Marco Rubio. Paul Ryan. The IRS. Illegal immigration. And fraud to the tune of billions.. Now there’s a combustible mix. Let’s start with the IRS, illegal immigration and fraud. We’ll come back in a minute to Senator Rubio and Congressman Ryan. For those who came in late, a year before the IRS scandals burst onto the scene in early May of 2013, an alert investigative reporter for WTHR-Indianapolis (Channel 13), Bob Segall by name, produced a stunning piece of journalism. Segall’s video report is found here and we will quote from his story for the basics. The tale begins when an Indiana tax preparer, who requests anonymity, comes to Segall to alert the investigative reporter to a major league tax fraud. The bold print for emphasis is mine. “We’re talking about a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme here that’s taking place and no one is talking about it, ” he (the tax preparer) said. The scheme involves illegal immigrants — illegal immigrants who are filing tax returns. How it works The Internal Revenue Service says everyone who is employed in the United States — even those who are working here illegally — must report income and pay taxes. Of course, undocumented workers are not supposed to have a social security number. So for them to pay taxes, the IRS created what’s called an ITIN, an individual taxpayer identification number. A 9-digit ITIN number issued by the IRS provides both resident and nonresident aliens with a unique identification number that allows them to file tax returns. While that may have seemed like a good idea, it’s now backfiring in a big way. Each spring, at tax preparation offices all across the nation, many illegal immigrants are now eagerly filing tax returns to take advantage of a tax loophole, using their ITIN numbers to get huge refunds from the IRS. The loophole is called the Additional Child Tax Credit. It’s a fully-refundable credit of up to $1000 per child, and it’s meant to help working families who have children living at home.
Amid all the heated cross-currents of debate about the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance program, there is a growing distrust of the Obama administration that makes weighing the costs and benefits of the NSA program itself hard to assess. The belated recognition of this administration’s contempt for the truth, for the American people, and for the Constitution of the United States has been long overdue. But what if the NSA program has in fact thwarted terrorists and saved many American lives in ways that cannot be revealed publicly? Nothing is easier than saying that you still don’t want your telephone records collected by the government. But the first time you have to collect the remains of your loved ones, after they have been killed by terrorists, telephone records can suddenly seem like a small price to pay to prevent such things. The millions of records of phone calls collected every day virtually guarantee that nobody has the time to listen to them all, even if NSA could get a judge to authorize listening to what is said in all these calls, instead of just keeping a record of who called whom. Moreover, Congressional oversight by members of both political parties limits what Barack Obama or any other president can get away with. Are these safeguards foolproof? No. Nothing is ever foolproof. As Edmund Burke said, more than two centuries ago: “Constitute government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of ministers of state.” In other words, we do not have a choice whether to trust or not to trust government officials. Unless we are willing to risk anarchy or terrorism, the most we can do is set up checks and balances within government — and be a lot more careful in the future than we have been in the past when deciding whom to elect. Anyone old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when President John F. Kennedy took this country to the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, may remember that there was nothing like the distrust and backlash against later presidents, whose controversial decisions risked nothing approaching the cataclysm that President Kennedy’s decision could have led to. Even those of us who were not John F. Kennedy supporters, and who were not dazzled by the glitter and glamour of the Kennedy aura, nevertheless felt that the President of the United States was someone who knew much more than we did about the realities on which all our lives depended. Whatever happened to that feeling? Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon happened — and both were shameless liars. They destroyed not only their own credibility, but the credibility of the office. Even when Lyndon Johnson told us the truth at a crucial juncture during the Vietnam war — that the Communist offensive of 1968 was a defeat for them, even as the media depicted it as a defeat for us — we didn’t believe him. In later years, Communist leaders themselves admitted that they had been devastated on the battlefield. But, by then it was too late. What the Communists lost militarily on the ground in Vietnam they won politically in the American media and in American public opinion. More than 50,000 Americans lost their lives winning battles on the ground in Vietnam, only to have the war lost politically back home. We seem to be having a similar scenario unfolding today in Iraq, where soldiers won the war, only to have politicians lose the peace, as Iraq now increasingly aligns itself with Iran. When Barack Obama squanders his own credibility with his glib lies, he is not just injuring himself during his time in office. He is inflicting a lasting wound on the country as a whole. But we the voters are not blameless. Having chosen an untested man to be president, on the basis of rhetoric, style, and symbolism, we have ourselves to blame if we now have only a choice between two potentially tragic fates — the loss of American lives to terrorism or a further dismantling of our freedoms that has already led many people to ask: “Is this still America?” COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
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The Loss of Trust
The Obama administration has reached the unenviable stage in which it’s almost impossible to determine where one scandal ends and another begins. The most recent case in point is President Obama’s decision to kinda sorta intervene in the Syrian civil war that is now in its third year. Consider the statement issued by the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes on Thursday. Ben Rhodes — who readers will remember played a major role in the political revisions to the CIA’s Benghazi talking points — is also Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, i.e., the National Security Council’s flack. On Thursday, Ben Rhodes’s statement said that the intelligence community had concluded that in several uses of chemical weapons, the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad had killed between 100 and 150 people in the Syrian rebellion. Later that day, Obama announced that he had decided to send arms and other military aid — so far undefined — to Syrian rebels. Even CBS yawned. Some on the right are saying that Obama is wagging the dog, creating a phony military conflict to take the media’s attention off the scandals in which his administration is awash. But that’s not what he’s doing. It’s much worse than that. The timing is right. The scandals are so huge that people are naturally suspicious of Obama pulling that sort of stunt. (To correct last week’s list I have to add the biggest scandal — Obama’s dereliction of duty when Americans were under attack in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11 — to the IRS mess, the Justice Department’s actions on Fox News and the Associated Press, and the NSA “PRISM” program, to name but a few.) In similar times, when Monica was still loose among the grand juries, Bubba took it on himself to bomb an aspirin factory in Sudan. Bubba did everything in the “wag the dog” playbook. Every bit of stage-managed drama played itself out. There was a televised surprise speech late one evening to announce the cruise missile strike, high stage-managed drama to accompany that nonsense. And though no targets of any value to anyone felt our military might, real cruise missiles killed real people. The press, called hurriedly from the local bars, responded predictably with grave coverage that succeeded, for at least a day or two, in distracting the world from the mess Clinton had made for himself. Obama didn’t bother to engineer any drama over Syria. There was no speech, no bombs fell. He’s not even bothering to try to wag the dog. Photo: UPI (President Obama, June 14, 2013, at a White House Father’s Day luncheon.) According to the New York Times : For two years, President Obama has resisted being drawn deeper into the civil war in Syria . It was a miserable problem, he told aides, and not one he thought he could solve. At most, it could be managed. And besides, he wanted to be remembered for getting out of Middle East wars, not embarking on new ones. So when Mr. Obama agreed this week for the first time to send small arms and ammunition to Syrian rebel forces, he had to be almost dragged into the decision at a time when critics, some advisers and even Bill Clinton were pressing for more action. Coming so late into the conflict, Mr. Obama expressed no confidence it would change the outcome, but privately expressed hope it might buy time to bring about a negotiated settlement.
Postulated: If you wish to see more of something, you subsidize it; if you wish to see less of something, you tax it. I assume that we are all on board with this, yes? – After all, this has been a major point used to justify sin taxes for, well, my entire life. In other words… “tax it out of existence” is a sentiment that | Read More
The high priests of liberalism must be tossing and turning in their organic cotton bedding and downing more small-batch artisanal whisky each night trying to cope with the abject failure of their cause. They know, even if the masses do not yet fully understand, that their worldview no longer makes sense in light of scandal after scandal in Washington and that the end result could be a great, if slow, deconversion on the scale of the millions who no longer believe in the Christianity its philosophy replaced. Government, they have told us, is inherently good, like the people it helps. Its largesse helps the poor, its inclusiveness expands rights for all and fairness motivates it. And it is intrinsic to individual success – as the hypothetical “Julia” portrayed in Barack Obama’s recent presidential campaign tried to prove. This worldview diagnoses government problems as merely a question of bad management or lack of funding, which is why federal government workers and contractors have become in the past decade some of the most highly educated and best paid people in America. And it is why programs which fail to meet goals expand and quality is almost always measured by “inputs” — how much money is spent, how many people are signed up, how many training courses are completed, for example — instead of “outputs” like knowledge acquired and people living independent, productive lives. But the Internal Revenue Service’s abuse of conservative groups, and revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) is cataloguing every phone call and email Americans make don’t mesh with the prevailing view of government benevolence. Neither do revelations that the Justice Department criminalized reporting nor those that show high ranking State Department leaders quashed investigations of prostitution and drug abuse among its ranks synch with that outlook. And it clashes with the promise newly elected Barack Obama made in January 2009 that he would “hold myself as president to a new standard of openness….Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” With respect to the NSA and press monitoring revelations it seems the only right to privacy Barack Obama’s administration recognizes is the right to kill unborn children without restrictions with taxpayer dollars. This unhinging of the administration from recognizable liberal ideals is the end result of progressivism, which knows no law except “forward.” As Philip Rieff wrote in his brilliant 1966 The Triumph of the Therapeutic , “We believe we can live freely at last, enjoying all our senses — except the sense of the past — as unremembering, honest and friendly barbarians all, in a technological Eden.” But to admit that once sacred principles are obsolete would be political suicide for a man who fulfilled the promises of the great 20th-century liberal causes — civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, workers’ rights — for millions of Americans. So Mr. Obama is struggling to maintain the old order by making it seem that the omnipresent monitoring of email and tracking of phone records of Americans are really just “modest encroachments” on privacy that are perfectly legal and nothing new. True believers will cling to his words. But the scales have fallen from the eyes of a media that protected the administration it believed in, and it is only a matter of time before any American who cares to look will see the disconnect between the personal fulfillment and liberation promised by big government and the evil it delivered in the name of safety. Given that decades of Americans have been steeped for their full lives in the doctrine of government as the solution and savior in public schools, colleges and culture, to what will they turn when liberalism’s lie hits them? I don’t know. But its undoing will give the timeless principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution a fighting chance against a “forward” that looks more like a backward totalitarian state than the utopia John Lennon sang about in “Imagine.”
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Liberalism Is Bankrupt