It's a scandal. It's an outrage.
On our manhood it's a blot!
Where is the leader who will save us
And be the first man to be shot?
— Rodgers and Hammerstein
The "scandals" of the past week — Benghazi and the IRS — have two purposes: To destroy Hillary Clinton, the presumptive/feared Democratic nominee in 2016 and "to break him," as the secesh former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint said of President Obama on another issue. Whether the tempests can rise out of their right-wing teapot remains to be seen. Ruining Hillary and seeking to impeach Mr. Obama will be the Republican enterprise for the next three-and-a-half years. It's a tired playbook, but it keeps working for the right.
Little of what the right claims about Benghazi is correct. And, as Rogue's Front Page Editor tells me (and he's a man who knows about such things), the truth will never be known because the CIA will never come clean about its part in the mess. It is interesting that we've been spending more on the military than during the Cold War and yet we couldn't get help to the consulate/CIA safe house during the attack. I know there's a Marine FAST unit (Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team) based right across the Med in Rota, Spain. FAST is specifically designed for these crises. Why has the press never raised the question about why it was not mobilized? The narrative has it that the nearest help was in the Balkans. But I don't blame Hillary for this tragedy. John Boehner's House ensured that funds for State Department security was cut back.
As for the IRS "scandal," this is a direct outgrowth of Citizens United and the huge influx of corporate and plutocrat money into the electoral process. Why the 501(c)4 tax break for these powerful and shadowy organizations was ever created is scandalous, not that they were given some scrutiny by the IRS. The Tea Party was always doing the work of its hidden puppet-masters, no matter what the old white people dressed up in colonial garb and ignorant of American history thought.
The Obama administration's filching source material from the Associated Press is shameful and dangerous, but only the latest sign of our slide under President George W. Bush and Mr. Obama, abetted by Congress, to shred the Constitution in the name of Das Homeland Security. To paraphrase Churchill, we have given up our liberties to obtain safety and now we shall have neither. This is a scandal but don't look for Darrell Issa to become a profile in courage. The "lamestream media," as Sarah Palin, perhaps the future governor of Arizona, calls it necessarily has a "left-wing bias" because the facts do, too. Which doesn't keep the media from scandalous malpractice in its attempts for "balance" and false equivalency — "both sides do it"; the "left" is as loud, well-funded and extreme as the right, etc. The center of our discourse has moved so far to the right over the past 20 years that Dwight Eisenhower would be considered in the same camp as Noam Chomsky.
Let's not burn books, as the right would seek (or just making reading into a hoity toity smarty pants liberal thing as opposed to authentic real 'Mericans). Let's be more careful about words and phrases. "Great Recession," for example. I'm so sorry I ever hopped on that train. For one thing, it trivializes the Great Depression. More important, it is imprecise about the nature of what actually happened, and how it will happen again, probably worse, and we'll be out of "Greats." I prefer the Panic of 2008. In financialized Randian quiet coup America, better to return to 19th century language when referring to the consequences of robber barons run amok. Coming up: The Panic of 2015. The same is true of "gridlock." As if our political status is an accident and people just need to get along. It implies paralysis. We are indeed polarized, perhaps more so than anytime since 1860. But the Republicans are not paralyzed. From taking hostages over the budget and holding up even minor presidential nominees to preparing for the next impeachment, they are playing a dynamic role. It's toxic, to be sure. Nominees were once routinely approved. The debt ceiling was increased as a matter of course. Without compromise, American democracy can't function in a healthy way. But paralyzed? No. The Republicans, the representatives of the New Confederacy, are getting exactly what they want. It's a scandal.
It's a scandal that we have passed the ominous 400 ppm level of carbon dioxide and the United States is doing nothing to slow, much less reverse, the rate of climate change. No, we are drilling, baby...to ensure (as they say on Battlestar Galactica) that the planet is fracked. And Serious People have the brass to lecture us on austerity so we don't leave a debt burden to future generations. Instead, we will leave them a planet our of a science fiction nightmare. Hey, science is fiction, because it has a left-wing bias and Creationism must be taught.
It's a scandal that endless war and empire are the policies that have propulsive force in America. Republican, Democrat, endless war. Another is ongoing financialization, setting up the next bust with bubbles and gambling and the playerz get away with it. People sigh. Oh, well, business as usual. USA USA! The terrorists hate us because of our values.
It's a scandal that historic inequality, loss of economic mobility, wage stagnation, the hollowing out of American industry (sorry, no manufacturing renaissance), shocking levels of unemployment, 1970s infrastructure and poverty are not being addressed. If you were just willing to put in an honest day's work, you'd get ahead, you welfare queen loser. We've got to tighten our belts, as long as it means federal spending on such things as schools, research, Amtrak and transit, not going after the trillion-dollar tax dodgers.
The real scandals listed above involve classic corruption, deceit, damage to the public good, destruction of fair play and scummy bag men/women, even if they dine at the most exclusive restaurants in D.C. The Koch brothers, Big Oil, Big Coal, Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein "doing God's work," Tim Geithner, tech billionaires lending their hubris and money to the charter schools racket while offshoring work and pushing for more H-1B visas, the revolving door between Wall Street and the lapdog regulators, the Military Industrial Complex, the usual suspects.
But on these there will be no hearings, no cries for accountability. The people who should be broken will keep doing the breaking, of America's future. And the residents of Moronistan will sleepwalk into the next crisis, then cry, "How could we have known?"