Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - Volume 4, Number 4

© Copyright 2013, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.

The Riveting Return of Benghazi

Benghazi and Companion Scandals Pose Exponential Harm to Obama, and Clinton 2016


·         Benghazi, IRS, and AP, Oh My!

·         The New Heroism of the Vulgar and Indecent – by Mark Eastman - Page 2  (WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE)

·         UWFR Reader Survey Results – Part 2

·         UWFR Reader Survey Comments

·         WTC 1 Not So High

·         Cartoon: Obama Visits Disaster Zone – by Nate Beeler


Riveting Return of Benghazi

Drama Danger to Clinton in 2016


Change Not Hoped For


In the wake of two new Obama administration scandals erupting on top of the resurgence of interest in the administration’s handling of the disastrous Benghazi episode, we find that what happened in Benghazi remains the most important and likely to be the most consequential story in the long term.  For overall assessment on the impact of all three scandals, please see the companion article “Benghazi, IRS, and AP, Oh My!” in the following columns. 


Regarding Benghazi, in last year’s November 21 issue of UWFR we said:


…The Benghazi fiasco will be a thorn at the president’s side that can become infected at anytime.  We predicted prior to the election that the public would not pay it attention in any way as to affect the election.  But, with the election over, the eighty-five percent of reporters and pundits preferring an Obama presidency to a Romney one will now be less inclined to pass on a story that may get them notoriety.  Americans will generally ignore a story about an incident abroad, even a serious one, so long as it remains foggy in details, seemingly complex, and without major media play.  But, if the clear simple facts of a smoking gun become available, that can quickly change.


Things have changed. 


Previously we had also indicated that Americans are not generally concerned with events broad, and even dislike thinking about them, and adding that aspect to the story with unclear and complex details made the story easy to ignore.  The Congressional hearings in early May before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where three State Department career officials serving under Secretary Hillary Clinton (including the number two official in Libya after the ambassador himself) essentially contradicted their boss, have now made these dynamics less influential or irrelevant.  As one story in The Washington Post posted on May 8 put it, “State Department officials on Wednesday provided a riveting, emotional account…as they accused senior government officials of withholding embarrassing facts and failing to take enough responsibility for security lapses.”


The Washington Post is no friend to Republicans, and the use of such words as “riveting” and “emotional” by a growing number of media outlets presents a real problem for the Democrats in their positioning of the Benghazi disaster; and a not-insignificant danger to the President’s and Mrs. Clinton’s reputation for competence, and by consequence Mrs. Clinton’s much-heralded presidential coming in 2016.  The hearings were dramatic and riveting, and even an Obama-friendly media cannot resist an emotionally charged story with high drama cast with seemingly caring and valiant underdogs pitted against the apparently callous and self-serving powerful.  This opens the door for the story to be told and get more exposure.  When even a few Democrats begin to admit on the air that some aspects of the story are disturbing, as former Democratic strategist Kirstin Powers recently did on Fox News, or that the investigation is “legitimate,” as Mark Shields said on the PBS Newshour, the Democratic defensive charge that the investigation is simply political and has no merits quickly loses its sting and even becomes a liability against its employers.


Politics Are Political


A word or two about “playing” politics with an issue.  Politics is how decisions are made in a democratic society.  It is the job of a truly independent opposition party to question and challenge the party in power.  That is the way the system is designed.  Of course, if an opposition party over-states its case, it risks looking ridiculous, and even undermining the legitimate part of its case.  The Republicans are right to agitate and bring attention to a legitimate issue, but they should be careful not to overdo it.


An Ugly Seven Hours


Still, we don’t expect the facts of the story to expose more than bad judgment, a cynical self-serving disregard for truth, and a very unattractive display of apathy by the Secretary of State and the President in the face of Americans in imminent mortal danger while in the service of their country (gee, when you put it that way…).  But, we do put it that way because while we expect no laws were broken outright, honest people will be disturbed to realize that the President, after being told that the Benghazi consulate was under attack, checked out for seven hours.  This has been reported for some time, but we expect most Americans still don’t know this unsettling bit of information.  (President George Bush was excoriated for a seven-minute pause after he was informed of the 9/11 attacks, which he claimed he employed so as not to alarm the children to which he was reading.  Yes, the event was of a completely different scale, but so was the pause). 


An American Video Did It!


Even some liberal folks will get squeamish when they hear that Secretary Clinton went so far as to pointedly talk about ‘getting the video maker’ to the families of the dead, while not even mentioning those who actually did the killing, especially when she had to know that it was almost certain the attackers were organized terror and had not even seen the video in question (almost no one had).  Worse, Secretary Clinton may have actually caused the video to get attention and cause real violent anti-U.S. protests that then followed in various parts of the Middle East, as she squarely blamed a source in the U.S. inconveniently protected by U.S. laws on free speech.


Then of course, there is the mysterious transformation of the ‘talking points’ from the more accurate truth they originally contained to the falsehood so insistently presented,  and the outright lies about them in which the administration has now been caught.


The Wizard and the Curtain


As popular as Hillary Clinton is today among Americans, people forget that not long ago she was a polarizing figure disliked by even many Democrats - a politician with very high negatives.  She became popular, in our view, precisely because of her aura of competency and strength (ruthlessness?).  What will happen if the curtain is pulled just a bit, and people get a clear glimpse of what’s really behind this political wizard that has for the last twenty years managed to overcome every political scandal, debacle, and charge (“box cars of [incriminating] baggage” as someone put it in 2008)?  It depends on how long that glimpse lasts. 


Once the more entertaining elements of this story are exhausted, the likelihood of the media abandoning this story is high, and as we explain above, not just for political reasons (compare the Benghazi coverage with that of the Jodi Arias trial).  Now, we have two new scandals that will actually amplify each other (see our companion article).  Either way, there are Democrats in the Democratic Party who do fear her rise, and they will be taking notes.  Just as surely, Clinton people will be working diligently to find Obama people to blame, and if need be, Barack Obama himself.


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WTC 1 Not so High After All

1776 Number Gone From Sleek Spire, Left to Gritty Antenna

Despite all the congratulatory headlines proclaiming America’s new tallest building, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is likely to officially declare the new World Trade Center 1 as number one only in New York City, with the 39-year old Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago retaining the top spot in the U.S.A.  At the symbolic 1,776 feet, WTC 1 would have been the tallest in the U.S.A., and third in the world.  But, antennas have never been considered part of a building, and are never used when reporting official building heights.  The CTBUH is likely to leave the WTC 1 in second place within the U.S.A., and at 14th in the world.  Why was the 408-foot spire eliminated from the design?  It was deemed too costly.




Benghazi, IRS, and AP - Oh My!

Scandal Triad to Exponentially Rattle Administration


First we had the forceful resurgence of the Benghazi questions, then we had the bi-partisan rattling IRS scandal on the IRS abuse of power in its treatment of conservative groups seeking legitimate non-profit status, and now we have the Obama administrations’ erstwhile allies publicly protesting improper surveillance on them by the administration.


Things are not looking good for the President these days, and with good reason.  Even far-left allies are now declining to defend the administration, or are at least being quite circumspect.  While the Benghazi controversy may have earlier seen strong partisan defense on behalf of the administration, that has significantly weakened in the face of the recent hearings.  But if there was any Democratic wagon-circling in that issue, that is not, and will not happen with the IRS and Associated Press (AP) abuses.


AP Is One Thing


The AP has generally been seen as friendly to the President and his administration and it is part of the mainstream media, making it nearly impossible for anyone, including the media, to claim the AP is being unfairly partisan.  And, though a case can be made that the broad surveillance of AP reporters’ phone calls was based on good intentions with American security in mind, it is a Nixonian argument that does not play well in liberal circles.


But, the IRS Is Another


This crude misuse of government power poses much more risk to the administration because of how the public sees the IRS.  In reality, this abuse of IRS authority is not new, and even here there are arguments that could be made as to why organizations with “Tea Party” in their name might be subjected to greater scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status. 


But clearly it is more than that.  The IRS has already admitted wrongdoing.  The IRS never admits wrongdoing.  There is no doubt here that the only reason the IRS came publicly forward to say abuses occurred is because IRS officials realized the evidence was damning and incontrovertible, and would be exposed.


Scandal Math


On its face, and by itself, this issue would not have damaged the President’s second term, unless it became clear the White House knew about the abuses before what has been admitted previously.  Neither would the other two issues.  The problem is, they are not by themselves, and now we know folks in the White House did know about what was going on in the IRS.  In politics, the effects of scandals do not actually add up on top of each other – they multiply.  They have an exponential effect, so that three simultaneous ugly scandals are nine times worse than just the one.


Fat Lady Not Yet on Stage


As with the Benghazi scandal, we don’t see any of these scandals eventually implicating the President in criminal wrongdoing.  What we do see is the aura of a clean, idealistic presidency collapsing.  This may be actually unfair in the sense that nearly all administrations always end up embroiled in scandals in second terms; the harm in the latter issues is more of principle and ethics, and less of tangible harm; and no president can ensure that no one in his administration ever abuse or misuse their power, willfully or inadvertently.  Yet, it may be fair in the sense that the scandals expose an imperious mindset across Obama appointees that the President has cavalierly ignored or tolerated.


The sight of the President’s appointees making statements professing no responsibility for what happened under their watch, and one even pleading ‘the fifth’ after saying she “did nothing wrong,” is an indictment of that mindset.


The President will make it through these scandals somewhat sullied, but not politically impotent.  We do not expect any evidence of an impeachable offense. 


Continued column 3 >


< From column 2


We also expect there are several administration officials ready to take falls to save his administration from further harm.  Yes, his power will wane, and more so as the end of his second term nears.  But, Barack Hussein Obama is a remarkable man, and he is not done yet.


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Readers’ Survey Comments

The comments below were additional remarks included by surveyed readers with their survey responses.  Responses were anonymous. 


Comment 1

I like your commentaries on the current events. Especially during the debates. Because I didn't watch them I relied mainly on your concise review and your comments.


Comment 2

Always impressed with your point of view. I actually learn a lot. Where do you get all that info?


Comment 3

A different perspective is always a good thing.


Comment 4

I can't remember what you wrote about Facebook. It would be great if you could have a search feature on the site. I tried finding the article but couldn't.

Editor’s note:  It was a posting on our Twitter handle Ultrapolis, not an article on the main website.


Comment 5

[I’d like to see] more controversial topics explored, particularly trending issues, like the gun control debate currently.


Comment 6

I'm using this section for general comments: -I would prefer an ultrapolisproject email address so I might freely forward to friends and acquaintances without compromising your personal email address (which I haven't done in the past) -I suggest the writing is good rather than excellent only because it is sometimes intricately worded. I respect your attention to detail and commitment not to dumb things down and, at the same time, I wonder if others take the time and care to genuinely understand the information you present or skim over it because of the writing style and miss valuable details in so doing. (?) Just a thought. -I think you're brilliant and I'm happy to have grown closer to you through a seemingly unfortunate circumstance! Thank you.


Comment 7

I like it the way it is (truly).


Comment 8

To [sic] be honest, I’m receiving the emails but not reading. So I can not [sic] make comments on the material.



Ultrapolis World Forecast & Review

Ultrapolis Project – ultrapolisproject.com



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President Visits Disaster Zone



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© Copyright 2013, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved.