STORY #1: Fire!
Don’t ask me how I know this, but there is a scene in the Fifty Shades of Grey series in which the lead asshole fires five people in response to an arson in his company’s server room. Apparently that really is how business works, if recent personnel changes at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are any indication. Acting commissioner Steven Miller was asked to resign on Wednesday; Joseph Grant, acting commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities division, did the same yesterday. I think President Obama would have earned more points if he straight-up fired their asses.
This may not make a lot of sense at first, since Miller didn’t become acting commissioner until late last year, and Grant was only appointed to the job he just resigned last week. But Miller was previously deputy commissioner of services and enforcement, which directly supervises the above-named division. Meanwhile, Grant was the division’s deputy since 2007. So, yes, they were there. This likely means Lois Lerner’s job is safe, although someone who can’t figure out that 75 is one-quarter of 300 shouldn’t work for the IRS.
STORY #2: Agents of (media) shield
Can anyone point to a time before this week when President Obama expressed support for media shield legislation? The White House has just asked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to reintroduce it; his version would “allow media organizations to challenge subpoenas of phone records and offer legal protections for protecting confidential sources.” Of course, The New Yorker has its own way of avoiding having to deal with that. Don’t be surprised if other media outlets catch on.
The trouble, as numerous outlets have pointed out, is that the exact legislation Obama supports may not have prevented the subpoenas of Associated Press (AP) phone records. The AP believes they were targeted over a story concerning a bomb plot in Yemen; the legislation would see to it that a judge could not invalidate a subpoena if the information could help “prevent a future terrorist attack or other acts likely to harm national security.” I would advise you to give The White Paper another read for this administration’s national security standards.
STORY #3: Whipping boys
Meanwhile, the White House decided to do its own leak this week, releasing 100 pages of e-mails designed to show that it really didn’t have anything to do with revising the administration’s talking points on the U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi. Of course, they ended up making the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) look worse in the process – except, hilariously, for then-director, now-disgrace David Petraeus – but as long as their ass is covered, right? If they think anyone will be waved off by this, they’re insane as well as incompetent.