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Anonymous Cincinnati IRS official: “Everything comes from the top.”

A story in the Washington Post yesterday about the Internal Revenue Service’s Cincinnati office, which does most of the agency’s nonprofit auditing, clearly contradicted earlier reports that the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups was the result of rogue agents.

The Post story anonymously quoted a staffer in Cincinnati as saying they only operate on directives from headquarters:

As could be expected, the folks in the determinations unit on Main Street have had trouble concentrating this week. Number crunchers, whose work is nonpolitical, don’t necessarily enjoy the spotlight, especially when the media and the public assume they’re engaged in partisan villainy.

“We’re not political,’’ said one determinations staffer in khakis as he left work late Tuesday afternoon. “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.”

The staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said that the determinations unit is competent and without bias, that it grouped together conservative applications “for consistency’s sake” — so one application did not sail through while a similar one was held up in review. This consistency is paramount in the review of all applications, according to Ronald Ran, an estate-tax lawyer who worked for 37 years in the IRS’s Cincinnati office.

This pretty plainly contradicts the story coming out of the IRS that rogue agents in Cincinnati were responsible:

News of (acting IRS commissioner Steve) Miller’s resignation followed revelations that the IRS has identified two “rogue” employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for the “overly aggressive” handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status, a congressional source told CNN.

Miller said the staffers have already been disciplined, according to another source familiar with Miller’s discussions with congressional investigators. The second source said Miller emphasized that the problem with IRS handling of tax-exempt status for tea party groups was not limited to these two employees.

In related news, I also noted how the Post’s story on the Cincinnati office also appears to contradict what Miller told Congress this week about how many auditors the IRS has covering nonprofit groups. Miller said the figure was between 140-200, but the Post story puts the figure at 900. The Post doesn’t source the figure, but presumably that also came from people the reporters talked with in Cincinnati.

Source

These New Developments Could Be Paving The Way For Military Action In Iran

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An Iranian Ghader missile launched at the shore of sea of Oman.

Robert Johnson

There are so many snippets of rhetoric being reported about Iran, Israel and the U.S. that it’s begun to feel like a middle school circle of “he said, she said.”

Piecing together sound bites to form a rough idea of what’s actually going on is about the only option available right now, so when Leon Panetta announced yesterday that he thinks Israel may strike Iran this spring it immediately made the news.

David Ignatius at The Washington Post reported Panetta’s thoughts Thursday when the Secretary of Defense said he believed Israel would launch an attack on Iran in April, May or June.

After that, Israel allegedly believes Tehran will enter a “zone of immunity” where they will have enough enriched uranium, stashed in bunkers deep enough, that only U.S. bombs will be able to penetrate and they will be helpless to act on their own.

Ignatius did not cite a source, but reported the news from Brussels where Panetta was attending a NATO Defense meeting.

It’s a reasonable argument that is bolstered by the fact that Israel cancelled its massive missile defense drill with the U.S., slated for the same period, saying that they couldn’t spare the forces at that time. The drill is said to be back on the books for October.

For its part, Iran is doing nothing to assuage any concerns over its intentions as it launched a satellite into orbit Friday.

Nasser Karimi at the Associated Press reports the launch raises concerns not only for the satellites possible military applications, but because the rocket that delivered it uses the same technology as a ballistic missile would use. Say, an inter-continental ballistic missile fitted with a nuclear warhead.

Israel announced Thursday that Iran is developing technology that will enable it to launch such a missile that will reach the continental United States. This satellite launch only reinforces this possibility.

In an official announcement the Iranian supreme leader warned any action against Iran will have dire effects on the U.S.

CNN reports that Iran’s supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameni announced “You see every now and then in this way they say that all options are on the table. That means even the option of war.” During Friday prayers in Tehran, he continued, “This is how they make threats against us.”

“Well, these kinds of threats are detrimental to the U.S.,” he said. “The war itself will be 10 times as detrimental to the U.S.”

The Ayatollah went on to say that Iran pledges its full support to any country or organization that attacks Israel and that the U.S. and Israel will soon face defeats in a coming “great event.”

In a random aside: A South African telecom is being sued for aiding Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for an exclusive cellular license within the country.

Read more: BI

The Chinese Role Model Collapses on the Progressives

April 24, 2011

By Ed Lasky

For years, China‘s high-speed rail and green energy programs have been portrayed as miracles that America must follow to remain “in the game.”  During the last two years and counting, American taxpayers have been put on the hook for tens of billions of dollars as Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress promote agendas that would supposedly emulate China and lead us to Nirvana.  What is the trouble with this picture?  It has been one giant mirage.

The Washington Post runs a column by one of their finest journalists, Charles Lane, that honestly portrays the Chinese high-speed train project as being a high-speed boondoggle mired in financial and other problems:

For the past eight years, Liu Zhijun was one of the most influential people in China. As minister of railways, Liu ran China’s $300 billion high-speed rail project. U.S., European and Japanese contractors jostled for a piece of the business while foreign journalists gushed over China’s latest high-tech marvel.

Today, Liu Zhijun is ruined, and his high-speed rail project is in trouble. On Feb. 25, he was fired for “severe violations of discipline” – code for embezzling tens of millions of dollars. Seems his ministry has run up $271 billion in debt – roughly five times the level that bankrupted General Motors. But ticket sales can’t cover debt service that will total $27.7 billion in 2011 alone. Safety concerns also are cropping up.

Faced with a financial and public relations disaster, China put the brakes on Liu’s program. On April 13, the government cut bullet-train speeds 30 mph to improve safety, energy efficiency and affordability. The Railway Ministry’s tangled finances are being audited. Construction plans, too, are being reviewed.

Liu’s legacy, in short, is a system that could drain China’s economic resources for years. So much for the grand project that Thomas Friedman of the New York Times likened to a “moon shot” and that President Obama held up as a model for the United States.

In China, as in the US, high speed rail is expensive.  Huge amounts of money have to be laid out for construction, tracts, and equipment, and getting ticket revenue sufficient to cover costs is problematic.  Bullet train lines in Japan, China, and Taiwan all needed bailouts.  All but one of France’s bullet train lines loses money.

While Barack Obama has been promoting high-speed rail projects for years (perhaps to give Vice-President Joe Biden something to do with his time, since he was scheduled to be put in charge of this effort), the rise of the Republicans and the resultant budget deal with Barack Obama derailed his dream project.  Governors (among them was newly elected Rick Scott of Florida) opposed the projects because, while federal seed money would start the projects, state taxpayers would be saddled with all the resultant problems from operating the money drains.  The administration, acting in typical fashion, then threatened transportation funding for obstreperous Governors and indicated it would send the federal money to other states more willing to fall in line with the Obama agenda.

China has also been hailed as a role model of green energy development.  Again, Americans were told by Barack Obama and his acolytes that we would fall behind the curve of history if we did not plunge rapidly into the green energy movement-the technology for the next century.  To further these efforts billions were spent as part of the stimulus program, and billions of additional taxpayer money (via grants, loans, loan guarantees, mandated purchase requirements, etc) flowed to promoters of renewable energy projects.

In reality, many of these “projects” were wasteful green schemes that all too often enriched “friends and family” (and donors) of Democratic powers-that-be (including Barack Obama).  At the same time, to further these efforts, the Obama team has been busy trying to choke off the exploration and development of our vast resources of oil, coal, and gas.  They have used suspect means to cut Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production, imposed a de facto drilling permit slowdown that has been so Machiavellian that a federal judge was compelled to hold the Obama administration in contempt, slashed the leasing of federal lands for energy exploration, proposed the slashing of subsidies that have promoted the production of energy at relatively little costs, proposed a vast array of regulations (such as the EPA’s assault on American business and energy consumers) that would crimp development of our own domestic — and to a great extent — land based carbon wealth.

There are good reasons George Soros — sugar daddy of the Democratic Party — has been investing in green schemes.  He has tilted the playing field in his direction via his leverage over the Democratic Party.

Our own fact-based energy revolution is endangered by Obama and Democrat policies.  Vast new fields of readily tapped shale gas have already dramatically brought down the price of natural gas, saving consumers billions of dollars, revitalizing communities that lie above these reserves, creating jobs and revenue for city and state governments across America.  These shale gas pockets are massive pockets indeed and are ideally, if not providentially, located near where most Americans live.  Additionally, the land footprints of these operations are tiny.

This proximity to end consumers would make transport quite cheap and easy compared to the need to use in-the-middle of nowhere locations of solar and wind farms (that occupy vast swaths of land) to provide negligible amounts of very expensive and unreliable power.  The goal, evidently, it to push us into “the green future” (and into the hands of green energy “profiteers”) and trump China’s green energy industry.

But the China model is cracking at the seams, as it is in Spain and other nations that have rushed to embrace green energy.  The problem is that it is a dream and not based on facts, as Bjorn Lomborg reminds us in a Washington Post column.  He notes that China has been held up by Western elites  as the model “green energy”giant:

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman described China’s “green leap forward” as “the most important thing to happen” at the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

But the facts do not support this “green” success story.

China indeed invests more than any other nation in environmentally friendly energy production: $34 billion in 2009, or twice as much as the United States. Almost all of its investment, however, is spent producing green energy for Western nations that pay heavy subsidies for consumers to use solar panels and wind turbines.

China was responsible for half of the world’s production of solar panels in 2010, but only 1 percent was installed there. Just as China produces everything from trinkets to supertankers, it is exporting green technology — which makes it a giant of manufacturing, not of environmental friendliness. (snip)

A 2008 Citigroup analysis found that about one-third of China’s wind power assets were not in use. Many turbines are not connected to the transmission grid. Chinese power companies built wind turbines that they didn’t use as the cheapest way of satisfying — on paper — government requirements to boost renewable energy capacity….

The vast bulk of Chinese energy (87%) is provided by burning coal.  Much of the rest comes from biomass and water power.  The widely heralded green program of China is a Big Lie reminiscent of the 5 Year Plans, Great Leaps Forward, and other communist slogans that broadcast the agitprop that communist regimes will leave us in the dust.  The only green thing about the Chinese Green Miracle is the number of American dollars enriching that nation at our expense.

Meanwhile, China is embarking on an ambitious program of the one type of green energy that makes sense (despite the Japanese disaster): nuclear power.  Once these nuclear power plants are running, China will be blessed with clean and cheap energy.  Meanwhile, President Obama may talk about nuclear power but has effectively shut it down by closing down Yucca as our depository for nuclear waste-after billions of dollars have been spent to prepare this isolated location in Nevada to accept and store spent fuel.  Senator Harry Reid may be pleased that he was blessed with this “favor”; the rest of America should not be.

There are certainly reasons people like Barack Obama favor big dreamy projects such as high-speed rail and renewable energy programs.  Perhaps it is the narcissism that drives so much of the Obama agenda — his desire to “fundamentally transform” America and leave permanent landmarks to his own presidency.  There is no space left on Mount Rushmore but plenty of space for rail tracks and solar and wind farms.

Some people throughout the twentieth century been gullible gulpers of the propaganda that communist dictatorships are utopian role models worthy of being emulated (Paul Kengor’s superb book, Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century, charts this sorry history).  Lincoln Steffens was one of the leading journalists of the first quarter of the twentieth-century and what he said of Soviet Communism after a Potemkin-like tour there has echoes that have persisted into the twenty-first century: “I have been over into the future, and it works.”  Well, given the benefit of hindsight, we have seen how well that view reflected reality.

Perhaps, Barack Obama truly believes his mission is a God-like one: to stop the rise of the oceans and heal the planets.  He and other cosseted academics with little real-world experience are inclined to adopt the view that elites should be social engineers and be given vast powers to impose their will on the American people.

We have certainly seen this movie before: our health care, the auto industry, the world of finance, the environment, the octopus that his Consumer Protection Agency will likely become.  Americans should not be trusted — bitter clingers or not.  But elites stride above the common folk and should be endowed with massive powers to control society and determine our future.  This seems to be the mindset of Tom Friedman and Barack Obama: one regularly holds up China as a role model and the other wishes he were the leader of China.  Many of us may agree with the latter idea.

But their dreams are just that — fantasies concocted by them that bear little relation to reality.  If they are successful in promoting their grand ambitions, their dreams will become our nightmares.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.

Original Article

George Soros Holding Two Events To Takedown The USA by Controlling Finance and Media

April – 6 – 2011

Dan Gainor @ FOX News:

Apparently, megalomaniacs need schedulers.

Just ask George Soros. The left-wing billionaire is helping fund two major conferences that start on the same day, in two different locations just a three hours apart by car. Two liberal events packed into one long weekend. God created the world in six days. Apparently, Soros, who sees himself as “some kind of god,”needs just a long weekend to start remaking today’s world in his image.

The emphasis of both conferences is a familiar one to American voters – change. Soros wants to begin changing the global economy in one event. In the other, his flunkies want to “Change the world. Change the media.”

Now that is change you can believe in. Sadly, those who actually report the news must believe in it because they sure as heck aren’t reporting on Soros or either event. And that’s even though staffers or even executives from Reuters, the Financial Times, NPR, PBS, The Washington Post and other major media outlets are speaking at one event or the other.

The first gathering in Bretton Woods, N.H., is an economic conference Soros once described as “a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order.” In October 2009, Soros committed $50 million to the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). A week later, the glib lefty investor wrote a column calling for a new Bretton Woods event, to recreate the one that helped design the post-WWII economy. Only he wants this one to knock America down a peg or three.

Now, it’s been a little over a year later and the group he funded is making King George’s wish come true – bringing together a whole slew of important people to discuss how to change the global economy. In Soros speak, that means “establish new international rules” and “reform the currency system.”

The announced speakers include a lot of prominent lefties, globalists and economists on the board of the organization he has throwing the event – more than two-thirds of the overall total have ties to Soros. To underscore their connection to history, INET is hosting the conference at the Mount Washington Resort, the very same hotel that held the first gathering.

[…]

Just down the road in Boston, a Soros-funded media conference is trying to manipulate that emerging order as well. Close to 350 left-wingers from a variety of organizations are gathering there for the National Conference for Media Reform.

That “change the world” conference includes two commissioners from the FCC, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bernie Sanders, four Democratic representatives, the head of Columbia University, and assorted left-wing journalist types, from Salon’s Glenn Greenwald to disgraced former MSNBC host David Shuster, who now works for a Soros-funded investigative operation.

Apparently, megalomaniacs need schedulers.

Just ask George Soros. The left-wing billionaire is helping fund two major conferences that start on the same day, in two different locations just a three hours apart by car. Two liberal events packed into one long weekend. God created the world in six days. Apparently, Soros, who sees himself as “some kind of god,”needs just a long weekend to start remaking today’s world in his image.

The emphasis of both conferences is a familiar one to American voters – change. Soros wants to begin changing the global economy in one event. In the other, his flunkies want to “Change the world. Change the media.”

Now that is change you can believe in. Sadly, those who actually report the news must believe in it because they sure as heck aren’t reporting on Soros or either event. And that’s even though staffers or even executives from Reuters, the Financial Times, NPR, PBS, The Washington Post and other major media outlets are speaking at one event or the other.

The first gathering in Bretton Woods, N.H., is an economic conference Soros once described as “a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order.” In October 2009, Soros committed $50 million to the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). A week later, the glib lefty investor wrote a column calling for a new Bretton Woods event, to recreate the one that helped design the post-WWII economy. Only he wants this one to knock America down a peg or three.

Now, it’s been a little over a year later and the group he funded is making King George’s wish come true – bringing together a whole slew of important people to discuss how to change the global economy. In Soros speak, that means “establish new international rules” and “reform the currency system.”

The announced speakers include a lot of prominent lefties, globalists and economists on the board of the organization he has throwing the event – more than two-thirds of the overall total have ties to Soros. To underscore their connection to history, INET is hosting the conference at the Mount Washington Resort, the very same hotel that held the first gathering.

INET Executive Robert Johnson defended his event in a March 31 interview with Lou Dobbs. Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, who is on the Board of Directors for the Soros-funded Economic Policy Institute, avoided saying “Soros” despite Dobbs mentioning Johnson’s boss several times. In his last response, he tried to rationalize the Soros connection, by saying “I have a group of funders including George Soros.” With $50 million, Soros alone makes a pretty big group. Of course, Soros will also be speaking in Bretton Woods about The Emerging Economic and Political Order.”

Just down the road in Boston, a Soros-funded media conference is trying to manipulate that emerging order as well. Close to 350 left-wingers from a variety of organizations are gathering there for the National Conference for Media Reform.

That “change the world” conference includes two commissioners from the FCC, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bernie Sanders, four Democratic representatives, the head of Columbia University, and assorted left-wing journalist types, from Salon’s Glenn Greenwald to disgraced former MSNBC host David Shuster, who now works for a Soros-funded investigative operation.

The rest of the list reads like a “Who’s Who” of left-wing organizations and talking heads, including the president of PBS, a senior vice president with American Public Media, an Al Jazeera English executive, the president of the Newspaper Guild – CWA and Washington Post columnist Rob Pegoraro. Many others have Soros connections, such as:

Common Cause, which has been going after conservative Supreme Court justices who have some connection to the Koch brothers. Common Cause seems immune to similar investigations of their own gravy train.

Columbia Journalism Review’s Dean Starkman. He is chief of the review’s “The Audit” section and a 2006 Katrina Media Fellow with the Open Society Institute, the primary Soros charitable foundation.

Free Press, which is holding the conference. Free Press has received more than $1 million from Soros since 2003 and has 18 presenters pushing for things like “strong public media” or an extremely expensive national broadband plan they quaintly describe as “universal access to communications.”

Think Progress’s Koch-hating Lee Fang. Think Progress is a project of Democrat John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, which was founded with Soros money. Fang is on the panel for: “Real Issues vs. Astroturf: Confronting the Koch Brothers,” and makes the laughable claim “this is not about liberals versus conservatives” when the entire goal of the left is to shut down the Kochs to defund the right.

Everywhere you they go in Boston, they’ll be making more left turns than NASCAR. It’s an event filled with lefties dissatisfied that the news media aren’t even more liberal, and their goal will be to make that happen. Whether it’s “Beyond Pronouns: Creating Real Stories About Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People” or pushing for illegal immigrant rights, the conference is a predictable liberal take on pretty much everything.

But the over-arching theme is getting government to fix the media. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, whose school also includes the well-known and partly Soros-funded Columbia School of Journalism, is one of several speakers advocating for increased government funding for media. He called for federal funding of the media in a 2010 Wall Street Journal piece with the terrifying headline: “Journalism Needs Government Help.” Bollinger pushed for the creation of a public media that combines NPR, PBS and Voice of America. He also wants to “end to the regulation of ‘indecent’ language and images in broadcast programming” and return to the Fairness Doctrine.

Two other speakers, Free Press founder Robert McChesney and co-author John Nichols, have been pushing for $35 billion a year to fund media. Though their solution has gone from $20 billion a year for three years to $35 billion indefinitely, they are consistent in wanting U.S. media to be more like it is in Europe and oppose the “fantasy of a free-market solution.”

That’s not surprising. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who is speaking at both conferences, is wildly critical of people who support free markets, or what he calls “free market fundamentalists.” Free markets are directly in opposition with the Soros-funded group think that sees Big Government as merely a starting point for Ever Bigger Government.

This weekend, we get two visions of taxpayer-funded solution, only most in the news media are too short-sighted to see them.

Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.

( Original Article )

foxnews.com

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