When you've lost the always loyal, propaganda-tastic MSNBC, you know you've got problems. Last Friday on MSNBC's NOW with Alex Wagner, MSNBC panelists mulled the idea of impeachment for President Obama over the changing and scrubbing of references to "terrorism" and "al Qaeda" in Benghazi talking points.
"It becomes an election issue. It becomes a 2014 issue. It becomes a 2016 issue. It becomes a potential, should I even say the word? That word that starts with 'I' that I think we all know, that three syllable word. You know the word I mean. It becomes a potential impeachment issue as long as Republicans are in control of the House."
Late last Friday during his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney denied any White House involvement in scrubbing references to terrorism from the talking points.
We learned late last week that the IRS specifically targeted conservative groups for political purposes starting in 2011, but they aren't the only federal agency that has abused its power to do so. As a reminder, here's a compilation of just some of the ways conservatives, "tea party groups," and "patriots" have been targeted.
At his Arizona State University commencement speech last Wednesday, Mr. Obama noted that ASU had refused to grant him an honorary degree, citing his lack of experience, and the controversy this had caused. He then demonstrated ASU's point by remarking, "I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS."
The Internal Revenue Service on Friday apologized for targeting groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, confirming long-standing accusations by some conservatives that their applications for tax-exempt status were being improperly delayed and scrutinized.
Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups as early as 2011, according to a draft of an inspector general's report obtained by The Associated Press that seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner.
At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.
The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.”
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
The Romeike family fled their German homeland in 2008 seeking political asylum in the United States – where they hoped to home school their children. Instead, the Obama administration wants the evangelical Christian family deported.
“The Obama administration is basically saying there is no right to home school anywhere,” said Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “It’s an utter repudiation of parental liberty and religious liberty.”
UPDATED WITH ADDITIONS:
A group with the ability to shape news coverage is of incalculable value to the politicians it supports, so it’s no surprise that Media Matters has been in regular contact with political operatives in the Obama administration. According to visitor logs, on June 16, 2010, Brock and then-Media Matters president Eric Burns traveled to the White House for a meeting with Valerie Jarrett, arguably the president’s closest adviser. Recently departed Obama communications director Anita Dunn returned to the White House for the meeting as well.
Internal Department of Justice emails obtained by The Daily Caller show Attorney General Eric Holder’s communications staff has collaborated with the left-wing advocacy group Media Matters for America in an attempt to quell news stories about scandals plaguing Holder and America’s top law enforcement agency.
Dozens of pages of emails between DOJ Office of Public Affairs Director Tracy Schmaler and Media Matters staffers show Schmaler, Holder’s top press defender, working with Media Matters to attack reporters covering DOJ scandals.
Emails sent in September and November 2010 show Schmaler working with Media Matters staffer Jeremy Holden on attacking news coverage of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation scandal.
Holden attacked former DOJ Civil Rights Division attorneys J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky on Sept. 20, 2010 for what he called an attempt “to reignite the phony New Black Panther Party scandal.”
Before Holden posted his article at 7:52 p.m., Schmaler sent him several emails with information helping him attack both former DOJ officials.
“Here’s one Wolf letter,” read the subject of one email Schmaler sent Holden that contained no text. The email was likely a reference to Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, a member of Congress who led the Republican charge on the New Black Panther Party scandal involving alleged voter intimidation at a November 2008 polling place in Philadelphia.
These are only a few of the cases we know about. I'd like those on the Left to please tell me again that tyranny doesn't exist.
As a reminder, the same IRS agents who were told by senior officials to flag everything with "tea party" and "patriot" in it are now in charge of enforcing ObamaCare. Soon, Americans will have to report personal health information to these people.
Meanwhile, long time Democrat Doug Schoen warns in the Washington Post that politicizing the IRS was one of the reasons why Richard Nixon was impeached.
“Politicizing the IRS was one of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon,” noted Doug Schoen, who handles polling for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “That being said, we are still a very long way from that point.” But, Schoen added: “The allegations are very, very serious and it is simply impossible to believe that it was just Lois Lerner and some low-level employees in Cincinnati who came up with this scheme to systematically focus on Tea Party and ‘patriot’ groups.”
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms. We appreciate you!
"This is an effort to accuse the administration of hiding something we did not hide," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday at the daily briefing. "All of this is a distraction from key issues."
As ABC News reported early Friday, the White House and State Department edited CIA Benghazi talking points 12 different times and eliminated all references to terrorism and al Qaeda in the process. When questioned, Carney said this was simply a "stylistic" edit and blamed the CIA.
"These were intelligence community talking points," Carney said.
The initial version of unedited talking points were from the CIA and included warnings about terrorism, al Qaeda and a lack of security at the consulate in Benghazi. The best assessment sent from the intelligence community included multiple warnings about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi. The final talking points with scrubbed references to terrorism and al Qaeda were edited by the State Department after communication and a meeting in the White House. Carney claimed the only editing the White House did of the talking points was replacing the word "consulate" with "facility."
Carney tried to argue that the administration told the public about a demonstration as a result of YouTube video in the "immediate aftermath" of the attacks and then corrected the information once it changed. Carney argued the White House didn't want to "speculate" about what happened and said information about what the administration "knew" was given to the public. These statements are demonstrably false for many reasons.
(1) Carney's claim that the administration only pushed information about a YouTube video sparking a protest that led to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi until new information was given, is false. Jay Carney himself specifically said on September 14, 2012 "this was a response to a YouTube video," three days after the attack. The same day, Hillary Clinton stood in front of the flag draped caskets of dead Americans arriving home from Benghazi and blamed a YouTube video. Five days after the Benghazi attack (and five five days after Hillary Clinton was told by Hicks from Libya that this was an attack), UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on five different Sunday shows and claimed this was a situation of a protest raging out of control over a YouTube video. On September 25, 2012, 15 days after the attack, President Obama went to the United Nations and blamed the YouTube video. On January 23, 2013, four months after the attack, Hillary Clinton said, "The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because a group of guys decided to go for a walk one night and kill some Americans. What difference at this point does it make?" The Obama administration has never directly admitted there was no protest.
(2) Whistleblower and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya Greg Hicks said in sworn testimony Wednesday that he received a phone call in Benghazi from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 2 a.m. on September 11, 2012. During this phone call he said "we are under attack." He did not mention a protest nor did he mention a YouTube video. Further, before he was killed and dragged through the streets of Benghazi, Ambassador Chris Stevens called Hicks and said, "We are under attack." Again, no mention of a protest outside of the consulate and no mention of a video. What the administration "knew" was that this was a terrorist attack as it was happening yet told the public for months the incident was a result of a protest getting out of control.
(3) Carney claimed the White House didn't want to speculate about what happened yet immediately blamed a YouTube video, "The Innocence of Muslims," for the attack while armed guards stormed the home of the video's maker in the middle of the night and hauled him off to jail. He's still in jail, by the way.
Throughout the briefing, Carney tried to down play the change in talking points as "just talking points" and not policy. Carney repeatedly blamed Republicans for politicizing the Benghazi tragedy, blamed President Bush and even blamed former GOP President nominee Mitt Romney for releasing a statement about the attack when it happened last year.
When asked whether the Obama administration should have handled Benghazi differently, Carney said, "No."
I'll leave you with this from Greg Hicks:
President Obamam had just wrapped up an event at the White House touting ObamaCare. The theme? Mother's Day of course. And who was in the audience? Representatives from Planned Parenthood on behalf of "women's health."
That's right, the country's largest abortion provider, eliminating hundreds of thousands of lives and mothers each year, was at Obama's side while he falsely claimed ObamaCare has been good for women..
As a reminder, 92 percent of pregnant women who walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic walk out unpregnant.
92 percent of pregnant women going to Planned Parenthood get abortions while a handful get prenatal support or adoption referrals. Although Planned Parenthood likes to talk about getting hundreds of millions in federal funding for family planning, the numbers show abortions are up while contraception services are down.
The idea that Planned Parenthood celebrates Mother's Day in any way is appauling and disgusting.
For months we've seen the vast majority of media outlets ignoring Benghazi but after sworn whistleblower testimony completely contradicted Obama administration talking points earlier this week, editors are finally starting to pay attention. Up until this point, newsrooms have used excuse that the investigation into the terrorist attack is simply a "Republican witch hunt" and therefore isn't newsworthy.
The BBC's North American Editor Mark Mardell wrote in a post this morning that he believes "heads will roll" after seeing the report from ABC News this morning that the White House and State Department changed the Benghazi talking points 12 times, purposely eliminating all references to terrorism and al Qaeda in the process.
In the interests of full disclosure I have to say I have not in the past been persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal. It seemed to me a partisan attack based on very little.
I remember listening to reports from the BBC and others at the time that did suggest the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a rather puerile anti-Islamic video.
The new documents contain two rationales for the changes in language. The first is that it would prejudice the FBI investigation.
Perhaps, but I am not at all persuaded.
The other reason given, old-fashioned butt-guarding, is more credible.
As Ms Nuland puts it, such a report "could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?"
However you read the motives, the state department and apparently the White House did get the CIA to change its story.
This is now very serious, and I suspect heads will roll. The White House will be on the defensive for a while.
Meanwhile, the White House press briefing for today has been delayed as press secretary Jay Carney desperately searches for talking points to defend the Obama administration's falsified talking points on Benghazi.
When I took Hillary Rodham Clinton to task in January for the mishandling of security in Benghazi, Libya, I told her that if I had been president at the time, I would have relieved her of her post. Some politicians and pundits took offense at my line of questioning.
During those hearings, I reminded Mrs. Clinton that multiple requests were sent to the State Department asking for increased security measures. I asked if she had read the cables from Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens asking for increased security. She replied that she was busy and had not read them. I find that inexcusable.Paul is expected to run for President in 2016. Considering Clinton has already left her position as Secretary of State, she can't resign however, that doesn't mean she can't be held accountable by Congress and the American people should she decide to run for president in 2015.
Being from the Southwest I can't help but be a Mexican food lover but, according to a Latino student group at Northwestern University, loving tacos and tequlia is offensive to Mexicans. More from the DC:
Northwestern University continued to stumble over diversity issues this week as Mexican students voiced disagreement with a campuswide letter that advised students not to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by engaging in racially-offensive activities, such as eating tacos and drinking tequila.
The letter was sent to students via e-mail, and published in The Daily Northwestern last week. Leaders of Alianza, a Latino student group, and the Associated Student Government called on students to remember that Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla. It is not a day to throw a sombrero-themed party, they said.
“Some of our peers choose to throw ‘Mexican-themed’ parties that are culturally insensitive, offensive, and detrimental to the Northwestern community,” said the letter, which noted that this was a problem year after year. “Drinking tequila shots, eating tacos, and wearing sombreros do not commemorate Mexican culture; on the contrary, that offends, marginalizes, and isolates many of our friends, classmates, and community members, and casts our entire community in poor light.”
Poor light? Really? The good news Northwestern students from Mexico aren't buying this crap.
Their recommendations were quite a shock to Northwestern students who actually came from Mexico. Several of them fired back recently.
“I’d like to say that I proudly embrace my tacos, tequila and sombreros,” wrote Ruben Antonio Marcos Bours, a Northwestern student, in a statement. “To me, they are a key part of my childhood, growing up in Monterrey, Mexico.”
It's Friday, I think I'll have tacos for dinner.
Last night, President Obama's Chair for Organizing for Action Jim Messina, sent supporters an email accusing anyone who doesn't believe in global warming of weairing a tin foil hat.
Break out the tin foil hats, folks.
House Speaker John Boehner and the chairman of the House Science Committee are both unsure whether the science behind climate change -- the stuff that shows pretty clearly that carbon pollution produced by humans is damaging our environment -- is real.
Instead, they're on the record saying things like this:
"The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you've got more carbon dioxide." - John Boehner, April 2009
As long as our members of Congress continue to develop their own theories behind climate change, we will fall further and further behind in our ability to make actual progress on this issue.
Make them do better. Add your name to join OFA's team that will hold climate deniers in Congress accountable:
We owe it to our environment and our economy to start having real talk on climate change.
Join us -- and we'll be in touch with next steps soon.
Organizing for Action
As a reminder, the United States just had one of the coldest Spring seasons on record.
It is no surprise by now if you've been paying any attention to the Benghazi scandal that the Obama administration totally ignored reports from the ground in Libya on September 11, 2012 when it came to developing talking points for the American public. From the beginning, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary of Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney all told the American people the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were a result of a protest over a YouTube video raging out of control. As we've known for months and revisited Wednesday through testimony from whistleblower Greg Hicks, there was no protest. The video claim is completely fabricated. What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and was reported as such to Hillary Clinton at 2 a.m. Reports of a protest outside of the consulate were never issued from Libya to Washington because there wasn't one.
Regardless, the White House, not the intelligence community, came up with falsified talking points. According to ABC News, they were changed 12 times.
ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.
White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department. The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.
That would appear to directly contradict what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said about the talking points in November.
“Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened,” Carney told reporters at the White House press briefing on November 28, 2012. “The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”
And about that whole al Qaeda thing? State Department Spokesman Victoria Nuland really didn't like that, so she had it scrubbed. A final meeting at the White House before the talking points were used publicly eliminated any reference to al Qaeda and the warning signs about an attack and terrorism in Benghazi.
The CIA in its earlier versions of the talking points:
“The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.”
In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned …”
The paragraph was entirely deleted.
The CIA and the intelligence community were thrown under the bus by the Obama administration on Benghazi from day one, yet, the CIA was the only agency willing to actually tell the truth about what happened. The CIA gave the White House and the State Department accurate and factual information about al Qaeda and terrorist threats in Benghazi. They were ignored before the attack and then stripped after the threats came to fruition.