — namely, that it would take too long — is as shaky as its other statements. A small fighting unit in Tripoli was ready to get on a plane to Benghazi when they were ordered to “stand down.” Other fighting units located outside of Libya are designed precisely for fast deployment — and nobody knew how many hours the attack would last.

But it will take more investigations to determine who gave the order to “stand down,” and why. How many new lies that will generate is another question.


Truth — what difference at this point does it make?

From VDH:

Hillary Clinton’s now infamous second question that followed, “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d go kill some Americans?”: “What difference at this point does it make?” is rightly quoted as a reflection of the callousness toward finding out the truth about the death of four Americans. But the first question in some ways is even worse. By the time Secretary Clinton posed that either/or question in January, she had known for months from both intelligence reports and from the administration and State Department efforts to massage those reports, and from the efforts of diplomat Gregory Hicks and others to set the story straight, that the murders were preplanned assaults by an al-Qaeda affiliate. She knew that the attack was neither a “protest” nor “guys out for a walk” — but was still peddling scenarios that were simply untrue and designed to mislead.


Obama’s Court Eunuchs

From Mark Steyn:

Toward the end of my column on Gregory Hicks’ testimony re Benghazi, I write:

The dying Los Angeles Times reported this story on its homepage (as a sidebar to “Thirteen Great Tacos in Southern California”) under the following headline: “Partisan Politics Dominates House Benghazi Hearing.” In fact, everyone in this story is a Democrat or a career civil servant.

Mr Hicks was there in the latter capacity, and he didn’t come across as a political person. But just for the record:

A key Benghazi whistle-blower who has allegedly been punished for speaking out against the administration is a registered Democrat who voted for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Gregory Hicks, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are all Democrats. The only difference is that for Mr Hicks four dead colleagues trumps party.

That it doesn’t for Obama’s court eunuchs is a comment on them.