CBS reporter forces Carney to clarify which scandals are 'phony'

In a rare moment of journalistic integrity, a White House reporter asked Press Secretary Jay Carney to clarify what President Obama means by the phrase ‘phony scandal.’ During yesterday’s daily briefing, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller asked him a very pointed question and didn’t back down when Carney tried to give him the runaround:

KNOLLER: Jay, in his speech again yesterday, President Obama mentioned the phony scandals that are part of an endless parade of distractions. Can you tell us what phony scandals he’s talking about?

CARNEY: I think we all remember a few weeks ago when Washington was consumed with a variety of issues that, while in some cases significant, were — there was an effort underway to turn them into partisan scandals. I don’t think anybody here would doubt that. And what we’ve seen as time has passed and more facts have become known, whether it’s about the attacks in Benghazi and the talking points or revelations about conduct at the IRS, that attempts to turn this into a scandal have failed. And, you know, when it comes to the IRS, as I said the other morning, the president made very clear that he will — that he wants the new leadership there to take action to correct improper conduct. And that is happening, and he expects results. What some in Congress have failed to do, despite many attempts, is to provide any evidence, because there is none, that that activity was in any way known by or directed by the White House or was even partisan or political. As testimony has shown that I’ve seen, produced publicly in the press, although not by the Republican chairman of the committee, self-identified Republicans who participated in the reviews of these applications for tax-exempt status, clearly denied that there was any — at least — and this is just them saying this — that there was any partisan or political motivation to what they were doing. That doesn’t excuse the conduct; doesn’t say that it’s the right thing to do. It means that we have to address poor performance as poor performance, and reject efforts to turn it into yet another partisan political football. And I think — you know, we — our views — and I would wax poetic on it if you want — my — our views on the Benghazi issue are well-known and I think that other issues fall into that.

KNOLLER: But so –

CARNEY: Well, I’m not going to — I’m not going to catalog –

KNOLLER: You mentioned two [‘phony scandals’]: the IRS and Benghazi.

CARNEY: Again, I think there was a period where there was a lot more energy and focus was paid by some in Congress, as well as in the media, on issues that, while important, are not of the highest priority to the American people and they were not scandals.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” Glenn said. “The IRS, the latest is the IRS and the FEC is in collusion… and we now have documents, documents obtained exclusively by the National Review Online. Correspondence between Lois Lerner and an attorney for the FEC, the Federal Election Commission, shows that they had twice colluded to influence the record before the FEC's vote on a case on a conservative nonprofit organization, this according to e‑mails unearthed by the House Ways and Means Committee and obtained by the National Review. Correspondents suggest the discrimination of conservative groups extended beyond the IRS and now into the FEC where the attorney from the agency's enforcement division in at least one case sought and received tax information about the status of a conservative group, which is illegal. It's illegal. Does anybody understand that word anymore? It's illegal.”

“No. This administration doesn't,” Pat responded. “They really don't.”

If the IRS scandal is so ‘phony,’ why did President Obama choose to call the IRS targeting of conservatives “outrageous” during a May 13 press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The misconduct that uncovered is inexcusable. It's inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency but especially in the IRS.

“They have a right to be angry about it, he's angry about it,” Pat said. “Then how do you now classify it as phony? How do you do that?”

“Well, it's still being uncovered,” Glenn concluded. “It's still being uncovered.”

Watch the exchange between Carney and Knoller below starting at the 38:22 mark:

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

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