During the 2012 election, the Democratic PAC American Bridge attacked Mitt Romney and other prominent Republicans every time one of them attended a “high-dollar fundraiser” or revealed close ties to Wall Street. Yet there was one group that American Bridge never attacked: Bain Capital.
Why? Because, as Ben Smith and Evan McMorris-Santoro revealed today, Bain Capital executives were bankrolling American Bridge:
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May is shaping up to be a bad month for nonprofit groups run by David Brock. Last week, a few of his allies on the left raked him over the coals after the advocacy arm of Media Matters for America published a memo defending the Justice Department’s crusade against the Associated Press. Today, BuzzFeed drops the hammer with their story about Bain. Being called out as a hypocrite is so embarrassing!
But Brock et al. may actually be the lesser of the two “dark money” offenders to be unmasked today. The other is the Center for American Progress, which is up to its neck in corporate cash, reports The Nation’s Ken Silverstein:
This is not good. This is very bad. Very, very bad.
The IRS under the Obama administration painted targets on the backs of conservatives beginning in 2010, and ousted acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller apologized to the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday. But members on both sides of the aisle were furious, and castigated him for the mismanagement and political gamesmanship the IRS engaged in on his watch.
Texas Republican congressman Kevin Brady had the harshest criticism for Miller.
‘Is this still America?’ he asked him.
‘Is this government so drunk on power that it would turn its full force, its full might, to harass, and intimidate, and threaten an average American who only wants her voice, their voices heard?’
‘The American public deserves better,’ Miller agreed. But both he and J. Russell George, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration, insisted that no IRS employees engaged in political witch-hunting.
The revelations also spurred calls for investigations into the practices of the administration of President Barack Obama and allegations of a potential cover-up operation.
“It’s an abuse of power and it smells of Watergate,” said Bob Quasius, the president of the conservative Latino group Café con Leche, referring to the political scandal that led to the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.
“I think it goes to the top levels of his administration,” Quasius added. “If it doesn’t directly connect to him it at least connects to someone close to him.”
No one can deny that Barack Obama is a highly skilled politician, at least by the measure of election outcomes. His record is undefeated, save for an ill-advised 2000 primary challenge to an entrenched incumbent congressman. His 2008 presidential victory, after a fraction of a term in the U.S. Senate, was especially dazzling. It disproved those who said that Hillary Clinton was invincible, that a left-wing Democrat couldn’t win, and that America wasn’t ready for a black president.
No one can deny that Lance Armstrong and Mark McGwire were highly skilled athletes. But their accomplishments are forever tainted by their use of banned performance-enhancing drugs. The use of the Internal Revenue Service’s coercive power to suppress dissent against Obama is the political equivalent of steroids. The history books should record Obama’s re-election with an asterisk to indicate that it was achieved with the help of illicit means.
What do the Benghazi cover-up and the IRS scandal have in common? They were both about winning elections, under false pretenses.
Winning elections, after all, is something Barack Obama is good at. He obviously loves campaigning and delivering grand orations to enormous adoring crowds.
He loves it so much that he flew off to Las Vegas to campaign the day after the first murder of a U.S. ambassador in 33 years.
What actually happened in Benghazi was out of sync with the Obama campaign line. Osama bin Laden was dead. Al-Qaida was on the run. The global war on terror — well, don’t call it that anymore.
A deliberate effort to mislead the voters was launched. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, White House press secretary Jay Carney and the president himself talked about a spontaneous protest of an anti-Muslim video — even though no evidence of that came from Benghazi.
Fourteen days after Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered by Islamists, President Barack Obama stood up in front of the United Nations and declared that the “message” of a movie virtually no one will ever see “must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity,” that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” and that we all should “condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims.”
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So many things wrong in so few words. Why this video, and not Theo Van Gogh’s Submission, or Lars Vilks’ animation of Mohammed wanting to go to a gay bar, the “Super Best Friends” episode of South Park, or Funny or Die’s “How to Pick a Pocket”? Is it the degree of the insult, the craptasticness of the production values, the size of the release, or the vociferousness of the outrage expressed?
Obamagate: a three part scandal encompassing the IRS harassment of conservative groups, the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records, and the handling of the Benghazi attacks.
As Moe Lane said, “This is not a failure of the system. This is the system.”
Late Monday came the breathtaking news of a full-frontal assault on the First Amendment by his administration: word that the Justice Department had gone on a fishing expedition through months of phone records of Associated Press reporters.
And yet President Obama reacted much as he did to the equally astonishing revelation on Friday that the IRS had targeted conservative groups based on their ideology: He responded as though he were just some bloke on a bar stool, getting his information from the evening news.
In the phone-snooping case, Obama didn’t even stir from his stool. Instead, he had his press secretary, former Time magazine journalist Jay Carney, go before an incensed press corps Tuesday afternoon and explain why the president will not be involving himself in his Justice Department’s trampling of press freedoms.
Three serial shocks (and their continuing aftershocks) are sufficiently grave to produce a form of trauma in those who hitched their hearts to Obama:
1. Facing proof from one of their own that Obama and his administration lied and then continued to lie to the faces of the White House Press Corps through Jay Carney about Benghazi casts serious doubt on other claims of his they have supported and defended;
2. Continuing revelations of the IRS’s misbehavior toward the hated tea partiers and conservatives calls into question which side are the good guys (see point 1);
3. And finally the revelation that all their loyalty bought them no consideration at all when it came to secretly grabbing records of their communications in AP, tells them loyalty is one way street with this guy and his crowd.
Thank goodness Sgt. Schultz is in charge of the Justice Department: I see nothing!
GAO auditors found calculating errors totaling at least $829 million between 10 taxpayer accounts with balances equal to or exceeding $32 million, which went undetected by the agency’s internal review procedures.
“…IRS does not have a detailed listing, or subsidiary ledger that accurately tracks and accumulates unpaid tax assessments and their status on an ongoing basis,” the [GAO] report said.
It’s a wonder anyone trusts the police, who are the tip of the spear of the state.
“My brother spent the last eight minutes of his life pleading, begging for his life,” said Christopher Silva, 31, brother of the dead man. He said he’s talked to witnesses but did not see the incident himself.
At about midnight, Ruben Ceballos, 19,was awakened by screams and loud banging noises outside his home. He said he ran to the left side of his house to find out who was causing the ruckus.
“When I got outside I saw two officers beating a man with batons and they were hitting his head so every time they would swing, I could hear the blows to his head,” Ceballos said.
Silva was on the ground screaming for help, but officers continued to beat him, Ceballos said.
Thank goodness we pay them well and give them great pensions, otherwise the cops might get really upset with us citizens….
For about eight minutes, Ms. Melendez said, the man screamed and cried for help. Then he went silent, she said, making only choking sounds.
Finally, having hogtied him, a number of witnesses said, two officers picked up the man and dropped him, twice. One deputy nudged the man with his foot. When he did not respond, they began CPR.
“He was like a piece of meat,” said Ms. Melendez, 53, who was visiting her son at the hospital after he was injured in a car accident. “We were telling them: ‘He’s dead. You guys already killed him.’ ”
Responding to a call, deputies had arrived at the scene to find the man, David Sal Silva, a 33-year-old father of four, on the pavement. Their attempts to rouse him resulted in the altercation, the authorities said. Mr. Silva was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Kern Medical Center.
It appears that the owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona expected an appearance on celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” program to vindicate them. They believed that they serve quality food, that they have been unfairly slandered by the entire Internet. Maybe they had never seen the reality program, which features last-ditch efforts to save failing restaurants run by people who are delusional or incompetent…and frequently both.
A presidency that began with such high hopes of “hope” and “change” has conducted itself just like so many administrations before it. A president who, just ten days ago, mocked “voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity,” has been caught presiding over an Internal Revenue Service that, yet again, applied inquisitorial scrutiny to critics of the government, a Justice Department that, once more, snooped on journalists, and a Federal Bureau of Investigation that can’t help spying on the public’s communications. These abuses remind us not that the Obama administration has invented new ways to abuse power, but rather that even this supposedly fresh start commits the same old excesses that inevitably result from a surfeit of coercive power and plenty of targets of opportunity on which to wield it.
So, as we prepare to hand authority over our health care system to a tax agency that has, time and again, wielded its power for political purposes on behalf of whoever is currently in power, we owe thanks. Thank you, Mr. President, for demonstrating that you’re just as untrustworthy a bastard as all of your predecessors. Thank you for reminding us that, no matter the public assurances we receive, every iota of power given to the government will be misused. We repeatedly forget these lessons, and we need our reminders.
“All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton
It should come as no surprise that President Obama told Ohio State students at graduation ceremonies last week that they should not question authority and they should reject the calls of those who do. He argued that “our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule” has been so successful that trusting the government is the same as trusting ourselves; hence, challenging the government is the same as challenging ourselves. And he blasted those who incessantly warn of government tyranny.
Yet, mistrust of government is as old as America itself. America was born out of mistrust of government. The revolution that was fought in the 1770s and 1780s was actually won in the minds of colonists in the mid-1760s when the British imposed the Stamp Act and used writs of assistance to enforce it. The Stamp Act required all persons in the colonies to have government-sold stamps on all documents in their possession, and writs of assistance permitted search warrants written by British troops in which they authorized themselves to enter private homes ostensibly to look for the stamps.
These two pieces of legislation were so unpopular here that Parliament actually rescinded the Stamp Act, and the king’s ministers reduced the use of soldier-written search warrants. But the searches for the stamps turned the tide of colonial opinion irreversibly against the king.
The same king also prosecuted his political adversaries in Great Britain and here for what he called “seditious libel” — basically, criticizing the government.
Thomas Jefferson . . . warned that it is the nature of government over time to increase and of liberty to decrease. And that’s why we should not trust government. In the same era, James Madison himself agreed when he wrote, “All men having power should be distrusted to a certain degree.”