Friday, May 17, 2013

Cruising the Web

AP's real crime was to publish the Yemen terrorist story before Obama could have a self-congratulatory press conference announcing the same story. So just ignore Eric Holder's righteous indignation about what a damaging and dangerous leak this was.
The news service was prepared to publish its scoop on May 2, 2012. But in discussions with government officials, the CIA stressed to AP that publishing anything about the operation to obtain the bomb and thwart the plot would create grave national security dangers and compromise a “sensitive intelligence operation.”

Michael J. Morell, the CIA’s deputy director, gave AP reporters some additional background information to persuade them to hold off, Vietor said. The agency needed several days more to protect what it had in the works.

Then, in a meeting on Monday, May 7, CIA officials reported that the national security concerns were “no longer an issue,” according to the individuals familiar with the discussion.

When the journalists rejected a plea to hold off longer, the CIA then offered a compromise. Would they wait a day if AP could have the story exclusively for an hour, with no government officials confirming it for that time?

The reporters left the meeting to discuss the idea with their editors. Within an hour, an administration official was on the line to AP’s offices.

The White House had quashed the one-hour offer as impossible. AP could have the story exclusively for five minutes before the White House made its own announcement. AP then rejected the request to postpone publication any longer.
Obama's administration has a long history of political thuggery aimed at its critics. And Kimberley Strassel explains how the President's own words and the actions of his campaign organization were all that the IRS needed to decide on its path to target conservatives.

The Democrats keep racking up the Pinocchios for their spin and excuses on Benghazi. Now it's Barbara Boxer's turn.

Another Appeals Court strikes down Obama's "non-recess recess" appointments to the NLRB.
The decision is significant because the Third Circuit panel adopted the reasoning of the D.C. Circuit in January's Noel Canning decision. But the implications go further. Mr. Becker's term began earlier than the other recess appointees, thus invalidating hundreds of other decisions that the labor board made without a legal quorum. The number of NLRB decisions jeopardized by the three illegal recess appointments now stand at some 1,200. Yet the Obama NLRB keeps issuing rulings as if it operates in its own legal universe.

And still our media friends wonder how the Justice Department could possibly send out those overbroad subpoenas to AP or the IRS could punish conservative political groups.

The scandals this week should give people pause about putting more power in the bureaucracy. Fred Bauer writes.
The way it looks at the moment, there are two possible impulses behind these scandals: malice or incompetence. Neither one bears good tidings for bureaucratic progressivism. Obviously, the notion that high-level political actors would use the mechanisms of a bureaucratic empire to target their political enemies would be a very unpleasant idea. Right now, there is no evidence that such high-level actors did abuse their power in this way; it is possible that only a few rogue individuals abused or misused their authority. Media reports seem to indicate that the IRS scandal, at least, involves complicated technicalities and managerial disputes.

But incompetence is not exactly a winning defense for the case of centralized bureaucracies. The lack of approval, and the extent of the abuses, would show a bureaucracy out of control, with a broken chain of command and administrative rules. If the right hand truly does not know what the left hand does — if the brain of authority does not know what its administrative limbs do — how can we place blind faith in any supreme bureaucracy?
These scandals go right to the heart of the progressive program.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy looks at the actual statistics to debunk the IRS's cover story about why they had to have special scrutiny on 501(c)(4) applications.
The scrutiny began, however, in March 2010, before an uptick could have been observed, according to data contained in the audit released Tuesday from the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration.

The number of 501(c)(4) applications for all of 2010 was actually less than in 2009.....
The audit says the IRS began to use “inappropriate criteria” to single out applications in March 2010. By April 2010, a “sensitive case report” was issued on “Tea Party cases,” indicating that managers in Cincinnati were aware of the sensitive nature of the reviews.

According to the audit, 1,735 groups applied for 501(c)(4) exemption for the federal fiscal year that ended September 30, 2010—six months after the IRS began its scrutiny. That was down slightly from 1,751 the prior year.
)H/t Hot Air) It's just another lie from Lois Lerner. Kevin Williamson finds nine more lies. Now there are ten. Perhaps that is why she's hiding out in Canada and has hired Dominique Strauss Kahn's former lawyer.

The IRS official in charge of tax-exempt organizations right at the time it was targeting conservative groups is now in charge of the IRS office responsible for Obamacare. Of course.

And it wasn't just tea party groups that the IRS was singling lout - it was also a group promoting national security and concerns about North Korea, Iran, Israel, and Libya.

Good news. John Edwards has reactivated his law license and is going on the speaking circuit.

Rich Lowry notes that journalists are reacting to the AP subpoena story with the same sort of instinctual concern over their liberties as NRA members react to calls for taking their guns. It's an interesting comparison that might wake up reporters who are used to treating gun rights activists as red neck ignoramuses.

Charles C. W. Cooke wonders why those who freaked out about the PATRIOT Act and how it might lead to people's library records being seized aren't so concerned about the IRS asking conservative groups to hand over their Facebook posts and a list of books they were reading. Or for records of conversations they had or their positions on issues. Shouldn't the ACLU be as up in arms about the IRS's intrusion into people's privacy as they were about Homeland Security looking at suspected terrorist's use of library computers?

Remember that at least 40 presidential aides still haven't paid their back taxes.
For all its sermons on fairness, this administration has never seemed too bothered when its own people somehow forget to send the IRS the check they owe.

Tim Geithner became treasury secretary despite failing to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. Ron Kirk’s unpaid taxes didn’t stand in the way of his becoming US trade representative. Tom Daschle, Obama’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, was another delinquent — though his nomination did go down.

Obama says, “We need to change our tax code so that people like me . . . pay our fair share of taxes. Most Americans would call that common sense.”

Given this administration’s double standard for its own employees, most Americans would probably call that hypocrisy.
George Will puts his finger on exactly why scandalpalooza is so damaging to the Obama agenda.
Because Obama’s entire agenda involves enlarging government’s role in allocating wealth and opportunity, the agenda now depends on persuading Americans to trust him, not their lying eyes. In the fourth month of his second term, it is already too late for that.

Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton and wife to Anthony Weiner, kept secret that she was lobbying for private clients while she was working for the State Department.
While continuing her work at the State Department, in the latter half of 2012, she also worked for Teneo, a strategic consulting firm, which was founded by Doug Band, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. Teneo has advised corporate clients like Coca-Cola and MF Global, the collapsed brokerage firm run by Jon S. Corzine, a former governor of New Jersey.

Jonah Goldberg uses a contrafactual to illuminate how the tone that Obama has set in his administration also created the environment in which the IRS scandal could occur.
Imagine for a moment if black civil-rights organizations, gay groups, or teachers’ unions loudly complained to members of Congress and the press that the IRS was discriminating against them. How long would it take for the White House to investigate? Answer honestly: Minutes? Hours? Okay, maybe days if there was an attack on one of our embassies that the administration was busy ignoring. Obviously, it would take longer for Obama to actually get to the bottom of the accusations and, if they’re true, punish those responsible. But you can be sure that the moment he heard credible allegations of political persecution of liberal groups — outfits with “progressive” or “civil rights” in their names — he would have moved heaven and earth to make things right.

But when such allegations came from the right, the response from the president — and from a press corps that until recently acted like a king’s guard — ranged from smirks and eye-rolling to flat-out lies and virtual applause.
There had been reports for a couple of years about conservative groups being singled out for special treatment and intrusive scrutiny from the IRS. If it had been liberal groups, you bet that the Treasury Department would have paid more attention. And the administration would have wanted to get to the bottom of the allegations. But since it was conservative groups, no one really cared. And that attitude that it was perfectly fine to disregard such disturbing allegations from the right,as Goldberg writes, reflects Obama's attitude toward his political opponents.
He’s made it clear that people who disagree with him are fevered, illegitimate, weird, creepy, dangerous, stupid, confused, ignorant, or some other adjective you might assign to a revamped version of the Seven Dwarfs. He’s explained that he doesn’t mind “cleaning up after” Republicans but he doesn’t want to hear “a lot of talking” from them. The time for democratic debate is always behind us with an administration that began with the mission not to let a crisis go to waste, for as Obama said in his second inaugural address, “Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.”

Hint to burglars - don't lock the homeowner in the same closet where he keeps his guns.

So Obama kept the press waiting almost an hour in the rain for his Rose Garden press conference. That's one way to win friends in the media. On top of that he breached Marine protocol by asking a Marine guard to hold an umbrella for him and for Erdogan. There's a metaphor somewhere in there.