Friday, March 2, 2012

Sure We Can - (Well Maybe)

I find if I can write things down they stop rattling around in my mind. Here are my TWO TOP rattlers of the morning.

ONE: At a time of record deficits, cutting back on military spending has caused a lot of worry and debate. Our military defends our country and protects from the 'bad' guys. Our military has built a new soccer field for detainees at Camp 6 in Guantanamo Bay -- at a cost of $750,000 to taxpayers. They say it'sbecause the detainees (militants) like soccer. Now since the detention camps opened in 2002, some half dozen cases have been prosecuted -- four ended in plea agreements with minimal jail time.

Two: (Closer to home….) New Albany, Mississippi somehow got 9.6 million dollars to tear up forty miles of railroad track and paved it so it will be a walking trail and a bike path…. They say this project will create jobs and help businesses. Who got them the money and from where? Clearly taxpayers' dollars but who got them the money? Where did such an idea come from? I know that New Albany needs help but a forty mile walking path. (?)

After reading this one-two punch over coffee this morning I had to wonder how this country runs at any level?

President Obama Job Approval
RCP Average

Direction of Country
RCP Average
Right Direction
Wrong Track

Generic Congressional Vote
RCP Average

Here are Real Clear Politics average polls….. Notice congress generic polls are now tied…. So half the folks see Dems and GOP in the same light. Also, and I think very importantly, notice the tie with Obama on approve versus disapprove. What becomes, once again, critical is the independent voter. It seems that group has a history for voting for whom they perceive to be a strong leader. Like the rest of us, they are staring at Mitt and Rick with a big question mark popping up in their minds.

This missive may be the ten thousandth time I have suggested that everyone needs to take a look at Newt Gingrich in some other way than what has been the past measuring stick…. I think this because 1) Our two leading candidates clearly support some form of national health plan. I can rationalize how Rick could be off base BUT Mitt has a history with this kind of dangerous legislation. 2) Neither of these two candidates will speak directly to the issue of how they would cut government growth or spending other that vague generalities . 3) Already the polls are raising the question of each of their abilities to beat Obama in the general election……

The November vote will be for or against a President who in his first term in office has kept every promise he made… He has worked tirelessly to expand government, expand social programs, raise taxes, created a national health plan, and is in the process of spreading the wealth around…..

Many of us discount what Obama has accomplished because we don't believe in what he is doing…. And in doing so we assume the majority of the voters feel the way we do… Big mistake…because trust in a politician keeping his word is paramount for most voters. On our side we only have one candidate, Newt Gingrich, who has a track record of making campaign promises and keeping them… Rick was voted out of the senate by voters of his state. Do you know how seldom this happens? (They saw something in him they didn't like….and they know something about him most of us don't know.) Poor Mitt…. He just wants to be president really bad... If the nation's life wasn't on the line I don't know how much I would care….. Donations are slowing down for him so he may have to drop another 50M into this campaign just like the last one.

Not long ago I ran an article written by one of Newt's daughters concerning rumors about her mother's and father's relationship. Silly me…thinking that because of what she was saying was different than what the liberal press was reporting would make some difference in how Newt is being judged.

Being a slow learner, I want to try again and this time address the ethic charges against Gingrich. This article is once again from one of my favorite web sites, TownHall, and the writer is Byron York:

The Romney campaign has been hitting Newt Gingrich hard over the 1990s ethics case that resulted in the former speaker being reprimanded and paying a $300,000 penalty. Romney mentions it often, and his campaign made the ethics case the focus of the most widely viewed attack ad of the Florida primary.
Given all that attention, it's worth asking what actually happened back in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

The Gingrich case was extraordinarily complex, intensely partisan, and driven in no small way by a personal vendetta on the part of one of Gingrich's former political opponents. It received saturation coverage in the press; a database search of major media outlets revealed more than 10,000 references to Gingrich's ethics problems during the six months leading to his reprimand. It ended with a special counsel hired by the House Ethics Committee holding Gingrich to an astonishingly strict standard of behavior, after which Gingrich in essence pled guilty to two minor offenses. Afterward, the case was referred to the Internal Revenue Service, which conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter -- and then, three years later, completely exonerated Gingrich.

It's that last part of the story you don't hear about much.

At the center of the controversy was a course Gingrich taught from 1993 to 1995 at two small Georgia colleges. The class, called "Renewing American Civilization," was conceived by Gingrich and financed by a tax-exempt organization called the Progress and Freedom Foundation. Gingrich maintained that the course was a legitimate educational enterprise; his critics said it had little to do with learning and was, in fact, a political exercise in which Gingrich abused a tax-exempt foundation to spread his own partisan message.

The Gingrich case was driven in significant part by a man named Ben Jones. An actor and recovered alcoholic who became famous for playing the dim-witted Cooter in the popular 1980s TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard," Jones ran for Congress as a Democrat from Georgia in 1988. He served two terms, but lost his seat due to redistricting. Attempting a comeback, he ran against Gingrich in 1994 and lost decisively. After that, it's fair to say Jones became obsessed with bringing Gingrich down.

Two days before Election Day 1994, with defeat in sight, Jones hand-delivered a complaint to the House Ethics Committee. (The complaint was printed on "Ben Jones for Congress" stationery. ) Jones charged that Gingrich "fabricated a 'college course' intended, in fact, to meet certain political, not educational, objectives."
Jones teamed up with his friend, Democratic Rep. David Bonior, to push the case relentlessly. Under public pressure, the Ethics Committee -- made up of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats -- took up the case and hired an outside counsel, Washington lawyer James Cole, to conduct the investigation.
Cole developed a theory in which Gingrich, looking for a way to spread his political views, came up with the idea of creating a college course and then devised a way to use a tax-exempt foundation to pay the bills. Cole didn't argue that the course was not educational; it plainly was. But Cole suggested that the standard for determining wrongdoing was whether any ill intent lurked in Gingrich's heart, even if the course was unquestionably educational.

It is hard to con vey today how much the media became preoccupied with the case, and how much pressure fell on Gingrich and Republicans to end the ordeal. In January 1997, Gingrich agreed to plead guilty to the previously unknown offense of failing to seek sufficiently detailed advice from a tax lawyer before proceeding with the course. (Gingrich had, in fact, sought advice from two such lawyers in relation to the course.) Gingrich also admitted that he had provided "inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable" information to Ethics Committee investigators. That "inaccurate" information was largely Gingrich's contention that the course was not political -- a claim the IRS later would support.

Why did Gingrich admit wrongdoing? "The atmosphere at the time was so rancorous, partisan, and personal that everyone, including Newt, was desperately seeking a way to end the whole thing," Gingrich attorney Jan Baran said in 1999. "He was admitting to whatever he could to get the case over with."

It was a huge victory for Democrats. They had deeply wounded the speaker. But they wanted more, and they pressed the IRS to investigate.

Experts examined every word Gingrich spoke in every class; they examined the financing and administration of the course; and they examined how the course might have fit into Gingrich's political network.

In the end, in 1999, the IRS released a highly detailed 74-page report that concluded the course was, in fact, a legitimate educational exercise. "The 'Renewing American Civilization' course was educational ... and not biased toward any of those who were supposed to be benefited," the IRS concluded.

Bottom line: Gingrich acted properly and violated no laws. Of course, by that time, Gingrich was out of office, widely presumed to be guilty of something, and his career in politics was (seemingly) over. Now he's having to fight the fight all over again.

As the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb observed more than a decade ago, “What was once stigmatized as deviant behavior is now tolerated and even sanctioned; what was once regarded as abnormal has been normalized.” But even more importantly, she added, “As deviancy is normalized, so what was once normal becomes deviant. The kind of family that has been regarded for centuries as natural and moral – the ‘bourgeois’ family as it is invidiously called – is now seen as pathological” and exclusionary, concealing the worst forms of psychic and physical oppression.
My point is this: Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.

Thanks, Byron

Well, the big day is coming with SUPER TUESDAY…. It would be nice IF next Tuesday offered us some closure. I fear not…. Iran has its equivalent of super Tuesday today…. I don't expect much of a change there either. Inflation in Iran is running 20% plus there… If we had 20% inflation here I predict, with confidence, what American's voters would do……

Just a few of numbers to mull over:

November elections will take place in 249 days, 9 hours, and 55 minutes
Actual Unemployment 23,044,093
US Retirees and SSI 66,797,723
Food stamps 46,784,780
Liability Per Tax payer 1,041,436
Unfunded liabilities 117,834,017,737,930

Does anyone have any ideas as to how we are going to pay these bills?

Click on the link below and hear/see Senator's Reid's stand on the current conflict between religion and government.

Have a great day…




No comments:

Post a Comment

Let us know what you think?