Most clergy are hesitant to take on those who are in a higher position than themselves. This was not the case with the Great Reformers of the Protestant Reformation. Many of them were burned at the stake for opposing the hierarchy of the church. One of these reformers was Martin Luther.
Recently, a Catholic friend of mine sent to me an amazing video of the sermon given by Fr. James Altman of LaCrosse, WI
It is rare to have a Roman Catholic speak out against the words of an Archbishop.
Yet, this young man may be the one to lead the way among Christian groups, whether Catholic or not, to speak up for right and wrong according to the Holy Scriptures. He uses what we know best…the Ten Commandments to address to his congregation (and now the world) God’s message to this age in which we live.
Whether you are a Catholic, Episcopalian, as I am, a Baptist, Pentecostal or any other denomination of the Christian faith, hear this message from a courageous priest. Perhaps there will be other Christian leaders who will lend their voices to his. As people of this nation and the world, we could use another Great Reforming.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Turn up your sound and enlarge the screen. (Be certain to push the red line back to the beginning if it is already moved forward.)
Being a country girl from North Carolina, I sometimes go back to my roots…shed the classical music that I love…and listen to the songs or Southern words of a “Good Old Boy…or Man.”
Here is one for you with the salute to the many States of the United States and the freedom that we enjoy. It is no wonder that so many from so far want to be a part of the “Land of the Free.”
Are we perfect?…by no means, but what we don’t like we can say so without the threat of being locked up to suffer alone with no way out.
Are we always “united” in all ways?…no, but we still are the United States of America…with all the diversity that can be in one land.
Our thanks to our forefathers who came from countries around the world to search for a new way of life…away from dictators to their lives and from persecution for their faith. Our thanks to our brave men and women who stand ready to defend this country against all foes. For those Americans who have given everything in foreign lands to maintain freedom for all, we give them our heart’s gratitude and our prayers.
Today I give you, the reader, a tribute and a pledge to MY BEAUTIFUL AMERICA by Charlie Daniels.
Neighbor friends of mine have said, “I’m not watching it!” Other elected officials from various states have decided to “boycott” the State of the Union address also…even if they have not asked those who elected them whether it was a good idea and did they approve? Some Congress members have already decided that they will not stand or applaud even when what is being said is for the good of all Americans…simply because they are determined to be oppositional. That may be why many Americans see the Congress as a “do nothing” organization.
We ask at Boyer Writes the question: Is the State of the Union Message of any importance to Americans…the rich, the poor, the small business person and economists, the elderly, those who receive government aid, environmentalists, our military, the immigrants…legal and illegal, who may be hoping to be citizens of the USA and all others who would put themselves in any category?
We will address first the meaning of the State of the Union and its history…in case some should not know:
It is a Constitutional Duty.
“Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution provides that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
- The Address is to be informative to the Congress and to every citizen of the United States…whether listening or not. (Any elected official who does not show up to hear probably should be close to a T.V….just to be “informed”.)
- It is a part of our established history. The President of the US has been giving this message in person to the Congress and the American people for 105 years since 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President. With the advent of TV and the internet, it has been easier to reach the average person. (Some may even ask why the average person should not be able to hear or know the direction of our country…just as the elected officials are informed?)
The Early history: George Washington delivered the first annual address to Congress in 1790. Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice because he felt it was too monarchical, as similar to the “Speech from the Throne”. He wrote it out and sent it to be read by a clerk.
There was controversy in 1913 when President Woodrow Wilson planned to reestablish the speech. (Oh my, “controversy” also has a long history!) There have been only a few exceptions by the U.S. Presidents of delivering the address in person to the Congress and to the American people, with the last being President Jimmy Carter in 1981.
- Important enough to designate a SURVIVOR: Whenever Congress meets together to hear the President speak, there is a designated survivor appointed. What does this mean?
“Since the ’80s, a designated survivor has been selected for the State of the Union. This is a member of the president’s cabinet who does not attend the event, in case a disaster or attack kills the president and everyone in the line of succession. The first designated survivor was Reagan’s Housing and Urban Development secretary, Samuel Pierce. The two cabinet positions most often selected to serve as designated survivor are the secretary of the Agriculture Department and the secretary of the Interior Department; both positions have been selected six times each. The only person to serve in the role more than once was George W. Bush’s Commerce secretary, Donald Evans.” (taken from PBS News)
Does history or tradition mean anything to the American people today? Is it too old-fashioned to spend an hour before our TV sets or online to hear what the President has to say?
Do the personal opinions about the particular person elected to the office of President cloud a more important aspect of being American? We must all remember that we are in it together for at least the 4 years the President will serve. Decisions made by Congress will effect us all…and might be why they should be listening rather than protesting at this point.
Free speech (and opinion) is part of our right guaranteed in the Constitution. The President is following the requirements of the Constitution to make this address. That is why it is my opinion that we lay aside, for one hour, to check out what we may be up against for years to come…for good or bad. Those who say, “I hate him and everything he stands for”… should remember that the State of the Union message is important for this reason. It is not a State of the Union on a Personality, but on our country and the future of our country. If we don’t like the things said or the things proposed to follow in the next year or the next three years, try our other right…your VOTING RIGHT! At least you will be able to say you’re informed.
Yes, We still have elections and the leadership choices are still made at the ballot box and not at the end of a gun as they are in some nations. Thank God! Therefore, in Honor of the office of the Presidency...whether you approve of the sitting President or not…here is HAIL TO THE CHIEF performed by the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”.
Some information is taken from Wikipedia. For more information on the State of the Union
POWER…POWER…POWER to the people worldwide! Yes, this power is what blogging your thoughts is all about when you decide to be a blog writer. You will be able to reach people around the world. Since becoming a blogger and following others on their blogs, I have actually made friends with people around the world. Through the internet and blogging programs like WordPress, we are able to speak our minds, concerns and joys as well as thinks we have learned from research and reading before writing. Not all will agree with what we have to say. No problem…for we have the freedom to read or not read. We can choose to write or not write. Yes, I’m using that glorious word…FREEDOM!
Below is a map that I photographed from my WordPress site. (Thank you, WordPress, for keeping such great statistics to share with us….even the names of the countries that view our posts.) Over a period of my nine years of blogging, the world has practically been covered. Amazing!
When I first began writing my books, I knew I had more to say and wanted a book that I could hold in my hand. That was accomplished in the last several years. I also knew I wanted to sit down and write to friends and the world something on my mind that I did not have time to put in book form. I’m not putting down anyone who loves…loves…LOVES….their Facebook, because it serves a purpose for some. I, however, moved away from that venue to be able to write more in-depth on any particular subject. What I was having on my plate to eat…as some wrote me about… just didn’t seem interesting enough to me or anyone else for that matter….but history, music, and inspirational messages do find a place worth spending my time and effort. To each his or her own.
Many senior citizens are on the computers daily, writing to children or grandchildren. They have a life story that they can share with people around the world. Their stories and wisdom in living life can prove to be inspirational in so many ways. How about giving it a try? The youth of today will find you online and may need all the help they can get.
I would encourage anyone thinking of not only reading a blog, but actually starting a blog for themselves, to do so in 2018. It isn’t hard and you can learn step by step. With practice on what you can do…write…add pictures…add videos etc…you’ll soon be a pro! ( Here is WordPress Link. Tell them Boyer Writes sent you.)
Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all from Boyer Writes… make it a NEW YEAR of WRITING.
The best definition of liberal education is one that I read about recently, which was given at a commencement address by Fareed Zakaria. One may hope that the graduates who heard him were enlightened and came out to face the world with a new vision of tolerance.
Who is Fareed Zakaria? He is an Indian-American journalist and author. The Post-American World, The Future of Freedom (2003) was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into over 25 languages. His most recent book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, has been praised in the New York Times as “an accessible, necessary defense of an idea under siege.”
The essence of what he had to say is in the video below. ( put out by CNN (Alexander King). I think it is worth a listen before we all become so un- enlightened in this world that we cannot listen to any viewpoint but our own. Agree or disagree, we will all live on the same planet…have many of the same worries for our global and individual safety and will share in whatever blesses or plagues us as a society. We will have a “common destiny”.
“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 1960
Other quotes may be about walking in a man’s shoes or his moccasins. Regardless, we do not understand why people say what they do or act a certain way until we have some understanding of where he is coming from or his experiences in his life’s story.
I found this true recently when I heard that Representative John Robert Lewis and others would boycott the swearing in of our new President of the United States. Under our Rights as a nation, which I wrote about in my last blog, these people have every right to do so. Peaceful protest is welcome in our nation…note the word is “PEACEFUL.” I believe that it is in North Korea, as in other dictatorships, that the people are ordered to assemble to show approval of their leader. Not doing so is definitely not an option. No one is forced to attend the inauguration.
All of this led me to do some research on Representative Lewis of Georgia. Where had he walked in his past? Many may not agree with his political views or his decision to not be a part of a peaceful swearing in of a new President, elected by the people of the United States. Nevertheless, where his “shoes” have walked may help us understand him. I point this out because we all need to see people more carefully from their viewpoint.
Here are some historical facts about John Robert Lewis:
- Lewis was born in racially segregated Troy, Alabama on February 21, 1940, and was one of ten children.
- The Lewis children were raised in a religious atmosphere and as he saw discrimination, his parents tried to keep him from becoming involved.
- While listening to the radio, he heard Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, who inspired him…even thinking that he may also be called to go into the Christian ministry.
- Lewis was only a teenager when he heard about the bus boycott being led by King, Abernathy and members of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), as well as sit-in protests of restaurants where African Americans were not allowed or made to ride in the rear of the buses.
- He was inspired to be a part of the protests, but first decided to get an education. He enrolled in the American Baptist Seminary and at Fisk University in Nashville, whose student bodies were primarily African American.
- Lewis later joined the demonstrations, knowing that he was heading into uncharted territory and danger. The federal Civil Rights Act was not passed until four years later in 1964, but Lewis had already been jailed and beaten many times. He also suffered a fractured skull.
- August 28, 1963, March on Washington, 250,000 African Americans and white people staged a peaceful march for equal opportunities. Lewis became director of Voter Education Project (VEP). From 1970 through 1977, Lewis organized southern African American voters. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Lewis to be director of US operations for ACTION, a federal agency for economic recovery programs at the community level.
- Later, Lewis became part of the Atlanta City Council and was eventually elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
- His passion for Civil Rights has led him to say, “Do not give up, do not give out, and do not give in. We must hold on and we must not get lost in a sea of despair.”
(Taken from Encyclopedia of World Biography)
CONCLUSION: (On the week before the swearing in of the new President of the United States…2017)
Of course, John Robert Lewis will not give up, in 2017, his life-long walk of protest and boycott. It is where his shoes have walked and his “moccasins” fit comfortably there. He has breathed dissent for all these decades. He would feel he had let down all those who walked with him in the past and the protesters of the future.
Sometimes, we must understand, people have difficulty not living in the past because of what they have lived and suffered speaks so loudly. The loudness of this experience, when facing the future, may drown out the very objective of those who marched…to judge ALL men and women “by their character”…thus bringing racial harmony. Even after Americans of all races voted in twice the first African American President, racial divide and discontent is exacerbated by those who cannot move on. I think I am beginning to understand what fuels the fires of distrust and opposition…it is one’s own experience. Perhaps our new, incoming President should keep “moccasins” in mind before he tweets out his rebuttals to his opponents.
Our road to freedom for all has not been an easy one, but it is one that is continually worked on in the United States. Our founding fathers of this nation would not know our country in years past or today as they worked hard to overcome the inequalities of all humans and to build a country where freedom is for all.
They had to work through their own problems of slavery, finally giving freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation. In later years we as a nation had to make things better for native Americans whose lands had been taken and whose sufferings were evident in the Trail of Tears. Men of character stood up to speak for the civil rights of all through demonstrations and civil rights sit ins. Our soldiers have stood duty around the world to guarantee that no nation would take these freedoms away from our homeland. Evil raised it’s head once more and brought the terror of removing our freedoms in our present day. We must all know what what these freedoms mean and vow that they will never be taken away.
The word FREEDOM is defined as :
- the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government orthe state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.Just as anyone who has lost their freedom or in our past history, those who had to fight for their freedoms, FREEDOM has great meaning. Men of good will have seen the wrongs done and have tried to set things right. We know that through new laws and legislation, all can eat in restaurants, have access to education and much more in our country. Sadly, the non-violent approach to protest so cherished by Dr. King has lost its way in many cities, even though many try to stay true to his beliefs. Buildings and businesses have been burned and destroyed bringing no one to a better life or more justice. Freedom, as we desire it, is lost in this type of aggression for those who want change the most.We usually think of someone being imprisoned or taken hostage in deplorable conditions when we think of lost freedoms. It actually is more than that. If a person has been active and suddenly is disabled in someway that they no longer can do the things they once did, this is a loss of freedom. Many are courageous and build upon a new life. As far as the freedoms we enjoy because we have a government and a Constitution that guarantees our liberty and freedom, we may not think of what it would be like to lose it as other nations have.Let us think about that for a moment.What are some of our basic freedoms in this country and other countries world-wide with a democracy?Here in the U.S. we are have the following freedoms guaranteed by the THE BILL OF RIGHTS. If you are an American citizen and do not know your rights, then you should read this carefully. Men and women have died for the protection of these rights for you.(Some history in brief)“In drafting the Constitution, most of the Founding Fathers believed that the safeguards written into it would protect the rights of Americans. But when the Constitution was sent to the states in 1787 for ratification, a great roar of disapproval went up. In Virginia, Patrick Henry protested vigorously against the lack of a specific statement of rights. Other Americans from different states demanded that a Bill of Rights be added to the Constitution. A number of states ratified the Constitution only conditionally. That is, they would approve the Constitution only if it were changed to include these rights. Two years after the new American government went into effect, the Bill of Rights was added as the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Congress discussed nearly 200 proposals for amendments before it presented these ten to the states for approval. The states ratified these amendments, and they became part of the Constitution in 1791:FREEDOM OF RELIGION ...guarantees to all Americans the right to practice any religion they choose, or to practice no religion at all. (Notice it was chosen first.)
Congress is forbidden to establish any religion as our nation’s official religion. Congress cannot favor any one religion over others or tax citizens in order to support any one religion.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH…The right to express your ideas and opinions… Freedom of speech also means the right to listen to the thoughts and opinions of others. This freedom guarantees that Americans are free to express their thoughts and ideas about anything. They may talk freely to their friends and neighbors or speak in public to a group of people. Of course, no one may use his freedom of speech to injure others. If a person knowingly says things that are false about another, he may be sued in court by the person or persons who believe they have been harmed by what he said. Americans are free to express opinions about their government or anything else. They are free to criticize the actions of the government and of government officials. In a dictatorship, where the nation’s government has all the powers, the people have no right to speak like this. They do not dare to criticize the actions of the government. If they do, they may be imprisoned. But all Americans enjoy the freedom of speech, which is guaranteed in the First Amendment.
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS…The freedom to express your ideas and opinions in writing. This freedom is closely related to freedom of speech…This writing may be in newspapers, books, magazines, or any other printed or written form. Americans are also free to read what others write. They may read any newspaper, book or magazine they want. Because they are free to read a variety of facts and opinions, Americans can become better-informed citizens. (Reading does not necessarily mean agreement to what is written.)
FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY …freedom to hold meetings. Americans are free to meet together to discuss problems and to plan their actions. Of course, such meetings must be carried on in a peaceful way.
FREEDOM OF PETITION…The freedom of petition is the right to ask your government to do something or to refrain from doing something… The freedom of petition gives you the right to write to your Congressman and request him to work for the passage of laws you favor. You are free to ask him to change laws that you do not like. The right of petition also helps government officials to know what Americans think and what actions they want the government to take.
THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS…The Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to bear arms. In the early years of our nation, Americans needed weapons in order to serve in the militia, or volunteer armies, that were established to defend our states. The militia provided protection during emergencies, too. Many Americans also believed that without weapons they would be powerless if the government tried to overstep its powers and rule by force.
“NO-QUARTERING” RIGHT…The Third Amendment states, “No soldier shall, in times of peace, be quartered in any house. . . .” Under British rule, the colonists sometimes had to feed and house British soldiers against their will. As a result, Americans wanted this practice forbidden under the Bill of Rights.
THE RIGHT TO EQUAL JUSTICE…The Bill of Rights contains many rights that are guaranteed to persons accused of a crime. Amendments Five, Six, Seven, and Eight are all concerned with these rights. Our nation places great importance on these rights in order to guarantee equal justice for all Americans.
- A person must be indicted, or formally accused of a crime, by a group of citizens called a “grand jury” before he can be brought into court for trial.
- A person accused of a crime is guaranteed the right to know what law he is accused of breaking.
- A person accused of a crime has a right to a prompt public trial by a jury of his fellow citizens.
- An accused person cannot be put into prison and kept there for weeks or months while awaiting a trial. He has the right to leave jail, in most cases, if he can raise a certain sum of money, or bail, as a pledge that he will appear at his trial.
- An accused person has a right to a lawyer to represent him in court.
- All the testimony and evidence against an accused person must be presented publicly in court.
- The accused person has the right to call any witnesses to appear if their testimony will help him.
- The accused person cannot be forced to testify or give evidence against himself.
- If the accused person is found guilty, he cannot be given cruel or unusual punishment. If the accused person is found not guilty of a serious crime, he cannot be tried a second time for this same crime.
THE RIGHT TO OWN PRIVATE PROPERTY…The Fifth Amendment guarantees Americans the right to own private property. No person may take away anything that we own. Nor can the government seize our land, money, or other forms of property without cause, or without paying for it. The right to own private property is one of America’s basic freedoms. Our free economic system is based upon this right.
THE RIGHT TO ENJOY MANY OTHER FREEDOMS…To make doubly sure that Americans should enjoy every right and freedom possible, Amendment Nine was added to the Constitution. This amendment states that the list of rights contained in the Bill of Rights is not complete. There are many other rights that all Americans have and will continue to have even though they are not mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Among them are the following.
- Freedom to work at any job for which we can qualify
- Freedom to marry and raise a family
- Freedom to receive a free education in good public schools
- Freedom to join a political party, a union, and other legal groups
- Freedom to live or travel anywhere in our nation
As a final guarantee of our rights, the Tenth Amendment set aside many powers of government for the states. This Amendment says that all powers not given to the federal government by the Constitution, nor forbidden to the states, are set aside for the states, or for the people. This provision leaves with the states the power to act in many ways to guarantee the rights of their citizens.
Government is the authority or power that people establish to help them run their affairs.
Governments serve many important purposes, but the most important one is that government makes it possible for people to live and work together. Government provides us with rules of conduct we can follow. Government makes it possible for people to live by known laws, and helps provide many services that citizens acting alone could not perform themselves.
Our nation’s government is based on the American Constitution. This Constitution, together with its Bill of Rights and other amendments, provides us with a workable plan of government. The Constitution also guarantees to all Americans many priceless rights and freedoms.
Our nation’s government is based upon the approval, or consent, of the people who are governed. It is a federal system in which certain powers are given to the national government and other powers are left to the states and to the people. Certain powers are shared by both federal and state governments. In both federal and state governments, powers are separated and balanced among three branches of government. (From: Hartley, William H., Vincent, William S.. American Civics. N.Y., 1974, pp. 34ff)
Protesting has its place in our democracy, but the statement below should make us think seriously about the cost of freedom, for it is not free.Video: Our National Anthem: A tribute to all who love our country and our American flag, the symbol of our FREEDOM. (turn on sound)
Who is Doug Schoen and why does his opinion on our U.S. election matter?
Douglas Schoen graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, and holds a degree from Harvard Law School as well as a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University. He has lectured at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Perhaps most of all, we may want to listen to what he has to say because he is a Democrat who has known the Clintons since 1994. He was a strong Democratic supporter and adviser to them. He is now reassessing his vote and tells us why in the video below and in his writing for The Hill.
Let’s be clear. Schoen is not a supporter of Trump…but he does care about what will happen to our nation and the turmoil or even “stand-still” or “Constitutional crisis” that our government will face if there are trials in the future…after the election… for supposed wrong doing.
Schoen wrote the following: “…Moreover, we simply cannot face a situation where the president elect may need or want a pardon from the president to govern. Or worse yet, need to pardon herself after she takes office. As of now, I have no confidence that either of those questions will be answered by Election Day or that we will have full clarity on an investigation into what could be as many as 650,000 emails that found their way to Weiner and Abedin’s computer. However, in good conscience, and as a Democrat, I am actively doubting whether I can vote for the Secretary of State. I also want to make clear that I cannot vote for Donald Trump as his world view and mine are very different. I remain a Democrat and proud of the work I did for six years for President Bill Clinton between 1994 and 2000 and I write with extreme sadness. But I cannot in the waning days of the election make the case that Secretary Clinton should be elected. I still share her worldview and am much closer to her approach to policies than I am to Donald Trump. That said, with America facing a potential constitutional crisis after her election, I am not able, under the circumstances we are now facing, to vote for Secretary Clinton….”
You listen and see if you think he makes sense, then read Mr. Schoen’s full article in The Hill .
This blog is not a political endorsement, but it is FREEDOM of SPEECH and our ability to express it.
Good for this guy who not only knows his rights, but also has a great design ability. Standing up for his rights as an American, but not out yelling at anyone or causing damage to property in order to be heard. He’s just using what is his own….and making a statement. It is a good thing that we still have freedom and the “correctness police” cannot bang on our doors or take over our property. Maybe we can all learn something from him and his creative spirit. Thumbs up to this American. He reminds me of the spirit of the people I am getting to know here in the Virginia mountains.
Who is Gregory N. Hicks?
- A whistle blower who testified at the Congressional Hearings on Benghazi
- Long-time Foreign Service Officer for the United States
- Deputy Chief of Mission for Libya
- Was the last to hear Ambassador Stevens call for help
What happened to him since the hearings? He claims he was intimidated and demoted after the hearings. (See article at end of this blog)
Below are the words written by Gregory Hicks on September 11, 2016. Boyer Writes believes it is important to read since we have just remembered 9-11 and the tragedy of Benghazi also was on a September 11. We must not forget that there were Americans under attack in Libya on September 11, 2012.
When one takes on a high position in government, he or she must declare their responsibilities of the office. “The buck stops here” is a phrase that was popularized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office. There is no room for passing the buck. We often hear and get caught up in the rhetoric and the words of excuse, but we have until November to make a decision… so read Mr. Hick’s article and decide.
What Benghazi attack taught me about Hillary Clinton By Gregory N. Hicks Published September 11, 2016
“Last month, I retired from the State Department after 25 years of public service as a Foreign Service officer. As the Deputy Chief of Mission for Libya, I was the last person in Tripoli to speak with Ambassador Chris Stevens before he was murdered in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on our Benghazi post. On this, the fourth anniversary of the Benghazi tragedy, I would like to offer a different explanation for Benghazi’s relevance to the presidential election than is usually found in the press.
Just as the Constitution makes national security the President’s highest priority, U.S. law mandates the secretary of state to develop and implement policies and programs “to provide for the security … of all United States personnel on official duty abroad.”
This includes not only the State Department employees, but also the CIA officers in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. And the Benghazi record is clear: Secretary Clinton failed to provide adequate security for U.S. government personnel assigned to Benghazi and Tripoli.
The Benghazi Committee’s report graphically illustrates the magnitude of her failure. It states that during August 2012, the State Department reduced the number of U.S. security personnel assigned to the Embassy in Tripoli from 34 (1.5 security officers per diplomat) to 6 (1 security officer per 4.5 diplomats), despite a rapidly deteriorating security situation in both Tripoli and Benghazi. Thus, according to the Report, “there were no surplus security agents” to travel to Benghazi with Amb. Stevens “without leaving the Embassy in Tripoli at severe risk.”
Had Ambassador Stevens’ July 2012 request for 13 additional American security personnel (either military or State Department) been approved rather than rejected by Clinton appointee Under Secretary of State for Management Pat Kennedy, they would have traveled to Benghazi with the ambassador, and the Sept. 11 attack might have been thwarted.
U.S. law also requires the secretary of state to ensure that all U.S. government personnel assigned to a diplomatic post abroad be located at one site. If not, the secretary — and only the secretary — with the concurrence of the agency head whose personnel will be located at a different location, must issue a waiver. The law, which states specifically that the waiver decision cannot be delegated, was passed after the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa, when deficient security was blamed for that debacle under Bill Clinton’s presidency.
When asked about security at Benghazi on Sept. 11, Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly asserted her lack of responsibility. Initially, she said that she never read any of the reporting on security conditions or any of the requests for additional security, claiming that “she delegated security to the professionals.” More recently, she stated that “It was not my ball to carry.” But the law says otherwise. Sound familiar?
Her decision to allow the Benghazi consulate to be separate from the CIA annex divided scarce resources in a progressively deteriorating security environment. U.S. personnel assigned to Benghazi tried to overcome this severe disadvantage through an agreement that the security personal from each facility would rush to the other facility’s aid in the event it was attacked. The division of our security resources in Benghazi is the root cause of the “stand down” order controversy so vividly portrayed in the movie “13 Hours.”
Notably, one of the primary goals of Ambassador Stevens’ fatal visit was to begin consolidating our Benghazi personnel into one facility, which would have concentrated our security posture in Benghazi’s volatile and violent environment.
There are no punitive measures for breaching these two laws. Mrs. Clinton will not have to appear before judge and jury to account for her failures. Is this why she felt these laws could be ignored? Because she is now the Democratic presidential candidate, only the American electorate will have the opportunity to hold her accountable.
Candidate Clinton and her campaign point to her record as secretary of state as a positive qualification for the presidency.
However, the record shows that Secretary Clinton persuaded the president to overthrow Qaddafi and advocated maintaining a diplomatic presence in Benghazi after the Libyan revolution. And then she abandoned her diplomats by ignoring her security obligations. She sent Ambassador Stevens to Benghazi during the 2011 revolution and then induced him to return in the first few months of his tenure, which accounted for his September visit there. Despite the fact that Sidney Blumenthal had alerted her to the increasing danger for Americans in Benghazi and Libya, Mrs. Clinton apparently never asked security professionals for an updated briefing on the situation in Libya. Either she could not correlate the increased tempo of attacks in Libya with the safety of our diplomats, demonstrating fatal incompetence, or she was grossly negligent.
If Mrs. Clinton was unable to fulfill her security obligations to the federal employees she was legally obligated to protect as secretary of state, how can we trust her with the security of our entire country? I won’t.”
These are the words of one man who has been in the heat of things in foreign places and was willing to bring before Congress what he knew to be true under oath. What did he have to lose? Obviously…a lot. (See article by George Zornick on Gregory Hicks and consequences of whistle blowing)