Saturday, June 1, 2013

op ed review 6/2



THIS WEEK’S NEWS
A group of anti-abortion activists in Iowa had to promise the Internal Revenue Service it wouldn’t picket in front of Planned Parenthood.  A woman’s family and business in Texas were audited by the government after her voting-rights group sought tax-exempt status from the IRS.  A retired military veteran became active in and donated to conservative causes, then found the IRS challenging his church donations. The emerging stories from real people raise questions about whether the IRS scrutiny extended beyond applicants for tax-exempt status and whether individuals who donated to these tax-exempt organizations or to conservative causes also were targeted.  'Could point to secret political vendetta within government against conservatives'...

A new poll finds an overwhelming majority support appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of political groups.

In the months before President Obama declared al Qaeda was “on a path to defeat,” his aides were telling Congress that the terrorist network was expanding and was capable of inflicting mass casualties in the U.S.

In California, Obamacare Will Increase Individual Health Insurance Premiums By 64 to 146%

In a little-noticed speech to the Iowa Republican Party, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul mocked President Obama's signature health care overhaul, noting the 122,000 new medical diagnostic codes doctors will have to use in order to inform the government about injuries sustained by Americans. Those codes, said Sen. Paul, a medical doctor himself, include line-items for 'injuries sustained from a turtle,' 'walking into a lamppost' and  'injuries sustained from burning water skis.'
Hillary Clinton’s approval rating has dropped from 61 to 52% since her mishandling of the Benghazi affair has become more public.

A recall effort against Sheriff Joe Arpaio has failed.

Harvey Whittemore, once the most powerful lobbyist in Nevada and the head of a billion-dollar development company, was convicted  of using family and employees to funnel illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2007.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio´s repeated criticism of parts of the sweeping U.S. immigration bill he helped craft has unsettled immigration reform advocates and others who support its passage. Rubio, a Cuban-American lawmaker from Florida seen as a possible 2016 presidential contender, has consistently defended the bill´s centerpiece - providing legal status for roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants. But he has publicly said he wants changes to the bill and said last week that he agreed with some of the concerns voiced in a letter by 150 prominent conservatives who oppose the legislation.

A record 72,600,000 Americans were enrolled in Medicaid for at least one month in fiscal 2012.  That is more that the population of France or the United Kingdom.

The 10,978,040 disability beneficiaries in the United States now exceed the population of all but seven states. For example, there are more Americans collecting disability today than there are people living in Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey or Virginia.

California lawmakers advanced a dozen gun-control measures, including background checks for ammunition buyers, and gave early approval to a tax penalty on the Boy Scouts for barring openly gay leaders.

While delivering the commencement speech at historically black Morehouse College, President Obama predictably utilized "victimology 101" to access the inner victim that presumably exists inside all black Americans. He disingenuously reminded the all-male graduates, "As an African American, you have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by." Unsurprisingly, this underhanded insinuation that racism is so pervasive that no amount of individual effort will overcome it received a thunderous ovation, even though this recycled notion has the legitimacy of a three-dollar bill.

In a party where good news has been hard to find over the past two years, the current state of play in 2014 Senate races gives Republicans some reason to smile. A combination of raw numbers, a shift in the political environment and some notable recruiting failures has handed Senate Republicans a realistic — but by no means certain— chance of picking up the six seats they need to win back control of the chamber.

Jiroemon Kimura, of Japan, has become the last man alive to have been born in the 19th century. Literally the last man.
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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN
Investor’s Business Daily   5/23    Now the Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense “

The inexplicable raid nearly two years ago on a guitar maker for using allegedly illegal wood that its competitors also used was another targeting by this administration of its political enemies.

On Aug. 24, 2011, federal agents executed four search warrants on Gibson Guitar Corp. facilities in Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. One of the top makers of acoustic and electric guitars, including the iconic Les Paul introduced in 1952, Gibson was accused of using wood illegally obtained in violation of the century-old Lacey Act, which outlaws trafficking in flora and fauna the harvesting of which had broken foreign laws.

In one raid, the feds hauled away ebony fingerboards, alleging they violated Madagascar law. Gibson responded by obtaining the sworn word of the African island's government that no law had been broken. In another raid, the feds found materials imported from India, claiming they too moved across the globe in violation of Indian law. Gibson's response was that the feds had simply misinterpreted Indian law.

Interestingly, one of Gibson's leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Co. According to C.F. Martin's catalog, several of their guitars contain "East Indian Rosewood," which is the exact same wood in at least 10 of Gibson's guitars. So why were they not also raided and their inventory of foreign wood seized?

Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson's chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. Recent donations have included $2,000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and $1,500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. By contrast, Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles.

"We feel that Gibson was inappropriately targeted," Juszkiewicz said at the time, adding the matter "could have been addressed with a simple contact (from) a caring human being representing the government. Instead, the government used violent and hostile means." That includes what Gibson described as "two hostile raids on its factories by agents carrying weapons and attired in SWAT gear where employees were forced out of the premises, production was shut down, goods were seized as contraband and threats were made that would have forced the business to close."

Gibson, fearing a bankrupting legal battle, settled and agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty to the U.S. Government. It also agreed to make a "community service payment" of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation — to be used on research projects or tree-conservation activities. The feds in return agreed to let Gibson resume importing wood while they sought "clarification" from India.

The feds say they acted to save the environment from greedy plunderers. America is a trivial importer of rosewood from Madagascar and India. Ninety-five percent of it goes to China, where it is used to make luxury items like $800,000 beds. So putting Gibson out of business wasn't going to do a whole lot to save their forests.
Juszkiewicz' claim that his company was "inappropriately targeted" is eerily similar to the claims by Tea Party, conservative, pro-life and religious groups that they were targeted by the IRS for special scrutiny because they sought to exercise their First Amendment rights to band together in vocal opposition to the administration's policies and the out-of-control growth of government and its power.

The Gibson Guitar raid, the IRS intimidation of Tea Party groups and the fraudulently obtained warrant naming Fox News reporter James Rosen as an "aider, abettor, co-conspirator" in stealing government secrets are but a few examples of the abuse of power by the Obama administration to intimidate those on its enemies list.


FROM OTHER COLUMNS
"[A] Fox poll asked people which of the recent scandals concerned them the most. IRS topped the list with 32%; followed by Benghazi with 27%; the monitoring of AP reporters scored 21%; and 10% went for none of the above, claiming that all of them were of grave concern. ... [T]he truly shocking number was 8%. That represented the percentage of Americans who were not the least bit concerned about any of these matters. And I will remind you that these ignoramuses are allowed, even encouraged, to go out and vote every Election Day."
                   -Burt Prelutsky

"From around 1630 to 1966, immigrants sank or swam. About a third of them couldn't make it in America and went home -- and those are the ones who weren't rejected right off the boat for being sick, crippled or idiots. That's why corny stories of someone's ancestors coming here a half-century ago are completely irrelevant. If their ancestors hadn't succeeded, their great-grandchildren wouldn't be here to tell the story because no one was given food stamps, free medical care and housing to stay. (And vote Democrat.) Now we're scraping the bottom of the barrel by holding ourselves out as the welfare ward of the world and specifically rejecting skilled immigrants. As Milton Friedman said, you cannot have open borders and a welfare state. The reason a country's average immigrant matters is that the losers never go home -- they go on welfare. (Maybe if they had to work, immigrants wouldn't have as much time to build bombs.)"
                   -Ann Coulter

"We have truly entered the world of 'Alice in Wonderland' when the CEO of a company that pays $16 million a day in taxes is hauled up before a Congressional subcommittee to be denounced on nationwide television for not paying more. Apple CEO Tim Cook was denounced for contributing to 'a worrisome federal deficit,' according to Senator Carl Levin -- one of the big-spending liberals in Congress who has had a lot more to do with creating that deficit than any private citizen has………Government's power to bully people who have broken no law is dangerous to all of us. ... No American government can take away all our freedoms at one time. But a slow and steady erosion of freedom can accomplish the same thing on the installment plan."
                   -Thomas Sowell
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BOOKS
Must read:  “Here's a story you probably haven't heard…..You tell me if it qualifies as "news" that the "news" media should be covering. It involves a young man who would someday become one of the best-known and most powerful men in the world. A new book is out. It explores recently uncovered diaries kept by this young man which document his fascination with Adolf Hitler and Nazism.  He wrote: “….in a few years, Hitler will emerge from the hate that now surrounds him and come to be regarded as one of the most significant figures that ever lived…..He was made of the stuff of legends." If this young man's name was Ronald Reagan, it is undeniable that this new book would be a top-shelf media story everywhere. But his name wasn't Reagan. It was John F. Kennedy.”

“For your summer-reading consideration this year, I recommend the following books (all with a Cold War element): “Witness”, by Whittaker Chambers — Witness remains one of the greatest memoirs ever written. We live in a time when everyone under 40 (give or take a few years) has essentially forgotten about the Cold War. Possibly better than any other volume, Witness spells out the stakes involved and tells an amazing human story of colliding lives at the same time. I cannot remember the last time a book captured me as fully as this one did.”
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GLOBALONEY
Obama: ´I Don’t Have Much Patience for People Who Deny Climate Change”

BBC:  Since 1998, there has been an unexplained "standstill" in the heating of the Earth's atmosphere.

But “the science is settled”.  The new Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz on global warming: “I am not interested in debating what is not debatable.”
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LEFTIST WATCH
‘Liberal Activist’ Admits to Bugging Mitch McConnell’s Office

Florida high school students are being told that terrorists are driven by ” low self-esteem and the need for a ‘sense of belonging’”

CBS Sports writer wants the Washington Redskins to change their team name, and thinks any American Indian who doesn’t feel the same way is a new “Uncle Tom.”
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ISLAM
Even more shocking than the barbarity of the terrorist attacks in London and Boston is the denial by authorities on both sides of the Atlantic about their common religious motive. British Muslims offered the same explanation as American Muslims for slaughtering their fellow citizens — Islamic holy war — yet the political classes on both sides of the pond rejected it out of hand.
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SECOND AMENDMENT
The California Senate this week approved a collection of bills, including one (SB 53) that would require background checks, permits, and fees for the purchase of ammunition.

The NRA has given an 8-year-old boy a free lifetime membership. He was suspended from his school for chewing a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun.

An Oregon military veteran is facing criminal charges after firing a warning shot at a suspect trying to break into his house. The suspect was unharmed but police ruled he was not “aggressive enough” to justify the warning shot.
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CONSERVATIVE STRATEGY
The Tea Party movement is showing signs of a resurgence following the revelation that the IRS targeted groups and other politically conservative organizations for the past several years. A recent poll shows Americans have a more favorable opinion of the less-government, anti-tax groups. And one of the biggest groups in the grassroots movement told FoxNews.com this weekend that fundraising and donations have increased since news of the IRS targeting broke earlier this month. However, one of the biggest remaining questions is whether the Tea Party can take the momentum in the 2014 elections. The movement started in 2009 as a reaction

The Republican Party, having lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, confronts a dilemma that´s easier to describe than to solve: How can it broaden its appeal to up-for-grabs voters without alienating its conservative base? There´s no consensus yet on how to do it. With the next election three years away, Republicans are tiptoeing around policy changes even as they size up potential candidates who range from tea party heroes to pragmatic governors in Republican- and Democratic-leaning states. There´s a partial road map, but it´s more than two decades old,

How is anyone proud to say that they are a Democrat? Isn’t there a point when even liberals have to cry uncle over multitude of the scandals? It was just a few months ago when left-wing pundits were dancing on the GOP’s grave. Now it looks like 2014 could be a good election cycle for Republicans.
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ARTICLES
Clarity:  When the American mission in Benghazi, Libya was attacked on September 11th, 2012, only one person had the positional authority, legal mandate, and communications apparatus to give the order to defend our personnel on the ground: the President of the United States. The President did not give that order, and four Americans died in Benghazi that day. All the rest of the nonsense to which we have been treated–from prepared talking points, congressional hearings, and finally to the outright lies–matter not when compared to the ignominious moments in which the President of the United States refused to do his job.

Like Watergate, Benghazi has several layers. But the most revealing one is the active collusion between this administration and Al Qaida. Al Qaida is a Saudi-inspired and Saudi-funded terror gang. Almost all of the terrorists on 9/11 were Saudis. Those facts are always covered up, but they are crucial to understanding the Jihad War.  In Benghazi we ran arms from Libya to Al Qaida rebels in Syria. The Saudis are funding that rebellion…..Obama has consistently supported the most radical Muslim elements in the Middle East.
Let´s begin with a verbatim quote from President Obama from July of 2009, touting the legislative perfection that would be Obamacare: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” This unambiguous, clearly-stated pledge was demonstrably false when it was first uttered and has remained so to this day.

What Real Health Care Reform Looks Like:   Dr. Michael Ciampi of South Portland, Maine, might do more to reform health care than the entire Obama administration. On April 1, Ciampi decided to stop taking insurance at his primary care practice, charging people instead a fixed, out-of-pocket price for all services. By cutting out the insurance middlemen on all claims, Ciampi will save both himself and his customers time and money. Before, Ciampi charged $160 for an office visit…..Now, he charges $75.

This in the Washington Post:  “Eric Holder, giving Justice a bad name”

 “There was a time when Obama couldn’t get a bad headline in this town. Now he’s the new Nixon. I dropped out of writing about US politics three weeks ago to finish a book and, on my return, I discover that everything’s changed. The President has been hit not by one Watergate but by three – Benghazi, the IRS, the DOJ phone records scandal – and even the mainstream media has stopped treating him like the bringer of hope and change predicted in the Bible. He´s not a Messiah, he´s a very naughty boy.”
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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES
Revealed: Hundreds of words to avoid using online if you don't want the government spying on you (and they include 'pork', 'cloud' and 'Mexico')
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WISE WORDS
"Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."
                     -James Madison
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LATE NITE
Leno:  Time magazine found a picture of President Obama at his high school prom back in 1979. Let me tell you how long ago that was. Back then, Obama had to ask a girl for her phone number. He couldn’t illegally obtain it through the Justice Department……..It is not looking good for President Obama. Today, his teleprompter took the Fifth. In fact, the White House has changed its slogan from “Yes, we can” to “No, I can’t remember…….The latest scandal in Washington, of course, is raising questions about the IRS. You know, I have a question. Why is it called the Internal Revenue Service? How is having your money confiscated a service?........A Democratic congressman said that he worries that the IRS scandal might have a chilling effect on the IRS and that they might be afraid to audit people. So finally some good is coming out of all of this.

“…..ever since Jay Leno announced that he’s retiring, it sure seems like his jokes have veered in an anti-Obama direction. Enjoy his latest, as well as contributions from others.”

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