Benghazi Timelines Untangled: Fox vs. The Washington Post

In early November 2012 Jennifer Griffin and David Ignatius each reported the events of the two attacks on American embassy personnel in Benghazi during the evening of September 11 and the early morning hours of September 12. Below is an attempt to harmonize the two accounts and establish a clearer, complete timeline.

Jennifer Griffin’s and David Ignatius’ time lines agree on significant details. Even so, the confluence between testimonies does little to mitigate many unanswered questions. Indeed, even more serious questions arise.

Of course, it is not the reporters themselves that are contradicting each other. Each reporter’s unnamed sources are giving differing stories. David Ignatius’ primary source, directly or indirectly, is the “base chief” in his article. It is likely that the Jennifer Griffin’s timeline is based on testimony from one member of the six member rescue squad. Fox, also, it seems, relied on sources on the ground related to the February 17th Brigade. As the CIA discovered, that crowd is a little treacherous. What follows is a scene by scene comparison of each testimony.
enhanced-buzz-13395-1351053171-2-620x454Both Ingatious’ and Jennifer Griffin’s sources agree that the Annex became aware of the assault on the Benghazi embassy at 9:40 (3:40 Washington time). This time is confirmed by the first leaked email that arrives in the Situation Room twenty-five minutes later. However, assuming the senior intelligence official of Ignatious’ report is indeed the Annex Security chief, this aspect of his report to the Post is refuted in Adam Housley’s report of 11/3/2012. Housely’s “sources on the ground” in Benghazi claim the security chief received requests for assistance at least an hour before Woods received the radio call and “agitated” for permission to aid the embassy.

After this the testimonies diverge. The Washington Post sources say an alarm of some sort sounded and that a call requesting assistance came in from the embassy. The Fox sources claim to have heard gunfire, and Hannity reports that the call was a radio call, begging, not casually requesting help.

It is reasonable to assume that men stationed towards the perimeter of the Annex heard shots, but no alarm and that a commander within the Annex, perhaps in the rear, heard the alarm, but not the shots. It is plain that the calls from the embassy were filled with emotion. Perhaps the radio call occurred while Sean Smith was dying.

Jennifer Griffin’s sources said that Tyrone Woods and at least two others ignored orders to stand down and rushed to help the ambassador. In contrast, according to the Post’s source, twenty minutes passed in which Tyrone Woods and others  “agitated” to go to Ambassador Stephens’ aid while the base chief sought help from a Libyan militia group. It is very likely that during these twenty minutes Ambassador Stephens inhaled the smoke that ultimately killed him. Of course, despite the assertion in the first email, the February 17th militia never came. It strains credulity to even imply anyone really thought they’d show.

Ignatius’ source says, however, that no one ignored orders because, by 10:04 exactly, the base chief and the leader of Tyrone Wood’s team both agreed that they could wait no longer. After all, what kind of leader would be so weak that an independent contractor and a CIA GRS team would ignore his order? Anyhow, as it happened, two cars left the Annex by 10:04 exactly.

It took six minutes, under heavy fire, to return to the Annex, but it took an extra fifteen minutes, a total of twenty-one minutes, to arrive at the Annex. This was because of, oddly, a traffic jam caused by Libyan militia groups not
coming to help at the embassy. By 10:20 the GRS team was ten agents strong. Five of these, including Woods, if according to Jennifer Griffith’s source, retook the embassy. If Griffith’s source is correct, Woods and the others did not really notice whether there was any leadership bringing up the rear. According to Ignatius’ source, the firefight, email2or the exchange of fire, took fifteen minutes making the time at the Libyan compound 10:35.  The second of the leaked emails arrived in Washington DC about twenty-five minutes later (10:54 Benghazi time), confirming this timeline.

After a search and rescue of about another thirty minutes, at 11:15 the first car with embassy personnel returned to the Annex. There are unanswered questions here. Two cars left the Annex but were there more now returning from the diplomatic mission compound? Who returned and in which cars? How long did it take for enemy fire to develop? Did the enemy discover the location of the Annex by following the CIA rescue team, or did they already have that information? All accounts agree, however, that by about Midnight Benghazi time [6:00 Washington DC time] the Annex itself came under attack. Very importantly, the Washington Post’s source establishes that an unarmed Predator Drone had begun to make available real time visuals of the events unfolding in Benghazi.

Here the sources differ. Fox’s sources say, starting at Midnight, additional calls for backup went out. The enemy fire was significant enough to warrant these requests. Ignatius’ source calls enemy fire sporadic and suggests that at 1:01 AM, exactly, some (we are not told who) felt the attack might be over. If there were a few dozen marines on the ground or a single attack helicopter, it would have been over.

After this, the Post’s timeline seems much more plausible than the one developed by Fox.

Ignatious’ source states that a charter plane from Tripoli, organized by Tripoli’s CIA station chief, arrived at 1:15 AM with another 5 CIA guys including a “case officer” and two G.I.’s.

Some have speculated that General Ham was relieved of command by a junior officer for attempting to ignore an order from perhaps as high up as Leon Panetta. The CIA flight, authorized in response to the original attack on the mission compound, was preferred over other options.

Whatever the background of this “charter flight,” the new team arrives at the Annex without the Libyan militia and before the mortar attacks began. But they don’t get there until after 5:00 AM. This is when Doherty arrives to support Woods. Fox’s sources have this support arriving a little before 3:00 AM and the Libyan militia arriving just after them at about 3:00. Fox’s sources say that Tyrone Woods died at 4:00 AM; the Post’s source says he died after support arrived at 5:00 AM.

Ignatious’ source says that the mortar attack began at 5:15. This corresponds to a fourth leaked email that arrived in Washington D.C. about 25 minutes later at 11:57 PM (5:57 AM Benghazi time).

email3

Finally, the Post’s source says the entire attack was over at 5:25, just ten minutes after it began. Within half an hour, the Libyan militia arrived and escorted the Americans to their planes.

It sounds like a surrender. The enemy’s attack let up when word of the flight from Tripoli reached the Benghazi airport around 1:00. The Ansar al-Sharia/Al Qaeda group, stood off and let the Americans reach the Annex. When they saw how pitiful the American response had been [paragraph 12], they re-engaged. Then someone surrendered. The choices were surrender or take on all of Benghazi. It would have been Somalia all over again. Only this time it was only a month before a presidential election. Instead, someone surrendered.

Significantly, Fox and the Post differ on the second drone. Much more significantly, they differ on whether or not Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty painted the mortar placement. Most significantly, they differ on whether or not, with the first drone in place, the CIA Annex requested assistance. Was the flight from Tripoli in response to a request for help from the Annex at midnight? If no one will admit that there was a request for help, then perhaps the flight wasn’t sanctioned, and perhaps someone else’s conscience, besides Tyrone Woods,’ led him to ignore an order .

The Benghazi Timeline Updated: Where was the President for over Twelve Hours?

This article is part of an interlocked series of articles that will include updates of the timeline of the Benghazi attacks as information comes to light through 2015.compound

Included as of April 11, 2015 are the latest HINTS of president Obama’s whereabouts, actions, and intentions on September 11, 2012. We STILL don’t know.

Below is the confluence of the Pentagon’s released timeline as of November 2012, Jennifer Griffin’s original story, David Ignatius’ November 1, 2012, CIA sourced timeline, and other sources from this same period.  The updated information from earlier reports during this period and its implications are emboldened.

The emphasis within this accounting is President Obama’s absence. Some might claim that the President of the United States whereabouts should be made known from the hour of the first warnings of an imminent attack. Perhaps it’s possible that General Ham and others didn’t want to alert then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta or President Obama until the situation at the Consulate was clear. From this perspective, a later accounting of the President’s movements might be satisfactory. However, from the moment the first of the leaked email correspondence arrived in D.C. at 4:05 PM revealing an attack on the consulate, Americans have a right to demand accountability. During an attack on an American consulate, where was the commander-in-chief? During tumultuous events that cost American lives and American status around the world, where was President Obama.

From this perspective, the following timeline shows that the President of the United States was missing in action for over twelve hours. For over half a day, the President of the United States was absent without leave from executing his primary duties as commander-in-chief; or so, at least, it appears.

2:40 P.M. ET [8:40 Benghazi]—Warnings of an imminent attack received.

3:40 P.M. ET [9:40 Benghazi]—Jennifer Griffin’s original story. Tyrone Woods and others heard shots fired.

3:40 P.M. ET [9:40 Benghazi]—David Ignatius’ November 1st CIA timeline. The first call for assistance received. Alarms heard.

3:42 ET [9:42 Benghazi]—Latest Pentagon Timeline. Armed men attack the American Embassy

3:59 P.M. ET [9:59 Benghazi]Latest Pentagon Timeline. A surveillance drone is directed to fly over the U.S.compound, but it is unarmed. This seems to be the drone that arrives above the embassy compound at about 5:15, but its arrival is too early. However, the drone was supposed to be ninety minutes away. This one arrives within  only a seventy-five minutes.
Was it possible that the drone was diverted earlier than this report indicates, or were there two drones? Who ordered the drone to the compound?  Fox News reports that the commander of AFRICOM, General Ham, diverted the drone while visiting Washington D.C. General Ham, like General Petraeus, will soon be a civilian.

Sources claim Panetta hasn’t been notified yet and won’t be for another drone-300x168half an hour.

4:04 P.M. ET [10:04 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. A six person rescue squad in two vehicles, one with Tyrone Woods, rushes to assist Ambassador Stephens and the embassy.

Jennifer Griffin’s original story: Sometime after 3:40 P.M. ET [10:04 Benghazi] . Tyrone Woods and at least three others ignore orders and leave the CIA Annex to assist Ambassador Stephens and the embassy. Jennifer’s sources confirm both the 3:40 attack time and suggest a twenty minute delay before Woods and others ignore orders.

4:05 P.M. ET [10:05 Benghazi] –the first leaked email from the State Department arrives in the Situation Room stating that the embassy is under attack.

4:10 P.M. ET [10:40 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. The rescue team reaches the Libyan roadblocks that the Annex heard about no later than 2:40 PM. It took six minutes to return to the Annex under heavy fire. The negotiations with the Libyans seem to have taken only ten or fifteen minutes. Did money change hands?

4:20 P.M. ET [10:20 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon
benghazi timeline. The first two agents, probably including Woods, enter the compound. They are soon followed by three others. About half the team, about five agents, including Woods, if Jennifer Griffith’s source is to be believed, retake the embassy. This was the work of heroes. The firefight took fifteen minutes. The GRS team was ten agents strong.

4:32 P.M. ET [10:32 Benghazi] –  Latest Pentagon Timeline. The Office of the Secretary Defense and the Joint Staff are notified of the attack by the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon. “The information is quickly passed to Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey.” Two hours have passed since the CIA Annex was warned of an impending attack on the ambassador. An hour has passed since the attack.

4:35 P.M. ET [10:35 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. The embassy mission compound is retaken.

4:40 P.M. ET [10:40 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. The CIA team continues to search for Ambassador Stevens, and small-arms fire continues from the Libyan attackers.

5:00 P.M. ET [11 Benghazi]  – Latest Pentagon Timeline. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey meet with President Obama at the White House where they discuss the unfolding situation and how to respond. The meeting had been previously scheduled.

5:11 [11:11 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. A drone diverted from Darnah, Libya, ninety minutes away, arrives over the embassy.

This second Pentagon timeline confirms that all the events of September 11th 2012 that took place after 5:11 were available to President Obama via live feed from the drone flying over the American Embassy.

5:15 P.M. ET [11:15 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st CIA timeline. The first car with embassy personnel returns, under fire, to the Annex.

5:30 P.M. ET [11:30 Benghazi] CIA November 1st and Latest Pentagon timeline. The last of the CIA team leaves the embassy, and under fire, reach the Annex six minutes later.
dm-map-of-benghazi-consulateThere are unanswered questions here. Two cars left the Annex but were there more now? Who left in which car? How long did it take for enemy fire to develop? Did the enemy discover the location of the Annex by following the CIA rescue team, or did they already have that information?

5:54 P.M. ET [11:54 Benghazi] The second of the leaked emails sent by the State Department arrives in the situation room stating that “Embassy Tripoli reports the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped and the compound has been cleared. A response team is on site attempting to locate COM personnel.”

This email is confused. The firing only stopped at the embassy after the CIA personnel left for the Annex. Was this email based on a composite of visual images sent by the drone and independently sent information from CIA personnel on the ground? Assuming this email is sent, again, about 25 minutes after the events reported, it corresponds to the moments after the last of the CIA left the compound.

6:00-8:00 P.M. [Midnight in Benghazi] –  Latest Pentagon Timeline. Panetta and other senior leaders discuss possible options if further violence breaks out. Where is President Obama?

6:00 P.M. ET [Midnight in Benghazi] –Jennifer Griffith’s Timeline/ November 1st CIA Timeline. The Annex itself comes under attack. 

7:00 P.M. ET [1:00 AM Benghazi] –Jennifer Griffith’s Timeline/ November 1st CIA Timeline. Fox’s sources say, starting at Midnight, additional calls for backup went out. The enemy fire was significant enough to warrant these requests. RPG’s and heavy caliber machine gun fire hits the Annex. Ignatius’ source calls enemy fire sporadic and suggests that at 1:01 AM, exactly, some (we are not told who) felt the attack might be over.

7:15-30 P.M. ET [1:15 Benghazi] November 1st CIA and Nov. 9th Pentagon timeline. A charter plane from [the American Embassy in] Tripoli,organized by Tripoli’s CIA station chief, arrives with another 5 CIA guys including a “case officer” and two G.I.’s.

8:00 P.M. ET [4:00 A.M. in Benghazi] –  Latest Pentagon Timeline. Panetta gives verbal orders for Marine anti-terrorist teams from Rota, Spain, to prepare to deploy to Tripoli and Benghazi.

There was serious, consistent fire following the rescue team to the Annex since 6:00. Why did it take Panetta two hours to give a verbal order? Why isn’t there a written record of these orders? Where is President Obama?

8:53 P.M. ET [2:53 Benghazi] –  Latest Pentagon Timeline. The National Military Command Center gives formal authorization for the deployment of the two special operations force teams from Croatia and the United States. This is three hours after calls from the Annex request backup. This is eleven hours after the attack on the embassy
mission compound.

UPDATE 4/11/2015:

According to Jay Carney’s report, two and a half years after these events unfolded, at approximately 10:00 Washington DC time, or about 4:00 AM Benghazi time, the President of the United States called Hillary Clinton from a location still not openly discussed. This is just prior to Clinton’s release of a statement connecting the Benghazi attack to a YouTube video made infamous by the Susan Rice’s Sunday morning talking points. An hour later Tryone Woods and Glen Doherty would be dead and the Annex would be surrendered and evacuated.

Carney said that President Obama called to receive an update. However, in her testimony before congress, Hillary Clinton added that she called the President to hear his perspective.

11:04 P.M. ET [5:04 AM Benghazi] David Ignatius’ November 1st CIA timeline. The team from Tripoli arrives at the Annex. This is when Glen Doherty arrives to support Tyrone Woods in firc-17_globemaster_vehicles_military_flares_hd-wallpaper-71487ing positions on the roof.

11:15 P.M. ET [5:15 AM Benghazi] November 1st and Nov. 9th Pentagon Timelines. A new Libyan attack begins, this time with mortars. Fox News reports that an anti-terrorism team was very possibly in the air at this time, and that radio calls reported “feet dry over Libya.” Would this CIF flight, in a C-17, have had the ability to take out the terrorists? There has been speculation that, because of its very low stall speed, a C-17 could be outfitted as a replacement for an AC-130.

11:25 P.M. ET [5:25 AM Benghazi]. Just ten minutes after the “new attack” began, it was all over. It sounds like surrender. What did Washington see via drone video that was so frightening?

Midnight ET [6:00 AM Benghazi] David Ignatius’ November 1st CIA timeline. The Libyan “cavalry” arrives. It escorts the Americans to their planes. They leave, never to return.

636_110512_fx_benghazi2

Fox reports that the troop movements authorized by Panetta were, primarily, in case of a hostage situation or a continued siege. Both events, bad, bad political outcomes were cleverly avoided somehow. It only cost a couple of American lives. Apparently, the use of armed drones or AC-130 gunships were, according to Panetta, not effective options.

Jefferson Believed in Intelligent Design and the Blessings of Liberty

Jefferson’s belief in a Creator Who had a purpose for humanity, an intelligent design, is plain from the preamble of our Declaration of Independence:
jefferson“We hold these truths to be self-evident:

  • that all men are created equal,
  • that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,
  • that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Jefferson considers these truths to be self-evident. If you don’t agree, Jefferson’s America was not for you. Jefferson and the signers continue:

  • That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
  • That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Jefferson’s great paradigm shift, a shift that all the founders shared, was from the Divine right of kings to the manifest and self-evident God-given rights of the individual to liberty. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Jefferson’s view on Intelligent Design, that huge shift is why his views of the creation must be taught at the high school and college level. Without an understanding the idea of a Creator of an orderly universe with a clear purpose for humanity, students cannot properly understand the American idea.

Thomas Jefferson’s idea is that legitimate government is responsible to God to secure the rights He has given to men, rights that the Creator has designed for everyone. In the design of mankind the Creator’s purpose is revealed. Against that purpose no government, monarchy or republic, dare stand. That’s the American idea.

The resounding triumph of Jefferson’s words are often ignored by the uncritical mind as some reflexive product of a religious background. This could not be more incorrect. Jefferson’s views were primarily philosophical; they were not religious. The key is in Jefferson’s term: “self-evident.” As an example of Jefferson’s strongly reasoned and critically evaluative thinking is some of what Jefferson wrote to John Adams:

“They (Diderot and others) say then that it is more simple to believe… in the eternal pre-existence of the world … than to believe in the eternal pre-existence of an ulterior cause, or Creator of the world, a being whom we see not, and know not, of whose form… no sense informs us, no power of the mind enables us to… comprehend. On the contrary I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe… it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it’s composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces (Newton), the structure of our earth itself, with it’s distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organised as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, … a fabricator of all things…” [emphasis mine].

This is what Jefferson meant by “self-evident.” Of particular note is his phrase “without appeal to revelation.” This means Jefferson did not believe in design because of any religious text or religious background. Jefferson believed based on what he could see in the world around him. This notion of self-evident belief in a Creator is central to Jefferson’s idea of religion and religious expression. While Jefferson was conveniently in Europe as the constitution was written, his letters were still a force in the debate.

Many will say that if Jefferson had only known about Darwin, he would have had a different view.  Notice that the perfect mathematical laws of Newtonian physics influenced Jefferson’s beliefs, and his study of the “minutest particles…of life” also persuaded him of an Intelligent Designer. During the last century astronomy has again indicated a beginning for the universe, and based on this beginning, the mathematics of microbiology has disproven the theory of the origin of life arising from random forces.1 The real question is whether Charles Darwin would believe his own theories if he had seen modern science. Either way, Jefferson’s views are critical to understanding his perspective on the role of religion in American society.

Again, consider the force of Jefferson’s beliefs as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, by writing “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” all but perfectly echoes the key terms of Locke’s Enlightenment ideas about the natural rights of man (“life, liberty, and estate” see: paragraph 5 and 6). These words are not a mere student’s assent to the wisdom of his English heritage. They constitute, in literary terms, an allusion. Jefferson’s work purposely subsumes all that Locke had written under a larger banner of liberty than had yet been conceived. Consider these words of the Declaration of Independence: “When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People …to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…” Jefferson only declares the Enlightenment ideas after citing Nature’s God. While Locke’s ideas reside in the equality of men because of the powers of reason, Jefferson’s sees, instead, the God of Nature’s Divine plan for the liberty of all mankind. The design of mankind indicates His purpose in endowing us with reason and with the concomitant natural abilities or rights.

Jefferson, was of course, a man of his times. He was an Enlightenment thinker. However,  instead of being a mere disciple of Locke or Rousseau, Jefferson was the master. Jefferson’s preamble is a capstone for and an apex to Enlightenment thinking. By way of the witness of natural rights, Jefferson undermines the Divine right of kings and establishes the Divinely ordained sovereignty of the individual; Jefferson does so with an eloquence that allows for all who recognize a Designer in the fabric of life to plainly see the Creator’s plan for humanity’s liberty.

The Jeffersonian idea was for a nation united in liberty answerable, as one people, to a benevolent God, the Creator of the Heaven and Earth.

1. An exhaustive list of Nobel Prize winners who have done the math on this can be found in Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell (see also my previous articles “A Scientific Consensus…” and “Darwinism Deselected:…”). Perhaps the best synopsis for those not scientifically minded is a video promotion for Signature in the Cell that simulates some of amazing discoveries in recent microbiology. Modern science was wrong on the atom and the cell. Neither are irreducible units of the world around us. The more we look into the depths of the world around us the more phenomenal it reveals itself to be.

Addendum 1/31/12– As a result of losing some of the great board posts to the original article:

The point of the foregoing is that the theory of intelligent design is not, in Jefferson’s view, faith based. Furthermore, Jefferson is but a case in point for the many founders who signed the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, it cannot be considered unconstitutional or un-American to discuss the theoretical elements pertaining to the reasons the founders believed in and based our laws on an Intelligent Designer.

More importantly, the logic of a political system based on the notion of intelligent design must be taught. It is our duty and responsibility to teach that the founders believed men were designed for liberty and that governments that refuse to respect these liberties are counter, not only to humanity itself, but to the plan of the God of nature.

The above is a legal argument rather than a scientific argument for including intelligent design in the classroom. However, if Ron Paul means anything to Libertarians, then the position of this article and other articles on evolution by Paul Benedict are genuinely Libertarian. For more information see the following link to Ron Paul’s views:

Ron Paul doesn’t accept evolution unedited.

By the way, Ron Paul is a Dr. of medicine. He certainly has more of a scientific background than many who love to pound these boards.

Update:

The distinction between a religion and a philosophy is the willingness to relate one’s convictions to observable evidence. Jefferson’s willingness to do this is demonstrated in his discussions of Dedirot and other Enlightenment pre-Darwinian naturalist philosophers. His willingness to do so is far greater than the willingness shown by many in the ‘scientific’ community today.

For instance, the latest analysis of human DNA indicates that our genetic information could not have come from Darwinian-styled ancestors or predecessors. Instead of recognizing, based on this evidence that Darwinian theories of evolution are impossible, that there may well be an Intelligent Designer; scientists are forced to publicly comply with a religion of materialistic or naturalistic causes that is “beyond discussion.” Modern ‘science’ has devolved into a cult of maniacs.

The Laffer Curve and the Flat Tax Paradox

A just nation prospers. Nations built on lies contend with just nations, just laws, and just men. The highest just tax on “the rich” is the flat tax because any law that treats any group or person arbitrarily is unjust. Statistics do show, however, that just laws work far better at taxing the “rich” than lies. How weird is that? Despite the seeming paradox, taxing each person a percentage of his total earnings results in top earners the paying more taxes than when they are unjustly targeted.

Studies of the four key eras in which tax rates on top earners were reduced are conclusive: lower rates for the top income earners increase the total revenue the top earners pay. Even more importantly, the same studies show that narrowing the difference in rates paid by all tax payers results in the top earners paying the lion’s share of the total tax. This paradox cannot be overlooked by those seeking social justice, for the inverse is also the case. The more the government targets the top income brackets the more of the total tax is paid by the poor.

The chart below shows two immense drop offs in rates paid by the top income earners:

What is implicit in the dramatic drop off in tax rates for “the rich” between 1925 and 1931 and between 1980 and 1989 is that the difference between the rates paid by all narrowed. In 1918 the top rate was 77% and the lowest rate was 6%. By the time the five tax cuts of the 1920’s we completed, the top rate was 25% and the lowest rate was 1% (“Fact Sheet on the History of the U.S. tax system” IRS). An untrained eye must conclude that, since the top rate was reduced far more than the lowest rates, the booming economy of the 1920’s was paid for by the poor. Likewise, Marxist demagogues can teach that, despite the fact that everyone’s taxes were reduced, the top earners were given a “pass.” Surely, a college graduate in macro-economics might conclude this was a trade off. The government revenues were increased by the economic boom, but the rich paid less of the total tax burden.

That assumption, however, as the following chart shows, is incorrect:

The truth of the matter is that the narrowing of the income tax rate differential between the rich and the poor resulted in an increase in the total aggregate taxes paid by the rich. Even more telling, while the total of the aggregate taxes paid by the rich increased 100%, the decrease in the rates of total tax paid by the poor was over 1,000%. These figures are especially important because the 1920’s experienced a deflation of about 1% a year (“Deflation Nation.” Newsweek). That means that those making under $5,000 a year were not inflated out of existence.

The other pronounced tax rate valley shown above, the Reagan era, began with a reduction of the top rate from 70% to 50% and a reduction of the lowest rates from 15% to 11% (Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981). This narrowing of the tax rates culminated with a reduction of the top rate from 50% to 28% and an increase in the lowest rates from 11% to 15% (Tax Reform Act of 1986). These incremental moves towards a flat tax rate did indeed increase growth and, thereby, the total revenue the federal government received from income taxes. However, this increased private sector vitality did not come because the top income earners were let off the hook. No, as the chart below show, the moves towards a flat tax rate increased the total amount of the federal income tax burden shouldered by the rich:

Some defenders of the Reagan era cuts, in a desperate plea for allowing the small businessman to have money to invest in the competitive economy of the future, have pointed to the increased standard deduction for the lowest income earners as both the reason for the rich paying more and as the model for future tax cuts. McKenzie, in What Went Right in the 1980s is quick to trumpet the fact that Reagan’s tax policy was egalitarian precisely because over his decade “… the average effective tax rate for the top 1 percent fell by 30 percent between 1980 and 1992, … by 35 percent for the top 20 percent of income earners, (and)… by 44 percent for the second-highest quintile, 46 percent for the middle quintile, 64 percent for the second-lowest quintile, and 263 percent for the bottom quintile (p. 277).” In the 1920’s the lowest rates fell by as much as five-hundred percent but the total income tax burden fell by over a thousand percent. The egalitarian methods of the Reagan era actually failed to reduce the burden on the poor as much as the simple narrowing of the margins that took place in the Roaring Twenties.

One of the Reagan compromises of the 1980’s, the use of an earned income tax credit, did indeed serve as a model for the Bush tax cuts of twenty-first century. Bush’s 2001 EGTRRA tax cuts actually increased the rate differences between the rich and the poor. They did so directly by reducing the lowest rates from 15% to 10% while reducing the highest rates from 39.6 to 35%. Meanwhile, the middle rates were reduced by as little as 2%. However, secondly, applying the Reagan model, tax credits and standard deductions were accelerated so that the lowest effective rates were actually much smaller than the stated 10%. This complicated attempt at “fairness” may have significantly reduced the growth rates of the economy. Certainly, however, the total income tax burden did not shift to the top earners as much as it should have. As the chart below demonstrates, the shift between top income earners and the lowest earners that actually paid taxes (the middle 20%) is very slight.

 

The negative percents in the second lowest 20 percent and in the lowest 20 percent are the results of “tax credits.” These “refunds” were actually Keynesian stimulus policies. Any tax refund, whether considered a Wal-Mart subsidy, a consumer stimulus, or a welfare payment compromise ought to be “paid for” in accordance with CBO scoring. Whatever these government rebates were, they were not tax cuts. These, like other Keynesian policies, actually have an effect opposite of what is intended. These tax stimulus packages did not forestall the mortgage crisis. They, perhaps, may have accelerated the disaster by providing down payments or savings account rationale for additional imprudent Fannie or Freddie loans.

The American economists of the Bush era had been training themselves in their political ideology since Reagan. They lay in wait for Bush to try his cuts, and the noise of the thunderous herd almost drowned out the moderate success of his policies. One of the weapons the Harvard Nobel Prize types came up with were models that showed who had the most after tax income. Yes, the top wage earners had the most take home pay after the tax rate decrease. This may well be because the middle tax rates were not properly flattened. A tax increase barrier separated the very rich from the very poor.

In every generation, the economy must be remade to be competitive and effective. This process does not require winners and loser, but it does require winners. If we will not allow the winners to become top wage earners, then, by definition the lowest wage earners will be all of us, and the poor will have to bare the lion’s share of the income tax burden.

The Laffer Curve is a paradox. Up to a certain point the more tax rates are reduced, the more tax revenues are raised. Beyond the prosperity that results from finding the correct tax rate, every era of tax reform in the twentieth century has shown that the top earners pay the most when the tax rates are closest to being flat. This flat tax paradox is as significant to governments that seek the prosperity of the private sector as it is to those who seek social justice. The recognition of this paradox is as essential to good governance as the recognition of supply and demand curves are to proper free market pricing.

Here comes the revolutionary free market theory: the best way to discover the optimal Laffer tax rate is with a flat tax, or a tax that is as nearly flat as can be dared. As with pricing goods in a free market, only tests give us certainty. When reducing prices fails to raise demand, prices may be raised. Likewise, when lower taxes on top income earners fails to produce more revenue, the optimal point on the Laffer Curve has been passed. However, to properly test the Laffer Curve, the flattest tax that can be designed should be used.

Certainly, the notions behind the Laffer Curve (that of risk, sweat equity, investment, and return on investment) are notions that apply to those who labor for more than essential needs. Food, housing, and transportation, at bare minimum levels, are largely inelastic demand curves. Laffer motivation will not apply there. However, without actual experimentation no one knows how far down into the middle class the Laffer Curve applies. How rapidly would those currently making $100,000 excel to $175,000 if their tax brackets didn’t change? How much more growth and prosperity would result from lower income brackets not being afraid to work, save and invest? This cannot be known without experiment.

As in the 1920’s, everyone should pay some tax. The top fifty percent, simply because they are the top fifty percent, should not be the only members of a free society paying income tax. The optimal Laffer Curve revenue line will be skewed by a continued practice of man-made egalitarianism. If economic history is to be believed, the flatter the tax the more egalitarian the outcome; targeting top earners actually ends up causing more of the tax burden to be paid by the lowest income earners. In other words, a lower tax rate on only the top 50% of tax payers may result in barely noticeable economic growth and barely noticeable increases in tax revenue. The application of the Laffer Curve in ways that increase the difference in income tax rates may, ultimately, result in mixed evidence that big government fanatics can use to discredit the Reagan-Kennedy revolution. If the Bush tax cuts did far less to stimulate the economy than did the Reagan-Kennedy cuts, it was because these cuts, in practice, moved away from a flatter tax, not towards it.

Tax Language for the Totalitarian State

  • An Employee’s FICA deduction: This is a payroll tax.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit: This is a tax cut. Because FICA is a payroll tax, even those that pay no federal taxes “deserve a refund” of their FICA.
  • Tax Cut: Like military spending and infrastructure spending, this is a federal expenditure also. Therefore, a tax cut must be “paid for.” Every year, the OMB fails in its duties by not calculating the federal expense involved in not levying a 100% tax on every man woman and child.
  • The Rich: Anyone who earns more than a household where both parents are teachers. Axiomatic: All the rich are involved in legalized criminality. They are purveyors of market extortion, wage slavery, or deliberate deception of consumers.
  • The Poor: These are the oppressed victims of the rich. These unwashed masses are often deceived by the malicious agents of capitalism into supporting fiscal conservatives. These people would unionize if they only understood what it meant to be poor.
  • Economic Stimulus: This is spending, preferably deficit spending. That’s why, no matter what the employment rates show, the Obama trillion dollar deficit spending package MUST have stimulated the economy. If it didn’t, it was only because we didn’t spend enough. Hence, the poor ought to receive all the tax cuts and the rich none.
  • Reaganomics: This was voodoo economics: the focus of all evil in the modern world.
  • Bush Era Tax Cuts: This is irresponsibility. These vicious tax cuts caused the oil price spikes of 2007, the real estate market collapse, and the ensuing meltdown of the global financial system.
  • Kennedy Tax Cuts: Kennedy only cut taxes because such cuts would result in Keynesian deficit spending. Deficit spending is always good. That is why Obama is the beloved one.
  • Coolidge-Harding Tax cuts: These NEVER happened. The 1920’s were evil. That’s all you need to know. There were gangsters and there were greedy people, and it all ended in the Great Depression. That is all you will EVER need to know.

As it is a serious rhetorical mistake to use the word “capitalism” when discussing the natural rights of a free people to prosper and to own property, so also it is a serious error to talk about tax policy and allow any of the above to be so defined. Here are the corrections:

  • An Employee’s FICA deductions: While it is true that the employer’s FICA contributions are taxes, the employee’s deductions are contributions to retirement insurance programs. No matter how likely it is that the federal government will renege on its legal obligation to repay with interest, the contributions made to these insurance plans, they are still, legally, employee contributions.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit: When this results in a net payment from the government to a citizen, this is a welfare payment. It may also be defined as disguised subsidy for businesses that provide insufficient wages for labor. This is a blatant redistribution of wealth. While, Reagan and others might argue that paying lower wage workers a small subsidy ultimately saves the genuine tax payers money that might be spend on unemployment, food stamps or other benefits to those that do no work at all, the Earned Income Tax Credit is NOT a tax cut. Hence, unlike any genuine tax cut, these federal distributions of other people’s wealth may be scored by the OMB.
  • Tax Cut: No tax cut is a federal expenditure. Money not taxed does not belong to the government. Hence, it cannot be spent. History is illustrative of the absurdity of trying to have an accounting scheme that accounts for what one does not have. Virtually every projection of revenue increase through increased taxes or of revenue loss for decreased taxes fail, and their failure are cascading ironies. Almost always, revenues, after tax increases, decrease. Revenues, after tax reductions, increase. Additionally, rates meant to target the rich tend to cause the poor to pay more of the overal tax burden. Likewise, evening the rates between the top bracket and the lower brackets tends to result in the rich paying more. It is like God is laughing at us.
  • The Rich:  While, this usually means the top wage-earners, “rich” has become a slur. All the “rich” are hateful, but, when asked, most folks consider those who are “rich” to be those who are only slightly wealthier than they are themselves. Who is to say who is really rich? The riches of abundance in an agricultural society may not involve a great need for the American dollar. Certainly, unless they’ve inherited a rent control penthouse, a family living in Manhattan making $250,000 per year is not rich. They are barely in the upper middle class. The use of “rich” instead of ‘top income earners’ is NOT to promote class warfare; it is used for the purpose of promoting the totalitarian ideal of egalitarianism. Anyone who has anything more than their neighbor is one of the deplorable “rich,” Heck, admit it, you know you yourself hate that fellow down the street. Yea, that one. Still, resist the temptation, for someone down the street hates you too.
  • The Poor: In terms of taxation, these are the lowest income earners. As it is impossible to know who among us are “rich,” except on a case by case basis, it is just as hard to know who the poor are. Why are some people indigent? Is a student working part-time, living in his parents’ house, driving his grandparents’ spare Prius, and being supported by a college grant one of the “poor”? Are there people who, even in a robust economy, would choose to work part-time while pursuing their passion for surfing? What of those who have sacrificed their considerable abilities to become the slaves of narcotics?
  • Economic Stimulus: Since every measurable increase in economic growth is, by definition, taxable, an economic stimulus is one that increases government revenue while decreasing government expenditure. This is called a tax cut. Actually, it is called enlightened tax policy. There is a place between no taxes and no government and totalitarianism where the maximum amount of revenue is collected. However, this number is affected by a number of other government policy vectors. Reducing government while reforming regulation, equality in tax rates, protection of the rights of property, prosecution of governmental corruption, transparency in laws and in government operation all form a nexus around correct tax policy.
  • The Kennedy Tax Cuts: While often defended by the totalitarian democrats of egalitarianism as an effort to employ Keynesian economics, these tax cuts served as a model taken up by Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan. They were so effective that the Democrats couldn’t stand them. They were ended within four years by Lyndon Johnson.
  • Reganomics: The tax cuts of the 1980’s that resulted in the top income earners paying more of the tax burden than the lowest income earners. These tax cuts doubled federal revenues, ended inflation, and spurred growth at twice the rates of Johnsons’ great society.
  • The Bush Era Tax Cuts: This series of three tax cuts ultimately came close to equaling reduction in rates provided in the Reagan era. The third of these tax cuts was the first failed stimulus package of the American twenty-first century. It relied too heavily on income redistribution policies of increased standardized deductions and tax credits for children. The “simulative” effects went, primarily, to Saudi Arabia. Although it is difficult to disaggregate the data, like the Reagan tax cuts, the first two rate cuts for the top wage earners resulted in the lowest income earners paying less in taxes.
  • Coleridge-Harding tax cuts: These are the purest tax cuts in the last one hundred years. Unlike the Reagan and Bush tax cuts, these were largely simple rate reductions. They did not involve income tax credits, or increased standard deductions. The resulting prosperity in America is still almost beyond description. If it had not been for the prosperity of this age, America may not have survived World War II. This information is NOT difficult to disaggregate. After evening the tax rates, the lowest income earners CLEARLY paid less in taxes than they had under the rates that had previously targeted the top income earners.

Is American Sovereignty on the Open Market?

Any American still able to employ common sense after living through the housing market collapse, the bank collapse, the rise of Obama, and, as the gratuitous final flatulent: the bank bail out; may forget it was the spike in oil that tumbled our financial house of cards. It was easy to forget the role of higher oil because the price dropped as quickly as the stage lights at the end of a Broadway show.

It is another thing to determine what or who caused this foul spike in oil. A vile signature begins to appear in the place of the most likely suspects, and, in the ink may be found forensic evidence about who hates the United States the most.

Here is a picture of that treacherous oil spike from the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis:

Although there were significant run ups in prices all through Bush’s second term, the economy continued to grow. The increases were certainly part of Bush’s growing lack of popularity, but the American economy, driven by real estate profits, continued on. It was as though some entity, frustrated at the inability to derail America’s consumer driven economic prowess, finally pulled out all the stops. The frustration, of course, was not necessary. If previous experience is any predictor of future patterns of behavior, it should have been plain that the downturn in real estate was already in the works. Because it takes about a year for higher oil prices to impact consumer spending on durable goods, including real estate, the result of the early 2007 price increases were probably about to knock down the American consumer in early to mid 2008, just in time to hand the election over to Bush’s opposition.

It’s possible that things simply got out of control. In the frantic run up to the 2008 election, agents and agencies of fantastic means from around the world, investors with great experience and clear risk recognition, must have been very passionate. The tremendous amounts of finances that had to be put at risk in order to bid oil futures out of sight are staggering. Where could all of all of this cash innocently entered the bidding war for oil? Qatar.

The Bush-Cheney war on terror was so successful that a strategy of “any administration that is not Republican” hillarywould have been rational enough for any American enemy that favored a Taliban administered, Aljazeera espoused, world view. Which of our enemies were rich enough? Which of our enemies thought America needed a soft-on-terror, anti-war administration? Perhaps something could be learned beyond Benghazi if America learns who Hilary Clinton was in contact with on her secret, private email accounts, email accounts she used in her role as Secretary of State for years. Perhaps a full background from the entire group of international donors to Hillary’s two billion dollar “charity” foundation would shed light on these answers. After all, Hillary Clinton, not President Obama was the odds on favorite to win the Democratic primary in the days of the oil spike sharp enough to flatten tires.

Headlines began to immediately illustrate the political advantage America’s enemies gained by investing so heavily in oil futures throughout 2007 and 2008. The Taliban takeover of north Pakistan happened in the first month of the Obama administration. Certainly, Al Qaeda of Pakistan didn’t take Obama’s threat of drone attacks very seriously. Likewise, foreign students of the American political process who would have taken action to assure a Democratic victory can not have been disappointed by the continuing trickle of previously classified CIA documents being posted on the World Wide Web. Not only were CIA enhanced interrogations curtailed in ways that offered Al Qaeda much greater operational security, but those who survived Guantanamo Bay have been released in droves as victors and propaganda stars in the Islamic world.

If there was a conspiracy to topple the global economy to secure a change in American policy, the conspirators were giddy at Obama administration’s willingness to expose the presence of nuclear weapons in Israel. This policy should not have been a special surprise to potential conspirators for it was telegraphed by Jimmy Carter six months before Obama was elected, right during the most spectacular section of the oil spike.

Conspiracy theories or not, a continually dripping American sore that any enemy can exploit at will: oil hillaryindependence is the pain that will not go away. American Sovereignty is at stake whenever the nation cannot pay its bills. Debt matters.

Oil independence must be first for economic and national self-defense. What a shock, The American congress just failed to override President Obama’s veto of the Keystone Pipeline …And whatever happened to ANWR?

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has recently predicted that America could well suffer a serious recession in the near future. Certainly, this could be based on an analysis of our national debt and our deteriorating manufacturing sector, but one might base it equally on a patter of geopolitical economic power. Forces in favor of “free trade,” energy monopolies, and transnational monetary policy might easily be tempted to, once again, exhale a little loudly in the direction of our American economic house of cards.

 

Kill the Filibuster or Congress is a Dead Letter Institution

The potential for a filibuster springs from the notion that any senator should be able speak as long as he wants on any issue. When a senator decides to abuse this liberty to block the people’s constitutional operations, his right to speak becomes a filibuster, an act of piracy from the Spanish filibustero.pirate

And piracy it is. This skull and crossbones have hung over our republic long enough. They weaken Congress so that the branch of our government with the power of the purse cannot control the nation’s debt.

The wanton pirating of open debate has become so bizarre that, recently, the surviving minority of Democratic senators used the filibuster to undermine congressional authority itself. By using the filibuster to thwart the Senate’s vote on legislation to override President Obama’s illegal use of Executive actions, Congress’s authority was utterly undermined. The people’s representatives in both houses of Congress have been completely silenced! Even if the House defunds the Department of Homeland Security, Obama’s executive actions remain in place. The only way for Congress to retake its authority is to end the push-button filibuster and put a bill on Obama’s desk.

There is nothing honorable about the filibuster. Emerging in the Old South as a bludgeon to slow racial equality, the “noble” history of the filibuster includes its metastasis into the current “push-button” filibuster. The “push-button” filibuster or “gentleman’s filibuster” can, in turn, be directly connected to the increase in the public debt. Beyond the legislative culture of selfish irresponsibility and arrogance common to both the deficit and the increased domination of the filibuster, the filibuster ties congress’ hands. Because of the Senate filibuster, congress can’t properly cut departments that the people know are failing. Even worse new legislation costs the taxpayers extra money in private, minority, pet projects that must be included in any bill passing through the Senate’s filibuster gauntlet. All of this increases the cost of getting anything done in congress at all.

Obama’s use of illegal executive orders, contrary to the will of the people, has completely ripped asunder the cloak of congressional authority and has demonstrated for the world to see that  the organ of the people’s voice, it’s elected representatives, has become, feeble, hollow, and docile.
rise-of-filibusterThe gentleman’s filibuster has been around since the U.S. Senate revised Rule 22 in 1975. From that time forward, no senator needed to speak for a filibuster to be in force. Today, one simply files a motion. Since 1975, then, a filibuster has no longer been a filibuster, an abuse of the constitutional liberty of free speech; instead, it has become simply an abuse of the constitution. Rule 22’s revision made it slightly easier to attain cloture and move legislation, but Rule 22 made it much, much easier to enact a filibuster. It is not surprising, then, that since the enactment of Rule 22, the number of filibusters has sky-rocketed.

The senate should be returned to the rules of filibuster made popular in the old black and white movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Because the push-button filibuster focuses final legislative authority in the hands of a small group of minority legislators, a larger number of votes must be “purchased” by the majority. These minority votes must vote against the will of their own constituents for the bill to pass. As a result they need bigger gifts to give their home states. Hence legislation is more expensive than it would be in a simple majority setting. Additionally, the last votes to break a filibuster are infamously expensive.otd-october-17-mr-smith-goes-to-washington-jpg

Consider the Obamacare debacle as an example of this rampant irresponsible lack of conscience. Liberal senators cashed in on their fellow liberal members. For instance, Senator Patrick Leahy’s vote took 250 million in legislative concessions; and Louisiana’s traded her Senate Seat for 100 million in concessions (some say 300 million); or Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, — 100 million; or Senator Ben Nelson (Mr. “to infinity and beyond” himself), –45 million; or the very independent Senator Sanders, (advancing communism in health care is not enough) — 10 billion in heath care centers. Nor does time allow us to speak of ex-Senators now lobbyists, of defense contracts and air bus bids, of nepotism and Caribbean resorts, of bankers, loans and bailouts. Even worse these are CBO numbers. Nelson’s deal sounds like it is worth far more than 45 million. The public option in the senate bill expands  Medicaid through Medicare’s destruction.

But consider this price tag! Some may call these bribes, others may call these deals the guts of the legislative “sausage,” others may say all of this is only wily negotiators seeking the best interest of their states, but, no matter what we call it, in one week of Obamacare legislation, the gentleman’s filibuster cost us, the tax payer over eleven billion dollars. It is not surprising then to note that the modern peace time rise in the ratio of the national debt to GDP directly parallels the increasing use of the push-button, gentleman’s filibuster.

The traditional filibuster rule, while also concentrating power with a small group of legislators, had the redeeming US_Federal_Debt_as_Percent_of_GDP_by_Senate_Majority_Party_(1940_to_2009)quality of requiring one to put one’s character and constitution behind one’s belief. A weak and venal person cannot long harangue an assembly of his peers. Besides, the drama of such a filibuster today would draw the press and make a spectacle of our public policies. This makes for a far more entertaining newscast and for a sword of daylight that cuts (or at least used to cut) against corruption.

Today, the push-button filibuster is rendering congress useless. The huge majority surge that swept the congress from the Democrats has been completely halted in the senate by the push-button filibuster. The House can refuse to fund the Department of Homeland Security, but that will not neutralize President Obama’s illegal executive actions. Perhaps it’s possible to save general legislative filibuster’s by the majority ruling that only filibuster’s of executive actions under judicial review are unconstitutional, but the truth is–who cares. End the monstrosity now. End it forever.

Harry Reid, in ending the push-button filibuster on judicial nominees has set the precedent. The vote on the filibuster rules, according to the courts, is itself filibuster proof — probably

If history has taught us that absolute power in the hands of single monarchs is a wretched evil, it now seems she is
obama_43liberally instructing her students that matters are even worse when such centralized authority falls on small numbers of men scrabbling for crumbs at the trough of the taxpayer. There seems to be a mathematical certainty that, in small packs, many will be weak, others spineless, and still others corrupt; that while virtue is the aspiration of man it is not his nature. Hence, the surest way to move the pack is to appeal to its vilest instincts. Even in better days it was the exception, not the rule, that an appeal to reason, virtue and the public good might win a legislative victory. Let the simple majority stand before the people with their drab excuses for their lack of performance. Let them no longer have the vail of the filibuster to hide their personal failures.