What Rand Paul's Tax Plan Would Do For You

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Posted by Emma Boone on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 11:41 AM PERMALINK


Senator Paul has put forward a dynamic and exciting outline for tax reform. His plan would replace all current tax brackets with one flat rate of 14.5 percent. A single low income tax rate would be a great incentive to save, work, and invest for all Americans.

Tune in to hear more about Rand Paul’s tax plan, how it would help America’s economy and what his plan would do for America.

 

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SamAdamsCW

Any % is too high if it is imposed on wages and salaries. Taxing income, which is made with no effort on your part is one thing. Money you work for to eat and put a roof over your head is another. Wage and salary taxes are anathema in a free society that allegedly believes in the right to property, or any other inalienable right for that matter.

I presume the 14.5% was to remain 'revenue neutral.' Congress spends too much as it is. There is no reason to remain 'revenue neutral.' The point isn't just to collect taxes from a different source or make them 'fair.' The point is we are taxed TOO MUCH. No serious tax reform can be brought up without discussing REAL and TRUE spending reform side by side as part of the same package.

ontheright

Just like every other "tax plan" that is floated around D.C. it will die a slow and quiet death. There is too much money and power at stake to change the current tax system one iota. There is no one with the political courage to even stand up and be counted as supporting a tax policy change...end of story.
Just ask Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder what happens when tax reform ideas are brought "to the table"; even when the research is all done with private funds and all that needs to be done by the political heroes is to bring it up for a legitimate vote. Fair Tax, anyone?


Speaker Boehner Endorses Lifting the Crude Export Ban

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 9:18 AM PERMALINK


Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week came out in support of lifting the decades old ban on the export of U.S. crude oil. 

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Speaker Boehner stated, “Lifting the ban would create an estimated 1 million jobs here at home, jobs that would frankly get created in every state. It would help bring down prices at the pump for consumers, and it will be good for our allies.” 

Since the 1970's the U.S. has had a ban in place on the export of crude oil. The ban was originally enacted to protect U.S. supplies in response to decades of declining domestic production and issues in the international oil market. 

Yet in recent years the U.S. has experienced a renaissance in energy production, thanks in part to improvements in extraction and exploration methods, and it is increasingly evident the ban is no longer justified. As Speaker Boehner alluded, the economic benefits of lifting the ban would ripple throughout the economy and extend to all states, not just producers.

An overwhelming number of studies project lifting the export ban would create hundreds of thousands of jobs annually, increase household income for millions of Americans and lower domestic fuel prices. A recent study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated that lifting the ban would increase the “size of the economy…employment, investment, public revenue and trade.”

The Speaker’s support finds widespread, bipartisan company with a growing number of those in Congress. On the House side Congressman Joe Barton (R-Tex.) has introduced legislation to lift the ban and Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) are leading a similar effort in the Senate.

Speaker Boehner’s endorsement for lifting the ban is a productive step forward. Americans for Tax Reform encourages members of Congress to follow the Speaker’s lead in supporting an end to this outdated relic of 1970’s era policy.

 

Photo credit: USDA

Top Comments

zippiest

American oil is a national security resource, and should not be exported. Period.

hoho

build the pipeline first.

MC Slammer

Subheadline: US Chamber of Commerce against Crude Export Ban.


Massachusetts Spends $224 Million to Break Workable ‘Romneycare’ Exchange

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Posted by Caroline Anderegg on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 9:00 AM PERMALINK


When Obamacare was passed, Massachusetts served as the prototype for state exchanges, as it already had its own online insurance portal in place that had worked for years.  However, federal bureaucrats determined that the Romneycare exchange wasn’t up to par with the extensive requirements in place for the new Obamacare state exchanges, and officials began constructing a new site pitched as a massive upgrade for Bay Staters. But after $224 million in federal funds and years of development the new and “improved” exchange failed utterly and resulted in an estimated $1 billion in costs for the state.

Massachusetts contracted CGI Corp. to design the revamped site—the same major information technology consultant that was used to set up the federal health care exchange. Just like the federal exchange, Massachusetts was an abject failure.

The health connector was nearly inoperable during the first open enrollment period, and in its first three months enrolled just five percent of its target. CGI was fired from the project and a new team was brought in to start from the ground up for a second time, but CGI was still paid $52 million of its $89 million contract with the state.

Not only did the Commonwealth Connector Authority (CCA), the state agency tasked with overseeing the project, utterly fail in its first three months, they actively sought to conceal the site’s shortcomings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Health Connector board of directors, the media and the public. Furthermore, they urged state workers to approve subpar work and attempted to cover up the site’s stagnant progress by skirting testing requirements.  When they did test a portion of the website prior to the launch, there was a 90 percent failure rate.

A new contractor was not the fresh start the CCA was hoping for, and the health connector was proven a disaster almost beyond repair.  At a board meeting in February 2014, Massachusetts Health Connector executive director Jean Yang was brought to tears at the abysmal performance of the exchange, as over 50,000 applications were piled up waiting to be manually entered into the computer system. With each application taking close to two hours to process, it would take 50 employees nearly a year to complete the backlog of applications. In the meantime, those applicants were placed on inadequate, temporary coverage in order for them to remain insured.

Massachusetts had hoped to enroll 250,000 applicants, yet their actual enrollment for the year was 31,695—a measly 13 percent of their goal. The Massachusetts disaster did not just prevent individuals form signing up to Obamacare. It also displaced over 300,000 individuals from Medicaid. In all the debacle cost an estimated $1 billion, according to the Pioneer Institute. At present the exchange has a total enrollment of 124,010, far below what officials had hoped at the outset of the project.

Unfortunately, Massachusetts is no isolated, extreme case. Oregon has also come under fire for wasting $305 million in federal grants with nothing to show for it, and countless other state exchanges remain teetering on the brink of financial collapse.

On the surface, the failure of the Massachusetts Health Connector represents willful incompetence on behalf of CCA.  But under even the slightest scrutiny the state’s execution of the exchange reeks of fraud, evidenced by their lies to both federal officials and the public about the “upgraded” site.  

Photo Credit: 
Robin Schmidt, https://www.flickr.com/photos/minette/

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The Curious Case of Lois Lerner's Physically Damaged Hard Drive

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 7:15 AM PERMALINK


New documentation released by the House Oversight Committee this week again raises questions on how Lois Lerner’s hard drive was physically damaged and whether there was some kind of deliberate act to destroy data on it.

The House Oversight Committee report cites an officially transcribed interview with John Minsek, senior investigative analyst with the IRS Criminal Investigations (CI) unit. Minsek examined the Lerner hard drive in 2011. In the transcribed interview, he notes Lerner's hard drive contained “well-defined scoring creating a concentric circle in the proximity of the center of the disk.” The Oversight Committee report states:

"Using the CI unit's digital forensic facilities, Minsek opened the hard drive and conducted additional tests. Once he opened the hard drive, Minsek noticed “well-defined scoring creating a concentric circle in the proximity of the center of the disk.”

So how did the scoring get there?

Last month, testimony from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) revealed that Lois Lerner’s hard drive had “scoring on the top platter of the drive.” The testimony also noted that the IRS technician that inspected the hard drive believed that additional steps could have been taken to recover data, although this did not occur and the hard drive was later destroyed by an industrial strength AMERI-SHRED AMS-750 HD shredder.

Given these facts, it is logical to question how the "scoring" occurred and whether there was foul play involved. Here it what is known thus far:

- According to TIGTA testimony submitted to the Oversight Committee on June 25, 2014, Lerner’s laptop stopped communicating with the IRS server on Saturday June 11, 2011, between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

- According to the same testimony,the laptop was likely physically located in Lerner's office the moment it stopped communicating with the server: 

 "Based on consistent network reporting for more than a week, the laptop computer was likely located in Ms. Lerner’s office." 

- On Monday June 13, 2011, Lerner reported the laptop inoperable. 

- Lerner's laptop was initially serviced by an IRS IT staff technician and a Hewlett-Packard contractor. Of note, the HP contractor thought the hard drive crashed due to a physical impact. According to the TIGTA testimony:

“When asked about the possible cause of the hard drive failure, the HP technician opined that heat-related failures are not seen often, and based on the information provided to him, the hard drive more than likely crashed due to an impact of some sort. However, because the HP technician did not examine the hard drive as part of his work on the laptop, it could not be determined why it crashed.” 

- As the testimony states, TIGTA was unable to determine whether anyone had entered Lois Lerner’s office during the date in question because entry logs had been destroyed after a year in keeping with the vendor's operating procedures:

“Attempts were made to determine if anyone entered Ms. Lerner’s office prior to the hard drive crash on June 11, 2011; however, the entry logs that would have recorded any entry into the building were destroyed by the building security vendor     after one year of retention, or sometime in 2012. The destruction of the logs after one year falls within the vendor’s standard operating procedures.”

- TIGTA’s testimony states that the laptop as a whole appeared undamaged. When Lerner’s laptop was first inspected by both an assigned IT specialist and Hewlett Packard contractor they both stated that “they did not note any visible damage to the laptop computer itself.”

The testimony does not speculate how the hard drive was “scored” while the computer itself remained visibly undamaged. However, given these facts it seems logical to question what -- or who -- caused the damage to the hard drive.

In August and September, the Oversight Committee is expected to release more information from the millions of reviewed documents and 50 transcribed interviews. All Americans expecting honest government hope more light will be shed on how Lerner’s hard drive mysteriously received "scoring."

 

See also: 

IRS Failed to Search Five of Six Locations for Lois Lerner Emails
IRS Used Instant Messaging System to Hide Internal Communications
House Oversight Committee Details Case for Removal of IRS Commissioner
Watchdog: IRS May Still Be Targeting Conservative Non-Profits

 

Photo Credit: 
Chris Bannister, https://www.flickr.com/photos/moodog/

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Top Comments

Chuck Farley

You can always trust a liberal to lie every time. It is what they do best.

toondog

Deny, lie and smear is usually the order they go in.

SWDC

So what will be done in the end to her and the IRS for the criminal behavior?

911 fellows are alive and kicking a soccer ball on their new 750,000 dollar soccer field at Gitmo and get their special Islamic meals.

Sandy Berger paid a fine of $50,000 dollars for stealing and destroying documents from the National Archives about 911.

Former POTUS and former Gov Bill Clinton pulled it out on a low level government employee and demanded personal attention then when she did not comply his staffers made her job unbearable. Illegal today as it was then.

Some make claim that punishing USA leaders as one would punish the common man and or plebes and peasants equally and the same using the exact same laws would hurt and harm the USA.

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."


ATR Supports S. 1728, The “Access to Court Challenges for Exempt Status Seekers (ACCESS) Act”

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015, 5:24 PM PERMALINK


Earlier this month, S. 1728, the “Access to Court Challenges for Exempt Status Seekers (ACCESS) Act” was introduced by Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.). S. 1728 will rein in the out-of-control IRS by granting protections to social welfare groups seeking 501 (c)(4) status during the application process. ATR supports this legislation and urges all members of the Senate to vote for and support this important legislation.

Currently, the IRS has total discretion to approve or deny the application of a group seeking 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. In light of revelations that the IRS inappropriately targeted conservative groups over several years, it is clear that this authority was abused. Conservative groups waited as long as two years for the IRS to act on their applications and faced far greater scrutiny than their liberal counterparts.

The ACCESS Act will put a stop to this by ensuring organizations seeking tax-exempt status are treated fairly regardless of political affiliation. Specifically, it gives nonprofits seeking 501(c)(4) status the ability to advocate for themselves in Tax Court if the IRS takes longer than nine months to approve their application. This process is already available to organizations applying for 501(c)(3) charity or foundation status, and so affording social welfare groups this same protection against bureaucratic obstruction should be a common-sense proposal to all. By passing the ACCESS Act, Congress will ensure social welfare groups applying for non-profit status receive fair treatment during their application process.

In the wake of the IRS targeting conservative 501 (c)(4) applicants with improper scrutiny, it is clear that stronger protections for applicants are needed. The ACCESS Act will create a fairer, more streamlined application system for non-profits and will put a stop to the IRS processing social welfare applications based on political affiliation.

 

Photo Credit: 
Rumble Press, https://www.flickr.com/photos/rumblepress/

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Obama Carbon Regulations could leave Manatees out in the cold

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015, 9:50 AM PERMALINK


President Obama and the EPA are expected to unveil the final version of their Clean Power Plan (CPP) next week. While criticism of the rule has centered on the economically disastrous impact the CPP’s carbon emissions regulations will have, some in Washington are crying foul for a different reason – that the regulations could leave hundreds of Florida manatees out in the cold…literally. 

It’s no secret the President’s carbon regulations will force the premature retirement of coal-fired power plants across the U.S. In fact the President seems wholly indifferent to the thousands of jobs and livelihoods he’s destroying. However what the President and EPA did not count on is that some of the power plants that will be shuttered are integral to the survival of hundreds of Florida manatees.              

The issue stems from the fact that the warm-water discharge from some Florida coal-fired power plants, such as Florida’s Big Bend Power Station, has become home to hundreds of West Indian manatees. The manatees are drawn to the warm-water discharge for a nearly six-month period in the winter.

In fact, as reported by the Washington Times, the Big Bend Power Station actually created a “Manatee Viewing Center” in 1986 with nature walks and observation platforms for visiting tourists. Thus the likely closure of such plants under the Clean Power Plan would have a profound impact on the manatee populations that rely on such sanctuaries to survive during the winter months. 

However in drafting the soon to be released Clean Power Plan, the President nor EPA took these impacts into consideration as would otherwise be required under the Endangered Species Act.

“This is troubling for the manatee, but even more disturbing is the possibility that the Obama administration would strategically disregard the law when it serves their interests or the President’s legacy,” said Julia Bell, press secretary for the House Natural Resources Committee.

The EPA has deflected charges the Agency failed to take into account the impact on certain endangered species like the Florida manatee, instead arguing the choice to close such power plants will be left to the states. However this argument holds little water given the Clean Power Plan’s compliance standards leave states with almost no “choice” but to shutter the plants.

While the outcome of this dilemma is still unclear, what is overwhelmingly clear is that nothing, not the destruction of thousands of people’s livelihoods or even the Endangered Species Act, will prevent the President from doing what he has to do to preserve his legacy.     

 

Photo Credit: Psyberartist

Top Comments

hoho

If you could JUST FIND a gay or transgender Manatee we could get Obama to do an executive order to protect them...or at least a federal judge to do an order to intervene for them while a study was done.

Tom Magee

I'm no fan of the regressive, de-industrilization, so called 'progressives' but these manatees are no different than birds congregating around a snack bar at the airport. Using progressive, heart strings tactics to save the industrial revolution just doesn't seem right, IMO. We need no excuses to keep our way of life going.

JBRoux

I say save the manatee. Not as cuddly looking as a polar bear. So won't get the press. No pictures of a shut down coal plant with manatees on the shore shivering. They are big majestic beasts, maybe we can get solar heating for their winter havens.


Grover Norquist Show: From Texas to Washington: The Case for An Effective, Cost Conscious Criminal Justice System

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Posted by Emma Boone on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015, 4:10 PM PERMALINK


ATR policy specialist Jorge Marin joins conservative activist Grover Norquist in his latest podcast, “From Texas to Washington: The Case for An Effective, Cost Conscious Criminal Justice System.” The United States has one of the world’s most populated prison systems and an even bigger budget. National leaders on the Left and the Right are calling for major reforms.  Tune in to hear about how Americans for Tax reform and its partners in the Coalition for Public Safety are leading the charge for criminal justice reform across a wide array of areas such as civil asset forfeiture and mandatory minimums.

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As Senator, Hillary Voted for Bernie Sanders’ Gimmicky “Millionaires and Billionaires” Tax Hike

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015, 3:21 PM PERMALINK


On March 13, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton voted Yes on S Amdt 4218, legislation to create a new top tax bracket for families earning over $1 million in a given year. At the time, the top marginal income tax rate was 35 percent. The amendment would have created a new 39.6 percent bracket on these households. The amendment failed, 43 to 55.

Introduced by self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, this amendment promised to “put children ahead of millionaires and billionaires.” The amendment’s ten co-sponsors included Clinton and left-wing icon Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

 

Photo Credit: 
Peter Stevens, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/

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Shaun

What does big government do with those extra big taxes? Spread it around to their campaign bundlers, Solyndra kickbacks, and Obama's Public Private Investment programs where Billionaires get Billions in non-recourse loans from the tax payers to invest. Why doesn't Clinton care? She gets her money tax free from the Clinton Charity scam. The big taxes of democrates goes to their rich buddies. How about the ObamaCare website? 500 million for a website that doesn't work without major band-aids. In the private sector it would be 25 million TOPS. That's why we don't want your confiscatory tax rates.

Marcus Landon

Oh please stop it. For generations, the top federal tax bracket exceeded 50% -- and we also actually taxed capital gains at a respectable rate.
And guess what? America prospered!
Bottom line, a large part of the very real and growing income gap is a direct result of federal tax policy. And the Grover Norquists, and other free market charlatans of the world, who worship capital but despise human beings, are too damn pig headed to acknowledge that without a very robust middle class, growth will always stagnate. The time to impose substantially higher top rates both on very high incomes and huge capital gains (seven figures), is long past due! The Club for Growth should be renamed to the
far more apt, Billionaires’ Growth Club.

cosmopolite

It is true that the top tax rate on income other than realised capital gains, ranged from 77% to 94%, 1936 to 1964. This top rate kicked in around 2.5-3.5M of income, in today's dollars. The top tax rate on realised capital gains was half that on other forms of income. What happened? Corporate CEOs were not paid more than about 520K/year. Investors were reluctant to sell stocks, fearing having to pay substantial taxes on the realised capital gains. Many trust funds invested primarily in municipal bonds, a poor protection against inflation. The wealthy donated a lot of their wealth to nonprofits. The share of wages in total incomes crept up, 1935-70. You decide whether all this was a desirable state of affairs.


IRS Failed to Search Five of Six Locations for Lois Lerner Emails

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015, 2:22 PM PERMALINK


The IRS failed to search five of six possible sources of electronic media for Lois Lerner’s emails, according to documentation released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday.

Over the course of investigations into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal, Commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly assured Congress that he would provide all of Lois Lerner’s emails. But based on testimony from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), this did not occur. The agency’s ineptness -- or corruption -- resulted in 24,000 Lerner emails being lost when they were “accidently” destroyed. 

According to TIGTA official Timothy Camus, the IRS had six possible sources to search for Lois Lerner’s emails:

“The hard drive would have been a source, Blackberry source, backup tapes a source, the backup tapes for the server drives and then finally the loaner lap tops.”

When asked how many of these sources the IRS searched, Camus was unable to say for certain whether the IRS had searched for any. While Camus did acknowledge that agency employees initially checked her hard drive, it appears that more could have been done to recover data from this source. Instead, all data was deemed unrecoverable after a brief search:

“We’re not aware that they searched any one in particular. They did – it appears they did look into initially whether or not the hard drive had been destroyed, but they didn’t go much further than that.”

The agency’s refusal to conduct due diligence in its search for Lerner’s emails meant that 1,000 emails were not found until TIGTA searched backup tapes. When asked why the IRS did not give these emails to Congress, Camus said it was because the agency never looked for them in the first place:

“To the best we can determine through the investigation, they just simply didn’t look for those emails.”

Commissioner Koskinen stated that the IRS took “extraordinary efforts” to recover any emails, but this is clearly not the case. Years after the investigations into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal began, the agency’s unprecedented obstruction has meant Americans are no closer to the truth.

 

See also:
IRS Used Instant Messaging System to Hide Internal Communications
House Oversight Committee Details Case for Removal of IRS Commissioner
Watchdog: IRS May Still Be Targeting Conservative Non-Profits
How Exactly Did Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive Receive “scoring on the top platter”?
Meet the Shredder That Destroyed Lois Lerner's Hard Drive

 

 

Photo Credit: 
Becky McCray, https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjmccray/

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miker5

Abolish the IRS. Instead of watching online porno all day, they can start guarding the border. Implement a flat tax so everyone has some skin in the game.

rashirey

Excellent ideas !

samanna

Like the "Justice Department" the "IRS" is merely a wing of the Democrat/Marxist Party.


IRS Used Instant Messaging System to Hide Internal Communications

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015, 11:20 AM PERMALINK


The IRS used a “wholly separate” instant messaging system that automatically deleted office communications, according to documentation released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday. The system appears to have been purposefully used by agency officials responsible for the targeting of conservative non-profits, in order to evade public scrutiny.

The system, known as “Office Communication Server” or OCS was used by IRS officials, including many in the Exempt Organizations (EO) Unit, which was headed by Lois Lerner.

As the Oversight Committee report states, the instant messaging system did not archive any communications, so it is not possible to know what employees of the EO unit discussed on it.

However, in an email uncovered by the Committee Lerner warns her colleagues about evading Congressional oversight:

“I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”

Lerner then asks whether OCS is automatically archived. When informed it was not, Lerner responded “Perfect.”

While it is possible to set the instant messaging system to automatically archive messages, the IRS chose not to do so, according to one employee interviewed by the Committee. The fact that the agency chose not to archive messages raises questions about the true purpose of OCS and what discussions took place.

Needless to say, the apparent use of OCS to evade Congressional oversight once again shows that the IRS does not want the American people to learn the truth about the Lois Lerner targeting scandal. 

 

See also:
Watchdog: IRS May Still Be Targeting Conservative Non-Profits
How Exactly Did Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive Receive “scoring on the top platter”?
Meet the Shredder That Destroyed Lois Lerner's Hard Drive

                                              

Photo Credit: 
mseery, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mseery/

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svfoxhotmail

They used our own money against us. They need to be fired and prosecuted. Its as close to treason as you can get.

knowbetter

They need to be roasted and toasted. Firing is too good for them.

AaA1960

The Obama...
The IRS isn't targeting anyone...
There isn't a smidgen of corruption in the IRS...


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