National Coming Out Day

Yesterday the Congress of the United States held over 4 hours of hearings to investigate the assassination of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. citizens during a terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. The President of the United States and other members of his administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, and Press Secretary Jay Carney all indicated in the days following the attack that the violence was caused by a 15 minute YouTube video defaming Muhammed, the Muslim prophet.

The following information was uncovered during the hearings.

1. Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, head of a 16-member military team assigned to protect the Ambassador in Libya, requested additional security personnel on several occasions but was denied additional support directly by the deputy assistant secretary for international programs, Charlene Lamb. In fact, even the 16-member team was removed from the field in August. That’s August, the month before September which include the 11th day of September, a day most Americans will never forget.

2. In the year preceding the attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, there were upwards of 250 incidents of violence against foreign diplomatic personnel in Libya. Two attempts were made to kidnap or assassinate the British Ambassador to Libya, and there were two IED explosions at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Perhaps Colonel Wood’s request for additional security was warranted.

3. The State Department knew, in real time, that the attack on the consulate was a coordinated terrorist attack. Video surveillance at 8:30 p.m. on the evening of September 11, 2012 shows the consulate to be calm and secure. No mob, no crowd, no spontaneous gathering to protest a video or anything else. The same surveillance shows a hundreds man fighting force with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades attacking the consulate at 9:30 p.m.

Armed with all these facts, at the ceremony to honor the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others upon the return of their remains to the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still bemoaned the tragic deaths caused by an amateur video on YouTube. Five days after the attack, Susan Rice, The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, talked on four separate Sunday news shows about the spontaneous protest caused by the video that turned to violence. The President of the United States, fully two weeks after the attack, told the ladies of The View on national, network TV that they were still investigating the attack and the video certainly had something to do with it. All of these, and many other statements by administration officials, are in direct conflict with the facts known by all of them at the times of their statements.

None of this, however, is what this post is about. This morning, I wanted to see how the national media was addressing this tragic story and the reaction of our government in the face of these revealed facts. Nothing. There was no mention of the hearings on the front page of any online network news site (except, The Washington Post online or The New York Times online. Our government failed to protect a U.S. Ambassador despite repeated requests for more security and this administration blamed his death on a video that dissed Muhammed which had nothing to do with the coordinated Al Queada terrorist attack that led to his capture and assassination, and it was not news.

Instead, some Chinese author named Mo Yan winning the Nobel Prize for literature seemed to be the most important news of the day. And on, the first thing you see, the first headline under the Good Morning America banner is. Are you ready for this?

National Coming Out Day: Moments in LGBT History.

WOW, that is news. Certainly more important than the murder of a U.S. Ambassador and the government’s attempts to obscure his death’s cause.

Russell’s Books 21008

Russell is getting in the game. Records last week, books this week. This is a very interesting list. As I’ve said many times before, I’ve learned more from the books I’ve read than from all those years in the classroom. I think Russell is in that same school. The world is our classroom, after all, and together through time we have learned many things. I’m going to include the comments he sent with his list.

In response to your invitation to send you a list of books
I’ve been reading or have re-read:

Selected Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant

The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler

Ecce Homo Friedrich Nietzsche (translated by Walter Kaufmann)

The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato

Conversations of Goethe by Johann Peter Eckermann
(I highly recommend to anyone. This is one of my most cherished books. A vast wealth of information, insight, analysis, commentary about life, art, existence written by Goethe’s close friend/apprentice/assistant Johann Peter Eckerman, taken from conversations with the greatest poet/writer/mind in German history, during the last nine years of Goethe’s life. I bought it last year and I read and study it often. Exceptionally well written and expressive.

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt
(Considered to be the best book ever written on the Italian Renaissance and it’s historical signicance.
From a review of the book:
“A brilliant piece of writing— and the source for what so many of us in my generation believed about the history of the Renaissance. The prose here was celebrated in Peter Gay’s (classic) “Style in History” for both its cool patrician detachment and deep aesthetic sense, and reading Burckhardt is a pleasure. I have a History PhD, and I’ve taught History at universities— and while there are newer visions of the place and time that are more “scientific” and based on findings and techniques unavailable to Burckhardt, “Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy” is always and ever the place to start. History grew out of literature, not science, and Burckhardt is a master of narrative and of creating a world. Witty, ironic, put together out of a mastery of sources and a wealth of cultured knowledge – you can’t begin to know 15th-c. Italy without Burckhardt.”)

What I find an invaluable guide for my reading program and journey of learning is the eloquent introductions in many of the books I choose. For example, in the Maupissant book, I learned of his key influence Flaubert, and the short story masters of the nineteenth century like Turgenev and Chekhov. So, I will at some point read some of their works next. We’ll see where the journey takes me.

Russell’s List 21002

I’ve known this guy since high school. We got in a lot of trouble together. Have to say, I was surprised at a couple of his selections. Seems like he’s softened a bit. What do you think? (Can’t say too much, though. I have all these records he’s listed.)

Here’s my box of records I want on an island:

Album Artist
Legend Bob Marley
Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd
Rumours Fleetwood Mac
All You Can’t Leave Behind U2
Love Deluxe Sade
Quadrophenia The Who
Physical Graffiti Led Zepelin
Diva Annie Lennox
Clockwork Angels Rush
Symphony #6 Ludwig van Beethoven