Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Jorge Ramos: America Is ‘Our Country, Not Theirs’—‘And We Are Not Going to Leave’

Univision's Jorge Ramos declares that the USA belongs to 60 million Latino invaders, not We, the People, the Posterity of the Founding Fathers:
Univision senior anchor Jorge Ramos declared on Friday that the United States belongs to Latino migrants, emphatically stating to a Spanish-speaking audience that “it is our country, not theirs.”
Ramos took an unusual tack, pivoting from talk of diversity and togetherness into boasts of conquest. Mass immigration, particularly illegal immigration, was a fait accompli. There is nothing the U.S. can do about it, and they must accept that America is “not their” country and that illegal aliens, particularly Latinos, “are not going to leave,” he said.

“I am an immigrant, just like many of you,” Ramos said in Spanish, as translated by the Media Research Center. “I am a proud Latino immigrant here in the United States. My name is Jorge Ramos, and I work at Univision and at the Fusion network.”

“And you know exactly what is going on here in the United States. There are many people who do not want us to be here, and who want to create a wall in order to separate us,” he said.

“But you know what? This is also our country. Let me repeat this: Our country, not theirs. It is our country. And we are not going to leave. We are nearly 60 million Latinos in the United States,” he continued. “And thanks to us, the United States eats, grows and, as we’ve seen today, sings and dances.”

“So when they attack us, we already know what we are going to do. We are not going to sit down. We will not shut up. And we will not leave. That is what we are going to do,” he added.
Yet another nail in the coffin of the historically illiterate civic nationalists. And yet another brick in the strong intellectual foundation of the Alt-Right. The message is very clear: "It's our country now. You lost, just like the Indians so get over it and get out."

It doesn't matter whether you are a libertarian, a conservative, a liberal, a progressive, or a constitutionalist. Your ideology is outdated and irrelevant. It's all identity politics now, and politics is a subset of war. If the matter cannot be resolved politically - and the fact that this is the largest invasion in human history strongly suggests it cannot be - it will be resolved with violence.

The USA will be physically divided. At this point, the only serious questions are a) where the lines will be drawn, b) the level of violence involved, and c) precisely whom is going to be permitted to remain where.

The Character of Nations - LewRockwell

Angelo Codevilla’s The Character of Nations is at once a well-written, closely argued and thoroughly documented look at how today’s the United States of America has made almost an 180-degree turn from the USA of de Tocqueville’s time. Codevilla is at his best when he shows the contrasts between what government frowned upon a generation ago, and that is now promoted by various government programs and agencies: “The contemporary American elites … now enjoin actions once prohibited and prohibit actions once enjoined.” Things that were considered too shameful even to discuss a generation ago are now held out as worthy of tolerance and often are deemed superior to more traditional aspects of Western culture.
This volume should be read alongside Thomas Sowell’s excellent book, The Vision of the Anointed. Both books show how the failed palliatives proffered by Big Government have actually tended to exacerbate the problems they were designed to solve. I was especially troubled by the account of the Los Angeles riots, where “the police absented themselves for about twenty-four hours and left store owners to defend lives and property as best they could with their own weapons.” Codevilla reports that the police then handcuffed and took away hapless store owners (many of them immigrants and minorities) who they found trying to protect their property. Increasingly, law-abiding citizens are being blamed for the increase of violence we are experiencing, and judges bend over backward to release convicted criminals back into the communities which had been their prey (but not, Codevilla notes, into the communities “where judges and court officials live”).
The rise in convictions for “white collar crimes,” along with seared consciences over the high rate of incarceration among Black males, has led to such anomalies as persons (and their employers) being tried and convicted of “sexual harassment” for doing little more than telling an off-color joke, while convicted rapist! ts are set free because the prisons are too crowded. Persons who try to ignore race in making decisions are called “racist” by others who want everything to be judged on the basis of a person’s race, gender or class. Increasingly, ordinary citizens are intimidated by an atmosphere in which those who are “successful” in life are put down while those who are “oppressed” receive large doses of government support.
In the meantime, Samuel Frances has noted that a government that is strong enough to defend every form of human depravity is also strong enough to punish those who work for a living and are motivated by a sincere belief in God and Country. If we were ever to have to fight a war like World War II, I doubt very much that we could survive. Who would be willing to risk life and limb to defend a country where their ways are vilified and “alternative lifestyles” are subsidized and promoted in our schools?
My guess is, not enough to field a sufficient fighting force. Codevilla quotes Mario Cuomo, who decried the gun-toting “hunters who drink beer, don’t vote and lie to their wives about where they were all weekend.” Remember, these are not criminals he is describing, but rather folks who work hard to make an honest living so they can support their families while being required to shoulder an ever-increasing portion of the tax burden so that others who do not work can receive an after-tax income in excess of their own.
Codevilla has done a great service by showing how, historically, declines in civility and centralization of government power have destroyed once-great civilizations. Americans believe they are invincible. Some would argue that America is a “plum ripe for the picking.” I only hope that I am wrong in my belief that The Character of Nations will not change very many minds. Perhaps those who do read the book will be emboldened to speak up the next time someone impugns Western Democracy.

Vox Popoli: Getting the state out of marriage

Getting the state out of marriage
Alabama takes the lead:

An Alabama bill that would abolish marriage licenses in the state, and effectively nullify in practice both major sides of the contentious national debate over government-sanctioned marriage, unanimously passed an important Senate committee last week.

Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Bay Minette) filed Senate Bill 20 (SB20) earlier this month. The legislation would abolish all requirements to obtain a marriage license in Alabama. Instead, probate judges would simply record civil contracts of marriage between two individuals based on signed affidavits.

“All requirements to obtain a marriage license by the State of Alabama are hereby abolished and repealed. The requirement of a ceremony of marriage to solemnized the marriage is abolished.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB20 9-0 on Feb. 23.

The proposed law would maintain a few state requirements governing marriage. Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 would have to obtain parental permission before marrying, the state would not record a marriage if either party was already married, and the parties could not be related by blood or adoption as already stipulated in state law.

Civil or religious ceremonies would have no legal effect upon the validity of the marriage. The state would only recognize the legal contract signed by the two parties entering into the marriage.

This is an excellent policy, and one which I have advocated since my WND days. The state does not define marriage. The state cannot define marriage. The state has never defined marriage; it is an institution that long precedes the state.

The state has the right to create whatever legal contractual relationships between whatever parties it likes, but those relationships are not marriage. The Alabama bill would clarify that, and would have the benefit of removing those whose marriages are religious in nature from the predations of the state's divorce courts.

If conservatives want to save marriage, then this is a policy they should take to the national level.

Europe: Laughing at the Messenger - by Douglas Murray

§  Once again, an American has pointed to a failing in European society, and instead of focusing on the problem identified or even admitting that there is a problem, the European response has been to point at the American and blame him for creating the problem he has in fact merely identified.
§  We are being given an accurate representation of a serious problem.
§  If the response to every problem is denial, and the response to anyone pointing to the problem is opprobrium, legal threats or hilarity, it suggests that Europe is not going to make the softer-landing it could yet give itself in addressing these issues.
§  It might make us feel better, but every time we attack or laugh at the messenger, rather than addressing the message, we ensure that our own future will be less funny.
How can one excavate the minds of so many European officials and the extraordinary mental gymnastics of denial to which they have become prone?
One of the finest demonstrations of this trend occurred in January 2015, after France was assailed by Islamist gunmen in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and then in a Jewish supermarket. In the days after those attacks, Fox News in the U.S. ran an interview with a guest who said that Paris, and France, as a whole, had "no-go zones" where the authorities -- including emergency services -- did not dare to go. In the wake of these comments, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, chose to make a stand. She announced that she was suing Fox News because the "honour of Paris" was at stake.
It appeared that Mayor Hidalgo was rightly concerned about the image of her city around the world, presumably worrying in particular about the potential effects on tourism.
Of course, Mayor Hidalgo's priorities were all wrong. The reason Paris's public relations suffered a dent was not because of what a pundit said on Fox News one evening, but because of the mass murder of journalists and Jews on the streets of the "City of Light." Any potential tourist would be much more concerned about getting caught up in a terrorist firefight than a war of words. Mayor Hidalgo's manoeuvre, however, turned out not to be a rarity, but a symptom of a wider problem.
Consider the almost precise replay of that 2015 episode after U.S. President Donald Trump referred in a speech to "what's happening last night in Sweden." Much of the press immediately seized the opportunity to claim that Trump had asserted that a terrorist attack had occurred the night before in Sweden. This allowed them to laugh at the alleged ignorance of the president and the alleged concoction of what has become known as "fake news." Except that it swiftly became obvious to anyone who cared that what the president was referring to -- a documentary film about the situation in Sweden that had aired the night before on Fox News -- showed the extent of the lawlessness in parts of Sweden. While every authority in Sweden was laughing at Donald Trump, a day after his comments. residents of Rinkeby, a suburb of Stockholm, obligingly had a car-burning riot and attacked police.
The troubles that Sweden has gone through in recent years, since mass migration began in earnest, are hard indeed to ignore. These troubles include the setting up of what the American scholar of Islam, Daniel Pipes, most accurately referred to as "semi-autonomous sectors." Although non-Muslims can enter, the areas are different from the rest of the country. These are areas where, for instance, police, fire and ambulance services refuse to enter because they and other authority figures representing the state frequently come under attack. The filmmaker, Ami Horowitz, experienced the downside of some of these areas. On a recent visit to Sweden he was attacked for taking a film crew into a suburb of Stockholm when some of the locals objected. We are being given an accurate representation of a serious problem.
Car-burnings and riots do break out in Sweden today with considerable regularity, and sexual assaults have sky-rocketed in the country (although these figures are the subject of heated debate over whether they represent a rise in incidents or a rise in reporting). Either way, rapes carried out by immigrants remain a real and underreported issue. The authorities – including the Swedish media – have refused to run stories about these unpleasant facts
In Sweden, more than in perhaps any other European country, the media is homogenous in its support for the left-wing status quo in the country, and this includes a support for the views of recent governments on immigration policy. Anything which could give ammunition to critics of that policy is -- as in Germany -- deliberately underreported or actively covered over by the majority of the media.
The response to Trump's comments unfortunately demonstrated this yet further. The desire to pretend that the president had specifically claimed that there had been a terrorist attack the night before was one trick. Another was to simply mock and belittle him and his claims. Former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt took to Twitter to say, "Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?" The European press gleefully took up tweets by members of the Swedish public who responded to Trump's claims by sending photos of people putting IKEA furniture together. A joke which would have been funnier had a failed asylum seeker from Eritrea not stabbed and killed a mother and son in an IKEA store in Västerås in 2015. Elsewhere, the present Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallström, in her familiar preaching tones announced that diplomacy and democracy "require us to respect science, facts and the media."

So, once again an American has pointed to a failing in European society, and instead of focusing on the problem or even admitting that there is a problem, the European response has been to point at the American and blame him for creating the problem he has in fact merely identified. Such behaviour is a psychological affliction before it is a political one. It must stand somewhere along the continuum of the famed stages of grief. But it bodes exceptionally poorly for Europe's future. If the response to every problem is denial, and the response to anyone pointing to the problem is opprobrium, legal threats or hilarity, it suggests that Europe is not going to make the softer-landing it could yet give itself in addressing these issues. It might make us feel better, but every time we attack or laugh at the messenger, rather than addressing the message, we ensure that our own future will be less funny.
Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England.

The Stench Inside The Fed - By Douglas French

The Trump rally has stocks at all-time highs. The VIX (which reflects the volatility of the S&P 500) is at 10-year lows. The headline unemployment rate is 4.8%. Everything must be A-OK in the U.S of A.
Head Keynesian Janet Yellen, the Fed’s Chair, may be sleeping soundly, as she and her Ph.D. monetary mandarins continue to gin up a robust wealth effect.  At 70 years old, described by Danielle DiMartino Booth as “Bernanke in lipstick and a skirt,” Yellen is far from retired, pulling down $201,700 per year to push the buttons and pull the chains of monetary policy.
The typical retiree, however, not so ably employed as Ms. Yellen and not wanting to play in Wall Street’s big casino to provide sustenance in their golden years, are suffering under the Federal Reserve’s financial repression.
Ms. DiMartino Booth provides us the book we’ve been waiting for: a view from inside America’s central bank which doesn’t paint the Ph.D. army as heroic for the simple skill of money creation. “An insider’s unflinching exposé of the toxic culture within the Federal Reserve,” says Amazon where all 17 reviews so far are 5 stars.
Yes, the author has written a dandy book chronicling her jump from Wall Street to financial columnist and then her career serving at the Dallas Federal Reserve under governor Richard Fischer. DiMartino Booth is not a Ph.D. and neither is Fischer, so those two relied on actual market data to determine what the economy was doing as the housing market boomed then busted. What a concept. However, in a Ph.D. la-la land she was either criticized or ignored for using actual data that wasn’t seasonally adjusted or manipulated in some other way to make the real economist’s benzentine formulas work out.
The Ph.D.’s looked down their pointy noses at Fischer and DiMartino Booth, at the same time both were well respected on the Street for their good sense. Meanwhile, as the market melted down Greenspan, Bernanke and Yellen did their best Sergeant Schultz impression, “I see nothing!”
Yellen would eventually admit, “I did not see and did not appreciate what the risks were with securitization, the credit rating agencies, the shadow banking system, the SIVs–I didn’t see any of that coming until it happened.”
Yellen was so blind to what was happening that, as DiMartino Booth relates, the San Francisco Fed, led by Ms. Yellen, was offering loans to Indymac in 2008 as the huge thrift was circling the drain. Even the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), not known as the toughest of regulators, had downgraded the California institution.
Besides Fed head and Ph.D. bashing, which the author excels at, the most important chapter in Fed Up is Chapter 11 entitled “Slapped in the Face by the Invisible Hand.” This is when Zoltan Pozsar appears. Pozsar is an another non-PhD who authored a paper “The Rise and Fall of the Shadow Banking System.”
As DiMartino Booth explains, it was the shadow banking system that caused the ‘08 meltdown. PIMCO’s Paul McCulley actually coined the phrase describing, “the whole alphabet soup of levered up non-bank investment conduits, vehicles, and structures.”
All this off-balance sheet (OBS) maneuvering was driven by the 1988 Basel I Accord.  Basel, I required banks to de-lever, so, assets and liabilities needed to be hidden. “Financial firms began to employ entities called structured investment vehicles (SIV) and conduits to hold these assets OBS,” writes DiMartino Booth. As the housing market boomed, mortgages of increasingly dubious quality were the assets these instruments contained.
Nobody at the Fed, and very few anywhere else understood shadow banking. Simple fractionalized banking, as explained by Murray Rothbard in The Mystery of Banking is hard enough.  Shadow banking adds to the complexity exponentially.
All of these OBS were levered from 15 to 1, or in some cases to infinity.  The need for more products was met with enterprising investment bankers creating a massive supply of synthetic CDOs.  This alphabet soap was connected to the repo system (overnight loans to and from banks and large corporations), the grease that allows the cogs in the banking system machine to operate.
Of course, for those who have read or watched “The Big Short” the way to bet “don’t pass” at this huge craps game was with credit default swaps.
In the dark room that was (and is) the shadow banking system there is no information. Assets are pledged multiple times (or to use fancy words: hypothecated and re-hypothecated). The author’s example of Barney making a loan and Aunt Mabel’s car is elegant and brilliant.
So how big and complex is the shadow banking system? “Zoltan sent me a huge four-by-three-foot laminated color copy of his [shadow banking] diagram in a tube,” DiMartino Booth writes. “Even at that size, which took up half my office wall at the Fed, it was hard to read the tiny fonts on various pieces of the puzzle.”
Chapter 11, by itself, is worth the price of the book and should be read multiple times to understand what happened in 2008.  So Dodd-Frank probably cleaned up all this mess, right?  Not hardly.  The Economist reports, “The Financial Stability Board, an international watchdog estimates that globally, the informal lending sector serviced assets worth $80 trillion in 2014 up from $26 trillion more than a decade earlier.” So the next crash will be that much larger.
With a title like Fed Up the reader might think DiMartino Booth wants to throw in with Ron Paul and his book End the Fed.  Sadly, no. Our heroine was bothered by protesting retirees outside her window and thought “Damn Ron Paul” and his book, she writes. “America is not a banana republic. It needs a strong and independent central bank.”
Well, with all due respect Ms. DiMartino Booth, the evidence is in your book. A government with a central bank expanding its balance sheet by five and a half times and refusing to shrink it, perverting capital markets with zero to near zero interest rates for nearly a decade, and enabling the national debt to soar to $20 trillion, is, in fact, a banana republic.
Doug French [send him mail] writes from Las Vegas and is the author of three books; Early Speculative Bubbles and Increases in the Supply of Money, The Failure of Common Knowledge, and Walk Away: The Rise and Fall of the Home-Ownership Myth. He is the former president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.
Previous article by Douglas French: The Las Vegas Real Estate Bubble

Monday, February 27, 2017

ITIN: The Massive Tax Loophole Allowing Illegal Aliens to Defraud American Citizens - By Megan Barth

In 1996, the IRS began issuing a new type of tax identification number, the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). ITINs are assigned to U.S. taxpayers, predominately illegal aliens and their dependents, who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security number.  The primary purpose of ITIN’s was to capture the previously untapped source of new federal tax revenue from undocumented workers.
  • According to the National Immigration Law Center, the most recent information (August 2012) indicated that there had been 21 million ITINs assigned to taxpayers and their dependents by the IRS. 
  • ITINs assigned to illegal alien dependents from Mexico do NOT have to prove that they have ever set foot in the U.S., let alone that they are in the U.S. at the time of application. 
  • Over 9 years and up to 2010, the IRS paid over $14.2 billion of American tax dollars in refunds to illegal aliens, for alleged dependents from whom no identification or residency documents were obtained, and from whom they received $0 in tax revenue.
ITIN is Shovel-Ready Fraud
According to the IRS, ITINs are allegedly issued solely as a means for illegal aliens to pay federal taxes, but in reality they are used by more illegal aliens who actually pay no taxes and who file federal tax returns only to claim tax refunds mainly through the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), on a retroactive basis (up to 3 years).  The Child Tax Credit may allow the filer to reduce their federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child.  Under ITIN, illegal aliens can claim up to TWENTY children.
According to the IRS, a qualifying child is a son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or descendant of any of them; for example, a grandchild, niece, or nephew, who was under age 17 at the end of the tax filing year, and who did not provide over half of his or her own support for that year.  The child must have lived with the filer more than half of the year with exceptions available, is claimed as a dependent on the filer‚Äôs return, does not file a joint return for the year, and is a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. resident alien.
Yet, while a child is supposed to be a U.S. resident to qualify as a dependent for ACTC, they do not have to prove residency if they are from Mexico or Canada.
It should be noted that the ACTC is an available tax credit in addition to the credit for child and dependent care expenses, as well as the earned income credit.  In addition, illegal parents can use ITINs to file refund claims for U.S. born, as well as undocumented dependents.  For taxpayers who may not be able to take full advantage of it because the credit is more than the amount of taxes they owe, the Additional Child Tax Credit is the refundable amount of credit that is available above the amount needed to offset their taxes.  This means that families can receive refunds even if they do not owe any tax.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly referred to as the “Stimulus,” signed into law by Barack Obama in February 2009, the minimum earned income amount used to figure the ACTC was reduced to $3,000, from its scheduled amount of $12,500.
Lowering the minimum earned income amount made it possible for more families to claim refunds and also significantly increased the amount of refunds received.  This one step effectively created the vehicle for the subversive funneling of billions of American taxpayer dollars to millions of illegal immigrants without their having to pay any income taxes, or the need for messy and unpopular Congressional debates over additional benefits for illegals.
Si Se Puede Break Federal Law
Section 8 USC 1324 (a) (1)(A)(iv)(b)(iii) states, “Any person who…encourages or induces an alien to…reside…knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such…residence is…in violation of law, shall be punished as provided…for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs…fined under title 18…imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”  Further noted in section 274 felonies under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act, INA 274A:
A person (including a group of persons, business, organization, or local government) commits a federal felony when he or she:
  • Assist an alien he/she should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him/her to obtain employment, or
  • Encourages that alien to remain in the U.S. by referring him/her to an employer or by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or
  • Knowingly assist illegal aliens due to person convictions.
Illegal immigration advocates aggressively push the use of ITINs for identification purposes as an alternative to Social Security numbers. According to the National Immigration Law Center, ITINs may also be used and accepted for such reasons as opening interest-bearing bank accounts, to reduce the tax withholding rate for employment-related settlement payments (such as workers’ compensation claims/lawsuits), for obtaining a mortgage, to claim insurance-premium tax credits for family members eligible for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and to establish eligibility for an exemption from the mandate requiring health insurance since illegal aliens are excluded from all Affordable Care Act benefits.
In clear violation of Section 8 USC 1324 and the INA, twelve states and the District of Columbia allow illegal aliens to obtain drivers licenses, some of which specifically refer to the ITIN as one of the documents accepted to prove identity and residency.
What makes this even more pathetic than blatant disregard for existing federal law is that according to the IRS’ official ITIN application (Form W-7) instructions, dependent applicants must prove identity and U.S. residency UNLESS the applicant is from Mexico or Canada.  Therefore, ITINs assigned to illegal alien dependents from Mexico do NOT have to prove that they have ever set foot in the U.S., let alone that they are in the U.S. at the time of application.
There are clear immigration laws in effect today, yet many in the country, some of whom are federal, state, and local officials, choose to ignore them…and without apparent consequence.
To what extent might the issuance of ITINs be a problem for the safety and sovereignty of the U.S., and at what cost to American taxpayers?
Si Se Puede Bankrupt the United States
According to the National Immigration Law Center, the most recent information (August 2012) indicated that there had been 21 million ITINs assigned to taxpayers and their dependents by the IRS.  Therefore, assuming the number of ITINs has not decreased since 2012, it’s reasonable to believe that there have been at least 21 - 25 million ITINs assigned by the IRS, since 1996.  And although the IRS states that it does not track legal status, it does state that it suspects approximately 55 to 60 percent of ITIN recipients would be illegal aliens.
While there is no doubt that taxes are initially collected from the paychecks of illegal aliens, that does not guarantee that those same illegals actually paid any taxes, but, yet they still received substantial monies from their returns in the form of various refundable credits.
According to audit reports from The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), dated March 31, 2009, and July 07, 2011, the Inspector General examined nine tax years (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) to determine the amount of ACTC refunds the IRS paid to people using ITINs, who were technically “not authorized to work” in the United States.
Over those nine years, TIGTA identified $14.228 billion (just through 2010) in ACTC refunds to illegals.  Remember, by definition, ACTC refunds are paid to people who had zero tax liability.  In other words, for those nine years alone, the IRS paid over $14.2 billion of American tax dollars in refunds to illegal aliens, for alleged dependents from whom no identification or residency documents were obtained, and from whom they received $0 in tax revenue.
To make matters worse, several investigations, including an extensive investigative report conducted by 13WTHR Indianapolis, highlighted numerous concerns brought to light initially by IRS whistleblowers, and subsequently substantiated by TIGTA, which identified an even more troubling pattern of incompetence, at best, on the part of IRS workers and managers.  For example:
  • One year in Atlanta, GA, in excess of $46 million in refunds were sent to a single address by the IRS for 24,000 illegal aliens who reportedly listed that same address on their tax returns.
  • Near Detroit, 604 ITIN numbers and 640 tax refunds were issued by the IRS to a single address that had previously been rejected based on questions of its legitimacy.  Regardless, the IRS ultimately issued over $1.5 million in tax refunds to that same address.
  • One year in Indianapolis, the IRS issued 8,714 ITINs to undocumented workers, all of whom claimed to have the same address.
  • One illegal alien admitted that he lived in his single-wide mobile home with his small daughter; however his address was used by four of his illegal friends.  That year, over $29,000 in ACTC refunds were sent to that mobile home by the IRS.
For over a decade, TIGTA has been conducting audits and making recommendations to the IRS and Congress regarding high levels of fraud within the ITIN program.  To date, there has been very little (zero) progress made to curb the fraud and abuse in the ITIN program, despite several damning audit reports by TIGTA.  In fact, the IRS, with the help of Obama, has doubled down on the efforts to allow more undocumented aliens to keep and even extend their tax credit eligibility status.  Before leaving office, the former president offered illegal aliens yet more tax credit payments via the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is currently unavailable to those who cannot obtain a SSN.  Under his executive action, up to 5 million illegal aliens temporarily avoided deportation by “deferred action.”  At the same time, the Chief Counsel’s officer of the IRS ruled that although EITC is not available to ITIN filers, when a person subsequently obtains a SSN, he/she can file amended tax returns to claim the EITC for the three preceding years they only had an ITIN.  This is estimated to offer bonuses in excess of $24,000 to those who receive deferred action.  In essence, the IRS and Obama further subsidized illegal entry to the U.S. with the promise of four years’ worth of new tax credits.
Even more outrageous? The IRS refuses to share information with other federal agencies, including the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), in direct violation of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1969, as well as The USA Patriot Act of 2001.  So while american seniors didn’t get a cost of living increase through Social Security this year, windfalls of our tax dollars are being paid to illegal aliens and their twenty “children.”

My Visit to Sweden Confirms Trump Was Right :: Middle East Forum - by Raheem Kassam

When I got off the train at Malmo's Central station last week and dragged my suitcase noisily over the cobbled pavements I thought to myself, "There's no way this place has 'No Go Zones'."
Downtown Malmo is a gorgeous though freezing cold place to visit in February. I checked into my hotel — passing between a "Burger King" and a "Schwarma King" along the way, the latter of which recently took the spot of the "Stortogets Gatukok" in Malmo's Great Square — and set off for my destination: Rosengard.
Much has been written about Sweden's "No Go Zones" in recent years. We've watched them burn over the years with a combination of disbelief and shock. When the Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson told me — as we walked through Molenbeek in Brussels just days after the Paris terror attacks in 2015 — "we have these places in Sweden too," I was skeptical.
Sweden is supposed to be paradise-like, I thought. Isn't it all leggy blondes and Ikea and Abba and lingonberries? Well if you stay downtown in Malmo or Stockholm, perhaps it is. Even the elevator muzak had a whiff of "Fernando" about it.
But the stereotypes and clichés, kept alive for the tourists no doubt, end when you leave the city centres and head out to some of the suburbs.
My first stop was Rosengard, where my colleague Oliver Lane first reported from in September 2015.
Sweden's liberal migration policies have led to ghettoised communities dependent on state welfare.
As we drove around the housing estates at night, it became clear the problems in these areas: drugs, rape, police assaults and more, were created in large part by state-sponsored "multiculturalism."
Sweden's liberal migration policies, that is to say a failure to maintain any sort of border control at all over the past few decades, have led to ghettoised communities that the state props up with generous welfare payments and socialist lecturing.
Sign posts on noticeboards advertised for left wing political parties, and as we passed by a mural of a mosque and parked up at the Herregarden housing estate, a couple of girls we asked for directions signed off, "Good luck there!"
"Fantastic," I thought.
It being below freezing with a bitter wind, there were few people out of the streets. A few hijab-clad women scurried between buildings, sometimes with children in tow. Not one would speak to us, or look at us, at all.
"Maybe they don't know what I'm saying in Swedish," my guide remarked.
And it would make sense that they didn't. Some estimates put the population of Herregarden's housing estates at 96 per cent foreign born or of foreign background.
A few men shuffled out of a basement, again unwilling or unable to speak. I later came to find out from a former police officer in the city that they were likely attending what is referred to as a "cellar mosque" — an underground, basement place of prayer and preaching often unknown to authorities.
Sweden's 'new normal' should be roundly rejected, as President Trump intimated.
More on Rosengard in my upcoming book — which I can't talk about at length right now — but safe to say I believe none of this is "normal" and if it is the "new normal" it should be roundly rejected as President Trump intimated earlier this week, much to the chagrin of Sweden's censorious, liberal-left government.
This is the same in Stockholm's suburbs of Rinkeby and Husby, where filmmaker Ami Horowitz was recently beaten up for attempting to film.
Within minutes of exiting a cab outside central Husby, I was surrounded by drug dealers pushing "hashish" and "marijuana." Within a few seconds more we witness two van loads of Swedish police appearing to negotiate one man's arrest from a building guarded by burly men.
"Why are there so many satellite dishes?" I asked one of my guides.
"They don't watch Swedish television. They don't speak Swedish. They want to receive television from their home countries in their native languages."
This, apparently, is the well-integrated paradise that CNN wants you to believe in.
A poster on a notice board encourages women who are being beaten or abused by their partners to call a number and speak out. A man laughs to himself hysterically as I take pictures of his "street market stall" which consisted of a few clothes draped over a wall, and a clearly broken, old computer. Men — and only men — gather inside the central square's cafes, keeping a beady eye on us as they sip their mint tea in the middle of the work day.
Just a few days before my visit, police officers in the area were punched, kicked, and attacked with glass bottles while on a routine patrol.
President Trump is right to communicate his disbelief about what is happening in Sweden.
Perhaps these areas aren't truly "No Go Zones" for someone like me, broadly minding my own business and chatting with local shop owners.
But for young women, for police and other emergency services, you take your life into your hands when you enter these areas. And it's not just in Sweden either.
You'll be able to read more about my travels in my book. But from Molenbeek to Beziers to Malmo to Paris to Dewsbury — Europe is being fundamentally altered by uncontrolled migration. And that's why President Trump is right to communicate his disbelief about what is happening in Sweden.
Raheem Kassam is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.

Who Cares About 'Conservatism'? - American Greatness - by Tom Hagen (This is one of the best posts I have seen on the uselessness of 'Conservatism'! - CL)

Elite movement conservatives still do not understand what the 2016 election means for conservatism. Many have not evinced even the slightest bit of introspection or curiosity about whether conservatism, in light of its manifest failures, can—or even should—continue on as it’s currently constituted. The very hint that something—anything—needs to change sends waves of paroxysms through the halls of Conservatism, Inc. Even fellow travelers who do not consistently tout the party line are suspect, and their failures, real or perceived, to do so are duly noted.
The preferred argument of the members of Conservatism, Inc. is that Trump voters have given up on virtue and have made a Faustian bargain that will “cost them their souls.” Given what they view as the steep price to be paid for giving Trump any credit, conservatives like this prefer to judge Trump by their endless checklists—checking off boxes as news comes forth from the White House. A conservative constitutionalist nominated to be on the Supreme Court? Check. A cabinet even more conservative than Reagan’s? Check. They are encouraged by Trump’s actions that seem “conservative” and cast disapproval on those—such as what they term his “protectionism”—that fly in the face of their sensibilities.
Conservatives thus measure all political phenomena by how closely they hew to what are dogmatically considered the immutable core tenets of conservatism. Conservatism truly is, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, their “central idea from which all its minor thoughts radiate.”

Thinking in Slogans and Clichés
Being so highly attuned to all of the things they call “conservative,” movement conservatives often take special note of anyone who does not mouth the catechisms of orthodox conservatism. Seconds after Steve Bannon, the chief strategist to President Trump, spoke at CPAC, John Podhoretz tweeted out the following:
Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary, showed no curiosity about what Bannon said concerning nationalism (or patriotism, take your pick) or the rise of a globalist class who cares more about securing the good of hedge fund managers in Dubai than out-of-work coal miners in West Virginia. Podhoretz offered no acknowledgment of Bannon’s argument that we must “deconstruct the administrative state” for the people to reclaim their sovereignty and rule again in their own interests.
Instead, Bannon’s unforgivable sin was that he did not once utter the word “conservative.” Podhoretz’s singular focus on needing to hear repetitions of the slogans and clichés that make up much of modern conservative rhetoric is revealing. He gives words a power akin to when God spoke the world into existence as recounted in the first chapter of Genesis. Even Protagoras would have blushed.
But words apart from political action are just that: mere words.
What has modern conservatism done lately that has risen past words to anything fundamental? A few regulations rolled back here, a small uptick in the amount of conservative lawyers there. Yes, Republicans made major gains in statehouses nationwide, gaining nearly 1,000 seats in state legislatures in the past eight years under President Obama.
While surely impressive, what exactly have these gains accomplished? Paraphrasing Michael Corleone’s famous response to Senator Geary’s attempted shakedown in the “Godfather: Part II,” the answer is this: nothing. Conservatives have been content to sit by with satisfied smiles on their faces as the administrative state rolls on, flattening everything in its path.
Mike Lee Misses the Point
Those who walk the halls of Conservatism, Inc. have largely shielded themselves from such uncomfortable truths by launching into pseudo-theoretical discussions of the compatibility of “populism” with “conservatism.”
In a recent speech at the Heritage Foundation and a subsequent interview with the Washington Examiner, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) argued for a “conservatism for the forgotten man.” In Lee’s understanding, these are middle class Americans who work “hard every day to put bread on the table to feed” their families and strive to be good citizens. His plan is for a “populist” president to identify the problems forgotten men and women have—because, as he admits, conservatives have been unable to do this themselves—and conservatives will then offer solutions to ameliorate these difficulties.
But Lee doesn’t seem to understand what he has just conceded. If conservatives can only provide solutions once others have identified problems, what, exactly, is the usefulness of such a political movement? It would be akin to George Washington and his troops being supplied with munitions and ammo but not knowing they were fighting the British.
Plus, if conservatives can’t identify political problems in the first place, what makes them think they will even be able to provide effective solutions? These are the same people who have been proposing the same stale policies for decades no matter what political realities seem to call for. Conservatives are pilots flying blind with no radar, hurtling through cloudy skies.
And yet Mike Lee seems content with this state of affairs, untroubled by a major defect within modern conservatism that he seems unable, or unwilling, to help correct. Apparently, this is one of the jobs conservatives won’t do.
While admitting conservatism’s fatal weakness, Lee at the same time elevates conservatism to a place of importance that it does not deserve. He claims that Trump’s brand of “populism”—a word that goes largely undefined—is not an “existential threat to conservatism, republicanism and constitutionalism.”
But since when did conservatism, which Lee just admitted is defective in a major way, suddenly rise to the level of a regime principle? Why should we spend any time at all worrying about what poses a threat to it?
Conservatism… or Constitutionalism?
Republicanism, in Publius’s Federalist 39 formulation, is defined by “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior.” Constitutionalism buttresses republicanism by promoting the principles that must undergird republican government in order for it to survive for more than one generation. Important principles of American constitutionalism include the protection of natural rights, equality under the law, and a written constitution that sets down limits on the powers of government.
Conservatism, by contrast, is best understood as a political coalition formed in the mid-1950s between “free-market” libertarians and traditionalist conservatives who wanted to beat back the Soviets abroad and the New Deal bureaucracy at home. This coalition reached the zenith of its political power during the 1980s when Ronald Reagan and his administration began implementing some of the items on the conservative wish list.
Since that time, however, conservatism has been in free fall, resigned to fighting ineffective rearguard actions on the “culture wars” front and becoming an ever-smaller coalition that has a negligible effect on the trajectory of national politics. Conservatives today have largely forgotten conservatism’s political origin and instead have elevated its disparate policies created in light of specific circumstances to the level of principle itself. As Gladden Pappin recounts in a masterful essay in the inaugural issue of American Affairs, the “mainstream conservative platform that has devolved into a checklist of incongruent planks now that the underlying conditions which afforded it some coherence as a political strategy no longer apply.”
This also means that, contra Ben Shapiro and countless other conservative commentators, conservatism is not a “philosophy.” Philosophy in its original meaning is the quest for wisdom for the sake of attaining truth whereby opinions are replaced with knowledge. While American conservatism seeks to pass along to future generations the philosophical ideas enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, it itself is not a philosophy apart from the things which it has attempted to conserve.
‘A Referential Term’
Ultimately, conservatism is merely a vehicle by which certain political ends that are outside of itself can be secured. The word conservative is derived from the Latin word “conservare,” which is a verb that means to keep or preserve something. As Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn recently told the audience at CPAC, “It’s a referential term. It doesn’t really mean anything of itself.” Thus if conservatism fails to secure the common good of the citizens of the United States—the only reason for its existence—then it should step aside and let another political movement that is attuned to current political realities take the reigns.
Thus obsessing over whether Trump is or is not a conservative is, in the final analysis, a meaningless question. Beyond placating and flattering movement conservatives, such ideological navel-gazing inverts the proper distinction between means and ends, turning conservatism into an end to which everything else—including the good of the country—is sacrificed. Such discussions are driven by a mournful nostalgia for circumstances that have long since vanished.
Put another way, who is more nostalgic: Donald Trump, who understands the threats posed by unchecked globalization and the overall loss of the people’s sovereignty, or a reform conservative, who wants to tinker around the edges of the administrative state but essentially offers moderate strategies which might have been appropriate for Edmund Burke’s Great Britain? Who gets closer to one of the “primary truths” of politics which is, as Publius argued in Federalist 31, “that the means ought to be proportioned to the end”?
Combined, these errors have helped to render much of movement conservatism blind to the lessons of the 2016 election. They don’t understand that this election was a fundamental reordering of the political map—and one that has been in the works for quite some time. They don’t understand that the old left-right dichotomy—if it was ever useful theoretically—is insufficient to make sense of this new reality.
Hillsdale College politics professor Kevin Portteus can help us understand this realignment:
In 2016, the most consequential division was not between Democrats and Republicans but between the “court party” and the “country party” of whatever formal affiliation. There was a general dismay at the cronyism of bailouts and the stimulus package, a regulatory state with its tentacles in every aspect of individuals’ lives, trade deals that benefit multinational corporations, mass immigration, the imposition of same-sex marriage on a nation that had voted overwhelmingly against it, and the passage and subsequent sustaining by the Supreme Court of the Affordable Care Act.
Because most elite conservatives do not, or will not, see this truth, conservatism in its current form has outlived its usefulness. The particular conditions that led to its creation have ceased to exist. And it has proven to be clueless not only to what current circumstances seem to dictate on the level of policy but what the current circumstances even are in the first place.
Ultimately, whatever comes in its place—and whatever name that political movement takes—must focus on securing the good of the citizens of this nation. We need to stop worrying about the psychological state of mind of our precious conservatism and begin to think about how to blow holes through the walls of the administrative state and allow the people to govern again, which is their right and our duty to help secure. Whether conservatism has anything to do with this project is to miss the point entirely.