Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Back At It Soon

For those of you concerned over the lack of production going currently at "Just Blowing Smoke", let me assure you that need not be concerned much longer.  Recent recuperative efforts after unexpected 'Tin Man Surgery' are well ahead of schedule.

Senior Editorial Staff likewise expects me to quit slacking, and to begin operating a keyboard without the use safety handrails.  There remains some concerns over future mental acuity, but I'm not sure that they're any greater than normal (such as that is).

I hope to be increasing output again beginning this weekend.  
Rest assured that we'll be back up to speed before you know it, meanwhile let me leave you with this ....... 

"The only power to which a man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself."
- Elie Wiesel

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 2013

Today's effort consists of some information that I've previously passed along, but on this of all day's I believe that they are worth sharing again ...
In remembering Father's Day, I must painfully recall that in 2007 my own father passed away. His health had been failing for some time; but in spite of the difficulty in attempting to doing so, one of the things he still liked to take part (or at least to feel that he was taking part) in the maintenance of his home and yard. Such care had always been a source of great joy and pride for him, and on which he simply refused give up the his interest in it.

When his medical condition had finally reached a point that he was tethered to an oxygen system full time, he was (however reluctantly) forced to surrender some level of control in this process. By then such care involved my mother trimming the edges of the yard with a self-driven push mower. My nephew Patrick had acquired the requisite skills for operation of the riding mower some time since, took on the responsibilities for the bulk of the yard. This system of lawn care had been going on for a couple of years and was by now a well established routine, with my father still participating in a limited supervisory and equipment maintenance role.

In the spring following his passing, the lawn, unaware and uncaring of the changes in the household, did what it was supposed to do and grew quickly. Before anyone had quite realized it, this grass was in terrible need of a trim. Taking the bull by the horns, my mother stepped forward to perform her part of the required labors by trimming around the edges of the yard. Patrick likewise soon appeared to take on his well-rehearsed role in lawn care. This is where the real story begins.

Now the riding mower had not been run since the leaf pick up of that previous fall, and Patrick was unsure of the proper procedures to get it started after its abbreviated winter slumber, as his grandfather had normally instructed him in such situations. Stymied, he questioned my mother for potential answers to his problem with a potentially stubborn piece of lawn care equipment. Now my mother is a talented women, but basic lawn mower mechanics has never been a part of them. The riding mower had in fact always intimidated her, and she had long ago made it quite clear that she wanted nothing to do with it (hence Patrick's responsibilities). It was therefore not surprising that she had no advice to offer him.

In an amazingly short period of time however, the full-throated roar of that mower was heard from the garage, and Patrick was soon after making his way around the yard. He completed his work on the yard that day with remarkable alacrity and departed immediately afterward, without a word to his grandmother before leaving. His hasty departure and lack of communication went without comment at the time. They were however, duly explained a couple of days later when my sister called to fill my mother in on the "rest of the story".
It seems that as Patrick stood in the garage, scratching his head over a solution to his dilemma and completely at a loss as to how to proceed, clearly heard the voice my father from right next to him say, "Pull the choke out and start the mower".

Never questioning it for a moment, he simply did as he was told, and the mower immediately caught. Though a suitable resolution to his problem had been achieved, Patrick was more than a little distressed over how he had reached it. Worried that he might be asked for an explanation and fearing my mother's sensitivity to the issue, he kept silent, working with dispatch and departing as quickly as he was able. It was only some time later in the comfort of home and parents, that he was finally able to relate what had occurred.

Now anyone who knew my father knew that he was never a terribly spiritual person publicly, and was normally unresponsive when questioned about his thoughts on such things. He was however a good husband, a loving parent and grandparent, and most importantly ... a well recognized master of all things technical. There were very few things that he set his mind to repairing or improving in which he was not capable of achieving success (as his many years and recognized expertise in the printing industry showed).

He was also someone who was never afraid to share that mastery of all things mechanical with his spouse and offspring of every generation at every available opportunity (many times without even being asked). It therefore seems only fitting (and hardly surprising), that he should find a way to make his presence felt in such a situation when the need arose.

As for my personal take on the story, knowing my nephew Patrick to be a young gentleman of quality and good character, I choose simply take him at his word. If he believes that it happened this way, then I believe it as well. I am also quite happy and relieved to believe that my father is out there somewhere keeping an eye on the family that he so loved (not that I ever really doubted it).

I for one, can use all of the help that I can get...
Speaking of which, while I've never been able to claim anything in the way of parental skills myself, I'd like to think that I've at least been able to pass on to the three I call my own children something of the wisdom that was given to me.  I've shared it here before, and my hope is that I will continue to pass it on where it can do the most good until the day I achieve room temperature: 
*  Honesty is the best policy, even if your only reward is that of self-respect.
*  Your word is your bond and everything else is just society's crap.
*  Your reputation is the only thing that you truly possess in life, so make sure you protect it fiercely and every time it's challenged. 
*  If you work hard it will be rewarded, even if that reward is nothing more that knowing that you did your best.
*  You will, if you're lucky, make mistakes in life that will provide important lessons.  They are rarely permanent however; and it's usually easier to fix them than to admit to them.
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy 6th Anniversary - Just Blowing Smoke

It was on this date back in 2007 (the second date that will no doubt "live in infamy") that the first post appeared on this site from some writing efforts that I had been playing with in another venue.  I had been a long time away from writing anything more interesting than technical manuals and more meaningful than some brochure copy, so many of the early efforts were crude at best.  (Many say that my efforts often still resemble such pinnacles of literature.)

Six years later, it's certainly questionable whether the writing has improved in any way; but the nature of the blog has certainly ... evolved (I was going to say 'matured', but we all know that such a term seldom if ever applies to JBS, and never to me). Here we are however, after entering over 1000 posts (some of them links to efforts for the TFP) and quickly closing in on 60,000 pageviews; for some unaccountable reason "Just Blowing Smoke" remains.  

I'm proud to say in fact, that during the intervening years, not only has JBS continued to maintain an audience in the US, but has grown to include audiences in western Europe and Asia.  Assuming that my tracking software is not merely taking note of cyber attacks, it's gratifying to realize that my efforts might be able to contribute my own bit of contributory negligence to destroying the concept of multi-culturalism.  

In the burgeoning world of New Media however, such numbers are insignificant, and mean that "Just Blowing Smoke" doesn't rate enough attention to even be attacked by prominent blogging sites of opposing views.  JBS is seldom 'called out' by other outlets (though there was a TFP effort of mine was once read by Glenn Beck on his syndicated radio show a couple of years ago).  Nor have these efforts been recognized by the far larger blogging world that it's a part of.  (Some would say for obvious reasons.)  There is some safety however in laboring in relative obscurity and corresponding anonymity, since the occasional creative failures can escape mostly unnoticed and in six years I have only been recognized on the street once as 'that smoking guy'. 

This is not to say that as someone purporting to be a writer, I don't like to be read.  In such situations, more is always better.  I am content however (actually, I'm shocked) to discover that there are still people out there who feel these efforts are of value ... or capable of garnering an occasional laugh.  As for notoriety, the relatively few times in my life that I gained even a sliver of the spotlight have normally proved personally dangerous and were usually followed by massive bouts of unjustified egotism followed by unintentional and very public commissions of social suicide. 

Even the few of you have shown yourselves sadly in need of proper training in good internet manners, based on the comments that you've submitted (most of which have needed to be moderated out to preserve the last shred of good taste remaining here) have been amusing in a rather perverse way.  As for the isolated threats of bodily harm offered by those who I must assume are even more twisted than I am; while I make no claims to personal bravery, I am nevertheless prepared to meet you on the 'Internet Field of Honor' and suggest that you have your seconds get in touch with my seconds. (If my seconds aren't available, contact my thirds.  If my thirds can't be found, let's have our fourths do lunch.  If even that doesn't work, would you consider splitting a fifth?)    

So on behalf of the lazy lexicographers of the SOS Dictionary, the twisted surveillance exploits of the Department of Just Blowing Smoke Security, the inconsistent efforts of the Senior Editorial Staff, and myself (Who said that there's no advantage to multiple personality disorder?) I would like to thank each and every one of you who continues to find the twisted nonsense, malodorous tripe, and recklessly produced natural fertilizer on this site worth losing a bit of time in your lives that you'll never get back.  

But enough of such pointless verbosity (you get enough of that from a normal effort).  Until early onset senility takes over the mostly empty space between my ears, my intention is to continue attempting to crank out at least two mostly useless and probably tasteless efforts per week.  The hope is that while sifting through the dross may be a bit of work, somewhere between the 'Infinite Monkey Theorem' and the 'Blind Squirrel Theory' you will occasionally discover something worthy of your consideration.

Who knows, in a year from now we may all be able to look back on this and say (as I'm sure my ex-spouses did) ... "Man, it's only been seven years.  It seemed like a lot longer."

deatach dóibh má tá tú bhí orthu  
(smoke 'em if you've got 'em)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Silly Bits V

Since the Administration has had a couple of problems with spying on the US press (the Associated Press and Fox News to be specific).  It therefore seemed only fitting that the latest leak of information (ill-timed for the Administration) that the NSA is collecting data on many of the rest of us came from "The Guardian", an English paper.  Good show old boys and welcome to the party! Tea anyone?

Congratulations on not only scooping your American counterparts on yet another potential PR nightmare for the current Administration, but for creating a new level of national paranoia that we can only be hoped will be covered under the Affordable Care Act.  According to responses from the President and other Administration spokespeople, all of this has been done according to law and under the auspices of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court.  (Evidently FISA is like VISA, 'everywhere you want to be'.

*  According to information being touted on the Sunday talks shows, over 99.9% of FISA warrant requests have been approved by its judges.  Can you say 'rubber stamp'?

Now I'm a Verizon customer and a Google user, so I probably don't have anything left in the way of secrets where the government is concerned.  No wait, I forget that I was told that they weren't listening in on my calls or reading my emails by the same government who lied about a reporter being a 'co-conspirator' and went to three judges before they could get a warrant issued and also lied when they told me that they weren't having the IRS target conservative groups.  So naturally I believe them when they tell me that they aren't going to intrude on my privacy or keep any private data from my phone or Internet use at the same time that they're building a massive new data storage facility in Utah.

Jesse Jackson Jr may be getting four years in prison after pleading guilty to engaging in a scheme to misuse $750,000 of his campaign contributions on personal items.  Not only is the government looking for that same $750,000 in the way of restitution, but they're also looking for $168,000 in re-imbursement from his wife Sandra; who was receiving a $5,000 per month consulting fee on top of her six-figure salary as a Chicago alderman.  On the bright side, Jesse and his wife may not have to serve their prison sentences at the same time, which would keep their two children from being parent-less, even temporarily.  

With the example of 3 of the last 4 Illinois governors serving or having served time (including Rod Blagojevich,  in a case in which Rep Jackson was at least incidentally involved, though no charges were filed), Jesse Jr was apparently incapable of finding someone in this capital of malfeasance to create a workable paper trail to hide behind.  (What is Chicago coming to these  days?)  His dramatic attempt to drop off the radar and hint at a breakdown was a fair enough strategy, but it came far too late in the game and was poorly played.   

One can only imagine how disappointed that his father is.  After all, Jesse Jr was not only raised in one of the greatest schools of political corruption anywhere in the world ... Chicago, but apparently either didn't apply himself to his lessons or was simply incapable retaining successful strategies while being mentored by an expert on living with dubious expenses.  Jesse Sr has lived, after all, rather well for longer than Jr has been alive, in spite of a holding politically commendable, but financially questionable jobs which earned him a lavish lifestyle that would be the envy of many CEO's.  

Pakistan summoned US Ambassador Richard Hoagland to its Foreign Office today.  Evidently the new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wasn't happy over the fact that the US decided to pop off a couple of missiles launched off a drone into his country, killing seven people, without letting bothering to let his government know about it. But what the heck can concepts like national sovereignty mean when you're fighting a war on terror that actually hasn't existed for some time according the same Administration pulling the trigger? 

Now normally I would be concerned over the contradiction of terms involved with such an act and terrified over the long term implications of any government's use of such technology.  Fortunately, MY government has told me that while it's the same government which has come to heavily rely on the concept of remote control 'rub-outs'; it's now going to review the use of such technology.  (Though perhaps the review has more to do with a NBC story revealing that of a review of CIA records concludes that our government couldn't confirm the identity of 25% of the people they killed in drone strikes.)  I know that I, the 25% we can't identify, and the 'incidental casualties' will certainly be comforted by the idea that someone in our government is gong to get to the bottom of this.

Hey!  Maybe they could get the same people in the Administration who are going recommend legislation to Congress to protect the press from the DOJ that has recently targeted them from the DOJ itself to help on this other project before somebody escalates the war on AP and Fox News into drone attacks.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The "Stuck on Stupid" Dictionary #41

The warm weather here at the headquarters of Just Blowing Smoke is evidently working as a tonic for the normally lazy lexicographers of the SOS Dictionary.  (Either that, or they are concerned of being crowded out of their cubbyhole by plethora of suggestions for new entries being received.)   Quite frankly, those in Senior Staff don't really care what the reason is as long as they don't have to continue to make excuses for their lack of control over this normally rogue department.

In spite of this increased literary production however, it seem that there many of you reading this who have somehow managed to miss previous postings on this subject (shame on you, now go back and search all of the postings under the label of  'Dictionary').  For those of you thus unfamiliar, the SOS dictionary is a reference guide to terms which nominally mean something to the rest of the English speaking world, but appears to mean something entirely different when looked at through the jaded eyes and rose colored glasses of the SOS dictionary staff.


1.  A form of bookkeeping in which estimates of expected income and expense for a given period in the future (usually a year) are entered for a given entity in the form of a fiscal ledger. 

2.  An esoteric form of mathematics more closely related to fiction than to fact (at least in the public sector), though these creative efforts are not eligible for literary award as such.

3.  An advanced form of thievery involving the robbing of Peter (like Capital Improvements) to pay Paul (like the General Fund) which can apparently occur without criminal charges after being approved through voter ignorance.  The ultimate goal of these efforts is to perform the deed in such way that Peter doesn't recognize (or at least complain) that his pocket's been picked and Paul doesn't realize he's been gifted.


1.  A term nominally used in bookkeeping to describe an excess of assets over liabilities in a given period.

2.  A term used in public sector bookkeeping more to create a positive political message (especially in election years) than to describe a condition of positive fiscal fact which actually doesn't exist.

3.  A term used in often confusing budgetary processes that inaccurately describes the result in the continuous Robbing of Peter to pay Paul so many times that it effectively renders anything purporting to be the truth as meaningless.

(see Budget)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

TFP Column: "This Ain't No Watergate"

I know, it's been a while since I've submitted anything for the consideration of Editor-in-Chief Michael Miller at the TFP; but everyone deserves a break.  As they say however, 'all good things must come to an end'; and so it was for Michael.  The Congressional hearings are back up and running however, now that our elected legislative representatives are back in Washington DC and hard at the people's work.

While they were away, I was interested to see and hear all of the comparisons between the current IRS 501C4 permit process and the 20th Century scandal that all others are measured by ... Watergate.  As someone who loves to read history, I couldn't help but notice such a comparison, and felt equally unable to provide a little background information on the subject, and go without comment.  Thus it is that "This Ain't No Watergate" was born.

Of course, this is early enough in the week that there's already plenty out there with the publication of the mid-week "Star" edition, and there will certainly be far more (and probably far better) to be found in the way of editorial comment as the week progresses.  But what would you expect from Toledo and Northwest Ohio's largest Sunday circulation newspaper; especially one that has been Ohio's Best Weekly Newspaper for the last for years.  Of course, I'm talking about the Toledo Free Press.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Permanent Titular Political Elite

For years this country has had the argument over whether this is a ruling elite in this country.  From local examples in every community of families that seem to run on little more than name recognition, to nationally recognized monikers like the Roosevelts and the Kennedys who seemed destined to gain political office at whatever level and time they choose, we've struggled with the notion of whether there is a titular elite.  Say what you will over whether such a system actually exists, whether we are in fact overtly or covertly ruled by such a group, or whether this constitutes some wild conspiracy theory (my tin-foil hat is firmly in place); there certainly does appear to be some who seek obtain public service grandeur through some twisted form of divine right.  Regardless of what you believe however, you have to admit that for some reason we treat those who have formerly 'served' in government as something special, long after that service is over.

I say this in comparison my own private sector career.  During a thirty plus year career in the printing equipment industry, I served in various functions with such titles such as:

-  Territory Sales Representative
-  Regional Sales Manager
-  Product Manager
-  National Sales Manager
-  Director of Sales and Marketing
-  Director of Operations

I no longer perform any of those responsibilities; and as a consequence, can no longer lay claim to any of those titles.  In fact in spite of having held a form of the title twice, no one these days calls me a 'Director' (not that they ever did), and I can no longer even claim the title of Manager, since these days I'm getting paid at the rate of a 'Team Leader'.  (I once had a customer who was a retired Admiral and insisted on correcting me each time that I forgot to call him by his former military rank.)  Yet it seems that former public servants and public officials retain their highest titles long after they've left office.

Every City Councilman, Mayor, County Commissioner, State Representative or Senator seems to demand and be granted the right to be called by the highest title they achieved during their political careers.  Certainly a Governor never loses their title (even when they become a Fox News talk show host), nor does a member of Congress or the Senate.  This also seems to hold true for those appointed to high office in the State Department or the Judiciary, long after they've 'retired' to so-called private life.  So for example we see:

-  'UN Ambassador' John Bolton, who hasn't been one since 2006.
-  'Senator' Fred Thompson, who hasn't represented Tennessee since 2003.
-  'Mayor' Rudy Giuliani, who hasn't served in the Big Apple since 2001.
-  'Speaker' Newt Gingrich, who hasn't led the House of Representatives since 1999.
-  'Judge' Andrew Napolitano, who hasn't sat behind a bench since 1995.

Don't get me wrong here.  I chose these people specifically because of the deep respect in which I hold each of them and their views.  That respect however, does not extend to granting them a title to which they can no longer hold claim.  This doesn't mean that someone shouldn't list their resume of accomplishments when introducing them, quite the contrary in fact.  Listing their backgrounds establishes their credentials with those who might not know or remember them.  Their former elected positions however, are not knighthoods or lordships which have been conferred upon them for life.  Their once lofty appointed jobs are not dukedoms or earldoms that they retain and can pass on to their offspring.

There's something in human nature apparently, that desires to create a form of lordship for those in public office or appointed service.  As a consequence, our elected officials seem to demand (and receive) a level, not only of respect, but of reverence because of having won a voting contest.  Such unwarranted and unearned elitism has long created a dangerous level of exceptionalism which makes those in the public sector believe that their one-time service ranks them as above those who chose them for these positions and the rules that the rest of us must follow.  Increasingly more dangerous however, is the concept of having these people believe that such temporary (and sometimes undeserved) exceptionalism can be retained long beyond service in the office that they once held.

Not for me!  We have enough problems dealing with the inflated egos of these so-called public servants as it is.  This country was founded on the principle that we acknowledge no lordship of one man over another; and I refuse to accept even the vague notion that any public sector position carries with it the concept of a permanent Titular Political Elite. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Much Ado?

As the continuing coverage of the Obama Administration's troika of tribulation goes on, I can't help but wonder about what any of it will mean for the nation in the long term.  Each of course, has become an amusing little bit of living hell for Press Secretary Jay Carney.  After all, it's hard enough to stand in front an appreciative audience and read your lines with a straight face when the writers have done such a horrible job with the narrative.  When the audience becomes of clique of carping critics, ready to find fault with every miscue and fumbled line; what should be a walk in the park becomes an effort to tip toe through a minefield.  But after this elite assemblage with their press credentials plays its verbal game with an equally elite assemblage of politicians and bureaucrats, is it likely that anything will actually come of it, or will all of it become much ado about nothing?

While in many ways this should be the most grievous of the mishandled situations, it's probably the least likely to amount to much in the long run.  There's little doubt that a political narrative intruded on real national security issues, that insult was added to injury in a poor attempt to turn 'chicken shit into chicken salad' that ended up costing American lives, and that the bureaucrats whose job it is to do CYA work for the President are slowly revealing their dirty fingerprints on the paperwork required wipe the national leader's backside.

On the other hand, those involved have largely managed to drag the inquisitional process out long enough that it's exceeded the attention span of the average American voter.  Oh sure, Congressional hearings will continue to be held by the opposition party who will take political advantage of the situation until much closer to their re-election (and maybe even find a little truth along the way).  It's unlikely though, that smoking guns will be discovered after all this time or if they are, that anyone will care much.  You see, in spite of the fact that many members of Congress are lawyers, most of those in committee meetings seem far more interested using their time in testifying than in questioning witnesses.

As a result, what's more likely is that those involved in the Defense and State Departments will have their costly mistakes written off as mere errors in judgement; while the White House will once more be seen as disconnected and 'leading from behind'.  It's likely that the largest impact of an incident which cost four men their lives will be to cause Mrs. Clinton to write an end to her political legacy with the titles of Senator and Secretary of State.

AP / James Rosen
Considering Benghazi, this is little more than a storm in a tea cup, though you would hardly know it.  Administrations have always had leaks, some of which are purposefully dropped breadcrumbs used to advance or reinforce their agendas; and others are inadvertent and the unintended consequences of bureaucrats and political sycophants trying to prove to those in the media that they are more in the know than they actually are.  Some (very few) are actually nefarious attempts to reveal vital national secrets.  Some of these leaks are politically necessary, some are little more than inconvenient nonsense, and some end up being positively perilous (though usually not for either the bureaucrats or reporters).

These nuggets of fact, fiction, and foolishness are parceled to the public by representatives of the various news agencies; who like their government sources, present a mixed assortment of talents and biases.  Since governments only want approved messages passed out, this causes them to create 'naughty and nice' lists where the media is concerned; and to use the coercive power at their disposal cater to friends and frustrate enemies.  Some Administrations are more sensitive where their friends and enemies are concerned and some far better and more subtle at coercion than others, but all of them do it.

Occasionally one or the other crosses the line, gets smacked around for it, and retreats in embarrassed or vindictive silence afterward.  These incidents are two such occasions when the government took its lumps.  Oh sure, there are some questionable Constitutional behaviors involved with the actions of the DOJ in handling them, and (like Benghazi) some poorly done cover up efforts; but fortunately for the government, citizens these days like the press only marginally more than politicians, and don't mind much if they occasionally get smacked around.  

Have no fear however, the DOJ has promised to investigate itself, and I'm sure that we can count on the AG to get to the bottom of his own and his department's misdeeds.  While the mainstream media would like this to be a far bigger deal for their own future protection (and for continued headlines), and Congress will be continuing to hold hearings of its own on this subject as well (more headlines for fund raising and re-election efforts); its unlikely that anything will happen beyond the resignation of the Attorney General Eric Holder (who should have fallen on his sword after "Fast and Furious") as being either completely incompetent or mildly crooked.

IRS Targeting
This scandal is quickly growing into the largest of the three, but mostly because hating the IRS is a truly bi-partisan practice.  Decades of heavy-handed mistreatment of citizens by it combined with an over-riding fear of this 20th century Frankenstein monster of an agency has all the townspeople looking for the nearest windmill to trap and burn it in.  The mainstream media has properly taken this scandal up, in spite of the fact that like the government, they don't much like the groups targeted because ... well it sells newspapers and commercial time and their vulture-like nature prevents them passing up a likely corpse.  Even savvy politicians on both sides of the aisle, knowing that such things have always gone on at some level, are voicing concern with this latest effort; lest the next party in power further escalate the use of this double-edged weapon in order to insure their continued right to rule.  

Some sacrificial villains (scapegoats) will at some point be discovered for this scandal during what's likely to be year-long hearings, but any perpetrators are likely to be able to resign and keep their pensions.  Menial IRS workers caught in the crossfire are protected by union contracts that will delay or prevent any punishment for their labors until such time as the whole thing is long forgotten.  Promises of reform will be suggested by both sides of the aisle (perhaps even honestly), but there's a momentum of power abuse in this bureaucracy far too great to overcome.  Additional increases in power the IRS gains under the implementation of Obamacare will not only add to its numbers and its penchant for abuse, but is likely to do little more than feed its appetite for evil.   

Fortunately or unfortunately for the party in the White House, the one controlling Congress is likely to drag out hearings through the mid-term elections on this subject as well to expose career bureaucrats who were doing no more than attempting to climb the food chain by pleasing those who controlled their promotions.  Based on past performance, Congress will over time completely inoculate us to the horror of these abuses by fumbling the opportunity given them right to a wrong in order to instead create self-serving fund raising efforts and campaign sound bites.  Far worse, legislators will overlook this uniquely bi-partisan opportunity to simplify tax law in this country, and eliminate the very power being exercised and abused by these blameworthy bureaucrats.