Hat Tip: Craig Miller
Hat Tip: BB
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Chris Matthews can nearly always be counted on to come to the defense of President Barack Obama. On Wednesday night’s “Hardball” show on MSNBC, they cut to Senator Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) first public comments following his indictment earlier in the day for corruption charges. He stepped down from his ranking position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and defiantly announced that he was innocent, that he plans to fight the charges, and fully expects vindication.
Then, Matthews brought on correspondent Steve Kornacki, who said “his people” say that Menendez is stepping down because “he didn’t want to put anyone in the Democratic caucus in an uncomfortable position. But beyond that, I have to tell you, talking to the Menendez camp tonight, I would say they feel very confident that this is something they can beat in a court of law.” He said the Menendez camp is accusing the Justice Department of “misconduct,” and having “bungled” the case.
Kornacki then added, “They’re going to allow the suggestion, they’re certainly going to encourage it. I don’t think they’ll say it themselves, but they want the suggestion out there very much that Menendez is being targeted by the DOJ [Department of Justice], right now, the Obama administration’s DOJ because of his opposition to the administration on Iran. And you certainly have a number of Republicans out there like Mark Kirk (IL), Lindsey Graham (SC), who are suggesting that the Menendez people want that out there.”
Hearing that, Matthews pushed back, suggesting that the timeline for that interpretation didn’t make sense. He said that Menendez had been under investigation for a long time. Matthews was trying to dismiss the idea that this was yet another example of Obama’s vindictiveness. Matthews then added, as he was going to a break, “With the indictment late today of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez on federal corruption charges, wait till you hear the latest right-wing conspiracy theory. It’s that the charges were brought as payback for bucking the White House on Iran.”
Matthews then devoted a panel discussion to piling on Menendez, and virtually finding him guilty. No question, the charges are very serious, and the investigation has been going on for years. But Menendez is innocent until proven guilty of a crime. It’s the timing of the indictment that arouses such suspicion.
Matthews showed a montage of conservative talk-show hosts and politicians who suggested, as did Menendez, that this was political payback. One of the panelists on the “Hardball” segment, April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Network, was confident that President Obama would never have been involved with something like that. She said the timing was “coincidental.” However, “One thing we know for sure,” she said, “the White House is not in collusion with this, because the President is not supposed to know anything about any investigation. So this investigation is independent of anything to do with the White House.”
If that doesn’t assure you, nothing will. I guess Obama found out about the Menendez indictment along with everyone else when it was reported in the media. Just like he did with the IRS scandal, Operation Fast & Furious, the Veterans Affairs scandal, and the fact that Hillary Clinton did all of her State Department email business on a private server.
Again, as Kornacki pointed out, it was Menendez, a liberal Democrat, who is also saying this about the Obama Justice Department. Actually, Menendez has crossed the President on more than just Iran. There are also his criticisms of Obama’s policies toward Cuba, North Korea and Menendez’s strong support for Israel that may have been the final straws for Obama’s Justice Department to decide to indict the senator at this time.
Coincidence? Well, Menendez is a primary sponsor of two bills this year that are waiting in the wings to see how the negotiations in Switzerland work out that would supposedly halt Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. The bills, if they became law, would increase sanctions on Iran if a deal isn’t reached, and demand that Congress approve any deal reached by the parties to the negotiations. One bill is the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, with Senator Kirk as the other lead sponsor.
And the other one is with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). It would, as described by Politico, “allow Congress to approve or reject any nuclear agreement that President Barack Obama reaches with Iran.” Politico added that it “would be a stern rebuke to the president,” and cited a letter released last month in which Obama’s “Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told Corker that moving on his Iran legislation would ‘potentially prevent any deal from succeeding.’”
While apparently the parties to the negotiations have agreed today on a “framework” to keep negotiating to try to work out an actual agreement by the end of June, the timing of this sidelining of the leading Democratic Senate voice skeptical of the President’s apparent pursuit of a deal at any price appears more than coincidental. It appears very purposeful. But don’t tell that to Chris Matthews. Remember, this is the President who urged Latino voters to “punish our enemies and reward our friends.” Maybe that explains Sen. Menendez’s indictment, as well as the decision this week to not prosecute former IRS executive Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress.
By: Frank Salvato
Initially I was going to start with the line, “It is stunning to think,” but then I remembered I was opining about the Obama Administration, of which I have come to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to nefarious doings meant to advance his agenda. To be certain, all of the actions (and inactions) taken (and not taken) by this administration – without exception – have been executed to advance his ideological agenda, chief among them the handling of the IRS’s targeting of the administration’s political adversaries.
TheHill.com reports that Ronald Machen, the US attorney for the District of Columbia –an Obama appointee – has not acted on a Contempt of Congress charge for former IRS official Lois Lerner even though the contempt citation has been in his hands since May of 2014. Manchen is set to step down next month.
Search the mainstream media headlines and you find this item far down the list if, in fact, you find it at all. Yet the issue is no less important than that of the Constitution’s First Amendment guaranteed rights themselves; to both “peaceably assemble” and to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
There is now no defense, nor believable denial in ignorance, for the illegal actions taken by the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service under Lois Lerner. The facts present as undeniable. Under her direction, applications for organizations with political ideologies antithetical to those of the Obama Administration were treated as politically adversarial, receiving excessive scrutiny and myriad unreasonable demands for discovery; treatment not experienced by organizations whose ideologies were symbiotic with the administration’s. Succinctly, Ms. Lerner executed a political attack on a large faction of the American people for their support of a political ideology anathema to that of the President’s.
Ironically, Ms. Lerner’s claim to have learned of the illegal targeting through the news media failed to afford her the popular cover that has served President Obama well through several sensitive issues; cover that is now beginning to expose the disingenuousness of the claim, much to his chagrin. Ms. Lerner’s refusal to cooperate with the House Oversight Committee in its examination of these events – including her intentional denial of the existence of emails pertaining to her actions – rightfully garnered a Contempt of Congress charge.
But what is the worth of a Contempt of Congress charge if the authority tasked with bringing the weight of that charge to bear abdicates the responsibility of doing so? What punishment is there for transgression in a simple designation?
Citizens in the United States have been guaranteed the right to redress government; to be openly critical of the government’s policies and actions. Further, these defined rights allow them to openly oppose any and all elected officials, regardless of station, in an effort to affect change in political offices under which the people are represented.
So, too, are citizens guaranteed the right to peaceably assemble for political purposes; to create groups and organizations – especially under the banner of educating the public – that enjoy all the rights and privileges afforded under the law, including tax-exempt status, should the qualifying criteria exist.
Ms. Lerner’s action usurped these guaranteed rights, and her refusal to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee not only aggravated that usurpation, but proved – beyond reasonable doubt – that she holds the value of her politics above the rights of the People, and above the guaranteed Rights in our Constitution. Yet, when tasked with executing a Grand Jury referral mandated by a Contempt of Congress charge, Mr. Machen saw fit to prioritize the routine prosecution of dozens of district court financial fraud and local public corruption cases, as if to intentionally ignore the contempt citation. This leads to this question. If the police officer is corrupt – or intentionally abdicates his sworn duty, who do the innocent turn to for justice?
Article II, Section 1, of the House Judiciary Committee’s Articles of Impeachment against Pres. Richard M. Nixon (R) states:
“He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to…cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”
If the use of the IRS to target political enemies was enough to bring about impeachment charges that would eventually see the first resignation of a sitting President, how does the exact same criminal act not warrant – at the very least – a referral to a Grand Jury for examination?
The Obama Administration claims the mantle of the most transparent in the history of the United States. In the non-execution of the Contempt of Congress charge against Lois Lerner they are transparent in their tyranny against the American people. Case closed…with prejudice.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director of BasicsProject.org a grassroots, non-partisan, research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy, and internal and external threats facing Western Civilization. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His opinion and analysis have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, The Jewish World Review, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, Townhall.com and are syndicated nationally. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is the author of six books examining Islamofascism and Progressivism, including “Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam”. Mr. Salvato’s personal writing can be found at FrankJSalvato.com.
It would appear that the Obama back office is far more competent than its front office.
Lee Smith asks a logical question: “We’ve Known About Hillary’s Email for Years. Why the Hoopla This Week?“
…the public first became aware that Clinton was using her personal email two years ago, in March 2013, when a Romanian Internet activist using the nickname Guccifer hacked into Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal’s AOL account and uncovered a trove of work emails between the two from and to her personal account…
So, why did it take the Obama Administration two years to admit to what was already known and to then suggest that Clinton’s behavior was reckless and may have even been criminal? And why did it take so long for a major news organization like the New York Times to come up with the big “scoop” it published earlier this week?
Or to put the question another way, why did Hillary Clinton become the Obama Administration’s bête noire this very week, the same one during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled all of the world’s focus onto the issue of the administration’s negotiations with Iran?
The answer is that the two are related: This week’s tarring of Hillary Clinton is part of the White House’s political campaign to shut off debate about its hoped-for deal. It’s not hard to see why they’re anxious. With Netanyahu’s speech forcing lawmakers and editorial writers to face up to the proposed agreement’s manifest problems, the administration fears the prospect of Democrats jumping ship and signing on to Kirk-Menendez sanctions legislation that also would give Congress oversight on the deal. So far, the White House has managed to keep Democratic lawmakers in line, no matter how much they seem to question the wisdom of the proposed deal. Hillary Clinton, gearing up for a 2016 run in which she is likely to put some distance between herself and Obama’s dubious Middle East policies, is the one major national Democratic figure who can give Democrats in Congress cover.
Did someone say “Menendez“?
The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.
People briefed on the case say Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on prosecutors’ request to proceed with charges, CNN has learned exclusively.
Back in January, Sen. Menendez made headlines for blasting the Obama administration’s handling of the Middle East, saying that the White House sounds as if their talking points “come straight out of Tehran.”
The “timing” was noticed:
Let’s see. The DOJ has ignored a series of egregious felonies committed by Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, Steven Miller, Lisa Jackson, and a host of others.
Why then, would it now attack Robert Menendez, Democrat Senator from New Jersey?
Well, just four days ago, the National Journal reported that “At AIPAC, Sen. Menendez Goes Head-to-Head With the Obama Administration on Iran”</strong>.
March 2, 2015 Sen. Bob Menendez takes joy in being on the wrong side of Tehran, and he’s not afraid of being at odds with his own party’s White House.
“When it comes to defending the U.S.-Israel relationship, I am not intimidated by anyone—not Israel’s political enemies and not by my political friends when I believe they’re wrong,” Menendez declared to an energized crowd at the AIPAC policy conference Monday evening… A call to action for his fellow members of Congress, Menendez vowed never to back down from a brawl to defend the U.S. and Israel’s “sacrosanct” and “untouchable” relationship.
Menendez’s speech marked a crescendo in a long and—at times—tense relationship with the Obama administration. As the White House seeks to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, Menendez has been the leading Democrat questioning the process. While President Obama has demanded cooperation from Congress, the Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat sponsored legislation in December that aimed to bog Iran down with more economic sanctions. His intent was to put more pressure on the country to cooperate with the United States, but the White House claimed it undermined its months-long discussions.
Gee, but I’m sure all of these revelations and criminal charges are just a coincidence.
Hat tip: BadBlue News.
Remember when Barack Obama promised his would be the “most open and transparent administration ever“?
Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Good times, good times.
A week before becoming Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton set up a private e-mail system that gave her a high level of control over communications, including the ability to erase messages completely, according to security experts who have examined Internet records.
In one of the new[ly recovered] emails, Lerner apparently wrote, “No one will ever believe that both your hard drive and mine crashed within a week of each other.”
…hundreds of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s previously “lost” backup tapes have been recovered, which could result in the recovery of a new trove of her emails. IRS Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Thursday that it took investigators just two weeks to recover 424 backup tapes that were previously said to be unretrievable.
• And more!
In a Monday ruling, Judge Royce C. Lamberth, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of lying to the court and displaying “apathy and carelessness” in carrying out the law… Judge Lamberth described the “absurdity” of the way the EPA handled a Freedom of Information Act request from the Landmark Legal Foundation and then the court case stemming from it — including late last week admitting it lied to the court about how it went about searching for documents.
The Justice Department’s internal watchdog offered Congress fresh evidence Tuesday that the Obama administration is failing to meet its promises of transparency, accusing department officials of interfering with his independent investigations into employee wrongdoing.
• But it’s not a pattern!. Oh, wait. My bad. It is.
Given the number of IG and investigator vacancies, a suspicious person might think that the Obama administration was trying to hide waste and fraud in the various departments.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
That is, unless you’re a progressive, in which case, you’ll shriek the words, “But—Bush!” at the top of your lungs while spittle flies out of your mouth.
By: Arlen Williams
It is almost March and catching wind of the new ruling called “Net Neutrality,” I am beginning to be frightened.
Some may be reminded of the opening line of a story; just borrowed it. It’s a story about what happens toward the end of the road down which today’s ruling has just pushed us. Call it… Book Burning 2.0, with a technocracy update, in a muted, camel’s-head-in-the-tent fashion, pardon the mixed metaphor.
But that story’s dystopia may not even be as hideous as reality can become.
A number of fantasies and sci-fi stories about children and adolescents have become more and more popular in recent years, following the jet stream created by Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.
One of the best became adapted from its original novel to a movie last year; and as it turns out, The Giver is to the FCC and budding United Nations regulatory control of communications technology, what The Hunger Games is to Agenda 21, “sustainable development,” the EPA, and again, the UN. Have you seen the motion picture, yet? On disc or through an online service?
I just came across this brief set of Raymond Arroyo interviews, of its producer-star, Jeff Bridges, of producer Michael Flaherty, and of its author, Lois Lowry, from last August.
Gave it a micro-review without much spoiling of plot and showed a trailer last November: “The Giver, the Movie, Out on Disc, Suggested.”
Enjoy! What children and young adults do you know who might?
Or, how about any friends or family childish enough to support the neutering of the power of free communications called Net Neutrality?
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
David Axelrod’s book tour is off to a rollicking start, with perceived attacks on Hillary Clinton’s upcoming presidential run, and an absurd comment about the ethics and integrity of the administration he served so loyally, and continues to do so.
Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama, recently asserted something so patently untrue that it demands a response. “And I’m proud of the fact that, basically, you’ve had an administration that’s been in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal,” he pronounced at a University of Chicago event.
The Washington Post leapt in to defend Axelrod’s claim by pointing to how President Obama’s approval ratings did not shift in the wake of the potential scandals he has faced since taking office. “It could be that scandals don’t have a lot to do with how Americans rate the president,” writes Hunter Schwarz for the Post.
It could also be that the liberal media, along with academia, determine what is classified as a “scandal”—and then refuse to report on scandals which don’t meet their own predetermined criteria. In this case, any lies, corruption, abuses of power, financial payoffs, or associations with unsavory characters or organizations that involve President Obama or anyone in his administration are never to be treated as a scandal.
The ongoing incestuous relationship between the Obama administration and the media often tilts in favor of the administration, leaving many scandals uninvestigated, minimized, or outright ignored. For example, both CBS News president David Rhodes and former ABC News president Ben Sherwood have siblings working for the administration. CNN’s deputy Washington bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is married to Tom Nides, a former Obama staffer under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, joined Bloomberg News, while MSNBC hired Axelrod.
President Obama even joked in 2013 that “… David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”
With so many members of the elite media in bed with the administration, Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan’s 2011 observation that “the current administration has not yet suffered a major scandal, which I define as a widespread elite perception of wrongdoing” becomes essentially meaningless. Nyhan said that a scandal becomes a scandal “once the S-word is used in a reporter’s own voice in a story that runs on the front page of the [Washington] Post.”
If Axelrod is using the same criteria, then, of course, President Obama probably can be considered scandal-free. But a real scandal involves actual administration wrongdoing or lies, regardless of the “perceptions” dished out by the media.
Axelrod’s comments ignore the presence of a number of real scandals which the mainstream media, including The Washington Post, continue to report on as phony—including but not limited to:
The deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 were greeted with a concerted public relations campaign by the Obama administration blaming the attacks on a protest inspired by a YouTube video, as revealed in the smoking gun Ben Rhodes email. (Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor to President Obama, is CBS’ President David Rhodes’ brother.) The media, including David Kirkpatrick of The New York Times, continue to dispute key facts of the case such as al Qaeda’s involvement, have championed erroneous Congressional reports, ignore evidence of a cover-up, and have generally covered for the administration by promoting the idea that this is one of many “phony scandals.” The interim report of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi details the various failings and scandals related to Benghazi.
The IRS targeted conservative groups applying for non-profit status from 2010 to 2012. In what some see as an attempt to influence elections, the IRS began requesting inappropriate information disproportionately from conservative groups and then delaying their approval, generally chilling free speech throughout the country. Lois Lerner, at the heart of the scandal, has refused to testify before Congress, pleading the Fifth Amendment. The media continue to argue that President Obama is not connected to this scandal, but it can be tied directly to the White House. The President has tried to assert that there isn’t a “smidgeon” of corruption at the IRS.
Fast and Furious
The Obama Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged gunwalking across the Mexican border of thousands of weapons, resulting, ultimately in the murder of border agent Brian Terry. An ATF whistleblower, John Dodson, spoke out in 2011 about the problems with the ATF’s decision to let guns go to Mexico. As I wrote about in 2011, Fast and Furious was a scandal that no longer could be denied, but the media continued to do so. Sharyl Attkisson recounts in Stonewalled, “But as outrageous and remarkable as the allegations are, most of the media don’t pick up on the story. They’re steering clear.” As I wrote, the scandal “involves some 1,500 guns, about 1,000 of which ended up in Mexico, and a Border agent…who was murdered with weapons found near the scene of the crime in Arizona. The weapons were among 57 linked to Fast and Furious which have been tied to at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., including the Terry murder.” Like Benghazi, Fast and Furious resulted in real deaths—but the media continue to ignore or downplay this scandal.
Following revelations in 2014 that there was widespread Veterans Administration falsification of health care wait times, and that certain locations had created secret waiting lists for veterans, the media finally declared this a scandal. But it’s not Obama’s scandal, it’s a Veterans Affairs scandal. Hunter Schwarz writes for the Post that “It was a very significant scandal, to be sure, but perhaps not one that people laid directly at Obama’s doorstep.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler recently referred to this one as a scandal, noting that only eight people have lost their jobs so far as a result of this veterans care debacle, not 60 as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald said last week on Meet the Press. But as I have argued, there were really two scandals at the Veterans Administration at the time: health care wait times and the disability benefits backlog.
Solar panel business Solyndra received more than half a billion dollars as part of the administration’s green energy program, before going bankrupt. Its executives took substantial bonuses before the layoffs began. And, a Solyndra investor was also a major bundler for Obama, demonstrating a conflict of interest when the administration refused to turn over more documents as part of a Congressional investigation. And yes, the Post reported on its front page that the Obama administration had asked the company to “delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress.” But NPR ran an article last year victoriously announcing that “Now that the loan program is turning a profit, those critics are silent”—as if that had anything to do with the crony capitalism of the Solyndra scandal.
Obamacare is an ongoing debacle of premium increases and high deductibles coupled with crippling regulations. It leads to less, not more, health care access. While the focus has been on errors made within the “Obamacare rollout,” the media continue to champion exaggerated statistics regarding the alleged 10 million who have received health insurance under President Obama’s signature legislation. In reality, this program marks a rapid increase in Medicaid, and many enrollees are part of a “substitution effect” by which people who previously had insurance have switched to Obamacare. The subsidies, which the media casts as essential to the law, are under dispute in the courts, and increase the burden on the American taxpayer. Even Politifact called President Obama’s false assertion that Americans could keep their health plan if they liked it the 2013 “Lie of the Year.” Meanwhile, the complicit media finds every chance it can to champion this legislation’s “successes.”
This list just scratches the surface. Executive overreach has become standard fare, whether on immigration or environmental regulations. The Obama administration’s penchant for controlling leaks, a lack of transparency, and a war on journalists has been noted by the likes of former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie Jr. who said “The [Obama] administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration leaks,” and New York Times reporter David Sanger who said, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.” James Risen of the Times added that the Obama administration has been “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”
The administration’s Middle East policies have been a disaster, if not scandalous. Just look at the growing threat from the Islamic State (ISIS) and other radical jihadist Muslim groups. More than 200,000 have been killed in Syria, Libya has become a jihadist playground, described by former CIA officer Bob Baer as “Mad Max,” and Yemen, as recently as September held up as example of where Obama’s foreign policy is working, has seen a coup by Iranian backed jihadists. And looming over all of this is the unfolding, outright appeasement of an Iran with nuclear aspirations.
What unifies all of these scandals and lies is how our news media have looked past all the administration’s corruption, treating, these occurrences as discrete, minor grievances, gaffes—or even conservative or Republican political maneuvering. This means that the constant lies by the administration, and President Obama himself, can be made with impunity. The media simply will not hold President Obama, or any of his associates who might tarnish his reputation, accountable.