U.S. Politics

Federal Government Shutdown Not All Bad

Federal Government Shutdown Not All Bad

Maybe a federal government shutdown isn’t such a bad thing for the citizens of the United States.

The only thing this 113th Congress has excelled at is being more polarized and less effective than the 112th Congress.

You remember the 112th Congress. That was the one that passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 that mandated automatic funding cuts of 5% across the board for the federal government if a Joint Select Committee on Budget couldn’t reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts by 2013.

To no one’s surprise, this joint committee couldn’t agree and we all became familiar with the term sequestration.

October 1, 2013 · U.S. Politics
Russia or Iceland…

Russia or Iceland…

Edward Snowden: Russia offers to consider asylum request Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says any appeal for asylum from whistleblower who fled US will be looked at ‘according to facts’ The Guardian Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, in the Kremlin’s latest move to woo critics of the […]

June 11, 2013 · U.S. Politics
Liberty, Mother’s Milk and the Poison Pill [Poll]

Liberty, Mother’s Milk and the Poison Pill [Poll]

We found out over the past week that the constitutionally guaranteed privacy, civil liberties and freedoms of U.S. citizens have been effectively assigned to the scrap heap by our own government.

Okay. For nearly 100 years, the U.S. government has sought to spy on American citizens through a variety of programs, most of which can be tied to the Department of Justice and FBI reign ever since J. Edgar Hoover got the nod from Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer to establish the DOJ’s Intelligence Division in 1919.

It took Hoover less than a year to collect files on over 150,000 American citizens who, through his perverted sense of propriety, were considered a threat to the U.S. government. Those files were amassed in the days when typewriters were the most modern piece of equipment in government offices, a telephone in a private house was still somewhat of a novelty and the Model T Ford was only 10 years old.

But, Hoover demonstrated how quickly a small government department, with the help of private citizens spying and informing on each other, could invade the lives of American citizens.

June 8, 2013 · S.C. Politics, U.S. Constitution
NSA seizes phone records of Verizon customers

NSA seizes phone records of Verizon customers

The National Security Agency is collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top-secret court order issued in April, according to a report Wednesday evening in the Guardian newspaper.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, a publication in the United Kingdom, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.

The order is in force until July 19, according to the court order. The left-leaning British newspaper said the order was granted to the FBI on April 25.

The document indicates that the Obama administration is collecting phone records of millions of citizens in bulk, whether or not they are suspected of wrongdoing. The order was signed by Judge Roger Vinson of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, according to the document posted online by the Guardian.

June 6, 2013 · U.S. Politics
IRS Story Unravels; Liberty Lost

IRS Story Unravels; Liberty Lost

The initial story from the IRS regarding alleged targeting of conservative groups has fallen apart. These actions go well beyond one or several low level employees acting on their own.

According to a report from the IRS Inspector General’s office, senior officials at the IRS knew about the targeting of conservative groups for over a year without doing anything about it.

Every new revelation makes this whole caper seem more and more politically motivated regardless of what the Obama administration says.

Yesterday we heard that at least one organization in South Carolina, the Laurens County Tea Party, was one of the many organizations having problems with the IRS. The group applied for tax-exempt status in 2010 and still has received no answer.

Yesterday we also heard that the Justice Department had begun an investigation into the actions of the IRS. This would be the same Justice Department that performed warrantless searches on the phone records of several reporters at the Associated Press.

If government officials don’t respect the laws of the United States and the provisions of the Constitution, who will?

May 15, 2013 · Barack Obama, TEA Party
Investigating the IRS partie deux

Investigating the IRS partie deux

We now know that at least three IRS offices were involved in the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

The Washington Post reported today the IRS Washington, D.C. headquarters sent questionnaires to conservative groups asking about their donors and other areas of their operations while the El Monte and Laguna Miguel offices in California did the same with tea party affiliated groups.

This takes the investigation of IRS activities well beyond the initial claim that some low level functionaries in the Cincinnati office were to blame.

According to the article, an employee in the Cincinnati office told a lawyer representing one of the targeted groups that its application was “under review” in Washington.

Interestingly, it was George W. Bush appointed IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman who told a Congressional committee in spring 2012 that no targeting was occurring. Shulman resigned in November 2012.

May 14, 2013 · S.C. Politics, U.S. Politics