Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Columnist Robin Abcarian Falsely Denies That Obama Supports Parental Choice on Vaccines

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

Robin Abcarian has written two columns mocking Chris Christie for saying vaccines are a matter of parental choice. This morning, Abcarian revealed she is unaware that is also Obama’s official position.

In a sloppy piece titled GOP 2016 primary field gets case of indigestion over measles vaccine, Abcarian bemoaned the notion that Chris Christie considers vaccinations to be a “choice” for parents:

For this turn of events, we can thank New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who responded Monday to a question about measles vaccines in the wake of our current outbreak of the disease by saying they are a “choice” for parents. (His office later clarified that he thinks all children should be vaccinated against measles.) Christie’s poorly thought out response set off a chain reaction among fellow potential Republican White House seekers.

She similarly pooh-poohed the idea that immunizations are a matter of parental “choice” in a piece titled Christie’s vaccination wobble: Predictable, cynical and unacceptable:

“I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”

That would have been an appropriate response to a question about, say, who decides whether a 6-year-old boy is ready for first grade. Or whether a smart kid should be moved to gifted classes. But immunizations as a choice? No. With rare exceptions, they are a social responsibility.

What Robin Abcarian does not seem to realize is that Obama’s official position is . . . that vaccines should be a choice made by parents. Josh Earnest said on January 30:

Q And obviously it [the measles outbreak] has revived the debate over vaccines. Does the President, does the White House have a message about that and who will be getting vaccinated?

MR. EARNEST: Well, the President certainly believes that these kinds of decisions are decisions that should be made by parents, because ultimately when we’re talking about vaccinations, we’re typically talking about vaccinations that are given to children. But the science on this, as our public health professionals I’m sure would be happy to tell you, the science on this is really clear.

Yet when I tried telling this to Robin Abcarian, she denied it:

“No,” she tells me. “No.”

Saying “there should not be a law to make parents do the right thing” is certainly the gloss that Earnest put on Obama’s position yesterday. Three different reporters asked Earnest whether Obama believes that vaccinations should be mandatory, and he dodged it each and every time by robotically repeating that formulation. But that doesn’t change the fact that, on January 30, he said quite clearly that “the President certainly believes that these kinds of decisions are decisions that should be made by parents.”

This is precisely the sort of position that Big Media in general — and Robin Abcarian in particular — has mocked in recent days when it comes from Chris Christie. Could it be that they simply didn’t even know that Obama’s position is the same? Or are they aware of the facts, but also aware that “Obama shares GOP views on vaccines” makes a poor headline?

I’ll give Abcarian the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is not lying, but is merely exemplifying the too-familiar indolent lefty herd mentality and ignorance that is characteristic of Big Media types. Abcarian is exactly the type Ted Cruz was talking about when he said: “Nobody reasonably thinks Chris Christie is opposed to vaccinating kids, other than a bunch of reporters who want to write headlines.” He might have added: “and lazy opinion columns.”

Please understand: I’m not saying that Robin Abcarian writes her columns by reaching a consensus with her liberal friends at the water cooler, and then heading straight to her computer to type to write down that consensus, with zero intervening research. I would not make such a claim, as I have no way of knowing whether it’s true.

But I am asking: if she did write her columns that way, how would they come out any different?


Email to Lois Lerner Refutes Absurd Claims by Robin Abcarian About the IRS Scandal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:10 pm

So, busy as I have been, I have not yet had a chance to comment on the House Oversight Committee’s report on Lois Lerner. You’ve probably all read about it already, but if not, John Sexton has an excellent summary at Breitbart. The report alleges several ways in which Lerner appears to have misled the committee. That said, the various accusations in the report are likely to be dismissed by many as partisan, and even though I think the report is dead on, I am also quite sure nothing will come of any of it.

But here’s a fact that caught my attention — and it’s tough to get around this. From Sexton’s summary:

And there is no doubt Lerner was aware who was being scrutinized. In July 2012, Lerner was notified by email that of the 199 501(c)(4) cases which had been set aside “approximately 3/4 appear to be conservative leaning while fewer than 10 appear to be liberal/progressive leaning groups…”

Sexton is dead on. I read the email myself.

For the math-challenged among you, 3/4 of 199 is right around 150. That’s 150 conservative leaning (c)(4) groups, vs. fewer than 10 liberal/progressive groups.

I will add that, according to the email, of the 84 bucketed (c)(3) cases, over half were conservative-leaning groups whereas no others had obvious political leanings. That’s over 42 conservative (c)(3) groups vs. zero lefty groups.

Why do I bring this up? Because, remember our good friend Robin Abcarian? Yeah, she’s the one who said:

[C]onservatives went crazy after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s famous May 2013 audit found the IRS may have flagged groups with “tea party” in their names for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

But that’s because Issa had asked the inspector general to look only at how tea party-affiliated groups were treated. He didn’t care to know, as we later found out thanks to Democrats on his committee, that the IRS was also flagging applications from liberal groups that used terms such as “progressive,” “medical marijuana” or “healthcare legislation.”

The IRS, see, was trying to prevent groups whose work is mainly political from receiving inappropriate tax-exempt status.

150 (c)(4) conservative groups vs. fewer than 10 lefty groups, Ms. Abcarian. 42 (c)(3) conservative groups vs. zero lefty groups. And that’s from an internal email. Not from the dreaded inspector general. It had nothing to do with Issa’s request. See page 45 of the appendix to the report linked above to read the email.

Go ahead, Robin Abcarian. Ignore this passage in the report. Ignore this post. Confirm our impression of you as a haughty Big Media elitist who doesn’t need to worry about pesky things like facts.

Go ahead.


Refuting Robin Abcarian’s Kinda Sorta Defense of Her Column

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:13 pm

As promised, this is my post addressing Robin Abcarian’s kinda sorta defense of her recent column. As you know, I recently blasted Abcarian on her partisan discussions of Benghazi and the IRS scandal, in two posts. Part One is here, and Part Two is here. The summary is here. The closest Abcarian came to defending her column was to retweet creepy banned troll timb:

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 12.54.13 PM

You’ll be shocked to learn that the evidence provided in the links does not show that I was wrong or that Abcarian was correct. The links back up what I originally said: while words like “progressive” or “occupy” showed up on BOLO (be on the lookout) lists, there is no evidence that they were used to actually target left-leaning groups. Moreover, there is no truth to Abcarian’s implication that the Inspector General did not look at the targeting of progressive groups because Issa gave him directions to focus only on conservative groups.

The beginning of the first link sounds concerning, as lefty Sam Stein and his pal Michael McAuliff portray the matter:

The inspector general behind the critical report about the IRS’ targeting of tea party groups acknowledged Thursday that the information in his report was not complete.

J. Russell George, the IRS inspector general, told the House Oversight Committee that only in the past few weeks has he become aware of documents showing that the IRS screened progressive groups in addition to conservative ones. George said he was “disturbed” by the fact that these documents were not provided to his team of investigators prior to the audit’s release and that he was continuing to investigate the issue.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it? But if anyone reads the piece all the way through — and, more importantly, actually reviews the testimony that is the subject of the piece — one comes away with quite a different impression: namely, that the IRS told George that the groups they had actually targeted for extra scrutiny were tea party and conservative groups . . . and that the numbers bear this out. While it is true that George said the IRS had not disclosed all relevant documents before the audit was completed, there is no evidence whatsoever that the IRS’s treatment of left-leaning and right-leaning groups was equivalent, as Abcarian claimed.

The thrust of the reporting at the two links centers around the testimony of Inspector General Russell George at a July 18, 2013 hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Rather than relying on the lefties at HuffPo for the content of that testimony, I offer to you the official testimony itself. It’s all on YouTube videos at this link.

George’s testimony, before he was questioned, is here. Here is a critical quote from George:

With respect to the 298 cases that the IRS selected for political review as of the end of May 2012, three have the word “Progressive” in the organization’s name. Another four used quote “Progress” Unquote. None of the 298 cases selected by the IRS as of May 2012 used the name “Occupy.”

I know you have questions and so do we on the other Be On the Look Out listings, but from the date of the May 17th, 2012 document until we issued our report one year later, IRS staff at multiple levels concurred with our analysis citing “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” and “9/12” and certain policy positions as the criteria the IRS used to select potential political cases.

Here’s how the HuffPo lefties characterize that:

George spent his testimony and statement defending some of the original findings. He noted that of the 298 cases provided by the IRS for his office’s review, 96 of them involved tea party or conservative groups. Seven involved ones with “progressive” or “progress” in their name.

Note how Stein and McAuliff partially obscure the fact that only three groups targeted had the word “progressive.” Three. And none had the word “occupy.” None. Stein does not mention that, either.

The above quote from George makes it clear that according to the IRS itself, the additional scrutiny was targeted at tea party and similar groups. George made clear in his testimony that he didn’t set out to limit his audit to tea party and conservative groups, and that his report focused on the treatment of those groups because those are the groups that the IRS said they had set aside for increased scrutiny. This fact was reinforced by Assistant Inspector General Gregory Kutz in a statement made at 46:33 in this video (which has only 415 views as of the publication of this post) from the hearings:

I just want to say, what Mr. George submitted at the beginning of the hearing is called the BOLO Advocacy Cases iterations. It was given to us May 17, 2012 and represented by the IRS to be the entire set of BOLOs that were used for political advocacy. We’re not making this up, we submitted it for the record. If IRS was doing something beyond that, they never made it apparent to us in an entire year of doing an audit. So I just want to make that clear. If other people were misused, we’re very concerned about that, but IRS is the one that asserted to us in this email and the document that Mr. George submitted for the record that the entire population of BOLOs used for political advocacy is on the document that says “tea parties” until Lois Lerner changed it to “advocacy” in July 2011. I just want to make that clear. That’s a key piece of evidence for us and they never changed their story for a year. When Ms. Lois Lerner came up May 10 she didn’t apologize for anything else except what the evidence that she gave us. I just want to make that clear to everybody.

This is a point that bears repeating, I think. Once again: Lois Lerner kicked off public interest in this by apologizing for the treatment of Tea Party groups. From USA Today, May 12, 2013:

The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for subjecting Tea Party groups to additional scrutiny during the 2012 election, but denied any political motive.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews. Her remarks, which came at an American Bar Association gathering, were first reported by the Associated Press.

Lerner didn’t apologize for targeting progressive groups. She apologized for targeting tea party and 9/11 groups.

As for Stein’s second link, this quote, I think, says it all:

Congressional Republicans have continued to argue that the screening was politically motivated, scandalous and worth further investigation. They’ve noted, correctly, that more conservative-leaning groups received scrutiny than did Democratic ones. And they’ve argued that even on the BOLO lists, IRS agents were told to apply enhanced scrutiny to Tea Party organizations.

Issa spokesman Ali Ahmad told The Huffington Post via email, “There is no comparison between screening applicants for a known bad actor that was having its tax exempt status revoked after inappropriate conduct had come to light with systematic screening for groups who were subjected to inappropriate and disparate treatment above and beyond other groups simply because they had ‘Tea Party’ in their name. The fact that Emerge was initially approved for tax exempt status, but had it revoked after its improper behavior came to light, underscores how much more stringent the IRS was with Tea Party applicants.”

So, the claim was that these links would prove I was wrong and Abcarian was right. Is that so? Let’s review what Abcarian said:

Sure, conservatives went crazy after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s famous May 2013 audit found the IRS may have flagged groups with “tea party” in their names for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

But that’s because Issa had asked the inspector general to look only at how tea party-affiliated groups were treated. He didn’t care to know, as we later found out thanks to Democrats on his committee, that the IRS was also flagging applications from liberal groups that used terms such as “progressive,” “medical marijuana” or “healthcare legislation.”

This was addressed in the testimony, and George said precisely the opposite of what Abcarian claims. I am going to break my Politico boycott here because they have by far the best summary and quote on this particular point:

One of the more dramatic moments of the hearing came when Connolly asked George about statements Karen Kraushaar, his top spokesperson, made to the media about the narrow scope of the IRS audit.

George said Kraushaar “misspoke” as she sat directly behind him.

“It was not with my authorization and she misspoke,” George said.

Kraushaar previously told media outlets, including POLITICO, that the inspector general didn’t expand the scope of the audit requested by Issa to include liberal and progressive groups. She said the inspector general was asked “to narrowly focus on Tea Party organizations.”

So the testimony at the actual hearing referenced by timb’s link refutes Abcarian’s claim. What happened, as George repeatedly explained at the hearing, was that he was looking at all groups that were targeted, and went where the evidence led him.

Robin Abcarian, is that all you got?

P.S. I wish I had noted where this came up, but one of the Congressmen made reference to Ms. Lerner’s statement that receiving a thick questionnaire from the IRS is a “behavior changer.” That is something first broken on this blog, in this post. The person who gave me that tip — and they know who they are — can be proud that their tip ended up being discussed in a highly public hearing in Congress on an important issue.


Taking L.A. Times Columnist Robin Abcarian to Task for Her Misleading Column About Chris Christie, Benghazi, and the IRS Scandal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

I have spent the last two days systematically dismantling a silly column by Robin Abcarian of the L.A. Times, who claims that Chris Christie’s bridge-closing deal is a big deal while the IRS and Benghazi scandals were manufactured and meaningless. Part One is here, and Part Two is here. Those posts run a little long, but I assure you it’s fun reading, with the type of joyous Times-bashing that is the reason I started this blog. I’d like to summarize in one short post the basic points I made, and update you on Abcarian’s supercilious responses.

  • Abcarian says “the IRS was trying to do its job” and claims the Inspector General focused on Tea Party groups only “because Issa had asked the inspector general to look only at how tea party-affiliated groups were treated.” Contrary to Ms. Abcarian’s false implication, I proved that the Inspector General had indeed looked at how progressive groups were treated, and found that conservatives were overwhelmingly the targets of higher levels of time-consuming scrutiny.
  • Abcarian says that “no any amount of reporting” (whatever that means) “can change the fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton did not cause the tragedy that befell four Americans at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.” I noted that nobody is claiming Clinton “caused” the deaths, but there is abundant evidence that her State Department was responsible for overly lax security, which is why a bipartisan Senate report said that she could have prevented the attack.
  • Abcarian claims that it is a “fact” that “the Obama White House did not lie about what happened.” I provided quotes from each of the five appearances Susan Rice made on the Sunday talk shows, with links to the transcripts, in which Rice consistently said that the killings were the result of a “spontaneous protest.” I also provided proof that the White House knew days earlier, within moments of the attack, that it was no spontaneous protest, but rather a planned terrorist attack.
  • Abcarian says the Obama scandals got plenty of headlines. I agreed that they did — but noted that the headlines (and stories) were misleading. For example, when Greg Hicks testified that the Obama administration retaliated against him for questioning Rice’s false talking points, the headline in Abcarian’s L.A. Times was “Envoy describes night of Benghazi attack.” The story, incredibly, never even mentioned Hicks’s testimony that he was effectively demoted for raising questions about the administration’s lies.

So how has Abcarian reacted to my detailed posts with links and sources showing that she had misled her readers? I told you yesterday about this exchange:

It wasn’t an implication on my part, but why let accuracy get in the way of (what you think is) a good line?

Last night and this morning I pressed Ms. Abcarian to back up her claim that my posts were false and misleading.

As I expected, she would not, taking a “let’s agree to disagree” attitude:

I pressed further:

And here it is: the classic Big Media dismissal:

What can I say to that?


Part Two of My Dismantling of Robin Abcarian’s Hack Work on Chris Christie, Benghazi, and the IRS

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:30 pm

This is Part Two of my dismantling of the hackwork of Robin Abcarian. Part One, which took apart her implied claim that the IRS didn’t truly target tea party conservatives, is here.

Tonight we’ll take apart Ms. Abcarian’s claims that the Obama administration didn’t do anything wrong with respect to Benghazi:

As for Benghazi, no any amount of reporting can change the fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton did not cause the tragedy that befell four Americans at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, nor that the Obama White House did not lie about what happened.

Poor Lara Logan and CBS’ iconic news program, “60 Minutes” are paying the price for falling into the partisan trap.

Will the events of Benghazi affect the presumed White House aspirations of former Secretary of State Clinton? Probably not. The people hammering away on the Benghazi tragedy were never going to support her anyway. And we see that exhaustive reporting, most recently by David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times, has done nothing to quell her critics, who, like Issa, operate purely out of partisan instincts, not a quest for the truth.

Let’s unpack that. Abcarian says “no any amount of reporting” (whatever that means) can change the fact that Hillary Clinton did not “cause” the Benghazi killings. Depending on how you interpret that, it’s either a fantasic strawman or an unproved assertion. Nobody is saying that Hillary Clinton “caused” the deaths; obviously, the terrorist caused the deaths, and saying anything else is a strawman. But did Hillary Clinton contribute to the dangerous situation, through action or inaction? If that is the issue, I submit that it is far from a “fact” that she cannot be blamed in any way.

We have discussed this before, but let’s review. In this post I discussed a December 2011 memo from a State Department bureaucrat who had pledged “to rapidly implement a series of corrective security measures” at Benghazi. It never happened, and former State Department officials say the responsibility lay with Hillary Clinton, who (given applicable protocol) was likely consulted on such a decision. And if she was not, she should have been.

And just today, we see a bipartisan Senate report blaming the Obama administration for not preventing the attack. Again: bipartisan.

So, Ms. Abcarian, is it a “fact” that Hillary Clinton did not cause the deaths? Only in the silly and meaningless sense that she was not personally one of the killers. Otherwise, the evidence is there to suggest she had a role to play in the weakening of security.

As for the “fact” that “the Obama White House did not lie about what happened” . . .

Was Susan Rice part of the Obama White House? Or is Ms. Abcarian doing some Clintonian parsing to claim otherwise. Because here’s what Susan Rice said to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video.

This was not a case of misspeaking: Rice said some variant of this on five different shows. On ABC’s This Week, she described it by saying “it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo.” On “Face the Nation” she described it as a “spontaneous protest” and added: “we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.” On “Meet the Press” Rice said that “what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video.” And on CNN’s “State of the Union” Rice described the attack as “that horrific incident where some mob was hijacked ultimately by a handful of extremists.”

As James Rosen reported yesterday, however, newly declassified documents corroborate what widespread reporting had already told us: Obama was told as the attack was happening that it was a terrorist attack — not a “spontaneous protest” as Rice repeatedly described it days later. Rosen says:

Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation’s top civilian and uniformed defense officials — headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama — were informed that the event was a “terrorist attack,” declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president’s Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward.

Yet Ms. Abcarian describes it as a “fact” that the Obama White House did not lie about Benghazi. What arrant nonsense. “No any” amount of partisan column-writing can change the facts that show they did.

Abcarian makes a big point in her column that the IRS and Benghazi scandals did indeed generate headlines. OK, but what kind of coverage came under those headlines? Unlike the endless pumping of the Christie lane-closure thing, organizations like Abcarian’s L.A. Times were turning out utterly hackish articles. For example, when Greg Hicks testified about how his career was suddenly ruined the second he questioned Rice’s dishonest talking points, the L.A. Times had a headline, all right — but the headline was “Envoy describes night of Benghazi attack.” The article claimed that the heading “shed little new light on the key questions at issue in the hearing: whether there was anything more the U.S. military could have done to thwart the attack and whether the Obama administration intentionally misled the American people” — while never mentioning the fact that Hicks had been attacked and effectively demoted for questioning the White House’s effort to whitewash the affair through misleading talking points. I detailed all this in this outraged post.

As for Abcarian’s statement: “Will the events of Benghazi affect the presumed White House aspirations of former Secretary of State Clinton? Probably not. The people hammering away on the Benghazi tragedy were never going to support her anyway.” Yeah? Will Christie’s scandal affect his presumed White House aspirations? The people hammering away at it were never going to support him anyway. That’s what an airy and dismissive wave of the hand looks like when it’s coming at you, Ms. Abcarian.

As for that Kirkpatrick article, its reporting has been contradicted by witnesses on the ground. Don’t expect to hear that from Ms. Abcarian.

I’ll leave you with this Twitter exchange from today:

She has not given me an answer and frankly, I doubt I will get one. Surprise me, Ms. Abcarian. Surprise me.

This is what Big Media Arrogance looks like, ladies and gentlemen. That’s it, right there. When they ask for an example in the future, I trust you’ll have this post bookmarked.

L.A. Times Columnist Robin Abcarian Falsely Implies IRS Targeted Progressive Groups and Tea Party Groups Equally

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

L.A. Times hack Robin Abcarian has a silly column pushing the idea that the Christie bridge-closing deal is huge while the IRS scandal and Benghazi were giant nothingburgers. There is so much nonsense in her column that I can’t attack it all in one post, or I would never get to work. So for now, let’s start with one example: her absurd contention that the IRS scandal merely represented the IRS doing its job in an evenhanded manner.

No amount of reporting can change the reality for Republicans (especially Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and proud architect of pointless, politically self-serving investigations) that the IRS was trying to do its job. In some contexts, ineptitude — say, a botched hurricane response — is scandalous. [That’s the obligatory lefty link to a Web page about Katrina there. — P]

But that’s not what happened here.

Sure, conservatives went crazy after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s famous May 2013 audit found the IRS may have flagged groups with “tea party” in their names for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

But that’s because Issa had asked the inspector general to look only at how tea party-affiliated groups were treated. He didn’t care to know, as we later found out thanks to Democrats on his committee, that the IRS was also flagging applications from liberal groups that used terms such as “progressive,” “medical marijuana” or “healthcare legislation.”

The IRS, see, was trying to prevent groups whose work is mainly political from receiving inappropriate tax-exempt status.

See? The IRS didn’t do a damned thing wrong, and it’s only because Issa’s questions focused on the treatment of conservative groups that we heard a lot about conservative groups. That’s Abcarian’s line, and she seems to actually believe it.

Abcarian strongly implies that the Inspector General didn’t even look at the treatment of progressive groups. That is utterly and completely false, as you are about to see. I’m going to give Ms. Abcarian the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is not deliberately trying to mislead her readers.

But the problem, Ms. Abcarian, is that when you put ideological blinders on, you overlook holes in your analysis. Your passage above seems to equate the concept of “flagging” applications with the concept of those applications actually receiving extra scrutiny. Had you done a little extra research, you would have found out that there is more to it. You cite a Talking Points Memo post from June 26, 2013. Let me offer you a couple of other links, starting with this CBS News story from June 27, 2013:

Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel told Congress Thursday that progressive groups seeking tax-exempt status were inappropriately flagged by IRS officials, in addition to tea party and conservative groups.

At the same time, a letter from a Treasury Department watchdog to Congress suggests that while progressives were flagged, tea party groups were subject to a much higher level of scrutiny.

Testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee, Werfel acknowledged that the word “progressive” did appear on a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) list that IRS officials used to target groups for further scrutiny.

“The types of political organizations on these BOLO lists are wide ranging, but they do include ‘progressive,'” he said.

Meanwhile, in a letter released Thursday, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA), noted that out of the 298 groups set aside for a closer look between May 2010 and May 2012, only six had the words “progress” or “progressive” in their names.

“In total, 30 percent of the organizations we identified with the words ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’ in their names were processed as potential political cases,” George wrote to Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. “In comparison, our audit found that 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases during the timeframe of our audit.”

See, contrary to Abcarian’s implication, the Inspector General did look at all instances of improper targeting on both sides of the political aisle. It’s just that the overwhelming number of organizations actually targeted were conservative. This is even more clearly confirmed by a Washington Post article from the same day:

The Internal Revenue Service scrutinized “progressive” groups less harshly than conservative groups, the Treasury Inspector General said in a letter to Congress this week.

J. Russell George, the investigator who carried out a probe into the IRS’ targeting of groups that applied for tax-exempt status, said he did not limit his investigation to tea party groups.

“Our audit did not find evidence that the IRS used the ‘progressives’ identifier as selection criteria for potential political cases between May 2010 and May 2012,” George wrote in a letter to House Ways and Means ranking Democrat Rep. Sandy Levin.

The revelations come after Democrats seized on a set of redacted spreadsheets released this week that detailed the “Be On The Lookout,” or BOLO, criteria used by the IRS tax-exempt group to screen applications. On that list was “progressive” as well as “tea party.”

Although “tea party” applications were sent to a team of specialists that looked into potential political cases, Russell says, “progressive” groups were sent to a different team within the IRS for processing.

I know people don’t talk about this stuff around the water cooler, Ms. Abcarian, but it was not difficult for me to find these articles, and you could have found them too.

But then, that would have made it more difficult to put your hands on your hips and get all outraged, now, wouldn’t it?

These people are trying to rewrite history, but they’re leaving out the part where the facts matter. We can’t let this happen. I plan to have more on this absurd column. This is just Part One. Thanks to Dana.

UPDATE: Part Two is here.


Tracking Down O’Keefe’s Quote to Abcarian

Filed under: — Patterico @ 6:34 pm

Rainey named Robin Abcarian as the reporter to whom O’Keefe had allegedly given the above quote. It took some doing, but I have now obtained the actual quote from Abcarian.

The quote from Abcarian’s notes is what Abcarian claims is the original quote from O’Keefe. Abcarian e-mailed me this quote on December 28. Keep in mind that these are Abcarian’s notes from a phone interview, and so they may not be completely verbatim. However, this is the source material for Rainey’s alleged quote in which, Rainey claimed, O’Keefe supposedly said he “follows the mold of filmmaker Michael Moore, using confrontation to get at his version of the truth.”

O’Keefe confirmed that the quote is mostly accurate, although he doesn’t remember using the word “agenda.”


Same Old Dog Trainer in 2019

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — JVW @ 4:29 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Another year, more ridiculous opinions from the Los Angeles Times. This one is all about the fact that key organizers of the Women’s March have been exposed as rank anti-semites. That ought to be an embarrassment to anyone of good will and common decency, but the Dog Trainer gives space to the always-delusional columnist Robin Abcarian to argue, hey, what’s the big deal about a little bit of Jew-hating among allies?

The original Women’s March national co-chairs are a varied group: white, black, Latina, Palestinian.

Last March, according to a detailed account in Tablet, an online magazine that reports on Jewish news and culture, three of the Women’s March founders praised Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan during a conference call with leaders of the group’s state chapters, despite his abysmal record of anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism.

Tablet reported that some women were offended that the group’s leaders did not denounce Farrakhan on the spot. His rhetoric, they felt, could not be reconciled with the inclusive principles of the Women’s March.

Personally, I find Farrakhan’s world view vile. Yet, I think it is possible to be repulsed by his hateful rhetoric about white people, especially Jews, and still appreciate some of the empowerment work that he has done in the black community, including leading the 1995 Million Man March to promote African American family unity.

Yeah. Rev. Jim Bakker stole money and fooled around with his young secretary, but he led a bunch of people to Jesus Christ so let’s not dwell on what a sleazebag he was and let’s totally give the benefit of the doubt to all the televangelists who admire and seek to emulate him. Do you think Ms. Abcarian attempted to draw an equivalence to Donald Trump supporters too? But of course:

How about all those Trump admirers who overlook his constant and casual expressions of racism, or his more pointedly racist call to execute five young men of color — later exonerated in the rape and beating of a Central Park jogger — whom he described in four full-page newspaper ads as “roving bands of wild criminals”?

And hey, it hardly matters if the organizers are bigots and hypocrites when they are empowering women!

In January 2017, I flew to Washington to cover the march in a plane jam packed with women and girls flaunting pink pussy hats. Three generations of women in my family converged for the demonstration.

It was one of the most inspiring public events I’d ever attended — on par with the inauguration of President Obama in 2009 — a torrential display of high spirits, patriotism and idealism.
In November, I daresay, we saw the fruits of the original Women’s March on Washington.

[. . .]

While organizers of the Women’s March battled over who said what to whom about Jewish people when, and the merits of a noted anti-Semite, American women stood up by the millions and changed the country.

For that, everyone involved in the Women’s March can take a bow.

And with that, Robin Abcarian declares that angry leftist women greatly outrank the Jewish people — by several steps it would seem — in the intersectionality sweepstakes, and we should all just give a pass to the open ugliness of that whole crew. What an awful column, what a sadly blinkered woman, and what a garbage newspaper the Los Angeles Times continues to be. Happy New Year to them. I have never regretted cancelling my subscription to that rag fifteen years ago.



Romanticizing The Heinous

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:53 am

[guest post by Dana]

Susan Robinson was sitting on the patio of her Central Coast home, above golden hills and oak trees shimmering in the summer heat. She sipped homemade hibiscus tea as she patted the head of her mischievous border collie, Radar, and told me about the pride she takes in her work.

Thus Robin Abcarian pays homage to Dr. Susan Robinson and her “work” as one of the few third-trimester abortionists in the nation. The grandmotherly looking woman at the link appears to be a kind, happy soul who would welcome anyone with open arms. But if you are a baby in the womb and near full-term, she will welcome you with anything but. However, don’t be distracted by that ugly truth because she is doing a noble thing:

She is in the business of ending pregnancies, yes, but more important, she is in the business of helping women assert control over their own lives.

Abcarian’s manipulative presentation of Robinson willfully ignores, from beginning to end, the brass tacks of what it is that Robinson actually does. Tellingly, Robinson does not justify these third-trimester abortions as necessary to save the the life of a mother. There is no mention that the third-trimester baby being killed has had a 90% chance of survival outside of the mother’s body. Nor is it mentioned that in the third trimester abortion, the baby will feel pain as their fetal cranium is pierced with sharp scissors and their brain vacuum suctioned out. All of this, including the very humanity of the baby, is studiously avoided. Abcarian also neglects to ask the obvious of Robinson: Why not let these babies be born, given that they are nearly full-term? (How about, why not give them the same opportunity to live as Abcarian and Robinson had?)

Robinson is the do-gooder romanticizing the barbaric butchery that she takes pride in:

“There is no other field in medicine where people come to you so desperate,” she said, “and you can really help pretty much everyone who walks through the door.”

Of course, one must die a brutal death for another to be “helped.”

And Abcarian is all too willing to be a shill for this deception. It’s to be expected, given that she shares the same extremist views:

It is long past time to reclaim abortion as a social good, long past time pretending that it is a horrible tragedy for everyone who has one. One in three American women will have had an induced abortion in her lifetime. Women experience many emotions around the decision, but for most, it is a relief.

Robinson previously worked with George Tiller, the infamous third-trimester abortion doctor who was murdered in 2009:

“His murder changed things,” Robinson said. Tiller rarely gave interviews, insisting on keeping the focus on patients, and he instilled in Robinson the same ethic. But after he died, she decided to speak out.

“If you are secretive, you are sort of colluding in the stigma of abortion,” Robinson said. “Now when people ask what I do, I say, ‘My specialty is abortion care, and I love my job!’ “

“Abortion care.” Robinson is yet one more in a long line of butchers throughout history who also “loved” their “work.”

Abcarian defends Planned Parenthood and their extremist positions with the usual claptrap about reproductive rights, as well as defending the callousness of the industry. As it goes, it is necessary for Abcarian and Robinson to cling to the specific terminology which denies humanity and renders the possibility of such, null and void:

The most recent surreptitious video in the slow-drip campaign against Planned Parenthood shows a clinic technician identifying parts of an aborted fetus in a glass dish to anti-abortion activists posing as procurement agents for researchers.

Contrary to the orchestrated outrage, this was not a display of callousness. It was a straightforward clinical approach. How could a lab technician identify fetal tissue for medical research without examining it?

Such exams take place after every abortion, when what the medical profession calls the “products of conception” are examined to make sure the procedure was complete.

Moreover, Abcarian falsely asserts the political righteousness of the abortionists Tiller and Robinson:

As she did frequently during our conversation, Robinson recalled one of Tiller’s many mantras: “Women are spiritually, emotionally and intellectually capable of struggling with complex ethical issues and arriving at the correct decision for themselves and their families.”

Is there a single Republican running for president who could say that and mean it?

At the end of the tribute to third-trimester butchery, Robinson reads from a journal where patients have thanked her and offered encouragement to other women.

Abcarian tells readers that Robinson’s eyes filled with tears when she read the moving statements from patients whose babies were killed by her hand. No doubt the grandmotherly looking woman with the wide open smile and extremist views, killed with heartfelt hands of kindness.



Lerner Contempt Hearing Today

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:27 am

Lois Lerner has been referred for a contempt charge for refusing to answer questions posed by the House Oversight Committee, after having made a grandstanding statement in which she denied breaking any laws or doing anything wrong. The vote, to be held by the House Oversight Committee, will take place today. You can watch the proceedings live here. All these votes are happening on party lines, so I think you can expect she will be held in contempt and it will be dismissed as partisan by the partisan Democrats. (The fact that we don’t agree with your correct conclusion makes your conclusion partisan, will be their argument.)

In a separate proceeding, a committee voted (along party lines) to refer Lerner for consideration of prosecution by Eric Holder, himself in contempt of Congress. “You don’t want to go there, buddy!” Here’s the guy who will be deciding whether to prosecute Lerner:

So let’s all hold our breath over that.

Meanwhile, it looks like Lerner and Elijah Cummings may have snuggled up regarding True the Vote:

New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings’ staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.

That’s not at issue in today’s contempt hearings, but it’s an indication of why it’s important to hold Lerner accountable. Of course, holding her in contempt and doing nothing to follow up isn’t really holding her accountable, and she won’t really be held accountable, but it doesn’t change the fact that she should be.

P.S. It’s worth keeping this in mind, too:

IRS agents testified before Congress that the agency’s political targeting did not apply to progressive groups as Democrats and the media have claimed, according to a bombshell new staff report prepared by the House Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa.

IRS agents testified before Oversight that ACORN groups were scrutinized because the agency thought they were old organizations applying as new ones. Emerge America was scrutinized for potential “improper private benefit.” No evidence exists that the IRS requested additional information from any Occupy Wall Street group.

“Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons,” according to the Oversight staff report, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.

Paging Robin Abcarian! (Who is busy demagoguing the wage gap argument that was overwhelmingly debunked here last night.)

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