IRS Hearings

If you listened to Steve Miller acting commissioner of the IRS he never knew about any abuses of power in targeting conservative groups, he can’t remember who he talked with in his own organizations and he cannot recall most of the names of people within the IRS that implemented this improper program of questioning 50 [c] 4 candidates for freedom from taxes on their respective organizations.

On the other hand the democrats on the hearing panel are collectively saying that the targeting of “some” groups started when the Citizens United program was held legal by the Supreme Court allowing “conservative” groups to acquire funds to support their various groups. The democrats want to make the point that whatever mistakes were made by the IRS first occurred under the Bush administration and the answer to the IRS mistakes is more funding and an overhaul of the 50 [c[4 so that conservative groups could not acquire donations to be used in a campaign against the Obama administration.

The mainstream media has adopted the approach that the conservatives are overstating the problems Obama has with the IRS, Bengali and the AP and consequently the public no longer thinks the administration is in the middle of damage control.

The net, net is nothing will be done until and unless the people who took the actions to discriminate against the conservative groups will identify who gave them the instructions to ask the totally unacceptable questions.

Not so Fast

Obama said with great conviction that he was disgusted with the performance of the IRS in singling out conservatives and that he would not put up with it. He said he had Jacob Lew fire the acting director of the IRS [someone scheduled to step down in six weeks} but made no mention of the woman who currently heads up the 503 C and 504 C exempt tax status’s program at the IRS. The mainstream media has indicated early on that Obama”s actions are satisfactory to this point and that the congress will investigate in a greater detail whatever mistakes were made by the IRS.

I say: NOT SO FAST! What I want is a public congressional hearing with subpoenas for all the IRS agents that questioned the conservative groups about their application for a tax-free status. I want any instruction sheets they used to ask those questions and who prepared those instruction sheets. I want those that prepared the instruction sheets to testify as to who directed them to include the prejudicial questions that were to be asked by the IRS agents of the targeted conservative groups.

We get these answers and we’ll know who directed the IRS to discriminate against the conservative groups and for what purpose, although it will be obvious the purpose was to weaken the conservative groups in their effort to promote conservative views during the 2012 election.

Second Term Blues?

Believe what you will. If you accept the testimony from State Department career professional Hicks that he told Hilary Clinton at 2 a.m on the night of the Benghazi terrorist attack that it was a terrorist attack by some terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda then it is a cover up by the administration. If you accept the fact that the “talking points” were revised twelve times before the final points were provided to Susan Rice then it is reasonable to believe the reason for alterations of those talking points was political protection for the administration as they claimed “Al Quadia is on the run” in their foreign policy strategy of leading from behind. Or you can believe Obama who said yesterday in a press conference that the Benghazi Affair is a political witch-hunt, “a side show” with no bases in fact. Believe what you will.

Believe what you will. Either you believe the IRS reports that it targeted conservative groups seeking tax free status and that this has been going on since 2010 with Washington management aware of the practice and they had been warned by Washington that it was illegal and yet they continued to practice this discrimination or you believe Obama when he said yesterday “if it proves to be true” that IRS discriminated against conservative persuasion groups he will “not stand for it.” Believe what you will.

Believe what you will. The AP released a confirmed report that the Justice Department secretly had tapped into phone records for twenty lines used by over a hundred reports at AP for two months which is designed to intimidate both reporters and potential information sources in the government or you can believe Obama when he says nothing! Believe what you will.

There is no second term blues for Obama, there is just an arrogant, closed door, I’m right, “do what I say” management style. But believe what you will.

Bittersweet

Twenty-eight years ago George Adams came to my office at The Stroh Brewery Company for a meeting. George’s brother Bill Adams was the head of the MTV office in Detroit and had called on me at Campbell Ewald a major advertising agency handling Chevrolet and other GM products and services where I was Vice President of Media. When I moved to the Stroh Brewery Company as an officer of the company in charge of media Bill put together plans for some of our key brands targeted to demos that drank beer and malt liquor products.

Bill asked me to meet with George, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Health Care. I asked Bill what health care had to do with marketing beer and in addition to that in 1984 I didn’t know U of M even gave degrees in “health care?” Bill said George had a business plan that he wanted me to consider and because Bill asked me to do it I met with George.

When George came into my office I asked why he would be contacting me about health care. He said: that health care was going to be the growth industry in the United States and eventually the world. I said; what has that got to do with marketing beer? He said; well heath care is an issue for The Stroh Brewery right now. I said; how? He said that I was wrestling right now with a flat sales market and part of that sales problem stemmed from the aging population, particularly men.

I was shocked because I was looking at a demo report that reflected that issue, the aging population of the country and most specifically beer drinking. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to know that as drinkers get older their consumption is reduced and in many cases they stop drinking altogether. However at that time we noted that young drinkers were not filling the spot [the preferred beer drinker consumed eight glasses of beer each and every day] of aging drinkers and the industry was in a flat spell, expectation were that the drinking base would not grow over the next two decades.

George made the point to me that Health Care was the way of the future and would in time be second only to the U.S. government in volume of business.

George’s business proposal was that he start a newspaper directed at the health care professionals, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, lab technicians, lawyers, accountants and of course state government officials and elected representatives. I asked why the paper wouldn’t be directed to the consumers and George explained to me that consumers would not recognize the importance of health care for many years while the professionals would see the signs and try to plan to accommodate the dramatic changes that the future held.

In 2013 there is no need to say George was right on target on all counts. In any case he convinced me to put in my own money along with his brothers, Bill and Dennis, a doctor of some renowned and we opened Health Care Weekly Review™. It was a sweet feeling about the future.

Over the next twenty-eight years we bought Bill and Dennis out of the company because they didn’t want to pay for efforts to expand our coverage outside of the state of Michigan. One thing many people didn’t understand was that the way the insurance companies, state insurance commissions, state government laws and hospital associations worked each state was unique onto its self and so what applied in Michigan had no applications in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, etc. We wanted to open new offices using the trademarked name Health Care Weekly Review™ and the format that we had found successful. It was a risk and I understand why the brothers didn’t want to take it. The paper’s future was further complicated by the fact that George as the driving force of the paper wanted to become an investment banker. Eventually I bought him out and was sole owner of the paper.

During my tenure with Stroh, The Martin Group Inc and finally as creator and CEO/President of PentaCom I was owner but my son Bret really ran the day-to-day including editing and being the IT expert. When I retired from PentaMark the holding company for PentaCom I spent most of my time on the paper. Eventually personal issues and my health caused me to sell the paper to Mark Spiess. Mark had been the sales manager for a few years and understood the business. The sale began three years ago and here is the bitter, the sale was completed about four weeks ago. I feel lonely, no longer editing the paper and no longer an integral part of the health care profession in the state of Michigan. It is a bittersweet set of memories.

Stockholm Syndrome

May 8, 2013

It is 11 a.m. Ft. Worth Texas time and here is the TV line up. CBS-TV “Jeopardy”, ABC-TV “The View,” NBC-TV Today Show, CNN Cleveland Kidnapping, MSNBC Cleveland Kidnapping, FOX Network “Access Hollywood” and Fox News the Benghazi hearings. No question all of the shows and stories covered by all the mainstream media and its affiliate cable services are air worthy but do they come close to the importance of the Benghazi investigation into our foreign policies and actions in Libya?

It is clear that the mainstream media with the exception of Fox News is turning a blind eye to possible inconsistencies in the actions taken by the State Department and the Obama Administration in dealing with the death of four Americans include our Ambassador to Libya, Mark Stevens. Democrats and news commentators supportive of or friendly to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration started providing commentary or supporting the position that these hearings were a witch hunt even before the hearing were heard?

Is it possible that the mainstream media mesmerize by the thought of a partially Black President without a Texas accent, a huge minority voting block and a messiah like message of hope “captured” the mainstream media and like other captives in a Stockholm scenario they began to believe in their captor, the Obama administration?

Will the mainstream media have the courage to cover this investigation without prejudice or pre-judgment that this is a political witch-hunt and not a congressional investigation to expose weakness in our state department and the Obama administration’s foreign policy of leading from behind?

270 words

Pointing to Heaven is Costly

In a small town in Texas track officials redirected the Columbus Cardinals at a state track meet to a loss. It seems a runner pointed to the sky as he crossed the finish line and his victory was turned into a loss. Fans claimed that the runner Derrick Hayes was a victim of political correctness; Derrick said his point to the sky was a natural reaction to winning the race. Race officials said his gesture was “a violation of high school track sportsmanship rules against gestures or taunts during a race.”

Bud Kennedy, a respected journalist, for the Star Telegram, Tarrant and Texas edition wrote the story. Bud’s story highlights that in states like Texas there is a strong group of religious citizens and an equally strong and growing group of new residents in this case to the Houston area that prize separation of church and state. The truth is that the new residents coming from the east coast and middle American cities like Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland find the religious zeal in this part of Texas revolting. Many of these people came from industries that were closing down or within union organizations that have lost power and consequently cost them relatively high-income jobs. In a sentence they don’t want to be preached to or at. Religious signs or pronouncements are like a red flag to them and the federal government concurs, hence the legal support against religious gestures or pronouncements. However in this case the Texas State Attorney Gregg Abbott is taking the side of parents protesting against what they call “anti-Christian bigotry”

Do you think this confrontation could happen in New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Mississippi, well you’re probably wrong. Each of these states and many more have small towns and large geographic areas holding dear to religious values and they will defend their beliefs. True it’s not likely the Cities of Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland or Trenton will join in this kind of a fight but they will all be watching the results of the AG’s efforts in a small town close to Houston and the states efforts to vindicate the citizens who hold dear to their religious beliefs. Like the President said; they cling to their bibles and their guns and therefore by inference they are not citizens that can be easily used to support the national agenda of the Obama administration. My bet is the Christians will lose this fight as the influx of citizens of other states move to Texas and bring their more cynical approach to religion with them.

Pre-existing Diseases

Without question one of the parts of Obamacare that has had a high level of acceptance by the voters is the coverage of pre-existing diseases by insurance companies underwritten in part by HHS. Of course most of the voters were not aware that the federal budget to help cover these pre-existing diseases was limited. Well today the HHS has leaked the fact that the federal budget to help cover this service is running out of money. Most people just didn’t know there was a cap on the coverage from the HHS standpoint. The administration has not announced an estimated date at which time the budget for pre-existing diseases will actually run out but we do know it will be shortly because HHS has let this information leak.

What do you think the government will do regarding this important health issue? Clearly HHS did not initially plan the budgeting for this service correctly. Will there be a new tax or “Obama penalty” to cover the costs? What is clear is that whatever action the government takes Obama will classify it as he did in his most recently press conference as a hiccup that “occurs in all government run programs.” My bet is that the costs will be high and as usual the worker bees of the United States will pick up the bill.