IRS: The Left’s Weapon of Choice and More Friday Digest

Posted on Fri 12/13/2013 by

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The Patriot Post ~

THE FOUNDATION

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” –Thomas Jefferson

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

IRS: The Left’s Weapon of Choice

PP_IRSGag_2013-12-12-4c4cd5bb_mediumHere’s a question: When did it become acceptable for the IRS to be used as a tool to target enemies of the president? Moreover, what article or amendment of the U.S. Constitution authorizes a component of the Executive Branch to be used as a powerful political weapon? The answers to these questions should be obvious to most: “never” and “none,” respectively. But apparently that’s not so for Barack Obama.

Fresh from wiping mud off its face for its scandalous behavior in targeting the Left’s political enemies, the IRS is proposing new rules that double-down on that egregious behavior. The new rules would restrain the free-speech rights of certain organizations under Section 501©(4) of the Internal Revenue Code by preventing them from posting officeholder votes and quotes on their websites within two months of an election. These organizations are politically active nonprofits and exist specifically to promote political speech and issue advocacy. (And with the Senate “going nuclear” and allowing Obama to pack the courts – especially the DC Circuit – with leftists, the courts will surely uphold these new rules.)

These organizations are not tax exempt, but they have for more than 50 years enjoyed the ability to engage in political activity on behalf of donors who wish to remain anonymous. Now that conservative nonprofits have grown at such a rate that they threaten formerly Democrat strongholds, naturally the Entitled Party wants to quash such activity, either by restricting these groups’ rights through unconstitutional rule-making measures or by exposing and harassing conservative donors.

For his part, Obama didn’t even pass the first philosophical hurdle – that using the IRS as a political weapon is, well, “wrong.” In a recent interview with Chris “I-felt-this-thrill-going-up-my-leg” Matthews, Obama stated, “You’ve got an … IRS office … and they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged” – as though being outraged is somehow itself offensive. Well, yes, Mr. President: “Suddenly” – once the despicable act is discovered, that is – everybody is outraged. A better question might be, “Why wouldn’t they be?”

As to the original questions concerning the use of the IRS as a political weapon, we would refer readers to the “IRS” acronym itself for answers: Internal Revenue Service – “Internal,” meaning from within the country itself; “Revenue,” meaning federal government income from taxes; and “Service,” meaning an organization that (ostensibly, at least) helps people. Note that none of these terms state or imply an organization that regulates politics or free speech rights. The best solution to this mess is to disengage the IRS from the business of doing political work on behalf of the president and his party. But that solution will never be acceptable to the Left, which knows that it must rely on deceit and unfair tactics to hold power. Sadly, this is simply another thinly veiled attack on Americans’ liberty.

Ryan-Murray Budget Passes House

The House passed the Ryan-Murray budget compromise Thursday night by a vote of 332-94. Republicans approved 169-62. (Here’s the roll call). In the Senate, Republican opposition to the bill is growing, with the main objection being that it undoes the sequester for the next two years in exchange for down-the-road savings. But as Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) argued, “You can’t spend your time making perfect the enemy of the good.” Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi told her caucus to embrace the suck” and vote for the bill – 163 of them did.

PP_DemoGenerousity_2013-12-11-da2ac1a7_large

Playing Catch-Up

We don’t often get to be the bearers of good news these days, but we do tell it to you straight. We think that has value – whether it’s reporting the latest on ObamaCare, the economy, or our own 2013 Year-End Campaign.

The economy is certainly making our fundraising campaigns more challenging, as all of us are struggling to make ends meet. This year – the fifth in the Obama economy – is no different, and as of this morning we find ourselves falling behind last year’s pace. We have raised about 62 percent of our goal, and still need $136,973 to keep The Patriot Post coming to you in 2014. And just as a reminder, we did not increase our budget for the second straight year.

“I just made a donation to your fine publication. I wish I could add several zeroes just before the decimal point. However, unlike too many of our government representatives, I have to bow to economic reality. Rest assured that you can count on my continuing support – as meager as it may be. Keep up the fine work.” –John

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ECONOMY, REGS & TAXES

‘Clean Air’ Regulation Before High Court

PP_EPACleanAirAct_2013-12-12-ed3e47b8_mediumFor years, New York City insisted it did not have a pollution problem; the problem was the bad air coming in from New Jersey. But there is a federal remedy for just about every perceived wrong, and, in this case, it’s the EPA and the “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act to the rescue. The provision supposedly gives the EPA power to oversee remedies when alleged pollution in one state blows into a neighboring state. A state that significantly contributes to another state’s failure to meet federal standards can be required to limit emissions by a commensurate amount.

Under the Clean Air Act, the regulation of air pollution was the primary responsibility of states and municipalities. The EPA’s 2011 cross-state pollution rule, however, allowed the EPA to issue implementation plans immediately, instead of waiting for the states to develop their own. The EPA also promulgated a one-size-fits-all standard that doesn’t recognize an individual state’s contribution to downwind pollution.

More than a dozen states are now challenging these EPA mandates in Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation. In a 2-1 ruling, the DC Court of Appeals struck down the EPA rule in 2012, holding that the Clean Air Act “did not authorize EPA to simply adopt limits on emissions as EPA deemed reasonable.” The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday.

The EPA rule was intended to implement the Obama administration’s anti-carbon agenda, so, naturally, Democrats decried the Court of Appeals’ decision – more so because a Bush appointee wrote the majority opinion. But it’s telling that the DC Circuit also denied en banc review (i.e., review by the entire bench). So we’re off to see the Supremes, who should note that not only does the EPA rule violate principles of federalism, but also that the DC Circuit rarely overturns EPA rules, showing how extreme were the rules being reviewed. But if arguments were any indication, the Supreme Court may grant “a healthy amount of discretion” to the EPA. That’s bad news.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Bad and Bizarre in Syria

Gen. Idriss

Gen. Idriss

The civil war in Syria took a strange turn this week as General Salim Idriss, leader of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), reportedly fled for Qatar. Or maybe it was Turkey. Or, actually, Idriss later claimed he didn’t flee at all but had left the country before the Islamic Front took over his headquarters. Only the Islamic Front was supposedly helping the general. The FSA is the focus of Western efforts to arm, train and support some semblance of moderate resistance to Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime. But as you can see from this bizarre telling of events, it’s difficult to distinguish between groups and to tell what’s actually happening in Syria.

Over the last year, so-called moderates have been losing ground to al-Qaida and its ilk, and anti-Assad forces have become ever-more dominated by radical Islamists. Those jihadis now hold most of the northern Syria territory under rebel control, and have seized numerous stores of weapons and supplies belonging to the moderates. In other words, the West has ended up supplying the Islamists because they’re inseparable from any “moderates.” The Obama administration still says it plans to attend the Geneva peace talks in January and may, in fact, decide to support Islamist groups – provided their not allied with al-Qaida. (No, we’re not kidding.)

Some may argue that the U.S. was too slow and insufficient in arming moderate rebels, and that this delay allowed jihadis to overrun the opposition. It’s more likely, however, that this was only a matter of time. The “Arab Spring” has turned out to be nothing but a Middle East-wide radical Islamist uprising, replacing lousy, murderous, secular leaders with fanatical Muslims. Pick your poison.

CULTURE, SCIENCE & FAITH

Mt. Soledad Cross Ordered Removed

PP_MtSoledadMemorial _2013-12-13-2148dad3_mediumThe Mt. Soledad Memorial Association was formed in 1952 with the following mission: “To enhance and preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans’ Memorial honoring those veterans who have served our country during times of conflict and to educate the general public about service to our country and the sacrifices that veterans make to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.” The 43-foot War Memorial Cross currently standing atop Mt. Soledad near San Diego (the third such emplacement there) dates back to April 18, 1954, when the monument was rededicated to World War I, World War II, and Korean War veterans during an Easter Sunday ceremony.

In 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the cross stood in violation of the First Amendment, which is, of course, completely backwards. The amendment recognizes the right to “the free exercise” of religion, and the cross was not an act of Congress “respecting an establishment of religion.” But the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, sending it back instead to the San Diego trial court.

After years of legal wrangling, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled Thursday that the cross must be removed within 90 days because it is an “unconstitutional” religious display on government land. He did, however, issue a stay of the ruling for the inevitable appeal. It remains to be seen whether the cross will stay or go, but Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for the Liberty Institute, promised to “fight for this memorial and the selfless sacrifice and service of all the millions of veterans it represents; it is the least we can do for those who gave so much to us all.”

BRIEF OPINION

For the Record

National Review’s Yuval Levin: “This [budget] deal would amount to the Democrats accepting the implications of their misjudgment in abiding the Budget Control Act in 2011: accepting discretionary spending levels below BCA levels (and below even the original Ryan budget levels) and cementing the precedent of trading discretionary for entitlement cuts and of making budget deals without higher tax rates. And by avoiding another government shutdown fight, it robs the Democrats of one of the few escape routes they might have from the political nightmare that Obamacare’s rollout has been and will continue to be for them. It’s not exactly a deal to be celebrated, because it’s a very tiny step and does nothing to address the horrendous fiscal problems of our entitlement system. But the Democrats have made it abundantly clear that those won’t get addressed while they control the Senate and the White House, and under the circumstances this strikes me as a good deal worth voting for.”

Political Futures

Columnist Arnold Ahlert: “[T]he ‘wealth gap’ that ostensibly antagonizes the president is in fact occurring. The word ‘ostensibly’ is critical because it is precisely this administration’s embrace of the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing policy most responsible for it. … [W]hat amounts to little more than a debasement of our currency, represented by the $85 billion per month of newly-created money, exacerbates the wealth gap even more: devalued currency amounts to a de facto tax on everything Americans buy. Yet while this utterly misguided policy has been a boon for the rich, the massive amount of government ‘stimulus’ that has necessitated it has done virtually nothing for the poor, other than providing an increasing disincentive to work. … It is precisely the maintenance of … dependency – rather than the liberation from it – that forms the heart of progressive policy-making.”

Re: The Left

Radio talk-show host Dennis Prager: “When the left charges Americans who fear the dilution of American national identity that could follow citizenship for tens of millions of illegal immigrants with ‘xenophobia,’ and ‘racism,’ it is not only a cynical attempt to cultivate Latino votes for the Democratic Party. It is also a sincere belief that conservative concerns about American national identity are reminiscent of chauvinist bigotry.The most obvious example of left-wing opposition to American nationalism is its cultivation of ‘multiculturalism’ as a replacement for American national identity. For the left, American citizens are no longer Americans first and foremost; we are African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic- or Latino-Americans, Native-Americans, etc. The left celebrates what precedes the hyphen far more than the ‘American’ that follows it. As a result, America no longer instills traditional American values and an American identity on either those born here or in its immigrants, which is the reason for the right’s concern over illegal immigration, not bigotry and xenophobia.”

For more, visit The Right Opinion.

CHRONICLE QUOTES

The Demo-gogues

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Embrace the suck. We need to get [the budget deal] off the table so we can go forward.”

From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: “Let us vote to provide … unemployment insurance for working men and women so that faces across America will not have the tear of desperation on their face.”

Village Idiots

Former Obama adviser David Axelrod: “[Obama] has been honest about [ObamaCare]. … I’m sure when he said what he said he believed it. When they put the grandfather clause in, he believed that that would take care of these kinds of transitional problems. It didn’t. And, you know, I think the real lesson here is don’t ever speak in absolutes because there’s always going to be an exception and that exception is going to become an example that your opponents lift up.”

Braying Jenny

Rep. Jan Schakowsky: “I am absolutely confident that the role that you [HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius] played in bringing affordable health care to millions, tens of millions of Americans, will go down in history as one of the great achievements of our country throughout its entire history. And I just want to thank you for that.”

The BIG Lie

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: “A lot of individuals who received cancellation notices are thrilled with the choices that are now available to them.”

Braying Jackass

Joe Biden: “My great-great grandparents came [to America] escaping the famine and they didn’t all come here legally.”

Belly Laugh of the Week

House Demo Whip Steny Hoyer: “I don’t think there are any extremists in my party.”

Dezinformatsia

CNN’s Chris Cuomo: “[Obama’s handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro] obviously was a huge moment. But not to be misunderstood, the handshake with Raul Castro, the president of Cuba, we believe was President Obama showing respect to Nelson Mandela and the occasion of today, the spirit of reconciliation. Of course, it will be dissected politically. … No matter the ongoing political disputes, on this day, it was about something bigger. It was about forgiveness and reconciliation, because it was about a man who was bigger: Nelson Mandela.”

Unfortunately, for the narcissist in chief, nothing is bigger than his ego.

Short Cuts

Comedian Argus Hamilton: “Joe Biden flew to South Korea for security discussions [last] Friday where the government asked Biden to give a TV speech to the South Korean people. The effect was galvanizing. It is the first time in history that South Koreans were caught trying to sneak into North Korea.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

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