Using The Justice Department To Redistribute Wealth

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about the recent $16.6 billion settlement with Bank of America.

Investors.com reports:

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) last week agreed to pay $16.65 billion to settle claims that SNL noted “primarily” emanated from the activities of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, which prosecutors said knowingly sold toxic mortgages in the years leading up to the financial crisis and recession of 2007-09, before BofA acquired Countrywide in July ’08 and Merrill in January ’09.

Bank of America paid a fine mainly due to the actions of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, which Bank of America acquired in July 2008 and January 2009. The fine was based on the actions of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch before they were owned by Bank of America. Bank of America acquired these companies under pressure from the government in order to help slow the damage in the financial crisis.

Investors.com notes:

But massive legal bills — with more than $128 billion paid in settlements and fines by the nation’s six largest lenders, according to SNL Financial — may not prevent another financial crisis and could make big banks less cooperative in rushing to the nation’s rescue should another financial crisis flare up, critics say.

So what happens to this money? Does it go to the people who were hurt by the two company’s business practices?

The Daily Caller reports:

The groups benefitting from the lawsuit, according to Investor’s Business Daily, are the National Council of La Raza, Operation Hope, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. The money also went to “delinquent borrowers” in Chicago, Oakland, Detroit, Philadelphia and other major “Democrat strongholds.”

“This is a wealth redistribution scheme disguised as a lawsuit,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told The Daily Caller. “And who benefits from the distribution? Interest groups the administration relies on, outside interest groups, allies and politicians in communities trying to benefit as well.”

…La Raza, Operation Hope, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America have all intimidated banks to give loans to minorities, even if they can’t afford to pay them back.

 Impeachment is not an option because it would be political suicide. However, it is what is needed. It is a shame that the Democrats in the Senate are more loyal to the President than they are to their country.

This Isn’t News–Some Of Us Have Known It All Along

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article about a recent statement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy.

The article reports:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed global warming regulations aren’t just about stemming global temperature rises — according to agency’s chief, they are also about “justice” for “communities of color.”

“Carbon pollution standards are an issue of justice,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a teleconference call with environmental activists. “If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change.”

McCarthy is referring to the EPA’s proposed rule that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The agency says the rule will not only help fight global warming, but will also improve public health as coal-fired power plants are shuttered. McCarthy, however, put special emphasis on how the rule would reduce asthma rates, which affect African-American children.

Rush Limbaugh said once that if the world were going to end tomorrow, the New York Times headline would be, “World Ends Tomorrow–Women And Children Most Effected.”

If we have any doubt that the climate-control movement was the new home of the communists and socialists, the above statement by Ms. McCarthy should remove all doubt.

The article reports:

Green For All acknowledges the need to disrupt the current economy, because we understand that our current economy was based upon human trafficking, the exploitation of labor, and violent racism,” according to the group’s website. “We are safe enough to be invited into spaces where power-building groups are not, and radical enough to push a deeply justice-based agenda in those spaces. We are radical enough to partner with grassroots organizations when other national groups are turned away, and enough of an ally to offer resources and support in those spaces.”

The article reminds us that the disruption in the economy would hit the very people the movement claims to be helping the hardest. The higher energy costs would impact small businesses, causing people to lose their jobs. Lower paid and unskilled workers would be impacted. Low income people would be devastated by higher energy costs.

Wealth redistribution never accomplishes anything good. It simply makes more people poor. It also allows certain people who are in control to be immune from having their wealth redistributed. Generally speaking, it is a really bad idea. Socialist and communist countries have a much lower standard of living than countries where people are free and have property rights. To move in the direction of socialism or communism is to move toward poverty–not toward economic equality or freedom.

If Congress Won’t Pass It, Do It Anyway

Yesterday’s Daily Caller is reporting that the Justice Department has found a new way to legalize the flood of illegal immigrants.

The article reports:

The Department of Justice’s board of immigration appeals has decided to let Guatemalan women win asylum in the United States if they claim to be victims of domestic violence.

The decision creates a huge new incentive for Guatemalan women to cross the U.S. border, because if their asylum claim is accepted, their children get U.S. citizenship, plus the use of federal health, education and retirement programs, regardless of their initial education and work skills.

The article points out that the immigration courts are under the Justice Department–not the judiciary. So the decision to allow illegals to stay is in the Executive Branch of the government. It is another power grab that ignores the wishes of Congress and the American people.

The article points out:

Since 2009, the Department of Homeland Security quietly reversed a prior policy that said victims of domestic violence don’t count as a “social group” for immigration purposes.

Note that this was done by the Department of Homeland Security–not by Congress.

It would be political suicide for the Republicans to impeach President Obama; however, that is exactly what he deserves. The only chance Americans have of keeping their representative republic is to elect congressmen who have read and support the Constitution. Please remember that in November.

The Tale Of The Illegal Cookie

The Daily Caller is reporting today on the saga of the famous Elyria pink cookie. The cookie has been a staple in the public schools in Elyria, Ohio, since roughly the Carter Administration. Now the cookie is illegal because it does not meet the nutritional guidelines of the new Smart Snacks standards created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is part of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a signature issue of Michelle Obama.

The article reports:

Amy Higgins, a spokeswoman for Elyria City Schools, agreed.

“It’s a tradition,” Higgins told Fox. “It’s not only a tradition. It’s one that tastes really, really good. You’d be surprised by how many people are upset about the pink cookie going away. Anyone who’s gone to Elyria schools in the last 40 years knows the pink cookie.”

Efforts to bring the pink cookie into conformity with federal guidelines have failed.

Teaman, the cafeteria services director, told The Chronicle-Telegram that his staff tried whole-grain flour and less icing, to no avail.

“There is only one way to do the pink cookie, and to do it any other way would not do it justice,” he said.

“It’s not the pink cookie anymore,” Higgins explained. “It doesn’t maintain the integrity of the homemade recipe.”

Mayor Brinda likened an Obama administration-approved pink cookie to “eating diet potato chips.”

The government should not be taking cookies out of schools. I understand that obesity in children is a problem in America, but that is not the government’s responsibility. I would not oppose a program to educate children and parents about nutrition, but I am not sure that this is a matter of education. I do think banning a cookie is not something the government needs to be involved in.

Are They Following Any Rules?

Today’s Daily Caller is reporting that because they did not follow their own rules and policies, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has put American taxpayers at risk of fraud and identity theft.

The article reports:

If one needs further evidence that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has veered out of control, look no further than last week’s Treasury Inspector General’s report that found serial failures on the part of the agency to conduct basic background checks on contractors used to handle sensitive taxpayer information. In just one instance, a computer disk with 1.4 million American names, addresses and even Social Security numbers was handled by contractors without background checks, putting taxpayers at unnecessary risk for fraud and identity theft.

What makes this even more outlandish is that this is not just a breach of common sense; it is a violation of IRS policy.

It seems that the IRS is lax about following their own regulations in a number of areas.

The article further reports:

Furthermore, other investigations have brought to light accounts of money wasted by the IRS on lavish agency conferences while the rest of the country struggled in a deep financial recession. Spoof training videos were produced by the IRS while other government agencies were furloughing employees. And to top it off, from 2011-2012 alone, more than $1 million in bonuses were paid to IRS employees who were delinquent on their own federal taxes!

…The IRS is out of control, and if Commissioner Koskinen wants to return some faith to the agency he leads, he can start by holding his people responsible for the IRS’s outrageous behavior.

Will the Obama Administration hold the IRS accountable for its behavior? If not, it is time to consider an alternate tax policy that would abolish the IRS.

We Need To Re-educate These Children In Order To Have Any Hope Of Peace

On August 12, The Daily Caller posted a video of a child in Syria stating his hatred of America:

“I swear to Allah we will divide America in two,” one child, who looked no older than 12, declared to VICE Media in an angry rant, speaking as if he was already a member of the terror group. “And we’ll destroy the enemies of the religion all of them, all who fight the Islamic State.”

This is child abuse.

The article further reports from Syria:

At an Islamic center, VICE Media captured a group of ISIS fighters holding guns and singing a song with lyrics containing declarative statements that the group had already destroyed America and Europe, perhaps imagining a future they hope to bring about.

“We have broken America in two and we’ve annihilated the countries of Europe,” the terrorists sang.

This is not a religious war in a distant country–this is a war with America as its eventual target. I have no idea what to do with children who are being taught the kind of hatred that these children are being taught. Islam is not a religion of peace–what these children are being taught has no relationship with peace.

Another Glitch In ObamaCare

There has been another glitch in ObamaCare. Actually, it is considerably more than a glitch. Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that more than 300,000 people who signed up for ObamaCare are in danger of losing their coverage if they do not provide more information about their citizenship and immigration status.

The article reports:

Obamacare administrator the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Tuesday that the agency sent letters notifying 310,000 customers who have failed to fix errors in their citizenship or immigration data that their coverage will be terminated Sept. 30 if they don’t submit proof by Sept. 5.

The customers are part of close to 1 million Obamacare sign-ups who submitted applications with citizenship and immigration information that didn’t square with federal records. CMS claims 450,000 of those cases have been resolved, but it’s not clear how many of those “closed” cases resulted in more canceled policies.

CMS claims it reached out to customers between five and seven times, through mail, phone and e-mail, to try to straighten out the citizenship and immigration errors. They’ve pledged to reach out again with two more phone calls and one more e-mail before Sept. 5.

The article also explains that applications with income verification issues will be addressed at a later date. This means that people who have had their premiums subsidized by the government may be faced with an unexpected hefty tax bill.

What a mess!

Bobby Jindal On Common Core

On Wednesday, the Daily Caller posted an article about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal‘s battle against Common Core. Governor Jindal is fighting Common Core on the grounds that it is a violation of federal law.

The article reports:

In a brief submitted Wednesday as part of a lawsuit against Louisiana’s Board for Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), Jindal’s attorneys claim that a consortium used to create multistate standardized tests aligned with Common Core was transformed into a cudgel to force states to obey federal edicts on education.

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that gives the federal government control over education–that was left to the state and local governments.

The article explains:

“Simply put, PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) is the implementation platform for a carefully orchestrated federal scheme to supervise, direct and control educational curriculum, programs of instruction and instructional materials in direct violation of federal law,” the report argues.

PARCC’s creation, as well as the creation of the Smarter Balanced consortium (which serves the same purpose but has different members), was enabled through grants by the federal government through the Race to the Top program. That federal involvement, Jindal’s team argues, irretrievably taints the organization as well as Common Core more broadly, even though the government was not directly involved with the standards’ creation. The Department of Education Organization Act (DOEA) and other federal laws, they say, explicitly bar the Department of Education from taking actions that increase federal control over education.

“Race to [the] Top…effectively coopted Common Core for the federal government, attempting to accomplish indirectly through economic coercion that which the federal government is prohibited from accomplishing directly,” the brief argues.

Common Core is unconstitutional and does not make a positive contribution to the education of our children. How long will it take state to figure that out? Many of them already have.

The Politics Of ObamaCare Premiums

The Daily Caller posted an article today about the collusion between the Obama Administration and health insurance companies to insure that healthcare premiums for consumers would not increase drastically just before the midterm elections of 2014.

The article explains:

New documents reveals that top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett personally conducted damage control with nervous health insurance companies after those companies saw no other way to hold premiums down under Obamacare without a taxpayer-funded bailout.

Their pleas worked.

A month later, the Obama administration issued rules to allow for a taxpayer-funded insurer bailout.

At a time when the federal budget is spiraling out of control, the Obama Administration is spending taxpayers’ money to avoid a political problem before the election.

The risk corridor program is set up so that consumers will not see the full impact of ObamaCare on their insurance premiums until 2017–after the midterm elections.

ObamaCare needs to be exposed totally for the disaster it is and ended as quickly as possible.

Misleading The Public For Political Gain

President Obama’s ratings are falling through the floor, and the Democrat needs a rallying cry to avoid being thrashed in November. They think they have it–free birth control (and abortion drugs).

NJ.com is reporting today that 35 Democratic senators in Congress have sponsored a bill they call “Not My Boss’s Business Act.” The obvious question here is, “If it’s not my boss’s business, why does he have to pay for it?” However, the real bit of information that the people screaming about the Hobby Lobby decision have overlooked is the fact that Hobby Lobby refused to pay for only four out of twenty forms of contraception. The company has funded, and will continue to fund the other sixteen.

An article posted at the Daily Caller about the move to undo the Hobby Lobby decision yesterday concludes:

In other words, while most Americans, except those with religious or moral objections, will happily share in the costs of a poor women’s birth control, few would see any reason to pay for contraceptives for Senators Murray, Boxer, or the vast majority of American women. Paying for their own birth control will neither deny them access nor violate their rights. You might say it is an outrage to contend otherwise.

 

 

Manufacturing A Crisis

On Friday I posted a screen capture of an advertisement asking for contractors to transport unaccompanied illegal alien children coming to America (rightwinggranny.com). The humanitarian crisis on our southern border was manufactured by the Obama Administration. Because they manufactured it, the Obama Administration also has the power to stop it. However, as reported in the Daily Caller yesterday, the Obama Administration has given orders to block Border Patrol Agents from doing what is necessary to stem the tide of unaccompanied children coming across the border.

The article reports:

If officials wanted to block the “Dream Deluge” of Central Americans youths, for example, “they would stop releasing them to family members [in the U.S., and] make sure they’re in long-term detention until they could either verify an asylum claim or a claim for persecution,” said Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council.

Immigration officials could make sure the youths’ parents are legal residents before they transfer the children and youths, and then deport the parents if they’re here illegally, said Moran, whose council serves as a union for border patrol officers.

But Obama’s appointees say “the whole goal of the process is family unification, so we’re not allowed to even ask the legal status of whosoever is picking them up,” he said.

This is another example of President Obama’s philosophy of “the law is whatever I say it is.” That attitude is the mark of a dictatorship–not a republic. Either the press (which isn’t going to) or Congress needs to hold President Obama accountable to his job description–upholding the U.S. Constitution (and the law). This is not a pattern of behavior that can be allowed to continue–our Republic is in danger. President Obama needs to be censured, at least, for his behavior.

Would You Believe This Story Even If You Trusted The Person Who Told It?

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had cancelled its contract with email-storage contractor Sanosoft just weeks after ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer crashed and shortly before other IRS officials’ computers allegedly crashed (and coincidentally about the time Congress began looking into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups).

The article reports:

But Sonasoft’s six-year business relationship with the IRS came to an abrupt end at the close of fiscal year 2011, as congressional investigators began looking into the IRS conservative targeting scandal and IRS employees’ computers started crashing left and right.

Sonasoft’s fiscal year 2011 contract with the IRS ended on August 31, 2011. Eight days later, the IRS officially closed out its relationship with Sonasoft in accordance with the federal government’s contract close-out guidelines, which require agencies to fully audit their contracts and to get back any money that wasn’t used by the contractor. Curiously, the IRS de-allocated 36 cents when it closed out its contract with Sonasoft on September 8, 2011.

Lois Lerner’s computer allegedly crashed in June 2011, just ten days after House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp first wrote a letter asking if the IRS was engaging in targeting of nonprofit groups. Two months later, Sonasoft’s contract ended and the IRS gave its email-archiving contractor the boot.

I suppose there exists a universe in which Lois Lerner’s emails just happened to be unavailable as soon as the Congressional investigators wanted them and the IRS is telling the truth, but I don’t think too many people live there. This is what a cover-up looks like. Congress can either appoint a Special Prosecutor (one who is not connected with or afraid of the current Justice Department) or they can be seen as absolute gutless wonders. I really don’t think there is a third choice.

The Week’s Best Question At A News Conference

The news is agog with reports of the capture of suspected Benghazi ringleader Ahmed Abu Khattala. His capture was announced early Tuesday. Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki handled the press conference that was supposed to be a victory lap for the Obama Administration. However, I am noticing that the press is becoming a little less willing to be used as props for the failed policies of the Obama Administration. There seems to be some genuine confusion as to why it took almost two years to capture someone who was not only hiding in plain sight, but giving interviews to reporters.

The Daily Caller posted an article about the press conference that included the following:

When asked why no one in the U.S. special forces didn’t simply pose as a reporter, she joked that “we appreciate your view if you’re volunteering yourself for future endeavors.”

“You’re still not addressing the central question… you’re not answering the question of why a reporter was able to get within 6 inches of this guy and U.S. special forces weren’t for more than two years,” Rosen (Fox News correspondent James Rosen ), now exasperated, interjected.

To me, that is not the most disturbing aspect of this story. Ahmed Abu Khattala will be brought to New York where he will be tried in a standard American court with the full rights that are granted to American citizens. There will be a discovery phase of the trial which will allow his lawyers access to information showing how America is combating terrorism. It is also a pretty safe bet that no further perpetrators of the Benghazi attack will be arrested–this is simply not a very high priority for the Obama Administration. It is also highly probable that Mr. Khattala will be encouraged to say that it was the video that inspired him. I have seen reports that prior to the attack on Benghazi, the anti-Muslim video had less than 2000 hits. (Some reports say as few as 700 hits, some say as many as 1700.)  Are we to suppose that Mr. Khattala was one of these? Do Muslim leaders constantly watch YouTube to look for things to protest? (That may actually be true, but did they contact Mr. Khattala?)

There is nothing about the capture of this man and the timing of the capture that does not scream ‘diversion.’ It will be interesting to see if Americans are willing to be distracted by this as the Obama Administration’s economic and foreign policies are failing in front of our eyes.

While We Have Been Talking About The Prisoner Swap…

The Daily Caller is reporting today that new information uncovered in the investigation of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal shows that Lois Lerner sent confidential taxpayer information about nonprofit groups to the Federal Bureau of Investigation days before the 2010 midterm elections.

The article reports:

The Daily Caller previously reported that Lerner shared confidential taxpayer information on nonprofit groups with high-ranking White House officials Ellen Montz and Jeanne Lambrew in 2012. Lerner was held in contempt of Congress by a full House vote after stonewalling the chamber’s investigation into her improper targeting of conservative and tea party groups between 2010 and 2012.

“We were extremely troubled by this new information, and by the fact that the IRS has withheld it from the Committee for over a year,” House Oversight chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Oversight member Rep. Jim Jordan wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. ”We were astonished to learn days ago from the Justice Department that these 21 disks contained confidential taxpayer information protected by federal law. We ask that you immediately produce all material explaining how these disks were prepared and transmitted to the FBI.”

While the Democrats complain that the IRS investigation is endless, the Obama Administration continues to withhold information from the investigators. We have reached a point where our so-called leaders refuse to obey the laws that are supposed to protect our republic. It will be interesting to see if voters consider this behavior in the next election.

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Common Sense At Last

Last week the Daily Caller posted a story about changes Australia is making to its global warming budget.

The article reports:

Australia’s conservative coalition is set to cut more than 90 percent of the funding related to global warming from their budget, from $5.75 billion this year to $500 million, over the next four years.

…But Abbott (conservative Liberal Party Prime Minister Tony Abbott) shows no signs of slowing down in his quest to repeal the country’s environmental laws, which have slowed economic growth, including mining taxes, green energy funding and the carbon tax.

“The carbon tax is an act of economic vandalism,” Abbott said in March. “You can’t trust [Labor] anywhere near an economy.”

The carbon tax was imposed by former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the summer of 2012, and quickly became unpopular as businesses and households began to bear the costs of higher power bills and higher inflation.

Could we invite Prime Minister Abbott to come and speak to Congress? Man-made global warming is a hoax. There was global warming in the Middle Ages before factories, coal-burning electric plants, and SUV‘s. Climate is cyclical. In the 1980′s we were supposed to panic over “The Coming Ice Age” as reported by Time Magazine. Carbon taxes are economic vandalism. Thank you, Prime Minister Abbott for speaking the truth.

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Why Are We Negotiating?

The Daily Caller reported yesterday that Iran‘s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has stated, “Those [Iranians] who want to promote negotiation and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason.” He made this statement in a meeting of members of parliament.

The article reports:

Khamenei emphasized that without a combative mindset, the regime cannot reach its higher Islamic role against the “oppressors’ front.”

“The reason for continuation of this battle is not the warmongering of the Islamic Republic. Logic and reason command that for Iran, in order to pass through a region full of pirates, needs to arm itself and must have the capability to defend itself,” he said.

“Today’s world is full of thieves and plunderers of human honor, dignity and morality who are equipped with knowledge, wealth and power, and under the pretense of humanity easily commit crimes and betray human ideals and start wars in different parts of the world.”

In response to a question by a parliamentarian on how long this battle will continue, Khamenei said,“Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought. … This requires a difficult and lengthy struggle and need for great strides.”

Meanwhile, Iran has made the following demands in the negotiations regarding its nuclear option– the expansion of the country’s research and development for its nuclear program, the need of the country to continue enrichment, and the fact that the country’s ballistic missile program — despite U.N. sanctions — is not up for negotiation.

Historically, Iran has negotiated with the west regarding its nuclear program when it needed time do continue the program. These recent statements illustrate that Iran is not really interested in a negotiated solution to the threat its nuclear program poses. Iran is only interested in setting up a world-wide caliphate. If we don’t wake up soon, we will be dealing with another North Korea.

 

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Is This Really What We Want For America?

See Update at the bottom of the page!

Today’s Daily Caller is reporting on some further consequences of being outspoken about your Christian faith.

The article reports:

First they lost their television show. Now the Benham brothers say they are losing their business.

SunTrust Banks is cutting ties with would-be reality stars David and Jason Benham after liberal activists attacked them for their conservative views on abortion and gay marriage, The Daily Caller has learned.

In a statement provided first to TheDC on Friday, the Benham brothers confirmed that SunTrust Banks has pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business, which includes several franchisees across four states.

Please follow the link above to the article to read the details of the story.

I have a few comments on this story. First of all, companies are entitled to do or not do business with anyone they choose. If a company wants to discriminate against someone because they hold a traditional view on marriage, and the board of directors of the company agrees to this decision, the company is free to make that decision. However, as an average American, I will make sure that in turn I do not support in any way businesses that take that stand. That is also my right. Second of all, if those who support gay marriage accuse those of us who don’t of being intolerant, what in the world is this? There is room for alternate views in the universe. The idea is to be fair in allowing both views to be expressed and to acknowledge that a person who believes in the Bible has the right to practice his religion and to support traditional marriage. The fact that the Benham brothers were treated this way because of their religious beliefs is chilling.

From the Daily Caller late this afternoon:

After an uproar from conservative customers, SunTrust Banks announced Friday afternoon that the decision to end its relationship with real estate entrepreneurs David and Jason Benham had been reversed.

Earlier Friday, The Daily Caller reported that SunTrust Banks had pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business.

I don’t care why SunTrust made that decision, it was the right decision to make, and I applaud them.

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Why The Freedom Of Information Act Is Important

Judicial Watch is an organization that has held both Democrat and Republican politicians accountable to the people who voted for them. One of their best weapons used to hold politicians accountable is the Freedom of Information Act. Even when the press has walked away from a story, Judicial Watch keeps looking for information. In the case of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Scandal, their tenacity has paid off.

The Daily Caller is reporting today that Judicial Watch has obtained emails showing that Democrat Senator Carl Levin pressured the IRS to target conservative groups.

The article reports:

Levin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ permanent subcommittee on investigations, wrote a March 30, 2012 letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman discussing the “urgency” of the issue of possible political activity by nonprofit applicants. Levin asked if the IRS was sending out additional information requests to applicant groups and citing an IRS rejection letter to a conservative group as an example of how the IRS should be conducting its business.

The article reports that the IRS targeting is easily traceable to Washington, D.C.:

IRS official Holly Paz wrote a July 6, 2010 email to Washington-based IRS lawyer Steven Grodnitzky “to let Cindy and Sharon know how we have been handling Tea Party applications in the last few months.” Grodnitzky replied to the email, confirming that the Washington-based Exempt Organization Technical unit (EOT) was designing the targeting in the nation’s capital.

“EOT is working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy. We are developing a few applications here in DC and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases,” Grodnitzky wrote.

“Chip Hull [another lawyer in IRS headquarters] is working these cases in EOT and working with the agent in Cincy, so any communication should include him as well. Because the Tea party applications are the subject of an SCR [Sensitive Case Report], we cannot resolve any of the cases without coordinating with Rob,” Grodnitzky wrote.

“Rob” is believed to be then-IRS director of rulings and agreements Rob Choi, who was based at the agency’s Washington headquarters, according to Judicial Watch.

This use of the IRS for political purposes by whichever party is in power will continue unless it is stopped in its tracks now. I strongly recommend that you email your Representative and your Senators and tell them that you want those who used the IRS for political purposes held accountable. Otherwise, this will be the new normal.

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This Warning Applies To All Of Us

The Daily Caller reported today on the 10th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast held in Washington, D.C., early this morning.

The article reports:

“My message for you today is a somber one,” said Professor Robert George, who lectures on civil liberties at Princeton, to a packed ballroom of Catholics that included failed Virginia Senate hopeful Ken Cuccinelli. “The days of acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past. …It’s not easy anymore. There are costs to discipleship, heavy costs that are burdensome to bear.”

Soon enough he’d get specific. George stressed that there are “powerful forces and currents in our society that press us to be ashamed of the Gospel. For example, if you believe that marriage is the consensual union between a man and a woman, you’re portrayed as bigoted, even hateful. …If you believe these things, some forces say you are a bigot [who is] against homosexuality [and] you ought to be ashamed.”

This warning applies to all Americans–whether they are Catholic or not. There was a time when we really didn’t pay a lot of attention to what our elected officials were doing–they shared our values and we trusted them. Now, if you are an average American with traditional values, most elected officials can’t hear you. Even if they do share your values, they are so bombarded with a media that has no values and the pressure to be re-elected, they cannot support the values most Americans support. We are in danger of losing our country. The things that we once held dear are not valued by those currently in power in America. Patriotism and faith are considered passe by those in charge of the media and those in charge of our government. If we are going to take our country back, we need to do it one vote at a time. All of us need to get out and vote, and we need to make sure that those people who share our values also vote.

Pay attention. The next two elections will determine whether you remain free to treasure the values you grew up with.

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After A While, You Have To Wonder If This Is Intentional

Yesterday, the Daily Caller reported that one of the taxes in ObamaCare will result in the loss of between 152,000 and 286,000 jobs by 2023. The tax is the health insurance tax which charges insurance companies according to their percentage of the insurance market — the more health plans sold (Obamacare’s goal), the more insurers are required to pay.

The tax will actually impact small businesses, raising their insurance costs. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) estimates that 57 percent of the jobs lost will be in companies with less than 500 employees. Small business is the backbone of the American economy, the economic policies of the Obama Administration are undermining the strength of our economy.

The article reports:

The federal government expects to collect $8 billion from the tax in 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015, with the pot growing to $14.3 billion by 2018. While the Obama administration may have intended for the tax to take a hit at insurers’ profits, the cost of the tax will likely be passed along to those purchasing the plans — which in the vast majority of cases are employers.

The American Action Forum, a Washington-based free-market think tank, estimates that the health insurance tax will add $101 onto customers’ premiums in 2014 and $143 in 2015 and 2016.

ObamaCare is not good for Americans, and it is not good for the American economy. We need to elect people in November who are willing to repeal it. There are ideas in ObamaCare that can be included in new healthcare programs, but ObamaCare has to go.

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What Our Children Are Learning In College

Anyone who is a parent knows that children learn a whole lot more from what they see than what you tell them.  That continues regardless of how old they are.  Some parents might be upset about the lesson their college-age children recently learned at Notre Dame University.

The Daily Caller reported today that a pro-traditional marriage group that had set up an information table on the Notre Dame campus was shut down by police called by the school.

The article reports:

The cops rushed to the scene after they got the call from school officials at the Roman Catholic school and quickly slapped a “cease and desist” order on the conservative group, Tradition Family Property Student Action (TFP), reports Campus Reform.

TFP Student Action members say they were told by the University of Notre Dame Security Police Department — “fully authorized as a police agency by the State of Indiana” — that there is a distinction between having permission to set up a table and having permission to sit at the table.

Actually sitting at a table seems to require a totally different and higher level of bureaucratic authorization.

If Americans who support the values that have served as the foundation of our country do not stand up for those values and teach those values, those values will disappear. Obviously Notre Dame is not interested in teaching those values.

The article concludes:

TFP Student Action members were handing out a flier entitled “10 Reasons Why Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ is Harmful and Must Be Opposed.” Ritchie said the response from students and faculty members ranged from respectful to supportive.

Then, a group of leftist students who support gay marriage arrived. They allegedly began ripping up the fliers, shouting a flurry of obscenities and suggesting that the message of religious conservatives does not deserve to be heard.

“It seems like the more you hear about inclusion and diversity in higher education, the less you hear about the truth, the more the truth is shut out of the conversation” Ritchie said.

It seems as if the concept of free speech at Notre Dame only applies to ideas approved by the left end of the political spectrum.

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And All This Time You Thought Common Core Was About Education

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that Bill Gates will shut down his Gates Foundation (and Carnegie Corporation) financed nonprofit educational-software company InBloom Inc. permanently.

This was the company that was going to compile large amounts of information on students.

The article reports:

The strategy driving inBloom had been to create a huge database connecting local school districts and state education bureaucracies with behemoth education companies.

To accomplish this goal, the nonprofit had hoped to provide a smorgasbord of data about students. What homework are they doing? What tests are they assigned? What are their test scores? Their specific learning disabilities? Their disciplinary records? Their skin colors? Their names? Their addresses?

The Atlanta-based company had originally signed up nine states for the database. It planned to charge school districts between $2 and $5 per student for the privilege of participating in the student data collection scheme.

The intrusive data collection of student information was not the only surprise in Common Core. (also note that the school systems would be paying for the privilege of having their students’ privacy violated)  Upon investigating the curriculum which is aligned to Common Core, parents found lessons that were age inappropriate, lessons that were historically inaccurate and slanted, and literature for junior high reading that bordered on pornographic.

A few states are already are already responding to parental concern about Common Core and are backing away from using the standards and curriculum. Hopefully all states will move in that direction and then move to set up standards that work for them.

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An Opinion From An Interesting Source

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article quoting Cleta Mitchell, a partner at Foley & Lardner, on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal,

The article quoted Ms. Mitchell:

“This is a sea change! People need to understand — this has never happened before in my lifetime and I don’t think anybody’s lifetime, where you have the president of the United States, elected members of Congress calling on the IRS to silence their political opponents, and having the IRS management and top brass doing what the politicians wanted them to do, and essentially taking sides in a philosophical and political debate between conservatives and liberals,” said Cleta Mitchell, a partner at Foley & Lardner.

“The more we allow government to mushroom and metastasize, we become more like the former Soviet Union where you have the commissars who have laws for everybody else, the little people, that don’t apply to them, and they use the government to go after their opponents and people are afraid of the government,” Mitchell said. “I mean, this is happening. And we have to stop it.”

It has become very obvious that the Obama Administration wants to silence anyone who is opposed to their policies. If they are successful in this, it is not a stretch to think that any future administration of either party will employ similar tactics.

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Yes, We Are Bailing Out Detroit

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that despite denials by the White House, Washington is bailing out Detroit. The bailout of $100 million is being described as “blight remediation.”

The article reports:

…it (the $100 Million) allows the city’s new managers to reshuffle more cash into the city employees’ pension funds, which were looted by city and union officials for several decades.

The stealth bailout was exposed by the Detroit Free Press, which said the $100 million would be taken from the so-called “Hardest Hit Fund.” That fund was created by the administration in 2010 to counter the disastrous implosion of the federally-inflated real estate bubble.

Evidently the “Hardest Hit Fund” had been drained over the years by unconventional practices, including the periodic payout of funds to employees in years when the funds’ value were boosted by Wall Street investments.

Keep in mind that the stock market has been in fairly good shape over the last few years due to the influx of money from quantitative easing. That should have kept the funds viable had they been handled properly.

The article further reports:

Detroit has been under Democratic control since the departure of Louis Miriani in 1962, when the city’s residents had the nation’s highest per capita income.

The city crashed in the 1970s, amid racial acrimony and incompetent management at the city’s vital auto plants.

Many other cities and states face severe pension difficulties. They’re led by Chicago and Los Angeles, where Democratic control has boosted the pensions of government employees.

Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, has promised to send $350 million in state funds to the city.

It matters who runs your city. Part of the problem is unfunded liabilities (large pensions promised to union government employees). In order to get our cities and states under financial control, we need to make sure that the promises we make to our municipal and state employees are paid for at the time the promises are made. The federal government can print money–states and cities cannot.

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This Sort Of Thing Makes My Head Hurt

Dr. Marty Nemko posted an article at the Daily Caller on Friday about the Common Core standards (and curriculum) that is currently being debated in many states.

The article includes a few examples of math problems included in the Common Core:

This is from the Common Core Standards for the 5th grade. All students are required to:

Generate two numerical patterns using two given rules. Identify apparent relationships between corresponding terms. Form ordered pairs consisting of corresponding terms from the two patterns, and graph the ordered pairs on a coordinate plane. For example, given the rule “Add 3″ and the starting number 0, and given the rule “Add 6″ and the starting number 0, generate terms in the resulting sequences, and observe that the terms in one sequence are twice the corresponding terms in the other sequence. Explain informally why this is so.

In the 8th grade, the Common Core requires all students to:

Solve systems of two linear equations in two variables algebraically, and estimate solutions by graphing the equations. Solve simple cases by inspection. For example, 3x + 2y = 5 and 3x + 2y = 6 have no solution because 3x + 2y cannot simultaneously be 5 and 6.

In the 9th grade:

Prove theorems about lines and angles: vertical angles are congruent; when a transversal crosses parallel lines, alternate interior angles are congruent and corresponding angles are congruent; points on a perpendicular bisector of a line segment are exactly those equidistant from the segment’s endpoints.

Lest you think I cherry-picked, here is the link to all the standards, K-12. Throughout, they are remarkably arcane and irrelevant in the real world.

I have no idea what they are trying to do to our children, but it seems to me that learning two plus two and related facts might be much more useful. When I look at the math curriculum of Common Core, it looks like ti was designed by an English major. That is not to knock English majors, but there are some people who will not grasp basic math regardless of what you do to it (I had that problem with physics).

I understand that we live in a complicated, computerized world, but I firmly believe that memorization of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication facts builds a good foundation for learning mathematics. Common core does not build that foundation–it eschews memorization. When you don’t have a good foundation, the building collapses. I fear that we are about to collapse the American educational system by introducing Common Core. Our educational system is not perfect, but I believe that Common Core will make it worse–not better.

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