Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Syrian refugee resettlement program: shortsighted and dangerous

Commentary by James Shott

Americans are sharply divided over the Syrian refugee situation. Compassionate impulses are countered by the need for due caution.

The White House, which thinks any of the Syrian refugees ought to be welcomed with open arms, reported the following last week:
·         -- The United Nations High Commission on Refugees has referred 23,092 refugees to the U.S. Refugees Admission Program.
·         -- The Department of Homeland Security has interviewed 7,014 of them since FY 2011.
·         -- Of that number 2,034 Syrian refugees have been admitted since FY 2011.
·        -- So far, none of the 2,034 Syrian refugees have been arrested or removed on terrorism charges.

This information is intended to show the American people that the vetting process for these refugees works flawlessly, but even some government officials do not hold that view.

The pro-Syrian refugee crowd regards as anti-refugee those who cite reasons for being cautious about bringing refugees to the U.S. They say proponents of caution are engaged in religious stereotyping and scapegoating, and are afraid of women and orphans. Such rhetoric itself is a signal that caution is what the pro-refugee crowd fears most.  

But fallacies abound. While the U.S. is the most compassionate nation on Earth and helps people in trouble all over the world, it has no obligation to take in Syrian refugees. The U.S. didn’t cause the problems from which Syrians want to escape, and therefore it has no guilt to assuage by bringing them here.

Just because a lot of people somewhere experience a major crisis, that is no reason to invite them to come to America. It is a reason to start investigating all of the circumstances about the crisis and the people affected by it. After that, perhaps there will be good reasons to bring some of them here, or perhaps not. What follows are some very good reasons for exercising caution.

** Honduran authorities arrested five Syrians last week with stolen or doctored Greek passports that they said were headed for the U.S. Later, authorities said the five Syrian men were actually college students fleeing the war in their homeland. Note to the “bring refugees to America” crowd: Why would college students use fake passports to enter the U.S., and if they thought of using stolen or doctored passports, might not it be possible for terrorists to do the same?

** No less an authority than FBI Director James Comey has said that our government has no real way to conduct background checks on refugees. “We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them,” he explained. This is why common sense needs to be applied to this situation.

** A recent U.S. Transportation Security Administration report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General found that 73 aviation workers, employed by airlines and vendors, had alleged links to terrorism. How did they get past the vetting system and get hired?

** The brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing three and injuring nearly 300 others, were not refugees, as their family sought political asylum in the U.S in 2002. Through the years the Muslim brothers became more and more hostile to the U.S., and Russia’s FSB warned the FBI about them in 2011, but the FBI found no connections to radical Islam. Yet two years later they set bombs at the Marathon in "retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq" as one of the brothers wrote in a note. Radicals can hide here, and people who come here as peaceful immigrants can evolve into radicals after they come here.

So, after considering these factors the question then becomes, “what amount of risk to the safety of Americans do the refugee advocates think is acceptable?”

It is certainly appropriate for us to try to help the actual refugees, but we must not expose even one American to a terrorist hiding among the refugees. ISIS has pledged to come here, and it is foolish to believe that terrorists will not use the refugee situation to infiltrate the US, as those students did. We must not ignore the weaknesses in the vetting process for Syrian refugees that some US officials are specifically concerned about.

Most of the refugees don’t speak our language, most or all do not understand our ways, and many things we do in the U.S. are at odds with the tenets of Islam. With such vastly different ideas about life and living, will they really be comfortable in America? And how can we guard against radicalization among some refugees after they come here, as occurred with the Chechen brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon?

There just is simply no good reason to bring them here when we can assist them to settle somewhere that is closer to their homeland, both geographically and culturally. They will be happier, and America will be more secure.

Cross-posted from Observations

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Higher education under attack from within, by disaffected students

College campuses – once the bastion of diverse opinion, a garden where ideas thrived, where contrary viewpoints were freely expressed – are fast becoming cesspools of narrow-mindedness that stifle free speech, where political correctness rules over common sense, where free thinking is discouraged, and they are occupied more and more by students offended because someone expressed a different opinion, didn’t pay proper deference, or wore the “wrong” costume on Halloween.

Student protests are returning to 1960s/70s levels, and arise because some students think that there aren’t enough minority professors on campus while others decry a lack of “social justice,” and some have called for hunger strikes over what they perceive as a lack of support for students of color.

If students don’t like a professor’s point of view, or they detect “microaggressions” in the classroom, they feel led to demand the professor resign or be fired. You are a Hispanic kid and someone wears a sombrero and a poncho on Halloween, it’s time for a protest.

And did you know that the First Amendment makes some college kids feel unsafe? Would you ever have imagined that such an idea could take hold on an American college campus?

The vice president of the Missouri Students Association, Brenda Smith-Lezama, told MSNBC last week, "I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here." Poor little thing must be terrified listening to rap or watching television or movie drama. And she suffers under the delusion that her comfort is more important than someone else’s.

While these kids have yet to accomplish much, they believe the world must work to calm their fears, perceptions that may be adequate to drive protests and hunger strikes, but their perceptions do not necessarily reflect reality. The concerns expressed by these students are precisely the types of things the liberal attitudes that prevail on campuses today work to eliminate.

Many of the complaints have a racial element, but they really center on hypersensitive feelings about things that have always been normal aspects of life. Suddenly, these normal campus happenings that students – white students, black students, Asian and Hispanic students, female students – have dealt with successfully for decades and with little or no difficulty, are now scary and threatening.

College once was a place where kids learned to think. Today, many of them seem to know only how to feel; emotion rules rationality. Listening to different ideas used to be enlightening, mind-expanding. Now, it makes the kiddies cry for their mommies.

Missing from these children-in-adult-bodies is even the suspicion that not everything revolves around them, that they are not the be-all and end-all of the known universe.

And they also want someone to pay their college loans off for them, because … well, just because.

The process of gaining entry to an institution of higher learning is long established and has worked well for decades. Colleges and universities are places where the qualified my go to advance their education, and most of the onus is on the student to fund their education through parental help, scholarship assistance, student loans, the GI Bill, or good old hard work. And then it is the student’s responsibility to perform as expected academically to complete their degree requirements, and then go out and get a job and become a productive member of society.

That is called “life,” and life is not a smooth ride, most times. But tens of millions of Americans have successfully navigated the sometimes-troubled waters successfully without being coddled and nursed along the way. Conquering challenges and facing adversity head-on build character.

The whining behavior demonstrated on several campuses recently shows a fundamental failure of thousands of young people to have learned the basic rules of life, and have their minds grow up at the same rate as their bodies.

However, bowing to the whims of students is letting the inmates run the asylum. College is a place for learning, or once was. Professors led the learning process, administrators ran the school, and the students worked hard and did what they had to do to master the material at a satisfactory level. If students weren’t happy in a particular environment, or couldn’t hack it, they were free to leave. Or they could simply adapt. If that dynamic isn’t restored very soon, we may as well shut down colleges, because they will no longer provide a benefit.

As bad as this is for higher education, it is much worse for America. A generation or two with millions of young people among them who can’t cope with the simplistic problems of going to college surely won’t be able to be good citizens, to hold down jobs in a productive economy, or staff a strong, able military capable of defending the country, or even make sensible decisions about for whom they will vote. They can hardly be expected to weigh complex arguments rationally, when anything that doesn’t agree with their narrow ideas makes them hide under their beds.

This is what liberalism hath wrought, and it will most likely get worse.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Obama pushing for a new United Nations climate agreement

Commentary by James Shott

The United Nations has scheduled a meeting in Paris to discuss climate change, with a new international global warming agreement involving more than 190 countries as its goal. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, starting November 30 and running to December 11, will be the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The objective is to create a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, and the Obama administration has submitted a plan for a new deal consisting of national contributions to curb emissions that would alter the 20-year-old Kyoto Protocol distinctions between the obligations of rich and poor nations.

The U.S. plan depends on individual countries enforcing their own emissions reductions, and the countries that agree to the plan would be required to set new targets to lower their carbon emissions after 2020. And rich nations like the U.S. and Japan will be held to the same legal requirements as China, India and other fast-developing nations.

This all sounds wonderful, if you believe in manmade global warming/climate change; one-world government; the US making more reductions before China and India – the really big polluters – do; and the Easter Bunny.

Why would China or India voluntarily reduce their emissions when doing so would stop their development or severely hamper it? And, can the world trust both countries to honestly report their emissions? Just recently, The Guardian published evidence that China has already been deceiving the world on its coal burning carbon emissions, even before this new agreement is finalized.

At a meeting in Bonn last month to discuss a draft agreement a bitter fight developed over the degree to which countries of the world should cut their greenhouse gas emissions, how much time they will have to complete those cuts, and who will pay for the transition.

Some provisions of the draft require the complete decarbonization of the global economy by 2050, and that rich countries like the U.S. get to pay more than $100 billion per year after 2020 to compensate poor countries for supposed climate change damages and help them adopt non-carbon producing energy sources.

The basis for this stepped up attack on fossil fuel use is the old story that human activities cause climate change, and global warming is responsible for so much harm, like Al Gore’s shrinking Arctic ice cap that was supposed to disappear by 2014 (the Arctic still has a large ice cap and the Antarctic cap has grown), rising global temperatures (that haven’t risen since 1998 in the U.S.), too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (which makes plants grow and produce oxygen for us to breathe) and the rest of the more than 700 things attributed to global warming, as compiled by the British-based science watchdog, Number Watch.

California Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee and several other Democrats believe that if substantial reductions in CO2 emissions aren’t made soon then droughts and reduced agricultural output may force women to turn to “transactional sex” (once known as “prostitution”) to survive. Seriously.

A consortium of environmental activist organizations released a report titled “Fair Shares” which concludes: “Nothing less than a systemic transformation of our societies and our economies will suffice to solve the climate crisis."

Since President Barack Obama is totally on board with this concept he has already implemented his own “climate action plan.” Thus, the theory goes, the U.S. would not need congressional approval to implement the U.N. agreement, since it’s already being done through executive orders. 

Which, of course, means that Obama intends to ignore the constitutional role of Congress. Again.

“So this is just the latest example of President Obama’s contempt for obeying the Constitution and our laws,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center of Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In the past, rulers who act as if the law does not apply to them were called tyrants,” he noted.

The U.S. Constitution says that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate” to make treaties with other countries. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol had to be ratified by Congress, but it never was, even though the Clinton administration signed onto it. This agreement, too, is a treaty, and it requires Senate approval.

“CEI has warned for several years that the Obama Administration would follow advice from environmental pressure groups and try to sign a new U.N. agreement that ignores the Senate’s constitutional role,” Ebell said.

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee called the plan ambitious and cynical because it “is an attempt to enshrine in an international agreement President Obama’s unilateral environmental regulatory regime, which remains deeply unpopular among the American people.”

Opponents also point out that this agreement will not take effect until after Obama leaves office, so he won’t have to deal with the damage it causes. However, if it does not receive ratification by the Senate making it a treaty, it is only an agreement, and therefore can easily be cancelled by the new president.

Cross-posted from Observations

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Republicans face problems in debates and the House of Representatives

Commentary by James Shott

Say what you will about the way CNBC conducted the Republican debate, the business side of NBC News did something that neither Fox News nor CNN were able to do.

All three had similarities, like gotcha questions and efforts to pit one candidate against another, elements that obstructed a discussion of the serious issues of electing a nominee for President of the United States, rather than assisting voters in making an informed decision. To the extent that real issues arose, the combative atmosphere moderators created in all three debates got in the way.

In sharp contrast to the mood in Republican debates was the Democrat debate on CNN, which also failed to reveal important information about the candidates, but approached not doing so by giving hugs and kisses to the candidates.

CNBC was both over the top and under the table. The three moderators were clearly not up to conducting a meaningful debate, not even on business and economic issues, and the muddle that resulted drew almost universal criticism. Moderators were poorly prepared, partisan, thought they were the stars of the show, were argumentative and often interrupted the candidates. While so many TV news people seem infected with the idea that being quarrelsome is cool, CNBC took that to a new level. You can challenge candidates on issues and answers, and still be civil.

However, as horrible as it was, CNBC did succeed in uniting the candidates for the first time since the campaign began, if only against CNBC’s amateurish approach, and the revolt that followed did produce a little discussion of important issues.

The 2016 debate series should be a valuable element in the process of selecting presidential candidates. Along with public and media appearances, the debates are opportunities for voters to hear candidates discuss their platforms and they are the only vehicle where the pros and cons of the various positions are aired in a way that voters have the opportunity to evaluate them side-by-side. 

So far they all have been disappointing, in terms of illuminating the candidate’s views, but CNBC wins the brown ribbon for the absolute worst. In place of questions on substantive issues, the moderators worked hard to trap and demean the Republican participants, which is very different from challenging them on issues.

Unfortunately, our campaign process identifies the best candidate, not necessarily the person best suited to be president. So much is based on appearance and performance, rather than candidates’ understanding of the country’s problems and sensible ideas for addressing them. A track record of success takes a back seat to image, charm and glibness.

And Republicans have the additional obstacle posed by the liberals in the media, who often misunderstand and not infrequently deliberately mischaracterize their objectives, and tell the world how awful they are.

Granted that the GOP is sharply divided, unlike the Democrat Party that pretty much possesses no diversity of thought. But the left portrays this Republican diversity as a weakness, which is interesting, since the left considers diversity one of the most important things in life.

It suits the purposes of the left to mischaracterize and demonize the House Freedom Caucus, the Tea Party groups and other elements of the right, and there are plenty of media sources indulging in that activity.

Some, commenting on Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s election as House Speaker, wonder how he will possibly be able to manage such an unruly group. The liberal writers characterize the conservative Republican bloc with terms such as “right-wing fringe” and “radicals.”

The liberal writers are happy to offer guidance to conservatives, such as that if their subgroup wants to set policy for its party, all it needs is to have a majority of the party’s support. And if it doesn’t have a majority, it should meekly abandon its position and support the position of the majority.

And that no doubt would please liberals and Democrats, and many Republicans. However, millions of Republican voters recognize that this approach is largely why things are worse today than when the GOP gained control of the Congress, and why the Republican Congress has been so ineffective at representing their views.

These conservative House members were elected not to offer their ideas and then surrender, they were elected to fight for their supporter’s beliefs in the traditional conservative values that built the country, and to stick by them. Isn’t that what republican government is all about?

The liberals advise that when voters have put one party in charge of the executive branch and another party in charge of the legislative branch, as is the case today, compromise is demanded to move the country forward.

However, compromise does not mean surrender, as many of these “advisors” suggest. One does not oppose a bill with multiple objectionable elements, and then “compromise” by accepting the whole package when others resist changes. The two sides identify those elements they agree on, take the rest out of the legislation, and move the compromise measure forward.

Compromise means that everyone gives up something, not just the conservative Republicans. It is sad – even dangerous – that so many Republicans do not understand this.

Cross-posted from Observations

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cleanse the language and culture so that we offend no one

Commentary by James Shott

Aliens can be “aliens” no longer. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) wants to refer to them in federal matters as “foreign nationals.” And if they are in the country illegally, we cannot refer to them as “illegal aliens,” they now must be transformed into “undocumented foreign nationals.”

Never mind that the proposed new designation is longer and more cumbersome, a larger problem is that the old designation is more accurate.

An “alien” is defined as: A resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization, a foreigner. “Illegal” is defined as: By law or statute, contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.

Ergo, someone from another country who is not a citizen, who is in the country without having gone through appropriate legal processes to be here, is an “illegal alien.”

This proposed change in our use of language is being insisted upon because Castro thinks the label “illegal alien” is demeaning and hurtful. This idea ought to have linguists concerned. If words with specific meaning can no longer be applied to people or situations that precisely fit that meaning, then we have a problem that we may not be able to survive.

Frankly, if you are in this country illegally, you do not deserve any special consideration in how we describe you. If you are offended by the designation you have earned for yourself by being in the country illegally, well then, go back home, and then if you want to return, do it the right way.

The solution to removing the hurtfulness of the term “illegal alien” is to be a legal alien or a legal immigrant by following immigration and/or visitation laws, not by changing a term used in federal documents since 1790 that accurately describes the person and the circumstance.

America once was about individual freedom. You could think what you wanted, pretty much say what you wanted, and within fairly limited legal bounds do what you wanted, and you didn’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time worried about whether what you thought, said or did might offend someone, somewhere.

America did not become the country so many of us grew up in and loved by worrying about offending someone by observing long-standing traditions, or doing normal, everyday things. It also did not become the great nation it once was by accommodating people whose life consists primarily of searching out things that offend them.

One right that is not guaranteed in the Bill of Rights or by the U.S. Constitution is the right to not ever be offended. And thank goodness it isn’t. Part of being an adult is being able to cope with less-than-ideal circumstances, and each of us has an obligation to the rest of us to “just deal with it” sometimes.

Instead, many people believe that when they are offended by something, others must change to suit their preferences.

A good example of over-reaction in the name of being non-offensive is that at least two school districts banned Halloween activities, one of them because 20 percent of the students could not or would not participate.

Milford, Conn. parents and other residents were angered when the school district decided to ban the popular Halloween parades at the city’s elementary schools, due to fear of excluding children who can’t or won’t participate in the tradition.

An official of the school district told the local newspaper, the Connecticut Post, “Milford Public Schools do have many children from diverse beliefs, cultures and religions. The goal is for all children to feel comfortable and definitely not alienated when they come to school.”

A petition opposing the decision read, in part: “These are our American customs and traditions and we should not have to give them up because others find them offensive!” And a school parent added, “I’m so tired of my kids missing out on some of the things we all got to do as children and are some of the greatest childhood memories I have due to others saying they find it offensive.”

The school district reversed the decision, however, some obvious questions arise: What about the vast majority who could and probably would participate? Is 20 percent the red line beyond which traditions that some don’t like can no longer exist?

Where does it stop? How few people who are offended by some activity should be able to end to it? We Americans love and treasure our traditions, and some of them have been around since before the birth of the nation.

And, finally: Is it even possible to assure, as the Milford school district intends, that all children, or adults, will always feel comfortable and never feel alienated?

President Barack Obama was likely not involved in the actions of these school districts, but these actions fit comfortably within the idea of his pledge “to fundamentally transform the United States of America.”

Fortunately, there are tens of millions of Americans who want none of it, and will fiercely resist efforts to erase treasured traditions from our lives, and further are disinclined to go crazy trying to avoid offending the terminally offended.

Cross-posted from Observations

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Things confirmed and learned at the first Democrat candidate debate

Most people seem to think Hillary Clinton won the first Democrat debate, and she did put forth a good showing, even if the atmosphere and comments from her opponents were decidedly soft and friendly. The other debaters did not challenge the top-rated candidate.

However, fans of Bernie Sanders disagree, believing the Vermont senator was the best of the five. Sanders is the only candidate who admits to being a socialist, a “democratic socialist” to be precise, although he found little opposition to his socialist views from the rest of the group, illustrating that the entire Democrat field shares his affection for socialist dogma.

Reviewing the comments during the debate it was confirmed – if, indeed, there was ever any question – that the Democrat Party is the party of exchanging free stuff for votes, their largess made possible by those of us who pay taxes. There was so little disagreement among the debaters that some observers think that the other four candidates have realized that Clinton will be the nominee, and they seemed to be campaigning not for the nomination, but for a position in the Clinton2 administration.

The “party of diversity” is far less diverse than the Republicans, who have 1 woman, 1 black man, 2 candidates of Cuban descent, 1 of Asian descent, some older candidates and some young candidates. The Democrats, the party of people who are around 70 years old, have 1 older white woman and 2 older white men, and two middle-aged white guys.

Based on questions, comments and crowd response, Democrats do not object to Clinton putting national security at risk by shunning the government email communications system employees are expected to use in favor of her own private system for official government communications. In order to defend the former Secretary of State one must ignore that her decision to do so was “inconsistent with long-established policies and practices under the Federal Records Act and NARA regulations governing all federal agencies,” according to congressional testimony of Jason R. Baron, a former director of litigation at the National Archives. To the Democrats, it is merely a distraction from the business of getting Clinton the nomination.

Reports say that “journalists” in the pressroom exploded in applause and laughter when Sanders said the American people are sick and tired of hearing about the “damned emails!”

It was confirmed that the Democrat candidates and audience members believe the deaths of four Americans in the Benghazi assault are not important. It’s old news; just another distraction. Apparently those of us who think Benghazi is important, or ISIS, or the economy, the national debt, or the millions of potential workers driven out of the workforce by the lousy job market created by the slowest recovery in 80 years are clearly on the wrong track. Climate change, gun control and giving away free stuff are clearly at the top of their agenda. They seem not to understand that nothing is free.

They all think pretty much alike, and believe that any diversion from the “party line” is wrong, whereas the Republican candidates have divergent views about important issues. Their diversity causes a great deal of consternation and disagreement among GOP supporters and conservatives, but reflects the sense of our Founding Fathers that robust debate of contrary ideas is a foundational principal of good government.

Sanders scored points with the statement that the United States “should not be the country that has … more wealth and income inequality than any other country.” Factcheck.org found, however, that the U.S. ranks 42nd in income inequality, according to the World Bank, and placed 16th out of 46 nations in the share of wealth held by the richest one percent of the nation’s citizens. Sanders’ vision of a socialist utopia cannot stand up against the glare of facts.

Clinton gave an interesting answer to the question, “Which enemy that you’ve made during your political career are you most proud of?” In addition to the NRA, the drug companies, the health insurance companies, and the Iranians, she said that the Republicans were her proudest enemy. Interesting that she compares insurance companies, drug companies, the NRA and Republicans to the Iranians.

Jim Webb, by contrast – the former Marine Corps First Lieutenant and Navy Secretary – said he was most proud of having dispatched “the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me” during the Viet Nam War. While killing that enemy soldier, Webb saved a fellow Marine, and won the Navy Cross. Clearly, his answer wasn’t as appropriate as Clinton’s.

She told viewers that what separates her from being a third term of the Obama presidency is that she is a woman, and mentioned being a woman as a good reason to elect her more than once during the debate. Remembering what happened after the manic drive to elect the first African-American president, we should be very wary of electing someone president because that person is a woman.

That is especially true of one who thinks she deserves to be elected, and cites her gender as the only reason she won’t be a continuation of the disastrous Obama presidency.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

American media abandons objectivity in order to target Republicans

California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy on the Sean Hannity show on Fox News: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable (sic). But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

Her defenders jumped at the opportunity to interpret that statement to mean that the Republicans held the hearings expressly for the purpose of bringing Mrs. Clinton down, an allegation that became instantly popular with the left-leaning media. Mr. McCarthy’s artless statement certainly may be read to support such an assertion, but that statement can also be interpreted in other ways. However, let’s not forget that the Select Committee was formed in May of 2014, well before Ms. Clinton appeared as an  “unbeatable” candidate.

If you read for meaning, rather than opportunity, you will notice that he also said that the hearings have shown her to be “untrustable,” a result not of Republican desires, but of Mrs. Clinton’s willful behavior that the hearings have brought to light. Her falling numbers resulted from examining her flawed performance.

Objective observers understand the Benghazi probe’s purpose is nothing other than trying to get to the bottom of a deadly foreign policy and security blunder by the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

To review, on September 11, 2012 Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi, Libya, not at the embassy in Tripoli. An armed attack on the American Consulate there occurred and ultimately resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyron Woods and Glen Doherty.

The initial explanation from the Obama administration was that the attack was the result of a demonstration spawned by an Internet video, a position the administration maintained for days after the attack.

CBS News initially reported that a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi said that an angry mob had gathered outside the consulate to protest a video made in the U.S. that was offensive to Muslims, and stormed the consulate after the U.S. troops who responded to the mob’s appearance fired rounds into the air to try and disperse the crowd. CBS later reported that U.S. officials said the attack was not an out-of-control demonstration, but a well-executed assault.

The New York Times reported: "American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning." 

Suspicions arose because while a video could have spurred a demonstration, the attack that followed was clearly mounted by a military-type organized group, not a group of upset demonstrators. 

To decide if this investigation is legitimate, all one must do is ask and honestly answer some questions about the Benghazi attack. 

Does Congress have constitutional oversight responsibility to look into executive branch actions such as why Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi at a time of increasing tensions and when an organized attack by a military-like force occurred?

Should the American people know why repeated requests from Ambassador Stevens for increased security in Benghazi prior to the assault were rejected, to know who rejected those requests, and why? 

And, who made the decision to not dispatch military units to try to help the beleaguered consulate on the basis of there not being time for them to get there when no one knew how long the assault would last? 

This legitimate and appropriate investigation produced a lot of evidence about Mrs. Clinton’s performance, and her disregard of the rules about email – including using her own email system for government emails – that every Secretary of State and other Cabinet secretaries have followed since Al Gore invented the Internet that put classified information at risk. These issues have raised numerous legitimate doubts about her fitness to be president.

Yet the media seems unconcerned with these contemptuous breaches of rules and protocol, and the failure to protect classified, perhaps top secret, information. 

Meanwhile, Rep. McCarthy, the Majority Leader who was expected to succeed Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, following his announced resignation, unexpectedly declined the position. The media went wild, trumpeting the chaos in the GOP, and somewhere along the way someone suggested that Rep. McCarthy and a female representative were having an affair.

Both he and she denied it, and no evidence – let alone proof – has been produced. Nevertheless, the subject remains a part of the story about Rep. McCarthy stepping aside.

On Fox News’ “Media Buzz” last Sunday, a panel of journalists all said it is proper for this to be part of the ongoing story, despite there being no evidence that it is true. Since viewers/readers can find references to this alleged affair on the Internet, the reasoning goes, the media are therefore obligated to cite it.

By that reasoning, any allegation made by anyone about any public figure should become part of every story about or involving that person. This is the confused state of journalism today.

Message to the media: You factually report; we’ll decide.