When Integrity Dies

I used to like Mitt Romney. He lost me when he penned his editorial about President Trump after President Trump had supported him in his run for Congress. That seemed a little ungrateful and a lot tacky. As of late, Mitt Romney has become a political opportunist seeking favor from the establishment Republicans who hate President Trump. At this point I would like to note that the establishment Republicans gave us ObamaCare, an over-regulated economy under President Obama, open borders, TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) which doubled the national debt, and Dodd Frank, which blamed all of the wrong people for the real estate bubble (see “Burning Down the House” video on YouTube). Well, Romney is still at it.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about the ongoing feud between Mitt Romney and President Trump.

The article reports:

Freshman Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on Tuesday evening said he cannot understand why President Donald Trump would “disparage” the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), whom Romney described as “heroic,” “courageous,” “patriotic,” and “honorable.”

“I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God,” Romney tweeted.

John McCain was a war hero. He chose to stay in Hanoi with other prisoners rather than return home. That is an act of heroism that can never be taken away from him. His actions after he returned home, however, do not live up to the character he displayed while in Hanoi.

I am not going to go through McCain’s biography. The man is dead, may he rest in peace. However, there are some things that he did in the later years of his life that were questionable at best. He was involved in the whole scam to bring down President Trump with the phony dossier. He also betrayed those who elected him when he refused to vote to repeal ObamaCare. McCain did not always uphold the exemplary values he exhibited while a Prisoner of War. As a Senator, he was vindictive and often petty. I am afraid Mitt Romney may be following his example.

Character Does Matter–One Senator Seem To Be Lacking In That Area

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about retiring Senator Harry Reid. Harry Reid was one of the most divisive and obnoxious Senators every to have a leadership position in the Senate. Comments he made during one of his parting interviews did not help his image as a very dishonest man.

The article reports:

Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he “did what was necessary” in 2012 when he falsely accused Mitt Romney of not having paid his taxes for 10 years.

Reid was asked about those comments, which he made during a speech on the Senate floor, in response to call during a live interview on Las Vegas’ KNPR.

The caller asked Reid if he thought that “the brazen lie he told about Mitt Romney not pay his taxes has in anyway contributed to the fake news debate that we now find ourselves in.”

Reid, who is leaving the Senate next month, denied the accusation. But he offered up a flimsy and fact-devoid defense of those 2012 claims.

The article continues:

“First of all, there were no brazen lies. What I said is the truth,” he maintained.

“There’s no brazen lies. I did what was necessary,” he said a few moments later.

…In September 2012, Romney released a notarized letter from his tax preparer showing that he paid state and federal income taxes for the previous 20 years. The lowest federal tax rate he incurred during that span was 13.66 percent, according to the documents he released.

The is the integrity level of the current Democratic Party. They should be ashamed.

The Money In The 2012 Election

Below is a list of donors to Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign. The list is from Open Secrets which tracks all donations made to candidates.

The article at Open Secrets reminds us:

This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2012 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Here is the list:

2012DonorsThis is Mitt Romney’s list of donors:

2012MittRomneyI don’t really love either list, but I would rather see a candidate get money from the private sector than government employees. Another aspect of these lists is that they probably reflect the experience of the candidates and the friends gained along the way–Mitt Romney is a businessman who moves in business circles; Barack Obama worked in government and at the University of Chicago and moved in political and academic circles. Growth in the private sector is good for the economy–growth in government takes money out of the private sector and out of the private economy. At any rate, these two lists illustrate a very basic difference between the two parties.

Hopefully This Is The Dying Breath Of The Establishment Republicans

Mitt Romney is basically a good man. Lately I think he is a little misguided. True, he does represent the establishment wing of the Republican party, but I think the establishment wing needs to step aside now that their candidates have lost in the primary elections. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if that is going to happen.

The Hill posted an article today about some of Governor Romney’s recent activities.

The article states:

Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 nominee, is among those courting prospects for a possible third-party bid to keep Donald Trump from the White House, according to a Washington Post report.

Among those prospects are Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), one of Trump’s most vocal Republican critics, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who suspended his presidential campaign in early May.

Kasich’s chief strategist John Weaver said the governor isn’t interested in running an an independent.

Third-party candidates historically do not do well in elections. In this case, a third-party candidate would insure that the next President would be Hillary Clinton–the candidacy would split the Republican vote. With Donald Trump as the candidate, it is possible that many Republican voters will stay home, giving the presidency to Mrs. Clinton. Some of the pundits have stated that the establishment wing of the Republican party would rather lose this election than allow a non-establishment candidate to win. That is a scary thought. It is time we got the entrenched establishment of both parties out of Washington and replaced them with people who actually represent the American people. This election may well be our last chance to do that. Think carefully before you vote.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

As I have previously mentioned, I am no longer a registered member of the Republican Party. That has nothing to do with Donald Trump although he was not my choice for President–it has to do with the way the Republican establishment routinely behaves. They have reached the point where they are no different than the Democratic Party. They are all about power, and power includes controlling as much of the taxpayers’ money as possible. The Republican platform is still good–it is pro-life, pro-family, and supports the things that made America great. However, the actions of the establishment Republicans in many cases do not line up with the platform. Also, recently in North Carolina, the actions of the establishment Republicans were unethical and a disgrace to the party. No wonder the voters are angry (on both sides of the political spectrum).

The New Boston Post is reporting today that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will not be attending the Republican Convention this year. Governor Romney has stated that he does not support Donald Trump as the candidate and would rather write someone in.

This infuriates me. If Governor Romney had taken as strong a stand against President Obama, he might have won the 2012 election. I like Governor Romney. I believe that he is a good man, but this is ridiculous. I also like George W. Bush and his father. They have stated that they will sit out the 2016 Presidential campaign. What a bunch of sore losers. As I have said before, Donald Trump was not my choice in the primary election. However, he is the only candidate left standing other than Hillary Clinton. I hope the grass roots elect him just to remind the Republican establishment that the voters are supposed to have some say in the process.

If the average American voter wants to take their country back from establishment politicians, they will support Donald Trump. That was not my first choice, but right now it is the only choice we have. It’s not that I am convinced that Donald Trump will make a great President, I just think that he has had enough experience choosing good people to work with him to turn America around. I also think that he has enough wealth invested in America to want to restore our financial health. He is not my first choice, but right now he is the only choice. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to put Barack Obama on the Supreme Court. Between the two of them, they will rewrite the Constitution to take away many of the basic freedoms Americans enjoy. Think carefully before you vote in November.

Exiting With Class

Associated Press is reporting today that Mitt Romney will not be running for President in 2016.

You can follow the link above to the article.

As someone who lived in Massachusetts during the time that Mitt Romney was governor, I have a great deal of respect for him. The picture that was painted of him during the 1012 campaign as a rich, uncaring person was inaccurate. He is rich, but the stories I heard during his time as governor of Massachusetts showed him to be a caring, compassionate person. He is also a very smart man who understands how to turn failing enterprises around. As much as we will need that skill in 2016, I would much rather see Mitt Romney as a cabinet member influencing economic policy than as President. The quality that we will need in our next President is the ability to say no to the Washington establishment. We need a strong person who will face the criticism that will come with the efforts to shrink our every expanding government. Mitt Romney is smart enough for the job, but he is too nice.

Did CBS Report The News Or Manipulate The News?

President Obama was re-elected in 2012. He won. The Republican Candidate was portrayed as an out-of-touch rich man who caused people to die of cancer. When he warned of the dangers of Russian aggression, Mitt Romney was told, “The 80’s called, they want their foreign policy back.” It was a big joke. And when Mitt Romney pointed out that it took President Obama 14 days to admit the Benghazi attack was terrorism President Obama balked, saying he did it that day.

Well, CBS News edited out part of a 60 Minutes‘ interview with President Obama on the day after the Benghazi attacks. During the interview, the President stated, “Well, it’s too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved. but, obviously, it was an attack on Americans.” 

Yesterday, Breitbart.com posted an article about the incident. The article reports:

(Investigative Journalist Sharyl) Attkisson said, “Let me say that that exchange should have been pulled out immediately after the debate, which would have been very newsy at the time. It was exclusive to CBS. It would have to me proven Romney’s point against Obama. But that clip was kept secret.”

“I was covering Benghazi, nobody told me we had it and directed me from the ‘Evening News’ to a different clip of the same interview to give the impression that the president had done the opposite. And it was only right before the election that somebody kind of leaked out the transcript to others of us as CBS and we were really shocked. We saw that was something very unethical done to have kept that up.”

She added, “The ‘Evening News’ people who had access to that transcript, according to the emails that I saw when it was sent from ’60 Minutes’ to ‘Evening News’ the very day it was taken, they, in my view, skipped over it, passed it up, kept it secret. And I think that was because they were trying to defend the president and they thought that would be harmful to him.”

I don’t know whether airing that exchange would have changed any votes. I don’t know how well-informed the people who voted for President Obama were. I do know, however, that it was unethical to edit that exchange out of the interview. It prevented the American voters from getting a true picture of the events at Benghazi and the President’s reaction to those events.

 

Rearranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic

USA Today is reporting today that President Obama has accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Fox News is reporting today that the President has also accepted the resignation of Jay Carney as White House press secretary.

USA Today reports:

Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will take temporary charge of the department, Obama said, adding that he will nominate a new permanent secretary soon.

Obama began what he called a “serious conversation” with Shinseki Friday just hours after the VA secretary apologized to all veterans and the nation for scandal involving the systemic delay of health care to veterans.

While accepting Shinseki’s resignation, Obama went out of his way to praise the retired four-star general.

“He is a very good man,” Obama said. “He’s been an outstanding soldier. He’s a good person who’s done exemplary work.”

Secretary Shinseki is an outstanding soldier, but he obviously did not have the management skills to solve the problem at the VA. It is questionable if any person alive has those management skills. I suspect Mitt Romney does, but obviously, his talents will not be tapped.

Fox News reports:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is stepping down, ending a lengthy term in what is considered one of Washington’s toughest jobs. 

Carney has served as President Obama’s lead spokesman since 2011. The president interrupted Carney’s daily press briefing to announce his departure, calling him one of his “closest friends” and a trusted adviser. 

Noting Carney’s background as a reporter, Obama said: “I actually think he will miss hanging out with all of you.”

Jay Carney used to be a reporter. I wish him well in future endeavors, but I have to admit that I will never again believe anything he reports.

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Sometimes New Rules Won’t Solve The Problem

The National Review Online posted an article yesterday about the recent problems in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

There are two competing models for reforming the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight of the political activities of certain nonprofit organizations: one put forward by the IRS itself, in the form of a regulatory rule change, a second put forward by Representative David Camp (R., Mich.) on behalf of the House Ways and Means Committee. Neither program is sufficient, because neither reflects the reality behind the recent IRS scandal, which was not the result of murky rules or bureaucratic incompetence but rather of what gives every indication of being deliberate misuse of federal investigatory resources for partisan political ends. That there have not been criminal charges in this matter is probably at least as much a reflection of the highly politicized Department of Justice under Eric Holder as it is of the facts of the case. The problem, then, is that both the IRS plan and the Camp plan assume that the IRS ought to be regulating rather than being regulated.

The article points out the in America, the government is prohibited from regulating free speech–yet that is exactly what the IRS has tried to do since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision.

The article at National Review Online reminds us:

No rule change from the IRS — nor Representative Camp’s well-intentioned but wholly inadequate reforms, which amount to a list of minor no-nos such as inquiring about an audit target’s political or religious beliefs — is going to change the fact that the agency is full of highly partisan bureaucrats with a political agenda of their own and an inclination to abuse such police powers as are entrusted to them.

The article concludes with comments about Representative David Camp’s proposal to fix the IRS:

But his proposal falls short in that it assumes that the IRS is a proper and desirable regulator of political speech. It is not. It is not even particularly admirable in its execution of its legitimate mission, the collection of revenue: Its employees have committed felonies in releasing the confidential tax information of such political enemies as the National Organization for Marriage and Mitt Romney, and the agency itself has perversely interpreted federal privacy rules as protecting the criminal leakers at the IRS rather than the victims of their crimes. The Camp bill, thankfully, would address at least that much, but it would still leave the IRS in charge of determining whether its employees were playing politics with audits and decisions. The IRS does not inspire confidence as a practitioner of self-regulation, much less as a regulator of political speech.

We need honest people in Washington. Until we have that, I am not convinced that any amount of laws will make a difference.

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The Cost Of Poliltical Partisanship

One of the problems in America right now is politicians who value their political party more than they value their country. As a result of that values system, statements from the other party that should be heeded are mocked and ignored. We saw this principle in action with Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential campaign and with Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday reminding us of the events in 2008:

Palin said then:

After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama‘s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.

Levin (conservative talk radio host Mark Levin) said her comment was “dismissed as a very strange comment by the eggheads in and out of Washington.” And Levin mocked those who derided Palin for not thinking that “Russia’s our friend… they would never go into Ukraine.” As Breitbart News reported, Blake Hounshell, who was then at Foreign Policy magazine and is now at Politico, wrote that Palin’s comments were “strange.”

Her comments may have been “strange,” but they were obviously 100 percent accurate.

Breitbart further reminds us:

Because she was running on the Republican ticket, Sarah Palin’s comments were ignored and mocked. No one on the Democrat side of things was willing to listen to her.

When Mitt Romney ran against President Obama, something very similar happened. Steven Hayward at Power Line posted the story yesterday (along with the video):

John (John Hinderaker at Power Line) noted before how the Obama campaign attacked Mitt Romney in 2012 for saying Russia was our most important adversary, but it’s also worth taking in Obama mocking Romney in their third debate, saying that “the 1980s want their foreign policy back.”  That’s actually starting to sound pretty good.

I don’t know what difference it would have made if Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney had been listened to, but I can’t help but think that we would have been able to react in some way had we been prepared for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One analyst I was listening to this morning felt that if America does not do something to help the Ukrainians, Russia will turn its sights to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The world is getting very complicated, and we have a President who is so convinced he knows everything that he is not paying attention to what is going on around him. Putin is playing chess and President Obama is playing checkers. President Obama needs to listen to people on both sides of the aisle–it might avoid some serious mistakes.

 

 

 

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What Is Appropriate To Discuss In A Campaign?

Byron York posted an article at the Washington Examiner today discussing what is appropriate to bring up in a political campaign. There has been some recent discussion as to whether or not it would be appropriate if Hillary Clinton runs for President to bring up the Clinton scandals prior to and during President Clinton’s presidential term.

The article points out:

…Of course Clinton’s recent experiences are relevant to a presidential run. But so are her actions in the 90s, the 80s and even the 70s. It’s not ancient history; it reveals something about who Clinton was and still is. And re-examining her past is entirely consistent with practices in recent campaigns.

In the 2012 presidential race, for example, many in the press were very interested in business deals Mitt Romney made in the 1980s. In the 2004 race, many journalists were even more interested in what George W. Bush did with the Texas Air National Guard in 1968, as well as what John Kerry did in Vietnam that same year. And in 2000, a lot of journalists invested a lot of time trying to find proof that Bush had used cocaine three decades earlier.

So by the standards set in coverage of other candidates, Clinton’s past is not too far past.

Turn-about is, after all, fair play. The article points out a few other reasons why past events might be relevant to the discussion. Younger voters know Hillary Clinton as President Obama’s Secretary of State. They might be aware of some of the problems surrounding Benghazi, but generally they have no idea of the Clinton’s history. Other than the Lewinsky scandal, there is the problem of firing the White House travel office personnel in order to give the job to some friends. There is also Hillary’s rather successful attempt to divert attention away from the Lewinsky scandal by claiming a ‘vast right-sing conspiracy.’ The truth might have never come out without the blue dress and Matt Drudge.

Mrs. Clinton does not have a wonderful track record when it comes to telling the truth. Even if the scandals of the Clintons are in the past, Mrs. Clinton’s pattern of behavior has continued. That is what voters need to know.

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Some Good Advice From A Senior Democrat

On Thursday, The Atlantic posted an article written by Ted Van Dyk, a Democrat campaign strategist who once worked for Hubert Humphrey. The article examines what the current Democrat party needs to do to maintain its power in the 2016 election. He is obviously not happy with the direction his party is currently taking.

He points out that the Barack Obama that is President today is very different than the Barack Obama that campaigned in 2008. (Actually, I disagree with that statement–Barack Obama has not changed–he has just behaved the way a community organizer would behave. Barack Obama had no administrative experience. Some Americans understood that–many Americans ignored that fact.)

Mr. Van Dyk notes:

Before 2008, Obama looked like a liberal of moderate temperament. He had the bad luck to take office at a time of financial and economic crises overshadowing everything else. He has said since that he underestimated at the time the depth of the crises. That no doubt led him, before growth and stability had been restored, to undertake in 2009 a remake of the entire health sector. Both his stimulus package and healthcare proposal were mainly designed by House Democratic leaders and the interest groups that supported his 2008 campaign. There was no serious attempt, in formulating either program, to draw Republicans into participation, as LBJ had done in 1965. Provisions allowing the sale of health-insurance products across state lines, and providing for meaningful tort reform, could have done that without forfeiting Democratic support. Trial lawyers would have objected but not jeopardized the bill’s passage.

This is spin. The depth of the crisis had nothing to do with ObamaCare. ObamaCare was the result of lack of leadership on the part of the President–he didn’t write it, and I doubt that he has read it–he simply let the old Democrat guard in Congress put together their dream package for special interests–that is why there are so many Democrat supporters excluded from many of the regulations, e.g. union plans that are grandfathered in.

Mr. Van Dyk further notes:

Obama’s 2012 reelection is little comfort for Democrats. His total vote was smaller than in 2008, and it did not constitute a mandate for any particular agenda. It instead depended on two things: first, an unprecedentedly skillful identification and mobilization of key Obama voter groups that had grown in importance over the previous four years; and second, highly effective scare campaigns designed to convince those groups that Mitt Romney and Republicans were heartless plutocrats, servants of wealth, and enemies of women, Latinos, African Americans, and the middle class.

Demonizing his opponent worked for President Obama. The Republicans, hopefully, have learned from that experience and will not let it happen again. The demonization began during the Republican primaries and was not answered by the Republicans at the time. By the time the charges were answered, the moment had passed and the conversation had moved on. The foundation for some of the demonization of Mitt Romney began with the question by George Stephanopoulos to Mitt Romney on birth control. That was not a ridiculous question–it paved the way for the charges that the Republicans were waging a ‘war on women.’

Mr. Van Dyk concludes:

Wedge politics and tailored political messaging can bring a campaign or even a presidency short-term success. But, for the longer run, most Americans feel they are in it together and badly want bipartisan action to keep the economy stable and growing, to keep the country safe here and abroad, and to keep American society open and fair. Americans want from Democrats what Obama promised in his 2008 campaign. Financial and economic crises diverted him, he opted for partisanship with his first-term initiatives, and the resulting gridlock leaves Democrats with three years to consider their future path.

By 2016, this veteran hopes, party leaders will conclude that the big things should be tackled first and that, because of their difficulty, they must be addressed on a bipartisan basis. May they also conclude that there is more to gain by uniting all Americans than by treating them separately as political subgroups.

I agree that bipartisanship is the solution, but I am not sure it is possible. Washington has become a snake pit of one-upmanship rather than a place where people actually work together to solve America’s problems. I suspect the only solution to that situation is to remove anyone from office who has been there for more than one term.

 

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Rewriting History As You Go Along

It has been thirteen years since the disputed 2000 election. Younger voters who voted in the 2008 and 2012 elections probably do not have a clear picture of exactly what happened in that election. Chris Matthews isn’t helping.

The Daily Caller posted a transcript of a Chris Matthews discussion with Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe on MSNBC.

Christ Matthews stated:

Obama “has had a very difficult opposition out there … who from the very beginning wanted to destroy this presidency,” he said. “And some of it is ethnic, and some is good old ideology. But they way they treated this guy is unusual in our history.”

“Al Gore accepted the fact, even though he won by 600,000 votes, that W. was president. And the Democrats accepted the legitimacy of George W. Bush 100 percent,” he added, when host Joe Scarborough tried to push back a bit.

On November 12, 2001, The New York Times stated:

A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year’s presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward.

Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore. A close examination of the ballots found that Mr. Bush would have retained a slender margin over Mr. Gore if the Florida court’s order to recount more than 43,000 ballots had not been reversed by the United States Supreme Court.

Even under the strategy that Mr. Gore pursued at the beginning of the Florida standoff — filing suit to force hand recounts in four predominantly Democratic counties — Mr. Bush would have kept his lead, according to the ballot review conducted for a consortium of news organizations.

The New York Times is certainly not a conservative newspaper. They were generally not kind to George W. Bush, but they got the facts about the recount right. Either Chris Matthews is badly misinformed or he is lying. Either way, I suspect many young voters or voters who have forgotten or were not paying attention believed him. Rewriting history is a true danger to our representative republic. It is the media’s job to tell the truth. It is a shame that they have forsaken their responsibility.

Just for the record, President Obama has not been treated badly by the opposition. There have been people questioning the amount of secrecy surrounding his past–his education, some of his activities in Chicago, some of his campaign tactics, etc. Those are legitimate questions that should be asked of any candidate. Unfortunately, an element of practicing personal destruction instead of debating political issues has crept into our politics in recent times. We saw that element in the 2012 presidential election. Policies took a back seat to scare tactics and claims that Mitt Romney was a rich man who had no compassion for the poor. As someone who lived in Massachusetts during the time Mitt Romney was governor, I can tell you that there is no truth in that statement. However, the press worked hard to present that image. Until the media ignores those people practicing the politics of personal destruction, all Presidents will be treated badly by some element of the opposition. The mainstream media however, will continue to be cheerleaders for the Democrats and complain when anyone says anything negative about their candidates or the policies of their candidates. Unfortunately, that is where we are.

Meanwhile, we need to guard against the rewriting of history and challenge it whenever possible.

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What Would Happen To The Presidential Debates If The Playing Field Were Level

The purpose of this article is not to bring up the Candy Crowley incident again. Ms. Crowley made a mistake that had major political ramifications. That is unfortunate, but every one of us has at some time said things we regretted. If you haven’t, I congratulate you, but I have to admit that my foot occasionally finds its way into my mouth. The mainstream media has played more of a role in presidential politics than they should when they have moderated debates. When George Stepanopoulos asked Mitt Romney about birth control early in 2012, he paved the way for the charges that the Republicans were waging a ‘war on women.’ So what would happen if the debate platform were taken out of the hands of the mainstream media?

DaTechGuy posted a story today about the recent statement by Reince Priebus that if NBC and CNN move forward on their documentary on Hillary Clinton, he will deny those networks access to Republican presidential debates. Those networks realize the part the debates play in skewing the picture Americans have of the candidates. Having the mainstream media moderate the debates as well as report the news probably adds at least 10 points to the approval ratings of Democrat candidates.

Yesterday Breitbart.com commented:

And if past is prologue, CNN and NBC hosting GOP primary debates is a much more effective way to put Clinton in the White House than a Hillary miniseries and documentary. 

The left understand that CNN and NBC are at their most effective at winning elections for Democrats when they hide behind a phony shield of objectivity. For good reason, the left is concerned these Hillary projects might weaken that shield.

DaTechGuy comments:

The problem becomes if you pull out of these debates or keep these people from moderating them then the MSM storyline becomes: “GOP candidates duck real journalists.” and that would be the meme on every single network and their excuse to duck out of coverage.

However the Hillary Movies solve this problem admirably. It provides an excuse, a justification, well of COURSE we can’t have our debates with the people from CNN or NBC. as Renice put it:

It will be extremely interesting to see how this all turns out.

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The Seamy Side Of The Internal Revenue Service

It seems rather obvious that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was a little unfair to to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, but there is more to the story. Hot Air posted an article yesterday about some other very questionable activities the IRS was engaging in during the past few years.

The article at Hot Air cites a McClatchy news story about IRS harrassment:

McClatchy includes the case of Catherine Engelbrecht, which CBS NewsSharyl Attkisson co-reported yesterday.  That case, of course, goes far beyond the IRS; Engelbrecht’s business got harassed by the FBI, ATF, and OSHA as well, which would mean coordination far above the Treasury Department.  They also include the case of an anti-abortion group that was told they couldn’t picket Planned Parenthood locations if they wanted to keep their exemption, and a Nebraska veteran who got hassled in an IRS audit over his donations to his church once he began donating to conservative causes.

John Eastman, a constitutional law professor and former Dean at Chapman University in California, posted an article at USA Today explaining an IRS abuse that took place during the debate on homosexual marriage in California in 2012.

Professor Eastman explains:

My organization was not the only conservative-linked political group or business that appears to have faced shady actions from IRS employees. ProPublica reported this week that the IRS handed over to them confidential documents of nine conservative organizations whose applications for non-profit status were still pending. Among them: Crossroads GPS, a key group backing Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign.

Our case was particularly egregious because the IRS leak of confidential information fed directly into an ongoing political battle. For months before March 2012, the pro-gay marriage HRC had been demanding that my group, NOM, publicly identify its major donors, something that NOM and many other non-profits refuse to do. The reason is simple. In the past, gay marriage advocates have used such information to launch campaigns of intimidation against traditional marriage supporters.

Just as gay marriage proponents were demanding the information, the IRS appears to have illegally given them exactly what they were looking for. The tax return released by the HRC contained the names and addresses of dozens of major donors to NOM. And there’s little doubt where the documents came from. The tax returns contained internal coding added by the IRS after the returns were originally submitted.

For the IRS to leak any organization’s tax return to its political opponents is an outrageous breach of ethics and, if proven, constitutes a felony. Every organization — liberal and conservative — should shudder at the idea of the IRS playing politics with its confidential tax return information. But the situation here is even more egregious because the head of the HRC was at the time serving as a national co-chair of President Obama’s re-election campaign.

On Tuesday the House Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings to allow the victims of IRS targeting to testify. During the next two weeks, the House Oversight Committee will be interviewing the ‘low level employees’ in Cincinnati who have been scapegoated for these crimes. It will be interesting to hear what they say about who was directing their activities. Keep in mind that targeting specific groups and releasing tax information is a crime. It may be an interesting week.Enhanced by Zemanta

Sometimes A “Preposterous Assertion” Leads To The Truth

On Sunday Kimberly Strassel posted an article at the Wall Street Journal detailing some aspects of the current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal. Ms. Strassel reminds us that leadership comes from the top. President Obama didn’t have to be directly involved in the increased IRS scrutiny of conservative groups–he simply had to set the tone.

The article states:

Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.

One of the Democrat talking point on this scandal is that it is the result of the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in 2010. What that decision did was to allow corporations, associations, and political groups the same privileges in election campaigns that unions had enjoyed for years. The decision essentially leveled the playing field. Unions had been legally pouring money into campaigns for years whether their members supported the candidates they were supporting or not. The Citizens United decision meant that corporations would also have that right. It is interesting to note that corporations generally have a Board of Directors they have to answer to–unions are answerable only to their own leadership–the ones making the donations.

Ms. Strassel reminds us how the Obama campaign treated Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot:

Mr. VanderSloot is the Obama target who in 2011 made a sizable donation to a group supporting Mitt Romney. In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a “wealthy individual” with a “less-than-reputable record.” Other donors were described as having been “on the wrong side of the law.”

This was the Obama version of the phone call—put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.

Twelve days later, a man working for a political opposition-research firm called an Idaho courthouse for Mr. VanderSloot’s divorce records. In June, the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes. In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch. In September, the IRS informed him of a second audit, of one of his businesses. Mr. VanderSloot, who had never been audited before, was subject to three in the four months after Mr. Obama teed him up for such scrutiny.

This leads me back to the title of this article and to Ms. Stassel’s conclusion:

The IRS is easy to demonize, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It got its heading from a president, and his party, who did in fact send it orders—openly, for the world to see. In his Tuesday press grilling, no question agitated White House Press Secretary Jay Carney more than the one that got to the heart of the matter: Given the president’s “animosity” toward Citizens United, might he have “appreciated or wanted the IRS to be looking and scrutinizing those . . .” Mr. Carney cut off the reporter with “That’s a preposterous assertion.”

Preposterous because, according to Mr. Obama, he is “outraged” and “angry” that the IRS looked into the very groups and individuals that he spent years claiming were shady, undemocratic, even lawbreaking. After all, he expects the IRS to “operate with absolute integrity.” Even when he does not.

I need to go on the record again as saying that I do not believe President Obama should be impeached. I believe that he has encouraged overreach by government agencies and misdeeds by supporters, but I don’t believe he should be impeached. President Obama has had enough Chicago experience to know how to avoid leaving his fingerprints on any questionable activity–an impeachment would simply divide the country and accomplish nothing.

So what do we need to do? If the mounting scandals bother you, get involved–in either party. There are good men in both parties–find one you can support and get to work. Every candidate needs people to mail things, hold signs, make phone calls, or simply show up at rallies. If you want to see integrity brought to Washington, become part of the process.

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The Internal Revenue Service Scandal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

Yesterday’s Daily Caller posted a story that asked the following question:

…could someone at the IRS have leaked Romney’s tax information to Reid? At the time, Reid claimed he learned of Romney’s tax background from someone who had once been an investor in Romney’s firm, though he wouldn’t say who.

The question arises because it has come to light that for the last two years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been targeting conservative groups and leaking confidential information to liberal groups.

Harry Reid used his position as Senate Majority Leader to level charges at Mitt Romney that would have been impossible to disprove without totally compromising any bit of privacy Governor Romney might have had. In essence, he demanded that Mitt Romney prove a negative. The narrative went something like this:

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Reid claimed he had been called by someone who had invested in Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital. That person said Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” Reid told the liberal news outlet. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”

Romney’s campaign denied Reid’s accusations, eventually releasing a summary of the former Massachusetts governor’s taxes that — according to Romney staffers — showed he paid taxes over the last 20 years.

But Reid continued to argue that Romney’s tax returns included something that the Republican didn’t want everyone to see.

“He’s hiding something,” Reid said on a conference call. “He’s hiding something! It is so evident he’s hiding something!”

First of all, I seriously doubt the charges were true. However, since when did investors get to see the tax returns of board members of the companies in which they were investing? If in fact Harry Reid actually knew anything about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, where did he get that information?

Just a note–last year was the first year my husband and I have ever been audited. I am on the membership list of a number of conservative groups that probably have applied for tax exempt status. Hopefully, that is just a coincidence.

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How To Avoid The Facts While Conducting An Investigation

Carol Platt Liebau posted an article at Townhall.com yesterday about the Inspector General‘s report on the Internal Revenue‘s dealing with people and groups associated with conservatism. Ms. Liebau has one of those analytical minds that can sort through the fluff and get to the heart of the issue. Her article is amazing in the way it asks the questions no one investigating seemed to be interested in asking.

The article reports:

There’s nothing in there about the targeting of individuals, as I noted last night.

There’s nothing in there about who leaked documents to the media (which I wrote about here).

There’s nothing in there about how an Obama relection campaign chairman came to possess confidential information he used to attack Mitt Romney.

What the report reveals — more than anything else — is that it’s a starting point for some sharp inquiry by Congress, raising more questions than it answers.

These are two of the questions Ms. Liebau wants answered:

2. On page 3, the report notes that “During the 2012 election cycle, some members of Congress raised concerns about selective enforcement.”  What were these members told? What investigation had been done internally — and by whom — before members like Orrin Hatch were assured that their concerns were baseless? This goes to whether members of Congress were deliberately lied to — and by whom — and whether their concerns were even taken seriously in the first place.

3. Also on page 3, the report states that some members of Congress asked the IRS to investigate whether existing 501(c)(4)’s were engaged in improper campaign activity. In other words, some members were urging greater scrutiny of 501(c)(4)’s.  What members were these? Whom did they contact at the IRS? What were they told, and by whom? It would be interesting to know whether any former staffers of these members participated in the wrongdoing.  What’s more, if top officials were responsive to these requests, it might suggest where direction for the targeting came from.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is amazing how much paper you can use to say nothing and how many questions you can ask that do not lead in the direction of finding out the truth.

I am reaching a point where I think 99% of the people now in power in Washington should be voted out of office.

 

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It’s An Old Story But We Are Just Now Hearing It

There is a lot of information coming out today about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting conservatives for excessive scrutiny.  On Saturday, I posted an article which included some of the extra questions conservative groups were asked when they applied for their tax exemption status (rightwinggranny.com).  The use of the IRS and other groups to target political opponents is not new–the Clintons turned it into an art form. The Obamas have also learned to use it frequently.

In May of 2012, I posted an article about Intimidation of one Romney donor (rightwinggranny.com). Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of Melaleuca Inc.was subjected to the same kind of scrutiny that normally be reserved for a political candidate. Today’s Daily Caller details some of what Mr. Vandersloot was subjected to.

Fox News posted a story today showing how the initial interest of the IRS into the Tea Party Movement was expanded:

The article at Fox explains:

The internal IG timeline shows a unit in the agency was looking at Tea Party and “patriot” groups dating back to early 2010. But it shows that list of criteria drastically expanding by the time a June 2011 briefing was held. It then included groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to “make America a better place to live.” It even flagged groups whose file included criticism of “how the country is being run.” 

By early 2012, the criteria were updated to include organizations involved in “limiting/expanding government,” education on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and social economic reform. 

I remember that when Barack Obama was elected, many people were complaining that we were about to enter Jimmy Carter’s second term. I don’t think that is right. I think Barack Obama has morphed into the third term of Richard Nixon.

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Mark Sanford Has Won The South Carolina Special Election

Tonight the Washington Post is reporting that former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has been elected to the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

Mitt Romney won this district by 18 points last fall, but Sanford’s personal history made the seat competitive. Democrats poured money into the race while national Republicans abandoned their candidate, giving Colbert Busch a 5-to-1 advantage in outside spending.

If the American people can forgive Bill Clinton for his indiscretions, I guess they can forgive Mark Sanford for his. There are two things in this election that bode well for the Republicans in 2014–the amount of money poured into the coffers of Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch did not make a difference, and a seriously flawed candidate whose positions on issues are in line with the voters can win an election despite his flaws.

As the House of Representatives considers the immigration bill that the Senate will hand them in the near future, they would do well to keep this election in mind–issues won–money did not.

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The President Who Cried ‘Wolf’

There really is a wolf, but it’s not in the sequester–it’s in the unsustainable spending which is creating an unmanageable deficit. But that ‘wolf’ is being ignored–to some extent by both sides of the aisle in Washington.

But back to the President crying ‘wolf.’ Marc Thiessen posted an article at the American Enterprise Institute on Monday entitled, “The president who cried ‘Sequester!’”

Mr. Thiessen points out that so far the biggest damage done by the sequester has been to President Obama’s credibility. The credibility problem began during the final debate with Mitt Romney when President Obama stated, “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.” I believe the Washington Post gave the President four pinocchio’s for that statement. The problem with the internet and YouTube is that it is very easy to look up past statements of people in office. The President also stated that the sequester would never happen. Oh well.

The discourse got worse. The sequester would bring plagues and pestilence; the sequester would mean that everything about America we know and love would be gone. The sky would fall, the glaciers would melt, etc. Secretary of education, Arne Duncan, claimed that teachers would get pink slips. Homeland Security began letting criminals out of jail. Children would lose the Head Start Program (which has been proven ineffective anyway). The janitors at the Capitol would take a pay cut. When investigated, all of these claims proved to be false.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the answer given to Charles Brown of Raleigh, North Carolina, (see rightwinggranny.com) when he sent a memo to Washington asking how to implement the budget cuts in sequester. The bottom line of the answer he received was “make the cuts as painful to the public as possible.”

The posturing by the President and the Democrat Party on the sequester is not only bad politics, it is bad for the country. Can we please re-open the debate on term limits for Congress? That is probably not the total answer, but it would be a start.

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Class Warfare Backfired

One of the tenets of the Obama presidential campaign was the idea that we needed to tax millionaires and billionaires to fix our budget problems. A lot of voters who were not really paying attention decided that ‘the rich’ should be punished for their success and should contribute more. No one bothered to explain to them that even if you took all the money from the wealthy, it really wouldn’t help with the deficit because the problem is spending–not taxing.

The truth of who pays what is a little different. The Heritage Foundation reports:

The top 10 percent of income earners paid 71 percent of all federal income taxes in 2009 though they earned 43 percent of all income. The bottom 50 percent paid 2 percent of income taxes but earned 13 percent of total income. About half of tax filers paid no federal income tax at all.

Just for the record, in case anyone assumes I have a vested interest in this battle, I am not in danger of entering the top 10 percent of income earners. However, what I have learned over the years is that when the taxes go up on the rich, the rest of us suffer.

Meanwhile, Examiner.com reported today on some interesting tweets from Obama voters. These voters have received their first paycheck of the new year.

Some sample tweets posted in the article (please excuse the language, but some of these people are upset):

Twitter user Dave Cardenas15 tweeted, “Obama is the biggest f**king liar in the world why the f*ck did I vote for him.”

Another Twitter user said, “Idk why but I feel like I’ma regret voting for Obama.”

Some of the users wish they had voted for Mitt Romney as expressed by Warren G who tweeted, “I should have voted for Romney, I want a do over.”

Hilda Brown, a user on Warren G’s Twitter account replied back and said, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but do you really think Romney would have done a better job than Obama?”

Warren G responded, “My paycheck says yes.”

The Examiner article further reports:

Peterson (Hayley Peterson of the UK’s Mail Online news site) also said, “Earners in the latter group will pay an average 1.3 percent more – or an additional $2,711 – in taxes this year, while workers making between $30,000 and $200,000 will see their paychecks shrink by as much as 1.7 percent – or up to $1,784 – the D.C.-based think tank reported. Overall, nearly 80 percent of households will pay more money to the federal government as a result of the fiscal cliff deal.”

Part of the increase in middle class taxes is due to the fact that the Social Security tax is now back to what it had been previously, but other tax increases currently aimed at those making over $200,000 a year may filter down to the middle class fairly quickly as the cost of Obamacare rises.

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JUST A NOTE: The Washington Times also posted a story about the reaction from Obama voters on their decreased paychecks. It is enjoyable reading.

One Of The Problems In Reforming The Tax Code

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal posted a story which might explain some of the difficulties Congress and the President are having in reaching a budget agreement before going over the fiscal cliff. The current American tax code is currently approximately 6,000 pages and 500 words. To say that it is difficult to navigate is a serious understatement.

One of Speaker of the House John Boehner‘s suggestions has been a limit on annual deductions. During the election campaign, Mitt Romney suggested a deduction cap somewhere between $17,000 and $50,000 a year.  Many liberal pundits supported the idea as representing equity. However, now that the election is over and the idea is examined more closely, there are serious consequences to this change–many of those consequences are political.

The article reports:

…For example, 44% of Connecticut filers itemize their deductions, but only some 21% of North and South Dakota residents do.

One tax writeoff in particular illustrates the point: the deduction for state and local income taxes. This allows a high-income tax filer who pays, say, $20,000 in state and local income taxes to deduct those payments from his federal taxable income.

Because the highest federal tax rate is 35%, the value of the state and local deduction is enormous for high-tax states. If President Obama succeeds in raising the federal tax rate to 39.6%, the value of those deductions rises to nearly 40 cents on the dollar. This deduction certainly eases the pain of New Jersey‘s 8.97% top tax rate, or Hawaii’s 11%.

The article explains that five states accounted for nearly half the tax revenue lost because of the state and local tax deduction–California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts. California accounted for $51 billion of the writeoff due to state and local tax deductions. All of those five states can be found in the Democrat column during national elections.

The article explains:

To put it another way, when Californians voted to raise their top rate to 13.3% last month, they were voting to reduce revenue for the federal Treasury and thus increase the political pressure to raise tax rates on all Americans. The state and local tax loophole helps disperse and disguise the real cost of big government. As Mr. Obama likes to say, this is reverse Robin Hood.

The article concludes:

Mr. Obama wants to raise tax rates, rather than eliminate deductions, so his fellow Democrats can keep raising state and local taxes without bearing the full economic and political cost. Tax equity and economic growth are the big losers.

Because the current tax code is so politically loaded, I really don’t see Congress and the President agreeing to change it significantly. Unfortunately, it needs to be changed significantly.

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The Schizophrenic American Voter

Yesterday Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air posted an article detailing some of the opinions of the American voters and contrasting those opinions with the way they voted.

The article reports:

A survey of 800 Obama voters, conducted last month by Benenson Strategy Group for the moderate Democratic think tank Third Way and shared first with POLITICO, finds that 96 percent believe the federal deficit is a problem and that 85 percent support increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Yet 41 percent who supported the Democratic incumbent want to get control of the deficit mostly by cutting spending, with only some tax increases, while another 41 percent want to solve it mostly with tax increases and only some spending cuts.

Just 5 percent of Obama supporters favor tax increases alone to solve the deficit, half the number who back an approach that relies entirely on spending cuts.

Their opinions put them much more in line with Mitt Romney than Barack Obama!

The article continues:

Meanwhile, according to polling by CNN, registered voters oppose Obamacare by a margin of 10 points — 52 to 42 percent. Independents like Obamacare even less, opposing it by a margin of 22 points — 57 to 35 percent. Clearly, voters didn’t think they were ratifying Obamacare when they pulled the lever for Obama.

…One thing that has not changed is that Americans still widely prefer a system based on private insurance to one run by the government. Currently, 57% prefer a private system and 36% a government-run system, essentially the same as in 2010 and 2011. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the percentage of Americans in favor of a government-run system ranged from 32% to 41%.

Obviously, I have no explanation for this. Either voters were not paying attention or they voted for a candidate who opposed what they actually believed.

 

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The Kickoff Question For 2016

It is too early to be talking about the election of 2016, but evidently it is not too early for the press to begin demonizing the Republican contenders.

In January 2012, George Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney the following question at the Republican presidential primary debate (Newsbusters):

Governor Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?”

The question really made no sense–it was not related to any current issue, and some pundits on the right wondered why Stephanopoulos asked it. It became obvious later on that part of the Democrat strategy in the 2012 election was to accuse the Republicans of waging a ‘war on women’ and saying that Republicans would take away a woman’s right to birth control. The question was a preemptive strike to begin debate on a subject that was not really important, but had possible political value when dealing with an uninformed electorate.

The preemptive strike has now been aimed at Florida Senator Marco Rubio. GQ asked the Senator, “How old do you think the earth is?” What in the world does that question have to do with anything?

Shawn Mitchell at Townhall.com points out:

First is the premeditated bad faith of an upscale publication. The random question is untethered  from public policy, from issues in the US Senate, or measures Rubio might pursue. It arose from a singular goal unrelated to reporting current events: GQ wanted to conjure a killer question, something that might damage a popular potential GOP presidential candidate.  It’s easy to imagine the query came from a group brainstorm over lunch: “Think, people…how can we trip him?!”

Second on the list is the poisonous effect of unresting, perpetual attack machinery.  Scarcely had the interview hit GQ’s website and newsstands when it ricocheted across the blogosphere and commentariat, with sneers from the left and defenses from the right. Barack Obama is two months shy of putting his hand on the Bible for a second term. Yet, already an anticipated candidate for 2016 is under manufactured attack for how he might read that book’s teachings.

This is disgusting, and until America’s electorate becomes informed enough to make attacks like this ineffective, these attacks will continue. The media will not police themselves, but when Americans begin to ignore stories like this and stop buying the newspapers and magazines that publish this trash, the trash will end. It is truly up to us.

 

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