Saturday, May 18, 2013

Amidst scandals & sequester, Obamas plan another star-studded White House party

The Blaze ^ | 5/17/13 | Meredith Jessup

The Obamas announced today that they will be hosting another “Performance at the White House” event on May 28 to honor American singer and songwriter Carole King:
As part of their “In Performance at the White House” series, the President and First Lady will host a concert in the East Room honoring singer-songwriter Carole King, who will be awarded the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. President Obama will present the award as he did when the Library of Congress honored Stevie Wonder (2009), Sir Paul McCartney (2010), and the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David (2012). The program will include performances by King, as well as Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sandé, James Taylor and Trisha Yearwood.
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Cincinnati IRS employees 'surprised' at furor (it all comes from the top) ^ | 5/18/2013 | Rick Moran

More utter cluelessness from IRS employees, plus, as a bonus, some "Good German" excuses for why the targeting of conservative groups happened.
Washington Post:
As could be expected, the folks in the determinations unit on Main Street have had trouble concentrating this week. Number crunchers, whose work is nonpolitical, don't necessarily enjoy the spotlight, especially when the media and the public assume they're engaged in partisan villainy.
"We're not political,'' said one determinations staffer in khakis as he left work late Tuesday afternoon. "We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. . . . That's why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don't have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive [emphasis added]."
And not one of them raised an alarm? Not one of them even

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Clinton and Obama discussed Benghazi. What did they say?

National Review ^ | 5/18/2013 | Andrew C. McCarthy

‘What would you be focusing on in the Benghazi investigation?” I spent many years in the investigation biz, so it’s only natural that I’ve been asked that question a lot lately.

I had the good fortune to be trained in Rudy Giuliani’s U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. Rudy famously made his mark by making law enforcement reflect what common sense knew: Enterprises take their cues from the top. Criminal enterprises are no different: The capos do not carry out the policy of the button-men — it’s the other way around.
So if I were investigating Benghazi, I’d be homing in on that 10 p.m. phone call. That’s the one between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — the one that’s gotten close to zero attention.
Benghazi is not a scandal because of Ambassador Susan Rice, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, and “talking points.” The scandal is about Rice and Nuland’s principals, and about what the talking points were intended to accomplish. Benghazi is about derelictions of duty by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton before and during the massacre of our ambassador and three other American officials, as well as Obama and Clinton’s fraud on the public afterward.
A good deal of media attention has quite appropriately been lavished on e-mail traffic between mid-level administration officials in the days leading up to Sunday, September 16. That is the day when Ms. Rice, a close Obama confidant, made her appalling appearances on the Sunday-morning political shows. Those performances were transparently designed to mislead the American people, during the presidential campaign stretch run, into believing that an anti-Islamic Internet video — rather than a coordinated terrorist attack orchestrated by al-Qaeda affiliates, coupled with the Obama administration’s gross failure to secure and defend American personnel in Benghazi — was responsible for the killings.
Fraud flows from the top down, not the mid-level up. Mid-level officials in the White House and the State Department do not call the shots — they carry out orders. They also were not running for reelection in 2012 or positioning themselves for a campaign in 2016. The people doing that were, respectively, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
Obama and Clinton had been the architects of American foreign policy. As Election Day 2012 loomed, each of them had a powerful motive to promote the impressions (a) that al-Qaeda had been decimated; (b) that the administration’s deft handling of the Arab Spring — by empowering Islamists — had been a boon for democracy, regional stability, and American national security; and (c) that our real security problem was “Islamophobia” and the “violent extremism” it allegedly causes — which was why Obama and Clinton had worked for years with Islamists, both overseas and at home, to promote international resolutions that would make it illegal to incite hostility to Islam, the First Amendment be damned.
All of that being the case, I am puzzled why so little attention has been paid to the Obama-Clinton phone call at 10 p.m. on the night of September 11.
Even in the conservative press, it has become received wisdom that President Obama was AWOL on the night of September 11, after first being informed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in the late afternoon, that the State Department facility in Benghazi was under attack. You hear it again and again: While Americans were under attack, the commander-in-chief checked out, leaving subordinates to deal with the crisis while he got his beauty sleep in preparation for a fundraising campaign trip to Vegas.
That is not true . . . and the truth, as we’ve come to expect with Obama, is almost surely worse. There is good reason to believe that while Americans were still fighting for their lives in Benghazi, while no military efforts were being made to rescue them, and while those desperately trying to rescue them were being told to stand down, the president was busy shaping the “blame the video” narrative to which his administration clung in the aftermath.
We have heard almost nothing about what Obama was doing that night. Back in February, though, CNS News did manage to pry one grudging disclosure out of White House mendacity mogul Jay Carney: “At about 10 p.m., the president called Secretary Clinton to get an update on the situation.”
Obviously, it is not a detail Carney was anxious to share. Indeed, it contradicted an earlier White House account that claimed the president had not spoken with Clinton or other top administration officials that night.
The earlier story better fit Obama’s modus operandi, which is to disappear in times of crisis. His brief legislative career was about voting “present” because he prefers to be absent when accountability knocks. The idea is to be the Obama of Evan Thomas lore: “standing above the country, above — above the world, he’s sort of God.” He reemerges only after the shooting stops and the smoke clears: gnosis personified, here to diagnose our failings. He is not a commander-in-chief for the battle but the armchair general of the post mortem.
In this instance, though, Carney’s hand was forced by then-secretary Clinton. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, she recounted first learning at about 4 p.m. on September 11 that the State Department facility in Benghazi was under attack. That was very shortly after the siege started. Over the hours that followed, Clinton stated, “we were in continuous meetings and conversations, both within the department, with our team in Tripoli, with the interagency and internationally.” It was in the course of this “constant ongoing discussion and sets of meetings” that Clinton then recalled: “I spoke with President Obama later in the evening to, you know, bring him up to date, to hear his perspective.”
Yes, the 10 p.m. phone call.
In contrast to President Obama’s preference for absence, Mrs. Clinton has always projected the image of the tireless hands-on leader. But the aim of this energetic ubiquity is not all that different from that of Obama’s disappearing act: If you’re dazzled by how hard she works, she may not need to account for what it is she’s been working on.
In the case of Benghazi, however, we now have context for Clinton’s frenetic activity. Thanks to the whistleblower testimony at a House hearing by Gregory Hicks, the State Department’s No. 2 official in Libya at the time of the Benghazi siege, we know what Clinton learned in her “continuous meetings and conversations” that night.
When Clinton began monitoring events after 4 p.m., State’s No. 1 official in Libya, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, had just urgently called his deputy, Hicks, to alert the State Department that the Benghazi facility and Stevens himself were “under attack.” Hicks, who was in Tripoli at the time, made clear that everyone on the ground in Libya knew what was happening in Benghazi was a terrorist attack — the anti-Islamic video “was a non-event,” he explained. He also made clear that he was the leader of what Clinton had called “our team in Tripoli.” As such, he kept the State Department in Washington up to speed on developments.
We also know that at 8 p.m. Washington time, Hicks spoke directly with Clinton and some of her top advisers by telephone. Not only was it apparent that a terrorist attack involving al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Sharia was underway, but Hicks’s two most profound fears at the time he briefed Clinton centered on those terrorists: First, there were reports that Ambassador Stevens might be in the clutches of the terrorists at a hospital they controlled; second, there were rumblings that a similar attack on the embassy in Tripoli could be imminent, convincing Hicks that State Department personnel should evacuate. He naturally conveyed these developments to his boss, the secretary of state. Clinton, he recalled, agreed that evacuation was the right course.
At about 9 p.m. Washington time, Hicks learned from the Libyan prime minister that Stevens was dead. Hicks said he relayed all significant developments on to Washington as the evening progressed — although he did not speak directly to Secretary Clinton again after the 8 p.m. briefing.
That is the context of the 10 p.m. phone call between the president and the secretary of state.
We do not have a recording of this call, and neither Clinton nor the White House has described it beyond noting that it happened. But we do know that, just a few minutes after Obama called Clinton, the Washington press began reporting that the State Department had issued a statement by Clinton regarding the Benghazi attack. In it, she asserted:
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.
Gee, what do you suppose Obama and Clinton talked about in that 10 p.m. call?
Interestingly, CNS News asked Carney whether, in that 10 p.m. phone call, the president and Secretary Clinton discussed the statement that Clinton was about to issue, and, specifically, whether they discussed “the issue of inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
Carney declined to answer.
We now know from the e-mails and TV clips that, by Sunday morning, the White House staff, State Department minions, and Susan Rice were all in agreement that the video fairy tale, peppered with indignant rebukes of Islamophobia, was the way to go.
How do you suppose they got that idea?

Barack just never around when bad things happen!

Coach is Right ^ | May 18th, 2013 | Jim Emerson

AWOL Commander in Chief

During the Benghazi murders, instead of taking charge Mr. Obama went into hiding, the various military elements having to stand down because the occupant of the White House was afraid to make decisions. During a Senate hearing, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified that neither Obama nor anyone else from the White House had contacted the Defense Department or the Pentagon during the attack to find out what was going on. This is not the behavior of a leader but of a coward. As always, Obama pleads ignorance to distance himself from anything that may make him look bad. He has already claimed to know nothing of the IRS targeting of conservative groups or the tapping of AP phone lines. Having the FBI investigate these events will enable the president to duck any questions because there is an “ongoing investigation.”
The Benghazi “talking points” were changed for a number of reasons, among them to hide Obama’s ineptness and Hillary’s Clinton’s incompetence. The people involved in the creation of the false narrative were more concerned about protecting their careers than the fate of fellow Americans being murdered in Libya. On a positive note at least a few people told the truth. Yet, to the low information voter this is “much ado about nothing”.
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KMOV’s Conners Barred From Facebook, Interviews on IRS Controversy [Silencing Dissent]

CBS St Louis ^ | 5/17/13

KMOV anchorman Larry Conners has been “advised” by KMOV’s parent company Belo Corp. to not make statements, post on Facebook, or participate in interviews concerning a recent controversy over Facebook comments he made about the Internal Revenue Service.

Conners has hired St. Louis attorney Merle Silverstein. Silverstein issued a letter to media outlets claiming that the corporate order “is the only reason for his silence.”

Conners wrote Monday night that shortly after he interviewed President Obama and his wife in April of 2012, the IRS “started hammering” him.

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NYT:Obama Administration Knew of IRS Scandal 5 Months Before Election [ Stolen Election ] ^ | May 17 2013 | John Nolte

In no uncertain terms and with no hedging, The New York Times reports that the Obama Administration was aware of the fact that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups as far back as June of 2012. The Treasury Department's Inspector General confirmed that he told senior Treasury officials in June of 2012, a full five months before Election Day:
The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
We still don’t know for sure what the President knew or when he knew it, but this does confirm that the Administration was aware of the fact that Obama's political enemies were under fire by the IRS and covered that fact up during an election year.
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IRS OFFICIAL: “I Don’t Think Targeting Is Wrong” Later Admits Progressive Groups Weren't Targeted!

Gateway Pundit ^ | May 17, 2013 | Jim Hoft

Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller and J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, testified today at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
Top IRS official Steven Miller told the committee, “I cannot reply to a specific case.” Miller wouldn’t say who was responsible in targeting conservative individuals.

Commissioner Miller just dropped this line, “I don’t think targeting is wrong.”

UPDATE: Later in his testimony Miller admitted that progressive groups were not targeted.

The 10 Most Bizarre Things About the IRS Scandal

Washington Post ^ | May 17, 2013 | Jennifer Rubin

If you have been following the Internal Revenue Service scandal over the past 24 hours or so, you may be reeling, just a bit. And if you haven’t, you’ve missed an out-of-body experience in which the IRS, the administration and Democrats seem to think Americans are a bunch of dopes.
1. At his contentious hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, Steven T. Miller, the IRS’s outgoing acting commissioner, denied anything illegal was done. He denied targeting groups. But yes, groups with “tea party” and other conservative flags got different treatment. It was bad, what they did, he allowed. No buzz word like “progressive” was used to flag liberal groups. And he wants a bigger IRS budget. (Honestly, you can’t make this up.)
2. The IRS did not reveal the scandal before the 2012 election. The IRS falsely informed Congress the targeting wasn’t going on. Even NBC’s Lisa Myers could figure out, “Imagine if we — if you can — what would have happened if this fact came out in September 2012, in the middle of a presidential election? The terrain would have looked very different.”
3. Miller said this was a matter of “horrible customer service.”
4. Miller asserted that the woman who ran the group that engaged in this behavior and is now running the Obamacare unit is a “superb civil servant.” (Right about now, you might think he was pulling our leg, but he was sincere.)
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Huge Victory in Arizona!


Arizona scored a huge victory against President Obama’s tyranny!
A federal court UPHELD my Executive Order and Arizona's law denying driver's licenses to illegal aliens who President Obama has allowed to remain in our country under his outrageous deferred action program.
The court ruled that Obama’s program DOES NOT preempt Arizona’s ability to determine who can receive a driver’s license.
This is a great victory for state’s rights and the rule of law!
Let me be clear: this fight has never been about the “Dreamers.” As Governor, I have taken an oath to uphold the laws of Arizona and I will continue to vigorously defend the citizens of Arizona and the duly-enacted laws of our State.

The Seven Senators Who Asked the IRS to "Investigate" Non-profits

Independent Sector ^ | Feb. 16, 2012 | The 7 Senators

Dear Commissioner Shulman:

We write to inquire if the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") is investigating or intends to investigate whether groups designated as "social welfare" organizations, and thus receiving tax and other advantages under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), 26 U.S.C. 501(c)4), are improperly engaged in a substantial or even a predominant amount of campaign activity....

Michael F. Bennet, U.S. Senator
Al Franken, U.S. Senator
Jeff Merkley, U.S. Senator
Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator
Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Senator
Tom Udall, U.S. Senator
Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Senator

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Not Obama’s Type Of Immigrant!

Flopping Aces ^ | 05-17-13 | Skookum

More Damned Freeloaders
More Damned Freeloaders
Obama is coming down hard on the immigration of educated White Europeans, but he is maintaing the purity and integrity of his ethnic minority immigrant policy.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld his administration’s decision to deny asylum to the Romeike family, a religious German family that has been prosecuted and threatened with the loss of their children because of their belief in homeschooling.
The Romeike family fled their homeland in 2008 to avoid criminal prosecution for homeschooling. In 2010, they were granted asylum by Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman. His decision was overturned by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2012. The Sixth Circuit listened to the appeal on April 23, and wrote a unanimous decision against the Romeike family.
The decision seems largely political and in step with the Progressive views of Obama toward White European Immigration and the collective indoctrination goals of public education.
The court acknowledges the Constitution respects the rights of parents to direct the education of their own children, but denies that the threats of heavy fines and the loss of the custody of their children, for insisting upon the right to homeschool, qualifies as persecution to a degree to warrant asylum in the United States.
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The Liberal Union Behind the IRS

The American Spectator ^ | 5/16/13 | Jeffrey Lord

Obama, IG Report refuse to touch powerful Treasury Employees Union headed by ex-IRS agent.
“My question is who is going to jail?” — House Speaker John Boehner on the IRS Scandal
The President couldn’t even bring himself to breathe a word of the truth.
He could fire some hapless Acting Commissioner, but last night Mr. Obama never came close to discussing that which must never be discussed.
The IRS?
It’s about a union: the National Treasury Employees Union. The NTEU. A left-wing union representing 150,000 employees in 31 separate government agencies, including the IRS. A union that not only endorsed President Obama for election and re-election, but a union whose current president, Colleen Kelly, was a 14-year IRS agent and now is both union president and Obama administration appointee (of which more in a moment).
It’s about 94% of NTEU union contributions going to Democrats in the Senate and House in 2012 — candidates who campaigned as vociferous opponents of the Tea Party.
And the recently released report from the Treasury Inspector General? You will not find a single reference to the NTEU. Whose members are both player and referee in the exploding controversy over the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
Which raises the obvious question: how many NTEU members were involved in the writing of the Inspector General’s report?
Even more to the point, what contact — what coordination — has the Obama White House had with their allies in the NTEU leadership as both the White House and the NTEU race to get on top of a scandal that is rapidly engulfing both?
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Why Concealed Carry Permits Numbers are Soaring

Gun Watch ^ | 18 May, 2013 | Dean Weingarten

Carry permits for concealed weapons are soaring all across the country. Part of the reason for this is uncertainty about the future. No one knows what is going to happen with tax rates, inflation, Obamacare, and the stock market.
This uncertainty has translated into uncertainty about public safety, both from ordinary criminals and from the possibility of a breakdown of public order.
A comment writer in Lane County, Oregon expresses the motives for and results of obtaining a concealed carry permit well:
After many years of no guns in the home (grandchildren, after all), we made the decision to resume owning and carrying firearms last fall. BEST DECISION EVER!
It had been over 20 years since we had a gun in the house. So we took some courses (several, actually), carefully selected handguns and a home-defense shotgun that fit and suit us, and have discovered a peace of mind, confidence and security beyond anything I expected. I had expected we'd be anxious or worried about safety. The opposite has happened! I don't worry nearly as much about my wife going out, the house feels much more like a refuge, and I recommend it.
Only caveat: GET TRAINED! Don't settle for "knowing" what to do or even how to do it. GET TRAINED! Practice, and get some individual coaching. Practice some more. Develop solid safety habits. There are several excellent trainers in the area--find one whose personality suits you and keep going back. Or, attend a variety of classes. Personally, I like the different styles and emphasis each instructor has had. "You can't learn less!" And then, keep practicing.
Best decision we've made since deciding to get married! (Having kids was a pretty good decision, too!)
Lane County Oregon has been experiencing a surge of concealed carry permit applications. Over 8 percent of registered voters now have concealed carry permits, and the surge is accelerating.
Several other commentators echoed the response above.
Gains in the number of concealed carry permit holders are spread across the country, with increases in applications and permit numbers a common story across the states.
Even Illinois, the last holdout to forbid the carry of arms for defense by anyone not an agent of the state, is under Court order from the Seventh Circuit to pass a law to allow residents to legally carry weapons for self defense. If the Illinois legislature fails to do so, the laws forbidding the carrying of arms in Illinois will become null and void on June 10th, 2013.
There have been some setbacks in deep blue states such as New York and Maryland, or even in Colorado, where combined heavy lobbying by the Obama administration and heavy spending by Michael Bloomberg (Billionaire Mayor of New York) resulted in a flawed and unenforceable patchwork of emotional legislation directed against armed citizens.
Many more states are simplifying and making easier the ability to carry arms for self defense.
Texas is on the verge of reducing the hours of training required from 10 to 4. Arkansas has made carrying weapons simpler and safer through definitional changes in their law. North Carolina is strongly moving toward easier carry in restaurants and on college campus grounds. Missouri is moving to reduce the age required to obtain a concealed carry permit from 21 to 19. Louisiana passed a constitutional amendment to creating one of the strongest protections of the right to keep and bear arms in the nation.
This short listing is by no means exhaustive or complete. Legal challenges are already being filed against the hastily prepared laws passed under extreme pressure and sometimes bizarre circumstances in New York, Maryland, and Colorado.
The last comprehensive survey of states indicated that more than 8 million concealed carry permits were active across the nation. The data from that report was gathered more than a year ago. It would be reasonable to expect the number of people with concealed carry permits to be over 10 million at this time. To put that number in context, there are about 800,000 full time law enforcement personnel in the United States.
Surveys of criminals have verified that they fear armed citizens as much as police. Increasing the number of armed responders on the street make it likely that the multi-decade decrease in violent crime will continue.
©2013 by Dean Weingarten Permission to share granted as long as this notice is included.

Beyond Royalty… Even the Queen Holds Her Own Umbrella! ^ | May 17 2013

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