April 16, 2014

Forget the Obama-Nixon Comparisons …

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:59 pm

… because there is no comparison.

Nixon wanted the Internal Revenue Service to go after a small cadre of his enemies. The IRS refused to go along. Nixon could have sacked those who refused, and didn’t.

Barack Obama’s IRS, with the now clearly established knowledge of Eric Holder’s Justice Department, deliberately went after Obama’s mobilizing opposition, often by delaying and deliberately over-scrutinizing activist groups’ non-profit status applications, but sometimes by employing much more serious tactics, including coordinating multi-agency harassments of certain applicants’ businesses.

Now we know that the IRS also wanted DOJ’s help in criminally prosecuting opponents (links are in original; bolds are mine):

Judicial Watch has been chipping away at the IRS stonewall with Freedom of Information Act requests, and just released some new emails that show Tax Exempt Organizations director Lois Lerner was talking to the Justice Department about criminal prosecutions for the groups targeted by her organization.  She was also trying to get the Federal Elections Commission – where she used to work, under similar suspicions of politicized abuse of her authority – involved in the witch hunt.  Judicial Watch previously discovered that the IRS handed tax returns for conservative groups over to the FEC, an action of both questionable utility and dubious legality.

Read the whole thing.

Lest we forget, the IRS was being egged on by congressional Democrats, and the veneer of White House plausible deniability has for all practical purposes evaporated:

We now have a sitting Democrat congressman, Elijah Cummings, a sitting Democrat senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, the Federal Elections Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Internal Revenue Service all implicated in the scandal. Flax’s involvement puts the abuse squarely into the IRS commissioner’s office. But it takes an entity above all of those agencies to coordinate their actions. That entity can only be the White House.

Also, go here:

  • Judicial Watch — “JW Obtains IRS Documents Showing Lerner in Contact With DOJ about Potential Prosecution of Tax-Exempt Groups”
  • Doug Ross — ” IRS Leadership Conspired with Holder Justice Department to Imprison Political Opponents”

Ross’s reax:

… this horrifying scandal … makes Nixon look like a shoplifter at the Dollar Store.

We have a President, an Attorney General, a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, the IRS, the FBI, and heaven knows what other alphabet soup agencies conspiring to jail political opponents. Our country has been reduced to something akin to Venezuela, only with craploads more debt.

That, my friends, is fascism, straight up.

Another Anti-Brinkman ORPINO Mailing, and Two More Reasons to Vote For Him

Filed under: Activism,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:04 pm

ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) has sent out another mailer attacking 27th District State Representative candidate Tom Brinkman, claiming that he was named one of the most ineffective legislators or some such nonsense based on his previous State Rep record.

News Flash: ORPINO’s and the Columbus political establishment’s definition of “effective” is “going along with the ever-expanding and ever-encroaching bureaucracy.” Yeah, Tom Brinkman never was a part of that crowd. He opposed all tax increases on principle. In other words, like our Governor, he was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. Unlike Governor Kasich, he hasn’t betrayed the Tea Party’s core principles.

So the mailer constitutes Reason #2 to vote for Brinkman and to fire Pete Stautberg, his incumbent opponent. (Reason #1 was the first mailer.)

Lest anyone believe I’m solely motivated by dislike of ORPINO (which as a practical matter is enough anyway for those who are pressed for time to do detailed research), I decided to look into the candidates’ positions on Common Core upon learning that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has courageously changed his formerly supportive stance (courageous because the pressure from the Jeb Bush-Bill Gates axis to just keep going along must have been intense). Jindal now opposes it.

Since excising Common Core from Ohio’s classrooms is a very important matter, I emailed the Brinkman campaign and asked where the candidate stands and where his opponent stands.

The candidate responded within a few hours:

I am against Common core.

My opponent is for Common Core.

Thank you for the inquiry.

Please contact me with any other questions.

Thanks.
Tom Brinkman Jr.

So there’s Reason #3.

On the off-chance that the Stautberg campaign doesn’t like being down 0-3, I would welcome their official response.

No Press Story IDs Sentenced Former Bell, Calif. City Manager as a Democrat

In September 2010, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters put up a post entitled “Eight Dems Arrested in Bell, CA ‘Corruption on Steroids’ – Not a Single Mention of Party Affiliation From Media.”

Almost four years later (!), reviews of search engine results and specific news stories on the sentencing of Robert Rizzo, the community’s former city manager, are again returning no mentions of the fact that Rizzo is a Democrat.

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Homebuilding Data Misses Despite Weather-Clearing Hopes

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:20 am

March was going to be the month the housing industry shook off its bad-weather doldrums and came roaring back due to all kinds of pent-up demand, and … Uh, not really.

From the Census Bureau:

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 990,000. This is 2.4 percent (±1.0%) below the revised February rate of 1,014,000, but is 11.2 percent (±1.1%) above the March 2013 estimate of 890,000.

Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 592,000; this is 0.5 percent (±1.0%)* above the revised February figure of 589,000. [1] Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 370,000 in March.

HOUSING STARTS

Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000. This is 2.8 percent (±14.7%)* above the revised February estimate of 920,000, but is 5.9 percent (±8.4%)* below the March 2013 rate of 1,005,000. [2]

Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 635,000; this is 6.0 percent (±15.5%)* above the revised February figure of 599,000. [3] The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 292,000.

Notes:

[1] — Actual single-family permits of 50,800 slightly trailed last year’s 51,400. It was the second month in a row actual single-family permits have trailed the previous year.

[2] — Actual starts, at 79,100, were 5.0 percent below the 83,300 seen in March 2013. It too trailed the previous year for the second straight month.

[3] – Actual single-family starts of 54,000 were slightly above the 52,500 seen in March 2013.

Business Insider’s predictions were for 1 million seasonally adjusted annual permits (the report came in 1.0 percent lower) and seasonally adjusted annual 975,000 starts (the report came in 3.0 percent lower). February’s original figures in each category were revised up slightly.

The message from the year-over-year comparisons is, at least for now, that the homebuilding industry has flattened out. If that’s indeed the case, it’s doing so at a completely unacceptable level signifying malaise (and there’s an outside chance that we may really be witnessing the beginning of a decline).

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UPDATE: The Associated Press’s predictable near-whitewash notes that (seasonally adjusted annual) starts “rose 30.7 percent in the Northeast and jumped 65.5 percent in the Midwest” from February to March. The other two regions fell. That doesn’t bode well for future months.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (041614)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Human life sacred and inviolable, Pope Francis affirms

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Apr 12, 2014 / 12:54 am

At a meeting with Italy’s Pro-Life Movement, Pope Francis thanked members for their work to defend the right to life and promote the dignity of all human beings, from conception to natural death.

“Human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil law is based on the recognition of the first and fundamental right, that of life, which is not subordinate to any condition, neither qualitative nor economic, much less ideological,” the Roman Pontiff said March 11.

“Thank you for your witness of promoting and defending human life from the moment of conception!”

The Holy Father’s words came in a meeting with Movimento per la Vita, an association of more than 600 local Italian movements. He greeted in particular the movement’s president, Carlo Casini, who is also a member of the European Parliament, where he represents the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats party.

Pope Francis thanked the organization particularly for two of its initiatives. The first is the Gemma Project, which “through a particular form of practical solidarity” – the adoption of children while still in the womb – has made possible “the birth of many babies who would otherwise have not seen the light.”

The second is “One of Us,” a European Union citizens’ initiative to ban the funding of policies that destroy human embryos. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

NYT Relays News of Census Bureau’s Health Coverage Survey Changes, Buries Lack of Disclosure Before Elections

In a Tuesday story which appears to have been handed to it on a silver platter, and which the rest of the establishment press seems uninterested in spreading (given that searches at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Associated Press and at Politico returned nothing relevant), the New York Times has reported that the Census Bureau “is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.”

It took Times reporter Robert Pear 15 paragraphs to tell readers that measurement and reporting under the new survey design will be so supposedly difficult that “the agency was not planning to release coverage data from early this year in its next report.” That statement indicates that the government will not disclose anything about how the rollout of Obamacare really affected the number of uninsured Americans — even under the new methodology — before this fall’s elections. Everyone together now, say “How convenient.”

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