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Updated: 04/15/02

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Monday, 15 April, 2002

I don't EVEN want to talk about how much my check to the IRS is this year. I always try to keep the perspective that if I have to pay taxes it means that a) I made some money this year, and b) the government hasn't been sitting on my moola for the whole time. But at a period where my finances are stretched by THE HOUSE, it's a little rough.

But even if I would prefer to just keep what I make [wouldn't we all?] I also remind myself that the taxes we pay allow us the freedoms and benefits that we have. I may not always agree with how the government - especially the Federal government - spends the money that they receive, but overall they do a pretty good job. Good enough to make huge numbers of immigrants - legal and illegal - come to the United States in the hopes of a better future.

Ah, but apparently our tax dollars have been used to cover up yet another "vast right-wing conspiracy." In an interview with a Berkeley, California radio station, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (Psycho-Ga.), suggested that the Bush administration knew about the September 11 attacks but did nothing to stop them. Actually, suggested isn't quite right. She came right out and said it:

"We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th. . . . What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? . . . What do they have to hide?"


She suggested that the administration was serving the interests of a Washington-based investment firm, the Carlyle Group, which employs a number of high-ranking former government officials from both parties. Former president George H.W. Bush -- the current president's father -- is an adviser to the firm. McKinney said the war on terrorism has enriched Carlyle Group investors by enhancing the value of a military contractor partly owned by the firm.

Carlyle Group spokesman Chris Ullman asked: "Did she say these things while standing on a grassy knoll in Roswell, New Mexico?"

[He shoots - he scores!!]

Unfortunately, Ms. McKinney declined to be interviewed after her well-reasoned commentary, but she did issue a statement:

"I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case."

As Jonah Goldberg of NRO so aptly puts it:

"I see. Well, just let me just say that I am not aware of any evidence that Ms. McKinney has murdered several children or that she personally profited from sleeping with the entire defensive squad of the Atlanta Falcons. However, a complete investigation might reveal that to be the case."

Lest it be thought that I only openly ridicule and challenge Democrats, that's not the case. Now, granted, I usually find so much more fertile material spewing forth from the donkey's side of an issue, but to be fair, I was disgusted by the following story from Yahoo:

ASSEMBLY Minority Leader Charles Nesbitt fired the son of one of Gov. Pataki's closest friends last week, sparking fears of a feud between two powerful New York Republicans.

The firing of $75,000- a-year legislative aide Timothy Plunkett - son of longtime Pataki friend, adviser and former law partner William Plunkett - was quickly rescinded as an "accident." Plunkett was rehired after his influential parentage was brought to the attention of Nesbitt, who was narrowly chosen as the new Assembly GOP leader just a few weeks ago.

But the fallout is continuing, with several GOP insiders telling The Post they fear the firing - and other signs of tension between Nesbitt, of upstate Orleans County, and Pataki - will endanger the governor's fundraising efforts on behalf of Assembly Republicans as the November elections approach.

*Ahem* I have a question. What was the reason that the guy was fired to begin with? Maybe, just maybe, the guy was fired because it was felt that someone else would do a better job, or because they were, like so many companies, downsizing an operation. I don't know because the article - like the disbelief and shock registered by the "GOP insiders" - is only about the fact that Timothy Plunkett was fired because of who he is related to, not whether or not there was a reason for doing it in the first place.

Reading the WSJ Opinion Journal's Sunday Op-Ed piece by Juan Williams regarding the recent lawsuits filed for slavery reparations. He writes:

On a simple level, it is about the alluring possibility of a bonanza payday for some of the lawyers involved. And there are still people who think they might get a check for thousands of dollars if some company somewhere issues a reparation check. The IRS is dealing with increasing numbers of people who have been duped into believing that they can claim a "Slavery Rebate" on their tax forms. (Last year 80,000 taxpayers made that claim.)

If reparations become a reality, black Americans already battling presumptions of inferiority (they are less hardworking, less intelligent and less patriotic, according to whites questioned by pollsters) will also bear the weight of being demeaned as less able than any Mexican immigrant or Bosnian refugee. The newcomers, after all, are not asking for reparations--they only want a chance to make it in America. The result will be a further segregation of low-income black people from the mainstream.

On a political level, the cost of reparations may be even higher. Reparations will mean an end to the moral responsibility that all Americans, especially white Americans, have for the history of slavery, legal segregation and the continuing racism in our national life. That white guilt opens the door to the idea of national obligation to repair the damage of racism. Once the first reparations check is written, that moral responsibility will disappear, and the door will shut on all claims for affirmative action in private industry, government and academia. It may also bring a collapse of the already tenuous support for social-welfare programs that are a key to repairing the horrors of public schools in big cities, high rates of poverty among children, and jails overflowing with young black men.

Interesting points. He suggests that part of the reason that affirmative action and social funding exist is to assuage the "guilt" that whites have about slavery, even though they are now generations removed from it. If reparations are made, does that put everyone on equal footing, requiring no more assistance, no more government aid?

No. Especially since the people who will benefit from any of these "reparations" are the lawyers and the select few trying to scare publicly held companies into paying a ransom for their image. That won't help any of the people for whom the government programs are designed. And it certainly won't reduce taxes.

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"I wouldn't mind paying taxes --
if I knew they were going to a friendly country."

--Dick Gregory (1932 - ____)
US comedian, author, political activist

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