It’s official: A plurality of Democrat voters are hypocrites, as they support the Obama DOJ spying on the Associated Press “after Democrats spent the entirety of Bush’s second term loudly despairing over civil liberties and freedom of the press being trod upon” in Allahpundit’s words.
But don’t worry, at least the IRS stands up for the Constitution: Lois Lerner has reportedly invoked the Fifth Amendment in her testimony before Congress, so as not to incriminate herself. Yup. Nothing illegal went on at the IRS, folks. Move along.
Seriously, the IRS scandal wasn’t just some rogue agents in Cincinnati: from the outset, they were guided by IRS lawyers in Washington. To his credit, Sen. Max Baucus (D) is asking why no heads have rolled yet over this scandal.
It’s starting to look like the Obama crew won the 2012 election by hiding crucial information (sometimes known as lying). Had Americans known the truth about the IRS and about Benghazi, 2% (which is all it would have taken) could well have gone the other way.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the tornado victims in Oklahoma. Click here for some ways we can all help them.
Turning to Obama scandal news, there is lots of it:
- Claims that new, damaging revelations on Benghazi will be coming. Also, one of Clinton’s scapegoats is starting to balk at being scapegoated for Benghazi.
- Even the liberal-ish Washington Post begins to agree that the ‘Benghazi emails were doctored!’ canard has been debunked.
- Lois Lerner, who “apologized” for the IRS/Tea Party harassment (as if that covers it) and who some insist is “apolitical”, has a history of targeting conservatives from her 14 years at the Federal Election Commission. There she showed a remarkable curiosity about the content of conservatives’ prayers, just as the IRS later did. Coincidence?
- Americans are becoming aware of these scandals, with 55-56% believing that the administration has engaged in a Benghazi cover-up and in deliberate IRS targeting of conservatives. The scandals haven’t yet hit Obama’s approval ratings; then again, they haven’t been clearly tied to his inner circle yet. 59% approve of *the GOP’s* handling of Benghazi.
- Adding to the Department of Justice’s spy-on-AP scandal, as of yesterday we have the spy-on-Fox scandal, in which the DOJ basically makes investigative journalism a crime.
- For background, let’s not forget that AG Holder “has prosecuted more government officials for alleged leaks under the World War I-era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined, including law-and-order Republicans John Mitchell, Edwin Meese and John Ashcroft.” So much for openness and transparency.
- But Obama’s DOJ seems to be in the habit of smearing critics, as well as prosecuting and/or spying on them.
In the comments, please remember: If another’s argument is ludicrous, there is no need to engage in personal attacks; just tear it apart point by point.
UPDATE: Via HotAir, here is 2008 video of candidate Obama saying, in essence, that a sitting administration must not prosecute or spy on reporters and critics:
That it’s ironic, is clear. Obama was, after all, speaking to the AP and (among his other lies) painted the Bush administration as intolerant of dissenters.
But what I really love about the clip is how Obama looks down his nose, as he speaks. It’s that note of contempt which his white liberal admirers fell for, going “Ooh, he’s so smaaarrt! He has deep integrity and wisdom!” I saw through Obama’s act from the beginning.
At Powerline, John Hinderaker explores whether the Obama White House was justified in obtaining “access to Fox News reporter James Rosen’s email account“. That lawyer notes that Republican politicians and conservative pundits sought to prosecute the New York Times (for, as John puts it, “publishing leaked information about Bush’s anti-terror strategies”) under the same statute the Obama team used to snoop on Rosen. At the conclusion of his post, Hinderaker concedes that he is “not enough of a criminal lawyer to have an opinion on whether the warrant should have been issued on this weak showing. ”
Just read the whole thing for his thorough analysis.
Interesting that although the Rosen piece which spurred their investigation was published nearly four full years ago (on June 11, 2009), the Department of Justice has yet to bring charges against Rosen. (Would be interesting to find out how long it took for the Justice Department to inform the FoxNews reporter about their investigation.)
Another thing to consider (as per my previous post) is that despite the claims many of the immediate past president’s critics made about that good man, his administration did not snoop around in the private affairs of its ideological adversaries 0r adversary journalists. Despite serious concerns that New York Times reporting compromised administration efforts to keep us safe, the Bush team did not attempt to obtain the e-mails of that paper’s reporters.
Charles C. W. Cooke wonders why those who freaked out about the PATRIOT Act and how it might lead to people’s library records being seized aren’t so concerned about the IRS asking conservative groups to hand over their Facebook posts and a list of books they were reading. Or for records of conversations they had or their positions on issues. Shouldn’t the ACLU be as up in arms about the IRS’s intrusion into people’s privacy as they were about Homeland Security looking at suspected terrorist’s use of library computers?
Did the immediate past president — or his henchmen — ever demand that his political adversaries, in order to receive a benefit from the government, reveal the content of their prayers or the names of their members?
Earlier today, I caught Jim Hoft’s report on ties between the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU, which represents, among others, employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)) and the Democratic Party. Jim links us to the NTEU’s release just following the 2012 election where its president Colleen M. Kelley congratulated Obama on his reelection and noted the efforts her government employee union made on behalf of that Democrat.
Commenting on a report that President Obama met with Miss Kelley “the day before agency targeted Tea Party“, Ace wonders, as should we all, about the strange coincidence and considers the meaning of the meeting. He surmises how events might have unfolded in circumstances similar to this one, with a hypothetical President Tee meeting with the head of Union N which had supported him politically:
It would seem that President Tee could choose to go outside the normal chain of command to issue an illegal order by simply telling the head of Union N to inform the union members she leads to pursue the policy, rather than issuing a formal order to the head of the IRS.
And journalists should be asking Jay Carney, in his next press briefing, to tell us what transpired in that meeting. And they should ask the president as well. Reporters should be doing what they can to learn what passed between the president and the union boss in March 2010.
UPDATE: Maybe there is nothing to that meeting. But, the time is indeed curious.
RELATED: Over on the National Review’s home page, Andrew Stiles has a good piece on Miss Kelley’s union:
The IRS may be “an independent enforcement agency with only two political appointees,” in the words of White House press secretary Jay Carney, but its employees are represented by a powerful, deeply partisan union whose boss has publicly disparaged the Tea Party and criticized the Republican party for having ties to it.
UP-UPDATE: Doug Powers has more.
The White House on Monday once again added to the list of people who knew about the IRS investigation into its targeting of conservative groups — saying White House chief of staff Denis McDonough had been informed about a month ago.
Press secretary Jay Carney said again that no one had told President Barack Obama ahead of the first news reports: not his top aide McDonough, nor his chief counsel Kathy Ruemmler, nor anyone from the Treasury Department.
Monday’s revelation amounts to the fifth iteration of the Obama administration’s account of events, after initially saying that the White House had first learned of the controversy from the press.
Various folks that I follow on Twitter have asked important questions over the past few days such as this one:
I want to know the names of the folks who get to decide what Obama doesn’t need to know. What are their credentials? Who elected them?
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 20, 2013
If Obama Doesn’t Know What Going On, Who’s Running This Administration? bit.ly/19VEQFr
— Duane Lester (@Bodhi1) May 20, 2013
And my observations regarding the multi-scandals now enveloping our supposed brilliant and awesome President?
— GayPatriot (@GayPatriot) May 20, 2013
“After Obama’s roughest week,” reports Brian Hughes of the Washington Examiner, “White House points finger at GOP”:
White House officials on Sunday dismissed Republican attacks over three simmering scandals as a partisan witch hunt, hoping to put behind them President Obama’s single worst week in office and to move Washington’s attention back to his second-term agenda.
While Obama was delivering a commencement address at the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta, his top surrogates fanned out across the Sunday morning talk shows to defuse claims that the administration has violated constitutional boundaries and to blame the controversies on partisan politics as usual.
“We’ve seen this playbook from the Republicans before,” Dan Pfeiffer, a senior Obama adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What they want to do when they’re lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings and false allegations. We’re not going to let that happen.”
Well, they wouldn’t need go on any fishing expeditions if Mr. Pfeiffer and his team would just answer the questions Republicans have been asking. It’s unfortunate that instead of answering those questions, Mr. Pfeiffer has chosen to blame Republicans.
Wish Mr. Pfeiffer had instead listened to his boss who just over four years ago spelled out for Jay Leno what he intended to do as President of the United States, including breaking that “pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.”
Guess that’s a pattern Mr. Pfeiffer isn’t interested in breaking.
As the French say, Plus ça change. . . .
“There is“, writes Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades,
. . . a fundamental disconnect between the White House’s actions and the White House’s words on the IRS scandal. The White House has repeatedly claimed that the President is “outraged” over the targeting — but there are surprisingly few actual consequences for outraging the leader of the free world. One of the folks involved in harassing conservatives got a promotion. Another got several thousands of dollars in bonuses. Even the thought of legal consequences is tossed aside as “irrelevant.”
The president’s outrage coincides with the story of the IRS scandal hitting the headlines. Interestingly, as Jonah Goldberg observed on Friday, when people the president “views as his ‘enemies’” first “complained about a politicized IRS, what did he do? Nothing.”
If Obama were truly outraged by the targeting, he would have ordered the IRS to investigate as soon as the first reports became public. And would use stronger terms than he has. He would be ordering the Treasury Secretary not just to hold “those responsible for these failures accountable”, but would also be making clear that those responsible could lose their jobs — and face prosecution.
To note, as per Jonah’s point, the president didn’t ask the immediate past Treasury Secretary to take action when the story first came to light. Nor has he specified how those responsible would be held accountable.
Doesn’t seem like the consequences will be very severe.
All via HotAir.
- IRS told pro-life groups that they should stop peacably demonstrating. Where is the ACLU on this? You know: freedom of assembly, something the ACLU proudly defended in Skokie? Are pro-lifers really lower (in the ACLU’s eyes) than actual KKK-hooded neo-Nazis?
- The “Benghazi e-mails were doctored!” canard, refuted.
- Senior White House Advisor Dan Pfeiffer, discussing the IRS and Benghazi scandals this morning, apparently did Obama no good with his over-use of the word “irrelevant”.
UPDATE: There seems to be controversy over Pfeiffer’s remark on the IRS scandal, “The law is irrelevant.” Here is his full quote, for context:
“I can’t speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant. The activity was outrageous and inexcusable, and it was stopped and it needs to be fixed so we ensure it never happens again.”
Superficially, Pfeiffer said: The IRS activity was outrageous, regardless of whether it was illegal. Which sounds like taking the high road.
But Washington-speak is notoriously indirect. Pfeiffer may have been saying: The administration/DOJ is giving NO focus to the question of legality, as we intend to have no prosecutions.
To make my view clear: On current information, there should be prosecutions. If the Obama administration won’t send malefactors to court, then the Obama administration isn’t serious about repairing the scandal’s profound moral damage. As Gabe at Ace points out, “…the most obvious of crimes related to the IRS scandal [is] the public release of confidential information, something punishable by up to a year’s jail time.”
UPDATE: Per ABC, Pfeiffer later tweeted “Before folks quoting me out of context get too far ahead of themselves, of course the law matters, IRS conduct is wrong even if legal.”
Again, note Pfeiffer’s posture. While expressing outrage over what the IRS did, he carefully plants the suggestion that it might have been legal – which would mean that no prosecutions are needed. Sorry Mr. Pfeiffer, I don’t think so.
“[E]ven among Obama voters,” writes Heather Long in Friday’s Guardian, reflecting on a variety of factors, including the number of scandals coming to light, “there should be genuine disappointment. This not the President Obama we voted for, not even close.”
She talks about the excitement and exhilaration people felt in 2008 when Obama was elected:
It was mostly young people marching – from varied backgrounds. Many of these parades ended up in front of the White House where chants of “goodbye Bush” (or some variation thereof) began. It was the same slogan heard as Barack Obama was sworn in as president in January 2009 and Bush flew away in a helicopter.
There was a belief, especially among voters in their 20s and 30s, that Obama was going to be different. That his promises to “change the culture in Washington” were real. That his administration wouldn’t be beholden to lobbyists and conduct executive power grabs.
Interesting how part of their celebration relates to the departure of the much (and usually wrongly) maligned immediate past President of the United States.
What evidence, beyond the candidate’s rhetoric, did they have that Barack Obama was an agent of change?
They were clearly not aware, as many conservatives reported in 2008, that the great Democratic hope had always been a loyal foot soldier in the Chicago Democratic machine. In his twelve years as an elected official based in that city, Barack Obama failed to challenged its authority — as he failed to root out corrupt practices and cronyism that defined its government.
His record, as we have pointed out repeatedly, was at odds with his rhetoric.
We (that is, conservative and libertarian bloggers and pundits) told you that back in 2008. We told you that you were voting for an image crafted by political consultants and projected onto a charismatic Chicago politician with a mellifluous speaking voice. But, you were so eager to see George W. Bush replaced that you trusted the words of man who delighted in maligning that Republican, but about whom you knew very little. And are only now seeing as he is today — and was back then.
Did the IRS ask progressive groups the same kind of intrusive questions they asked of Tea Party groups? (And if not, why not?)
If as outgoing Acting Internal Revenue Service Director Steven Miller claimed in his testimony before the House Ways and Committee that “politics didn’t play a role” in singling out Tea Party and other groups critical of the Obama administration, could he — or anyone at the IRS for that matter — please identify the “progressive” groups subject to the requests made of right-of-center/libertarian groups, including:
- Questions about “the content of their prayers“
- Queries about the books they were reading
- Requests for the name of teenage interns
- Demands for lists of members and donors
- Lists of names of books they were reading
- Questions about “activation with the news media” (whatever that is)
And if these progressive groups were not subject to such scrutiny, could someone at the IRS please explain why not.
UDPATE: Did they ask any “progressive” groups to agree not to protest any social conservative institutions as a condition of receiving their 501 (c)(4) status from the federal government?
UP-UPDATE: Seems a handful of “progressive” groups were singled out for extra scrutiny: Nonconservative Groups Say IRS Scrutinized Them, Too (Via HotAir headlines).
With apologies to the GayPatriot blog’s many Jewish friends and to its many “secular conservative” atheist/agnostic friends.
My only comment on the following material shall be this summary: It seems that Jesus took note of who was a tax collector and was willing to forgive them, on the premise that they were sinners who obviously needed to repent of their many crimes against their fellow man.
Matthew 9:9-13, English Standard Version (ESV), Jesus Calls Matthew
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus[a] reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
. . . another scandal is a-brewing:
“According to documents obtained by the Committees, EPA readily granted FOIA fee waivers for environmental allies, effectively subsidizing them, while denying fee waivers and making the FOIA process more difficult for states and conservative groups,” wrote Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Darrell Issa and Sens. David Vitter, Chuck Grassley and Jim Inhofe in a letter to the EPA.
Maybe we misheard Obama back in ’08; he wasn’t saying post-partisan, but most partisan.
A video every American should see:
As the scandals engulfing the Obama Administration have proliferated and “gotten legs” this week, many of the conservatives I know or whom I hear on the radio have started drawing comparisons with what happened under Nixon, bringing up the word “impeachment,” and hoping that as it becomes evident that these activities were not accidents but part of a coordinated strategy, Obama will eventually resign, or at least some of those who hold key posts of power in this administration–such as Eric Holder–will resign and that the Administration will be hopelessly tainted as the truth becomes known.
I hear that talk, and I think, it would be nice, but I can’t see it happening. Maybe Holder will resign. Maybe.
I can imagine the press starting to subject the Obama Administration to a little more scrutiny in the future, but “a little more” than none is still only a little bit of scrutiny, hardly enough to make a significant difference in public opinion. While the outrage surrounding all of this may be enough for the Republicans to hold the House and to gain control in the Senate in 2014, there will still be formidable problems, and we’ll still have a very divided country. The low-information voters in the electorate will still be willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt because most of them are either unwilling to see him for the cynical, partisan character he is, or they are unable to do so.
It is possible that after a year or two of scandals and after the outrage that is sure to follow the full implementation of Obamacare, Obama will end his second term with even lower approval ratings than George W. Bush ended his, but at this point, I think that’s about the most we can hope for, that, and maybe Holder’s resignation. I’m not even sure any of this will derail the immigration bill, which is looking more and more like the next legislative disaster coming down the pike.
I’m not trying to be pessimistic, merely practical. In the lead-up to the election in November, I knew that what happened with the administration’s lies about Benghazi was an outrage, but after the election, it seemed evident to me that Obama, Hillary, and the entire administration were going to get away without any consequences. The American voters had failed to demand answers and accountability and had just re-elected Obama.
Now that the scandals are starting to illustrate the kinds of things conservatives have been saying about Obama for years and years now, some liberals are upset with Obama, but others are busy trying to find more ways to blame conservatives for making an issue of the problems. In one of the most ironic defenses of Obama I have encountered so far, David Axelrod offered the “incompetence” excuse, namely, that the government is just too big for Obama to really know what’s going on, an excuse we are sure to hear echoed in the days ahead. Forgive me if I can’t forget that in November the American electorate rejected a man who was renowned for his management skills and his ability to lead large organizations successfully, all so they could re-elect the “community organizer.”
So what do our readers think? Am I just being pessimistic about all this? Is the investigation of these scandals likely to have real and significant consequences for our government, or are they a lot of talk that will amount to nothing, or at least nothing much?
. . . please explain why such snooping didn’t occur while George W. Bush was President of the United States.
And as a bonus, for those constantly blaming that man for wanting to destroy his enemies, please provide evidence of him — or his minions — rooting around in confidential government files for details about his political opponents.
“You were talking earlier about kind of dismissing the Benghazi issue as one that’s just political and the president recently said it’s a sideshow,” said Woodward. “But if you read through all these e-mails, you see that everyone in the government is saying, ‘Oh, let’s not tell the public that terrorists were involved, people connected to al Qaeda. Let’s not tell the public that there were warnings.’ I hate to show, this is one of the documents with the editing that one of the people in the state department said, ‘Oh, let’s not let these things out.’
“And I have to go back 40 years to Watergate when Nixon put out his edited transcripts to the conversations, and he personally went through them and said, ‘Oh, let’s not tell this, let’s not show this.’ I would not dismiss Benghazi. It’s a very serious issue. As people keep saying, four people were killed. You look at the hydraulic pressure that was in the system to not tell the truth…”
And, as of this writing: No, the Benghazi e-mails still haven’t been released. Not all; not enough. They held back the most crucial ones, the e-mails from September 12 and 13, releasing only from September 14 on. Why?
UPDATE (from Dan): Jeff, are you anticipating a post I am planning? Or just reading my mind?
UPDATE (from Jeff): Dan, GMTA!
Some news reports just speak for themselves.
In the Weekly Standard today, Daniel Halper writes:
NBC’s Lisa Myers reported this morning that the IRS deliberately chose not to reveal that it had wrongly targeted conservative groups until after the 2012 presidential election . . .
The IRS commissioner “has known for at least a year that this was going on,” said Myers, “and that this had happened. And did he share any of that information with the White House? But even more importantly, Congress is going to ask him, why did you mislead us for an entire year? Members of Congress were saying conservatives are being targeted. What’s going on here? The IRS denied it. Then when — after these officials are briefed by the IG that this is going on, they don’t disclose it. In fact, the commissioner sent a letter to Congress in September on this subject and did not reveal this. Imagine if we — if you can — what would have happened if this fact came out in September 2012, in the middle of a presidential election? The terrain would have looked very different.”
Via Ace. Barack Obama’s much vaunted commitment to transparency notwithstanding, that Democrat is more interested in winning elections than in opening the books on his administration.
At the National Review today, Andrew Stiles builds on that story:
The tax-collecting agency sought to identify and track student interns at the Leadership Institute, a conservative educational organization based in Virginia.
At around the same time the IRS began its “inappropriate targeting” of conservative organizations applying for nonprofit status — a practice detailed in a Treasury Department inspector general’s report published Tuesday — the agency conducted an audit of the Leadership Institute. The institute has offered workshops, seminars, internships, and other training programs for young conservatives and grassroots activists since its founding in 1979.
. . . .
It is not the only known instance of the IRS seeking information about conservative students. Kevin Kookogey, who founded a conservative mentoring program for high-school and college students in Tennessee, told National Review Online the IRS asked him to “identify the students I’m teaching and what I’m teaching them” as part of his application for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
So this got me wondering if the IRS had ever previously asked organizations applying for 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) status (or organizations with such status under audit) to name their interns.
Do any of our readers know if that happened before? I will link any credible report of such requests.
Was the same person (or persons) who crafted the questionnaire the individual (or team) deciding to ask for the names of high school and college kids?