Benghazi – ABC Pushes Doctored Benghazi Emails and Documents Show Stevens Rejected Increased Security

Spring Beach wallpaper

Spring Beach wallpaper

Apparently at least some of the news division at ABC are in the bag for conservatives,  Who doctored a White House email?

Was ABC News used by someone with an ax to grind against the State Department? It looks possible. A key email in its “scoop” that the administration’s “talking points” on Benghazi had been changed a dozen times came from White House national security communications adviser Ben Rhodes. It seemed to confirm that the White House wanted the talking points changed to protect all agencies’ interests, “including those of the State Department,” in the words of the email allegedly sent by Rhodes.

But CNN’s Jake Tapper reveals that Rhodes’ email didn’t mention the State Department, and doesn’t even seem to implicitly reference it. The email as published by Karl differs significantly from the original obtained by Tapper.

According to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Rhodes weighed in after State Department’s Victoria Nuland, who expressed concerns about the way the talking points might hurt “my building’s leadership.” ABC quotes Rhodes saying:

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. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.

The email obtained by Tapper is very different.

Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.

There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.

We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies.

You can read the original here.

Significantly, the Rhodes email doesn’t even mention the controversial Benghazi talking points.

Who, just after ABC got the scoop with the doctored wording. The same radical far Right conservative sites always complaining about the “liberal” press: Townhall.com, The American Thinker, Hot Air, and Breitbart.com, The Daily Mail and National Review Online.

Whoever provided those quotes seemingly invented the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed. While Nuland, particularly, had expressed a desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and CIA warnings about the increasingly dangerous assignment, Rhodes put no emphasis at all in his email on the State Department’s concerns.

The allegedly inaccurate characterizations of the Rhodes email by ABC News and The Weekly Standard were repeated in numerous media outlets, and a Republican research document.

Some might remember that Tapper practically played communications director for former S.C. Governor Mark Sanford during his infamous disappearance and the discovery of his affair. I do and don’t understand how hacks like  Jonathan Karl and Lou Dobbs keep jobs as supposedly straight up journalist when they’re always getting caught reading off the Republican fax machine. We certainly will not be hearing this news from ABC, nor probably even CNN for that matter, Ambassador Stevens twice said no to military offers of more security, U.S. officials say U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens

In the month before attackers stormed U.S. facilities in Benghazi and killed four Americans, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens twice turned down offers of security assistance made by the senior U.S. military official in the region in response to concerns that Stevens had raised in a still secret memorandum, two government officials told McClatchy.

What did the far Right’s newest hero Stevens’ deputy, Gregory Hicks have to say about the news that Stevens had rejected increased security,

Both Hicks and Ham declined to comment on the exchange between Ham and Stevens. Hicks’ lawyer, Victoria Toensing, said Hicks did not know the details of conversations between Stevens and Ham and was not aware of Stevens turning down an offer of additional security.

“As far as Mr. Hicks knows, the ambassador always wanted more security and they were both frustrated by not getting it,” she said.

M’s Toensing is a professional smear merchant for the conservative movement, so of course she doesn’t know about anything that conflicts with the fairy tale she made up with her client.

Update: In the previous version of this post I wrote Jake Tapper when I should have written  Jonathan Karl. Sorry about that.

The Aspect Of The IRS Scandal You Will Not Be Hearing About

Los Angeles 1891

Los Angeles 1891. “Los Angeles, Cal., population of city and environs 65,000.” I was amazed at that population figure in relation to the current population of about 3.9 million.

Certainly the Republican noise grinder has kicked into full victim mode, and as usual the media has largely joined in so they will not be accused of liberal bias, the IRS has victimized poor little conservatives. I wonder if Jeffrey Toobin’s article can be heard through the den, The Real I.R.S. Scandal

So the scandal—the real scandal—is that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way. As Fred Wertheimer, the President of Democracy 21, a government-ethics watchdog group, put it, “it is clear that a number of groups have improperly claimed tax-exempt status as section 501(c)(4) ‘social welfare’ organizations in order to hide the donors who financed their campaign activities in the 2010 and 2012 federal elections.”

Some people in the I.R.S. field office in Cincinnati took the names of certain groups—names that included the terms “Tea Party” and “patriot,” among others, which tend to signal conservatism—as signals that they might not be engaged in “social welfare” operations. Rather, the I.R.S. employees thought that these groups might be doing explicit politics—which would disqualify them for 501(c)(4) status, and set them aside for closer examination. This appears to have been a pretty reasonable assumption on the part of the I.R.S. employees: having “Tea Party” in your name is at least a slight clue about partisanship. When the inspector-general report becomes public, we’ll surely learn the identity of these organizations. How many will look like “social welfare” organizations—and how many will look like political activists looking for anonymity and tax breaks? My guess is a lot more of the latter than the former.

In many cases conservative groups were violating the terms of their 501(c)(4)  by engaging in explicit political advocacy. never mind, all anyone needs to know is that this is a scandal. I have yet to read or hear even one conservative explain how the actions of the IRS benefits the Obama administration or Democrats. While not an excuse it does seem like some IRS employees at the lower level did not use the kind of systematic filtering of organizations that they should have. probably add in some political bias as well. If they would have looked over all applications equally, that would have served what is now considered an arcane concept, keeping dirty money and underhanded politics out of elections. Conservatives obviously have no problem with that. Where would they be without their money and front groups. They would have to fight the battle of ideas on level ground. As it is they need the constant media lies and disinformation. They need their conspiracies – real or imagined or ginned up 50 degrees. The tea bagger base, just have desert served up with a cherry on top. They’re enjoying this. Even though it is a level one scandal, they’ve pumped it up to level five because it serves their agenda. Should the IRS employees be ashamed. Certainly. But from this point onward this tax exempt business will be the gift that keeps on giving. The tea baggers will make sure of that. And for yet again putting on another Chicken-Little show, they should be ashamed. Only that’s right, you have to have reasonably good working conscience to feel ashamed.

Spring wallpaper – Conservatism Gets Orwellian About Words and Time

Tulip Spring wallpaper

Tulip Spring wallpaper

The Benghazi story has moved on in its own way. We’re not talking about what actually happened. We’re taking about how the Ts were crossed, why people used some words and not others and why something was not said ten minutes or two hours earlier. Another case of how the news is massaged, I write about the actual facts and it all comes out sounding like snark and satire when it is the literal truth. What ABC Left Out Of Its Report On Benghazi Talking Points

The report boiled down to two main points: that State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland — a former Dick Cheney aide — objected to including information in the talking points noting that the CIA had issued previous warnings that there was a threat to U.S. assets in Benghazi from al-Qaeda-linked groups because, Nuland said in an email, it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?”

The second point was that Nuland objected to naming the terror groups the U.S. believed were involved in the attack because, she said, “we don’t want to prejudice the investigation.”

And with that, the ABC report suggests the State Department “scrubbed” the talking points of terror references as some sort of nefarious cover-up of what really happened in Benghazi for political reasons. This, of course, playing into the GOP’s conspiracy theory that President Obama was trying to preserve his campaign theme that his policies had significantly crippled the terror network.

The story soon set reporters and Twitter alight. “Scrubbing the truth from Benghazi,” a National Journal headline read. Even the BBC speculated that “heads will roll.”

But absent in ABC’s report is the key point that Obama and various members of his administration referred to the Benghazi assault as a terror attack on numerous occasions shortly after the incident (thereby negating the need to “scrub” any references in the talking points) and that then-CIA Director David Petraeus said the terrorist references were taken out to, as the New York Times reported, “avoid tipping off the groups” that may have been involved.

Obviously the White House disagreed with Nuland’s suggested framing of the situation. The White House referred to the attacks as terrorism in their first public statement the day after the attacks occurred. It has become an unhinged conservative obsession about the timing. What possible difference could it make if the president called the attacks terrorism 10 hours earlier or later. Some sociopaths murdered some decent Americans. Why has the conservative movement decided that the timing of announcements and actual events matter less than their weasel-like sense of timing. Conservatives keep having their talking points knocked down, so they invent new ones or repeat old ones, only louder: Fox News Promoted Claim That Benghazi Witness Was Threatened Falls Apart.

Via here, this handy chart gives a nice snapshot of the effects of the sequester cuts:

full size

Meet The Benghazi Birthers

Winter Mountain Climbing wallpaper

Winter Mountain Climbing wallpaper

Conservative John Podhertz writing at the conservative rag, The New York Post can have his pick. He is either as dumb as a cabbage or an incompetent hack for the Right, Failings of Bam & Hill laid bare

After a remarkable House hearing yesterday, we can say this with almost complete certainty: The Obama administration knew perfectly well that last year’s Sept. 11 attack on Americans and American facilities in Benghazi was a terrorist act — yet chose to characterize it falsely as a spontaneous response to an anti-Islam YouTube video.

We can say this because we learned during the hearing that on Sept. 12, State Department official Beth Jones said flatly in an e-mail, “The group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.”

Well we know that it was a terrorist attack, that a group called al-Sharia was responsible and that they used the video and protests occurring throughout the mid-east as one of the motivating factors. Obama did characterize the attacks as terrorism several times, but unlike John, the President did wait to verify the facts. Remember John’s team agrees that presidents are “deciders“, thus the president gets to make the call on when and what to call things. Thus far no one has died from Obama’s twisted ideological judgment. Allahpundit at the radical Right web site Hot Air has the same options as John. (Gregory) Hicks: Higher-ups at State told me not to talk to GOP congressman about Benghazi; Update: “Effectively demoted”

Via the Daily Caller, the five most essential, damning minutes from today’s hearing. And Jordan does an expert job framing them. The money line, when Hicks is asked whether he’d ever been told before not to meet with a congressional delegation: “Never.”

I won’t slow you down with further comment. None is needed — except this: Cheryl Mills is no run-of-the-mill State Department apparatchik, even among the top tier. She’s been one of the Clintons’ right-hand men for decades. She worked in Bill’s White House legal office, then as counsel to Hillary’s presidential campaign, then became chief of staff at State when Hillary was appointed secretary. If she’s the right-hand man, what other conclusion is there than that Hillary’s the one who wanted Hicks to keep his mouth shut when meeting with Chaffetz?

There has not been one iota of evidence that anyone at the State Department discouraged Hicks from testifying. There is no collaborating evidence for Hick’s claim, what so ever. None. So “what other conclusion” can we arrive at? That M’s Mills makes a good omelet, that she graduated from high school, that she can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can conclude – a word that Allahpundit/Hot Air, substitute for the word speculate, about lots of things. Someone who Hillary knew, works/worked with her at State. That is truly shocking. That is blog post from the appropriately named Hot Air is a lesson in conservative propaganda, and what they think passes for journalism. Should anyone over there ever be accused of a capital crime they better hope the jury has higher standards for evidence or just get measured for a nice orange jumpsuit, they’ll need one. What do the Benghazi Birthers have, nothing but insinuation, bizarre theories and conjecture. GOP Star Witnesses Debunk Right-Wing Benghazi Conspiracy Theories

The “whistleblowers” at today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on what really happened in Benghazi, Libya last September were supposed to break the dam that would lead to President Obama’s eventual downfall, in the eyes of conservatives. Instead, these witness actually served to debunk several theories that the right-wing has pushed on Benghazi, leaving the hearing a fizzle for the GOP:

1. F-16s could have been sent to Benghazi

Part of the prevailing theory surrounding the events the night of the Benghazi attacks is that the Obama administration did not do enough militarily to respond to the crisis. Gregory Hicks — a Foreign Service Officer and the former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya — claimed during his pre-hearing testimony that fighter jets could have been flown over Benghazi, preventing the second wave of the attack from occurring.

Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) questioned that statement, asking Hicks whether he disagreed with Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey’s assessment that no air assets were in range the night of the attack. Hicks didn’t disagree, saying he was “speaking from [his] perspective” and what “veteran Libyan revolutionaries” told him, rather than Pentagon assessments.

2. Hillary Clinton signed cables denying additional security to Benghazi

House Republicans came to the conclusion in their interim report on Benghazi that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied to them about what she knew and when during her testimony this January. This includes her statement that at no time was she aware of requests for additional security at the diplomatic facility in Benghazi prior to the attack.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) used her time to take issue with this claim, asking all three witnesses about standard protocol for cables leaving the State Department. All three agreed with Maloney, that the Secretary of State’s name is placed at the bottom of all outgoing cables and telegrams from Foggy Bottom, whether the Secretary has viewed them or not, shooting down the GOP claim.

3. A Special Forces Team that could have saved lives was told to stand down

One of the most shocking reveals in the lead-up to today’s hearing was that a team of Special Forces in Tripoli were told not to deploy to Benghazi during the attack. That decision has led to an uproar on the right, including claims of dereliction of duty towards Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey for not taking actions that could have saved lives.

During questioning, Hicks confirmed that the team was ready to be deployed — not to join the fighting at the CIA annex — but “to secure the airport for the withdrawal of our personnel from Benghazi after the mortar attack.” Hicks also confirmed that it was the second such team to be readied for deployment, with the first having proceeded to Benghazi earlier. Despite the second team not deploying, the staff was all evacuated first to Tripoli, then to Germany, within 18 hours of the attack taking place.

4. The State Department’s Accountability Review Board isn’t legitimate

Republicans have been attacking the State Department’s official in-house review of the shortcomings seen before, during, and after the assault in Benghazi. That criticism prompted House Republicans to write their own report. When asked point blank about the recommendations of the Board, however, the witnesses didn’t cooperate with the GOP narrative. “Absolutely,” Eric Nordstrom, the Regional Security Officer for Libya prior to the assault in Benghazi, answered when asked if he believes implementing the recommendations would improve security. “I had an opportunity to review that along with other two committee reports. I think taken altogether, they’re fairly comprehensive and reasonable.” Hicks, when questioned, said that while he had some issues with the process by which the Board gathered its information, he demurred on criticizing the report itself.

There is a strong possibility judging from past “heroes” ( Joe the Plumper, Sarah Palin) of the radical Right, that Mr. Hicks will go on to make a nice living on the wing-nut welfare circuit.

Lawyers Representing The “Whistleblowers” In Hearings Are Long-Time GOP Activists With History Of Pushing Discredited Claims. The lawyers claiming to represent some of the witnesses at the Benghazi hearing, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, are long-time Republicans known for pushing false claims in the media and for having conflicts of interest in their professional work. They have both served as advisors to Republican candidates and donated thousands of dollars to GOP candidates and causes, and have been criticized for a conflict of interest for serving in a dual role in separate Justice Department investigations and for dropping “the air of impartiality, non-partisanship, and professionalism required” by their roles as leaders of a congressional investigation.

This is just another orchestrated conservative political hit like Karl Rove did to John McCain in South Carolina, Dick Cheney did on Valerie Plame and the Swiftboater attacks on John Kerry. The conservative movement, especially their hack propagandists, have no credibility.

Conservatives Cannot Back-Up Their Benghazi Conspiracy Theories

Space Eclipse wallpaper

Space Eclipse wallpaper

Remember when Bush ignored that Presidential Daily brief that Bin Laden might be planning an attack on the U.S. Remember how well then national Security Adviser and Vice President Cheney were so proactive about stopping that attack. No, we don’t remember that happening because they were all criminally negligent. None of their supporters, the same people pumping up the Benghazi conspiracy theories, called for resignations. On the contrary, they accused any critics of being pro terrorists. Judging from this trash talk from the anti-American web site Powerline and Paul Mirengoff, one can assume they’re afraid, very afraid of a Hillary Clinton run for the presidency,  Hillary Clinton — culpable for Benghazi from beginning to end. Anyone has has the time could use the bullet points from this trash to draw a chart on how to create a conservative smear without one shred of evidence:

“Under these circumstances, it would not do to attribute the Benghazi killings to the terrorism about which top State Department officials had been warned. Much better to lump what happened in Libya together with the protests that occurred in Egypt, and thereby characterize it as a demonstration that went too far, rather than premeditated terrorism.”

Yea, well the problem with that framing is that the Benghazi attacks did happen within the larger context of the video created by a U.S. based conservative. That is not to say there was a direct cause and effect, but certainly a tie between the two,  What’s Behind the US Embassy Protests in Egypt 

The distasteful and amateurish fourteen-minute video clip that ignited the unrest was first posted on YouTube in July, but it received scant attention until earlier this month, when Maurice Sadek, a Coptic Christian living in Washington DC, whose incendiary anti-Muslim campaigning led to the revocation of his Egyptian citizenship earlier this year, linked to a translated version of the film on an Arabic-language blog and highlighted it in an e-mail newsletter.

The independent daily Al Youm al Sabaa picked up the story and published a three-paragraph article on September 6 calling the film “shocking” and warning it could fuel sectarian tensions between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt. An Islamic web forum soon carried the story, as did other newspapers, yet it remained off the front pages.

It wasn’t until September 9 that the story began to gain traction, when TV host Khaled Abdullah—known for his inflammatory rants against Christians, liberals and secularists—played a clip of the video on his show on El-Nas, a private religious satellite channel. Abdullah and his co-host railed against the film and accused expatriate Copts of wanting to “inflame Egypt.” The Coptic Church issued a statement disavowing the video, as did a number of expatriate Coptic groups.

The film quickly caught the attention of other ultraconservative Islamists in what became an echo chamber of calls to protest. Wesam Abdel Warith, the head of the Salafi television station al-Hekma and one of the principal protest organizers within the Salafi coalition, called for a demonstration to be held outside the US embassy on Tuesday, September 11, after hearing that extremist Florida pastor Terry Jones had planned to put the Prophet Muhammed on mock trial that day and sentence him to death.

In an interview with Al Jazeera English, Warith defended choosing to hold the protest outside the US embassy. “We are fully aware that the US administration is not responsible for the actions of individuals, but this was a message because we know as individuals we have no power to stop this absurdity,” he said.

The chorus of calls to protest continued to grow. Nader Bakkar, the spokesman for the Nour Party, the largest of Egypt’s three licensed Salafi parties, said the protest was necessary as a religious duty to defend the prophet.

“Islamists tried to capitalize on this event for their own political gains,” says Khalil al-Anani, a scholar in Middle East politics at Durham University. “But it started getting out of control. It’s a very risky game.”

By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, protesters started gathering in front of the embassy, chanting slogans for the prophet and against the United States. A few thousand eventually turned up and were joined by a small group of Copts as well as Ultras, the soccer fans who have long been at the forefront of protests against security forces in Egypt. Police did nothing to prevent a number of protesters from scaling the 12-foot outer wall of the compound and bringing down the American flag, which had been flying at half mast to mark the anniversary of 9/11, eventually burning it and replacing it with an Islamic one.

“Essentially, security didn’t do anything,” says Michael Wahid Hanna, a fellow at the Century Foundation. “When they want to enforce security around an embassy they do it,” he says, pointing to the police crackdown on demonstrators outside the Syrian embassy a week earlier.

So for the terrorists the video was a kind of trigger and the protests made for a good opportunity. If security at U.S. embassies is all awful and was then Secretary of State Clinton’s fault, than why didn’t terror cells around the world use the weakness that Powerline insists was pure negligence, to launch a series of attacks. Could it be that the facts are as we know them. This was the one embassy where there were protests to provide the best cover for such an attack. If it sounds like I’m tossing up my own wild theories, Powerline and the radical right propaganda outlet The Weekly Standard need to get their stories straight because the Standard actually printed what I just wrote, Weekly Standard Accidentally Disproves Central Right-Wing Benghazi Claim

In the Weekly Standard article, Stephen F. Hayes highlighted how specifics about the involvement of members of an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group that were included in an initial September 14 draft of talking points by the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis were later removed by administration officials. Included in Hayes’ report are images of the various versions of those talking points, which serve to drastically undermine the right-wing media’s critique. Here’s the first bullet point from what The Weekly Standard terms “Version 1”:

We believe based on currently available information that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex.

In the final version of the document, that bullet reads:

The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.

The “protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” were part of a series of global riots and protests in Muslim countries that came in response to increasing awareness of the anti-Islam video.

These talking points were used by Ambassador Rice for a series of September 16 television interviews. The right-wing media subsequently engaged in a witch hunt to portray her as untruthful and misleading for connecting the attack to the video. But as the Weekly Standard has now shown, it was the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis and not political appointees that introduced that link into the talking points.

Moreover, the involvement of al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the attack does not preclude the video’s possible role as the proximate cause of the attack.

 

Maybe the entire intelligence community switches roles depending on who is in the White House. During the Bush years they conspired to cover-up conservative incompetence and violation of the law. One can make up all kinds of stories and claim that the story is indisputable, but what about those little nasty things called facts. The radical right claims that people did and said things out of certain motivations. Unless they have super powers that violate physical law, they cannot see into the mind of Clinton, Susan Rice or President Obama. And about that whistle blower who supposedly has the White House in his sights. Just so much smack talk, Benghazi (II): A military analysis of the Fox mystery man’s fantasy rescue plan

On April 30, 2013, Fox News aired an interview with a supposed member of U.S. Special Operations Command who said that members of “C-110,” who were training in Croatia on September 11, 2012, could have both arrived at the Benghazi consulate in 4-6 hours and arrived before the second attack on the annex during which Tyronne Woods and Glen Doherty were killed. The mystery man critiques the Obama administration’s decision-making, yet offers no information as to how C-110 would have influenced the battle in such a way that the outcome would have been different. Perhaps because it was actually impossible for C-110 to arrive before the attack, and if they did, they would not have been able to do anything that would have prevented our heroes, Woods and Doherty, from being killed.

[  ]…Obama gave the launch order at 0239. The mystery operator said 4-6 hours. That’s 0639-0839. Woods and Doherty died at 0515. An Air Force C-17 was evacuating personnel from the Benghazi airport at 0740. Mystery man and Fox News can’t add. Strike one.

 

Gregory Hicks, the former deputy of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens has some lawyers running defense for him. How remarkable that his lawyers are members of the conservative black opts crew that tried to get serial liar and traitor Scooter Libby off,

Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing run a law firm together. They are also married. They are also soldiers in the dirty wars we have between the two major parties. When Scooter Libby was indicted, diGenova and Toensing demanded a pardon. In fact, they had been brawling on Libby’s side for years. Toensing even authored an amici curiae brief with the US Court of Appeals in Washington, seeking to overturn the ruling that forced Matthew Cooper and Judy Miller to testify in the Libby case.

Poor little Scooter, a conservative black opts veteran himself had to bite the bullet, lie, get caught and then take the fall, all to protect Darth Cheney. he is probably living off wing-nut welfare, but he never did have to serve jail time for his crimes and neither did Dick. The Benghazi conspiracy game follows a trend in the conservative movement. Conservatives commit real provable crimes. Are proven to be up to their eyeballs in an actual conspiracy. As soon as the opportunity arises they invent a conspiracy as revenge against those who attacked them for their real crimes and negligence. Conservatives have created this swirling cesspool of moral corruption. rather than step back, stop, apologize and become just decent citizens, they dig themselves deeper into the muck of their own making. Even Fox News or one guy on their morning show anyway sees where the conspiracy entangles a lot of people the Right has praised in the past, including Admiral Mullen, General Petraus and Leon Panetta. Many of the people who were running some aspect of national security under Bush, and could do no wrong, are still working at some post at the CIA, National Security Administration or the Pentagon, for the Obama administration. This is almost as absurd as the birthers who by definition are claiming that fifty states, the CIA, the SCOTUS, the State Department, the Secret Service and a dozen other entities are involved in the greatest cover-up in history.

When Conservatives Love One World Government

Spring River wallpaper

Spring River wallpaper

Always on the top ten list of radical conservative conspiracy theories is the U.N. and one world government – here are three that have no basis in reality, here, here and here. Knowing that makes this article from left of center against one world government all the more interesting. One of the more interesting reasons is that in some of the ways in which world governments cooperate, especially in financial markets, are ways that the conservative movement enthusiastically supports. Some of the ways in which there is international cooperation is clearly a good thing. Others not so much. An optimist’s view from the edge of the abyss

What is the link between malicious computer hackers, pollution-spewing power stations, bird flu and complex financial products? All pose potential threats to the planet, its climate and inhabitants that no single government could tackle alone. Collectively, they provide doomsters with reasons why the 21st century could be as blighted by war, plague and economic depression as in the first half of the 20th.

Anyone wanting their spine chilled by things that might go wrong in a world of “turbocharged globalisation” could do worse than read Divided Nations, which examines why global governance is failing and possible remedies. A former World Bank policy director and adviser to Nelson Mandela, Ian Goldin takes the benefits of globalisation as given – yet sees a planet as endangered as it is endowed by its rapid economic and technological integration.

Hackers can plant Trojan horses in computers on the other side of the world. Climate change pits poor nations against the rich, big business against environmentalists. In the run-up to the financial crisis, collateralised debt obligations “played the role of the pathogen”. Flu pandemics, spread by globe-trotting humans carrying treatment-resistant viruses, could pose still greater dangers.

[  ]…Widespread reform may begin after the next global disaster. “The financial crisis is only the first of what will be an increasingly severe set of destabilising shocks in the 21st century. New institutions will emerge out of these crises, just as the key elements of our current institutional structure – including the UN and the Bretton Woods institutions – rose phoenix-like from the second world war.”

Yet Goldin professes himself “an op­timist” who believes in the “creative power of humanity”. Eurozone leaders have shown politicians can take tough decisions when looking into the abyss, for instance in Greece. Moreover, he presents plenty of examples of nation states co-operating successfully. He might have explored in greater depth why the world was able to agree cross-border rules on air traffic that have created a robust, reliable system; if only banks could be made as safe.

It is strange, or maybe not considering the global reach and power of today’s multinational corporate powers, that we a little safer from actual disease epidemics, but less safe from financial ones. One of the weakest links in the financial chain is Wall Street. It is even too bigger to fail (sorry about the grammar).

The Economic Benefits of EPA Regulations Massively Outweigh The Costs

From the 2012 Presidential campaign onwards, Republicans have railed against the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “job-killing,” as a threat to freedom, and as a drag on economic growth. The claim has never comported with evidence, but like a zombie it just refuses to die.

The latest effort to kill it comes via a new study from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which found that the benefits EPA regulations bring to the economy far outweigh the costs.

The way this works is pretty straight-forward. Environmental regulations do impose compliance costs on businesses, and can raise prices, which hurt economic growth. But they also create jobs by requiring pollution clean-up and prevention efforts. And perhaps even more importantly, they save the economy billions by avoiding pollution’s deleterious health effects. Particles from smoke stacks, for example, are implicated in respiratory diseases, heart attacks, infections and a host of other ailments, all of which require billions in health care costs per year to treat. Preventing those particles from going into the air means healthier and more productive citizens, who can go spend that money on something other than making themselves well again. Another example is carbon emissions, which will impose costs on the economy in the form of future disruption to food supplies, destruction from extreme weather, and other upheavals if they’re not curbed. Researchers generally put those costs at around $20 to $25 per ton of carbon, but estimates vary widely. Other regulations are actually aimed at reducing red tape, improving communication between agencies, and facilitating the flow of information.

Yet we have the American Enterprise Institute, The Hoover Institute and the Chamber of Commerce ( these organizations are megaphones for  radical Right wealthy corporate interests), that they’re not making enough money. Billionaire radical conservatives and libertarians such as Sheldon Adelson, Harold Simmons, Bob Perry, Foster Friess, William Doré and Peter Thiel constantly whine about regulations being bad for business. How can a billionaire sit there with a straight face and say that regulation that protects the health of American families is keeping them from making money. Are we so far behind in math in the U.S. that people cannot put two and two together and see that the conservative agenda is about blind greed and avarice for power.

World Map with British Territories1786 – Conservatives Wrestle With Ethics and Lose

Antique World map with British Territories 1786

Antique World map with British Territories 1786. those territories are the light orange colored areas. The map doesn’t really give a proper perspective since in relation to land mass and the world’s oceans the territories seem small. This isn’t pick on the British day, I picked this map out from several possibility for today just because it was a little different from previously posted maps and because the border art work was so interesting. Though the map does fit in with a report from just this past autumn which found Britain has invaded all but 22 countries in the world in its long and colourful history. That is 22 lucky ducks out of 200. They’ve never invaded Luxemburg for some reason.

If Howard Kurtz Is Down to Only One Job, Is He Still Howard Kurtz?

Why should the country’s best-known media reporter give a clear report on a media event involving him? He never worried about the ethics of working for two corporations that were supposed to be reporting on each other. The inherent corruption of what he did was a simple background fact, like the background fact of his dullness and mediocrity. There was a time when he had a platform that allowed him to command attention by breaking stories, before platforms proliferated and news breaks sped up; the news of his departure was broken by Dylan Byers at Politico. Latter-day Kurtz was boring except when he was laughable, and for a long time, none of that harmed him in the slightest.

It is tempting to nominate Kurtz as the poster boy for the seemingly incurable case of hackerness that permeates a media that jumps on bandwagons, panders, entertains, fires anyone marginally good and is so in love with its own power that it is falling behind Twitter ( which has it’s faults as well) is providing the news. But Kurtz is and always has been a self-important pimple among a field of self-important pimples. News readers, many with a very likeable persona, that were and are more concerned about offending people with actual news, so they don’t scare off advertisers, than practicing the profession of journalism. This is not an exclusively modern era problem. Some journalists have tried to live up to the title of the people’s watchdogs. Others care more about buying that expensive McMansion in Connecticut and hanging out at the right dinner parties. Kurtz was firmly entrenched in the dinner party beltway mentality and lifestyle. Where despite this recent shameless laziness and breach of ethics, he will stay.

If the war on drugs can’t stop Glenn Beck from getting high, what use is it, Glenn Beck: There’s A “Very Good Chance” The Houston Airport Shooting Was A “Setup” Like “The Burning Of The Reichstag” . Beck too is a journalist. A man who had fired a gun inside a ticketing area at Houston’s largest airport was killed after being confronted by a law enforcement official . Yep, Beck has nailed this one. The super secret society of gun safety advocates have a ring of suicidal nuts on call to sacrifice themselves for background checks. Beck is probably an expert on the Reichstag fire down to the number of matches used, but for those who are not, The Reichstag Fire

On February 27, 1933, the German parliament (Reichstag) building burned down due to arson. The government falsely portrayed the fire as part of a Communist effort to overthrow the state.

Using emergency constitutional powers, Adolf Hitler’s cabinet had issued a Decree for the Protection of the German People on February 4, 1933. This decree placed constraints on the press and authorized the police to ban political meetings and marches, effectively hindering electoral campaigning. A temporary measure, it was followed by a more dramatic and permanent suspension of civil rights following the February 27 burning of the parliament building.

Though the origins of the fire are still unclear, in a propaganda maneuver, the coalition government (Nazis and the German Nationalist People’s Party) blamed the Communists. They exploited the Reichstag fire to secure President von Hindenburg’s approval for an emergency decree, the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State of February 28. Popularly known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, the regulations suspended the right to assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other constitutional protections, including all restraints on police investigations.

Justified on the false premise that the Communists were planning an uprising to overthrow the state, the Reichstag Fire Decree permitted the regime to arrest and incarcerate political opponents without specific charge, dissolve political organizations, and to suppress publications. It also gave the central government the authority to overrule state and local laws and overthrow state and local governments.

Beck is currently syndicated on radio, newspapers and has his own cable network. One which he is trying to force everyone to pay for, whether they want to watch Beck’s conspiracy channel or not.

Another conservative who thinks ethics is an obscure concept only practiced by the ancient Greeks, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas: Obama is president because he’s approved by ‘elites’,

“You pick your person, any black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a black person will be picked apart,” he added. “You can pick anybody, don’t pick me, pick anyone who has decided not to go along with it; there’s a price to pay. So, I always assumed it would be somebody the media had to agree with.”

So s SCOTUS justice makes it plain that he is hostile to the president, thus any legal issues on which he disagrees with the president. So much for the open-mindedness and fairness with which Thomas approached the law. Even if he did meditate himself into fairness mode for court decisions why express such open hostility and compromise his own ethics. ” any black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a black person.” Is that supposed to be a joke. Thomas’s sacred conservative movement has vilified Obama and his race, going back to his 2008 run for president. Has Thomas read any of the news reports of the inflammatory language used against president Obama. The elites?  Would those be the 47% of the public that Thomas ideological brother Mitt Romney did not want to bother with. Thomas has set up the public relations fail-safe. If you agree with him, you’re a good American and a good Black American. If not, he is being victimized and the critic has been brainwashed. In Thomas World you cannot have an honest disagreement with him. This mental midget only became a justice because he would carry water for the conservative establishment and because of conservative identity politics. Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics

Conservatism Has Pushed America Away From Being a Merit Based Culture

Starry Night Japan wallpaper

Starry Night Japan wallpaper

 

H/T to Mike for these links,  Bankers Explain How They Cannot Possibly Live On $1 Million Pay

Like many carbon-based lifeforms, you perhaps think that bankers are driven only by naked greed. But that is just because you don’t understand them: They actually have a deep psychological need for that money.

In a new article at the U.K. site eFinancialCareers, several bankers explain that they have legitimate reasons for needing more than one million British pounds (about $1.6 million) per year in pay — more money than most non-banking types could ever figure out how to spend. In a nutshell, it’s all about psychology.

[  ]…For one thing, taxes will quickly whittle a seven-figure income right down to the mid-six figures, perilously close to being within sight of the middle class. Then, an ex-Goldman banker points out, with the mere $600,000 in take-home pay remaining, bankers still need to “pay the mortgages on, and maintain houses, in the Hamptons and Manhattan, to put three children through private schools costing $40k a year each, and to pay living costs.”

Bankers might want to shed some of these costs by, say, sentencing their kids to rub elbows with the filthy Poors in public schools or owning just one house. But they are under constant social pressure to spend and spend some more, according to another ex-Goldmanite — who is now a psychotherapist, naturally.

I’m figuring that according to statistics most of the people that visit this blog are probably at the national median income – about $52k per year. Perhaps a few professionals – dentists, engineers, administrators, etc. who are in the  $64k to $125k range. Take a breath and try to get past the sheer cluelessness and ivory tower world view of these bankers. Look at the psychology. Their case is not that by merit of the work they, the value they provide society, the special value of their skills ( like not everyone can do fine assembly work with small electronics or watches. Not everyone can be a master carpenter, or forensic pathologist). Their value has been determined by other members of the club of bankers. Not based on merit, rather how much they think their class of people should get to maintain a certain lifestyle. Whatever that is, it is not capitalism. When someone gets a bag of salty fat laden chips with their food stamps, conservatives go ballistic over the undeserving getting the undeserved benefits. That particular issue being one of pennies and dimes. The upward distribution of unearned income, from capital created by working class Americans, the radical Right not only has no problem with, they think this is how a virtuous economy and culture should be structured. Are the bankers in the UK or the USA acting the way a patriot would act. Is this the way a patriot acts,  Global Super-Rich Stashing Up To $32 Trillion Offshore, Masking True Scale Of Inequality: Study

The global super-rich are stashing trillions of dollars offshore with the help of some of the world’s biggest banks, putting billions of dollars out of the taxman’s reach and masking wealth inequality’s true heights.

Wealthy people were hiding between $21 and $32 trillion in offshore jurisdictions around the world as of 2012, according to a 2012 study from the Tax Justice Network, an organization which aims to promote tax transparency. The study, highlighted by a recent Bloomberg News report, found that more than $12 trillion of that money was managed by 50 international banks, many of which received bailouts during the financial crisis, according to James Henry, the study’s author.

“There’s a lot more missing wealth in the world than we had known about from previous estimates,” Henry told The Huffington Post.

[  ]…The global super-rich are stashing trillions of dollars offshore with the help of some of the world’s biggest banks, putting billions of dollars out of the taxman’s reach and masking wealth inequality’s true heights.

Wealthy people were hiding between $21 and $32 trillion in offshore jurisdictions around the world as of 2012, according to a 2012 study from the Tax Justice Network, an organization which aims to promote tax transparency. The study, highlighted by a recent Bloomberg News report, found that more than $12 trillion of that money was managed by 50 international banks, many of which received bailouts during the financial crisis, according to James Henry, the study’s author.

“There’s a lot more missing wealth in the world than we had known about from previous estimates,” Henry told The Huffington Post.

The Tax Justice Network say the real scandal is that policy makers are not doing anything to shut down what is no less than mob style money laundering. Maybe elsewhere circumstances are different, but as we just saw with closing some gun safety background check loopholes, a minority party can shut down any legislation they like. With several senior Democrats retiring and a couple of those seas now in play for conservative nutbars, iit is very unlikely we’ll have a sixty seat filibuster proof majority in 2014 or 16. There were a couple of Senate Republicans on board with the background check legislation. It was very reasonable legislation that in no way interfered with a law abiding citizen buying a firearm for personal protection. It should have easily passed, but Obama liked it so, Toomey’s candor sheds light on post-policy party

So why did GOP senator put aside common sense and popular will? According to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who co-authored the bipartisan measure, it wasn’t just about the gun lobby — some of his Republican colleagues didn’t want to “be seen helping the president.”

“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa.

If Obama came out and said he liked puppies tomorrow, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) would claim that puppies were a commie plot.

Never assume that conservatives cannot reach the bottom of the scum pond, they always find a way to make moral corruption the new standard for behavior: DIRTY TRICKS: Mysterious Conservative Group Sending Out Push Polls In South Carolina Special Election

A mysterious conservative group has been placing highly-misleading phone calls to South Carolina voters, trying to dissuade them from voting for the Democrat in an upcoming congressional special election.

South Carolina has a reputation for dirty tricks, and next week’s special election between former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and businesswoman Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) is no exception. One of the most popular tactics is known as “push polling,” whereby a group calls up voters under the guise of conducting a poll, only to ask questions that leave the voter with a highly-misleading impression about a certain candidate.

[  ]…The questions they did ask ranged from outlandish smears to thinly-veiled Republican talking points. Here are some of the issues SSI brought up in various iterations of the push poll, according to those ThinkProgress spoke with:

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you a judge held her in contempt of court at her divorce proceedings?

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she supported the failed stimulus plan?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you unions contributed to her campaign?”

After about a half dozen of these questions, Wolford began to challenge the caller for asking such absurd questions. He apologized, telling her, “ma’am, I’m just paid to ask questions.” When Wolford asked who all he was calling, he demurred, saying he “just had to call the numbers they gave him.” She told ThinkProgress she suspects the calls were targeted towards Democratic women to try to discourage them from voting.