Free Markets, Free People
And, as it always seems to happen now days, nothing was done:
In late March 2012, IRS deputy commissioner Steven Miller–who resigned his post as acting commissioner last week at President Obama’s request–directed senior technical advisor Nancy J. Marks to investigate allegations of political targeting of groups seeking tax exempt status, agency officials told congressional aides. Holly Paz, acting director of ruling and agreements, worked with Marks on the probe, and both traveled to Cincinnati to conduct interviews.
Sounds serious, right? Eh, not so much:
On May 3, 2012. Marks gave what IRS officials described as a “presentation” to Miller describing her findings. According to the House aide, Marks said the investigation had found significant problems in the review process and a substantial bias against conservative group. No written findings were produced as a result, the aide said, and it does not appear the internal review led to any disciplinary actions against IRS employees.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if, in fact, “a substantial bias against conservative groups” was found, and it was important enough, at least initially to send Paz and Marks to check it out, then by doing nothing, it would seem to me that IRS management at least tacitly endorsed the action.
Which may be why certain IRS official has decided has decided to plead the Fifth:
A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.
And yes, you’re right … this stinks to high heaven and it absolutely begs to be prosecuted.
Of course, if you had any faith in government, you’d expect it too.
That exempts me, however. I expect a few low level IRS employees to get to take one “for the team” and those that actually made it happen will, as usual, escape scott free.
That’s how it works today in this land where everyone is “equal” under the law.
Grab your wallets, this is going to cost you plenty … for zero gain against a made up problem:
“A principal challenge to all of us of life and death proportions is the challenge of climate change…I regret that my own country – and President Obama knows this and is committed to changing it – needs to do more and we are committed to doing more.”–Secretary Kerry
And the apology tour continues.
Peggy Noonan makes this statement today:
What happened at the IRS is the government’s essential business. The IRS case deserves and calls out for an independent counsel, fully armed with all that position’s powers. Only then will stables that badly need to be cleaned, be cleaned. Everyone involved in this abuse of power should pay a price, because if they don’t, the politicization of the IRS will continue—forever. If it is not stopped now, it will never stop. And if it isn’t stopped, no one will ever respect or have even minimal faith in the revenue-gathering arm of the U.S. government again.
And it would be shameful and shallow for any Republican operative or operator to make this scandal into a commercial and turn it into a mere partisan arguing point and part of the game. It’s not part of the game. This is not about the usual partisan slugfest. This is about the integrity of our system of government and our ability to trust, which is to say our ability to function.
First paragraph … agree, for the most part. Where I don’t agree is that there is a “minimal faith” in the revenue gathering arm of the US government. There’s been little faith in it since it’s inception. Most people understand that the gun is pointed at them and the prison cell is open and waiting. They don’t pay taxes because of any “faith” or respect for the IRS or government. They do it out of fear.
As for the second paragraph, that’s total horse hockey. Total.
The entire point of the scandal was it targeted “political” organizations. How does one not politicize it? It took place under a Democratic administration and the opponents of that party were the target of the IRS.
And what do we get from Noonan? “Hey, let’s take a knife to a gun fight”.
Noonan’s advice is, by far, the stupidest advice one could give.
Yes, this is about the integrity of the system. And, like it or not, that is directly linked to those who administer and govern.
Ms. Noonan, who is that right now? And how, if they were doing an effective job, would this have been going on for two years. Oh, and speaking of trust, how are you with the whole AP scandal? My guess is you’re wanting some heads over that.
Well, I want some heads of this. And Benghazi. And Fast and Furious.
Instead we get shrinking violets like you advising everyone to back off and not make this “political”.
So Ed Morrissey points out that the IRS thing has been going on since 2011 and it’s just a “couple of agents” in a single per the official line. Well, maybe four.
Except the agents in question are claiming only to have done what their bosses wanted. And their bosses? We don’t know. We don’t know who they are. After all, it was only a couple of letters to a couple of right of center organizations.
But again, per Morrissey, these two – or four – agents were busy little people in that one office.
Did I say 300 organizations? According to the report, Reps. Jim Jordan and Darrell Issa now put that number closer to 500. If it was just these four agents, they’d have to have been rather, er, productive.
Yeah. And they did it all over the US and all by themselves for two years.
Is anyone in charge up there? Does anyone even know what’s going on? And, if someone is in charge, are we ever going to hold them accountable?
Trust in government?
Besides improving his golf game, you have to wonder what we pay this guy for:
A report by the Government Accountability Institute found that in his first 1,225 days in office, Obama only attended 43.8% of his daily intelligence briefings.
And in the days leading up to Benghazi, well, he had more important things to do than sit in on what should be the first thing he does everyday:
As Breitbart News exclusively reported the day after the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack, Obama did not attend his intelligence briefings (known officially as the presidential daily brief, or PDB) for the week leading up to the attacks.
Hard to lead when you don’t know wtf is going on, isn’t it?
I found this to be very interesting. From ABC News (email):
ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: The troubles are mounting for the White House – Benghazi, IRS, AP phone records – leading one administration official to ask yesterday: “Is it really still only Monday?” It’s safe to say all three topics are moving into scandal territory, but it’s a mistake to view them together. Of all of the controversies, the IRS seems to be the most troubling because it further erodes trust in government and institutions – from a point that is already distressingly low. At least three Congressional committees are digging in. Even though the president said he didn’t know about the IRS matter until the news broke last week, it happened on his watch. Democrats could have a hard time winning this one. It bolsters the case for Republicans, just in time for the midterm campaign to begin.
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: It comes fast and intense in a second term. And the confluence of events – Benghazi talking points, the IRS scandal, sweeping subpoenas of Associated Press records – leave plenty of reasons to mistrust the government President Obama is leading. Knowing that Congress can’t walk and chew gum very well – it can’t walk all that well without the gum, and this flavor is particularly tasty to the president’s opponents – this is a recipe for stalling and worse for just about anything the White House wants to do. The president’s powers of public persuasion, meanwhile, could ebb in the whiff of scandals. If there’s a White House strategy to turn this all around, we’re not seeing signs of it, not yet.
ABC’s DEVIN DWYER: The talking points coming out of the State Department on Monday were astonishing for their attempted revisionism. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki repeated four times in four minutes that the Obama administration’s early public characterization of the 2012 Benghazi terror attack was dictated by the CIA. “These were CIA points. They were CIA edited. They were CIA finalized,” she said. Nevermind that trove of emails, obtained by ABC News, that shows it was in fact the State Department that sought to edit out the CIA’s references to al Qaeda and to security warnings in Benghazi prior to the attack. “These started and ended as CIA talking points,” Psaki said. Technically, maybe so. But it would be disingenuous to ignore or deny the apparent influence of State during the talking-point sausage-making that occurred in between.
ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: The Tea Party groups who say they were unfairly targeted by the IRS showed ABC News questionnaires and documents received from the Internal Revenue Service. They had to answer questions about their donors, views on issues, and one member said she was even asked to show her personal Facebook account, all they say, because of their political views. The agency apologized last week, but these groups don’t feel like they were directly apologized to. All want an investigation, but for Jennifer Stefano who was trying to set up a group called The Loyal Opposition, but finally gave up, she compares this scandal to Watergate: “It became very frightening, the IRS has the power to target the political opposition of a sitting president.”
It’s amazing it has taken these events and this long for these people to actually do their jobs. And there’s no guarantee they will. But it can’t be denied any longer — it is on “the” radar screen. Benghazi, IRS, AP, you name it. Even the sycophants credulity is being tested.
Maybe it took this administration’s messing with AP to finally make them figure out that for the most part they’ve simply been the media arm of the administration and the administration feels some “ownership” rights. Thus it was checking on them … or something.
It’ll be interesting to watch this all unfold — or disappear.
You’ve all read about the first “3D gun” being made? Well here’s some of the fallout:
Defense Distributed, the Texas-based nonprofit that wants to empower people to 3D print their own guns, has hit a bit of a legal snag. According to founder Cody Wilson, DEFCAD, the open source weapon-printing project powered by Defense Distributed, received a letter (embedded below) from the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Compliance, telling him to remove the blueprints of the Liberator, his 3D printed gun, from the web so that they may be reviewed by the department.
The group’s website currently has a red banner appended to the top that reads, “DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”
“We got an official letter from the Secretary of State, telling me who they were, what their authority was under U.S. law and telling me they want to review these files to see if they’re class one munitions,” Mr. Wilson told Betabeat by phone. “That includes blueprints.”
So anyone want to guess how many times those blueprints were downloaded before this order came along? I know there are many other aspects of this case to discuss such as this:
In the letter … the State Department says that Defense Distributed may have released data that is controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulation without getting prior authorization. This would put the company’s actions in conflict with … the Arms Export Control Act.
“Please note that disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad, is considered an export,” reads the letter. It also says that until Defense Distributed has received the legal all-clear, the company “should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled. This means that all such data should be removed from public access immediately.”
But other than a basis to prosecute, the letter accomplishes nothing. Same with the “law”. Add the internet and, well, whoosh, it’s around the world before the government even knows about it.
A perfect example of why, and you can see rumblings of it happening now here (and, of course, it is a top priority in other countries), government is growing more and more interested in controlling the internet. Again, the excuse du jour will be what? “It’s for your own safety and security that we clamp down on these things and take away some of your freedoms”. It has no choice if it is going to enforce it’s laws does it?
And we all remember what Ben Franklin said about trading freedom for security, don’t we?
Well apparently the ultimate RINO is restless and looking for a nail on which he can use his legislative hammer.
John McCain is going to release a bill that would dismantle cable as it’s currently constructed, Brenden Sasso at The Hill reports.
The legislation would force cable companies and satellite TV providers to give consumers an option to pick and choose which channels they get. This is called “à la carte programming,” and it’s long been a dream of consumers who only want a handful of channels.
While I’d certainly be fine with a la carte programming, it is none of the government’s business. When someone finds a way to offer that, consumers will reward them.
Speaking of the government, you’d think another thing that they and McCain would be for would be a la carte health insurance. You know, a dream of health care consumers. Instead we get bundled health care with 300 things we don’t want but have to pay for because the government says so.
You’d think people like McCain, et al, would want to do something abou that wouldn’t you … instead of worrying about TV channels.
A couple of years ago my wife was told she needed a hip replacement. To say it shocked her would be an understatement. After finally accepting it, she got on Google. And she did research. She found there were two types of hip replacement surgeries – a posterior approach and an anterior approach. She also found out the difference was like night and day in terms of recovery.
The anterior approach is by far the superior. But, since it is a fairly new approach and requires a very expensive table, most doctors who do hip replacement surgery use the posterior approach. Unfortunately, in the Atlanta area there were only two groups who do the anterior approach and neither of them take our insurance. So she had a dilemma. She could get the hip replaced but she was stuck with the posterior approach which required the cutting through a number of muscles in the hip area.
However, we’re talking my wife, Ms. “Never say never”. She got on the phone with our insurance carrier and started pitching the anterior approach, telling them how superior it was to the other approach and how it would save them money, etc. Finally, the insurance provider told her to widen her search to a 100 mile radius and she found a doctor in Gainsville, GA, about 40 minutes from where we live who does the anterior approach. After consultation with him, she made her decision and surgery was today.
I’m amazed. She went into surgery at 7:30am, was out at 9, in her room at 12, and here’s the amazing part, walking down the hallway of the patient floor at 1pm. She made an entire circuit. Not only that, they took her by the physical therapy room and she went up and down stairs. With her new hip.
Phenomenal. She leaves tomorrow to go home. Had she had the other approach she’d be facing 2 weeks in a rehab hospital and months of rehab afterward.
Well, maybe not her, but you get the picture. She’s a trooper, but her experience isn’t at all uncommon with this approach. Hip surgery was a huge and painful ordeal that took you out of circulation for a while. With the anterior approach, it doesn’t have to be anymore. I don’t know if you or a loved one may have that in their future but if so, insist on finding a doctor that uses the anterior approach.
It is well worth the search.
One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is governments at all levels building expensive monuments to itself. From local city halls and county administration buildings to Washington DC, governments spare no expense in ensuring they have the very best in terms of buildings to house them. And, it appears, the Department of Homeland Security is not to be denied either:
Washington notables broke ground on the future home of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, symbolically starting construction on the biggest federal building project in the Washington area since the Pentagon 68 years ago.
The project will bring together more than 15,000 employees now scattered in 35 offices in the region, placing them on a 176-acre campus strewn with historic buildings in a long-neglected corner of Washington, five miles from the Capitol building.
Department leaders hope the $3.4 billion consolidation will help the department fulfill its core mission — protecting the homeland — in ways big and small.
“It will help us hold meetings,” Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “It will help us build that culture of ‘One DHS.’”
“It will help us hold meetings.” That’s the best she can come up with (I mean, with today’s technology, I guess virtual meetings are just too much work)? And when I read about her hope of building a culture of “One DHS”, I saw an image of my freedoms flitting out the window while a band play “Deutschland Uber Alles”.
By the way, the site on which this building will be built is the former site of an insane asylum.
I love irony.