To deal with #Obamacare, school district cuts employee hours

May 31, 2013
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we won the election! Obama!!”

A little Blue on Blue action for your Friday, as one liberal constituency, school district employees, feels the pain to satisfy the demands of another, the “free healthcare and unicorns for everyone” crowd.

Elections. They have consequences:

1 [sic] of Indiana’s largest school districts is cutting the hours of 610 part-time teaching aides and cafeteria workers to save money and to avoid providing them health insurance under the federal health care overhaul.

Fort Wayne Community Schools Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend says it’s cutting their hours from 30 to 25 each week beginning June 3 because insurance would have cost $10 million. Beginning in January, large employers must offer health insurance to those who work at least 30 hours per week.

Friend told The Journal Gazette for a story Monday the insurance matter is “something that almost all employers with part-time employees are trying to resolve.”

And I don’t blame the school district one bit. They have a certain amount of dollars to work with each year, but their costs are going to go up tremendously in 2014 if they don’t make changes. Labor is another cost, so there’s a logical place to make cuts. Sadly, it looks like those targeted are also those who already make the least.

Once again, the progressive failure to understand basic economics and human nature winds up hurting those they claim they want to help.

via Conservative Intelligence Briefing

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


John Fund on “Obama’s Chicago Way”

May 30, 2013

An interesting –and frustrating– article by John Fund today about how the roiling scandals of the Obama administration are finally beginning to convince journalists that, instead of a Unicorn Prince who would deliver us all to an age of enlightened progressivism that actually worked, what we got (and they moved heaven and earth to elect) was a national version of the Chicago machine:

The scandals swirling around the Obama administration have many journalists scratching their heads as to how “hope and change” seem to have been supplanted by “arrogance and fear.” Perhaps it’s time they revisit one of their original premises about Barack Obama: that he wasn’t influenced by the Chicago Daley machine. You know: the machine that boosted his career and whose protégés — including Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and his wife, Michelle — he brought to Washington with him.

The liberal take on the president was best summed up by Slate magazine’s Jacob Weisberg, who wrote last year that Obama “somehow passed through Chicago politics without ever developing any real connection to it.” It’s true that Obama initially kept some distance from the machine. But by the time he ran for the Senate in 2004, his main political Sherpas were Axelrod, who was then the chief consultant to Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Jarrett, the mayor’s former deputy chief of staff. As Scott Simon of NPR noted: “While calling for historic change globally, [Obama] has never professed to be a reformer locally.” The Daley machine, which evolved over 60 years from a patronage-rich army of worker bees into a corporate state in which political pull and public-employee unions dominate, has left its imprint on Obama. The machine’s core principle, laid out in an illuminating Chicago Independent Examiner primer on “the Chicago Way,” is that at all times elections are too important to be left to chance. John Kass, the muckraking columnist for the Chicago Tribune who for years has warned that Obama was bringing “the Chicago way” to Washington, sums up his city like this: “Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses. And shopkeepers still keep their mouths shut. Tavern owners still keep their mouths shut. Even billionaires keep their mouths shut.”

“We have a sick political culture, and that’s the environment Barack Obama came from,” Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, warned ABC News when Obama ran in 2008. He noted that Obama had “been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state.”

Part of the frustration I mentioned is that so many tried to tell the press that this guy could not have arisen from Chicago’s corrupt political culture without being dirtied himself by it — indeed, becoming part of it. Fund quotes several, and I’d add to that Michelle Malkin who, I think, coined “Chicago on the Potomac” to describe the Obama administration, and David Freddoso, whose “The Case Against Barack Obama” accurately laid out in 2008 what we’re now seeing take place under the bright lights of the national stage…. but too few paid any attention.

Where I think Fund, or, more accurately, journalist Chris Robling, whom he quotes, is off the track a bit is where we see this:

“Obama’s ideology may come from Saul Alinsky’s acolytes, but his political tactics come straight from the Daley playbook.”

…as if they’re separate streams. Actually, it’s more like they sprang from the same poisoned well; Daley and Alinsky may share the same political tactics, but Alinsky added the leftism, putting the urge to power at the service of an ideology. There’s a good article at Breitbart, “The Community Organizer in Chief, Part One: The Alinsky Ethics.” Worth reading for its own sake, Lee Stranahan quotes this gem from Alinsky’s Playboy interview:

Alinsky then goes on to boast about his association with the Chicago Mob, including Al Capone and Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, who Alinsky says he called “The Professor.” Alisnky approached the criminals under the guise of doing student research. Nitti and the other mobsters not only accepted Alisnky but actually revealed everything about their operation to him. This included extortion and murder. 

“PLAYBOY: Didn’t you have any compunction about consorting with — if not actually assisting — murderers?

ALINSKY: None at all, since there was nothing I could do to stop them from murdering, practically all of which was done inside the family. I was a nonparticipating observer in their professional activities, although I joined their social life of food, drink and women: Boy, I sure participated in that side of things — it was heaven. “

Now there’s a moral precept for you; when there are no men, be thou an observer who shares food, drink and women. 

Alinsky continues:

“And let me tell you something, I learned a hell of a lot about the uses and abuses of power from the Mob, lessons that stood me in good stead later on, when I was organizing.”

So is revealed the real face of Community Organizing for you: the ethics of Al Capone.

The ethics of Al Capone (just under a more respectable guise with the Daleys) blended with Alinskyite Socialism and taken to Washington, D.C.

Obama’s “Chicago Way.”


[Jihad] Memorial Day weekend and the anniversary of a great defeat

May 29, 2013

(Note: this is a reposting of something I first wrote a couple of years ago. Though the Memorial Day weekend is now past, I still think it fitting.)

Memorial Day is a holiday set aside for Americans to honor our servicemen past and present and to remember, if even for a moment, those who gave what Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion.” But this weekend also reminds us of another war, one far older than the United States, and yet hasn’t ended.

Some people call our current struggle with jihadist Islam “The Long War,” meaning that this fight is expected to go on for years, if not generations.

But it’s a long war in another sense, too, because we of the West been fighting it, through periods active and quiet, since Muhammad first declared as Allah’s command:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Today marks an anniversary in that nearly 1400-years long struggle, the Fall of Constantinople and the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire:

“Siege of Constantinople,”Jean Chartier c.1475

From Constantinople, the Turks, who had taken the Arabs’ place as leaders of the jihad, would march on into Central Europe, conquering the Balkans and twice besieging magnificent Vienna. This last great surge was stopped at the gates of the city in 1683; after that, Islam went into a long period of quiet that gradually ended in the final decades of the 20th century, until the jihad resumed amidst fire and terror on September 11th, 2001. Where once stood Franks and Greeks and Austrians and Spaniards and Italians, now there stands… us.

Is there a grand lesson in all this? I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that people who think this “long war” will end quickly and easily, even by simply declaring it over, are only fooling themselves. As long as there remains in Islam a compulsion to fight everyone else until they submit:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.

…this war will go on.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Michele Bachmann retires – updated

May 29, 2013

Well, this is interesting:

Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, a conservative Republican who ran for president last year, made a surprise announcement Wednesday and said she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress.

The Minnesota congresswoman was facing inquiries into her presidential campaign and a potential rematch with Democrat Jim Graves, a wealthy hotel executive who came within about 4,300 votes of defeating her in November.

“My decision was not influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann added, “This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign.” In January, a former Bachmann aide filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming Bachmann made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her 2012 presidential run. The aide, Peter Waldron, also accused Bachmann of other FEC violations.

Color me a bit skeptical regarding those denials: a Tea Party conservative running in purple Minnesota was always going to have a hard time, and maybe she saw that the allegations against her would give her opponent, who ran a strong race last time, enough of a club (1) to beat her next time. Not running will almost surely hand the seat to the Democrats, however.

Steve Greene wonders if she’s clearing the decks for a Senate run. I have my doubts (statewide would be even harder for her than winning her district), but, if she does, there’s no doubt she’ll make it interesting.

UPDATE: I largely agree with this analysis by National Journal’s Reid Wilson (h/t Jim Geraghty):

Bachmann’s political career trumped her legislative career. While she became a heroine to many Tea Party activists, raising more money than almost any other member of the House of Representatives during her last election cycle, she held little sway in Washington beyond a tiny cohort of friends and allies and she passed no significant legislation during her time in Washington. Most Tea Party conservatives are closer to Jordan, or the leadership structure of the Republican Study Committee.

And while Bachmann remained the poster child for the Tea Party label, especially to liberal media outlets in search of a boogeyman, other more conservative members have risen to greater prominence, in both the House and Senate.

Her political troubles made her one of the few members of Congress who would be more difficult for her party to defend than an open seat would be. That is, Republicans would rather run a fresh candidate without Bachmann’s baggage than try to defend her suburban Twin Cities district. In 2012, Mitt Romney took 56.5 percent of the vote in Bachmann’s district; Bachmann eked out a win over Democrat Jim Graves by just 1.2 percentage points, or about 4,300 votes.

Bachmann may have been the loudest member of the class of 2006, the one who inspired the most heated arguments. But she will hardly be the most consequential; her enduring legacy may be the lessons she taught in how to lose friends and become completely uninfluential.

With her exit, Democrats lose a potent fundraising tool. Republicans lose a headache they would just as soon do without.

Power Line is more charitable toward her.

Footnote:
(1) Not to mention her bizarre assertions about Gardasil. That caused me to seriously reconsider her candidacy in 2012, and not in a good way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gee, the #IRS Director was awfully popular at the Obama White House

May 28, 2013

Especially starting in 2010, when the IRS began targeting conservative groups:

The Washington Examiner reported on Monday that Mark Everson, Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 2003 to 2007, during the Bush administration, visited the White House exactly once while in office. Indeed he felt like he’d “moved to Siberia” so out of the ordinary political loop was he. But Douglas Shulman, Commissioner from 2008 to 2012, during the Obama administration, visited the White House 118 times just in 2010 and 2011. His successor, Steven Miller, also visited “numerous” times.

I doubt even the Secretary of State saw Obama that often.

The question is why Shulman was there so often. John Steele Gordon notes that some visits covered implementation of the IRS role in enforcing Obamacare, but most had no purpose listed in the visitor logs.  Were they discussing revenue collection? Playing basketball? Toking some choom? We don’t know.

And that silence speaks loudly, given the timing of the increase in visits by Shulman, the fact that the harassment began the day after the anti-Tea Party Treasury employees union chief visited the White House,  and the massive anti-tax, anti-Obamacare Tea Party protests that were taking place in Washington at the same time.

Quite a coincidence, no?

I suppose Shulman could be brought back before Issa’s committee to explain what these mysterious meetings were about, but, poor man, he seems to be as clueless as his boss about how this all happened.

Must be all the choom they smoked together.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Uh oh, the Met Office has set the cat amongst the pigeons

May 27, 2013

Well, well, well. Follow the link from WUWT back to Bishop Hill; it seems the Met Office, the UK’s official weather and climate forecaster and a temple in the cult of global warming, has just admitted that its claim of statistically significant temperature increase (i.e., that which can only be explained by anthropogenic causes) cannot be supported. That’s like knocking the foundation stone out from under the entire edifice.

Watts Up With That?

Excerpt from Bishop Hill (plus a cartoon from Josh) showing that the claim of a statistically significant temperature rise can’t be supported, and the Met office is ducking parliamentary questions: (h/t Randy Hughes)

Met Office admits claims of significant temperature rise untenable

This is a guest post by Doug Keenan.

It has been widely claimed that the increase in global temperatures since the late 1800s is too large to be reasonably attributed to natural random variation. Moreover, that claim is arguably the biggest reason for concern about global warming. The basis for the claim has recently been discussed in the UK Parliament. It turns out that the claim has no basis, and scientists at the Met Office have been trying to cover that up.

View original post 160 more words


Shocking? Insider trading on #Obamacare, facilitated by the White House?

May 27, 2013

I use the question mark because, at this point, after stomping on freedom of speech in the IRS scandal and the utter cynicism behind the Benghazi cover-up, I’m not so sure I’d really be shocked by plain-old cronyism. In fact, a little workaday graft might be refreshing.

Time to call the SEC?

Wall Street investors hungry for advance information on upcoming federal health-care decisions repeatedly held private discussions with Obama administration officials, including a top White House adviser helping to implement the Affordable Care Act.

The private conversations show that the increasingly urgent race to acquire“political intelligence” goes beyond the communications with congressional staffers that have become the focus of heightened scrutiny in recent weeks.

White House records show that Elizabeth Fowler, then a top ­health-policy adviser to President Obama, met with executives from half a dozen investment firms in 2011 and 2012. Among them was Kris Jenner, a stock picker with T. Rowe Price Investment Services who managed its $6 billion Health Sciences Fund.

Separately, an officialin the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid spoke in December with managers of hedge funds, pension plans and mutual funds in a conference call. The official, Andrew Shin, was pressed during the 50-minute call for information about upcoming Medicare decisions but declined to discuss matters still under agency review, according to people familiar with the call.

That call and the White House meetings Fowler attended were arranged by political-intelligence firms, an expanding class of consultants in Washington that specialize in providing government information to Wall Street.

But they deny anything hinky or downright corrupt went on. So there. That’s settled. And, besides, they don’t remember.

But didn’t Obama say something about “punishing our enemies and rewarding our friends?”

Sounds like this might be “part B.”  smiley thinking

(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)


Irony Alert: Barack Obama, world’s greatest gun salesman

May 25, 2013

Per Bob Owens, the effect Obama and the progressive agenda has had on firearms sales has been nothing short of phenomenal:

The United States is the most heavily armed nation in world history, and it seems we have President Barack Obama to thank for it.

Before you ask: we’re not talking about the U.S. military, we’re talking about the firearms owned by the general population. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) estimates that there are roughly 300 million firearms in the United States — and of those, nearly 40 million new firearms have been sold just since Barack Obama came into office in 2009.

This is a staggering jump of more than 15 percent in just over four years, in a nation 237 years old.

Other estimates put the number of firearms in this nation much higher, such as the 310 million figure cited by the Congressional Research Service. An estimated 10 million firearms now enter the domestic market each year, and the majority of them are semi-automatics designed for personal defense.

To put these forty million new guns sold (along with up to 30 million used guns sold) in just over four years into context: the M1 Garand — the primary rifle of the U.S. military through the full mobilization of the country during World War II and the Korean War — saw just 6.25 million produced in its 21-year production run from 1936-1957.

Under Obama, Americans have purchased nearly seven times that number of new firearms — in just over four years.

There’s more: the numbers on ammunition sales are simply stunning. It seems people are stockpiling in fear of a ban.

The next time the firearms industry has their national convention, they should name Obama “salesman of the year.” smiley thumbs up

(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)


#IRS scandal: Rogue agents in Cincinatti apparently not so rogue

May 22, 2013

It’s kind of hard to “go rogue” when you’re only doing what your superiors in Washington, D.C., are telling you to do:

From the outset, Internal Revenue Service lawyers based in Washington, D.C., provided important guidance on the handling of tea-party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status, according to both IRS sources and the inspector general’s report released in mid May.

Officials in the Technical Unit of the IRS’s Rulings and Agreements office played an integral role in determining how the targeted applications were treated, provided general guidelines to Cincinnati case workers, briefed other agency employees on the status of the special cases, and reviewed all those intrusive requests demanding “more information” from tea-party groups. At times, the Technical Unit lawyers seemed to exercise tight control over these applications, creating both a backlog in application processing and frustration among Cincinnati agents waiting for direction.

An IRS employee who asked not to be identified tells National Review Online that all members of the agency’s Technical Unit are based in Washington, D.C. A current list of Technical Unit managers provided by another IRS employee shows that all such managers are based at the agency’s headquarters on Constitution Avenue in the District of Columbia, and the IRS confirmed, in a testy exchange with National Review Online, that the Technical Unit is “based in Washington.”

It seems that this Washington-based unit (1) exercised very tight control over those “rogue” agents, demanding to review the letters requesting additional information before they were sent out:

The IG report indicates this became a source of frustration, and specialists in Cincinnati pressed for a streamlined approach. “Why does the Technical Unit need to review every additional information request letter when a template letter could be approved and used on all the cases?” they asked via e-mail. The Washington unit rejected this approach and, in February 2011, was developing individualized letters itself. According to the IG report, an update from the Technical Unit acting manager to the Determinations Unit manager indicated, “Letters were being developed and would be reviewed shortly.”

We now know that such letters asked for lists of groups’ reading materials and volunteers, copies of fliers, and printouts of Facebook pages.

In other words, these “rogue agents” had leashes on them that stretched all the way from Cincinnati to the District of Columbia. If you ran a Tea Party group and wanted 501(c) status, those annoying questions about your personal life  and the lives of your friends, relatives, and members, and the infuriating delays they caused, weren’t coming from flunkies in Ohio, but high-powered lawyers back at the home office.

By the way, who gave those lawyers their direction? Note the date at the start of Eliana Johnson’s article: March, 2010, which just happens to be the time when the very anti-Tea Party head of the Treasury employees union, which covers IRS employees, was meeting with President Obama, who was looking ahead to crucial midterm elections.

And, just like that, the Technical Unit in D.C. all but formally takes over the applications from conservative groups.

Odd coincidence, that.

via Jim Geraghty.

RELATED: Channel 19 in Cincinnati has a good report on those rogue front-line agents and their chain of command, and who the manager is who ties them all together.

Footnote:
(1) Funny. I never knew Washington was a suburb of Cincinnati.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Stunning ignorance on display from Senator Barbara Boxer over Oklahoma tornado outbreak

May 21, 2013

“Stunning ignorance” and “Barbara Boxer” are, of course, redundant. She really is dumber than a box of rocks. And what an embarrassment for California… that we keep inflicting on ourselves. :/

Watts Up With That?

Via POLITICO’s Morning Energy – May 21, 2013:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif. – Chair of Senate Environment & Public Works Committee) took to the Senate floor and invoked the Oklahoma tornadoes in her speech on global warming.

“This is climate change. We were warned about extreme weather. Not just hot weather. But extreme weather. When I had my hearings, when I had the gavel years ago. -It’s been a while – the scientists all agreed that what we’d start to see was extreme weather. And people looked at one another and said ‘what do you mean? It’s gonna get hot?’ Yeah, it’s gonna get hot. But you’re also going to see snow in the summer in some places. You’re gonna have terrible storms. You’re going to have tornados and all the rest. We need to protect our people. That’s our number one obligation and we have to deal with…

View original post 658 more words


Nothing to see here, move along: #IRS official to plead the 5th over targeting scandal

May 21, 2013

But, really, this is all just some wingnut fantasy aiming to destroy the fourth-greatest president ever.

Which is why Lois Lerner is invoking her right not to incriminate herself:

A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.

Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.

“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif. The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.

Taylor, a criminal defense attorney from the Washington firm of Zuckerman Spaeder, said that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation, and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided “false or misleading information” to the committee four times last year.

You see? Just a bunch of nothing. In fact, all these questions about all these cooked-up “scandals” are nothing more than the new birtherism.

Between this and Roger Simon teasing us with the prospect of new Benghazi whistleblowers, I may have to double my reserves of popcorn for all the hearings.

via a gazillion people on Twitter

(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)


#IRS scandal: Obama met with Treasury union chief the day before the targeting began

May 20, 2013

It could be a coincidence: a meeting between a very union-friendly president and the head of the union that includes IRS employees, a union described as very “anti-Tea Party,” and then the very next day the IRS begins targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups, stalling their applications for non-profit status:

According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st.

The White House lists the IRS union leader’s visit this way:

“Kelley, Colleen Potus 03/31/2010 12:30”

In White House language, “POTUS” stands for “President of the United States.”

The very next day after her White House meeting with the President, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s Report, IRS employees — the same employees who belong to the NTEU — set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America. The IG report wrote it up this way:

“April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.”

In short: the very day after the president of the quite publicly anti-Tea Party labor union — the union for IRS employees — met with President Obama, the manager of the IRS “Determinations Unit Program agreed” to open a “Sensitive Case report on the Tea party cases.” As stated by the IG report.

I’m not yet ready to call this a “smoking gun,” but I do think Ms. Kelley should be hauled before the Ways and Means committee and made to answer some very pointed questions about their conversation and just what, if any, instructions or “encouragements” were given to her union members.

But I’m sure this is all one big coincidence.

via Jim Hoft.

RELATED: John Fund on “Three signs there’s a cover-up.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


New administration defense on #Benghazi: “We’re not evil, just idiots.”

May 17, 2013
US Consulate, Benghazi

“Oops! Our bad.”

You know it’s bad when pleading stupidity is the best you can come up with.

Via Sharyl Attkisson at CBS:

Obama administration officials who were in key positions on Sept. 11, 2012 acknowledge that a range of mistakes were made the night of the attacks on the U.S. missions in Benghazi, and in messaging to Congress and the public in the aftermath.

The officials spoke to CBS News in a series of interviews and communications under the condition of anonymity so that they could be more frank in their assessments. They do not all agree on the list of mistakes and it’s important to note that they universally claim that any errors or missteps did not cost lives and reflect “incompetence rather than malice or cover up.” Nonetheless, in the eight months since the attacks, this is the most sweeping and detailed discussion by key players of what might have been done differently.

“We’re portrayed by Republicans as either being lying or idiots,” said one Obama administration official who was part of the Benghazi response. “It’s actually closer to us being idiots.”

My first observation is that “lying” and “idiots” are not mutually exclusive terms. In fact I suspect the former came about trying to cover for the latter.

The article addresses several questions, among them: Why wasn’t the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) activated? Why was the Counterterrorism Security Group, described as…

an interagency task force (…) to be convened when emergency terrorist events are suspected. According to a public military document, it’s part of a plan to “synchronize the efforts of all the government agencies that have a role to play in the Global War on Terrorism.” 

…not convened? Where was the “in extremis” (emergency rescue) force?

The answers are, well, “special.” Things along the lines of (paraphrasing) “we didn’t think that was their mission” (FEST); they had been made “lower level” (CSG) and senior people were dealing with it; and “they were off on a training mission (because we didn’t notice the significance of the 9/11 anniversary) and they couldn’t be recalled in time.” Like I said, pleading incompetence.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth your time. You’ll notice that not really touched on is the issue of security for Benghazi prior to the attack on the consulate. I suppose they got tired of saying “We’re idiots” over and over.

Like I said above, one can be both a liar and incompetent at the same time, when the lying is used to cover the incompetence, particularly Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s; she had screwed up our Libya policy big-time, and the commander in chief needed his beauty sleep to be ready for his big fundraiser in Vegas the next day. These underlings weren’t just furiously trading emails and holding meetings to fight a blame war between State and the CIA, they were figuring out how best to cover their bosses’ arses and not damage his reelection campaign and her 2016 run.

And, in the process, lying to the American people, Congress, and the families of the victims.

There is “malicious”, and there is “idiot.”

And then there are “malicious idiots.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS scandal: Democrats make clear where they stand on the 1st Amendment

May 16, 2013

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a resolution condemning the Internal Revenue Service for trampling the Constitutional rights of Americans. (For example) It didn’t get very far:

Today, Senate Democrats placed a hold on Sen. Rand Paul’s recent resolution that condemns the targeting of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and calls for an investigation into this practice.

“This resolution is not about Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It is about arrogant and unrestrained government vs. the rule of law. The First Amendment cannot and should not be renegotiated depending on which party holds power,” Sen. Paul said. “Each senator took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet Senate Democrats chose to block my resolution and thus refused to condemn the IRS for trampling on our First Amendment rights. I am incredibly disappointed in Washington’s party politics and I am determined to hold the IRS accountable for these unjust acts.”

I’m not sure why anyone would find this surprising: as the party of arrogant, unrestrained government, the leaders of which think the Constitution is obsolete, well, of course they would shoot this resolution down.

It threatens their very reason for existence, after all.

via Stephen Green.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)