The Vanish Inquisition
"Sometimes stuff just happens." Try using that excuse the next time you forget to pay your taxes. Lois Lerner seems to think it's a perfectly reasonable explanation for thousands of missing emails from her IRS server -- emails, Congress points out, that are crucial to the House's investigation. If it's good enough to get the IRS off the hook, then surely the "stuff happens" defense ought to work for taxpayers too.
As many as 24,000 messages have vanished in a series of quote-unquote "computer crashes" that -- wouldn't you know it? -- only affected people involved in the conservative targeting scandal. First, it was just Lois Lerner's account that disappeared in this new Bermuda Triangle. Now, administration officials are changing their story, claiming the "hard-drive failure" that wiped Lerner's emails also affected key stuff. "Plot lines in Hollywood are more believable than what we are getting from this White House and the IRS," said a furious Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who heads up one of three committees demanding answers on the administration's crackdown.
Apparently, we're supposed to believe that the IRS, which keeps meticulous records of hundreds of millions of tax forms, somehow stopped backing up its files? Attorney Cleta Mitchell doesn't buy it. "I've had many, many emails from people around the country saying this is just not possible. This is not 1978. Those emails are not lost. They can be recovered... They are required under many court decisions and many federal statutes to retain information that would be discoverable and relevant on issues related to litigation."
Among the AWOL emails are a string of messages from IRS Chief of Staff Nikole Flax crucial to the investigation. Based on reports, Flax could be the missing link that implicates the Justice Department to the multi-agency conspiracy to silence conservatives. "Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said Monday evening he believes she was the senior-most official involved... [Already, we know] Flax [was] giving the green light to Lerner's request to meet with Department of Justice officials to explore the possibility of criminally prosecuted nonprofit groups."
Of course, the question on most people's minds (apart from the abject incompetence) is why the IRS didn't report the files missing in the first place? If the agency knew about this problem for a year, what's the point in covering it up? Why lie under oath -- again? In an administration that's maxed out its crisis management office space, "stuff happens" is the stuff of arrogance. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us 24,000 times? Even liberals will bristle. "Gross mismanagement," said Democratic Congressman Sander Levin (Mich.). "Do you believe in the Easter Bunny?" mocked CNN's John King.
Meanwhile, the White House, the same one that insisted there wasn't "a smidgeon of corruption" at the IRS, is setting records in approval ratings -- bad ones. According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, only 41% support the President, tying the lowest mark ever. Interestingly enough, Americans arrived at this conclusion with only two major news channels covering the IRS email loss story. "If Joe Namath had the offensive line protection the media give Obama, he could have played 30 years in the NFL," joked Ron Hart.
For now, House leaders will try to extract what cooperation it can from the President. If the IRS won't provide communications, Rep. Camp says the White House must. But in this quest for justice, don't expect any help from Attorney General Eric Holder. The only thing he's interested in enforcing is the President's agenda.
Gotham Looks for Hero on Gay Rights
President Obama can probably fit the people satisfied with his leadership in one ballroom -- and last night in New York City, he tried. With the world literally crumbling around him, Obama sought solace from one of the few groups still wholeheartedly embracing him: the gay and lesbian movement. At New York City's Gotham Hall, the President got a hero's welcome for a six-year legacy of forcing his radical sexual agenda on the rest of the nation.
Not so coincidentally, his speech came just one day after the White House capped off its summertime pandering with an executive order to do what Congress would not: give homosexuals, transgenders, and cross-dressers special treatment in the workplace. To the crowd, which forked over anywhere from $1,200 to $32,400 for tickets, the President took credit for his extreme military makeover, the redefinition of marriage, circumventing benefits laws, and general lawlessness where "spousal" policies are concerned.
President Obama, who can't find a few minutes to call for Meriam Ibrahim's release from a Sudanese prison, had plenty of time to fly to New York and fundraise for homosexual activists. "...I'm here tonight to say thank you for helping to make America more just and more compassionate."
Of course, "just" and "compassionate" aren't words bakers like Jack Phillips would probably use to describe the country's evolution. Or sportscasters like Craig James. Or educators like Dr. Angela McCaskill. Their businesses, careers, and reputations were destroyed on the backs of this "compassionate" new America whose one-sided equality is hardly the progress Obama thinks it is.
Justice for Justina
After two birthdays in Massachusetts custody, teenager Justina Pelletier may finally be able to come home. The legal tug-of-war between the Pelletiers and the overbearing bureaucracy in the Bay State may finally be coming to an end after a medical nightmare that pitted the parents against the state government. In a short order released Tuesday, Judge Joseph Johnston dismissed the child protective case against the Pelletiers, in which Massachusetts officials wrongly accused the parents with abuse. "I find that the parties have shown by credible evidence that circumstances have changed since the adjudication on December 20, 2013," Johnston wrote.
The 16-year-old, who had been diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, caught the flu in February of 2013 -- complicating her condition and kicking off a months-long legal mess. When Justina was taken to Boston Children's Hospital, doctors disagreed with her initial diagnosis from Tufts Medical Center and insisted she suffered from a psychiatric condition -- not Mitochondrial Disease.
As far as Boston was concerned, there were too many "red flags" in Justina's case that couldn't be explained and, instead of consulting Tufts, accused Lou and Linda of medical child abuse. A quick trip to Massachusetts for the Connecticut family turned into one of the greatest attacks on parental rights we've ever seen. After involving the Department of Children and Families and launching an investigation, Justine became a ward of the state of Massachusetts -- even though the family resided in Connecticut and was consulting expert medical care.
After getting the news that she may be released, Justina said, "I'm so happy. I'm so excited!" Her mom told reporters she "screamed for joy," when the ruling was issued. "It's been such a long journey." One that we pray no other family repeats. Congratulations to our friends at Liberty Counsel who did everything they could to return Justina to the safe and loving arms of her family. Their prayers -- and ours -- were finally answered!
** Don't miss tomorrow's live coverage of the March for Marriage, streamed live on the event webpage here!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.