The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit delivered a huge blow to Obamacare this morning, ruling that the insurance subsidies granted through the federally run health exchange, which covered 36 states for the first open enrollment period, are not allowed by the law.
The highly anticipated opinion in the case of Jacqueline Halbig v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell reversed a lower court ruling finding that federally run exchanges did have the authority to disburse subsidies.
Today’s ruling vacates the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation allowing the federal exchanges to give subsidies. The large majority of individuals, about 86 percent, in the federal exchange system received subsidies, and in those cases the subsidies covered about 76 percent of the premium on average.
The essence of the court’s ruling is that, according to the law, those subsidies are illegal. They were always illegal, and the administration never had the authority to offer them. (According to an administration official, however, the subsidies will continue to flow throughout the appeals process.)
Don’t get to excited about this yet. It was a 3 judge panel. And it will likely go to the Supreme Court. Finally, in a different Circuit (4th) a ruling says the subsidies are legal:
A different circuit court ruled today that subsidies offered through federally run exchanges are authorized on the law. This creates a circuit court split, which increases, but does not guarantee, the chances of an eventual hearing by the Supreme Court. It is also possible, and arguably even more likely, that the circuit split will be dealt with via en banc review.
Bottom line: a heavy shot across the bow of the sinking ship ObamaCare. If the DC Circuit finding survives the review and an appeal to the Supreme Court, then foundering ship will take the next shot below the water line. As for the law, it’s not going to get changed anytime soon with a Republican House.
As for the law, the DC Court said it was pretty clear to them:
“We conclude that appellants have the better of the argument: a federal Exchange is not an ‘Exchange established by the State,’ and [the relevant section of the law] does not authorize the IRS to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal Exchanges,” the decision says.
The law “plainly makes subsidies available only on Exchanges established by states,” the ruling says. “And in the absence of any contrary indications, that text is conclusive evidence of Congress’s intent. To hold otherwise would be to say that enacted legislation, on its own, does not command our respect—an utterly untenable proposition.”
Plain law, literally interpreted and applied. Certainly not what we’re used too. So let’s see how convoluted this gets moving up the line. My guess is it will be unrecognizable after the lawyers begin to redefine terms and words and make their arguments. By the end of it, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn that “federal exchanges” now means whatever the IRS wants it to mean. But clearly, the way to kill this monstrosity is to starve it. And the way you starve it is to defund it … even if you have to do it bit by bit.
“Economic patriotism” is the new meme that Democrats are throwing around to demonize companies that try to avoid taxes here in the US, i.e. you’re not a patriotic company if you attempt to avoid taxes the Dems think you should be paying. Kevin Williamson covers it:
Jack Lew, late of Citigroup and currently of the Obama administration, has issued a call for “economic patriotism.” This phrase, which is without meaningful intellectual content, is popular in Democratic circles these days. Ted Strickland, the clownish xenophobe and nearly lifelong suckler upon all available taxpayer teats who once served as governor of Ohio, famously denounced Mitt Romney as a man lacking “economic patriotism” during the 2012 Democratic convention. President Barack Obama has used the phrase. It’s not that I do not appreciate lectures on “economic patriotism” from feckless former executives of dodgy Wall Street enterprises, guys who get rich monetizing their political celebrity, and second-rate ward-heelers from third-rate states; it’s just that nobody ever has been able to explain to me what the term is intended to mean.
The proximate cause of Mr. Lew’s distress is the fact that many U.S. firms either are up and leaving the country entirely or are acquiring foreign competitors in order to reorganize themselves as companies legally domiciled in friendly tax jurisdictions.
Now we’re not talking about 3rd world countries here … just countries that are much friendlier to business and have a lower tax rate. For instance:
U.S. pharmaceutical firms in particular have been in a rush to acquire partners in order to escape punitive U.S. corporate taxes for the relatively hospitable climates of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Walgreen’s, a venerable firm that, like the lamentable political career of Barack Obama, has its origins in Chicago, is considering abandoning its hometown of 113 years for Switzerland. Eaton, a Cleveland-based manufacturer of electronic components, moved to Ireland. The list goes on.
Note that in spite of the would-be class warriors’ “race to the bottom” rhetoric, these firms are not moving to relatively low-wage countries such as China or India. Switzerland is not a Third World hellhole — especially if your immediate point of comparison is murderlicious Chicago, which endures more homicides in a typical July than gun-loving Switzerland sees in a typical year. The Netherlands is not Haiti, and Ireland is not Bangladesh.
Got an ironic chuckle out of his point about Chicago. Maybe some might consider they’re moving out of a 3rd world country if they’re Chicago (or Detroit) based.
Anyway, all of these places have one thing in common – lower taxes, less regulation and a friendlier business climate than exists in the US. What they face here is the reason they’re becoming “unpatriotic”. It is more than just taxes:
Mr. Lew is correct in his assertion that relative tax rates are a main driver in the desire of firms to relocate, though it is not the only driver — arbitrary and unpredictable regulation, a lousy tort environment, and unstable public finances surely play a role as well. The United States has the highest statutory corporate-income-tax rate in the developed world, and though effective rates are typically lower than the nominal rate, that is more of a bug than a feature: Our corporate-income-tax regime is riddled with handouts and political favoritism. Crony capitalism is not an inspiring condition for firms looking to make long-term investments.
The point of Democrats and their use of “economic patriotism”, of course, is to demonize and attempt to shame companies that seek relief from the business crippling effects of this government. If the company doesn’t stay to be bled dry by the Dems to finance their utopian and big government schemes, well, they’re just “unpatriotic”.
“Economic patriotism” and its kissing cousin, economic nationalism, are ideas with a fairly stinky history, having been a mainstay of fascist rhetoric during the heyday of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite “admirable Italian gentleman.” My colleague Jonah Goldberg has labored mightily in the task of illustrating the similarities between old-school fascist thinking and modern progressive thinking on matters political and social, but it is on economic questions that contemporary Democrats and vintage fascists are remarkably alike. In fact, their approaches are for all intents and purposes identical: As most economic historians agree, neither the Italian fascists nor the German national-socialists nor any similar movement of great significance had anything that could be described as a coherent economic philosophy. The Italian fascists put forward a number of different and incompatible economic theories during their reign, and the Third Reich, under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s heroic conception of history, mostly subordinated economic questions as such to purportedly grander concerns involving destiny and other abstractions.
Which is to say, what the economic nationalism of Benito Mussolini most has in common with the prattling and blockheaded talk of “economic patriotism” coming out of the mealy mouths of 21st-century Democrats is the habit of subordinating everything to immediate political concerns. In this context, “patriotism” doesn’t mean doing what’s best for your country — it means doing what is best for the Obama administration and its congressional allies.“Economic patriotism” and its kissing cousin, economic nationalism, are ideas with a fairly stinky history, having been a mainstay of fascist rhetoric during the heyday of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite “admirable Italian gentleman.” My colleague Jonah Goldberg has labored mightily in the task of illustrating the similarities between old-school fascist thinking and modern progressive thinking on matters political and social, but it is on economic questions that contemporary Democrats and vintage fascists are remarkably alike. In fact, their approaches are for all intents and purposes identical: As most economic historians agree, neither the Italian fascists nor the German national-socialists nor any similar movement of great significance had anything that could be described as a coherent economic philosophy. The Italian fascists put forward a number of different and incompatible economic theories during their reign, and the Third Reich, under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s heroic conception of history, mostly subordinated economic questions as such to purportedly grander concerns involving destiny and other abstractions.
Which is to say, what the economic nationalism of Benito Mussolini most has in common with the prattling and blockheaded talk of “economic patriotism” coming out of the mealy mouths of 21st-century Democrats is the habit of subordinating everything to immediate political concerns. In this context, “patriotism” doesn’t mean doing what’s best for your country — it means doing what is best for the Obama administration and its congressional allies.
Another adventure in short-term political gain trumping a coherent economic policy that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, etc. Nothing new in that, but I think the summary helps focus it’s purpose. And it has nothing to do with “patriotism” or “economics”.
CBO has extrapolated the budget for the government out to 2039 and using current law paint a picture of the same old crap with a continuing rise in public debt:
Note that the spending an revenue lines are essentially as close as they’re going to get this year, with spending outpacing revenue and widening the gap from now on.
Oh, and this little goodie:
- Federal spending for Social Security and the government’s major health care programs—Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and subsidies for health insurance purchased through the exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act—would rise sharply, to a total of 14 percent of GDP by 2039, twice the 7 percent average seen over the past 40 years. That boost in spending is expected to occur because of the aging of the population, growth in per capita spending on health care, and an expansion of federal health care programs.
So much for “and we’ll save every family $2,500 a year on their health care insurance”. Costs aren’t going anywhere but up. Of course, you can count on the propagandists to now claim they’ll be going up slower than had they let the market work. As with most of the “facts” these yahoos throw around, it will be a baseless claim meant to excuse their failure.
And as the debt piles up even more, so does the amount of money it takes to pay the interest:
- The government’s net interest payments would grow to 4½ percent of GDP by 2039, compared with an average of 2 percent over the past four decades. Net interest payments would be larger than that average mainly because federal debt would be much larger.
No kidding. Which means:
- In contrast, total spending on everything other than Social Security, the major health care programs, and net interest payments would decline to 7 percent of GDP by 2039—well below the 11 percent average of the past 40 years and a smaller share of the economy than at any time since the late 1930s.
Can anyone yet guess the solution to this problem? That’s right, is some form or another, a tax increase. One of the reasons a carbon tax is so popular among some politicians is it taxes thin air and creates a revenue stream out of it.
This is the continuing situation the incompetents who run this government (and yes that includes both parties) have managed to produce for this once proud nation. A debtor nation which is slowly dying under the weight of its own debt, brought to us by spendthrift politicians who will all deny they’re the problem.
But that single picture tells a different story doesn’t it?
Here’s our future:
- The large amount of federal borrowing would draw money away from private investment in productive capital in the long term, because the portion of people’s savings used to buy government securities would not be available to finance private investment. The result would be a smaller stock of capital and lower output and income than would otherwise be the case, all else being equal. (Despite those reductions, the continued growth of productivity would make output and income per person, adjusted for inflation, higher in the future than they are now.)
- Federal spending on interest payments would rise, thus requiring higher taxes, lower spending for benefits and services, or both to achieve any chosen targets for budget deficits and debt.
- The large amount of debt would restrict policymakers’ ability to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges, such as economic downturns or financial crises. As a result, those challenges would tend to have larger negative effects on the economy and on people’s well-being than they would otherwise. The large amount of debt could also compromise national security by constraining defense spending in times of international crisis or by limiting the country’s ability to prepare for such a crisis.
While the DOJ won’t even look into voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia in 2008, it certainly will move itself to check out what Nebraska Democrats claim is the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.”
Here’s a description of the float:
A Fourth of July parade float featured at the annual Independence Day parade in Norfolk sparked criticism when it depicted a zombie-like figure resembling Mr. Obama standing outside an outhouse, which was labeled the “Obama Presidential Library.”
It was a “zombie-like figure” of Obama? Now, as far as I know, zombies aren’t race specific. Anyone of any race can be a “zombie”, no? However, they are defined as an “animated corpse”. That a pretty fair description of the man who now holds the office of the Presidency. And my statement, I guess, is somehow a horrible show of disrespect for the office of the presidency.
Uh, no. No it’s not.
It is certainly a bit of disrespect for the man holding the office. And I have to wonder where Nebraska Democrats were when George W Bush was in office, if this is the “worst” they’ve ever seen. Frankly, I think it is exceedingly mild.
And, the outhouse? Precisely where I’d say this presidency belongs. The man in the White House is awful. He’s the worst president I’ve seen during my lifetime and I thought Jimmy Carter was hard to beat.
So an animated corpse outside an outhouse is a pretty good bit of political satire if you ask me.
But apparently our DOJ now tries intimidate those exercising their right to free speech (you know, the 1st Amendment? The one that prohibits government from trying to stifle it?). Not that the DOJ or this administration is in anyway worried about allowing the Constitution or Bill of Rights to get in their way of a political vendetta.
This should be interesting:
A federal judge has ordered the IRS to explain “under oath” how the agency lost a trove of emails from the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency 30 days to file a declaration by an “appropriate official” to address the computer issues with ex-official Lois Lerner.
The decision came Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which along with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has questioned how the IRS lost the emails and, in some cases, had no apparent way to retrieve them.
The IRS first acknowledged it lost the emails in a letter to senators last month.
“In our view, there has been a cover-up that has been going on,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The Department of Justice, the IRS, had an obligation, an absolute obligation … to alert the court and alert Judicial Watch as soon as they knew when these records were supposedly lost.”
This isn’t Congress we’re talking about here. Dissembling “under oath” in a Federal Court has (or at least used to have) severe consequences. That ass that is the director of the IRS won’t be able to play his arrogant games this time. And, his agency will actually have to have a plausible explanation and proof instead of hand-waves and fake outrage at the questions asked and answers demanded.
As polls have demonstrated, almost no one in the country believes the IRS’s convenient explanations – convenient for them. And, as others have pointed out, they were in violation of the law when they didn’t archive all correspondence pending lawsuits they were involved in. This wasn’t just some “slip up”. The IRS knows what its legal responsibilities are and have exercised them in the past. Their legal department knew that they were required, under the law, to ensure all internal correspondence was available.
This isn’t about a couple of “rogue agents in Cincinnati”. This is about a rogue agency … period. Time to bring it under control again and for once, figuratively speaking, seeing some bureaucratic heads roll.
Nothing new here, but let’s repeat it for the umpteenth time so perhaps somewhere some lefty will actually figure out why minimum wages are a bad idea:
One of the results of the state and local minimum wage increases across the country is more young people out of work, according to Puzder. The more entry-level jobs pay, the more willing experienced, qualified workers will be to take them, thereby bumping the young and inexperienced out of the work force. Puzder says that is causing a real problem for the young people of America.
“The real problem with youth is: You have to have these entry-level jobs to get the experience you need to move forward in your life. If they don’t have those jobs, they’re sitting at home – I don’t know – looking at the posters from the last election or waiting for mom to make dinner, as opposed to being out there actually working and getting the experience that they need to go forward in life,” argues Puzder. “The experience is the important part and we’ve got a whole generation of kids ages 16 to 29 who are missing out on that.”
So how does the economy regulate the price of labor?
“When there’s a demand for labor, the cost of labor goes up. When there’s no demand for labor, it goes down and you can’t solve that problem by having the government artificially mandate a wage increase when there’s no economic growth to support that,” says Puzder. “What businesses do is they increase their prices and they move to automation so you have less jobs.”
Yes, as usual, central planning will fail and have negative consequences. I know, you’re shocked.
Oh, and this:
“When politicians tell people, ‘We’re going to increase the minimum wage and your check will be bigger,’ what they don’t say and [what] the next sentence should be [is]: ‘However, it’s not going to be worth as much as the increase, because everybody’s going to increase their prices so you’re not going to be able to buy as much as you could have if we’d just had economic growth that justified that increase.”
So what does Andy Puzder propose instead of artificially inflated minimum wages? “Government needs to get out of the way. If government gets out of the way, businesses will create jobs,” he says. “Wages will go up and the country will go back to a state of prosperity instead of what we’re in now.”
So you get the usual self-serving half-truth from pols when they claim they’re doing something to help the “little people”. By the way, Andy Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants. He and I disagree on one thing:
Puzder says he believes states and municipalities have the right to raise the minimum wage, but he believes people need to understand the consequences, including higher prices and increased automation, which his company is undertaking using iPads to take orders at some restaurants instead of people.
Uh, no, Mr. Puzder … states have the power to raise the minimum wage, but unless you believe some entity other than yourself has a “right” to mandate how you spend your labor dollar, they have no “right”.
Anyway, prepare for some lefty to come by and assure us that the laws of economics aren’t really iron-clad at all, that supply and demand regulated by the market is old thinking and that central planning has a much better chance of assuring a “living wage” … if, given their skills, anyone can find a job at that price.
So, when you hear Obama and the alarmist bleating incessantly about the crisis of “global warming” or “climate change” or whatever phrase they choose to characterize the hoax they’re trying to perpetrate on the people of the country, ensure you point out that not even their own data supports their claim:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.
Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor siting issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely sited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.
According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.
But, but, that’s only the US … yup, and that supports the observation that globally there has been no warming for the past 17 years. The models are wrong. Just flat wrong and it’s time we started saying that. There is no credence to be found in their predictions and certainly nothing to support the alarmist’s claims.
Carly Fiorino, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and a senate candidate remarked this weekend on the cobbled up “war on women”. On CNN, she pulled out a fortune she’d gotten from a fortune cookie and said:
“‘Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause,’” Fiorina read. “And that’s exactly right. The War On Women is shameless, baseless propaganda. There’s no fact to it. But it’s worked because it’s scared women to death. Enough.”
Substitute the alarmist’s “climate change” for “war on women” and it describes precisely what is going on with them. They have no case, only propaganda, and their only “argument” is to call the other side names and call for violent action against them.
Meanwhile, the case against the alarmist cause just keeps on getting stronger and stronger, not that it will slow them down or cause them to decrease the volume of screaming. It’s not about science, it’s abotu power and money … and they want both. More power over the way you live and more money to use against you to enforce their edicts.
In another indicator of how low a priority veterans have with this administration, a whistleblower in Atlanta has revealed that VA employees were switched from processing VA applications to those of the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare.
Scott Davis told the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
“We don’t discuss veterans. We do not work for veterans. That is something that I learned after working there. Our customer is the VA central office, the White House and the Congress. The veterans are not our priority. So whatever the initiatives are or the big ticket items, that is what we focus on.”
He later appeared on the Neil Cavuto show and claimed that 17,000 applications for VA Healthcare were destroyed. He also said they’re “also looking into a backlog of over 600,000 pending applications for VA Healthcare.” Davis said the applications were purged as a way to deal with pressure from Washington D.C.
Davis: What I think happened, Neil, is that there was pressure by people in Washington for us to hit our numbers. You’ve heard a lot about the 14-day turn around time for the hospitals. But what most people don’t know is that there’s a five-day turn around time for health applications. And if we don’t hit that five-day turn around time, it affects performance goals for people in senior leadership positions.
Cavuto: So if you don’t have that, and you’re not paying that out, it looks like you’re meeting your numbers and then some, right?
Davis: Absolutely. But what also happens, Neil, is that we’re currently neglecting not only the right thing to do, which is to process applications, not delete them. We have a huge system integrity issue at VA. For example, the VA right now can’t even tell the investigators what happened to those applications, because they can’t verify where they are, what happened to them, if they were deleted, why were they deleted, and why there was no paperwork showing the justifications for those deletions.
Cavuto: We’ve asked for a statement out of the VA on this and we have yet to get one, Scott. I’m trying then to give them the benefit of the doubt here. It seems like a crazy situation. Did you or any of your co-workers ever get so overwhelmed — not you specifically — but they just say the heck with it, more files, more applications, just dump them in the trash, we’re overwhelmed. Do you think that has gone on?
Davis: I know that there was rumors that suspect those activities before I started work thing in 2011. What I can tell you is that there’s so much pressure on the employees to get stuff done so management can meet goals, it’s easy to make mistakes, it’s easy to have mishaps. What happens is, instead of the VA focusing on doing what’s right for our nation’s veterans — meaning taking time, processing each application diligently and appropriately — pressure is placed on front line employees to overwork themselves, rush through the application process, to hit goals for members of management.
Cavuto: When you say to hit goals, is the goal a dollar goal or is it get the applications complete? Sometimes keep on top of this so there are no delays, or is it keep on top of it and get rid of something that could hurt our numbers?
Davis: Well, for what I’ve witnessed, it’s based on a performance goal.
Cavuto: How is that performance measured?
Davis: That performance is measured based on our ability to turn around an application from beginning to end within a five-day turn around. There’s an acceptable percentage that we have to have, which is in excess of 80% for all applications that comes into that office. What you find is that there’s extensive pressure on the staff to process applications, to focus our attention to applications based on specific campaigns. For example, I shared with your producer that we actually put incoming applications aside so we could focus on the ACA related applications that came in over last summer. That’s wrong. We should treat each veteran equally and focus on applications, as they come in, not because of special campaigns coming out of D.C.
His statement is precisely how veteran’s applications should be treated. But they weren’t because of partisan politics and the heavy hand of the administration. Naturally the VA bureaucracy cooperated. When your “customer” is Washington DC and not the veteran then that’s unsurprising.
This is outrageous, but my guess is, as they dig deeper into the VA, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
This is the face of government run health care. It is fair warning. Just as Soviet bureaucracies fudged whatever numbers necessary to “meet” the government’s “5 year plans”, the government bureaucracies here are not above doing the same. The bonus system along with identification of Washington as their “customer” was all the incentive the bureaucrats needed to let veterans down … again.
This administration excels at ‘The Big Lie”. Probably most hereabouts are familiar with that idea – tell any lie long enough and people just accept it as true. Biggest lie I can think of – that Barack Obama was ever qualified to be President of the United States. But there he is, sitting in the Oval Office, golfing at Andrews, picking out the spot for his legacy of lies “Liebrary”. Red lines that the world drew, recoveries that aren’t, a recession that never went away, actually a depression but who’s counting, unemployment that gets better by getting worse, pivots to the economy, which is where he pivots in some other way to destroy it through executive signings or approved executive branch regulations.
Birthed in lies, raised in lies, campaigned in lies, elected in lies and serving daily in lines. Non-stop lying. About the only thing he doesn’t lie about is that he likes to golf.
Benghazi, IRS, Fast and Furious, Affordable Health Care, closing Guantanamo, gay marriage, jihad is workplace violence. It’s not always ‘himself’ lying, sometimes it’s his executive organizations, his spokesmen, his fawning press. But it’s HIS administration, these therefore become his lies.
Lies to enemies, lies to allies, lies to ‘friends’, lies to detractors, lies to supporters.
Small lies, well, every day. A small lie gets them through this press conference, this question or that question, this news cycle. Sometimes we’ll have to visit it again, let’s see, oh, right, the GDP was down to a 1 percent growth, oh, and we had Obamacare’s increased spending on those who hadn’t been previously insured to thank for that. Until yesterday when that lie had to be revised, and the lie about Obamacare’s increased spending turned into a lie that Obamacare actually caused a decrease in healthcare spending. Yeah, small lies, we’ll see them again, contorted, changed, history ignored and altered. Things they said before ‘forgotten’ by them, by the media, by us as they trot out the new lie. They’ll become big lies if we keep worrying at them. Quit asking.
The lies evolve, sometimes they just drop them and come up with a completely new lie – it was riot in Benghazi caused by a video that grew to an attack on the embassy, we never said it wasn’t terrorism, we caught the mastermind! It was two rogue agents in Cincinnati that were trying to be more efficient, the dog ate our emails at the IRS, oh, and now the dog wandered over to the neighboring offices at the EPA and had a late night snack.
The original lies generally suck, they do however seem to pass muster for the low info voters, for people who might read the first paragraph of the headlines. They do the job they’re supposed to do, provide a little cover till they can refine the lies. But they only need to refine the lies if someone asks for clarification of course. Any lying 5 year old understands you don’t elaborate on the lie if you aren’t pushed with further questions.
Like lies presented in truths so we can move past a lie that’s really important to the problem they’re willing to cop to for the moment. The art of distracting us from a lie by handing us lies wrapped in truth.
Oh, that’s bad….but it appears to be the truth. That’s good, truth is good, good we found this out, not much there, ask the NY Times, this is just another Republican attempt to pump up a scandal I’m sure.
“Congressional investigators say they uncovered emails Wednesday showing that a former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the tea party investigation sought an audit involving a Republican senator in 2012.
The emails show former IRS official Lois Lerner mistakenly received an invitation to an event that was meant to go to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.”
And there, in the first two paragraphs, presented as ‘truth’, is your bold faced lie (made bold and italic by yours truly).
She mistakenly received an invitation for Senator Grassley?
Why? How? because the sender had Lerner’s address and Grassley’s address on a dropdown and moused to the wrong one?
Because Grassley ‘sounds’ like Lerner and the autoaddress feature used Lerner instead of Grassley?
Uh, because someone interrupted the writer and he accidentally typed LOIS.LERNER@IRS.GOV instead of SEN.CHARLES.GRASSLEY@USSENATE.GOV and hit SEND?
Wow. Look ma, the dog ate our emails, and the organizer for a Republican campaign event’s dog accidentally sent Lois Lerner at IRS an invitation intended for US Senator Charles Grassley that Lois might review to consider launching an investigation over.
Phew, good thing that guy Matthew Giuliano waved her off from doing anything with that ‘mistakenly received’ email.
“This kind of thing fuels the deep concerns many people have about political targeting by the IRS and by officials at the highest levels,” Grassley said. “It’s very troubling that a simple clerical mix-up could get a taxpayer immediately referred for an IRS exam without any due diligence from agency officials.”
This kind of thing? ‘Simple clerical mixup’ Words fail me. Et tu Chuck? Seriously?
You mean how an email went mysteriously to LOIS.LERNER@RECTALEXAMSAREUS.GOV, her email address, for her review, ‘by mistake’?
No, you mean the IRS rectal exam that might have been started as a result of her completely innocent receipt of an email intended for a US Senator.
But there wasn’t any exam, so yeah! NO HARM DONE!!!! No harm, no foul. Prove the harm! None! Matthew Giuliano at the IRS did his job, the IRS did it’s job! Now go away you scandal mongering racist conservatives!
So don’t ask how she got that invitation, but rest assured, there was no mistake involved. Remain confident if you ask, they’ll refine this blatant lie.
Lies hidden in truths, lies in your face. Every week, every year, the most transparently lying to us administration in our history.
Obama’s administration lies again. Hi-ho Silver.
In case you’re wondering why the lie might matter and why ‘mistaken receipt’ of the email for which Lois Lerner considered the possibility of investigation is important. Because, you see, if Lois Lerner had Senator Grassley’s email invitation through some method other than ‘accidental receipt’, she, and the person who sent it to her, may have broken Federal laws.
Since the Constitution didn’t foresee email, there is no guarantee of it’s privacy. So in 1986 Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy act, which established provisions for privacy rights of people using electronic devices. The way I read it, under the act it is a crime for someone to read or disclose the contents of email communications (let alone decide to launch an IRS tax audit) if it’s not addressed to them.
The law regards each of these situations as distinct.
- Interception of e-mail during transmission is prohibited by federal wiretap statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2510-2521 and also some state wiretap statutes. The federal statutes were amended in 1986 by Title I of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to include e-mail.
- Reading e-mail during storage on a computer system is prohibited by federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2701-2711, Title II of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), provided that the system is “providing an electronic communication service to the public.” This means, among other things, that your e-mail messages are confidential when stored on a computer owned by an ISP that offers to any member of the public the ability to send e-mail and you pay for the account yourself. But there is no protection in 18 U.S.C. § 2702 for e-mail stored on a computer system operated by a corporation primarily for its own business communications. So, if you send e-mail to a company (e.g., email@example.com) and the e-mail is stored on that company’s computer, you have no privacy rights under this statute.
- The recipient of e-mail is generally free to share the information in the e-mail with anyone, subject to legal obligations that are mentioned later in this paper.
Reading e-mail that is stored on a computer is not an “interception” under 18 U.S.C. § 2510, et seq., because an interception must be contemporaneous with the transmission of the message between different locations. Steve Jackson Games v. U.S. Secret Service, 816 F.Supp. 432, 442 (W.D.Tex. 1993), aff’d, 36 F.3d 457, 460 (5thCir. 1994). This holding has been accepted in several subsequent cases, including Wesley College v. Pitts, 974 F.Supp. 375, 384-390 (D.Del. 1997); U.S. v. Moriarty, 962 F.Supp. 217, 221 (D.Mass. 1997); Bohach v. City of Reno, 932 F.Supp. 1232, 1235-36 (D.Nev. 1996).”
See below – it’s a fine line if some ‘unknown’ person made a copy and passed it on to Lerner. The person who passes it on originally may have broken the law since passing on such an email seems like it could constitute ‘disclosure’. Unless of course it pertains to evidence of a criminal activity….
“One court noted that there is a loophole in Title II of the ECPA, where an unknown person can make a copy of e-mail and give it away, then other people who do not provide an electronic communication service can lawfully make a further distribution of copies of that private e-mail. Wesley College v. Pitts, 974 F.Supp. 375, 389 (D.Del. 1997).
In the special case of e-mail that contains evidence of criminal activity, there is no protection for the confidentiality of the message when the recipient discloses the contents of a communication to law enforcement agents or to a criminal trial. U.S. v. White, 401 U.S. 745 (1971)(no violation of Fourth Amendment when defendant spoke to informant who had concealed microphone and transmitter); Hoffa v. U.S., 385 U.S. 293 (1966)(statements made by Hoffa to undercover informant not protected by Fourth Amendment). Furthermore, there is no protection under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for production of documents at a criminal trial, U.S. v. Doe, 465 U.S. 605 (1984). In summary, the author of an e-mail message generally can not prevent disclosure of the message by the recipient.”
I’ll let the legal experts, some here assembled, discuss the possibilities. The idea that she mistakenly received it however, smells of pure fabrication.
UPDATE (the second)
It appears that the actual invitation WAS through snail mail, making Grassley’s acceptance that some clerical error genuinely occurred valid.
Not a lie then if there’s real paper on this – and not Lerner’s fault if she opened a letter addressed to her with contents intended for someone else.
What she did with it afterwards, well……..
I’m assuming that we’re not talking .PDF files here, attached to mails, and that we’re really talking a hand delivered stamped envelope carried by the United States Postal service which was addressed to Lois Lerner, with contents for Charles Grassley….
Certainly the flow of e-mails in this link indicates the second go round, the correction of recipients, was done via .PDF.
If you read it, you’ll see the clarification and embarrassment from the sender.
One odd thing….can anyone fathom the end of the PS comment at the end of the correct sending exchange between ‘Dawn’ and Matthew?
Should we get the sense they don’t know each other, or didn’t prior to a phone call he made to clarify and correct?
“Still, it will be an easy commute?“
The arrogant jerk that is the commissioner of the IRS typifies the type person who hasn’t and never will understand the term ‘public servant’. He’s a bureaucrat, through and through, and he runs an agency which would never accept the asinine answer to the lost emails that he’s proffered to Congress. But he expects you to accept it without question because, well, because he said so.
Anyone with the IQ of a tea cup knows that emails don’t just reside on “hard drives”. They know that servers are involved. And competent companies and bureaucracies use systems that are redundant and back each other up (like RAID). No company OR agency of any size or worth would be without such a system.
But the arrogant prick that is the director of the IRS sits smugly before Congress and takes offense at being called a liar when he puts the excuse forward that he has. John Hideraker over at PowerLine points out something that you might not have known:
It has emerged over the last few days that at the time of Lois Lerner’s hard drive crash, the IRS had a contract with a company called Sonasoft (“Email archiving done right.”) Sonasoft promoted its relationship with the IRS in 2009: “If the IRS uses Sonasoft products to backup their servers why wouldn’t you choose them to protect your servers?”
So why doesn’t that solve the problem of the missing IRS emails? Because the IRS canceled its contract with Sonasoft in September 2011, a couple of months after Lerner’s hard drive crash. Everyone seems to assume that Sonasoft would have deleted whatever information it had gotten from the IRS at that time. That is certainly a logical assumption; in fact, it would make sense to require Sonasoft to get rid of any customer’s data once the business relationship ends. But it wouldn’t hurt for a House committee to lay a subpoena on Sonasoft to learn more about the IRS’s dealings with that company and make certain that it doesn’t still have any IRS records.
Two observations about the Sonasoft story: first, the IRS’s cancellation of the Sonasoft contract occurred in the context of a $1.8 billion annual budget for information services, plus $330 million annually for “business systems modernization.” All of that, and the IRS couldn’t afford an email archiving service? Not only that, it had to recycle its backup tapes to save money? Ridiculous.
Sure is convenient though, isn’t it?
An analogy as to how outrageous and unbelievable this all is comes from Kyle Smith:
To understand the latest outrage in the IRS scandal, mull over what might happen if regulators found significant evidence to implicate Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in an insider trading scheme.
Let’s say Blankfein asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to answer any questions. Say Goldman was subpoenaed to provide all of Blankfein’s e-mails. Goldman replied that, instead of complying with the subpoena, it was itself reviewing the e-mails in question and was considering which ones to release.
Now imagine that, nearly a year later, Goldman admitted that it had not, in fact, reviewed the e-mails in question, because they had been lost in a computer crash two months before it claimed to be reviewing them. Imagine Goldman also said copies of the e-mails were lost, because while under subpoena it had destroyed the “backup tapes” (whatever those are) that held them and that it had also thrown away Blankfein’s actual hard drive.
The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can’t. . . . Lerner wouldn’t have pleaded the Fifth unless she had reason to believe that there was potential illegality and it could be tied to her.
This is in-your-face corruption. This is a bureaucracy saying “screw you” and smugly looking on as you voice your outrage knowing full well nothing will happen to them. Unaccountable and unrepentant … the true face of big government.