swagandpassion asks: Hello SFB. Given the rough last weeks Obama has endured, the steadfast obstruction policy of the GOP, and especially the NSA leak, do you feel any sense 3rd party/Libertarian agendas moving to forefront as privacy grows a bigger concern?
» SFB says: I think libertarianism has long been on an upswing—at least since the rise of the Tea Party, and arguably during the 2008 Ron Paul campaign. The current issues with the NSA leak and the Obama administration don’t change that and may in fact energize it. That’s why Rand Paul is feeling an upswing. Stuff like his filibuster earlier this year resonates with a certain audience. It’s not clear whether third parties can totally break through, but a lot of the question is whether the negative momentum against the NSA stuff and the IRS thing, issues which riled up both sides of the aisle, can stick around for a while. We have a way of forgetting about this kind of thing these days, frustratingly, and that could prove the biggest hurdle for this having a lasting effect—an effect which could help raise nontraditional voices like Paul’s. — Ernie @ SFB
Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on.Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) • Discussing testimony for a conservative Republican at the Internal Revenue Service which he says proves that the White House was not involved in an effort at the agency to target Tea Party groups. Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says that if the chairman of the committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), does not release the transcripts from the IRS employee by the end of the week, he would. Issa, in case you haven’t been following the inner-workings of Congress, has used the position to push for multiple investigations into the Obama administration.
Basically, Republicans are attacking Obama where he is least vulnerable and at a time when they have minimal credibility. It isn’t working. By trying to turn everything into a scandal rather than saying Obama’s policies are wrongheaded—and rather than fixing their own image problems with minority, female, younger, and moderate voters—Republicans are focusing on attacking a guy whose name will never again appear on a ballot.Polling guru and political analyst Charlie Cook, explaining why Republicans’ attacks on President Obama may ultimately fall flat. Despite the media feeding frenzy over the three concurrent scandals to hit the Obama White House, the President’s approval rating has hardly suffered at all: In general, it’s hovered around 51%, with one poll even showing an uptick since April. Meanwhile, a recent CNN poll showed the Republican Party with the highest negative ratings—59%—that either party has received in more than 20 years. “Americans may not be ecstatic about President Obama and his policies,” Cook writes, “but compared with the Republicans, they think Obama doesn’t look so bad.” source
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If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous. It is contradictory to our traditions, and people have to be held accountable.President Obama • Commenting on an admission that the IRS targeted conservative groups, many associated with the tea party, during the 2012 election cycle, following an apology from an IRS official on Friday and this morning’s leak of the Inspector General’s report to ABC News. President Obama’s comments came during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, who’s currently visiting Washington D.C. to discuss the war in Syria. source
This timeline reveals at least two extremely unethical actions by the IRS. One, as early as 2010, they targeted groups for political purposes. Two, they willfully and knowingly lied to Congress for years despite being aware that Congress was investigating this practice. This is an outrageous abuse of power.Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) • Decrying actions within the Internal Revenue Service, which apologized yesterday for the targeting of Tea Party/conservative groups for special tax status scrutiny. An inspector general’s report is expected to be released later this week, and portions obtained by the AP suggests IRS officials knew of such targeting not just during the full throes of the 2012 election, but dating back to mid-2011. The report claims that Lori Lerner, head of the division of the IRS handling tax-exempt organizations, was told about the politically-motivated targeting (flagging of groups using the words “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” and Glenn Beck’s “9/12 Project”) back in June of 2011, and that she told agents to “immediately” change their criteria for applying that increased scrutiny. If so, her instruction seems not to have had much effect, as the undue flaggings continued into the following election year. source