Throughout America’s history Congress has declared war eleven times. Six of those Congressional authorizations were declared against various countries as we entered World War 11.

A congressional resolution, but not a declaration of war, got us into eleven additional conflicts. Both Iraq wars and the Viet Nam conflict were fought under a congressional resolution.

I could not believe I did it. I watched every minute of over 11 hours of hearings of the Select Committee on Benghazi.

So after all that time what did I learn? Well, supplementing some other insight I have regarding State department culture, rules and process, I come up 3 major points.

In today’s political America we seem to be divided between the right and the left. As one who has a couple of degrees in Political Science I should understand the difference in the various positions but I must admit I stay thoroughly confused.

On the issue of abortion for instance it should be relatively simple to explain the conservative position vs. the liberal/progressive position, but if you think about it from an historical perspective it gets a bit muddled.

For example, former Senator and Republican candidate for President Barry Goldwater, the epicenter of conservative thought in the 60s, had a very simple position on abortion –it was up to a woman to choose. This was under the conservative theory that government should stay out of a person’s private life. Today that position would be considered a liberal/ progressive position.

It has recently been in the news that both Ben Carson and Donald Trump are asking for Secret Service protection. There is a specific process in place to determine who and when Secret Service protection is granted.

Basically it starts with a request to the Director of DHS and is then reviewed by congressional leadership to determine if a presidential candidate has enough support among the electorate and that there may have been or is likely to be, various threats against a candidate. The question of does the government have the resources to provide protection is never an issue.

There are pros and cons to having protection. The obvious advantage is that it does give a candidate “street creds” in terms of their viability and protection is usually a good thing given the multitude of crazies running around.

Jerry Parr died last week. Jerry was a true American hero. He was in the right place at the right time and acted with foresight and decisiveness. Because of his actions Jerry changed the course of American history.

I knew Jerry because he was a member of an association managed by my former company. The company was Diversified Management Services (DMS), the association was the Association of Former Agents of the US Secret Service (AFAUSSS) and Jerry became an American hero because he saved the life of Ronald Reagan.

Columnists, political pundits and editorial writers throughout the country will spend the week reviewing and analyzing each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the good and bad one-liners that came out in the debate.

There are a number of things that I think most pundits will miss that are important take a ways which should be examined.

Years ago-a quick airport run –a large crate-and a huge black dog appeared –

Cisco-black lab-made up of a bundle of energy and boundless love came into the young family of Goodsons-later- went away with a neighbor to start a new

life as an Alabama coon dog- I’m sure he loved the woods-the water and life in general

 

Fast-forward some 35 years and his soul mate Blackie appeared-

Black-black-the longest tongue in dog dum- sparkly eyes- boundless energy-jump from couch to chair to floor to lap-only need is love-only gift is love back-

Blackie went away as most do because a loving family wanted no pain for him.

He lived 100 years –compacted in only-8

Scruffy the cat died last night

Scruffy was a true cat – a loner, inquisitive, studious, playful, and generous with affection

Only on his terms

Neutered and declawed, he was a house cat, who always wanted outside, but once there wanted in

In 2011 we stayed in two places on the Big Island, the first was a home on the water in Hilo. It was an older plantation style home with the main floor on the second story. It had great ocean views and was close enough to the water to hear the ocean. If you ever stay on this part of the Island be prepared for a chorus of frogs singing every evening.

The second floor living room was totally surrounded by windows. Sliding them to the right could open each window. Each window also had screens to keep out the bugs. When we checked we opened a number of windows to reduce the musty smell. Understand Hilo is a very wet and rainy town.

I guess it started with a dog whose name is a distant forgotten memory. Killed by a car in front of the house in Princeton Illinois when I was 10. We buried him in the back yard—deep- so I assume he is still there.

Tippy, our dog in Idaho, quite a handful, so much so he went to a ranch and enjoyed life until a tractor tire got him.

Cleo, the family dog when my parents took the family to, New Jersey. She was a Cocker with a Cocker disposition. Lived a good long life until she got sick and old and my dad had to take her for her last ride to the vet’s office, actually twice before he could complete the task.

Cisco, a pure bred black lab with enormous energy given to us by my sister –in –law and shipped by air to Georgia. Came out of the crate like a bullet and ran every moment of his life. We gave Cisco to a neighbor who took him back to rural Alabama and made a coon dog out of him, bet he lived a great life.

Buffy, the dog who lived with us the longest – 2 months to 17 years. A feisty female, loved long walks, was afraid of nothing, could jump 4 feet in the air and truly enjoyed life until hurt by a German Shepard. A grieving family put her to sleep a year later. Until moving again I could look out our townhouse window and see where her ashes were buried.

Then 15 years ago a family of three dogs came into my life along with a human they brought with them. Rojo- the smart laid back big dog, Blackie, the fraidy cat dog with many neuroses, but very lovable and finally Sweet Pea, the queen bee of the place, treated well by her brothers, but like human women probably the strongest of the lot . Oh yes Newton, brought home to be a companion for Sweet Pea when the other dogs had passed on . He was not that brilliant and had issues with weather but as sweet a dog as there ever was and loved Sweet Pea, giving them both second lives.

Eventually age caught up with him and Sweet was left along again. She weathered the loneliness like a human widow-had good days and bad until her bad hips and cancer took it’s toll and she exclaimed “I’m ready to go-don’t keep me any longer –it’s my time.   So today is the day she went—-May 18,2010. We will miss her greatly.

P.S.-I guess it’s been maybe 5 years since we got Sable, a Husky Shepard mix. He was an older dog, very willful and it took me a long time to bond with him. we are certainly bonded now but he is still willful and will not come if called therefore a leash is always present when we go outside. Diabetes is taking a toll on him but he is still moving forward and enjoyed life. He is a part of the family and will so until he passes.

Where would we be without such great partners in life?