Everybody’s posting on Rachel Maddow’s debacle from last evening, where viewers sat through 20 minutes of preamble leading to this,

After the first break—at which point the tax returns were already available on the internet and glossed by the Daily Beast—Maddow was joined by Johnston, and she began by asking him how he knew Trump hadn’t sent the returns himself. Johnston said that he could have. A few hours after Maddow finished airing, this has become a popular conspiracy theory, simply because, if Donald Trump were to share any of his tax returns, the 2005 1040 seems like a good candidate. Trump paid taxes at a rate of around 4 percent, but because of the alternate minimum tax, he also paid an additional $31 million. The form revealed that, rather than not paying taxes and making no money, Trump paid $38 million on $150 million in income. Maddow promised to pull a sordid revelation out of a hat and instead plucked out … Trump’s credibility? Maddow was soon parsing, asking Johnston to explain that Trump is currently trying to do away with the AMT, which, unfair as it may be, still wouldn’t change the amount he paid in 2005.

As the show went on, it became clear that Maddow knew she didn’t quite have the scoop that had been promised.

The White House had already released a statement by the time she got around showing the 1040, not the full returns (which I expect would be hundreds of pages long).

Maddow doesn’t read the Wall Street Journal, or she would remember that almost exactly a year ago the Journal was reporting on the 2005 returns,

Unlike other candidates, Mr. Trump has refused to release even part of his federal income-tax returns, citing continuing audits. But county land records revealed that he has donated conservation easements on at least four of his properties: The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y., the New Jersey golf club and a golf driving range on the California coast. Three of the donations, including the Bedminster one, were made in December, when taxpayers are typically making deductions that can offset that year’s income.

Hillary Clinton last year claimed that Trump did not pay taxes.

Instead, the 1040 showed now-Pres. Trump paying $38 million in federal taxes alone, not including state income, real estate, and other local taxes. Maddox may have shot herself in the foot.

The troublesome question, which Pete brought up, is,

If the left considers it legit to leak Trump’s taxes illegally does that mean it’s open season on anyone they consider the enemy?

Look, if Pres. Trump himself put the 1040s in an envelope with two forever stamps, thereby pwning Maddow, Johnston, and everybody at NBC, it’s one thing. Conspiracy theories on MSNBC are nothing new.

But the fact remains that the unauthorized disclosure of tax return information is a crime – a felony under 26 U.S. Code § 7213. If you are not alarmed that the left justify committing felonies to bring down a political enemy, you are just not paying attention.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Thomas Jefferson, farmer, architect, at age 33 one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence and later one of the framers of the U. S. Constitution, ambassador, and President, is known as the sage of Monticello, after the essay written by Inez Nellie Canfield McFee in 1913 (and part 6 of a 1981 biography by Dumas Malone).

Jefferson’s talents were many and bright, a true son of the Age of Enlightenment, for it is Jefferson’s work that helped bring about American democracy.

It is then particularly insulting to have The Economist draw a parallel between Thomas Jefferson and José Mujica.

“José who?”, you may ask.

José Mujica, president of Uruguay, a.k.a. Pepe, which The Economist exults as The sage of Montevideo.

About the only thing Jefferson and Mujica may have in common is their ownership of farms, albeit, in Mujica’s carefully-burnished image as the world’s ‘poorest president’, Mujica’s estate is no Monticello.

Indeed, the friend of George Soros has a nasty background, which even The Economist can’t ignore,

Another ingredient in the mystique is his extraordinary personal history. In the 1960s he was a leader of the Tupamaros, an urban guerrilla movement.

And just what was Pepe after?

Contrary to leftist myth, Mr Mujica did not fight a dictatorship. The Tupamaros bombed, kidnapped and murdered in a bid to turn democratic Uruguay into a version of Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

The result?

They succeeded only in helping to precipitate a right-wing military takeover (after Mr Mujica was jailed).

The fellational “Bello”, author of The Economist piece, considers Mujica “Latin America’s most original leader.”

National Book Award winner and Yale University professor Carlos Eire, who knows a thing or two about Fidel Castro’s Cuba through personal experience, is not as kind on Pepe: Uruguay’s President Mujica: Avatar of all things Latrine, and comments about the article,

If you want to know why so many countries in Ibero-America deserve to be called Latrine American rather than Latin American, read this article

But hey, The Economist is copacetic with Pepe’s “most original” leadership.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and Culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

In view of the genocide against Christians, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which traditionally keeps a low profile, issued the following (emphasis added):

This Pontifical Council, together with all those engaged in interreligious dialogue, followers of all religions, and all men and women of good will, can only unambiguously denounce and condemn these practices which bring shame on humanity:

-the massacre of people on the sole basis of their religious affiliation;

-the despicable practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging bodies in public places;

-the choice imposed on Christians and Yezidis between conversion to Islam, payment of a tax (jizya) or forced exile;

-the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of people, including children, elderly, pregnant women and the sick;

-the abduction of girls and women belonging to the Yezidi and Christian communities as spoils of war (sabaya);

-the imposition of the barbaric practice of infibulation;

-the destruction of places of worship and Christian and Muslim burial places;

-the forced occupation or desecration of churches and monasteries;

-the removal of crucifixes and other Christian religious symbols as well as those of other religious communities;

-the destruction of a priceless Christian religious and cultural heritage;

-indiscriminate violence aimed at terrorizing people to force them to surrender or flee.

No cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity.
. . .
The dramatic plight of Christians, Yezidis and other religious communities and ethnic minorities in Iraq requires a clear and courageous stance on the part of religious leaders, especially Muslims, as well as those engaged in interreligious dialogue and all people of good will. All must be unanimous in condemning unequivocally these crimes and in denouncing the use of religion to justify them

While the persecution of Christians in Muslim lands is nothing new, the horrific actions demand a universal condemnation of ISIS. John Allen explains,

It’s the lived reality of the new caliphate proclaimed by the Islamic State, which means that the Vatican and other Christian leaders are no longer so worried about the aftermath of a conflict. They’re much more preoccupied by the here and now, and thus more inclined to back anyone who seems prepared to do something about it.

It is not, however, a general call to arms; Ed Morrissey comments,

This looks, Allen said, like the Vatican’s attempt to “cash in on 50 years of ecumenical outreach” in order to marginalize ISIS. The Council’s question is a challenge to their partners, demanding some investment in the risks of peace and tolerance. Pope Francis’ last two predecessors both took a lot of criticism for their efforts to reach out in dialogue with Muslim leaders. Now it’s time to see whether those leaders and their successors have the same fortitude, or whether these have just been empty gestures all along. If after decades of engagement these leaders cannot bring themselves to condemn the forced conversion, beheadings, ethnoreligious cleansing and flat-out genocides of ISIS, then it leaves very little value in continued engagement from the Vatican’s perspective.

Indeed.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

From the BBC: Guatemala, Mexico and the United States have reached a deal to try to prevent migrants from jumping onto a freight train in an attempt to reach the US, according to Guatemalan officials.

The three countries said they would establish more checkpoints.

Let’s look at this for a moment: The Mexican government, which until rather recently had some of the strictest immigration laws in our hemisphere, is allowing tens of thousands of foreigners to travel unimpeded thousands of miles through Mexican territory to reach the U.S. border, and “more checkpoints” are going to change that?

Particularly considering the money the cartels are making from all the human trafficking?

“The Chinese are paying $50,000, the Indians are paying $10,000 to $20,000, [for] all the Central Americans the average is about $7,000 and the Mexicans are, especially [from] southern Mexico, are paying $3,000, so it’s a huge, huge money event for the cartels, probably even more lucrative than the drug business,” Dr. Michael Vickers of the Texas Border Volunteers told Infowars.

The border surge started during Obama’s first term:

President Obama’s executive actions on immigration did not begin with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in mid-2012. It began in 2011 with his announcement of “prosecutorial discretion” on deportations. A few months later the border patrol noted the first uptick in unaccompanied children at the border.

The campaign of misinformation goes on, but more and more questions add up; two days ago Pat wrote about Gov. Jindal’s questions,

He’d like to know, among other things, where the children are:

Jindal wants to know where the children are living, the timeline for determining their ultimate status and whether the federal government plans to kick in dollars for their education and health care. He also wants to know how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided where to place them.

As the resources of the country as a whole and the states in particular are diverted to cope with this invasion, I leave you to ponder Mark Steyn’s words,

One of the reasons why so many Americans oppose amnesty and a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens is because, even if one buys it in utilitarian terms, to accept that an honorable American identity can be born from an illegal act seems to mock the very essence of citizenship and allegiance.

Yet, putting aside the soon to be amnestied millions, it seems to me the deformation of law necessary to accommodate the armies of the undocumented is having a broader corrupting effect on the federal bureaucracy. For example, can you think of anything more risible than working for something called “US Customs & Border Protection”?

How’s that for a “train deal”?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

The Obama administration passed a few sanctions against Venezuela this week. No, the sanctions had nothing to do with the Pollo and Venezuela’s involvement in the drug trade.

Instead, the sanctions are against individuals linked to the bloody repression of student protesters this year. In our days of “smart diplomacy,” this is what passes for sanctions these days – Andres Oppenheimer points out:

  • These are not economic sanctions against Venezuela, but against about two dozen officials, including cabinet ministers, presidential advisers and judges
  • The officials remain unidentified
  • They don’t go after the targeted officials’ financial assets.

Instead, Oppenheimer states,

They should seek to freeze the U.S. assets of Venezuelan officials and government cronies involved in human rights abuses, and expose the fortunes they have amassed since late President Hugo Chávez rose to power 14 years ago.

“Smart diplomacy” dictates a toothless travel ban against officials involved in actions that left 43 dead, 50 documented cases of torture, and more than 2,000 unlawful detentions – officials that will remain nameless.

Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez call for sanctions against Venezuela: “We need to sanction their assets.” Their bill calls for freezing U.S. bank accounts, U.S. stocks held in any U.S. and foreign banks, and U.S. real estate belonging to the officials. Oppenheimer points out,

Other Venezuelan human rights violators’ assets should be traced by the U.S. Justice and Treasury Departments through mutual assistance treaties with other nations.

As for Venezuela’s involvement with the FARC, Iran, Hezbollah, and the such . . . crickets chirping.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

[The Northern Triangle refers to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in Central America.]

I live in Princeton, NJ, where you can find the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. I am not connected to the School, or to Princeton University, but over the years I have attended many speeches, events and symposia at both.

So I can venture a guess that the School may have a more polished term for the no-do foreign policy of Yes, Prime Minister:

The Obama administration, at best, follows the Yes, Prime Minister school of International Affairs by neglecting our allies and doing nothing. There’s doing nothing, however, and then there’s folly.

Michael Gonzalez has a must-read article on Obama’s Central American Follies: “A country-by-country survey of the Obama administration’s actions in the Northern Triangle [Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador] shows how the administration has sown instability in Central America by siding with former guerrillas who have ties to drug trafficking.

Only lately has the White House bowed to reality and finally conceded what Democrats in Congress, The Washington Post and even Univision were already admitting that dreams of sanctuary under the DREAM Act had convinced Central American families to hand their children over to coyote networks that would take them across Mexico and the Rio Grande. In other words, the administration had to admit that it had contributed to the problem by appearing to promise that children who crossed the border illegally would not be deported.

But the administration shouldn’t get a pass on the violent hell that has been unleashed in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

From siding with the wrong guys in Honduras, to interfering in the judicial process in Guatemala, to ignoring the ties between the drug gangs and newly-elected president Salvador Sánchez Cerén, Gonzalez’s article tracks the Obama administration’s long record of incompetence (at best), and suggests some things the U.S. can do now to improve our country’s security.

faustaBorder security is national security. Go read Gonzalez’s article and find out three examples of why it is.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Imagine my surprise when I opened my email this morning and found a link to Roger Kimball’s post, Deunionize the IRS.

Say what? Deunionize? As Roger asks, “The government’s tax collecting agency is unionized?” What union?

The union in question is The National Treasury Employees Union. According to the web site of the NTEU, the mission of the union is “To organize federal employees to work together to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect.” That’s a tall order, in part because there are so very many federal employees. The NTEU’s web site includes a nifty interactive graphic that shows you just how many there are in each state: 279,622 in Texas, for example, 350,544 in California, 165,943 in New York, etc., etc. There are, in short, millions of them.

What followed was not a surprise, since, of course, the NTEU donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to political candidates who of course are Democrats, and of course, “The agency’s employees are heavily engaged in politics and lean considerably to the left.”

Just the kind of news one doesn’t like to hear first thing in the morning.

While most of us Da Tech readers know that public-sector unions are a prescription for political corruption, the politicians-the-unions-help-elect-who-in-turn-help-the-unions consider that a feature, not a bug, which only adds to our outrage.

The latest new word I learned is “spoliation of evidence“,

Spoliation “is the destruction or the significant and meaningful alteration of evidence.”

The IRS version of spoliation comes in the form of destroyed hard drives and cancelled e-mail backups for two years’ worth of records.

Allow me to remind you that the IRS insists you keep your records for seven years. It can seize your assets, garnish your wages, and throw you in jail if you don’t.

The IRS and its officials are intent on dragging on the hearings long enough, to use Roger’s words, the outrage will falter and the disgust will die down.

It is, then with great pleasure that one gets to watch Trey Gowdy explain to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in March,

And in June,

faustaBut the bottom line is, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of Tea Party groups, that is, the political weaponizing of the most powerful government bureaucracy, that, is the real scandal.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

One of the benefits of being fluent in more than one language is that it allows you to watch hoity toity stuff from abroad. You know the type – soap operas wrapped around history/period pieces, like The Tudors and such, only in languages other than English.

After the success of The Tudors – where Henry VIII was gorgeous but shorter than the real-life Henry – the Spaniards have come up with a TV series on Henry’s mother-in-law, Queen Isabella. The series, Isabel, is as visually appealing as The Tudors, filmed on beautiful locations and sets, and stars not only a lovely girl as Isabel but very handsome men, who greatly add to the appeal. Behold, the cast of Isabel:

I came across Isabel while flipping channels a couple of weeks ago, and started to watch the episodes on line (in Spanish, no subtitles). As it turns out, I finished watching the first season just as Hillary Clinton’s new book came out.

Hillary could learn five things from the young Isabel:
1. It’s not about you, it’s about your country: The young Isabel wanted to be queen not because it was her due as kin of the powerful, but because she was determined to make her people more prosperous (materially and spiritually) and to better her realm.

2. Don’t ask “what difference at this point, does it make?” Isabel fully realized that she was there to make a difference, and that it was her responsibility to do so.

3. Treat your bodyguards with respect and consideration. Young Isabel learned from an early age that good help is not only hard to find, but that her life depended on them, unlike Hillary, who confused the Secret Service with porters.

4. Don’t let your hair down in public. While young Isabel wore her hair down in the TV series, she was scrupulous about protocol. No leading the conga line while on a junket for her!

5. Don’t hang on your husband’s coattails. Isabel, when her brother the king died, placed the crown on her head and became chief justice through her own initiative. She didn’t wait for Ferdinand to get back in town. Indeed, the point was that she didn’t need to wait because it was she who was in charge.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog, and is fond of pretentious TV soaps disguised as docudramas.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Granted, low-information voters live in a state of permanent blissful ignorance. My friend Denny even has a weekly joke dedicated to them (it used to be a Saturday blonde joke, but then I made a suggestion, and the rest is history).

Da Tech Guy Blog’s readers are definitely not low-information voters, so right now we are dismayed by the headlines. Paul Mirengoff looks at Three Crises,

Islamic extremists are overrunning major cities in Iraq that U.S. forces liberated at the cost of American lives. Children from Central America are pouring illegally into America in numbers that far exceed our capacity to deal with them. Veterans are dying because they can’t get medical treatment.

Three crises that are ongoing, with long-term consequences, and all have a direct connection to Obama administration policy.

And that’s just for starters. Benghazi, the IRS, Obamacare, Iran’s expansion in Latin America, the 5 Talibanis traded for Bergdahl, Fast and Furious, the pervasive patterns of fictions as truths, together with the media’s mythologizing, go on and on.

It’s enough to bring a blogger down.

So at times like this, what does a blogger do? Take a break by, of course, checking out other blogs. The other day I found Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs via Emily Zanotti of Naked DC. If you thought you have seen dumps (and in my years as active real estate agent I visited places to which I should have worn a flea collar), “you ain’t thing nothing yet”. A great blog for a good laugh.

I’m sure you can name others equally amusing.

But my point is this: Take a break, relax, recharge. The struggle for conservative values continues, and we each do our part. We’re in this to stand for what we believe best for ourselves and for our great country.

And get involved in the upcoming mid-term elections.
fausta
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

The latest invasion of thousands of unaccompanied children at the border raises some very important questions, not all on immigration:

Who paid for their transport?
Coyotes (who are agents of the drug cartels controlling illegal border traffic) charge thousands of dollars – from what I have heard, US$5,000 per person. Did all of a sudden poor families manage to all at the same time find the funds to send these children? Or did the coyotes start giving group discounts?

Why now?
The current immigration reform law is vastly unpopular, to the point where a wave of anti-amnesty sentiment defeated Eric Cantor yesterday.

The Obama administration’s push for a comprehensive immigration bill pushes aside any other alternatives – such as the Red Card Solution – eventually granting citizenship to all who want it, regardless, for the sake of social justice.

Former Congressman John Linden writes on how The Cloward-Piven Strategy is Alive and Well at the Border

Children are crossing the border in astonishing numbers and an additional 230,000 children are expected over the next 24 months. Border officials fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
. . .
President Obama has called it “an urgent humanitarian situation.” Attorney General Holder said that amnesty is a civil right and has initiated a program to hire an additional 100 attorneys to represent these children in the immigration process.

Richard Cloward has died. His partner and wife, Francis Fox Piven, serves as the honorary chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America. The Cloward-Piven Strategy is alive and well in the care of President Obama who is superintending the chaos on the border.

He took office promising to transform America. This will do it.

Victor Davis Hanson agrees,

For Obama, open borders with Mexico are revolutionary ends that require the necessary means to achieve them. New influxes of illegal aliens represent a fundamental transformation of America. Many of them look to government for help; they will in time become proper Democratic households; and they are a club to hit conservatives with, as being insensitive to Latino needs. The law, in other words, is a small bump on the highway to social justice. Who cares if some are rattled a bit by speeding over it?

I have written in the past about how border security is national security; Iran‘s increasing presence in Latin America with its use of Hezbollah to establish
intelligence, terrorism and crime networks is only one aspect of the problem. All that is ignored for the sake of an open border and social justice.

The Obama administration’s foreign policy failures, combined with its purpose to “fundamentally transform America” (into what, I asked myself years ago when I first heard Obama declare it) is a pattern of behavior that weakens the U.S. for a purpose of “social justice” here and abroad.

Expect more, Prof. Hanson believes,

The more such scandals occur in the next two years, the more they will not be seen as scandals, but as mere bothersome hurdles to fundamentally changing America. In the age of Obama, you win the race not by playing by the fossilized rules of jumping over the track’s hurdles — but instead by running right through them to reach the finish line first.

And a parting question:
The Obama administration wants to end the so-called embargo with Cuba. How unlikely is it that they would yield to Cuba’s demand, “End the embargo now, or you’ll get another Mariel?”

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America n politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.