Brett Winterble of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review discuss Michelle Bachmann’s decision to not seek reelection. They explain how a new PEW study reveals the breakdown of the traditional family. And they laugh at Larry King’s new show on the Kremlin-sponsored “Russia Today”.
Archives for May 2013
Three Martini Lunch 5/28/13
Brett Winterble of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review discuss Rand Paul’s speech exposing new ObamaCare codes on macaw and turtle injuries. They criticize the Red Cross’ failure to spend over $100 million of their relief aid for Sandy victims. And they laugh at the irony behind Senator Keith Ellison’s call for Apple to pay more taxes.
Capitol Steps Scandal Special
Scandals are dominating the headlines in Washington and in the music of the Capitol Steps. This week, a double feature from Washington’s premiere musical satirists. They target the IRS targeting of conservative groups in “When IRS Guys are Smiling” and the Benghazi scandal in “Lie,Lie,Lie.” Our guest is Steps star and co-founder Elaina Newport.
DOJ Demands Gay Advocacy
The Justice Department continues its promotion of the homosexual agenda and now commands managers to publicly affirm that agenda because “silence will be interpreted as disapproval.”
A DOJ employee forwarded written and electronic communication from the department that spell out the pro-homosexual expectations of all employees.
“The brochure is a list, a series of dos and don’ts for managers in dealing with homosexuals and cross-dressing employees,” said Matt Barber, vice president for Liberty Counsel Action and director of cultural affairs at Liberty Counsel. Barber wrote about this development in his most recent weekly column.
In an email and brochure entitled, “LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers,” employees are warned to verbally affirm homosexuality.
“DON’T judge or remain silent. Silence will be interpreted as disapproval,” the email reads. It also quotes a homosexual DOJ employee who says, “”Silence seems like disapproval. There’s still an atmosphere of LGBT issues not being appropriate for the workplace (particularly for transgender people), or that people who bring it up are trying to rock the boat.”
“It’s a complete violation of the first amendment. Why should we be surprised? This is a Department of Justice and indeed an Obama administration that has shown nothing but disdain for the first amendment,” said Barber.
In addition, managers are urged to display pro-homosexual materials in their office, such as a DOJ Pride sticker, in order to let homosexuals know that office is a “safe space”. They are also urged to attend LGBT events. Using terms like husband or wife is also discouraged in favor of terms like spouse, partner or significant other.
As for transgenders, affirmation is demanded for them as well. A transgender worker in the email is quoted as saying, “I want people to understand that I’m real. I want to be recognized as the gender I really am. . . . Just imagine if people were constantly debating YOUR bathroom privileges. Imagine how humiliating that would be.”
“So this is the DOJ picking sides, choosing sides, in a highly controversial, highly polarizing cultural debate and essentially threatening without proscribing specific punitive measures,” said Barber. “This is how clever they are. They know they can indirectly threaten any managers but if the included any specific threats the lawsuits would fly.
“It’s out position this is enough. This creates a chilling effect, not in the sense that it silences managers. This is even worse. This is a chilling effect in the sense that it bullies and intimidates managers to violate their conscience and speak positively about aberrant sexual behavior within the Department of Justice. It’s Orwellian that they would even think they would get away with doing this,” said Barber.
Barber says this is an even more extreme example of how the homosexual lobby is not content with getting what they want but their intention to demonize anyone who disagrees with them.
“This just illustrates the homosexual activist lobby’s insatiable appetite for absolute affirmation of something that I believe intuitively and they know in their hearts is wrong. It’s sin,” said Barber. “It’s immoral behavior. It’s unnatural behavior and I believe they know that intuitively, so they have to compel others to affirm, even if they don’t agree with, their lifestyle choices.
“So this is really ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ in the sense that they have to affirm a delusion. I mean a man dressed as a woman, a woman dressed as a man, that that is actually a third or fourth or ninth or whatever kind of gender. It’s ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ meets George Orwell,” said Barber.
Liberty Counsel is urging any Justice Department employees to share their stories of intimidation on this front. The group can be reached by phone at 800-671-1776 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Martini Lunch 5/24/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review cheer Ted Cruz and Mike Lee for demanding the House-Senate budget conference not include a deal on raising the debt ceiling. They also slam Eric Holder for telling Congress, under oath, that he never authorized the seizure of a reporter’s phone or email records when he did exactly that to James Rosen of Fox News. And they slam Code Pink for repeatedly interrupting President Obama’s speech on national security.
‘New and Troubling’
Famed constitutional attorney Floyd Abrams is deeply troubled by the Justice Department’s controversial seizure of Associated Press phone records and the targeting of a Fox News reporter as a criminal and he says the White House reaction to the stories is woefully insufficient.
In his lengthy career of trying first amendment cases, Abrams defended the publishers of the Pentagon Papers, Al Franken against the Fox News Channel and tobacco companies against the Food and Drug Administration.
The Justice Department is under heavy scrutiny for seizing phone records for more than 20 phone lines connected to Associated Press reporters without trying to secure cooperation from AP in the first place. Days later it was revealed that James Rosen of Fox News was branded a criminal and a co-conspirator in a State Department leak over a story on North Korea.
Abrams says there is always a tension between the prying role of the press and the protecting role of the government, but he believes the recently revealed actions of the Justice Department go beyond previous federal attempts to limit information seen by the public.
“The notion that in the name of finding out who leaked information that more or less anything goes in an effort to find that out. That’s something new. That sort of breaches the wall that has historically existed,” said Abrams. “It’s a new and troubling development.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to both the Associated Press and Rosen stories by saying the administration respects the right of an unfettered press to pursue stories but that there needs to be a balance with national security concerns. While optimistic that federal officials will shape up as a result of these controversies, Abrams says the reaction from the White House is less than reassuring.
“Yeah, I mean that’s true that you need a balance and it’s true, of course national security matters a lot, a lot, a lot. The fact is it’s just not an answer to what they’ve done. They can protect national security by giving AP notice in advance and letting them go to court and fight it out. They can protect national security without defaming and branding journalists as criminals,” said Abrams. “I think they’ve got to lighten up a little bit and be a little more realistic about the proposition that leak investigations are not the single greatest priority of any administration, or they shouldn’t be.”
According to Abrams, leak investigations are often justified but the Justice Department made a big mistake is never trying to solicit cooperation from the AP.
“As a general proposition, you’ve got to tell the press organization. You’ve got to talk to them. You have to try to come to some sort of agreement,” said Abrams. “If you can’t, and I don’t think they could have here, that gives the press organization a chance to go to court and have a judge decide how to weight this factor and that factor, you know how much does the government need it as against what is the intrusion into the freedom of the press.
“I do fault the Justice Department for not giving them notice, for not giving them a chance to go to court. The only possible justification that I can think of, certainly on the record here, is that the department said they were doing it because it would interfere with the investigation. I don’t know how. I’m not persuaded of that at all,” he said.
His skepticism was bolstered by subsequent reporting that the Associated Press honored CIA requests to hold the story on a terrorist plot to bomb an airliner out of Yemen near the one-year anniversary of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. The AP honored that request and held the story until the CIA confirmed the security threat had passed. The Obama administration then requested a delay of another day so it could break the news. The organization rejected that request and ran the story ahead of the White House announcement.
“The AP really played by the rules and by the rules I mean the responsible rule of journalists behaving the way we would like them to,” said Abrams, who says the AP was fully justified in rejecting the White House request and publishing the story whenever it wanted once the CIA gave clearance.
“Whether any of this after that was in retribution is hard to tell but it just makes the whole thing even more suspicious in terms of whether there was that sort of national security need to behave as the department did. It’s not a little thing for them to go to the telephone company and gather records of a news organization without permission,” said Abrams.
As alarmed as Abrams is by the Justice Department’s treatment of the Associated Press, he’s even more uneasy about the department declaring Rosen a criminal and getting a warrant for his phone and email records and those of Fox News executives and even Rosen’s parents.
“I think this one’s even worse than the AP story. I’ve read the redacted version that is available of the application that the Department of Justice made in court. They basically accused the journalist of being a criminal, literally a criminal, for doing the interviewing that they did and trying to persuade someone to give them a story,” said Abrams. “Journalists at their best are prying, are asking questions, are trying to get information. Treating them like criminals, branding them as criminals is absolutely unacceptable.”
Three Martini Lunch 5/23/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are glad a judge in the James Rosen case is apologizing for a lack of transparency. They also react to the brutal terrorist attack in London. And they rip the IRS for harassing adoptive parents.
‘A Disservice to the American People’
Washington Rep. Dave Reichert says outgoing IRS Commissioner Steven Miller failed to honor his oath before the House Ways & Means Committee last week and that the congressional investigation into the government targeting and harassing conservative organizations is just getting started.
Reichert was one of several committee members who grilled Miller on Friday and came away frustrated by Miller’s chronic memory lapses. In one exchange, Miller could remember who he spoke with about where responsibility lies for this scandal but couldn’t remember who that person believed was ultimately responsible for the policy.
“I think that Mr. Miller was not abiding by the oath that he took right before his testimony began. He was asked to stand and hold his right hand in the air and testify to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Mr. Miller, I believe, was not true to that oath,” said Reichert. “I don’t know if his attorneys were advising him to be vague in his answers and answer ‘I don’t know’ because of some concern there may be some future implications legally for Mr. Miller, but that’s my guess.”
“It was really a disservice to the American people and shows an arrogance. In fact, when I asked Mr. Miller if he felt any duty on his part to share the information he knew with Congress, he said that he saw absolutely none. He also mentioned that he really didn’t feel any compulsion or any responsibility in going to his boss,” said Reichert, who says that same attitude seems to be rampant in the White House as well.
“I think that the unfolding events of the White House timeline shows, if not deception, at least a great amount of confusion that leads one to suspect that there may be some lack of memory purposefully from some of the persons representing what the White House knew when,” he said.
Reichert says we are just seeing the early stages of this investigation since one hasn’t been done yet – even by the IRS. He says it’s important to note that the IRS inspector general’s report was not at all exhaustive.
“The IG has only done an audit and that audit is still in the process. The actual investigation of who knew what and when is really just beginning,” said Reichert. “There are a number of avenues that this investigation will follow and then determining the outcome of who will lose their jobs, who may be charged with a crime, if anyone. That’ll all come at the conclusion of these investigations.”
In addition to getting to the bottom of the scandal, many members of Congress are urging policy changes such as stripping the IRS of Obamacare enforcement powers or reforming the tax code to minimize the role of the agency. For Reichert, the most important thing is reining in the imperial attitude of the IRS and others in government.
“The biggest issue for me is the arrogance of our IRS leadership, that they can do anything they want to do. The issue really boils down to our civil rights as Americans guaranteed by the Constitution. The IRS in my opinion has trampled all over those rights,” said Reichert.
‘More and More and More’
The IRS scandal validates the worst fears of law-abiding Americans, could trigger criminal charges and was likely known about in the White House for an extended time, according to South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice, a former tax attorney and certified public accountant.
The White House has slowly admitted some there knew about the investigation but flatly denies any involvement in the decision to harass Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that also led to targeting of donors and sharing sensitive information with rival activist groups.
Rice believes the administration is much more closely connected to this scandal than it will admit.
“Former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, when he was questioned in March 2012 in Congress, said there was absolutely no targeting. Now he has said that he was aware in Spring 2012 that there was an internal list that included the term Tea Party, so if he knew about that when he testified, that’s a lie. That’s perjury,” said Rice. “We’ve had admissions here in the last couple of days about the fact that senior White House aides were aware of it at least as far back as a month ago. This only broke last week for goodness sake. I’m sure as this investigation continues we’re going to find out more and more and more.”
Last Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee held the first congressional hearing into the scandal. Texas Rep. Kevin Brady told the story of a constituent who was targeted for their political donations and their business was subsequently given the third degree by the IRS, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the FBI Domestic Terrorism Unit, the Commission on Environmental Quality and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Rice says that type of government harassment goes beyond the pale.
“If that’s true, that goes beyond the realm of unreasonable and into the criminal,” said Rice. “That’s unconstitutional. There are criminal laws against things like that. That cannot happen and steps need to be taken to make sure it never happens again.”
Rice says in all of his years as a tax attorney and accountant, he never saw a client treated like the IRS dealt with these conservative organizations.
“A couple of times I had clients who it felt like there may have been some personal thing between the IRS agent and the client, but I’ve never seen an organized series of events like this where apparently people within the service and all up the administration, it looks like they targeted these specific groups,” said Rice.
He says the irony of this scandal is that the actions of the IRS validate the reasons for establishing these groups in the first place.
“Our framers established our Constitution based on the citizenry cooperating with the government. This simply undermines the trust of the citizenry in the government. Our government can’t work if the citizens don’t work with the government,” he said. “The framers of our Constitution didn’t trust big government. They’d just come out of a revolution against the most powerful country on earth and they saw the dangers of big government.”
“The tea parties sprang from a mistrust of big government. I ran my campaign on trying to limit the size of government. What you’ve seen here does nothing but breed further distrust. It shows that their skepticism was well-founded,” said Rice.
Three Martini Lunch 5/22/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review explain why they are actually encouraged by Lois Lerner dodging testimony in the IRS scandal. They’re frustrated that the Benghazi terrorism suspects are still at large because the Obama administration wants to collect more evidence for a civilian trial. And they react to Anthony Weiner’s return to politics.