Another Write-wing Conspirator

Commentary, observations, musing, and ranting from the middle of the road (or just to the right of center. Usually.) featuring The Curmudgeon

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 42 other followers

  • Recent Posts

  • Top Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Advertisements
  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

    If you see a posting you like and wish to share it with others, by all means feel free to do so. I'd prefer that you send the link to your friends, but you're also welcome to reproduce anything here—as long as you retain my identity on the document. If you have a web site of your own and wish to post a link to this blog (or to a specific post), again, feel free to do so.

    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

    Comments, of course, are always welcome. You may agree or disagree with me. Doesn’t matter. Of course, I reserve the right to completely ignore you — but, feel free to let your feelings be known, anyway. And if you don't want to comment directly here, my e-mail address is: jimseeber@gmail.com .

    Oh, and…yes, I can spell. That "Write-wing" is only a play on words. So, there. Again.

    Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

  • Twitter

  • About this “curmudgeon” guy…

    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

    Anything else you wanna know—just ask.

  • Blog Stats

    • 12,911 hits

Archive for the ‘corruption’ Category

The Obama Doctrine: “Stop Me If You Can—and You Dare to Try”

Posted by The Curmudgeon on January 3, 2011

Government by fiat has become the new standard.

With the recent court challenges to ObamaCare, two very telling details have emerged: First, that Obama (as widely claimed during the contentious legislative process) over-stepped his authority in mandating state adoption of his massive power-grab, and, second, that he probably knew damned good and well that he didn’t have that kind of authority—and simply didn’t care.

He basically dared his opposition: “Stop me if you can.”

Back in the dark, recent past when he enjoyed an overwhelming numerical superiority in Congress, Obama could count on a broad base of support for most of his schemes. To be sure, he had a continual problem with dissent within his own party ranks, but he for the most part enjoyed rubber-stamp approval.

Now, he has a much bigger problem: With the Democrats’ crushing loss of the House and decreased power in the Senate, the Obama regime can no longer whip-up support on the scale he previously enjoyed.

Predictably, Obama also has a solution to that problem: Ignore it.

Rather than attempt to ram-through a hostile Congress legislation he knows he can’t get, he’s opted for simply issuing rules through various agencies—and essentially daring his opposition to try to stop him.

For example, the EPA recently issued a series of rules that appear manifestly improper; previously rebuffed, Obama seems to have merely had his minions issue mandates that bypass Congress entirely—and until (unless) such actions are challenged in court, they will stand with the full force of law.

Those who’ve been asleep throughout recent weeks may not have noticed the similar power grab by the FCC as it moved to expand government control of the internet and pursued the Obama agenda of squelching conservative talk radio and his nemesis Fox News. (This campaign is being prosecuted by an Obama appointee — FCC “Chief Diversity Officer” Mark Lloyd — who’s on record singing the praises of Hugo Chavez and his increasingly iron-fisted control of Venezuela’s media.)

Nor is Obama content to merely delegate his dirty work. The recently-ratified “New START Treaty” is a much-maligned accord apparently not fully understood by anyone—and it’s largely the result of Obama’s own negotiations and demands. Though the Senate did ratify the agreement, it did so with only minimal examination or challenge—and it certainly doesn’t reflect the standards established in the U.S. Constitution, which expressly vests treaty power with the Senate. Indeed, Obama recently called for a viable missile-defense system (though he seems to have not actually allocated any resources for the effort)—despite Russian contentions that such a system is specifically prohibited. Stay tuned.

Moreover, with a growing list of issues ranging from amnesty for illegal immigrants to cap-and-trade, the manchild-in-chief seems to be daring anyone with sufficient intestinal fortitude to knock the chip off his shoulder; until someone dares to do so, he’ll keep right on doing whatever he damned well pleases—apparently with the blessing of his party.

In retrospect, recently defeated Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) may have summed up more of the Democrats’ behavior than merely their profligate spending habits when he proclaimed: “If you don’t tie our hands, we’ll keep stealing.”

He certainly described his party’s standard-bearer to a “T.”

Or to an “O.”

__________

 

Advertisements

Posted in border security, cap-and-trade, congress, corruption, deficit, democrat, economy, health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, obama, ObamaCare | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Soon They Forget

Posted by The Curmudgeon on December 15, 2010

Congressional amnesia strikes again.

Shortly before the “shellacking” he received last month, Barack Obama suggested that Republicans were pinning their hopes on voters suddenly developing amnesia. In an earlier comment, he also asserted that “elections have consequences.”

For those with short memories (that would apparently include most of Congress), voters overwhelmingly jettisoned Democrats in droves (sixty-three of them, to be precise) — giving Republicans control of the House of Representatives, narrowing the Democrats’ margin of control in the Senate, and delivering an unmistakable message to the Obama regime.

How soon they forget.

Just today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stood before the Senate and bluntly asked whether all of Congress was “tone-deaf” and stricken with amnesia.

The reason?

A massive, 1.2 trillion-dollar “omnibus” spending measure being rammed-through the lame-duck Congress by soon-to-be departing Democrats apparently intent on looting the nation’s treasury on their way out the door. More than 2400 pages long and delivered to members of Congress only three days ago, it’s apparently been read by absolutely no one (does this sound familiar?) and loaded with “earmarks” and hidden pet projects.

In other words, they (Congress) didn’t learn a damned thing. They heard us, loud and clear—and simply don’t give a damn about what we want or what we have to say.

To be sure, it isn’t just Democrats responsible; indeed, at least two of the leading “earmarkers” are Republicans. That said, the entire effort still is being shepherded by Democrats—many of them lame ducks with nothing to lose.

Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is intent on ramming-through his backdoor amnesty program (aka “The Dream Act”)—again relying on colleagues with nothing to lose by supporting the measure.

And just to round things out, “always-in-campaign-mode” Obama seems to think he’s still gearing-up for last November’s election, likening Republicans to “hostage-takers” in the ongoing battle of the soon-to-expire Bush era tax cuts. (Ironically, some of his stiffest opposition is yet again within his own party.)

However all this shakes out, everyone needs to keep one thing in mind: Though the lame ducks are already on their way out, they won’t be able to carry it off without help—and those who remain in office will be up for re-election in 2012.

Let’s hope voters hold the culprits accountable just as they did last month; since this batch of crooks obviously didn’t get the message, perhaps their replacements will.

__________

Posted in budget, congress, corruption, debt, deficit, earmark, economy, election, illegal aliens, immigration reform, income tax, obama, politics, pork barrel spending, Reid | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who Would REALLY Benefit from Voter “Amnesia”?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 1, 2010

There’s much that Obama would have us forget, too.

Hip-deep in his perpetual campaigning, Barack Obama derisively pointed out to voters last week that Republicans were pinning their hopes on the electorate’s suddenly developing “amnesia”—then reiterated once again his oft-repeated claim that responsibility for everything currently going awry anywhere in the known universe should be laid at the GOP’s feet.

As usual, there was a modicum of validity to the manchild-in-chief’s assertion; after all, has there ever been a political candidate who didn’t wish the voters would forget about something?

Obama should keep in mind, however, that there’s also much that he would like to erase from the voters’ collective memory. Though not actually running for re-election himself, the imminent midterm election is very much a referendum on his record—and the outcome is crucial to his future plans. To a candidate who won the preceding election owing largely to voter vacuity, the continued cluelessness of the electorate is of inestimable value.

Our manchild-in-chief would much prefer, for example, that we not remember the intense pressure brought to bear by his regime to ram through his unpopular ObamaCare travesty far enough in advance of this election that we wouldn’t remember the promised transparency that turned to occlusion. We’re likewise expected to forget the behind-the-scenes deal-brokering and outright bribery that made his showcase legislation possible, notably the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase.” It’s supposed to fade from memory that the prohibition on using federal funds for abortions was inexplicably left out of the grand health care reform legislation, a claimed oversight that Obama promised to correct via executive order (the order was in fact issued—but it now seems to have less in the way of teeth than was claimed at the time signed it).

Though Obama has stubbornly clung to his habitual hammering of his predecessor for the nation’s economic woes and rising employment, the simple fact is that his own profligate spending (you remember: the spending that he insisted was necessary to hold unemployment under eight percent) has buried us under a mountain of debt from which we may never recover—and unemployment has now crept perilously close to ten percent.

He would dearly love for us to forget all about the problem of illegal immigration and his own scandalous refusal to secure the nation’s borders. (How very curious…we haven’t heard a word about “comprehensive immigration reform” for a few weeks—have we?) He’d like us all to forget that his response to the chaotic border situation was to sic his Justice Department on the state of Arizona for daring to do what he refused to do. He wants us to forget all about the efforts to secure amnesty for some twelve million future Democrats illegal immigrants.

It’s supposed to slip our minds that our first “post-racial” chief executive has in fact fanned the flames of racism. We’re supposed to no longer recall the specter of New Black Panther Party goons convicted of intimidating voters in Philadelphia—only to be sent on their merry way by Obama’s Justice Departmant, which inexcusably declined to pursue the case. We’re supposed to conveniently forget Obama’s own rash (and obviously incorrect) berating of the Cambridge Police Department and Sgt. James Crowley—who, as it turns out, hadn’t acted so “stupidly” as Obama had claimed. We’re supposed to not notice when he manages to find that “Negro dialect” that Harry Reid said he lacked—when he’s busy whipping-up support among a black crowd by creating an “us-versus-them” atmosphere.

We’re supposed to forget about the steady procession of tax cheats, avowed communists and socialists, and far left-wing whack-jobs he’s welcomed to his regime. We’re supposed to forget the blatant power grabs and attempts to exert direct government control over banking, manufacturing, communications, and the media (it’s telling when Helen Thomas — hardly a conservative icon — criticizes the administration for doing so).

He would like for many of us to forget how badly he needs to emerge from the midterm election with Democrats controlling Congress — though he’s quick to remind those who voted for him in 2008 that it’s essential for them to keep the faith, as he needs that power base “to continue with my agenda”…whatever his agenda may comprise. (His obsession with secrecy and hidden deals leaves us constantly guessing.)

We’re expected to forget all about the vacations, travel, and high living that his regime is enjoying at taxpayer expense while much of the nation struggles just to make ends meet. We’re not supposed to remember the unprecedented arrogance shown by himself and his henchmen. We’re expected to forget the tax that isn’t a tax, then is, then isn’t—depending, it seems, entirely on what our narcissistic dear leader is trying to pull at any given time. He wants us to forget the political thuggery that Democrats have freely exercised from the moment they grasped the reins of government.

Let’s hope enough of us have better memories than he gives us credit for.

__________

Posted in ballot, border security, budget, corruption, debt, deficit, economy, election, federal bail-out, health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, manchild, media corruption, national security, obama, ObamaCare, politics, Reid, stimulus, tax, unemployment, vote, waste | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Little Knowledge

Posted by The Curmudgeon on August 28, 2010

It’s still dangerous—as is ignorance of history

Two of the most familiar and oft-quoted observations respectively hold that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and that failure to learn from history dooms us to repeat it.

With that, I present Chris Cuomo of ABC News.

This past week, Cuomo (seeming to echo the growing crescendo of ill-informed mainstream media figures) transmitted the following via his Twitter account: “To all my christian brothers and sisters, especially catholics – before u condemn muslims for violence, remember the crusades….study them”

Interesting.

Some of Cuomo’s Twitter “followers” then engaged him in a bit of back-and-forth, correctly pointing out that the Crusades were in fact preceded by an extended period of Muslim encroachment (indeed, Charles Martel and the Franks halted the Muslim invasion of Europe at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD—long before the First Crusade of 1095-1099 AD).

Not to excuse Cuomo’s ignorance, but his misperception is a common one: that Muslims have been running around in the pissed-off-and-locked position since the Crusades, having never forgiven Christendom for such effrontery—and itching for centuries to get even.

“Get even,” hell; they started this crap.

Or as Princeton University Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis put it: “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual response to the jihad – a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war.”

However, let’s set aside that issue for just a moment to allow me to digress (it is my blog, after all).

Many years ago, there was a war fought in a place known (then) as South Vietnam. Some of you may recall it. Some of you were too young (or still a gleam in your daddy’s eye) at the time. For those who recall that period, there are also distant memories of widespread unrest, anti-war demonstrations, riots, draft resisters, and so forth. It was a long and costly war, and it resulted in deep divisions among the citizenry.

Being in high school at the height of the war (and rapidly approaching draft-able age), I had more than a passing interest in the matter. Personally, I had mixed feelings about this nation’s involvement in Southeast Asia; however, my ambivalence was spawned by my own research.

The same could not necessarily be said of the majority of my peers.

Oh, they could regurgitate the rhetoric on cue. They had all the chants down pat.

But did they really understand what was going on?

I clearly recall a class discussion during that time. I pretty much hung back and listened for a time, noting the by-then familiar rhetoric being offered. Then, I posed a few questions to some of the more vocal critics of the war.

“You say the war is ‘illegal.’ Based on what?”

I was immediately bombarded with cries that the war was an undeclared one, and that Congress hadn’t approved our involvement there. In reply, I reminded them of the “power of the purse” that Congress wields, and noted that Congress itself had appropriated the funds necessary to conduct the war.

No answers to that one.

I then asked them whether they were familiar with the USS Maddox or the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The “domino theory,” perhaps?

Again, no answers.

Now, I relate this vignette not in an effort to revive the decades-old debate over U.S. involvement in the war, but to illustrate my point that many during that era formed their opinions based not on what they’d discovered through examination of facts but on whatever input (we frequently call them “talking points,” these days) they’d heard from others. It was often a lemming-like acceptance of whatever they’d been fed by commentators via evening news broadcasts—sources known even then for their biased interpretation of events (and reporting thereof).

Which brings us back to the present day, where we are currently assailed by recitals of the current rhetoric. For example, how many times have we heard various sources use the precise phrase “comprehensive immigration reform” in recent months? (This, by the way, is the Democrats’ and illegal aliens’ euphemism for “amnesty and pathway to citizenship to which they have no valid claim since they’re in the country illegally to begin with.”) The phrase’s use seemed to spread overnight, as if by a hidden network (and with the “outing” of the JournoList cabal, the scenario seems quite plausible). Political organizers plant the current phraseology among their minions to go and spread the word far and wide.

Cries of “racism” are also a staple—particularly for anyone with the audacity to criticize anything that Barack Obama says or does.

And then there are the “phobes.” After years of being attacked for being “homophobes,” for example, some are finally (and correctly) pointing out that a phobia is by definition “an irrational fear”—and resistance to the concerted presentation of the homosexual agenda has nothing to do with fear, at all.

Now we’re suddenly dismissed as “Islamophobic” for daring to object to the construction of a mosque where many believe it doesn’t belong, expressing dismay at what seems an insidious transformation of our legal system to a Shariah-compliant state, or pointing out the obvious lie that mass-murder committed by a Muslim officer in the U.S. Army who considers himself a “soldier of Allah” is anything but an act of terrorism. We wonder how there can be a Ramadan observance at the White House while prominent symbols of Christianity are under attack. We question why Uncle Sam foots the bill for repairs to mosques in foreign countries while court challenges halt the restoration of a mission (listed as a national historic landmark) in California based on assertions that the use of taxpayer funds implies endorsement of a religion. We’re aghast that the Obama regime would send an imam (at taxpayers’ expense) through the Muslim world as a sort of emissary and troubleshooter—then have it revealed that this same imam basically said that we brought on the 9/11 attacks ourselves. We’re alarmed and outraged that this imam insists on erecting a mosque at Ground Zero with funds of murky origin, and puzzled that others fail to see the symbolic significance of such a structure to a movement with a history of building mosques to commemorate victories.

Oh, and Cuomo’s response to a Twitter “follower” who challenged his claim? He tweeted: “not sure how pointing out muslim wrongs erases christian wrongs…more defense by attack? proof of bias?”

As Nathan Burchfiel of Newsbusters summed up Cuomo’s response: “So pointing out Muslim wrongs doesn’t erase Christian wrongs — but pointing out Christian wrongs justifies Muslim wrongs?”

Swell. Cuomo’s little bit of knowledge brings us full circle, repeating history once again. The blind leading the blind who refuse to think for themselves, whipped-up by scores of Cuomo’s ilk who have little understanding of history (my wife cites a Biblical reference calling this “zeal without knowledge”) but are intent on shaping the public debate to their liking.

As alleged “Islamophobes,” we’re assailed for having “an irrational fear” about a purported religion of peace that in fact has a long history of extreme violence and repression…a religion that often appears less a religion and more a politically-driven cult with a sinister agenda.

Well, the pundits got the “fear” part right; 9/11 frightened the bejesus out of us. There’s nothing irrational about it, though.

And the current “Islamophobia” label has no validity. What we’re feeling now has little to do with fear.

But we are mad as hell.

________

.

Posted in 9/11, corruption, crusade, ground zero, hate crimes, hate speech, health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, islam, islamofascist, islamophobia, JournoList, media corruption, media establishment, mosque, national security, obama, political correctness, politics, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The Money Pit: An Old Law Holds True

Posted by The Curmudgeon on August 11, 2010

Parkinson’s Law meets Obama…and Pelosi…and Reid…

In 1955, Cyril Northcote Parkinson first advanced a concept which eventually became known as “Parkinson’s Law.” Though it’s undergone some revisions and refinements (and led to a number of corollaries), its basic premise remains: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

For example, imagine a worker performing a routine task normally requiring sixteen man-hours (nominally, two business days) to complete. Now, imagine that some genius efficiency expert determines that forty hours (one work week) should actually be alloted for this task. According to Parkinson’s maxim, over a period of time our worker will adjust his routine to expend all forty hours alloted for the task—though he’d previously accomplished the same task on numerous occasions within the constraints of the old standard of sixteen hours. (It could also be argued that for a unionized operation there would be an additional demand for overtime—but, that’s fodder for a different rant.)

One popular corollary of this basic premise will sound familiar to most readers: Data expands to fill the space available for storage (i.e., go ahead and buy that humongous hard drive that makes your current drive look puny by comparison—but, you’re still gonna fill it up).

Another corollary is attributed to Parkinson, himself, and is sometimes referred to as “Parkinson’s Second Law”: Expenditures rise to meet income.

Based upon that assertion, one might reasonably deduce that the esteemed Mr. Parkinson must have at some point studied the spending habits of Democrats.

One might also be inclined to pose a hybrid corollary: Congress increases spending to consume whatever money is available—and even spends money that ain’t there.

Most budgets (whether business, military, or household) are intended to establish limits—not goals to attain. Employees are — from the top down — generally encouraged to find ways to reduce spending. Bringing in a project “under budget” is regarded favorably, as doing so makes available previously committed funds to be applied to other projects; should an overly-generous authorization be encountered, it’s not considered acceptable to spend more lavishly in an effort to insure that all alloted funds are exhausted. Exceeding the budget isn’t allowed; when one runs out of alloted funds, there simply isn’t any more money to spend. Work stops. The household has to wait until next month to buy that new television. The Army parks its tanks, trucks, and helicopters because there’s no money to purchase fuel. Plants close. Employees are furloughed.

Conversely, consider recent comments made by Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) to a gathering of his constituents:

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned up here, and I didn’t really need to come up here to learn it, is the only way to get Congress to balance the budget is to give them no choice. The only way to keep them out of the cookie jar is to give them no choice. Which is why, whether its balanced budget acts or pay as you go legislation or any of that—it’s the only thing.” (And now for the best part—with emphasis added…) “If you don’t tie our hands, we’ll keep stealing.”

One scarcely knows whether to be aghast at Perriello’s unexpectedly frank admission or curiously relieved by the refreshing honesty of it; at any rate, it at least confirmed what many already believed. (We’ve been known to sing the praises of an honest crook from time to time.)

Of course, Mr. Perriello overlooks recent history. Obama himself (after racking-up trillions in debt) exhorted Congress to adopt “paygo” to ensure that future expenditures would be deficit-neutral. Congressional Democrats enthusiastically(?) accepted the challenge and shepherded the legislation to passage.

…then began side-stepping their own brand spanking-new rule less than a week later.

More recently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cut short Congress’ summer recess, summoning members back to Washington to pass new bail-out legislation, tweeting that “I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers’ jobs and help seniors & children.” (more on that in a moment) The price tag? More than $26 billion added to the staggering deficit (forget actually paying for the measure; all this spending merely adds to the mounting debt—for which there are no funds). Actually, the measure as written assigns the tax debt to U.S. firms operating in overseas markets; however, if these firms respond by simply not shifting funds back home to be taxed, the burden for the resulting shortfall (added to the potential loss of $120 billion in profits that might also be kept overseas) would be transferred to…us.

The latest? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (you know; the federally-financed lenders on which Congress just spent billions upon billions of bail-out dollars it doesn’t have) just crawled back out of the woodwork, hats in hand, to beg for another $3 billion in federal alms. (Don’t breathe a sigh of relief, just yet; this latest request is merely intended to cover the shortfall for the current fiscal quarter. Stay tuned.)

Oh, and (in case it escaped anyone’s attention) there was yet another report released a few days ago showing that the massive “stimulus” package last year had been squandered in large measure on such boondoggles as:

  • $762,000 to create interactive choreography programs at the University of North Carolina
  • $296,000 for a study of dog domestication at Cornell University
  • $2,000,000 to send researchers from the California Academy of Sciences to islands in the Indian Ocean to study exotic ants
  • $500,000 for new windows at the Mt. St. Helens visitors center in Amboy, Washington. (The building has been closed since 2007 and there are no immediate plans to reopen it.)
  • $89,000 to replace sidewalks in Boynton, Oklahoma (The “old” sidewalks had been built only five years before. Moreover, one of them goes nowhere near any houses or businesses and leads directly into a ditch.)
  • $1,200,000 to create a museum in an abandoned train station in Glasboro, NJ

It should be noted that it’s unclear whether this “stimulus” package — intended to create jobs — actually created more than a relative handful.

How does this happen?

No great mystery. Remember the health care reform package? Remember how scandalized we all were to learn that virtually no one in Congress had read it prior to voting on it? It was 1,017 pages long.

This year’s federal budget is 2,450 pages long; how many people do you think have read all of that one? Or last year’s? Or the year before?

Pork-barrel projects are generally concealed very carefully within such spending measures; it’s sometimes nearly impossible to figure out who inserted specific expenditures (if anyone even notices them). In many cases, it’s a matter of “you vote for mine, and I’ll vote for yours.”

And we give these clowns the key to the treasury. Which probably explains why it’s currently empty.

As to Pelosi’s latest effort? Forget saving teachers’ jobs; that’s not what it’s about.

This bail-out is superficially intended to help debt-ridden states (those that refused to rein-in spending…California and New York, for example—blue states, it should be noted) to balance their budgets. The fix will be temporary, as these states have yet to make the necessary cuts in expenditures to ensure long-term viability (last year’s $862 billion “stimulus” package included $145 billion to balance state budgets—and it obviously didn’t last very long). So, Congress will now be voting to decide whether the states that practiced fiscal responsibility are ultimately going to be taxed to bail-out those that refused to.

But, wait; there’s more (R.I.P., Billy Mays). Consider these figures compiled by Americans for Limited Government in a recent newsletter:

Out of the estimated 3.3 million public school teachers nationwide, teachers’ unions were expecting about 160,000 layoffs this year—roughly 4.8 percent of all teachers. Slightly more than 38 percent of those expected layoffs are centered in just three states: 9,000 in New Jersey, 16,000 in New York and 36,000 in California.

About 57 percent of those 160,000 teachers are unionized, with contributions to state and local unions averaging $300 per teacher. Add another $162 per teacher to the National Education Association and $190 per teacher to the American Federation of Teachers (as reported by Education Next), and Congress will in effect be voting to pump no less than $40 million (emphasis mine) into the political coffers of teachers’ unions.*

Quickly, now; which party do you think will be the beneficiary of union contributions?

In other words: If you’re a Republican in a state that has a balanced budget, you can expect to be taxed not only to pay for wasteful spending in California and New York, but also to contribute indirectly to Democrats’ campaign funds.

Not that Queen Nancy (from California—just in case you’ve forgotten) has such thoughts in her mind. She just wants to help teachers and old folks and children. Oh, and cops and firefighters (again, widely unionized). Just ask her.

Just don’t ask her exactly what’s in the measure, nor what it’s actually intended to achieve. (Remember that she once said that Congress “has to pass the legislation in order for you to find out what’s in it.”)

Her mission is, at best, to spend more and more money that we don’t have.

Once again, Parkinson is proven a sage.

So is Congressman Perriello.

Somebody tie Washington’s hands—quickly.

 

 

UPDATE: The $26 billion in spending has been approved by Congress and awaits Obama’s signature.

The watchword now is “BOHICA.” (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again)

* ALG drew heavily from the following sources:

NetRight Daily How 39 Dems and Snowe and Collins Gave $40 Billion to Teachers Unions
EducationNext The Long Reach of Teachers Unions
The Heritage Foundation Teachers Unions Stifle Education Reform

__________

 

Posted in budget, corruption, debt, deficit, economy, education, election, federal bail-out, labor, obama, Parkinson's Law, Pelosi, politics, Reid, stimulus, tax, waste | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Media Madness

Posted by The Curmudgeon on July 24, 2010

Why mainstream media sources are on the ropes

Some thirty years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a teacher. He’d recently chaperoned his students during a field trip, touring the operations of the local newspaper. He surprised me when he pointed out that what he’d found most interesting were the newswire reports lying around, enlightening me about a few stories I hadn’t heard. When I expressed dismay at how I’d somehow missed these little gems, he explained: “You didn’t miss anything. They were never printed.”

He then asked me if I knew the identity of the newspaper’s publisher. Editor-in-chief? News editor? Opinion page editor? Who they are—and their views?

I confessed that I had no idea.

He said: “You should. They decide what news you get—and the news you don’t get.”

Sobering thought, that.

I’d always taken pains to keep abreast of the news. Of course, back in those days my usual news sources consisted of one major newspaper (for a city of about a quarter-million), radio news broadcasts while driving (imparted during brief interruptions to music and advertising), and broadcast television news furnished by the three major networks, recently augmented by the then-fledgling CNN. And, of course, there were the larger news magazines (e.g., Time, Newsweek, and U.S.News and World Report). Internet news sources lay far in the future. “The web” didn’t yet exist. Personal computers, for that matter, were an extreme rarity—and didn’t have modems (there wasn’t anything out there to connect with, anyway).

I gave much consideration to what the teacher had said. I thought of stories that had languished — the My Lai massacre came to mind — simply because nobody considered them to be newsworthy. (For the too-young-to-remember…the My Lai story was initially ignored by all the major news outlets; it eventually came to light not owing to a dedicated journalist, but to a disgruntled soldier—who finally managed to attract interest in the story long after the fact.) I recalled a vignette of someone once giving Walter Cronkite a transcript of the previous evening’s entire CBS newscast pasted onto the front page of a newspaper; it didn’t even cover that one page completely—a graphic commentary if ever there was one.

I also wondered what else the local newspaper editor had deemed not worthy of passing on to his readers. What had the major wire services chosen to ignore—or bury? How did the major broadcast news executives decide which stories to bombard us with during the thirty precious minutes (minus advertising time) they alloted to their evening broadcasts? What criteria did they use in making these decisions?

Since then, the world of news-reporting has changed dramatically. The “major” television networks have seen their news bureaus steadily lose market share to Fox News, while the explosion of web news sources and the blogosphere have placed a severe strain on even old, storied publishing empires.

Perhaps with that in mind, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger recently advanced the sensationally idiotic idea that the federal government should help fund troubled news organizations—and, implicitly, to regulate them.

The reader might blanch at my characterization, wondering what could possibly be wrong with government controlling the news; after all, it worked so well for Hitler, Communist China, the former Soviet Union, and North Korea. The ruling clerics in Iran no doubt swear by the idea. Hugo Chavez has embraced it.

One can almost feel the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves, aghast at the mere notion of blithely surrendering hard-won freedoms that they and generations of their successors fought to preserve—particularly given that it involves those who traditionally have so ardently cloaked themselves in the First Amendment for protection.

Set aside for the moment the temptation to merely ask whether Bollinger is out of his mind, and consider how the news organizations came to find themselves in their current state; while he’s partly correct in attributing the media establishment’s woes to the advent of internet news sources, the wounds are mostly self-inflicted.

The oligopoly enjoyed until only a few years ago by the established media giants couldn’t have been broken simply by a few upstart news sources elbowing them aside; they were all too big and too powerful for that to happen. Had the public at large been content with the services provided by the existing news giants, there would have been no motivation to seek other sources. The big news sources themselves drove away their own audience as growing numbers of readers and viewers became increasingly dissatisfied with a perceived (and steadily worsening) liberal bias in the news being presented (or not presented). Those who abandoned the “mainstream media” sources in droves, however, didn’t simply unplug altogether; as the established news giants have seen their influence decline, Fox and other sources have seen the ranks of their followers swell commensurately.

Reporters have long taken refuge in the old saw that “We don’t make the news; we just report it” in the face of criticism; given that they’ve become increasingly fond of selecting what to report and how it’s reported, this disingenuous claim is more ludicrous now than ever before. If thirty minutes of enduring the evening news isn’t enough to convince the skeptics, the ongoing revelations of groupthink news-planning via the JournoList listserv certainly should raise concerns. There’s mounting evidence of widespread collusion to not only abdicate the media’s traditional role of equally vetting Presidential candidates, but to collectively become Barack Hussein Obama’s most devoted advocate—and launch a concerted attack against his opponent’s running mate. More recently, the squelching of the story about voter intimidation by New Black Panther Party goons in Philadelphia (and elsewhere, as it’s now been revealed) was so egregious that even The Washington Post‘s own ombudsman took the newspaper to task over the matter. Throughout CBS News commentator Bob Schieffer’s recent interview with Attorney General Eric Holder, he failed to address the issue. Schieffer’s explanation? He’d been on vacation and hadn’t heard about the story.

Great. Schieffer’s on vacation, and the rest of establishment media’s been out to lunch the past few decades.

…and now Bollinger expresses his heartfelt concern that the federal government’s failing to prop-up the establishment media would result in our not getting the news we should have—as if establishment media has already been providing us with such news. (Indeed, had they done so all along — which is how they became established — they wouldn’t be dining at the rear nipple today.) Bottom line? He’s urging the government to subsidize establishment media’s continued pursuit of what got it into trouble in the first place—under the guise of keeping us informed.

His concerns are misplaced, at best. As the need — or market — developed owing to establishment media’s shortcomings, others ably filled the void. Having largely supplanted the “major” networks’ news broadcasts, Fox News is doing quite well, in fact—as are numerous web-based organizations.

Are these emerging media forces perfect? Hardly. Notwithstanding Fox’s claims of “fair and balanced” reporting, some perceive a conservative slant to its presentations. I tend to agree—but hasten to add that any such tilt in no way approaches the degree of liberal bias found within the media establishment. Moreover, Fox’s coverage at least seems to be more extensive; though it clearly emphasizes certain stories, it doesn’t seem to be filtering-out as much as its competitors. Similarly, web sources like The Drudge Report, NewsBusters, PajamasMedia, and the Media Research Center have developed their own prodigious followings.

They’re doing what the establishment media mainstays did to get established, but later eschewed as they became more politicized: informing the public—and they are in no need of a government bail-out.

__________

Posted in blogosphere, Bollinger, corruption, federal bail-out, Fox News, JournoList, mainstream media, media corruption, media establishment, obama, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Tough Week for Logic

Posted by The Curmudgeon on July 13, 2010

Conventional wisdom and common sense take it on the chin

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chief John Morton revealed last week that his agency had resources only to remove four hundred thousand illegal immigrants per year. That’s about 4% of the estimated eleven million believed to be here—with more arriving every day. This announcement comes on the heels of Arizona’s passage of tough new legislation for dealing with illegal immigrants, which (logically) federal officials might be expected to welcome as needed bolstering of their efforts.

And the Obama regime’s response to Arizona’s initiative?

It filed suit against the state for what it characterized as an attempt to preempt federal authority (you know: the job that the Feds haven’t been doing).

Sure. That makes a lot of sense. (Cue the old cartoon of the dopey dog intoning: “Du-uuh…dat sounds log-i-cul.”)

It was a busy week for the Department of Justice. Far from Arizona (Philadelphia, to be precise), another high-profile case reclaimed the public’s attention.

Remember the 2008 election? Now, remember the ugly specter of the New Black Panther Party goons clad in black paramilitary garb and berets, wielding clubs outside a polling place? Well, that’s called “voter intimidation”—and it’s a federal crime. The sort of red meat upon which Justice Department attorneys feed. Justice has an entire unit devoted to this kind of stuff—and one might imagine they were all chortling with glee over the ease with which they’d be able to make this case. In fact, the goons made it even easier by not bothering to show up for the trial. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Summary judgment. An easy, slam-dunk conviction. All that remained was sentencing.

…until Obama’s Justice Department arbitrarily dropped the case without official comment. (Cue the dopey mutt, again.)

Justice officials also announced, however, that they’d be investigating the case of Johannes Mehserle (a transit cop—and white), convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant (who was being arrested at the time for his involvement in a public melee—and black). Meanwhile, comments and testimony furnished by former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams — assigned to the Voting Rights Section until his recent resignation — suggest a culture within Justice that vigorously prosecutes cases involving minority plaintiffs and white defendants, but seems to have no interest when the roles are reversed.

And then there’s NASA administrator Charles Bolden’s revelation that he was charged by Obama with the mission “…perhaps foremost, (to) find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science…and math and engineering.” (Sorry; even the dopey mutt’s scratching his head over this one.)

Of course, it could be argued that all this is, in fact, perfectly logical—but it makes no sense to us because we’re not viewing it all in the proper context.

For example, Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) recently revealed that during a private meeting with Obama, he’d reiterated his stance that the Mexican border must be secured before any comprehensive immigration reform measure could be considered. According to Kyl, Obama replied that “The problem is…if we secure the border, then you all (congressional Republicans) won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.” Kyl added that “In other words, they’re holding it (border security) hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.” This, despite Kyl’s reminding Obama that both the President and Congress have a duty and a responsibility to secure the border—immigration “reform” notwithstanding. It follows, then, that anything that serves to enhance border security or otherwise combat illegal immigration runs counter to Obama’s agenda—so, he sics the Justice Department on Arizona.

In other words: in Obamaworld, the megalomaniac-in-chief’s political aims trump his Constitutional duties, federal law, the will of the people, and pretty much everything else.

Make sense, now?

________
 

Posted in ballot, border security, corruption, election, hate crimes, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, muslim, national security, obama, politics, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The U.S. is NOT Mexico Norte

Posted by The Curmudgeon on May 26, 2010

What Obama, Congress, and Calderón don’t grasp—or simply choose to ignore

One scarcely knows where to begin in trying to keep abreast of events unfolding in the ongoing and escalating controversy over Arizona’s recently-enacted immigration law. What began as a desperation-driven attempt by the state of Arizona to plug the gaps created by federal negligence spawned a groundswell of public outcry and political posturing on both sides of the Mexican border.

…and—as predicted—Barack Hussein Obama and his henchmen responded with alacrity to the opportunity for extracting political gain from the situation (that “never let a good crisis go to waste” philosophy); indeed, one might wish that they’d shown as much enthusiasm in warding-off the current state of affairs.

To briefly recap:

The Arizona legislature finally got fed-up with waiting for the Feds to do their job and took matters into their own hands. Obama immediately condemned the action, in concert with Attorney General Eric “Holding Pattern” Holder and Department of Homeland Security head (and former Arizona governor) Janet Napolitano—though both Cabinet members were subsequently forced to admit that neither had actually read the legislation they’d so quickly attacked. (We can only wonder whether Obama’s read it; nobody asked him. Any bets?)

Obama, of course, immediately attempted to turn the debate away from his own failures (and, to be sure, his predecessors’), blaming Republicans in Congress for not joining with him in embracing the Democrats’ standard call for “comprehensive immigration reform” (read: “amnesty and pathway to citizenship”). Correctly citing the frustration felt by the good citizens of Arizona over Federal inaction, he incorrectly attributed this frustration to a universal desire for said “reform”—and lamented that he’s been stymied in his attempts to “fix” things by the loss of the Democrats’ sixty-vote supermajority in the Senate, imploring Republicans to “help” him. Designated legislative meddler Charles Schumer (D-NY) wrote a letter to current Arizona governor Jan Brewer, calling on her to likewise fall in love with his yet-to-be-finalized “reform” legislation. (There is no substantiation that the Democrats’ new official euphemism for illegal aliens really is “undocumented Democrats”—yet.)

Demonstrations and boycotts ensued, with the state of Arizona (and the 84% of its voters who favor the state’s initiative) being pressured to abandon the effort.

The Arizona folks (here’s the part I like, by the way) responded to the mayor of Los Angeles’ boycott threats with a simple message: “Go ahead; make my day. Boycott us—and we’ll turn off your damn’ lights.” (Okay; so, I paraphrased. A little.)

The guy who heads ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), John Morton, announced that his agency might not bother to “process” illegal aliens apprehended by Arizona police authorities; apparently, this suggests that not only will ICE not go out and apprehend the illegal aliens—a big part of its mission—it won’t even finish the job when others take up the slack and apprehend the illegal aliens for them. (Why does this clown still have a job?)

And, of course, Mexican President Felipe Calderón appeared before a joint session of Congress to denounce the Arizona law, lecture us in the niceties of border protocol, and tell us that we need to ban assault weapons—for which congressional Democrats awarded him a standing ovation.

The reader will at this point kindly choke-down the bile that may be felt rising within.

Obama and his ilk are nothing if not consistent; they continue to press their radical agenda—including amnesty and citizenship for those who have, in many cases, openly flouted the law. The people of this nation are angry not only at the government’s failure to meet its obligations, but also for its (that would be Obama’s) bullheadedness in pursuing a course the people emphatically reject. No, the people aren’t frustrated with Congress’s failure to implement comprehensive immigration reform; they’re mad as hell that the government (a) isn’t doing its job, and (b) isn’t listening to them—opting, instead, to ram an unacceptable policy down the nation’s collective throats. Indeed, reports surfacing from Republican lawmakers indicate that just yesterday they informed Obama that any “reform” effort must first address the issue of border security—and in the latest demonstration of his version of bipartisanship, Obama stubbornly rejected the notion. (The Anointed One did, however, reveal that he plans to send some 1200 National Guard troops to the border region—though not in an enforcement role. The general feeling is that his intent in doing so was to forestall stronger congressional action.)

Probably the most galling development, though, was the Democrats’ inviting Calderón to appear before Congress and lecture them (and, therefore, us) in the first place. No, wait; even more galling was the specter of Democrats actually giving this pompous ass a standing ovation. (Some may have considered it fitting that Democrats—who embrace an ass as their party symbol—were so quick to embrace a fellow ass.)

Who the hell does Calderón think he is? The guy’s nothing but a tinhorn who ascended to office amid allegations of election improprieties in a country notorious for corruption. He wants open borders—but only for northbound traffic. His own nation’s human rights record has been widely assailed. He called for an assault weapons ban in the United States, citing figures that are highly suspect (and not for the first time) to support his claim of arms being shipped south to Mexico—ignoring the simple fact that the weapon of choice for Mexican thugs (the ubiquitous AK-47) isn’t even manufactured here; it is, however, readily available throughout the world. (One wonders whether Obama—known to favor such a ban—might’ve planted that idea.) Calderón conveniently overlooks the graft that is a way of life in his country—and it’s unlikely that the drug cartels could flourish without some assistance from among his own law enforcement officials. The final irony? His own government’s lax enforcement along the border—indeed, it has long fostered illegal immigration into the U.S.—has also contributed to the alleged flow of weapons and drug money smuggled into Mexico from the north. Moreover, someone needs to remind this little man that his meager authority ends at the Rio Grande—and that meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation just might result in him getting his ass kicked. (One might suspect that there is an ample supply of volunteers eager to shoulder that burden.)

Enough, already. This is not rocket science. It isn’t brain surgery. While purported to be a complex problem, the matter of illegal aliens is in fact a very simple one—and it has relatively simple solutions. This has gone on far too long. The Federal government—from the White House to Congress to the responsible agencies involved—all of them need to get off their dead butts and simply do their job.

Quit playing politics and pandering for votes; secure the border—as required by the Constitution.

________

Posted in Arizona, border security, corruption, election, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, national security, obama, political correctness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Of Pots, Kettles, Nazis, Racists, and Aliens

Posted by The Curmudgeon on May 10, 2010

…and just how “open” are all those other borders, anyway?

Interspersed within the inevitable fallout from Arizona’s new “Nazi-like” (according to some) immigration law came the equally inevitable hyperbole condemning the racist actions of those neo-Nazi bigots in the state legislature bent on arbitrarily crushing the civil rights of every person in the state who doesn’t appear to be of (presumably) Aryan descent—and particularly those of Mexican extraction. Predictably, droves of protesters (many — if not most — aliens residing in the U.S. illegally) turned out for marches and rallies demanding “rights” for illegal immigrants. (Note to the protesters: Waving Mexican flags and chanting in Spanish won’t attract support—particularly with a tumultuous election season nigh, and politicians in no mood to face voters in no mood for demands of amnesty and citizenship from people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place.)

Not surprisingly, the shrill shrieks of the left reached a deafening crescendo—and the left-leaning media were only too happy to chime in. And Democrats continually chumming for the Hispanic vote, of course, weren’t about to miss out on the opportunity to do some timely pandering—with the added bonus of bashing a Republican-dominated legislature and  a Republican governor.

Worthy of note, however, was the response south of the border.

In an ironic role-reversal, the Mexican government issued an advisory discouraging its citizens — including those with the intent of crossing the border illegally — from traveling to Arizona. (Kindly refrain from observing that it did so several decades late and for the wrong reasons.) More significantly, President Felipe Calderón — a noted open border-kinda guy — vowed to protect Mexicans wherever they may be and cited the usual human rights issues, condemning the Arizona law for its potential to foster “intolerance, hate, discrimination, and abuse in law enforcement.” He added that “My government cannot and will not remain indifferent when these kinds of policies go against human rights.” Apparently, our neighbors to the south consider events to their north to be unfairly targeting their citizens—and they seem to think the U.S. should be more like Mexico in addressing such matters.

Well. This clearly calls for a closer examination of conditions within Calderón’s bastion of human rights.

First of all, we find that entering Mexico illegally carries a penalty of two years in prison and a fine. Evading deportation is a felony. Returning to Mexico a second time after having been deported nets a ten-year prison sentence (apparently, that “open border” argument is a one-way street—and one might be tempted to surmise that a term in a Mexican prison wouldn’t be much of a picnic). Mexico itself does some pretty extensive deporting, currently ejecting some 130,000 illegal immigrants from Mexico every year. Legal entry is tightly controlled, and non-citizen residents do not share equal footing in such areas as land ownership and employment. And while Mexico sees fit to criticize Arizona’s law (which actually does nothing but direct that local authorities enforce existing federal law—which the federal government has consistently failed to do), Mexican law requires all police officers to check for immigration status—and failing to have in one’s possession proof of that status results in being hauled-off to jail. (Note that while this practice is accepted in Mexico, it elicits a loud outcry when applied in Arizona; older readers may be reminded of the venerated maxim about pots noting that kettles are black.)

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has compiled some very damning human-rights statistics regarding Mexico. During one recent six-month period, their records show that nearly 10,000 immigrants were kidnapped, and almost half the victims interviewed implicated Mexican authorities. According to one spokesperson, “Public officials turn a blind eye, or even play an active part in kidnappings, rapes and murders.” It’s estimated that 60% of migrant women fall victim to sexual violence while in Mexico.

Ignoring his own country’s chronic widespread corruption and drug-related violence, Calderón seems to like the idea of having Mexican standards exported elsewhere, proclaiming “I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”

Let’s hope not; the Mexico that actually lies within Mexican borders is quite hellish enough. Moreover, Calderón appears to be asserting a degree of extraterritoriality that claims exemption of Mexican nationals from the laws of sovereign nations in which they reside—legally or otherwise; conversely, non-citizens in Mexico have no rights under Mexican law.

In the broader scheme of things, one might consider similar border situations across the globe. Is this “open borders” demand common elsewhere? Are we xenophobic, right-wing, racist Yankees out-of-step with the rest of the world?

Hardly. Notwithstanding the clamor of activists and news-media distortions, even the most superficial of investigations reveal broad employment of restrictive immigration law, the erection of physical barriers, and mass deportations throughout the world. In many countries, illegal entry is a crime dealt with swiftly and severely. Few nations seem to be encouraging immigration—and most resist it. (Argentina does encourage legal immigration from European nations.) Brazil last year enacted an amnesty measure—but largely because its immigration system was completely overwhelmed; it was to no small degree a capitulation on the government’s part and an implicit admission of failure. The European Union, on the other hand, recently implemented a tough, standardized system under which violators are detained for eighteen months—then deported.

Clearly, the histrionics of recent weeks do not accurately depict reality.

It cannot be overstated that one of the most crucial of the fundamental responsibilities of any sovereign nation is to provide for the security of its citizens—and meeting this responsibility begins with securing its own borders. The failure of the U.S. government to adequately attend this task is manifest. It must be remembered that the issue of aliens entering the country illegally is not strictly an economic issue; rather, it is first and foremost a legitimate national security concern.

At a time when many assert that “playing the race card” has been done to death, it was the first straw grasped by Arizona’s critics. Such vilification continued with comparisons to Nazis (always a crowd-pleaser among the socialist-leaning left) and utterly ludicrous charges of government-sanctioned separation of family members. Seemingly ignored (or simply brushed aside) by these same detractors is the clear support of the people — both within Arizona and nationwide — for tougher enforcement of immigration laws. Far from being the run amok-action portrayed by critics of a rogue state government running roughshod over civil rights, Arizona lawmakers correctly identified both the will of the people and the chronic failure of the federal government to discharge its duties, then acted very much in accordance with universal norms—though this would be difficult to discern from the media coverage that resulted.

But, then…it’s been wisely noted that one cannot believe everything that one reads in the newspaper—particularly in a media environment so institutionally predisposed to presenting its own “truth.”

________

Posted in Arizona, border security, corruption, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, national security, political correctness, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Yearning for Simplicity

Posted by The Curmudgeon on April 27, 2010

…starting with income taxes and voter registration

For those of us who undergo that annual transmogrification from rational human beings to raging, babbling idiots when presented with a tax return to complete, it came as some ironic comfort to learn that even IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman doesn’t tread in the shadow of the tax code. “I find the tax code complex,” said Shulman, “so I use a (tax return) preparer.”

It was, at least, a bit more entertaining than the revelation that (then) Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner had “carelessly” failed to pay some $34,000 in income taxes. (I’ll set aside for a separate rant the dubious logic of having an alleged tax cheat who’s that “careless” about both money and compliance with tax laws placed in charge of the U.S. Treasury.)

These are but two examples one could cite in calling for a “flat tax” to replace the monument to esoterica that is the United States Tax Code.

Actually offering-up such a suggestion, however, invites a familiar litany of responses including rolling of the eyes, exaggerated sighs, dismissive waves of the hand, and condescending insistences that “It won’t work” (with the addition of “you imbecile” unspoken—but generally understood).

What it doesn’t seem to ever evoke is an explanation. Though quick to dismiss the notion, none of these supposed experts ever gets around to telling us why it wouldn’t work—which leads many of us to suspect that it actually could.

There might have to be some adjustments, of course. Claims that such a tax scheme would unfairly burden the poor seem unfounded, but might warrant excluding income below a designated minimum threshold. And there may have to be some allowance for extraordinary circumstances — such as a catastrophic illness or devastating loss from natural disaster, for example — but, that’s it. Just have everyone pay the same percentage of their income and be done with it. (Opinions vary, but 15% seems to be the most commonly suggested—though some speculate as low as 8%. Whether to keep the personal exemption is another question, and there are those who also advocate allowing exemptions for dependents.)

Though there’s again no shortage of really smart people who claim that it wouldn’t work, there are also a lot of really smart people who insist that it would. Given how well the present system has worked out (hold your laughter, please), it might be time to consider it.

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at voter registration; in fact, it could be made to dovetail nicely with a tax code revision.

Consider the following:

First, require that a tax return be filed by everyone eighteen years of age or older (whether they had any income or not) and by everyone — regardless of age — who has income of any sort. If the new scheme is to continue allowing exemptions, then everyone would get to claim one exemption for themselves — just as under the current scheme — and one exemption may also be taken for each dependent child. Require also that both names and Social Security numbers for filers and dependents alike (yes; even infants) be affixed to each return. (Those under eighteen who are claimed as dependents would see their tax withholdings refunded. It’s only fair; many are high school kids with part-time jobs, anyway—and it’s simply wrong to demand taxes from those who are not yet old enough to vote.) There may also be room in this proposal for allowing the dependent exemption to continue until a later age (twenty-two, perhaps?) for full-time students. All other income withholding continues in its current format (e.g., Social Security, disability, etc), and tax is assessed only on net income.

Since Social Security numbers are required for tax returns, there’d be greater accountability both for tax revenue and to ensure that those who file returns are eligible for employment in the U.S—an added bonus that just might help curtail illegal immigration. Funds withheld and deposited to Social Security accounts that are not accounted for by corresponding tax returns would trigger an alert to IRS—and to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

That’s it. No deductions. No exceptions.

Upon IRS receipt of the tax returns, filers who are also eligible to vote would automatically be registered to do so, and would be issued voter eligibility certificates that must be presented when voting. And since everyone would be required to file a tax return, other manners of voter registration — notorious for being rife with fraud — could be done away with altogether. Voter registration would expire after one year; it would then be automatically reinstated with the filing of the succeeding year’s tax return, and a new eligibility certificate issued—obviating the need to maintain voter rolls.

You pay taxes according to a code that doesn’t require a Rosetta Stone to decipher, you file a tax return, you vote; it’s just that simple. No more ACORN-like voter registration scandals, no more non-citizens voting, and those long-buried corpses that miraculously spring back to life every few years (just long enough to cast ballots) would finally be laid to rest—permanently.

Would all this work?

Only one way to find out for certain—but it’s unlikely to be any worse than the current system, in any event.

________

Posted in ballot, border security, corruption, deficit, economy, flat tax, illegal aliens, immigration, income tax, national security, obama, opinion, politics, tax, vote | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »