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Tag: Darrell Issa

The Right Wing Monopoly on Bullsh*t

A monopoly is a large association – a cartel, syndicate or trust – owned by an individual or group. These associations control industries, markets, or entire economies through a concentration of resources.

Politically, at least, the right wing seems to have cornered the market on bullshit. These people – you know all the players by name – claim the moral high ground and even “divine right” to simultaneously cling to democratic principles while conducting themselves in a contrary manner.

Take national security, for example. The Right asserts superiority in the patriotism department. Early opponents of the Patriot Act were so cowed by the prospect of being labeled “unpatriotic” that 98 of 100 Senators voted in favor of it. In the House, 357 members voted for its passage. But, while claiming that this nation’s security is of the utmost importance, Rep. Darrell Issa (CA), for example, has a history of leaking sensitive information and documents. These leaks have the potential for damaging national security and, according to Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD) “promote political narratives that turn out to be inaccurate after further investigation.” Issa is not the only one whose patriotic fervor is belied by his actions. The Kochs are reputed to have spent $20 million to fight the Patriot Act. Just too intrusive, you know..?

And speaking of intrusive, how about those safety net programs? That “nanny state” government! People who have suffered injury, hard times and numerous other disadvantages should write themselves out of the social contract all together and, ideally, shrivel up and blow away.

“When everyone gets something for nothing, soon no one will have anything, because no one will be producing anything,” said Charles Koch, whose inheritance (made by his daddy, who ran oil pipelines through the USSR for Stalin) clearly stunted his incentive.

Glenn Grothman (WI) offered the belief that the Left would like to breed generations of “takers” in perpetuity: “The Left and the social welfare establishment want children born out of wedlock because they are far more likely to be dependent on the government.”

Of course, when they talk about children born out of wedlock, we know what they really mean: melanin. Pigmentation. Color.

The Right’s “color envy” came to light when Rep. Ted Yoho (FL) proclaimed that taxing tanning salons was “racist”. The White Right really can’t be prejudiced, because they can’t even tell the races or ethnicities apart. Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX) observed: “We know Al Qaeda has camps on the Mexican border. We have people that are trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists.” Meanwhile, Rep. Steve King (IA), expressed a bizarre form of admiration for the athleticism of some: “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

The Right generously acknowledges the Left’s inclusion and embracing of the melting pot that is America: “Liberals love diversity. That’s why they love to punish anyone who doesn’t think, act, eat, drink, drive and speak exactly like them.” (Rep. Steve Stockman, TX)

The Right believes, too, that race should pose no obstacle to achievement in this land of opportunity. Everyone has an equal chance of belonging to the 47% moocher class, as business news reporter Michele Caruso-Cabrera explained: “There used to be no income inequality in China because everyone was poor. This is a tradeoff you accept for growth and freedom.”

See? Income inequality is good, because…freedom! Former presidential candidate Herman Cain promoted personal responsibility for landing at one end of the spectrum or the other when he famously said “If you don’t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself.” If you do have the good fortune to amass a fortune, Iowa Rep. Steve King wants you to be able to keep it all for yourself: “It’s not even the government’s business how much money you make. That’s a part of freedom.”

But freedom only goes so far as the Right wants it to. They’ll let you know when you’ve had enough. State Rep. Mike Turner along with other legislators in Oklahoma are considering a ban on all marriages…to prevent the gay ones without violating the constitutional protections of anyone. After all, as former governor Mike Huckabee can tell you, through gay marriage “holy matrimony is formed into an unholy pretzel.”

But don’t take the Right’s rights away. Especially those pertaining to guns and ammo! “An armed man is a citizen – a disarmed man is a subject,” according to Allen West (FL), while Rep. Frank Lucas (OK) questions whether the Department of Homeland Security is engaged in “a conspiracy to buy up all the bullets so they’re not available to us?”

There have also been attempts by the Right to somehow connect school shootings with abortion. Kevin Cramer (ND) has argued that the legalization of a medical procedure that prevents viable pregnancies from coming to term ultimately results in school shootings – forgetting entirely that pregnancies that do come to term filled those schools in the first place. Numerous experts blame the state of the nation’s mental health care for many shootings in recent years.

Speaking of health, the Right certainly has strong opinions on that topic. Eye doctor/Senator Rand Paul said, “With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care… I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.”

So the career he presumably chose and for which he trained (and created his own credentialing authority to make certain he could practice) is slavery for him and his entire staff. Well, slavery happens to be unconstitutional. Or is it? It is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret the US Constitution and apply it to cases – like the Affordable Care Act – unless you listen to Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine: “Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s constitutional.”

The Right’s grasp of mathematics is every bit as good as their command of how the US Government is set up and functions. Budget Wizard Paul Ryan gave us his version of Jaime Escalante’s “fill in the hole” exercise in “Stand and Deliver”. “Let’s pass a bill to cover the moon with yogurt that will cost $5 trillion today. And then let’s pass a bill the next day to cancel that bill. We could save $5 trillion.”

But that is pure genius when compared to the American Petroleum Institute president who cannot cipher the difference between $4,000,000,000 and $0: “The oil and gas industry gets no subsidies, zero, nothing.” The fact is, petroleum was getting tax breaks to the tune of that slightly bigger number.

The Right is equally good at science, too. Recall Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s (MN) assertion that “there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.” Or the classic Rep. Steve Stockman (TX) quip: “The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it, oil and gas come out.”

Even when confronted by scientific evidence and facts, the Right’s “logical” conclusion can sound much like Texas Rep. Joe Barton’s: “The Great Flood is an example of climate change. And that certainly wasn’t because mankind overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.”

US science policy runs through the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, chaired by science skeptic Lamar Smith. He has equally dim counterparts on the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee. Between some members’ extreme ignorance and their eagerness to defund programs that would benefit the US and world communities scientifically, we can only hope that Alabama state representative Mary Sue McClurkin doesn’t one day join their ranks and regale them with her brand of wisdom: “When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body.”

Are they purposely obtuse? Willfully ignorant? If not, what is their end game? Why do they seem to want to bury America beneath what Jon Stewart terms “Bullsh*t Mountain”? An eloquent attempt to answer this question came from Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

What eluded Stutzman, however, was the fact that the right wingers claim to embody the values on which the nation was founded and, through their keen intellects and industriousness, strive tirelessly to demonstrate this through their actions.

What they really want, though, is the ability to do what they want to whomever they want by whatever means they want – especially if they generate tax-sheltered profits in the bargain. The truth is, they simply do not want government at all.

© 2014 Poligags

The Tea Party is, too, political!

There’s been a lot of boo-hooing from the right about how the Tea Party was “targeted” by the IRS. The President said he was angry and that it was wrong. A hearing held on May 21, however, revealed that the Treasury Department informed Darrell Issa of these activities last August.[1] No one squawked until the IRS “outed” itself.

Therefore, it is our not-at-all-humble opinion that all this righteous indignation is theater. We also believe that ALL tax-exempt organizations should undergo scrutiny on a regular basis to keep everyone honest and determine whether they should keep the privilege of not being subjected to the taxation that contributes to our society.

There are more than two dozen different kinds of non-profits. We work with some of the more commonly known types. This doesn’t make us experts by any stretch, but to help them with their messaging campaigns, we have to know something about each kind and what they can do:

501(c)(3) – Charitable organizations

Strictly prohibited from engaging in political activity, contributing to political organizations, candidates, or PACs. May not establish or maintain a separate 527 political organization.

501(c)(4) – Social Welfare organizations

Promote the social welfare of an identified “community” for the purposes of civic betterment or social improvement. They are allowed to endorse candidates whose positions reflect their own. They may engage in legislative pursuits that will improve their lot. However, according to the IRS: “promoting social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”

Donations may be received anonymously and in unlimited, unreported quantities. An interesting effect of the Citizens United ruling was that it established one authority that could regulate 501(c)(4)s: the IRS.

Becoming a (c)(4) does not require an IRS application, though; an organization may “self declare” by completing this form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/Form14449.pdf.

501(c)(5) – Labor and Agricultural organizations

This category includes labor unions, which may engage in collective bargaining and working toward better wages, benefits and working conditions.

501(c)(6) – Business leagues

Associations of people engaged in the same professions who work to promote and improve those professions. The category also includes chambers of commerce, boards of trade and football leagues. They may work to advance legislation that is in their common business interests.

527 – Political organizations

Political parties, campaign committees for federal, state, and local candidates for election and PACs subject to tax under IRC §527. They may accept donations that are reported consistent with FEC regulations; they may not engage in lobbying.

Source: IRS http://www.irs.gov/publications/p557/ch04.html and irs.gov/polorgs

Now that we know who can do what, let’s look at a few representative Tea Party events from the last couple of years, keeping in mind that the Tea Party groups are (c)(4) organizations:

May 4, 2013

Ron Paul at Tea Party event in Austin “We have infiltrated the Republican Party and we will convert the Republican Party into defenders of Liberty.” [video]

Sept. 2012

Tea Party holds “oust Obama” rally [article]

June 2012

Tea Party rallies before recall election with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Dana Loesch, Sen. Van Wanggaard [video]

Aug 2011

Tea Party supports Senators who “did the right thing” [article]

Now recollect what the IRS says: “promoting social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office” and try to reconcile that statement with the above examples. You can’t, because:

Acting like a virus and “infiltrating” the Republican Party might be construed as direct political action

An “oust Obama” rally might be construed as “opposition to any candidate for public office”

A rally in conjunction with a recall election in the presence of elected officials and others might be construed as direct political participation in a campaign AND working on behalf of a candidate

A rally to “stop the destruction of the country” and influence the outcome of an election might be construed as going beyond a mere endorsement

Liberal groups have endured IRS scrutiny, with Greenpeace, the NAACP and a church among those targeted during Bush II. All non-profits should be revisited as a matter of course to maintain their tax-exempt status. It’s been well documented that no Tea Party groups were denied non-profit status. The only Tea Party groups that have had their status revoked hadn’t filed for three or more years.
TP Tax Exempt Status photo TP-TEstatus_zpse3e58418.jpegComplaints may be filed anonymously, and we encourage their use if warranted. In the case of the Tea Party, someone did [2]. This could certainly trigger an inquiry.

We at Poligags don’t buy the story that rogue IRS employees “targeted” the Tea Party. For one thing, we know the political make up of the particular corner of Ohio in which this office is situated [3]. It is about as “red” as could be. The IRS is not known as a bastion of liberalism; if you drew a Venn diagram of local population and IRS staff, you probably couldn’t find two liberals in the intersect. Further, the IRS hierarchy is structured so that “front line” employees could not engage in unilateral action undetected by supervisory personnel [4]. Finally, the increase of 1,000 applications in just the year preceding last November’s election probably negates any argument that IRS staff had leisure time on their hands to go on a “search and destroy” mission for political organizations posing as social welfare groups.

Instead, the Tea Party reminds Poligags of the children’s story in which the mother hen plants, grows, harvests, and grinds the grain needed to then bake bread for her slovenly and ungrateful brood. The Tea Party wants to reap the bounty of America without contributing to the infrastructure, the programs or the cooperative governance that make it all possible. They are individuals who don’t believe in investing in a government that then socialistically “redistributes” tax revenues – particularly for programs to which they object. Instead, the Tea Partiers strive to minimize their exposure to or exempt themselves entirely from taxation.

What’s to stop each and every one of us from incorporating and then self-declaring as a (c)(4)? What would that do to the nation’s tax revenue stream? And who will outraise and outspend the other to buy elections? No. Better to investigate “wrongly” than to sink into that morass.

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© 2013 Poligags