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The Sad And Expected End Of The Benghazi Select Committee

The House’s Benghazi Select Committee issued a draft Tuesday of its long-awaited report on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya.

The New York Times succinctly summarized the committee’s findings:

Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

In a continued embarrassment for the committee’s chairman, South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, one of the principal “new revelations” touted by the committee in an effort to justify its millions of dollars in spending was something that the public has known for years.

The committee reported that an antiterrorism team on its way to Tripoli to respond to the crisis was delayed for three hours as the team changed in and out of military uniforms. Far from a new information, this was raised by Martin Dempsey, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in 2013. It was also discussed in the House Armed Services Committees report on Benghazi early the next year. 

Other “new” discoveries of Gowdy’s — that Hillary Clinton was considering a trip to Benghazi in October 2012, that the military did not deploy to Benghazi on the night of the attack, and that an anti-Muslim YouTube video was discussed during a secure video conference the night of the attack — had all been publicly reported years ago

Former House Speaker John Boehner did not create the Benghazi Select Committee to slightly advance our understanding of the 2012 attack. Instead, Republicans created the committee because they were under pressure from the far Right to use the investigative power of Congress to implicate the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton in particular, in wrongdoing.

It was obvious from the start, despite Gowdy’s protestations to the contrary, that the select committee was simply a political tool of the far Right — one that would finally confirm their worst suspicions and bolster their conspiracy theories about Clinton, thus harming her chances in the upcoming presidential election.

Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged this when he told Sean Hannity last year, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

Ultimately, the Benghazi Select Committee will be remembered in history alongside other failed partisan efforts to investigate Clinton.

Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster and now Benghazi. These investigations in total have cost American taxpayers well in excess of $100,000,000, yet produced none of the results that were promised at their outsets. Yet conservatives seem destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Rather than  being guided by facts, they allow themselves to be driven by the most extreme and conspiracy-oriented members of their party.

The Benghazi Committee report is a final testament to the fact that the supposed “stand down orders,” the charge that Susan Rice lied on Sunday morning talk shows following the attack, and the accusation that the CIA altered talking points “for political reasons” were all are myths. All were debunked by previous investigations whose facts were not contradicted by Gowdy’s committee. 

Clearly the results of this investigation will not halt the conservative noise machine. Accuracy in the Media is planning to reveal the results of its own conspiracy-laden Benghazi investigation at a press conference Wednesday.  But it is a signal to the press they should stop taking these conspiracy theories seriously.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/28/16

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 6/28/16

  • Peter LaBarbera says that conservative Christians should be wary of supporting Donald Trump because "he tweets in favor of homosexuality" and "he said he's going to be better for gays than Hillary Clinton ... We still don't know where Trump is on the radical gay agenda in many respects."
  • David Bozell is not happy with House Republicans after they released the underwhelming findings of their latest Benghazi investigation: "Congressional Republicans, by lacking the courage to bring those responsible to justice, have wasted everyone’s time and money, plain and simple. Hillary Clinton is sure to take a victory lap today due to the fecklessness of the Majority on this committee."
  • Brent Smith is upset that President Obama "has declared a gay bar in Greenwich Village, NYC, a national monument ... What a great way to wrap up Gay Pride Month. Don’t you feel proud?!"
  • Stephen Black is likewise outraged: "This was just the latest in a series of speeches and actions on the part of his administration to define down–if not obliterate–any notions of sexual deviance." 
  • Finally, David Lane says that Christian voters needs to wake up, especially in California, which is "a state that exalts evil": "Homosexuals served as the last two Speakers of the California Assembly. The Assembly and Senate, a nearly veto-proof body of legislators comprised mostly of Democrats, are dominated by secularists and LGBTQ activists. Because Christians 'don't do politics,' these legislators are elected by overwhelming margins. These officials now champion "causes" dear to their supporters. The voters sent them to Sacramento to impose a secular, pro-homosexual agenda through legislation, while the Evangelical and Pro-life Catholic Christian constituency stayed home on Election Day."

The Return Of 'Unskew' The Polls! Donald Trump Edition

In the lead-up to the last presidential election, conservative bloggers thought they had discovered a grand conspiracy among pollsters to suppress Mitt Romney’s polling numbers, a claim that Romney’s campaign appeared to have embraced as well, and declared that the polls must be “unskewed” to find the truth.

Of course, the polls, if anything, underestimated President Obama’s lead, and conservatives who urged Romney supportersnot to believe the polls and instead to expect a Romney landslide were, at least briefly, mocked and humiliated.

One such person who promoted the idea that polls were biased against Romney was Donald Trump, who said that polling firms oversampled Democrats to create an anti-Romney narrative:

Naturally, Trump is now saying the same thing about the polls, or “poles,” that are showing him lagging behind Hillary Clinton:

Several Trump backers also believe that the polls, which uniformly show him trailing Clinton, have been skewed against him.

Yesterday, radio host Alex Jones and WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah urged Jones’ listeners not to believe the polls showing Trump trailing Clinton, saying that in reality the two are either neck-and-neck or Trump has a double-digit lead.

Jones said that liberals are “attacking” and “stabbing people” in hopes of intimidating Trump supporters from voting because they know “Trump’s going to win with a Reagan-style landslide.” Trump campaign sources, according to Jones, tell him that “Hillary is just trying to act like she’s really winning and have the media say it because they’re looking at stealing the election.”

The bogus polls, he said, will help Clinton get away with the theft. He added that he wears his Trump hat in “communist areas” to inspire people to be more open about their support for the presumptive GOP nominee.

Farah agreed that polls aren’t to be trusted, adding that he knows Trump is ahead based on his analysis of “anecdotal relationships,” warning that “if they steal the election from him it’s all over, America’s over.”

Oliver Willis of Media Matters also found conservative pundits such as Sean Hannity and Jim Hoft alleging that the polls are skewed against Trump, just as they falsely claimed that the polls were skewed against Romney :

On Fox News host Sean Hannity’s official website, a blog post complained the poll “is heavily skewed.” On his June 27 radio show, Hannity cited the partisan breakdown and described it as a “misleading poll” because the media is “in the tank for Hillary.”

Hannity apparently didn’t learn his lesson about attempting to unskew polls in 2012, when he was saying things like, “These polls are so skewed, so phony, that we need to start paying attention to what’s going on so that you won’t be deflated.”

In a post purporting to highlight “More Polling Tricks” from an “EXTREMELY SKEWED” poll, conservative blogger Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit complained this week that “Reuters freighted their poll with 20 percent more Democrats than Republicans” and concluded that “we can safely say that Trump appears to be in much better shape than the poll suggests and could likely be headed to a landslide victory in November.”

Hoft made a similar argument in September of 2012, complaining that a CNN poll showing Obama leading Romney “drastically oversampled Democrats to get this stunning result.” He then went on to cite Dean Chambers, who said that when “unskewed” the CNN poll showed Romney leading by eight percent.

Dick Morris, who guaranteed a Romney landslide and dismissed the 2012 polls as biased “propaganda,” is now advising Trump.

Steve King: 'If Everybody Had A Gun' At Orlando Club, 'I Don't Think Anybody Would Have Gotten Shot'

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told Iowa radio host Simon Conway last week that guns were not to blame for the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub this month because if every person at the club had been carrying a gun, nobody would have been shot.

King and Conway discussed the Orlando attack on Wednesday at the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row.

The club was protected by an armed police officer who exchanged fire with the assailant, but state law prohibits people from carrying guns in establishments like nightclubs that dispense alcoholic beverages. King, however, said that the alcohol-drinking club-goers should have all been armed.

“I look at this and I think, we have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms and the problem in Orlando at the Pulse was not a problem of the gun laws,” King said, criticizing efforts in Congress to bolster gun regulations after the shooting. “I mean, he followed all of them, the FBI interrogated him at least three times, they decided that he wasn’t enough of a risk. He wouldn’t have been on a list anyway. So anything that they might propose to do would not have prevented the tragedy, the horrific, gruesome tragedy in Orlando, and yet they would trample on the very rights that are needed for people to protect themselves.”

He continued, “If everybody in that nightclub, at the Pulse, had been armed, if everybody had a gun, I would say this: I don’t think anybody would have gotten shot. [In the] first place, I don’t think the perpetrator walks in there. If he does walk in there, then we may have, but there would’ve been a lot fewer than the 102.”

GOP Committeewoman: Evangelical Trump Critics Aren't Being Forgiving Christians

Tamara Scott, an Iowa Religious Right activist and member of the Republican National Committee, joined radio host Jeff Angelo today to discuss why she opposes a possible delegate revolt against Donald Trump at next month’s convention and explain why evangelicals who have been critical of Trump just aren’t practicing Christian forgiveness.

“Here’s what I hate to see from my friends, my Iowa friends and my fellow believers,” she said. “Let’s not be judgmental ourselves. Maybe God’s called someone to a camp for various reasons. Daniel was in Darius’ camp, and because of it Darius saw the hand of God in Darius’ life. Who knows why people are being drawn to various candidates, but it could be a purpose beyond an election. God sees eternity.”

When Angelo asked if she was “comfortable with Trump,” Scott replied that she was because he has promised that “he’ll end the war on Christianity” while Hillary Clinton “created the war on Christianity.”

“So shouldn’t I, as a Christian, if I really think — you know, some of them think the end of the world’s coming because we don’t like this candidate,” she said. “If that’s the case, all the more reason I should have someone who’s going to allow someone to share my gospel. And that’s Trump, not Hillary, if you want to take it just to a spiritual level.”

She went on to criticize Christian critics of Trump for being judgmental and “not very loving” when “only God” knows the candidate’s heart “and God has allowed what has taken place this far.”

“So he may not know the scripture references, he may not speak Christianese. He may not be where we want him spiritually,” she said. “But politically, we’ve got to save a nation. We’ve got to save borders and save a country before we can save a culture.”

Later in the program, a listener called in to berate Scott for backing Trump despite his “racist comments” and making “fun of the disabled.”

Scott asked the caller if she was a Christian. “Have you ever done anything that you wish you wouldn’t have done?” she asked.

“I know in this situation,” Scott said, “he offers us the best opportunity as Christians to speak our faith, to live our faith and to continue to spread the gospel. So if that’s where you’re coming from, you’ve either got Hillary, who’s going to silence you, or him, who says he’ll end the war on Christianity.”

Gordon Klingenschmitt Says Transgender Student Athlete Is Possessed By A 'Demonic Spirit Of Cowardice'

On a recent episode of his "Pray In Jesus Name" program, Religious Right activist and Colorado state lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt weighed in on the controversy surrounding Nattaphon Wangyot, a transgender student in Alaska who recently competed in the girls' track and field state finals.

Klingenschmitt accused the high school senior of being possessed by "a demonic spirit of cowardice" and a "demonic spirit of lying" for competing against female athletes.

"Not only is it cheating and lying," he said, "but it's perversion and it's confusion. And I don't think it is even in this boy's best interest. There is also a spirit of cowardice here. Why do I say cowardice? Because he's afraid to compete with the other boys. If he were really a man and he were able to run so fast, he wouldn't have to beat up on these girls."

"There is also a sprit of theft," Klingenschmitt continued, declaring that Wangyot is "depriving these other girls of their college scholarships" because they lost "to this boy who pretends to be a girl."

Klingenschmitt closed out his commentary by praying that school officials would take a stand against "these liars and cheaters who would want to steal from the other athletes."

Rick Wiles: Buy Survival Food Before 'Demon-Possessed' Muslims Drive Us Underground

On Friday, radio host Rick Wiles appeared on “The Jim Bakker Show” to plug Bakker’s buckets of survival food by warning viewers that “demon-possessed” Muslims will soon target churches and that “a chemical gas attack” could kill tens of thousands this summer, leaving people to “stampede to buy this food” before the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA seize it.

“Muslims are not normal people, they’re demon-possessed,” Wiles said. “There’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim. There’s only backslidden Muslims. There are backslidden Muslims who aren’t reading the Quran. Once they get back into reading the Quran and becoming a practicing, devout Muslim, they become violent because Islam is a violent religion. So I don’t talk about moderate Muslims and radical Muslims, no. There’s just Muslims, and Islam has a history of blood. Everywhere it’s ever gone, bloodshed. They conquer with the sword. Name one country you would like to move to that’s dominated by Muslims. Every one of them is hell on earth. That’s what they want to bring here. They wanna conquer by the sword, they want to kill nonbelievers.”

“The churches are a target,” Wiles continued. “It’s very soon. Very soon. And, Jim, the remnant church is gonna go underground. We’re gonna meet in our homes, we’re gonna meet in secret places. You’re gonna have to discern who comes in because you’re bringing them into your home.”

Wiles, promoting Bakker’s products, told the audience that they “have very little time to buy food and supplies. Very little time. The window is going to close soon. We are one disaster from martial law. There are only four corporations in this country that produce this kind of food.”

“If there is an event this summer like a chemical gas attack where a vast amount of people are killed in the tens of thousands, the smart people will stampede to buy this food,” Wiles claimed. “The wealthy, the smart people, the people that know, ‘This is serious, I’ve gotta get all the supplies I can get.’ These four companies that produce this food will be sold out within days. The second thing you have to consider is that Homeland Security and FEMA either purchase all of it or seize it.”

Robert Jeffress: Trump-Clinton Race Is 'A Battle Between Good And Evil'

Yesterday, Donald Trump ally Robert Jeffress, an extremist Southern Baptist pastor who has joined the Trump campaign’s evangelical advisory board, appeared on “Trunews” to chat with radio host Rick Wiles about the upcoming election.

Jeffress took issue with evangelical leaders who refuse to support the presumptive GOP nominee, boasting that Trump will shift the courts to the right and work to overturn abortion rights.

“This is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats,” Jeffress said. “It’s a battle between good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, and I think it is time for people who say they are conservative Christians to get off the fence and go to the polls and vote their convictions.”

A fiery Jeffress dismissed those who have moral objections to supporting Trump, saying that these “weak and namby-pamby” holdouts are too “proud” and “can’t get over the fact that their candidate didn’t win” in the Republican primary.

Jeffress said that unlike President Obama, who he said “hates” conservative Christians, Trump will be a “true friend in the White House” and “appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court.”

“This isn’t about partisan politics,” he said. “This is about good and evil.”

According to Jeffress, Trump told a group of Religious Right leaders that America is in decline “because of people like you all around this table, you’re the ones who have allowed the country to get into the shape that it’s in.” “And he was absolutely right about it,” Jeffress added.

Both Jeffress and Wiles were among the 1,000 Religious Right leaders who met with Trump in New York last week.

Donald Trump Sounds Like 'Alex Jones Or Joseph Farah'

Donald Trump not only has close ties to far-right activists, he also reflects their rhetorical style and penchant for conspiracy theories.

Yesterday, Joseph Farah of the fringe outlet WorldNetDaily spoke with Alex Jones, whose radio broadcast is a haven for right-wing paranoia, about their shared love of Trump, whom Farah claims is energizing people across the political spectrum thanks to “his outspokenness” and “forthrightness.”

“Look at that speech he gave about Hillary last week,” Farah said. “That was amazing.”

“You could have been listening to Alex Jones or Joseph Farah give that speech!” he added.