IRS harassment of pro-life groups

More increasingly alarming details are coming out about the IRS scandal.  See this, for the kind of intrusive information the IRS demanded.  See also this and this for how liberal organizations applying for the same status were routinely and quickly approved, no questions asked.  And how as many as 500 conservative organizations were targeted.  We are also learning that the IRS was harassing pro-life groups as far back in 2009!  Not just making them fill out lots of forms and delaying approval for two years and more.  But forbidding pro-life leaders from sidewalk counseling and from protesting in front of Planned Parenthood abortuaries! [Read more...]

IRS gave confidential info to left-wing journalists

More malfeasance by the IRS.  The progressive journalism site ProPublica admits that the IRS sent them confidential material from conservative groups.  ProPublica had requested information about organizations whose tax exempt status was approved, but the IRS, in addition, sent them copies of applications whose approval was pending, in direct violation of the law.

From Progressive Group: IRS Gave Us Conservative Groups’ Confidential Docs:

The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office that targeted and harassed conservative tax-exempt groups during the 2012 election cycle gave the progressive group nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending.

The commendable admission lends further evidence to the lengths the IRS went during an election cycle to silence tea party and limited government voices.

ProPublica says the documents the IRS gave them were “not supposed to be made public”:

The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year… In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

The group says that “no unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.”

For the ProPublica account (and give them credit for coming clean), go here.

CSI, Boston

Here is a fascinating account of the police work that led to the identification and apprehension of the Boston Marathon bombers:  Police, citizens and technology factor into Boston bombing probe – The Washington Post.

The legal issue now is whether “Jahar,” the surviving terrorist, should be considered an “enemy combatant” or whether he should be given all of the legal rights to which he is entitled  as an American citizen, including the right to remain silent.  What do you think?

American factions are coming together over drones

It has been said that America is polarized politically, but now an issue has emerged that is uniting conservatives and liberals, rightists and leftists, tea party activists and occupy Wall Street types:  Concern about drones.

Virtually all of these factions are praising Rand Paul’s filibuster protesting the Attorney General’s ruling that American citizens on American soil are subject to being zapped from above by drone technology.  All are opposing establishment-types from both parties who hail the new military technology.

Might this herald a new political consensus around civil liberties?  How about a Bill of Rights agenda, which would uphold the conservative causes of religious freedom and gun rights AND the liberal causes of freedom of speech and expression?

Are there other issues that might serve as a similar rallying point? [Read more...]

The drone filibuster

Attorney General Eric Holder said that drones could be used against American citizens on American soil.  So libertarian Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) staged a 13-hour filibuster–a real one, in which the Senator actually occupies for the floor rather than just threatening to–in protest.  Eventually, Holder said that drones would not be used against unarmed Americans, just terrorists in an emergency.

Some Republicans were annoyed with Paul’s “stunt,” as Sen. John McCain called it, and defend an aggressive use of drones.  Some of them were lunching with President Obama when Paul was filibustering, sparking some observers to see a changing of the Republican guard (to borrow an Iranian phrase), with a new generation of Republicans challenging the traditional GOP practice of giving a blank check to anything military and championing instead civil liberties.

What do you think? [Read more...]

Assassination courts?

Is this back to the Star Chamber approach to justice, with secret courts, no indictments, no witnesses, and no appeals, all in service to the monarch?

U.S. senators are now floating the idea of an assassination court as a way to rein in the ever-expanding drone program — a secretive operation that, as it is, sounds like thriller fiction, but isn’t. [Read more...]


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