Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's That Sound?

Pray by paynehollow
Pray, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.
With the Petraeus scandal currently going on, it struck me that one huge difference we've noticed these last four years was the silence.

Do you hear it...?


....


That's the sound of VERY few (by recent historical standards) scandals happening within the Obama administration and, actually, even within the extended gov't (House and Senate) in general over the last four years.

It sort of reminds me of the day after 9/11 when you'd be outside and suddenly notice that something was significantly different and... missing, and you'd pause a second and realize... it's the ABSENCE of airplanes - the silence was jolting!

It feels sort of like that with Obama era scandals. Wow. We've had very few scandals the last four years! What's up with that?

Yes, there have been some. The "Fast and Furious" kerfluffle. This Petraeus thing, however it shakes out. Um... allegations of ineptitude in handling the Libya attack? The Secret Service/Colombia prostitute issue? Solyndra?

This website lists 400 scandals during George W Bush's eight years. But that particular site defines scandal pretty loosely. Included in that list is the "scandal" that Bush spent 35% of his time in office on vacation. I suppose that is scandalous in many ways, but it's not really what I'm thinking of as a "scandal."

Here is a more generous list that limits items to actions that, they say, "were the subjects of criminal probes, but we also included officials who were credibly accused of acts that, if not criminal, were a corruption of office..."

At this site, we find ten Bush appointees/administration flaks who were convicted of crimes in office.

We find 24 people who resigned due to "investigation, pending investigation or (credible) allegations of impropriety.

And we find three who were under investigation, but who stayed in office (as of 2008).

As compared to Obama's handful of missteps.

This site is, to me, way too generous. Bush began his administration, for instance, by hiring two Reagan-era political hacks who had been CONVICTED of lying to Congress about actual support for war crimes during the Nicaragua fight. Also, the whole invasion of Iraq based on false data is a HUGE scandal that does not appear on this list...

So, a list of between 37 and 400 serious scandals over Bush's eight years.

Whereas, the Obama administration has... what, four? five?

And in each of those, the problems were not anything to do directly with Obama and were mostly ineptitude, at best (if we include the Solyndra problem on the list to get it up to a complete hand-full of five, then we'd have to include a WHOLE lot more on Bush's list, that sort of "scandal" - ie, potentially poor judgment calls in spending gov't money on programs, happens frequently. It's not really what I would call a scandal, any more than Bush's vacation days are a real scandal...)

All in all, I'd have to say congratulations to the Obama administration, and I guess, even our current Congress, for at least keeping their collective noses clean, as compared to recent administrations/eras (Reagan/Bush/Bush AND Clinton).

=======

Just for two other comparisons...

Wikipedia lists convictions of federal office holders during each administration's term...

Obama: 1 (1 judge)
W Bush: 9 (6 GOP representatives, 3 Dem representatives)
Clinton: 13 (1 Executive branch, 9 Dem reps, 3 GOP reps)
HW Bush: 5 (1 Executive branch, 2 Dem reps, 1 GOP rep and 1 judge)

And, get ready for it...

Reagan: 24 (Executive branch: 7; Legislative: 5 GOP, 10 Dem; Judges: 2)
Carter: 6 Dem reps

And, with the Reagan years, some of those convictions and scandals were about actual war crimes - selling weapons to thugs to send money to terrorists!, etc - not merely cheating on your wife and lying about it, just for a sense of scale (not to downplay how horrible it is to cheat on a spouse or lie, by the way... just noting that war crimes are a whole other level of scandal...)

Here's another wikipedia list of scandals (as opposed to convictions, above). This list, to me, seems to capture the notion of "serious scandal" best...

Obama: Executive: 3; Legislative: 3 (1 Dem, 2 GOP); Judicial: 2
W Bush: Executive: ~42; Legislative: 26 (7 Dem, 19 GOP)
Clinton: Executive: ~10; Legislative: 16 (10 Dem, 4 GOP, 2 "other")

HW Bush had not too many. The Reagan years had many, many. Feel free to read them yourselves.

56 comments:

John Farrier said...

I wouldn't describe Fast & Furious as a "kerfuffle". Remember that Watergate, a criminal conspiracy that brought down Nixon, didn't have a body count. Obama's Fast & Furious killed hundreds of people.

(By the way: there is certainly no reason now for Boehner not to order the arrest of the Attorney General. Don't you agree?)

Benghazi: again, a President abandoning Americans to die, then covering up the results.

Here's a huge list of scandals. Oh, some of them are policy disagreements. But many are genuine acts of corruption.

As for Bush's vacations: I don't think you want to go there when trying to defend Obama. That's a fight you're going to lose--and lose very, very badly.

Dan Trabue said...

Well, I did say that too much vacation isn't really what I'd call a "scandal," didn't I? Beyond that, I'm not sure what you mean. It is my understanding that Bush is the undisputed vacation king...

When you add the days President Bush spent at Kennebunkport, Maine, he spent a total of 1,020 days away from the White House — close to 3 years. At 1,020 days, Bush was close to being on vacation more days than President John F. Kennedy’s total days in office (1,036). Representatives at the Nixon and Johnson Libraries indicate those two Presidents were on vacation less than 1,000 days during their terms.

President Obama has been on vacation 78 days from 2009 to 2011. At the three year mark into their first terms, George W. Bush spent 180 days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and Ronald Reagan spent 112 vacation days at his ranch in California.


source

Parklife said...

"a President abandoning Americans to die, then covering up the results?"

Thats a bit dramatic. What about Iran-Contra? Some guys got probation. Big deal.

The number of scandals doesnt really matter to me. Its not what I use to measure a POTUS. And vacation days? Really? Vacation days. Really? Its not the days they take off that I have a problem with.

Other things I dont care about.. extra marital affairs.. or what conservatives do in airport bathrooms.. ect ect. [insert long list of tawdry sex acts here]

Alan said...

I'm not sure I'm interested in giving out a medal for merely being less crooked than the competition. It isn't that difficult, and it isn't much of accomplishment either.

----

BTW, if you're looking for a laugh, take a look at John's list of "scandals". One of them involves going to church on Sunday.

Seriously. LOL. Apparently Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, or Charles Manson didn't have a web page to use for evidence, so his evidence for a "huge list of scandals" is from someone even less reliable -- a random anonymous nobody with a blog called "Zombie."

Just to admit my bias ... I'm unashamed to admit to participating in (as John would call it) the "genuine act of corruption" of attending worship services weekly for about the last 40 years. Mea culpa.

Alan said...

Sorry John, but if you're going to link to a list full of this kind of crap:

• Apologizing to Islamists and terrorists for offending them.

then you probably ought to expect to get smacked down for it.

I mean .... did you think that clearly disproven "apology tour" BS would fly here? Did you suppose that we would see that garbage and think, "Oh, yes, that's the sort of thing I would expect to read on a reasonable website"?

Or did you just not bother to read it yourself?

Bubba said...

Dan is right about one thing: the proverbial sound of silence is noteworthy.

Back when George W. Bush was running for reelection, CBS News ran a story purporting to prove that he was AWOL from the National Guard nearly thirty years prior. To be charitable to CBS News, the documents substantiating the allegation were not sufficiently vetted: they were obviously forged.

With Barack Obama running for reelection, the same news organization sat on part of an interview with the sitting president, an exchange that completely contradicted his claim -- made during the second debate -- that, very early on, he identified the Benghazi attack as an act of terrorism.

As Bret Baier reported, "Sunday night [November 4th], 54 days after the attack and almost two weeks after putting out the first additional clip that appeared to back up the president after the second debate, CBS without fanfare posted the rest of the Benghazi question online -- the question before the question."

Nearly two months after the actual interview.

More than two weeks after the second debate.

And less than 48 hours before voting began.

The story wasn't even put on a newscast, much less 60 Minutes, it was practically buried on the website for other people to point out.

--

Again, let's compare this to Rathergate.

- One news story is about the incumbent's past, decades before running any political office, IT'S BASED ON FORGED DOCUMENTS, and CBS News put the unvetted story on 60 Minutes two months before the election, where it could have the most impact on that election.

- One news story is about an ongoing scandal in office, one where four Americans have been brutally murdered, IT'S BASED ON AN ACTUAL INTERVIEW WITH THE INCUMBENT, and CBS News published it where and when it would have an almost negligible impact on the election.

Indeed, the media hasn't made as much noise about Obama as about Bush, but that's not necessarily a credit to all involved.

It's Sherklock Holmes and the curious incident of the dog in the night. The dog didn't bark -- and that's what's so curious.

It's not that a crime wasn't being committed, but that the crime was being committed by someone who the dog liked very much indeed.

The absence of barking isn't an endorsement of the President, it's an indictment of the media: the supposed watchdog is really a lapdog.

--

And the rank hypocrisy isn't limited to CBS News.

There are people who would, in a single breath, denounce Iran-Contra as a literal war crime while dismissing Fast and Furious as a "kerfluffle."

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba, really? Are you that sore a loser that you're trying to claim that Obama's administration is "super secretly" as corrupt as Bush's was, "if it only weren't for the vast MSM conspiracy we'd a got 'im!" ...?

Really?

How many tens of thousands of people have died in a trumped up invasion under Obama have there been?

Conspiracy nuts are aptly named...

Bubba said...

My point was simply that the perception of fewer scandals is at least partially the function of media bias, of their putting partisanship over principle.

They're not the only ones.

Kerfluffle.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

If I mustered the energy to care, I'd point out that John Farrier apparently believes a sitting President of the United States was not only quite willing to allow American officials to die, but even more willing (a) to prevent either the military (which he has not been shy about tossing in various war zones) or intelligence agencies from assisting; and (b) covered up this disdain for Americans who represent his Administration by being with the families of the dead, going on television the next day and calling out the event as a terrorist act, and releasing all the declassified information that can be released to demonstrate that none of the things you say happen actually happened.

Except, alas, just like every other phony controversy (Fast and Furious was a Bush-era DOJ initiative, folks, that Eric Holder left in place so the feds could find gun runners to Mexican drug lords) facts just don't matter. Obama released his birth certificate in 2008. That wasn't good enough so he worked with Hawaii to release another one last year. Yet, there are still people who insist he was born in Kenya.

Because facts don't matter. Bubba goes on a rant about "forged papers" when subsequent investigations have found the basic claims about W. being AWOL from his Alabama Air National Guard post to be sound. Yet, these facts don't matter because someone yelled about typewriters back in 2004.

You want to know a real scandal?

That basic facts just don't matter.

Bubba said...

CBS News runs a story based on documents that were quite clearly created on Microsoft Word using its default settings, and they present the documents as memos from 1973.

Geoffrey defends their actions on the basis of their accusation being basically sound -- HE DOES NOT ARGUE THAT THE DOCUMENTS ARE LEGIT, and he couldn't do so credibly even if he wanted to -- he places "forged documents" in scare quotes, and he denigrates the work to prove the forgery by writing that "someone yelled about typewriters."

He doesn't care about blatantly forged documents being used in investigative journalism, so I don't think he's in much position to write, over and over, about how other people are apathetic about the truth.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

OK, Bubba. This story from Alternet links to a subscription-only story at Texas Monthly. The Alternet shorter includes the following from Joe Hagan's investigation in to W's military career: But the CBS documents that seem destined to haunt Rather are, and have always been, a red herring. The real story, assembled here for the first time in a single narrative, featuring new witnesses and never-reported details, is far more complex than what Rather and Mapes rushed onto the air in 2004. . . .

What’s clear, however, is that Bush’s superiors made it unusually easy for him to quit flying and leave Houston. They first attempted to sign him up for a postal unit in Alabama that met once a month. (The commander of the outfit told Bush he couldn’t guarantee that the group would even exist in three months but added, “We’re glad to have you!”) When Bush was informed that he couldn’t fulfill his duty by doing that, he sent a letter requesting “equivalent duty” with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, at Dannelly Air Base, in Montgomery. The unit commander, in official memos, said Bush could start by attending two drills in September 1972. He didn’t show up for the drills.

When Bush lost his flight status, in August 1972, the official military protocol of the Texas Air National Guard was to open an internal investigation and review why the pilot didn’t show up for his physical. It says so on Bush’s own documents. That never happened.

Bush’s go-to expert on his military record, Albert Lloyd, said a report wasn’t necessary because Bush’s commanders knew he had stopped flying to go to work in Alabama—proof only that the Air National Guard blew off the rules when it came to Bush.

So, sure - the Rather story was "rushed" and quite probably based upon a "forgery" (whatever that might mean). The substance, however, has been available for anyone to find.

How do I know this? Because the Alternet story includes a link to an index of documents released under FOIA that, if you peruse them, indicate exactly what Rather's original story, and subsequent investigations claim - Bush effectively went AWOL from service. Not only was he never punished for it (although he did lose his flight status). Thousands of young men and women his age were dying in Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos all the while the rules were being gamed for him.

Now, again - these are facts, and Bubba is going to screech even more loudly about Dan Rather and forgeries, even though both I and this single link (which includes others) are very clear that it has never been about Rather. The story stands up.

But, whether it's global warming or pretty much anything else, facts don't matter because folks like Bubba "know" the "truth".

Alan said...

"Geoffrey defends their actions on the basis of their accusation being basically sound"

Actually Bubba, no where does Geoffrey defend CBS ... he demonstrates clearly that real documents exist, and have been known for quite a while, that demonstrate the underlying accusation was correct.

I would find your whining about hypocrisy more compelling if along with it came a demonstration of any ability to read.

BTW, what color is the sky in your fantasy world?

Alan said...

BTW, back on topic...

There is an important lesson to be learned from the Patraeus scandal: heterosexual men cannot be trusted in the military and openly straight men should be barred from military service.

Bubba said...

I believe a police officer who plants evidence at a crime scene is a crooked cop, even he intends the evidence to implicate the man who really is guilty.

In the same way, I believe it's either the grossest negligence or a deliberate betrayal of all journalistic standards of ethics to push a story using such obviously fabricated supporting documentation, even if the story's basic claims turn out to be true.

You disagree to your discredit, Geoffrey.

Parklife said...

haha.. thanks Alan. That list of Obama "scandals" is great. Its difficult picking out a favorite.

John Farrier said...

But when Obamas goes on vacation, boy do they go on vacation! The Bushes would typically go back home. For the Obamas, it's Apsen, Martha's Vinyard, Hawaii and Spain. Such a One Percenter!

And would it be possible to drag him off the golf course?

Still, unlike some of Obama's conservative critics, I never made much of Obama's luxuriating. It doesn't really bother me. The government/Obama that governs least, governs best. I'd be willing to increase his salary massively if he'd take a vacation for the rest of his term.

Calvin Coolidge, one of America's better Presidents, had a notably short workday. Coolidge understood that he and government in general should usually stay out of the way instead of interfering and causing problems. Obama should follow his example.

John Farrier said...

How many tens of thousands of people have died in a trumped up invasion under Obama have there been?

Dan, what are you talking about? Please elaborate. Did another President create a "trumped up invasion"? If so, which one and what trumping did he do?

John Farrier said...

My point was simply that the perception of fewer scandals is at least partially the function of media bias

Exactly. It's not a lack of scandals. It's a lack of news coverage of scandals.

John Farrier said...

Thats a bit dramatic. What about Iran-Contra? Some guys got probation. Big deal.

Four Americans serving their country murdered on duty while the White House stood by and did nothing is 'no big deal'?

The number of scandals doesnt really matter to me. Its not what I use to measure a POTUS. And vacation days? Really? Vacation days. Really? Its not the days they take off that I have a problem with.

Agreed.

Other things I dont care about.. extra marital affairs.. or what conservatives do in airport bathrooms.. ect ect. [insert long list of tawdry sex acts here]

I will more or less agree. Great men and effective leaders have been scumbags.

The years-long criminal pursuit and impeachment of Bill Clinton was a disgrace and an abuse of the impeachment process. The Republicans deserved every bit of scorn that they earned for it.

Parklife said...

Right.. In the grand scheme of things four dead people is not a big deal. Sorry. Iran-Contra was far far worse and many people think Regan was a great President. I hate playing this game, but... if Obama was selling weapons to terrorists I think we might have a problem.

Parklife said...

Ha.. Regan = Reagan

Parklife said...

ahh.. The lame street media.. at it again. If only they would report on these "scandals" then we would all be convinced of what a terrible person Obama really is.

Cut back to a cold dark office overlooking the city....

...Romney continues to point out that Obama only won b/c poor people wont stand up and take personal responsibility of their lives. The miserable little ingrates.

John Farrier said...

It's a game that I won't play. Observe:

Reagan's actions in the Iran-Contra scandal were in direct violation of US law. He should have been impeached.

See? It's not hard for me at all.

Do you agree that Boehner should order the arrest of Eric Holder for his refusal to turn over documents related to the Fast & Furious scandal?

Do you agree that Obama's refusal to rescue our people in Benghazi is scandalous?

John Farrier said...

Parklife, do you have an argument to make? Do you deny that the mainstream media tilts leftward?

John Farrier said...

By the way, Dan, do you agree that Boehner should order the arrest of Eric Holder, Obama's Attorney General, for his refusal to turn over documents related to Fast & Furious?

Dan Trabue said...

From a Reuters article...

A failed attempt to stem gun smuggling along the U.S.-Mexican border was back in the news on Wednesday with the release of a report from the Justice Department's internal watchdog that cleared Attorney General Eric Holder of any wrongdoing.

In the process, critics of the effort say, U.S. agents in Arizona let slip into Mexico as many as 2,000 guns bought by low-level suspects...

October 2009: Operation Fast and Furious starts to take shape in the Phoenix office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the agency within the Justice Department charged with enforcing federal gun laws.

The agents begin to track "straw buyers," gun purchasers who are suspected of buying for others. Straw buying is illegal but can be difficult to prove. Eyeing the potential for an expansive case against a gun-smuggling ring, ATF agents decide not to pursue low-level buyers aggressively. As the case progresses slowly they assemble a database of suspect guns, including serial numbers...

December 14, 2010: U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is shot dead in a remote area of Arizona after a group of Mexican men who had crossed the border hoping to rob drug traffickers come across his unit.

The attackers leave behind evidence, including two semi-automatic rifles with serial numbers that match two in the Fast and Furious database. The rifles were purchased on a holiday weekend, and it is unclear whether ATF agents could have intercepted them...


As I understand the topic, this is, at worst, a case of inept/clumsy law enforcement. I don't see any "jail-able" offenses here.

Thus, the GOP efforts to hold Holder in contempt sounds more like political grandstanding, rather than an attempt to deal with any real "scandal."

I am generally supportive of efforts of getting data from presidents and find the use of "executive privilege" to deny data to often be questionable. IF there were any real suggestion that this was about anything more than ineptitude, I'd be with you. In this case, it sounds like partisan efforts to create a scandal where none existed.

Do you think the Fast/Furious matter was something beyond just a poorly executed law enforcement effort?

Parklife said...

My point is that scandal is a prerequisite for being perceived as a "great" President. Dan has viewed the problem backwards. Obamas lack of scandal makes him less of Pres. But seriously, in the long run, the public doesnt care about scandal. It seems to have little to no barring on how a Pres. is perceived.

To answer your questions.. no.. and no. You are lacking evidence for starters.

Parklife said...

"Do you deny that the mainstream media tilts leftward?"

Deny? There is nothing to "deny". The MSM is pretty evenhanded if slightly conservative. But, the country seems slightly conservative as well, so it balances out.

Thanks to the internet we suffer from "media diaspora". And you can read all the nut-job, bat-crazy, rightest propaganda you want.

John Farrier said...

As I understand the topic, this is, at worst, a case of inept/clumsy law enforcement. I don't see any "jail-able" offenses here.

So the employees of the Justice Department found that their own boss was blameless. Do you regard that as a sufficient explanation?

Fast & Furious, contrary to the article that you have quoted, was not an attempt to prevent the flow of guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The ATF pushed gun dealers to sell guns to the ATF and directly forbade agents from tracking them. The ATF directly stated that the goal of the project was to create evidence--that's dead people--in order to push for more restrictive gun laws. And it punished and even fired the whistleblowers who spoke up.

From what we have so far, it appears that Fast & Furious was not a botched operation. It did precisely what was planned. It's just that the agency was caught.

Perhaps it was just repeatedly staggering incompetence. But I find that hard to believe when the Eric Holder will not comply with federal law and hand over documents to Congressional investigators. I think it was a criminal conspiracy to jack up a body count--that's a whole lot of dead Mexicans* in addition to the US Border Patrol agent--in order to justify gun control laws.

Maybe I'm wrong. Would you object to us finding out? It's a simple matter: arrest Eric Holder, who has legally been found in contempt of Congress, and hold him until he turns over the documents which he has illegally withheld.

Can we agree to that solution, Dan?

*You referred to Fast & Furious as a "kerfuffle". Is your definition of that term is "pile of dead Mexicans"?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Seriously? Fast and Furious?

And, I'm curious, John. You say that Obama refused to rescue people.

Evidence for the claim, please?

Like I said - Kool-Aid.

Alan said...

Funny thing about so-called media bias is that if it were actually as effective as John attempts to argue that it is, we'd never know about it. And of course, the notion that the media is biased in only one direction and that that direction is always liberal is, well, contrary to the evidence, but then we know how talking about evidence gets people around here so riled up....

And how exactly he alone would prove that the perception of fewer scandals is a function of bias without including either his own perception or bias in the analysis is an interesting, but ultimately, I'm sure, fruitless question to ask. (Particularly given that we've already seen how "scandal" apparently includes going to church on a Sunday morning.) I suppose if one likes introducing ultimately unprovable and self-referential opinions into arguments and stating them as if they're fact then it might be fun to contemplate in the same way that an Escher drawing is fun to look at.

When you nail down the actual definition of a "scandal" that everyone here can agree on, John, then I'll be happy to see your data that demonstrates there have been more scandals this term, whether they've been reported on in the media or not.

Good luck with that.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

One last for John Farrier, then I'm out unless, somehow, he manages to let the world know how he knows more even than the CIA about what happened.

Since no one can tell me what the Republicans are upset about beyond the fact that Susan Rice said one thing, then other people said other things, I guess I'm at a loss.

The President left Americans to die? Even though he had reason to believe an attack might be imminent? That happened eleven years ago, and not a single Republican got upset, even though, as I recall, the body count was a bit larger.

Republicans cut the security budget for the Department of State by over one hundred million dollars, and now they're whining about a lack of security?

Are you suggesting, absent any actual evidence, that the President received a request from people on the ground facing imminent attack and refused to authorize military assistance? Where's the evidence for that?

The main complaint from Congressional Republicans seems to be what different officials were saying and when, which, really . . . a scandal? A result of a confusing situation the investigation of which was still on-going? Are you upset that, as Ambassador Rice said over and over again, "what we know now" isn't what turned out to be the case?

Seriously?

Because not only are the goal posts being moved on this. There seem to be several different sets of goal posts.

Oh, and let's not forget John McCain holding a press conference demanding information at the very same time a committee on which he sits was meeting that might have answered his questions and given him the information he was demanding. So, again . . . please.

Alan said...

Well, when going to church is a scandal for John, I'm guessing the definition of a scandal is, shall we say, a bit nebulous.

John Farrier said...

Parklife wrote:

To answer your questions.. no.. and no. You are lacking evidence for starters.

We don't have evidence that Eric Holder has refused to turn over documents related to Fast & Furious? He's openly said so, Parklife. Holder isn't denying that he's holding back documents from a Congressional investigation.

I'm not proposing that Holder be locked in prison for the rest of his life. I'm proposing that he be jailed by the Capitol police until he complies with the Congressional subpoena. This is within the powers of the Speaker of the House.

Second issue: Benghazi. The White House knew within two hours that the attack on our consulate was a terrorist attack. Petraeus's sworn testimony supports this claim. The White House then repeatedly claimed that it was a spontaneous attack brought on by a YouTube video.

Security at the consulate was reduced over the repeated objections of the head of security and the ambassador, who were told to shut up and stop asking. A drone watched the entire attack. Armed CIA forces a mile away were directly ordered to not intervene. Spectre gunships watching the events actually had the terrorists targeted, but were ordered by the Obama Administration to do nothing. Fighter aircraft in Sicily were available, but not ordered in.

Do you remember that man in California who made the YouTube video? The one blamed for murders of our people in Benghazi? He was exercising his right to free speech. But the Secretary of State of the United States said of him, "We're going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video." Well, mission accomplished. He's in prison.

But I suppose level of respect for civil liberties is to be expected from the President who quadrupled warrantless wiretaps.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

OK, John, so what you're saying in regards to the attack on the Banghazi consulate is that even though the CIA, the State Department, and the rest of the intelligence community "knew" it was a terrorist attack, they told Susan Rice to say it wasn't a terrorist attack? Which, by the way, she never said. . .

I'm seriously confused. The very next day the President called it an act of terror. While Gen. Petraeus did indeed testify as to his belief, he also was very clear that neither his nor any other intelligence agency had any evidence that it was, or if it was, which possible terrorist organization might have been involved.

Which, let me type slowly so you can understand, is all anyone is saying. Within a couple weeks, the Obama Administration made public the result of a thorough investigation of the events and the intelligence surrounding the events and said, Yes, indeed - it was a terrorist attack by people affiliating themselves with al Qaeda.

So, again and again and again - what the hell question are you demanding an answer to? Because Susan Rice went on TV with talking points provided by the intelligence community that didn't use some magic words, she's somehow the worst person in the Obama Administration? That Obama delayed by a few days telling the American people that al Qaeda was in Libya so hide under your beds?

I'm with Kevin Drum here (see the link in the above comment from me). There is absolutely no point - none, zero, zilch, nada - to the claims made by the cover-up howler monkeys. Every single thing they claim was not done was in fact done. The difference is simple: In real life, it takes time to sift through a whole lot of evidence and make decisions about to interpret that evidence. Life is neither a CSI episode nor a Tom Clancy novel where these things all happen immediately. The American people needed to know what happened, and the Obama Administration provided the best answers with the evidence they had at hand as they sifted through it.

So, tell me again what you're complaining about. That you don't read newspapers or the internet? That Susan Rice didn't say the magic word "terrorism", and therefore the American people were somehow fooled that the deaths of four of their fellow-citizens was OK? Honestly, John - the situation does demand more investigation, but not in to the nonsensical things you seem to think. There are questions of the level of security on the ground and the role the State Department budget cuts played in that; there is the general failure of intelligence to make people aware of possible imminent threats (kind of like a national security briefing titled "Al Qaeda Prepared to Hit Targets In US" that was ignored by the most important person who heard it), and, perhaps, what we can do in the future to prevent something like this from happening.

There is no conspiracy here. There isn't a crisis. No one is covering anything up. Gen Petraeus didn't back up the conspiracy screechers but contradicted them (except, perhaps, in John-Farrier-land, where one guy's hunch is all the world needs).

I'm following this as closely as you are John, using the same sources, and all I see are a bunch of people looking for something to make Obama look bad, as if somehow loosing four people at an American diplomatic compound wasn't bad enough.

Parklife said...

Golly.. if only the Republicans had somebody in a position of power, then they could do something about the Evil Eric Holder. And all the conspiracy theories would be proven true!

The guy in CA.. lol.. John, you can do better. And, "civil liberties".. how did you get there?

John Farrier said...

Parklife wrote:

Golly.. if only the Republicans had somebody in a position of power, then they could do something about the Evil Eric Holder. And all the conspiracy theories would be proven true!

The guy in CA.. lol.. John, you can do better. And, "civil liberties".. how did you get there?


Do you have an argument to make?

Alan said...

"Do you have an argument to make?"

Oh Arturo, Prince of Irony.

Can you actually answer anyone's questions, or are you just here to grouse, John? Because I've asked some, which you've simply ignored...is that because you cannot answer them, or because you're hoping that if you keep ignoring everyone's questions, they'll go away?

Because I'm still waiting for you to even come up with a definition for "scandal" that doesn't include things like "going to church on Sunday".

Parklife said...

"Do you have an argument to make?"

Im waiting for you to make one. You keep trying to create a scandal, which is great and all, but other than the affair with the General, I have yet to read anything that is halfway convincing. From here, it looks like you are trying to jump on Obama b/c you dont like his policies.

"Civil Liberties".. yes I disagree with Obama on many issues and wish he had taken a different path on others. But, Im not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Im not sure what response you expect from me / liberals / Dems on this topic?

Alan said...

Why exactly were the same people howling over this supposed "scandal" the same people who give GWB a pass over the "terrorists determined to hit US" memos?

Oh, right...that's not a scandal, right John? But going to church on Sunday is a scandal.

Remember, John, when you were complaining in a previous comment thread about hypocrisy and how you are so above it all that you alone are spotless enough to call out hypocrisy when you see it?

Well, pot, meet kettle, dude.

John Farrier said...

Parklife wrote:

Im waiting for you to make one. You keep trying to create a scandal, which is great and all, but other than the affair with the General, I have yet to read anything that is halfway convincing. From here, it looks like you are trying to jump on Obama b/c you dont like his policies.

So you're not disputing the accuracy of my depictions of the Obama Administration in Fast & Furious and Benghazi, but disputing that the Obama Administration's actions in these issues are scandalous?

"Civil Liberties".. yes I disagree with Obama on many issues and wish he had taken a different path on others. But, Im not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Im not sure what response you expect from me / liberals / Dems on this topic?

I brought up the civil liberties issues as further evidence against Dan's proposition that the Obama Administration has largely avoided scandals.

Parklife said...

Minus the FoxNews and DailyCaller citations.. yes. These stories have been widely reported on. To date there isnt much to talk about. Sorry. I guess we can agree that we differ on your depictions.

For starters the whole premise of F&F is ridiculous. A ploy for gun control by the FBI? Its interesting b/c Obama and the Dems have no desire to pick a fight with the NRA. The NRA won.. its guns for everybody. And, unless you can figure out a way to let the House tell the Pres. how to respond to an investigation, its the end of the story. We will never know. We will also never know why this "scandal" matters at all. Why dont you spend time worrying about the fiscal cliff?

And Benghazi.. ha.. whatever. The Obama Administration downplayed the event to help the Pres. with foreign policy & terrorism during the election year. I dont really feel sorry for Mitt Romney (the guy who bear-hugged Obamas FP) and conservatives. Once again, this only leads to more comparisons between Obama and the greatest president ever.. Reagan. But again, we are just left with a conspiracy theory and no real facts. Its more fun that way.

It only becomes a scandal when you have some evidence. All there is right now is the possibility of possible evidence. Thats not much to get excited about.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

John, the Director of National Intelligence said that it was an interagency decision to pull references to al Qaeda from Ambassador Rice's talking points. Not the White House. Not the Obama campaign.

So there's no "there" there. As everyone expected, and has been saying all along - it's a nothingburger.

Unless, of course, you want to stand around like John McCain and yell at clouds, which is certainly your choice. No one will stop you.

That won't turn the clouds in to magic ponies, though, anymore than screeching "Benghazi!!" will turn a tragedy in to some horrible conspiracy that opens up the pit of corruption that is the Obama Administration.

Alan said...

I'm still waiting for a simple answer to my simple question that would put a stop to all this silly dancing around:

What is your definition of a scandal, John?

(an additional question would be why you're so unwilling to answer such a simple question, because if an answer is not forthcoming it becomes increasingly apparent what the answer is, doesn't it?)

Alan said...

"So you're not disputing the accuracy of my depictions of the Obama Administration in Fast & Furious and Benghazi,..."

Actually, John, I'm pretty sure Geoffrey has done so several times, and most effectively, I might add.

John Farrier said...

For starters the whole premise of F&F is ridiculous. A ploy for gun control by the FBI? Its interesting b/c Obama and the Dems have no desire to pick a fight with the NRA. The NRA won.. its guns for everybody.

Again, the ATF explicitly stated that the purpose of the move was to create "anecdotal cases" to support restrictions on multiple long gun sales.

And, unless you can figure out a way to let the House tell the Pres. how to respond to an investigation, its the end of the story.

The President can order Holder to turn of the documents that the House has subpoenaed. Or it can fulfill the House request to criminally prosecute Holder for refusing to obey the subpoena.

We will never know.

We can know. All that is necessary is for Obama and Holder to obey the law and release the documents.

We will also never know why this "scandal" matters at all.

As I've said, lots of dead people. Do you regard all those Mexican corpses--and at least one American law enforcement officer killed on duty with a Fast & Furious weapon--as insufficient grounds to refer to the issue as a "scandal"?

Why dont you spend time worrying about the fiscal cliff?

I do. We can do both. There's no reason why the President can't simply order Holder to comply. How long does that take -- five minutes?

And Benghazi.. ha.. whatever. The Obama Administration downplayed the event to help the Pres. with foreign policy & terrorism during the election year.

Dead Americans, including a US Ambassador. Murdered by terrorists on a symbolic date. And your response is "whatever".

But again, we are just left with a conspiracy theory and no real facts. Its more fun that way.

Please run through, specifically, the details about the attack on our consulate on Benghazi that I have listed which you regard on accurate. I want to know precisely how I have mischaracterized the events that happened.

I ask for this because I see a pattern:
1. You say that there are no facts to support a claim of a scandal.
2. I provide facts to support claims of a scandal.
3. You restate that there are no facts to support a claim of scandal without addressing in any detail the allegations that I have made and the evidence that I have used to support those allegations.
4. You reject the propriety of investigating the President.

Oh, and in today's news: the White House refused to release photographs taken in Benghazi the night of the attack.

Why is this scandal-free President hiding information?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

You ask why the President hasn't released any photos from the September 11 attacks in Benghazi. Well, let's see. There are several Congressional committees investigating what happened. While the presence of a drone in the area has been declassified, the specifics of our technology might not be; the specifics of the exact presence of the drone, where it came from, its route, etc. - these all might well be classified.

I could go on and on, listing all the very good sound reasons why your demand, John, for pictures isn't answered the way you like it.

At some point, don't you get tired of carrying those goal posts around, demanding the President kick the ball through them no matter where you place them?

Alan said...

John, you don't think that releasing photographs might compromise intelligence assets in the area? Or technology?

I can think of dozens of reasons why photographs might not be released ... you can't think of one?

And what is your definition of a scandal?

Marshall Art said...

John,

I recall a lot of outrage over the leaking of information connected to the killing of bin Laden. Now, it seems strange that info regarding Benghazi is so restricted. Has the administration learned its lessons regarding intelligence security, or could there be more self-serving reasons here?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

For John Farrier, a couple links. First, this report is pretty categorical that the entire manufactured outrage over the Benghazi has no basis in fact.

There are questions that need to be asked. They aren't McCain's, or Peter King's, or yours, though.

The other link is thiis Daily Beast piece by Michael Tomasky making clear that attention-whore John McCain, the principle scandal monger, is losing credibility even among his primary constituency - the TV talking heads, who keep his number on speed dial even though he has actually done nothing over the years.

Except now, of course. Which is to use up the last dregs of good will left after nominating Sarah Palin as his VP candidate four years ago.

There is a difference between legitimate questions about security and intelligence failures and "scandal!" I'm interested in the former and there is none of the latter, John.

John Farrier said...

Marshall wrote:

Has the administration learned its lessons regarding intelligence security, or could there be more self-serving reasons here?

It's all self-serving. In 2010, the White House press secretary referred to the Obama administration as "the most transparent administration in the history of our country." It was then and now a preposterous claim.

Holder can comply with the law and hand over the documents subpoenaed by Congress. Instead he openly refuses to obey the law. Yet Dan and Parklife will not accept that this full, public admission of guilt is sufficient proof to take legal action against Holder.

Why? Because Holder and his boss are on their political team. Therefore they can do no wrong and the law does not apply to them.

There is principle behind their positions, only political tribal loyalty.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

OR . . .

After several Congressional committees, newspaper series, state and federal prosecutors looking at the available evidence . . . concluded that a well-intentioned but poorly executed federal law enforcement plan went south with tragic results.

Just like Benghazi, I'm really, really waiting for some "there" there with regards to Fast & Furious. And please don't wave a bloody shirt, John, because there has yet to be any single piece of credible evidence that (a) a crime has occurred; (b) anyone in a position of authority has done anything to cover-up this crime.

Do you live in a pasture filled with dead horses? Because you continue to beat them, and they remain dead.

Look - as I've been saying for years, there are real, substantial reasons to oppose actions taken by the Obama Administration. Why not take your prodigious mental energy and deal with them instead of this stuff? For example - Benghazi. Let's ask some serious, substantive questions regarding what, precisely, happened that day, once the Congressional committees have done their work. If you don't like the answers, then ask more - but base them on the evidence at hand, not unsubstantiated rumors and screeching, preening media whores like John McCain and Lindsay Graham.

Parklife said...

"And your response is "whatever"."

Umm.. yes.. Our country has a long history of not caring about dead people (this goes for American / Mexican or any other -can). Why should we start now?

Even McCain has moved on.. I'm sure the FOX News group will keep us informed if anything actually happens.

Parklife said...

"Instead he openly refuses to obey the law."

For the record.. this statement is up for debate (with precedent.. that does not side with you). Turns out.. Holder is obeying the law.

John Farrier said...

For the record.. this statement is up for debate (with precedent.. that does not side with you). Turns out.. Holder is obeying the law.

Then you believe that "executive privilege" is a legal reality?

That's something to keep in mind when and if there's ever another non-Democratic Presidential administration.

Umm.. yes.. Our country has a long history of not caring about dead people (this goes for American / Mexican or any other -can). Why should we start now?

Also something else to remember when and if there is ever another non-Democratic Presidential administration.

So, to summarize your position:
Ann Coulter calls someone "retarded"=she's a terrible person.
President arranges for the deaths of a lot of people to advance a political agenda=no big deal.

Parklife said...

"President arranges for the deaths of a lot of people to advance a political agenda=no big deal."

lol.. John.. you are outstanding. And its.. Presidents.. plural. As in for a looonnnnggggg time now we have been killing people to advance a political agenda.

We have all come to accept the bombing of innocent people as part of our daily business. However, derogatory words aimed at Americans have no business in polite society! I dont make the rules.

If you have some.. any?.. evidence to support your Benghazi claims... Please.. Please.. Please let us know. We are all waiting very patiently.

"That's something to keep in mind when and if there's ever another non-Democratic Presidential administration."

Umm yes.. We were through all this before with Bush. I really dont care until there is evidence.