Friday, May 31, 2013

Obama's misue and abuse of Air Force One costs should come as no surprise.

In recent days Republicans have been criticizing president Obama for his constant and often unnecessary use of Air Force One to give speeches or make an address about one issue or another that could have just as easily been given in the Rose Garden, the White House briefing room or the East Room. The problem with Republicans is that will criticize Obama on almost anything and so their credibility when it comes to criticism is zero and almost always partisan and political  since its Democrats that have the most to complain about when it comes to Obama. But on this issue they have a point.

Obama always tends to go for the dog and pony show, the "optics" as the cliche ridden drones in the Washington press corps like to call it, to give speeches in locations around the country that not only add nothing to whatever point he is trying to make, but on top of everything else has yielded exactly zero results regarding policy issues. The only place he didn't go to make a speech was the one place he should have gone -- Gitmo.

There was no good reason for Obama to have gone anywhere to make any of his speeches.

The cost of operating Air Force One is $180,000 an hour to the tax payer. One would think given the economic issues the country has faced the last 4+ years and Obama's less than sterling record in dealing with it, he would be more sensitive to not abusing tax payer dollars just so he can fly somewhere unnecessary and make a speech that usually counts for nothing.

He shows up at more disasters than Anderson Cooper, sometimes justified, as with Sandy Hook and Hurricane Sandy, sometimes not, like the Texas fertilizer plant explosion or the Oklahoma tornado.  If you're president and the country is living in a time of austerity you cant spend $180,000 an hour just to give someone a hug for the cameras.

But given Obama's history, his insensitivity to economic realities and his penchant for putting personal politics before policy, this should come as no surprise.

In 2008 I did a commercial for Democrats For Principle Before Party which opposed Obama's nomination criticizing Obama because, at the height of the housing crisis, when home foreclosures practically exploded over night and families were being thrown out of their homes left and right, at that moment, in August of 2008, Obama showed his empathy and sensitivity for the middle class by deciding it was a good idea to spend $3 million on renting Invesco Field for three hours so he could give his acceptance speech in a venue bigger than the Pepsi Center where the Democratic National Convention was being held.

It should also be pointed out that much of that $3 million was underwritten by AT&T and Verizon shortly after Obama reneged on still another promise which was to vote against retroactive immunity for the telecoms who had illegally given the Bush Administration data on their customers and instead as a U.S. senator found the time to go back to Washington, renege on his pledge to vote against it and voted for it.

So on two fronts the handwriting on who and what Obama was and is was on the wall pretty early.  And his presidency has reflected it in every possible way. 

His constant use of Air Force One to make speeches is a talking point Republicans can use, because its something people can understand and see for themselves. And, like his entire presidency, it's going to cause problems for any Democrat in a close race who aligns himself with Obama instead of Democratic party principles and there is a big difference between the two since Obama long ago abandoned the Democratic agenda for what he erroneously thought was his own political well being.

Now it's just a matter of how long its going to take the hierarchy in the Democratic party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to admit it. For their sake, hopefully before Obama flies off into the sunset and takes the party with him.





Monday, May 27, 2013

Conservative groups deserved the extra IRS scrutiny.

As pointed out here more than a week ago, there was more than enough evidence, history and common sense to justify Tea Party and other conservative groups getting extra scrutiny from the IRS and that comments from president Obama and congressional Democrats as well as the press, was  the usual non fact based knee jerk reaction that defines the press, Obama, and congress.
Now the New York Times, a week after the fact, is reporting much the same thing as presented here but in their usual understated lets not offend anybody way, citing interviews with tax experts and former IRS agents and officials who pointed out that these groups pushed the legal limits of what was permissible and so figured to attract greater scrutiny by the IRS. 

Given that there was no evidence that the extra scrutiny given conservative groups was politically motivated or designed  to put them at a disadvantage or keep them from expressing their views in an election year,  there had to be a reason why IRS agents decided to give conservative groups applying for tax exempt status extra scrutiny. And no one besides this space and today's article in the New York Times  wanted to talk about what that reason might be. Which is that based on history and past performance conservative groups deserved it.
Given  the long Republican and conservative history of breaking campaign finance laws, engaging in election fraud,  dishonesty, misuse of campaign funds and outrght illegal activity for which there can be found no counterpart among Democrats and liberals, and given the conservative penchant and their history for trying to find ways to circumvent the law, why wouldn't the IRS give them extra scrutiny?
If someone is caught cheating on their tax returns and pays a fine do they have a right to complain in the future if their tax returns are subject to greater scrutiny than the average citizen? That's the case with conservatives and Republicans. And it's the case that Obama and Democrats have so far wanted to duck. Tom Delay,no less a personage than the  former Republican majority whip in the U.S. House is currently in federal prison after being convicted of charges of misuse of campaign funds,fraud and money laundering. He is the highest ranking Republican to go to prison since the Watergate scandals.
 In 2005 the chairman of the state Republican party in New Hampshire was convicted and sent to prison for voter fraud during the 2004 presidential election when he hired volunteers to  jam the phone banks of Democratic Party workers offering rides to the polls to Democratic voters who didn't have transportation making it impossible to get through thereby illegally trying to suppress the Democratic vote.
Duke Cunningham,former Republican member of the House is currently in prison for taking bribes. James O'Keefe, a conservative hero who made an undercover video posing as a pimp with his real life political prostitute accomplice Hanna Giles posing as a hooker, agreed to pay an Acorn worker $150,000 in damages in an out of court settlement  after he dishonestly edited and submitted for airing a video he shot surrepticiously that made it  look like the Acorn worker was trying to help them break the law when the unedited raw footage showed  the opposite was true.
And it was only a few months ago that conservative web site, The Daily Caller, edited by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, published completely false accusations against Democratic senator Robert Menendez right before the 2012 election accusing him of having sex with underage prostitutes. Not only was the story completely false, but the accusations were made by two prostitutes in the Dominican Republic who were bribed to make the allegations by a conservative political operative to smear Menendez right before the election,  as reported by the police who investigated the allegations.
The bigger scandal which the press and Democrats in congress ( and obviously Republicans) are ignoring, is how some of these groups qualified for their 501(c)4 status in the first place. That status given by the IRS is for groups who by law are exclusively engaged in "social welfare" advocacy and NOT  advocating for the election or defeat of any political party or candidate. Congress was so lax in writing the law, they didn't just leave loopholes, they left sink holes in the law perhaps intentionally, and it is conservatives more than anyone who try and find these loopholes and look for ways to abuse the law.

 Karl Rove's political action group Crossroads, was qualified by the IRS for tax exempt status based on the social welfare exemption. Can anyone actually say what kind of social welfare Karl Rove is engaged in? Does anyone actually believe his group is not political and not engaged in any activity involving the election of Republican candidates and the defeat of Democratic ones?
That is the real scandal, and that is what has to be addressed  --  enforcing the law that requires a 501(c)4 group to engage exclusively  in social welfare advocy  instead of the fiasco that exists now  with commericals like "call Democrat Joe Blow and tell him you oppose higher taxes to educate children". This is how these groups get around the law and pretend they are not advocating for a candidate when the clear message is, don't call Joe Blow just vote against him.
A Republican congressman from Oklahoma, James Lankford,  exhibited stupefying  ignorance of the law  in his questioning during the congressional hearings which only re-enforces the validity of the IRS scrutinizing conservative groups. He found it "remarkable" and "inappropriate" that the IRS, in responding to an application from a Tea Party group in Oklahoma City asked if the group had any associations with political candidates, if any political candidate had spoken at their meetings and if so, requested transcripts of the remarks. These are exactly the kind of questions the IRS should have been asking of these groups applying for tax exempt status.  Mr. Lankford seemed to think those questions were out of line. Mr. Lankford is so ignorant of the law at the heart of the hearings he should be disqualified from any further participation since he didn't know the law requires that groups applying for tax exempt status may NOT  engage in the activities that the IRS questionairre was addressing.  Instead Mr. Lankford wanted to grandstand so he could express his mock horror.
 Republicans at the hearing used words like "injured" and "abused" to describe the conservative groups that were given the extra scrutiny. The truth is its been conservatives and Republicans who have repeatedly abused and injured the electoral process and campaign finance law in the underhanded and sometimes illegal way they go about their business. And the IRS knows it.  Given that none of these groups in the end were denied their tax exempt status there was no abuse. There was also testimony  that these groups had the right to operate as a tax exempt group without IRS approval and then, after the fact, could have filed an IRS form claiming tax exempt status. So in reality no conservative group was "injured" or "abused" as Republicans preposterously and dishonestly allege, and no one was prevented from exercising any right of free bought and paid for  speech.

None of this was reported in the press who kept talking about the IRS "targeting" Republicans and conservatives because the press loves a scandal even when there's no basis for it,  and none of this was brought up by Democrats who did what they seem to do best in the face of controversy -- fold, capitulate and show no backbone, following the leader of their party, the capitulater-in-chief, president Obama. (A reminder about Obama's "outrage". He said he was "outraged" a few years ago when mulit-million dollar bonuses given  AIG executives after the tax payer bailout became public.  What we learned later was that Obama personally approved those bonuses weeks before his "outrage". And lets not forget the foot he put his mouth over the incident involving professor Henry Louis Gates when he criticized the police officer who had arrested Gates for disorderly conduct without knowing the facts and then had to eat his words.)
The nine person IRS tax exempt enforcement section, in seeking to make sure the most likely offenders were given proper scrutiny, used words like "Tea Party" and other conservative related criteria as a short cut to help them narrow the search for the most likely offenders since they had over 3,000 applications.  That seems to be the Republican ox that's being gored and the mistake the IRS made, if that's what someone wants to call it, was one of  semantics, not substance.  They could have given the same scrutiny on a case by case basis using alphabetical order and no one could have said a word. On the other hand knowing conservatives and Tea Party activists are the ones who have demonstrated the greatest dishonesty and circumvention of the law, and a willingness to abuse the law,  it makes sense that they'd try and shorten the process and use key words. None of whch stopped Obama from demanding the resignation of the head of the IRS, putting his head on a platter to try and mollify Republicans. Again without knowing any of the facts.
Rep. Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio made statements during his questioning during the hearings that this was  all was directed by higher ups and that people will go to jail. Naturally Turner did not present a shred of evidence to even point in that direction. His statement was in fact itself a fraud. Which is more evidence of why conservative groups were scrutinized in the first place. And right now, Turner should keep in mind, the only people who are actually in jail for election and campaign fraud are conservative and Republican. And while there may very well people who go to jail, it might not be the people Turner had in mind.

NOTE: As if to further make the point it was announced today that Tea Party darling, Representative Michelle Bachmann has announced she is not running for re-election for her House seat. This coincides with the revelation as reported in the New York Times that she is about to investigated for her former presidential campaign's fund raising.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

CNN and tragedy: covering it or milking it?

When tragedies hit it is obviously always toughest for those going through it,those  directly affected by it and their friends and families and neighbors.  But after that what becomes especially tough for everyone else in the country is having to watch it and get news reports and coverage from some of the most manipulative, self-serving, and purely exploitive people in the country -- journalists. Especially those on cable TV news outlets like CNN and MSNBC.

CNN pioneered the visually obnoxious practice of taking the same 6 or 7 seconds of news footage, like people crying, people hugging, a tornado bearing down, the same bloody face or whatever else it might be that they think will attract attention like they are presiding over a side show,  and replaying it successively, over and over, in consecutive repetitive loops so constant and repetitive that it looks like a CNN director in the control room passed out and fell face forward on the "play" button with no one else there to help. This obnoxious  nonsense started during the Monica Lewinsky frenzy when CNN replayed over 20 consecutive times  the same six or seven seconds of footage of Monica Lewinsky getting out of the back seat of an SUV on her way to testify to the grand jury while some "analyst" droned on.

They still do it to this day. They did it after the Boston marathon bombing, replaying the same video of the instant the explosions took place over and over and over again no matter what they were reporting or who they were interviewing. They didn't just do it for days. They did for weeks. And they are doing it again with the coverage of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.

This isn't journalism. This is sheer exploitation, almost voyeurism for their own ends. The same way CNN abuses the term "Breaking News". Because research shows that when they use that term, people tend to pay more attention and watch longer, even if the "Breaking News" is days old. The morning after the tornado in Oklahoma hit, CNN had the "Breaking News" legend on display and under it, "How the Day Unfolded". How the day unfolded is not breaking news. It is a summary. It is a review. it is NOT "Breaking News". But every item, every interview, everything anyone had to say from Oklahoma came with the prefix "Breaking News".

During the coverage of the marathon bombings, CNN saw its ratings jump 194%. Given how small CNN's ratings are on a daily basis ( somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 viewers) tragedies like this are a financial windfall for the network. And they know it. And it was clear when every anchor on the CNN payroll was doing their live shots from the same corner in Boston that they were going to milk it for all it was worth.

The best coverage of the events unfolding from Boston was on the networks, CBS and NBC in particular where people who acted like grown ups and with some gravitas and a sense of what it really means to be a journalist at a time when its needed most, did a better job at reporting the news and covering events than the almost comical response of a network like CNN who sent everyone but the cleaning lady to Boston to do stand up live shots on the same street corner and then stayed for weeks. Even when nothing was going on behind them and no news of significance was being reported and whatever news there was could have easily been reported from their studios in Atlanta or New York. But a decision was made to keep them there in Boston and it had nothing to do with journalism.

Perhaps shockingly, as bad and as dishonest and biased as they are when it comes to political and policy journalism, when covering live events that have no political slant or bias  they can exploit, Fox News, of the three cable networks seems the least exploitive, most focused on communicating facts,  reported by journalists on the ground who, unlike CNN and MSNBC don't seem to think that how they personally feel about what they are covering is news and needs to be told to the world.

In terms of reporting versus exploitation it also should be noted that during their coverage, CNN anchors tell people to go to to see how they can help the victims. When one goes to that page one sees two banner ads for Nissan, an ad for top stock picks, and an ad for Lifelock Identity Theft protection, and since ad revenue online is based on the number of people accessing a page (the site owner gets $5 per 1,000 hits per day)  sending people to that page seems to have at least as much to do with contributing to CNN's bottom line as it does helping the victims of the Oklahoma tornado.

Wolf Blitzer added to CNN's  embarrassment and further sinking into the morass of pandering and lack of journalistic standards ( as he always embarrasingly does) when he insisted on not just interviewing a tornado survivor but putting his own words in her mouth when he asked the survivor, "You've gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?"
The survivor as it turns out was an atheist who said so but didnt make any more of an issue of Blitzer's attempts at pandering to religious conservatives and that is exactly what he was doing given the part of the country he knew he was in. It isnt just that no reporter has any business insinutating whatever their personal religious beliefs might be into a story but in Blitzer's case given his history it wasn't even sincere but pure pandering.

 It is significant that weeks after the Sandy Hook shootings, with CNN still anchoring their news coverage from Newtown, residents started appearing with signs that told CNN to go home. They finally did. Like an unwanted house guest who long overstayed their visit and finally had to be kicked out. How long before the residents in Moore, Oklahoma feel the same way is yet to be seen. Right now they have more important things to do.






Thursday, May 16, 2013

Watergate, Watergate everywhere!

It's ironic that back in 2008 as Executive Director of the Denver Group and an off shoot organization called Democrats For Principle Before Party, I did a group of TV commercials comparing Barrack Obama to Richard Nixon,attempting to warn Democrats of the dangers Obama would present as president to the  Democratic agenda since it was apparent even if the media decided to look the other way,that he was every bit as underhanded, duplicitous, dishonest ,unprincipled and untrustworthy a presidential candidate as Richard Nixon. Nothing he said publicly could be trusted or taken at face value.  Obama even had his own Helen Gahagen Douglas in Alice Palmer a woman who helped Obama get his start in politics who he later double crossed to win his first election.

In his first four years in office Obama lived up to the billing. But now, incredibly Republicans of all people are drawing unfavorable comparisons of Obama to Richard Nixon, comparing almost every accusation now being made against Obama and his administration to Watergate.

You know Republicans are desperate ( or terminally dumb) when they insist on reminding the American people that the worst abuse of power by a president and his administration in American history, a secret subverting of the constitution, abusing the office and powers of the presidency and running a criminal enterprise out of the White House which resulted in almost every member of a presidential administration going to prison for multiple felonies was committed by Republicans.

Nevertheless they can't stop comparing the latest unsavory revelations going on with Obama and his administration to Watergate.

Comparisons of Benghazi to Watergate are so laughable they are an insult to the memories of those killed because it is obvious that Republicans like Dana Rohrabacher, Lindsay Graham, John Boehner and others making the comparisons  are trying to use them as political fodder. The recent release of emails show that while there were changes made to suggested "talking points"  immediately after the Benghazi attack, they were all made by the CIA and had no political motive behind them.  In one instance the CIA changed the word "attack" to "demonstration" and removed a reference to Al-Qaeda. Supposedly because while they suspected Al-Qaeda they had no proof at the time.

 John Boehner, grasping for straws and making himself and his party look foolish again, seized on the emails to say see? the White House lied. They said only a word was changed and here we have two words. Maybe even six or seven words.

And all authored by the CIA. With the bottom line being that these changes by the CIA amounted to a big nothing. Nothing about these talking points given on Sunday morning talk shows by Susan Rice had even the smallest consequence regarding anything of importance or value.  If the Republicans think its so important they can have those in the CIA responsible for making the changes appear before their phalanx of congressional committees to explain it. They wont do it because there is no political hay to be made by doing it.

None of this is to defend Obama who manages to sink to new lows almost on a daily basis, but none of those lows even remotely approach the neo-fascism and criminal conspiracies to undermine the constitution and American freedoms that was the administration of Republican conservative Richard Nixon and the series of scandals known as Watergate, named for the apartment and office complex in Washington that contained the offices of the chairman of the Democratic Party that Republican operatives burglarized with the knowledge  of then attorney general John Mitchell, looking for dirt on Democrats. The ensuing cover-up which ensnared almost the entire Nixon administration in obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence was to cover up even worse abuses committed by these same people against American citizens.

We heard Lindsay Graham say the other day that Benghazi was worse that Watergate. Orin Hatch has said that the IRS scrutiny of conservative groups applying for 501(c)4 status was worse than Watergate (though none were denied the status they applied for). And the Justice Department secretly gathering phone records of AP reporters for a leak investigation was worse than Watergate.

 On the last charge it was certainly the kind of thing Nixon would have done. But the difference is, Nixon and the Republicans did it illegally with illegal wiretaps  and for personal reasons while Obama is just, well the usual unprincipled and grossly unqualified  garden variety self promoting  politician and president he's been since day one.

But Republican obsession with comparing Obama's miscalculations or incompetence with Watergate is now getting comical.

At the end of the commercials I did in 2008 for Democrats For Principle Before Party, in comparing Obama to Nixon, the question used most to disparage Nixon, was asked in the commerical about Obama:  Would you buy a used car from this man?
No more than Id buy a used scandal from a Republican.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Why Obama's "outrage" over IRS and conservative groups is pandering: they deserved it.

When news broke that the IRS had been singling out conservative groups for special scrutiny when applying for tax exempt status,  it didnt take President Obama  long to say "if true" the targeting of conservative political groups by the IRS "would be outrageous". But given a bit more thought it becomes apparent that Obama's statement is, for now pandering to Republicans and designed to do two things: lessen right wing criticism of his handling of Benghazi ("see? even when you attack me I respect you like crazy") and two, lessen the criticism of  his administration over the IRS revelations ("see even when you attack me I respect you like crazy").

And, as we have seen many times before Obama will say or do anything to avoid or lessen criticism by any group except those who voted for him.

The reason his statement of outrage is nothing more than pandering is he first he qualified it by saying "if true".   "If true" is no small thing.  Which means Obama doesn't know if it's true or not, or claims not to know if it was politically motivated or not and so far the evidence is that it wasn't. If it wasn't then what is the problem?  Why all the "outrage"?

Given the information available at the moment,  the IRS was looking for potential abuses in political groups applying for tax exempt status, groups  which  claim to advocate for a position but not a candidate. Usually these are thinly disguised campaign ads and commercials for the election of a candidate posing as advocacy for an issue and thus allowed under  separate rules of election law and also allows for tax exempt status under certain circumstances.

The evidence is so far that the IRS started out focusing  mostly on conservative political groups (they eventually expanded it to include other groups as well)   looking for possible abuses of the law, (they did the same with some liberal groups during Bush's presidency without a word of protest from Republicans)  and that it was a implemented without a political agenda. What is not being said is that given the history of sleazy, underhanded, dishonest political tactics by conservative Republicans over the years the IRS has good reason to focus on conservative Republican groups. They deserved the scrutiny.

Republicans and especially conservatives have a recent history of flaunting election law and indulging in sleazy campaign tactics including voter suppression from the head of the Republican party in New Hampshire going to prison for election fraud and tampering during the 2004 presidential election, to the recent dishonest smears by conservative media sites like Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller which published stories before the last election accusing New Jersey senator Bob Menendez of having sex with underage prostitutes, a story that turned out to not only be completely false, but was the result of conservative operatives making cash bribes to the women who made the charges. So   it makes all the sense in the world that the IRS  would pay special attention to conservative groups who have proved in the past they are much more likely to abuse the law and to try to find ways to circumvent them than liberal groups.

The Republican uproar is over the IRS scrutiny of applications for a 501(c) 4 organization which qualify for tax exempt status if they are primarily for promoting the social welfare. Karl Rove's group is a conservative organization that received such a tax exempt status from the IRS as a 501(c)4 . Democrats should call that a scandal itself and question the IRS as to why  Rove received the exemption.  The idea that Rove's organization has anything to do with the public welfare as opposed to electing Republican candidates is a joke and something Democrats should demand the IRS investigate as long as everyone is in an investigating mood. And maybe make the rules a little tighter to exclude groups like Rove's.

As long as singling out of conservative political groups for extra scrutiny wasn't the product of Democratic leaning IRS agents or the result of a political directive targeting these groups for political advantage ( as Republicans try to do all the time) then it's a big nothing and something Democrats should point out Republicans probably brought on themselves.  And the fact that none of these groups were ultimately denied their tax exempt status seems to re-enforce the idea that the motives weren't political but based on history and sound reasoning.  If you get caught cheating on your tax return do you have a right to cry foul if you are subjected to more intense scrutiny of future returns? The Republicans and conservatives in general have been caught cheating more often in more cases than any other political group.

Republicans  are now crying "witch hunt" as they themselves conduct a witch hunt over Benghazi and are trying to compare this to Watergate. A few days ago they compared Benghazi to Watergate. They seem to be trying to compare everything to Watergate except Watergate which was a purely Republican criminal enterprise run out of the White House by a Republican president and his cabinet who had committed felonies,  most of whom went to prison
The IRS can't come right out and say it, but it seems the scrutiny of conservative groups is the result of a  long and tawdry history of Republican conservative campaign and election abuse which is how Watergate started  (and let's not forget Tom Delay, former House Republican majority whip from Texas currently in federal prison for election and campaign fraud and misuse of campaign funds.)

It's also amusing  to watch Republicans get "outraged" over what amounts to charges that they were being profiled.

During the current congressional hearings, the question that Republicans seem to want answered most is, who was responsible for conservative groups being given extra scrutiny in their applications for tax exempt status for political groups? The answer is simple but not one Republicans want to hear. Its conservatives themselves and their history of dishonest underhanded and even criminal activity in the past when it comes to politics, campaigns, raising money, keeping donors secret and policies they don't like. That is who is responsible.

The idea that these Tea Party and conservative groups applying for IRS tax exempt status based on their assertion that they are doing social welfare work and NOT political campaigning for any candidate is a joke. A bad joke. And makes the extra scrutiny given by the IRS more than understandable and not the "outrage" that Obama tries to assert. What's needed are laws that make it clear what the standards are for being granted the tax exempt status these groups want, which, under present law would allow them to keep the identities of donors secret.

There has to be a change in the law that more specifically defines the criteria for a 501(c)4 group doing social welfare advocacy that will eliminate groups like Karl Rove's getting that status and any other group using it to circumvent  traditional campaign laws. Then IRS agents won't be in the position of having to make those determinations.  In other words, blame this too on congress, who are passing the buck over vague and inadequate laws that let groups like  Kar Rove's hide the bucks.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Republican charges in Benghazi hearings ignores Bush gross negligence in 911 attacks.


 In many ways it serves the Democrats right. The Republicans are going after a Democratic administration tooth and nail over  Benghazi where four Americans were killed and while the loss of any American life is tragic, the same people now trying to make political points at the expense of those four deaths were silent when in the aftermath of the attacks of Sept.11, 2001,  the 911 Commission hearings  exposed nothing less than the worst case of incompetence, gross negligence and even criminal negligence by a president and his administration related to national security in American history thanks to the Bush Administration from day one,  ignoring and dismissing all warnings and threats of an impending attack by Al-Qaeda.  And Democrats at the time said nothing.

The evidence exposed by the 911 Commission was that the attacks could have and should have been prevented.  The evidence at the 911 Commission hearing was that Bush,  Rice and Cheney dismissed terrorism as a real national security threat  in the nine months leading up to the attacks, despite warnings by every government official in a position to know that Al-Qaeda was the single biggest threat to U.S. national security in the world. Bush demoted Richard Clarke, dissolved the Principals Meeting on sharing terror related intelligence, and  did nothing in August of 2001  when intercepts of Al-Qaeda chatter reached the highest in the 20 years Richard Clarke had been White House anti-terrorism chief  and the evidence was that an attack was imminent.

Bush was even given intelligence in his August 6,2001 Presidential Daily Briefing that an attack by Al-Qaeda within the United States was going to involve the hijacking of US airliners, and that Al-Qaeda cells had been seen putting office buildings in New York under surveillance. Bush and Rice and Cheney still did nothing. Richard Clarke testified that with the intelligence they had, both he and George Tenant in August of 2001, certain a large scale terrorist attack was imminent,  were "running around the White House like men with their hair on fire" trying to get a meeting with Bush to tell him of the imminent threat and to get him to act. He refused both to see them and to act. As did Rice.

The disdain of the Bush Administration for the threat of a terrorist attack was so complete that the assistant director of the FBI testified he was told in a face to face meeting with then attorney general John Ashcroft, to "never bring me anything again related to terrorism".

Given all this damning evidence and testimony of gross negligence by the Bush Administration in the Sept 11 ,2001 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans, Democrats hid under a rock and acted out the Three Monkeys. Of course Republicans did also, proving that their bellowing about national security is as phony a political talking point as was pulling the plug on grandma.

Had Democrats insisted on holding George W. Bush and his administration accountable for what was the worst case of gross negligence regarding the national security of the United States in history the course of history would have been different. Bush might have even been impeached or forced to resign.

Instead Democrats hid in a corner,  afraid Republicans would call them "unpatriotic" in the face of an attack on America, never mind that the attack was successful only because of the gross negligence of a Republican president and his advisors.

Democrats, as they have in the past, showed not an inch of backbone after the 911 Commission Hearings uncovered the most stupefying,  damaging,gross negligence and incompetence of any administration in history. Democrats said and did nothing. And they said nothing when Bush announced he would refuse to cooperate with the commission unless there was a promise that the 911 Commission wouldnt attempt to lay blame or determine accoutability for who was responsible for the attacks but only report on what could be done better to prevent an attack next time.  The press was no better proving once again they could be counted on to fold when reporting the truth matters most.

In the face of all the damning evidence,  Democrats kept their mouths shut, including John Kerry when he ran for president in ,2004, not only never mentioning the evidence uncovered by the  commission on 911 and holding Bush accountable for the 911 attacks, but  never said a word about Iraq either.

And now Democrats are having to deal with Republican attacks over Benghazi and the deaths of four Americans by the same group of Republicans like Lindsay Graham to name one,  who papered over the negligence of the Bush administration in attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, killed 3000, damaged the Pentagon and changed much about the way America goes about its business.

On Thursday Republican Senator James Inhoff accused Obama of the "the most egregious cover up in American history". This is everything thats wrong with Republicans and their party and why they have no credibility beyone their own small circle.. Inhoff who has distinguished himself previously as someone who thinks global warming is a myth, is to put it bluntly, a moron and a liar who should never invoke "American history" because he doesnt know American history from string theory. The worst and most egregious cover up in American history as everyone knows involved Republican president Richard Nixon and Watergate, and the most egregious security failure in American history was the result of the incompetence of Republican president George W. Bush and his administration in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

While the emails recently uncovered involving the Obama administration's attempt at damage control  throw one more log on the fire of Obama as the most intellectually dishonest as well as inept Democratic president in history,  the attempt by Republican Senator Lindsay Graham and Inhoff laughably calling Benghazi "worse than Watergate" is a joke.  Comparing Nixon's crimes and the obstruction of justice to cover up those crimes and subversion of the constitution  and having a felon in the White House for a President along with almost everyone else in the Nixon Administration who were found guilty of felonies from two attorneys general to the director of the FBI  to whatever happened in Benghazi,  shows how purely political Republicans are and how low they will go not to mention how willing they are to insult the intelligence of their own constiutents. Maybe for good reason. 

What is more than comparable to Benghazi but what Republicans like Grahan and Inhoff continue to cover up and ignore,  is what happened on September 11,2001 not Sept.11 2012,  when a Republican president, after ignoring nine months of warnings of a terrorist attack, after being told by intelligence agencies  that the means of attack was going to be the hijacking  of US commercial airliners, after being told that there was evidence the attack was going to be in New York City and after being told the attack was imminent, ignored it,  did nothing, dismissed it all,  and went on vacation in Crawford.

The result was 3000 Americans killed. And now Republicans and their mouthpeices in and out of the press want to make Benghazi and what happened there a flashpoint of an administration' s negligence over the deaths of four,  ignoring Bush and his catastrophic failure that resulted in the deaths of 3000.

And while once again exposing Obama as being the ordinary, underhanded, disengenuous, garden variety politician he's always been in his administration's attempts at damage control over the truth about Benghazi prior to the 2012 election has some value,  its nothing compared to the Republican silence and whitewash of the catastrophic negligence and failures of the Bush Administration leading up to Sept, 11,2001 and 3,000 dead Americans.

Which proves that Republican attacks over Benghazi are a fraud, and as is often the case with Republicans and conservatives, all about politics, throwing mud and seeing what if anything will stick knowing that for the most part, Democrats won't fight back and that none of them will have the wherewithal to point out the truth about September 11,2001 while Republicans attack over Sept. 11, 2012. And the hot air coming from Republicans like Inhoff will continue to contribute to global warming.



Friday, May 3, 2013

A chastened Maureen Dowd gets the message with Obama's failures on gun control.


A few weeks ago, Maureen Dowd was drubbed here for a column she wrote on Hillary Clinton and a prospective  Clinton run for the presidency 2016, asking if Clinton would run without what she called Clinton's "foolery".

Dowd was pilloried here for her own hypocrisy in ignoring that it was Obama who played her and a lot of other people for the fool with his almost daily foolery during the 2008 primaries and Dowd's myopic exercise in self-denial that it was the candidate she supported during the 2008 Democratic primaries,Barrack Obama,  who hit new lows in "foolery", dishonesty, underhanded campaign tactics, sheer lying, reneging on promises and who never exhibited an iota of any kind of qualification to be president  but like most in the press thought it best to support Obama by judging him on the color of his skin instead of the content of his character.

Now that the gun control bill failed, a bill that had the support of 91% of the American public, Dowd wrote a column exhibiting her too little too late disillusionment with Obama.

Dowd wrote:

"It’s unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him."

It's not so unbelievable to anyone who kept their eyes open during the 2008 Democratic primary when a look at Obama's 11 year record as an elected official showed that he never initiated, created, sponsored or co-sponsored a single peice of legislation. In other words he spent 11 years doing nothing but trying to get himself re-elected.

Dowd then wrote:

"The White House had a defeatist mantra: this is tough. We need to do it. But we're probably going to lose. When  you go into a fight saying you are probably going to lose, you're probably going to lose".

The truth is its never as tough as Obama says it is. Its only tough when you have no convictions, no principles, nothing you've ever really believed in and tried to see it through. When that's been your life, naturally you're going to fold at the first obstacle and throw in the towel. Obama has done it with Gitmo when he faced Republican oppostion, he did it with the public healthcare option when he couldn't stand up to health insurance industry lobbyists, he did it with finance reform when he couldn't stand up to Wall Street, he's done it with the budget when he couldn't stand up to Republicans and he did it with gun control when he couldn't stand up against the NRA and political opposition in any meaningful way.
And keep in mind Obama was elected with the biggest congressional majority of any president in 60 years. And he still didn't accomplish a thing of value.
Dowd wrote that Obama in saying that the Newtown families deserved a vote set his sights too low, that they deserved more than a vote, they deserved a law. That is of course true but its what to expect from someone who has never accomplished a single concrete thing in his life beyond fulfilling his own personal ambitions. Going for a vote instead of a law is the product of inept and incompetent thinking, which in spite of those who think using $10 words that have no real meaning is "soaring rhetoric", has more to do with covering up what's missing than in getting anything accomplished.
Yes the gun control failure is another Obama failure. Just like dumping the public option because of his inability to stand up to the health insurance lobby was a failure. Just like his reneging on his promise to close Gitmo was and is a failure. Just like his inability to stand up to Wall Street and pass meaningful finance reform was a failure. Just like everything in Obama's presidency has been a failure. But its also Dowd's failure and the failure of journalists like her from Arianna Huffington, Jonathan Alter, Keith Olbermann, Richard Kim at the Nation, Gail Collins and so many others who turned a blind eye to what should have been obvious about Obama back in 2008. Now they are complaining.And now it's too late.