Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Monday

 I'm sure this wedge was meant to be believed by those whose gullibility rating is quite high:

A U.S. Internal Revenue Service manager, who described himself as a conservative Republican, told congressional investigators that he and a local colleague decided to give conservative groups the extra scrutiny that has prompted weeks of political controversy.
In an official interview transcript released on Sunday by Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, the manager said he and an underling set aside "Tea Party" and "patriot" groups that had applied for tax-exempt status because the organizations appeared to pose a new precedent that could affect future IRS filings.

Cummings, top Democrat on the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducting the probe, told CNN's "State of the Union" program that the manager's comments provided evidence that politics was not behind IRS actions that have fueled a month-long furor in Washington.

"He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS. I think this interview and these statements go a long way toward showing that the White House was not involved in this," Cummings told CNN's "State of the Union" program.

"Based upon everything I've seen, the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on," he added.

Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, said he would release a full transcript of the committee's interviews with IRS officials by the end of this week, if the panel's Republican chairman, Representative Darrell Issa, does not.

Issa has released his own excerpts of interviews with IRS employees the committee is conducting jointly, which the Republican says suggests the added attention given to Tea Party groups originated from Washington, D.C. and had political motivations.

Oh, so the targeting of conservative groups was clearly not a partisan effort and the White House had no knowledge of it even though a former IRS commissioner visited the White House one hundred and fifty-seven times? Right.

Just after President Obama concluded his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping (whose country just happens to be the home of the Great Firewall, among other things), former NSA technical assistant, Edward Snowden, fled to Hong Kong:

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. ...

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me." ...

On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because "they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent", and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

(Sidebar: no, it's a protectorate of China which has waged cyber war on its own people and others).

It's dodgy that he fled to Hong Kong and his support for Ron Paul also raises some questions but the American government is spying on its own people under the premise that it is attempting to stop terrorism (insert own "then why the hell did the Boston attack happen?" tirade here).

Let the comparisons to Bradley Manning begin.

Oh look- South Korea is going to meet with rogue state North Korea after months of hostility (the fault of which is entirely the latter's)... again:

Mid-ranking North and South Korean officials met in the border truce village of Panmunjom and on Sunday to prepare the stage for ministerial talks that follow Wednesday.

Did not see that coming.

Now the South Korean embassy steps up to bat for defectors:

The South Korean Embassy in Laos is now sheltering about 20 North Korean defectors, including recent arrivals. The embassy on June 4 moved 18 defectors from a safe house to the embassy for their protection.

According to a diplomatic source, they include children, people with physical disabilities, and cancer patients. But most are in relatively good health.

Saenuiri Party lawmaker Kim Jae-won, who arrived in Vientiane on Thursday, met the 20 defectors at the embassy compound in the afternoon.

"All defectors know" that Laos sent back the nine mostly orphaned defectors, Kim told reporters on Friday. "They have been resting since they were moved to the embassy compound and look forward to going to South Korea as soon as possible."

But their wish is not likely to be realized soon. North Korean defectors, even under the protection of the South Korean Embassy, have to be interviewed by Lao authorities, get travel permits and pay fines of $300 for illegal entry to leave the country.

"The Lao government has halted all the procedures dealing with North Korean defectors since the nine young North Korean were arrested and deported," Kim said. "It's unclear when it will resume the job and try to interview the defectors now waiting in the embassy."

Laos has not commented on what it will do about the defectors in the embassy.

Trust a dog to do what a human being apparently won't:

A dog has been hailed a hero for saving the life of a newborn girl who had been slung into a rubbish dump.

The animal, a Thai Bangkaew called Pui, discovered the child inside a plastic bag at the roadside tip in Bangkok.

He carried the bag in his mouth to his owner Gumnerd Thongmak's house and barked loudly to get his attention.

(two paws up)

The truth comes out:

Lyudmila Putina once described her husband as a vampire. He suggested that anyone who could put up with her for three weeks deserved a national monument. What could go wrong for Russia’s first couple?

Don't fret, Lyudmila- he treats everyone that way.

The NDP will do its utmost to make sure there is no election no matter how badly Kathleen Wynne should be booted out of office and how she and McGuinty deserve prison (at the very least) for their deception:

Ontario’s Opposition accuses Premier Kathleen Wynne of being complicit in the mass deletion of emails on cancelled gas plants by senior Liberals in former premier Dalton McGuinty’s office.
The Progressive Conservatives say Wynne was a member of the Liberal cabinet when the chiefs of staff in McGuinty’s office and the Ministry of Energy deleted emails on the gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

PC critic Rob Leone says Wynne should either dissolve the legislature to allow an election or resign as premier because of her complicity in the cover up of documents.

Chris Hadfield has decided to retire after being awesome:

After capturing our hearts and expanding our minds during his five-month stay in orbit on the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield announced Monday that he'll be leaving the Canadian Space Agency on July 3.

"I've decided to retire from government service," he said at the CSA headquarters this afternoon.

"I've had such an interesting career, and after 35 years it's time to step down. I'm the last astronaut of my class that's still around," he added, according to CBC News. "It's rare to be an astronaut for more than 20 years."

If I had to guess at his next move it would be training unicorns. IF I had to guess.

And now, a cat is a mayoral candidate:

He'll call council to order with a meow and he'll hiss political opponents into submission.
Yes, there's no question Mexico's newest mayoral candidate in the city of Xalapa is just the leader the town needs. Morris the cat has pointy ears and the earnest, loving eyes of cat that's willing to enact change. And he has more than 80,000 'Likes' on Facebook.

Hail the mayor-cat! Viva! Viva! Viva!


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