The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Stevens

Good afternoon Widdershin friends.  I hope this is a “widderful” Friday for you.

Always trying to be helpful, I thought today would be as good a day as any to give the conservative word-whore Frank Luntz a little help in his messaging conundrum.  Like finding the perfect pair of shoes, Luntz is trying on lots of potential slogans, but like the cloven-hoofed miscreant he is, he’s having a difficult time finding just the right fit.

During the past week we have seen the opening shots of the upcoming 2014 and 2016 messaging wars, ergo a mash-up of what seems to be the early taglines — “Impeach Monica Benghazi”.  You have to admit it does have a certain ring to it for the mouth-breathing crowd.

Alphabetically, his name is perfect -- Barr, Bob...

Alphabetically, his name is perfect — Barr, Bob…

As would be expected you have someone like Bob Barr, a former Congress Critter — turned libertarian presidential candidate — currently do-si-doing as a retread congressional candidate saying, “I took my bill to impeach Bill Clinton from November 1997, dusted it off, added a little language, and darned, if it doesn’t sound pretty good with Barack Obama’s name in there.”

For the politics for profit crowd, invoking the ghosts of impeachment past does a couple of things.  It is red meat for the Tea Party crowd in 2014 and lays a certain tarnishing predicate for Hillary in 2016.

Then you have Senator and labradoodlely follicled Rand Paul last Sunday, where in answering a question on Meet the David Gregory about the “War on Women,” he did a full-morph with a backflip into a rant about Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton.  In the world of Rand Paul, where libertarianism is little more than passive-aggressiveness on steroids (passive if it suits, aggressiveness if it diverges from personal preferences, and steroids for a little more rage), he sees Bill Clinton’s human failure as a tarot card for Hillary.

Both equally accurate news sources...

Both equally accurate news sources…

And then you have Benghazi.  Anytime you have the loss of life, it is a regrettable thing and Benghazi was a regrettable loss of four lives.  What is even more regrettable is the saddling up of Benghazi by the conservative right and media crowd thereby cheapening the sacrifices it represents.

There have been three comprehensive studies about Benghazi, the most extensive and far-reaching was led by the respected notables Admiral Mike Mullen and Ambassador Thomas Pickering.  All of the studies were detailed and above reproach, but none satisfy the narrative advanced by the Tea Party, Fox News, and Hillary-haters.

Facts surrounding Benghazi such as the late Ambassador Chris Stevens rejecting additional security and military presence not once, but twice, finds no purchase among the conspiratorially minded.  The fact the two retired Navy Seals were contract employees of the CIA, hired and in Benghazi voluntarily is ignored by those wishing it wasn’t true.

And then there is the most egregious lie of all — that armed assistance was withheld by the White House and the Pentagon.  Time and again this lie has been refuted by the independent reviews and as Robert Gates said, “Paints a cartoonish view of military capabilities.”  In the zeal of the haters to conjure a conspiracy, these myth-makers fail to realize they are impugning the military with each retelling of their baseless tales.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Frank Luntz has his work cut out for him.  From the vantage point of most readers of this site, 2016 is going to be about competence.  We said competency was the issue in 2008, but no one would clear their ears of Cheetos and listen.  Effective leadership and governance is not just about painting a vision, it is about delivering on those visions.  It isn’t about charisma and celebrity, it is about the reality Hillary 2016of delivering after the speech has been given.

So try as he may, Frank Luntz’s puppets might as well take their “Impeach Monica Benghazi” bumper stickers and unceremoniously stick them over their vacuous pie holes since there are few people in the history of the country who have been more prepared for the Presidency than Hillary.  And as we have seen time and again, no one on this side of the universe is more inoculated against outrageous accusations.

This is an open thread.

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Initially, I had written another post for today, but in the vernacular, “I just wasn’t feelin’ it,” so instead, here are sometidbits tidbits you might have missed.

Benghazi

Something that hasn’t been talked about regarding Benghazi is, “What were we really doing there?” The tally of individuals evacuated from Benghazi was 30 Americans — only seven were State Department personnel. The others are believed to have been CIA operatives. Another fact morsel glossed over is that on two occasions, Ambassador Stevens refused increased military protection. Was Benghazi a jumping off place for arming Syrian rebels? Was it a secret CIA prison as Petraeus’ latest girlfriend, Paula Broadwell, intimated? We will probably never know what Benghazi truly was, but a State Department diplomatic outpost was a distant second to whatever was really going on.

IRS

There’s a dirty little secret that no one in the media has really tackled — you don’t really need to have an IRS designation to be a “social welfare 501(c)(4) organization.” You can just declare yourself one — raise all the secret money you want — keep the records — abide by the law — and just file as a 501(c)(4). Trevor Potter, best known as Stephen Colbert’s attorney, but who also happens to be a former FEC official agrees with this analysis.

Then why all the hubbub? After Citizens United opened the floodgates, every down-on-their-luck political operative with a bad comb over wanted a 501(c)(4) committee because it meant a big “cha-ching” payday. The upside of seeking a designation beforehand is being able to assure the big money donors they can remain anonymous like shadowy cockroaches.

So you had 70,000 applications inundating a small, backwater IRS division in Cincinnati with 200 employees and a mid-level employee used keywords to sort out approximately 300 applications for further scrutiny. That’s not much of a scandal. What is a scandal is why these little organizations were scrutinized when Karl Rove’s monster death star Crossroads GPS was allowed to lumber around with $70 million vomiting up political ads like an ipecac giveaway on St. Patrick’s Day?

New FBI Director

Good on James B. Comey, the former Bush Administration Assistant Attorney General, who is being nominated as the new FBI Director. He’s the guy who stood up to the Bush White House onslaught over warrantless wiretaps. Comey’s nomination proves people of principle can still finish first.

Weather Weapon

This is fringe of the fringe kooky even for conspiracy theorists. Alex Jones, the best bud of Matt Drudge, explained to his radio audience in the aftermath of the Moore, Oklahoma tragedy, about the government having a weather weapon that “can create and steer groups of tornadoes.” He was reticent to say whether or not the Moore tornadoes were a product of the government’s weather weapon, but gave a homework assignment to his listeners by saying, “Only until there is evidence of airplanes or helicopters flying in the area prior to the tornadoes will we know for sure.” How long do you think that is gonna take?

Baggage Fees

I’ve railed about this before, but last year the airlines collected $6.0 Billion in baggage and reservation change fees — a new record. The reason these fees sprouted up like Viagra peddlers on the internet, is a Bush Administration IRS letter ruling finding these fees nontaxable. Take heart the next time you get dinged by a $50 baggage fee, you are being taxed so they don’t have to be.

Finally, is it just me or is the Terry Bradshaw/Jillian Barbarie Nutrisystem commercial even more annoying than the ad for the ear wax removal gadget where the guy sticks a Q-tip into his brain and screeches, “Owww!”

Have a great weekend.


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