A few months ago, he was one of the most powerful people in Washington, indeed the country. Head of a massive Cabinet department with a budget of nearly $80 billion, when the Secretary left his downtown government office Secret Service agents scurried, memo-laden aides scrambled around wondering who would ride in the lead car and who would be forced to go in the longer caravan. Officials from governors to small town mayors would wonder who would get grants and what projects they could tout as promises of benefits fell from the Secretary's lips.
When I saw the former Secretary recently, walking along the streets of Washington, he was by himself, walking rather stooped over, carrying what looked like a too-heavy briefcase as he trudged down the sidewalk. In that moment he was unrecognized, merely another aging striver caught in the stream of early morning pedestrians.
He is not the first "former" I've seen in my more than two decades in DC. There have been many occasions when those who once were Senators, Cabinet Secretaries, and Members of Congress have crossed my path at various events and sometimes just in passing on the street. People with impressive titles, huge portfolios of responsibility, command of gigantic sums of taxpayer money, and virtual armies of assistants who are now just ordinary citizens, no longer courted, no longer fawned-over, and only as influential as the amount of money the PACs they influence can distribute to eager candidates and party officials. more >>
After first denying the charge, famed scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson admitted, in a way, that he misquoted former President George W. Bush and will apologize for the mistake at some point in the future.
The hoopla began with a series of articles by The Federalist, a one year old conservative news and opinion website. Wikipedia editors also became part of the controversy after they removed references to the misquotation from its website, and at least one of the editors also wants to remove The Federalist's Wikipedia entry.
Tyson, host of Fox's "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" and director of the Hayden Planetarium, had accused Bush of saying, "our God is the God who named the stars," after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a way to distinguish "we from they," or Christians from Muslims. more >>
A documentary set to be released in October aims to show the American public exactly how the IRS is unfairly treating certain groups by sharing first-hand experiences from those "oppressed" by the IRS.
Bothered by the reports that the IRS was targeting conservative activist groups, Craig Bergman, a former Gulf War veteran and syndicated conservative talk show host, traveled across America to get to the bottom of how the IRS was targeting these groups.
In his travels, Bergam interviewed various leaders of conservative activist groups, religious groups, veterans associations, international adoption parents and other groups. His interviewees detailed on camera how the IRS either forced them to fill out "intrusive" paperwork while filing for tax exempt status, or stalled the paperwork, making it difficult for the groups to grow in size. more >>
WASHINGTON — Conservatives can still win the marriage debate, traditional marriage advocates argued at the Values Voter Summit.
Titled "The Future of Marriage: To The Supreme Court and Beyond," the panel was held Saturday afternoon at the Omni Shoreham Hotel and sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage.
Brian Brown, president of NOM, said he believed the media was trying to portray the issue as one that conservatives were avoiding. more >>
WASHINGTON — With conservative Christians and libertarians sharing common ideologies that stand against big government and federal overreaching, the two groups' need to put aside their few differences and unite in order to defeat a Democratic agenda that "assaults" American liberties, a panel of prominent social conservatives agreed Saturday.
Speaking at a Family Research Council panel at the Values Voters Summit in Washington D.C.,a social conservative pollster, political commentator and campaign advisor for Sen. Rand Paul, R- Ky., discussed the importance of getting the two ideological groups on the same voting path to solidify their stances against issues like big-government overeaches and infringement on personal and religious liberties.
"If we want to remove Democrats from the Senate and take back control of the White House in 2016, these are two groups that have to finally make sure that the overwhelming nature on which they agree ends up being the driving force and end up being something that really can push the left out of their position of power," said Doug Stafford, Executive Director of Paul's political action committee, RANDPAC. "Too often we don't do as good a job as the left does in uniting for a victory for those things that we do share by arguing about things that we don't." more >>
Last week a judge sentenced conservative author Dinesh D'Souza, one of the most brilliant conservative political writers of the modern era, to eight months in a halfway house and probation. He was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine within 45 days. What was his alleged crime? He made two contributions to a losing political campaign under the names of friends. D'Souza accepted a plea agreement admitting he used straw donors to donate $20,000 to the U.S. Senate campaign of Wendy Long, a friend of his. Federal campaign law limits contributors to U.S. Senate campaigns to $5,000 each.
At first glance one is inclined to think, "you commit a crime, you deserve the punishment." But a closer look reveals that he is not being punished equally compared to others who did the same thing - in fact he is being punished much more severely than Democrats who did much worse. There are myriads of campaign laws the average person has no idea exist. The laws have become so complex, vast - and there are multiple layers: federal, state, local laws and regulations. Many conservative intellectuals like D'Souza are vastly experienced with policy - but not campaigns/elections, which are a completely different world.
This incident reminds me of one of my favorite books, Three Felonies a Day, written by Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense attorney, who explains how the average American unknowingly commits three felonies a day. As bright as D'Souza is, I guarantee you he did not realize there was a severe penalty for merely giving money to two friends, who then donated it to an obviously losing political campaign. more >>