- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It’s not often that so many incredible — even laughable — stories come along all in the same week, so let’s not waste one moment before we jump right in:

With Russia all but invading Ukraine, President Obama used the crisis as cover while he proposed his new 2015 fiscal year federal budget. And guess what? The plan calls for a $1 trillion tax hike. That’s trillion with a “T.”

Haven’t heard about it yet? Of course not. All the networks and newspapers are downplaying the proposal as they rush headlong into what they seem to hope is World War III. Details are sketcy. “Obama would boost collections by regulating tax preparers, increasing the enforcement budget by 7% and requiring more electronic filing,” USA Today reported.

Hmm. And that brings in $1 trillion? He should’ve done that years ago. But wait. “Obama’s budget contains 175 different revenue proposals,” the paper reports — including, of course, massive tax increases for anyone who isn’t in poverty (already) and huge new taxes on small businesses.

The new budget also calls for hundreds of billions in new spending. Just two months into his second term, Mr. Obama has already rung up $6 trillion in new debt ($16,687,289,180,215.37 to be exact). His latest budget is more than $800 billion short. Congress is almost sure to ignore the plan as laughable — only because it is.

******

But not as laughable as the president’s dealings with Vladimir Putin. In a bizarre episode, Mr. Obama last week showed up in the White House briefing room to warn the Russian president not to intervene in Ukraine, and less than 30 minutes later he declared “Happy Hour” with a band of fellow Democrats.

Any intervention in the former Soviet satellite , he said, “would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws.”

Minutes later, Obama hit the Capitol Hilton hotel for the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting. “Well, it’s Friday. It’s after 5 o’clock. So, this is now officially happy hour with the Democratic Party,” the president said at the huge fundraiser. “I can do that. It is an executive action. I have the authority.”

At one point, an audience member in the raucous crowd yelled: “Tell us about your plans for nuclear war with Russia!”

Then this happened, according to the White House transcript:

THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, who’s that back there? (Laughter.) What the heck are you talking about? (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, don’t worry about it. We’re okay. Have a seat. I don’t know anything about that plan. (Laughter.) I don’t know what you’ve been reading. (Laughter.) Let me return to what I was talking about. (Applause.) See, he thought happy hour started earlier. (Laughter and applause.)”

So much (Laughter) because the president is so (Laughable). [cq - reference to above stuff in brackets.]

******

But there was no laughter on Capitol Hill on Wednesday when former IRS Commissioner Lois Lerner appeared. A House committee had called the official, accused of helping to spearhead the targeting of tea party and other conservative groups, to testify.

But she never even put her purse down when she sat at the witness stand.

“Why did you think the Tea Party cases were ‘very dangerous?’” Chairman Darrell Issa asked her. “Why did you order the Tea Party cases to undergo a ‘multi-tier review’? … Why were you worried about this being perceived as a political project?”

“On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully exercise my Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer that question,” she said in over and over and over.

The California congressman was not amused. Having been snubbed by the Obama official during the session, called for the sole purpose of her testimony, he simply adjourned the hearing. “Close it down,” he said, shutting off the microphones.

But ranking Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings became enraged. Complaining about what he said was the Republicans’ “one-sided investigation,” he yelled: “I am a member of the Congress of the United States. I am tired of this.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama was having lunch at Café Beauregard in New Britain, CT — no doubt laughing his head off. Although months ago he had promised to order his aides to cooperate in the probe, he had dragged his feet throughout the investigation — just like with Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the NSA phone snooping, all the rest.

Rep. Dave Camp said federal agents investigating the matter have not yet talked to a single target of the scandal, and he has yet to receive crucial e-mails. “I don’t fully understand why it’s taken them so long given that the president promised,” Mr. Camp said. “He promised that he would have quick action and we still don’t have the documents from an agency that is in this administration.”

So Mr. Obama has gone from lame duck to laughingstock in just a week. Cue the (Laughter).

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