Filed under: Politics | Tags: Not Just What You File, ObamaCare Too, The Flat Tax
From> Reason TV Three good reasons to be scared as hell of the IRS.
This is the biggest one, for everyone, even if you are currently not paying any taxes will be affected by the performance, the ethics, the discretion and the efficiency of the IRS who will be in charge of monitoring your personal relationship with ObamaCare as well as your relationship with Uncle Sam.
You are asked to believe that the full might and power of the Internal Revenue Service was brought to bear on ordinary citizens who were expressing their political preferences, often for the first time, to keep them from having any influence in the upcoming election, and the president who was running for reelection and using every influence he could bring to bear on winning was completely unaware of the effort.
1. It’s always been a political weapon.
John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon all sicced the IRS on enemies and dissenters. And they were just following in the footsteps of Franklin Roosevelt, whose son said his father was “the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.”
2. Its rulings are super-complicated and capricious.
The federal tax code is longer than Atlas Shrugged, Ulysses, and the Old Testament put together. It’s so complicated that even former IRS commissioners need help preparing their returns.
3. It’s Obamacare’s enforcement mechanism.
Starting next year, the IRS will be the cop patrolling the Affordable Care Act’s mandates, with the agency overseeing some 47 tax provisions related to Obamacare. You won’t just be reporting income anymore. You’ll be explaining when, where, and how you bought health care as well.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Politics, Statism, The United States | Tags: Canadian Journalist David Warren, President Barack Obama, The American Scandals
Do you know David Warren, Canadian journalist, now writing what he calls “Essays in Idleness“? If not, you should. His is a different voice, cranky and frank and always knowledgeable and interesting. Read the ‘About’ to get a sense of the man who is writing, and the first piece titled “Neil Reynolds” which is a fond obituary for two men who once hired him. It is a charming reminiscence.
The paragraph below is from an essay titled “The yairs chronicles,”which is his reaction to scandal central here in the adjacent nation. I wanted to call this bit to your attention, for I think it is worth your notice. If you should happen to wander around a bit and read the whole piece or others, you will only be the richer for it.
People might think a man like Barack Obama would know something about politics, since he has been bathing in them most of his life. He does in fact know something about them, but not much. This is because his acquirements were all in a specialized area of politics — that of getting oneself elected. … Once outside that specialization, poor Obama is at sea. He was never exposed to the craft of governing, only to the craft of getting power. His ideas of how things work, of what can & can’t be done by government agency, are absurd & laughable. To be fair he is, in this respect, a typical politician. They all studied the same specialty; not one in a hundred studied anything else.
But leave all this aside. We still assume that, since he has the power that goes with the office, Obama must have influence over what falls out. On democratic theory, he could be held accountable. He could be replaced by someone who knows what he is doing, or is more likely to do what the people want. His replacement would then be judged by the same criteria.
Oh, go on, read the whole thing. There are some utterly delicious bits there, even if you disagree.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, Intelligence, Law, Politics, Taxes, The Constitution | Tags: Accepting responsibility, Incompetence and Malfeasance, Standing Up To Be Counted
People in responsible positions have behaved very badly. Lies and excuses are flowing. I didn’t know. Nobody told me. I’m not responsible. It wasn’t illegal. It wasn’t my decision. I wasn’t aware. It’s irrelevant. I didn’t understand what was happening. Don’t blame me. How do you begin to get your mind around what it going on?
Cascading scandals. Today’s scandals are piling on top of earlier scandals that we don’t yet understand. Who is responsible? Who knew? Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Who are the whistleblowers? Who is being sent out to take the fall to protect someone more important?
One begins to long for the days of historic Japan when the person in charge took responsibility, pronounced his shame and committed seppuku. It may seem barbaric now, but it brought a quick finality to the problem, tied it in a neat package so the remaining people could put their lives back together and get on.
Young graduates are entering society with big hopes and enormous debts. In Oklahoma a 1½-mile wide tornado has destroyed an entire town, flattened homes, and a death toll of twenty-five people almost sounds like a good thing, for it could have been so much worse. Cascading grief.
Senator Carl Levin is engaged in calling the Apple computer corporation to task before the Finance Committee for not paying more taxes even though they have carefully followed the laws made by the U.S. Congress. One reason that those new graduates are not finding employment to pay back their student loans is because the law of unintended consequences is making a burgeoning scandal out of ObamaCare, a law passed by a Democrat Congress without a single Republican vote.
The people holding committee meetings designed to get to the bottom of the scandal are also the people who have passed the laws, or passed the buck to some agency, to make the rules that are currently fouling everything up. We’re all human and fallible and make mistakes. But you don’t get off the proverbial hook by appearing before a committee and offering the passive “mistakes were made.”
Yes. A lot of mistakes have been made. People have been killed, unnecessarily. One quite innocent businessman has had to pay $80,000 worth of legal bills because someone in the IRS or in the Treasury Department or in the White House thought it was acceptable to go after someone’s entire financial dealings because they dared to donate to the president’s political rival before an upcoming election.
Those illegal and unethical attacks have had the desired effect. Big donors are afraid of the IRS. The head of Health and Human Services, left by a massive bill that nobody had read in charge of rolling it out, is finding out that the law of unintended consequences means that everyone is trying to avoid participating in a system that they believe to be unworkable and unaffordable. So she is out trying to bully those very entities which she will regulate into financing a program to make people like the unlikable. ObamaCare itself is a scandal that is ruining the economy.
With all those scandals, it’s no wonder that people do not yet understand the depth or the meaning of all these failures. Large numbers of the population have never heard of Benghazi, nor Kermit Gosnell, Steve Miller, nor Frank VanderSloot. Well, it’s no wonder. This may be the information age, but the information flow is not pared down and carefully formed so we get only that which is important, and if it were so, it would be someone else’s judgment as to what is important.
Twitter, designed by its limits to be confined to 140 characters (including spaces), would seem designed to be short, direct and immediate. Yet it is not turning out to be a conveyance of the most important information, but mostly an all-American repository of smart remarks.
You have to dig out the important information for yourselves. Reject the news about Beyoncé and the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy, and take notice of what is going on. Because what your Congress is doing will change your life. Take away your freedom. Even though they work for you, you can’t trust them. We have to remind them constantly of their responsibilities. There is a there there. It does matter.
A free society, if it is to remain free, requires citizens who take
the risk of standing up to be counted on the issues of the day.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2012, Humor, Intelligence, Liberalism, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Face the Nation, Longtime Host Bob Schieffer, Presidential Aide Dan Pfieffer
President Barack O’Blameless sent out aide Dan Pfieffer to explain that the president was absolutely not to blame for anything whatsoever, and that the White House had only learned that there was an Internal Revenue Service when everyone else did, and they were all shocked, shocked, and they didn’t know anything about Benghazi either. What was needed now was a little cooperation from the Republicans who were trying to make partisan mountains out of partisan molehills. Republicans were just trying to go on fishing expeditions. Breach of public trust, false allegations, partisan swamp. Inexcusable, top-down investigation yadda, yadda.
Bob Schieffer was not having any of it. You sound exactly like the Nixon administration. Mr. Pfieffer, this is the executive branch, and the president is supposed to be in charge of it. The President is right out there when it’s something good, claiming credit, so how come he took three days to comment? Why are you here? Where’s the White House Chief of Staff? Serious problems, I shouldn’t make fun, but really! “Is this president out of touch?” Highly amusing, not convincing.
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Military, The United States | Tags: A Marine and His Dog, Iowa Elks Association, Sergeant Ross Gundlach
Twenty-five year-old Sergeant Ross Gundlach served over 150 missions with his bomb-sniffing dog in Afghanistan. He told Casey that he’d look her up when he returned home. Now enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Gundlach learned that Casey had been mustered out and assigned to the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office. Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds, sending pictures and stories about Casey, seeking to adopt her.
Reynolds sought help from the Iowa Elks who agreed to donate $8,500 to buy Iowa another dog., and arranged for Gundlach to come to Iowa to plead his case officially.
Gundlach said “I promised her if we made it out alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her. On Friday he made good on that vow with some surprise help from sentimental state officials in Iowa who know how to pull off a surprise. …
When Gundlach saw Casey, he put his head in his hands and cried. She licked his face, wagging her tail furiously.
“It was a total surprise” he said.”I owe her. I’ll just try to give her the best life I can.”
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Statism, Taxes | Tags: Imperfect Human Nature, Liberal Illusions, The Internal Revenue Service
Perhaps it all starts with a childish whine “It isn’t fair.” Some mothers respond that life isn’t fair, and set their offspring on the path of conservatism, and others ignore the whiny brat or give the kid a hug and a cookie (rewarding the child for the whine) and tell him yes, that’s really too bad and raise a little liberal. That may be a bit fanciful, but what is clear is that a goodly portion of young people have grown up with the idea that America is not fair, and needs fixing.
Irving Kristol once wrote “In every society the overwhelming majority of people live lives of considerable frustration and if society is to endure, it needs to rely on a goodly measure of stoical resignation.”
Liberals have never been ones for stoical resignation. They want to fix things. Republicans are inclined to oppose Big Government, and ascribe most of our country’s problems to Liberals’ fondness for Big Government. I think this is incorrect. Liberals want desperately to be in charge. They want to win. They want to defeat Conservatives utterly and so completely that they will never again be strong enough to annoy or compete. But Big Government or burgeoning bureaucracy is a result of their policies, not their initial aim.
I saved this quote from a 1999 Wall Street Journal editorial.
The error behind all these failures is the liberal faith in the perfectibility of politics. Liberals believe that the next law, or next federal agency, will somehow make up for imperfect human nature. But America’s founders understood that politics could never be perfected precisely because men weren’t perfect. So they designed a system with a minimum of bureaucratic and legal control in which disputes could be settled by political debate. They did not want to rely on lawyers or experts who could maneuver around or through a maze of campaign and ethics laws. It’s taken us twenty years of picking through the ruins of liberal reform to relearn how right they were.
The next law will make up for imperfect human nature. One of liberals’ most persistent desires is to eliminate poverty. They worry a lot about the gap between the rich and the poor. They have earnestly tried to fix that ever since Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and his War on Poverty. We have spent $15 trillion of other people’s money and currently have more people on food stamps than ever before in the nation’s history. The EBT card is a combination of food stamps and cash benefits. The Tsarnave brothers apparently bought their bomb supplies with their EBT cards. We could give each person in poverty a yearly check for $69,000 and save money.
We need fixes for fat people, fixes for standard lightbulbs, fixes for cars not getting high enough mpg, or just using gasoline, fixes for home appliances, fixes for fat kids, fixes for unaffordable college, fixes (again) for infrastructure, fixes for bullies, fixes for transgendered people’s bathroom needs, fixes for women who don’t want to pay for their own contraceptives, fixes for people who try to capture rainwater, fixes for farm dust. So many, many annoyances.
The most evident case is, of course, the best health care system in the world. It must be fixed because government regulation is driving up the cost. (Never mind that the cost was declining). The British have National Health Service, which is socialized medicine. Horrible system, but it’s “free” at the point of service, and people are afraid to lose it and apt to continually vote for Labour to keep it. Note the important phrase. So they kill off a lot of their older people with neglect and denied care, but it’s “free at the point of service.”
Lots of new regulations, so providers have to expand their bureaucracies. And on top of the expanded health care system, comes a vast federal bureaucracy to control, deny, regulate, manage and expand. Liberals look at this diagram of the needed new bureaucracy with thousands of highly paid, unionized employees, and are absolutely convinced that President Obama’s promises about keeping your own doctor if you like him and keeping your own insurance and it will all cost less— “bend the cost curve down” was the phrase— are absolutely true and will come to fruition just as he says. It is and was an enormous lie.
So Democrats don’t go into a political campaign saying they want bigger government. Republicans accuse them of it, but it is obviously not true. We will get Big Government because that is the inevitable result of liberal faith in the perfectibility of politics. You have the perfect example before you this week in the machinations of the Internal Revenue Service. Mark Steyn recounts the travails of Frank VanderSloot, whose offense was that he decided to donate money to the Romney campaign. After audits of his return, his business return, and a Department of Labor investigation of his cattle ranch , the government could find nothing on Mr. VanderSloot, but it has cost him $80,000 in legal fees to fend off the bureaucrats. A big bureaucracy thinks it’s fine to demand that an evangelical group report in writing what they pray about. Anybody have relatives running for office?
It has often been said that every Liberal has a tyrant inside, struggling to get out. They don’t like studies. They’re uninterested in consequences and baffled by the idea of incentives. They need to be in charge so they can fix the things that aren’t fair.
Filed under: Art, Education, History | Tags: Edward Tufte, Envisioning Information
“Making a presentation is a moral act as well as an intellectual activity.
The use of corrupt manipulations and blatant rhetorical ploys in a report
or presentation — outright lying, flagwaving, personal attacks, setting up
phony alternatives, misdirection, jargon-mongering, evading key issues,
feigning disinterested objectivity, willful misunderstanding of other
points of view— suggests that the presenter lacks both credibility and
evidence. To maintain standards of quality, relevance, and integrity for
evidence, consumers of presentation should insist that presenters be held
intellectually and ethically responsible for what they show and tell. Thus
consuming a presentation is also an intellectual and a moral activity.”
Charles Joseph Minard’s data-map describes the successive losses in men of the French Army in the Russian campaign of 1812-1813. Drawn by M. Minard, Inspector General of Bridges and Roads in retirement, Paris, November 20, 1869.
The numbers of men present are represented by the widths of the colored zones at a rate of one millimeter for every ten thousand men. The tan represents the men who enter into Russia, the black those who leave it. The overall toll, French and Russian was approximately 700,000 to 1,000,000. Place names are shown, as are the rivers, and at the bottom a graphic table of the temperature in degrees of the Réaumur thermometer below zero. Moscow, October 18; October 24 –rain; November 9, –9°; November 14 –21° at Smolensk; December 1, –24 ° at Minsk; December 6, –30°. Only one soldier in 42 survived this brutal campaign — six months from start to finish.
At the war’s beginning , the army crossed the Nieman River with 422,000 soldiers. At the end, 10,000 soldiers returned across the Nieman River. The width of the lines accurately represents the numbers. So much information is conveyed by this one beautiful analytical graph, in a combination of beautiful design, true and accurate information, and a long dreadful story. Amazing.
Edward Tufte is a Professor Emeritus at Yale University, where he taught courses on statistical evidence, analytical design and political economy. He has written four books on visual displays: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations, Beautiful Evidence. They are incredibly beautiful, true, refined and luscious books, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Tufte is also a sculptor. His works are available through his website: www.tufte.com as is a poster of the above beautiful graphic in either French or English. He includes this analytical graph in each of his books, as probably the best graphic conveyance of information ever made.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2012, Law, Statism, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: A Crooked Agency, Partisanship Gone Rogue, The IRS Scandal
I don’t think I have ever heard anything quite a shocking as Steven Miller’s testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday on the targeting of organizations that might have been able to raise money to oppose the reelection of Barack Obama.
” I do not believe that partisanship motivated the people who engaged in the practices described in the Inspector Generals’ report. …Foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection. …We provided horrible customer service. It’s my belief that what happened here is not illegal, but it was unappropriate. It’s my belief that what happened here was not illegal, but I suppose that there are some facts that might come out that would indicate otherwise, but it’s not my area.”
So he said he is accountable and pushed up his previously announced retirement by a couple of weeks. Mistakes were made. Always the passive voice. In an earlier day he might have been run out of town on a rail.
So the United States Treasury Department is crooked. The agency within that department that collects taxes and has the legal power to investigate citizens’ and businesses’ financial affairs believes that they are free to conduct their investigations in a manner which will determine the results of a national election. But that’s not illegal, it’s just trying to be more efficient. Not inappropriate. You cannot trust the Internal Revenue Service. They are not only untrustworthy, but they do not understand what is wrong with what they have done.
The President of the United States, in complete defiance of manners, custom, and the separation of powers defined by the Constitution, which he took an oath to defend, called out the Supreme Court of the United States in the middle of a State of the Union Speech to tell them they were wrong in their Citizens United decision that said corporations has the same right to donate money as unions did. So it starts right at the top, in spite of any allegation of innocence.
Targeting of pro-life groups began in 2009. An IRS agent told the Coalition for Life of Iowa that approval of their application for tax-exempt status was withheld. They were told to send a letter to the agency signed by the entire board—under perjury of the law—stating that they do not picket, protest or organize any other groups to picket or protest any Planned Parenthood clinic.
The Obama administration was aware of the IRS scandal five months before the election. Ace of Spades notes that it’s about a union: the National Treasury Employees Union (NETU). Anything indicating conservative leanings like “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” were not only denied tax exempt status to which they were entitled, donors to right-leaning think tanks names were illegally given to their opponents, but other agencies were directed to investigate such groups. The Tax Professor’s blog includes a long list of links for those who want to understand what the IRS is up to more clearly.
Meanwhile, you might want to investigate the Cayman Islands or other tax sheltering venues.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Humor, Intelligence, Law, Politics, The United States | Tags: Internal Revenue Snoops, It's All Falling Apart, Scandalous Administration
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2012, Intelligence, Law, National Security | Tags: Hidden Till after the Election, Unaware of Problems?, Who Gets Blamed?
All of the scandals, with their talking points and lack of answers to questions — all of it, which apparently the President was completely unaware of until he found out right when the rest of us did — the purpose of every bit of it, was to cover up unpleasant facts that might have been detrimental to the President’s reelection. Mull that one over.
We are expected to believe that the President of the United States whom everyone on both sides of the aisle agrees is a skilled politician, and who never seems to forget politics for a moment, who has been widely accused of conducting a permanent campaign, and seems to enjoy making campaign speeches above anything else — that political person was unaware that there was a disruption in Benghazi with a dead Ambassador and three more dead Americans that might reflect badly on his campaign if the facts were known.
Although he had made his contempt for the Tea Party and Republicans in general widely known, he was completely unaware that some “low-level” folks in a back room in Cincinnati were working hard to keep any possibility of donations to the Romney campaign put off till after the election. This is the same man who was inadvertently caught on a live mike telling President Medvedev to let Vladimir know that he would have more options after the election. This was also the same president who ordered defense contractors not to issue pink slips or make any announcement of coming unemployment until after the election (in direct conflict with the law that required them to announce) and he promised to pay their fine or waive the fines.
But being entirely aware that these actions might be seized on by the other side to make him look bad, went to great effort to put anything unpleasant off “till after the election” — but he was entirely unaware of the activities of the IRS that were directly related to his reelection effort. Here’s the president’s statement:
I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it 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, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives. And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe you’re from — the fact of the matter is, is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity. The government generally has to conduct itself in a way that is true to the public trust. That’s especially true for the IRS.
First, we’re going to hold the responsible parties accountable. Yesterday, I directed Secretary Lew to follow up on the IG audit to see how this happened and who is responsible, and to make sure that we understand all the facts. Today, Secretary Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS, because given the controversy surrounding this audit, it’s important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.
Second, we’re going to put in place new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again. And I’ve directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the IG’s recommendations right away.
Third, we will work with Congress as it performs its oversight role. And our administration has to make sure that we are working hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed. Congress, Democrats and Republicans, owe it to the American people to treat that authority with the responsibility it deserves and in a way that doesn’t smack of politics or partisan agendas. Because I think one thing that you’ve seen is, across the board, everybody believes what happened in — as reported in the IG report is an outrage. The good news is it’s fixable, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to fix it.
All very impressive, except that the Commissioner of the IRS was due to leave in June anyway, so requesting and accepting his resignation is just another cover-up. And we have a long history of this president never, ever being responsible for anything. Was it Jay Carney who tried to blame the IRS scandal on Bush, because the commissioner was a Bush appointee?
Filed under: Politics
Time to throw the computer out the window. Can the IRS attack your computer? Mine is reeling under an attack. Websites don’t open, or open all weird. It takes minutes, not seconds for a site to open. Never mind, you don’t want to hear about it, but there will be little blogging until something gets fixed. Help has been requested. We’ll see.