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Old 05-16-2013, 01:17 PM   #21
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Pearl, did you mean to post that in the IRS thread?
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:40 PM   #22
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Yes, its related to what's going on.


Well, I can see you meant the Obama Discussion thread. I guess this whole thread can go there.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:05 PM   #23
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So do you think he's lying about the IRS scandal?
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:56 PM   #24
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I was referring to him saying he was going to go "Bulworth" now. What I should've been more clearer on was how in 2008 when he was campaigning on Change and Hope, and how so many supporters acted like he was the savior of America and how he inspired them. Back then, I got the impression his campaign went along with that infatuation and hammed it up. Hence the PR and BS, which is what every public figure lives by.

So, by making his comments regarding Bulworth now, is he dropping the bull? That's what I'm asking.

And maybe he is lying about the IRS scandal. Who knows. There's no honesty in politics.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:14 PM   #25
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I want to come out in support of the president regarding the AP "scandal."
I don't think it's a scandal in the least bit. He won the election; he should be able to breath life into a living, breathing Constitution.

The president should be able to independently choose not to enforce statutes as he deems fit re: DOMA, immigration.

The president must be able to reinterpret the First Amendment rights of the individual for the good of the collective re: religious freedom, freedom to associate, or freedom of the press.

For the children he must be able to reread the Second Amendment.

We must no longer allow the rights of the states to supercede or limit the powers of the federal goverment.

For our health it is crucial that the president have the power to turn the Commerce Clause upside down to actually compel individuals to purchase health care.

These things are much too important for our newly reelected president to be handcuffed by a dusty, old document.

Forward!!
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:31 PM   #26
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Funny, took you seriously for a moment, after all the times you've labeled the NYT treasonous for its national security reporting.

But when Bush/Cheney/Rummy do it, it's ok.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:44 PM   #27
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Actually I'm more than willing to give the administration the benefit of doubt on this.

What amuses sickens me is the press for 4 years acted as cheerleaders as this president twisted the Constitution and Executive Powers but turned on a dime when they were lied to and their rights may have been abused.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:50 PM   #28
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Actually I'm more than willing to give the administration the benefit of doubt on this.

What amuses sickens me is the press for 4 years acted as cheerleaders as this president twisted the Constitution and Executive Powers but turned on a dime when they were lied to and their rights may have been abused.

So you're done with the whole "liberal bias" nonsense now?

Good. The rest of us have known this for years.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:49 PM   #29
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oh well.

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The scandals are falling apart
By Ezra Klein, Published: May 16, 2013 at 11:47 am


Things go wrong in government. Sometimes it’s just bad luck. Sometimes it’s rank incompetence. Sometimes it’s criminal wrongdoing. Most of the time you never hear about it. Or, if you do hear about it, the media eventually gets bored talking about it (see warming, global).

But every so often an instance of government wrongdoing sprouts wings and becomes something quite exciting: A political scandal.

The crucial ingredient for a scandal is the prospect of high-level White House involvement and wide political repercussions. Government wrongdoing is boring. Scandals can bring down presidents, decide elections and revive down-and-out political parties. Scandals can dominate American politics for months at a time.

On Tuesday, it looked like we had three possible political scandals brewing. Two days later, with much more evidence available, it doesn’t look like any of them will pan out. There’ll be more hearings, and more bad press for the Obama administration, and more demands for documents. But — and this is a key qualification — absent more revelations, the scandals that could reach high don’t seem to include any real wrongdoing, whereas the ones that include real wrongdoing don’t reach high enough. Let’s go through them.


1) The Internal Revenue Service: The IRS mess was, well, a mess. But it’s not a mess that implicates the White House, or even senior IRS leadership. If we believe the agency inspector general’s report, a group of employees in a division called the “Determinations Unit” — sounds sinister, doesn’t it? — started giving tea party groups extra scrutiny, were told by agency leadership to knock it off, started doing it again, and then were reined in a second time and told that any further changes to the screening criteria needed to be approved at the highest levels of the agency.

The White House fired the acting director of the agency on the theory that somebody had to be fired and he was about the only guy they had the power to fire. They’re also instructing the IRS to implement each and every one of the IG’s recommendations to make sure this never happens again.

If new information emerges showing a connection between the Determination Unit’s decisions and the Obama campaign, or the Obama administration, it would crack this White House wide open. That would be a genuine scandal. But the IG report says that there’s no evidence of that. And so it’s hard to see where this one goes from here.

2) Benghazi: We’re long past the point where it’s obvious what the Benghazi scandal is supposed to be about. The inquiry has moved on from the events in Benghazi proper, tragic as they were, to the talking points about the events in Benghazi. And the release Wednesday night of 100 pages of internal e-mails on those talking points seems to show what my colleague Glenn Kessler suspected: This was a bureaucratic knife fight between the State Department and the CIA.

As for the White House’s role, well, the e-mails suggest there wasn’t much of one. “The internal debate did not include political interference from the White House, according to the e-mails, which were provided to congressional intelligence committees several months ago,” report The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung. As for why the talking points seemed to blame protesters rather than terrorists for the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans? Well:

According to the e-mails and initial CIA-drafted talking points, the agency believed the attack included a mix of Islamist extremists from Ansar al-Sharia, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, and angry demonstrators.

White House officials did not challenge that analysis, the e-mails show, nor did they object to its inclusion in the public talking points.

But CIA deputy director Michael Morell later removed the reference to Ansar al-Sharia because the assessment was still classified and because FBI officials believed that making the information public could compromise their investigation, said senior administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal debate.

So far, it’s hard to see what, exactly, the scandal here is supposed to be.

3) AP/Justice Department:. This is the weirdest of the three. There’s no evidence that the DoJ did anything illegal. Most people, in fact, think it was well within its rights to seize the phone records of Associated Press reporters. And if the Obama administration has been overzealous in prosecuting leakers, well, the GOP has been arguing that the White House hasn’t taken national security leaks seriously enough. The AP/DoJ fight has caused that position to flip, and now members of Congress are concerned that the DoJ is going after leaks too aggressively. But it’s hard for a political party to prosecute wrongdoing when they disagree with the potential remedies.

Insofar as there’s a “scandal” here, it’s more about what is legal than what isn’t. The DoJ simply has extraordinary power, under existing law, to spy on ordinary citizens — members of the media included. The White House is trying to change existing law by encouraging Sen. Chuck Schumer to reintroduce the Media Shield Act. The Post’s Rachel Weiner has a good rundown of what the bill would do. It’s likely that the measure’s national security exemption would make it relatively toothless in this particular case, but if Congress is worried, they always can — and probably should — take that language out. Still, that legislation has been killed by Republicans before, and it’s likely to be killed by them again.

The scandal metanarrative itself is also changing. Because there was no actual evidence of presidential involvement in these events, the line for much of this week was that the president was not involved enough in their aftermath. He was “passive.” He seemed to be a “bystander.” His was being controlled by events, rather than controlling them himself.

That perception, too, seems to be changing. Mike Allen’s Playbook, which is ground zero for scandal CW, led Thursday with a squib that says “the West Wing got its mojo back” and is “BACK ON OFFENSE.” Yes, the caps are in the original.

The smarter voices on the right are also beginning to counsel caution. ”While there’s still more information to be gathered and more investigations to be done, all indications are that these decisions – on the AP, on the IRS, on Benghazi – don’t proceed from [Obama],” wrote Ben Domenech in The Transom, his influential conservative morning newsletter. “The talk of impeachment is absurd. The queries of ‘what did the president know and when did he know it’ will probably end up finding out “’just about nothing, and right around the time everyone else found out.’”

I want to emphasize: It’s always possible that evidence could emerge that vaults one of these issues into true scandal territory. But the trend line so far is clear: The more information we get, the less these actually look like scandals.

And yet, even if the scandals fade, the underlying problems might remain. The IRS. could give its agents better and clearer guidance on designating 501(c)(4), but Congress needs to decide whether that status and all of its benefits should be open to political groups or not. The Media Shield Act is not likely to go anywhere, and even if it does, it doesn’t get us anywhere close to grappling with the post-9/11 expansion of the surveillance state. And then, of course, there are all the other problems Congress is ignoring, from high unemployment to sequestration to global warming. When future generations look back on the scandals of our age, it’ll be the unchecked rise in global temperatures, not the Benghazi talking points, that infuriate them.

The scandals are falling apart
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:56 PM   #30
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Bill Maher put it perfectly on a recent episode of Real Time (I paraphrase): The Republicans are certain that Obama has done something horrible, they just don't know what it is yet.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:19 PM   #31
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IRS official Lois Lerner takes the 5th at congressional hearing.

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"After very careful consideration, I've decided to follow my counsel's advice and not testify or answer any of the questions today. Because I'm asserting my right not to testify, I know that some people will assume that I've done something wrong.


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One of the basic functions of the 5th amendment is to protect innocent individuals and that is the protection I'm invoking today."
One of the few rights in the Bill of Rights not under assult by this administration.
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:48 PM   #32
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Just a guess but if this was a thread about the IRS under GWB targeting liberal groups with "green," "progressive," or any "phobia" you can think of; we would now be on page 80-something. We got at least 50 pages when a Republican used the word macaca.

Ignoring the Constitution
Abuse of Executive Powers
Cronyism, corruption
Lack of leadership on our most pressing problems
Misleading, misdirecting, misinforming, anything but presenting the truth... blah... FORWARD!!
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:49 PM   #33
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What the IRS did was wrong. Once there is evidence presented that ties this back to the Obama Administration, then it will deserve the outrage that you're giving it.
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:09 PM   #34
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Former IRS Chief Shulman Reportedly Visited White House at Least 157 Times

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Former IRS Chief Shulman Reportedly Visited White House at Least 157 Times
Thursday, 30 May 2013 07:50 PM
By Todd Beamon

The former head of the embattled Internal Revenue Service visited the White House at least 157 times since President Barack Obama first took office in 2009 — more times than any other Cabinet member, an analysis of visitor logs shows.

The visits by former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman were more than double those of Attorney General Eric Holder, one of the president's closest allies and who remains under fire for several scandals involving the Justice Department, The Daily Caller reports.

Holder has visited the White House only 62 times since he became attorney general, according to the analysis.

Shulman's visits contrasted with his predecessor, Mark Everson, who visited the White House only once during the four years of the George W. Bush administration.

Shulman's visits raise questions about what was discussed with White House officials — even the president — particularly when the IRS was singling out tea party, conservative, and religious groups for extra scrutiny over their applications for tax-exempt status, the Daily Caller reports.

For instance, during a period in which the groups were targeted — through the 2012 election and as far back as 2010 — Shulman logged 118 trips to the White House.

Wrong Digitize, try illegal.

USA TODAY

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The world is learning about the corruption of the IRS in targeting conservative groups, including various Tea Party organizations, for heightened scrutiny. But the corruption goes much deeper than harassing groups seeking first time non-profit designations, into actively sabotaging existing non-profit groups by releasing confidential information.

In March of 2012 the Human Rights Campaign published a confidential tax return of the National Organization for Marriage, which was immediately republished byThe Huffington Post and other liberal news media outlets. The HRC and NOM are the leading national groups on opposing sides of the fight over gay marriage. HRC wants to redefine marriage to make it genderless, while NOM wishes to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Our case was particularly egregious because the IRS leak of confidential information fed directly into an ongoing political battle. For months before March 2012, the pro-gay marriage HRC had been demanding that my group, NOM, publicly identify its major donors, something that NOM and many other non-profits refuse to do. The reason is simple. In the past, gay marriage advocates have used such information to launch campaigns of intimidation against traditional marriage supporters.

Just as gay marriage proponents were demanding the information, the IRS appears to have illegally given them exactly what they were looking for. The tax return released by the HRC contained the names and addresses of dozens of major donors to NOM. And there's little doubt where the documents came from. The tax returns contained internal coding added by the IRS after the returns were originally submitted.

For the IRS to leak any organization's tax return to its political opponents is an outrageous breach of ethics and, if proven, constitutes a felony. Every organization — liberal and conservative — should shudder at the idea of the IRS playing politics with its confidential tax return information. But the situation here is even more egregious because the head of the HRC was at the time serving as a national co-chair of President Obama's re-election campaign.

It is imperative that congressional investigators get to the bottom of the issue. If the IRS can get away with leaking NOM's confidential tax return to its chief political opponent, then no taxpayer is safe from political retribution by the federal government.


John Eastman, a constitutional law professor at Chapman University, is chairman of theNational Organization for Marriage.
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:17 PM   #35
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There are still missing links here. "Obama meets with IRS head a lot" + "IRS agents to [illegal/wrong] stuff" =/= "Obama orders IRS agents to do [illegal/wrong] stuff".
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:21 PM   #36
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For the record, however, I don't have an issue with Congress appointing a special prosecutor or whatever, as long as (s)he is not hopelessly biased and on a witch hunt.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:01 AM   #37
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Most, if not all, of those meetings with Shulman were also attended by policy wonks heavily involved in the health care act. Turns out that enacting the health care laws required lots of changes to taxation of health care, hence the need for IRS input. Plus, visits to the White House do not necessarily involve the President.

The only big revelation so far about these scandals is that there is no connection to Obama. Not that it's stopping you and lots of conservatives from desperately trying to pin it to him.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:07 AM   #38
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I don't have a problem with Congress abolishing the IRS and going to a flat/fair/sales tax approach but the Left will never give up the progessive tax code and the IRS.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:31 AM   #39
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Most, if not all, of those meetings with Shulman were also attended by policy wonks heavily involved in the health care act. Turns out that enacting the health care laws required lots of changes to taxation of health care, hence the need for IRS input. Plus, visits to the White House do not necessarily involve the President.

The only big revelation so far about these scandals is that there is no connection to Obama. Not that it's stopping you and lots of conservatives from desperately trying to pin it to him.
There has been some great colums on this from conservative writers.

IRS Follows Obama's Lead - Jonah Goldberg - Page 1

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Of course the president deserves some of the blame.

Yes, it's extremely unlikely he ordered the IRS to discriminate against tea party, pro-life or Jewish groups opposed to his agenda (though why anyone should take his word for it is beyond me). And his outrage now -- however convenient -- is appreciated. But when people he views as his "enemies" complained about a politicized IRS, what did he do? Nothing.

Imagine for a moment if black civil rights organizations, gay groups or teachers unions loudly complained to members of Congress and the press that the IRS was discriminating against them. How long would it take for the White House to investigate? Answer honestly: Minutes? Hours? OK, maybe days if there was an attack on one of our embassies that the administration was busy ignoring.

Obviously, it would take longer for Obama to actually get to the bottom of the accusations and, if true, punish those responsible. But you can be sure that the moment he heard credible allegations of political persecution of liberal groups -- outfits with "progressive" or "civil rights" in their names -- he would have moved heaven and earth to make things right.

But when such allegations came from the right, the response from the president -- and from a press corps that until recently acted like a king's guard -- ranged from smirks and eye-rolling to flat-out lies or virtual applause.

For 27 months, groups with such terms as "tea party" or "patriot" in their names were singled out for deeply intrusive and expensive scrutiny, while groups flying the "progressive" banner sailed through. Drew Ryun gave up trying to get IRS approval for a free market organization after 17 months of bureaucratic stonewalling. But when he applied for approval of an organization called "Greenhouse Solutions" he got the go-ahead in three weeks.

When top Democratic senators pressured the IRS to single out conservative groups not just for special scrutiny but for "caps" on how much money they could spend, President Obama didn't tell Chuck Schumer, Carl Levin or Max Baucus to cool it.

But Obama's culpability in all of this isn't restricted merely to his sins of omission. Throughout his presidency, Obama has set a very clear tone.

He's made it clear that people who disagree with him are fevered, illegitimate, weird, creepy, dangerous, stupid, confused, ignorant or some other adjective you might assign to a revamped version of the seven dwarves.
He's explained that he doesn't mind "cleaning up after" after Republicans but he doesn't want to hear "a lot of talking" from them. The time for democratic debate is always behind us with an administration that began with the mission not to let a crisis go to waste, for as Obama said in his second inaugural address, "Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time."

Moreover, President Obama often insists we live in a country where the "government is us," where there's no need to fear tyranny "around the corner" because we could never be tyrannical against ourselves.

In his 2012 State of the Union address, Obama lamented that the American people couldn't function more like the military. Soldiers aren't "consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach." Never mind that we have a military to keep us free, not to be a role model Translation: I wish Americans would fall in line and follow orders.

It's a funny thing. In his address to Congress right after the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush said, "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." For the better part of a decade, many liberals bizarrely insisted that this warning to terror-supporting states abroad was in fact a kind of fatwa encouraging persecution of Bush's political opponents at home.

And yet, nearly every day, President Obama divides the country between the forces of truth and reason and the forces of deceit and selfishness. He and his supporters are the "ones we've been waiting for," while his opponents, well, we don't need any more talk out of them.

So fine. Obama probably didn't order the IRS to keep his opponents from talking. But these bureaucrats certainly acted like ones he'd been waiting for.
This Is No Ordinary Scandal - WSJ.com
Quote:
The president, as usual, acts as if all of this is totally unconnected to him. He's shocked, it's unacceptable, he'll get to the bottom of it. He read about it in the papers, just like you.

But he is not unconnected, he is not a bystander. This is his administration. Those are his executive agencies. He runs the IRS and the Justice Department.

A president sets a mood, a tone. He establishes an atmosphere. If he is arrogant, arrogance spreads. If he is too partisan, too disrespecting of political adversaries, that spreads too. Presidents always undo themselves and then blame it on the third guy in the last row in the sleepy agency across town.

The IRS scandal has two parts. The first is the obviously deliberate and targeted abuse, harassment and attempted suppression of conservative groups. The second is the auditing of the taxes of political activists.

In order to suppress conservative groups—at first those with words like "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in their names, then including those that opposed ObamaCare or advanced the Second Amendment—the IRS demanded donor rolls, membership lists, data on all contributions, names of volunteers, the contents of all speeches made by members, Facebook posts, minutes of all meetings, and copies of all materials handed out at gatherings. Among its questions: What are you thinking about? Did you ever think of running for office? Do you ever contact political figures? What are you reading? One group sent what it was reading: the U.S. Constitution.

The second part of the scandal is the auditing of political activists who have opposed the administration. The Journal's Kim Strassel reported an Idaho businessman named Frank VanderSloot, who'd donated more than a million dollars to groups supporting Mitt Romney. He found himself last June, for the first time in 30 years, the target of IRS auditors. His wife and his business were also soon audited. Hal Scherz, a Georgia physician, also came to the government's attention. He told ABC News: "It is odd that nothing changed on my tax return and I was never audited until I publicly criticized ObamaCare."
And now we know a third part of the scandal, that tax info about conservative groups was given by the IRS to liberal groups.

Cues from Above: The White House and the IRS | National Review Online

Quote:
‘Horrible customer service.” That’s what the newly fired IRS commissioner averred was the agency’s only sin in singling out conservative political groups for discriminatory treatment.

In such grim proceedings one should be grateful for unintended humor. Horrible customer service is when every patron in a restaurant finds a fly in his soup. But when the maitre d’ screens patrons for their politics and only conservatives find flies paddle-wheeling through their consommé, the problem is not poor service. It is harassment and invidious discrimination.

And yet both the acting and the previous IRS commissioners insisted that the singling out of groups according to their politics was in no way politically motivated. More hilarity. It’s definitional: If you discriminate according to politics, your discrimination is political. It’s a tautology, for God’s sake.

The IRS responds that this classification was for efficiency, to cut down on overwork. Ridiculous. How does demanding answers to endless intrusive and irrelevant questions, creating mountains of unnecessary paperwork for both applicant and the IRS, reduce the workload?

We are further asked to believe that a cadre of Cincinnati GS-11s is a hotbed of radical-left activism in America. Is anyone stupid enough to believe that?

That’s why the IRS scandal has legs. And because pulling the myriad loose ends of this improbable tale will be the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Democrat Max Baucus. So much for any reflexive administration charge of a partisan witch hunt.

On Wednesday, however, the issue was in the hands of the House Oversight Committee. It allowed Lois Lerner, the IRS official who had already apologized for targeting tea-party groups, to read an opening statement claiming total innocence: “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.” She then refused, on grounds of self-incrimination, to answer any questions.

Perhaps not wanting to appear overbearing, Chairman Darrell Issa gave her a pass, pending legal advice on whether she had forfeited her Fifth Amendment shield by making a statement. Then again, Lerner’s performance may not have endeared her to the average viewer. Her arrogance reminded anyone who needed reminding why the IRS is so unloved. Try saying what she said — I deny, I deny, I deny, and I refuse to answer any of your questions — when you’re next called in for an IRS audit.

Does the IRS scandal go all the way up to the top? As of now, it’s doubtful. It’s nearly inconceivable that anyone would be stupid enough to have given such a politically fatal directive from the White House (although admittedly the bar is rapidly falling).

But when some bureaucrat is looking for cues from above, it matters when the president of the United States denounces the Supreme Court decision that allowed the proliferation of 501(c)(4)s and specifically calls the resulting “special interest groups” running ads to help Republicans “not just a threat to Democrats” but “a threat to our democracy.” That’s especially telling when it comes amid letters from Democratic senators to the IRS urging aggressive scrutiny of 501(c)(4) applications.

A White House can powerfully shape other perceptions as well. For years the administration has conducted a concerted campaign to demonize Fox News, delegitimizing it as a news organization and even urging its ostracism. Then (surprise!) its own Justice Department takes the unprecedented step of naming a Fox reporter a co-conspirator in a leak case — when no reporter has ever been prosecuted for merely soliciting information — in order to invade his and Fox’s private and journalistic communications.

No one goes to jail for creating such climates of intolerance. Nor is it a crime to incessantly claim that those who offer this president opposition and push back – i.e., Republicans, tea partiers, Fox News, whoever dares resist the sycophantic thrill-up-my-leg media adulation — do so only for “politics,” power, and pure partisanship, while the Dear Leader devotes himself exclusively to the nation, the middle class, the good, and the just.

It’s not unlawful to run an ad hominem presidency. It’s merely shameful. The great rhetorical specialty of this president has been his unrelenting attribution of bad faith to those who disagree with him. He acts on principle; they from the basest of instincts.

Well then, why not harass them? Why not ask the content of their prayers? Why not read their e-mails? Why not give them especially horrible customer service?


Waiter! There’s a fly . . .
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:39 AM   #40
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Oh yes. Lets talk about NOM and their 2 donors and how they launder money for the Catholic Church and refuse to abide by electoral rules in Maine.
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