January 6, 2014

Letter: The truth is...

A regional newspaper had a commentary (a license to say what you believe without any shred of evidence) blaming President Obama for unconstitutional use of executive orders, IRS/Benghazi scandals, Fast and Furious, National Security Agency (NSA) spying, Obamacare and economic failures.

And the truth is President Obama has been derided for using executive orders and NSA spying. But Ronald Reagan initiated this policy, signing Executive Order 12333 which allows NSA spying from within the U.S. on mail, homes and electronics. The Patriot Act, Section 215, expanded President George W. Bush’s secret gathering and storing of the information NSA is doing today.

Fast and Furious was part of Project Gunrunner which began as a pilot project in Laredo, Texas, in 2005, which allowed guns to “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartels as early as 2006. Investigators, due to a lack of sufficient agreement on microscopic marks, could not determine the actual gun that killed Brian Terry. The Justice Department declined to prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder, citing a legal opinion regarding Iran-contra under President Reagan.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman was a Bush appointee. The Citizens United case changed political contribution rules and increased applications requesting tax-exempt status. Meanwhile, IRS staff was reduced by budget cuts, plus clarification of the rules surrounding Citizens United caused long delays in processing. Strangely, groups don’t seek 501(c)(4) status to avoid taxes — they are nonprofits and don’t pay taxes. The benefit from achieving 501(c)(4) status was freedom from naming donors operating for political purposes. The IRS investigated liberals and conservatives. The Inspector General's office in charge of the IRS audit said House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wanted “to narrowly focus on Tea Party organizations,” making it erroneously look like they were the only ones investigated.

President Obama called Syria’s and Russia’s bluff on chemical weapons and Syria agreed to give them up. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was offered special security in Benghazi twice and refused twice. The New York Times reports there is no evidence of Al-Qaida or meticulous planning.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia, with mostly Democratic governors, cooperated with Obamacare and started exchanges — some outpacing enrollment estimates (California, Kentucky). But in Tennessee, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam declined a state exchange. The Tennessee Hospital Association says the $6 billion from Obamacare is needed or the state faces numerous hospital closures.

On the economy: The Dow Jones average reached over 16,000 for the first time this year (the fourth best annualized gain since 1900), unemployment is now down to 7 percent, annualized economic growth hit 4.1 percent in the third quarter.

David Bean


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