At long last the congressional investigation into the Benghazi massacre is over. Both parties have issued their reports.
First of all, we must remember that four brave Americans died. Finger pointing is far less important than seeing that this never happens again. The Republican report did have a number of recommendations.
Now for the finger pointing. There were three fundamental errors that occurred. First, the State Department bureaucracy turned down requests for greater security. The military failed to respond in a timely manner. Part of the blame goes to the State Department for insisting that the Libyan government needed to approve sending in troops. Finally, political appointees in the White House deliberately set out to deceive the American people. The real facts were available but ignored.
So what about Hillary Clinton? She played no role in any of these blunders but did go along with the false story for a while. Whether you vote for or against her, Benghazi should not be a factor to consider.
Too many people fill the internet with the minutia of their boring lives. I rarely write about my personal experiences unless I think they might help others.
I lost the love of my life last August. Even though I’m in my sixties, it was the first time I had lost someone really close to me. I had heard of the five stages of grieving leading to acceptance but that was about all I knew on the subject. My girlfriend had a number of health issues and then had cancer. Toward the end there were more and more problems. I honestly think I accepted her death the following day. I have learned a lot along the way.
It had seemed to me that grief was something people worked through and got past. Instead, it always stays with a person but they gradually adjust to it. Periodically there will be bouts of sadness but they will pass.
Some try to deny their feelings but that doesn’t work. Others wallow in their grief and that doesn’t work either. The secret is to maintain a healthy balance. It can really help to talk to someone in a similar situation.
There is no way that life can be as rich and fulfilling as before, but that’s not the point. We should strive to have as meaningful and happy life as possible. It helps me to know that that is what she wants for me.
Each person experiences grief in their own way. However, I hope my experience might be useful.
If a person wanted to use the title of a Shakespeare play to describe the Brexit vote, they would undoubtedly choose The Tempest. I think Much Ado About Nothing is a more accurate choice.
This is a reflection of the same phenomena that has brought Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders into the political limelight. Originally the idea was to form a common market but the vision evolved into a political union as well. Many resented being told what to do by a government in Brussels. When the current government fiercely fought against an exit, it became a battle against the Establishment. President Obama made matters worse when he treated the people like a small child threatened with punishment if they didn’t behave.
There will be a lot of changes as British regulations replace those of the EU. The big concern is over trade. There is a two year period to negotiate new trade rules. Britain is the world’s fifth largest economy. Roughly half its imports are from the EU. In many respects it is the financial leader of Europe. While there are some bruised egos, a trade war is in nobody’s interest. Eventually I expect to see cooler heads prevail.
The US stock market had a huge drop yesterday. Even companies that have no exports felt the loss. This is a real overreaction. Exports to Britain account for only 0.3% of our GDP. That is basically a rounding error. Despite Obama’s idiotic talk about punishing them, we will work out an agreement that is favorable to both countries.
This country has a number of serious challenges but this isn’t one of them.
People are obviously outraged about the massacre in Orlando. There is nothing most of us can do. However, those in Congress can pass legislation. Unfortunately, bills proposed in the heat of the moment can be seriously flawed.
Among the proposals flooding Congress is a ban on anyone on a government watch list, including the no fly list, from purchasing a weapon. We certainly want to keep guns away from terrorists but this bill has some real problems.
The no fly list only contains names. If a John Smith is added to the list, anyone named John Smith is on the list as are all Smiths whose first name begins with a J. The late Senator Ted Kennedy used to have lots of problems flying because a T. Kennedy was on the list. There are provisions to help travelers in this predicament but the gun law has no appeal. This means millions of ordinary Americans will not be able to purchase a firearm.
There is also the possibility of government mischief like we saw with the IRS. There is nothing to stop them from putting people on the list as an act of political retribution.
If we can find a way to keep people who pose a true threat from buying guns, I’m all for it. But let’s not pass bad legislation just because it makes us feel good.
There is a group of over three million people. A tiny sliver have dangerous beliefs. A few, far less than one hundred, are planning violent acts. Of course I am talking about Islamic Americans and would be terrorists.
It is extraordinary difficult to find a lone
wolf terrorist. Law enforcement must depend on people reporting suspicious behavior. It is very important that they have the cooperation of the Islamic community.
We are seeing two very different approaches toward that community. One side believed in political correctness. People should bend over backwards to avoid giving offense. Accusations of bias should be avoided at all costs. The other side takes an antagonistic attitude. Some have no problem taking away people's constitutional rights based on their religion.
Not only are both approaches wrong, they are dangerously wrong and increase the likelihood of future attacks. One thing Orlando, San Bernadino and Fort Hood have in common is that people
didn't act because they didn't want to to be seen as biased. Trump's approach
makes it less likely that future suspicious activity will be reported. It also gives ammunition to those who are recruiting potential terrorists.
Clinton and Trump are not only deeply flawed candidates but some of their ideas are also deeply flawed as well.
Sadly, Orlando has been added to the list of cities that have suffered a terrorist attack. The nation is grieving for victims of this horrific attack.
This should be a time of quiet reflection. Instead, politicians are using it to push their agenda. Democrats, including President Obama and Hillary Clinton, have renewed the call for more gun control. Unless they are proposing something that would have stopped the attack, they should keep quiet.
Trump and his ilk are renewing their call to deny people their constitutional rights because of their faith. I even heard one guy say we should lock up people if they say something inflammatory.
While comments from the Left are tasteless, comments on the Right are dangerous. It is extremely hard to catch these lone wolf terrorists. We need the cooperation of people with whom they come into contact. They will be less forthcoming if they feel under attack.
It's time for the politicians to quit taking advantage of tragic events.
Hard Choices is the title of Hillary Clinton’s memoir. That is very appropriate since the American electorate is facing a hard choice in November. There are certainly plenty of passionate Clinton and Trump supporters but many of us must choose the lesser of two evils.
So what do we do? Some will give up and stay home. That’s a copout. Our democracy asks very little of us so we should be willing to stand in line and cast a ballot. Some may vote for a third party candidate. There is zero chance of anyone getting a single electoral vote so that’s just throwing your vote away. We need to vote for the candidate we think will be the best president.
I had an early experience in making a hard choice. I first voted in 1972. I was pretty liberal and the incumbent senator was a hard-core conservative. A national columnist said he was the worst senator in the country. My father didn’t think much of him even though he was his county campaign chairman. Yet I voted for him because, believe it or not, the other guy was worse.
Please vote even if you have to hold your nose to do so.
Since I regularly skewer both parties, it should be no surprise that I am an Independent. That means I have to live with the presidential candidates each party picks. Needless to say, the current crop is a major disappointment. Neither of the guys that finished second is appealing. There is no way either a cranky old Socialist or a true believer that can’t get along with his own party should have been considered for the presidency.
Hillary Clinton is a very unappealing person but we are looking for a president not a date to the prom. She does have quite a bit of experience but with mixed results. She headed the ill-fated effort to reform health care. As a senator she voted for the Iraq War and against the surge. Our foreign policy under Obama has been a disaster but these days the President and their national security staff call the shots. I think she is getting a bad rap for Benghazi. The decision on security wouldn’t have reached her desk and there was little she could do after the attack started. She is too liberal for me but, as a moderate, any candidate will be to the right or left of me.
My most serious concern relates to ethics. The Clintons seem to believe that the rules don’t apply to them. I don’t like the idea of them running around the country grabbing every dollar they can. It seems like the Clinton Foundation is a giant slush fund in which many donations are tied to actions taken by the State Department. The email scandal is by far my biggest concern. She willingly jeopardized national security by putting classified information on her own server, had one account for public and private emails and has consistently told lie after lie.
Where to start with Trump? He has no experience in government. He is ruled by an ego that makes President Obama’s gargantuan ego small by comparison. He seems totally incapable of thinking before he speaks. There seems to be no end to his nastiness. I could go on and on. By far my biggest concern is him not being suited to a democracy. He has run his business like a potentate.
One of these two will be our next president. Let’s hope they only serve one term.
Few events that occurred in the 20th century will gain notice hundreds of years from now. One that will be remembered happened seventy-two years ago today. World War Two had been going on for almost five years. There had been headway in the Mediterranean but Hitler still had control of Europe.
Germany knew an attack was coming but not sure where or when. Pas de Calais seemed most likely since it was closest to England. Normandy seemed less likely since soldiers would have to cross a wide beach and climb a cliff while receiving withering gunfire. The Allies went to great lengths to fool the Germans. A totally fictitious army was created headed by Patton.
This would be by far the largest, most complicated battle in history. There were nearly 7,000 ships and landing craft and over 10,000 airplanes. The fate of Europe hung in the balance. If the attack failed, Hitler might have stayed in control for years.
Finally the day came. Dwight Eisenhower, the commander of the operation, had two statements prepared; one if successful, one if not. It was a bloody fight. Over 4,400 Allied soldiers died that day and there were an estimated 10,000 casualties. By the end of the day, they had achieved a foothold in France. The war was over within a year.
Relatively few soldiers are still alive today. We should take a moment to appreciate what they accomplished.
One again we have seen a riot break out at a Trump campaign event. This time it was in San Jose. Trump supporters were beaten or egged, police were attacked and an American flag burned. Rather than blaming the rioters, Mayor Sam Liccardo put the blame on Trump saying he must “take responsibility” for the riot.
It looks like the mayor and others like him want our democracy turned into a mobocracy. In a mobocracy, people’s freedom of speech is limited. If someone says something that the mob doesn’t like, then it’s OK to riot.
I understand that a person might get a punch in the nose if they make an obscene remark about someone’s mother or sister. But nobody should be able to take a remark made months ago as an excuse to commit crimes. These thugs should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
If these idiots had half a brain, they would realize that they are funneling votes to Trump. Any Democrat with a shred of common sense ought to speak out against the rioters.