This is the kind of stuff I used to read about in biographies of people who survived persecution in the Soviet Union and other communist countries. Â I can’t believe it’s happening here, and so many Americans are still asleep!
Remember when you lived in that America where you had freedom of expression? Well, itâ€™s easy to imagine that the old America doesnâ€™t exist any more with the story of the Secret Service agents that harassed a Twitter user because he dared criticize President Obama.
Tom Francois is an outspoken critic of President Obama on Twitter and has some 12 thousand followers that watch his every Tweet. (@Tom_Francois) But apparently his fans arenâ€™t the only ones hanging on his every Tweet.
As Tom found out, the Secret Service has blown in a â€œfollowâ€ to Tomâ€™s feed, too. But instead of laughing as Tom makes funny photoshopped, anti-Obama images and reveling in Obamaâ€™s many scandals, the Secret Service was watching and making plans to come pounding at his door to harass him for his political opinions.
On April 11, 2013, he heard relentless pounding on his door shouts of “Police!” The officers introduced themselves as members of TheÂ Secret ServiceÂ and asked if they could “take a look around.”
Since Tom had nothing to hide (and he didn’t want any return visits) – he complied fully with their request. He even signed a consent to search his premises AND an “Authorization To Review Medical and Mental Health Records!”
They asked Tom if he ever left his state or traveled to Washington, D.C.
One Agent asked Tom if he has any intentions of “whacking” the President.” To which Tom replied- “Of course not. I wish him no harm. I disagree with his policies and actions and I make no bones about it. It’s my First Amendment Right and I intend to exercise it.”
When I spoke to Tom he said, “Yes, I am EXTREMELY critical of Obama in my posts, but I never cross the line and threaten his being. EVER. It’s just the idea of Obama’s Secret Service intruding on my life when they knew I wasn’t really a threat.”
The Secret Service had a thick FBI file- filled with screenshots of hundreds of posts. Said Tom, “I flat out told them ‘I have NEVER threatened Obama’s life! Yes, I despise him as you can plainly see, but I have that right!’ They actually ADMITTED and agreed with me that I hadn’t threatened Obama.”
They had run a background check and discovered that Tom legally owned two guns- and they asked to see them. Tom showed them his firearms. They asked, “Are they loaded?” Tom replied in the affirmative. “What good are guns if they aren’t loaded?”
So why harass Tom? “The Secret Service officers claimed that “they were concerned that since I have a largeÂ TwitterÂ following, and the things I said could be acted upon by some nut case out there! What the hell? They turned my life upside down for THAT?”
Tom didn’t refuse the search because they just would have gone and gotten a warrant. “They would have proceeded to tear my house apart. No thanks. I have nothing to hide. They left empty-handed and my house is still intact.”
When they left Tom’s house, one Secret Service Agent ‘advised’-Â “Keep in mind, if you step over the line, we’ll come back for your guns.”
After the “visit” to Tom, the Secret Service also visited Tom’s 22 year old daughter- terrifying her and making her fear for her father’s safety. She asked them what they were going to do with the information about her Dad.Â They said they were going to “turn it over to Eric Holder- he has the last word on what to do, if anything.”
Notice that the raid on this innocent American came only four days before the Boston marathon bombing. While Islamic extremists were planning to kill people in Boston, the government was all worried about a Twitter user that made funny photoshopped pictures of Obama.
On Thursday the Examiner providedÂ an exclusive reportÂ indicating that theÂ Obama administrationÂ had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But aÂ special report issued today by Fox NewsÂ indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
What most people don’t realize is that the IRS has been acting as the speech police for decades. Ever since 1954, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed for a law enabling the IRS to punish non-profits who opposed him politically, the IRS has been in the business of government censor. Whatâ€™s worse is that one of the biggest targets of this censorship has been religious people and houses of worship. In fact, one of the IRSâ€™s first targets in the 1950s was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was subjected to a searching IRS audit because of his religious advocacy for civil rights for African-Americans.
The IRS of course has the crushing power to deny or revoke the non-profit status of a synagogue, church, or mosque if it says something the IRS decides is too “political.” But it can also put houses of worship and other religious organizations through the wringer of intrusive, costly, and time-consuming audits.
There are two ways the targeting works. One way is for an outside group, often one that is anti-religion, to file a complaint asking the IRS to investigate a church they donâ€™t like. The IRS responds to the complaint by opening an investigation and asking the church often hundreds of questions about its activities, with the threat of revocation of non-profit status. This is what lawyers call â€œselective enforcementâ€ and it is unconstitutional. No one should be singled out in this way, especially because of collusion between the IRS and outside groups with an ax to grind.
The second way the censorship starts is for IRS officials to take their lead from high government officials, including the President, to decide which groups to target for disfavor. This is apparently what happened to the â€œtea partyâ€ groups, but religious groups have also been targeted in this way.
Don’t believe it? Just ask Billy Graham. Last fall, the famed Christian evangelist publicly advocated on behalf of a ballot measure in his home state of North Carolina, taking a position that the President and other high government officials publicly opposed. The tax man was knocking at the door almost immediately. And while the expensive, time-consuming audit eventually ended without any finding of wrongdoing by Graham, a message was sent to every other religious group that might oppose government policy: the IRS can use its audit powers to harass you or shut you down simply for saying what you believe. That kind of intimidation is wrong–and unconstitutional.
The radical, Marxist Environmentalist agenda has always been about destroying capitalism and industry. Â It has nothing to do with “saving the planet.” Â Since the “science” facade of Global Warming is quickly falling apart, their goal is to impose their agenda by force as quickly as possible before the game is up.
So much for the denials. An administration that throughout its 2012 election campaign denied it was waging a War on Coal has now come out and publicly declared its intention to shut down coal-fired power plants â€“ putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and sending electricity prices skyrocketing.
This is not what the American people voted for.
[…] Â Obama made clear in his speech that he intends to impose regulations on existing coal plants that can only be met through carbon capture and storage (technology that doesnâ€™t exist on a commercial scale), switching to natural gas, or shutting down completely.
Coal still producesÂ 37 percentÂ of U.S. electricity. AÂ Heritage Foundation analysisÂ found that implementing Obamaâ€™s proposed regulation on existing coal plants would destroy more than 500,000 jobs, slash the income of a typical family of four more than $1,400 a year, and increase electricity prices at least 20 percent.Â Price spikes could be much higher in states that depend heavily on coal-fired power plants, especially in the Midwest.Â President Obama once famously explained that he intended to make electricity prices â€œnecessarily skyrocket.â€
Under pressure from environmentalists, President Barack Obamaâ€™s new plan to tackleÂ global warmingÂ relies on executive power to corral power plants.
The president calls for theÂ EnvironmentalÂ Protection Agency to â€œexpeditiouslyâ€ set limits on carbon dioxide emissions for new and existing power plants, a move that will be hailed by environmentalists and decried as debilitating by the struggling coal industry.
â€œTo accomplish these goals, President Obama is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants,â€ states the Obama plan.
[…] Â Obamaâ€™s announcement comes at a time when cracks are starting to show in the science surrounding global warming, as global temperatures stopped rising about 15 years ago.
Congress is taking action on religious liberty in the military, a story that wasÂ originally reportedÂ by Breitbart News. New legal language passed a key committee this week and next goes to the full House and then the Senate; it could become federal law later this year.
[…] Â The first amendment was offered by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). It protects the rights of chaplains to speak and pray in a manner consistent with their faith, such as ending a prayer in Jesusâ€™ name. This amendment passed by voice vote.
A second amendment was offered to create â€œatheist chaplains,â€ as Breitbart NewsÂ reportedearlier this week. This mockery of the chaplaincy was proposed by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), pushed by groups often hostile to Christians and observant members of other faiths. The committee rejected this amendment by a vote of 43-18. The military already provides secular counseling to service members, while chaplains are by definition religious and spiritual counselors.
The third amendment is the most consequential. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) offered an amendment specifying that the religious speech and actions of all service members is a protected right, and that the Department of Defense will enact regulations to allow and accommodate those beliefs in both word and deed.
The Obama Administration â€œstrongly objectsâ€ to a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have protected the religious rights of soldiers â€“ including evangelical Christian service members who are facing growing hostility towards their religion.
The amendment was authored by Rep. John Fleming, R-La. It would have â€œrequired the Armed Forces to accommodate â€˜actions and speechâ€™ reflecting the conscience, moral, principles or religious beliefs of the member.â€
The Obama Administration said the amendment would have a â€œsignificant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.â€
â€œWith its statement, the White House is now endorsing military reprimands of members who keep a Bible on their desk or express a religious belief,â€ Fleming told Fox News. â€œThis administration is aggressively hostile towards religious beliefs that it deems to be politically incorrect.â€
The White House released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. Â […]
The SAP includes a veto threat: â€œâ€¦if the bill is presented to the President for approval in its current form, the Presidentâ€™s senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill.â€
In other words, Obama says he will veto any bill that forbids his appointees or officers from telling a soldier that he cannot mention Jesus during prayer or have a Bible on his desk, or that keeps those appointees from telling a chaplain (who is an ordained clergyman) what religious teachings he is allowed to give in worship services, or what spiritual counseling he can give to another soldier.
Ambassador Ken Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, tells Breitbart News:
President Obama is waging a war on religion. He and Chuck Hagel are denying the most basic rights to those who put their lives on the line to protect all of our rights. It is shameful and appalling. I am confident that congressional leadership will show courage to stand up for our troops against this radical assault on religious liberty in the military.
This is the most compelling expression yet of the aggressive approach of the Obama-Hagel Defense Department to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who are observant Christians or devout members of other peaceful faiths, as seen in Breitbart Newsâ€™Â previous reportsregarding the unconstitutional infringements of one of Americaâ€™s most treasured, fundamental rights.
How have we gotten to the point where government can force private companies to pay for controversial services like abortion from another private company? Â Whatever happened to the freedom to VOLUNTARILY decide which products and services you want toÂ purchase, and from whom?
In a move that sends the message that her role is a powerful one, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has required health insurers to include Planned Parenthood as an â€œessential community providerâ€ along with other doctors and health facilities in their networks.
Paul Bedard at theÂ Washington Examiner (WE)Â reportsÂ that most of Planned Parenthoodâ€™s 750 health and abortion clinics in the country will be covered by ObamaCare. Sebelius’ command means that health insurers who wish to participate in the state health care exchanges must cover services by Planned Parenthood, as well as other â€œessential community providers,â€ such as AIDS clinics, pain management facilities, and alternative medicine providers.
[…] Â Â Though ObamaCare is not, technically speaking,Â supposed to cover abortions, the fact that Planned Parenthood has always had significant support from Sebelius, and is already an important player in the â€œnavigator systemâ€–assisting insurance advisers in signing Americans up for the exchanges–is a real concern for Americans seeking limited government and those who are pro-life.
Planned Parenthood, which she deems as an “essential community provider,” is part of the long list of local organizations that insurers are required to partner with. (Others,Â Bedard says, include lesbian and gay centers, family planning clinics, and “holistic” centers.)
“We’ve never covered these sorts of thing,” a Wisconsin provider told Bedard. He, like most health care representatives, is probably horrified at the prospect of collaborating with an organization which (when it isn’tÂ lobbying for infanticide) is on trial forÂ government fraudÂ andÂ botched abortions. Unfortunately for Americans, Sebelius — not Congress — decides what belongs in state exchanges. And if herÂ past relationshipsÂ are any indication, taxpayers are in for even more surprises when ObamaCare goes into effect January 1.
Revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for discriminatory treatment, and leaked confidential information about those groups to a left-wing outfit, ProPublica, should make us think twice about the White Houseâ€™s plans to give the IRS even more authority â€” over our medicine cabinets.
Thatâ€™s right. The IRS is being put in charge of enforcing the presidentâ€™s health care law, Obamacare. The controversial law fills 2,801 pages; its various regulations, another 13,000. This mountain of paper forms a stack seven feet high, or, laid end to end, a paper trail stretching for two and a half miles. And it turns out no federal agency is given a more important role in implementing all that red tape than the IRS, the recipient of no fewer than 47 new duties and enforcement powers under the law.
Those duties include imposing tax penalties on individuals and businesses, and providing tax subsidies to millions of people who buy insurance through government â€œexchanges.â€ According to the IRS inspector general, the new health care powers and duties â€œrepresent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years.â€
Hmm. Are we really prepared to put our health insurance system under the same agency that, as weâ€™ve learned from the targeting scandal, took 1,138 days to approve just one non-exempt groupâ€™s tax application?
[…] Â If citizens who hold a disfavored political view are already being harassed with excessive paperwork requests and delays, whatâ€™s preventing politically motivated IRS bureaucrats from leaking sensitive health information to groups like ProPublica, or subjecting those with disfavored medical conditions to discriminatory audits?
[…] Â One of the many troubling facts to emerge from the targeting scandal has been the incredibly personal nature of the questions asked of groups applying for non-profit status. The IRS made some groups disclose all of their employeesâ€™ resumes, as well as information about the nature of personal relationships between employees. They even demanded to know the contents of a religious groupâ€™s prayers. If this level of detail is required for a rather simple business matter, determining tax-exempt status, imagine what the tax bureaucrats will do with our intimate health-related information.
What on earth do a bunch of paper pushers need with AR-15’s and shotguns?
Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Republican Congressman from SC, has started a bit of a firestorm on Twitter. Duncan is the Homeland Oversight Chair, and during a recent tour of a DHS facility, the congressman noticed IRS (yes, the Internal Revenue Service) agents training with AR-15 style rifles.
Why you might ask? Well thatâ€™s a good question, and the congressman has the same ones. Itâ€™s been known that the Department of Homeland Security has been bulking up their guns and ammo reserves for sometime now. However, this is the first report weâ€™ve gotten of IRS agents getting in on the action. Now, the IRS does have armed enforcement agents, and they have for a long time, but why they now need tactical training is a serious question.
â€œWhy do IRS law enforcement agents need standoff capability that you would have with a long rifle or with a weapon similar to an AR-15?Â Theyâ€™re generally investigating tax evasion, fraud and money laundering.Â We think of the IRS as an audit agency more than doing the type of law enforcement where they have to use an AR-15.â€
Duncan said the IRS has the resources of the federal government, including the FBI, if they come into a situation where they feel like they need a SWAT team.
“I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.
That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient.”
It would appear that his tune has changed since becoming president:
During his speech in San Jose, California on Friday, President Obama took one question from the press on national security monitoring of Americans. Without any sense of irony whatsoever in the aftermath of the IRSâ€™ targeting of conservatives, the administrationâ€™s stonewalling on Benghazi, the Department of Justiceâ€™s targeting of reporters, the Department of Health and Human Servicesâ€™ leveraging of private organizations for Obamacare public relations cash, and the Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™s secret email addresses, Obama unloaded this line:
If people canâ€™t trust not only the executive branch but also donâ€™t trust Congress, and donâ€™t trust federal judges, to make sure that weâ€™re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then weâ€™re going to have some problems here.
Obama acknowledged that the U.S. government is collecting reams of phone records, including phone numbers and the duration of calls, but said this does not include listening to calls or gathering the names of callers.
“Nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls,” Obama said.
The Investors Business Daily editorial board opines:
Barack Obama is now not only following George Orwell’s model in his newly uncovered domestic spying practices; he’s copying one of the most shocking aspects of the dystopian society Orwell conjured: telling people the exact opposite of the truth with a straight face.
[…] Â When a president who promised “the most open and transparent administration in history” must now scramble and assure the country that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” it exposes a grave breach of trust.
AÂ poll released Monday showsÂ that despite the uproar over the National Security Agencyâ€™s newly leaked surveillance programs, a majority of Americans are fine with the agency’s pervasive reach. Still, a sizable majority is opposed to the vast NSA surveillance net.
The snap poll comes courtesy of the Pew Research CenterÂ and the Washington Post. After asking 1,004 American adults for their opinions on NSA surveillance programs like the newly revealed tech-spying program PRISM, pollsters found that 56 percent of Americans have no objection.
That’s the most pressing question. The civic negligence required to reach this point is the thing that most disappoints me about my fellow citizens, who ought to throw out every last member of Congress complicit in the metastasizing surveillance state. I am serious. Look up your representative. In a letter or phone call, demand they take a stand against this, on penalty of you voting against them in a primary or general.
That’s how change happens when the president who promised it turns out to have lied.
We don’t knowÂ if the federal government has a similar order for AT&T or any other carrier. Or if they’re spying on Americans’ emails as well. Why? That isn’t the sort of thing President Obama thinks he needs to tell us, and Congress persists in giving him that latitude. Americans, who haven’t been objecting to any of this in large numbers, aren’t even demanding to know whether or not their government is assemblingÂ the most sophisticated surveillance state in human history.
Has fear of terrorism done this to us?
Whatever the cause, the current behavior of the American electorate does not befit a free people.
A veteran member of the U.S. Army Band said he is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25-year Army veteran and conservative Christian based at Fort Myer in Washington, believes his outspoken opposition to gay marriage prompted higher-ups to take a closer look at his beliefs. The recipient of an Army Commendation Medal and a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford, Sommers said his core beliefs are enough to mark a soldier for persecution in todayâ€™s military.
[…] Â Sommersâ€™ troubles began last April when he was told to remove pro-Republican, anti-Obama bumper stickers that were on his privately owned car.
The stickers read: â€œPolitical Dissent is NOT Racism,â€ â€œNOBAMA,â€ NOPE2012â€ and â€œThe Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with Ass-Fault.â€ That sticker included the image of a donkey.
His superior officer told the solider that the bumper stickers were creating â€œunnecessary workplace tension.â€
â€œThe types of stickers on your car were creating an atmosphere detrimental to morale and were creating unnecessary workplace tension,â€ the officer wrote in an Army document obtained by Fox News. â€œA Soldier must balance their personal feelings with the mission of the U.S. Army. Even the slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.â€
Attorney Wells said once he got involved, the military backed off of filing a formal reprimand.
â€œHeâ€™s allowed to have those bumper stickers on his car,â€ he said. â€œThe DoD regulation allows it. There was nothing obscene about it.â€
During the summer months, Sommers came under fire for reading the works of Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh.
Sommers was reading Limbaughâ€™sÂ â€œThe Great Destroyerâ€Â backstage at a U.S. Army Band concert at the U.S. Capitol. A superior officer told him that he was causing â€œunit disruptionâ€ and was offending other soldiers.
â€œI wasnâ€™t reading aloud,â€ he said. â€œI was just reading privately to myself. I was told they were frowning on that and they warned me that I should not be reading literature like that backstage because it was offensive.â€
Sommers said he was told to refrain from reading the book â€œwhile in uniform or within sight of anyone from the band.â€
â€œThis is the first time since (my superior officer) indicated I had offended others with my choice of reading material, that I was officially counseled about it,â€ he said. â€œThe statement took my breath away. I was speechless.â€
In spite of those incidents, the Army promoted the soldier in September to the rank of master sergeant. But the promotion would also mark the launch of an effort by the military to punish the soldier.
His promotion coincided with a controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. The companyâ€™s president told a reporter that he was â€œguilty as chargedâ€ when it came to supporting traditional marriage. Gay rights activists pounced- calling for a boycott of the Christian-owned company. And some Democratic officials vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.
In response to that, Fox News Channel host Mike Huckabee launched a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to rally support for the restaurant chain.
â€œI was inspired by Gov. Huckabeeâ€™s appreciation day,â€ Sommers told Fox News. â€œAnd since I wasnâ€™t able to participate in the event, I decided to serve Chick-fil-A at my promotion party.â€
Itâ€™s a long-standing tradition within the U.S. Army Band for promoted soldiers to host a party for their fellow troops. So the soldier decided to have Chick-fil-A cater the meal.
â€œMy family likes Chick-fil-A and we like what they stand for,â€ he said. â€œI can make a statement and at least express a religious point of view at my promotion party â€“ theoretically without any fear of reprisal.â€
The soldier also tweeted about the party: â€œIn honor of DADT repeal, and Obama/Holderâ€™s refusal to enforce DOMA act, Iâ€™m serving Chick-fil-A at my MSG promo reception for Army today.â€
He also tweeted to radio host Mark Levin: â€œ@Marklevinshow â€˜luv ya, Mark! Fellow Virginian & MSG, Army. Being promoted today, serving Chick-fil-A @ reception in honor of DADT repeal.â€
Both tweets were cited in an official military document.
â€œAs a Soldier you must be cognizant of the fact that your statements can be perceived by the general public and other service members to be of a nature bordering on disrespect to the President of the United States,â€ the document stated.
Sommers said he paid for the party with personal money, not government funds.
â€œI had no idea a Chick-fil-A sandwich would get me in trouble,â€ he said.
He was later summoned by a superior officer, who the soldier said is openly gay, and was told that unidentified individuals were offended by the tweets and some considered them to be racist.
Sommers was reprimanded, threatened with judicial action and given a bad efficiency report. An investigation was also launched.
â€œItâ€™s an obvious attempt to set him up and force him out of the military,â€ Wells said. â€œThey recently did an NCO evaluation that effectively torpedoed his chance at promotion and he could be forced out of the Army.â€
On Saturday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin urged soldiers to post pictures of themselves reading books written by conservatives like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and David Limbaugh. Palin did so after an “outrageous” report surfaced that revealed the U.S. Army was punishing a soldier for reading books written by conservative authors.
“Whether you agree or disagree with this soldierâ€™s opinions, I think we can all agree that the apparent retribution he faced for proudly reading certain authors is outrageous,” Palin wrote.
A member of the U.S. Army Band who said he was reprimanded for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car, serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party and reading books written by conservative authors like Sean Hannity is now facing Article 15 charges â€“ which cropped up shortly after he went public with his complaints.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a decorated soloist with the Army Band, is being charged under a federal law that permits commanding officers to conduct non-judicial proceedings for minor offenses.
Sommers is accused of giving a superior officer the wrong date for a doctorâ€™s appointment. Heâ€™s also accused of failing to carry out an order. In order to comply with that order, Sommers would have had to disclose private information about his autistic sonâ€™s medical records.
The charges were handed down one day after Sommers told Fox News that he was facing discrimination and persecution because of his conservative political and religious beliefs.
â€œThe timing does seem strange,â€ retired Navy Commander John Bennett Wells told Fox News. â€œItâ€™s suspicious. No matter whatâ€™s happening it looks like a graduated attempt to build a case against him on some really ridiculous charges.
Wells is representing the 25-year veteran who, until last summer, had a spotless record.
The IRS scandalÂ is deepening as a new tape has been released today showing a disturbing phone call the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-life legal group, made the audio available today of IRS officials telling a group that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations to keep its faith to itself. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.
ADF is providing legal representation for the group â€” which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week after waiting nearly two and a half years after applying for it.
â€œThe IRS is a tax collector; it shouldnâ€™t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,â€ said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. â€œThe current scandal isnâ€™t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.â€
The program is code-named PRISM, and the Post reports that it was established in 2007. According to the report, the nine companies that “participate knowingly” in the program are Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.
Remember when President Obama publicly demonized Fox News as “destructive” to the nation because they wouldn’t play lapdog like the other networks? Â Turns out he was just laying the groundwork to isolate them from public sympathy so his vendetta against them could be justified.
Charles Krauthammer, Tucker Carlson, Kirsten Powers, Bret Baier discuss DOJ targeting Fox reporter and his parents:
Newly uncovered court documents reveal the Justice Department seized records of several Fox News phone lines as part of a leak investigation — even listing a number that, according to one source, matches the home phone number of a reporter’s parents.
The seizure was ordered in addition to a court-approved search warrant for Fox News correspondent James Rosen’s personal emails. In the affidavit seeking that warrant, an FBI agent called Rosen a likely criminal “co-conspirator,” citing a wartime law called the Espionage Act.
Rosen was not charged, but his movements and conversations were tracked. A source close to the leak investigation confirmed to Fox News that the government obtained phone records for several numbers that match Fox News numbers out of the Washington bureau.
Further, the source confirmed to Fox News that one number listed matched the number for Rosen’s parents in Staten Island.
Rosen’s father, attorney Myron Rosen, told FoxNews.com he found the records seizure to be “downright ludicrous.”
“My son and his wife call us all the time, and we talk about grandchildren,” he said. “We don’t talk about nuclear proliferation.”
He continued: “The fact that they had our phone records, it shows how crazy they are, how desperate.”
The revelation has had a chilling effect on reporters’ ability to gather the information and sources they need:
Anchor Greta Van Susteran took to Twitter to express her frustration with the secret monitoring, saying friends and family won’t call or email anymore out a of a fear of being watched.
“Now that the word is out that Obama Admin seizes Fox phone records, my friends won’t call me at work and since the Obama admin also seizes personal cell and email, my friends wont’ call or email,” Van SusteranÂ tweeted.
The news of more Fox News’ monitoring comes weeks after the Associated Press revealed the Justice Department had secretly monitored 20 personal and private phone lines used by AP reporters and editors. In addition, CBS News Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson said yesterday that her work and personal computers had beenÂ compromised.
For awhile, it looked like the White House wanted just to control “the narrative.” But its seizure of AP phone records and surveillance of Fox employees now show its real aim: to control the news.
[…] Â Â The latest news that the Justice Department investigated Fox News reporter James Rosen and two other newsmen in the normal course of their investigative reporting on a national security matter â€” coming on the heels of their seizure of Associated Press phone records â€” suggests an administration obsessed with controlling the news itself with a heavy hand reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.
The AP flap has drawn a properly outraged response from the news agency, because the White House’s obsessive efforts to find leaks cast such a broad, indiscriminate net against reporters just doing their jobs.
First they came for Fox News, and they did not speak outâ€”because they were not Fox News. Then they came for government whistleblowers, and they did not speak outâ€”because they were not government whistleblowers. Then they came for the maker of a YouTube video, andâ€”okay, we know how this story ends.Â But how did we get here?
Turns out itâ€™s a fairly swift sojourn from a president pushing to â€œdelegitimizeâ€ a news organization to threatening criminal prosecution for journalistic activity by a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, to spying on Associated Press reporters. In between, the Obama administration found time toÂ relentlessly persecuteÂ government whistleblowers and publicly harass and condemn a private American citizen for expressing his constitutionally protected speech in the form of an anti-Islam YouTube video.
Where were the media when all this began happening? With a few exceptions, they were acting as quiet enablers.
[…] Â Itâ€™s instructive to go back to the dawn of Hope and Change. It was 2009, and the new administration decided it was appropriate to use the prestige of the White House to viciously attack a news organizationâ€”Fox Newsâ€”and the journalists who work there. Remember, President Obama had barely been in office and had enjoyed the most laudatory press of any new president in modern history. Yet even one outlet that allowed dissent or criticism of the president was one too many. This should have been a red flag to everyone, regardless of what they thought of Fox News. The math was simple: if the administration would abuse its power to try and intimidate one media outlet, what made anyone think they werenâ€™t next?
Dr. Karen Kenney of the San Fernando Valley Tea Party Patriots, related the madness of an intrusive questionnaire with 35 topics and 80 sub-topics, which she was expected to complete in just 20 days, under penalty of perjury. Â One of the questions asked her to list the ways her organization was condoning or promoting illegal activities. Â â€I think the IRS needs to fix its labeling machine,â€ Kenney said sarcastically. Â â€Weâ€™re the San Fernando Valley Patriots, not Occupy Oakland.â€
She eventually gave up on the â€œcostly and exhausting IRS process,â€ but kept her organization going with her own money and a few modest donations kept n a cake tin. Â â€Like patriots before us, we persevere,â€ she declared. Â â€The voice of this Republic resides in our citizens, not in the tongue of government. Â More must grasp that self-evident truth. Â This dialogue is about the jackboot of tyranny upon the field of our founding documents. Â To whisper the letters â€˜IRSâ€™ strikes a shrill note on Main Street, USA, but when this behemoth tramples upon Americaâ€™s grassroots, few hear the snapping sounds.â€
[…] Â Susan Martinek, president of the Coalition for Life of Iowa, talked about the IRS inquisition into the conduct of her groupâ€™s prayer meetings, and the â€œeducationalâ€ content of their protest signs. Â She was eventually instructed by the IRS not to protest outside Planned Parenthood offices.
[…] Â Becky Gerritson of the Alabama Tea Party was one of several who testified that they received intimidating lettersÂ personally signedÂ by the infamous Lois Lerner, the IRS official currently on paid administrative leave. Â â€This is a willful act of intimidation to discourage a point of view,â€ charged Gerritson. Â â€What the government did to our little group in Wetumpka, Alabama is un-American.â€
â€œIâ€™m not interested in scoring political points. Â I want to protect and preserve the America that I grew up in, the America that people cross oceans and risk their lives to become a part of, and Iâ€™m terrified that it is slipping away,â€ Gerritson testified.
Early Tuesday during a House Ways and Means Committee, Democrat Jim McDermott blamed tea party groups for IRS targeting. McDermott essentially said that because conservative groups dared to apply for tax exempt status, they deserved to be targeted.
[…] Â Luckily, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan was there to shut down his nonsense and received roaring applause in the hearing room for doing so.
During Tuesday’s testimony, Congressional Democrats attacked the private citizens brought before them to tell their individual horror stories. The witnesses were Tea Party groups and other conservative groups put through months of paralyzing harassment by an IRS that had intentionally singled them out based on their political beliefs.
Well, that is not the point and everyone knows it. Had the IRS put the same number of left-leaning groups through the same hyper-scrutiny as they did right-leaning groups, none of this would be happening. There would be no scandal.
But the idea here is to change the subject from the fact that the IRS singled out Obama’s political foes for paralyzing scrutiny in the run-up to Obama’s re-election campaign, to the supposed abuse of a tax exempt status by conservative political groups.
The thinking goes that if Democrats can make the Tea Party look like tax cheats it will take the heat off of Obama and further damage his opponents.
Well, right on cue, Politico arrives this morning like the cavalry withÂ an appallingly dishonestÂ (but expected) piece of reporting that falls right in line with what Congressional Democrats did yesterday. It is as pure a piece of coordination and left-wing propaganda as you will ever read.
And this is the only kind of investigative reporting Politico ever does. Imagine if Politico poured these same resources into investigating the IRS’s connections to the White House or the shaping of the IRS talking points by the State Department.
Q: In early 2010, was there a time when you became aware of applications that referenced Tea Party or other conservative groups?
A: In March ofÂ 2010, I was made aware.
Q: Okay.Â Now, was there a point around this time period when [your supervisor] asked you to do a search for similar applications?Â
Q: To the best of your recollection, when was this request made?
A: Sometime in early March ofÂ 2010.
Q: Did [your supervisor] give you any indication of the need for the search, any more context?Â
A: He told me that Washington, D.C., wanted some cases.
Q: Did anyone else ever make a request that you send any cases to Washington?
A:Â [Different IRS employee] wanted to have two cases that she couldn’t — Washington, D.C. wanted them, but she couldn’t find the paper.Â So she requested me, through an email, to find these cases for her and to send them to Washington, D.C.
Q: When was this, what time frame?
A: I don’t recall the time frame, maybe May of 2010.
Q: But just to be clear, she told you the specific names of these applicants.Â
Q: And she told you that Washington, D.C. had requested these two specific applications be sent to D.C.Â
A: Yes, or parts of them.Â
Q: Okay.Â So she asked you to send particular parts of these applications.Â
Q: And that was unusual.Â Did you say that?Â
Q: And she indicated that Washington had requested these specific parts of these specific applications; is that right?
â€œItâ€™s impossible,â€ an IRS employee responded to an investigatorâ€™s question about the allegations that the targeting of conservative groups was due to â€œtwo â€˜rogue agents.â€ â€œAs an agent we are controlled by many, many people.Â We have to submit many, many reports.Â So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen.â€
Answering a question about the employeeâ€™s reaction to news reports that the targeting was contained in Cincinnati and the fault of the Cincinnati office, the employee said that Washington has been throwing them under the bus.
â€œWell, itâ€™s hard to answer the question because in my mind I still hear people saying we were lowâ€‘level employees, so we were lower than dirt, according to people in D.C.Â So, take it for what it is,â€ a Cincinnati IRS employee said. â€œThey were basically throwing us underneath the bus.â€