Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cruising the Web

Whenever you hear Krugman and his ideological compatriots in Europe complain about austerity, remember that austerity hasn't yet been tried either here or there.

Tim Carney explains why the IRS would tend to target conservative groups. You don't have to believe that there were specific orders from political appointees. Most IRS employees are Democrats and they're surrounded by Democrats. No wonder they distrusted Tea Party groups.
If you're a federal employee, and a member of the National Treasury Employees' Union, you may not see how it serves "social welfare" to advocate shrinking the government, cutting taxes and slashing spending.

Documents made public show that the IRS asked applicants, "Indicate your position regarding each issue" on which they worked. Why does it matter what position a group took? Maybe one side of an issue is considered more political than the other....

Without positing a conspiracy or bad motives, it's easy to see why the IRS would stack the deck against conservatives.

Here's the problem: As long as we have a civil service workforce that leans Left, and as long as we have an income tax system that requires the IRS to police political speech, conservative groups can always expect special IRS scrutiny.
Michael Barone has an interesting look at Obama's use of the 1917 Espionage Act and the law's history from WWI.

P.J. O'Rourke issues some fighting words - he calls President Obama stupid.
But the most likely reason that we don’t call President Obama stupid is that it’s such a cul-de-sac of a word. Stupid gives the pundit nothing to perform punditry upon. Call a man ignorant and you have license to show the world your vast fund of knowledge and wise him up. Call a man misguided and you transform your column or blog post or TV appearance into a valuable and beneficent German shepherd with a handle on its back and you lead the poor soul in his blindness. Call a man, best of all, wicked and you get to don the sacramental vestments, climb into the pulpit and thunder forth with such a sermon as to bring him weeping to the font of righteousness or cause the Lord God Almighty to strike him with a thunderbolt in his pew or something fun like that. But call a man stupid and . . . there it is.

And there it is: Dopey stimulus, obtuse bailout, noodle-headed Obamacare, half-wit Dodd-Frank, damfool IRS Tea Party crashers, AP and Fox News beset by oafish peeping Toms and the Benghazi tale told by an idiot. One could go on. Stupid is a great force in human affairs. And the great force has a commander in chief.
If we're enduring such a tough sequestration, why is the federal government advertising for 27,000 new jobs openings?

If the press is truly turning on Obama, William Tucker has some suggestions for stories that haven't received much coverage about the Obama administration that the media could begin covering. But don't hold your breath. They aren't that angry with Obama and they never will be. Ideology will always trump whatever disappointment they might feel with Obama.

Don't blame Apple for taking advantage of the laws that Congress has written.

The Red Cross still hasn't spent more than a third of the money they raised to assist victims of Sandy.

The WSJ explains the dangers of allowing the government to define what is illegal reporting.

Jennifer Rubin explains how Obama's approach to foreign policy is mostly about imagery.
The speak-loudly-carry-a-small-stick routine (and do it in secret) makes for bad policy. And it requires him to clamp down on the media, demonize critics, spin cover stories, stonewall investigators and control the message. For if he does not, it becomes apparent from a variety of figures not compelled to spin the Obama line just how poorly he is doing his job and how badly he has let threats get out of hand.
Bush made gutsy calls and never flinched from action, although his public diplomacy and communication skills were poor and he was racked by unremitting leaks. Still, that’s a better deal than a president who never wants to do much of anything but has been, until now, quite adept at snowing the public and abusing the media. Maybe if Obama’s policies were better he’d have to spin less and not crack down on the media.

Michael Gerson explains how the IRS has overreached in its grab for power to implement Obamacare by going beyond what the law allows. David Catron has more. And that is why the IRS Commissioner was meeting so often in the White House.

Some of the biggest spending agencies in the government lack an inspector general.

Gerson's complain joins a whole list of issues where the Obama administration is demonstrating its contempt for the rule of law.