Attorney General Eric Holder Did Not Lie Under Oath Period Full Stop

Blue Unisphere wallpaper

Blue Unisphere wallpaper

 

Two of my otherwise good fellow Democratic bloggers might need to go back and do a more careful reading. Firedoglake writes: Did Attorney General Eric Holder Lie To Congress Under Oath?

During Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee he made an interesting statement in response to a question from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA):

JOHNSON: I yield the balance of my time to you.

HOLDER: I would say this with regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. That is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy. In fact my view is quite the opposite.

Interesting statement given that we now know Holder approved a search warrant for a reporter’s emails who was cited as a co-conspirator in a leak investigation.

Holder was under oath at the time raising the possibility of a perjury charge.

In no way, shape or form does their own post show that Holder lied. Words have meanings. Fairly simple. He said he would not be involved in “prosecution” of the press. It is not quite see Rover fetch the ball, but close in it’s simplicity. We’ll get to some further analysis, but first this post from another Democratic blogger,  The Rosen quest: In (partial) defense of Eric Holder

The pattern emerges again: Obama says the right words, but his administration does the wrong thing.

The news that the Obama administration fought to be able to access Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails over a long period of time underscores just how much the DOJ latched onto the theory that Rosen was a potential criminal.

Rosen was targeted by the DOJ for his communication with State Department adviser Stephen Kim, who allegedly leaked him information about North Korea’s nuclear program. The DOJ infamously labeled Rosen a “co-conspirator” for his attempts to get the information from Kim. Rosen’s personal emails were searched, and the records of five different phone lines used by Fox News were also surveilled. On Thursday, it emerged that Attorney General Eric Holder had personally signed off on the Rosen warrant.

President Obama said on Thursday that he worried the investigations would chill national security and investigative journalism, and that reporters should not be prosecuted for “doing their jobs.” But his Justice Department apparently did not know this.

One of the most interesting exchanges to derive from this brouhaha may be found on the Brad Blog. Brad wrote a piece which cited Glenn Greenwald’s vigorous condemnation of the Obama administration cavalier attitude toward privacy. In response, a reader accused Greenwald of being close kin to Darrell Issa, the Republican Cairman of the House Oversight Committee.

This is, of course, the overheated rhetoric often employed by those who reduce all of politics to a simplistic game of shirts vs. skins, Us vs. Them. But Greenwald’s response deserves to be quoted:

As for the “substance” of the commenter’s accusations: what I said is 100% accurate. At the time Rosen published his article, barely anybody noticed it. It created almost no furor. Nobody suggested it was a leak that was even in the same universe as the big leaks of classified information over the last decade in terms of spilling Top Secret information into the public domain: the NYT’s exposure of the Bush NSA and SWIFT programs, Dana Priest’s uncovering of the CIA black site network, David Sanger’s detailing of Obama’s role in the Stuxnet attack on Iran, etc.

Nor has anyone claimed that this leak resulted in harm to anyone or blew anyone’s cover. That’s what makes it “innocuous”: it’s a run-of-the-mill leak that happens constantly in Washington, where government officials give classified information and intelligence reporting to DC journalists, who then print it. That happens all the time. All the time. And it has for decades.

All that’s happening here is that Obama followers are doing what Bush followers constantly did to defend their leader: screaming “harm to national security!” to justify secrecy and attacks on the press. But there is no demonstrated harm to national security from this leak and nobody has remotely claimed it’s anywhere near the level of leaks that prompted Bush officials threaten to prosecute journalists at the New York Times.

The effort to spy on Rosen resulted from a classic over-reaction, of the sort we’ve seen time and again in leak investigations.

That blogger ( usually a pretty good one) and Glenn Greenwald ned to get a basic understanding of the difference between a national security leak and whistle-blowing. In the examples that Greenwald cites, those were whistle-blowers who revealed crime committed by the Bush administration. James Rosen leaked a national security secret. Rosen, Fox news and  was and State Department adviser Stephen Kim violated national security laws, compromised the U.S. and U.N. bargaining position on North Kora’s nuclear weapons program. At the very lest Greenwald and those who are like minded should say they don’t care about the marked differences or do not care about national security secrets, or claim that it should not have been a national security secret because it is just Obama beng too secretive and wrap that up with some liberal’s long standing grudge against Obama for that reason. Gleen claims without evidence “But there is no demonstrated harm to national security from this leak.” That is not the case. If it is, Greenwald has offered exactly zero evidence to prove it. I’ve been reading Greenwald for years. he used to make almost iron clad arguments, with supporting evidence, as he did during the Bush administration> What happened. Now he seems to have gone into the ‘ they all do it” and liberals are hypocrites business. Again, with no more proof, than his adamant assertion he is right, period. He seems that a true champion of civil liberties is getting lazy.

The Fox case involved a report by Rosen in June 2009 that American intelligence officials had issued warnings that, should the United Nations adopt sanctions that were under consideration, North Korea would begin conducting new nuclear tests. According to the F.B.I. affidavit in the case, the information was top secret and was contained in an intelligence document disseminated to a small number of government officials that same morning. The report was marked top secret.

Probably no lasting harm was done, but that is simply an educated guess on my part. North Korea has proven to be sociopathic when it comes to acting in it’s own best interests. So they probably would have resumed new tests anyway. Greenwald and bloggers who agree with him do not say that. They claim with absolute, evidence free certainty, that no big deal, it does not matter. As though the humility that Glenn has shown in the past is excess baggage in this case. Glenn is doing what quite a few old-fashioned liberals used to do and still do – though Glenn has never officially declared his political affiliations. They want so much to be regarded as being independent minded, of not being a partisan hack, that they end up being hacks against the truth. This is simple. A very brief story, with some little details that seem to be getting short shift, Fox News Whitewashes Reality To Smear Holder With Perjury Accusations

It was recently revealed that the Justice Department obtained a search warrant for the communications records of Fox News reporter James Rosen in an effort to track down a leaker who provided him with classified information on North Korea in 2009. On May 15, during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asked Holder about the warrant and the potential for prosecuting journalists accused of publishing classified information that they obtained from government sources. Holder responded (emphasis added):

With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. That is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy.

On May 24, the Justice Department released a statement clarifying Holder’s involvement in the approval process for the warrants in question (emphasis added):

“The Department takes seriously the First Amendment right to freedom of the press. In recognition of this, the Department took great care in deciding that a search warrant was necessary in the Kim matter, vetting the decision at the highest levels of the Department, including discussions with the Attorney General. After extensive deliberations, and after following all applicable laws, regulations and policies, the Department sought an appropriately tailored search warrant under the Privacy Protection Act. And a federal magistrate judge made an independent finding that probable cause existed to approve the search warrant.”

Fox News’ Special Report on May 24 argued that these statements were inconsistent and concluded that the Attorney General had previously lied to the Judiciary Committee and thus had committed perjury. Host Shannon Bream began the show stating, “It’s his story, but he’s not sticking to it,” claiming that Holder has “chang[ed] his tune” on his involvement in the scrutiny of journalists. Contributor Steve Hayes claimed that Holder’s two statements were “incongruent” and Charles Krauthammer speculated that it may be “a case of perjury.”

In fact, the statements are not “incongruent” whatsoever. Holder’s comments to the Judiciary referred to the possibility of prosecuting journalists for publishing classified information, but that is not the crime the Justice Department’s warrant accused Rosen of committing. DOJ investigators were concerned with Rosen’s solicitation of classified information, not any subsequent publication of it. Wired explained (emphasis added):

According to the affidavit (.pdf), FBI Agent Reginald Reyes told the judge there was probable cause to believe that Rosen had violated the Espionage Act by serving “as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leak. The Espionage Act is the same law that former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning is accused of violating when he leaked information to the secret-spilling site WikiLeaks.

To support his assertion, Reyes quoted an email exchange between Kim and Rosen, in which Rosen told him that he was interested in “breaking news ahead of my competitors” and had a particular interest in “what intelligence is picking up.” He also told Kim, “I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses.”

The suggestion was that Rosen broke the law by soliciting information from Kim, something that all journalists do routinely with sources.

Nonetheless, the federal judge found there was probable cause to believe that Rosen was a co-conspirator and approved the warrant.

In other words, Holder’s on-the-record denial of involvement in any prosecution of news organizations for publishing classified information in no way conflicts with any knowledge he may have possessed or action the DOJ may have taken against reporters for soliciting said information. Fox’s perjury accusations simply don’t align with the facts.

Among those getting the Holder story wrong, Glenn, being a veteran lawyer, should know there is a difference between getting a warrant to track and identify the leakers of a national security secret and prosecuting a reporter. Warrant versus persecution. All the difference in the world between those two things and Glenn knows it. I expect this kind of truth twisting, half facts, balling up everything into smearing sun bites from Fox News, but not someone who has such a great record on keeping his facts straight. Even HuffPo is running with Fox’s lie.

Conservatives Cannot Back-Up Their Benghazi Conspiracy Theories

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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.

Winter Woods Snow wallpaper – Is The Ascendancy of Moderate Liberalism Making Republicans Dumber

Winter Woods Snow wallpaper

Winter Woods Snow wallpaper

 

 

As much as I appreciate a clever observation, I do prefer governance that moves things along in the best interests of the country. Since we’re not going to get the good governance, now, or when the Senate comes back from recess, me and everyone else will have to settle for the clever observation, Explaining the Farce of the Hagel Hearings

It’s easy to shake your head and laugh at the incredible things said by some of the nincompoops who occupy the GOP’s backbench in Congress, whether it’s Louie Gohmert ranting about “terror babies,” or Paul Broun (an actual doctor, for whose patients I fear) saying “All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” or any of a thousand things Michele Bachmann has said over the years. But as we laugh, we know these people don’t shape policy, so the damage they can do is limited. Not that the rest of the Republicans on Capitol Hill are a bunch of geniuses or anything, but most of those who have that golden combination of crazy and stupid are pretty far down in the pecking order.

But looking forward to the next four years, you have to wonder if Barack Obama is, through little fault of his own, making the entire Republican party dumber with each passing day. Fred Kaplan, a thoughtful journalist who reports on military affairs for Slate, watched Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings and can’t contain his disgust at how little the Republican senators serving on the Armed Services Committee seem to understand about things related to the armed services:

Not to sound like a Golden Age nostalgic, but there once was a time when the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee prided themselves on having an understanding of military matters. They disagreed in their conclusions and sometimes their premises. But most of them worked to educate themselves, at least to the point where they could debate the issues, or ask questions of a general without coming off like complete idiots. The sad thing about this new crop of senators—especially on the Republican side—is they don’t even try to learn anything; they don’t care if they look like complete idiots, in part because their core constituents don’t care if they do either.

Normal people, people who are just a little crazy as most of us are, are not show your ass like baboons crazy. Conservatives see no down side to showing their ass because the conservative base rewards such behavior. It would never occur to them that they lost two major election elections because, among other things, voters had a choice between the level headed black guy and the crazies, and decided that lunacy was not the best course for the country. While many conservative get down on one knee every time Dick Cheney releases a statement to Fox News to give thanks, the current stars of the conservative movement – Paul Broun, Ted Nugent and Ted Cruz are worshiped because their vision for the USA is to abandon everything in the Constitution except their bizarre interpretation of the 2nd Amenedment. I’m not a science fiction writer so I can’t really do that vision poetic justice – one where there is no 1st Amendment protections for freedom of religious conscience, only protection f far Right and corporate speech. No right to petition for grievances, a country where tea baggers can parade with racist signs, but occupiers can’t protest the injustices and greed of Wall Street. A place where a clump of cells has more legal protection than grown women. A conservative America where the 4th Amendment interferes with delivering instance justice. An unregulated America where citizens are thrown into private prisons for profit, while billionaires get away with poisoning working families. If you stand for economic and legal justice you’ll have the please of being branded an anti-Christ Marxist by the Broun-Cruz-Nugent crowd. Do they understand that by saying that anyone who stands up for good, for decency, for ethics is a Marxist, rather than the loyal opposition, they are giving Marxism an undeserved good name.

Another aspect of conservatism that while tiresome from a long time bloggers’s point of view, can be interesting as well, is the conservative base’s perception that they and the Conservative movement are some brand of populism. Whether it is Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Florida Criminal in-Chief Rick Scott or conservative radio pundits, they are all captives of crony corporatism. The Grand Old Jurassic Party

The Republican Party is a presidential election away from extinction. If it can’t win the 2016 contest, and unless it has bolstered its congressional presence beyond the benefits of gerrymandered redistricting—which is to say not only retaking the Senate but polling more votes than the opposition nationally—the party will die. It will die not for reasons of “branding” or marketing or electoral cosmetics but because the party is at odds with the inevitable American trajectory in the direction of liberty, and with its own nature; paradoxically the party of Abraham Lincoln, which once saved the Union and which gives such passionate lip service to constitutionality, has come to embody the values of the Confederacy in its hostility to constitutional federalism and the civil bonds that the founding document codifies. The Republican Party will vanish not because of what its says but because of what it believes, not because of how it presents itself but because of who it is when it thinks no one is looking.

I remember reading similar columns in 2009, only to see the tea party – the nation taking it’s first steps out of a calamitous economic meltdown, an unpaid for three trillion dollar war based on lies, the most morally corrupt administration since Andrew Jackson win the 2014 mid-terms because of unhinged anti-immigrant fever and a story book of evil myths about health care reform. Conservatives can hang on for years as the do as much damage as possible movement. They haven’t had an actual idea – one that would work anyway- ironically since health care reform.

Sometime in the last 30 years, however, the party became a flack to corporate culture at the expense of either freedom or individualism, and as the country grows more economically oligarchic, the Republican Party that best reflects that oligarchy loses political credibility with the public.

What the current party shares in its collective psychosis with the party of the ’60s is its yearning for martyrdom. If it’s true that what hold on power the GOP still has lies in congressional districts more and more resembling outliers—a power that will die off as figuratively as the constituents of those districts die off literally—it’s also true that many in the party are gripped by the death wish that thrills all martyrs and leaves them moist for self-annihilation.

Obama’s ‘Preschool for All’ Plan is a Handout to Lazy Toddlers

And of course, President Obama only supports pre-school for all so that he can breed a bunch of l’il Obamabots who will support him in 15 years, which might make sense in a world where President Obama can run for president again in 2036, but which is — spoiler alert! – not the world we live in:

VARNEY: Look what the president is doing here, it’s a repeat performance of his campaign, which is you raise taxes on the rich and you offer all kinds of free stuff to people who will vote for you in the future. Free preschool education for 4-year-olds, it’s free, here it is. Hand out the goodies.

Varney has a lot in common with a toddler, without the innocence of course. He is right that people follow certain political courses of action because, we hope anyway, they act in their own rational self interests. Conservatives vote for conservative and their point of view because of the corporate nanny state. This is where a disproportionate amount of the nation’s GDP goes into the pockets of people who the hardest thing they’ll do all day is walk to the executive washroom. Top 1% Got 93% of Income Growth as Rich-Poor Gap Widened .And $21 million payday for Goldman Sachs CEO. And Facebook Paid No Corporate Income Tax Last Year, After Making More Than $1 Billion In Profits. While Varney and I differ in our politics the differences between us are far more fundamental. He believes in a reality fabricated from the pocket lent of the Koch brothers.

Lots of coverage of the Russian meteor, but maybe some of you missed this great satellite photo, Satellite Sees Russian Meteor Explosion from Space

The meteor which exploded over the Urals of central Russia was seen by Meteosat-9, at the edge of the satellite view. Hundreds of people were reportedly injured as the meteor’s massive sonic boom caused widespread damage. Image taken Feb. 15, 2013, 3:15 UTC. CREDIT: EUMETSAT

And a reminder that there are conservatives everywhere, Despite advances in scientific knowledge, many of us still want random events and misfortunes to have a deeper significance

Like all random events and misfortunes, we want these things to mean something. The Russian fringe politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, rushed to the microphones to claim that the shower of stones that broke windows with their sonic boom, injuring 400 people, was a dastardly test of a new American weapon.

Dorner case shows folly of arming oneself to combat government

In one recent column, I reprinted some words from a guy who wrote several years ago: “Guns are not for hunting. When will you people figure that out? Guns are for hunting down politicians when they steal your rights away through tyranny. Hello!…

“You can’t protect your freedom when the government has more guns than the people.”

[ ]…”When that redistributionist Marxist [deleted] Obama decides to take away decent people’s homes and businesses and give them to the black criminal gangbangers, the garbage illegal aliens [deleted] and the rest of the low information welfare/food stamp crowd who voted for him, we who have our guns can meet them at the door, loaded and ready.”

And there are many like Bryan, who asked: “What if the German Jews had been well armed” against Hitler?

My answer: They would have been slaughtered by the Nazi Panzer divisions.

The French and Poles were well armed. How’d that work out?

But, insisted Tom, “throughout world history, superior armies with superior fire power have been defeated by well-motivated forces with little more than small arms.”

OK, enough. Suffice that too many people think that private citizens should be sufficiently armed to take on not only the local police, but the Army, the Navy, the Marines and even the Air Force.

They hang onto the words in the 2nd Amendment about the people’s right to bear arms “being necessary to the security of a free state,” but ignore the part about the militia being “well regulated.”

Remember the recent wacky outbursts from Tactical Response CEO James Yeager who threatened to ‘Start Killing People’ if the govmint started doing crazy stuff like better background checks or banning the kinds of assault weapons used in Newtown. Does he really think that if the LAPD came for him he’d fight it out and win. Remember Timothy McViegh and Terry Nichols, the conservative anti-government bombers of Oklahoma City. When the govmint came for them that was the end of the stort despite their military training, guns and bombs. Or remember conservative religious zelaot David Koresh and the Branch Davidans. Conservatives blame all deaths on the FBI, but Koresh stared the fire that burned all those children to death. maybe the government could have handled things better, but at the end of the day when the govmint comes for you, all the ammo and high powered weaponry in the world will not save you. Life is not the movies. If state police or federal officials want to question or arrest you, start a legal fund, not a shoot out.

Winter Snow wallpaper – The Cult of Conservatism Discards Facts and Humanity in Favor of Ideological Purity

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Railroad Snow wallpaper

tree snow, fence and winter snow, holiday

Rail Fence Winter Snow wallpaper

In the total scheme of things former representative Allen West is not very important. It is not much more important than Joe the UnCertified Plumber (Sam Wurzelbacher), remember him? West will become another Sarah Palin, throwing flames from the benches while he lives on the nice retirement and medical benefits provided by tax payers, and makes the rounds of the wing-nut welfare circuit. That he is a good example, almost conservative textbook of the bubble of cognitive dissonance in which conservatives live. Allen West Thinks He is Just Another Abraham Lincoln 

WEST: Well, I think the most important thing that has to happen up here in Washington D.C. is to restore honor, integrity, and character to the political system and process that we have. And also, we have to make sure that people are here for, not their self-interest or special interests, but for the American interest.

Like the movement to which he belongs, West has some disturbing ideas about what exactly constitutes honor, integrity and character. He was discharged from the military for violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice . Unlike the regular character assassinations in which West engages the military went out of its way to be more than far, otherwise West would have been Court marshaled and not eligible for his military retirement benefits. West learned nothing from the generosity from which he benefited. During his tenure as a Congressional representative he told an audience of supporters there were 80 House Democrats that belonged to the Communist Party. As usual, there was no burden of proof on West. If a Democrats had said that they knew that 80 Republican members of Congress belonged to the Nazi Party, they would have flogged by other Democrats and the media. West does adhere to the beliefs of what historian William Paxton called proto-fascism. West joined in with the general hysteria of the radical Right when he called the Dream Act a voter fraud conspiracy. Part and parcel of the Right’s eliminationist rhetoric. West also claimed that food stamps, typically an allowance of about $4.00 a day for the working poor, a form of “enslavement”. This is the bizzaro world of conservatism – people are not seeking better paying jobs because of the high life they live on $4 a day. never mind that if companies like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Papa Johns paid a living wage people would not need food assistance. In the same vein West also said Obama supporters are a “threat to the gene pool”. I know a pretty wide range of Obama supporters from office cubicle jockeys to nurses, retired military to scientists to truck drivers. None of them are perfect, but they are basically good hard-working Americans. I have never heard one of them slander conservatives in the same way that WW II era fascist did to Jews, intellectuals, homosexuals and labor unions. During the election cycle conservatives kept denying that Republicans had declared war on women or gays, West told a conservative conference that liberal women “have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness’ and West criticized openly gay Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) congressional tenure earlier this year. “[He’s] a guy who for all practical purposes should be in a pink jumpsuit for what he did.” West doesn’t want gay men wearing pink triangles, he just wants them to wear pink jumpsuits. West might be one of the most vocal and obnoxious members of the radical Right, but he is far from special. Unfortunately, the conservative movement is filled with Allens. Allen West and his clones would probably be considered honorable, have integrity and character on some planet, just not earth.

Conservative pundits have no sense of shame or remorse for the lies they shoved down America’s throat, FLASHBACK: When Krauthammer Excused Condi Rice For Pushing “Defective” Iraq War Intelligence

With the Republican witch hunt against Ambassador Susan Rice showing no signs of abating as they try to derail her possible nomination as Secretary of State, let’s consider some additional context surrounding the attacks and examine how Charles Krauthammer has altered his view on the central issue.

This is from a Washington Post column he wrote in January 2005, expressing dismay that Democrats were raising doubts about Condoleezza Rice’s qualifications to be Secretary of State, in the wake of her role in marketing the Iraq War [emphasis added]:

Mark Dayton of Minnesota accused her of lying in order to persuade the American people to go to war — a charge that is not just false but that most Americans don’t believe. Rice was not a generator of intelligence. She was a consumer — of a highly defective product.

Note the very specific point Krauthammer made as he tried to minimize Rice’s central role in the unpopular invasion. The columnist and Fox News talker stressed that Rice didn’t generate the intelligence about Iraq, which turned out to be “high defective,” she merely consumed it.

And because she had merely consumed, and then marketed, bad intelligence about Iraq (“We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”), Condoleezza Rice wasn’t really culpable, which according to Krauthammer meant Democrats were misguided in their criticism of her.

Fascinating.

Of course, that conservative spin now seems entirely disingenuous given the fact that a legion of right-wing pundits, including most of the Fox News on-air staff, are waging a war against Susan Rice not for being a “generator” of defective intelligence about the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, but for consuming it.

Related to the concerted and baseless attacks on Amb. Susan Rice is the possibility she will be the next Secretary of State. While she is qualified for the position and would make a good SOS, John Kerry (D-MA) is also said to be in the running. Whether Rice becomes SOS or not is not all that important. There are plenty of qualified Democrats for that position. Though making Kerry SOS seems like an awful idea. That means a Democratic seat in the Senate will be up for special election. Kerry himself should make it known that it is a terrible idea. he is a very good Senator and losing him would weaken a currently strong Democratic Senate. How is it that Democratic leadership has not let it be known how counter productive this would be. Since leadership at least stops by Kos and Talking Points Memo I wish that someone over there would make the case to go with Rice and just about anyone else but a Democratic Senator. And certainly Bush’s then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice knowingly lied to Congress and the public about Iraq. For her lies, or incompetence, Bush awarded her with the job as SOS. Just as Allen West has some dark perverse ideas about honor, conservatives in general have some wacky ideas about merit.

The Republican Speaker of the House is like one of those monkeys with their hands over their ears and eyes, clueless: John Boehner(R-OH), No ‘Difference’ If Revenue Comes From Middle Class Or Super Rich

CHIRS WALLACE (HOST): You talked about the fact that the President won and you came out with a concession the day after the election and they point out that the president campaigned on raising tax rates, you know, and it was the big issue, between him and Romney, and, they say, just as he had to cave, after your victory, in the 2010 midterms, now, it is your turn to cave on tax rates.

BOEHNER: Listen, what is this difference where the money comes from? We put $800 billion worth of revenue, which is what he is asking for, out of eliminating the top two tax rates. But, here’s the problem, Chris, when you go and increase tax rates, you make it more difficult for our economy to grow, after that income, the small business income, it is going to get taxed at a higher rate and as a result we’re gonna see slower economic growth, we can’t cut our way out of this problem, nor can we grow our way out of the problem, we have to have a balanced approach and what the President wants to do will slow or economy at a time when he says he wants the economy to grow and create jobs.

Despite Boehner’s rhetoric, there is no economic evidence to suggest that taxing income above $250,000 hurts the economy. In fact, business thrived during President Clinton’s tenure, as the wealthy paid more.

There is a clear “difference” to where the “money comes from,” however, and asking higher-income Americans who have benefited the most to pay more is fairer than gutting critical entitlement programs during a slow economic recovery. While middle-class incomes have stagnated, America’s top income bracket has enjoyed a period of exceptionally low tax rates thanks largely to caps on investment income and tax cuts put in place by former president George W. Bush. These super-rich Americans have fared well under President Obama, too; corporate profits are skyrocketing and the total number of millionaires in the US has exploded during his term.

https://i1.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/-0Xm3iFof_ik/UKutb0VhWmI/AAAAAAAADKA/GW9d6NgH2Og/s400/Liberal+tax+rates+grew+small+business.jpg

The conservative movement’s beliefs are akin to flat earthers or people who thought the moon was made out of cheese. No scientific evidence to contrary will convince them to give up their weird dogma. We just had senate Republican leadership try to suppress yet another report showing no connection between low taxes and increased economic prosperity. Here McConnell (R-KY), in his new counter offer to President Obama, would rather raise the Social Security retirement age than make the Koch brothers pay 3.5% more in taxes.

WW II Poster Loose Talk Costs Lives – To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires

Keep mum Loose talk costs lives. WW II poster, Works Projects Administration Art Project, [between 1941 and 1943]. “Poster suggesting careless communication may be harmful to the war effort, showing a train blowing up.”

I was going to post that great poster anyway, it just happens to be appropriate for the WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin’s public breakdown. YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN PETARD, RIGHT-WINGERS

This is a full-blown scandal…. The scandal has now enveloped the Oval Office and will define his second term, if not resolved satisfactorily.

I’ll go as far as conceding that the Conservative Book of Blow-up Dolls Version of History will forever contain a chapter in which the Republican history of Benghazi looks nothing like the reality. Even Conservative Republican Nitwit Peter King (R-NY)  Admits CIA Approved U.N. Ambassador’s Talking Points On Libya.

After leaving the closed-door hearing, King spoke with reporters for several minutes about Petraeus’ statements. Rice’s television appearances were among the topics discussed, leading King to indicate that while Petraeus did not personally write Rice’s talking points, the CIA did approve them:

Q: Did he say why it was taken out of the talking points that [the attack] was Al Qaeda affiliated?

KING: He didn’t know.

Q: He didn’t know? What do you mean he didn’t know?

KING: They were not involved — it was done, the process was completed and they said, “Ok go with those talking points.” Again it’s interagency — I got the impression that 7, 8, 9 different agencies.

Q: Did he give you the impression that he was upset it was taken out?

KING: No.

Q: You said the CIA said “OK” to the revised report –

KING: No, well, they said in that, after it goes through the process, they OK’d it to go. Yeah, they said “Okay for it to go.”

Rice has been hit by Republicans for weeks for indicating that the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi stemmed from a spontaneous protest related to an anti-Islamic video. However, as Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) has pointed out, the talking points used by Rice were the same unclassified points given to both the administration and Congress by the intelligence community.

So Rubin the conservative circle of derangement has decided that they’ll keep the “scandal’ going by jumping up and own, feigning outrage and pointing fingers, to hell with any substantive arguments. The Mind-blowing Hypocrisy of John McCain(R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC): WMD Lie is Good, Repeating Intelligence is Bad. If the politics and the repercussions operated the way physics operates, cause and consequences, McCain and Graham would have been forced to find honest work years ago. Though Republican voters, like Republican politicians have a fetish about rewarding failure. Mccain has proven over and over again that shooting first and aiming later is his standard operating procedure. The television networks seem to agree since I cannot turn on the TV without seeing the media get McCain’s must have opinion. he is a stellar example of the hypocrisy of conservatives who think government should operate like the private sector. If someone as consistently and repeatedly as incompetent as Mccain worked for me, yes I would have taken great satisfaction in firing him. Remember when he wanted to declare war on Russia and the conservative punditry backed him up, McCain: Georgia conflict is the ‘first serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War.’

Speaking at the Aspen Institute in Colorado yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that recent Russian aggression in Georgia is the “first…serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War.” McCain seemingly ignored the Gulf War, 9/11, and the Iraq War, to name a few:

My friends, we have reached a crisis, the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War. This is an act of aggression.

Watch it:

In July, McCain said Iraq was the “first major conflict since 9/11,” leaving out Afghanistan.

McCain famously declared, ‘Today We Are All Georgians‘ . That empty saber rattling did not help Georgia. In the mean time how many economic or other sanctions against Russia has McCain voted for or sponsored. Zero.

President told within 72 hours Benghazi attack linked to al-Qaida extremists

Based on electronic intercepts and human intelligence on the ground, the early briefings after the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya identified possible organizers and participants. Most were believed to be from a local Libyan militia group called Ansar al-Sharia that is sympathetic to al-Qaida, the official said, while a handful of others was linked to a direct al-Qaida affiliate in North Africa known as AQIM.

Those briefings also raised the possibility that the attackers may have been inspired both by spontaneous protests across the globe on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and by a desire to seek vengeance for the U.S. killing last summer of a Libyan-born leader of al-Qaida named Abu Yaya al-Libi, the officials said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing intelligence matters.

The details from the CIA and Pentagon assessments of the killing of Ambassador Chris Stephens were far more specific, more detailed and more current than the unclassified talking points that UN Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used five days after the attack to suggest to Americans that an unruly mob angry over an anti-Islamic video was to blame, officials said.

Most of the details affirming al-Qaida links were edited or excluded from the unclassified talking points used by Rice in appearances on news programs the weekend after the attack, officials confirmed Friday. Multiple agencies were involved in excising information, doing so because it revealed sources and methods, dealt with classified intercepts or involved information that was not yet fully confirmed, the officials said.

“There were multiple agencies involved, not for political reasons, but because of intelligence concerns,” one official explained.

So just like they thought nothing of revealing the identity of a CIA NOC agent who specialized in WMDs, conservatives think it is right to expose overseas intelligence to terrorists. Maybe we should have an full on 9-11 like hearing and call up some conservative pundits to testify.

Boardwalk and fishing pier, Asbury Park, N.J. Published: between 1900 and 1906. Difficult to see in the small pic, but apparently the pier was integrated at the time.

This is a bend over backwards attempt to be fair, Who’s to Blame for the Hostess Bankruptcy: Wall Street, Unions, or Carbs? It does mention that Hostess did not have the brightest executive management in the world. Who were determined to milk the company for as much as they could regardless of how it affected the company’s chances of surviving. Hostess Blames Union For Bankruptcy After Tripling CEO’s Pay. We live in an economy and culture where failure is rewarded with 300% raises.

African American men and boys, three-quarter length portrait, dressed for church, 1899 or 1900. The photographer is unknown, but this photo among hundreds of others became part of W. E. B.  Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963. The African-American sociologist, historian and civil rights activist) collection. “To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires.” W. E. B. Du Bois

Why do conservative Republicans hate the USA, American Family Association’s Fischer says 9/11 terrorists were ‘agents of God’s wrath’

The religious far-right, ladies and gentlemen. Or as we call them, the American Taliban:

As he traditionally does at the beginning of every radio program, Bryan Fischer dedicated the opening segment yesterday to a reading and discussion from the Bible. In this case, he was reading from Isaiah 10 in which the prophet explains that God had sent the Assyrians to invade Israel as judgment, which prompted Fischer to declare that the same  thing happened to America as “the jihadists on 9/11 were the agents of God’s wrath in order to get our attention as a people.”

I’m trying to imagine the reaction if any non-far-right figure suggested the 9/11 attackers were just doing God’s work. Think they’d be burnt at the stake?

Fischer and so many other conservatives seem to have a special pipeline to hearing God’s literal voice. I wonder if they started recording those conversations, the voices we hear wouldn’t sound just like the person making these horrendously self serving and sacrilegious statements.

I’m have not been a feckless cheerleader about it, but I have told people who have asked that the best way to get ahead is to get as much education as possible ( formal education, training, other learning opportunities) and work hard. Knowing that while that advice will not steer people wrong, it has increasing become a false promise, Walmart’s Internal Compensation Documents Reveal Systematic Limit On Advancement

Two years ago, when she started working at the deli counter of a Walmart in Illinois, Lisa hoped that her job would amount to the beginning of a career, one that would pay enough to cover her bills and enable her to stay current on her student loan debt.

But despite one raise since, Lisa, who asked that only her first name be used, now earns just $9.10 an hour, or about $13,000 a year on part-time hours. Seven months pregnant, she recently filed for bankruptcy. With no alternatives at hand, Walmart now seems like a dead-end to poverty, she says.

“I don’t have underwear without holes in them,” she said. “Everyone at work wears T-shirts that are threadbare. I have just enough to eat and get gas to make it to work for the next two weeks.”

Lisa’s experience sheds light on why a group claiming to represent tens of thousands of Walmart workers nationwide is planning strikes and other labor actions at as many as 1,000 stores next week on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. The actions are intended to protest what the group says are meager wages.

The company website declares that “a job at Walmart opens the door to a better life” and “the chance to grow and build a career.” But interviews with 31 hourly workers and one former store manager reveal lives beset by paychecks too small to handle the bills, difficult to manage part-time schedules with hours subject to constant change, and little reason to hope for career advancement. Citing fear of losing their jobs, most spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The employees and many of their customers who are not making great wages are what makes Wal-Mart such a wealthy corporations. yet they too suffer from a severe disconnect with the context in which they accumulate that wealth, Walmart Heirs Have As Much Wealth As Bottom 40 Percent Of Americans Combined. Another way to look at it is that the Waltons pay themselves more there the combined salaries of all their employees.

Farm Twilight wallpaper – ONE OF the difficulties, as I see it, is that we worship money instead of honor

Farm Twilight wallpaper

 

The fake scandals and conspiracy theories dreamed up by conservatives have always been vapid at best. From the beginning the faux outrage, the shrill cries of wrong doing concerning Benghazi have been entirely based on juvenile nitpicking and finger-pointing while pearl clutching. The first ‘scandal’ was that president Obama and the administration did not say the word terrorist fast enough. That sounds like I’m being facetious, but that was is still is large part of the feigned outrage. President Obama called the attack an act of terror. Yet once again the president failed to call the loony language police to check his speech first (Michele Malkin, Jim Hoft, Fox’s resident racist Eric Bolling – all the people who lied to the USA about 9-11, Iraq, WMD,  al Qaeda connection, the Housing Bubble, Fannie May, birth certificates and so on ). I am not aware of a left of center major blogger or politician who not only lies , but actually lives their lies day in and day out in  an echo chamber of mendacity.  Benghazi is part of an ongoing, sure to be endless campaign to try and hang some scandal around the neck of an administration that has been remarkably scandal free. Republicans talk a lot about values, Democrats actually have them and it infuriates Conservatives to no end, What Benghazi Is about: Scandal Envy – Republicans are livid that Obama hasn’t had his major scandal yet.

The real scandal is that Susan Rice went on television soon after and amid all kinds of “based on the best information we have”s and “we’ll have to see”s, said one thing that turned out not to be the case: that after the protests in Cairo, there was some kind of copycat protest in Benghazi, which was then “hijacked” by extremist elements using heavy weapons to stage an attack.

A sane person might say, OK, she was obviously given some incorrect information at that time, but it’s not a particularly meaningful deception. As people have been pointing out for weeks now, it’s not as though not using the word “terror” or saying there was a protest before the attack gave the White House some enormous political advantage. If you’re going to have a cover-up, there has to be something you’re covering up.

But now, some Republicans, particularly John McCain and Lindsay Graham, are essentially saying that this horrifying cover-up was quite possibly the greatest crime in the history of the United States government, and if we’re going to get to the bottom of it nothing short of a select committee—a “Watergate-style committee,” as it is being referred to by reporters—will do. Who knows what it might uncover? Were there CIA whistleblowers whose bodies are now lying at the bottom of the Potomac? Was David Petraeus being blackmailed? Are William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright involved? Did Susan Rice fly to Tripoli, have a steamy liaison with a clone of Ayman al-Zawahiri created in a secret underground laboratory, then go to Benghazi where she personally killed Ambassador Chris Stevens with a hat pin? We won’t know unless we spin this out into a multi-week story!

One thing that Waldman left out was that the administration very likely checked with the CIA and knew that some of the personnel involved were CIA. Not saying anything about that has in 20/20 hindsight probably hurt the White House in terms of later revelations, but it was the right thing to do in terms of national security at the time. It was a no win situation for a Democrat. Regardless of how they told the public the Right was going to spin the story. The Mind-blowing Hypocrisy of John McCain(R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC): WMD Lie is Good, Repeating Intelligence is Bad

Hypocrisy alert: John McCain supported Condoleeza Rice who misled the public on WMD, causing thousands to die, but now attacks Susan Rice.

Remember when Condoleezza Rice misled the public about Iraq’s WMDs and over 4,000 Americans died? John McCain doesn’t seem to. McCain is trying to sell the idea that Susan Rice appearing on TV to tell the American people what the intelligence community had ascertained about Libya on September 18 was wrong. She should have chosen not to speak on the subject without more certainty, he and Lindsay Graham claim.

Yet, Susan Rice’s statement made it clear that things were not certain. Here, once again, is her statement to the media on September 18 (emphasis mine):

RICE: Well, first of all, Chris, we are obviously investigating this very closely. The FBI has a lead in this investigation. The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack… Obviously, we will wait for the results of the investigation and we don’t want to jump to conclusions before then. But I do think it’s important for the American people to know our best current assessment.

Even if no one else in the Bush-Cheney administration had not been endless sources of disinformation, Condi Rice alone was a virtual lie factory. Excepting liberal concerns about drone strikes against terrorists that might be killing civilians, President Obama has a stellar national security record compared to Bush and when Bush was president conservatives scolded us for supposedly politicizing national security, Under Bush, Hannity Denounced “Politicizing” National Security. With Benghazi, Hannity Can’t Stop. To have values, values worth having anyway, one has to have some consistent standards. Republicans only have one consistent standard, malevolence. Fox News, a subsidiary of a multi-national foreign-owned corporation, keeps moving the time-line of events around to spin things in the worse light. This just came in from CNN and of course the Conservative Noise Bubble is claiming vindication, leaving out some details. Ex-CIA chief Petraeus testifies Benghazi attack was al Qaeda-linked terrorism

Earlier, close observers said they thought Petraeus would tell lawmakers that the CIA knew soon after the attack that Ansar al Sharia was responsible, according to an official with knowledge of the case. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject matter.

Ansar al Sharia is more of a label than an organization, one that’s been adopted by conservative Salafist groups across the Arab world.

Related: What is Ansar al Sharia?

It’s unclear to media whether Petraeus spoke specifically about Ansar al Sharia.

After the hearing, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, blamed confusion over two seemingly different versions of the consulate violence — was it caused by a protest or by terrorists?

He said there were essentially two threads of violence: one caused by the protest, which was chaotic, and a second that was orchestrated by terrorists, which was highly coordinated.

There were “two different types of situations at play,” Ruppersberger said, explaining that in the hours and days after the attack, it was naturally difficult to clearly discern what happened.

Intelligence evolves, he said, and new information comes out when agents obtain it. He downplayed the idea that there was something untoward going on.

Petraeus: I did not pass on classified information

The former CIA chief has said there was a stream of intelligence from multiple sources, including video at the scene, that indicated the group was behind the attack, according to an official with knowledge of the situation.

Meanwhile, separate intelligence indicated the violence at the consulate was inspired by protests in Egypt over an ostensibly anti-Islam film that was privately produced in the United States. The movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” portrayed the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizing buffoon.

There were 20 intelligence reports that indicated that anger about the film may be to blame, the official said.

The CIA eventually disproved those reports, but not before Petraeus’ initial briefing to Congress the day after the attack when he discussed who might be behind the attack and what prompted it. During that briefing, he raised Ansar al Sharia’s possible connection as well as outrage about the film, the official said.

Earlier an official said that Petraeus’ aim in testifying was to clear up “a lot of misrepresentations of what he told Congress initially.”

President Obama almost immediately, though not two seconds after it happened, called the attacks an “act of terror.” Which is probably what everyone thought on first hearing the news. When a temporary embassy compound is attacked and people killed that is a pretty obvious conclusion. The details of who and why were not sorted out until later, there being a total of “20 intelligence reports.”

Jerome Corsi’s final straw

Back in April, after ABC News quoted Jerome Corsi as an authority in an article on so-called “birth tourism,” Media Matters’ Todd Gregory pointed out how low ABC had sunk:

Jerome Corsi is the guy who co-wrote Unfit for Command, a book so infamously inaccurate that it helped spawn the term “swiftboating” as a description of a political smear campaign.

That alone should tell you everything you need to know about Corsi, but there are so many other reasons he’s not a credible figure. There’s the birtherism. The appearance on a “pro-White” radio show. The bigoted comments on Free Republic. The promotion of laughable conspiracy theories about global government and the “North American Union.” The failed Obama smear book.

What has Corsi done since? Well, there’s this:

Yeah, that’s Corsi at the WorldNetDaily Convention last weekend, saying President Obama has engaged in “identity theft” because he has “stolen the identity of a natural born citizen” by “using someone else’s Social Security number.”

He also called for Obama to “renounce Lucifer.” Seriously.

It is tempting to dismiss Corsi as juts another wacko. The problem with calling far-right zealots like Corsi crazy is that it relieves them of some responsibility for what they say. Corsi is not your crazy uncle – at least I hope he’s not. He is a calculating malicious liar. He seems to relish his role as a kind of false prophet of the Right. He believes that he and the other true believers in the cult of conservatism are dispensing the one and only truth, even though there are no facts to make his case. Facts themselves are the enemy. They interfere with the righteousness of the cause. If honor, truth and virtue have to be beaten senseless and left in a ditch, than so be it. Just think General Petraeus, who conservatives had considered a presidential hopeful not only worked for a president who embraced Lucifer and is guilty of the single biggest case of identity theft in history, but the general’s wife still does.

Defending the Right to Treat Your Employees Like Dirt

Getting tired of eating at Chick-Fil-A every day to express your hatred of liberals? Well, now you have a couple more options. You can chow down at Applebee’s, where the CEO of their New York franchises went on TV to declare that he won’t be doing more hiring because of the costs Obamacare would impose. Or you can head over to Papa John’s, whose CEO, John Schnatter, has said that Obamacare could add as much as—brace yourself—10 cents to the cost of a pizza, and since obviously customers would never tolerate such price gouging, he’ll just have to cut back employees’ hours.

[   ]….And there’s something else to keep in mind: Nearly all companies with over 50 employees already offer health coverage to their employees, even though this provision of Obamacare doesn’t take effect until January 2014. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 98 percent of companies with over 200 employees offer coverage, as do 94 percent of companies with between 50 and 199 employees. That means when you see some CEO come out and decry the costs of Obamacare, the person you’re looking at is one of the jerks, the guy who treats his employees like crap and is angry that the law is going to force him to be a little more humane.

Depending on the day I’m not sure conservatives have won the argument in terms of getting everyone to look at business the way Papa John’s does. Though there is definitely pressure not to question such business attitudes. It is scandalous in some quarters to wonder how ethical these business models are that do not provide employees health insurance. This is a good related essay about people who think like John Schnatter and the CEO of Applebees new York, from 1937, Essay by Then Senator Harry Truman

“ONE OF the difficulties, as I see it, is that we worship money instead of honor. A billionaire, in our estimation, is much greater in these days in the eyes of the people than the public servant who works for public interest. It makes no difference if the billionaire rode to wealth on the sweat of little children and the blood of underpaid labor. No one ever considered Carnegie libraries steeped in the blood of the Homestead steelworkers, but they are.

We do not remember that the Rockefeller Foundation is founded on the dead miners of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company and a dozen other similar performances. We worship Mammon; . . .

It is a pity that Wall Street, with its ability to control all the wealth of the nation and to hire the best law brains in the country, has not produced some financial statesmen, some men who could see the dangers of bigness and of the concentration of the control of wealth. Instead of working to meet the situation, they are still employing the best law brains to serve greed and selfish interest. People can stand only so much, and one of these days there will be a settlement. We shall have one receivership too many, and one unnecessary depression out of which we will not come with the power still in the same old hands. . . . (emphasis mine)

Antique map of Europe 1595 – The Old Benghazi Conspiracy Failed So Conservatives Use Petraeus To Start New

Antique map of Europe 1595.

Some major historical events of 1595: Henry IV of France defeats the Spanish, but is nearly killed due to his rashness. Henry had converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, which may have been the reason he was, in comparison to others of the time remarkably tolerant of religious differences. He enacted the Edict of Nantes, in 1598, ending the civil war between Catholics and Protestants. He was assassinated by François Ravaillac, a radical Catholic of the era.

A Spanish expedition led by navigator and explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira (1542 – October 1595) makes the first European landing in Polynesia, on the Marquesas Islands. As students of  history know the era of European explorers would begin some very difficult times for native populations.

1595 was also the year of The Battle of San Juan. The battle was a Spanish victory in the Anglo-Spanish War that spanned the Atlantic, also being fought in Spain’s American colonies.

Physical Map of North America showing sea levels according to The Edinburgh Geographical Institute. This map was made around 1910 by cartographer  John Bartholomew  (1860-1920).

As everyone knows CIA director and former Army General David H. Petraeus resigned. He cited an affair as the reason. Apparently this all came to light after Petraeus contacted the FBI about concerns that someone had obtained access to his G-mail account. I cannot say I’m a big fan of Petraeous for a couple related reasons. he covered Bush and Cheney’s incompetence in their handling of Afghanistan. he talked a lot of smack about Iraq and what became known as the surge. By the time of the surge so much near genocidal violence had occurred there was not much to surge against. That did not stop Petraeous, Bush the conservative echo chamber ( later to include the biographer with which the General had his affair) from calling the surge a great success. That said I’m not sure why having an affair per se should be sufficient cause to hand in a resignation. Though I’m talking about practical reasons. It seems unlikely he could be blackmailed. Though it does appear possible the person who gained access to the e-mail account was Paula Broadwell, the co-author of a biography of Mr. Petraeus. he could have survived the scandal if it all became public. That is not how some conservative observers see it. Mr. Petraeus was to testify in a House inquiry into the Benghazi, Libya terror attacks.

“Petraeus resignation. Timing, everything suspicious,” tweeted Rupert Murdoch, the CEO and founder of News Corp.

“COINCIDENCE?! Petraeus is set to testify NEXT week at a closed door session on Capitol Hill abt Benghazi. Did BHO push him out? This stinks!” tweeted conservative radio host Laura Ingraham

Intelligence Community Points Out Fox Was Kinda Lying About Benghazi This Whole Time. The Conservative Gossip Brigade had run out of conspiracies on Libya. There was an immediate response from the CIA, some military forces were in route – but the whole thing was just over before they could stop the killing of embassy personnel.

Oh, yeah, it’s ONAs you may have noticed, the Wingnut Noise Machine is seriously pushing the notion that President Obama deliberately sat back and did nothing when a Libyan militia attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, apparently because he is either incompetent (the “charitable” view) or because he just plain hates America that much (the “reasonable doubt exists” view). It turns out that, according to intelligence officials, CIA agents stationed in Benghazi actually did come to the aid of the Consulate, as did a second CIA team sent from Tripoli, and Libyan military forces helped the surviving Americans get to the airport to escape after the attack. The officials also directly refuted Fox News’ claims that the CIA was ordered to “stand down,” and also dismissed the notion that airstrikes could have helped anyone in the consulate:

“Let’s say we were able to get an aircraft there. Do you go in and start strafing a populated area without knowing where friend or foe is?” a senior Defense official asked. “If you did that, you could kill the very people you are trying to help.”

Of course the Right’s dumbest blogger joined in (The Gateway Pundit). Drudge Sirens: Gen. David Petraeus Resigns CIA Due To Spying … Between The Sheets

Reaction from the wingnut press has been muted so far, although readers of the Stupidest Man On the Internet were quick to speculate that Barack Obama knew of the affair and blackmailed Petraeus to do nothing to save the lives of the Benghazi consulate staff. We await further thoughtful analysis from Pam Geller and Jerome Corsi.

So President Obama conspired ever so conveniently to hand the Swifboaters on 2012 a tragedy they could spin and exploit just before the election. That makes since in the context of having a slice of the moon with your kool-aid. For those not familiar, Mark Halperin is a conservative hit-man (1. Mark Halperin. Congratulations to the world’s laziest dispenser of conventional wisdom). He, with the help of the networks – like the Today Show like to himself as an independent political analysis.

HALPERIN: Whenever there’s tension — behind the scenes for the most part — between the executive branch, the political part of the executive branch, and the CIA and the intelligence community, you see a lot of high-stakes pressure back and forth. Sometimes there are threats. I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case affecting his resignation, but there’s no question that the political pressure on the State Department, on the White House, over the facts and circumstances of the tragedy in Benghazi was creating tension, has created tension, with the intelligence community and the CIA, and so, at a minimum, the context of General Petraeus’s resignation is a time of pretty heightened pressure on him with some very tough political actors who have had the tension over the way Benghazi’s been handled, both before and after the tragedy.

You can picture mark leaning over the shrubs by the fence whispering to the neighbor – I don’t know, but just say’n that there was tension. And you know the timing – Libya and Obama and Libya and Obama – and tensions between tough political actors. Like I don’t know, but maybe, and the timing , the CIA and Libyia… Mark is on every list of worse conservative hacks passing themselves off as unbiased journalists for a reason. Halperin does not make the news like flame throwers such as Limbaugh or Coulter, but in many ways he is worse. When people listen to Limbaugh and clones they know they’re getting manufactured talking points from the Republican Bubble of Reality. Halperin is always presented as an unbiased source of “news”.

This is a good report that shows how the Fox-Drudge pushed Libya conspiracy narrative is falling apart, In Benghazi timeline, CIA errors but no evidence of conspiracy

 

This is from yesterday, but still a good catch from Mike and crew, Le Folies du “Market Liberte”: Officials Want Military to Take Over Power Restoration on Long Island

Pardon my French but this “free market” fandango in the wake of hurricane Sandy continues to expose the failure of past policy.  Now local government officials are finally ready to call the troops in on Long Island.  Story at NBC-NY.

Newsday said a reporter on Thursday visited the Hicksville headquarters of National Grid, which is the company contracted by LIPA to oversee operations, and found engineers tracking outages with highlighters and paper maps.

Here is the wiki page of National Grid, which is headquarted in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange and looks like it is another one of these infrastructure “privatization” deals motivated by the desire to “save money that we don’t have” that always ends up taking out too much cash and leaving too little funds left to account for the real maintenance and real upgrades required for the real infrastructure.

Then as usual, some periodic crisis happens to expose the real neglect and the regulatory morons who set the deal up in the first place take no responsibility and try to get the federal government sector to bail them out in the end anyway.

We’ve seen these follies before. ( all emphasis mine)

I work in the corporate free market. It works well enough most of the time. It is never perfect. It is not the holy garden of market efficiency the Right and rightie libertarians portray it as. In the real world things are seldom excellent, much less perfect. I’m not sure why the champions of laissez-faire, let’s privatize everything cult  think they can sell their snake oil to anyone who lives outside the bubble.

 

Spruce Snow wallpaper – Yet Another Report Debunks Republican Tax Myths

Spruce Covered in Winter Snow wallpaper

 

One of conservatism’s most cherished myths is that the lower taxes are on the wealthy the more that trickles down to the middle-class and working poor. So any empirical data that shows Voodoo Economics Chapter 1, Verse 1, is false is offensive to the cult of conservatism. There will be no heresy on the subject. Republicans who have bathed in the waters of Trickle on America economics are not called heretics, though that is what they mean, they call them statists or socialists, or Glenn Beck calls them progressives as he hisses. So no wonder that Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his senate Politburo tried to censor a report showing that Trickle on America tax policy just made the rich richer. Nonpartisan Tax Report Withdrawn After G.O.P. Protest

The Congressional Research Service has withdrawn an economic report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economic theory, after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper’s findings and wording. ( link is a pdf of report. It may not last long)

The decision, made in late September against the advice of the agency’s economic team leadership, drew almost no notice at the time. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, cited the study a week and a half after it was withdrawn in a speech on tax policy at the National Press Club.

But it could actually draw new attention to the report, which questions the premise that lowering the top marginal tax rate stimulates economic growth and job creation.

“This has hues of a banana republic,” Mr. Schumer said. “They didn’t like a report, and instead of rebutting it, they had them take it down.”

Republicans did not say whether they had asked the research service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, to take the report out of circulation, but they were clear that they protested its tone and findings.

Mad Dog McConnell, after throwing a temper tantrum has claimed the CRS withdrew the report all on its own. Which is like the sidewalk madman that screams in your face and your walking to the other side of the street was strictly a voluntary act on your part. Why The GOP Muzzled The Library of Congress’s Research Agency

The withdrawal is, nonetheless, outrageous. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart told the Times that the CRS report wasn’t just criticized by Republican senators; it was also criticized by what the Times (in a paraphrase) calls “people outside of Congress.” I wish the Times had taken the opportunity to say who these “people outside of Congress” are. You can probably guess. There’s the conservative Heritage Foundation. And there’s the Tax Foundation, a conservative nonprofit (not to be confused with the Tax Policy Center, which is non-ideological and nonpartisan but has nonetheless been vilified by the right for pointing out that Mitt Romney’s proposed tax cut benefited the rich at the expense of the middle class). The author of the CRS study, Thomas Hungerford, has written many excellent studies on themes directly or indirectly related to income distribution, and that’s made him a conservative target for some time. This past April, Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute (a prominent income-inequality denialist and Romney adviser doomed never to live down his co-authorship, shortly before the dot-com bust, of a book titled Dow 36,000) testified before Congress’s  Joint Economic Committee that a different Hungerford report was “radically at odds with the literature. I relish academic debate, and think that authors serve a valuable service when they challenge research. But a CRS report that is supposed to inform about the consensus of the literature that veers so far from that activity is a disservice to Congress, and the taxpayers.” When Hassett cites “the literature” he means “the literature acceptable to AEI hacks and their Republican allies in Congress,” or what Jacob Weisberg has felicitously labelled “the Conintern.”

What’s the matter with the CRS report? Well, it calls the Bush tax cuts “the Bush tax cuts,” which is somehow deemed partisan but in fact is merely explanatory. The Bush tax cuts were tax cuts passed when George W. Bush was president. Bush proposed them, pushed them through Congress, and signed them into law. Even Republicans call the Bush tax cuts “the Bush tax cuts.” The CRS report also stands accused of making reference to “tax cuts for the rich.” This is unacceptably hurtful, I suppose, to a group that any sensitive person would know to call the “special-incomed.” As it happens, though, my PDF search of the CRS report reveals that nowhere does the phrase “tax cuts for the rich” appear. The word “rich” does appear here and there, but always in a neutral context, such as, “Under both definitions of the top of the income distribution (i.e., the rich) the income shares were relatively stable until the late 1970s and then started to rise.”

As Timothy Noah notes there is really no shocking news in the report. It is simply another report in a long history of reports that show the top tax rates for the top 1% have steadily declined over the past five decades – under Democrats and conservatives. Despite those ever lower tax rates, there has been no real benefit to the country in terms of improved or better maintained infrastructure, better education, lower post secondary education costs, a bigger space program, or more investment in technology or scientific research – or narrowing the wage inequality gap. In all these areas of public policy, thus national progress, we have fallen behind. Conservatives decided in 2008 that they really really cared about the deficit. If that were true they would have paid for their spending from 2000 to 2008. Currently they would tap into new revenue streams – like having a minimum tax for millionaires and rising the capital gains tax to 30%. Instead they use some math that would shame a 6th grader, propose gutting Medicare and rising the age for Social Security again ( even though the only people living appreciably longer are the wealthy, not the working class Americans who really need those programs they have invested in over the course of their working life). Sites like World Nut Daily and of course Fox News display big headlines about the billions spent on Medicare. Just the sticker shock is supposed to scare people. What should scare people is America’s seniors and disabled living off baloney and Romain noodles, not being able to afford their meds.

Romney’s Tax Secrecy: Did He Get Away With It? The short answer is yes because most of the media gets tried of a story and likes to move on.

3. Did Romney really get away with something? On one level, the answer clearly seems to be yes: Romney has managed to get through an entire campaign for president without having to give up the basic information his predecessors did, information that could have been seriously damaging to his prospects, and now finds himself a lucky break or two from the White House. But the strategists are quick to argue that this elusiveness came at a cost. Romney’s secretiveness about his taxes, they say, was a major element of the unflattering frame the Obama campaign managed to construct around him for most of the campaign, of a self-interested plutocrat who was not to be trusted. “He paid a price,” Jordan said. “When these issues were front and center, as he was becoming known to the American public, this oddness, this secrecy, this penchant did help to shape his image in significant ways….The image of him as being secretive and behaving in sort of unprecedentedly plutocratic ways has sunk in.” Again, Devine agrees. “He’s gotten away with it, but it’s hurt him,” he said. He noted that Obama’s stubborn polling lead in Ohio is almost surely due in part to effective attacks over on the summer on Bain Capital and the few things that have emerged about Romney’s taxes, including his accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, which were so memorably targeted in this ad. “In terms of getting away with it,” concludes Devine,“it’s only something can get away with if…you’ve won the election.”

Let’s envision this imaginary Democratic candidate: he dodged the draft ( well, got deferments for some thin reasons), used leveraged buyouts to cut American jobs and outsource them, used government tax breaks and loans to make himself wealthy, told everyone he was a self-made entrepreneur, kept money in multiple offshore banks, used some very creative accounting to have an IRA account worth over million, set up his own charity to which he donated and took the tax deductions, told 533 documented lies in 30 days. That Democrat would have been bulldozed and buried by the conservative media a year ago. His decaying corpse would be getting nada in the polls. Yet, here we have a Republican with just that record and he is at least competitive. Romentum seems to be largely a construct of the Romney campaign, echoed by the right-wing noise machine. He is actually trying to buy the election in Pennsylvania with a media blitz. Ditto for Ohio. He has lost ground in Virginia and Florida. The noise machines’ answer to all of this is to try to tie President Obama to some kind of negligence in regards the terrorist attacks in Libya. The picture is messy, but the evidence suggests that is probably largely due to the CIA letting out new information in bits and pieces, C.I.A. Played Major Role Fighting Militants in Libya Attack

Security officers from the C.I.A. played a pivotal role in combating militants who attacked the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, deploying a rescue party from a secret base in the city, sending reinforcements from Tripoli, and organizing an armed Libyan military convoy to escort the surviving Americans to hastily chartered planes that whisked them out of the country, senior intelligence officials said Thursday.

The account given by the senior officials, who did not want to be identified, provided the most detailed description to date of the C.I.A.’s role in Benghazi, a covert presence that appears to have been much more significant than publicly disclosed.

Within 25 minutes of being alerted to the attack against the diplomatic mission, half a dozen C.I.A. officers raced there from their base about a mile away, enlisting the help of a handful of Libyan militia fighters as they went. Arriving at the mission about 25 minutes after that, the C.I.A. officers joined State Department security agents in a futile search through heavy smoke and enemy fire for Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens before evacuating the mission’s personnel to the apparent safety of their base, which American officials have called an annex to the mission. Mr. Stevens was one of four Americans killed in the attack.

The entire episode was over in no more than eight hours. The deaths seemed to have taken place within the first hour- the first wave of the attack. So conservatives who want to drop all of this in Obama’s lap have two expectations of the readers they want to buy into their account: that Obama is Superman and did not use his super powers to squash the attack immediately or he is an incompetent commander-in-chief. This is from the same people who thought that George W. Bush was a great leader when he landed on an aircraft carrier and declared ‘mission accomplished’ after which over 4000 Americans died in a needless war. It is not that conservative propagandists are wrong about Libya – and pumping it into a scandal (Hidden Tapes & Secret Emails: Right Wing Now Throwing Kitchen Sink At Obama On Benghazi, Libya) directly connected to the White House, it is about the credibility of conservative pundits and pols who have a cowardly brazen record of shoving disinformation down America’s throat. Four Star General debunks claims of Obama lies and dereliction in Benghazi-gate

The Benghazi arm chair generals on Fox News like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly cannot be too happy today with the comments made by retired Four-Star General Jack Keane yesterday regarding “Benghazi-gate” and the laying of blame on President Obama. Being interviewed by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News, General Jack Keane basically debunked the theory that more could have been done to conduct a timely rescue mission at the U.S. consulate in Libya or that the President somehow screwed up or was incompetent. Here are some of the General’s direct quotes:

“The consulate was stormed”.
“There was no gunships in the region”.
“There was nothing that could have prevented it”.
“It was over in about an hour”.
“Forces got there as soon as possible”.
“To politicize this is very hurtful”.

General Keane is already catching a lot of flack and criticism from those on the right and the Romney supporters for his comments. Even for the Obama-haters it is disrespectful and despicable to call an experienced Four Star General a liar who is covering for the White House and the Commander in Chief a liar and a coward. It’s rather ironic for those who would politicize this tragedy to call the President a coward, when it was Mitt Romney who was the draft dodger – ahem! a draft deferment- while his peers were getting shot and killed in Vietnam.

There does seem to be some push back between the Sate Department and the CIA. I’ve ready some theories about this and let’s just say they’re armchair theories for now. Most of us know how Washington works. If you’re completely honest you’ll get buried. If you let out more than one version of a story, varying just a word or two, you’ll be nailed for the biggest cover-up since Watergate. I would like The Daily Beast to survive as a media outlet, but they’re doomed if they think this piece by Eli Lake ( who used to work for the conservative rag The Washington Times) is news, Two U.S. officials tell Eli Lake the State Dept. never requested military backup the night of the attack.

The only security backup that did arrive that evening were former special-operations soldiers under the command of the CIA—one from the nearby annex and another Quick Reaction Force from Tripoli. On Friday, Fox News reported that requests from CIA officers for air support on the evening of the attacks were rejected. (The Daily Beast was not able to confirm that those requests were made, though no U.S. official contacted for this story directly refuted the claim either.)

Lake resorts to the theory or pure conjecture that military assistance would have stopped the last part of the attack – which was the mortar attack that killed a SEAL  ( who might have been there working for the CIA). That sounds like a discussion you could have over beers at the kitchen table and everyone puts in their two cents worth. We’re all entitled to our little theories and what if’s. that is not the same thing as fact based reporting. Think back to the initial breaking of the story. In that flurry of media reports we were all told there was no military response. We were likely told that because the CIA did not want anyone to know they were there. That leaves gaps for the Republican keyboard commandos to drive a truck through.

Conservatives Are Still Trying To Exploit Death To Score Political Points

Green Gold Foliage wallpaper

 

Conservatives always have the advantage in any story where there are missing details. Waiting for evidence, waiting for facts, waiting for further investigation is no hurdle for the radical Right. They’re all too happy to fill in any gaps of knowledge with their speculation, accusations that they just know are true because they feel they are true. I wish on these ethically challenged zealots a jury of people with similar mindsets should they ever find themselves facing a criminal trial. It would be more The Oxbow Incident than trial. Panetta Says Risk Impeded Deployment to Benghazi

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday that he and top military commanders “felt very strongly” that deploying American forces to defend against the fatal attack last month on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was too risky because they did not have a clear picture of what was happening on the ground.

“There’s a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking going on here,” Mr. Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon, adding that “the basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.”

As a result, Mr. Panetta said, he and two top commanders “felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” The commanders are Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Carter F. Ham of Africa Command, which oversees American military operations in Africa, including Libya.

We do know that Bush and Cheney did some micromanaging of troop activity – to the detriment of the American military and innocent Iraqis. While that can happen most day to day decisions about where to deploy regular troops or special forces is done by people like Gen. Carter F. Ham or the CIA. The Benghazi attack took place about 4 PM and lasted for about 2 hours. Not a lot of time to deploy much of a response. Every far Right conservative site seems to be covering this. Much of what has been written is incoherent garbage – with the commenters  foaming at the mouth with crazy accusations and claims of knowledge that defy any attempt to make sense of. This is from The Weekly Standard, generally thought of as one of conservatism’s intellectual flagships, written by editor and publisher William Kristol, Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”
Barack Obama

So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?

“presumably”? That links leads to a tweet by Jake Trapper at ABC and it is a blind quote from an unidentified spokesperson. Super reliable. Based on that start building the lynching platform. No it would not have automatically been an executive level only decision. Military commanders in the field have some leeway to respond to terrorism committed against Americans. By the time anyone could pin down exactly what was going on, American security personnel on site and Libyan security had already re-secured the compound. That is where the block buster Libya embassy e-mails were supposed to blow this story wide open, only they fizzled, The Shocking, World-Changing New Libya Emails

The next bend in the Libya story—sorry, Libya scandal—began last night, when CBS News and other organizations scooped a series of emails from the State Department on Sept. 11. At 4:05 p.m., State emails that the Benghazi consulate is “under attack.” At 4:54, the “firing has stopped.” At 6:07 p.m., “Ansar al-Sharia [has claimed] responsibility” for the attack.

Allahpundit explains why this is should be so disturbing.

The White House had plenty of reason to suspect more was going on than a protest that got out of hand, even from the very beginning. But that would meddle with one of O’s strongest reelection narratives, i.e. the president who demolished Al Qaeda (read this for a stark illustration of how certain key supporters are helping him out with that), so we didn’t hear about it until Eli Lake and CNN and Reuters all but dragged it out of him.

One problem. In the same story that breaks the news and gives readers the emails, CBS News prints an unaired answer that Obama gave Steve Kroft on Sept. 12. It was his first interview after the attacks.

You’re right that this is not a situation that was—exactly the same as what happened in Egypt and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.

The next day, Obama was in Colorado, where he addressed the killings in Libya.

A couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya. … So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.

Obama didn’t pretend that this was merely “a protest that got out of hand.” The trouble, when we look back at the timeline, is that reporters didn’t really glom onto the Libya story for a few days. When they did, by the Sunday shows and Sept. 19, you had administration representatives soft-peddling the “target Americans from the start” story.

Before that, though, if you followed the story, you knew that Ansar al-Sharia took credit for the attacks and that Obama was calling them “acts of terror.” This is the oddity of the story we now call “Benghazigate.” One “scandal,” that Obama pretended the attacks were only spontaneous results of a protest, is baseless. The next scandal, that the administration didn’t beef up security in Benghazi, is just harder to pin on a villain. So we hear more about the “shifting timeline,” even though the president had implied that the attacks were terrorism four times in the 48 hours afterward.

This is a tough situation. A father of one of the SEALs who died believes and has helped fuel some of the growing urban myths about Benghazi, Libya. It is obviously devastating to lose a child to a violent death. As much as we all sympathize, that does not mean that feelings should cloud the facts,

Woods also repeated a version of events that the White House says is not accurate, that “the White House Situation Room was watching our people die in real time, as this was happening.”

White House officials say there was no video stream available. So what kind of real-time information was coming in? State Department official Charlene Lamb testified before Congress that officials in the consulate “were making multiple phone calls and it was very important that they communicate with the annex in Tripoli because this is where additional resources were coming from. So they would hang up on us and then call back.” A Defense Department official confirms that there an unarmed ISR (“intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance”) drone overhead over part of the assault in Benghazi.

Woods also said, “apparently even the State Department had a live stream and was aware of their calls for help. My son wasn’t even there. He was at a safe house about a mile away. He got the distress call; he heard them crying for help; that’s why he and Glen risked their lives to go that extra mile just to take care of the situation. And I’m sure that wasn’t the only one received that distress call—you know, ‘Come save our lives.’”

There was no live fed to the White House. That drone is also part of the Right’s argument – that it was armed and could have been used to help, but Obama personally choose not to use it. That same ABC story quotes a Fox News “reporter” that said her sources on the ground ( again anonymous)” told her “that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators to ‘stand down’ rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.” If that were true it would have been help after the attacks and subsequent deaths, and after the compound has already been secured. ” Late Friday afternoon, CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood “no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ” )

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said there are reviews under way and it wasn’t helpful to provide “partial answers.”  However, he did say he was confident that  ”our forces were alert and responsive to what was a very fluid situation.”

The rapid conspiracy theorists have to find a way to tell their version of events and leave out the Department of Defense, the chain of command and the CIA. Additionally these partisans have to explain how things would have been different or the response would have been different if they were in the White House. Would they have been where the buck stops with no accountability on the DoD or CIA. They can talk tough, but where is the substance. 9NEWS questions President Obama on Libya attack

KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.

KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

I linked above to one story that is now a conveniently forgotten shame of the conservative idea of how to carry out national security – Bush’s Bloody Flip-Flop. It is also important to remember two recent scandals that the Right tried to exploit for poltical points. They tried to make Solyndra a big scandal and spent millions to find nothing, Five Things You Should Know About Solyndra During The 2012 Campaign. They went on and on about Fast and Furious to bring down Attorney General Holder. The Inspector General found no link between Holder or the White House with Fast and Furious. Just as President Obama said there is an ongoing investigation and more facts are probably going to come out. That doesn’t mean that everyone the Right points a finger at is guilty until they decide otherwise.

And two helpful links. Much of the conservative noise doesn’t work if you know the timeline and who said what and when they said it, Fox News Rewrites Obama Timeline On Libya Terrorism Comments

What Everyone Should Know About The Benghazi Attack