Saturday, May 11, 2013

Budget figures challenge Dem claims about lack of funding for embassy security (Jan. 2013) ^ | January 24, 2013 | Staff

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly cited a supposed lack of funding for embassy security during testimony Wednesday on the Libya terror attack, opening the door for congressional Democrats to suggest stingy Republicans contributed to leaving the post in Benghazi vulnerable.

Democratic New York Rep. Eliot Engel claimed Congress "slashed" diplomatic security requests over the past two years.

Budget numbers, though, show the overall diplomatic security budget has ballooned over the past decade. While there were modest decreases in funding in recent years -- and Congress has approved less than was requested -- the overall security budget has more than doubled since fiscal 2004.

Still, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Charlene Lamb testified in October that the size of the attack -- and not the money -- was the issue.

Asked if there was any budget consideration that led her not to increase the security force, she said: "No."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Crazy things the IRS asked Tea Party groups!

 by Mary Katharine Ham

The Internal Revenue Service admitted Friday to improperly targeting conservative groups for aggressive applications processes for tax exempt status in 2012, using the terms “Tea Party” and “patriot” as flags. Here are some of the things they wanted to know about those groups.

1. We’re gonna need all your direct and indirect communication. “‘Direct and indirect communications’ is profoundly chilling of First Amendment rights, ” said David French, senior counsel for American Center for Law & Justice, which has been representing 27 conservative organizations met with IRS inquisitions. “It’s so vague as to be impossible to comply with.”
2. What do we need to know about your members? Nothing much. Just ALL THE THINGS!
3. Your present and past employees and their relationships, please.
4. No, family members of past and present board members and employees are not exempt, nor are their activities with other groups. Why do you ask?
5. If someone in this country’s free press has ever interacted with you in any way shape or form about your free speech activities, we’re going to need documentation of that.
6. By the way, all the insane, intrusive information we’re asking for is understood to be public once you’ve given it to us, so please include only the most flattering possible photos of your children and pets.
7. There are very specific requirements for completing and submitting this insane, intrusive information we’re asking for. Does it feel like you’re running hurdles yet, Lolo?
8. Don’t forget to read the continued very specific requirements for completing and submitting this insane, intrusive information.
9. If you do not comply with these very specific requirements for completing and submitting this insane, intrusive application, you will go directly back to Start, you will not pass Go, and let’s face it, we will probably collect $200.
10. Please predict the future reliably. Thank you for your time.
All of the examples above are taken from actual IRS correspondence received by ACLJ’s 27 clients. There were many versions of the in-depth questionnaire sent to different organizations, suggesting there was more than one agent or one office involved. Though IRS officials blamed “low-level” employees in the Cincinnati office, which is the central IRS office in charge of tax exemptions, French said the abuse was far more widespread. ACLJ’s clients dealt with inquiries from IRS offices from “coast to coast.” Of ACLJ’s 27 clients, 15 finally had their status approved after 6-7 months with legal help. There are 12 groups whose status remains in limbo.
Update: I meant to add that a 2011 letter from Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan laid out 16 areas of the Tea Party questionnaires that seemed to overreach. Here they are.

IRS Blames 'Low-Level' Employees for Targeting Conservative Groups!

Breitbart ^ | 5/13/13 | Tony Lee

On Friday, the IRS blamed "low-level" employees in its Cincinnati office for targeting tax-exempt organizations that had "Tea Party" or "Patriots" in their names during the 2012 election and apologized for their actions.
Upon a review of the IRS bureaucracy, though, the Cincinnati office is not a random backwater outpost for "low-level" IRS rogues. In fact, the Cincinnati office is where determinations on tax-exempt organizations' eligibility are made and is the only physical office in the complex IRS bureaucracy dedicated to tax-exempt determinations.
On the IRS's website, in the "How to Contact the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division" section, the Cincinnati office is the only one listed for people to contact if they have questions about "Charities & Non-Profits":
To obtain a determination letter that applies the principles and precedents previously announced to a specific set of facts, or to transmit copies of amended documents write or fax to:
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Fix is in Part V: Hillary’s Benghazi Cover-up 101 for Dummies ^ | 8 January 2013 | Marinka Peschmann

Appearing in CFP.

Click here for The Fix is in Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

“Should your empty talk make men hold their peace? And when you mock, should no one rebuke you?” –Job 11:3 (NKJV)

Picking up from yesterday’s installment of The Fix is in Part IV: The Handshake, there were two shows to watch during the Benghazi Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, held on December 20, 2012, to supposedly get to the bottom of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were murdered: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith, a computer expert.
The first show was a dog and pony show for the American people, to falsely assure them that their elected leaders were doing their jobs. As Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass) stated in his scripted authoritative opening statement, “From the very beginning of the Benghazi events, every member of this Committee has shared with the President and Secretary Clinton our determination to get all the facts about what happened and why in Benghazi.”
Don’t believe one word of that, as reported in The Fix is in Part I, the Obama-Clinton regime do not want you to know the truth—it is the second story-line that you should be following, and it’s called the cover-up. Let me take you behind the smoke and mirrors and show you how it is done.

Cover-up Step 1: Like what happened during the ‘official’ Vince Foster death investigations as documented in Following Orders: The Death of Vince Foster, Clinton White House Lawyer, first draw your conclusions by using an incomplete, compromised, and contaminated investigation —Hillary’s “independent” Benghazi Accountability Review Board Report (ARB). Be sure to tell the public the report pulls no punches, is very frank, comprehensive, thorough, and praise the overall high quality of it. Notice how both the Republican and Democrat committee members relied (instead of doing their own investigation or calling for a special prosecutor) on Hillary’s ARB, a gravely flawed, intellectually insulting, self-investigation that for starters couldn’t be bothered to name, let alone interview the Turkish diplomatic Ambassador Stevens had just met with shortly before he was murdered or find out who in the Obama-Clinton regime had ordered the military to “stand down,” instead of helping Americans in peril that deadly September 11 day.

Cover-up Step 2: Rewrite and roll out the new cohesive strategy because the first one fell apart. In doing so, you shift the blame and accountability away from the Obama-Clinton regime. New villains are created and the real culprits are minimized or ignored. During the Senate hearings, and in Hillary’s ARB, for instance, there are no references to Ansar al-Shariah— the terrorist group that took credit for the slaughter. Notice how the first fake villain, the Youtube video that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and ‘celebrated,’ philandering David Petraeus initially blamed for the terrorist attack in Benghazi was completely omitted from both Hillary’s ARB and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Cover-up Step 3: Now that the old villain has been removed, introduce new villains (repeat several times so the public will remember only this soundbite). In the Benghazi case it is now Congress, and the lack of funding who is to blame. As Chairman Kerry stated regarding the new villains of Benghazi, “I want to be crystal clear about something else. Congress also bears some responsibility here. Congress has the power of the purse … And for years we have asked our State Department to operate with increasingly lesser resources to conduct essential missions …”
Meet the new villains in Hillary’s ARB on p. 3:
“For many years the State Department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work … The solution requires a more serious and sustained commitment from Congress to support State Department needs … One overall conclusion in this report is that Congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources to the State Department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives.”
Repeat. Senate Foreign Relations committee member Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), echoed the revised cohesive strategy starring the new villains when the first question she asked was if the State Department would seek additional funding from Congress to secure America’s diplomats and so forth. Remember how successful this Saul Alinsky tactic was during Clinton-Lewinsky scandal where the fake villain was the vast right-wing conspiracy and in the death of Vince Foster where the fake villain was the Wall Street Journal?
Cover-up Step 4: Introduce a new hero and ignore the real ones, like General Carter Hamm, the Combatant Commander of Africa’s Command (AFRICOM) who, reportedly tried to send in military back-up to help the Americans under attack in Benghazi but was ordered to ‘stand down.’ He has since “retired” and been replaced. Both Republican and Democrat committee members, in sync with Hillary’s ridiculous ARB, ignored the “stand down” orders and General Hamm altogether. Instead in preparation for the grand finale when/if Hillary testifies (it doesn’t matter—the fix is in) there is a new hero in this Benghazi story and that is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As Chairman Kerry rolled out:
“The report makes 29 recommendations in total, five of which are classified. Secretary Clinton has embraced every single one of them. In fact she’s gone above and beyond the Board’s recommendation by taking immediate steps to strengthen security at high-threat posts and request from Congress the authority to reprogram funds to increase diplomatic security spending by $1.3 billion. In Washington, where too often we see the recommendations of blue ribbon panels ignored, delayed or deferred as they were for a long time on even the 9/11 Commission, I think the Secretary’s swift action underscores how determined she is to apply the lessons of Benghazi (emphasis mine).”
Cover-up Step 5: Distractions, waste time, and/or don’t even bother to ask questions. Chairman Kerry’s opening statement, followed by Sen. Lugar’s statement was dedicated in large part to Benghazi’s new villain—lack of State Department funding and Congress. Together they took up nearly 27 minutes in a 1:45 minute shortened session in this supposedly serious and important Benghazi Senate hearing. Americans, who were paying attention, did not see a serious investigation into the terrorist attack in Benghazi but rather a tacky, self-aggrandizing love fest where the senator’s praised one another, including outgoing Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). Naturally, Hillary Clinton, cast as the new hero, was obviously also revered and praised.
As Chairman Kerry made very, very clear:
“As everyone is aware, Secretary Clinton is recovering from a serious virus, and concussion, and given her condition, it was simply not possible for her to appear here today. We all wish her a speedy recovery and in her place we have both deputies from the State Department and I want to thank them for coming in on short notice. Let me emphasize this, please, to everybody. All of you who know Hillary know she would rather be here today. I know how deeply she feels the importance of the discussion that we’re having today and I assure you it is not her choice that she is not here today and she looks forward to appearing before the committee in January and I want to make that clear.”
Included in the lovefest and false idol worshiping masquerading as a serious and important Benghazi Senate hearing were Hillary’s stand-in witnesses, Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and Thomas R. Nides. As Chairman Kerry said, “We’re very pleased that Secretary Burns and Secretary Nides have come here today. Secretary Burns recently established the Christopher Stevens Youth Network to honor Chris’ memory by building bridges of understanding and compassion between American youth and their Middle Eastern peers. We look forward to continuing that work with them.”
Indeed, the serious and important Benghazi Senate Foreign Relations hearing was shortened so senators could attend Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D-Hawaii) funeral (instead of starting the hearing earlier). Even more valuable time was eaten up when other members of the committee (you know the ones who pledged to get to the bottom of the terrorist attack in Benghazi) joined in to pay homage to outgoing Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) when it was their turn to ask questions. Meanwhile, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), like Sen. Lugar, did not even bother to ask questions but rather offered some rambling observations that sounded ‘important.’

Cover-up Step 6: Pretend there is accountability by blaming a fall guy. Like Clinton counsel Bernie Nussbaum resigned in disgrace for his obstructionist role in the Vince Foster death investigations (instead of facing obstruction charges), Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell, who along with three others reportedly resigned because of Benghazi … but not really. That was just a publicity stunt disguised as news. Wink, wink, according to the New York Post, Bowell is “just switching desks.” And the other three are simply on administrative leave and are expected back. Can’t you see now how the Obama-Clinton regime is laughing in your face?

Wake up. Do not continue to be deceived. You will not get the truth about Benghazi and the murder of four Americans from the Obama-Clinton regime or from the Senate Foreign Relations Congressional hearing because Americans cannot know what Ambassador Stevens was doing in Benghazi for the Obama-Clinton regime. The fix is in.

IRS official apologizes to tea party groups for "incorrect" scrutiny during 2012 election!

CBS News / The Associated Press ^ | May 10, 2013 | Jake Miller

An IRS official apologized on Friday to tea party organizations and other conservative groups for inappropriately targeting them during the 2012 election, the Associated Press reports.
The groups, which enjoyed tax-exempt status under the internal revenue code, were singled out for additional scrutiny of their tax exemption if their names included the words "tea party" or "patriot." In several cases, the groups were asked to provide a list of donors for review, usually a violation of IRS policy.
"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive, and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases," said Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. "The IRS would like to apologize for that."
Lerner said the additional scrutiny was initiated by lower-level employees working out of Cincinnati...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Democratic strategist: Party 'in decline'

The Politico ^ | May 10, 2013 | James S. Hohmann

One of the Democrats’ most veteran strategists warns that the party is “in decline” and “at considerable risk” when President Barack Obama is no longer on the scene.
“Since Obama was elected President, the Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats,” Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, writes in a new memo.
While Republican branding problems get the lion’s share of attention, the Democratic Party’s favorability rating has declined by 15 points since Obama took power. A Pew Research Center survey this January showed that the Democratic Party was viewed favorably by 47 percent of Americans, down from 62 percent in Jan. 2009.
With the likelihood of gridlock and near-record-low confidence in public institutions, Sosnik expects 2014 to bring the fourth change election in the past eight years....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

White House holds Benghazi briefing with reporters — off the record!

Hotair ^ 

If there’s one thing you want to do when accusations are flying about an attempted cover up and a disinterested, collusive media, it’s holding an off-the-record briefing.

Time for the team to huddle.

"The White House held an off-the-record briefing with reporters on Friday afternoon to discuss recent revelations about the Benghazi investigation, sources familiar with the meeting tell POLITICO."
"The meeting began around 12:45 p.m. and postponed the daily, on-the-record White House press briefing to 1:45 p.m. White House press secretary Jay Carney did not respond to a request for confirmation of the meeting."
"The off-the-record session was announced to reporters in the wake of an ABC News report showing that White House and State Dept. officials were involved in revising the now-discredited CIA talking points about the attack on Benghazi."
Were they discussing troop movements or something? What reason could there be to go off the record, and why would the press agree to it? If there’s classified material involved, just redact the bits that can’t be publicized. Or maybe I have this wrong; maybe the reason Carney wanted to huddle is because Ron Fournier was onto something this morning in sensing that the White House is trying to point a finger at Hillary and the State Department for redacting the first draft of the CIA’s talking points. For obvious reasons, if Carney wants to steer them in that direction, he wouldn’t want to do it on the record. Then again, there’s no reason to task the White House press secretary with that; if Team O wants to push Hillary under the bus, they’ll do it the old-fashioned way, through anonymous leaks. So again, why is this briefing off the record?

ABC Releases Big Benghazi Report: Talking Points Changed 12 Times, Dramatically Edited..."

The Blaze ^ | May. 10, 2013 | Jonathon M. Seidl

The talking points used by Amb. Susan Rice on the Sunday shows on the weekend after the 9/11/12 terror attack in Benghazi underwent at least 12 edits – including revisions by the Obama administration’s State Department — new emails obtained by ABC News show. Those revisions included scrubbing all references to an Al Qaeda-affiliated group and all references to previous CIA warnings about a terror threat.

From ABC:

When it became clear last fall that the CIA’s now discredited Benghazi talking points were flawed, the White House said repeatedly the documents were put together almost entirely by the intelligence community, but White House documents reviewed by Congress suggest a different story.
ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Hey Hillary

Sarah Palin responds to the news of IRS targeting conservative groups!

The Examiner ^ | May 10, 2013 | Christopher Collins

Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and 2008 vice-presidential candidate, released a statement today concerning the news that the IRS targeted conservative leaning groups during the 2012 presidential election.
She said, “today we learned that our government targeted and harassed conservative Americans who simply wanted to be involved in the national discussion. Is it any wonder why Americans are so distrustful of D.C.? I'm sure President Obama is grateful for all the help the IRS gave his reelection campaign, but, still, you have to wonder how the bureaucrats who tried to pull this off can sleep at night.”
“So many Americans knew this was happening, but many felt defenseless and even helpless against a government that seems to roll along without accountability or sense of obligation to the people it’s supposed to serve. These Americans were mocked for being concerned about this, but now we see the light shining on the truth, finally.”
“This IRS revelation is another step in the unraveling of the Obama administration's self-proclaimed “hope and change.” Between the Benghazi cover-up and the IRS targeting Obama’s political opponents, we see the corruption at the heart of big government, “Palin said.
“Americans should remember that this same corrupt IRS will be in charge of enforcing Obamacare. And this same inept and corrupt government will supposedly secure our now unsecured borders in advance of immigration reform and will implement a completely ethical and non-political IPAB panel to make life and death health care decisions for you and your family. Forgive me for not trusting these big government promises any more than I trust the White House’s latest Benghazi spin or the IRS’ fairness, “said Palin....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Benghazi decisions were made at the highest level!

Daily Mail ^ | UPDATED: 13:14 EST, 8 May 2013 | By David Martosko In Washington

The former Regional Security Officer in Tripoli during the months before the Benghazi terror attack that killed the U.S. ambassador told a congressional panel on Wednesday that the State Department's internal review of the diplomatic disaster unfairly let senior political appointees off the hook.

Choking back tears, Eric Allan Nordstrom said the investigation into the terror attack, continued Wednesday during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, 'matters to me personally, and it matters to my colleagues at the department of state.'

'It matters to the American public for whom we serve, and most importantly, it matters to the friends and family of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were murdered on September 11, 2012.'

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The "Saving Hillary" Express

Examiner ^ | 5/11/2013 | Patricia Campion

On Friday, Bloomberg’s Francis Wilkinson predicted that “Benghazi will be Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Whitewater.”
Considering her long history of scandals – and the litany of subsequent excuses and denials she sent spinning to absolve herself of any fault -- Examiner predicted Thursday that “Benghazi could prove to be a real "corkscrew landing" under "sniper fire" for Clinton in 2016.”
“In case you have any lingering doubt about the true agenda of House Republicans” in Wednesday's Benghazi hearing, check out these numbers,” Jed Lewison fretted Thursday for the uber-liberal blog site, Daily Kos.
15: Number of times President Barack Obama was mentioned during the hearing 71: Number of times fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was mentioned
Evidently, Lewison can’t imagine why Clinton – the “fmr. secretary of state,” whose duty it was to protect the lives of Chris Stevens, Sean Smith and ex-Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty who were killed under her watch – would be “mentioned” so many times during a hearing aimed at finding out who was responsible for the decisions that ultimately led to their deaths.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Benghazi e-mails show clash between State Department, CIA (Nope, nothing to see here)

Washington Post ^ | 5-11-2013 | By Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung

New details from administration e-mails about last year’s attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, demonstrate that an intense bureaucratic clash took place between the State Department and the CIA over which agency would get to tell the story of how the tragedy unfolded.
That clash played out in the development of administration talking points that have been at the center of the controversy over the handling of the incident, according to the e-mails that came to light Friday. Full article here
Liberals had been giddy all week, believing their own silly press releases (commonly known as "newspapers") arguing that the 'Republican-run' Benghazi hearings produced no real smoking gun, all the while furiously attacking the whistleblowers and insisting they weren't attacking the whistleblowers. Many libbies even fantasized that the Benghazi hearings had already blown over -- some were making this keen observation minutes after the hearings began.
Liberals kept telling each other that Benghazi won't even be a teensy-weensy, itty-bitty blip on the radar screen by the time Campaign 2016 rolls around -- that more than enough time will have elapsed between the murders in Benghazi and the next presidential campaign, paving the way for president Hillary, Gaea willing.
But then Jonathan Karl of ABC news had to gum up the works. Remember Him? He's the chap accused of perpetrating journalism a few weeks ago, when he reduced Obama during his press conference into insisting he still had the relevant juice and that reports of his de-juicification are greatly exaggerated.
Now Jonathan Karl reports there were a dozen differing versions of the Benghazi talking points which show extensive editing "as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA" to the "final version" written entirely by Mr. Magoo.
No threats of terrorist attacks, no terrorist attacks, no warning of five other recent attacks in Benghazi against foreign interests, no Ansar al-Sharia and no al-Qaeda to see here, move along.
Since it was clear the original version written by the CIA was riddled with factual accuracies, Hillary's State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland insisted on plenty of dishwashing liquid and scrub brushes as part of the 'editing' process. It was all to ensure the final version their programmed little robot Susan Rice would read off from on all the Sunday news shows pegged the needle on the ol' Baghdad-Bob-o-meter past the breaking point.
For months, White House flack Jay Carney kept frenziedly pointing the press to his own lies back in November as evidence he was telling the truth about the talking points.
Today, Obama's spokes-hack was pulled out of that comfort zone by Obama's jilted lovers during his 'Honey, It's-not-what-you-think-- I-can-explain!' presser which had the whiff of blood in the water all over the place. Benghazi won't be dropping into any memory hole yet -- in fact, this is just the warm-up act.
Anyway, that's...
My Two Cents...