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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

**Welcome to the gulag: media investigations

Elections, McCain 2008, Obama 2008, Politics, Socialism / Marxism

State of Ohio used their data base to investigate Joe the Plumber. look for link

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-goldberg21-2008oct21,0,4288642.column Jonah Goldberg oct 21 The media vs. Joe the Plumber Joe the Plumber asked a sensible question. Why is he being attacked and belittled?

 

 At a John McCain rally in Virginia on Saturday, Tito Munoz had come to face the enemy: the news media, which had declared war on Joe Wurzelbacher.

"Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber?" he yelled at a group of reporters, including my National Review colleague, Byron York. "Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something else. Why is that wrong? Everything is possible in America. I made it. Joe the Plumber could make it even better than me. ... I was born in Colombia, but I was made in the U.S.A."

Who knows what it will do for McCain in the end, but the Joe the Plumber phenomenon is real. At the rally, supporters carried handmade signs reading "Phil the Brick Layer" and banners proclaiming "Rose the Teacher." Wurzelbacher symbolizes an optimistic, individualistic vision of America sorely lacking -- until recently -- in McCain's rhetoric.

Barack Obama, in contrast, has offered the most rhetorically eloquent defense of collectivism since Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his biographical video at the Democratic convention, he proclaimed that in America, "one person's struggle is all of our struggles." In his acceptance speech, he artfully replaced the idea of the American dream with the century-old progressive nostrum of "America's promise."

But the two visions are in opposition: the former individualistic, the latter collectivist. We each have our own idea of the American dream. Joe the Plumber's is to own a small plumbing company; yours might be something else entirely. In America, that's fine, because the pursuit of happiness is an individual, not a collective, right.

Obama's "America's promise," meanwhile, harkens back a century to the writings of such progressives as Herbert Croly (author of "The Promise of American Life"), who demonized individualism while sanctifying collective action overseen by the state. Obama also often articulates a vision of government inspired by the biblical injunction to be our brother's keeper. Few would dispute the moral message, but many disagree that such religious imperatives are best translated into tax or economic policy. (Where are the separation of church and state fetishists when you need them?) But individualists haven't had much of a voice in McCain, at least not until last week.

So we've listened to Joe Biden question the patriotism -- and, at times, piety -- of those who don't share Obama's economic vision. We've listened to Michelle Obama promise that her husband will make Americans "work" in his effort to fix our "broken souls." We've heard the candidate himself say that we should agree to higher taxes in the name of "neighborliness," and that he'd raise the capital gains tax -- even if it demonstrably lowered revenues -- "for the purposes of fairness." His "tax cut" for 95% of Americans is in large part a middle-class dole. He will cut checks to millions who pay no income tax at all and call it a tax cut.

In short, Obama's explanation to Joe the Plumber that we need to "spread the wealth around" is a sincere and significant expression of his worldview, with roots stretching back to his church and his days as a community organizer.

Millions of Americans don't share this vision. They don't see the economy as a pie, whereby your slice can only get bigger if someone else's gets smaller. They don't begrudge the wealthy their wealth; they only ask to be given the same opportunities. They look at countries such as France and, rather than envy their socialized medicine and short workweeks, they fear their joblessness and tax policies that punish entrepreneurialism. People like Tito Munoz look at America and see an open path to their own American dream.

It would be nice if the media at least tried to understand this point.

Instead, they attacked and belittled a citizen who asked a candidate a question. They think he's stupid or a liar for not understanding that a promised check from a President Obama is more valuable than some pipe dream about future success.

It's funny. When PBS' Gwen Ifill had a straightforward conflict of interest -- her forthcoming book hinges on an Obama presidency -- that should have prevented her from moderating the VP debate, she and her fellow journalists tittered at the critics. All that matters, Ifill and company insisted, are the answers, not the questioner.

That's apparently the standard for people like Gwen the Journalist. But if Joe the Plumber gets revealing but embarrassing answers out of the media's preferred candidate, suddenly the questioner matters more than the answer. And he must be punished.

Turns out, the Checks on 'Joe' more extensive than first acknowledged, Tax, welfare info also sought on McCain ally  

A state agency has revealed that its checks of computer systems for potential information on "Joe the Plumber" were more extensive than it first acknowledged.

Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, disclosed today that computer inquiries on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher were not restricted to a child-support system.

The agency also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes, she wrote.

Jones-Kelley made the revelations in a letter to Ohio Senate President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, who demanded answers on why state officials checked out Wurzelbacher.

Harris called the multiple records checks "questionable" and said he awaits more answers. "It's kind of like Big Brother is looking in your pocket," he said.

If state employees run checks on every person listed in newspaper stories as buying a business, "it must take a lot of people a lot of time to run these checks," he said. "Where do you draw the line?"

The checks were run after the news media reported that Wurzelbacher was considering buying a plumbing business with more than $250,000 in annual income, Jones-Kelley wrote.

"Given our understanding that Mr. Wurzelbacher had publicly indicated that he had the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise, ODJFS, consistent with past departmental practice, checked confidential databases ," she wrote.

"Not surprisingly, when a person behind in child support payments or receiving public assistance is receiving significant media attention which suggests that the person appears to have available financial resources, the Department risks justifiable criticism if it fails to take note and respond," Jones-Kelley wrote.

The results of the searches were not publicly released and remain confidential, she wrote. Wurzelbacher has said he is not involved in a child-support case and has not purchased any business.

Jones-Kelley wrote that the checks were "well-meaning," but misinterpreted amid the heated final weeks of a presidential election.

Wurzelbacher became a household name when Republican presidential hopeful John McCain frequently referred to "Joe the Plumber" during his Oct. 15 debate with Democrat nominee Barack Obama. The checks began the next day.

Wurzelbacher, who has endorsed and campaigned for McCain, had been caught on videotape challenging Obama about his tax proposals during a campaign visit to "Joe's" neighborhood in the Toledo suburb of Holland.

Republicans have painted the checks on Wurzelbacher as a politically motivated bid by Democrats to dig up dirt and discredit the McCain ally. The Obama campaign has said it has no ties to the checks and supports investigations.

The administration of Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland has said the information was not improperly shared and that there were no political motives behind the checks.

The Dispatch has uncovered four uses of state computer systems to access personal information on Wurzelbacher, including the child-support check authorized by Jones-Kelley.

She said on Monday that her department frequently runs checks for any unpaid child support obligations "when someone is thrust quickly into the public spotlight."

Republican legislators have challenged Jones-Kelley's reason for checking on Wurzelbacher as "frightening" and flimsy.

Jones-Kelly also has denied any connections between the computer checks on Wurzelbacher and her support for Obama. She donated the maximum $2,500 this year to the Obama campaign.

Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles is investigating whether the child-support check on Wurzelbacher was legal.

 

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