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Thread: IRS and the DOJ

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Habitual fingerpointing and manipulaton of media by the polarized party extremists on both sides have made all of this white noise. It's like trying to discipline two children who hate each other and are out to twist every happenstance to their advantage.

    It's hard to tell what to believe is true, so I wish both sides would STFU and get on with actually governing.
    It's not that hard the pick the wheat from the chaff as far as these stories are concerned.

    Benghazi isn't a big issue because it basically boils down to incompetence on the part of those who declined to upgrade the security of our CIA operation in Libya, and the WH blaming it on the youtube video so that the administration's narrative that "Obama killed Bin Laden and has Al Qaeda on the ropes" wouldn't be muddied before the 2012 elections.

    The DOJ scandal is significant because it has partially destroyed the (already strained) relationship between the WH and the (mostly) fawning press. In this instance, the government certainly has a compelling state interest in keeping sensitive Nat Sec secrets from public view, but here the admin was just pissed that the AP reported on a successful raid in (I believe) Yemen before the WH was ready to take credit for it.

    This has had a chilling effect on the willingness of the media to give the administration the benefit of the doubt.

    The IRS scandal is the biggest of the three because it revolves around an agency that all Americans have to deal with, and that most don't have much good to say about. The fact that many 501c4's were kept out of the game just long enough to keep them from playing a roll in the 2012 elections, and that the conduct within the IRS seems to be much more widely spread than was originally thought doesn't lend itself to trusting the current administration.

    The reason the IRS is such a big deal is that it strikes at the heart of the argument that big gov't can be effective and equitable.

  2. #12
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    On a slightly different note, I sincerely hope Reid, Schumer, and Blumenthal et al. keep pushing gun control before 2014.

    I especially hope they keep calling out those Dem senators in Red states who voted against it.

    This issue is a loser for you guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    On a slightly different note, I sincerely hope Reid, Schumer, and Blumenthal et al. keep pushing gun control before 2014.

    I especially hope they keep calling out those Dem senators in Red states who voted against it.

    This issue is a loser for you guys.

    I know, right?

    I saw a response ad that was great. What midwestern red state politician doesn't want to be seen as the guy defending his citizen's freedom from a billionaire NYC mayor?

    I would be surprised if they give us that many more gifts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    I know, right?

    I saw a response ad that was great. What midwestern red state politician doesn't want to be seen as the guy defending his citizen's freedom from a billionaire NYC mayor?

    I would be surprised if they give us that many more gifts.
    Gun control is such a wet dream for many on the left, that I would actually be more surprised if it didn't come back up.

    Given the current state of play I think letting it die for the time being is the smarter play, but I don't think they understand how little most people care about gun control.

    That is except for shooters. We got a lock on the enthusiasm gap on this issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Gun control is such a wet dream for many on the left, that I would actually be more surprised if it didn't come back up.

    Given the current state of play I think letting it die for the time being is the smarter play, but I don't think they understand how little most people care about gun control.

    That is except for shooters. We got a lock on the enthusiasm gap on this issue.
    This may interest you: http://www.dennisprager.com/blog/g/7...3-49d79a5d6c40
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD45T-2 View Post
    Thanks for the link.

    That would interest me very much if I hadn't already seen those studies. I totally agree that the general public has a ridiculously poor understanding of the level of gun crime, and its decline.

    But that kind of goes back to the whole "fear as an effective political tool" argument.

  7. #17
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Won't change the r to d ratio in the Senate, but it will be interesting to see if this guy becomes the next senator of Tennessee.



    You want to guess where he stands on gun control?

    Edit: Realistically toppling Alexander is unlikely, but it would be fun to watch him try.
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  8. #18
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Thanks for the link.

    That would interest me very much if I hadn't already seen those studies. I totally agree that the general public has a ridiculously poor understanding of the level of gun crime, and its decline.

    But that kind of goes back to the whole "fear as an effective political tool" argument.

    Well, that link leads to "Pew Research Center analysis of government data on violent crime that showed that homicides using guns has fallen 49 percent over the last two decades and violent crime in general had declined 75 percent in the same period." Which means gun crime is increasing as a percentage of violent crime. Also, most of that reduction occurred before 2000.


    Compare that to overall violent crime rate, which continues to fall off (note that this chart goes back farther... and what caused that bump in '94?):



    I do think the decrease in the US crime rate is way under-reported, in general. That's one sense in which things have improved significantly over time. We live in a far safer country than our parents and grandparents did, as far as violent crime goes.

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    [Posting this as a separate post, since it is both long and more on topic.]

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    It's not that hard the pick the wheat from the chaff as far as these stories are concerned.

    Benghazi isn't a big issue because it basically boils down to incompetence on the part of those who declined to upgrade the security of our CIA operation in Libya, and the WH blaming it on the youtube video so that the administration's narrative that "Obama killed Bin Laden and has Al Qaeda on the ropes" wouldn't be muddied before the 2012 elections.
    Agree it's not a big issue. Note that leaked emails show the intelligence agencies cut mention of Al Qaeda from the original talking points, rather than there being clear evidence of White House political motivations (although granted, other avenues of communication could have been used).

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The DOJ scandal is significant because it has partially destroyed the (already strained) relationship between the WH and the (mostly) fawning press. In this instance, the government certainly has a compelling state interest in keeping sensitive Nat Sec secrets from public view, but here the admin was just pissed that the AP reported on a successful raid in (I believe) Yemen before the WH was ready to take credit for it.

    This has had a chilling effect on the willingness of the media to give the administration the benefit of the doubt.
    Actually, I think it's significant because of the obvious civil rights issues and the chilling effect it could have on the press in general. Specifically, it could make informants scared to speak to the press, for fear the press's phones/computers etc were being monitored by the government. This, combined with Obama administration's prosecution of leakers (sometimes including possible whistleblowers) is deeply troubling. I'm against this kind of thing, no matter who does it.

    I agree there can be cases where there are national security interests, but given the growth of classified information and state secrets across the last two administrations, it becomes increasingly difficult to know when that's actually the case (rather than merely claimed).

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The IRS scandal is the biggest of the three because it revolves around an agency that all Americans have to deal with, and that most don't have much good to say about. The fact that many 501c4's were kept out of the game just long enough to keep them from playing a roll in the 2012 elections, and that the conduct within the IRS seems to be much more widely spread than was originally thought doesn't lend itself to trusting the current administration.

    The reason the IRS is such a big deal is that it strikes at the heart of the argument that big gov't can be effective and equitable.
    That's an extremely simplified view of the situation. Some of the problem here is fallout from the Citizen's United ruling. Now that 501(c)(4) groups can engage in political spending, it becomes very difficult to determine whether a group qualifies for 501(c)(4); that is, whether the group exists primarily for "social welfare" and doesn't have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy.

    Note that qualifying as 501(c)(4) gives one both tax exempt status and removes the requirement to disclose donors. This, in turn, has led to the rise of a lot of "dark money" in the last couple of elections, with 501(c)(4) groups outspending SuperPACs (which have their own issues).

    A real solution would be to have clear guidelines and procedures for determining whether someone qualifies for 501(c)(4) status, and enough funding so that such procedures could be designed and actually followed (with some means of external review). It seems likely that such efforts would pay for themselves, since we are no doubt improperly granting tax-exempt to groups that are clearly primarily political (on both sides of the fence), and thereby losing tax revenue. At the very least, placing a percentage cap on the amount of political spending a 501(c)(4) organization would help (since if you are spending more than 50% of your outlays on political spending, claiming that your primary purpose isn't engaging in electoral advocacy seems absurd).

    Looking at the IRS 501(c)(4) guidelines, one can see that the guidelines are extremely murky and vague. It's pretty much inevitable that bias (individual or collective) is going to creep in without objective, quantifiable standards.

    Politically speaking, I think the IRS videos are also damaging to the IRS's reputation, given that they are both ridiculous and were produced at tax payer expense. Certainly private corporations sponsor such silliness often (go to any major trade show, user conference, etc), but people become (fairly justifiably) upset when their taxes are paying for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Agree it's not a big issue. Note that leaked emails show the intelligence agencies cut mention of Al Qaeda from the original talking points, rather than there being clear evidence of White House political motivations (although granted, other avenues of communication could have been used).
    Other ave's of communication were used. The bosses in the State dept and and intelligence community (of whom many were appointed by this administration) had every incentive to color the situation in Benghazi in a light that most benefited the WH. Those down the chain of command like keeping their jobs and thus keeping the bosses happy. In an election year that means lying to the public about the cause for the attack.

    Everyone knew what was going on, but thought winning reelection, and keeping the administration (and the bosses in the State dept and intelligence community) happy was more important that telling the public what was actually happening. God forbid government actions reflecting poorly on Obama in an election year.

    Actually, I think it's significant because of the obvious civil rights issues and the chilling effect it could have on the press in general. Specifically, it could make informants scared to speak to the press, for fear the press's phones/computers etc were being monitored by the government. This, combined with Obama administration's prosecution of leakers (sometimes including possible whistleblowers) is deeply troubling. I'm against this kind of thing, no matter who does it.

    I agree there can be cases where there are national security interests, but given the growth of classified information and state secrets across the last two administrations, it becomes increasingly difficult to know when that's actually the case (rather than merely claimed).
    It's definitely important for those reasons, and as a civil libertarian I'm sympathetic to all the concerns you raise. But for now I'm analyzing the situation in more partisan terms, and to be honest many on our side don't give two shits how reporters (who aren't really known for treating conservatives fairly) are treated by the gov't. For that reason the DOJ scandal doesn't get much play on the right. Obviously some very important constitutional concerns are raised by this situation, but the victims are widely viewed (besides Rosen) as being on the other side of the isle. Yes I know this is hypocritical for a party claiming to care about constitutional rights, but thats politics.

    So for now, the bigger news is that the news might not be so solidly in Obamas corner any more.


    That's an extremely simplified view of the situation. Some of the problem here is fallout from the Citizen's United ruling. Now that 501(c)(4) groups can engage in political spending, it becomes very difficult to determine whether a group qualifies for 501(c)(4); that is, whether the group exists primarily for "social welfare" and doesn't have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy.

    Note that qualifying as 501(c)(4) gives one both tax exempt status and removes the requirement to disclose donors. This, in turn, has led to the rise of a lot of "dark money" in the last couple of elections, with 501(c)(4) groups outspending SuperPACs (which have their own issues).

    A real solution would be to have clear guidelines and procedures for determining whether someone qualifies for 501(c)(4) status, and enough funding so that such procedures could be designed and actually followed (with some means of external review). It seems likely that such efforts would pay for themselves, since we are no doubt improperly granting tax-exempt to groups that are clearly primarily political (on both sides of the fence), and thereby losing tax revenue. At the very least, placing a percentage cap on the amount of political spending a 501(c)(4) organization would help (since if you are spending more than 50% of your outlays on political spending, claiming that your primary purpose isn't engaging in electoral advocacy seems absurd).

    Looking at the IRS 501(c)(4) guidelines, one can see that the guidelines are extremely murky and vague. It's pretty much inevitable that bias (individual or collective) is going to creep in without objective, quantifiable standards.

    Politically speaking, I think the IRS videos are also damaging to the IRS's reputation, given that they are both ridiculous and were produced at tax payer expense. Certainly private corporations sponsor such silliness often (go to any major trade show, user conference, etc), but people become (fairly justifiably) upset when their taxes are paying for it.
    You make no mention of the fact that conservatives were targeted in an unwarranted (given the level of scrutiny given to liberal groups received) partisan fashion.

    The scrutiny increasingly seems to have been coming from the top down.

    Sure money in politics sucks, but if you are going to raise that argument, what about 501(c)(5)'s aka Union (who started this whole business in the first place)?

    As long as campaigns cost $$$$$, getting money out of politics will pretty much be a pipe dream.

    Given that both sides enjoy spending in the dark with no donor accountability, I don't see any huge rewrites coming along the lines of McCain Feingold anytime soon.

    I would be satisfied, if all groups had to disclose all donors regardless. And I think it's politically doable to get a bill through congress asking for that.

    All those who had knowledge of the targeting are culpable and should be immediately dismissed without pay or any sort of severance package.

    This went on for several years and apparently no one raised an eyebrow. That reflects a culture where its ok to act unconstitutionally as long as it's against those horrible conservatives.

    The left wont always hold the WH or the Senate, and should think through the consequences of these actions and the permissiveness required for them to come about.

    Given the way we've been treated, I won't fault us for looking for payback when we're back in power.

    What the IRS did was wrong regardless of ones stance on campaign finance.

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