Witch’s Will For A Mourning In May
I will remain in “mourning” so long as Obama’s unworthy ass sits in the Oval Office.
Quote of the day:
I love what IRS commissioner Steve Miller said today about this whole targeting conservative groups thing. He said, “Mistakes were made, but they were in no way made with a political or partisan motivation.” Yeah, “Mistakes were made” — try saying THAT during your next IRS audit. ~ Jay Leno
My Top 3 Stories:
A Culture of Intimidation
by Rand Simberg
In the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq during the Bush administration, the default assumption of the media was that it was a direct consequence of White House policies. Those who were particularly Bush/Cheney deranged imagined that the vice president himself probably spent his recreational time personally torturing Iraqi prisoners. But even more thoughtful people accused the administration of creating the environment in which the abuse could occur:
Defenders of the administration have argued, of course, that there is no “smoking gun”–no chain of orders leading directly from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Pfc. Lynndie England and her co-conspirators. But that reasoning–now largely accepted within the Beltway–betrays a deliberate indifference to how large organizations such as the military actually work.
In any war, civilian leaders set strategic aims, and it falls to commanders and planners at successively lower levels of command to refine that guidance into executable orders which can be handed down to subordinates. That process works whether the policy in question is a good one or a bad one.
President Bush didn’t order the April 2003 “thunder run” into Baghdad; he ordered Tommy Franks to win the war and the Third Infantry Division’s leaders figured out how to make it happen.
Likewise, no order was given to shove light sticks into the rectums of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Nevertheless, the road to the abuses began with flawed administration policies that exalted expediency and necessity over the rule of law, eviscerated the military’s institutional constraints on the treatment of prisoners, commenced combat with insufficient planning, preparation and troop strength, and thereby set the conditions for the abuses that would later take place.
Similarly, while we still don’t know what the White House knew and when it knew it (and the president’s non-responsive answer to a question that wasn’t asked on Thursday not only failed to clarify the issue, but increased cause for suspicion), the administration certainly created an environment in which IRS functionaries might have thought it was their job to go after his political enemies.
If they weren’t doing literally to them what the Abu Ghraib rogue soldiers were doing to individual Iraqi’s fundaments, they were certainly doing it figuratively. This is particularly true because by the very nature of their job, and the ideology of the limited-government groups, many of the IRS employees probably viewed them as their own political adversaries.
After all, one of the political goals of the 501(c)4 groups whose names contained the words “Patriot” or “Tea Party” was to simplify the tax code, if not to abolish the income tax altogether, an outcome that threatened the size and power, if not very existence of the “service” for which the IRS employees worked. It would be natural (and even simply human) for them to be suspicious of the motives of such groups, and to wish to thwart them.
Moreover, while all employees except two are career civil service, and not appointed by or directly accountable to the White House, that doesn’t mean that they are apolitical. As Tim Carney points out:
…being a “career civil servant” doesn’t mean you’re making a career out of the job, or that you’re not political.
In the past three election cycles, the Center for Responsive Politics’ database shows about $474,000 in political donations by individuals listing “IRS” or “Internal Revenue Service” as their employer.
This money heavily favors Democrats: $247,000 to $145,000, with the rest going to political action committees. (Oddly, half of those GOP donations come from only two IRS employees, one in Houston and one in Annandale, Va.)
IRS employees also gave $67,000 to the PAC of the National Treasury Employees Union, which in turn gave more than 96 percent of its contributions to Democrats. Add the PAC cash to the individual donations and IRS employees favor Democrats 2-to-1.
The Cincinnati office where the political targeting took place is much more partisan, judging by FEC filings. More than 75 percent of the campaign contributions from that office in the past three elections went to Democrats. In 2012, every donation traceable to employees at that office went to either President Obama or liberal Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. (emphasis by author)
Add to that the revolving door between top IRS officials and Democratic staff positions that Carney also notes, and there will be a natural bias within the bureaucracy against groups and individuals who appear to be opposed to Democratic policies and goals. Now consider the multiplication effect of the intense vilification and calumnies against the Tea Party as racist, bigoted, homophobic John Birchers by much of the media over that time period.
It would make perfect sense for a typical IRS employee to view them as a threat not just to their own job, but to the nation itself — they are enemies of the state. So when they claim that they’re not being political in giving more scrutiny to such groups, they probably believe it, just as many in the media are blind to their own partisan bias, because they are fish who don’t even see the water in which they swim.
Boom: Obama Administration Knew of IRS Targeting in June of 2012
by Guy Benson
Earlier in the week, White House spokesman Jay Carney categorically denied that no one at the White House was aware of the IRS targeting operation prior to late April of this year. Minutes later, he walked back his own assertion. Then came yesterday’s (brief) presidential press conference, at which a reporter asked the president when the White House became aware of the IRS abuse. Obama’s answer was parsed and evasive. He said he personally found out about the IG report last Friday. Both Obama and Carney clearly sought to convey a sense that the White House only became aware of the problem very recently, but neither quite said it. Why such careful rhetorical stepping from the president and his spokesman on this question? Perhaps because they either knew or suspected that other shoes were going to drop. Like this one from the New York Times:
The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was auditing the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year. At the first Congressional hearing into the I.R.S. scandal, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel of his audit on June 4, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly thereafter.” It remained unclear how much the disclosure would affect the broader debate over the I.R.S.’s problems. Complaints from Tea Party groups that the I.R.S. was singling them out became public in 2012, through media accounts.
This sentence from the Times story is precious:
Mr. George told Treasury officials about the allegation as part of a routine briefing about ongoing audits he would be conducting in the coming year, and he did not tell the officials of his conclusions that the targeting had been improper, he said. Still, the inspector general’s testimony will most likely fuel efforts by Congressional Republicans to show that Obama administration officials knew of efforts to single out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for additional scrutiny, but did not reveal that knowledge during President Obama’s re-election campaign.
Yes, New York Times, the sworn testimony of the Inspector General and your reporting may “fuel efforts by Congressional Republicans” to, um, point out what happened. For his part, Treasury says Wolin didn’t discuss the revelation with anyone outside of his own department. First of all, the IRS is overseen by Treasury, which is run by the executive branch. Targeting conservative was a systemic, well-known practice for years inside the IRS.
This Is What Tyranny Looks Like
by Bryce Buchanan
Here is a woman we will need to learn much more about in the coming weeks. Sarah Hall Ingram is a highly valued employee at the IRS. In the last three years she has received $103,390 in bonuses for her excellent work. She was the Commissioner of the Tax-Exempt and Government Entitles Division. Under her leadership, groups that expressed a fear of large, out-of-control government were systematically crushed by her branch of our large, out-of-control government. They were specifically singled out for harassment for political reasons. Secret information about the conservative applicants was leaked to leftist opposition groups to facilitate further harassment.
This was an organized political operation using State power to silence opposition voices. It is part of every tyrant’s playbook. It tells you everything you need to know about the current state of our country to see that those who favor a limited government, the explicit goal of our founding documents, are now considered enemies of the State.
In a 2009 speech, Ms. Ingram explained her approach:
As a practical matter, we cannot subject every application for tax-exempt status to a painstaking, leave-no-rock-unturned review. Nor can we audit every organization’s 990 every year. Nor would you want us to do so, right? To govern is to choose, and we must choose appropriately which applications or 990s to focus most attention on.
It is clear now that by “choose appropriately”, she meant to harass the limited-government groups endlessly and let liberal and Islamic groups sail right through the approval process.
The good news is that this woman is no longer in charge of that department. The bad news is that she has been promoted and is now the head of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office. She and her comrades could have access to all your medical records. They will “choose appropriately” who has trouble with the state-controlled medical system and who sails right through. They will decide if it is appropriate to share your medical history with others.
But don’t worry. I heard the outgoing IRS Commissioner say in Friday’s congressional hearings that he has reviewed the situation and found that there was “no partisanship” in the years-long practice of singling out conservative groups for IRS harassment. None at all. There is just no reason to think that specifically targeting one side of the political spectrum had anything to do with politics.
And when Commissioner Steven Miller was asked why conservative groups were targeted for prolonged scrutiny, he said that it just happened because people were trying to be efficient. Sure. Months and months of delays with endless demands for more paperwork is the efficient way to go.
Rep. Kelly OWNS Fired IRS Commish–Gets Rousing Ovation!
Incredible! Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PN) will win your hearts and minds with his questioning and statements: you’ll see why he got a rousing ovation once he concluded. One of the many poignant allegations Kelly made to ousted IRS commissioner Steven Miller highlights the two freeze-frames below:
“This is very chilling for the American people. You should be outraged, but you’re not.”
Worth a Read:
Obama administration officials who were in key positions on Sept. 11, 2012, acknowledge that a range of mistakes were made the night of the attacks on the U.S. missions in Benghazi, and in messaging to Congress and the public in the aftermath.
The officials spoke to CBS News in a series of interviews and communications under the condition of anonymity so that they could be more frank in their assessments. They do not all agree on the list of mistakes and it’s important to note that they universally claim that any errors or missteps did not cost lives and reflect “incompetence rather than malice or cover up.” Nonetheless, in the eight months since the attacks, this is the most sweeping and detailed discussion by key players of what might have been done differently.
“We’re portrayed by Republicans as either being lying or idiots,” said one Obama administration official who was part of the Benghazi response. “It’s actually closer to us being idiots.”
The Obama administration’s chief critics on Benghazi, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., remain skeptical. They see a pattern, even a conspiracy, to deflect attention from the idea that four Americans had been killed by al Qaeda-linked attackers, on the president’s watch. “There is no conclusion a reasonable person could reach other than that for a couple of weeks after the attack, [the Obama administration was] trying to push a narrative that was politically beneficial to the president’s re-election,” Graham told CBS News.
The list of mea culpas by Obama administration officials involved in the Benghazi response and aftermath include: standing down the counterterrorism Foreign Emergency Support Team, failing to convene the Counterterrorism Security Group, failing to release the disputed Benghazi “talking points” when Congress asked for them, and using the word “spontaneous” while avoiding the word “terrorism.”
When an Administration official uses being an idiot as an excuse it seems to me that the country is in the worst possible hands with this bunch of clowns. Between an admission of “idiocy” and the stream of “I don’t knows” from Obama and Holder there is a complete failure of leadership.
Bob Woodward on Benghazi
The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, America’s greatest living investigative reporter, was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and said this:
“I would not dismiss Benghazi. It’s a very serious matter.”
Mr. Woodward recounted his own memories of Richard Nixon’s role in editing Watergate transcripts in order to mislead the public.
The Benghazi scandal is obviously not comparable to Watergate at this stage and may never be. Watergate, after all, involved the president being at the center of a criminal conspiracy. But not every scandal has to be Watergate to be serious; and a scandal need not lead to impeachment to be deeply problematic.
‘We could lose everything’: Tea Party groups prepare to sue IRS
And all this after Americans learned that:
* The folks at the IRS — the ones who’ll be helping enforce ObamaCare — mishandled applications by conservative groups for tax-exempt status, perhaps criminally.
* Someone in government couldn’t keep his yap shut and leaked national-security info tied to a foiled bomb plot — info President Obama suggested could “compromise” missions or “get [people] killed.” The fallout already: a rare government intrusion into press operations via a subpoena of The Associated Press’s phone records to find the leaker.
* The State Department couldn’t secure US personnel in Benghazi. Or protect them under fire. Or even explain truthfully in the aftermath of the attack just what happened.
* A Justice Department operation lost track of firearms it allowed to be purchased, to wind up in the hands of Mexican drug gangs and to be used to gun down a federal agent.
And President Obama says Americans should be more trusting of government?
The Autocrat Accountants
By Mark Steyn
Once government is ensnared in every aspect of life, a bureaucracy grows increasingly capricious.
Cockroach Of The Day:
Lerner’s admission of IRS’s inappropriate behavior was pre-planned public disclosure
WASHINGTON – Last week, Lois Lerner, head of the tax exempt division of the Internal Revenue Service dropped a bombshell: The IRS had been applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups claiming tax exempt status.
The revelation came seemingly out of the blue, in response to a question during a panel at an American Bar Association conference, leaving the audience baffled, according to reports.
As it turns out, it was not a spontaneous revelation. The question, said outgoing IRS Commissioner Steven Miller in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee Friday, was planted, as part of a prepared strategy for the IRS to release this information to the public.
It is difficult to decide whether Ms. Lerner is a “useful idiot” or a cockroach. So I guess I’ll just go for both.