Thursday, June 6, 2013

Worse than Watergate, yeah right!

During the Nixon Presidency, Sir Richard compiled an "Enemies List."  He then used the power of the federal government, including the IRS to come down hard on the inhabitants of this list.  Any comparisons to the current Obama "scandals" pales by the Nth degree.


It seems like every committee and sub-committee in the House is investigating the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Diplomatic Mission.  Of course, investigating is used quite loosely here.  The major focus of the "investigations" is to try to pin something on Barack Obama and/or Hillary Clinton.

Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it best when she testified before a Senate Committee.

“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?   It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.”

The Republicans are hell-bent on smearing Obama and Clinton and don't seem to be the least bit concerned about the very real issue of making sure such a screw up doesn't occur in the future.

As far as a cover up, just ask yourself, "what did Obama, Clinton, or anyone else have to gain by 'covering up' anything for a period of a few days?"  They didn't.  They were going with the information on hand at the time and corrected it as more information became available.

The Obama administration, unlike the Mitt Romney campaign didn't go off half-cocked and start throwing blame around.  Obama sent Ambassador Susan Rice out as a spokesperson for the administration using "talking points" which were assembled through the bureaucratic wranglings of a number of government agencies who were each defending their bureaucratic turf.  


It appears that some career Internal Revenue Service pencil pushers in Cincinnati, Ohio were overwhelmed by the influx of 501(c)(3)  applications.  (501(c)(3) refers to the IRS regulations governing non profit, tax exempt organizations which fall into one of the following categories:  Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations.)

We have the United States Supreme Court to thank for this influx.

Note that "Political" entities are not including in this list of general welfare organizations.

A large number of these applications were really for political groups seeking the 501(c)(3) haven, and many of these groups were conservative groups associated with the "Tea Party."

Let's cut to the chase on this one, first, the groups targeted probably should have been targeted and get additional scrutiny, because there sole purpose tended to be the political objective of thwarting Obama and his agenda, and second, Obama had absolutely no involvement in the targeting.

Associated Press and leak investigations

The Justice department has come under fire for grabbing the Associated Press' emails and phone logs regarding terror plots, and other press entity emails, phone logs, and the like regarding leaks of confidential or classified materials.

The condemnation of the Justice Department actions have given rise to calls for Attorney General Eric Holder's head on a platter, but the Justice Department only resorted to such tactics after interviewing over 500 persons regarding the leak of information on a terror plot in Yemen.  The leak of information put a number of US government officials who were charged with uncovering such plots in danger.

Again, Obama had no direct involvement in any of these investigations.

Why Watergate and Nixon are sooooooooooo different

The major difference between Nixon and Obama is that Nixon personally ordered the government, particularly the IRS to his dirty work, and his actions were purely politically motivated to punish his enemies and gain political advantage for himself.  None of these "scandals" personally involve Obama or his inner circle plotting to destroy political enemies with the resources of the federal government.

Let's look at some of Nixon's "finest" moments.

We all know the Watergate story.  President Richard Nixon ordered the bugging of the Democratic Party headquarters, then dove through hoops, using all the government resources at his disposal, except the Pentagon, to try to cover it up when the "third rate burglary" went awry.  Here are some of his other gems.

On September 27, 1970, Nixon ordered Haldeman to get the IRS to investigate Ted Kennedy, who was then the presumed frontrunner in the 1972 presidential contest, sharing the field with Edmond Muskie and Hubert Humphrey, who Nixon also ordered audited.

Nixon personally put White House dirty trickster Tom Charles Huston in charge of setting up the new IRS "anti-radical squad" to make sure that the laggards in IRS's bureaucracy didn't drop the ball. Huston prepared a 43-page blueprint for Nixon outlining a government agency campaign targeting Nixon's enemies.

 The scheme included tapping phones without warrants, infiltrating organizations that had been critical of the President and, purging IRS agents who refused to tow the Republican line. Huston told the President, "we won't be in control of the government and in a position of effective leverage until such time or we have complete and total control of the top three slots" at the IRS. Nixon also enthusiastically authorized a series of "black bag jobs" including breaking into offices, homes and liberal think tanks like the Ford Foundation and the Brookings Institute which Nixon believed was home to many former Kennedy Administration officials.

On September 8, 1971, Nixon raged at his counsel and Chief Domestic Policy Advisor, John Ehrlichman, about the IRS's lack of progress on finding dirt on his enemies. "We have the power but are we using it to investigate contributors to Hubert Humphrey, to Muskie, and the Jews? You know they are stealing everybody....  Are we looking into Muskie's return? Hubert's? Hubert's been in a lot of funny deals. Teddy? Who knows about the Kennedys? Shouldn't they be investigated?"

On October 6, 1971, Nixon ordered H.R. Haldeman (his Chief of Staff) to have the IRS audit Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler. "I want Otis Chandler's income tax," Nixon told Haldeman. Nixon then called his Attorney General and former law partner, John Mitchel, and ordered Mitchel to fire the Los Angeles Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. "The fellow out there in the Immigration Services is a kike by the name of Rosenberg." The President explained to Mitchel, "He is to be out."

Nixon told Mitchel, "I want you to direct the most trusted person you have in the Immigration Service to look at all the activities of the Los Angeles Times... let me explain as a Californian, I know everybody in California hires them... Otis Chandler... I want him checked with regard to his gardener. I understand he is a wetback. Is that clear?" When the Attorney General replied, "Yes, sir." Nixon crowed triumphantly, "We're going after the Chandlers! Every one, individually and collectively, their income taxes... every one of those sons of bitches." 

There's a lot more.  See Robert F. Kennedy's comparison of Obama to Nixon.

So the next time somebody says the Obama "scandals" are worse than Watergate or Nixon, tell them to hit the history books.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

College GOP focus group finds GOP "closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned."

In the ongoing saga of GOP election post mortems, the College Republicans (CRs) found that people think of the Grand Old Party as "closed-minded, racist, rigid, and old-fashioned."  Well, Buzz and I didn't need a focus group to come to the same conclusion.

See the full report.

To many people, particularly voters under 30, The Simpsons character  Montgomery Burns has come to symbolize the GOP.  It has become a party that will protect the interests of the privileged until its dying breath, which might be that long off in Presidential elections if they continue on the same path.  The CRs said the GOP is perceived as the party that will pat you on the back when you succeed, but won't help you get there.

And just as Mr. Burns lacks empathy and the self awareness to see how anyone could view the world differently, so does the modern Republican Party.  Karl Rove's meltdown on election night when the FOX News number crunchers called Ohio for President Barack Obama is a perfect example of the bubble in which much of the GOP lives.

Obama Derangement Syndrome

Many in the GOP suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS).  ODS is the affliction which causes one to believe that everyone hates Obama and everything Obama does is evil.  This is the affliction that caused many GOPers to convince themselves, that despite all the independent polling which showed Obama ahead in almost every battleground state, that Romney would, as GOP guru Dick Morris predicted, gather more than 300 electoral votes and cruise to victory in 2012.  Well, for those who still didn't get the news, Obama won quite convincingly.  And, believe it or not, the polls were right.

It is not surprising that many in the GOP believed Romney would win, and win big.  After all, many in the GOP are enveloped in a world which feeds into their ODS.  There are two main ways the GOPers remain in this bubble.  They only associate with people who hold Obama in disdain, thereby reinforcing the belief that "everybody hates Obama,"  and they get their information solely from the propaganda wings of the GOP (talk radio and FOX News.)

GOP positions on social issues out of touch with younger voters

The GOP has also taken positions on particular social issues which turn young voters off.  The GOP is totally opposed to same sex marriage, whereas most recent polling shows over 70 percent of voters under 30 support gay marriage.   The GOP is also radically pro-life, calling for a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions, whereas only about 20 to 25 percent of voters under 30 agree with that position.

Another issue which the GOP totally missed the boat with young voters is Obamacare.  One of the first facets of Obamacare to be implemented was the ability of parents to keep their children on their health insurance policies until they are 26 years old.  The Republicans, instead of embracing this popular part of the program have voted 37 times in the House to repeal Obamacare.

The conclusion of the report is to slightly tweak the GOP positions to take the harshness away from them.  For example  to "focus on the economic issues that affect young people today: education, the cost of health care, unemployment," but does not say to embrace Obamacare.  The report says, "Don’t concede 'caring' and 'open-minded' to the left," but does not call for the outright backing of gay marriage.

The report also stresses the importance of contacting young voters where they are, to go seek them out to get the GOP message across.  This could work rather well if the GOP were "selling" something young people wanted to buy.  The problem is they are not.  It's not the message medium, it's the message.

Buzz's Dream

One issue near and dear to Buzz's heart is the legalization of marijuana, but the College GOP don't even mention it.  This is an issue which the GOP could really make some headway, no pun intended.  Grab onto the legalization issue and make it a freedom and fiscal issue. 

They can make it an individual liberty issue, without sacrificing any principles, the "get the government out of our lives" mantra.  It also becomes a fiscal issue, because instead of spending money on cops, courts, prisons, and more guards, money can be raised by taxing it.  (On the taxing side, this is where Buzz would join Grover Norquist.)

To quote Bob Dylan, "the times they are a changin'," and if the GOP doesn't change, it will become increasingly more irrelevant.