American Elephants

The Letter ‘S’ in IRS Apparently Stands For ‘Scandal’ by The Elephant's Child

Powerline has today a letter from William Henck who has worked in the IRS Office of the General Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. Powerline says:

Although it goes over some old ground, we submit the following personal account by Mr. Henck for the consideration of readers in the context of current controversies without further comment. He writes:

I have been an attorney in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel for over 26 years. Over a number of years, I have attempted, largely unsuccessfully, to alert the public to abuse within the IRS. One of my kids suggested that I contact a blog and Power Line has graciously agreed to publish this account.

I do not personally know whether the IRS has targeted conservative groups or individuals, but I do know that the environment within the agency is ripe for such activity and there is nothing to prevent it from occurring. As stated in more detail below, I have personally witnessed improper giveaways of billions of dollars to taxpayers with inside access at the agency, bullying of elderly taxpayers, the cover-up of managerial embezzlement and misappropriation of thousands of dollars in government funds, and a retaliatory audit. I have also heard credible accounts of, among other things, further improper giveaways, blatant sexual harassment, and anti-Semitism. All of these matters have been swept under the rug.

Do read the whole thing. It sheds a bit of light on all the controversy about the IRS  targeting of conservative groups. As I’m sure you have heard Mr. Obama say, it is simply a phony controversy, nothing to see here, just move along. The problem is that Ms. Lerner kind of blew that to smithereens with her attempt to plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid incriminating herself.

Corruption in government is no small thing. It spreads. Public sector unions are much to blame. When a miscreant can no longer be fired, government’s ability to have an ethical agency is ended. And the damage goes on from that.

When Rudy Giuliani was Mayor of New York City, he had enormous success with his “broken windows theory” of policing. You take care of the small things like graffiti, turnstile jumping, and the attention to the small things shows that you are going to take care of the bigger ones. He made a big difference in crime in New York.

The EPA Is At It Again! Environmental Zealotry In Pursuit of Power. by The Elephant's Child

The EPA is at it again. Having little to do that is useful, the EPA has gone after “fine particles” under the theory that anything in the air should be removed. A while back they were talking about regulating farm dust, but were essentially laughed out of town. Now they have turned to wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts in the United States.

About 12 percent of American homes use wood stoves for heat. They are more common in rural areas. Again, the EPA is attempting to reduce “particle pollution” with new rules. Instead of limiting fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 micrograms. That’s equivalent to a person smoking 3 to 4 cigarettes in a small confined space. The draconian EPA regulations will be spread out beginning in March and the rest in five to eight years. Stoves currently in use will not be affected yet, but getting them repaired will become more difficult.

Fireplaces are not yet included, but are being looked at. They are part of future research. Environmental zealots recognize no boundaries for their zealotry and control. Consider barbecues and fire pits. Forced air furnaces will also face drastic cuts and are headed for extinction over the next five years unless they can meet  near-impossible limits to their emissions.

The EPA is in pursuit of pure air. They are generous about making up statistics about how many people will die if exposed to a certain “pollutant.” Asthma has been one of their favorites. Physicians don’t know what causes asthma, so the EPA feels free to list statistical numbers of future asthma deaths.

Regulations like these are forced through with fake lawsuits through a corrupt scheme known as “sue and settle.” This allows the EPA more freedom in advancing harsh regulations on the public. According to Senator David Vitter (R-LA) this is how it works:

A far-left environmental group sues a federal department or agency, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming that the government is not satisfying its regulatory obligations. Then, after the group and the EPA plan and discuss the matter – without the involvement of any others, including affected business, landowners, and state and local governments – they draft a settlement agreement committing the agency to regulate a certain sector of the economy or type of private property. All that’s left is to get the presiding judge to bless their friendly agreement.

There’s even a bonus prize in this scheme. Because such a settlement is counted as a “win” for the environmental group plaintiff, that suing group is awarded all of its costs and attorney’s fees, creating a revolving fund for its continuing activity, courtesy of our wallets.

Thus the left, including the Obama Administration, advances its aggressive environmental agenda. No need for messy Congressional hearings or opposing arguments.

During the first term of the Obama Administration, the EPA entered into more than 60 “sue and settle” agreements with environmental allies, including 34 lawsuits by the Sierra Club, 20 by WildEarth Guardians and 9 from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

One of the most successful on the EPA’s part, and most damaging to states are the “regional haze requirements under the Clean Air Act,” which are costing states hundreds of millions of dollars. Other regulations imposed by “sue and settle” chicanery are regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants, chemical manufacturers, and anything to do with coal.

The aim of the EPA seems to be control and power. Environmental zealots range from those who want no one messing up their enjoyment of the outdoors to those who would prefer to turn the earth back to a more pristine age, preferably without annoying humans.

(h/t: The Independent Sentinel)

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