Manufactured scandals, the new GOP.

         In the six years President Obama has been in office have been very eventful. Most of the high profile “events” turned out to be absolutely nothing. Darell Issa swore he had a smoking gun, the one that would impeach him. John Boehner has actually filed a lawsuit against the President because of his ” liberal” use of executive orders. Then a few days later said the President should act alone on immigration reform. These are a few examples of the insanity that D.C. had become.

       Lets cover Benghazi. Republicans shamelessly exploited the death of four Americans in an attempt to hurt Hillary Clinton and unseat President Obama. The Republican led House of Representatives led 8 investigations into the incident, forged emails and even made CNN look horrible with a first hand witness account that was a lie. Darrell Issa has been like a dog with a bone on this, relentlessly pursuing any possible misdeed. Even lying in an effort to trash the President. The eighth investigation proved what the first 7 said, the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton were not guilty of any wrong doing. So the fiscal watch dog Tea Party wasted millions of tax payer dollars on utter nonsense. All they really needed to do was look at who cut funding for embassy and overseas security. Thats right!! The Republicans.

         The IRS scandal. The IRS was accused of targeting Tea Party 401c tax exempt organizations. In the opinion of Republicans President Obama ordered the IRS to do the targeting. Turns out that after the Citizens United decision the IRS was targeting all groups. In fact the only ones that were denied tax exempt status were liberal ones. Another scandal DEBUNKED!!!!!! The VA scandal. The Obama administration spent about $60 billion more on the VA in order to accomadate Vets coming home. They were unable to do so and numbers were intentionally falsified to make it look as if they were meeting obligations. Again this had zero connection to the Obama administration other then his appointee. The outraged Republicans it turned out just shot down aid for Vets. Hypocrites i do say.

I personally do not agree with everything Democrats do, nor with President Obama. I always tell people to look at the Monsanto Protection Act r the super secret Trans Pacific Partnership. These are true scandals that are not recieving any coverage. But these arent scandals that would destroy President Obama, so they arent good enough. Although I do not agree with Democrats on everything, I disagree with Republucans on most things and the hateful Tea Party on everything. The Republican disdain for the average American is perplexing to me. I cant understand why normal people vote for them, it is not in their best interest.

Our country, i repeat, our country will never be the same or better again if we cannot get past this hyper-polarization. The hate and despicable actions of so many are directly ripping apart our political spectrum, as well as our morals. I am hopeful that we can move past this. Find our way to what we truly can be. To me, a Democratic society relies on many different forms of government to truly work. Our country is slipping from Democracy into an oligarchy. Lies and venom towards a sitting President is not the answer. But for some it seems to be all they have.

Representative Elijah Cummings calls out Representative Darrell Issa for dishonesty over IRS Scandal.

                 Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) threatened to release the full IRS transcripts if House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Ca) refuses to. Cummings said ” I want every syllable of those transcripts released. If he does not release them, I will. Period.” Issa’s response was that he thought releasing them would be reckless. Reckless to the Republican crusade to impeach President Obama?  Staying true to his word Cummings released them.

The transcripts appear to contradict what Issa said. There was zero evidence that the White House ordered the targeting of Tea Party groups, which Issa said was the case. The Huffington Post reports that Republican and Democrat staffers interviewed IRS official John Shafer on June 6 about the agency’s decision to target Tea Party groups applying for 501 (c)(4) tax exempt status. Shafer is a self described Conservative Republican.

Via the Huffington Post.

Throughout most of the interview, Shafer describes the mundane bureacratic challenges of dealing with incoming applications for non-profit status. He said his team the firsr Tea Party application because it appeared to be a high profile case and he wanted to be sure all high profile cases recieved similar attention. “What I am talking about here is that we end up with 4 applications coming into the group that are pretty similar and we assign them to 4 different agents, we don’t want 4 different determinations. It’s just not good business. It’s just not good customer service.”

When asked plainly “Do you have any reason to believe anyone in the White House was involved in ths decision to screen Tea Party cases?” Shafer replied ” I have no reason to believe that.” Asked if he ever communicated with then IRS Commisioner Douglas Shulman about the screening of Tea Party cases. Shafer replied “I have not.”

Interviewers also asked Shafer if he told his screeners to specifically pull team party cases. He replied “Again I was not asking them for those kind of cased. If I would have directed them to pull our Tea Party cases, little Susie’s Tea Party would have been pulked and it wasn’t.”

Rep. Issa and the Republican party are guilty of overeach in their quest to discredit President Obama. Issa was convinced he had the goods to dicredit the Obama administration, when he found out he didn’t, he hid the truth. This narrative is strikingly similar to the Benghazi “scandal”. Where a Republican doctored the emails before passing them on to the press. That’s a no-no. This is why in a previous post I focused on Rep. Issa’s criminal history. It is important because it showed ge was willing to do illegal things to get what he wants. It showed what he was capable of and my reason for publishing it prove true. This is proof of the Republican party’s utter disregard for truth to get their desired outcome.

Conservative tax exempt groups outspent liberal ones 34 to 1, maybe they should be investigated.

                Conservative non-profits that received tax exempt status since the beginning of 2010 and also filed election spending reports with the Federal Election Commission overwhelmed liberal groups in terms of money spent on politics, an analysis of IRS and FEC records shows. Of the 21 organizations that received rulings from the IRS after January 1,2010 and filed FEC reports in 2010 and 2012, 13 were conservative. They outspent Liberal groups 34 to 1, the Center for Responsive Politics analysis reports.

             The largest driver of the disparity was American Action Network, who spent $30.6 million in 2010 and 2012, also made up 94% of the conservative group total, according to the FEC. Even without American Action Network, conservative groups outspent liberal groups receiving tax exempt status in the same period nearly 4 to 1. It seems as if the IRS should be investigating Republican groups.

             The IRS had done little or nothing to check the rise of overtly political groups that claim a special tax exempt status in order to funnel secret money into election-related advertising. Then when they do something about it, they do it horribly wrong. They give the Republicans ammunition to attack President Obama and take the focus off of more important issues. They sent detailed questionnaires to several Tea Party organizations and other groups who did not complain, to determine if they are truly promoting social welfare.

                Should any group claiming 501(c)4 have its designation denied or revoked, tax experts said the consequences could be severe, including fines of 35% or more if the money they raised in secret. The groups may also have to make donors names public. Even loose talk about donor secrecy no longer being guaranteed could put a screaming halt to the extraordinary flow of money into these groups from deep-pocketed people and corporations that want to buy political ads without leaving fingerprints.

                 The tax code requires 501(c)4 groups to be operated exclusively for social welfare purposes, which does not include intervention in political campaigns. The IRS has allowed the groups to engage in political activity as long as it was not their primary purpose. But for many of these groups, it is hard to see what other purpose they could possibly have.

               Republicans outrage over the issue is because of the amount of campaign donations they recieve from groups like this. Hyper-partisanship has run amok in our elections, it is time for campaign finance reform. As well as time to overhaul the tax code and make 501(c)4 groups have zero political affiliation. The end result is when the IRS finally did their job, they did it wrong. But make no mistake, any social welfare group contributing to political campaigns should have their stairs revoked and pay fines and all the tax money they saved.

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Republicans deliberately misquote Benghazi emails to manufacture a smoking gun.

                     Last weeks leaks that misquoted the Benghazi emails came directly from Republicans. Republicans had seen copies if these emails 2 months ago and did nothing with them. Obvious to most was that the emails showed interagency haggling. Someone in the Republican party, really trying to cash in on the Benghazi tragedy, got the bright idea of leaking 2 isolated tidbits and mischaracterizing them in an effort to make the State Department, more importantly Hillary Clinton, look bad.

               But Republicans went a little to far, causing the White House, much to Republicans surprise , to release the entire email chain. It made it abundantly clear that the press had been duped and now reporters are letting the world know who was behind it. The Republican party has never been good at determining when enough was enough. When it became obvious that Benghazi wasn’t the Watergate they wanted, they desperately tried to invent something.

                On the IRS scandal, their problem is that Democrats are just as angry and are looking for answers. This has forced Republicans to dig deeper and look for more accusations in order to draw a contrast between them and Democrats. On the AP phone records, they have to dance around the fact that they not only approve of such subpoenas but voted down a bill to prevent them. The sane part of the Republican party, or the not so insane part, cannot seem to reel in the extremist parts of the party. Just listen to resident nut job Michele Bachman suggesting that its time to start impeachment precedings.

              CNN originally introduced the contradiction betweened what was revealed in the White House Benghazi email version versus what was reported in media outlets. Mother Jones noted that the Republican interim report included the correct version of the emails, signalling that more malice and less incompetence may have been at play with the alleged alterations. Simply put, Republicans did this on purpose, not by mistake.

          GOP version of Rhodes comment “We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.”
           The actual White House email “We need to resolve this in a way that respects all the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.” Quite a bit different.
            The GOP version “The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about the previous warnings provided by the agency (CIA) about Al Qeada’s presence and activities of Al Qaeda. ”
             The actual White House email “The penultimate point could very abuses by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency (CIA) warnings.” Another one quite different, apparently the original emails didn’t serve the Republican purpose.

              My concern is that the media us not reporting this. Chuck Todd took about 10 minutes yesterday to run President Obama over the coals, yet did not mention this once. My fear is that Republicans will stop at nothing to harm Democrats, President Obama, and Hillary Clinton no matter the cost. Republicans need to face the fact, the majority if people aren’t biting your brand of crazy. Despite shining it up, putting new names on it and having different people delivering, your message is the same bucket of hate. You have been left behind, instead of attacking our voting rights and gerrymandering, work with the people and make the 2 party system relevant again.

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How does the IRS scandal affect future elections?

               The IRS was accused of inapropriately flagging conservative groups seeking 501(c)4 tax exempt status. While none of these Conservative groups were denied their tax exempt status, at least one Liberal group was denied. Many of these groups seeking tax exempt status have flouted tax code laws and are spending money for politics.

             The 501(c)4 tax exempt status is for groups that promote social welfare, not for groups involved in elections. Many Republican, conservative and Tea Party groups participated in adding $300 million in dark money to the 2012 election. These groups should be investigated and tax exempt status removed. Also a heavy financial penalty should be levied.

               But the true question is, does this remove the teeth from the IRS? Are they now going to be willing to investigate and put these groups who are illegally receiving tax exempt status through the thorough questionnaire. Or does this scandal make them afraid to do their jobs. If it does, how does that affect our next election? Will these deep pocketed donors and corporations have free reign to try to buy and election?

             The Citizens United decision lead to this corporate government we now have. Instead of Republicans compromising and working with Democrats, they just Filibuster everything to avoid voting. This is governing by avoidance and it is harmful to our country. Corporations should not be able to secretly donate to any campaign, that is a conflict of interest for that elected official. But money seems to rule our world.

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How one word can cause major political issues.

             In 1959, under the Dwight Eisenhower administration, the meaning of Section 501(c)4 of the Internal Revenue Code was changed dramatically. SECTION 501(c)4, Civil Leagues or Organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of Social Welfare. The IRS decided the word exclusively could, in effect, be read as primarily.

            According to Laurence O’Donnell for 54 years the IRS has gotten away with changing the word exclusively to primarily. The IRS took a hard, clear word exclusively and turned it into a soft word primarily and it left it to the IRS agents to determine if your organization was primarily concerned with promoting Social Welfare.

                    According to Ezra Klein the IRS does need some kind of test that helps them weed out political organizations attempting to register as tax exempt 501(c)4 Social Welfare groups. But the test has to be studiously and unquestionably neutral.

                Despite the outrage over the IRS targeting Tea Party groups, they do need to crack down on political groups masquerading as Social Welfare groups. Many non-profit groups who claim tax exempt status either flout tax laws or flirt with the murky line between electioneering and issue advocacy,  all while using their tax exempt status to conceal their donors. The problem isn’t that the IRS flagged non-profit groups for additional review. The problem is that they did so poorly, instead of targeting one group, the IRS should be scrutinizing all groups, or at least, the most outlandish offenders.

                  After the Citizens United decision in 2010, donors flocked to the 501(c)4 as a vehichle to pump cash into elections without disclosing the source of their contributions. Tie number of groups applying for Social Welfare status has doubled since the decision. ProPublica has examined 72 501(c)4 applications from groups, that claimed to have no plans to spend money on elections. They compared those documents against tax returns. Nearly half the groups plans had changed.

              In last years election 501(c)4 groups spent more than $300 million in dark money. All because the determination of one word this problem exists. If the wording remained as it was these political groups would not be able to claim Social Welfare status and we wouldn’t have this issue. For Campaign Finance Watchdogs, the fear is that the backlash will spook the IRS out of pursuing major players who are using the loophole to influence elections.

             President Obama said he would find put what happened and correct it. Fix the interpretation of the law and it us done. No political organization should receive tax exempt status as Social Welfare groups, they are only their to further their own agendas. It doesn’t matter if they are Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal or Tea Party groups. Any found breaking the the law and participating in any political issue should be fined and lose their tax exempt status. Republicans abuse this law and have pumped at least 3 times the amount of money through these groups then Democrats. Either way both are wrong and should be prosecuted. Make them pay taxes for all the years they claimed tax exempt status and fine them heavily. You break a law you get punished, the amount of money you have shouldn’t matter.

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