Free Markets, Free People

Scandals

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Calmly angry.

The New York Times answers another call for help and pretends to do some scolding yesterday.

“Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama is said to Seethe”

A message sent out to the faithful.   The President is angry, his people have let him down, though we’re certainly not going to name names, or call for heads to roll.     To rip off the Saturday Night Live gag about Bush 41  “That wouldn’t be prudent” .

How refreshing.  Instead of the traditional, worn out, unacceptable story that ‘he found out from the news and he’s angry!’ that has played over and over for the last 6 years, they have a new plan.   Let the news tell us how angry he is.     Why, he even cancelled (a fund raiser) his  schedule on Wednesday to deal with this!    Big Fat Hairy Deal.  He was golfing on his 200th round of golf a mere 5 days ago.   So, now we’re supposed to be impressed that 3 days ago he cancelled a fund raiser?

5 days ago, he could golf, but 3 days ago he suddenly realized how very very serious this whole Ebola thing was, and he had to have a meeting and we’re supposed to understand he was angry in that meeting.

“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting…He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said.”

He was angry, but not panicked, is that clear?   Because he’s No Drama Obama.

It’s almost as if once again all of this comes as a surprise though.  Nearly a month since Thomas Eric Duncan entered the United States after the difficult task of lying on his documentation in Liberia about his contact with an Ebola infected individual there.  That was our safe guard, forms, and thermometers.  Oh, and a reliance on honesty.   This administration in particular should know how foolish THAT is.

Our President is angry, but apparently, he’s unable, as the holder of the most powerful office in the world, to do anything about this,  aside, that is, from being angry and acting calm while being angry and demanding answers and that it be ‘tight’.

At the meeting on Wednesday, officials said, Mr. Obama placed much of the blame on the C.D.C., which provided shifting information about which threat category patients were in, and did not adequately train doctors and nurses at hospitals with Ebola cases on the proper protective procedures.

Notice, no names named, no one fired,  or resigned,  or reassigned, or given a transfer, or even put on extended leave pending investigation.    It was, most probably, 2 interns in Cincinnati that caused all this, or perhaps spontaneous rioters reacting to an Ebola video on Youtube.

Ah, Obama theater.

 

Now then, how are to fix this problem?    It’s been nearly a month since his assurance that Ebola would be unlikely to ever reach our shores and two weeks since his assurance that Ebola wouldn’t gain a foot hold here.

We must first understand he is alert in this time of crisis!  There are many other things they must deal with you understand, because this is practically like a job, this task of having to run the most powerful nation in the world!   If we make too much of this the ignorant populace might panic!  Now he’s wracked, torn, possibly in turmoil.  How to handle this, and still preserve his option to play a round of golf on Sunday without looking like he doesn’t give a rat’s back side.

Times to the rescue!   We discover the White House had a kabuki meeting, details and quotes from which just happen to be printed on the pages of the New York Times.

The answer ladies and gentlemen…

 

is to appoint a political hack lawyer to be the new Ebola Czar.

 

This is a move surely designed to instill confidence and give the nation a sense that someone who knows what they’re doing is NOW going to take the reigns and master this runaway virus.

“On Friday, Mr. Obama took a step to both fix that response and reassure the public, naming Ron Klain, a former aide to Vice President Joseph R. Biden, to coordinate the government’s efforts on Ebola.

We’re appointing a lawyer to manage what the certified medical professional head of the CDC ( who’s very sorry about all these mistakes and inconveniences you know)  could not.

“Part of the challenge is to be assertive, to be in command, and yet not feed a kind of panic that could easily evolve here,” said David Axelrod, a close adviser to the president in his first term. “It’s not enough to doggedly and persistently push for answers in meetings. You have to be seen doggedly and persistently pushing for answers.”

At this point I trust everyone has the sense of what the White House (I originally typed that as White Hose, and perhaps that’s not incorrect) thinks of the American public.    The most powerful job in the country, probably the world, and his job is to push for answers.

Not to take action on THIS issue….no, push doggedly for answers.     Pretend this is the one thing in the world, of all the other things he pretends to be master of, pretend in this case he’s at a loss about how to handle it.  Even though the protocols have been in place for years, the methods of isolation for years, the disease itself, known for decades, the historical methods of quarantine known for centuries.   Pretend on THIS one, they’re just all kinda stumped, but are fiercely pushing for answers.

Push for answers!   Not take action.

After all, if you’re going to take action, for heaven sake do it by granting executive amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.  Do it by letting the executive agencies under your command investigate, harass and if possible destroy your political enemies.   Do it by running guns to Mexico, do it by stonewalling valid Freedom of Information Act requests into various government activities.   Do it by allowing the IRS to destroy documentation without so much as an angry sniff.   Take action by banning flights to Tel Aviv when a mortar round hits too close to the airport.  Take action by sending DOJ investigators around to see if Civil Rights have been violated only in hot button cases.  Push for action by sending representatives from the White House to funerals of thugs when you can’t be bothered to send them to the funeral of Maj. General Harold J. Greene, or even a representative of the Administration to the funeral of a well respected ally leader like Margaret Thatcher.

Lord knows, let the planes continue to fly out of West Africa directly to the US.    Don’t fire the head of the CDC or quietly and politely demand he resign so he can spend time with his goldfish or kids, or brush up on methodologies for handling communicable diseases like Ebola.     Take action by appointing a lawyer to head up a medical crisis.   That will certainly bring an air of calm to this whole sorry mess.

 

It’s a durned good thing most Americans, and almost all of the people I see around me in Dallas are NOT panicking, and I continue to pray that no crisis that demands a yes/no, go/no-go NOW, “you have less than 2 hours to make a decision Mr. President”, EVER presents itself.  Because if that happens, the New York Times may not be around to write an excuse ridden story about how calm but angry the President is 4 weeks later.

Meanwhile, if the President wants a course on calm un-panicked anger, he should come to Dallas.  There are plenty of instructors available right now.

 

UPDATED:

Well, now that didn’t take long did it.    I missed it by a day….And you wondered why he was so suddenly wanting to look concerned about Ebola.   Valerie must have told him, no Ebola solution, no golf!

Defining the alarmist problem

While doing a  review of Rupert Darwall’s book “The Age of Global Warming”, Charles Moore does an excellent job of succinctly identifying the alarmist movement’s core origins and core identity:

The origins of warmism lie in a cocktail of ideas which includes anti-industrial nature worship, post-colonial guilt, a post-Enlightenment belief in scientists as a new priesthood of the truth, a hatred of population growth, a revulsion against the widespread increase in wealth and a belief in world government. It involves a fondness for predicting that energy supplies won’t last much longer (as early as 1909, the US National Conservation Commission reported to Congress that America’s natural gas would be gone in 25 years and its oil by the middle of the century), protest movements which involve dressing up and disappearing into woods (the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, the Mosleyite Blackshirts who believed in reafforestation) and a dislike of the human race (The Club of Rome’s work Mankind at the Turning-Point said: “The world has cancer and the cancer is man.”).

These beliefs began to take organised, international, political form in the 1970s. One of the greatest problems, however, was that the ecologists’ attacks on economic growth were unwelcome to the nations they most idolised – the poor ones. The eternal Green paradox is that the concept of the simple, natural life appeals only to countries with tons of money. By a brilliant stroke, the founding fathers developed the concept of “sustainable development”. This meant that poor countries would not have to restrain their own growth, but could force restraint upon the rich ones. This formula was propagated at the first global environmental conference in Stockholm in 1972.

Indeed, the resulting grouping was a natural one.  Eco radicals out to ‘save the world’ from evil capitalism (and man) and poor countries looking for a way to extort billions from rich countries without having to do anything of note to help themselves.

The G7 Summit in Toronto in 1988 endorsed the theory of global warming. In the same year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up. The capture of the world’s elites was under way. Its high point was the Kyoto Summit in 1998, which enabled the entire world to yell at the United States for not signing up, while also exempting developing nations, such as China and India, from its rigours.

The final push, brilliantly described here by Darwall, was the Copenhagen Summit of 2009. Before it, a desperate Gordon Brown warned of “50 days to avoid catastrophe”, but the “catastrophe” came all the same. The warmists’ idea was that the global fight against carbon emissions would work only if the whole world signed up to it. Despite being ordered to by President Obama, who had just collected his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, the developing countries refused. The Left-wing dream that what used to be called the Third World would finally be emancipated from Western power had come true. The developing countries were perfectly happy for the West to have “the green crap”, but not to have it themselves. The Western goody-goodies were hoist by their own petard.

The UN was the natural forum for this push and the IPCC, headed by an railway engineer, the natural “scientific” instrument.  We know how that story has turned out to this point.  No global warming registered for 17 years and 6 months despite all the dire, but apparently scientifically groundless, predictions.  The irony, of course, is it is those who have been skeptical of all of this are the one’s called “deniers”.  And the alarmists have become so bankrupt and shrill that some of them are calling for the arrest of “deniers.” One supposes since the alarmist cause most closely resembles a religious cult, the call for arrest is on the grounds of heresy … or something.

Meanwhile, “green energy” – the eco radical solution to all – continues to not be ready for prime time, while fossil fuel becomes cheaper and more plentiful.

Yet somehow, the so-called “elites” have decided – based on what, one isn’t sure – that the threat to the globe is real.  More irony.  On the one hand, the eco radicals don’t care at all if it costs lives since they’ve been convinced for decades that it is man that’s the problem.  Less of us is a “good thing” in their world.   On the other hand you have the elites, aka, politicians, who see an opportunity to both expand government power and create revenue literally out of thin air.  The fight is over who will get the money.

Meanwhile the reputation of science – real science – will suffer because of this very political cause and the actions of some scientists to serve it.

Scientists, Rupert Darwall complains, have been too ready to embrace the “subjectivity” of the future, and too often have a “cultural aversion to learning from the past”.

And that is a complete disservice to science.  Given all of that, who are the real deniers here?

~McQ

Why does anyone still take Al Gore seriously?

That’s a legitimate question.   The man makes it up as he goes.  The latest evidence is his invention of a new category for hurricanes (which is right up there with his invention of the internet for veracity).  Yes, friends, his claim came during an “interview” (here, see if you can hit these softballs, Al) by Ezra Klein.  In it, he likened “deniers” to slave owners, racists and just about any other bit of nonsense he could muster. 

As to his claim:

A Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) expert says Al Gore goofed during his widely circulated Washington Post interview on global warming.  Gore, noting stronger storms fueled by climate change, told the paper “the hurricane scale used to be 1-5, and now they’re adding a 6.”

I’m sorry, that’s more than a goof.  It’s a lie.  It is simply not true.  Period.  It never has been true, no have there been any plans to add such a category by the one place that would do it:

“There are no plans by the National Hurricane Center, the federal office responsible for categorizing storms, to create a new category,” she wrote on the environmental group’s website.

There there was this as well (James Taranto covers it):

Gore uses the interview to claim vindication for his 2006 "documentary," "An Inconvenient Truth": "You mentioned my movie back in the day. The single most common criticism from skeptics when the film came out focused on the animation showing ocean water flowing into the World Trade Center memorial site. Skeptics called that demagogic and absurd and irresponsible. It happened last October 29th, years ahead of schedule, and the impact of that and many, many other similar events here and around the world has really begun to create a profound shift."

But that’s not what Al referred too when he talked about water flowing into the WTC memorial site in his movie:

The reference is to Hurricane Sandy, a Category 2 storm when it struck the Northeastern U.S., flooding parts of New York and New Jersey, including downtown Manhattan. (Sandy peaked in the Caribbean as a Category 3 storm. By comparison, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina went as high as Category 5 and made landfall at Category 3.)

But if we roll the film–which is less than scintillating, but the clip lasts less than 2½ minutes–we find that what Gore predicted in "An Inconvenient Truth" was something far direr than a storm and a flood. He predicted that lower Manhattan–along with vast and heavily populated swaths of Florida, California, the Netherlands, China, India and Bangladesh–would be permanently submerged owing to higher sea levels.

"Think of the impact of a couple of hundred thousand refugees when they’re displaced by an environmental event," Gore intoned in the movie. "And then imagine the impact of 100 million or more." And then keep imagining. While Sandy caused severe temporary disruption and wrought an unusual amount of damage because it happened to hit a population center, it was not different in kind from other natural disasters. Lower Manhattan was soon dry again.

Again, a lie, or at best an extreme exaggeration.

And that has been typical of this entire politically driven “science based” effort to claim that we’re headed to disaster because of man.   As Taranto says, “while Al Gore isn’t a scientist, the Climategate scandal showed that some scientists are no more scrupulous than he is.”  

Have to agree.  Exaggeration and alarm are the only way their science-deficient bunk can get any press.  So they indulge in it freely and call their opponents names.

Hurricane Sandy was a Cat 2 hurricane.  I’ve actually flown into a Cat 2 hurricane (Alex).  Trust me no one was calling Alex a “super storm”.  That’s because it hit Mexico.  But Sandy hit one of the world’s biggest media centers (and it hit the area perfectly for maximum effect).  Had it bumped into North Carolina instead it would have just been another Cat 2 already forgotten.

Instead we have this charlatan hyping it for headlines which are easily debunked.  You have to wonder why?  Certainly in hope of headline reading low information citizens seeing and believing his bunk.  But there’s more to it than that … follow the money.

~McQ

Sean Smith’s mother doesn’t think his death is phony … nor the scandal surrounding it

[Guest posting at Hot Air today:]

In its usual inept and ham-fisted way,  the Obama administration has chosen to address the scandals surrounding it by waving them away as “phony” – conspiracies dreamed up and pursued by political enemies.  The president recently did that in his long-winded, laborious and incredibly boring re-hash of his failed economic policies.   The “phony” conspiracies are “distractions” from the “real problem”, a problem he has yet to address satisfactorily during his term in office.

The “phony” scandals include Benghazi, the IRS targeting of political groups on the right and others.  All were initially acknowledged by the administration and the president as serious breaches of public trust.  They’ve since, however, transformed into conspiracies generated by their enemies.

But there’s one voice asking what was “phony” about her son’t death in Benghazi?

Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, who was slain in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack, lashed out on “Your World” on the Fox News Channel about that terminology.

President Obama has never revealed what, if anything, he was doing while workers at the Benghazi embassy were urgently requesting support, nor has the administration explained why no forces were sent to protect the embassy. The administration also denied the attack was a terrorist incident, claiming it was a spontaneous protest against an obscure YouTube trailer for a film that may or may not exist.

To make matters worse, she was essentially lied to while standing on the ramp watching the body of her son being offloaded from an AirForce transport plane in Dover, DE.  Speaking of Obama, she said:

“I don’t believe him anymore,” Smith said. “He’s wrong. My son is dead. How could that be phony?”

According to Smith, she has been given no answers about what happened that night. She said the administration told her she “didn’t need to know.”

“When I was there at the ceremony of the welcoming of the caskets, both Obama and Hillary and Biden and all of the other ones, all promised me they would get back to me to tell me what happened,” Smith said. “I begged them. Please, I must know what happened with my son. How come this happened? They all promised me they would get back to me. You know, not one of them, not one of them ever got back to me in any way shape or form — not by a letter, not by anything other than I got a memo stating that I didn’t need to know because I was not part of the immediate family.”

No answers, no contact and no closure.  She’s lost all faith in the credibility of those who promised her answers, and rightfully so.  And then, as if to deliver a final slap to her face, an arrogant president waves away the death of 4 men, including her son, as a “phony scandal”.

She, however, has no intention of leaving the questions the administration is avoiding like the plague unanswered:

Smith made one last plea to the Obama administration explaining her desire for answers.

“How can I tell you?” Smith added. “I mean, it is wrong. It is not phony. It is not fake. My son is dead, and why is he dead? All I am waiting for even to this day is just someone to get back to me and tell me what happened. Why did Hillary do as she did? Why was there no security there when there was supposed to be? Who was the general that called back the troops when they were going to help?”

Is it really too much to ask the President of the United States to be forthcoming about why you son died in the service of his country?  Apparently so.

Meanwhile in Kabul, the administration is on track to see what happened in Benghazi happen there as again very lax security has been cited by an internal investigation that the Washington Times obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as a risk to the safety of embassy personnel.

U.S. diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan have serious security lapses that pose “unnecessary risk to staff,” including poor emergency preparedness and inadequate protections that might allow classified materials to fall into the hands of attacking enemies, according to an internal report that raises fresh questions about the State Department’s commitment to safety in the aftermath of the Benghazi tragedy.

Another “phony” scandal in the making.

~McQ

IRS scandal cover-up begins to unravel

The IRS scandal took on new impetus today with a interesting revelation:

Top IRS officials in Washington, D.C. planned and oversaw the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups, according to the 72-year old retiring IRS lawyer who will testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee.

Retiring IRS lawyer Carter C. Hull implicated the IRS Chief Counsel’s office, headed by Obama appointee William J. Wilkins, and Lois Lerner, the embattled head of the IRS’ exempt organizations office, in the IRS targeting scandal and made clear that the targeting started in Washington, according to leaked interviews that Hull granted to the Oversight Committee in advance of Thursday’s hearing.

Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George will return to Republican chairman Darrell Issa’s committee Thursday along with two central characters in the IRS saga: Hull and Cincinnati-based IRS employee Elizabeth Hofacre, who previously gave Hull’s name to congressional investigators, fingering him as her Washington-based supervisor.

Yup, the rats are deserting the sinking ship.  They are certainly not willing to go down with it and so they’re naming names.  And contrary to all the claims previously, it seems that Washington D.C. was indeed involved and not just a “couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati” as we were told in the beginning.

It’s usually never the crime itself that hangs politicians, but the attempted (and ham-fisted) cover-up.  And that’s precisely what this is beginning to look like.  As for being “ham-fisted”, is there anything this administration does that isn’t ham-fisted?

~McQ

Obama probably didn’t overtly order the IRS Tea Party targeting–and that makes it worse

Obama’s shills have settled in on a long-term talking point concerning the IRS scandal. They say something along the lines of “Obama didn’t tell the IRS to target anyone for political reasons. That’s just crazy. And, since you can’t pin anything on Obama, there’s no scandal here.”

There are two clear logical fallacies in this position.

First, it’s a strawman argument. I don’t know anyone anywhere on the political spectrum who is saying that Obama actually issued any directives to anyone to start the targeting. In one of my previous posts about it, I explicitly said

Even if Obama isn’t directly involved (and he would have to be sand-poundingly stupid to have issued actual directives that resulted in this) his rhetoric towards these groups was a contributing factor, so he bears some responsibility.

Along the same lines, one of our commenters (jpm100) wrote this morning:

…these orders didn’t necessarily have to come from the Whitehouse.  The organization is corrupted by years democratic nepotism and recent leadership influenced by Team Obama and the tone of non-accountability set by the Whitehouse.  Team Obama knew the kind of people they were appointing.  These people knew what Team Obama wants.  And they knew the worst consequence for them would be a job change to some Democrat Party position or some job with a Democrat benefactor.  So they just did it.

The Whitehouse could be involved, but other than ensuring no serious consequences after the fact, it doesn’t have to be.

These comments also point up the second logical fallacy. Big-government fanciers really don’t want to face up to the possibility that the federal government is just as out of control as those on the right have been saying for years (or decades). They would very much like to pretend that there’s no scandal here.

So they use a complete non sequitur. “Obama didn’t give the directive” –> “There’s no scandal.”

This is stupid even by standards of leftist argument. Political targeting by the IRS is a serious and scandalous problem no matter how it started.

We know the political targeting is there. The attempted leftist misdirection that it wasn’t politically motivated and that “progressive groups were targeted too” failed just as badly as the “doctored emails” Benghazi talking point.

Two senior IRS bureaucrats have now taken the 5th. The FBI is stonewalling an investigation that Congress ordered. It’s possible, or even likely, that the targeting affected the outcome of the 2012 elections.

So we have a serious, serious scandal. I said in the earlier post that

The IRS scandal is bigger than Watergate, bigger than Benghazi, bigger than Fast and Furious, bigger than Iran-Contra, bigger than Monicagate – bigger than any other scandal for the federal government in my lifetime.

The reason I believe that is what the scandal says about the federal bureaucracy. The one agency that is supposed to be scrupulously non-partisan is revealed as having chosen sides in the partisan debate.

It doesn’t matter if Obama ordered it.* All he had to to was put forth enough “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” rhetoric for the IRS bureaucracy to know they likely would not be punished by him for doing it.**

It would only take one other essential ingredient – an IRS bureaucracy sympathetic to the Obama administration and hostile to his political opponents. That’s what the scandal shows us – that the supposedly non-partisan bureaucracy, the one we all have to deal with whether we like it or not, is now a de facto arm of political leftism.

We have additional evidence for this. We know that the IRS favors Obama in political contributions:

While IRS employees generally donated to Obama by a 4-to-1 ratio, the lawyers for that particular federal agency donated to Obama by an astounding 20-to-1 ratio, according to Robert Anderson, associate professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law.

Lawyers are relevant because they are the ones taking the lead in writing regulations, litigating cases, and making delicate legal judgment calls in borderline cases.

The result is a solvent that is eating away at our civil society. Once half the country no longer trusts the government bureaucracy to even carry out it’s most basic functions in a non-partisan way, the seeds are sown for a terrible reckoning.

That’s what makes it even worse that the targeting probably was not ordered by Obama. Assuming he didn’t overtly order it, and the IRS bureaucrats came up with it on their own, means we are getting much closer to that reckoning that we thought.

* I’m not completely dismissing the possibility that someone in the White House did start the ball rolling. Probably not Obama, though – at most his role might have been some casual musing about how those Tea Party groups were getting pretty uppity, and someone should check into them. I’d be flabbergasted if any hard evidence turned up that he directly ordered the targeting.

** There is ample evidence that the Obama administration will cover for its allies reflexively. See the Black Panther voter intimidation case for an example. 

IRS investigation still lags–I’m guessing they can’t find anyone who wants the job

Via Instapundit, I see that an attorney representing Tea Party groups says:

"I have no reason to believe there is an investigation. It appears to me the Obama administration is only talking to itself," Mitchell stated in an e-mail.

The FBI announced the supposed investigation over six weeks ago. Three weeks later, FBI Director Robert Mueller said he didn’t know who the lead investigator is or how many agents are assigned.

Unlike most of the misdirection and obfuscation in the IRS scandal, I think he was telling the truth, and I think the reason is simple: at that point, and maybe even up to now, there may not be a lead investigator.

The FBI clearly doesn’t want to do this investigation. If the IRS targeting scandal is as bad as it appears so far, the investigation is going to be long and messy, and possibly end up sending some federal bureaucrats to jail. I doubt this outcome has much appeal to other federal bureaucrats. 

I don’t know much about how the FBI operates. I don’t know how much influence investigators have over the work that is assigned to them. But if they have any influence at all, even informal influence, then it’s quite possible that assignments to the investigative team are being passed around inside the FBI like a hot potato.

Put yourself inside the head of someone at the FBI being assigned to investigate the IRS. Here are some of the thoughts I imagine you could have:

  • “If I find something really bad, the Obama administration isn’t going to like it. Or me, for bringing it out. Will they torpedo me? Will I find myself being smeared?”
  • “What if I find some real wrongdoing, and someone at the IRS decides to retaliate?”
  • “Taking down the IRS could mean the FBI is next. We’ve had our own share of messes over the years.”
  • “No matter how this thing turns out, my career is probably going to take a hit.”

Given the realities of the situation, if you worked at the FBI, would you want to be on the investigative team? And if you get stuck on it, are you more interested in getting to the bottom of the mess or mollifying the political class to minimize the impact on you personally?

The FBI has been cruising on a reputation of professionalism that I think vanished in fact long ago. From their incompetent labs to suppressing information to protect Obama, they are far more political and far less professional than they would like to pretend.

Given that problem, will the FBI be motivated and capable enough to get to the bottom of the scandal? I doubt it. Oh, we’ll have a pro-forma investigation at some point. But I’m betting we’ll find out a lot more through the lawsuits launched by Tea Party groups. We might find even more with a special prosecutor if the Democrats would allow one to be appointed, but in their own craven political interests, they probably won’t.

Somewhere on the federal side, a scapegoat will eventually be found, possibly two or three. They will be fired, and the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party will work overtime selling the “Nothing more to see, time to move along” narrative.

They have to. The left-leaning political class recognizes the possible damage if they can’t contain this scandal. It was bad enough when the media chose sides in the left-vs-right political battle. If those on the right also become convinced that the entire federal bureaucracy has similarly chosen sides, then they will likely conclude that our current political differences can’t possibly be decided through normal political means. They will feel, rightly, that the system is rigged against them.

Which would mean that they come to the same conclusion many of us came to a while back.

And you wonder why we’re getting involved in Syria?

Really?

A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that a majority of the public says the controversy, which involves increased IRS scrutiny of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, is very important to the nation.

Look, Obama’s legacy is important to Democrats because it may mean victory or defeat for the next Democratic presidential candidate.   And like it or not, a scandal plagued 2nd term isn’t going to help his legacy or the Democrat’s next chosen presidential candidate.  In fact, one of the reasons Obama is in the White House now is the successful negative portrayal of the Bush years by the left and the press.

In the case of Obama, the press and done it’s best to dampen the reach of the scandals, but it is, for once, failing in it’s endeavor.  The scandals are too wide ranging and hit too close to home to fears the citizenry has held concerning government’s abuse of power.  And make no mistake, these scandals are all about abusing power.

Last month only 37% of the public thought that the IRS controversy led to the White House, with 55% saying that agency officials acted on their own without direct orders from Washington. Now the number who say the White House directed that IRS program has increased 10 points, to 47%, virtually the same as the 49% who believe the IRS agents acted on their own.

“Younger Americans are much less likely than older Americans to believe in White House involvement, and there is, not surprisingly, a partisan divide as well,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But the Obama administration may be losing independents on this matter. In May, only 36% felt the White House ordered the IRS to target conservative groups; now that number has crossed the 50% threshold.”

Of course naive youngsters who really haven’t been around for or paid attention to scandals of the past, certainly might want to believe their idol, Barack Obama, is involved in this.  But you can see as well as I can, as more and more info comes out, that minds are changing.  This is a serious shot at the Obama legacy.  Or at least that’s what 51% of Americans are saying:

Fifty-one percent of those questioned said the IRS controversy is a very important issue to the nation, compared to 55% who felt that way in May. In the past week and a half, the IRS story has been put a bit on the backburner, as the controversy over the federal government’s massive surveillance program has dominated the spotlight.

Ironic, no?  The 4% drop I mean.  It has dropped as a “very important issue to the nation” because another scandal has popped up.

So what’s the Obama playbook say you do when it goes from bad to worse?

Distract.

Hello Syria ….

~McQ

Common thread in all of these scandals? Abuse of power

That’s the conclusion Insty comes too in his USA Today column:

The NSA spying scandal goes deep, and the Obama administration’s only upside is that the furor over its poking into Americans’ private business on a wholesale basis will distract people from the furor over the use of the IRS and other federal agencies to target political enemies — and even donors to Republican causes — and the furor over the Benghazi screwup and subsequent lies (scapegoated filmmaker Nakoula is still in jail), the furor over the “Fast And Furious” gunrunning scandal that left literally scores of Mexicans dead, the scandal over the DOJ’s poking into phone records of journalists (and their parents), HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ shakedown of companies she regulates for “donations” to pay for ObamaCare implementation that Congress has refused to fund, the Pigford scandal where the Treasury Department’s “Judgment Fund” appears to have been raided for political purposes — well, it’s getting to where you need a scorecard to keep up.

But, in fact, there’s a common theme in all of these scandals: Abuse of power. And, what’s more, that abuse-of-power theme is what makes the NSA snooping story bigger than it otherwise would be. It all comes down to trust.

Anyone who, in fact, trusts government these days is simply not paying attention or is a part of it.  As Reynolds outlines above, each and every one of the scandals mentioned do, in some degree or another, involve an abuse of power.  And an abuse of power is always an abuse of trust.  This administration has been just about as abusive of both power and trust as any in our history.

What should bother you is they don’t seem to care.   To me that points to a culture that has come to accept the fact – at least in their world – that government is all powerful and can do no real wrong.  It’s “for the people”, after all, that they commit these abuses.  It is also in the name of “security” – that all-purpose reason to grind away at the freedoms we enjoy and put us under more and more government control.

One of those old dead white men who helped found this country saw the possibility of the latter long ago.  In fact, he’d seen it in his lifetime and had done all in his power to escape it and to build a system that wouldn’t tolerate the types of abuses of power we do today:

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” – James Madison

Bottom line, we’re saddled with an arrogant and abusive, totally out of control goverment that badly needs reigning in.  The problem – we need statesmen who can do that.  And we all know where we are in that particular case. Without, that’s where. We’re stuck with self-serving politicians.

By the way, are we really any safer since the draconian security measures have been implemented?

Anonymous government sources quoted in news reports say yes, but we know that all that snooping didn’t catch the Tsarnaev brothers before they bombed the Boston Marathon — even though they made extensive use of email and the Internet, and even though Russian security officials had warned us that they were a threat. The snooping didn’t catch Major Nidal Hasan before he perpetrated the Fort Hood Massacre, though he should have been spotted easily enough. It didn’t, apparently, warn us of the Benghazi attacks — though perhaps it explains how administration flacks were able to find and scapegoat a YouTube filmmaker so quickly . But in terms of keeping us safe, the snooping doesn’t look so great.

And it remains “snooping” regardless whether it great or not.

Is this the the type of country in which we really want to live?  Where we’re afraid of our own shadow and our government to boot?

~McQ

Today’s attempted narrative on the IRS scandal: A Republican in the IRS says “Nothing to see here”

Since the Clinton era, we’ve seen the left retreat from reality into a dependence on post-modern narrative. They don’t even bother to hide it; they talk about narrative all the time, and they’ve reached the point where “the fact is” has become a public speaking tic for Democrats that really means “what I prefer you to believe is” or “the accepted leftist narrative is”.*

Narrative isn’t about reality; the post-modern leftists don’t even think there is such a thing as objective reality. Narrative is about what you can get people to believe.

When the left is really having trouble finding a narrative that will stick, they like to use misdirection. For example, they will pull out a single aspect of an issue, even if the aspect was made up or planted just for the purpose, and try to push the meme that “because of this one thing, the rest doesn’t matter”.

We saw the attempt with Benghazi, and the supposedly “doctored” emails. One of our own leftist commenters pushed and pushed on the idea that, because the Republicans doctored emails, the whole Benghazi controversy was obviously ginned up by the Republicans to embarrass Obama, and therefore wasn’t a “real scandal”.

Again, reality doesn’t matter. The Republicans didn’t even get those emails. They got summaries. The summaries came from ABC News, and the Republicans presented what they received. But to a committed leftist and Obama apologist, so what? They’re Republicans! Stop paying attention to stuff like dead ambassadors, bad decisions, and the earlier, failed misdirection about the video. Just dismiss the whole thing because (I claim) Republicans doctored emails.**

The latest attempt of that type in the IRS scandal is to put forth some schmoe in the Cincinnati office who says there’s no evidence Obama is involved, and is (gasp!) a conservative Republican.

This is simple misdirection. First, the guy just describes himself as a conservative Republican. Doesn’t mean he really is. We’ve seen plenty of cases in the past where these supposedly conservative or independent people involved in a situation turned out to be anything but.

Second, the person who put this out, the consistently idiotic Congressman Elijah Cummings, refused to release the full transcript. He released the parts that created the impression he wanted.

So there’s plenty of full story still to come out. That, of course, didn’t stop Joan Walsh at Salon from crowing “Elijah Cummings outplays Darrell Issa”, as if this were some kind of tennis match instead of a deadly serious problem that threatens the very legitimacy of the federal government.

Even if he turns out to have voted straight ticket Republican back to the beginning of time, it doesn’t change some of the basic facts:

- Groups were targeted because of political ideology

- People in Washington signed the letters demanding that were part of the targeting effort

- No one anywhere along the line, no matter what the philosophy, raised a flag about the targeting

This bespeaks a partisan, authoritarian culture in the IRS as an institution. As Dale is fond of pointing out, it’s hard to see how that can possibly be fixed without changing the tax system in such a way that we eliminate the IRS.

That will not stop desperate Obama apologists from seizing on this narrative the way a starving coyote seizes a squirrel. They will state the “established fact” that a conservative Republican says Obama wasn’t involved, and use that as an excuse to hand wave away everything else that anyone says about the IRS scandal. Here is Cummings himself:

“Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case is solved,” he said. “If it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on.”

This is ridiculous. The IRS scandal is bigger than Watergate, bigger than Benghazi, bigger than Fast and Furious, bigger than Iran-Contra, bigger than Monicagate – bigger than any other scandal for the federal government in my lifetime. Teapot Dome isn’t close to this. Even if Obama isn’t directly involved (and he would have to be sand-poundingly stupid to have issued actual directives that resulted in this) his rhetoric towards these groups was a contributing factor, so he bears some responsibility.

None of that is going to change because the leftists have found a new piece of misdirection. Which won’t stop them from bleating about it for while to avoid any real argument, of course.   

 

* Even some Republicans have picked up this tic. Just goes to show that if you lie down with Demos, you get up with tics….

** Have you noticed that the doctored email narrative excuse is mostly gone now? It didn’t stick as a narrative, because it was obviously false-to-fact from the outset. That didn’t stop leftists from pushing it as a narrative, of course, because they don’t have a connection with reality. They just realized it didn’t work after a while, and moved on to something else. I will be shocked the first time one of them says “Yeah, that was wrong. The Republicans didn’t really doctor emails.” The narrative may be out of the limelight, but the leftists still believe it because it feels so good to believe it.

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