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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 14, 2013/ 5 Sivan, 5773

'Patriot' games at the IRS

By Rich Lowry




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It sounds like the plot from a dystopian libertarian novel. The word "patriot" and the phrase "educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights" triggered heightened scrutiny from the most intrusive agency in the federal government.

We now know that the Internal Revenue Service did indeed target conservative groups, as had long been rumored and oft-denied. The news is a perverse confirmation of the groups' worldview, and a challenge to President Barack Obama's. He always harangues us about putting more trust in government, and then you find out that the IRS has been singling out his political enemies.

This isn't an unaccustomed role for the IRS. It was notoriously used as a partisan bludgeon by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, an abuse that was a Watergate impeachment count. In this case, the IRS gave special scrutiny to conservative groups filing for tax-exempt status as so-called 501(c)(4) organizations. Their applications would be flagged if an offending phrase or issue popped up, say, "tea party," or statements criticizing "how the country is being run," or concern about the federal debt. Then, the group might be hit with massive document requests and queries about the activities of family members of board members and key officers.

No one defends the propriety of any of this. President Obama says it is "outrageous," and even the IRS calls it, drawing on that elastic Washington word, "inappropriate." So how did it happen? The IRS explanation is that it was an innocent mistake by the rubes out in the Cincinnati office, who apparently lack an appreciation for objectivity and the rule of law, not to mention common sense.

We will learn soon enough how this holds up. But Ken Vogel, a reporter at Politico who has covered the IRS, says via twitter that the "Cincinnati office has little autonomy" and "mostly just follows DC's instructions." Certainly, if the IRS had a rogue operation on its hands, it didn't act like it. An agency vigilant in defense of the rights of citizens and of its own reputation would have exposed and shut down the misconduct immediately.

Reports say that the IRS targeting of conservatives began as early as 2010, and senior IRS officials learned of the practice two years ago. According to The Wall Street Journal, Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations division, raised concerns about the criteria used for singling out groups in July 2011. Yet she didn't mention it in the spring of 2012 when responding to letters from Republicans who had gotten word that the IRS was harrying conservative groups.

In March 2012 congressional testimony, then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman repeatedly denied any targeting of conservatives. Evidently, no one who knew about it did his or her boss the favor of telling him he had misled Congress. In fact, the IRS didn't reveal its inadvertent targeting of conservatives that it didn't in any way support or condone until the Friday before the scheduled release of a report on the matter by the Treasury inspector general. This is how an agency with a guilty conscience behaves.

There are two steps toward making it right. One is a thorough congressional investigation and the firing of anyone involved in the harassment or in looking the other way or covering it up.

The other is, as much as possible, to remove political regulation from agencies like the IRS that can become the tool of one party and its partisan agenda. It is no accident that when complaints about the IRS surfaced in early 2012, The New York Times ran an editorial applauding the agency: "Taxpayers should be encouraged by complaints from Tea Party chapters applying for nonprofit tax status." The Federal Election Commission has its faults, but it is designed to be bipartisan and is better-suited to making politically sensitive judgments.

Needless to say, ours should be a country where you can start a group with the word "patriot" in the title and not incur the hostility of the American government.

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© 2012 King Features Syndicate

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