So, you want a value-added tax?

Democrats and some Republicans are floating the idea of a value-added tax to help ease the crushing deficits caused by the (Social) Democrats’ massive spending binge. Before you say “Sure, why not?”, take a look at the VAT rates that would be required over the next ten years to eliminate the deficit:

Remember, that tax would be applied at every stage of production, from raw materials to the moment you purchase the item, and the costs would be passed along to you. Oh, and then you’d pay state sales tax, too.

Still think it’s a good idea?

Here’s a better one. Maybe they should cut spending and borrowing, instead. Idea

RELATED: Reasons why a VAT won’t work.

(via dmataconis on Twitter)

The fallout from the WikiLeaks leaks

Via the UK Telegraph:

The Taliban has issued a warning to Afghans whose names might appear on the leaked Afghanistan war logs as informers for the Nato-led coalition.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said they were studying and investigating the report, adding “If they are US spies, then we know how to punish them.”

The warning came as the US military’s top officer, Admiral Mike Mullen said that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, may already have blood on his hands following the leak of 92,000 classified documents relating to the war in Afghanistan by his website.

“Mr Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,” he said.

Information from the documents could reveal:

Names and addresses of Afghans cooperating with Nato forces
Precise GPS locations of Afghans
Sources and methods of gathering intelligence
The US government has called in the FBI to help hunt those responsible for leaking tens of thousands of secret documents about the Afghanistan war.

Robert Gates, the US Defense Secretary, warned that sources identified in the documents now risked being “targeted for retribution” by insurgents in Afghanistan.

He pledged a “thorough, aggressive investigation” to identify the leakers and said that steps were being taken to restrict access to classified documents in future.

Sounds like they may have already identified at least one of the leakers:

(CNN) — An Army private suspected of leaking classified material, including videos and other documents, has been transferred from Kuwait to a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia.

Pfc. Bradley Manning, who served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, was charged in June with eight violations of the U.S. Criminal Code and is the military’s focus in the investigation into who leaked tens of thousands of documents to the website WikiLeaks.

Manning, 22, will remain in confinement as the Army continues an investigation to determine whether he should face the military equivalent of a trial over the charges, according to a statement released by the Army on Thursday.

He has not yet entered a plea, since there has not been a decision about whether he should face trial, Army Maj. Bryan Woods said. Military lawyers for Manning referred questions about him to Woods.

Manning, who had top-secret clearance as an intelligence analyst for the Army when he was stationed in Iraq, was charged in June with eight violations of the U.S. Criminal Code for allegedly illegally transferring classified data, reportedly including an earlier video that wound up on

On Wednesday, a senior Pentagon official said that Manning was believed to have accessed a worldwide military classified Internet and e-mail system to download documents.

The Pentagon official, who did not want to be identified because of the ongoing criminal investigation, said investigators believe Manning logged into a system called the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, which essentially provides military members who have appropriate security clearances access to classified e-mails and the military’s classified Internet system.

I have no comment at this time – unless, of course, you’d like to see me curse in ways that would shock a sailor. o=> x(


When a campaign imitates the Hindenburg

I linked to this yesterday, but it really deserves a post of its own. In a spectacular case of self-immolation, the campaign of Congressman Mike McMahon (D-NY) released a report detailing all the money his opponent was receiving from Jews:

Mike Grimm, a G.O.P challenger for Mike McMahon’s Congressional seat, took in over $200,000 in his last filing.

But in an effort to show that Grimm lacks support among voters in the district, which covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, the McMahon campaign compiled a list of Jewish donors to Grimm and provided it to The Politicker.

The file, labeled “Grimm Jewish Money Q2,” for the second quarter fundraising period, shows a list of over 80 names, a half-dozen of which in fact do hail from Staten Island, and a handful of others that list Brooklyn as home.

“Where is Grimm’s money coming from,” said Jennifer Nelson, McMahon’s campaign spokeman. “There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees.”

Asked how the McMahon aide who compiled the report knew which donors were Jewish and which weren’t, Nelson replied:

“She herself is Jewish so she knows a lot of people in that community…”

I can picture it now, late at night at the McMahon campaign bunker HQ, the aide looking over the list and saying “Jew, Jew, Goy, Jew…”

After the firestorm broke, McMahon tried to salvage the situation by the time-honored “apologize and blame the staff” ploy, but somehow I don’t think it’s going to work. In fact, the real question is probably whether McMahon loses by 50 points or is forced by his Democratic colleagues, who are already terrified of November, to drop out of the race so they can field a replacement.

Just amazing.

LINKS: More from Moe Lane.

AFTERTHOUGHT: And wouldn’t this be a nice opportunity to strike a blow against dirty politics by donating to McMahon’s opponent, Mike Grimm?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Ethics charges against Rangel revealed – PLUS: Pelosi claims “swamp-draining” success!

Certainly looks like it, according to the NYT:

WASHINGTON — In laying out 13 charges of ethical violations committed by Representative Charles B. Rangel, the House ethics committee set the stage for a rare public trial of the Democratic Congressman this fall, a potential embarrassment for the Democratic leadership during the election season.

The unveiling of the charges Thursday came even as Mr. Rangel’s lawyers suggested they were trying to reach a settlement to avoid such a fate for Mr. Rangel, 80, a Harlem Democrat.

Ethics committee members appeared somber on Thursday, expressing fondness for Mr. Rangel even as they issued the stinging report, which states that Mr. Rangel’s “actions reflected poorly on the institution of the House and, thereby, brought discredit to the House.”

Mr. Rangel did not appear at the meeting on Thursday, but issued a written response denying “each and every allegation” and criticizing the committee’s report as “deeply flawed in its factual premises and legal theories.”

In the 40-page report, the committee said it substantiated the major charges that had been hanging over Mr. Rangel for two years: that he improperly used his office to solicit donations for a school to be named in his honor; failed to pay taxes on and report rental income from his Dominican villa; filed incomplete financial disclosure forms; and improperly accepted from a Manhattan developer rent-stabilized apartments, one of which he used as a campaign office.

But while those alleged infractions had been widely reported, the committee unearthed new details about Mr. Rangel’s conduct. The committee said Mr. Rangel not only reached out to corporate executives seeking contributions to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College, but he also personally sought donations from registered lobbyists whose corporations had business before Congress. In some cases, Mr. Rangel asked for contributions of as much as $30 million from businesses with issues before the Ways and Means Committee, of which he was the chairman until March.

“Reasonable persons could construe contributions to the Rangel Center by persons with interests before the Ways and Means Committee as influencing the performance of Respondent’s governmental duties,” the report stated, saying it violated the Congressional Code of Ethics.

In addition, Mr. Rangel, when he secured a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign operation at the Lenox Terrace development in Harlem, signed an application saying that the apartment would be the primary residence for his son, Steven Rangel, and not be used for business purposes, the report said. Steven Rangel never lived in the apartment, and the committee said the developer, the Olnick Organization, included Mr. Rangel on a “special handling list,” apparently for V.I.P.’s, and did not take action against him even as it cracked down on other tenants whose apartments were not being used as primary residences.

The report suggested that, after 20 terms in Congress, Mr. Rangel had come to rely on his government-paid staff for activities unrelated to his Congressional work.

Mr. Rangel and his lawyers will now be given several weeks to review the evidence against him, meaning that a trial is unlikely to begin until September, the heart of the Congressional campaign season.

Pelosi, of course, is using this battle to try to claim – in an election year – that she and her party have indeed “drained the swamp” she promised to drain back in … 2006:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California declined to speak out in support of Mr. Rangel, but said the committee’s handling of his case was proof that Democrats had delivered on her promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington’s dodgy political culture.

“Drain the swamp we did, as this was a terrible place,” Ms. Pelosi said. “We made a tremendous difference, and I take great pride in that.”

LOL – but Pelosi’s insinuation back in 2006 was that she was going to drain the “GOP” swamp. Her promise didn’t include “draining the House” of any Democrat in the “swamp,” because at the time she was talking about her pledge, she was trying to draw a distinction between GOP corruption and Dem corruption – as if it really made a difference. From a 2006 USA Today piece:

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California sought to distinguish her party’s foibles from the scandals that brought down Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., for bribery and three former Republican congressional aides who had ties to ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff, a Republican, pleaded guilty in January to corruption charges.

“You’re talking about two completely different things,” Pelosi said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. The Democratic ethics cases are “individual challenges that those people will have to deal with,” she said, noting that she has called for the House ethics committee to investigate Jefferson. Republicans, she charged, have a system of “corruption, cronyism and incompetence” that goes beyond personal indiscretions.

Translation: They may be corruptocrats, but they’re OUR corruptocrats, and we’ll keep them, thank you very much.

Keep them, that is, until your back is against the wall and you’re forced into looking like you’re “doing something about it” — right in the middle of an election year.

Oh, wait – is she saying her promise was a “bipartisan” one to “drain the swamp”? If so, what happened to corruptocrats like John Murtha, Jon Conyers, Alan Mollohan, and William Jefferson? None ever faced serious rebuke by Democrats in the House. Murtha would still be there if he weren’t dead. Conyers is still doing what he does best (worst, actually), Jefferson was voted out of office in a special election, and the 14-term Mollohan merely had to step down from the Ethics Committee (and has, in effect, been voted out by Democrats in his constituency via a primary back in May). Big whoop.

She hasn’t really “drained” anything – except her credibility (what little she had).