Thursday, June 06, 2013

Cruising the Web

Human Events giggles at the "good leaks" that the Obama administration makes and those leaks upon which they unleash the hounds of Holder. And then they note how the Obama administration has their explanation all ready to go. "The patented Obama Administration “Incompetence Defense” was swiftly deployed." Yup, Panetta just didn't know that someone from Hollywood was among the over 1,300 people in the audience when he slipped up and gave out the name of the man who headed up the Navy SEAL unit that got bin Laden.
Come on, people, you can’t expect the director of the world’s best-funded intelligence agency to know who’s in the audience when he starts tossing out sensitive information.

This is another one of those Inspector General reports that was mysteriously delayed until after the election, just like the blockbuster IRS Inspector General Report that kicked off the greatest abuse-of-power scandal in modern history, and all the Benghazi dirty laundry we didn’t hear about until 2013. Funny how that worked out. Ironically, we’re only learning about it now because a draft of the IG report has been leaked.

Guy Benson has seven observations on the news of the NSA accessing Verizon records. He reminds us that it was just a month ago when Obama warned OSU graduates to reject "cynical" voices that warn us about government tyranny and that just two weeks ago Obama gave a major address about how the global war on terrorism is over and that we didn't have to worry about "large-scale" attacks on the homeland. And, of course, we have all the sanctimonious pronouncements that Obama made before he was president as he criticized how Bush was prosecuting the war on terror. And remember that this NSA story feeds into all the other stories swirling around.
The NSA revelation feeds a potent and growing sense among Americans that an overbearing, unaccountable, ever-growing, over-powerful federal government is out of control. They're manipulating intelligence to cover-up the full story on a deadly terrorist attack. They're targeting one side of the political spectrum for abuse and harassment. They're secretly spying on journalists. They're spending our money on wildly expensive parties for themselves and losing the receipts. And they're secretly culling our phone records by the millions, day in and day out. No one has answers. No one takes responsibility. No one knows anything. No one is punished. This is toxic.
This is just sublime. The guy who is in charge of policing waste in the IRS was the guy who played Spock in the silly Star Trek video made for a conference at which the IRS spent $4.1 million dollars.

Edward Lazear explains how that we're looking at job statistics in the wrong way. We should be looking at the employment rate, not the unemployment rate. And the employment rate demonstrates the problems we're facing.

And you knew it was coming. Now MSNBC's Martin Bashir is so bereft of arguments to defend Obama that all he can do is toss out the racism card as he claims that saying the IRS are the new n-word being used against "the black man in the White House." Does this sort of reflexive resorting to cries of racism work anymore?

Even John Dickerson at Slate is saying that "[i]t's almost impossible for Republicans to overplay their hand on the IRS scandal." And Josh Kraushaar at the National Journal warns that "Obama's hardball tactics could backfire."

We still have lots of unanswered questions about what IRS top officials were doing with so many meetings at the White House and why they were meeting with Stephanie Cutter, the deputy manager of the Obama re-election campaign as well as part of the messaging effort on Obamacare. What did all that have to do with the IRS?
It is far less plausible to claim, however, that planning the IRS role in Obamacare required the presence of the deputy manager for the Obama re-election campaign. The IRS chief wouldn't have been interested in the campaign's Obamacare communications strategy, and any talk about campaign fundraising likely would have been illegal. So what was Cutter doing in White House meetings with the IRS commissioner? Odds are somebody in the White House took meeting notes.

Cutter also should be asked under oath whether she was there for any of the 165 White House meetings, tallied by, that were attended by Sarah Hall Ingram. Ingram headed the IRS department most directly responsible for the illegal harassment before being promoted to manage the tax agency's role in Obamacare. Curiously, also determined that between them, Shulman and Ingram attended more than 300 White House meetings but never once attended the same meeting. A reasonable person could conclude from these facts that Obamacare wasn't the sole subject on the White House agendas of these two senior IRS executives.
Connor Friedersdorf is thankful to whoever leaked news about the NSA spying on Verizon including the top secret court order. I wonder if Eric Holder will be seeking blanket warrants to find out who leaked this information.
Perhaps the spying offended the leaker's patriotism, as it transgresses against traditional American values.

Perhaps the questionable legality of the warrantless spying is what prompted the leaker to act.

The motive could've been the leaker's perception that secretly vesting the government with the power to know who is calling whom, at what time, and perhaps even from what location, invites abuses so severe that they obviously outweigh whatever legitimate benefits come from this practice.

Finally, the leaker might think that if the government is going to take part in spying on a massive scale, that ought to be something the polity debates and knows about, not the secret machinations of a segregated ruling class doing things that would shock many they're paid to represent.
I bet this won't count as one of the "good" Obama administration leaks.