A little context on safety

Last night’s Republican National Convention focused on keeping America safe. This is an enviable goal, but while bashing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Benghazi and terrorism, three key points were missing as context.

First, while we have eight Congressional committee efforts to get to the bottom of Benghazi, at no time was it discussed that a GOP-led Congress cut funding for embassy security the previous summer. But, more importantly, why have we not investigated information that supported the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) claim that led to an invasion of Iraq which has killed 1,000 times more Americans than Benghazi not to mention many allied troops and Iraqi citizens?

This is even more important when it should be noted a member of Vice President Dick Cheney ‘s team named Scooter Libby went to jail for outing a CIA operative named Valerie Plame. The reason is her husband Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson was asked to do reconnaissance on a source of WMDs. He found no such link, but his information was intentionally misused. When Wilson wrote an op-ed piece countering this, Libby leaked Plame’s CIA cover to discredit him which is a crime.

Per the last committee’s findings, there was agreement with the findings of a report done two months after Benghazi occurred which was prepared by Admiral Mike Mullens and Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering. There are things that could have been done better with Benghazi, but eight committees worth of investigation seems highly disproportionate. And, as Speaker of the House candidate Kevin McCarthy revealed last fall that the purpose of the taxpayer-funded committees was to discredit Hillary Clinton.

Second, as I have written about before, I am having a hard time reconciling the GOP’s NRA influenced pro gun stance with making us safer. Like many Americans, unless we improve gun governance, I see very little that can be done to stop motivated lone gunmen. In multiple surveys, a significant majority of all Americans and a majority of Republican voters agree with the following steps. We must not allow the sale of weapons to people on a no-fly terrorist watch list. We need background checks on every gun sale transaction. We need extended waiting periods to allow time for the background checks and due to the number one reason for gun deaths in America being suicide.

In my view, a candidate can talk until he is blue in the face about stopping mass shootings, but until we have better gun governance, it is all talk. There is not much any President can do to otherwise stop these shootings except involving the various communities in being watchdogs and reinforcing police and investigative efforts. And, we should not alienate groups of Americans, as we all have a role in seeing less violence. No American subgroup is more American than another or less for that matter.

Third, with respect to the GOP candidate, he has already made us less safer with his campaign rhetoric and he isn’t even President. Who says this? Five retired generals and two former CIA directors, of different political parties, have all said that Trump’s comments have been a recruiting brochure for ISIS. One of these former directors, Michael Hayden has noted the danger a Trump Presidency would hold. He went further to say that much of what Trump professes is ill-advised and goes against our ideals and some of which is unconstitutional. And, one of the most effective commercials against Trump is from a sixth retired general who says Trump does not have the “temperament or judgment” to be Commander-in-Chief.

So, being safe is an enviable goal. We just need some context as to what that really looks like. And, as a final sidebar, we do not need to hear from Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani about being safe, as his comments over the past few weeks have been not only off base, but inflammatory toward race relations in America. His comments are in-keeping with divisive comments of his friend The Donald.





53 thoughts on “A little context on safety

  1. Well said. I have noted a number of similar discussions and conclusions but am forced to wonder whether anybody is listening. I guess we will all find out in due course!

    • Thanks. It is all spin, but I detest the misuse of information and an unwillingness to admit a role in the process. Hugh Curtler has a good post on the ten rules of getting elected that is worth the view – one is never admit fault and another is blame every bad thing on your opponent. There are a number of Republicans who believe the financial crisis is Obama’s fault, but he was not President at the time.

      • I remember thinking once that if I a politician was brutally honest (in their election platform) about what they could do; what they should do for the overall good of the country; what is reasonable based on the (then) current state (in its broadest sense) of the world ….. would they ever be elected? I honestly believe that in 99% of the time… No! It takes a special person with some charisma to sell the voting public on increased taxes; changing the status quo etc.
        If we accept that premise, then we have to accept that those politicians who lie the most convincingly will be the successful ones and, if we agree with that rationale, we must then ask ourselves why we expect honesty, integrity, morality etc. etc.
        Sadly, there are politicians that “work” the democratic process, and there are people who are gullible. There are also people who are totally self-serving, and there are people who cannot be bothered to get involved. That is a lot of people who could be influencing our future, whichever country we live in!
        Keep up the rhetoric Keith. We need common sense and decency to prevail.

      • Thanks Colin. I believed that as well. One of my all time favorite movies is “Dave,” where Kevin Kline is asked to fill in for the President who has had a stroke. The other sad thing, is once elected, a Congress man or woman will spend at least 1/3 of their time dialing for dollars out of cubicle across the street from the Capitol with a pre-set call list.

        I shared with Hugh that Willie Robertson said last night that “Trump has your back.” That shows his marketing genius, as the only back Donald Trump cares about is his per his history of exploiting the Willie Robertson’s of the world. Trump will get his money, but every one else is screwed. That is his historical and present modus operandi. It should be noted the first of three class action trials against him and Trump University will start at the end of this week. That is a microcosm as to why he should not be elected.

      • Your reference to “Dave” reminded me of an old Peter Sellers movie “Being there”. I won’t spoil it for you… but the concept that a “simpleton” could end up in a very powerful position is exploited very convincingly!

      • Colin, I must confess I am not familiar with that one. I will need to check it out. We have an old movie rental store that might actually have it. Thanks, Keith

  2. Keith – Very nice analysis. I imagine you will have more to say over the next few days 🙂 When I am in the mood to follow politics, the fact-check sources are still my go-to spots for information, and from them, I get a back-glance to the shenanigans of the politicians. Yeooww.

    • Susan, thanks. The fact-checkers had a field day. I am certain Mr. Trump is quite perturbed by his wife’s speech writers. Speaking of ghostwriting, Tony Schwartz, Trump’s author on “The Art of the Deal” is not feeling to good about any role in helping Trump with his folklore. Although he makes a ton of money off the sales, he is not ecstatic about his new source of income. Keith

      • It is interesting. Character is not something I would equate with Trump. Bill Maher said he knows lots of guys like Trump who use the swagger and bravado schtick. He said Trump just does it on a bigger stage. We should always read biographies with a grain of salt. The Steve Jobs’ one was a good window, as Jobs asked his biographer to be truthful, so we got to see warts and all.

  3. Well said. I especially liked this comment: “In my view, a candidate can talk until he is blue in the face about stopping mass shootings, but until we have better gun governance, it is all talk.”

  4. Note to Readers: I feel sorry for Melania Trump as she is getting thrown under the bus by campaign speech writers who were pretty sloppy and a campaign that has reacted poorly to comments of plagiarism. With the importance of this speech, making darn sure the speech was clean was paramount. Yet, the reaction should have been more forthcoming allowing things to move on. As a BBC reporter said, there are “people in the Trump campaign that will pick a fight with an empty room.”

    • Thanks Roseylinn. Unfortunately, fear sells. What was the line from “The American President?” You tell people others are to blame for their problems and that you are the only one to solve it – that is how you win elections. Tonight we will hear how bad the economy is, but in truth it is doing pretty well, but not all are participating fully in the opportunities. The ACA, minimum wage increase, infrastructure investment and retraining investment are the tickets, but won’t be discussed tonight.

  5. I think he lacks both the temperament AND the intelligence to handle the job. When you sweep those 2 things into a man whose vanity has peaked into narcissism, its scary.
    But we preach only to choir.
    None of the Trump show fans are going to see it that way.

    Our only hope is to make sure that the disillusioned conservatives and liberals vote for Clinton rather than not voting.
    I told a friend today that if he did a write in vote and Trump wins, it will be his fault.

    These people who like neither choice are the deciders.
    And in my opinion, they need to see the value of voting for Clinton as the lesser danger.

    • It will be interesting to see the press coverage of the first of three class action lawsuits against Trump and Trump University which begins Friday. I watch these wonderful things said by his kids, which is great, but his modus operandi is to exploit people.

      A sidebar story I heard on PBS Newshour last night from one of his biographers is telling. When he bought his first big vacant building in NYC, there was some art worthy carvings outside the building. A museum was negotiating to take possession, but Trump thought that would take too much time. So, he hired illegal workers during the night to destroy the carvings off the building. The biographers said that was the City’s first experience that Trump would do things his way and others be damned.

      • There is something wrong with me. I cringed more at the art destroying than a lot of the other stuff I see about him. I suppose because its a new facet I didn’t know about. A man who destroys history doesn’t recognize its value.

      • This is a good window into the man. He did not want to preserve something marvelous as he was impatient. That was the word the biographers used. Plus, it showed collaboration with others is secondary to his mission. This is a contentious and litigious man. He has used legal means to bully folks out of their homes, yet will sue when another developer he is competing with does the same.

        This man’s history shows he should not be President, irrespective of the hateful, divisive and inane stuff that comes out of mouth since running for the job. The campaign stuff is just another argument on top of the mountain of other reasons.

      • Sigh. I wonder if there is a way to make people consider a candidate as a whole. To look at their experience, their character and their accomplishments.

        But of course all of those things can be lied about too. His third wife had the audacity to call him loyal.

        We need to regulate their lies. That MIGHT help in exposing them. Or maybe not. Humans are idiots most of the time.

      • Their history and character used to matter. This is why George Wallace could not win. Yet, Trump has rivaled Wallace in his bigotry.

  6. As I watch the Convention in Cleveland I feel like I’m watching spoiled teenagers who expect everyone else to drop dead for them.

    Most civilized people over the age of thirty have acquired the skill to respectfully disagree.

    The point of a Union is sharing resources so that everyone gets some of what he wants but no one gets everything.

    I don’t hear discussions of policy.

    I hear grudges that border on psychosis.

    It is psychosis to think that what one thinks is true is true simply because one thinks it.

    If this is the madness that reduced Germany to the squalor of mass murder then it began as a refusal to accept the civilized responsibilities of adulthood.

    • Rob, to your point, David Brooks on PBS Newshour said the first night was about loss, while the second was about hate. Mark Shields added that Mitch McConnell mentioned Hillary Clinton 28 times and Donald Trump only four times. It is no longer a party of ideas, but of small-mindedness.

      The fact is the country is in pretty good shape, but we have problems, which runs counter to the schtick that everything has gone to hell in a hand basket. Given jobs numbers, unemployment decline, doubled stock market and the fourth longest economic growth period, ACA, some climate change action, marriage equality, eight more years of this would be far better than the alternative.

    • Good point. In addition to exploiting people for money, Trump’s history is one of making his own rules. The three class action lawsuits on Trump University will reveal a microcosm of his modus operandi. Thanks for stopping by. Keith

  7. Pingback: A little context on safety – marushka's place

  8. Terrific, terrific post! I couldn’t agree more. The Trumpster Fire is doing nothing for this country but creating wider divides, in many contexts. Whether I agree with his viewpoints or not, politically (I do not), I wouldn’t want him leading my country, period. His choice of running mate doesn’t help my opinion of his politics either. Not really a fan of Hillary either though. I’m leaning towards voting Libertarian more and more as this nonsense progresses.

    • Thanks for your comments. While she is far from perfect, Clinton will be a much more credible President. She is more respected abroad and has done much already to address the global maltreatment of women. Plus, I see climate change as a major issue that we must address more in the next ten years, and her party recognizes this whereas the GOP. I fully understand why you would vote for Gary Johnson as her email issue and response was poor judgment. I just see her as the best way to keep Trump out of the White House. Thanks for commenting. Please come again, Keith

      • I see your points, and as a lifelong Democrat, I agree with her policy more than any others. Her apparent dishonesty is a turnoff. But who are we kidding? She’s a politician. Of course she’s dishonest. They all are. To be honest, I truly don’t care who wins this go ’round, so long as it isn’t The Trumpster Fire.

      • Thanks for your comment. Her email decision and not being forthcoming are unforced errors. She has taken a lot of crap, some fair, but mostly unfair since much were Republican smear campaigns. The problem is on the internet searches, it is hard to tell the difference unless you look harder. Yet, the email server issue feeds into the narrative and criticism of her on this issue is warranted. Several lifelong Republicans are voting for her and as PJ O’Rourke said, “at least I know what I am getting with Hillary.” Yet, she is far from perfect and she protects herself to stridently.

        As for Dems, they do a crappy job of marketing. With respect to the Presidency, under Democrat White Houses the number of jobs created are more than twice, the stock market performs over 1.7 x better, the economy does better and unemployment falls better, when compared to Republican White Houses. Yet, from the rhetoric, you would think it is the exact opposite. The Dems needed to say the data shows we are the party of jobs.

  9. Note to Readers: One of Trump’s biographers noted this is the sixth time he has talked about running for President. She reminded us that the first time he did it for about two days to promote book sales. In 2012, his bringing back up the “Birther” BS was to see if there remained a heavy anti-Obama sentiment. Once he learned there was, he knew he had a group to tap into. While his followers don’t realize he has no answers, he knows how to sell himself. His keys are to tell people what they want to hear and say you have a right to be angry. It obviously works. I just hope that people are catching on it is all schtick.

  10. Note to Readers: Followers of my blog know that I am not a fan of Senator Ted Cruz. I see him as one of the poster children for what is wrong with Washington, so he is a poor candidate to fix it. Yet, I do take some delight in his telling Trump to go screw himself. Words matter and the GOP candidate, who is on record by two different fact checkers as the most prolific liar in history of fact checking, has called him
    Lyin Ted, derided his wife’s looks and implied his father of having something to do with JFK’s assassination.

    This is modus operandi for Trump to bully and name call folks he does not like. He also eventually treats people he likes with disdain as Chris Christie has found out. At some point, it comes back to roost.

    Yet, why Trump and his people let Cruz have a prime speaking slot or speak at all shows their campaign in a poor light. Trump needs to convey to the world “I got this,” but he has shown anything but that at this convention.

  11. Note to Readers: I was listening to a YouTube podcast from Sam Harris which is worth a listen as it is a thoughtful contrast of Clinton and Trump (the link is below). In it, he speaks to things that would have finished any other candidate, but Trump remains viable.

    His comments range from the advocacy of torture to the mockery of a disabled person to the lack of coherent thoughts in his speeches to the unethical and impractical rounding up of illegal immigrants to the lack of understanding of how the world works to the negatively impactful economic ideas to the assault on the integrity of the judicial process to his incredulous statements on climate change and so on.

    He notes whether you like Clinton, the statement that she is well qualified for office is not political partisanship. He said if it were said about Trump, it would be partisanship. He went on to say if you said Trump was the least qualified candidate ever, that would be more accurate.

    This candidate has said we will be safer on his watch, but to me evidence points to the contrary. I would listen to Harris and the retired generals and CIA directors rather The Donald.

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