Georgia Says

The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle on IRS:

Tight-lipped Lois Lerner may soon have to answer for her actions.

The former IRS official stands accused of targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. After months of proclaiming her innocence while stonewalling investigators by invoking the Fifth Amendment - as recently as March 5 - Lerner "misled Congress about targeting and her own conduct," according to a report released recently by the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the 141-page report "offers detailed evidence about steps she took to crack down on organizations that exercised their constitutional rights to free political speech."

Remember, President Obama told the nation earlier this year there was "not even a smidgen of corruption," during his Super Bowl interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

If nothing is going on, why has Lerner kept pleading the Fifth?

Among the findings in the House Oversight report, Lerner: — wrote emails about ways to strengthen the agency's scrutiny of Tea Party applicants, despite secrecy laws; — called for a "multi-tier review," a scrutiny level that lacked precedent, for Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status; — broke IRS rules by using her personal email account to handle protected taxpayer information; — expressed concern that the Supreme Court ruling leading to the increase of 501(c)(4) tax-exempt groups would hurt Democratic senators seeking re-election in 2012. The IRS was expected to fix the problem, Lerner wrote: "Everyone is up in arms because they don't like it. The Federal Election Commission can't do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem."

Sounds like more than a "smidgen."

Let that sink in - they were going to use the IRS to help get Democrats elected. If using the IRS as a partisan political tool isn't criminal, it should be.

The report also seems to expose why Lerner chose to remain silent during questioning. The House committee is considering holding Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the panel about the targeting activity.

It should. And it should continue to uncover evidence in this - just one of the many - scandals that have plagued this "most transparent" administration.

There is no telling what will be unearthed when the IRS finally gets around to turning over Lerner's emails, as it previously promised to do.

There's no telling how high this scandal goes.

Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal on sparing no effort to keep Dobbins flying:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, with the obvious concurrence of President Obama, wants to slash the U.S. Army to pre-World War II levels. And it's not just the Army they want to cut, but all of our armed forces, although we detect no sign that the world is getting any safer. And consider also that the proposed cuts — and plans for more in 2017 — were unveiled against the backdrop of Vladimir Putin's hardball efforts to annex much of Ukraine.

Hagel and his underlings are likely to be looking hard for bases to close, and it's almost inevitable that they will focus on Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.

Dobbins has long been one of the busiest Air Reserve bases in the country and shares a runway with Lockheed Martin and the Georgia National Guard. The runway was formerly shared by the Naval Air Station Atlanta until that facility fell victim to the most recent round of such penny-pinching in the mid-2000s as part of the congressional Base Realignment and Closure (or BRAC) process.

Closing Dobbins would not be the economic catastrophe that such an event might have been for Cobb three or four decades ago, thanks to the fact the county economy is so much larger and diverse than it was back then. But it would still be a tough nut to swallow and would do the Air Force no good, either. Not only does Dobbins boast a first-class runway long enough to handle the latest fighter planes (like the F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor) and the largest cargo jets (like the C-5 Galaxy), there's also the fact that, by virtue of its being situated in a major urban area, it can draw on a deep pool of Reservists. Close the base, and many of those "Weekend Warriors" would either resign, retire or else have to drive hours and hours to reach another base from which to drill.

There are 2,500 people employed at the base, which has a total economic impact of $181.7 million. There's also the possibility such a closing would have a much-to-be feared domino effect that would dwarf the impact of closing just Dobbins. That is, if Dobbins goes, Lockheed Martin might be tempted to leave its 70-year-old plant here for a more modern facility elsewhere. There are 6,300 people working at LM at present, but employment there climbed to almost 30,000 during World War II and to just more than 30,000 during the Vietnam War.

So local business leaders are ramping up an effort to educate the public — and the Pentagon — about the value of the base. The base hosted the Cobb Chamber of Commerce's monthly Business After Hours meeting two weeks ago, attended by more than 800 people. The local "Honorary Commanders" group sponsored by the chamber also has been active in educating the public. And the Atlanta Regional Military Affairs Council, headed by retired Major Gen. Jim Bankers, has produced a six-minute video touting the importance of the base.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) is fully on board with the effort as well.

"What we want to do is be prepared to show the benefit of Dobbins Air Force base, what it contributes to the national defense system, what it contributes to the active duty and Reserve guard units, and sell the asset for what it is," he said.

We encourage those working on the base's behalf to spare no efforts to educate the public and decision-makers about its value. And we hope that Obama and Hagel can somehow be reminded of Winston Churchill's famous saying that the best way to preserve peace and deter aggression is by preparing for war — and you can't do that without having military bases.

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