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In a stunning rebuke to its base, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted to declassify on Thursday the results of its nearly two-year, $3.3 million taxpayer-paid investigation on the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, finding no intentional wrongdoing by President Barack Obama, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or by the Obama administration. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, a Democrat, “said the report ‘confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order (to U.S. forces) was given.’”

Among the Intelligence Committee’s findings, according to Thompson:

— Intelligence agencies were “warned about an increased threat environment, but did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened.”

— “A mixed group of individuals, including those associated with al Qaeda, (Moammar) Khadafy loyalists and other Libyan militias, participated in the attack.”

— “There was no ‘stand-down order’ given to American personnel attempting to offer assistance that evening, no illegal activity or illegal arms transfers occurring by U.S. personnel in Benghazi, and no American was left behind.”

— The administration’s process for developing “talking points” was “flawed, but the talking points reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis.”

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died during the attacks.

The Tea Party, Republicans, and conservatives have spent nearly two years claiming the Obama administration committed treason, were at the center of a massive cover-up, and have propagated many other falsehoods and conspiracy theories that have been officially rebuked by this report and several other official government investigations, most led, ironically, by Republicans.

Meanwhile, Republicans will start yet another series of hearings, led by GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, trying g once again to prove that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were somehow to blame for the deaths of four Americans.

For a look at Tea Party memes of Benghazi, including Obama hang nooses, see our compilation on Storify.

H/T: Caitlin MacNeal at TPM


The right’s BENGHAZI!!! narrative collapses once again.

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)

h/t: Catherine Thompson at RWW

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

H/T: Catherine Thompson at TPM LiveWire


Immigrants, gay people, children, minority voters, the environment, elderly Americans and, of course, President Obama, are the big losers in the Texas Republican Party’s2014 platform. Meanwhile, rich taxpayers, conspiracy theorists and Wall Street make out like gangbusters. The 40 page document, which was released to the public on Wednesday, provides a healthy serving of red meat to nearly every segment of American conservatives. Even anti-pornography activists can find something to love in this platform

We read through the entire platform so that your wouldn’t have to. Here are some of the most bizarre ideas we discovered:

1) Pornography Should Be Treated Just Like Cocaine

Texas Republicans “encourage state and federal governments to severely prosecute illegal dealers and manufacturers of addictive substances, including pornography.” They also support “the enforcement of laws regarding all forms of pornography, because pornography is detrimental to society.”

2) Social Security Should Be Phased Out

The Texas GOP platform calls for “an immediate and orderly transition” away from Social Security and towards “a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts.” It also supports “gradually phasing out the Social Security tax,” a proposal which will starve the program for funding. According to a 2012 study, Social Security keeps over 20 million Americans from falling into poverty.

3) Texas Should Veto Federal Laws

“Nullification” is an unconstitutional doctrine which claims that states may invalidate federal laws within their own borders. It’s also explicitly repudiated by the Constitution, which provides that duly enacted federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” Nevertheless, the Texas GOP platform calls for the state legislature to “ignore, oppose, refuse, and nullify any federal mandated legislation which infringes upon the states’ 10th Amendment Right.” Although the platform is vague regarding how Texas Republicans interpret the Tenth Amendment, the top Republican in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, has argued that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid all violate this amendment.

As a bonus, the platform also claims that the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies should have to get a Texas sheriff’s permission before they can investigate federal crimes.

4) Americans Should Not Be Allowed To Choose Their Own Senators

The Seventeenth Amendment abolished an older practice that empowered state lawmakers to choose their state’s senators, in no small part because the old system “led to rampant and blatant corruption, letting corporations and other moneyed interests effectively buy U.S. Senators, and tied state legislatures up in numerous, lengthy deadlocks over whom to send to Washington.” The Texas GOP platform, however, wants to return to the day when the American people could not vote on their own senators. “Full Repeal of the 17th Amendment of the United States Constitution” is one of the platform’s demands.

5) The Problem With America’s Schools Is That They Have Too Much Money

According to the Texas GOP, “[s]ince data is clear that additional money does not translate into educational achievement, and higher education costs are out of control, we support reducing taxpayer funding to all levels of education institutions.”

6) All Federal Agencies Should Be Rendered Impotent

Texas Republicans “decry the appointment of unelected bureaucrats, and we urge Congress to use their constitutional authority to defund and abolish these positions and return authority to duly elected officials” — a sweeping statement that appears to rule out allowing anyone from being paid to implement federal laws. It is not clear whether United States Senators would qualify as “unelected bureaucrats,” if the Texas GOP’s proposal to abolish the Seventeenth Amendment became law.

As an interim measure, before all “unelected bureaucrats” are fired, the platform says that “[e]xecutive decisions by agencies must be reviewed and approved by Congress before taking effect” — a provision that would make it virtually impossible for any executive agency to do anything at all, given the paralytic state of our Congress. The platform also calls for “Elimination of Executive Orders,” and it names once agency in particular as particularly disfavored — “We believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished.”

7) Climate Change Is A Myth

Texas Republicans don’t just want to eliminate the Environmental Protect Agency, they deny the overwhelming scientific consensus indicating that man-made climate change is a real and serious problem. Climate change, according to the Texas GOP, “is a political agenda which attempts to control every aspect of our lives.”

8) Congress Must Act Now To Prevent America From Becoming A Muslim Caliphate

The platform urges “the Texas Legislature and the United States Congress to enact legislation prohibiting any judicial jurisdiction from allowing any substitute or parallel system of law, specifically foreign law (including Sharia Law), which is not in accordance with the United States or Texas Constitutions.” Bans on Sharia law are a common proposal raised by Islamophobic state lawmakers. Yet, in an opinion blocking Oklahoma’s Sharia ban, a federal appeals court explained that the law’s defenders “did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.”

9) God Hates Gay People, And Their Bosses Should Be Allowed To Fire Them For Being Gay

“Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that have been ordained by God in the Bible,” according to Texas Republicans. Moreover, the platform denounces the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit anti-gay employment discrimination, explaining that “government regulations which would coerce business owners and employees to violate their own consciences, beliefs, and principles.”

10) Gayness Can Be Cured

The Texas GOP “recognize[s] the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.” In reality, people who have undergone such “theapy” describe it as a source of “shame, emotional harm, self-hate, suicidal ideation, and nervous breakdowns.”

11) The Voting Rights Act Should Be Repealed

The Supreme Court recently gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, which prevents voters from being denied the right to vote because of their race. Nevertheless, the act’s provision allowing lawsuits challenging state laws that deny or abridge “the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color” remains in effect. Texas Republicans want to change that — “We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965, codified and updated in 1973, be repealed and not reauthorized.”

Additionally, the platform calls for a wide range of laws that will make it harder to cast a vote: “We support repeal of all motor voter laws; re-registering voters every four years; requiring photo ID of all registrants; proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application; retention of the 30-day registration deadline; and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the Secretary of State in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.”

12) America Needs More Income Inequality

The platform calls for a broad range of tax reforms that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans, including a “flat tax,” “[a]bolishment of estate taxes,” “[a]bolishment of capital gains taxes” and “[a]bolishment of the gift tax.” Meanwhile, here’s how wealthy people are currently faring even without the Texas GOP’s tax reforms:

income inequality pew

13) Children Of Non-Citizens Should Be Stripped Of Their Citizenship

Texas Republicans call “on the Texas Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment that defines citizenship as those born to a citizen of the United States or through naturalization.” Texas lawmakers do not, however, have the authority to unilaterally amend the United States Constitution, which provides that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in this context, only excludes a small group of children, such as the children of foreign diplomats who enjoy diplomatic immunity to U.S. law.

14) The Supreme Court Should Not Be Allowed To Enforce The Bill of Rights

The platform urges “Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights.” The constitutionality of this proposal is doubtful, but it is also unclear whether the Texas GOP has fully thought out whether it makes sense to reduce the power of the conservative Roberts Court. In recent years, the Supreme Court has not simply expanded gun rights under the Second Amendment, it also appears likely to give business owners new authority to ignore federal laws they object to on religious grounds.

15) America Needs To Quit The United Nations

The Texas GOP supports “the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of United Nations headquarters from United States soil.” Additionally, it appears to embrace a conspiracy theory previously touted by one of Texas’ most famous Republicans. The platform “oppose[s] implementation of the United Nations Agenda 21 treaty policies and its supporting organizations, agreements, and contracts which were adopted at the Earth Summit Conference in 1992.” In reality, Agenda 21 is a more than two decades-old non-binding resolution which primarily speaks at a high level of generality about reducing poverty and building sustainable living environments. During his campaign for the United States Senate, however, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed that it “attempts to abolish ‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads,” and that the originator of this War on Golf is liberal billionaire George Soros.


Finally, the platform embraces the widespread belief among Republican legislators and views of Fox News that the deaths of several Americans in Benghazi, Libya was not just a tragedy, but that it is also part of some grand criminal conspiracy by the Obama Administration. Texas Republicans want a special prosecutor to try to uncover what countless congressional hearings have yet to find — evidence of criminal action on the part of administration officials. It also calls for “bringing those responsible to justice, including jail time.”

Source: Ian Millhiser for ThinkProgress


Who Is The Benghazi Accountability Coalition?

The Benghazi Accountability Coalition is nothing more than repackaged far-right mental cases who hate anyone and everyone who doesn’t think like them. But instead of plotting their 30-front war in email and relying on ‘messaging’, they’re going all out to ramp up the hate and fear, led by Frank Gaffney and his sidekick Brigitte Gabriel.

Yes, the Heritage Benghazi Coalition encounter was just as bad as Dana Milbank said it was. All of the apologists out trying to rehabilitate this hateful event while the Erick Ericksons of the world do a dance around whether they were actually affiliated or just provided space are ridiculous. Of course it was hateful, and of course Heritage Foundation was far more than simply a “host.”

So who is this Benghazi Accountability Coalition, anyway?

Groundswell II

The Benghazi Accountability Coalition is a recycled version of the Groundswell “messagers,” except this time it appears they have some funding or other support lacking the first time around.

On their website, they list the following people as “leaders.” Those in bold were among those who were plotting a year ago to make Benghazi an impeachable event.

read more

I’ve just lost any respect I had left for Terry Bradshaw. 

It’s come to this: Fox News brings on NFL’s Terry Bradshaw for Benghazi analysis (via Raw Story )

Fox News on Wednesday continued its multi-year obsession with the terrorist attack in Benghazi by inviting NFL football analyst and former quarterback Terry Bradshaw to weigh in. Out Numbered host Andrea Tantaros began the segment by highlighting a…



Fox News Analyst: Benghazi Arrest Is A Plot To Save Hillary's Book Tour

Fox News analyst Pete Hegseth suggested on Tuesday that the arrest of a suspect in connection with 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi may have been a conspiracy to help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just hours before she was scheduled to talk to the conservative network.

After Fox News broke the news on Tuesday that U.S. forces had detained Ansar al-Sharia commander Ahmed Abu Khattala, Hegseth said that he was pleased, but “we all have questions about the timing.”

"You have the former secretary of state, who is in the middle of a really high-profile book tour, and I think this is convenient for her to shift the talking points," Fox News guest host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery noted.

"Something clearly changed in the calculus of the United States, and I think a lot of it does have to do with the State Department," Hegseth agreed. "I think this thing needs to be tied in a bow for certain individuals to have a clean break from an incident that has become, and will continue to be a scandal — an anchor around a certain individual’s neck, who may want to run for president."

"She’s having an interview today on Fox News," co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle pointed out.

read more

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Speakers at a Heritage Foundation panel mocked a Muslim student who pointed out that Muslim Americans were not represented at the forum and stated that conservative rhetoric on Islam is often starkly negative.

On June 17, Heritage held an event to discuss the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The event was led by Andrew McCarthy, a conservative commentator and former federal prosecutor who recently released a book claiming that President Obama’s response to the Benghazi attacks constitutes an impeachable offense. Several panelists at the forum have long records of inflammatory rhetoric about Islam.

Dana Milbank detailed the event in his June 16 Washington Post column:

The session, as usual, quickly moved beyond the specifics of the assaults that left four Americans dead to accusations about the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating the Obama administration, President Obama funding jihadists in their quest to destroy the United States, Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton attempting to impose Sharia blasphemy laws on Americans and Al Jazeera America being an organ of “enemy propaganda.”

Then Saba Ahmed, an American University law student, stood in the back of the room and asked a question in a soft voice. “We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there’s 1.8 billion followers of Islam,” she told them. “We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don’t see them represented here.”

Panelist Brigitte Gabriel of a group called ACT! for America pounced. She said “180 million to 300 million” Muslims are “dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization.” She told Ahmed that the “peaceful majority were irrelevant” in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and she drew a Hitler comparison: “Most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million died.”

"Are you an American?" Gabriel demanded of Ahmed, after accusing her of taking "the limelight" and before informing her that her "political correctness" belongs "in the garbage."

"Where are the others speaking out?" Ahmed was asked. This drew an extended standing ovation from the nearly 150 people in the room, complete with cheers.

The panel’s moderator, conservative radio host Chris Plante, grinned and joined in the assault. “Can you tell me who the head of the Muslim peace movement is?” he demanded of Ahmed.

"Yeah," audience members taunted, "yeah."

Ahmed answered quietly, as before. “I guess it’s me right now,” she said.

Below is video of the exchange recorded from Heritage’s livestream of the event. Gabriel’s comments begin at 4:15.

h/t: Matt Gertz at MMFA


A coalition of Islamophobes, birthers, and conspiracy theorists led by a prominent supporter of impeaching President Obama will assemble at the Heritage Foundation this afternoon to discuss the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

The event, titled “Benghazi: The Difference It Makes Is Accountability!” will be co-hosted by the Benghazi Accountability Coalition. In a post at National Review Online, Andrew McCarthy, a conservative commentator and former federal prosecutor, identifies himself as the chairman of that new “volunteer organization.”

McCarthy is the author of a new book that seeks to build ”the political case” for President Obama’s impeachment. The book includes a draft Articles of Impeachment detailing “The Benghazi Fraud.” According to McCarthy, the talking points used by former Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to discuss the terrorist attacks on Sunday morning political talk shows constituted a deliberate effort “to defraud the American people in connection with matters of great public importance, in violation of [President Obama’s] duty to execute the laws faithfully and his fiduciary duty to be truthful in his statements to the American people.”

At National Review Online, McCarthy promises that today’s forum will “feature some speakers with tremendous insights into the relevant issues about the Benghazi Massacre.” James Jay Carafano, Heritage’s vice present of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, will participate, lending the organization’s imprimatur to the proceedings. Here are some of those notables who will appear alongside him:

  • Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, who is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “the anti-Muslim movement’s most paranoid propagandist.” Gaffney was banned from participating at the Conservative Political Action Conference after accusing prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist and former Bush aide Suhail Khan of being Muslim Brotherhood operatives. In October 2008 he claimed that Obama’s eligibility to be president was “unresolved,” citing “evidence Mr. Obama was born in Kenya rather than, as he claims, Hawaii.”
  • Lt. General Thomas G. McInerney, USAF (Ret.), a Fox News military analyst who submitted court documents challenging Obama’s eligibility to be president based on the conspiracy theory that he was not born in the United States.
  • Lt. General W.G. “Jerry” Boykin, USA (Ret.), who was criticized by President Bush and the Defense Department for portraying the fight against Islamic extremists as a religious war between a “Christian nation” and the “idol” of Islam. He has also termed Islam “evil” and a “totalitarian way of life.”
  • Clare Lopez, who is a prominent member of Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy and the similarly anti-Muslim Clarion Project. Lopez has claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood has “infiltrated and suborned the U.S. government to actively assist… the mission of its grand jihad.” Earlier this month, Fox News contributor Allen West reported that Lopez had emailed him a “very poignant analysis” of Bob Bergdahl’s use of Arabic during a White House event with President Obama to announce the return of his son, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: according to Lopez, “by uttering these words on the grounds of the WH, Bergdahl (the father) sanctified the WH and claimed it for Islam.”
  • Brigitte Gabriel, the founder and CEO of the anti-Islam group ACT! for America, was described by The New York Times as “one of the most visible personalities on a circuit of self-appointed terrorism detectors who warn that Muslims pose an enormous danger within United States borders” who “presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion.”
  • Chris Plante, who is a right-wing talk radio host on Washington, DC’s WMAL. Last year he generated the false accusation that President Obama omitted the words “under God” from his recitation of the Gettysburg Address and suggested that the president would not have cut the words “under Allah” if they had appeared in the speech.
  • Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, married Republican activist law partners who have spent decades pushing smears of Democrats in the press. They played a key role in pushing debunked claims that the Obama administration was threatening Benghazi “whistleblowers.”

h/t: Matt Gertz at MMFA

h/t: Tim Murphy at Mother Jones