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September 16, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Norquist’s actions are criminal

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It is sickening to read William Shughart’s accolades of Grover Norquist in Sunday’s Sun. Let’s look at the facts. Norquist is a lobbyist, pure and simple. He primarily represents unknown rich and powerful clients under the guise of his Americans for Tax Reform. They’re unknown because member lists are not public. It is Norquist’s job to protect and enhance the wealth of his clients. His job description does not include helping the American citizenry.

Norquist has reached his objective by coercing, if not extorting, members of Congress to sign his pledge to not raise taxes. He has accomplished his goal by threatening to spend thousands, if not millions, of dollars to defeat the non-signers at the next election. He is the original “my way or the highway” kind of guy.

Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that to balance the budget, there must be a balanced approach to spending reductions and increased revenue including, but not limited to, tax increases. Norquist is doing his best to eliminate half of the equation.

He is guilty of undue influence over many members of Congress through coercion. I believe he belongs on a pedestal, so long as the pedestal is in a federal prison.

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  1. The letter writer does a great job of relating the job description of every lobbyist in Washington DC, but only targets Glover Norquist. Why?

    Millions (soon to be billions) of dollars are needed to run for office and maintain office. Groups of Americans, including unions, businesses, interest groups of every stripe, and wealthy people all have agendas that include gaining special advantage through government action. Most of these groups employ lobbyists like Grover Norquist. These people, including Norquist tell members of Congress and each party how they want them to vote and what legislation they want proposed and they give and withhold support and money as the 'lever' to get what they want. Both parties and almost all members of Congress participate in this system. THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS CORRUPT! It includes Norquist, but it doesn't end with him.

    The solution is not to praise or bash Norquist, which will accomplish zero. It is to go to public financing, enact term limits and reform lobbying... period.

    Michael

  2. Norquist has his agenda. He is an anti tax zealot and that is fine with me.Raising taxes will not wipe out or even dent the debt crisis. We have to get a handle on expenditures--something the Dems oppose. Unless it's for defense.Norquist is not going to fold his tent and disappear. He is on a crusade, and those republicans who agree with tax rate increases will necessarily have to answer to their constituents.

  3. Let's not overlook the political history that allowed and allows Grover to survive. Two budget deals and promises gone bad by Democrats with Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Recall both presidents agreed to raise taxes with future promises of spending cuts of 3 and 2 to 1 for taxes. Democrats never honored their promises to the cuts. That's how Grover came to be.

    CarmineD

  4. Norquist's activities are not necessarily criminal, but the potential beneficiaries are limited to the well-heeled interests that provide financial support to Americans for Tax Reform. His main interest is disempowering the government using "starve the beast" methods without revealing who his organization really seeks to empower.

  5. Norquist's tax pledge has no force of law and members of Congress who listen to their constituents instead of this nut will make better decisions.

  6. I have no idea who Maw is, having seen no letters of his printed before, but he seems a bit to the far left. Ah, the far left. Seems like they believe the Constitutional rights granted all of us belong only to those that agree with their wacko agenda and, therefore, constantly & consistently, call for those who do not agree to have theirs taken from them. Week after week, "Commie-Lites" call for the 1st Amendment rights of others to be taken from those who find their leftist agenda nutty at best; anti-American at worst. For the most part, they are devoid of cogent arguments to back up their wacky proposals so they fall back on the usual Commie tactics: lying, violence, intimidation, brutality and/or criminal behavior. WI & MI are great examples. They don't like "Right to Work" laws, so they resort to violence & intimidation against "Right to Work" supporters. It's clear they have no understanding of how the system we live under works. One that not only permits dissent but actually demands it so as to keep those who rule from running roughshod over us. Harry Belafonte, the washed up leftist entertainer, actually calls for Osama Obama to become more of a dictator and to jail Amrican citizens who dissent. Harry is not just nuts, he believes what he spouts and would, if he had the power, implement it. Harry is also the tip of the iceberg representing the "Commie-Lite" agenda which is dangerous to all of our freedoms. The U.S. is not North Korea, Cuba or Iran - YET! Leave it up to screwballs on the left such as Harry and it soon will be!

  7. Very well said, Mr. Maw. Enjoyed the letter.

    It has been said by Mr. Norquist that this idea came to him when he was very young.

    Let's go back to when it happened.....

    Grover is involved in a pickup game at the ballpark. The young Grover Norquist is out there in right field, watching intently the batter at the plate.

    CRACK!

    The ball is hit. Everyone looks up in the sky, follows its course. They all see it heading out high in the air. Out to right field where Grover tracks its path.

    "CATCH IT, GROVER!" his team mates yell and scream.

    Grover runs around in circles, focuses on where it is, reaches upwards with his glove up in the air.

    The ball comes down.

    WHACK!

    Young Grover misses it.

    It bounces off of his skull.

    Knocks him out.

    Grover comes to, looks up at all his team mates hovering around him.

    He sits up, fire in his eyes, a smile on his face, sticks a finger up in the air and waves it back and forth and screams..

    "I got an idea! When I grow up, I'm going to make sure everyone in the Republican Party signs a pledge beholden to me that they will never ever raise taxes on the filthy rich!"

    Yeah.

    Right.

    Gimme a break.

    Red Rover, Red Rover, run through the fields of plover in downtown Dover, because your scam is over with, fini, over, kaput, OVER, Grover.

  8. Jeff,

    I did not intend to indicate that the letter writer was wrong to criticize Norquist. He certainly has that right and there is much to criticize about Norquist. My point is that if Norquist did not exist, the Congress would still be corrupted and the problems we face would still be with us.

    I suspect you disagree with that and it is your right to do so, but you are wrong and until we get term limits, lobbying reform and public financing, Grover Norquist remains a 'part' of the problem, not 'the' problem.

    People need to understand that there are no 'simple' causes or 'simple' solutions to the problems we face.

    Michael

  9. Jeff,

    I think Grover Norquist has a right to do what he does and the people in Congress have a right to sign his pledge or not.

    I won't 'pledge' to never vote for someone signing such a pledge, but I think many who did sign are seeing that given the current situation and the makeup of government, it wasn't a wise choice and probably won't be a wise choice in the future.

    For you, everything appears pretty black and white. That's an easy place to be but I think being their is intellectually lazy.

    Please tell me if you don't think that if all Tea Party members and Republicans that signed the Norquist pledged were replaced tomorrow by Democrats, that things would improve very quickly?

    I think if you are honest, you'd answer yes. And therein lies the problem and the reason you dislike my views and the reason we will probably always sail right by one another (with you firing a few shots my way) and never agree.

    I argue with Republicans all the time that believe they must stick to principal and never compromise. The issues we face are very complex and there are honest disagreements on both sides. There are no 'simple' solutions and the black and white view just is never going to cut it... in my opinion. I am not an ideologue and I want to see compromise. I agree with Bill Kristol and Ann Coulter who are reminding the Republicans .... we lost... President Obama won. It's time to compromise...not capitulate...but compromise... so you can come back and fight another day.

    You, on the other hand, appear to want capitulation, because you believe one side is totally right and the other side completely wrong. That's not reality... not in the world I reside in.

    Michael

  10. Jeff,

    Stop twisting what I write or just ignore what I write. I give Norquist no pulpit and am no fan of his. I simply state a truth which is obvious. What he does violates no law and he has a right to do it. Free speech...remember.

    You say we need to take polarizers out of the equation. What do you propose? Should we kill them, ban them, what? Polarizers have rights too.

    You criticize Norquist. That's fine. You do what you can to take him down. Also fine. Because I don't align myself specifically with your view, you mischaracterize what I write.

    I'm not angry at you. I suspect we won't agree and that is fine too. I reject your characterization of my views as monstrously wrongheaded, me as 'one step away (thank you, I think) from simpleminded and intellectually incurious, but it is a free country and you are entitled to your views.

    Michael

  11. Jeff,

    One more thing. The title of this letter is Norquist's actions are criminal. Do you agree with that? While you are searching out and trying to find ways to do away with the polarizers, you might also look for ways to eliminate people who use hyperbole to make a point, like the letter writer. It makes communication difficult when overheated and inaccurate rhetoric are substituted for reasoned dialogue.

    Michael

  12. I'll have to agree with JeffFromVegas. Norquist is actually pretty much irrelevant. His actions are no more criminal than are the actions of anyone (including me...) who tells an elected official "Do it my way or I won't vote for you next time and I'll actively work against you." I will also put all elected officials on notice: I expect you to honor your oaths to third parties (Including Norquist) to the hilt AND to honor the spirit and words of your oaths of office to that very same degree. You say the two are mutually exclusive? You can't possibly do both? Sounds to me like you have a personal problem. I didn't say it would be easy, I do say HONOR ALL OATHS EQUALLY or get out. . .

  13. Grover has an agenda. It is not to cut government spending, rather it is to DESTROY our system of government to promote his jihadist anti-American and anti-government stance.

    Frank Wolf, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives, and one of only six GOP representatives to NOT SIGN GROVER'S SOPHOMORIC ANTI GOVERNMENT PLEDGE, stood in the well of the House and delivered a speech (entered into the Congressional Record) that details, in depth, Grover Norquist's true ANTI AMERICAN AGENDA. Rep. Wolf's EYE POPPING speech can be Googled very easily. Before anyone comments favorably about the wonderfulness of Grover Norquist, they should read the speech by Rep. Wolf. Members of The United States Congress and the United States Senate, overwhelmingly GOP, are bought and paid for by Norquist. He is an unelected lobbyist and seditionist who has undermined allegiance to the US Constitution by coercing our so called representatives to sign on to his "pledge". There is only one PLEDGE that is lawful, and binding on our "representatives" and that is the oath to uphold and defend the US CONSTITUTION. To be a signatory to Norquist's "pledge" is nothing more than cowardice and SEDITION by any "representative" who has or will sign it.

  14. Re LastThroes: "Wolf questioned Norquist's relationship with convicted felon Jack Abramoff and terrorist financiers Abdurahman Alamoudi and Sami Al-Arian..." Just a sample of the content of Representative Wolf's speech. Too many people think this guy is just some right-wing knucklehead. In fact, he is a dangerous fanatic who should be on an FBI watch list. By the way, his wife is a Palestinian, who has her own agenda. Look it up.

  15. Jeff,

    I'll give you and Gary Lind credit. You don't mince words and respond to my questions honestly. That said, in my opinion, your hatred for views other than your own makes it difficult for you to hold a balanced view.

    A balanced view holds that what Norquist does is very little different than what all lobbyists do. They use money and support as leverage to get what they want from our elected officials. Is it admirable? No, it corrupts our entire system of government. Is it legal under the present rules? yes. Should we change the rules for Norquist but not other lobbyists? You'd say yes because Norquist works for outcomes you don't favor. A balanced view says that the rules for all lobbyists should be changed.

    Gary makes statements that I suspect you agree with claiming that Norquist is anti American and wants to destroy the country. Those statements are as ridiculous as those on the other side that say exactly the same kind of overwrought and inaccurate statements regarding President Obama. A balanced view by each side would be that one disagrees with the goals of Norquist or President Obama and believes those goals are not in the best interests of the country.

    And finally, your view seems to hold, in general that the Democrats are nearly if not 100 % right and the Republicans are 100 % wrong and have evil intentions to boot. A balanced view would hold that both parties are firmly entrenched in a corrupted system where their interests and those of the party are most often put above those of the nation and where they willingly allow themselves to be coerced by lobbyists rather than do the work we elected them to do.

    Their are 'black helicopter' people on the left as well as the right. I try to stay as far away from both as I can. Every American would be wise to do the same and use facts, not hyperbole and exaggeration in their determinations.

    Michael

  16. Grover Norquist is a Board member of the NRA. His political beliefs were fundamentally defined by his declaration that his "goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

    Destroying the US Government has been the goal of subversives, radicals, murderers and criminals since it's inception. Norquist is just another conspirator to destroy public education so that self styled vigilantes can re-write history and destroy technology. His actions create more danger to Freedom than any Communist that ever lived.

  17. Michael; Read Frank Wolf's speech and see if you still defend anything Norqist says or does.

    I DO think Norquist is ANTI-AMERICAN and DOES want to destroy the country (by way of destroying our government). Let me know if you find any facts to refute my statements. If you do, I will be happy to retract. Otherwise my statements stand as written.

    I am no right wing extremist teabagger who believes in "black helicopter" nonsense. I DO believe that Government has a role to play in it's citizen's lives, like it or not. I am a liberal politically, and always have been. Norquist believes that Government can function without revenue: impossible.

  18. Casler, why be apologetic to the likes of Weber, Colin, Becker, Lind, etc? They go about the business of making up facts to meet their "Commie-Lite" agenda and by apologizing, you only feed their ignorance and come off looking weak and indecisive. Those folks won't be happy until we all live in a "Workers Paradise" and they are, as Marx, Lenin & Stalin put it, "Useful idiots." And you know what those despots did to "useful idiots," don't you? They gave them "3 hots & a cot" when they sent them to "reeducation" camps in Siberia or simply liquidated them. Their lack of understanding history is startling! My guess is they are products of our politically correct & failed public school system.

  19. My grandad was a farmer, my dad grew up on a farm.

    One of the things I learned as a kid was "TANSTAAFL", There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch".

    Many things are beyond the power of an individual to provide for himself, and that are necessary for our society to thrive. Roads, Dams, Schools, & Police Departments etc are are just a few.

    At some point we,as a society, made the decision to fund this stuff as a public service and directed our servants,the politicians, to make it happen.

    Instead the snake oil department in Washington has so confused the issue that we have forgotten that we agreed that we needed this stuff and that we agreed to pay for it.

    They tell us if we only vote for them, they will make sure that Joe, over in the corner, will pay for his share and our share as well. You CAN have a free lunch.

    I was brought up to expect to pay for stuff, and I have no problem paying for my share, I think it is my duty to pay my share. But they have, purposefully, made it so confusing that it is no longer clear what my share is.

    Fast forward to today and my 70th birthday. All my life I have paid into both Social Security and Medicare and I expect to be able to claim my rights from these programs.

    Instead the weasel politicians say that I am one of the greedy graysters who are plundering your blood and treasure with my entitlements and benefits.

    I currently regard the Republicans with slightly more disdain than the other parties, but they are all cut from the same cloth.

    Back in the 1980's I predicted the new American revolution of 2024 as the only way we would be free of the system of politicians and commercial interests.

    Am pleased to see that we are still on schedule

    Vegas Jay - Hiding from the politicians behind Arizona Charlie's

  20. Regularly I disagree with Mike Casler. But about 2:49 the morning of the 15th he wrote, in part, "Should we change the rules for Norquist but not other lobbyists? You'd say yes because Norquist works for outcomes you don't favor. A balanced view says that the rules for all lobbyists should be changed." I totally agree with his balanced view. The Supreme Court has declared corporations to be "people", entitled to the full range of Constitutional freedoms. I agree with the Court, with the proviso that corporations shall not use humans as intermediaries to present their (corporate) positions. It becomes far too easy to conflate the corporate viewpoint with that of its human employees/representative.They must do so in "person", using only those verbal techniques available to any other "person."

  21. Mr. Norquist is a hero insofar as he brings up the conversation that we MUST deal with SPENDING. Vilifying him does nothing productive. Can we not accept that there are many different views but we must reach a consensus to something sustainable?

  22. The issues are really about morality. Norquist, lobbying, and politician today are immoral in selling themselves to their own interests in power.

    The Congress is the worst because of their hypocrisy in serving two masters, or even three or more.

    Making a pledge to Norquist and those he serves is the corruption of their sworn oath to the nation as a whole. This applies to all lobbying and parties.

    The first step to a return to the integrity of the oath is to take money out of politics.

    Then the people have to take corruption out of their own lives and vote for politicians that will serve the nation as a whole, working for bring us back to moderation, from the extremes.

    This is difficult because their are so many special interests that have their own form of entitlements that effect a great number of people and industries.

    In my view, there are very few people who are innocent when it comes to who we all vote for. We perpetuate the current system with our votes and not stopping the forces that are corrupt and which corrupt us in one way or another.

    The second thing Congress has to do is to reform lobbying drastically.

    Third, political reform must specify personhood as inclusive of only human beings, no corporations, no union, no entity that is not born through the human reproductive process. That also includes no robots or sims, in case someday someone wants to promote that as well.

    Fourth, we need to have mandatory civics classes in our schools, which help to develop responsible citizens and voters, who know how to analyze and reason critically.

    As long as we see this as only a political problem no solutions will be lasting. We are all involved in moral degradation in someway and this has led to what we have now. It is up to each individual to find the truth of their motives and actions, and try to get back on a moral footing.

    Just because some religious institution says something is right does not make that truth. Even there moral crises flourish.

  23. Regarding some of the comments herein:
    1. Grover Norquist "...is the original "my way or the highway" kind of guy."

    2. "He is guilty of undue influence over many members of Congress through coercion."

    3. "There is only one PLEDGE that is lawful, and binding on our "representatives" and that is the oath to uphold and defend the US CONSTITUTION."

    I think ALL of this is true. I read Norquist's book entitled: "LEAVE US ALONE." It is a well-written book - factual, and loaded with a lots of accurate statistics that support his arguments for change. It includes in-depth discussions about political parties, government actions, taxes - including what to do about them, spending, unions, and more, and he presents why and how he wants to see the government get out of our lives.

    LAST YEAR, I agreed with a lot of what Norquist wrote; however, THAT WAS LAST YEAR. Since then, I have found that Grover's objectives are a bit more radical - both in action, and implementation. This comes from news stories and TV interviews that evoked questions about his "real agenda."

    As for "forcing" (intimidating, joining the "band-wagon," etc.) Members of Congress to sign a no-tax pledge, I agree that Norquist's actions appear to be a direct contravention of the written intent of the U.S. Constitution - and the oath of office each Member of Congress must swear to.

    That includes the part: "without purpose of evasion," because no one can serve two masters, and the people do not (or should not) vote for a candidate just because he/she would sign a pledge instigated by Grover Norquist (or anyone else).

    Making such a pledge makes no sense at all. But a candidate pledging to seek remedies for tax reform - and defining what that means - would be a reasonable statement of intent - without making any pledge.

    Thus, this pledge is (in my opinion) is "out-of-order" - and is an action contrary to the oath of office. Right now, I do not believe Norqist's activities, or his "no new taxes" pledge-campaign, is "criminal" - or illegal. He is just doing what 33,000 (literally) other lobbyists are doing. If there SHOULD BE restrictions on any type of lobbying, that is another question to be dealt with.

    "We the people..." decide and elect Members of Congress; NOT Grover Norquist. And if he has , indeed, threatened to influence the vote of a candidate, Congressman, or Senator to influence his or her vote - I believe that this constitutes "improper and illegal conduct, with MALICE."

    If such actions were discovered as true, then I would hope the Federal Elections Commission (if not the FBI) would take Norquist to task, in some appropriate manner to prohibit him from overtly attempting to "manage, pressure, or influence" the Congress through methods tantamount to "malcious preversion."