While Obama may continue to claim he had no personal knowledge of the targeting that took place by the IRS, it is now clear that his White House counsel and chief-of-staff did
IRS Scandal Reaches the White House
By Roger Aronoff
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Washington Post narrative surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups is that it began as a scandal involving low-level employees at a Cincinnati office, the “Determinations Unit,” a natural outgrowth of an increase in political activity by these groups.
This belies other reporting by the Post’s Fact-Checker, which indicates that there was little growth in the number of groups applying for tax-exempt status at the time the targeting occurred.
As more details come to light, responsibility for the IRS actions keeps moving up the ladder and has landed, at least in part, at the White House. Top-level White House staffers knew about the scandal before a manufactured apology was made to the public on May 10.
“The White House on Monday once again added to the list of people who knew about the IRS investigation into its targeting of conservative groups—saying White House chief of staff Denis McDonough had been informed about a month ago,” reported Reid J. Epstein for Politico on May 20. White House Chief Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said she learned about the IRS scandal the week of April 22, but didn’t tell the President.
White House’s “shifting” account
A public relations storm was brewing, but the public is supposed to believe that the President himself was kept in the dark. “Press secretary Jay Carney said again that no one had told President Barack Obama ahead of the first news reports: not his top aide McDonough, nor his chief counsel Kathy Ruemmler, nor anyone from the Treasury Department,” wrote Epstein. “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.” Epstein called this the White House’s “shifting” account.
When Politico and the Post’s Fact-Checker, Glenn Kessler, note that the President’s story doesn’t quite add up, you know there’s trouble.
Indeed, IRS official Lois Lerner earned herself “a bushel of Pinocchios” from Kessler for her “misstatements and weasely wording when the revelations about the IRS’s activities first came to light on May 10.” After all, Lerner planted the question, asking Celia Roady to bring up the targeting scandal at an American Bar Association conference. Roady, though initially denying this deal, has now confessed that her question was planted.
“We had no discussion thereafter on the topic of the question, nor had we spoken about any of this before I received her call. She did not tell me, and I did not know, how she would answer the question,” maintained Roady. “I knew nothing!” seems to be the cry of everyone at the top who might be involved in this scandal. Perhaps that should be translated as “Please don’t put a target on my back!” like the IRS did to conservatives.
Although Lerner had had the opportunity to discuss the targeting at a Congressional hearing just two days earlier, she ended up doing it in a fabricated, closed environment. This is par for the course with this Administration. Democratic Representative Joe Crowley (NY) is calling for Lerner to be fired because he says she lied to him at that hearing. Lerner has indicated she will be invoking her Fifth Amendment rights during her appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday.
On Tuesday morning, May 21, at a Senate Finance Committee hearing, chaired by Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) asked whose idea it was and why they decided to use a “prepared Q&A” to bring this out. Steven Miller, the Acting Commissioner who was fired last week by President Obama, said that he was responsible: “I will take responsibility for that. The thought was, now that we had the TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) report, we had all the facts, we had our response, we thought we should begin talking about this, we thought we’d get out an apology. The way we did it, we wanted to reach out to Hill staff, about the same time [that the brief came out], did not work out. Obviously the entire thing was an incredibly bad idea.”
The IRS targeting of conservative groups
The IRS targeting of conservative groups was intrusive, at best. “A Tea Party group in Ohio reports that the IRS ‘wanted to know what materials we had discussed at any of our book studies,’” wrote Mark Hemingway for The Weekly Standard. “One educational group in Tennessee was asked to turn over the names of all the high school and college kids it had trained.”
“A pro-life group was asked to submit a letter in writing saying it would not protest Planned Parenthood.” In one case, the Coalition for Life of Iowa received a letter from the IRS office in Cincinnati requesting details about members’ prayers and whether they were “considered educational.” “’Please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood, are considered educational as defined under 501(c)(3),’” read the letter, according to Chris Moody with Yahoo! News. This happened in 2009, when 1,745 applications for tax-exempt status were processed, long before the boom in numbers, according to Kessler.
Accuracy in Media has repeatedly demonstrated that these and other ridiculous requests were used to muzzle the free speech of organizations applying for tax-exempt status.
“No serious person who understands how things work really believes that the president picked up the phone and told the IRS chief to go after his enemies,” asserts Fox News commentator Bernard Goldberg. “But is it such a leap to assume that IRS agents and their bosses figured they were doing what the president would have liked them to do—but couldn’t ask?”
Similarly, Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal noted that the President did not need to direct the IRS’ actions, only call for this approach publicly. “Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone,” wrote Strassel. “All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.”
“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,” said Strassel.
The Washington Post’s Zachary Goldfarb and Kimberly Kindy reported that “At the same time, the IRS faced growing criticism from the outside that it was not doing enough to examine an increasing number of politically active groups seeking tax-exempt status.”
Another thing the President could do to further his agenda was to appoint officials who had a history of politicization. Former acting commissioner Steven Miller, who was asked to resign, told Congress that he didn’t think that the agency’s actions were political. Judicial Watch’s President Tom Fitton wrote that “At Judicial Watch, we know this well because, very early on, we were one of the many conservative organizations and Clinton critics that Miller’s tax exempt branch subjected to politically-inspired audits.”
“Steven T. Miller […] was one of several agents who investigated anti-Clinton organizations including Judicial Watch during that Democrat’s administration, according to court documents and interviews,” reported the Washington Examiner on May 14.
“Given our well-publicized experience with him, it is no surprise to me that Miller was content to allow this illegal IRS harassment of Obama’s hit list—and the subsequent cover-up,” argued Fitton.
Policies usually flow from the top, but The Washington Post would like its readers to think this one was organically created. It draws largely from the Inspector General’s report—hardly an impartial source. “The IRS is not well equipped to make political judgments,” write Zachary A. Goldfarb and Kimberly Kindy. “Its accountants and lawyers are sticklers and technocrats, trying to enforce the letter of the law. When the law is left vague—as it is for 501(c)(4)s and political advocacy groups—it could take years to come up with clear guidelines.”
Is that why the IRS took years to clear “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” and “9/12” organizations at the same time as it preferentially gave tax-exempt status to liberal groups? Is that why it only took one month to approve the Barack H. Obama Foundation?
“They created a spreadsheet of group names and activities to watch, called a ‘be on the lookout’ list, or BOLO, borrowing jargon used by police,” wrote Goldfarb and Kindy. Who exactly issued the directive for such a list? “The list soon included 40 groups, including 22 with ‘tea party’ in their names.” So, the vast majority on the BOLO list were conservative groups. But historically, liberal groups such as the NAACP and AARP have also used 501(c)(4)s to engage in political activity.
In fact, in a 2010 Los Angeles Times column, largely critical of the Republican use of 501(c)(4) groups, Doyle McManus wrote that while “Democrats have denounced the 501(c)(4) gambit, and they’re right to do so,” they “have been no slouches in finding innovative ways to funnel millions into political campaigning. In 1996, then-President Clinton held dozens of events in the White House to encourage donors to give ‘soft money’ to Democratic causes. In 2004, Democrats were way ahead in setting up ‘independent expenditure’ committees (known by another section of the tax law, 527) to enable millionaires to donate unlimited money for TV commercials.” He also pointed out that Obama loyalists David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs have run campaigns in which they were able to avoid disclosing the donors.
While Obama may continue to claim he had no personal knowledge of the targeting that took place by the IRS, it is now clear that his White House counsel and chief-of-staff did, well before it was purposely leaked out on May 10th. But what is also clear is that based on signals coming from the White House and top Democrats on Capitol Hill, the “lower-level” IRS operatives had good reason to believe they were carrying out the wishes of the White House.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed May 22, 2013 6:08 am
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Oklahoma City Tornado Pictures: ‘Total Devastation’
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Wed May 22, 2013 12:27 am
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America’s Bubble Economy Is Going To Become An Economic Black Hole
By Michael, on May 21st, 2013
What is going to happen when the greatest economic bubble in the history of the world pops? The mainstream media never talks about that. They are much too busy covering the latest dogfights in Washington and what Justin Bieber has been up to. And most Americans seem to think that if the Dow keeps setting new all-time highs that everything must be okay. Sadly, that is not the case at all. Right now, the U.S. economy is exhibiting all of the classic symptoms of a bubble economy. You can see this when you step back and take a longer-term view of things. Over the past decade, we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt. But most Americans have shown very little concern as the balance on our national credit card has soared from 6 trillion dollars to nearly 17 trillion dollars. Meanwhile, Wall Street has been transformed into the biggest casino on the planet, and much of the new money that the Federal Reserve has been recklessly printing up has gone into stocks. But the Dow does not keep setting new records because the underlying economic fundamentals are good. Rather, the reckless euphoria that we are seeing in the financial markets right now reminds me very much of 1929. Margin debt is absolutely soaring, and every time that happens a crash rapidly follows. But this time when a crash happens it could very well be unlike anything that we have ever seen before. The top 25 U.S. banks have more than 212 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives combined, and when that house of cards comes crashing down there is no way that anyone will be able to prop it back up. After all, U.S. GDP for an entire year is only a bit more than 15 trillion dollars.
But most Americans are only focused on the short-term because the mainstream media is only focused on the short-term. Things are good this week and things were good last week, so there is nothing to worry about, right?
Unfortunately, economic reality is not going to change even if all of us try to ignore it. Those that are willing to take an honest look at what is coming down the road are very troubled. For example, Bill Gross of PIMCO says that his firm sees "bubbles everywhere"…
We see bubbles everywhere, and that is not to be dramatic and not to suggest they will pop immediately. I just suggested in the bond market with a bubble in treasuries and bubble in narrow credit spreads and high-yield prices, that perhaps there is a significant distortion there. Having said that, it suggests that as long as the FED and Bank of Japan and other Central Banks keep writing checks and do not withdraw, then the bubble can be supported as in blowing bubbles. They are blowing bubbles. When that stops there will be repercussions.
And unfortunately, it is not just the United States that has a bubble economy. In fact, the gigantic financial bubble over in Japan may burst before our own financial bubble does. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers…
First and foremost, Japan is the second largest bond market in the world. If Japan’s sovereign bonds continue to fall, pushing rates higher, then there has been a tectonic shift in the global financial system. Remember the impact that Greece had on asset prices? Greece’s bond market is less than 3% of Japan’s in size.
For multiple decades, Japanese bonds have been considered “risk free.” As a result of this, investors have been willing to lend money to Japan at extremely low rates. This has allowed Japan’s economy, the second largest in the world, to putter along marginally.
So if Japanese bonds begin to implode, this means that:
1) The second largest bond market in the world is entering a bear market (along with commensurate liquidations and redemptions by institutional investors around the globe).
2) The second largest economy in the world will collapse (along with the impact on global exports).
Both of these are truly epic problems for the financial system.
And of course the entire global financial system is a giant bundle of debt, risk and leverage at this point. We have never seen anything like this in world history. When you step back and take a good, hard look at the numbers, they truly are staggering. The following statistics are from one of my previous articles entitled "Why Is The World Economy Doomed? The Global Financial Pyramid Scheme By The Numbers"…
-$70,000,000,000,000 – The approximate size of total world GDP.
-$190,000,000,000,000 – The approximate size of the total amount of debt in the entire world. It has nearly doubled in size over the past decade.
-$212,525,587,000,000 – According to the U.S. government, this is the notional value of the derivatives that are being held by the top 25 banks in the United States. But those banks only have total assets of about 8.9 trillion dollars combined. In other words, the exposure of our largest banks to derivatives outweighs their total assets by a ratio of about 24 to 1.
-$600,000,000,000,000 to $1,500,000,000,000,000 – The estimates of the total notional value of all global derivatives generally fall within this range. At the high end of the range, the ratio of derivatives to global GDP is more than 21 to 1.
The financial meltdown that happened back in 2008 should have been a wake up call for the nations of the world. They should have corrected the mistakes that happened so that nothing like that would ever happen again. Unfortunately, nothing was fixed. Instead, our politicians and the central bankers became obsessed with reinflating the system. They piled up even more debt, recklessly printed tons of money and kicked the can down the road for a few years. In the process, they made our long-term problems even worse. The following is a recent quote from John Williams of shadowstats.com…
The economic and systemic solvency crises of the last eight years continue. There never was an actual recovery following the economic downturn that began in 2006 and collapsed into 2008 and 2009. What followed was a protracted period of business stagnation that began to turn down anew in second- and third-quarter 2012. The official recovery seen in GDP has been a statistical illusion generated by the use of understated inflation in calculating key economic series (see Public Comment on Inflation). Nonetheless, given the nature of official reporting, the renewed downturn likely will gain recognition as the second-dip in a double- or multiple-dip recession.
What continues to unfold in the systemic and economic crises is just an ongoing part of the 2008 turmoil. All the extraordinary actions and interventions bought a little time, but they did not resolve the various crises. That the crises continue can be seen in deteriorating economic activity and in the panicked actions by the Federal Reserve, where it proactively is monetizing U.S. Treasury debt at a pace suggestive of a Treasury that is unable to borrow otherwise.
And there are already lots of signs that the next economic downturn is rapidly approaching.
For example, corporate revenues are falling at Wal-Mart, Proctor and Gamble, Starbucks, AT&T, Safeway, American Express and IBM.
Would revenues at Wal-Mart be falling if the economy was getting better?
U.S. jobless claims hit a six week high last week. We aren’t in the danger zone yet, but once they hit 400,000 that will be a major red flag.
And even though we are still in the "good times" relatively speaking, the federal government is already talking about tightening welfare programs. In fact, there are proposals in Congress right now to make significant cuts to the food stamp program.
If food stamps and other welfare programs get cut, that is going to make a lot of people very, very angry. And that anger and frustration will get even worse when the next economic downturn strikes and millions of people start losing their jobs and their homes.
What we are witnessing right now is the calm before the storm. Let us hope that it lasts for as long as possible so that we can have more time to prepare.
Unfortunately, this bubble of false hope will not last forever. At some point it will end, and then the pain will begin.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue May 21, 2013 8:13 pm
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Diplomatic Immunity For Your Assets In Interesting Times!
SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2013 AT 7:30PM
Since I write so much about financial fiascos, debacles, nightmares, and entanglements. I’ve been asked by my readers about ways to protect assets in this environment. I had to disappoint them: I don’t give financial advice. Even if I did, I wouldn’t have all the answers. But I just finished reading an excellent book on precisely that topic, so I decided to review it.
Going Global 2013, A Special Report from Casey Research, starts with the premise that we live in interesting times, in a world that has, let’s say, some issues. Particularly concerning financial safety.
– There is the toxic mix of the “dubious dollar,” mauled continually by the Fed’s money-printing operations, and the gigantic US deficits and debt.
- Then there is the risk of “lightning-fast asset seizures,” such as when the IRS thinks you haven’t paid your taxes or when a government employee gets your name confused with someone on a blacklist, and suddenly your bank and brokerage accounts are locked. You might not even have access to cash to hire a lawyer to help recover your property.
- Not like it hasn’t happened before: “gold confiscation” is something the US government resorted to in 1933, and might resort to again. “Investment controls” were practiced in the US in the 1940s and 1960s; if imposed again, it might become impractical or illegal to buy or keep assets outside the US, whether for effective diversification or for taking advantage of profit opportunities.
- Already a reality, or becoming one: “Rising income taxes” and “exorbitant estate taxes and shifting rules” that make tax optimization that much more important. And finally, one of the craziest risks in the US, “predatory lawsuits” that can hit anyone, particularly those with deep pockets.
But there are strategies to deal with these risks: true international diversification. The authors – six of them, all specialists in their field – begin step by step with the simplest measures, though in today’s interesting times, even they aren’t simple anymore.
So the authors lay out how to open foreign bank or brokerage accounts – a form of currency diversification that is becoming increasingly tough for US citizens because many foreign banks no longer accept them as clients. Later in the book, they propose tactics, such as establishing a non-US Limited Liability Company (LLC), which conveys numerous advantages, including a warmer welcome at foreign banks. Such an LLC can open accounts where an American cannot; it can discourage “would-be lawsuit attackers”; and it can be crucial in estate planning.
They dive into the issues gold storage in the US vs. overseas, stock markets in other countries, and foreign annuities and life insurance. Then they move to more ambitious topics: setting up a self-directed IRA, such as an Open Opportunity IRA, which reduces the hassles of a regular self-directed IRA. It can invest internationally, buy real estate or rental property down under, for example, or get a brokerage account in Singapore.
But the “permanent solution” is an international trust that places your assets in a more benign legal environment – the arrangement can be involved and might require a leap of faith: “The only way to achieve complete protection for your wealth is to let someone else own it for you!” the authors write. Though few people have an international trust, the advantages are enormous, and the authors walk you through the ins and outs.
To complete internationalization, the authors also discuss how to buy a second home in a foreign country, and how to obtain a second passport. Legally! They provide an overview over the countries that allow dual citizenship, what their rules are, and how long it takes. And they add some interesting but crucial tidbits: for example, a Singaporean passport is the only one in the world that allows for visa-free travel to China, the EU, and the US!
US taxpayers who internationalize their assets are subject to some hairy reporting requirements; the authors sort them out and provide essential information, down to the IRS forms that have to be dealt with.
Going Global dissects the pros and cons of individual countries. It provides numerous links, in addition to contact information of foreign banks, other financial institutions, organizations, and companies that can offer further information or be helpful in setting up these strategies.
Who Going Global is for: Anyone who doesn’t yet have vast holdings and complex structures overseas but wants to find out more about it, get started on the right foot, learn how to do it legally, and avoid the many pitfalls along the way.
Who Going Global is not for: Broadly internationalized investors with dual passports, and with homes, bank accounts, trusts, and LLCs scattered around the globe; or anyone wanting to evade US taxes. “If you dream of a numbered account stuffed with a string of zeroes’ worth of money secretly earning undeclared income behind Uncle Sam’s back… wake up! Those days are gone, and financial privacy is dead, snuffed out by US reporting regulations that blanket the world’s financial system,” the authors write. And they warn: “Do not attempt to evade taxes in the name of financial privacy; the penalty for noncompliance is wealth-crushingly severe.”
Going Global is short (about 110 pages); a fast and interesting read with a refreshing lack of jargon. It’s expensive: $99. But for those who want to learn more about how to protect their assets, and with an eye on the mounting financial challenges of our times, it may be the best money ever spent. Available exclusively from Casey Research
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun May 19, 2013 10:46 pm
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Data all points to a slowing US economy despite a soaring stock market and rising consumer confidence
Posted on 19 May 2013
Is the US economic recovery all hot air? The latest economic data from the US economy all points to a slowing economy, not a growing recovery. That’s what you might expect after tax rises and public expenditure cuts. Just because everybody wants a recovery does not make it happen.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s factory activity report in the mid-Atlantic region fell to minus 5.2 in May, a decisive fall in business though not surprising really as new orders have been falling this year. The housing recovery is also not happening.
Housing starts slump
New US home starts plunged by 16.5 per cent to a 853,000-unit annual rate, according to the Commerce Department. Then again the latest data showed a hike in new claims for jobless benefits which grew at the fastest rate for six months. That might be an early sign that the recent better news on jobs is a flash in the pan.
Indeed, economists are now warning that the first quarter recovery in US GDP is failing and slipping back towards the lousy Q4 figure. This is the time-lagged impact of the New Year tax increases and the March cuts in public expenditure working through. It’s not rocket science.
How could anybody possibly expect anything else than a tough economy under such conditions? It beggars belief. But Wall Street has a well known ability to lose touch with reality for a while only to come thumping back to earth later on, costing everybody a huge amount of money and generating massive commissions for brokers.
Still not persuaded? Look at the 0.4 per cent fall in the Consumer Price Index, the biggest fall since December 2008 when the US was stuck deep in the global financial crisis. That might sound like an good thing. But deflation is a sign of a slowing economy, not a growing economy. Gas prices at the pumps are down by the most since the gobal economic crisis struck.
So when will US stock market investors wake up and realize that their country is going back into recession or at best sticking with economic stagnation? The economic data is starting to pile up and its widespread, comprehensive and conclusive.
Is there any reason on earth why this should be ignored? Apart of course from that heady optimism that afflicts the popular delusions of crowds?
The best selling opportunity in years? That is what some of the smartest investors are saying right now. What goes up will come down and the higher you go the harder you fall!
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun May 19, 2013 2:50 am
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Timothy Geithner Is Key To IRS Scandal
Friday, May 17, 2013 at 1:23PM
Contributed by Chriss Street: Specialist in corporate reorganizations and turnarounds, former Chairman of two NYSE listed companies. His latest book, The Third Way, describes how to achieve management excellence and financial reward by moving organizations from Conflict and Confrontation to Leadership and Cooperation. He lives in Newport Beach, CA.
Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller was forced by to resign, predominantly due to the July 7, 2011 memorandum that I published last weekend in my report, IRS HAD ENEMIES LIST IN 2010 & 2012. The document, written on U.S. Treasury Department stationary, demanded that senior IRS management terminate attempts to have donations to selected tax-exempt groups be fully taxed as gifts.
The IRS admitted the groups examined were conservative, such as Tea Parties. The Miller memo appeared to confirm that he knowingly lied to Congress while under oath at least twice last year about predatory audits of conservative organizations. But Mr. Miller has told the press he is only resigning when his “acting assignment ends in early June.”
I was suspicious Mr. Miller’s resignation was an effort to prevent him from being required to testify again under oath on Friday to three Congressional Committees. But if Mr. Miller is staying until June, he must testify on Friday. With the President throwing the IRS Commissioner “under the bus,” Mr. Miller may be ready to throw former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Obama under the bus.
Steven T. Miller is a career civil servant at the IRS. He holds a Juris Doctorate law degree from George Washington University and a Master of Laws in taxation from Georgetown University. He has held several senior positions at the IRS and worked for a number of years as an attorney in the IRS Chief Counsel’s office. He also served as a Congressional staff member for the Joint Committee on Taxation. Holding prestigious law degrees and having given harsh warnings to senior IRS staff in 2011 to ban predatory examinations, it is doubtful Mr. Miller would have authorized continued examinations unless ordered to by his direct boss, former IRA Commissioner Douglas H Shulman.
Douglas H. Shulman was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate as IRS Commissioner on Friday March 14, 2008 at the youthful age of 41. Mr. Shulman formerly served as the Vice Chairman of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), at an even more youthful age, where he made a name for himself working closely with New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner, pioneering over-the-counter trading of derivatives by banks. As IRS Commissioner, he reported directly to Timothy Geithner as U.S. Treasury Secretary.
Over the next four days after his confirmation, the legendary Bear Stearns Brokerage firm collapsed, heralding the beginning the worst recession since the Great Depression. The U.S. Federal Reserve was required to take responsibility for $29 billion in toxic sub-prime assets from Bear Stearns’ portfolio. As the FINRA whiz-kid he was the regulatory architect that championed banks and brokerage firms’ taking on sub-prime asset leverage. Douglas Shulman again showed incredible timing for avoiding horrific personal blame for scandal by resigning on November 9, 2012, a day after the reelection of President Barack Obama.
By the time Barack Obama came into office in January of 2009, real estate was collapsing, the stock market was down by 40% and unemployment was about to vault to over 10%. President Obama summed up his opinions of leveraged banks on CBS’s “60 Minutes” stated: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.” Mr. Obama went on to say: “They’re still puzzled why it is that people are mad at the banks. Well, let’s see. You guys are drawing down $10, $20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it’s gone through in—in decades, and you guys caused the problem. And we’ve got 10% unemployment.”
It was always baffling to me that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman had managed to convince the President to not demand his resignation as punishment for his dubious leadership at FINRA that contributed to the financial crisis. As IRS Commissioner, Mr. Shulman must have received a copy of Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steven T. Miller’s memo of July 7, 2011 that screamed the audits and examinations had: “significant legal, administrative and policy implications with respect to which we have little enforcement history.” It is documented President Franklin Roosevelt used the IRS to investigate and intimidate his political enemies, so IRS Commissioner Shulman must have known that Mr. Miller was concerned the retaliation against conservative groups exceeded FDR’s using the IRS against political enemies.
The IRS continues to mislead the public, as Fox News reported that at least 471 tax-exempt organizations, not the 300 admitted to by the IRS, were examined with “extra scrutiny.” Then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner must have received a copy of the 2011 Miller memo, because it was written on Department of Treasury stationary and Shulman and Miller reported to him. Therefore, to find out if the IRS has been running a massive enemies list for the White House, Congress must demand that Timothy Geithner testify under oath.
Harry Truman said that he took personal responsibility for the actions of his Administration’s by saying: “Buck stops here.” Barack Obama said at his Benghazi press conference “there is no there, there.” The question the American people want to know about any illegal use of the IRS for political purposes, “Is there any here, here?” By Chriss Street.
During their second term, Presidents not only get tangled up in scandals but also become obsessed with “legacy.” This includes their performance as measured by the stock market. Many people can relate to it. Retirement depends on it. Outside of a few shorts, everyone wants it to go up. But President Obama must be biting his fingernails down to the quick
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri May 17, 2013 9:45 pm
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80% of Dept. of Energy loans went to companies owned by or connected to President Barack Obama’s top campaign fundraisers
From Rags to Riches on You and Your Neighbor’s Tax Dollars
By Jerry McConnell
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The wheels of TRUE justice, not those of the Obama-Holder unJustice Department, are beginning to move, if ever so slightly; but moving they do appear to be. With all the roadblocks the dastardly duo of Obama and Holder are placing in the path of progress, it’s a wonder that they are moving at all.
Those two conniving chameleons of corruptness and chicanery run the most illegitimate department of justice in the history of this one-time great country (BO – Before Obama). In fact, to call it the Justice Department is the most improper and nonfactual title that could be bestowed on it. Justice does not dwell within its parameters.
It is only fitting that officials holding office in the Congressional House of Representatives are finally stirring with comments that include the word ‘impeachment’. It is about time and probably close to FIVE years late; but I shouldn’t be saying “late” as it is NEVER too late to bring daylight to the dark and mysterious corridors of that terribly mismanaged and mishandled Executive Department. The apparent sins of the Treasury Department’s former tax-Cheat Secretary and currect Internal Revenue Service are childish when compared to the unJustice Department.
As columnist Wynton Hall has stated in a TownHall.com column “Report: Obama Spent $11.45 Million per ‘Green Job’ Created” online on May 08, 2013, that alone should have been enough ammunition for a legitimate Justice Department to get ITS wheels moving. But alas, no such thing at the Obama-Holder vice den of obfuscation and corruption.
Truthfully, the entire Energy Department loan guarantee program has been a veritable money fountain of wealth to Obamanistas and the man himself. As Wynton Hall says in his TownHall.com column: “In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to create 5 million “green jobs” if elected president. However, an analysis by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) finds that since 2009, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) $26 billion loan program created just 2,298 permanent jobs, at a cost of $11.45 million per job created.”
Any way you look at it two thousand, two hundred and ninety eight green jobs is one hell of a long way from FIVE MILLION green jobs; in other words, four million, nine hundred ninety seven thousand, seven hundred and two jobs short. And Obama PROMISED to CREATE FIVE MILLION GREEN JOBS. So far as I know the ONLY promise he has fulfilled during his whirlwind campaign prior to the election in November 2008 is that he would take care of his constituents and with 47 million of them on food stamps today he is keeping his word; AT OUR EXPENSE.
But let’s look at the BIG picture. That number of less than 3,000 jobs at $11.45 million per job comes to a total of $26.3 BILLION. Now you, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer are paying for those jobs. That’s your $26 billion plus that you paid in taxes with the honest expectation that it would be spent honestly; but you were wrong; DEAD WRONG! When this Administration smells or sees money they can figure a lot of ways to make it disappear. And their always-ready-to-collude, party members, are fully complicit.
As Mr. Hall states, “The losers are the American workers who would otherwise be gainfully employed but for the tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars on the administration’s obsession with ‘green energy,’” said Institute for Energy Research (IER) Policy Associate Alex Fitzsimmons. “As the economy continues to suffer and dollars for federal programs get harder to come by, it is getting increasingly difficult to defend a program that costs so much and produces so little.”
How many times has Obama passed billions of dollars on the “greening” of America only to see his campaign financiers take to create “green” corporations and then see them go belly up with all those tax dollars disappearing into thin air and Obama donors’ pockets.
In his New York Times bestselling book “Throw Them All Out”, Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer revealed that 80% of Department of Energy loans went to companies owned by or connected to President Barack Obama’s top campaign fundraisers.
Read that again – EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE DOE LOANS WENT TO OBAMA’S FUNDRAISERS. Who knows how much was skimmed off in the process.
Don’t forget, Obama came into politics from a job as a street hustler for public service, traditionally exceptionally POORLY paid work; today he is worth multi-millions. You do the math. It’s your money he has now and he is the only one still smiling in America.
SUCKER! How do you like that title, Mr. and Mrs. America?
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu May 16, 2013 4:04 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
The middle class American worker is in danger of becoming an endangered species. The politicians are not telling you the truth, and the mainstream media is certainly not telling you the truth, but the reality is that there is nothing but bad news on the horizon for workers in the United States. In the old days, when the big corporations that dominate our society did well, that also meant good things for American workers since those corporations would need more of us to work for them. But in the emerging one world economic system that our economy is being merged into, those corporations have other choices now. For instance, the big corporations can now choose to limit the number of “expensive” American workers that they employ by shipping millions of jobs to the other side of the world. And from their perspective, it makes perfect sense. They can make much bigger profits by hiring people on the other side of the planet to work for them for less than a dollar an hour. If they can get good production out of those people, then why should they hire Americans for ten to twenty times as much, plus have to give those Americans health insurance and other benefits? Another major factor in the slow, agonizing death of the American worker is technology. We live during a period when technology is advancing at a pace that is almost unimaginable at the same time that it is steadily becoming cheaper and cheaper. That means that it is going to become easier and easier for companies to replace workers with robots and computers. As I have written about previously, it is being projected that our economy will lose millions of jobs to technology in the coming years. Yes, some of us will still be needed to help build the robots and the computers, but not all of us will. And of course the overall general weakness of the economy is not helping matters either. The American people inherited the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, and we have wrecked it. Decades of very foolish decisions have resulted in the period of steady economic decline that we are experiencing now.
America is simply not the economic powerhouse that it once was. Back in 2001, the U.S. economy accounted for 31.8 percent of global GDP. By 2011, the U.S. economy only accounted for 21.6 percent of global GDP. That is a collapse any way that you want to look at it.
Today, American workers are living in an economy that is rapidly declining, and their jobs are steadily being stolen by robots, computers and foreign workers that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. Politicians from both political parties refuse to do anything to stop the bleeding because they think that the status quo is working just great.
So don’t expect things to get better any time soon.
The following are 10 amazing charts that demonstrate the slow, agonizing death of the American worker…
#1 Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP
As you can see, wages as a percentage of GDP are hovering near an all-time record low. That means that American workers are bringing home a smaller share of the economic pie than ever before.
#2 Average Annual Hours Worked Per Employed Person In The United States
We are an economy that is rapidly trading good paying full-time jobs for low paying part-time jobs. The decline in average annual hours worked that we have witnessed represents the equivalent of losing millions of jobs. There has been an explosion of “the working poor” in the United States, and this trend is probably only going to accelerate in the years to come.
#3 Manufacturing Employment
As you can see, there are less Americans working in manufacturing today than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then. The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001, and yet our politicians stand around and do nothing about it.
#4 Employment-Population Ratio
This is one of my favorite charts. It shows that there has been absolutely no employment recovery at all since the end of the last recession. The percentage of working age Americans that have a job has stayed under 59 percent for 44 months in a row. How much worse will things get when the next major economic downturn strikes?
#5 Labor Force Participation Rate
This is how the Obama administration is getting the “unemployment rate” to magically go down. They are pretending that millions upon millions of Americans simply do not want to work anymore. As you will notice, the decline of the labor force participation rate has accelerated greatly since Barack Obama entered the White House.
#6 Duration Of Unemployment
The average amount of time that it takes an unemployed worker to find a new job has declined slightly, but it is still far above normal historical levels. It is a crying shame that it takes the average unemployed worker two-thirds of a year to find a new job, but this is the new economic reality that we are all living in.
#7 Delinquency Rate On Residential Mortgages
Since there are not enough jobs for all of us, and since our wages are not rising as rapidly as the cost of living is, a whole bunch of us are falling behind on our mortgages. As you can see, the mortgage delinquency rate has only dropped slightly and is still way, way above typical levels.
#8 New Homes Sold
American workers also don’t have enough money to go out and buy new homes either. Yes, new home sales have rebounded slightly this year, but we are nowhere near where we used to be.
#9 Consumer Credit
Millions of American families continue to resort to going into debt in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. After a slight interruption during the last recession, consumer credit once again is growing at a frightening pace.
#10 Self-Employment At A Record Low
Since there aren’t enough jobs for everyone, why aren’t more Americans trying to start their own businesses? Well, the reality of the matter is that the government has made it exceedingly difficult to start your own business today. Taxes, rules, regulations and red tape are choking the life out of millions of small businesses in the United States. As a result, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at a record low.
The numbers don’t lie. Today, the number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceeds the entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.
We are in the midst of a horrifying economic collapse, and the next major wave of that collapse is rapidly approaching.
Are you ready?
View full post on The Economic Collapse
US Government seizes accounts of the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange
by SIMON BLACK on MAY 16, 2013
In another demonstration that the United States is no longer the Land of the Free, the Department of Homeland Security has just seized the US bank accounts belonging to Mt. Gox, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange. This certainly underscores the importance, once again, of diversifying internationally.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a seizure warrant to Dwolla, a US e-commerce company that provides online payments, for the money in Mt. Gox’s Dwolla account. The seizure of funds was triggered by an alleged failure of the company to comply with US financial regulations.
This is just another reminder of how governments operate when the going gets tough– they regulate, monitor, confiscate, restrict, and steal.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu May 16, 2013 10:34 am
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IRS Employees Disproportionately Donate to Obama
Statistics reveal an imbalance in a nominally nonpartisan agency. By Andrew Stiles
Andrew Stiles President Barack Obama received more than twice as much in campaign donations from IRS employees in 2012 as did his opponent, Mitt Romney, records show.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which maintains an online database of political contributions, individuals listing their employer as “IRS” or “Internal Revenue Service” donated a total of $48,827 to Obama in 2012 and gave just $20,361 to Romney. That disparity is mild compared with that of 2008, when IRS employees donated $59,959 to Obama, and just $1,950 to his challenger John McCain.
Slightly over 100 IRS employees donated to Obama in 2012, while only 25 contributed to Romney, according to the database, and most contributed less than $1,000. At least one of the IRS employees who donated to Obama in 2012 — Kim Kitchens — appears to have worked in the agency’s Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements office in Cincinnati, Ohio, as of October 2012, according to IRS documents.
AdvertisementThe IRS is under fire this week after a report by the Treasury Department’s inspector general found that agency employees engaged in “inappropriate targeting” of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. Groups had their applications significantly delayed, for years in some cases, and were asked to answer dozens of invasive questions. USA Today reported that even as tea-party groups had their applications delayed for more than two years, similar liberal organizations were swiftly approved for tax-exempt status.
Although IRS officials initially said the wrongdoing was limited to a few “front-line people” in the Cincinnati office, subsequent reports reveal that IRS offices in California and Washington, D.C., were also involved. Senior officials, including acting commissioner Steven Miller, were aware of the targeting as early as May 2012. A number of Republican lawmakers have called on Miller to resign; he is sure to face contentious questioning on Friday when he testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee.
With only two politically appointed employees, the IRS is nominally one of the least partisan bodies in the federal government. In statement released last week, the IRS acknowledged that “mistakes were made” but denied that “any political or partisan rationale” was involved.
President Obama on Tuesday called the behavior revealed in the Treasury inspector general’s report “intolerable and inexcusable” and promised to “hold those responsible for these failures accountable.” However, White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to say Wednesday whether any IRS employees should be fired. “I’m not going to get into specifics about what outcomes should happen here,” he told reporters.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed May 15, 2013 5:38 pm
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