Beyond the Cusp

June 3, 2013

What Good Will Result from all these Investigations?

The one thing we can all agree is that we sure have sufficient scandals, deceptions, and lies coming from various agencies in the Administration as well as from Cabinet Secretaries. The list includes Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting conservative and pro-Israel organizations, FBI spying on media outlets and reporters, and the combined force of the Justice Department and the FBI charging a Fox reporter with treason in order to subpoena his and his parents’ emails and phone records. The good or bad news, depending on your political leanings, is that these investigations will result in partisan posturing and sniping but nothing more. There might be Impeachment charges but no conviction is possible. The only real positive is that as long as these investigations continue the Congress will be kept sufficiently busy thus having the side effect of preventing their proposing new legislations or doing other damages to our society. The main drawback is the news will be full of self-righteous politicians from both parties giving their slant on the hearings ad-nauseum. Both sides will accuse the other of blowing things out of proportion or obstructing the investigations. One side will claim the other side is exaggerating the seriousness and claim everything is old news and no longer of any real importance while the other side will talk in solemn tones attempting to portray everything in dire terms full of foreboding. Of all the questions and suspicions from all these presumably end of the world ending scandals there is only one I really wish to demand an answer for. That question is with who did the stand-down orders for the numerous units who were ready, and in two cases were boarding aircraft to transit to Benghazi, even while the firefight was still ongoing and our people were still screaming for backup informing whoever was monitoring that they had laser-painted the targets that threatened them. The person or people responsible for leaving our people out to die in Benghazi are even more reprehensible than those who were responsible for arranging for the security of the Consulate and other facilities, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. Both sets of people should be held criminally responsible and face charges and if they are in the military they deserve a General Court Martial.


In the meantime, these hearings which have the total attention and taking up the time of the Congress will very possibly allow President Obama to take actions in Syria that have the potential to lead to a wider conflict. The visit by Senator McCain to the Rebels inside Syria as well as in Turkey was very similar to the lead up to the imposition of the No-Fly Zone being imposed over Libya. As we might remember, that No-Fly Zone escalated well beyond simply preventing Gadhafi from using his airpower and included bombing of his assets on the ground starting initially with targeting armor and eventually attacking the bases, especially those around the government headquarters in the Libyan Capital City of Tripoli. There were even reports of troops on the ground in Libya though most reports limited these to being British Special Forces. Taking such steps in Syria against Bashir al-Assad carries with them the potential for serious escalations as a response. There have been warnings from the Russians as well as the Iranians, both who have threatened severe consequences should the United States or NATO interfere in the Civil War ongoing in Syria. Whether Congress would take note of such an intervention being prepared with so much of their attentions focused so completely on the investigations leaves some doubts. Such an oversight could prove to be disastrous should President Obama choose to intervene in Syria. The fact that there are all these investigations being held by the Congress, the President might believe that by joining a European sponsored intervention in Syria where he could again claim to be leading from behind, that such a move would divert the attentions of the press and the people from the scandals. Such a move would be similar to the “Wag the Dog” scenario that many accused President George W. Bush of employing when he invaded Iraq. The major difference is that when President Bush invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein there were no threats from Russia or Iran such as President Obama has been given should he interfere in Syria. Where it is unlikely that Russia would respond using direct military force, they would very likely supply al-Assad with the S-300 antiaircraft missile systems earlier than currently scheduled. The S-300 missile system should not be taken lightly as it is one of the preeminent antiaircraft systems in the world today. Iran, on the other hand, would be very likely to take actual military steps in responding to any United States or European intervention in Syria. Such actions that Iran might take would include options of attacking United States assets remaining in Iraq, the United States fleet in the Persian Gulf, missile attacks on Israel, and terrorist attacks on American, European and Israeli targets worldwide. Any of these responses could easily result in a broader conflict which then might spiral completely out of control and ending who knows where. The Middle East currently resembles the driest tinderbox of recent memory and is just waiting for the right spark which would result in an all-encompassing conflagration. That is a threat which would be best untested.


Beyond the Cusp


May 16, 2013

The Turning of President Obama

I will admit right up front that President Obama would never likely be my first choice for President or any other elected office. On the other hand, the candidates put up against him by the Republican Party did not offer much of an alternative leaving no real different choice in the past two elections. When President Obama won election and took the oath of office for his first term I hoped that he would at least minimally fulfill some of my hopes and not necessarily make some of the changes I most feared. I have attempted to satisfy myself by believing it could have been far worse. The passage of Obama’s healthcare reforms has instilled in me a trepidation which goes very deep. The biggest trouble I perceived was the fact that the main enforcement agency for the Affordable Health Care Act is the Internal Revenue Service. This little fact makes it appear that the healthcare bill will be more aligned as a revenue enhancement system which by default supplies healthcare while its primary mission is to collect funds. The evidence implies that the government will take whatever measures possible to minimize the costs of healthcare even if the cost saving measures result in denial of care as the general rule for any costly measures such as surgeries, experimental procedures, highly priced new drugs, extended physical therapies, and other costly procedures. But at least we did not see such items in legislation such as a carbon tax and some of the socialist causes which are counter to a free market economy that candidate Obama claimed he would enact.


I do not pretend to understand why it almost always seems to be that Presidents become entangled in conspiracies or other legally questionable events soon after beginning their second term. Such has definitely struck President Obama with the first scandal began during the final leg of the campaign and election cycle in which President Obama still managed to be reelected. The scandal concerned the events around the murder by a terrorist attack of our Libyan Ambassador Scott Stevens and three support personnel in Benghazi. As if this was not causing sufficient problems for the Obama Administration officials, now there are another pair of predicaments that have struck the Administration with the IRS conducting politically motivated audits and special treatment of applicants for tax-free classifications and the Justice Department snooping into Associated Press phone records and tapping their reporter’s phones in order to uncover the identities of any whistleblowers. Each of these tribulations would be sufficient to trouble a President sufficiently to add a dozen years to his appearance and President Obama has definitely begun to show the signs of stress of a man under siege. He even joked about such affects during 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner when he said, “I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.”


While Benghazi is about more than just President Obama, he is still the leader and must be held to answer for the actions or lack of actions for those within his Administration. From what has transpired resulting from the catastrophic events of that fateful day of September 11, 2012, President Obama has appeared to have dodged much of the blame until these other two items hit the news cycle. The entire Benghazi troubles had appeared to begin to wind down and might have passed into the darkness of history after very short hearings held last week but for some reason it appears to be resurrecting itself back into the mix. The apparent tie in has been the lack of personal involvement by the President in these disparate scandals which gives the appearance that either President Obama is not truly in control of his subordinates or is simply uninterested in performing the requirements of his position and has relegated the running of the country to others while he simply reads his teleprompter and otherwise enjoys the privileges of the office. Such suspicions make for a serious problem for the President as if he now takes complete and total ownership of these issues he will face possibly serious charges and if he allows his actions to be interpreted as his being disengaged and uninvolved he risks being seen to be complacent and diminished. The other possible difficulty which could come out of the disaster in Benghazi is what might follow if Benghazi ends up being tied to Syria and the movement of weapons and manpower from Libya into Syria as some of the rebels in Syria are aligned with the same organizations as rebels forces which fought in Libya, namely al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Such assistance to some of the rebel forces in Syria would also serve the desired results sought by Turkey and Prime Minister Erdogan, a close Obama friend and ally.


The common element connecting the Internal Revenue Service scandal with the Associated Press phone tapping and records outrage is the evidence of an Administration out of control taking vindictive retribution against all opponents and utilizing every possible office and force that government can bring to bear. This is exactly the manner of overreach and abuse of political and governmental power which most angers a plurality if not an outright majority of American voters. In addition there are all the untruths, obfuscations, invasions of privacy, exchanging sensitive information, illegal use of confidential information, and any denials or cover-ups that will be the eventual downfall if anything develops and has lasting effects. The obvious targeting and investigating of conservative political groups, small government organizations, anti-tax political action groups and Pro-Israel Jewish groups on the grounds of potential support for terrorism because terror groups exist all around Israel are blatant politically motivated witch-hunts which go way beyond the cusp and into the valley of underhanded deceits and dirty tricks. President Nixon was charged with similar activities leading to his impeachment hearings, especially those currently being committed by the Internal Revenue Service at the presumed behest of the Obama Administration. If nothing else, all of these potential investigations which some may even birth other areas to investigate will have one extremely positive result, Congress will have something to fill their days and thus might just be sufficient to keep them from inventing more problems for which they will then proceed to solve by causing even more problems.


The particular items which are most likely to have the strongest legs and persist both in the congress and the media will be the phone scandal of the Justice Department snooping through the Associated Press phone records to discover the names of whistle-blowers and the excess of requirements and information gathering demanded by the Internal Revenue Service of any groups deemed problematic by the Obama Administration. I would be remiss if I did not admit that the entire debacle of Benghazi being relegated to trail off like echoes bouncing off the canyon walls until they fade beneath the winds is not an insult to the senses and patriotism of every red-blooded American as well as to the dignity and efforts put forth by our Ambassador and those who gave all in an attempt to protect him and defend the honor of the United States. There are a number of questions which I very much desire to have answered. I would like to know whether any of the Commanders of the various assets available even considered breaking orders and coming to the aid of our people under siege in Benghazi. I would have hoped that we had one Commander somewhere in theater who would act as did the Naval Commander of the Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge, Cmdr. Frank Castellano, who took action on Sunday April 12, 2009, when he determined the situation was dire and waiting for the requested clearance from the White House might come too late to save the hostages from Somali Pirates and took actions necessary and successfully rescued everyone. Beyond this I so dearly demand that the person who was responsible for the stand-down order to be identified and brought up on charges for dereliction of duty. Whoever gave such a heinous and odious order deserves the most extreme punishment which can be brought under whatever code of law is applicable be it the UCMJ or civil laws. The originator of the order which left at least two of our bravest stand against unbelievable odds where they, through miraculous personal efforts, withstood an onslaught of a combination of small arms, rocket propelled grenades, and mortar fire brought down on their defensive position by over one-hundred-fifty terrorist forces carrying out an organized assault. To allow such a cowardly act to go unpunished would serve for all time as an insult to our fighting forces who given even the most remote possibility of success would grab any opportunity to save their countrymen no matter the extremes of the odds or direness of the situation. That is the kind of operation which many of our most elite forces train long, hard and mercilessly so as to be prepared in any situation when the order comes down. Unfortunately, they feel cheated in such an instance as Benghazi where their unequalled abilities are not even given the chance to prove that to our military personnel there is no such thing as impossible, only that which will take a little while longer.


Beyond the Cusp


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