Cryin' wolf

The oh so serious Lindsey Graham

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.




He only claimed to be disturbed by section 1021 for public consumption. Here's what really happened: "An amendment to the Act that would have replaced current text with a requirement for executive clarification of detention authorities was rejected by the Senate. According to Senator Levin, 'the language which precluded the application of section 1021 to American Citizens was in the bill that we originally approved in the Armed Services Committee and the Administration asked us to remove the language which says that US Citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section.'"

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

On December 31, 2011 President Obama signed the 2012 NDAA into law. When he signed the law, he also issued a signing statement on how he would interpret the law. In that signing statement, President Obama clarifies that the law does indeed allow for the arrest and indefinite detention of US citizens.

The President then asserts that he will not use the law for these purposes and that the inclusion of the language is counter to the Constitution and US traditions. This declaration is counter to Senator Levin's statements that the Obama administration requested that language which would have prevented the law from applying to US citizens be removed.

The main purpose of the statement relating to detainee provisions states that the language is not necessary as it codifies rights that the President already possessess. In other words, it is not necessary for Congress to affirm that the President has the right to detain US citizens captured on the battlefield as that right was already affirmed in the Hamdi case and others. What is not mentioned in the signing statement is that Congress has asserted that this bill now declares the homeland as part of the battlefield, which means that the President's right to detain enemy combatants indefinitely now applies to US citizens on US soil.

Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

When I was a kid while in the hospital, we had this old man come in as a magician. Anyways after the show I got to talking to him. Turned out he was a con man who out of jail turned to magic. He told me that the key to it all, be it pulling a short or long con or magic is to make the person you're trying to fool to look one direction while the real action is taking place in the other.

So what does this have to do with these politicians? I can't help but think that the Republicans are putting on a show so you don't look at something else. I think part of it is what JW pointed out. The whole thing makes a great fundraiser. And don't get me wrong, the whole "embattled president" makes a great money maker for the Democrats too. But really, I can't still shake the feeling that this is a setup.

Sure the IRS thing looks bad. And perhaps there was a targeting by some in the IRS. But I still have to ask, if your job is to sniff out tax cheats and you know that a cheat may do X,Y and Z, and suddenly you get all these groups at once and some it may look like fishy, would you be negligent to ignore such? We could quibble on the definition of what "social welfare" is in the code and what constitutes working to promote or oppose a politician, but your job is still to sniff stuff out. And here, in one shot you get bunch in a short amount of time? Like I said, maybe some of the inquiries weren't kosher, but had the applications been leftist groups and one or two turned out to be outright frauds, you bet your ass Fox News and right wing talk radio would be having a field day. Anyone remember ACORN? (Yes, I know, different issue, but still same amount of stink).

The one thing that does really concern me is this situation with the AP. Because if they got hit with this tactic, what about other journalist organizations? Secondly, I don't believe for a second that such spying was during just during the Obama administration. I bet something similar had been going on since George Jr was El Presidente.

Posted by Johnny Venom on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

I believe it was David Cay Johnston who said that we have two parties in this country, but the real division is *not* between Democrats and Republicans. It is between the corporatists and "the people-ists" in government (Cay Johnston's term). Democrats and Republicans collude to create the illlusion that they are at each other's throats, and that the stakes are high when one or the other party gets the upper hand. That's how they divert our attention, by getting us to "look one direction while the real action is taking place in the other," as you put it. This is political theatre for public consumption, and it's patently fake. That includes the so-called scandals besetting the Obama administration. In reality, the corporatists from *both* parties, Democrat and Republican. have already cut their deals in the back rooms. And they both want the exact, same thing, which is to shred the social safety net for the rest of us -- the 99% who don't share power. They work for the banksters on Wall Street and the uber wealthy. All the rest is "sound and fury, signifying nothing" (to cadge a line from Shakespeare). Obama is not under the gun from anyone. But WE, the people, are. And unfortunately, we're just asking to have the wool pulled over our eyes when we buy into what we read and hear in the MSM.

Posted by Ana on May. 16, 2013 @ 3:01 pm
Posted by mcnuto on May. 16, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

So maybe the way to stop the IRS from any sort of ideologically motivated bullshit would be to get rid of this nonsense about whether groups that are obviously ideologically motivated should be "tax-exempt" (why?) in the first place. I don't like the targeting either way, but puh-leaze. I don't know of any Constitutional rationale for not making 'em *all* pay taxes, ending this false issue.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

Great first article. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

C'mon conservatives. Channel the townsfolk in Blazing Saddles and yell "The new sheriff's an Obama!" a few times. You know you want to.

Posted by Citizen Charles Foster Kane on May. 16, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

Hold on just one hot minute. The deluge of bogus 501 C 4's came at the encouragement of the Koch Brothers' miracle-gro formula for astroturf Tea Party groups and vastly outnumbered liberal or progressive groups' filings. When an army of thugs is bearing down on you, do you focus your attentions on them or the pick-pocket on the corner?

Posted by Keith Igoe on May. 16, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

Those that fall for crazy conspiracy idiocy from the right and left will fall for it every time.

Guardian progressives believed any half baked crazy conspiracy about George Bush, right wing nut cases believe any crazed strung together idiocy too.

Obama has had a much easier going than Clinton who was hounded by the half wit right far more than Obama.

The majority of Americans ignore it or find it all a laugh.

The credibility of the fringe press like the Guardian is nill with much of America.

Posted by Matlock on May. 16, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

Johnny Angel,

You are blinded by your contempt for all things conservative and/or Republican. Of course the IRS scandal was politically motivated and Republicans merely took a page from Herr Emanuel, who took a page from Komrad Ayers, 'never let a crisis go to waste.' Your use of words belies your lack of objectivity. I'm guessing you were a cheerleader in high school.

C.J. Pugliese

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 5:44 pm

C.J. Pug "Since when are Republicans conservative"?

Posted by Guest Gypsy on May. 16, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

What is this moronic con-whacker obsession with elevating Bill Ayers to the level of anyone who had an impact on public policy? I've had my disagreements with Johnny, but all have been discussed with respectful objectivity and I'm sure they have left us both with a broader perspective on matters that affect us. I'm guessing that you don't possess the same commitment to an honest exchange of ideas.

If you had known Johnny just post-high school as I did, you would not have wanted to mess with him. For every cheerleader that cleared a wide berth for him, two more were clawing their way through the crowd to reduce the space between them to a negative distance. We tore up some of the same clubs and some of the same hearts. Don't let yours be one of them.

Posted by Keith Igoe on May. 16, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

Thanks Keith. I'm going to steal that.

"Con-whacker" relates to "con" in the double-entendre sense and the "whacker" also serves double duty. I really like it.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 19, 2013 @ 6:05 am

No Tea Party group was denied non profit status - the poor little entitled dears just had to wait longer because so many people set up so many of these fake groups to move money around.

And let's not forget how the feds have done far worse to the left - they infltrated peace groups in the 1980s and corporate douches like Mitch McConnell supported it with great fanfare, so fuck off everyone.

that said this piece was written at the level of an over-educated highschooler.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

I agree with the author, Johnny Angel Wendell. You cannot keep up the hyperbole for long. It will soon just blend in with the everyday noise and cease to astound, arouse, or awaken anyone.

Posted by Steve Rosenbaum on May. 16, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

these days.

The people who take FOX news seriously as a percentage is probably equal to people who take the Chomsky left seriously.

Posted by Matlock on May. 17, 2013 @ 1:31 am

It's just another pile of matlocky to suggest such; the constant stream of pseudo-moderate pseudo-rationalist right-wing bs rhetoric which goes under that name.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 19, 2013 @ 6:45 am

Trumpeting a mysterious national security justification for clear and blatant abuses of authority and power goes back to A. Mitchell Palmer. Stop being an Obama/Holder sycophant.

Posted by Soddy on May. 16, 2013 @ 11:35 pm

and the left complains that it is all so unfair.

After reading the article and the comments, I learned that molehill politics is unfair...

If you do a search for "saul alinsky right wing radicals" you will find a fair amount of bits on the goofy right using his tactics. We now have two extremes creating endless white noise, while complaining how unfair the other side is. It seems that Alinski is required reading by the Tea Party.

It's also interesting that many of our "progressive" commenter's think that extra attention directed towards the tea party by the IRS is OK, because they don't like the groups targeted.

Typical of "progressives" in that they don't like the government (IRS) investigating their fringe groups or complain when the security state(FBI, local cop squads) investigates their more pedestrian kooks. It's a pretty common complaint for left wingers to mention cointelpro. But typical of many "progressives," it's OK for the state they love to hate to harass their enemies.

Posted by Matlock on May. 17, 2013 @ 2:06 am

its a good point that these scandals seem to develop right after an election as if to overturn the result

Posted by Guest Philip on May. 17, 2013 @ 7:45 am that once safely reelected, politicians aren't as worried about playing it safe.

Also, the press doesn't have the same level of worry right after an election that covering these embarrassing and anger-raising incidents might cause people to vote against their favored incumbents.

Posted by Starchild on May. 22, 2013 @ 9:59 am

I was disappointed to hear Johnny Angel Wendell apparently arguing that since there wasn't enough outrage against Bush to get him impeached, that Obama shouldn't be impeached either. That type of logic just lets bad leaders remain unaccountable.

Instead of this endless partisan bickering over who was/is worse, can we agree that both of them were/are awful and deserve to face justice? Obama should be impeached, and Bush should be brought before a war crimes tribunal.

Posted by Starchild on May. 22, 2013 @ 9:56 am

of Americans seemed happy with both of them, as they both got elected and re-elected.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 10:07 am

Dear GOP:

Yes, the "scandals". Ah me, that's one skewed rendition of reality.

Let me place a more plausible version on the tips of readers' eyelashes.

Contrary to the incessant barrage of GOP conditioning that you have ostensibly internalized, nothing exists in the vacuum that you and the GOP would prefer to believe. Even when History unequivocally shows the folly in the GOP policy...incredibly, there is a conspicuous and inexplicable refusal to take ownership of cause and effect. So, despite your best efforts to preemptively "defang the cobra" with such shopworn nonsense as "invoking Bush" somehow shows "weakness". As a threshold matter, you naively presuppose it makes any difference whether it is Reagan, Bush or, say, Rubio as President. It doesn't. The reason why the GOP lavishes praise on Reagan is simple: he is the first of the "figurehead" Presidents. So, to be fair, whether its Romney or Rubio, the GOP has inculcated a "lock-step" mentality that completely precludes any subjective decision making, much less "leadership". What, the GOP leaders have to sign a "pledge" to a LOBBYIST (Norvquist) and shared a "vow" to obstruct ANY agenda of incoming President Obama...and you and your brethren have the audacity to question the integrity of the Obama Administration for ensuring the integrity of National Security by proper use of subpoena power? I suppose as you stir illusory "scandals" your selective memory purposefully omits the FACT the last GOP Administration VIOLATED the Bill of Rights via warrantless wiretaps?

That's the biggest, most "under-reported" problem voters have with the GOP that cannot be ameliorated or "saved" via its misguided "messaging" campaign. Namely, the People are sick and tired of the "black and white" worldview that purposely omits any cost/benefit analysis. Your hollow, conclusory critique of "anyone that invokes Bush" simply underscores the extent of this "disconnect" with reality, e.g., instead of discussing the "how" and "why" of a $4 trillion+ war THAT IS AN ONGOING drain to the People's limited fiscal actually are ignorant enough to imply that the People have something to "win" by further "re-investigating" Benghazi, as if, in the end, there is anything left to discuss or ascertain. What, pray tell, is there to revisit? The GOP steadfastly REFUSES to RAISE, what, you can "whine" about a lack of security at US Embassies that YOUR OWN POLICY of fiscal starvation proximately causes? That's how asinine your positions are. "Outsourcing" leads to a "welfare state". "Deregulation" of Wall St. leads to derivative trading run amok and causing massive "bailouts" by the State. "Free trade" leads to a trade deficit and poisoned consumer goods from Asia. "Unilateralism" leads to expensive, protracted Arab occupations that simply exacerbate the anti-American/Israeli sentiment that purportedly "affirms" the propaganda Al Qaeda feeds its poor citizens to explain the "how" and "why" there is such a disproportionate distribution of wealth in Arab society.

But instead of even reaching the merits of ANY of these important policy just parrot the same "talking points" that simply run around in circles, i.e., there is no discernible benefit to the People to, inter alia, undermine and/or unduly hinder (1) the Commander in Chief's use of cost-effective drones against those taking up arms against our troops; (2) the IRS' ability to perform the necessary due diligence on behalf of the People to ensure "charities" are operating within the letter of the law when funneling money to special interest-driven agendas; (3) the Executive branch's ability to prosecute leakers of top secret information that touch and concerns National Security; and, (4) of course, emboldening our enemies with this partisan witch hunt over, what, deliberately opaque Benghazi statements that create no prejudice to the People's strategic, fiscal or diplomatic interests.

So, spare us the "it's all coming unglued" imaginary narrative. The last time we heard such "wishful thinking", Ham Rove was calling Ohio.

"After the event, even the fool is wise." - Viscount Symonds

/s/ drudown

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

Good Piece. The I.R.S. Thing is about as obvious as getting pulled over by the cops when you have a pigs suck and pot left bumper stickers on your car.

Posted by Johnny O'H on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 8:08 pm