Filed under: Architecture, Environment, News, The United States | Tags: Skagit River Bridge, Speedy Replacement, Temporary Bridge Reopens
Governor Jay Inslee has announced that a temporary bridge to replace the collapsed Skagit River Bridge will open tomorrow. This is on I-5 between Seattle and Vancouver B.C. and has slowed traffic with a detour since May 24. A temporary bridge in place with slightly reduced speed limits in just 24 days is not bad.
The Media, always hotly in pursuit of a dramatic story, made a great deal out of the collapse, which was due to a truck with an extra wide load striking a major bridge support, rather than President Obama’s favorite “crumbling roads and bridges” didn’t measure up in the drama department.
Traffic can once again move smoothly, and end the backups on the bridge detour. Good job.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2012, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Statism, The United States | Tags: americans for prosperity, Hating Conservatives, President Barack Obama
To understand the current scandals, the big ones — the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the Verizon telephone hacking, and the Prism cyberhacking of nine major internet companies servers for data — you have to understand some basic differences between the two major political parties. No, Republicans are not pure as the driven snow and the Democrats are not (quite) pure evil. Get real. They are all politicians whose primary interest is being reelected.
Democrats don’t just disagree with Conservatives, they hate them. They want them defeated utterly and completely so they are not there anymore and the Democrats are totally in charge and don’t have to suffer disagreeing people who keep dragging up studies and examples of why Democrats’ ideas won’t work, who get all stuffy about spending money, are unfailingly mean, don’t understand the need to help the poor, and don’t want to repay blacks for all their years of suffering.
Republicans do disagree with Democrats, about almost everything. This is what the founders intended. Republicans would prefer to win the arguments, but they do recognize that the arguing serves a purpose. I have never seen any indication anywhere, ever, that Republicans want to do away with Democrats, or ban them permanently from government. The ultimate goal of Democrats is winning. They want power. Republicans want a free society and smaller, more efficient government.
With the current scandals, Democrats insist that there is no paper trail, nor no “smoking gun” to connect President Barack O’Blameless to the scandals. Of course not. Obama does not like meetings, avoids them whenever possible, and prefers to make speeches. Why do you think he has all those Czars?
There might not be a paper trail, but Obama “spent months in 2010 warning Americans about the ‘threat’ to democracy posed by conservative groups, right at the time the IRS began targeting these groups.” The only useful thing produced by the inspector general’s audit of the IRS was the timeline, as laid out in the Wall Street Journal by Kim Strassel.
It was August 9, 2010 when the IRS first issued its “Be On the Lookout” list, flagging key conservative words and issues. The president named a group that he was obsessed with — Americans for Prosperity (founded by the Koch Brothers). “Right now all around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads…And they don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation.”
Aug. 11: DCCC sends out fundraising emails warning about “Karl Rove inspired shadow groups.”
Aug. 21: Weekly radio address: “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names. …You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation…The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.”
Aug. 23: The New Yorker’s Jame Mayer: Hit piece on Koch brothers titled “Covert Operations: in which she accuses them of funding ‘political front groups.’”
Aug. 27: White House economist Austan Goolsbee accused Koch Industries of being a pass-through that does “not pay corporate income tax.” Inspector General investigates how Goolsbee got that confidential tax information.
Same week: Democrat Party files complaint with IRS claiming Americans for Prosperity is violating tax exempt status.
Sept. 16: Obama in CT, says “foreign-controlled entity” might be funding “millions of dollars of attack ads”
Sept 20: Obama in Philadelphia; “nobody knows who is behind conservative groups.”
And it continued. IRS employees in the Cincinnati office are now telling investigators that they took their orders from Washington DC. With this kind of commentary coming continually from the president and his spokespeople, you might not have the presidential signature on a formal order, but people probably got the idea. That’s how politics worked in 2010.
If you want to know something about shadowy dark secret groups, just Google “Democracy Alliance.”
Filed under: Afghanistan, Military, News, Politics | Tags: "Meals Ready to Eat", Camp Leatherneck, United States Marines
While the workday here is usually considered to be eight hours, for the Marines at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province the workday is twelve hours long. The midnight ration service — known as “midrats” —supplies breakfast to Marines on the midnight-to-noon shift, and dinner to the Marines who are ending the noon-to-midnight work period. It’s described as one of the few times the Marines can be together in one place.
Starting Saturday, they don’t get a hot cooked meal, but a pre-packaged MRE (meal ready to eat). They are also removing the 24-hour sandwich bar. There aren’t a lot of luxuries at Camp Leatherneck. A hot meal doesn’t seem too much to ask. The federal government has lost interest in Afghanistan and the dismantling of U.S. military facilities. More than 30,000 U.S. service members will leave Afghanistan in coming months as the U.S. prepares to hand the country over to the Taliban in 2014. ["responsibility for security to Afghan forces in 2014"].
This may seem to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as a good way to save money, since they are winding down. But it is a huge blow to morale. Since Mr. Hagel’s only qualification for his current position was that he had been an enlisted man in Vietnam, one would think he would be more sensitive to the needs of the troops on the ground. It’s embarrassing. MREs are meant to be an alternative when real food is not possible. The Marines are furious. Lt. Col Cliff Gilmore who has been deployed to Afghanistan since February has the unenviable task of enforcing rules handed down.
“The fact is our force in Afghanistan is shrinking fast and all the creature comforts and services deployed military-members have grown accustomed to over the past decade are going to be reduced,” Gilmore wrote in an email to NBC News. “When serving we are challenged to endure different things — to face different challenges — over time. But we’re an odd bunch, we Marines — probably no surprise that we’ll complain more about losing the sandwich bar on the way out than we did about getting shot at on the way in.”
The tactical reason for the cooking scale-down is that the people who are assigned to “support services” — such as food workers — “need to go home before the people who provide the security which enables those services,” Gilmore wrote. “This is a natural outcome of the drawdown process unrelated to sequestration or the ongoing budget issues back in the States.”
Here at home military families are gearing up to spur food donations for all the troops in Afghanistan, and have launched a Facebook page called “Breakfast for Bagram,” to try to relieve the monotony of MREs.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Law, Media Bias, Progressivism, Statism | Tags: The Chicago Daley Machine, The Chicago Way, The Obama Administration
Even those of us who have never been to Chicago or the state of Illinois are somewhat aware of the reputation of the Chicago Daley machine. My next-door neighbors came from Illinois, and they had tales about corruption that goes way back. Governments aren’t perfect and politics attracts people whose first and most important interest is in getting elected and reelected. The current recession and slow recovery have exposed the seamy side of corrupt governments as never before. You can ignore a little special dealing and corruption if it results in strong economic growth and low unemployment.
The Wall Street Journal named Chicago as the fifth most heavily taxed city in the country. Its sales tax of 9.75 percent is especially onerous for low-income families. Richard M. Daley took office in 1991, and turned the reins over to Rahm Emanuel in 2011. In that time the average debt for a citizen of Chicago grew from $600 to $2,600, an increase of 433 percent. Since 2007, the Chicago region has lost more jobs than Detroit has, and twice as many as New York. The teacher’s union sneered at Rahm Emanuel’s attempt to curb their power and went on strike anyway. The murder rate in Chicago makes headlines almost every day.
Barack Obama was cool, and Journalists caught by his charm, assumed that he had “somehow passed through Chicago politics without ever developing any real connection to it.” John Fund summed up the situation:
The Daley machine, which evolved over 60 years from a patronage-rich army of worker bees into a corporate state in which political pull and public-employee unions dominate, has left its imprint on Obama. The machine’s core principle, laid out in an illuminating Chicago Independent Examiner primer on “the Chicago Way,” is that at all times elections are too important to be left to chance.
Obama came to Washington with guides David Axelrod who was the chief consultant to Richard M. Daley, and Valerie Jarrett, the mayor’s former deputy chief of staff. More from John: Fund
Conservatives in Chicago, an embattled breed, say the Obama scandals now coming to light — the IRS, the intimidation of journalists, the green-energy boondoggles such as Solyndra — could have been anticipated. “The 2008 Obama campaign perpetrated a fraud that he was a reformer,” says Chris Robling, a former journalist who has served as a Republican election commissioner. “All of the complaints — from the lack of transparency to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s shaking down corporations to promote Obamacare — stem from the culture of the Daley Machine.” For decades, Robling says, Mayor Daley “encouraged” contributions to his favorite charities, with the implicit understanding that the “encourager” controlled the city’s inspectors and regulators. “That sounds an awful lot like what Sebelius was doing to prop up Obamacare,” Robling notes. “Obama’s ideology may come from Saul Alinsky’s acolytes, but his political tactics come straight from the Daley playbook.” Indeed, friends of Bill Daley, Mayor Daley’s brother, say that one reason Bill left his post as Obama’s White House chief of staff after only one year was that even he thought Team Obama was too much “all politics, all of the time” and not enough about governance.
The Windy City and its notorious political history are once again in the national spotlight. It’s not a pretty picture, but its characteristics are laid out in a devastating list by the Chicago Examiner. A key to current events and what to expect.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, News, Economy, Environment | Tags: Mount Vernon WA, The Skagit River Bridge, Not On Obama's List
Oooops! Just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend, one section of the Skagit River Bridge on I-5 near Mt. Vernon in Washington State collapsed. This is north of Seattle, on the way to Vancouver B.C. It’s not a spectacular bridge. The Skagit is a pretty ordinary river, but very cold this time of year.
It is not on President Obama’s pet list of “crumbling roads and bridges.” A trucker with a too-wide load smacked into the bridge span and sent the truck and a couple of cars into the river. The news staff, always anxious to dramatize, waited breathlessly to speak to “the survivors”, but nobody was badly hurt., just cuts and bruises. People will be using a detour for quite a while, inconveniencing many. This is the main North/South highway, between Canada and Mexico.
Interestingly, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) just proposed an amendment to a transportation bill that would prohibit funds that were appropriated under title 1 from being used for earmarks until all structurally deficient and obsolete bridges had been repaired, with limited exceptions.
What? Deny our earmarking ability? Use transportation money to repair Obama’s crumbling and obsolete bridges? Fie! Our very own two Senators, Murray and Cantwell , voted, with the majority, to table the amendment. We’ll think about it later.
And as the Skagit River Bridge sinks slowly in the West… I’m with senator Coburn. Spend the money on fixing that which needs fixing, and belay the bike paths and squirrel crossings.
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: Politics, The Constitution, Media Bias, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Taxes, Election 2012 | 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, 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: Foreign Policy, Law, Media Bias, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: "Off the Record", A Politicized IRS, At This Point What Difference Does It Make?
Fridays are famous in the news cycle as the day to release foul and disreputable tidbits since everyone is occupied with weekend plans and finishing up at the office. Apparently if it’s a particularly nice weekend that is promised, they can even release bigger news. If people happen to hear, hopefully they will forget.
So in the course of events, the Internal Revenue Service has apologized for “inappropriate targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for special review because they included those dangerous words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications. In some cases these groups were asked for lists of their donors, which “violates IRS policy.”
Terribly sorry if that kept you from raising money, caused you problems, low-level employees, no high-level officials involved. Apologies. White House flack Jay Carney said it was indeed “inappropriate” (there’s that word again), but the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration has been investigating ever since last summer and his report is due next week. (Also “insensitive”) Nobody’s fault really, low-level employees, just move along. Jay Carney, White House flack, added that one of the directors of the IRS was appointed by George W. Bush.
And of course there is Benghazi. The press has noticed that there is something funny about the talking points and ABC’s Jonathan Karl has obtained 12 different versions of the CIA talking points as they evolved from the first draft written entirely by the CIA to the final versions distributed to Congress and UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Is this an indication that the story of Benghazi is to be all about talking points? Wasn’t there something about people dying, perhaps unnecessarily, because of administration malfeasance?
The news that the Secretary of State in the most transparent administration in history had her chief of staff warn a Benghazi whistle-blower not to spill the beans on Benghazi. Hillary had long experience with “handlers” delegated to deal with the “bimbo eruptions.” People who dare to speak out need to be intimidated. Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya, a career foreign service officer for 22 years, said that after he talked to investigators about Benghazi, he received a searing phone reprimand from a very angry Cheryl Mills, chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Hicks was told not to talk to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) when a congressional delegation visited Libya after the attack. When he did anyway, a long string of glowing performance reviews morphed into criticisms of his management style and leadership and he was demoted to desk officer. Hicks said he had never before been told not to meet with a congressional delegation. Far from trying to find out what happened, Hillary Clinton and the State Department sought to suppress the truth and punish anyone who would speak the truth.
So, an efficient administration, being on top of the news cycle and aware that accusations of an attempted cover-up of events leading to the murder of our Ambassador, his aide, and two SEALS are floating around, what do you do? Why you have an off-the-record briefing for the White House press corps, so the reporters can’t repeat anything even if they want to. Why would the press agree to that?
Simple. They changed the language describing the meeting from “off-the-record” to: Though the existence of the meeting was off the record, it was conducted on “deep background.” “Deep Background” apparently means that the information presented by the briefers can be used in reporting, but the briefers can’t be quoted.”
Ari Fleischer tweeted : “Time Magazine reporter Jay Carney would have been the 1st person to object to how the WH is handling the press today.”
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.”