Friday, May 31, 2013

Saturday Pictures

Saturday Pictures
June 1, 2013
(click to enlarge)

BNSF train chugs up the approach to Bozeman Pass.

Why does Warren Buffett hate the Keystone XL pipeline and love Barack Obama?  He loves making money hauling oil on BNSF. a wholly owned subsidiary of Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate empire.

By the way, it is June 1st and the snow line is about 1,000 feet up.

The Bozeman Trail - On July 14, 1806 Captain William Clark accompanied by 11 members of the expedition party camped about a mile east of here on the flat at the mouth of Kelly Canyon.  The next day, Sacajawea guided the party up the canyon on an old buffalo trail to a pass at the summit of the Gallitan Range.  In 1863, after failing to open the Bozeman Trail, John Bozeman and a small party on horseback traveled west over this pass when they returned to Montana.  The men in the party named the pass for Bozeman.  The pass became the route of the Bozeman Trail when it was opened in 1864.  Most Bridger Trail  travelers went through Bridger pass several miles to the north.

From Bozeman Pass, the Bozeman Trail crossed the head of Moffit Canyon to Kelly Canyon.  The trail descended Kelly Canyon and entered the Gallitan Valley at the site of Fort Ellis.  As they approached the town of Bozeman diarist enthusiastically recorded seeing the first fences, plowed fields and cabins since leaving the eastern settlements.  Today the lower three miles of Kelly Canyon Road follows the historic Bozeman Trail as it winds its way down from the summit to the Gallitan Valley.

FORT ELLIS - Established as a military post August 27, 1867 by order of President Johnson and General U.S. Grant 
the post was abandoned in December 1886.  
Captain Wm Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition encamped here July 14, 1806 with his Indian guide Sacajawea.  and the following men
Toussaint Charbonneau, George Gibson, Sergeant Pryor and others.

Back east it was Virginia is for Lovers.

Horizon at twilight from the rear of our home.

Home sweet home.

Big Government Sequester Armageddon Wrong Again

Who is the real extremist?

So recall that Obama got into his Chicken Little routine on February 10 backed up by firefighters who would no longer be able to douse blazes, police who would no longer be patrolling the streets and EMT's who would abandon dying accident victims along the side of the roads  Obama told us the sequester will cost the economy "hundreds of thousands of jobs." Pure silliness and fabrication spewed forth. It turns out the sequester has barely impacted its ground zero economy, Washington, DC.
“The surprise is that the [DC region] economy is as good as it is,” said Stephen S. Fuller, the economist who directs the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. “We’ve done better than I expected.”
In January, Fuller predicted that the sequester, if enacted, would be an “end-of-the-world kind of hit” to the regional economy. He wrote an analysis of the cuts in March concluding they would kill more than 325,000 jobs in Virginia, the District and Maryland combined.
That estimate included both direct and indirect effects — that is, layoffs not just among federal workers and contractors, but also the workers, such as waiters or car salespeople, whose jobs depend on spending from federal paychecks.
So far, the direct job effects have been relatively small. The metro area shed 1,000 federal jobs in April, accelerating a belt-tightening trend; in the 11 months before that, the area lost nearly 4,000 federal jobs. Meanwhile, professional business services — the job category that includes government contracting — has grown at roughly the same rate this year as in 2012 and 2011. No major contractor has issued a government-required notification that it is planning a mass layoff.
The sequester is a no-quester in terms of its economic impact. It always was. You can't trust this president or his lapdog experts, not at all.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Independent" IRS Chief Visited White House 157 Times

So-called independent IRS Commissioner Doug Schulman visited the White House 157 times, more than than each of Obama's cabinet pals, misleading Congress with flippant answers before the data came out,
Asked to explain the visits, Shulman gave lawmakers a list of possible reasons. 
"The Easter Egg roll with my kids ... questions about the administratibility of tax policy ... our budget, us helping the Department of Education streamline application processes for financial aid," he said.
According to the Caller analysis, no other top official logged more than 100 visits.
Mr. smartass IRS Comissioner apparently
attended something like 157 Easter Egg Rolls
This hasn't come out yet, but in time it will eventually be disclosed that many of those visits were with Obama University of Chicago Law School pal, confidante, intellectual mentor and best bud Cass Sunstein who Obama installed in a key OMB position as his regulatory czar. When it comes to "extremist groups", like the tea party, radical Harvard Professor Sunstein encouraged the Government take on a "Monkey Wrench Gang" approach to disrupt and destroy their operations.   Sunstein has advocated the government take steps to "undermine the crippled epistemology of believers."  

The path to the IRS scandal is getting closer and closer to the Oval Office.  Sunstein resigned from his OMB job late last year as the IG's investigation into the IRS was wrapping up.  It does not end.

Rachel Loses to Yellow Journalism

Its official, Rachel Maddow's ratings fell below CNN's Headline News' offerings in May. America judged that Jody offing her boyfriend had more to offer.  C'mon Rachel, we don't want to miss you. Please don't go the way of Ed Schulz. What else are we going to do for our daily dose of laughs and guffaws if both of you are moved to cartoon time?

So Why Did You Move?

For one thing, avoiding a $7,000 property tax bill.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Obamacare Driving Small Businesses to Self Insure

The biggest employment drivers in the US economy are small and medium size businesses -- small startups becoming successful, small businesses becoming medium size and medium-size businesses graduating to large.  The conduits to growth for these business are open markets and free enterprise. Burdens and barriers are anathema to their job-generating potential.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Obamacare is driving small and medium businesses to the high risk self-insurance route as never before.
As businesses cast about for ways to minimize new costs related to the federal health law, health insurers are stepping up. Among their latest offerings: allowing ever-smaller companies to switch to a riskier form of coverage traditionally favored by big employers.  UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc. will begin offering smaller employers—including firms with as few as 10 members in UnitedHealth's case—the option of so-called self-insurance in some markets later this year. Self-insured businesses pay their workers' medical costs directly, instead of joining a traditional managed-care plan. Usually, they hire benefits firms or insurance companies just to administer their plans.
Most big companies choose the approach, because it gives them more control over benefits and can lower costs  For small businesses, being self-insured would let them avoid new requirements under the law that call for traditional small group plans to include richer benefits, such as mental-health and maternity care. Self-insured companies can also avoid changes to pricing rules that could increase costs for groups of healthy workers.
It comes with risks: A car accident or cancer case can leave small businesses on the hook for big medical bills. That is why most large insurers have generally offered such services to companies that have 100 or more workers and can spread the costs around.
Now, the health law is changing the risk-benefit calculation for smaller businesses such as Buckno Lisicky & Co., an 85-person accounting firm in Allentown, Pa. The company switched from a traditional health plan to a self-insured plan run by benefits-manager WellNet Inc. this year, in part because of the law's small-business rules, said Jack Lisicky, a founder.
High risks and higher costs are two ways that Obamacare impedes economic growth, something that a nation with a $17 trillion dollar debt, growing welfare rolls, a shrinking workforce and continuing deficits can ill afford.  The chickens will come home to roost. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pickled Herring

Thanks to my sister for coming forward when I lamented on the "lost" pickled herring recipe.  Here goes.

Elsa Stuberg Recipe

1 pound                salt herring filets or pieces

1 cup                    white vinegar

1/2 cup                 sugar

1 small                  yellow onion

1/4 cup                 whole allspice (NOT ground)
 Put herring in a bowl with plenty of cold water and refrigerate overnight.  When you’re ready to make the herring, drain off the water and rinse lightly.  (This is to remove some of the salt from the herring.) 
Cut up the herring into about 1-inch pieces, if not already cut up.  Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar. 
For a fancy presentation, place the cut-up herring in a one-quart glass jar (I use a large Adams peanut butter jar) skins sides up.  Otherwise a glass or ceramic bowl is fine. 
Add the vinegar with the sugar dissolved.  Cut the onion in half and then cut the halves into slices.  Put the onions in the jar on top of the herring. 
Very coarsely ground the allspice.  I use a good mortar and pestle to do this, and all I do is break each “corn” of allspice open.  Put the allspice in the jar on top of the onions.

If some of the pieces of herring are not covered by the liquid, add more vinegar to cover.  Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate.  There is no need to mix the ingredients.  The flavors will blend just sitting in the fridge.  Use only glass or ceramic to store the herring, not plastic.
Rachel the Pig
Pike Place Market
Sis recommends preparing the herring about a week prior to serving to give it time to marinate.   Once prepared, the dish seems to last a long time so long as it is refrigerated and the herring covered with vinegar.  But it won't be around too long because it is really, really good.  

It is important to purchase herring that is firm and bright looking (with a definite blueish cast like fresh trout).  In Seattle my sister has had good luck buying herring at the Pike Place Market at the “fish-throwing” stand (aka Pike Place Fish Company) by Rachel the Pig.

Now, there was the question of recipes for the meatballs and the potato salad.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

This year I miss the roar of Rolling Thunder down the I-66 and US-50 corridor through Arlington and into DC this holiday weekend.  Many locals complained of the disruption to their peace and quiet.  Wiser heads said they enjoyed the sounds of freedom.  It is a fitting tribute to the many who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom.

A few dozen of the hundreds of thousands of this year's Rolling Thunder participants crossing Memorial Bridge
between Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia side of the Potomac, across the river to the Lincoln Memorial.

On the Road to Sweden: Grandma and Grandpa Stuberg

Grandpa and Grandma
John and Elsa Stuberg
This is a John and Elsa Stuberg post -- at least when I get beyond the preliminaries.

I previously blogged about my father’s side of the family but not my mother’s. The biggest part of the explanation is in the numbers. My dad was the youngest of 11 children while my mother was an only child. The sheer quantity of aunts, uncles and cousins on my father’s side, makes for not only more material, but also for better access to stories, timelines and photos. My Uncle Herb and Aunt Margaret lived in the Chicago area with us as I was growing up. They were a constant part of our lives, whereas my mother had no close relatives living nearby during most of my youth.  

Another factor in the unequal attention to ancestry is members of dad’s family were active in civic affairs and/or politics. As a result, there is a wealth of published material, much searchable on the internet. My dad’s father and grandfather founded and developed their hometown of Bathgate, North Dakota (2010 population 43).  I visited Bathgate several times. My dad’s father, Isaac J. Foster, was county sheriff, local civic official (president or chairman of the fair board and various other boards and commissions), a Grand Mason, an auctioneer, a purveyor of insurance and real estate, and an appointee to various state boards and commissions.

My dad’s namesake, his uncle George, moved from North Dakota to Chicago where he studied law, was elected a City Alderman before the turn of the century (the 20th Century that is), served as a Democratic Party Cook County Committee official, worked as assistant prosecuting attorney and ultimately became a municipal court judge. Early in the 20th Century, when few women attended college, two of dad’s two older sisters, Bina and Grace, were university trained, one educated and employed as a druggist (known modern day as pharmacist) and the other became a teacher, well known in the towns where they served.  His sister Charlotte eventually taught school as well.

My dad’s second oldest brother, Lyndon (aka Lyn or Red) Foster, was a partially disabled WW I veteran who went on to be a newspaper publisher and political firebrand in California. At one time or another Lyn was a candidate for Los Angeles City Council, he vied for a seat in the U.S. Congress and he campaigned to become Lieutenant Governor of the Golden State. Lyn irked his rivals to the point where political opponents bombed his apartment in 1935.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Pictures

Saturday Pictures
May 25, 2013
(click to enlarge)

Typical Montana Pickup Truck

Looks Great in Green.

Cowboy Hats Are Great Protection from the Rain.

Flowering Front Yard Tree.

Hyalite Reservoir Filling with Spring Runoff.

Over the Bridge and Under the Bus!

In connection with the I-5 bridge collapse into the Skagit River, addle brained Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott from Washington state blames the incident on Republicans “throwing American infrastructure … under the bus”  Well, we have video now Congressman.

It was a truck, not a bus.  And how do you know it was Republican driving the truck Congressman?  Did you have the IRS investigate?

Ford Was Right

And I'm not talking about pickup trucks -- not this time at least.

I was thinking yesterday, which we know can be a dangerous thing.  My mind wandered back to the first time I encountered the atmospherics and the entourage that surround the President of the United States.  

Secret Service agents hustling President Ford
away from Squeaky Fromme, September 5, 1975
It was September 1975 at Stanford Law School, where as a first year student I had a third tier seat for a speech by Gerald Ford at the dedication ceremony of the brand spanking new law school complex.  A few weeks earlier Squeaky Fromme had threatened to take the President out with a misfiring handgun on the grounds of the California state capitol.  As a consequence, security was especially tight.  The buildings surrounding the law school quad were topped by mean looking dudes dressed top to bottom in black, with automatic assault weapons drawn and ready.  Helicopters circled above.  The grounds crawled with uniformed law enforcement plus an army of sun glass wearing, ear pieced Secret Service agents.  That much I remember.  But I didn't recall the speech.  So I thought I'd look it up.

President Gerald Ford (at podium in foreground) addressing
guests at Stanford Law School  Crown Quadrangle dedication.
As Nixon's VP prior to tricky Dick's resignation just over a year previous, Ford had a quintessential VP assignment --  Chairman of the Domestic Council Committee on the Right of Privacy.  President Ford pivoted off that experience to say that "one of the worst offenders" of the individual right of privacy was "the federal government itself."  Ford positioned the issue of privacy in the broader context of law and liberty.  He said the accumulation of laws (which has continued at breakneck pace and today we refer to as the Nanny State) "cumulatively threaten to strip the individual of privacy and reduce them to a faceless set of digits in a monstrous set of computers." He saw the government's requisition of information and use of information in anything other than in the lawful and intended way as a dangerous attack on liberty.   Imagine that!  Could you possibly see the IRS, for example, requiring information unlawfully and then using that along with lawfully secured information improperly, squelching disfavored views? 

Then Ford took what seemed to me at the time a bit of a pretty big leap, an alarmist point of view.   He said,
I see the great challenge of the next one hundred years as the advancement of our individual independence -- of specific steps to safeguard the identity of each and every American from the pressures of conformity.  These pressures close in upon us from many quarters -- massive government, massive management, massive labor, massive education, massive communication and massive acquisition of information.
My God he was prescient.  President Ford, characterized as a dolt by the media that were every bit as biased and inept as today (also portrayed as spasmodic by the media despite being probably the most athletic ever president), foresaw the power of the Sheeple before the word was invented.  Fine job Gerry, I wish we had paid more attention back in the day.

Friday, May 24, 2013

He Did It Again

Earlier this week Tate Tatom of Lone Peak High School in Big Sky, Montana successfully defended his Class C High School championship.   He shot a final round 72 to win by 18 strokes in winds described as "vicious" if that adjective fits for gales driving 35 to 40 miles per hour, with higher gusts.  It was hard to stand.  Shooting par golf in that weather is almost inconceivable.  Tate's dad is proud of his son's 4.0 GPA.  They are getting an RV to better make the rounds on the junior golf tournament circuit.  We will continue to follow Tate.  We wish him well.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fun, Fun, Fun

Sounds like a fair trade to me!


Top April Posts!

Now having allowed April posts to mature a bit, here are the top posts at Along the Gradient, in order of page views, for the fourth month of 2013.  Thanks to all our readers for their interest and support.

1.)  Intel and Microsoft -- Walking Dead.   Two companies, one valuation history.  Once linked to the PC always linked to the PC.

2.)  The Masters.  The first golf major begins with ceremonial tee shots by legends of the game. 

3.)  On the Road to Bathgate Act 6.  The sixth post in the popular Road to Bathgate series focuses on Norval Baptie, world champion speed skater and barrel jumper, figure skating legend and ice show impresario all in one.  Norval Baptie grew up on a quarter section neighboring my dad's hometown of Bathgate, North Dakota and learned to skate on the Tongue River and in the frozen ditches along the railroad right of way.

4.)  Obamacare Incompetence.  Kathleen Sibelius' Department of Health and Human Services drops the ball on Obamacare implementation.   When will the populous figure out there is pattern here?  It's not merely the IRS, Benghazi and DOJ that are disserving the American people.  It's endemic to virtually the entire federal government.

5.)  The Boat.  Chronicling the replacement of David Henneberry's boat in Newtown, Massachusetts.

6.)  You Paid For It.  Million dollar bus stops in Arlington, Virginia, ground zero for Club Fed, funded by you, the federal taxpayer.

7.)  Progressive Triple Header: No Responsibility Nation Surges Forward.  The labor force declines, food stamp rolls increase and disability retirements surge, all in the midst of a recovery that Obama says he built to last.

8.)  Second Coldest Start to Spring in US History.  A big global warming bypass to go along with a bitter winter in Europe.  Published prior to our May Day snowstorm.

9.)  To Meet a Cousin.  We looked forward to a meet and greet with our Canadian cousin.  I met a grandmother too.   A great time was had by all.  

Happy reading.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

So I Checked. We Are Winners!

I came across one of those on-line calculators for the Obamacare subsidy.  I couldn't help it.  I checked. Sure enough it looks like my family would qualify for about a $3,000 subsidy if we were to go the healthcare insurance exchange route.   Given our incredibly low tax rates, that would make us officially part of Romney's 47 percent -- bribed into leftist loyalty.  

The reality is that by my standards we live pretty high on the hog.  We don't have an economic care in the world.  We have worked hard, saved hard and invested hard.  We have earned every penny.  We don't want any handouts.  We don't need any handouts.  Whatever benefits we receive are a direct result of having worked for decades. We are happy to give to good causes and do so.  

At the same time, in the big picture, the welfare state is destroying societal values, undercutting incentives for work and disconnecting the economic machine that drives value from the government machine that excises it and doles it out.  If anyone wants to know why bit by bit, piece by piece, standards of living and median incomes are declining all you have to do is look into the mirror, gaze at yourself and then consider the destructive dependency cycle of the give-away government that you elect.  We have met the enemy and it really is us. 

Presidential Deception

Here is how it goes.
Sgt. Hans Georg Schulz
Hogans Heroes

May 10, 2013 -- Before launching the Sergeant Schulz routine, White House spokesman Jay Carney calls the IRS “an independent enforcement agency."

May 13, 2013 -- Distancing himself from the scandal, the President of the United States, know nothing Barack Obama, says the IRS "as an independent agency requires absolute integrity."

But what actually happened?  It turns out that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Mark Childress coordinated with "independent" IRS and Treasury on how and what to say about the nonprofit political targeting scandal before it was publicly reported.   The claims of independence are demonstrably a joke -- in fact, bald faced lies.   The IRS is not independent from the White House, nor from the Treasury Department, led by Obama appointee and confidant "tax cheat" Tim Geithner throughout the scandal.  

There will be much more to come.

Fried Golfer

Tiger Woods' problem was too many girlfriends.  Sergio Garcia can't seem to hold on to one.  These guys could not be more different.  

Tiger's disdain for Garcia is obvious.  Sergio's dislike for Woods is explicit.  The spat boiled over the week before last at the Players Championship when Garcia blamed a flubbed 3-wood on Woods stirring up the crowd and criticized Woods for not being the "nicest guy."  Tiger responded by labeling Garcia as a serial complainer.

Last night Garcia ratcheted up his anti-Tiger campaign with a racially tinged remark.

This morning Garcia says he is sorry.  Then he said all the wrong things.  More than once he said his apology extended to those who he "may have offended."  Sergio claimed the remark was not intended to be racial, that he merely made a stupid mistake and he thinks it is time to move on.  Not racial?  What else could it be?  

Incredibly, Garcia said he was ignorant of essentially the same  remark made in 1997 by Fuzzy Zoeller after Woods won his first Masters.  Tiger refused to bless Zoeller with a staged apology.  Zoeller was hounded by critics and the press for years to the point that his career on the big tour was prematurely ended.   At this point Garcia has no idea how the weight of his remark is going to crush him.  Frankly, it will be deserved.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's No Joke

Lest there be any doubt why I don't find Jon Stewart and the other assholes of his ilk the least bit funny, the one-time head writer and 
co-creator of ‘The Daily Show’ managed to enrage many of her followers after tweeting joke about the Oklahoma tornado’s political motivations.‘This tornado is in Oklahoma so clearly it has been ordered to only target conservatives,’ wrote comedian Lizz Winstead, in a tweet, around 3:30 Monday afternoon. The tweet was an apparent attempt at using the occasion of the May 20 twister to comment on the scandal currently plaguing the IRS and Obama administration. 
She followed up with this,

Boy that's a real knee slapper, isn't it?  What kind of demonic logic drives the left?  It is destructive, evil.  I once thought the left were well meaning people who just didn't get it.  But evidence has accumulated to the point that I realize they are bent on control at any cost and destruction of anyone who doesn't share their agenda.  It's a power and control game.  It can't get any uglier than that.  I, for one, am not going down quietly.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lying For Barack

If anything the Sunday talk show lying is getting more brazen.  Barack's best State Department pal Susan Rice, on Sunday September 16, 2012 was put forward to say the following concerning Benghazi,

"There's no question, as we've seen in the past with things like 'The Satanic Verses,' with the cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, there have been such things that have sparked outrage and anger and this has been the proximate cause of what we've seen," Rice said.
“What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, prompted by the video,” Rice said.
"No question" and "in fact?"  The Benghazi claims were false, known to be false and based on fabricated lies put together by a team involving Obama's White House and Hillary Clinton's State Department.

Yesterday, Obama didn't bother to put multiple organizational layers and a separate organizational stovepipe between him and the prevaricating mouthpiece.   Dan Pfeifer, White House senior adviser, was pressed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday yesterday on the President's role the night of the Benghazi raid,
“What did the President do the rest of that night to pursue Benghazi?” Pfeiffer answered, “Look, the President was kept up to date on this as it was happening the entire night, from the moment it started until the very end …. I recognize that there’s a series of conspiracy theories Republicans have been spinning about it since the time it happened.” He then added, “The question here is not what happened that night.”
Wallace pressed him further: “With due respect, you didn’t answer my question: what did the president do that night?” Pfeiffer said that Obama was in touch with his national security team, but as Wallace pointed out, he didn’t talk to the Secretary of State except for one time after the attack was over, didn’t talk to the Secretary of Defense, didn’t talk with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as it developed.
Finally, Wallace asked whether Obama was in the Situation Room. “I don’t remember what room the President was in on that night,” shot back Pfeiffer, “and that’s a largely irrelevant fact.” Wallace continued to press the point, and Pfeiffer continued to evade.
After days, weeks and months of attention on that bleak, horrible night we can rest assured that Pfeiffer's failure to remember is a lie, pure and simple. The Obamian nose is getting longer every day.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Politidumb of the Week

It's a Trifecta,

1.  AP -- Nothing like ticking off your best buds who happen to be your PR army.

2.  Benghazi -- Splatting your best hope in 2016 against the windshield.

3.  IRS -- Denials and backpedaling will catalyze additional revelations that cry out for coverage -- see Item 1.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Holy Crap!

It turns out the low level IRS "rogue employee" in Cincinnati (no pattern here, don't stop to look) viewed prayer as a disqualifier for nonprofit status.
While applying with the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status in 2009, an Iowa-based anti-abortion group was asked to provide information about its members' prayer meetings, documents sent by an IRS official to the organization reveal.
Private Party Prayer Not Permitted
on the Government's Watch
On June 22, 2009, the Coalition for Life of Iowa received a letter from the IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio, that oversees tax exemptions requesting details about how often members pray and whether their prayers are "considered educational."
"Please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood, are considered educational as defined under 501(c)(3)," reads the letter, made public by the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm that collected evidence about the IRS practices. "Organizations exempt under 501(c)(3) may present opinions with scientific or medical facts. Please explain in detail the activities at these prayer meetings. 
Also, please provide the percentage of time your organizations spends on prayer groups as compared with the other activities of the organization."
My God, the people who support the lefty political machine are mean spirited and intolerant. The lady who was in charge of the Cincinnati mess is now running the IRS's Obamacare compliance operation. I can foresee it now -- next to come is the questioning, regulation and banning of prayer in hospitals. Hospitals are places for medicine and medicine only, deathbed conversions not allowed.


The tone is set at the top.  Here is the gig.
Was the White House involved in the IRS's targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.
The "Elections have
consequences" President
in action.
President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an "independent" agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.
But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. "He put a target on our backs, and he's now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?" asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.
And Obama implicated the IRS as a principal instrument of his lawless politics of destruction by putting tax cheat Tim Geithner in charge. Way to go President of the left!

Three If By Sea

Kim Jong-un is running out of map games.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Saturday Pictures

Saturday Pictures
May 18, 2013
(click for full size)



Elk Herd, Foot of Mt. Ellis, Meadow View

Elk Herd, Foot of Mt. Ellis, Ridge View


Swans and Ducks

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Breaking News! New IRS Chief to Even Out Audits

Striving to move beyond the political fallout of the IRS’s scandalous treatment of conservative and libertarian organizations that sought nonprofit status, President Barack Obama  appointed senior White House budget officer Daniel Werfel as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service Thursday. 

In a companion move that appears calculated to reestablish the Internal Revenue Service’s bona fides as an even-handed, neutral arbiter of the law, it is expected that Werfel will launch audits of multiple organizations previously granted nonprofit status.  The new targets of the IRS review will include Netroots Nation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, the Center for American Progress a 501 (c)(4) organization, and NARAL Pro-Choice America, also registered under Section 501 (c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.  White House officials insist that these organizations have come up for audit under the IRS’s standard management review cycle.  The IRS will investigate political lobbying activity.  It is not lawful for organizations to claim they serve an educational or social welfare purpose, when they are actually organized for the purpose of lobbying members of Congress and influencing officials in the Executive Branch.      

Netroots represents a broad coalition of left leaning and progressive organizations.  The Netroots website describes its influencing role as follows. 
Think of the Netroots as a big political family. We may not agree on everything but common threads connect us—for example, we stand for an America where every person deserves a good job with fair wages and equal opportunity. Our tent may be broad but we all can agree that America has gone off the rails and it’s time to get back on track with policy that is fair and just for everyone. 
The Washington, DC based Center for American Progress is chaired by John Podesta whose political resume and connections to the President include the following.
Prior to founding the Center in 2003, Podesta served as White House chief of staff to President William J. Clinton. He served in the president’s cabinet and as a principal on the National Security Council. While in the White House, he also served as both an assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff, as well as staff secretary.
Podesta served as co-chair of President Barack Obama’s transition, where he coordinated the priorities of the incoming administration’s agenda, oversaw the development of its policies, and spearheaded its appointments of major cabinet secretaries and political appointees. 
The Center describes its American political operation as follows.
How we work

Through dialogue with leaders, thinkers, and citizens, we explore the vital issues facing America and the world. We develop a point of view and take a stand. We then build on that and develop bold new ideas.
We shape the national debate. We share our point of view with everyone who can put our ideas into practice and effect positive change. That means online, on campus, in the media, on the shop floor, in faith communities, and in the boardroom. Our progressive partners—including the CAP Action Fund—take our ideas to Congress and statehouses. 
The third nonprofit, NARAL Pro-Choice America, pushes its abortion rights agenda by targeting both Congress and the Executive for action.
The President
President Obama can do a lot to affect pro-choice policies.
· President Obama picks the people who oversee services important to women's health. He also nominates women and men to serve as judges on federal courts.
· President Obama can use executive orders to change some policies. Just after entering office, he canceled the anti-choice global gag rule.
· President Obama proposes the federal budget. Choice is part of many programs.
· President Obama has the power to sign into law or veto choice-related laws Congress passes. 
Learn more about the powers of the president (PDF)

Congress—the House and Senate—creates laws and spends money on many health programs. The Senate also approves people the president picks to serve as judges or in key government positions. Right now, pro-choice lawmakers are outnumbered in both the House and Senate.
Find out how members of Congress voted on choice-related issues in 2012.
If the audits find the organizations have worked outside the scope of nonprofit charters, the entities will be required to file tax returns for the last three years, and will be assessed interest and penalties on their tax liability.  Per standard IRS practice, assets will be seized, as necessary, to pay monies due the U.S. Treasury.  Individuals who made tax deductible contributions to any of these organizations or affiliates may also be assessed for tax deficiencies.  If evidence is adduced of willful violation of the Internal Revenue Code during the audits, officials of the organizations may be referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Please Do Not Feed the Animals

My old friend, colleague and one-time boss sent me this.
Today's lesson in irony.
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people. 
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves. 
Thus ends today's lesson in irony.
Just think how dependent people would be if we weren't into the fourth year of Obama's economic recovery.  Thank you John!

Stupid Move IRS

I remember in high school we were tested on the U.S. Constitution.  We had to pass.  No pass equaled no diploma.  So here comes a little old lady from Ohio who founded American Patriots against Government Excess (PAGE) in 2010.  Her group "consisted of volunteers who routinely passed out copies of the constitution at parades, and had informational meetings on anything from the health care law to disaster preparedness."  The IRS challenges her organization's status, political not educational they say.   Said organization passes out copies of the constitution, the very document I and millions of other had to study and comprehend in order to graduate high school.  Said organization responds to IRS audit request for reading materials by sending in copy of said Constitution.  Duh!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Criteria IRS Used to Select Groups for Audit -- Audit Process Impeded and/or Prevented Groups from Operating

Straight from the "independent" IG Report are the following which Obama and his Spokesman Jay Carney have disputed to this point.

Criteria for Potential Political Cases (June 2011)

  • “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12 Project” is referenced in the case file
  • Issues include government spending, government debt or taxes
  • Education of the public by advocacy/lobbying to “make America a better place to live”
  • Statement in the case file criticize how the country is being run

Source: EO function briefing dated June 2011

Audit processes result in delays typically of a year of more, disrupting the applicants and causing applications to wither on the vine.

The IRS process was about deferment, delay and denial during the election season -- a heinous abuse of power.  Here are the types of things the IG says happened or may have happened as a result of the unlawful review process,

As a result, the IRS delayed the issuance of letters to organizations approving their tax-exemptstatus. For I.R.C. § 501(c)(3) organizations, this means that potential donors and grantors could be reluctant to provide donations or grants In addition, some organizations withdrew their applications and others may not have begun conducting planned charitable or social welfare work. The delays may have also prevented some organizations from receiving certain benefits of the tax-exempt status. For example, if organizations are approved for tax-exempt status, they may receive exemption from certain State taxes and reduced postal rates. For organizations that may eventually be denied tax-exempt status but have been operating while their applications are pending, the organizations will be required to retroactively file income tax returns and may beliable to pay income taxes for, in some cases, more than two years