Was Kermit Gosnell really the outlier abortion-rights advocates would like us to believe? No—the real question seems to be, how many more Gosnells are out there? According to an Operation Rescue report released Wednesday, there’s at least one more in Texas.
Four former employees of this ‘house of horrors’ are speaking out, and as one would expect, the details are just as gruesome and shocking as those revealed during Gosnell’s trial.
"Houston doctor Douglas Karpen is accused by four former employees of delivering live fetuses during third-trimester abortions and killing them by either snipping their spinal cord, stabbing a surgical instrument into their heads or 'twisting their heads off their necks with his own bare hands'.
Other times the fetus was so big he would have to pull it out of the womb in pieces, Karpen's ex-assistant, Deborah Edge, said in an Operation Rescue video, which has prompted a criminal investigation into the doctor."
(This video contains graphic testimony but does not show any graphic images)
Equally disturbing in this case is that Operation Rescue filed a complaint with the Texas Medical Board against the abortionist, including a history of problems, photographs and whistleblower accounts, but it was dismissed on the grounds of “insufficient evidence.” Operation Rescue’s report documents the entire story.
“Douglas Karpen is so like Kermit Gosnell that it is uncanny, from the illegal late-term abortions, to killing babies born alive, to even the sewers clogged with fetal remains,” Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger said. “But the most disturbing thing is that we know there are others out there who are maybe even worse than Gosnell and Karpen, who just have not been caught yet. How many? There’s just no way to tell, but that thought should give everyone pause to think. Can we really afford to allow abortion clinics to run amok without accountability? When we do, we get places like Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors” and Karpen’s apparently illicit operation. The ones that pay the price for the lack of enforcement and oversight are those who can’t defend themselves from exploitation by men like them.”
CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson -- last heard from explaining that although her bosses have been supportive of her Benghazi reporting, her network's shows and producers don't seem interested -- has chased down another major scoop. This time, she quotes unnamed White House officials admitting that administration leaders determined they would not deploy a counterterror response team to Benghazi from the get-go:
The Foreign Emergency Support Team known as "FEST" is described as "the US Government's only interagency, on-call, short-notice team poised to respond to terrorist incidents worldwide." It even boasts hostage-negotiating expertise. With U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens reported missing shortly after the Benghazi attacks began, Washington officials were operating under a possible hostage scenario at the outset. Yet deployment of the counterterrorism experts on the FEST was ruled out from the start. That decision became a source of great internal dissent and the cause of puzzlement to some outsiders.
Thursday, an administration official who was part of the Benghazi response told CBS News: "I wish we'd sent it." The official said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's deputy, Patrick Kennedy, quickly dispensed with the idea. A senior State Department official Thursday told CBS News, "Under Secretary Kennedy is not in the decision chain on FEST deployment" but would not directly confirm whether Kennedy or somebody else dismissed the FEST. [FEST leader] leader Mark Thompson says Benghazi was precisely the sort of crisis to which his team is trained to respond. While it was the State Department that's said to have taken FEST off the table, the team is directed by the White House National Security Council.
So someone high up in the administration decided "from the start" that a FEST crew wouldn't be sent to Benghazi, even though the team's leader says his group was designed to handle exactly that sort of emergency. We don't know who made the decision to shut down the FEST option, or why. These questions must be answered. The FEST chain of command resides inside the State Department and the White House. Attkisson reports that much like the Tripoli response team that was ordered to stand down twice, FEST members were shocked when their services weren't required in Benghazi:
As soon as word of the Benghazi attack reached Washington, FEST members "instinctively started packing," said an official involved in the response. "They were told they were not deploying by Patrick Kennedy's front office... In hindsight... I probably would've pushed the button." It's unclear what assistance FEST might have provided on site in the hours and days after the Benghazi attacks. In the end, Obama administration officials argue that its quick deployment would not have saved lives because, while the U.S.-based team might have made it to Tripoli, Libya, before the attacks ended, they most certainly wouldn't have made it to Benghazi in time...Still, nobody knew at the outset how long the crisis was going to last. Said one source, "I don't see a downside to sending FEST...if for no other reason than so no one could ask why we didn't."
The officials spoke to CBS News in a series of interviews and communications under the condition of anonymity so that they could be more frank in their assessments. They do not all agree on the list of mistakes and it's important to note that they universally claim that any errors or missteps did not cost lives and reflect "incompetence rather than malice or cover up." Nonetheless, in the eight months since the attacks, this is the most sweeping and detailed discussion by key players of what might have been done differently. "We're portrayed by Republicans as either being lying or idiots," said one Obama administration official who was part of the Benghazi response. "It's actually closer to us being idiots."
I'll leave you with Charles Krauthammer's typically excellent column on Benghazi. It entails a clear summary of the subject, and some sage advice for Republican investigators.
Incredible! Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PN) will win your hearts and minds with his questioning and statements: you'll see why he got a rousing ovation once he concluded. One of the many poignant allegations Kelly made to ousted IRS commissioner Steven Miller highlights the two freeze-frames below: "This is very chilling for the American people. [...] You should be outraged, but you're not."
Here's the video:
"We" meaning he and sidekick Sarah Ingram. Well, that makes sense. Sarah Ingram "provided horrible customer service" but Steven Miller thinks she deserves to be head honcho at the Obamacare office.
Stephen Miller, the acting IRS chief who "resigned" this week despite being on his way out the door anyway, appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee this morning to testify about his agency's documented malfeasance. Here are the biggest take-aways so far:
(1) Miller repeatedly objected to the term "targeting" to describe the IRS' practices, which involved...targeting conservative groups for heightened scrutiny. He said the term was "pejorative" and "loaded." Miller later denied that conservative groups were even "treated differently," and faced no "litmus test." Who believes this? Both he and the Inspector General insisted there's no evidence (yet) that the targeting scheme was motivated by political bias -- aside from the entire basis of the scandal and any number of specific cases, I guess. Miller did fleetingly admit that liberal groups were not subjected to similar definitional "triage," which seems to be the preferred term. "Targeting" is so judgmental.
(2) Under intense questioning from several members, Miller said he doesn't know who was responsible for the agency's inappropriate conduct. He wasn't even sure who investigated it within the organization. No names. Over and over again, he said that he didn't know answers to questions. He also claimed to have become aware about certain aspects of the scandal (such as the auditing of conservative donors and the leaking of private information to outside groups) through the news media.
(3) Miller revealed that the manner in which the IRS made the scandal public was coordinated and staged during a Q&A session last Friday. Someone outside the IRS was tipped off to ask the question that prompted the initial revelation. Hugh Hewitt makes a great point:
Focus on Lois Lerner-Celia Roady revelation. Roady tipped, got inside IRS info. How often does IRS tip it's "friends" and for what reasons— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) May 17, 2013
(4) Incredibly, Miller said that Sarah Hall Ingram -- the woman who was in charge of the division that chiefly responsible for the targeting program, and who now runs the IRS' Obamacare office -- is a "superb public servant." He added that the division she ran provided "horrible customer service here."
(5) On disciplinary action, Miller stated that one employee has been "reassigned." (He and one other IRS official have announced a "resignation" and "retirement").
(6) Democrats on the committee seemed to be working from a similar playbook: Expressing "outrage" over the targeting, then (a) invoking Bush and Citizens United, (b) explaining why this was all a stupid mistake that wasn't partisan or malicious, and (c) complaining about the influence of money in politics. They circled the wagons around the White House and relied on heavy misdirection to change the subject. Benghazi, redux.
(7) Perhaps emboldened by Democrats' stirring defense, Miller actually asked Congress to give the IRS more funding. Really.
(8) Here's a key exchange, in which Paul Ryan clearly lays out the evidence that Miller was not truthful with the committee last time he testified on the subject, before everything blew up. Miller flatly rejected that he'd been anything less than honest, and "stands by" his previous testimony. Damning stuff:
Testifying before Congress this morning, outgoing IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller sought to convince everyone that the targeting of conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election was nothing more than a "foolish mistake."
There are many reasons this narrative is profoundly unconvincing -- in addition to the fact that it's being peddled by Miller, who previously withheld information from Congress about the targeting despite inquiries on it. The main reason, however, has to do with activity by the Determinations Unit's "team of specialists."
Check out the bottom of page 7 of the IG report. It notes that in June 2011, the Director of Exempt Organizations directed that the targeting criteria be changed and the next month, they were indeed changed to, as the IG report puts it, "focus on the potential 'political, lobbying, or [general] advocacy' activities of the organizations," rather than using "organization names and policy positions."
But then, "the team of specialists subsequently changed the criteria in January 2012 without executive approval . . . the January 2012 criteria again focused on the policy positions of organizations instead of tax-exempt laws and Treasury Regulations." (emphasis added).
That admission alone highlights how absolutely unbelievable the "foolish mistake" excuse is. Had it simply been a matter of clueless IRS employees -- and who can believe anyone in good faith believes it's OK to practice viewpoint discrimination in administering the tax law?! -- there wouldn't have been a concerted effort to refocus on policy positions after the criteria had been changed to focus on applicants' activities, rather than their beliefs.
Miller's insistence on propagating an obviously misleading narrative for what happened and why points out just how much independent investigation is required.
The confluence of multiple scandals -- Benghazi, the IRS, the AP wiretaps -- has forced President Obama into a political vise of his own making.
If he appears to be in charge of his administration and all its activities, he is de facto implicating himself in wrongdoing. To try to hold on to support from anyone but the committed left, he therefore has to distance himself by painting himself as essentially out-of-the-loop in his own administration. But (by necessity) taking the other tack -- call it the Seargant Schultz approach -- he is losing his liberal base. . . all the people who were counting on his managerial skill to usher in a left-wing utopia.
If he's in the know, he's a wrongdoer. If he's not in the know, he's incompetent. That's some wedge issue the President has created for himself.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is likely to be tapped as the next National Security Advisor, according to a report in Foreign Policy. The report quotes a pair of sources who said that Rice will inevitably succeed current National Security Advisor Tom Donilon whenever he leaves the post. "It's definitely happening," one source said.
We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they're seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration's credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don't look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone. Something big has shifted. The standing of the administration has changed. As always it comes down to trust. Do you trust the president's answers when he's pressed on an uncomfortable story? Do you trust his people to be sober and fair-minded as they go about their work? Do you trust the IRS and the Justice Department? You do not. The president, as usual, acts as if all of this is totally unconnected to him. He's shocked, it's unacceptable, he'll get to the bottom of it. He read about it in the papers, just like you. But he is not unconnected, he is not a bystander. This is his administration. Those are his executive agencies. He runs the IRS and the Justice Department. A president sets a mood, a tone. He establishes an atmosphere. If he is arrogant, arrogance spreads. If he is to too partisan, too disrespecting of political adversaries, that spreads too.
Reality is sometimes crazier than fiction. My initial reaction? You must be joking (via ABC News):
The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation. Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today. Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.
If you're waiting for a rimshot, give it up. Smell the reality, friends. And In case you were curious, yes of course Ms. Ingram raked in more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded bonuses as she oversaw her office's the abusive targeting scheme. Now she's off to bigger and better things; namely, monitoring and enforcing your healthcare arrangements. Conservatives have already started making the IRS-Obamacare nexus clear -- a killer talking point -- but this new information brings the connection to an entirely new level. The woman who is arguably the individual most directly responsible for the operation of the IRS targeting scandal has been promoted to run Obamacare enforcement. Let that sink in. Obamacare's core individual mandate, which the Supreme Court upheld as a tax in 2012, goes into effect next year, and our trustworthy, apolitical pals at the Internal Revenue Service are in charge of policing it. I'm sure being infected by toxic IRS taint will make Obamacare even more popular than it already is.
On a related note, the House just voted (again) to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Democrats mocked and belittled the effort, wherein every Republican voted in favor of uprooting this unaffordable mess, while all but two House Democrats voted to keep it in place. Look at these obsessed fools, banging their heads against a wall for the 37th time, liberals are chuckling. I doubt they'll be laughing for long. First of all, several of the more narrowly-tailored repeal votes actually succeeded. But here's another key point here: Both Democrat "yea" votes came from House veterans who represent red districts. That means that every other vulnerable Democrat, and every single Democratic freshman, voted to protect every last detail of Obamacare, including IRS enforcement. How's that going to play? (Have fun, NRCC). House Republicans couldn't have timed this symbolic vote any better. Hell, the GOP campaign committees should send flowers to the entire IRS management team. I'm speechless.
UPDATE - By the way, ABC News also confirmed that the "fired" IRS acting commissioner was on his way out anyway. The second head to roll, Joseph Grant, was just promoted eight days ago to the position that he's now vacating. Eight days ago, he was elevated to replace...you guessed it, Sarah Hall Ingram. Kudos all around, guys.
ABC News is reporting that the woman who was the head of the tax-exempt organizations division of the IRS during the time conservative groups were targeted is now director of the IRS' ObamaCare office.
You can't make this stuff up.
So who is Sarah Hall Ingram?
Well, she was appointed as Commissioner of the Tax-Exempt and Government Entitles Division of the IRS in 2009. Before that, she was the deputy commissioner, and before that, she was Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel for that division. She began her career with the IRS in 1982, in the Tax Litigation Division. She is a 1979 graduate of Yale and a 1982 graduate of Georgetown Law -- which means that (1) she was obviously aware of just how unconstitutional and wrongful the targeting scheme was and (2) she has never worked for anyone, anywhere, except for the IRS.
Ironically, Ingram has touted the importance of "transparency" to the proper governance of non-profits. Her remarks suggest that she sees the IRS in a strong, activist role promoting what the IRS considers to be "good governance" of non-profits.
It's interesting -- and potentially significant -- that she was put in charge of the ObamaCare IRS office. Did someone in the administration know she could be trusted to play political hardball? Was the post a reward for her service at the IRS? Whose idea was this nomination? How far up the chain was it approved?
Certainly, someone (again, whom?) liked the work she did between 2009 and 2012 at the IRS; Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner reports that she was richly rewarded:
Ingram received a $7,000 bonus in 2009, according to data obtained by The Washington Examiner from the IRS, then a $34,440 bonus in 2010, $35,400 in 2011 and $26,550 last year for a total of $103,390. Her annual salary went from $172,500 to $177,000 during the same period.
The 2010, 2011 and 2012 bonuses were awarded during the period when IRS harrassment of the conservative groups was most intense. The newspaper obtained the data via a Freedom of Information Act request.
So who was in charge of those decisions? The questions -- just like all the appalling administration news -- just keeps coming.
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