Should America Vote for Trump Part 4

Can Florida and Colorado voters trust this conman
Can Florida and Colorado voters trust this conman

Trump Presidency Would Be an Economic Nightmare, Nobel Prize-Winning Economist

“For our economy, I think the uncertainty of this political leader who clearly has no deep understanding of economics other than knowing how to go bankrupt [is a major problem]. And we can only hope that he won’t bankrupt the country, but he has said things like ‘let’s renegotiate the national debt’ … that’s something that’s almost unimaginable that any leader would say,” he said.

Stiglitz theorized on how Trump would do business in the White House based on the GOP nominee’s statements: “You know you’ve lent us money that was just the initiation of a negotiation, we’ll negotiate whether we’ll pay you back.”

“That’s not the way capital markets work,” he said, “So I guess I say it’s a nightmare. Fortunately, the probability that nightmare coming true is small and hope it’s getting smaller by the day.”

Stiglitz empathized with the middle class and poor people in America, who feel squeezed in the current economy; particularly voters willing to take a chance on some of Trump’s far-fetched ideas just because they want change.

“What we have to do is rewrite the rules of the market economy,” Stiglitz insisted. “We have to, for instance, try to encourage firms to be more long-term, less excessive CEO pay, pay more attention to strengthening workers’ bargaining rights … I don’t think it’s rocket science, but we haven’t paid any attention because we were blinded by the ideology of trickledown economics—that if the top did well everybody would do well, and that has been proven wrong.”

Trump makes new promises every day and changes the details to suit the audience – we used to call people like that ass kissers. But one thing he has pretty much stuck with is trickle down supply side economics with even more tax cuts for millionaires. A large percentage of the blame for the Great Recession of 2007-2008 goes to trickle down Republican policy. Working class and middle class Americans would not have suffered as much if more of the capital they created went into their pockets and savings accounts instead of tax breaks for the Donald Trumps. Speaking of which; it doesn’t matter if you live in Colorado, Ohio, Florida or somewhere in between, you helped pay for Trump’s financial shenanigans, Ask Trump for a Refund, He Received $885 Million in Tax Breaks for His New York Empire

Trump says he’ll be great at fighting terrorism If so, highly doubtful considering he doesn’t even know how our military works. On the hand, no bragging, just facts, Democrats are simply the greatest terrorists hunters in the history of the USA.

The president is a superior terrorist hunter. He has also neutralized a profound existential threat to U.S. allies in the Middle East, and denied ISIS access to vast storehouses of deadly chemical weapons. So why does he get no credit?

 

Hillary Clinton will continue this astounding anti-terrorism record, Who Let Terrorists Kill People, Democrats versus Republican leadership.

Republican leadership tragically sucks at keeping America safe.
Republican leadership tragically sucks at keeping America safe.

Research shows Democrats are better for the economy.

While the GOP convention news focused on Melania Trump’s plagiarism and Steve King’s claim about white civilization being superior, another thing that set it apart was that there was very little traditional GOP red meat. Rather than focus on jobs and economic growth, the convention centered around crime and undocumented immigration, both of which have decreased dramatically in the last several years. Indeed, recent Pew data suggest that the economy and jobs are far bigger concerns for the public than immigration and crime (though terrorism ranks high).That is true for Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Gallup data show that while the economy has declined in importance, is it still ranked far higher than immigration and crime.

Further, numerous studies, using numerous different methods, suggest that Democrats are better for economic growth and jobs than Republicans. In addition, under Democrats, the growth is distributed more equally across income groups.

Should America Vote for Donald Trump Part 3

Intelligence officials write open letter exposing the dangers of a Trump presidency

Mr. Trump, with all due respect to you as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, you cannot credibly serve as commander in chief if you embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader has repeatedly shown himself to be an adversary of the United States. Putin, during his long tenure, has repeatedly pursued policies that undermine U.S. interests and those of our allies and partners. He has steadily but systematically moved Russia from a fledgling democratic state to an authoritarian one. He is the last foreign leader you should be praising.

50 G.O.P. Officials Warn Donald Trump Would Put Nation’s Security ‘at Risk’

How Trump recreated his Foundation to take other people’s money and make it look like he was the virtuous donor

Trump’s failed Baja condo resort left buyers feeling betrayed and angry

In the end, nothing at all was built at Trump Ocean Resort, and Simms lost her money. As did about 250 other buyers, most of them from Southern California.

All told, two years of aggressive marketing yielded $32.5 million in buyer deposits, every bit of it spent by the time Trump and his partners abandoned the project in early 2009 as the global economy was reeling. Most of the buyers sued them for fraud.

Mike Pence might not be a throw-back mid-century fascist, he just has some beliefs in common with Nazi ideology

Ex-Benghazi investigator-intelligence officer (a Republican) says U.S. panel targeted Clinton. Yet every Conservative Trump supporting web sites has spun a false, frequently outrageous narrative about Benghazi. Throughout history when a political movement tells more lies than truths, manufactures narratives, spins like crazy, they always have a nefarious agenda.

IS THIS TRUMP’S BIGGEST FINANCIAL CON YET?
The Republican standard-bearer’s new economic plan may be his emptiest promise.

How Donald Trump Exploited Charity & Veterans for Personal Gain

 

 

Should Americans Vote for Donald Trump Part 1

The fatal flaw in Trump’s Frankenstein economic plans

The second problem for Trump’s Frankenstein economics is that his seemingly contradictory proposals would be a disaster if they were enacted. Moody’s economic forecasting conducted a nonpartisan analysis of Trump’s proposals and concluded that they would lead to a loss of 3.5 million jobs. And they would cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars of lost growth.

Former models for Donald Trump’s agency say they violated immigration rules and worked illegally

There is no Clinton email scandal, its all about the media trying to balance Trump’s daily insanities

Trump is $650 mill. in debt and part of his debt is carried by the Bank of China

Donald Trump made millions from Saudi Arabia, but trashes Hillary Clinton for Saudi donations to Clinton Foundation (the Saudis have also made donations to both Bush presidents for their libraries).

Voting Rights for Women Should Be Revoked According to How They Obtain Their Birth Control, Says Author of ‘Handbook for the Trump Revolution’

Who should America believe when it comes to Hillary Clinton’s email, the FBI or some unhinged Hillary haters.

Page 11: On January 23, 2009, Clinton contacted former Secretary of State Colin Powell via e-mail to inquire about his use of a BlackBerry while he was Secretary of State (January 2001 to January 2005). In his e-mail reply, Powell warned Clinton that if it became “public” that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to “do business,” her e-mails could become “official record[s] and subject to the law.” Powell further advised Clinton, “Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.”

This is important. First, it makes clear that Hillary conversed with Colin Powell two days after becoming Secretary of State, not “a year later,” as Powell has claimed. Second, Powell essentially told her that he had just gone ahead and broken the law by “not using systems that captured the data.” Hillary, by contrast, chose instead to retain everything as the law required.

Conservatives Who Have Bungled Foreign Policy For Years, Have No Humility on Syria

Summer Flowers wallpaper

Summer Flowers wallpaper

 

MoJo goes out of their way to present all the sides – Democrats for and against, Cons for and against, Bombing Syria: A Running Guide to the Debate. I recommend reading the whole article and their on-going updates, but here are a couple items that stand out,

Steven Cook, a senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, published a piece in the Washington Post on Friday contending that an assault on Syria would do far more damage than good. Cook, who previously had recognized a case for intervention, wrote:

The formidable U.S. armed forces could certainly damage Assad’s considerably less potent military. But in an astonishing irony that only the conflict in Syria could produce, American and allied cruise missiles would be degrading the capability of the regime’s military units to the benefit of the al-Qaeda-linked militants fighting Assad—the same militants whom U.S. drones are attacking regularly in places such as Yemen. Military strikes would also complicate Washington’s longer-term desire to bring stability to a country that borders Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. Unlike Yugoslavia, which ripped itself apart in the 1990s, Syria has no obvious successor states, meaning there would be violence and instability in the heart of the Middle East for many years to come.

While others have pointed out that the goal of a retaliatory attack would be to make the targets ones that would damage Assad’s military capability, causing just enough damage to motivate Assad to come to a negotiated settlement. With aid from Russia and Iran, Assad could run this civil war into a years long stand-off. Mojo mentions the record 2 million refugees produced by the war. There is no reason to believe it will get better without a precise tactical strike. Mojo gives us a look at the same old opinions from the same bungling analyst that served us so well with Iraq, like Fareed Zakaria. Zakaria gets some little bit right once in a while that is not a complete hack, but really, is this guy the one to listen to with a grade of D in foreign policy issues. Though Zakaria looks like a razor sharp analyst compared to “James Ceaser, professor of politics at the University of Virginia (who the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol calls one of “American conservatism’s leading thinkers.” Always Wrong Kristol’s recommendation is like getting a thumbs up from an arsonist. Conservatives and the media have this toxic relationship where they help lead each other off the cliff, repeatedly, yet they keep holding hands and walking towards the cliff, dragging the American public along for the ride. Conservatives, including the bizarre Rand Paul (R-KY) have nothing worth listening to. If they happen to say something someone agrees with, it is pure luck, like getting your number on a roulette wheel. Oh, and former congressional representative Allen West (R-FL) is still a venal cowardly tree stump that can make sounds. If Ceaser, Kristol, West, John McCain, John Bolton and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) had their way we would be neck deep in a war with Iran right now. These conservatives are not concerned with what is best for the USA or Syria, they’re focused on how to best make a Democratic administration look bad, so they’ll take any position on the buffet table to do so.

Senate hearings are ongoing as I post: They will not authorize ground troops and will set a time table or window within which the strikes may occur. I don’t think anyone wanted ground troops anyway, so that was a no brainer.

Liberals disenchanted with this administration, just a reminder of the kind of mindless arrogance we could have in the White House – Rubio: We Wouldn’t Be At This Stage With Syria ‘If I Had Been In Charge’ (VIDEO). Yep Moses Rubio would have spoken from the mountain top and everyone would just stand in awe of his magnificence. I hope every single day that by way of some miracle, the conservative movement gains some modicum of humility. Remember everyone in Afghanistan and Iraq was just going to give up after a couple of months at most.

Republican Insights Into Syria Are As Wrong As Their Lies About Iraq

Black and White Staten Island wallpaper

Black and White Staten Island wallpaper

I’ve read several accounts, including searching official White House site announcements and as of today or right this minute, the Obama administration is leaning towards ( though the White House has not confirmed) giving small arms aid to Syrian rebels. U.S. Is Said to Plan to Send Weapons to Syrian Rebels.

This announcement has prompted some of the world’s worse foreign policy analysts to chip in their comments. These conservative bloggers and pundits are the same ones that helped sell the nation on the bogus idea that Iraq had something to do with 9-11, that Iraq had WMD, that Iraq – a country that could not shoot down one U.S. plane during ten years of enforcing the no-fly zone, was an “urgent” threat to the security of the U.S. None of these conservative bloggers or pundits have shown any regret for their less than patriotic activites on behalf of the neocon agenda, much less apolgized to the familes of those killed or maimed. One could call them the Fraternal Order of Always Wrong Keyboard Warriors in honor of the Weakly Standard’s Bill Kristol. The conservative Astute Bloggers have always been less than astute, especially so when they were accusing anyone who called out Bush administration lies, terrorist sympathizers. They haven’t learned anything, MORE PROOF HE IS EVIL: OBAMA HAS DECIDED TO GIVE MILITARY SUPPORT TO AL QAEDA’S AFFILIATES ( they still think writing in all caps is some kind of magic that makes them right)

BY AIDING THE SO-CALLED “REBELS” IN SYRIA, OBAMA IS AIDING THE TERRORISTS WHO ATTACKED US ON 9/11 – AND WHO HAVE PUBLICLY SWORN TO ATTACK US AGAIN.

BY DOING THIS, OBAMA IS AIDING AL QAEDA AFFILIATES.

THIS LEGALLY MAKES OBAMA A LEGAL TARGET OF THE 2001 AUMF AND MEANS SHOULD BE IMPEACHED.

Gosh, that sounds serious. Before the usual suspects break another strand of pearls, there are a few details to consider. One, why didn’t the far Right demand George W. Bush be impeached,  2007, U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups

New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11.”

Whose side are the conservative bloggers on? They’re on the side of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. In the MYT article it confirms that the U.S. has joined in confirming French and British intelligence in confirming that al-Assad has used chemical weapons on the rebels. al-Assad is backed by Iran, Russia and Hezbollah has recently sent in fighters to help him. So that is the side these very astute bloggers are on. The major portion of the rebel resistance is not made up of the forces of Brigadier General Salim Idris leader of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) of the Free Syrian Army. he is generally considered a pro-democracy moderate. This is a story from the conservative rag called The Washington Times, Syrian rebel leader cites Hezbollah in attack on town. “Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has confirmed that his fighters are aiding Mr. Assad’s forces.” Some bloggers are lucky they can’t be impeached. Conservatives who are not taking the impeach Obama approach are resorting to the usual shop-worn canards about Obama either being too slow to act on behave of the rebels or he is using all of this to “wag the dog”. It doesn’t take the world’s biggest set of balls to take those approaches. One has only to live in world of utter cognitive dissonance about one’s past behaviors. I’m not an especially big fan of Daniel W. Drezner, and the cynicism built into this argument is galling to anyone with high ideals, but he is probably right. Why Obama is arming Syria’s rebels: it’s the realism, stupid.

To your humble blogger, this is simply the next iteration of the unspoken, brutally realpolitik policy towards Syria that’s been going on for the past two years.  To recap, the goal of that policy is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible.  This is exactly what the last two years have accomplished…. at an appalling toll in lives lost.

This policy doesn’t require any course correction… so long as rebels are holding their own or winning. A faltering Assad simply forces Iran et al into doubling down and committing even more resources.  A faltering rebel movement, on the other hand, does require some external support, lest the Iranians actually win the conflict.  In a related matter, arming the rebels also prevents relations with U.S. allies in the region from fraying any further.

So is this the first step towards another U.S.-led war in the region?  No.  Everything in that Times story, and everything this administration has said and done for the past two years, screams deep reluctance over intervention.  Arming the rebels is not the same thing as a no-fly zone or any kind of ground intervention.  This is simply the United States engaging in its own form of asymmetric warfare.  For the low, low price of aiding and arming the rebels, the U.S. preoccupies all of its adversaries in the Middle East.

The moment that U.S. armed forces would be required to sustain the balance, the costs of this policy go up dramatically, far outweighing the benefits.  So I suspect the Obama administration will continue to pursue all measures short of committing U.S. forces in any way in order to sustain the rebels.

It is almost always ca cringe warning when a conservative has the gull to begin an argument using the term realpolitik. And they loved to use the word during the Bush-Cheney era. This might be one occasion where the cynical things being done in the name of realpotik might well be the best choices among choices that range from bad to worse. No one wants U.S. military boots on the ground. That is not going to happen, nothing be be wagged in that sense. As Daniel says that conflict is draining Iran and Russia, and has sucked in militant group Hezbollah. Not a back outcome so far – except for the  dead rebels. The liberal hawks, including Bill Clinton, as a proxy for Hillary have weighed in for more direct intervention. That would be huge mistake since Iran and Russia would respond in kind. This is a good but not perfect analysis from Professor Juan Cole, Obama should Resist the Clintons & Europe on Syria

– The backing for the regime of Russia and Iran makes this more like Vietnam, where the Russians and Chinese supported the Viet Cong, than like the Balkans in the early 1990s when the Russians were weak and supine.

– Flooding Syria with medium or heavy weaponry could destabilize it and its neighbors, including Israel & Palestine, for decades, as the CIA did to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Often in the past, US intelligence actually urged locals involved in covert wars to grow and peddle drugs to get money for weapons, creating long-term problems of narco-terrorism, which still plague Afghanistan and Pakistan.

– The prominence of the Nusra Front and other hard liners affiliated to al-Qaeda in the opposition ranks means the US could end up arming terrorists and helping them take over a whole country.

Where Cole seems to go a bridge or fig leaf too far is the recommendation that rebels began a peaceful civil resistance campaign. If he has in mind the rebels laying down arms at this point I think he needs to reconsider the al-Saad regimes current actions ( chemical warfare) and murderous past history. There is ample reason to think there would be a rebel blood bath. If the rebels keep getting logistical support, some small arms and medical aid they could fight the regime to a stand-off. One where they have a much stronger negotiating position. Marc Lynch at FP is also cynical, but hopeful, Forget about “how” to intervene in the Syrian civil war.

The debate about open U.S. military intervention in Syria should therefore be built around a frank discussion of the goals, not only the means. At the moment, advocates of arming the rebels switch between making the case that it would strike a blow against the Iranians, and that it would improve the prospects for a negotiated solution. The fundamental tension between those who argue that the rebels need more arms so that Assad will be forced to come to the table, and those who argue that this is a path leading to the complete defeat of the Syrian regime should be resolved now — not after Washington gets involved.

The reality is that the Obama administration has done very well to resist the steady drumbeat to intervene in Syria. Can anyone who has observed Assad’s tenacity over the last year still believe that his regime would have rapidly crumbled in the face of airstrikes or no-fly zones last year? Had the United States gone that route, Syria today would likely look much like it does now — except with America trapped in a quagmire and Obama under relentless pressure to escalate.

I suspect that Obama knows better than to give in to the pressure to arm the rebels simply to appear to be “doing something.” But to sustain that posture, his administration is going to have to look beyond the array of policy options and explain precisely what the United States wants to achieve in Syria.

I think Marc’s colleague Daniel explained it pretty well. Keeping the rebels fighting will probably wear down all the regime and its supporters. They too have a constituency to which they have to explain what they’re going to get out of continuing a war forever and what they’ll get out of it. The Gulf states like Saudi Arabia literally have bottomless bank accounts – Russia and Iran do not. As we saw in Lebanon a few years ago even Hezbollah can be worn down.

 

There is such a thing as the subconscious. So either subconsciously or perhaps consciously, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has decided that he has no desire to be president in 2016, Rubio Says It Should Be Legal To Fire Someone For Being Gay.

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.

Bill Kristol and James O’Keefe Are Sleazy, But They’re Still Heroes of The Conservative Movement

Sheer Rock Face Monument Valley wallpaper

Sheer Rock Face Monument Valley wallpaper

The first two parts of this post are about specific issues, but also about the conservative movement’s inability to admit wrong, to have moral priorities and the media establishment’s tendency to never punish conservative “experts” for being repeatedly wrong. Fox Analysts Urge “Irresponsible” Obama To Do “Something,” But Won’t Say What

Bill Kristol (William Kristol) wants to go to war in Syria, but he won’t say what that war should look like. Appearing on Fox News Sunday to discuss reports of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, the Weekly Standard editor (and noted Iraq war hawk) attacked President Obama as “totally irresponsible” for indicating that he doesn’t want “to start another war,” saying: “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

[   ]…Kristol’s call for (non-specific) military action got a boost from Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, who observed: “There’s something to be said for doing something. That if they cross a line, you’ve got to do something. Now whatever it is may not directly affect the chemical weapons use, but if it directly affects and harms the regime’s prospects in the war, that would at least be a consequence.”

According to Hume, doing “something” (whatever that is) wouldn’t be as difficult as people suspect. “This isn’t Mission: Impossible.”

The Chicken-Hawk conservative experts are as brave about spending other people’s lives as they ever were. This is the gravely serious analysis Kristol gave the USA in 2003,

On March 17, 2003, on the eve of our invasion of Iraq, Bill Kristol wrote the following:

We are tempted to comment, in these last days before the war, on the U.N., and the French, and the Democrats. But the war itself will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam’s regime. It will produce whatever effects it will produce on neighboring countries and on the broader war on terror. We would note now that even the threat of war against Saddam seems to be encouraging stirrings toward political reform in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and a measure of cooperation in the war against al Qaeda from other governments in the region. It turns out it really is better to be respected and feared than to be thought to share, with exquisite sensitivity, other people’s pain. History and reality are about to weigh in, and we are inclined simply to let them render their verdicts.

Well, it’s been almost four years since Kristol penned those smug, taunting words, and I think it’s fair to say that history and reality have indeed weighed in. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Our invasion has destabilized the entire region (and not in a positive way) and has actually exacerbated the overall terrorist threat our country faces. We are no longer feared or respected, at least nowhere near the degree we were before the invasion. Over 3000 American soldiers have lost their lives (with many thousands more badly injured). Tens of thousands of Iraqis (perhaps hundreds of thousands) have been killed and millions more displaced. We’ve squandered billions of dollars, as well as our national credibility and mystique. And our armed forces are currently bogged down and stretched to the limit as they undertake the thankless task of policing an escalating civil war.

Kristol and his sycophants in the conservative movement have always tried to portray Kristol as their sober cleared eyed foreign policy expert. Kristol is not one to be content to always be wrong about one field of expertise. He has an equally shaky grasp of economics. Paul Krugman Lied and Made Paul Ryan Cry, Then The Economy Died,

The new line on the right is that the economy is now swooning because President Obama criticized Paul Ryan.

And here, via Nexis, is Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday:

Two months ago, the economy’s prospects looked better and President Obama’s political prospects looked better. Then he gave that speech on April 13th. It was at Georgetown, where he demagogically attacked the Paul Ryan budget and basically started employing the “Mediscare” tactics.

I don’t think it’s an accident that the people have lost confidence in the last two months. I actually think it’s hurt him politically.

Remember earlier this year he was going to compromise with Republicans, he was getting serious about the debt, he was pivoting to the center? I think that April 13 speech could be a moment where people look back and say, he went for a short-term political benefit, but hurt his prospects next year and hurt the economy.

David Frum rebuts:

I would myself lay much more emphasis on economic factors like: (i) the continuing destruction of American consumer wealth as housing prices deflate; (ii) the burden of rising oil prices; (iii) the collective decision of American consumers to increase their saving by 6 points of personal income – a laudable decision, but one that subtracts a lot of demand from the economy.

But if I were a believer in the business confidence theory, here’s the counter-question I’d put to Michael Barone:

Which is more likely to subtract from business confidence: a lame speech by the president – or a highly credible and sustained threat by the majority party in the House of Representatives to force a default on the debts, contracts, and other obligations of the United States?

Frum is also a conservative. While David racks up a fair share of wrongs, he comes out looking like Einstein  next to Kristol. Part two of there is no downside to being bonehead conservative, James O’Keefe’s New Gonzo Army. The Breitbart protégé is hunting for some like-minded compatriots.

And so, on a sunny April morning, here they are at a Citizen Watchdog Summit aimed at training them in the art of citizen journalism, an event sponsored by the conservative Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which was created with support from David and Charles Koch. After an opening address, a speaker asks for a little audience participation.

“How many of you are on Facebook?” About half the agents raise their hands.

“How many of you are on Twitter?” About a quarter raise their hands.

“How many of you have done online video?” Two hands rise up from the crowd.

This is a bit of a problem for O’Keefe, who, during his talk, informs the agents that the goal is to “start an information revolution,” not with “pitchforks or guns” but with media. “I think it’s about video. I’m a video guy.”

O’Keefe scored a big Con victory when Piers Morgan wanted to read a petition before signing it. That is an example of the “revolution.” O’Keefe pointed out to the crowd of seniors that he has a hard time traveling. Why? because he is on probation. And that is only for the one thing he was prosecuted for, not the sleazy behavior and serial lying. In the couple of instances where he has found someone not adhering to the letter of the law, they were ethical misconduct issues, not culture wide examples of rampant corruption. If it is hypocrisy he wants to expose, why have we never seen him pull one of gonzo video attacks on one of those red staters who are collecting unemployment insurance, or depend on Medicare or Social Security – my neighbors in other words. I’m not saying my conservative neighbors would smack this sleazeball, but they would tell him where he could put his gotcha video camera. he gets part of his financing from the Koch brothers. Why no gonzo video on all the govmint subsides the Kochs get – oil subsidies, cheap limber from publicly owned forests, police protection for their property, a govmint safety net for their ill or injured employees. And why is O’Keefe deceiving this retired conservatives by painting them a world view that is so distorted by zealotry it barely resembles the world real Americans live in. Honor has proven very disposable in O’Keefe World.