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Because we can’t let Seattle beat us

Follow-up to V’s post on Seattle, last week the California Senate voted to destroy entry-level jobs:

The state Senate on Thursday approved a measure that would gradually raise the minimum wage in California from the current $8 an hour to $13 in 2017, despite warnings from the California Chamber of Commerce that the bill is a “job killer.”

Warning: Gay Left politicians at work!

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said his bill is necessary to help lift many of the 7.9 million Californians being paid minimum wage out of poverty. “Income inequality has been spoken of by our president as the defining challenge of our time,” Leno told his colleagues.

He said the current minimum wage is so low it allows many who receive it to get public assistance. “It is our tax dollars that are subsidizing the largest corporations paying these poverty wages.” Leno said. No other state has a minimum wage of $13 an hour…

Related: Calif. Senate votes to reduce penalties for sale of crack cocaine

The “Related” was added by the LA Times (when I pasted the text). Fitting, isn’t it? Because the measure would actually keep poor Californians in poverty, increase inequality, and push more people onto public assistance. Is that Leno’s real goal?

And Chicago also wants a $15/hr minimum wage. It’s trendy.

But not trendy enough for the Swiss: in May, they rejected a high minimum wage by a huge margin. (The Swiss proposal would have been $25/hr by exchange rates, or $14 by PPP adjustment.)

Chicago’s murder rate drops – follow-up

In an earlier post on Chicago’s declining murder rate, the decline didn’t seem to prove anything about gun control or gun ownership (in any direction) and I asked “So, what happened?”

V the K suggested a different explanation by sending this link, The Truth About Chicago’s Crime Rates. Short answer: Someone has been cooking the books.

On October 28, a pathologist ruled the death of Tiara Groves a homicide…the Chicago Police Department should have counted Groves’s death as a murder. And it did. Until December 18. On that day, the police report indicates, a lieutenant overseeing the Groves case reclassified the homicide investigation as a noncriminal death investigation…

The change stunned officers. Current and former veteran detectives who reviewed the Groves case at Chicago’s request were just as incredulous.

Was it just a coincidence, some wondered, that the reclassification occurred less than two weeks before the end of the year, when the city of Chicago’s final homicide numbers for 2013 would be tallied? …

For the case of Tiara Groves is not an isolated one. Chicago [Magazine, the authors] conducted a 12-month examination of the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics going back several years…We identified 10 people…whose cases were reclassified…, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents—all for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons.

This troubling practice goes far beyond murders…Chicago found dozens of other crimes, including serious felonies such as robberies, burglaries, and assaults, that were misclassified, downgraded to wrist-slap offenses, or made to vanish altogether…

Does the problem start at the top? Evidently:

Many officers of different ranks and from different parts of the city recounted instances…One detective refers to the “magic ink”: the power to make a case disappear. Says another: “The rank and file don’t agree with what’s going on. The powers that be are making the changes.”

…sources describe a practice that has become widespread at the same time that top police brass have become fixated on demonstrating improvement in Chicago’s woeful crime statistics…

…the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil pols on Chicago’s City Council have mostly accepted the police department’s crime numbers at face value. So have most in the media. You can hardly turn on the news without hearing McCarthy or Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaiming unquestioned: Murders down 18 percent in 2013! Overall crime down 23 percent! Twelve thousand fewer crime victims! “These days, everything is about media and public opinion,” says one longtime officer. “If a number makes people feel safe, then why not give it to them?”

There’s much more, including a Part 2 yet to come.

Chicago murder rate drops

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:18 am - April 7, 2014.
Filed under: Chicago Politics,Gun Control,Second Amendment

after Illinois loosened gun control:

On July 9, 2013, a bill to recognize Illinois gun owners’ right to carry concealed firearms was passed by both chambers of the state Legislature. Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow [it]…

On Tuesday, the Chicago Police Department announced that the city experienced its lowest murder rate since 1958 in the first quarter of 2014. There were 6 fewer murders than the same timeframe in 2013 — a 9 percent drop — and 55 fewer murders than 2012, police said…

BUT (and as Jason Howerton responsibly notes), coincidence is nothing like causation:

All crime is down 25 percent from 2013 and police say they have confiscated over 1,300 illegal guns in the last three months…

It should also be noted that the first concealed carry permits were issued in late February, so the decrease in crime can’t yet be attributed to more people carrying guns.

So, what happened? Did the killers in Chicago reach a point where a large number of them had been killed (by victims possibly, or by each other), leaving the law-abiding residents in greater peace? That may be about to happen in Detroit:

Detroit…police chief, James Craig, has advised “fed up” residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights if they feel their life is in danger.

He said criminals should be afraid to break into homes or commit other crimes because it could be the last thing they ever do. Craig also pointed out, “you’re not always going to have time to dial 911.”

…the number of fatal self-defense shootings are on the rise in Detroit. There had already been 10 fatal self-defense shootings in the city as of March 27, while there were only 15 in all of 2013.

Fascinating issues.

On the shifting narrative of Nixon comparisons

On Tuesday, Jeff posted a video with clips of the current President of the United States Barack Obama using almost identical language to that of Richard Nixon to describe how each learned about scandals taking place under his watch, with both politicians claiming they had learned about them from news reports.

Today, while tidying my desk, I came across a note I had scribbled over four months ago:

Dem[ocrat]s want to define GOP by Nixon now/fear party being defined by Reagan — hence the silly line that Gipper couldn’t win in today’s GOP.

They’ve even got Bob Dole repeating that Democratic talking point (without providing any evidence to back it up).

If the Democrats continue to stonewall on the various scandals percolating around this administration, the media will have a tougher and tougher time making the age-old Nixon comparisons stick to the GOP.

NB:  I had scribbled the note on January 9, 2013, the one hundredth anniversary of Nixon’s birth.

UPDATE: Meant to include this screen capture from the Obama-friendly AOL: (more…)

And still some (journalists) swoon at the mere mention of his name

Andrea Mitchell: ‘More Than Any of Its Predecessors,’ Obama Administration Has Targeted Journalists

H/t Mary Katharine Ham

Did W (or his minions) ask what books his political adversaries were reading?

Just caught this at Ace: “To Ask the Question Is To Answer It“:

Charles C. W. Cooke wonders why those who freaked out about the PATRIOT Act and how it might lead to people’s library records being seized aren’t so concerned about the IRS asking conservative groups to hand over their Facebook posts and a list of books they were reading. Or for records of conversations they had or their positions on issues. Shouldn’t the ACLU be as up in arms about the IRS’s intrusion into people’s privacy as they were about Homeland Security looking at suspected terrorist’s use of library computers?

Did the immediate past president — or his henchmen — ever demand that his political adversaries, in order to receive a benefit from the government, reveal the content of their prayers or the names of their members?

On the March 2010 meeting between Obama & the IRS Union Chief

Earlier today, I caught Jim Hoft’s report on ties between the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU, which represents, among others, employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)) and the Democratic Party.  Jim links us to the NTEU’s release just following the 2012 election where its president Colleen M. Kelley congratulated Obama on his reelection and noted the efforts her government employee union made on behalf of that Democrat.

Commenting on a report that President Obama met with Miss Kelley “the day before agency targeted Tea Party“, Ace wonders, as should we all, about the strange coincidence and considers the meaning of the meeting. He surmises how events might have unfolded in circumstances similar to this one, with a hypothetical President Tee meeting with the head of Union N which had supported him politically:

It would seem that President Tee could choose to go outside the normal chain of command to issue an illegal order by simply telling the head of Union N to inform the union members she leads to pursue the policy, rather than issuing a formal order to the head of the IRS.

 Ace spins out an interesting scenario which, given what we know about Chicago politics, does not seem that far-fetched.  That said, I’m with Ace who disagrees with the authors of the report he linked; “I don’t think this meeting is a smoking gun,” but I do think it is significant and news outlets should report it.

And journalists should be asking Jay Carney, in his next press briefing, to tell us what transpired in that meeting.  And they should ask the president as well.  Reporters should be doing what they can to learn what passed between the president and the union boss in March 2010.

UPDATE:  Maybe there is nothing to that meeting.  But, the time is indeed curious.

RELATED:  Over on the National Review’s home page, Andrew Stiles has a good piece on Miss Kelley’s union:

The IRS may be “an independent enforcement agency with only two political appointees,” in the words of White House press secretary Jay Carney, but its employees are represented by a powerful, deeply partisan union whose boss has publicly disparaged the Tea Party and criticized the Republican party for having ties to it.

UP-UPDATE: Doug Powers has more.

Obama advisor always looking for someone else to blame

After Obama’s roughest week,” reports Brian Hughes of the Washington Examiner, “White House points finger at GOP”:

White House officials on Sunday dismissed Republican attacks over three simmering scandals as a partisan witch hunt, hoping to put behind them President Obama’s single worst week in office and to move Washington’s attention back to his second-term agenda.

While Obama was delivering a commencement address at the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta, his top surrogates fanned out across the Sunday morning talk shows to defuse claims that the administration has violated constitutional boundaries and to blame the controversies on partisan politics as usual.

“We’ve seen this playbook from the Republicans before,” Dan Pfeiffer, a senior Obama adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What they want to do when they’re lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings and false allegations. We’re not going to let that happen.”

Well, they wouldn’t need go on any fishing expeditions if Mr. Pfeiffer and his team would just answer the questions Republicans have been asking. It’s unfortunate that instead of answering those questions, Mr. Pfeiffer has chosen to blame Republicans.

Wish Mr. Pfeiffer had instead listened to his boss who just over four years ago spelled out for Jay Leno what he intended to do as President of the United States, including breaking that “pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.

Guess that’s a pattern Mr. Pfeiffer isn’t interested in breaking.

As the French say, Plus ça change. . . .

Surprisingly few actual consequences for outraging Obama

There is“, writes Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades,

. . . a fundamental disconnect between the White House’s actions and the White House’s words on the IRS scandal. The White House has repeatedly claimed that the President is “outraged” over the targeting — but there are surprisingly few actual consequences for outraging the leader of the free world. One of the folks involved in harassing conservatives got a promotion. Another got several thousands of dollars in bonuses. Even the thought of legal consequences is tossed aside as “irrelevant.”

The president’s outrage coincides with the story of the IRS scandal hitting the headlines.  Interestingly, as Jonah Goldberg observed on Friday, when people the president “views as his ‘enemies’” first “complained about a politicized IRS, what did he do? Nothing.”

If Obama were truly outraged by the targeting, he would have ordered the IRS to investigate as soon as the first reports became public.  And would use stronger terms than he has.  He would be ordering the Treasury Secretary not just to hold “those responsible for these failures accountable”, but would also be making clear that those responsible could lose their jobs — and face prosecution.

To note, as per Jonah’s point, the president didn’t ask the immediate past Treasury Secretary to take action when the story first came to light.  Nor has he specified how those responsible would be held accountable.

Doesn’t seem like the consequences will be very severe.

In 2008, we told you Obama wasn’t the man you (thought you) were voting for. . .

[E]ven among Obama voters,” writes Heather Long in Friday’s Guardian, reflecting on a variety of factors, including the number of scandals coming to light, “there should be genuine disappointment. This not the President Obama we voted for, not even close.”

She talks about the excitement and exhilaration people felt in 2008 when Obama was elected:

It was mostly young people marching – from varied backgrounds. Many of these parades ended up in front of the White House where chants of “goodbye Bush” (or some variation thereof) began. It was the same slogan heard as Barack Obama was sworn in as president in January 2009 and Bush flew away in a helicopter.

There was a belief, especially among voters in their 20s and 30s, that Obama was going to be different. That his promises to “change the culture in Washington” were real. That his administration wouldn’t be beholden to lobbyists and conduct executive power grabs.

Interesting how part of their celebration relates to the departure of the much (and usually wrongly) maligned immediate past President of the United States.

What evidence, beyond the candidate’s rhetoric, did they have that Barack Obama was an agent of change?

They were clearly not aware, as many conservatives reported in 2008, that the great Democratic hope had always been a loyal foot soldier in the Chicago Democratic machine.  In his twelve years as an elected official based in that city, Barack Obama failed to challenged its authority — as he failed to root out corrupt practices and cronyism that defined its government.

His record, as we have pointed out repeatedly, was at odds with his rhetoric.

We (that is, conservative and libertarian bloggers and pundits) told you that back in 2008.  We told you that you were voting for an image crafted by political consultants and projected onto a charismatic Chicago politician with a mellifluous speaking voice.   But, you were so eager to see George W. Bush replaced that you trusted the words of man who delighted in maligning that Republican, but about whom you knew very little.  And are only now seeing as he is today — and was back then.

Did the IRS ask progressive groups the same kind of intrusive questions they asked of Tea Party groups? (And if not, why not?)

If as outgoing Acting Internal Revenue Service Director Steven Miller claimed in his testimony before the House Ways and Committee that “politics didn’t play a role” in singling out Tea Party and other groups critical of the Obama administration, could he — or anyone at the IRS for that matter — please identify the “progressive” groups subject to the requests made of right-of-center/libertarian groups, including:

And if these progressive groups were not subject to such scrutiny, could someone at the IRS please explain why not.

Thanks!

UDPATE:  Did they ask any “progressive” groups to agree not to protest any social conservative institutions as a condition of receiving their 501 (c)(4) status from the federal government?

UP-UPDATE: Seems a handful of “progressive” groups were singled out for extra scrutiny: Nonconservative Groups Say IRS Scrutinized Them, Too (Via HotAir headlines).

Meanwhile, at Obama’s EPA. . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - May 18, 2013.
Filed under: Chicago Politics,Democratic Scandals

. . . another scandal is a-brewing:

“According to documents obtained by the Committees, EPA readily granted FOIA fee waivers for environmental allies, effectively subsidizing them, while denying fee waivers and making the FOIA process more difficult for states and conservative groups,” wrote Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Darrell Issa and Sens. David Vitter, Chuck Grassley and Jim Inhofe in a letter to the EPA.

Maybe we misheard Obama back in ’08; he wasn’t saying post-partisan, but most partisan.

What took the IRS so long to come clean about the scandal?

A video every American should see:

To those who think IRS snooping was masterminded by rogue agents . . .

. . . please explain why such snooping didn’t occur while George W. Bush was President of the United States.

And as a bonus, for those constantly blaming that man for wanting to destroy his enemies, please provide evidence of him — or his minions — rooting around in confidential government files for details about his political opponents.

IRS Delays Reporting Tea Party Snooping Until After Presidential Election

Some news reports just speak for themselves.

In the Weekly Standard today, Daniel Halper writes:

NBC’s Lisa Myers reported this morning that the IRS deliberately chose not to reveal that it had wrongly targeted conservative groups until after the 2012 presidential election . . .

The IRS commissioner “has known for at least a year that this was going on,” said Myers, “and that this had happened. And did he share any of that information with the White House? But even more importantly, Congress is going to ask him, why did you mislead us for an entire year? Members of Congress were saying conservatives are being targeted. What’s going on here? The IRS denied it. Then when — after these officials are briefed by the IG that this is going on, they don’t disclose it. In fact, the commissioner sent a letter to Congress in September on this subject and did not reveal this. Imagine if we — if you can — what would have happened if this fact came out in September 2012, in the middle of a presidential election? The terrain would have looked very different.”

Via Ace. Barack Obama’s much vaunted commitment to transparency notwithstanding, that Democrat is more interested in winning elections than in opening the books on his administration.

RELATED: Worse and worse: IRS claimed in 2011 that there were no documents related to scrutiny of tea-party groups

Why did the IRS keep the scandal quiet until after the election?

Before Obama, did IRS ever ask for names of teenage* interns?

I updated a previous post to cite reports that the IRS has requested the names of high school and college kids which conservatives organizations were training/mentoring.

At the National Review today, Andrew Stiles builds on that story:

The tax-collecting agency sought to identify and track student interns at the Leadership Institute, a conservative educational organization based in Virginia.

At around the same time the IRS began its “inappropriate targeting” of conservative organizations applying for nonprofit status — a practice detailed in a Treasury Department inspector general’s report published Tuesday — the agency conducted an audit of the Leadership Institute. The institute has offered workshops, seminars, internships, and other training programs for young conservatives and grassroots activists since its founding in 1979.

. . . .

It is not the only known instance of the IRS seeking information about conservative students. Kevin Kookogey, who founded a conservative mentoring program for high-school and college students in Tennessee, told National Review Online the IRS asked him to “identify the students I’m teaching and what I’m teaching them” as part of his application for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

So this got me wondering if the IRS had ever previously asked organizations applying for 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) status (or organizations with such status under audit) to name their interns.

Do any of our readers know if that happened before?  I will link any credible report of such requests.

Was the same person (or persons) who crafted the questionnaire the individual (or team) deciding to ask for the names of high school and college kids?

* (more…)

When will liberals see?

Only days ago, Obama gave a speech in which, rather than warn us against tyranny, he warned us against the people who go around warning us against tyranny.

The IRS revelations only get worse: From the Washington Examiner yesterday (via Ed Morrissey this morning), we learn that the IRS demanded of a pro-life group – under “perjury of the law”, the IRS staffer’s words – that it not engage in legal Planned Parenthood picketing. And required another pro-life group to furnish detailed plans on its constitutionally-protected speech activities.[1]

This is the same IRS that Obama has been beefing up to enforce Obamacare by demanding ever-greater private information of citizens.

The AP snooping scandal speaks for itself. Now from the GP comments, V the K reminds us of something Obama said in 2008:

We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

Video here.[2]

In these disparate data points, I see a pattern: Obama wants to be a tyrant – while pretending not to. My question is, do liberals really not see the pattern?

I know that some liberals have begun seeing it – and will, for example, condemn the IRS actions – but others don’t. The other day, I noted Julian Bond saying that he thinks conservative groups deserve the IRS harassment. The execrable Bill Maher has joined the fun there.

Obama maintains his democratic pretense by periodically declaring the goodness of his intentions. For example: yes, the other day he called the IRS actions “inexcusable”.

But a troubled President Nixon, as well as actual tyrants like Chavez and worse, also frequently declared their own goodness. So many of Obama’s other words, policies, and actions of his underlings point in a direction opposite to his self-declared goodness. Do liberals really not see? Or are they part of the pretense; de facto pro-tyranny?

—————-
[1] (I don’t know the ins and outs of these tax-exemption laws, but I thought that as long as a group would refrain from electioneering for parties/candidates, it would get a pass.)
[2] Students of history will note that the Fascists also believed in having powerful civilian, national security forces, and will be troubled by the weird applause that Obama’s liberal audience gave him for proposing it.

Who wrote the Questionnaire*?
(*that the IRS reserved for Tea Party groups)?

Looking at the “IRS letters to Tea Party groups“, J. Christian Adams found that they “read like an opposition researcher’s fantasy:  demands for the names of volunteers, money, content of speeches, donors, offices, on and on and on.”

An opposition researcher’s fantasy. . . . Wonder if any allies/associates of the president have an expertise in that kind of work.

According to Politico,

The Internal Revenue Service asked tea party groups to see donor rolls.

It asked for printouts of Facebook posts.

And it asked what books people were reading.

A POLITICO review of documents from 11 tea party and conservative groups that the IRS scrutinized in 2012 shows the agency wanted to know everything — in some cases, it even seemed curious what members were thinking. The review included interviews with groups or their representatives from Hawaii, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas and elsewhere.

Asking what books they were reading?  Now why would they ask that?  For what purpose?  And why would they need to see their donor rolls?  (Well, the Obama campaign did slime some pretty prominent Romney donors, a number of who were subject to IRS audits.)
An investigation into this matter will not be complete unless it identifies the author or authors of these questionnaires and deposes them under oath to ask why they crafted the requests they did — and at whose behest.

If a candidate snoops around in the divorce records of his political opponents. . . .

. . . it stands to reason that that man’s minions might be interested in using the IRS to obtain information about his ideological adversaries.

The only people surprised by the Obama snooping scandals. . .

. . . are those who, to borrow a political expression from the left, haven’t been paying attention.

Many of us on the right have long been pointing out that Barack Obama cut his teeth in Chicago politics and long practiced the politics for which that city is famous.  Or perhaps, I should say, infamous.

The only folks in the media who believed the Democrat’s lofty rhetoric about being some new kind of politician were those who repeated his campaign’s, uh, well, talking points and gave short shrift to his actual record.  That is, they took his claims at face value and didn’t investigate his claims.

No wonder they didn’t do much investigating when Tea Party groups started complaining that the IRS was subjecting them to an unusual degree of scrutiny.  Such government behavior didn’t correspond to their image of an open and accountable administration.  The story is not a new one.  The enhanced media attention is.

UPDATE:  From Glenn Reynolds:  “JIM TREACHER: ‘The only difference between this week and every other week for the last 4 years is that for once we’re not the only ones paying attention.’”

Yup, pretty much.

NB:  Tweaked the post to fix some typographical and grammatical errors.