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Old 05-17-2013, 12:17 PM  
petegz28 petegz28 is online now
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This Is No Ordinary Scandal

We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they're seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration's credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don't look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone.

Something big has shifted. The standing of the administration has changed.

As always it comes down to trust. Do you trust the president's answers when he's pressed on an uncomfortable story? Do you trust his people to be sober and fair-minded as they go about their work? Do you trust the IRS and the Justice Department? You do not.

The president, as usual, acts as if all of this is totally unconnected to him. He's shocked, it's unacceptable, he'll get to the bottom of it. He read about it in the papers, just like you.

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

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

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

In order to suppress conservative groups—at first those with words like "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in their names, then including those that opposed ObamaCare or advanced the second amendment—the IRS demanded donor rolls, membership lists, data on all contributions, names of volunteers, the contents of all speeches made by members, Facebook FB +0.65% posts, minutes of all meetings, and copies of all materials handed out at gatherings. Among its questions: What are you thinking about? Did you ever think of running for office? Do you ever contact political figures? What are you reading? One group sent what it was reading: the U.S. Constitution.

The second part of the scandal is the auditing of political activists who have opposed the administration. The Journal's Kim Strassel reported an Idaho businessman named Frank VanderSloot, who'd donated more than a million dollars to groups supporting Mitt Romney. He found himself last June, for the first time in 30 years, the target of IRS auditors. His wife and his business were also soon audited. Hal Scherz, a Georgia physician, also came to the government's attention. He told ABC News: "It is odd that nothing changed on my tax return and I was never audited until I publicly criticized ObamaCare." Franklin Graham, son of Billy, told Politico he believes his father was targeted. A conservative Catholic academic who has written for these pages faced questions about her meager freelance writing income. Many of these stories will come out, but not as many as there are. People are not only afraid of being audited, they're afraid of saying they were audited.

All of these IRS actions took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. They constitute the use of governmental power to intrude on the privacy and shackle the political freedom of American citizens. The purpose, obviously, was to overwhelm and intimidate—to kill the opposition, question by question and audit by audit.

It is not even remotely possible that all this was an accident, a mistake. Again, only conservative groups were targeted, not liberal. It is not even remotely possible that only one IRS office was involved. Lois Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the IRS, was the person who finally acknowledged, under pressure of a looming investigative report, some of what the IRS was doing. She told reporters the actions were the work of "frontline people" in Cincinnati. But other offices were involved, including Washington. It is not even remotely possible the actions were the work of just a few agents. This was more systemic. It was an operation. The word was out: Get the Democratic Party's foes. It is not remotely possible nobody in the IRS knew what was going on until very recently. The Washington Post reported efforts to target the conservative groups reached the highest levels of the agency by May 2012—far earlier than the agency had acknowledged. Reuters reported high-level IRS officials, including its chief counsel, knew in August 2011 about the targeting.

The White House is reported to be shellshocked at public reaction to the scandal. But why? Were they so high-handed, so essentially ignorant, that they didn't understand what it would mean to the American people when their IRS—the revenue-collecting arm of the U.S. government—is revealed as a low, ugly and bullying tool of the reigning powers? If they didn't know how Americans would react to that, what did they know? I mean beyond Harvey Weinstein's cellphone number.

And why—in the matters of the Associated Press and Benghazi too—does no one in this administration ever take responsibility? Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't know what happened, exactly who did what. The president speaks in the passive voice. He attempts to act out indignation, but he always seems indignant at only one thing: that he's being questioned at all. That he has to address this. That fate put it on his plate.

We all have our biases. Mine is for a federal government that, for all the partisan shootouts on the streets of Washington, is allowed to go about its work. That it not be distracted by scandal, that political disagreement be, in the end, subsumed to the common good. It is a dangerous world: Calculating people wish to do us harm. In this world no draining, unproductive scandals should dominate the government's life. Independent counsels should not often come in and distract the U.S. government from its essential business.

But that bias does not fit these circumstances.

What happened at the IRS is the government's essential business. The IRS case deserves and calls out for an independent counsel, fully armed with all that position's powers. Only then will stables that badly need to be cleaned, be cleaned. Everyone involved in this abuse of power should pay a price, because if they don't, the politicization of the IRS will continue—forever. If it is not stopped now, it will never stop. And if it isn't stopped, no one will ever respect or have even minimal faith in the revenue-gathering arm of the U.S. government again.

And it would be shameful and shallow for any Republican operative or operator to make this scandal into a commercial and turn it into a mere partisan arguing point and part of the game. It's not part of the game. This is not about the usual partisan slugfest. This is about the integrity of our system of government and our ability to trust, which is to say our ability to function.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...479247792.html
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:35 PM   #16
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Clint Eastwood had one empty chair for his soliloquy during the 2012 presidential campaign - Today it seems the entire deck of Obama lieutenants is of empty chairs vacated by empty suits going back to the 2008 presidential election.
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:35 PM   #17
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:19 PM   #18
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You're right. It is a completly meaningless, nonexistent "scandal".


Oh and

Pete thread is pete thread.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:25 PM   #19
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You're right. It is a completly meaningless, nonexistent "scandal".


Oh and

Pete thread is pete thread.
I see you made bail/// convict
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:39 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
The White House is reported to be shellshocked at public reaction to the scandal. But why? Were they so high-handed, so essentially ignorant, that they didn't understand what it would mean to the American people when their IRS—the revenue-collecting arm of the U.S. government—is revealed as a low, ugly and bullying tool of the reigning powers? If they didn't know how Americans would react to that, what did they know? I mean beyond Harvey Weinstein's cellphone number.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...479247792.html
On Benghazi:
One begs to ask why on May 3 the FBI released images of three men the bureau is seeking for information linked to the Benghazi terror attack.

Firstly, the JSOC, the French Special Forces and SRR unit of the British Armed Forces could have identified the photo of the veteran Islamic militant on the left. He resembles the military commander in one of the most radical branches of Al Qaeda.

Secondly, the Islamic militants are watching this unseemly spectacle with morbid bemusement.

Quote:
The FBI is now asking Libyans and people around the world for additional information related to the attacks, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

We are seeking information about three individuals who were on the grounds of the U.S. Special Mission when it was attacked. These individuals may be able to provide information to help in the investigation.

We need your help to solve this crime. If you have any information, text or e-mail BenghaziTips@ic.fbi.gov or submit information confidentially.
Images: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/fbi-se...ry?id=19084636



Yeah right, someone from Libya or Mali is going to contact the FBI and identify one of the most feared Islamic militant group's leader in the world.

Roll your eyes as hard as you can and move along, nothing to see here - more White House spin
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:52 PM   #21
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Weird parallel. But isn't this pretty much Scott mother****ing Pioli on a political stage?

The media sucked up to the Chiefs. Every story was a fluff piece. Defensive of the Chiefs. And then Pioli waged war against the media. Treated them like garbage.

Wonder if Obama did the same. If he left everything alone, the media would have covered up for him. He woke up a sleeping beast. I don't think any single person in the media is going to take the AP stalking charge lightly.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:54 PM   #22
petegz28 petegz28 is online now
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Weird parallel. But isn't this pretty much Scott mother****ing ***** on a political stage?

The media sucked up to the Chiefs. Every story was a fluff piece. Defensive of the Chiefs. And then ***** waged war against the media. Treated them like garbage.

Wonder if Obama did the same. If he left everything alone, the media would have covered up for him. He woke up a sleeping beast. I don't think any single person in the media is going to take the AP stalking charge lightly.
Obama ****ed up so bad that now the Dems are bailing on him out of self preservation. They know if they don't come out against this shit their goose will be surely be cooked next year and probably in 2016 as well.
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:42 AM   #23
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This administration has been on a big time losing streak ever since they tried to bully Bob Woodward (which now seems like a minor issue).

But, that event showed their massive arrogance. Woodward started comparing Obama to Nixon, and he's now looking prophetic.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:29 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Weird parallel. But isn't this pretty much Scott mother****ing ***** on a political stage?

The media sucked up to the Chiefs. Every story was a fluff piece. Defensive of the Chiefs. And then ***** waged war against the media. Treated them like garbage.

Wonder if Obama did the same. If he left everything alone, the media would have covered up for him. He woke up a sleeping beast. I don't think any single person in the media is going to take the AP stalking charge lightly.
But if we try to fly a banner over the WH, the plane will get shot down...
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:34 AM   #25
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Everyone be prepared for the admin to say that, while technically they may have not said things as "fully" as the politically-motivated GOP wants, but that nothing illegal happened and it wasn't their intent to mislead. And that they will get to the bottom of it. And that it is Bush's fault. And that the GOP is getting in the way of the people's business.

Also, the media will move on from this and claim the GOP is "overplaying" any misdeeds.

You saw it happen with Jay Carney who can't bring himself to admit he lied and the IRS commissioner today saying he told the truth. No one outside of the right will call them on it and Obama will eventually turn this into a marginalized, partisan witch hunt.

This is the horribly dangerous result of a president having almost absolute control over the media.

Right now, the mainstream media realizes they have to serve as a relief valve, and report on these scandals as the public threatens to boil over with anger at the administration. Eventually, as things cool off they will begin to trivialize the scandals rather than pursue them, and exaggerate other minor stories to take the crowd's minds off of them entirely.

If it was a Republican president, they would already be crying for impeachment proceedings, and we would have a full blown Nixonian crisis underway.

Right now an incident in which the IRS brownshirts were bullying and intimidating Hussein's political enemies is being quietly swept under the rug.

Someday, the same averting of the eyes will take place as the enemies are marched off to the internment camps...
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:05 AM   #26
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You're right. It is a completly meaningless,
Would it be more meaningful if the Obama administration knew?
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The Internal Revenue Service's watchdog told top Treasury officials around June 2012 he was investigating allegations the tax agency had targeted conservative groups, for the first time indicating that Obama administration officials were aware of the explosive matter in the midst of the president's re-election campaign.

An IRS watchdog says he informed Obama administration officials last June that a probe was underway over the agency’s targeting of conservative groups. Damian Paletta reports. Photo: Getty Images.

The disclosure to the Treasury general counsel and the deputy secretary was a cursory one, according to J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. He said he didn't reveal conclusions of the probe, which was in its early stages, and his disclosure came as part of a routine update to Treasury leaders. At the time, Republican lawmakers were complaining publicly about alleged IRS targeting of tea-party groups.

The revelation nonetheless raised a fresh set of questions about who was aware of the problem within the Obama administration. It was one of several new details that emerged during a contentious four-hour House committee hearing Friday, held one week after an IRS official revealed at a legal conference that the agency had taken "absolutely inappropriate" actions in targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for often heavy-handed scrutiny.

Among other disclosures: The conference revelation was itself stage-managed. Ousted IRS acting Commissioner Steven Miller testified he planned it with the director of the division in question. Republican lawmakers expressed amazement that IRS officials didn't tell them first.

The hearing left numerous other fundamental questions unanswered, however, including who ordered the targeting and why it continued so long, pointing to a protracted investigation ahead. Mr. Miller conceded the agency likely disciplined the wrong employee in one effort to address the problem. Another was reassigned in the agency's Cincinnati office, but he couldn't provide the employee's name.

Following the hearing, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.), who led the proceedings, expressed frustration and left open the possibility of issuing subpoenas to the IRS. "I think the most interesting revelation was the overall arrogance of the IRS and the lack of information from somebody who was in charge," Mr. Camp said.

The Treasury Department, in a statement, confirmed officials were notified in June 2012 that an audit had begun. It added an underlined sentence, "Treasury strongly supports the independent oversight of its three Inspectors General, and it does not interfere in ongoing IG audits."

Treasury also said Neal Wolin, the deputy secretary, didn't notify anyone outside of Treasury that the audit was under way and that Mr. Wolin and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew "learned about [the inspector general's] findings when they were reported publicly last week." A White House aide said Friday that Treasury officials didn't share the information with White House officials.


House Republicans probe for political motivations behind the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups, saying lawmakers had been lied to and that there had been additional violations at the agency. John McKinnon reports on Lunch Break. Photo: AP.

White House officials say they learned about the targeting of conservative groups from the report, and not before. President Barack Obama on Thursday said, "I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press."

At the hearing, lawmakers of both parties expressed anger that IRS officials didn't reveal the problems to them in 2012. GOP lawmakers, after receiving complaints from tea-party groups about IRS scrutiny, asked then-commissioner Douglas Shulman about that in March 2012. He testified before the Ways and Means committee then that there was "absolutely no targeting," but he didn't correct his testimony after learning of the problems in May, according to congressional investigators. Mr. Shulman couldn't be reached for comment.

Several other IRS officials, including Mr. Miller, didn't disclose the problems to lawmakers in letters and testimony. Mr. Miller Friday cited the continuing inspector-general investigation, even though he obtained an internal IRS investigation in May 2012 that came to some of the same conclusions as the inspector general report.

"I was not going to go there because I did not have full possession of the facts, sir," Mr.


President Obama on what the White House knew about the Inspector General's report regarding IRS targeting of Tea Party groups and what actions he plans to take.

In sometimes combative testimony, Mr. Miller also took exception to the idea that the IRS had engaged in targeting conservative groups, pointing out that groups representing other ideologies also were caught up in the extra review.

The inspector general's report said that based on a statistical sample, "all cases with Tea Party, Patriots or 9/12 in their names were forwarded" for extra scrutiny. Many of the cases were delayed for years.

Lawmakers of both parties questioned his response.

"Throughout this time, the IRS leadership has demonstrated a total disregard for the oversight role of the Congress and this committee," said Rep. Sander Levin (D., Mich.), the committee's top Democrat. Mr. Shulman "had an obligation to return to this committee and set this record straight. So did Mr. Miller."

"How was that not misleading this committee?" said Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) to Mr. Miller. "How can we not conclude that you misled this committee?"

"I did not mislead the committee," Mr. Miller responded, adding later, "I answered the question truthfully."

Messrs. Miller and George, the inspector general, said so far they had discovered no evidence that the targeting was politically motivated, and Mr. Miller described it as a bungled way to try and screen applicants.

Later Friday, the woman who posed the question at a conference to IRS official Lois Lerner—the moment last week that first revealed the problems at the IRS—said Ms. Lerner planted the query. Washington lawyer Celia Roady said in a statement that Ms. Lerner provided her the question to ask. She added that Ms. Lerner "did not tell me, and I did not know, how she would answer the question."

The IRS didn't respond to requests for comment from Ms. Lerner, who runs the exempt-organizations unit at the agency.

Mr. Miller said the IRS, meanwhile, had "called to get on the calendar" to also brief the Ways and Means committee—a statement Republicans met with barely disguised disbelief.

Mr. Camp and other GOP lawmakers suggested a pattern of efforts to use the IRS to attack conservatives. Those include a White House official's discussion in mid-2010, during a briefing with reporters, of the purported tax-filing status of Koch Industries. Its owners are big donors to conservative causes. The tax-filing status of businesses is often confidential. The White House said in 2010 that the official's statement "was not based on any review of tax filings." It promised not to use the example in the future.

In an interview, Mr. Levin said the IG's report to Treasury officials constituted only "a brief reference," that he doubted was communicated up the chain.

—Peter Nicholas contributed to this article.
Write to John D. McKinnon at john.mckinnon@wsj.com, Siobhan Hughes at siobhan.hughes@dowjones.com and Damian Paletta at damian.paletta@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared May 18, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Higher-Ups Knew of IRS Case.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...LEFTTopStories
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:52 AM   #27
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This country is teetering on the edge of a hideous future.

Whether it's too late to save ourselves, only the next few years will tell.
Secession is the only solution.

And/or put prison walls around the perimeter of Washington DC--- which won't be that hard to do if you think about all the sound barrier walls that line the 495 bypass--- like in the movie Escape From NY.

You can install cameras and film it for pay per view. Let all the leeches who commute every day from Chevy Chase and the Alexandria burbs stay locked in, so they can get to know Holders People better, You know? Set an example for the rest of us.
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