Showing posts with label Congress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Congress. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The shots heard round the United States

I awoke this morning to the news that Louisiana Representative Steven Scalise had been shot, along with two officers from his United States Capitol Police security detail and two other persons, while attending practice for an upcoming Congressional charity baseball game. 

I would like to say that I am shocked, but I am not. In fact, I am honestly surprised that it has taken as long as it has to happen. I actually broached on this topic in my first book: Perfect Pawn.

While the shooter is ultimately responsible for his actions this morning, I lay the blame directly at the feet of both the politicians and media for creating the environment that led up to this attack.  An examination of the shooter’s social media account highlights all of the inflammatory talking points which most of us have become immune to. I say most because obviously some folks, like the shooter, take the hyperbole to heart and it is exactly why I say that the politicians and media both bear complicity in this heinous act. To be fair, I draw no distinction along either party line or news outlet, as this has been building for decades.

Maybe I take these issues more seriously than most because I spent five years doing dignitary protection in New York City.  I worked closely with members of the Secret Service, State Department DSS and the aforementioned Capitol Police dealing with potential threats to protectees. You learn early on in that business that it doesn’t take much to push some folks over the line. Many times it is a personalized affront; where they feel that the subject of their hatred has wronged them in some way. However, the alarming trend that I am seeing now is that people are being told, by both the media and politicians, that they have been wronged.

We have always been a politically divided country. In fact, I previously wrote about this topic regarding the problem with political parties and one excerpt in this post was written five years ago, almost to the day. It explains how they are dividing us for their gain.

While it is true that there has always been politically motivated incivility in this country, the direction we have been heading, over the last two decades, has sadly been all too clear for some of us. The vilification, and outright demonization, of individuals, for political gain or ratings, has created the world we live in today. What is changing is the level of inflammatory rhetoric that is being used.

Over the past few months we have seen some folks in the entertainment world blasting the President. Mock assassinations, beheadings, as well as a host of verbal tirades that are meant solely to dehumanize him. Because once you have dehumanized a person you can do anything you want to him with impunity. If you need a case study in this type of behavior look no further than Nazi Germany and their treatment of the Jews.

Now, I will be the first one to say that no politician should be protected from the people’s disagreement. We have a right to air our opposition to anything we might disagree with. I am a gun owner and fully support the 2nd Amendment. I also served in law enforcement for over two decades so I do have a significant understanding about crime and safety in America. But I also understand that, while there are around 55 million gun owners in America, there are around 325 million people in the United States and many of them do not. What is within our control is how we discuss the issue. If you simply choose to yell at me with nothing more than regurgitated talking points in all likelihood I will just walk away. That doesn’t mean you have won anything, it just means that I value my time and breath.

Spend longer than five minutes on any social media platform or the comment section of any online news organization and you will see just how ‘uncivil’ we have become to one another: Libtard, Teabagger, Left-Wing Loon, Right-Wing Nut Job, and these are the nice things, most is simply unfit to print.  What is truly sad to me is that we simply cannot have a difference of opinion. Once someone says they don’t believe in something they are immediately labeled and castigated.

So what is the purpose of all this vitriol? Well, at the end of the day it basically comes down to two things: Power & Paychecks.

The media sows the seed of discontent because it drives ratings. They want viewers or readers and you attract them with bold rhetoric or headlines. It doesn’t have to be true, or even address the real issues; it just has to be salacious. Ratings and readerships equal bigger paychecks for those involved. Politicians want power, so they appeal to their base. They vilify the other side as being hardliners, when they are in the minority, so that you will re-elect them. If you re-elect enough of them they get the power, but they still vilify the other side as being obstructionists. They count on you being too confused to see that each is only one side of the same political coin. Why? Because they really don’t have the desire to fix anything nor to address the real problems we are facing.

As I sit here writing this I wonder to myself if this is even worth it? Will anyone stop and actually listen?

The problem is that no one really wants to think they have been duped. We want to think we are smarter than that, but we are like the parents who refuse to believe that their child was really at fault for something, even when the cops bring them home. We make excuses for the bad behavior as we seek to blame someone else like the teachers, cops or the amorphous system, whatever that might be. Because God forbid we should admit that a) we didn’t raise them right or b) that they truly are personally responsible for their bad behavior.

So should we be surprised when the media and politicians wring their hands and feign shock when something like this happens. Neither group will take responsibility, even though they have been fanning these flames for some time now. No, now the blame game begins and first up is: Guns!!

Almost immediately the anti-gun folks, like Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, seized the moment and began re-directing the narrative by attacking guns. As if the gun, and not the shooter, was responsible.

Never one to lose a political opportunity, McAuliffe twice said "we lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence." Not exactly sure where he resides, but the United States would be devoid of life within a business week with those numbers.  I think the number is actually 93, but even that is political math. If you're interested, read this post on Stat's & Gun Control.

McAuliffe then went on to say "there are too many guns on the street," but then added that the issue shouldn't be raised today, after he himself had raised the issue today.

Hypocrisy…………Shocking, I know.

Now my news feed is filled with politicians saying: ‘An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us’ and ‘I pray we can resolve our differences’……. That’s so refreshing and wholly disingenuous. What’s spurring on this sentiment is that it hit too close to home and they realize that if someone on the left target someone on the right that those roles could easily be reversed next time and that is downright terrifying to them. Prior to today it was all rhetoric, today it is reality. Welcome to the world you have created.

My fear is that we have crossed a line that we cannot undo. It’s like opening Pandora’s Box and then lamenting how we should have left it closed. Too late.

The first shot in anger is always the toughest, the second and third become much easier. I pray that won’t happen, but the odds are not good. What needs to be done is for the folks to step back and apologize for the daily doses of enmity that they have been dishing out. They need to apologize to the American people that they have been fanning the flames for their own gain, not for the people, but that would take personal responsibility and I don’t think they are mature enough for that.


I pray that this was a one-time event, but in my heart I truly believe this was just the opening salvo.

Kudo's to the men and women of law enforcement who prevented this from being a massacre, by doing what they do everyday: putting themselves in harm's way and protecting the innocent. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Did Hillary Clinton have Classified Information on her Server?

Earlier today, against my better judgement, I got into a social media argument.

I know, like I said it was against my better judgement and I should have just walked away, but I couldn't. Unfortunately it ended with comments like: "I guess i'm that stupid" and "count me stupid too."

Why does it seem that people enjoy making a flippant comment, but when you point out how they are wrong they immediately take things personally? I'm sorry that you are not plugged in to the issues and that you rely on a corrupt media for your talking points.

For the record, yes, Hillary Clinton did have classified information, Top Secret & Above, in her unsecured emails. Information that was so sensitive that even members of Congress were kept from seeing / hearing about it. In fact, Congress was given redacted documents and had to issue a subpoena. Don't believe me, listen to those in charge.

FBI Director James Comey



FBI Assistant Director Jason Herring




Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Charles McCullough


NSA / NGIA / ODNI Hearing



The problem is that we have become so entrenched in our political party system that we have abdicated our responsibilities as citizens. We have put party over ethics, morality and convictions. It's the reason we are in the place we are today and we have no one to blame but ourselves..... oh, and those pesky little talking points as well !! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November 1st – ACA Enrollment Day

I think I understand why they selected the day after Halloween as the enrollment day for Obamacare. After being visited by all the ghouls and goblins at your doorstep, you probably have a higher tolerance for scary shit. If not, you can always self-medicate with candy.

I wrote about this topic back in 2010 and again in 2013, during my angrier days, so my position has always been clear. I was very critical of it and said why in these two posts: Health Care Reform &  HCR: Why Do I Have A Problem With This, but I wasn’t alone on this topic. A lot of folks, including Dr. Barbara Bellar were also critical. Turns out, we weren’t wrong.

Now, I am one of the lucky ones, as I have coverage through my former employer, so this really doesn’t impact me. However, I thought I would share this comparison with you because it is pretty telling. I’m not going to get into the minutia, because that’s just stupid. Numbers speak for themselves.

From 2010 – 2015, I had BC / BS EPO. I had moved out of New York, so I needed a plan that would give me nationwide coverage. With this plan there were ZERO deductibles, just a co-pay. I went to whatever Dr. I wanted and any facility / hospital I wanted. The monthly price in the beginning was just under a $1k ($12,000 annually) a month. This covered EVERYONE in my family. In 2015 that monthly amount had gone up to just over $1,400 ($17,000 annually) and we were notified to expect an increase. Obviously I don’t have thousands of dollars to waste every year, so we switched back to our old insurance.

Now I pay only a few hundred, but the problem is that it is NYC based medical, everything is out of pocket and I have substantial deductibles. I guess if anything major happens it will be cheaper to fly back to NY to get it taken care of.

Today, just for a laugh, we decided to check out the awesome plans available to us through the ACA.

I would suggest that you grab that leftover bowl of candy and a drink, preferably a (strong) alcoholic one, as you continue to read.

Remember the plan I had back in 2010 – 2015. I assume, based on coverage, that it would be considered either a Gold or Platinum plan. That is important to remember.

After we entered ALL the pertinent information we were happily notified that we had several plans to select from. For the sake of this post, I’m going to stick with the cheapest plan (Bronze) and not bore you with the rest.

Long Story Short: For the incredibly low rate of only $1,800 a month ($21,600.00 annually), my family can enjoy the amazing benefits of medical insurance, which will all be covered, AFTER we meet our annual family deductible of only $14,000.00.

Seriously?

I have to get a job making over $35,000.00 a year just to pay for my medical insurance?

WTF?

I’m sorry, but you mean I could go back to my old (Gold / Platinum) plan, see who I want, when I want, with a minimal ($15.00) co-pay and pay thousands less than the Obamacare (Bronze) plan with a ZERO annual deductible……… ???

Are you people in D.C. smoking Crack ???

This is what you get kids, when your elected representatives don’t read something before they sign it into law. It is the reason that 70% of Americans want this repealed. You were lied to.


I can’t wait to see how they spin this one.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Donald Trump Uses Bad Words

Special Snowflake Trigger Alert - Bad Words Ahead

“Extra, Extra – Read All About It”

That’s the traditional call of the paper seller announcing breaking news. Back in the day it was usually a serious news story, like war or a major criminal incident, today it heralds the latest salacious bullshit that is being peddled to you by an ever growing partisan media. 

Really, It Sounds As Stupid As It Looks.......
Case in point, the latest ‘safe-space triggering’ comments by Donald Trump.

Many of you know about my deep-rooted loathing for coincidence.  So it should come as no shock that that this little nugget fell from the skies almost at the exact same time that WikiLeaks dumped another treasure trove of documents pertaining to Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Mind you, this release comes on the heels of the Guccifer 2.0 dump earlier in the week.

Can you guess which the main stream media sought to capitalize on?

Yes, apparently ‘grabbing pussy’ is much more news worthy than the Democratic nominees admission, behind closed doors, that her campaign is basically a lie. Well, at least as it pertains to the little people she is trying to court.

Wake up people.

Is what Trump said crude? Yes.

Was it inappropriate? Probably.

Is it earth-shattering? No.

Is it limited to men? Hell No!

Anyone who is talking about how ‘upset’ they are about what Donald Trump said eleven years ago is either a liar, a social justice warrior or a practicing Puritan.  For them I have nothing, but for the rest of the adult world: Grow Up.

Here’s a news flash, real people talk that way. Hell, I talk that way and so do you.

Have we forgotten that this was a private conversation? Have you never said things in a private conversation that were, how shall we say: risqué? If someone ever played a highlight reel of all the crude things I have ever said, stock in popcorn would jump 515% as folks gathered around the TV screen to watch.

And if you think it’s just men that speak this way, I have some news for you. Go to a male strip club one night. You’ll hear ‘church women’ say things that would make a Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer blush.

And where was the media’s moral indignation when Hillary said "Come on Bill, put your dick up! You can't fuck her here!"

I’m sorry, but this whole ‘I’m offended’ shit is a joke and is wearing really thin.  You know what I am really offended by? This whole wussification of America bullshit.

Donald Trump said something I don’t like…….’ Really, special snowflake, did anything offend you in Fifty Shades of Grey? Because that happy little BDSM romp, written by a woman mind you, sold like over eighty million copies, prompted a sequel along with a movie, and I’m pretty sure there was a lot more going on than ‘pussy grabbing.’

SHAMELESSS PLUG: As an author, I’d like to point out that my books also contain a bit of ‘adult reading’ as well……. You know, if you’re not so easily offended.

We also have to come to terms with an amazing double standard in this country. I have often lamented that the concepts of hypocrisy and irony are lost on the left. The same folks who slam Trump for saying mean things to women are the same ones championed Hillary for standing by her man when he went through the vast Right Wing conspiracy to undermine his presidency. The fact that he actual did the things he was accused of and that she mocked and ridiculed the victims is apparently inconsequential.

Damn It, Stop Objectifying Me !!!
Nor is the fact that many of her biggest supporters, you know, folks Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Kanye engage in behavior that glorifies what Donald Trump spoke about. I’m sorry, but I have a problem with being lectured on the issues facing this great Nation by a guy who started out his life by selling drugs on the streets of Brooklyn.  I would also like to point out the hypocrisy of being lectured on the objectification of women by a singer who engages in simulated sex acts during her show. Oh Hannah Montana, how far thou have fallen.


That’s the hypocrisy.

The truth is that the media is doing everything they can to shift your attention away from all the negative information surrounding who THEY have decided must win.

When you look at the facts, Hillary Clinton’s actions speak much louder than Donald Trump’s words ever could.

We have real issues facing this country, a lot of which Hillary Clinton has been involved in, yet no one is focusing on them and I have to wonder why. At the last debate, questions were raised about Donald Trump’s taxes and a comment he purportedly made about Miss Universe back in 1996, but not one question about illegal immigration, terrorism, or about the fire storm that is raging throughout the Middle East.

Seriously? This is allegedly what is passing for journalism in the twenty-first century?

Unfortunately, many of those issues could legitimately be laid at Mrs. Clinton’s door, so I can understand why no one wanted to go there.

The funny thing is that nothing Trump did on his taxes was any different then what the majority of tax payers do every year. The problem was the sum of the loss. HRC even used it to question how smart Trump was, having lost nearly a billion dollars. What she didn’t tell you was that the Clinton’s did the same thing on their taxes with a nearly three-quarters of a million dollar loss. She also doesn’t want to talk about the fact that her State Department still has six billion unaccounted for.

That’s the irony.

The latest release of documents is being slammed, not for their content, but because those vile Russians are allegedly behind it all. Think about that for a moment. Not what HRC and her closest aides have done, but what those bad hackers have done.

This sums it up best: ZERO accountability / ZERO responsibility – Focus the blame on someone else.
America is still struggling.

We are still facing desperate financial times and we have illegal immigrants, along with terrorists, streaming across our southern border. What does HRC have to say about that? Well, according to a speech she gave to a Brazilian bank in 2013, this is how she feels:

"My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere…. We have to resist, protectionism, other kinds of barriers to market access.”

The truth is that HRC does not care about you. You do not have the kind of money that she wants so you are only going to get lip service. It’s not about America’s bottom line, but hers.

Here’s the truth about her campaign slogan: Stronger Together. She only needs you to elect her so that she can continue the relationships she has built with Wall Street and the wealthy.  

But now, even the Republican sharks are circling the waters because of Donald Trump’s words……

What they don’t want you to know is that they, politicians on both sides of the aisle, have been collectively grabbing America’s pussy for decades and taking what they want. This fact seems to have become lost to us and I have to believe that is by design.


At the end of the day, Trump represents a threat to the political status quo and that scares the hell out of them. Like the democrats, they are part of the problem; the other side of the same coin if you will. I couldn’t care less if they pull their support for Donald Trump, but I hope that they understand I will be pulling my support for them. Just like Hillary Clinton they have only needed me when they want something, but they have to be threatened to do the right thing when it doesn’t benefit them.

November 8th will be historic. It will be a referendum on our political system. It will either be a vote to maintain the political status quo, which has brought us to this place we are in, or a vote to shake things up.


I know where my vote is going.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How the United States Congress Marginalizes Itself for Party Politics

Before my budding career as a mystery / thriller author, I spent twenty-two years in law enforcement, fifteen of those as an investigator with the NYPD, both as a detective and sergeant. 

Since my books tend to have an overt political tone to them, I tend to follow the current events of the day pretty closely, so you can imagine that I was glued to my TV set this morning when FBI Director James Comey appeared before the Congressional Oversight Committee to answer questions pertaining to the Hillary Clinton investigation, specifically whether information she provided to them during her voluntary interview showed that she lied to Congress in her testimony, which was under oath.

I will admit that I didn’t have much hope going into this. My prior post about Congress abdicating its Constitutional role shows just how bad things have gotten in Washington, but this morning’s testimony highlights the true extent.

Now, let me remind you that this hearing was about Hillary Clinton’s testimony before Congress and the subsequent testimony she gave during the investigation by the FBI. The reason for this was that when she testified before Congress it was under oath.

So after opening questions by the Committee Chairman, what does the ranking member, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi.) ask?

A question about the FBI interview with Hillary? Nope.

Anything to do with the subject of the current hearing? Nope.

No, Rep. Conyers thinks this is a good time to address police shootings and potential Russian connections for Donald Trump.

See, this is exactly why people have lost all faith in the political system.  Congress, a co-equal branch of government, has lost all credibility as it devolves deeper into the quagmire of political party cheerleading.

Rep. Conyers, the senior member of Congress, who has served since 1965, has abandoned his duties as the representative of the people and has put his party’s interests above the electorate. Let us be completely clear on this - There is certainly evidence that Hillary Clinton perjured herself before congress.

Consider the following:


I have heard a lot of people, who have never handled this type of material, make excuse after excuse about things they know nothing about: Classification markings, retroactive classification, whether there were markings, and I could go on forever. Understand one thing, Hillary Clinton, the woman President Obama called the most qualified person ever, was the Secretary of State. She knew, or should have known, whether the information she dealt with was classified. Ignorance of the law is not a defense and, repeat after me, you DO NOT need intent to commit the crime you only have to do it.

It was not CIA Director, General David Petraeus’, intent to jeopardize national security, but he was still charged with providing classified information. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor and accepted a plea deal of probation along with a $100,000.00 fine. Understand that Petraeus’ mistress, Paula Broadwell, was a journalist, a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army and an Intelligence Officer.  Broadwell had the security clearance to handle classified information, but was not given authority to remove the information “from authorized storage facilities” or store the classified information “in unauthorized locations,” according to the affidavit. Unfortunately for her, her case wasn’t as cut and dry as the General. She lost her security clearence, was demoted back to major, and is still in a state of limbo.

I’m sorry, but does anyone think that what happened with Hillary Clinton and her staff was in any way different? There were people with access to her emails that had NO security clearance.

Why was Hillary’s attorney and chief of staff Cheryl Mills, given immunity in order to obtain her laptop, when the same accommodation was not afforded Paula Broadwell?  Hell the FBI gave four other people immunity and no one was prosecuted. Obviously Petraeus and Broadwell didn’t know the right people.

In my twenty-two year law enforcement career I have never seen an investigation, by what we are told is the Nation’s preeminent investigatory agency, which was so flawed on so many levels. To be fair, I don’t blame the rank and file agents, but I do lay the blame at the foot of the Director and Attorney General Lynch, who I am sure issued the marching orders.  However, that is a topic for another day.

The key issue today is the travesty that passes itself off as the people’s representatives. I don’t care what party you belong to; just understand that your elected officials are not doing the job you elected them to do. 

This morning, Rep. John Conyers highlighted what is fundamentally wrong with our government. 

Understand that I draw no distinction to party, if you can cite an example where a Republican representative did the same thing I will agree with you 100%. Each of us must look beyond party politics; we must expect our representatives to seek the truth, not to protect a political ally. The letter after a name must never come before the truth. The Rule of Law must prevail, because when it does not then the Rule of Man does and when that happens this Republic is doomed. 

If you’d like to stay up to date on the newest releases, then please like my Facebook page and feel free to follow me on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When gov't agencies no longer respect the Constitution...

Many of you are aware that, in addition to being a retired NYPD sergeant, I am also a political junkie and this plays a big role in some of the books that I have written. 

This morning, I watched something that I found to be profoundly disturbing to me, as it should be to the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Congressional Oversight Committee Chairman, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, was questioning FBI Assistant Director Jason Herring, regarding the production and distribution of materials, relative to Congress’ investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. During the course of his appearance, Agent Herring stated: “Director Comey tried to be as transparent as he could with this committee.”



Stop for a moment and let that sink in: “tried to be as transparent as he could..”

Folks, that should send a chill through you. If it doesn’t, then the problem is greater than you could imagine.

How have we arrived to the point where an arm of the government, specifically a federally law enforcement agency, decides to become its own arbiter of what it will and will not provide to congress?

I cannot begin to warn you of the seriousness of this and the dire implications for our country going forward.

As many of you know, in the past I have railed against the ‘party’ system as I believe that this political arrangement is more of a detriment to us, driving a wedge of dissension between Americans. I believe that we have a solemn responsibility to elect principled leaders, as it is the only way our system works. But with each passing day I have come to realize that the majority of Americans do not have a clue as to exactly how this system of government works.

First, please understand that we do not live in a democracy. I keep hearing people say that and I cringe. There is a significant reason that the United States is not a democracy, best summed up by founding father and future president, James Madison:  

Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths …” – Federalist Papers, #10.

The truth is that democracy is actually the antithesis of our government. In a democracy the majority can decide to simply vote away things they don’t agree with, including your rights. Ever hear the argument about common sense? Well, in a democracy, the majority can take away any right by virtue of common sense….. you know, for the common good. Sadly, many do not consider the implications of this. You might be part of the in-crowd today, enjoying your moment in the sun, but remember that tomorrow the political winds can shift and you may very well find yourself looking down the barrel of the gun you helped create. We only have to look back 70 or so years at the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.

So the founding fathers took the extraordinary path of creating the world’s first constitutional republic. It established a constitution as the guiding principles, recognizing certain unalienable rights to the citizens of this nation, and created a framework of co-equal government that would insure these rights were not infringed upon.

The new government was founded upon three co-equal branches: Executive, a bicameral Legislative (House of Representatives and Senate) and Judicial. Without getting into the minutia, because you should already know this, each has its own separate powers and was thought to be the best system for insuring that one branch didn’t accumulate too much power and attempt to exceed its granted authority.

Got that? This system was designed to prevent one branch from gaining too much power.

Checks and balances is what it is called and a good example of this is that the legislative (Congress) has the power to create laws. The executive (President) can veto any legislation, an act which can be overridden by Congress, with sufficient votes. The President nominates judges to the nation's highest judicial authority (Supreme Court), but nominees must be approved by Congress. The judicial then has the power to invalidate, as ‘unconstitutional,’ any law passed. The Congress also has the power of the purse, the ability to tax and spend public money for the national government. So if the President does attempt an end-run to establish something the Congress does not approve of, he won’t have the funding to do so.

This works well, at least in theory.

When George Washington was first elected president in 1789 there were no political parties. This would soon change with the Federalist Party in 1791 and, in the following year, the formation of the Anti-Federalist Party or Democratic-Republicans. By his 2nd term, party lines and loyalty in the Nation’s capital were drawn to the point of bitterness and destruction. Personal and professional attacks became common and they represented a serious threat to the new republic. Washington was greatly concerned that the parties had sought to, and would again; seek more power for themselves, using it to exact political revenge on their opponents. Something he called the ‘alternate domination.’ When reading Washington’s Farewell Address, it does not take much to see just how remarkably prophetic his words were:

The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

Does any of this sound familiar?

Just as Washington predicted, two hundred plus years ago, we are seeing the elevation of man, and party, over the principled and faithful execution of law.

Party in-fighting, within the hallowed halls of Congress, has diminished that body to nothing more than a cheerleader for the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A fact eloquently outlined in the accompanying statement by Rep. Trey Gowdy. And the judicial is not very far behind, becoming more of an activist judiciary instead of one that uses the Constitution as their guide.

But in the case of Congress, rather than perform the role they were elected to do, by you, they are actually doing the will of the party. This has to resonate with the electorate. If not, then we are truly doomed.

Whatever your political affiliation is, the current investigation into, Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Clinton’s email servers has to be taken seriously. I spent most of my career conducting criminal investigations. Unlike politicians and pundits who try and couch their words, I can tell you unequivocally that crimes were committed. Whether a decision was made to not prosecute for those crimes is not the issue. Congress has, and should act upon, the authority to investigate this matter, but as we see in the video above, forces are at play to impede it. An agent of the executive branch, in this case the FBI, should not be allowed to decide what they will or will not share with the legislative branch tasked with oversight. That is chilling.

It is something that is even occurring within lower federal courts where agencies are refusing to turn over documents to the court.

How did we get to this place? What happened to the rule of law and not man? Will the foundation that is being laid now slowly trickle down to the rest of society? What will happen when society chooses to fail to comply with a court order? Will the judge wring his hands and bemoan his impotence to do anything? I don’t think so.

I truly believe that something has to change in this country.

The government of the United States represents the citizens or as Abraham Lincoln so eloquently put it: "Government of the people, by the people, for the people…” We are their bosses and yet somehow we have abdicated all control to the powers that be.

To be fair, they are not completely at fault. We, the people, have become co-equal cheerleaders. Lamenting when someone from the other side does something wrong, yet turning a blind eye when it is our person. We simply cannot have different rules for us and them.  

If this continues down the path it is going, we will not survive.

Congress has to stop ‘protecting’ people, because they belong to the same party, and start doing what their bosses, the people, elected them to do. For our part, we have to be honest with ourselves and understand that just because someone might have the same party affiliation as us, doesn’t mean they are the best person for the job.

Unlike the vast majority of folks reading this, I handled classified information at one time. Folks, this isn’t an insignificant issue and it certainly isn’t a political one. Understand that people have lost careers and have even gone to prison for far less than what Hillary Clinton did, yet we are being told: ‘nothing here, move along.’ If it were you or I, our lives would be ruined and our freedoms taken away. Don’t you have a problem with that? Why is it, that by virtue of her place, in some type of American political lineage, she is getting a free pass on something you or I would spend a long time in prison for? Doesn’t this bother you at a fundamental level?

Elections are about the accumulation of power, not for you or me, but for the party. It is the reason that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the two major party candidates for president in 2012, spent close to $1.12 billion, a number which, by all estimates, will probably be exceeded in this election cycle. All that money for a job that pays a paltry annual salary of $500,000.00, give or take. Let that sink in for a moment. At best, the next president, if they are in for two-terms (eight years), will have earned about 4-5 million dollars. Hillary and Bill Clinton brought in five times that total amount during one year of speaking engagements.

You still think this isn’t about power?

It is time that you and I stand up and demand that our representatives in Washington, D.C. start to do the job they were elected to do, instead of abdicating it in favor of those with power. If we don’t, then we have no one else to blame when the government comes crashing down on top of us.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Benghazi: Lies, Misdirection, Silence and the 2016 Presidential Race

I write books. They are mostly mystery / thrillers with a healthy dose of political intrigue thrown in for good measure. I get a lot of enjoyment in spinning a tangled web of lies and deceit, but lately it seems that my fiction is taking a back seat to real life.

In the latest installment of: ‘What did I do to piss you off this time?’ I think it is time we re-visit the whole ‘Benghazi Thing.’ I say this, because there are some people who still just don’t get it.

I read a post on Benghazi that went something like this: “I would love a debate about policy. Or we could say just vote democratic because of the thirty embassy attacks when Bush was president and the hundreds that died.”

<Squinting> Huh? Are You F’ing serious?


You see, this is the bullshit they do. They, as in the poorly uninformed, have learned it from the politicians and pundits. Don’t argue the actual point, just change the narrative. As if the attack on Benghazi was just another terror attack, or the lives lost were somehow the same as the ones killed
in other attacks.

Here is a newsflash: The Benghazi attack was a completely different animal because, when the attack occurred, the government failed them and then lied to us.

I read a CNN article the other day which said: “House Republicans capped a partisan, two-year investigation of the Benghazi terror attacks Tuesday with a report that faults the Obama administration for security lapses that led to the deaths of four Americans, but contains no revelations likely to further damage Hillary Clinton.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

No revelations likely to further damage Hillary Clinton?

As opposed to all the other stuff that has damaged her, but yet we somehow still want to believe she is capable of being President.

Fine, whatever, here’s another glass of Kool-Aid, drink up.

And why exactly was this ever partisan to begin with?

Investigations, especially ones dealing with a terror attack in which an Ambassador and CIA contractors are killed, should never be partisan, they should always be a search for the truth. What is sad to me is that a large group of people are making partisan political comments without knowing any of the facts. The majority of Americans have no clue about what happened at Benghazi, either before, during or after the attack. They have relied on carefully crafted talking points instead of actually researching it for themselves. I’d venture to say that almost no one has actually read the 800+ page report.

In a way, it’s kind of like that whole Affordable Care Act debacle.

In case you’d like to take a walk down memory lane, here’s a piece I wrote right after the attack when they were pushing the video and spontaneous demonstration theory. You remember that lie, don’t you? Consider that the first of many to come.

As I mentioned before, most American’s have no clue as to what they are talking about. They couldn’t even begin to tell you how long Libya has been an independent state; let alone what the state of the country was leading up to the attack. Fortunately for you, I have written a Libya / Benghazi primer course for you, to bring you up to speed.

Bear in mind that these posts tend to be a bit long, but that’s the key. They are not your cliché riddled talking points.

You know, I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard people say: “It wouldn’t have mattered if they sent troops; they wouldn’t have gotten there in time.”

Really? And exactly how did you, or they, know just how long the attack was going to last for?

I guess using that analogy, the next time you’re the victim of a violent crime, don’t bother calling the police because chances are they won’t get there in time either.
13 Hours: Paramount Pictures

Making a cavalier statement like that is fine, in hindsight retrospection, but I can tell you that in the middle of an attack no one knew how long it was going to last…… 13 HOURS is a long time to wait for help. If you feel the need to make a flippant comment on this topic, I highly recommend watching the movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, or read the book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,  by Mitchell Zuckoff, before you do.

The fact is that when word of the attacks reached the Embassy and the CIA Station in Tripoli, in less than an hour, they managed to assemble a response team and acquire an aircraft for transport. The team, dubbed Team Tripoli, consisted of four Tripoli Station GRS members, one of whom was Glen Doherty, two Defense Department special operators, and a CIA linguist. An hour after they got to the airport in Tripoli they were in Benghazi.

So much for not being able to get there in time.

Now, Hillary Clinton, the woman at the heart of the Benghazi attack, who is looking to be our next president, is telling the world that there is nothing more to see here and that we simply need to move on.

Really? Must be nice to be able to lie to the American people, including the families of those four dead Americas and then tell them to move on.

 Here is what we know:

The Ambassador, as well as the folks doing protection, requested additional manpower and resources which were routinely met with no response or were refused by senior officials in Washington.  I’m not talking 1-2 requests, but nearly 600 security requests / concerns from January through September 2012. While some were acted on, the majority, including the requests for additional manpower, were not. In fact, manpower was reduced leading up to the attack. Clearly there were issues going on!!

Say what you will, but when an Ambassador, the President’s personal representative to a foreign nation, requests additional security, that cannot be overlooked, nor should it be dismissed by underlings sitting in a cushy office in D.C.  When everything is said and done, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, dropped the ball. It was her agency and even the State Department ARB said security was ‘grossly inadequate.’  If you don’t believe that she was responsible, then you need to stop blaming Bush for everything because apparently the ‘buck’ really doesn’t stop anywhere in Washington.

The fact is that the State Department assessment of Benghazi in 2011 and 2012 noted rising crime and a high-risk of militia violence left by the toppling of Gaddafi. The precarious security situation was exacerbated by inadequate security at the Benghazi facility, which was plagued by equipment failures, a lack of manpower and relied too much on unreliable local militia for protection.  Ironically, one of those Washington State Department bureaucrats, Charlene Lamb, had the audacity to say: “It is very unfortunate and sad at this point that Ambassador Stevens was a victim, but that is where ultimate responsibility lies."

Wow, the State Department denied additional security, but it’s really the fault of that poor schmuck who died.  Oh, it should be noted that, while denying the requests for security, the State Department, through their spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, emailed Stevens to ask how to describe the security incidents in 2012

Really, Vickie?

I would like to imagine that Steven’s reply was something like: “They just attempted to assassinate the British Ambassador with an RPG. I guess you could say all’s well. Wish you were here, darling.”

One of the things that has always troubled me about this attack was our response or lack thereof.  On the night of the attack did the President issue Cross Border Authority? If you don’t know what CBA is, then click the link. The Congressional report now presents a distinct dilemma that no one seems to be considering or even talking about. 

According to the report, the military did not carry out then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's order to deploy U.S. forces to help rescue Americans under fire in Benghazi. If this is correct, and the President gave CBA, then we have an act of gross dereliction of duty on the part of senior members of the military. Or, as is most likely the case, we are not being told the full story, yet again.

I’m sorry, but I simply do not believe anything that comes out of the mouths of those inhabiting that cesspool known as Washington, D.C. As someone who has served under a chain of command, I know that there are consequences to failing to take action as directed by a superior, especially when four Americans die in a terror attack.

Consider the following and ask if you think this is plausible:

The President directs the Secretary of Defense to take action.

The Secretary of Defense notifies the Pentagon which in turns notifies the Commanding General of AFRICOM, General Carter Ham. 

By all accounts, General Ham immediately began directing / assembling units for deployment, a deployment that never occurred.

Shortly after the dust settled, General Ham announced he was retiring, for personal reasons, after only serving ½ of his scheduled rotation as head of AFRICOM and only a few years shy of mandatory retirement.  When announcing Ham's replacement, his X.O. at AFRICOM, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised Ham's service. A report from the department said leaders remain "fully confident" in Ham's performance. Even Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that Ham “has the full confidence of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” Little attributed the change to Ham's "decision to retire," which he described as "an entirely personal decision."

Now, Congressman Trey Gowdy, who led the Congressional investigation into the attacks, states that Carter Ham acknowledged that he altered President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's order to deploy to Benghazi to rescue American personnel, and redirected the deployment to Tripoli, Libya instead.

Wait, how does a commanding general, who acted in contradiction to the direction of the President and Secretary of Defense, still enjoy 'the full confidence of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?'

I’m sorry, but I call bullshit. That would fall under Article 92 UCMJ: Failure to Obey Order or Regulation and is a Courts Martial offense.

In October 2012, General Ham told Rep. Jason Chaffetz that after the 9-11 Benghazi terror attack he was never given the order to secure the consulate in Benghazi.

Wait, he was NEVER given the order? Yet we are also being told that he was ordered, but that he  redirected the troops, from where they were being requested, to a city over 400 miles away.

Add that to the fact that Leon Panetta testified that: “The President made clear that we ought to use all of the resources at our disposal to try to make sure we did everything possible to try to save lives there.” He further testified that within an hour of his return to the Pentagon, he issued an order to deploy the identified assets. “My orders were to deploy those forces, period.…It was very clear: They are to deploy.” Yet it took nearly two more hours before the Secretary’s orders were relayed to those forces and then several more hours before any of those forces moved.

But how does this even make sense, considering the statement in October 2012 by Panetta where he said: "The basic principle is that 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. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation."

So now the Secretary of Defense says they decided not to take action.

Not sure what he meant by not knowing what was going on, as I think it was pretty clear from the drone flying above, the calls from the Benghazi facility, and the reports at the CIA Annex as to what was going on.

If all of this seems confusing and convoluted to you, imagine how the folks on the ground felt.

Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto, one of the CIA contractors who went to the aid of the Benghazi facility, said “I asked for the Spectre and ISR [an armed Predator drone]. At midnight, they told us they were still working on getting us that Spectre gunship. Not that it was not available, but that they were still working on it.”

According to Paronto there were two AC-130H Spectre gunships on call that night, both within range of Benghazi. One of them was a six-hour flight away, co-located with a U.S. special operations team in Djibouti, and the other was at Naval Air Station Sigonella, in Sicily. In addition, the European Command (EUCOM), Commander’s In-Extremis Force, was on a counter-terrorism training mission in Croatia. A three-hour flight from Benghazi.

Paronto says that he knew people in that unit and when he spoke with them, after he and his security team got back to the CIA Annex from the diplomatic compound, he was told that “they were loading their gear into their aircraft and ready to go.” Later, they informed him that they had been shut down sometime after midnight.

All evidence now points to a specific stand-down order issued by Secretary Clinton, since the Libyan facilities came under her direct authority. Without a specific request for assistance from the State Department, the Pentagon was powerless to act.

Why do I say this?

Because, in 2015, the State Department released an email that was sent at 7:09 p.m. EST (1:09 a.m. Benghazi time) from Jeremy Bash, an aide to the Secretary of Defense, directly to Hillary Clinton’s office, informing them of the various military assets that were “spinning up” to deploy to Benghazi. Among those assets were Special Forces operation specialists (C-1/10), the In-Extremis Force Paronto talked about, stationed in Croatia, along with two U.S. Marine Corps Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons based in Rota, Spain, the Spectre gunships, armed Predator drones, and possibly elements of Marine Expeditionary Units in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

We know this is accurate because, in preparation for deploying the C-1/10 directly to Benghazi from Croatia, General Ham, issued orders transferring authority for C-1/10 to him from European Command (EUCOM). General Ham was actively beginning to stage units to rescue those in Benghazi.

The email further states, and this is VERY important: “Assuming Principals agree to deploy these elements, we will ask State to secure the approval from host nation. Please advise how you wish to convey that approval to us.”

To date, the State Department has not released any reply from Mrs. Clinton’s office to Bash’s email request. Why?

What we do know is that the top U.S. diplomat in Tripoli at the time, Gregory Hicks, testified that the State Department NEVER requested country clearance from Libya for any U.S. forces that night.

And whatever happened to the C-1/10 in Croatia?

When orders finally went out from Panetta’s office, an hour later, they included a re-transfer of C-1/10 from AFRICOM back to EUCOM, along with orders for the unit to deploy to Sigonella, Italy, the NEXT DAY, and hold in place

C-1/10, the Special Forces team that is actually trained to conduct hostage rescue and high-profile missions was activated to respond and then told to stand down.

Have you read that and let that really sink in?  Are you getting these flip-flops?

Are you seeing that there was never going to be a rescue?

So what exactly did the President authorize that night? Again I ask: was Cross Border Authority ever issued? But, like the former Secretary of State famously said: “What difference does it make?”

The presumptive democratic nominee,  along with the majority of democrats in Congress, are telling you to move along; that there is nothing to see. I don’t know about you, but the only thing I’m not seeing here are real answers, except from those who were on the ground in Benghazi, and those answers paint a sordid picture of lies, treachery, treason and deceit. Not exactly the qualifications I find particularly pleasing in a Presidential candidate.

We, as American’s, now have the government that we allowed. Our leaders no longer respect us nor do they believe they have to answer to us. That is sad and it is the primary reason we are in the state of division that we are. We have to wake up and take back our country one election at a time. We can have civil discourse and we might not always agree, but the time has come for us to educate ourselves and not rely on what we are being told.


The truth is that, from the very beginning, they lied to us about what happened in Benghazi. Now the question is how many more lies were told. To determine that it is up to us to research the facts and vote accordingly.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

2016 United States House of Representatives Gun Control Sit-In

The Democrats staged a congressional sit-in over failure to pass new gun legislation.


Seriously? This is what allegedly passes as 'adult' leadership in this country, a sit-in? What the hell are you, children? This is the idiotic thing we see kids do in high school?

Is there any wonder why the overall approval rating for Congress is abysmally low? 

See this for what it is folks, a political publicity stunt, and I am begging you not to fall for it. The fact is that they could not care less about you. It's like Charlie Rangel saying to a reporter how he (and his fellow lawmakers) deserves protection, but apparently you and your family; not so much. Have you ever stopped to wonder why places like the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and Federal Court House’s, are all gun-free zones, yet they surround them with armed protection, but our schools, which hold our most precious assets, are labeled as gun free zones and give no protection? How does that make any sense?

First, let's be clear that the measures put forth didn't pass because they were ill-conceived, knee-jerk reactions. It has gotten to the point in this country that our representatives don’t look to actually fix anything, they just want to slap a Band-Aid on it and ignore the real problems. Seriously, have you heard anyone call for actually fixing the highly problematic terrorist no-fly list?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

No, right from the beginning all you hear about are calls for re-instituting the ‘assault weapons ban’ and how these horrific weapons of war don’t belong in civilian hands, unless they are in the hands of those protecting the politicians.

In terms of the latest gun fix we have this pesky little thing called due process, which for some strange reason doesn’t seem to matter to certain elected officials who are charged with: (repeat after me) ‘Upholding the Constitution.’ I can only assume that they believe the laws only apply to us lowly rabble.

Now I know a lot of folks think our Constitution can be a tad bit difficult to deal with, or even understand, sometimes. Especially when it comes to that damned 2nd Amendment, but consider that the Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be ‘deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.’ The Fourteenth Amendment, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. Yet our vaunted representatives want to be able to toss you onto a list, without any evidence or due process, and let you fight with the government after-the-fact to get off said list. 

Did you know that the Orlando terrorist, Omar Mateen, was on not one, but two terror watch lists? He was subsequently removed from them in 2014, after twice being interviewed by the FBI, in 2013 and 2014, for potential terror ties.  In theory, for an individual to be included on the no-fly list or selectee list, additional evidence of his threat to aviation security and clear identifying information is needed above and beyond the standard of reasonable suspicion. I say in theory, because the list has included such notables as the late Senator Ted Kennedy, Congressmen John Lewis and Don Young, Journalist Stephen Hayes, not to mention a number of Federal Air Marshals. You know the guys who are supposed to keep us safe in the skies! Even poor David Nelson, or Ozzie & Harriet fame, was on the list and don’t even get me started on the young children who found themselves listed. One Canadian businessman went so far as to legally change his name, in order to avoid being delayed every time he flew.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the Constitution in this country for a very good reason. It arose out of a need to protect us from things that were actually happening to us when we were under British rule. Yet now, we are seeing our very own government begin to act in the same way.

Trust me people, we are heading down a very slippery slope here and we really need to proceed with extreme caution. There is a lot going on that doesn’t make the news, but should give you pause. It is also one of the topics which I am currently writing about in my latest book. I’m sure no one reading this would be okay if the feds just seized the property from your home, without any explanation or court order, and told you that it was up to you to prove your innocence.  Yet the minute it becomes about evil guns, a large swath of society seem okay with that very premise. Perhaps many of the younger generation need an overall refresher course on American History.

Despite what they will say, the problem is not a gun control issue. As someone who spent over two decades in law enforcement I can speak on this subject from actual real-world experience. The truth is that we have tons of gun laws, already on the books, that either not being prosecuted or are simply plea bargained down for a quick conviction. 

This is an 'individual' problem and they refuse to acknowledge or address it. It is the reason why murders in Chicago, a city with some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation, has had 313 killed so far this year, yet NO ONE will address this problem because they have no answer for it. Likewise, they have no answer for why other U.S. cities, with a comparable population, have relatively low crime numbers.

At every turn they have coddled, praised, and emboldened criminals and so-called activists, while calling the police brutal, racist and stupid. Guess what, I imagine things will get a lot worse in the country, but don't worry, your petulant elected leaders will all be fine, surrounded by armed officers to protect them while they 'sit-in'..... You? Well, I guess you're pretty much on your own.

Oh, and as for the ‘sit-in’ that the Democrats engaged in, you’ll be happy to note that there bold statement was used as a fundraising solicitation. That’s right; the Orlando terror attack was hijacked to raise funds for the party!

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent out an email, signed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, which read: "This is an historically important moment! John Lewis has been leading a sit-in on the House floor for 11 long hours now. We’re fighting to prevent gun violence. The Republicans refuse to lift a finger. It’s shameful. I need your help to defeat them once and for all." The email asks for 6,000 donations and provided several options to donate amounts between $1 and $250. It was at least the sixth such email from the DCCC, which also included several that were signed by sit-in leader, John Lewis.  

But hey, it really is about those evil guns……. So will that be MasterCard or Visa?

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