"It is odd that nothing changed on my tax return and I was never audited until I publicly criticized ObamaCare."
Hal Scherz, Georgia physician
Of the myriad scandals presently engulfing the Obama administration, (George Will counts at least five - the three currently in the spotlight - Benghazi, IRS, AP, and another two under the radar at the moment - the NLRB's operating with illegally installed members and HHS Secretary Sibelius' solicitation of unappropriated funds to propagandize in favor of Obamacare), the least objectionable is the AP scandal. At least here, the administration had a compelling national interest in skirting the law - that of determining who may have leaked the name of an undercover operative involved in exposing an al-Queda bomb plot. Of course, this affair is the one that's gotten the press all prickly. Self-interest trumps all, even obeisance to ideology.
The Benghazi and IRS scandals are the result of the all-encompassing, laser-like focus by the executive branch (and Congressional Democrats) to re-elect Barack Obama, a goal decidedly not in the national interest. The Benghazi affair began with the administration's failure to provide adequate security for our diplomatic staff in a very dangerous place. Subsequently, it allowed four Americans to die as it failed to respond to an ongoing terrorist attack. (In a locale targeted in the recent past by terrorists on multiple occasions. On 9/11. How could anyone anticipate that?) The president, who posed for a staged photograph during the Bin Laden raid, went AWOL while a small group of Americans attempted to fight off as many as 150 attackers armed with RPGs. The Commander-In-Chief was resting up for a campaign gig in Vegas the next day.
And then, to cover up its incompetence and irresponsibility, administration officials, most notably the president himself and his Secretary of State, shamelessly and repeatedly lied to the nation and the world regarding the nature of the attack and the motivation of the attackers.
The ramifications of this travesty will be enduring and far-reaching. As National Review's Andrew McCarthy pointed out, Libya's new president, Mohammed Magariaf is a rarity - a moderate, Western educated Muslim who has the courage to speak the truth about the dangers of radical Islam. Magariaf immediately recognized the Benghazi attack as the planned terrorist assault it was and stated so in no uncertain terms. He was undercut and embarrassed by the administration's narrative that the attack was a spontaneous protest over an irrelevant You Tube video that got out of hand. Magariaf is a potential American ally alienated by an Obama policy blunder. As such, he's in good company. The list of affronted or forsaken allies includes Israel, Great Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Iraq, democrats (small d) in Iran, (and soon) Afghanistan.
Reliance on the mendacious talking points delayed the dispatching of the FBI to Libya for more than two weeks. Evidence that could have led to the capture of the perpetrators is now lost forever. Obama's unfulfilled "vow" to bring them to justice further corrodes whatever credibility he has left. The terrorists remain free and their comrades are well aware of Obama's impotence. As are miscreant nations seeking to take advantage of it : Russia is sending advanced missiles to Syria to prop up its ally, Bashar Assad.
Benghazi also damaged us on the domestic front. By claiming that the infamous You Tube video was the impetus behind the attack and condemning and criminalizing its producer, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the administration bowed feebly to the reactionary forces of radical Islam. Even if it was true that the attack on the consulate was a response to the video, and it absolutely was not, there was no justification - none! - for the groveling apologies, on the world stage no less, by Obama, Clinton, Rice, et al. And, as an additional affront, they have given us the spectacle of an American citizen jailed for practicing his First Amendments rights in order to appease proponents of a regressive, fascist ideology. As National Review's Rich Lowry wrote, Nakoula "is the first person in this country jailed for violating Islamic anti-blasphemy laws."
But hey, "What difference does it make?"
The administration's use of the IRS to intimidate and deter its political opponents follows closely behind Benghazi in seriousness. This egregious abuse of power is exactly what one would expect from the Obama cabal, always seeking to expand the government's reach and influence, particularly when the chief beneficiaries are Democrats and their allies.
Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal)
All of these IRS actions took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. They constitute the use of governmental power to intrude on the privacy and shackle the political freedom of American citizens. The purpose, obviously, was to overwhelm and intimidate—to kill the opposition, question by question and audit by audit.
Despite his declarations of "outrage", the driving force behind the scandal is Barack Obama.
Kimberly Strassel (Wall Street Journal)
Was the White House involved in the IRS's targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.
President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an "independent" agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.
But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do.
...whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.
On Wednesday, Obama announced the "resignation" of Steven Miller, acting commissioner of the IRS. (Strange how Obama has the authority to make this move despite the agency's "independence"). Obama's stated reason for Miller's firing?
"Given the controversy surrounding this audit it's important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward."
Actually, Miller was fired because he was informed in May, 2012 that conservative groups were illegally singled out for extra scrutiny by his agency. Miller did not reveal this fact to Congress, even after he had been briefed on the matter.
A news report notes that "At least twice after the briefing, Miller wrote letters to members of Congress to explain the process of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status without disclosing that tea party groups had been targeted. On July 25, 2012, Miller testified before the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, but again did not mention the additional scrutiny — despite being asked about it."
Sounds like "concealing a material fact."
And Benghazi? Who gets jailed for that?
Another news report -
"House Republicans came to the conclusion in their interim report on Benghazi that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied to them about what she knew and when during her testimony this January. This includes her statement that at no time was she aware of requests for additional security at the diplomatic facility in Benghazi prior to the attack.
The 46-page report by Republicans on five House committees cites a request from then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, sent last March 28 to Clinton asking for additional security resources, and a response dated last April 19 that bears Clinton's signature.
The April cable from the State Department, according to the GOP report, acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz' formal request for additional security assets but ordered the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned.'
Clinton's statement to Congress - 'I have made it very clear that the security cables did not come to my attention or above the assistant secretary level where the ARB (Accountability Review Board) placed responsibility.'"
A "materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation"? Any thoughts?
As Andrew Malcolm (Investor's Business Daily) noted -
Obama told Ohio State grads, "you've grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's at the root of all our problems."
Why ever would that be?