Bookshelf update — Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department

June 17, 2014

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department.”

book cover obamas enforcer fund spakovsky

 

I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but it looks to be a good discussion of Holder’s abuse of power and dereliction of the duties of his office, much of it rooted in his radical racialism. And the authors, John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, are top-notch. The book is available in both Kindle(1) and hardback formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) I’m happy to say I’ve found no typos or formatting errors, so far. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.


Did Obama threaten state governors?

March 10, 2014
Not likely to be bullied.

Not likely to be bullied.

Via Moe Lane, that’s sure what it sounds like in the video below. Rick Perry of Texas was speaking as part of a panel at the Republican Governors Association late last February; the group had had a meeting (1) with President Obama, and what he told them left Governor Perry disturbed. Here’s the video, followed by a transcript.

“When you have governors, and we all compete against each other — we are the laboratories of innovation — and for the President of the United States to look Democrat and Republican governors in the eye and say, ‘I do not trust you to make decisions in your state about issues of education, about transportation infrastructure,’ — and that is really troubling,” he said.


Perry expressed his own fears regarding Environmental Protection Agency restrictions choking off America’s energy production and a possible reduction in his state’s national guard.

“As a matter of fact, he [Obama] said at that meeting, he said, ‘If I hear any of you pushing back, making statements about Washington spends too much money, you’ll hear from me,” he said, adding, “I’m highly offended by that.”

Obama takes everything personally, doesn’t he? Criticize him or oppose his policies as part of the normal give and take of politics, and to him it’s a personal affront. And, if you offend him, perhaps by speaking out on behalf of the people of your state, by God you’re going to hear from Obama, himself!

That is the mark of a thin-skinned, petty personality. A punk. And weren’t the Democrats supposed to be against “bullying?”

It’s also telling about how he sees the governors: not as fellow heads of state and government, with their own experiences and perspectives to draw on (2), but as errand boys. It’s how someone who grew up in the Chicago thugocracy works. “Federalism? Just shut up and do what you’re told – or else.”

Perry’s remarks about the threat to the state national guards are well-taken, too; not only do the guard units provide invaluable reserves of skills, knowledge, and talent to fill out the military in wartime, but governors rely on their guard units to deal with all sorts of emergencies, from riots to disaster relief.

Seems to me Governor Perry and his colleagues were right to be perturbed.

Footnotes:
(1) I think this was the same meeting after which Louisiana Governor Jindal and Connecticut Governor Malloy went after each other a bit.
(2) Many of whom had far more executive experience prior to taking office and far better records of accomplishment in office than a certain president I can think of.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Schumer calls for Obama to use IRS as weapon against Tea Party. UPDATE: Et tu, Booker?

January 24, 2014
"And an upgrade to the Lido Deck. Because it's your right, baby!"

A shark has a more sincere smile

Wait, didn’t we just have a national stink over the IRS harassing conservative and libertarian groups for their political beliefs? Yet now, not at all hiding his lack of understanding of or even his disdain for the principles that underlie our political system, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in a speech at the progressive Center for American Progress, has called on President Obama to use the IRS to limit the activities of these same groups.

Arguing that Tea Party groups have a financial advantage after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, Schumer said the Obama administration should bypass Congress and institute new campaign finance rules through the IRS.

“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies—we must redouble those efforts immediately,” Schumer said.

“One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created [by] the ill advised decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission],” Schumer said. “Obviously the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”

What really upsets Chuck is free speech and that these groups are effective at getting their message out and that people respond to it. Citizens United merely respected the First Amendment and, in the process, somewhat leveled the playing field against liberal donor groups and the liberal MSM that gives the Democrats arguably illegal in-kind aid. Can’t have that.

Note also his acknowledgement that no further restrictions on political speech would pass the House. Smart man, that Chuck. What escapes him, or really what he refuses to admit, is that the massacre his party suffered in the 2010 midterms in the House was due to popular reaction against his party and its policies. Quite literally, the Republican Party, the majority party in the House –the People’s House–  represents the will of most of the American people.

His solution? Rule by decree via administrative rule-making, in defiance of that will. Use the power of big government to silence the proponents of limited government.

Admit it, Chuck: What you really want is an Enabling Act, not a Constitution.

It seems Chuckie also hates competition. Would-be tyrants usually do.

Schumer also proposed electoral reform in his speech. “Our very electoral structure has been rigged to favor Tea Party candidates in Republican primaries,” he said.

He argued that this is due to the political makeup of primary voters and gerrymandering by Republicans who “draw districts where a Democrat could never be elected.”

Schumer recommended a primary system “where all voters, members of every party, can vote and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, then enter a run-off.”

Whining against gerrymandering is rich, since Democrats have long benefited from the creation of safe seats. I don’t like it; I’d like to get rid of it. But those are the rules we have now, so, tough, Senator.Try enacting policies that don’t lead to a wipe out in state-level elections, and maybe on day your allies will control the process. And I’ll bet you’ll suddenly be a fan of the system, too.

The leaders of the Democratic Party sure have a problem with democracy, don’t they?

PS: Anyone else get a weird vibe from Schumer, like he’s sworn an oath to Don Corleone? The guy just oozes “made man.”

RELATED: Ted Cruz sends a letter to Eric Holder, demanding an independent prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal. Worth reading.

UPDATE: Just an hour ago on Twitter, Senator Cory “Imaginary Friend” Booker (D-NJ) had this to say about Senator Schumer’s call for restrictions on free speech:

via Katnandu

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sure it’s a coincidence: two critics of #Obamacare audited by IRS

December 1, 2013
"Your MEA shop steward"

“Your Obamacare attitude adjuster”

Hey, remember when President Obama told his followers to punch back against their enemies “twice as hard?” Or when he joked about setting the IRS on his critics?

Maybe it’s not such a joke. Via Mark Steyn:

A couple of weeks back, cancer patient Bill Elliot, in a defiant appearance on Fox News, discussed the cancelation of his insurance and what he intended to do about it. He’s now being audited.

Insurance agent C Steven Tucker, who quaintly insists that the whimsies of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy do not trump your legal rights, saw the interview and reached out to Mr Elliot to help him. And he’s now being audited.

You’d think, after the public uproar over the revelations about the IRS harassing Americans for their political beliefs, that the agency and the administration would be wary of anything that resembled using the tax service as political weapon.

But that isn’t the Chicago Way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


But of course: Access to open air Flight 93 Memorial in rural Pennsylvania blocked off

October 15, 2013

If we had an honest press, instead of lapdog media courtiers, the White House pulling crap like this –turning the Park Service into a partisan police– would be headline national news.


#Shutdown follies: Park Service uses “Gestapo tactics” to harass, detain visitors to Yellowstone

October 8, 2013
"Klink! What are these tourists doing here??"

“Klink! What are these tourists doing here??”

That’s not me being hyperbolic; that’s the very description used by a tour guide who was taking a group of senior citizens, including visitors from overseas, to see one of our great natural resources. When they got there, they were instead treated to something out of a bad episode of Hogan’s Heroes:

Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of America’s greatest treasures.

Instead, the Salisbury resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle that made her embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

The capos …er… park rangers were under orders, they said, to keep people people from “recreating,” which apparently included a prohibition against merely stopping to take pictures of bison, or even using available restrooms at a private business on the way out. (The owner of the business was threatened with the loss of his business if he let the old folks use his facilities.) At the hotel, at which they were allowed to stay only two days, regardless of their reservations, some tourists justifiably began to wonder if they were prisoners:

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

When they left, some of the tourists said they’d never come back to the United States, and, frankly, I don’t blame them. This was an utterly disgusting, disgraceful, and outrageous way to treat guests at our national parks, whether American or foreign. Instead of showing our country at its best, Barack Obama’s Smokey the Stormtroopers made us look like something out of Eastern Europe under the Soviets.

This is the face of punitive liberalism, a feature of the American Left since the 1960s, but never shown as openly as under Obama. As Mark Steyn wrote in reference to the shutdown of the World War II Memorial and the attempt to bar WWII veterans from it:

The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations – plus $15 million or so from Washington: In other words, the feds paid for the grass. But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades. The Barrycades are such a perfect embodiment of what James Piereson calls “punitive liberalism” they should be tied round Obama’s neck forever, in the way that “ketchup is a vegetable” got hung around Reagan-era Republicans. Alas, the court eunuchs of the Obama media cannot rouse themselves even on behalf of the nation’s elderly warriors.

And so, because of a policy dispute in D.C. in which the House majority is properly acting in its role as the opposition to press its policies and block or amend the administration’s, the administration Royal Court has decided to use the Park Service to harass and intimidate innocent Americans and their guests in the hope that they’ll then take their anger out on those darned upstart Republicans. And that means keeping us out of the parks and memorials we paid for, even if it means ruined businesses and lost jobs.

What this calls for is some good old-fashioned civil disobedience. A lot more signs like these, please:

via Brian Faughnan

UPDATE: William Jacobson is nicer to the Park Service than I.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Shutdown follies: Let’s evict the President’s mother-in-law

October 7, 2013
"Hit the road, Mrs. Robinson"

“Hit the road, Mrs. Robinson”

Since the administration has deemed it important to evict the elderly from their privately owned homes on federal land, perhaps we should kick nonessential personnel out of the federally-owned White House, too. Not Obama, of course; for all I dislike him, he is, sadly, essential.

His wife’s mother, however, is another matter:

Michelle Obama has referred to her mom in a stump speech, talking about her residence in the South Side of Chicago. Perhaps it’s time to head back. Maybe it would be asking too much for the president and his immediate family to vacate his federally-provided residence for the duration of the shutdown, but if Obama is willing to interpret the law to evict the aging and elderly from private buildings and businesses which may sit on federal land but which do not require federal services, then it’s well past time to end the hypocrisy and send Robinson to a nearby hotel. Presumably Obama can afford it, far more than those he seems intent on having the government harass under a tendentious and mendacious reading of the law.

If it’s good enough for 78-years old Joyce Spencer and her 80-years old husband, Ralph, it’s good enough for Marian Robinson (1), who, I’m quite sure, is living there at public expense. (2)

Footnote:
(1) Petty and vindictive? Nah. I’m just demanding equal treatment for all. I leave the mean-spirited bit to Obama. He’s a natural.
(2) Please. With the nouveau riche pretensions of the Obamas, do you really expect them to be reimbursing the government for the cost of her room and board?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Shutdown follies: the petty, petulant tyrannies of Barack Obama

October 6, 2013

"My will is enough!"

“Defy me, will you?”

While I’m not a fan of the shutdown strategy the Republicans employed in battling Obamacare, it has accomplished one thing, so far: showing what a small man President Obama is. Oppose Obamacare? Legitimately use the powers of the House, which most closely represents the people of the nation, to try to make changes to it? Dare to keep trying after he and his mean-spirited allies with shriveled souls have told you to stop? Then he’ll make sure the American people feel the pain.

We’ve already heard about the unconscionable harassment of elderly veterans who traveled to Washington to see their own monument, and then there was the bizarre news of threats to arrest priests who come to military bases to minister to servicemen, even if on a volunteer basis. Let’s take a few more.

At Mt. Pisgah, North Carolina, Bruce O’Connell runs an inn, which has been in his family for 35 years, on land leased from the federal government. Like any such business, it’s highly dependent on seasonal income. So, when, at the height of the tourist season, the Park Service told O’Connell to shutter his business, he said no. Then the Park Service decided to shut it down for him:

[O'Connell's] family has operated the inn on the parkway about 25 miles from Asheville, N.C., for 35 years. It the only spot for many miles along the 469.1-mile mountain route to sleep or grab a meal and go to the bathroom.

A handful of guests had lunch before Park Service patrol cars blocked the driveways, turning on their orange flashing lights. Rangers turned customers away, saying the government was closed.

The 51-room inn was booked solid for October. O’Connell said he plans to send refunds to customers who already paid though many planned vacations to see the fall colors months in advance.

His 100 employees are idled; 35 live on the property.

“It’s conscience and conviction that have taken over me, and I just can’t roll over any more,” he said.

While this example is bad enough, a truly infuriating one comes from Lake Mead, where the Park Service, Obama’s chosen enforcers, are keeping people from the homes they own — including the elderly:

Joyce Spencer is 77-years-old and her husband Ralph is 80. They’ve been spending most of their time in the family ice cream store since going home isn’t an option.

The Spencers never expected to be forced out of their Lake Mead home, which they’ve owned since the 70s, but on Thursday, a park ranger said they had 24 hours to get out.

“I had to go to town today and buy Ralph undershirts and jeans because I forgot his pants,” Joyce Spencer told Action News.

The Stewart’s Point home sits on federal land, so even though the Spencers own their cabin outright, they’re not allowed in until the government reopens.

In other words, your home, your property (1), but that doesn’t matter because Barack Obama wants you to feel the pain in the belief that you’ll then blame the Republicans. Joyce and Ralph Spencer are just tools to be used, peasants living on his demesne at his sufferance. As are we all, apparently.

But many Americans just aren’t putting up with it. Not just veterans visiting monuments, but everyday Americans who simply want to enjoy scenery by driving through, or just within view. But the Park Service has tried to block that, too, by putting up road cones to prevent people from stopping to snap a picture:

Blocking access to trails and programs at South Dakota’s most popular attraction was one thing, but state officials didn’t expect Congress’ budget stalemate to shut down a view of Mount Rushmore.

The National Park Service placed cones along highway viewing areas outside Mount Rushmore this week, barring visitors from pulling over and taking pictures of the famed monument.

But, just as the WWII veterans shoved their way through the “Barrycades” at their memorial in D.C., American families like this one are letting Washington know what they think of being kept out of parks their money paid for:

I think we need a lot more of this, all across the nation. There’s more at Twitchy.

Finally, in a move that reminds one of King Cnut, the administration has decided that the ocean, itself, is shut down:

Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was “closed” due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown.

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban… of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.

Of course, the King commanded the waves in order to give his courtiers a lesson in the limits of power. Obama, on the other hand, is trying to teach us a lesson about his power.

The question remains, though, of why Obama is acting like tinhorn tyrant, stamping his feet and lashing out in a tantrum? Jonah Goldberg thinks it shows a vindictive streak on his part and an inability to see those who disagree with him as reasonable people. He’s right, I’m sure, but I also believe there’s more. Obama learned how to be a politician in the corrupt environment of Chicago, a place where political “boss-ism” is the norm and “da Mayor” is “da Boss of Bosses.” Go against the mayor, and suddenly your garbage isn’t getting picked up, or health inspectors are “finding” rats in your restaurant’s spotless kitchen. Oppose Obama, and suddenly things go wrong. Play along, and everything’s nice again. “Nice place you have here. It’d be a shame if…”

That’s how Obama sees the presidency: as the Boss of Chicago, writ large.

via lots of people on Twitter

Footnote:
(1) I have to wonder if the Spencers and other residents there have a case based on the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment. There’s no denying that they’re being denied the use of their property, the use of which has been taken from them without compensation.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Unreal: Park Service threatens to arrest WWII vets who try to visit their memorial

October 1, 2013
"You're not welcome."

“Unwelcome.”

So, you’ve heard the story today about the group of World War II veterans who had to break through barriers deliberately placed there by the Obama administration as part of its game-playing over the Democrat-forced government shutdown. It’s bad enough that they were deliberately inconveniencing 80-90 year old men who honorably served their country. I thought that was pretty low. And I was right, but I didn’t think they could sink any lower.

Well, they did. A group of veterans scheduled for an Honor Flight next week have been threatened with arrest if they try to visit the memorial that was erected in their honor:

Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio has a trip scheduled to depart from Toledo next Wednesday, October 9.

“We will make the call this Friday to determine if the flight is still a go, or if we will have to re-schedule,” Armstrong explains.

He says they are considering going ahead with the trip even if the government is still on shutdown, but when he called the parks service, he was told they would face arrest.

Armstrong says, “I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir.’”

When he asked for her name, he says she did not give it to him and then promptly hung up the phone.

Think about this for a moment: these men and their buddies crossed the Atlantic to fight their way from Morocco to Italy. They stormed the beaches of Normandy, liberated France, and and invaded Germany to grind the Nazis into the dirt. They crossed the Pacific and fought the Japanese island by bloody island and in some of the greatest naval battles of human history, and stood ready to invade Japan, itself. They, along with our British and Russian allies, saved the world. Let me repeat that.

They. Saved. The. World.

They did more good in those three years of war than Barack Obama, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi will ever do — in their lives.

And now they’re threatened with arrest if they dare to roll their wheelchairs onto the grounds of their memorial?

Someone needs some sense slapped into them.

Moe Lane at Red State:

…the WWII Memorial does not have a permanent security presence, which means that there is actually no valid, ethical reason why the Obama administration could presume to shut it down for the public. Not that the administration actually needs one. So they proactively locked down a previously-open national monument, and then presumed to tell the men whose sacrifice it honored that those men were not welcome at that place.

Never forget this moment. This is how Barack Obama acts, when challenged or resisted. He acts ugly, and mean-spirited, and shabby.

In other words, once a punk, always a punk.

“Disgusted” doesn’t half-cover how I feel right now.

via Stephen Hayes

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Arbitrary Diktats of Generalissimo Obama

August 16, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Dan may think this isn’t a joke, but, from another perspective, it is: a big honking joke on us.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

There’s an old joke that the definition of quandary is when your mother-in-law drives off a cliff in your new car.

But since I’m not married, I can’t use that joke.

Besides, I’m a policy wonk, so the type of quandary that catches my attention is when the Obama Administration delays big parts of Obamacare (hooray!), but does so by cavalierly deciding to disregard the law (boo!).

Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.

I wrote about this topic last month and asserted that one of “the defining characteristics of a civilized government is adherence to the rule of law.”

Why is this important? Here’s some of George Will’s analysis of how Obama is subverting the law.

President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. …at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality. …Serving as props in the scripted charade…

View original 996 more words


There’s being a jerk, and then there’s being a swine. This is swinish.

August 1, 2013

Picketing a child’s funeral? Does no one in the Teamsters have any sense of decency?

Don’t bother; I already know the answer:

SCI Illinois Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest funeral home chains, asked a district court to intervene after striking funeral directors and drivers with Teamsters Local 727 allegedly harassed grieving families.

“We are grateful that the court agreed to issue this temporary restraining order, and we are hopeful that it will help protect grieving families who are experiencing the most difficult times of their lives,” Larry Michael, managing director for SCI Illinois Services, Inc., said in a release. “While we recognize and respect the Teamsters’ right to lawfully picket, we have been shocked and saddened by their attempts to make grieving families the target of the cruel and outrageous attacks.”

The company testified in its filing that union members blocked grieving family members from leaving its parking lot, used bullhorns to shout obscenities at workers and mourners, and unleashed a German Shepard on a dead woman’s daughter and husband.

The funeral home was eventually forced to call the police when picketers allegedly disrupted a child’s funeral with laughter. The officer asked the Teamsters to leave, but protesters returned when he drove away.

“We will be here for the visitation; we will be here for your funeral,” Teamster driver Lester Plewa allegedly shouted into a bullhorn as a funeral director met with a dying man planning his arrangements with family members.

They pull crap like this, and then they wonder why they have a reputation for being thugs and leg-breakers.

Disgusting.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) The lynching of George Zimmerman

July 21, 2013

In one of the best Afterburners in a while (1), Bill Whittle looks at the trial of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin and proclaims it nothing less than one of the great civil rights violations of our time — a violation of Zimmerman’s rights:

This information about Martin’s use of “Lean” and its side-effects (paranoia, physical aggressiveness) is new to me. That the judge barred the evidence is flabbergasting, as it bears directly on Martin’s state of mind that night. Remember, he had lost Zimmerman, got to his destination, and then went back to confront Zimmerman at his truck. And yet Martin using a drug that could lead to this kind of behavior wasn’t ruled admissible?

Along with “lynching,” let’s add “kangaroo court” and “show trial,” too. smiley angry

Footnote:
(1) Which, if you recall my liking of this series, is a pretty high bar.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Debunked: #IRS not targeting progressive groups like they did Tea Party groups

June 25, 2013

On Monday, The Hill and others carried a story that seemed to strongly change the narrative of the IRS “targeting scandal.” In testimony before the House Ways and Means committee, acting IRS head Danny Werfel said that the targeting had gone on longer than originally thought –into 2013– and that it had included liberal and progressive groups:

But Rep. Sandy Levin (Mich.), the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said that the IRS told Congress for the first time on Monday that “progressive” was also a term used on BOLO lists. 

In a release, Ways and Means Democrats stressed that liberal groups were among almost 300 groups seeking tax-exempt status that Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration reviewed for the May audit outlining the targeting of Tea Party groups. 

Levin said Monday that the audit left that information out, and called for Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to bring Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George back for more testimony. 

“The audit served as the basis and impetus for a wide range of Congressional investigations and this new information shows that the foundation of those investigations is flawed in a fundamental way,” Levin said in a statement.

This would seem to weaken at least one aspect of what has been a major scandal for the Obama administration, that conservative and Tea Party groups were singled out inappropriately for special attention that amounted to political harassment and a denial of equal treatment under the law, based on their political views. If left-liberal groups were given similar treatment, then the charge becomes one of mere bureaucratic incompetence, rather than political persecution. And it would tie in with the administration’s favorite defense in scandals: “We’re not evil. We’re just stupid.”

But… Not so fast.

Writing for National Review, Eliana Johnson looks at this new revelation and finds yet another smokescreen:

Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel on Monday told reporters that the now-infamous “Be On The Lookout” list was far broader than was originally disclosed in the Treasury Department inspector general’s report. Reports from outlets including the Associated Press, which I cited in my original report, and now Bloomberg News, confirmed Werfel’s account, indicating that various versions of the list not only included terms like “tea party,” but also “progressive,” “Occupy,” and “Israel.” 

A November 2010 version of the list obtained by National Review Online, however, suggests that while the list did contain the word “progressive,” screeners were in fact instructed to treat “progressive” groups differently from “tea party” groups. Whereas screeners were merely alerted that a designation of 501(c)(3) status “may not be appropriate” for applications containing the word ”progressive” – 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from conducting any political activities – they were told to send those of tea-party groups off IRS higher-ups for further scrutiny. 

That means the applications of progressive groups could be approved on the spot by line agents, while those of tea-party groups could not. Furthermore, the November 2010 list noted that tea-party cases were “currently being coordinated with EOT,” which stands for Exempt Organizations Technical, a group of tax lawyers in Washington, D.C. Those of progressive groups were not. 

In other words, “Nice try, Representative Levin, but you might want to contact the White House to find out what’s next on the list of distractions.”

This does raise several questions, though. First, Acting Commissioner Werfel surely had to know of the disparate treatment of conservative and liberal groups and its significance in this scandal. Why bring this up as if it was exculpatory? A little “suggestion” from the White House? It may be time for him to come back to testify under oath to explain himself.

Second, this scandal has been known for weeks, and there have been days of testimony by various Right-wing groups complaining about mistreatment by the IRS. If lefty groups were similarly picked on, where were they? Why didn’t they demand to be heard? Why didn’t the Democrats produce them as witnesses? Surely they deserve justice, too, don’t they?

As Johnson’s research shows, they weren’t at the hearing because they had no complaint. The bureaucracy wasn’t interfering with the exercise of their constitutional rights.

Just ours.

RELATED: Evidence shows 12 different IRS groups targeted conservatives across the land. Those “rogue agents” sure got around. Jay Cost on the need for bureaucratic reform to protect the republic.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


You’re not being hacked, @SharylAttkisson. You’re being haunted.

June 18, 2013

How else would you explain computers mysteriously turning on and off? It’s gotta be ghosts:

CBS News announced on Friday that the computer of investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer had registered multiple breaches, a disclosure that prompted a great deal of speculation about just who was responsible for the misbehavior. In a short segment today on “CBS This Morning,” Attkisson lent a personal touch to the story.

The primary takeaway? That Attkisson’s hardware sort of “woke up” in the middle of the night. When asked how the hacking manifested itself, she said, “One example was the computers began turning themselves on and then back off again during the night.”

Creepy, huh?

They’re heeeerre!

Okay, so, maybe not ghosts. Probably someone much more mundane, in fact. Someone with some very specific interests:

“The intruders did have access to personal information including passwords to my financial accounts and so on, but didn’t tamper with those, so they weren’t interested in stealing my identity or doing things to my finances. So people can decide on their own what they might have been trying to do in there,” Attkisson said.

These were computers Attkisson used mostly for work. And what was she working on last Fall?

Stories about Benghazi and Operation Fast and Furious. Hmmm…

Back to the WaPo article (first quote), Erik Wemple contacted a former NSA operative who found government intrusion hard to believe:

Cedric Leighton, a former deputy director of training at the National Security Agency (NSA), cautions against reaching too many conclusions on the sophistication of the intruder(s). “It’s sloppy work (1) in the realm of hackerdom,” says Leighton. “If you’re going to do something like that, you try not to leave anything behind. You try to make sure that you don’t do anything different than what the user is doing.”

Noting the time of the intrusion, Leighton speculated about Chinese hackers. But Attkisson works mostly on domestic investigations; why would a Chinese hacker be interested in her work? You’d think they’d be more interested in reporters who cover the military or tech beats, for example. Just some bored kid in Shanghai who saw her on TV and thought it would be cool to hack her machines?

Nah. I don’t think so. And neither does Attkisson, it seems:

ATTKISSON: I have attorneys at CBS who are helping us through this. I also have personal counsel.

O’REILLY: And so, all your counsels are saying, “Don’t say anything.” Just maybe you have the same counsel that the attorney general and Ed Muller has?

No, it’s a joke. Bad joke. Sorry. So, all of your counsels are saying, “Don’t accuse anybody right now.”

ATTKISSON: Well, they’re just telling us what we can say, more than anything right now, which is, you know, what you basically heard, that there has been an intrusion of the computer, this is not phishing, this is not malware.

This is not ordinary, as someone asked me, old boyfriend trying to look through my files. They know it’s not that.

O’REILLY: No. This is big.

ATTKISSON: Yes.

O’REILLY: Yes. But in order to go after somebody, you’ve got to have the suspicion. And I assume you have a suspicion.

You don’t have to tell me. I don’t want to get your lawyers mad. But I assume you have a suspicion.

ATTKISSON: Well, I think I know. But I am just not prepared to go into that. So, we’re continuing our investigation.

In other words, she was working on stories not at all complimentary to the government, her computers are hacked –no financial or other personal data stolen–  and she and her employers think they have a pretty good idea who did it.

And I’ll bet they’re not Chinese.

She and CBS were smart to retain their own counsel; with the government apparently willing to intimidate the children of whistleblowers, they’ll want to have all their legal ducks in a row before going public with any accusations.

Footnote:
(1) The basic idea being that US government couldn’t be this clumsy, could it? Well… Given their inability to ferret out the Tsarnaevs before they bombed the Boston Marathon, or their willful blindness that lead to fatal political correctness regarding Major Hasan, or their mind-boggling incompetence in granting a top security clearance to Edward Snowden, let’s just say it’s not that hard for me to believe they could leave a trail marked by flashing neon signs.

Reminds me in fact of a scene from S*P*Y*S, a 1974 espionage comedy starring Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould. When someone tries to blow them up, they’re convinced their own employers, the CIA, did it. Their boss denies it, but they won’t have it (going from memory): “No, it wasn’t the KGB! They don’t screw up! This was screwed up! It had to be us!”

Sounds plausible to me.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tales of the #Thugocracy: Oh, so that’s why they raided Gibson Guitar

May 26, 2013
"Nice business you got here..."

“Nice business you got here…”

You might recall a bizarre federal raid on legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar back in 2011: they were accused of importing illegally harvested wood from India and Madagascar under a century-old law. The feds showed up with automatic weapons, seized “evidence,” and generally disrupted operations to Gibson’s great cost. After all that, no criminal charges were filed, but Gibson had to agree to pay a $300,000 fine and toss $50,000 to an environmental group as penance for being “careless.”

Weird, right? Why all this attention to Gibson, when rival Martin & Co. used the very same “illegal” wood, yet wasn’t raided?

And, just like that, a light goes on:

Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson’s chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. Recent donations have included $2,000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and $1,500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

By contrast, Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles.

What would have seemed like a crazy conspiracy theory straight out of the fever swamps just a year ago now looks all too plausible, after the IRS scandal and the news that the Obama people had been targeting conservatives since 2008.

The message here to Mr. Juszkiewicz and people like him is crystal clear: “Thinking about making a political donation? Maybe you should think again.

“First Amendment?” What’s that?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The #IRS should just go ahead and change its name to “The Spanish Inquisition”

May 26, 2013
"Confess the sin of conservatism! Confess!!"

“Confess the sin of conservatism! Confess!!”

Because no one expects them, least of all poor Justin Binik-Thomas, an Ohio educator specifically named in IRS “follow-up questions” to an Ohio Tea Party group he had no affiliation with:

At the height of its campaign against President Barack Obama’s opponents, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in its audit of an Ohio tea party group, demanded information and materials related to a local Ohio adult education program as well as personal information about a man named Justin Binik-Thomas.

Now Justin Binik-Thomas and the adult educational program, neither of whom have any links to the tea party group, are worried.

The infamous IRS Cincinnati office, which oversaw tax-exempt nonprofit organizations., requested additional information from the Liberty Township Tea Party in a letter dated March 1, 2011.

“Included in that list was question number 26, which said, ‘please explain your relationship with Justin Binik-Thomas,’” Binik-Thomas told The Daily Caller. “That was concerning to me, considering I was not involved with that group.”

“I was involved in the Cincinnati tea party, about 30 miles south, as a spokesman” said Binik-Thomas, who works as a contract manager and has a small media relations business on the side. “There are literally tens of thousands of people involved with the tea party in some way. Why was I called out by name?”

The IRS also demanded, in its Question #25 for the Liberty Township Tea Party, one question before asking about Binik-Thomas, that the group hand over any training materials provided by the organization EmpowerU.

EmpowerU is a community education program that offers courses in scary things like cake decorating, marketing via social media, and lowering your taxes (1). Binik-Thomas does teach for them, but, again, neither of them have anything to do with the Liberty Township Tea Party.

Maybe, as Good Citizens(tm), they were supposed to report any rumors they heard. Or just make stuff up.

As you can imagine, being singled out like this by a powerful government agency can be a bit… “worrisome,” shall we say? Who else has been asked about Justin Binik-Thomas, and why is the IRS focused on him, anyway? How many others have been specified by name, and how does any of this have anything to do with an application for tax-exempt status? Should they be hiring lawyers?

I’m telling ya, Obama and the IRS have done more for the cause of tax reform and limited government than all the conservative groups of the last 20 years, combined.

Footnote:
(1) I’ll bet it was that last one that got them on “the list,” or maybe that subversive course on “The Constitution for Kids.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tyrant Governor of New York will not tolerate dissent from his underling sheriffs

May 25, 2013

Who does this guy think he is, Mike Bloomberg? Angered by county sheriffs opposed to the draconian gun law the Governor recently rammed through the legislature, Andrew Cuomo has evidently threatened to use a rarely invoked power to remove dissident sheriffs from office:

Opposition to the new law has simmered in upstate areas since Cuomo signed the law in January. Many county sheriffs oppose it, particularly its expanded definition of banned assault weapons, and have spoken out around the state. In January, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association wrote Cuomo with an analysis, and later suggested tweaks.

Cuomo invited its leaders to the Capitol last month, people briefed on the meeting said. The group included Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Peter Kehoe and Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss.
“We didn’t get a response (to the analysis) from him, but we could tell after the budget was passed that none of those recommendations were taken into consideration,” Moss said. “When we got there, we never got to the contents of the letter.”

Instead, Cuomo pushed the sheriffs to stop publicly speaking out against the act, Moss said.

“The governor was of the opinion that the sheriffs around the state should not be interjecting their personal opinions in reference to the law,” Moss said, adding that Cuomo said sheriffs can’t do that and enforce the law.

One person briefed on the meeting said Cuomo threatened to remove sheriffs from office, a little-used power afforded the state’s chief executive under the state constitution. Moss would not confirm this. He did say the meeting was heated at times, but overall he described it as “cordial.”

It’s one thing to use this power to remove a corrupt sheriff, or one unable to continue in his job because of health. But, to use it to bludgeon into silence men sworn to uphold the law and the state and federal constitutions, and who themselves have the right of free speech? I think that’s called “tyranny.” Somewhere, Hugo Chavez nods in approval.

Via Bryan Preston, who’s right: this has a lot in common with the scandals coming out of the Obama administration, for both represent abuses of power and the authoritarian heart of progressivism.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did Eric Holder lie to Congress, a judge, or both?

May 24, 2013
"I am not a crook!"

“Caught in his lies”

I’ve been saying for years that Eric Holder is the worst, most dangerous Attorney General since A. Mitchell Palmer and that he should be removed from office. The list of his offenses against the law and the Constitution over the years reads like an honor roll of shame: the New Black Panther voter intimidation case; the failure to protect the voting rights of Whites in Noxubee county, Mississippi; an overall racialist agenda that sees American civil rights law as a means of “payback,” not an instrument of equal justice for all; Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-running operation run by the DoJ and ATF that resulted in roughly 300 Mexicans dead and at least one US federal agent; the seizure of phone records from the AP that seems to have been nothing more than an act of petulance; tracking reporter James Rosen’s movements and emails in what looks like an effort to criminalize journalism; and… and… Help me out here, folks, I’m sure I’m missing something.

And for all that, Eric Holder has escaped anything worse than the contempt of those who have been paying attention and have a sense of decency and respect for our laws and traditions. He hasn’t resigned, the president hasn’t fired him (presumably because he agrees, let’s be frank), and he’s been able to skate by claiming he didn’t know what was going on, he never read the memos, he recused himself, no one told him, and so on and so forth to the point one wonders what does he do in his office, besides spinning in his chair. But now I can claim vindication.

He’s told a lie too many and finally tripped over one.

In the Rosen case mentioned above, NBC reports that Holder personally signed off on the warrant that gave investigators access to Rosen’s emails:

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.

(…)

Rosen, who has not been charged in the case, was nonetheless the target of a search warrant that enabled Justice Department investigators to secretly seize his private emails after an FBI agent said he had “asked, solicited and encouraged … (a source) to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information.”

But, not a week ago, Holder said in sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee:

In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.

Holder signed off on that warrant in 2010. It strains credulity, to say the least, that he wouldn’t remember that and could say with a straight face that this was something he’d “never heard of.” So there we have a very strong indication of perjury before Congress.

And he may have lied before a judge, too, observes Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post:

He is also in potential trouble himself, which necessitates an investigation (obviously not by Justice) beyond his departure. His behavior in the James Rosen and Associated Press matters raise serious questions.

First, the affidavit (paragraph 45) asserts that DOJ exhausted all means available to get the material from Rosen’s e-mails and phone, and “because of [Rosen's] own potential criminal liability in this matter,” asking for the documents voluntarily would compromise the integrity of the investigation. Moreover, the affidavit asserts that the “targets” of the investigation (including Rosen) were a risk to “mask their identity and activity, flee or otherwise obstruct this investigation.” It is highly questionable whether Holder believed any of that to be true. (Really, he imagined a Fox News reporter would flee the country? He thought Rosen would don a disguise?) Was the affidavit a sort of ruse to get Rosen’s records (or later to pressure his cooperation)? Did Holder intentionally mislead a judge when he signed off on the affidavit? That is worth exploring.

Of course, to answer the question in the subject, it’s quite possible he did both.

Lots of sites Right and Left are calling for Holder to resign or be fired — even the Huffington Post! But, you know what? I don’t want either, though I think one or the other is just a few days away, at most.

No, I want Holder and his boss to tough it out; they’re friends, after all and, Lord knows, Obama has stuck with him long past the point most presidents would have stuck with a troubled cabinet member. Such loyalty is to be admired, even among crooks.

Besides, it will give me what I really want: the impeachment and trial of Eric Holder. Ladies and Gentlemen (and Occupiers), I give you Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Emphasis added. Hello, Mr. Attorney General!

The House clearly has the grounds to begin hearings on impeachment, both for lying to Congress and possibly to a judge. And I think, in this case, even a heavily Democratic Senate would be forced to convict: few senators would want to be seen backing an obvious perjurer and none of them, I’m willing to bet, want to endorse the man behind the AP and Rosen warrants and then have to face the press. Not with an election year coming up. No, I’m thinking you could find 67 votes for removal.

What a way to cap off a career; first cabinet officer impeached, convicted, and removed from office. (1)

And Eric Holder richly deserves it.

Footnote:
(1) Grant’s Secretary of War, William Belknap, was impeached, but he resigned and was never convicted.

RELATED: More at Hot Air, still more Hot Air, Matt Vespa, The Right Sphere, and Gateway Pundit.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


America’s #IRS: the true agent of voter suppression?

May 23, 2013

Democrats and their Leftist allies in the racial grievance industry have long claimed that efforts to require identification in order to vote, a measure meant to protect the integrity of elections, were really meant to suppress minority voters, even equating them with Jim Crow laws.

We all know this is noxious nonsense, of course, but what if there really was an effort to suppress a particular group’s votes, and what if that effort were carried out not by modern-day descendants of Bull Conner with whips and dogs, but by an arm of the US government using bureaucracy to discourage people from participating in the political process?

And what if it was the IRS?

NRO’s John Fund, who’s written extensively on election integrity matters, explains:

But it now turns out there may have suppression of the vote after all. “It looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told me. “Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.”

Indeed, several conservative groups I talked with said they were directly impacted by having their non-profit status delayed by either IRS inaction or burdensome and intrusive questioning. At least two donors told me they didn’t contribute to True the Vote, a group formed to combat voter fraud, because after three years of waiting the group still didn’t have its status granted at the time of the 2012 election. (While many of the targeted tea-party groups were seeking to become 501(c)(4)s, donations to which are not tax-deductible, True the Vote sought to become a 501(c)(3).) This week, True the Vote sued the IRS in federal court, asking a judge to enjoin the agency from targeting anyone in the future.

Cleta Mitchell, True the Vote’s lawyer, says we’ll never know just how much political activity was curtailed by the IRS targeting. She has one client who wanted to promote reading of the Constitution, but who didn’t even hear back from the IRS for three years – until last Monday, when the IRS informed this client that some questions would be sent.

“I was about to file with the IRS when other tea-party groups started to get harassed,” Pennsylvania activist Jennifer Stefano told Time magazine. “I remember checking with the IRS to see if they wanted the group [Facebook] page or my personal page, and they said ‘All of it.’”

Even if this wasn’t enough to throw the 2012 election Obama’s way (although White voter turnout was way down from 2008 to 2012), Fund makes it clear that many activist groups had their efforts hampered, some to the point of giving up altogether, by the IRS harassment. And the effect of that on get-out-the-vote and voter-education efforts could be substantial.

It’s one of the issues Congress has to address while dealing with this scandal: in addition to targeting Americans for holding “unapproved” political opinions and trampling on their rights of free speech, the IRS’ actions threaten public confidence in the integrity of our elections, themselves.

It’s the Chicago Way taken nationwide.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#WarOnJournalism: Who’s been snooping in Sharyl Attkisson’s computers?

May 21, 2013

Hmmm… Maybe FOX’s James Rosen and the AP aren’t the only targets of the White House’s ire? Here’s a radio interview CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson did with WPHT’s Chris Stigall in which she mentions unknown parties have accessed her home and work computers since February, 2011:

You’ll recall that both my blog-buddy ST and I have mentioned Attkisson several times on our blogs for being one of the few remaining MSM reporters actually willing to hold the administration to account for their actions, Fast & Furious and Benghazi being the most notable. She so got under their skin that, as Allahpundit reminds us, a DoJ official screamed and cursed at her over the phone. Attkisson herself has recently said that she has been shut out by her White House sources. There have been rumors (1) that David Rhodes, president of CBS News  and brother of Ben Rhodes, a would-be fiction writer and now an Obama national security deeply involved in Benghazi, might fire Attkisson for being too aggressive in her coverage of the White House… where his brother works.

Keep in mind that the DoJ got access to James Rosen’s GMail account by affirming to a judge that they believed he was engaged in a criminal conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act, and then got a court order forbidding Google from telling Rosen of the access. And now we hear that somebody has been accessing Attkisson’s computers.

What was going on in February 2011? The Fast and Furious scandal, having been rumored for months, was finally breaking into the mainstream news, and Attkisson was filing stories that weren’t settling for administration spin.

And about that same time, she gets hacked.

What. A. Coincidence.

Footnote:
(1) Attkisson has said there has been no pressure from any CBS News executive regarding her Benghazi reporting.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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