Wednesday, 01 April 2009

THE SIBELIUS TAX ISSUE

Ken Berwitz

Is Governor Jean Sibelius of Kansas a tax cheat?

That's a fair question because when Ms. Sibelius became the proposed Secretary of  Health & Human Services, she suddenly determined that she had to pay about $7,000 in back taxes. Here is the story, via excerpts from an Associated Press Article:

GOP senator: Tax errors shouldn't bar HHS nominee

WASHINGTON A $7,000 tax mistake shouldn't disqualify Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius from serving as the nation's top health official, a key Republican senator said Wednesday. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa told home state reporters in a conference call that he felt Sebelius made "a good-faith effort" to pay her taxes correctly in the first place, and errors discovered in a recent review should not count against her.

Grassley, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee, said he is reserving judgment on Sebelius until confirmation hearings. But taxes won't be the deciding factor for him.  He suggested he's more concerned with Sebelius' views on Medicare and Medicaid, and how her support for abortion rights might influence policies at the Health and Human Services Department.

...Sebelius recently corrected three years of tax returns and paid more than $7,000 in back taxes after finding "unintentional errors" the latest tax troubles for an Obama administration nominee.

Sebelius said the changes involved charitable contributions, the sale of a home and business expenses. In a letter to senators Tuesday, she said she filed the amended returns as soon as the errors were discovered by an accountant she hired to scrub her taxes in preparation for her confirmation hearings.

Several Obama administration nominees have run into tax troubles, notably the president's first pick for HHS secretary, former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle. He withdrew from consideration while apologizing for failing to pay $140,000 in taxes and interest.

Technically, I suppose the answer is yes, she is a "tax cheat".  But I have to agree with Senator Grassley.  The amount is not a lot and it does not appear that the delinquency was intentional. 

So while I am no fan of Ms. Sebelius, I don't see this as a reasonable basis to deny her appointment.  Let it go.

That said, however, doesn't it seem, more and more, that tax delinquency is is some kind of job requirement for the Obama administration?


A RECONCILIATION MESSAGE FROM THE "MODERATE TALIBAN"

Ken Berwitz

Here, courtesy of the following excerpts from a Reuters article , is what the taliban thinks of President Obama's "reconciliation" fantasy:

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban insurgents reject a U.S. offer of honorable reconciliation, a top spokesman said on Wednesday, calling it a lunatic idea and saying the only way to end the war was to withdraw foreign troops. ...

This matter was also raised in the past, said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, referring to comments last month by Obama, who spoke of reaching out to moderate Taliban.

They have to go and find the moderate Taliban, their leader and speak to them. This is a lunatic idea, Mujahid said by telephone from an unknown location.

NATO commanders admit that mainly British, Canadian and Dutch troops are locked in a stalemate in the south, unable to stop insurgent roadside and suicide bomb attacks without the active support of the population, while Taliban militants are incapable of overcoming Western troops in head-on battle.

The premise that there is a "moderate taliban" out there that Mr. Obama can reconcile with is not simply idiotic.  That wouldn't do it justice.  It is over-the-top, hall-of-fame quality idiotic.

If a Republican President ever floated something as utterly devoid of common sense, logic and sanity itself as the "moderate taliban", mainstream media would have flayed the skin off of him. 

But this is Saint Barack.  So there is barely a peep.

Let's also note that NATO is having every bit as much trouble with the taliban as US troops have had.  And it is for exactly the same reason - i.e that the Afghanistan/Pakistan region is a major breeding ground for taliban activity and it has the support of too much of the population to be eradicated.

In other words, those years-long attacks on President Bush for not just wiping the taliban out completely were 100% phony - as anyone with even the slightest combination of intelligence and honesty should have known.

The bottom line is that Mr. Obama - an unqualified President in the midst of on-the-job training - has now started his taliban learning curve.  I doubt that he will enjoy it very much.


IMMIGRATION LAW, OBAMA-STYLE

Ken Berwitz

This outrage comes to us from the Associated Press, via Steve Gilbert of www.sweetness-light.com, whose comments are included:

Zeituni Gets Another Year Of Illegal Welfare

April 1st, 2009

From a relieved Associated Press:

Obamas aunts immigration case set for 2010

By DENISE LAVOIE

BOSTON (AP) President Barack Obamas aunt will remain in the United States until at least next year as she awaits a chance to make her case before an immigration judge in her bid for asylum from her native Kenya.

Zeituni Onyango (zay-TUH-nee awn-YAHN-goh) had an initial appearance in U.S. Immigration Court in Boston on Wednesday. At the brief hearing, a judge set her case to be heard Feb. 4, 2010.

Onyango wore a curly red wig to the hearing and declined to comment to reporters as she was led away from court by her attorneys and police from the Federal Protective Service, a component of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement responsible for security at federal buildings.

Onyango, 56, first applied for asylum in 2002, but her request was rejected and she was ordered deported in 2004. She did not leave the country and continued to live in public housing in Boston

Wongs spokesman, Mike Rogers, said the next hearing date was set for nearly a year later because Judge Leonard Shapiros calendar is so booked

The hearing next February is known as an "individual hearing," or merits hearing, when Onyango will be given the opportunity to present her reasons for seeking asylum. The Department of Homeland Security acts as a prosecutor at such hearings. The judge will then decide if Onyango will be allowed to stay in the United States or whether she will be deported.

Obama has said he did not know his aunt was living here illegally and believes laws covering the situation should be followed

This is how the rule of law is destroyed in a nation. One outrage of justice at a time.

Why should it take more than five years to deport someone who is clearly in this country illegally?

And, who on top of that, is illegally receiving public housing, free healthcare and other welfare benefits?

Try to imagine the howls of outrage if any laws were similarly ignored for the relative of a Republican dog catcher, let alone a Republican President.

But our watchdog media will not say boo about this.

And eventually, some quiet Saturday morning, we will learn from the back pages of the local newspaper that a way has been found to allow Ms. Onyango to stay in this country so that she can continue to leach off of its taxpayers.

By the way, it should be noted that there is not one single photograph of Ms. Onyango on the wire services. (Even though her wearing a red wig in itself should be news worthy.)

As far as our watchdog media is concerned, this story does not really exist.

What can you say?  All deference to the king...and his illegal aunt.


BONUSES FOR EMPLOYEES OF A FEDERAL BAIL-OUT ENTERPRISE

Ken Berwitz

Are you outraged that there is an enterprise which lost its shirt last year, requires billions and billions of federal taxpayers' bail-out money to continue functioning --- but gave its employees bonuses, as if it had turned a profit? 

Before you start cursing AIG, I suggest you read the following excerpt from a story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.  It should be of considerable interest to you:

MARCH 31, 2009, 11:20 P.M. ET

I don't know, of course, but I would think that the absentee ballots in question are mostly a mixture of military, and people who travel abroad (thus have the means to do so).  If this is true, it's a very good bet that Jim Tedisco will more than overcome that 65 vote deficit and win the seat. We'll find out for sure in the next couple of weeks.

Regardless of who wins, however, it seems very clear that, if this is a test of the Obama magic, his wand must have been on the fritz.  

Scott Murphy, like Ms. Gillibrand, positioned himself as a conservative Democrat.  From what I read, he ran a good campaign, and had the benefit of massive union help in getting out the vote on election day.  Presumably he should have won with room to spare.

The fact that a) he didn't and b) in fact, he may well have lost altogether?  Make of it what you will.


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