If any given nation had 20% to 25% of its population under arms, we would be far more than simply concerned that nation was planning an invasion; we would be actively deploying our troops and recruiting more. That those nations, and possibly others, have such huge fractions of their population living within our borders illegally (and collecting benefits, and sending some of those benefits home, and voting for more benefits) is a violation of our national sovereignty that would invite a military response from a political class less corrupt.
So he commits suicide "after a brief tactical situation"? I don't buy it. The circumstances stink. The timing stinks.
Let's bear in mind the events of the past week or so: 1) Judicial Watch uncovers emails proving IRS targeted donors to conservative organizations. 2) Links between Lerner and the Wisconsin John Doe investigation are discovered. 3) President Obama puts a new rule in place requiring IGs to ask agency heads for permission before engaging in wiretaps or grand jury investigations (ie, criminal investigations). 4) Emails linking IRS Chief Counsel Wilkins to the donor targeting effort email. 5) Wilkins is known to have met with Obama for almost an entire day, just a day or two before he changes IRS policy on donor audits.
When you look at the chronology, Lutz is one end of a thread that may now lead all the way up to Obama. And I'm supposed to believe this was a suicide when he was surrounded by the same people conducting unconstitutional midnight raids on political opponents that he exposed?
I don't buy it. Someone's nervous and cleaning up loose ends.
Agency heads are political appointees, and answer directly to Obama. If the IGs will need to ask permission from a political appointee before convening a grand jury or conducting a wiretap as part of their investigation, that agency head will have a de-facto veto over any investigative activity getting too close to things Obama wants to keep hidden.
I'm sure the thought of Inspector Generals with wiretap authority investigating the deletion of Lois Lerner's emails and ongoing coverup of the IRS targeting scandal is making Obama very, very nervous. So far he's managed to keep things under wraps and stay a few steps ahead of the investigation, but doing that has required an active coverup effort rather than a passive one. (The Lerner backup tapes, as just one example, were degaussed after the investigation was well underway and just before documents describing their location were provided to the IRS Inspector General).
SWAT raid leading to child injury results in charges for falsified warrant
You may remember a case some time back where a SWAT team tossed a flash-bag grenade into a baby's crib, leading to horrible disfiguring injuries for the child. The sheriff who led the raid has now been charged with lying to obtain the search warrant. I have no doubt that the high public profile and horrific results of this raid helped bring about the charges, and I have no doubt that there are many other cases out there getting less attention despite similarly falsified warrants.
I do think it is important to say this, though: if the current state of the law allows a police officer to conduct a traffic stop, order someone to put out their cigarette, and use the refusal of that order to justify an arrest for noncompliance, and use the noncompliance with the arrest to justify the use of force, and so on... then the current state of the law is bullshit.
Police officers should not have the legal authority to issue orders on anything they please with the authority to enforce compliance by force. A simple traffic stop should not escalate into an arrest-by-force because the driver is not interested in putting out her cigarette. Drivers should not have to fear that every polite request from a police officer is backed by immediate threat of violence if they do not comply, whether or not the request was justified. And instinctively resisting being forcibly removed from your vehicle and handcuffed should not create new offenses (resisting arrest) that can then justify further imprisonment and the creation of a criminal record.
These things, and especially the sense of fear and apprehension that every driver feels when they see a police car and wonder whether they are going to get pulled over, are indicators of a police state.
If Koskinen is not removed, they are threatening to impeach Koskinen. At this point, I think that's absolutely necessary and in fact a rather restrained response to the fiasco. Even so, it will be tough to get 67 votes in the Senate.
What's depressing is that the Republican leadership seems to think this sort of activity will distract their base from the betrayals of principle and caving to Obama that they have been engaged in since the 2014 elections.
It will not.
But there's more information in the Oversight letter that's worth pointing out. Specifically, we now know how the backup tapes were destroyed despite the preservation order in place.
So why the sudden pressure for a new network operations center in the room holding all their old backups? I smell a rat here. The timing stinks, since the destruction of the tapes comes less than a month after the email gap was discovered at the IRS. And isn't it funny how the discovery of that gap in itself was not followed up on in any kind of timely fashion?
The backup tapes still existed -- were apparently being preserved -- until an IRS employee noticed the gap and sought to conduct a quality control check using the backup tapes to see what happened to the missing emails. That quality control check didn't take place... and instead, suddenly pressure was applied to the people managing the backup tapes to destroy them. The pressure doesn't sound like the routine sort of pressure -- "Gosh, why do we still have all these old tapes around?" -- but rather, a sudden need to repurpose the storage space for something else. That "need" wouldn't require the destruction of backup tapes, which could be easily moved to another location. Or provided directly to Congress if the IRS no longer wished to use a room storing them.
So in light of those facts, why hasn't Congress called Steve Warren before the Oversight Committee to testify under oath why he was so insistent on that storage space being cleared out all of a sudden? Was he put under pressure? Did someone order him to find an excuse to destroy those tapes?
If we ask the right questions, maybe we'll actually get answers.
Ted Cruz calls McConnell out on lying to his party, restricting legislative amendments in a manner reminiscent of Genghis Khan Harry Reid, being a corporate tool, making secret deals with the Democrats, and generally being corrupt. Watch the whole thing.
The Obama-initiated process for moving the Domain Name System over to UN control has been proceeding under the radar for a while. Frankly, while putting the US government in charge of the domain name system isn't great, it's a lot better than putting the UN in charge of the system. The US at least has enforceable commitments to free speech. In the UN, it would just become another political football used to enable government censorship.
The best technical option is to transition to a decentralized DNS system, but that's not on the table. Keeping it under US control is the best short-term option we have,
Two Inspector Generals request criminal investigation of Clinton email server
Given that Clinton was Secretary of State and used this unusual email arrangement as her only email address during that time, it's pretty much inconceivable that nothing classified or national-security-sensitive was ever sent to or by her using that address. The question will be whether there is political will to pursue the investigation (which really boils down to whether Obama is sufficiently opposed to Hillary following him as President to kneecap her), and if so, whether mishandling of those emails can be proven given that Clinton has presumably shredded the server by now.
Let's consider what that lack of proof consists of.
We know that Lerner ran one of those "compliance projects" as part of her targeting activities. That was why she claimed to be asking so many intrusive questions about the tax-exempt organizations on her targeting list; she was trying to develop information she could use to understand how they operated in order to prosecute them. And, of the 1600 selected based on referrals, we know from reading the rest of the GAO report that about 25% of those referrals did not keep any record of the referral itself, meaning that they could have been referred for political targeting reasons and we would have no way of knowing that was the case. And, in fact, we know that that was the case in at least one situation (see the ZStreet lawsuit, where they were audited based on having political opinions different from the administration's political goals).
Oh, and what happens to those referral cases?
In other words, we have no idea. Individuals at the IRS can change the rules willy-nilly, don't need to document that they did so, don't need approval from their supervisors, and if they choose to get that approval, the supervisors don't need to document whether they approved or denied a request or why they approved or denied it.
And let's not forget that we got to this utter lack of evidence of targeting by following a trail of admissions, apologies, 5th-amendment pleas, and destroyed hard drives.
The only lesson the IRS has learned from this is that they can't be punished if they destroy the evidence.
They fired him just long enough to be able to claim objectivity, and now they are bringing him back for the election.
I've occasionally noted in recent days that the Washington Post seemed to be making more of an effort to cover both sides of political issues. The goodwill they earned doing that is easily squandered by a boneheaded move like this one.
He's not even trying anymore. Obama just orders the coverup with a big shit-eatin' grin and laughs his ass off, secure in the knowledge that whatever blackmail goods he's got on Congress will keep him safe and secure for the next year and a half.
What to make of Obama's comments about the IRS scandal?
He said this the day before two facts came to light:
1) Judicial Watch received emails proving that the IRS, including Lerner, sought to audit individual donors to conservative groups, including using a tax which has been invalidated by the Supreme Court for 30 years.
2) The Government Accountability Office issued a report indicating that controls at the IRS to prevent political targeting are deficient.
He knew that was happening and so he decided to get out in front of the issue with his big lie.
In other words, despite all the noise, the IRS admitted to nothing, changed nothing, and continues to target the political opposition in whatever ways they think they can get away with. How does the IRS respond to this report? Denial. They even got Obama to go on late-night comedy TV to peddle the Big Lie.
Let's recall that the whole controversy started when Lerner, trying to get ahead of an Inspector General report that claims targeting did occur, admitted and apologized for the targeting in response to a planted question, and that Obama himself called the admittedly improper targeting outrageous and vowed to hold the IRS accountable (which he has notably failed to do).
It's time for American corporations to rediscover political neutrality
You may have heard about the ongoing video expose' of Planned Parenthood selling the parts of aborted human babies for profit (and "I want to have a Lamborghini"). I'm generally opposed to abortion as an individual matter, but less comfortable with the government imposing a nationwide ban. I think Roe v Wade was conjured from thin air, that states can and should have the power to regulate abortion within their borders, and people can pick where they want to live on that basis. I also hope everyone reasonably sane can agree that selling the body parts of aborted fetuses for profit is despicable.
But I ran across a list of the companies supporting Planned Parenthood directly, and frankly, it surprised me. There are a lot of corporations there that you would think are relatively political neutral -- that is, companies that should be trying to actively avoid political controversy simply because taking sides on a contentious issue will inevitably offend their customers.
ICE director refuses to enforce immigration law without amnesty
At some point, impeachment for failure to faithfully execute the laws needs to be put on the table. For lesser officials if not Obama himself. Unfortunately, it's too late in the political cycle for that to be effective; we'll have a new president before any such action could be completed.
The Left is clueless on immigration, but may be coming around on the IRS
That quote he's referring to is inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, a national monument. What else is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument? Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants went through a legal process to enter the country.
The reason there hasn't been much attention paid to denials is that a denial can be appealed or the organization reorganized or disbanded to either meet the requirements, operate as some other type of organization, or give up. A denial is at least a decision. The brilliance of the IRS tactics was to keep organizations in limbo, without making a decision. Thus, they could not claim tax-exempt status effectively or appeal a denial of that status. They were stuck in red tape for years while elections passed them by.