Obama To Gitmo Speech Heckler: ‘Part Of Free Speech Is…You Listening’

President Barack Obama had a hard time getting through parts of his foreign policy speech at the National Defense University Thursday, thanks to Medea Benjamin, co-founder of left-leaning, female anti-militarism group Code Pink.

Benjamin repeatedly interrupted the President’s remarks, pleading with him to expedite the closing of Guantanamo Bay, where Afghan and Iraqi prisoners have been indefinitely detained for 11 years.

“You are the commander in chief. You can close Guantanamo today,” Benjamin shouted early in the speech.

The President acknowledged Benjamin’s interjections at one point, but after additional cut-ins, he finally told her:

Now, ma’am, let me, let me, let me finish. Let me, let me finish, ma’am. Now, this is part of free speech, is, you being able to speak, but also – you listening. And me being able to speak. [Applause breaks out.] Eh? Thank you.

 

After further interruptions, security dragged Benjamin out of the room. But she got in one last remark for the President, admonishing Obama to “abide by the rule of law – you’re a Constitutional lawyer.”

Top-Down Targeting, Not IRS Rogues, Responsible For Scandal

An Investigative reporter in Cincinnati, the epicenter (so far as we know) of the Internal Revenue Service discrimination conspiracy against conservatives, has all but demolished President Barack Obama’s claim that the two-year hit job was the work of self-willed, autonomously acting “rogue” employees far down the chain of command.

Common sense would naturally tell anyone the same thing; and the known facts in this case do nothing but corroborate the suspicions of both liberals and conservatives convinced that the President was involved in the sandal, which obviously benefitted his re-election campaign, from the beginning.

Cincinnati’s FOX 19 investigative reporter Ben Swann checked into the administrative hierarchy within the IRS to determine where the supposedly “rogue,” low-level IRS grunts, whom the Obama Administration blames for targeting more than 300 Tea Party nonprofit groups, fit in.

Of the six IRS plebes (five IRS “agents” and one “supervisor”) Swann identified by name, none answers to the same manager. Instead, each answers to a separate manager, who in turn is managed by a “territory manager.”

But the process of applying for tax exemption — the very process the IRS used to green-light pro-Obama nonprofits while making sure the wheels fell off their conservative competitors — ultimately ends with one person. That person — Cindy Thomas, Program Manager of the Tax Exempt Division — is the one manager all the low-level agents, as well as their managers and those managers’ managers, have in common.

Swann explains the process:

When an application for tax exempt status comes into the IRS, agents have 270 days to work through that application. If the application is not processed within those 270 days, it automatically triggers flags in the system. When that happens, individual agents are required to input a status update on that individual case once a month, every month until the case is resolved.

Keep in mind, at least 300 groups were targeted out of Cincinnati alone. Those applications spent anywhere from 18 months to nearly three years in the system, and some still don’t have their nonprofit status. Three hundred groups multiplied by at least 18 months for each group means thousands of red flags would have been generated in the system.

Swann goes on to point to the events that have befallen the rest of the IRS chain of command since the scandal went public, noting that former Acting Commissioner Steven Miller and the Commissioner of Tax Exempt Entities, Joseph Grant, have both retired. Above them is Lois Lerner, head of Exempt Organizations, who took the stand Wednesday to tell Congress she’s pleading the Fifth on any questions about the fiasco. And the Director of the IRS’ Exempt Organizations division, Holly Paz, has been subpoenaed and will soon have the same opportunity.

None of the administrators in the preceding paragraph is based in Cincinnati; they are all based in Washington, D.C.

Writing in The Washington Post Wednesday, Ed Rogers related the story of how far up the chain of command the scandal went before being shielded from Obama’s delicate eyes:

My personal favorite of all the new revelations from the Obama IRS scandal is that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the impending IRS inspector general report, but of course the White House chief of staff did not tell the president.

I sat in a White House chief of staff’s office every day for more than two years. The only reason the legal counsel would tell the chief of staff about an impending report or disclosure would be so the chief of staff could tell the president… There are many valid reasons why the chief of staff would tell the president, but I can’t think of a reason why he and the legal counsel would both agree that this news nugget would go no further. It’s very odd.

It’s not just odd; it’s criminal. And everyone knows who the chief perpetrator is.

Obamacare Was Planted As Talking Point For Liberal Graduation Speakers

Earlier this week, we told you about the disproportionate ratio of liberals to conservatives on the annual college graduation commencement speech circuit. Many found a way to sneak in an admonishment for pet liberal issues of one kind or another.

But long before the liberal ambassadors dispersed to stand behind podiums at Harvard (Oprah Winfrey), Princeton (Ben Bernanke), Kenyon College (Michael Bloomberg), Duke (Melinda Gates), Penn (Joe Biden) and, of course, Ohio State (Barack Obama), the President called senior Administration officials together to game plan one especially dear liberal talking point in time for the spring graduation season: Obamacare.

Hand it to Bloomberg Businessweek for walking the talk: The news outlet reported the brainstorming session, including the bit about the campus propagandizing, as the launching point for a Obamacare sales-job strategy the President deployed shortly after winning election to a second term.

Knowing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was already unpopular, off schedule and poorly understood in its proposed implementation, Obama told his second-term cronies it was critical that the healthcare law succeed, because it would long be remembered as “one of his major legacies.”

To counter the criticism, the White House has told all Cabinet members and senior officials to use commencement speeches to drive home for graduating college students and their parents the benefits they gain from a provision of the law that allows young adults to stay on their family’s insurance plans until they turn 26.

Despite having already spent $8 million on selling Obamacare through the machinations of PR firm Weber Shandwick, the President indeed got plenty of dutiful help from the mortarboard orators — and he led from the front, pitching the supposed benefits of the regressive, market-corrupting plan at both Ohio State and, last week, at traditionally black Morehouse College.

More Liberals Slam Obama For Draconian Journalist Surveillance

More liberal talking heads are sassing their greatest benefactor: President Barack Obama. Here’s NBC’s Chuck Todd railing against Barack on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ show Wednesday – or scroll down to read Todd accuse the Obama Administration of treating journalism as a crime:

TODD: So they want to criminalize journalism. And that’s what it’s coming down, I mean, if you end up essentially criminalizing journalism or when it comes to reporting on the federal government, particularly on national security, and the only place they can; they think they technically can do that is on the issues of national security. What it’s going to do is, the impact that we’ve heard, we heard the AP counsel say this over the weekend. It is going to make whistleblowers, and people that might leak, regular sources. You know, I’ve had different conversations with people over the last week who are sitting there not quite comfortable having certain conversations on the phone. I mean, it just completely…and maybe that’s the intent. I can’t think of any other intent of why they’re going about this in such a broad, harassing sort of way.

Big Sis Deploys DHS ‘Officers’ To Watch Tea Party At Nationwide Protests Tuesday

As Tea Party supporters gathered outside IRS offices Tuesday in planned demonstrations against the agency’s discriminatory thwarting of their attempts at organizing nonprofit groups, armed officers with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stood watching.

They’re easy to spot at this St. Louis rally:

 

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano sent out the goon squad to “monitor” Tea Party protests in Missouri, Florida, Indiana and Illinois.

As expected, all the protests went off peacefully nationwide, which is more than can be said for some other high-profile demonstrations that were spared any DHS presence.

Congress Isn’t Done Questioning IRS Exemptions Official Because ‘She Waived’ Right To Invoke 5th Amendment

The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sat down Lois Lerner, who’s in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations Unit, for questioning early Wednesday, despite forewarning from her attorney that she would invoke the 5th Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination by not answering any questions.

Later in the afternoon, committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he planned to haul her back before the same committee for more questioning. Why? Because Lerner gave a statement to the committee before pleading the 5th — a move Issa believes waived her right to refuse testimony.

“When I asked her her questions from the very beginning, I did so so she could assert her rights prior to any statement,” Issa told POLITICO. “She chose not to do so — so she waived.”

What did Lerner say in her opening remarks?

I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other committee.

Issa said Lerner shouldn’t have attempted to squeeze a declaration of innocence into her testimony if she intended to remain silent on any questions the committee had.

“The precedents are clear that this is not something you can turn on and turn off,” he said. “She made testimony after she was sworn in, asserted her innocence in a number of areas, even answered questions asserting that a document was true … So she gave partial testimony and then tried to revoke that.”

The IRS scandal became public after Lerner admitted on May 10 that the agency had discriminated against conservative nonprofits that had applied for tax-exempt status.

M.O. Fleeing Barack’s Mess, Bernanke Leaves The Faucet On, Brains Like Fewer Calories, FEMA Leans On ‘Waffle House Index’ To Triage Disaster, DOJ Went After Conservative Reporter’s Parents: Tuesday Morning News Roundup 5-7-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • First lady Michelle Obama is evidently tiring of the scandal swirling around her husband — so she appears to be planning to get out of the White House, and stay out, all summer long on an extended vacation at Martha’s Vineyard.

 

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is set to tell Congress today that the U.S. economy is too weak to handle a bump in interest rates or a slowdown in the money-printing, dollar-debasing scheme known as quantitative easing.

 

  • A study reveals that reducing calories prevents the loss of brain cells and cognitive decline through aging, and can help avoid degenerative mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

 

  • Craig Fugate, the corpulent director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, apparently likes the Waffle House well enough to take policy cues from the 24-hour restaurant chain. In triaging the scale of the disaster left in the wake of a tornado, he’s come up with something called the “Waffle House Index.”

 

  • The U.S. Justice Department is already stammering excuses for the illegal manner in which it gained access to the communications of conservative-leaning news reporters. But targeting their parents? That’s what allegedly happened to FOX News reporter James Rosen, whose parents’ phone records appear to be part of a broad DOJ investigative dragnet.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Tea Party Up, IRS Down In Public Opinion

That the Internal Revenue Service has sunk even lower in the eyes of the general public over the past couple of weeks is no surprise to anyone who follows even mainstream news outlets.

No one likes the IRS, even for its designated function of dispassionately confiscating wealth and offering it up to the government for redistribution. But the idea that the agency is using its power to help the President’s friends and hurt his enemies gives a sharp new bitterness to what’s always been, for most people, a dull hatred.

A joint poll released Tuesday by ABC News and The Washington Post estimates that a majority of Americans blame the IRS hit job not on incompetence or administrative mistakes, but on deliberate targeting ordered by someone or coordinated by a group. Forty-five percent further believe that the Administration of President Barack Obama knows more about who’s to blame for all the discrimination than it’s telling.

What’s more surprising is the corresponding bump in the proportion of Americans who, according to a separate poll released Monday, approve of the Tea Party and its small-government message in the wake of the IRS scandal that gummed up the works (as Obama loves to say) for the conservative groups as they sought tax-exempt status.

Don’t expect the Tea Party to win any vapid mainstream popularity contests anytime soon. But the poll, conducted by CNN, saw public approval for the Tea Party climb from 28 percent only two months ago to 37 percent now — a number almost identical to the conservative movement’s all-time high in 2010.

The number of those who approve is still smaller than the proportion of Americans — 45 percent — who said they still have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party. But with the majority of Americans still getting their news from left-leaning and omissive mainstream media, it’s remarkable that the number’s not much higher — especially considering that both these polls were done by left-leaning and omissive mainstream media outlets.

But if lawsuits, such as the one filed this week against the IRS by a California Tea Party group, bring to light new evidence about who authorized the scandal and who was involved in covering everything up, the Tea Party movement could be welcoming — and educating — many more defectors from the partisan, business-as-usual political PR wars, as more and more regular Americans wake from their complicit indifference to the hidden crimes of the Obama Administration’s first four years.

Florida Governor Yanks Funding For Police ‘Snitch’ Program To Report ‘Suspicious’ Neighbors

Early this month, the sheriff of Palm Beach County, Fla., announced a new, Orwellian “violence prevention” program designed to pit neighbors against each other by having people anonymously call the cops on anyone who doesn’t like the government or takes a picture of a bridge.

Why? Because people who voice their disapproval of the way their leaders are representing them might be terrorists, the kind of people who’d shoot up a school or set off a bomb at a public event or important landmark.

The local program was to receive $1 million in State funds, apportioned by the Legislature, to train deputies, mental health professionals and case workers to respond whenever someone called the 24-hour citizen hotline, so that they could then visit alleged terrorists, at their homes, unannounced, with the goal of diverting their latent violent behavior before they commit an atrocious act.

A bonus: The sheriff’s office would have dirt on people reported to the hotline, stacking the deck against supposed “terrorists” by exposing them to unwarranted scrutiny and making otherwise-innocuous citizens look like festering threats, if ever they should come before the law for any reason.

At the time, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said this:

We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him. What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, “Hey, is everything OK?”

Neighbors helping neighbors, eh? East Germans lent each other a similar helping hand during the Cold War, when the Stasi state security ministry recruited regular people to rat out their neighbors and coworkers for harboring anti-government sentiment.

But folks in Palm Beach eager to turn on their fellow man may have to go back to calling 911 or the police dispatch line, thanks to Republican Governor Rick Scott’s recent veto of the $1 million in State money originally earmarked to subsidize the $3.2 million tattling scheme.

Of course there’s a twist: Scott didn’t veto the Legislature’s earmark on principle; in fact, he called the prevention program “a very well-intended project.” His reason, rather, was that Florida’s taxpayers as a whole were being asked to support a program that “benefits” only the residents of Palm Beach County.

With nearly a third of his funding gone, Bradshaw has said his department is reconsidering deploying the program at all. That’s welcome news to residents who were outraged about the plan — not only on Constitutional grounds, but for its outright stupidity.

“Kill this thing before it grows like a cancer,” an unnamed Tea Party supporter told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The idea may not be dead nationwide, though. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is enabling local enforcement agencies to do, by proxy, what Congress, to the disappointment of George W. Bush, forbade it from doing upon its creation in 2001: acting as an info dump for Stasi-style tipsters. Through nearly $500 million in local “urban area security” grants last year, DHS has primed local agencies, including the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, to mine citizens’ paranoia for information about who’s got it in for their government.

Rand Demands Independent IRS Investigation

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told a New Hampshire audience Monday that Congress shouldn’t let those responsible for perpetrating the IRS Tea Party-targeting scandal get away with a wrist-slapping from the Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Rather, said Paul, the politically-motivated stymieing of conservative nonprofits under the guise of IRS enforcement demands an investigation fully independent of any ties to the Administration of President Barack Obama.

“Any person who would use the power or abuse the power of government to go after their political opponents, I don’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat or an independent, to take that brute force, that bullying force of government and to use it against your opponents, there is something distinctly and profoundly un-American about that,” he said. “I don’t see any way the president can gain back trust, and for goodness sake, somebody’s got to get fired or go to prison.”