Filed under: Politics, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Democrat Corruption, Taxes, Law, National Security, Immigration | Tags: What to Do About Scandal, The Slow Reveal of Scandal, Can We Fix Abusive Government?
“One of the greatest uses of scandal is to vividly demonstrate what new laws are needed and to create the political conditions to get them enacted.”
John Steele Gordon has a fascinating essay in The American, on the uses of scandal. He ranges back and forth in American history to illustrate some of our greatest scandals and how they played out.
Washington is suddenly awash with major scandals. The IRS has been caught abusing its powers regarding conservative organizations. The AP had its phone records seized without a court order. The White House explanation for the Benghazi attack has been shown to have been a tissue of lies made for political purposes. There might well be more scandals to come. The Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, has reportedly been routinely waiving the substantial fees to fulfill Freedom of Information Act requests for liberal organizations but not for conservative ones.
This has produced, naturally, a cacophony of talk among the chattering classes, much of it basically gossip. And there’s nothing wrong with that. To gossip, after all, is to be human.
Extracting the truth about the scandal is something else entirely. The information comes slowly in bits and pieces. How long will the investigation keep the public interest? Of all the excuses and alibis being offered for extremely bad behavior by the Obama administration, the most interesting one came from David Axlerod, onetime major adviser to President Obama:
Part of being president is that there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know, because the government is so vast.
As a subhead in the Wall Street Journal asked: “If the President doesn’t run the government, then who does?”
Anyone who has ever worked in a large organization knows that the enemy is bureaucracy. How many layers of management are the optimum and when does it all begin to break down? Few is better, and smaller organizations are better. The real problem is that there are few things that the government should be doing, and fewer that they can do well. I suppose it’s natural for someone who does not have great expertise in management to assume that things would be better if the government was just in charge. Obama will be the case study for that concept for years.
There are things that only the government can do. National Defense, a military, interstate highways, immigration, foreign trade, foreign affairs. But there are far more things the federal government should not be doing. If you go to Wikipedia and enter “List of U.S. Federal Agencies” and separately, enter “Independent Agencies of the U.S. Government” — the first is the vast number of agencies under the various cabinet positions, and the second is the agencies that are independent of any cabinet position. These are sobering lists. Is it possible to reduce the sway of government or has it taken on a life of its own, growing inexorably?
“Your New Health Care System” instantly makes one realize that ObamaCare is just another scandal. This arrogant overreach will not work, is a huge drag on the economy, and is destroying our health care system. Kathleen Sebelius’s attempt to get the health care providers she regulates to donate to the cause of rolling out ObamaCare is a separate and distinct scandal, aside from being against the law.
One of the greatest uses of scandal is to vividly demonstrate what new laws are needed and to create the political conditions to get them enacted. In the case of the IRS, what is needed seems to be a strong sense of ethics. Can you legislate ethics and forbid politicizing the work of an agency? They are a unionized agency. Can these people be fired? Or do the bad apples among government workers simply move to another department?
In a book titled The New, New Deal, author Michael Grunewald writes of the Energy Department’s Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs. The Recovery Act allocated $5 billion to a three-year program to weatherize 600,000 low-income families’ homes through better windows, insulation, furnaces and air conditioners. The agency was informally known as “the Turkey Farm” for the number of sub-par civil servants sent there over the years when no other agency would take them. He told the story of an excellent manager’s attempts to make the department work. She never stood a chance, Grunwald said. “They knew that political appointees come and go, but civil servants are forever. They call themselves “WeBe’s,” as in “We be here, you be gone.”
So we need not only new laws to fix the underlying problems that produced the scandals, but also a serious effort to get rid of unnecessary and useless agencies. Can we retain the public interest long enough to put real pressure on Congress to make the changes? Can we produce enough activists demanding change?
Political scientist Alan Wolfe has suggested that Conservatives cannot resolve the tensions inherent in “managing government agencies whose missions —indeed, whose very existence —they believe to be illegitimate.” William Voegeli responded: “If conservatives govern badly because they stand outside the borders of modern government yelling Shrink, liberals should govern brilliantly, since their raison d’être is to vindicate the activist state’s right, duty and capacity to handle all the responsibilities entrusted to it over the past century, and then to assign it still more. ” So there you have the conundrum.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Immigration, Law, National Security, Taxes | Tags: A Common Thread, Not Trustworthy, The Obama Administration
Professor John Yoo has identified the common thread in the major Obama administration scandals:
Add up all the recent scandals and the message is clear: the Obama administration is showing that it cannot be trusted with the basic functions of government: law enforcement (surveillance of reporters), taxation (IRS scandals), and national security (Benghazi).
The next problem to demand attention is the Immigration system, which is clearly broken. We have no control of our borders. We have an estimated eleven million illegal aliens in the country. Our traditional ways of assimilating new immigrants is broken. They are not assimilating.
The Obama administration cannot be trusted with overseeing that function. The president has decided by executive order that he will not seek the deportation of young illegal immigrants. Actually it’s worse than that. He has ordered ICE and the border patrol to release any new illegals crossing the border, under the age of 31. ICE agents are suing Homeland Security, Secretary Napolitano and the President because they are ordered not to do what the law requires them to do.
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: 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: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Law, Media Bias, Taxes, The United States | Tags: Attacking Romney Supporters, Attempt to Rig an Election?, The IRS Scandal
There is far more to the IRS scandal than just the attempt to delay or deny tax exempt status to tea party groups and other conservative groups before the 2012 election, as if that weren’t bad enough. The IRS evaluates the applications of nonprofits for 5019(c)(3) or 501 (c)(4) status. A 501(c)(4) organization can engage in political campaign activity, but that activity must not be the main focus of the organization. The application of these standards opens the door to discriminatory enforcement.
In the current scandal, the IRS would routinely hold up such applications, sometimes for years, while making demands on the applicant, that were really irrelevant to the status applied for. At the same time, similar applications from liberal groups sailed through with quick approval.
Separately, the IRS targeted conservatives for audits, especially high-profile donors to conservative causes. There seems to be significant evidence to support that belief. Where the conservative is a wealthy businessman with a complicated tax return, it’s hard to prove that the audit was politically motivated.
Last year, Frank VanderSloot made a sizeable donation to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. He signed on as a national co-chairman of Romney’s finance committee. And then the political attack began. The intimidation began in February 2010 when VanderSloot was the subject of hit pieces in left-wing Mother Jones, and by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. Mr. VanderSloot was surprised by the negative portrayal of Melaleuca, the company he has overseen for more than 25 years.
In April, the Obama campaign named VanderSloot to the first presidential “enemies list” in years. They suggested that eight Romney donors had “less than reputable records. Quite a few have been on the wrong side of the law, others have made profits at the expense of so many Americans.” Their crime was donations to the Romney campaign. In June, the IRS notified VanderSloot that he and his wife would face a tax audit, then two weeks later, the Labor Department informed VanderSloot that it was auditing workers employed at his cattle ranch.
The third IRS part of the scandal is illegal or improper leaking of confidential tax data. We know they leaked pending applications for 501(c) status to the left-wing media group that publicized them, because ProPublica stepped forward to admit it. The National Organization for Marriage has alleged that the IRS leaked confidential NOM data in order to damage the Romney campaign. Their confidential financial documents were leaked to their rival Human Rights Campaign, and published in the Huffington Post. They have published documents that showed the leaked confidential information did not come from a “whistleblower,” but came directly from the IRS. They will sue the IRS for the leak.
President Obama is “concerned”, “outraged,” at the “insufficient oversight” and “lack of managerial review” at the IRS. The IRS Commissioner has stepped down, and he clearly hopes that we can move on. This strikes me as pure Chicago-style politics brought to the nation’s capitol by the Chicago crew in the White House, Obama, Jarrett, Axelrod, Daley. The IG has found that of the 296 applications filed by conservative groups, more than half were still in limbo, many having been on hold for more than three years. It really doesn’t seem to be a random bureaucratic snafu.
ADDENDUM: About that IRS Commissioner stepping down. It seems that his assignment ended in early June, and so he’s just leaving a couple of weeks early. No big deal. The IRS Inspector General’s report is characterized as “a whitewash”. “These allegations are serious — that there was an effort to bring the power of the federal government to bear on those the administration disagreed with, in the middle of a heated national election”, said Mitch McConnell.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Law, Media Bias, News, Politics, Taxes, The Constitution | Tags: Radical Right-Wing Extremists?, The Internal Revenue Service, The Tea Party
The IRS wanted every bit of information that the “suspicious” organizations had on their members. What does the membership consist of? Are they mostly individuals? Provide the member application/registration form/ Provide the membership agreement and rules that govern members. Provide a membership fee schedule. Provide copies of your website that only your members can access.
Tell us about your board members, officers, key employees and members of their families who have served on the board of another organization, was or plans to be a candidate for public office. Indicate the nature of any candidacy. And it didn’t end there, in the quest for more information. One group claimed that “500 pages of stuff” went back and forth between them and the IRS.
These groups say they didn’t hear from the IRS until after their 2010 victories. Then, before they could recreate that success against Obama in 2012, all of a sudden they are intimidated, restricted from certain political activities, and bogged down in a bureaucratic nightmare — all at the hands of the IRS.
I still haven’t figured out quite what it is that frightens the Left so much about the Tea Party. The media has gone to extraordinary lengths to proclaim them racist, radical, dangerous right-wing extremists. Is it so frightening when people on the right start carrying homemade signs? How odd, when they celebrate the violent Occupy people and the Anarchists who take great pleasure in breaking business windows and doing major damage, but some old ladies carrying patriotic signs gets on the “extremist list.”
This theme that such groups are dangerous has been spread throughout Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano has listed them as groups to be watched. Some official West Point organization noted their radicalism, and that they were on the list of dangerous groups. It is increasingly clear that the IRS targeted Obama’s political enemies for political purposes.
One Tea Party Group that applied for Tax Exempt status was largely interested in being a study group, learning more about government and how it worked. The IRS deluged them with demands for more information, more lists, and finally demanded to know what their reading materials were. The head of the group sent them a copy of the Constitution. Way to Go!
The IRS Inspector General’s report has not yet been released. That promises to be interesting. Aside from some problems of leaking information, targeting an enemies list, it was only last month that I posted a story about dozens of IRS employees who have claimed to be unemployed in order to receive welfare, housing allowances and food stamps. That suggests that there are all sorts of interesting things to be discovered in the final report.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Election 2012, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes, The Constitution | Tags: "The Progressive Influence", A Government Beset, Internal Revenue Service
Once a scandal emerges, more people feel free to talk, or want to proclaim themselves on the correct side of the controversy. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gets to handle all the financial information of citizens and businesses who pay taxes because they don’t give out information to anyone, whether government official, press, or private citizen. Apparently the IRS office that handles applications for tax-exempt status has felt free to release the applications and tax returns of citizens, organizations, and businesses that do not hew to the reigning party line freely.
The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service office that targeted and harassed conservative groups during the 2012 election cycle gave them nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending. The initial spin was that the perpetrators were low-level people in some back office in Cincinnati. It seems that groups that seemed to be associated with the Tea Party, patriotism, the Constitution, the Declaration, were pro-Israel, expressed any opposition to the Federal Government, the National Debt, the Budget Deficit.
ProPublica, undoubtedly on the advice of attorneys, wants to get out ahead of the scandal and admit that they received, and made public information from applications or returns, assuming that they were newsworthy. Oddly, they did not target any groups with the word “progressive” or who received millions from the Sandler Foundation or George Soros” Open Society Foundations. ProPublica was initially given millions from the Sandler Foundation to “strengthen the progressive infrastructure” meaning very liberal. The group has won two Pulitzers for their investigative reporting — attacks on oil companies, the health care industry, opposition to fracking, and coal, of course:
Throw in a couple of investigations making the military look bad and another about prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and you have almost the perfect journalism fantasy— a huge budget, lots of major media partners and a liberal agenda unconstrained by advertising.
ProPublica is not the only Soros-funded organization stacked with members of the supposedly neutral press. There’s the Center for Public Integrity, which received $651,650 from the Open Society Institute in 2009 alone. The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) which received close to $1 million from Open Society from 2003-2008. They lean to stories on climate change, illegal immigration and the evils of corporations.
We are constantly told that journalists are neutral, and it isn’t true. They bemoan the influence of money in politics, yet make no mention of the influence of money in journalism. They need be more up front about their connections, their funding and who sits on their boards. There is a reason why they are losing money, losing subscribers and losing advertising.
And trust for the IRS is gone. Everybody lawyer up. Obama seems unconcerned. He does not take this seriously, any of this. He has never felt, as far as I can tell, that the words he says particularly matter. What he says today doesn’t necessarily stand. He might say something different tomorrow. Whether it’s because he doesn’t think you will remember, or that he doesn’t think you’ll care, I don’t know. He got a full four Pinocchio’s from the Washington Post for his claim that he identified the Benghazi attack at the time as a terrorist attack.
All these scandals are inflating into vast bubbles, and the more you find out, the more questions there are.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Health Care, Intelligence, Law, Military, National Security, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Administration Scandals, Informing the Public, President Obama's Statement
There’s quite a bit there, and there’s this and that and these and those.
- There’s Benghazi, which is essentially a matter of character, or more specifically the lack thereof. We sent American representatives out under the American flag, on official duty, and refused to offer them security when they went, refused to secure the so-called consulate, refused to offer them security in a city already known to be so dangerous that the British and the Red Cross had evacuated. When the Ambassador was attacked, we denied the nature of the attack. When two former SEALS were told to “stand down,” they went to the aid of the beleaguered people at the consulate anyway, because that’s what SEALS do. They rescued the people at the consulate, and conducted a firefight with the attackers for hours, requesting backup, help, a Spectre gunship, anything, and all sorts of people who wanted to help were told to “stand down.” To far, Not enough time, A pass with a jet wouldn’t help… But they didn’t even try.
- The Internal Revenue Service has been targeting conservative-leaning groups, Tea Party groups, any group with “patriot” in its name, words like “conservative,” any group mentioning the Constitution, or the Declaration, any group criticizing the government — including those who worried about government spending, debt or taxes. The Tea Party Patriots filed a request for a 501-(c)4 tax exemption in December 2010. and still haven’t received it. High level officials were aware of this as early as 2010. Businessmen who spoke out in criticism of the government were targeted, as were big Republican donors before the election. Austan Goolsbee, President Obama’s former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, complained in a press conference that the Koch brothers weren’t paying enough taxes, which he would not know unless he has seen the returns, which is against the law.
- The Justice Department has secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press, a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news. The records listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individuals, for general AP office numbers and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. Attorney General Eric Holder said he values freedom of the press. CIA Director John Brennan said not me.
- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been denied additional funding for the roll out of ObamaCare by Congress, which presumably thinks they’ve spent enough already. So she is soliciting donations to help promote ObamaCare. She has asked industry and community groups to donate to “Enroll America,” an outside organization created to promote the health care law and encourage people to enroll in its new coverage options. HHS spokesman Jason Young said “Part of our mission is to help uninsured Americans take advantage of new affordable , high quality insurance options that are coming, thanks to the health law. For the last several months the Secretary has been working with a full range of stakeholders who share in the mission of getting Americans the help they need and deserve” They insist they have not made any fundraising requests to “entities regulated by HHS.”
- The Environmental Protective Service (EPA) is facing a number of lawsuits filed to release the emails sent privately, against the law, (transparency) to conduct EPA business out of the public eye. There seems to be a long list of officials conducting public work from personal accounts. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson resigned as lawmakers investigated her use of a private email account under the alias “Richard Windsor.” The EPA has not responded to other Freedom of Information Act requests It is believed they include conversations with green groups and anti-coal radical environmentalist groups, up to and including a potential carbon tax. This matter is again coming to the front as Obama’s nomination of Gina McCarthy as the new director for the EPA is up for Senate approval. Many describe Ms. McCarthy as a radical environmental activist.
- The Institute for Energy Research (IER) has reported that the most recent analysis shows that the Obama administration has created only 2,298 permanent green jobs, which used data from the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office to reach this conclusion. The Daily Caller reported about a year ago that estimates from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory show that of the nearly $9 billion that has so far been spent on green jobs, the government created just 910 new long-term jobs “with a cost to taxpayers of $9.8 million per job.Economist Veronique de Rugy testified to Congress that 2,378 jobs were claimed to be created under the guaranteed-loan program at a potential cost of $6.7 million per job.
- Thirty U.S. troops, including 17 Navy SEALS were killed in a helicopter downing in Afghanistan on Saturday August 6, 2011. At the memorial service conducted by the military, the military brass prohibited any mention of a Judeo-Christian God, and in the true spirit of political correctness, invited a Muslim cleric to peak at the funeral for the fallen Navy SEAL Team VI heroes. The cleric, speaking in Arabic, damned the servicemen as infidels, and directed them to hell. A video of the Muslim cleric’s “prayer” was shown at last week’s press conference with parents of Navy Seals and Army Guardsmen. The Military is consumed with political correctness. Twice as many American troops have been killed in Afghanistan under the Obama administration, as under the Bush administration. It has been said that the politically correct rules of engagement have endangered our troops.
That’s just the “there”in today’s news. Probably more tomorrow as more questions are asked that someone will try to answer.
ADDENDUM: I forgot about Pigford. A handful of black farmers who were arguably discriminated against in their dealings with the Agriculture Department were exploited by a racial grievance industry empowered by the administration to enact a multibillion dollar redistribution scheme to hand out money to any black who ever claimed to farm, and Hispanics and female farmers as well as American Indians. The time frame to file a complaint of discrimination was expanded by a decade, and more than 90,000 people have filed claims. The total cost could top $4.4 billion. The only proof required was a form stating that the claimant had “attempted” to farm (perhaps planting tomatoes in the back yard) and to have a family member vouch for that assertion. The government would then send the “farmer” a check for as much as $50,000. The New York Times examined 16 ZIP codes in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina and found that “the number of successful claimants exceeded the total number of farms operated by people of any race in 1997, the year the original lawsuit was filed. “ If you wonder where your tax money went…
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Law, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Taxes, The Constitution | Tags: Another Administration Scandal, Breaking the Rules, Internal Revenue Service
The IRS in the infamous Friday Night News Dump admitted that it had targeted conservative organizations —specifically Tea Party groups, or any group that has words like “Patriot,” “Constitution,”or “Declaration of Independence” in their materials. The IRS also admitted that they improperly demanded donor lists from some of these organizations. This is playing politics with tax records, and an appalling violation of the bedrock principle of American democracy that the coercive powers of government are never to be used for partisan purposes. But groups with “progressive” or “progress” in their names were not similarly targeted.
So why are they admitting this late on a Spring Friday just before Mothers’ Day when the public is supposedly out buying flowers for their moms? That’s what you do when you hope no one will notice. It seems that a report is due out this next week from the IRS Inspector General. By next week, maybe it will all be old news and no one will pay attention. The Agency even use the timeless passive phrase designed to absolve any actual humans. “Mistakes Were Made.”
It is disturbing that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has not apologized to the American people and promised a full investigation. Nor had President Obama. It was only low-level people in Cleveland who didn’t know any better.
The chairman of a House subcommittee is demanding more information from the IRS about its practice of searching the emails of suspected tax fraudsters. Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) of the Ways and Means Committee according to an April article in The Hill, asked the IRS to provide information about whether it mines Facebook, Twitter or other social media without a warrant, and what searches it has conducted since 2010. The ACLU released documents in which the agency claimed that it does not need a warrant to access emails, text messages and other electronic communications.
At Powerline, John Hinderaker notes that “this is not the first time the Obama administration has abused the IRS. In August 2010, Austin Goolsbee, who directed Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and later chaired his Council of Economic Advisers gave a press briefing in which he discussed corporate income taxes. In that briefing, he suggested that he had access to confidential IRS data, and falsely accused the administration’s beta noire, Koch Industries of not paying corporate income taxes.”
The claim was false, but how would an administration official have access to records that show how much a corporation pays in taxes.? Such access would be illegal.
Last month it was reported that dozens of IRS employees claim to be unemployed in order to receive welfare, housing allowances and food stamps. Twenty-four current and former IRS employees have been charged with stealing government benefits. They were indicted on charges that they illegally received more than $250,000 in benefits.
It is going to be very interesting to find out what the IRS Inspector General has to say, in his report next week.
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Health Care, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: Obama's False Claims, Obamacare, Unaffordable and Unworkable
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law what he billed as a triumphant reform of America’s health care system. Two days later in a speech at the University of Iowa, the president declared:
From this day forward, all of the cynics, all the naysayers — they’re going to have to confront the reality of what this reform is and what it isn’t. … They’ll see that if Americans like their doctor, they’ll be keeping their doctor. You like your plan? You’ll be keeping your plan. No one is taking that away from you. … It wasn’t Armageddon.”
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Law, Politics, Statism, Taxes | Tags: How Unions Hurt Workers, Individual Liberty, The Ugly Side of Labor Unions.
Here’s the sequel to Obama’s “Life of Julia,” the poor soul who is utterly dependent on the government for life. Or rather, an invitation for you to become dependent, so the wise people in government can help you until you can go to work for the government. A sad tale of the loss of individual liberty and a wasted life.
Julius is a fictional character like Julia, but his aspirations, hopes and values are shared by every American. He wants opportunity and economic security. He wants his years of hard work to mean some level of comfort in his retirement. As Iain Murray writes:
Unfortunately, labor-union bosses, and the politicians and laws they support, continually frustrate Julius’s prosperity in ways both large and small, both obvious and subtle. Labor unions have a political stranglehold on the economy in hundreds of ways that affect every single worker, whether they are union members or, like Julius, never belong to a union in their entire life. …
What we’ve tried to do with ”The Life of Julius” is to illustrate how the way unions are run today hurts workers at every stage of their working life — even if they are never a member of a labor union.