another fishing expedition without a bite

Es­ti­mated reading time is 8 min­utes.

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.


Benghazi Gowdy2

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’!

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