• The Year Ahead

    Happy New Year!  2016 will be a pivotal year for California and for our country.   As we look forward to the 2016 elections, our continued support as members of the San Luis Obispo Lincoln Club for local candidates is vital.

    California’s primary election is scheduled for June 7th and the national elections will take place on November 8th.  The traditional paltry turnout means our vote matters more than ever in contests that can affect the quality of life in the place we spend the most time — our hometown. This year’s local elections carry broader significance than usual. California’s economy, government and population are changing.  People are leaving and the effects of the exodus will continue to require painful adjustments. Our state government is reluctantly recognizing a new reality, and local governments will soon follow.  Hard decisions await.  It is important that local elected officials understand and possess the ability to explain and innovate.  As Lincoln Club members we must ensure that our candidates are the best candidates for the job. The San Luis Obispo Lincoln Club Board of Directors meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month at RPSLO Headquarters at 75 Higuera Street, Suite 110, San Luis Obispo at 6:30pm.  Members are welcome to attend.  Our first meeting will be prioritizing and scheduling 2016 events, so if you have any suggestions either join us on January 27th or give me a call at (805) 994-7051 or email:  phyllisstout39@gmail.com. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve the San Luis Obispo Lincoln Club in this capacity – 2016 is our year to shine!

    Phyllis Stout, SLO Lincoln Club President

     

    Key Election Year Dates

    With debates over policy issues like immigration, personal issues like which candidate is “low energy,” and fundamental arguments about who is or isn’t qualified to be commander-in-chief, the nuts and bolts of how a candidate is chosen can get lost in all the noise. But here are the critical dates to guide you through this chaotic nominating contest.

    Feb. 1: The Iowa caucuses

    The Iowa caucuses are the first nominating contest in the nation. The momentum the winner receives that comes in the form of positive news stories, an infusion of cash from donors and sometimes additional endorsements is worth more than the handful of delegates needed to win the nomination.

    Feb. 9: The New Hampshire primary

    This is the first primary of the season (Iowa holds caucuses) and the culmination of hundreds of campaign events by candidates in the months prior. In the Republican field, more candidates are competing for a win in New Hampshire than in Iowa and the outcome could help to winnow the field.

    March 1: Super Tuesday

    It’s also called Super Tuesday because 11 states (12 for the GOP) hold their nominating contests that day. It’s also called the SEC primary because seven of the 11 states are in the South. With so many states voting, the stakes are high. Even if a winner isn’t clear after these states vote on the Republican side, the field is very likely to become smaller as candidates could start dropping out. The States voting here have to reward their delegates proportionally so theoretically every candidate can win some delegates.

    March 15: Super Tuesday, Part 2

    Only five states hold their contests on this day but it’s significant because of the number of delegates are at stake. Not only are the states large – Illinois, Ohio and Florida – and reward a lot of delegates but this is the first time in the primary that the winner is able to collect all the delegates from the state. States voting before March 15 have to reward  their delegates proportionally so that theoretically every candidate can win delegates in one state. However, only 16.2% of the delegates (400) will have been chosen from winner take all states.

    June 7: California Primary

    California’s primary proportionally allocates delegates and is not a winner take all state

    July 18-21: The Republican National Convention in Cleveland

    Conventions of late are just pomp and circumstance because a nominee is usually chosen during the primary process. But if no candidate is able to win a majority of delegates – 1237 of 2472 – then the delegates attending the convention will chose the nominee and vice presidential nominee.

    July 25-28: The Democratic National Convention

    November 8: Election Day

  • Presidents Message – Thanks

    Dear Lincoln Club:

    Thank you all for allowing me to serve as President this past year.  We started the year with 60 members and now we are close to our goal of 100.  I think our Christmas Dinner will put us over the top.  As a club we are growing in influence.  We are poised to build on our electoral successes in 2014 by supporting strong local candidates that value personal freedom.

    Please join us at the Christmas Dinner on December 3rd.  We are excited to have Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen as our guest speaker.  As always it will be a fun night.

    Onward to victory,

    Jordan

  • Presidents Message – Party Invitation

    Lincoln club members,

    We are excited to invite you to our October 11 social event at 3 o’clock at the Windows of the World restaurant in Morro Bay.  The event is free for members and only $20 for nonmembers.  Please mark it on your calendar and come join us and local elected officials for some mingling with like-minded folks.

    While you have your pen out please mark your calendar for December 3 for our annual Christmas dinner.

    Our club has seen tremendous growth this year and we are in striking distance of our goal of 100 paid members by the end of 2015.  We are the force to be reckoned with on the local political scene.  We will continue to help elect conservatives here in San Luis Obispo County that will promote fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, and more individual freedom.

    As always, if you want to help the cause go to our website SLOLincolnclub.org and become a member.

    Jordan Cunningham,  SLO Lincoln Club President

  • Tax on Services?

    If you think about it, much of your daily life already involves paying taxes to the state government. Whether earning income or eating out or buying gas or shopping online — you pay taxes in one form or another to the state. In fact, California has the highest state sales tax rate and the third highest cumulative tax burden in the nation, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.

    Now, Sacramento politicians are scheming to reach even deeper into our pockets. Under the guise of “modernization,” State Sen. Bob Hertzberg has proposed Senate Bill 8 to expand the 7.5 percent state sales tax to services. The list of productive activities that would fall victim to this services tax is staggering: agriculture, construction, auto repair, plumbing, legal and accounting services, Internet usage, even yoga and Pilates classes. Taking classes at the gym, hiring a plumber, getting your car fixed, or talking to an accountant — would cost you almost 8 percent more overnight.

    Make no mistake: This tax scheme would be disastrous for our fragile economic recovery. The increased costs to the consumer would be a dagger to the heart of the middle and working-class family budgets. This is not the time to take nearly 8 percent more from family budgets when we are still recovering from the Great Recession. This is particularly true in a community like ours, where many of us either own or work at small businesses that would bear the brunt of a services tax.

    And given Sacramento’s record of being less than forthright, taxpayers should be skeptical of grand tax schemes. Remember the gas tax increase that was supposed to go to infrastructure? Or the “temporary” Proposition 30 increase in 2012, which some politicians are already scheming to make permanent? SB 8 is a similar bait and switch. It is billed as “tax modernization,” but it would increase taxes overall by $10 billion a year, one of the largest increases in California history.

    A rational tax system seeks to minimize taxation on productive activity such as providing useful services, in favor of taxing activity that imposes external costs. Taxing services does exactly the opposite.

    Fortunately, we have some examples from which to learn. Several states enacted a services tax and then quickly repealed it when it proved economically harmful and unpopular — including Florida (1987), Massachusetts (1990), Michigan (2007) and Maryland (2007). California should take heed. Consumers, businesses and families should collectively say “no thanks” to Sacramento’s latest tax scheme.

    Jordan Cunningham
    President, SLO County Lincoln Club

  • Bears and Termites – Al Fonzi’s Farewell President’s Message

    Well, it’s been an eventful two years as President of the Lincoln Club. Starting off in December of 2012 we were all pretty down, having lost virtually every statewide seat, the Presidential campaign and barely squeaking through in local races.

    The next six months were marked by a lot of apathy and attendance dropped off significantly, but you rallied and in the course of the next 18 months we were able to rebuild, during the course of which we helped build new coalitions throughout the county.

    In 2014 we’ve won some significant victories, taking back the supervisorial seat given away by the governor to a liberal democrat, preserved our city council majorities and added seats in local offices. The Lincoln Club is now known throughout the county as an organization to be reckoned with and local interest in attending our events, as the success of the 2014 Christmas Party indicates, we are on the move.

    All of that being said, I wish to remind all of our members and friends that we must beware of becoming like bears; instead, we must learn from termites. Did I ever mention that democrats are like termites? Termites are always present, endlessly and tirelessly working their way of destruction, destroying the foundations and supports of any structure they inhabit. In the same way, liberal democrats work endlessly, ceaselessly to undermine and destroy the structures and institutions of the Republic. They never seem to tire nor sleep.

    Republicans, however, are much more like bears. We can be fierce creatures once aroused, but for the most part, we would much rather sit in our berry patch, munch away, get fat, contented, lazy and then hibernate for the winter. Essentially this is what we’ve been doing, hibernating between elections as the democrats ceaselessly work to undermine all of our efforts. We can’t be bears anymore. Winning elections and turning this state and nation around will require an endless effort to inform the public, build coalitions and an electoral machine as powerful as our political enemies want to believe us to be. President Reagan once said that “freedom is but one generation away from extinction” and we have come very close under the Presidency of Barrack Obama and the democratic majorities in California.

    The nation is in great peril, probably in more physical danger than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis as this president and his democrat allies work endlessly to hollow out the armed forces. Meanwhile, the “termites” are working endlessly to undermine the constitution and build a demographically unbeatable coalition from massive, low-skill unfettered immigration, disenfranchised minorities and wealthy, liberal environmental elites. Working people, unions and Middle Class Americans are being thrown under the bus. We much reach these people and prove an alliance with the Republican Party is in their interest, that we are the party of liberty, free markets, individual rights and dignity for working men and women regardless of race or ethnicity. If we go to sleep again as we have in the past, the next time we awaken, we may very well discover that we have neither a country nor a right to vote to reclaim it.

    At our December Christmas Party, we celebrated and elected Jordan Cunningham as our new President and Ed Waage as our Vice-President. They are representative of exactly the type of leadership we need to cultivate and will represent us well over the next year or more. Please rally to their support as I will so that the victories we obtained in 20124 can be carried over through the next elections in 2016. Meanwhile I thank all of those who supported me over the last two years and look forward to continuing to work with you and our new leaders to solidify and expand the gains we’ve made. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • Sacrifices a World Apart

    This Veterans Day held special significance for many of our fathers and grandfathers and for millions who remember the Cold War and the cost of preserving both the peace and our freedom.

    It was 25 years ago that the Berlin Wall was finally torn down on November 9, 1989. As a young Army officer I remember that hated symbol of communist tyranny, a wall being required to keep their citizens in, not an invader out. “Checkpoint Charlie” was infamous for its role serving as a point of passage between the West and East sides of Berlin and a visit to the “Wall Museum” was obligatory for anyone assigned or passing through Berlin during the Cold War. The museum was a living testament to the barbarism of communism and the extreme measures people would take to escape its tyranny. The East German Border guards had orders to shoot-to-kill anyone attempting to escape the East and 271 persons were killed between the Wall’s building in August, 1961 and its fall in 1989.

    This autumn also marks the 70th anniversary of major battles and extraordinary sacrifices by our fathers in WWII. The year 1944 was the bloodiest year of the war with American casualties counted by the thousands every week.

    In the Huertgen Forest on the western border of Germany, thousands of young American soldiers assaulted what the Nazis described as the “Westwall,” a heavily fortified defensive line in the midst of a dark and forbidding forest. It was an attempt to penetrate into the Third Reich and capture the Ruhr Industrial Valley, the heartland of Germany’s industrial war machine. The Huertgen closely resembled the dark forest described in “Hansel and Gretel.”

    This offensive took place between September 1944 and February 1945 in the coldest and most miserable winter in Europe in generations. Troops were continuously exposed to cold, rain, mud and snow. The first troops to assault the Huertgen were soldiers of the 9th Infantry Division. Survivors of that battle recall being in continuous battle for 73 days without hot food or bathing, existing in miserable conditions.

    Fighting was extremely close, measured in yards apart with rifles, machine guns and grenades. Artillery shells, as many as thirty per minute fired by the Germans and set to explode in the treetops, produced the worst effects, raining hot shrapnel down on American soldiers. The soldiers of the 9th Division were followed by soldiers of the 28th Division, a National Guard Division from Pennsylvania. The Germans renamed the red unit patch of the 28th from the “Keystone Division” to the “bloody bucket,” a nickname that stuck with American GI’s. They suffered terrible casualties, 3000 in 10 days to advance no more than three miles. In a later effort, the 28th Division suffered 6000 casualties in only six days.

    Across the world the American Navy fought its largest surface engagement of WWII as a group of American Destroyers, small ships designed to sink submarines or defend against air attack, took on the main Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944.

    In October 1944, the Japanese launched a last gamble to thwart the American invasion of the Philippines. General MacArthur’s famous return to the Philippines was fully underway with thousands of troops landing on Leyte. The surrounding sea was filled with transports and supply ships but the main American fleet was lured away by a Japanese feint, leaving only a few light aircraft carriers and six American destroyers behind.

    The Japanese suddenly appeared in the morning mists, the “Pagoda Masts” of Japanese battleships dominating the skyline. The Leyte landings were at grave risk as enormous shell splashes from battleship salvos straddled and struck lightly armored aircraft carriers.  The carrier “Gambier Bay” was struck repeatedly, eventually sinking, one of two carriers sunk by surface gunfire in WWII. The American skippers of six destroyers and destroyer escorts did the only thing they could; they attacked, charging the Japanese Battle Fleet with such ferocity that the enemy believed they were engaged by the main American fleet. The Destroyer “Johnston,” skippered by Commander Ernest Evans, the first native-American to command a U.S. warship, received direct hits from Japanese battleships hurling 2750 lb shells at 1650 feet per second. The “Johnston” kept firing as she sank, even as her decks were awash, scoring hits on the bridge of a Japanese heavy cruiser. The Japanese commander ordered a retreat and the Leyte landings were saved due to the incredible courage of American sailors and a Navy tradition of not giving up the fight. Commander Evans’ heroism was recognized by a posthumous award of the Medal of Honor.

    Most of these brave men are gone; a 17-year-old boy who lied about his age to serve at Leyte Gulf would be 87 today. They’re passing quickly; remember them.

    Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • Those Who Live in Straw Houses

    Come the first of January 2015, we’ll all get to pay another 70 cents a gallon for gasoline, courtesy of the Democrat, global-warming crowd that control the State Legislature. It is the first of several large increases in the gas tax which some in Sacramento suddenly realized might have serious consequences for their long-term employment. Thus far, efforts to get their colleagues in safer, liberal-progressive districts to consider rolling back this tax have fallen on deaf ears. The news reports I read indicated that the gas tax will be increased up to an additional $1.82 over the next several years. This is to subsidize green technologies and to dissuade us ordinary mortals that we really can’t afford to drive cars, live in single-family homes or drive pick-up trucks with an engine larger than four cylinders. They’re right, we won’t be able to afford to live or work where we want or enjoy life if “extreme greens” have their way.

    As a small example of the economic consequences, dropping off clothing at the dry cleaners will become more expensive as the local cleaners are required to meet new regulatory requirements on equipment. Since the dry-cleaning equipment currently in use cannot meet the new standards, they’re being forced to junk operational equipment and purchase new equipment by 2016 at a cost of $80,000. Staying in business requires generating revenue to pay for this sop to environmental perfection; we’ll be privileged to pay quite a bit more to offset the added expense incurred to comply with this new set of environmental regulations. It is only one regulation of many especially affecting small businesses, driving up the cost of virtually everything, except the wages needed to pay for them.

    In a recent newspaper article of mine, my critic on all matters environmental accused me of using “straw man” arguments to challenge some of the assertions made about climate change. I would disagree and suggest that he bring his research up to date.

    Opening the pages of the Wall Street Journal (Sat-Sun, Sept. 20-21, 2014) in the Review section on page C1, the lead headline read, “Climate Science is Not Settled.” The author is a computational physicist, Dr. Steven E. Koonin. He was Undersecretary for Science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. His career spanned 40 years of scientific research in academia and government. He states that the key questions aren’t whether climate is changing as it always changes, nor that whether humans have influence on climate; they do. Rather, Koonin states that the overriding question essentially boils down to “How will the climate change over the next century under both human and natural influences?” Koonin asserts that question is NOT settled and is in fact the hardest question to answer. In his article he takes grave exception to the promulgated gospel by climate alarmists that the science on this issue is anywhere near settled. He discusses the complexity and deficiencies of computer climate models (55 in use) that fail to provide necessary detail to accurately model past climate let alone make accurate future predictions. He describes the computer modeling involved as more art than science and relying upon more estimation than actual available data.

    My objection to “settled science” dogma is based upon the unexplained fact that as of next month there has been no statistically significant warming of the earth for 18 years. When the ten-year mark was passed we were told that it was just a temporary pause; 15 years was supposed to be the breaking point by which time warming would resume. We’re well past the 15 year mark despite significant increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  We were told a decade ago that the world was in crisis, polar bears were drowning for lack of sea ice (they’re dying due to hunting; only four were reported drowned after a storm); polar ice was disappearing yet in both the Arctic and Antarctic ice levels were expanding to record levels according to satellite data. Sea ice fluctuates; for a time it was diminishing but it then returned. Some other mechanism was at work, not predicted by computer climate models. We’ve seen e-mails and admissions of exaggeration to generate alarm among legislatures to obtain consent for measures to impose job-killing environmental restrictions. Extremists knew full well they’d never be passed without a full dose of fear given the extremely adverse economic consequences for the nation.

    But let’s cut to the chase; how about a debate? Let’s find funding and we can both find experts to debate the issue (2015?) as true science is never really settled. The loser buys dinner.

    Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • The Congressional Impasse; aka Harry Reid

    We continuously hear criticism of the “do nothing congress.” The reason why nothing is being accomplished to address the myriad problems besetting this nation lay in one man, Senator Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada and the Senate Majority Leader.

    Senator Reid has bottled up 357 bills sent from the Republican controlled House of Representatives, which includes the Immigration Bill passed on August 1st, refusing to bring them to the floor of the Democrat-controlled Senate for debate let alone a vote. Of these bills, 98% are bipartisan and 2/3 of the bills were passed by a 2/3 majority vote, in some cases unanimously; 55 of them were authored by democrats, yet Reid steadfastly refuses to bring them to the floor of the Senate.

    In the Senate, Republicans are continuously denied the right to add amendments. The latest example of this occurred the last week the Senate was in session prior to the summer recess when Republicans were denied the right to submit any amendments to the Senate version of an Immigration Bill. In two years, only 9 amendments have been accepted by Reid and Senate Democrats whereas in the House, controlled by Republicans, a single bill had 15 amendments added by a Democrat congresswoman without Republican objection. This type of hyper-partisanship is the reason why the nation is facing a legislative roadblock in the face or international chaos and a humanitarian crisis on the southern U.S. border. Reid is determined to protect the President and his party from making hard choices while continuing to blame Republicans in the House for every legislative failure to address the nation’s problems.

    Every patriotic American and political candidate, regardless of political persuasion, should be writing every newspaper, e-mailing every friend and relative, writing and calling every U.S. Senator and calling in to every TV and Radio program with a political venue to protest the obstructionism of Senator Harry Reid and his democrat allies. The business of the nation cannot wait for the President to make time out of his busy fundraiser schedule nor can we continue to tolerate the deliberate sabotage of the legislative process by the venality of one man.

    Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • When The Sky Really Falls

    The e-mail I received today was dark. An American contractor in Iraq was gripped by the fear expressed by someone not in control of their circumstances. It read:

    “Water, ammunition and other critical supplies are not being delivered to what few Iraqi troops there are who have not already ripped-off their uniforms and fled. Bumbling US State Department is providing zero support to contractors and other Americans still here…ISIS does not take prisoners…is slaughtering captives and non-combatants alike…has hit lists with names of government officials, opposition, police, military personnel. All are marked for death. The ultimate slaughter will defy imagination!”

    Iraq is a far off place to most Americans, a vision on a TV screen and not much more unless they or a family member served in Iraq or in some military capacity. For others it’s real people, faces and memories, lives about to be shattered and a feeling of helplessness to do anything to help them.

    We live in a world so interconnected that a hiccup in an unpronounceable location will drastically affect your wallet or your life and pose an indelible threat to the future of your family. Accordingly, we place a great deal of trust in our leaders, particularly national leaders, to deal with these threats efficiently and intelligently. We give them great latitude and almost unlimited resources at their command to shoulder this burden on behalf of we ordinary mortals. That such burdens take a toll on our leaders is well documented; did you ever see a President depart office without significant signs of aging? When Johnson left the White House in 1969, he lived barely two years before succumbing, his health broken by the strain of the Vietnam War. The burden of responsibility imposed upon the President is daunting regardless of his political persuasion. The duties require utmost attention and diligence lest the lives of 300 million Americans be shattered as a result of faulty judgment, ineptitude or indifference to duty.

    Every president makes at least one serious mistake for which they pay a political price or worse. Mistakes come with being human and can be forgiven. Virtually all presidents recover to one degree or another provided they recognize a mistake for what it is and are willing to change course given new information. The danger is amplified if ideologically-driven pride trumps judgment and a leader refuses to alter course or worse yet, doubles down on the original error. The result is almost always catastrophic for those directly affected.

    Americans are being assaulted on virtually every front with disasters political in origin with daunting consequences.

    Internally, we have government bureaucracies openly contemptuous of elected leaders and of the laws passed to govern us. The President, who ultimately holds responsibility for these agencies under his authority, feigns outrage but does nothing, steadfastly blocking requests for a federal investigation or prosecution of offending employees.

    Overseas, American foreign policy is in shambles. Chinese warships bully Asian nations with impunity while staking out claims for territory internationally recognized as belonging to other nations. In their quest for energy resources the Chinese government understands that in the face of American weakness, “might makes right.”

    In the Middle East, especially Iraq, a war won after much bloodshed is then lost due to fecklessness and obtuseness. The violence occurring there didn’t have to occur but for the ideological blindness and crass political motives of the President. The al Qaeda of Iraq terrorist Army, now called the Islamic State of Iraq, Syria and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL) has effectively partitioned Iraq, terrorizing half the population and boasts of targeting Jordan and its royal family next. They’ve acquired heavy weapons, possibly even chemical ordnance, which if used on Israel will evoke a retaliatory nuclear response. Iran is permitted to keep its 19,000 centrifuges running to process uranium for nuclear weapons even as it builds medium range and intercontinental range missiles for use against Israel, Europe or the American heartland. The region is being set up for a catastrophic regional war involving nuclear weapons. Millions could die.

    For 5000 Americans left in Iraq, there is little being done to proactively evacuate them from Baghdad. Moving 5000 people out of the center of Baghdad is logistically difficult under the best of circumstances. Evacuating civilians under fire while running a gauntlet of ambushes en-route to the Baghdad airport is asking for a massacre. Worse still, imagine the image of 100 captive American civilians on your TV screen, hostages of the ISIS. Finally, deploying 300 “advisors” without a quick-reaction force (combat troops) to back them up is criminally negligent. A military officer sending men into harm’s way without proper support would be summarily relieved of command for dereliction of duty. So too should the Commander-in-Chief.

    By Al Fonzi, President, Lincoln Club of SLO

  • Will it be Party or Country?

    This week the Congress has reached several milestones in the interminable committee hearings and investigations that garner much or little news coverage. The IRS committee has finally cited a recalcitrant and arrogant IRS manager, Lois Learner, for contempt for refusing to answer questions after making a speech asserting she’d broken no laws…except you can’t do that if you’re exercising your 5th amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. You have to keep your mouth shut. Why should we care about what democrats assert is only a partisan witch-hunt? If you were a campaign contributor to conservative groups, like the Tea Party or newly involved in politics, you would suddenly find yourself subjected to significant intimidation by various arms of the federal government. A memo released just last week revealed that the IRS subjected Tea Party and like-minded groups to 10 times the level of scrutiny afforded to any other groups. Imagine having your chances of an IRS audit increase by ten-fold; would that not make you think twice about becoming involved or contributing money to a political group or cause? Under Learner’s supervision, the IRS illegally shared private tax data with other government agencies, specifically the Federal Elections Commission, in an attempt to have groups she disliked prosecuted under election laws in addition to denying them tax exempt status routinely granted to similar liberal groups of which she approved. To put it mildly, that’s not fair let alone legal. It’s a calculated attempt to suppress the political speech of Americans with whom she disagrees using the power of the Federal government to violate the civil liberties of fellow citizens. Not until the contempt citation was issued did the IRS finally agree to provide investigating congressional committees Learner’s e-mails in a timely manner.

    The Benghazi Select Committee has finally been approved, an action long overdue. Multiple committees have investigated various components of what occurred at the Benghazi, Libya consulate on September 11, 2011, when our ambassador and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist attack. Significant evidence exists that Ambassador Stevens was tortured before he was murdered by Islamic terrorists. The constitution of a select committee to investigate Benghazi will allow one committee to pull all of the evidence from the disparate congressional committees into one source, enable comparison of prior testimony and depositions and allow trained prosecutors to take depositions from witnesses under oath and at length. No more political speeches from congressmen attempting to obfuscate the issues or witnesses stonewalling until the five-minute time limit for questions expires, as has happened for the last two years.

    There are some who don’t want you to know what happened as the result could be politically embarrassing if not devastating to the careers of those who defend the indefensible. Why do we really need this as haven’t we been endlessly told that there’s nothing else to know? We haven’t heard from any of the 31 survivors of the Consulate or CIA annex attacked on September 11th; they were sequestered in Germany, sworn to secrecy via “non-disclosure agreements” which if violated, subject the signer to severe criminal penalties, not to mention end of career and loss of pension. Many were transferred to far-flung locations to prevent access by congressional investigators. Thousands of subpoenaed documents were received by congress either as blank pages or “redacted,” completely blacked out by markers and then classified to prevent release.

    The September 11th attack on the Benghazi consulate occurred at a facility left hopelessly and unnecessarily vulnerable. The captain of this ship was Hillary Clinton; she was at the helm when it ran aground. The web of lies and deceit afterwards has been a national disgrace. Subsequently, Clinton failed to hold senior officials accountable; all the State Department employees temporarily suspended were returned to full duty in the face of the worst State Department debacle in 30 years, one that left four good men dead.

    We also know, thanks to individual arrogance, that a White House National Security Council spokesman, a political operative personally close to President Obama for over a decade, took an active part in formulating the talking-points used by UN Ambassador Susan Rice, blaming a video for that Benghazi attack. In an interview with FOX News, he let slip that he personally changed intelligence references to an “attack” to say “demonstration” but quickly back-tracked when the FOX anchor called him on his comment. The response was, “Dude, that was like two years ago” as he feigned a sudden loss of memory.

    The Democrats now have the choice Republicans did forty years ago in Watergate; in the latter, President Nixon was brought down because Republicans joined Democrats in demanding truth and accountability. So, will the Democrats choose Party or Country and join Republicans in demanding full truth and accountability from those who serve us?

    by Al Fonzi
    President, Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo County