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The Movie, “13 Hours.” My Take.

I saw the movie “13 Hours” yesterday.  It deals with the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound at Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.  I came out of the theater virtually shaking with anger from what our people at the compound had to endure over a 13 hour period because of security failures.  The attack on the compound was well organized, well coordinated, well planned, and supported by not only automatic weapons but mortar fire.    The attack cost the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.  Aside from the fact that the movie was a riveting, compelling,  action- packed true story, well worth seeing from that standpoint alone, the political implications from the lack of security have been and still are enormous.

It’s hard to believe that in this day and age our government was so inept.  It’s easy using 20-20 hindsight to fix blame for the security shortcomings there.  But then again the shortcomings were clearly visible and an attack was predictable.  So, hindsight is  not necessary; foresight was enough.  The trouble is, those responsible for security had none.  They were grossly incompetent.  That includes Obama’s White House and Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State, among others.

Benghazi had been a hotbed of unrest, gripped by civil war and terrorist activities since Gadhafi had been toppled.  The environment was bad enough to force Britain and France both to close their embassies.   European security officials were worried that weapons and vehicles were being stockpiled in Benghazi, post Gadhafi and that al Quaeda was gaining a foothold.  The U.S. well knew the diplomatic situation there was dangerous, so dangerous in fact that it had to be labeled “critical,” according to the movie.  Yet, we did not pull out.  True we had no embassy but only a diplomatic compound.   Nevertheless, what we had there was grossly under- protected, and the failure to fully protect that compound, given the unstable environment, can only be ascribed to gross incompetence, even criminal negligence.

Wikipedia, while not necessarily the repository of the last word on anything, still is to be regarded as possessing some authority.  It does say that the Secretary of State, among other duties and responsibilities, “ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American cities, personnel, and interests in foreign countries.”  That duty was flatly abrogated in this instance.

What has really aggravated the situation regarding the lack of protection for the Benghazi compound is the fact that both Obama and Hillary compounded their manifest failures by lying about how the attack originated.  Standing by the caskets of the four Americans killed in the raid, after the remains arrived in the U.S.,  Obama claimed, and Hillary knowingly acquiesced, in the bald-faced lie that the raid had been inspired by a video, when they both had information attesting to the fact that it was a terrorist attack.  Hillary emailed her daughter the night of the attack, telling her the raid was terrorist based, a fact which came out during her testimony at the last hearing.  The lie, repeated on Sunday talk shows by Susan Rice and others, was made in the time before Obama’s election, and undoubtedly helped in that regard quite a bit.

My distain for Hillary as a candidate for any public office, much less the presidency, is hardly a closely guarded national secret.  But after seeing this movie, my feelings have intensified dramatically.   She brings nothing to the table in terms of dealing with tough issues.  She has no proven track record of success at anything.   She is eminently inexperienced, unqualified, and incompetent.  She is also a world-class liar, one whose lies are a matter of record.  The Greek philosopher Aristotle put it nicely: “Liars when they speak the truth are  not believed.”  Serious questions also abound as to her character,  honesty, trustworthiness, temperament,  and judgement.   She is a power-hungry woman who is dangerous for this country.  The country made a terrible mistake by electing the present White House occupant; that mistake must not be repeated.

Copyright© 2016.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

 

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Hillary Clinton – A Non-Entity With No Credibility

Last Sunday the Wall Street Journal published an article which referred to Hillary Clinton’s recent “hawkish” views. This article was objectionable in my view because it provided some semblance of credibility to Hillary’s political posture. This attempt at foisting some credibility upon her is totally and completely misplaced. She is not qualified to hold any public office. She is unqualified and incompetent. Period. The views I posted on this site some 2 years ago about her tenure as secretary of state are still relevant to her purported qualifications for office today. Here is what I wrote.

The Secretary of Mistate, Mistake, er, State.

What makes a great Secretary of State? By what marks is he/she defined? Carrying out the president’s foreign policy? Getting treaties signed? There are no easy definitions. But you know a great Secretary when you see one.
Appointing Hillary as Secretary of State, as his first cabinet post, marked Obama as a lightweight, because she is a lightweight. She is in fact a no- weight. I can’t begin to find any credence in this appointment. At the time of her appointment Hillary had no experience in foreign affairs; she never wrote, lectured, taught, or spoke on it, nor has she done anything since her appointment to distinguish her as as deserving of the appointment, nor as being a great or even a good one.

Maybe it’s because Obama has no foreign policy to speak of, none that can be defined.
Her lack of experience in public office preceded her into the present job. She was elected to the U.S. Senate – in a very liberal state of course. But she flew in on the back of her husband, an impeached president, who disgraced himself, his family, the White House and the country. She certainly was no leader of any kind in the senate, not having introduced any resolutions that come to mind.

Even before that when entrusted with “Hillarycare” by husband Bill, this endeavor, decried by many as a form of socialized medicine, was a miserable failure. The book, “It Takes A Village,” ostensibly written by her, did nothing to further the cause for her program. The book was a fraud, falsely proclaiming a crisis in education and then clamoring for government intervention to cure the non-existent crisis.

Once in a while Hillary makes a little whimper of noise about one thing or another, but in actuality she does nothing. Joining other nations in favor of a change of leadership in Syria does nothing to show her leadership. Clearly, on Obama’s part, the appointment was an act of political expedience, just to get her out of his way and keep her quiet – so far as attacking him or his administration, that is.

Today’s (2/25/12) liberal leaning LA Times carries an article proclaiming that “Clinton Hints at Coup Against Assad.” The writer, Patrick J. McDonnell, attempts to provide Hillary with some credibility by pointing out that she is one of the leaders of a coalition calling itself “Friends of Syria.” The writer credits her with calling for Assad’s security forces to oust him, citing the cases of Tunisia and Egypt, where militaries stepped in to oust “longtime autocratic leaders” (i.e., dictators) after popular protests. Of course, joining others in the swell of protest against Assad does not exactly stamp her as a leader.

A clear sign of her lack of credibility is the fact that as of 2/24/12, she has no part in talks between the U.S. and North Korea concerning food aid to the impoverished country, dismantling of its nuclear weapons program, and other issues. The U.S. is represented by Glyn Davies, who is described as special representative for North Korean policy. Hillary is nowhere in sight.

The main problem with Hillary’s holding any public office is that she has little if any credibility. Remember, when she ran for president, she was caught in a bald-faced lie – claiming she was caught in sniper fire in [Bosnia] when landing there during a visit. This was a total lie, which she later admitted. So, can you believe anything she says? As all trial lawyers will know, there is a jury instruction you can ask the trial judge to give if the evidence warrants it i.e., falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. What this means is that if the jury finds that the defendant (or a witness) lied about one thing, the jury can find that the defendant (or witness) lied about everything.

And of course hubby Bill was no slouch at lying either.

So much for Hillary’s credibility. Who’s going to believe her?

It’s not to late for Hillary to remove herself from the limelight and move into the kitchen, where she can concentrate on making toll house cookies. There, at least, she can hopefully avoid putting her foot in her mouth. But, of course, with her, anything’s possible.

Copyright 2012. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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An Immigration Update – Bill O’Reilly’s Take

I’m a long time follower of Bill O’Reilly on Fox News and find his reporting usually to be in depth, factual, and concise. Recently he suggested that viewers check out his suggestions to solve the immigration crisis as found on his website, BillO’Reilly.com. I did that and found many of his suggestions to have some merit. Here is a sampler, mixed in with some of my own thoughts.

Much of the problem lies with the failure of President Obama to be preprared for this crisis. He has had five and one half years to get his act together on this as well as other problems and has done virtually nothing. Mexico itself is a primary issue. Tougher policing of that country’s northern and southern borders would be a first step. Increased surveillance by Mexican police and military forces on the southern borders would help to stem the flow of would be illegal immigrants from Central America on their way to the U.S.

The same steps should be taken to help secure Mexico’s northern border with this country. The U.S. should have sent national guard troops to the border long ago. Apparently the president is now moving in that direction. Also, the U.S. should send patrols by U.S. aircraft into Mexican airspace to target activity by cartels and smugglers.

The trouble with these steps is getting Mexico’s cooperation and that perceived difficulty, in my opinion, is because Mexico is still fighting the Mexican-American War, i.e., there is lingering great resentment towards the U.S. over how the war ended. Remember that in the Treaty of Gualdalupe-Hildago, signed in 1848, Mexico ceded to the U.S. huge amounts of territory which now comprise California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona and New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. But the threat of trade sanctions against Mexico would certainly get that country’s attention.

As concerns the illegals presently in the country, O’Reilly advocates having them register at the nearest post office within three months with name, address, and birth date. Failure to do so would be a felony, justifying deportation in and of itself if convicted by a special immigration court. Registration would result in the issuance of an ID card which would be used to apply for a work permit. Registrants unable to find work would be deported, as would be criminals, addicts, etc. Those desiring citizenship would have to get in line behind all others. Entitlements would be denied to illegal aliens although their children would be eligible to receive benefits. This is not amnesty but a vetting process. A hard working, honest individual should be able to find a place in this country but there is no guarantee.

Illegal immigration is a huge, complex issue and there are no easy answers. But these suggestions outlined here would be a productive start.

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Versailles 1919 – Planting The Seeds of Middle East Discontent

Recently I attended a luncheon which featured a university professor speaking on the current repercussions of the 1919 Paris peace accords. Notably absent from his comments was any reference to what effect the Versailles Treaty had on the Middle East, specifically, how this region was affected by the peace treaty drawn up by the victorious Allied Powers. This was a major omission, considering the ongoing chaos in Iraq and surrounding areas today.

I explained in a blog on June 13,2014, that the central feature of the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” depicted an army of arabs crossing the desert to attack the port town of Aquaba from the rear, completely taking the Turkish garrison stationed there by surprise. This army was led by Colonel T.E. Lawrence of British intelligence, portrayed brilliantly by the late Peter O’Toole.

The point to be remembered here is that the arabs had been promised a free and independent arab state by Great Britain and France, in return for their cooperation against Germany and the other central powers during the war. These promises were never kept and instead the vast arab lands once controlled by the Ottoman Empire were partitioned by Great Britain and France into what is today Iraq and Iran. A minority sect, the Kurds also petitioned for the establishment of their own country, Kurdistan, but this plea was also disregarded.

These promises are discussed at great length in Margaret MacMillan’s fine book, “Paris 1919,” especially in the chapter entitled “Arab Independence.” Much of the discontent existing in the region today can be traced to these broken promises.

If there is to be peace among the warring factions today there must be some form of representative government. Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds must all be equally represented. This is the first issue, to get agreement on this point. Next is the question of how to implement this agreement. Also to be considered is the question of what countries are to be involved in the decision making. None of this can be achieved without a cease fire and some form of crisis conference to establish an interim government including an election date while all of the details are worked out.

Strong American leadership will also be required. This may be beyond the capabilities of the current president, Barack Obama, but the effort must be made. The idea must be imparted to the warring factions that all interests will be appeased in a representative government and that the current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will not be supported by the U.S.

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Random Thoughts On Current Topics

I’m disappointed that Condoleeza Rice recently withdrew her name from giving the commencement speech at Rutgers University. There was a very small but vocal crowd of professors and students who objected to her, even going so far as to label her a “war criminal.” This is disgraceful and unjustified behavior. “Condi” Rice deserves respect and admiration for what she has done with her life. Had I been the Rutgers president I would have doubled her fee to $70,000 and encouraged her to come ahead. As for the small but vocal minority, they have every right to voice their disapproval in a free country such as ours, but the university president should have stood up to them and told them she was coming ahead anyway and not to try to disrupt her speech. Advising those that objected to her that they were free not to attend the commencement would also have been appropriate.

The VA scandal must be added to the growing list of scandals plaguing this administration. As I have pointed out in previous blogs, President Obama was and is inexperienced, unqualified, incompetent, a liar, and corrupt. He should never have been elected in the first place. Now the country is paying the price for this mistake, a mistake which, hopefully, will not be repeated. Electing someone with no prior experience at running anything, no demonstrating of leadership abilities, no showing of experience in solving problems, is simply appalling. The VA scandal is only the latest example of this incompetence. Obama had notice of this issue years ago and failed to address it while it continued to fester. Now it has reached the critical stage with reports of veterans dying because of lack of treatment. This is an outrageous way to treat our veterans.

Appointing Representative Trey Gowdy (Rep. S.C.) to chair the House Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attack which took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens was a huge step in the right direction. As a former prosecutor, he will know how to get answers. Getting to the bottom of this tragedy where four Americans died is long overdue. Although Obama promised transparency in his presidency many times, it has not been forthcoming here. The public has a right to know why this happened, who is to be held responsible, and why none of the attackers have been brought to justice. The anticipated testimony of Hillary Clinton should be very enlightening. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s appointment of five Democrats to this committee, long overdue, gives it additional credibility although I have my doubts as to how helpful they will be.

Appointing a special prosecutor into the IRS scandal is also long overdue. But waiting for the very partisan Attorney General Eric Holder to do it means it will be a long wait. Obama has denied that there is even a “smidgen” of corruption here. Yet it is extremely doubtful that the IRS undertook this on its own. I wonder where the instructions originated? Hmmm.

The bottom line in all of this is that there has been a total and complete lack of accountability by this president in everything he has touched including but not limited to the Obamacare roll out. There is yet some two and one half years to go for this administration. Hopefully additional damage to the credibility of the country will be kept to a minimum. But the mistakes of this president must not be repeated. In 2016, we need to elect a president who has demonstrated an ability to govern and making the tough decisions, one who can restore America to its greatness in the world.

One last thought. Under the parliamentary system of government, a no confidence vote can lead to the formation of a new government. That system doesn’t exist in this country but it’s an interesting thought.

Copyright©Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Attorney General Eric Holder – A Partisan Idealogue

In still another hallmark of this most inept presidential administration, we consider President Obama’s appointment of Eric Holder as United States Attorney General. This selection was questionable, to say the least, on the basis of Mr. Holder’s background, and his conduct in office has shown that he is nothing more than a tool of the Obama administration.

The term “wimp” in describing Mr. Holder comes to mind. It is no doubt a pejorative word but its use here finds support in the dictionary. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, defines wimp as a weak, cowardly, or ineffectual person. The use of the disjunctive in the definition makes its use appropriate because in my view Mr. Holder is definitely ineffectual although the other definitions may also apply, depending on whom you ask. Other individuals and groups go even further, seeking his impeachment on the grounds of corruption.

Mr. Holder was President Obama’s first cabinet appointment. The two first met in 2004 and hit it off immediately. Therefore the appointment smacks of cronyism. But more than that, one need only peruse freelance writer Ron Kolb’s detailed and informative article (available on Google) for insights into Mr. Holder’s background. Far from having strong credentials for the post, his background is questionable in terms of his lack of, shall we say, unwavering support for law enforcement. One notable instance occurred when as Deputy Attorney General, he knowingly stood silent to the proposed pardon by President Clinton of convicted swindler/fugitive Marc Rich, which he later admitted to have been a mistake. On another occasion he recommended clemency to President Clinton for members of FALN, a Puerto Rican terrorist group. This is not the type of background you would want to find in the nation’s top cop. His controversial past compels the conclusion that he should never have been appointed in the first place.

Currently, Mr. Holder is refusing to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal. This is the case where the IRS is suspected of targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups seeking section 501(c)(4) tax exemption status for special treatment, i.e., delays in processing and unnecessary and improper inquiries. The IRS, one of the most feared of government agencies, is supposed to be impartial in the discharge of its duties. Yet President Obama told Fox News journalist Bill O’Reilly during an interview on Super Bowl Sunday that there is not even a “smidgeon” of corruption surrounding this case. Yet if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

Indeed, if there is no corruption and nothing to hide over this issue, it is puzzling that IRS official Lois Lerner has repeatedly taken the 5th amendment in refusing to answer congressional questions during its efforts to investigate the matter. Instead of a special prosecutor, President Obama has appointed a member of his administration and a generous contributor to his campaign, an individual clearly partisan to the president, to conduct an investigation. This is a blatant and egregious abuse of power which should not be allowed. The real question which needs to be answered is what person or persons approved Lois Lerner’s conduct. It remains to be seen if the investigation reaches this issue.

But protecting the administration in the IRS targeting scandal is not the only controversial act by the Attorney General. Mr. Holder has failed to turn over requested records by the House Oversight Committee concerning operation “Fast and Furious.” For this blatant coverup, in June, 2012, after a 16-month investigation, the Attorney General was held in Contempt of Congress, both civilly and criminally, the first cabinet member to be so cited. Executive privilege has also been asserted over those records. Although all of the facts are not known, thousands of automatic weapons were apparently purchased from gun dealers by Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives agents and sold to gun traffickers. This was done in an apparent effort to trace the guns to drug cartel users in Mexico. However there was no follow through. Two of the weapons were later discovered at the murder scene of Agent Brian Terry in December, 2011. Mr. Holder has been accused of lying to the House Committee about when he first heard of this operation.

There are many more instances where Mr. Holder’s conduct can be seen as undermining the country’s security. But in the interests of brevity they will not be described now. Suffice it to say that
the country needs and deserves to have a tough and effective Attorney General, not one who is clearly devoted to protecting his benefactor, i.e., the person who appointed him in the first place.

Copyright©Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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A Common Sense Approach To Immigration Issues

I consider myself a political moderate, although some may disagree. That is to say, I usually avoid siding with the far right or the far left on given issues. Overall I try to walk the middle of the road. I do consider myself conservative when it comes to national defense matters. This may well be a carry over from the long past days I spent as a federal prosecutor. On the other hand I also favor pro choice on abortion, with some restrictions. So, it matters not to me how the media would label me, if the media cared. Thus, the views I express below reflect how I feel about immigration without regard to any label which may be affixed to me. I call my approach just being practical without regard to whether it would be called conservative or liberal.

The immigrants who are here, even if they got here illegally, should remain here because there is no practicable way these people can be deported. But this conclusion is subject to certain caveats.

First, those who are presently here must be, and remain, gainfully and legally employed and pay their taxes. Second, no one can stay who has a criminal background. Third, all who stay must undertake to become U.S. citizens. Fourth, all must speak English or learn how. Health care benefits and conditional driving privileges should only be available to those who meet these standards.

That is not to say that the border should not be enforced. It must be. Border security is paramount. But it makes sense to make it easier for highly skilled people to come into the country.

Copyright 2013. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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