« Likeability and motives for reading | Main | Othello's Occupation »

May 29, 2013

Comments

Ugh, Some extremely partisan replies:

(i) When the inquiries are from extremists who have taken over the opposition party this is wholly justified, since the inquiry is, in fact, a partisan witch hunt. Take the HUAC, please.
(ii) Hahahahahahahaha...I give you Ollie North. Did he look better in his jut jawed defense of contemptuously breaking the law? Well, yes, to his partisan supporters. But then, them's politics. To me, he showed criminal contempt.
(iii)Oh, please. Politics dictates this. You have something against politics? Perhaps those http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/us-news-blog/2013/may/22/lois-lerner-irs-fifth-amendment-congress>former imperial overlords have a deeper understanding of this.
(iv) Jayzus 'effing you know what. Obama can't get a dogcatcher confirmed. Where have you been since January, 2009?

Let the partisan warfare begin. Thanks.

bobbyp - thanks, although I have no idea which way you're going there.

iv: The nominee would have been filibustered under the pre-Civil War rules of caning via filibuster because he or she would have presumed to lead the IRS to do its job, which is to say, govern, which would include determining if self-proclaimed "social welfare" entities were a loose affiliation of f*cking lying motherf*ckers, or not.

v. The Republican Party is not an American entity. It will be dealt with as the enemy al Qaeda has and the Symbionese Liberation Army was, eventually, probably too late, by killing as many of their operatives as possible as ruthlessly as possible.

bobbyp - thanks, although I have no idea which way you're going there.

Please see that damned Countme-in diatribe at 11:17 PM on or about May 29 above which, by the way, the sentiment contained therein I totally agree with. To give credence with the despicable scum who are trying to fluff this up as a "scandal" is to lend the
'effing enemy credence. As they say, "Whose side are you on?"

Best Regards.

Republican President Barack Obama, the hopeless romantic, just nominated a Republican former Deputy Attorney General under the Bush Administration to head up the FBI.

He can forget it, because there was nothing the Confederacy hated more than giving a black man water during cotton harvesting season.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum

Were Lincoln President alive today and President, we'd be two years into Civil War with the current Confederacy.

But he was a Democrat, otherwise known as a member of the Democratic Party, for those who mispronounciate funny.

The TIGTA report does not confirm that it was not a partisan effort. It says that they had not identified a partisan effort, to this date. In testimony it was pretty clear that they the IG, reasonably enough, didn't really see that assessment as part of the audit.

I am not sure what hearings you watched, but at the one I watched Miller was arrogant, duplicitous, and obviously guilty of, at a minimum,lying purposefully. I don't know your personal relationship, but I can certainly believe the guy I saw would only be upset that Congress thought they had a say in how his IRS is run.

It ain't Watergate yet, but it is a scandal. Using the apparatus of government agencies to badger and weaken your political opposition is a scandal.

Lets not even start on intimidating the free press. Which, of course, has been pretty much ignored here. I suspect because it gets harder to defend the President with each revelation of his maniacal desire for more power. ( And there is your Nixon comparison.)

If I get BobbyP and other's position, the Repubs are so unhinged, they can't be trusted to investigate the Dems fairly. Taking this to its logical conclusion, we should let the Dems investigate themselves in-house or simply accept the current party line and, you know, *move on*. Which is reasonable, because the Dems have a long history of deferring to the Repubs when roles are reversed. A long history.

What scandal?


There's nothing wrong with checkingout the teaparty groups, which are political and should not be exempt from paying taxes. IF there was a scandal it would be if the IRS had been directed from the top where Obama would know about it to take actions which were illegal ( as happened in the Nixon administration) or actually put organizations through extensive audit hassles (as did the Bush administration) or ignored leftwing groups while concentrating on rightwing ones.Is there any evidence that the IRS office that was lookikng at teaparty groups was ignoring groups that were political but not Koch-funded rightwing exstremists?


Of coourse the Repubs can't be trusted to take part in the investigation. Look at their track record during this administration! It's been one false accusation after another for years. Obviously Congressional Rebubs have to be included, but we should be honest about the situation. People with well established track rtecords of hyperpartisan dishoestly will continue to be hyper partisan and dishonest.

Now the righwing borg is doing what they do--all out hate and fear mongering. Noonan who was right next to Reagan during Iran/contra was sniffing distastefully on the Sunday "news" shows about how Obama's scandal is the Worst Thing Ever. The National Review going from this psuedo scandal to the claim that Obama cheated in the election. The NRC is using the issue to smear Democrats in Congressional races that had nothing to do with the situation at all.

ANd the thirty percenters and their enablers will jump right in playing let's pretend. They have politicized everything but take no responsibility.

Well, some GOPsters do not want a special prosecutor because they claim that it would necessarily become a whitewash (since (s)he would be named by the JD ergo a Dem lackey).
Some synics say they fear more that a specprosec could also look at the 'nonpolitical' social welfare groups that got their tax exempt status despite obviously not being qualified and lying about it (that includes both Rove's PAC and the equivalent on the Obama side btw).
As I said in a comment to a different post, it's pure 'de repetundis pecuniis', i.e. the outcome is predetermined by the partisan side doing the inspection and the result will under no circumstances get accepted by the (also partisan) side that is not.

And you will not find many here that defend Obama on the press thing. As for Watergate, anything Obama or his people do is the worst scandal in the history of the world (at least according to some congresscritters). Tricky Dick is laughing his unclean spirit out over this.

Re: Marty's "badger and weaken your political opposition" - if the groups being "badgered" were in fact "political opposition" and not primarily "social welfare" organizations, then they deserved the extra scrutiny.

Re: McKinney's "accept the current party line and, you know, *move on*", refresh my memory about all those partisan hearings the Dem.-controlled House started in January 2007 on Bush/Cheney war crimes and torture, or Obama's DOJ investigating same in January 2009. Oh, that's right, we were supposed to look forward, not backward.

Mind you, I'm not in favor of bureaucratic inefficiency or incompetence, and, if anything, there should be more Congressional oversight and when warranted *sober* investigations of questionable activities.

But when you have multiple right-wing figures describing this as the worst government malfeasance since Watergate, it's clear that sobriety has gone out the window (down the drain?).

"Lets not even start on intimidating the free press."

Well, Ill say these in defense- first, it was done legally, not via an extra-constitutional claim to do anything the President wants as CIC. Second, there is a line somewhere where reporters ferreting out and publishing national security issues is a bad thing. Discussing that balancing point is *exactly* what the GOP does not want to do now, because 1)their actual position has been more anti-civil-liberties and 2)debating the details turns this from a finger-pointing exercise to a genuine debate about where that line should be. And maybe this (investigate the leak, charge the leaker, don't charge the press) is about right.
I mean, in all seriousness, one of the biggest complaints from the press now is that sources are less willing to break the law and leak classified information to them. Which was *already against the law*. Note that we can have a conversation about whistleblower protection, but this isn't that conversation since this wasn't a case of whistleblowing...

So yes Marty, let's not even start actually having those discussions. Some general gesticulating and invocations of "Nixon! Nixon!" are about as far as this conversation can go without getting awkward, right?

"It ain't Watergate yet, but it is a scandal. Using the apparatus of government agencies to badger and weaken your political opposition is a scandal."

Scandal, to me, implies agency. For example, when some soliders in Iraq went nuts and killed a bunch of civilians, it was not a 'scandal of the Bush Administration', bc the Bush Administration didn't plan, direct, execute, suggest, hint at wanting, etc those events. It happened on Bush's watch and could reasonably raise questions about oversight etc, but it just wasn't a scandal for the Administration.
So far, afaict nothing indicates this goes anywhere near the WH.

If anything, the larger scandal here is that 'charities' which aren't supposed to be primarily poltical entities are often exactly that. On both sides.

"Taking this to its logical conclusion, we should let the Dems investigate themselves in-house or simply accept the current party line and, you know, *move on*."

Seems like projection to me. The major special investigations of my life have all been by Republicans- Ken Starr, Patrick Fitzgerald, Lawrence Walsh. Because only a member of the GOP can be trusted not to turn an investigation of a fellow-GOPer into a partisan witch hunt, and only a fellow-GOPer can be trusted to get to the truth of allegations against a Dem. (At least, in David Sentelle's eyes- note that even GOPer Robert Fiske was not apparently a willing enough soldier in the Whitewater matter for Sentelle's purposes).
Besides, Id take bobbyp's point to be "unhinged Republicans are unhinged", not "all Republicans are unhinged". At least, some Republicans who are House Committee Chairs are unhinged, and pretending that they're reasonable people is grounds for not being taken seriously IMO.
Is is seriously the case that the only two alternatives you see are 1)never investigate the executive for anything and 2)launch special investigations every time the most unhinged member of the other party holds a hearing about some manufactured scandal? If so, can we at least wait until there's an alleged scandal that involves the WH in some manner other than Nooner speculating about 'culture of corruption'?

James Goodale, the lawyer who defended the NYT in the Pentagon Papers case, says Obama might be worse than Nixon on the issue of press freedom. He does go on to say Nixon was worse overall, because Nixon was out to destroy his political enemies. Here's a link to an interview--

link

ah, the usual social Marxist sodomites defending their chocolate messiah regardless of how egregious his deprivations of the letter and intent of the Constitution; a document that they despise, of course.

I never realized how many ways one could expose one's self in a single sentence. (I'm assuming MW's post won't get deleted--if it is, nevermind.)

DJ- Goodale's article looks like it has several problems to me.
1)Obama is worse because he's pursuing Assange, which in Goodale's opinion is just like pursuing the NYTimes. And Obama is worse because 'he might win'- but Goodale doesn't consider that he might win because the wikileaks model is incompatible with protecting national security-related information. I am not a kill-wikileaks kind of person, but pretending that it doesn't pose serious questions that need serious answers is pointless IMO.
2)He argues that anything short of an existential crisis can't be used to protect information- The claim is that Assange can’t be punished if, in fact, there’s no clear and present danger to the country. If you look at the stuff that Assange published I would argue there’s no clear and present danger to the country. It’s been three years, where is the danger? You’re still here and I’m still here.
This is Clarence-Thomas-level sophistry IMO, preserving the category of' protecting national security' but defining it down to nonexistence in regards to leaks. We can only prosecute if we aren't 'here' because the leak was so damaging?
3)Goodale also weirdly conflates firing employees who leak and the government pursuing criminal charges against people who leak classified matieral. Running those two things together is nonsensical and appears to only serve the purpose of suggesting Assange shouldn't be pursued because he wasn't a US government employee.
4)He accuses Obama of 'trying to intimidate those who leak'. Whistleblower protection is important, and worth discussing. As are media shield laws, to more clearly define what's protected and what isn't. But trying to stop people from leaking classified information is part of the executive's job IMO. Intimidating whistleblowers is bad. Intimidating guys who leak bc they have personal or political (or financial etc) agendas is *good*. Differentiating is hard, but IMO that's no reason to just criticize leak-prevention efforts.
5)And he also bizarrely claims that when the president speaks to you, he’s leaking. Have you ever thought about that? Every piece of information in Washington, particularly the information which he has his hands on, is classified… I don't even know what to do with that, other than note it's verging on Woodward territory.

Having said that, I hope the discussion doesn't turn into another Wikileaks good-wikileaks bad thing. That's been done elsewhere. But since Goodale's entire thesis of Obama being worse than Nixon on press freedom seems to rest on wikileaks being the same as the NYTimes, I couldn't help but touch on it.

nominated a Republican former Deputy Attorney General under the Bush Administration to head up the FBI.

Comey distinguished himself for honorable behavior in the Bush Adminstration:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/05/on_comey.php?ref=fpblg

I've yet to see a reasonable explanation, (As opposed to a simple denial.) of how one can target groups with "Tea party" in their name, but not "Progressive" in their name, and imagine you're not engaged in something partisan.

I can't see why Assange should be prosecuted at all (for wikileaks, that is--there's the rape charge, but I don't want to get into that either.) I think wikileaks uncovered stories that rival in importance anything that any leaker has ever exposed--this for instance--

Guardian story on torture in Iraq

On the Obama comment, I took that to be a dramatic way of saying that Washington is full of leakers, it happens all the time, usually with some sort of political motive behind it, and the only ones who seem to get prosecuted are the ones who embarrass the government rather than the ones who make it look good.

On Comey, Greenwald says his record is mixed, but I don't want to summarize.

link

I've yet to see a reasonable explanation, (As opposed to a simple denial.) of how one can target groups with "Tea party" in their name, but not "Progressive" in their name, and imagine you're not engaged in something partisan.

do you have the statistics as to how many of each so-named group applied during the relevant period, and of those, what percentage were targeted, and how many were denied?

but, a hypothetical...

if:
1. a lot of "Tea Party" or "Patriot" groups suddenly applied, and
2. it looked like some of them, especially at the beginning of the period in question, were acting counter to the regulations*, then
3. someone with an eye towards finding fraud might decide that "Tea Party" was a good signal that there might be something funny going on with that group.

* and remember, the regulations here are a little fuzzy, and as of Citizens United, they got even fuzzier.

go ahead, pretend it's impossible.

Brett- Im not saying that's defensible, it's pretty bad on its face. Best I can think of is that there was a lot more TP activity in that timeframe, and they were trying to cull out as many possibly-political 'charities' as possible. 'Progressive' might not be nearly as good of a keyword for naked political activity anyway eg on the first google page for "progressive charity" I see "Progressive Animal Welfare Society" and "Association for Progressive Communications", which could easily be legit charities.
That doesn't mean that there couldn't be a "9/12 Tea Party Patriots Feeding The Homeless" charity, or excuse what was obviously a very bad decision on the part of someone.

On the third hand, these guys had a basically impossible job: with a small staff, determine which groups have politics as their 'primary activity' and which don't, *without* even the appearance of political bias and without undue burden on those organizations. That they ^#&$ed up seems inevitable, the only remarkable thing is that they did so in such a spectacularly foolish manner.

"I can't see why Assange should be prosecuted at all"

I think there's a substantial difference between releases of information that support a specific news story and a document dump. Just as Id see a difference between a journalist using info from a classified source to describe a cover-up or controversy etc about some part of the F-22 program and a 'journalist' publishing a document dump of the entire classified technical specs of that fighter.
Saying 'send us government secrets and we will publish them for all to see' is IMO not the same activity as journalism. Unfortunately, I can see why people defend it- the only line between the two is formed by judgment on a case-by-case basis. And therefore that line is mutable depending on the individual, moment in history, mood of the times, etc. Id much rather a hard line, but I just dont see one that 1)protects journalists and 2)protects classified information.
Im entirely open to trying to find one. Im even open to discussing the virtues of tossing out the latter, to some extent (ie if the cure is worse than the disease). But I can't accept the assertion that wikileaks=journalism on its face.

Should the government be able to keep some information secret? And if so, what mechanisms should it have for doing so? Esp while maintaining protection for whistleblowers?

"On the Obama comment, I took that to be a dramatic way of saying that Washington is full of leakers, it happens all the time, usually with some sort of political motive behind it, and the only ones who seem to get prosecuted are the ones who embarrass the government rather than the ones who make it look good. "

Well, in the Rosen case, from what I know so far the government seems to be going after someone who compromised national security- as opposed to going after people who release embarrassing info. And I agree with the sentiment that whistleblowers need protection, but not with the sentiment that all leakers pursued by the government are whistleblowers.

Using the apparatus of government agencies to badger and weaken your political opposition is a scandal.

and in this case, it's also a hypothetical.

I will try and weigh in on some of the comments tonight.

"mighty whitey" is either blackhawk or from blackhawk's neck of the backwoods.

I've yet to see a reasonable explanation, (As opposed to a simple denial.) of how one can target groups with "Tea party" in their name, but not "Progressive" in their name, and imagine you're not engaged in something partisan.

A reasonable explanation:

Post Citizens' United, lots of new groups were applying for tax-exempt status. The IRS had to sort it out.

A highly likely marker for groups applying for "social welfare" status, but which were actually intending to engage in political activity not allowed under 501(c)(4), would be the presence of "tea party" or "patriot" in the group's name.

"Progressive" might have been an equally likely marker. It's unclear that there were many groups with "progressive" in the name applying for the tax-exempt status.

Don't know if that's what happened or not. It is, however, reasonable.

My druthers in all of this would be to fire or, minimally, re-assign the folks who used an OBVIOUSLY PARTISAN filter to select groups for review, regardless of their personal intent, simply on the basis of making a freaking mess of their jobs.

I'd also like the bread crumb trail to be followed as high as it goes.

And, no further.

What I'd really, really, really like is for anyone who funds political speech to have to do so openly. I don't really care what the tax status of your organization is, if you're engaged in the so-called "marketplace of ideas", then you need to step up and let us know who you are.

And yes, I recognize that that will make lots of folks uncomfortable, including folks whose agendas I support.

I might actually be one of those folks, every now and then.

So be it.

It is utterly bewildering to me why this is even being considered a scandal, aside from the amount of noise being made by GOP hacks and the president's unfortunate tendency to throw his own people under the bus out of an abundance of caution.

Let's put this in perspective: in reviewing applications for a tax-exempt status which prohibits a group from engaging in partisan political activity, some people at the IRS flagged for closer scrutiny any application that included the name of a partisan political movement whose entire raison d'etre is that they don't like being taxed.

Scandal? I call that exercising a bare minimum requirement of common sense. For crying out loud, there are Republicans running as "Tea Party" candidates, there is a "Tea Party" caucus in Congress composed exclusively of Republicans, and yet somehow it's beyond the pale to more closely scrutinize whether or not a group with "Tea Party" in the name is actually a partisan political organization?

This entire "scandal" is ridiculous on its face.

"Let's put this in perspective: in reviewing applications for a tax-exempt status which prohibits a group from engaging in partisan political activity, some people at the IRS flagged for closer scrutiny any application that included the name of" partisan political movements of one persuasion, but not the opposite. Thereby exhibiting partisan bias.

If you name your organization after the acts of political revolutionaries and claim that your organization is non-political, then cite Ayn Rand as an influence and claim that your organization is exclusively concerned with furthering goals of social welfare, you are up to no good, that's for damn sure.

Yes, let's put it in perspective. The Bush administration targetted liveral churches and put them through extensive adudits, while protecting Karl Rove's network of churches that were a major component of the Republican GOTV effort.

Remember all the Democratic screaming about that, the scandal in the ews for weks, the Congressional hearings, the demands for a special prosecutor, the Democrats on Sunday shows innsisting that it was th egreatest scandal in living memory...

Meanwhile this situation consists of ...what? Some staffers out in Cincinnati may have been looking harder at rightwing political groups than others, their behavior was corrected, and some heads rolled.

So what scandal?

There's partisan bias aplenty, but it is as usual the hyper partisan bias of Republican politicians and their enablers.

partisan political movements of one persuasion, but not the opposite. Thereby exhibiting partisan bias.

No, no, no. You're missing the point. The point is that the groups explicitly used, in their name, the name of a partisan political movement that is dedicated to not having to pay taxes. And they were applying for a tax-exempt status that requires them to not engage in partisan political activities. Do you not see why this wouldn't be a giant flashing red flag to anyone reviewing those applications who was actually doing their job? In a way that is simply not true of, say, Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS?

Any additional scrutiny on these groups was absolutely warranted. It would've been negligence not to look more closely at whether or not they were really on the level, or if they were just looking to avoid paying taxes while engaging in political activity as their very name suggests.

and those of us who dislike the Republican President Obama, mighty whitey's comment just fill me with untold laughter and amazement at these "kind" who live in their la la land. i can't stand Obama. i do enjoy watching the Right go full out Nixon in their hate for Obama. talk about insanity.

also it is fun the watch the Republicans here claim this is nothing but a Democratic President going after Republicans, via the IRS. and the indignation of the Rightwingers at such a prospect of being investigated for being "partisan". having the obvious bigotry of low expectations of the name Tea Party attached to your "group" with that Title being investigated by the IRS. Frankly, i liked to hear of ONE, just one Tea Party Group, that isn't a front for the Koch Bros, Karl Rove, and the rest of the usual cast of suspects that call themselves Rightwingers.

please don't waste your breath trying to sound noble and injured at the prospect of such obvious partisan hackery. i'd expect teh IRS to investigate any and all groups who want "tax benefits" free goodies. it is just so plain to see what is going on with the Rightwingers in Congress and their cohorts in Money fueled groups.

do you really have to take these people's word's and expect them to be telling the truth. lol if you do, then, i have some wetlands in West Texas for sale.

or as the famous St. Reagan said to Gorbachev, "Trust but Verify."

lol. and of course Both sides do it!!!

I should weigh in seriously, but - aside from the fact I have nothing new to say - I got distracted by the concept of "Marxist sodomites."

Is the implication that all Marxists are sodomites? Or that all sodomites are Marxists? Neither claim seems plausible, though we could at least attempt empirical investigation.

Or is there a particular subset of both groups who are both Marxists AND sodomites? If so, are these separate and distinct categories - one intellectual/political, the other pertaining to sexual behavior - and, if so, is the overlap merely coincidental?

Or - and here where my mind troubles me - should we be imagining scenarios in which one performs sodomy in a Marxist manner, or, conversely, deploys Marxist analysis in a sodomitical style? (The exact details of these alternatives are left as an exercise for the reader.)

This is the kind of question that comes up when one is easily distracted . . .

. . . Squirrel! Squirrel!

There seems to be a strong tendency here to ignore elements of the, yes, scandal that don't fit the "Nothing to see here, move on." narrative.

For instance, the almost wistful hope that scads of mistreated liberal organizations are just lurking in the background, inexplicably not disclosed yet. Despite the IRS already having admitted they inappropriately targeted conservative organizations.

The asking of questions, under penalty of perjury, that the IRS is simply not entitled to the answers to. Like what you're praying about. Whether any of your officers have political ambitions. Print out all of your members' facebook posts.

Demands for donor lists. Donors get audited, too.

Evidence that the activity wasn't just the idea of some low level drones.

You're just eliding any details that make it look bad, and then declaring it doesn't look bad.

For instance, the almost wistful hope that scads of mistreated liberal organizations are just lurking in the background, inexplicably not disclosed yet.

Does anyone have an actual breakdown on how many groups with obvious liberal or progressive language in their name or mission statement applied for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(4)?

If 100 groups with "tea party" in the name applied, and 100 groups with "progressive" in the name applied, and only tea party groups were singled out, that's one scenario.

If 100 groups with "tea party" in the name applied, and 1 or 5 or 0 with "progressive" in the name applied, that's a different scenario.

And, last but not least, I will make the observation that this kind of horseshit is pretty much exactly what you can expect when you try to fashion a legal code around the fiction that lobbying members of Congress and advocating explicitly partisan positions on matters of public interest are any kind of "social welfare".

They're not. They're acts of political speech.

If you want to engage in political speech, you should give up the veil of anonymity. In particular, if you want to contribute money to fund political speech, you should definitely give up the veil of anonymity.

We should figure out whose bright idea it was to use "tea party" and "patriot" as the red flags to identify groups to audit, and find something else for them to do, because their actions and decisions were, at a minimum, harmfully inappropriate.

If it can be demonstrated that there was partisan intent, they should be liable for whatever criminal or civil penalties apply.

Whatever investigation is conducted should go as high as the facts lead.

But all of this is a freaking side-show.

We're trying to trim away the rotten part of the apple, and then everybody screams when their little bit gets carved away.

The whole apple is rotten.

Here's a very simple solution to crap like this.

If you engage in political speech, including funding political speech (since, as we know, money is speech) then you sign your name to it. You disclose who you are, and what you did, including how much you spent.

If you want to engage in political speech in the name of "social welfare", it's still political freaking speech. No anonymity, no tax exemption, no special treatment.

If you want to engage in social welfare, buy somebody lunch. And for "somebody", read "not a Congressperson".

Actually, Brett, you are ignoring the point. The point is that the Bush Adminitsrtion engaged in using the IRS to audit on a differential basis with no outrage from the Republicans who now claim to be nonparitsanly concerned, while the problem of using key words to find rightwinig political groups that don't merit tax exemption has been solved, repsonsiblity has been taken and people have lost their jobs by the current Democratic administration. In other words the Democratic administration, unlike the Republican one, TOOK RESPONSIBLITY AND ACTION SO THST THE PROBLEM IS GONE.

Yet the screaming mimis on the right scream on, because that's all they have, except for Ayn Rand and religous faaticism.

You're just eliding any details that make it look bad, and then declaring it doesn't look bad.

and you're inventing details to make it look bad while pretending innocent explanations are impossible because of hand waving.

A Marxist sodomite is a right-wing Tea Party member, ahem, who looks you in the eyes and claims all government subsidy is theft and then reaches around the back way to claim his, the minx.

Evidence that the activity wasn't just the idea of some low level drones.

And that is? Because let's face it, without that this just isn't an Obama Administration scandal, it's a bureaucratic cock-up. Im perfectly willing to admit 'bureaucratic cock-up' with the caveats above that this was more likely a bad response to a bad problem than some sort of witch hunt.

Now, a "chocolate messiah" is what poor Yorick Yorickson sees in the mirror after his wife tells him, "I see you put your foot in it again on FOX, sh*thead!"

As an aside, I notice Yorick referenced the animal kingdom as a model for his wife staying home to launder his shorts and keep her shotgun cleaned and oiled, which, I don't know, seems like a nod to Godless evolution, but the science escapes me.

But it could be that "Chocolate Messiah" was originally the runner-up contender
for the name of a best-selling Swedish candy bar.

The winning entry was "Plop".

You can look it up.

the followers of the Chocolate Messiah call him "Choco".

err, umm... choco?

You're just eliding any details that make it look bad, and then declaring it doesn't look bad.

Oh, it does look bad. Just not in the way or to the degree you seem to think, Brett. See Carleton Wu | May 31, 2013 at 11:23 AM for something concise (or read through the whole damned thread again, not that I think either will matter).

Look, I don't think for a second this was orchestrated from the White House. The payoff was way too small to take the blow if it were traced back to them. Rather, I think that this is one of those "Will nobody rid me of this turbulent priest?" cases, where the guy on the top expresses his less than obsessive opposition to the idea, (Publicly joking about abusive audits, for instance.) and the underlings leap to please him, because almost all of them are of his ideological persuasion to begin with.

That, IMO, is the real scandal here: That the institutional culture at the IRS is open to doing things like this. The organization is sufficiently dominated by the left, and insufficiently scrupulous about what they're doing, that it never struck them that doing this was unseemly.

So let me get this straight: when you said Evidence that the activity wasn't just the idea of some low level drones, you meant "the activity was the idea of some low level drones" (nb this is the opposite thing btw) and also "that activity has some nebulous by-definition-untraceable connection with Obama" and added "the IRS is dominated by liberals just like every other organization that disagrees with conservatives, eg Science".

"because almost all of them are of his ideological persuasion to begin with."

Could you break down the party registrations and voting records of the 90,000 or so IRS employees?

We'll skip the part-time seasonal workers, since they only skew socialist on a part-time basis.

You might explain how you are privy to this information as well, since I thought one's voting habits were private affairs in those secretive little voting booths.

Or is your statistical methodology something along the lines of gaydar?

I could help you find the campaign contributions skew of IRS employees if you like, but I don't feel like it because it gives new meaning to the words "almost all".

By almost all, do you mean 90%?

Did George Bush have a handle on, or maybe a direct line, to the very few (more than a dozen? two dozen of the 90,000?) IRS employees who shared his ideological persuasion when his administration investigated churches, individuals, and liberal groups who were against the War in IRAQ, not to mention all things Republican?

Seems like a hell of a workload for so few employees. I wonder if they dragooned some of the remaining liberal "most" to help them with that intimidation and harassment, which, if so, looks like cannibalism to me.

IRS employees must have skewed wildly Left from 1968 through 1974 too, given it was hippie-time, which must have made it doubly difficult for Richard Nixon to order so many IRS audits of his liberal and Jewish enemies in the media, the universities, and well, just about any bed the man looked under.

Typical liberal (not all ... ALMOST ALL) IRS employee of the time: "I hate Richard Nixon and all conservatives, but baby, I loves me an audit!"

Public Employee Unions always skew wildly Left because they sleep with Obama?

Maybe not:

From a recent New Yorker article, a magazine that almost always skew Left, but who manages to interview Republican politicians and their lapdogs in the right-wing public employee unions:

"Organized labor, though, has not always been pro-immigration, and there are union locals that oppose the current reform, notably two public-employee unions that together represent twenty thousand workers in the Department of Homeland Security. Chris Crane, the president of one, has loudly campaigned against the Senate bill and against the Administration’s immigration policy, to the point of suing his boss, Janet Napolitano, in federal court for allegedly violating immigration law. He was recently joined by Kenneth Palinkas, the head of the other union, who says that national security will be compromised, as his members, who handle immigration paperwork, face “an insurmountable bureaucracy.” Crane told the Senate Judiciary Committee, regarding the bill, “Never before have I seen such contempt for law-enforcement officers.” He works closely with Jeff Sessions and other legislators. Watching conservative Republicans tout the views of union bosses—bosses of public-employee unions, no less—has a certain piquancy. But Crane, a telegenic former marine, may be a key player in the reform opponents’ endgame. He has already bullied Marco Rubio, of Florida, the leading figure among the Republican drafters of the bill, into embarrassing protestations of respect. Rubio plans to increase the border-security features of the legislation when it comes before the full Senate."

After a sandwich, I'm going to make up a bunch of sh#t about the ideological skew, voting habits, and party registrations of the more than several millions of civilian and uniformed members of the Department of Defense, the several branches of the Armed Forces, and the edifice of civilian defense contractors and I'll bet you another sandwich my "almost all" is closer to the mark than your "almost all."

In closing, (always be closing, and I wish I would already) let me say that a former neighbor of mine (nice guy) was a managerial class employee with the IRS and he was a gun-loving Republican.

But he may have been the only one.

The organization is sufficiently dominated by the left

So, we have some kind of left-wing Gramscian hegemonic dynamic going on at the IRS?

This is a load of crap.

Demonstrate otherwise if you can and care to.

Otherwise, it will be filed under load o' crap.

Yet another load of crap:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/05/story-you-knew-was-bullshit-yeah-it-was-bullshit

If you read Drum's commentary, you'll find that he uses the term "nearly all", which I'll wager is nearer to the mark than "almost all".

I think the IRS should prioritize scrutiny and tax audits according to who in the country is most full of lying bullsh*t, and then cross-reference that list with the one keep of the Republican power elite in media and government and, in the interest of bureaucratic efficiency, make one list for the auditors to sharpen their chops.

Why have two identical lists?

The only question remaining, then, will be to audit these people before they are killed and eaten, or afterwards.

Well, not ALL of them, but most of them.

Say, 35%, which would send a message to the other 65%.

Brett- your theory is also overdetermined. If the IRS is full of liberal 5th-columnists, why did they need an Invisible Secret Nod from Obama to begin to question right-wing organizations? Shouldn't they have been eager to do this regardless of the Secret Nod? Why haven't they been doing this for decades?

More on the morsel of right-wing scat referenced by Drum:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/05/the-fake-story-about-the-irs-commissioner-and-the-white-house/276399/

The article breaks down the meanings of "most", and "more", "hardly at all", and "shut up".

So much to process, so I will cherry pick in no particular order. The fact that there is a Tea Party caucus means little. There is a Progressive caucus, a Women's caucus, a Black caucus, so I suspect we can't use that as a rationale for picking political only groups.

I also suspect that the designation, generally accepted above IMO, of the Tea Party issues as political issues only, is because some believe that educating people on the social impact of the large government, tax and spend issues doesn't agree with others views of those social impacts.

All to say that one persons politics is another persons social education, thus the point of some of russell's post.

By far my most overriding reaction to this discussion is: The head of the agency tap danced the party line in front of Congress, at least a dozen times stating that he didn't have the names of those responsible. Like he just couldn't figure it out.

Then the person most likely to have information to corroborate (or not) his testimony pled the fifth. Her right, doesn't make her (or him, or anyone else) guilty of a thing.

So who the heck knows, that's a problem. Both sides in this thread keep asking for the proof, which exists but is not being shared. My cynical side says that the proof is more likely to prove some additional culpability somewhere.

Which makes it a scandal IMHO.

"Evidence that the activity wasn't just the idea of some low level drones."
What?! The IRS has drones too?! If I don't pay my taxes, do I, and anyone near me, risk being taken out by a hellfire missile? And when they do it, will they be low level or at 25,000 feet?

All to say that one persons politics is another persons social education, thus the point of some of russell's post.

Which I think we're agreeing is part of the problem. The IRS is tasked with denying tax-exempt status for 'charities' whose primary activities are influencing/taking part in/etc political campaigns. That's a lot of vagueness, and in trying to process that vagueness they went off of the reservation.
(Or, Brett will say, they took advantage of that vagueness to reveal their secret agendas as leftists).

So who the heck knows, that's a problem. Both sides in this thread keep asking for the proof, which exists but is not being shared. My cynical side says that the proof is more likely to prove some additional culpability somewhere.
Which makes it a scandal IMHO.

Im assuming you mean that *would* make it a scandal, not that your cynical side's belief makes it a scandal.

I admit, there could be a document out there implicating Obama or someone else in the WH directly. I would be *vastly* surprised, you apparently would not be surprised at all.

Yet, I think we ought to restrict ourselves to what's known. I think we can all admit that partisans of one stripe or another *suspect* or *believe* all manner of different things that are incompatible. But we ought to be able to agree on the facts, and more or less what those mean.

Here, the facts don't show a scandal. You think more facts will. I would wish you good luck with that, but of course I hope they dont. Still, we can both agree that while there might be a scandal tomorrow, there isn't one today, and that's some progress I suppose.

Carleton,

No, the facts as known show a scandal. There may be facts that EXPAND the scandal to others. The facts as known implicate, at a minimum, the people who did it and IRS management that covered it up. The intentional misleading of Congress, the announcement outside normal channels, these are known facts.

That is a scandal. In this administration. The head of the IRS is an administration official. Does it damn higher officials? Well, there is no evidence yet.

All to say that one persons politics is another persons social education

If your interest in promoting the social welfare involves lobbying members of Congress, it's political speech.

As such, it doesn't deserve 501(c)(4) status.

And I'm an equal opportunity grinch, I would apply the same standard equally to folks of all political persuasions.

And, I have no problem with people lobbying members of Congress or contributing to the same. Likewise making movies about political candidates, or running ads on the TV during campaign cycles, etc etc etc.

All good. Live it up.

It ain't "social welfare", and it doesn't deserve tax exempt status or the shield of anonymity.

Give the IRS something useful to do, instead of parsing all of this "it's not really politics" bullsh*t.

So it's a scandal, just not one that implicates anyone in the White House or anyone appointed by Obama. So far the most obvious players are a middle-level bureaucrat and a Bush appointee.

So I suppose it's a scandal in the general sense of the word. I think it's quite a hopeful stretch to call it an administration scandal. Like saying that a general harassing a subordinate is an administration scandal insofar as the president is the CIC and therefore 'responsible' in an abstract sense for those below him in the chain of command.

IRS Drone.

"just not one that implicates anyone in the White House or anyone appointed by Obama."

Well, not as yet, anyway. Just the institutional culture of the IRS, which is sufficiently warped that nobody there apparently noticed that what they were doing was wrong.

Does Marty drown kittens in the bathtub for fun? Well, there is no evidence yet.

With regard to CharlesWT's cartoon: I just want to point out that being blown up with a missile is not anything like having your application for 501(c)(4) status refused.

I'm sure that, to folks who are prone to dramatic fantasies of persecution, they may seem similar.

They are not.

"Does Marty drown kittens in the bathtub for fun? Well, there is no evidence yet."

Fortunately none of my employees have drowned any kittens either. The two pita cats I have are good evidence to the contrary and I would not take the fifth if questioned.

I'm sure that, to folks who are prone to dramatic fantasies of persecution, they may seem similar.

What about folks who are morons?

I mean, maybe CharlesWT is so ignorant that he thinks getting your 501c(4) application rejected is just like getting a hellfire missile delivered to your door. Is it possible that he's just really dumb?

I'm just saying that the incidence of stupidity in the general population is a lot higher than paranoia...

Folks, folks, we're getting our metaphors in a twist.

Bathtubs are for drowning government.

Drones are for peacekeeping

IRS employees are bloody Jihadists, against whom, presumably, one could launch drones, not the other way round:

http://theblacksphere.net/2013/05/bloody-jihadists-working-in-the-irs/

The IRS, a voracious metaphor hog if there ever was one, is Nazi Germany, dressed up like Abraham Lincoln, who is the founder of the Republican Party AND the Income Tax:

http://downersgrove.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/tea-party-group-protests-outside-irs-office-in-downers-grove

Wait, it's the Soviet Union, dressed up like William Howard Taft, with room to spare, and Woodrow Wilson, who were instrumental in starting the damned Nazi, Soviet nest of Jihadists by getting the 16th Amendment passed:

http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/nom-on-irs-targeting-were-victims-too-its-just-like-the-soviet-union/politics/2013/05/13/66877

Because, Obama is Nixon, just as Linda Lovelace was Deepthroat:

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/31/2083121/in-new-ad-gop-senate-leader-likens-obama-to-nixon/

Now cats, cats are tax deductions that lie in the sun and purr poetry to themselves.

Whoa there, protest the birds and the mice, cats are jackbooted murdering alien zombie stalkers who are ready to pounce at any moment to eat everything but feather and tail.

Oddly just like the alien seedpod spore who have sprouted and infested today's Republican Party.

But that's a simile.

Got it?

For the love of God, this scandal is out of control.

They've been dancing!

Who, you ask?

Who? Who do you think?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/newly-released-irs-video-shows-employees-dancing.php

The Nazis, jihadists, and Stalinists, that's who! The ones who take your cash for the fancy goods and the noggins and the piggins and the frikins, cash for the hogdhead, cask and demijohn. Cash for the crackers and the pickels and the flypaper

Look whatayatalk. whatayatalk, whatayatalk, whatayataalk, whatayatalk?

Weredayagitit?

Whatayatalk?

Ya can talk, ya can talk, ya can bicker ya can talk, ya can bicker, bicker bicker ya can talk all ya want

In broad daylight. Dancing, which starts with D, which rhymes with P, and that sounds like T, I say we've got trouble, next thing ya know ya got Pol Pot saying "how's your old man", and he'll leave off pounding your beefsteak.

Next thing, ya don't watch out they'll be whistling while they work too, that's right, they'll put their lips together and blow while looking over the short cuts ya took on your long, I say, your long form.

They'll be asking too many questions and folks that's the first big step on the road
To the depths of deg-ra-Day--
I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle.

you'll have to tell em you've been list'nin to some big out-a-town Jasper name of Koch
Hearin' him tell about horse-race gamblin'.
Not a wholesome trottin' race, no!
But a race where they set down right on the horse!

Whistling while they work, I say. And dancing!

One fine night, they leave their desks,
Headin' for the dance at the Arm'ry!
Libertine men and Scarlet women!
And Rag-time, shameless music
That'll grab your son and your daughter
With the arms of a jungle animal instink!
Mass'steria!
Friends, the idle brain is the devil's playground!

This whole drama is so silly. The "targeting," such as it was, was clearly a bunch of employees looking for a shortcut to make their job easier. Tea Party groups were focused on because they were the ones flooding the IRS with applications.

Shortcuts are what America is all about these days. Everyone is just too lazy to do the real work.

The Republican Party, with all their hissy fits, have become the Party of Aunt Pittipat.

Have Republicans ever uncovered a real political scandal?*

I also cannot help but note that they are obviously pretty inept at covering their own messes up.

*Billy Sol Estes and Abe Fortas seem to be the best they can do, but a lot of the heavy lifting was done by Dixiecrats.

This latest? Piffle. The GOP should be ashamed.

Shame left that house decades ago:

http://ceinquiry.us/2013-05-12-heritage-irs

Who is this link-making Count impostor?

I think you're demonstrating that shame left YOUR house years ago. The President may or may not be secretly laughing about this, but he knows he has to at least feign outrage in public. You folks are too far around the bend to even realize that.

Yes, they were just trying to save themselves work by conducting endless reviews and demanding moving vans worth of documents. Because, you know, it's so much work to instantly approve, and back-date a few years, the approval of a charity like the President's half brother ran. They wanted to avoid that workload by intensively examining these groups, instead.

I've said it before: The delightful thing about THIS scandal is that it is finally driving a wedge between the people who merely give Obama the benefit of any slightest doubt, and those who simply don't care.

The whole tax exempt system is rotten to the core (and the rot started under Eisenhower). Rule of thumb: any organisation with 'party' in its name should be denied unless it is a non profit catering service.
Any organisation endorsing any candidate for public office should instantly lose it too. PACs in disguise first, churches next. Put certain archbishops on trial for violation (those 'vote for Kerry and you can't receive eucharisty' guys). Hit them hard and send the members personal letters with a detailed explanation. If a lot of charities get hit, maybe they will be a bit more careful the next time about what their leaders say and do. Cry me a river about your violated 1st amendment rights but tell me first where the 'tax exempt' appears in it.
Unfortunately it would be necessary to strip ALL organisations first and have them ALL re-apply to weed out the system and drain the swamp. Chances: Zero.
Of course the country could become honest and go the full way into the opposite direction: Anything political gets tax exempt, bribery becomes formally legal at last and openness/disclosure becomes fully optional (default anonymity). That would at least have the legal framework resembling reality much better.
Next step: bullets are free speech (at least in German guns/weapons already talk: 'Laßt die Waffen sprechen'/'Jetzt sprechen die Pistolen')

I might add that up to the 80ies bribery was tax deductible over here because the highest court decided that morality or legality of expenditures are no criteria in the context of tax law. Die Sittenwidrigkeit einer Zahlung hat keinen Einfluß auf die steuerliche Absetzbarkeit.
The law got changed at last after some scandals involving the Fat One himself.

You folks are too far around the bend to even realize that.

And you are assuming as fact things which are not at all in evidence.

I'm not interested in your opinion about who is, or is not, too far around the bend.

Physician, heal thyself.

Cry me a river about your violated 1st amendment rights but tell me first where the 'tax exempt' appears in it.

There you have it. And, thank you.

My name is russell, and I endorse every word of Hartmut's 7:32.

You can say anything you like, including with your dollars. If you want to lobby members of Congress, or produce obviously partisan ads during election cycle, or do anything else that is freaking obvious political speech, you don't get to write it off, and you don't get to do it anonymously, because it ain't social welfare, it's politicking.

We can all stamp our feet and get pissed off at the IRS, but it's worth keeping in mind that they've been tasked with parsing nonsensical laws, and making distinctions that contain not an ounce of difference.

No wonder they're defensive.

"Rule of thumb: any organisation with 'party' in its name should be denied unless it is a non profit catering service."

Rule of thumb: The name of an organization is utterly irrelevant to any determination under the laws the IRS is supposed to be enforcing.

Essentially your complaint boils down to, they not only should have done it, they should have done it HARDER.

As I say, at least the President knows he needs to feign outrage over this. This outrage happened because too many people at the IRS think like you do, Hartmut.

"If you want to lobby members of Congress, or produce obviously partisan ads during election cycle, or do anything else that is freaking obvious political speech, ..."
The problem is that it's legal for 501(c)(4)'s to engage in political activity except when it isn't.

The problem is that it's legal for 501(c)(4)'s to engage in political activity except when it isn't.

Yes, that's my point exactly. It's not a well written law.

I have no problem believing that the IRS could have been used, incorrectly and possibly illegally, to suppress unwelcome political activity. It's not like there isn't a long and storied history of EXACTLY that happening, over and over again.

It's not clear that this happened in this case, and we should find out if it did happen in this case. But if it did, we'd be foolish to be shocked.

And not just the IRS, but pretty much every intelligence, police, regulatory, or other authority in the US government. The list of abuses of government power is very, very, very long. By all parties, currently existing or historical.

So, by all means the "tea party witchhunt" should be investigated.

And, of course, the investigation itself will be an act of political theater. So, make some popcorn.

But none of that addresses the basic problem, which is that the law itself is, IMO, really poorly written. It invites abuse, both by folks participating in 501(c)(4)'s and by those charged with regulating them.

Change the freaking law.

I don't think it's clear that the IRS was "used" to do this. It's fairly clear that they did this, though possibly less out of a partisan objective, than a partisan conviction: That the 'Tea party', 'Patriot', and so forth groups just HAD to be up to something wrong, and if they weren't turning it up, that just meant they hadn't looked hard enough. (While the contra-positive conviction, that if you were a 'Progressive' or "People's' organization, you were on the side of the angels, kept lefty organizations from getting even the nominally required review.)

So they just kept looking harder and harder, unwilling to admit that the groups could possibly be legit. And somewhere along the process crossed the line between what they were allowed to look into, and what they weren't.

OTOH, there's increasing evidence that the donors they asked about, (Despite not being entitled to that information.) got audited by the IRS, (And other bureaus!) at a disproportionate rate. And it's hard to paint that as just a heuristic gone wrong, that sounds like real harassment.

As I've said, this appears, at first glance, to be one of those "Will nobody rid me of this turbulent priest?" situations, where the underlings don't need an explicit order, just a hint sufficed.

Rather different from what you saw with Nixon, who, while history records he tried to use the IRS against his enemies, it is seldom related that the end result was NIXON getting audited, instead. It makes a difference if most of the people in the bureaucracy are members of your party.

"Rather different from what you saw with Nixon, who, while history records he tried to use the IRS against his enemies, it is seldom related that the end result was NIXON getting audited, instead. It makes a difference if most of the people in the bureaucracy are members of your party."

For good or ill, let's unpack that paragraph.

First, Nixon was audited by the IRS in the early 1960s and the "end result" of THAT was the champion grudge-holder Nixon ordering audits (not a hinter or winker he) and harassment of HIS enemies once he became President, despite there being no proof that I can find that the Kennedy White House was complicit in those audits, though I'm pursuadable on that.

True, the IRS audited Nixon's tax returns in 1974, but the words "end result", you sly, winking turbulent priest, Father Bellmore, at first glance and second askance, seem to indicate that these audits were IRS reprisals for ... what, exactly, when in reality Nixon's tax returns were highly suspicious with a very funky (illegal, as we say in the wink/wink business) tax deduction claimed (you can peruse the links below, which I'll try to lift -- I don't know how my most recent link got linked -- maybe my assembled monkeys at the keyboard finally hit on something), and minimal taxes paid given the 70% marginal tax rate at the time, rates which by the way, had the virtue of paying for Nixon initiatives like the bombing of Hanoi and dialysis coverage, unlike the deadbeat tax rates of today.

Given that the highest marginal tax rates today are roughly half what they were in 1974, you'd think the IRS would be hated only half as much now as then, but math is not the Tea Party's strong point, he added.

Again, I'd like to see the party registrations and the voting records of all IRS employees circa 1974, since you seem to keep them in the same place as the same records I requested for today's IRS -- in Rosemary's Woods top right-hand desk drawer.

The heads of the IRS in the 1972-74 period were Republicans appointed by Nixon and they acquitted themselves nobly in the face of White House thuggishness, so I'm not sure how the political pursuasions and actions thereof of the IRS leadership and staff can be so glancingly assumed by troublesome turbulent priests.

Further, not to be outdone, the 1974 White House tried to get the Nixon audits squashed as well, illegally so (THIS, at the bitter end of all of the other Watergate revelations), only to be sabotaged by George Schultz (a decent man, all things considered), who told Nixon's staff, who thought maybe they ought to get a second opinion, to back the f*ck off.

As you will see from the links (well, linky), in fact, Nixon was cleared by the mean, partisan liberals at the IRS, unlike any hohum citizen would have been, despite the fact that subsequent analysis of his returns shows that he broke the law and would have faced a very large payment in arrears, a fine, and possibly fraud charges and jail time.

Lift, please.

Lift, please.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2199&dat=19770201&id=ZbgxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fuUFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6660,28082


http://www.taxhistory.org/thp/readings.nsf/artweb/f8723e3606cd79ec85256ff6006f82c3?opendocument

I confess, I am the count's monkey. Thank god for this prehensile tail.

Links levitated:

Merci and gracias.

Doumo arigatou gozaimasu

Salamat po.

Show me one, just one, "Tea Party" group whose mission is not primarily political in nature. Just one, please.

Just one, please.

I read recently that law enforcement in Washington State is in the process of retraining their sniffing dogs so they leave marijuana alone, now that the stuff is legal and taxed, I sure hope, in that state.

Maybe the IRS could receive the dogs on loan and teach them to detect Earl Grey.

That the 'Tea party', 'Patriot', and so forth groups just HAD to be up to something wrong, and if they weren't turning it up, that just meant they hadn't looked hard enough

prove it.

your fantasies are not relevant to anything.

I think some people need to realize that the alternative to filing as a 501(c)(4) organization is as a 527 organization, the one for politicking...and those are _also_ non-profit.

Or, to put it another way, none of those organizations have to pay taxes, because what they do is accept money from people, and spend it on stuff. They do not pay taxes because they make no corporate profits, and have no stockholders to present those profits _to_. (Non-profits are 'owned' by members or the board, but they are expressly forbidden from disbursing money to them. Even if the organization dissolves, it has to give all its assets to another non-profit.)

So this wasn't about paying taxes or not.

And don't confuse either of these for _tax deductible_ organizations, which are 501(c)(3) organizations. People who give to 501(c)(4) or 527 don't get to deduce that from their income. (Now, there actually are some idiots abusing 501(c)(3) for political purposes, but it's much rarer, and not what we're talking about here.)

The reason the Tea Parties attempted to get 501(c)(4) status (In advance, which they don't actually need to do) is _solely_ so they could keep from disclosing their donors.

There is no other point to that vs. 501(c)(4). It has no advantage at all. In fact, it has a rather large disadvantage in that being 501(c)(4) means they can only spend 49% their spending on politics, instead of all. (The law actually forbids political action, period, but the IRS has wrongly decided that means 'more-than-half political activity'.)

This isn't about taxes. None of these groups are going to pay taxes. This is about whether blatantly political organizations can hide who is funding them.

That's an important clarification.

However, the 501(c)(4) groups have as their political goal, for the most part, reducing or eliminating taxes and regulation for their anonymous donors.

I think you're demonstrating that shame left YOUR house years ago. The President may or may not be secretly laughing about this, but he knows he has to at least feign outrage in public. You folks are too far around the bend to even realize that.

So we have no shame and are 'around the bend', because you imagine that Obama's expressed outrage is probably fake? Or we're 'around the bend' because we don't realize that Obama has to publicly express outrage? Im not sure what you're trying to say here.
And, just for the record, we don't all live in the same house. Thinking the 'other side' is some monolithic entity with a single purpose, goal, method etc is the source of much sloppy thinking about politics.

The delightful thing about THIS scandal is that it is finally driving a wedge between the people who merely give Obama the benefit of any slightest doubt, and those who simply don't care.

The especially delightful part is how the most damning accusation you've got against Obama is you suspect his outrage is faked. Yeah, I admit, Id (merely?) give him the benefit of the doubt on that point. But then mindreading has never given me much joy, so that's really more of a "lazy man's way of waiting for the facts before passing judgment" than anything sinister.

But then, you've probably sussed that my lack of outrage is also feigned, you crafty guy you. Oh, how can I hope to sustain a political debate against such a powerful Jedi?

There is no other point to that vs. 501(c)(4).

Obviously, I meant there's no point to that vs. a 527.

To clarify:
527 - non-profit so pays no taxes, people donating get no tax advantage, can spend 100% on political stuff, must disclose donors
501(c)(4) - non-profit so pays no taxes, people donating get no tax advantage, can only spend 49% on 'political stuff', does not have to disclose donors

So ask yourself what the _only_ advantage of a 501(c)(4) is.

However, the 501(c)(4) groups have as their political goal, for the most part, reducing or eliminating taxes and regulation for their anonymous donors.

Interestingly, that's almost illegal for _another_ reason. ;) 501(c)(4) cannot operate primary for the benefit of members or donors.

There are actually plenty of classes of 501(c) that _are_ for that, like 501(c)(10), which is for stuff like the Freemasons, or 501(c)(6), which is stuff like Chambers of Commerce, or 501(c)(12), which is stuff like co-op phone companies.

But a 501(c)(4) is supposed to be 'Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees'. I think of them as 'near charities'. 501(c)(4) are basically charities that failed the 501(c)(3) test, so people don't get a tax deduction for donating to them. In fact, the IRS explicitly points out that if you're a normally 501(c)(3) but have been disqualified a year or two, you should file as a 501(c)(4).

They are supposed to exist for the benefit of the community, but can also 'support causes'. And just like a 501(c)(3), they can't operate for the sole or even majority benefit of members or donors. (I doubt that lobbying for those donors goals _technically_ is in violation of the 'for benefit of the donors' law...of course, as I pointed out, they're not actually supposed to be political at all, despite the delusional regulations the IRS has come up instead of the _actual law_.)

Daffy Duck could be the Democratic President for all I care and I'd still want the Republican Party dead and buried.

The outrage to me is that Obama didn't traipse, or waltz, or pimp-walk, or however conservatives think liberals move themselves from Point A to Point B, over to the Cincinnati IRS office and congratulate the employees for their due diligence and then hand out performance awards.

In other news, Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal decries the imposition of bicycles and, by God, racks, I say, racks to hold (setting right down on the horse) them by the totalitarian government of New York City.

Meanwhile, her Party elite (Rohrbacher, Cohen, and Bachmann, no less, led by noted Homeland Security and Soviet history expert and marzipan movie prop Steven Seagal) visit Putin's Russian security forces to seek out methods and measures of bringing Soviet-style totalitarian murder and oppression to the USA should the Republican Party return to power in all three branches of government.

First order of business: Disappearing bike riders.

Does the IRS have an Air Force, I hope? Shooting down that delegation's plane on its return flight would start the ball rolling toward the elimination of our internal enemies.

They can have my bike when they pry it from my cold, dead butt!!

"However, the 501(c)(4) groups have as their political goal, for the most part, reducing or eliminating taxes and regulation for their anonymous donors."

As long as they lobby to reduce or eliminate the taxes of everyone similarly situated, rather than JUST the donors, they're within the law.

But, seriously, this is just the sort of accusation you generally hear from liberals, like claiming the NRA is an industry front group. It comes from a lack of capacity for empathy, the inability to conceive of people sincerely disagreeing with you. So they MUST be paid stooges. No other explanation fits, once you've ruled out sincere disagreement.

like claiming the NRA is an industry front group

what else would you call a group that takes tens of millions of dollars from businesses in a single industry, then relentlessly lobbies, advertises, advocates and speechifies in favor of laws that help that industry ?

It comes from a lack of capacity for empathy, the inability to conceive of people sincerely disagreeing with you

For a counterexample, Ive heard quite a few conservatives claiming that the NAACP is a front group which doesn't represent the interests of those it claims to represent.

Point being, you have these categories of 'bad liberal thinking', but they are more correctly 'bad thinking for which Brett has an example of liberals using therefore proving that all liberals are like this and it demonstrates a typical liberal character flaw'. Were I you I might call this sort of thinking representative of some conservative character flaw, but I know better now, it is all too common everywhere.

In other news, I now dub Brett "The Patron Saint Of Empathic Sincere Disagreement". I will be back online after a quick trip to the ER to have my tongue surgically removed from my cheek.

Seriously- it is a sign that liberals cannot comprehend sincere disagreement that they want to sincerely disagree with Brett about the nature and goals of the modern NRA. Clearly a liberal who groked sincere disagreement would demonstrate this by *agreeing* with Brett, fer chrissake.
That, fellow agoraphobes, is comedy gold.

It comes from a lack of capacity for empathy, the inability to conceive of people sincerely disagreeing with you.

There are plenty of people disagreeing sincerely. I'm sure you and I disgree sincerely on gun control, Brett. Whether the NRA, as an organization, would be what it is without and industry to front is another question, but the existence of such a question does not rely on anyone being unable to conceive of people sincerely disagreeing.

Hell, even Wayne LaPierre is probably sincere. He's just a sandwich short of a picnic, it seems.

Maybe something along the lines of what cleek wrote more accurately describes the logic of people thinking the NRA is an industry front group than does your always-interesting mind reading.

"what else would you call a group that takes tens of millions of dollars from businesses in a single industry, then relentlessly lobbies, advertises, advocates and speechifies in favor of laws that help that industry ?"

Somebody other than the NRA?

Hairshirt, Cleek accurately describes said "reasoning", but "reasoning" doesn't describe what's going on in the heads of people who think that a 5 million member organization most of whose budget comes from member donations is an industry front. My God, why would any rational person think that, except that they can't conceive of a substantial number of people genuinely agreeing with the NRA?

Now, I can see somebody thinking that of a movement that implodes when a few wealthy foundations defund it, but that would be the NRA's opposition, not the NRA.

Brett,
First, if I say something like "the polls Ive seen indicate that many, even a plurality, of NRA members would support including non-dealer gun sales in the background check requirements- yet they are opposed vehemently by the NRA" that wouldn't be reasoning or logic or facts or any of that junk. It's crazy talk. My God! Is that even thinking? And where is my empathy?
Seriously, you want to understand the arguments being made against the NRA? Read them. When you can repeat the actual positions of those you oppose, then maybe you can start countering them. As opposed to caricaturing them, which is all you've managed so far. Well, that and then basing all sorts of psychoanalysis on those caricatures.

Second, your second paragraph is a parody of your first paragraph. The NRA exactly represents the needs and desires of its base, but the large number of people who support some form of firearms restriction are nonexistent and are actually a front paid for by Big Bad Lib. Presumably you aren't questioning your own lack of capacity for empathy, the inability to conceive of people sincerely disagreeing with you? Because your caricature, unlike the Bad Lib caricature, is true! Or true enough, anyway. True in spirit.

Your last half-dozen posts have been following this format down to the letter: pleading for logical debate, empathy, and refraining from demonization followed immediately by illogical dismissal of dissent and the use of demonization. It's like you want to convince yourself that you're in it for the rational debate, but the other side just won't accommodate you.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad