Cryin' wolf

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(127)
The oh so serious Lindsey Graham
myyesnetwork.com

This has been a wretched stretch of brutal press for Barack Obama lately. Battered over and over by revelations of IRS malfeasance, aggressive assaults on press freedom at the AP and Benghazi ad infinitum, the hits keep on coming, amplified by the dual forces of the "Conservative Entertainment Complex" (as exemplified by this great pundit) and a "liberal media" that has realized that Internet hits are their most likely saving grace and revenue stream. It has reached such fevered pitch that the media is making a chilling analogy commonplace!

Thing is, once you get out of the fever swamps of the Internet, where seething Caucasian retirees amped up on Fox n Metamucil dominate debates with wildly incoherent snatches of reactionary-babble that sound like bizarre code to the unintiated, nobody--and I do mean NOBODY--gives a rodent's anus about any of this. Be it at the laundromat, the gym, the coffee shop, kid's schools, diner---general talk in my neck of the woods is a smorgasbord of the usual celeb/weather thing. And why?

Not just because none of this impacts anyone directly (certainly not as directly as this, which affects everyone that breathes, namely everyone alive), but in reality, because the Republican Noise Machine's ceasleless elevation of every Obama falter/failure to a matter of the utmost urgency (requiring Obama's removal) has rendered the public and even a fair amount of the blogosphere numb to their unending pounding. Benghazi--a bloody mess of a tragedy that left four Americans dead has actually been called by one of the GOP's most repellant figureheads as more significant than 9/11. Another has called for impeachment. As the same level of outrage never existed during the Bush years (and similar attacks that left 60 people dead), this is transparent nonsense. Not to mention the hearings themselves over Benghazi, which deliberately leave out testimony from any key players that might deviate off script.

Of greater importance would be the IRS and AP scandals. But even these are revealed to be borderline ridiculous--the IRS didn't single out only Tea Party groups and the AP's claim of political persecution is no more than an attempt to deflect a legitmate inquiry into a serious security breach. Let's get real: Using the IRS to persecute one's opponents is serious beyond serious--but when the campaign finance laws have been upended, the IRS making legitimate inquiries into an organization's status is to be expected.

The real issue at hand here is that for over 20 years, the Republican Party has molehilled into mountains every story that they thought would sway public opinion. And it tends to crest at the same time as well--right after a Democratic incumbent shocks them by trouncing a challenger, as was also the case in 1996. Never mind that the kitchen sink was thrown at both Clinton and Obama, whose policies themselves could barely be described as genuinely progressive, the only thing that mattered was wrecking their approval ratings in time for midterms or for the next presidential election--and as the Democrats gained seats in 1998 and their dreadful candidate outpolled the Republican in the popular vote in 2000, it really doesn't work.

But they'll cry wolf forever, because at this point "conservative politics" are a lucrative racket. And by playing this bait and switch game, the public tunes out even the things that are critical to them. So, "Benghazi" and the others replace "ACORN" or "Jeremiah Wright" for a spell and then roll back into the sea of noise like so many barking seals. But as the media lock that existed 15 some years ago disappears, these stories will hopefully carry less gravity in the future and pass along with the embittered folks whose panic over cultural changes has turned them into easy marks. Can't come fast enough for me.


 

 

Comments

IRS abuse has long been a tool to keep political enemies at bay. Its just usually implemented with a lot more plausible deniability and firewalls.

Posted by George Rossi on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:19 am

Well said, Johnny. The endless so called 'Obama scandals' that Republicans have trotted out seem to have an impact only in that weird Fox-centric bubble they seem to live in, and on those moderate Republicans who are now quietly calling themselves Independents because they are embarrassed by the know-nothing silliness.

The rest of us-- Progressives, Democrats, real independents, and the very large number of people who aren't paying attention-- tuned their static out long ago. Of, and the Republicans keep losing elections, although i am not sure that they have noticed that yet.

Posted by Bill Thomas on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:27 am

target the "political enemies" (to use that Nixonian phrase) of the President?

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:52 am

Target the political enemies? Because, of course, liberal groups didn't get scrutiny as well. Oh, wait, they did.

Posted by Citizen Charles Foster Kane on May. 16, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

That was the whole point, dummy.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

You might want to check the news, snowflake. Some liberal groups got the long questionnaire as well. What was that sound? Not your head exploding obviously, because you're far too dense for that to happen.

Posted by Citizen Charles Foster Kane on May. 16, 2013 @ 4:23 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

Well duh! And I think if you look deeply enough all these things were set up by the GOP (Karl Rove, perhaps?) to bolster their midterm elections. I hope it fails. The GOP have always had a dirty tricks group. They always will. And the fact that the person in charge at the IRS was a Bush appointee only makes it more apparent. Why was Benghazi attacked? Why did Congress cut the defense for the embassies? Yeah, it's all smoke and mirrors.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:32 am

Article 2

Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.

This conduct has included one or more of the following:
He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:35 am

"the IRS didn't single out only Tea Party groups"

That's true - they went after pro-Israel groups as well.

Meanwhile, requests for tax exemption from "progressive" organizations sailed right on through...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:36 am

it is hardly impressive that claims made here would seem to be highly damning in nature.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

Apparently if you want to preserve the Constitution in America, then you are clearly suspect.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

The IRS looks at both Liberal and Conservative leaning groups for violations of law regarding non-profit status, and the whole press corps freaks out? Isn't this part of the IRS's job?

Posted by Rick Banales on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:38 am

great, Johnny....happy you now have this blog...your writing is always insightful and enjoyable

Posted by Brian Mullen on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:40 am

If poorly copy-edited.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:46 am

"...seething Cauacian (sic) retirees amped up on Fox n Metamucil dominate debates with wildly incoherent snatches of reactionary-babble that sound like bizarre code to the uninitiated..."

Sounds like a few commenters around here.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:46 am

Compelling writing by the always interesting Johnny Angel. Looking forward to reading more from his perspective. He's got a way with words!

Posted by Jim Botticelli on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:46 am

Just move along...keep moving...we lib'ruls is governin'!

Posted by Chromefields on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:48 am

it's the guv'ment and all dem lib'ruls, doggonit!

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

...strangely reminiscent of George W. Bush.

Funny how that comes up whenever there's a hint of scandal.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 16, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

Unfortunately, the GOP are going to carry on with this strategy for years to come despite how irrational, embarrassing, silly, ridiculous, transparent, or whatever other unflattering adjectives apply to their behavior. Pure and simple, it's effective for them, and it will continue to be so long as the American popular consciousness remains in a state of perpetual mass-media siege emphasizing easily digested talking points for weak minds perforated with poor diets, overwork, overstress, poor sleep, big pharma, big alcohol, and big what-have-you. You and I may scoff and scorn, but this sort of "scandal" plays to broad audiences--most of whom are not from such a cosmopolitan background as the folks you're accustomed to bumping into in your daily haunts.

Posted by Horst Person on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:48 am

I am sickened by even so called progressive media (MSNBC, Stewart, etc.) who are failing to at least discuss how these issues are being overblown. Appreciate your insight.

Maybe after so many years of Republican attempts to hold the country hostage, obstructing Obama at every turn, endless filibuster, this is a form of media Stockholm Syndrome.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:48 am

Come on, Johnny Angel and the SFBG!

Say what you really think!

The IRS **should** be going after those traitorous right-wing individuals and organizations, right?

Targeting individuals and organizations based on their regressive political views is not only acceptable, it is laudatory!

The full weight of government should be used to crush your political opponents!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

""and the AP's claim of political persecution is no more than an attempt to deflect a legitmate inquiry into a serious security breach."

This, from a paper that deifies Bradley Manning.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

Not clear why anyone would deify him.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

"Isn't Manning technically a traitor?"

I don't know - ask the SFBG staff their opinion whether he is a traitor or not.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

Manning hasn't even had his day in court, and you're ready to hang him.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 16, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

innocence, but rather because you think what he did should not be a crime.

Posted by anon on May. 16, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

...I support Manning. From what I can tell, he broke the law egregiously and anyone who thinks the President is just going to pardon him from some kind of left-wing revelation of all that's wrong with the Corportocracy really needs to wake up.

However, Manning hasn't had his day in court. You law-and-order conservative types ought to respect the process.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 16, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

Manning pleaded guilty. End of story.

Posted by Richmondman on May. 17, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

Johnny Angel. The secret surveillance of the AP is a big deal and should concern all those who value an independent and free press. Scooping the White House by 24 hours is in no way a "national security" issue.

Also, look for the IRS scandal to eventually point to Timothy Geithner.

Benghazi, bah. That one is just partisan politics. The outpost was mostly a CIA base, so they were almost certainly up to no good.

That said, I look forward to future columns from Mr. Angel.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

As Chris Hedges said, "It’s part of a pattern. That’s what’s so frightening. And it’s a pattern that we’ve seen, with the use of the Espionage Act, to essentially silence whistleblowers within the government—Kiriakou, Drake and others, although Kiriakou went to jail on—pled out on another charge—the FISA Amendment Act, which allows for warrantless wiretapping, the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for the stripping of American citizens of due process and indefinite detention. And it is one more assault in a long series of assault against freedom of information and freedom of the press. And I would also, of course, throw in the persecution of Julian Assange at WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning as part of that process."

And let's not turn a blind eye to the real tax scandal involving involving dark money political groups seeking tax exemption.

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/15/chris_hedges_monitoring_of_ap_phones
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/16/the_other_irs_scandal_david_cay

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

I think Chris Hedges is shilling for his party, the Greens. While I don't blame him, we are looking at another Tea Party vs. Libertarian (pot smoker) midterm lack of interest debacle where the right just gets more power again because they are better funded (Adelson, the Kochs). Try to maintain perspective, please, good people of the bay area. There is way too much to lose.

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

who wants to "maintain perspective. just what we need

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

We need to avert the tea party FUNDERS (Adelson, Koch) from gaining EVEN MORE GROUND. That's what's at stake. Hedges is a distraction.

PS - the NYT article Johhny linked to has facts, not just hyperbole about the AP issues. Do we really believe journalists are always credible and ethical? We're that naive?

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

We need to avert the tea party FUNDERS (Adelson, Koch) from gaining EVEN MORE GROUND. That's what's at stake. Hedges is a distraction and a fear monger. I don't know of any non-military whistle blowers who are in jail right now.

PS - the NYT article Johhny linked to has facts, not just hyperbole about the AP issues. Do we really believe journalists are always credible and ethical? We're that naive?

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is all fine and good but as NONE of this matters AT ALL can we talk about something that does. Like BA with two outs and runners in scoring position? Or the annihilation of all dog breeders? THAT stuff is important.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

"My friends aren't talking about any of this, so it CAN'T be important!"

You really do put the "p" in provincial, so thanks for the comic relief, Johnny. This column makes Tim's Tourette's-like shrieks and groans actually sound reasonable by comparison. Keep your head in the sand where it belongs -- those of us to the right of you are celebrating the criminality and incompetence of your messiah. Four months into his second term and he's already the lamest duck in presidential history. Do not pass Go, Barry. You've been a bad boy.

Posted by Chromefields on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

What is the conservative fascination with calling Obama the messiah? It's pathological. And the lamest duck in presidential history? Sure, since history apparently started for conservatives when Obama was inaugurated.

Posted by Citizen Charles Foster Kane on May. 16, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

You can always count on someone on the inside using the irs against a political enemy or perceived threat. Pretty bi- partisan for the most part I'd say.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 1:14 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

And you're channeling Corky Thatcher.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

You gotta give it to them for persistence (The Republicans) They'll keep digging inn dookie until they find the pony.

Posted by Guest Frank A. Shefton on May. 16, 2013 @ 1:38 pm
IRS

As Bill Maher said "The IRS targeted people who want to abolish the IRS? Shocking, like getting pulled over more after YOU put on the Fuck the Police bumpersticker."

I'd like to see a liberal org like GreenPeace not get audited for a 401b tax filing request. Seriously? We are that dumb? Put TEA PARTY on your paperwork and expect them not to think it's about a political agenda?

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

The Republicans might have an accusation if they hadn't rejected all pleas for funding for increased embassy security. And, regarding the IRS, many left-wing groups were also targeted and one was denied its requested status.

Posted by Carla Jones on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

...and I think Chris Hedges is shilling for his party, the Greens. While I don't blame him, we are looking at another Tea Party vs. Libertarian (pot smoker) midterm lack of interest debacle where the right just gets more power again because they are better funded (Adelson, the Kochs). Try to maintain perspective, please, good people of the bay area. There is way too much to lose.

If you are into the Hedges hyperbole, I'd recommend getting the facts from the NYT article Johnny Angel posted. It's FACTUAL, not based in PARANOIA. Hedges is the left's answer to Glenn Beck with all that fear mongering.

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

...and I think Chris Hedges is shilling for his party, the Greens. While I don't blame him, we are looking at another Tea Party vs. Libertarian (pot smoker) midterm lack of interest debacle where the right just gets more power again because they are better funded (Adelson, the Kochs). Try to maintain perspective, please, good people of the bay area. There is way too much to lose.

If you are into the Hedges hyperbole, I'd recommend getting the facts from the NYT article Johnny Angel posted. It's FACTUAL, not based in PARANOIA. Hedges is the left's answer to Glenn Beck with all that fear mongering.

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

Unquestioning Obama-bot mcnuto,

Tell me, did you stand up against the Obama administration's insertion of Sect. 1021 in the National Defense Authorization Bill, allowing for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial? Have you ever spoken out against Obama's extraordinary rendition program? Would you fight to defend the U.S. Constitution? Hedges is an award-winningIf not, you are half the man Chris Hedges is and far more extreme.

So, you claim that Hedges articles and talks are based on paranoia? Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, and The New York Times, where he was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years (1990–2005). I think he knows more about accurate reporting than you could dream of knowing. But just judging from your hyperbole about Hedges, I'm sure you could get a gig with the National Enquirer. Talk about fear mongering!

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

That NDAA insertion was done by the Bush admin, and I am not an Obama-bot. Obama didn't write it, he didn't create it and he didn't "insert it" and Hedges participates in the mis-info campaign almost more than anyone else. Obama signed it while under budget duress, as we are again with this sequester, which hurts poor folks more than anything else. I do think that paranoia is what the media feeds on. The Tea Party and the die hards of the left want you to be afraid. That's how they make money.

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

shilling fear is a lucrative racket. Hedges is misinforming you by leaving out the part about Bush inserting the NDAA and Obama being held over a barrel during the budget negotiations. Which is the same as now, only we are facing sequester, which harms the poor the most.

fear away, friend, but don't come crying to me when Adleson and Koch own the trademark to the words freedom and liberty.

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

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