What happens when a Congressman doesn’t listen to the NRA?

           Senator Pat Toomey is beginning to see the answer to that question. Toomey a Republican from Pennsylvania helped author the Manchin/Toomey Gun Bill, which of course was shot down, against NRA wishes. Before this he had an A rating with the NRA. Who are the NRA to rate any of our Senators? They are a lobbying group.

The Virginia based National Association for Gun Rights is running a smear campaign against Toomey for that Bill. The Bill required background checks on all gun sales, internet, gun shows and the classifieds. Current law only requires background checks on sales conducted by Federally licensed dealers. They are trying to connect Toomey with President Obama. They are attemptimg to connect him to the manufactured IRS, Benghazi and the NSA scandal. All of which have been proved fruitless. But Toomey is a conservative Republican who is on tge other side of most issues with President Obama.

Toomey now sees what Democrats deal with during each election cycle. Each election cycle the NRA and NAGR go into full attack mode. Portraying anyone who disagrees with their lobbying stance as trying to rob people of their Constitutional rights. All these Senators were trying to do was create sensible gun laws that might help prevent another massacre like Sandy Hook. Lobbyist attack Democrats for going to the bathroom the wrong way. This is what they mean when they say corporate America, politicians owned by corporations and lobbyist groups.

Republicans now on the other side of these attacks, now aren’t so convinced that Super-Pacs are right. They are also questioning the Citizens United decision. They haven’t felt the full effect of lobbyists and corporations trying to get you out of office. Maybe now Campaign Finance Reform can get done. Maybe this will help break the gridlock and help Gun Reform and Immigration Reform get done. But then again any Republican that goes against the grain finds themselves on the outside looking in. The Republican party looks to regress any progress made in America, how else do you explain their support of the Supreme Court gutting the Civil Rights Act. Republicans are beginning to dislike the system they created, it is now hurting them.

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Austerity, the Republican destruction of our country.

      Austerity measures have been used for several years in Europe. The Austerity measures have crippled many of the economy’s. Greece is a shining example of the damage Austerity does. They needed to be bailed out by the rest of the European countries. There were protests because of the measures that were being taken and the effect it was having on the people.

The fact that Republicans do not see the example Europe set for us is disturbing. Republicans only wish to use Austerity on programs they don’t like. The Austerity measures they fight for are a blatant attack on the poor and middle class. They support cutting aid to the SNAP program but refuse to raise taxes anymore. The Bush Tax Cuts have cost us over $3 trillion, their support of Corporate Welfare cost us $200 billion in 2012 alone. Food Stamps cost us $80 billion a year and for every dollar spent on Food Assistance Programs returns $1.84 to the economy.

They want to cut safety net programs, yet found a 5.8% increase for the Pentagon, which isn’t even asking for it. They want to cut Food Stamps by 25%, yet find another 3% to help subsidize fossil fuel programs. While doing that they want to cut the alternative energy budget in half to $1 billion. These cuts are selective and aimed at businesses that do not contribute to Republican campaigns.

Austerity itself doesn’t work, but selective Austerity has less of a chance of working. The Sequester itself has been a drag on our economy and jobs. It seems as if Republicans are pulling for failure, anything to hurt the Democrats and President Obama. The fiscal and foreign policies of the last administration has done some irrepairable damage to our country. It is going to take many years to repair what can be fixed and a balanced spending cut , tax raising policies. Otherwise we will be stuck in the mud for many years.

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-Pa) takes the Food Stamp Challenge, living on $4.50 a day.

            On Wednesday afternoon Rep.Matt Cartwright had a $.57 box of macaroni and cheese for dinner, with some iceberge lettuce topped with oil and vinegar and 2 slices of wheat bread. This was part of his 1 day protest designed to highight cuts in the proposed House Farm Bill. The plan is to eliminate $20 billion out of the $80 billion Food Stamp budget over the next decade.

Cartwright also ate 2 other small meals that kept his food intake under $4.50 for the day. That is the daily average for food under the SNAP Program per person. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok) said that it is the most reform minded bill in decades. He said it would make needed SNAP cuts as well as eliminate $5 billion a year in subsidies paid to farmers, whether they grow crops or not. Why would a farm not growing crops get money from the Food Stamp Program?

The legislation would achieve some cuts by partially eliminating categorical eligibility. That automatically gives you food stamps if you sign up for other programs. People would still be eligible, but would have to apply. That is a good change. The House is debating 103 Amendments to the bill, including a Democrat proposal to eliminate the SNAP cuts. About three quarters of the 47 million recipients are families with children. There are 1.77 million recipients or 14% of the population in Pennsylvania

The Republican led House proposal would kick 2 million families off of the SNAP Program. That would have long term affects on the health of the family, but most importantly the children. Thr fact that Republicans do not understand that austerity doesn’t work is very perplexing. Europe was falling to pieces because of austerity measures. Cutting spending without increasing revenue doesn’t work. But in Republican fantsy land it doesn’t matter because they are making things harder on President Obama.

Republicans said they wanted dollar for dollar spending cuts and tax increases. They have gotten $4.00 in spending cuts for every $1.00 in tax increases. Lets also talk about $200 billion in corporate welfare in 2012 alone. That is 2 and 1/2 times the Food Stamp benefits and still about $40 billion more when you add in heat assistance. So corporations that don’t need money get it, but people struggling because of corporations like this crashing the economy get hit with cuts. I guess it only makes sense when you look at their campaign donations. But campaign finance reform is a battle for another day.

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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Republican party seems to find their way to the wrong side of social issues.

                  DOMA has been called a mistake and a bad piece of legislature by Bill Clinton, the president who signed it into law. The American public supports gay marriage, Democrats support it, people in the Republican party support it, but only 3 out of 277 Republican elected representaives support it. Why again does the conservative movement stick with antiquated ideas? Why do they refuse to acknowledge the people?

              The answer to these questions I believe are simple. Look at who and how many contributed to Mitt Romneys campaign. He raised alot of money from alot less people. The answer lies there. It is in the money, the contributors drive these ideals and provide the funds to keep them alive. Without the influx of billionaires money the Republican party would have to adapt and truly change their message. Until the money dries up nothing will change.

            To say people only get married to procreate is ridiculus. How many people get married and dont have children, are you going to revoke their right to marry. Allowing homosexuals to get married will not ruin the institution of marriage, I dont belive it can be ruined. If it could divorce would have finished it off. Please dont bring religion into this, it does not belong there. If you want religion in government, move to Iran and see how you like it there.

                We need to look at this like the civil rights movement. When we look back at segregation and the way African Americans were once treated it makes most of us sick. This is only 45 or 50 years ago. In 1967 the Supreme Court repealed a ban on Interacial Marriages. So there is a precedent set for the Supreme Court to get involved in cases like this.

               Hearing Hillary Clinton, President Obama and Joe Biden come out for gay marriage gives me hope. Many other Democrats also vocally support this. Everyone deserves to be treated equally, we are the United States. I really hope we can get past this bigotry and move forward to real issues. This shouldnt even be an issue.

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Republican party seems to find their way to the wrong side of social issues.

                  DOMA has been called a mistake and a bad piece of legislature by Bill Clinton, the president who signed it into law. The American public supports gay marriage, Democrats support it, people in the Republican party support it, but only 3 out of 277 Republican elected representaives support it. Why again does the conservative movement stick with antiquated ideas? Why do they refuse to acknowledge the people?

              The answer to these questions I believe are simple. Look at who and how many contributed to Mitt Romneys campaign. He raised alot of money from alot less people. The answer lies there. It is in the money, the contributors drive these ideals and provide the funds to keep them alive. Without the influx of billionaires money the Republican party would have to adapt and truly change their message. Until the money dries up nothing will change.

            To say people only get married to procreate is ridiculus. How many people get married and dont have children, are you going to revoke their right to marry. Allowing homosexuals to get married will not ruin the institution of marriage, I dont belive it can be ruined. If it could divorce would have finished it off. Please dont bring religion into this, it does not belong there. If you want religion in government, move to Iran and see how you like it there.

                We need to look at this like the civil rights movement. When we look back at segregation and the way African Americans were once treated it makes most of us sick. This is only 45 or 50 years ago. In 1967 the Supreme Court repealed a ban on Interacial Marriages. So there is a precedent set for the Supreme Court to get involved in cases like this.

               Hearing Hillary Clinton, President Obama and Joe Biden come out for gay marriage gives me hope. Many other Democrats also vocally support this. Everyone deserves to be treated equally, we are the United States. I really hope we can get past this bigotry and move forward to real issues. This shouldnt even be an issue.

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