Saturday Obama Scandals

I highly doubt whether anyone will obtain information linking Obama to either the IRS or phone records scandal. Say what you will about his “governance” style, but the man is able to keep his hands clean. Surely no emails, phone records, or paper records will link him, nor will anyone say “yup, Obama (or one of his advisors) ordered this”. What Obama does is create an atmosphere as the Executive Branch head of underlings doing what they want and thinking that it is A-OK to do things like target political opponents and go on fishing expeditions with press phone records

(Washington Post) The firestorm buffeting the Internal Revenue Service intensified Friday as lawmakers began what they promised would be an extensive effort to learn whether there was any political motivation or White House involvement in the agency’s recently acknowledged misdeeds.

Fueling those concerns, J. Russell George, the Treasury Department’s top tax watchdog, said Friday he had informed top Treasury officials starting last spring (June, to be exact) about problems related to the special attention the agency was paying some conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status. George said he shared the information with the Treasury’s general counsel in June and with Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal S. Wolin “shortly thereafter.”

Such a timeline could be significant, as Republicans have been trying to establish how early the Obama administration learned about the agency’s conduct, which officials were informed and whether the coming 2012 presidential election affected their response.

Did the general counsel not inform the head of Treasury, Tim “Turbo Tax” Geithner? If not, why? This would certainly have risen to the level where the the agency head would Need To Know. Or, has Obama created an atmosphere where department heads are left out of the loop? In a private organization, something this bad would rise further so that measures could be taken. In the Obama admin, it seems that there was little to no oversight and that appointed officials wanted no part in doing their duties.

(Fox News) Devereaux is among a group of activists, being represented by the American Center for Law and Justice, who are preparing to sue the federal government for the practice of targeting Tea Party groups. ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow told FoxNews.com he’ll likely file the civil suits next Wednesday or Thursday on behalf of more than a dozen Tea Party groups who say they were singled out by the IRS and had their tax-exempt status severely delayed or denied altogether.

Good for them. Many, if not most, of these groups are still waiting for the tax exempt status, after dealing with all the shenanigans and un-Constitutional machinations from the IRS. And, let’s not forget that many were worried if they stood up for the targeted groups, they themselves would be targeted. This is the atmosphere that Obama has created with his constant demonization and targeting of political enemies (to O, they appear to be enemies, not opponents). We can see that the apparent coordination behind the targeting makes the notion that this was just a few low level IRS employees engaging in wrong-doing laughable.

Over to the AP phone records issue

(Fox News) Americans were in danger.

That was the chief argument Attorney General Eric Holder tried to make this week for why Justice Department officials seized two months’ worth of phone records of reporters and editors at The Associated Press.

But the AP has strongly refuted from the start claims that it put the country in danger. The accusation that the news organization risked national security isn’t sitting so well with other journalists and lawmakers who have started pushing back on the claims.

Obama officials discussed the incident the day after the AP report was published. John Brennan, the White House counter terrorism adviser at the time, went on Good Morning America and announced that Americans were never in danger from the Al Qaeda plot. And the AP, along with other media outlets, are not happy with the notion that sources may clam up if they are worried that the US Government will retaliate with operations such as grabbing phone records as a fishing expedition.

But, we know Liberals are worried when they start making silly pronouncements, such as Excitable Dana Milbank, who seems more concerned with Republicans making dire pronouncements about Obama than about this obvious chilling of 1st Amendment Rights

At the end of a truly dismal week in his presidency, President Obama remains lucky in one crucial category: his opposition.

It has been only a few days since two administration scandals — the IRS harassment of conservative groups and the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records — dropped into the Republicans’ lap. But instead of turning public outrage to their advantage, Republicans have already begun overreaching, turning legitimate areas of inquiry into just some more partisan food fights.

He lists several Republicans who have said mean things about Obama, such as

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) referred to Obama as “a tyrannical despot” and said: “This is the way a tyrannical government comes into being and perpetuates itself.”

Of course, Milbank forgets to tell us why this is wrong. He’s just doing his job as a little Obamazombie to protect Obama. But, hey, I remember a time when the press, both reporters and opinion writers, failed to have a problem with Democrats accusing the president of making/letting 9/11 happen, wishing that Operation Iraqi Freedom would fail, calling the president a loser, talking of impeachment, whining about the Downing Street Papers, accusing the president of “rushing to war”, accusing him of failing to protect the country, and so many other bits. Where was Milbank then?

Democrats also do not like when issues are turned political when Democrats are in the target scope. They can dish it out but they can’t take it.

Crossed at Right Wing News and Stop The ACLU.

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5 Comments

Comment by Outraged_Gumballs Subscribed to comments via email
2013-05-18 21:29:24

Does no one ask why the DOJ is going after the AP for “leaks” when they should be going after the DOJ for being the actual LEAKERS? Right?

Isn’t that like going after the guy with the bucket, who is catching the water flowing out of the crack in the damn, while ignoring the crack in the dam?

For those in the know here, what can be done about all these gov’t officials who are blatantly lying to Congress when all they say is, “I don’t know”. Like Miller who said he didn’t know who his boss was.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-05-18 21:56:55

Isn’t that like going after the guy with the bucket, who is catching the water flowing out of the crack in the damn, while ignoring the crack in the dam?

I think it is more like using the guy buying the crack to get to the crack dealer.

A couple of months ago we were all screaming about the number of leaks coming out on intelligence capabilities, military preparedness, etc. coming from this administration. I am glad the leaks are being investigated.

The problem, in my opinion, is not the investigation or trying to find those who leaked the material. The problem is somehow the government managed to get such a series of overly broad warrants for the records. It is one thing to say “we want the records of Carver’s phone because we have it on good information that he has been receiving classified material.” It is quite another thing to say “we want the phone records of all the people in a certain office because someone is receiving classified information.”

There are several problems. First is that no one knows what the DOJ will do with the records even if the contacts are legal. For example, a whistleblower contacts the AP and even though their action is legal and should remain anonymous, they are suddenly in the cross hairs.

Like I said, I don’t think the problem is going after the leaks, it is the breadth and scope of the records the DOJ managed to get.

 
Comment by Outraged_Gumballs Subscribed to comments via email
2013-05-18 23:09:10

Whistleblower protection is typically reserved for those who “out” corruption or dangerous secrets that if kept secret could endanger the state, society, or people.

Leaking state secrets is treason. Going after the paper for printing said leaks is like I suggested, going after the guy holding the bucket, while ignoring the leaks coming out of the dam.

Pres Bush ignored those leakers to his detriment. Many presidents use leakers to help leak information that they themselves would not want to be tied to. Obama has been successful utilizing leaks to attack his enemies and to leak state secrets to damage the state. Now, when it hurts him and his image, he attacks the media that has been his lapdogs.

I agree that it is wrong to have an overly broad search. But even a directed search without warrants is wrong. But to me, that is the least of the scandals. Yet, like Teach suggests, it will get the bigger play due to the media.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-05-18 23:50:57

They aren’t going after the AP for publicizing the leaks, Gumball. (If they were, they would have arrested people already for whatever article is in question.) They are trying to determine the source of the leaks to go after that individual.

Secondly, the records were seized with warrants.

I am not willing to rank the scandals but I think the AP scandal is very important. The reason is that the DOJ didn’t get a warrant for the records from the AP. They got the warrants for the AP’s service provider – Verizon.

This is where one law and one legal opinion collide to create what I believe is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. First, the Congress passed a law requiring cell companies keep records for some length of time. (I believe it is a year.) This was done under the auspices of protecting kids from pedophiles, etc, as well as in the aiding of criminal investigations.

The legal ruling came courtesy of the Supreme Court which ruled that there is no expectation of privacy when a third party is given control of something by an individual. This means that because the records are held by Verizon and not the owner of the cell phone, the records can be seized without a warrant if law enforcement chooses to do so. Most law enforcement agencies will ask for a warrant and most cell companies will demand a warrant because of civil liabilities, but even so, the records are going to be seized by law enforcement.

In my opinion, this flies in the face of the basic idea of “unreasonable searches” under the 4th Amendment. It seems the government says to the third party cell companies “you have to keep the records” whether the customer wants them to be kept or not. The government then can seize the records because of the “third party exception.”

I worry any time there are laws created the effectively circumvent the clear intention of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And as Teach notes, this will have a chilling effect on the press’s ability to do their job because the government can now seize phone records at any time. In fact, the breadth of the seizure shows the government doesn’t even have to have cause to seize the records – they can just do so on a fishing expedition.

In my opinion, that throws any right or freedom into play for being circumvented by the government.

That really worries me.

 
Comment by Outraged_Gumballs Subscribed to comments via email
2013-05-19 01:52:42

AAAHHHHHH.
Granted I had not looked in to it very hard, but from the stories I have read, it didn’t explain it. From what I had understood, was that they got the records from the phone companies (I think there is more than one as they also got the AP headquarter’s phone records as well as the cell phone’s) first, and then later got the warrants.

I agree, the law was written FOR the government, not for protecting people. My thought it was written by DOJ and RIAA.

Heh.. ranking the scandals is like ranking which deadly virus you’d rather get first.

 

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