The attack on the temporary outpost in Ben Ghazi occurred last September 11, claiming the lives of four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the Ambassador to Libya. The Republicans in Congress have been trying to use this to continue to obstruct President Barack Obama’s Second Term Agenda. They have also used Ben Ghazi to attack (then) Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton. Both Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have suggested that Secretary Clinton should not hold higher office, perhaps reflecting their own fears that she might be an unbeatable opponent in the Presidential Election, in 2016.
It is important to note that President Obama called on Congress to fully-fund his budget request, on Thursday, for Embassy Security, as noted in the linked article from the San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Obama-Congress-must-fully-fund-embassy-security-4522552.php. Republicans in Congress cut $300 Million, last year, from the Obama Administration’s request for $2.4 Billion for Diplomatic and Embassy Security. So, there might be plenty of blame to go around.
You might recall that there were a number of Congressional Hearings on Ben Ghazi last year; however, they might have wanted to just brush them off again now–to go along with the ones on the IRS investigation of “right”-wing super-pacs and the Justice Department subpoenaing the Associated Press phone records.
So far, Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Retired Admiral Mike Mullen, Co-Chairmen of the Accountability Review Board, testified that they did not interview Secretary Clinton in depth because decisions came from a much lower level. They will testify before Congress again. They did, however, blast the Administration and State Department for mismanagement.
General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Former CIA Chief, David Petreus, have all stated that that information about what the situation in Ben Ghazi was inadequate to send troops, and they questioned whether the requested F-16s were the right airplane. Namely, how do you assault your own base without knowing where the Americans are located?
It is important to consider that many State Department Facilities are also staffed by other Government Departments: Commerce; EPA; Treasury and, of course, the CIA, among others. And, each of these departments has its own chain-of-command, perhaps blurring viewpoints and communications. Ben Ghazi, in fact, is reported to be primarily a CIA outpost.
Surely, the effectiveness of management can be improved, adequate funding provided, especially for security, and the intermediaries in the respective chains-of-command need to work more closely together. At the same time, both Congress and the Administration could also work better together if they drop the politics and ideologies when they are doing the people’s business. I won’t hold my breath though.
NOTE: For Full Disclosure, there are rumors flying around the Internet that Gen. Carter Ham, Commander of the Africa Command, was relieved from his Command since he disobeyed direct orders not to send a military team, on a seven hour flight, to Ben Ghazi. The rationale for not deploying the troops was because the situation on the ground was unknown, especially the exact location of the Americans. Relief of Command is common in situations where direct orders were disobeyed.
Sometimes, when you run into a multi-faceted situation, it is better to separate the various components and analyze each one individually. That is called “chunking it down”. There is a considerable amount of noise, in both the print and broadcast media, about what might be currently called the “Presidency Under Siege”.
Republicans, pretty much across-the-spectrum–House, Senate, RNC and Pundits–have been castigating President Barack Obama over three issues: the attacks in Benghazi, Libya; the IRS questioning right-leaning 501(c)4 PACs and the Justice Department subpoenaing numerous records of the Associated Press. And, oddly enough, all of this just seemed to have cropped-up since last Friday.
The attacks on the temporary State Department outpost, which claimed the lives of four American lives, actually happened last September 11, and had been the subject of both House and Senate Hearings late last year. The IRS Inquiries and the Justice subpoenas were made public more recently; however, the time-frames (of occurrences), departments involved and the Laws, which might have been broken, if any, vary. So, that’s why it is best to separate them, in order to better understand them.
Unfortunately, as so often happens in Washington, the various issues are “discussed” in the media, with innuendo, vindictiveness and partisan politics, rather than face-to-face with some intent to find appropriate solutions. Recent Senate Hearings, regarding Benghazi attack, included the mention of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s name 32 times, and with both Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) stating that she should have no higher office. Opposing a potential 2016 opponent?
Among the Republican comments, I have heard: “Worst than Watergate”; “Worst than Teapot Dome” (early in the Harding Administration in 1923) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) asked “how many are going to jail?”. Also, as they have been doing from the beginning of Obama Administration, Republicans have been trying to lay all of the blame at the feet of the President. (Remember, the Government has 2.75 Million Civilian Employees.)
How do these issues compare to: lying about WMDs, during the George W. Bush Administration, to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq; the IRS auditing the NAACP during 2004, trying to withdraw it’s 501(c)3 Non-Profit Status for opposing the War in Iraq; and, let’s not forget the extremely questionable wiretaps on Americans in the U.S., also during the bush ’43 Administration.
I will discuss these several issues, in coming Blog Posts by, thus, chunking them down for better understanding.
Yesterday, Angelina Jolie wrote a truly outstanding–and brave–Op-Ed in the NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/opinion/my-medical-choice.html?pagewanted=print. Generally, I scoff at most of what goes on in Hollywood. But, this column was a most articulate description of the step-by-step process that she went through in having a double mastectomy. Also, it was reported today that Ms. Jolie will be having her ovaries removed, assumedly in the near future. She had very high-risk for both cancers!
Ms. Jolie wrote that she went public with this news in the hope that other Women might become aware of the risk that they could be carrying around in their bodies. Equally, I would like to praise her Partner, Brad Pitt, who took an active role, and has been supportive, throughout the three-month process. That’s where I want to emphasize the importance of men to be pro-active, and supportive, in encouraging the Women in your Life (Wife, Daughter; Mom; Sister, etc.) to get screened, discuss the potential of a Family history and have further tests, if required. Men, you can get breast cancer too!
In the article, Angelina Jolie notes that the test for BRCA1 and BRCA2 can be expensive. The first place to start, in getting screened, is with your primary care provider, and your health insurance company, for coverage. If the cost is a concern, there are low-cost medical clinics or Planned Parenthood offices, which provide health care for low-incom Women, in many areas. And, check the Internet for options, too.
Another source of comfort might be from a series of columns written over the past year, or so, by Andrea Torres, an Editor for The Miami Herald. Ms. Torres had breast cancer, underwent removal and, hopefully, will find complete remission. She has written about her journey throughout the process. Her last column is linked, as follows: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/06/3383302/thank-you-to-those-whove-lifted.html
Last December, an Indian Couple were attacked on a bus while returning from a movie theater, in New Delhi. The Woman was gang-raped, impaled on a metal bar, dragged off the bus and left to die in the street. The Young Man was beaten and also thrown off the bus; however, he survived. He has been assisting the Police in the Investigation of his friend’s murder. All six alleged rapists have been arrested and charged with murder.
In India, rapes–either by family members or strangers–are quite common and often go unreported, because the Police don’t appear to take them seriously. The viciousness in this incident, however, has resulted in numerous rallies, especially by Women who are speaking out–demanding Justice and more Security for Women.
In response, some young Women have designed various gadgets, mostly clothing, which might stop the assaults and even send an electronic alarm to the Police. The linked article from Blog NDTV is as follows: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/students-come-up-with-anti-rape-gadgets-innovative-clothing-357307?ndtv_rhs.
NDTV is one of the most-watched TV News Networks in India.
I’ve been a fan of College Football since the 1950’s; however, perhaps it is getting out of hand. The linked article from the Dallas Morning News, http://collegesportsblog.dallasnews.com/2013/05/texas-joins-alabama-lsu-among-those-to-offer-8th-grade-rb-dylan-moses.html/, reports that the University of Texas “Longhorns” has offered a Football Scholarship to Dylan Moses. But, that’s for the Class entering in 2017. Texas is just one of the colleges to offer the Scholarship, along with: Alabama; LSU; Mississippi; Florida; Florida State; UCLA and Nebraska. But, who is Dylan Moses?
Mr. Moses is an eight-grade linebacker, in Baton Rouge, La. At 6’1”, 215 pounds, he will probably continue growing for awhile. From the response that he made to a reporter regarding all the excitement, he appears to have his head screwed-on properly. He said: “I try not to think about it,” he told AL.com this spring. “I have the same thing like Nick Saban says, 24-hour rule. I have excitement for 24 hours and then we move on to the next goal.”
By a copy of this Blog Post, I’m suggesting that my Daughter fatten-up Henry, who was born this past February. Perhaps Indiana University can recruit him, for Basketball, after he finishes Kindergarten.
I remember knock-knock jokes, such as: how many (choose an ethnic group) does it take to screw-in a light bulb, etc. Crazes such as college students stuffing themselves into phone booths, etc. (Now, even Superman can’t find a phone booth.) So, I believe that it’s only fitting to start a contest (a craze?) about Banker Jokes. Frankly, they deserve it, after all they have put the Country–and the World–through over the past several years? We surely all need a good laugh. Beats crying.
I thought of this while reading Sunday’s Non-Sequitur comic strip, http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2013/05/05. You might remember that, in October of 2008, the U.S. Treasury pumped free money into the major banks, the “Too Big to Fails” (TBTFs) and, of course, each one said they didn’t need it, so as not to appear weak.
The Federal Reserve has been providing virtually free-loans to the Banks ever since. In the Marketplace, since they were perceived as having an implicit Government Guarantee, they gained lots and lots of Market Share. But, the problem all along has always been that that are Just Too Big–and should be broken-up. So, how did the TBTFs show their gratitude? Remember the Bonuses with Taxpayer Money?
Just look at two articles in today’s newspapers, about JPMorgan Chase, our Country’s largest bank. Simon Johnson’s (MIT Professor of Entrepreneurship, and former Chief Economist at the IMF) discusses the Bank’s lack of Corporate Governance, in his regular column in the NY Times, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-problem-with-corporate-governance-at-jpmorgan-chase/?ref=business&pagewanted=print.
Also, in today’s Washington Post, an article reports that the State of California is suing the same bank for using illegal tactics to collect debts from credit card customers, http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/calif-sues-jpmorgan-chase-over-collection-practices-targeting-100000-credit-card-holders/2013/05/09/676d6572-b8ed-11e2-b568-6917f6ac6d9d_print.html. Now, the other three major banks (Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo) have all had their problems with: trading discrepancies; fraudulent mortgage origination and foreclosure procedures;r obosignings; excessive credit card fee; Deposit Advances (which Wells Fargo has admitted are loans and have nothing to do with deposits), etc. JPMorgan Chase just seems to have had more than it’s share of bad press.
So brush the dust off your creative juices. Just send your jokes in by making a Comment.
Recently, the news has been loaded with Heavy Issues: the Boston Marathon Bombings; Jody Arias’ Murder Trial in Arizona; three kidnapped girls rescued in Cleveland; more Congressional Noise about Benghazi and, of course, Governor Chris Christie’s (R-NJ) wieght-reduction surgery. So, I thought that, just for a change-of-pace, I’d link the Ccreationist “Science” Quiz, from Slate: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/05/09/creationism_in_school_science_quiz_gets_it_totally_wrong.html.
Creationism is a Conservative Religious effort to convert Nature to what is in the Bible. It teaches such “Facts” as: the Earth was created in six days; it’s just several years old; the Dinosaurs lived in the time of Man and courses in Sex Education are just wrong. So what if none of that “Science” can be substantiated. It’s no wonder that some of the areas that are the biggest advocates of this “Theory” have some of the highest Teenage Pregnancy Rates.