American Elephants


Is The White House Trying to Hide Bowe Bergdahl Charges? by The Elephant's Child

bergdahl-active-duty

Yesterday, Both Fox News and NBC News have reported that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion.

“I have been told and confirmed by two other sources that his attorney has been given what we call a charge sheet,” retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a respected military analyst, told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly on Monday. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski quoted senior defense officials on Tuesday as saying charges could be referred within a week.

“A charge sheet is the results of investigation listing out the articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that have been violated,” Shaffer explained. “The key violation is desertion.”

According to Shaffer, an analyst with the London Center for Policy Research, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, who played a key role in the cover-up of administration malfeasance in the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans, has been laboring to keep this information under wraps as long as possible. …

Same day, New York Post headline: “Army denies that Bowe Bergdahl is set to be charged with desertion.”

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Ronald F. Lewis, chief of public affairs for the Army, denied the reports, insisting that no decision has been made about Bergdahl.

“The reporting from Fox News and NBC on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is patently false. To be clear there have been no actions or decisions on the Sgt. Bergdahl investigation. The investigation is still with the Commanding General of U.S. Army Forces Command who will determine appropriate action — which ranges from no further action to convening a court martial. We understand the public interest in this case and once a decision has been made, the Army will be open and transparent in this matter.”

The White House does not want Bergdahl to be charged with desertion. There was the big Rose Garden scene with the Bergdahl parents, President Obama actually traded five top Taliban commanders who had been held at Guantanamo Bay to the Taliban for then private Bergdahl.

Bergdahl walked away from his combat post in 2009 in a time of war, leaving behind his weapon, his gear and his fellow soldiers. At least six soldiers were reported to have been killed in operations looking for him.

A statement attributed to Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, called the release of the commanders from Gitmo as a “great victory.”

The trade told the world that America was now willing to deal with terrorists. It also broke a law that requires congressional notification of such a trade, and a longstanding pledge that America would never negotiate with terrorists. There is also a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization. It makes no exception for who and under what circumstances.

Col. Schaffer spoke of a “titanic struggle behind the scenes” with the Army trying to do the right thing while the White House worried about the images of a president welcoming the parents of someone now charged with desertion and an ugly terrorist trade-for-deserter narrative coming out.

At the time, several of the men from Bergdahl’s unit came forward to say that he was a deserter. President Obama was taken aback, for he thought that Americans would cheer one of our boys being rescued after five years as a hostage of the Taliban.

It will come out. Too much has already been made public. Obama, as far as I know, has never accepted blame for a mistake or an error in judgment. He may claim credit for someone else’s accomplishments, but he is never, never to blame. It’s going to be interesting.



Dang! Taxing the Rich Is Harder Than Obama Thought! by The Elephant's Child

Oops! President Obama’s scheme for redistributing wealth by taxing 529 Plan distributions when they were actually withdrawn to pay the tuition bill, was just cancelled. Somebody told him that really rich people don’t save their money in a 529, they pay the tuition for their kids out of petty cash. It’s the middle class who have to save up, and it was a struggle.  This wealth redistribution bit is more complicated than one might assume.

When you want to garner votes by giving people stuff, it has to be paid for — somehow. If the support for your political party depends on giving voters free stuff, then you have to take the cost out of someone else’s pocket. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out:

The move is a setback for the president. He sought in the run-up to last week’s State of the Union address to reframe a long-running debate over the tax system by issuing a set of proposals to address middle-class anxiety over wage and income stagnation. …

But the blowback over his call to scale back the tax advantages of 529 plans showed the political difficulty of making such changes.

A White House official said the 529 proposal was “a very small component of the president’s overall plan to deliver $50 billion in education tax cuts for middle-class families. We proposed it because we thought it was a sensible approach, part of consolidating six programs to two and expanding and better targeting education tax relief for the middle class.”

The main reason why college costs are so high is that the federal government keeps upping the amount that students can borrow. That frees up the universities to raise tuition and hire more administrative staff, add some more amenities like climbing walls or improving the landscaping. And professors expect to be better paid. After all they have PhDs and look how much those corporate CEOs and government bureaucrats make!

There comes a point when people would rather be free than have their votes purchased with free stuff that only costs them more in the long run. But it takes a while to learn that. Liberals never learn that lowering taxes brings in more money, that less regulation sparks creativity, or that the free market does a better job of figuring out what works and what doesn’t.  Pity.

You really can’t get more money by increasing taxes on “the rich.” Wealthy people have lots of options, and lots of legal ways to shelter their money, and they can hire the best accountants and lawyers to help them do it. Works better to let them keep more of their own money — they will invest it in growing businesses, building things and hiring workers. And that makes the economy grow.




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