Patterico's Pontifications


Visitor Logs: Obama Had “Debate Prep” Meeting on September 11, 2012, the Day of the Benghazi Attack [UPDATED With Major Update]

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:48 pm

Where was President Obama during the Benghazi crisis? Some GOP senators want to know:

Republican senators on Friday put pressure on President Obama to confirm his whereabouts during the night of the Benghazi attack, after an ex-White House spokesman revived the debate by telling Fox News he was not in the Situation Room.

The detail about the president’s location the night of the attack is just one of many revelations that have, in a matter of days, kicked up the controversy to a level not seen since last year. After new emails were released raising questions about the White House response to the attack, a key panel on Friday subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry and House Speaker John Boehner announced a special investigative committee.

On Friday afternoon, three GOP senators wrote a letter to Obama asking about his whereabouts and spokesman Tommy Vietor’s comments to Fox News.

“Last night, the former Communications Director for the National Security Council, Tommy Vietor, stated that on the afternoon and night of September 11, 2012 — while the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya was under attack — that you never visited the White House Situation Room to monitor events,” they wrote.

Claiming that Americans still do not have an “accounting of your activities during the attack,” the senators asked him to confirm Vietor’s account. The letter was signed by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.

Here is an interesting tidbit from the White House Visitor Logs for 9/11/12: Obama met with three people, at an unknown time, for “debate prep.” (BUT SEE the “MAJOR UPDATE” below: while it’s clear that Obama’s debate prep people visited, it’s not clear from official records whether they met with Obama.)

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You may click the link here and see for yourself. Do it quick, before they scrub it. It says “3 meet with Potus [President of the United States] NO TIME LISTED 9-11-12.”

Interesting, no?

I looked up these three folks, and put the information I found on this page. In short, all three have backgrounds in debate coaching and connections to Joe Biden.

However, the logs clearly appear to indicate a visit with President Obama.

Oddly, the logs do not indicate a time of day for this meeting — but one would assume that debate preparation could be extensive and time-consuming.

I expect Big Media to be remarkably incurious about this tidbit.

I wonder if the Senators will be at all curious.

UPDATE: This is looking more and more significant as the evidence comes in. Here is the President’s official schedule for September 11, 2012. (H/t carlitos and reader M.R.) Obama appears to have been gone from the White House for much of the early part of the day. He observed a moment of silence on the South Lawn; visited the Pentagon Memorial; visited veterans at Walter Reed in Bethesda; returned to the White House; and met with Leon Panetta at 5 p.m. There are not too many holes in his schedule during the day — increasing the chances that the “debate prep” took place in the evening, after the meeting with Panetta . . . in other words, when the Benghazi attack was unfolding.

UPDATE x2: Thanks to Hot Air and Andy at Ace’s place for the links.

UPDATE x3: This WSJ piece from 9-18-12 confirms Ron Klain was Obama’s debate advisor: “Mr. Obama’s debate preparation is being coordinated by Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, according to a campaign official.” (Thanks again to M.R.) Reporters? Time to start posing some pointed questions.

UPDATE x4: I should note: I don’t know exactly who wrote this: “3 meet with Potus [President of the United States] NO TIME LISTED 9-11-12.” The language appears on, a federal database — and it appears clear that the debate preppers visited the White House. But I don’t know with any certainty who added the detail that they met with Obama. I do know that some reporter should ask.

UPDATE x5: The meeting took place at the “VPR” which means “Vice Presidential Residence.” This gives some credence to the theory that this was Biden debate prep and not Obama debate prep — but there is still that pesky detail about the link on that states “3 meet with Potus [President of the United States] NO TIME LISTED 9-11-12.” Was Obama participating in vice presidential debate prep — or conducting his own debate prep?? Meanwhile, I am investigating whether the “meet with Potus” language could somehow be user-generated — i.e. a notation by a user of the database rather than a custodian of the database. “Developing,” as they say . . .

MAJOR UPDATE: A reader has just confirmed that a user can save a data set and give it any name they wish — meaning that the “3 meet with Potus” language may have been generated by a user and cannot be considered authoritative. The data is accurate: Obama’s debate prep guy Ron Klain and two other debate prep people visited to conduct “debate prep.” But it can’t be ruled out that the “debate prep” was for Biden.

A reader links to this interesting post which shows the President and Biden together, out of the decision-making loop, taking calls from Netanyahu and such, from 6:30 to almost 7:30 p.m.

We still don’t know where Obama was after that. All we know is: he was not in the Situation Room.

Wisconsin to Vote on Whether They Have the Right to Secede

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 pm

They do, of course, and need not vote on the question for it to be resolved in favor of the power being recognized. It’s OK; everyone is so horribly frightened by the prospect that anyone might think they actually believe in this power, that you can rest assured that no significant group of people is actually going to exercise it.

Wisconsin is not going to secede from the union.

This, despite the fact that at the Sixth Congressional Republican Caucus in the northeastern part of the state, delegates in April passed a resolution reaffirming Wisconsin’s right to secede from the union should it choose to do so. The measure passed through the GOP convention’s Resolution Committee last week, and is set to be voted on (up or down) at the Republican State Convention this weekend.

But since the measure passed the caucus, Wisconsin Republicans of even the most Tea Party-ish, states’ rights variety have been quickly distancing themselves from it.

“This has been totally blown out of proportion,” said Michael Murphy, vice chairman of the 4th District Republican Party and a former chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a Ron Paul-affiliated outlet. “This is one sentence in one resolution out of 23 that were passed, it is one tag line out of a larger resolution discussing state sovereignty. At no point are we going to the convention and debate that we want to secede from the union, even though some paint that as the case.”

I have received no small measure of joy lately in discussing the right to secession, in part because the thought offers some no doubt illusory possibility of escape from the horrible situation we find ourselves in . . . and in part from knowing that my position will tweak the very sort of non-thinkers who like to argue by labeling rather than reasoning and thinking. (NE-O-CON-FED-ER-ATE!) Anyway, if the right to secede seems doubtful to you, now is as good a time as any to address it. I will turn over the microphone to that well-known Neoconfederate racist, Walter Williams:

Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address said, “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.” Fifteen years later, after the New England Federalists attempted to secede, Jefferson said, “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation … to a continuance in the union …. I have no hesitation in saying, ‘Let us separate.’”

At Virginia’s ratification convention, the delegates said, “The powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.” In Federalist Paper 39, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, cleared up what “the people” meant, saying the proposed Constitution would be subject to ratification by the people, “not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong.” In a word, states were sovereign; the federal government was a creation, an agent, a servant of the states.

On the eve of the War of 1861, even unionist politicians saw secession as a right of states. Maryland Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel said, “Any attempt to preserve the Union between the States of this Confederacy by force would be impractical, and destructive of republican liberty.” The northern Democratic and Republican parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace.

Just about every major Northern newspaper editorialized in favor of the South’s right to secede. New York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): “If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861.” Detroit Free Press (Feb. 19, 1861): “An attempt to subjugate the seceded States, even if successful could produce nothing but evil — evil unmitigated in character and appalling in content.” The New York Times (March 21, 1861): “There is growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go.” [Thomas] DiLorenzo cites other editorials expressing identical sentiments.

Don’t be so scared of asserting rights that the Founding Fathers understood were rights that belonged to the people. Even if the Labelers want to use it to call you “fringe.” The Founding Fathers were “fringe” too. But they were right.

Horrible Unemployment Numbers Masked By Phony Method of Accounting As Record Numbers Leave the Work Force

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

Big Media won’t tell you this, but today’s jobs numbers are bad.

Here’s what Big Media is telling you about today’s numbers, according to our old mainstay the Los Angeles Times:

Economy adds 288,000 jobs in April; unemployment rate down to 6.3%

Hiring surprisingly surged last month as the economy added 288,000 net new jobs — the best performance in more than two years — and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3%, its lowest level since September 2008, the Labor Department said Friday.

Job-creation figures for February and March were also revised upward by a combined 36,000, meaning the economy has added a monthly average of about 214,000 positions this year. The revised figure for March was 203,000.

Economists had expected a more modest pickup, with the economy adding 215,000 net new jobs in April and the unemployment rate dropping just a tenth of a percentage point to 6.6%.

Great news, comrades! Just one little problem: the number that actually matters, the labor force participation rate, went down. This quote is from the Labor Department’s announcement, which I actually went and looked up because I no longer trust what Big Media tells me:

The civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 in April, following an increase of 503,000 in March. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April. The participation rate has shown no clear trend in recent months and currently is the same as it was this past October.

806,000 people left the work force! 806,000!

Money Morning says it’s “a record monthly decline since the Labor Department began keeping records.”

I’m going to say that again.

Money Morning says it’s “a record monthly decline since the Labor Department began keeping records.”

CNBC says:

The headline rate tumbled as 806,000 people left the civilian labor force, a development one market strategist called “shocking.” The labor force participation rate slumped to 62.8 percent, its worst of the year and near 35-year lows.

Yes, these jobs numbers should be good. But the net result is that they’re not. And it’s because government is strangling the recovery that is attempting to occur.

We enjoy a standard of living that would have been the envy of most kings in world history, due to the division of labor, which allows people to specialize in their area of expertise, contributing to better conditions for all. This president inherited a political system that already discouraged work, and made the situation multiple times worse, to the point where record numbers of people are choosing to simply say: “I’m outta here” — meaning that they will henceforth be a net drain on society’s resources, rather than a net positive. This means a lower standard of living for everybody — but the negatives are masked because the causality is hard to trace, at least for those not steeped in principles of economics, human action, incentives, and interference with the unhampered market economy.

Obama has failed. That’s what we were supposed to “hope” for, right? Well, congratulations. Your hope is now reality. And the “new normal” wipes out any gains that might otherwise accrue from what would normally be good news, because ObamaCare and other oppressive regulations create disincentives for work and productivity.

When that happens, it’s not just the fat cats who suffer. It’s everybody. Good luck trying to explain it to the voters, though.

This country is screwed. Today’s news doesn’t change that fact. It just makes it more clear.

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