Republicans Bury 7th Benghazi Investigation Results Because It Debunks Their Arguments, Just Like the Other Six

One of the tried-and-true tactics that both political parties use to bury news they don’t really want getting to the public is the release of information late in the day before the weekend starts.  This catches the public when their attention on political matters is waning for the week and doesn’t allow for the information to be debated in the usual news cycle like it normally would. 

Last Friday was no different when the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, headed by Republicans, released its findings on the 7th investigation into the attacks on Benghazi, Libya, late in the afternoon.  And the reason they released it then: it debunks most of their common arguments about the attacks, particularly their attacks on the Obama administration.

So, since they buried it on Friday, it’s worth bringing attention back to it on Monday.  Here’s a summary of the main highlights.  The quotes are directly taken from the report.

  • There was not an intelligence failure.  Specifically, the Intelligence Community “did not have specific, tactical warning of the September 11 attacks”.
  • All U.S. personnel involved did their jobs correctly and no stand down order was ever given.  “Appropriate U.S. personnel made reasonable tactical decisions that night, and the Committee found no evidence that there was either a stand down order or a denial of available air support”.
  • Al Qaeda was involved but not the only persons/groups committing the attacks. (Remember, there were two different attacks at two different sites.)
  • Susan Rice didn’t lie and, therein, neither did the administration about the protest.  Period.  “The CIA only changed its initial assessment about a protest on September 24, 2012, when closed caption television footage became available on September 18, 2012 (two days after Ambassador Susan Rice spoke), and after the FBI began publishing its interviews with U.S. officials on the ground on September 22, 2012”.

Why Ferguson Shooting is Officer Darren Wilson’s Fault

Re-posting this since nothing has changed this reality, including all of the variously disputed autopsy results.  Officer Wilson performed his job poorly and, as the decision now looms very close, should be justifiably punished for his actions.

As the situation in Ferguson continues to unfold, one aspect of the shooting should be examined profusely: the initial action of Officer Darren Wilson.

The only witness to the initial contact outside of Wilson is Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, so this is a bit of a he-said-he-said.  But, as has been widely reported, according to Johnson the first words between both parties were Wilson’s and they allegedly were, “Get the f— on the sidewalk.”  This may seem insignificant, but it most certainly is not.

We have to remember that police officers are supposed to be “peace” officers.  In order to keep peace in every civil situation, a peace officer must deescalate the atmosphere, such as keeping angry combatants away from each other and calming them down to a level where talk can ensue.  If Wilson did use those exact words when first contacting the two young men, he failed to do his job and actually escalated a calm situation.  If anyone wants to dispute that, fine.  Just show me where it says in any law enforcement training manual to start out every calm situation with a profanity while clearly disrespecting a person.

In fact, we could even say there is a bit of racism in Wilson’s profiling of the men, which is easy to prove.  If the person walking in the street had been an old white woman, would Wilson have used the same words and tone in the initial contact?  How about a white man in an expensive suit?  In defense of Wilson, let’s have all the old white women and rich white men step forward and tell their stories of how Wilson cursed at them when fracturing an incredibly minor law that was hurting no one.

That would be the sound of crickets you are hearing right now.

Simply put, if Wilson would have treated a different person with some actual respect, then his words and initial action should be heavily questioned.  I’m not saying Wilson stopped because he is racist.  I’m just saying his attitude certainly suggests there was a tinge of it present.

And I know what the reaction to this will be: you are not a police officer so you don’t know what it is like dealing with people, particularly criminals, on a regular basis.  Maybe so, but I do know a definitive way to make situations worse: treating people horribly from the first contact, which is what happened.  And if a police officer has lost the ability to do this, maybe it’s time for another profession.

All said, it’s Wilson’s fault this situation delved into a dead body in the street.  Despite the clear attempts at demonizing Michael Brown, Wilson failed to do his job appropriately and that is why we are where we are now.  Wilson deserves to be put on trial, just like anyone else would be in a similar situation if they were not wearing a badge.

Just Like in 2012, Progressive Ideas Win Big on Election Day

Photo: Tim Pierce

After President Obama won reelection in 2012, I pointed out how progressive ideas did really well when put to the vote by the public on ballot measures.  While the Republican party is celebrating their non-surprising gains in the legislative branch, progressive ideas absolutely dominated on the ballot, even in red states.

Taking a look at the 13 initiatives highlighted by CNN, 12 have been decided as of this writing.  In only one case did the progressive side lose and even that was not a majority loss (58% approved medical marijuana in Florida, 60% was needed).  CNN’s list did not include other victories for progressive thought, such as the legalization of marijuana in D.C. or the lopsided defeat of the North Dakota anti-choice measure.  Whether it was marijuana, minimum wage laws, birth control or most other issues, the left won.

The fact is, progressive thought is winning and winning big everywhere in the country, even in the alleged “red states”.  But the Republican wins would suggest a different story.  How to explain this?

The reasons are many but I’m reminded here of something Bill Maher recently asked of Senator Elizabeth Warren: “Why aren’t there more people who talk like you in the Democratic Party?”

Again, there are a lot of factors at play here but there is little doubt Democrats have been (and many still are) terrible at pointing out what is a progressive position and what is a conservative one on so many issues.  And when they fail to do that it not only makes voters ignorant as to who stands where, it takes all the energy out of your base and they will only lackadaisically support you, at best.  Seriously, Democratic candidates.  If you are going to lose, at least have some guts to speak forcefully about what it is your ideology means to the everyday person.  Maybe then you won’t have to watch so many of your candidates lose while so much of your ideology wins.