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Apr 22

The Liberal Mindset

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Apr 3

Tax Cheating Democrats

Though Democrats don’t have a monopoly on tax cheats, it sure seems that way – particularly recently. Of course this behavior comports quite well with the arrogance and contemptuousness that they displayed for the American people when they had unopposed control of the federal government – both the House and Senate in Congress and the White House.

Why should they care very much if they raise taxes? After all, many are so wealthy that it affects them little. And besides, for those Democratic politicians who do actually pay their taxes, many have found loopholes and other stratagems in order not to pay their “fair share”.

Also by using this taxation power, they are in effect, “buying” voters (those that pay little or no taxes) who will keep them in office.

We, the productive citizens who are bearing an ever increasing tax burden to support these Democratic politicians and their “entitled” minions, need to assiduously work to make sure that they don’t get re-elected.

Tax-Challenged Dems
Investor's Business Daily   03/22/2011

Hypocrisy: A Missouri senator up for re-election is the latest administration crony to overlook or avoid paying all her taxes. Funny, they have no problem raising them on or collecting them from the rest of us.

If you ever wonder how we could find ourselves $14 trillion in debt and sinking fast, consider how fast and loose the mythical guardians of the public purse are with keeping their own finances in order and meeting their own tax obligations.

As Politico has reported, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Monday that she will sell her private plane and pay $287,273 in back Missouri property taxes that somehow slipped her mind while she was supporting ObamaCare and spending the rest of us into oblivion.

"This is not good," McCaskill said during a conference call with reporters on Monday as she detailed the Missouri property taxes she owed: $72,790 in 2007, $74,699 in 2008, $69,394 in 2009 and $70,401 in 2010. Meanwhile, other Missouri property owners struggled to keep up with far lesser means.

The property taxes are owed on a plane — a 2001 single-engine, turbo-prop Pilatius PC-12 valued at $2.2 million — acquired in July 2006 during McCaskill's Senate run against Republican incumbent Jim Talent. It had been registered in Delaware, where no taxes were imposed. Then it was moved to Illinois, which imposes no personal property taxes on private aircraft.

Because planes are not licensed in Missouri, the state has no record of who owns them, so local governments — which levy property taxes — send no bills. As a result, McCaskill said, her husband and the company owning the plane had no knowledge that the property taxes were owed. Ignorance of the law, it is said, is no excuse, especially if you're the state's U.S. senator.

McCaskill's family opted to move it in 2007 to Spirit of St. Louis Airport in St. Louis County. As a senator, McCaskill has flown at least 89 flights chartered by Sunset Cove Associates LLC — a company incorporated in 2002 by her husband, St. Louis businessman Joe Shepard, according to records kept by the Missouri secretary of state's office.

The senator had used the plane she co-owns with her husband and other investors for political purposes, paying for the travel with taxpayer money from her Senate office, which she now calls a "mistake," for which she will reimburse the government nearly $89,000.

Oops.

McCaskill recently co-sponsored a bill in the Senate that would send pink slips to federal employees who are found to have unpaid taxes. This was the situation Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was found in during his confirmation hearings in which he was touted as the only person on the planet capable of leading us back to financial stability.

It was revealed that Geithner had since 2001 failed to pay nearly $40,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes because he worked for the International Monetary Fund, which conveniently failed to withhold those taxes as U.S. firms do. Like McCaskill, Geithner forgot to check.

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., lost his post as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee after it became known that he failed to pay 20 years of back taxes on a Caribbean villa, on top of tax issues related to four rent-controlled apartments in Harlem used by his campaign.

Then there's Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who docked his family's new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, letting him avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to his cash-strapped home state, where honest taxpayers were struggling to put ketchup on the table.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. It also is an opportunity for hypocrites to benefit at taxpayers' expense, an act that calls for removal from areas of control over the public purse.

If they can't run their own affairs cleanly and openly, they shouldn't run ours.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/566798/201103221824/Tax-Challenged-Dems.aspx

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Mar 14

The Largely Unreported Side of the Public Unions Versus the States Issue

The supportive arguments regarding the pay, rights, importance and contributions of public sector workers have been presented in a highly over exaggerated, asymmetrical fashion to almost a chimerical degree by the news media, labor bosses, members and Democrats. Meanwhile, the other side of these issues, that is, the one where the interests of the taxpayers and the financial viability of the States are concerned, has received sparse and denigrating reportage.

Ann Coulter’s editorial below simplifies, elucidates and places into perspective the issues involved in this “controversy”. It is quite eye opening particularly since this information is conveniently ignored by the Left.

Six-Figure Bus Drivers & Other Working-Class Heroes
Ann Coulter  03/09/2011

Can we stop acting as if people who work for the government are the heroes of working people?

Fine, we understand that Wisconsin public sector employees like the system that pays them an average of $76,500 per year, with splendiferous benefits, and are fighting like wildcats against any proposed reforms to that system. But it's madness to keep treating people who are promoting their own self-interest as if they are James Meredith walking into the University of Mississippi.

This isn't how we usually view people fighting for their own economic interests.

When Wall Street opposes financial reforms or a tobacco company opposes new cigarette taxes, no one hails them as "working men and women" who "deserve a decent pay and decent retirement." We're not told Wall Street has a "fundamental right" not to be regulated, or tobacco companies promoting their own interests are just trying to "help working people and middle-class people retain a good job in America." People on the other side of the issue aren't said to be "just trying to kick the other guy in the shin and exterminate him."

And yet all that was said by the Democratic governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, on MSNBC's "Hardball" last week, about government workers fighting to preserve their own Alex Rodriguez-like employment contracts.

Yes, we understand that public sector employees got themselves terrific overtime, holiday, pension and health care deals through buying politicians with their votes and campaign money. But now, responsible elected officials in Wisconsin are trying to balance the budget.

MSNBC is covering the fight in Wisconsin as if it's the 9/11 attack -- and the Republicans are al-Qaida. Its entire prime-time schedule is dedicated to portraying self- interested government employees as if they're Marines taking on the Taliban. The network's Ed Schultz bellows that it is "morally wrong" to oppose the demands of government employees.

Yes, and I guess pornographers are noble when they launch a full-scale offensive against obscenity laws.

Public sector workers are pursuing their own narrow financial interests to the detriment of everyone else in their states. That's fine, but can we stop pretending it's virtuous?

Because of the insane union contracts in Wisconsin, one Madison bus driver, John E. Nelson, was able to make $159,000 in 2009 -- about $100,000 of which in overtime pay. Jackie Gleason didn't make that much playing bus driver Ralph Kramden on "The Honeymooners." Seven bus drivers took home more than $100,000 that year.

When asked about the outrageous overtime pay for bus drivers -- totaling $1.94 million in 2009 alone -- Transit and Parking Commission Chairman Gary Poulson said: "That's the contract."

It's ludicrous to suggest that these union contracts were fairly bargained. Only one side was at the negotiating table. Ordinary people with jobs were not at the meetings where public sector compensation was discussed.

Union hacks play on our heartstrings, weeping about the valuable work government employees do: These are the people who educate our children, run into burning buildings and take dangerous criminals off our streets!

Politicians who do not immediately acquiesce to insane union demands are invariably accused of hating teachers, nurses or cops. In California, this has been standard operating procedure for decades. The voters never seem to catch on.

In 1972, E. Richard Barnes lost his re-election campaign to the California state Assembly after being accused by cops and firefighters of coddling criminals.

In fact, Barnes, a conservative Republican, had one of the toughest records on crime. But he had voted against fringe benefits and better pension benefits for public employees.

Years later, in 2005, Don Perata, Democratic state senator from Oakland, suggested that the legislature reconsider the requirement that 40 percent of the entire state budget be spent on public schools. The teachers' unions instantly plastered his district with fliers calling him anti-education. Perata is a far-left Democrat, who had himself been a teacher for 15 years before entering politics.

Fine, we like teachers, firemen and police officers. We appreciate them. (And for the record, it is statistically more dangerous to be a farmer, fisherman, steelworker or pilot than a cop or fireman. Soldiers also have pretty dangerous jobs, and they don't get to strike.)

Does that mean we should pay them $1 million dollars a year? How about $10 million? After all, these are the people who educate our kids, run into burning buildings and take dangerous criminals off our streets!

Assuming the answer is no, then apparently we're allowed to discuss government workers' compensation -- even though they do important work. As George Bernard Shaw concluded his famous quip (often attributed to Winston Churchill), "Now, we're just negotiating over the price."

Why do public sector employees have absurd overtime rules? Why don't they pay for their own health insurance? Why do they get to retire at age 45 with a guaranteed pension of 65 percent of their last year's pay -- as state police in New Jersey do?

This is asymmetrical warfare. Seven percent of the population cares intensely about public sector union contracts -- and nothing else. The remaining 93 percent of voters can't be bothered to care.

Meanwhile, state after state spirals into bankruptcy.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42215

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Mar 12

More On The Public Unions and the Real Scenario

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Mar 8

State Department Outrageously Funding International Mosque Makeovers With $700 Million Taxpayer Dollars!

An investigation by WSB TV in Atlanta uncovered approximately $700 million in taxpayer dollars that have been sent abroad to repair Mosques in several countries. In addition, money has also been spent by our State Department to buy computers and obtain internet access.

These mosques are the very dens of iniquity from which the radical imams preach their vitriol of America and the West and facilitate terrorist acts. Not only is this an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars that we don’t even have, but this action of ostensible appeasement is seen by these radicals as just another sign of weakness. Our State Dept. is essentially providing Islamic extremists places and means to proselytize Muslims, foment and plan terrorist attacks.

Incredible (but not unexpected)!

View: Mosque Makeovers

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Mar 2

It’s the Public Sector Unions and the Democrats Versus the Taxpayer

Public Sector Unions Versus the Taxpayer

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2

Elucidating the Blunder That Obama and the Democratic Party Committed in Selecting to Support the Public Union in Wisconsin

The following article elucidates the involvement of the White House and the Democratic Party in supporting the public union in Wisconsin and how their choice to battle here might have been a major blunder that can have a domino effect.

Richard Pollock stated it succinctly and definitively:

“The decision by the Democratic Party and its allies to draw a line in the sand in Wisconsin was the wrong strategy, in the wrong state, at the wrong time, on the wrong issue, and executed in the wrong way.”

Let’s hope that is the Lexington and Concord of a revolution of crucial changes regarding the public unions and their relationship with State governments and to their benefactor taxpayers.

Why Obama and the Dems Blundered in Wisconsin
Richard Pollock    February 21, 2011

It is becoming clear that the Wisconsin battle was a strategic political blunder for President Obama and the Democratic Party. The decision by the Democratic Party and its allies to draw a line in the sand in Wisconsin was the wrong strategy, in the wrong state, at the wrong time, on the wrong issue, and executed in the wrong way.

The White House, which for the last two years seemed so tone deaf over health care, jobs, and the economy, may again be displaying a stunning political miscalculation. Unless the Democrats pull the plug on their ill-conceived Wisconsin campaign, the statewide and national backlash now beginning to emerge may continue to resonate all the way to the 2012 presidential elections.

It will take time to unearth exactly who designed and sold the Wisconsin strategy to the president. But what is emerging is that the White House may have developed two strategies for 2011, not one. The first track, clear to us all, was for the president to tack to the right on the national stage, seek the statesmanlike high road, and negotiate deals with national Republicans.

The second strategy, now emerging, was to pick a target outside the beltway that could serve as a broad political narrative, attack it, nationalize it, and use it to rally Obama’s demoralized political base. It was a bold strategy. They chose Madison, Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-tightening initiative, and his effort to rein in public employee unions. They further decided to let loose angry union members serve as shock troops. Wisconsin would be the first test case, which would be replicated in other states, including Ohio, Indiana, and Idaho.

The plan seems to have been born both within the war room of the Democratic National Committee and within the Oval Office. The overall coordination for the operation was the remnants of the president’s 2008 political campaign organization, Organizing for America (OFA). The strategy would be launched by the DNC and by the president, who, during the height of the Egyptian crisis, incongruously granted an exclusive interview to a Milwaukee TV reporter over union policy. While Cairo burned, he took time to decry a Wisconsin governor’s effort to rein in the budget and limit union benefits. Shaping the narrative for the attack, he said that Gov. Scott Walker’s effort “seems like more of an assault on unions.” [1]

The Wisconsin political blitzkrieg on Gov. Walker was not a spontaneous eruption. It is now clear that it was a highly organized operation planned in Washington, D.C., to unleash a national counterattack on the gains made by Republicans and Tea Party activists. Getting OFA and the president to act in close coordination was itself no small feat. The plan included busing in thousands of government employees, arranging for Democratic lawmakers to flee to an adjoining state, flying speakers and political organizers into Madison, organizing thousands to leave their jobs in public safety and in classrooms, and staging rallies inside and outside the statehouse. They even enticed sympathetic doctors to draft bogus doctor excuses for government workers.

It all worked like a charm. Except that it struck all the wrong notes and portrayed all the wrong images. There is nothing more unseemly that to see a president serve as healer in Tucson and a political hack in Madison.

For in the end, the images and messages tell the story. The showdown in Madison pits pampered public employees against hard-pressed taxpayers. It portrays union workers as an angry mob against those seeking orderly legislative deliberation. It paints Democratic lawmakers as outlaws on the run, undermining the democratic process. It launched a national debate about the generous salaries and benefits for government workers during a time of economic shortages. And it showcased school teachers who abandoned their children in favor of narrow, partisan political gain.

This is a bad unraveling of a political campaign.

The miscalculation by Democrats is understandable. They still believed Wisconsin was one of the key populist centers for Midwest radicalism. Living on history long past, they envisioned Madison as ground zero for a resurrection of progressivism. It was, after all, the home for progressives’ champions, whose heroes included the La Follette family, led by former Governor Robert La Follette, Sr. The La Follette family has been a radical left Wisconsin political dynasty for the last century. Robert Sr. ran for president under the Progressive Party; his son succeeded him as governor. His other son, Robert, Jr., served in the state Senate for 22 years and led the pre-WWII isolationist movement, a precursor to the present day anti-war movement. In 2010, Doug La Follette was the only surviving Democrat to win statewide office in the November election.

But there also is the lure of Madison, Wisconsin for radicals, many of whom populate the political leadership of the Democratic Party and the unions. Madison was the Midwest home for the far-left counterculture and for the violent, revolutionary Students for a Democratic Society. In 1970, an anti-war van loaded with six barrels of explosives detonated outside the Mathematics building [2] [2]at the University of Wisconsin, killing a physicist who was working late at night. The bombing became a sensation for SDS, and overnight the four suspects were put on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. During one of the many Madison political protests, there was a three-day riot that led to the arrest, twice, of a student activist named Paul Soglin. He was later rewarded by being repeatedly elected mayor of Madison [3].

Surely behind this long history of progressive left politics, Democrats and union organizers might have thought Madison would be the first place to strike against the belt-tightening moves of a new, untested Republican governor. A line was drawn in the sand, and Madison would become ground zero in the unions’ effort to turn around their political prospects.

But they perhaps were tone deaf about Madison, just as they have been tone deaf nationally. They forgot that Wisconsin has been turning from blue, to purple, to bright red. In the 1990s it was former Republican Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson who drew another line in the sand over welfare reform. He won, and President Bill Clinton signed into law a sweeping change that sought to reward work over welfare. Thompson also was a champion for school choice, a campaign bitterly fought by the same teachers’ union that abandoned their classrooms last week for partisan gain.

Then came the latest 2010 election in Wisconsin in which there was a statewide sweep for Republicans [4]. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), long considered safe, was defeated. The governor and lieutenant governor swept to power. Today, five of the eight members of the state’s U.S. congressional delegation are Republicans. The sole Democrat in the government is Doug La Follette, who is secretary of state. The legislature is in Republican hands. And the architect of the victorious 2010 Wisconsin campaign was GOP Chairman Reince Priebus.

So the showdown in Wisconsin may assume national proportions. Priebus now will aim a national campaign against President Obama and the Democrats. And the Democrats chose Priebus’ state as their launching pad to smash Republicans.

The Wisconsin battle is not over. But it could be the beginning of a moment of clarity in which a small but entrenched special interest — government workers — is dislodged by fed-up taxpayers. And it could be a contagion that spreads to other states across the country.

UPDATE: Politico’s Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman report this morning [5] on how the unions’ high-risk Wisconsin strategy may come at a potentially steep cost: “Some strategists and labor officials watching the protest conflagration from the outside are beginning to fret that a large-scale defeat in Wisconsin [6] will have a devastating ripple effect, weakening labor state by state throughout the rest of the country.”

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/why-obama-and-the-dems-blundered-in-wisconsin/?singlepage=true

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Mar 1

The Real Perspective Of Public Unions and the Taxpayer

Despite the rhetoric from unions, Democrat politicians and the far left news media, this is a metaphor for the real situation. The greedy unions are raping the taxpayer with salaries and compensation packages far in excess of comparable jobs in the private sector. And that is still not enough!

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Feb 26

Public Union Corruption and Profligacy Widespread

The following report detailing the extravagant spending of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in New York reveals a culture of profligacy, hedonism and irresponsibility. This is money that could have been spent on education of children ore remained in the taxpayer’s pockets.

In Wisconsin, where the public unions are claiming their rights are being violated, they too have plenty examples of corruption and waste – in addition to the decreasing test scores of their students. How about a $600,000 bill paid by the taxpayers for one year’s worth of Viagra?

The teachers are getting stiff and the taxpayers being stiffed.

Enough is enough.

Support Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the other state governors taking on the unions.

UFT spends millions on dinners, parties, parking, coffee as thousands of teachers face layoffs
Douglas Feiden   N. Y. Daily News    February 24th 2011

UFT president Michael Mulgrew defended the lavish expenditures of his union, saying they were for the benefit of members.

UFT president Michael Mulgrew defended the lavish expenditures of his union, saying they were for the benefit of members.

As nearly 5,000 city teachers face the ax, their union shells out millions of dollars on feasting, boozing and partying, the Daily News has learned.

Free-spending United Federation of Teachers brass last year spent nearly $1.4 million for the UFT's 50th anniversary gala at the Hilton - complete with a movie, a book and a paperweight.

Records show they:
•    Ponied up $514,000 to 16 separate caterers.
•    Dropped $278,417 on the annual Teachers Union Day ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria.
•    Bought $6,100 in gift baskets from a lower East Side candy store - and plowed $179,000 into training retreats at a Connecticut resort boasting golf, scuba diving and aqua aerobics.

In one amazing feat of spending, they shelled out $114,870 for annual "coffee supplies" at their five offices across the city - paying the Coffee Distributing Corp. on Long Island $324,000 over three years, records show.

And while most New Yorkers spend hours trying to find a parking space, the UFT rents 25 slots in Brooklyn's Renaissance Plaza Garage for members at an average annual cost of $75,000 over three years.

"I'm not going to apologize for spending money to service our members," said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

"These people are heroes dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our children. They never get the respect they deserve. A cup of coffee, a bottle of water and a few parking spots is the least we can do for them."

The $284,078-a-year union boss got a little more than coffee when he took the reins in August 2009: The UFT feted him with a $6,400 "Welcome, Michael" party at a Brazilian steakhouse.

Mulgrew describes it as dinner for 130 union members, most of them volunteers, that came to barely $50 a head.

Three months later, the union bid farewell to his predecessor, Randi Weingarten, with a goodbye bash at the Tribeca Grill. Price tag: $8,339. "Mayor Bloomberg came and I tried to get him to pay," Mulgrew said. "Wouldn't do it."

Drawing from an annual honeypot of $126 million in members' dues, the union last year flung open the spigots even as it took fire for protecting dismal teachers and fighting reforms.

"These are wasteful, fantastic and outrageous expenditures, and they learned their profligate ways from the government spenders they negotiate with," said Sol Stern, a Manhattan Institute scholar and veteran education advocate.

Not Paris, but it is the Hilton

The spending orgy comes to light a week after after The News disclosed that cops bounced 24 rowdy UFT reps from an Albany eatery after they caused a ruckus over an $1,800 tab - and the modest size of a $40 gourmet quail.

Turns out over-the-top spending and a party-hearty culture is a union trademark.

Documented in the UFT's 2010 annual report to the U.S. Labor Department are details of the union's "Golden Jubilee," a gala bash last March that drew 2,500 members of the "UFT family."

It cost to $679,246 for the event at the Hilton New York.

To mark the milestone for posterity, a CUNY TV Foundation crew was paid $220,000 to film the documentary "UFT: Celebrating 50 Years," and all attendees got a DVD.

The UFT paid a printer $262,406 for a special book and anniversary journal. Paperweights emblazoned with the UFT logo cost $46,333. Balloons, $20,000 for entertainment and other expenses brought the tally to $1.4 million, filings show.

The UFT says it recouped $125,000 by charging members $50 a head, and donations from vendors and advertisers brought in an additional $275,000. Bottom line: That left the UFT out $1 million for the gala.

"We're very proud of the work we've done in 50 years as a union, and it deserved to be celebrated with dignity and respect," Mulgrew said.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2011/02/24/2011-02-24_lessons_in_livin_large_uft_brass_having_a_ball_as_teachers_face_layoffs.html

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