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May 29, 2013

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Although if it makes you feel any better, I am virtually certain that you aren't getting paid for any of this.

Sincerity behind a cloak of anonymity in a request for tax exemption doesn't inspire empathy.

Curiosity, perhaps. But contempt is not far behind.

"Please empathize with me"

"Who are ya?"

"I can't tell you."

"Are you bigger than a bread box?

"That's for me to know and you to empathize."

As Ronald Reagan orotunded: Audit, then empathize.

Text of robocalls and postcards sent to Newtown, Conn. residents by the NRA shortly after a bunch of kids and teachers in their town were butchered:

""Despite public outcry, anti-gun legislators in the Connecticut General Assembly are aggressively forging ahead with numerous proposals that are designed to disarm and punish law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen."

I would concede sincerity here, if not for the words "Despite public outcry" and "designed to disarm and punish law-abiding gun owners and sportsman" not to mention "in", "the" "are" "and, "to", "with", "that", and the "men" on the end of "sports".

Empathy, I'm afraid, goes missing, having been out whoring in a threesome with sincerity and her pimply, horny cuckold --- lack of tact.

Putting aside Brett's views on these subjects, the behavior and statements by groups with Tea Party in their titles, some packing heat, and the politicians, media thugs, and corporate anonyms who supported and bankrolled that behavior, toward those without health insurance, those on Medicaid, and the politicians who defended Obamacare in public meetings during the summer of 2009 and afterwards, and toward the umemployed and folks who lost their homes as the result of the financial crisis, and toward a duly elected President who displayed a little more melanin than some might acceptable even 140 years after Reconstruction .. ... did not inspire my empathy glands to secrete the necessary hormones and endorphins for mutual respect.

That Wayne LaPierre is sincere is the problem.

Sincerity in your amateur clowns is cause for a background check.

I'm Countme-In and I sincerely endorse this message.

Send your empathy and cash to the mail drop.


probably "tact", not "lack of tact" in that paragraph for it to work.

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.

Actually, no. Not because of who they are lobbying for, but because they're not supposed to be lobbying.

Before you respond, I know they're within the _IRS regulations_, what the IRS has mistakenly decided about the law over the past five decades.

But there's no indication that 'Social welfare' is supposed to allow _any_ political activities at all. And, if it is allowed, there's no logical reason to set the cutoff at 49%.

I understand that's what the IRS thinks the law means, but the IRS just basically made all that up, and we need to step in and fix it, because that's just sorta stupid. Hell, we should just get rid of it...there's nothing that a 501(c)(4) can do that a 501(c)(3) plus a 527 can't do.

I don't see the word "empathetic" in this assessment of the Republican Party by millenials:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/06/gop-report-young-voters.php?ref=fpb

The problem, of course, is that a "strategic" political move to inspire empathy for conservative views as expressed by the current Republican political elite, are apt to be seen as insincere.

Marketing the John Birch Society was always a bit dicey, thus the choice of anonymity by the "donors".

This sort of thing from vermin like Drudge, the right-wing political elitist, who inspire little more than a search for better insecticides, isn't apt to help:

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/drudge-puts-christie-on-notice-whose-side-are

"is" not "are"

"ain't" would be better

It would be interesting to have a thread where the liberals have to make the conservative case and visa versa on some contentious issue to see who "really" has "empathy" of the other side, or which side would most likely produce a terrible parody........

I'd jump right into this, but there are some bright moral lines that cannot be crossed, much less understood.

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.

Not necessarily. "It depends".

Hence, the IRS review.

this is just the sort of accusation you generally hear from liberals, like claiming the NRA is an industry front group.

First, financially speaking, "the NRA" is not one thing. It's a generous handful, including the NRA-ILA, which is explicitly a political lobbying organization.

So yes, most of the overall NRA funding comes from member contributions, and a lot of those funds go to firearm training, wildlife preservation, and a number of other worthwhile, non-political programs.

And, a hell of a lot of money is contributed by firearms manufacturers, where "hell of a lot" is measured in millions. And, membership dues deliberately DO NOT go to the NRA-ILA - that arm of the overall NRA is funded through other sources. Including member contributions other than dues, but also including significant contributions from manufacturers.

There's a lot of daylight between "the NRA is nothing but an industry funded front group" and "the NRA is just a grassroots shooting club".

The NRA collects heaping shitloads of corporate money, and spends it on lobbying. Period.

Anyway, the obvious stretch in classification of many organizations is just a red herring to distract from "following the facts".

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.

Actually, no. Not because of who they are lobbying for, but because they're not supposed to be lobbying.

Before you respond, I know they're within the _IRS regulations_, what the IRS has mistakenly decided about the law over the past five decades.

But there's no indication that 'Social welfare' is supposed to allow _any_ political activities at all. And, if it is allowed, there's no logical reason to set the cutoff at 49%.

I understand that's what the IRS thinks the law means, but the IRS just basically made all that up, and we need to step in and fix it, because that's just sorta stupid, not to mention has the IRS doing political determinations.

Hell, we should just get rid of it...there's nothing that a 501(c)(4) can do that a 501(c)(3) plus a 527 can't do. The only advantage a 501(c)(4) has is it idiotically allows anonymous political speech.(1)

1) Before anyone asserts 'But anonymous political speech is important'...no. No, it's not. For almost all of human history, holding anonymous discussions was literally impossible, and putting on giant ad campaigns that _anonymously_ reach large sections of people was such an absurd idea it was inconceivable.

But we're not actually talking about people speaking anonymously, anyway. We're talking about people _funding_ something anonymously, which makes even less sense to allow.

If anonymous political speech is actually important, feel free to start a non-profit that hosts a giant discussion forum with no logs. Or have the government do it. Don't run around asserting a right to anonymously blanket people with origin-less advertisement, which have a _very_ sordid history in this country, and, in fact, a very sordid history ever since the invention of the printing press.

Hrm, I thought that previous post didn't post, so I wrote some more and reposted. Nevermind.

Regarding this IRS business: I have kept mostly silent because, after all, this is all wrestling over whether the IRS can show some kind of political colorblindness (I know: that's carrying a heavy burden, but it's one that doesn't matter to me) over a narrow category of tax-exempt classification.

Which classification, I say, maybe should not exist in the first place.

So: meh.

On the other hand, the apparent heavy-handedness has left the Republicans with a can-opener with which they can expose various facets of IRS use of their power that they find excessive, in addition to other things that display how little oversight the IRS has had.

All my perceptions. So: a purge. But one that expends no bullets, nor spills blood. So: I am ok with this, provided that it serves to set perhaps more appropriate limits on IRS power, and emplaces oversight over same.

The more cynical will see this as purely political theater. I think it'd be silly to suppose there isn't any element of said theatricality involved; this is after all happening in DC, and in the press.

I am ok with this, provided that it serves to set perhaps more appropriate limits on IRS power, and emplaces oversight over same.

Once again, I find myself in agreement with Mr. Slartibarfast.

...dogs and cats, living together. Mass hysteria!

"And, a hell of a lot of money is contributed by firearms manufacturers, where "hell of a lot" is measured in millions."

They've got an annual budget between $250-300 million a year. Industry donations, which are often just bundled donations from customers, (The NRA being popular enough among gun owners that "$5 of your purchase price goes to the NRA!" is an effective promotion.) amount to maybe 10% of that. That hardly makes them astroturf.

Again, I think you're demonstrating my point: The difficulty liberals have in believing that conservative organizations are on the up and up, translates into abusive behavior by regulators, when the regulators are liberals. That's what was going on at the IRS: It's staffed by liberal Democrats, so they assume any conservative applicants are planning abuse, and behave accordingly. They don't need orders to be abusive, any indication that it wouldn't be opposed is enough.

The difficulty liberals have in believing that conservative organizations are on the up and up

i just love that this comes from the same person who wrote this:

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.

that liberals think an organization is illegitimate because it's "conservative" is proof of their insidious nature. but it's plainly obvious that the IRS is corrupt at the core because of the leftism!

You have still not provided the statistics about party affiliation of IRS employees you have been asked for quite some time ago.
As long as you can't provide that I see no reason to treat your claim of 'it's all liberals' as anything else than unsubstantiated.

The Armed Forces are largely staffed by self-confessed conservatives, many of a Christian outlook.

Thus the epidemic of rape and sexual assault.

That hardly makes them astroturf.

No, it makes them what they are. A large and complicated organization, some of whose activities involve direct political action, the latter of which receives a lot of money from manufacturers.

To put it another way, when gun manufacturers want to lobby Congress regarding gun legislation, they frequently do so through the NRA.

This is not a matter of debate, it is simply a fact.

So, correct, not astroturf. Also correct, neither simple grass roots.

As an aside, I'm wondering if there has been a thread, on any topic, in which Brett has participated in the last year or two which has not, at some point, turned into a discussion of guns.

Just asking.

the IRS: It's staffed by liberal Democrats

A lot of your argument seems to rest on this claim. And, it's not in evidence.

It might be true, it might not. If you want to argue from it, you might find the strength of your argument improved by some data.

...dogs and cats, living together. Mass hysteria!

It's pandelerium!!

"
In the past three election cycles, the Center for Responsive Politics' database shows about $474,000 in political donations by individuals listing "IRS" or "Internal Revenue Service" as their employer.

This money heavily favors Democrats: $247,000 to $145,000, with the rest going to political action committees. (Oddly, half of those GOP donations come from only two IRS employees, one in Houston and one in Annandale, Va.)

IRS employees also gave $67,000 to the PAC of the National Treasury Employees Union, which in turn gave more than 96 percent of its contributions to Democrats. Add the PAC cash to the individual donations and IRS employees favor Democrats 2-to-1.

The Cincinnati office where the political targeting took place is much more partisan, judging by FEC filings. More than 75 percent of the campaign contributions from that office in the past three elections went to Democrats. In 2012, every donation traceable to employees at that office went to either President Obama or liberal Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

The IRS officials whose names appear in the IG report are also Democrats with partisan histories. William Wilkins, IRS general counsel and one of the agency's two explicitly political appointees, is a former Democratic congressional aide, lobbyist (clients included the Swiss Bankers Association), and Democratic donor.

Joseph H. Grant, who ran the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division that includes the Cincinnati office, is a former Democratic staffer on the House Ways & Means Committee."

Of course, if the government bureaucracy were composed overwhelmingly of Republicans, you'd probably see similar abuse of liberals. "IF". The shoe is on a particular foot in this world.

Thank you.

Brett- what those numbers don't demonstrate is what percentage of employees overall were donors. If 10% donated to Dems and 5% to the GOP, Id hardly call that an office 'dominated' by partisan Democrats. And counting one set of PAC donations but not others is probly a methodological mistake.

And you still haven't come anywhere near demonstrating a causal relationship. The causal relationship here appears to be in your mind, connecting 'liberal' with all sorts of negative character traits.

Ill bet when you get cut off in traffic by a guy with a Romney bumpersticker, you think "what an @sshole", but when it's an Obama sticker you think "what an entitled liberal @sshole".

Finally, your weird biases are showing when you accuse russell at 10:07; he observes some factual information, and you use that to deduce that he believes the NRA is not 'on the up and up'. I have no idea what your brain does with his 9:10 post to compose the belief that he thinks the NRA is somehow illegitimate.
If your thesis is that all libs are frothing NRA-haters who cannot think logically about the organization, russell is being stubbornly inconvenient evidence to the contrary. Ask not whence the froth comes- it comes from thee.

Of course, if the government bureaucracy were composed overwhelmingly of Republicans, you'd probably see similar abuse of liberals.

Btw, you havent answered this from earlier: do you think that there has been an ongoing pattern of conservative abuse for decades y federal bureaucracies? Or has the partisan makeup of the IRS or federal bureaucracy changed much in the past few years?

If the causal relationship you posit exists, then it seems that one of those two needs to be true.

I appreciate Brett coming up with some data points. At le(a)st something that one can actually discuss.

I'll concede, in turn, that only two thirds of the sexual assaults in the Armed Forces are perpetrated and/or enabled by conservatives.

I am gratified to learn that roughly two-thirds of IRS employees (I suspect we're talking high management here) are dedicated to electing liberal politicians who want to, if not raise taxes, at least assiduously collect all taxes owed to pay for the beloved war spending of the Republican Party, which seems intent on allowing their constituents to remain deadbeats at bill collection time.

I wonder if the roughly one-third of the IRS employees who spend money on Republican political causes also maneuver to favor the conservative individuals, corporations, and "non-profit" entities whose tax returns and requests for tax-exempt status they oversee.

Let's investigate.

I would favor making it illegal for federal employees (both rank and file and executive appointees) to give money to political organizations and candidates.

I would favor making it illegal for federal employees (both rank and file and executive appointees) to give money to political organizations and candidates.

The prob I have with that sort of thing is that there doesnt appear to me to be a logical stopping point. If federal employees shouldnt be allowed to donate, how about individual contractors? People who work for companies that provide 100% of their goods or services to the US government? Or 50%? Or 10%?
How about people who derive significant investment income from companies with federal business contracts? Or people who are married to those people? Or their children?

I would favor making it illegal for federal employees (both rank and file and executive appointees) to give money to political organizations and candidates.

Not a good idea. Germany went even further during the Weimar Republic, e.g. by not allowing members of the military to vote in order to keep them apolitical (didn't the US do that once too?). That turned them into a state-within-a-state with no loyalty to the civil government.

Having been a Federal employee twice in the past, I'm aware that idea wouldn't fly.

How about this?

Say, you've got a Tea Party aficionado, who for one reason or another doesn't want to pay taxes for government services and certainly doesn't want THOSE people over there to receive government services, and it just so happens he sits in a Medicare-subsidized scooter with a Medicare-subsidized oxygen tank mounted thereon ... would it be O.K. if I kind of sidled up to him during one of his oxygen-subsidized harangues and just took the plastic tube leading from his oxygen tank to his nose and kind of pinched it between forefinger and thumb until he turned peuse and began gesticulating frantically and wordlessly that maybe the IRS has a legitimate role in collecting revenue for the Federal Government?

would it be O.K. if I kind of sidled up to him during one of his oxygen-subsidized harangues and ...

Nah, too harsh.

I say just hand him a bill for services rendered.

"Btw, you havent answered this from earlier: do you think that there has been an ongoing pattern of conservative abuse for decades y federal bureaucracies? Or has the partisan makeup of the IRS or federal bureaucracy changed much in the past few years?"

I think the bureaucracy has long been dominated by liberals, because conservatives tend not to aspire to work for the government. It might be a little more extreme now, I don't know.

What I suspect is that "by any means necessary" thinking has gotten more popular among liberals, and the left has gotten more and more bought into the idea that conservatives aren't just the opposition, but a disease to be eradicated. So a lot of professional and moral barriers are starting to fall.

I think the bureaucracy has long been dominated by liberals, because conservatives tend not to aspire to work for the government.

Because they're all venture capitalists? My impression of the mass of humanity is that they aspire to a job, or at best a career; my impression is that the mass of humanity doesn't place a tremendous value on ideological purity. They like eating and TV and having a nicer car or apt or house than their brother-in-law.
A much better argument might be noting that DC + suburbs tends somewhat Democratic, although in a pretty mildly/blue doggy kind of way. So I dont think that actually helps much, but that's more like what evidence would look like.

What I suspect is that "by any means necessary" thinking has gotten more popular among liberals, and the left has gotten more and more bought into the idea that conservatives aren't just the opposition, but a disease to be eradicated.

You suspect that. I think that says more about your brain than it does about liberals, but ymmv.

Anyway, you've got a theory. And that theory says that the IRS problem comes from the IRS being dominated by extreme, "by any means necessary" liberals.
Your evidence for that is that what political donations come from IRS people tend somewhat Democratic. Plus your intuitions about how liberals in general are now out to exterminate conservatives.
Counterargument: when you've got a weak case for A causes B, and then someone points out that A has presumably been true for decades but didn't cause B until yesterday, you ought to re-examine the thesis that A caused B.
When faced with this counterargument that (IMO) kinda blows the snot out of your thesis, you retreat to some special pleading- probly liberals are becoming even less principled than ever and also probly taking over even more.

Not for one precious second do you re-examine the thesis.

You should seriously consider that point.

"I think the bureaucracy has long been dominated by liberals, because conservatives tend not to aspire to work for the government."

That's interesting. I raised the same question (bait) with some of the many self-identified conservative Republicans I came into contact with when I worked for the Feds and they took umbrage with the idea that political affiliation had anything to do with whether they chose to work for the Feds or not.

Most were professionals, tops in their fields.

Not that that stopped some of them from starting in on liberals after a drink or two, and I was just the guy to elicit the worst.

That some conservatives think they are too good for public service is their loss and an over-estimation of the talents and credentials they presume might be acceptable
to a government agency.

We'll leave aside the tender pride and delicate standards of the many millions of private contractors who -- suck Fed titty -- no sorry, who seem to do good work despite their evident discomfort at their compromised ideologies.

In this survey, and others I'll try to find, the political affiliations of Federal employees largely align with those of the American public at large:

http://www.fedsmith.com/2012/01/12/federal-employee-preferences-would-not-vote/


"In this instance, 35.1% of those who participated identified themselves as a Republican. 30.8% identified themselves as independents and 30.7% identified themselves as a Democrat. This is fairly consistent with national trends as the number of independents are generally increasing and the number of people who consider themselves Democrats is decreasing. In December 2011, 35.4% of Americans considered themselves Republicans–a total just below the high for the year of 35.6% reached in May."

Consider: Roughly 25% of civilian Federal employees are veterans.

Consider, too, that the number of civilian Federal workers, including Postal workers, is nearly the same as it was in 1955 and is less than it was in 1970, 1980, and 1990.

Nearly all of the growth in civilian employment has come in Homeland Security types of jobs in recent years and many of those folks are veterans as well.

Tell you what, next time you're at the airport, walk up to one of the supervisors of Homeland Security and tell them they are apt to be a socialist hippie who couldn't hack it in the vaunted private sector and see how far your atlatl gets you with that line of crap.

"Because they're all venture capitalists?"

You either work for the government, or you're a venture capitalist?

"You suspect that. I think that says more about your brain than it does about liberals, but ymmv."

Nah, it says I hang out at sites like this, and don't ignore the things people write.

Also:

"What I suspect is that "by any means necessary" thinking has gotten more popular among liberals, and the left has gotten more and more bought into the idea that conservatives aren't just the opposition, but a disease to be eradicated. So a lot of professional and moral barriers are starting to fall."

That sounds exactly like something I might say.

Except that I learned those rhetorical chops from reading Newt Gingrich's and company's rhetoric regarding liberals, back in the 1980s and 1990s when I was still a registered Republican.

Bout once a week I pop over to Redstate for a quick refresher course as they hold me in they hold me in their armchair and feel my disease.

The worst disease they are trying to eradicate by any means is the RINO virus.

I'd like to see the stats for the number of Federal employees who are NRA members and who own weapons.

I suspect that tracks the overall American population as well.

I wonder who they plan to shoot when the ball drops?

Themselves?

"You either work for the government, or you're a venture capitalist?"

You reach the point without realizing it. Most Republicans and most Democrats work basic jobs. They aren't in a position to refuse work because of some ideological concern. Most wouldn't even if they could afford to, they just aren't that into politics. Even most people who are into politics enough to donate certainly aren't into politics enough to adopt a "by any means necessary" credo.
Your theory depends on a group with a mild liberal bias containing enough people with that "by any means necessary" credo to form a critical mass of institutional mores.
I think it is a bad theory for that reason.

It is also a bad theory because it cannot explain why that's changed so much in the past few years. Absent any evidence, you postulate either a huge change in the political nature of the average IRS employee, or a huge change in the ruthlessness of the average liberal.
Faced with criticism, you wave your hands vigorously and call it good.

I think that the fact that you can't even begin to admit the possibility that the theory is wrong is telling. Instead, you look for more and more outlandish ways to dismiss the problems with the theory.
It suggests that the theory- or the biases underlying it- are very important to you.

"Nah, it says I hang out at sites like this, and don't ignore the things people write."

So hanging out at sites like this one leads you to believe that liberals are moving towards an exterminationist position vis-a-vis conservatives? Conversations with cleek, russell, lj, Harmut, et al convince you of this.

If that were true, it would be sad. For you. However, I don't even think you think that.

fwiw, I dont think you're symptomatic of anything in particular on the right- there are plenty of people of every political stripe who fossilize into viewpoints and find themselves incapable of incorporating new information except insofar as it reinforces those fossilized positions. It's a very human behavior pattern.

I hang out at sites like this, and don't ignore the things people write.

And here, I've been worried that we wouldn't be able to keep things going here. I'm relieved that there are blogs "like this" (lessee, on the contributors list, female scientist who has converted to judaism, a hyphenated American from the deep south who is teaching at a private university in Asia, a computer coding drummer, a tax lawyer who used to be right but has moved left and, as soon as we can get posting privileges sorted, a retired professor of history who taught overseas and hopefully his son, who has a doctorate in math, not to mention the all star cast of commenters!) ready to step up if we step down. I am relieved that this blog is not a unique mix of people, but something that can be replaced by another blog. At least in Brett's mind.

I appreciate that he feels he is defending the last known reserves of individuality and uniqueness in a world that is committed to stamping them out, as blogs like this prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. Pity it can't be closer to reality.

Sure glad that I enjoy political theater.
It is best when done as comedy.
But seriously someone here needs to govern.
Please do it with reason not just gut feeling.

It's inappropriate if liberal community organizers were not 'targeted' proportionally, however when one puts a radically partisan group in the title of their 501c4 application do they not expect to get immediately flagged?
Think the Tea Party was setting up the IRS for a fail.

Let's get the IRS out of campaign finance regulation.

The solution seems easy to me. Volunteer Fire Departments and other community organizers no longer get to keep there donors anonymous.
Why is that wrong?

"Conversations with cleek, russell, lj, Harmut, et al convince you of this."

"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."

But, "exterminationist"? Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration for most, but a presumption of evil motive? Yeah, that's rife here.

Count, he's on to you!

I was going to suggest that the blog chip in to buy Brett a sense of humor, but since there are so many of us around, I'm happy to leave it to some other exterminationist liberal blog.

But, "exterminationist"? Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration for most, but a presumption of evil motive? Yeah, that's rife here.

Hot Tip: Buy Orkin on dips.

the left has gotten more and more bought into the idea that conservatives aren't just the opposition, but a disease to be eradicated.

The funny thing is, this is exactly what lots of folks on the left say about conservatives.

Whatever.

The IRS has been employed, incorrectly, for partisan purposes probably since the beginning of its existence. By administrations of all persuasions and parties.

Don't know if that's the case this time around, I'm sure we'll hear more and more and more about it.

I'm all for reining in bureaucratic abuses, not only in the public sector but in the private sector too for that matter. I'm all for public employees going the extra mile to avoid either the appearance or the reality of abuses of power, because it destroys confidence in government and the rule of law, both of which are essential to well-ordered public life.

So, figure out whose bright idea it was to target 501(c)(4) applicants using obviously partisan markers, and find something else for them to do. They're demonstrably not good at an important aspect of their job.

But claims of some grand liberal plot to use the IRS to eradicate conservatism is f***ing nutty.

If you want to claim that the IRS is some kind of cat's paw for a big liberal conspiracy, you have to explain all of the many times that it's been employed to suppress liberal and left-wing political activity. Of which there are no lack of examples.

What's your explanation?

The other thing I'll say is that, if the US federal government is currently being employed in any kind of organized or systematic way to suppress conservative political activity, they sure as hell suck at it.

Last but not least, as someone who has listened for the last 10+ years to armchair patriots talking about how they were going to come to where I live and shoot people like me - not "suppress my political activity via the IRS" but f***ing shoot me dead with a gun -- I have to say that claims of "eliminationist" plots being ginned up by folks like me make me either want to laugh my ass off, or reply with a hearty piss off.

So I'll just leave both on the table, and you can take your pick.

I started thinking of conservativism as a disease to be irraticated as a result of the last thirty years of conservative behavior.

One of the things I dislike the most about the conservative movement is the consistant refusal to take responsibility. Being regarded as a disease is a natural consequence of thirty years of bullying, extremism, voter suppression, hate and fearmongering, disinformation, and refusals to negotiate in good faith or to compromise.

If the Republican party wants to be treated like a legitimate political party worthy of respect, then the members need to take responsiblity and clean the thugs, fanatics, cranks, shills and ass-kissers to the oligarchy out of the party.

I cannot deny the personal urge to apply gratuitous violence to certain prominent conservatives (among them congresscritters). No use of firearms though. To quote Bertolt Brecht (an actual commie who stole the verse from somebody else): Man schlage ihnen ihre Fressen mit schweren Eisenhämmern ein!
Just personal. So, I call on them not to come over here and walk past me while I am holding a blunt instrument or an axe or I cannot guarantee their personal safety.

I started thinking of conservativism as a disease to be irraticated as a result of the last thirty years of conservative behavior.

I like to think of that as a collision between erraticated (which is not currently a word as far as I know, but perhaps should be), irrationated (same-same) irradiated and eradicated.

Yeah, I know Laura is prone to various typographical excursions due to factors beyond her control. I tend to think of some of these as accidental art. Plus, I like to make up new words.

What I suspect is that "by any means necessary" thinking has gotten more popular among liberals, and the left has gotten more and more bought into the idea that conservatives aren't just the opposition, but a disease to be eradicated.

holy crap. this is parody, right?

it has to be!

(FYI, "liberalism is a disease" gets 2.4M hits on Google)

Oh. Naughton's suggestion isn't all that different from some I have seen floated here, to the effect that conservatives should just be given a separate place to live.

I don't agree with either of those points of view, but I am all about diversity.

What Russell said.

Speak daftly and carry a big schtick.

But, beware of my inner dog. He'll water your tree of liberty.

Anyone ever worked in a building that was cased by Timothy McVeigh?

I have.

When I stop seeing Republican candidates and officeholders brandishing weaponry and finding new ways to say "If you pass a healthcare bill or apply extra scrutiny to my request for tax-exempt status, we just might have to shoot you.", I might cease and desist, although I'm in the mood now to cut that sentence short at "when I stop seeing Republican candidates."

Let's say I'm Hillary Clinton or any number of "liberals" sitting in the third row at a Ted Nugent (to name one particularly flagrant example who nevertheless finds a home on Republican media and political venues) concert and he invited me to suck on the two automatic weapons with big honking clips he's resting on either hip bone, what should I do, especially if I've taken NRA advice to conceal carry at all times?

Wouldn't a conservative take defensive action in the face of such a threat?

Shoot first, ask questions later?

Or, is Nugent just eliminationist entertainment, kind of a Weird Al Yankovic for militia types? Sort of an edgy, one-man band Heinrich Himmler with a squirting flower on his lapel touring the Borscht Belt in the Catskills?

Another question: Does Nugent know we can see him when wears camo?

Why do have I the feeling Governor Rick Perry is not talking about coyotes when he lies about shooting coyotes while on a run?

But just in case, Rick, you dickless putz, I'm a coyote. Come and get it.

At any rate, I wouldn't takes any chances.

Can anyone point me in the direction of an armed militia for liberals?

Oh. Naughton's suggestion isn't all that different from some I have seen floated here, to the effect that conservatives should just be given a separate place to live

the big difference is that Naughton went and made an oil painting out of it. that's a level of commitment to the idea that you'll not find in anyone here.

but my point was that "* is a disease" is a standard trope, when talking politics. and Brett must surely know this, because the right uses it constantly.

the big difference is that Naughton went and made an oil painting out of it. that's a level of commitment to the idea that you'll not find in anyone here.

I agree with you that some of us should be committed, more. Arguably, though, the Count's comments count as art.

My point was more humorous than substantial, or at least so I thought at the time.

Conservatism as a Disease.
One of a multiptute of expamples is the refusal of red states to accept money for Medicaid. Also this from South Carolina:

"South Carolina this week could become the first state in the country to restrict the enactment of Obamacare since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that law last year.

A proposed bill, on special order in the state Senate, would allow the state attorney general to take businesses, including health insurers, to court if he “has reasonable cause to believe” they are harming people by implementing the law. The bill already has passed the House.

If it passes, the bill could push South Carolina to the forefront of Obamacare resistance, giving the state’s Republican leaders a national stage. It also could push South Carolina into yet another costly legal battle in the federal courts that, critics say, is unnecessary and avoidable."

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/06/03/2800482/obamacare-nullification-bill-on.html#storylink=cpy

The South Carolina law is a model being pushed to some degree in every Republican majority legislature as a co-ordinated effort. Of cours the sheer spitefulness of the law is revealed in the inability of the authors to say what the harm to people is.

Hm, interesting in light of the utterly non-politicial nature of this fake scandal:

Stephanie Cutter Attended WH Meetings With IRS Chief

I am really curious: Why would the President's deputy campaign manager need to sit in on meetings at the White house with the IRS commissioner? Why would she be sitting in on ANY work related meetings at all? I can barely justify her having access to the residential part of the White house.

Why would the President's deputy campaign manager need to sit in on meetings at the White house with the IRS commissioner?

because, one of her jobs was to head the Obama/Biden transition team. and, she was Michelle Obama's chief of staff. and, part of her job is in public relations, including doing 'outreach' for Obamacare, and the IRS is deeply involved in Obamacare. pick one.

Why would she be sitting in on ANY work related meetings at all?

because she's not just a "campaign manager".

maybe if you'd do a little bit of research instead parroting of Newsmax headlines, the world would stop being so mysterious to you.

I can barely justify her having access to the residential part of the White house.

and now you're in charge of who can enter the White House?

Another example of the conservative disease:


"The states that declined to expand Medicaid will lose out on a total of $8 billion in federal funds, have millions more residents uninsured, and spend about a billion dollars more on uncompensated care as compared to states that accept the expansion.

That’s the conclusion of a new study in Health Affairs by two RAND Corporation scholars, who model the impacts on the first 14 states that opted out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which was made optional by the Supreme Court.

In total, mathematician Carter Price and economist Christine Eibner find, the 14 states that rejected the expansion will wind up with 3.6 million more uninsured people, $8.4 billion less in federal funds, and up to $1 billion more in spending on uncompensated care in 2016."

Cutting off the taxpayer's noses out of spite.


Maybe she brought the pizza.

Run with that one.

I agree with you that some of us should be committed, more.

One word too many, I think.

Laura wrote:

"One of a multiptute of expamples is the refusal of red states to accept money for Medicaid. Also this from South Carolina."

It was the free preventative treatment and follow-up nurse visits (Page 1874, paragraph LXVIV for those who didn't read it) to combat the mental illness rife in those states among diseased Republicans that scotched the deal.

Appendix XXIV also details pharmaceutical dispensations, including but not limited to: salve to sooth the savage breast, suppositories to relieve impaction of the conservative hindquarters from whence policy used to emerge before the adoption of their pure red meat diet, free blood supplies and ER care for when Annie, your two-year-old, gets your gun and shoots her brother in the face, and for those who stand athwart history and become frozen in place while saying "No!", a team of licensed practitioners armed with butterfly nets and de-thwarting equipment to talk them down.


Another symptom of the conservative disease:


From Forbes:

"It seems that the master of the cleverly edited—if highly deceptive—video reel is now being required to pay the sum of $100,000 to Juan Carlos Vera, a one time California employee of ACORN. Mr. Vera had been portrayed by O’Keefe as being a willing participant when O’Keefe and his accomplice, Hanna Giles, proposed smuggling young women into the United States to work as prostitutes."


O'Keefe also is being sued by Shirley Sherrod for doctoring tapes in an attmept to slander her.

He pulled a very successful scam against ACORN by doctoring tapes. He created the lie that ACORN was engaged in election fraud. the Republican party jumped right on that lie and flogged it for months. In fact members of the current House are workiing on another ant-ACORN piece of legislation even though ACORN doesn't exist any more.

But O'Keefe's lie about ACORN was useful to the Republican party: it's the basis for their lie about votig irregularities which is then the basis for their nationwide attempts to pass voter suppression laws.

A legitimate political party would not tolerate a person like O"keefe, but the Republican party not only tolerates him, but uses him. He's an essential part of the disiinformation operation.

A legitimate political party would not have a disinformation operation in place functioning for years.

A legitimate political party would not depend upon voter suppression to win elections.

I'll dig up the link in a little while, but a Republican politician in Texas explained the need for voter suppression laws: Black Americans, ne explained, vote for Democrats. Texas is a battleground state, the Democrats are heavily iinvolved in registering voters there, so, to the Repubican party, the logical response is to deny people access to the polls based on the odds that they will vote for Democrats.


And no, there is no Democratic equivalent to O'Keefe, nor is there a Democratic equivalent of the disinformation campaigns launched to provide a basis for nefarious legislation, nor is there a Democratic equivalent to the Republican voter suppression efforts.

WE have one moderate politcal party in this country and one extremist orgainzation that exploits and abuses the processes of democracy for the purpose of ending those processes.

One word too many, I think.

I actually thought about hanging a frequently on the end of that, but ignored the impulse.

Which I probably don't do nearly enough.

From Brett's link:

the 157 meetings that former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman had at the White House

Shulman was cleared for 157 meetings. He signed in for - i.e., actually attended -- 11.

Maybe he snuck in the back door for the other 146.

C'mon man, get your head out of Paranoid News Daily.


Brett,
You can cite one or two satirists who post here regularly as if they were serious and call that evidence. Im sure you could find some sporadic posters who are actually serious about this sort of thing. Like Mighty Whitey earlier, but a lefty.
What you can't do is find any sort of regular pattern by the usual suspects. That you even try to defend this accusation rather than withdraw it in shame is, well, shameful.

But, "exterminationist"? Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration for most

Oh, no, wait. Withdrawn, but shamelessly. the left has gotten more and more bought into the idea that conservatives aren't just the opposition, but a disease to be eradicated you said. You said you got that idea from the liberals here. Now, oops, did I call you guys eliminationists? My bad, I just meant you hate me irrationally.

But I forgive you, because you top it all off with your usual self-parody- what you've really learned is that liberals (not you, to be clear- liberals) have a presumption of evil motive by their opposite numbers.
I know, I know, you won't actually do anything like this, but if you read your posts on this thread that is exactly what you will find- a presumption that Obama is lying when he says he is not happy about this, a presumption that it was entirely done with malice as opposed to mistake, a presumption, basically, that the other side is presuming that your side is evil.
But when I look at the liberal comments, I don't see that at all. I mean, there will always be the shrill and dogmatic on both sides (and if you want to see some naked eliminationism sans sarcasm, sans having-to-read-between-the-lines, spend some time at Red State). Your error (other than being that which you claim to despise) is seeking out the worst example of the 'other side' and using it as canonical. Because it makes you feel better, I guess. Or maybe it protects you against examination of your assumptions?

If you want to claim that the IRS is some kind of cat's paw for a big liberal conspiracy, you have to explain all of the many times that it's been employed to suppress liberal and left-wing political activity. Of which there are no lack of examples.

What's your explanation?

He's already given us that- since he is certain that his theory is correct, it must be the case that the IRS has become much more liberal OR that liberals have become much less principled. QED. Because it just *can't* be the case that this was more accident than attack, more of a snafu than the shadow of the coming tyranny.
Because that would mean it isn't indicative of how evil liberals are, and Brett knows that we are, ergo everything must be proof of that. Again, QED.

I am really curious: Why would the President's deputy campaign manager need to sit in on meetings at the White house with the IRS commissioner?

Oh my dog, you mean that the Obama White House sometimes mixes politics with policy? That's H1tler!
But let's treat your silly question seriously for a moment, and Ill ask a follow-up: why would a political operative discuss something like persecuting Tea Party charities in a meeting about Obamacare implementation? Those two things have nothing to do with each other. So you're claiming that because the head of the IRS met a political operative during an unrelated ObamaCare implementation meeting, they must have planned an attack on TP charities? Because what else could they have been talking about- certainly not about how the implementation of ObamaCare is going or the political implications of that, since ObamaCare is just a front for destroying America and it's going just fine thank you.

Why does Frank Luntz address and sit in on Republican policy and strategy meetings, I'd like to know.

So that ... you didn't think I'd leave that question unanswered, did you? .... when the usual suspects craft a news release that reads "We oughta shoot any uppity Kenyan socialist who loves him some shariah death panels" Luntz can, like a bobbing and weaving Uriah Heep take things in hand and suggest a more nuanced message like "Our chief bullet point has in its sights the education of the public about how Obamacare is foreign to our American way of life."

Then he adds, "I have to say though that 'death panels' has a certain music to it."

Now, Cutter sits in meetings with the President and when he states: "Stephanie, I'd like this to be presented to the American people and our friends on the other side of the aisle in a straightforward, civil manner," she can suggest "Mr President, I'd suggest that we use the words "American people", "our friends", "straightforward", and "civil manner," in our message."

At which point the President will say, "Thank you, Stephanie, but ... those are exactly the words I used. Tell me again why you are in these meetings, because inevitably Brett is going to ask?"

Stephanie: "Might I suggest addressing him as Mr. Bellmore, because he might construe the use of his surname as a little on the casual and intimate side of eliminationist rhetoric."

The President: "See, that's what I'm paying you the big bucks for."

It's funny, I read Investor's Business Daily for the stock charts.

I turn to the editorial page because I like to keep charts of lunacy, which in their case has entered the parabolic, blow-off phase with no relation to fundamentals, soaring well-above the national moving average of your run-of the-mill gibbering crackitudinous market euphoria.

I enjoy reading Ann Coulter, too, who is often featured, for all of the new suggestions she has for eliminating me.

Enough of biased liberal claptrap, let a real conservative speak, one who I disagree with on nearly all substantive policy issues, but also one who knows crazy when he sees it.

David Frum, in his own words:

"I'm a conservative Republican, have been all my adult life. I volunteered for the Reagan campaign in 1980. I've attended every Republican convention since 1988. I was president of the Federalist Society chapter at my law school, worked on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and wrote speeches for President Bush—not the "Read My Lips" Bush, the "Axis of Evil" Bush. I served on the Giuliani campaign in 2008 and voted for John McCain in November. I supported the Iraq War and (although I feel kind of silly about it in retrospect) the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I could go on, but you get the idea.[36]"

He also backed the nomination of Sarah Palin as Vice President and came soon to regret it.

He had the honor and distinction of being fired from the American Enterprise Institute for his growing apostasy, joining other Reagan alumni, like Bruce Bartlett, in exile from the "conservative" "intellectual" "movement" which has come to resemble not so much a movement as an ice pick-wielding thugocracy intent on hunting down and serving retribution to all impure Trotskyite traitors.

THAT David Frum, a few days ago:

“I appreciate that conservative reformers must pay lip-service to shibboleths about Barack Obama being the worst president of all time, who won’t rest until he has snuffed out the remains of constitutional liberty, etc. etc. Dissent too much from party orthodoxy, and you find yourself outside the party altogether.

Still … conservative reformers should admit, if only to themselves, the harm that has been done by the politics of total war over the past five years. Now Republicans are working themselves into a frenzy that will paralyze Congress for the next 18 months at least, and could well lead to an impeachment crisis. As it becomes clear that the IRS story is an agency scandal, not a White House scandal, conservative reformers need to be ready to do their part to apply the brakes and turn the steering wheel. There will be a Republican president again someday, and that president will need American political institutions to work. Republicans also lose as those institutions degenerate,” – David Frum, taking a breather from blogging for a while.

He's an incurable romantic, is my take.

The current infestation of the Republican Party will take the country over the impeachment cliff in the next 18 months and they will sign the death warrant for the institutions Frum holds dear and any notion these cracker wankers entertain that this civilization will not turn against them in a paroxysm of savage violence will die with them.

It will be a parody, an earnest, high-ratings reality show, as all things American are, perhaps with cannibalism during sweeps week, of a paroxysm of violence.

Via Digby:

My pores exude empathy for these victims:

List 'O the Day

by digby

Brendan Nyhan has compiled an amazing list of loyalty smears against President Obama:

Smears of Barack Obama's loyalty 2006-

December 2006: Columnist Debbie Schlussel notes that Obama's father was a Muslim and asks "Where will his loyalties be?"

February 2008: Radio talk show host Bill Cunningham calls Obama "this Manchurian candidate" but says "I do not believe Barack Hussein Obama is a terrorist or a Manchurian candidate."

April 2008: During an apperance on Glenn Beck's show on CNN Headline News, Ann Coulter asks "Is Obama a Manchurian candidate to normal Americans who love their country? ... Or is he being the Manchurian candidate to the traitor wing of the Democratic Party?"

May 2008: Fox News analyst Dick Morris states that "the determinant in the election will be whether we believe that Barack Obama is what he appears to be, or is he somebody who's sort of a sleeper agent who really doesn't believe in our system and is more in line with [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright's views?"

June 2008: During separate television apperances on Fox News and NBC, Dick Morris says "[T]he question that plagues Obama is ... Is he pro-American?" and states that "[T]his whole debate about what kind of president [Sen. Barack] Obama would make has swirled around almost an existential level. Is he sort of a Manchurian candidate? A sleeper agent? Or is he the great hope of the future?" Fox News host E.D. Hill also asked whether a fist bump between Obama and his wife was "A terrorist fist jab?"

April 2009: Frank Gaffney claims on MSNBC that Obama's apparent bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was "code" telling "our Muslim enemies that you are willing to submit to them."

May 2009: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich alleges on "Fox News Sunday" that there is a "weird pattern" in which Obama administration officials were "prepared to take huge risks with Americans in order to defend terrorists" and suggests that the Obama administration was proposing "welfare" for terrorists. He then claims on "Meet the Press" that the Obama administration's "highest priority" is to "find some way to defend terrorists."

June 2009: Senator James Inhofe calls Obama's Cairo speech "un-American" and says "I just don't know whose side he's on." Talk show host Lee Rodgers asserts that Obama is "an anti-American president" and that Obama's policies will lead to a "few million dead Americans."

August 2009: On the Lou Dobbs radio show, substitute host Tom Marr says "I have to believe that there is still an inner Muslim within this man that has some sense of sympathy towards the number one enemy of freedom and democracy in the world today, and that is Islamic terrorism."

September 2009: Gaffney says Obama is "pursuing [an agenda] that is indistinguishable in important respects from that of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose mission ladies and gentlemen, we know from a trial in Dallas last year, is to quote to destroy Western civilization from within by its own miserable hand." Conservative pundit Tammy Bruce says on Fox News that Obama has "some malevolence toward this country."

November 2009: Fox's Sean Hannity suggests that President Obama was somehow responsible for the Fort Hood shooting, stating that "our government apparently knew and did nothing" about "a terrorist act" and then asking "What does it say about Barack Obama and our government?"

December 2009: Citing a dubious report that the Obama administration had threatened Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) with closing Offutt Air Force Base, home of the US Strategic Command, if Nelson didn't support the health care reform bill in the Senate, Glenn Beck suggests that the allegation would constitute "high crimes," asked "[H]ow much closer do you get to treason?", and said the claim "borders treason" and "borders on treason."

January 2010: The New York Post publishes an editorial asking "Whose side is the Justice Department on: America's or the terrorists'? ... [T]he president and his administration also owe the American people an answer: Is the government's prosecutorial deck stacked in favor of the terrorists?" Former senator Fred Thompson also jokes that the US could win the war in Afghanistan if we "[j]ust send Obama over there to campaign for the Taliban."

February 2010: During a conference call with conservative bloggers, Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.) accuses the Obama administration of having a "a terrorist protection policy" and conducting a "jihad to close Guantanamo." In addition, based on a superficial resemblance between two logos, Frank Gaffney suggests that President Obama's missile defense policies "seem to fit an increasingly obvious and worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam and the theo-political-legal program the latter’s authorities call Shariah."

April 2010: Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) writes an article for The Daily Caller alleging that Obama is "disadvantaging the United States one step at a time and undermining this country’s national defense on purpose."

July 2010: Writing in the Washington Times, former GOP Rep. and third party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo calls Obama "a more serious threat to America than al Qaeda" and "a dedicated enemy of the Constitution," while columnist Jeffrey Kuhner of the Edmund Burke Institute describes Obama as an "usurper" who is creating "a socialist dictatorship" and has engaged in "treasonous" behavior by suing Arizona over its immigration law.

August 2010: National Review's Andrew McCarthy publishes an entire book claiming that Obama is pursuing an agenda that will aid Islamic radicals. The dust jacket states that "the global Islamist movement's jihad ... has found the ideal partner in President Barack Obama, whose Islamist sympathies run deep." Commentary's Jennifer Rubin writes that Obama's "sympathies for the Muslim World take precedence over those, such as they are, for his fellow citizens" in a post criticizing Obama's statement on the proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero.

September 2010: David Limbaugh suggests that Obama may be "trying intentionally to take us over the cliff" in a Newsmax.tv interview.

May 2013: When asked whether Obama "actually switched sides in the War on Terror," former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld answered, "You know, I just don't feel competent to answer. I can't tell."


Yes, that guy. Former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Seriously.


State level symptoms of how the disease of conservatism affecgts the bopdy politic (from Mark Binelli, of the NYT):

"To critics, emergency managers are unelected dictators, most often installed in poor, majority black cities. Last fall, Michigan voters repealed the emergency manager law in a ballot referendum. But Governor Snyder rammed through a new version during the lame-duck session of the G.O.P.-controlled State Legislature — a flagrantly undemocratic move, seemingly driven less by ideology than fear of what a Detroit bankruptcy might do to the credit ratings of the surrounding suburbs and the state.

The hope is that Mr. Orr, who worked as a lead attorney on Chrysler’s managed bankruptcy, will be able to prevent Detroit from entering Chapter 9. Yet in one of his first acts, he signed off on the hiring of his own former law firm, Jones Day, to help restructure Detroit’s long-term debt — despite the fact that Jones Day already represents some of the very banks holding said debt, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

Indeed, the least surprising development to anyone following Detroit’s woes has been Wall Street’s continued ability to squeeze money out of a city that can’t afford to keep its streetlights on or police its neighborhoods (there were almost as many murders in Detroit last year as there were in New York, a city with 11 times the population; Detroit officers are working 12-hour shifts with 10 percent pay cuts; and private businesses recently kicked in $8 million to buy the department new squad cars and ambulances).

In recent years, Detroit’s water department has paid Wall Street banks hundreds of millions in termination fees alone in order to get out of bad municipal bond deals. (The city utility is so broke, it issued new bonds in order to pay the fees to get out of the old bonds!)

According to a recent Reuters article, since corporate bankruptcies have declined, investors specializing in “distressed” hedge funds have begun circling troubled municipalities, with no city “attracting more attention than Detroit.” One financial adviser quoted in the story sounded a note of caution to the would-be vultures, noting that unlike a corporation, “you can’t liquidate a city.”


But apparently no one informed Mr. Orr, whose spokesman, Bill Nowling, told The Detroit Free Press that the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, including works by van Gogh and Matisse, was being listed as an asset in the event of bankruptcy. “Creditors can really force the issue,” Mr. Nowling said. “If you go into court, they can object and say, ‘Hey, I’m taking a huge haircut, and you’ve got a billion dollars’ worth of art sitting over there.’ ”

Why stop there? Perhaps as part of a settlement, Mr. Orr can negotiate with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to play at creditors’ annual shareholder luncheons, or work out a deal wherein laid-off autoworkers perform free annual tuneups on the limousines of bank executives. Better yet, he could tear a page from the Chrysler turnaround — which, of course, ended with the company’s being purchased by Fiat. See where I’m going with this? Italians love art, they love cars, and they know how to monetize old ruins!

In a different world, Mr. Orr might instead consider more aggressively challenging the city’s creditors, or lobbying for the sort of federal cash infusion received by the faltering banks and auto companies. Unfortunately, such scenarios aren’t likely to come up during today’s Mackinac panel on Detroit’s turnaround — moderated by the vice chairman of a bank"

I'd love it if the Republican party went back to being the party of pre-Atwood, Rove, Koch, KStreet.

The old Republican party was prone to abuses of power: red baiting, Watergate, Iran-Contra. However, there were politicians who behaved civilly and even ethically in the political realm. Congressionl Republicans seemed to repsect their offices and conductged busiess in a reasoanable spirit. There was a willingness to process factual information and respect for science. Discussion and compromise was possible. Abuses of office such as happened during the Nixon Administration was outrageous because it was unusual.

I'd love to have that party back. I thik it is important to have diversity of opinion, debate, disagreement, multiple perspectives.

But that is not what the Republican party brings to our politics now. The curent part is lead by people who do not like democracy and want to replace representative democracy with institutionalized rule by the one percent. Tom DeLay was speakig the truth when he said the Republicans wanted to have a one party state at the national level. Romeny was expressing the philosophers of DOP leadership when he dismissed most Americans as "takers".

It's a party of ideologues, nutcases, and cynics out for what they can loot for themselves. There's no intellectual honestly, and there sure as hell isn't any capacity fo ethical behavior, not in the House or Senate at least, and not in the leadership of the party itself.

At the bottom the Republican party is the party of people who are, in terms of their political lives, prone to believing errant nonsense, and easily manipulated by appeals selfishness, fear and/or hate. The rightwing lunatic fringe has taken over.

It is not a normal political party and does act in a responsible way.

The only way to get the old party back is to get rid of this one and that means facing up to how degenerate the party has become.

Um, let's see.

It wouldn't surprise me if the D to R ratio of IRS employees at 1111 Constitution was something like 70 to 30. On the one hand, I don't think that matters the least bit. On the other hand, strange things might be afoot at the Circle K if the organization charged with enforcing the tax laws was run by people that....don't believe in enforcing the tax laws or even in taxes at all - if we're going to engage in a sort of "all that matters in my life is my political beliefs" paradigm.

A few weeks on it seems the IRS fncked up, mostly fixed it, and then fncked up again by not being proactive in its communications to Congress. Congress is pissed, and probably rightly so (although the GOP seems to have gone off the deep end - not that there's anything unusual about that). And yet, folks have resigned/retired, one has taken the 5th, and new leadership is in place.

Well, ugh, in Watergate (comparing time frame only) and Iran-Contra the first wave of resignations, fifth pleading and replacements didn't come close to answering the questions or getting to the facts. So pardon my skepticism, but I'm not ready to just declare everything ok.

For you exhalegeninsiouseelminationaterabators out there, Rollins Corp (NYSE: ROL)closed down a dime today.

The Liberal Apocalypse foretold in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is upon us.

Grab your totem and your gun and flee to the woods where skepticism grows on trees watered by the Natural Order of tooth and claw.

I'll call when the coast clears.

Marty: Unfortunately, modern administrations seem to have taken Watergate as a guide to what corrupt administrations shouldn't do, (Record conversations, maintain records, hire people with strong moral convictions, stop stonewalling...) rather than as a suggestion not to be corrupt. So I'm not all that confident we will EVER get to the bottom of things. Most investigations during the Clinton administration, for instance, didn't establish innocence. They just petered out in a mess of people taking the fifth, destroyed evidence, and sick people dying in inexplicable solitary confinement.

Coverups do work, if you plan on covering up from day one, and don't suffer from pangs of guilt. Because it isn't only the good guys who learn from history. They both do, just different lessons.

wistfully wishing for data...

However, the IRS does publish the names of groups that have received special scrutiny and been approved for tax-exempt status. They recently released a list of 176 organizations that have been approved since 2010, so Martin Sullivan checked each one to figure out if it was liberal or conservative. Here's what he found:

122 conservative
48 liberal/nonconservative
6 unknown

stupid IRS can't even stifle the speech of its enemies correctly. must be all the liberalism.

So I'm not all that confident we will EVER get to the bottom of things.

of course you're not. but that's simply because you already know what the bottom looks like and you also know reality can't match it.

Brett, I would love to see one comment where you referred to the activities of the Bush adminstration as being akin to Watergate. Just one.

Brett, I would love to see one comment where you referred to the activities of the Bush adminstration as being akin to Watergate. Just one.

Watergate was a domestic issue. If there was a comparable scandal under Bush, I'd appreciate having my memory refreshed.

Marty makes the fair point that we are early in the investigation. To turn LJ's point back on him, I'd like to be reminded on just one Republican scandal about which the Dems treated a senior official taking the fifth barely worthy of note and generally accepted the initial positions asserted by the Repubs.

I think one day each of us, seeking our separate partisan ponies, will end up with that pony and it will be the same, identical pony.

The pony being the U.S. Security State's warrentless electronic surveillance program, designed and requested by the Bush Administration, approved by Congress, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and now vastly expanded in its implementation by the Obama Administration.

It's as if the entire Federal Government, with the acquiescence of the electorate, decided to implement Richard Nixon's Plumbers Unit, for EVERYBODY.

But it's a legal pony, you say, so we can't call it a scandal.

One day, though, it will be so abused, probably for partisan political ends, and it will leave such an Everest of steaming, odiferous pony manure to clean up that we will begin impeachment proceedings against EVERYONE, with no statute of limitations, including ourselves.

And then all of us and our single gargantuan pony will be consigned to GITMO.

I would add that Domino's Pizza is beta-testing pizza delivery by drone in England.

When that comes to the States, I expect that could be a pony, too.

When you place your order, will they ask if you would like the surveillance device ordered by NSA in the pepperoni, or in the mushrooms?

Beware the breadsticks.

But it's a legal pony, you say, so we can't call it a scandal.

It is also a pony that can be used in the same fashion as the "insensitive low level IRS employees in the Cincinnati branch office who acted without the authority or approval of more senior officials who will be suitably shocked and chagrined". And, depending on who is in office, some will accept the initial, self-serving explanation, and others will not.

And, depending on who is in office, some will accept the initial, self-serving explanation, and others will not.

and some will look up at the night sky and loudly insist that a particular scattering of stars plots a clear picture of their enemies perfidy. when challenged, they will insist that increases in telescope power will improve the picture so that even the myopic will see what they've seen all along.

It occurs to me that since these orgs are not supposed to be political in nature there really can't be any partisan bias concerning their politics.

The pony being the U.S. Security State's warrentless electronic surveillance program, designed and requested by the Bush Administration

I believe that the Obama administration went to the FISA courts and got approval for this latest batch of requested data. So: not quite the same thing. HOWEVER: it still prompts the debate about how the government can legitimately obtain, even through the courts, a sanctioned violation of the privacy of many, many ordinary law-abiding citizens.

So: I think the pony is a different one than you describe, but it's still going to be the one we wind up getting.

That said, the reporting that I have seen notes that Verizon has been hit up for metadata on all of its customers.

Which is similar to (I am making a comparison in degree, here; not of kind) the government obtaining a warrant to toss the houses of anyone it pleases, so that random searches can be conducted in a way consistent with the law.

Question: what does a warrant mean anymore, if you can get a warrant to violate the privacy of everyone?

Again: admittedly slightly hyperbolic.

HOWEVER: it still prompts the debate about how the government can legitimately obtain, even through the courts, a sanctioned violation of the privacy of many, many ordinary law-abiding citizens.

I think the larger point here is that the FISA court has almost always been a rubber stamp court that gives the government what it wants. Structurally, it must be: the government stands before it making its case and there's no one arguing against it. There's no accountability for its decisions, no shame, nothing.

When the Bush admin bypassed the FISA court, there was an upsurge of people talking about how great the court is, how it was the right and proper way for national security issues to be hashed out, etc, but I think all that talk was wrong: FISA has always been a bad idea in that the court has gone for years without turning down the government even once.

Agreed, Turbulence.

This may be a first.

Well, ugh, in Watergate (comparing time frame only) and Iran-Contra the first wave of resignations, fifth pleading and replacements didn't come close to answering the questions or getting to the facts. So pardon my skepticism, but I'm not ready to just declare everything ok.

Every once in a while the police pull someone over for speeding and there's a body in the trunk.
You can wait with bated breath for the body to be revealed this time. You can even, like Brett, assume that if we find an empty trunk this will just mean that the body was moved beforehand.

The biggest tip-off I see is this: GOP partisans are coming up with some pretty nonsensical stuff to throw at the wall (see Issa's 'this began in Washington' misdirection, or even Brett's 10:14 comment. When there's a real scandal brewing, the other side isn't flailing around trying to make something stick, because that distracts from the real scandal.

But Id be the first to admit that rule of thumb is an uncertain guide, and that only events will tell us the truth of the matter. (Brett will be the last to admit this, apparently the real scandal of the last couple of Dem administrations is that they never got caught). Im all for giving whats-her-name immunity and asking her to explain the details of what she knows. Not sure why that hasn't happened yet.

I agree with Turb, no, Slart, no, uh, both? My mind just can't function this way, so please disagree on something quick.

I agree with Turb, no, Slart, no, uh, both?

Me too. I think we're approaching some kind of bizarre singularity here.

My mind just can't function this way, so please disagree on something quick.

Fried pickles: bad idea.
Vodka: not a proper martini ingredient.

That should hold us for a while.

russell: Excellent. You might have thrown something in there to the effect that not only are Macs inherently superior to PCs, but Mac users are more attractive, intelligent and generally savvy than Windows users.

Marty: I agree with you 50%.

not only are Macs inherently superior to PCs, but Mac users are more attractive, intelligent and generally savvy than Windows users.

Huh.

And here, I thought that question was long since settled.

(... ducks and leaves ...)

Wow, I feel so much better. Vodka martinis are so much better conceptually, I don't drink except for the occasional tequila shot. And mac users are wimps to class based marketing.

The world has been set right.

I agree that fried pickles have no place in a vodka martini.

Carleton,

They MIGHT have tried. They haven't got anyone on record implicating her enough to force her to make a deal. If they can't prove she did something wrong then she has no reason to take immunity.

Or they don't believe she knows anything about anyone else they consider important. So giving her immunity might be counterproductive for their political desires.

Or a third I haven't thought up.

They MIGHT have tried. They haven't got anyone on record implicating her enough to force her to make a deal. If they can't prove she did something wrong then she has no reason to take immunity.

I dont believe that's how immunity works- people are compelled to testify before Congress, but they can't be compelled to self-incriminate. Once the threat of self-incrimination is removed they can be compelled to testify, period.
Now, she could stand mute and be found in contempt, but I can't imagine that this wouldn't be a great outcome for the GOP since it would demonstrate that she isn't protecting herself, she's protecting someone or something else.
So my money is on 2)they know or suspect that she won't have much on anyone else and that this will deflate the scandal or 3)they're still getting their ducks in a row, it's only been a couple of weeks
IANAL

Carleton, The problem, and I am not a lawyer, is defining what she would get immunity for. I had not thought through giving her blanket immunity and forcing her to testify.

The pony being the U.S. Security State's warrentless electronic surveillance program, designed and requested by the Bush Administration, approved by Congress, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and now vastly expanded in its implementation by the Obama Administration.

LOL.

Sensenbrenner, one of the authors of USAPA, finds himself shocked - shocked, I say! - to find that it's being used overly broadly.

You'd think nothing like this had ever happened before.

At least they've stopped writing their own warrants on Post-its. At least I think they have.

russell: At least they've stopped writing their own warrants on Post-its. At least I think they have.

Warrants? We don't need no stinking warrants!

"I dont believe that's how immunity works- people are compelled to testify before Congress, but they can't be compelled to self-incriminate. Once the threat of self-incrimination is removed they can be compelled to testify, period."

In this case, I believe the reason she took the Fifth is that she has already made contradictory statements on the subject. The result of this is that, if she testifies under oath, and is asked those same questions, her testimony could be impeached no matter what she says. She says one thing, the Republicans go after her on perjury, she says the opposite, the Democrats do.

And I don't think you can be immunized against perjury charges steming from the testimony you're being compelled to give as a result of being immunized.

She's in a perjury trap, I'd have more sympathy if she hadn't constructed it herself.

Ugh, that was basically the reasoning behind Cheney's urgent demands to bypass FISA even when FISA would rubberstamp everything. For him it was a matter of principle that the unified executive did not need any warrant or court approval and that asking for one would undermine the very principle of the unified executive by setting a precedent.

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