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Author Topic: Obama: Corruption, Deception, Dishonesty, Deceit and Promises Broken  (Read 83385 times)
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« Reply #1850 on: May 13, 2013, 07:19:52 PM »

http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2529523


Insurers saying obamacare going to spike premiums 100 - 400% 


FORWARD!!!!!
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« Reply #1851 on: May 14, 2013, 03:01:04 AM »


Printed from: Boston Herald (http://bostonherald.com)
Obama knee-deep in Nixon-esque scandal

Monday, May 13, 2013 -- Anonymous (not verified)
Sections: 
Joe Battenfeld
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Author(s): 
Joe Battenfeld
President Obama’s second-term campaign slogan was “Forward,” but instead we’ve got cover-ups, congressional investigations and the government persecution of political opponents and reporters.

That sounds like “backward” to me. All the way to, say, 1972.

Who would have guessed that just a few months into his second term, President Obama would be compared to Tricky Dick. And by a liberal Massachusetts Democrat — U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano.

Republicans could not even have scripted this one. The agency most hated by voters, the Internal Revenue Service, admits to going on a Nixonian witch hunt against Tea Party and conservative groups during the re-election campaign.

This is a story even the most partisan Massachusetts liberal cannot defend. It’s so bad that even Ed Markey is calling for heads to roll.

Now we learn that the Justice Department has secretly obtained the phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors in what appears to be an investigation of an AP story that disclosed details of a CIA operation that stopped a terrorist attack.

Going after the Tea Party is one thing, but the media? What an outrage. Who knows, the press may get so mad they won’t laugh at Obama’s jokes during the next White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

This does not bode well for Obama’s second-term agenda. He already had lost a vote over gun control, and the Benghazi hearings didn’t go so well, either.

The focus for the next few months will be on the investigation and likely cover-up of the IRS effort to get dirt on Obama’s political opponents. The initial explanation — that it was the handiwork of just a few rogue IRS workers — sounds about as plausible as blaming the Benghazi attacks on an anti-Muslim video.

Voters should demand to know who was responsible for the IRS witch hunt. If anyone in the White House or Obama campaign was aware of it, then the Richard Nixon and Watergate comparisons will be eerily accurate. It was Nixon, after all, who invented the “enemies list,” and it looks as if someone in the Obama administration’s IRS came up with one.

The disclosures might even trigger a resurgence for the Tea Party movement, which suffered some setbacks in the last election. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the Tea Party candidates who won, could get a boost all the way to the GOP presidential nomination.

So enjoy the next few months, President Obama. It’s not time yet to get Marine One revved up on the White House lawn, but if you start talking to portraits of dead presidents, then it’s time to get worried.

Source URL: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/columnists/joe_battenfeld/2013/05/obama_knee_deep_in_nixon_esque_scandal
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« Reply #1852 on: May 14, 2013, 11:17:20 AM »

Obama's New Scandals Could Be Disastrous For Democrats
 


Harry J, The Guardian|May 14, 2013, 4:44 AM|8,134|54

The Justice Department has "secretly obtained" two months of conversations between Associated Press (AP) officials in a move called "unprecedented". The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Cincinnati office singled out new conservative groups for extra scrutiny over the past couple of years. One of these controversies alone would have caused a headache for the Obama administration, but the two of them together could spell big trouble for the Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections.
 
Historically speaking, trust in government has been tied very closely to how people view the state of the economy. When consumer sentiment is up, trust in government goes up. When consumer confidence goes down, trust in government goes down. Pew Research has a very nice chart that illustrates this relationship.
 
You can see how the two lines generally flow together. This especially the case after 1970 – before which time trust in government was higher than it's been over the past 40 years. Right now consumer confidence is 76.4. That's down from earlier this year, but it's up significantly since 2010.
 
Trust in government isn't, however, always linked to the consumer sentiment. After the Watergate scandal, trust in government remained in a relatively low stable position through 1977, even as the economy improved. Trust in government fell in response to the House banking scandal in 1992 and Whitewater controversy of 1993 and 1994, as consumer confidence climbed. Finally, the economy was improving, but trust in government fell off its post-9/11 highs through the early part of the first decade of this century as Americans angered over the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina that pounded the Gulf Coast.
 
Put another way, scandal can negatively impact how much Americans trust. It has to be a big scandal though. Benghazi, for instance, is likely not going to do it. Most Americans aren't paying attention to it, and as many Americans think the Republicans have gone too far as handled it appropriately.
 
The tax scandal, however, can play that role. My friends at NBC's First Read note
 

"The IRS story packs a bigger political punch... [and] will trigger new congressional hearings and new questions for the president and his team. More significantly, the IRS news is a political gift to a Republican Party whose base was strained on immigration."
 
The idea that the IRS would go after conservative groups, who hate the IRS, specifically seems to make a lot more sense than a president not wanting to create a foreign policy crisis in which be could benefit from a rally around the flag effect.
 
The obtaining of AP records likewise probably makes more sense in the voters' eyes. Obama has been critiqued for not doing enough press conferences or interviews with White House reporters. As one Democratic strategist put it, the "AP phone records thing just sealed the deal for what the newest narrative around Obama administration is going to be".
 
Indeed, these stories are coming at the perfect time for peak scandal coverages. Brendan Nyhan notes that scandals more often happen when the president is detested by members of the other party, as Obama is. Likewise, they are more likely to become big news when there aren't other news stories like the Boston bombings. Finally, scandals are more likely to take place in the beginning of the second term.
 
Therefore, the question is whether declining trust in the government has historically played a major factor in midterm elections. It turns out that it does. When trust in government falls, the party in the White House tends to do worse in midterm elections.
 
This 2010 graph from Pew Research illustrates the point well.
 
Trust fell dramatically in the lead up to the 1974 midterms thanks to Watergate, and the Republicans lost nearly 50 seats. Trust absolutely tumbled in the lead-up to the 1994 midterms, and Bill Clinton's Democratic Party lost over 50 seats. Democrats took back the house in 2006 as Americans trust in the Bush administration dropped. And although it isn't on the bottom chart, Americans trust in government, as seen in the top chart, was bad in 2010. Republicans gained 63 house seats.
 
On the reverse, there was minimal change in the composition in 1986, 1990, 1998, or 2002 when trust in government was relatively high.
 
So what does this mean for 2014? There are reasons to believe that Democrats shouldn't see major losses. The economy is doing better, and an incumbent president's party rarely loses big twice in midterms. Still, if trust falls, it may trump these structural factors. The thing to watch over the next days, weeks, and months is how big the scandals become. If they become big news, and that seems quite possible, Obama's Democratic party may be heading for major losses in 2014.
 
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-irs-ap-scandal-midterm-2014-2013-5#ixzz2TIBLhW9b
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« Reply #1853 on: May 14, 2013, 12:46:18 PM »

Skip to comments.

NBC Investigative Reporter: Admin Has History Of Intimidating Press
Breitbart ^ | May 14, 2013 | Staff
Posted on May 14, 2013, 3:41:29 PM EDT by LucianOfSamasota

Lisa Myers, NBC's investigative journalist, told "Morning Joe" that the administration has a "history" of "coming down hard" on those who talk to the press that don't "tow the line" of the Obama administration's desired narrative.

Video @ link

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
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« Reply #1854 on: May 14, 2013, 01:16:34 PM »


The Day the Obama Administration Went All Nixon On Us

Posted: 05/14/2013 8:46 am

 

Spoiler alert: That day was May 7, 2012... but first a quick history lesson.

Okay, I'm one of those folks who obsesses about the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this time it's really important. Because today that is the rallying cry for any presidential scandal, that this one is "worse than Watergate." But the Watergate break-in happened 41 years ago, which means that more than half of all Americans weren't even born yet, so you can't blame a lot of voters if they don't know much about what Watergate and the related scandals of Richard Milhous Nixon were all about.

One of the biggest drivers of Watergate was the seemingly unending war in Vietnam. As opposition increased to a foreign war that ultimately killed 58,000 Americans, for goals that were murky at best, so did government paranoia. At the core of Watergate was a team of shady operatives that were nicknamed "the White House Plumbers" -- because they went after news leaks... get it? In May 1969, after news reports about U.S. bombing activities in Cambodia, Nixon and his then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger enlisted J. Edgar Hoover's FBI to wiretap journalists and national security aides.

Later, one of the worst governmental abuses occurred after whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg leaked the massive Pentagon Papers that exposed governmental lies about the conduct of the war in Vietnam. Nixon's "Plumbers" broke into the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist to dig up dirt to discredit him. Here is what one of Nixon's former aides, Egil Krogh, wrote about it in 2007:

The premise of our action was the strongly held view within certain precincts of the White House that the president and those functioning on his behalf could carry out illegal acts with impunity if they were convinced that the nation's security demanded it. As President Nixon himself said to David Frost during an interview six years later, "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal." To this day the implications of this statement are staggering.

No doubt. Luckily for America, not everyone agreed. Over the next couple of years, criminal charges against Ellsberg were tossed because of the government's misconduct, and Nixon resigned facing certain impeachment over the activities of his Plumbers and the ensuing, elaborate cover-up. The nation mostly rejoiced. The system worked... for a while.

Flash forward to 2012. America had at that point been in an undefined "war on terror" for 11 years -- the same amount of time from the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident that greatly expanded the Vietnam War to the 1975 fall of Saigon. Just as during the 1960s and early 1970s, this terror war had provided government with an excuse to greatly expand its domestic spying on American citizens -- some of that through a law called the Patriot Act and some of it even more dubious, constitutionally.

Then, on May 7, 2012, the Associated Press published an article about the Obama administration's conduct of its war in a country that we'd never declared war on (it was Cambodia in 1969, but Yemen in 2012) and Obama's Justice Department -- for reasons not yet fully known -- went crazy over the leak. This, then, is a reminder of why history matters so much.

Because if we're not careful... it repeats:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.
 The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.

In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.



 The AP's CEO said last night that "[t]here can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters" -- and I could not agree with him more. This revelation is deeply troubling -- and has the makings of a major scandal. Sure, you could try to mitigate it by noting, fairly, that accessing these phone records isn't as bad as wiretapping. But that is small solace, indeed. There's every reason to believe that Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on this unwarranted assault on the First Amendment, and if so, he ought to be canned (hasn't he overstayed his welcome, anyway?). Also, you might try to excuse this as a one-off, an ill-advised but isolated incident.

Except that it's not.

Since the day he took office, the Obama administration has undertaken an assault on government whistleblowers -- people informing citizens of what their government doesn't want them to know -- that surpasses anything that Nixon or any other president has done. Since 2009, the Obama administration has brought espionage charges against six whistleblowers. And most of these whistleblowers have been criticizing that way that America conducts its neverending war of the 21st century. One, Thomas Drake, blew the whistle on the illegal warrantless wiretapping that began under George W. Bush. John Kiriakou dropped the dime on illegal U.S. torture -- and was sent away to prison, even as the perpetrators of torture from Dick Cheney to John Yoo continue to walk freely among us.

Nixon had Daniel Ellsberg, and Obama has Bradley Manning of Wikileaks. Okay, so they didn't break into the office of Manning's psychiatrist, but they have detained Manning in a solitary confinement that a UN torture expert called "cruel, inhuman and degrading." Do you feel better about that? Because I don't. The war on whistleblowers, the treatment of Manning, and now this investigation of journalists are all hallmarks of a White House that promised transparency but has been one of the most secretive -- all to the detriment of the public's right to know.

Let's be clear -- this is about Obama... and it is about much, much more than Obama. It is yet another example of how the national security state that has dominated our political life since World War II has corrupted the American soul. It is exactly what Philadelphia's own Benjamin Franklin tried to warn us about -- trading liberty for security, and geting neither. To the conservatives reading this, who warn so much about big government running amok...here it is. To the liberals reading this, who thought that one man named Barack Obama could change the system, he couldn't. Only we, the citizens, can truly change things.

Let's work together. Let's start by repealing the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Force, declare victory in what was formerly known as the war on terror, and resolve that never again will this nation enter into a perpetual and constitutionally dubious war. Let's repeal the most egregious aspects of the USA Patriot Act, hold public hearings on the true extent that the U.S. government has spied on citizens without warrants -- and then bring those practices to an end. And as today's events made crystal clear, let's make America a nation where journalists and other truth-tellers can write stories or reveal information that the government might not like...without fear of intrusion or reprisal. Ironically, many of those type of changes were supposed to happen after Nixon, after Vietnam But they either didn't last, or they didn't come at all.

If greater liberty comes from the latest revelations, Obama's sins -- however bad or not bad they may turn out to be -- will not make things worse than Watergate. This time, it -- the aftermath, anyway -- will be better than Watergate.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-bunch/ap-phone-records-whistleblowers_b_3271637.html

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« Reply #1855 on: May 14, 2013, 08:40:12 PM »

http://www.westernjournalism.com/rand-paul-obama-is-drunk-on-power

Rand Paul - Obama drunk on Power
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« Reply #1856 on: May 14, 2013, 08:42:45 PM »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/jay-carney-doj-associated-press-phone-records-scandal_n_3273578.html?utm_hp_ref=media


LOL - Jay Carney has nothing left to say to explain away the scandals
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« Reply #1857 on: May 15, 2013, 04:13:12 AM »

The Bogus Obama Administration "Low-Level" Employees Argument
Townhall.com ^ | May 15, 2013 | Katie Pavlich
Posted on May 15, 2013 7:10:50 AM EDT by Kaslin



Throughout Barack Obama's tenure as President of the United States and throughout every major scandal during that time period, nobody important has known anything important about anything...important. Every time a new scandal breaks, the White House comment is "we found out about this through news reports," "we need to wait for all the facts," and of course, "this was just a few low-level employees in X-state or X-city, nobody in Washington was involved."

 Operation Fast and Furious

After it was discovered in early 2011 the Department of Justice [DOJ] had knowingly and willingly trafficked 2500 semi-automatic Ak-47 style rifles, or what President Obama would call "military grade assault rifles," to Mexican drug cartels, DOJ officials in Washington D.C. immediately blamed a "few low-level, rogue ATF agents working in Phoenix." It turned out, not only did senior DOJ officials know about Fast and Furious from the beginning, which started in September 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder received regular memos about the operation. 

Benghazi

In the aftermath of the 9/11 Benghazi terror attack, the entire Obama administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama, Press Secretary Jay Carney and UN Ambassador Susan Rice, all blamed a rogue and irrelevant YouTube video for the violence. After investigation by the House Oversight Committee, a handful of investigative press reports and whistleblower testimony from acting Libyan Ambassador Greg Hicks last week, we now know Clinton knew the 9/11 attack was in fact a terrorist attack on the day it happened.

"At 2 a.m. Secretary of State Clinton called me along with her senior staff were all on the phone and she asked me what was going on and I briefed her on developments. Most of the conversation was about the search for Ambassador Stevens. It was also about what we were going to do with our personnel in Benghazi and I told her that we would need to evacuate," Hicks said. "The only report that our mission made through every channel was that there had been an attack."

Now that the White House and Clinton have been caught in their lie about a YouTube video, they're blaming the "intelligence community" for bad information.

In addition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed not to know anything about requests for more security at the consulate in Benghazi. Those requests, of course, were handled by the people below her.

“The specific security requests pertaining to Benghazi, you know were handled by the security professionals in the department,” Clinton told Congress in January. “I didn’t see those requests, they didn’t come to me, I didn’t approve them, I didn’t deny them.”

It turns out, Clinton did in fact receive at least one cable requesting more security.

The House report suggests that Clinton received and signed a request for more security from Gene Cretz, who preceded Christopher Stevens as ambassador to Libya.

“On April 19, 2012, the response cable from the Department of State to Embassy Tripoli, bearing Secretary Clinton’s signature, acknowledges Ambassador Cretz’s request for additional security but instead articulates a plan to scale back security assets for the U.S. Mission in Libya, including the Benghazi Mission,” the House report says.


IRS Targeting Tea Party Groups

As the IRS scandal continues to unfold, so does the story of IRS officials. Initially when this story broke, senior IRS officials denied Washington D.C. had anything to do with the specific and inappropriate targeting of tea party and conservative groups. We were told this was the work a few "low-level" IRS agents working in Cincinnati. Turns out, that isn't true. Senior IRS officials in Washington D.C. knew about, and participated in, the targeting of conservative groups as early as 2011. So much for those "low-level" employees.
We Get Our Information From the News

Another argument repeatedly used by senior Obama administration officials when taking cover in the wake of scandal is, "We only found out about this through news reports."Operation Fast and Furious

President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano all claimed they found out about Operation Fast and Furious through "news reports."

IRS Targeting Tea Party Groups

Yesterday during a joint press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama said, "I first learned about it from the same news reports I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday."

Department of Justice Secretly Monitoring the Personal Phones of AP Reporters and Editors

Asked about when exactly the White House knew of the Department of Justice secretly monitoring the personal phones of Associated Press reporters and editors, Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration found out through "press reports."

“Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP,” he said. “We are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations, as those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department. Any questions about an ongoing criminal investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice.”

President Obama and his administration have claimed not to know anything about Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS scandal or DOJ targeting the private phones of reporters and editors, but they sure know a whole lot about about openly gay NBA player Jason Collins, feminist activist Sandra Fluke, March Madness, Golf, Whitney Houston, Justin Timberlake, Rush Limbaugh and others.

This is the typical Obama administration scandal playbook: question the "facts," blame those at the bottom, cite press reports for information and repeatedly deny any responsibility.

 
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« Reply #1858 on: May 15, 2013, 05:33:07 AM »

IRS official Lerner speedily approved exemption for Obama brother’s ‘charity’

Posted By Charles C. Johnson On 5:06 PM 05/14/2013 In Politics | No Comments



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.
 
According to the organization’s filings, Lerner approved the foundation’s tax status within a month of filing, an unprecedented timeline that stands in stark contrast to conservative organizations that have been waiting for more than three years, in some cases, for approval.
 
Lerner also appears to have broken with the norms of tax-exemption approval by granting retroactive tax-exempt status to Malik Obama’s organization.
 
The National Legal and Policy Center filed an official complaint with the IRS in May 2011 asking why the foundation was being allowed to solicit tax-deductible contributions when it had not even applied for an IRS determination. In a New York Post article dated May 8, 2011, an officer of the foundation admitted, “We haven’t been able to find someone with the expertise” to apply for tax-exempt status.
 
Nevertheless, a month later, the Barack H. Obama Foundation had flown through the grueling application process. Lerner granted the organization a 501(c) determination and even gave it a retroactive tax exemption dating back to December 2008.
 
The group’s available paperwork suggests an extremely hurried application and approval process. For example, the group’s 990 filings for 2008 and 2009 were submitted to the IRS on May 30, 2011, and its 2010 filing was submitted on May 23, 2011.
 
Lerner signed the group’s approval [pdf] on June 26, 2011.
 
It is illegal to operate for longer than 27 months without an IRS determination and solicit tax-deductible contributions.
 
The ostensibly Arlington, Va.-based charity was not even registered in Virginia despite the foundation’s website including a donation button that claimed tax-exempt status.
 
Its president and founder, Abon’go “Roy’ Malik Obama, is Barack Obama’s half-brother and was the best man at his wedding, but he has a checkered past. In addition to running his charity, Malik Obama ran unsuccessfully to be the governor of Siaya County in Kenya. He was accused of being a wife beater and seducing the newest of his twelve wives while she was a 17-year-old school girl.
 
Sensing something wrong when he and a group of Missouri State students visited Kenya in 2009, Ken Rutherford, winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on banning landmines, determined that Malik Obama was an “operator” and elected to give a donation of 400 pounds of medical supplies to a local clinic instead.
 
“We didn’t know what he was going to do with them,” Rutherford told the New York Post in 2011.
 
It is also not clear what the Barack H. Obama Foundation actually does. Its website claims the organization has built a madrassa and was building a imam’s house but there is no other evidence that the nonprofit was actually helping poor Kenyan children.
 
“The Obama Foundation raised money on its web page by falsely claiming to be a tax deductible. This bogus charity run by Malik had not even applied and yet subsequently got retroactive tax-deductible status,” Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, told The Daily Caller. Boehm described Malik Obama’s attempt to raise money as constituting “common law fraud and potentially even federal mail fraud.”
 
Boehm doubted that the charity is doing what it says it’s doing and wondered why the charity was given tax-exempt status so quickly after the evidence of wrongdoing came to light.
 
“How do you get retroactive tax-exempt status when you haven’t even applied to get it in the first place?” Boehm said.
 
Lerner continues to draw fire for her handling of the IRS targeting of conservative and citizen groups, but her colleagues have started to defend her, alleging that she behaves “apolitically.”
 
Larry Noble, who served as general counsel at the FEC from 1987 to 2000, hired and promoted Lerner. “I worked with Lois for a number of years and she is really one of the more apolitical people I’ve met,” Noble told The Daily Beast. “That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have political views, but she really focuses on the job and what the rules are. She doesn’t have an agenda.”
 
Lerner could not be reached for comment. Calls to the Barack H. Obama Foundation went directly to the organization’s voicemail and were not returned.
 
Follow Charles on Twitter
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article printed from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com

URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/14/irs-official-lerner-approved-exemption-for-obama-brothers-charity


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« Reply #1859 on: May 15, 2013, 05:48:17 AM »


IRS approved liberal groups while Tea Party in limbo





Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images

File photo: Tea Party activists gather on Capitol Hill April 6, 2011 in Washington, DC.

by Gregory Korte, USA TODAY


Published: 05/14/2013 11:26pm




WASHINGTON -- In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked.

That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn't be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months.

In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.

As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like "Progress" or "Progressive," the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups. They included:

• Bus for Progress, a New Jersey non-profit that uses a red, white and blue bus to "drive the progressive change." According to its website, its mission includes "support (for) progressive politicians with the courage to serve the people's interests and make tough choices." It got an IRS approval as a social welfare group in April 2011.

• Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment says it fights against corporate welfare and for increasing the minimum wage. "It would be fair to say we're on the progressive end of the spectrum," said executive director Jeff Ordower. He said the group got tax-exempt status in September 2011 in just nine months after "a pretty simple, straightforward process."



• Progress Florida, granted tax-exempt status in January 2011, is lobbying the Florida Legislature to expand Medicaid under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, one of President Obama's signature accomplishments. The group did not return phone calls. "We're busy fighting to build a more progressive Florida and cannot take your call right now," the group's voice mail said.

Like the Tea Party groups, the liberal groups sought recognition as social welfare groups under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, based on activities like "citizen participation" or "voter education and registration."

In a conference call with reporters last week, the IRS official responsible for granting tax-exempt status said that it was a mistake to subject Tea Party groups to additional scrutiny based solely on the organization's name. But she said ideology played no part in the process.

"The selection of these cases where they used the names was not a partisan selection," said Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations. She said progressive groups were also selected for greater scrutiny based on their names, but did not provide details. "I don't have them off the top of my head," she said.

The IRS did not respond to follow-up questions Tuesday.

Congressional critics say the IRS's actions suggest a political motives: "This administration seems to have a culture of politics above all else," said Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas. "A lot of the actions they take have a political side first, and put government second."

Flores complained to the IRS last year after the Waco Tea Party's tax-exempt application was mired in red tape. The IRS asked the group for information that was "overreaching and impossible to comply with," Flores said: Transcripts of radio interviews, copies of social media posts and details on "close relationships" with political candidates.

When Flores complained last year -- asking pointed questions about the IRS treatment of Tea Party groups -- the IRS response didn't acknowledge that it had treated conservative groups differently. "They did more than sidestep the issue," he said. "They flipped me the finger."

Before the IRS started separating out Tea Party applications, getting tax-exempt status was routine -- even for conservative groups. The Champaign Tea Party's treasurer, Karen Olsen, said the process was smooth, with no follow-up questions from the IRS.

Olsen, a retired IRS revenue agent, defended the agency.

"If you suddenly see a great increase in some kind of activity, and you don't understand why, then it might be reasonable to look more closely at what's happening with those applications," she said. "I'm not certain that there was an error on the part of the IRS at all. I know that's not a popular opinion."

Some liberal groups did get additional scrutiny, although they still got their tax-exempt status while the Tea Party moratorium was in effect. For the "independent progressive" group Action for a Progressive Future, which runs the Rootsaction.org web site, the tax-exempt process took 18 months and also involved intrusive questions.

Co-founder Jeff Cohen said tax-exempt status is a privilege, so he didn't mind answering the intrusive questions, as long as those questions were consistent and fair.

"From my perspective, if the IRS can hold up legitimate Tea Party applications today and get away with it, then who knows if progressive groups will be held up and specially scrutinized in a few years. It's utterly unacceptable, if that's what happened," he said.

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« Reply #1860 on: May 15, 2013, 07:13:19 AM »

Obama's Scandals Stem from His Lawless Presidency


Posted 05/14/2013 07:05 PM ET





President Obama answers questions ranging from Benghazi to the IRS during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the... View Enlarged Image

Last Friday, after the Associated Press learned about the Justice Department's sweeping seizure of its phone records, AP CEO Gary Pruitt said "there can be no possible justification" for the action.
 
No doubt that's true. But there also seems to be no possible justification for the many other scandals now swamping the Obama administration — from Benghazi, to the IRS scandal to the White House's attempt to shake down health companies for ObamaCare money.
 
Except that they all stem from a common root — President Obama's callous disregard for the rule of law.
 
When not grousing about "this big, messy, tough democracy," or joking about having the IRS audit groups that don't do his bidding, or talking about how "we're gonna punish our enemies" (meaning his political opponents), Obama has repeatedly and casually flouted legal roadblocks whenever they got in the way of his agenda.
 
Last year, for example, his Health and Human Services department said it would allow waivers to work requirements for welfare benefits, despite the welfare reform law's clear prohibition against such waivers.
 
His National Labor Relations Board put out a "snap elections" rule meant to achieve the same goal as a union-backed "card check" law that Congress defeated. And he unilaterally gutted No Child Left Behind by offering blanket waivers to states.
 
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor issued a scathing report on the Obama administration last October, titled "The Imperial Presidency," in which he documented these and dozens of other examples of "breakdowns in the rule of law" under Obama.
 
Even the New York Times took notice of the "increasingly deliberate pattern by the administration to circumvent lawmakers."
 
And on at least two occasions, courts have ruled that Obama's actions violated the law.
 
In January, a federal court said Obama improperly made several "recess" appointments, despite the fact that the Senate was still in session.
 
In April, a judge ruled against Obama's effort to enact parts of the controversial DREAM immigration law by executive order, saying the Department of Homeland Security "does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings" of illegal immigrants.
 
So it should come as no surprise that other government officials have been following Obama's lead, brushing aside legal niceties when they got in the way of their political agendas.
 
In its attempt to determine the source of a leak about a foiled terrorist attack that AP reported on, for example, the Justice Department seized records of 20 phone lines that more than 100 journalists had access to.
 
That's despite a legal requirement that such seizures be a last resort and tightly focused.
 
AP's Pruitt called the DOJ's action an "overboard collection" of information that could "reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the news gathering activities undertaken by the AP."
 
The DOJ's seizure looks less like an attempt to ferret out one whistle-blower and more like an extra-legal attempt to intimidate future whistle-blowers and the press.
 
The IRS scandal fits this same pattern. As it turns out, the agency had been systematically targeting conservative groups during Obama's first term — a clear, blatant and deeply troubling violation of law — which it then conveniently failed to disclose to lawmakers when asked about complaints of IRS intimidation by conservative groups.
 
In addition, one news outlet — ProPublica — now admits that IRS officials leaked confidential tax-exempt application documents submitted by several conservative groups.
 
Meanwhile, one conservative organization credibly claims that the IRS disclosed its donor list to an opposing liberal group.
 
Given the standards set by Obama, it's no wonder IRS officials felt comfortable taking advantage of this gold mine of information to help advance the liberal cause.
 
With Benghazi, administration officials clearly felt that it was acceptable to mislead the American public about the nature of the attacks on the consulate simply to help Obama politically.
 
And that it was OK to intimidate whistle-blowers who could unravel this scandal if they had the chance to talk.
 
As Ron Fournier, editorial director of National Journal, put it this week, "This is now clear: The Obama administration let political considerations cloud the public record."
 
Then there's the emerging scandal involving Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has been strong-arming health care companies to donate money to a private group closely tied to the White House and charged with helping to implement ObamaCare.
 
The Campaign Legal Center's Meredith McGehee told the Washington Post recently that Sebelius 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."
 
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., compared Sebelius' actions to Iran-Contra, because, like the Reagan administration, she is trying to raise private funds to finance something for which Congress refused to appropriate money.
 
"Such private fundraising circumvents the constitutional requirement that only Congress may appropriate funds," Alexander explained.
 
In the lawless culture Obama has cultivated over the years, Sebelius no doubt feels justified in doing "whatever it takes" to get ObamaCare off the ground.
 
But as Cantor put it in his report, and the press and the public at large are only now beginning to understand, "this is no way to govern."
 
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« Reply #1861 on: May 15, 2013, 07:50:56 PM »

Obamacare to penalize nearly half a million Native Americans



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 Published time: May 15, 2013 20:43



Reuters / Rebecca Cook

Native Americans are entitled to free and subsidized medical care at some federally-funded health clinics, but 'Obamacare' will soon force many of them to buy insurance or else face hefty fines if they are not “Indian enough”.

“A lot of folks are going to get stuck with the bill,” Jay Stiener of the National Council of Urban Indian Health told the Associated Press.

Members of federally-recognized American Indian tribes have received government-funded health services since 1787. Throughout the US, there are 33 hospitals and 59 health centers that provide services including prenatal care, baby well-checks, dentistry and eye glasses to Native Americans.

The US government has treaty obligations to care for the well-being of Native Americans, but may soon abandon many of its legal responsibilities. President Obama’s health care reform will force thousands of Native Americans to purchase their own health insurance or pay a minimum fine of $695 to the Internal Revenue Service. Indian health advocacy groups estimate up to 480,000 people will be affected, AP reports.

Only those who can prove that they are “Indian enough” will be exempt from the mandate. Native Americans will have to show documentation that they belong to one out of 560 tribes that are federally recognized by the US Bureau of Indian Affairs.

There are more than 100 US tribes that are recognized by states, but not the federal government. Members of these tribes would no longer receive the free or subsidized healthcare that they are guaranteed by the Indian Health Service (IHS), which is a division within the US Department of Health and Human Services.

“This could lead to some tribal citizens being required to purchase insurance or face penalties even though they are covered by the HIS,” Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican congressman and member of the Chickasaw Nation tribe, told AP.

Additionally, Native Americans who do not have documentation of their tribe membership will be forced to purchase insurance or pay a fine. This becomes particularly troublesome for Native Americans under the age of 18, since many tribes only provide official membership to adults. Even if both parents of the minors are members, their healthcare coverage may not apply to their children unless they also have the proper documentation.

The health care reform would also complicate the situation for Native Americans who live in metropolitan areas or suburbs. Some tribal governments require members to live on the reservation to gain documentation, which few people do. Nearly two-thirds of American Indians and Alaska Natives currently live in cities, which hinders their ability to receive membership cards from their tribes.

News of the restrictions that Obamacare will impose upon American Indians has sparked outrage, particularly among those who will face financial consequences due to something that is out of their control.

“I’m no less Indian than I was yesterday, and just because the definition of who is Indian got changed in the law doesn’t mean that it’s fair for people to be penalized,” Liz DeRouen, a Native American who usually receives healthcare at a government-funded clinic in North Carolina, told AP. “If I suddenly have to pay for my own health insurance to avoid the fine, I won’t be able to afford it.”

DeRouen is a former tribal administrator for the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, but she lost her membership due to an argument with other members. But even though she lost documentation as a tribe member, she is still genetically considered a Native American.

The Obama administration currently has no solution to the hardships the Affordable Care Act will inflict upon the Native American population, but the IRS and the US Treasury have jointly scheduled a public hearing forMay 29to discuss establishment of who qualifies for the exemption from the insurance coverage requirement.

Nearly 30 percent of all Native Americans live below the poverty line, and forcing them to pay fines or purchase insurance would likely just increase this number.
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« Reply #1862 on: May 15, 2013, 08:00:08 PM »

http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/epa-waives-fees-for-92-of-liberal-groups-applies-them-to-conservative-groups


New scandal emerging. 
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« Reply #1863 on: May 17, 2013, 09:52:07 AM »

Amid sequester and scandal in Washington, the White House announced Friday that the president and first lady will be hosting another concert as part of their “In Performance at the White House” later this month.
 
The event will be held in the East Room of the White House and honor singer and song writer Carole King, who will be awarded the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. King will be the first woman to receive the award, the White House noted in their announcement.
 
The program — to be streamed on the White House website and broadcast on PBS stations the evening of May 28 — will also feature performances by Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sandé, James Taylor, Trisha Yearwood and King herself.
 


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In 2002, Carole King sang “You’ve Got a Friend” for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro at a warming-relations dinner in Havana.
 
“The Gershwin Prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive manuscript collections reside in the Library of Congress,” the press announcement explains. “The prize is awarded to musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins.”
 
Past winners of the Gershwin award have included Stevie Wonder in 2009, Sir Paul McCartney in 2010, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 2012.
 
“Carole King: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize In Performance at the White House” will be the eleventh “In Performance at the White House” program that the Barack and Michelle Obama have hosted.
 
“Starting in February 2009, these events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring music from the Civil Rights Movement, Motown, Memphis Soul and the Blues; spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical; and explored the rich roots and resiliency of Country Music,” the press announcement reads.
 


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In recent days, the administration has come under fire for the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups, the administration’s handling of the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, and the Department of Justice’s secret gathering of Associated Press phone records.
 
Follow Caroline on Twitter


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/17/amid-scandals-white-house-announces-star-studded-concert-at-white-house/#ixzz2TZNR8LUu
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« Reply #1864 on: May 18, 2013, 11:31:57 AM »

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/05/18/Joe-Scarborough-Piers-Morgan-Concede-gun-rights-activists-not-crazy



Walls are caving in
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« Reply #1865 on: May 18, 2013, 03:27:17 PM »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/18/obama-whistleblowers_n_3294417.html?ref=topbar


LMFAO - even the libs are slamming O-TWINK
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« Reply #1866 on: May 18, 2013, 03:31:11 PM »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/17/huma-abedin-state-department-consulting_n_3294677.html?utm_source=concierge&utm_medium=onsite&utm_campaign=sailthru%2Bslider%2B



LMFAO - the entire Obama Admn is one big Whore House
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« Reply #1867 on: May 18, 2013, 03:33:50 PM »

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/05/17/while-the-irs-abused-the-tea-party-was-it-giving-muslim-groups-easier-treatment

Rank fraud abuse and corruption
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« Reply #1868 on: May 18, 2013, 04:23:08 PM »

Obama’s Defenders: He’s Not Corrupt, Just Dishonest and Incompetent


Seth Mandel | @SethAMandel 05.17.2013 - 12:40 PM


http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/05/17/obamas-defenders-hes-not-corrupt-just-dishonest-and-incompetent



There was a running joke in the fall of 2008 that John McCain should simply re-air Hillary Clinton’s “3 a.m. phone call” ad, which highlighted Barack Obama’s lack of experience and meager knowledge of world affairs, and just tack on “I’m John McCain, and I approve this message” at the end of the ad. The point was that thanks to the bitter primary battle between the Clintons and Obama, Democrats had already developed the most effective lines of attack against Obama, and Republicans needed only to nod their heads in agreement.
 
Something similar is taking place amid the several Obama administration scandals that have surfaced almost simultaneously. (There has been new information on Benghazi, but the issue itself isn’t new; the IRS and AP phone records scandals, in contrast, hit less than a week apart.) Both Democrats and Republicans are raising the prospect that the GOP could get carried away or bungle their response to the scandals–surely a possibility. One way to prevent that, however, would be to simply echo the way Obama’s supporters have tried to defend him.
 
As I wrote on Monday, one clear lesson from this is the danger of ever-expanding, unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy at the center of an increasingly powerful central government. That also happens to be the crux of President Obama’s governing strategy. Indeed, the IRS’s reach and power is expanded as part of ObamaCare–itself an expansion of government along demonstrably failed strategic lines. So it’s no surprise that after the IRS systematically targeted conservative and pro-Israel groups in order to eviscerate the First Amendment rights of those who disagreed with President Obama (and at the direction of high-ranking elected Democrats), the IRS official responsible for overseeing tax-exempt groups has since been moved over to run the IRS office responsible for ObamaCare.
 
Because this critique of big government is so difficult to deny without appearing foolish, many on the left have tried another tack to minimize the scandals. They argue that President Obama is not corrupt, but rather that he is dishonest and incompetent. This was the defense (such as it was) of Obama and Clinton with regard to Benghazi. The Accountability Review Board, which sought to exonerate Clinton as much as possible, noted that the State Department was a complete mess under Clinton. Security requests were ignored, because Clinton didn’t take the time to understand what was going on in Libya. And the chain of command was difficult to discern, leading to total chaos within the department. In other words, Clinton, who seems to be planning a run for the presidency, is a dangerously poor executive with a shallow grasp of geopolitical realities.
 
And a similar defense has arisen from the left of Obama on the issue. Here is Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post claiming that Benghazi was brought about by incompetence and carelessness. And here is the New York Times editorial board trying to shift the conversation from Obama’s initial failure in Libya to his ongoing failure in Libya. Liberal “defenses” of Obama and Clinton paint a picture of two hopelessly unqualified leaders.
 
It doesn’t get much better from there. As Pete noted this morning, Obama’s former chief strategist David Axelrod defended his former boss by saying that the government has become so vast and unwieldy that Obama couldn’t possibly know what his own government was doing or why it was doing it. The fact that Democrats can acknowledge this while still planning to make the government larger and less accountable shows the ideological nature of their obsession with expanding the state at the expense of the people.
 
And Jeffrey Rosen utilizes this explanation for the Obama administration’s seizure of the Associated Press phone records. Obama isn’t Nixon, Rosen argues, nor George W. Bush. According to Rosen he’s more like the maniacally antidemocratic Woodrow Wilson (again, this is a defense of Obama):
 

Unlike Obama, George W. Bush never ran for president by touting his praise of government transparency and whistleblowing. As a result, while Bush never pretended to be a defender of whistleblowers, he was sensitive, at least in his first term, to avoiding subpoenas that might threaten press freedom…. Obama has no similar self-doubts about his own credentials as a First Amendment advocate: Didn’t he defend the American free speech tradition at the U.N. even as he put pressure on YouTube to reconsider its decision not to remove the Innocence of the Muslims video?
 
[…]
 
And that law points to a better historic comparison. Obama’s rediscovery of the 1917 Espionage Act is grimly appropriate, since the president whose behavior on civil liberties he is most directly channeling isn’t, in fact, Richard Nixon or George W. Bush. It’s Woodrow Wilson.
 
Rosen, who calls this “technocratic arrogance,” is making two separate points here. One point is the inevitability of abuse when the president locks out criticism and empowers unelected bureaucrats to put his worldview into practice. The other point is that Rosen makes Obama out to be a fundamentally dishonest person. Obama gave grand addresses praising free speech while acting to undermine it. Obama offered self-righteous blather about the supposed evils conducted by his predecessors, and therefore he was entitled to expand on those supposed evils.
 
Conservatives are probably thinking they couldn’t have said it better themselves. And liberals seem determined to save them the trouble.
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« Reply #1869 on: May 18, 2013, 09:23:34 PM »

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/02/the_foreclosure_fraud_settlement_was_a_big_dud


Lmfao. 
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« Reply #1870 on: May 19, 2013, 10:35:38 AM »

Report: US apologizes to Israel for disclosing that Israel was behind Damscus strikes
 Israel Matzav ^ | 5/19/13 | Carl in Jerusalem

Posted on Sunday, May 19, 2013 1:07:07 PM

Israel Radio reported this morning (Sunday) that the United States has apologized to Israel for disclosing that Israel was behind the strikes on Damascus two weeks ago. According to the report, the decision to disclose that Israel was behind the strikes was made at a low level in the Pentagon, and the US Department of Defense is investigating how that happened. According to the report, Israel believes that it is now facing much stronger threats from Bashar al-Assad as a result of the disclosure.


(Excerpt) Read more at israelmatzav.blogspot.co m ...
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« Reply #1871 on: May 19, 2013, 06:34:41 PM »

Report: Obama Administration Apologizes for Another National Security Leak

May. 19, 2013



http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/05/19/report-obama-administration-apologizes-for-another-national-security-leak




Israel Channel 2 broadcast this satellite image showing a Damascus airport warehouse before and after the airstrike (Screenshot: Channel 2 News)
 
The Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press reporters’ phone records was reportedly one element of a “sweeping” federal investigation to find out who leaked classified information about a failed Al-Qaeda plot to bomb an American airliner.
 
Now, the Obama administration has reportedly apologized to Israel for another leak of classified information to the media, one that occurred earlier this month and which Israeli officials are concerned could place Israeli lives at risk.
 
Israel Radio’s diplomatic correspondent Chico Menashe reported Sunday morning (via the Jerusalem Post):
 

American officials apologized to their Israeli counterparts for confirming that Israel was behind the airstrikes on the Damascus airport earlier this month, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.
 
The confirmation reportedly came from the lower ranks at the Pentagon, and the reasons for the leak are being investigated.
 
Menashe tweeted: “The U.S. has apologized to Israel for leaking details of the attack in Syria. Senior administration officials said to their [Israeli] counterparts that they are examining the issue and that low-level [officials] were responsible for the leak.”
 
Menashe also wrote, “US officials told that they [will] review the matter. The leak forced Assad to react harshly.”
 




U.S. apologized for leaking details of Israel. US officials told that they review the matter.The leak forced assad to react harshly.
 about 19 hours ago via TweetCaster for AndroidReplyRetweetFavor ite


The New York Times attributed its report about the bombing on May 3 to an Obama administration official: “Israel aircraft bombed a target in Syria overnight Thursday, an Obama administration official said Friday night, as United States officials said they were considering military options, including carrying out their own airstrikes.”
 
CNN, which broke the story first on May 3, quoted two unnamed U.S. officials:
 

The United States believes Israel has conducted an airstrike into Syria, two U.S. officials first told CNN.
 
U.S. and Western intelligence agencies are reviewing classified data showing Israel most likely conducted a strike in the Thursday-Friday time frame, according to both officials. This is the same time frame that the U.S. collected additional data showing Israel was flying a high number of warplanes over Lebanon.
 
One official said the United States had limited information so far and could not yet confirm those are the specific warplanes that conducted a strike. Based on initial indications, the U.S. does not believe Israeli warplanes entered Syrian airspace to conduct the strikes.
 
Two weeks later, Israel still has not officially taken responsibility for the bombings, which allegedly targeted Iranian Fateh-110 missiles intended to bolster Hezbollah’s arsenal.
 
Israeli security analysts suggest that confirmation of Israel Defense Forces involvement – even if leaked via American sources – not only could potentially endanger any agents still on the ground in Syria, but would also put pressure on embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad to retaliate against the Jewish state.
 
Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, told TheBlaze, “It requires the Syrians to react officially rather than deny that it happened or that it was an accident. It forces Syria and Hezbollah and Iran to react officially and say they want to seek revenge, which makes things more dangerous for Israel.”
 
“Can you imagine if things were reversed and somebody did that to the U.S.?” he added.
 
Assad may already be responding. Britain’s Sunday Times reported that the Syrian military has placed advanced weapons on standby to strike Israel, in the event Israel strikes targets again in Syria.
 
The report said that reconnaissance satellite images show Syria has surface-to-surface Tishreen missiles ready for use and aimed at Tel Aviv. Each can carry a half ton payload, according to the paper.
 
In an interview with CNN shortly after the airstrikes, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad called the attack a “declaration of war,” adding that Syria would retaliate in its own time and way.
 
At the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the tumult facing the Middle East, calling it “one of its most sensitive periods in decades with the escalating upheaval in Syria at its center.”
 
“We are closely monitoring the developments and changes there and we are prepared for any scenario. The government of Israel is working responsibly and with determination and sagacity, in order to ensure the supreme interest of the state of Israel – the security of Israeli citizens in keeping with the policy that we have set, to – as much as possible – prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah and to [other] terrorist elements,” he said.
 
“We will work to ensure Israelis’ security interest in the future as well,” Netanyahu added.
 
Last week, Russia said it would move forward with a sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria, after Netanyahu made a visit to Moscow in person to try to convince the Russians to halt the deal. Once deployed, the advanced system will make future Israeli sorties over Syria more difficult, as well as rendering any notion of a U.S. or European-led no-fly zone much more complicated to implement.
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« Reply #1872 on: May 20, 2013, 05:13:27 AM »

A rare peek into a Justice Department leak probe
By Ann E. Marimow, Published: May 19
When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.

They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.

The case of Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, the government adviser, and James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, bears striking similarities to a sweeping leaks investigation disclosed last week in which federal investigators obtained records over two months of more than 20 telephone lines assigned to the Associated Press.

At a time when President Obama’s administration is under renewed scrutiny for an unprecedented number of leak investigations, the Kim case provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one such probe.

Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist — and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010. The case also raises new concerns among critics of government secrecy about the possible stifling effect of these investigations on a critical element of press freedom: the exchange of information between reporters and their sources.

“Search warrants like these have a severe chilling effect on the free flow of important information to the public,” said First Amendment lawyer Charles Tobin, who has represented the Associated Press, but not in the current case. “That’s a very dangerous road to go down.”

Obama last week defended the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation involving the AP, which is focused on who leaked information to the news organization about a foiled plot involving the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. AP executives and First Amendment watchdogs have criticized the Justice Department in part for the broad scope of the phone records it secretly subpoenaed from AP offices in Washington, Hartford, Conn., and New York.

“The latest events show an expansion of this law enforcement technique,” said attorney Abbe Lowell, who is defending Kim on federal charges filed in 2010 that he disclosed national defense information. A trial is possible as soon as 2014. “Individual reporters or small time periods have turned into 20 [telephone] lines and months of records with no obvious attempt to be targeted or narrow.”

The president said press freedoms must be balanced against the protection of U.S. personnel overseas. According to the office of Ronald Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District, its prosecutors followed federal regulations by first seeking the information through other means before subpoenaing media phone records. Machen’s office is investigating both the Kim and AP cases. The Justice Department said in a statement that in both cases it had abided by “all applicable laws, regulations, and longstanding Department of Justice policies intended to safeguard the First Amendment interests of the press in reporting the news and the public in receiving it.”

The Obama administration has pursued more such cases than all previous administrations combined, including one against a former CIA official charged with leaking U.S. intelligence on Iran and another against a former FBI contract linguist who pleaded guilty to leaking to a blogger.

The Kim case began in June 2009, when Rosen reported that U.S. intelligence officials were warning that North Korea was likely to respond to United Nations sanctions with more nuclear tests. The CIA had learned the information, Rosen wrote, from sources inside North Korea.

The story was published online the same day that a top-secret report was made available to a small circle within the intelligence community — including Kim, who at the time was a State Department arms expert with security clearance.

FBI investigators used the security-badge data, phone records and e-mail exchanges to build a case that Kim shared the report with Rosen soon after receiving it, court records show.

In the documents, FBI agent Reginald Reyes described in detail how Kim and Rosen moved in and out of the State Department headquarters at 2201 C St. NW a few hours before the story was published on June 11, 2009.

“Mr. Kim departed DoS at or around 12:02 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the reporter at or around 12:03 p.m.,” Reyes wrote. Next, the agent said, “Mr. Kim returned to DoS at or around 12:26 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the reporter at or around 12:30 p.m.”

The activity, Reyes wrote in an affidavit, suggested a “face-to-face” meeting between the two men. “Within a few hours after those nearly simultaneous exits and entries at DoS, the June 2009 article was published on the Internet,” he wrote.

The court documents don’t name Rosen, but his identity was confirmed by several officials, and he is the author of the article at the center of the investigation. Rosen and a spokeswoman for Fox News did not return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” That fact distinguishes his case from the probe of the AP, in which the news organization is not the likely target.

Using italics for emphasis, Reyes explained how Rosen allegedly used a “covert communications plan” and quoted from an e-mail exchange between Rosen and Kim that seems to describe a secret system for passing along information.

In the exchange, Rosen used the alias “Leo” to address Kim and called himself “Alex,” an apparent reference to Alexander Butterfield, the man best known for running the secret recording system in the Nixon White House, according to the affidavit.

Rosen instructed Kim to send him coded signals on his Google account, according to a quote from his e-mail in the affidavit: “One asterisk means to contact them, or that previously suggested plans for communication are to proceed as agreed; two asterisks means the opposite.”

He also wrote, according to the affidavit: “What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking news ahead of my competitors” including “what intelligence is picking up.” And: “I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses.”

Court documents show abundant evidence gathered from Kim’s office computer and phone records, but investigators said they needed to go a step further to build their case, seizing two days’ worth of Rosen’s personal e-mails — and all of his e-mail exchanges with Kim.

Privacy protections limit searching or seizing a reporter’s work, but not when there is evidence that the journalist broke the law against unauthorized leaks. A federal judge signed off on the search warrant — agreeing that there was probable cause that Rosen was a co-conspirator.

Machen’s office said in a statement that it is limited in commenting on an open case, but that the government “exhausted all reasonable non-media alternatives for collecting the evidence” before seeking a search warrant.

However, it remains an open question whether it’s ever illegal, given the First Amendment’s protection of press freedom, for a reporter to solicit information. No reporter, including Rosen, has been prosecuted for doing so.

In the hours before Rosen’s story was published, Kim was one of more than 95 people who saw the intelligence report through a classified database, according to court documents.

Kim’s phone records showed that seven calls lasting from 18 seconds to more than 11 minutes were placed between Kim’s desk telephone and Rosen’s cellphone and desk phone at the State Department, according to the court documents. Investigators pulled at least two months of phone records from Kim’s desk and found 36 calls with numbers associated with Rosen.

Investigators also scrutinized computer records and found that someone who had logged in with Kim’s user profile viewed the classified report “at or around” the same time two calls were placed from his desk phone to Rosen, according to the documents.

Two months later on an August evening, diplomatic security secretly entered Kim’s office and found a copy of Rosen’s article next to his computer. Kim, who worked in a secure facility, was subject to daily office inspections. The Fox News article was also in “plain view” during follow-up visits in late September.

Kim initially told the FBI in an interview that month that he had met the reporter in March but had not had contact since. Later, Kim admitted to additional contacts, according to the affidavit.



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« Reply #1873 on: May 20, 2013, 07:56:00 AM »

Chief IRS Counsel Got Jeremiah Wright's Church out of IRS Probe Before Joining Agency



http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/19/Chief-IRS-counsel-bailed-Jeremiah-Wright-s-church-out-of-IRS-probe-in-2008


------------------------------------------------------------------------------

by Matthew Boyle

20 May 2013

 


News reports from the time indicate the now-chief counsel of the IRS, William Wilkins, helped a church connected to President Barack Obama’s friend Rev. Jeremiah Wright get out of an IRS probe in 2008 while working as a private attorney.
 
“Lawyers from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr have won the dismissal of an IRS case against United Church of Christ, Sen. Barack Obama's denomination,” The American Lawyer’s Zach Lowe wrote on May 22, 2008.
 
The IRS initiated an investigation early this year after a speech by Obama at a 50th anniversary celebration of the church last June. It was a reference by Obama to his presidential candidacy in a talk otherwise focused on faith that caught the agency's attention. Tax laws prohibit non-profits--including churches--from engaging in political speech or promoting candidates. The IRS can withdraw an organization's tax-free status if the organization is found to violate the rule.
 
Lowe noted that Obama had been a “member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago--a UCC congregation--for more than 20 years. The church has been in the headlines for several months now as the congregation lead by the controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright.”
 
William Wilkins, then a WilmerHale law firm partner, said, “We were so interested in the case we offered to do it pro bono."
 
Lowe wrote that Wilkins and other firm lawyers worked with the church’s national counsel, Donald Clark, and proved they had invited Obama to the event before he announced his candidacy for president. “Evidence presented in a letter sent to the IRS in late March pointed to ground rules the organization had established for Obama's visit; the church even cautioned churchgoers against engaging in any political activity,” Lowe wrote. “Had the IRS pursued the matter, it would have raised serious questions about the First Amendment's application to church activities, Wilkins says.”
 
When President Obama nominated Wilkins to be the IRS’s chief counsel on April 17, 2009, his White House cited Wilkins’ experience as an attorney on issues relating to tax-exempt status organization. “He has a broad tax practice that includes counseling nonprofit organizations, business entities, and investment funds on tax compliance, business transactions, and government investigations,” according to the White House release announcing Wilkins' nomination.
 
Prior to joining WilmerHale, Wilkins was Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the United States Senate Committee on Finance. Wilkins joined the Democratic staff of the Committee in 1981 and served as tax counsel before becoming Staff Director and Chief Counsel in 1987.
 
In the release, which included the announcement of a second Treasury Department nominee, President Obama himself said he was "confident in the abilities of these two fine public servants as we work to turn our economy around and give American families the relief they need during these difficult times. Under the leadership of Secretary Geithner, they will work to serve the American people and bring their unique areas of expertise to the job as we work to put America on the path to prosperity."

Upon the resignation of Steven Miller, several news outlets have pointed out that Wilkins will likely become a public target of congressional investigators digging into the scandal surrounding the IRS’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party organizations.
 
Reuters wrote that GOP lawmakers’ aides said their bosses will soon “focus” on Wilkins as they “seek to determine whether the White House acted improperly.”
 
“Wilkins' office was made aware of the targeting of conservative groups as early as August 2011, according to the inspector general report,” Reuters wrote. “The report does not make clear whether Wilkins - who reports to the Treasury Department's general counsel - himself knew of the targeting in 2011, or when he first learned of it.”
 
“Another question is whether Wilkins, whose office employs about 1,600 lawyers, might have taken the matter elsewhere within the Obama administration,” Reuters added. “The IRS issued a statement saying Wilkins did not participate in the August 2011 meeting, which the agency said involved ‘staff attorneys several layers below Wilkins.’”
 
As Town Hall magazine highlighted recently, White House spokesman Jay Carney has already been pressured by reporters on Wilkins' role in this scandal. 
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« Reply #1874 on: May 23, 2013, 08:36:36 AM »

Too-Big-To-Jail Dogs Obama's Justice Department As Government Documents Raise Questions


Posted: 05/22/2013 10:04 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/23/2013 9:15 am EDT




The U.S. Department of Justice appears to have neither conducted nor received any analyses that would show whether criminal charges against large financial institutions would harm the economy, potentially undermining a key DOJ argument for why the world’s biggest banks have escaped indictment.

Testimony by a top Justice official and fresh documents made public on Wednesday during a House financial services committee hearing revealed that financial regulators and the Treasury Department did not provide warnings to prosecutors weighing the economic consequences or fallout in the financial system of criminal indictments against large financial groups. DOJ also could find no records that would substantiate its previous claims that it weighed potentially negative economic or financial impacts when considering criminal charges, said Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general for the criminal division.

Wednesday’s revelations are likely to increase criticism of the Obama administration, which has been accused of a lackluster enforcement record against big banks in the financial crisis and other matters.

It also may put further pressure on the Justice Department to strengthen future prosecutions. Recently, instead of filing criminal charges against large financial groups, federal prosecutors have begun to file criminal cases against subsidiaries. Observers including lawyers at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, a top defense firm, have warned that Justice may expand its limited use of criminal indictments in part due to public pressure.

Leading Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), have pilloried the administration for its approach, which they allege has been focused on settlements at the expense of justice.

The lawmakers, and others, may be encouraged to apply even more public pressure on efforts to crack down on big banks. Past missteps by the Obama administration and by big banks have added momentum to efforts to forcibly break up large financial groups.

The hearing comes as DOJ, Treasury and financial regulators battle perceptions that they consider some large financial institutions are either too big or too important to the economy to fail. Congressional Republicans and some leading current and former regulators have claimed that the 2010 law overhauling financial regulation known as Dodd-Frank failed to end “too-big-to-fail.” The Obama administration and most regulators insist that if the problem has not yet been solved, it soon will be.




Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress in March that some banks were “too large,” impeding attempts to bring criminal prosecutions. Holder's comment is perhaps the most explicit public admission of concern by a senior Obama administration official regarding big banks.

Though Holder has since attempted to walk back those comments, at the time he said that the size of large financial institutions “has an inhibiting influence -- impact on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate.” He further told lawmakers: “And I think that is something that we -- you all -- need to consider.”

DOJ officials have previously defended the lack of criminal charges against banks suspected of wrongdoing in large part by pointing to the so-called “collateral consequences” associated with filing a criminal indictment against a leading financial institution.

Two examples occurred in December, when HSBC, the U.K. banking giant, settled allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions and facilitated the movement across the U.S. financial system of tainted money by Mexican drug cartels, and UBS, the Swiss bank, settled claims it manipulated world interest rates.

At the Justice Department’s news conference to announce the HSBC settlement, Lanny Breuer, then-assistant attorney general for the criminal division, was asked why the agency did not pursue a criminal indictment.

“If you think that by doing a certain thing you risk either a charter being revoked, you think that counterparties in a massive financial institution may go away, you think that there is a risk that many, many innocent people will be harmed from a resolution,” Breuer said, “and by another resolution you think you can mitigate the risk of innocent people suffering, the economy being affected, and you can hone in on those and the institutions and address the issues underlying. To the Department of Justice, that's a very real factor, and so it is a factor you consider.”

Asked whether jobs were a factor in DOJ’s decision, Breuer replied: “Collateral consequences were absolutely a factor.”

Criminal charges in the financial services industry can be the equivalent of a corporate death sentence. The failure of Arthur Andersen, one of the five largest accounting firms in the U.S., was due to a criminal indictment related to accounting fraud at Enron.

During a separate news conference to announce the UBS settlement, Breuer said: “In the world today of large institutions where much of the financial world is based on confidence, one of the things we want to ensure as we come forward to a right resolution is to ensure that counterparties don't flee an institution, that jobs are not lost, that there is not some world economic event that is disproportionate to the resolution we want.”

Holder then stepped in and quickly added: "The impact on the stability of the financial markets around the world is something we take into consideration. We reach out to experts outside of the Justice Department to talk about what are the consequences of actions that we might take, what would be the impact of those actions if we want to make particular prosecutive decisions or determinations with regards to a particular institution."

In letters to Congress from the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, made public by McHenry, top financial policymakers said they could find no records of such analyses that had been shared with DOJ.

In one letter, Tom Curry, OCC chief, said that Breuer had contacted him prior to the agency’s settlement with HSBC, but all he did was explain to Breuer during a single phone call how the agency revoked banks’ charters, or their legal license to operate.

In another, Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, said that in the HSBC case, all that the Fed and DOJ discussed was how to “better coordinate information sharing”.

“This meeting did not include discussion of the views of the Federal Reserve on collateral consequences of prosecuting any institution, either specifically or as a general matter,” Bernanke added.

Alastair Fitzpayne, Treasury assistant secretary for legislative affairs, told Congress: “We have not identified any analyses prepared by the Department of the Treasury for the DOJ regarding the potential prosecution of large, complex financial institutions.”

During a March hearing, David Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said that DOJ had asked Treasury for “guidance” on the potential impact a criminal charge against HSBC could have on the financial system.

Cohen said Treasury told DOJ it was “not in a position to offer any meaningful guidance.”

Treasury documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Public Citizen, an advocacy group, appear to show that the agency made no attempt to conduct any such examination internally.

The letters, testimony and documents obtained by Public Citizen and shared with The Huffington Post, appear to undermine a separate May letter to McHenry from Peter Kadzik, Justice principal deputy assistant attorney general, in which he told McHenry that DOJ has “contacted relevant government agencies to discuss such issues.”

“Those government agencies include domestic regulators, as well as foreign regulators where the financial institution is multi-national or is otherwise based,” Kadzik wrote.

DOJ's Raman said Wednesday that the agency had not found any internal records concerning threats to the economy or the financial system when weighing criminal indictments against big banks in past cases. She also said the agency could not locate any such documents from U.S. or foreign regulators.

Breuer did not return a call seeking comment.

DOJ representatives declined to comment beyond Raman’s testimony.
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