The Ledes

Friday, December 19, 2014.

New York Times: "The Pakistani military said on Friday that it had killed 62 militants in clashes near the border with Afghanistan, stepping up operations against insurgents after the Pakistani Taliban carried out an attack at a school that left 148 students and staff members dead."

New York Times: "Mandy Rice-Davies, a nightclub dancer and model who achieved notoriety in 1963 in one of Britain’s most spectacular Cold War sex scandals, died on Thursday after a short battle with cancer, her publicist said on Friday. She was 70."

Denver Post: "James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people inside an Aurora movie theater two years ago, is 'a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,' his parents write in a letter that pleads for him to be spared from execution.'" The letter is here.

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, December 18, 2014.

New York Times: "The stock market began the week burdened by geopolitical worries, but by the close of trading on Thursday it had bounced back to achieve one of its biggest upswings in recent years. Soothing words from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, saying that it would be 'patient' on raising interest rates, drove the surge, analysts said. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index jumped 2.4 percent on Thursday, to 2,061.23 — its biggest one-day gain since January 2013. That came on the back of a 2 percent rise on Wednesday."

CNN: "U.S. airstrikes have killed two top-level and one mid-level ISIS leader, a senior U.S. military official tells CNN. Haji Mutazz was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's deputy in Iraq; Abd al Basit was his military emir in Iraq; and Radwan Talib was his Mosul emir. Their deaths resulted from multiple strikes going back to mid-November -- it has taken until now to determine conclusively they were killed."

AP: "Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year. The rates' historically low levels could be a boon to potential homebuyers. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.80 percent this week from 3.93 percent last week. It is now at its lowest level since May 2013."

New York Times: "A federal judge on Thursday refused to release Don E. Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, from prison as he continues to appeal a prosecution that Republicans say exposed pervasive corruption in state government but Democrats regard as a case pursued for political retribution."

Boston Globe: "Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stood in federal court in Boston this morning for a brief pretrial hearing, which was punctuated by an interruption in Russian and English from a woman in the gallery. Several journalists reported she exclaimed 'stop killing innocent people' in English as she was escorted out for yelling in Russian. The woman identified herself to reporters as a relative of Ibrahim Todashev: a friend of Dzhokhar’s brother who was killed by an FBI agent during an incident that arose from the investigation of a Waltham triple homicide."

AFP: "Two owners and 12 former employees of a US pharmacy were arrested Wednesday in connection with a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 people across the country, prosecutors said. Barry Cadden and Gregory Conigliaro owned the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which lost its license in 2012 after inspectors found it guilty of multiple sanitary violations. the pharmacy, located in the city of Framingham, Massachusetts in the US northeast, voluntarily shut down and recalled all products following the unprecedented outbreak of fungal meningitis."

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 19

1:30 pm ET: President Obama holds a press briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Sunday
May122013

Speaking Ill of the Dead

Maureen Dowd is right about this much:

... in this hottest of hot spots, the State Department’s minimum security requirements were not met, requests for more security were rejected, and contingency plans were not drawn up, despite the portentous date of 9/11 and cascading warnings from the C.I.A., which had more personnel in Benghazi than State did and vetted the feckless Libyan Praetorian Guard. When the Pentagon called an elite Special Forces team three hours into the attack, it was training in Croatia — decidedly not a hot spot.

Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Chris Stevens were rushing to make the flimsy Benghazi post permanent as a sign of good faith with Libyans, even as it sat ringed by enemies.

The hierarchies at State and Defense had a plodding response, failing to make any superhuman effort as the siege waxed and waned over eight hours.

This isn't new or newsy. In December,

an outside accountability review board has released its report on the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.... Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, chaired the outside accountability review board.... Overall, the report found that, 'Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies resulted in a security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.' ...

In a letter that accompanied the full report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it 'a clear-eyed look at serious, systemic challenges that we have already begun to fix.' She said she accepted all of the recommendations. The report didn't single out specific individuals, but three State Department officials ... resigned....

(The unclassified version of the report is here.)

Dowd goes on to theorize about the Benghazi talking points, and here too her suppositions may be partially right:

In the midst of a re-election campaign, Obama aides wanted to promote the mythology that the president who killed Osama was vanquishing terror. So they deemed it problematic to mention any possible Qaeda involvement in the Benghazi attack.

Looking ahead to 2016, Hillaryland needed to shore up the mythology that Clinton was a stellar secretary of state. Prepared talking points about the attack included mentions of Al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan militant group, but the State Department got those references struck.

But Dowd undercuts her own hypothesis when she reveals that the State Department staff who "got those references struck" was "Victoria Nuland, a former Cheney aide." Raise your hand if you think a former Cheney aide was totally into bolstering Hillary Clinton's presidential creds. No, I don't think Nuland was a Cheney mole determined to undermine Hillary's future political career. But Nuland's first inclination, having worked on the dark side, would certainly be toward more opacity, not less.

However, since we're looking for motivations, we should acknowledge that the talking points are a subject of discussion whose sole purpose is political. They were first an issue Fox and Friends raised to undermine President Obama's chance for re-election in 2012. Mitt Romney's debate meltdown put an end to that. (And thanks again, Candy Crowley.) So now, the National Republicans Congressional Committee and Karl Rove are moving on dot org to 2016:

Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg News explains, at least in part, why Darrell Issa, et al., have been so enamored of Susan Rice's talking points:

Unlike Whitewater, a convoluted, shady-sounding and quite possibly greasy real-estate investment deal, Benghazi consists of a discrete event, a brief aftermath and not much of a paper trail. After all, how much paper is produced in the course of a frantic night of violence in a faraway place?

So paper production is the first order of business. We will need lots and lots of documents citing multiple sources whose large and small discrepancies in memory, perspective and testimony can subsequently be magnified, scrutinized and exploded into controversies.

What's a scandal without a paper trail? A Congressional scandalmonger needs something to subpoena, preferably something that the executive branch can claim is privileged or too classified for the likes of Darrell Issa to view. Hooray! More wrangling with the administration. More facetime on Fox!

Forget all that. The real question goes back to the beginning: WTF was Ambassador Chris Stevens doing at an unsecured consulate in Benghazi -- "this hottest of hot spots" -- on September 11? It suits no one's political purpose to lay the blame where it belongs, so Stevens is portrayed, even in the Accountability Review Board (ARB) Report, as an heroic martyr to Libyan democracy and American values.

In fact, Chris Stevens was a hotdogger who put himself, his staff and his security personnel at undue risk. He is a tragic figure only in the classical sense: he was directly reponsible for his own death and -- the deaths of three others. The ARB obliquely acknowledges this: "Embassy Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security for Special Mission Benghazi" and describes the facility as having an "insufficient ... security platform." The Benghazi staff consisted of

relatively inexperienced American personnel often on temporary assignments of 40 days or less.... Plans for the Ambassador's trip [to Benghazi] provided for minimal close protection security support and were not shared thoroughly with the Embassy's country team, who were not fully aware of planned movements off compound. The Ambassador did not see a direct threat of an attack of this nature....

Notice how the report employs the passive voice and substitutes "Embassy Tripoli" for "Stevens." What the Board means is that Stevens put inexperienced temps in a dangerous facility with an "insufficient security platform," then popped off to join them (or whatever) without a proper security detail and without even telling staff where he was going and what he was doing because, you know, he just didn't think anybody in an unstable Muslim country would want to kill an American ambassador on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The evidence is that Chris Stevens saw himself as a modern-day Lawrence of Arabia, with "his knowledge of Arabic, his ability to move in all sectors of the population, and his wide circle of friends, particularly in Benghazi." Well, maybe not "all sectors" and maybe his circle of friends was not quite as wide as he imagined. As the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Stevens had a primary responsibility to protect Americans in Libya. But that responsibility conflicted with his dream of a horde of enthusiastic Libyans shouting, "Ste-VENS! Ste-VENS! Ste-VENS!" He put his personal ambitions before the safety of those in his charge. Stevens -- and other Americans -- are dead only because Stevens himself was woefully irresponsible.

The real scandal is the one that dare not speak its name.


P.S. Please feel free to use the Comments section to vehemently disagree with me.

Reader Comments (9)

Marie, I can't disagree, since from the first I reached the same basic conclusion. As Chief of Mission, Stevens had the best on-site information concerning the security situation in Benghazi, and he used his judgment to go there, then, with the protective detail he took. He got caught short on a bad night and died, with others.

Had he lived and others died that night, he would be squarely in the GOP/Fox sights. But we make heroes of our dead, and of those whose jugment is overcome by their optimism while engaged in national leadership. General Custer was surprised at the number of Sioux who came at him even though he had been told. Audacity and self-confidence had worked for him the past. He had a hard time imagining it would not work again.

In Stevens' defense: Foreign Service Officers expose themselves to danger every day. The long odds are that some will die. And when they do, the public finds it remarkable. Note that Ms. Smedinghoff's name and face were well-publicized after her tragic death in Afghanistan -- but her military colleagues who died from the same VBE were not. I suppose people expect soldiers to die for their country (i.e. are not surprised when they do) but still don't understand that civilians do, too.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

On this Mother's Day this mother and her husband are sitting side by side in their study both on their computers, both reading the real scandal that dare not speak its name. The husband who reads faster than his wife says, "Wow, Marie nails it!" and continues to read how exactly Marie has done that, but the wife says, shhhh, she wants to read it herself which she has and agrees that indeed Chris
Stevens, the darling of a small circle of Benghazi fans, evidently thought he was invincible thereby putting himself and others at risk. But for the Republicans who will grab at any straw even though slippery saw an opportunity to not only fault the administration, but Hillary–-their real target. And the nail that Marie hammers in is the simple fact that the dead ain't fodder for the fuckers, is it?

P.S. Victoria Nuland is married to Michael Kagan, the historian, whom if I remember correctly was touting the Iraq War and agreeing with Bush/Cheney on some issues.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Re: Woulda', coulda', shoulda' theory. Catastrophic failure in infrastructure is almost always chained. There is no one thing that goes wrong, two or three or more things fail at the same time or like a zipper one link fails, followed by another at increasing speeds until collapse.
I look at the Benghazi disaster in the same way. If any two of the conditions had been different would the outcome be the same?
Patrick mentions ol' "yellowhair" as a classic example of things going bad. "No, General; I didn't see an Indian for miles; well, maybe a few." "Let's go get those pesky redskins, home by dinner."
The three orphans nobody wants to claim the parentage of; Woulda'; Coulda'; and little sister, Shoulda'; that's the spawn of Benghazi.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

I’ve been thinking for the past number of days since Marie said that I was, “about as cold-hearted & self-absorbed as one can get” because of my opinion against gun registration.
I have a couple of observations, if you’re willing to post them, or read them.
A lifetime ago I hitchhiked around 50,000+ miles through the flyover states and Canada. I came to the conclusion by the introductory offer of generosity that my rides displayed in picking me up, that most people are decent and mean well. A lot of the people who picked me up hitching were politically a whole lot more conservative and Republican than I am. They weren’t bad people, they had political elements to themselves, which I discovered in talking with them, I totally disagreed with.
Upon thinking the last number of days, I’ve come to the conclusion that some people in the pro-gun registration groups are just like me: I won’t vote for anyone anti-choice for abortion rights and to me that is the same thing as someone who won’t vote for a politician who is against gun registration. Both of us have the same inflexibility toward one political position.
On the front page of RealityChex recently was an article from Atlantic Monthly, What Really Sank Gun Control: Distrust of Government . For me, in a nutshell that’s what it is. I don’t accept that my distrust of government means I’m cold hearted and self-absorbed.
More important than your opinion of me, is that as I grow older I don’t lock myself into a way of thinking and neglect new information. Otherwise, learning and developing are just words. One commenter on RealityChex wrote something to the effect that they wouldn’t want to know someone with a different opinion against gun registration. I do want to know people with different views than my own. One of the great blessings I’ve had in my life is to work all over the world with lots of different people who don’t think like I do on all subjects. I try to listen to people. Most people are decent and mean well. Muslims, former Soviets, Scandinavians, South Americans, Canadians, hell even Texans mean well most of the time. Your opinion about me, says something about you. Even if I don’t speak your language, I got your vibe. Whether it is air-conditioning, automobiles or cable teevee, we’ve created a world where you can throw shit and not deal with neighborly consequences of unneighborliness.
The London Review of books article about Niall Ferguson calling Keynes “gay”, referred to in RealityChex, got me thinking about where you all gun registration supporters can go from here. Huh, you say? That whole give and take written in the LRB just seemed like perfect talking points about the refutation of a twit with a scholastic pedigree. I happen to own the “The Life of John Maynard Keynes” by R.E. Harrod, I’m a long time fan of Keynes. I’m not a DNC guy; I’m a guy who works in an occupation twice as dangerous as mining. When you work in a small insular environment and have to ‘go along to get along’ the blather of your opinion becomes secondary to the needs of the group. When you spend your life in a blue collar occupation some of that ‘get ‘er done’ thinking is bound to drive you. The pro-registration folks need to go outside their group for talking points to sell their point of view. And they need separation from the political parties and their machinations. All of the blather of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA are talking points waiting to be exploited and developed and target marketed. Instead of that, you address my heart temperature and the status of my ego vis-à-vis the outside world.
One talking point in support of registration is the ratio of car accident deaths to gun deaths. I didn’t know how many people die every year from guns. Repeat that ratio or relationship. The statistic that “90% of Americans supports gun registration” doesn’t fly where I live. This is the Internet Age: tailor your remarks accordingly. Here’s a suggestion: under 18 year car drivers have many different driving restrictions they didn’t have years ago: why not not compare the lack of gun regulations with car driving ones? I’m one person here. Where are the political people who do this messaging stuff every day? Or is this another case that as long as it is a problem, the political parties can raise money from it?

When you shut off discussions with those with whom you share 85% of your political views, you neglect using the faculties of give and take to sustain civil society and you do both people a disservice by removing yourself from review or critique of dialogue. Also, you are ultimately less effective at progress because the 15% of disagreement consumes a becomes the focus. So with all the aforementioned as explanation, this is my response. And labeling someone who disagrees with you as “about as cold-hearted & self-absorbed as one can get” brings you not one iota closer to your desired political resolution.
I hope to continue to believe that “a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet” and I enjoy your website.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercitizen625

Marie this is a great clear-eyed logical view of the Benghazi situation. I hope you can find a wider audience for publication of an article on your thesis. I have been there with you in re: Stevens from day one. It should have been a gymnastic exercise in the 9.5 to 10 range to keep the subject away from Steven's role in his own demise as well as 3 other people. Instead it was all silent, all the time. I have commented on a few other sites and even sent an email to Rachel Maddow, shortly after the incident, urging her to explore Steven's role. Surprisingly, there was no one else commenting in this vein on other sites, as I have always felt the question was obvious.

As I indicated yesterday, the talking points obsession is completely irrelevant, not probative as the legal minds say. Speculation, in those 1st hours, which would name specific terrorists, is of no importance to anyone except those who have to find them. Benghazi is a tactic for a desperate pathetic, ignorant mob of mostly old white men who want to use it to disgrace and eliminate a whip smart black president. Not to embrace hyperbole, but its quite easy to see the constant vicious pursuit of this President as a contemporary metaphor for the doings of the Klan without the burning cross.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

As Patrick noted in his comment: "In Stevens' defense: Foreign Service Officers expose themselves to danger every day. The long odds are that some will die."

Yes, for sure that is true, and in certain countries that danger is obviously extremely high—that of Libya cannot be denied. Knowing this and going in to a country - especially after an uprising/turmoil - one would think that all precautions would be taken to assure that U.S. personnel would have proper security for their protection. It is stunning to view Google maps and see exactly where the American Consulate in Benghazi is/was located. It is absolutely and totally unfathomable that such a vulnerable site was selected.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Re: Oh, what the fuck; I was going to add a little bit to my previous comment by asking the question; If you have over a thousand offices the world over; many in extremely dangerous locations, and those offices are the targets of hatred; would you not think that incidents like Benghazi would be prepared for and expected and avoided at most cost? To place the responsibility on Clinton or Obama is to ignore the realities of government work.

BUT; instead I got dragged back in...I swore I would write no more about guns because I think all the words in the world can't describe or influence the true believers. I gotta write; damn to hell...
Cit625 you seem like a reasonable man; "I’m a guy who works in an occupation twice as dangerous as mining." Cool; I like dangerous jobs; wonder if he's a roofer, maybe lumberjack; junior high bus driver, crabbing in the Arctic; he's OK. and; he likes other points of view. So, 625; you're heartless because your individual rights trump the society's rights when it comes to guns. C' 625 I don't give a damn if you have an Abrams tank in your garage; But when it's stolen and used to flatten a Seven-eleven I want the cops to know where it was stolen from. If by having your guns and WMDs listed somewhere saves one crazy ass from shooting up a school and you claim invasion of privacy; I say; not heartless; but not attuned to the times. Again, I don't know of a plan to take your guns away except in the minds of the NRA but if the weight of the Federal Government landed on your lawn; even your Abrams tank won't save you. So who cares? You register your car, your dog, your boat, all the tools you buy, register your guns; so?
Self-absorbed because you don't see the over-all picture. I have often times wondered why responsible gun owners wouldn't want guns to be registered. Why not have unlicensed cars and car drivers on the road? Because it's dangerous, duh.
I'm a registered driver with a registered truck; I don't fear my government on this point. Guns are mystical in the minds of many like you; 625; I don't want your guns taken away; or your myths. But if you don't like being called out on your selfishness you need to explain how unregistered guns help in todays world for us all.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@Marie: I thought the same thing about Stevens from the get go. I saw the same "I'm invincible" attitude in Vietnam. I was guilty of it at times, too. If you escape unscathed many times, after awhile, you get the feeling "They can't get me. " Unfortunately, sooner or later, they will. Lucky for me that I left in time. I met a fellow in Germany who was trying to match Audie Murphy's medal count, They got him before he got the Medal of Honor--blew up his jeep with him in it. Not killed but too severely wounded to continue.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbarossa

@citizen625,
If I can get the gist of your lengthy post, its that you don't believe in gun registration because you don't trust the government. Exactly what government is it that you don't trust and what about it don't you trust? Government is nothing more than a collection of individuals doing jobs they've been hire, elected or appointed to do. Can you name me specifically which of these individuals you don't trust, and what that has to do with gun registration? Do you register your car? Do you get hunting licenses? Do you pay your taxes? These all require that we entrust our "government" with certain information. What is so special about your gun that exempts it? The fear that the government will take away your gun is an irrational one, which is a shame, because you sound like you could be a rational person. Except that you don't seem to care who gets killed with what guns. And if I'm wrong about that and you do care, than what is your suggestion to end gun violence. And please don't say more guns, because that is NOT a rational argument.

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercakers
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