Los Angeles Times Love Affair with the Taliban

Yesterday morning I read this disturbing article on the MSNBC website:

Afghan Taliban publicly execute woman accused of adultery; men cheer

Today, the Los Angeles Times Front Page has this article discussing the beauty of Taliban poetry:

If you want to read the whole thing, the link can be found here:

Poetry of the Taliban’ elicits both anger, astonishment

The Times finally got around to somewhat acknowledging what happened to the poor woman:

Afghan woman accused of adultery apparently executed on video

They waited until 9:57 this morning to post the article about the Taliban execution on their website, about 23 hours after being reported by MSNBC. You would think the Times would have some moral compass regarding poetry versus atrocities. Of course that would get in the way of the paper’s wish to make nice with our poor mis-understood enemies. For the Los Angeles Times, it’s another example of ‘whistling past the graveyard’ of their own demise as a credible newspaper.

 

 

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When is a Tax not a Tax?

When it is argued that it does not apply to the Anti-Injunction act.

Official 2005 photo of Chief Justice John G. R...

Official 2005 photo of Chief Justice John G. Roberts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In adjudicating the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare), Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that the Anti-Injunction Act does not apply in this case because Congress referred to it as a penalty:

The Affordable Care Act does not require that the penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate be treated as a tax for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act.

Page 15 (Page 21 of the PDF file)

After deciding that the penalty for not obtaining health insurance is not a tax, the Justice in Chief decided for the majority that the penalty is a tax:

The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.

Page 44 (Page 50 of the PDF file)

Justice Roberts argues that even though Congress referred to it as a “penalty”, words don’t matter when it comes to how the penalty is applied. Since the IRS will be the enforcer, and since the penalty does not involve criminal sanctions, the penalty can be considered a tax.

Now I wonder since the penalty is a tax, can  someone who will be penalized taxed by the IRS bring a case that the tax is unconstitutional because the Supreme Court called it a penalty under the Anti-Injunction Act?

I am all tied-up in knots.

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What to do When the Feds Come Knocking

I remember when times were simpler and the Federal government was a lot smaller. Back in the early 1990’s I was at the Comdex computer show in Las Vegas when it was the World’s largest convention. I attended the keynote speech by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates at the old Aladdin Hotel (Since demolished, replaced, and then renamed as Planet Hollywood). I was sitting in the front row, no more than 15 feet from the enigmatic Mr. Gates, when he spoke of the future of computing. He did not discuss the internet or any other technology that blesses us today. I think he talked about that little dancing paper-clip widget in the upcoming version of Microsoft Office.

Back in those days, Microsoft was the largest software company and Bill Gates was the richest person in the World. Mr. Gates didn’t feel the need to spend money on lobbyists in Washington even though his company dominated the operating system business. Then along came United States v. Microsoft in 1998. The Federal government accused Microsoft of monopolizing the internet browser arena to the exclusion of competitors by including the Internet Explorer browser free of charge as part of its Windows operating system. The government lost its case to break-up Microsoft on appeal and eventually a settlement was made.  The company agreed to allow access to its “application programming interfaces” by competing developers. To this day, Internet Explorer is bundled with the Windows operating system.

Stills from videotape of Bill Gates' depositio...

Stills from videotape of Bill Gates’ deposition at 1998 United States v. Microsoft trial. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fast forward to Today when the news broke that Google Chrome has surpassed Internet Explorer as the World’s most used browser. Microsoft is becoming less of a force in the computer marketplace while Google is looking to dominate the internet through its browser and Android operating system.

Google learned from the Federal interference of Microsoft that you have to pay in order to protect yourself. Google spent $5.9 million on Washington lobbying in the first three-quarters last year when they found themselves under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission.

While Microsoft is still larger in market value than Google ($250b versus $200b), the new leader in web browsing is the dominant player in the smartphone software industry. Google’s Android software has a 56% market share compared to Microsoft’s measly 1.9%. Apple iOS for the iPhone comes in at 23%. Google is moving aggressively to develop Google Drive as a web-based alternative to Microsoft Office. If Drive can be successfully ported into the business arena, it will be game over for Microsoft Office.

 

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Reputation Rebuild Courtesy of This Week with George Stephanopoulos

Where do you go to rebuild your tarnished reputation if you are a disgraced liberal Democrat? You get a seat at the roundtable on George Stephanopoulos’ weekly program on ABC.

April 22, 2012: After being fired by Al Gore’s Current TV, disgraced former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann found a comfy chair on the program.

May 13, 2012: After criticizing Ann Romney for being a mother, then being sent to President Obama’s doghouse, Democrat consultant Hilary Rosen was let out to appear on George’s panel. After resigning as Governor of New York over a prostitution scandal, and a failed political talk show on CNN, and after taking over for the low-rated Keith Olbermann show on Current TV, the disgraceful Eliot Spitzer got a chair at the roundtable.

My favorite roundtable moment was on May 2, 2010 when George Will took Bill Maher to task for making bogus claims about oil in Brazil. Maher can get away with shoveling bull on his own HBO program. But he can’t stand up to being challenged outside of his ‘amen’ chorus. I don’t believe Mr. Bill has been seen on the show since this embarrassing incident.

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Is Patience in Politics a Virtue?

Syndicated columnist, Michael Barone, observes the seething discontent and anger in the 2010 class of Republicans over the need to confront all things Obama. From the Affordable Health Care Act to crony capitalism, the Republican House and their supporters in the blogosphere want action now. But as Mr. Barone points out, controlling only one-third of the mechanism needed to make change in government, the Republicans must wait until another election to reverse the tide of soft despotism that the Democrats are foisting upon us.

English: at CPAC in .
Image via Wikipedia

Thus does patience become a virtue? I believe so. The character of the American people will not allow one party to dominate their lives. The election of 2010 proved that we went too far with one-party rule. The 2012 election may swing the country back towards individual freedom and liberty, or it may postpone the reckoning. But that day must come before we surrender ourselves to a benevolent government that tells us what is in our best interest.

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Whitney Houston and our National Anthem

After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and before Desert Storm, Whitney Houston was invited to sing the Star Spangled Banner at Superbowl XXV on January 27, 1991. During a time of tension and fear for our soldiers’ fate, Whitney delivered one of the best renditions of our national anthem that I can remember. I haven’t forgotten that day, and I know I never will.

Thank you Whitney. Now go and sing with the angels.

 

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The President’s War on Religion has Begun

President Obama has declared war against all religions with his mandate that all employers must provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. This includes any religious employer, such as Catholic hospitals and universities, that object to being forced to pay for services that violate its religious principles.

The Catholic Church has responded with a full-frontal assault from all quarters. Cardinal Roger Mahony from Los Angeles has put out a call to fight with “all the energies the Catholic Community can muster“. The President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal-Designate Timothy Dolan, has released a video calling on all Catholics to contact congress and raise their objections to this attack on religious freedom:

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