**Written by Doug Powers Yesterday Michelle wrote about the IRS admitting to giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups (specifically ones that were self-described as “tea party” or “patriot” organizations) seeking tax exempt status in 2011 and 2012. Lois Lerner, head of the IRS division that oversees tax exempt groups, apologized and said the practice was initiated by “lower level workers” in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias (pause for laughter). Lerner also told the AP that at the time no high level IRS officials knew this was going on. Somebody might want to ask her that question again : A federal watchdog’s upcoming report says senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups in 2011. The Associated Press obtained part of the draft report. That report says the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups learned that groups were being targeted in June 2011. It does not say whether Shulman was notified. Bonus points: According to this story in The Hill, not only is Lerner’s claim that no higher-ups at the IRS knew about the extra scrutiny being given to conservative groups incorrect, but that at least one of those senior officials who knew about the practice was… Lerner : The report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is slated to be released next week — the AP obtained a draft copy of the report. According to that draft, the head of the IRS division that overseas tax-exempt groups became aware that conservative groups were being targeted for scrutiny in June, 2011. The report does not say whether Douglas Shulman, IRS commissioner at the time, was aware of it. Also : In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. According to Jay Carney, if anything, this might be Bush’s fault . Double bonus points: IRS official Lerner: “I’m not good at math.” It’s all starting to make sense now. Update: Jewish groups too ? The New York Times must have declared the story dead, because they’ve buried it . Update II : The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight has thrown down an investigative gauntlet to the Internal Revenue Service, demanding that the agency hand over by next Wednesday every communication in its records that includes the words “tea party,” “patriot” or “conservative.” The committee is also demanding of the IRS that by next Wednesday it provide the committee with the names and titles of all individuals who were involved in targeting conservative non-profit groups for more intensive review of their applications for non-profit status. **Written by Doug Powers Twitter @ThePowersThatBe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House offices were evacuated briefly on Saturday when an electrical transformer near the West Wing malfunctioned and set off a smoke alarm, a White House official said. A Secret Service official said President Barack Obama had not been in the area at the time. “The transformer problem was quickly resolved. Electricity and personnel access to the West Wing has returned to normal. The First Family was unaffected,” the White House official said in an emailed statement. Firefighters responded and staff were evacuated briefly, the Secret Service official said. …
By Kim Dixon WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The political goal is the same as it was in the mid-1980s: grassroots support for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code. But lawmakers' approach this time is thoroughly modern. The chairmen of Congress's tax-writing committees on Thursday launched a website they hope will boost public support for overhauling the tax code in the same way that a “Write Rosty” letter-writing campaign did a quarter-century ago. TaxReform.gov, created by U.S. …
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Lawmakers go online for grassroots push on tax reform
**Written by Doug Powers On Morning Joe, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd auditioned for Jay Carney’s job explained why he thinks those investigating the Benghazi attack are pushing a conspiracy theory and laughed off any notion of it developing into a major scandal. Transcript from Newsbusters : CHUCK TODD: I think we sometimes forget what was going on at that time. We did have multiple embassies in the region, both in North Africa and in the Middle East, that were dealing with protests. Remember, they raised a black flag on the U.S. embassy in Tunisia during that same period. We had the issues that were going on in Cairo. So, you had, and in fact one of the reasons they didn’t send all six special ops, they say at the time, is that they didn’t want to have Tripoli unguarded at all. And don’t forget, that was the U.S. embassy. And considering what was happening to U.S. embassies in the region at the time, it’s actually very rational thought: all right, let’s dispatch two guys to the consul — to Benghazi for now . JOE SCARBOROUGH: Again, as we go to break, we’ve passed this, and by the way, it’s on a cheat sheat from the Daily Beast right now–House to reveal new Benghazi evidence–but as we do go to break, Chuck, again, it is important to remind people: we’re not brushing aside any allegations. The State Department has already been hammered. Hillary Clinton has testified – MIKA BRZEZINSKI: There’s more coming. SCARBOROUGH: There’s more coming. And there should be more coming. Because the fact is Hillary Clinton and the State Department did not heed the concerns of a U.S. ambassador who ended up dead. That does warrant investigation. Is this going to be bigger than Watergate and Iran-contra, ten times over? TODD [laughs]: It doesn’t look that way. SCARBOROUGH: I don’t know. Let’s just wait and see. Todd : “Within three or four days, it was pretty clear to the entire world this was a terrorist attack from a group that had some sort of extremist al-Qaeda ties.” Five days after Benghazi: Update: The House hearing featuring testimony from the State Department witnesses (the “whistleblowers”) has begun. The Right Scoop has live video here . More at Twitchy . Update II: Stand down, all — Dem. Rep. William Lacy Clay has figured out who’s at fault for the Benghazi attack… House Republicans : Which we’ll follow up with this: State Dept’s Charlene Lamb, asked if budget cuts had anything to do with security decisions, said “No, sir.” — Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 10, 2012 **Written by Doug Powers Twitter @ThePowersThatBe
Hmmm : “We want somebody who wakes up thinking about jobs, thinking about the economy, thinking about finding a great deal , thinking about training the workforce,” [Democratic Sen. and former Gov.] Tim Kaine said. “That’s why I’m supporting Terry McAuliffe to be the next governor of the Commonwealth.” Oh, I have no doubt McAuliffe is quite skilled at finding a great deal. The question is, “a great deal for whom?” Elsewhere in the Washington Post ’s coverage, they note , “Beyond education, McAuliffe’s policy blueprint calls for targeted business incentive programs and diversifying the state’s economic base.” “Targeted business incentive programs.” Oh, I have no doubt that economic assistance under a Governor McAuliffe would be targeted . As he said in his autobiography : Let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to raise money for a governor. They have all kinds of business to hand out, road contracts, construction jobs, you name it. You may scoff: Surely the risk of humilation would prevent him from directing “incentives” to his friends and donors! But as he proudly boasts when discussing the time a casino owner demanded he go up and sing on a stage for a donation, “For $500,000 I don’t mind humiliating myself for five minutes.” Would a Governor McAuliffe mix politics and business? Heck, he brags about how he does it : McAuliffe has said that his work in politics has bolstered his business career. “I’ve met all of my business contacts through politics. It’s all interrelated,” he told the New York Times in 1999. As he summarized it to the Washington Post in 2009 : I’ve done business with people I’ve met in politics, who I went to law school with, who I grew up with . . . Who do you do business with? People you meet in life.
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McAuliffe Pledges ‘Targeted Business Incentive Programs’
**Written by Doug Powers Yesterday we discussed the upcoming congressional hearing during which three Benghazi “whistleblowers” are expected to testify that there never was a demonstration at the consulate that grew out of control, and that Benghazi was a planned terrorist attack “from the get go.” The “drip drip” is fast turning into an open fire hydrant. Today, there are two more accusations from the whistleblowers that directly contradict the administration’s previous claims. Here’s the first : On the night of Sept. 11, as the Obama administration scrambled to respond to the Benghazi terror attacks, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a key aide effectively tried to cut the department’s own counterterrorism bureau out of the chain of reporting and decision-making, according to a “whistle-blower” witness from that bureau who will soon testify to the charge before Congress, Fox News has learned. That witness is Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for operations in the agency’s counterterrorism bureau. Sources tell Fox News Thompson will level the allegation against Clinton during testimony on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Fox News has also learned that another official from the counterterrorism bureau — independently of Thompson — voiced the same complaint about Clinton and Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy to trusted national security colleagues back in October. Sources close to the congressional investigation who have been briefed on what Thompson will testify tell Fox News the veteran counterterrorism official concluded on Sept. 11 that Clinton and Kennedy tried to cut the counterterrorism bureau out of the loop as they and other Obama administration officials weighed how to respond to — and characterize — the Benghazi attacks. “You should have seen what (Clinton) tried to do to us that night,” the second official in State’s counterterrorism bureau told colleagues back in October. Those comments would appear to be corroborated by Thompson’s forthcoming testimony. A Clinton spokesperson said allegations that Hillary cut her own department’s counterterrorism bureau out of the loop are completely untrue. As always, when pondering two competing sides of a story, consider which party has the most to gain or lose. To decide who that might be in this matter, I’ll give you some time to decide — maybe until 2016 or so. The second story: According to whistleblower Greg Hicks (via CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson ), on the night of the attack, rapid reaction troops in Libya that night were told to stand down: CBS: U.S. Ambassador Stevens’ Deputy, Greg Hicks, has told Congressional investigators that a team of Special Forces prepared to fly from.. — Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) May 6, 2013 ..Tripoli to Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks was forbidden from doing so by SOCAFRICA [U.S. Special Operations Command S. Africa] — Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) May 6, 2013 The Obama administration has claimed that “neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi.” Jay Carney deflected questions about this accusation by citing a report from the Accountability Review Board that was led by two men of “unimpeachable expertise” (video h/t Weasel Zippers ) : Too bad nobody followed up by asking Carney if the deputy coordinator for operations in the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau and the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the attack do have impeachable expertise. More about the “unimpeachable” review board Carney referenced: The State Department’s Office of Inspector General is investigating the special internal panel that probed the Benghazi terror attack for the State Department, Fox News has confirmed. The IG’s office is said by well-placed sources to be seeking to determine whether the Accountability Review Board, or ARB — led by former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen — failed to interview key witnesses who had asked to provide their accounts of the Benghazi attacks to the panel. What could be more impartial than a State Department review of the State Department’s review of the State Department’s actions the night of the Benghazi attack? All together now: “What difference does it make?” **Written by Doug Powers Twitter @ThePowersThatBe
Good question. See Barry Snell, ” Waking the dragon — How Feinstein fiddled while America burned .” Man, that’s one hella essay. Any quote would be outstanding. Here’s one: Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they look down on us for defending the Second Amendment as vigorously as they defend the First Amendment — a fight we too would stand side-by-side with them on otherwise. We don’t trust anti-gunners because someone defending the First Amendment is considered a hero, but a someone defending the Second Amendment is figured down with murderers and other lowlifes. Where the First Amendment has its very own day and week, both near-holy national celebrations beyond reproach, anti-gunners would use the First Amendment to ridicule any equivalent event for the Second Amendment, like they did for a recent local attempt at the University of Iowa. I think fortunately, at least this time around, the idiot “anti-gunners” are losing, and losing badly. RTWT.
**Written by Doug Powers The coming week promises to be an interesting one : Their identities have been a well-guarded secret, known only to their high-powered lawyers and a handful of House lawmakers and staff. But now Fox News has learned the names of the self-described Benghazi “whistleblowers” who are set to testify before a widely anticipated congressional hearing on Wednesday. Appearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be three career State Department officials: Gregory N. Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks; Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya, the top security officer in the country in the months leading up to the attacks. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Hicks was at the time of the highest-ranking American diplomat in the country. Nordstrom previously testified before the oversight committee, which is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in October 2012. At that time, Nordstrom made headlines by detailing for lawmakers the series of requests that he, Ambassador Stevens, and others made for enhanced security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, most of which were rejected by State Department superiors. A subsequent CBS News report corroborated Nordstrom’s testimony . It’s apparent that when word of the Benghazi attack started coming in, the administration immediately acted on instinct — which unfortunately first and foremost was to figure out how to take political advantage from the situation (tactical advice Rahm Emanuel offered years ago) instead of confront the attack and publicly admit a fact that flew in the face of a particular motive the administration was working to establish . The talking points were continually tweaked even though officials were told it was a terrorist attack “from the get go” — that according to the testimony of Greg Hicks, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi attack: Greg Hicks: “The net impact of what’s transpired is the spokesperson of the most powerful country in the world has basically said that the president of Libya is either a liar or doesn’t know what he is talking about. The impact of that is immeasurable. Magariaf has just lost face in front of not only his own people but the world. My jaw hit the floor as I watched this. I’ve never been as embarrassed in my life — in my career — as on that day. I never reported a demonstration. I reported an attack on the consulate. Chris’s [Ambassador Stevens] last report, if you want to say his final report, is ‘Greg, we are under attack.’ It is jaw dropping to me how that [blaming a video] came to be.” Hicks also says he told investigators that no one from the Obama administration contacted him before Susan Rice’s appearance on just about every Sunday morning show in the free world where she spread the “spontaneous protest caused by anger over a video” falsehood five days after the attack. The administration’s two most baffling defenses so far have been that the attack happened “a long time ago,” and besides, “what difference does it make?” **Written by Doug Powers Twitter @ThePowersThatBe
The Heritage Foundation offers a comparison that articulates why so many Republicans are so wary about the Gang of Eight immigration bill: After Obamacare, I don’t think you’ll see the conservative grassroots feeling confident about any 800-page bill for a long time. As noted on Twitter , most Democrats’ view on immigration reform begins and ends with, “yeah, yeah, yeah, enough with the boring stuff about respect for the rule of law, economic impact on unskilled workers, assimilation, or border security, tell me how soon my party can get 11 million new voters.” Most folks on the Right don’t trust the motives of the congressional Democrats pushing it or trust the Obama administration to enforce the law; we see immigration laws currently on the books ignored and ineffectively enforced all the time (hello, Boston bomber friends); we’re not convinced of any significant political benefit; we believe that any aspect of the law that proves inconvenient for the Democratic party’s allies will face immediate pressure to be repealed or altered; and we believe it rewards those who have broken the law. But other than that , it looks great.
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The Immigration Bill: Obamacare All Over Again?