"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

One of Salem Oregon's Unofficial Top 1000 Conservative Political Bloggers!!!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Eurozone: Record Unemployment; Policymakers Fear "Social Breakdown from Crisis"

"Following European models doesn't mean we'll get European results. That just makes no sense. We're Americans. And it's all probably Bush's fault anyway."

Maybe we should look over Europe before we start "Europeanizing" our economy. Oops. A little late, but not too late.

From Reuters:

Unemployment has reached a new high in the euro zone and inflation remains well below the European Central Bank's target, stepping up pressure on EU leaders and the ECB for action to revive the bloc's sickly economy.  
Joblessness in the 17-nation currency area rose to 12.2 percent in April, EU statistics office Eurostat said on Friday, marking a new record since the data series began in 1995. 
With the euro zone in its longest recession since its creation in 1999, consumer price inflation was far below the ECB's target of just below 2 percent, coming in at 1.4 percent in May, slightly above April's 1.2 percent rate. 
That rise may quieten concerns about deflation, but the deepening unemployment crisis is a threat to the social fabric of the euro zone. Almost two-thirds of young Greeks are unable to find work, exemplifying southern Europe's 'lost generation'. 
Economists and policymakers including Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, have said the greatest menace to the unity of the euro zone is now social breakdown from the crisis, rather than market-driven factors. 
In France, Europe's second largest economy, the number of jobless rose to a record in April, while in Italy, the unemployment rate hit its highest level in at least 36 years, with 40 percent of young people out of work.

No, no. Everything's fine. Just a little hiccup, a little difficulty in the implementation.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Large Majority of American Across Board Want to See Independent Prosecutor Investigate IRS Scandal

"Look, just because I benefited from a political witch hunt during a close election that was exercised by parts of the executive branch of government, doesn't mean that I'm responsible. That just makes no sense. Oh, and you can keep your health plan if you like it. What? Not even the AP is buying this crap anymore? But look at my halo!"

Uh oh. Maybe it wasn't just some rogue Obama supporters in Ohio.

From Politico (via Drudge):

Meanwhile, 76 percent of American voters think an independent prosecutor should investigate the IRS controversy, including 63 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of GOPers and 78 percent of independents. 
“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Voters apparently don’t like the idea of Attorney General Eric Holder investigating the matter himself, perhaps because they don’t exactly think highly of him. Holder gets a negative 23 - 39 percent job approval rating.”

And Eric Holder has a bad job approval rating? Weird.

By the way, "IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president’s Cabinet." And Obama was talking about punishing enemies, and revenge and such...


Study: Americans Have Rebuilt Less than Half of Wealth Lost During Recession

"Look, the really important thing is that you'll soon be forced to buy crappy-- I mean government approved health insurance that you can't afford. Oh, and if you become a paperless household you'll save $20 million a year. You'll all be rich!"

Nice recovery. I wonder if it has anything to do with record high unemployment, higher taxes, looming health care costs?

From The Washington Post  article by Ylan Q. Mui: (via Instapundit)

American households have rebuilt less than half of the wealth lost during the recession, according to a new analysis from the Federal Reserve, hampering the country’s economic recovery. 
The research from the St. Louis Fed shows that households had accumulated net worth totaling $66 trillion at the end of last year. After adjusting for inflation and population growth, the bank found that meant families on average have only made up 45 percent of the decline in their net worth since the peak of the boom in 2007.  
In addition, most of the improvement was due to gains in the stock market, according to the report, primarily benefiting wealthy families. That means the recovery for most households was even weaker.

Amusingly, the article doesn't go into the reasons why the recovery is so tough, except for vaguely mentioning a lack of household wealth. Gee, I wonder where all that household wealth comes from? A job, maybe? I wonder if Mui ever gave any thought to the idea that since the job market sucks, the economy sucks?

Oh well, I'm sure there's not really a connection and that the answer is for government to redistribute wealth to those struggling. That should create a permanent solution. Right?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

At Least Four Different Investigations into IRS Scandal

"I am so sorry that this IG report came out, and that some patriots helped me win a tight election. Now, back to extorting health care companies to implement ObamaCare."

Hmm. I wonder if too many of probes could offset each other...

From the Daily Caller article by Patrick Howley (via Drudge):

Capitol Hill aides spent their Memorial Day weekend scanning hundreds of pages of documents related to the IRS scandal in order to prepare their bosses for what will inevitably be a frantic month of June involving multiple simultaneous investigations into government wrongdoing. By the time lawmakers return to session next week, at least four different investigations will be underway. 
As The Daily Caller has reported, at least five different IRS offices including Cincinnati, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois and El Monte and Laguna Niguel, California improperly targeted conservative nonprofit groups for extra scrutiny between 2010 and 2012. 
The IRS’ shenanigans, chronicled in a damning report by Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George, started when a “team of [IRS] specialists” came together in April 2010 to process the tax-exempt nonprofit status of conservative groups that might be “potential political operations” (page 13 of the IG report). The IRS added “additional specialists” to this effort in December 2011.
Well, let's see where they lead. I guess that's all we can do. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lois Lerner, IRS Official Who Did Nothing Wrong, Signed Harassing Letters Sent to Tea Party

"I hereby pledge that I did nothing wrong. That's according to President Obama and the head of my union. And now I will say nothing more."

Of course Lerner did nothing wrong. Someone had to stand up to the Tea Party and she was just following orders anyway.

From Fox News:

The IRS official who refused to testify this week -- while claiming she had done nothing wrong -- signed letters to Tea Party groups a year ago that asked them to turn over everything from printouts of their Facebook pages to the credentials of speakers who participated in their events. 
A group representing more than a dozen Tea Party groups now suing the IRS released a sample of one of the letters overnight, after the official Lois Lerner was placed on administrative leave. According to one lawmaker, she was only placed on leave after she refused to resign.  
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice, said the March 2012 letters show a "paper trail" that reveals her "direct involvement in sending intrusive and harassing questionnaires."  
"It appears Lerner did nothing to stop the abusive conduct. And our evidence suggests she was actively participating in the improper targeting in March 2012," he said in a statement.  
It was no secret that Lerner, as head of the exempt organizations division, was aware of the program that had developed in the Cincinnati office under her watch. A timeline provided in the inspector general's report on the practice showed she was first briefed in June 2011.   
After that, the unit in question sent out a new round of letters requesting additional information, while giving groups that had not responded to the prior requests an additional 60 days to comply. These appear to be the letters that, in some cases, Lerner signed.  
A letter posted online by the ACLJ was sent March 16 to the Ohio Liberty Council Corp. Signed by Lerner, the letter gave the group 60 days to respond to a prior letter seeking information on the group's social media accounts, sponsored events, communications with lawmakers and other material.  
Sekulow said their records show Lerner sent 14 other letters to 14 of his group's clients in March and April of that year. He said it's unclear why her signature is on some letters but not others. 
Lerner, meanwhile, has maintained she did nothing wrong. She asserted her innocence in a brief statement at a House committee hearing Wednesday, before claiming her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions.
Nothing to see here. No cover-up, no concerted efforts by the IRS. Move on. Move on.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Holder OK'd Seizing of Fox News Reporter's Private E-mails

"But hey, Fox News is a terrorist organization that defies the will of the Obama. You should be ashamed at even thinking we can't take their e-mails at will."

Remember when Holder claimed he recused himself from the case when the Dept. of Justice grabbed a bunch of AP reporters' phone records? Holder claimed that he was too close to the AP to be objective. Well, apparently Holder isn't too close to Fox News reporters.

From NBC News:

Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News on Thursday.
The disclosure of the attorney general’s role came as President Barack Obama, in a major speech on his counterterrorism policy, said Holder had agreed to review Justice Department guidelines governing investigations that involve journalists. [Now then they've been called on it.] 
"I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable," Obama said. "Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs."  
Holder previously said he recused himself from the AP subpoena because he had been questioned as a witness in the underlying investigation into a leak about a foiled bomb plot in Yemen. His role in personally approving the Rosen search warrant had not been previously reported.
Of course, Holder was also responsible for operation "Fast and Furious" which funneled thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels and were linked in the deaths of hundreds of people. And he refused to investigate a clear case of voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party. But Fox News is the real threat to Americans, I guess.

Poll: Majority Wants to Go Back to Pre-ObamaCare Health System

"Now look, you all are entitled to your opinion and such, but just remember who controls the IRS and our military drones. Maybe this is beginning to sound like an imminent threat to ObamaCare. Right, Eric?"

A real shocker, I know. Since the majority of the people didn't want ObamaCare in the first place, it seems pretty predictable that they don't want ObamaCare now. And those expensive goodies that ObamaCare was front-loaded seemed to sway no one. Oops.

From Fox News:

Majorities of American voters say their family will be worse off under the Affordable Care Act, and think it would be better to go back to the pre-ObamaCare health care system. 
A Fox News poll released Wednesday finds that while 26 percent of voters say their health care situation will be better under the new law, twice as many -- 53 percent -- say it will be worse. Another 13 percent say it won’t make a difference.   
Almost all Republicans (85 percent) and just over half of independents (51 percent) say they will be worse off under ObamaCare. Nearly half of Democrats expect to be better off (48 percent), while about one-quarter believe they will be worse off (24 percent). 
Young voters and seniors are pessimistic about ObamaCare. Majorities of those under age 35 and those 65+ think things will be worse under the 2010 health care law.   
That helps explains why a 56-percent majority wants to go back to the health care system that was in place in 2009. Some 34 percent would stick with the new law.   
Three in ten Democrats would rather go back to the pre-ObamaCare system (30 percent). That view climbs to 55 percent among independents and 85 percent among Republicans.
And once again we see the divide between the Democrats and everybody else. Modern Democrats seem absolutely blind to the fact that their policies don't work, and are ready to accept any scapegoat their throw up in front of them. This is why California, New York, Illinois, and Michigan are the veritable paradises that they are, but continue to be Democrat heavy states.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Obama IRS Attempted to Stall Tea Party for 27 Months

The patron saint of IRS harassment and dirty political dealings... but it's okay because conservatives are the Fascists

Obama's IRS battled mightily to harass and render ineffective Tea Party groups in the time leading toward the 2012 election and afterwards. But I'm sure it was just a mistake...

From the USA Today article by Gregory Korte:

In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked.  
That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn't be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months. 
In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.   
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like "Progress" or "Progressive," the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups. They included: 
• Bus for Progress, a New Jersey non-profit that uses a red, white and blue bus to "drive the progressive change." According to its website, its mission includes "support (for) progressive politicians with the courage to serve the people's interests and make tough choices." It got an IRS approval as a social welfare group in April 2011. 
• Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment says it fights against corporate welfare and for increasing the minimum wage. "It would be fair to say we're on the progressive end of the spectrum," said executive director Jeff Ordower. He said the group got tax-exempt status in September 2011 in just nine months after "a pretty simple, straightforward process."  
Like the Tea Party groups, the liberal groups sought recognition as social welfare groups under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, based on activities like "citizen participation" or "voter education and registration." 
In a conference call with reporters last week, the IRS official responsible for granting tax-exempt status said that it was a mistake to subject Tea Party groups to additional scrutiny based solely on the organization's name. But she said ideology played no part in the process. 
"The selection of these cases where they used the names was not a partisan selection," said Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations. She said progressive groups were also selected for greater scrutiny based on their names, but did not provide details. "I don't have them off the top of my head," she said. 
The IRS did not respond to follow-up questions Tuesday. 
Congressional critics say the IRS's actions suggest a political motives: "This administration seems to have a culture of politics above all else," said Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas. "A lot of the actions they take have a political side first, and put government second." 
Flores complained to the IRS last year after the Waco Tea Party's tax-exempt application was mired in red tape. The IRS asked the group for information that was "overreaching and impossible to comply with," Flores said: Transcripts of radio interviews, copies of social media posts and details on "close relationships" with political candidates. 
When Flores complained last year -- asking pointed questions about the IRS treatment of Tea Party groups -- the IRS response didn't acknowledge that it had treated conservative groups differently. "They did more than sidestep the issue," he said. "They flipped me the finger." 
Before the IRS started separating out Tea Party applications, getting tax-exempt status was routine -- even for conservative groups. The Champaign Tea Party's treasurer, Karen Olsen, said the process was smooth, with no follow-up questions from the IRS.

Yeah, weird how the process suddenly got to be difficult in the months leading up to the election.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bad News for Obama: Gallup Says 74% of Americans Believe the IRS Matter Warrants Further Invstigation and 69% for Benghazi

"Whoa now. Let's not get mired down in partisan politics. Let's just talk about how terrible my political enemies are. OK?"


What? You mean most Americans don't believe this is merely partisan politics drummed up by the GOP?

From Gallup (via Instapundit):

Most Americans agree that both of these situations are serious enough to warrant continuing investigation, with little difference in views of the two -- 74% for the IRS matter and 69% for Benghazi. 
Americans place similar importance on these two issues despite the administration's appearing to give more weight to the IRS situation. The Obama administration has acknowledged the seriousness of the IRS situation, going so far as to fire the acting head of the IRS as a result, while being more critical of the continuing focus on the way it handled the aftermath of the Benghazi crisis. However, Obama on Wednesday released a long series of emails relating to the development of talking points after the crisis and Thursday asked Congress to increase embassy funding worldwide. 
Majorities of all three partisan groups agree or strongly agree that the IRS situation needs investigation. Just under half of Democrats and a majority of Republicans and independents believe Benghazi should be investigated. 
The amount of attention Americans are paying to the IRS and the Benghazi situations is well below the average for news stories Gallup has tracked over the years. This overall lack of attention is due in part to Democrats' and, to a lesser degree, independents' lack of interest, which stands in sharp contrast to the significantly above-average attention among Republicans. 
Republicans are also much more likely than Democrats to strongly agree that both situations are serious enough to require investigation. But, this partisan gap is much larger on the Benghazi news than on the IRS issue. This may reflect that rank-and-file Democrats are following the administration's lead in putting greater emphasis on the importance of the IRS crisis, while downplaying the importance of continuing investigations into its handling of Benghazi.
So, if you're a Democrat then you just follow the lead of the prez and media. Got it. And why am I not surprised?

Kinda funny how if it's the IRS, then everyone sits up and pays attention.

The Obama IRS Sat on Current Scandal Until After Election

"Defying the 'one' only brings misery in the form of the IRS. Know this and act accordingly."

Well naturally... the point was to sway the election toward Obama.

From the Weekly Standard:

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."
Of course the terrain would have been different. Romney would've won by a landslide. Let's face the fact that the 2012 election was tainted by agencies under the control of Obama.

Obama consistently used rather dubious tactics in each of the few election that he has participated in (do we remember the ridiculous tactics used against Hilary Clinton and the harassment that several Clinton supporters have claimed?). Would we expect any less during a tightly fought race for president?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

IRS Official in Charge During Conservative Targeting Now Runs IRS's ObamaCare Division

"Well, of course she's been put in charge of IRS ObamaCare division. She followed my instructions to a T by targeting the Tea Party and other conservative groups. Oops. I mean, a bunch of people in Cincinnati acted on their own."

Well, when you need someone to implement draconian cost saving measures, who else would  you turn to?

From ABC News (via Drudge):

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation. 
Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today. 
Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit. 
Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago. 
As the House voted to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, House Speaker John Boehner expressed “serious concerns” that the IRS is empowered as the law’s chief enforcer. 
“Fully repealing ObamaCare will help us build a stronger, healthier economy, and will clear the way for patient-centered reforms that lower health care costs and protect jobs,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. 
“Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public’s trust by secretly targeting conservative groups,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “Even by Washington’s standards, that’s unacceptable.” 
Sen. John Cornyn even introduced a bill, the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013,” which would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury, or any delegate, including the IRS, from enforcing the Affordable Care Act.
Sure. Why not? At this point I wouldn't be surprised if Eric Holder was made Press Secretary.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Class Action Lawsuit Against IRS for 60 Million Stolen Medical Records

"Hey, for everyone to have good health care, you have to give up a lot of your privacy. That's just the way it is. I can't be responsible for that."

And reason #17,853 as to why ObamaCare is a terrible law-- abuse by the IRS and by the political machinations of those who control it. #1 is that it will significantly reduce the level of health care to the vast majority of Americans. #2 is that it's astronomically costly and doomed to utter failure.

From the Healthcare IT News.com article by Erin McCann (h/t Gateway Pundit):

The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.

According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.   
"This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents," the complaint reads. "No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records," it continued.  
According to the case, the IRS agents had a search warrant for financial data pertaining to a former employee of the John Doe company, however, "it did not authorize any seizure of any healthcare or medical record of any persons, least of all third parties completely unrelated to the matter," the complaint read.

I mean the IRS and various government entities having access to your medical records is no big deal, right? It just allows the government to have access to any psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatments that you may have had. Maybe they could that all information into account when you're trying to buy a gun, or get a pilot's licence.

Nope. No potential for political abuse or political intimidation in ObamaCare. Move on. Move on.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In the Wake of the Plethora of Obama Scandals, I Have to Ask: So OSU, Are You Still Buying Obama's "Don't Listen to the Voices Worrying About Government Tyranny" Thing?

"So remember kids you should never worry about tyranny coming from the American government when I'm in charge of it. Oh, and also don't worry when newspapers start publishing pictures of me like this-- ones that make me look like a messiah/deity/wizard. It's totally normal and healthy."

This hasn't been Obama's best couple of weeks. The Benghazi issue isn't going away, the IRS was caught leaning on Obama's enemies (probably being punished), and Obama's Department of Justice has admitted to seizing phone records from the press.

And this is in addition to a few under reported scandals.

First, the Federal government has mandated a speech code that is clearly unconstitutional on college and university campuses. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has been keeping up with it while it has passed under most other people's radar.

From Jacobson:

The FIRE [The Foundation of Individual Rights in Higher Education] is not an organization prone to hyperbole.

So when I received this email late this afternoon from FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley, it got my attention:
THIS. IS. OUTRAGEOUS. The government has mandated speech codes on all campuses. I hoped I would never see this day, but I feared I would.
This press release was linked in the email:

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2013—In a shocking affront to the United States Constitution, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have joined together to mandate that virtually every college and university in the United States establish unconstitutional speech codes that violate the First Amendment and decades of legal precedent.

“I am appalled by this attack on free speech on campus from our own government,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has been leading the fight against unconstitutional speech codes on America’s college campuses since its founding in 1999. “In 2011, the Department of Education took a hatchet to due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct. Now the Department of Education has enlisted the help of the Department of Justice to mandate campus speech codes so broad that virtually every student will regularly violate them. The DOE and DOJ are ignoring decades of legal decisions, the Constitution, and common sense, and it is time for colleges and the public to push back.”

In a letter sent yesterday to the University of Montana that explicitly states that it is intended as “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country,” the Departments of Justice and Education have mandated a breathtakingly broad definition of sexual harassment that makes virtually every student in the United States a harasser while ignoring the First Amendment. The mandate applies to every college receiving federal funding—virtually every American institution of higher education nationwide, public or private.

The letter states that “sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature’” including “verbal conduct” (that is, speech). It then explicitly states that allegedly harassing expression need not even be offensive to an “objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation”—if the listener takes offense to sexually related speech for any reason, no matter how irrationally or unreasonably, the speaker may be punished.

This result directly contradicts previous Department of Education guidance on sexual harassment. In 2003, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) stated that harassment “must include something beyond the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds offensive.” Further, the letter made clear that “OCR’s standards require that the conduct be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the alleged victim’s position, considering all the circumstances, including the alleged victim’s age.”

Among the forms of expression now punishable on America’s campuses by order of the federal government are:
  • Any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person. This leaves a wide range of expressive activity—a campus performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” a presentation on safe sex practices, a debate about sexual morality, a discussion of gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita—subject to discipline.
  • Any sexually themed joke overheard by any person who finds that joke offensive for any reason.
  • Any request for dates or any flirtation that is not welcomed by the recipient of such a request or flirtation.
There is likely no student on any campus anywhere who is not guilty of at least one of these “offenses.” Any attempt to enforce this rule evenhandedly and comprehensively will be impossible….
As Jacobson observes: "This is a continuation of the reign of politically correct terror on campuses, in which conservatives and men inevitably will be the ones singled out, a point we made in Kangaroo courts for men on campus. [...] Now everything is a speech crime on campus, and the administrators get to pick and choose who is guilty."

No tyranny here. Nope. None. Just protecting the rights of the easily offended by denying the right of free speech to all-- or maybe not all.

Second, Secretary of Health and Human Services, aka the Master/Mistress of ObamaCare, Kathleen Sebelius has been seeking to extort of money from the health industry to pay for ObamaCare.

From The Washington Post:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.

Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.

Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.

An HHS spokesperson said Sebelius was within the bounds of her authority in asking for help.

But Republicans charged that Sebelius’s outreach was improper because it pressured private companies and other groups to support the Affordable Care Act. The latest controversy has emerged as the law faces a string of challenges from GOP lawmakers in Washington and skepticism from many state officials across the country.

“To solicit funds from health-care executives to help pay for the implementation of the President’s $2.6 trillion health spending law is absurd,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement. “I will be seeking more information from the Administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law.”

Federal regulations do not allow department officials to fundraise in their professional capacity. They do, however, allow Cabinet members to solicit donations as private citizens “if you do not solicit funds from a subordinate or from someone who has or seeks business with the Department, and you do not use your official title,” according to Justice Department regulations.

HHS spokesman Jason Young added that a special section in the Public Health Service Act allows the secretary to support and encourage others to support nonprofit groups working to provide health information and conduct other public-health activities.
Yeah, Sebelius was just asking people for money on her own time. I do that myself. I often call acquaintances on the phone and suggest that they give me money. It's a hobby.

So once again, no tyranny here. Move on. Just move on.

Oh, and then there's also the St. Louis anchorman who claims that the IRS leaned on him and his station after a tough interview with Obama.

Larry Conners, a veteran local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, says that the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting him since an April 2012 interview he conducted with President Obama -- a fact that he dismissed as coincidence until the recent reports about the IRS targeting conservative groups.

"Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS. I don't accept 'conspiracy theories', but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me," Conners wrote on his Facebook page late Monday night.
Nothing to see, kids. No tyranny. Nope. Just hope and change!

And finally there's the claim that Obama's EPA waives fee requests for friendly groups, and denies them to conservative groups.

The Washington Examiner piece by Michal Conger:

Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

CEI reviewed Freedom of Information Act requests sent between January 2012 and this spring from several environmental groups friendly to the EPA’s mission, and several conservative groups, to see how equally the agency applies its fee waiver policy for media and watchdog groups. Government agencies are supposed to waive fees for groups disseminating information for public benefit.

“This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS’ hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government,” said CEI fellow Chris Horner.

For 92 percent of requests from green groups, the EPA cooperated by waiving fees for the information. Those requests came from the Natural Resources Defense Council, EarthJustice, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, The Waterkeeper Alliance, Greenpeace, Southern Environmental Law Center and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Of the requests that were denied, the EPA said the group either didn’t respond to requests for justification of a waiver, or didn’t express intent to disseminate the information to the general public, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner. CEI, on the other hand, had its requests denied 93 percent of the time. One request was denied because CEI failed to express its intent to disseminate the information to the general public. The rest were denied because the agency said CEI “failed to demonstrate that the release of the information requested significantly increases the public understanding of government operations or activities.” Similarly, requests from conservative groups Judicial Watch and National Center for Public Policy Research were approved half the time, and all requests from Franklin Center and the Institute for Energy Research were denied. “Their practice is to take care of their friends and impose ridiculous obstacles to deny problematic parties’ requests for information,” said Horner. Freedom of Information Act requests from CEI forced the EPA to release emails under the the “Richard Windsor” alias former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson used to conduct government business. CEI has also filed FOIA requests for emails, text messages and instant messages from Jackson and EPA nominee Gina McCarthy. Horner said he believes the EPA has denied CEI’s requests because his think tank is the most active group seeking to hold the agency accountable. “This is a clear pattern of favoritism for allied groups and a concerted campaign to make life more difficult for those deemed unfriendly,” he said. “The left hand of big government reaches out to give a boost to its far-left hand at every turn. Argue against more of the same, however, and prepare to be treated as if you have fewer rights.”
Just coincidence. Conservatives don't fill out forms right and wear tinfoil hats. Move on. Nothing to see. Move on.

And all this comes just barely more than a week after Obama advised Ohio State University student to reject the voices that warn of government tyranny, because this democracy is ours. I guess when he meant ours, he meant the government belonged to Left now.

So I just have to wonder, in light of all these scandals and abuses of power that have sprung up in the last several days, are you still buying it OSU students?

If so, I gotta bridge in Brooklyn you might like. Real cheap.

UPDATE: Huh. It seems like Tom Blumer at Bizzy Blog is wondering the same thing.

Eric Holder: I Know Nothing About DOJ Grabbing AP Phone Records

"The AP? The name's vaguely familiar, but I don't really know anything about what goes on in my department. Besides it was all the fault of the Deputy Director who is a mean, racist man who eats trans-fats and drinks cocktails seasoned with the tears of children."

Attorney General Eric "We're a Nation of Cowards" Holder held a press conference regarding the AP phone record seizures. Holder bravely claimed he recused himself from the subpoenas and knows nothing about anything and wasn't even around anyway when all of this happened.

From Fox News (h/t Jacobson at Legal Insurrection):

Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that his deputy "ultimately authorized the subpoena" to secretly obtain phone records from The Associated Press, and said he had recused himself early on in the related investigation into leaks of sensitive information that "put the American people at risk."

Word that Deputy Attorney General James Cole is directing the FBI probe came as the White House expressed confidence in Holder and the department following revelations that it had seized phone records involving as many as 20 AP reporters and editors in an effort to find out who leaked confidential information to it.

Holder said Tuesday that the leak in question, which the AP has suggested involved a foiled terror attack originating in Yemen, was "very, very serious," but declined to elaborate. He said it was among the most serious he'd seen in his career and that it "required very aggressive action."

"It put the American people at risk," he told reporters during a press conference Tuesday.
Holder said he recused himself to avoid a conflict of interest. He said the investigation followed "all of the appropriate Department of Justice regulations."

"As the Attorney General testified in June 2012, he was interviewed by the FBI in connection with the investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information," a DOJ official told Fox News earlier.

"To avoid any potential appearance of a conflict of interest, the Attorney General recused himself from this matter," said the official, who spoke on background. "Since that time, this investigation has been conducted by the FBI under the direction of the U.S. Attorney and the supervision of the Deputy Attorney General, who has served as the Acting Attorney General overseeing this investigation. The decision to seek media toll records in this investigation was made by the Deputy Attorney General consistent with Department regulations and policies."
It really seems that the only thing the Obama Administration excels at-- aside from spreading poverty, reducing wealth, raising gas prices to an unbearable level, handing out public money to friends and campaign donors, and keeping unemployment unacceptably high-- is knowing nothing about anything and then blaming others for the fallout.

Man, Obama and his people must be just running and ducking for cover like crazy. Holder's explanation that he deals with the media too much, so had to recuse himself is beyond pale. Holder's taking a page from Obama's campaign and tossing another beneath the bus.

I have a hard time believing that Holder's "I know nothing about nothing" excuse is really going to fly or that it will take people's attention off of the unfolding scandal. Now if they could find a way to blame Bush, Congressional Republicans of the Tea Party...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Obama's Justice Department Obtained Massive Amounts of Press' Telephone Records

"Look, let's not make a big deal out of nothing. Okay? Or else I'll sick the IRS on you-- Oh, wait. I didn't say that. It was just a joke."

When it rains it pours.

The AP is reporting that Obama's Justice Department "obtained" extensive phone records of the news agency.

From the AP (via Drudge):

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

Prosecutors have sought phone records from reporters before, but the seizure of records from such a wide array of AP offices, including general AP switchboards numbers and an office-wide shared fax line, is unusual and largely unprecedented.

In the letter notifying the AP received Friday, the Justice Department offered no explanation for the seizure, according to Pruitt's letter and attorneys for the AP.
Hmm. I wonder if the AP is going to continue to carry water for Obama now. Probably. They're like that.

IRS Began Targeting Conservative Groups in 2010

"The IRS's behavior is outrageous and I will find the scapegoats whose reprimands will cause the least political damage to myself and do my utmost to make this go away. Oh, and Benghazi too. But that was Hilary's thing."

The Inspector General's report has revealed that the IRS was targeting conservative groups back in 2010.

From ABC News:
The targeting of conservatives by the IRS started earlier and was more extensive than the IRS acknowledged last week, according to a draft IRS inspector general report obtained by ABC News.

As we reported on “Good Morning America” this morning, the IRS began targeting “Tea Party or similar organizations” in March 2010. That was when the Cincinnati-based IRS unit responsible for overseeing the applications for tax exempt status starting using the phrases “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12″ to search for applications warranting greater scrutiny.

During this first phase, 10 Tea Party cases were identified. By April of 2010, 18 Tea Party organizations were targeted, including three that had already been approved for tax-exempt status.

By June 2011, the unit had flagged over 100 Tea Party-related applications and the criteria used to scrutinize organizations had grown considerably, flagging not just “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in group names, but also groups that were working on issues like “government debt,” “taxes” and even organizations making statements that “criticize how the country is being run.”

The report, done by the Inspector General for the IRS, also shows that senior IRS officials in Washington was aware of what was going on as early as August 4, 2011 when, according to the report, the IRS chief counsel held a meeting with the IRS’s Rulings and Agreements unit “so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue.”

Huh. So maybe it wasn't just some low-level worker out of Cincinnati. Shocker.

And equally as shocking is the fact that the IRS was also targeting groups that criticized the government and were teaching the Constitution. I guess you can't have an informed citizenry when trying to "fundamentally transform" America now, can you?

From The Washington Post:
At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.

The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.” Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the agency, raised objections and the agency revised its criteria a week later.

But six months later, the IRS applied a new political test to groups that applied for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups, the document says. On Jan. 15, 2012 the agency decided to target “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement.,” according to the appendix in the IG report, which was requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has yet to be released.
Obama is in full damage control right now. He's calling the IRS's beahavior "outrageous." And of course that is being reported by his primary water carriers at NBC news, because, you know it was that mean old IRS that's responsible. Certainly not their guy Obama.

From NBC News:
 Amid outcry over revelations that Internal Revenue Service specialists specifically targeted conservative groups for scrutiny before the 2012 elections, President Barack Obama said Monday that the tax agency employees' reported conduct was "outrageous" and "contrary to our traditions." [Obama is a great admirer and an expert at our traditions. Yeah.]

Appearing at a White House press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, the president said he does not want to judge the findings of an Inspector General investigation "prematurely" but said that if the reports of political targeting are found to be correct, those responsible must be held "fully accountable." [Maybe a lot of paid vacations are in order.]

"If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous and there’s no place for it," he said. [Except in Chicago politics where Obama has used just about every dirty trick his people could think of to advance his career.]

"I've got no patience with it," he added. "I will not tolerate it and we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this."
I can't wait for Obama's people to find out that Bush is responsible because he hates conservative groups and he really wanted Obama to win his re-election bid.

And forgive me if I don't revel in the idea that Obama's got no patience for that. The only time Obama talks tough is to his fellow countrymen or our international allies. When it comes to an actual scandal or real enemies, then Obama's got plenty of patience, and also plenty of excuses and doubletalk to justify his dithering or lack of action and spine.

This is going to be some bad years for Obama. The Benghazi scandal seems to get deeper and deeper. The revelations of the IRS's intolerable behavior is getting worse and worse. The economy's recovery is extremely weak and likely to be stalling-- or getting ready for another recession. And the worst of ObamaCare is getting ready to be unveiled to the general public, and ObamaCare's effects are beginning to be felt across the country.

In fact, I think the year will be almost as bad for Obama as it will be for the American people.

UPDATE: Now The IRS is being accused of leaking confidential donor information. The IRS indulging in political shenanigans? I don't believe it.

From The Daily Caller article by Matt K. Lewis:

A little over a year ago, I reported that, ”It is likely that someone at the Internal Revenue Service illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to the National Organization for Marriage, says the group.”

Now — on the heels of news the IRS’s apology for having targeted conservative groups — NOM is renewing their demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the people responsible.

“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said NOM’s president Brian Brow, in a prepared statement. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”

Recent reports indicate the IRS may have begun targeting conservative groups as early as 2010.

In a 2012 speech, Sen. Mitch McConnell noted, “The head of one national advocacy group has released documents which show that his group’s confidential IRS information found its way into the hands of a staunch critic on the Left who also happens to be a co-chairman of President Obama’s re-election committee. The only way this information could have been made public is if someone leaked it from inside the IRS.”
The hits just keep on coming for the Obama administration.

Friday, May 10, 2013

IRS Admits to Targeting Conservative Political Groups

"Hey it's not my fault that conservative groups can't take a joke. I mean, it was all the fault of low-level workers in Ohio. I had nothing to do with it. I just benefited from it."

During an election no less.

From the AP:

The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.
Organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.

In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.

"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

"The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.

Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. After her talk, she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice.

I love the idea that this was all the fault of low-level workers. You know, it was just some office workers in Cincinnati that were being overly officious. No big deal. Uh-huh.

But the biggest laugh is the idea that it wasn't politically motivated. Specifically conservative political groups are target during a contentious election, and we're supposed to believe that it wasn't politically motivated? Are they trying to go for ironic humor here?

Oh yeah, back in 2009 Obama was joking about auditing his enemies. Probably for "punishment" and "revenge," two of this president's favorite concepts when dealing with Americans.

From the 2009 Glenn Reynolds piece in The Wall Street Journal (via Instapundit):
Barack Obama owes his presidency in no small part to the power of rhetoric. It's too bad he doesn't appreciate the damage that loose talk can do to America's tax system, even as exploding federal deficits make revenues more important than ever.

At his Arizona State University commencement speech last Wednesday, Mr. Obama noted that ASU had refused to grant him an honorary degree, citing his lack of experience, and the controversy this had caused. He then demonstrated ASU's point by remarking, "I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS."

Just a joke about the power of the presidency. Made by Jay Leno it might have been funny. But as told by Mr. Obama, the actual president of the United States, it's hard to see the humor. Surely he's aware that other presidents, most notably Richard Nixon, have abused the power of the Internal Revenue Service to harass their political opponents. But that abuse generated a powerful backlash and with good reason. Should the IRS come to be seen as just a bunch of enforcers for whoever is in political power, the result would be an enormous loss of legitimacy for the tax system. 

One reason why Americans don't act like Italians [famous for their tax evasion] is that they see the income-tax system as basically fair in execution. A tax audit or a tax-fraud prosecution is still seen, usually, as evidence that someone has done something wrong. If it comes instead to be seen as "just politics" then the moral component of the system will be gone. For the system to work, people have to believe that it is fundamentally fair.

This is why the IRS is so strict with its own employees. Paul Caron, a professor at the University of Cincinnati who writes the TaxProf blog, noted in response to Mr. Obama's remarks that the law calls for the termination of IRS employees who make audit threats for illegitimate reasons. He suggested that Mr. Obama's "joke" might be grounds for firing if he were an IRS employee. 
The notion that people who are audited are probably just "enemies of the regime," coupled with the idea that big shots get a pass -- that, as Leona Helmsley is reputed to have said, "taxes are for the little people" -- is a recipe for widespread tax evasion. That's how things work in Italy, and in many other countries around the world. But do we want things to work that way here?
It wasn't a joke this time. And indeed "enemies of the regime" were targeted and harassed during an election.

This is banana republic crap-- or Chicago political machine crap. Either way, it cannot be tolerated nor ignored.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Left-Leaning Media Push Administration's Incompetence but Deny Cover Up Regarding Benghazi Attack

"Hey, I never said that I wouldn't make some mistakes that cost American their lives and then lie about it. I mean there's no cover-up. I just don't know what the heck I'm doing. Oh, and it was Hilary's fault."
It's all about the protection. The media's a flak jacket for Obama.

It's just wonderful to watch the media deflate our expectations from this presidency. I mean at one time Obama was the "light-bringer" and savior who was ushering in our post-racial era of endless prosperity. That's all gone. Now they just trumpet about about how cool Obama is and how many Hollywood friends he has-- along with endless excuses, fudged economic numbers, and smearing the Right.

And now we get their latest attempt at saving their guy. You see Benghazi was just a matter of incompetence, not dreaded a cover-up, according to the National Journal. Of course, that doesn't really explain why Obama and his people put the blame on a filmmaker and tried to play off the terrorist assault as an overly enthusiastic protest. More incompetence?

Four deaths, lying to the public-- including at the funerals, and a scapegoating all during an election year... but don't worry about it. It's nothing nefarious like a cover-up. It's just incompetence.


Thought I'd add Joel B. Pollack's five key points from the Benghazi hearings so far:

1. Two "stand-down" orders were given while the Benghazi attacks were in progress.

2. The "protest" about a YouTube video was a complete fabrication by the Obama administration.

3. Cheryl Mills, Clinton's lawyer at the State Department, told witnesses not to speak to House investigators.

4. The diplomatic personnel on the ground acted with incredible, unheralded heroism.

5. Democrats came to rebut the eyewitnesses with talking points.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

American Left Circulating False Story to Save Obama from Benghazi Fallout

"Whoa. Now Benghazi was a Hilary thing. You can't blame me for things that go in my administration. It just makes no sense."

Would you expect anything else? Looks like they're already trying to insulate Obama and leave Hilary Clinton out in the cold.

From a Breitbart piece by Joel E. Pollack:

Yet the fundamental problem remains the fact that the president did not order a rescue--and did not, apparently, take any interest as the fight went on.

The left apparently believes otherwise--that President Obama was engaged throughout the evening of September 11, 2012 and issued specific orders to Special Operations forces to intervene.

One article that has been making the rounds in left-leaning foreign policy circles is a guest post at Thomas E. Ricks’s “The Best Defense” blog at Foreign Policy, written by Georgetown graduate student and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Billy Birdzell.

Birdzell argues that the Special Operations whistleblower interviewed by Fox News on May 2 was incorrect to suggest that an immediate intervention would have saved lives.


Birdzell makes another, more interesting, claim--that the president specifically “gave the launch order at 0239” [8:39 p.m EDT] to send Special Operations into Benghazi.
He cites the Pentagon’s own timeline of events, posted by CNN in November, which reports:

2:39 a.m. to 2:53 a.m. [Benghazi time] -- The National Military Command Center gives formal authorization for the deployment of the two special operations force teams from Croatia and the United States.
Note that the Pentagon cites the National Military Command Center (NMCC), not President Obama, as the source of the orders.

The NMCC serves the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs. Typically, if the President were to give an order, it would likely go through the NMCC.
The problem for Birdzell--and Obama--is that we know President Obama gave no such orders--neither to Secretary Panetta nor to General Dempsey. They testified before the Senate in January that they had no communication with the president after 5:30 p.m.

The fact remains that President Obama did nothing after that initial briefing. He did not even call the Pentagon to check on the progress of whatever efforts were under way.
He claims he gave “directives” about “securing our personnel,” but no evidence of those directives has been produced. If he did issue them, it was before 5:30 p.m. on 9/11--or the following day, when the attacks were over and he was off to a Las Vegas fundraiser.

What Birdzell, and the left-wing foreign policy establishment eagerly circulating his post, cannot escape is that the Commander-in-Chief did nothing while U.S. citizens were under attack. They prefer to focus the debate on minor points of contention--such as whether Special Operations could (in hindsight) have arrived in Benghazi in time, or whether Secretary Clinton really signed a communication that bears her “signature.”
And worse yet, the fact is that Obama then falsely blamed a filmmaker for the attack (while knowing it was a terrorist attack and not some protest that got out of hand). His administration then, in all likelihood, pressured attorneys to arrest filmmaker/scapegoat, and then went jet setting to Nevada to a campaign fundraiser, confident that the media would downplay the whole incident-- which, of course, they did.

From Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit posted May, 6 2013:
But the Administration still blamed filmmaker Nakoula, who is still in jail. They did this to keep the Benghazi debacle from exploding before the election. It worked. And filmmaker Nakoula is still in jail.

Related: Dem Rep. Stephen Lynch on Benghazi Talking Points: ‘It Was Scrubbed … It Was False Information. There’s No Excuse For That.’

UPDATE: Benghazi Plot Thickens.

(Above reposted from yesterday.) But here are some further lines of investigation. Some Obama-defenders will note that Nakoula was jailed for probation violations, of which he may have even been guilty. But, as I note in my Due Process When Everything Is A Crime piece — to be published next month, in substantially revised and updated form, by the Columbia Law Review — prosecutors can always find a reason to put someone away if they really want to. The question is, why, exactly, were they so eager to put Nakoula away?

The fast-tracking of Nakoula’s jailing was highly irregular. Among other things, I’d like to see the Congressional investigators get Nakoula’s prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale — and perhaps his boss, U.S. Attorney AndrĂ© Birotte Jr. — under oath about communications from the White House or the Justice Department regarding this case.

Because what it’s looking like is that Nakoula was targeted and jailed so as to provide a scapegoat/villain in a politically motivated cover story that the White House knew was false. If that’s the case, it’s extremely serious indeed, and in some ways more significant than whatever lapses and screwups took place in Benghazi. I’d also be interested in hearing from Nakoula’s attorney, Steven Seiden, about any threats made by the government to secure a plea deal.

If there’s an impeachable offense anywhere in the Benghazi affair — and at this point, I’m not saying there is — it’s more likely in what happened with Nakoula than in the problems abroad, which by all appearances are simple incompetence, rather than something culpable. Railroading someone in to jail to support a political story, on the other hand, is an abuse of power and a breach of trust.
My prediction: Obama will throw Hilary Clinton under the bus-- it's hard to believe that after so much blood was spilled during the 2008 primary that they ever actually got along-- and then smile, blame the whole thing on Bush and the Iraqi war and then rely on the media to spread his talking points as they invariably do.

Will it work? Maybe.

But I have to believe that at some point people will have had enough the media's glossing over of Obama's gross incompetence and his complete lack of leadership and governing skills.

I suppose that the whole Benghazi affair illustrates two of Obama's worst qualities-- incompetence and political scapegoating.

First we see the incompetence and naivety of his State Department in dealing with the unpredictable and intensely violent situation in Libya. Their failure to provide adequate security for political reasons (so as not to offend the "allies" they were courting, the Libyan rebels), and then their failure to mount any sort of support for their beleaguered embassy. Obama's personal disinterest in the affair, aside from the the potential bad press of a terrorist attack, is also noteworthy.

Secondly we see Obama's scapegoating of a filmmaker who was absolutely blameless for the Benghazi attack. I guess without an ability to blame Bush directly, Obama instead publicly blamed the filmmaker Nakoula. The man was then arrested the next day, after Obama promised punishment for those responsible, and then had his people whip up a batch of false talking points to mislead the American public. All for the sake, or perhaps "greater good," of the Obama campaign.

Is Obama really the best we can do with now, America? Really?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

ObamaCare Fallout: Slashed Working Hours in Retail Industry

The patron saint of crappier health care, higher insurance rates, and a cruddy job market. Let us all give thanks (and taxes).

Is anyone who was paying even the slightest attention surprised?

From Investors Business Daily:

Retailers are cutting worker hours at a rate not seen in more than three decades — a sudden shift that can only be explained by the onset of ObamaCare's employer mandates.
Nonsupervisory employees logged an average 30.0 hours per week in April, the shortest retail workweek since early 2010, Labor Department data out Friday show.

Even as retail payrolls have kept rising, with rank-and-file employment up 132,000, or 1%, over the past year, aggregate hours worked have fallen 0.9% over that span.

The average retail workweek was 2% shorter in April than a year earlier, the steepest sustained decline since 1980, an IBD analysis found.

The retail workweek recovered steadily as the job market strengthened from the start of 2010 until the spring of 2012. Since then, it has been all downhill, with the apparent pace of decline accelerating in recent months.

This reversal doesn't appear related to the economy, which has been consistently mediocre. Instead, all evidence points to the coming launch of ObamaCare, which the retail industry has warned would cause just such a result.

Starting in 2014, large employers will face nondeductible fines of up to $3,000 per full-time worker who gets subsidized coverage via ObamaCare exchanges because qualifying coverage isn't available via the workplace. Next year's fines will be influenced by staffing levels in the second half of 2013.

One way for employers to minimize the costs of providing "affordable" coverage to modest-wage workers is to shift more work to part-time, defined as less than 30 hours per week under ObamaCare.

A multitude of companies have said they're considering a shift to more part-time work. Now, beyond the anecdotal reports, the ObamaCare effect is becoming evident in official data.


This could reflect a shift to part-time work and decisions to no longer provide health benefits to part-time workers, which are both ways to shift more of ObamaCare's costs to the government [more "unexpected" costs stemming from ObamaCare, but don't worry it won't cost us a dime-- Obama promised us that".

April's employment report also included other possible evidence of ObamaCare's impact, though it's premature to conclude how strong those effects will be.

Temporary jobs rose by 30,800 in April and 83,800 over the last three months. Staffing firms are expected to benefit as companies look for ways to minimize the cost of complying with ObamaCare.
Welcome to Obama's brave new world based on European socialist-democracy models. It's a land of under-employment, temp jobs, a stagnant economy, a permanent government connected upper class, a permanently stifled under-class, and huge costs passed on to the government-- and, of course, then on to us.

Hope and Change baby!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Obama to Grads: Reject Voices Warning of Government Tyranny

"Americans are too good to indulge in  tyranny. That's something for the lesser peoples."

Because there's no such thing in America-- and it's impossible or something. And as usual Obama uses the ideas of America and the federal government interchangeably... because, you know, they're the same thing.

From Real Clear Politics:

U.S. President Barack Obama gives the commencement address to the graduating class of The Ohio State University at Ohio Stadium on May 5, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Unfortunately, you've grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They'll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can't be trusted.

We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems. We shouldn't want to. But we don't think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. And as citizens, we understand that it's not about what America can do for us, it's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.
It's classic "Obama drivel"-- straw man arguments against caricatures of what he's opposing coupled with lies whose falsehoods are proven by his own actions.

First the straw man argument: "You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can't be trusted." Yup. These mysterious voices that warn of tyranny are basically coming from anarchists who believe that there should be no government.

What is so amusing in this statement is that clearly Obama can't be referring to the government that preceded him. After all, a fair amount of the Constitution is designed to create roadblocks in the government, and the Bill of Rights is designed to protect individual rights from government tyranny by Americans. I guess that these anarchist voices warning of tyranny must be coming from people like James Madison and the Founders.

But don't worry we have liars like Obama to trust. Which of course brings us the second portion of "Obama drivel"the lies whose falsehoods are proven by his own actions portion. Obama actually has the temerity to say: "We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems. We shouldn't want to... And as citizens, we understand that it's not about what America can do for us, it's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government."

Really? This coming from the man who pushed for and signed ObamaCare into law. This coming from the man who has pushed America to record levels of food stamp usage and disability claims.  This coming from the man who has sought to make our medical records available to the IRS, and various forms of federal law enforcement. This guy has been telling for four years that government can handle our health care, health insurance, save the planet from global warming and rising seas, and give us free food and free money when we're "disabled," and he's matched it with incredibly expensive governmental action. Yeah, this guy has the temerity to say that.

We also get that overwhelming arrogance that the Left and Obama love to display. I mean, tyranny is a problem that can't happen in America-- because we're too smart or something. Or because this abstraction called democracy is ours.

According to Obama, tyranny is for what he must consider to be "lesser" peoples, I guess. The Chinese and Russians and North Koreans and Greeks who in ancient times killed many citizens due to popular demand-- generals, philosophers, etc. Yup, Mexico, Central and South America, which has faced tyranny numerous times, and continues to do so, is full of non-Americans who don't understand that their democracies is theirs. They don't understand that that it's not about what their government can do for them, it's about what can be done by them, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. The fools! If only they could be more like us!

This American Leftist declaration that tyranny can't happen here in America because we're just too good for it is both insulting and dangerous.

Such arrogance. I can't decide if Obama speaks this way because he's foolish enough to actually believe it, or whether he thinks he's pandering to the crowd. Obama's life has been made up of pandering and conforming himself to other people's-- mostly white people by the way-- idea of what he should be. So maybe the second is more likely.

The Founders were under no illusion of Americans being incapable of tyranny. I mean read the freakin' Constitution, not some Leftist analysis of a "living document," but the actual words. Yet this exact and very dangerous illusion is precisely what the "light-bringer" is telling our grads.

And Obama's supposed to be some kind of Constitutional scholar. Well, that's a scary thought.