Four Washington Scandals That Still Matter Despite the Distractions

They're still there, festering

three more yearsWhite HousePresident Obama’s attempt to lead the United States into an intervention in Syria may have provided the White House a distraction from the summer of scandal, but they’re still there, festering. As the president waddles toward lame duck status, the various scandals will increasingly come to shape Obama’s second term. Scandals like the NSA revelation have already forced the president to address the issues on other than his terms. His decision to go to Congress for authorization on Syria stands in stark contrast to the last time the U.S. intervened in a civil war in the region, in Libya in 2011. Back then, the president didn’t seek Congressional authorization and Congress didn’t do much about that. This time, though Obama insisted he didn’t need Congress’ OK, some members of Congress put up much more resistance to the idea of Congress as a rubber stamp for the president. The exercise could have the unintended consequence of making Congress more aggressive in confronting the different scandals. Here are four ongoing clouds hovering over the president:

1. NSA surveillance

spirit of '84?NSAAs referenced above, ever since the first Edward Snowden disclosures back in May, Obama has been on the defensive on the issue of domestic surveillance. Often, the president’s statements have turned out to be untrue or deceptive when new revelations come out. And four months after the first ones, they continue, with effects both domestically and abroad. In July, the House voted on an effort to defund the NSA’s illegal domestic activities, the Amash Amendment. It failed by a remarkably small margin of seven votes. Recent revelations about NSA spying on the Brazilian president, meanwhile, led to that country's President Dilma Rousseff canceling her state visit to the White House. The controversy could push Brazil to drift toward the more anti-American bloc of countries in Latin America. Obama’s response to Brazil’s concerns was, essentially, that these things come out in the newspapers and then he has to figure out what’s actually happening. It’s not just Brazil. Mexico wants answers about alleged spying on its president, too. In Germany, American spying is a major campaign issue in the forthcoming elections. In Vienna, some residents suspect a local villa is actually an NSA listening post. Will Congress stay focused on the NSA? James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, thinks so, saying he believes Congress will curb or even shut down the NSA’s domestic surveillance efforts. Earlier this week, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said he believed “further protections” were necessary to ensure Americans’ civil liberties weren’t violated and that he wanted “robust oversight,” which could still mean not much will change.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    I wonder what other distractions the administration has up its sleeve?

  • Swiss Servator, Spare a Franc?||

    Again? That trick never works.

    /Rocket J. Squirrel

  • Pro Libertate||

    Rocky and Bullwinkle would be a vast intellectual improvement over the current gang of idiotic thieves.

  • Almanian!||

    Moose and Squirrel are foilink plans AGAIN!


  • Almanian!||

    Pull my finger...

  • Paul.||

    You have to admit that Scandal Summer is more interesting than Recovery Summer. And according to Obama supporters, just as real.

  • DenverJay||

    I thought Summers withdrew?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...some members of Congress put up much more resistance to the idea of Congress as a rubber stamp for the president.

    Once you get lied to under oath a couple of times and do squat about it, then I think you're pretty much a paper tiger at that point.

    And no AP reporter spying scandal? Or was that pre-summer?

  • Swiss Servator, Spare a Franc?||

    "Once you get lied to under oath a couple of times and do squat about it, then I think you're pretty much a paper tiger at that point."

    Hey now! It wasn't lying, it was merely providing the "least untruthful answer!"


  • Paul.||

    An answer of reduced truthiness.

  • Curtisls87||

    would that be limited kinetic truthfulness?

  • Sevo||

    Truthically challenged?

  • Mark22||

    I'd call it a "vast potential for future improvements in telling the truth".

  • Almanian!||

    Scandals? You mean the phony scandals dreamed up by the Teathuglitards and the Vast, Right-Wing Conspiracy™? THOSE "scandals", Ed?

    Yeah - a bunch of made up stuff to keep OJ from assisting the police to find the REAL killers.

    I mean - keeping The President (PBUH) from being able to concentrate on the things needed to keep abortion safe, legal and rare, end the war on wimminz, provide contraceptives at no charge to middle class college women women's health services to those who otherwise would have none, pay a Living Wage® to the tens of millions struggling to support families on minimum wage jobs whlie the 1% eat caviar, rid the streets of AR15's given out like candy cigarettes by the Evul Koch Brothers, and continuing to stem the oceans' advance, and keep the polar ice caps regenerating.

    Not to mention keeping the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on track despite the crafty and mean-spirited efforts of the Do-Nothing Congress to derail its magnificence.

    THOSE scandals, Ed? I don't know how you sleep at night.

  • DenverJay||

    But, according to the preview of the new IPCC report, Global Warming has stopped, and the seas are no longer rising as fast as feared. So, the President has accomplished those goals! Praise be to Obama, he has saved the planet as promised.

  • Paul.||

    You know, I'm feeling charitable today, and if I could say anything about the political class, it's not that they're inherently dumber* than everyone else, it's that they take on jobs that no one is smart enough to do effectively, so they're bound to fail, making them look, dumber.

    * Of course, who's dumber, the guy who knows he's not smart enough to organize an economy of 360,000,000 individuals, or the guy who thinks he is?

  • DH||

    On issue 4. I have on good authority from Paul Krugman that the fix to any problem is for government to spend more. So no worries, right? Gubment doesn't need a budget cause they ain't like you and I.

  • UnCivilServant||

    If only a lack of a budget meant it wasn't spending my money.

  • DH||

    I've been reading Rothbard on the Great Depression currently, and from what I can keep up with, he would probably spit in Krugmans face for what he's suggesting. More money from the gov in the Economy artificially pushes back people's preference for reinvesting, only delaying the natural cycle of bust and boom which naturally reset the economy. Hard to read but interesting shit.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Not only that, but the limited supply of capital means that government spending replaces private spending. And since government spending has a real multiplier under 1, "stimulus" is always bound to fail unless it is small enough that it doesn't suck all the air out of the room.

  • Curtisls87||

    from Krugman:
    "3. Things aren’t always this way, but when they are, the government is not in competition with the private sector. Government purchases don’t use resources that would otherwise be producing private goods, they put unemployed resources to work. Government borrowing doesn’t crowd out private borrowing, it puts idle funds to work."

    This has to be one of the most ignorant statements I've ever seen.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Government purchases don’t use resources that would otherwise be producing private goods"...

    So his claim is that money and capital are not fungible?
    That is a truly amazing comment from someone educated in econ.

  • Mark22||

    Krugman's statements have become bizarre. Either he is mentally deteriorating and becoming senile, or someone is blackmailing him into saying the things he is saying. There really isn't any other explanation that I can see.

  • DenverJay||

    But in all seriousness, as long as the MSM continue to carry water for the libs, the country is doomed. Most of the media in this country might as well be an arm of the Government, and call themselves Pravda. With a truly unbiased media, or even one that cared enough about it's image to pretend to be fair, like the liberal media of 20 years ago, this crap would be unacceptable. Imagine if any of these scandals had happened under a Republican administration, or if a Republican president had decided to start ignoring the laws he didn't like, or changing the dates of laws' implementation despite the language of the law. The media would be (rightly) calling for Impeachment, and the Congress would be listening to "the will of the people", which is what they mistake "the will of the media" as.
    And then the horribly incompetent local TV News parrots, simplifies, and further distorts the already untruthful party line, and we have a socialist propaganda machine that would make Stalin envious.

  • Libertarius||

    I am a Professor of Dialectical Obozoism, and I approve.

  • PapayaSF||

    At some point this will shift, at least a bit. The recent Syria clown act was widely criticized, even by previously-loyal water-carriers. Even loyal Democrats in the media can't forever resist covering juicy scandals and the slow-motion train wreck of Obamacare.

  • Anders||

    Yet another racist post on Reason.

    On the lefty blogs I learned to always trust the NSA, the Ben Ghazi was some kind of GOP stooge or anti-gay activist, that the IRS is more trustworthy than Lord O, and many other hard truths.

  • Anders||

    If you read less Klan tracts and listened more to Al Sharpton on MSNBC, you would understand that the Latte-Colored Jesus is better than the original version.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    I've always found Daily$oros to be a good source of racially unbiased support for the President's righteous murder of evil Muslim children.

  • Sevo||

    Now, see? If any other guy was president, could you work at home and get a Beemer?


    Only four?

  • Len Bias||

    Talking about these things hurts Obama's feelings, that's why we need to stop. He's sensitive!

  • juliajuli||

    my roomate's mom makes on the internet. She has been out of a job for six months but last month her paycheck was just working on the internet for a few hours. browse this site......



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