What was the GOP hoping to achieve by over-blowing the current Benghazi scandal and other “scandals” promoted by them?
Only one day after the White House released 100 pages of Benghazi e-mails, CBS news is reporting that the original e-mails released only one week ago were edited by Republicans. The two main points that were focused on in the CBS report were from National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
The statement by Rhodes in the official White House e-mail differs from the edited Republicans version. Below are the two statement were the difference is clearly shown.
Republican edited e-mail:
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.”
Offical White House email:
“We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.”
State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland’s comments were also altered, as CBS news points out the conflicting statements.
Republican edited e-mail: :
“The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.”
Official White House email:
“The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.”
After congressional Republicans accused the Obama administration of watering down vital information regarding the attacks in Benghazi, they released e-mails that were supposed to be damaging to the White House. If the CBS report holds water, the Republican conspiracy against the Obama administration could lose traction.
President Obama called the alleged scandal a “sideshow,” and a new poll shows that more people trust former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton over congressional Republicans on the situation in Benghazi. While Republicans have compared the alleged “Benghazi cover up” to President Nixon’s Watergate scandal, many from the political center to the left are laughing it off as another conservative attempt at playing politics.
- In Two Hours Obama Destroys the GOP’s Benghazi and IRS Scandals (kstreet607.com)
- It’s Official: Those Bogus Email Leaks Came From Republicans (motherjones.com)
- Republican Claims on Benghazi Prove False (politicalwire.com)
- Republicans Altered Benghazi Emails, CBS News Report Claims (huffingtonpost.com)
- CBS: It was congressional GOP who faked Benghazi email (video) (americablog.com)
- Maddow blasts erroneous Benghazi reporting: ‘ABC blew it’ (rawstory.com)
Ari Melber, co-host of “The Cycle”, joined Martin Bashir on his show Thursday evening to denounce Darrell Issa’s unprecedented behavior and charges toward Obama and Eric Holder. Ari pointed out that Issa’s unfounded accusations have caused several journalists to begin digging into his checkered past. It’s not pretty.
Watch video via MSNBC
- Things go Badly for Darrell Issa When David Gregory Fails to Be a GOP Shill (kstreet607.com)
- Attorney General Eric Holder Smacks Senator Darrell Issa…..OOPS Upside YO Head…..OOPS up Side YO Head!! (theobamacrat.com)
- Eric Holder blasts Rep. Darrell Issa: Your conduct is ‘inappropriate,’ ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’ (VIDEO) (kstreet607.com)
- Holder to Issa: Your conduct is shameful (utsandiego.com)
I absolutely agree with former NAACP Chair, Julian Bond. This entire faux outrage fiasco is designed to make the president look bad. That has been the objective of the GOP since Tuesday, January 20th, 2009.
As my colleague Egberto Willies wrote on Tuesday, this whole tempest in a teacup over the IRS scrutiny of groups who used “tea party” or “patriot” in their names is foolish. He is correct in stating that the IRS was well within its boundaries and, indeed, was doing exactly what it should have been doing. The granting of a 501(c) status is a very big deal. When I was on the staff of the one of the largest Pagan churches in the country, it took us years to be approved for that tax-free status. The IRS doesn’t hand those exemptions out like candy: you must prove that you fit the qualifications. Most of the Tea Party groups most certainly did not, not if they were engaged in politics.
We are not the only ones who think that the IRS was doing its job, either. Former NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond, told Thomas Roberts of MSNBC:
“I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the tea party. Here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who’ve tried as best they can to harm President Obama in every way they can.”
Mr. Bond found himself in a similar situation back in 2004 when, after a speech he’d given criticizing then-President George Bush, he received a letter from the IRS advising him that the NAACP was being investigated because of what he said. He thought that he was exercising his right to free speech but, as some of us know, criticism of Bush was not covered by that right.
But criticism of Obama? Well, that’s an entirely different matter. We’ve seen it time and again: Tea Party “patriots” with outrageous signs saying horrible things about a duly elected president. And these are most definitely not non-political groups. As Mr. Bond noted:
“They are the Taliban wing of American politics. We all ought to be a little worried about them.”
When Roberts asked Bond if that wasn’t a bit harsh – calling the TP the “Taliban wing” of American politics – Bond replied that it wasn’t at all too harsh and that we should all be concerned about their influence. He did say that it was wrong of the IRS to be so heavy-handed and chided them for not explaining their actions better. But Bond was adamant that this situation has no parallel to the targeting of the NAACP in 2004.
Now a liberal group called Progress Texas has come forward saying that they received the same level of scrutiny that the Tea Party groups did. Their executive director, Ed Espinoza, said in a statement:
“Progress Texas and the Tea Party strongly disagree on the role of government. Yet, when we applied for tax-exempt status, Progress Texas received the same type of additional scrutiny that Tea Party groups are complaining about. The similar treatment indicates the IRS was likely addressing a flood of 501(c)4 applications after Citizens United, and undermines the paranoid notion that Tea Party groups were singled out.”
Exactly. This entire “scandal” is being blown up out of all proportion. The IRS, the agency that collects the taxes for the American people to run our government, should be wary of groups that apply for 501(c) status. Even more so when the applicants have been so brazen about its involvement in politics. This faux outrage is silly. The IRS was just doing its job and the Tea Party groups are doing what they do: blame the government and whine about taxes. Same as it ever was.
Here’s the video of Bond’s appearance:
- NAACP Chair Emeritus: ‘Legitimate’ For IRS To Target ‘Admittedly Racist’ Tea Party: ‘Taliban Wing’ Of Politics (mediaite.com)
- Watch: Fmr. NAACP chair calls Tea Party groups ‘Taliban wing of American politics’ (tv.msnbc.com)
- Former NAACP Chair Julian Bond Calls Tea Party Loyalists ‘Taliban Wing of American Politics’ (opposingviews.com)
- Former NAACP Chair Says The IRS Was Right To Target Tea Party Groups (VIDEO) (addictinginfo.org)
- NAACP Chair: Tea Party Is ‘Taliban Wing’ Of American Politics (freebeacon.com)
So, there you have it…
Just as Republicans and their media lackeys were getting their Obama scandal machine fired up, President Obama killed both the Benghazi and IRS “scandals” in a couple of hours.
The president put a stake through the heart of the GOP’s attempts to revive Benghazi by releasing 100 pages of emails. (Now, the world can see how badly Jon Karl and ABC News got played when they used the summaries of someone else’s notes.) The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent published an email from Tommy Vietor, who until recently was the spokesperson for the National Security Council. Vietor wrote, “Regarding the talking points, it’s not surprising that the entire government would want the chance to look at and edit that language. This was a dynamic situation and new information was constantly flowing in, and different agencies had important concerns that had to be addressed – the State Department had security concerns, the FBI was worried about its investigation, and the CIA had a major, yet still undisclosed, role.”
Republicans are putting out vague statements about contradictions, but Benghazi is pretty much finished as a scandal. It is difficult to accuse the White House of a cover up, when they’ve released all the emails.
The second part of the one-two punch was Obama speaking about the IRS scandal.
- Two scandals deflated, one persists (kstreet607.com)
- Nothing To See Here! O’Donnell Says IRS And Benghazi Are NOT Scandals: ‘IRS Agents Did Nothing Wrong’ (mediaite.com)
- Story on Benghazi leaks starts to unravel (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- CNN Blows Huge Hole In GOP Efforts To Prosecute Benghazi Scandal (forbes.com)
- An Interview With Barack Obama About The IRS Scandal, AP Phone Records And Benghazi (philosophers-stone.co.uk)
Republicans didn’t seem to get the answers they were looking for in Eric Holder’s Capitol Hill “grilling”.
I’m happy to see that charges has been dropped against a student who was demonstrating a science project that went bad. Florida’s record of arresting minority school age children is abysmal…
The Florida teenager who was arrested two weeks ago for causing a small explosion on the campus of her high school will not be charged with a crime. Kiera Wilmot, 16, was arrested by police in Bartow, Florida, after conducting an unauthorized science experiment which lightly damaged an eight ounce plastic water bottle.
At the time, Wilmot faced possible charges for “possessing or discharging weapons or firearms at a school sponsored event or on school property.” If she had been convicted, she could have faced up to five years in prison.
Wilmot’s arrest became a national story, as members of the press and the scientific community insisted that Wilmot was the victim of a massive overreaction from law enforcement. A crowdfunded legal defense fund netted over $8,000 to cover Wilmot’s potential legal fees, and a Change.org petition to get the charges dropped received nearly 200,000 signatures.
“Even though I don’t have the privilege of knowing Kiera, I believe we all have the responsibility to stand up with one another whenever there is injustice and felt I had to do whatever I could to make sure the unjust felony charges were dropped,” said Maggie Gilman, the creator of the petition, in a statement circulated by Change.org. “I’m very thankful to the 195,000 people who stood with Kiera and signed the petition on Change.org!”
Wilmot has already served a ten-day suspension, and is now attending another high school, according to her attorney.
- Charges dropped against teen in science experiment ‘bomb’ (news.cnet.com)
- Kiera Wilmot Is Coming to Alabama For School (geekalabama.com)
- No charges for teen after explosion at Fla. school (sfgate.com)
- Student Arrested for Science Experiment Won’t Face Charges After All (theatlanticwire.com)
- Victory: Kiera Wilmot Will Not Be Prosecuted For Exploding Science Experiment! (newsone.com)
The irony seems to escape the GOP and their sycophants in Congress. They’ve implemented “sequestration” to curb superfluous spending yet waste $55 million dollars on trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act thirty-seven times…
For the 37th time since 2011, House Republicans will hold a vote to repeal Obamacare on Thursday, bringing the total cost of all of their failed repeal votes to roughly $55 million in taxpayer money, according to one estimate.
Last year, CBS News calculated that the number of hours spent on 33 repeal votes — then roughly 80 hours, or two full work weeks — cost taxpayers an estimated $48 million. Since then, Republicans have held three more votes (another $4.5 million) and will add another $1.5 million with their latest.
At a time when lawmakers have implemented $85 billion in across-the-board cuts on top of$1.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, no dollar can be spared. And the country has serious health-related needs that could use funding. Here are some better health care uses for the more than $50 million these symbolic votes against the Affordable Care Act have wasted:
1. Restore cuts from sequestration to Title X family planning programs and Title V maternal and child health services. The National Women’s Law Center calculates that a 5 percent cut to the budgets of each program will reduce them by $15 million and $32.5 million, respectively. Rather than voting to repeal a bill that expands women’s access to preventative services, the House could use the money to expand them.
2. Double the Department of Justice’s budget for sexual assault services, which has currently been authorized a $50 million budget. The program gives money to states so that they can support rape crisis centers and other nongovernmental organizations that provide direct intervention, core services, and other assistance to the victims of sexual assault. Current funding is inadequate, as some states receive less than $300,000 and many programs lack the resources to meet victims’ needs.
3. Grant a request for $50 million to train 5,000 new mental health professionals as part of a new initiative to expand mental health treatment and prevention services. This proposal came in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting to address gaps in the mental health system.
4. Help states implement paid leave policies. President Obama included a $50 million State Paid Leave Fund in his 2011 budget to provide start-up support for states that want to enact paid leave for workers. More than 40 percent of workers don’t have access to paid sick leave, heading to work when they or their family members experience an illness, but this funding could help give them a better option.
The current Congress is on track to be the most unproductive since the 1940s, but still has time to hold votes that won’t result in actual legislative change. There are many other priorities lawmakers could focus on instead and better ways to spend taxpayer dollars.
- CBO: ObamaCare repeal would increase deficit (upi.com)
- CBO once again tells GOP what it doesn’t want to hear (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 45, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) repeal bill. (ntu.org)
- House Will Vote Again To Repeal Obamacare, Mostly Pointlessly (outsidethebeltway.com)
- From Hiccups to Repeal: The Affordable Care Act (brookings.edu)
It’s important to review why the Tea Party groups were petitioning the I.R.S. anyway. They (the Tea Party) were seeking approval to operate under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This would require them to be “social welfare,” not political, operations. There are significant advantages to being a 501(c)(4). These groups don’t pay taxes; they don’t have to disclose their donors—unlike traditional political organizations, such as political-action committees. In return for the tax advantage and the secrecy, the 501(c)(4) organizations must refrain from traditional partisan political activity, like endorsing candidates. (The New Yorker) Ed. Note: Emphasis are mine
Though Karl Rove receives a salary from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for his work as a Fox News Channel “political contributor,” his compensation doesn’t end there. The network frequently airs ads by his American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS political committees, as “news,” free of charge.
A review of Fox News Channel broadcasts over the past twelve months revealed that Fox News programs ran all or a significant part of Crossroads ads at least 34 times — an estimated value of more than $3.6 million in free air time. Frequently, the network’s hosts run the ads during Rove’s segments and then allow him to explain and repeat their charges.
On Monday, for example, Fox News aired a significant chunk of a new American Crossroads ad attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her handling of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Noting criticism the ad received from conservative columnist William Kristol, host Martha MacCullum asked Rove: “What say you?”
Watch the video:
- Fox News Gives Karl Rove’s Crossroads Groups Millions In Free Airtime (thinkprogress.org.feedsportal.com)
- Legal analyst says we’re missing the real scandal at the IRS (blogs.e-rockford.com)
- Karl Rove’s Speedy 2016 Anti-Hillary Ad (themoderatevoice.com)
- Kristol Shreds Karl Rove’s Super PAC for Anti-Hillary Benghazi Attack Ad (crooksandliars.com)
- Karl Rove kicks off 2016 festivities with new Benghazi-themed Hillary Clinton attack ad (baddiesboogie.com)
- Rove on Kristol attack: ‘inexplicable’ (politico.com)
Eric Holder blasts Rep. Darrell Issa: Your conduct is ‘inappropriate,’ ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’ (VIDEO)
When Darrell Issa and his gang were trying to pin Fast and Furious on AG Eric Holder, the Attorney General sat there and took a hell of a lot of abuse from Issa and his cohorts.
This time Holder pushed back. It’s about damn time…
As Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., pressed Attorney General Eric Holder for details about a phone call from Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, Holder lost his temper.
Holder interrupted Issa’s line of questioning and declared that he would not stop talking.
“No, I am not going to stop talking now,” Holder said after Issa tried to ask him a follow-up question.
“Mr. Chairman, would you inform the witness as to the rules of the committee?” Issa asked, speaking over Holder’s protest.
“It is inappropriate and too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress,” Holder continued. “It is unacceptable. It is shameful.”
- Attorney General Eric Holder Smacks Senator Darrell Issa…..OOPS Upside YO Head…..OOPS up Side YO Head!! (theobamacrat.com)
- Eric Holder And Darrell Issa Battle It Out (buzzfeed.com)
- Calls congressman’s conduct ‘shameful, unacceptable’… (livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Holder blasts Issa’s conduct as ‘shameful’ (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Eric Holder Blasts Rep. Darrell Issa For ‘Unacceptable,’ ‘Shameful’ Conduct During House Grilling (mediaite.com)
- Holder ‘Not Sure’ How Many Times DOJ Sought Journalists’ Records (huffingtonpost.com)