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Friday, May 31, 2013

IRS Misses Filing Deadline: Fails to Comply With Congressional Demand

IRS Misses Filing Deadline: Fails to Comply With Congressional Demand for All Communications With WH About Targeting Conservatives
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., left, and the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., want answers from the IRS. (AP File Photo)
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., left, and the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., want answers from the IRS. (AP File Photo)
By Terence P. Jeffrey

( - What did the White House know about the IRS targeting conservative groups and when did it know it?
Crucial evidence needed to develop an accurate answer to that question would include the records of any communications that went back and forth between the IRS and the White House on the topic.
In a May 14 letter signed by Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin, the House Ways and Means Committee demanded precisely those records from the IRS. In the same letter, the committee also demanded the records of any communications between IRS and the Treasury on the matter, plus other information and records that would help the committee understand the facts about IRS actions that subjected to heightened scrutiny conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin gave the IRS a deadline of Tuesday, May 21 to comply with their committee’s demand for the information and records.
The IRS--which requires working Americans to file their tax returns by an April 15 deadline each year or else face penalties--did not comply with this deadline imposed by the congressional committee that has oversight over its activities.
“The Committee has not received a response to the Camp-Levin letter,” House Ways and Means Spokeswoman Sarah Swinehart told late Tuesday after the IRS had closed for business for the day.
“Chairman Camp expects the IRS to comply and provide full and complete responses to the letter since many of these questions were asked, but went unanswered, in Friday’s hearing,” said Swinehart.
The letter that Camp and Levin sent to the IRS a week ago Tuesday asked the agency to answer thirteen questions about its targeting of conservative groups and, where relevant, provide all internal agency documents and communications substantiating its answers.
Two of the committee’s questions sought records of any communications between the IRS and the Treasury and the IRS and the White House about the targeting of conservatives groups.
“As the Committee on Ways and Means continues its investigation into these IRS practices,” Camp and Levin wrote the IRS, “we request that the IRS provide the following information by May 21, 2013: …”
“Did the IRS at any time notify the Treasury Department of the targeting of conservative or any other groups?” Camp and Levin asked. “Provide all documents and communications between the IRS and Treasury on this matter.”
“Did the IRS at any time notify the White House of the targeting of conservative or any other groups?” asked Camp and Levin. “Provide all documents and communications between the IRS and the White House on this matter.”
In their letter, Camp and Levin said the IRS had not been “completely truthful” with the committee in the past on this matter.
“We are deeply troubled by the recent admission of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that the agency has been singling out organizations for additional review based on their political beliefs,” Camp and Levin said in their letter to the agency. “Despite repeated calls for cooperation, the agency failed to be completely truthful in its responses to the committee during its nearly two-year long investigation of this matter, and in testimony before the committee.”
On Monday through Tuesday morning, made multiple phone and email inquiries to the IRS press office asking if the agency intended to comply with this request for information and records from the House Ways and Means Committee. The IRS did not respond.

Mitt Romney retreat roster: David Axelrod

Keep your friends close, your enemies closer....

Mitt Romney (left) and David Axelrod are pictured. | AP Photos


The guest list for Mitt Romney’s June retreat has a few surprising names not traditionally seen together with the former GOP presidential nominee.
The list of high-profile speakers include Democratic political consultant David Axelrod, who was President Barack Obama’s campaign adviser in 2008 and an Obama senior strategist in 2012, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday. During the 2012 campaign, Axelrod was openly critical of Romney, often slamming the Republican for his political stances.
Another staunch Obama supporter, and the former chairman of the Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is also on the list.
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie is also expected to speak at the retreat. The Republican caught flak from his own party last year when he worked together with the president on Hurricane Sandy relief.
Other guests include Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who was Romney’s vice president pick, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the bipartisan duo who chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and David Axelrod’s wife, Susan.
According to the Globe, in an email, Romney stressed the bipartisanship of the event writing, “As I indicated in your invitation, I have drawn speakers from government and business to identify key opportunities ahead. And I have made sure to invite presenters from both sides of the aisle.”
The event, called Experts and Enthusiasts will be held in Park City, Utah. The conference will be sponsored by Solamere, the company Tagg Romney co-founded and for which Mitt Romney now serves as chairman of the executive committee. The conference will focus on discussing opportunities in business, politics and philanthropy, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Race playing role in health care overhaul opposition????

Carter Peterson not backing down from claim race playing role in health care overhaul opposition

Carter Peterson not backing down from claim race playing role in health care overhaul opposition

NEW ORLEANS — State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) is not backing down from comments she made this week about the role she claims race is playing in opposition to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul known as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Tuesday, in a floor speech on an amendment calling for an expansion of Medicaid, Peterson said, "It's not about how many dollars we can receive. It's not about that. You ready? It's about race. I know nobody wants to talk about that. It's about the race of this African-American president."
Carter Peterson, the state Democratic Party chair, went on to say, "It comes down to the race of the president of the United States, which causes people to disconnect and step away from the substance of the bill."
The comments drew the ire of the Louisiana Republican Party. State GOP chair Roger Villerie released a statement calling for Carter Peterson to resign from her post with the Louisiana Democratic Party.
"It's shocking that state Sen. Peterson has doubled down on her comment that Louisianians who oppose Obamacare are racists," Villerie said.
Carter Peterson said she's not stepping down or apologizing for her statements.
"There will be no apology because an apology is not due to the people of Louisiana for what I said," Carter Peterson told WWL-TV. "An apology maybe should come from Gov. (Bobby) Jindal as to why he's not accepting the money that can help so many uninsured citizens (and) working families."
Jindal, a Republican, told Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ that it's "wrong to call people racists" simply over opposition to the health law.
Carter Peterson responded by saying, "The comments that I made on the floor have been misconstrued and that's unfortunate that it's being done for political purposes. But I certainly did not call anyone a racist."
The senator said a bill calling for an expansion of Medicaid still has a chance of passing between now and June 6, the end of the current legislative session.
We expect to have new comments from Carter Peterson, the state GOP and Jindal coming up on Eyewitness News at six p.m.

US Crowing About bin Laden Raid Sabotage Hero's Shot at Freedom?

Obama administration to blame for jailing of hero Bin Laden doctor, says Pakistani report

By Sib Kaifee
It was the Obama administration that sealed the fate of the Pakistani doctor jailed for helping nail Usama Bin Laden, by divulging key details after the fact and dooming any chance Shakil Afridi's cover story could win his freedom, according to a confidential Pakistani report.
Dr. Shakil Afridi has helped the U.S., but now his supporters say the U.S. must do more to help him.

t was the Obama administration that sealed the fate of the Pakistani doctor jailed for helping nail Usama Bin Laden, by divulging key details after the fact and dooming any chance Shakil Afridi's cover story could win his freedom, according to a confidential Pakistani report.
When former Secretary of Defense and ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta publicly acknowledged Afridi's role in the ruse which helped the CIA pinpoint Bin Laden's presence in an Abbottabad compound, any chance that Pakistani authorities could help him get out of the country vanished, according to what some have called Pakistan’s version of the 9/11 Commission, a 357-page report from an independent body set up to probe the aftermath of the 2011 raid by Navy SEALs in which the Al Qaeda leader was killed.
“The statement by the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who was the CIA Director when May 2 happened, confirming the role of Dr. Afridi in making the U.S. assassination mission a success, rendered much of what Afridi told the Commission very questionable if not outright lies,” states the report, which has not been released, but which has viewed.
“The lesson from the Afridi episode is, if it suits the political purpose of the Obama administration, you’ll be exposed and placed in jeopardy.”
- Thomas Fitton, president of Judicial Watch

Indeed, Panetta and others in the Obama administration were sharply criticized domestically for discussing the raid and efforts involving Afridi to obtain DNA from the compound's occupants by posing as a medical team offering vaccinations. Nearly five months before Afridi’s sentencing, while the doctor was being held and interrogated by Pakistan’s shadowy intelligence agency , Panetta spoke on record in an interview to CBS “60 Minutes” confirming Afridi's role in late January 2012. The statements came after Afridi had testified to the commission, and sharply contradicted his story.
“This was an individual, in fact that helped provide intelligence, that was very helpful in regards to this operation and he was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan,” Panetta told the program in January, 2012, in the first acknowledgement of Afridi's role. 
That prompted the Pakistani commission to conclude in its report that "Dr. Afridi had been cultivated by the CIA and ultimately used in its project to assassinate Usama Bin Laden.”
Panetta did not respond to multiple requests for comment. His spokesman, Jeremy Bash, had earlier told a Fox News Channel correspondent that Panetta wasn’t willing to talk to media.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Afridi’s most vocal supporter in Congress, has been critical of the Obama administration's handling of Afridi's case. But he said he is skeptical of the report placing all the blame for his imprisonment on the U.S. 
“It doesn’t take genius to figure out that the Pakistanis have been betraying us all along and Dr. Afridi is being used as a pawn in their game with the United States,” Rohrabacher said.
The Commission Report itself recommends a retrial for Afrid, who is now appealing his case. His family is holding out hope that American pressure can win his freedom, while his U.S. supporters have been critical of the Obama administration and State Department for its muted approach to the matter.
“We need to continue to put pressure on the Obama administration and the State Department to advocate for the immediate release of Dr. Afridi, not just a retrial,” said Rohrabacher, who wants the doctor to be recognized as an American hero
Afridi's lawyer in North West Pakistan has argued that Panetta’s statement further complicated an already convoluted matter concocted on trumped up charges without laying blame on U.S. or Pakistan. Afridi is serving a 33-year term in Peshawar Central Jail after being convicted by a tribal council of colluding with local militant group Lashkar-e-Islam. American lawmakers, diplomats and administration officials all believe the charges are a proxy for his role in assisting a foreign spy agency.
“The lesson from the Afridi episode is, if it suits the political purpose of the Obama administration, you’ll be exposed and placed in jeopardy,” said Thomas Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.
Panetta’s disclosure robbed Afridi of “plausible deniability” of a role in the episode. Even if Pakistani officials did not believe Afridi's account, his story may have provided cover for a diplomatic solution had Panetta not undermined it, he said.
The U.S. intelligence community was alarmed at the Obama administration's loose-lipped attitude toward the raid, according to New York Times reporter David Sanger’s book "Confront and Conceal," which claimed leaks prompted then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to angrily confront Obama’s National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon.     
"I have a new strategic communications approach to recommend,” Gates is quoted as telling Donilon. “Shut the f@*k up!”
In addition to Panetta's interview, Kathryn Bigelow, director of “Zero Dark Thirty” the Hollywood movie which depicts “Operation Neptune” that killed Bin Laden, was given exclusive access to classified information.

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EPA: Obama Administration’s Next Scandal?

With the continued Benghazi investigation, IRS political targeting and DOJ press surveillance, could a scandal at the EPA be the next shoe to droop for the Obama administration?

Wilkow: Could the Obama Administrations Next Scandal Be Brewing at the EPA?
(Image Source: Free Enterprise)
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) been closely following the EPA’s misuse of private communication to conduct public business, and fees the agency has placed on conservative groups seeking information that they usual waive for media and watchdog groups. After successfully gaining access to former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson’s emails, CEI is now suing to gain access to the text messages of Gina McCarthy, the senior EPA official the President has nominated to now run the agency.
CEI’s Chris Horner joined “Wilkow” Thursday to discuss his organization’s request to access text messages sent by Jackson and McCarthy, and what they’re looking for.
“Where are these text messages? Are they really engaging in serial, coordinated, systematic document destruction in violation of criminal law?” he asked. “Because I have an affidavit in one of my lawsuits from NASA admitting that they are. OK, so this is not far-fetched, this is rather near-fetched.”
Horner noted that McCarthy is being promoted to an “enormous budget” and “enormous responsibility” and there are questions that need to be answered.
He went on: “The bigger issue the EPA is going to have to answer is: Are you just in contempt of Congress and violating the law by refusing to turn things over? Or are you really serially and systematically destroying records?”
“If so, these consequences have to go beyond people resigning to end the issue — we have to have real consequences because these are not their records, they’re ours,” Horner concluded.
CEI filed suit in federal court on Wednesday to compel the EPA to turn over McCarthy’s text messages sent after the EPA reportedly warned her that the text messages she was sending about members of Congress during hearings posed great risk to get and the agency.
“EPA must produce these records under the Freedom of Information Act and, in the process, admit one of two scenarios: Either EPA has maintained text messages as required by law but has chosen repeatedly to withhold them in the face of FOIA and congressional oversight requests for ‘all records’ or ‘all electronic records,’ or EPA has destroyed the texts, with possible criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 2071 (Concealment, removal, or mutilation of federal records),” CEI announced in a press release.

The stubbornness of Barack Obama

Why it’s always worked for him, and why it might not now.

By Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan

President Obama and his senior advisers are convinced that they are usually right and that Washington conventional wisdom — as voiced by members of Congress, reporters and the various political professionals in both parties — is usually wrong.
And for good reason.
President Obama, not looking particularly stubborn. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
When the political class said Obama wasn’t moving up fast enough in national polls in 2007, he and his team stubbornly stuck to its singular focus on Iowa. He/they were right.
When the economy sputtered and the political class said that a sluggish recovery would cost Obama a second term, the incumbent stubbornly stuck to the belief that the economy would start to get better and that the election wasn’t all about the economy anyway. He was right.
Go all the way back to Obama’s decision to run for the Senate in 2004, a too-soon move by a candidate considered the third or fourth most likely to wind up as the nominee, according to the political class. Obama stubbornly kept plugging away in the race, watched the top contenders implode and soared to the nomination. He was right.
On countless other occasions, both large and small, Obama and his inner circle have purposely ignored the chattering class, and nine times out of 10 they have been right.
Stubbornness in the defense of being right is no vice, Obama could rightly note looking back on his political career and most of his time in the White House.
And yet, Obama’s stubbornness regarding the ongoing controversy surrounding the Department of Justice and, in particular, Attorney General Eric Holder may not be his best strategy.
Through White House spokespeople, Obama has reiterated his confidence in Holder in the wake of the AG’s acknowledgment of his involvement in the investigation of Fox News Channel reporter James Rosen and Obama has rejected the idea of appointing a special counsel to investigate the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups despite the fact that 76 percent of Americans favor just such a move.
The mentality is simple: We are not going to cave to what political Washington demands because political Washington is often (always?) wrong.
True enough. But, there is one critical difference between all of the episodes we cited above of stubbornness working and the ongoing DOJ outcry: Those all happened to Barack Obama the candidate or the first-term president, not Barack Obama the second-term president.
For Obama, a second term means that his mind (and those of his advisers) turns not to how to win again — not possible — but rather to how he will be remembered by history. For everyone not named Obama in elected office — including, and maybe especially, his own party — Obama in a second term is someone who need not be followed in lockstep for fear of political retribution.
Those twin realities change the political equation for Obama. Whether or not he thinks the accusations against Holder are fair (he almost certainly doesn’t), he has to realize that a prolonged series of Congressional investigations centered on the IRS and the administration’s prosecution of leakers isn’t good news for his second-term agenda. And, Obama also has to realize that it is good politics for many people in his own party to break with him on such a high-profile series of issues. (Seven Democratic Senate seats up in 2014 are in states Mitt Romney won in 2012.)
The simplest solution then would be to jettison Holder — if not now then at some point in the not-too-distant future. While such a move surely wouldn’t placate some of the administration’s most vocal conservative critics, it would serve to take much of the air out of the balloon for a national audience and, in so doing, allow Obama to move on to other matters.
Short of that, Obama could aquiesce to calls for a special prosecutor to look into the IRS wrongdoing, a move that would both get him on the right side of public opinion on the matter and rob Republicans of the chance to continually bash him for allegedly side-stepping real action on the issue.
Obama certainly seems to have no plans to get rid of Holder. And, he is holding his ground on a special prosecutor. But what if his long-successful stubbornness strategy is a poor fit for his current circumstances?
DCCC hits six House Republicans on student loans: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will launch ads in six college newspapers that single out Republicans on the issue of student loan rates. The ad news comes as Obama on Friday will warn against letting student loan rates double in July. House Republicans have passed their own plan to address the matter, but Democrats don’t approve of it.
The DCCC ads will target Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), Gary Miller (R-Calif.),  Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), and Joe Heck (R-Nev.).
The FBI intercepted a letter addressed to Obama that may contain ricin.
House investigators reportedly intend to interview four IRS employees from the agency’s Cincinnati office.
“Moderate Republicans slowly were taken out of the party,” said newly minted Democrat Lincoln Chafee, the governor of Rhode Island.
Mitt Romney said the first 100 days of Obama’s second term lacked a clear agenda.
The fired former campaign manager to New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) was indicted on charges stemming from intercepting e-mails from Martinez and her staff.
On June 7, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) will have served in Congress for 57 years, five months and 26 days, breaking the record of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.).
Clay Schroers will manage Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz’s 2014 campaign.

Hillary's approval ratings plummet, Benghazi scandal blamed

Photo -

While her favorability rating in February was 61 percent, a new Quinnipiac University poll out Friday had it cobbled down to 52 percent and her once double-digit lead over potential GOP presidential challengers Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul has been cut to less than 10 percent.
"Her score is down substantially from her all-time high score in February. The drop in her favorability is substantial among men, Republicans and independent voters. One reason for her drop may be that 48 percent of voters blame her either a little or a lot for the death of the American ambassador in Benghazi," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University polling Institute.
Still, she is the Democrat's best chance to succeed President Obama in the Oval Office. In matchups with the leading Republican hopefuls, Clinton beats Paul 49 percent to 41 percent and Bush 48 percent to 40 percent.
Vice President Joe Biden is her chief rival for the job. But in the new poll he loses to Bush by six points and Paul by four points.
"If Ms. Clinton chooses not to run in 2016, the potential Democratic field could include a somewhat unpopular vice president and a number of new faces who are unknown to the vast majority of Americans," said Brown. "The potential Republican candidates include many unknowns also. Some of them, however, lead the incumbent vice president and outscore him when it comes to overall voter favorability."

Study shows 'red' states rank highest in economic potential


By Molly Henneberg
When it comes to economic growth and potential, it's better to be "red." 
So says a new study out of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which ranked all 50 states in terms of their economic outlook -- and found those that tend to vote Republican had the most potential. 
The "Red States, Poor States" study, the sixth of its kind to be released by the conservative think tank, measured states based on 15 factors, ranging from minimum wage laws to tax rates to labor policy. 
Almost all of the top 10 tend to vote "red" in presidential and state elections. At the top of the list, for the sixth year in a row, was Utah. 
"The real key to Utah is low tax rates, but more than that a predictable tax climate," said Jonathan Williams, with ALEC. "Utah legislators are very conscientious about the fact that they don't spend beyond their means and also they don't make changes in tax policy retroactively.  They make changes very gradually and they generally make them in a lower tax direction." 
The bottom 10 states in economic outlook, Williams said, tend to be "blue" states with higher taxes and more restrictions on business development. 
New York and Vermont round out the bottom two. 
But not everyone thinks those states on the bottom are getting it wrong. 
Tracy Gordon, with the Brookings Institution, said: "It's hard to say that states should try to pattern themselves after Utah." 
Gordon noted states have different strengths and weaknesses. 
"So for example, I know the authors are not fans of the income tax, but in good years the income tax performs very well in states like New York and California that rely on it heavily. So should California and New York try to look more like Utah? Probably not," Gordon said. 
Another part of the ALEC study looked at the states' economic performance from 2001-2011.  The state that grew the most during that time was Texas, and the state that struggled the most was Michigan, according to ALEC's calculations. This part of the study was based on the states' gross state product growth, population shifts and job growth. 
ALEC says this shows where states have been, and the 2013 economic outlook rankings show where the states are likely to go. This study did not take into account factors such as natural resources, weather and social policies, Williams explained.

Senate staffers offered classes on forgiveness, relaxation, sleep

Caroline May
Congressional staffers in need of a lesson on how to forgive, sleep, relax and other lifestyle issues are in luck. The government is offering lessons to teach them just that.
“Come learn the art of forgiveness. Learn how to ‘let go’ and move on!” reads an announcement for an hour-long June 10 forgiveness event that was sent to Senate staffers and obtained by The Daily Caller.
The forgiveness session, presented by the Senate Employee Assistance Program, promises to teach the “Definitions of grudge and forgiveness; Consequences of holding a grudge; Practical steps to forgiving and moving on.” It will be offered as a webinar.

“Why should taxpayers pay for Senate staffers to use an hour of their workday to learn about forgiveness?” Aaron Fobes, spokesman for Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, reacted to the event Thursday in an email to The Daily Caller.
Tuesday, Coburn called on House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to look at what he believes to be millions of dollars in wasteful spending at the Capitol, including printing costs, expensive perks provided to former House Speakers, costs for the money-losing Senate barber shop and gift shops, staff transportation, and other kinds of classes for Senate staffers on lifestyle issues.

In a letter to Boehner, Reid, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer and the House Chief Administrative Officer, Coburn pointed out that the Senate and House have sponsored training programs, like the forgiveness class, that “frequently have little to do with legislation” for Congressional staff such as:
  • “A class to help staffers socially titled “Small Talk: Breaking the Ice in Social Situations”; and
  • A lifestyle class designed to help staffers titled “Lighten Up! Spring Cleaning for your Body and Your Life,” where staffers can learn about healthy eating and recipes to be “balanced, calm and focused and several practices that will support you in releasing the old and inviting in the new.
“Since Sequestration was implemented,” Coburn noted further, “both the House and Senate have continued to hold classes for staffers that have little if anything to do with legislating such as:
  • From Stress to Relaxation to help staffers with “exhaustion and lack of clarity” (Senate)
  • Your Credit Score – Friend or Foe (House)
  • Choose Your Attitude: Attitude is Everything (Senate)
  • What’s My Communication Style? (Senate)
  • Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep (Senate) 
The “forgiveness” program is the second in a webinar series EAP is providing through LifeCare, a self-described “leader in the Employee Productivity & Loyalty industry,” the first was the program on better sleep, a Senate EAP staffer told TheDC.
The staffer added that EAP contracts with LifeCare for their services.
When pressed for additional information about the program, the staffer declined to comment further, instead referring The Daily Caller to the EAP director, who referred TheDC to the program’s press office, which did not respond to request for comment.

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George W. Bush Skeptical of Senate's Immigration Bill

by Matthew Boyle

Former President George W. Bush questioned the political motives of lawmakers behind the immigration bill making its way through the U.S. Senate during an interview with the Huffington Post’s Jon Ward this week.

Bush suggested that some in Congress pushing the legislation may be more concerned with winning votes than truly resolving the nation's immigration woes.
Ward described the former President’s mindset as a “desire not to criticize the GOP” but offering a “warning about the party's mad dash for immigration reform.” 
“I think the atmosphere, unlike when I tried it, is better, maybe for the wrong reason,” Bush told Ward. “The right reason is it's important to reform a broken system. I'm not sure a right reason is that in so doing we win votes. 
"I mean when you do the right thing, I think you win votes, as opposed to doing something that's the right thing to win votes. Maybe there's no difference there. It seems like there is to me though.”
When Ward asked Bush about Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ward noted that Bush has urged his brother former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to run for president in 2016 and that the former president “didn't have a lot to say about Rubio.”
"Rubio's articulate. I met him once, maybe twice. My brother likes him, so I like him," he said, according to Ward.
As the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke points out, Bush supports the principle of immigration reform and reiterated that support in his memoir Decision Points. “In 2006, I gave the first-ever primetime presidential address on immigration,” he wrote. “‘We’re a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws,’ I said. ‘We’re also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways.’”
In response to these comments, former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino, now a co-host of Fox News’ The Five, told Breitbart News that Bush “long ago was for immigration reform and he put a stake in the sand in 2007.”
“Sometimes debates take a long time to air themselves out - that's happening now and there's a long way from this bill to a signed law,” Perino said in an email.

Progressives with Bombs

The whitewashing of the Weather Underground

Someday, they’ll all be hanging out in faculty lounges.
Someday, they’ll all be hanging out in faculty lounges.


At one point in The Company You Keep, Robert Redford’s new film about the residue of the Weather Underground, a character named Sharon Solarz is captured by the FBI after living under a series of aliases since her involvement in a Michigan bank robbery decades earlier in which a security guard was killed. Ruminating in her cell, she describes for a young journalist the moral dilemma people like her faced back then. They could either sit by and watch as America destroyed the innocent peasant culture of Vietnam or take arms against atrocity. She says decisively of her group’s decision to go all-in against the war in Vietnam, “We made mistakes, but we were right,” and then, after a beat, “I’d do it again.” 
At about the same time that The Company You Keep was being previewed, New York University announced that it was appointing Kathy Boudin, real-life model for the Solarz character, as a 2013 scholar-in-residence at the law school. It might have been called a harmonic convergence back when the Weatherpeople first made news with their Days of Rage, but since then the college campus has been well established as a rehab center for members of the sect looking to reenter the mainstream. Before Boudin (who, in addition to the NYU gig, has an assistant professorship at the Columbia University School of Social Work), Mark Rudd, Howie Machtingter, and, of course, Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, Weatherman’s Bonnie and Clyde, all used university jobs to regain their footing as they resumed their pursuit of the revolution they once thought would be created by propaganda of the deed but concluded, after a few years of paranoid anonymity in the underground, might better be pursued through propaganda of the word. 
Kathy Boudin was the hardest case. Still underground after the others had come up, she’d been the getaway driver in the notorious 1981 Brink’s robbery in which one guard was murdered. After her getaway vehicle was stopped, she lured four Nyack policemen who arrived on the scene into an ambush where they were cut down by the other gang members’ automatic weapons; two policemen were killed (including Waverly Brown, first black officer on the force). When she resurfaced after serving part of her murder sentence, she couldn’t very well use the defense of other Weather Underground members that they had, after all, engaged only in victimless crime, or that they were just antiwar protesters, America having fled in ignominy from the Saigon embassy six years before Brink’s. But the universities that brought her aboard not only offered respectability and a paycheck, but also, as writer Michael Moynihan has noted, purged her curriculum vitae of all its pungent factuality. NYU’s press release announcing her appointment merely certifies that Boudin has been “dedicated to community involvement in social change since the 1960’s.”
Social change, in fact, is also what Weatherman is all about in The Company You Keep. Redford’s character, Jim Grant, a former member of Solarz’s cell who has long since said goodbye to all that and made a new life (under a false identity) as a public interest lawyer and single father to his 11-year-old daughter, is outed by her capture. He then goes on a quest to find Mimi Lurie (Julie Christie), his lover from the underground days who also was part of the Michigan bank job and has been hiding out ever since. She is the only person who can prove that he wasn’t even there on the day the crime went down and thus help him keep the FBI from separating him from his child. 
Grant’s quest takes him into the gauzy world inhabited by comrades from 40 years ago—one of them a lumber yard owner still guarding the secrets of the old gang with the fierce loyalty that the film sees as a sign of the group’s moral character; another is now a professor Grant finds in an Ann Arbor lecture hall discussing Marx (quelle surprise!) and then assigning Frantz Fanon for the next class session. 
With their help, Grant finally meets with Mimi in a cabin in Upper Michigan, a love shack from their past. She is still committed to the cause and has no sympathy for his timorous second thoughts. They bicker about the way they were and the way they ought to be, and then, in a climactic scene, Mimi fiercely rebukes Grant’s bourgeois obsession about what will befall his daughter if he is arrested. She ends her little tirade by saying, as if she has stumbled on something profound, “I still believe in change!” 

Obama’s Defense Policy Speech wasa untrue

Incoherent, Foolish, and Dangerous!

President Obama speech on counterterrorism May 23 2013

Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.)

President Barack Obama is abysmally ignorant of what every first year ROTC student knows, that is, war only ends when the enemy no longer has the motivation and/or capability to continue the war. The president’s ignorance was embarrassingly on display in his May 23rd National Defense University
counterterrorism policy speech. This speech was untrue, incoherent, foolish, and dangerous.
With appropriate deference for this concept to the master warfare theoretician, Carl von Clausewitz and his seminal work, On War, war reduced to the most fundamental equation is: MOTIVATION(S) + CAPABILITY = WAR.  Various historical war motivations or causes have been religious, political, geo-strategic, economic, and revanchist. Capability, on the other hand, is composed of manpower and firepower, as well as replacing manpower losses while re-supplying the firepower through logistics.  Remove one or both of these motivation-capability factors from war, and the war stops, at least temporarily. But it is only stops permanently if and when the enemy loses faith in his motivating cause and/or is just physically incapable of continuing kinetic action. Therefore, effective warfare is not just random killing or physical destruction, rather effective warfare strategically targets motivation and/or capability. It must be noted, however, that destruction of capability may just yield a temporary cessation of hostilities until combat manpower and firepower capability can be regenerated.
In looking at the past history of fighting “radical extremism” like German Nazism and Japanese Bushidoism, it was necessary to completely destroy both their motivation, which was their total faith in their ideologies, and their warfare capability to finally end hostilities. Both Nazism and Bushidoism were supremacist ideologies then, as is Sharia-Islamic jihadism today. Consequently, in order to end the commitment of the most fanatical Nazi and Bushido believers to their cause, it was imperative that a significant percentage of fanatical believers, as well as fellow-travelers, be annihilated and that every existing symbol of their belief systems be ground to dust.
With the nation long under Islamic jihadi attack, it is imperative that the president of United States, as commander-in-chief, has an historical understanding of warfare. Just how important it is that he has such an understanding can be seen by examining the inept war policy set forth by Obama. Obama is sworn to carry out his constitutional duty of defending the U.S. Constitution and the American people from the Islamic jihadi enemy, but careful examination of the counter-terrorist policy in his speech reveals total benightedness when it comes to war. On the other hand, our Islamic jihadi enemy perfectly understands his jihadi warfare mission because he is obligated by Islamic scripture to conduct unending war against the U.S., as well as against all non-Muslim governments that are not governed by Islamic Sharia jurisprudence.
 Obama: “ . . . we cannot neglect the daunting challenge of terrorism from within our borders . . . The best way to prevent violent extremism is to work with the Muslim American community – which has consistently rejected terrorism – to identify signs of radicalization, and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting towards violence.” [Emphasis added on deception]
Truth: The noted expert on Islam, Robert Spencer, has specifically and factually refuted Obama’s specious claim that U.S. Muslims are the foundation on which the U.S. should construct its domestic security: “Four separate studies since 1998 have all found that 80% of U.S. mosques were teaching jihad, Islamic supremacism, and hatred and contempt for Jews and Christians. There are no countervailing studies that challenge these results. In 1998, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi leader, visited 114 mosques in the United States. Then he gave testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999, and asserted that 80% of American mosques taught the ‘extremist ideology’.
“Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule.
“And in the summer of 2011 came another study showing that only 19% of mosques in U.S. don’t teach jihad violence and/or Islamic supremacism.”
Comment: This crux issue of Muslim allegiance clearly reveals the basic fallacy of Obama’s inadequate national security policy regarding Islam. Obama is purposely deceiving the American people about Islam being “peaceful” and by asserting that most Muslims will denounce their co-religionists to cooperate with his regime. But the Quran and Sharia are replete with exhortations mandating that Muslims spread Islam by installing Islamic Sharia law everywhere on earth through jihad and that Muslims should never stop until Islam is dominant over all other belief systems, religious and secular. This spreading of Islam through jihad is the central organizing principle of Islam; therefore, expecting Muslims to act cooperatively to thwart Islam’s spread belies the reason why they are Muslims in the first place and makes no sense!
Furthermore, Obama has to be lying when he falsely portrays a “peaceful Islam” to the American people because it is impossible to believe that Obama, who was raised a Muslim, is unaware of the innumerable jihadi mandates in the Quran and Sharia. Either Obama is telling the truth about the peaceful nature of Islam, or Muhammad is telling the truth when he commanded Muslims to follow him in his mission to spread Islam through jihad: “I have been commanded [by god] to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” So, who do you believe about the nature of Islam? Obama or Muhammad?
Obama: “Most, though not all, of the terrorism we face is fueled by a common ideology – a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West, and that violence against Western targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause. Of course, this ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam; and this ideology is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims, who are the most frequent victims of terrorist acts.” [Emphasis added on deception]
  • World Public Opinion: 61% of Egyptians approve of attacks on Americans
  • 32% of Indonesians approve of attacks on Americans
  • 41% of Pakistanis approve of attacks on Americans
  • 38% of Moroccans approve of attacks on Americans
  • 83% of Palestinians approve of some or most groups that attack Americans (only 14% oppose)
  • 62% of Jordanians approve of some or most groups that attack Americans (21% oppose)
  • 42% of Turks approve of some or most groups that attack Americans (45% oppose)
  • A minority of Muslims disagreed entirely with terror attacks on Americans: 
  • (Egypt 34%; Indonesia 45%; Pakistan 33%)
  • About half of those opposed to attacking Americans were sympathetic with al-Qaeda’s attitude toward the U.S.
 Comment: The statistics above do not support Obama’s unfounded assertion that “the vast majority” of Muslims don’t see America as their enemy. While statistics are always subject to question, the TV scenes speak for themselves that show enormous Muslim mobs deliriously celebrating whenever Muslims inflict some jihadi attack resulting in death and destruction to Americans. But the acid test regarding the peacefulness and tolerance of Islam, such as Obama describes, is the percentage of Muslims who favor implementing Sharia law as the jurisprudence governing their lives. What makes Sharia so all-important as a measure of Muslim peacefulness and tolerance for non-Muslims is that Islamic scripture holds that Sharia supersedes all other legal systems, i.e., the U.S. Constitution for instance. Regarding Muslim popular backing for Sharia, none other than a 05/02/13 Washington Post article shows that worldwide “the vast majority of Muslims” (to use the president’s verbiage) favor making Sharia the official law of their country. Incidentally, the Sharia quotes Quranic texts to mandate jihad against non-Muslims.
Obama: “ . . . there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened . . . Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO . . . I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries.” [Emphasis added on deception]
Truth: In a summary report, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said that 27.9 percent of the 599 former detainees released from Guantanamo were either confirmed or suspected of later engaging in militant activity.
Comment: If Obama truly believes that preventing known Islamic jihadi terrorists from returning to the battlefield against the U.S. is partisan politics, he is unqualified to be the wartime national leader. If he truly doesn’t believe it, but is instead just saying it for his own partisan political reasons, he is unqualified to be the wartime national leader. Just making the statement proves he is unqualified to be the wartime national leader.
Obama: “There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure.” [Emphasis added on deception]
Truth: The Islamic jihadi terrorists at the Boston Marathon killed 3 people and wounded 264 with their bombs. There were at least 16 amputations of limbs. At Ft Hood an Islamic jihadi terrorist murdered 13 and wounded 32.
Comment: Viewing Boston and Ft Hood from an American point of view, Obama’s statement is just not true. However, from the Islamic jihadi terrorists’ point of view, the attacks weren’t large-scale. Perhaps then, it depends on whose point of view is used to evaluate the dimensions of the Islamic jihadi terrorist attacks.
Obama: “To define that strategy, we must make decisions based not on fear, but hard-earned wisdom. And that begins with understanding the threat we face . . . Success on these fronts requires sustained engagement, but it will also require resources . . . we could be . . . feeding the hungry in Yemen, building schools in Pakistan, and creating reservoirs of goodwill that marginalize extremists.” [Emphasis added on incoherence]
Truth: The U.S. spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide just the types of assistance and to do the nation-building Obama advocates for “creating reservoirs of goodwill that marginalize extremists.”
Comment: How’s that “hard-earned wisdom” strategy working out in Iraq and Afghanistan? So, “hard-earned wisdom” would dictate more of the same strategy? Obama ran for president proclaiming he was against “dumb wars.” This nation-building is his idea of “smart war?”
Obama: “First, we must finish the work of defeating al Qaeda and its associated forces.
Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror’ – but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America . . . Under domestic law, and international law, the United States is at war with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces. We are at war with an organization that right now would kill as many Americans as they could if we did not stop them first . . .. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with . . . I firmly believe that any retreat from challenging regions will only increase the dangers we face in the long run. [Emphasis added on incoherence]
Truth: "We now face a spreading jihadist threat. We have driven a lot of the AQ [al-Qaida] operatives out of Afghanistan, Pakistan. We have killed a lot of them, including, of course, Bin Laden. But we have to recognize that this is a global movement." ~ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senate Benghazi Hearing, 01/23/13.
Comment: Secretary Clinton emotionally blurted out her accurate description of the worldwide Islamic jihadist threat out of defensive frustration (committing truth by accident?) in response to being accused of incompetence and evasion as the result of her inept handling of the Benghazi issue. The only way to interpret Obama’s and Clinton’s remarks above is: The war against the Islamic jihadists is not worldwide, although it is spans the globe.
Obama: “ . . . the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat . . . They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston . . . We must recognize, however, that the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11 . . . we face a real threat from radicalized individuals here in the United States . . . Deranged or alienated individuals – often U.S. citizens or legal residents – can do enormous damage, particularly when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad. That pull towards extremism appears to have led to the shooting at Fort Hood, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon . . .
Homegrown extremists. This is the future of terrorism . . . we must recognize that these threats don’t arise in a vacuum. Most, though not all, of the terrorism we face is fueled by a common ideology – a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict . . .” [Emphasis added on foolishness]
The Quran 
2:216: “Fighting [jihad] has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not” [Allah has decreed that Jihad is the duty of every Muslim, regardless of personal desires, because Allah knows the value of things better than his followers do]. 
8:39: "And fight [jihad against] them [non-Muslims] until there is no fitna [disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief] and (until) the religion, all of it, is for Allah.”  
9:29:  “Fight [jihad against] those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day [Islamic eschatology] and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] have made unlawful [that is, do not practice Islamic Sharia jurisprudence] and who do not adopt the religion of truth [Islam] from those [Jews and Christians] who were given the Scripture  [the Jewish and Christian Old & New testaments] – (fight) until they give the jizya [Muslim submission tax for non-Muslims] willingly while they are humbled.” 
Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Law:
O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion.
 o9.4 Those called upon to perform jihad when it is a communal obligation are every able bodied man who has reached puberty and is sane . . .
 o9.8 The caliph [the civil and religious leader of a Muslim state considered to be a representative of Allah on earth] makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . who do not practice the religion of truth [Islam] . . . until they pay the poll tax [jizya] out of hand and are humbled" (Quran 9.29) . . .
 o9.9 The caliph fights all other peoples [secular atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, animists, and idolaters] until they become Muslim . . . .
Comment: The foolishness that the threat is not worldwide and is now just a local law enforcement problem stems from the underlying lie that the U.S. and Islam are not at war, a lie that was addressed in the section on UNTRUTHS. Obama’s conflicting explanations for why Americans have been, and continue to be, killed by Islamic jihadi terrorists have been concocted to deflect any responsibility from the core documents of Islamic scripture, the Quran and Sharia. As is undeniable based on the contents of the preceding Truth paragraph, Muslims are enjoined to make jihadi warfare on non-Muslims to either force them to convert to Islam, surrender and buy their lives with extortion blood money, or fight to the death.
Obama’s absurdness is in telling the American people that Islamic scriptures don’t say what they clearly say. According to Obama’s various explanations for Islamic jihad (officially designated “violent extremism”), jihadi terrorists are just a few misguided Muslims following a perverted version of Islam, or are Muslim discontents alienated by U.S. foreign policy, or are self-radicalized Muslim lone wolves, or are lastly individual crazies without ideologies.
However, the supreme foolishness is that the politically correct American people listen to Obama’s inane nonsense denying the connection between Islam and jihadi terrorism and do not hoot him out of public life!
Obama: “ . . . thwarting homegrown plots presents particular challenges in part because of our proud commitment to civil liberties for all who call America home. . . That means reviewing the authorities of law enforcement, so we can intercept new types of communication . . . I intend to engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorists without keeping America on a perpetual war-time footing. . . The AUMF is now nearly twelve years old. The Afghan War is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. . . I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.” [Emphasis added on danger]
Truth: The Arab Spring has completely disrupted the Islamic world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Himalayas and has opened the way for Islamic Sunni Salafists and Shia Khomeinists to pursue jihadi warfare to take over failed states in order to establish Islamic emirates. However, the ultimate jihadi objective is to unite the emirates into one supreme Islamic caliphate from which to challenge the dominance of Western Civilization (referred to at one time as “Christendom”). Instead of promoting “Islamic democracy” as Obama prophesied, the Arab Spring has unleashed the forces of “Islamic fundamentalism” that is the exact antithesis of democracy. Many different Islamic Sunni and Shia fundamentalist groups from Mumbai to Mali to London to Boston to Ft Hood are participating in the global Islamic jihad cited by Secretary Clinton. Therefore, Obama’s proposed repeal of AUMF because “all wars must end” because “that’s what our democracy demands” is farcical reasoning that doesn’t pass the grown-up laugh test. If the president were truly interested in history, he would know that history also advises those wise enough to listen that unfinished wars like World War I in 1918 and Desert Storm in 1991 are bound to begin again when the motivation of the aggressor has not been extinguished or exorcised.
Comment: First, the Obama regime’s attempt to focus all attention on al-Qaeda as the lone perpetrator of Islamic jihad is disingenuous and purposefully is misleading. Obama’s unjustified contention that now is the time to declare the counter-jihadi war is won and over because bin Laden is dead is delusional at best, and dishonest at worst. Furthermore, his assertion that the Islamic threat to Americans has moved from the arena of war, involving all resources of national power, to principally the domain of civilian law enforcement is utterly irresponsible and very dangerous. The important point that Obama is obfuscating is that, irrespective whether the jihadist is al-Qaeda’s leader, Aymen al-Zawahiri, or the “self-radicalized” Little Rock Army recruiting office shooter, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (Carlos Bledsoe), they are both carrying out the very same Quranic and Sharia jihadi injunctions. And whether the jihadist is “core” al-Qaeda or a singleton jihadist-wannabe, they both have the blood-curdling scream “Allahu Akbar” in common.
Unfortunately, after considering the most recent evidence, the inescapable conclusion is that the president’s decision to repeal AUMF and to wind down the comprehensive military-intelligence-law enforcement counter-jihadi war and instead transition to primarily a law enforcement campaign is based on his and his political party’s well-known, leftist, anti-military ideology. In fact, in view of the reality that the Sharia-Islamic jihadists around the world are displaying an enthusiastic increase in motivation and that there is a multiplying of capability in terms of the growing numbers of active jihadi groups, the substance of Obama’s speech ignored the facts of war and was pure politics.

IRS agents carrying shotguns not a big deal?

Critics were mocked as 'right-wing fear-mongers'


Aaron Klein

The issue of Internal Revenue Service agents carrying weapons may warrant further scrutiny amid the nationwide distrust of the agency for targeting conservative organizations.
The IRS is also the chief enforcer of Obamacare requirements.
In 2010, the Federal Business Opportunities website posted an IRS request for a quote on the price of shotguns for the agency’s Criminal Investigation Division.
The site sought a quote for 60 Remington Model 870 Police 12-gauge pump-action shotguns, the only weapons authorized for IRS duty.
The IRS Criminal Division includes roughly 2,700 special agents who are required to carry a firearm.
According to the basic qualifications for a position as an IRS special agent for the criminal division, “applicants must carry and use a firearm.”
In October 2012, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, released a report charging IRS agents need more thorough firearms training and must better report accidental firings of their guns.
“Special agents not properly trained in the use of firearms could endanger the public, as well as their fellow special agents, and expose the IRS to potential litigation over injuries or damages,” George said at the time.
George said IRS agents accidentally fired their weapons 11 times during fiscal years 2009 through fiscal 2011.
‘Right wing’ fear mongering?
When the IRS publicly sought the 60 shotguns in 2010, the progressive activist group Media Matters for America attacked what it labeled the “right-wing blogosphere” for “baselessly fear monger[ing]” over the IRS weapons issue.
Media Matters blasted the popular Drudge Report for its Feb. 3, 2010, headline “The IRS is buying shotguns!”
American Thinker blogger Ralph Alter said of the IRS weapons request: “It looks like the IRS under the Obama administration is getting serious about improving its ability to collect taxes and enforce the tax codes.”
Radio host Tammy Bruce was also spotlighted by Media Matters after she posted on her blog the IRS request for a quote on weapons and commented: “Nothing warms me up in the morning like the idea that the IRS is preparing a swat team equipped with pump-action shotguns. I guess [Obama] thinks they’re gonna have to start shooting at us to squeeze what we have left out of us?” She concluded: “Give us your money or we’ll shoot!”
Mark Levin gets a visit
Earlier this month, national radio host Mark Levin revealed on his show that he received a visit from armed Treasury Department agents after penning a March 2012 letter complaining the IRS was targeting tea party organizations.
Levin noted the two Treasury officials who visited him were “armed” and carrying weapons by claiming “we’re law enforcement.”
Earlier this month, Josh Margolin of ABC News reported that journalists touring the IRS offices in Cincinnati were “escorted” by an armed federal officer.
“The fact is the trust in the IRS is gone,” Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga, said at a speech yesterday. “The American people have lost trust in this organization and rightfully so.”
With additional research by Joshua Klein.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fox News, other media outlets refuse off-record meeting

Fox News joined several other major media outlets Thursday in refusing to send a representative to a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder on the department's surveillance of reporters if Holder continues to insist that the session be off the record. 
Michael Clemente, Fox News' executive vice president, decided that Fox News will not attend the off-record talks. Fox News had been invited to a Friday session at the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington. 
With the decision, the two news outlets known to have been targeted by the Justice Department for surveillance -- the other being the Associated Press -- are now declining to participate in the first phase of Holder's internal review over the controversy. Several other outlets are also refusing to attend. 
Both the Associated Press and Fox News had their phone records pulled by the Justice Department, in the course of two separate leak investigations. The department went a step further in the Fox News case, seizing the personal emails of correspondent James Rosen, while accusing him of being a criminal "co-conspirator" in the application for the search warrant. 
Holder, who agreed to conduct a review of DOJ guidelines over investigations that involve journalists, had set up meetings with members of the media for Thursday and Friday. He ran into immediate resistance, though, after calling for the meetings to be off the record, meaning the discussions would not be reportable. 
AP media relations manager Erin Madigan White said that if the session is not on the record, the news cooperative will offer its views in an open letter on how Justice Department regulations should be updated. 
If the AP's meeting with the attorney general is on the record, AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll will attend, White said. She said AP expects its attorneys to be included in any planned meetings between the attorney general's office and media lawyers on the legal specifics. 
New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said in a statement: "It isn't appropriate for us to attend an off the record meeting with the attorney general. Our Washington bureau is aggressively covering the department's handling of leak investigations at this time." 
The Huffington Post also announced it would not attend the meeting at DOJ headquarters. CNN similarly said it would not attend an off-record meeting, but would agree to go if the attorney general made the session on the record. On Thursday afternoon, CBS News made the same call. 
"CBS News does not plan to participate in the off-the-record meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder. We would be willing to consider an on-the-record discussion," CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair said. 
Politico's editor-in-chief, John Harris, though, said on Thursday that he would attend. ABC News also announced that they would attend, but would press for the meeting to be held on the record. 
The planned meetings are to take place over the coming weeks. The department said Holder plans to engage with news media organizations, including print media, wire services, radio, television, online media and news and trade associations. Discussions are to include news media executives and general counsels as well as government experts in intelligence and investigative agencies. 
The meetings come as Holder faces intense scrutiny from lawmakers over his May 15 testimony in which he claimed to be unaware of any "potential prosecution" of the press, despite knowing about the investigation that targeted Fox News' James Rosen. 
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., R-Wis., voiced "great concern" in a letter to Holder on Wednesday, asking a number of questions about the department's dealings with the press, and alleging that the Fox News case "contradicts" his testimony at the hearing two weeks ago. 
The committee confirmed earlier this week it was looking into Holder's testimony. Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Holder insisted that "the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material" is not something he was involved in or knew about. 
It emerged days later that the Justice Department obtained access to Rosen's emails -- after filing an affidavit that accused him of being a likely criminal "co-conspirator" in the leak of sensitive material regarding North Korea. Rosen was never charged, and never prosecuted. But he was effectively accused of violating the federal Espionage Act. 
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Wednesday that it appears Holder testified truthfully. He said President Obama "absolutely" has confidence in him. 
Obama has asked Holder to report to him on any recommended policy changes on Justice Department investigations involving reporters by July 12. 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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