Benghazi and BLM

The Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have formed another committee to investigate the so-called Benghazi scandal. Besides being a waste of time and money, it’s also an example of the total self-centeredness and the failure of the Republican Party even to follow their own self-proclaimed principles. The deaths of the U.S. Ambassador and three others were tragic. They shouldn’t have died, but let’s look at the situation. The two possibilities for the cause most cited are: (1) the killings were motivated by a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video produced in the U.S. or (2) the attack was planned and executed by anti-American Islamic terrorists. The bottom line is that four people died because a great many people in Libya and throughout the Middle East hate Americans and because security was not adequate. In the larger context, it doesn’t matter that much which anti-American cause led to the killings. The real cause was poor security, and and that was not caused because the Congress had cut State Department funding, but because the career staff of the State Department, not the Secretary of State, not the political appointees, had allocated the security personnel as they saw fit and failed to offer adequate support for the ambassador when he visited a CIA post in Benghazi. Yet the Congressional investigations continue to focus on former Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama, for their misleading political statements about the issue, rather than on those in the State Department who were actually responsible for the lax security. Of course, Clinton and Obama tried to spin the issue after the fact. So did the Republicans, and they’re still trying. The problem here is that yet another hearing won’t do a damned thing to solve the problem. It will convince die-hard Republicans – again – that Clinton and Obama are out to mislead the public. It will also convince die-hard Democrats, again,that the Republicans are continuing to avoid doing anything constructive while using the Congress as a basis for personal attacks. And, guess what? The left and the right are both correct… and totally ignoring the real problems and issues.

Now… in this light, let’s look at the BLM mess in the west. We have a Nevada rancher who has refused to pay grazing fees for twenty years. After twenty years of essentially doing nothing, the BLM suddenly decides to seize his cattle. Hundreds of self-proclaimed militia appear, armed with everything from handguns to high-powered rifles and semi-automatic weapons. The BLM backs down, again, and the “militia” remain patrolling the area and stopping residents and others at will. This is hardly an issue of an overbearing government. For years, the BLM has charged grazing fees set as low as legally possible, at rates often as low as ten percent of what private land owners charge and far below the rates charged by states on state-owned lands. In addition, the BLM has failed to maintain the lands, at least with regard to wild horses, so that there are tens of thousands of wild horses on federal lands that can only support a fraction of that total, and excess of 2,000 alone in just Iron County, Utah. Yet, last week, a BLM wrangler was threatened by two men, one of whom was armed, for actually transporting horses to a holding area, and an elected state official led an illegal ATV ride through a roadless area closed to motorized vehicles, in protest of BLM procedures protecting environmental and archeological features of the area.

In both of these cases, we have Republicans and Democrats both playing politics… and neither side seems in the slightest interested in addressing the underlying problems. We don’t need another political Benghazi investigation; we don’t need posturing over citizens’ and states’ “rights” to claim federal lands, so-called “rights” that have no basis in law. And we certainly don’t need self-proclaimed militia telling residents and government alike what to do. What we need is less posturing and more action, but, of course, almost no politician really wants action because enforcing the law and looking into real incompetence, as opposed to politically-trumped-up issues, just upsets various political interests and costs votes, and votes are apparently far more important than law or good government to the vast majority of politicians. But then, maybe after so many years in politics, they really can’t even tell the difference.

3 thoughts on “Benghazi and BLM”

  1. Grey says:

    On political posturing vs. things that matter:

    Investigate incompetence and failures that allowed 9/11 to occur (on the Republican’s party’s watch) – $3 million. ( See sec. 611)

    Republican investigation of Clinton ‘Whitewater’ conspiracy – $47 million. (

  2. Michael Kelly says:

    I agree, neither side seems interested in getting to the root of the matter of anything. As soon as a bright-eyed, bushy tail congressman gets elected, he is soon indoctrinated or if that doesn’t work, eliminated (no support from his party).

    I blame the White House and Congress.

    I also blame the lack of true investigative journalism (oh, wait, that costs too much, it is just easier to focus Beyoncé’s sister beating up on Jay-Z). Maybe there never was true investigative journalism, that too may have been propaganda…

  3. Mathew says:

    There was investigative journalism at one point. I know of one journalist that was assassinated because he did a good job.

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