It Can Happen Here – Tea Party Nation

It Can Happen Here – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

“How the Jews Defeated Hitler” is the title of a new book by Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg PhD, subtitled “Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism.”  The title is counter-intuitive because, as is well known, the Nazis murdered six million Jews in Europe during the course of a deliberate genocide that has since become known as the Holocaust.
The author is a professor of political science and is chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the book is more than just a history of that horrific period of history. It is not that long ago. I was a child at the time so, within the living memory of the survivors, their children and grandchildren, as well as others like myself around the world, it is living history.
The value of the book is the way it explains how many of the Jews of Europe, particularly those herded into ghettos, failed to grasp what was happening. “It was initially difficult for most Jews to believe that the Germans actually intended to kill them all.”
Another major factor was that the Nazis ensured that they were disarmed and unable to defend themselves, as were others who opposed the regime.
Where resistance fighters emerged, Ginsburg notes that “Germany relied, especially in Western Europe, on the help of local police forces to deal with partisans, and, especially in France and Holland, whose local police were quite helpful.” In occupied France, “The French police helpfully compiled a card index of all the Jews of Paris by name, street, occupation, and nationality.”
Therein lies the fears and concerns of Americans as they slowly come to realize that their government not only knows where they live, but a great deal of information about them courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, right on down to their local law enforcement authorities.
If or when Obamacare is fully implemented, anonymous bureaucrats will be able to “target” selected Americans who are seeking medical care for death simply by denying it. No need to set up concentration camps to kill them en mass. Just as the little girl who needed a lung transplant that was initially denied by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, individuals identified as “patriots” or other enemies of the state could simply be allowed to die.
So, yes, it can happen here.
The focus of the present day animus against Jews in general—extremely active throughout the Middle East and a major trend in Europe—is the nation of Israel. Zionism, the political movement that supports Israel, is a handy substitute for anti-Semitism.
Dr. Ginsberg, however, notes that “In actuality, Israel’s founding was very much the result of the West’s postwar unwillingness to accept Jewish refugees. Governments that felt that even one Jewish refugee was one too many had to find someplace to resettle several hundred thousand Jews.” The State of Israel, like the mythical phoenix, literally rose from the ashes of Europe’s murdered Jews.
“To the Americans and eventually even to the British, the State of Israel seemed the least undesirable alternative. Within two decades of Israel’s creation (in 1948) though, the reasons for its existence were forgotten or had become irrelevant, and new configurations of political forces gave rise to a renewed European anti-Semitic discourse taking the form of anti-Zionism…The European Left loudly proclaims its anti-Zionism by denouncing Israel as a racist and apartheid state and calling for boycotts of Israeli products, citizens, and ideas.” The United Nations is a hotbed of anti-Semitism.
During World War II, however, Jews played leading roles in the partisan efforts to disrupt German aggression, often held leadership positions in the allied military forces and served within them, were active throughout the FDR New Deal administrations, supported the U.S. bond drives to finance the war, and were instrumental in breaking the codes of the Nazis and Empire of Japan. Jews were also the core of physicists and engineers who developed the atomic bombs that speeded the end of the war in the Pacific.
The same authoritarian and leftist forces, whether it is the rise of Islamic ambitions to conquer the world or the efforts of the Left to impose a one-world government via the United Nations or just to undermine the former power and position of the United States as a defender of freedom, are at work today.
You need not be a Jew to fear the growing centralization of power in the federal government.
If you are a gun-owner, you know that the Obama administration and some in Congress seek to amend and erode the Second Amendment in an effort to take your arms away from you; a common goal of fascism.
If you are a member of the Tea Party or a patriot movement, you now know that the Internal Revenue Service sought to deny applications for tax-exempt status needed for fund-raising.
If you fear that your Fourth Amendment right to privacy is being eroded then you know that the Constitution is under attack.
If you are concerned about government by executive order, then yes, it can happen here.
© Alan Caruba, 2013

 

Super-Dooper Snoopers – Tea Party Nation

Super-Dooper Snoopers – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

While in the U.S. Army in the early 60s, I worked in the G-2 (intelligence) office of my battalion. I was surely no James Bond, but I did need a security clearance and quickly was granted one to be around documents marked “secret.” There are now thousands waiting for their security clearances and 4.8 million who already have one!

When Edward Snowden, an analyst for a national security contractor, decided to tell the world that the National Security Agency was actually gathering meta-data about all of our communications (and the rest of the world’s), I was among those who were not surprised. Whole books had been written about this practice before and since 9/11. James Bamford had published “The Puzzle Palace” about the NSA way back in 1983!

The Justice Department has charged Snowden with conveying classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing communications intelligence information, and theft of government property. The charges, each of which carries a potential 10-year prison term, were filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va. Well, at least that beats a firing squad.

Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media thinks a lot of notable news media personalities have been duped. “Those who claimed NSA traitor Edward Snowden was a patriot or hero have egg all over their faces, as the former NSA contract worker has fled from China to Russia…” I am inclined to agree.

It is a fact of life in this year of our Lord 2013 that information about you is so available that there are few if any of your purchases and preferences that are not known to every company with whom you do business. Your local supermarket knows the brand of cereal or shampoo you prefer. This is called “open source” information and it is not only gathered, but sold to anyone who wants it.

The information you voluntarily or unwittingly give to those with whom you do business as well as the information may post daily on your Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In accounts is all accessible and accessed.

The NSA has long had powers to scoop up scads of information about communications by, to, and from Americans. Its roots go back to the earliest days of the Cold War. Until recently revelations, we thought that the information we provide to the Internal Revenue Service was closely guarded and never to be used for political purposes, but in the Age of Obama, that illusion has been shattered.

In a recent Business Week article, Ashlee Vance reported “Less recognized is that, in this era of open-source software, the NSA gets direct access to the inventions of thousands of the smartest computer science minds on the planet for free.”

“It started,” said Vance,”with the founding of Google in 1998. The search engine giant needed to collect and analyze so much data that it couldn’t afford to buy systems from big-name tech companies. Instead, Google created its own open-source software program that ran across hundreds of thousands of computers. Yahoo!, Facebook, and Twitter have been even more aggressive about open-sourcing their underlying infrastructure.”

NSA and, indeed, the President, could have put a lot of the consternation to rest by coming out early and explaining what it does and the limitations under which it works. While it is most certainly a very secretive agency, there is much that is common knowledge about its mission.

In the post 9/11 era with a massive Homeland Security Agency charged with keeping us safe, it is a good, if not essential, idea to have a public discussion about the role of the Fourth Amendment protection of our privacy. Even though the Founders had no idea of modern communications they still believed that our privacy must be respected. Meanwhile, we live in a world of enormous electronic connectivity that is subject to surveillance.

Moreover, there are those who believe all the surveillance we are learning about is just the tip of the iceberg. There is widespread speculation that the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and other agencies has been working on a massive consolidation of power in the White House, preparing for the deliberate collapse of the U.S. dollar, and the chaos that would follow.

On June 19, the president of the Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. saying that the DOJ seizure of journalist’s phone records has had “a chilling effect” on newsgathering, not just for the AP but other newsgathering organizations. He described the collection of records affecting more than a hundred journalists was an “overbroad and sloppy fishing expedition” that failed to follow procedures on notification. If the intent was to impact legitimate news gathering, it was successful.

We still trust that law enforcement must secure a warrant to tap our phones, but the information about with whom we speak is routinely gathered, as it must, by telephone companies. It can be a useful tool to determine patterns, especially if they are between Americans and foreigners with bad intentions.

Inherent in all this data-gathering is the potential for its misuse—and worse—but that is true of much of what government does. The need for congressional oversight was never more paramount, but it comes at a time when the Congress is held in low esteem and sharply divided.

The greater present concern must be that we have a White House engaged in a plan to render the Constitution useless with a manufactured crisis to deliberately impose an authoritarian control over all of us.

We now living in an Orwellian era of super-dooper snoopers

© Alan Caruba, 2013

 

The Worst President Ever – Tea Party Nation

The Worst President Ever – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

All through George W. Bush’s two terms, the Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and others claimed that they represented “a culture of corruption” and yet I cannot recall any significant examples, nor does a look back at those years reveal any scandals resulting from his administration’s governance. It was not perfect, but it was not corrupt.

This term, however, marked Barack Obama’s first term and now his second which is currently imploding from a confluence of scandals involving Benghazi-Gate, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Justice. Let’s not forget “Fast and Furious.”

The very first example of the changes that would mark his administration was the announcement of Obama’s “czars”, a shadowy group of advisors whose power to set and influence government policy without any congressional oversight appears to have transcended that of his cabinet members, many of whom would contribute to lengthening the recession he “inherited” as the result of the 2008 financial crisis while increasing the national debt and deficit to heights never before seen in the history of the nation.

What we have come to learn in his first term was that Obama had scant regard for the Constitution, the guiding instrument of governance. It was in his view an “imperfect” instrument and yet, with amendments, it has guided the nation to superpower status since its ratification in 1791, a process that took four years from the 1786 Annapolis Convention that called for a Constitutional Convention.

What we learned though in his first campaign and first term was that Obama lies about everything, starting with his personal life. What we have learned is that his answer to everything is to give another speech, hold another press conference, issue another executive order, and to dismiss any criticism as “a sideshow”, and to host a number of dinners to give the impression he is willing to work with Republicans in Congress. In truth, he rarely interacted even with Democrats in Congress.

In short, Obama has never addressed his duty to govern. He has instead maintained a non-stop process of campaigning and fund-raising. It did not work in 2010 when voters returned power to the Republicans in the House and now he is doing everything he can to regain Democrat control there in 2014.

His priority on September 11, 2012, the night in which he was informed of the attack on the Benghazi consulate in Libya, was to go to bed in order to get a good night’s sleep before flying off to Las Vegas for more fund-raising the next day, skipping his daily intelligence briefing. An American ambassador had been killed along with three other personnel, but it did not alter his schedule.

This is a President who spent his entire first term blaming his predecessor, George W. Bush, for every problem that crossed his desk and demanded his attention.

This is a President whose foreign policy in the Middle East failed to address events there while delegating responsibility to his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton who as of 2 AM the morning of September 12th knew that it was an orchestrated attack by al Qaeda. And then, in concert with the White House, told Americans that it was the result of a video and was a “spontaneous” event.

This is a President who has withdrawn U.S. troops from Iraq, a nation now wracked with daily bombings and has set in process the withdrawal from Afghanistan, a nation that will fall once again under the control of the Taliban. The alleged ally of America, Pakistan, now fears for its stability from the same threat. Both wars, the longest since the Vietnam War, were and remain unpopular, but both were intended to reduce the role of al Qaeda in the Middle East. That role has now expanded into the Syrian civil war and was manifest in Mali.

His response was to depend on isolated drone attacks in Yemen and elsewhere, and of course his authorization of the assassination of Osama bin Laden for which he took total credit despite the fact that the effort had begun in the Bush years.

In the years prior to Benghazi-Gate we have now learned that Obama was using the Internal Revenue Service to harass organizations associated with the Tea Party movement, that identified themselves as “patriots”, or had a pro-Israel agenda. In a similar fashion his Environmental Protection Agency was denying Freedom of Information inquires to organizations opposed to its policies while granting access to those who supported it.

In his first term, his Department of the Interior pursued policies that denied access to drilling for oil and natural gas on federally owned lands and while his Department of Energy wasted billions on “renewable energy” companies manufacturing solar panels no one wanted to purchase, going bankrupt one after another. At one point the President advocated using algae—pond scum—as a source of energy.

This is a President who promised his “stimulus” program would put Americans back to work and revive the economy.

This is a President who has continued to tell Americans that global warming is the greatest threat to the nation and the world despite a sixteen-year cooling cycle in progress.

The current scandals, derided as being “politicized” by Republicans, suggest that impeachable offenses have been authorized and committed by branches of the administration he leads. The current makeup of Congress in which the Senate is still controlled by Democrats suggests that impeachment would be difficult to pursue, but the 2014 midterm elections could and should change that.

The worst of his offenses is Obamacare, described by members of his own party as “a train wreck”, and a program to be administered by the IRS!

It is not hyperbole to say Barack Obama is the worst President in the history of the nation.

Ask the millions of Americans who are still unemployed more than four years since his first inauguration.

Ask the millions of new graduates from colleges and universities who cannot find jobs commensurate with their degrees.

Ask the millions of Americans unable to retire due to the agonizingly slow recovery of the economy.

And ask the mainstream media, after years of ignoring his failures have suddenly awakened to the seizure of Associated Press phone records after acting as mere stenographers for his daily “talking points.”.

The question is how long before he is either impeached or forced to resign as the dream of “hope and change” has turned to hopelessness and the change has become the “transformation” of America from the greatest economy the world has ever known to a debtor nation disrespected by allies and enemies alike.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

 

The President as Sergeant Schultz – Tea Party Nation

The President as Sergeant Schultz – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

How is it that, time and again, the most powerful man on the planet doesn’t seem to have a clue what is happening in his own government? Famed for never accepting blame for anything, the more I see President Obama these days, the more I am reminded of Sergeant Hans Schultz of the TV sitcom, “Hogan’s Heroes”, that ran from 1965 to 1971.

The wonderful Hans Banner the actor who played the prisoner of war guard left an indelible legacy with his repeated denials, “I know nothing. I hear nothing, and I see nothing”; often all three at the same time to avoid being implicated in Col. Robert E. Hogan’s manipulation of Werner Klemperer’s Col. Wilhelm Klink, the camp commandant of Luftwaffe Stalag 13.

Obama’s way of dealing with everything has been to talk it to death and he has been responding to questions from the press, claiming that the accusations are all “a sideshow” or that “there’s no there, there.” It is not working. In the case of Benghazi-Gate, his lies are so blatant that it has gone from an embarrassment to a full-fledged cover-up.

Similarly, the Attorney General, Eric Holder, has relied on claiming ignorance and putting distance between himself and his Department of Justice’s increasing list of scandals, from Fast and Furious that earned him a citation for contempt of Congress in June 2012 for his lack of candor. His latest “I know nothing” testimony regarding the DOJ’s seizure of the phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters makes one wonder why the President continues to retain him in office or, for that matter, why he isn’t in jail for stonewalling about Fast and Furious, an ATF gun-running scheme that got a border patrol and ICE agent killed.

Those of us who follow the President closely know that he has been lying consistently before and since being elected–twice. His two “memoirs” have been picked apart by reporters who have written their own books on the subject. It would appear that Obama picked up the habit of lying early on in life as the son of a Kenyan who had abandoned his mother, the step-son of an Indonesian whom his mother also divorced, and a man who remarkably was a friend or associate of a long list of shady characters you might more likely find in a detective novel.

He dismissed his close friendship with former 60s Weatherman terrorist, Bill Ayers, as someone who lived in his Chicago neighborhood. He had to throw his longtime pastor, Jeremiah Wright, under the bus when it became known he said many bad things about America over the course of the many years Obama was a member of his church. The man who conducted Obama’s wedding and christened his children said of 9/11, “the chickens have come home to roost” as if it was America’s fault it was attacked.

Even so, this is small potatoes compared to the way the many “renewable energy” companies received billions in government loans and rapidly went bankrupt. It turned out that many of the many of the men who created those companies where major “bundlers” and contributors to his 2009 presidential campaign. Of the most famous bankruptcy, Solyndra, Obama said, “That was not our program, per se. Congress-Democrats and Republicans—put together a loan guarantee program…” Maybe so, but we have not seen such a program lose so much money in such a short time, betting on solar and wind power projects. The taxpayers got stuck with the bill. The number of actual “green” jobs ended up costing over a million dollars each to create.

Of his failed “stimulus” package, Obama said “Apparently there weren’t as many shovel ready jobs as we thought.” Before spending millions to allegedly revive the economy, you are supposed to know such things.

If not Benghazi-Gate, than the IRS targeting of conservative, patriot, and constitution education groups could provide the fulcrum to bring down Obama’s presidency. Despite his denials of knowledge about the program within the IRS to harass and deny these groups non-profit status, vital to raise donations and funding, and the firing of the IRS commissioner, this is a scandal with which ordinary taxpayers can identify, fearful of audits. Imagine now as the realization sinks in that it is the IRS that will be administering Obamacare!

Up to now Obama could count on the mainstream media to ignore much of the blunders, failures and lies that characterized his first term, but the scandals coalescing as his second term begins have a weight that includes the growing unhappiness of the White House press corps who are tired of being lied to or having to listen to press secretary Jay Carney speak to them as if they were a bunch of witless clowns.

It is said that “the fish stinks from the head” and what we are witnessing is an administration whose corrupt political practices have seeped deep into the government agencies for which Obama is responsible.

It is still too soon to know which scandal or combination of scandals will bring down his presidency, but it will only take a few more eye-witnesses and whistle-blowers to turn Obama into the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind the curtain and pulling the levers to fool Dorothy and her pals or, in our case, those of us who still believe laws should be obeyed and power should not be abused.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

 

A massive case of double standards – Tea Party Nation

A massive case of double standards – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

As the IRS scandal bursts upon America, there is a lot to talk about.  Tea Party and conservative groups are ordered to produce reams of evidence to support their request for non-profit status.  Some of the requests go well beyond what the IRS needs to determine if a group is a legitimate non-profit.

While the IRS is putting conservative groups through the wringer, there is one gigantic example of double standards at the IRS.   This case alone is compelling enough to demand at the very least a lot of IRS employees be fired or perhaps even the IRS be disbanded.

 What is it?

 While the IRS causes as many problems for conservative organizations as possible, liberal organizations get a completely free pass on everything. 

 Liberal groups or groups with connections to Obama are quickly approved for non-profit status.  Liberal groups that violate the rules governing their non-profit status get a free pass.

 No group more exemplifies this problem than Media Matters for America.

 Media Matters for America is a 501c3.  As such it is described as an educational non-profit, which means that its purpose must be to support the public good and it must, for the most part, avoid partisan activities.

 Media Matters has been nothing but partisan.  In fact, one would be hard pressed to find anything Media Matters has done that a sane person could call educational.

 Instead Media Matters has led a coordinated attack on Fox News.  It has colluded with the Obama Justice Department to smear anyone who dares to speak against the Obama Regime. 

 Media Matters engaged in a war against Fox News, that was called a guerilla warfare campaign of sabotage against Fox.

 edia Matters is one of a number of left wing tax-exempt groups that should be investigated for a violation of their tax-exempt status

 When Media Matters coordinated with the Justice Department to spin coverage of the Fast and Furious scandal, many experts viewed that as a complete violation of their status as a non-profit organization.

 Unfortunately for America, we will not see an investigation anytime soon.  The left has a simple philosophy.  The government exists to help the left grab power, maintain power and punish those who would oppose the left.

 The other culprit here is the tax code itself.  Neither Media Matters nor many of these other left wing groups would exist but for the fact the tax code allows for the creation of these non-profits.    The left learned long ago how to control and use non-profits to their advantage.

 The tax code is seven times longer than the Bible and unlike the Bible; there is no good news to be had.  It is time we abolished the entire Byzantine tax code.  If groups like Media Matters want to survive, let them do so without taxpayers subsidizing them. 

 While conservatives also use non-profits, that is still no reason to keep non-profits or the tax code.

 A tax code that gives someone like Barack Obama the tools to oppress those who disagree with them, is a tax code that is antithecal to liberty. It is a tax code that must be abolished in favor of a tax code that embraces and expands liberty.

It is time for the IRS to be disbanded.

 

Is the Obama Dam of Lies About to Burst? – Tea Party Nation

Is the Obama Dam of Lies About to Burst? – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

Usually there are signs a dam is about to burst. Tiny cracks show up, the structure makes strange noises, and then, whoosh! That’s what we are witnessing as the President, the former Secretary of State, and the Attorney General struggle to keep the bulwark of lies and half-truths they have built intact. It is showing signs of collapse.

Liberals say absurd things all the time—mostly because they either don’t know the facts or because they prefer to ignore or obfuscate them. The current example is the shout-it-from-the-rooftops claim that Republicans are “politicizing” the events in Benghazi that left a U.S. ambassador and three security personnel dead.

In the wake of the House hearings on May 8th, the most elemental politics is at work within the White House and that is the decision to abandon Hillary Clinton. The decision to appoint her Secretary of State was political and, since the President sets foreign policy, it kept her wing of the party in the tent while affording the White House the opportunity to keep her conveniently on the road and largely out of the spotlight.

Name a single treaty or significant foreign policy achievement of Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nienta.

Consider the meltdown of influence the United States has had in the Middle East where the single act of a Tunisian peddler who committed suicide as a response to the harassment of the police set off a revolution that drove its dictator from office and then spread rapidly to Libya where Gaddafi was killed and to Egypt where its dictator (and ally of the U.S.) was driven from office with the President’s blessing. And, for two years, the U.S. has stood on the sidelines and watched as the Syrian dictator has slaughtered 70,000 Syrians, driving some 2.5 million to flee to Turkey and Jordan.

It has taken eight months since the September 11, 2012 attack on the Benghazi consulate and a House committee hearing to learn the truth as to why repeated requests for increased security assets were denied in a nation that is still essentially a war zone between the north and the south. We still do not know who told available forces to stand down. The President and his regime call this “politicizing.”

Beyond Benghazi, every decision the President makes or chooses not to make has political implications. The choice to go to bed the night of the attack and then fly to a fundraiser the following day was political. As Commander-in-Chief he had responsibility to issue the orders to protect his diplomats—our diplomats—but he is also the Great Delegator and, as the noose tightens around Hillary, she is very expendable.

It’s a political decision to exploit the murders in a Connecticut elementary school to attack the Second Amendment and gun ownership. The response of ordinary people was to go out and buy a gun. Indeed, fear of the White House’s intentions has made the President the greatest gun salesman in the nation.

Even in the Obama Justice Department there is the odor of deception that still reeks from the bungled gun-running program called “Fast and Furious” which allowed guns purchased In the U.S. to be transferred to various Mexican drug cartels. The result, in one case, was a dead U.S. Border Patrol officer, an ICE agent, and an unknown number of Mexican cartel victims. It took a presidential executive order to throw a blanket of silence over the role of the Justice Department in this lethal debacle. That’s political.

Now we learn that the Justice Department obtained Associated Press phone records in a probe to discover the source of a leaked story. AP officials called it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how a news organization gathers news. The ever-reliable, politically-correct, liberally oriented AP has become a crack in the dam.

The revelation that the Internal Revenue Service “targeted” the Tea Party, patriotic, and pro-Israel groups for special attention regarding their tax status now adds to a growing sense of a regime without any internal limits on its exercise of power.

The result is a period in which the barely concealed scorn of the President, his wife, and those around him in appointed and elected office has half the population outraged while the other half is content to live parasitically, not paying taxes, and receiving an amazing array of benefits which a bankrupt nation cannot afford.

When enough people—citizens, voters, taxpayers—think they are being lied to and betrayed by those in high office, the dam of lies will begin to show signs of bursting under the pressure of their pent up anger.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

 

IRS told employees to ignore potential fraud in program used by immigrants – Washington Times

 

English: Anti-United States Internal Revenue S...

 

IRS told employees to ignore potential fraud in program used by immigrants – Washington Times.

 

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times

 

IRS supervisors ignored employees who tried to warn agency higher-ups of fraud in a program designed to collect taxes from immigrants, resulting in the agency paying out potentially bogus refunds, according to an official audit released Wednesday.

 

The Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA) said the IRS is too focused on getting out refunds quickly rather than getting them only to qualified taxpayers. Auditors also said the agency eliminated some methods employees had used to figure out questionable refund requests and doesn’t have the right training or tools to screen out bogus identity documents when immigrants apply for taxpayer numbers.

 

“TIGTA found an environment which discourages employees from detecting fraudulent applications,” said J. Russell George, the inspector general.

 

In the wake of the finding, one congressman called on the IRS commissioner to resign.

 

IRS pays out $6.8 billion in refunds to taxpayers who file using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). They generally are immigrants, here both legally and illegally. The potential amount of fraud was not stated, but the investigators detailed seven schemes that paid out $9 million in tax refunds in 2011

 

The agency said it has put new checks in place to try to crack down on fraud, including getting training from the Homeland Security Department on how to verify documents when an immigrant applies for an ITIN.

 

But the IRS disputed the inspector general’s assumption that fraud is rampant in many of the cases in which taxpayers are using the same addresses for multiple applications.

 

“While this is one of many risk factors for fraud, it is also the case that some taxpayers list the address of the tax return preparer to ensure that any future correspondence from the IRS is received. The IRS is analyzing this issue in more detail as it conducts its review of the ITIN program,” the agency said in a statement.

 

The auditors took a closer look at fraud after being prompted by senators, who said they had heard complaints from IRS employees that their warnings were being ignored.

 

 

Mr. George confirmed that, saying IRS supervisors were urging employees to turn their backs on potential fraud from identity theft.

 

Rep. Sam Johnson, Texas Republican, called for IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman to resign.

 

He has written a bill that would limit the popular child tax credit to only those taxpayers who have a Social Security number. The House passed a bill that included a version of his legislation, but the Senate has not acted on it.

 

The IRS said the law doesn’t prohibit illegal immigrant parents from obtaining the credit, though many members of Congress disagree.

 

Overall, the audit painted a picture of some cases investigators said should have raised red flags.

 

For example, investigators said the IRS issued 23,994 refunds to one address in Atlanta, totaling $46 million in refunds.

 

And one single bank account was issued 8,393 refunds totaling $236,747, while another account was issued 2,706 refunds totaled $7.3 million in 2011.

 

“This report is shocking,” said Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., Louisiana Republican and chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the IRS. “It’s one thing if the IRS tries to catch fraud and fails, but it’s quite another when management apparently takes steps to weaken program integrity.”

 

 

 

Tax cheats got $1.4 billion in stimulus loans – Washington Times

Tax cheats got $1.4 billion in stimulus loans – Washington Times.

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times

Tax cheats were given $1.4 billion in government-backed mortgage loans under President Obama’s economic stimulus, and the government doled out at least an additional $27 million in tax credits to delinquents who took the first-time-homebuyer tax break, according to a government audit released Wednesday.

Under government rules, delinquent taxpayers are supposed to be ineligible for the mortgage insurance program unless they have reached a repayment agreement with the Internal Revenue Service. But the Federal Housing Administration didn’t have the right controls to weed out bad applications, said the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ chief investigative arm.

That meant FHA insured $1.4 billion in mortgages for 6,327 borrowers who collectively owed $77.6 million in unpaid taxes, or an average of more than $12,000 each.

The auditors said that as a category, the tax cheats had foreclosure rates up to three times as high as other borrowers, which meant the delinquent taxpayers exposed the government to even greater risks.

“In the name of ‘stimulus,’ the federal government gave mortgage insurance to thousands of people we knew were tax cheats and had a bad track record paying their debts,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, who joined a bipartisan group of other lawmakers to request the investigation. “The federal government needlessly put taxpayers on the line to help tax cheats buy homes. Congress needs to ensure that tax cheats are no longer allowed to take advantage of FHA programs.”

In addition to the mortgages, the auditors found that more than half of the tax-delinquent borrowers claimed the first-time-homebuyers’ credit, worth up to $8,000.

GAO said there is no prohibition against someone claiming the credit, even though they still have unpaid tax bills. The credit is refundable, meaning taxpayers can get a check back from the government if the benefit exceeds their liability. IRS rules generally call for the agency to subtract any unpaid taxes from the refund, but in three of the nine cases that GAO analyzed in depth, it said the taxpayers had declared bankruptcy, meaning the IRS was prevented from docking the refunds.

The report was the GAO’s second study looking at tax cheats and the stimulus.

In the first report, GAO said thousands of contracts and grants were paid out under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to those with unpaid tax bills.

Mr. Obama pushed the $831 billion economic stimulus in early 2009 as a means of bolstering the faltering economy, and promised to use strict controls to cut fraud and abuse. At its peak in mid-2010, it was responsible for as many as 3.6 million jobs, but could have funded as few as 700,000, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Part of the Recovery Act was aimed at shoring up the housing market, which included the first-time-homebuyer tax credit and the mortgage assistance, which let the FHA insure loans at a higher rate in high-cost housing markets.

About 1.7 million individuals claimed the tax credit, while FHA insured more than $20 billion in mortgages for 87,000 homeowners, thanks to the Recovery Act provisions.

Under a White House policy, buyers who are delinquent on their federal taxes are not supposed to receive the mortgage assistance, unless they have worked out a repayment agreement with the IRS. But FHA rules don’t prod private lenders to ask for that information, and the FHA doesn’t have a system to work with the IRS to get that information.

Mr. Coburn joined Sens. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat; Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat; Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican; and Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, to request a review of the program.

“The stimulus-spending program was ill-conceived, with far too little oversight,” Mr. Grassley said. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone, unfortunately, that tax dollars have gone to tax cheats. It’s another one of many negative consequences of writing checks without enough checks and balances.”

Compounding the matter, those with tax problems are more likely to end up in foreclosure. Nearly a third of mortgage holders with unpaid taxes were “seriously delinquent” on their payments, and 6.3 percent had been foreclosed – a rate nearly three times higher than homeowners who were paid up with the IRS.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development accepted the report and will work with the IRS to try to get access to information that would help it cull tax cheats, Carol J. Galante, an acting assistant secretary, said in the department’s official response.

She said they also will try to clarify FHA rules so lenders are clear about the eligibility requirements for loans.

Thanks to Harry Reid, illegal aliens will continue to receive IRS refunds – National Immigration Reform | Examiner.com

Harry Reid - Caricature

Harry Reid – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Thanks to Harry Reid, illegal aliens will continue to receive IRS refunds – National Immigration Reform | Examiner.com.

By Dave Gibson

 

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blocked a move to bring the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act (S577) to the floor, and in doing so, assured that those working in this country illegally will continue to receive billions of dollars in tax refunds for children that do not even live in this country.

In 2011, U.S. Treasury Department Inspector General Russell George released a report revealing that the Internal Revenue Service doled out $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits to illegal alien in 2010 alone.

The refunds were given in the form of the so-called ‘earned income child tax credits,’ which are designed to alleviate the tax burden on low income wage earners with children.

The problem has arisen through the use of individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) which many illegal aliens use as they are not authorized to work in the United States and do not have legitimate Social Security numbers.

In fact, the audit showed that 72 percent of tax returns filed by those using taxpayer identification numbers, rather than Social Security numbers claimed the child tax credit.

The report states: “The payment of federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts federal law and policy.”

The Inspector General recommended that the IRS require those claiming the credit to prove that they are actually eligible to work here legally.

However, IRS management claims that they have no legal authority to ask for such proof when processing individual income tax forms.

After it became clear that the Obama administration would not move to close this loophole, the Inspector General asked that Congress take action to do so.

While the House of Representatives has passed legislation to to this end, Reid’s refusal to allow a vote on the measure in the Senate assures the problem will remain for at least another year.

In a press release, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who co-sponsored S577, stated: “I’m disappointed that the Majority Leader objected to our effort today to prevent billions in tax credits from being wrongly sent to illegal immigrants claiming they have dependents, many of whom do not live in the US. This should not be a partisan issue: it is wrong for the government to use Americans’ tax dollars to directly subsidize illegality, especially at a time when our nation is spending so much money we don’t have.”

Sessions also pointed out that the $4 billion being given to illegal aliens by way of the tax credit loophole is “roughly the same amount the President proposes to raise annually by instituting the new Warren Buffett Tax.”

So, for now illegal aliens will continue to get billions in tax refunds for not only their own children, but in many cases for their nieces and nephews who still live in Mexico.

Of course, this is not the first time Sen. Reid has used his powerful position to work on behalf of illegal aliens…

Pettiness and Mud – Thomas Sowell – Townhall Conservative Columnists

Pettiness and Mud – Thomas Sowell – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

The only good news for the Republicans coming out of the seemingly endless presidential candidate “debates” is that some Republican leaders are now belatedly thinking about how they can avoid a repetition of this debacle in future elections.

What could they possibly have been thinking about, in the first place, when they agreed to a format based on short sound bites for dealing with major complex issues, and with media journalists — 90 percent of them Democrats — picking the topics?

The conduct of the candidates made things worse. In a world with a record-breaking national debt and Iran moving toward creating nuclear weapons, they bickered over earmarks and condoms. I am against earmarks, but earmarks don’t rank among the first hundred most serious problems facing this country.

Mud-slinging has replaced rational discussions of differences on serious issues — not only during the debates themselves, where the moderators sic the candidates on each other, but even more so in the massive television character assassination ads in which Romney supporters seem to specialize.

Groups supporting Mitt Romney have turned character assassination almost into a science. You take something that most people, outside of politics, do not understand and twist it to sound terrible to those who are unaware of the facts.

Blanketing Florida with misleading ads attacking Newt Gingrich won that state for Romney, after Gingrich scored an upset victory in South Carolina. The ads made a big deal out of charges that the former Speaker broke tax laws — charges that the Internal Revenue Service exonerated him of, after a long investigation.

When Rick Santorum suddenly surged after his upset victories in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado, the Romney character assassination machine attacked him for having voted in the Senate for various things that conservatives don’t like.

But, when it comes to voting in Congress, seldom do you get a pure bill that you can agree with in all its parts. If you never voted for bills containing anything you didn’t like, you might get very little voting done.

But, if it is a bill to provide American soldiers with the equipment they need to fight a war, and somebody has put into it an earmark for a federal boondoggle in his district, are you going to vote against that bill and let American soldiers go into battle without all the equipment and supplies they need?

Taking advantage of the public’s lack of knowledge is something that Barack Obama already does very effectively in his political propaganda. But is that something the Republicans want to imitate?

It has worked during the primary season, when the media are perfectly happy to see Republicans destroying each other. But it will not work in the general election campaign, when even truthful criticisms of the president will have a hard time getting out through the media, which hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil when it comes to Obama.

The pettiness and mud-slinging during the Republican primary campaigns is especially irresponsible during a time when there are very serious problems, at home and abroad, that need to be addressed in a serious way.

Discussions of particular issues, one by one, often miss the larger point that goes beyond the issue at hand — namely, this administration’s steady movement toward arbitrary government that circumvents the restrictions of the Constitution.

Nothing demonstrates this more starkly than the president’s arbitrary power to waive the requirement that employers have to provide ObamaCare coverage for their workers. That can be the difference between paying, or not paying, millions of dollars. What does that mean for anybody’s other rights?

What does freedom of speech mean if criticizing the administration can mean you get no exemption, while your competitor who keeps quiet, or who praises the administration, gets a waiver? The Constitution requires “equal protection of the laws” for a reason.

And what about nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism? Is that not worth discussing in something other than sound bites?

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