HOW LONG CAN THE WHITE HOUSE DENY “DIRTY TRICKS”? Now that six months have elapsed since President Obama’s reelection, the White House seems to feel it is now o.k. to release information that shows the Obama administration committed some dirty tricks worthy of Richard Nixon during the months leading up to the election.
The administration has finally released copies of email messages that flurried back and forth during the first few days after the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans just days before the election. The email contents show that administration officials talked specifically about the advantages of leaving out of news releases and Sunday talk show comments anything that would indicate the attack was a terrorist attack. Instead, the messages show the administration wanted to make the American people think the attack was the spontaneous violence of “normal” Libyans reacting to an anti-Islamic video then circulating, rather than the planned terrorist attack that the administration knew it was. President Obama insisted right up to election day that there had been no “cover up” or attempt to deceive the American people. We now know differently.
The American people have also learned in the past few days that during the months leading up to the presidential election, some members of Obama’s Internal Revenue Service purposely targeted conservative non-profit groups for special scrutiny, especially any with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names. The IRS has now apologized for this abominable, pre-election use of government power to intimidate those whose political beliefs differ from the government’s.
Now perhaps the worst of the Obama administration abuses comes to light. The Justice Department, in what appears to be a massive attack on the news media’s First Amendment freedoms, has seized phone records of hundreds of reporters for the Associated Press. This unprecedented intrusion into how our press covers government and political stories will have a chilling effect for years to come on how our free society collects information on its government.
The news media has for years given the Obama administration a “free pass” when it comes to his violating the Constitution and authorizing other underhanded uses of government power. Perhaps now that the media itself has become the target, it will become more objective about Obama’s tactics. Surely, the media will no longer allow the Obama administration to get away with denying its dirty tricks.
MOLLIS A GOOD RUNNING MATE FOR RAIMONDO: Although in Rhode Island we stupidly disaggregate the offices of governor and lieutenant governor and don’t allow them to run for election or reelection as a team, it would make sense for those running for governor to at least strongly endorse a candidate for lieutenant governor - one he or she thinks capable of assisting in running the executive branch. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, a likely candidate for lieutenant governor, would be a great “running mate” for Gina Raimondo if she runs for governor. Mollis has shown that he is a “get the job done” secretary of state who has accomplished much with little fanfare. His latest attempt to get the Department of Business Regulation and Department of Health to adhere to state law on reducing red tape for new businesses is quite admirable. Let’s hope Gina is looking at him as someone she can endorse.
ARMING CAMPUS POLICE IS IRONIC: Certainly, anyone wearing a police uniform is a potential target for bad guys and should be armed. Just because university police patrol a relatively peaceful campus, they are still subject to great danger as they respond to burglaries, fights and domestic disputes. Without firearms they are far less capable of protecting those they are sworn to protect. The state board of education should waste no time in approving the arming of these police officers.
The irony, however, is likely to escape most Rhode Islanders, especially those who serve in the General Assembly. Numerous bills being considered would greatly weaken Second Amendment rights by restricting the weapons law-abiding citizens can possess for self-defense. Ironically, at the same time, the state is considering arming campus police who, unlike common citizens who must call 911 and hide when their homes are invaded, have numerous city and state police officers immediately available with only a radio call. So, we should all ask ourselves who needs the protection of personal arms more – the average citizen or the police? We should look at the irony of who is being deprived of guns and who is becoming better armed. Does it make sense?
CHAFEE SHOWS COWARDICE AGAIN: By allowing a bill to become law with neither his signature nor his veto, Governor Chafee has once again showed his true colors. He had neither the courage nor conviction to sign or veto a bill that heaps tremendous financial burdens on the residents of Coventry’s central fire district. The bill overturns the democratically conducted election in which district voters overwhelmingly rejected the district’s proposal to raise taxes by 64 percent. The bill that Chafee allowed to become law in such a cowardly way increases district homeowners’ taxes by about 62 percent. It’s a sad day for Rhode Island when our governor and legislature both display total disregard for the ballot box.
URI SUPPORTS TERRORISM BY MOVING COMMENCEMENT: The University of Rhode Island is doing exactly what terrorists want it to do - give in to their demands. By moving its commencement ceremony indoors due to fear of terrorism, the university is making terrorists’ campaign of fear and intimidation a success. Not only does moving the ceremony indoors cause immense inconvenience to the families of graduates, only two of whom can watch the indoor ceremony, it strengthens terrorism. It provides proof to terrorists that their tactics work and provides an incentive for them to do it again. Rather than protecting the university community from terrorists, this move only exposes the community to future acts of terrorist violence. Boston is being strong; it intends to conduct another marathon next year. URI, on the other hand, is being weak and caving in to terrorism. All Rhode Islanders should be ashamed.
NEW IDEA ON THE MASTER LEVER: Catherine Terry Taylor, the Republican candidate for R.I. Secretary of State in 2010 who almost beat incumbent H. Ralph Mollis and who is now considering running for the same office again, has come up with a novel approach to the master lever issue.
The vast majority of R.I. citizens, all the good-government organizations, the entire minority party, and the news media all support ridding our ballots of the one-stroke vote for an entire political party slate. It’s designed to heavily favor the majority party, is undemocratic, highly confusing, and disenfranchises some local candidates. Unfortunately, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly wants to keep the master lever, regardless of constituents’ desires.
Taylor has publicized an option that Secretary Mollis could long ago have implemented but has not. Taylor says the Secretary of State has the authority to move the master lever selection from the top of the ballot to the bottom. While this may not solve the problem entirely, only the General Assembly can do that, it will require those who have been told to “vote the master lever” to at least give a cursory look at all candidates as they search down the ballot for the somewhat hidden master lever at the bottom. It’s a great idea that will partially circumvent the anti-constituent arrogance of our legislators.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: From an anonymous Internet source: “Isn’t it strange how after a bombing, everyone blames the bomber; but after a shooting, the gun’s the problem?”