Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Benghazi: Kimberly Meuse Has the Last Word

Kimberly Meuse: Artist, Analyst, Citizen

Read it into the Congressional Record.  Read it on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Recite it whole whenever Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly or Mitch McConnell or the Koch brothers surrogates utter the word, "Benghazi."  Kimberly Meuse has so thoroughly demolished the whole absurd Right Wing blow hard narrative about the Benghazi debacle it is amazing nobody has done what she has done sooner.

An artist in Portsmouth, N.H. has somehow done what all the yammering would be pundits have failed to do: She simply places the deaths of an ambassador and other Americans in historical context and along the way she shames (if it were possible for Republicans to fee shame) Kelly Ayotte for her pandering the the worst excesses of the Republican conspiracy.

Read the Portsmouth Herald's letters to the editor for May 14, 2014, and there it is, all laid out.

Starting with the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beruit which killed 16, and moving on to the bombing, just 6 months later,  of the U.S. marine compound in Beruit early in the Reagan administration, with the deaths of 241 Americans, Ms. Meuse recalls how very differently a Democratic Speaker of the House responded, with a single, thoughtful, bipartisan effort to analyze what went wrong and to prevent another disaster. After the first attack, the Congressional investigators laid down plans to protect foreign missions from similar attacks, but the Reagan administration failed to implement them in time to prevent the second attack on the marines or a third attack in which the CIA station chief in Beruit was kidnapped and yet another attack killed more Americans. When President Reagan was asked how he could have allowed the subsequent attacks to occur without implementing any of the safeguards and walls of protection the Congressional committee had recommended, he famously shrugged and replied, "Anyone who's ever had their kitchen done over knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would." 

Ms. Meuse remarks, "Imagine the Republican response today if President Obama made this quote. Would Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., have declared  Reagan's words 'didn't pass the laugh test?'"

Along the way, Meuse builds the case that in the Democratic response to the deaths of Americans in Lebanon was the clear intention to avoid scoring political points but to honor the deaths of those who served by trying to ensure no more of their colleagues would suffer the same fate, while in the Republican response, years later, all that counts is politics and point scoring.  Buried in Senator Ayotte's indignation is the plain fact that the Republicans in Congress have gutted protection for our foreign service officers overseas by cutting funds through sequestration. For Republicans, money is more important than the lives of American foreign service officers. 

But, then again, in the eyes of the Tea Party Republican Congress, foreign service officers are just part of the problem, because they are part of government. 
And you know, as Reagan chanted so often:  Government is not the solution. Government is the problem."

When government is run by Republicans, the Mad Dog must agree this is true.
Joseph Welch: "Senator, At long last,  have you left no sense of decency?"


  1. Mad Dog,
    Agreed-a great letter that does a superior job exposing the partisanship and hypocrisy surrounding the Republicans treatment of the Benghazi tragedy. The number of attacks and lives lost were so much greater in the Lebanon incidents in the 80's and Reagan's kitchen example surely didn't answer all the questions, but the Democrats were not out for blood. They recognized it for what it was, a national tragedy not a political opportunity. Bravo to Ms. Meuse for refreshing readers memories on this-now if only someone would ask Sen. Ayotte about this next time she's doing the talk show circuit-her back pedaling would be fun to watch...

  2. Maud,

    We must get started on a serious effort to unseat Ms. Ayotte.
    To me, being a political and marketing ignoramus, this means we have to do more than the local knocking on doors stuff. Too much money will be pumped into the state from the Koch brothers to overcome with shoe leather.
    My bright idea is a series of youtube productions hoping they go viral on line. I'm working on writing the scripts. I've got the puppets. But, as I learned to my chagrin during the last election, you need production technicians who know what they are doing, actors for voices, and lots of help. The Hampton Democrats and even the Portsmouth Democrats look at you like you are from Mars when you start talking about this. They are simply too old and hidebound and unimaginative.
    If I still lived in Washington, I'd know exactly who I could call on to get these skits made. Up here in NH--no connections.

    Mad Dog

  3. Mad Dog,
    I agree it's going to take some serious effort to unseat Ms. Ayotte, however do you think it's a little early considering she's not up for re-election for two more years and the Shaheen-Brown fight is more immediate? Maybe not. I think your idea of a political parody puppet show is interesting and has potential and as I said before I'm happy to help where I can, but I can assure you that's not saying much. I don't have any acting experience-the one time during school I was in a play I was cast as a tree. Seriously-I wore a green turtleneck and held branches-speechless-so I don't know how I'd be doing voices. To say technology isn't my forte would be quite an understatement and I don't have any local theater connections.

    Now that I've reviewed all that I can't do, I can say that I could perhaps be helpful in making calls to recruit production techs and actors, doing scheduling etc. Stuff you might not have time for given your day job. I do know a somewhat recent college grad, who studied film making and is very experienced in video production, however he did get a new job so I don't know his availability. I can contact him, if you want, to see if there's interest-what time frame are you thinking you'd be ready for filming? Also, how many techs and actors do you think you'll need? Anyway, that's what I can offer- being a "helper"...

  4. Maud,

    Yes. Defeating Scott Brown is the priority.
    My last foray with trying to set up this attack puppet show was most discouraging. I developed some scripts, presented to a variety of groups of actors and techies, got lots of enthusiastic responses, and nobody showed up to the production meeting. Nobody was getting paid, so it was predictable, I guess.
    I did discover both Hampton HS and Exeter have free to the community TV labs for video taping Don't know if they are open during the summer.
    Anyway, I'm willing to try again. No sense in giving up.
    The idea is trying to film the show, put it on Youtube (the first hurdle) and hoping it goes viral.
    I wonder how to proceed. Last time I tried going through Hampton Dems and got a lot of polite smiles and "Sure, good luck with that." But no bodies in the room.
    Any idea on organizing local talent?

    Mad Dog

  5. Maud,

    The Hampton Democrats ( have started to stir a little. A few people have expressed interest in an "exploratory committee" to see if it is realistic to spend some time and effort trying to launch the attack puppets project.
    We are not even to the point of arranging a brief meeting, but we may soon reach a number sufficient to warrant a brief meeting, likely at my house in Hampton or at the Old Salt, depending on what people prefer.
    If you want in, let me know. Or, if you can't be physically present, I can put you on the email list.
    This blog is anonymous because I do not want to have my own radical political opinions to intrude into the exam room when I see patients.
    So, if you want to reach me, try this gmail address:
    I will check this for a week or two. It's a mostly unused email address.
    Mad Dog

  6. Mad Dog,
    Sounds good. Best of luck with your "exploratory committee"--working with volunteers can be so tricky, they swear they're going to show up and then, at the last minute, decide to stay home and make Jell-O...If I have any ideas or contacts I think would be helpful, I'll connect with you via the gmail address....

  7. In light of President Islam (a.k.a. "Obama") having decided to not attend the march in France, there is not a Democrat in the United States who can walk out their door without being ashamed for the party they have aligned themselves with. I truly feel sorry for you at having to bear the brunt of such embarrassment at President Islam's conscious decision to not attend. Now, now, before y'all start hollering as to why he wasn't there, spare me, please. There was no excuse; you cannot justify that decision. You may find temporary solace in trying to rationalize it ("He was golfing!") but eventually you'll come to the conclusion the rest of the United States - indeed the World - already has: he is a public embarrassment to us all. He not only humiliated the very Office he was elected to but is also a terrible disgrace to his Race. Hopefully Hillary can turn things around once she's in office, but she's going to have her work cut out for her.

  8. BrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!