NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 18, 2013

'Overwhelmed' by the week's news

Barbara Anderson
Newburyport Daily News

---- — So there I was, at the monthly meeting of the Massachusetts Center-Right Coalition, listening to various speakers bringing us up-to-date on issues of the day: federal, state and local budget battles; new federal government “Common Core” education standards; the Second Amendment; EBT cards; illegal immigration; tax credit cheating and new tax proposals. As a speaker began a presentation about a new threat to privacy, I heard Stephanie Davis of the Boston Tea Party, who was sitting behind me, sigh: “Overwhelmed.”

I know exactly how she feels.

Earlier that week I’d watched the entire House hearing on Benghazi, during which three whistleblowers began the process of unraveling the truth of why and how the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans died there. Over the weekend, I saw the email memos between the CIA and Hillary’s State Department that prove we were initially lied to about the cause of the Benghazi attack. Soon there may be more whistleblowers, and some Republicans are planning another hearing for which they can issue subpoenas and solicit testimony under oath. I look forward to hearing more from Hillary Clinton about how all this doesn’t matter.

On the way home from the Coalition meeting I heard the IRS admitting it’s been targeting conservative groups with the words “tea party,” “patriot,” and other scary words like “Constitution” in their names, though it insists this was not official policy just bad behavior on the part of some “low-level employees.”

As someone noted on talk show host Todd Feinburg’s Facebook, where I like to hang out: “… Just remember that under Obamacare the departments that will be handling your medical records and deciding what treatments you may receive will also have ‘low-level’ employees.”

I’ve been reading the “ObamaCare Survival Guide.” It says that the IRS will be responsible for administering the “individual mandate.” Americans who don’t have insurance can be harassed and will be penalized by “low-level employees” of the Internal Revenue Service. Fortunately, after Congress read the 2,700-page law, it repealed, for now, the section that required businesses to account for each purchase they made in excess of $600 by sending a 1099 form to the IRS.

The IRS has issued an apology for the targeting of assumed Obama-opponents, trying to get ahead of what is expected to be a damning report from the Treasury Department’s inspector general, due out soon. The Associated Press reports that senior IRS officials were notified about the targeting of conservative groups back in 2011. And we are just learning that the AP has also been a target of the government, as the Justice Department had been secretly seizing its phone records.

However, this may fall into the ongoing discussion about Freedom of the Press vs. Homeland Security that can’t be breached by an irresponsible media interfering with a terrorist investigation. Not to be confused with political correctness interfering with the FBI’s targeting jihadist Muslim immigrants.

Speaking of immigration: Amendments are being debated in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a proposed immigration reform bill that is expected to be sent to the Senate floor this week. The Obama administration and most Democrats continue to support amnesty for illegal immigrants while supporting border security in the sky, by and by. Some Republicans are so afraid of offending Hispanic voters that they’ll pretend that THIS time, amnesty won’t encourage another 11 million illegals to cross the still-unsecured borders, as happened when Ronald Reagan did it.

I’ve been thinking about my grandfather, who, according to family lore, came here from Croatia at age 18 with 32 cents in his pocket, went directly to work in the steel mills and eventually had two children who also worked hard. Can’t help but wonder: if he’d been met at the dock with an EBT card, would his descendants, including me, still be on welfare?

Speaking of Electronic Benefits: let’s trade them in for Essential Better Transportation. I’m waiting for local mayors Driscoll and Scanlon, who want higher taxes for transportation projects, to deplore the waste and abuse in the state welfare system and demand evidence that the new taxes will actually be spent on transportation.

I understand why some people are permanently overwhelmed by political issues and too busy to sort it all out. Now if only they wouldn’t pretend they’re qualified to vote, thereby electing the likes of John Tierney to Congress.

There he was, during the Benghazi hearing, sneeringly mocking the Republicans for their concern about the Obama administration misleading the American people “for political purposes.”

Fortunately, as I tried to decide where to start on Monday morning, Paul Craney of Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance invited me, with Christine Morabito of the Greater Boston Tea Party, to sign on to a letter to the Massachusetts Congressional delegation. We called on it to publicly condemn the IRS actions: “This type of behavior cannot be tolerated and it’s important that residents of Massachusetts know how their Members of Congress stand on this good-government issue.”

Here in the 6th Congressional District, I await a response from Mr. Tierney and Senator Warren. It’s long-past time to make our politicians feel overwhelmed by public outrage.

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Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.