13 Benghazis That Occurred on Bush’s Watch Without a Peep from Fox News

by Bob Cesca, Huffington Post.com, May 2013

The Republican inquisition over the attacks against Americans in Benghazi has never really gone away, but it appears as though in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and the House Oversight Committee’s Benghazi hearings this week there are renewed psycho-histrionics over Benghazi.

Lindsey Graham and Fox News Channel in particular are each crapping their cages over new allegations from an alleged whistleblower, while they continue to deal in previously debunked falsehoods about the sequence of events during and following the attacks. Fox News is predictably helming the biggest raft of hooey on the situation — turning its attention to Hillary Clinton in an abundantly obvious early move to stymie her presidential run before it even begins.

So I thought I’d revisit some territory I covered back in October as a bit of a refresher — especially since it appears as if no one, including and especially the traditional press, intends to ask any of these obnoxious, opportunistic liars about why they’re so obsessed by this one attack yet they entirely ignored the dozen-plus consulate/embassy attacks that occurred when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were allegedly “keeping us safe.”

The Benghazi attacks (the consulate and the CIA compound) are absolutely not unprecedented even though they’re being treated that way by Republicans who are deliberately ignoring anything that happened prior to Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009.

January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.

June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al Qaeda attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.

October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.

February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.

May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al Qaeda terrorists storm the diplomatic compound, killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.

July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.

December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.

March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)

September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.

January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.

March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.

July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.

September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.

A few observations about this timeline. My initial list was quoted from an article on the Daily Kos which actually contained several errors and only 11 attacks (the above timeline contains all 13 attacks). Also, my list above doesn’t include the numerous and fatal attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during the Iraq war — a war that was vocally supported by Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Fox News Channel.

Speaking of Graham, I ran a search on each attack along with the name “Lindsey Graham” in the hopes of discovering that Graham had perhaps commented about the attacks or raised some questions about why the administration didn’t prevent the attacks or respond accordingly to prevent additional embassy attacks. No results. Of course. Now, this could mean the search wasn’t exhaustive enough. But one thing’s for sure: neither Graham nor any of his cohorts launched a crusade against the Bush administration and the State Department in any of those cases — no one did, including the congressional Democrats, by the way.

This leads us to the ultimate point here. Not only have numerous sources previously debunked the Benghazi information being peddled by the Republicans and Fox News (for example, contrary to what the Republicans are saying, yes, reinforcements did in fact arrive before the attack on the CIA compound), but none of these people raised a single word of protest when, for example, American embassies in Yemen and Pakistan were attacked numerous times. Why didn’t the Bush administration do something to secure the compounds after the first attacks? Why didn’t he provide additional security?

Where was your inquest after the Karachi attacks, Mr. Graham? Where were you after the Sana’a attacks, Mr. Hannity? What about all of the embassy attacks in Iraq that I didn’t even list here, Mr. McCain? Do you realize how many people died in attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates when Bush was supposedly keeping us safe, Mr. Ailes? Just once I’d like to hear David Gregory or George Stephanopoulos or Wolf Blitzer ask a Republican member of Congress about the above timeline and why they said nothing at the time of each attack. Just once.

Nearly every accusation being issued about Benghazi could’ve been raised about the Bush-era attacks, and yet these self-proclaimed truth-seekers refused to, in their words, undermine the commander-in-chief while troops were in harm’s way (a line they repeated over and over again during those years).

So we’re only left to conclude the obvious. The investigations and accusations and conspiracy theories are entirely motivated by politics and a strategy to escalate this to an impeachment trial. In doing so, the Republicans have the opportunity not only to crush the president’s second term, but also to sabotage the potential for a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Even if they never arrive at that goal, they have in their possession a cudgel formed of horseshit — a means of flogging the current administration with the singularly effective Republican marketing/noise machine, including the conservative entertainment complex. Very seldom does this machine fail to revise history and distort the truth. Ultimately, they don’t even need a full-blown impeachment proceeding when they have a population of way too many truthers and automatons who take all of these lies at face value — not to mention dubiously sourced chunks of “truth” proffered by radio and cable news conspiracy theorists who, if nothing else, are masters at telling angry conservatives precisely what they want to hear: that the probably-Muslim president is weak on terrorism. And so they’ll keep repeating “Benghazi-Gate, Benghazi-Gate, Benghazi-Gate!” without any regard for history or reality. Like always.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/13-benghazis-that-occurre_b_3246847.html

So You Think You Know the Second Amendment?

by Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker, December 18, 2012

Does the Second Amendment prevent Congress from passing gun-control laws? The question, which is suddenly pressing, in light of the reaction to the school massacre in Newtown, is rooted in politics as much as law.

For more than a hundred years, the answer was clear, even if the words of the amendment itself were not. The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The courts had found that the first part, the “militia clause,” trumped the second part, the “bear arms” clause. In other words, according to the Supreme Court, and the lower courts as well, the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms—but did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon.

Enter the modern National Rifle Association. Before the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. had been devoted mostly to non-political issues, like gun safety. But a coup d’état at the group’s annual convention in 1977 brought a group of committed political conservatives to power—as part of the leading edge of the new, more rightward-leaning Republican Party. (Jill Lepore recounted this history in a recent piece for The New Yorker.) The new group pushed for a novel interpretation of the Second Amendment, one that gave individuals, not just militias, the right to bear arms. It was an uphill struggle. At first, their views were widely scorned. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who was no liberal, mocked the individual-rights theory of the amendment as “a fraud.”

But the N.R.A. kept pushing—and there’s a lesson here. Conservatives often embrace “originalism,” the idea that the meaning of the Constitution was fixed when it was ratified, in 1787. They mock the so-called liberal idea of a “living” constitution, whose meaning changes with the values of the country at large. But there is no better example of the living Constitution than the conservative re-casting of the Second Amendment in the last few decades of the twentieth century. (Reva Siegel, of Yale Law School, elaborates on this point in a brilliant article.)

The re-interpretation of the Second Amendment was an elaborate and brilliantly executed political operation, inside and outside of government. Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 brought a gun-rights enthusiast to the White House. At the same time, Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, became chairman of an important subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he commissioned a report that claimed to find “clear—and long lost—proof that the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms.” The N.R.A. began commissioning academic studies aimed at proving the same conclusion. An outré constitutional theory, rejected even by the establishment of the Republican Party, evolved, through brute political force, into the conservative conventional wisdom.

And so, eventually, this theory became the law of the land. In District of Columbia v. Heller, decided in 2008, the Supreme Court embraced the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment. It was a triumph above all for Justice Antonin Scalia, the author of the opinion, but it required him to craft a thoroughly political compromise. In the eighteenth century, militias were proto-military operations, and their members had to obtain the best military hardware of the day. But Scalia could not create, in the twenty-first century, an individual right to contemporary military weapons—like tanks and Stinger missiles. In light of this, Scalia conjured a rule that said D.C. could not ban handguns because “handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.”

So the government cannot ban handguns, but it can ban other weapons—like, say, an assault rifle—or so it appears. The full meaning of the court’s Heller opinion is still up for grabs. But it is clear that the scope of the Second Amendment will be determined as much by politics as by the law. The courts will respond to public pressure—as they did by moving to the right on gun control in the last thirty years. And if legislators, responding to their constituents, sense a mandate for new restrictions on guns, the courts will find a way to uphold them. The battle over gun control is not just one of individual votes in Congress, but of a continuing clash of ideas, backed by political power. In other words, the law of the Second Amendment is not settled; no law, not even the Constitution, ever is.

Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty.
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/12/jeffrey-toobin-second-amendment.html?printable=true&currentPage=all#ixzz2FQCSfzPS

Right wing religious extremism

… what I’m willing to do, which the mainstream church is not, is to denounce the Christian right as Christian heretics…what they have done is acculturate the worst aspects of American imperialism, capitalism, chauvinism, and violence and bigotry into the Christian religion… I think the great failure of the liberal tradition that I come out of is they were too frightened and too timid to stand up. I don’t know why they spent all the years in seminary if they didn’t realize that when they walked out the door they were going to have to fight for it. And they didn’t fight for it. Chris Hedges on Christian Heretics, Truthdig.com, Nov 2, 2013 -

How Christian Delusions Are Driving the GOP Insane

‘Republicanity’—The GOP Transformation is Nearly Complete By Gary Laderman, ReligionDispatches.com, July 17, 2011   …The Republican Party is no longer a political party—it’s a full-fledged religious movement. The political ideology fueling this movement is religious to the core… it offers an unequivocal command: followers are children who must be obedient in the face of authority.…It is like the most narrow and conservative religious cultures in its absolutist ethical positions and refusal to tolerate any difference of opinion….

How the Unholy Alliance Between the Christian Right and Wall Street Is ‘Crucifying America’

American Theocracy — Clear and Present Dangers by Alan Brinkley, March 20, 2006 by the New York Times

The Reli­gious Right and The Repub­li­can Plat­form, by Lau­ren Feeney, BillMoyers.com, August 31, 2012 — …The forty-year time­line below traces the increased inclu­sion in the plat­form of the lan­guage and ideals of the Reli­gious Right…1976: first men­tion of abortion1976 Fol­low­ing the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade deci­sion, the Repub­li­can plat­form calls for “a posi­tion on abor­tion that val­ues human life.” It also asserts that “Our great Amer­i­can Repub­lic was founded on the prin­ci­ple: One nation under God, with lib­erty and jus­tice for all.”…2012: first men­tion of the “war on reli­gion” 2012 This year, there’s a resur­gence of reli­gious rhetoric and ide­ol­ogy. The party’s plat­form con­tains 10 ref­er­ences to God, 19 ref­er­ences to faith and the first ref­er­ence to a “war on reli­gion.” Cit­ing what it calls the Obama administration’s “attempt to com­pel faith-related insti­tu­tions, as well as believ­ing indi­vid­u­als, to con­tra­vene their deeply held reli­gious, moral, or eth­i­cal beliefs regard­ing health ser­vices, tra­di­tional mar­riage, or abor­tion,” the plat­form accuses “lib­eral elites” of try­ing to “drive reli­gious beliefs — and reli­gious believ­ers — out of the pub­lic square.”

Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party by Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now! September 5, 2009

Dominionism

The Pundits and the Dominionists by Julie Ingersoll, ReligionDispatches.com, August 26, 2011 …The increase in coverage of the religious right’s longterm strategy to transform American culture has led to a number of responses charging “leftists” with fearmongering… Reconstructionists themselves  hold a view of knowledge that says that there are really only two possible worldviews (a biblical one and a humanist one that comes in several varieties) and that both worldview are in a conflict for dominion (so in their view “we” are fighting for it too)……These broad cultural changes have developed, in part, from a longterm strategy…the most important component of which is the education of children (theirs and insofar as is practical other peoples’ as well). It is not fearmongering, paranoia, or religious bigotry to try to understand their goals and strategies. In fact, it’s irresponsible not to. 

Religion wars

The Spiritual and Political Warfare of the New Religious Right by Bill Berkowitz for Buzzflash at Truthout, July 9, 2013 – As many of the pre-Reagan era Religious Right leaders retire and/or die off, beware of the new breed. Lou Engle is one of the new breed…the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the charismatic evangelical political and religious movement that he has come to personify, has made such a splash that it threatens to drown out the more traditional voices of the Christian Right.…Rachel Tabachnick wrote in a long essay titled “The Christian Right, Reborn: The New Apostolic Reformation Goes to War,” in the Spring 2013 issue of Political Research Associates’ The Public Eye… “Engle has staged more than 20 similar rallies, and each has attracted tens of thousands of participants to stadiums across the United States. He and his organization have also become deeply involved in U.S. politics, especially in anti choice and antigay organizing,” …What the movement is really after is “to unify evangelical and all Protestant Christianity into a postdenominational structure, bringing about a reformation in the way that churches relate to one other, and in individual churches’ internal governance.” Engle calls for massive “spiritual warfare” that will result in a complete worldwide “political and social transformation”: “The revolution begins, they believe, with the casting out of demons, Tabachnick states…Demonic activity has caused the downfall of society, both at home and abroad. “The sources of demonic activity can include homosexuality, abortion, non-Christian religions, and even sins from the past.” …To achieve its goals, the NAR aims to have its apostles seize control over every important aspect of society, including, the government, military, entertainment industry and education.” If the NAR falls short of world denomination, it intends, as a minimum, to “turn America back to God.”…

Right-Wing Religion’s War on America By Rob Boston

10 Ways Right-Wing Christian Groups Will Likely Shove Religion Down Your Throat This Year By Simon Brown, Church & State Magazine, January 4, 2012

How the Fundamentalist Mind Compels Conservative Christians to Force Their Beliefs on You By Valerie Tarico, AlterNet, March 7, 2012

Why It’s Okay to Criticize Fundamentalist Evangelicals by Tom Eggebeen

Policy wars

How the Religious Right Is Fueling Climate Change Denial

How Pro­pa­gan­dists for the 1% Are Manip­u­lat­ing Chris­t­ian Teach­ings to Rob the Mid­dle Class

With Millions in Assets And Hundreds of Attorneys, Christian Right Is Waging War on the Church-State Wall, By Rob Boston, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, posted on Alternet.org, March 5, 2013 

Christian fundamentalist extremism

The Tragic Story of Christianity: How a Pacifist Religion Was Hijacked by Rabid Warmongering Elites By Gary G. Kohls, Consortium News, January 30, 2012

The Wild Hypocrisy of America’s Conservative Christians By David Sirota, AlterNet.org, April 20, 2012

Group Behind King James Bible Congressional Resolution Thinks Obama Might Be Antichrist by Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches, April 26, 2011

The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger by Chris Hedges, Truthdig.org, June 8, 2012

The Biggest Religious Movement You Never Heard of: Nine Things You Need to Know About Rick Perry’s Prayer Event by Paul Rosenberg, AlterNet, August 6, 2011

End times

Of Course Michele Bachmann Believes the End Times Are Here by Abby Ohlheiser, Atlantic Wire, Oct 7, 2013

The End Times come to prime time by Jeanne Halgren Kilde, StarTribune, April 13, 2005

Anti-government

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government  by Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com, posted on CommonDreams.org, October 7, 2013

The Values Voter Summit doesn’t own God

In Head and Heart: A History of Christianity in America

The Delu­sional Is No Longer Mar­ginal by Bill Moy­ers, pub­lished as “There Is No Tomorrow” By Bill Moy­ers in the Jan­u­ary 30, 2005 Star­Tri­bune, Min­neapo­lis  -  One of the biggest changes in pol­i­tics in my life­time is that the delu­sional is no longer mar­ginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power… For the first time in our his­tory, ide­ol­ogy and the­ol­ogy hold a monop­oly of power in Wash­ing­ton. The­ol­ogy asserts propo­si­tions that can­not be proven true; ide­o­logues hold stoutly to a world­view despite being con­tra­dicted by what is gen­er­ally accepted as reality.……What has hap­pened to our moral imag­i­na­tion?  The news is not good these days. I can tell you that as a jour­nal­ist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free — free to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the anti­dote to despair, the cure for cyn­i­cism… the capac­ity to see, to feel and then to act as if the future depended on you. Believe me, it does.