Free Press News Feeds
In a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa exclusively obtained by CNN, the co-chairmen behind an independent review of September's deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, expressed irritation over the House Oversight Committee chairman's portrayal of their work and requested he call a public hearing at which they can testify.
"The public deserves to hear your questions and our answers," wrote former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, co-chairmen of the Accountability Review Board that was convened to investigate the September 11th attack.Last weekend, Issa said he would consider letting Pickering and Mullen testify, but only behind closed doors. Apparently, letting the co-chairman of the independent Benghazi review board testify in an open hearing would be too partisan:
The fact is, we don't want to have some sort of a stage show. We had fact witnesses. They testified. We have the Ambassador and Admiral Mullen who conducted and oversaw the [independent review]. We're inviting them on Monday. We'll go through, not in front of the public, but in a nonpartisan way. That's obviously a load of bull. The real reason Issa doesn't want a public hearing because hearing from the independent Benghazi review board won't serve his narrow partisan interests. And Pickering and Mullen are calling Issa out for his double standard:
But the two assert in their letter that a public hearing is a "more appropriate forum" and accuse Issa of changing his "position on the terms of our appearance." The full letter is here.
The IRS scandal has claimed its first scalp. Steve Miller, the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, has resigned at the request of the Treasury secretary, President Obama announced in a late-afternoon statement to the media. The agency was found to have inappropriately targeted conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status. “Americans are right to be angry about it,” Obama said of the misconduct. “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior ... given the power that [the IRS] has and the reach that it has in all of our lives.” Obama also said he’d cooperate with Congress during its oversight review.
"I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS," Obama said at the White House. "Given the power that it has, and the reach that it has in all of our lives. And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe you're from, the fact of the matter is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity."
Obama also said that his administration will implement new procedures to ensure the same kind of misconduct does not occur again, inviting lawmakers to assist in the effort.
"I've directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the [Inspector General's] recommendations right away," Obama said. "Third, we will work with congress as it performs its oversight role."
An internal Treasury Department report found that ineffective management at the agency allowed employees to inappropriately single out conservative non-profit groups for additional reviews during in the run up to the 2012 election, focusing on such key words as “Tea Party,” ”Patriots” or “9/12 Project” in their applications.
Miller said that he would not be leaving the agency immediately in order to facilitate a transition, according to a resignation letter obtained by CNN:
May 15, 2013
The internal message to IRS Employees from Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller
It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June. This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation's tax agency. I believe the Service will benefit from having a new Acting Commissioner in place during this challenging period. As I wrap up my time at the IRS, I will be focused on an orderly transition.
While I recognize that much work needs to be done to restore faith in the IRS, I don't want anyone to lose sight of the fact that the IRS is comprised of incredibly dedicated and hard-working public servants. During my 25-year IRS career, I am profoundly proud to have worked alongside you and to be part of an institution that has worked hard to support the nation. I have strong confidence in the IRS leadership team to continue the important work of our agency.
I want to thank everyone for all of their support and friendship during my career in government service. And I especially want to thank each and every one of you for your continued commitment to the nation's taxpayers.
On last night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart took on the conservative response to the recent onslaught of scandals facing the White House, or as Stewart calls it, “Hurricane Scandy, the continuing tropical shitstorm that is rocking the Obama administration.”
“Yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney, like an intrepid weather man let the wind and rain pummel him for our entertainment purposes,” Stewart said, before showing a lengthy montage of press corps reporters grilling Carney on the IRS, Associated Press and Benghazi.
“But you know what, fair is fair,” Stewart observed. “It is a good week for conservatives. The angry rhetoric and level of upset about the president, for once, seems somewhat appropriate.”
Stewart proceeded to play another montage, this time of Fox pundits wetting their pants over the president’s recent troubles, ending with a clip of Fox and Friends’ Steve Doocy saying, “this is very bad news for the White House,” while showing a rather suggestive smirk.
“Mr. Doocy, I could go without knowing what your “O” face is,” Stewart quipped.
“See what you have done Obama administration? Their complaints are legitimate!” Stewart continued. The host played a clip of Fox’s Megan Kelley questioning how these scandals never reached any senior leadership, adding “Is there anybody who’s minding the shop?”
“That’s what I was saying yesterday! You know what, Megan Kelley? We’ve had our differences. Maybe it’s time we have a show together — call it ‘Fox and Frenemy’. No wait, ‘Beauty and the Bris’.”
In fact, not all scientists do agree that humans are causing global warming. As researchers under the guidance of John Cook at Skeptical Science discovered in a "citizen science" survey of 11,944 peer-reviewed articles, 1.6 percent of the authors expressing an opinion on the subject rejected or were uncertain about the consensus that the earth is undergoing anthropogenic (human-generated) global warming (AGW). And 97.1 percent of the nearly 4,000 articles in which the author(s) took a position endorsed the AGW consensus. (The survey was published May 15 in Environmental Research Letters as an open access article.)
The survey will not, of course, persuade the professional deniers, several of whom have already weighed in with attacks on the credibility of Cook and Skeptical Science itself. What optimists might hope for, however, is that the media will finally get the message and stop implying that some significant proportion of scientists dispute the anthropogenic nature of global warming. If only we could get the number of warming rejectionists in Congress down to 1.6 percent.
Cook's team of volunteers, recruited from the Skeptical Science website's readers in eight countries, expanded on an original survey conducted in 2004 by Naomi Oreskes. That survey found 928 peer-reviewed articles in the scientific literature from 1993-2004. Here's how the Skeptical Science team did its work:
We took a conservative approach in our ratings. For example, a study which takes it for granted that global warming will continue for the foreseeable future could easily be put into the implicit endorsement category; there is no reason to expect global warming to continue indefinitely unless humans are causing it. However, unless an abstract included (either implicit or explicit) language about the cause of the warming, we categorized it as "no position."The reviewers also asked the authors of some 2,100 articles to rate their own views about AGW. In this short video, Cook explains some of the details:
Please continue reading below the fold for more on the survey.
Daily Kos Radio's Kagro in the Morning show podcasts are now available through iTunes.
I meant to get to the story of renewed interest in filibuster reform yesterday. Why don't we say I'll try that today? I mean, it doesn't cost anything to say it, right? Hell, let's say everyone who listens to the show today gets a free car, too, while we're at it! Why not? Accountability is a unicorn, anyway!
There's still a little more material out there on the IRS thing, of course. And no telling what new developments there'll be. And, of course, our backlog of stories from before everything blew up.
Maybe there's no point in predicting beyond making vague promises, anyway! I'll leave that to Greg. On with the show!
P.S. Watch this space for an exciting(-ish) announcement tomorrow!
We're LIVE at 9 a.m. ET with Kagro in the Morning, thanks to NetrootsRadio.com.
download the Stitcher app on your favorite mobile device, and search for the Netroots Radio live stream? And hey, when you do, be sure to sign up with the promo code DAILYKOS, and earn Daily Kos Radio $1 in the Stitcher affiliate program!
Please do remember to "favorite" us while you're at Stitcher. We're bouncing up and down in the rankings these days, and the more of you who help us, the more listeners out there who'll find us on the Stitcher network.
Miss the last show? You can catch it here:Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.
From the May 16 edition of CBS' CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:
SCOTT PELLEY: Also at his news conference today the president called for tighter security for U.S. diplomatic facilities to prevent an attack like the one in Benghazi, Libya, last year that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Of course, Benghazi has become a political controversy. Republicans claim that the Administration watered down the facts in talking points that were given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for television appearances while Mr. Obama was running for reelection. Republicans on Capitol Hill claim that they had found proof of this in White House e-mails that they leaked to reporters last week. Well, it turns out some of the quotes in those e-mails were wrong. Major Garrett is at the White House for us tonight. Major?
MAJOR GARRETT: Scott, Republicans have claimed that the State Department under Hillary Clinton was trying to protect itself from criticism. The White House released the real e-mails late yesterday, and here's what we found when we compared them to the quotes that had been provided by Republicans. One e-mail was written by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.On Friday, Republicans leaked what they said was a quote from Rhodes. "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don't want to undermine the FBI investigation." But it turns out, in the actual e-mail Rhodes did not mention the State Department. It read "We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation." Republicans also provided what they said was a quote from an e-mail written by State Department Spokesman Victoria Nuland. The Republican version quotes Nuland discussing: "The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency about al-Qaeda's presence and activities of al-Qaeda." The actual e-mail from Nuland says: the "...penultimate point could be abused by Members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings..." The C.I.A. agreed with the concerns raised by the State Department and revised the talking points to make them less specific than the C.I.A.'s original version, eliminating references to al-Qaeda and affiliates and earlier security warnings. There is no evidence, Scott, the White House orchestrated these changes.
Pelly: Major, thank you.
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
10 9 8 7 6 5 Weeks 'til Netroots Nation!
Time to put your hair in curlers (ladies, you too) as the countdown to the big convention in San Jose reaches the 35-day mark. Here's your weekly dose of info:
For those of you who have been to Netroots Nation before, you've seen the Exhibit Hall evolve and grow. It’s become more of a town square---i.e. “an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings.” Well, we liked that so much we decided to rename the Exhibit Hall the Town Square. There you will find more than 70 organization and company booths, a visual arts space, self-organized caucus space, the Town Square stage, concessions, American-made arcade games and the ever popular Daily Kos lounge. That's just for starters. As we get closer we’ll pass along more details. I tried to push for a teabagger petting zoo, but the liability insurance is too high. They're ankle biters.
• Volunteering is a blast, and signing up to pitch in during the convention can net you a hefty registration discount. Michael and I won’t be there this year, unfortunately, but in years past we've stuffed swag bags, assembled badges (yes, you need stinking badges to get in), picked up supplies, and even built the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago from the ground up back in '07 (we were nursing our calluses for days). There's an infectious energy among the volunteer staff that transcends the rest of the convention activities. So get in touch with Eric Thut---at eric [at] netrootsnation.org---for more info about volunteering. Tell 'em Billeh sent ya.
• Congratulations, scholarship winners! Thanks to everyone who entered and/or voted in the annual competition, which ended last week. Winners get free passes to NN13 and accommodations, and you can meet 'em here at the DFA site. And hopefully in San Jose.
• Returning this year: the Karaoke Party, the Living Liberally Comedy Show on Thursday night, Adam B's Chairman's Pub Quiz on Friday night and the Morning News Dump with Lizz Winstead and Friends on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
• Did you know? The Richard Meier-designed San Jose City Hall---still just a municipal tyke at 8 years old---has a couple of famous feathered caretakers:
San Jose's City Hall. The city hall tower is home to a peregrine falcon named Clara, and her current tiercel, named "Esteban Colbert" after Stephen Colbert, of whom San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is said to be a fan. The original falcons, named Jose and Clara after the city and Santa Clara County produced three offspring, named Spirit, Hiko, and Esperanza. In 2008, Clara and her then-mate Carlos had three chicks, Cielo and Meyye, both girls, and Mercury, a boy. They even have their own Facebook page.
• Have you seen the list of panels and sessions yet? You can check 'em out here. The filters are now working, so you can separate 'em by day and session type. Among the panelists: Amanda Terkel, James Carter IV, Matt Ortega, Darcy Burner, Duncan Black ("Atrios"), and Chris Savage of Eclectablog.
Meanwhile Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
• CO-Gov: We should only get so lucky. The Denver Post reports that anti-immigration lunatic Tom Tancredo is "seriously considering" a second consecutive bid for governor, though in follow-up comments to the Washington Post, Tancredo cautioned that "the word 'seriously' may be too strong." Tancredo served five terms in Congress as a Republican but ran for governor in 2010 as an independent. However, the Post (the Denver one) says that Tancredo "has since switched his party affiliation back to Republican." So far, though, the GOP has come up empty in terms of possible challengers to Dem Gov. John Hickenlooper next year.
Cab Drollery - like luggage and herpes, we will never be rid of Benghazi!;
Feministing - sexual assault prevention officers not getting their own memos;
Liberal Values - why let a doctored email ruin a perfectly good scandal (Benghazi!);
Squatlo-Rant - Benghazi! + IRS scandal > 13 Cheneys + 27 Hitlers + Watergate + Iraq War dead;
The American Prospect - if you're tired of Benghazi! and the IRS mess, there's always the AP scandal.
blogenfreude blogs at stinque.com (@blogenfreude on Twitter) and suggests that people who endorsed Mitt Romney probably shouldn't be making major motion pictures.
— @billmon1 via TweetDeck WaPo: Benghazi e-mails show back and forth between agencies on talking points
The internal debate over how to describe the Sept. 2012 attack did not include political interference from the White House, according to the e-mails release.But so what? The Village has decided to be poutraged no matter what the voters think (and they don't think much of this).
In December Clinton led Biden 61/12, now 63/13, Benghazi clearly taking a toll: http://t.co/...
— @ppppolls via web
It turns out that “the town,” as a term describing Washington’s political and media elite, actually has a history that goes back to elite Washington’s disdain for Bill Clinton. That history is well explained here by Digby, who ultimately coined the phrase “the Village” as a catch-all description of Washington’s insular ways.
In that context, I’d argue that the Politico piece is actually quite useful, in the sense that it’s very candid about how certain aspects of “the town” actually work.If there's a reason normal people disdain political pundits, this story is it. Deficits dropping? Medicare costs dropping? Both proving Simpson and Bowles are FOS? Who cares? Poutrage because Obama something something, beltway reporters insulted. That's what matters.
Ex-IRS head says Tea Party groups deserved scrutiny, but the IRS bungled it. http://t.co/... #BOLO
— @daudig via TweetDeck
David Cay Johnston: The other IRS scandal
Required context for a controversy
The burgeoning “scandal” over how the IRS chose for review 75 applicants for tax-exempt status puts on full display an unfortunate tendency in journalism—to quote people accurately without explaining the underlying context. Yes, it is as wrong for IRS employees to select groups to scrutinize based on their names as it is for police to stop and frisk young people based on the color of their skin. Still, the facts here are not so black-and-white as with racial profiling.
There is a scandal in all of this—several, actually, and some are more significant than the one that is getting all the attention. As the story unfolds, here are some important points to keep in mind:This is the best piece you'll find on the IRS stuff. Must read.
More politics and policy below the fold.
Fox News figures are using newly released internal emails to falsely suggest that the intelligence community never connected the attack in Benghazi, Libya to protests against an anti-Islam video. In fact, every version of the talking points, including the CIA's original draft, linked the attack to protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which were part of a series of global riots and protests that were partly in response to increased awareness of the video.
On May 15, the White House released more than 100 pages of emails about the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The Los Angeles Times noted of the emails: "Even the very first version of the talking points suggests that the attack was inspired by the protests in Cairo over the anti-Muslim video, a perfectly plausible supposition at the time. That undermines the Republican claim that administration officials concocted the notion of a Benghazi protest to protect the president from a perception that Al Qaeda was ascendant again." Indeed, the original version of the talking points produced by the CIA's Office of Terrorism Analysis stated:
The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.
But Fox News figures have ignored this to predictably use the emails to criticize the Obama administration for misleading Americans when officials publicly linked the Benghazi attacks to the anti-Islam video.
By all accounts, the Heritage Foundation study that would have been the conservative media's cudgel to defeat comprehensive immigration reform a second time is all but rotting in the ground, buried under accusations of anti-immigrant and race-based bias. Beyond losing all credibility, its conclusions that reform will total at least $6.3 trillion have been exposed as bogus by the most respected conservative groups and immigration experts.
In fact, the only people left willing to defend Heritage are part of an anti-immigrant movement that mainstream conservatives are reportedly trying to confine to the fringe. But that hasn't stopped right-wing media outlets from amplifying these voices in an effort to tank a bipartisan immigration proposal currently being debated in the Senate.
In a column published by WND and Human Events, Pat Buchanan defended Heritage and Jason Richwine, the co-author of the study whose writings that race and intelligence are genetically linked forced his resignation.
As The Washington Post reported, Richwine wrote in his Harvard doctoral dissertation that Latinos are undesirable as immigrants because, he argued, they have lower IQs than white Americans. Other controversial comments by Richwine surfaced, including his claim that "psychometric testing has indicated that at least in America, you have Jews with the highest average IQ, usually followed by East Asians, and then you have non-Jewish whites, Hispanics, and then blacks."
After citing a series of examples he argued showed "greater 'underclass behavior' among Hispanics," Buchanan warned that by granting legal status to the country's population of undocumented immigrants -- most of whom are from Latin American countries -- "America in 2040 is going to look like Los Angeles today." He added: "America in 2040 will be a country with whites and Asians dominating the professions, and 100 million Hispanics concentrated in semiskilled work and manual labor."
In his criticism of the Heritage study, American Action Forum president and former Congressional Budget Office head Doug Holtz-Eakin explained to a congressional committee:
You have to be very careful about the assumptions you make. We know that the labor force participation of first-generation immigrants is higher than the native-born. If you go to the second generation where people often worry about the take-up of public programs -- there are more college degrees in the second-generation immigrants than the native-born. There are more advanced degrees, graduate degrees. There's higher rates of labor force participation among those. So it's not the case that program participation is higher than in the native born population on the whole.
Buchanan has repeatedly stated that the influx of undocumented immigrants is "not immigration" but "an invasion of the United States of America." He has warned that America is "committing suicide" while "Asian, African, And Latin American children come to inherit the estate." He once argued against immigration reform by citing the views of white nationalists.
This is the core group of people who have joined Buchanan in defense of Heritage and Richwine's scholarship. It is basically a "who's who" of the anti-immigrant extremist establishment that continually argues against non-white immigrants and groups:
It was just ten days ago that Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard reported "fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults" last September on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
Hayes' report was based on email exchanges described in a politicized report issued by House Republicans along with a timeline detailing when the emails were sent and the names of two of the participants provided most likely by Republican sources on Capitol Hill. Jonathan Karl of ABC News would later write a similar piece after receiving summaries of those emails, likely from a similar source. Never mind that this conversation is in itself a sideshow from the real question of the actual mistakes that led to the tragic death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi as laid out in the Accountability Review Board report. The DC media quickly swarmed into the sort of feeding frenzy phenomenon native to Washington. Finally, after months of fruitless effort to uncover evidence of an attempt by the administration to politicize the Benghazi talking points, the right thought they had proof to justify their conspiracies.
Fast forward a few days and the email conversations between those editing the talking points are available for public view. And as it turns out the perceptions drawn by Hayes and Karl did not match reality.
Fox News is apparently desperate for a scandal over President Obama's handling of news that the Internal Revenue Service applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups, especially now that the network's campaign to embroil the president in scandal over his response to the Benghazi attacks is falling apart. Fox has gone from ignoring Obama's swift responses to the IRS's actions to downplaying the significance of his firing the IRS's acting commissioner, each time distorting reality in order to call for a special prosecutor.
The release of over 100 pages of inter-agency emails obtained by CNN have threatened to derail months of right-wing scandal-mongering over the administration's response to the 2012 attacks on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The emails appear to counter the conservative narrative that the State Department altered Benghazi-related talking points for political reasons. As Fox News' desperate attempts to resurrect the waning scandal fall flat, Fox pundits have resorted to criticizing the president's handling of the IRS controversy instead.
Fox kicked off its criticism by deciding Obama's initial condemnation of the IRS's actions as "outrageous" was too weak. When the president first addressed concerns over this story at a press conference on Monday, May 13, he asserted, "If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that had been reported," then "that's outrageous and there's no place for it. And they have to be held fully accountable." America Live host Megyn Kelly covered his remarks by wondering, "Does the president understate it when he calls this, 'outrageous'?"
After the Inspector General published its report on the IRS's actions, concluding the agency applied "inappropriate criteria" to conservative applicants, Obama released a statement on May 14 definitively calling the IRS's actions "intolerable and inexcusable" and directing action to be taken to hold those responsible accountable. This time, Fox simply pretended Obama made no such statement and continued to attack his remarks from two days prior, all while arguing that a special prosecutor was needed given Obama's supposed inaction.
By Thursday, Fox was fumbling over how to handle the fact that Obama had fired Steven Miller, the IRS acting commissioner, over the agency's actions. In the morning, America's Newsroom chose the route of merely ignoring that anyone had been fired so that host Martha MacCallum could declare, "[Obama] could be the big person. He could say, 'This stinks. You're all fired. This doesn't happen in America.' He has every ability in his position right now to take the high road. Why not? Why not do it?"
When the network finally acknowledged that Miller had been forced to resign, it did so by attempting to downplay the decision. Anchor Bret Baier questioned the action on Happening Now, claiming, "He was ready to leave, despite the fact -- I mean, before any of this already happened. He was acting commissioner and was set to leave the IRS. So that's a question for the White House; that's a question for the president. You know, was this guy fired when he was going to leave anyway?"
From the May 16 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
From the May 16 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Fox News' Martha MacCallum suggested a series of things President Obama could do in order to take "the high road" on allegations of IRS wrongdoing, ignoring the fact that Obama has already taken most of those actions over the past few days.
On the May 16 edition of America's Newsroom, MacCallum attacked Obama for his administration's handling of a recent story in which the Internal Revenue Service allegedly applied additional scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. She then recommended actions Obama should take, saying:
He could be the big person. He could say "this stinks. You're all fired. This doesn't happen in America." He has every ability in his position right now to take the high road. Why not? Why not do it?
But President Obama has condemned the actions of the IRS staff repeatedly. On May 15, he called the misconduct "inexcusable," saying "Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it." On May 14, two days before the Fox segment aired, Obama also called the actions of the IRS staff "intolerable and inexcusable":
I have now had the opportunity to review the Treasury Department watchdog's report on its investigation of IRS personnel who improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And the report's findings are intolerable and inexcusable. The federal government must conduct itself in a way that's worthy of the public's trust, and that's especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test.
I've directed [Treasury] Secretary [Jack] Lew to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General's recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again. But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong. Public service is a solemn privilege. I expect everyone who serves in the federal government to hold themselves to the highest ethical and moral standards. So do the American people. And as President, I intend to make sure our public servants live up to those standards every day.
Obama also requested and accepted the resignation of Steven T. Miller, the acting commissioner of the IRS. In addition, the White House called for "new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again":
First, we're going to hold the responsible parties accountable. Yesterday, I directed Secretary Lew to follow up on the IG audit to see how this happened and who is responsible, and to make sure that we understand all the facts. Today, Secretary Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS, because given the controversy surrounding this audit, it's important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.
Second, we're going to put in place new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again. And I've directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the IG's recommendations right away.
Fox News is desperate.
The Roger Ailes scandal machine, watching its Benghazi witch hunt crumble all around it, is now trying to stoke outrage that President Obama downplayed the tragedy in Benghazi and insulted the survivors by calling it an "incident" during his May 16 comments to the press.
Here's Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett on the May 16 Happening Now reacting to comments Obama made on the Benghazi tragedy:
He referred to Benghazi as an incident, which I'm sure is an insult to the survivors and the family members of the four murdered Americans.
Got that? Obama, whom Fox figures have accused of letting Americans die for political gain, now stands accused of insulting the survivors by downgrading the tragedy to an "incident."
Except Obama also called Benghazi a tragedy in the very speech that triggered Jarrett's outrage:
We lost four brave Americans, patriots who accepted the risks that come with service because they know that their contributions are vital to our national interests and national security. I am intent on making sure that we do everything we can to prevent another tragedy like this from happening.
But that means we owe it to them and all who serve to do everything in our power to protect our personnel serving overseas. That's why at my direction we've been taking a series of steps that were recommended by the review board after the incident.
It is a fitting coda to Fox's months-long scandal mongering over the tragedy in Benghazi. Jarrett is deceptively attacking the president over comments he made in the Rose Garden, the very spot where Obama first labeled the attack an act of terror, comments that have been decontextualized and parsed endlessly to help promote the entire pseudo-scandal.
Fox's desperate attempt to breathe life back into the "scandal" comes days after the network's scandal machine began a campaign to call for a special prosecutor to investigate the president. This is how the voice of the opposition works. Turning Benghazi into Obama's Watergate is central to the Fox goal of bringing down the administration.
Which is why Fox is desperate to keep it going.
On May 15 the White House released the full email chain regarding the much-discussed Benghazi talking points, and in doing so deflated conservative and Republican allegations that the administration had engineered a politically minded "cover-up" of the circumstances surrounding the September 2012 attack on the diplomatic facility. The release of those talking points was spurred in no small part by separate reports from The Weekly Standard and ABC News that wrongly suggested the White House's overriding concern in editing those talking points was helping the State Department dodge political attacks from Republicans.
Now that the actual emails are in the public record, we can go back and see exactly what errors ABC and The Weekly Standard made that helped lead us to this point.
(For an easier-to-navigate version of the email chain, check out Yahoo News' interactive feature.)
Weekly Standard writer Stephen F. Hayes' article for the May 13 edition of the magazine noted that after the initial draft of the talking points was sent, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland "responded to raise 'serious concerns' about the draft." Hayes, working primarily off a House GOP report on Benghazi, wrote that Nuland "worried that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for 'not paying attention to Agency warnings.'" That was, we now know, an incomplete description of Nuland's email, and made it seem as though her only concern was protecting that State Department from political attacks.