1) Cracking down on IRS employees who don't pay their own taxes. A good idea, but mostly meaningless in terms of overall reform. Especially since it requires the Treasury Secretary to "certify" but probably doesn't provide any penalties if he certifies incorrectly.
2) Blocking the IRS from rehiring those it fired for misconduct. Again, a good idea, but not a lot of actual reform.
3) Ban IRS employees from receiving bonuses until it improves customer service. Again, this doesn't strike me as very helpful, but it's doing better than the other proposals because it has penalties that will hit the IRS in the personal pocketbook.
4) Blocking funding for targeting citizens exercising their first amendment rights. Honestly, I can't imagine a more toothless way to do this. As if the IRS is going to admit some particular activity is targeting? Who makes that determination and denies the funds? No one, at least not until after the fact. This is better than nothing, I suppose, but lacking enforcement mechanisms ultimately meaningless.
5) Printed copies of IRS rules upon request... is this even a serious problem? Really?
Not mentioned in the above list of proposals (which I based on the linked article) is the only one which seems to have a chance at being effective, HR 4885:
Preventing the IRS from using user fees as a slush fund might actually give Congress some control over the rogue agency.
According to the Accounting Today article, all of those proposals have passed the House. I'd like to see the Senate take up HR 4885 and make it a must-pass piece of legislation, including tying it to those hideous must-pass funding bills if necessary. The rest can proceed individually; let the Democrats block them if they can and force Obama to veto them to protect his enforcers.
Notably absent, however, is the best available mechanism for encouraging the IRS leadership to behave responsibly rather than covering up abuses: impeaching the IRS commissioner who conducted the coverup.
Color me not impressed with the GOPe, for the most part.
Hillary sees gun control opportunity after Scalia's death
We know what kind of justice Hillary will appoint if she wins. We know what kind of justice Obama has already nominated, if the Republican squishes in the Senate confirm him. We know that the next justice will likely determine whether the 2nd Amendment has legal force to protect our rights or becomes yet another dead-letter amendment that the government ignores.
To put it bluntly, I don't believe Facebook's protests here. Or those of companies in a similar position like Google.
While Althouse suggests that simply complaining loudly at Facebook will help, and I don't disagree that those complaints should be voiced, the more important task is to create and maintain alternatives to market dominance. Ultimately, complaints about Facebook by people on Facebook are meaningless. Those complaints must be backed by the ability to exit.
According to BearingArms, that's exactly what happened. And while Twitter would normally be free to abuse their customers speech however they chose, we are also free to object. Or, for that matter, simply abandon the platform.
In other words.. the iPhone had no contacts with other plotters, no encrypted communications (beyond the encrypted iPhone itself), no contacts from family and friends (not surprising, since it was a work phone not a personal phone), and no contacts with other ISIS supporters.
In short, the iPhone had nothing useful at all, and the only "new data" the FBI found was the absence of new data. But of course they are trying to imply that they found something useful to preserve the public impression that oh-my-god-the-terrorists-might-use-encryption as an argument against ordinary people preserving their privacy rights by using encryption.
They are trying to lie by implication to influence public policy and undermine the fourth amendment, and it disgusts me.
I can understand the argument that repealing Obamacare requires winning the White House, because Obama is inevitably going to veto any repeal of his major policy win, and the GOP doesn't have the votes to override a veto. Not even close. (Arguably, if they tried really hard to make an effective case with a viable alternative, they could get enough votes to override -- but at this point, they haven't done the work and it's just not going to happen).
But while an impeachment requires a 2/3rds vote in the Senate, it has nothing to do with the presidency, so this is just Ryan trying to placate his party's demands for real action with meaningless mouth noises he probably recites in his sleep by now.
Ryan should be pushing hard to impeach Koskinen for his multiple documented failures to produce evidence, obstruction of justice by delay, and actual destruction of evidence in aid of covering up violations of the law. Force the Democrats to make a clearly political vote against. Lay out the evidence of negligence and the case for deliberate destruction of evidence.
I think the case for negligence is provable beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The Senate may not be a court of law, but there's no need to wait for a new president to impeach the current IRS commissioner.
But the wheels of justice turn so slowly that the president who likely ordered it will be stepping down at the end of his second term before anything is done about the IRS abuse that helped give him a second term.
Senator Rand Paul introduces gun-rights legislation to block gun control
This seems to me both good policy and, properly, already policy. But the Obama administration has been pretending that they can use things like financial fiduciaries to declare mental incompetence, so restating it in law seems necessary.
I suggest that this time, they include penalties for violations -- and a legal cause of action for a civil suit.
Why storing your data in the cloud is a really bad idea
The whole point of having a search warrant is to make the search demand and the criteria used to obtain is public and subject to court review. If the subject of the search never learns they were searched, they can't challenge the search. And their privacy is harmed, even if they are never charged.
IRS threatening to release illegally-obtained information from Tea Party groups
Why release it? Well, the Obama administration has had 6 years to make use of the information after the IRS illegally collected it. Obama is about to leave office, so he won't be able to keep using it. The choice is between releasing it publicly, where other left-leaning groups can make use of the illegally-obtained private information on donors to target them for abuse and intimidation, or wait for the courts to order the information destroyed. You can't undo a public release, so look for the Obama administration to push hard for that option.
2/3rds of British Muslims would not tip off police to terror plots
This illustrates a very real problem with Islam and Muslim communities within western nations. Even if an individual is peaceful, many are willing to provide cover for those who are not. And this problem is not unique to Britain; Islam is among the fastest growing religions in America.
IRS trying to encourage identity theft for tax purposes
Never mind that the person that stolen SSN belongs to legitimately is likely to have all sorts of interesting problems untangling their identity when they finally discover that someone else has been using the number. Never mind the person who might have gotten the job had the person using the illegal SSN -- who is here illegally and thus not legally allowed to work -- been arrested, or even simply had their employer notified that the SSN did not match their name and thus been denied the job. Never mind that the people here illegally may be filing tax returns to collect benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, or claiming dependents that are not really dependents for similar purposes. None of these people matter.