another fishing expedition without a bite

TAKE ANY INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST of the most modest of means, say someone from your local paper where the term ‘investigative journalist’ is probably used only in reference to The Times of The Post (or as a joke). Give that journalist a minuscule budget—I dunno, say a paltry thousand dollars—and four weeks to investigate me, and he would turn up evidence that would cause the following five (minimally) events to transpire:

1.  my wife would realize that my countless anecdotes about my past that she thinks of as so much malarkey and embellishment really only scratch the surface;

2.  my brother and sister would think they were siblings to a changeling;

3.  my daughter would emancipate herself from me;

4.  my friends would ridicule or abandon me; and

5.  my parents would die from apoplexy! 1

That popped into my head a few weeks ago when ratiocinating my way through the latest round of Clinton-bashing by the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy. This time it was the ninth (!) committee committed to fishing—er, I mean finding—the ‘truth’ about what happened in Benghazi three years ago. 2

“It should make you wonder why those investigations failed to interview so many witnesses and access so many documents.”

Why did this latest Rep*blican outing consternate me and bring on a bout of ratiocination?

Because it is really really easy to find dirt on most of us as we all tend to have skeletons dangling in the darker recesses of our lives. Yet they can’t seem to find much of anything skeletal in any of Hillary Clinton’s closets.

But how can they NOT find anything? Ever since former rightwing hatchet-man David Brock failed to find even gossip hinting of a lurid, lusty Lesbian past, it’s been one failure after another in digging up dirt on Hillary.

She didn’t cheat on her husband.

She didn’t cheat on her taxes.

She didn’t cheat or lie about any of her jobs, investments, or relationships.

There has to something they can find, especially if they go fishing often enough, right?



Well, cartoonist Dave Granlund seemed to have been seeing the same things that I was seeing. There were lots of good editorial cartoons on this subject to be found on the Internet. but this one fit the bill best.

Benghazigate should be old hat

I have been sitting on this piece for weeks now, waiting for some sanity. But first, an explanation for the title of this essay: the term fishing expedition means, “a search or investigation undertaken with the hope, though not the stated purpose, of discovering information.” (Google)

Three weeks ago I requested that a friend send me the photo that is the header image at the top of this page and his wife is getting antsy to see her old man as a Featured Image of the Month on this site so here it is.

Benghazigate should be old hat by now, but those tenacious Rep*blicans seem to be born to the rod and reel! 3



Of course, not everyone saw it as another fishing expedition without a bite, such as Bruce Plante of the Tulsa World.

Will the meeting please come to order

For Benghazigate, there have already been eight committees empowered to investigate the incident and produce reports the House Select Committee on Benghazi chaired by Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC). These eight include five House and two Senate committees and one by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board.

•  In 2012, there was the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence lead by Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI).

•  In 2013, there was the House Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Representative Ed Royce (R-CA).

•  In 2013, there was the House Committee on the Judiciary chaired by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

•  In 2014, there was the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee chaired by Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA).

•  In 2014, there was the House Committee on Armed Services chaired by Representative Buck McKeon (R-CA).

All those parenthetical capital ‘R’s should give you a hint of the partisan nature of these committees.


I found this excellent cartoon by Bob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the Warmonger Report site. It was used as the header to an editorial that began, “So what have we learned that is new and not some rehash from the previous zillion [Benghazi] investigations you ask? Nothing, except that this has been a partisan attack from several sources. Two congressmen and a former staffer have all alleged this was a witch hunt from day one . . . And how come no one is talking about the fact that Republicans cut funding for security for embassies which directly led to tragedies like this?

Will the meetings please come to order

Those eight committees account for tens of thousands of man-hours of investigation, interviews, research, etc.

Those eight committees account for tens of millions of taxpayer dollars spent.

And what did the previous eight previous investigations find of wrongdoing?


Of neglect?


Of a cover-up?


Now, is it possible that all these committees arrived at similar conclusions because there was . . .

. . . get ready . . .

. . . because there was NOTHING to find?!!?


According to someone who says he knows, each of these Rep*blican-led committees found NOTHING because they were incompetent!

The source of the proclamation of incompetency does come as a bit of a surprise: it is the chairman of the current chapter in the never-ending story of the investigation of Benghazigate, Representative Trey Gowdy. He is head of the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.

I will repeat Chairman Gowdy’s statement: “You will hear there were previous congressional investigations into Benghazi. And that is true. It should make you wonder why those investigations failed to interview so many witnesses and access so many documents.”

Mr Gowdy actually questions whether all of those other Rep*blicans were “really serious and thorough.”

Inconceivable! 4

So, why did they fail? For the same reason his quest failed—it’s simple: there is no evidence of malfeasance!

Yet Mr Gowdy dragged Ms Clinton through more than ten hours of nationally televised questioning when we now know he had no more “evidence” than those who failed before him? 5

Can we then assume that he and his committee simply were not really serious and thorough?

(That’s a rhetorical question, folks.)

Now, this is over with and here’s what we know that we didn’t already know: _______________ .

That’s a blank space after the colon in the last sentence. Guess what it stands for?

(That’s a rhetorical question, folks.)

But you do know what every Clinton-hater out there is gonna believe, right?

That she somehow pulled the wool over yet another few thousand investigators and they are gonna demand another investigation . . .



Ah yes, the enemy of my enemy is my ally and I don’t think anyone in the past forty years has made more enemies of my enemies than Mrs Clinton! To which I say, Brava!!!

She is guilty as shit (despite no evidence)

Here is a typical comment posted on Facebook under a photo of Clinton: “Sickening. The bitch drags it out, hiding shit. Denying related. Denying classified. Then after these emails are demanded. They get scrubbed. Followed by lie after lie. You try that while you are under investigation. She is guilty as shit. Used same tactic as holder in fast n furious. Drag out, stonewall then say old news.”

Our right-of-right-of-center brethren have been told for so long that the Clintons are guilty of . . . you know, things, that they believe they have to be guilty. No one has ever presented any evidence of that guilt, but because of the effectiveness of what is called the ‘vast rightwing echo chamber,’ people have heard it over and over and over again here there and everywhere.

Ergo, it must be true.

To them, the complete lack of evidence of lies just means that Hillary Clinton is a better liar than anyone since Old Scratch himself. And that’s probably how they conceive this at some base level—as Biblical in dimension. 6

There is NO possibility here for these people to be incorrect because they are always right.

The only thing they will be satisfied with is a confession, evidence be damned.

PS: Alternative title for this essay: “Benghazigate IX, or Trey Gowdy’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame.”



TITLE & HEADER IMAGE: This photo was taken of an old friend fishing on the eastern shore of Chappaquiddick Island. He is after striped bass, bluefish, or skate or some of the other finned finds common to Chappy—along with a days’ relaxation and an opportunity to ratiocinate about life and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Our unnamed fisherman is our Featured Image Man of the Month for November 2015 here at Neal Umphred Dot Com. (And be thankful I don’t have a centerfold here, because he’s older than I am . . .)

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1   I have never used apoplexy in a sentence before, although I have always wanted to. Great word, a dated word, meaning “unconsciousness or incapacity resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke,” and/or “incapacity or speechlessness caused by extreme anger.” Both would work here. I expect never to use apoplexy in a sentence again, but it feels good getting it out of my system.

2   If Rep*blicans have this much fun investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton and finding nada because there was never a shred of evidence (and I mean factual evidence, not conservative conjecture) to hint at criminal or ethical wrong-doing, just think of the f*cking ball they would have investigating the Bush-Cheney cohort!!! That is, they could go on a fishing expedition and catch more than their share. Hell, they’d have to toss some back in for the do-nothing Dems to chase after.

3   Just in case, the term old hat is used “to refer to something considered uninteresting, predictable, tritely familiar, or old-fashioned.” (Google)

4   Yes, I channel Vizzini.

5   And maybe televised is the operative word here: Gowdy & Co. just want face time on the Glass Teat.

6   Old Scratch is one of the GREAT names for the Devil, although it is rather dated and usually associated with the South. It is derived from the Old Norse word skratte, which means “goblin, monster, or devil.”



Should this great cartoon by Lee Judge of the Kansas City Star be our 800 Pound Gorilla in the Room Cartoon of the Month? Or should we look for one that addresses another fishing expedition without a bite as its topic?

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4 Replies to “another fishing expedition without a bite”

  1. “No one expects the Spanish (Rep*blican) Inquisition!”

    These folks, and I use the word Liberally, didn’t read enough P.K. Dick, Heller, or Vonnegut.

    They have created an alternate universe in which the Cheney (OOOPS, Bush) presidency did nothing incriminating, and lain the blame for all the worlds woes on the Clintons and President Obama.

    Now, I’m not saying that the Dems are correct and blameless all of the time, because there is plenty of “mea culpa” to go around, but this is getting f*cking Shakespearian. Between the witch hunts, the partisan corruption, the uncompromising opposition, and the hate-mongering, venom spitting TV show of a Rep*blican campaign, the founding fathers(Jefferson, Madison, Washington, even Lincoln and the rest), must be rolling over in their graves.

    I think that I gotta go outside, rig up my fly rod and catch a few trout!

    Just Sayin’!

    1. Another one they laughed at because they just can’t/won’t get “it” was/is Richard Brautigan. Here is his Karma Repair Kit (Items 1-4):

      1. Get enough food to eat, and eat it.

      2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet, and sleep there.

      3. Reduce intellectual and emotional noise until you arrive at the silence of yourself, and listen to it.


      I heartily recommend these four steps as a de-stressor after dealing with rightwingnutness, especially the seeming ubiquitous (Ubik, anyone?) smug sarcasm.

      1. His untimely (to those cared and/or read) demise was the reason that I stopped reading Rolling Stone.
        He was a great columnist, and an inspiring person in any media.
        I still miss his intellect.

        1. “As a child when did I first hear about trout fishing in America? From whom? I guess it was a stepfather of mine.
          Summer of 1942.
          The old drunk told me about trout fishing. When he could talk, he had a way of describing trout as if they were a precious and intelligent metal.
          Silver is not a good adjective to describe what I felt when he told me about trout fishing.
          I’d like to get it right.
          Maybe trout steel. Steel made from trout. The clear snow-filled river acting as foundry and heat.
          Imagine Pittsburgh. A steel that comes from trout, used to make buildings, trains and tunnels.
          The Andrew Carnegie of Trout!”

Time to get that something off your mind ...

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