Saturday, June 1, 2013

U.S. warned Europe of Hizballah operations before jihad terror attacks last year

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

Hizballah's founder Hassan Nasrallah has said, "If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."

Hizballah is “the most dynamic political and social organization in Lebanon.” -- Reza Aslan

"U.S. warned Europe of Hezbollah operations before terror attacks last year," by Shaun Waterman for The Washington Times, May 31 (thanks to David):
The United States warned European governments about an “increased operational tempo” by Hezbollah there months before a wave of global terror attacks by the Lebanese extremist group last year, a senior administration official said Friday. 
“We were already in the spring of 2012 having numerous conversations with European governments about the danger that Hezbollah was posing, and that was on the basis of information we were aware of that indicated an increased operational tempo in Europe,” the official said, requiring anonymity even though he was speaking on a conference call for reporters organized by administration press officers.

“So we were not surprised ultimately when we started to see that play out” during the summer, when Hezbollah blew up an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria, and hatched plots that were foiled for similar attacks in Cyprus and Thailand, he added.
The official said the administration was aware of Hezbollah operational networks in Europe and elsewhere dating back to the 1990’s. In its 2012 annual terrorism report published Thursday, the State Department noted an increase in terrorist activity by Hezbollah last year, “to levels not seen since the 1990’s.”
The existence of operational networks in Europe was “not new to us, not surprising,” said the official Friday, because during the 1990’s the group had carried out attacks in “multiple parts of the world.”
At the same time, the official said, “We don’t have any evidence of [Hezbollah] operational networks … in South America or Central America or Mexico,” although “We know that Hezbollah as an organization does benefit from fundraising activity or commercial activity” in the region....
Portman to Newsmax: Special Prosecutor Will Be Needed for IRS Probe
By Melanie Batley and John Bachman

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The Ohio Republican said that while he believes the congressional investigation should continue for a while longer, it's unlikely that lawmakers will be able to extract the information they need from the administration to get to the bottom of the issue.

Story continues below Portman video.

"We ought to let this congressional process play out for a while longer and see if we can't get the administration to provide the information that the American people deserve. As I have said really for weeks now, I am skeptical that they will do that, and therefore a special counsel will end up being necessary," he told Newsmax TV.

Portman said part of the problem is that so far the White House has failed to produce the information requested by lawmakers.

"The administration is not coming forward with the information that we've requested. When we wrote letters about this issue back in 2012, they responded saying everything's fine, there's no targeting going on, and even now the answer to our questions are not the kind of comprehensive answers we need to get to the bottom of it."

He added, "We need to get them to come clean, the American people need to know what actually happened, who was responsible, why it happened, so that we can get to the bottom of it and keep it from ever happening again."

Portman said a special counsel would have the power to force information from the administration by taking forward a criminal probe, which includes the authority to put in place a grand jury and be able to give witnesses immunity to get them to testify.

"This is a very serious matter because it has to do with arguably the department who has the most power over our lives, power to tax. Chief Justice [John] Marshall once said it has the power to destroy.

"This is an agency that affects all of us in a very fundamental way, and ultimately, this is about not just political targeting of one group or another, but it's about a lack of fairness in the application in the administration of our tax laws, which we must get to the bottom of and we must stop."

Portman also said that if IRS employees are found to have violated the constitutional rights of a taxpayer, the law dictates they should face termination, not administrative leave, as is the case with a number of the IRS employees involved in the current scandal.

"I would hope [the IRS] would take action that anybody would take in the private sector, if you have an employee who violated the basic tenets of a fair and even-handed administration of tax laws."

Apart from criminal prosecution, the best way to strip the power of politics and corruption from the IRS is to initiate broad-based, pro-growth tax reform and simplification. It's the complexity of the tax code that nurtures the corruptness of the IRS. 

There's a buzz in Washington about this possibility, where both Democrats and Republicans are interested in reform. We need a simpler and flatter tax code. We need to get rid of the crony-capitalist insider deductions and exemptions, which have given the IRS so much power. These deductions and exemptions are (SET ITAL) precisely (END ITAL) what nurtured the political corruption that led to a major scandal.

Some conservatives -- like my great pal Jim Pethokoukis -- don't believe tax reform can be done. Old habits die hard, he believes. And the budget numbers from a pure flat tax never add up.

Well, Pethokoukis may be right in his concerns. But that's no reason to give up the fight.

I'm going to argue for a modified flat tax in the personal code, and a single-rate flat tax -- or a sales tax net of investment -- for large and small businesses. Here's a quick example of the need for this reform.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page just ran a tax-exempt IRS primer surrounding the 501(c), which unbelievably covers 28 categories of organizations. The 501(c)3s include charities, the (c)4s cover social-welfare groups, the (c)6s include business groups and the (c)5s cover labor unions.

That's a gigantic mess. And I say scrap the whole thing -- take the IRS's power away.

If people want to give to political campaigns, fine. Give as much as you want to whomever. But post it on the Internet for all to see right away. No secret donors. No tax deductions. And no IRS interpretations.

I don't know how many other examples of tax-exempt craziness there are in the IRS code. The Journal itself says, "The tax code would be cleaner, and our politics fairer, if no one enjoyed any tax-exempt advantages." Right on. That's where the simplicity comes from.

And then let's put a limit on numerous other tax deductions. Trillions of revenue dollars are lost from mortgages, charitable contributions, health care and state and local spending deductions. We don't need them.

But to make the tax-reform transition easier and promote economic growth, let's go the way of Reagan in 1986 and slam down the marginal tax rates.

For example, we have six brackets today: 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 40 percent. How about two brackets? One at 10 percent would have a high-income threshold, and one at 28 percent would take over from there.

And you know what happens because of these lower tax rates? The remaining deductions become far less valuable, (SET BOLD) even unnecessary(END BOLD). And the low tax rates spur economic growth by providing new incentives to work, save and invest. Housing and charitable deductions went through the roof during the prosperity years that followed the 1986 reform.

Really, why should Warren Buffett enjoy a $15 billion tax-free charitable loophole merely by donating his fortune to the Bill Gates Foundation? And why should the tax code stimulate a proliferation of non-profits when the economy actually needs the encouragement of profitable job-creating startups and companies?

Middle-income folks would benefit enormously from a flatter approach. Right now, a middle earner pays roughly a 15 percent payroll tax and a 28 percent income tax. That's a 43 percent tax rate, which is actually higher than the 40 percent top rate. This is wrong. At a 10 percent income tax, the total burden for a middle-income family would drop to 25 percent. That's a major tax cut and a great increase in take-home pay.

Lower rates, fewer brackets and a major cutback in cronyist deductions and exemptions won't end the IRS. But these measures surely will cut back on its arrogant power to make political judgments.

That's the point of the exercise.

Budget cuts also will be necessary to make the deficit numbers work. That's as it should be. But dynamic scoring will show a burst of economic activity that will reduce the short-term cost of tax-rate reduction, while increasing the long-run growth of the American economy.

Coming out of this deep recession, we need 4 to 5 percent growth over the next 10 years, not 2 percent. Tax incentives are not the only instrument, but taxes change behavior. Taxes matter.

Of course, Team Obama wants to limit tax deductions, raise taxes on the wealthy and then spend the revenues. They think the IRS problem is just a few bad apples. They're completely wrong.

The institutional corruption of the IRS has been enabled and encouraged by one of the craziest tax codes in the world. Tax reform can solve this. Now is the time.
Like an onion being peeled, each week seems to reveal new layers of odious conduct by the Obama Administration that increasingly offends the senses. Only five months into the second term of the hope and change presidency, few are hopeful of any positive change.

The scandals that have dominated the headlines should concern all Americans, regardless of political persuasion. So much baggage so early in a second term presages only more scandal and acrimony.

And there’s reason to be suspicious that we’re in for more of the same.

At first we were told that the Benghazi attack was carried out by spontaneous protestors. We now know the only spontaneous act of the whole affair was the administration’s decision to cover up the truth and blame a wannabe filmmaker instead of Islamic terrorists.

At first we were told that the illegal IRS targeting of conservative applicants for non-profit status was an isolated incident emanating from the apolitical bowels of the IRS. We now know that the targeting was overseen by a career manager and a high ranking political appointee.

At first we were told that Attorney General Eric Holder knew nothing about the Justice Department’s illegal investigation into Fox News reporter James Rosen. We now know that Mr. Holder personally approved the search warrant for Mr. Rosen’s emails.

The scandals make clear that in Barack Obama’s Washington, loyalty to the Obama political agenda matters more than the rule of law. Despite Fast & Furious, Mr. Holder was given a second term. Despite using the IRS to target conservative applicants for tax exempt status, Sarah Hall Ingram was promoted to head the IRS office implementing Obamacare.

Despite falsifying administration talking points on Benghazi, former State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was nominated to be assistant Secretary of State for Europe. No doubt next in line for a promotion is HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose agency has engaged in illegal private sector fundraising for Obamacare (see Iran Contra, below).

Thankfully, the public is belatedly taking notice of this corruption. Quinnipiac reports that 76 percent of Americans believe a Special Prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the IRS’ targeting of conservatives. 57 percent of independents disapprove of the president’s performance, and overall only 48 percent approve of the president’s performance.

On full display is an administration adrift, without an agenda or a coherent defense. No one should be surprised. A re-election campaign devoid of a message, an agenda or a rationale for its own existence has given way to a second term administration devoid of a message, an agenda, or a rationale for its own existence. Not even implementation of Obamacare is offered as a goal, which is perhaps wise given its continued unpopularity.

In light of all this, it’s evident the Obama second term will not be a term of progress, conciliation, bipartisanship, or even partisan gridlock. Instead, if the first five months of the second term are any indication, the nation appears destined for three more years of scandal, Congressional investigations, and executive truth-dodging that make Iran-Contra and the Valerie Plame affair look like child’s play.

In neither scenario did the federal government take action against Americans on the basis of their political speech.

As the layers of deceit are pulled back revealing more scandal across the government, the stench of failed progressivism invites another midcourse correction. Another 2010 may be in the offing.

IRS Cover-Up Continues

by / Personal Liberty Digest

IRS Cover-Up Continues
Two days ago, Lois Lerner, the director of the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations division, told the House committee investigating the IRS scandal that she didn’t do anything wrong. She then refused to answer any questions and invoked her Constitutional right against self-incrimination. In other words, she pleaded the 5th.

So far, both Congressmen and reporters trying to find out who knew what and when they knew it are having a mighty hard time getting anyone to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” about this spreading scandal.

We now know that White House officials were told of the accusations and a resulting internal investigation long before the news became public. But we’re supposed to believe that no one told President Barack Obama about it. Just like the rest of us, he didn’t know anything until the story made national TV. Sure.

Turns out that several other things we have been told are simply not true, either — like the fairy tale that Obama fired the acting commissioner of the IRS. Acting Commissioner Steven Miller’s appointment was going to end early next month anyway.

Nor did the commissioner in charge of the tax-exempt division get the ax. James Grant, a veteran IRS bureaucrat, quietly announced his retirement as of June 3. The IRS issued a very respectful statement about Grant’s departure, without any hint of a problem or that he had had suffered any sort of punishment or disgrace.

In other words, despite all of the claims to the contrary, not a single person in the IRS has lost his job over the scandal. In fact, the one person who was supervising those so-called “rogue” IRS employees when the infractions occurred not only wasn’t dismissed or demoted, she actually received a promotion.

In fact, Grant was made commissioner of the tax-exempt department only a little while ago. For the past three years, his boss was a woman named Sara Hall Ingram. And she didn’t get fired or demoted over the abuses by her staff; she got promoted.

That’s right. Ingram is now the director of the IRS’s Affordable Care Office. As hard as it may be to believe, the person in charge of the division at the IRS that singled out patriotic groups for special scrutiny is now the chief enforcer of Obamacare. Doesn’t that make you feel warm and cozy?

Oh, by the way, Ingram was handsomely rewarded for all of her efforts on behalf of the regime.

Check out the loot that a grateful government awarded her while her employees were putting the squeeze on Tea Party types: In addition to a six-figure salary, Ingram collected bonuses of $34,400 in 2010, $35,400 in 2011, and $26,550 in 2012.

Who says crime doesn’t pay?

When The Media Turn On Obama

Yes, I know, it’s probably too much to hope that most of the mainstream press will put down their rose-colored glasses long enough to take a hard, unvarnished look at their liberal hero, Obama.
But it doesn’t take many cracks in the dyke for the truth to start leaking out. And in the past few days, there have been several encouraging signs that many in the media are starting to look past the White House spinmeisters. When they do, no wonder they’re deeply disturbed by what they see.

I call as my first witness Bob Woodward. Along with his partner, Carl Bernstein, Woodward helped expose the Watergate scandal back in the 1970s that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Woodward says he sees a similarity between those events and the scandals that are now embroiling the Obama Administration over events in Benghazi, Libya.

“I have to go back 40 years to Watergate, when Nixon put out his edited transcripts of the conversations,” Woodward said. “He personally went through them and said, ‘Let’s not tell this, let’s not show this.’”

The famed reporter says the controversy is not going to go away any time soon. “I would not dismiss Benghazi,” he said, “It’s a very serious issue. As people keep saying, four people were killed.”

Meanwhile, Bernstein said the actions of Obama Administration officials who seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters were “outrageous.” He added that even if Obama did not know about the details of the action, he was certainly aware of the policy.

Now we’ve learned that three years ago, the Justice Department labeled FOX News correspondent James Rosen as a possible co-conspirator in a criminal case involving leaked classified information. The government lawyers did so to justify going through Rosen’s personal emails. But at no time was Rosen notified that he was a target of the probe, as the law requires.

This obvious violation of Rosen’s 1st Amendment rights should alarm every reporter and editor in the country. Heck, it should make all of us furious at the Administration’s callous disregard of our Constitutional guarantees. But, then again, when has the Obama Administration paid more than lip service to the U.S. Constitution anyway?

As more and more reporters refuse to accept the White House’s absurd explanations for events and start digging for the truth themselves, much of what they find will alarm them. Who knows what could happen as more of this Administration’s deceit is revealed?

Consider, for example, what happened when a reporter from The Washington Post talked with an IRS worker in the Cincinnati office — you know, one of those “rogue employees” who allegedly decided on their own to target conservative groups with extra scrutiny.

“We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do,” The Post quoted the indignant staffer as saying. “Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”

And even when aides do come to the Administration’s defense, sometimes they just dig the hole deeper. That’s what happened when Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to Obama, made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows five days ago. Instead of defusing questions about the three crises that have engulfed the White House, Pfeiffer only made matters worse.

His first miscalculation came when he appeared on “Fox Sunday Morning” with Chris Wallace. The reporter wanted to know where the President was, and what he was doing, the night of the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Was he monitoring events from the Situation Room? “That’s a largely irrelevant fact,” Pfeiffer replied.

Oh, really?

The aide seemed to like that dodge so much that he tried it again when he appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. The host pressed him about the growing IRS scandal: “What does the president believe,” he asked. “Does the president believe that [targeting conservative groups] would be illegal?”

Pfeiffer replied, “The law is irrelevant.” A visibly astonished Stephanopoulos replied, “You don’t really mean the law is irrelevant, do you?”

Yes, George, they really do. The truth is whatever they say it is. And how dare anyone question them about it.

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) put it well when he said, “The president’s entire program is based on giving more and more power to the same executive branch agencies demonstrating themselves this week to either be criminally incompetent or tyrannically corrupt.”

And Lee concluded, “This is what always happens when government gets too big. The Founders knew that over time, either the people would control the government or the government would control the people. That’s why they bequeathed us a constitutionally limited government — a republic, if we could keep it.”

We’ve seen other Presidents try desperately to sweep a growing controversy under the rug. But the truth can defeat them every time, if sufficient pains are taken to bring it to light.

Let’s do our part to continue shining the spotlight where it’s needed the most. And watch the cockroaches scurry for cover.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Scandals galore but don't forget about the economy...which ain't good by the way 
By: Diane Sori

While we’re all enmeshed in the scandals plaguing this White House, and rightly so, lets NOT lose sight that whatever we’re being force-fed by the Obama administration about how the economy is improving is as much a lie as as Obama saying, “I have NO idea what those in my administration are doing.”

And while the stock market is still breaking all records, remember that with record highs will eventually come record lows. And those lows could very well lead to a collapse in the dollar causing interest rates to rise to highs NOT seen in years.

Raise the interest rates while the dollar collapses and there goes the US economy straight into the toilet.

And all Obama’s feel good bloviations, misleading and misrepresented jobs numbers, along with the stock market currently on a bull run are in reality signs of a phony non-existent economic recovery, because we’re still $16+ trillion in debt, and the Fed’s keep printing money with NO ‘treasure’ to back up what they’re printing.

‘Treasure’ meaning gold. Remember, until 1971 the US was on the gold standard, meaning for every dollar we had in circulation we had an equal amount stored in gold to back it up. However, when Nixon took us off the gold standard he left our money to now be backed by the credibility of the US government and the strength of the US economy. And with the gold we currently have being maintained as an internal reserve functioning as collateral for various international loans, our economy is really NOT improving as much as Obama tries to make us believe it is.

And he can try to fool ‘We the People’ all he wants but the fact is that with our enormous debt coupled with the Feds printing paper money like there’s NO tomorrow with little or NO reserves or ‘treasure’ to back it, our paper money has become ‘fiat money’ based solely on faith, and could become worthless due to hyperinflation. And if people lose faith in our paper money…in our dollar…the money won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.

And adding to these economic woes is that even with the slight increase in number of jobs gained (165,000 last month to bring the unemployment number to 7.5% basically unchanged from the
previous month's 7.6% number), there are still 11.7 million Americans unemployed, with an increase (278,000 up to 7.9 million) in people employed part-time because their hours were cut back or they were unable to find full-time employment. And don’t forget the 2.3 million people who looked for a job in the past 12 months that were not included in the jobs numbers because they had dropped out of the job market.

Can’t blame them really for there simply are NO jobs of substance.

And here’s a little bit of happiness to add into this mix from Obama’s very own ubber left… according to Adam Hersh, an economist at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, at the current pace of job growth, the US economy won’t reach full employment until 2021, proving Obama’s economic policies still are NOT providing the robust economic growth and job creation he promised they would nor will they ever because this man simply has NO idea how to run a business, and the US economy is indeed a business.

And there’s even more to be angry about as the U-6 unemployment rate (which includes the jobless and those working part-time because they can’t find anything better), rose to 13.9%, and the African-American unemployment rate was 13.2%...gee, Obama has done so much for his people (said with sarcasm).

Also, the unemployment rate for those with less than a high-school diploma was 11.6%, and to cap it all off about 4.4 million people have been out of work 27 weeks or more, making this jobs-market recovery (under this miserable excuse of a president) the worst since the end of World War II.

And this is truly just as much an in-your-face scandal as ‘The Trifecta of Scandals’ for this is one that Obama can’t twist or dilute because numbers simply don’t lie.

So what does Obama do when he’s blind-sided by non-impressive numbers…he of course blames the Republicans for NOT supporting his jobs initiatives, while Republicans say, and correctly I might add, that small businesses aren’t hiring because of ObamaCare and other new regulations.

So thanks to Obama adding to our debt…having bills printing with NO 'treasure' to back it…and manipulating the jobs numbers… pretty soon our economy will indeed collapse. And Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s goal of having destroyed our economy so he can rebuild it in true socialist fashion will have been reached giving new meaning to the word ‘scandal’.