Thursday, February 05, 2009

And Another One...
Via USA Today, Hilda Solis, President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Labor, is also caught up in a tax scandal. One which has lasted approximately 16 years. Read it here.

Geithner, Rangel, Killifer, Dashcle and now Solis. When anti-war democrats tried to sabotage our troops in Iraq, we were warned against the practice of 'questioning democrat's patriotism'. According to our new Vice President, Joe Biden, "paying taxes is every American's patriotic duty." I wonder if, in light of all these scandals involving democrats and their spouses not paying their taxes, it is permissible to question it now? If not now, then when?

HopeChangeWeCanBelieveIn is certainly begining to sound ever more hollow as each day passes. If anything, all of these tax issues have revealed two important themes which should be front-and-center on Congress' agenda, even before this stupid, practically-worthless Porkulus Bill:

a) There is a culture of corruption and entitlement within Washington, D.C., which infects the entire elected class, regardless of party. For republicans, this curse takes the form of hypocrisy, for democrats, it manifests itself in criminal wrongdoing. It can no longer be hidden, and will require some mechanism outside the halls of power (i.e. beyond the political classes' ability to influence it) to correct. Thank God we have a clean electoral system, and an independant press! (note sarcasm), and

b) The people who wrote the damned tax code can't understand it, nor can their CPA's and attorneys, and if they all do understand it, they're very good at circumventing it...right up until the time that sheer greed and gall push them to go beyond the limits of even simple good taste knowing they will simply be able to wriggle out of any punishment, protected, even aided-and-abettted, by their fellows in the Congress, the White House, and within the federal apparatus.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Information Desert...
Occasionally, I force myself to watch the cacophony that bills itself as The News from different sources (I prefer FoxNews, personally) so that I might (I pray) be given another take on the world, and insights that I may not be getting elsewhere. Hopefully, these other viewpoints are going to be juxtaposed against their intellectual and rhetorical counterparts, place din context free of bias, and something resembling useful information will come out of the TV. It is often a fruitless activity.

CNN is long past the point where objectivity is anything to be prized or striven for. In my experience, the last time CNN told the truth about anything is when it admitted that Peter Arnett lied about American chemical and biological warfare in Vietnam. Still, you might catch Wolf Blitzer in an unguarded moment when his mouth slips a gear and moves out of sync with his mouth. However, the amount of time one must devote to stalking such a choice morsel is counter-productive; you could, if inclined, learn quantum mechanics in the time between uttered truths on CNN. It's a useless exercise as the only thing you'll learn is today's DNC talking points.

Headline News is, I think, simply CNN under the No-Frills label. The 'Store Brand' CNN, if you will.

CBS and ABC News are simply lame. Whoever decided that Katie Couric was a journalist should be neutered -- painfully, and with every precaution taken to ensure rapid and pervasive post-operative infection. The issue is not that Katie is unattractive, nor unintelligent; there's no question as to her appeal, although the brain thing is open to debate. Her real problem is that she simply isn't believable. She hasn't the slightest inclination towards objectivity either, and she can't hide it. Poor Katie's also laboring with the Albatross of Dan Rather hung 'round her neck. This perception of CBS being so, a) dishonest and b) credulous, in it's handling of the G.W. Bush 'desertion' story is a stain that will not go away. It will linger for years, until CBS itself is a distant memory. I wonder if that clouds my judgement on the issue (see? Katie and CBS wouldn't even ask themselves that kind of question! I have more objectivity than CBS News!). Again, no real counterpoint is given to anything that passes ideological muster at CBS. The network who once carried Murrow's famous "London is burning..." now carries nothing at all.

Charlie Gibson is simply moribund. He reminds me of rice pudding. Six month old rice pudding. Stodgy and dodgy, and still laboring under the pretense that he offers something to the hungry -- in this case, hungry for news. I have a feeling that before Charlie goes on, someone scrapes the mold off him and props him up in his seat. I find him to be as interesting as unbuttered toast, and he makes me positively yearn for the days of Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts. I don't like Charlie Gibson, and I find even less useful information on ABC news as I would expect to find in any collegiate doctorate course.

So, I'm left with NBC, which is really quite frightening. Rockefeller Center should be renamed Red Square. NBC is so devoted to the political left in this country that it's frightening. Now, if the hallowed halls of NBC News weren't scary enough, what with Tom Brokaw getting misty on Ascension (Inauguration) Day, the NBC cable operation is down right horrifying.

I call it PMSNBC. It's appropriate, because it's major hosts are all whining sacks of estrogen -- Nora O'Donnell, Chris Matthews and (especially) Keith Olbermann . All are shills for the political left and make no secret of it. In a token gesture of fairness, they drag Pat Buchannan out as the Conservative Curmudegeon and then surround him with two or three communist sympathizers programmed to repeat the same rubbish ad nauseum, in three different configurations. These are three of the most ingenuous people I've ever seen on TV. The other major host is Rachel Maddow, who has mysteriously proclaimed herself the Queen of Cable TV, while managing to be wrong in her pronouncements more often than those who defended Bill Clinton's innocence and decency. Her only saving grace is that she's obviously smarter than Olbermann, but her leftist zeal leaves you wanting to smack her with a brick. She reminds you of the poodle next door that won't stop yapping, But give her credit: she's at least probably in control of her faculties.

Nora O'Donell, I get the impression, doesn't have an idea that doesn't originate on a teleprompter; she's simply eye candy they taught to read. Matthews occasionally hits upon a patch of impartiality, but it's usually when the occasion is too obvious to obscure. Olbermann is simply insane. He's in love with his own voice, his own ideas, and his own (vapid and vacuous) jokes (I think they're supposed to be jokes). He's also obsessed with Bill O'Reilly. Like high-school-pimply-geek-who-keeps-asking-you-to-the-prom-stalker obsessed.

However, I will say this for PMSNBC -- Morning Joe is better than Fox and Friends, but only from the standpoint that since both really suck, it manages to suck a little bit less. Mostly because of Mika. That Mika Brzs-sha-sha-nis-shin-ski is nice to look at in the morning, and she actually offers some useful dialogue and asks the occasional relevant question...when Scarborough lets her get a word in edgewise, that is. When he presents a republican point of view, however, you feel as if the surface has merely been scratched, and barely at that. Toss JOe and give Mika more time to do her newswoman shtick; I'll bet she's good at it. She looks bright and competent

There is no possibility of an alternate point of view from the political right being fairly or fully presented on cable or broadcast TV, it seems, except on the Internet, and for that you have to actively search them out. Since most people are lazy and have attention spans measured in RPM's, I rather doubt many of them are spending their time trying to get properly informed, and are simply swallowing the mental jetsam available on TV without a thought.

It's no wonder people fell for HopeChange as a political program for American greatness.
The Rangel Rule...
There seems to be a big problem in Washington, these days. It's not a lack of lobbyists, Code Pink protesters, or Streetwalkers (That's three kinds of whores in one sentence!).If those things were in short supply in D.C., perhaps our elected officials would get something done properly (entirely by accident, I assure you). Oh no, Washington DC., Sodom-On-The-Potomac, shall never want for these things, since those who have been elected always draw such creatures as surely as a pile of shit shall draw flies. The Cardinal Rule of Human Relations: uninteresting, stupid people don't get any attention -- but really super-uninteresting, stupid people with the ability to hijack billions of tax dollars suddenly become the sexiest people. Ever.

Anyway, back to that problem I was about to complain about.

It seems that democrats, and their hangers-on, have problems paying taxes. See: Rangel, Daschle, Geitner. It also turns out that they have problems paying for a lot of things, as well. Like parking tickets (Rangel), or for chauffeurs and limousines provided by a 'very good friend' (Daschle). Even when informed by accountants, given written instructions on what to do, and even given a separate check to cover the expense (Geitner), these guys, for whatever reason, can't seem to stick a crowbar in their wallets and do what Joe Biden called 'your patriotic duty' (i.e. pay your taxes).

And what's amazing is the amounts of taxes owed! Rangel owed 75-grand, Daschle over 140,000 large, Geitner, a mere pittance, at 40k. These guys must be very rich, indeed. They seem to owe more in taxes than some people earn as a pre-tax salary. I thought it was axiomatic in democratic circles that rich people were evil parasites, sucking the lifeblood from 'the underprivileged' whose 'fair share had been 'stolen' by those with enormous wallets. Certainly, no one who has been financially fortunate could ever have come by that sort of money honestly. That's on Page 1 of the democratic (small 'd' intentional) party handbook. Why, the entire point of the so-called progressive tax system was to ensure that the rich paid their fair share. I think these guys would qualify as 'rich', and it's apparent they haven't paid their 'fair share'.

Of course, if you have a 'D" next to your name and are either the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, responsible for writing the tax laws of this nation, or you are to be named to some important post (like, you know, being the guy who will run the freakin' IRS!) by the Savior of the Universe in Mortal Form. Then there is no criminality, no hypocrisy, no act of sheer audacity that can't be forgiven. In this case, you can just pay what you owe -- quietly, if you can -- and then the little people can just ignore the screaming hypocrisy. That's right...go back to watching Oprah and American Idol...good peasant...good...nothing to see here.

Except the Peasants actually noticed this time. Ooops.

Not only did these three men not pay their taxes, like the rest of us must (in fact, most of us have our taxes taken directly from our paychecks so that that we can't make the kinds of 'mistakes' these guys do), they then, mystically, have avoided the payment of interest and other penalties that you just absolutely know they would hit you and your neighbors with. Not a peep about interest and penalties, not a mention of possible criminal proceedings, no garnishing of wages or freezing of accounts. The dreaded Audit Beast was apparently put back in it's cage and given a sedative.

The IRS would have made life an unmitigated hell for the average person who did what these guys did, and very often does for a lot less money.

The people who scolded GM executives for flying in private jets to attend a meeting Congress itself told them to come to, while they looked the other way as $350 billion dollars simply vanished into the darkest recesses of the banking system, have a bigger issue that they'd better solve before any other;

They are sorely, incredibly, painfully out of touch with the real world. The next time one of them says 'for the American people' or 'working families' someone should step out of the crowd with a 2-by-4 and whack them right across the forehead. These people don't know jack shit about working families or the American people.

Neither working families nor the vast majority of the American people could get away with "I made a mistake on my taxes" when they've been helping to write the goddamned tax code for a quarter of a century. Working families don't have friends who lend them limousines and chauffeurs, while they collect a $83,000-a-month paycheck from him as well, or have their employer provide them with a check to pay their taxes separate from their salary. These people have a credibility gap that's wider than the gap between Nancy Pelosi's ears, deeper than the black pit of Henry Waxman's nostrils, more hazardous than the open ground between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera.

Our political class, and their satellites, cannot be trusted. They make up the rules as they go along, and then alter them as they see fit or are required to for political purposes. They do not obey the laws they pass, and often, exempt themselves from them. They feast at the public trough, all the while taking backdoor paychecks-by-other-euphemism from private industry, citizen's groups, labor unions, those seeking their favor in terms of government contracts or legislation, and even each other.

A Congressman from Texas is about to submit a bill in the House of Representatives this week (assuming Nancy Pelosi lets him, since alas, he's a Republican) that would allow any American who owes taxes this April 15th to simply write "Rangel Rule" on the bottom of his/her tax form, and thus, claim the same privilege enjoyed by Rep. Rangel so that they don't have their life turned upside down by the IRS. I hope he succeeds.

One of the founding ideals of the American Experiment is that all people, regardless of wealth, position, race, religion, and especially political affiliation, are considered equal in the eyes of the law, and that no matter what that law will be equally and fairly enforced. Apparently, it's not. We've known it for a very long time, but didn't want to admit it. Now it can no longer be hidden or ignored, and seems all the more disgusting when people in this country are losing jobs; robbed by their businessmen on the one hand, cheated by their political leaders on the other. We have no one to blame but ourselves as shareholders and voters.

These are the people to whom we're about to entrust the spending of one trillion dollars. It's a fucking disgrace.

Update: More on this from American Thinker here and here. Now, the woman who was supposed to the Chief Performance Officer (some sort of super-efficiency guru) has had to bow out here. Professor Hanson agrees with me.