May 13, 2013
Column: Partisan Obama Culture Spawned a More Abusive IRS
In case you're hiding under a rock, you should know that an audit conducted by the inspector general for the Internal Revenue Service has found that IRS officials targeted for scrutiny certain groups critical of the administration.
Which groups? Well, those with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names and nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution.
It's disgraceful that government bureaucrats, whether on their own initiative or at the direction of superiors, singled out anyone for special scrutiny, but what their selection criteria were makes it even worse. Reportedly, the IRS field office in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status decided to focus on groups making statements that "criticize how the country is being run" and those that are engaged in educating Americans "on the Constitution and Bill of Rights."
Surely, we all understand the awesome and, frankly, horrifying power the IRS has come to have in our system, which originally didn't even contemplate an income tax, much less oversight of it by such a monstrous bureaucratic leviathan. What could be more chilling and destructive to our liberties than a government targeting -- that's its word, not mine -- private citizens and organizations based on their political and ideological views?
If the First Amendment means anything, it is that the full force of the federal government will be used to safeguard, not suppress, the liberties of American citizens to utter political speech, especially speech critical of the government. But instead, this IRS sought for abuse groups that criticized the administration and groups that wanted to teach people that under our Constitution, such government officials have no right to do this type of thing.
May 09, 2013
Column: There's Way Too Much Administration Smoke on Benghazi
A former National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor, is representative of the arrogance of the Obama administration in mocking the congressional hearings on Benghazi, Libya, which he contemptuously derided as "amateur hour" and conspiratorial.
In a tweet to The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, Vietor mocked Rep. Jason Chaffetz, saying, "What do you think Rep. Chaffetz will disclose today? Moon landing photos? Map of Area 51?"
Very funny, Mr. Vietor, but your snark does nothing to explain many anomalies concerning the administration's mishandling of the Benghazi attacks -- though it reveals how indifferent certain administration loyalists are to its misbehavior. Not as indifferent, perhaps, as the administration itself ("This happened a long time ago" and "What difference does it make?") but indifferent nonetheless.
Let's review a list of just some of the troubling questions that have been raised about this sordid affair and see whether any of them concern people of good will, irrespective of their party affiliation.
Gregory Hicks, the State Department's former deputy chief of mission in Libya, was emphatic in denying that the attacks occurred as a result of demonstrations over an anti-Islam video and was adamant that the administration was well aware of this fact. He said: "The video was not instigative of anything that was going on in Libya. We saw no demonstrations related to the video anywhere in Libya." Hicks said he never told then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that it was a protest about the video.
May 06, 2013
Column: The Most Incorrigibly Political and America-bashing President
President Barack Obama has to be the most partisan and most ideological president we've seen in a long, long time. He cannot or will not refrain from injecting his partisan politics into almost every occasion.
Did he go to Mexico last week to improve our relationship with our southern neighbor or to use Mexico, as he does anything else he can find, as a political prop to bash Republicans and as a platform to criticize the United States?
What other American president has so often sidled up to foreign countries on the backs of his own countrymen? Obama's defenders deny, hallucinogenically, that he apologizes for the United States, but our lying eyes keep telling us otherwise.
In Mexico on Friday, Obama, under the guise of who-knows-what, took the opportunity to stump for his latest policy obsession -- gun control -- to an audience that had nothing to do with it, unless you imagine that some of the people there will one day be granted amnesty in the United States by Washington's ruling class and become voters who can pressure know-nothing GOP congressmen to confiscate the people's arms.
Obama didn't just offer a few throwaway lines at the issue, taking playful jabs at his Republican opponents. He actually seemed to be blaming Americans for the corrupt and violent Mexican drug culture.
May 02, 2013
Column: Is the Hard Left at War With the American Idea?
I think the current controversy over immigration reform points to a larger issue in America today, which is that Americans are essentially split on the very idea of what America is and should be.
It used to be that Americans mostly agreed that in order to attain citizenship, immigrants had to not only come to this country legally but also demonstrate, after training and study in the American system, that they believed in the unique United States Constitution and embraced what it means to be an American. Though that still occurs in the naturalization process, we seem to have abandoned it altogether in connection with the immigration debate.
What sense does it make that we seek to instill a love of America in those earnestly seeking to acquire legal citizenship through the proper procedures but ignore it altogether in our rush to legalize 11 million illegals?
One major difficulty is that the hard but extremely influential American left, by and large, doesn't seem to have any special affinity for the American idea, the gloriousness of the U.S. Constitution or even the notion of national identity at all, which they associate with intolerance, cultural chauvinism and anti-globalism.
Indeed, hard-leftists don't just disagree with many of America's founding ideals; they believe that it's somehow backward even to have such ideals, because to them, it reflects a prejudice against other systems, cultures and values.
So, you see, this is not really a debate over whether the American system and the ideas and values undergirding it produced the greatest nation in world history and thus should be preserved. It is a core disagreement about whether it's even proper and desirable to endorse a unique set of founding ideals as being superior to any other.
April 29, 2013
Column: PinocchiObama and His Ongoing Sequester Dissembling
PinocchiObama is at it again, using his weekly address to the nation to spin tall tales, demonize and scapegoat Republicans, misidentify the nation's problems, and propose the exact wrong solutions.
He opened up this week's fiction with the umpteenth repetition of his empty claim that the nation's top priority "must be growing the economy, creating good jobs and rebuilding opportunity for the middle class."
How many times has Obama promised to "pivot" toward a "laserlike focus" on jobs? How interesting that he chose to repeat this very same claim just as the Government Accountability Institute released a report concluding that Obama has spent twice as much time on vacation and golf as he has in economic meetings throughout his entire term in office.
What prompted Obama's claim this time was the brouhaha over the sequester cuts, the irresponsible allocation of which has caused problems in the aviation industry. Congress passed a bill to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to reallocate these cuts to alleviate flight delays.
Obama agreed to sign the bill into law, but he did so grudgingly. He used his address to rail against the sequestration and against Republicans and Congress for allowing the cuts to be imposed. In fact, Obama used the word "reckless" in his remarks to describe not the federal government's unconscionably wasteful spending under his direction but the sequester cuts.
April 25, 2013
Column: Assaulting Innocuous Christians and Coddling Terrorists
America's political and cultural left is, step by step, demonizing and marginalizing Christians and Christian values, to the point that even the congenitally apathetic should be concerned.
Fox News' Todd Starnes reports (http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/military-blocks-access-to-southern-baptist-website.html) that the U.S. military has blocked access to the Southern Baptist Convention's website on an undetermined number of military bases because it supposedly includes "hostile content." Just a few weeks before, as noted in this space, an Army briefing labeled evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics as religious extremists.
The information about the Southern Baptist Convention's website surfaced when an Air Force officer reported that he was unable to log on to SBC.net and that he had received a message that his Internet usage was being monitored and logged because he had tried to visit a blocked website.
The notice, from an organization that guards the Department of Defense's computer network, said, "The site you have requested has been blocked by Team CONUS (C-TNOSC/RCERT-CONUS) due to hostile content."
SBC spokesman Sing Oldham said he found this "deeply disturbing" and was not completely satisfied with the Army's response. "While the deputy chief of operation of the U.S. Army has assured us this is a random event with no malicious intent," said Oldham, "the Army must run this to the ground to assure that this is the case."
April 22, 2013
Column: President Obama's Symbiotic Relationship With the Abortion Industry
When I read that President Obama refused to comment on the murder trial of abortion butcher Kermit Gosnell "because it's an active trial," I knew immediately he wasn't being truthful.
In fact, the second I heard about Obama's excuse for dodging the question, I tweeted that ongoing investigations or trials did not preclude his publicly weighing in on the Trayvon Martin case or on the case of his friend and Harvard professor Henry Gates, about which he said the Cambridge police had acted "stupidly."
If there ever has been a case of tainting the jury pool, Obama's public identification with Martin was it. So please spare us any pretense toward restraint in such matters.
Obama declined to comment on Gosnell for the same reason the liberal media have consciously blacked out the story.
When Obama was asked, he didn't just beg off because "it's an active trial"; he offered up the obligatory disingenuous liberal talking point: "I think President Clinton said it pretty well when he said abortion should be safe, legal and rare."
April 18, 2013
Column: A Shameful Day for President Obama
I wonder why President Obama feels he has the right to be outraged when legislators don't automatically roll over to his policy demands. I suspect that his moral indignation is more about personally losing than it is about policy issues themselves.
For indeed, President Obama was obviously furious when his gun control bill failed to muster sufficient votes to pass the Senate. Politico reported, "More than anything, it was an emotional blow to Obama, who was as irritated at the four members of his own party as he was at the 90 percent of Republicans who defeated the bill."
Politico revealed that an administration official said Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's refusal to support the bill especially rankled Obama because she "refused to go along with the bill even after White House chief of staff Denis McDonough visited her office to make Obama's case on Tuesday."
Do you see clues to Obama's mindset here? How dare a member of a coequal branch of government, especially one in his own party, defy Obama's wishes and refuse to succumb to his fabled powers of persuasion?
Politico would have us believe that the impetus for Obama's emotional investment in the bill was that he was "shaken to the core by the massacre of 26 innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School." He was allegedly so upset that he "broke his own informal 'Obama Rule' -- of never leaning into an issue without a clear path to victory."
April 15, 2013
Column: The World (America) Is Upside-Down, Part 2
Recently, I wrote a column arguing that the world is upside-down -- by which I meant "our" world, America. Today I offer more exhibits in support of my case that our culture is unraveling.
I realize that in today's America, the notion that we should seek to preserve and promote the traditions, values and ideals that this country's founding generation mostly shared is considered not just passe but offensively wrongheaded. Yes, why would we want to perpetuate a once underlying consensus (and the Constitution formulated on it) that gave rise to the greatest nation in world history? Well, many don't, as they level further assaults on our Constitution, our liberty tradition and what used to be our shared values.
We haven't just accepted as normal what was heretofore considered abnormal; we are, increasingly, embracing evil while calling it good and demonizing those who are still "clinging" to traditional values. Unless you buy into the self-destructive course much of our society has decided to pursue, unless you consent to the systematic dismantling of our core foundations, you are the problem.
Let me give you a further sampling of the insanity that passes for normal and the wrong that masquerades as right, plucked right out of the news the past few days.
--Liberal Democrats in Congress are pressuring their colleagues to sign a pledge not to cut entitlement spending, even though it is objectively true that without structural reform in our entitlement programs, we are headed, inexorably, toward national bankruptcy.