|May 12, 2014||House Benghazi ‘investigation’ transparently political||8 comments|
|May 06, 2014||Benghazi Part Eight||15 comments|
|April 30, 2014||More guns Rep. Gregory?||9 comments|
|April 17, 2014||"Where Law Ends": Fox News||1 comments|
|April 10, 2014||Moral paragon or 'most corrupt'?||1 comments|
|April 02, 2014||Cleanse the temple||1 comments|
|March 26, 2014||‘Lone Survivor’ politicizes tale of heroism||7 comments|
|March 20, 2014||Refugees? How about state's poor?||3 comments|
|March 07, 2014||Issa's Nazi-like behavior||10 comments|
|March 03, 2014||Trust us!||7 comments|
By now it is pretty clear House Republicans are coordinating their Benghazi smear campaign with conservative media outlets, most notably Fox News.
Some readers not paying close attention to the proceedings might be wondering, is there anything to what the conservative media and House Republicans are saying about the four Americans who tragically died when their diplomatic outpost in Benghazi was overrun by Islamic militants on September 11-12, 2012?
The short answer is, no. What’s going on is transparently political.
House conservatives and their media allies have several goals keeping Benghazi alive, the first and most important being they can raise campaign cash if they do.
In fact, the Republican National Congressional Committee recently sent an e-mail to supporters soliciting donations on the strength of the recently announced “House Select Committee” that will conduct the ninth congressional Benghazi investigation. The previous eight investigations found no White House wrong doing.
The second reason is to smear Hillary Clinton, who was the Secretary of State when the Benghazi tragedy occurred.
Mrs. Clinton poses a formidable 2016 presidential opponent to whomever Republicans decide to run against her so it’s important to keep the Benghazi non-scandal alive in order to undermine her candidacy, a strategy that is sure to backfire badly on the GOP with women voters.
The third reason is to damage President Obama’s reputation. He led the nation out of the second worst economic collapse in the nation’s history and with the economy humming along now, it’s paramount to create the false impression he and Democrats have failed America.
Finally, and most importantly, the GOP-led House of Representatives has done nothing to help the president clean up the mess they made during President Bush’s eight ruinous years in office.
In fact, they’ve done nothing, period.
That’s not a record on which Republicans can run, so it’s crucial they have a smokescreen, something to hide their dereliction of duty from voters. They think Benghazi gives them the cover they need.
Now, let’s look into the five charges Republicans are using as their rationale to launch yet another investigation, claiming they have never been adequately addressed:
Charge: Somebody changed the talking points used by Ambassador Susan Rice during September 16, 2012 television interviews in order to protect the White House.
Answer: The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s bipartisan investigation of the tragedy said “talking points went through the normal interagency coordination process…(following) normal, but rushed coordination procedures and there were no efforts by the White House…to ‘cover up’ facts…for political purposes.”
Charge: The White House falsely blamed a video created by an anti-Islamic Coptic Christian and posted on the Intern for triggering spontaneous rather than coordinated attacks.
Answer: The Senate Select Committee report said, “Some intelligence suggests the attacks were likely put together in short order, following that day's violent protests in Cairo against an inflammatory video, suggesting that these and other terrorist groups could conduct similar attacks with little advance warning.”
Charge: President Obama was unaccounted for during the attack on the Benghazi compound.
Answer: There is an authenticated photograph of Obama and his advisers conferring about in the Oval Office on the day of the attack.
Charge: Much has been made of a purported “stand down” order to military units that might have rescued the besieged Americans.
Answer: The Senate Select Committee and the independent Accountability Review Board found that no such order was given and there was no effort by any military commander to delay help.
Charge: All eyewitnesses weren’t interviewed.
Answer: What House Republicans know but won’t say is that many of the eyewitnesses were or are CIA operatives, whose identities cannot be revealed. All of them have been interviewed in classified hearings.
In 1983, 17 Americans were among the 63 murdered by an Islamic terrorist bombing at the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
Just six months later, 241 Marines were murdered by an Islamic suicide bomber at their Beirut barracks.
On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 were murdered by Islamic terrorists even though President Bush was warned a month earlier such an attack was probable.
On May 12, 2003, Islamic terrorists murdered nine Americans at the diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, one of 13 such terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts during President Bush’s term.
So here’s my question:
Why weren’t any of these far more heinous Islamic terrorist attacks subjected to nine congressional investigations?
The Benghazi tragedy has been investigated by Congress now seven times and nothing has emerged to implicate the Obama administration of wrong doing, so the GOP is going for eight, hoping that's their lucky number.
After all, more than 50 House votes to repeal Obamacare worked wonders for them.
House Speaker John Boehner is impanelling a "House select committee" to again investigate the tragic deaths of four Americans at the diplomatic outpost in the remote Libyan city of Benghazi. He cites a new e-mail from a White House staffer that does nothing more than confirm already known facts as the reason for the new inquisition.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Republicans with non-stop help of Fox News and an army of right wing radio and print pundits, insist the White House is covering something up.
Ambassador Thomas Pickering who, along with retired Admiral Mike Mullen, led a months-long independent inquiry into Benghazi by the Accountability Review Board, famously said after the ARB delivered its report early last year, "I think the notion of a quote, cover up, has all the elements of Pulitzer Prize fiction attached to it."
Pickering doesn't understand right wingers will settle for fiction, Pulitzer Prize or not, if the facts won't support their claims.
So now, with elections approaching, Boehner wants to shift voter focus to anything other than the dismal performance of the House of Representatives he leads. And if that diversion can smear 2016's likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, even better as far as Boehner and his Republican contingent are concerned.
Democrats are talking about boycotting the latest GOP kangaroo court. But I sincerely hope Hillary appears before Rep. Trey Gowdy's committee. The rabid anti-Obama South Carolina tea partier was tasked by Boehner to lead the "impartial" House inquiry, the real goal of which is to produce video for Fox News and Republicans on the panel.
Expect all kinds of histrionics if not hysterics; angry finger pointing, baseless accusations, and impotent outrage that will be presented on the "fair and balanced" Fox network and edited into GOP campaign ads next fall.
And it's going to backfire. Big time.
The well rested Hillary will let the Republicans hoist themselves on their own petards. She'll calmly repeat what she told Congress last year and watch their fury as they try to trip her up, bait her into some kind of emotional response, or get her to say something they can use out of context.
Hillary is just so much smarter than any GOP hack Boehner selects and she's coached by one of the best politicians in American history. I expect some very deft verbal ju jitsu from her.
Meantime, women of all political stripes will sympathetically watch hostile male Republicans try to brow beat, abuse and disrespect this very accomplished woman, a former First Lady, United States Senator and Secretary of State, and wonder why the GOP expects their votes.
It was only a matter of time before gun violence erupted in Cobb County. The crime scene was once again in Kennesaw where, as it happens, local State Rep. Charles Gregory has made "gun freedom" his calling card during an otherwise unremarkable first term in Georgia legislature.
Recall it was just four years ago Jesse James Warren shot and killed three people and seriously wounded two others at the Penske truck rental center on Barrett Lakes Boulevard in Kennesaw.
Instead of considering what that hometown horror represented, the three lives destroyed and what might be done to prevent more gun violence, Gregory doubled down.
Let's put guns in churches, guns in bars and restaurants, guns on university campuses, guns here, guns there and guns everywhere, said Gregory when he ran for the Georgia House in 2012.
So what did you Kennesaw voters expect would happen if Rep. Gregory got his way?
Just a mile or so from the site of the Penske atrocity, another shooter, went on a bloody rampage, according to police, wounding six workers, two seriously, before killing himself at the FexEx facility near McCollum Field.
Such heinous acts and the public outrage that ensues aren't a time for reflection, says Gregory; it's not a time to discuss how to end the gun violence epidemic in America.
No when we have mass shootings,Gregory told the MDJ's Jon Gillooly after the massacre of 20 small children and six of their teachers in Newtown, Conn., it's an opportunity for the government to impose more restrictions on gun owners.
“People need to stand up for these liberties right now,” Gregory said in December, 2012, without so much as mentioning the slaughtered babies in Newtown, whose parents and siblings will live with the horrific memory of their little ones shot to pieces by Adam Lanza's assault rifle, the one his "responsible" gun owner mother kept unsecured in her home even though she knew her son was deranged.
To Gregory, who is blessed with three small children all presumably alive and well, the right to carry guns anywhere without restrictions of any kind trumps the right of Newtown, Kennesaw and all other gun violence victims' to live their lives.
Evidently Gregory believes the body count, the permanent injuries, the shattered lives, and the psychological trauma is the price every American must pay for "liberty" whether we own guns or not.
"(I)t’s fighting tooth and nail to get any small bit of liberty back in this country because for the entire history of our country since the beginning it’s been erosion of our liberties," Gregory went on, "and people do need to stand up in defense of those liberties, and also beyond that from a practical standpoint the argument of gun control is just not true, it’s a fallacy."
Oh yeah, Charlie? Call me when you visit the victims shot Tuesday morning. I want to tag along and see how that message is received by those who, unlike you, have actually taken a bullet.
Gregory isn't even original. He merely spouts paranoid, irresponsible National Rifle Association garbage in his bid to get back to the state capitol, transparently pandering to the NRA crowd knowing if he clings to Wayne LaPierre's trouser leg just enough Kennesaw gun lovers will show up at the polls to vote for him.
What a cynical ploy to get yourself elected to a lowly political post.
I wrote about Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety in my weekly column last Friday. With two mass shootings now, Kennesaw clearly needs to become one of those towns.
My novel, "Where Law Ends," is a re-telling of the legend of the Montana Vigilantes. If you aren't familiar with the story I'll give you the Reader's Digest version here:
Henry Plummer was a real life figure who migrated from California to the gold fields of southwestern Montana in 1862. He was elected sheriff and, with the help of just one deputy, enforced the law in a place inclined to rampant lawlessness.
Meantime, a group of "respectable citizens" accused Plummer of masterminding a nefarious gang of "road agents" and took the law into their own hands. (Buy the book at Amazon and find out what happened. Send it to me care of the MDJ and I'll autograph it for you).
As you will discover, I take a dim view of vigilantism. People who appoint themselves judge and jury are dangerous criminals as Henry Plummer discovered.
America is a nation of laws, thank God in heaven. We have due process for all, exceptionally trained police to investigate violations, learned attorneys serving as defenders and prosecutors to apply the law, and other learned attorneys serving as judges to rule on the law, case by case. We have appellate courts to rule on the judges' rulings. If punishment is imposed, we have a legal system for that, too.
Law is what makes America special. No one is above it.
I got to thinking about the Montana Vigilantes after watching Sean Hannity inciting a Mesquite, Nevada rancher to take up arms against federal employees.
Why was a Fox News' employee (Fox itself is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission) declaring Cliven Bundy and his goofball adult kids within their rights to aim loaded weapons at Bureau of Land Management agents who came around last week to confiscate their cattle under a lawful court order?
Bundy has, for 20 years, allowed his 500 or so cows to graze on public lands, which is perfectly alright. The only stipulation is he must pay a fee of $1.35 per head per day for that privilege, a bargain compared to the cost of grazing cows on private lands.
Most every rancher in the West abides by this reasonable pricing structure, with the BLM lawfully administering compliance.
Except Cliven Bundy, a citizen of the United States, protected by its armed forces and police, and a user of its public facilities like roads and bridges, doesn't "recognize" the authority of the federal government so he hasn't paid his grazing bill.
Imagine, you Cobb County residents, declaring you don't recognize the lawful authority of the county government and not paying your property taxes. In very short order, my friends, your mattresses, TVs and furniture would be on the curb and there would no Sean Hannity to applaud your "patriotic" pluck live, coast-to-coast.
Leave it to a little SOB like Sean Hannity to make a hero out of Bundy the Deadbeat Rancher. Nowadays, the federal "gubmint" means Barack Hussein Obama, and we ain't obeyin' no laws so long as that damn (fill in the blank) is in the White House!
"We have interviewed neighbors and people in and around Mesquite and they have said that (Bundy) is breaking the law," said Chuck Meyer, news director at CBS' KXNT Radio in Las Vegas. "When it comes to the matter of the law, Mr. Bundy is clearly wrong."
The confiscation of cattle came because Bundy ran up a $1 million tab with the feds. Last year a court ordered Bundy to remove his cattle or they would be confiscated and sold to pay what Bundy owed.
He deliberately disobeyed the order and the BLM began confiscation. When armed vigilantes showed up to defend Bundy, several aiming their assault weapons at the BLM agents, the feds released the cattle out of "serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public."
Now Hannity is trying to coax Bundy and his vigilante buddies into pulling the trigger so Fox News has a Waco or Ruby Ridge-style shoot-out it can sensationalize, one for which Hannity can take full credit.
Accept Hannity will never accept responsibility. He'll say it was Obama's fault.
The St. George (UT) News editorialized: "The Bundy Range War was perpetuated by an irresponsible media vying for nothing more than ratings and an ill-informed and willfully ignorant public who, much like a NASCAR fan, come to the race simply in hopes of seeing a crash."
Rep. Paul Broun, M.D., bills himself as a paragon of Christian virtue. Before the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Athens votes on any legislation, Broun claims he asks four questions: is it right/moral, is it Constitutional, is it necessary, is it affordable.
Unfortunately, the first question appears not to apply to Broun personally.
In 2007 and again in 2013, the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) ranked him among the most corrupt members of Congress.
"While he was running for Congress in 2007," says the CREW report, "Rep. Broun made several loans to his campaign that he said were made from his personal funds and carried no interest. Years later, after the campaign was caught making suspect 'interest' payments to Rep. Broun, he amended his Federal Election Commission reports to say two of the loans came from a home equity line of credit — which still left many questions unanswered."
Now Broun faces more questions.
The congressman would have us believe he is a fiscal conservative loathe to waste a single taxpayer penny on unnecessary things like food stamps, healthcare, or welfare for poor, elderly or disabled Americans.
But In March we learned he did spend more than $33,000 of taxpayer money hiring a debate coach for his Senate campaign.
WSB-TV reported last month Broun used the funds to hire O'Donnell and Associates, a firm run by Brett O'Donnell, a fellow evangelical Christian. O'Donnell advised Rep. Michele Bachmann, another evangelical who joined Broun on CREW's 2013 most corrupt list, during her failed 2012 presidential run (pattern here?).
When a WSB reporter attempted to talk to Broun about the spending, the congressman slammed his office door in the reporter's face. You can see it here:
According to Peter Waldron, who coordinated Bachmann's campaign in Iowa, O'Donnell, "...exercised ‘Rasputin-like control over Michele. More than one staffer was grateful to God that she didn’t win the nomination because of the influence that Brett had over her.”
“If somebody is advertising themselves as a campaign consultant, what are they doing on the taxpayer dime?” asked Kathy Keily with the Sunlight Foundation during a WSB interview. “These lawmakers can raise plenty of money to fund their campaigns. They really don't need the taxpayers to chip in as well."
Rep. Paul Ryan, the failed Republican vice presidential candidate, wants to balance the budget by 2024.
The way he proposes doing that is by making life even more miserable for the poor and sick.
Of course Ryan asks nothing of America's wealthiest citizens or Fortune 500 corporations who would continue to enjoy their lavish tax breaks and generous loopholes.
Pope Francis insists politicians must address society's neediest. But Ryan, who claims to be a devout Roman Catholic, ignores his church's leader and proposes huge cuts in Medicaid and food stamps along with full repeal of Obamacare to reach his goal.
His budget would even voucherize Medicare, a plan enthusiastically embraced by U.S. Senate candidates Representatives Paul Broun, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey. Seniors would be left on their own to buy health insurance with a subsidy of a few thousand dollars. Good luck.
Ryan stereotypes those who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps as worthless leeches, never mind that they include the elderly, the disabled, unemployed veterans, and children. His plan, says Ryan, “empowers recipients to get off the aid rolls and back on the payrolls.”
So much for Christian charity.
Along with his wealthy beneficiaries, Ryan's budget would increase defense spending, much of which is little more than corporate welfare.
"Affluent Americans would do quite well," said Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "But for tens of millions of others, the Ryan plan is a path to more adversity."
Just as millions of Americans are enjoying healthcare coverage, many for the first time, Ryan would do away with the Affordable Care Act to save $2 trillion over the next ten years.
He would have you believe Republicans will tell millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions who now have insurance they're no longer covered.
What we do learn from conservative hypocrites like Paul Ryan is that Koch money talks, the vulnerable walk. Any lip service Ryan pays to the teachings of Christ is belied by his money changer mentality.
Perhaps Pope Francis should start preaching about cleansing the temple.
I haven’t seen the movie “Lone Survivor,” but I recently picked up the 2007 book on which the film is based. The story chronicles the tragic fate of four Navy SEALS, outgunned by more than one hundred Taliban fighters on a remote Afghan mountain in 2005.
The title of the book is the spoiler. Its author, Marcus Luttrell, is the lone survivor after fighting a desperate 24-hour running gun battle with Taliban fanatics.
But here’s the surprise: it wasn’t Afghan insurgents who killed his three comrades. No, American “liberals” were responsible for their deaths, says Luttrell.
My family has strong ties to the U.S. Navy, so I have enormous respect for the men of the Navy SEALS. They are the best of the best.
Luttrell tells of his training, a fearsomely brutal regimen designed to weed out not only the physically unfit but those lacking the mental and emotional toughness necessary to carry out highly classified missions behind enemy lines.
I'd never make it. Neither would you.
As Luttrell repeatedly reminds us in his book, no other American military unit can do what the SEALS do. They are rigorously trained to fight our enemies on the land or sea in small, cohesive teams that move fast and silently, as they did the night President Obama dispatched SEAL Team Six to call on Osama bin Laden.
Luttrell reveals his dislike for liberals early on. He wonders why (liberal) “politicians” have set up rules of engagement that forbid him from shooting first and asking questions later, apparently unaware he is fighting an pernicious enemy that hides among innocent civilians.
He also doesn’t seem to know that the Afghanistan ROE were handed down by the Pentagon under the direction of the Bush White House when his story takes place.
Luttrell says the secular Saddam was aiding the fanatically religious al Qaeda, a long-debunked Bush administration lie. The sun rises out of the Pacific Ocean, according to Luttrell, and later he tells the reader Afghanistan is in Southeast Asia.
Adm. Mike Mullen personally promotes Luttrell but the author misspells the admiral's name. Twice.
The ex-SEAL also states soldiers accused of crimes are tried in “civilian” courts when, in fact, all servicemen and women are subject the Uniform Military Code of Justice.
The SEALs worry about firing weapons because they will make too much noise. Later, Luttrell says his rifle has a silencer.
Did anyone proof read or fact check this book? It doesn't matter, the inconsistencies and errors set up the improbable events Luttrell claims took place on that lonely Afghan mountain top.
The four SEALS take up a position that hides them from their quarry, a Taliban honcho they’re out to kill or capture. Then three unarmed Afghanis stumble across them, presenting the Americans with a “conundrum,” as Luttrell describes it; kill the Afghanis or let them go?
Up to now, Luttrell has told us how smart, tough and resourceful the SEALs are; how self-sufficient, decisive and cold-blooded they can be in life or death situations. So what do these particular SEALs do?
According to Luttrell, their officer, Lt. Mike Murphy, held an election on the Afghanis’ fate.
I have read a lot of military literature but nowhere, ever can I recall a commander polling his subordinates about what to do in such a dire combat situation.
If they shot the three Afghans, Murphy incredulously warned the SEALs, “the liberal media will attack us without mercy…we will be charged with murder,” according to Luttrell who says the deciding vote fell to him.
“But my trouble is, I have another soul. A Christian soul,” writes the ex-SEAL. “I looked Mikey right in the eye, and said, ‘We gotta let ‘em go…I’d turned into a (expletive) liberal….’”
Thus, the Afghanis went free and liberals (or Jesus?) killed three brave Navy SEALs.
Luttrell’s implausible version of events serve only to reinforce the polarizing and utterly absurd notion that only conservatives love America and are capable of being patriots.
It’s very sad that Luttrell chose to politicize this otherwise inspiring story of selfless heroism.
I wish Rev. Bryant Wright was as concerned about Georgia's poor as he is about foreign refugees entering the state.
"(W)e support refugees because of our faith, knowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ compels us to love the foreigner, even those who come from cultures and religions that may be very different than our own," said Wright in a recent MDJ guest op-ed.
The Gospels also compel us to love the poor and the sick in our backyard.
So why aren't Rev. Wright and other Cobb County Christian leaders demanding Gov. Nathan Deal expand Medicaid to cover Georgia's 650,000 uninsured? Their voices, joined by other Christian leaders around Georgia, would undoubtedly force Deal and the state legislature to accept Medicaid expansion under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
"These are not numbers," said Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor Raphael Warnock. "These are our neighbors."
Warnock was among the Moral Monday Georgia protesters at the state capital Monday, there to demand the Senate not pass House Bill 707, which would prevent any state official from implementing Obamacare.
I have asked a number of local Christian ministers, including Rev. Wright, why they remain silent on Medicaid expansion, a program that would help so many people with so little effort. Rev. Wright didn't respond to my e-mail, and the only minister who did told me Christ's admonition to care for the sick and poor didn't mean governments should help.
This is why I don't worship at a church. The hypocrisy of this crowd is simply too profound.
Rather than offend the Obama-hating right wingers in their pews, Rev. Wright and the others point at their various charitable ministries with smug satisfaction as if all of these charities combined could come close to meeting the needs of Georgia's poor and sick.
If they went public and insisted Medicaid be expanded, these ministers and pastors know they might be looking at fewer faces next Sunday when they preach; that the collection plates might be a little less full.
And that appears to be more important than taking a moral stand like Pastor Warnock.
"(N)early all funding allocated for refugee programs is direct federal funding, some of which flows through the state of Georgia, sometimes creating the mistaken impression that Georgia tax dollars fund these programs," Wright says.
Well, guess what, Reverend? Those 650,000 poor and sick Georgians - many of them children - would receive preventative and critical healthcare, the cost of which would be borne by the federal government in the first three years and 90 percent thereafter. States can opt out if the feds don't meet their obligation.
In addition, a study conducted by the state's leading healthcare economist, Dr. Bill Custer, says expansion would create 70,000 good paying healthcare industry jobs in a state with 7.3 percent unemployment.
"Annually these additional jobs would add an average $8.2 billion to statewide economic output. This additional economic activity would generate increased state and local tax revenue, which was estimated to be on average $276.5 million annually," says Custer.
Meantime, Georgia's federal tax dollars are making a one-way trip to pay for Medicaid expansion in states like New York, California and Illinois. If for no other reason, it simply makes economic sense to get some of our dollars back here to Georgia.
Even ultra-conservative Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer sees the wisdom of expanding Medicaid in her state.
"I encourage anyone who is skeptical of this program to get to know these (refugees) and welcome our new neighbors. There is a very good chance you will be blessed if you do," Rev. Wright concludes.
The very same thing can be said for Georgia's poor, Reverend Wright.
I just read Erik Larson's remarkable book, "In the Garden of Beasts." Through contemporary letters and other sources, it chronicles the experiences of American Ambassador William Dodd and his family in Nazi Germany from 1933-1937, as Hitler tightened his grip on the German people.
While Dodd looked on helplessly, Hitler ruthlessly silenced all opposing political voices, passing laws forbidding opposition newspapers, for example, and imprisoning, torturing and killing those who spoke out against him.
Thankfully, Hitler and his hideous regime were crushed. Today in America we rejoice that our robust democracy thrives, opposition voices are always heard, and differing opinions considered.
Unless you are Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, that is.
After acknowledging his year-long, multi-million dollar, partisan "investigation" into the IRS had reached its predictable dead end, Issa hastily adjourned his House Oversight Committee hearing on March 5.
But Democratic committee member Rep. Elijay Cummings had an important question about Issa's management of the investigation: why did the chairman supply evidence to Fox News Sunday but refuse to give the same evidence to Cummings and the rest of the House committee after it was requested?
In a shocking scene reminiscent of the1934 Reichstag, Issa shut off Cummings' microphone, dismissed Republicans members and left the hearing. His mike turned off, Cummings expressed his outrage at Issa and the way he wiped his feed on the democratic process. You can watched the entire travesty here:
Thanks to a transcript of Cummings' remarks posted on-line, the following is what Issa didn't want Americans to hear:
"(When Issa appeared on Fox News Sunday he) claim(ed) that (IRS official Lois) Lerner was quote, at the center of this effort to, quote, target conservative groups. Although he provided a copy of his report to Fox. He refused my request to provide it to the members of the committee.
"He cannot support these claims," Cummings continued. "We have now interviewed 38 employees, who have all told us the same thing. That the White House did not direct this or even know about it at the time it was occurring. And none of the witnesses have provided any political motivation. The (IRS) Inspector General, Russell George, told us the same thing. He found no evidence of any White House involvement, or political motivation."
Like Hitler, political retribution and hiding his lies are more important to Issa than the truth. I'm sure if Issa had his way, the Gestapo would have picked up Cummings on his way home.
Millions of Americans have given their lives defending our democratic principles. We don't shut off microphones when when a duly elected representative of the American people wants answers or wishes to make a statement on behalf of his or her constituents.
Of all the low points for Republicans over the last five years - and there have been too many to count - this may be lowest.
Why is it important to shield private contractors and subcontractors doing government business from Georgia’s Sunshine Laws as House Bill 976 sought to do?
Why did its sponsors, Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and Rep. John Carson (R-northeast Cobb), not want us to see what those contractors and subs are doing with our money?
It's moot - for now. The legislation was tabled. But it’s instructive to study what was going on here because Cobb County and state elected officials will be working closely with contractors over the next several years.
“My understanding is people are beginning to use open records requests for the sole purpose of gaining records of … private businesses' payroll records,” Ehrhart told the MDJ’s Nikki Wiley.
Ehrhart declined to provide Ms. Wiley with any examples of people poking their noses into private records but he did say, “I can’t imagine that this is even controversial…I think (those questioning the bill) need to readjust their tin foil hat.”
So Ehrhart thinks Cobb taxpayers like me who worry about a giant pile of tax dollars attended by an invisible and unaccountable few are wild eyed conspiracy theorists lacking faith in our fellow man?
No, Rep. Ehrhart, we have a healthy skepticism that politicians can always be trusted to do the right thing.
Many of us are also concerned about the $300 million the Cobb County Commission gave the $16 BILLION Liberty Media Corporation to build the new Braves stadium so a bunch of their millionaire employees can play baseball here.
Recall that at the behest of Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee the stadium deal was rammed through with speed, stealth and no real public comment two days before the Thanksgiving holiday last year.
Why was this haste necessary? Why did Cobb County Commission Lee cloak the stadium proceedings with secrecy? Why did the Commission ignore the many loud Cobb County voices raised in protest?
And why House Bill 976, the timing of which stinks to high heaven?
I know this sounds crazy, but very often when the financial records of contractors working on public projects are closed to third party scrutiny, criminality can and often does occur.
That’s especially true when we’re talking about hundreds of millions of tax dollars and the prevailing wisdom among the feloniously inclined that nobody will miss a slice from a cut loaf.
Hypothetically, let’s say some influential politician’s brother-in-law has a "consulting firm" whose sole client is the general contractor on a big ticket public project, a new baseball stadium, for instance.
The brother-in-law sends the general contractor a bill for “consulting services” that are never performed and, by pre-arranged agreement with the contractor, the bother-in-law receives a fat payment.
Then that fat payment miraculously ends up in some influential politician’s pocket, minus a small commission for said brother-in-law.
Such a scam constitutes conspiracy and either wire or mail fraud, all serious felonies that can result in a lengthy stay as a guest of the federal or state government.
That hypothetical scenario and others like it happen all the time when public dollars, politicians, and private contractors get together, so it’s not my tin foil hat talking.
As reported by Ms. Wiley, here’s what I and others find so curious about Ehrhart’s and Carson’s sudden interest in confidential government contracting:
“(I)t was Ehrhart who first connected Cobb Chairman Tim Lee with Atlanta Braves executives before the $672 million stadium deal was hatched using $300 million in public dollars.”
As my sister likes to say, “Things that make you go hmmmmm.”