Op/Ed - Benghazi: What really matters.

by Pete Scobell, Fmr Navy Seal Officer

When the initial reports of the Benghazi attacks began to surface along with reports detailing attacks on the Embassies in Cairo and Sanaa on September 11th, I wasn't surprised. Like many other Americans, I assumed that those in the Embassies were prepared for this contingency given their locations and the symbolic date. I was saddened to hear of Ambassador Chris Steven's death as well as the "other Americans," and my sadness was deepened when I learned that two of the Americans killed in the attack along with the Ambassador were former Navy SEALs, one of whom was a friend and former teammate. Little did I know that this would develop into the debacle it has since become. All political drama aside, the piece of this story I choose to hang onto has nothing to do with the finger pointing or political side stepping aimed at preserving the integrity of the current administration long enough to get reelected. Men sacrificed themselves for one another and for their country. What kind of a man, in the face of overwhelming odds, knowingly and freely lays down his life for the man next to him? Glen Doherty and Ty Woods did just that. At that moment it didn't matter that they had been Navy SEALs or that they were now contractors operating under different laws and rules of engagement. History doesn't remember "Golgatha Gate" and the political fallout of crucifying Jesus. An entire religion was born from that simple act of suffering and sacrifice, not the reelection of Pontius Pilate. I'm not implying that Glen and Ty were the sons of God and that President Obama is the fifth Perfect of the Judaea Providence. What I'm saying is that politics and bureaucracy trend towards failure and that individuals have the capacity to instantaneously realize divine greatness despite being captives of a flawed and broken system led by individuals who do not possess comparable character.

Take their past and future out of the convoluted story and focus on the cold hard truths people face when in combat. You either fight or you run. What makes a person stand and fight to the death? Is it an oath to a piece of paper or a paycheck? No. People fight to the death for the respect and love of the individuals next to them. It's their common lives , shared suffering, and love for one another's unlimited futures that keeps them in the fight. The actions of two Americans in battle and the character they displayed in the face of overwhelming odds should be what guilts this administration into letting the truth be told. When I learned that Glen and Ty engaged the enemy until the very last breath of air left their lungs, my sadness turned to pride, and my pride to envy. They were blessed with warrior's deaths and they died fighting alongside one another. Their actions should make all of us ask ourselves hard questions. For those who understand what I'm talking about, no explanation is required, and for those who don't, these are the only words I can find in a feeble attempt to describe it. My heart goes out to Glen and Ty's families. The confusion and grief that follows the loss is unbearable at times. However, I hope eventually the families can put aside the politics and the hate for those who should have and most likely could have acted in the aid of their loved ones. When this all settles, I believe what will remain is the towering example of character these two men displayed. When this is all said and done, this event should not be remembered for the failure and lack of character displayed by the political leadership, but rather by the simple and powerful act of selfless sacrifice by individuals for one another.

The truth will come out, it always does. I know the truth is sitting in someone's gut somewhere and it's eating them up inside. The moral dilemma they are wrestling with will only continue to grow and consume them until they are compelled to act in order to preserve their own character and soul. I just hope it is not too late...

Even without hearing a formal explanation from the Obama Administration or the State Department , it seemed fairly apparent from the onset that given the location and the significance of the date (9/11), these attacks had to have been preplanned and coordinated. I was shocked to hear the "cause" identified by the Obama Administration was a video on YouTube. I actually laughed out loud when I heard that... it's 9/11, we've been at war with Islamic Extremists for over a decade. The attacks came on the heels of the Arab Spring. Muslim Brotherhood influence is rapidly expanding along with anti-American rhetoric from the newly elected President of Egypt....nope, it was the result of a YouTube video. I was insulted. Does the Administration really believe the American people are that ignorant?

This mess was created by the administration in an attempt to minimize failures in leadership by their appointees. In truth, with all that is going on in the world, the American people may have just forgotten about the incident and written it off as an unfortunate result of American insensitivity. However, in an interesting twist of fate, it seems that the monster the administration created in the wake of the Bin Laden raid came back to bite them.

What the administration failed to take into consideration is that right now (good or bad) America is obsessed with Navy SEALs. I'm sure that none of the official intel briefings contained that information, because prior to the Bin Laden raid it held little or no weight. Glen and Ty were working as civilian contractors and contractors have been sufficiently demonized by the press throughout the Iraq war to the point that the administration probably assumed they could brush this off without much of a backlash. Who cares about a couple mercenaries who murder women and children getting killed?

Glen and Ty were members of the SEAL community which has received much more press than it should have gotten in the past few months. They fought and died just as they would have when they were on active duty. They were civilians on a contract, but somehow the SEAL ethos has taken precedence over the mercenary label previously given. The fact of the matter is that they were not on active duty serving as Navy SEALs. They were civilians working on a 1099. What's the difference? Ask a lawyer...it's a big difference. I'm betting the administration was hoping to minimize this event and their plans were foiled by America's love affair with the SEAL Teams. They fought and died by the SEAL ethos in defense of their beloved country. They did what every warrior would have done. They stood between the sheep and the wolves. It was the right thing to do. The situation they found themselves in is one that many former SOF operators turned contractors have found themselves in...high and dry. In this case their past didn't come back to haunt them. Instead, Glenn and Ty's past is coming back to haunt those in the administration who wished for their own leadership failures to pass under the American public's radar.

When you take the spin out of the equation, remove the election, and look at this from an objective standpoint, you see a slow bureaucracy,a lack of contingency planning constrained by a complex legal justification for overt military action in a sovereign nation on a compressed timeline with less than optimal real time intelligence. In short, a recipe for disaster. This complex mixture of politics, inner agency struggle, lawyering and failure to act will eventually be pinpointed somewhere within the middle of The State Department where politics and nuance trumps action , where management is trying to save their own asses in order to get ahead. Secretary Clinton's blanket acceptance of responsibility is evidence of this failure.

Could this have happened under anybody's watch? Of course. What is telling is how the administration handled the incident. There was a blatant failure in leadership somewhere in the chain and instead of admitting it, identifying it, and taking steps toward fixing it, they instantaneously moved to deflect the entire event. Since that didn't work , they are attempting to use any and all events as a platform to move past the event.

It is not the failure and the loss of life that bothers me. That's a cold thing to say, but anyone who has spent time working within our Government bureaucracy understands how poorly it operates and that these events will happen regardless of who is at the helm. What's extremely troublesome is that the character and valor being displayed at the lowest levels consistantly and without exception outshines the "leaders" at the top of the chain. This is not a recipe for success. Transparency is what we need as a nation right now and we need to face some painful truths. Glen and Ty were just two Americans trying to do the right thing and in the pursuit of what they believed to be right they sacrificed their lives without concern for their own fate. Isn't that the kind of character we should demand of our elected leaders? Glen and Ty died for one another in the defense of their country and they didn't even have an election right around the corner. I would hope that someone in middle management at the State Department sees the example these two men set and choses to tell the truth and shed some light on the graveyard of integrity that is their leadership.

In one of his first executive orders, President Joe Biden reversed the Trump administration's ban on critical race theory training within the federal government.

Christopher F. Rufo, director for the Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, joined BlazeTV's Glenn Beck to discuss what this means moving forward and how you can help defend America's values in your local governments, businesses, and schools.

Rufo, whose research inspired former President Donald Trump's ban on critical race theory training in federal agencies last year, said he's gearing up for a classic David vs. Goliath underdog fight and taking this "Marxist takeover" to the courts, where he's optimistic it'll be ruled not only anti-American, but outright unlawful.

"We're going to wage decentralized, relentless, legal warfare against critical race theory in every American institution, and really flood the zone in the courts," Rufo said. "I think that when we get up, hopefully, to the Supreme Court, I'm confident that we'll win because this stuff is just so toxic, it's so divisive, it's so harmful. I have faith that at the end of the day, the folks within the judiciary — and even the court of public opinion — will be on our side."

Watch the video below to catch more of Glenn's conversation with Christopher Rufo:

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Remember when rooting for your favorite sports team felt patriotic? It's no secret that the sports world has become extremely leftist over the past few years and is now even preaching anti-American ideals in many ways.

This week on "The Glenn Beck Podcast," Glenn spoke with veteran sports journalist Jason Whitlock about where he believes this all started — and Whitlock tied it back to former President Barack Obama, Nike, and China.

Whitlock first talked about how professional football and baseball used to have a healthy rivalry over which was the most patriotic.

"The military fly-overs, the national anthem before the game, and all of that — the NFL tried to make you feel like the most patriotic thing you could do on a Sunday is go to church and watch football. It was a brilliant business strategy that catapulted football to where it's America's favorite pastime. ... It's something that I authentically believe in: Sports do teach the values that best exemplify America," he said.

"Then China and our competitors figured out, if you really want to influence American culture, you have to get into the sports world," he added.

Whitlock also told Glenn why he believes President Obama and Nike both played significant roles in moving left-wing political rhetoric into the world of sports.

"I'm not some super-harsh Barack Obama critic, but I'm just going to let the facts speak for themselves. Barack Obama intentionally partnered with ESPN because he wanted to speak to that sports audience," he said.

"It was a process of 'let's move left-wing stuff into the sports world,'" he added. "And Nike is a much bigger business, five to six times more lucrative than the NBA. Nike actually runs the NBA. The NBA is a marketing arm of Nike. Nike's relationship with China is the key to all of this."

Watch the video clip below, or the full podcast with Jason Whitlock here:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

IN PLAIN SIGHT: COVID and mental health

NotesfromPoland.com

A lot of times, people drown in plain sight. Largely because most of us haven't been taught what to look for. We're accustomed to the movie version of a person struggling in the water — flailing their arms and shrieking and gymnastic — but in real life drowning is quieter, something you could see and not realize. It's never been harder than it is now, in 2020, as we're all locked indoors, alone, out of sight.

Every year, an estimated one million people worldwide kill themselves. A death every 40 seconds.

America is in the throes of a suicide epidemic, with the highest suicide rate since World War II. Suicide rates have risen 30 percent since 1999, and the number keeps climbing. There were 45,000 suicide deaths in 2016 alone. In 2017, there were 47,000. Roughly 129 people a day.

In 2018, 10.7 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.3 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide. There were 48,344 recorded suicides. That's roughly one person every 11 minutes. And that's 1,171 more people than the year before. The average American knows 600 people. Meaning, the increase of suicide deaths in one year was more than double the number of people you know. And that's just the difference.

Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in this country. It is the second leading cause of death among children, and since 2000, there has been a worrying jump in the suicide rate of 15-to-24-year-olds.

In January, USA Today ran an article about the rising suicide rates, "More and more Americans are dying by suicide. What are we missing?

That was January. Three months before the pandemic sent all of us indoors.

An article in The BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, points that "Widely reported studies modeling the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates predicted increases ranging from 1% to 145%." In other words, "We really don't know."

So we can't prove exactly how much damage the pandemic and the lockdowns have caused, or how many suicides there have been this year compared to last year because those numbers will take a while to assemble. But we can get an idea by measuring the scope and prevalence of the conditions that lead to suicide, and they are significantly higher in 2020. Because what's not in doubt is that the pandemic has gravely affected people's mental health.

Affect on Adults

For starters, while suicides tend to drop at the start of pandemics, they quickly increase in response to the conditions of quarantine. It's also true that suicide rates increase during recessions.

A study in Science Advances journal noted that "as the rates of COVID-19 positive cases and deaths increased substantially across the United States, COVID-19–related acute stress and depressive symptoms increased over time in the United States." A CDC report from August found that in 2020 compared to 2019, adults' symptoms of anxiety have tripled and symptoms of depression have quadrupled (24.3% versus 6.5%). Compared to 2018, two different studies concluded that symptoms of depression and "serious psychological distress" are triple the level they were. In fact, the rates of anxiety and depression have been higher throughout the pandemic than "after other large-scale traumas like September 11th, Hurricane Katrina and the Hong Kong unrest." Ten percent of Americans surveyed in June said they had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days.

French philosopher Albert Camus once wrote that "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

Well, we find ourselves — literally and figuratively — in the depths of winter.

Well, we find ourselves — literally and figuratively — in the depths of winter.

Lockdowns

A number of studies warn about the danger posed by lockdowns. One in particular, published in Lancet, summarizes it well: "Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. Some researchers have suggested long-lasting effects."

The report is very clear about how to minimize the harm of quarantine: Give people as much information as possible, reduce boredom, improve communication, emphasize altruism, and keep lockdowns as short as possible.

Affect on Children

The pandemic and the lockdowns have been especially difficult, and even fatal, for one group in particular, but you might not have heard about it because the media is too obsessed with identity politics to stop for a moment and look at the bigger picture. I'm talking about the most important population: Children.

But they aren't dying of Covid. In fact, children are more likely to die of homicides, drowning, or even fires and burns, than they are to die of Covid. The Academy of Pediatrics reported that, as of December 3rd, children accounted for slightly more than 0% of all COVID-19 cases, and even fewer deaths, about 0.11%, about 160 in total. There are still 15 states with zero reported child deaths. They don't even catch it as often: They account for less than 2% of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases globally. Even here in America, the nation with the highest infection rates, that number is the same: 2%. And, when they do catch it, the overwhelming majority of them experience either no symptoms or mild symptoms. Another recent study found that, compared to the flu, children play a minimal role in spreading Covid-19, and most children who contract it actually get it from their parents.

So they rarely catch it, they almost never die because of it, and they don't spread it. Yet, according to data from the CDC, the rate of children visiting emergency rooms has skyrocketed. Compared with 2019, the number of 5-11-year-olds is 24% higher, while the rate for 12-17-year-olds is 31% higher. This surge is due to mental health reasons.

According to a ton of studies (Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here), during the pandemic, children of all ages have "had high rates of depression, anxiety, and pos-traumatic symptoms as expected in the aftermath of any disaster."

The reality is unequivocal: The lockdowns and quarantines are bad for children. Certainly much, much worse than the disease itself, a point Donald Trump was heckled by the media for making. We waded through a sea of studies, reports, and articles, and the consensus was so consistent that we shifted our focus to looking for studies that said otherwise.

The International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction released a study this month that found that three in four children have reported having depression, and that "the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's mental well-being is worrying 60% of parents, according to a survey by parents with primary-aged children and 87% reported that their children were missing school and less than half stated that their children were feeling lonely, which altogether affects their children's mental health and wellbeing."

One study found that children of all age groups "showed more clinging, inattention, and irritability. However, 3-6 year-olds were more likely to manifest clinginess and fear that family members might contract the infection, while 6-18 year-olds were more likely to show inattention and persistent inquiry." Another study found that "In many households, children who end up staying indoors become restless and, in some cases, violent."

Children need predictability... and they need to believe that their parents are in control of things.

Uncertainty, social isolation, and parental angst. Children need predictability, they need activities, and they need to believe that their parents are in control of things. But, as a result of draconian lockdowns, they have spent much more time in front of screens. They are also more susceptible to sleep disruptions, or "somatic symptoms." And they are at a much higher risk for sexual abuse and domestic abuse, and, without school, unable to escape it.

Like us, they'll be dealing with the long term effects of the pandemic and lockdown for the rest of their lives. The difference is, we're more equipped to handle it.

One report refers to the undue harm lockdowns cause children as "collateral damage," adding that "we all have a responsibility to promote the health and well-being of children at home, and to ask questions and fight for service provision in areas where clinicians are not needed to fight COVID-19 but are needed to protect children."

As a society, it is our duty to protect the defenseless, and there is no group of people more defenseless, yet more important, than children.

German philosopher Kant wrote a lot about suicide. His argument can basically be boiled down to two parts:

1) I ought to do my duty as long as I am alive; and

2) It is my duty to go on living as long as possible.

He used the anecdote of civilization as a human body. We must only harm our body if it's necessary for self-preservation. If a toe is necrotic for whatever reason, we amputate it, so that we can preserve our body, our person, as a whole. Suicide, on the other hand, is an act of destruction. It is harmful, not just to the person it removes from humanity, but to humanity as a whole. Each of us plays a role in making sure that body remains in motion. So, when a person resorts to suicide, they are harming the body, the whole, they are depriving society and humanity. They are severing limbs or slicing our arms. They are robbing us of every good that they would bring.

School

Most European countries have closed their schools. According to UNESCO, 91% of children worldwide have been affected by school closures. A study from Bangladesh found that Bangladeshi children were suffering from higher rates of depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorder. In Italy and Spain, one study determined that 85% of parents have noticed negative changes in their children's emotions and behaviors since the pandemic. In England, deaths by suicide among children increased shortly after the country's first lockdown. In Holland, a study "found that young people reported a significant increase in severe anxiety and sleeping problems during the country's lockdown period." Numerous studies from China found that roughly a quarter of children were suffering from the same symptoms. In India, like many other countries, children are spending so much time in front of screens that experts fear it will lead to "psycho-social problems, like lower self-esteem."

Meanwhile, in Sweden, where schools and childcare centers have remained open, the spread of Covid as a result of children attending school is practically nonexistent. Over the next few years, research will show us exactly how Sweden's no-lockdown approach affected their youth.

The research concludes that children should remain in school.

Overwhelmingly — and I mean overwhelmingly — the research concludes that children should remain in school. Academic articles are known for their boring, long-winded, incomprehensible titles, but not these. Like this one: "Mitigate the effects of home confinement on children during the COVID-19 outbreak."

Children need physical activity, which is crucial to minimizing depression and anxiety. Schools provide structure. Schools are a consistent source for children's nutrition, and a lapse in nutrition can have psychological effects. Schools also provide healthcare.

School closures have also put children at a higher risk of domestic violence or sexual abuse, because "school is a safe space where children can report problems and where signs of abuse can be detected."

Children need community. They need friends. While many adults are at home with their kids, most of us are working, and children left alone on workdays are more likely to have anxiety or depression.

Teenagers

According to the CDC, of every demographic, 18-24-year-olds have been most affected, with 75% of respondents in that age range reporting at least one negative mental health symptom. One-quarter said they were using more drugs and alcohol to cope with pandemic-related stress, and another one-quarter said they had "seriously considered suicide" in the previous 30 days.

No prom. No graduation. No church. No dates. No birthday parties — birthdays spent alone. No games. No homecoming. No extracurricular clubs. No sports. No Spring Break — no vacations at all. No funerals, although there are plenty of people being buried.

Teenagers in lockdown are more concerned about their more basic needs. They feel less connected to other people. They are learning less and spending less time on school work. In other words, they are hurting, and bad.

The number of studies that back this up is daunting.

Three papers (Here, Here, and Here) determined that older adolescents suffer more symptoms of depression than younger ones and children. Another study describes the "collective trauma" that the lockdowns have had on teenagers.

The National 4-H Council found that:

●81% of teens say mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S., and 64% of teens believe that the experience of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generation's mental health.

●7 in 10 teens have experienced struggles with mental health.

●55% of teens say they've experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress, and 43% depression.

●61% of teens said that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feeling of loneliness.

●82% of teens calling on America to talk more openly and honestly about mental health issues in this country.

Life has always been hard for teenagers, but even before the pandemic, it has been especially rough on American teenagers, who are twice as likely "today to have more anxiety symptoms and twice as likely to see a mental health professional as teens in the 1980s.

Here's how the conversation went on radio:

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: The politics of COVID-19 is DESTROYING our children youtu.be


On "Glenn TV" this week, Megyn Kelly, host of the "Megyn Kelly Show," told Glenn Beck she believes the Democrats' talk of unity is "all nonsense" and forecasted the "death of journalism" under a Biden administration.

Megyn cited President Joe Biden's unwillingness to make concessions that would help unify Democrats and Republicans as an example of how much he actually cares about unity, and added that, while she's all for lowering the political temperature in America, she also believes there are some personal freedoms that are worth fighting for.

"What's happening substantively is worth fighting for and it's not going to go away just because [Biden] gave a nice speech," Megyn said.

"I will object. I will protect my family and what I think is right over Joe Biden's need for unity, which is false anyway. 'Unify behind my agenda' is not a real call for unity," she added.

Megyn said she believes the Left has reached too far and "awakened a sleeping giant" in reference to the silent majority who should speak up, speak out, and refuse to be silenced any longer.

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

Because the content of this show is sure to set off the censors, the full episode is only be available on BlazeTV. Get $30 off a one-year subscription to BlazeTV with the code "GLENN." With BlazeTV, you get the unvarnished truth from the most pro-America network in the country, free from Big Tech and MSM censors.