January 24, 2009
Reporter of my dreamsBy Jim H. Ainsworth
I have a friend who watches old episodes of The Lone Ranger. He says he does it to get intellectual stimulation after watching what has become mind-numbing, dumbed-down television news. In these trying days, I also long for those thrilling days of yesteryear when real reporters and journalists rode the pages of newspapers and provided unbiased news from black and white screens. Such un-requited and possibly hopeless yearning causes one to either talk to oneself, shout at the television (shouting at your spouse is not recommended), or to retreat into daydreams. In my daydreams, I have another super-hero -- better than The Lone Ranger or even Superman. His name is Red Wright.
Red comes from a red state and a blue-collar family, but his stratospheric IQ got him into Harvard. Unfortunately, his scholarship was not renewed after his freshman year. His grades were excellent, but he suffered from a dangerous level of common sense, which did not comport well with his Harvard professors. A prominent private college in the Midwest that refuses any type of government assistance accepted Red and he flourished. With a soaring IQ and an excellent education, Red had his choice of professions, but he knew he was a born journalist.
For years, Red labored in the underbelly of journalism, his common-sense views seldom read, his controversial questions unasked. Then along came hope and change. Embarrassed by their own swooning during the recent elections but flush with victory, MSM (mainstream media) decided to allow a single reporter from the other side (this is a dream, folks) to ask provocative questions previously considered divisive, politics of personal destruction, or the ranting of a vast right-wing conspiracy. In the spirit of harmony and a new era, Red was chosen for occasional entrée into the inner sanctum of left-wing journalism. After all, how much harm could Red do?
On a shoestring budget and without help from hedge fund managers or Hollywood, Red established his own little media empire called Side Creek Press (SCP) to distinguish his company from MSM. (Get it?) His first assignment: presidential appointments. Only three questions allowed. Here is what Red asked in my dream.
For Eric Holder, nominee for Attorney-General:
When you recommended his pardon, did you know that Marc Rich was doing business with Iran when they held American hostages or did you think he made his way to number two on the FBI most-wanted-list only through tax evasion?
I noticed Mr. Rich's wife sitting behind Bill Clinton as he made speeches. Did she contribute much money to Bill Clinton and his related causes?
Tell me once more why you recommended clemency for known terrorists?
For Timothy Geithner, nominee for Treasury-Secretary:
Is it true that you were given sixteen checks and sixteen documents to sign over the course of four years (sixteen quarters) stating that you understood that your earnings at IMF were subject to self-employment tax and that by signing said documents and acceptance of reimbursement for aforesaid taxes, that you agreed to pay such taxes to the IRS?
If you kept the money that the IMF gave you instead of remitting to the IRS, how do you think this will affect compliance with tax laws if you become head of the department that runs the IRS? Forgive me for stretching this into two questions, but did you pay taxes on the taxes that the IMF gave you to pay the taxes you did not pay? Wow, that's confusing. No wonder you did not understand.
When you got caught cheating, why did you only fess up and pay for two years and only pay the other two when you heard about a possible cabinet appointment? Sorry, I know that is embarrassing.
This last part is not a question, just a plea. Since the Senate seems committed to confirming your nomination because of the emergency nature of the financial crisis, it seems clear that your appointment will bring said crisis to an end (possibly within the week). It is a horrible thing to consider, but since tax evasions such as those listed above would disqualify a beginning IRS agent (and possibly send him to jail), there is the remotest chance that some obstructive Senator might hold up your nomination for a day or two. Just in case there is a delay, please pass on your plan for solving the crisis to the rest of the Obama team without delay. We need to get started as soon as possible. Tax evasion is just a hiccup and a common error, after all. Our Senate Majority Leader and our new President said so; so it must be true.
For Greg Craig, Obama's White House Counsel:
Is it true you represented John Hinckley, the man who shot President Reagan and three others and crippled James Brady?
Is it true you represented the Castro side of the Elian Gonzales affair, Ted Kennedy in his nephew's rape trial, and Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial?
Did you represent Pedro Miguel Gonzalez Pinzon, a convicted Panamanian wanted in the US for killing a US soldier?
For Hillary Clinton, nominee for Secretary of State:
What foreign policy experience (other than taking fire in Bosnia, of course) was that again?
I am rudely awakened at this point as Red Wright, his red, white and blue cape rudely torn from his shoulders, is whisked from the room. But he will be suit up again. In my dreams.
Jim H. Ainsworth-former CPA, CFP, CLU, Registered Investment Advisor, Licensed Securities Principal, was twice named one of the most influential accountants in America by Accounting Today magazine. He welcomes comments at jimainsworth.com