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Not so phony after all

The only thing phony in the news lately is the idea that our economy is actually recovering. Today the Labor Department released its latest jobs report showing that the unemployment rate fell to 7.4%. This will likely be touted as good news by many who are trying desperately to spin liberal policies as effective. But the truth is that the labor force participation rate has fallen again and the number of part-time workers continues to rise. The real unemployment rate, including those who are underemployed in this economy, is actually 14%. If the Obama administration wanted to be honest in its use of the “phony” label, it would start with its pathetic excuse for an economic recovery.

Let's start with Benghazi. The slow trickle of information about what really happened on the night when four Americans died in Benghazi has been painfully frustrating. Yet this week we have learned more information that has escalated the story. First we learned the story of Diplomatic Security Agent David Ubben. He remains in Walter Reed Medical Facility to this day, recovering from wounds incurred on September 11, 2012. He sat on the rooftop of the Annex for 20 hours with a shredded leg, waiting for help from his country. Now we've learned that 35 CIA operatives were actually on the ground in Benghazi the night of the attack, and seven were severely wounded. Why haven't we heard from any of these people as to what happened? Because the CIA wants to make sure their stories remain secret. In fact, the government is so determined to keep their stories a secret that it has taken unprecedented measures: It is subjecting the agents to frequent – sometimes as much as once a month – polygraph tests to make sure agents aren't lying about speaking to the media or to members of Congress. Theories as to why CIA operatives were in Benghazi have been swirling around for months, but the lengths to which the government is trying to keep their information secret should make the average person start to question exactly what it is the government doesn't want us to know.

Now to the IRS. Just like with Benghazi, Obama expressed (what can only be described now as) phony outrage at the onset. Months later, it is hard to believe that Obama was genuine when he said, “I have got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it, and we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.” Now the administration is in the business of trying to convince us that this same issue is nothing more than a manufactured float in an “endless parade” of “phony scandals.” As John Fund of NRO describes this as a “slo-mo” cover-up, he points out that the escalation in pushback must mean that “investigators are getting warmer.”

Less than a week ago, our own Treasury Secretary Jack Lew tried his best to convince us that there was no there, there. But then he went on to admit that nobody has actually asked the President's Chief Counsel at the IRS if he did, in fact, have any knowledge or play any role in the targeting of conservative groups. After all, testimony by Carter Hull brought the controversy all the way to the office of this presidential appointee.

Also this week, House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Darrell Issa accused the IRS of stonewalling the investigation. A letter to acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel reads in part: “The actions of the IRS under your leadership have made clear to the committee that the agency has no intention of complying completely or promptly with the committee’s oversight efforts.” According to Issa, the committee has requested about 64 million pages worth of documents, and the IRS has only handed over 12,000.

We also learned this week, thanks to emails released by Congressional investigators, that Lois “I plead the Fifth” Lerner may have also helped the Federal Election Commission engage in its own version of targeting conservatives.

And documents obtained by the Daily Caller show that the IRS continued targeting conservative pro-life groups as recently as June 2013.

In other words, the lie we were originally fed about low-level employees in Cincinnati should feel insulting when you consider the size and scope of this practice that continues to be unearthed. Are they still going with the “phony” line?