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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » IRS, AP, Bhengazi, nothing to see here... (Page 1)

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Author Topic: IRS, AP, Bhengazi, nothing to see here...
DarkKnight
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Jon Stewart
While it appears to be an issue at the moment, I'm very sure in a few months we will not be hearing any more about this stuff...
Jon does bring the funny on this one though

[ May 14, 2013, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: DarkKnight ]

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Elison R. Salazar
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Well there *is* nothing to see here about Bhengazi, it's at 9/11 Truther level's at this point.
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Rakeesh
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Bunk. There are some pretty serious questions-and have been since it happened-about to what extent there was negligence or indifference about embassy safety (and particularly funding for that), as well as the Administration-driven narrative in the wake of the attacks.

I can't stand the people who are raising the biggest stink on it, because let's not kid ourselves it's largely politics, but just because we don't like the people shouting fire doesn't mean there isn't any.

As for the IRS matter, so far it seems a mixture of administrative (within the IRS, that is) carelessless tied to some lower level misplaced 'initiative', tied to institutional inertia as it seems officials a few rungs from the top knew about this for quite some time before the story broke and took halfhearted steps to stop it.

It's difficult to imagine, though, that the Obama Administration had their hands in this. I mean, this is the sort of thing that a) would of course get out and b) be a huge cachet for their opposition's base, as well as not inconsiderable weight with moderates. Nobody likes the IRS.

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Elison R. Salazar
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Right, its mostly politics, like 99% politics with no actual or honest efforts to try to prevent the attacks from happening. You even have Issa basically saying because the President used "act of terror" instead of "terrorist attack" it means he MUST be hiding something, so yeah, I was wrong; allow me to correct myself.

It's worse than 9/11 Truther levels/Loose Change.

If there's a fire than its basically a match fire thrown into the ocean of Republican obstinance and partisan politics for political gain, lets just hope they're dumb enough to actually attempt impeachment.

It's conspiracy wanking at this point, if you want serious questions asked and answered yer barkin' up the wrong tree.

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DarkKnight
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Elison, are you curious at all as to why Obama, Clinton, Rice etc insisted Bhenghazi was caused by a demonstration about a Youtube video?
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TomDavidson
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Why would it matter, DK?
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kmbboots
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DarkKnight, define "insisted", please.
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TomDavidson
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The thing is, both of these look like such small potatoes things to get worked up about. Even the IRS complaint was pretty clearly intended to deal with a high volume of new non-profit applications that skirted the edge of political campaign law, and seems problematic mostly in that the message to stop singling out conspicuously political, anti-tax groups for extra scrutiny wasn't properly enforced. Compared to the actual things Obama's done that should be worrying freedom-lovers, these just seem outright laughable.
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DarkKnight
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td, I would think it might matter since the youtube video had nothing to do with the attack. Not to you, of course, but possibly to others, like the guy who made the video...
kmb, word semantics already... how about mentioned or gave as the explanation or ran a commercial about?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I would think it might matter since the youtube video had nothing to do with the attack.
So?
Again: why does it matter what some officials speculated might have been the cause of the attack in the early days after the event? What would be different?

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DarkKnight
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td, well maybe some of us are just marginally amused to see the media paying attention to some of what Obama has done while mostly ignoring everything else he has done. I guess at least they paid attention to this one...
Although they do seem to have enough outrage at the AP phone records.

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Rakeesh
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Dude, the IRS and Benghazi news is all over the headline networks.

And even if it wasn't, you've got Fox. The good ship HMS Whine About Liberal Media!!!! has sailed years ago. Whether or not the original complaint was valid, y'all have done what consumers should do if they have such a complaint: sponsor their own media outlet.

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DarkKnight
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quote:
early days after the event
You mean for weeks after the event when they knew exactly what happened, and there was no evidence, ever, that this was a protest, let alone a protest caused by a youtube video.
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DarkKnight
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quote:
some officials
and by some officials you mean Obama, Clinton, and Rice...
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Stephan
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9/11 truthers don't (and never did) get taken seriously by the mainstream media.

Benghazi does. That tells me something. I am an atheist liberal that voted for Obama twice. I still think there is something very fishy about what happened.

But I agree about the IRS. I don't think anything was done on purpose. But now would be a great time to start a political conservative group as a front for a money laundering scheme.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You mean for weeks after the event
No. I mean for about five or six days after the event, by which time different officials were offering other official perspectives in public comments and counseling the media not to try to construct a narrative too early.


quote:
Benghazi does. That tells me something.
Here's one theory why:
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/05/heres-why-benghazi-may-finally-have-legs

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Rakeesh
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quote:
But I agree about the IRS. I don't think anything was done on purpose. But now would be a great time to start a political conservative group as a front for a money laundering scheme.
Oh, I believe it was done on purpose, just not done on purpose by high Administration officials. The risk-reward stacks just don't line up right at all.
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TomDavidson
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I believe it was done on purpose, but not with the intent of inconveniencing conservative non-profits; I think it was done because IRS agents in Cincinnati believed that Tea Party groups might be more likely to wrongfully spend money on campaigning than other groups without that affiliation.
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Darth_Mauve
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I think the IRS issue was a case of Racial Profiling.

The IRS is tasked to catch tax fraud.

Make a profile of those most likely to commit tax fraud and you get Well Educated Wealthy White Males.

Make a profile of those most likely to create a Tea-Party Charity and you get Well Educated Wealthy White Males.

So all those guys who said "Racial Profiling is no big deal. It helps the cops. Since most of the terrorists are Arab, the Arabs will have to put up with rigorous examination before getting on a plane. Since most black folks can't afford an expensive car/house/phone/suit, any black person who has one will have to put up with occasional stops by the police. Since most illegal aliens are Hispanic, all folks who look Hispanic will have to put up with keeping their papers on their person at all times." now should consider the unfairness of such profiling, or get used to facing IRS audits more often.

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DarkKnight
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quote:
I mean for about five or six days after the event, by which time different officials were offering other official perspectives in public comments and counseling the media not to try to construct a narrative too early.
Which official offered that the attack was in protest to a youtube video? Where did that info come from? Why did we spend $70,000 to air commercials repudiating the youtube video?
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Elison R. Salazar
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This is why we believe the Conservatives barking about Bhengazi are crazy DarkKnight, because you sound like a nutter in the way your asking loaded rhetorical questions.

Next thing you know your gonna ask why weren't troops mobilized and sent in.

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Lyrhawn
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I'm not sure I get what the point is about Benghazi from the PR perspective.

Obama called it a terror attack the next day, and it was referred to as a terror attack in the days and weeks that followed. If the supposition is that it was called spontaneous so that Obama wouldn't look like he dropped the ball on a planned terror attack, then why call it a terror attack in the days that followed? I don't think that holds any water.

I think there were some big issues to come out of Benghazi, and a lot of the fingers were pointed by the ARB which was convened and adhered to by the Obama Administration. The post-game analysis worked the way it's supposed to. But for the GOP this is a weird witch hunt over messaging conflicts, which is something I couldn't possibly care less about when so many other more important things are happening.

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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Make a profile of those most likely to commit tax fraud and you get Well Educated Wealthy White Males.

Can you substantiate this with anything even moderately credible?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I think there were some big issues to come out of Benghazi...
Namely, why the heck was the CIA running an op using State Department assets without the knowledge of the State Department, and why did the CIA throw State to the wolves when their op fell apart?
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Make a profile of those most likely to commit tax fraud and you get Well Educated Wealthy White Males.

Can you substantiate this with anything even moderately credible?
You are *really* lazy.

Sup

This one only took 2 minutes


I imagine I could find more if I tinker with the search results.

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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Make a profile of those most likely to commit tax fraud and you get Well Educated Wealthy White Males.

Can you substantiate this with anything even moderately credible?
You are *really* lazy.

Sup

This one only took 2 minutes


I imagine I could find more if I tinker with the search results.

Neither link even addresses education or skin color and the first link clearly states the focus is on firm-level tax fraud, specifically tax evasion, which is a category within the spectrum of tax fraud crimes. Did you even read the links and assess their relevance before posting? You're going to need a helluva lot more than that to stand by Darth_Mauve's claim.
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SenojRetep
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The thing about Benghazi that's been troubling from the outset was how the administration's initial story contradicted first-hand accounts, and then inexplicably shifted without any new evidence. A recent ABC investigation uncovered the original draft of Susan Rice's talking points. In the first draft a strong case was made for al-Qaeda involvement, pre-planned attack, etc. Those talking points were subjected to repeated revision, and the conclusions were significantly massaged due to political concerns at State. To me, letting political considerations affect intelligence findings is a problem.

Further, Jay Carney claimed last November that all changes to the talking points were done by the CIA. The emails show that was an outright lie, and that the Administration, through State, was significantly involved in shifting the CIA's original story of a pre-planned, al-Qaeda linked attack into the story Susan Rice told of a fictional protest hijacked by violent extremists. Despite the evidence, Carney is sticking to the story, saying he meant that CIA didn't technically have to make the changes requested by State, and so the administration can't be considered technically to have made any changes to the talking points. Political semantic games seem slimey.

The administration is attempting to scapegoat the bureaucrat at State who wrote the emails, Victoria Nuland, even though the evidence in the emails suggests she was acting on orders from her superiors (and, as the State spokesman, that set of superiors is fairly small and includes the Secretary of State).

All this adds up to...not much. I mean, it's bad and wrong and the Administration should be ashamed of itself both for letting political concerns influence intelligence findings and for trying to cover up said influence through heroic semantic arguments and scapegoating. But all things considered this is a pretty absurdly small scandal in terms of historical things Presidents have done wrong. Even compared to relatively recent scandals like Iran-Contra, Clinton's perjury, or Bush's firing of US Attorneys, this is pretty small potatoes.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The thing about Benghazi that's been troubling from the outset was how the administration's initial story contradicted first-hand accounts, and then inexplicably shifted without any new evidence.
Why is that troubling?

quote:
I mean, it's bad and wrong
Why?
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SenojRetep
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Why is it troubling: because it suggests the Administration was lying. Something confirmed by subsequent investigation.

Why is it bad and wrong for the Administration to lie for political cover: because lying is wrong and democracy is built on accountability which is best aided by Important People not lying to the public.

Do you think it was right and proper for the Administration to lie to us?

<edit>BTW, if you look back at the Benghazi thread, I urged Dark Knight to be more cautious in his claims that the Administration was lying. I still think that was right, because I don't think there was enough evidence publicly available at that time to draw that conclusion. So it's not like I've been on a witch hunt from the start. This is just me being disappointed in government officials behaving badly.</edit>

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SenojRetep
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Also, here's something on the AP scandal, which hasn't really been covered in the thread at all. Essentially, the Administration was investigating the source of leaks about the CIA disrupting some Yemen-based terrorist activity. In doing so, the DoJ subpenaed two months worth of phone records for AP reporters and other employees, without informing the AP they were doing so. The phone companies gave the records up, but eventually the AP found out about it and complained.

Why this is a problem: well, for me the main issue is the subpoena was probably illegal because there was no judicial oversight. For privacy advocates, though, this is troubling because it seems like a violation of privacy for the government to be able to access your phone records without you knowing about it and without any judicial review. Particularly for a new organization which relies on confidential informants to expose things like lying by Important People (see my previous post; also, Watergate) this sort of thing has a chilling effect, making it more difficult for the press to play its role of exposing bad behavior of powerful people.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Why is it troubling: because it suggests the Administration was lying.
I think it suggests, rather, that someone in an administrative office -- as opposed to "the Administration," as if there were some monolithic Administration in question, here -- was trying to shade the truth in one direction, and someone else was trying to shade the truth in the other. Neither of them were ultimately accurate, but neither do those lies particularly matter.

quote:
because lying is wrong and democracy is built on accountability
This, to me, is an excellent example of why the CIA should not exist. And a dozen other more problematic issues. But it seems ridiculous to me to worry about this sort of lie.

-------

quote:
In doing so, the DoJ subpenaed two months worth of phone records for AP reporters and other employees, without informing the AP they were doing so.
Oh, yeah, this I hate. Even more troubling: there is ample evidence that the NSA is recording every single email and phone call in the country. Let's get upset about this, please, even though there are a number of Republicans who firmly support the PATRIOT Act that permitted this behavior.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Why is it troubling: because it suggests the Administration was lying.
I think it suggests, rather, that someone in an administrative office -- as opposed to "the Administration," as if there were some monolithic Administration in question, here -- was trying to shade the truth in one direction, and someone else was trying to shade the truth in the other. Neither of them were ultimately accurate, but neither do those lies particularly matter.
On the issue of what occurred in the attack, the CIA's original document was much more accurate than the State-revised talking points. Other parts of the brief (that were excised) were definitely CIA trying to shift blame for failure (statements about previous warnings and consulate security, for instance), but not the crucial part about attribution of the attack. Here CIA was trying to present accurate information and State excised it because of political expediency. As for this just being "someone in an administrative office", the email evidence is that Nuland's superiors were personally involved in the revision process. No one is singled out, but the group of her superiors is pretty limited and includes several people who brief the President frequently, including one who sits (or, sat) in his cabinet. So I don't feel, in this case, that referring to these as the actions of the Administration is particularly unfair.

---

On the AP thing: Just to be clear, the PATRIOT act doesn't cover what the DoJ did. Even given the expansive monitoring powers given the government under the PATRIOT act, their acquisition of those phone records was likely illegal because they did not submit the request to judicial oversight.

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SenojRetep
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Also, there's a developing story, similar in nature to the IRS story, about the EPA using political considerations in adjudicating FOIA requests. Essentially, government organizations can choose to impose fees to process FOIA requests; the EPA appears to have imposed fees at a much higher rate on conservative-aligned groups than on environmental-advocacy groups.

<edit>To be clear, this story is developing, and I can't find any particularly reputable media sources that have vetted it. It could be that my understanding of the facts is not very reflective of reality.</edit>

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TomDavidson
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quote:
On the issue of what occurred in the attack, the CIA's original document was much more accurate than the State-revised talking points.
Perhaps. Because, remember, we have to trust the CIA that this is so.

-------

quote:
Even given the expansive monitoring powers given the government under the PATRIOT act, their acquisition of those phone records was likely illegal because they did not submit the request to judicial oversight.
That's very questionable, actually. I have very little doubt that the executive branch is going to make the argument that this behavior is covered.

----------

I wouldn't worry about the EPA thing, by the way. I have several friends who work for them, and the big issue here is that it's often found that the conservative groups making FOIA requests are doing so for the financial interest of the requester, which is one of the grounds on which fee waivers requests are denied. It's not insidious; it's that more conservative groups are corporate-backed.

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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Make a profile of those most likely to commit tax fraud and you get Well Educated Wealthy White Males.

Can you substantiate this with anything even moderately credible?
You are *really* lazy.

Sup

This one only took 2 minutes


I imagine I could find more if I tinker with the search results.

Neither link even addresses education or skin color and the first link clearly states the focus is on firm-level tax fraud, specifically tax evasion, which is a category within the spectrum of tax fraud crimes. Did you even read the links and assess their relevance before posting? You're going to need a helluva lot more than that to stand by Darth_Mauve's claim.
Your not trying hard enough.
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Stephan
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Do illegal immigrants count?
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Darth_Mauve
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quote:
Can you substantiate this with anything even moderately credible?
Nope. No more than any one can substantiate any racial profiling with good statistics.
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kmbboots
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Just out of curiosity, were you this concerned when, prompted by Republican members of congress, the IRS targeted the NAACP?
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BlackBlade
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Pres. Obama demanded and obtained the resignation of the acting director of the IRS.

I wasn't expecting that big of a response, but I must admit I'm impressed with it.

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TomDavidson
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It's a shame, really. Miller stood a good chance of turning the IRS around, and I'm skeptical that they'll be able to replace him with anyone better.
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Elison R. Salazar
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Hey guys y'know those emails...? Yeah turns out something is amiss but not what you think it is...

quote:

In their May 10th exclusive, ABC News claimed that they had obtained the Benghazi emails, “ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.”

Later in the same story, ABC’s Jonathan Karl wrote, “White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department.”

After CNN’s Jake Tapper exposed ABC’s report was based on information that was edited in order to make the Obama administration look bad, ABC tried to explain away their lies by claiming that their inaccurate story, and the actual emails are the same thing, “Assuming the email cited by Jake Tapper is accurate, it is consistent with the summary quoted by Jon Karl.”


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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It's a shame, really. Miller stood a good chance of turning the IRS around, and I'm skeptical that they'll be able to replace him with anyone better.

Doesn't matter now, given the presumed extent of this political profiling.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It's a shame, really. Miller stood a good chance of turning the IRS around, and I'm skeptical that they'll be able to replace him with anyone better.

Especially since the profiling happened before he took over. Douglas Shulman (appointed by President Bush) was commissioner when this took place.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It's a shame, really. Miller stood a good chance of turning the IRS around, and I'm skeptical that they'll be able to replace him with anyone better.

Especially since the profiling happened before he took over. Douglas Shulman (appointed by President Bush) was commissioner when this took place.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) Miller's position as acting IRS commissioner was one of only two in the agency against which the Administration could bring pressure to bear. Those more directly responsible for the error, like Lois Lerner (Director of Exempt Organizations) and Sarah Hall Ingram (formerly Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, currently Director of the Affordable Care Act office), aren't political appointees and so can't be (directly) pressured into resigning. Said differently, Miller's head was the only one within reach, so it's the one that got whacked.
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kmbboots
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Still a shame. Especially as it seems that the IRS disclosed the profiling itself.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/300401-acting-irs-chief-tea-party-disclosure-came-from-planted-question

Question that revealed IRS scandal was planted, chief admits

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Elison R. Salazar
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Don't ye cast doubt on mah aspergahs.
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Lyrhawn
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Polling data that came out today suggests Obama hasn't really taken much of a hit with the American public. His approval rating is still above 50%, in fact, it bumped a few points from April. Yet Americans claim they take all three of the current controversies seriously.

I think it's outrage fatigue. The Perpetual Outrage Machine that the GOP has kept going for the last few years has his full saturation. Short of Obama murdering a puppy on the White House lawn, I just don't think anything will have the impact they want because EVERYTHING is Armageddon to them.

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Elison R. Salazar
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I want Hillary to get the nomination for 2016 simply because it guarantees the GOP will over extend themselves on beating the Bengazi drum and will lose handedly.

It's basically going to be a repeat of the barely veiled dog whistle campaign of 2008 and 2012 and it'll just further perpetuate the national dominance of the Democratic Party.

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Rakeesh
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That's an...ambitious prediction, would be one word for it.
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Elison R. Salazar
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The GOP at this time really doesn't have the candidates that can face someone with Hillary's clout, no one sane or moderate enough to potentially win the election will pass through the primary without being forced to position themselves so far right they can't pivot back to center.

Rubio, Ted Cruz, Santorum, Rand Paul are not viable national candidates; Jeb Bush and Chris Christie can't win the primary.

I don't know who will win the primary, but its either going to be someone who is "moderate" but is too far right now to pivot, or someone who is too far right and won't pivot. Neither of these are convincing candidates to face Hillary, whose experience, likely endorsement from Bill and Obama means she's likely a lock for the Democratic nomination.

The GOP efforts to rebuild themselves has so far failed, they think its an issue of branding, that they didn't effectively communicate their "message" well enough; instead of figuring out what is was about their platform minorities and women don't like instead it must be because they didn't say it convincingly enough.

So far the few GOP that have begun to show sanity are also the ones the Tea Party Express is trying its best to primary in upcoming races; already there's a registered primary challenger for Rick Scott in Florida whose begun trying to moderate his image a tiny bit. This is a typical pattern that's happening across the country.

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