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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The White House Strikes Back

Posted by on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 2:31 PM

After a shitty week for the White House, they've finally responded to two of the nine hundred or so scandals that have erupted in the last few days.

1. The White House just released one hundred pages of e-mails and notes on Benghazi that journalists are currently combing through. You can find the papers right here.

and, more importantly:

2. The Obama Administration is trying to push through a new media protection bill, in the wake of its shameful treatment of AP reporters.

Under fire for the Justice Department’s surveillance of AP reporters’ phone records, the White House is pushing to revive a “media shield” bill to protect reporters who refuse to identify confidential sources. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) received a call Wednesday from the White House asking him to reintroduce his 2009 bill.

It'll be interesting to see if Republicans, who suddenly developed a passion for defending the press once the Obama administration mistreated the press, will follow through and vote for this bill. Neither of these actions resolve any of this week's scandals—I get the sense that Republicans think they can ride this Benghazi thing to overwhelming victories in 2014, if not 2016—but it's at least a small step in the right direction, and an attempt to gain some control over what political columnists like to call "the narrative."

UPDATE: And 3. From the Huffington Post:

President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that Steven Miller, the acting director of the Internal Revenue Service, had resigned amid criticism over the tax agency's handling of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

 

Comments (43) RSS

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1
Why do I get the feeling that all this nonsense is going to backfire on Republicans? Like the Lewinsky scandal, only without Lewinksy and without the scandal.
Posted by GermanSausage on May 15, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
2
Paul I heard the AP story is overblown. The press is whining about not getting access to the President during golf games. The Justice Department conducted hundreds of interviews, used standard legal procedures, and is not unduly burdening the reporters. All personal phone records are needed because reporters only use personal phones to conduct investigations.
Posted by Seattle14 on May 15, 2013 at 2:45 PM · Report this
Geocrackr 3
"Backfire" only works if the democratic system actually functions and the elections aren't rigged (i.e. Clinton/Lewinski happened before the the several rounds of unethical, if not technically illegal, Republican mid-census gerrymandering).

Too bad Bams spent his first four years kicking his base in the teeth, or they might be more inclined to defend him from the scandal-machine that's kicking into gear...
Posted by Geocrackr on May 15, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
4
My understanding is that the media shield law the WH asked Shumer to 'reintroduce' is the version of the bill that the WH watered down, which subsequently led to its 'shelving.' The money quote for me (from the link provided) is, "As the New York Times notes, the media shield compromise language would actually help the government pursue reporters to root out leaks of classified information." Same ol' same ol' from the Obama admin: talk like a progressive, govern like a corporatist oligarch.
Posted by screed on May 15, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
lark 5
I believe that's one of the reasons why Liberals/Democrats have been successful politically these past few elections. They "seized the narrative". I think too, the edge lies with the political disposition of the media which I believe is liberal and Obama-friendly. However, once "stung", they, the media can turn. We'll see how the administration rides these out.
Posted by lark on May 15, 2013 at 2:50 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 6
I'm interested in how the Outraged Left® handle this. It's hard to paint Obama as Republican Lite™ when he actually handles the bad things done by his administration they way they should be handled, when a Republican president would have stonewalled, denied, invoked executive privilege, etc etc...
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 15, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
7
@6: See @4.
Posted by Proteus on May 15, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
8
#2 Please, you are embarrassing yourself, insinuating that what the DOJ did was somehow legit and not a radical infringement on the freedom of the press. Just because Obama has a D after his name does not make him a friend of civil liberties or rights. From the very start, Obama has worked consistently to limit and undermine citizens' ability to know what the government is doing.
Posted by screed on May 15, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 9
@1

Why do I get the feeling that all this nonsense is going to backfire on Republicans? Like the Lewinsky scandal, only without Lewinksy and without the scandal.


Every single thing that the Republicans have tried to do to Obama since 2008 has backfired. Why stop now?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://www.zombo.com on May 15, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Report this
delirian 10
@1: How did that hurt the Republicans? George W. Bush was able to beat that horse all the way to the Presidency (with a little help from SCOTUS).
Posted by delirian on May 15, 2013 at 3:10 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 11
So, the President is saying that the only way to protect reporters from his Justice Department is for Congress to pass a law protecting reporters from his Justice Department because he, apparently, has no control over his Justice Department???

Aren't laws supposed to protect us from criminals?

What does it say when a Pesident is calling for laws to protect us from not just the Government, but his branch of the Governmant specifically?

And before we rush to pass more laws, have we determined that the Justice Departments actions were legal under existing laws?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on May 15, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 12
@ 10, to an extent, yes, but he also got a big assist from Al Gore, whose decision to distance himself from the popular Clinton was entirely in reaction to the Lewinsky scandal. (Remember his embarrassing and awkward kiss with Tipper? The one that "proved" his faithfulness and monogamous love?) That decision was his contribution to the perfect storm that was the 2000 election.

(The overuse of "perfect storm" as a metaphor during the 00's does not mean it isn't apt here. The confluence of events all contributed to Bush prevailing, and includes Gore's bad campaign.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 15, 2013 at 3:28 PM · Report this
delirian 13
@11: The law needs to be passed in any case. I don't know if the act was criminal, but I have no doubt that it was unethical. And for this reason, Holder and his fall guy need to get the boot. Eric Holder is quickly becoming one of those rare members of an administration who is about to be more hated by his own party than by the opposition.
Posted by delirian on May 15, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this
14
Gore also did his best to convince the Naderites their "the two parties are identical!" meme was on the money by picking Joe Lieberman as his running mate. Presumably because Cheney was already taken.
Posted by Pope Buck I on May 15, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
15
@10, remember Newt Gingrich? Remember Bob Packwood? Remember the popular vote?
Posted by GermanSausage on May 15, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
delirian 16
@15: So what? The Republicans played the asshole card and took a brief beating. Then they were able to reframe the debate against their traumatized opponent as being about character. Eight years later they had two wars, a shitload of religious bullshit passed, a massive transfer of wealth to the rich and war profiteers, and the beginnings of a police state. All in all, it was a pretty good trade for a brief beating in a midterm election.
Posted by delirian on May 15, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
COMTE 17
By the time November 2014 rolls around, voters are going to have completely forgotten these particular so-called "scandals" (not that that will stop the GOP from beating the dead horses into "pate d' cheval", of course).

The real question is: can the GOP continue to generate enough "scandal of the week" type outrages over the next 18 months to keep the faithful in a perpetual state of mouth-foaming, and if so, is there a saturation point where even the staunchest Wing-Nut simply runs out of umbrage? Because the general public will no doubt have reached that point long before Election Day.
Posted by COMTE on May 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM · Report this
18
This just in...The White House just fired the IRS chief. Looks like The President is taking charge and kicking some butt, when the need truly arises, not just when Republicans say he should.
Posted by elbowman on May 15, 2013 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Zebes 19
Thank goodness, someone is finally standing up and making the hard decisions to protect the wounded pride of tea partiers!
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on May 15, 2013 at 5:14 PM · Report this
lark 20
@13 Agree. Holder needs to go.
Posted by lark on May 15, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 21
Steve Miller...head of the IRS?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwoiy-Fwm…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on May 15, 2013 at 5:50 PM · Report this
22
This administration in the last four years has prosecuted twice as many leakers as every previous administration combined. What they’re doing is matching all of the phone records to find out who had contact with someone in an AP bureau, whether that was in New York or Hartford or Washington or wherever else, and then they will probably use the Espionage Act to go after them. What we are seeing is a system put into place where it’s all propaganda. Any reference to a shield law is absurd, because they just violated the shield law by not going to court and informing AP of a subpoena but doing it secretly. you’ve got to hand it to the Obama administration. They’re far more clever than their predecessors in the Bush administration, but they’re carrying out exactly the same policy of snuffing out our most basic civil liberties and our most important press freedoms. And that’s because they know what’s coming, and they are going out of their way to create a system in which any challenge to the centers of corporate power become ineffectual or impossible. Obama not only should be impeached over this, he must be impeached.
Posted by Pol Pot on May 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM · Report this
23
@22, are you saying people who leak classified national security information shouldn't be prosecuted?

If he wasn't prosecuting them, would you be saying he should be impeached for allowing spies?
Posted by GermanSausage on May 15, 2013 at 6:47 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 24
@ 17, I think their capacity for bullshit is without limit. It's ritual for them, like going to church. Or to the two minutes hate.
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 15, 2013 at 7:00 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 25
We have a media protection bill.

It is called the 1st Amendment.

Read it sometime, tyrants.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on May 15, 2013 at 7:19 PM · Report this
26
@25, you're referring, of course, to the people who want prayer in public schools and the ten commandments in courthouses.
Posted by GermanSausage on May 15, 2013 at 7:33 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 27
The hits keep coming...this is America's worst nightmare:

The medical records included information on psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual and drug treatment, and other sensitive medical treatment data, the suit alleges.

According to a story by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed healthcare provider in California is suing the IRS and 15 unnamed agents, alleging that they improperly seized some 60 million medical records of 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges on March 11, 2011.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottgottlie…

This is KGB style oppression! Attacking people with medical histories!!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on May 15, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 28
#26

The 1st amendment separates Church and State. Organized religion and the Government. It does not separate God and Man.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on May 15, 2013 at 7:40 PM · Report this
29
@23- national security has nothing to do with this case, other than that it was used as a canard to rifle through months of phone records of assorted AP correspondents.
There have been no prosecutions, nor will there be. There was no spying involved. Each and every premise you propose is a canard.
This case has only one motivation, and that is to intimidate and terrorize people to keep them silent.
Already, investigative journalists have noted a marked decrease in access tominformation as a result of this witch hunt.
So turn the question around to yourself - are you saying Daniel Ellsberg should have been imprisoned for life?
This is blatant intimidation on the part of the Obama administration. It is no longer possible to say that there is an ounce of difference between him and his predecessor.
It is, however, becoming possible to say he is actually worse.
Posted by Pol Pot on May 15, 2013 at 7:44 PM · Report this
30
@29, do you believe that Obama is a Kenyan and also secretly a muslim?

Because that's the level of crazy you're expressing.
Posted by GermanSausage on May 15, 2013 at 7:55 PM · Report this
31
@30- what unfettered bullshit. I'm as crazy as Jeremy Scahill and Chris Hedges, upon who's analysis I base my opinion.
Upon who's analysis do you base your fawning fellatio of the president?
Posted by Pol Pot on May 15, 2013 at 8:03 PM · Report this
32
You're crazy like Orly Taitz or Fred Phelps.

Seriously. You think Obama should be impeached? You're fucking certifiable.
Posted by GermanSausage on May 15, 2013 at 8:14 PM · Report this
33
Yes, impeach the fucker. He is every bit as impeachable as Bush was.
Assassinating American citizens.
Illegal wiretapping.
I've never called someone an obamabot before, because, well, I've always thought it was ridiculous. But in your case... The shoe truly fits you.
Posted by Pol Pot on May 15, 2013 at 8:26 PM · Report this
34
@17 "The real question is: can the GOP continue to generate enough "scandal of the week" type outrages over the next 18 months to keep the faithful in a perpetual state of mouth-foaming, and if so, is there a saturation point where even the staunchest Wing-Nut simply runs out of umbrage? Because the general public will no doubt have reached that point long before Election Day. "

The answer is YES they can, and no, there is no saturation point. The GOP has wanted nothing more than perpetual scandal since he was elected. They were unsuccessful in the first term, so now it's pedal to the metal. Now they've got the journalists thing (WTF BHO ???), the IRS and Benghazi. Triple crown for the week, and a multimillion dollar special prosecutor is not far behind. The mouth-foaming is only beginning.
I just remember the pain of the second Clinton term, and I cringe. Here we go again.
Posted by crone on May 15, 2013 at 8:29 PM · Report this
35
"actually handles the bad things done by his administration they way they should be handled"
Oh, you mean by firing a scapegoat? Cute.

BTW, love the antagonistic language and copyright symbols. What an original way to win the hearts and minds of supposed confederates!
Posted by NotOutragedNotSurprised on May 15, 2013 at 8:48 PM · Report this
sirkowski 36
The only time the Washington media gets outraged is when they're the target. And then it was a legitimate investigation.
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on May 15, 2013 at 10:07 PM · Report this
Knat 37
@17

Even if they run out of outrage, so long as the GOP (and their official mouthpieces of Fox and similar wingnut outlets) has convinced them that it's better to vote for anyone but the outgoing President's recommendation, they've succeeded in their goal. Of course, anyone who gets all their news from such sources is about as likely to vote for a Democrat as they are to fly to the moon, so I don't know that it much matters.
Posted by Knat on May 16, 2013 at 1:40 AM · Report this
38
What if Obama had lost to a Republican and the US Government was:
* conducting dragnet surveillance of the press
* stockpiling everything they can about each of us, just in case it's useful someday
* refusing to prosecute massively-widespread banking fraud that tanked the economy
* persecuting those who expose war crimes and other malfeasance
* holding political prisoners until they attempt to starve themselves then strapping them to boards and inserting tubes to force-feed them
* dragging people before grand juries to interrogate them about their and their friends' political ideologies and torturning with solitary confinement to coerce testimony
* buying computer security exploits to break into people's computers instead of helping fix the flaws
* maintaining an extrajudicial kill list, openly ordering assassinations
* terrorizing civilians overseas with remote controlled killing machines
* preparing for military rule during times of civil disturbance
Would most liberals be ignoring all this like most of them are now if it wasn't a Democrat in office?
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on May 16, 2013 at 7:07 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 39
@ Pol Pot (why did you choose the name of a psychopathic murdering leader, anyway?) -

What exact offenses has Obama committed that make him impeachable? Be specific.
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 16, 2013 at 7:09 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 40
@ 38, That's quite the list. Here's another.

That matters because, as bad as the stuff on your list is, we would have almost nothing of the good stuff from the linked list with a Republican president.

It's not black and white. Don't be an idealist; be a realist.

Posted by Matt from Denver on May 16, 2013 at 7:20 AM · Report this
fletc3her 41
The left is ignoring these issues not because Obama is President, but because few really care about these issues no matter who is President.
Posted by fletc3her on May 16, 2013 at 8:09 AM · Report this
42
@40: I'm not suggesting that we would be better off with a Republican in office. I'm questioning the many passes Obama has been granted for actions that would likely have progressives foaming at the mouth if it wasn't their (our?) guy wasn't leading.
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on May 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 43
@ 42, accomplishing good things earns one more of a break. He's far from a great president or ideal voice for the left (not totally surprising, as he's a centrist), but there are people here saying there's no difference between him and Bush the 43rd, and that's just silly.
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 16, 2013 at 8:24 AM · Report this

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