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Friday, May 30, 2014

Beware Zealot Americans! You’re Not Welcome in the USA



I was raised in the Catholic faith but I went to public schools. My father was Catholic, my mother Protestant (that was sort of evil back in the day). Baby Boomers know this. Faith and race don’t seem to really matter when two people marry these days, but speak out about the American government—that’s a no-no.

Snowden the Patriot


I truly believe the only reason I’m not on the “no-fly” list is because I’m not threat. I don’t have access to secret CIA, FBI, NSA or any other agency secrets or documents.  I’ve written my opinions of President Obama. At first, I didn’t like him, now I do—and I’m a Republican. I like him because no one person, even the United States President can truly change America and that’s a sad thing. So if we have to have a President, Obama is as good as any.

From the onset, I looked at Edward Snowden as a patriot, not a criminal. I don’t think he’s guilty of anything. I don’t agree with those that say, “Oh he’s a patriot, but he’s also guilty of the espionage act.” I disagree, especially since his conversation with Brian Williams on NBC.

I do believe he “fudged” things a bit to make him seem more sympathetic, but everyone has their faults. His may be that he’s too big for his britches, but he’s not a spy.  He’s a whistleblower in the truest sense of the word and because it was GOVERNMENT documents he was leaking, the whistleblower thing goes right out the window.

Beyond the Whistleblower


Americans are embarrassed by their government leaders. That’s a fact, not fiction. Poll after poll seems to reveal the disappointment in why our politicians can’t agree on anything. Disagreeing all day long is not getting anything done at all—but our Senators and Congress folks still get paid. They still have their fat salaries and benefit packages.

Can you imagine if you went to your job one day and you and your co-workers decided not to do anything but argue all day and still get paid? Not possible.

I believe if a person or a group really dug in their heels and did something outrageous—like went to another country and said, “Hey American politicians suck, we are so embarrassed to be Americans, we don’t know if we want to go back!” Now, this individual or group would have to get some press—a lot of it actually—enough to get the American government’s attention.

They’d instantly be put on the no-fly list and maybe they’d be detained for “questioning.” Maybe they’d go straight to jail and sit silent for three or four months until the US decided it’s time to give them an attorney or two. When it comes to our government, they want Americans to tell them about terrorists, organizations that are defrauding the American people or their creepy next door neighbor with an AK47, but they don’t want us to talk about them.

It’s a secret society and if you haven’t been “elected” into it, you can’t say anything bad about it and if you do, you’re a zealot, un-American and an all-around bad person.

Oh wait, I think the Dixie Chicks did this—but hey when’s the last time they released an album after that statement? Hmm.

The World Is Round!


From Jesus to Socrates to Columbus and more, those that had innovative thoughts were zealots. They were unwelcome, jailed and very often killed.

All I can do is blog and vote. That’s all most Americans can do. And, voting is a tricky thing. Voting for the “other guy,” especially if they will be a newbie is a joke. The veteran leaders in Washington DC pretty much say the same thing to the newbie politician as they did to Edward Snowden. “Sorry, just sit there and be pretty and don’t ask questions. You don’t know anything about anything.”

Shame really. A very big shame.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

What Makes a Racist?



Ever since the NBA’s commissioner Adam Silver handed down a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine to Donald Sterling, owner of the LA Clippers, I’ve pondered the question of what makes a racist. Actually, if I think back, I’ve thought about this before. I don’t consider myself a racist, but I do believe as a product of the 1960s (I was born in 1959), my parents were probably somewhat racist and so were the teachers who were supposed to be educating us on American History—and that lack of education—still astonishes me because it is in fact, what molded me—and those I grew up with.

Horrible Things I Should Have Learned

 



A few years back, I watched a documentary on the Ku Klux Klan on the History Channel. The entire documentary can be found on YouTube but they do rerun it from time to time—it’s titled: The Ku Klux Klan, A Secret History.

According to IMDb, this film was made in 1988 and I first watched it when I lived in Taos, NM so I’m thinking my first viewing was between 2001 and 2003. I’m embarrassed to say I sat through the entire film with my mouth open—or covering my mouth—in horror.

I wasn’t “educated” about any of this when I was in middle school or high school. And, in college, I guess my major would have to have been American Studies, African American Studies or something along that line, but that wasn’t my major and in the basic history class I took, the Klan was mentioned, but not detailed. Not at length or not enough to piss me off anyway. I remember being in grade school in Pittsburgh, PA where a white teacher asked an African American kid what his full name was (even though she knew it). He answered “Michael Donald James.” She replied “Class, never trust a person with three first names.” I don’t know why that sticks with me—but it does and as an adult, I find it cruel and intentional.

I was married and a mother before I read about “Soiled Doves” of the Old West and the mistreated ones were the Asians. No one cared if they were beaten to death, hung, or died from disease. They used them up and abused them and no one did a thing about it. Asian men weren’t immune from abuse either from whites and to survive, many male Asians became pimps or drug dealers. According to the Asian Nation their “People have been discriminated against for over 200 years.” I never learned about this in school either.

Growing up in Pittsburgh PA in the 1960s and 1970s I didn’t meet too many Latinos but according to Do Something.org, “An Associated press poll from 2010 found that 61 percent of people said that Hispanics face significant discrimination.” When I moved to Phoenix in 1989, this was my first exposure to the Latino race and what I found appalling was how blatant racism was. They were gangsters, uneducated and people to fear. They were drug dealers and would kill you if they could. Still, I’m also ashamed to say Arizona folks everywhere “hire” these folks as day workers, pay them hardly anything and then have the nerve to claim they want them out of their state. Again, my “educators” skipped teaching me about Latino discrimination.

When I moved to Taos, NM in 1996, it was a melting pot of culture that included Latinos and Native Americans. I think everyone learned about Little Big Horn and General Custer in school but not in the way we should have. Native American Indians were not the heroes, but the villains and that’s what Hollywood portrayed as well. I also learned of the atrocities this race faced—in school—as it should be, but when you meet these folks and hear their tales in-person, you find out a lot more—horrible stuff, unspeakable things. I am ashamed to say my biggest education on Native Americans was by watching John Wayne movies and the television show F-Troop. I know why Marlon Brando refused his Academy Award.

When I think about what makes a racist today, I truly believe we are a product of what we were allowed to hear and our school’s curriculums were designed to keep true history away. Our parents weren’t much help either.

Are Our Parent’s Racist?


This is a tough question. If you are a baby boomer and grew up in certain parts of the U.S., your parents (including mine) probably were and are racists—to a point. I’m not saying the Ku Klux Klan kind of racists but I know my parents certainly didn’t want me to date—or worse—marry and Asian or an African American. Latinos were never discussed in my house.

This is why I say our parents are racist to a point—they are a product of their times and their parents before them were a product of their times and it goes on and on. Only in the late 1990s (in my opinion) did children begin to be taught about cultures and ethics and how color was not something to discriminate against. EQ or emotional intelligence ensured all kids were encouraged to treat one another fair no matter their race, religion or creed. But not, when I was young and not when my parents or their parents were growing up. So yes, to a point, what is “taught” to you or “presented” to you makes you believe certain things and what kid doesn’t trust what their parents tell them?

Today’s Children Still “Uneducated”


I live in Austin, TX now and I asked my neighbor’s daughter, who is Latino and now 19 if she was taught about the Ku Klux Klan in high school. Her answer was “No.” I asked my daughters who are now in their 30s if they were taught about the Klan and they also said no.

I wonder if I could visit the local high school here and sit in on a history class or two and see what is being taught.

What makes a racist should not be the question. The question should be how can we break the cycle of American racism? That’s what Dr. King dreamt about but his dream is still far from being achieved.

If you think about spousal abuse in a family—no matter what race—the cycle only breaks once someone steps up and breaks that cycle. The same is true for racism I think. Having an African American president isn’t breaking the cycle—hell it’s not even making a dent.

What will change Americans? Education. I truly believe if at a young age I was exposed to documentaries like the Ku Klux Klan, A Secret History or learned about the horrors of being Asian, Latino, Native American or any other non-white race in America, I would have been much different in the raising of my own children. I would have told them race is not a factor—ever. A person can be good or bad but not because of their race or religious beliefs. I’d tell them an entire race is not evil and how ridiculous and impossible that is. I’d have taught them about the tales of white American history and their racism and how it was medieval, wrong and unacceptable. But I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know about these things until I explored them on my own, as an adult.

Are you a racist? Watching a documentary or reading a book on the mistreated doesn’t make up for what you could do to truly say you aren’t a racist. One really needs to embrace, engage and learn from other cultures and accept them no matter what and no matter where they live in this country.

Am I a racist? You tell me.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

America Is No Longer the Home of Free Speech and Will

America. Home of the free and brave—well sort of. If you’re too brave, it might hurt you. Take Edward Snowden for example. Like a ballpark announcer would say, “He’s Outta Here!” Snowden will settle for Russia at least for now, and even if he waits and waits and waits and tries to hop on a plane to the U.S., he’ll be hunted down and headlined in the press like Whitey Bulger.

We really aren’t the home of free speech and will. At least not fully and completely. We can analyze, review and offer opinions—even sneak into the White House—but those who really try and make change via free speech are smacked down like an anger ball on a desk.

Fear Not but Laugh Like Renfield

It’s important to note that while the average U.S. citizen can’t do much to better America; neither can the President says Slate Magazine in the article, “The President Can’t Actually Do Things.”

The president can “propose” things but in the world of D.C., it seems our senate and congress representatives think of the word “Propose” as a fighting word.  “Let him propose away! Ah ha, Ah ha! We can’t hear you!”

The faces of every senate and congress member remind me of Dracula’s Renfield—lost in his own little world of craziness and upheaval. What do I hear when they speak? I hear Renfield’s famous laugh from the very first Dracula movie starring Bela Lugosi.

Never heard the original Renfield laugh? The video below shows my favorite, the 1931 original film and nobody since could make the hair on your neck stand up like actor Dwight Frye.



Congress and Senate folks don’t really care about us. They care about having power, influence and wealth. The ones who really care are booted out as soon as their deceit is revealed! Zealot! He must be stoned!

We can’t say certain things to threaten the president or his family and that’s okay, but apparently we can’t Occupy anything (at least not for long) or protest too much or we will be judged (and reported) as that horrible idealist—because the Renfield’s in Washington do have their friends in the press.

We are literally at the mercy of our leaders and unfortunately, we put them there and now we can’t get them out! No one listens to those who really try and make a change every election—“vote them out!” These folks are touted as lunatics (mostly in the press via the government) so we sit back, agree and do nothing.

Where’s Our Will?

The government, as much as it has tried, has not stepped into the 21st Century. It still believes it can hide things from us, move us around like puppets and put money anywhere it wants to—even to save Apple.

We are in the fated line of going nowhere. We are zombies awaiting our last trip to the Soylent Green factory. We are too afraid to argue. We are afraid because our government makes us fearful. We do what they say, including invading our bodies in airport security lines—because we’re told if we say or do anything, we shall be punished, arrested or worse. We have no voice. We have no representation. We are truly lost in the most conventional sense.

“No one is spying on you!” (Replay Renfield laugh).

Much as a battered woman believes she is not worth anything due to abuse after abuse, we too have settled into sameness (or shame). If I hear one more American say, “There’s nothing we can do about that,” I think I’ll have a word or two to say to that person but I’ll be laughed at or shunned.

Jesus or Plato and Socrates—these were true zealots, thought to have evil powers that were simply not allowed.

Try speaking out too loud or doing something strong like leaking U.S. documents and you will be shunned, shot, jailed—maybe all three.

Our borders should have signs that say: “Zealots, Dreamers and Idealists Not Allowed.”

Is that why we fear immigrants? In fear of them offering a new idea? Maybe.

I feel sorry for my grandson and while he’s too little to understand (or care) about his free speech or free will, I hope by the time he grows up, there are zealots and dreamers that are talked about and praised in schools everywhere—from sea to shining sea.

If you believe in free speech and free will, why aren’t you doing anything about it? As one, I can use my voice. Why not do more you ask?

Well, the economy has left me with a lack of funds and I don’t think Kickstarter will fund a political upheaval.  If I, however, had access to anything that could make Americans stand up and say we’re done, then I would surely do so.

Words, however, are a small start. I least I think so.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bill Maher No Different Than Rush Limbaugh

According to the Daily Caller, the-I’m-always-right Bill Maher “criticized the New York Times and MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews.” The HBO Show, Real Time with Bill Maher aired on Friday, July 26, 2013 where Maher, who claims he loves Chris Matthews, apparently now dislikes the New York Times and Matthews and has showed his smart-aleck attitude and graded both of them as evil—well not his exact words.

What Maher did say about the New York Times:

“I’ll just say one more thing, and then we’ll get off of this, which is that as gross as Anthony Weiner is, I find it even grosser the way the media tut-tuts, points fingers, shames people, (and) makes them go on shaming tours.”

Maher continued: “I’ve seen Eliot Spitzer have to go on every show and have people point their finger.” He then touted the New York Times for saying: “Mr. Spitzer, like Mr. Weiner, is a political animal.”

As far as hammering a nail in Matthew’s coffin, Maher pointed out Chris Matthews, a Kennedy admirer and author of Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero and Matthew’s love of President Bill Clinton were hypocritical.
Maher stated:

“My friend Chris Matthews, I like him a lot. I see him endlessly talking about how awful—he went on and on for a whole year about his book about John F. Kennedy. He (Matthews) loves Bill Clinton. Never stops kissing his ass. Those two guys did things way worse. I mean, Kennedy was so much more reckless. He was screwing (a) mafia mistress, East German spies, 19-year-old White House secretaries two at a time in the pool. Bill Clinton, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey—true, you know, sexual harassment. There just seems to be no sort of consistency in the media.”

While I admire the Daily Caller for recapping the show and these words particularly, in reality—at least to me, Bill Maher is no better than Rush Limbaugh—except that Bill Maher was once a comedienne and frequent guest actor on Murder She Wrote—before some TV executive thought he was a political/talk show genius. Not to say actors or comedians can’t become talk show hosts, but really Mr. Maher, that’s all you are—a talk show host, you are no political animal or spinner.

Just as Bill Maher has fans so does Rush Limbaugh. But how can Maher say he’s any different if he offers his opinions off the top of his head—almost in like he’s on an improve show—and those opinions change from season to season and lately, show to show.

Maher blasts whomever he wants, whenever he wants and the audience laughs, sometimes applauds and some head online after the show to get a longer dose of Bill Maher—Ugh!

If you want “consistency” in the media, why don’t we start with you Mr. Maher? You loved Obama the candidate. Now, every chance you get you find something wrong with the President and his efforts.

I can hardly wait for the next presidential run because I know you don’t like Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton so maybe, just maybe you’ll be hoping Sarah Palin runs for President. If you backed her, I for one would not be surprised—not one little bit.

Yes folks it’s true, Bill Maher is no different than Rush Limbaugh and neither are “consistent” with their criticisms—but with Maher—he’s really looking for laughs, not the truth.


Please don’t send me Rush Limbaugh supporter comments—I don’t like him either.

Image credits via Flickr by DonkeyHotey

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lance Armstrong, Aaron Hernandez, Cap’n Crunch and Paula Deen: The Week in Review

It is weeks like these that make me want to sigh—a lot. First, we have an outlandish statement from doper Lance Armstrong, the possibility of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez being a “serial killer,” and now citizens of America are questioning the true rank of Horatio Magellan Crunch’s (aka Cap’n Crunch) military rank—and then there’s the Paula Deen fallout.

Lance Armstrong

Apparently, Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles because of doping has told  the French Media—right as the 100 Tour de France gets underway—that, “It is impossible for anyone to win the Tour de France without doping.” Really Lance?

Perhaps Armstrong should rethink his words. It is definitely possible for someone to win the Tour de France without doping—they just may not do it as fast. It may take them hours or days longer. To say doping is the only way to win means Lance is just digging himself into a bigger hole and the one he’s in already is very deep and very dark. Nice one Lance, you are still hanging on to the belief that you committed no offense.

Aaron Hernandez

It is true statistics show 60 percent of NFL players own a gun. So what? I own a few—some collectibles, some not. It is my right to own a gun. The problem with Hernandez is he is now charged with shooting a supposed friend, Odin Lloyd, execution style. Surveillance video shows him arriving home with his gun in hand, hopping out of his vehicle and then well, just relaxing—chillin if you will.

So the police searched his home, he’s held with no bail and now his SUV has been taken from his home because it’s been connected with a drive-by shooting in Boston in 2012 that killed two people—so the head count goes to three.

Then there’s the time Hernandez shot someone in the face in Florida. So is Hernandez a serial killer? Will his defense team say he heard “voices” telling him to kill? Did the Patriots where he was once a team member notice violent behaviors?  Bet the farm he was abused as a child, had an drug-addicted parent, uncle or babysitter.  It appears Hernandez will go to jail and if it’s only for the Odin Lloyd murder, does it really matter—he’s jailed, locked up and take away the key.

To blame NFL players who are taking advantage of their right to bear arms is just another angle the media will use to lengthen the “media time” behind Hernandez’s acts and that’s a shame.

Cap’n Crunch Not a Real Captain

Apparently Foodbest blogger Charisma Madarang has challenged Nabisco, the makers of Cap’n Crunch cereal by stating the Cap’n on the box is not a captain at all because he only bears three stripes when a military captain boasts four.

All I need to say here is perhaps Madarang should remain—a blogger. Enough said.

The Paula Deen Scandal

I feel like I’m a lot like Paula Deen. Not that I’m a master chef, nor do I hail from the south. I did, however, grow up in the smartest city in America—Pittsburgh, but I digress.

Why do I feel like I am like Paula Deen? If I was in a deposition—and I have been—in many, once I swear to tell the truth, I tell the truth!

I guess gals like Paula and I should learn when to not tell the truth while under oath and fudge it a little. If Ms. Deen had, she wouldn’t be in the situation she is in now.  If I had lied in a deposition, I would not be in the position I am now in—but that’s my private life. I’m not a liar and I don’t think Paul Deen is either.

I also felt bad about the criticism she received after telling Matt Lauer on the Today Show that she is shocked by the language she hears from young people working in her kitchen. Critics are saying, she should “control those young people” and “fire them for using the N word.”  The reality is many do use the N word and apparently it’s okay to call one the N word as long as both participating in the conversation are African American. If one is white and the other is black, it’s not okay for the white person to call the black person the N word.

Why is it okay for people to call me a cracker or a Wop because I’m Italian? That offends me. Should I dislike my Latino and black friends who call me a cracker and never speak to them again? If I sued them would they lie in a deposition? You bet. Enough already with Deen. I do believe her when she says everyone has used the N word at least once in their life whether it was a noun, verb or dangling participle.

Well, that’s my week in review and all of the media these stories are getting is overshadowing a sad and newsworthy story—that of Nelson Mandela—a hero among heroes.

For now, I’m off to eat my “Commander” Crunch—at least until his true rank has been investigated by NCIS.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Edward Snowden’s Whistleblower Leaks: The Beginning of a Truthful Government?

By now all U.S. citizens (and the world) know of Edward Snowden and his national security document leaks. Whistleblower? Maybe. Criminal? Probably not. Is he making our politicians angry? You bet.

What are the consequences of these leaks and as far as truth, do we believe our government when they deny spying on Americans, accessing emails, text messages or other personal information without a warrant? That my friends, is the one part of this entire situation that is making Washington D.C. scared—very scared—and rightly so.

Three Days of the Condor Comes True

In the Robert Redford movie Three Days of the Condor, his character reads books for the CIA. Yes, that is his job to seek out the bad and evil conspiracies authors may have penned in their creations. But this movie was released in 1975, hardly the age of computers, smartphones, emailing, texting and telling the world your thoughts on social media sites.

Do I personally believe our government leaders when they say no American citizen has been targeted or researched by the government? Not at all and I would bet I have at one time or another fallen on the list of those “looked into.”

When the auto industry catastrophe happened and President Obama formed his save the auto industry group comprised of people who knew nothing about the auto industry, I was fond of calling him The Auto Czar—a lot. That debacle was very sad—not so much so for the automakers, but their franchised dealers and the employees of those dealerships.

Although I was never one to argue Obama wasn’t American and was hiding his birth certificate because those people really need a life, I have written much on the Web about him and why he only obtained the presidency because some strong leaders in Washington wanted him for the job. He wasn’t much of a junior senator and when he while he was a politician in Chicago some of his antics were downright mean—I’ve written about those too.

I have penned blogs on Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush and my dislike for both of them. Rumsfeld mostly because I really believe he had some “power” thing going on in his head and I never liked how all those Blackhawk helicopters flew over my home in Taos, New Mexico when Rumsfeld came home for a vacation.

I’ve dissed tons of government officials—Kennedys, the Bush’s (all of them), Clinton for his bad behavior, John Boehner and other republicans for their stupidity and stance on arguing just to argue---the list goes on and on.

So, I’m pretty sure there are people in Washington that sit in windowless rooms all day and read, monitor and report about those who pen the unpatriotic. This doesn’t bother me much but I’m also pretty sure if some of my stuff was read by the eyes of those in secret power, it was dismissed as just an angry American with no agenda—just the right to free speech.

I will also continue listening to Cat Stevens songs as long as I live, even if he is on the “no fly” list. He’s not Yusuf Islam to me—he’s a guy with a great voice and songs and when I was in high school, I thought he was dreamy—still do if I look at the old photos of him on the Web.

Am I a danger to our country? No, I’m just the average Jane but I have a blog. I also don’t think Edward Snowden and his document leaking is a danger to the U.S.

Frightened Government Leaders

I saw Bill O’Reilly interviewed on the Today Show the other day and Matt Lauer asked Bill if he thought what Snowden did was illegal. O’Reilly took his time to reply and sighed. He said he did think Snowden was guilty of breaking U.S. espionage laws but was he a criminal? No says O’Reilly and I agree.

I’m not going to write about what Snowden leaked—there’s already enough information about the leaks floating around along with quotes from Snowden on why he leaked what he did—The Guardian is one source and TechDirt wrote a piece quoting mostly from The Guardian report (links below).

The result of Edward Snowden’s whistleblower leaks are that he has our government’s attention and they’re pissed.

Unhappy Americans

Since 2008 and the economic collapse, while our leaders tell us every day the country is growing stronger economically, the average American doesn’t see it or feel it. Most of us are still struggling to pay our bills and get back to where we were. The Traditionalist generation might not fear America as much as most of us do, many of them lived through the Great Depression and they learned to make do with what they had.

Today’s Americans are not the same. They are angry, afraid and they don’t trust the government. They don’t believe their leaders tell the truth, they are tired of democrats and republicans arguing and the only thing they can trust is the truth revealed in their paychecks—and they’re not seeing any improvement.

Our benefits have been cut, employers are taking full time jobs and making them part time jobs so they aren’t required to offer health insurance and the medical community is mad because becoming a doctor might not be the prosperous career choice it once was due to Obamacare. That’s okay with me—we needed to do something with health care—so what if that podiatrist has to sell his yacht? He can join the rest of us who wake up afraid, angry and confused.

I’ve read Edward Snowden could be returned to the U.S. because America does have an extradition treaty with Hong Kong—but not a “political” one and Snowden’s “crimes” may fall under that category—at least his lawyers will argue the point.

Obama Can’t Do It All

As Barack Obama has evolved, I have learned to respect him more and more. He seems “accessible.” He wants to be “honest.” He wants to tell Americans the “truth.” The problem is he can’t.

Obama has to follow the rules of being the president. He must obey his set of laws and keep secrets Americans will never know that hide in all those anagram agencies—the CIA, NSA, FBI, HLS, DEA, etc. 

He can’t just walk up to a podium and say:

Well Americans, this is what happened today. We found a spy in Arkansas and we’re bringing him in to waterboard him until he tells us what he did and what terrorist group he hails from. And we will be diligent with our torture until he speaks! If he dies during torture, so be it.”

He can’t “say” that—no president can.

Americans don’t trust our leaders anymore and that’s the sad part. I believe that’s why Edward Snowden leaked the documents he did. He too may have been fed up and probably has experienced his friends or family members suffer from the economic downturn. He may have watched an aunt or uncle, sister or brother or a friend lose their job or home.

ALL of us are frustrated but Edward Snowden happened to be in a position to do something about it. Occupy Wall Street didn’t work. Protests don’t work. Our leaders don’t “hear” us. They are happy arguing amongst themselves and taking home fat paychecks and love their health care benefits. They haven’t lost their retirement funds or pensions.  They’ll be fine at 65. They have no fears—because they are not one of “Us.”

It’s a shame really. I for one hope Snowden’s actions do make Americans angry. Angrier than ever before. Not just about what was leaked, but about everything that makes us angry enough to finally say enough is enough Washington. America was formed to be ruled by a government elected by the people and for the people.

Somewhere along the way, those ideals have been lost and that my friends, is the real shame here.

Resources:

The Guardian - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance
TechDirt - http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130609/15011723383/edward-snowden-whistleblower-behind-leaks-outs-himself.shtml

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What Does the IRS Tax Scandal Really Mean?


Big government and secrets have always been around and the IRS debacle is no different but what does the IRS tax scandal really mean? It might be less disturbing than reported, at least in my opinion.

Let’s see, we’ve got the past history of Jack Lew’s Cayman Island hidden bank roll and tons of money going his way from former employer Citigroup right before the economic crisis.  Then there’s Lew’s not-so-good grades while OMB Director. The President in awe and shock of the debacle touting heads will roll. And, it’s all in the open now, that the IRS is purposely targeting Tea Party members.

One of the statements above is not like the other—meaning it’s not true. Which one? “The IRS is purposely targeting Tea Party members.”

Really you say?

A Report of the “Unclear”

So, the Inspector General goes on a journey and issues a report, called, “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review”  (May 2013), and the Government is stunned and shocked. John Boehner says IRS leaders should be “jailed.” President Obama will obviously support any investigation into this “Tea Party” pick-on-us issue basically because he was “ordered” to by Democrat and Republican leaders.

I read the IG’s report and like Brad Friedman, I also believe this so-called scandal has been blown out of proportion.  The Cliff’s Notes version, if you will, is really an order for IRS employees to be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) for those applying for tax exempt status—those who desired the 501(C) 3 “charitable status” and organizations wanting the 501(C) 4 “social welfare” status.

So, because some of these requests came from organizations with Tea Party members mean all of the sudden the Democrats are out to put them in their place? Let’s pick on those requests where only the words “Tea Party” are mentioned? Sorry folks, that’s not how the IG’s report reads.

Media Misdirection

I watched a Law & Order episode the other day where Jack McCoy is now the interim AG and young Mike somebody or other has McCoy’s old job as lead prosecutor. In the episode, McCoy yells at Mike for arresting and charging a famous news reporter for hazy reasons. The ever-passionate young prosecutor says to McCoy:

“Hey Jack, you grew up with Woodward and Bernstein. I grew up with Geraldo Rivera, so try and see where I’m coming from.”

This one statement made me think about the IRS scandal and what it really means. It’s nothing new about government. They’ve been invading our privacy for decades no matter what party is in charge and when the media gets involved, it’s the “popular IT-guy” or “network” that leads the American people in the direction they want—no matter what generation. Somehow a report from Morley Safer just wouldn’t hit Americans as hard as one from Anderson Cooper—at least not today. Americans are trained to listen to these network “It” people and ignore the old-fashioned, tired and almost gone.

Here I must say thanks to all the reporters out there for getting it wrong and those short news stories on the IRS scandal that don’t uncover all the nooks and crannies.

Why Tax-Exempt Requests Should Be Targeted

Our economy still remains tough for all of us. We hear reports all the time about this well-known person or that political figure in trouble with the IRS or those who get to pay less taxes than the average American and we get pissed off right? We all want to be rich like Romney and find a way to use umbrella corporations so our tax bills are lower—sounds like a smart thing to do, and if the tax laws say you can do these things easily, then who is really at fault here?

I say it’s the organizations that don’t deserve a “tax-exempt” status and maybe the IRS has finally said enough is enough. How many organizations are making money and hiding that money by the fortune of being granted that tax-exempt status? Something to think about for sure.

This is my conclusion and you can make your own. Nowhere in the report does it prove or have data that Tea Party people were targeted. It also doesn’t prove some campaign contributions weren’t handled properly under tax laws.

It would be nice to have the whole story, not snippets on the 11:00 O’clock news about the non-researched and inaccurate.

It’s sort of like a little snowball rolling down a hill, a White House hill that is, and once it reaches the bottom, the media has turned a report into a scandal.

The last part is what’s really scary or is it that we are too lazy to investigate these issues on our own and instead rely on those who deliver the sort-of-true?

What do you think?

Images via Flickr cliff1066tm and Derek Bridges