Collection of cartoons on the recent gun control debate
Labels: background checks
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Labels: background checks
The Internal Revenue Service mishandled tax returns of adoptive families, flagging for further review 90 percent of those who claimed the adoption tax credit for the 2012 filing season. And a report by the federal agency’s Taxpayer Advocate Service also found that nearly 70 percent of adoptive families — more than 35,000 — had at least a partial audit of their tax return. By contrast, just one percent of all returns are audited.
"The IRS's misguided procedures, and its failure to adequately adjust these processes when it learned its approach was seriously flawed, have caused significant economic harm to thousands of families who are selflessly trying to improve the lives of vulnerable children," according to the report. . . .
House Republicans have widened their probe of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius by asking the country's largest health insurers for information on her fundraising for a nonprofit group promoting ObamaCare.
Leaders on the Energy and Commerce Committee said Friday they have written to 15 insurance companies and other groups asking whether Sebelius had contacted them to solicit funds for ObamaCare's implementation.
Companies should hand over any internal communications that document conversations with Sebelius or discussions about her request, including emails, lawmakers wrote.
The Sebelius probe began when news broke that she was petitioning major healthcare players to contribute to Enroll America, a group tasked with educating the public about its new health coverage options under healthcare reform.
Republicans have denounced the effort as a "shakedown" that will line the pockets of Obama supporters and former administration officials now working to promote the Affordable Care Act. . . .
Key Democrats say Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner didn't give up her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination by giving an opening statement at a House hearing on Wednesday.
Democrats on the Oversight panel said they want Lerner to testify about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, and are not defending her decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment. . . .
The Democrats' position is a politically delicate one, as they are backing the Constitutional rights of an IRS official who is in the middle of a highly charged firestorm. . . .
Take June O’Neill, who served as OMB director for President Clinton.
John Makin may be at AEI, but I know him and he is a Keynesian economist.
Antony Davies, Duquesne University
James Forcier, Hult International Business School
K.C. Fung, University of California, Santa Cruz
William Gissy, KIMEP University
Claudio Gonzalez-Vega, Ohio State University
Stuart Hoffman, PNC Financial Services Group
Philip Rothman, East Carolina University
Scott Sumner, Bentley University
William Trumbull, West Virginia University
A new Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin warns it could be "impossible" to stop 3D-printed guns from being made, not to mention getting past security checkpoints. . . .Printers are relatively inexpensive:
The guns threaten to render 3D gun control efforts useless if their manufacture becomes more widespread.
"Significant advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing capabilities, availability of free digital 3D printer files for firearms components, and difficulty regulating file sharing may present public safety risks from unqualified gun seekers who obtain or manufacture 3D printed guns," warns the bulletin compiled by the Joint Regional Intelligence Center. . . .
"Limiting access may be impossible," concludes the three-page bulletin.
A source tells FoxNews.com the potential problems faced by government authorities involve securing large, high-profile events or those attended by the President, where magnetometers used to screen for weapons would not pick up a 3D printed gun.
"This is a serious threat," the law enforcement source said. "These could defeat magnetometers. The only security procedure to catch [the 3D firearms] is a pat down. Is America ready for pat-downs at every event?" . . .
The price range of 3D Systems printers ranges from $10k to $750k. The average would be ~$380k. But the median is much lower <$100k. . . .More importantly, prices look to be falling dramatically very soon.
Widespread adoption of 3D printing technology may not be that far away, according to a Gartner report predicting that enterprise-class 3D printers will be available for less than $2,000 by 2016. . . .How are you going to stop people from getting 3D printers when the prices get that low? The hard part is designing the file, but that has apparently been done, with one already created file downloaded 100,000 times.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione called a press conference today after the NSW Police Force concluded its experiments with 3D printable weapons, including The Liberator. The boffins over at the NSW Police bought themselves a 3D printer for $1700 and decided to test how easy it would be to build their own gun. They downloaded the blueprints for The Liberator from the internet and printed out two weapons to test fire.
All in all, they printed the 15 parts required to assemble The Liberator in 27 hours and assembled it within 60 seconds with a firing pin fashioned out of a steel nail. The two guns were test fired into a block of resin designed to simulate human muscle, and the first bullet penetrated the resin block up to 17 centimetres. NSW Police Ballistics division confirm that it would be a fatal wound if pointed at someone.
What’s interesting about the second device they tested, however, was the “catastrophic failure” of the weapon. Translation? It exploded. The plastic gave way to the brutal force of an exploding .38 caliber bullet and the barrel exploded. . . .These guns have a history "to fall apart or degrade after repeated use."
Labels: 3D Printed Gun
A terrified woman from Josephine County, Oregon, dialed 911 to report that her violent ex-boyfriend is trying to break into her home, but in response she was told that there are no officers on duty to help her. . . .
Eventually, the crazed man forced his way into the house, choked his former girlfriend and raped her without no one there to stop him.The suspect, Michael Bellah, was later arrested and pleaded guilty to kidnapping, assault and sex abuse. . . .
The woman explained that her ex-boyfriend, Michael Bellah, had put her in the hospital just weeks prior, and she has been trying to keep him away. . . .
'Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there. You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?' the officer, who identified himself as Ray, told the caller.
The woman explained that she has already asked Bellah to leave and warned him that she was going to call police, but that did nothing to stop him from trying to break down the door - something he had done in the past, according to the girlfriend. . . .The solution pushed by this news article is that the county should have voted for higher taxes. Of course, a lot can happen even in 15 or 20 minutes.
. . . In the case of Kaiba Gionfriddo, doctors didn't have a moment to spare. Because of a birth defect, the little Ohio boy's airway kept collapsing, causing his breathing to stop and often his heart, too. Doctors in Michigan had been researching artificial airway splints but had not implanted one in a patient yet.In a single day, they "printed out" 100 tiny tubes, using computer-guided lasers to stack and fuse thin layers of plastic instead of paper and ink to form various shapes and sizes.
The next day, with special permission from the Food and Drug Administration, they implanted one of these tubes in Kaiba, the first time this has been done. . . .
But it’s clear the majority leader wants to get something done and find 51 Democrats to support an unprecedented move to employ the so-called nuclear option — changing the rules so executive branch nominees can no longer be blocked by filibusters requiring 60 votes to break.Judicial nominees and legislation would very likely still face a 60-vote threshold on filibusters. . . .I have a new book coming out next month, "Dumbing Down the Courts," that ironically shows that Obama has had a relatively easy time getting executive branch nominees confirmed.
Senate leaders had considered holding a vote this week to confirm Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a nomination Republicans have maintained they would filibuster unless the Obama administration agreed to overhaul the agency. . . .
Action is also pending on two of Obama’s Cabinet nominations — Thomas E. Perez for Labor secretary and Gina McCarthy for EPA administrator — after party-line votes in Senate committees last week. Two other Cabinet picks face confirmation hearings later this week.
At his weekly news conference, Reid told reporters that he would not bring those nominations to the full Senate until after it considers two major pieces of legislation, the farm bill and comprehensive immigration reform.
“So we'll have to look at July,” he said, with the possible exception of a pending nominee for the D.C. Court of Appeals. “We're going to make sure that all the nominees have votes.”
Reid declined to discuss further changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules Tuesday. But in recent weeks he has been ratcheting up pressure on Republicans over what he has called “blanket, partisan obstruction” of executive agency choices. . . .The New York Times from May 16th adds this:
. . . Gina McCarthy, Mr. Obama’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and Thomas E. Perez, the nominee to be secretary of labor, were approved in committee with only Democratic votes. Their nominations now go before the full Senate, where they face likely Republican filibusters.
The threat of further Republican attempts to thwart the president’s ability to assemble his second-term cabinet has increased the likelihood of a fight over the Senate’s rules, which allow the minority party to insist on a 60-vote threshold for almost every Senate action. . . .
Republicans insist they are standing in the way of nominees who merit more scrutiny and pointed to the advancement of two more Obama administration choices on Thursday: Sri Srinivasan, whose unanimous approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee sends him to the full Senate for confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and Ernest J. Moniz, the president’s pick for energy secretary, who was confirmed on a 97-to-0 vote by the full Senate on Thursday afternoon. . . .Moniz is fairly radical guy and yet he got through without much trouble.
In the first terrorist murder on the British mainland since the 7/7 suicide bombings of 2005, the men attempted to behead the soldier, hacking at him like a “piece of meat” in front of dozens of witnesses, before both were shot by police who took around 20 minutes to arrive. . . .
Speaking with a London accent, holding a knife and a meat cleaver and with his hands dripping with blood, he said: . . .
“We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you. Do you think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think your politicians are going to die?" . . .
There were also questions over why it took around 20 minutes for armed police to arrive on the scene, during which time the killers calmly walked up and down the road, carrying their bloodied knives and a pistol, while members of the public confronted them.
When police did arrive, both gunmen tried to rush at the police and were shot, reportedly by a female officer. . . .
My personal favorite of all the new revelations from the Obama IRS scandal is that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the impending IRS inspector general report, but of course the White House chief of staff did not tell the president.
I sat in a White House chief of staff’s office every day for more than two years. Theonly reason the legal counsel would tell the chief of staff about an impending report or disclosure would be so the chief of staff could tell the president. The legal counsel would assume the chief of staff would know how and when to bring up the matter. The chief of staff would be expected to know if there were additional factors surrounding the issue that needed to be considered before the president was told, or whether or not others needed to be included in the conversation when the information was shared with the president. There are many valid reasons why the chief of staff would tell the president, but I can’t think of a reason why he and the legal counsel would both agree that this news nugget would go no further. It’s very odd. . . .When even the Washington Post openly scoffs at Obama's claims to be completely out of the loop on these things you know Obama is in trouble. My own belief is that things are even worse than this.
'Just yesterday the committee interviewed Holly Paz, the director of exempt organizations, rulings and agreements, division of the IRS,' Issa said. 'While a tremendous amount of attention is centered about the Inspector General's report, or investigation, the committee has learned from Ms. Paz that she in fact participated in an IRS internal investigation that concluded in May of 2012 - May 3 of 2012 - and found essentially the same thing that Mr. George found more than a year later.' . . .2) Since this result was known, why wasn't it fixed? Is it credible that people at the top of Treasury wouldn't know about it? Is it credible then that the Obama White House wasn't informed? Surely informed simply to give them a heads up in case the study came to light in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign. Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin was told about the IG investigation in 2012. Surely, he would have also known at that same time that this other investigation had been completed.
The revelations that the Justice Department targeted the emails of a Fox News reporter have become even more disturbing as even his parents were targeted in the probe, documents say. . . .Citing federal documents on Tuesday, Fox News host Bret Baier referred to 'seized phone records that relate to [Rosen's] parents' home in Staten Island.' . . .
The Justice Department’s independent inspector general on Monday criticized a former top federal prosecutor in Arizona, Dennis K. Burke, for leaking to Fox News a document in June 2011 about a federal agent who was raising alarms about the gun trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious. He called the prosecutor’s actions “particularly egregious” misconduct that was “wholly unbefitting a U.S. attorney.”
The 21-page report, by the office of Inspector General Michael Horowitz, filled in new details about the reaction of the Phoenix prosecutor’s office to the furor over a botched investigation into a gun-smuggling network. Arizona-based agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed hundreds of weapons to reach criminal hands. . . .
The inspector general’s report cites internal e-mails and testimony that show Mr. Burke was “frustrated” at Mr. Dodson’s criticisms . . . .
I believe strongly that expanding and improving mandatory background checks will keep a lot of people who aren’t entitled to Second Amendment rights from having easy access to guns.
Why would responsible gun owners want to protect people who threaten not only our safety but our gun rights? . . .
Enhanced background checks need not threaten the Second Amendment. Why are the NRA and the elected representatives who support it so slow to realize this? Or do they fear a slippery slope toward greater restrictions on gun rights? If they don’t want to burden a flawed system, they should be part of fixing it.
La Jeunesse and Levine were targeted in a separate Department of Justice investigation into leaks related to Operation Fast and Furious, a scandal-plagued DOJ program that sent illicit guns across the Mexican border to drug cartels in the hope of tracing the guns' path to the narcotics gangs.The federal government lost track of the majority of approximately 2,000 firearms that were allowed to cross the southern U.S. border. More than 300 deaths in Mexico, and the death of at least one U.S. Border Patrol agent, were linked to those weapons. La Jeunesse broke stories outlining several key elements of the Fast and Furious scandal. Monday's Inspector General report from the DOJ directly quotes his emails, as well as some from Levine, the Fox News producer.'What we don't know at this point,' Bream reported, 'is if the sources within the Justice Department may have shared those emails with investigators, or if the Fox employees' accounts were directly accessed by investigators. It's simply a question we cannot answer at this point.' . . .Politico has this story:
Sharyl Attkisson, the Emmy-award winning CBS News investigative reporter, says that her personal and work computers have been compromised and are under investigation.Attkisson suggests that the DOJ spying might have been related to what James Rosen was doing. But what if it is also due to her work on Fast & Furious? In any case, AP, Fox, and CBS? Where else does this spying of the media go? Is anyone going to be willing to give information on Obama administration scandals?
"I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I'm not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I've been patient and methodical about this matter," Attkisson told POLITICO on Tuesday. "I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public."
In an earlier interview with WPHT Philadelphia, Attkisson said that though she did not know the full details of the intrustion, "there could be some relationship between these things and what's happened to James [Rosen]," the Fox News reporter who became the subject of a Justice Dept. investigation after reporting on CIA intelligence about North Korea in 2009. . . .
Labor unions are breaking with President Obama on ObamaCare.
Months after the president’s reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) — a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed Obama for president — is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans. Last month, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”
UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes.
In a new op-ed published in The Hill, UFCW President Joe Hansen homed in on the president’s speech at the 2009 AFL-CIO convention. Obama at the time said union members could keep their insurance under the law, but Hansen writes “that the president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers.” . . .
Stewart: Well, congratulations, President Barack Obama. Conspiracy theorists, who generally can survive in anaerobic environments, have just had an algae bloom dropped on their fucking heads. Thus removing the last arrow in your pro-governance quiver. Skepticism about your opponents. 'Gun control. Why can’t we have background checks?'
Cruz: “I believe it would put us inexorably on the path to a national gun registry."
Stewart: “Oh, right, a national gun registry. And the government is going to overreach and there’s going to be a registry. And the government’s even capable of that kind of overreach. And they’re going to take your guns away from you.”
CBS news report: “The Internal Revenue Service admitted today that some of its employees targeted conservative political groups.”
Stewart: “Mother****ers! This has, in one seismic moment, shifted the burden of proof from the tin-foil-behatted [conservatives] to the government.”
Joe Scarborough: “I have been saying for months now, and everybody knows this, that I believe in background checks. I believe that after Newtown, after Chicago, after . . . , we need background checks. My argument has been: don't worry the government will never create a national registry. The government is never going to create a national registry. . . . My argument is less persuasive today because of these scandals. Because People will say, ‘Hey, if they do this with the IRS, asking people what books you read, then how can I trust them with information about my Second Amendment rights?’ This is devastating, this IRS scandal is devastating.”
Piers Morgan: "I have had some of the pro-gun lobbyists on here saying to me, the reason that we have to be armed is because of tyranny from our own government. I have always laughed at them. I have always said don't be ridiculous, your own government won't turn itself on you. But actually when you look at this, it has nothing to do with guns, it is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government. I think that what the IRS did is bordering on tyrannical behavior. I think that what the Department of Justice to the AP bordering on tyrannical behavior."I personally don't make the tyranny argument. I am not saying that the argument is wrong, but just that I don't feel comfortable arguing about issues that I can't measure and test empirically. My argument has been that background checks, as they are actually working, would be counterproductive. Well, it appears that argument has actually be very persuasive to people who I probably could never reach with the type of empirical arguments that I would normally raise.
Speaking Monday on MSNBC, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) said the multiple inquiries into the conduct of IRS employees could undermine the push for immigration reform if the oversight effort becomes politicized.
"The difficulty of turning this into too much of a political effort will be, it will undermine other efforts like tax reform, like immigration action, like work on gun violence issues," said Levin, who is the ranking member on the tax writing House Ways and Means Committee. . . .
The president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press on Sunday called the government’s secret seizure of two months of reporters’ phone records “unconstitutional” and said the news cooperative had not ruled out legal action against the Justice Department.Stopping national security leaks is one thing. But the process used here by the Obama administration is only supposed to be used when there is imminent danger. In this case, Obama administration went after the AP after the leak had already occurred.
Gary Pruitt, in his first television interviews since it was revealed the Justice Department subpoenaed phone records of AP reporters and editors, said the move already has had a chilling effect on journalism. Pruitt said the seizure has made sources less willing to talk to AP journalists and, in the long term, could limit Americans’ information from all news outlets.
Pruitt told CBS’ ”Face the Nation” that the government has no business monitoring the AP’s newsgathering activities.
“And if they restrict that apparatus ... the people of the United States will only know what the government wants them to know and that’s not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment,” he said. . . .
The White House's chief lawyer learned weeks ago that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups, a senior White House official said Sunday.
That disclosure has prompted a debate over whether the president should have been notified at that time.
In the week of April 22, the Office of the White House Counsel and its head, Kathryn Ruemmler, were told by Treasury Department attorneys that an inspector general's report was nearing completion, the White House official said. In that conversation, Ms. Ruemmler learned that "a small number of line IRS employees had improperly scrutinized certain…organizations by using words like 'tea party' and 'patriot,' " the official said. . . .
“We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. . . . That’s why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.” . . .UPDATE: Now Democrats are making the only defense that they can for Obama -- that his closest aides never told him about the IRS scandal. Obama feints great anger about this scandal, but it apparently never dawned on his closest aides that he would care enough about the IRS scandal. If they so let him down, why aren't these people being fired? From The Hill newspaper:
Senior White House officials were briefed about a federal audit of the IRS’s improper focus on conservatives, but they decided not to tell President Obama about it, press secretary Jay Carney claimed Monday.UPDATE: Even the press is covering the shifting Obama administration story line about who was informed about the IRS scandal. Politico notes how many people very close to the president knew about this scandal, but that somehow none of them mentioned it to him despite the fact that he now claims that he cares intensely about the issue.
White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler learned about the report in April and made the decision not to tell the president, even as other senior staffers got wind of the audit by Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, Carney said.
Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff, was among those told about the nature of the report, which found that Tea Party and other small-government advocates seeking tax-exempt status were tagged for special screening because of their names.Carney defended the decision to keep the president out of the loop, saying conclusions often change in the final stages of inspector general reports. It also would’ve been inappropriate, Carney added, for the White House to involve itself in an ongoing investigation. . . .
Even Politico has a headline: "The White House's shifting IRS Account"They note: "Monday’s revelation amounts to the fifth iteration of the Obama administration’s account of events, after initially saying that the White House had first learned of the controversy from the press."
First, some background about me: I am a Ph.D.-holder and tenured professor whose immersion in the insular politics of academia had led me to harbor many negative perceptions about firearms. Though I was never staunchly "anti-gun," I was not a gun owner, did not understand the appeal of firearms, and generally believed that gun control legislation was only common sense. That changed four years ago when I (finally) decided to look into the data on guns, crime, and public safety for myself. I am a trained researcher, but I conducted my research for personal not professional reasons. My wife was pregnant and I wanted hard facts--not talking point from the political parties--so I could make an informed decision about what to teach my children about firearms, and whether it would be prudent or dangerous to have one in our house.
I was drawn into that research almost immediately by the sheer force of my own disbelief. . . .The rest of the review is available here. Anyway, thanks very much for the review. It would be nice if this review was rewarded with a few clicks on the link indicating that the review was helpful.
Authorities believe the driver who plowed into dozens of hikers marching in a Virginia mountain town parade suffered from a medical condition and did not cause the crash intentionally, an emergency official said Sunday. . . .
In what witnesses called a frantic scene at the parade, about 50 to 60 people suffered injuries ranging from critical to superficial Saturday. No fatalities were reported. Three of the worst injured were flown by helicopter to area hospitals. . . .
Nunley said the man's 1997 Cadillac was one of the last vehicles in the parade and the driver might have suffered an unspecified medical problem when his car accelerated to about 25 mph and struck the crowd on a two-lane bridge along the town's main road. The driver was among those taken to hospitals. . . .
. . . While initially waiting for IRS approval, Devereaux dipped into his own bank account, maxed out credit cards and even borrowed money from friends so his group could put on a civic-engagement training session at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington. His goal was to eventually set up a steady stream of revenue for a tax-exempt nonprofit.
The next time Devereaux heard from the IRS, they had requested details and credentials on every single speaker and all the educational materials provided in the 78 classes held at the hotel. The IRS also wanted information on all 45 vendors, their credentials and a donor list.
Five rounds of IRS letters later, and United in Action’s tax-exempt status is still in limbo.
If they are denied, Devereaux’s group would owe the federal government “somewhere in the neighborhood of $70,000 in back taxes,” he said, referring to money he would owe the government on donations.
“It’s more than we have in our bank account,” he said. . . .
Waco Tea Party President Toby Walker said her group applied for a 501(c)(4) status in July 2010. She’d call the IRS from time to time to check on the progress but was basically told, ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you,’ she said.
Then in February 2012, the IRS finally made contact.
Walker said she was asked questions that went well beyond the purview of the agency's authority. They wanted to know everything about the Waco Tea Party group, their relationships with public officials, lists of volunteers and every single news story the group had ever been mentioned in.
Walker said the request was so lengthy and intrusive that had she complied with the demands, she “would have needed a U-haul truck of about 20 feet.”
While Walker’s group was finally granted tax-exempt status in March 2013, she said a lot of damage has already been done. She said people were afraid to support her group financially because they had not received the IRS-stamped status.
Others were afraid that they might be targeted by the IRS if they supported Walker’s group publicly. Having one of the most powerful government agencies angry at them wasn’t a risk many people were willing to take. And so the group suffered, she said.
“We spent thousands of our own dollars fighting this,” she said. “If this happens to one organization in America, we should all be outraged.” . . .
A FORMER Google executive has blown the whistle on a massive and “immoral” tax avoidance scheme that has “cheated” British taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of pounds over the past decade.
Barney Jones, 34, who worked for the internet search giant between 2002 and 2006, has lifted the lid on an elaborate structure which diverts British profits through Ireland to the Bermuda tax haven.
Although Google’s London sales staff would negotiate and sign contracts with British customers, and cash was paid into a UK bank account, deals were technically booked through its Dublin office to minimise its liabilities here. Jones, a devout Christian and father of four, is ready to hand over a cache of more than 100,000 emails and documents to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), detailing the “concocted scheme”. . . .
More than 8,000 French households' tax bills topped 100 percent of their income last year, the business newspaper Les Echos reported on Saturday, citing Finance Ministry data. . . .
Les Echos reported that nearly 12,000 households paid taxes last year worth more than 75 percent of their 2011 revenues due to the exceptional levy. . . .
Nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S. suffers from a mental disorder, and this number has been rising for more than a decade.
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 20 percent of American children are suffering from mental disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and autism.
The CDC’s first study of mental disorders among children aged 3 to 17 also found that the cost of medical bills for treatment of such disorders is up to $247 billion each year.
“This is a deliberate effort by CDC to show mental health is a health issue. As with any health concern, the more attention we give to it, the better. It’s parents becoming aware of the facts and talking to a health-care provider about how their child is learning, behaving and playing with other kids,” said Dr. Ruth Perou, the study’s lead author. . . . .
Labels: mental illness
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said he and his colleagues were "not the ones playing politics with this."
"We believe that the Legislature were the ones who were playing politics," he said.
Gun control opponents say the language in the regulations is unclear and doesn't provide safeguards to prevent people from inadvertently breaking the laws.
Ammunition magazines, for example, are easily converted to larger sizes, which the bill bans. Gun rights advocates also say the law expanding background checks doesn't provide enough exemptions for temporary transfers and that people conducting private transactions will have a difficult time getting appropriate checks.
Lawmakers allowed several exemptions in the background check legislation, including transfers between immediate family members, shooting events and temporary transfers of up to 72 hours.
State officials, including Attorney General John Suthers, have worked to defend the intent of the laws. Suthers, a Republican responsible for defending the law against the legal challenge, issued a statement Friday giving guidance to law enforcement on how the magazine limit should be enforced.
He said magazine features "must be judged objectively" and that magazines that hold 15 rounds or fewer can't be defined as "large capacity" simply because it can be modified to include more.
The state has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. . . .
Lew also defended Sarah Hall Ingram, a commissioner who has been targeted by Republicans for formerly overseeing the tax exempt division before heading to her current post helping the agency implement the health care law.Why not even list some obvious questions such as the events at the tax exempt division occurred during early 2010, early in the 2009 to 2012 period when Sarah Hall Ingram was in charge of the division? How could she have been involved in the implementation of the ACA in March of 2012 before it was signed into law on March 23, 2010?
Ingram, Lew said, was not involved in the targeting program.
“Chronology matters in cases like this,” he said. “I’ve asked some questions since becoming aware of this, and my understanding is her responsibilities moved over from the tax exempt unit to implementation of the Affordable Care Act before there was any opportunity to be involved in this.”
Ingram served as the commissioner of tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. . . .
March 1, 2010: An IRS manager in Cincinnati, Ohio asks employees to begin searching for 501(c) tax exemption applications using the terms Tea Party, Patriots and 9/12 as their criteria.
April 1, 2010: Managers in Washington, DC and Cincinnati decide to send a “Sensitive Case Report” about the Tea Party cases up the chain in Washington.
April 19, 2010: The Sensitive Case Report is shared with two executives in Washington, DC, one of whom is Lois Lerner and the other her immediate subordinate.
August 12, 2010: The IRS creates a “BOLO” (Be on the Lookout) listing instructing agents to identify Tea Party case files.
December 13, 2010: A manager for the Exempt Organizations (EO) group at the IRS in Washington informs the manager in Cincinnati that the processing of Tea Party cases would soon be reviewed with the Senior Technical Advisor to Lois Lerner, the Director of EO.
June 1, 2011: The Acting Director of Rulings and Agreements in Washington, DC, Lois Lerner’s immediate subordinate, asks the manager in Cincinnati for the criteria used to identify Tea Party groups.
June 29, 2011: The Director of EO in Washington, DC, Lois Lerner, is briefed that the criteria being used by employees includes “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” “9/12 Project,” “Government Spending,” “Government Debt,” “Taxes,” “make America a better place to live,” and cases with statements that criticize how the country is being run.
July 5, 2011: The BOLO listing criteria is revised to search for “organizations involved in political, lobbying, or advocacy.”
January 25, 2012: The BOLO is updated to change the search criteria to “limiting/expanding Government,” “Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” and “social economic reform/movement.”
March 12, 2012: Senator Chuck Schumer sends a letter to IRS Commissioner Shulman along with six of his Democrat colleagues, calling for the agency to impose a strict cap on the amount of political spending by tax-exempt, nonprofit groups.There is another problem. Let's just say that Sarah Hall Ingram immediately started working on Obamacare when it became law even though she was still technically in charge and running the tax exempt division. Why was that? Was something being hidden by her not being officially assigned to Obamacare? For example, where costs for Obamacare being shifted onto other programs?
"favors strong legislation to ban the sale, possession, and manufacture for civilian use of all automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons""sale and possession of handguns should be restricted. Purchases of handguns should be subject to a waiting period, satisfactory completion of a criminal background check, and proof of satisfactory completion of an appropriate educational program on firearm safety"They are updating their previous positions and have made this announcement:
The American College of Physicians plans to issue an exhaustive, evidence-based review of firearms policy and gun violence later this year.The current policies are "a little dated," so "we’re going through an evidence-based review on firearms policy and gun violence [to] come up with more contemporary recommendations," said Dr. David L. Bronson, immediate past president of the ACP.
"We are aware that firearms are part of the American culture, and this can be a divisive issue for this country and for some of our members," said Dr. Bronson at the annual meeting of the ACP. He said that’s one reason why the college will take an evidence-based approach to formulating its new recommendations. . . .
Dr. Bronson noted that opponents of proposals to rein in firearms may also find ways to reassert their rights and desires in legislation unrelated to gun violence. "You have to keep your eye on the ball," he said, adding, "they have a relentless lobby."
“We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,” [Jack] Lew said.Isn't the proof of their lack of outrage shown by their lack of action? From The Hill newspaper:
Russell George, Treasury’s inspector general (IG) for tax administration, testified that he told the department’s general counsel and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin about the probe in June of 2012 — months after media reports started detailing Tea Party complaints about the IRS. . . .NBC's Lisa Myers "reported this morning that the IRS deliberately chose not to reveal that it had wrongly targeted conservative groups until after the 2012 presidential election." Obama administration officials clearly knew what the scandal was about (conservative groups being targeted) in June 2012.
But the attention is quickly shifting to Wolin, who is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee and Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Wednesday, where he will be grilled on what he and other Treasury officials knew — and when.
Treasury confirmed Friday that George’s office told Wolin about the forthcoming audit last year, and that the inspector general personally told Treasury Secretary Jack Lew about it in March. Lew confirmed that timeline in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
But the Treasury department also says neither Lew nor Wolin found out about the inspector general’s findings until they started filtering out to the public last week. . . .
. . . Bloomberg's Al Hunt asked Lew, whose Treasury Department oversees the IRS: “When were you first notified that IRS agents were targeting conservative groups like the Tea Party?”A very different take on the same interview is available from Politico. Others, such as acting IRS director Steve Miller, are having massive memory failures.
Instead of answering Hunt’s question directly, however, Lew instead chose to answer when he first learned about the IG report, a tactic President Barack Obama also used earlier this week during a press conference.
“I learned the substance of this report last Friday when it became a matter of public knowledge,” Lew claimed. “Before that, in mid-March , I had had a conversation, just a getting-to-know-you conversation, with the inspector general right after I started, and he went through a number of items that were matters they were working on. And the topic of a project on the 501(c)3 issue was one of the things he briefed me was ongoing.”
Hunt then asked whether former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Lew’s deputy, Neal Wolin, or the general counsel knew about the IRS’s political profiling of conservative groups.
“I think that there was-the heads-up that I got was something that was a matter of public knowledge,” said Lew. “It was posted on the IG's website in the fall of 2012. I believe that other is typically the practice that an inspector general notify the agencies when matters are opened. I was not aware of any details.”
It is possible that "fall of 2012" could refer to a period of time before the election. Regardless, Lew would have discovered the investigation in his capacity as President Obama's chief of staff, meaning that it is possible the president knew of the investigation in 2012 as well. . . .
. . . That’s the kind of week Miller is having. To make matters worse, he spent most of the hearing saying he didn’t remember things — like the details of how he first learned of the targeting — and insisting he didn’t mislead Congress by not telling lawmakers.Over and over again, Miller swore he just answered the questions lawmakers asked him in various letters. “I answered the questions as they were asked,” Miller told Charles Boustany of Louisiana.Miller also made laughable claims such as the targeting of conservative groups, and conservative groups only, was simply an effort to make IRS agents "more efficient in their workload selection."
At times, Miller struggled to find phrases that wouldn’t sound politically tone deaf. He tried to pick a fight over whether the IRS search terms should even be called “targeting” — even though they included terms like “tea party,” “Patriots” and “9/12,” and the inspector general report says specialists were told to look specifically for tea party applications. . . .
"an unwelcome request for a date . . . need not be 'objectively offensive' . . . regardless of the reasonableness of her feelings, and school administrators may be legally required to discipline her 'harasser.'"Seriously? From the WSJ:
The letter rejects the requirement, established by legal precedent and previous Education Department guidance, that sexual harassment must be "objectively offensive." By eliminating this "reasonable person" standard—which the Education Department has required since at least 2003, and which protects the accused against unreasonable or insincere allegations—the right not to be offended has been enshrined in a federal mandate.
The letter further states that campuses have "an obligation to respond to student-on-student harassment" even when that harassment occurs off-campus. In some circumstances, the letter says, universities may take "disciplinary action against the harasser" even "prior to the completion of the Title IX and Title IV investigation/resolution." In plain English: Students can be punished before they are found guilty of harassment. . . .
. . . Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. "He put a target on our backs, and he's now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?" asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.Peggy Noonan has a similar list here:
Mr. VanderSloot is the Obama target who in 2011 made a sizable donation to a group supporting Mitt Romney. In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a "wealthy individual" with a "less-than-reputable record." Other donors were described as having been "on the wrong side of the law."
This was the Obama version of the phone call—put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.
Twelve days later, a man working for a political opposition-research firm called an Idaho courthouse for Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records. In June, the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes. In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch. In September, the IRS informed him of a second audit, of one of his businesses. Mr. VanderSloot, who had never been audited before, was subject to three in the four months after Mr. Obama teed him up for such scrutiny.
The last of these audits was only concluded in recent weeks. Not one resulted in a fine or penalty. But Mr. VanderSloot has been waiting more than 20 months for a sizable refund and estimates his legal bills are $80,000. That figure doesn't account for what the president's vilification has done to his business and reputation.
The Obama call for scrutiny wasn't a mistake; it was the president's strategy—one pursued throughout 2012. The way to limit Romney money was to intimidate donors from giving. . . .
. . . Hal Scherz, a Georgia physician, also came to the government's attention. He told ABC News: "It is odd that nothing changed on my tax return and I was never audited until I publicly criticized ObamaCare."
Franklin Graham, son of Billy, told Politico he believes his father was targeted. A conservative Catholic academic who has written for these pages faced questions about her meager freelance writing income. Many of these stories will come out, but not as many as there are. People are not only afraid of being audited, they're afraid of saying they were audited.
All of these IRS actions took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. They constitute the use of governmental power to intrude on the privacy and shackle the political freedom of American citizens. . . .Fox News has this story about a Texas Tea Party group's filing with the IRS.