Do Hillary's Lies Matter?

It is of little concern to me that the corporate media says Hillary aced the Benghazi hearing, To me she didn’t, and I care more that the public is being inured to public officials’ lying. Were I running for president against her I’d produce a simple campaign video.

My campaign video would be short -- it would be Hillary before the caskets of the four Americans slaughtered in Benghazi blaming an obscure video and its maker for the incident; Hillary telling the father of one of the deceased, Ty Woods, that the video maker would be arrested (“we are going to have the film maker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son"), and her testimony before the committee that she never blamed it on the video. The ad would take just a couple of minutes. .  Message at end -- are you ready for a president who lies over the bodies of dead American patriots?

Maybe I’ve misjudged the voters. Maybe they really would like a brazen, self-seeking consummate liar. Because that’s what she certainly is.

She dissembled so often in the hearings I cannot possibly keep you awake while detailing them all. Let me pick just a few of her more outrageous lies -- the video and her correspondence with Sidney Blumenthal.

Hillary’s Cock and Bull Story About the Video.

Sept. 11, 2012: U.S. Embassy in Cairo:

U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.[snip]

Sept. 13, 2012: Hillary Clinton, secretary of state:

I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries. Let me state very clearly -- and I hope it is obvious -- that the United States Government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. And as you know, we are home to people of all religions, many of whom came to this country seeking the right to exercise their own religion, including, of course, millions of Muslims. And we have the greatest respect for people of faith.

To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. 

Sept. 14, 2012: Jay Carney, White House press spokesman:

We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, not to obviously the administration, not to the American people.  It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.  That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy.  This is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.


Sept. 16, 2012: Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations:

[B]ased on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what - it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. [...]

[T]his is a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it’s not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.


Sept. 20, 2012: President Barack Obama:

Here's what happened. ... You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character who -- who made an extremely offensive video directed at -- at Mohammed and Islam.

Sept. 25, 2012: President Barack Obama:

In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.

That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

Some even went so far as to suggest the provocation was so extreme, free speech needed to be curtailed. To his shame, the article notes Eric Posner of the University of Chicago Law School:

 The vile anti-Muslim video shows that the U.S. overvalues free speech. [...]

Americans need to learn that the rest of the world -- and not just Muslims -- see no sense in the First Amendment. Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order. Our own history suggests that they might have a point. [...]

So symbolic attachment to uneasy, historically contingent compromises, and a half-century of judicial decisions addressing domestic political dissent and countercultural pressures, prevent the U.S. government from restricting the distribution of a video that causes violence abroad and damages America’s reputation. And this is a video that, by the admission of all sides, has no value whatsoever.

Of course, the record shows only about 10 people ever saw the video before the administration falsely seized on it as the reason for the attack, Perhaps Professor Posner ought to review his first year law school notes which remind students that facts are the most important part of the case, and here, the facts he relied on -- and which he could with a moment’s googling have learned -- were not supportive of his argument in the least.

At any rate, the record is clear. The video was not the precipitating factor in the assault at Benghazi. Hillary sent an email (on her illicit server) 45 minutes after the attack to her daughter saying “an Al-Qaeda-like group” and the following day in a call with the Egyptian prime minister told him, “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack -- not a protest.” Despite this, she was happy to demonize an innocent bumpkin who’d dared to make a ridiculous video to get herself off the hook for failing to secure the facility despite dozens of ever increasingly urgent requests for assistance in Libya. Others in the administration were happy to go along with the fiction to protect the re-election of Obama who’d bragged that Al-Qaeda was no longer a threat.

 Judy Woodruff of PBS says, “why does it matter” that she lied about the video?

I expect she’s not alone in the media who’d say much the same thing if they saw her strangle a puppy with her bare hands.

Woodruff only underscored what Richard Fernandez said:

Benghazi wasn’t a screen test for the part of Ronald Reagan. It was for Richard Daley.

In some environments it is not following the law that impresses, but the ability to slug a cop and have him rise from the pavement only to clean your shoes.  Hillary showed beyond any shadow of a doubt that she could utter the most improbable nonsense and make it stick, able to shrug off the puny efforts by Congress to bring her to book. In a world where power is the coin of the realm, her immense fortune was on display. All too often conservatives think that the prize goes to the fittest.  In truth it often goes to the most ruthless. 

b. Sid Vicious and the Source Doesn’t Matter

The Clinton strategy -- in case you slept during her husband’s administration -- has always been to delay and obfuscate and when the truth finally comes out to blame those who expose it as partisans dredging up old news. With respect to her long concealed emails, and those with the notorious Sidney Blumenthal in particular, she doesn’t deviate from that pattern. James Taranto reports:

Gowdy: Madam Secretary, is there any question that the 15 that [Blumenthal’s lawyer] James Cole turned over to us were work related? There’s no ambiguity about that. They were work related.

Mrs. Clinton: No. They were from a personal friend, not. . .  any government official. And they were, I determined on the basis of looking at them, what I thought was work related and what wasn’t. And some I didn’t even have time to read, Mr. Chairman.

Cost notes that in March Mrs. Clinton asserted that she “provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related” and that those that weren’t were limited to “emails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes.”

Now she’s saying she was under no obligation to turn over emails about Libya because they came from a “personal friend.” Yet emails earlier released showed that she forwarded his Libya “intelligence” to other State Department officials, and yesterday Mrs. Clinton acknowledged that she also sent them to the White House with Blumenthal’s name removed. (As we noted in March, Blumenthal earned the administration’s enmity by sending around derogatory emails about Obama during the 2008 primary campaign, and the White House nixed Secretary Clinton’s plan to hire him at the State Department.)

Mrs. Clinton also claimed twice that Blumenthal “was not advising me” -- which may mean nothing more than that he was not paid by the government to advise her. An Associated Press “fact check” notes that Mrs. Clinton claimed Blumenthal’s Libya advisories were “unsolicited,” but an email from her to him urged: “Keep them coming.”

Adding to her blatant effort to conceal her reliance on Blumenthal’s reports is her testimony that she didn’t know who actually authored Blumenthal’s reports and her disingenuous tap dance respecting who was paying him. He was on the Clinton Foundation payroll for over $10,000 a month at the time, and received even more from the disreputable Media Matters as well as from people desirous of establishing business relations in Libya.

In sum, she was aiding a confederate -- someone the White House had forbidden her to hire -- in his private business dealings. She urged officials to rely on his reports without knowing or caring whether the information was even accurate and on occasion hiding the fact that Blumenthal was the ultimate source. She expressed no concern about the truth of the reports she transmitted on for Blumenthal’s benefit heedless of national security, a disregard demonstrated as well in her persistent reliance on insecure communication methods.

C. Lying as a Way of Life

If voters aren’t concerned about this pattern of concealment and deception, it may be because it has become commonplace and consequence free.

This very week we learned that Lois Lerner, the Stasi-like figure in the IRS who deliberately targeted Obama’s opponents in the last election will go scott free of criminal prosecution.

One of the targets of her misdeeds, True the Vote, responded: 

“This is the act of a lawless Administration. Consider all we’ve already seen on their watch, from the Fast and Furious murders to Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s abuse of top secret emails -- the FBI’s closing of their investigation is par for course in the Obama Administration, where criminals walk free and honest Americans fear their government,” True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht said. 

“To say there is no evidence of discrimination makes a grand mockery of all the hearings held over the past two years, when average citizens testified before Congress about IRS targeting. There is a trail of documentation that clearly shows the abuse of American citizens who’d been singled for their perceived political views. The evidence is all readily available. Yet, this very minute I’ve still not been interviewed about the abuses we endured because the DOJ has refused to meet with me unless they can pack the room with the same group of lawyers who are currently fighting against True the Vote by defending the IRS in court,” Engelbrecht continued.  

“The FBI has failed to protect the interests of the American people, choosing instead to help a political party tidy up loose ends before a presidential election. But come November, voters can do what bureaucrats won’t – they can choose to clean house in DC and end the rampant lawlessness of an Administration that is corroding our Country from the inside out.”

True the Vote’s lawsuit against the IRS continues with hearings before the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. in early 2016. 

In Wisconsin, the Government Accountability Board (GAB), which coordinated with Lois Lerner to stifle Scott Walker’s campaign efforts by grossly abusing his supporters’ rights, is tardily being called to account.

Newly unsealed documents in a lawsuit against the state Government Accountability Board further reveal a rogue agency all in from the beginning of a political John Doe investigation into dozens of conservative groups and the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker -- even as their hapless special prosecutor was “really questioning the validity of the case.”

Thursday evening, Waukesha County Court released 182 pages of emails, transcripts of closed-door meetings and other previously sealed documents after attorneys for the GAB and the plaintiffs came to terms on precisely what can be made public -- for now. The judge in the case has said more records will be made public when the lawsuit goes to trial.

The records release comes just as the Legislature takes up a bill that would overhaul the troubled accountability board.


[Former staff counsel Shane Falk] seems to take the reins early on, getting the investigative wheels in motion.

“As you may know, things are really heating up here,” he wrote to Robles in an email dated Feb. 28, 2013. “Kevin (Kennedy) and Jon (Becker) would like a status on what is happening with Badger Doe and update you on a communication Kevin had with the IRS.”

Kennedy, as we have learned in recent months, is a longtime “personal friend” of former IRS tax-exempt director Lois Lerner, who led the IRS division accused of targeting conservative groups seeking 501(c)(4) nonprofit status.

The Wall Street Journal in July reported that John Doe investigators asked the IRS to look into a conservative group that was a primary target of the probe.


Board members wondered whether reserve Judge Barbara Kluka, who was presiding over the Milwaukee County investigation, would authorize the GAB to conduct an investigation. GAB Judge Gerald Nichol, now chairman of the accountability board, said he was confident Kluka would, “based on conversations he had previously” with the judge in which she said she “would be open to any requests from the G.A.B. to get involved in the John Doe.”

Nichol, it appears, was gaming the system before the GAB officially jumped into the investigation.

Kluka, who removed herself from the case a few weeks after the home raids citing a conflict of interest, has been accused of being a “rubber stamp” for the prosecutors and the GAB.

I’m finding it increasingly hard to dispute Charles Krauthammer’s observation that we are living in an age where lying doesn’t matter.

When the lies are finally after great effort exposed, the damage has been done and those hurt by them wait forever for redress. The damage to civil society is even worse. We’ve grown accustomed to public officials lying to us, but the fabric of society requires we maintain a reasonable level of trust in those we’ve elected to protect our interests. When you’ve abused that trust, you invite chaos and misery.

Please -- prove  Krauthammer wrong in the next election -- show that lying does matter to you.

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