I predict “war on men” will prove a more enduring idea than “war on women.”
— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) June 19, 2013
Here’s a pretty amazing development that may finally destroy the last shred of partisan hitman Darrell Issa’s credibility: Breaking: Full House Committee Transcripts Shed New Light on Genesis of IRS Targeting.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have just released a full transcript of testimony from a key witness in the investigation of IRS targeting of conservatives — and it appears to confirm that the initial targeting did originate with a low-level employee in the Cincinnati office.
It also shows a key witness and IRS employee — a self described conservative Republican — denying any communication with the White House or senior IRS officials about the targeting.
The ranking Dem on the committee, Elijah Cummings, has promised that the account provided by the witness — the IRS manager who supervised the screeners of applications for tax exempt status, a self described conservative Republican — would undercut Committee chairman Darrell Issa’s suggestion that the decision to target conservative groups had originated in Washington.
Cummings released the full transcript today in two parts, making it available to a select group of reporters, with redactions of names of individuals, and accompanied it with a letter to Issa explaining his decision, in which Cummings concludes that the transcript “debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases.”
The letter from Cummings to Issa concludes:
These facts are a far cry from accusations of a conspiracy orchestrated by the White House to target the President’s political enemies. At this point in the investigation, not one witness who has appeared before the Committee has identified any involvement by any White House officials in the identification or screening of Tea Party applicants for tax exempt status, and the Committee has obtained no documents indicating any such involvement.
How much money has Darrell Issa wasted with this series of fruitless, politically-motivated witch hunts?
Undoubtedly the most absurd, ridiculous GOP op-ed you’ll see today: creationist Gov. Bobby Jindal’s latest “don’t be stupid” piece for Politico: Opinion: GOP Needs Action, Not Navel-Gazing - Gov. Bobby Jindal.
After the re-election of Barack Obama, Jindal demanded that the GOP reflect on what caused the loss. Well, he’s over that now. After ranting that the GOP really doesn’t need to change anything, but just go on the attack, Jindal uncorks this hilarious litany of falsehoods and straw men:
At some point, the American public is going to revolt against the nanny state and the leftward march of this president. I don’t know when the tipping point will come, but I believe it will come soon.
Because the left wants: The government to explode; to pay everyone; to hire everyone; they believe that money grows on trees; the earth is flat; the industrial age, factory-style government is a cool new thing; debts don’t have to be repaid; people of faith are ignorant and uneducated; unborn babies don’t matter; pornography is fine; traditional marriage is discriminatory; 32 oz. sodas are evil; red meat should be rationed; rich people are evil unless they are from Hollywood or are liberal Democrats; the Israelis are unreasonable; trans-fat must be stopped; kids trapped in failing schools should be patient; wild weather is a new thing; moral standards are passé; government run health care is high quality; the IRS should violate our constitutional rights; reporters should be spied on; Benghazi was handled well; the Second Amendment is outdated; and the First one has some problems too.
This freaky laundry list of right wing red meat silliness ends up simply driving home the point that the GOP is hopelessly mired in reactionary idiocy. The guy who tells the GOP “don’t be stupid” also mockingly says:
…wild weather is a new thing…
There you have today’s GOP in a nutshell: belligerent, anti-science, anti-women religiously fanatical reactionaries, who think they’re being smart.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party continues pushing insanely stupid regressive social issues, but let’s all look over there at the NSA: Texas Congressman: Masturbating Fetuses Prove Need for Abortion Ban.
As the House of Representatives gears up for Tuesday’s debate on HR 1797, a bill that would outlaw virtually all abortions 20 weeks post fertilization, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) argued in favor of banning abortions even earlier in pregnancy because, he said, male fetuses that age were already, shall we say, spanking the monkey.
“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” said Burgess, a former OB/GYN. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”
That observation led Burgess to say he had argued for the abortion ban to start at a much earlier stage of gestation, 15 or 16 weeks. (This is less than halfway through a pregnancy.) He appeared to liken Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, to the 1893 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that formally legalized racial segregation, and was not fully reversed until Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“How do you make abortion funny?” That was a key question mulled at a major conservative gathering Friday on how to make social conservatism appealing to young people, after an election where Republicans got trounced in the battle for millennial voters (who are are moving even further and further away from the Christian-right on marriage and other issues).
Abortion has to be made funny, the thinking goes, because funny sells on social media, and that’s where one goes to court young people. “You can engage with sarcasm, it’s hard with the abortion issue, but you have to,” said Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins at a breakout panel at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington today on how to win millennial voters. “Unfortunately we have to, because this is the generation that we’ve been dealt.”
No examples as to how.
This is, again, the conservatives in the US today not getting it. It is not the way that the argument is being presented. It is really not. It is not because you’re not being earnest or sarcastic. People really understand you want to ban abortion and humiliate women who seek to have one. It is understood that the reason behind this is religious belief. Nobody is not understanding the message of the GOP on abortion.
Do conservatives really believe that they just need to tweak the message, or do they know they’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titantic?
Coming soon: don’t miss Glenn Greenwald at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, sponsored by the extreme left wing International Socialist Organization, the US branch of one of the many Trotskyite groups associated with the International Socialist umbrella movement.
Also featured: workshops on “The new movement against Israeli apartheid,” “Obama’s war on civil liberties,” and “Israel, Zionism, and Imperialism.”
“As someone who speaks at all sorts of political gatherings every year, I can say with certainty that no event assembles more passionate activism, genuine expertise, and provocative insights than the Socialism Conference. This will be my third straight year attending, and what keeps me coming back is how invigorating and inspiring it is to be in the midst of such diverse and impressive activists,” said Glenn Greenwald about the Socialism conference.
Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill have both made tremendous contributions in exposing the truth about U.S. politics and the way the government behaves at home and abroad. Do not miss Greenwald and Scahill at Socialism 2013 and this incredibly urgent discussion about the attack on civil liberties, U.S. imperialism, and how we can fight back.
Glenn Greenwald is a journalist for the Guardian, responsible for exposing the National Security Agency’s massive spying operation of the U.S. government on its own citizens.
Watch Greenwald discuss the NSA, whistleblowers, the U.S. media here.
Jeremy Scahill is the writer and producer of the documentary Dirty Wars. Author of Dirty Wars: The world is a battlefield and Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.
More Workshops on the U.S Imperialism, the war on civil liberties, Islamaphobia, Palestine:
Obama’s war on civil liberties featuring Ali Al-Arian
US Imperialism in the Middle East after the Arab Spring featuring Yusef Khalil, Shaun Joseph, Wael Elasady
What happened to the Egyptian Revolution? featuring Hani Shukrallah, Mostafa Ali, and Hatem Tallima
The new movement against Israeli apartheid featuring Shirien Damra, Ziad Abbas and Nolan Rampy
The struggle for Palestine featuring Ali Abunimah
Israel, Zionism, and imperialism featuring Deepa Kumar and Sherry Wolf
The real “Pirates of the Caribbean” featuring Dana Blanchard
Mali and the new imperial scramble for Africa featuring Sarah Knopp
The Marxist theory of imperialism and its critics featuring Lee Wengraf
U.S. imperialism’s “pivot to Asia” featuring Ashley Smith
The making of global capitalism featuring Sam Gindin
Drones, special forces, and bases: Obama’s new imperial strategy featuring Khury Petersen-Smith
Kill anything that moves: The real American war in Vietnam featuring Nick Turse
(Update: corrected the name of the group sponsoring the conference.)
Barack Obama: Well, in the end, and what I’ve said, and I continue to believe, is that we don’t have to sacrifice our freedom in order to achieve security. That’s a false choice. That doesn’t mean that there are not tradeoffs involved in any given program, in any given action that we take. So all of us make a decision that we go through a whole bunch of security at airports, which when we were growing up that wasn’t the case…. And so that’s a tradeoff we make, the same way we make a tradeoff about drunk driving. We say, “Occasionally there are going to be checkpoints. They may be intrusive.” To say there’s a tradeoff doesn’t mean somehow that we’ve abandoned freedom. I don’t think anybody says we’re no longer free because we have checkpoints at airports.
Charlie Rose: But there is a balance here.
Barack Obama: But there is a balance, so I’m going to get to your — get to your question. The way I view it, my job is both to protect the American people and to protect the American way of life, which includes our privacy. And so every program that we engage in, what I’ve said is “Let’s examine and make sure that we’re making the right tradeoffs.” Now, with respect to the NSA, a government agency that has been in the intelligence gathering business for a very long time —
Charlie Rose: Bigger and better than everybody else.
Barack Obama: Bigger and better than everybody else, and we should take pride in that because they’re extraordinary professionals; they are dedicated to keeping the American people safe. What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls, and the NSA cannot target your emails … and have not. They cannot and have not, by law and by rule, and unless they — and usually it wouldn’t be “they,” it’d be the FBI — go to a court, and obtain a warrant, and seek probable cause, the same way it’s always been, the same way when we were growing up and we were watching movies, you want to go set up a wiretap, you got to go to a judge, show probable cause….
So point number one, if you’re a U.S. person, then NSA is not listening to your phone calls and it’s not targeting your emails unless it’s getting an individualized court order. That’s the existing rule. There are two programs that were revealed by Mr. Snowden, allegedly, since there’s a criminal investigation taking place, and they caused all the ruckus. Program number one, called the 2015 Program, what that does is it gets data from the service providers like a Verizon in bulk, and basically you have call pairs. You have my telephone number connecting with your telephone number. There are no names. There is no content in that database. All it is, is the number pairs, when those calls took place, how long they took place. So that database is sitting there. Now, if the NSA through some other sources, maybe through the FBI, maybe through a tip that went to the CIA, maybe through the NYPD. Get a number that where there’s a reasonable, articulable suspicion that this might involve foreign terrorist activity related to Al-Qaeda and some other international terrorist actors. Then, what the NSA can do is it can query that database to see did any of the — did this number pop up? Did they make any other calls? And if they did, those calls will be spit out. A report will be produced. It will be turned over to the FBI. At no point is any content revealed because there’s no content that —
Charlie Rose: So I hear you saying, I have no problem with what NSA has been doing.
Barack Obama: Well, let me — let me finish, because I don’t. So, what happens is that the FBI — if, in fact, it now wants to get content; if, in fact, it wants to start tapping that phone — it’s got to go to the FISA court with probable cause and ask for a warrant.
Let’s examine some of the claims made by NSA leaker Edward Snowden in his Q&A session (stage-managed by demagogue Glenn Greenwald) this morning, shall we? Edward Snowden Q and A: NSA Whistleblower Answers Your Questions
SNOWDEN: First, the US Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime.
This, my friends, is what is known as complete, utter bullshit. The US government did not “openly declare” Snowden guilty of anything. It’s a pure paranoid fantasy.
Congress hasn’t declared war on the countries - the majority of them are our allies - but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we’re not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police?
How insanely naïve does a person have to be to believe that governments should only try to gather intelligence from other governments in time of war? Seriously? This is the deep thinker who’s going to reveal the truth to us all?
All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.
Yes, that’s right — Edward Snowden says the US government is plotting to murder him. Another self-aggrandizing paranoid fantasy, and an especially vicious one.
As for the grandiose claims that he’s an agent of TRUTH, practically every troll who’s ever registered a sock puppet at LGF says the same thing.
I can’t take much more of this over-privileged ultra-libertarian BS, but here’s one more quote — Snowden explaining why there’s a discrepancy of about $80,000 in his claims about his Booz Allen salary:
I was debriefed by Glenn and his peers over a number of days, and not all of those conversations were recorded. The statement I made about earnings was that $200,000 was my “career high” salary. I had to take pay cuts in the course of pursuing specific work. Booz was not the most I’ve been paid.
Right. And the dog ate his homework, too.