” As a government shutdown begins, much of the public knows very little about the issues behind it: Obamacare and the future of the federal budget. An April Kaiser Family Foundation survey showed that 44% do not even realize that Obamacare is still the law. Kaiser’s June poll found that 33% say they have “heard nothing” about the controversial insurance exchanges that are a central element of the law, and 34% “only a little.”
Widespread political ignorance isn’t limited to spending and health care. It cuts across many other issues, and even the basic structure of government. For example, a 2006 Zogby survey found that only 42% of Americans can name the three branches of the federal government: executive, legislative and judicial.
It is easy to blame ignorance on stupidity or on the media. But basic information about most political issues is readily available in the media and online. It isn’t hard to find out what Obamacare insurance exchanges are. The problem is that most people don’t take the time and effort to do so. That is not because they are stupid, but because there is so little incentive to acquire political information. The probability that one vote will actually make a difference to the outcome of an election is infinitesimally small.
The problem of ignorance is exacerbated by the enormous size and scope of government. Government spending accounts for well over one third of GDP, and government also regulates nearly every aspects of life. Even if voters devoted far more time to following political issues, they would still be ignorant about most government policies.”
Tag Archive: Politics
” During recent negotiations, Vladimir Putin demonstrated his skill at using peace as a weapon, and placed Russia in a position to take the title of the guardian of democracy and western values.It is hard to imagine the “leader of the free world” administering a nation where journalists are imprisoned, militarized police kick in doors without warrants, where any citizen can be arrested and shipped to a remote prison without charge or trial, where police can kill unarmed citizens with impunity, where the government orders military attacks in defiance of international law, where dissidents flee in fear for their freedom or lives, where constant identification checkpoints stop citizens on the road, and where security services spy on every citizen in the country.However, that is the country that President Obama currently reigns over, leaving the title of “leader of the free world” up for grabs.With the notable exception of gay rights, Russia beats the United States in almost every metric of individual liberty. With many expecting a reboot of the Cold War, it will be interesting to see who plays the villain this time.”
Zimmerman “A No Good Jew” Say Black Panthers
Published on Apr 11, 2012
“A spokesperson for the New Black Panther Party speaking in an interview in Jacksonville called George Zimmerman “a wicked white beast” and “a no good Jew”.”
” In 2003, to celebrate 35 years of publishing a monthly magazine dedicated to Free Minds and Free Markets, reasonnamed “35 Heroes of Freedom”—innovators, economists, singers, anti-communists, pornographers, professional athletes, and even the occasional politician who contributed to making the world a freer place since 1968.
These weren’t necessarily the 35 best human beings to span the globe. Richard Nixon, for example, was selected for encouraging “cynicism about government” through his rampant abuses of power. And, well, let’s say Dennis Rodman hasn’t aged particularly well. But the list reflected the happy, unpredictable cacophony that has helped liberate the world one novel or deregulation or electric guitar at a time.
Our 45th anniversary has come along at a darker time. The post-9/11 lurch toward unchecked law enforcement power has now become a permanent feature of our bipartisan consensus, with a Democratic president now ordering assassinations of American teenagers and with millions of Americans unaware that the feds are combing through their telecommunications. Keynesians in Washington responded to the financial crisis of 2008 by ushering in a lost decade of government spending, sluggish growth, and the worst employment numbers since Jimmy Carter was president. And after an initially promising Arab Spring, whole swaths of the Middle East seem poised for a long, sectarian, transnational war.
So it’s fitting that this time around we’re anointing reason’s 45 Enemies of Freedom. Again, these aren’t the worst human beings who bestrode the planet since 1968 (though Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden rank right down there). Some, like John McCain, are even genuine American heroes. What unites them is their active effort to control individuals rather than allow them free choice, to wield power recklessly rather than act on the recognition that the stuff inherently corrupts, and to popularize lies in a world that’s desperate for truth.
You’ll see some familiar names there (we can’t quit you, Tricky Dick!) and some others that deserve to be more notorious. But in our otherwise alphabetical list we’ll start with the man who nearly everyone on our staff nominated, a figure who embodies so much that is wrong with public policy and the political conversation in these United States.“
1. Michael Bloomberg
Click here to read the whole list
Click here to cast your own vote for the biggest enemies of freedom.
” Belatedly, I’ve come across the review by Jonathan Martin of Politico of the book Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn’t by Robert Kaiser, a 50-year reporter and editor at the Washington Post. What struck me was that both of these very knowledgeable Washington journalists seem very clear-eyed about the deficiencies of the legislative process, and yet their understanding doesn’t cause them to question the idea of having government manage every facet of our lives. Here are some excerpts from the review:
Congress is dominated by intellectual lightweights who are chiefly consumed by electioneering and largely irrelevant in a body where a handful of members and many more staff do the actual work of legislating. And the business of the institution barely gets done because of a pernicious convergence of big money and consuming partisanship.”
” Did the IRS intervene in Federal election campaigns for Congress? According to the Washington Times, U.S. Treasury investigative special agent Dennis Martel has uncovered a new example of political abuse.
On March 9, 2010, Christine O’Donnell’s personal income tax records were illegally accessed by a Delaware public official. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) reports that a previously-undisclosed “back door” to the IRS computer system was used to invade the privacy of Christine O’Donnell’s tax records.
Who knew? It turns out that state government criminal investigators can directly — though illegally — access IRS records through a “back door.” Along with O’Donnell, at least four other political candidates and four conservative donors have been identified so far as victims of this abuse.
A Congressional investigation of the IRS “back door” conducted by Sen. Charles Grassley [R - IA] is now under way. However, even Grassley, Martel, and the Washington Times have not yet put all the pieces together.
Christine O’Donnell ran against Joe Biden for that same office in 2008. Most of O’Donnell’s extended family got audited by the IRS right after Uncle Joe was sworn in as V.P. in January 2009. She is one of six siblings. The statistical probability of so many relatives being suddenly audited all together is like a dozen lightning strikes.”
” Forget the over-zealous prosecutors and the repellent state attorney Angela Corey (who should be immediately disbarred or, my wife said sarcastically, elevated to director of Homeland Security) and even the unfortunate Trayvon Martin family (although it is certainly hard to forget them — they have our profound sympathies), the true loser at the Zimmerman trial was Barack Obama.
By injecting himself in a minor Florida criminal case by implying Martin could be his son, the president of the United States — a onetime law lecturer, of all things — disgraced himself and his office, made a mockery of our legal system and exacerbated racial tensions in our country, making them worse than they have been in years. This is the work of a reactionary, someone who consciously/unconsciously wants to push our nation back to the 1950s.”
” Sex. Drugs. Cheating on a spouse.
Those words used to add up to shame. Put them in the same sentence as a politician’s name, and they ended careers.
Not anymore. The latest batch of unlikely back-from-the-swamp hopefuls are Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer. Weiner resigned his New York City congressional seat two years ago after revelations that he’d tweeted a sexually suggestive picture of himself to a woman who was following him on Twitter. Spitzer left the state’s governorship in 2008 after reports surfaced that federal investigators had tagged him as “Client 9,” soliciting high-end prostitutes.
Each now has a decent shot at a big prize, Weiner New York’s Democratic mayoral nomination, Spitzer the city’s comptroller job. Spitzer led his closest rival by 9 percentage points in a Wall Street Journal-NBC 4-Marist poll released Thursday.
They join the growing roster of comebacks, or at least serious attempts, by scandal-tarred politicians:”
Russians Refuse to Shake Obama’s Hand
” The MAIG Action Fund (which is supposedly separate from the main MAIG organization) is registered as a 501c4 non-profit, you know, the same designation that the IRS refused to many conservative groups for being “political” in nature. The organization is largely funded by Bloomberg’s personal fortune and the mayor has spent over $14 million of his own funds on the group.
According to POLITICO, several domain names for the organization are registered with and maintained by New York City’s IT department and city employees. From the report,
Two domains – mayorsagainstillegalguns.com and mayorsagainstillegalguns.org – both list the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications as the registrants.”
” Political appointees at the Defense Department, the CIA and the White House brushed aside concerns from career officials about helping two Hollywood filmmakers research their 2012 movie about the top-secret Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to a report from the Pentagon’s inspector general.
CIA Director Leon E. Panetta, who had been nominated to take over at the Pentagon; Mike Vickers, defense undersecretary for intelligence; and politically appointed public affairs staff in both agencies and the White House helped secure for the filmmakers a meeting with a participant or planner of the 2011 raid, the report shows.”
This report confirms a post we had earlier in the week about the politicization of the bin-Laden raid and amply demonstrates that political expediency trumps national security every time with the thugs that presently occupy the White House .
” “At the direction of Director Panetta, the CIA is cooperating fully” with the filmmakers, Mr. Vickers wrote to Douglas Wilson, who was assistant defense secretary for public affairs. In reply, Mr. Wilson promised to “check with the [White House] to update them on status.”
Investigators said that, as a result of these efforts, screenwriter Mark Boal attended a June 2011 ceremony at CIA headquarters in which raid participants were honored and were clearly identified, despite efforts to keep their identities secret.”
The next time you hear Obama prattle on about the need for secrecy to maintain “national security” keep in mind the fact that the term is actually meaningless to him and his staff . To them EVERYTHING is viewed through the PRISM of politics and how the given situation/event can best be spun to make them look good . There is never any selfless consideration of what’s good for the country , only what’s good for Obama and his Statist agenda .
If you doubt that this could be the case just pause for a moment and consider , Fast & Furious , Benghazi , Sequestration , IRS , James Rosen , AP Phone Records , PRISM , War On Whistleblowers , et al . Observed with an eye towards Obama’s political survival the administration’s seemingly bizarre actions make sense .
” If reports of political targeting of conservatives by the Internal Revenue Service shocked the nation, they didn’t seem that surprising to many other groups who experienced problems with the tax agency in the past.
Liberal groups such as Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say they were targeted, too, by past administrations. The conservative group Judicial Watch says it was singled out for tax scrutiny during the Clinton administration because it supported impeachment.
Charges of politically motivated targeting by the IRS are notoriously difficult to prove or disprove. The older cases differ from the current scandal and the evidence of political attacks is circumstantial. But in interviews with McClatchy, leaders of these well-known activist groups assert they were targeted during Bush and Clinton administrations.
“We have been targeted,” said Jeff Kerr, chief counsel for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “
” Many audits are triggered by anonymous or direct information about a group or citizen, a so-called “information item.” The IRS also offers rewards to tipsters equal to about 10 percent of taxes owed.”
The entire concept of anonymous tips that is utilized throughout the law enforcement community is merely an open invitation to corruption , retaliation , spite and greed . It needs to be ended . It harkens back to the old Soviet Union control method of pitting neighbor against neighbor and , just as in the USSR is destroying civil society .
“The process of obtaining an exemption is a privilege. Not everyone in the United States is exempt from taxation . . . you have to meet highly specific criteria, that Congress decided, not the IRS . . . and jump through hoops and answer questions,” he said, adding that he never witnessed political motivation but worked in Washington during the Nixon revelations and was shocked. “I knew a lot of people and nobody I know has ever had that experience.”
The concept of exemptions is another idea that does nothing but foster the culture of abuse of power . Who is to decide who gets “special” treatment ? What ever happened to the founding notion of “equal protection before the law” ?
Further reading on the history of IRS abuse .
” The killings of 20 first-grade students and six adult staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012, obviously constitutes a terrible, newsworthy event. But the news coverage did more than report the details of what happened at Newtown. It also sought to classify this incident as an instance of a larger problem. The initial news reports described what had happened as “the second deadliest school shooting,” “another mass shooting,” and a “mass killing” (all in stories in the next day’s New York Times) and as “the second deadliest shooting event in U.S. history” (The Washington Post). The Post’s website ranked the 12 “Deadliest U.S. shootings” (the earliest case on their list occurred in 1949), while the Mother Jones website added Newtown to its page “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America” (which included only cases from 1982 to 2012).”
The categorization of “mass shootings” , “mass murders” , “workplace violence” or whatever other clever nomenclature that happens to be in vogue are decided upon by the media that reports on the stories and we would do well to remember that the present day media , the so-called mainstream anyway , are anything but dispassionate observers and reporters of fact .
” According to The New Republic, there were 70 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012, leaving 543 people dead. The magazine does not say whether this death toll includes the shooters, who often—but not always—also die. But let us assume that only the shooters’ victims were counted. (Amy Sullivan, the New Republic article’s author, says she believes that is the case.) That works out to about 2.3 incidents and 18 victims’ deaths per year. Last year was an unusually bad year, with 68 people killed in seven mass shootings—a terrible toll, to be sure. But in the context of some 2.5 million deaths from all causes last year, mass shootings, while dramatic, are simply not a major cause of death. And because these events are quite rare, and their number fluctuates from year to year, it is difficult to determine a clear trend. The horrors of 2012 made it easy from some commentators to claim that mass shootings were on the rise, but should there be fewer cases in 2013, it is unlikely that people will note that the problem is growing smaller.”
As with most any news items today , how events are portrayed in the media is really more an issue of what particular ax the reporting organization has to grind than it is a fair illustration of the facts .
” A buycott is the opposite of a boycott. Buycott helps you to organize your everyday consumer spending so that it reflects your principles.
Example: During the SOPA/PIPA debate in 2012, a number of companies pushed to pass legislation that reduced online freedom of expression, while other companies fought hard to oppose the legislation. With Buycott, a campaign can be quickly created around a cause, with the goal of targeting companies with a boycott unless they change their position, or buycotting a company to show your support.
When you use Buycott to scan a product, it will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you’ve joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments.“
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” Federal aid for college students, it’s really no secret, is driven by what works politically, not what’s best for students. While logic and evidence strongly suggest that aid mainly enables colleges to raise their prices at breakneck speeds, politicians talk nonstop about aid making college “affordable.” Financial reality simply does not trump appearing to “care.” But on Friday, the Obama administration appears poised to take aid exploitation to a new level.”
If you thought student aid was about students you’d be mistaken . As with all that DC does it’s about aiding politicians , not constituents. Silly taxpayer , aid is for pols …
” At this point, you’d think the President would be negotiating, not grandstanding. But then you wouldn’t understand federal student aid (or, really, almost anything government does). It is first and foremost about politicians – who are normal, self-interested people – getting what they need: political support, not sane college prices. And you get a lot of that support by appearing to want to “help people” more than the other guys.”
” An interesting factoid emerges from a look at a transcript of last Friday’s edition of “The Lead With Jake Tapper”– Stephanie Cutter was in on the White House meetings that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman attended.
Cutter insists that Shulman was simply meeting about implementation of ObamaCare — and in fairness, one of her responsibilities was managing communications strategy for the unpopular law. But as everyone knows, Stephanie Cutter’s expertise is not primarily in the policy area; it is in the realm of politics: Political strategy and communications. She has been described by the Daily Beast as a partisan “pit bull.” Her job isn’t the nuts and bolts of governing. She is a political fixer. That’s why she was a Deputy Campaign manager for the President’s re-election.”
Nothing political to see here . Now move along .
” Consider the following timeline:
May 2009 - Cutter moves to White House from Treasury Department
January 2010 – Citizens United is handed down; Democrats are hysterical
March 2010 - IRS begins targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups
April 2010 - Cutter assigned to sell health care reform; if meetings with Shulman didn’t occur before, presumably they did so afterwards.”
Stephanie Cutter is the poster girl for all things political . Having her involved with the Shulman IRS meetings stinks to high heavens .
- Subpoena her: CNN’s Stephanie Cutter vouches for former IRS chief Doug Shulman (twitchy.com)
- Shock: Former IRS chief Doug Shulman’s wife works with liberal group ‘fighting for change’ (twitchy.com)
- Who had access to the IRS Tea Party database and what did they do with it? (rare.us)
- Former IRS commissioner’s visits to White House become friction point (thelead.blogs.cnn.com)
- “the dumbest political effort of all time”….. (theconservativetreehouse.com)
- Evidence May Point Directly To Barack Obama In IRS Scandal (freedomoutpost.com)
Nixon and Obama: Like brothers from another mother
Published on May 28, 2013
” Many pundits and journalists, including CBS’ Bob Schieffer, have drawn parallels between the Obama White House’s handling of scandals plaguing the administration and Former President Nixon’s management of Watergate. We looked back in the archives to see just how close they were.”
Dennis Miller Time – Chris Christie/Barack Obama/Eric Holder – Bill OReilly – The Factor – 5-29-13
” By the time lawmakers return to session next week, at least four different investigations will be underway.
As The Daily Caller has reported, at least five different IRS offices including Cincinnati, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois and El Monte and Laguna Niguel, California improperly targeted conservative nonprofit groups for extra scrutiny between 2010 and 2012.
So for those of you keeping score at home (this reporter is still waiting for Ken Starr to send in his bracket picks) The Daily Caller presents a list of some of our favorite investigations into potential IRS wrongdoing. Which one will come up with the “Alexander Butterfield” quote?”
Illustration by Jeff Parker
“ Writing a column on the recent IRS abuses is a hazardous undertaking. The scandal is expanding so quickly that it’s hard to get a paragraph on paper without having to revise it with new, shocking details. As I write this, an unctuous-looking former IRS commissioner by the name of Douglas Shulman is telling the Senate Finance Committee that he knows nothing, to the consternation of Senator Max Baucus. A Democratic senator angry at a Bush-appointed bureaucrat over the targeting of Tea Party groups—strange times on Capitol Hill.
But even in post-scandal Washington, some things always stay the same. One of them is the inclination of many progressives to defend the president at all costs, no matter what the accusation. Some of these arguments—with their logical contortions and obstinate immunity to new facts—have been downright impressive. Media Matters, head to the job fair. America has a hack surplus.
Let’s take a look at six of these rationalizations that have been circulating on the left.”
Read The Whole Thing
IRS Protest St. Louis County May 21, 2013
Published on May 21, 2013
” Residents of St. Louis County met in front of the IRS offices on May 21, 2013 to protest the IRS’ practice of targeting and harassing conservatives, patriots and Tea Party supporters. There were no city or county police there, ONLY DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY POLICE. According to the IG report, the IRS began targeting conservative organizations, especially Tea Party groups, in Feb. 2010, (although there is much evidence that they have been targeting conservative groups and Christian groups since the 1980′s.) The IRS agents were directed to target organizations with the words “patriot” or “tea party” in the names. The power to tax is the power to destroy. This is what it is like to live in a police state tyranny. It has become evident that they are planning on using the IRS as their Gestapo.”