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Congress Can Pry Open a Clammed-Up IRS

The agency pleads that it can’t share the documents that it may have shared illegally because that would be illegal.

by Charles Lipson     •     Wall Street Journal

Obama_IRS-2The White House and IRS are entangled in a sticky court case with major political ramifications. It concerns allegations that the IRS illegally shared private taxpayer information with the White House related to conservative individuals or organizations. The Treasury Department said this month that although it has found a cache of documents that may be pertinent, it is not allowed by law to release them. The question now is who can find out whether the Obama White House has in effect weaponized the IRS, turning it into an agency that targets Americans out of favor with the administration.

Most likely, for reasons outlined below, Congress will have to be the one to find out. While we are far from knowing if any violations of the law have occurred, this is a serious issue. Misuse of the IRS was an article in Richard Nixon ’s impeachment—and he was only accused of trying to politicize the tax agency. [Read more...]

Obama’s IRS Faces Scrutiny with New Congress

by The Washington Times

IRS Silecing ConservativesThe corruption of the Internal Revenue Service is still under investigation, but the public has learned a lot already: The IRS targeted conservative and tea party groups for extra scrutiny and harassment, Lois G. Lerner tried to hide behind the Fifth Amendment to avoid prosecution for violating the rights of taxpayers, and the president of the United States assured one and all that there was not even a “smidgen of corruption” at the agency when he knew better.

What the public did not know until recently was that the White House requested and received from the IRS the tax records of 2,500 taxpayers for White House inspection. [Read more...]

Gruber’s Pathetic Congressional Testimony

Despite his memory lapses, the ethical problems related to his work on Obamacare are plain.

by John Fund     •     National Review Online

ObamaCare Gruber LiesAn old Soviet joke had men carrying briefcases marching alongside tanks and soldiers in a Kremlin parade. “Why are those men in a military parade?” a boy innocently asks his father. He replies, “Those are the economists. They are the most dangerous of all.”

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber’s factually impoverished testimony on Obamacare didn’t get nearly the attention it should have, as congressional Democrats cleverly decided to release a report on CIA torture abuses on the same day. [Read more...]

Halfway to Wrecking Internet Freedom

To forestall censorship by authoritarian governments, the White House must renew the Icann contract.

By L. Gordon Crovitz     •     The Wall Street Journal

internet-censorshipWe’re at the midpoint between the Obama administration’s March announcement that it would end U.S. protection of the open Internet and September 2015, when the change is supposed to happen. During this time, there has been no progress finding an alternative for protecting the Internet from authoritarian governments.

That’s no surprise—except to Obama administration officials who apparently never considered how hard it would be to replace U.S. stewardship. [Read more...]

No Justification for Executive Overreach

by Terry Eastland     •     The Weekly Standard

obama-legislation executive orderWith his aggressive executive action on immigration, President Obama has struck a constitutional nerve in the body politic. The first lawsuit challenging the president’s action was filed last week by a coalition of 18 states led by Texas. Oklahoma is about to file, and other states may do so as well.

As for the two houses of Congress, House Judiciary Committee chairman Robert Goodlatte told The Weekly Standard that the House “should litigate the issue.” Probably a majority of his colleagues agree. Goodlatte expects that soon after the new Congress is sworn in, the House will authorize the filing of a complaint that the new Republican Senate will then vote to join. [Read more...]

The Ruin of “Hope and Change”

Obama’s hubristic promises have been followed by a total discrediting of his ideology.

by Victor Davis Hanson     •     National Review Online

Obama 102Barack Obama will end his tenure with the ruin of Hope and Change. The implosion was brought about not by the marginalization of Hope and Change, but by the power of the U.S. government to reify the slogan in a way we have not seen since the 1930s.

Survey the wreckage.

The hope-and-change therapeutic approach to foreign relations ended logically with historic cuts in defense, lectures about American culpability, pink lines and the end of Syria, farcical Iranian talks, in Libya the short trip from “leading from behind” to Benghazi, the self-induced suicide of Iraq, the empowerment of Putin, a pivot to Asia that invited ridicule, and the charade of a war against ISIS. [Read more...]

Be Afraid: This is The Real Obama

By Joseph Curl     •     The Washington Times

Obama Corruption IntimidationIn the weeks after voters cast a vote of no confidence on President Obama and his fellow Democrats, the president has gone on a scorched-earth campaign, unilaterally declaring amnesty for some 5 million illegal aliens, firing the only Republican in his Cabinet and rolling out a new federal rule dubbed “the most expensive regulation ever.”

Yes, this is the real Barack Obama, the one Americans cast their votes against Nov. 4 in an election in which the president had declared his agenda most definitely “on the ballot.” [Read more...]

E-mails show White House tried to muzzle Journalist Attkisson

by Ed Morrissey     •     HotAir.com Nixon Obama Pic

Readers can thank Judicial Watch for prying the latest embarrassing documents out of the Obama administration, as part of its effort to uncover the full story behind Operation Fast & Furious. Last night’s document dump deals with a related matter — the attempt to keep the media at bay and spin the news to the best advantage of Barack Obama and outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. The DoJ provided another set of documents, totaling more than 42,000 pages, under court order to JW on November 18th, and they make it clear that the White House took it upon themselves to pressure CBS into silencing Sharyl Attkisson:

One of the documents provides smoking gun proof that the Obama White House and the Eric Holder Justice Department colluded to get CBS News to block reporter Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson was one of the few mainstream media reporters who paid any attention to the deadly gun-running scandal.

In an email dated October 4, 2011, Attorney General Holder’s top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson “out of control.” Schmaler told White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that he intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop Attkisson. [Read more...]

President Impervious

by Stephen F Hayes     •     The Weekly Standard

Obama SmirkAt the end of his opening statement at the traditional postelection presidential press conference, Barack Obama offered this assurance: “I continue to believe we are simply more than just a collection of red and blue states,” he said. “We are the United States.”

Those words were a deliberate echo of the memorable keynote address he delivered a decade ago at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. They were powerful then because his passionate delivery suggested he deeply believed them, and because many Americans wanted to believe them, too. [Read more...]

Conservatives Right About Obamacare Lies

RealClearPolitics

BILL O’REILLY: Obamacare. Now you heard the MIT guy [Jonathan] Gruber saying, you know what? We conned everybody. They weren’t paying attention. They don’t really care. And it’s not what it was sold as. And you say?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This is exactly what conservatives have been saying for four years, what we’re hearing now is the true voice of liberal arrogance. They believe this. They believe that the voters are stupid, as he said. And they believe that they know the right way, they have to lead the masses to the promised land and they can only do it by deception. And that’s what he said openly. We wanted to get the bill. We didn’t care about how we did it so we lied about everything. We lied about if you can keep the plan knowing that you can’t keep your plan. We lied about the fact that this would be a transfer of wealth, a massive transfer of wealth because, as Gruber said, had they known that, it would never have passed. They lied about every aspect of this. And I think that is what has been charged all along and it is a scandal of the media that this has to be discovered in the sixth year of the presidency rather than talked about at the time when it was obvious they were lying about all this. The idea of it being a transfer of wealth was known from the beginning, but they got away with it.

O’REILLY: But really they didn’t get away with it because the new Congress is going to gut the bill, and if there’s a new president who is a Republican — and I even think if Hillary Clinton is elected president, they’ll have to redo Obamacare because they’re going to tie it around her neck, particularly in a debate situation, around Mrs. Clinton’s neck. Are you supporting this? Would you change it? Tell us how. So I don’t thing Obamacare is going to last a long time in this country, Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I don’t either. I do think probably the fatal blow will come from the Supreme Court. That’s the key thing. In June we will get a ruling on whether the government is allowed to offer subsidies from the federal Obamacare exchange. Without that, it collapses.

A Rejection of Liberal Democratic Governance

by Fred Barnes     •     Weekly Standard

government incompetenceRepublicans won 7 Democratic seats (so far!), lost none, and took control of the Senate. Harry Reid is history. Democrats thought for sure they’d add some governorships. Nope. They won one but lost 4, including the governor’s race in the bluest of blue states, Maryland. In the House, they lost at least 8 seats, probably more when the final results are in. Now there are more House Republicans on Capitol Hill than we’ve seen in many decades.

For Democrats in the midterm election, it came down to this: they defeated Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania. That was it. Nothing more. The next most embattled GOP governor, Sam Brownback in Kansas, was reelected. [Read more...]

Voters’ Verdict Explodes Liberal Myths

by Byron York     •     The Washington Examiner

us-midterm-election-results-2014As Democratic losses mounted in Senate races across the country on election night, some liberal commentators clung to the idea that dissatisfied voters were sending a generally anti-incumbent message, and not specifically repudiating Democratic officeholders. But the facts of the election just don’t support that story.

Voters replaced Democratic senators with Republicans in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and likely in Alaska, and appear on track to do so in a runoff next month in Louisiana. At the same time, voters kept Republicans in GOP seats in heavily contested races in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky. That is at least 10, and as many as a dozen, tough races, without a single Republican seat changing hands. Tuesday’s voting was a wave alright — a very anti-Democratic wave. [Read more...]

A Harsh Referendum for Obama

by Carol E Lee     •     The Wall Street Journal

obama_31President Barack Obama hoped the midterm elections would help break the capital’s gridlock. Instead, they became a referendum on his presidency.

Voters went to the polls Tuesday deeply frustrated with the political system and handed Republicans a decisive victory. Mr. Obama was a central figure in key races where Republicans criticized his leadership.

Most Democratic Senate candidates refused to appear with Mr. Obama on the campaign trail, trying to distance themselves from an unpopular president. Democrats tried to keep the focus on policies of particular importance in their states. [Read more...]

The bewildered bystander in chief

by Charles Krauthammer   •   Washington Post 

obama_frownThe president is upset. Very upset. Frustrated and angry. Seething about the government’s handling of Ebola, said the front-page headline in the New York Times last Saturday.

There’s only one problem with this pose, so obligingly transcribed for him by the Times. It’s his government. He’s president. Has been for six years. Yet Barack Obama reflexively insists on playing the shocked outsider when something goes wrong within his own administration.

The IRS? “It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” he thundered in May 2013 when the story broke of the agency targeting conservative groups. “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS.”

Except that within nine months, Obama had grown far more tolerant, retroactively declaring this to be a phony scandal without “a smidgen of corruption.”

Obamacare rollout? “Nobody is more frustrated by that than I am,” said an aggrieved Obama about the botching of the central element of his signature legislative achievement. “Nobody is madder than me.” [Read more...]

Ebola Isn’t a Matter of Politics

It’s time the Obama administration handled the crisis without petty finger-pointing.

by Peter Roff   •   US News & World Report

Ebola Disease VirusMixing the possibility of a deadly pandemic together with the incompetence of the Washington bureaucracy produces a cocktail that is poisonous to public confidence. No one gets high marks for the way the Obama administration has handled the arrival of Ebola on American soil – especially the president.

It’s times such as these, when little is known and even the slightest misstatement could cause a general panic that the American people look to the president for leadership. Instead, what they are getting is more of the arrogant, self-confident, “smartest guy in the room” pronouncements and hectoring for which President Barack Obama is now famous.

Instead Obama has failed time and again to demonstrate he has a firm grasp on the situation. He’s not taking concrete steps – using his phone and his pen – to prevent the disease from spreading. Instead he’s letting his subordinates – no doubt thoroughly schooled in the Saul Alinsky arts of manufacturing or at least using a crisis to force the political system to give in to your demands – make outrageous statements intended to turn a potential public health catastrophe into a weapon of political leverage in the closing days of the current campaign season.

The worst thing yet said is perhaps the contemptible charge leveled by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins that if it weren’t for budget cuts insisted upon by congressional Republicans, the agencies under his direction might already have come up with a cure for Ebola.

The data contradicts his statement (the National Institutes of Health have had plenty of money since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decided to plus up its budget back in the 1990s), but was an otherwise effective misdirection. [Read more...]