On Monday, an exasperated Obama, referring to the emails, said: "There's no 'there' there." The same is true of the allegation of a broader Benghazi coverup. And now that we know, let's move on.The New York Times editorial board looks at how each day reveals facts that deflate the GOP's wild conspiracy and cover-up theories:
[T]he details of the troubles swirling around the White House this week are bluntly contradicting Republicans who want to combine them into a seamless narrative of tyrannical government on the rampage. [...]Scot Lehigh at The Boston Globe:
Whatever cranky point Republicans had been making against President Obama for the last five years — dishonesty, socialism, jackbooted tyranny — they somehow found that these incidents were exactly the proof they had been seeking, no matter how inflated or distorted. [...] when bound together and loudly denounced on cable television and in hearings, they serve to obscure the real damage that Republicans continue to do to the economy and the workings of government. [...]
For those who are wondering whether this week’s political windstorms will hinder Mr. Obama’s second-term agenda, here’s a bulletin: That agenda was long ago imperiled by the obstruction of Republicans. (See Guns. Jobs. Education. And, very possibly, Immigration.)
Watergate? Nixonian? Impeachment?Head below the fold for more debunking of the GOP's spin machine.
Please. Someone get the smelling salts. [...]
[C]harges of a Benghazi coverup don’t pass the evidence test. Comparisons to Nixon are idiotic. And it’s the height of partisan absurdity to suggest that anything we’ve seen in these so-called scandals could justify impeachment.
The Washington Post editorial board chimes in with probably the best description of the modern GOP - "small-minded, hyperpartisan and foolish":
This is one of those Washington dust-ups where the actual facts don’t seem to matter much to the scandal mongers. [...] By focusing on the phony issue of the talking points, Republicans are missing the opportunity to press for needed reforms at State and a more active U.S. policy in the Middle East. They should also be spurring a sluggish FBI investigation to determine who really organized and led the attacks in Benghazi; it has yet to be established whether they were ordered by local jihadists, terrorists linked to al-Qaeda or someone else, and whether they were planned because of the Sept. 11 anniversary or inspired by the events in Cairo.Steven Rattner brings facts to the table on the IRS story:
Instead, with their bigger-than-Watergate rhetoric, the GOP’s scandal-pushers are making themselves look small-minded, hyperpartisan and foolish.
[L]et’s also remember what the I.R.S. brouhaha is not. Unlike the abuse of the I.R.S. by President Richard M. Nixon, in this case there’s no evidence that anyone in the White House had any involvement in — nor even any knowledge of — what was going on within the agency’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division. [...]Ruth Marcus:
One of the bigger ironies about the I.R.S. imbroglio is that it had nothing to do with taxes. These newly formed entities didn’t seek 501(c)(4) status to avoid taxes — these groups don’t earn profits and therefore don’t pay any taxes, regardless of their status. The important benefit that came from achieving 501(c)(4) status was freedom from having to disclose the names of any of their donors.
That’s right, what the I.R.S. was really deciding in these cases is which organizations have to disclose their funders and which don’t. And what it was trying to do — however dumbly it went about it — was to reduce the abuse of the campaign-finance rules, not the tax laws.
Folks, deep breath time. This is not the end of the Obama presidency. It’s a bad stretch with an unfortunate confluence of unfortunate events. None of which will make the first paragraph — not even the first page — of the account of the Obama administration in the history books. [...] Bad things happen in second-term presidencies, often in clumps. This is no coincidence; first-term chickens come home to roost in a second term. The inevitable arrogance bred by winning reelection never helps. But this bad run demands perspective. Compared to Katrina, Monica Lewinsky or Iran-contra, these are distractions, highly unfortunate but by no means disastrous.Turning to gun violence, this is a haunting piece by reporter Jonathan Schuppe on gun violence in America and the new normal in many cities:
I’ve talked to kids who have seen someone get shot; many of them are afraid to go outside, while others act as if it doesn’t bother them at all. I’ve met their neighbors, who live in a constant state of fear and mistrust. I’ve spent many hours with their suffering parents, people like Thaiquan, who desperately want their children to ride bikes on a warm spring Saturday evening without having to think about ducking and running.The Boston Globe brings much-needed attention to a real scandal -- the blocking of EPA nominee Gina McCarthy during a time when we need a strong EPA:
Those stories don’t attract anywhere near the attention that murders receive. But I often think about them when there’s a mass shooting somewhere like Newtown, Conn., or Aurora, Colo., or Oak Creek, Wis., towns previously relatively untouched by gun violence. These unspeakable bursts of evil shred lives, families and communities, and the nation rightfully fixates on their grief and healing.
But for every one of those victimized towns, there are dozens of American cities where, every year, many more people are shot than in any single gun rampage. In those places — Newark, or New Orleans, where around 20 people were wounded last weekend when a gunman opened fire on a Mother’s Day parade — there is no definable healing process, because the violence never really stops. The number of dead, and the much larger number of those who return home with grievous injuries, grows every year. So does a deeper emotional trauma borne by their dispossessed communities.
It’s become so ingrained in the life of certain neighborhoods that even its victims, those who are most at risk, have little choice but to learn to live with it.
The partisan delay tactics are frustrating because, if confirmed, McCarthy will have to act on some immediate challenges. Last week, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography announced that levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have risen to their highest known levels in the last 800,000 years. McCarthy long ago proved she is able to balance the science of climate change and concerns of American industry in formulating policy. She has her work cut out for her.Switching over to the topic of workplace safety worldwide, there are a few editorials out today that prioritize human lives over a minimal cost rise in production. First up, The Denver Post:
Safety for factory workers in developing countries is not unattainable. After years of deeply embarrassing publicity about working conditions in the Asian factories where its products are made, Nike took major steps to improve things, even publishing a complete list of the factories where its products were made and a report on its pay and working conditions. But Nike did these things after public pressure. Major retailers can and should avoid having to respond to consumer anger by getting out in front of the problem and ensuring safe working conditions.James Brudney and Catherine Fisk on why Walmart and Gap suck:
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a historic advance over the voluntary private factory monitoring that has tragically failed to prevent the recent disasters in Bangladesh and in places around the world where clothes are stitched for the global market. [...] Given the importance of this accord, it is disturbing that two major American firms have been unwilling to sign the agreement. [...] If a firm profits by choosing to produce its garments in a country where wages are kept low by cost-cutting that imperils the lives of workers, the firm bears some responsibility for bringing those conditions into line with the most basic of human rights standards. The more than 30 companies, almost all European, that signed the accord have recognized this. The time has come for American industry leaders Gap and Wal-Mart to do the same.