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30 faces or… how to make Hillary Clinton seem wonderful

Row 1: Rabil, Inouye, Parks, Clemente, Powell, Peron, I. Gandhi, Mineta. Row 2: Robinson, Sotomayor, Biko, Obama, Clinton, Sacagawea, Ichiro. Row 3: Dalai Lama, Albright, Walker, Hossein, Chung, Bhutto, M. Gandhi, Lilioukalani. Row 4: Chavez, Rice, Chawla, Mandela, Rai, Anthony, King.

30 fine faces, all in a row

I visited my child’s middle school in the fall of 2013. In the World Studies classroom, I noticed a display of 30 faces spanning the area across the top of the white boards at the front of the classroom. Many of the faces I recognized, a few I didn’t. The display was entitled To Know the Future, Know the Past.

Why does the teacher display these faces? “As part of our school improvement plan (SIP) and instructional focus, it is a best practice for educators to create culturally responsive classrooms.  My classroom represents a variety of perspectives, cultures, and art to support and match our SIP and course content.” What does it mean to be “culturally responsive?” Responsive to the culture of whom?

Who are they?

This teacher chose to prominently display 30 faces in her classroom. Who are they? We have some leaders of their countries. Nelson Mandela, South Africa. Barack Obama, USA. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. Queen Lilioukalani. Hawaii. Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan. King Hossein of Jordan. Kids may dream of leading their own countries when they grow up. This group serves as an inspiration for that.

Who else is in the display that the children see every day? People who fought for civil rights of one group or another. Stephen Biko, anti-apartheid activist in South Africa. Susan B. Anthony, activist against slavery and activist for women having the right to vote. Mohandas Gandhi, Indian civil rights and freedom activist. Rosa Parks, civil rights activist who most famously refused to give up her seat on the bus. Cesar Chavez, Mexican-American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., black American civil right activist. Evita Peron, First lady of Argentina, labor rights and women’s suffrage activist. People should have the same rights and live under fairly applied laws, in any given country. So, I’m noticing a theme here. People that the kids can look up to and admire.

And we have some sports figures. Jackie Robinson, first black American to play Major League Baseball. Roberto Clemente, prominent Hispanic baseball player. Suzuki Ichiro, Japanese Major League Baseball player. Paul Rabil, professional lacrosse player. Very few kids grow up to be professional athletes. It is a dream of some kids.

There are a few who don’t fit easily into the other categories: Connie Chung, first Asian (Chinese-American) anchor on US TV. Iswarya Rai, Indian film actress and model, first runner-up of the Miss India pageant, and the winner of the Miss World pageant of 1994. Sacagawea, Lemhi Shoshone woman, who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition, acting as an interpreter and guide. Kalpana Chawla, Indian-American astronaut. Madame C.J. Walker, who ran a company selling beauty and hair products for black women, regarded as the first female self-made millionaire in America. Dalai Lama, Buddhist leader for compassion and non-violence.

There are some American political leaders here. Colin Powell, first black Secretary of State. Dan Inouye, Japanese-American Senator from Hawaii. Norman Mineta, Japanese-American, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Commerce. Madeleine Albright, Czech-born Czech-American, first woman Secretary of State. Condoleeza Rice, first black woman Secretary of State. Sonia Sotomayor, first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.

A small suggestion

How about displaying one white man out of 30 people, since that represents one quarter of the school? The message I get from this display is that white boys have nothing notable to accomplish, no historic firsts to attain. Their role now is to step aside, to get out of the way.  Why NOT celebrate the success of someone like Neil Armstrong? Here, certainly, is a non-immigrant of European heritage who could be promoted without ambiguity. He wasn’t just a passenger in a tin can. His piloting skills and nerves of steel are the reason that Apollo 11 landed on the moon, instead of doing a flyby and coming back home. He served his country by taking incalculable risks in true expansion of knowledge for the human race. He never sought glory for himself. He spent the remainder of his career as a well-loved college professor, still seeking to expand knowledge, but in a much more pedestrian way.

It’s called Normalization and we are wise to it.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. WHAT do we have here? Hillary Clinton. What is her historical significance? She was a First Lady. We’ve had plenty of those, since the founding of our country. She was a US Senator, the first woman… oh, wait. The first woman elected to the US Senate was Ophelia Wyatt Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas. That was in 1932. Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, the first woman… oh, wait. She wasn’t first at that either.

I asked the teacher who the 30 faces were. I needed to understand the context. It seemed to me that the collection included people for positive reasons, for their extraordinary work, or being the first at something. The only negative example from history that I could remember from my only viewing of the display was Hillary Clinton. After her abject failure to prevent the murder by terrorists of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods on September 11, 2012, and then to lie directly to the American people about it, and then in January of 2013 after many postponements, when asked legitimate questions in Congressional testimony, to shriek, “What difference does it make?” I am left wondering what kind of person admires and respects Hillary Clinton?

Dear Teacher,

I can’t think of a single motivation for portraying Hillary Clinton in such a positive light (and including her in this list of luminaries) that doesn’t involve squeeing over her becoming the first woman president. That you promote her in your classroom, apparently willing to forgive the lies she told and her empty, hollow explanation about Benghazi is shameful.

I can’t MAKE you take down Hillary Clinton’s face. I would rename your display, To Shape the Future, Shape the Past (to your own liking). We suspect that you are #ReadyForHillary and already campaigning for #Hillary2016, else why would it even occur to you in the first place that she belongs in good company? My child is smart enough to think for herself and not fall for it. But how many other kids will gaze up at this woman with adoration because they’ve never heard the real truth? And because they trust in YOU?

I can’t FATHOM that you are trying to hold Hillary Clinton up as a good example and role model for my child. And yet, as I study the other 29 faces, I can see it. That is EXACTLY what you are doing.

 

Posted in Benghazi, Education, Trust | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Does ANYBODY want the TRUTH?

With so many people acting like Benghazi is a big nothing burger, and that no answers are left to be found, I thought it was time to revisit this piece, which points out a few of the dots, connections, and inconsistencies. It was first published on my blog Commentari on May 14, 2013 under the title Nobody wants to find out… It is presented here in its entirety with style edits.


The Setup

On September 11, 2012, the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, there was a terrorist attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were murdered: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty. On that day, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with the President at a 5 o’clock prescheduled gathering. At the time of this meeting, Sean Smith was dead and Ambassador Stevens was missing. Secretary Panetta’s prepared statement at the Benghazi hearing on February 7, 2013 includes this:

Sec Panetta: Soon after the initial reports about the attack in Benghazi we received, General Dempsey and I met with President Obama and he ordered all available DOD assets to respond to the attack in Libya and to protect US personnel and interests in the region.

SecDef ? Nope, we don’t need to talk during this little dust-up.

panetta

During questioning, Secretary Panetta’s testimony indicates that there was no further communication with anyone at the White House during the remainder of the attack.

Sen Kelly Ayotte: Did you have any further communications with him (the President) that night?

Sec Leon Panetta:No.

Sen Ayotte: Did you have any other further communications, did he ever call you that night… to say, how are things going, what’s going on, where’s the consulate?

Sec Panetta: No, but… we were aware of that as uh, we were getting information what was taking place there, particularly uh, we got information that the ambassador, uh, his life had been lost. So, we, we… were aware that that information had went to the White House.

Sen Ayotte: Did you communicate with anyone else at the White House that night?

Sec Panetta: No.

Sen Ayotte: No one else called you to say, how are things going?

Sec Panetta: No.

Sen Ayotte: Just to be clear, that night he didn’t ask you what assets we had available and how quickly they could respond and what we could do to help those individuals?

Sec Panetta: The biggest problem that night, Senator, was that nobody knew really what was going on there.

Sen Ayotte: And there was no follow-up during the night, at least from the White House directly?

Sec Panetta: No.

Local Newsman Anything But Fluffy

On October 27, 2012, President Obama was interviewed by Kyle Clark of 9News in Denver. Mr. Clark asked some of the most probing questions that the President was subjected to in the entire election cycle.

Kyle Clark: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?

President Obama: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.

Kyle Clark: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?

President Obama: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives.

Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.

Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again.

Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.

And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do is make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

Investigate while mortars still fly?

In the President’s own words, the minute he learned what was happening, he gave three very clear directives. Only one is mentioned in Secretary Panetta’s testimony above. “Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to,” sounds very similar to Secretary Panetta’s statement, “He ordered all available DOD assets to respond to the attack in Libya and to protect US personnel and interests in the region.” That could be construed as two different people’s recollection of the same conversation. According to his interview with Kyle Clark, the President also thought it important, in the midst of an attack, with one man dead and one ambassador missing, to state his intention to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. Secretary Panetta forgot to mention these directives.

Military response = unmanned drone?

Was the President satisfied with the DOD assets that were dispatched to help the Americans in Benghazi? From FoxNews after attending an off-camera briefing with an official who could only be quoted anonymously who presented the Pentagon timeline of the attack, “Within 17 minutes of the start of the attack, AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham, who happens to be visiting Washington and was in the Pentagon that day, redirects an unarmed, unmanned drone to Benghazi.”

Wait… something doesn’t add up. Can’t put my finger on it.

On October 9, 2009 the President remarked upon winning the Nobel Peace Prize, “I am the Commander-in-Chief of a country that’s responsible for ending a war and working in another theater to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies.” Commander-in-Chief is a shorter way of saying the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. The military buck stops with the President. On February 14, 2013, in a Google hangout, the President answered a challenge to the openness of his administration, “This is the most transparent administration in history, and, I can document how that is the case.” It follows that we can expect to hear more about how the President worked to make sure our Americans in Libya were safe from a “ruthless adversary,” since it was the “number one priority” of the “most transparent administration in history.”

The ZING ignored ’round the world

We still don’t know what the President did during the night of the attack. We know that four Americans died that night. We know that President Obama campaigned in Vegas on September 12, 2012.

Kyle Clark: Is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?

President Obama: Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.

Photograph by Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America

Posted in Benghazi, President, Promises, Trust | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Brief Benghazi Blame Timeline

This piece was first published on my blog Commentari on May 13, 2013 under the title Never the video. It is presented here in its entirety with no edits. Hillary Clinton’s comments over the caskets of the dead on September 14, 2012 have been added for this publication.

09/11/2012 Ambassador Chris Stevens’ last words on the telephone, “Greg, we’re under attack.”

09/12/2012 2 AM Gregory Hicks, deputy chief of mission, reports to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her team about the terrorist attack in Benghazi. He is the number one diplomat in Libya after the death of Ambassador Stevens. There is no mention of a protest or a video.

09/12/2012 “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” President Obama, Rose Garden

09/12/2012 “Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings… Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.” Secretary of State Clinton, Treaty Room, State Department

09/12/2012 (taping date) “As I said, we’re still investigating exactly what happened. I don’t want to jump the gun on this. But, you’re right that this is not a situation that was — exactly the same as what happened in Egypt and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.” President Obama, interview by Steve Kroft, this portion released on 10/19/2012

09/14/2012 “This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. ” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the transfer of remains ceremony, Andrews Air Force Base (This paragraph was added for this publication.)

09/16/2012 “Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated. We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons… And it then evolved from there.” Ambassador Susan Rice, conversation with Jake Tapper on This Week

09/16/2012 “The way these perpetrators acted and moved — I think we, and they’re choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no, this leaves us with no doubt that this was pre-planned, determined. It was planned, definitely. It was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago. And they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.” Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf, interview on CBS Face the Nation

09/18/2012 “Here’s what happened… You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character who — who made an extremely offensive video directed at — at Mohammed and Islam — Making fun of the Prophet Mohammed. And so, this caused great offense in much of the Muslim world. But what also happened, extremists and terrorists used this as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the one, the consulate in Libya.” President Obama, Late Show With David Letterman

9/20/2012 “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self-evident.” Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney en route Miami, FL

09/20/2012 A video was posted on Youtube of Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama apologizing to Pakistan for the offensive anti-Islam video. It was shown in Pakistan, as many times as $70,000 of taxpayer money would buy.

09/24/2012 (taping date) “Well, we’re still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action.” President Obama, interview by Joy Behar on The View

09/25/2012 “That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.” President Obama, Speech to United Nations

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CPAC 2014 my top ten tweets

capitol2014.jpg
Here are my top ten tweets from the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2014, chosen by a distinguished panel of one… me.

1. It would have been better to get up an hour earlier so that I could see Senator Ted Cruz’s opening speech live. But, alas, I didn’t. Next time I swear.

2. After a rather flat first day, the second day started with more promise. Dan Bongino, my candidate for Maryland District 6, guest-hosted for the Chris Plante Show and Governor Rick Perry (to use a phrase that normally sets my teeth on edge) KILLED IT!

3. I think of myself as rather tech-savvy. (I’m probably not, when compared to today’s young’uns who are handed a smartphone along with their first baby spoon.) As I was tapping impatiently on the screen of my small tablet device, I finally realized, “This network is ploddingly slow. Not good.”

4. Would that we all had the balls of this 20-year-old, Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA. Get out there. Be loud! We’ve got a country to save.

5. Timing is everything.

6. War on women? Just no. That is one of the biggest and most insidious lies of the Left. For some insight into how they REALLY feel, just observe how they treat Conservative women. Carly Fiorina sums up the Conservative view on true equality.

7. Ah, Dr. Ben Carson. From extremely humble beginnings, he soared to the top of his profession, becoming one of the best pediatric neurosurgeons in the world. Did I mention he is black? If I don’t, the haters certainly will. They think we love him as a token. They don’t understand what is in our hearts.

8. Ann Coulter was one of the only CPAC speakers to explicitly acknowledge the incredible bias against Conservatives, both by Liberal politicians and mainstream media. This is MY number one issue, how to fight the constant lies about us.

9. Senator Rand Paul, the country’s leading Libertarian, caused the crowd to erupt repeatedly. The message of “live and let live (in freedom)” resonates strongly with CPAC attendees, who also chose him as their favorite candidate for President, for the second year in a row.

10. Sarah Palin spoke last, wrapping up three days of Conservative idea-sharing, learning, and making connections with those who yearn for a better America. She is the darling of the Right and the demon of the Left. We love us a whole lotta Sarah Palin! MUCH smarter than the mainstream ever gives her credit for.

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I make memes, too.

This is my very first doge. In fact, I just learned today what a doge is!

I was inspired by the doge created by the government to push that oh-so-wonderful product, Obamacare.

The response was swift and razor-sharp.

So, here’s my little fella starring in his own doge. He does a lot of deep thinking in the kitchen near his food and water bowls. He cares about America!

IMG_0282-001
P.S. I think that REAL doges are based on that one particular dog, but I like to innovate, because I’m free like that.

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The questions get tougher.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ~John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

My son asked me, “Do we have a bad system of government?”

“In all our associations; in all our agreements let us never lose sight of this fundamental maxim – that all power was originally lodged in, and consequently is derived from, the people.” ~George Mason

My answer was this: “No, we probably have the best system of government in the world. The founders of our country studied history. They were not afraid to look into the hearts of men and women, to see both the light and the darkness there. Our system of government was designed for people who want to live as freely as possible within the confines of civil society. Our natural rights are not granted to us by our government, but enumerated in the Bill of Rights and understood to be inalienable, impossible to take away.”

“Freedom is a possession of inestimable value.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

“But we have many leaders now who are weak. Not physically weak, but weak in here.” I pulled both my fists to my gut, or core. “They lack fortitude. When the president tries to usurp power for himself, more than he is afforded by the people through the Constitution, it is the DUTY of the other government leaders to use THEIR Constitutional authority to rein him in, to prevent the tyranny of dictatorship. It doesn’t matter whether that would-be dictator is seemingly benevolent or obviously malevolent. Our system of government was designed to prevent ANY totalitarianism from taking hold.”

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” ~Plato

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Our system of government is not bad, but it’s not working right now. I suspect that an awful lot of our political leaders are doing what they think is best… for their own careers. We need some leaders who promise to work for the American people, and then keep that promise. We need to SEARCH for those people, WORK for those people, and VOTE for those people. And never give up. I didn’t appreciate the truth of what President Reagan said about freedom until just recently. I’m sorry that I can’t deliver a wonderful free America right into your lap. You’re going to have to work for it, too.”

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” ~Ronald Reagan

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” ~Albert Einstein

“Your silence gives consent.” ~Plato

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