IN THIS ISSUE:
1. GDP Report Better Than Expected… Really?
2. What Really Happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11
3. Why Were Requests For More Security Denied?
4. Obama Administration Blames It On a Video
5. General Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus
I’ve been taking a lot of flak from the Obama supporters in this audience over the past few weeks. Some are demanding that I stick to economic and investment issues and stop criticizing the president. Sorry liberals, but I have long maintained that who we elect to run the country has a big impact on the economy and therefore investment trends.
The good news for those of you who are backing Obama (and giving me grief) is that the election will be over next Tuesday night, barring something unusual, and I will have to accept the outcome even if President Obama is re-elected. Fortunately, the polls have moved in favor of Governor Romney in recent weeks, and I hope to be relieved on Election Night.
Today, I want to make sure that my clients and readers are clear about what happened in Benghazi, Libya on the night of September 11 when four brave Americans were murdered by al Qaeda militants. Ambassador Chris Stevens repeatedly requested additional support to protect our Embassy there, and his requests were denied – by someone.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media is not reporting much on this story, with the exception of Fox News and conservative commentators like Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and a few others. The American people, and especially my readers, deserve to know the truth before the election! We will dig into that today.
But first, let’s take a look at last Friday’s “advance” report on 3Q GDP.
GDP Report Better Than Expected… Really?
Last Friday’s advance estimate of 3Q Gross Domestic Product came in slightly better than the pre-report consensus of +1.9%. 3Q GDP rose at an annual rate of 2.0% according to the Commerce Department. Remember that this is the first of three estimates on 3Q GDP, and it will likely be revised in subsequent reports.
The modest increase in 3Q GDP, up from 1.3% in the 2Q, was primarily the result of higher consumer spending and a surge in federal government spending, most notably by the Defense Department. Consumer spending rose by 2% in the 3Q and accounted for most of the increase in 3Q GDP. Overall federal government spending jumped 9.6%, the Commerce Dept. said, compared with a 0.2% decline in the 2Q.
Had it not been for the big jump in defense spending, the 3Q GDP report would have been only around 1.3%, the same as in the 2Q. Unfortunately, most analysts believe that the jump in the 3Q was a one-time thing for this year. Worse yet, defense spending could be cut significantly next year if we go off the “fiscal cliff.”
Gross Domestic Product – the broadest measure of goods and services produced by the economy – has expanded for 13 consecutive quarters, but the pace, such as the 2Q’s 1.3% growth rate, has been lackluster. 2% growth in 3Q GDP is not enough to help bring down the unemployment rate.
Government spending contributed to growth for the first time in more than two years, led by outlays for defense. Many economists said the growth in federal spending was a temporary rebound from weak defense spending earlier in the year, noting that these outlays should decline again, especially if the fiscal cliff’s “sequestration” takes effect next year.
There were other trouble spots in Friday’s report, including a drop in exports, which contracted for the first time in more than three years, and weaker business spending. Many businesses are bracing for slower growth. That trend has been reinforced recently by disappointing earnings and profit warnings amid headwinds from overseas, along with growing concerns about the fiscal cliff.
Economists have been warning that consumers could dial back spending after the Nov. 6 presidential election, when the spotlight is likely to turn almost entirely to the fiscal cliff, unless the government acts to avoid it. Early estimates suggest that 4Q GDP could be closer to 1%.
So, while last Friday’s GDP report was hailed as “better than expected,” there was more disappointing news in the report than there was on the bright side. As usual, the mainstream media only touted that it was better than the pre-report consensus. What else is new?
Gary D. Halbert, ProFutures, Inc. and Halbert Wealth Management, Inc.
are not affiliated with nor do they endorse, sponsor or recommend the following product or service.
What Really Happened in Benghazi on September 11
It never ceases to amaze me how far the Obama administration will go to deceive the American people and protect its hold on power. The Benghazi cover-up is worse than Watergate – no one died in Watergate. Four Americans died in Benghazi including our Ambassador.
As we all know, the Obama administration blamed the massacre on a violent mob reaction to an anti-Muslim video produced in the US. They did not want to call it an act of terrorism, especially with the election looming. Yet soon thereafter we learned that there was no mob and the video played no role at all. Still, the Obama administration continued this lie for weeks.
At the conclusion of the memorial service at Andrews Air Force Base on September 14, and as the flag-draped coffins were being loaded into the hearses, Hillary Clinton told the father of former SEAL Tyrone Woods, “We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted, that did that video.” It is clear now that Hillary and Obama already knew the video played no role in the massacre. How disgusting and disrespectful!
Indeed, they did have the video maker arrested shortly thereafter. It might interest you to know that his bail hearing has been set for three days after the election, by which time he will have served his purpose. I predict that he will be exonerated of all (false) charges.
The president, the vice-president and Hillary continued to spout the video/protest story long after they knew it was false, and the mainstream media kept mostly silent as long as it could. Even as late as the VP debate on October 14, Biden continued to defend the video story saying the administration was going on “the best intelligence we had at the time.”
By then, it had been confirmed that there never had been any protest against the video in Libya, and that the Obama line that Benghazi had been a spontaneous riot that got out of hand as a result of the movie was utterly false! The only remaining question was whether the administration had knowingly lied or was merely innocently stupid. But it gets worse, much worse.
Last week Fox News obtained State Department e-mails revealing that shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern time on September 11, less than one hour after the assault in Benghazi began, the White House Situation Room knew the exact nature of it. An unmanned drone was circling the consulate in Benghazi and sending live video to Washington. It is now widely believed that the assault on the Consulate was streaming live in the White House Situation Room as it unfolded.
It is now all but certain that President Obama, VP Biden and others in the administration knew what was happening in Benghazi within an hour after the pre-planned terrorist attack began, which reportedly lasted 7-8 hours and left four Americans dead. The mainstream media also knew it shortly thereafter but failed to report the truth. But that should not have surprised anyone, as the mainstream media is in the tank for Obama.
Why Were Requests For More Security Denied?
We now know that Ambassador Stevens sent cables to Washington emphasizing his growing concerns that the violence in Benghazi was escalating to the point that he feared for the safety of American diplomats, including himself. In fact, he sent one such e-mail on the morning of September 11 – the day he would be murdered.
What, you didn’t hear about this? Unless you have followed the Fox News coverage in recent weeks, you would not have heard about this elsewhere on mainstream television. Fox news has produced a series of Special Reports documenting what really happened in Benghazi. But there is even more to be alarmed and angry about.
What little was left of our security forces in Benghazi was housed at the so-called Annex Building located about a mile from the US Embassy building there. When the terrorist attack on the Consulate began, our security forces at the Annex could hear the gunshots and mortar attacks on the Embassy. They repeatedly requested permission to move to the Consulate to try to save the Americans there. Those requests were denied more than once.
Denied by whom? We’ll come back to that shortly.
At one point, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty defied orders to stay put at the Annex and went to the Embassy a mile away. They fought against overwhelming odds, and were successful in saving numerous lives. Eventually, the night-long fight moved from the burned-out Embassy to the Annex building where Woods and Doherty died on the rooftop. No assistance ever arrived or was authorized.
The US had troops and equipment in southern Italy, less than two hours away. Why weren’t they deployed? We had support forces in Tripoli, Libya. Why weren’t they deployed until too late to save Americans’ lives? We may never know exactly why.
Obama Administration Blamed It On a Video
We also may never know why President Obama and his administration decided to concoct the story that there was a mass demonstration at the Embassy in Benghazi over a controversial anti-Muslim video. They had to know that subsequent video from the scene would prove that there was no demonstration at the Embassy on September 11. But they went with this story anyway – for over two weeks, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
We may also never know why requests by the people at the Annex who wanted to go to the Embassy to help save Americans were denied, or that other troops and equipment within reach were ordered not to deploy. This is such a travesty!
The only plausible explanation is that President Obama and his closest advisers felt that it was too big a risk to admit that a major terrorist attack that killed four Americans happened on his watch, just weeks before the presidential election.
But the facts are out there now, despite their repeated attempts to blame it on a video that was not even a factor in the terrorist attack in Benghazi. There was no mass demonstration at the Embassy. None at all. Now who’s to blame?
President Obama ordered a full-scale investigation into the events that occurred in Benghazi. What else is new? The president and his staff (Hillary included) continued to maintain that they did not know what really happened in Benghazi, despite mounting evidence that they had a live video feed from the scene in the White House within an hour or less after the attack began.
As the truth began to be known, the Obama administration had to look for somewhere else to lay the blame for not ordering any forces to come to the aid of the Embassy. They chose initially to blame the CIA. OOPS, not a good idea.
Four-Star General David Petraeus, Director of the CIA, and perhaps the most respected military man of our time, refused to let Obama “throw him under the bus,” and wasted no time in responding to the allegations that the CIA dropped the ball in defending our diplomats in Benghazi. Petraeus is above politics, but he was not about to let this president blame the CIA for what happened in Benghazi.
General Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus
The CIA released the following official statement late last week in response to Obama administration suggestions that the CIA ordered its operatives in the region to “stand down”:
“We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night—and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.” [Emphasis added.]
It is increasingly clear now that the order for the security forces at the Annex to stand down came from the White House. It has been reported that President Obama, Vice-President Biden and Defense Secretary Panetta were all meeting in the White House on September 11 when our Embassy in Benghazi was attacked. As noted above, it is believed that they had a live video feed from the scene within the first hour of the attack. If true, they knew exactly what was happening.
If these reports are accurate, the decision not to send help to our Embassy almost certainly came from President Obama. The question is, why? Some have speculated that the video feed from the drone circling the Embassy might not have been clear enough to tell the bad guys from the good guys. Maybe so, but the good guys were assumed to be holed-up inside in the so-called “safe house.” That’s what they are trained to do in case of an attack.
On Thursday of last week, Defense Secretary Panetta stated that the US military did not quickly intervene during the attack on the Consulate in Libya last month because military leaders did not have adequate intelligence information and felt they should not put American forces at risk. Specifically, he said:
“…you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place.”
At the end of the day, this all boils down to whether the White House had a live video feed of the events unfolding in the Benghazi attack. The evidence (for those willing to look) is overwhelming that Obama, Biden and Panetta were watching the events in Benghazi on September 11 in real time within the first hour of the 7-8 hour attack. If so, how could they not do something?
Even worse, someone issued two orders for the security forces at the Annex, only a mile away from the Consulate, to stand down and not go to the Embassy to render assistance against the terrorists. If the president was watching the live video feed, then I maintain that such orders could only have come from him.
Whether or not those security forces could have prevented the murders of four Americans, including Chris Stevens, our Ambassador to Libya, is unknown. The point is, they were ordered to stand down – twice. Four brave Americans are dead and our Embassy compound was ransacked and burned. We did nothing to stop it. That is all we need to know.
Finally, it would be much easier for Americans to accept the tragedy in Benghazi if the president, the vice president and Hillary had not purposely lied about what happened that fateful night. If they did nothing wrong, why did they have to lie about it? That is the question.
The Election Will Be Over a Week From Today
Thank goodness we only have a week to go before this bitter election will be over. Commentators on both sides of the political divide agree that this is one of the nastiest presidential campaigns in history. More money has been spent by both sides than ever before.
Governor Romney has pulled slightly ahead in most (not all) of the national polls. Rasmussen has Romney at +2 today, while Gallup has him at +5. The key “swing states” still in play as of today are Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and Wisconsin (and maybe even Pennsylvania) where Obama still has margin-of-error leads on average, but Romney continues to gain ground. Undecided voters are reportedly breaking 3-1 for Romney.
Most interesting is the fact that President Obama’s huge lead with women a few months ago has evaporated since the debates. The so-called “gender gap” is tied in most polls. This is a very bad sign for the president. It remains to be seen who will be the winner, but Team Obama is in big trouble with only a week left to go. I will explain why in my final “Election Special” blog tomorrow.
Be sure to get out and vote! It matters more in this election than ever before!!
Very best election season regards,
Gary D. Halbert
Benghazi Timeline (FactCheck.org)
CBS Busts Obama In Benghazi Cover-Up
Playing the Petraeus Card
Gallup: Romney Up 52-45 Among Early Voters
"Gary D. Halbert, ProFutures, Inc. and Halbert Wealth Management, Inc. are not affiliated with nor do they endorse, sponsor or recommend any product or service advertised herein, unless otherwise specifically noted."
Forecasts & Trends is published by ProFutures, Inc., and Gary D. Halbert is the editor of this publication. Information contained herein is taken from sources believed to be reliable, but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy. Opinions and recommendations herein generally reflect the judgment of Gary D. Halbert and may change at any time without written notice, and ProFutures assumes no duty to update you regarding any changes. Market opinions contained herein are intended as general observations and are not intended as specific investment advice. Any references to products offered by Halbert Wealth Management are not a solicitation for any investment. Such offer or solicitation can only be made by way of Halbert Wealth Management’s Form ADV Part II, complete disclosures regarding the product and otherwise in accordance with applicable securities laws. Readers are urged to check with their investment counselors and review all disclosures before making a decision to invest. This electronic newsletter does not constitute an offer of sales of any securities. Gary D. Halbert, ProFutures, Inc. and all affiliated companies, InvestorsInsight, their officers, directors and/or employees may or may not have investments in markets or programs mentioned herein. Securities trading is speculative and involves the potential loss of investment. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results.
10-30-2012 3:55 PM
Gary D. Halbert