#IRS scandal: But, of course. They targeted Jewish groups, too.

**Posted by Phineas

Jewish groups that are favorable toward Israel. We all know how close the President is to Israel, now don’t we?

This just gets better and better.

Via Politico:

The same Internal Revenue Service office that singled out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny also challenged Israel-related organizations, at least one of which filed suit over the agency’s handling of its application for tax-exempt status.

The trouble for the Israel-focused groups seems to have had different origins than that experienced by conservative groups, but at times the effort seems to have been equally ham-handed.

(…)

Z Street filed a lawsuit against the IRS in 2010 alleging that one of its attorneys were told its application for tax exemption was delayed and sent to a “special unit…to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”

“Special unit” probably refers to the same group vetting 501(c)(3) applications that’s been at the center of controversy the last few days. Seems they’re “looking into” anyone critical of Obama, his policies, or the direction of the nation.

But, really, “special unit” and “investigating Jewish groups” are thoughts you never want associated with your administration.

Ever.

More from The Jewish Press.

via Cuffé and J Hammer

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#IRS scandal: White House counsel knew last April

**Posted by Phineas

Via Rick Moran at PJM, Politico is reporting that the White House counsel, the president’s legal adviser, knew about the IRS targeting conservative groups three weeks ago:

The White House counsel’s office was informed in April of an inspector general’s review of the Internal Revenue Service, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

Carney told reporters that the counsel’s office was told of the examination into the targeting of conservative groups during the week of April 22, but not given details about the review’s findings. President Obama, Carney said, was not told about the review and learned of it only after news reports emerged Friday, just what Obama said earlier Monday.

Uh huh. Right. The Treasury IG hands the president’s lawyer bombshell revelations, and yet that lawyer never tells his client? “Uh… Hi, sir! Nice morning, isn’t it? Huh? Wha…? No, nothing going on today, sir! Nothing at all!”

Care to buy some swampland in Arizona?

I’m with Moran:

I do not believe that Barack Obama first learned of the IRS’s targeting of conservatives “from news reports” on Friday. That doesn’t pass the smell test, especially since a close aide was told of the program three weeks ago. Are we to believe that the president’s own counsel didn’t immediately go to the Oval Office after learning of this and tell Obama “We’ve got a big  problem, sir”? And the fact that the White House is now in full-blown circle-the wagons damage-control mode would suggest that their primary goal is to keep the president a thousand miles away from anything having to do with this scandal.

Good luck with that, guys. Just remember — it’s always the cover-up that gets ya.

Just ask any White House occupant circa 1974.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

This just in: “Master bedroom” is now racist and sexist

**Posted by Phineas

But, of course:

The “master suite” is being phased out — not from our homes, but from our lexicon.

A survey of 10 major Washington, D.C.-area homebuilders found that six no longer use the term “master” in their floor plans to describe the largest bedroom in the house….Why? In large part for exactly the reason you would think: “Master” has connotation problems, in gender (it skews toward male) and race (the slave-master).

The new, politically correct phrase is “owner’s suite.”  Can’t see how that’s much better, as least from the point of view of the ridiculously hypersensitive.

Sigh.

via Salena Zito and Conservative Intelligence Briefing

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Commenting on Margaret Thatcher’s death, President Narcissus can’t help himself.

**Posted by Phineas

No sin in His eyes

“It’s all about the O”

I really think it’s impossible for Barack Obama to comment on any event without inserting himself:

Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will.   Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life—free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.

And what’s this “we,” kemosabe? Your beliefs and policies are about as far from Prime Minister Thatcher’s and President Reagan’s as it can be while staying on the same planet.

Seriously, I wonder if he laughed at the absurdity when he read that.

Nah. That would require a modicum of self-awareness.

via Stephen Greene

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Chicago cops for rent?

**Posted by Phineas

And that’s not a metaphor for police corruption; these are uniformed police officers “financially sponsored” by individual citizens or groups. In other words, rented:

A philanthropist or business could sponsor a police beat and put more off-duty cops on the streets under a plan being put forth by a downtown Chicago lawmaker on the City Council.

Alderman Brendan Reilly originally pitched the idea last October but is pushing it again following weekend incidents of teen mob activity on the Magnificent Mile, an upscale area of the city.

Under his plan, off-duty officers would work minimum six-hour shifts and make $30 an hour. The money would be paid by businesses, civic groups and churches at a time when city finances are stretched thin. The officers would be in full uniform and under the command of police supervisors.

“This is a way to make use of well-trained police officers who are moonlighting doing other things, bringing them back on the street to do what they do best, which is great police work,” Reilly said.

To say this is a bad idea would be to insult bad ideas. Moe Lane provides one answer to “what could go wrong?”

Those would be rented cops, and the difference will become clear the moment that somebody very important from one of those “businesses, civic groups and churches” happens to commit a trivial, surely-not-worth-mentioning, purely technical violation of the law.

Look at it another way: Order in a society such as ours depends on the law being applied equally — blindfolded Justice holding the scales, and such. And that includes the police serving all the public, because, in large part, all the public pays for the police. While we all know there are imperfections and exceptions, the acceptance that this is generally so is important to social order.

Alderman Reilly’s proposal, regardless of his protests otherwise, would break that perception. I don’t care how much anyone might say “they’re still Chicago police and they still enforce the law,” the fact is that their pay will come from individuals, not the public. As Alexander Hamilton said:

In the main it will be found that a power over a man’s support (salary) is a power over his will.

In other words, “You work for me.”

You can imagine what wonders this could work on a society based on the rule of law and its equal application.

That a loony idea such as this can even be floated is indicative of how far down the drain liberal, Blue-model governance has taken a once-great city like Chicago. (Detroit, on the other hand, is at the end of that drain…) The city’s finances are so strapped by out of control pension costs and greedy unions, as well as businesses fleeing high-tax Illinois, that they are having trouble paying for basic services such as police.

Is the next step RoboCop?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obamacare: Wasn’t it supposed to simplify things?

**Posted by Phineas

"Need a navigator, bub?"

“Need a navigator, bub?”

Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to relieve us of the burden of worrying about our healthcare? With the government making our choices for us, with mandatory coverage for all, and with subsidies given to all who couldn’t afford the new plans, weren’t we all supposed to breathe a sigh a relief at how easy it had all become?

Well, if the road to healthcare nirvana has become so smooth and straight, why do we need tens of thousands of “navigators?”

Tens of thousands of health care professionals, union workers and community activists hired as “navigators” to help Americans choose Obamacare options starting Oct. 1 could earn $20 an hour or more, according to new regulations issued Wednesday.

The 63-page rule covering navigators, drawn up by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, also said the government will provide free translators for those not fluent in English — no matter what their native language is.

Sixty-three pages for one rule. Remind you of anything? No wonder they need make-work jobs for their union clients “navigators.” Magellan couldn’t find his way through this mess.

They’ll need navigators for the navigators.

Not only is this farcical on its face, but consider the cost: each “navigator” will (1) get $20-$48 per hour to help people through this morass. California alone has estimated it will need 21,000 “navigators.” (2) That’s an estimated $420,000 to $1,008,000 per hour, every day during the implementation period, just for one state.

Oh, and the translators. Naturally, they’ll be well-paid, especially if they speak multiple languages. Here in Los Angeles county, there are over 224 languages spoken as of the 2000 census, so you know demand will be high. And they’re mandatory: if your primary language is something as obscure as Nenets, and even if you are the only person in the area who speaks it, they have to get you a translator.

So tack that on to the hourly cost of “navigating” our brave new healthcare world.

Can I get a navigator to take me back to someplace sane, please?

via Jim Treacher

PS: A Twitter commenter reminds us that the article also mentions a voter-registration provision as part of signing up for Obamacare. I imagine all these community organizers and union members will be quite willing to help people “navigate” this part. But, don’t worry. The law requires them to be unbiased. (Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes, too.)

Footnotes:
(1) States aren’t required to pay at this rate, but, come on. You think these groups will work for less, or even gratis? I have some swampland for you, real cheap.
(2) And you can bet all of them will be dues-paying public employees union members, too.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The horror of sequester: congressional aides might have to pay more for subsidized lunches

**Posted by Phineas

"House cafeteria, post-sequester"

“House cafeteria, post-sequester”

Have those heartless House Republicans no mercy, no soul? How could they do this to poor, starving congressional staffers?

Speaking at a hearing of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, [Debbie] Wasserman Schultz worried that prices of meals in House restaurants are getting so high that aides are being “priced out” of a good meal.

At the carry-out cafe in the Cannon Office Building, where Wasserman Schultz has her office, you can get an 8oz bowl of Ham and Bean soup for $2. You can buy gourmet sandwiches and wraps for around $5. Both of these are cheaper than I can get at delis down the street from my house.

Her aides could walk across the street to the Longworth Building, which has a large sit-down cafeteria. Today, it is featuring a roasted stuffed Chicken, with asparagus and mashed potatoes, for around $7. Or, one could opt for a heaping 12oz bowl of Chicken Chili for $3.

There is also the tried and true method enjoyed by millions of workers around the country: a brown-bag lunch.

Curse you, Tea Partiers! Have you no sympathy for long-suffering, hard-toiling aides who make more than the median salary in the US?

You can imagine that I, who lives the life of luxury –bringing my breakfast four out of five days to work, my lunch every day, going out to a cheap dinner with friends just once per month– Well, dear readers, you can picture just how my heart breaks for people who might have to pay $8 for roasted stuffed chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus, instead of seven.

I weep.

Actually, I don’t. In fact, Wasserman-Schultz and her overpaid entourage of whiny self-entitled oligarchs can go do something anatomically impossible to themselves. It was her party’s leader who thought of the sequester, it was her party’s leader who fought tooth and nail any effort ease what little real pain it would cause, and it was her party’s leader and his minions (including Debbie) who tried desperately to scare the American people with a “sequester terror” that turned out to be a giant nothing. If she and her staff now have to live a tiny bit more like us great unwashed, don’t expect sympathy from me.

Honestly, this is a glaring example of just how (to use a cliche) out of touch and removed from the everyday life of Americans those who live within the Beltway must be, especially the progressives. If the Republicans don’t use this monumental example of elite cluelessness as a populist club to beat the Democrats over the head with from now until November, 2014, they don’t belong in politics.

UPDATE: Mockery via Twitchy — #SaveTheStaffers

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

At least the President knows his priorities

**Posted by Phineas

National debt approaching $17 trillion? North Korean nukes and the threat of war on the peninsula? America’s credit rating?

Nah, it’s March Madness, baby! And Barack Obama, President of the United States, tweeted this morning to remind everyone to get in on the fun:


Now, as others have pointed out, the @BarackObama account has been transferred to OFA, his former campaign group, now turned into a national community organization, but, hey, it still has his name on it and it’s still “verified” by Twitter, so why not assume this represents what he truly values?

You can read the reactions at Twitchy telling him to finish his danged budget, first, but here’s one that best reflected my feelings:


Yup.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The greatest issue facing America: a cruise-ship passengers’ bill of rights

**Posted by Phineas

And Chuck Schumer is on the case:

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the cruise ship industry to adopt a “bill of rights” to guarantee passengers certain protections while aboard their ships.

The New York Democrat says Sunday he’ll be asking industry leaders to voluntarily adopt the guidelines which include guarantees that ships have sanitary conditions, back-up power, medical staff and other standard procedures.

Schumer’s plan would also include the right to a full refund if a trip is abruptly canceled due to mechanical problems.

And thus we see the modern Democratic Party’s priorities in action: no budget from the Senate in more than 1,400 days? Bah! The threat of a nuclear-armed Iran or North Korea? Don’t waste my time! Food-stamp usage at an all-time high while labor force participation is at a record low? Small potatoes, friend.

No, as we see from the senior senator from New York’s example, what really matters is grandstanding whenever possible and wherever cameras and mics are available, so that you can pretend you’re fighting for the little guy and convince enough saps to vote for you again.

This also shows the different mindset of the limited government advocates on the one hand, and the statists on the other.

Limited Government Advocate:

“A company that provides poor service will eventually put itself out of business, and those who feel harmed by it have access to the civil courts. Annoying as these incidents are, it’s really none of the federal government’s business, and we should get back to tending to what properly is.”

Statist:

“This is an outrage! People need our protection against evil corporations; the government must do something! What? They already have redress under the law? They can take their business elsewhere? Insufficient! We must pass new laws, because that’s what we’re here for — to pass laws! Not in our purview? Nonsense! We’ll pass a law to make it our business! Call a press conference!”

Is it any wonder people are disenchanted with our political class, when so many of them ignore the real problems we face and instead go chasing butterflies?

via Liberty Unyielding

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Forget cupcakes. Don’t you even *mention* guns in school, young man!

**Posted by Phineas

The headline says it all:

Pasco School District overturns 6-year-old’s suspension for discussing toy gun

The Pasco School District has overturned the suspension of a 6-year-old boy who talked about his toy guns at school.

Mike Aguirre’s son Noah, a first-grader at James McGee Elementary School, was sent home Feb. 28 after another student told their teacher that Noah had a gun with him.

Noah had no gun, toy or otherwise, but Aguirre said his son still was punished for talking with other students about the Nerf guns the family recently bought during a trip to Lincoln City, Ore.

Apparently a girl student who heard the little boy felt her “health and safety” were threatened… by someone talking about a nerf gun. What do you want to bet the school district is making that up or at least “massaging the truth” heavily?

The district later removed the suspension and said this wouldn’t go on the child’s record. Very big of them, but not a word of apology for making the boy think he was in trouble, worrying the parents, and making themselves look like jackasses.

Where did these “educators” get their certifications — George Orwell University?

via Liberty Unyielding

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)