**Posted by Phineas
Who does this guy think he is, Mike Bloomberg? Angered by county sheriffs opposed to the draconian gun law the Governor recently rammed through the legislature, Andrew Cuomo has evidently threatened to use a rarely invoked power to remove dissident sheriffs from office:
Opposition to the new law has simmered in upstate areas since Cuomo signed the law in January. Many county sheriffs oppose it, particularly its expanded definition of banned assault weapons, and have spoken out around the state. In January, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association wrote Cuomo with an analysis, and later suggested tweaks.
Cuomo invited its leaders to the Capitol last month, people briefed on the meeting said. The group included Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Peter Kehoe and Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss.
“We didn’t get a response (to the analysis) from him, but we could tell after the budget was passed that none of those recommendations were taken into consideration,” Moss said. “When we got there, we never got to the contents of the letter.”
Instead, Cuomo pushed the sheriffs to stop publicly speaking out against the act, Moss said.
“The governor was of the opinion that the sheriffs around the state should not be interjecting their personal opinions in reference to the law,” Moss said, adding that Cuomo said sheriffs can’t do that and enforce the law.
One person briefed on the meeting said Cuomo threatened to remove sheriffs from office, a little-used power afforded the state’s chief executive under the state constitution. Moss would not confirm this. He did say the meeting was heated at times, but overall he described it as “cordial.”
It’s one thing to use this power to remove a corrupt sheriff, or one unable to continue in his job because of health. But, to use it to bludgeon into silence men sworn to uphold the law and the state and federal constitutions, and who themselves have the right of free speech? I think that’s called “tyranny.” Somewhere, Hugo Chavez nods in approval.
Via Bryan Preston, who’s right: this has a lot in common with the scandals coming out of the Obama administration, for both represent abuses of power and the authoritarian heart of progressivism.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Like most Americans, I’ll be out and about the next few days enjoying a three day weekend. But while we’re out at the BBQs and picnics, or the Coca Cola 600 out at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, please make sure to take a moment to remember the reason the Memorial Day holiday exists.
Thank you to those who gave all in defense of our nation. You will not be forgotten. May God bless your families – and America.
**Posted by Phineas
I’ve been saying for years that Eric Holder is the worst, most dangerous Attorney General since A. Mitchell Palmer and that he should be removed from office. The list of his offenses against the law and the Constitution over the years reads like an honor roll of shame: the New Black Panther voter intimidation case; the failure to protect the voting rights of Whites in Noxubee county, Mississippi; an overall racialist agenda that sees American civil rights law as a means of “payback,” not an instrument of equal justice for all; Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-running operation run by the DoJ and ATF that resulted in roughly 300 Mexicans dead and at least one US federal agent; the seizure of phone records from the AP that seems to have been nothing more than an act of petulance; tracking reporter James Rosen’s movements and emails in what looks like an effort to criminalize journalism; and… and… Help me out here, folks, I’m sure I’m missing something.
And for all that, Eric Holder has escaped anything worse than the contempt of those who have been paying attention and have a sense of decency and respect for our laws and traditions. He hasn’t resigned, the president hasn’t fired him (presumably because he agrees, let’s be frank), and he’s been able to skate by claiming he didn’t know what was going on, he never read the memos, he recused himself, no one told him, and so on and so forth to the point one wonders what does he do in his office, besides spinning in his chair. But now I can claim vindication.
He’s told a lie too many and finally tripped over one.
In the Rosen case mentioned above, NBC reports that Holder personally signed off on the warrant that gave investigators access to Rosen’s emails:
Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News on Thursday.
Rosen, who has not been charged in the case, was nonetheless the target of a search warrant that enabled Justice Department investigators to secretly seize his private emails after an FBI agent said he had “asked, solicited and encouraged … (a source) to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information.”
But, not a week ago, Holder said in sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee:
In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.
Holder signed off on that warrant in 2010. It strains credulity, to say the least, that he wouldn’t remember that and could say with a straight face that this was something he’d “never heard of.” So there we have a very strong indication of perjury before Congress.
And he may have lied before a judge, too, observes Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post:
He is also in potential trouble himself, which necessitates an investigation (obviously not by Justice) beyond his departure. His behavior in the James Rosen and Associated Press matters raise serious questions.
First, the affidavit (paragraph 45) asserts that DOJ exhausted all means available to get the material from Rosen’s e-mails and phone, and “because of [Rosen's] own potential criminal liability in this matter,” asking for the documents voluntarily would compromise the integrity of the investigation. Moreover, the affidavit asserts that the “targets” of the investigation (including Rosen) were a risk to “mask their identity and activity, flee or otherwise obstruct this investigation.” It is highly questionable whether Holder believed any of that to be true. (Really, he imagined a Fox News reporter would flee the country? He thought Rosen would don a disguise?) Was the affidavit a sort of ruse to get Rosen’s records (or later to pressure his cooperation)? Did Holder intentionally mislead a judge when he signed off on the affidavit? That is worth exploring.
Of course, to answer the question in the subject, it’s quite possible he did both.
Lots of sites Right and Left are calling for Holder to resign or be fired — even the Huffington Post! But, you know what? I don’t want either, though I think one or the other is just a few days away, at most.
No, I want Holder and his boss to tough it out; they’re friends, after all and, Lord knows, Obama has stuck with him long past the point most presidents would have stuck with a troubled cabinet member. Such loyalty is to be admired, even among crooks.
Besides, it will give me what I really want: the impeachment and trial of Eric Holder. Ladies and Gentlemen (and Occupiers), I give you Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Emphasis added. Hello, Mr. Attorney General!
The House clearly has the grounds to begin hearings on impeachment, both for lying to Congress and possibly to a judge. And I think, in this case, even a heavily Democratic Senate would be forced to convict: few senators would want to be seen backing an obvious perjurer and none of them, I’m willing to bet, want to endorse the man behind the AP and Rosen warrants and then have to face the press. Not with an election year coming up. No, I’m thinking you could find 67 votes for removal.
What a way to cap off a career; first cabinet officer impeached, convicted, and removed from office. (1)
And Eric Holder richly deserves it.
(1) Grant’s Secretary of War, William Belknap, was impeached, but he resigned and was never convicted.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
Democrats and their Leftist allies in the racial grievance industry have long claimed that efforts to require identification in order to vote, a measure meant to protect the integrity of elections, were really meant to suppress minority voters, even equating them with Jim Crow laws.
We all know this is noxious nonsense, of course, but what if there really was an effort to suppress a particular group’s votes, and what if that effort were carried out not by modern-day descendants of Bull Conner with whips and dogs, but by an arm of the US government using bureaucracy to discourage people from participating in the political process?
And what if it was the IRS?
NRO’s John Fund, who’s written extensively on election integrity matters, explains:
But it now turns out there may have suppression of the vote after all. “It looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told me. “Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.”
Indeed, several conservative groups I talked with said they were directly impacted by having their non-profit status delayed by either IRS inaction or burdensome and intrusive questioning. At least two donors told me they didn’t contribute to True the Vote, a group formed to combat voter fraud, because after three years of waiting the group still didn’t have its status granted at the time of the 2012 election. (While many of the targeted tea-party groups were seeking to become 501(c)(4)s, donations to which are not tax-deductible, True the Vote sought to become a 501(c)(3).) This week, True the Vote sued the IRS in federal court, asking a judge to enjoin the agency from targeting anyone in the future.
Cleta Mitchell, True the Vote’s lawyer, says we’ll never know just how much political activity was curtailed by the IRS targeting. She has one client who wanted to promote reading of the Constitution, but who didn’t even hear back from the IRS for three years – until last Monday, when the IRS informed this client that some questions would be sent.
“I was about to file with the IRS when other tea-party groups started to get harassed,” Pennsylvania activist Jennifer Stefano told Time magazine. “I remember checking with the IRS to see if they wanted the group [Facebook] page or my personal page, and they said ‘All of it.’”
Even if this wasn’t enough to throw the 2012 election Obama’s way (although White voter turnout was way down from 2008 to 2012), Fund makes it clear that many activist groups had their efforts hampered, some to the point of giving up altogether, by the IRS harassment. And the effect of that on get-out-the-vote and voter-education efforts could be substantial.
It’s one of the issues Congress has to address while dealing with this scandal: in addition to targeting Americans for holding “unapproved” political opinions and trampling on their rights of free speech, the IRS’ actions threaten public confidence in the integrity of our elections, themselves.
It’s the Chicago Way taken nationwide.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The deadly tornado in Oklahoma and the various scandals that comprise Obama’s “Scandalpalooza” have understandably been the MSM’s main focus this week so I wanted to link up to some interesting stories you might have missed as a result of that in the meantime. Please feel free to use this as an open thread.
—– One Doctor’s View: Well, I suspect this is more than just Dr. Charles Willey’s point of view on ObamaCare but all the same it’s worth reading. Excerpt:
Unfortunately, the greatest barrier to this goal is government intervention into my professional judgment, my office management and my patient care. This has been increasingly true long before enactment of the onerous Affordable Care Act (ACA), but it’s especially true now.
ObamaCare is being increasingly recognized as a “train wreck.” Trust me: it is demoralizing doctors, distracting providers toward bureaucracy and away from patient care. It is disrupting quality and access, and damaging health.
Let’s hope Dr. Willey isn’t the IRS’ next target …
—– And speaking of doctors make sure you read this amazing story – via USA Today – about how University of Michigan doctors were able to use a 3-D printer to create a life-saving implant for a baby suffering from a rare lung disorder. When medical researchers aren’t pushing the use of embryonic stem cells, they do incredible work. This is awesome!
—– On the flip side of that, read an insider’s sobering view into China’s one-child policy. Warning: It’s even more brutal than you think. Please pray for the women of China and their future unborn children, and make sure to ask a NOW/NARAL/Planned Parenthood “feminist” next time you talk to one when was the last time they spoke out against this horrific practice.
—– The human impact of Monday’s deadly tornado in Moore, OK has been devastating on many levels, but please don’t forget in the midst of such tragedies that there are pets who hope to be reunited with their owners. News Channel 4 in Oklahoma has pictures of pets who were found in the aftermath of the tornado who I’m sure desperately want to be back in the loving homes they came from. Please pass the link along to everyone you know in hopes they can help get cats and dogs returned to their “moms and dads.” And make sure tokeep this link of resources from Dana Loesch on how to help tornado victims and the town of Moore in rebuilding efforts in handy and also pass it along to family and friends. The President, btw, is expected to visit Oklahoma on Sunday.
—— In which the NYT defends Fox News & slams Obama over leakgate. Yes, this happened.
—– The gruesome headline says it all: Suspected Muslim terrorists hack man to death on busy London street. Per Twitter, many Londoners are out on the streets protesting as I write this. The murdered man is believed to be a British soldier, and the “motivation” for the perps is allegedly because of the war in Afghanistan. And moral relativists saying we should “listen” to the sick, twisted killers are out in full force. Sigh.
—– Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, President Obama’s nominee for Transportation Secretary, had a ‘smooth’ confirmation hearing today before a Senate panel. Foxx, an Obama crony, was praised by both NC Senators (Burr-R and Hagan-D) and is expected to be easily confirmed by the full Senate in a few weeks once he is approved by today’s Senate committee.
—- Disgraced NY politico Anthony Weiner announced his entry (pun-intended) in into the NYC mayoral race officially today. What with equally-disgraced former SC governor-turned-Congressman Mark Sanford winning his special election earlier this month, could this be the year for “redeeming” politicos who have fallen from grace?
—- Last but not least, NJ Gov. Christie put on his tourism cap today by encouraging tourists to start visiting his state again this summer as “boardwalks are opening.” Many of Jerseys boardwalks were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Many of us have strong political disagreements with Christie, but we can all agree that it’s great to see New Jersey get back on its feet again. Oh, and best of luck with the weight loss, Governor.
**Posted by Phineas
It’s kind of hard to “go rogue” when you’re only doing what your superiors in Washington, D.C., are telling you to do:
From the outset, Internal Revenue Service lawyers based in Washington, D.C., provided important guidance on the handling of tea-party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status, according to both IRS sources and the inspector general’s report released in mid May.
Officials in the Technical Unit of the IRS’s Rulings and Agreements office played an integral role in determining how the targeted applications were treated, provided general guidelines to Cincinnati case workers, briefed other agency employees on the status of the special cases, and reviewed all those intrusive requests demanding “more information” from tea-party groups. At times, the Technical Unit lawyers seemed to exercise tight control over these applications, creating both a backlog in application processing and frustration among Cincinnati agents waiting for direction.
An IRS employee who asked not to be identified tells National Review Online that all members of the agency’s Technical Unit are based in Washington, D.C. A current list of Technical Unit managers provided by another IRS employee shows that all such managers are based at the agency’s headquarters on Constitution Avenue in the District of Columbia, and the IRS confirmed, in a testy exchange with National Review Online, that the Technical Unit is “based in Washington.”
It seems that this Washington-based unit (1) exercised very tight control over those “rogue” agents, demanding to review the letters requesting additional information before they were sent out:
The IG report indicates this became a source of frustration, and specialists in Cincinnati pressed for a streamlined approach. “Why does the Technical Unit need to review every additional information request letter when a template letter could be approved and used on all the cases?” they asked via e-mail. The Washington unit rejected this approach and, in February 2011, was developing individualized letters itself. According to the IG report, an update from the Technical Unit acting manager to the Determinations Unit manager indicated, “Letters were being developed and would be reviewed shortly.”
We now know that such letters asked for lists of groups’ reading materials and volunteers, copies of fliers, and printouts of Facebook pages.
In other words, these “rogue agents” had leashes on them that stretched all the way from Cincinnati to the District of Columbia. If you ran a Tea Party group and wanted 501(c) status, those annoying questions about your personal life and the lives of your friends, relatives, and members, and the infuriating delays they caused, weren’t coming from flunkies in Ohio, but high-powered lawyers back at the home office.
By the way, who gave those lawyers their direction? Note the date at the start of Eliana Johnson’s article: March, 2010, which just happens to be the time when the very anti-Tea Party head of the Treasury employees union, which covers IRS employees, was meeting with President Obama, who was looking ahead to crucial midterm elections.
And, just like that, the Technical Unit in D.C. all but formally takes over the applications from conservative groups.
Odd coincidence, that.
via Jim Geraghty.
RELATED: Channel 19 in Cincinnati has a good report on those rogue front-line agents and their chain of command, and who the manager is who ties them all together.
(1) Funny. I never knew Washington was a suburb of Cincinnati.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Saw some of this last night on Twitter with “insta-reax” from so-called “unbiased journalists” wondering just minutes after the tragedy struck Moore, OK whether or not those cold-hearted Republicans expressing their thoughts and prayers would be calling for “offsets” to pay for rebuilding efforts in Oklahoma. Literally, some of these same journalists said either nothing or not very much at all about the devastation in Moore outside of – you guessed it – playing politics with the horrific natural disaster in order to sideswipe the GOP in a time of tragedy. Sadly, in the light of day today, this didn’t change -it only got worse as reporters across America who write for major news publications wrote full articles insinuating hypocrisy by GOP politicos who opposed Sandy aid money without offsets announcing they were on board with “whatever it took” to help the victims in Moore, OK. A quick search at Google News produced these (predictable) results:
To be clear, I’m not saying there’s not a time to discuss whether offsets should be demanded, or to discuss whether or not politicos have supposedly been “hypocritical” when it comes to aid packages, but is it really now? They’re still searching for bodies in the rubble and all some in the media can latch onto barely 24 hours later is alleged GOP double standards when it comes to natural disasters. “Shameful” doesn’t even begin to cover this bunch.
While some politically motivated media types aren’t being very helpful, you can be. Many who don’t live at or near where the deadly tornado struck yesterday are wondering how they can aid and support the victims from afar. Conservative commentator and radio talk show host Dana Loesch has compiled a great list of useful links people who want to do their part to in helping the impacted areas recover and rebuild can use. Make sure to bookmark it and pass it along to any family members and/or friends you know who also want to lend a much-needed hand to our fellow citizens in our nation’s heartland.
And, as always. Pray.
**Posted by Phineas
But, really, this is all just some wingnut fantasy aiming to destroy the fourth-greatest president ever.
Which is why Lois Lerner is invoking her right not to incriminate herself:
A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.
“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif. The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.
Taylor, a criminal defense attorney from the Washington firm of Zuckerman Spaeder, said that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation, and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided “false or misleading information” to the committee four times last year.
You see? Just a bunch of nothing. In fact, all these questions about all these cooked-up “scandals” are nothing more than the new birtherism.
Between this and Roger Simon teasing us with the prospect of new Benghazi whistleblowers, I may have to double my reserves of popcorn for all the hearings.
via a gazillion people on Twitter
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)