Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Scandals": The Echo Chamber Pulls Out Ahead

I play in a band that performs in bars and restaurants. The first week of March we were playing in a place that has a TV over the bar, which they keep tuned to Fox News. I remember standing there on a break watching it -- everything was about Benghazi. Benghazi? That consulate in Libya that had been attacked six months earlier? What is the news story there?

I watched Rivera, O'Reilly, Hannity, and a bunch of pretty people I did not recognize, as they spoke seriously to the camera. There was nothing else, only Benghazi. The sound was down, I couldn't hear what they were saying, but it was clearly very serious.

A couple of weeks ago, mid-May now, we played in that place again, same thing, Fox on the TV over the bar. Same thing, nothing but Benghazi. I mean, nothing else. According to a UMD database, there were 64 attacks on American diplomatic targets during George W. Bush's term as President. Do you remember any news network devoting their entire programming day to any one of those?

I don't watch the news on television a whole lot. I'll catch about fifteen minutes of it before bed, then fall asleep. As far as I could tell, the issue had something to do with some talking points that had been revised. Maybe Hillary Clinton was supposed to have read every State Department cable message, and she "ignored" one. Is that it?

A couple of weeks ago I noticed The Post was putting Benghazi stories on page one, like "Critics of the administration say that ..." Erin Burnett on CNN started carrying it, as if it were a real news story. Congressmen started holding hearings about the talking points. Republicans were saying it was "bigger than Watergate."

Dick Cheney this week actually said, "I think it’s one of the worst incidences, frankly, that I can recall in my career."

Think about that one. If you concentrate real hard, you might be able to recall another incident during Cheney's career that was just as bad. Hint: it happened on the same date as the Benghazi attack. Hint: Benghazi was attacked September 11th, 2012. Give up?

Some government emails were quoted on ABC and other news media, showing that the administration was trying to make themselves look good, as the media tried to turn this into an actual news story. But it turned out that ABC had never read the emails and was misquoting them to malign the President's administration.

Honestly, the point there seemed to be to neutralize Hillary Clinton as a candidate in 2016 by smearing her with this surprise attack on a remote US consulate. I don't blame a politician for campaigning, but really, don't these people have something else to do? Doesn't it get embarrassing at some point?

Ah, but that's only one scandal. The word now carries an automatic "s" on the end.

The IRS is supposed to evaluate whether groups who apply for tax-exempt status are political or not. Do you suppose having the name of a political party in your name would be a clue? Well they asked for more information from groups with the words "Tea Party" and related jingoistic terms in their organization's name. They approved them all, in fact the only group that was turned down was a liberal one, but still...

... the Acting Commissioner of the IRS got fired yesterday. Do you remember Shirley Sherrod? I'm just saying, go back and look at that one.

Ah, but that's only two scandals.

The Associated Press is up in arms because the government subpoenaed some reporters' phone records. Someone had leaked information that jeopardized a sensitive operation, thought to involve preventing a terror attack in Yemen; they had put people's lives in danger, and the government wanted to find out who did it, so they got phone records to see who was talking to who, and when.

But just a minute. Bradley Manning has been held since July, 2010, for leaking information. Where is the AP when his rights are violated? The Vice President has called Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a "terrorist" for leaking information, why didn't the AP stand up for him?

A: Because they are interested in preserving their own power. Duh.

Just watch. You will see that all of these so-called "scandals" will turn out to be nothing. It is a feedback loop in the news cycle, journalism has come around and is swallowing its own tail and choking on it, loudly.

This is a textbook example of how the rightwing echo chamber works. They started shouting Benghazi-Benghazi-Benghazi until the reverberation drowned out the source of the noise and took on a life of its own, growing louder and louder. Then they added IRS-IRS-IRS and let that reverberate with the other stuff. By the time you get to AP-AP-AP it takes almost no effort for the echoes to spill over into the media and into the public's mind.

Now that plural word "scandals" is everywhere, people can hardly keep them straight, because they are all bull-oney, they are all fabricated controversies, but the sound of the word scandals-scandals-scandals reverberates through the halls of journalism, summarizing the roar that preceded it.

The poor guy on the street can't follow this. He doesn't know if the IRS was listening to AP journalists' phone calls, or if the journalists had been hassled by the government for calling Benghazi an act of terrorism, or what. But he knows there is something bad, the President has done something wrong, he's been caught doing bad things, it must be pretty dang awful if they're talking about it all day long.

America elected a President in 2000 and 2004 and started a couple of wars based on this kind of self-amplifying nonsense. Not a word needs to be true or have substance to it, you just say it over and over and eventually it spills out into the realm of apparent truths. The news starts with, "Some politicians are saying that ..." which is nothing, not news, it is only a report that somebody has said something. Eventually news sources that don't cover the noise machine are accused of bias, and nobody wants that.

That's how the echo chamber works. And it works very well.

90 Comments:

Anonymous And that's not all those clever foxes do over there said...

Though Karl Rove receives a salary from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for his work as a Fox News Channel “political contributor,” his compensation doesn’t end there. The network frequently airs ads by his American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS political committees, as “news,” free of charge.

A ThinkProgress review of Fox News Channel broadcasts over the past twelve months revealed that Fox News programs ran all or a significant part of Crossroads ads at least 34 times — an estimated value of more than $3.6 million in free air time. Frequently, the network’s hosts run the ads during Rove’s segments and then allow him to explain and repeat their charges.

On Monday, for example, Fox News aired a significant chunk of a new American Crossroads ad attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her handling of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Noting criticism the ad received from conservative columnist William Kristol, host Martha MacCullum asked Rove: “What say you?”

Watch the video: here

According to TVEyes Media Monitoring Suite, a subscription-only search engine for TV broadcasts, a 30-second slot on America’s Newsroom program has a “national publicity value” of $79,445.92. But because the ad was shown during the programming, Rove and American Crossroads got 20-something seconds of the ad for free, rather than having to pay Fox News Channel or local cable companies for the air time. What’s more, he was then paid to promote his own advertisement.

ThinkProgress found eight other recent Fox News broadcasts featuring Crossroads commercials in TVEyes, with an estimated value of about $580,000 combined. A Nexis search of other Fox News transcripts found at least 25 other times when hosts showed significant clips of ads. Estimating the value of these slots based on an average of recent “national publicity values” for each suggests they were worth more than $3 mllion. It is worth noting that ratings for Fox News (and all news networks) have been lower in 2013 than in the 2012 election year, so the value of the pre-election ad plays would likely have been even higher.

The spots included (scroll down to the chart here

Karl Rove signed a contract extention in January, keeping him on the network through 2016.

May 16, 2013 9:29 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

What?! They've given up on the birth certificate "scandal" already??!!

May 16, 2013 10:43 AM  
Anonymous have a real nice day!! said...

Back at the White House, the growing cloud of trouble has the bunker boys longing for the good old days. You know, those idyllic days of yesteryear, a k a early last week, when Benghazi was the only scandal on the horizon.

Everything was much simpler then. All the president had to do was cry “Politics!” and the Pavlovian media mutts declared Benghazi a “partisan witch hunt” and started digging into really important things, such as whether Republicans are evil or just stupid.

Then the dam broke. First, it was the sensational Benghazi hearing, where previously muzzled whistleblowers detailed the administration’s bungles before, during and after the terror attack. Throw in reports showing the infamous Susan Rice talking points were rewritten 11 times, going from fact to fiction, and Benghazi suddenly became the important story it should have been all along.

If that were all, it would have been enough. But the near-simultaneous revelations in recent days about the IRS playing political favorites, the massive phone grab at the AP news operation, and ObamaCare’s cost impact combined to demonstrate something I believed for a long time.

The Obama administration is both corrupt and incompetent. It is a double whammy that spells trouble for the nation, at home and abroad.

The corruption in Obama-Land is the selective use of government power to reward friends and punish opponents. Or, as the president calls them, enemies.

Political allies — think Solyndra and unions — get special goodies, while those who oppose the regime’s agenda are demonized and singled out for scrutiny. The IRS targeting of groups with “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their names and those that advocate less spending smacks of the tactics of banana republic strongmen. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro would be proud.

Of course, all these has obscured another major scandal: the incompetence displayed by the Obama administration, which was warned repeatedly by many sources that the Tsarnevs were radicalized Muslims, and yet they were not monitored.

But, sure Jim

It's all an echo chamber

May 16, 2013 10:46 AM  
Anonymous have a nice day!!! said...

WASHINGTON — Republican Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor whose career was derailed by personal attacks, returned to Congress on Wednesday with his Argentine "soul mate" at his side.

"I do," Sanford said, taking his oath.

"Congratulations, you are now a member of the 113th Congress," House Speaker John Boehner said.

With that, the saga of the gifted politician, husband and father who served three terms in the House beginning in 1995, went on to become governor and threw it all away for love, came full-circle. A week earlier, he had defeated Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of nasty political satirist Stephen Colbert, in a special election.

May 16, 2013 11:14 AM  
Anonymous have a wonderful day!! said...

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told a crowd at a tea party rally that she's asked every weekend why Congress isn't working to impeach President Barack Obama.

"I will tell you, as I have been home in my district, in the sixth district of Minnesota, there isn't a weekend that hasn't gone by that someone says to me, 'Michelle, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren't you impeaching the president? He's been making unconstitutional actions since he came into office,'" Bachmann said.

Tea party leaders, including Bachmann and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), gathered Thursday to address the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups in the lead-up to the 2012 election. Since news of the increased scrutiny broke on Friday, members of tea party groups have opened up about the "nightmare" and Republicans have increasingly criticized the IRS and the Obama Administration.

May 16, 2013 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Tea-partiers are funny.

May 16, 2013 1:05 PM  
Anonymous have a sweet day!! said...

Robert belongs in a funny farm

May 16, 2013 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get back to work, you slacker.


May 16, 2013 2:45 PM  
Anonymous have a funny day!!! said...

The White House on Wednesday released 94 pages of emails between top administration and intelligence officials who helped shape the talking points about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that the CIA would provide to policymakers in both the legislative and executive branches.

The documents directly contradict lies by White House press secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the revisions of those talking points were driven by the intelligence community and show heavy input from top Obama administration officials, particularly those at the State Department.

The emails provide further detail about the rewriting of the talking points during a 24-hour period from midday September 14 to midday September 15.

May 16, 2013 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, maybe you can explain why there is any "controversy" about government agencies editing their talking points. How can that matter to anyone?

May 16, 2013 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Obama lied but have a nice day! said...

Jim argues here that Benghazi is a non-story, just an innocent case of Obama trying to make himself look good. Truth is that Obama's lies led to violent riots around the world. People

However, tactical military details of the engagement, the iconic date itself, and subsequent, very explicit statements by Libyan government authorities, left no doubt that on 9-11-2012 the U.S. consulate in Benghazi suffered a planned attack by an organized anti-American militant Islamist militia. A terrorist force had hit us with another 9-11 terror attack, and Americans had died, among them our ambassador to Libya.

Given the facts, the Obama administration's bizarre claim that a sacrilegious Internet video had inflamed peaceful Libyan demonstrators -- and in an outburst spurred by overwhelming theological pain, this moody crowd murdered our unfortunate ambassador -- just didn't wash.

Eight months after the attack and six months after the election, even President Barack Obama's chief media enablers have begun to acknowledge the video-did-it propaganda tizzy the administration orchestrated was stench itself.

And orchestrated propaganda it was, with the video-did-it narrative hedged by presidential statements calculated to slyly finesse terrorist complicity in the attack.

Glenn Kessler, who writes the Washington Post's fact-checker column, now informs his readers that the president's claim he called the Benghazi attack an "attack of terrorism" rates four Pinocchios. That's Kessler's cute way of calling our president a complete and thorough liar.

Kessler supports his conclusion with a nuanced evaluation of Obama's shifty use of the phrase "act of terror" in the days and weeks following the attack. Obama was against acts of terror, but when asked if Benghazi was terrorism, Kessler concludes "the president ducked the question."

The video whopper and the slippery presidential phraseology were coordinated spin -- the video to fool the rubes pre-election, the slick rhetoric to fool them now. Obama had a heavy personal and political investment in his claim that his election had forever dampened militant hostility to America. The Global War on Terror was over. Obama got Osama. Maj. Hasan and Fort Hood? Domestic terror. But a second 9-11 would call this narrative into question right before the damned election!

The blame-tale repeats classic left-wing "blame America" tropes. The U.S. Constitution and its unbridled First Amendment are at fault. America is peopled with Muslim-hating bigots, et cetera. It's too pat coming from an administration run by an ex-community organizer who made his bones damning the system.

The blame-tale also begs the issue of human agency. Simplistically blaming the video for the violent actions taken by adult human beings should have sparked hard questions. Mr. President, if you are not going to hold people responsible for their violent criminal actions, are you proposing, sir, we repeal the First Amendment?

On Sept. 16, Libya's interim president, Mohammed el-Megari, announced that he had no doubts the militia's leaders had predetermined the date of the attack. That same day U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five television shows and repeatedly blamed the video.

May 16, 2013 3:13 PM  
Anonymous have a thoughtful day, for once!! said...

"Anon, maybe you can explain why there is any "controversy" about government agencies editing their talking points."

Sure

this editing was outright slander against our freedom of speech, claiming that a video caused the attack which led to Muslims sympathizers of this non-event to riot at embassies worldwide resulting in assault, arson and death

get it now?

May 16, 2013 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're saying that there is something controversial about the fact that the US initially thought that the attack was part of the anti-movie-rioting that was taking place across the Arab world at that time?

How did that affect your freedom of speech?

May 16, 2013 3:29 PM  
Anonymous have yourself a real evening!! said...

actually, "the US" didn't think that and, as the e-mails show, neither did anyone in the Obama administration

it was a lie made up to disguise the fact that Obama had allowed another 9/11 terror attack while running a campaign that said he had defeated al-quaeda

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Thursday, in response to a question about the Justice Department's decision to subpoena the phone records of the Associated Press by saying he made "no apologies" for being concerned about national security.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that his second-in-command, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, had signed off on the AP subpoenas. Obama said Thursday he had "complete confidence" in Holder.

He was also asked about comparisons between his governing style and that of former President Richard Nixon.

"I'll let you guys engage in those comparisons," Obama said. "You can read the history and draw your own conclusions."

Thanks, Barry, for "letting" us do that.

OK, we've drawn our conclusions.

You're an incompetent liar!

May 16, 2013 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. Benghazi was "another 9/11 terror attack"? You mean because of the date, or are you actually comparing it to 9/11? (For the sake of fun times here, I hope it is the latter.)

And are you saying that al Qaeda attacked the Benghazi consulate?

Did you know that President Obama ordered an attack that killed Osama Bin Laden? OK, just checking.

May 16, 2013 4:20 PM  
Anonymous have yo'self a nice 'un!! said...

"Let me get this straight."

TTF says once gay, always gay, so you'll upset them if you get it "straight"

"Benghazi was "another 9/11 terror attack"? You mean because of the date, or are you actually comparing it to 9/11? (For the sake of fun times here, I hope it is the latter.)"

well, I would imagine that TTFers are getting a little desperate for fun since last Friday

hate to disappoint you but I was referring worries in the White House

"Did you know that President Obama ordered an attack that killed Osama Bin Laden? OK, just checking."

do you know where bin Laden's body is?

President Barack Obama dismissed calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal, and evaded a question asking if White House officials knew of the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

“I can assure that I certainly did not know anything about the report before the IG report had been leaked through the press,” he told reporters during a Thursday lunchtime press conference held in the White House Rose Garden.

Obama’s evasion will likely spur public suspicions that White House officials knew about, or even supported, the IRS targeting.

May 16, 2013 4:43 PM  
Anonymous guess who's not going on Mt Rushmore? said...

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week at the fastest pace in six months, a worrisome sign for the economy. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the biggest jump since November and confounded analysts' expectations for a more modest increase.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 5,000 more applications received than previously reported. A Labor Department analyst said no states had estimated their data, and that there were no signs furloughs for government employees played a role in last week's increase in claims. The U.S. economy has shown signs that growth slowed late in the first quarter and in April after Washington hiked taxes in January.

May 16, 2013 5:20 PM  
Anonymous GOOD NEWS!!! said...

"WASHINGTON — A continued decline in the federal budget deficit this year is resulting in a better than expected fiscal forecast for 2013 from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO projects a $642 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2013, down more than $200 billion from its February estimate and the smallest annual shortfall since 2008. It is the lowest level of deficit spending to date under President Obama, who faced $1 trillion or more in annual deficits during his first term.

According to CBO, about half of the increase in revenues over the next two years are from new tax rules, such as higher rates and expiration of certain deductions. Revenueis also up due to "factors related mainly to the strengthening economy" including increases in "some components of taxable income" such as wages and capital gains.

The long-term deficit projection is also improved: CBO estimates a 2015 deficit of $378 billion."

May 16, 2013 8:14 PM  
Anonymous have a nice night!! said...

CNN's Jake Tapper took aim at President Obama's policies towards the media on Thursday.

Obama addressed the scandal surrounding the Justice Department's secret probe into the Associated Press during his press conference with the prime minister of Turkey. Journalists and press watchdogs have been outraged by both the breadth and the covert nature of the probe. The Justice Department has justified the investigation as part of its crackdown on national security leaks that wind up in the media.

Obama said he "kind of" respected the role of a free press, but added that he made "no apologies" for going after leaks:

"When we express concerns about the press at a time when I have 60,000 troops in Afghanistan and intelligence officers around the world who are in risky situations in outposts that are sometimes as dangerous as the outpost in Benghazi, part of my job is protecting what they do, while still somewhat accommodating for the need for the public to be informed."

Speaking just after the press conference wrapped up, Tapper said this was not a worthy response.

"That's what every president says. Every president, whether it's Nixon with the Pentagon Papers or George W. Bush with the NSA wiretapping story, every president exerts, 'I'm doing this to keep you safe.' A lot of people in the public, they say that's enough, and they believe it, but the truth of the matter is that it's not enough of an answer in and of itself. That's why there is Congressional oversight of the executive branch. It's not enough just to say we're doing it to keep you safe, because the moment the American people cede that territory, then presidents can do whatever they want."

When Wolf Blitzer noted that Attorney General Eric Holder had said that the leak that the AP reported was a very dangerous one, Tapper interrupted, saying, "That's what they always say." He then added, "This administration has used the Espionage Act more times to go after whistleblowers ... more than every other administration combined. So this is a very aggressive administration when it comes to squashing

May 16, 2013 8:33 PM  
Anonymous top of the morning to you!! said...

Wow!!

I guess those budget cuts that Boehner forced Obama to accept in the debt limit talks plus the sequester that Obama claimed would end life as we know it, are making the forecasts much improved.

By the end of his Presidency, thanks to Republican pressure, Obama may have deficits almost as low as some of Bush's high ones.

If you really want to make a dent, follow Mitt Romney's proposal and reduce marginal tax rates. Historically, that has always made Federal revenues soar.

May 17, 2013 5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Bubblehead with the reading comprehension problem --

Sorry but "those budget cuts that Boehner forced Obama to accept" had nothing to do with the improving economy.

"According to CBO, about half of the increase in revenues over the next two years are from new tax rules, such as higher rates and expiration of certain deductions. Revenue is also up due to "factors related mainly to the strengthening economy" including increases in "some components of taxable income" such as wages and capital gains."

May 17, 2013 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you really want to make a dent, follow Mitt Romney's proposal and reduce marginal tax rates. Historically, that has always made Federal revenues soar."

ROFL

Keep up the great work, Bubblehead!

During the last of his eight years of "reduced marginal tax rates," President Bush scrambled to enact the following stimulus packages and bailouts:

May 2008: Stimulus checks and tax cuts
$178 Billion Stimulus Package
The U.S. Treasury provided an economic stimulus package to American taxpayers in the form of $600 economic stimulus checks for individuals and $1,200 economic stimulus payments for couples. That cost the government $100 billion, and they threw in another $68 billion in tax breaks for businesses, $8 billion to increase unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks, and a $4 billion economic stimulus package to be doled out to states and local municipalities to buy and rehab foreclosed properties.

July 2008: Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008
It authorizes the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee up to $300 billion in new 30-year fixed rate mortgages for sub-prime borrowers if lenders write-down principal loan balances to 90 percent of current appraisal value. It also provided tax credits for first-time home buyers, who could be eligible to receive up to a $7,500 tax credit.

OMG! They’re helping people buy homes they can’t afford!!!

September 2008
$200 Billion Stimulus Package – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Bailout
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (privately owned mortgage companies that are backed by the federal government) were about to fail, due to declining house prices and rising foreclosures. The Bush Administration stepped in with a $200 billion economic stimulus package and placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their $5 trillion in home loans in “temporary conservatorship,” to be supervised by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

September 2008
$50 Billion Stimulus Package To Guarantee Money Market Funds
When the economic crisis reached a crescendo, Americans began to pull their money out of money market funds – historically considered to be the safest investment. To stop the bloodshed, the U.S. Treasury agreed to guarantee up to $50 billion, for up to a year.

September 2008
$25 Billion Stimulus Package – Automakers Bailout
In an attempt to stave off bankruptcies for the “Big 3 automakers,” the Bush Administration gave General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler $25 billion in low-interest loans.

September – November 2008
$150 Billion Stimulus Package – AIG Bailout
With the world’s largest insurance company in dire straits and 74 million clients at risk, the American government chipped in and gave AIG (American Insurance Group) $150 billion in a stimulus package that included: loans, purchase of toxic assets, and purchase of preferred shares.

October 2008
$700 Billion Stimulus Package – Banks Bailout
The Bush Administration, under the umbrella of the U.S. Treasury, committed $700 billion in economic stimulus money under TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). By many accounts, if this economic stimulus money hadn’t been injected, credit between banks would have frozen overnight, and not only the American economy, but also the global economy, would have seized up.

May 17, 2013 7:45 AM  
Anonymous have a great day, kids!! said...

"To the Bubblehead with the reading comprehension problem"

to this projecting jackass:

your quote only explained where revenue increases were coming from

it didn't say revenue increases were the only reason for the reduction in the deficit

May 17, 2013 8:27 AM  
Anonymous have a freakin' awesome day, maaaan!!! said...

"During the last of his eight years of "reduced marginal tax rates," President Bush scrambled to enact the following stimulus packages and bailouts"

short-term tweaks

Bush presided over full employment in our land for most of his two terms

Barry won't exactly be going on Mt Rushmore

May 17, 2013 8:55 AM  
Anonymous tee hee!! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 17, 2013 8:57 AM  
Anonymous have a sunny day and play!!!!! said...

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.

Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.

As the House voted to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, House Speaker John Boehner expressed “serious concerns” that the IRS is empowered as the law’s chief enforcer.

“Fully repealing ObamaCare will help us build a stronger, healthier economy, and will clear the way for patient-centered reforms that lower health care costs and protect jobs,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

“Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public’s trust by secretly targeting conservative groups,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “Even by Washington’s standards, that’s unacceptable.”

Sen. John Cornyn even introduced a bill, the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013,” which would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury, or any delegate, including the IRS, from enforcing the Affordable Care Act.

“Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans’ health care,” Cornyn, R-Texas, stated. “I do not support Obamacare, and after the events of last week, I cannot support giving the IRS any more responsibility or taxpayer dollars to implement a broken law.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also reacted to the revelation late Thursday, stating the news was “stunning, just stunning.”

May 17, 2013 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, Bubblehead, the CBO did NOT say:

"revenue increases were the only reason for the reduction in the deficit"

What the CBO DID say was:

" about half of the increase in revenues over the next two years are from new tax rules, such as higher rates and expiration of certain deductions."

And:

"Revenue is also up due to "factors related mainly to the strengthening economy" including increases in "some components of taxable income" such as wages and capital gains.""

May 17, 2013 9:05 AM  
Anonymous have a nize day!! said...

and, again, zero-brain, it doesn't say how much that contributes to the PROJECTED reduction in deficit

revenue would increase more if marginal rates were lower

it's a fact, verified invariably by historic example, by both Republican and Democratic presidents

don't worry

the acid will wear off soon

and then you'll be able to think "straight" again

and, if not, you can go to the funny farm with Robert

May 17, 2013 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Echo Chamber of Lies, Busted!!! said...

"One day after The White House released 100 pages of Benghazi emails, a report has surfaced alleging that Republicans released a set with altered text.

CBS News reported Thursday that leaked versions sent out by the GOP last Friday had visible differences than Wednesday's official batch. Two correspondences that were singled out in the report came from National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

The GOP version of Rhodes' comment, according to CBS News: "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don't want to undermine the FBI investigation."

The White House email: "We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation."

The GOP version of Nuland's comment, according to CBS News: The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda's presence and activities of al-Qaeda."

The White House email: "The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings."

The news parallels a Tuesday CNN report which initially introduced the contradiction between what was revealed in a White House Benghazi email version, versus what was reported in media outlets. On Monday, Mother Jones noted that the Republicans' interim report included the correct version of the emails, signaling that more malice and less incompetence may have been at play with the alleged alterations."

May 17, 2013 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liars, GOP liars, pants on fire!

"Now that we know a GOP congressional aide misleadingly edited — intentionally or not — Obama administration emails on the Benghazi attack, one wonders if he or she will face repercussions. There’s some precedent here. Former GOP Rep. Dan Burton used to hold Darrell Issa’s job as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and used it to aggressively go after Bill Clinton on a host of controversies of various degrees of merit, much as Issa is doing now.

In 1998, as Burton was investigating alleged campaign finance violations from Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign, his office released a doctored transcript of an audiotape of a former Clinton aide. Burton’s top aide took the blame for the deception and resigned, as the New York Times reported on May 7, 1998:


The top investigator for the House inquiry into President Clinton’s 1996 campaign finance practices resigned under pressure today, amid growing bipartisan criticism of his role in releasing edited tapes of Webster L. Hubbell’s jailhouse conversations. The aide, David N. Bossie, has been for 18 months the point man and alter ego of the inquiry’s chairman, Representative Dan Burton, the Indiana Republican who heads the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. But since Mr. Burton released transcripts of some of Mr. Hubbell’s prison conversations late last week, the lawmaker has weathered intense attacks by Democrats maintaining that exculpatory information was edited out of the transcripts.

The situation is a good analog for the Benghazi emails in that Republicans made some small alterations to otherwise accurate raw information which fundamentally changed the meaning to advance their political agenda.

The difference is that other Republicans joined Democrats in expressing outrage at the misleading editing 15 years ago. Burton even had to apologize to fellow Republicans after then-Speaker Newt Gingrich said Burton was running the investigation like a “circus.”

Today, at least so far, Republicans have been mum on the apparent tampering of White House emails for political gain by one of their own. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the GOP staffers who leaked the Benghazi emails made an honest mistake when transcribing emails they were shown in a closed-door briefing with intelligence officials, but no one has come forward with an explanation and a mea culpa."

May 17, 2013 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's fascinating, it really is

but our country is in a Constitutional crisis right now

unless Obama takes action right now, the politicization of the IRS will be the new norm and our freedom of speech forever hindered

we all knew Obama was incompetent but who ever thought it would come to this?

May 17, 2013 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A 48-page IG report explicitly stated that the IRS behavior was “not politically biased,” that it was due to lower-level staff who did not understand their jobs and sometimes acted insubordinately, and that it was not driven by the White House...

Despite laying much of the blame at the feet of front-line IRS employees and middle managers, the final IG report did point to “ineffective management” that allowed the mistakes. In particular, attention is sure to focus on Lois G. Lerner, who headed the agency's office of Exempt Organizations, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division.

Lerner was the IRS official who first brought the agency's misbehavior to public attention with comments at a professional conference last Friday that were quickly picked up by news media outlets...

The IG document released Tuesday made repeated mention of IRS officials in the Cincinnati office -- which had been set up as a centralized clearinghouse for secondary inspection of flagged nonprofit applications -- who did not know how to do their jobs. “There appeared to be some confusion by Determinations Unit specialists and applicants on what activities are allowed” by 501(c)(4) groups, the report stated on page 14.

The report was more emphatic on page 18, stating, “Specialists lacked knowledge of what activities are allowed” by tax-exempt, nonprofit 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) groups.

Part of this, the report said, was due to unclear guidance in the law. “Regulations do not define how to measure whether social welfare is an organization’s ‘primary activity,’” the IG said.

In a response to the IG report, Joseph Grant, the acting IRS commissioner for tax-exempt and government entities, also pointed to confusion over how to enforce the law. “There are no bright lines for what constitutes political campaign intervention,” Grant wrote.

The IG found that of 96 so-called Tea Party, Patriot or 9/12 groups that were given extra screening by the agency's Cincinnati office, 79 of showed evidence of “significant political campaign intervention.” In all, 298 applications were held up for additional scrutiny, and the IG noted the fact that 202 were not from Tea Party groups as evidence the agency's actions were "not politically biased."

May 17, 2013 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON — Senior Treasury officials were made aware in June 2012 that investigators were looking into complaints from tea party groups that they were being harassed by the Internal Revenue Service, a Treasury inspector general said Friday, disclosing that Obama administration officials knew there was a probe during the heat of the presidential campaign.

May 17, 2013 7:31 PM  
Anonymous good morning TTF!!! said...

Speaking at Ohio State University earlier this month, Barack Obama urged students to pay no attention to those paranoid types who “incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity.” Oddly enough, in recent days the most compelling testimony for this view of government has come from the president himself, who insists with a straight face that he had no idea that the Internal Revenue Service had spent two years targeting his political enemies until he “learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this.” Like you, all he knows is what he reads in the papers. Which is odd, because his Justice Department is bugging those same papers, so you’d think he’d at least get a bit of a heads-up. But no doubt the fact that he’s wiretapping the Associated Press was also entirely unknown to him until he read about it in the Associated Press. There is a “president of the United States” and a “government of the United States,” but, despite a certain superficial similarity in their names, they are entirely unrelated, like Beyoncé Knowles and Admiral Sir Charles Knowles. One golfs, reads the prompter, parties with Jay-Z, and guests on the Pimp with a Limp show, and the other audits you, bugs your telephone line, and leaks your confidential tax records. But they’re two completely separate sinister entities. So it’s preposterous to describe Obama as Nixonian: Beyoncé wouldn’t have given Nixon the time of day.

If you believe this, there’s a shovel-ready infrastructure project in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. In April last year, the Obama campaign identified by name eight Romney donors as “a group of wealthy individuals with less than reputable records. Quite a few have been on the wrong side of the law, others have made profits at the expense of so many Americans, and still others are donating to help ensure Romney puts beneficial policies in place for them.” That week, Kimberley Strassel began her Wall Street Journal column thus:

Try this thought experiment: You decide to donate money to Mitt Romney. You want change in the Oval Office, so you engage in your democratic right to send a check.

Several days later, President Barack Obama, the most powerful man on the planet, singles you out by name. . . . The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money.

Miss Strassel wrote that on April 26, 2012. Five weeks later, one of the named individuals, Frank VanderSloot, was informed by the IRS that he and his wife were being audited. In July, he was told by the Department of Labor of an additional audit over the guest workers on his cattle ranch in Idaho. In September, he was notified that one of his other businesses was to be audited. Mr. VanderSloot, who had never previously been audited, attracted three in the four months after being publicly named by el Presidente. More to the point he attracted that triple audit even though Miss Strassel explicitly predicted in America’s biggest-selling newspaper that this was exactly what the Obama enforcers were going to do. The “separate, sinister entity” of the government of the United States went ahead anyway. What do they care? If some lippy broad in the papers won’t quit her yapping about it, they can always audit her, too — as they did to Miss Strassel’s sometime colleague Anne Hendershott, a sociology professor who got rather too interested in Obamacare and wrote about it in the Journal and various small Catholic publications. The IRS summoned Professor Hendershott to account for herself, and forbade her husband from accompanying her, even though they filed jointly. She ceased her political writing.

May 18, 2013 9:01 AM  
Anonymous good morning america!!! said...

A year after he was named to the Obama Dishonor Roll, the feds have found nothing on Mr. VanderSloot, but they have caused him to rack up 80 grand in legal bills. This is what IRS defenders (of whom there are more than there ought to be) mean when they assure us that the system worked: Yes, some rich guy had to blow through the best part of six figures fending off the bureaucrats, but it’s not like his body was found in a trunk at the airport or anything, if you know what I mean, Kimmy baby.

Mr. VanderSloot is big enough, just about, to see off the most powerful government on the planet. Most of those who’ve caught the eye of the IRS share nothing in common with him other than his political preferences. They’re nobodies — ordinary American citizens guilty of no crime except that of disagreeing with the ruling party. Yet they were asked, under “penalty of perjury,” to disclose the names of books they were reading and provide the names and addresses of relatives who might be planning to run for public office — a kind of pre-enemies list. Is that banana-republic enough for you yet?

May 18, 2013 9:02 AM  
Anonymous good morning, everyone!!! said...

Left-wing groups had their 501(c)(4) applications approved in weeks, right-wing groups were delayed for months and years and ordered to cough up everything from donor lists to Facebook posts, and those right-wing groups that were approved had their IRS files leaked to left-wing groups like ProPublica. The agency’s commissioner, a slippery weasel called Steven Miller, conceded before Congress that this was “horrible customer service” — which it was in the sense that your call is important to him and may be monitored by George Soros for quality control.

A civil “civil service” requires small government. Once government is ensnared in every aspect of life a bureaucracy grows increasingly capricious. The U.S. tax code ought to be an abomination to any free society, but the American people have become reconciled to it because of a complex web of so-called exemptions that massively empower the vast shadow state of the permanent bureaucracy. Under a simple tax system, your income is a legitimate tax issue. Under the IRS, everything is a legitimate tax issue: The books you read, the friends you recommend them to. There are no correct answers, only approved answers. Drew Ryun applied for permanent non-profit status for a group called “Media Trackers” in July 2011. Fifteen months later, he’d heard nothing. So he applied again under the eco-friendly name of “Greenhouse Solutions,” and was approved in three weeks.

The president and the IRS commissioner are unable to name any individual who took the decision to target only conservative groups. It just kinda sorta happened, and, once it had, it growed like Topsy. But the lady who headed that office, Sarah Hall Ingram, is now in charge of the IRS office for Obamacare. Many countries around the world have introduced government health systems since 1945, but, as I wrote here last year, “only in America does ‘health’ ‘care’ ‘reform’ begin with the hiring of 16,500 new IRS agents tasked with determining whether your insurance policy merits a fine.” So now not only are your books and Facebook posts legitimate tax issues but so is your hernia, and your prostate, and your erectile dysfunction. Next time round, the IRS will be able to leak your incontinence pads to George Soros.

Big Government is erecting a panopticon state — one that sees everything, and regulates everything. It’s great “customer service,” except that you can never get out of the store.

May 18, 2013 9:04 AM  
Anonymous the fire fighter said...

Throughout the discussion about the crimes of Kermit Gosnell we were repeatedly assured that the atrocities that took place in his clinic were exceptional and should in no way be imputed to other providers of abortion services. This is a tenet of faith for those seeking to defend abortion rights since they seem to fear that any attention focused on late-term abortions impacts the discussion about the legality of the procedure under any circumstances. But if Gosnell is not quite the outlier that some have tried to argue that he is, then the nation may have to confront the fact that what went on in West Philadelphia isn’t the only place where infants were slaughtered as the result of botched abortions.

Thus, the news today that another such case may be about to surface in Texas may realize the worst fears of both sides in the abortion debate.

Former employees of a Houston clinic are claiming that babies were routinely killed in the same fashion as the ones Gosnell was convicted of murdering: by snipping their spinal cords. Like the testimony in the Philadelphia case, reading this account is not for those with weak stomachs. The details of fully formed infants being mutilated in this manner are horrifying. While those implicated are entitled to a presumption of innocence and we should wait until police complete their investigation, these new hair-raising allegations should cause enforcement officials and health care inspectors, not to mention the rest of us, to wonder just how common such activities really are.

Gosnell has changed the nature of the national conversation about abortion, at least as far as late-term abortions are concerned. Advances in medical science since Roe v. Wade was decided have made it more difficult to act as if a fetus in the sixth, seventh or eighth month is merely a clump of cells rather than a human being who can survive outside the womb. If clinics are performing late-term abortions, including in states like Pennsylvania where they have long been illegal, it is because the health care industry and regulators have largely turned a blind eye to the possibility that Gosnells exist.

If the Houston case proves to be another trip into the nightmare world of the Gosnell case, then it will be a signal that complacence about such abuses must end. As long as we can pretend that Gosnell was a singular monster rather than a product of a culture that considered such infants, whether inside the womb or out of it, as a problem that needed to be fixed by snipping their spines or tearing them to pieces, then we needn’t be haunted by the possibility that more such cases are lurking below the surface of our national consciousness.

We know that women that resort to butchers like Gosnell or others who behave in the same fashion because they are desperate. We also know the children who survive the ordeal of botched abortions have the odds stacked against them, both medically and in terms of what is most likely a life of deprivation. But that is no excuse for refusing to protect them. If we are a civilized society, the thought that there are more Gosnells out there—something that seems more likely than not in the wake of the news about the Houston case—should motivate all of us, no matter where we stand on Roe, to speak out and act to ensure such persons are prevented from killing any more infants.

May 18, 2013 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will use a Saturday speech to Virginia Republicans to suggest the IRS officials who targeted conservative political organizations for scrutiny be sent to prison.

“You cannot take the freedom of law-abiding Americans, whether you disagree with them or not, and keep your own freedom,” Jindal, a Republican, will tell delegates at the Virginia GOP convention. “When you do that, you go to jail.”

May 18, 2013 9:29 AM  
Anonymous it's gonna be a nice one!! said...

A number of people have sought to explain the IRS targeting of Tea Party, patriot, and 9/12 group applications -- as well as those from other conservative groups -- for "specialist team" treatment (mainly delays and excessive and inappropriate questions) in 2010 by pointing to the Citizens United decision that year allowing for unlimited, undisclosed fundraising by such groups. That's the explanation IRS official Lois Lerner gave a week ago when she first revealed that the agency had improperly handled a slew of applications -- the political shorthand was a mistaken attempt to deal with a surge in applications.

"We saw a big increase in these kind of applications, many of which indicated that they were going to be involved in advocacy work," Lerner said.

But Todd Young, a Republican congressman from Indiana, pointed out at Friday's House Ways and Means Committee hearing with former acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George that this was not the case, according to the very data the IRS provided to the Treasury IG's office.

There were, he noted, actually fewer applications for tax-exempt status by groups seeking to be recognized as social-welfare organizations that year than the previous one, according to this IRS data. The real surge in applications did not come until 2012 -- the year the IRS stopped the practice of treating the Tea Party class of groups differently from others.

All of which raises, once again, the question financial journalist David Cay Johnson asked in a column today: "Why is Lois G. Lerner still on the taxpayer's payroll?"

May 18, 2013 9:33 AM  
Anonymous a nice day will be had by all good people!! said...

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee have more questions on the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups after outgoing acting commissioner Steve Miller testified before the committee on Friday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said.

Asked Friday afternoon in an interview with CNN if Miller answered all the questions Ryan had, the congressman from Wisconsin, who is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said "no."

"We —we have many more questions that resulted from today's hearing. The one answer we did get, though, is that the IRS withheld information from Congress," Ryan told CNN's Jake Tapper.

Miller's appearance came a week after the IRS publicly apologized for applying a higher level of scrutiny to conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status. Since the IRS admitted to targeting conservative organizations, a number of congressional committees have planned hearings investigating the service's conduct.

Ryan said Ways and Means had been receiving reports about the IRS focusing on conservative organizations.

"Jake, you had to know that last year, we had these investigations on the Ways and Means Committee," Ryan said. "We were receiving all of these reports of this kind of harassment. We questioned the IRS in hearings, in letters, and the IRS withheld all of this information that they were in possession of as to whether this targeting was occurring or not.

"We do now know that this targeting did occur, that it was politically biased. It was only of conservative groups. Now we're getting lots of questions with respect to religious groups and other kinds of groups."

May 18, 2013 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Bobby Who? said...

April 2, 2013

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s approval rating drops below that of President Obama in Louisiana
The Republican governor’s approval rating stands at 38% in a new survey, sharply down from his 61% rating in March 2012. President Obama's approval rating in the state is slightly higher at 43%.

May 15, 2013

Raleigh, N.C. – PPP's monthly look at the 2016 Republican field for President finds essentially a 4 way tie at the top- Marco Rubio has 16%, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie 15% each, and Rand Paul 14%. Paul Ryan at 9%, Ted Cruz at 7%, Rick Santorum at 5%, Bobby Jindal at 3%, and Susana Martinez at 1% round out the potential candidates we tested...

May 18, 2013 9:44 AM  
Anonymous rand paul speaks up for freedom said...

When I filibustered over domestic drone use, critics said that I was being ridiculous. They said that no American had been killed by a drone on American soil and that no one was likely to be anytime soon. President Obama responded that he hadn’t killed anyone yet and didn’t intend to — but he might.

That wasn’t the point. The filibuster was about the limits of power. It was about how much authority the president imagined he had. Lincoln wrote that nearly any man can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man, give him power.

I think Mr. Obama has failed that test of power. From the cover-up in Benghazi to letting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) target the Tea Party to First and Fourth Amendment violations in obtaining records from the press, Mr. Obama has shown disregard for the Bill of Rights and his responsibilities as commander in chief.

The handling of the tragedy in Benghazi continues to raise more questions than it produces answers. The White House’s original story, that no one was told to “stand down” on the night of the attack, was contradicted last week by Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens‘ deputy, Gregory Hicks. Mr. Hicks testified that he spoke with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the night of the attack and that a special-forces unit was stopped from deploying.

In January, we learned that Mrs. Clinton had not read the cables from Libya, in which Stevens, who feared for his safety, made multiple requests for additional security. The review board tries to shield Mrs. Clinton from blame by saying the decisions to deny security the ambassador requested occurred below her level.

That is precisely her culpability. It is inexcusable that she left decisions concerning the security of our Libyan ambassador to underlings. This issue is far from over, but so far, this administration seems more worried about protecting its own than being honest about what really happened.

Not to mention, who’s to blame for it.

May 18, 2013 9:45 AM  
Anonymous rand paul speaks up for freedom said...

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service admitted it intentionally targeted various Tea Party, conservative and libertarian groups, submitting them to audits or making them wait exceptionally long for tax-exempt status. If Benghazi represents abuse or misuse of power, the IRS stands in direct violation of the First Amendment — targeting American citizens for their political beliefs. The more we learn about this controversy, the clearer it becomes that anyone who dared to talk about spending, debt or anything related to our current state of government affairs from a conservative perspective was a target.

One of the paramount freedoms Americans have is the ability to criticize their government without fear of retribution. This has been especially true when it comes to freedom of the press.

When the news broke that the Justice Department had seized two months’ worth of Associated Press reporters’ phone records, it was just the latest in a growing line of abuses of power by this White House. AP head Gary Pruitt called this government seizure a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how journalists research and gather news.

It was, and the lengths to which Mr. Obama has gone to circumvent the Constitution are staggering. It’s as though the president thinks we no longer have a First Amendment protecting freedom of the press and free speech. It’s as though he thinks we no longer have a Fourth Amendment that prevents illegal search and seizure. It’s as though he and Mrs. Clinton think the State Department is no longer responsible for protecting our diplomats.

It’s as though we no longer have a Bill of Rights that guarantees American citizens the right to due process and a jury trial — and it took me 13 hours of standing and speaking to get the White House to finally, and begrudgingly, say we did. My filibuster was about drone use, but more importantly, it was about never giving government the benefit of the doubt. We cannot afford it, and the government never deserves it, as this administration continues to remind us in so many surprising and disturbing ways.

With great power comes great responsibility. The greater Mr. Obama’s power, the less responsible he becomes.

Power corrupts. Absolutely.

May 18, 2013 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Predictions of the demise of President Barack Obama's agenda appear exaggerated after a week of cascading controversies, political triage by the administration and party leaders in Congress and lack of evidence to date of wrongdoing close to the Oval Office.

"Absolutely not," Steven Miller, the recently resigned acting head of the Internal Revenue Service, responded Friday when asked if he had any contact with the White House about targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for special treatment.

The president's re-election campaign?" persisted Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

"No," said Miller.

The hearing took place at the end of a week in which Republicans repeatedly assailed Obama and were attacked by Democrats in turn – yet sweeping immigration legislation advanced methodically toward bipartisan approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measure "has strong support of its own in the Senate," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., a member of the panel.

Across the Capitol, a bipartisan House group reported agreement in principle toward a compromise on the issue, which looms as Obama's best chance for a signature second-term domestic achievement. "I continue to believe that the House needs to deal with this," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who is not directly involved in the talks.

The president's nominee to become energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, won Senate confirmation, 97-0. And there were signs that Republicans might allow confirmation of Sri Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, sometimes a stepping stone to the Supreme Court.

Separately, a House committee approved legislation to prevent a spike in interest rates on student loans on July 1. It moves in the direction of a White House-backed proposal for future rate changes to be based on private markets.

May 18, 2013 9:49 AM  
Anonymous laugh it up, kids!! said...

President Obama is being abandoned by the media, including late-night satirist Jon Stewart.

The longtime “Daily Show” bashed the president for repeatedly claiming he learned of major events at the same time as the American public.

He played video clips of Mr. Obama saying he learned of the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal through news reports. Mr. Stewart then played a similar clip of the president claiming to have learned about the infamous 2009 Air Force One flyover of Manhattan through the media.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney offered the same defense for the revelation that the Department of Justice had seized phone logs from The Associated Press, saying the commander-in-chief had no knowledge of it other than through the press.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama learned Osama bin Laden had been killed when he saw himself announcing it on television,” Mr. Stewart deadpanned.

It’s the latest example of media figures turning on the president over the growing list of scandals.

May 18, 2013 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Obama says "I am not a crook" said...

We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they're seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration's credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don't look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone.

Something big has shifted. The standing of the administration has changed.

As always it comes down to trust. Do you trust the president's answers when he's pressed on an uncomfortable story? Do you trust his people to be sober and fair-minded as they go about their work? Do you trust the IRS and the Justice Department? You do not.

The president, as usual, acts as if all of this is totally unconnected to him. He's shocked, it's unacceptable, he'll get to the bottom of it. He read about it in the papers, just like you.

But he is not unconnected, he is not a bystander. This is his administration. Those are his executive agencies. He runs the IRS and the Justice Department.

A president sets a mood, a tone. He establishes an atmosphere. If he is arrogant, arrogance spreads. If he is too partisan, too disrespecting of political adversaries, that spreads too. Presidents always undo themselves and then blame it on the third guy in the last row in the sleepy agency across town.

The IRS scandal has two parts. The first is the obviously deliberate and targeted abuse, harassment and attempted suppression of conservative groups. The second is the auditing of the taxes of political activists.

In order to suppress conservative groups—at first those with words like "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in their names, then including those that opposed ObamaCare or advanced the Second Amendment—the IRS demanded donor rolls, membership lists, data on all contributions, names of volunteers, the contents of all speeches made by members, Facebook FB +0.46%posts, minutes of all meetings, and copies of all materials handed out at gatherings. Among its questions: What are you thinking about? Did you ever think of running for office? Do you ever contact political figures? What are you reading? One group sent what it was reading: the U.S. Constitution.

May 18, 2013 9:55 AM  
Anonymous and we're keeping the dog said...

The second part of the scandal is the auditing of political activists who have opposed the administration. The Journal's Kim Strassel reported an Idaho businessman named Frank VanderSloot, who'd donated more than a million dollars to groups supporting Mitt Romney. He found himself last June, for the first time in 30 years, the target of IRS auditors. His wife and his business were also soon audited. Hal Scherz, a Georgia physician, also came to the government's attention. He told ABC News: "It is odd that nothing changed on my tax return and I was never audited until I publicly criticized ObamaCare."

Franklin Graham, son of Billy, told Politico he believes his father was targeted. A conservative Catholic academic who has written for these pages faced questions about her meager freelance writing income. Many of these stories will come out, but not as many as there are. People are not only afraid of being audited, they're afraid of saying they were audited.

All of these IRS actions took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. They constitute the use of governmental power to intrude on the privacy and shackle the political freedom of American citizens. The purpose, obviously, was to overwhelm and intimidate—to kill the opposition, question by question and audit by audit.

It is not even remotely possible that all this was an accident, a mistake. Again, only conservative groups were targeted, not liberal. It is not even remotely possible that only one IRS office was involved.

Lois Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the IRS, was the person who finally acknowledged, under pressure of a looming investigative report, some of what the IRS was doing. She told reporters the actions were the work of "frontline people" in Cincinnati. But other offices were involved, including Washington. It is not even remotely possible the actions were the work of just a few agents. This was more systemic. It was an operation. The word was out: Get the Democratic Party's foes. It is not remotely possible nobody in the IRS knew what was going on until very recently. The Washington Post reported efforts to target the conservative groups reached the highest levels of the agency by May 2012—far earlier than the agency had acknowledged. Reuters reported high-level IRS officials, including its chief counsel, knew in August 2011 about the targeting.

May 18, 2013 9:57 AM  
Anonymous what did Barry know and when did he know it? said...

The White House is reported to be shellshocked at public reaction to the scandal. But why? Were they so highhanded, so essentially ignorant, that they didn't understand what it would mean to the American people when their IRS—the revenue-collecting arm of the U.S. government—is revealed as a low, ugly and bullying tool of the reigning powers? If they didn't know how Americans would react to that, what did they know? I mean beyond Harvey Weinstein's cellphone number.

And why—in the matters of the Associated Press and Benghazi too—does no one in this administration ever take responsibility? Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't know what happened, exactly who did what. The president speaks in the passive voice. He attempts to act out indignation, but he always seems indignant at only one thing: that he's being questioned at all. That he has to address this. That fate put it on his plate.

We all have our biases. Mine is for a federal government that, for all the partisan shootouts on the streets of Washington, is allowed to go about its work. That it not be distracted by scandal, that political disagreement be, in the end, subsumed to the common good. It is a dangerous world: Calculating people wish to do us harm. In this world no draining, unproductive scandals should dominate the government's life. Independent counsels should not often come in and distract the U.S. government from its essential business.

But that bias does not fit these circumstances.

Peggy Noonan's Blog
Daily declarations from the Wall Street Journal columnist.
.
What happened at the IRS is the government's essential business. The IRS case deserves and calls out for an independent counsel, fully armed with all that position's powers. Only then will stables that badly need to be cleaned, be cleaned. Everyone involved in this abuse of power should pay a price, because if they don't, the politicization of the IRS will continue—forever. If it is not stopped now, it will never stop. And if it isn't stopped, no one will ever respect or have even minimal faith in the revenue-gathering arm of the U.S. government again.

And it would be shameful and shallow for any Republican operative or operator to make this scandal into a commercial and turn it into a mere partisan arguing point and part of the game. It's not part of the game. This is not about the usual partisan slugfest. This is about the integrity of our system of government and our ability to trust, which is to say our ability to function.

May 18, 2013 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what this whole thing points out is that all laws regulating political activity are inherently unconstitutional

they give government a rationale and excuse to monitor our speech, access to information and associations

campaign finance laws, taxation of political advocacy groups, banning of political activity by religious groups all need to go in the dustbin of history

May 18, 2013 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point, anon. You know what else needs to go? Tax exemption for religious organizations. If the US treasury got its share of the revenue generated by wacko groups that do nothing constructive but only exist to propagate fear of a Bearded Man in the Sky, everyone could live comfortably without personal taxes.

What do you say? Deal?

May 18, 2013 11:08 AM  
Anonymous tea party patriot said...

so, your idea is that after I pay the ridiculously high rate on the income I earn and give a small portion of the amount left over to my church, Barry Obama should take another bite out of it to send to terrorists like the Tsarnevs so they can not work and sit around surfing the internet, researching ways to kill me?

the truth is the government has no business routinely monitoring tax-exempt organizations

the 990 form should be abolished

tax-exempt organizations don't pay tax and there is no reason for the government to receive regular detailed reports on their activities

it used to be non-profits under a certain size didn't have to file anything, but a couple of years ago, the IRS started requiring them to file a postcard with the IRS every year, even if they have, say 100 dollars in contributions

I remember talking to Lois Lerner at the time, at a conference, and asking her why

the answer: we just want to know what's out there

pretty creepy

just as unnecessary laws reduce our freedom, so does purposeless monitoring by the government

May 18, 2013 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is strange to think that there are places where these stupid and false statements of Anon's are picked up and repeated as if they were true. That is what they mean by the "rightwing echo machine." At a site like this, Anon can copy-and-paste his favorite editorial muckrakers and people will read it and roll their eyes, but there are TV networks and radio stations that pick this stuff up and repeat it, amplify it, exaggerate it, reify it. That's how it works.

May 18, 2013 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks, Rabbi Korff

not a word of the above is untrue

even the liberal elements of the press are horrified by the revelations of the last week

if the IRS situation is not corrected by firings and jail, it will be seen that this type of behavior has no consequence and our system of government will be lost

only the most wild-eyed fanatics, the types that allow dictators to come to power, would fail to see this

May 18, 2013 1:30 PM  
Anonymous have a great afternoon, TTF!! said...

you may remember that this site was started by those who wanted to support teaching the non-factual opinions of professional associations and advocacy groups in Montgomery County schools as facts

at the time, MCPS was considered one of the best in the country

I predicted then that allowing non-empirical data as fact would lead to a degradation of the quality of MCPS

yesterday, the county released data showing that student scores on the final math exams in Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II and Precalc have been declining for the last five years and that, currently, less than half of MCPS students pass these final exams

but, it's all a coincidence

nothing to do with teaching fairy tales as facts

May 18, 2013 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The IRS had to identify political groups and they did that by looking at the groups' names. One irrelevant guy got fired as a symbolic gesture, but even you know there is no big deal here, there was no political motive for the IRS's methods.

Here's the thing: it is risky to stare at paranoids. The Tea Party is a loose collection of paranoid kooks and nuts who think the government is out to get them, and all it takes is somebody doing their job to make them start screaming that they are the victims of some government conspiracy.

Groups who want tax exempt donations need to play by the rules, and the agency that enforces the rules needs to have a way to investigate possible violations. The government needs to avoid the "appearance of" impropriety, and that's the line they crossed, the "appearance of" bias.

May 18, 2013 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The IRS had to identify political groups and they did that by looking at the groups' names."

to finish your sentence, names that connoted a conservative viewpoint

"One irrelevant guy got fired as a symbolic gesture, but even you know there is no big deal here, there was no political motive for the IRS's methods."

he got fired because he repeatedly failed to take control of the situation and lied about it to Congress

"Here's the thing: it is risky to stare at paranoids."

oh, is that the thing?

I thought it was speech free of harassment from the government

you probably were a supporter of Dana Beyer

"The Tea Party is a loose collection of paranoid kooks and nuts who think the government is out to get them,"

gee, at this point it looks like they were right

"and all it takes is somebody doing their job to make them start screaming that they are the victims of some government conspiracy."

if their job is to harass the opposition party, we have some candidates for sequester

"Groups who want tax exempt donations need to play by the rules,"

actually, there is no suggestion that they didn't

we also need to stop regulating free speech

"and the agency that enforces the rules needs to have a way to investigate possible violations."

problem is the IRS developed the view that opposing the Obama administration was a "possible violation"

"The government needs to avoid the "appearance of" impropriety, and that's the line they crossed, the "appearance of" bias."

among other things

they also didn't give the same treatment to liberal sounding groups

it's not well-known, but TTF claims to not be political

you think they've had any problem with the IRS?

in addition to demanding inappropriate private information from any group that had "Tea Party", "Patriot", "inform voters about the Constitution" or "make America better" in their application, they also released private donor information to liberal advocacy groups to intimidate donors

imagine the howling from liberal groups if the list of donors and their contributions from the Human Rights Commission were sent to the National Organization for Marriage by the IRS during the bush administration

May 18, 2013 4:47 PM  
Anonymous good evening... said...

So many people are sad about America and cynical about its government. They don’t expect anything good to happen. They think certain poisons have entered the system and nothing can be done about it. Leviathan will not be cut back or tamed, Leviathan will go on abusing the citizen. People are all too willing to believe the Internal Revenue Service is hopelessly political in its judgments and actions. They are not shocked. They don’t think anything can be done, that the system cannot be corrected. They just grip the arms of the seat and wait for the weather to get worse.

But cynicism aids and abets deterioration. You’ve got to stay shocked. It’s disrespectful not to.

* * *
It actually is shocking that the IRS appears to have become political and ideological in a way that is systemic. It is shocking that the president claimed he read about the targeting of conservatives just last Friday, in the newspapers, and today the New York Times reports the leadership of the Treasury Department was told the charges were being investigated a year ago.

And it has to be remembered that this is not your ordinary scandal. Your ordinary scandal is an embarrassment. Somebody did something bad and there’s an investigation or hearings. People are made to suffer for their missteps, if only in terms of notoriety and legal expense. Sometimes the innocent or mostly innocent are dragged in, too. But in the end it passes. Some new laws are passed or rules instituted. And we move on to the next scandal. In a government populated by humans there will never be a lack of them.

But the IRS scandal is different because it speaks of the political corruption of a major and crucial governmental agency to whose rules and regulations every American—everyone who has a job or a bank account, or who engages in a financial transaction—is subject. Most people will never have an interaction with the State Department or the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the IRS deals with an intimate and sensitive part of your life, your personal finances. It is the revenue-collecting arm of the government. It is needed. It does necessary work. When that work is done well it is rarely noted and almost never celebrated. When it’s done badly it’s a terrible thing, because it means a citizen was treated badly or abused. But as an agency it couldn’t be more important to the national mood, the national atmosphere.

If we allow it to become politically corrupt that scandal will not pass, it will be with us every day.

* * *

May 18, 2013 8:00 PM  
Anonymous good evening... said...

Which gets us to soon-to-be-former IRS chief Steven Miller’s testimony today before the House Ways and Means Committee.

It gave a bit of a shock. He’s the head of an agency accused of major wrongdoing but his attitude was arrogant, nonresponsive, full of gamesmanship. His general tone? I am insulated, baby. You can’t touch me. You can make your little speeches and I’ll endure them with my best approximation of a poker face, but at the end of the day what can you do? I’m leaving. I have a pension. You can’t prove a thing It was so bad that by the end it occurred to me he might be a secret whistleblower who’s trying to enrage Congress into digging in and finding out what really happened to the IRS, and how, and when, and who did it, and what the rest of the administration knew.

Mr. Miller repeatedly suggested his agency hadn’t engaged in political targeting, it was just a matter of “mistakes” made “by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection.” He said the IRS was guilty of bad “customer service.” He said he had never misled Congress when he testified, previously, that conservative groups were not being targeted: “I answered the questions as they were asked.” He stonewalled and nonanswered. Who started the targeting? “I don’t have that name for you.” This from the head of an agency in a government hell-bent to get to the bottom on this.

There was an interesting moment when Mr. Miller admitted under questioning that the IRS’s seemingly spontaneous public acknowledgement of and apology for the targeting of conservatives was not, really, spontaneous, but part of a spin operation. He provided insight into the new IRS mindset in this exchange with Rep. Tom Price of Georgia:


Price: “Is it illegal what they have done?”

Miller: “It is absolutely not illegal.” . . .

Price: “Do you believe it is illegal for employees of the IRS to create lists to target individuals and groups and citizens in this country?”

Miller: “I think the Treasury Inspector General indicated that it might not be, but others will be able to tell that.”

Price: “What do you believe?”

Miller: “I don’t believe it is.”

Oh. Well that would explain that.

* * *
.

May 18, 2013 8:01 PM  
Anonymous good evening... said...

So where does this go? Congress will have more hearings next week. Meaning, I suppose, that more IRS officials will be made momentarily uncomfortable. Also the attorney general, Eric Holder, says the FBI will launch an investigation. The president has said he doesn’t want a special prosecutor to look into the scandal because the investigations of Congress and the Justice Department should be enough.

But they’re not. An independent counsel, with his particular powers and particular independence, is needed.

The targeting of conservative groups and individuals by the IRS was a political operation that had political effects. We know this because only people with certain assumed political views were targeted and abused. No liberal groups were. According to today’s Washington Post, the Barack H. Obama Foundation, run by the president’s half-brother and named after their father, sailed through to tax-exempt status in a matter of weeks.

When a problem is political it’s best to have politically independent people investigate it.

Again, if what happened at the IRS is not stopped now, it will never stop. The next White House will come in and they’ll know they can do it too. And if they’re unlucky enough to be caught, they’ll have a have a few uncomfortable moments in Congress, and a few people who were going to retire in the summer will retire in the spring. And it will all go on.

We are at a point now where you can make a list of things that, all combined and allowed to continue, can kill America. This is one of them. Widespread belief that the revenue-collecting arm of the US government is hopelessly corrupt is one of them.

There is such a thing as national morale. Ours could use a boost. People have grown cynical. They expect nothing good to happen. They expect it all to be swept under the rug. They expect no one to pay a price. It is a matter of profound public need that the U.S. government show and prove that it is capable of correcting itself, that Leviathan can stop itself

May 18, 2013 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the IRS's job to identify political groups that are abusing the tax exempt status. Who do you think is more likely to be using their organization for political activities, "The Golden Retriever Rescue Society of Nebraska," or "The Connecticut Tea Party?"

May 18, 2013 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about "Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment"?

they had no problem being approved by our socialist administration

sounds more political than golden retrievers and, yet, the only problem is with the Tea Party

truth is, there is no pressing need for the IRS to determine what is and is not political

when they do, bias is inevitable

face it, the Obama administration was alarmed by Citizens United and rationalized the persecution of the Tea Party

it will eventually turn out that Obama knew

he will be impeached

May 18, 2013 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, this will be hard for you to grasp, but "Reform and Empowerment" are not political terms. "Tea Party" is the name of a political party.

And I am pretty sure President Huckabee will not be impeached, as you predict.

May 18, 2013 10:39 PM  
Anonymous have a clarified day! said...

"this will be hard for you to grasp, but "Reform and Empowerment" are not political terms"

really?

how about the phrase "educate citizens about the Constitution"?

it may be hard for you to grasp but, the truth is, the form for tax-exempt status includes a section for the applicant to explain their exempt purpose

the job of the IRS is to rule on whether that exempt purpose, as stated, meets the criteria for the category of tax exempt organization that the prganization is applying for

at that point, the IRS is not supposed to be investigating any application based on its name, regardless of what that name is

they are simply supposed to be ruling on the exempt purpose, as stated

after an organization has been granted exempt status, based on its stated purpose, the IRS could theoretically investigate if they have reason to believe an organization is not engaged in its exempt purpose

but, even at that point, which none of the organizations in question were at, the name of the organization, in and of itself, would not be justification for a review of its tax exempt status

May 19, 2013 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are the problems with Benghazi and why it is still in the news :

1) we don't know who gave the order to stand down TWICE and not help the consulate
2) we don't know what happened to the President after he was informed the embassy was under attack and didn't check in after being told that at 5 pm until the next morning.
3) we do know it is very clear that the president and his white house (or at a minimum the state dept) mislead the American people for weeks about the nature of the attack - actually, scratch that, lied to the American people.
4) we don't know for sure how the Ambassador was killed.
5) we haven't caught who did it or punished them.

This was the first time an American ambassador has been killed overseas in 30 years.

Now, Jim, if your kid was working in the embassy overseas and had been killed that night, would you want to know the answers to these questions, or would you still think this was old news ?

May 19, 2013 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A new poll shows a majority approving of President Obama's job performance after a week where his administration faced a tough trio of controversies.

A CNN/ORC poll released Sunday morning shows 53 percent approve of the president, with 45 percent disapproving. Obama held a 51 percent approval in the last CNN poll conducted in early April.

“An approval rating that has not dropped and remains over 50 [percent] will probably be taken as good news by Democrats after the events of the last week,” said CNN polling director Keating Holland, announcing the poll findings.

Seventy-one percent said that the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups seeking tax exempt status for higher scrutiny was unacceptable, with 26 percent finding those actions acceptable.

The IRS actions brought criticism from the White House and both parties. Obama called the actions “outrageous,” and accepted the resignation of Steven Miller, the acting director of the agency, last week.

Lawmakers have begun hearings and Republicans have vowed to discover if officials at the White House knew about the scandal, despite claims from Obama that he didn’t “know anything” until reading news reports of the matter.

The poll, though, finds support for the president, with 61 percent saying that his statements on the scandal have been accurate, with 35 percent disagreeing with his characterization of the IRS actions.

May 19, 2013 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Obama administration’s talking points on the terror attack in Benghazi had no bearing on Mitt Romney’s defeat last year, the former Republican presidential nominee told Jay Leno.

Leno asked Romney whether he believes he might have beaten Obama in the November election if the initial narrative from the administration on the motive behind the attacks had been attributed to terrorism instead of a protest.

“I don’t think it would have changed the election,” said Romney.

Romney added that he doesn’t spend a lot of time reflecting on what could have been done differently during his campaign, although he said he wishes the outcome had been different.

“I don’t go back and look at: ‘Gee, if this would have happened differently, could I have won?’” Romney said. “I wish I had won. I wish I was there now.”

May 19, 2013 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your kindergartener had been gunned down in elementary school, would you still think the NRA's influence in Congress should continue to outweigh Congressional members' constituents' wishes?

May 19, 2013 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"WASHINGTON -- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday that he does not know whether President Barack Obama intentionally misled the public about the nature of the September 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, backtracking from previous comments that the administration had engaged in a "cover-up."

"What we now know from congressional testimony is that the number two man in Benghazi, the deputy chief of mission, informed his superiors including the secretary of state that this was a terrorist attack," Ryan said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."

"Those of us who have had the briefings, seen the videos, know there was no protest involved. To suggest afterwards that this was the result of a spontaneous protest, we now know is not the case. So the burden of proof here is on the administration's side. It is -- why did they continue to push this kind of a story when they knew nearly immediately afterwards that that was not the case?"

"Do you believe that the White House purposely misled the American people on Benghazi to try to beat you and Mitt Romney and win the election?" host Chris Wallace asked.

"I don't know the answer to that question," Ryan responded. "Rather make a conclusion before an investigation has been completed, we just need to investigate this for the sake of good government." [Ryan was agreeing with Hillary Clinton, who had said "It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."]

As recently as last week, Ryan insisted to conservative radio that there is "no doubt" a cover-up took place, an assertion that remains on his official congressional website.

But a day after Ryan's talk radio appearance, the White House released more than 100 pages of emails that cast doubt on the Republican theory that the administration had altered its talking points about the attack for political gain.

The emails detailed revisions to the talking points that were ultimately used by UN Ambassador Susan Rice in appearances on Sunday talk shows. Although one State Department email did voice concerns about the talking points being "abused" by members of Congress to "beat up the State Department," the documents show that both the CIA and the State Department had urged revisions, with both agencies voicing concerns that the talking points not interfere with an investigation into what had taken place in Benghazi. The repeated GOP refrain that Rice had been responsible for doctoring the talking points was discredited.

Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, repeatedly attacked the Obama administration on Benghazi during the campaign."

May 19, 2013 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, anon, it sounds like the issue in Benghazi is that "we don't know" the details about the US's mission there and how decisions were made when the consulate came under attack. Do you have a problem with our government conducting covert operations in the Middle East, or do you think everything should be written up in the newspapers?

May 19, 2013 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so you are okay with the commander in chief, the only one who could have given the order to go save him, going to bed ?

May 19, 2013 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, I do not understand your question. Do you believe the President should not sleep if there is violence in the world?

May 19, 2013 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this as not just violence in the world. He had been informed that the embassy was under attack.

I wouldn't go to bed.

and I would certainly call after 5.
they didn't hear from him again the next morning.

wow, you will just say anything to defend him won't you ?

May 19, 2013 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and you are really not vey smart on foreign policy either are you ?

we are not at war with Libya, and there aren't commanders on ground like Iraq or Afghanistan where they already have authority and generals in place.

I believe the only person who can give the order to send military personnel into a foreign country is the President.

and he was MIA from 5 pm on.

which really doesn't have to do with whether he was asleep or not. He left those 30 people to die. the folks over in the CIA annex ignored stand down orders and went to rescue them, or we might have a lot more dead.

May 19, 2013 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, you re amazing. Do you believe George W. Bush stayed up the sixty-something times that American outposts came under attack while he was President? Do you realize that there are life-and-death situations every single day of the year that the President has to decide about?

Do you really believe that anybody is so stupid that they are going to get upset because the President went to bed the night that a consulate in Libya was attacked?

It is not a matter of defending everything he does, anon, he does lots of things I don't like, drones and surveillance are a couple of words that will get me started, but it is ridiculous to criticize the guy for going to bed at the end of the day.

May 19, 2013 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you consider 5 pm the end of the day ?
because that was the last time he checked in.

and yes, I would believe that bush had standing orders to wake him if a situation escalated.

I would bet a significant amount of money on that.

May 19, 2013 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, all Presidents have a routine for waking them up when there is important news. The crisis at Benghazi was not one that required Presidential attention. Fox News has blown it out of proportion, but these kinds of things are not uncommon, it was not an international diplomacy incident, it was some radicals taking advantage of the opportunity to ransack and destroy a symbol of American presence. White House staff, diplomats, and military leaders know what they have to do in a situation like that.

Nothing would have been gained by keeping the President awake, and I can't believe you are actually trying to imply that there was something wrong with him going to bed at the end of the day. You are just being silly.

May 19, 2013 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was the first time an ambassador had been killed overseas in 30 years.

3 decades.
the last time was Iran.
The hostages remained hostages (200+ days wasn't it) until the day Reagan became President, and they were released that same day. I suppose you think just happened and Reagan had nothing to do with that.

you're right, it happens all time... just the last time was 30 years ago and it has happened a total of six times in the course of US history.

But hey, you are right, it is an every day occurrence.

do you think he went to bed at 5 PM ? because there was probably at least 5 hours that he also didn't check in before hitting the hay....

May 19, 2013 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—President Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to reassure the American people that he has “played no role whatsoever” in the U.S. government over the past four years.

“Right now, many of you are angry at the government, and no one is angrier than I am,” he said. “Quite frankly, I am glad that I have had no involvement in such an organization.”


The President’s outrage only increased, he said, when he “recently became aware of a part of that government called the Department of Justice.”

“The more I learn about the activities of these individuals, the more certain I am that I would not want to be associated with them,” he said. “They sound like bad news.”

Mr. Obama closed his address by indicating that beginning next week he would enforce what he called a “zero tolerance policy on governing.”

“If I find that any members of my Administration have had any intimate knowledge of, or involvement in, the workings of the United States government, they will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.



You're right, Benghazi wasn't his problem. Nothing is for our absent POTUS.

May 19, 2013 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://joemiller.us/2012/10/lawsuit-epa-conducted-gas-chamber-like-experiments-on-elderly-infirm-at-university-of-north-carolina/

Here come's another one.
EPA gassing seniors.
No really, it's true.

No come on TTFrs, this one has to get you mad.

Unless you believe that your grandma should die earlier ?

May 19, 2013 11:24 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa asked me: Now, Jim, if your kid was working in the embassy overseas and had been killed that night, would you want to know the answers to these questions, or would you still think this was old news ?

The attack at Benghazi did not have important implications for international diplomacy, and I would not expect the President to panic over it. Americans are imprisoned and killed overseas frequently, and the White House does not cancel its scheduled activities to deal with each incident. There is a chain of command, people know what they have to do and they know who is responsible for decisions, and the system works pretty well.

There were probably clandestine US operations in Libya, possibly involving the consulate, and our government is not going to undermine those operations because of pressure from rightwing conspiracy theorists. If my child was working a high-risk job in a volatile part of the country, I would live every day with the knowledge that he or she might not come home. That's part of the job description. I would not need to know who was to blame, I would not feel a need to accuse government leaders of lying and covering things up. The whole situation was dangerous, and in this case some people were killed. A lot of decisions had to be made on the fly, and help did not get to the consulate in time. The rescue mission was affected by the larger global strategy, the long-term deployment of security forces is carefully thought out but you cannot consider probabilities as certainties. The whole Middle East carries a probability of violence, but you don't know where or when.

I am sorry that people were killed in that crazy attack, I know their families miss them terribly and grieve for them. It does not make me feel any better about it to accuse the President of lying, and knowing the details of the attack will not bring those people back. People had to make decisions in haste and the outcome was not good; I trust that all the people involved are honorable people with the best intentions.

This one is easy, Theresa. You are a partisan ideologue, and anything the President or any member of his political party does it going to be criticized by you. Fox News has tried to make Benghazi, a minor-league attack by local hooligans, a big news story and it just isn't. It is a shame that you take the tragedy of these families' losses and make political gamesmanship out of it, but that is the sad and sickening reality we live with now.

JimK

May 19, 2013 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

local hooligans ?

Really ?

you really don't absorb any news that doesn't fit your agenda, do you jim...

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/16/politics/benghazi-hearings

Ex-CIA chief Petraeus testifies Benghazi attack was al Qaeda-linked terrorism.

Local hooligans with mortar launchers ? Really ?

"He (Petraeus) ... stated that he thought all along he made it clear that there was significant terrorist involvement, and that is not my recollection of what he told us on September 14," King said.


Ayotte: Serious questions to be answered
"The clear impression we were given (in September) was that the overwhelming amount of evidence was that it arose out of a spontaneous demonstration, and was not a terrorist attack," he said.

U.S. officials initially said the violence erupted spontaneously amid a large protest about a privately made video produced in the United States that mocked the Prophet Mohammed. The intelligence community later revised its assessment, saying it believes the attack was a planned terrorist assault.

May 20, 2013 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/05/exclusive-benghazi-talking-points-underwent-12-revisions-scrubbed-of-terror-references/

ABC News, you should like that outlet.

Still just a FOX news issue ?

May 20, 2013 12:10 AM  
Anonymous other anon said...

Jim, you are a partisan ideologue, and anything the President or any member of his political party does it going to be defended by you.

"Fox News has tried to make Benghazi, a minor-league attack by local hooligans, a big news story and it just isn't."

it was a big story when our diplomat was killed

the President deserted them because he had made a big deal how he had successfully dealt with terrorism by appeasement and this didn't fit very well with his story

he was in the midst of a campaign for re-election

one horrifying part is that by blaming the riot on a movie-maker, he inflamed passions around the world, causing riots in several locations by Muslims

this would not have happened if he had told the truth, which he intentionally did not

violence and death were caused by false statements made by Obama to make his approach to terrorism seem successful

May 20, 2013 1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"ABC News, you should like that outlet."

ABC got it wrong. They believed House GOP folks, who lied to them about what was in the emails.

"CBS's Major Garrett told viewers last night something news consumers don't usually see or hear: House Republicans gave journalists bogus information, apparently on purpose, in the hopes of advancing the right's version of the Benghazi story.

As Josh Marshall explained, "Generally, once partisan, tendentious sources leak information that turns out to be wrong, nothing's ever done about it. That's for many reasons, some good or somewhat understandable, mostly bad. But on CBS Evening News tonight, Major Garrett did something I don't feel like I've seen in a really long time or maybe ever on a network news cast. He basically said straight out: Republicans told us these were the quotes; that wasn't true."

Given what we now know, congressional Republicans saw all of these materials in March, couldn't find anything controversial, and moved on. But last week, desperate to manufacture a scandal, unnamed Republicans on Capitol Hill started giving "quotes" from the materials to reporters, making it seem as if the White House made politically motivated edits of Benghazi talking points.

As Major Garrett reported last night, the "quotes" Republicans passed along to the media were bogus. The GOP seems to have made them up. ABC's Jonathan Karl didn't know that, and presented them as fact, touching off a media firestorm.

Why would Republicans do this, knowing that there was evidence that would prove them wrong?

Probably because Republicans assumed the White House wouldn't disclose all of the internal deliberations that went into writing the Benghazi talking points. When the White House did the opposite on Wednesday, giving news organizations everything, the GOP had been caught in its lie.


GOP are the lying liars who tell lies.

May 20, 2013 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ABC Admits That They Never Read Benghazi Emails That They Smeared Obama With

ABC Doubles Down on Benghazi Fantasy

ABC’s Botched Reporting on White House Benghazi Emails Becomes Deepening Problem For the Network

ABC’s Jonathan Karl regrets that he was caught lying about Benghazi

May 20, 2013 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic, Jim, that a fierce GOP partisan like Theresa would use those who died in Benghazi as political props, even asking you to imagine one of those lost was a member of your own family?

I thought the GOP decided using the family members of dead people as political props was a no-no.

Oh hey T, this one's for you:

"The Southern State Fast Becoming Ayn Rand's Vision of Paradise

If you're worried about where America is heading, look no further than Tennessee. It's lush mountains and verdant rolling countryside belie a mean-spirited public policy that only makes sense if you deeply believe in the anti-collectivist, anti-altruist philosophy of Ayn Rand. It's what you get when you combine hatred for government with disgust for poor people.

Tennessee starves what little government it has. It ranks dead last in per capita tax revenue. To fund its minimalist public sector, it makes sure that low-income residents pay as much as possible through heavily regressive sales taxes, which rank 10th highest among all states as a percent of total tax revenues. (For more detailed data see here.)

As you would expect, this translates into hard times for its public school systems which rank 48th in school revenues per student and 45th in teacher salaries. The failure to invest in education also corresponds with poverty: It has the 10th highest poverty rate (15 percent) and the 13th highest state percentage of poor children (26 percent).

Employment opportunities also are extremely hard to come by for the poor. Only 25 percent have full-time jobs, 45 percent are employed part-time and a whopping 30 percent have no jobs at all.

So what do you do with all those low-income folks who don't have decent jobs? You put a good number in jail. In fact only Louisiana, Georgia and New Mexico have higher jail incarceration rates.

From the perspective of Tennessee legislators, it's all about providing the proper incentives to motivate the poor. For starters, you make sure that no one could possible live on welfare payments (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families -- TANF). Although President Clinton's welfare reform program curtailed how long a family can receive welfare (60 months) and dramatically increased the work requirements, Tennessee set the maximum family welfare payment at only $185 per month. (That's how much a top hedge fund manager makes in under one second.) As a result, the Volunteer state ranks 49th in TANF, just above Mississippi ($170).

Kick 'em when they're down or Tough Love?

In the Randian universe, it's not enough to starve public education and the poor. You also must blame the poor both for their poverty and for the crumbling educational system. If a poor child is failing it must be the fault of low-income parents. So how do you drive the point home? You take away their welfare checks if their kids don't do well in school, which is precisely what the Tennessee House and Senate are about to do..."

--continues here.

May 20, 2013 11:23 AM  
Anonymous oliver douglas said...

The late columnist William Safire once said that a good clue that someone in Washington was engaged in “an artful dodge,” i.e., a cover-up, was that they used the phrase “mistakes were made.” Safire defined it as a “passive-evasive way of acknowledging error while distancing the speaker from responsibility for it.”

The phrase became infamous when both Richard Nixon and Ron Ziegler, his press secretary, deployed it to explain away Watergate without explaining who did what and when or whether any ill motive was involved.





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Astonishingly, the Internal Revenue Service resurrected the Nixonian expression within hours of its clumsy revelation that it had targeted tea-party groups and other organizations with “patriot” or “9/12” in their names. “Mistakes were made initially,” the official IRS statement on May 10 read, implying that the mistakes ended after a short “initial” period. We now know that the scandal and cover-up unfolded over a three-year period, and the IRS publicly acknowledged them only after the 2012 election was safely past.
Here are some other clues that a Washington cover-up is going on.

1. No one seems to be able to name the players.
Last week, former acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller claimed he had identified “rogue” employees at the IRS’s Cincinnati office who were at the center of the scandal. But an IRS staffer at the Cincinnati office at the center of the scandal told the Washington Post this week: “Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”

Perhaps that’s why on Friday, Miller had this exchange during his House testimony with Representative Kevin Brady (R., Texas) .

Brady: “Who is responsible for targeting these individuals?”

Miller: “I don’t have names for you.”

Later, Representative Dave Reichert (R., Wash.) confronted Miller: “I’m disappointed. I’m hearing, ‘I don’t know. I don’t remember. I don’t recall. I don’t believe. Who knew?’ You don’t even know who investigated the case, but yet you say it was investigated. . . . You’re not instilling a lot of confidence.” Reichert pressed on, asking whom senior technical adviser Nancy Marks had identified as responsible for the targeting policy. Miller repeated his mantra of the day: 
“I don’t remember.”

One possible reason for the failure to reveal names is that it takes time for all the players to get their stories straight.

2. Spinners minimize the scandal by claiming it would have been impossible to detect it.
David Axelrod, President Obama’s strategist in the 2012 election, perfected this ploy last week when he told MSNBC that the scandal was caused by “bureaucrats deep in the bowels of the IRS.” He went on to offer this civics lesson: “Part of being president is there’s so much underneath you because the government is so vast. You go through these [controversies] all because of this stuff that is impossible to know if you’re the president or working in the White House, and yet you’re responsible for it, and it’s a difficult situation.”

Apparently, mistakes can’t even be known.

3. Critics are discredited.
In July 2012, months after he was made aware of the targeting scandal, Miller testified before a House committee and dismissed the complaints about the IRS’s targeting and intrusive questioning as mere “noise.” He said many of the groups applying for tax-exempt status “are very small organizations, and they are not quite sure what the rules are.” In other words, any groups that complained were just too dumb to understand the law. In reality, it was the IRS that was making up the rules as it went along.



May 20, 2013 12:55 PM  
Anonymous oliver douglas said...

Even many Democrats in Congress are tired of all these evasions. Having been misled by the Obama administration for so long on the IRS scandal, they aren’t likely to go out on a limb defending the cover-up.

Representative Joe Crowley of New York, one of top-ranking Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee, is calling for IRS official Lois Lerner to resign. Crowley told MSNBC that Lerner “failed to answer the question” when he asked her at a Ways and Means hearing on May 8 of this year whether the IRS was investigating groups that had applied for tax-exempt status. “She then two days later planted a question at a press event, only to then use that opportunity to apologize for what the IRS had been doing,” Crowley said. He added that when he later confronted her about the contradiction, she denied she’d even been asked about the political targeting at the hearing.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is going further. A former state auditor, she has had years of experience with dissembling bureaucrats and errant officials. Last Friday, she issued a video statement calling for a full house-cleaning of everyone involved in the scandal: “We should not only fire the head of the IRS, which has occurred, but we’ve got to go down the line and find every single person who had anything to do with this and make sure that they are removed from the IRS and the word goes out that this unacceptable.”

Good luck with that. Washington’s political culture is completely resistant to such accountability. Recall that no one was fired in the wake of mistakes that led to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We wouldn’t even know the names of many of those who made the mistakes without the work of an independent commission that investigated the attacks, a commission the Bush administration resisted forming.

In Washington, failure is rarely punished, and at times it’s even rewarded. Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office in charge of tax-exempt organizations from 2009 to 2012. She collected over $100,000 in bonuses as she oversaw the IRS at the time it was targeting White House opponents; she has since been promoted to be director of the IRS’s Obamacare office.

Yes, the old Washington adage that the cover-up is worse than the crime is true. But as far as the American people are concerned, the general failure to hold government employees accountable for the IRS scandal — and in some cases the refusal even to identify them — is the ultimate insult added to injury.

May 20, 2013 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Even many Democrats in Congress are tired of all these evasions. Having been misled by the Obama administration for so long on the IRS scandal, they aren’t likely to go out on a limb defending the cover-up. said...

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May 20, 2013 12:56 PM  
Blogger Patrick Fitzgerald said...

svelte_brunette: “What?! They've given up on the birth certificate "scandal" already??!!”

Just fyi, I’m stealing that…verbatim.

May 20, 2013 5:38 PM  

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