Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Lerner Pleads The Fifth (Again) - Seeks Immunity
A House hearing on the IRS targeting scandal rapidly broke down into a heated and deeply personal argument between a top Democrat and Republican, moments after former IRS official Lois Lerner once again invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
Lerner, who last year refused to answer questions about her role in singling out Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, was called back before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday.
Though Republicans argue she waived her Fifth Amendment right by giving a statement during the last hearing, Lerner continued to invoke that right on Wednesday. "On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully exercise my Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer that question," she said in response to several questions.
Issa showed an email from Lerner in 2011 demonstrating hostility to the Tea Party and asked her about it, but she refused to answer questions about it.
Ranking Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-Md), got into a heated argument with Chairman Darrell Issa, (R-Calif), after Issa tried to adjourn the hearing. Issa at first stood up and prepared to leave as Cummings said he wanted to ask a "procedural question."
In seconds, tensions flared. "Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this," Cummings appealed. Cummings' microphone was then turned off, and then flipped back on again. Issa sat down momentarily, but then abruptly told Lerner she was "released" and said, "We're adjourned, close it down."
Cummings, his microphone again turned off, continued to shout, complaining about the Republicans' "one-sided investigation." "I am a member of the Congress of the United States. I am tired of this," he shouted.
The clash bared long-running tensions between the Democratic and GOP members of the committee over the IRS probe. Lerner headed the IRS division that improperly targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups.
After publicly disclosing the targeting, Lerner refused to answer questions about it at a congressional hearing last year. Lerner then resigned from her post as the agency’s director of tax-exempt organizations.
Issa and Lerner’s attorneys have argued about whether she is now still protected from having to testify under the Fifth Amendment. Emails obtained by Fox News revealed an attorney for Lerner negotiated over whether she would testify.
Issa claimed Wednesday that Lerner's testimony remains critical. "Ms. Lerner is uniquely positioned to provide testimony that will help the committee better understand how and why the IRS targeted conservative groups," he said. Issa warned that the committee may consider whether to hold her in contempt if she continues to stay silent. House Speaker John Boehner later made the same threat.
Last week, Lerner lawyer William Taylor made public a letter in which he told the committee that Lerner would testify on Capitol Hill only if compelled by a federal court or given immunity for the testimony. He was responding to a letter from Issa saying, in part, that Lerner’s testimony remains "critical to the committee’s investigation."
In my opinion, Rep. Cummings has no desire to get to the bottom of this and is running interference for Obama. His recourse was (as common for his ilk) was to scream and yell. Lerner is looking for an out and as soon as she's given immunity she'll sing like a bird.
The News As I See It: The Academy Awards telecast was more than three hours long. They actually had to do a second "In Memoriam" montage because quite a few actors passed away during the broadcast.
During the Academy Awards, John Travolta accidentally called Idina Menzel "Adele Dazeem" and that wasn’t the only flub. Leonardo DiCaprio says Jennifer Lawrence flubbed his name when she presented the best actor award and pronounced it "Matthew McConaughey."
Microsoft is coming out with a digital assistant for its smartphone — similar to Apple's Siri — called "Cortana." Well, her name was supposed to be "Cathy," but they let John Travolta make the announcement.
A new survey has found that almost half of dog owners admit to spending more money on their dogs than on their significant others. I wanted to ask my girlfriend if that is true, but she and our dog were out to dinner.
Russia suspended coverage of the Oscar awards and with their views on homosexuals, my guess is that they're not going to show the Tony Awards either.
Justin Bieber reposted photos of his ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez at the Vanity Fair Oscar party with the caption "most elegant princess in the world." Then he immediately tweeted, "Sorry, that was supposed to be a selfie."
This Date In History: 1770; The Boston Massacre, a pre-Revolutionary incident that grew out of anger towards British troops, occurred. Five anti-British rioters were killed. 1933; In the last free elections in Germany until after World War II, the Nazi Party received 44% of the vote.
1946; Winston Churchill delivered his famous Iron curtain speech, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent." 1953; Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died at age 73, after 29 years in power.
1963; Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, and Hankshaw Hawkins were killed in a plane crash. 1997; North and South Korean representatives met for the first time in 25 years for peace talks.
Picture Of The Day: Senate blocks Obama's pick of Debo Adegbile for civil rights post.
Several Senate Democrats joined with Republicans in voting against Debo Adegbile, whose nomination was adamantly and vocally opposed by conservatives due to his participation in an appeal filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal -- an internationally-known prisoner convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
Adegbile, 47, spent more than a decade working for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he served as the group’s in-house voting rights expert. The legal defense fund began its work on Abu-Jamal's behalf well before Adegbile began working for it, however he did contribute to the filing of a 2009 court brief that argued that Abu-Jamal faced a discriminatory jury -- an appeal later found to have merit by a judge.
But, that participation in Abu-Jamal's appeals, opponents including Faulkner's widow have argued, should disqualify him from holding any publicly appointed position in the justice system.
Printable Things I Never Told You: 1) Sorry I picked up your pug and ran him in for a touchdown. 2) I have a special place in my heart. You know, for blood and vessels and stuff like that. 3) I can't figure out why blurry people always ask me if I’ve been drinking. 4) My girlfriend says she thinks that I might be a stalker. We'll she's not exactly my girlfriend yet. 5) Rap is to music as Etch-A-Sketch is to art.....and that's five !
Today's Horoscope: Pisces - : Money is literally no object for th rest of this week since you lost all your money at the church bingo hall last night. Bear in mind that when you're playing church bingo, blurted obscenities are frowned upon. That little old lady that yelled "f*ck" when "bingo" was called is senile and everyone overlooks and pardons her.
Birthdays: My friend Moe - Happy Birthday racer 19XX, Gerardus Mercator, Flemish cartographer 1512, Antoine Cadillac, founder of Detroit 1658, Charles Goodnight, cattleman 1836, Lady Augusta Gregory, dramatist 1859, Rosa Luxemburg, revolutionary 1871, Rex Harrison, actor 1908.
The AREA 51 Retirement Home Bar And Grill: Little Johnny came home from school one day and said to his father, "Dad,what can you tell me about politics? I have to learn about it for school tomorrow." The father thought some and said, "Okay, son. The best way I can describe politics is to use an analogy."
He continued, "Lets say that I'm capitalism because I'm the bread winner. Your mother will be government because she controls everything, our maid will be the working class because she works for us, you will be the people because you answer to us and your baby brother will be the future. Does that help any?" Little Johnny said, "Well, Dad, I don't know, but I'll think about what you said."
Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed, Johnny was awaken by his brother's crying. Upon further investigation, he found a dirty diaper. So,he went down the hall to his parent's bedroom and found his father's side of the bed empty and his mother wouldn't wake up.
Then he saw a light on in the guest room down the hall, and when he reached the door, he saw through the crack that his father was in bed with the maid. Because he couldn't do anything else, he turned and went back to bed.
The next morning, he said to his father at the breakfast table, "Dad, I think I understand politics much better now." His father replied, "Excellent, my boy. What have you learned?"
Little Johnny thought for a minute and said, "I learned that capitalism is screwing the working class, government is sound asleep ignoring the people and the future's full of shit."
A cannibal was walking through the jungle and came upon a restaurant opened by a fellow cannibal. Feeling somewhat hungry he sat down and looked over the menu.
Broiled Missionary: $10.00
Fried Explorer: $15.00
Baked Politician: $100.00.
The cannibal called the waiter over and asked, "Why such a price difference for the politician?" The cook replied, "Have you ever tried to clean one of them?"
The Hits Just Keep On Coming: The IRS sends their auditor to audit a synagogue. The auditor is doing all the checks and then turns to the Rabbi and says, "I noticed that you buy a lot of candles." The Rabbi answered, Yes, I do." The auditor asked, "Well, Rabbi, what do you do with the candle drippings?"
The Rabbi said, "A good question. We actually save them up. When we have enough, we send them back to the candle maker and every now and then, they send us a free box of candles." The auditor, somewhat disappointed that his question actually had a practical answer replied, "Oh."
So the auditor decided he'd try another question, "Rabbi, what about all these matzo purchases? What do you do with the crumbs from the matzo? The Rabbi replied calmly, "Ah, yes, we actually collect up the crumbs, we send them in a box back to the manufacturer and every now and then, they send a free box of matzo balls."
The auditor, thinking hard how to fluster the Rabbi, asked, "Well, Rabbi, what do you do with all the foreskins from the circumcisions?" The Rabbi replied, "Yes, here too, we do not waste. What we do is save up all the foreskins, and when we have enough we actually send them to the IRS ."
The auditor, in disbelief, asked, "The IRS?" The Rabbi replied, "Yes, directly to The IRS and about once a year, they send us a little prick like you.”
A priest walked into a barber shop in Washington, D.C. After he got his haircut, he asked how much it would be. The barber said, "No charge. I consider it a service to the Lord." The next morning, the barber came to work and there were 12 prayer books and a thank you note from the priest in front of the door.
Later that day, a police officer came in and got his hair cut. He then asked how much it was. The barber said, "No charge. I consider it a service to the community." The next morning, he came to work and there were a dozen donuts and a thank you note from the police officer.
Then, a Senator came in and got a haircut. When he was done he asked how much it was. The barber said, "No charge. I consider it a service to the country." The next morning, the barber came to work and there were 12 Senators in front of the door.
That's it for today, my little pots and pansies. Remember, nowadays most people don't like holding hands in public, especially if you don't know them. I'm going to AREA 51 for happy hour.
More on Friday.
Stay Tuned !