Wednesday, 5/15/13, Public Square

chomsky

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32 Comments

by | May 15, 2013 · 6:00 am

32 responses to “Wednesday, 5/15/13, Public Square

  1. Here’s the way I’m thinking about the scandals / witch hunts republicans want to concentrate on because they’re incapable of governing:

    BENGHAZI!!!!!!!! (Did I use enough exclamation points?) Honestly, I have no more than that to say. Stonekettle Station does have a new very good and very factual blog post on the subject and since it makes everyone calmer to hear what responsible, mature, intelligent people have to say, and humor is good for the soul, enjoy —
    http://www.stonekettle.com/2013/05/benghazi-reductio-ad-absurdum.html

    Some “tea” “party” groups were being scrutinized by the IRS.

    501c3 status is not easy to get, and it shouldn’t be. Why are obviously political groups being given non-profit status?

    The real question is, were any of the groups denied? What are they doing? Are they actually engaged in political activity? I am more concerned with the groups that were approved who are then engaged in activities that are off-limits to non-profits. And why are we not hearing about when liberal groups were targeted? Not when they were applying, but after years of being established? I say we also need to be looking at groups like the Heritage Foundation and some of the other “social welfare” groups.

    Hey, I thought conservatives didn’t believe in welfare.

    The New York Times has a good write up on the topic:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/us/politics/report-on-irs-audits-cites-ineffective-management.html?_r=0

    Justice Department seized phone numbers (lots of them) from AP.

    This is the one I want to know more, much more, about. This is the one that I might be upset about after I’ve learned enough to form a rational opinion. I’m reading and listening. Anyone have info that needs to be considered?

    • I want to add a portion of one of the comments made to the Stonekettle Station blog post linked above:

      “…As long as we are spending the majority of our time and energy skewering the idiots that are shilling for the ‘right’, we are playing their game. Skewering pompous, fatuous windbags is both fun and necessary, but it is not sufficient…” Anonymous

      To me, this is important. I want to do more than be compelled to watch the train wreck of the right. They’re desperate and making some mighty desperate moves, but I want to remain calm, based in reality and capable of critical thinking. What if you get close enough to this nonsense to find out it’s contagious!? 🙂

  2. While changing channels, I happened upon our good ol’ televangelist friend – Pat Robertson. He was in the midst of actually chuckling at the prospect that Obama is in trouble with the never-ending scandals.

    Never-ending?

    Anyway – good ol’ Pat is saying that Billy Graham and his Samaritan’s Purse was targeted by the IRS about a year ago.

    Excuse me, but Samaritan’s Purse has been in existence for quite awhile – so do you think maybe this might be due to Billy’s son – Franklin (who I think runs the Samaritan’s Purse) was all over the television spewing his political points and stomping for Republicans in the election?

    I still remember Franklin Graham was the one that went into great detail how Obama WAS a Muslim regardless of what church affiliation he has currently – because in the Muslim tradition – the father passes the Muslim ‘gene’ down to the children – so no matter what Obama says – he IS a Muslim.

    Which – let’s not forget – this was also the time when the Birther and Trump nonsense was going on……

    So – if Franklin Graham is running this non-profit tax-free status group that takes in millions and he is constantly on television or giving speeches about how Obama IS a Muslim regardless and during the time of all this Britherism crap……

    shouldn’t the IRS be asking the hard questions as to – is this tax-free status group really a social welfare group or is it just a tax-free slush fund for Republicans that HATE the president and have proudly stated they want to see him impeached and gone?

    Why should the real taxpayers have to pick up the slack that these tax-free groups leave in the Treasury – if the activities of these groups is not what is stated on their applications?

    • I suspect – by the time all this scandal crappola is over – we will know the motivation of everyone involved – when we know the names involved.

      Franklin Graham could tell me the sun was hot and I was sweating and dying of thirst – and I would still want more proof. This is how much I distrust Franklin Graham.

      This Tea Party crappola is mixed in with these Fundy Christians…..

      and I have to wonder…….are these folks more mad because they were questioned about their tax-free status –

      OR – are they scared the truth might come out about the true purpose of their so-called tax-free ‘social welfare’ groups?

      • Perhaps some determined investigative reporters should do an expose of all these so-called ‘tax free social welfare’ groups?

        We’ve all heard of how these tax free groups seem to be top heavy in the fat cats’ salaries arena – and how the majority of the donated money never seems to reach those people who are truly in need.

        Whenever I see that television ad with all the sad faces of the dark-skinned children running around in filth – and their water is taken from the nearby obviously polluted water……

        But …then I have to ask…….this is the same tax-free group that was showing the same type of ads back when I was in college – mid 70’s.

        If this group was truly wanting to change things – they have had more than enough time to change it –

        and first things would have been – birth control/family planning.

        Second – clean up the filth and use some brainpower on how to fix that polluted water…..maybe not having the people shit and pee in the water would be a good start?

        Third – Tear down those shacks and start planning on how to build a thriving village – instead of what is now – 37 years later – the same damn Hell Hole.

        But…let’s see as to why these non-profit groups may not be motivated to actually fix the problem –

        Could it possibly be due to the fact – if there is no dark-skinned children to portray on the television in the Land of rich White Americans – there would be no millions for the fat cats ?

        Hmmmm…….like I stated above – this would be a wonderful opportunity for investigative reporters to dig and find the actual truth….

      • “Why should the real taxpayers have to pick up the slack that these tax-free groups leave in the Treasury – if the activities of these groups is not what is stated on their applications?

        Why are we picking up the slack for the wealthy companies who get all the tax breaks and end up paying zero in taxes?

        Maybe this would cause some action on revising our tax policies if so many of the congress critters didn’t benefit from the tax privileges and the contributions from others who do too.

    • “the father passes the Muslim ‘gene’ down to the children – so no matter what Obama says – he IS a Muslim.” Every time I hear one of these I am so reminded of the saying “Feeding the trolls”. If it was true then every Christian’s child would have been born as a Christian. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if it was the case? I mean it would do away with the whole surrendering yourself to Christ. Having to make a decision to be Christian, Jewish or Moslem. And why stop there, you could choose to be any color or gender you prefer.

      • RD – you took the words right out of my mouth….

        But, I remember Franklin Graham made it a specific point that this is only in the Muslim genealogy that this is apparently true.

        But…..think of the motivation Franklin had when he said this rather bizarre ramblings of a fool….. The Far Right Wingers were trying so desperately to paint Obama as a secret Muslim who was out to destroy America.

        And – that message got through loud and clear to that pharmacist I work with…..

        RD – I also had to shake my head at Franklin’s ramblings…

        If this was true that if any child’s father is a Muslim – then you’re a Muslim – end of story.

        If this is true…..then how does Franklin explain the Message of Salvation that is taught by his own Christian faith?

        Where in the Bible does it say that everybody – except Muslims – can accept Jesus as their Savior and become like him – Christian.

        In a way – Franklin was throwing doubt on his own message of Salvation – or is believing in Jesus not enough to change you if your father happens to be Muslim?

        Bottom line – there is no reasoning with people like Franklin Graham…..so why waste my breath?

  3. Robert Reich says:

    Keep your eye on the big scandal. Although the IRS was wrong to target conservative groups for review based on their names, the bigger wrong was its failure to investigate the major groups — such as Karl Rove’s Grossroads GPS and Priorities USA — that falsely claimed to be “social welfare organizations” under 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code in order to hide the names of their donors. And the real scandal of the 2012 election (which will be even worse next year, because they got away with it) is how many corporations and wealthy individuals used this loophole to disguise their identities while pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns. The Supreme Court in “Citizens United” at least assumed full disclosure, but the “social welfare organization” loophole in the tax laws has allowed corporations to keep political spending secret even from their own shareholders.

    The worst outcome of the indignation over the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups would be for the under-manned IRS to pull back from investigating all putative “social welfare organizations,” thereby turning the scandalous loophole into a giant river of secret money. Our democracy is already being purchased by big corporations and the rich. At the least we should know who the buyers are.

  4. Even with overwhelming super majorities and closed door negotiations that are free from public scrutiny, Governor Brownback is unable to bring people together. Last year Governor Brownback blamed Moderate Republicans for what became the most dysfunctional and 5th longest legislative session in Kansas history. Who is to blame this time?

    Conservatives at odds over budget, taxes as wrap-up session drags on
    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/may/14/conservatives-odds-over-budget-taxes-wrap-session-/?kansas_legislature

    • I suspect Brownback and his Gang are doing the infamous Church People Scuffle..

      You know what that is – don’t you?

      This Church does not like that Church, which does not like that Church, and so on, and so on, and so on….

      Even when they are all so-called Christian Conservatives – they still cannot get along..

    • I bet Pastor Sam agrees with George Bush that governing would be easier if he were a dictator.

      I heard via my newspaper grapevine that, get this, Pastor Sam is afraid of a primary challenge from his RIGHT, from Kobach. No worries about a challenge from his left, like Morris or Pete Brungardt. Just that he may not be wingnutty enough for the extreme right of Kansas.

      And where, I might ask, is the Kansas Democratic Party? Someone might remind them that popping popcorn for the upcoming entertainment does not win elections. It just makes you thirsty. Funny, not one person in the state thinks KDP will field a viable candidate. WTF does THAT say about KDP?

      Kansas… as crazy as you think. And no end in sight.

  5. One thing about these scandals that should be noted.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see this many Congress Critters working as hard on creating those jobs they promised as they seem to be drooling over the partisan political bickering and hacking over these scandals?

    • That might make President Obama look less like a soft-on-terror, Socialist, Fascist, Muslim… I never can remember all the adjectives.

      I think republicans are most upset about NOT being the party that will keep Americans safe. They lost that during the neocon administration of bushco. They have nothing. They keep beating their war drums and Americans turn away. It was during the Bush2 Administration that America was attacked BIG TIME. The republicans keep hoping and wishing for an attack at least as tragic during the Obama Administration. Isn’t that a sad state of affairs? They’ve lost their creds and they have to bet against America and her citizens in hopes of getting them back.

      Besides, do those idiots screaming “scandals” sound like they are smart enough to actually do something? Uh huh, I knew you weren’t fooled either, most of us aren’t. The saddest part is their constituents are rooting them on which proves them to be more stupid than the people they elected.

      There is a valid lesson. Republicans do not even make an attempt to accomplish their campaign promises if they involve DOING anything / something. The only skills they have are saying NO and voting into perpetuity to “undo.” I recently heard they were arguing in the U. S. House whether to vote yet again to repeal Obamacare or hold yet another hearing on BENGHAZI!!!!!!! [eye roll]

      What has a Republican President or Congress accomplished that they are proud of? What accomplishment do you hear them bragging about?

      Crickets.

      Democrats have actual legislative accomplishments to be proud about!

    • Chris Matthews said the same thing on Hardball. The one thing that would get everyone’s minds off these so-called scandals is a big surge in job creation and a big improvement in the economy.

      Maybe if Obama had gone after bushco and had not been appeasing the repukes on austerity, all these things would be non-issues?

      I think the repukes are not kicking up a fuss about the AP phones because they want to be able to do the same things when they are in power. And that, my pals, is probably precisely why Obama did not prosecute bushco for crimes.

      Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And what power does not corrupt, Citizens United will.

    • Sigh. The United States of Wall Street, Banksters and ALEC. Brought to you by the Koch brothers and the US Chamber of Commerce.

  6. Now this is interesting……if Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn are not getting their panties in a bunch by this time….maybe there really is nothing to the AP scandal?

    Or – maybe – as Attorney General Eric Holder said the other day – this was done because of national security risk….

    Okay…..then maybe these Senators know something that the rest of don’t?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/senate-republicans-doj-ap_n_3276458.html#comments

    • When this “leaked info” was first published by AP the Republicans screamed, threw hissy fits, called for an investigation…

      So, an investigation was launched.

      Eric Holder recused himself because he had knowledge of the leak — what was leaked, and he too wanted to be sure an independent investigation had the best chance of identifying the leaker. Who was the source of the leaked info the AP published was the goal. Since Eric Holder had the info that was leaked he was, like anyone else who possessed the info, potentially the ‘leaker’ they were looking for.

      Of course taking one stand a year ago and a different one now never stopped a republicans before so I expect them to scream, whine, throw hissy fits… I do have to admit that’s something they’re really good at doing! I haven’t witnessed better hissy fits than adult republicans can throw!

  7. Did we all hear about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a radical mastectomy to reduce her chances of getting cancer?

    What are your thoughts?

    I’ll try to get a link to the story..

    • One word of caution ….when I opened this website link – the commercial for water was very loud….you might want to turn down the volume before you click on..

      http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/angelina-jolie-reveals-double-mastectomy-prevent-breast-cancer/story?id=19173619#.UZO9tXco5jo

    • That had to be a tough decision for her and other women who’ve been faced with knowing they had that mutant gene and how high their chances of developing cancer were. I admire their strength!

      • I agree, Fnord. It must have been a horrible decision. With no family history, and little access to health care, it’s a double sided coin for me. I won’t have to make that decision, but on the other hand, I have no idea what is waiting for me. I suppose that is true for all of us as no one can see into the future, but this kind of testing at least gives people the option of making decisions they wouldn’t have without the new technology.

        Count me among the ranks of the blissfully poor and ignorant.

      • Having been through a cancer journey – the months of chemo treatments are toxic stuff going through your veins – and the chemo itself can kill a person. It is no walk through the park – let me tell you.

        And the costs of those treatments – even with health insurance – went through our savings and even a few dips into the retirement account.

        But – faced with my options – what else were we going to do? And I consider myself one of the lucky ones that did have good health insurance – and the ability to find the extra money insurance did not cover.

        But if I had the chance beforehand to have some preventative procedure done to reduce my chances of being diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer – I would have probably done the same thing – after weighing all the pros and cons.

        I am just glad Angelina Jolie had the chance to be able to make an informed choice based on scientific facts….

        And I’m glad she had the finances to choose the option she really wanted….

        How many women (and men can get breast cancer also) could do the same just based on their finances?

        This is an example of a situation when I really support the right of every person to choose what is best for them.

  8. Some good news!

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported a continued decline in the federal budget deficit: “The CBO projects a $642 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2013, down more than $200 billion from its February estimate and the smallest annual shortfall since 2008. It is the lowest level of deficit spending to date under President Obama, who faced $1 trillion or more in annual deficits during his first term.”

    CBO drops 2013 deficit estimate to $642 billion
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/05/14/budget-deficit-cbo-estimate/2158945/

  9. The Kansas GOP and Governor Brownback are struggling to figure out what groups will be forced to pay for the Governor’s tax giveaway to billionaires and big business. Will it be Kansas homeowners who see their mortgage deduction wiped out? Will it be Kansas consumers who see their sales taxes go up? Will it be students who see their funding slashed to the bone? Will it be the working poor who are stripped of the Earned Income Tax Credit?

    It’s still unclear what group is going to lose out the most, but as the Hutch News points out, pitting vulnerable groups against each other has long been how Governor Brownback operates. And while we don’t know for sure what group will lose out, we do know who will win? The wealthiest Kansans who will continue to receive even more tax breaks under Gov. Brownback and the Kansas GOP.

    Kansas vs. Kansas
    Governor, lawmakers find success in pitting Kansans against one another
    http://www.hutchnews.com/Editorialblogs/edit-Kansas-vs-Kansas

  10. Is 65 too old to work? The Kansas GOP and Gov. Brownback think it is if you’re a Kansas Supreme Court Justice – that’s why they passed a bill out of committee today forcing judges to retire at age 65. This is just another attempt to bully a group who stood up to the governor’s power grabs.

    We wonder if Gov. Brownback and the Kansas GOP want to apply those same standards to US Senators like 77-year-old Pat Roberts, or you know, themselves?

    http://m.cjonline.com/legislature/2013-05-15/house-panel-endorses-major-judicial-overhaul

  11. I was just reminded of something on Rachel Maddow. The IRS Commissioner that was in office when this scrutiny of the Tea Party groups was going on – was a Bush appointee. He left in 2012.

    But…the new guy …..the Acting IRS Commissioner head rolled today for what happened under a Bush appointee’s watch?

    Why aren’t these Teapublicans calling this Bush appointee guy all these names and blaming him?

    Hmmmm…..I wonder…do these TeaBots even know why they are screeching and screaming – or do they just like to B-I-T-C-H ??