Reason Roundup

Tax-Prep Cronyism Revealed in IRS Emails

Plus: Texts encouraging suicide yields charges again, California fires, Rep. Katie Hill and #MeToo politics, impeachment news, and more...

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Tax industry cronyism revealed in IRS emails. The Internal Revenue Service let companies that profit from charging for income tax preparation services write rules that kept free filing options away from American consumers.

Emails obtained by ProPublica suggest that the IRS was working with tax-industry group Free File Alliance in a way that benefited a few big tax businesses over U.S. taxpayers.

Under a public-private partnership program known as Free File, the IRS agreed "not to create its own tax filing system that would pose a threat to the industry's profits," ProPublica reports.

Free File was championed by tax-prep software king Intuit and other big players in the industry. These companies agreed to provide some free tax filing options and limit their marketing of paid options in exchange for the IRS not offering its own free filing option. The arrangement also wound up giving Free File Alliance members free rein to write the rules the program would play by.

It hasn't worked out great. "The program has been declining for years, with less than 3% of eligible Americans using it this year," reports ProPublica. And much of this comes from the fact that tax-prep companies haven't been too keen on making free services known or easily usable.

It's understandable why these private businesses wouldn't want to make a better free product to compete with the paid services they're offering. But it doesn't make sense why the IRS would enthusiastically agree to let them control the free-filing game.

If history is any indication, a government-developed free-file system would probably suck and isn't the answer. But neither is a crony-capitalist alliance that lets a few big players in an industry write all the rules, stifling the kinds of competition and innovation that could truly benefit consumers.


FREE MINDS

Rep. Katie Hill's resignation and #MeToo politics. I wrote about both today in a column at The Daily Beast, arguing that we must apply sexual standards equally to male and female bosses and politicians.

Defenders of Katie Hill are right to see misogyny and right-wing media malpractice contributing to her resignation from Congress. But in focusing on those factors, they risk looking past the California Democrat's own actions in engaging in the kind of relationship rendered inexcusable by many proponents of the #MeToo movement and mainstream feminism: one between an older boss and a younger subordinate.

If the goals of these movements are to mean anything, then we must evenly apply principles when women are implicated as well as grapple with the gray spaces here.

And if people don't like the outcome when rigid rules are applied to women, then perhaps it's time to rethink the rigidity of those rules in the first place. (More here.)


FREE MARKETS

California fires (and resulting blackouts) are harming millions of people. Wildfires are once again raging in Northern California, causing power blackouts, and the fact that millions are suffering as a result "show just how many nodes of failure Americans are willing tolerate or even encourage," writes Tyler Cowen at Bloomberg. "The practical and moral failings in this matter are so numerous it is hard to know where to start."


FOLLOW UP

Impeachment inquiry gets official. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a formal vote by the full House on whether to conduct an impeachment investigation will take place sometime this week. Meanwhile, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the White House National Security Council's expert on Ukraine, is scheduled to testify before House impeachment investigators today.


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  1. The Internal Revenue Service let companies that profit from charging for income-tax preparation services write rules that kept free filing options away from American consumers.

    Public/private synergy.

    1. Hello.

      Whaddya ‘accused of’?

      That’s exactly what Grandpa Gulag is.

      They can’t even be honest about that.

      1. whaddya mean.

        I’ll spank myself.

        1. TMI. Keep your kinks to yourself.

    2. Shouldn’t we call it “capital cronyism”?

      1. it doesn’t matter how we call it, but yeah, we can call it that https://geileweiber.com/

    3. This is also why the US abandoned the ‘silver dollar’ and went instead to the gold standard. And later why ‘bimetallism’ in the 1890’s was squashed.

      The US dollar was defined in 1792 as 416 grains of ‘standard’ (sterling) silver with the ‘eagle’ defined as 270 grains of gold. Seven years after the Civil War, with ‘greenbacks’ (fiat – but in principle a broad commodity basket of the commodities that soldiers who received them as pay used to win the war), ‘gold bonds’, and existing currency all floating around, the ‘national banks’ all got the US govt to eliminate silver as legal tender over $5 and convert the greenbacks (by this point no longer held by soldiers but by speculators) to gold.

      Silver coins didn’t need banks. They could easily circulate as coins. But banks didn’t want to distribute coins (which competitively they couldn’t charge for) and they managed to ‘convince’ the US govt that there was no good in letting the US Post Office distribute coins made by the US Mint. And only banks should be in charge of distributing the debt/bonds of the US govt.

      Gold coins otoh were near useless in circulation and had to be deposited into banks for receipt of ‘gold standard’ depository notes instead. So silver coins were demonetized and with no distribution mechanism now either, silver coins became less relevant. We instead moved to becoming a bank-debt-based society – with all the bank run risks/cyclicality that involves.

      Cronyism and corruption runs deep in the US.

      1. Interesting. Age has a way of forcing people to confront their dogmas. There may be hope for the millennials after all.

      2. “I’ve done a lot of self-work to get to the place where I don’t need to have vengeance.”

        Tell that to the guy whose name you dragged through the mud. It’s still incredibly narcissistic to even show your face and talk about yourself if you’ve done a lot of self-work after what you did. Every time you go public you bring up his name again through linked news stories. I fully believe in redemption and I think Emma’s path to that lies in refusing the limelight. I wish her the best and I hope she realizes that being a public figure is only benefiting her.

      3. He didn’t “redpill” her. She doesn’t seem to have learned anything from what happened, to be honest.

        The truth is that her post-college life has gone in the toilet and she’s looking to get her name back in the spotlight again.

  2. Under a public-private partnership program known as Free File, the IRS agreed “not to create its own tax filing system that would pose a threat to the industry’s profits…”

    It’s not enough that the tax code is more about social engineering that revenue generation, it also has to be a jobs program.

    1. Is the 9-9-9 plan dead?

      1. Was that the one where you get two pizzas for $9.99?

        1. first pizza regular price then all others nine bucks nine bucks nine bucks

  3. Defenders of Katie Hill are right to see misogyny and right-wing media malpractice contributing to her resignation from Congress.

    I shall read the piece to see if the author can back this up.

    1. One person’s “media malpractice” is another person’s “journalists actually doing their jobs.”

    2. Morgan Freeman voice: “They couldnt.”

    3. I wonder what she means by “right-wing media malpractice”. Is she saying that Fox News had some sort of obligation to completely ignore the story?

      1. The liberal media did until she resigned. They were the moral ones here.

      2. They had bad thoughts when reporting it

      1. Yeah, I’m not sending the daily beast any money to find out what you had to say. Sorry.

    4. yeah what’s the ‘malpractice’ here? They should NOT have reported this story? Was it false or misleading? Did she NOT do these things? I am much confuse.

      1. They failed to include all the misdeeds of the orange one while reporting the story. Those are the rules

    5. It is MADDENING, yet predictable.

      Right Wing Media Malpractice? Apparently Malpractice is reporting the truth about Progressives

    6. ENB is past her sell by date.

      But apparently it’s misogyny to apply the same standards to men and women when the women don’t come out ahead?

    7. The Daily Beast is a perfect fit for ENB.

  4. So what’s the diff between Freaky and Ilhan Omar?

    Why was one pressed to resign but Ilhan, who I think has been accused of worse and even paid some fines for misappropriating funds, get to stay on?

    “Gee”…..finger to pursed lips.

    “….I wonder why….”

  5. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a formal vote by the full House on whether to conduct an impeachment investigation will take place sometime this week.

    The inevitable Senate acquittal will do wonders for Democrat prospects.

    1. It’s not a vote for impeachment. It’s a vote to authorize the inquiry. Pelosi is counting on the ignorance and stupidity of liberals.

      1. I wonder why the Democrats need an “inquiry”. After all, they’ve claimed for years that the evidence is already there.

        1. The evidence must be entered into the record somehow.

      2. I’d say at this point the articles of impeachment are inevitable as well.

        1. Pelosi wants to leave wiggle room to protect her members in neutral or right leaning districts. Let them claim they never voted for impeachment. The main reason for this vote is to get the grand jury materials the judge ordered by Oct 30th. She is trying to head off the appeals court stay on the motion.

      3. ENB is proving Pelosi correct in her assessment, Jesse

      1. “”which has so far involved depositions taken in a secure room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. “”

        There was a Vincent Price movie marathon on over the weekend. This comment make me think of “The Pit and the Pendulum”

  6. More bad economic news.

    Protests trigger crisis of confidence in Lebanon economy

    “In an exclusive interview, Lebanese Central Bank Governor Riad Salame tells Becky Anderson that a political solution is needed within days to avoid economic collapse.”

    Sounds awful. In the spirit of Shikha Dalmia, I’ll use this as an opportunity to encourage the entire population of Lebanon to immigrate to the United States.

    #OpenBorders
    #ImmigrationAboveAll

    1. Even more bad economic news.

      Of the 50 richest people on the planet, 3 of them — that’s six percent! — have lost money this year.

      From a Koch / Reason libertarian perspective, this is simply unacceptable. Our philosophy exists to increase the net worths of people who already have tens of billions of dollars. Because of Drumpf’s high-tariff / low-immigration policies, that isn’t happening.

      #VoteDemocratToHelpCharlesKoch

      1. From a libertarian perspective it’s bad to risk money and potentially lose it?

        1. Billionaires must be guaranteed increased wealth.

      2. That is horrible. If it keeps going that way there won’t be enough money left for health care or UBI?

    2. They blamed protests instead of the global recession trump causes?!?

  7. it doesn’t make sense why the IRS would enthusiastically agree to let them control the free-filing game.

    Taxes? Kick-backs?

    1. A couple of free lunches should do it.

  8. Massachusetts prosecutors are trying to pin manslaughter charges on another young woman for allegedly urging her boyfriend to commit suicide.

    Some poor bastards aren’t very good at picking girlfriends.

    1. I saw a report that she texted him 1500 times a day. The poor bastard couldn’t get anything else done besides responding to her.

      1. Don’t stick it in crazy.

        I was really good at avoiding crazy girls. They give off enough clues to warn you.

        Heed them. Ignore them at your peril.

        1. Stick it in crazy. One night stand, at her house. Wrong name and phone number.

          1. 2 condoms! 2!

          2. Rules for one nighters:

            1. NEVER use your real name. Make sure to use a name that works, though. For instance, a white guy should not use the fake name “Martavius” and a black guy should never use “Chad”.

            2. Use a fake home town, preferably one close enough for you to travel to the big city from, but not so far away its exotic.

            3. Your profession is OK, but use a different company.

            4. If military, don’t use your real unit. You’re a SEAL, Ranger, or Green Beret. Guaranteed panty droppers with the bonus of being hard to track down.

            1. Avoid all women named Bunny Boyler, Oh and Katie Hill too.

              1. Not to mention Bunny Lebowski.

        2. What, pray tell, are some of these crazy girl warning clues?
          I have a friend who is curious.

          1. 1) Wanting to have sex with you before you’ve paid for anything.

        3. Those eyes though…
          The ones that say something horrible happened to me and I’m not able to deal with it in a healthy manner and my ability to act rationally is severely hindered.
          I can spot it a mile away.
          Hard to resist even though you know it’s not going to amount to anything good.

          1. The penis mightier.

  9. But in focusing on those factors, they risk looking past the California Democrat’s own actions in engaging in the kind of relationship rendered inexcusable by many proponents of the #MeToo movement and mainstream feminism: one between an older boss and a younger subordinate.

    The Katie Hill saga doesn’t have anything to do with #MeToo–it’s just another example of elite social degeneracy. That’s why CBS not-so-coincidentally came out with an article pimping swinger lifestyles right after this story broke.

    Hill resigned because she was a first-term Rep with no leverage, and had become a laughingstock after those photos were released.

    Also, Newsom is just going to appoint another Democrat to take her place, so it’s not like the Dems were in danger of losing a seat. If this had been a state with a Republican governor, she’d probably just get told by Pelosi to shut up and let the DNC suppress further media stories about it until the news cycle changed to something different.

    1. Governors do not appoint Representatives like they do Senators. Her seat will remain vacant until there is a special election.

      1. Ah, good point. Considering the current demographic makeup of the district, that should be a fun one.

    2. The Katie Hill saga doesn’t have anything to do with #MeToo–it’s just another example of elite social degeneracy.

      It can be two things. As an exemplary microcosm, most people have completely forgotten about Asia Argento raping Jimmy Bennett.

      Ultimately, the #MeToo movement wasn’t about meaningfully changing or addressing social degeneracy so you can almost ascribe any meaning you want.

      1. I mildly agree, but only because of the technicality of that case. From what we can see from evidence available it was only a crime because of the state. In almost every other state it would be legal with him being 17. If one gets busted for that then she should be too, but at 16 I dated people in their 20’s and it was legal. I’m not going to call her a predator. Maybe emotionally immature and ignorant or defiant of state laws. Maybe hypocritical too. Not a rapist. The boy seemed like a piece of shit too looking for a payday rather than a victim.

        Social degeneracy is subjective. Can it even be addressed?

  10. Just because something is a “gift to Putin” doesn’t mean it’s not good for people in America and the Middle East, too…

    Talking here of course about the ending of Hillary Clinton’s political career.

  11. Pid pro quo is so awful everyiberal candidate has told americans how they will use foreign funds as leverage.

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/anti-israel-bernie-sanders-take-aid-to-israel-and-give-it-to-palestinians-in-gaza

    1. Should we Americans hold politicians to a higher standard or should we give Trump administration quid pro quo a pass because Democrats do it, too?

      1. We should not be a fucking idiot and understand foreign aid comes with strings attached. Just like domestic spending does. What part is confusing to you? If you want to be slave to a benefactor there will be requirements to uphold.

        1. Do you understand the part where Trump is accused of using funds from the U.S. Treasury to pressure a foreign government to investigate the guy who is most likely going to be running against him for President?

          It might be proven, might not, but do you understand why that is wrong?

          1. Hive mind doesn’t understand treaty obligations or standard operating procedures

          2. Hunter Biden isnt running for president. Also running for president isnt a get out of jail free card. Trump was being investigated while running for president. What dont you actually understand here?

            The fact is that as more has been looked into, the worse it looks for joe. It is clear hunter made millions from Joe’s political influence since he graduated. You think this information should be kept hidden.

            1. It is clear hunter made millions from Joe’s political influence since he graduated. You think this information should be kept hidden.

              It shouldn’t be hidden. But I’m not sure it should be a priority of the federal executive to investigate it. Making money off of your or your family’s political influence is common.
              Is Hunter Biden suspected of violating specific US law? Or is it the same shady crony shit you always get?

              1. Who said it was a priority? They just told the Ukrainian government they could investigate it. No one who was involved says there was ever any prid quo pro.

                1. I’m not claiming anything one way or another. I don’t know enough to make any judgement.
                  Though I’m not sure why the Ukrainian government would need to be told they can investigate something in their own country.

                2. They could, if they want that military aid, you mean.

                  1. They got the military aid anyway as it turned out. Trump must be pretty bad at this quid pro quo stuff.

                    1. He’s not good at anything other than separating rubes from their money and votes.

                    2. It’s not relevant whether he is good at it or not.

                3. “No one who was involved says there was ever any prid quo pro.”

                  That’s a lie. The president, through his press secretary, has asserted that there was quid pro quo and to “get over it”.

                  Not looking good for the criminals in charge. An army officer who was on the call is set to testify today, and now it appears that Sondland has committed perjury, as well. His testimony includes obvious evidence of quid pro quo and that Sondland specifically asked about the Biden’s and was made aware that his request was inappropriate. Once again, all this cover up for no crime? Cmon.

                4. Bill Taylor testified that it was a quid pro quo.

                  1. And, as of this afternoon, so has Vindman.

                    1. Vindman is mistaken and I’d like to see ALL the testimony…not just what Schiff leaked.

                    2. Oh is he? Were you on the call?

                    3. His prepared testimony is published in a Washington Post article today. His testimony is that Ambassador Sondland started telling the Ukrainians they must investigate the Bidens if they wanted to have the phone call with the President. (So, the quid pro quo Vindman testified about came earlier than the call.) According to Vindman, when Sondland started saying this to the Ukrainians, Bolton cut the call off to stop Sondland.

                    4. Vindman made clear on his opening statement this was a disagreement on policy fucktard. You’re bad at this.

                  2. Bill taylor literally stated it was his opinion that it was. He never sad he was told it was.

            2. “Hunter Biden isnt running for president” is a disingenuous argument. Clearly, the scenario that Trump wanted the Ukraine to investigate is Joe Biden using his influence to get Hunter Biden a cushy board position he wasn’t qualified for.

              By the way, I think Joe totally did. Even if not illegal, it was unethical as hell.

          3. “Do you understand the part where Trump is accused of using funds from the U.S. Treasury to pressure a foreign government to investigate the guy who is most likely going to be running against him for President?”

            While she isn’t hyper feminine, I’ve never confused Warren with a man.

          4. So, if there is a reason to really be investigating, Biden should get a pass because of what his dad is doing right now? If there’s going to be actual justice and rule of law, then the name of the person involved should be the least relevant thing to whether or not an investigation is warranted; that does swing both ways, and if the only reason for trying to get an investigation was that it was Biden’s son then it’s absolutely an abuse of power.

            Based on the timelines I’ve seen, it seems like Hunter was just working for the company’s law firm when the real corruption was happening, and joined the board after the prosecutor was fired (at the urging of his father, which involved threats of withholding loan guarantees). That sequence could be interpreted as the company under investigation (which is owned by part of a pro-Putin regime in Ukraine) rewarding the Biden family for Joe’s role in getting the prosecutor fired, and in the process buying the rights to use the “Biden” name to make themselves seem better connected than they probably are (shady to be sure, but not likely to show any direct or provable involvement in illegality).

            If the people involved in this series of events had a different surname, a lot of people who claim to think any investigation of a candidate’s family is “election interference” would be calling for the same investigation critical to the integrity of the election as a means of exposing foreign leverage on the family of a potential POTUS.

            1. I think the Bidens should be investigated. It’s just *how* that investigation should be conducted where I have issues with Trump’s personal involvement.

              1. You arent so dumb as to not realize trump is the head of the executive branch are you?

      2. No. The American public should expect the president to act in their best interests in foreign policy. And the nature of foreign policy and diplomacy is prid quo pro. To claim it is illegal for the President to do that is to make it illegal for the President to conduct foreign policy.

        You really can’t overstate how retarded this whole argument is. You do this and in return I will do that for you is how diplomacy works you fucking retard.

        1. The accusation isn’t that engaging in quid pro quo is wrong. The accusation is that engaging in quid pro quo for personal political gain in the upcoming Presidential campaign is wrong.

          1. And by that logic, the President can never do anything in foreign policy that benefits him politically without committing a crime. Trump had a legal right to do what he did. The fact that it may have also benefited him politically doesn’t make it illegal.

            There is no crime here. You can’t point to a single law Trump broke. The entire thing is completely illegitimate. The Constitution says “high crimes and misdemeanors”, that means the President must have broken some law to be impeached. That hasn’t happened or even been alleged.

            1. “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

              The accusation is that the Ukraine’s investigating Joe Biden and his family would be assistance to the Trump 2020 campaign. That would be a “present” to Trump.

              1. Hive mind doesn’t understand the US constitution, words, or reality

              2. That is not what that means you fucking moron. That is talking about bribes. You idiots have been spewing the Emoulument clause for three years now. And no court has ever read it that way and no one ever claimed it could possibly read that way until you idiots invented the talking point. Again, by your reading, every President who has ever benefited politically from anything they have done is in violation of this clause.

                This has been pointed to you a dozen times at least. Why do you keep spewing the same bullshit after having your nose rubbed in it so many times?

                1. In principle, should a president be able to use the money and power of government to benefit themselves? All this talking about loopholes in the emoluments clause is sickening, as is your resorting to name calling whenever you called on this.

                  John, you have dropped your mask. You are not interested in principles, you are interested in principals.

                  You are everything you criticize.

                  1. In principle, should a president be able to use the money and power of government to benefit themselves? All this talking about loopholes in the emoluments clause is sickening, as is your resorting to name calling whenever you called on this.

                    It is not a “Loophole”. It never meant that and couldn’t mean that since it would make being President illegal.

                    It is not what it says.

                    1. What does “avoiding the appearance of corruption” mean to you, and is it a good standard for public servants?

              3. This is the dumbest assertion you’ve said which is impressive. Obama asking russia to hold off until after the election ring a bell? Obama’s public speeches as president in foreign nations were illegal based on your ignorant interpretation of laws.

                1. I don’t necessarily think this is cut and dry. I think it would be inappropriate for a public official, like a chief of police, to say “Hey detectives, I don’t like that Overt guy, why don’t you follow him around for awhile and see if he is doing something illegal.”

                  However, it is different to say “Hey, I don’t like that Overt guy, last year we stopped an investigation into his taxes. Let’s start that up again.”

                  I think both are shady, but the former is digging up dirt. While the latter is continuing to pursue a case that existed before hand. And by the way, the former is what the fucking OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DID!

                  1. “And by the way, the former is what the fucking OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DID!”

                    Citation needed.

                    1. Couldn’t De Opresso’s picking on Republicans have a lot to do with the current administration being Republican? Seems like one very possible explanation.

                    2. It’s so weird how you guys can’t defend Trump without invoking/comparing him to leftists. I’m not defending Obama at all. I’m asking for a citation for a badly made argument.

              4. Stop attempting to criminalize politics. Go read Texas vs Perry. Judiciary struck that concept down pretty quickly.

              5. But the millions of dollars that flowed to VPOTUS Biden’s family, that is perfectly OK and not an emolument

                Dem logic

                1. No, it is not perfectly OK. It is unethical and corrupt, but may not have broken any laws.

                  Since two wrongs don’t make a right, though, how does the Biden’s being corrupt cancel out Trump’s possible violation of the Emoluments clause and/or Federal campaign laws?

                  1. So millions of dollars paid to the Biden family for the use of the name, if nothing else, does not violate the emoluments clause but Trump asking for a corruption investigation that hasn’t happened, even though he purportedly paid for it anyway, does?

                    1. Biden may well have violated the Emoluments Clause, too. I’m not an expert on the Constitution.

                      Note that every time I have written about Trump being accused of violating the Emoluments Clause, I am not giving my personal opinion. I’m not a Constitutional expert. I am just repeating what has been claimed in the press as justification for the current impeachment inquiries.

                      Trump defenders in this comment section often gloss over details of the accusations that have been made, defending him against for, say, engaging in quid pro quo without acknowledging that nobody has accused him of simply engaging in quid pro quo.

                    2. Just stick with you’re not an expert. This holds for every argument you enter.

          2. Information is not a personal political gain. The Burisma ties to hunter were known since 2016 dumbfuck. The fact that Burisma was a corrupt entity has been known for longer. Stop proving your ignorance.

            1. Of course, getting investigative assistance in digging up dirty information on one’s political opponent, paid for on the tax payer’s dime, is a personal political gain.

              1. The information is already public. Do you even read comments dumbass?

          3. Biden talked openly in 2014 about using the threat of withholding loan guarantees as leverage to obtain the firing of a prosecutor investigating corruption by a company which employed a law firm where his son was a partner (and where that same son later was given a lucrative do-nothing “job”).

            How is that really different from what trump seems to have done?

            Shouldn’t anyone looking to remove trump from office over this also be calling for Biden to remove himself from the primary field?

            1. I agree. I’d love to see both Trump and Biden gone from the political field.

              1. Any Dem who wants to have a chance at victory in 2020 should be trying to dump Biden anyway. They’d have burned anyone else at the stake for half of what Biden has said and done, I’m assuming he gets a pass due to his close association with St. Barack the Infallible.

                If I were running a campaign against him, I’d be tempted to “go dark” and just let him destroy his own operation by speaking in public repeatedly.

                They’re probably among the least “electable” candidates, but so far I’d say the two best (based on evidence of their capacity for critical thinking) in the “major” field are Booker and Gabbard; I disagree with both on a number of issues, but they’re at least willing to aggressively and vocally break from party-line dogma, which is probably also why they’d be doomed in both the primary and the general election.

                1. I suppose it’s harder now for any of his Democratic primary opponents to go after Biden, since they might be perceived as being aligned with Trump in trying to run down Biden’s reputation.

                  It’s surprising in a country of 300 million people that the selection of candidates is so pathetic.

                  1. No joke.

                    We had an imbecile empty suit from 2009 til 2017. And people STILL praise that.

        2. So we’ve now gone from “there was no quid pro quo”, all the way to “quid pro quo is how the world works, you rubes, there’s nothing wrong with it”. Fascinating.

          Can’t wait to see the reaction if/when Trump actually does try to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue. “All presidents kill people, it’s called war, there’s nothing wrong with it, get over your TDS people!”

          1. There was no quid pro quo and even if there was it would not have been wrong much less illegal.

            Now what about that do you not understand?

            1. 1) the quid pro quo, if assumed, which the facts do not back up, was to investigate Crowd Strike

              2) Literally every single thing the POTUS does is designed to benefit him politically personally. From winning WWII to signing the Camp David Accords to attending the G8

              I guess we need to lock them all up

              1. I’d be fine with locking them all up. Perhaps we Americans could start holding our government to a higher standard. That might even make America great again.

              2. That was the press secretary’s statement on quid pro quo. Bill Taylor testifies the quid pro quo included investigation of the Bidens.

                There have been two separate people saying there was quid pro quo. Giuliani may have said so, too,— I can’t remember what he said that this point.

                1. Stop treating taymor’s opinion formed on 3rd hand information as fact dumbshit.

            2. Bill Taylor testified that there was a quid pro quo.

              1. And now Vindman has, too.

                1. Vindmaniterally stated his statement was a policy disagreement. Just because you’re too fucking ignorant to read the statement doesnt mean the rest of us are.

          2. Yes, they move the goalposts so frequently now that they don’t even bother to take them off the truck. They are brainwashed and get outraged when the rest of us noticed.

            Just like the ever evolving circus of lies around the Trump tower meeting: Never happened, ok it did happen, but it wasn’t about Russian government support, Ok it was about Russian government support, but they didn’t give us anything good…

            1. There isn’t any goalpost moving you lying idiot. It is saying that something isn’t true and wouldn’t matter even if it were.

              And the Russia thing was a hoax. It wasn’t true and now thanks to Barr, it looks like some people are actually going to go to jail over it. So, you need to update your talking points to reflect that the Russia hoax has gone down the memory hole.

              1. There certainly was goalpost moving. Or are you going to assert that Trump was upfront about the Trump tower meeting? Typical name calling when your argument runs out of steam. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/white-house-s-story-trump-tower-meeting-shifts-yet-again-n897891

                Why did the President’s son lie to congress about the meeting? Why did the president dictate a note to congress lying about the meeting? Why did the president lie to the American people about the meeting? Why don’t you ask yourself these things, John?

  12. “Massachusetts prosecutors are trying to pin manslaughter charges on another young woman for allegedly urging her boyfriend to commit suicide.”

    Women these days… Men used to die a slow death, one by a thousand nags over a couple decades. But in the information age, it’s all “I want it now”

  13. More than 5,000 books, magazines, and CDs are banned in Arizona prisons.

    Does that include the Count of Monte Crisco by Alexandre Dumbass?

    1. Officially banned. Probably quite available through unofficial means.

    2. Wtf? No freedom in prison?

    3. the Texas “banned” list is funny … don’t rile ’em up!

    4. “it’s Doo mas!!”

  14. Atlantic council, soros funded trips… now it appears Bill Taylor also has ties to a group that includes Hunter Biden.

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/10/28/impeachment-witness-bill-taylor-led-ukraine-delegation-for-group-advised-by-hunter-biden/

    1. Thank you for posting an article about the Atlantic Council, instead of vaguely telling me to search the Atlantic Council website for something you unspecified.

      For the record, I’ve never said anything in defense of Hunter or Joe Biden. I’ve always thought what they did was highly unethical, even if it wasn’t illegal.

      What I have said is that the proper way for President Trump to have handled it would have been to appoint an independent investigator and then recuse himself from any direct involvement in investigating his political rival’s family.

      1. You literally had to be castigated to be told how to search a website. The idiocy to not understand how to do website searches is on you. You’re intellectual incurious behavior is on you. When someone gives you enough information for a quick search, asking for a link just shows you prefer ignorance.

        As for investigating a private individual… what do you think the entire russiagate investigation was? It was an investigation into multiple private citizens. Asking ukraine to investigate their documented behavior to help Hillary in 2016, which included leaking false and forged documents (John Solomon has been writing on this since 2016 with evidence) is not wrong.

        1. And you would never tell me what you wanted me to search for, despite my asking several times. A quick search for what?

          I agree that the “Russiagate” investigation was political. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The question is whether what Trump did was in violation of the Constitution and/or Federal election laws.

          If the “Russiagate” investigation violated the Constitution or other laws, that should be addressed, too.

          1. Hive mind is a moron that must be spoon fed instructions

            1. There’s a big gap between asking to be “spoon fed instructions” and asking JesseAZ to give even the barest outline of what he wanted me to find on some website.

              1. Lol.
                Jesse says “X is balls deep in with the Atlantic Council”
                And hive mind can’t figure out what it’s supposed to be looking for.
                Jesse says “go to the Atlantic Council website and look for X”
                And hive mind can’t figure out what it’s supposed to be looking for

          2. Jesse pulls that type of crap all the time. Asserts something then demands everyone else do searches to try to prove his claim for him. He doesn’t understand the concept of burden of proof, he doesn’t care, he is here to present the right-wing narrative, no more no less, not to present facts or ascertain truth.

      2. What I have said is that the proper way for President Trump to have handled it would have been to appoint an independent investigator and then recuse himself from any direct involvement in investigating his political rival’s family.

        That is because you are a mendacious idiot. No DOJ or President in the history of the country has done anything like that. You appoint a special counsel to investigate your own administration not private citizens, which is what Biden is. Investigating private citizens for crimes is what DOJ does you half wit.

        1. In being personally involved in pressuring the Ukraine to investigate he may have violated the Constitution and/or Federal election laws. Personally, I think he’ll never be impeached, but I see time and time again that Trump defenders here oversimplify what the actual accusations against Trump are.

          1. Hive mind is desperate and impotent

            1. You’re not adding anything to the conversation. Just shut up.

              1. Neither are you. Take your own advice.

                1. I think that following a particular commenter to insult him at every opportunity is worse. Maybe it’s just me. Here’s an idea: If you don’t like a commenter and think he’s an idiot not worth reading, don’t fucking read it. No need to shit up every thread with pointless insults and abuse. Other people might want to engage. It is clearly not succeeding in chasing off the people you don’t like, so what’s the point?

                  1. Agree, Zeb. Last night, they posted a discussion about Rand Paul, and I ended up on some interviews from 2014. The comments in those threads were awesome. People disagreeing, and joking around, without this hyperbolic, scorched earth flaming.

                    It’s sad that a good number of people like it this way.

                    1. Treating hive minds like its arguing in good faith is submission to its talking points.
                      Fuck that

                    2. Nardz nailed it.
                      Arguing respectfully is to recognize a modicum of humanity in one’s opponent.

                      Nardz and the other radicalized right-wingers around here can’t do that.

                    3. And I get called a phony for pointing out how the discussion here has deteriorated badly since the Trumpies came to town. That’s what happens when 30% of the populace decide to support a guy who lies like he breathes: we can’t agree on the facts even, much less have a philosophical discussion about them.

                    4. I’m not De Oppresso Liber.
                      And you’re a troll, Tulpa, whom no one ought to believe.

                  2. Why do I need a point? Here is an idea Zeb, if you don’t like something I post, don’t read it. I really don’t give a shit if you don’t like it or not. If you have something interesting to say, say it. But what is the point of bitching and moaning to someone who doesn’t give a shit about your bitches and moans?

                    1. That wasn’t really aimed at you, John. You know who I’m talking about.

                      There probably isn’t much point, you’re right. Assholes gonna asshole. Which is why I mostly don’t say anything.

                    2. I believe the threadshitting that Zeb is mentioning refers to Nardz, Tulpa, and the other trolls here, not to you John.

                      No, I suppose Freddy’s comment didn’t add much to the discussion. Neither do the 50+ comments per article from the same assholes just posting insults and accusing everyone of being a sockpuppet. That shit gets fucking annoying.

                    3. And if you don’t like Reason, what about not reading it?

                    4. I hardly ever add anything of real value to the threads, but I’m not stalking people around calling them gradeschool names. I hate that imbecilic shit.

                      Except Hihn. And Tony. Those guys deserve what they get.

                    5. I’m not stalking people around calling them gradeschool names. I hate that imbecilic shit

                      ^ This. It’s gotten to be like a middle school playground around here.

                  3. Does that same principle extend to “if you don’t like a particular libertarian magazine’s website stop visiting it every day just to complain”?

          2. n being personally involved in pressuring the Ukraine to investigate he may have violated the Constitution and/or Federal election laws.

            No he didn’t. If he did, there would be no “may” about it. The President was exercising his power as President. The fact that doing so benefited him politically doesn’t make the act unlawful. If it did, then any President who did anything that harmed his enemies and benefited him politically would be guilty of a crime.

            Moreover, “laws” is a meaningless term. What laws. What part of the Constitution? Stop pretending everyone on here is as dumb as you appear to be and think “he may have violated laws” is meaningful statement.

            There is nothing to oversimplyfy. You can’t even name a law he violated. You are just spewing bullshit.

            1. Individual-1 most certainly violated felony level campaign finance laws. Just ask his previous, previous personal attorney about it. Those charges will be waiting for Trump when he leaves office.

            2. Oh, and again, the FEC chair disagrees that oppo research is not a thing of value. And it has been settled in courts that oppo research and other intangibles are things of value and thus illegal. Just ask Individual-1’s previous previous personal attorney. The FEC would investigate this Ukraine thing themselves, except the Senate is conveniently preventing them from doing so.

              Why are Republicans so against secure and regualted exlections lately? I thought they were all about election security, back when Obama was in office.

              https://www.npr.org/2019/10/05/767261398/trumps-ukraine-call-might-violate-election-laws-but-no-one-s-enforcing-them

    2. Taylor’s being part of an election oversight delegation doesn’t seem all that discrediting.

      1. “Sure, he’s part of a group funded by Burisma and is running interference for them. NOTHING TO SEE HERE!!!”

        1. The guy has been involved in diplomacy in the Ukraine since the Bush administration. He is asked to oversee elections in the Ukraine. It’s a worthy cause. Is he supposed to refuse because of who might be providing funding?

          This is the same vague “has ties to” reasoning that has been used so many times against the Koch brothers.

          1. Again, obviously, nothing to see here. Trump did say “favor” and, even though he did not do anything, that is proof of quid pro quo.

            1. But there is additional evidence beyond the written record of the phone call.

              1. Sure. There are impressions of people not involved with the phone call and who were not directly involved with anything. Because that is some KEY testimony.

                1. Check out Vindman’s testimony from today. He was directly involved with the phone call.

                  1. His testimony is “I disagree with Trump on foreign policy” which, while lovely and all, couldn’t conceivably be less important.

                    1. His testimony is that Ambassador Sondland told the Ukraine the President would not meet (on the phone) with them unless they investigated the Bidens.

    3. Thanks for the link Jesse. Very detailed and interesting read.

  15. More on how Florida prisons are a disaster.

    Why should it be different inside the walls than it is outside?

  16. Reason Foundation’s J.J. Rich writes about why a proposed vaping ban in California would be terrible for public health.

    Maybe they’ll just ban cigarette smoking and contraband vape flavors then, smart guy.

  17. I do enjoy an article about taxation and paying tax preppers that ignores the trump tax cuts allowed many more americans to file the 1040 EZ due to the doubling of the personal exemption, basically removing the need for tax preppers.

    1. “journalistic malpractice”

    2. How in the world would that be relevant content to put in a topic about cronyism between tax preparers and the IRS.

      1. He knows it’s not terribly relevant. He’s just saying it to stir shit and get a rise out of people.

        1. Jesse: “WHY WON’T YOU PRAISE TRUMP ON THIS UNRELATED MATTER? YOU JUST HATE TRUMP”

          Sane people: Umm, that’s not even germane to the discussion…

          Jesse: “SEE? YOU JUST HATE TRUMP FOR NO REASON”

          Sane people: Oh stop trying to derail the conversation…

          Jesse: “LOLOL I SURE TRIGGERED THE LIBS”

  18. I’m thrilled to be included in this special issue of @wpmagazine entirely written, photographed & illustrated by currently & formerly incarcerated people.

    Are inmates informed well enough to know to slant every story a certain direction?

    1. slant

      RACIST!

  19. NY passed historic, common sense bail reform last year. Instead of preparing to comply w/ the new law, prosecutors around the state are getting trained on tricks & loopholes “to jail people that otherwise would be released under the new law.”

    Laws are for the little people.

    1. AND TO LOCK THEM UP NOT TO LET THEM OUT.

  20. “Defenders of Katie Hill are right to see misogyny and right-wing media malpractice contributing to her resignation from Congress.”

    They arent right. You’re literally advocating for rationalizing her mistakes because a political opponents. She is solely responsible for sleeping with subordinates.

    1. If a male representative were having a threesome with one of his staffers and someone else, neither of whom were his wife, the media would crucify them, even if they were a democrat. Hill just wants a pussy pass.

      1. Maybe she thought that being part of the Alphabet People would be enough to protect her.

      2. Rather than ‘ask for a pussy pass,’ she resigned, you bigoted malcontent.

        Perhaps you are thinking of the ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ pass (or the ‘porn star payoff pass (while the wife is holding the infant)’ that slack-jawed clingers hand out like paper towels.

        Until those clinger are replaced, that is.

        1. As usual, you missed the entire point. Rev, you need to go back to Volkh where people either are too numb to notice or just feel sorry for you and ignore your stupidity. That is not how it works around here and your constantly embarrassing yourself is starting to make even me feel sorry for you.

          1. I dunno, John. Seems like he pointed a pretty big fucking gap in your argument.

            1. check out her twitter page, it’s all victimhood articles that say she shouldn’t resign

              1. Ok? But she did resign, and rather quickly. I don;t get what the outrage is about. She got caught and resigned. She didn’t, I dunno, brag about it and call everyone else involved liars.

        2. Where’s her mulligan, Jesus?

        3. Rather than ‘ask for a pussy pass,’ she resigned, you bigoted malcontent.

          Incorrect. The ‘victim’ worked for her during her candidacy and Hill broke off the relationship once she won. If she were really morally opposed to taking advantage of women sexually or the impropriety of prostitution, then her office would’ve been poisoned fruit. She got a pussy pass until someone leaked that she was getting one and then it got revoked.

          Trump, not being a cuck, doesn’t give two shits about prostitution.

      3. You know what is impressive.

        CNN STOLE the story from RedState. Gave them zero credit for it. And NOW, they are ATTACKING them for reporting the story that CNN stole from them.

        There is nothing at CNN worth saving.

    2. I thought everyone slept with their campaign managers.

      1. “I’m with her 2016” hardest hit.

    3. Why should we care about fucking subordinates? People fall in love. They bump uglies. If they didn’t bump uglies then it wouldn’t dissolve feelings so all the unethical things that could arise still may. If we actually want to solve a problem we shouldn’t allow contact between humans.

      1. It’s right there in the definition of the word, “subordinate”. Subordinates can feel pressured into “bumping uglies” to keep their job.

  21. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/28/nick-sandmann-covington-catholic-student-washingto/

    The Covington Catholic student libel suit against the Washington Post is back on. There will be discovery. Oh boy is that going to be great.

    1. The worry is wapo already deleted all evidence discovery would have produced.

      1. That is a possibility, but if they did, there will be a digital trail left from that and they will likely end up in very hot water over it. The original dismissal was appealed. So destroying evidence was still not allowed.

        They are total shameless assholes. I have no doubt they would destroy evidence even if it costs them millions in a default judgement and then claim to be the victims. These people are just scum.

        1. Judge had already ruled. Any orders to preserve ended with the ruling.

          1. Not if it was under appeal. The Covington kid appealed and that extended the preserve orders until the appellate court ruled.

            1. Is that legal insight as sound as your ‘impeachment must be founded on a violation of criminal law’ claim?

              1. If a case being dismissed but appealed did not extend the preserve orders, winning on appeal would be meaningless since the other party would have been free to destroy all of the relevant evidence.

                Just shut up and stop embarrassing yourself. You are dumb as a post. Everyone here hates you. And laughing at your stupidity is getting boring.

              2. Don’t be stupid, RAK. Preservation orders last until the matter is resolved. The matter is not “resolved” until all appeals windows have run their course.

                For that matter, the formal “order to preserve” is irrelevant. The legal standard for preservation is “receipt of an order to preserve” or even “filing of the lawsuit”. The obligation to preserve begins and remains at “reasonable anticipation of litigation”. An active appeal most certainly passes the “reasonable anticipation” threshold.

                1. Don’t be stupid, RAK.

                  Telling slack-jawed, FAS-afflicted hicklibs to not be stupid is like telling water to not be wet.

                2. That’s nice but I’m going to go with bleachbit and a hammer and proclaming ignorance. Seems to work well for democrats

                  1. Just keep answering, I don’t recall.

      2. I’m no expert, but that would have been unwise on their part.

        1. There’s no evidence to support this bs case. If this shit succeeds you can kiss your conservative media goodbye.

          1. There is a lot of evidence. They slandered the kid. And if conservative media is slandering people, they should be sued too.

          2. More evidence than russiagate

          3. There’s no evidence to support this bs case.

            SHHHH! That’s not the point. The point is to PWN THE LIBS

            1. Did they not slander him and say he was a racist when in fact he did nothing of the sort?

              There is a ton of evidence that they did that. They ended up retracting their original reporting, which is them admitting they slandered him.

            2. chemjeff sticking up for his lefty boos again.

          4. Besides headlines and TV coverage, you mean?

  22. Which social media genius decided to film Bernie Sanders –the presidential candidate people accuse of being a socialist — in front of empty grocery shelves

    The one who knows that breadlines are a sign of a thriving economy?

    1. “…the presidential candidate people accuse of being a socialist…”

      Doesn’t he proudly call himself a socialist?

      1. Here’s a *democratic* socialist, there’s a difference.

        Though he has admitted that he doesn’t study economics, so…

    2. Can that image really hurt him when most of his supporters can’t remember a time when there was a “USSR”?

    3. He can try out as the new Mr. Whipple. No Squeezing the Charmin in Bernie world. No Charmin.

  23. Reminder: Commander in Chief Hillary Clinton would have killed the leader of ISIS much faster. Probably would have killed his replacement too, and maybe even his replacement’s replacement.

    #StillWithHer
    #LibertariansForClintonianForeignPolicy

    1. Along with his personal chef, trainer, maid, driver, golf caddy, …

      Hell, she would have killed EVERYONE.

    2. CinC HRC might well have ordered the carpet-bombing of Syria, or at least the destruction from the air of every vestige of the Assad regime. Pretty much the same thing that SecState HRC was the leading advocate for doing in Libya (which allowed ISIS to get their hands on most of the heavy weapons that survived the destruction of the Libyan military).

      After that. maybe she would have pushed for an open declaration of war on the resulting caliphate when that left ISIS warlords as the dominant powers in the area.

    3. Well she is a Goldwater girl.

  24. California fires (and resulting blackouts) are harming millions of people.

    California sliding into the Pacific would put the fires out.

    I’m joking! I want the best for all the peoples of the Golden State, even Hollyweird and Sin Francrisco.

    1. I thought Venezuela wasn’t supposed to happen here.

  25. “An interesting project from The Washington Post:”

    Less interesting than #WapoDeathNotices

    1. Chalres Manson, Beach Boys collaborator, dies at 81.

      Those things are like chimps in suits or basset hounds filmed in slow mo, they never get old and are always funny.

      1. I’ll always go back and look at some of them. They got quite funny.

  26. Which social media genius decided to film Bernie Sanders –the presidential candidate people accuse of being a socialist — in front of empty grocery shelves

    Heh, why would a socialist see that as a bad thing? They constantly argue that we buy too much stuff. And nobody needs 23 brands of deodorant.

    And after the Gangrene New Deal is established nobody will have any money anyway.

  27. http://babylonbee.com/news/cnn-uncovers-evidence-hero-dog-sniffed-butts

    cnn uncovers evidence hero dog sniffed butts
    Funny but ultimately too plausible to be as funny as it should be.

  28. Defenders of Katie Hill are right to see misogyny and right-wing media malpractice contributing to her resignation from Congress.

    Mitch McConnell and the patriarchy forced her to eat her intern’s box, right?

    1. She should have kept her gender gap private.

  29. http://www.hollywoodintoto.com/entertainment-media-male-dominated-films/

    Hollywood media shocked and appalled that Hollywood has made movies for the Christmas season that involve men. EWWWW

    For the record, the Ford v. Ferrari movie looks great. I am skeptical of Midway but I might go see it out of spite since we are apparently not supposed to go to movies featuring icky men.

    1. >>I am skeptical of Midway

      I’m bitter.

      1. Melissa McCarthy IS Admiral Halsey.

    2. About Hollywood in Toto
      https://www.hollywoodintoto.com/home/about-hollywood-in-toto/

      HiT is the only dedicated entertainment news site for conservatives that offers a hearty defense of pro-freedom values.

      Do you all read any news sites that aren’t in the right-wing bubble?

      If you only read right-wing sites, you are only getting part of the story.

      1. Present website excluded, of course. Although Reason is probably associated as being in the “right wing bubble” for many.

        1. CNN Business didn’t air The Independents.

      2. I notice you have no criticisms of the site.

        If you had, you would’ve presented them here.

        1. I just now even heard of that site. And frankly I’m not terribly interested in spending on a lot of time on a website which has a front page article entitled “Here’s How You Can Help HIT Fight for Red State USA”.

          1. “I just now even heard of that site. And frankly I’m not terribly interested in spending on a lot of time on a website which has a front page article entitled “Here’s How You Can Help HIT Fight for Red State USA”.”

            So, no criticisms. Just pure 100% ad hominem. Got it. We can just discount your opinion on most things and feel less concerned about missing something enlightening.

      3. Ad hominem remains a fallacy. Continuing to resort to it and pretend like it isn’t, doesn’t change that fact or make your use of it any more persuasive.

        The article sites several actual articles making the point. It is criticizing mainstream entertainment media. If you have any reason why their criticisms are not fair, say so. But screaming “but they are conservatives” just makes you look like the exact sort of moron everyone thinks you are.

        Try not living down to your critics’ worst expectations of you sometime.

        1. Where is the ad-hom? It is a right-wing site. The owners proudly state it is a right-wing site. Pointing out that it’s in the right-wing bubble isn’t exactly an ad-hom. I asked you if you read anything outside of the right-wing bubble. Do you?

          1. You clearly don’t read anything outside of the left-wing bubble, so it’s not like you’re in a position to criticize.

          2. Thinking that the site being “right wing” is in any way relevant is an ad hominem. Why do you think anyone fucking cares?

            You are so stupid and are so used to arguing with people who are just as dumb as you are, you really don’t understand what actual reasoned debate looks like.

            1. You are so stupid

              says the guy who whines about me allegedly using an ad-hominem attack. Yeah no one should take you seriously about your supposed devotion to argumentation norms.

            2. And just to be clear.

              I didn’t say their argument was WRONG because they were a right-wing site. If I had, THAT would have been an ad-hominem attack.

              In fact, John, if you read carefully, I didn’t offer any opinion one way or another on the thesis of your argument.

    3. Go back and watch the original… No chance the new one will be close. In fact that movie where the battleship goes back in time is probably still better.

      1. It is an Aircraft Carrier and yes, the Final Countdown is a fun movie that has sadly been largely forgotten.

        1. Ha, I was in the Navy when that came out.

          I still remember the comical look on the faces of the Japanese Zero pilots when those F-14 Tomcats roared by.

  30. -the presidential candidate people accuse of being a socialist

    ACCUSED? I think you misspelled ‘self-proclaimed’

    1. Missed that. WTF is with that wording???

  31. Which social media genius decided to film Bernie Sanders –the presidential candidate people accuse of being a socialist — in front of empty grocery shelves

    Uh, Trump?

    1. Always his fault.

  32. Just for the record, using paper forms and a $5.00 10 key calculator from Walmart is still a free way to file your taxes.

    Also, fun facts:
    Almost half of us don’t even pay taxes.
    Over half of those who do pay taxes only have wage income, and the filing is as simple as keying in your W2 data, and any of the few deductions that apply to ‘ordinary’ citizens.
    Even when my taxes were as complicated as they got, home owner, charity giver, and stock option redeemer, the free version of tax software was enough.

    Finally, does anyone actually think the IRS could put out an accurate filing program?

    1. Unless you run a business or own rental property or something, taxes are very very easy to file. Even with a small business or rental property it is not that hard. I never understood the claims that taxes are too complicated to file for all but a few people.

      1. By the same logic that not only should the feds provide public assistance benefits, but also spend almost as much in public assistance application assistance.

        Clearly, the benefactors believe the masses are too dumb or lazy. And they are probably correct.

      2. and yet tax prep is a big industry. Lots of people with the simplest tax scenarios you can imagine use these services.

        (shrug) They’re lazy I guess.

        1. That and they don’t trust themselves and they want the piece of mind.

          1. Yeah that.

        2. “…They’re lazy I guess.”

          Disagreed.
          1) Comparative advantage; my time is better spent running my company.
          2) Rational ignorance; I’ll let my tax guy keep up with the rules and where I can avoid paying taxes.

        3. They’re lazy I guess.

          My guess is that they’re either (a) afraid of the IRS so they want an expert to do the work for them so that they don’t commit some simple mistake that lands them in hot water, or (b) desirous of as large of a refund that they can get and they go to professionals that will help them get the maximum refund.

        4. I live in central Georgia and I see lots of “pop-up” tax preparers around January. Most are specifically pointed at the less educated community, which also happens to be black.

        5. My tax scenario isn’t that complicated. Income, a little bit of investment income, 401(k), mortgage.

          Still quicker and easier to throw $50 at TurboTax then to do it myself. How do I know? Because when my taxes were even simpler, when I was a student, I did do it by hand. And it took longer then it does now.

          And this is all as the tax-prep industry wants it to be. That tax preparation is a professional skill is not a flaw of our tax code, it’s a feature, designed in by the tax prep industry lobbyists.

      3. I have terrible getting correct change from a $20 at Wendy’s. It’s not the laziness.

      4. taxes are very very easy to file

        Easy for you. I’m guessing that like most of us here, you are of above-average intelligence and have post-secondary education. People like us have little difficulty filling out tax forms if our financial situation is not too complex. For tens of millions of Americans, though, tax form instructions are above their intellectual and reading abilities and they need preparers. I’ve filled out 1040-EZs many times for friends and acquaintances who would not have been able to do so themselves because they can’t read the instructions with comprehension. Even following instructions on the free online services is too difficult for a large proportion of Americans.

    2. Almost half of us don’t even pay taxes.

      How many don’t file? I think that’s the more relevant number here.

      The IRS could put out a filing program that is at least as good as their automatic checks on filed returns.
      They could send you a completed return that you can check and modify for accuracy.

      1. The IRS could put out a filing program that is at least as good as their automatic checks on filed returns.
        They could send you a completed return that you can check and modify for accuracy.

        Technically? Sure.
        Legally? Nope. There’s laws stopping them.

        1. Yes, that was the point of the whole story.

          1. Possibly (I didn’t follow the link), but it’s certainly not the point of ENB’s take on it, which puts the fault at the feet of the IRS.

      2. How many don’t file?

        Probably very few who don’t file at all, but very many who don’t report all of their income.

  33. a socialist — in front of empty grocery shelves.
    It’s what they are comfortable with.

  34. >>engaging in the kind of relationship rendered inexcusable by many proponents of the #MeToo movement and mainstream feminism

    dafuq are these proponents and what gives them power to render?

  35. >>”The practical and moral failings in this matter are so numerous it is hard to know where to start.”

    Sacramento?

  36. Free File was championed by tax-prep software king Intuit and other big players in the industry. These companies agreed to provide some free tax filing options and limit their marketing of paid options in exchange for the IRS not offering its own free filing option.

    Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about pirating TurboTax for the past 15 years

  37. In Tolstoy’s later years, he became an ascetic–fasting, praying, reading the bible, basically living like a monk. During that period, he wrote a short work entitled, “The Kingdom of God is within You”. In it, he observed that Christians have traditionally interpreted Jesus’ admonition to turn the other cheek so as not to make it seem stupid or suicidal. But Tolstoy wondered what it would be like if people took Jesus seriously on this point. What if Jesus meant exactly what he said when he told us to turn the other cheek?

    At some point, Tolstoy made a reference to the situation in India at the time, and a newspaper editor in South Africa wrote to Tolstoy, asking him to elaborate. Tolstoy’s response was published in the newspaper as “A Letter to a Hindu”, and the newspaper editor subsequently took that logic of “turning the other cheek” and used it to chase the most powerful army in the world at the time out of India entirely–without using any weapons or having an army of his own.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Letter_to_a_Hindu

    The same tactics were used by the Rev. Martin Luther King to end segregation. They were used by the people of Chile to chase Pinochet from power. The same tactics were used by people in various countries in eastern Europe in the aftermath of the Cold War. The same tactics were used to bring down governments in Egypt and Tunisia. The latest victim of these tactics is Saad Hariri, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, who announced he’s resigning–because he just can’t take the peaceful protests anymore.

    To my eye, there are three interesting aspects to this story:

    1) The failure of terrorism.

    Going back to the beginning of Islamic Jihad, one of the central causes of every terrorist organization has been overthrowing the vicious dictators who were oppressing them. From Egyptian Islamic Jihad trying to overthrow Mubarak on down the list, the terrorists “struggled” for decades to overthrow their dictators–and they achieved nothing. Peaceful protest came along and drove vicious dictators from power left and right–in a very short time–exposing the terrorists as embarrassing failures.

    2) Hezbollah’s reaction to the protests against Hariri.

    Hezbollah is a big time player in Lebanese politics. They’re an elected political party in the Lebanese parliament–in addition to being a terrorist organization and pro-Iranian army funded by Iran. When the peaceful protests against Hariri started gaining force, Hezbollah came in and started cracking skulls together to see if that would work to stop them. It worked about as well in Lebanon as it did when they tried the same thing in Syria, which is to say, it just made the protests bigger and the protesters more adamant.

    That’s interesting because, notice, Hariri isn’t from Hezbollah. Hariri is from a Sunni party. Both parties, Hariri’s and Hezbollah, are proxies for their backers–Saudi Arabia for Hariri and Iran for Hezbollah. Why would Iran by way of Hezbollah oppose protests against their enemies? One likely answer might be that peaceful protest is what Iran fears most. As much as they fear Hariri in power and Saudi Arabia behind him, they fear peaceful protest spreading to Iran even more. Incidentally, that’s also why Iran plunged itself (and Hezbollah) into the Syrian civil war so thoroughly.

    3) The futility of neocon adventures.

    Revolution needs to come from within. What needs to be done if you want to get rid of your government is no longer a mystery, and if the locals aren’t willing to pay that price themselves, there is no good reason to think they’re willing to suffer under occupation by a foreign power like the U.S. either. In fact, I’m reading reports that there are widespread and growing protests against the American backed government in Iraq right now.

    There are two correct answers to the question, “What should we do when other people don’t want what we want?”. One of the answers is “persuasion”, and the other correct answer is “nothing”.

    1. Tolstoy’s response was published in the newspaper as “A Letter to a Hindu”, and the newspaper editor subsequently took that logic of “turning the other cheek” and used it to chase the most powerful army in the world at the time out of India entirely–without using any weapons or having an army of his own.

      Ghandi didn’t “chase the most powerful army in the world” out of India. As Paul Johnson has pointed out, Ghandi’s success is due entirely to Great Britain both lacking the capability and will to maintain its empire after World War II, and the very fact that India was run by a liberalistic society like Great Britain instead of a more authoritarian one like the Soviet Union, which rendered it philosophically incapable of fully suppressing the rebellion through traditional means like, say, executing Ghandi and his associates. Same thing goes for MLK.

      Pinochet was removed through a popular election, not mass protests. The mass protests in Eastern Europe worked because Gorbachev made it clear that the Soviet Union didn’t have the capability to suppress them anymore, like they had in the 50s and 60s.

      Egypt doesn’t even apply here because Mubarak didn’t run the country, the Egyptian Army does. When they allowed the protests to take place, they were explicitly telling Mubarak that his time was up. That’s a lesson Morsi didn’t learn, and the Army removed him post-haste.

      1. As Paul Johnson has pointed out, Ghandi’s success is due entirely to Great Britain both lacking the capability and will to maintain its empire after World War II, and the very fact that India was run by a liberalistic society like Great Britain instead of a more authoritarian one like the Soviet Union, which rendered it philosophically incapable of fully suppressing the rebellion through traditional means like, say, executing Ghandi and his associates.

        But the flipside of that is that the USSR never could have maintained control of India for as long as the UK did. The USSR could probably never have taken control of India in the first place, as it was not a military action that took control of India, but a Capitalist one, and the UK lost control of India the more that control took militaristic forms.

        The UK could have executed Ghandi, which may have worked in the short term, but history has shown that such tactics are not sustainable.

        For example, “The mass protests in Eastern Europe worked because Gorbachev made it clear that the Soviet Union didn’t have the capability to suppress them anymore, like they had in the 50s and 60s.”

        And the Egyptian Army was able to remove Morsi because popular sentiment was so against him – he wasn’t removed until after the 2013 uprisings.

        1. And the Egyptian Army was able to remove Morsi because popular sentiment was so against him – he wasn’t removed until after the 2013 uprisings.

          So how would this apply to Iran? There’s been two popular uprisings in the last ten years that have been utterly crushed by the Iranian government. Lebanon’s prime minister resigning isn’t an indication that the country is becoming more free, because Hezbollah will continue to run the country regardless.

          1. So how would this apply to Iran? There’s been two popular uprisings in the last ten years that have been utterly crushed by the Iranian government.

            And I think anyone who has been observing Iran for a while sees that the regime’s days are numbered. They either need to get on board with the way Iranian culture is evolving, or they’re going to get left behind. The harder they resist, the harder they’ll eventually go down.

            The same thing is happening in China – the Party has seen for decades now that staying in power means compromising with the People (the actual ones) to a certain extent. They’re clearly looking for that sweet spot where they can stay in power and keep their people satisfied enough to not take to the streets.

            I haven’t been following the Lebanon situation that closely, but it’s important to understand when looking at the ME that Islamism is a populist, anarchistic movement that within its cultural context presents as anti-authoritarian (and anti-globalist).

            One of the big problems over there right now is that the more freedom you give people, the more they turn to Islamism and reject the internationalist/globalist governments that have been imposed on them. This is what’s going in Libya – the people of Libya have a choice between a secularist dictator (Haftar), a globalist puppet government (the Tripoli government), and Islamists (no longer in power anywhere).

            Give the people a choice between these three, guess which they choose?

            1. it’s important to understand when looking at the ME that Islamism is a populist, anarchistic movement that within its cultural context presents as anti-authoritarian (and anti-globalist).

              I wouldn’t call it anti-globalist so much as anti-colonialist and apocalyptic. The differences between Islamism and Nasser’s more secular pan-Arabism is really more a matter of degree, but they’re both rooted in active resistance to western influence and control. Islamism has a broad reach that crosses multiple ethnic and cultural lines–there’s ISIS branches from sub-Saharan west Africa all the way to the Phillippines, for instance.

              Regarding China and Iran, you could be right–but in the case of the former, there have been various reform movements since the death of Mao, but the government’s never really lost its basic authoritarian structure. This is a country that lets businesses put up suicide nets around its factories and gleefully pollutes the environment irrespective of how it affects its citizens. Iran has shown itself to be incredibly effective at squashing dissent, and it would likely take several days, if not months, of a general strike to bring down the regime, like what ultimately happened to the Shah.

      2. This whole denialist list of is absurd.

        The protest movement was essential to Indian liberation from the British and the same goes for MLK and the end of segregation. Pinochet didn’t call an election on his own rule (or abide by the results) out of the kindness of his heart. There had an opposition and peaceful protest movement for years. The fact that they managed to drive him to hold the referendum and vacate office with a peaceful protest movement rather than a revolutionary war or a coup doesn’t mean the peaceful protest movement wasn’t effective–quite the opposite.

        Meanwhile, Mubarak ran the country right up until the military stepped in and took over at the instigation of protests. Hell, the Egyptian military only stepped in and threw the Muslim Brotherhood out on their asses at the instigation of a protest movement, too. Why troll with that shit?

        Protest movements are far more effective at regime change than terrorism, and societies do a hell of a lot better picking up the pieces and building a government for themselves after the chaos when they aren’t under occupation by some well-intended neocon either.

        Reality remains an embarrassment to both terrorists and neocons, and a peaceful protest movement driving the junior Hariri out of office in Lebanon–amid two parties backed by foreign countries in the midst of fighting a proxy war–underscores that fact yet again.

        1. P.S. Jesus was right.

          1. P.S. Jesus was right.

            ^ This.

            1. Jesus himself preached during an active separatist terrorist campaign in Judea, and preached against using violence against the Romans.

              The terrorists were eventually hunted down and wiped out, and Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed.

              OTOH, the whole empire eventually voluntarily submitted itself to Jesus’ rule.

        2. The protest movement was essential to Indian liberation from the British and the same goes for MLK and the end of segregation.

          Except you’re arguing as if these all happened in a vacuum. “Protest movements” didn’t end the Ancien Regime, after all, a violent revolution did. MLK’s protests go nowhere without the experience of World War II and the “all-in” participation of the entire country.

          If protests had been going on against Pinochet for years, then him stepping down was hardly due to the effect of those protests. It wasn’t the protests that led to the end of his reign, nor was he forced to resign. They held a real, actual election that removed him from power.

          Meanwhile, Mubarak ran the country right up until the military stepped in and took over at the instigation of protests

          No, Mubarak most certainly did not “run the country,” his Praetorian Guard did. That’s why they made no move whatsoever to subvert the protests. It’s why they took advantage of protests against Morsi to demonstrate who’s actually in charge. The military has largely run Egypt since the days of the Mamluks, which is why it remains one of the most respected institutions in the Middle East despite getting stomped in several wars against Israel.

          societies do a hell of a lot better picking up the pieces and building a government for themselves after the chaos when they aren’t under occupation by some well-intended neocon either.

          Perjorative aside, Libya might have something to say about your contention regarding how well societies do about picking up the pieces.

  38. “But in focusing on those factors, they risk looking past the California Democrat’s own actions in engaging in the kind of relationship rendered inexcusable by many proponents of the #MeToo movement and mainstream feminism: one between an older boss and a younger subordinate.”

    It’s about age?!

    I thought it was about the involuntary aspect–and how when you’re working for somebody, you may feel compelled to do things you don’t want to do.

    I did not know #MeToo had anything to do with age. Are #MeToo and mainstream feminism also going after older people hooking up with younger people outside the workplace?

    1. if ever there was a movement requiring passive ignoring it’s #metoo

  39. “Defenders of Katie Hill are right to see misogyny and right-wing media malpractice contributing to her resignation from Congress.”

    Why?

    She denied the relationship so extremely tame photos were displayed to show the relationship. She had FAR more risque photos out there that RedState did not publish.

    You’re a fucking clown, ENB.

    1. Katie Hill’s critics are right to see the blatant hypocrisy of her defenders – who fail to note that Katie didn’t protest back when her husband was actually posting those pictures to internet wife swapping sites, nor admit that the real reason she resigned is because she was in clear violation of Congressional rules about not screwing Congressional staffers.

      So yes, ENB is a clown.

  40. When it comes to filing taxes, the ONLY thing that will benefit mass consumers is simplifying the tax code, thereby making this entire wasteful industry die away.

    I should be able to file my taxes on a postcard. Public policy by tax design has got to stop.

    1. Line 1. How much did you make?
      Line 2. How much did we withhold?
      Subtract line 2 from line 1.
      Send in the difference.

      That way we can afford Bernie.

      1. Line 1. How much did you make?
        Line 2. How much did we withhold?
        Subtract line 2 from line 1.

        Technically, that’s what the form says now. Line 1 is a little complicated to figure out, is all.

  41. The Reason Foundation largely exists for the purpose of promoting centrally-planned, crony-capitalist transportation policy.

    1. Reason founder, Robert Poole, does publish a newsletter on transportation policy, which is kinda his pet topic of interest.

      Seems like Reason does a lot more than just that.

  42. Defenders of Katie Hill are right to see misogyny and right-wing media malpractice contributing to her resignation from Congress.

    Sure. Because she’s a woman everyone on the other side is a misogynist. There’s no history of using men’s sexual histories against them as President Gary Hart and Newt Gingrich taught us.

    1. And since when is getting a really juicy and damaging story about a politician “media malpractice”. ENB seems to have admitted in so many words that she thinks the media’s job is to protect Democrat Politicians.

    2. Or Bill Clinton, or Donald Trump, or John Edwards, or Grover Cleveland, or Thomas Jefferson.

      1. I’m not sure your addition of men who didn’t resign over sex scandals, including three two-term presidents and a sitting first-term president, helps the argument that there is no double standard.

        1. Al Franken good enough for you, then? Or Elliot Spitzer? Or Anthony Weiner?

          Cmon, EE, move those goalposts again.

  43. But it doesn’t make sense why the IRS would enthusiastically agree to let them control the free-filing game.

    ’cause that’s what Congress told them to do. The IRS wanted to make their own free tax-prep software. Congress made that literally illegal for them to do. That the IRS threw in the towel isn’t surprising.

    Face it, complain about the IRS if you want, but the only thing keeping us from a simplified tax code where the IRS pre-fills the tax-forms for 95% of folks and mails them to you, is Congress (which is influenced by private industry lobbyists). Trying to blame the IRS for Congress’s tax code nonsense is blaming the horse for where the driver steers the cart. Sure, they’re the ones doing the heavy lifting, but they don’t have a choice.

  44. Its easy to see the IRS and heap blame on them for all things. But they are merely doing the book keeping and enforcement. I don’t think we should let the Congress off the hook for the mess that is our tax code. The code could be much simpler. It could focus on taxes and not social and economic engineering. Taxes code also be easily calculated by the IRS and just have them return your refund. All Congress has to do is fix the code. But them we have a lot less need for tax lawyers, tax preparers, and tax programs. I guess the lawyers, preparers, and programs are all making health campaign contributions.

  45. “”But them we have a lot less need for tax lawyers, tax preparers, and tax programs. I guess the lawyers, preparers, and programs are all making health campaign contributions.”‘

    The government would get a lot less fines and interest too.

    1. And that would not be a bad thing. No country should look to fines and interest as a source of revenue.

  46. we must apply sexual standards equally to male and female bosses and politicians

    Only if you’re trying to perpetuate the fiction that men and women are sexually identical and interchangeable.

  47. And if people don’t like the outcome when rigid rules are applied to women, then perhaps it’s time to rethink the rigidity of those rules in the first place.

    .

    I know ENB isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but pretending that the issue is about her sex isn’t fooling anyone.

    If she had an (R) behind her name nobody would be defending her. Most certainly not the gallery of usual suspects in the media.

    1. Yeah. Imagine if it came out that Sarah Palin was having a threesome with an assistant and another women. I am sure ENB would totally feel the same way about this.

      1. I think Lisa Ann already did the porno for that.

  48. And because Reason will, no doubt, misreport it — the House isn’t passing anything to authorize an inquiry. They are passing a memo basically saying “We’ll keep doing what we are doing”, which is a shit show as is.

    1. Looks like what they’re doing is trying to make the proceedings as official as possible without actually passing them along to the Senate, where they know the whole thing will just die on the vine.

      It seems like the essence of the deal being offered is “we’ll start having these discussions in public if you’ll start responding to our subpoenas.”

      1. … you’re upset that the House isn’t trying to pass articles of impeachment before finishing their investigation as to whether articles of impeachment are called for?

        1. I expressed no such opinion. I will not be upset if Trump is impeached.

          What I’m noting is that Congressional Dems seem to be backing into this from the conclusion that they want to impeach him, and now they have to figure out how.

          If the Mueller Report had turned up something more concrete, they could simply write up articles of impeachment based on that and they’d be done (except for knowing it will die on the vine in the Senate).

          Since they need something new, now, they have to fast track an investigation simultaneously with putting articles of impeachment up to vote.

          In past, the House hasn’t conducted the investigation, it’s voted on the results of an already completed investigation, and then the Senate does the public questioning.

          House Dems are in a bind because they don’t have a pre-existing investigation, but they want all the formal powers of an impeachment proceeding, but without it proceeding to the Senate, where it will die on the vine.

          Maybe they’ll succeed. Like I say, I don’t really care whether or not he gets impeached.

        2. Not me. I’m upset that they’re holding closed hearings in the capitol basement, refusing to release transcripts, gagging the opposition party, and selectively leaking cherry picked portions of purported testimony to the salivating Democrat/Media hordes. But it’s fine with me if they don’t want to vote on articles of impeachment.

  49. Defenders of Katie Hill are right to see misogyny and right-wing media malpractice contributing to her resignation from Congress.

    She’s never going to strap one on for you Lezzie, I mean Lizzie.

  50. Gerne sind wir bei der Herstellung der Kontakte zu Transen in Hamburg und tsladies in Berlin behilflich

  51. You’re a misogynist if you object to female representatives harassing their staffers. Women should apparently be free to harass whoever they want and use sex to advance their careers without being criticized by men.

    1. “If God gave you boobs instead of brains, use ’em.”—R. Paul Todd

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