Weekly Musing 5-26-13
Memorial Day: A Time of Remembrance
The last Monday in the month of May, Memorial Day has become an annual occasion to honor American soldiers of all wars who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.
This Memorial Day, we remember the heroic service of generations past and present who died while serving our nation. They did not fight for riches or glory; they fought to defend our nation and its values, liberate the oppressed, and not least, they fought for one another as brothers and sisters in arms.
– Congressman Fred Upton
“If workers struggle for higher wages, this is hailed as ‘social justice’; if businessmen struggle for higher profits,
this is damned as ‘selfish greed’ ”
Congratulations to my youngest son, Marius Anuzis
Graduating from Lansing Catholic Central and on his way to Michigan State University!!! Go Green!
IRS Scandal Is The Latest Evidence That We Need A Fair Tax
Abuse of IRS power has been going on for almost 80 years. It began under ADR, not long after the IRS was created. In reality, there is only one way to ensure that something like this never happens again. The IRS must be abolished, the 16th Amendment must be repealed, and most existing federal taxes must be replaced by the FairTax, which is a national retail sales tax.
The current scandal demonstrates that the IRS cannot be “reformed” into something compatible with a free society. It is a creation of progressivism, and, at its core, progressivism holds that individual freedom is obsolete.
The current imbroglio gives us a golden opportunity to abolish the IRS and institute the Fair Tax. Only in this way can we secure liberty, promote desperately needed economic growth, and ensure that every young American has a fair chance to become a productive citizen.
The Real Voter Suppression of 2012
Voter ID didn’t reduce turnout, but the IRS may have.
The 2012 election season was filled with angry cries of “voter suppression,” almost all of them regarding attempts by states to require voter ID and otherwise improve ballot integrity. Bill Clinton warned that “there has never been — in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting — the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.” Democratic-party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said “photo-ID laws, we think, are very similar to a poll tax.”
All of this proved to be twaddle. An August 2012 Washington Post poll showed nearly two-thirds of African-Americans and Hispanics backing photo ID. The Census Bureau has found that the rate of voter turnout for blacks exceeded that of whites for the first time in the 2012 election.
But it now turns out there may have suppression of the vote after all. “It looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told me. “Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.”
Indeed, several conservative groups I talked with said they were directly impacted by having their non-profit status delayed by either IRS inaction or burdensome and intrusive questioning. At least two donors told me they didn’t contribute to True the Vote, a group formed to combat voter fraud, because after three years of waiting the group still didn’t have its status granted at the time of the 2012 election. (While many of the targeted tea-party groups were seeking to become 501(c)(4)s, donations to which are not tax-deductible, True the Vote sought to become a 501(c)(3).) This week, True the Vote sued the IRS in federal court, asking a judge to enjoin the agency from targeting anyone in the future.
Strange Goings-On at the White House
A tight-knit inner circle plays all politics, all the time, while Obama remains disengaged.
No one doubts that President Obama has the White House management structure he wants; he has populated it with trusted aides such as Jarrett whose loyalty he can count on. But it’s increasingly clear that this structure — supported by functionaries who are often highly partisan and careless — hasn’t served the country well and hasn’t received sufficient scrutiny from the media. That’s why many liberals are openly expressing concern over the “mini-Politburo” at the White House — the small number of people who have centralized White House decision-making.
The Obama White House management team doesn’t share the bunker mentality of the Nixon White House (though there are similarities). Nor does it have the frat-house atmosphere of the early Clinton White House, or the “happy talk” air of unreality of the latter George W. Bush administration. But its “all politics, all the time” ethos demands scrutiny now that the scandals are mounting and its shortcomings are becoming all too clear.
Obama’s IRS and AP scandals cast Big Chill on free speech
Chilling effect. That’s the term lawyers and judges use to describe the result of government actions that deter people from exercising their right of free speech.
There have been plenty of examples in the past 10 days.
The Obama administration’s Justice Department issued a sweeping demand for two months of office, cellular and home telephone records from multiple Associated Press reporters and editors to investigate an alleged breach of national security.
The AP story in question, on a foiled terrorist plot, had been withheld for days at the request of the CIA. It finally went out on the wire on a Monday, after the AP was told that administration spokesmen would officially announce it the next day.
The New Enemies List
At its root, James Taranto sees these scandals as the consequence of too much moral crusading in our politics. “Today’s liberal left conceives of itself as being on the side of all that is good, right and reasonable. It caricatures the right as racist, extremist, greedy, dishonest, fanatically religious, prone to violence – and dangerous because, through the Republican Party, it has maintained parity in the political arena. Of the 10 presidential elections since Watergate, each party won 5; and voters haven’t entrusted the Democrats with full control of government for more than two years since the Carter era. If ordinary politics are a battle between good and evil, then winning becomes an overriding moral imperative. The end justifies the means.” And that problem goes deeper than just one president – it is a cultural trend which rots the foundation of the public square.
Obama’s action are chilling: It’s News, Not Espionage
The Obama administration has no business rummaging through journalists’ phone records, perusing their emails and tracking their movements in an attempt to keep them from gathering news. This heavy-handed business isn’t chilling, it’s just plain cold.
It also may well be unconstitutional. In my reading, the First Amendment prohibition against “abridging the freedom … of the press” should rule out secretly obtaining two months’ worth of the personal and professional phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors, including calls to and from the main AP phone number at the House press gallery in the Capitol. Yet this is what the Justice Department did.
How Obama Has Contributed to His Own Aura of Scandal – aloof and disengaged
In the weeks ahead, perceptions of Obama will likely harden. The right will see him as dastardly. The left will view him as a victim of Washington’s gutter politics. Most probably, his biggest sin is being aloof and disengaged.
But Obama’s failings are only part of the problem. An increasingly polarized Washington is devouring its own. Ceaseless, take-no-prisoners political warfare, not nefarious White House plots, ravages government.
Outrageous: DHS claims authority to inspect safety deposit boxes without warrants
Investment Watch discovered this information in a message board post from two years ago. According to the post, the DHS agents that investigate the boxes “’shall, at the discretion of the agent supervising the search, remove, photograph or seize as evidence’ any of the following items ‘bar gold, gold coins, firearms of any kind unless manufactured prior to 1878, documents such as passports or foreign bank account records, pornography or any material that, in the opinion of the agent, shall be deemed of to be of a contraband nature.’”
Further, bank employees are forbidden to reveal when DHS agents perform these inspections, even to the person whose box was inspected:
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