IRS Experiences the Agony of Delete
For the Obama administration, the Year of the Computer Glitch just produced the most convenient one of all. Late Friday, while people were leaving to celebrate Father's Day, the government announced the mother of all mistakes: an "inadvertent" deletion of all the relevant IRS targeting emails. Even for the Obama administration, which no one would accuse of technological competence, the coincidence is tough to swallow. Losing two years of Lois Lerner's emails, the IRS chief at the heart of the conservative targeting scandal, seems a stretch even for a White House as inept as this one. Yet that's exactly what the government insists happened after a computer crash in 2011.
Congressman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, was furious that the agency was just now fessing up to the missing messages. "The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS's response to congressional inquiries. There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the inspector general."
And naturally, Camp said, the missing messages are just the ones investigators needed "to and from people outside the IRS, "such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices." Even the media has trouble believing the files, which the IRS testified as recently as March were "stored on a servers," could vanish into thin air. "Do you believe in the Easter bunny? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner's emails suddenly went poof?" joked CNN's John King. "Waiting a year to tell the Congress makes me suspicious," King said. "Absolutely," said an AP reporter. "There is nothing good about the way this has been handled."
Making matters worse, IT experts are tripping over themselves to debunk the myth. "I don't know of any email administrator that doesn't have at least three ways of getting that mail back... There are at least three ways the government can get those emails." This isn't a small business office trying to recover emails. This is the United States government, with every possible tool and resource at its disposal. The administration insists there is no back-up. But so far, the only thing the White House isn't backing up is its own story.
Pelosi's Catholic Dioseize
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has never cared much for U.S. law, so what makes anyone think she'd care about God's? The self-described Catholic has put herself on the opposite side of church teaching for years -- rejecting doctrine on "inconvenient" issues like abortion, premarital sex, contraception, and same-sex "marriage." Now apparently, it's not enough that Pelosi makes a mockery of Catholicism -- she wants the San Francisco diocese to join her.
In a scathing rebuke of orthodox Catholicism, Rep. Pelosi, who last year won Planned Parenthood's highest honor, had the audacity to lecture her hometown Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on the irrelevance of natural marriage. "We share our love of the Catholic faith and our city of San Francisco," the Minority Leader said. Where they disagree, she pointed out, is his involvement in any movement to protect holy matrimony. Outraged that Archbishop Cordileone would speak at this week's March for Marriage in D.C., Pelosi accused him of joining "venom masquerading as virtue."
"If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will," the Congresswoman said, "then who am I to judge him?" Of course, defending marriage has nothing to do with passing judgment, but that truth is lost on liberals like Pelosi, who are only capable of debating the issue on emotional grounds. Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, also took exception to the Pelosi's misapplication of the Pope's comments. When he talked about judgment, it "had absolutely nothing to do with the institution of marriage; he was addressing homosexual individuals... Here is what he has said about marriage; 'The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together.'"
Fortunately, Archbishop Cordileone -- who heads up the U.S. Bishops's committee on marriage, isn't easily swayed -- especially by a woman already in the church's poor standing. Last fall, Cardinal Raymond Burke denied communion to Pelosi for her outspoken support for abortion. "I fear for Congresswoman Pelosi," he said, "if she does not come to understand how gravely in error she is."
For now, Cordileone is brushing off the criticism from the church's nominal congregants. "The ultimate attack of the evil one," he has maintained, "is the attack on marriage. This is a critical time for marriage in our country, as marriage amendments are being struck down by federal courts and appeals of these decisions are being made."
Meanwhile, what happened to the so-called "separation of church and state?" Liberals, the same ones demanding a wall between the two, are the first ones to breach it here. Apparently, if it suits their political agenda, the Left is no respecter of rules -- including their own. Join FRC in giving Archbishop Cordileone the warm welcome he deserves at the March this Thursday, June 19. For more details on this historic event, click over to the March for Marriage website.
Highway to Haven?
The State Department is almost a mile from the White House, but even it couldn't help but notice last Thursday's #SaveMeriam rally. Together with Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), FRC and 40 other organizations helped raise the profile of the suffering Sudanese Christian. Stuck in a Khartoum prison with her two American children, Meriam Ibrahim is scheduled to be hanged for her faith after a violent flogging that locals say could kill her just as easily.
Finally, after months of silence, State Department Secretary John Kerry issued a statement urging the Sudanese government to respect Meriam's religious freedom. "[Meriam] is the mother of two young children. She and the children should be reunited at home with her family rather than held in prison on charges of apostasy... I also urge Sudan to repeal its laws that are inconsistent with its 2005 Interim Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Such actions would help to demonstrate to the Sudanese people that their government intends to respect their fundamental freedoms and universal human rights."
Noticeably absent from Kerry's remarks is the offer of a safe haven for Meriam, wife of U.S. Citizen Daniel Wani. Nor does he make any mention of the 100 lashes that she faces. In a case where time is of the essence, we appreciate this modest step in addressing Meriam's situation, but more must be done -- and quickly -- to protect this family from the strong arm of the Sudanese government. Do your part. Sign FRC's WhiteHouse.gov petition. Also, tune in to tonight's "Kelly File" on Fox News at 9 p.m. (ET), where I'll discuss the latest on Meriam's case.
McDaniel Gets McFlurry of Support
After the successes of Nebraska's Ben Sasse and Virginia's Dave Brat, conservatives are hoping for another victory in Mississippi's runoff race. On Saturday, FRC Action's Executive Director Josh Duggar joined two rallies with State Senator Chris McDaniel in Mississippi with his parents, Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting. As Josh told the crowd, "Mississippi has the chance to send a real conservative to Washington -- not just someone who will continue to stand with status quo. You not only have the opportunity to speak out for your state, but on June 24th you will send a clear message to America: 'In Mississippi, integrity and values matter, and our next U.S. Senator is one who will represent us.'"
"Mississippians understand that life is precious, marriage is sacred and that religion is not just a ritual performed inside the walls of church -- it's a way of life. Sen. Chris McDaniel lives those values -- and he will defend them in Washington." McDaniel is challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, where recent polls from WPA indicate he is leading by eight points.
** With the historic defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who will step up? Ken Blackwell and I talk about what conservatives should be looking for in a new Christian Post piece, "Help Wanted: GOP Leader for a Majority."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.