President Obama has been under attack by the right-wing media for a series of so-called "scandals." If you look into these stories, you don't find much there. But what would they talk about on Fox without them? The following is a series of three weekly articles which appeared in the Fairfield, California Daily Republic from May 20th to June 3rd.
Let's talk of cabbages and kings:
Like you, I was surprised last week to learn that our old pal, the Internal Revenue Service, was accused of subjecting Tea Party applications for tax-exempt status to an extra degree of scrutiny (See May 14th Daily Republic article, "IRS assured Congress Tea Party not targeted.") It's hard to believe that the head of the I.R.S. at the time, George W. Bush appointee, Douglas Shuman, would have approved of a practice of targeting right-wing groups, but time will tell.
Why would the I.R.S. give groups that had "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their title an extra close look? Most political organizations are "527" groups, which have strict limits on donations and must disclose the names, addresses, and occupations of donors of over $200 to the Federal Elections Board for all to see. But apparently some Tea Party groups were trying to circumvent those restrictions and have the unlimited, anonymous donor status of a 501 (c) (4) group. As we have discussed before in this Daily Republic column, 501 (c) (4) organizations are " social welfare" organizations, which have a tax-exempt status and can collect unlimited, anonymous donations, but politics cannot their primary activity. Raise your hand if you think politics is not the primary activity of the Republican Tea Party. As we discussed in "Devils, dirty deeds, and dark money," there is a reason why these big money devils want to remain anonymous.
While it is appropriate for the I.R.S. to target groups trying to break the law, it is not right for them to go after groups simply because of their name. That would be "profiling." Perhaps a Solano County Tea Party member can write a letter to the editor describing how it feels to be profiled by the authorities.
Politics is getting more and more complicated and the good guys and the bad guys are becoming more and more indistinguishable. Nowadays, it's not just the leaders of the Democratic and Republican Parties calling the shots, it's all the other stuff too: the talk-show radio personalities, political action committees, "super PACs," right-wing foundations masquerading as non-political "think tanks," corporate and billionaire donors, political TV shows, and heck, there's even an entire television "news" network devoted to political propaganda. Many of these entities make their money and draw-in their audiences by sensationalizing everyday events.
Every issue has become hyper-politicized so moderate Republicans don't have a chance. Many are eliminated in the primaries by extremists who get the big money support. There is scant hope for compromise and progress in Congress and American politics has devolved to the point where one party is merely trying to wound the other, to the detriment of all else.
Who are the winners in this absurd, nihilistic game of attrition? Is it the Republicans? No, not according to the last election. Is it the Democrats? No, they are unable to pass meaningful legislation through Congress. Is it you or me? Is it the 99.9% of us on the bottom? No, as always, it's the 0.1% on the top, the same people who purchase "our" representatives and orchestrate the chaos. I'm disgusted by it all; how about you?
We do have a tool in our box that can fix this mess. Voter, we need to shun all big money politicians; they don't work for us. Just like Grover Norquist's "No new taxes" pledge for the 0.1%, we need a "No big money" pledge for the rest of us. Then, as concerned citizens, we must ignore the massive amount of meaningless political advertising shoved down our throats and honor honest politicians' "No big money" pledges with our votes.
Republicans uncover Benghazi cover-up:
Other than covering the Oklahoma tornado, the right-wing media has been obsessing lately on President Obama's "scandals." After Thomas Sowell's "Lies about Libya mount" article appeared in Sunday's Daily Republic, the online comments section exploded with the usual right-wing rants from the usual suspects. Last week in this column, we disposed of Obama's I.R.S. "scandal," this week, let's clear-up Benghazi, one more time.
We discussed the Benghazi attack in this Daily Republic column last September in "Romney does the Benghazi Shuffle," and in October with, "Romney sees Libya from his kitchen." Just last January in "Review of Fox News continues," I wrote: " September's Benghazi embassy attack, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, occurred at the same time as violent protests in Muslim countries over an anti-Islamic video. Fox was quick to blame President Obama for the deaths and, since there was some initial confusion about the attack, they took a giant mental leap, declaring he was trying to cover-up the incident. "This is gonna go down as the biggest cover-up in history,' said Republican Senator James Inhofe on Fox News.
"The administration deliberately covered this up and misrepresented what happened in Benghazi.' This Fox story headlined show after show, from September through December. Disturbingly, Obama's cover-up still exists in a zombie-like state on Fox." Well, Fox's Benghazi zombie has again risen from the dead and can be seen wandering about aimlessly on nearly every Fox News show, apparently seeking brains.
According to a Public Policy Poll taken this month, 41% of Republicans feel that Obama's Benghazi "cover-up" is the "biggest political scandal in history." The same poll tells us that 39% of the 41%, have no idea where Benghazi is. To me, that's a joke set-up that's so good, you don't actually need a punch line.
For those of you not up to speed on the current Republican Benghazi conspiracy theory, it's that Obama won the presidency because he didn't tell America that Benghazi was a terrorist attack and their "proof" is in the form of emails sent immediately after the attack describing the events.
Those emails were initiated by C.I.A. director, General David Petraeus, at the request of House Intelligence Committee member, C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, who wanted to ensure that other Committee members wouldn't inadvertently disclose classified information to the press.