The Death of a Legacy

Andrew would not approve.

By Jim Jamitis aka Anthropocon

By Jim Jamitis aka Anthropocon

When Andrew Breitbart died unexpectedly March 1, 2012, conservatives around the world mourned the loss of a fearless general in the political war against the progressive liberal agenda. They also wondered what would become of his fledgling news organization that so many had become dependent on.  With talent like Dana Loesch, Larry O’Connor, and many others, it seemed that Andrew’s legacy would hopefully be in good hands.  Sadly, that has not proven to be true.

After Andrew’s death, the board took over, headed by Larry Solov and Steve Bannon.  I remember it was not long after that when FoxNews stories started appearing at the bottom of the revamped website.  For a website created by a guy “committed to the destruction of the old media guard,” it seemed oddly out of place.

The first real hint that all was not well came in December 2012, when radio host and then-BigJournalism editor Dana Loesch sued Breitbart Inc to be allowed out of a contract she said didn’t even exist anymore.  According to the suit, her contract had lasped, and the higher-ups had failed to renew it.  But Bannon and Solov were refusing to let her go to work with others, telling everyone that she was still under a contract they claimed had auto-renewed by default. Meanwhile, they were refusing to publish her work, leaving her in a state of limbo.  The suit was finally settled by the board agreeing to allow Dana to leave the organization.  She has since found a home and a successful tv program over at Glenn Beck’s BlazeTv.

Dana was not the only one who had trouble leaving the organization.  Both Lee Stranahan and Larry O’Connor had trouble getting out, with both of them seeing articles squashed for a time period before they were finally allowed to leave. Lee wound up in a public twitter fight with Breitbart.com’s Brandon Darby over his departure.  Larry has found a home at DC’s WMAL, & is now editing and writing for IJ Review.

Personally, the final straw came in August 2013.  My cousin, an elementary school principal & strong Christian conservative, was being slandered/libeled all over the main stream press.  A parent at the school took a new policy way out of context, and ran to the local press instead of the school board. “School Principal Forces Kids to Bow Before Him!” all the headlines screamed.  Soon, the story was viral.  My cousin was ordered by the school board to keep his mouth shut, and no one was paying attention to the other parents or people like me who were trying to defend him and explain the situation.  Drudge picked up the story, and Breitbart.com’s John Nolte published it as a re-hashed hit piece on my cousin. When I called him out repeatedly, on their site, on twitter, and even on my own site, I was met with silence.  When I contacted everyone affiliated with the site, I was again met with silence.  I was stunned and disappointed. How could those responsible for Andrew’s legacy do such a half-assed job and completely swallow the same media narrative that Andrew had fought to dismantle?

The story at Buzzfeed earlier this month did not surprise me.  According to Buzzfeed, several of the editors and reporters at Breitbart.com had been given the impression that Donald Trump had bought and paid for the higher-ups.  Anti-Trump stories were being killed and primarily favorable Trump stories were being allowed through.  After Erickson uninvited the Donald , all stories on the RedState Gathering were to be screened by Bannon and Solov before publishing. This is not the first time Breitbart.com writers have been given directives on what to or not to cover. Bannon denied it all, but the site continues to cover Trump in glowing terms, despite his implosion.  John Nolte (yes, the same John Nolte) was on twitter sub-tweeting and sparring with Ben Howe over the situation.

At the end of the day, it seems that Breitbart.com is no longer worthy to bear the name of one of the fiercest media critics in my lifetime.

Andrew would not approve.

 

Truth isn't mean. It's truth.

 

#ApologizeForWhat

PG County Executive & Council Chairman in a Pissing Match; Taxpayers Get Soaked.

Short version:

The PG County Executive, Rushern Baker, wants a double-digit property tax increase to fund schools, and is using a 2012 state law to get around the limits and requirements in the PG County Charter. The Council, led by Chairman Mel Franklin, vetoed the 15% increase, replaced it with a 4% increase, and added a penny increase to the Parks & Planning tax rate. Mr. Baker said that wasn’t good enough, vetoed the Council’s budget. The Council overrode his veto, which pissed Mr. Baker off. So he vetoed their budget again, and sent back one with an 11% increase in Property tax, and threatened legal action if the council didn’t pass his budget. The Council has once again overridden the County Executive’s budget, and passed their version.

Meanwhile, the taxpayers will see their property taxes increase, as well as their phone bills and the cost of various permits and licenses, despite very public outcry against the increases. Taxpayers are left feeling like no one is listening, and the only question now is how much will taxes increase.

 

pgcopissingmatch-sm

The TL;DR version:

Back in 1978, the citizens of Prince George’s County did something absolutely brilliant.  They passed a law that capped their property tax rate at the 1979 rate, affectionately known as TRIM (Tax Reform Initiative by Marylanders).  When TRIM was challenged in 1996, the voters in this very blue county not only upheld TRIM, but also passed into law the Approval of New or Additional Taxes by Referendum, which said the county government could NOT raise any taxes without asking the public to vote on it.

People who have been involved in PG County Politics much longer than I remember the Park & Planning Surplus scheme.  Fast forward to the height of the housing bubble in about 2005/2006. Maryland has this thing called the “Homestead Tax Credit” which was very helpful to families who saw their property assessments soaring.  The Homestead Tax Credit capped the amount your property tax bill could rise each year to 10% of the previous year’s assessment.  Thing was, the PG County half of the Maryland-National Capitol Park & Planning Commission had long before decided that the Homestead Tax Credit did NOT apply to it.  So P&P was taxing people on the full assessed property values, not the Homestead Tax Credit capped values.  This resulted in a HUGE surplus of cash sitting in the PG M-NCPPC account.  Once the folks in the county government realized how much extra there was, they started lining up with their hands out and a list of projects to do.  P&P also had ideas for the money, as they had their own list of maintenance issues and whatnot that needed attention.  Everything was rolling along so well.

Then the housing bubble burst. When the county went to the state delegation for funding, the state delegates took one look at the beefy account in P&P, and said use that money to plug the holes until the economy turns around.  That right there was a violation of the taxpayer’s trust, as money that had been taken for use in parks and such was now being used to fill the holes all across the county budget. But the economy didn’t recover as fast as hoped, and the county had to keep raiding the P&P fund to fund the budget.  That is until Martin O’Malley signed a bill restricting Park & Planning to the Homestead Tax Credit assessed value levels in 2010.  After that, the money quickly dried up, and P&P was left with a HUGE list of projects, and an ever-shrinking bank account to fund everything.

In 2012, one of the constant attempts by government officials to circumvent TRIM got approved in Annapolis, under Martin O’Malley.  The State Delegation from PG County supported SB 848 2012, also known as the Education Maintenance of Effort bill. SB848 allows county governments to violate the taxing restrictions in their charters for the express purpose of “maintaining the effort” for the county school system.  “Maintenance of Effort” is defined in the bill as the level of funding from last year, and the bill makes it next to impossible to cut education spending at all.  Any reduction in education spending must be granted a waiver from the state.  Operating any large system like this and not allowing the potential for cuts leads to a situation ripe for corruption, cronyism, and abuse.  Just recently the entire school board gave up their county credit cards because of wasteful, fraudulent spending on the part of several members.

County Executive Baker has his eyes on higher office.  It’s well known to anyone who follows PG County politics that Mr. Baker wants to take a shot at the Governor’s Mansion.  According to the Washington Post, “He told residents and business leaders that rehabilitating the education system would be the centerpiece of his legacy.”  He needs to drastically improve the school system, especially since he took it over just a few years ago, in order to have something he can use in his campaign for Governor.  So SB 848 2012 is the bill that Mr. Baker is using to claim he can raise property taxes in PG County by whatever amount he deems necessary for the school system.  Mr. Baker wants to is increase school funding dramatically, and he assumes that the citizens will go along with it because “it’s for the kids.”  He started asking for a 133 million dollar increase, then tried to settle for a 65 million dollar increase. The County Council will only approve a 34 million dollar increase.  There is a group of citizens, PG Tax Watch, who want to fight any increase, claiming that SB 848 2012 doesn’t apply here, and they may be right.  However, they will face an uphill battle as the State’s Attorney General’s office has already come down on the side of the County Executive. The one thing the letter from the AG’s office does not address though, is whether SB 848 2012 can be used to increase school funding. PG County has more than enough in the budget to fund the school at last year’s level without raising taxes, therefore, neither increase is needed to meet the Maintenance of Effort.

Meanwhile, the County Council, led by Chairman Mel Franklin, have declared that simply throwing money at the school system is not going to fix the myriad of problems there.  They want to increase funding for P&P instead. It seems that P&P told the Council & Executive that they are operating in a deficit this year, but have enough in the bank to cover next year.  After that though, they will be in big trouble, financially.  Councilman Franklin is rumored to have his eyes on the County Executive job when they both term limit out in 2018.  The last thing he wants to do right now is enforce a double digit increase in the property tax.  He realizes that’s political suicide. Instead, he wants to do a much smaller increase, a 4% increase that looks completely reasonable up against Mr. Baker’s proposal of 15%. He also wants to plug that hole in P&P because one of the projects that has gotten underway is a HUGE new aquatic & recreation center near Gwynn Park High School.  It’s one of the things he promised to bring to the area, and he wants to deliver.

Baker’s original proposed budget got shot down by Franklin & Co.  He got upset and vetoed their version of the budget, and resubmitted his own again.  They overrode his veto, and sent their budget back to him.  Baker then got really upset and vetoed the Council’s budget a second time, and vaguely threatened legal action if they don’t pass his budget.  The Franklin-led council promptly overrode Baker’s veto a second time, and essential told Baker to “bring it.”  Now the county’s budget is in limbo while we all await the County Executive’s next move.

Scandal-palooza!

Wow. So much has broken in the past few days, it feels like we are being purposefully swamped with one thing after another to keep us yelling, “Squirrel!” Honestly, my head is spinning trying to keep up with all the different scandals, and boy howdy are there plenty of scandals. They keep rolling in all Fast And Furious like. Heh, see what I did there? Fast and Furious is still UNRESOLVED, and the families of Brian Terry, Jamie Zapata, and countless Mexicans deserve answers from AG Eric Holder & the Obama Administration. Answers they very likely will never get.

The EPA apparently charged conservative groups for FOIA requests, but “forgave” the fee for any liberal groups that asked for information. They’ve also been looking the other way A LOT when it comes to wind farms killing endangered birds.

There’s Umbrella-gate, where the President had a couple of United States Marines break their uniform code to hold umbrellas over his head & the head of the Turkish Prime Minister. In a stunning display of disrespect for the Marines. he actually said he wanted them because, “They’ll look good next to us.” (Video is at the link.)

Kathleen Sebulius over at Health and Human Services has been exposed for leaning on companies the HHS does business with and “encouraging” them to donate to non-profit organizations that have been helping to implement Obamacare.

The DOJ seized phone records of reporters at the AP (Associated Press), both work and personal phones. The official story is that they were trying to track down the source of a dangerous leak that compromised national security. The truth – the AP sat on the story for 5 days before getting the all clear from the CIA. The Obama Admin was upset that AP stole their thunder by publishing when they did. The scariest part of this story though, is not the AP records seizure. It’s that the records could be seized without notifying anyone because the phone company was considered a “third party”. Think about what this means for all that information being stored in the cloud, and how more and more we are being pushed into storing our information in the cloud by companies like Microsoft & Google, both of which are well known for working with the government whenever they get asked.

Then there is the IRS targeting of conservative groups, like our very own Hampton Roads Tea Party. But as we quickly found out, it wasn’t just conservative groups, but religious groups, Jewish groups, and even some reporters who had dared to ask a tough question before the election. In the case of Larry Connors of MO, not only was he likely targeted, he was forced to read a retraction on air, he has been thrown under the bus and kicked off the air by the parent company of his station, because it’s run by Obama sympathizers. Despite the administration’s pathetic attempt at a narrative claiming this was some rouge operatives in the lower levels of the IRS’s Cincinnati office, top officials within the IRS knew about this since at least 2011. And if that’s not enough, the word is out now that the woman in charge of the Non-Profit Approval division has not only NOT been fired, but she was promoted! She’s now in charge of the Obamacare division of the IRS. Seriously folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

But all of those are just the A-1 Steak Sauce of this meal. The Benghazi scandal is the real meat and potatoes. Four dead Americans, and a HUGE coverup. Enough of the emails have been released to thoroughly disprove the administration’s narrative. They claimed that only 1 small edit was made to the talking points by the executive branch (which includes the State Dept), but evidence now shows that the White House was involved in edits so drastic, the then-chief of the CIA said, “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this[.]” We’ve also discovered that the brother of a White House Official tied to the Benghazi scandal is non other than the President of CBS News.

It’s no wonder my head is reeling. But realize this, Benghazi was covered up to protect the President just months before the 2012 elections. The IRS targeted groups ahead of the election, making it hard for them to do business. The AP was likely investigated because they blew Obama’s planned victory dance, just months before the election. And the IRS, EPA, HHS, & AP scandals were all released, back-to-back, to provide distraction from testimony of the survivors of the terror attack at the Benghazi Consulate. To top it all off, a Drudge Report editor claims his source at the CIA says there will be more.

Wonder what will be next?

(Cross posted at Suffolk HRTP)

GW Reduced Deficit by 60% in 3 years. Obama Tripled It in 2.

President Obama had a hissy fit last night in full view of the American public and the world. He’s upset because Boehner and the Republicans are not caving to his demand that they raise taxes on the American People. Last night he started his address by blaming Bush, and wrongfully claiming the “surplus” of 2000 was squandered. Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit has an excellent piece refuting the President’s assessment:
 

 

No matter how many times he bashes Bush for his tax cuts it still won’t change reality.

During the Bush years, despite the 2000 Recession, the 9-11 attacks, the stock market scandals, Hurricane Katrina, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush Administration was able to reduce the budget deficit from 412 billion dollars in 2004 to 162 billion dollars in 2007, a sixty percent drop.

In 2004 the federal budget deficit was 412 billion dollars. In 2005 it dropped to 318 billion dollars. In 2006 the deficit dipped to 248 billion dollars. And, in 2007 it fell below 200 billion to 162 billion dollars. During the Bush years the average unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, the economy saw the strongest productivity growth in four decades and there was robust GDP growth. Bush did this with tax cuts.

Obama wants you to believe that the recession forced him to triple the national deficit in a year.

Go read the whole piece. It is so worth the read.

Don’t Blame Boehner or the GOP on this debt thing.

A must read piece, from Reuters, of all places.

In short, Obama sees a need for a permanently bigger government and a lot more tax revenue to fund it. Had Obama agreed with his own debt commission and Republicans, a big agreement was possible. Or he could have proposed real reforms to entitlements. But he declined and there wasn’t a mega-deal. Don’t blame Boehner for that.

via James Pethokoukis | Reuters.com.

Go read the whole thing. Seriously. Dude just lays it all out there.

Seven Minutes, or Sixteen Hours?

Seven-year-olds can’t understand what Islamic terrorism is all about. But they know when an adult’s face is telling them something is wrong — and none of the students sitting in Sandra Kay Daniels’ class at Emma E. Booker Elementary School that morning can forget the devastating change in Bush’s expression when White House chief of staff Andrew Card whispered the terrible news of the al-Qaeda attack.

via The Students with Bush on 9/11: The Interrupted Reading – TIME. (FYI – this piece is definitive reading. Go and read the whole thing now, it now!)

Barack Obama kept military commanders hanging by declaring he would ‘sleep on it’ before taking 16 hours to give the go-ahead to raid Bin Laden’s compound.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1383010/Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-Obama-took-16-hours-make-mind.html#ixzz1LPIfbe3P

Pentagon Inquiry proves Rolling Stone piece on McChyrstal was a fairy tale.

A Pentagon inquiry into a Rolling Stone magazine profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to his dismissal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has cleared him of wrongdoing.

So, the man whom Obama dismissed from his position saying that he had fallen short of, “the standard that should be set by a commanding general,” that guy…  Yea.  Um.  He’s innocent of the charges.

 

The Pentagon inquiry also concluded that not all of the events at issue happened as reported in the Rolling Stone article.

“In some instances, we found no witnesses who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported,” the Pentagon report said. “In other instances, we confirmed that the general substance of an incident at issue occurred, but not in the exact context described in the article.”

Defamation of character much, Rolling Stone?

via McChrystal cleared in Pentagon inquiry – Military News | News From Afghanistan, Iraq And Around The World – Military Times.

**An interesting side note  – Obama tapped McChrystal to lead his wife’s Military Family Advisory Board Initiative thing, 4 days after this IG report was finished. Sounds like a little… “Oops… Uh… My bad.  Here… Have this.”

A Must Read: Sleepwalking Through History

In by-gone days, admirals and generals nearly revolted when their primary purpose – national security – was threatened. Today, US military leadership has largely buckled to their purview being used as an instrument of social change. Pentagon officials have acquiesced almost without a whimper to repeal of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell. Sensitivity training and reduced physical requirements for women are standard. But the role of the military, to be brutally honest, is to smash and kill things, not right society’s wrongs. When the shooting starts, only might is right, and combat warriors who will be sorely needed are exiting because of the change.

An air force wing commander recently quit because higher ups wanted to change the fighting culture he’d fostered. He wrote, “I am tired of fighter pilots suffering at the hands of…pencil pushing…ladder climbing opportunists…who think they are leaders just because the Air Force is currently more interested in feelings and sexual orientation than fighting. At this rate we may lose the next real war.”

It’s a perilous path we’re on and our leaders don’t seem to know it.

Go read the whole thing at BigPeace – Sleepwalking Through History: Is A New War Around the Corner?.

Dana Loesch responds to HuffPo blogger’s “bad Christian” charges

This one is a must read.

Walker is representing the taxpaying laborers. Putting oneself above the others is antithetical to the lessons taught to us in Scripture and underscores Bass’s erroneous logic and attempt to, by way of maliciousness or deliberate obtuseness, bastardize the scope and message of faith.

Read the whole thing at Big Journalism.