Archive for blame game

Shooting Down Another GOP Talking Point On Benghazi

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Abu Khattal

Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. That's the war cry from the Republicans. It's the tragedy that became a scandal that became a fund raising cause célèbre. Now that the ringleader has been caught, the Republicans don't know what to do. They'd already held seven hearing trying to place the blame on Obama. All seven failed.  Then recently, to huge fanfare, Speaker John Boehner named a special House select committee to try to pin blame on the president. Then the inevitable happened. Obama rained on their parade. He authorized the capture of Benghazi mastermind, Ahmed abu Khatallah.

So first the Republican alarmist tried to diffuse and obfuscate the capture by questioning the timing. It had to do with Hillary Clinton's going on CNN and Fox News to talk about her book sales. Really? Like Obama would really time the capture to coincide with a book signing tour for Hillary Clinton? C'mon Republicans, you can do better than that.

And they tried. They then claimed that Al Qaeda ringleader Ahmed abu Khatallah wasn't really hiding. He could have been captured earlier. This guy was so visible he was even giving interviews to news journalist over the past two years. The administration was dragging its feet because they knew he'd blow the lid on how Al Qaeda was planning the Benghazi attack for weeks and it had nothing to do with an anti-Muslim video as the US had initially claimed immediately after the attack.

So why hadn't the administration captured or killed abu Khatallah?  What were they waiting for? Were they afraid he would prove Obama lied and was involved in a cover-up?

According to The Daily Beast:

Unlike the October 5, 2013 capture Abu Anas al-Libi, an accused planner of the 1998 al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the authority to capture abu Khatallah did not derive from the congressional authorization to go to war against al Qaeda.

While House and Senate investigators have said their probes have turned up evidence that the Benghazi attacks were coordinated and planned by people working with al Qaeda affiliates, the U.S. intelligence community has not determined that abu Khatallah was himself connected to al Qaeda. Without such a connection, the U.S. president was not authorized to kill or capture him under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against al Qaeda.

So, we followed the law. And while we were gathering information, collecting evidence against the Benghazi ringleader, we had him on our radar and were shadowing him, getting Intel on him and his cohorts. Evidence that would be crucial during the trial and also lead to other arrests/captures as Obama promised the night of the attacks.

As for the reason abu Khatallah has given for the Benghazi attack he's accused of masterminding that killed the four Americans? According to the New York Times:

But Mr. Abu Khattala told other Libyans in private conversations during the night of the attack that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video.

This all leads back to square one. Obama told the truth as he knew it. Hillary Clinton told the truth as she knew it. And Susan Rice delivered the truth as it was known at the time on the Sunday Talkers.

Where's all this leave the House special committee? In the toilet, where they belonged in the first place.

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Cantor Eats Crow, brought to you by "the Redneck Taliban"

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cantor eats crow

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with Eric Cantor's stunningly humiliating defeat. Or as Will calls it, "feeding the beast that ends up devouring you." Speaking of devouring, with his usual snark, Durst does just that to the paraphrased headlines "Cantor Eats Crow." And speaking of eating, welcome to another episode of Republicans Eating Their Own. Take it away, Will:

CROW MEDIUM RARE

A massive Earthquake rolled through the Republican Establishment after Eric Cantor became the 1st sitting House Majority Leader to lose in a primary since, well… ever. Going back to 1899, the 19th Century. Back when Mugwumps bought buggy whips and the Emperor of Russian lunched with the Viceroy of India.

In terms of wake up calls for GOP incumbents, this elbow to the ribs from the right is the equivalent of having your alarm clock replaced by a battalion of Taiko drummers. In the hold of a container ship. With Marshall amps pinning the red and the reverb switched to infinity sustain.

GOP insiders offered a number of theories for the upset. Bad polling. Disconnection with base. Low voter turnout. Democrats in an open primary. Ambition the size of Montana. Didn’t get as many votes as the other guy. Butterfly ballots. Michelle Obama. The World Cup. Approaching El Nino.

But mostly: back when he was midwifing their birth in 2009, Cantor was considered very very Tea Party. Now, not so much. Classic case of feeding the beast that ends up devouring you. Kind of a Siegfried and Roy sort of thing. “Eric Cantor the RINO.” You got to admit: that’s pretty humorous. Like saying… Dick Cheney the Peacenik or Colonel Sanders the vegan.

Let this be a lesson to all squishy moderates out there: the Tea Party has the same tolerance for tolerance that SWAT teams have for swatting. The Redneck Taliban. Though responsible for scuttling the Boehner/ Obama Grand Bargain and fanning the flames of the government shutdown, Cantor might have read the word “compromise” in a book once. And that is unacceptable.

Don’t you get it? That anti- colonial socialist Obama is ruining the country and if you don’t think so, you don’t love America enough and can go back to Europe and eat crescent rolls on your 6 week vacation.

The man who would be Speaker lost his 7th District Virginia Congressional seat by 11 points to Dave Brat, a doctor of economics who teaches at Randolph- Macon College in Ashland Virginia, a private Methodist liberal arts college 92 miles from the US Capitol. And who, in November’s general election, will be facing a Democrat named Jack Trammell, a doctor who teaches sociology at Randolph- Macon College in Ashland Virginia. Guess you could call their upcoming debates a partial Randolph- Macon College faculty retreat.

The New York Times calculated Cantor spent more money at steakhouses than Brat raised for his whole campaign. But that is simply not true. Cantor only spent $168,000 at various DC meat palaces while Brat raised close to $200,000. So, the Congressman only spent 17/20th on scorched cow flesh compared to what Brat raised. The irony is, now, all Eric Cantor gets to eat is crow.

Of course Brat only used $123,000 of that two hundred grand in his campaign, which gets us to the Times claim, but that’s nitpicking. Nitpicking, being a grand Washington hobby, which Cantor might want to pick up, seeing as he has some unexpected free time on his hands.

Who knows what the future holds for John Boehner’s former go- to- guy. Cantor could become a lobbyist or a consultant. He might even want to write a paper on climate change. After all, who else could provide such a first hand eyewitness account… of hell freezing over?

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including June 20 & 21 in Winters & San Rafael.

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La Cucaracha: "Weak Obama controls all!"

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blame Obama 2

A major advantage of having a Twitter pal like the wonderful Lalo Alcaraz (@LaloAlcaraz) is that he generously shares his work with us. In his comic strip today, Lalo zeroed in on the dreaded GOP Blame Obama (aka Obama Derangement) Syndrome. You may have noticed that they blame him for:

  • their own filibustery dysfunction, including the government shutdown
  • for killing immigration reform
  • for the tragedy at Benghazi!!!! (with lots of !!!s)
  • for turning the IRS into his own personal attack dog with an Enemies List that includes only poor innocent conservative groups
  • for planning a Big Government Takeover using Big Evil Obamacare as the Big Evil Gateway
  • for George W. Bush's crashed economy
  • for massive-- massive, I tells ya!-- unemployment
  • for hating women and killing their babies... especially African American women's babies
  • for a "feckless" foreign policy that was clearly the cause of Putin's grab of Crimea
  • for Iraq's woes
  • for Syria's woes
  • for their own personal woes
  • for being so gay that he's anti-straight
  • for the appalling response to Hurricane Katrina
  • for a "skyrocketing" deficit
  • for being a socialist
  • for being anti-free market
  • for being anti-Israel
  • for being anti-American
  • for being so black that he's anti-white
  • for not being black enough
  • for being an anti-Christian Muslim terrorist who wants to take over the world with Al Qaeda
  • for coming for your guns!!!

Yes, President Obama is a commie pinko French gay Kenyan Marxist Muslim socialist fascist baby-killing, weak, all-powerful dictator.

I'm sure I've left out a few blames and labels, but that's plenty for now. The projection and hypocrisy are jaw-dropping and endless, even laughable in a really sad way. To recap the obvious, Republicans have made a cottage industry out of contradicting themselves and pointing their fingers at others.

Today’s La Cucaracha makes the point in three effective little panels:

La Cucaracha blame Obamatoxic blame game

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Chris Christie compares the poor to petulant teens, but, see, he's the real victim here.

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Chris Christie red meat

Chris Hayes and David Cay Johnston should have added the now-famous quote from Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich to this discussion of Chris Christie: He "deserves an ass-kicking":

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Chris Christie speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago:

I think that the problem we have is an opportunity gap, not an income equality gap. And I think that one of the big discussions in conversations over the course of the next two years in national politics is going to be, do you want mediocrity or do you want greatness?  You want income equality? That's mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal mediocre salary. That's what we can afford. Or do you want the opportunity for greatness? ...

Greatness is going to be based on your intellect, your hard work, your creativity. And government can play a role in helping to create that opportunity. But not in being the perpetual referee of what sounds like a fight between my 13-year-old son and my 10-year-old daughter: "You did this for him, that's not fair. Well, that's not fair, I want this to be fair." I grew up in an America that said, "Life isn't fair."

Yes, you heard right: Chris Christie is confusing income equality with salary equality. He thinks Democrats want every employed person in the country to be paid exactly the same salary.

Then he had the unmitigated gall to compare struggling families, people who are hurting, with petulant children, in effect blaming them!

family values my ass

To paraphrase Keith Olbermann, "That man is an idiot."

Here's a bonus video from The Rachel Maddow Show, just in case you're not up on the latest in the Bridgegate scandal:

chris christie bridgegate fundraise msnbc

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Maddow, on how the GOP is throwing a pity party for their guy Chris:

The New Jersey State Republican Party is now trying to raise money on the Bridge scandals. Specifically, they are trying to raise money by saying that news organizations should not be covering the scandal, and that's the real problem here.

Seriously, I'm not kidding... This is from the Star Ledger... They're quoting a fundraising email that the New Jersey Republican Party has sent out asking people to pledge $25 a month to the New Jersey Republican Party because of the Bridge scandal....

"Send us money because MSNBC keeps reporting on this story"??

To the people of Fort Lee, to the people who missed the first day of school or the first day of work, to the people who were late to appointments or their jobs by hours, for not just one day but for four days, to the person having a heart attack and the four people who were injured and needed to be moved by ambulance after a car wreck, to the parents of a missing child, to all those people who found that police and first responders could not get to them those days, to the people of Fort Lee and the hundreds of thousands of other New Jersey residents and commuters who had four days of this gridlock inflicted on them-- on purpose-- thanks to still-unexplained orders that came out of Gov. Christie's office, to all of the hundreds of thousands of people who were hurt here-- on purpose-- the New Jersey Republican Party would like you to know that the real outrage here is that this TV network [MSNBC] is reporting on what happened and trying to figure out the answers, but the Christie administration still won't provide.

They want you to know that we're the real outrage, and that they're the real victim. Not you.

They want the people of New Jersey to stand up! Not against this kind of corrupt and abusive outrage by their government. They want the people of New Jersey to stand up against us covering the story.

It's amazing, but it's good to know.

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Wildstein: Closing bridge lanes “the Christie administration’s order.” He knew.

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chris christie schultz i know nothing

Mr. Toast

The New York Times has a bombshell about the bridge lane closures and what Chris Christie knew and when he knew it. Hold your ears:

ka-powIn a letter released by his lawyer, the official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago.

Go read. Now.

So it looks like Wildstein is looking to make a deal or he wouldn't be spilling the beans. Apparently, he claims that there is correspondence that can prove his assertions contesting "the accuracy of the statements the governor made."

Also, MSNBC's Michael Isikoff is reporting that Christie's former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, is invoking his 5th Amendment rights, and he is refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents.

Governor "Heartbroken" has a lot of 'splainin' to do after that bogus press conference that so many Republicans fell for hook, line, and sinker.

Stay tuned for court battles galore.

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New emails, interviews: Hoboken mayor under pressure from Christie administration

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chris christie angrytick tick boom

Why, it seems like only yesterday that I posted Ruh roh! Chris Christie's brother bought property just before Christie pushed for big overhaul. Oh wait, it was yesterday.

And now it seems like only today that the New York Times is reporting about emails showing that Hoboken, New Jersey Mayor Dawn Zimmer was indeed being pressured by the Christie administration.

drip drip drip

You remember this story, right? Governor "Heartbroken's" allies were oh, so "offended" and started pointing fingers at Zimmer for daring to suggest that she'd been leaned on.

Zimmer alleged that Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno told her that the very pricey Rockefeller real estate project was important to her boss and that Zimmer should “move forward” with it in order to get Hurricane Sandy clean-up funding. The mayor even jotted down contemporaneous notes about the conversation in her journal. Oh my bad, Zimmer's a woman: Her "diary."

She had a meeting scheduled with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to discuss protecting Hoboken from future natural disasters. However:

But according to newly obtained emails sent among the participants, the first topic of discussion on the agenda was “review of concepts for flood control measures at Rockefeller property,” a reference to a billion-dollar office complex proposed at the north end of town. The developer, the Rockefeller Group, which had long been trying to gain approval from local officials, sent two executives, two lobbyists and an engineer to the meeting. [...]

The Christie administration has denied ever linking the Rockefeller project to hurricane relief, an accusation that is now under federal investigation.

But whatever the outcome of the inquiries, the emails and interviews make clear that the development-wary mayor was coming under increasing and repeated pressure from politically connected lawyers working for Rockefeller Group and from the Christie administration.

What's that saying again? Oh yeah:

ruh roh smallerUPDATE via TPM:

A longtime adviser to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) conducted a 2012 poll on behalf of a development firm at the center of one of the scandals that has recently rocked the governor's administration, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

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Partisanship

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partisanshipVia

Partisanship is alive and well these days. Did I say "these days"? I meant to say "these years." Did I say "these years"? I meant to say "these decades." But ever since President Obama was sworn in-- literally-- the bitter divide has gotten bitterer and dividier. By the way, commentators, it's not "Congress" that's the problem, it's the GOP.

Lately on the Tee Vee Machine, Republican talking heads have been reveling in the president's sagging poll numbers, and have demanded-- demanded!-- that he stop blaming George Bush for the nation's problems. That's been part of their prebuttal for tomorrow's State of the Union address, because that's what they do. How typically unoriginal, flawed, and redundant.

Actually, BushCo is to blame for much of the country's woes, because we are still trying to recover from the Bush Recession. The one Bush's policies brought on. The one that lost us hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. The one that President Obama is pulling us out of.

And one of the main reasons we aren't recovering quickly enough is because the GOP doesn't want us to. They have obstructed just about anything that has even a faint whiff of Eau d'Obama. That way, when the economy remains weak, when immigration reform stalls, when income inequality persists, when the number of massacres at the point of a gun increases, when more children starve, when more Americans are denied the assistance they need to sign up for health care, they can point fingers at the person who they themselves obstructed. And many Americans are buying into their b.s.

Good plan, guys. Or should I say, white guys?

So what's President Obama's response? To soften the language he's going to use in the SOTU, per reports. Yes indeed, according to MSNBC, he will replace them fightin' words "income inequality" with them weaker words "equal opportunity for all," which, by the way, they say, is Republican language. Instead of coming out punching, the president will soften his approach. Because this is an election year. Heavy sigh.

How's that reaching out and trying to compromise with Republicans workin' for ya, Mr. President? The same way all that GOP "outreach" is working for them? Heavier sigh.

Meanwhile, on the Chris Christie front, if those on the right side of the aisle who sit on the big new joint investigative committee decide that they're underrepresented (there are 8 Democrats and 4 Republicans, which is proportional to their numbers in both state chambers), they may pull a fast one. They may very well swivel from their so-far "let's work together to get to the bottom of all this scandalous Christie mess" to gumming up the works and claiming that it's all one big partisan witch hunt by Dems who don't like big bad GOP Governor "Heartbroken." To hell with digging for truth, justice, and the American Way and finally challenging corruption in a state known for corruption.

All of this paints the usual "politicians are more interested in their own careers and their pursuit of special interest money and influence" than they are in protecting the people who voted for them, who provided them with their damned jobs. Finding out who decided (and why) to put lives in danger by closing off access to the busiest bridge in the world is less of a priority than playing politics. Uncovering the truth about whether Chris Christie denied Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer Sandy relief funds doesn't matter as much as playing the blame game.

So there you have it. Instead of coming together to find solutions to truly pressing issues, we the frustrated spectators pay tax money admission to watch two parties needlessly butt heads and self-destruct, crushing all of us in their idiotic wake.

Partisanship: America's Scripted Reality Show.

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