Source: The Cagle Post
Today President Obama accurately called the endless Republican outrage over Benghazi “a sideshow.” Reuters reports:
The Benghazi matter flared up again last week after internal emails were made public showing that in the days after the attack, the administration tried to shape “talking points” to explain why four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, had been killed.
Obama rejected Republicans’ claims that the administration tried to cover up the role of Islamist militants in the attack to avoid looking weak on terrorism eight weeks before the presidential election.
Obama said Republicans have had political motives in criticizing him, his staff and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential candidate.
“The whole issue of this – of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow,” he said. “The whole thing defies logic. And the fact that this keeps on getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations.”
All true, but it will make no difference. Benghazi has joined the ranks of Whitewater, Travelgate, and Monicagate. It will go on forever. It will never die even if someone shoots it with a silver bullet or pounds a stake through its heart. It win continue on without pause until the House finally tries to impeach Obama or his second term mercifully ends.
This is how ridiculous it has gotten. Think Progress reports that convicted car thief and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa believes Obama Covered Up Benghazi Terrorism By Calling It An ‘Act Of Terror’
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) responded to President Obama’s forceful condemnation of the GOP’s effort to portray his administration’s response to the attacks on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya as a cover-up on Monday, suggesting that the president sought to downplay the severity of the incident by describing the killings of four Americans as an “act of terror” rather than a “terrorist attack.”
In the day following the Benghazi attacks, Obama appeared at the White House Rose Garden alongside then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In his remarks, Obama referred to the incident as an “act of terror” and used the phrase again at a campaign rally the day after in Denver, CO. “I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished,” he said.
But Issa claimed that Obama relied on the “act of terror” formulation to dissuade Americans from thinking it was a terror attack, thus improving his chances of re-election.
Amazing. I have half a mind to repost the long piece I wrote on Issa’s criminal history back in January 2011: New Chairman of House Oversight Committee Lacks Moral Gravitas (To Put It Mildly)
At the Atlantic Elspeth Reeve explains that no matter how “boring” the Benghazi “scandal” is, the Republicans will keep right on pushing it (emphasis added).
As we have noted before, the Benghazi scandal is boring. What is potentially scandalous is not what happened during the attack — that was done by bad guys, not the U.S. government — but the talking points U.N. ambassador Susan Rice gave on five political talk shows five days later. Naturally, people who are extremely skeptical of President Obama’s intentions want to give the scandal a greater sense of urgency. Retired Admiral James Lyons, for example, explained to The Atlantic Wire last week the theory that Obama colluded with terrorists to have Ambassador Chris Stevens kidnapped in order to set up a prisoner exchange with the Blind Sheikh. On Monday, after Obama called the ongoing theories a “sideshow” and before White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did the same, Limbaugh floated a different theory that would make Obama’s actions much worse, if not quite so treasonous. Rush was not alone in his floating; so long as there is an attack’s aftermath with which to create more aftermath, he never will be.
In the CIA’s original talking points, the very first bullet point says, “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…” We now know that’s wrong. The video played no part; the attacks were pre-planned. Limbaugh explained on Monday that he thinks the CIA and the State Department knew even at the time of the attack that the video played no part. Limbaugh says American intel knew the attacks were coming in Benghazi and Cairo. When the Cairo embassy tweeted an apology for the anti-Islam video on September 11, 2012, it was because the tweeter “knew in advance it was going to happen.” Limbaugh said, “The stated purpose of the apology was to stop and prevent any protest because we knew some were coming.” Therefore, “I am convinced that the administration concocted this video excuse before anything happened.”
So many want more there to be there, no matter how much Obama says “there’s no there there” — or perhaps because of it. At World Net Daily last week, Erik Rush speculated that Obama might have “orchestrated the attack” himself, “given his connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and legendary understanding of all things Islamic.” On his radio show on Monday, Glenn Beck theorized that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind a whole bunch of things: “I want you to know, the IRS story, the Benghazi story, and the Boston bombings—and more importantly the Muslim cover up, the Muslim Brotherhood cover up— they’re all connected.”
Of course in addition to their dream of impeaching Obama, the Republicans are desperate to keep the Beghazi sideshow going in order to keep Hillary Clinton from running for president in 2016. And that, in a nutshell, is why Benghazi will keep right on ticking and ticking and ticking….
Hillary and Benghazi by Randall Enos
For Political Use Only by Mark Streeter
I have a mix of news for you today. Let’s start with the “serious” stuff. Supposedly the CIA has thwarted another potential terrorist attack, conveniently revealed at the end of a week of discussion of Osama bin Laden’s life and death. There have been so many of these–please forgive me for my cynical attitude. The Boston Globe reports:
WASHINGTON—The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials said Monday.
The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger’s underwear, but this time al-Qaida developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said.
The FBI is examining the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an airplane, officials said. They said the device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.
Maybe this is the preamble to a rollout of even more ghastly TSA practices–or perhaps more invasive machines?
Few people are paying attention to the primaries anymore, now that Republicans have grudgingly begun to accept Mitt Romney as their standard bearer. But there is a big primary tomorrow in Indiana that could have a big impact on which party controls the Senate next year. Sen. Richard Lugar is facing an ultra-conservative Tea Party challenger with lots of superpac support, and it looks like the six-term Senator could lose tomorrow, and that could possibly mean a Democrat will win Lugar’s seat.
Lugar, 80, will face Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a career politician whose staunch conservatism could make him a more beatable opponent for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Rep. Joe Donnelly.
An independent bipartisan poll, conducted late last week, gave Mourdock a 10-point edge heading into the final days before the primary, and many insiders think that Lugar’s only chance for survival is by generating a large turnout of independent and Democratic voters in the Hoosier State’s open contest.
Mourdock has been painting Lugar as a Washngton insider who is sometimes polite to Democrats and didn’t always vote the party line.
In Indiana, the campaign has turned into a referendum on Lugar’s career as a bipartisan lawmaker at the top of the Foreign Relations and Agriculture committees. His opponent has focused, in part, on trips to overseas hot spots with Barack Obama when he was still in the Senate and served on the committee with Lugar.
“It’s time to retire Richard Lugar,” says the narrator of a Mourdock ad, which ends with a picture of Obama and Lugar acting chummy together at a Senate hearing, with the former fake punching the latter.
You may have heard about this one already: Romney Silent As Woman Says Obama Should Be Tried For Treason. Romney called on a woman at a Euclid, Ohio town hall meeting who
expressed dismay that Obama was “operating outside the Constitution,” then said Obama should be tried for treason for violating separation of powers.
“I do believe he should be tried for treason,” she said to applause from the audience.
Romney responded with some pious remarks about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence being “inspired.” He didn’t say who or what inspired them.
He then allowed her to clarify what specifically she thought Obama had violated, and the woman proceeded to spout references to Executive Orders, including one that she said involved the Secret Service restricting the rights of citizens to protest.
Romney, who is protected by a detail of Secret Service agents, said “I will be happy to look at what he has done about the Secret Service with respect to protests.”
Romney’s failure to say that the President shouldn’t be tried for treason resulted in a barrage of attacks from Obama and his supporters as well as questions from the media and discussions on nightly talk shows. Romney later admitted that he doesn’t think Obama should be tried for treason, but he once again showed himself to be living in cowering fear of the the Republican base. At HuffPo, Mitchell Bard wrote that Romney “blew his chance at a ‘no ma’am moment” like McCain’s in 2008.
On October 10, 2008, less than a month before the presidential election, and with his standing falling in the polls in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, John McCain fielded a question at a town hall meeting in Minnesota from a woman who said, “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s not, he’s not uh — he’s an Arab.”
McCain didn’t hesitate. He politely but firmly took the microphone from the woman and said, shaking his head, “No, ma’am. No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have
disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign’s all about.”
At that same town hall meeting, another audience member asked him why he pays taxes to foreign governments.
“I don’t think I paid any foreign income taxes, but I’ll look at it,” Romney replied over the boos of the audience for the hostile questioner.
But in fact, Romney has paid over $1.2 million in foreign taxes for “passive category income” since 2000, according to his 2010 income tax return.
Additionally he has paid over $800,000 in foreign taxes for “general category income” according to the same filing.
The income was probably from foreign investments. You’d think Romney would have at least read the tax returns he released!
Buzzfeed had another funny Romney story yesterday–they discovered he had been arrested for disorderly conduct back in 1981.
According to what Romney told the Boston Globe in 1994, he had taken his family off to Wayland, Mass.’s Lake Cochituate, about an hour outside Boston, for a summer excursion. As Romney prepared to put his family boat into the water, a park officer told Romney not to launch because his license appeared to have been painted over. The officer told Romney if he put his boat into the water he would face a $50 fine.
Romney felt that his license was still visible and decided to ignore the order from the officer and pay the fine.
“I figured I was at the state park with my kids. My five kids were in the car wondering why we weren’t going out in the boat, so I said I’d launch and pay the fine,” Romney said in 1994.
So he went ahead and launched the boat, and the cop handcuffed him and took him into town. Book ’em, Dano! Romney appeared before a judge in a bathing suit and was released on his own recognizance. When he later went to court to defend himself, he threatened the cop with a lawsuit, and the charges were dropped. This guy thinks he can buy his way out of anything, and he probably can.
Yes, Romney’s a cowardly con-man, but according to Bloomberg, senior citizens love him even though he wants to give their Social Security funds to Wall Street.
The master-gardener meeting, the bridge tournament, and a heated match of seven-card draw poker leave little time for politics at the Via Linda senior citizens’ center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Yet ask about President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and it doesn’t take long to determine the preferred candidate.
“He has some very socialistic leanings and believes in big government,” Lu Ittner, 86, a retired surgical nurse, said of Obama. “He is destroying our economy with his policies.”
While Obama so far dominates Romney among many demographic groups — women, younger voters, middle-aged voters, blacks and Hispanics — the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has a solid lead among the nation’s senior citizens. Some of the most reliable voters, those 65 and older represented 16 percent of the electorate in the 2008 election, exit polls show.
A CNN/ORC International poll taken April 13-15 showed Romney led Obama, 54 percent to 39 percent, with seniors. Among those supporting Romney, 58 percent said their vote would be more against Obama than for Romney.
Well, I will officially be a senior on Dec. 1, and I do not like Romney. Not all seniors are stupid or rich and greedy.
Just a couple more links. Actor John Travolta is being sued for sexual battery by a masseur.
According to court documents, the events in question unfolded on Jan. 16, when Travolta allegedly asked the masseur to meet him on a street corner and then fetched Doe in a black SUV. Condoms, as well as scattered chocolate cake wrappers, were said to have littered the car’s center console and floor.
It was back to the Beverly Hills Hotel, to a private bungalow, where Travolta stripped immediately and was “semi-erect,” the suit claims, and Travolta then proceeded to suggestively remove a towel covering his buttocks, touched the masseur’s genitals repeatedly and tried to coax John Doe into a reverse massage.
Then, according to John Doe’s recollection (TMZ has the full suit here (PDF)), when Travolta got the message that no mutual play would go down, he became erratic and verbally abusive, calling Doe a “loser.”
The most troubling nugget in Doe’s account claims that Travolta went on a rant that “Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity” and that his habit of making such trades began in his “Welcome Back Kotter” days.
Of course Travolta denies everything and says he out of the state that day. If so, he probably has proof–like plane tickets or hotel receipts–and the suit will be thrown out. Or maybe all those rumors about Travolta were true. The part about being abused when he was younger, I can believe (not the antisemitic part though).
The Daily Beast has the “13 naughtiest bits from the Masseur Lawsuit Against John Travolta.” I couldn’t bring myself to read it yet–maybe later.
HuffPo has a huge collection of supermoon photos from the weekend. They are gorgeous.
How would you like to live in the “house that Ruth built?” No, not the old Yankee Stadium. The house the Babe lived in when he played for the Red Sox.
Known as “Home Plate Farm,” the spacious antique colonial located at 558 Dutton Road was occupied by famed Boston Red Sox [team stats] and New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth from 1922 to 1926.
The asking price for the property that’s going, going, soon-to-be gone — $1.65 million.
Is that all?
Along with boasting 5,124 square feet on more than two acres of land, five bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, the property also has a 5,000-square-foot barn zoned for residential and commercial use with horse stables, sub-divided office space, working garage bays, and a top-floor apartment with skylights, and full kitchen, bathroom and bedroom….
Though the home has been “meticulously renovated throughout,” Adamson said, touches of the Sultan of Swat can still be found, including burn marks from Ruth’s cigar ashes in the wooden floor of the living room, and a third-floor memorabilia room containing several photographs of the Hall of Fame slugger who played 22 seasons in the Major Leagues.
It probably won’t be on the market long with that history.
Last night George W. Bush was interviewed Peter Schnall on a National Geographic Channel special leading up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Bush said to Schnall:
“At some point in time in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, I thought about why didn’t we know this?” Bush recalled.
“I knew we needed to figure out what went wrong to prevent other attacks but I didn’t want start the finger pointing and say to our intelligence communities, ‘You fouled up. You should have caught this. Why didn’t you know?’”
On Aug. 6, 2001, President Bush received a presidential daily briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” Here is the redacted text of the CIA briefing:
Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the U.S. Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America.”:
After U.S. missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted text] service.
An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told [deleted text] service at the same time that Bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative success to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.
The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of Bin Laden’s first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the U.S. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that BinLaden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own U.S. attack.
Ressam says Bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation.
Although Bin Laden has not succeeded, his attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Laden associates surveilled our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.
Al Qaeda members — including some who are U.S. citizens — have resided in and traveled to the U.S. for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.
Two Al Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were U.S. citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.
A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Laden cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of “Blind Shaykh” ‘Umar’ Abd aI-Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns ofsuspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations forhijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
The FBI is conducting approximately 70 investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers Bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or Bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.
On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. It was a mass of fragments and dots that nonetheless made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately.
Tenet called National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and insisted on meeting with her right away. For months, Tenet had been worried about a terrorist attack in the U.S.
Tenet hoped his abrupt request for an immediate meeting would shake Rice. He and Black, a veteran covert operator, had two main points when they met with her. First, al-Qaeda was going to attack American interests, possibly in the United States itself. Black emphasized that this amounted to a strategic warning, meaning the problem was so serious that it required an overall plan and strategy. Second, this was a major foreign policy problem that needed to be addressed immediately. They needed to take action that moment — covert, military, whatever — to thwart bin Laden.
The United States had human and technical sources, and all the intelligence was consistent, the two men told Rice. Black acknowledged that some of it was uncertain “voodoo” but said it was often this voodoo that was the best indicator.
Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off. President Bush had said he didn’t want to swat at flies.
Rice later claimed she did not recall this meeting at all, but White House records showed that it indeed happened.
A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a State Department spokesman said Monday.
The account by Sean McCormack came hours after Ms. Rice, the secretary of state, told reporters aboard her airplane that she did not recall the specific meeting on July 10, 2001, noting that she had met repeatedly with Mr. Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. Ms. Rice, the national security adviser at the time, said it was “incomprehensible” she ignored dire terrorist threats two months before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mr. McCormack also said records show that the Sept. 11 commission was informed about the meeting, a fact that former intelligence officials and members of the commission confirmed on Monday.
Then on Aug. 6, while he was on vacation, Bush received the pdb, and did nothing about it. He didn’t even contact Tenet or Rice, who were also on vacation. According to Dana Millbank and Mike Allen at the Washington Post, Bush didn’t seem worried after he received the pdb.
President Bush was in an expansive mood on Aug. 7, 2001, when he ran into reporters while playing golf at the Ridgewood Country Club in Waco, Tex.
The day before, the president had received an intelligence briefing — the contents of which were declassified by the White House Saturday night — warning “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.” But Bush seemed carefree as he spoke about the books he was reading, the work he was doing on his nearby ranch, his love of hot-weather jogging, his golf game and his 55th birthday.
“No mulligans, except on the first tee,” he said to laughter. “That’s just to loosen up. You see, most people get to hit practice balls, but as you know, I’m walking out here, I’m fixing to go hit. Tight back, older guy — I hit the speed limit on July 6th.”
Bush spent most of August 2001 on his ranch here. His staff said at the time that by far the biggest issue on his agenda was his decision on federal funding of stem cell research, followed by education, immigration and the Social Security “lockbox.”
Why is Bush permitted to continue lying about 9/11 without being challenged? Why didn’t National Geographic ask him why he didn’t do anything after receiving the Aug. 6 pdb?