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Thursday, October 23, 2014

IRS beats tea party in court: Jim Jordan calls out the decision

From Politico:  IRS Beats Tea Party in Court

By RACHAEL BADE | 10/23/14 3:23 PM EDT Updated: 10/23/14 6:39 PM EDT

The IRS may have inadvertently figured out how to win its legal battles against aggrieved tea party groups: Give them what they wanted in the first place — tax-exempt status.

That was a major reason a Republican-appointed federal judge on Thursday threw out two lawsuits brought by more than 40 conservative groups seeking remedies for being singled out in the tea party targeting scandal, a victory for the IRS.

Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia dismissed almost all counts brought against the tax-collecting agency in two cases, ruling that both were essentially moot now that the IRS granted the groups their tax-exempt status that had been held up for years.

Walton, a President George W. Bush-appointee, also said individual IRS officials could not be fined in their individual capacity for allowing such treatment because it could hurt future tax enforcement.

The ruling, which the groups could appeal, has serious implications for tea party groups suing the IRS, suggesting they may never receive compensation for the long waits they endured for a ruling on their status.

The inspector general report that ignited the targeting controversy last year found that applications sat in limbo for as long as several years and that the groups were asked inappropriate questions about their donors, political affiliations and random things like social media posts.

Republicans said they were outraged at Walton’s decision.

 “You get targeted and harassed for three years but, oh, because you finally get [tax-exempt status], the three years of harassment doesn’t mean anything?” asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who heads a congressional subpanel investigating the controversy. “I find that argument lacking tremendously in light of what these people went through.”

But others said the agency needs to do more — not less — to scrutinize nonprofit groups that don’t follow the rules and over-engage in political activities. To obtain the status in question, political activity must not be the groups’ primary activity — a vague and difficult-to-administer test.

“Judge Walton got it right — there is no ongoing injury to these groups,” said Paul S. Ryan [not the Rep.], senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, which backs tighter rules on political nonprofits. “The IRS needs to enforce tax law with respect to nonprofit political groups more aggressively.”

A furor erupted in May 2013, after a Treasury inspector general report blasted the IRS for using discriminatory labels to sort through applicants seeking tax-exempt status using terms like “tea party ” and “patriots."

Soon after a raft of right-leaning organizations that applied for tax-exempt status sued the government. Some had had their applications put on hold for years; others were asked what were later ruled inappropriate questions about donors and political views during the application process.

The groups in their suits alleged that the IRS violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights with the inappropriate “be on the lookout” list that used words like tea party to hold up their applications. They sought monetary relief for their trouble as well as injunctive relief barring the IRS from discriminating against conservative groups ever again.

The agency has since changed its practices, including scrapping the lists.

When the suits at hand were filed, 22 of the groups had already received their tax-exempt status, five had dropped their applications altogether and just over a dozen were still waiting to hear from the IRS.

Since then, the IRS had approved all but two, rendering much of the arguments moot, the judge said — and preventing him from considering the case.

“After the plaintiff initiated this case, its application to the IRS for tax-exempt status was approved by the IRS. The allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct, which delayed the processing of the plaintiff’s tax exempt application and brought about this litigation, is no longer impacting the plaintiff,” Walton said in his decision to throw out True the Vote’s lawsuit against the IRS.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Phyllis Schlafly on early voting, especially in Ohio

 Photo credit: dailycaller.com

Phyllis Schlafly on early voting, especially in Ohio, from Townhall:
Although the midterm elections are still two weeks away, about two million Americans have already voted. The circus of early and mail-in voting undermines the federal law, which provides: "The Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every even numbered year, is established as the day for the election."
When our national elections were held on one unifying day, discussions and debates could continue among family, neighbors and the media up until the day that virtually everyone voted. The one and only debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter occurred only a week before Election Day in 1980, with the candidates tied in the polls while a television audience of perhaps 120 million people watched.
Why rampant early voting is even allowed remains a mystery. The Constitution requires that the members of the Electoral College, who elect the president, must cast their votes on the same day throughout the nation, because our founding fathers wisely sought to avoid the mischief caused by early voting.
Yet in this year's race for the U.S. Senate in Iowa, which may decide which party controls the Senate beginning January, some 170,000 Iowans had already cast their votes before the candidates held a key debate. Those votes that are cast before debates are held can hardly be desirable.
In Congress, a representative may change the vote he cast for or against a piece of legislation up until all the votes are cast and the voting period is closed. But the millions who vote early cannot change their vote based on new information, and candidates are wasting time and money campaigning in front of people who have already voted.
Because of the Ebola scandal, some may wish to change their vote, but that is impossible for those who have already voted. Some early voters may die before Election Day, and early voting allows the votes of those dead people to be included. If there is any dispute over whether their votes were valid or fraudulent, they are no longer with us to defend themselves.
Typically, there are no poll watchers during early voting, so the integrity of the casting of the ballots cannot be monitored. Many of the early votes are cast in a coercive environment, such as a union boss driving employees to the polls and watching over the process so there is no guarantee that their votes will be private.
Democrats promote early voting for the same reason they oppose voter ID: because they view early voting as helping their side. In the absurdly long 35-day period of early voting in Ohio in 2012, Democrats racked up perhaps a million-vote advantage over Republicans before Election Day was ever reached.
. . .
Romney lacked a message, too, but he was mainly defeated by the Democrats' superb ground game, which exploited early voting in key states such as Florida and Ohio. By continuously updating their computer-based information about who had not yet voted, Democrats could harass and nag low-information voters until they turned in their ballots.
Read the rest here.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tea Party Patriots: Border States of America Documentary Re-Broadcast (Tonight)

This past Thursday, October 16, Tea Party Patriots released a new documentary, “Border States of America.” Narrated by actor Nick Searcy, the documentary will take viewers for a ride along the U.S-Mexico border and expose the many consequences of rampant illegal immigration.

This hard-hitting documentary features interviews with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), as well as dozens of law enforcement officials. The point the documentary drives home is this: illegal immigration extends beyond the thousands of minors from Central America, and its consequences are far-reaching and affect every American.

The Border States of America takes viewers from the Rio Grande Valley to towns across the country, telling the story of human smugglers and drug cartels who profit from Obama’s policies; of American citizens whose lives are put at risk; and the social and economic toll on our communities. We cut through the fog to bring you the truth about what is really happening with the border crisis.

Because of the demand and overwhelming support, Tea Party Patriots will be re-broadcasting "Border States of America" tonight Saturday October 18th at 7:30pm EDT

Check out the trailer below....

Common Core: Public Education or Personal Enrichment?

Below is an excellent Op-Ed piece from Marianne Gasiecki of the Mansfield Tea Party on following the Common Core money trail that fuels the national push of a select few to control our children's minds through education. 

Highlighting Bill Gates & The Gates Foundation financial influence and corporate cronyism perverting education in our country, you will see Common Core has nothing to do with education of our children and everything to do with personal enrichment off of our children.

On a side note, this would be the same Bill Gates & Gates Foundation that has duped many conservatives into blindly supporting the nationwide push for Charter Schools - that fly under the Gates-funded Trojan Horse banner of "School Choice." 

I have always been a firm believer of “follow the money.” Unfortunately, Common Core (CC) is no exception.

The state’s position has always been that every school district has the right to opt out of CC, but when considering that option, schools receive threatening letters from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

The latest threat is that schools will lose money if students opt out of the testing this fall. False. There is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code tying a child’s test to funding.

All this coercion makes sense when you learn that the ODE received $4.5 million, and the National Assoc. of State School Boards received $3.3 million from the Gates Foundation, for implementation of CC.

And that’s just a drop in the bucket. The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Assoc., two D.C. based private organizations, received over $65 million and over $3 million, respectively, from the Gates Foundation, along with their D.C. based Partner Achieve Inc., which received over $9 million, in exchange for aiding the Obama Administration in their efforts to implement a one-size-fits-all, nationalization of education. So much for being “state led.”

Struggling states accepted Race to the Top and stimulus money in exchange for implementing a set of standards, sight unseen. The standards had yet to be developed.

Now we’ve seen them. The two most qualified members of the CC Validation Committee refused to sign off on them, stating they would put us years behind other countries in mathematics alone. Parents and students are struggling to understand the convoluted math homework, and teachers are spending more time testing and being assessed than they are teaching. Bill Gates hopes his “education stuff works...but we won’t know for probably a decade”. That’s a generation lost to an experiment.

So why is Bill Gates supporting this experiment on our children? Money.

Schools (the taxpayer) using computer-based, Common Core-aligned tests will now need to spend “a bunch of money — on Microsoft products.” Click here to read more.

Textbook publishers, like McGraw Hill and Pearson, are also making a fortune as taxpayers are forced to fund all new textbooks to align with CC. Pearson has purchased a bio-behavioral testing company so they can do more behavioral testing in the schools. Why is a textbook company getting into the bio-behavioral testing business? Think about it.

Our children have been reduced to nothing more than “human capital” in the game of “workforce development,” as privacy is continually violated and 400+ data points are gathered through the excessive online assessing and mandated use of technology in instruction.

Who benefits from this data? Big business. In the era of online data collection, Bill Gates is clearly excited about how the sharing of this information will make it easier for companies to market their products to your children when he said, “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces…”

Who else benefits? Universities. The National Science Foundation (a federal agency) just awarded $4.8 million of our tax dollars to prominent research universities “aiming to build a massive repository for storing, sharing, and analyzing the information students generate when using digital learning tools.”

No one is opposed to standards, but CC has nothing to do with elevating the education of our children, and everything to do with elevating corporate cronyism off the backs of our children.

If people truly believe in putting our children first, then we should all be supporting the complete repeal of CC through Ohio House Bill 597.

Marianne Gasiecki, Mansfield

Friday, October 17, 2014

Regulations Could Kill Your Labor-Saving Home Appliances

Be prepared to work harder at home. The era of affordable labor-saving devices is threatened by rising appliance costs due to federal energy regulations.

Washing clothes by hand sounds Third World to Americans, but how else does a limited budget handle the sticker shock from such as washing machines and dryers commonly priced at $600 to $1,000? That’s for separate units, not both together.

Nobody saves money by buying more expensive products when the claimed energy savings don’t materialize. That’s because we commonly don’t keep appliances and electronics long enough to close the cost gap.

Even stricter federal energy regulations are in the pipeline not only for washers and dryers but also for refrigerators, freezers, all types of lamps and lights, dishwashers, ice makers, air conditioners, furnaces, space heaters, ovens, stoves and lots more, including chargers and power supplies for cellphones and other personal electronics.

Each product gets its own vast, dizzying array of proposed mind-numbing new standards on power consumption, design and labeling, with details for each variation in which they are sold.

How would you like being told that there’s even more “in Appendix Z to subpart B of 10 CFR Part 430,” as one edict says? Any time your appendices climb to Z, you’re way past being reasonable.

Manufacturers such as General Electric, Panasonic, Sub-Zero and others are petitioning the Department of Energy for relief from the tedious new power-use testing requirements that are the prelude to an avalanche of more regulations.

The mantra from the green energy crowd is that we should ignore higher purchase prices, because we’ll eventually get it back from savings on our electric bills.

But the feds often calculate supposed savings over a 30-year span (sometimes only 9 years) on products that we’re unlikely to keep that long. They wear out, break down or become obsolete. Even The New York Times published a report that the fuel savings from more miles per gallon won’t offset higher auto prices unless people start keeping their autos twice as long as we typically do.

The Consumer Electronics Association told regulators that it’s nonsense to project 30 years of supposed savings when consumers may use an item for only a few months. CEA proposes the industry develop its standards rather than be buried under government dictates. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers touts the improvements already made, such as success in doubling energy efficiency of dishwashers since 1980.

Nothing is ever enough for the green crowd, however.

How about the most common personal appliance: the cellphone?

The common turnover rate for cellphones is every two years, which includes a new charger each time. Bureaucrats claim the industry should standardize chargers for the 200-million-plus cellphones they sell each year. Then people could keep their old chargers when they get a new phone. They have a point there. Lots of us wish that power supplies were standardized, just like electric outlets, regardless of the brand or the product. Industry steps toward that would be surefire winners.

The Department of Energy claims its regulation on power supplies would cost consumers $143 million a year but save us $293 million. Of course, their claimed “savings” include speculative benefits from reducing carbon footprints.

And the chargers are small stuff compared to the requirements for larger appliances like refrigerators and stoves.

Even states are getting in on the act. The Institute for Energy Research reports that 11 states already have appliance standards going even farther than the feds.

Creature comforts like coffee makers, CD and MP3 players, electric blankets and even electric foot massagers may not be as common in the near future, simply because so many people won’t be able to afford the little luxuries of life.

Pick which ones you want and do without the rest. Rediscover the manual toothbrush even though the electric version plus a Waterpik protect your teeth better. Pile up the quilts on your bed. Use a hand egg beater.

The extra costs being added to each item may seem minor, but they add up to a major impact on our quality of life.

It’s not the end of the world, but is this interference with our choices really what our government should be doing? No, it is not.

Be prepared for a possible future of solar-powered clothes dryers. We used to call them clotheslines.

Students to hold Repeal Common Core Rally in Westerville OH

On Saturday, October 18th from Noon to 2 PM, a "Repeal Common Core Rally" will be held in Westerville (Westerville American Legion - 393 E. College Ave.).

Date: Saturday October 18th
Time: Noon - 2pm
Address: 393 E. College Ave  Westerville, OH (Click for Map)
This event is being put on by HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS!

Speakers will include both Conservative and Liberal teachers and students, as well as community members, who believe that Common Core is damaging the education system.

Common Core is taking teaching, individualism, and creativity out of schools. These standards will be detrimental to both the education of our youth, and future of our nation.

Our goal is to make the District and State education boards realize the consequences of implementing Common Core, and to provide political pressure to repeal Common Core state wide.

To keep up with efforts to repeal Common Core in Ohio and how you can help please go to Ohioans Against Common Core website by clicking here.

To get started with efforts to repeal Common Core in your child's school district, make sure to check out their Take Action section by clicking here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tax Dollars Blowing in the Wind of Crony Capitalism

We recently posted an excellent article by former Congressman Ernest Istook highlighting the battle we face in the upcoming lame duck session of Congress over a proposed $18 billion extension of the wind-energy production tax credit being fueled by crony capitalism.

For the latest example of wind blown tax dollars and crony capitalism in Ohio we only need to look at the shores of Lake Erie and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo).

LEEDCo was founded as a non-profit economic development corporation in 2009 as a result of a public/private funded feasibility study for the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force to put wind turbines in Lake Erie. Members of LEEDCo include the Cleveland Foundation, NorTech, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain and Ashtabula counties.

The projected costs for the 6-9 wind turbines alone is approximately $92 - $100 million. This does not include any overruns of construction costs, the cost of installing the transmission lines to get the power from the turbines to the shore, reworking or updating of the existing power grid to accommodate the wind power and/or the estimated yearly maintenance costs of $5 million as outlined in the feasibility study.

After several failed bills in the U.S. Senate to promote funding for wind energy (HereHere) by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and after his continued badgering, LEEDCo received an initial $4 million grant in 2012 to fund their Project Ice Breaker. Project Ice Breaker is for research & design engineering on the bases needed for the proposed wind turbines in Lake Erie.

This grant is through the first stage of a $180 million U.S. Dept of Energy sponsored offshore wind power competition.  Along with this, three other N/E Ohio companies with ties to LEEDCo received grants;

Failing to qualify for the full $47 million available for each project in the second round of the grant awards (tax dollar giveaways), LEEDCo was only awarded $2.8 million by the D.O.E. to complete engineering and other related studies on Project Ice Breaker.

But this setback is not about to stop LEEDCo. Lorry Wagner, president of LEEDCo, acknowledges the setback but reaffirms their dedication to forcing this project through.

In 2012 the left-leaning Brent Larkin of the Plain Dealer was surprisingly critical of the wind turbines in Lake Erie and again questioned the cost & sensibility of the turbine project....
There are 534,899 households in Cuyahoga County. Installing five or six wind turbines seven miles out would generate enough power to light a maximum of 6,100 of those households.

The cost is pegged at about $150 million. In Cleveland dollars, that means overruns would push the final figure past the $200 million mark. That doesn’t include annual maintenance costs of about $5 million.

Because businesses and manufacturers always use between 30 percent and 40 percent of the power produced, the wind turbine pilot project would produce about 0.5 percent of the county’s required electricity.

Nevertheless, windmill supporters haven’t given up the chase. Even as business leaders who know how to read a bottom line have quietly backed away, proponents – led by the Cleveland Foundation – have refused to follow the lead of other Great Lakes cities and scale back their grandiose plans. (Emphasis Added)

And this brings us to the wind-blown bile of crony capitalism we see in many of these wind turbine projects.

When speaking of crony capitalism in Cuyahoga County and/or Ohio, somewhere along the line you will find some sort of non-profit group being controlled or influenced by the cabal of corporate charlatan's at The Cleveland Foundation & the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP).

Taking a look at the original Great Lakes Energy Task Force and LEEDCo the non-profit economic development corporation specially created for wind turbine project, you will see it is nothing more than a shell game of incestuous relationships fleecing the public with our own tax dollars.

The Cleveland Foundation and Nortech, a non-profit front group for the GCPboth served on the Great Lakes Energy Task Force. The task force in turn hired JW Great Lakes Wind LLC to create a wind feasibility study for turbines in Lake Erie.  

In creating this wind feasibility study for the Task Force, JW Great Lakes Wind LLC had the "help" of the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center, a front group for the Cleveland Foundation pushing for turbines in Lake Erie. 

From this wind feasibility study for the Task Force, paid for partially with public money & created with the help of groups tied to the Task Force, the non-profit Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) was created by the Task Force to oversee the push for wind turbines in Lake Erie.  

With a quick click here, you will see many of the Board members of the Task Force that created LEEDCo, are now Board members for LEEDCo.

The non-profit LEEDCo hired Bechtel Development Company, Inc. (Bechtel), Cavallo Great Lakes Ohio Wind, LLC (Cavallo) and Great Lakes Wind Energy, LLC (GLWEnergy) to work on the project.

Bechtel, Cavallo and GLWEnergy have formed Great Lakes Ohio Wind, LLC (GLOW), the company that will own and develop the project.

With only the tip of the corporate cronyism pointed out in just this one "wind" project in Ohio, do you really need more reasons as to why Speaker Boehner & the upcoming lame duck Congress should reject extending the $18 billion Wind Energy Tax Production Credit?