Do you remember this controversial John McCain presidential campaign television spot targeted against then-Senator Barack Obama in the middle of the heated 2008 election?
Here’s the script:
Announcer: He’s the biggest celebrity in the world.
But, is he ready to lead?
With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling.
And, says he’ll raise taxes on electricity.
Higher taxes, more foreign oil, that’s the real Obama.
This ad caused the mainstream media (MSM) who were in the midst of their “slobbering love affair” with Senator Obama to pause briefly for self-examination.
The gravity of the ad’s message forced the MSM to acknowledge that they built the alter upon which the “biggest celebrity in the world” was now standing — while continuing to lead the world’s worship of him.
Here is a sentence from the New York Times report on the TV spot dated July 30, 2008:
This ad’s imagery highlights the McCain view that Mr. Obama offers more sizzle than substance, a theme that the Republican candidate has been trying to underscore on the campaign trail.
“More sizzle than substance.” That nicely summed up Senator Obama in July of 2008. But of course the NYT piece did not delve into the possibility that the statement was true. Nor did the MSM investigate or honestly ask themselves the question posed in the ad, “But is he ready to lead?”
Now fast forward to 2013.
Our proven to be “more sizzle than substance” president, not only pleads ignorance about the details of the numerous scandals engulfing his administration, but uses ignorance as both a defense and a badge of honor.
It appears that “ignorance” has joined “blame” as the most useful tools in Obama’s leadership kit.
So looking back, how has the “biggest celebrity in the world” handled his celebrity?
The answer appears to be, “like an addiction.”
An addiction might explain President Obama’s non-stop campaigning and the obvious self-worth he garners from appearing before adoring crowds — no matter how poorly he is performing in Washington. His celebrity addition could also explain why Obama consistently surrounds himself with celebrities who worship him, thus causing their fan base to worship them even more. Let’s call this a celebrity circle of love.
As the second term of President Obama continues to unravel, those of us who were never sucked in by “the sizzle” will be watching with fascination how the show finally ends for “the biggest celebrity in the world.”
It might even be a tragic ending now that his once adoring MSM has finally begun to widely criticize his performance.
Is the worm turning against Barack Obama? After four-plus years of being given the benefit of the doubt by the bulk of the US media, the President now suddenly feels more vulnerable.
Today both the New York Times and the Washington Post have run prominent and angry editorials and columns slamming the administration for its attempt to criminalise a Fox News reporter James Rosen for working a State Department source to obtain a story.
The “Rosen Affair” – as it is now known – is poisoning the well in Washington at an alarming rate for Mr Obama, with an indignant White House press corps now battering the official spokesman Jay Carney at his daily briefings to the point where Politico is running speculative stories wondering whether it’s time for him to go.
While it is critical for the MSM to remain more loyal to themselves than to the president at this point there is no reason to believe that they will actually do so for any length of time. The relationship between the lapdogs and The Idiot King has been a very one-sided, abusive one at best. On the rare occasions that the press has found themselves questioning their idol they have usually returned to covering for the very thing they were curious about in a matter of days.
This is a big moment in history for the First Amendment and, unfortunately, those who benefit most from it have also been neglecting it at their peril for far too long.
Ok, it’s not a bar, but there was a meeting between the White House and IRS union boss Colleen Kelley back in 2010. The American Spectator and Breitbart have reported that President Obama met with Kelley the day before the IRS began its campaign against conservative groups. Jeffrey Lord over at the Spectator found this information perusing the White House logs, which he posted on May 20.
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
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.
The NTEU is the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies. Kelley herself is a 14-year IRS veteran agent. The union’s PAC endorsed President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles to anti-Tea Party candidates.
Something that may be missing from the IG report, according to Lord, is the fact that they didn’t review any of the White House’s emails, calls, or visitor logs. Additionally, Lord noticed another visit in 2009, where the NTEU was given more authority concerning the “day-to-day” operations of the IRS following the meeting.
Kelley is recorded as visiting the White House over a year earlier, listed in this fashion:
Kelley, Colleen Potus/Flotus 12/03/2009 18:30
The inclusion of “FLOTUS” — First Lady Michelle Obama — and the 6:30 pm time of the December event on this entry in the Visitors Log indicates this was the White House Christmas Party held that evening and written up here in the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times focused on party guests from the President’s home state of Illinois and did not mention Kelley. Notably, the Illinois guests, who are reported to have attended the same party as Kelley, included what the paper described as four labor “activists”: Dennis Gannon of the Chicago Federation of Labor, Tom Balanoff of the Service Employees International Union, Henry Tamarin of UNITE, and Ron Powell of the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Six days following Kelley’s attendance at the White House Christmas party with labor activists like herself, the President issued Executive Order 13522 (text found here, with an explanation here). The Executive Order, titled: “Creating Labor-Management Forums To Improve Delivery of Government Services” applied across the federal government and included the IRS. The directive was designed to:
Allow employees and unions to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters….
With the revelation of the IRS’ alleged illegal activity, Kelley has sprinted into the bunker, and has been quiet about this fiasco since the story broke. Wynton Hall at Breitbart, who cited Lord’s story, wrote on May 20 that all that Kelley has said about his scandal is that:
“NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time…moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time.”
So, who’s digging around with this lead, besides the Spectator? It’s Bloomberg News.
Last Thursday at the President’s press conference with the Turkish prime minister, Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News asked the following question, bold print for emphasis:
“Mr. President, I want to ask you about the IRS. Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency’s actions before your Counsel’s Office found out on April 22nd? And when they did find out, do you think that you should have learned about it before you learned about it from news reports as you said last Friday? And also, are you opposed to there being a special counsel appointed to lead the Justice Department investigation?”
The President’s response? (Again bold print emphasis.)
“But let me make sure that I answer your specific question. 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.”
Take note: Goldman’s question was:
“Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency’s actions before your Counsel’s Office found out on April 22nd?”
Two meetings that ended with more power given to the NTEU, which precipitated the targeting of conservative groups – and the president doesn’t know anything? Additionally, while the president may or may not have know, his Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, knew last month before the story broke. So, while the Obama administration can admit to the incompetence of their most senior official on the White House staff not relaying this information to the president, questions still surround whether Obama “didn’t know anything about the IG report” since those two meetings with Kelley seem to be the epicenter of the malfeasance that engulfed the IRS.
This is starting to become the opening of a very bad joke.
With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.
This is a seminal moment for the mainstream media. They’ve been shameless partisan hacks for this president since he was a candidate in 2008. For them to notice that he’s overreaching (the rest of us knew the emperor had no clothes long ago) is huge. Now that The Idiot King is a lame duck they migh-MIGHT-just have enough perspective left to realize that even the most loyal lapdogs among them could quickly find themselves out of favor and being targeted by the White House.
If they let this slide, they deserve as quick a demise as possible and they will have no one to blame but themselves.
So far, voters don’t seem to be abandoning President Barack Obama over controversies gripping the Beltway world. But White House aides are tempting fate with their reluctant, piecemeal and contradictory disclosures of what they knew and when they knew it, especially about a report on the Internal Revenue Service’s 18-month effort to target tea party and other conservative groups for special scrutiny.
The aides either have forgetten or are unable to implement the basic lesson of scandal control in Washington: Get the full story out — all of it — as fast as you can before your critics accuse you of a cover-up or worse.
Fineman goes on to mostly indict Jay Careney’s incessant buffoonery but paints a picture of a grossly incompetent response to a pretty big deal. I’m not the first to make this observation but it bears repeating: the press and hardcore fans of the Idiot King still speak as if he single-handedly killed Osama bin Laden because he’s the guy who is always in control. Now, in an effort to cover for him, they’re willing to portray him as an executive who has no control whatsoever over his people.
As we’ve seen so many times in the past five years, there seems to be a neverending supply of room under the Obama bus and it’s not inconceivable that the lapdog media is helping set up any number of White House staffers to throw under it to save the “historic” president.
In the latest expression of Republican frustration with conservative GOP colleagues, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME) excoriated Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) for persistently refusing to initiate House-Senate budget negotiations.
Their comments on the Senate floor Tuesday reflect a growing Republican schism over how to approach the tax and spending fights that have hamstrung Congress for years and dragged its approval ratings to historic lows.
Here outside of the Progressive mothership we know that disgruntlement by McCain or Collins do not a schism make. In fact, if they are both irritated at the same time it more often than not means the GOP is doing something right for once.
Nowhere in the post is it explained how a guy who has been a senator for two years and another who’s had the job for four months are reflective of a problem that Congress has had “for years”.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite had a rather much ado about nothing post on May 16 concerning Martin Bashir’s show, where he – and Joy Reid of the Grio – forced Republican strategist Ron Christie to admit that former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was a Bush appointee.
While the outrage at the political targeting by the IRS is warranted, the strength of the “chilling” effect of it relies on a bit of a Catch-22, in that the delays arguably prevented them from affecting the outcome of the election, which they’re really not supposed to be doing anyway. The IRS wasn’t wrong for targeting political organizations, they were wrong for not targeting more political organizations.
“Joy, this is not about bureaucratic ineptitude,” Christie disagreed, “this is about a culture within the Obama administration…”
That’s where he ran into trouble. “Wait a minute, the IRS is not the Obama administration, Ron,” Reid shot back.
“That is a flat-out lie,” Christie replied. “The IRS commissioner is a political appointee by the president.”
What ensued then was several moments of Christie repeating that “The President of the United States appoints the IRS commissioner,” and Reid asking who had appointed the IRS commissioner who oversaw the “culture” that Christie decried.
Finally, Bashir stepped in. “Ron, I accept your assertion. Joy is asking you very politely to answer that question. Who appointed the head of the IRS?”
“Doug Shulman,” Reid helpfully added.
A stubborn Christie intoned “The IRS commissioner is appointed by the President of the United States.”
“Who appointed Mr. Shulman?” Bashir asked.
“Mr. Shulman was appointed in the previous administration,” Christie finally admitted.
What’e the point? Christopher concluded saying:
Christie continued to argue that the IRS is not independent, because the President was able to fire Miller (or to demand his resignation), but that’s the key difficulty that the President’s opponents will have with this scandal, going forward. In order to argue that the misconduct was the result of an administration culture, they have to pin this on George W. Bush, but the credit for fixing it will all go to President Obama.
Really? So, because this current administration is in the suck, the left has resorted to blaming Bush – again? That won’t spin this scandal away, and it’s nonsensical since this whole mess began in 2010. Liberals seem to have trouble digesting this: it happened under the Obama administration. Also, Obama’s White House Counsel knew about this last month, but that’s not all.
The DOJ took two months of phone records from the Associated Press. The EPA, which usually gives fee waivers to media and watchdog groups, cooperated with environmental groups, but denied conservative ones. We still have questions on Benghazi, and let’s not forget Fast and Furious. Is Bush to blame for all of these disasters? No. Obama’s second term agenda is on life support. It’s like whack-a-mole. You could try to discredit one scandal by blaming Bush, but this fact remains. These scandals are here to stay, and the president’s grossly overrated rhetorical skills won’t be able to save him. The American people’s patience wears thin quickly with scandal-ridden politicians.
The IRS is under siege, but have no fear for Nate Silver is here. While Silver does concede that Tea Party organizations were unduly targeted, he also tried to discredit the WSJ’s Peggy Noonan on May 17 to show that the individuals being singled out in this scandal isn’t a big deal. He also he also has the mathematical calculations prove it. In fact, Silver has a very blasé attitude since hundreds of thousands of Romney and Obama supporters were subjected to audits in 2012, but that doesn’t discredit anything. Conservative groups are at the core of this government malfeasance. Yet, here’s what’s telling about the post. Silver wrote:
to be clear, this calculation assumes that individuals’ risk of being audited is independent of their political views. In fact, there is no way to know exactly how many supporters of each candidate were chosen for an audit — nor could there be, since individual-level voting records and audit records are private.
The point is, however, that even with no political targeting at all, hundreds of thousands of conservative voters would have been chosen for audits in the I.R.S.’s normal course of business. Among these hundreds of thousands of voters, thousands would undoubtedly have gone beyond merely voting to become political activists.
So, Nate Silver just said that there were a lot of audits that we can’t verify were politically motivated, but it happens anyway – which means it’s ok. All of this proved was that Silver has too much time on his hands, and gave us an irrelevant tally of audited Romney and Obama voters. Now, let’s say they were targeted. The scandal is now much more serious and larger in scope. And the fact the people on both sides were hunted down means that the IRS – and Washington – are running amok. Concerning Silver’s calculations on individual audits from 2012, Joel Pollack at Breitbart wrote yesterday that:
the telling omission in Silver’s post is that he cannot prove that these conservatives–some of whom were subjected to several audits at once–weren’t audited for political reasons. The fact that some were statistically more likely to have been audited (once) for ordinary reasons does not mean that they were not audited for political reasons.
In fact, it is precisely the unlikely nature of some of these audits that has led to legitimate suspicion of the IRS’s motives.
Consider Noonan’s account of what happened to Romney donor Frank VanderSloot: “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.” Were his wife and business also statistically likely to have been chosen?
Granted, Silver did concede that the targeting of conservative organizations was “very clear.”
And evidence could yet emerge that there was targeting of politically active individual taxpayers. But the principle is important: a handful of anecdotal data points are not worth very much in a country of more than 300 million people.
Math cannot spin away a scandal any better than magic fairy dust. Just because one angle of a scandal looks shoddy doesn’t mean the whole fiasco is now disproved. That’s the problem with liberals. They fail to see that big government will execute ways to maximize their power in any way, shape or form. Conservative groups were targeted, and I’m glad Silver admits that point. But if organizations were targeted – what’s to stop the IRS from going after individuals? With an administration that seems aloof to all of these scandals, we shouldn’t be surprised if future developments show that the IRS did just that. I guess that’s the price you pay for a government that’s “too vast.”
Nevertheless, an investigation is underway. Let’s see what happens.
Thanks to all who contributed to our latest Photo Caption Contest.
With all the scandals swirling around President Obama, expect even more tears in the next few weeks because Obama knows his legacy is threatened.
And what does our fearless leader do when his legacy is threatened?
“I sure want to do some governing,” is what President Obama told a star- studded crowd at a New York City fundraiser just hours after last Monday’s “tearful” press conference.
Now, as the contest judge, if someone had submitted that statement as a caption contest entry they would have been awarded the Grand Prize.
Therefore, I declare President Obama our honorary Caption Contest winner. (I am sure he will place our trophy next to his Nobel Peace Prize.)
Speaking of “noble” winners, let’s start with our list of Honorable Mentions.
Submitted by Bpseudomalleus:
I’m a better scandal than Nixon and a better crier than Boehner.
Submitted by Rbj:
*Sniff*, why am I finally being held accountable for the first time ever?
Submitted by WWHawkeye:
“Honestly, I have no idea how I got Krazy Glue on my cheek.”
RockThisTown (a Caption King) submitted these two:
“Where’s a Marine to block water off my face when I need one?”
“There’s no ‘there’ there, er, I mean, there’s no tear there.”
Cfbleachers our Caption King Emeritus submitted:
I’m going to miss Chris Matthews tingling leg soooo much.
And the Grand Prize goes to our reigning Caption King, Chris Henderson with:
White House plumbers have been called in to fix the leak in Obama’s tear duct.
Congratulations to King Henderson who continues his serious winning streak!
Just in case some of you are too young to understand the humor in this winning entry, here is the “White House Plumbers” definition from Wiki:
The White House Plumbers, sometimes simply called the Plumbers, were a covert White House Special Investigations Unit established July 24, 1971 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Its task was to stop the leaking of classified information to the news media. Its members branched into illegal activities working for the Committee to Re-elect the President, including the Watergate break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal.
But now its 2013.… “gate” scandals are so overplayed and the current White House has no need for plumbers. Instead, they just fix their own problems “in-house” because the law is irrelevant.
See you next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler Photo Caption Contest! (And if you don’t see another contest, it’s because I am busy fending off an IRS audit.)
Well, this is great. Ryan Gallagher at Slate, a Washington Post affiliate, reported yesterday that:
when the feds came knocking for AP journalists’ call records last year, Verizon apparently turned the data over with no questions asked. The New York Times, citing an AP employee, reported Tuesday that at least two of the reporters’ personal cellphone records “were provided to the government by Verizon Wireless without any attempt to obtain permission to tell them so the reporters could ask a court to quash the subpoena.”
Controversially, the AP was not given advance notice of the seizure, which is considered the usual protocol when the government is seeking to obtain journalists’ records. However, Verizon Wireless could have notified the reporters, which may have helped them challenge its legality. Companies like Dropbox and Twitter have made it their policy to inform users (whenever possible) that the government is seeking access to their data, and Twitter has been applauded for how it has been willing to challenge authorities’ surveillance attempts in court. But Verizon—like AT&T, Facebook, and Comcast—has been criticized in the past for its lack of willingness to stand up for users’ privacy rights, which suggests its decision to hand over AP reporters’ records is true to form. The company has been rated as one of the worst in the United States for three consecutive years in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual “Who Has Your Back?” reports.
Should we initiate the Drudge protocol?
The liberal network is the Iron Dome for the Obama administration, but that doesn’t seem to be working in its favor concerning ratings. In his May 16 column, Joe Concha at Mediaite showed how the network was successful in turning “Mitt Romney into Gordon Gekko” in 2012, and saw its ratings soar to its highest levels. As a result, MSNBC vowed to overtake CNN, which really isn’t a all that impressive. What’s even more embarrassing was that during the Boston Bombing, everyone decided to watch CNN and HLN. In fact, HLN and CNN overtook MSNBC in the ratings with the coveted 24-54 demographic. Why? Concha said:
[I]n short, Phil Griffin’s network revolves around one thing: Politics. And that world just ain’t that compelling unless there’s ballot box somewhere in the near future. MSNBC is also built on pointing out the hypocrisy and/or evil nature of the Republican Party and Fox News, two cornerstones of its content. But now it is President Obama and his promise to be a completely transparent administration that is being gleefully exposed as hypocritical by the GOP and Fox.
In other words, the President is (to quote Tom Cruise in The Firm): “…like a ship carrying a cargo that will never reach any port”.
On the U.S.S. Obama is MSNBC. And in making a run at Fox and in an effort to distance itself from CNN, they simply rearranged the deck chairs by doing things like moving Chris Hayes from weekday mornings to primetime. The result has been nothing short of disastrous, as he now trailsThe O’Reilly Factor by a 7-to-1 margin while failing to get 500,000 viewers per night (Keith Olbermann, conversely, routinely generated over 1.2 million viewers before being asked to leave).
The only hope, of course, is Hillary and the Clinton for President 2.0 2016 campaign. It was somehow the lead story on the Chris Matthews Show on Sunday. All complete with fat jokes aboutChris Christie (lather, rinse, repeat) from the host, who ain’t exactly Calista Flockhart himself…
Benghazi? IRS? AP phone records seized? Nope…it’s all about an election 42 months away. Why? Because it’s a challenge to defend the President these days. His party won’t win in 2014. He’s already past tense, a lame duck. What to do?
Well, they’re trying to defend the president.
I do not believe what the IRS was reported to have been doing is an outrage. I believe that the IRS agents in this case did nothing wrong. Let me say it again, you won’t hear it anywhere else: the IRS agents did nothing wrong. They were simply trying to enforce the law as the IRS has understood it since 1959.” – Lawrence O’Donnell on the IRS.
“Conservatives still want to change the subject to the fake, ginned up scandal they’ve been pushing month after month.” – Chris Hayes on Benghazi.
In the wake of the IRS scandal, it was discovered that the Leadership Institute was targeted with what is being described as a “yearlong harassing audit.” The Leadership Institute trains conservative activists across the country. The Washington Free Beacon’s CJ Ciaramella cited Morton Blackwell, LI’s founder and president, yesterday saying,
[T]he IRS’ indefensible behavior is worse than we first thought, as it targeted both new and existing conservative groups in politically motivated attacks…fortunately my Leadership Institute had the resources to stand up to the government’s bullying and intimidation. Other groups, including grassroots and tea party groups we’ve helped train, did not.
In the end, the IRS accepted the Leadership Institute’s 2008 tax return, which was under review, but not after the non-profit spent $50,000 in legal fees. Yet, it seems the Franklin Center, which trains citizen journalists, was also on the IRS’ hit list.
The Franklin Center’s Watchdog project reported on May 15 that there was an unusual jump in IRS.gov and EOP.gov traffic to their site from December of 2012 through May of 2013. Franklin Center staff went back to see if they correlated with Drudge hits, or something of that nature, but couldn’t come to anything conclusive regarding the spike. What is interesting is that on December 14th, 2012, the IRS visited their site 111 times, despite the average of one or two visits a day. The second highest day for page views from the IRS is twenty.
Will Swaim and Ryan Ekvall, who wrote the piece on Watchdog, mentioned that:
according to Google analytics, the IRS generated 456 unique visitors, between January 2009 and May 2013. The report notes 552 visits and 709 page views from the IRS. Most of the traffic occurred between the second half of 2012 and this week.
The analytics show 60 unique visitors and 84 page views to Watchdog.org from eop.gov, the Executive Office of the President, between December 2009 and May 2013.
The IRS has apologized in recent days for targeting conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status. Republicans are calling for criminal prosecutions, and the FBI is now investigating.
The source of White House visits, eop.gov, redirects visitors to the official White House website. A message on that redirect reads, “You have requested a page on EOP.gov and have been redirected here. EOP.gov is a domain operated by the Executive Office of the President. WhiteHouse.gov is the public-facing website for the EOP.”
Oh, this scandal reeks of Nixon.
On May 16, the New York Times editorial board was appalled by Republican obstructionism for stalling Obama’s agenda, and said that nothing really bad happened at the IRS. All of this scandal talk is a diversion.
When politicians want to turn scandals into metaphors, actual details of wrongdoing or incompetence no longer matter. In fact, the details of the troubles swirling around the White House this week are bluntly contradicting Republicans who want to combine them into a seamless narrative of tyrannical government on the rampage.
The Internal Revenue Service, according to an inspector general’s report, was not reacting to political pressure or ideology when it singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny in evaluating requests for tax exemptions. It acted inappropriately because employees couldn’t understand inadequate guidelines. The tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, never a scandal to begin with, has devolved into a turf-protection spat between government agencies, and the e-mail messages Republicans long demanded made clear that there was no White House cover-up.
The only example of true government overreach was the seizure of The Associated Press’s telephone records, the latest episode in the Obama administration’s Javert-like obsession with leakers in its midst.
They “couldn’t understand the inadequate guidelines.” So, is the IRS is staffed with mentally challenged personnel? That alone would be a scandal, with sub-par government workers in charge of collecting revenue. On Benghazi, twelve talking point revisions, and omitting key facts about the culprits, (cough, al-Qaeda, cough) isn’t a cause for concern? Furthermore, the president watched the attack in real-time. Did he watch Ambassador Stevens die? I think he did, but that’s a different matter.
Yet, the New York Times, in their infinite wisdom, said that what’s really being ignored is the impact of the sequester.
While Washington was arguing about e-mail messages about Benghazi, it wasn’t paying attention to the hundreds of thousands of defense furloughs announced this week because of the Republican-imposed sequester, which will become a significant drag on economic growth. It wasn’t focusing on the huge drop in the deficit, which has yet to silence the party’s demands for more austerity. And apparently it’s considered old news that Republicans are blocking several of the president’s cabinet nominees.
For those who are wondering whether this week’s political windstorms will hinder Mr. Obama’s second-term agenda, here’s a bulletin: That agenda was long ago imperiled by the obstruction of Republicans. (See Guns. Jobs. Education. And, very possibly, Immigration.)
The NYT editorial staff thinks that $44 billion in cuts will impact the economy. That’s laughable, especially when Medicare fraud costs us $100-300 billion a year, which is three times what we spend on education – and that’s from just one program. So, don’t deflect with sequester because you’re just insulting everyone’s intelligence. Talking points from the budget debate won’t save Obama, or his legacy after this fiasco.
A chilling fact, and one that EVERY American needs to be fully aware, is the IRS will have a major role in the implementation of Obamacare, officially known as Affordable Care Act. (ACA)
Now, in light of the current IRS scandal, the thought of the IRS legally wedded to the ACA should give every American serious heart burn.
Here is how The Blaze reported this issue on May 15th:
Stuart Varney appeared on Fox News this morning to discuss just how much the IRS will have control over with the complete implementation of the president’s health care overhaul. “The IRS will be the policing agent for Obamacare,” Varney said. “You’re going to have to, on your next tax return, you’re going to have to report to the IRS personal health care information…Do you trust the IRS with your personal health care information?”
Most Americans would answer, “Hell no” to that question.
However, the vast majority of Americans are unaware that the IRS is taking a lead role in implementing Obamacare — a program that is viewed favorably by only 35 percent of Americans.
Here is an explanation behind the Obamacare/IRS joint venture as reported by The Week:
When the Supreme Court upheld the ACA last year, it ruled that the law was constitutional because it used tax penalties and credits to make the new health care system work. The agency is in charge of implementing 47 tax provisions, including new taxes on medical devices and new subsidies for those who want to purchase coverage through health care exchanges set to debut later this year. The agency will also be tasked with ensuring that all Americans can prove they have “qualifying” coverage under the law.
Now one can only imagine the horrors awaiting all Americans when the IRS and the ACA join forces later this year.
But today, House Republicans are voting on what will only amount to a symbolic repeal of the ACA. Symbolic, because the bill will die in the Senate and the mainstream media will make light of the fact that the Republican controlled House is trying for the third time to repeal this unpopular bill since they took control in 2011.
Therefore, what I believe we have is a major communication problem.
Certainly, if all Americans knew of the forthcoming marriage between a mismanaged, scandal plagued IRS and the unpopular ACA program in control of one/sixth of the nation’s economy, than today’s House repeal vote might have a chance of making it to the floor of the Democrat controlled Senate.
Then numerous “red state” Democrat Senators up for reelection in 2014 would be forced to vote for or against the ACA. (Which is precisely why this kind of vote will not happen.)
All Americans must be made aware and Republicans must properly convey, just what is at stake when this unholy alliance between the IRS and the ACA is implemented.
To quote Newt Gingrich on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier this week, “Why would you trust the bureaucracy with your health if you can’t trust the bureaucracy with your politics?”
Watch for that question to be the bumper sticker issue of the 2014 midterm elections.
When you become the face of a scandal, it’s probably not the best idea to deliver a commencement address to graduating students. Lois Lerner, who became infamous for her “I’m not good a math” comment, was supposed to receive an honorary awards at Western New England University, but has since rescinded her invitation. Ms. Lerner seems to be thinking of the students, and for this – I commend her decision. If she had attended, the whole event would have been about her, which isn’t right. Scott Greer at Campus Reform wrote today that:
Lerner withdrew to keep the focus on the graduates rather than on her controversial actions, a spokesman for the university told Campus Reform on Wednesday.
“She grew concerned that the focus would be on her and the development the IRS rather than on the law graduates,” said Dave Stawasz, spokesman for WNE.
In a press conference about the growing scandal last Friday, Lerner famously downplayed her own mathematical skills when she was asked by a reporter to clarify how many conservative groups had been inappropriately targeted by IRS agents.
What’s ironic about this whole university situation is that:
the school praised in her [Lerner] in a press release for the commencement for designing forms for applying for tax exempt status from the IRS and for overseeing over 900 employees.
Lerner is an alumnae of the school.
Then again, to add on to her tax-exempt foul up, Lerner excusing herself from the commencement could be due to the fact that she received over $42,000 in bonuses since 2009. Also, the “rogue” employees CNN mentioned this afternoon, included her.
The director of the Internal Revenue Service division under fire for singling out conservative groups sent a 2012 letter under her name to one such group, POLITICO has learned. The March 2012 letter was sent to the Ohio-based American Patriots Against Government Excess (American PAGE) under the name of Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Division…
Oh, and there’s that Barack H. Obama Foundation. Bryan Preston reported that:
Lois Lerner, the senior IRS official at the center of the decision to target tea party groups for burdensome tax scrutiny, signed paperwork granting tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a shady charity headed by the president’s half-brother that operated illegally for years.
In that latter case, Obama had collected money long before he was granted his tax-exempt status. Lerner helped him out by making his status retroactive all the way to 2008, shielding him from exposure to any tax evasion nastiness.
So, one could say she did it for the students, but knowing how the Potomac messes with people in this town – I’m guessing she’ll be using the time to find a good lawyer.
With the conclusion of the trial involving Philly abortionist Kermit Gosnell, another may be in the works. This time we’re in Texas. Sordid details have been documented about an abortionist, who twisted the heads off of babies. Additionally, he allegedly ripped living babies apart during the procedure. As Live Action’s investigation into the late-term abortion industry have exposed, Gosnell is not alone.
Steven Ertelt at Life News reported today that three women:
Deborah Edge, Gigi Aguliar, and Krystal Rodriguez, have come forward to tell of their horrific experiences working for abortionist Douglas Karpen, at one of three of his Texas abortion clinics, the Aaron Women’s Clinic in Houston. A fourth informant has co-operated with Operation Rescue, filing an affidavit about her experiences, but remains at this time anonymous.
The pictures these women took of the dead children are graphic, disturbing, and were beyond 24 weeks, making them illegal abortions.
…show babies that are huge, with gashes in their necks, indicating that these babies were likely born alive, then killed, just as Kermit Gosnell did at his ‘House of Horrors’ clinic in Philadelphia,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “In fact, there are numerous similarities between Karpen and the Gosnell case, including the disregarding of complaints by the authorities that allowed both men to continue their illegal operations.”
Deborah Edge “described how some babies would emerge too soon and would be alive, moving, and breathing. She also told of how Karpen would sometimes deliver the babies feet first with the toes wiggling until he stabbed them with a surgical implement. At the moment the toes would suddenly splay out before going limp. Sometimes he would kill the babies by “twisting the head off the neck.”
That’s not all. In 2005, a sewer broke at Karpen’s Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center, and its contents spilled onto a neighboring parking lots of a car dealership. According to Ertelt, “Maribeth Smith, an employee of the car dealership said she is convinced she saw human body parts mixed in with the sewage. She took photographs, believing the human tissue came from the clinic.” Edge also made a list of felonious activity occurring at Karpen’s clinic.
- Falsification of ultrasounds to produce younger fetal ages of babies over the legal limit or older fetal ages to extract more money out of women.
- Fraudulent billing practices.
- Surgical equipment not properly sterilized.
- Reuse of disposable instruments.
- Unqualified workers drawing and administering drugs.
- Late-term abortions done at 28 weeks and later. (Texas law permits only to 24 weeks.)
- Lack of adequate nursing staff.
- Concealing poorly kept logs from inspectors to prevent deficiency citations.
- Hiring nurses through a temp agency to work only on days when inspections are scheduled.
- Mistreating heavy women and inappropriately touching attractive women while under sedation.
- Sexual harassment.
The notion of a “Kermit Gosnell” operating in Texas is so offensive to Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, that he’s ordered an investigation into Karpen.
In a week when serial murderer Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of killing babies, I read with disgust about the allegations of Houston-based abortionist Douglas Karpen performing illegal late-term abortions surrounded by appalling sanitary conditions in his clinic…the Harris County authorities should perform a full-scale investigation and take action against those who broke state law.”
Let’s see how this turns out. Let’s see how this turns out. In the meantime, Sen. Richard Blumenthal could stop blocking abortion resolution in the wake of Gosnell, and health officials in all 50 states should respond to the congressional letter asking them what are they doing to prevent other Gosnells from operating. Sadly, in Texas, it seems one has already made it his home.
The IRS tax fiasco has most in a frenzy. Some Democrats say the scandal reeks of Nixon. On a lighter note, Obama is keeping pace with most second term presidents, regarding political scandals and poor economic performance. This is just one of five scandals which are plaguing this administration. So much for “hope and change,” huh? This could dominate the remainder of Obama’s second term, especially as the president’s Benghazi narrative seems to be crumbling all around him. With the IRS scandal, it’s the same situation.
At the time, now-ex IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, on more than one occasion, told Congress that the targeting of conservative groups wasn’t happening back in March of 2012. Well, as the Washington Post reported on May 13, his successor, Steve Miller, was informed that the agency was executing this protocol in May of 2012.
As Ed Morrissey of Hot Air reported on May 13:
The current commissioner knew for a full year that the agency was targeting Tea Party groups and other opposition organization for aggressive auditing? And in the middle of an election year, no less? And yet, today Barack Obama insists that he knew nothing of this practice until last Friday.
This is either the most incompetent administration ever, or one of the least honest. I don’t think there’s a third option any longer, especially in this scandal.
Who told him to keep quiet? That will certainly be one of the questions. At the same time, this poses a fresh set of problems for Shulman, too. It will be very difficult to argue that he didn’t know anything about the practice in March 2012 when his chief counsel knew about it in August 2011, but that Miller came up to speed on it just after his departure. And both men will have to answer whether and when they briefed the White House on this — or whether the White House briefed them to put the practice in place.
Yet, the IRS also released confidential documents from conservative groups. According to Kim Barker and Justin Elliott at ProPublica, they received applications for non-profits by the IRS before they were made public.
The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year.
The IRS did not respond to requests Monday following up about that release, and whether it had determined how the applications were sent to ProPublica.
For Obama, the notion that he heard about this from the newspapers seems to be a lie since the White House Counsel’s office knew about the IRS’ operations in April.
The White House counsel’s office was informed in April of an inspector general’s review of the Internal Revenue Service, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.
Carney told reporters that the counsel’s office was told of the examination into the targeting of conservative groups during the week of April 22, but not given details about the review’s findings. President Obama, Carney said, was not told about the review and learned of it only after news reports emerged Friday.
Though attention has turned to the IRS and Benghazi controversies, Carney said the president will stay focused on accomplishing his goals, since that’s what Americans want. “Broadly speaking, the American people want Washington to focus on the issues that matter most to them, and that generally means focusing on growing the economy, helping it create jobs, strengthening the middle class, expanding opportunity, expanding security for middle-class families and seniors,” he said. ” And that’s what the President will continue to focus on. “
Is that why Obama has spent only 3.6% of his presidency so far trying to fix the economy?
On Monday May 6th the following question was posted on The Blaze, linked to Buzzfeed’s report from Reuters:
Did Obama Cry While Answering Benghazi Questions During Press Conference?
Buzzfeed reported Reuters’ description of the same photo taken by its photographer, Jim Bourg, referencing the moisture on the president’s cheek as a “tear” that came while he answered press questions about Benghazi.
“A tear runs down the face of President Barack Obama as he answers questions about the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington,” Reuters’ description read.
So now you know why the above photo is deemed “worthy” of a Tatler Caption Contest along with loyal contest participants specifically asking for this photo be a contest subject.
I am not going to fault President Obama for showing emotion about the Benghazi incident which resulted in the loss of four Americans. But I do have doubts that it was the real reason for the tear Obama shed eight months after the attack while hosting a joint White House press conference with the British Prime Minister.
Since Benghazi “happened a long time ago” (as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recently stated) than what else could spark such emotion in our normally “kool” president?
The answer is simple, “It’s the legacy stupid!”
President Obama’s teardrop fell the moment he realized he had lost control over the shaping of his legacy. This explanation is possible because it is well known that Obama’s legacy is very important to him.
In fact, he planned on spending his entire second-term passing and implementing such legacy issues as health care, gun control, and immigration reform.
Then on Monday evening after the tearful press conference, Obama flew off to a star-studded New York City fundraiser hosted by Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein. There, Obama made a statement no president has ever felt the need to make. While reflecting on his second term, he said, “I sure want to do some governing.”
But when is there time for “governing” when his schedule is crowded with fundraising, campaigning, travel, parties, golf and vacations?
And with all the scandals currently engulfing him, even less time will be left for “governing.” (Many readers are cheering this.)
Even more damaging is Obama can not escape the dreaded “N” word he is being associated with on a daily basis, even from his former cheerleaders in the media!
Nixon’s legacy was certainly not the one Obama planned on emulating since his Messianic presidency began with all those lofty comparisons to Lincoln, FDR, and even the real Messiah.
But enough of my theories. Now it’s time for PJ Media readers to weigh in by either writing a caption or explaining the teardrop from the “kool guy.”
Please remember our rules, “be nice and stay classy because the media is watching.” (And obeying these rules might keep you from getting audited.)
Here again are the winners from our last contest (and only a few of them have been audited so far.)
Good luck and please note that using the “N” word (Nixon) in your caption means your entry will automatically be singled out for special attention by the IRS and yours truly!
Thanks to all who entered our latest and very successful, Photo Caption Contest.
It appears that most entries fell into three distinct categories.
1. Making fun of Hillary’s 2016 run for the White House.
2. Making fun of both Clinton’s past statements.
3. Comments on Hillary’s looks or age.
I fully expect this topic trifecta to be further exploited as 2016 approaches. (However, we must be sensitive writing about Hillary’s looks and age because I too am a middle-aged woman, as are your wives or mothers.)
Due to the fact that there were so many clever entries, choosing a winner(s) was exceptionally difficult. But here goes…..
The Grand Prize of priceless PR is awarded to one of our “Caption Kings,” Chris Henderson with this stinging Tazer-like entry:
“Islamists did not have terrorist relations with that Consulate!”
Note: Official Announcement Alert
Since Chris Henderson has won this Grand Prize, along with numerous recent contest wins, means that he has officially dethroned cfbleachers as the reining Caption King of Kings. (Oh no, did I just start a vicious Caption King war?) Please remember that cfbleachers is STILL a royal Caption King along with RockThisTown, but King Henderson’s throne is positioned just a tad higher at this moment.
Here are King Henderson’s Honorable Mention captions:
“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘difference’ is!”
“It’s not like it was sniper fire in Bosnia or anything!”
“How dare Ambassador Stevens die at the hands of peaceful Islamic non-terrorists and disrupt my megalomaniacal presidential plans!”
Hillary orders the media to Stand Down on their reporting of Benghazi.
Close on Henderson’s tail were these two entries from cfbleachers: (Who I sense is now planning a clever, but forceful verbal assault against me and King Henderson.)
What does Hillary wear to a Congressional tantrum? Depends.
A scene from Shaming of the True.
RockThisTown deserves some kudos for these Honorable Mentions:
It Takes a Villain. (This was my husband’s favorite caption and now he repeats it every time he sees Hillary on TV.)
“I should be getting a facelift in preparation for 2016 instead of wasting my time here with you!”
“Can’t you see I’m having a bad hair day!”
Now for the rest of the Honorable Mentions.
DON’T YOU GET IT? MY FUTURE IS ON THE LINE HERE?
PRETEND IT DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE, DAMMIT!
This doesn’t matter, It’s my turn, I’m supposed to be President!
Two from CrankyYankee:
“I’ve baked this story for 7 months, and you will eat and like it!”
“I Can’t Handle The Truth!”
“This is about me and my career and I’m not letting four dead guys screw it up!”
It depends on what the meaning of “it” is!
Thanks again to all who entered and see you next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler Photo Caption Contest!
And remember, “Fighting is encouraged in the royal court of the Caption Kings.”
Talk about pulling a Seymour Hersh, Hayes Brown at Think Progress is trying to discredit Gregory Hicks, a Benghazi whistleblower, by attacking his managerial style and professionalism. By the way, all the sources cited in the piece are unnamed.
Hicks gave testimony to Congress last week about Benghazi, and highlighted how he knew from the beginning that this was a terrorist attack. He said his “jaw dropped” when the Obama administration blamed a YouTube video for the attack. Well, for liberals, he’s an awful manager, so his testimony is worthless.
A second State Department employee present in Libya before and during the Benghazi attacks confirmed the meetings occurred. Assistant Secretary Jones’ meetings with the staff prior to Oct. 2 were “entirely” focused on Hicks’ performance, according to this second employee, who also believed that Hicks should be removed from his position. “The group of us who were here during the attacks, we sat here two nights ago and watched [the hearing] with our jaws dropped,” the staffer said, referring to Hicks’ claim that he was demoted out of retribution for speaking out.
“He was removed from here because he was a disaster as a manager,” the second employee went on to say, expressing the belief that Hicks’ reassignment had “nothing to do with him being a whistleblower, it had everything to do with his management capacity or lack thereof.” This statement contradicts the narrative promoted on conservative media outlets that Hicks was being forced to remain silent and being punished for speaking out.
The same employees also told ThinkProgress of several troubling incidents involving Hicks and the staff at the Tripoli Embassy both before and after the September 11, 2012 assault in Benghazi. During the aftermath of Benghazi, Hicks showed a lack of diplomatic protocol that both staffers found extremely questionable given the tense times. This includes going to a meeting with the Libyan Prime Minister Mohammed Magarief in a t-shirt, cargo pants, and baseball cap. “I’m too upset to wear a suit,” Hicks allegedly told a staffer. “I want the Libyans to know how upset I am about this attack.”
Well, David Freddoso, who responded on the same day, at Conservative Intel. Briefing aptly noted that Hicks was a State Department employee for twenty-two years, but the Obama lapdogs just realized – from an anonymous source – that Hicks was a bad manager?
Hicks was removed in October 2012. So this provides a nice reminder that even if the State Department’s senior leadership couldn’t be bothered to provide adequate security in Benghazi or Tripoli, or to get an investigation underway into the attack in a timely fashion, there was plenty of time to settle bureaucratic scores in the weeks immediately following the attack. After all, do YOU want to be represented by someone who shows up to meetings in…cargo pants?
On the issue of cargo pants, Freddoso caustically said, “if that doesn’t prove this guy’s “testimony” is a total wingnut sham, then I just don’t know what will.”
So, the left is taking something that could embarrass or smear one’s reputation, and try to make that frivolous angle the story for the media to eat up. So, the managerial style of a State Department employee discredits his knowledge of the attack? It’s pathetic – and it’s always been that way.
During the Monica Lewinsky Scandal, the left used the same tactics in smearing Rep. Henry Hyde and others in Congress were pushing hard for impeachment. Liberals decided to slap him with his past indiscretions. Hyde did have an extramarital affair with Cherie Snodgrass in the late 1960s. Salon was the site that ran with the story, and explained why they did it:
It will be argued that Hyde’s 30-year-old affair cannot be compared to Clinton’s, because Hyde’s sexual intrigue was not carried out in Washington and because he did not lie under oath. Clinton is not being investigated because he had an affair, those who argue this insist, but because he lied about it. This is, we submit, either absurdly naive or disingenuous: Lying and having an affair can’t be separated. To have an affair is by definition to lie about it — an affair is a lie. Consequently, the notion that Clinton’s lies about the nature of his relationship with Lewinsky could constitute an impeachable offense is blatant politics, hiding under a legal fig leaf.
It’s true that an affair is a lie, but Hyde wasn’t the President of the United States, nor did he allegedly lie under oath. It’s a whole other ballgame when you allegedly perjure yourself in a legal deposition. Additionally, Hyde’s tryst didn’t carry an obstruction of justice charge with it. Just because someone else did something of a similar nature back in the day, doesn’t excuse the most powerful man in the world, who purportedly abused his power. That’s not an argument.
This attempt to discredit Hicks’s testimony for being a bad manager – from people we don’t know – carries the same undertones. Then again, let’s say Hicks was a bad manager, you still have the Benghazi talking points undergoing twelve revisions, and removing the word “terrorism” from the final draft. It also omitted al-Qaeda’s involvement, but Hicks wore cargo pants!
Last week my husband and I were back in our hometown of Washington D.C. where we both had business and events to attend. Normally I do not write about my personal travel adventures but this trip had a rather unique “historical time capsule” element that makes it worth recanting.
My husband, a retired State Department Foreign Service officer is now an executive with Cross International/Cross Catholic Alliance, both an international Christian and Catholic humanitarian organization that improves the lives of the poor in 40 countries around the world.
He also serves on the board of an advocacy group which is comprised of similar Christian faith-based organizations.
Mid-week while attending a conference of the advocacy group, my husband told me they spent an entire afternoon discussing how Christian groups are being increasingly squeezed/harassed by the Obama Administration in matters such as hiring policies, health insurance coverage and IRS audits. (Cue the foreboding music.)
Meanwhile, Thursday on Capitol Hill, I attended a luncheon held by the Republican Women’s Federal Forum, a group in which I am a long time member and where Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the speaker.
We all know that Senator Paul is putting out feelers as to whether he should make a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but first he must increase his name identification, make some headlines and develop his brand image.
On Wednesday, the day before the Rand Paul luncheon the Congressional Benghazi “whistleblower” hearings had occurred, showering the entire town with political fall-out. So naturally, Rand Paul saw fit to weigh in on this hot topic.
Senator Paul in his Thursday lunch speech said that Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi should “preclude her from holding higher office.” I immediately turned to a friend sitting next to me and said, “Now that was a headline.” It was obvious that Rand Paul had just fired his first warning shot of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Then later on, more 2016 Republican presidential campaign antics were yet to come.
In the early evening, I attended an event called POLITICO’s Playbook Cocktails with MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
The event was supposed to be about Mika’s new book called Obsessed, America’s Food Addiction – And My Own, but of course politics soon entered the discussion. Joe Scarborough said something like President Obama should have remained a U.S. Senator in order to have gained more experience, and Senator Marco Rubio was not yet ready to run for president in 2016 and should stay in the Senate. (I strongly agree with both assessments.)
As Joe was talking about the future of the Republican Party, Mika’s cell phone rang and she immediately says, “Hi Chris.” Big surprise! N.J. Governor Chris Christie called in to join the discussion and upstaged everyone on stage. Truly it was an entertaining moment and you can watch as it happened here.
During the call, Christie said his recent secret weight reducing LAP-BAND surgery was a difficult personal decision based on health and family issues, not future political considerations. He was referring to his assumed 2016 presidential run for the GOP nomination.
However, if this surgery is successful Christie will emerge physically smaller but politically larger with an image more suitable for a jog on the national campaign trail. Therefore, Christie feels the need to justify, re-justify and further defend his “tough personal” medical decision.
So my Thursday in DC could be summarized like this: Rand Paul vs. Chris Christie vs. Hillary in 2016.
Then it was Friday and ABC News revealed that there were 12 versions of the Benghazi talking points. I cheered this “breaking” news because finally the mainstream media (MSM) were on to Benghazi, after months of Fox News being ridiculed by the MSM for its non-stop pursuit of this unresolved story. (Kudos to PJM as well, along with Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard who was the first to report the Obama Administration’s multiple Benghazi talking-points. But as we Conservatives know, news is only real news when the MSM reports it.)
Then over the weekend the Benghazi story had fully evolved to where Republicans want the whole truth while Democrats accuse Republicans of using Benghazi to target Hillary for 2016. Here are two pieces I posted last week in Washington on this exact issue.
My big question is, “Why in Washington D.C. in May of 2013 does every lunch, event and hearing have to be about the 2016 presidential election?” Could it be that Washington is such a forward thinking city? (Try not to laugh.)
While my husband’s conference finished up I had a two free hours and decided to visit the American History Museum which I had not been to in years.
On my way there, news broke that the IRS had just admitted targeting Tea Party groups who were applying for perfectly legal tax-exempt status.
How timely that the group of Christian aid agencies my husband helps represent, just two days ago in their Washington meeting had discussed how their faith-based group members were being targeted for audits by the IRS. (My husband’s organization among them.)
As I entered the American History Museum my thoughts turned to Nixon and Watergate. Remember how Nixon used the IRS to harass his political enemies? In fact, that was one of Nixon’s 1974 impeachable offenses. There are, as of this writing, no direct ties to Obama, but after all, the IRS is part of his administration.
Now the American History Museum was swamped with school kids and at one point the crowd broke into a spontaneous singing of the Star Spangled Banner while unfurling a huge flag in the lobby. This outbreak of patriotism renewed my faith in the American people even as news about the IRS will undoubtedly contribute to the growing distrust Americans have towards their government.
With my museum time short, I wandered into the American war exhibits and was shocked to see that WWI and the Korean War were stuffed into very small corners. Certainly these wars deserve more space than currently allotted.
However, WWII was the exact opposite with endless rooms covering all aspects of the war. In the Home Front exhibit there were WWII posters hanging on the side of a battleship. As an owner of a small collection of WWI and WWII posters, I was delighted to see one of my own posters on display.
So now my new definition of growing old (semi-gracefully) is seeing stuff you own hanging in the Smithsonian. And to further add friends to this definition, I spotted the name of a close friend on a movie exhibit. Instantly I sent him an image of the display, exclaiming that he was “Smithsonian” famous, as opposed to just Hollywood famous. He immediately thanked me because he had not known this and was thrilled.
Finally, on Saturday we are at Reagan National heading home and in the terminal we stumble upon a group of WWII veterans arriving as part of an Honor Flight. If you are not familiar with Honor Flights they are an organization that brings WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the WWII memorial.
Greeting them at the gate was a full band and much flag waving. Random passengers like us instantly formed lines in the terminal clapping and cheering as these heroes of the “Greatest Generation” got the welcome they richly deserved.
This spontaneous demonstration of patriotism and respect was a remarkable sight, especially after I had just visited all those Smithsonian exhibits dedicated to their struggles.
After arriving home, I had a good laugh on Sunday as Meet the Press moderator David Gregory, quoted Rand Paul’s controversial remark about Hillary that he repeated again in Iowa over the weekend. It seems 2016 is looming very large.
Then I walked into our guest room and looked lovingly at my Smithsonian WWII poster hanging on the wall. After what I consider a “time capsule” trip to Washington with so much breaking news, the poster’s slogan took on new meaning. Its stirring message is just as applicable today, whether Americans are fighting a foreign enemy or raging against their own government.
My WWII Government Printing Office poster dated 1942 says: Strong in the strength of the Lord we who fight in the people’s cause will never stop until that cause is won.
Perhaps I should send the IRS and the Obama Administration a photo of this poster? But I am sure that the poster would be outlawed today as a violation of church and state and I would be audited for even sending it.
Philly Abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s atrocities are well-documented in the grand jury report, and the case’s sparse coverage in the news has set up a rather powerful narrative concerning media bias and censorship. Even the left has admitted that the media covered up Gosnell to protect abortion. Yet, conservatives shamed the mainstream media to cover the case. It now has national attention, with a congressional probe into abortion in America. Yes, feminists, pro-aborts, and liberals aren’t going to be happy, and this could bring up the ever irritating “war on women” narrative from 2012. Nevertheless, Steven Ertelt at Life News reported on May 9 that:
A House committee has launched a nationwide investigation in response to the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the abortion practitioner charged with multiple counts of murder for gruesome abortions and infanticides.
The move follows letters from another committee to public health officials in all 50 states asking them what they are doing to prevent “House of Horrors” abortion clinics like the one Kermit Gosnell ran in Pennsylvania.
Because the Gosnell Grand Jury report identified a “regulatory collapse” that allowed Gosnell to go undetected for decades, the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general asking questions about efforts to protect the civil rights of newborns and their mothers.
Responding to that, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) have sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general seeking to find out if state and local governments are being stymied in their efforts to protect the civil rights of newborns and their mothers and if the federal government might be able to partner with states to prevent newborn homicides.
The letter asks the state attorneys general to respond to several questions and to provide copies of any official written procedures or guidance that relate to the gathering of information on, or the prosecution of, newborn homicides by June 1, 2013.
This comes after Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut blocked Sen. Mike Lee’s resolution to have hearing on Gosnell and abortion. As a result, the House wants to know what the states are doing to prevent more Gosnells from operating freely, and committing infanticide. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of angry feminists and pro-aborts on the horizon.
The Massachusetts special election to fill John Kerry’s vacancy is a statistical dead heat. Markey’s rather unimpressive record after nearly four decades in Congress seems to be keeping from jumping ahead in the polls, despite the Bay State being a Democratic stronghold. Republicans have been hammering Markey on his 1992 ethics investigation, and the ninety-two bounced checks that contributed to the closure of the House bank. While the poll was conducted by a Republican pollster, it’s the independents that really stand out. They’re a major voting bloc in the state, as indies make up more than half of the electorate. In all, the Hill reported yesterday that:
[O]nMessage Inc., gives Markey 46 percent support to Gomez’s 43 percent, with 11 percent of respondents undecided. Markey’s lead is within the poll’s 3.4 percent margin of error, indicating the race is a statistical dead heat.
Both Markey and Gomez have similarly high favorables overall, but fewer respondents view Gomez unfavorably than Markey, likely due to the fact that voters haven’t yet tuned into the race and still don’t know much about him.
But Gomez fares better among independents, a key voting bloc in Massachusetts, as more than half of the state’s voters aren’t registered with either party. Only 10 percent of independents view him negatively, while 44 percent view Markey negatively, putting Markey underwater with independents.
The internal poll was conducted among 800 likely special election voters from May 5-7.
Pollster Wes Anderson writes in his memo on the survey that Markey can’t continue to be seen so negatively by independents “and hope to win.”
The special election will be held on June 25. Markey has some work to do.
On May 10, it was discovered that the IRS had improperly targeted seventy-five conservative tax-exempt groups that had the words “patriot” or “tea party” on their forms. In a statement, the IRS said, “mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale.” It also didn’t help when Lois Lerner, the IRS division head for tax-emept groups, said that she wasn’t “good at math.” In the wake of this public relations disaster, the Washington Post published a scathing editorial last Friday calling for an investigation, and called Obama’s failure to publicly apologize for this catastrophe “disturbing.”
A BEDROCK principle of U.S. democracy is that the coercive powers of government are never used for partisan purpose. The law is blind to political viewpoint, and so are its enforcers, most especially the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Any violation of this principle threatens the trust and the voluntary cooperation of citizens upon which this democracy depends.
So it was appalling to learn Friday that the IRS had improperly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny. It was almost as disturbing that President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew have not personally apologized to the American people and promised a full investigation.
“Mistakes were made,” the agency said in a statement. IRS official Lois Lerner explained that staffers used a “shortcut” to sort through a large number of applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status, highlighting organizations with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names. The IRS insisted emphatically that partisanship had nothing to do with it. However, it seems that groups with “progressive” in their titles did not receive the same scrutiny.
If it was not partisanship, was it incompetence? Stupidity, on a breathtaking scale? At this point, the IRS has lost any standing to determine and report on what exactly happened.
The agency said that it now has rules in place to make sure this sort of thing never happens again. How could such basic safeguards not have existed in the first place? And what are the new rules? In response to our questions, officials did not say.
First, I commend the Washington Post, but at the same time, who are these people – and what did they do to the real editorial board? Some left-wing blowhards, like Ed Schultz, dismissed this story, but new details have shown that the IRS knew about the targeting back in 2011.
So, this is another issue that could frustrate Obama’s second term agenda, with the other being Benghazi. As William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection reminded us last Friday, the IRS will be the enforcement arm of Obamacare when it’s fully implemented in 2014. With this latest development, I think we can safely assume that Barack Obama won’t be different than other second term presidents in avoiding scandals and lingering economic ills. The shameless serial politicization of government agencies – and the mess left by Obamacare – will be Obama’s legacy.
Here’s to transparency and openness in government.
While last Friday’s IRS bombshell was disturbing, another story is equally shocking. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is hungry for funds to implement the Affordable Care Act on time. Congress has rejected the Obama administration’s request for more funds to subsidize the initiative. Sarah Kliff wrote on May 10 that the HHS is working with a “shoestring budget,” and now its secretary is going to the health care industry pleading for money.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.
Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.
An HHS spokesperson said Sebelius was within the bounds of her authority in asking for help.
But Republicans charged that Sebelius’s outreach was improper because it pressured private companies and other groups to support the Affordable Care Act. The latest controversy has emerged as the law faces a string of challenges from GOP lawmakers in Washington and skepticism from many state officials across the country.
Meredith McGehee, policy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which researches government ethics issues, said she was troubled by Sebelius’s activities because the secretary seemed to be “using the power of government to compel giving or insinuate that giving is going to be looked at favorably by the government.”
The success of the Affordable Care Act largely hinges on whether enough people sign up for insurance coverage. If only a small number of sick people participate, premiums would spike. But spreading information about the law to the 30 million uninsured Americans has been a struggle, partly because there isn’t enough money to fund the effort, HHS officials have argued.
Or, it could be that the new health care law is unpopular – and that includes 37% of Democrats who are also skeptical of the legislation’s impact. Nevertheless, this new lobbying push by HHS, regardless if it’s ethical, displays the vast powers the secretary has over health care policy. Back in 2010, Philip Klein wrote in the American Spectator that:
there are more than 2,500 references to the secretary of HHS in the health care law (in most cases she’s simply mentioned as “the Secretary”). A further breakdown finds that there are more than 700 instances in which the Secretary is instructed that she “shall” do something, and more than 200 cases in which she “may” take some form of regulatory action if she chooses. On 139 occasions, the law mentions decisions that the “Secretary determines.” At times, the frequency of these mentions reaches comic heights. For instance, one section of the law reads: “Each person to whom the Secretary provided information under subsection (d) shall report to the Secretary in such manner as the Secretary determines appropriate.”
The powers given to Sebelius are wide ranging. In the coming years, if she remains in office, the former Kansas governor will be able to determine what type of insurance coverage every American is required to have. She can influence what hospitals can participate in certain plans, can set up health insurance exchanges within states against their will, and even regulate McDonald’s Happy Meals. She’ll run pilot programs that Democrats have set up in an effort to control costs, and be in a position to dole out billions of dollars in grant money.
But the full breadth of her powers will be known only over time, due to the ambiguity of the language in many parts of the health care legislation. As conservatives make the case for repealing ObamaCare over the course of the next several years, it will be imperative to highlight the arbitrary new powers given to an unelected bureaucrat.
Thus, it’s no surprise – and quite fitting – that Klein called Sebelius the ‘Empress of ObamaCare.” Yet, she’s could be – no she is– benevolent towards her friends given that:
many of Sebelius’s calls have gone to current supporters of Enroll America, the most prominent nonprofit group working on the health care law’s implementation, an HHS official said. Its president, Anne Filipic, joined the group in January after serving as the White House’s deputy director for public engagement.
Yeah, nothing stinks about this new development. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin posted today that Congress should investigate this new fundraising ploy by the Obama administration, which, on top of the IRS and Benghazi fallout, will be another shady use of government power by this president. As DrewM. at Ace of Spades wrote on May 10, the folks who do give Sebelius money should expect ”a little something extra in the regulations for those that pony up. [After all,] they are just doing it out of the goodness of their tiny, black, capitalist hearts.”
Here’s to free stuff.
(H/T Ace of Spades)
Edna Kenny, Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) since 2011, plans to address Boston College on May 20. Boston College is a Catholic university, but Kenny is supporting a vote on Irish legislation that could open the way for abortion on demand for the island nation. Granted, the Huffington Post reported on May 7 that:
Kenny defied leaders of the Catholic Church on Monday, stressing his commitment to a scheduled vote on abortion legislation. Catholic leaders in the Irish Republic had earlier threatened lawmakers who would vote in favor of the proposed bill with excommunication.
Irish legislators are set to vote on a bill proposed by the prime minister’s cabinet that would legalize abortion in case of a threat to the life of the pregnant woman. The Irish government insists the proposed bill will not change the Republic’s laws on abortion, but is meant to clarify the rules on terminating pregnancies. As the Associated Press explains, the Irish constitution bans abortion but Ireland’s Supreme Court ordered in 1992 that the procedure should be legal when the woman’s life is at risk.
To many, this legislation may seem rational. I happen to know a few pro-lifers, who would agree that such an exception should be made. Yet, Kenny promised not to legislate on abortion, and the “Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013″ has been discovered that it has no limits on gestational age. As a result, the Catholic Church has denounced the bill, and Students for Life are calling on BC’s executive staff to revoke the invitation. In a press release, they stated:
Make no mistake about it: Prime Minister Enda Kenny supports allowing abortion, on-demand, in Ireland. But, before he makes abortion legal in Ireland for the first time, Kenny has been invited by Catholic leaders in America to speak at Boston College’s commencement ceremonies and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
For any college to honor the man who would usher in the mass death of Irish preborn children is simply unconscionable!
We are calling on all pro-lifers to send a personal message on the new website NotAtBC.com to Boston College President, Rev. William Leahy, expressing outrage about Prime Minister Enda Kenny representing the school at graduation and demanding the invitation be rescinded.
Tell Rev. Leahy that Enda Kenny’s work should not be honored and certainly NOT AT BC!
Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins explains why it is so important for people to speak out:
“I find it incomprehensible that Boston College, a Catholic university, will honor Prime Minister Kenny while knowing he is advocating for legal abortion in Ireland. Legalized abortion here in America has led to the deaths of over 55 million preborn baby girls and boys, the victimization of millions of women, and the crumbling of families. After our painful experience for the past 40 years, we know what legal abortion will do to Ireland.
“As Catholics, Christians, and pro-lifers of all faiths, the time is now to stand in solidarity with the innocent pre-born, oppose Prime Minister Kenny, and demand he stop promoting the grave moral evil of abortion in Ireland. Boston College must hold true to its Catholic mission and immediately revoke their invitation to Prime Minister Kenny to speak at their commencement ceremony. Now is the time to send the message that abortion will not be tolerated by the Boston College family, the Catholic Church, and millions of Americans nationwide.
Then again, President Obama gave an address at Notre Dame, and he’s probably the most pro-abortion president in our history. Nonetheless, Kenny isn’t an American politician. That’s to say, Kenny’s not the President of the United States, which isn’t to excuse Notre Dame’s decision to have Obama speak, but I can understand the optics of asking the first black president not to come.
In all, there are certainly other high-profile individuals Boston College can choose for commencement.
Well, this is rather disturbing. Last month, the state of Ohio shut down an abortion clinic after it was discovered they were stealing women’s blood. The DEA got involved with the Capital Care center in Cuyahoga Falls after a report from the Ohio Department of Health cited numerous violations, including one involving drugs. Yet, that wasn’t this clinic’s only offense.
A staff member told inspectors that “many of the facility’s patients underwent frequent surgical procedures at the facility.” There is so much wrong here, one scarcely knows where to begin.
One thing is certain: Capital Care was counting on these Rh- women to show up repeatedly to supply them with blood.
However, there was no doctor’s order for any of these women to have a tube to be drawn instead of just a finger stick, “nor was there documentation the patient was made aware of the blood sample’s intended use.”
Staffers at the clinic would keep the blood in refrigerators to be used every day over a period of two weeks. As Pro-Life Action League noted, Rh- blood is very rare, and only 15% of the U.S. population carries this type. Hence,they would harvest it every time their “repeat customers” would arrive.
Some medical records were worthless.
One record (for “Patient #6″) deserves to be quoted in full:
Patient #6 was admitted to the facility on 12/05/12. Review of the surgical procedure documentation revealed there was no documented evidence the identification of the patient was checked, a physical exam was completed, or that a beginning or ending time for the procedure had been recorded. Review of the checklist before anesthesia revealed no vital signs were checked before or after IV sedation.
Records for five other patients were nearly as bad:
Patients #33, #36, #37, #39 and #43 were admitted between 10/29/12 and 02/14/13. The medical records were noted to be either illegible and undecipherable in regards to the surgical procedures performed by the physicians. The physicians’ post operative orders were illegible and surgical procedures lacked beginning and ending times.
Staff records were inaccurate, and the clinic didn’t have enough nurses on hand. However, it was Capital Care’s handling of controlled substances that finally closed this shop. In fact, the facility’s pharmacy license expired in December of 2012, and they continued to administer pain killers.
A Capital Care medical assistant (identified to in the inspection records as “Staff D”) was administering controlled substances. She was also signing the Controlled Substance Count Sheets and stated that she only gave medications when the physician directed her to do so.
But the law doesn’t allow that. A physician may not delegate to an unlicensed person the administration of a controlled substance.
Additionally, Capital Care was operating without a valid Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Controlled Substance Certificate. Their old certificate had expired a full year earlier, on December 31, 2011.
When inspectors reviewed the Capital Care’s controlled substance log, it indicated that all of the facility’s Fentanyl (a painkiller) was used up. According to the log, there was none in the entire facility.
But inspectors found a portable box on top of a file cabinet in the administration office. It was double-locked, but could have been picked up and taken away, as it was not secured to anything.
A week later, on February 21, DEA staff arrived at the facility to “conduct a review of the pending application.” (Presumably, the clinic’s administration had since contacted the DEA about getting their Controlled Substance Certificate up to date.) The double-locked box kept on the on the file cabinet was opened and revealed the presence of six syringes containing Fentanyl.
If anything, this should give more reason as to why abortion clinics should be regulated, but pro-aborts aren’t budging.
We’ve known that Americans feeling that abortion should be illegal in most circumstances have been rising since the 2012 election. As with any emotionally charged issue, it can change with the political winds. Additionally, public opinion easily changes with the political tide. With the pervasive “war on women” barrage throughout 2012, the serial rape and pregnancy gaffes Republicans made surely hurt the pro-life movement at the time. Yet, a new Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americas are opposed to abortion in most circumstances, which includes 57% of women.
Steven Ertelt at Life News reported today that:
Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 2-7, find 58 percent of Americans want either all or almost all abortions illegal — with 20% saying it should be illegal in all circumstances and 38% favoring it in only in a few circumstances.
Just 39 percent of Americans support all or most abortions remaining legal, with only 26% of Americans favoring legalized abortion under any circumstances (the position of Planned Parenthood and President Barack Obama) and 13% favoring legality under most circumstances.
The poll also showed varying groups of Americans also strongly oppose abortions and want it illegal in all or most circumstances. Some 59 percent of men and 57 percent of women want all or most abortions illegal as do 57 percent of young Americans under the age of 34. Republicans want all or most abortions illegal on a 78-21 percentage point margin while 59 percent of independents and even 43 percent of Democrats oppose all or most abortions.
The Democratic figure is promising, but given how pro-life Democrats – what’s left of them – operate in Congress, they’re squishy on the issue of defending life. Regardless, while we’re edging closer to becoming a pro-life nation, but more work needs to be done.
Yeah, this is where the libertarian movement goes off the hinges. Adam Kokesh, an Iraq war veteran and radio talk show host, is planning an armed march on Washington for July 4th. He made headlines for his “musings” about assassinating Mitt Romney, and is a 9/11 truther. Business Insider reported that on May 6 that:
The plan, according to his Facebook event page, is to march across Memorial Bridge with rifles loaded and slung across the back “to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated [and] cower in submission to tyranny.”
The invite continues, stating, ” … This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent.”
Kokesh writes that if 10,000 attendees RSVP by June 1st, “we have the critical mass necessary to pull this off.” He said he wants to have at least 1,000 actually marching in the event, and as of this writing, more than 1,400 have said they were going.
Now, those planning on attending is over 3,000. Granted, this is Facebook, and only 300 or less could show up. Yet, the news media is going to have a field day with this fiasco – and paint gun rights supporters as anti-government zealots. For now, conservatives have beaten the anti-gun wing of America. Yes, they’ll be back, but if there is one thing that’ll strengthen their resolve, it’s idiotic sideshows like this, and libertarians wonder why their movement – by itself – hasn’t moved in the past two decades. That’s not to bash libertarians. I tend to lean that way on some social issues, but this will accomplish nothing towards beating the left in their gun control pushes.
The NRA faced the most vicious attack by liberals – and their allies in the media – in recent memory after Newtown. In the end, they prevailed, and it wasn’t because they organized armed marches. It was due to their stellar grassroots network, and engaging legislators to remind them that their organization is effective, efficient, and doesn’t forgive – or forget – those who mess with the Second Amendment.
The NRA placed red state Democrats in the crosshairs, it made the 2014 senate map more favorable to Republicans, and made Obama squander the most critical moments of his second term of a failed piece of legislation. That’s winning. For Kokesh, he’ll only make a fool of himself this summer.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee must be in a panic. They’ve got nobody. If anything, Rep. Gary Peters in Michigan and Rep. Bruce Braley in Iowa, who are third- tier at best, are the cream of the Democratic Senate crop in 2014 – and that’s not a good sign. It gets even worse with the latest development out of Georgia.
His [ Barrow's] decision to forgo the race leaves national Democrats pining for Michelle Nunn, an Atlanta-based philanthropist and the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn. Nunn and Barrow had reportedly met to discuss which of them would seek the seat, so his decision not to enter the race could be a sign that Nunn will get in.
Yet, as David Freddoso at Conservative Intel. Report noted, Nunn may have clogged the spot – and ruined her party’s chances of recapturing Georgia. She’s from the liberal wing of Georgia’s Democratic Party. Barrow wasn’t going to pull a Blanche Lincoln by engaging in intra-party warfare, only to emerge beaten and bloody for a tough general election campaign. Nunn also didn’t seem all that convinced that she should stand aside, which contributed to Barrow’s decision.
In the aftermath of the South Carolina’s special election for 1st congressional district, Freddoso mentions James Richardson’s post on George Tipsheet saying this could be an omen for George Democrats. ’Georgia’s Colbert-Busch’ = disaster at the polls. Overall:
the problem for national Democrats is that this is probably their most promising opportunity to pick up a GOP Senate seat in the 2014 midterm election and offset possible losses in states like West Virginia, South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, and others. The only other state that looks even remotely promising at this point is Kentucky, where nobody well-known wants to step up and longshot “some dude” challengers are suddenly getting profiled in The Hill.
They also have no heavyweights in Texas.
In Massachusetts, the race has taken a rather bizarre turn with Congressman Ed Markey’s “Osama bin Gomez ad.” He now claims credit for satellite dishes, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, Google, and Amazon, which is probably to offset the fact that he’s accomplished nothing during his four decades in Congress. Nevertheless, he released an ad reiterating these points.
Additionally, Markey seemed to have had problems managing his finances while in Congress.
In 1992, Markey Was Embroiled In Scandal After He Was Found To Have Bounced 92 Checks From The Private U.S. House Of Representatives Bank. “As Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash) declared the House Bank issue a closed matter, many Members found themselves in deep trouble as a result of Thursday’s public release of the final list of overdrafters. … Ed Markey (D-Mass) 92: Redistricting awaits, but one of Markey’s potential opponents, Democrat-turned-Republican Frank Vallarelli, may have overplayed his hand before the release of the list, accusing Markey of 166 overdrafts. Markey could also face Mike Conway, the creator of the rubber check (see above).” (Tim Curran, “Who’s In Trouble On The New List?” Roll Call, 4/20/92)In September 1991, The General Accounting Office Issued A Report Saying House Members Had Bounced 8,331 Checks Between July 1989 And June 1990, And The Private House Bank Had Covered Them. “While there had been questions about the bank’s practices in the past, the controversy began Sept. 18, when the General Accounting Office, the bank’s auditor of record, issued a report saying that House members had bounced 8,331 checks between July 1989 and June 1990 and the bank had covered them.” (Guy Gugliotta, “House Votes To Shut, Audit Bank,” The Washington Post, 10/4/91)In October 1991, The House Voted To Shut Down The Private Bank And Ordered The Bank’s Audit Record Sent To The Ethics Committee For An Investigation. “Bowing to an outpouring of public outrage, the House yesterday voted overwhelmingly to shut down its private bank and ordered the bank’s audit records sent to the ethics committee for an investigation into possible abuses by members of Congress who have bounced thousands of checks on their personal accounts.” (Guy Gugliotta, “House Votes To Shut, Audit Bank,” The Washington Post, 10/4/91)
So, in all, the DSCC ‘s performance in its campaign strategy is underwhelming – and devolving into a clown show.
One of the best articles to read about the Gosnell trial is Conor Friedersdorf’s April 12 piece in the Atlantic. JD Mullane of the Bucks County Courier – and his Twitter account – has been exceptional with his live tweeting of the trial. He’s been covering the Gosnell trial from the beginning. Yet, during my interview on the Conservative Commandos Radio Show with Rick Trader last Tuesday to discuss my Planned Parenthood piece, I was asked why did PA stop abortion clinic inspections after 1993? I honestly didn’t know. Then again, the news media – in general – has dropped the ball on covering Gosnell, and I’m somewhat embarrassed that I let this slip through the cracks. Nevertheless, it seems that former PA Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican, has some explaining to do.
In Friedersdorf’s piece, he mentioned the grand jury report indicating that:
[N]umerous violations were already apparent, but Gosnell got a pass when he promised to fix them. Site reviews in 1992 and 1993 also noted various violations, but again failed to ensure they were corrected.
But at least the department had been doing something up to that point, however ineffectual. After 1993, even that pro form a effort came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui, although there had been plenty. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all… The only exception to this live-and-let-die policy was supposed to be for complaints dumped directly on the department’s doorstep. Those, at least, would be investigated. Except that there were complaints about Gosnell, repeatedly.
So,why did the inspections stop? Only Tom Ridge knows the answer to that. Elected in the 1994, Ridge suspended all abortion clinic inspections, and “tacitly allowed late term abortions to be performed in violation of Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act,” according to Strieff of RedState reading from the report.
Under Governor Robert Casey, she said, the department inspected abortion facilities annually. Yet, when Governor Tom Ridge came in, the attorneys interpreted the same regulations that had permitted annual inspections for years to no longer authorize those inspections. Then, only complaint driven inspections supposedly were authorized. [Janice] Staloski [the Dir. of Home Health for the PA DOH] said that DOH’s policy during Governor Ridge’s administration was motivated by a desire not to be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.
Indeed, in many ways State had more damning information than anyone else. Almost a decade ago, a former employee of Gosnell presented the Board of Medicine with a complaint that laid out the whole scope of his operation: the unclean, unsterile conditions; the unlicensed workers; the unsupervised sedation; the underage abortion patients; even the over-prescribing of pain pills with high resale value on the street. The department assigned an investigator, whose investigation consisted primarily of an offsite interview with Gosnell. The investigator never inspected the facility, questioned other employees, or reviewed any records. Department attorneys chose to accept this incomplete investigation, and dismissed the complaint as unconfirmed.
Fred Lucas of CNS News reported last month that:
Janice Staloski… “blamed the decision to abandon supposedly annual inspections of abortion clinics on DOH lawyers, who, she said, changed their legal opinions and advice to suit the policy preferences of different governors.”
The report goes on to say that the department’s senior counsel Brody backed up what Staloski said.
“He described a meeting of high-level government officials in 1999 at which a decision was made not to accept a recommendation to reinstitute regular inspections of abortion clinics,” the grand jury report said. “The reasoning, as Brody recalled, was: ‘there was a concern that if they did routine inspections, that they may find a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [the standards for getting patients out by stretcher or wheelchair in an emergency], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion.”
Before Ridge was elected, during the Casey administration, Staloski actually personally inspected Gosnell’s clinic.
But Staloski isn’t holier than thou in this case. According to Lucas, the grand jury report noted that she gave Gosnell a pass on his violations, rose through the ranks of the PA DOH, and became the director of the division that regulates abortion providers. After that, she never looked into Gosnell, despite additional complaints. Ridge would go on to be the nation’s first Secretary for the newly-created Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 Attacks.
Mullane noted that Ridge has been silent on the Gosnell trial, as is Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Allyson Schwartz.
A few days before the May 8th Benghazi whistleblower hearings I heard several liberals spinning Democrat talking points on cable news saying that these House hearings were really about Republicans trying to build roadblocks to Hillary Clinton’s yet to be announced White House run in 2016.
Of course I was appalled (but not surprised) that Democrats were trying to link Republicans attempting to learn the truth about an attack that left four Americans dead with a potential presidential run still 3 ½ years in the future.
But let’s be realistic here and keep our eye on the prize (that 270 electoral vote prize) by asking the following question:
Do you actually think that coalitions of both high and low information voters who are likely to cast their vote for Hillary Clinton as the first female president of the United States will actually give a rat’s tail about her role in Benghazi, Libya in 2012? Furthermore, if you believe most Republicans actually believe that these latest whistleblower hearings are going to derail Clinton’s 2016 White House run, than you need to order up some professional political help.
For Hillary’s high speed campaign train has already left the station and its cargo includes a major social movement that will “break the glass ceiling” of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
So what about Benghazi? Forgetaboutit! Because most Hillary voters by 2016 will think Benghazi is a new strain of arugula in the fresh vegetable department of Whole Foods.
Enough with the Hillary humor! But seriously, there have been some important developments since our last installment of Hillary Watch 2016. (I have been accused by friends of being obsessed with Hillary, thus I am trying to resist the urge to write new Hillary Watch 2016 posts every time there is major Hillary news.)
But here are a few nuggets I have been saving.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, “she prays” that Hillary Clinton will run for president. Well Praise the Lord and press the pantsuits!
This Divine request leads to a new segment of Hillary Watch 2016 called “Celebrity Corner.” I fully assume this segment will engulf my entire series sometime in early 2016 when legions of young starlets are seen clawing their way onto Hillary’s campaign bus in hopes of being pictured in People Magazine.
First up in the new corner is old Henry Kissinger (who is still alive I am pleased to report). He, unlike Pelosi, is not asking for God to help make Hillary president, but publicly “joked” to her at an important Washington think-tank dinner saying, “At least four secretaries of state became president.”
This “joke” was seriously reported the next day across all media platforms.
What is not a joke is the fact that Hillary is an extremely polarizing personality in a highly polarized nation.
With that said, the question remains, “What difference does it make?”
So, when it comes to names, dates, and facts – it seems that isn’t something Congressman William Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) has mastered. During today’s hearings on Benghazi, which was live blogged by PJ’s Bryan Preston, Rep. Clay actually had the temerity to blame budget cuts for the terrorist attack.
1:36 pm Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) uses his time to blame budget cuts for the lack of security at Benghazi. That line has been debunked, by the State Department itself. He is wasting time and intentionally distracting from the facts of the situation in Benghazi.
Clay, like his fellow Democrats, is delivering a speech. Filibustering.
Clay is citing the Accountability Review Board’s findings, but the ARB was hand-picked by Clinton and failed to interview her. A skeptic could view the ARB as an exercise in giving Clinton the appearance of seeking the facts, while giving her enough cover to get past the 2012 election. Clay makes no allowance for this possibility.
Issa reminds Clay that Charlene Lamb testified in October that budget cuts were not the issue. Clay claims that he cannot remember what Lamb said, but that the ARB said resources were an issue. Selective memory. Laughable. Clay is, so far, the least serious member of the panel, and that’s saying something after Cummings’ and Maloney’s antics.
Additionally, besides Lamb’s testimony, U.S. special forces were ready to be sent in, but were ordered to stand down – and it wasn’t because of budget cuts. I agree that Clay was filibustering, he was giving a speech, and he was engaging in political hackery. The problem is that he sucks at it.
When future historians write about the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, my bet is the most memorable statement will be the one spoken by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was back in January of 2013 when Clinton finally testified before a Senate committee and famously yelled, “What difference –at this point, what difference does it make?”
Her statement was referring to a top diplomat who said, “from the beginning” everyone at the consulate thought the attack was an act of terror — as opposed to a spontaneous demonstration stemming from an anti-Islamic You Tube video — the explanation put forth by the Obama Administration.
So today, as the Benghazi hearings took place on Capitol Hill, Drudge Report, at one point, had our contest photo featured front and center with the caption, “What Difference Does It Make?”
Now I am quite sure that PJM readers can write captions much more colorful, so prove me right! However, your only restraint is the rule, “be nice and stay classy because the media is watching.” (Here again are the winners from our last contest who followed that rule and still managed to flourish.)
Perhaps decades from now, Hillary’s statement will rank as high on the “scandal statement scale” as Howard Baker’s, “What did the President know and when did he know it,” from Senate Watergate hearing fame in 1973.
That of course depends on whether voters ask the same question, “What Difference Does It Make” and apply it to Hillary’s 2016 White House plans.
And the answer to that question is still, “to be determined.”
Is that Dr. LeRoy Carhart? It seems Live Action ran into a familiar face during their six-month investigation into the late-term abortion industry, and Carhart is one of the many faces of this heinous business. The Live Action investigator saw him in December of 2012, which was before Carhart claimed his latest victim in twenty-nine-year old Jennifer Morbelli, who died after suffering massive internal bleeding from a botched late-term abortion. Also, when Morbelli was bleeding, Carhart was unreachable for emergency care since he skipped town. This was a tragic replay of what happened in 2005, where Carhart performed a late-term abortion on Christin Gilbert, who also died in the process. She was only nineteen.
In the Nebraska investigative video, Carhart suggests to the Live Action investigator to come to his clinic in Germantown, Maryland – the location of the future Morbelli abortion – which wasn’t even inspected by state health officials. Live Action investigators visited Carhart twice, with the initial “doctor’s appointment” in in December of 2012.
Once there, Carhart details how an injection into the womb kills the baby, the disposal of the body parts, and denies having Christin Gilbert as a patient.
Dr. Carhart: …We haven’t even–I’ve never had to send anybody to the hospital with my patients, so.
Woman: Oh, really?
Carhart: Yeah, and the Christin Gilbert thing on the internet is a–was not my patient…
Two months after the initial visit, Morbelli died under Carhart’s care.
In a second visit, an investigator recorded Carhart admitting that her child – at 26 weeks – could survive outside the womb. Yet, they have to go to Maryland to get it aborted. Nebraska state law prohibits abortions 20 weeks into a pregnancy. Carhart says in Maryland – it’s 28 weeks.
Dr. Carhart: So, um, they’ve got this down as a fetal indication, there’s nothing wrong with the baby, that you know of, is there?
Woman: Nothing that I know of.
Dr. Carhart: OK, I don’t know where that came from or how that got in here…
Woman: …Does that mean, fetal indication–
Dr. Carhart: Means there’s something wrong with the baby and that’s why you’re terminating.
Woman: Yeah. No.
Dr. Carhart: Just, just pure–
Woman: Purely this is what I wanna do.
Dr. Carhart: And here (coughs) we cannot do it, but in Maryland we can do it…
Woman: So, a baby at this age–what am I, 26 weeks?
Dr. Carhart: 26.
Woman: Could not survive? If it was delivered?
Dr. Carhart: If it came out? Oh, yeah, it probably–probably could–probably.
Concerning this stage of the pregnancy, Carhart laughed about being one of four doctors in the country who will perform these late-term abortions “cause nobody else’ll do it.” He treated the matter as if it were some exclusive club. Carhart then tells the investigator that terminating pregnancies at her stage wasn’t uncommon at all.
Woman: Are there–so there’s only four of you that do–?
Dr. Carhart: There are only four doctors doing over 26 weeks.
Woman: Why are there only four?
Dr. Carhart: ‘Cause nobody else’ll do it! [laughter]
Woman: Oh. So you don’t see a lot of women like me? Dr. Carhart: Well, saw four this week, so.
Woman: OK. At 26 weeks?
Dr. Carhart: Yeah.
Dr. Carhart: Or more. Woman: All right.
Dr. Carhart: Or more. Woman: So I’m not unusual. Dr. Carhart: No, not at all…
Carhart then went into graphic detail about the process. After the injection, the baby will be dead inside the mother’s womb for about three days, and compared it to meat cooking in a Crock-Pot.
Woman: So what makes the baby “mushy”?
Dr. Carhart: The fact that it’s not alive for 2 or 3 days. Woman: Oh. So I’ll have a dead baby in me?
Dr. Carhart: For 3 days, yeah.
Woman: Will it start to decay or something? Dr. Carhart: No–
Woman: Oh, OK…
Dr. Carhart: …No, it’s like putting meat in a Crock-Pot, OK? It doesn’t get–it doesn’t get broke–it gets softer. It doesn’t get infected or, you know-
Woman: OK, so the dead baby in me is like–
Dr. Carhart: It’s just–
Woman: –like meat in a Crock-Pot.
Dr. Carhart: Pretty mu–yeah, kinda much. Woman: All right. All right.
Dr. Carhart: In a slow cooker.
Carhart also jokes about the removal of the child if things don’t go according to plan.
Woman: …for some reason–
Dr. Carhart: -I’ve never had–
Woman: –I’m not able to deliver, will–you’ll be able to get it out–
Dr. Carhart: –take it out in pieces
Woman: –in pieces.
Woman: And what do you use to break it up? Just–
Dr. Carhart: A whole bunch of, you know–
Woman: You’ve got a toolkit.
Dr. Carhart: A pickaxe, a drill bit, you know. [Laughs.]
Woman: I see. OK.
Yet, this is after Carhart describes how he feels the child doesn’t feel pain at 26 weeks in his opinion. Nonetheless, he admits that he’s ”done some where the women can’t have that shot. If they’re alive [the babies–I mean, it just, you know–I’m sure the baby feels the needle stick–if the baby feels anything –.”
The investigator presses Carhart about the procedure, where he states that it’s like a normal birth, except the child is dead, and if it survives the abortion attempt – he assures her that it’ll be sent to the hospital and foster care. She then asks him what happens if she goes into labor, and Carhart tells her to call him. One thing not to do is call 9-1-1.
Dr. Carhart: Yeah, they’ll take you to the hospital, right? They won’t–they won’t bring you to the clinic, so.
Dr. Carhart: Just–you’re gonna be within 10 minutes or 15 minutes of the clinic.
Dr. Carhart: Just get in the car. Call me.
Woman: Call you. OK.
Dr. Carhart: All right? If we think you need 911, then certainly call 911, but that–
Woman: Call you first, don’t call 911…
What about the side effects of having a late-term abortion, doctor?
Dr. Carhart: And I think out of respect and love and honor for this baby that you’ve lost, you will find yourself being a better person…
…postpartum depression is really very common, but post-abortion depression? I can honestly tell you that I haven’t seen one–one person that way, and–
Woman: Oh, OK.
Dr. Carhart: –we had a 16-year-old girl that was pregnant, and 26 or 7 weeks, that we had–we did that–the termination for her. And she tried to kill herself, and she got to the hospital and recovered.
Dr. Carhart: And she tried to kill herself, not because of the termination, but because of the baby that she had before this. It was already a year old, and she wished she had not had that baby…
Dr. Carhart: …I’ve not had anybody leave there feeling worse than they came.
Woman: OK. Good to know.
Before the investigator leaves, Carhart let’s her know about the Morbelli incident at the Maryland clinic.
Dr. Carhart: And we have had one woman that died in the–in the clinic, OK? Woman: Oh, you did?
Dr. Carhart: She was a lot farther along than you, and–but–and the coron–it was reported to the coroner and everything, and they said, “Yeah, she died, again, of complications of the pregnancy, but not from the abortion.” Everything from the abortion went fine.
Well, Maryland’s chief medical examiner reported otherwise, doctor.