(HotAir.com) At any other time in Barack Obama’s time as President, this might have qualified as a top priority for a Congressional probe. As it is, Kathleen Sebelius’ attempt to pressure insurers to fund a White House-linked organization as a means to save ObamaCare will have to wait while Congress tries to get to the bottom of at least three other scandals — Benghazi, the IRS, and the Department of Justice’s snooping on reporters. However, they shouldn’t ignore the Enroll America shakedown, say insurers:
“The links between a nonprofit promoting President Obama’s healthcare law and the White House have created an “air of expectation” that insurers will contribute to the group, according to an insurance industry official.
Current and former administration officials have taken on leadership and fundraising roles for Enroll America, a nonprofit aiming to make sure people sign up for new coverage options. As the ties grow deeper, the organization has come to feel like “just an arm of the administration,” said one official who works closely with insurers…”
(Mediaite.com) On Wednesday, CNN anchor Jake Tapper dug into the controversial way in which members of President Barack Obama’s administration have apparently tried to intimidate whistleblowers in the government and the journalists that would investigate their stories. Tapper said that some, including the New York Times editorial board, have described the administration’s actions as “threatening fundamental freedoms of the press.” He warned Obama’s supporters to remember the precedent his administration is setting when a Republican next occupies the Oval Office.
Tapper noted that the scandal surrounding the subpoenaing of Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal telephone and email records is sarcastically being referred to as a “conspiracy to commit journalism.”
“Keep in mind, there’s no allegation that James Rosen bribed, threatened, coerced anyone to get the information, which is what journalists do,” Tapper said. “We try to get information, especially information that the government doesn’t want us to share with you.”
(Newsmax.com) The New York Times has blasted the Obama White House’s move to label a Fox News reporter a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a news leak about North Korea’s nuclear missile program.
The administration has “moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news,” the newspaper said in an editorial on Wednesday.
The incident involves James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent for Fox News.
After Rosen reported in 2009 that Pyongyang planned to launch a missile in response to United Nations condemnation of its nuclear tests, the Justice Department investigated the article’s source and indicted Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department security adviser, on charges of leaking classified information.
That was not the end of the investigation, however. Federal prosecutors also asked a federal judge for permission to troll through Rosen’s personal e-mails, arguing that “there is probable cause to believe” he is “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leak,” according to the Times.
(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) accused outgoing IRS chief Steven Miller of lying by not mentioning that he knew his agency had been “improperly” targeting Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny when Miller responded to letters from members of Congress looking into the matter.
“Now Mr. Miller, that’s a lie by omission. There’s no question about that in my mind. It’s a lie by omission, and you kept it from people who have the obligation to oversee this matter,” Hatch said.
Hatch and his colleagues wrote to then IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman on March 14, 2012 and June 18, 2012, asking about the IRS’s “selective enforcement” of conservative groups and request for donor information. Shulman served as IRS chief from 2008-2012, during the Bush and Obama administrations.
(Newsmax.com) Rescue workers clawed through rubble of a collapsed elementary school looking for missing students after a mile-wide tornado flattened a suburb south of Oklahoma City. Authorities lowered the death toll to at least 24.
The storm cut a swath of devastation 20 miles (32 kilometers) long that ran through Moore, a city of about 55,000, destroying Plaza Towers Elementary School, scattering cars like toys and leaving firefighters and police to pick by hand through chunks of buildings. The twister, which President Barack Obama called “one of the most destructive” in history, was one of 14 reported from Colorado to Kansas yesterday.
“Oklahoma needs to get everything it needs, right away,” Obama said today at a White House news briefing. “Americans from every corner of this country will be right there with them.”
(Fox25-AP) A tornado at least a half mile-wide with 200mph winds churned through Oklahoma City’s suburbs Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 and causing significant property damage for the second day in a row, forcing rescue crews to search for survivors in the debris of flattened homes, businesses and two schools.
Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office, said the death toll is expected to rise. Oklahoma City Police say seven of those deaths were children at Plaza Towers Elementary School, which was hit by the tornado, Fox 25 reports. Oklahoma police also told Fox News’ Casey Stegall, on the ground in Moore, Okla., that at least four people were killed at a 7-11 convenience store.
Television footage on Monday afternoon showed homes and buildings that had been reduced to rubble in Moore, which is south of Oklahoma City. Footage also showed vehicles littering roadways south and southwest of Oklahoma City.
(KFOR-TV Channel 4) SHAWNEE, Okla. — The buzz of chain saws is a welcome symphony in Pottawatomie County Monday, the day after a deadly tornado ripped through Shawnee.
Lance Carter weathered the storm in his neighbors basement. When he emerged, his home and five acre property of 17 years were almost unrecognizable.
He is still shell-shocked. “I’m walking around in a daze. I don’t know what to do. I go to do one thing then somebody asks me about something else.” said Carter.
The tornado that his Carter’s home ripped across Highway 177 in northwest Shawnee. Carter’s property took a direct hit.
(PersonalLiberty.com) The Internal Revenue Service was formed in 1913 following the adoption (it was never properly ratified) of the 16th Amendment to fund the Federal Reserve and enrich the bankster elites by stealing and redistributing the wealth of American citizens.
The income tax is one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated upon the American people. It was enacted even though the U.S. Supreme Court had only recently ruled in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co. that certain taxes on direct income were unConstitutionally unapportioned direct taxes and violated Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. Not covered in Pollock is the fact that the income tax also violates the 5th Amendment: No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty or property… nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
(FoxNews-AP) WASHINGTON – A top White House adviser staked out a defiant defense Sunday on a series of scandals that have hit the Obama administration, going so far as to say it was an “irrelevant fact” where the president was the night of the Benghazi terror attacks and saying the Obama administration wouldn’t cooperate in “partisan fishing expeditions” over IRS officials targeting Tea Party groups.
Dan Pfeiffer went on five Sunday talk shows where he tried to reverse the damage done to the Obama administration this week by a series of scandals. On “Fox News Sunday” he tried to hammer home that the president only heard that the IRS unfairly targeted Tea Party groups “when it came out in the news.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who also appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” suggested there was a written policy to target political groups opposing the president but when pressed for proof by Wallace, he was unable to provide details.
(TheBlaze.com) TheBlaze’s S.E. Cupp battled liberal filmmaker Michael Moore on the gun issue Friday, arguing against gun restrictions and schooling him on basic statistics on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
Cupp, contending with boos from the “Real Time” audience, said the problem with a gun registry is that “it treats law-abiding citizens as if they are guilty until proven innocent.”
She went on, “The problem with background checks, five-day waiting periods, they assume that I have criminal intent to use my gun to pursue my Second Amendment rights…I go to get a background check, ‘Prove to me you’re not a criminal.’ I go to get a gun, ‘Prove to me you don’t want to use it in the heat of passion right now, wait five days, you need to cool off.’ That’s not fair — the government is not in the business of intimidating me away from my Second Amendment rights. It’s an abuse of power, and it seeps into the culture — it’s why newspapers think they can publish gun owners’ addresses, as if they are pariahs. It’s not appropriate.”
(FoxNews.com) For the first time in years, the IRS was knocked down a peg or two.
In a hearing that escalated into a boisterous public shaming of one of the country’s most-feared government agencies, lawmakers took turns Friday calling outgoing IRS Commissioner Steven Miller on the carpet for his department’s scandalous practice of targeting conservative groups.
Miller rebuffed attempts to extract the names of those responsible, saying he did not know. But lawmakers vowed that the tense hearing would mark only the start of a series of investigations, in which criminal activity could be probed.
(DailyCaller.com) The Department of Homeland Security, which under Secretary Janet Napolitano has shown a keen interest in monitoring and warning about outspoken conservatives, takes a very different approach in monitoring political Islamists, according to a 2011 memo on protecting the free speech rights of pro-Shariah Muslim supremacists.
In a checklist obtained by The Daily Caller entitled “Countering Violent Extremism Dos and Don’ts” the DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties notifies local and national law enforcement officials that it is Obama administration policy to consider specifically Islamic criticism of the American system of government legitimate.
This policy stands in stark contrast to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis’ 2009 memo “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [pdf], which warned of the dangers posed by pro-life advocates, critics of same-sex marriage and groups concerned with abiding by the U.S. Constitution, among others. (Read more…)
(Newsmax.com) Sen. Marco Rubio says the mushrooming controversies surrounding the Obama administration reflect a “culture of intimidation” created by President Barack Obama.
In an exclusive interview Thursday with Newsmax TV, the Florida Republican explained: “You have a president and an administration and a political apparatus around him that has decided the way to win the political battles of the day is to destroy your political opponents, to basically impugn their motives, to talk bad about them, to convince people that they’re bad people, and that they’re doing things for bad reasons.”
That take-no-prisoners attitude, he said, “permeates throughout their entire organization.”
IRS to pro-life group: Send letter pledging not to protest Planned Parenthood to get your tax exemption
(HotAir.com) The Inspector General of the Treasury reported this week that the IRS began applying extra scrutiny and conducting harassment of Obama administration opponents as early as March 2010. However, for at least two pro-life groups, that scrutiny appears to have started a year earlier. Joel Gehrke reports that one group was told its tax-exempt application depended not on promising to stay out of electoral politics, but on pledging not to protest Planned Parenthood — a prominent supporter of Barack Obama:
IRS officials refused to grant tax exempt status two pro-life organizations because of their position on the abortion issue, according to a non-profit law firm, which said that one group was pressured not to protest a pro-choice organization that endorsed President Obama during the last election.
“In one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent ‘Ms. Richards’ told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire board’s signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood,” the Thomas More Society announced today. “Once the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved.”
(FoxNews-AP) WASHINGTON – State Department officials repeatedly objected to — and tried to water down — references to Al Qaeda and prior security warnings in the administration’s initial internal story-line on the Benghazi attack, according to dozens of emails and notes released by the White House late Wednesday.
The documents also showed the White House, along with several other departments, played a role in editing the so-called “talking points,” despite claims from the White House that it was barely involved. And they showed then-CIA Director David Petraeus objected to the watered-down version that would ultimately be used as the basis for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s flawed comments on several TV shows the Sunday after the attack.
“Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this,” Petraeus told his deputy in a Sept. 15 email.
(InfoWars.com) Associated Press reporters are outraged over recent revelations that the Obama administration engaged in a “sweeping seizure” of the private phone records of AP reporters as part of a Justice Department investigation. No probable cause was given to anyone, and hundreds of AP reporters were simply deemed guilty by the government as their phone call records were confiscated without explanation.
Politico is now reporting:
The behind-the-scenes anger — and heads-down determination of the AP staff members to keep doing their jobs amid the extraordinary public flap — comes as top executives from the wire service have mounted an aggressive public pushback against DOJ, calling its snooping a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” in a letter fired off to Attorney General Eric Holder. And yet something of a bunkerlike atmosphere has taken hold at the AP in Washington with no bureau-wide meetings or announcements about the DOJ’s action, AP sources told POLITICO.
But what’s not being reported is that the Associated Press helped create the very police state it now condemns for violating its freedoms and privacy. (Click to Read More…)