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A Further Perspective

The Real ‘Dirty Dozen’ at the IRS

By 2.19.15

The IRS just released its “dirty dozen” list of tax scams and schemes for the American people to avoid. In addition to normal phishing and identity theft, a slew of new phone scams around the nation has caught many taxpayers off guard. Plus, unscrupulous return preparers take advantage of confused Americans, especially given that 60 percent of taxpayers need assistance figuring out all those documents, tables, and exemptions. The list also warns the less honest among us to avoid hiding money offshore, in abusive tax shelters, or with false documents. Additionally, it urges people not to falsify income or claim too much in fuel tax credits, either.

But there is an even more concerning “dirty dozen” list that the IRS wants the public to forget.

It’s been almost two years since the news broke that the IRS had been targeting Tea Party, pro-Israel, and other conservative groups — and a scandal erupted. Here are just a select few ways the IRS has mismanaged its problems and shown itself to be incompetent and untrustworthy:

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Main Street U.S.A.

The President Who Doesn’t Get It

By 2.18.15

A number of maxims surround the practice of war.

The main maxim runs to this effect: When you get attacked, fight back. Unless, to be sure, you don’t care whether you win or lose — an option, to be sure, not given to American presidents and other national leaders, assuming, to be sure, they take with maximum seriousness their obligation to the security of their people and their people’s freedom.

Days after the mass beheadings of Coptic Christians in Libya, profoundly serious questions linger in the air. Does Barack Obama know what’s going on all around him? Does he have the slightest inkling?

Such questions have seemingly a sarcastic edge. No sarcasm is intended. Six years of practice seem to have left our president scratching around for clues to the meaning of all the current onslaughts against peace, order and human dignity. If George W. Bush was in many Americans’ minds a club-wielding Neolithic when it came to foreign policy, Barack Obama is in many minds a daisy-picking amateur poet, detached from the large foreign policy questions swirling around him — detached nearly to the point of indifference.

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The Obama Watch

Axelrod’s Admission

By 2.18.15

David Axelrod makes it plain in his new book that President Obama’s opposition to gay marriage was a fraud from the start. Axelrod makes it equally clear that he supported the lie, encouraging Obama to see it as a good politics.

“Gay marriage was a particularly nagging issue. For as long as we had been working together, Obama had felt a tug between his personal views and the politics of gay marriage. As a candidate for the state senate in 1996 from liberal Hyde Park, he signed a questionnaire promising his support for legalization. I had no doubt that this was his heartfelt belief,” Axelrod writes.

Obama told Axelrod, “I just don't feel my marriage is somehow threatened by the gay couple next door.” But Obama agreed with his advisers that supporting gay marriage publicly would cost him too many votes. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,’” writes Axelrod.

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Campus Scenes

Damaging Admissions

By 2.18.15

Opponents of charter schools have claimed that these schools are “cherry-picking” the students they admit, and that this explains why many charter schools get better educational results with less money than public schools do.

Many controversies about how students should be admitted to educational institutions, especially those supported by the taxpayers, betray a fundamental confusion about what these institutions are there for. This applies to both schools and colleges.

Admitting students strictly on the basis of their academic qualifications, which might seem to be common sense, is rejected by many college admissions committees.

A dean of admissions at Harvard, years ago, said, “the question we ask is: how well has this person used the opportunities available to him or her?” In other words, the issue is seen as which of the competing applicants are more deserving. Since some people have had far better educational opportunities than others, that is supposed to be taken into account in deciding whom to admit.

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Another Perspective

It’s the Virgins, Stupid

By 2.17.15

Eric Holder is planning conferences on the root causes of terrorism. That was his excuse for sitting out the “I am Charlie” demonstrations, even though he was in Paris at the time. That was a non sequitur, of course. No reason why you can’t do both. But there was a bigger story here. Why was the Attorney General representing us?

I can see why the President wasn’t there. He didn’t want to run into Bibi Netanyahu. Plus he has a major problem condemning terrorism.

But the Attorney General? That makes sense only if the attacks in Paris (and Denmark, and Ottawa, and London, and Madrid) should be seen as crimes, not terrorism. And root causes? We know who Holder has been reaching out to here—his Islamist buddies, including the Moslem Brotherhood. And we know their diagnosis: a lack of respect for Islam—Islamophobia—especially the kind that is said to occur immediately after some guy opens fire on innocent men, women and children while yelling “Allahu Akbar.” That the anti-Moslem violence never eventuates is irrelevant. By asserting their “anxiety” loudly and often, the Islamist sympathizers distract attention from the violence that actually occurred.

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The Obama Watch

If Obama Treated Race As He Treats Islam

By 2.17.15

 

Well this will be interesting.

The White House has announced that come March 7th President Obama will travel to Selma, Alabama, to mark the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” — the famous civil rights march that ended with a savage attack by 100 Alabama state police under the control of Democratic Governor George Wallace. The marchers — some 600 African-Americans on their way to Montgomery to demand voting rights — had to cross the Alabama River over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The state police major in charge was sought out to discuss the situation by Southern Christian Leadership Conference leader Hosea Williams. The response: “There is no word to be had… you have two minutes to turn around and go back to your church.” The marchers kept marching and within minutes they were attacked by horseback riding cops and slammed with tear gas. As noted at the African-American registry: “The incident was seen on national television while 16 marchers ended up in the hospital and another 50 received emergency treatment.”

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Political Hay

Better Questions

By 2.17.15

This month it has become apparent that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is a major candidate in the 2016 GOP primary race, and thus the predictable media assault on his character and intelligence has begun.

Every GOP candidate for national office gets the third degree from the Democrat press, and since Walker hails from a state where hostility to Republicans among the public employee union crowd and the loopier-than-usual university Left takes a back seat only to California in its gusto, he’s surely prepared for the current wave of attacks. After all, some $140 million was spent by the unions and the Democrats’ other sugar-daddies to keep Walker out of the governor’s mansion in Madison in three elections over four years, and Walker neither moderated his conservative positions nor lost a race. This is a man who can take a punch.

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Ben Stein's Diary

So Little to Complain About

By 2.17.15

Wednesday
Orlando. I flew down here from Charlotte yesterday. I had been staying with my big wifey in Greenville, SC, to visit our son, Tommy, whom you all know, gorgeous daughter-in-law, The Kitten, and sweet sweet sweet Coco, our granddaughter, and our beloved Poinsett Club. The trip was a disaster for my wifey, who came down with a bad flu after flying. But our super fabulous driver, Bob Noah, who is really like more of a little brother to me than an employee, a voraciously eating little brother, made our trip easier and it all went well. He drove us with his usual flair. We stopped at a Burger King in Lawrenceville, Ga., where the whole crew was excited to meet me and took my picture.

Good news.… Tommy has gotten so clever and so apt in his phraseology that I believe he surpassed me some time ago. I love that kid soooo much. He really is a philosopher in some ways. And our daughter in law, The Kitten, is so beautiful it should be illegal. And our granddaughter is a dream. Enuf bragging. (That’s what we grandparents mostly do.)

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Another Perspective

Glib ‘Happy Talk’

By 2.17.15

When Alfred E. Neuman said “What me worry?” on the cover of Mad magazine, it was funny. But this message was not nearly as funny coming from President Barack Obama and his National Security Advisor, Susan Rice.

In a musical comedy, it would be hilarious to have the president send out his “happy talk” message by someone whose credibility was already thoroughly discredited by her serial lies on television about the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012.

Unfortunately — indeed, tragically — the world today is about as far from a musical comedy as you can get, with terrorists rampaging across the Middle East, leaving a trail of unspeakable atrocities in their wake, and with Iran moving closer to producing a nuclear bomb, with an intercontinental missile on the horizon.

We will be lucky to get through the remainder of President Obama’s term in office without a major catastrophe, from which we may or may not recover.

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Special Report

A Private School on a Public Scale

By 2.17.15

RALEIGH, N.C. — Are private schools the sole domain of blue bloods, or should they — can they — be available to all Americans? That’s a major challenge faced by the school-choice community nationwide, not only from a practical standpoint, but from a messaging perspective as well.

A small test is being conducted in North Carolina that could prove to be a model for national success. Located in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro region, Thales Academy is a K-12 college preparatory private school that is tearing down the private-school cost barrier. What’s more, the schools are showing that quality instruction and a high price tag need not go hand-in-hand.

Although Wake County boasts some of the best public schools in the nation (a point that local residents will debate endlessly), Thales Academy has local public-school zealots in a tizzy. The combination of quality instruction and comparatively inexpensive tuition are the main driving factors in its growth. Parents here in Wake County are on waiting lists for magnet and charter schools. Demand far exceeds supply.

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