Darrell Issa’s Christmas Present

Darrell IssaJust in time for Thanksgiving, Darrell Issa released his final report on Benghazi — after two years of claiming that there was a big White House conspiracy to kill brave Americans and then to cover it up for political gain. The report’s findings: nothing whatsoever. It didn’t come as a surprise. I’d been saying the same thing since almost the start of the supposed scandal. It was just Republicans — as usual — looking for anything to complain about because they have literally nothing to add to any policy discussion.

And now, just in time for Christmas, Darrell Issa released his final report on the IRS targeting of tax-exempt, supposed social welfare groups — after coming up on two years of claiming that there was a big White House conspiracy to abuse conservative groups. The report’s findings (pdf): nothing whatsoever. Was the White House sending commands to the IRS to attack Obama’s enemies? No. Was the IRS targeting conservative groups and not liberal groups? No. Of course, we knew this back at the beginning. Michael Hiltzik explains it, Issa’s Big Dud: No White House Connection to IRS “Scandal”:

The evidence set forth in the report, which was issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s GOP majority without sharing it first with the Democratic minority, instead depicts an IRS struggling to apply complicated rules for nonprofits engaging in political activity, all without guidance from Congress.

This is how Darrell Issa works. He makes loads of allegations very loudly as he makes the rounds to all the conservative media outlets. Then, he releases a report that says, “There is no evidence to back up anything I’ve been saying.” And since no one important is paying attention when he releases his reports, he wins. He’s been able to poison the political environment and make the Democrats look bad. No one is able to say quite what happened regarding Benghazi or IRS, but they will know that something happened and that the Democrats must have been up to something.

So let’s be clear: the only Benghazi scandal was that Republicans used the deaths of four Americans to push their own agenda and blacken the reputation of the United States government. And the only IRS scandal was that Republicans used a minor bureaucratic problem to push their own agenda and blacken the reputation of the United States government. In the process, the Republicans managed to force the IRS to grant 501(c)4 tax status to a number of conservative groups that absolutely should not have qualified.

Darrell Issa is the James O’Keefe of Congress. The question is what stunt he will come up with next. Sadly, the question is not whether the media will continue to fall for his tricks. We know the answer to that: yes. It doesn’t matter how much Issa manipulates the media and is shown to be completely wrong, they will come running when he calls. And when you wonder what has become of our democracy, all you need do is look around at all the “objective” journalists and see how they act as nothing but propagandists to anyone who claims to be telling “one side” of a story.

Rod Serling

Rod SerlingOn this day in 1924, the great writer and television producer Rod Serling was born. He served in the Pacific during World War II and after returning home, he went to Antioch College where he received his bachelor’s degree in literature. During his time there, he became involved in radio and so he began working in it. Soon, he moved to into television. Probably most notable during this career was the production of his teleplay, Requiem for a Heavyweight.

In 1959, Serling got to produce the series that he was best known for, The Twilight Zone. As great as Serling was as a writer, just important to the success of the show was his decision to work with Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson. All three of them are among the best television writers ever — regardless of genre. And the shows hold up remarkably well even today.

Since it is Christmas, I have to mention what is by far the best Christmas show ever made, “Night of the Meek.” It was the ninth episode of the second season of The Twilight Zone. And it does a better job than anything else in summing up what I think Christmas is all about. Of course, I feel an extremely strong kinship with Henry Corwin (played by Art Carney). It’s beautiful.

I used to embed it, but the embed got taken down. Search Google for “Night of the Meek” and you will almost certainly find it.

After The Twilight Zone, Serling created Night Gallery. I still think it was a fine show — in many ways as good as The Twilight Zone. But Serling didn’t stay in charge of the series for very long and it rather quickly got terrible. But at first, it was great. And it was quite good for a while.

Before, I embedded the pilot, but of course, it always gets taken down. You can usually find it somewhere online. Also, I recommend checking out my page about the show on Psychotronic Review: Night Gallery.

Serling had heart trouble when he was only 50 years old. It quickly led to his death. I’m sure if he had lived at a later time, things would have gone better for him — and for us. Still, it is amazing how much great work he produced in his short lifetime. He really was a kind of Christmas present for our culture 90 years ago.

Happy birthday Rod Serling!