JohnPeipon copy 2

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

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 fits 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 …)



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.”

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“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’!

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.