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A special prosecutor in the IRS matter is inevitable?
administration’s management of the Obama Internal Revenue Service
scandal so far consists of a slow-walking, rolling disclosure of facts;
equal parts equivocation, amnesia and indignation from IRS witnesses;
deer-in-the-headlights non-responses by the White House press
secretary; parsed, lawyerly statements from the president himself; and
now one of the central key players is taking the Fifth. And all this
comes from what the president claimed would be the “most transparent
If we give the
president the benefit of the doubt and assume he knows the truth is
going to come out, the question remains: Does the administration
appoint the special prosecutor sooner or later? The calculus inside the
White House is how to best protect the president’s political interests.
They have two options. They could delay the appointment and let more of
the story develop, weather the ugly piecemeal disclosures, give the
players time to get their stories straight and lawyer-up and hope
Republicans continue their overreach, giving the whole affair a nutty
partisan patina. Or, they could accelerate the appointment of a special
prosecutor, thereby slowing the congressional inquiries and giving Jay
Carney some relief from his daily embarrassing routine by supplying him
with the escape hatch of not being allowed to comment on matters
associated with the special prosecutor’s ongoing investigation. Not to
mention, the White House all the while could blast the appointed
counsel as a partisan ideologue à la the hatchet job that was done on
Administration trys to Clam Up
For the second straight day and the third time in one week, IRS
officials will testify Wednesday in front of Congress about the agency’s
improper targeting of conservative groups.
Highlighting today’s House Oversight Committee hearing is IRS official
Lois Lerner’s decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment and not answer
questions. Lerner is still under subpoena to testify, meaning she will
have to invoke her rights in person — and likely repeatedly.
Also appearing is Douglas Shulman, the former IRS commissioner who also
testified in front of a Senate committee on Tuesday. Rounding out the
witnesses are the inspector general who investigated the wrongdoing — J.
Russell George — and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal S. Wolin, who
learned of the investigation into the IRS’s targeting last summer.
IRS Scandal Not Limited to 'Low-Level Employees'
After the IRS revealed it had wrongly targeted hundreds of conservative
and Tea Party groups, the agency claimed that the misconduct was limited
to "low-level employees" in its Cincinnati office. Yesterday, the
attorney for Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS’s tax-exempt organizations
division, told the House Oversight Committee she would invoke her Fifth
Amendment rights, making that explanation much less credible.
Now the local Cincinnati Fox affiliate, FOX19, has done some digging and
uncovered information suggesting that top officials at the IRS weren't
too far removed from the six low-level employees identified as making
unjustified inquiries. Fox19 has not only identified all six IRS agents
in question, it turns out that they all have only one supervisor in
DOJ and Fox News's Records
The Obama Justice Department has seized the phone records of numbers
that are associated with White House staffers and, apparently, with Fox
News reporters, according to a document filed in the case of Stephen
Jin-Woo Kim, on October 13, 2011. Kim is a former State Department
contractor accused of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking
classified information to James Rosen, a Fox News reporter. Ronald C.
Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who is
prosecuting the case, has seized records associated with two phone
numbers at the White House, at least five numbers associated with Fox
News, and one that has the same area code and exchange as Rosen’s
personal-cell-phone number (the last four numbers are redacted).
In all, Machen has seized records associated with over thirty different
phone numbers. In the filing that included the new information, the last
four digits of each telephone line targeted by the Obama Administration
are redacted. Two of the numbers begin with area code 202 and the
exchange 456, which, according to current and former Administration
officials, are used exclusively by the White House. (The phone number
for the White House switchboard is (202) 456-1414.)
NYT: Fox Case Proves Obama Administration Has No Respect for Press
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
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.
Immigration bill heads to full Senate
A far-reaching bill to remake the nation's immigration system
is headed to the full Senate, where tough battles are brewing on gay
marriage, border security and other contentious issues, with the outcome
impossible to predict.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure 13-5 Tuesday night,
setting up an epic showdown on the Senate floor after Congress' Memorial
Day recess. The legislation is one of President Barack Obama's top
domestic priorities - yet it also gives the Republican Party a chance to
recast itself as more appealing to minorities.
FBI ID's Benghazi suspects...but no arrests yet?
U.S. officials say they have identified five men they believe
might be behind the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya,
last year. The officials say they have enough evidence to justify
seizing them by military force as suspected terrorists _ but not enough
proof to try them in a U.S. civilian court as the Obama administration
So the officials say the men remain at large while the FBI gathers more
evidence. The decision not to seize the men militarily underscores the
White House's aim to move away from hunting terrorists as enemy
combatants and toward trying them as criminals in a civilian justice
'Barack's Learning to Speak Without a Teleprompter'
"I’m learning to speak with one."
Speaking at a Jewish American Heritage Month reception last night in
Washington, D.C., Vice President Joe Biden requested the "teleprompter
in the room to be taken down," according to the pool report.
Then he made a joke: “You can’t tell Barack that the teleprompter’s
down. The standing joke in the office is Barack’s learning to speak
without a teleprompter; I’m learning to speak with one.”
FBI agent shoots and kills Orlando man with ties to Boston Marathon bombing suspect
A Chechen man with ties to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan
Tsarnaev was shot and killed by an FBI agent in Orlando early today when
the man attacked the agent, the FBI said in a statement.
The FBI identified the person shot and killed as Ibragim Todashev, 26.
According to the FBI and local news accounts, the shooting took place in
an apartment building on Peregrine Avenue while Todashev was being
questioned about the bombings and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Kim Jong Un's special envoy visits China
A key North Korean military official arrived in Beijing on
Wednesday as a “special envoy” of leader Kim Jong Un, state-run media
reported. The trip comes amid new signs of strain between the
Choe Ryong Hae, who holds several top Workers’ Party positions and
serves as vice marshal of the Korean People’s Army, met with Wang
Jiarui, a senior official of the Chinese Communist Party, according to
China’s Xinhua news agency. Neither Beijing nor Pyongyang provided
details of the meeting or indicated the length Choe’s stay.
Choe’s visit marks the first trip to China by a high-level North Korean
since last August and could signal an attempted detente after the North
spent months stirring tensions in the region — and frustrating China.
Iran Presidential candidates
Iran's Guardian Council has approved eight candidates - out of a list of
more than 600 hopefuls - to stand in the presidential elections in
June. Whoever wins the polls will replace incumbent President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, who is constitutionally barred form seeking re-election.
Here are profiles of who the candidates are.
Scouting leaders to vote on lifting ban on openly gay Bosy Scouts at 2-day meeting in Texas
The Boy Scouts of America will convene a two-day meeting of 1,400 local
leaders to consider changing its long-standing ban openly gay boys
belonging to the scouting movement.
Officials of the Irving, Texas-based organization are scheduled to open
the first of the ballots cast on whether to allow homosexual gay Boy
Scouts. Scouting officials propose allowing openly gay Scouts but
retaining the ban on gay adult Scout leaders.
Iran Could Produce Dozens of Nukes A Year?
Iran's nuclear ambitions are bigger than most people think, with the
country capable of becoming a nuclear superpower, Israel's strategic
affairs minister said Tuesday.
If not stopped, Iran could produce dozens of nuclear weapons a year, Yuval Steinitz said.
"This is a ramified nuclear industry that has been built not to produce a
few bombs but to produce fissionable material for dozens and hundreds
of nuclear bombs. The issue at hand is not a nuclear state but the
possibility of creating a nuclear superpower," Steinitz wrote in a
government memo obtained by The Algemeiner.
The Debt Problem Hasn't Vanished
While deficit projections have recently moderated, the cost of
servicing the national debt will explode once interest rates begin to
President Obama has raised the national debt by nearly $6.2 trillion,
the equivalent of $78,385 per family of four. It is true that projected
deficits recently have been reduced. April tax filings increased 28%
from 2012, but much of this was thanks to a one-time rush at the end of
2012 to report income before rates rose in January. The second largest
reduction in the deficit came from Fannie Mae FNMA -2.05% taking a
one-time accounting adjustment.
But unless the economy soars, or a significant budget agreement is
reached, the most lasting legacy of the Obama presidency will be a $10
trillion increase in the national debt—a burden that bodes ill for the
The Apple Diversion
Senators beat up a U.S. success for following the tax laws they wrote.
You almost have to admire Carl Levin's timing. Amid a furor over
politicized IRS tax enforcement, the Michigan Democrat on Tuesday tried
to change the subject to a hardy Washington perennial—corporate tax
loopholes. Too bad his designated business pinata, Apple, AAPL +0.77%
demonstrates instead the insanity of the tax code that Mr. Levin has
done so much to write.
Mr. Levin unveiled the results of his months-long investigation into
Apple's corporate taxes and accused the American business success of
employing "alchemy" and "gimmickry" to lower its tax bill. What Mr.
Levin did not do was present any evidence of anything illegal or even
inappropriate. He did prove that Apple has smart accountants and tax
- Medal of
Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an
enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the
Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the
United States of America in the name of Congress.
first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private
The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011
to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
then there have been:
• 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
• Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the
Medal of Honor.
CAPTAIN HUMBERT R ('Rocky'). VERSACE
UNITED STATES ARMY
for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary
heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965,
while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group,
Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a
Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in
Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol
came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms
fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle
raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back
by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy
targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight,
Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet
Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition.
Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code
of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status.
Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers,
scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination
efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his
weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the
extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure. During his
captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of
war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed
on extremely reduced ration. The enemy was unable to break his
indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States
of America. Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized
the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by
the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace's gallant actions
in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery
while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military
service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the United