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Posts Tagged → charity

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, folks*

In case you are one of the three people who regularly read this web site, then you have noticed that a good long while has passed since anything overtly political was posted. There is a good reason for this, and it is because weeks ago we entered the really best, nicest time of the year.

We are in Christmastime, the weeks preceding and the weeks following Christmas, a time of peace and reflection, neighborliness, good cheer and charity.

Yes, there have been a lot of politics worth writing about, but you know what? I just did not feel like writing about frustrating, conflict-filled current events. More than anything I am enjoying basking in the glow of what should be, what must be, a time of togetherness and common good purpose.

If you are a religious Christian, then you may object to all this namby pamby touchy-feely do-gooder happy time stuff. You know what I am talking about, the kind of Miracle on 34th Street feeling.

I am sorry if you feel this way, but I have yet to encounter any religion or religious sensibility that evokes the kind of generous togetherness that that particular product of Hollywood disseminated, or that the basic Christmastime in America has uniquely produced.

And so yes, I am a cheerful proponent of the old fashioned commercialized Christmas, because I am a proponent of simple happiness and brotherhood, old fashioned American identity.

Merry Christmas, friends, and may 2019 be a year of happy prosperity for you and all those whom you love. See you then, in 2019!

UPDATE: Bob Durgin died today, at noon, on Christmas Eve. Durgin was the very long time growly voiced challenger to all things Politically Correct and Big Government at WHP580 radio station here in Harrisburg. Bob was perpetually frustrated and then verbally evocative by examples of how bad government touched people’s lives in the Central Pennsylvania region. He was the last of a line of gruff and rough and tough-talking radio talk show hosts who really said what he meant and he said it in a way that left no doubt in the listener’s mind. Bob frequently invited government officials on his show to speak about their actions, and he spared no one from a serious grilling. He was often the next-day public response to the local establishment media “newspaper” Patriot News propaganda and leftwing political activism masquerading as news or real information. I was a guest on Bob’s show a number of times, for different reasons. The one time I recall best was when he got on me about being an “environmentalist,” to which I responded that I am a hunter, conservationist, and a life member of the NRA. He was openly puzzled by this, and you could feel the wheels turning in his head as he was trying to find the right words live on the air to either hit me over the head or hug me. I jumped in and said something like “Bob, I am like Teddy Roosevelt, a hunter conservationist,” which provided immediate relief and approval and the ability to keep the interview moving along without a hitch. Good gosh will I miss Bob Durgin. Rest in peace, cowboy.

Federal assault on land conservation continues…no surprise

Gathering enormous momentum over the past four years is an all-out assault on land conservation by the federal government. Led by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), charitable donations of land and land development value across America have been subject to incredible scrutiny and disdainful investigators who repeatedly assert that the donations of real property literally have zero value.

Private citizens defending their generous charitable contributions often spend tens of thousands of dollars. When they win in court, the IRS agents just walk away and start again with someone else.

The investigations and audits by the IRS have spawned hundreds of lawsuits by charitable donors who feel rooked, first by having donated real property value said to be worth nothing, and then by having their own government turn against their generosity.

The donors are Americans of every walk of life, from urban elites with rural second properties, to poor dirt farmers trying to preserve the home farm and their way of life. Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and every little local land trust in between Bangor, Maine, and Santa Barbara, California is subject to this onslaught and Gestapo tactics.

It is difficult to accept that protecting America’s inspiring landscape through private donations to registered charities is such a problem that the IRS must expend hundreds of millions of dollars on it every year. And yet the agency’s juggernaut rolls on. We aren’t talking about junk cars worth $300 in parts being claimed for $3,000. Rather, the donations run from tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, carefully appraised by certified real estate appraisers.

Tax courts have repeatedly taken dim views of the investigations’ impetus and the IRS’s conclusions, often rebuking the government’s cases from the basic claims all the way through its reasoning, evidence, and methodology. It hasn’t stopped the IRS.

Why, one might ask, is this happening, even gathering steam, during the reign of such a perfect presidential administration? You know, the one which gets constant kudos, plaudits, and free passes from the usual array of environmental advocacy groups that during the Bush administration didn’t miss a second of the constant drum beat against their (alleged, supposed, manufactured, and yes, often real) faults and failures…Not that those environmental advocacy groups could ever, ever be accused of being partisan….

Here is one theory: Barack Obama hates private wealth, he hates private property, and he hates the idea that wealthy people can donate real estate value and be big heroes for it. Land conservation is very much the realm of wealthy blue bloods, big Republican foundations, land-rich-cash-poor ranchers and farmers who haven’t voted for a Democrat in oh, a few decades, and plenty of gun owners and outdoorsmen. In other words, land conservationists are mostly comprised of the very people Obama calls “enemies.”

Land conservation is underwritten and mostly run from stem to stern by the people most symbolic of America’s traditional modes of success: Land and natural resources. These are the people most at odds with Obama’s views of economics, wealth, and supposed historic injustices. So we can expect this assault on land conservation to continue. And we can expect the nakedly partisan advocacy groups who pretend to be neutral on natural resource conservation to continue to give this administration a 100% pass.