Patterico's Pontifications


Miley Cyrus SWATted — Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:17 pm

The Friday Night Celebrity SWATting has become so common as to be almost expected. Last night’s was different, though, in that it involved a repeat victim:

Miley Cyrus had already fallen victim to swatting but now the star has been unfortunate enough to have to go through the ordeal for a second time.

According to TMZ, the 20-year-old singer and actress was swatted once again on Friday night when police received a 911 call from a female claiming to be calling from her closet and reporting shots fired in her home.

Authorities arrived and quickly determined that the call was not real.

I’ll update with the roll call of the SWATted later.

UPDATE: The roll call of the SWATted: Miley Cyrus (again); Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom; Anderson Cooper; Magic Johnson; Mike Rogers; Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Chris Brown; Tom Cruise; Paris Hilton; Clint Eastwood; Brian Krebs; the Jenners and Kardashians; Justin Bieber; Miley Cyrus; Ashton Kutcher; Simon Cowell; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

L.A. Times Repeats False and Discredited “Surge of Applications” Excuse for IRS’s Political Targeting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:23 am

On Thursday, the L.A. Times published this attempt to exculpate the IRS by Matea Gold:

IRS problem started with vague tax exemption rules

IRS was ill-equipped to handle the deluge of tax-exempt applications from ‘social welfare’ organizations and to police their political activities, experts say.

In spring 2010, agents in the Cincinnati office of the Internal Revenue Service, which handles applications for tax-exempt status, faced a surge of filings by new advocacy groups, with little guidance on how to treat them.

Their decision to deal with the problem by singling out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny has now triggered a criminal inquiry, congressional investigations, the departure of two top IRS officials and the naming of a new acting commissioner Thursday.

That was certainly the narrative being put out by Lois Lerner and other defenders of Obama when the scandal first hit. There’s just one tiny little problem with that narrative: it was factually untrue.

A number of people have sought to explain the IRS targeting of Tea Party, patriot, and 9/12 group applications — as well as those from other conservative groups — for “specialist team” treatment (mainly delays and excessive and inappropriate questions) in 2010 by pointing to the Citizens United decision that year allowing for unlimited, undisclosed fundraising by such groups. That’s the explanation IRS official Lois Lerner gave a week ago when she first revealed that the agency had improperly handled a slew of applications — the political shorthand was a mistaken attempt to deal with a surge in applications.

“[W]e saw a big increase in these kind of applications, many of which indicated that they were going to be involved in advocacy work,” Lerner said.

But Todd Young, a Republican congressman from Indiana, pointed out at Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing with former acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George that this was not the case, according to the very data the IRS provided to the Treasury IG’s office.

There were, he noted, actually fewer applications for tax-exempt status by groups seeking to be recognized as social-welfare organizations that year than the previous one, according to this IRS data. The real surge in applications did not come until 2012 — the year the IRS stopped the practice of treating the Tea Party class of groups differently from others.

There were a couple of ways reporter Matea Gold could have known this. She could have analyzed the data herself to determine whether there had been a surge as she reported in her lede — or she could have read this analysis by the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Applications for tax exemption from advocacy nonprofits had not yet spiked when the Internal Revenue Service began using what it admits was inappropriate scrutiny of conservative groups in 2010.

In fact, applications were declining, data show.

That was published on May 15, the day before Gold published her faulty L.A. Times article.

Obama defenders and the L.A. Times (sorry for the repetititions and also the redundancy!) are entitled to their own opinions — but not to their own facts. This one is worth a note to the Readers’ Representative.

Lois Lerner’s Seemingly Spontaneous and Honest Admission of IRS Wrongdoing Was Planned; Questioner Was a Plant

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am

But Lois Lerner couldn’t have planned the admission because it was in response to a question!



The veteran tax lawyer whose pre-arranged question to an IRS official at a panel last week prompted the admission that the agency had targeted conservative groups said in a written statement on Friday that she did not know what the answer to the question would be.

Celia Roady, a partner in the Washington D.C. office of Morgan Lewis and a member of the the IRS’ Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt and Government Entities, said she got a call from Lois Lerner, head of the IRS’ tax-exempt organizations division, on May 9, the day before Lerner appeared on a panel at the American Bar Association tax section’s annual meeting.

If she had simply announced it, it would have looked like an announcement. So she planned it to look responsive to a question she didn’t know was coming, so the admission would look frank and forthright. But it was all a ruse.

Wow. Every day there is something that makes this all smell worse. Every day.

Ted Rall Dodges My Questions

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:08 am

After I criticized the pointless cartoon by Ted Rall attacking anti-SWATting legislation, Rall showed up in comments to vaguely threaten a lawsuit against me — and to explain his cartoon as motivated by the fact that there are already several laws on the books that address the issue. One of the “crimes” he mentioned was something he called “reckless endangerment.”

Commenter #21 is correct. This cartoon is conservative libertarian in orientation. Why do we need a new law here? Anyone who pulls such a boneheaded stunt is guilty of several crimes, including filing a false report and harassment. If anyone gets hurt, it’s reckless endangerment. If there are property damages, you can sue.

I thought conservatives opposed showboating, redundant, unnecessary laws?

Amused, I challenged Rall to name a few, by specific reference to the California Penal Code. I was especially interested to hear the Penal Code section for “reckless endangerment.” (I won’t reveal the Penal Code section to which Rall refers, but here’s a hint: if you square that number, you get a negative number. Little joke for the math nerds.)

Anyway, Rall has been back to the comments, but he dodged my questions. Which is so shocking as to be exactly what I thought would happen.

P.S. Rall is a “rude, petty, self-absorbed writer/cartoonist.” Hi Ted!

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