Uncontested and Contested Arrivals
In a juvenile bureaucratic effort to disguise the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, the administration airbrushed it as an “uncontested arrival”. I suppose that might make some not very bright people think the customs and immigration desks in the Crimean ports of entry were unmanned. Or was the administration simply signaling it would provide cover for a later claim by Russia that (as Russia claimed in Syria ) it had intervened at the behest of the local government to protect lives and peace? To me it is obvious that Sarah Palin was right when she warned after watching Obama’s lame response to the Russian invasion of Georgia that if he were elected Russia would invade the Ukraine. It is amazing what and who the media thinks is stupid, isn’t it? To add to the egg in their faces almost no sooner than Christiane Amanpour said the Russians would not invade they did.
This week as we are forced to watch yet again the horrible global consequences of putting a sophomoric luftmensch in the oval office twice, Congress seems to be stirring to life. Fox News reports that CIA Acting Director Mike Morell and his old boss David Petraeus, may be recalled to testify respecting the White House’s role in the Benghazi disaster, with Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Rogers, indicating that at least Morell, and possibly both men, misled Congress on this critical point.
And as hard as the press has tried to drive a stake in the heart of the IRS scandal, the monster will not stay dead.
This week, former IRS official Lois Lerner, who initially proclaimed her innocence of the charge that she hamstrung and harassed Tea Party and conservative opponents of the president before the 2012 election and then pled the Fifth, will be recalled to testify. The committee chair thinks she waived her right to plead the Fifth once she made that statement, and her counsel William Taylor responds that she will not testify unless she’s granted immunity from prosecution or a court orders her to testify. It is hard to reconcile her protestation of innocence with her demand for immunity from prosecution, but as several commentators have ably demonstrated it is clear she was following orders from the White House when she infringed on the exercise of the First Amendment rights of the president’s political foes. If the committee accepts that they should grant her immunity from prosecution for everything but lying to it. Let it rip and quit the minuet.
At Pajamas Media, J. Christian Adams makes a compelling case that White House Counsel Robert Bauer directed the attacks on the tea party and conservative groups. Read it all, but here is the beginning of his persuasive argument:
When the FBI finally fires up its criminal investigation of the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, there is one person the special agent in charge better be sure to interview -- former White House Counsel Robert Bauer. The FBI may discover the whole IRS mess leads through the land of campaign finance “reform” and an obsession with speech regulation, an obsession shared by Bauer.
Any criminal investigation identifies for further scrutiny those with motive, opportunity, and means, and Bauer deserves no quarter from FBI investigators on those three counts.
Without any doubt, crimes were committed by IRS employees, not the least of which was the fact that IRS employees disclosed confidential information from IRS forms to the political enemies of the groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The bigger question the FBI must get to the bottom of is who hatched the policy of targeting Tea Party groups that led to these crimes? For that they should turn back to Robert Bauer.
Robert Bauer had the motive to direct IRS policy against Tea Party groups. He is a longtime opponent of First Amendment freedoms and an advocate of government-speech regulation. He also can’t stand the work the Tea Party is conducting to monitor and eradicate voter fraud, work the Republican Party and national campaigns have utterly failed to perform.
During the 2008 election, while representing the Obama campaign, Bauer sent a threatening letter to the Justice Department demanding criminal investigations of people who had the audacity to speak about voter fraud. Bauer even singled out Sarah Palin in the letter. Anyone who “developed or disseminated” information about voter fraud, to Bauer, deserved the heavy boot of a criminal investigation. Read the letter; it reveals a nasty, thuggish, and lawless attitude toward political opposition.
To Bauer, those merely speaking about voter fraud were worthy of criminal investigation. Sound familiar?
At the Wall Street Journal, Bradley A. Smith, former Chair of the Federal Election Commission also connected some dots and insists there’s a smoking gun in the IRS unconstitutional overreach. As I did here at AT, he sees the program of silencing the president’s opponents through the IRS as a reaction to the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and lays out a compelling timeline in support of his assertion that “The political pressure on the IRS to delay or deny tax-exempt status for conservative groups has been obvious to anyone who cares to open his eyes. It did not come from a direct order from the White House, but it didn't have to.”
While they are at it, the House committee might take a look at the fact that at least five Jewish groups which had earlier been targeted by Palestinians and left-wing anti-Israeli groups aligned with the Obama Administration and J Street, Obama’s anti-Israeli Jewish front were targeted for IRS audits, further evincing the use of the IRS as administration Brownshirts stifling opposition. Rick Richman detailed in Commentary how the Palestinian Authority and Obama targeted pro-Israel groups.
A Wall Street Journal editorial notes the Obama administration gave special scrutiny to the tax-exempt status of certain pro-Israel organizations and cites a front-page, 5,000 word article in the New York Times published July 6, 2010 as a possible signal to the IRS:
“Why the special scrutiny for pro-Israel groups? A New York Times article in July 2010 provided a clue: Tax-exempt groups were donating to West Bank settlers, and State Department officials wanted the settlers out. ‘As the American government seeks to end the four-decade Jewish settlement enterprise and foster a Palestinian state in the West Bank,’ the Times wrote, ‘the American Treasury helps sustain the settlements through tax breaks on donations to support them.’
“Did the T-men take their political cues from such stories, or did Administration officials give them orders? Either explanation would be a violation of public trust.”
Richman links the drive to cut off support to the Israeli settlers to a suggestion by Dr. Mohammed Shtayyed, minister of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, to Saeb Erekat head of the Palestinian negotiating unit:
“We should also focus on the government incentives to settlers: loans without interest, land for free, agricultural subsidies in the Jordan valley. We can’t stop a pregnant lady from having a baby, but look at what we can do. We should look at the 501(c)(3) organizations in the States that make donations to settlers. Let the US administration investigate this.” [Emphasis added].
Is it a coincidence that the five Jewish groups targeted by the IRS for audits were also targeted by thirteen Palestinians and representatives of one mosque and one Greek Orthodox monastery in mid 2013 claiming -- without factual basis -- that they were providing material support to terrorists? The five defendants are the Hebron Fund, the Central Fund of Israel One Israel Fund, Christian Friends of Israel and American Friends of Ateret Cohanim. Ayda Husam Ahmad et al. v. Foundation for international Research et al, U.S. Dist Ct SDNY, 13 Civ 3376. These groups support Ariel University which educates Arab and Israel students, representatives of which Obama barred from his speech at the Knesset, Ir David which funds the archeology work at the City of David excavation which proves the Jewish presence in ancient Jerusalem , and Aterat Ha-Cohanim, which studies the Temple Mount. No Jews in the Hood, is the apparent motto of this administration, still contesting along with the Palestinians the return of Israelis to their ancient homelands of Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount.
It is hard to imagine that the effort to join the Palestinian harassment of these benign institutions whose missions are peaceful but which are carried out in territories and on issues the Palestinians dispute could have come from anyone outside the White House, which views all tax-exempt free speech and political organization as unwelcome unless in support of its own candidates and policies.