Saturday, June 29, 2013

Conservatives Have Trouble Keeping The IRS Scandal Numbers Right


Here’s a headline published Thursday by The Washington Examiner: “Treasury: IRS targeted 292 Tea Party groups, just 6 progressive groups.”
And here is that headline again, at Breitbart. And here, essentially, again, at Newmax. And The American Thinker. And here is Hot Air’s piece based on the Examiner story.
That 292 number? It’s flat wrong.
These pieces were all about undercutting a claim made by Democrats this week — that liberal groups were also affected by the IRS’ inappropriate screening and handling of applications for tax-exempt status. That claim, in turn, rested on the newly learned fact that the term “progressive” appeared on “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) lists used by the IRS in recent years, and the subsequent disclosure from the IRS inspector general that six groups with “progress” or “progressive” in their names had their applications for tax-exempt status included in a group of “potential political cases” by the IRS.
To understand how conservative outlets flubbed the numbers so badly, you have to go back to the original Inspector General for Tax Administration report released last month. The report stated that between May 2010 and May 2012, the IRS identified 298 applications for tax-exempt status that needed further review as “potential political cases.” Of those, the inspector general said, a majority of the applications “included indications of significant political campaign intervention.” Put simply, most of the 298 groups put into the political case group deserved to be in there — even if the way they were identified for inclusion had been improper. And the inspector general also found that 91 groups had been deemed potential political cases no indication of significant political activity in their applications. (IRS officials disputed this finding, the IG also points out.)
We now know, thanks to a letter the inspector general, J. Russell George, sent to Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) on Wednesday, that six groups with “progress” or “progressive” in their names were among the 298 “potential political cases.” Subtract those six from the total 298, and you get the 292 number that appeared in the headlines. But George’s letter did not mean, as the conservative outlets seem to think, that the rest of those groups were tea party groups. The inspector general report contains the actual number: 96 of the 298 groups deemed “potential political cases” had the terms tea party, patriots, or 9/12 in their names. That leaves 196 “potential political cases” whose political leanings we don’t know. They could be liberal. They could be conservative. They could be communist.
George’s letter to Levin may be the source of the confusion. In it, George wrote that while six groups with “progress” or “progressive” in their names had been put in the political case group between May 2010 and May 2012, 14 groups with those terms in their names that applied for tax-exempt status at the same time had not been referred for additional scrutiny as potential political cases.
“In comparison, our audit found that 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with TeaParty, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases during the timeframe of our audit,” George wrote.
Conservatives seemed to have turned that “100 percent” figure into the 292 number.
There’s an additional wrinkle in the original IG report to keep in mind. As mentioned above, there were 91 groups whose applications ended up in the potential political case group despite not appearing to be heavily involved in politics. Of those, just 17 had the terms Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names. In other words, most of the tea party groups that ended up as “potential political cases” were identified for the right reason, even if the way they were identified (screening for particular terms in their names) and the subsequent treatment of those applications (intrusive letters, long wait periods) was improper.
In his letter to Levin on Wednesday, George did not indicate whether the six “progress” and “progressive” groups in the “potential political case” group had evidence of political activity in their applications, and he did not elaborate on the subsequent treatment the IRS gave those applications. And it’s not even clear yet how those six applicants ended up in the political group. George’s letter also states that the section of the BOLO lists where the term “progressive” appeared was not specifically used to refer cases for scrutiny of political activity.
Laws controlling the release of taxpayer information mean we might never get an exact breakdown of the political leanings of the 298 “potential political cases.” But its definitely not 292 to 6.
Clarification: This article has been updated to clarify that the 14 groups with “progress” or “progressive” in their name that were not referred for additional scrutiny as potential political cases may have received additional scrutiny for other reasons.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Oh Look Darrell Issa Is Lying Again, Part One Million Seven Hundred Sixty Thousand Seventy Two

Ugh. We thought we were done with this IRSgate bullshit, since now Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Satan’s Bunghole) has been outed as Congress’s biggest assclown, whom no one should take seriously ever again. (Haha, “ever again” assumes facts not in evidence. Law talk!) But it seems that the non-scandal is turning out to be a scandal again, except it’s because Darrell Issa seemed to manufacture the first non-scandal, because he is a shitty human being and all. This has become a giant confusing clusterfuck of awfulness, and we are getting really tired of more awful people getting involved and ruining our day-drinking. Here’s the latest.
Democrats are upset because contrary to the report prepared by the IRS Inspector General, the IRS didn’t just target Tea Party nutjobs, but also looked at progressive groups. When asked about it, IRS IG J. George Russell’s office explained that they only looked at Tea Party groups because that’s all Rep. Issa asked them to look at. THE FUCK, REALLY?  READ MORE »

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Issa directed Treasury inspector general to ignore IRS treatment of liberal groups


The bombshell IRS audit released in May omitted information about liberal groups at the request of House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s office.
A spokesman for Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George told The Hill on Tuesday that Issa had requested investigators “narrowly focus on tea party organizations.”
The subsequent audit concluded the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” to single out for additional scrutiny tea party groups that applied for tax exempt status. The findings lead almost every politician, including President Barack Obama, to denounce the IRS. Several Republicans suggested the audit indicated the White House had a Nixonian “enemies list.”
Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, Issa said the IRS appeared to have been targeting Obama’s political opponents “perhaps not on his request” but “on his behalf.”
But new documents have revealed that liberal and progressive groups received similar treatment from the IRS. The “inappropriate criteria” used to single out tea party groups — so-called “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) memos — also singled out progressive and “Occupy” groups.
“We did not review the use, disposition, purpose or content of the other BOLOs. That was outside the scope of our audit,” the Treasury inspector general spokesman told The Hill.
The BOLO memos stated tax exempt status for progressive groups “may not be appropriate” because they were engaged in “anti-Republican” political activity. On the other hand, the BOLO memos only directed IRS employees to send tea party applications to a particular group. IRS officials have said the tea party applications were “centralized” to insure they received consistent treatment. Exactly how the BOLO memos were used remains unclear.
The report identified 298 groups that were subjected to additional scrutiny, and identified 98 of those groups as either tea party, patriot or 9/12 groups. The remaining 202 groups were labelled as “other.” During congressional hearings, George was repeatedly asked if these 202 “other” groups included liberal organizations. He said he couldn’t “make that determination” based on the available evidence. However, several liberal groups received the same level of IRS scrutiny as tea party groups.
The omitted information has caused Democrats to question whether the audit was truthful.
“Failing to make this clear in these documents and at Congressional Hearings even when asked directly has been fully misleading,” Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) wrote in a letter to George on Wednesday. “It has contributed to the distortion of this entire investigation, including use of innuendo and totally unsubstantiated assertions of White House involvement.”
The Associated Press on Wednesday confirmed that liberal and progressive groups were subjected the same treatment that conservative groups had complained about, including excessive questioning and extremely long waits. The liberal group Catholics United, for instance, waited seven years before receiving tax exempt status, far longer than any tea party group was forced to wait.
Meanwhile, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s office has continued to defend its audit of the IRS. Karen Kraushaar told the Associated Press that the inspector general was only “asked to look at the treatment of organizations known to be affiliated with the tea party in its review, and was asked to audit the way those organizations were being treated when they applied for tax-exempt status.”
Kraushaar implied information regarding liberal and progressive groups was omitted simply because of the narrow scope of the audit.
House Republicans have denied they attempted to limit the audit of the IRS. They acknowledged they requested the audit based off complaints they received from tea party groups, but that should not have prevented investigators from mentioning the impact on other effected groups. A Republican aide told The Hill that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration had “the authority to look at whatever they wanted to, and would be expected to do so if there was wrongdoing.”
Issa had previously released excerpts from a congressional investigation that purportedly proved the “targeting of conservative political groups came from Washington, D.C.” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) later released the full transcripts to show there was no evidence the Obama administration was involved.

The IRS "Scandal" Was A Scam


Monday's revelation that progressive as well as conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status had been singled out for review by the Internal Revenue Service left one pressing question: Why did the inspector general's report detailing improper scrutiny only mention conservative groups?
Last night we got the answer: The IG only reported on conservative groups because that's what Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the notoriously partisan chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told him to do. Via The Hill:
The Treasury inspector general whose report helped drive the IRS targeting controversy says it limited its examination to conservative groups because of a request from House Republicans.
A spokesman for Russell George, Treasury's inspector general for tax administration, said they were asked - by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) - "to narrowly focus on Tea Party organizations.
The inspector general's audit found that groups seeking tax-exempt status with "Tea Party" and "patriots" in their name did receive extra attention from the IRS, with some facing years of delay and inappropriate questions from the agency.
Note that this explanation is inconsistent with the description of their investigation the IG gave in its May 14 report, which strongly suggested that they had reviewed IRS targeting of all groups that sought tax-exempt status:
TIGTA initiated this audit based on concerns expressed by members of Congress. The overall objective of this audit was to determine whether allegations were founded that the IRS: 1) targeted specific groups applying for tax-exempt status, 2) delayed processing of targeted groups' applications, and 2) requested unnecessary information from targeted groups.
What all of this means is that Issa took the media for a ride. Again. 
Recall Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein's explanation for what made the IRS activity detailed in the IG report scandalous:
Here's what everyone agrees on: The Determinations Unit based out of the Cincinnati IRS targeted 501(c)(4) applications that used tea party-related terms for extra scrutiny. Whether the intent was benign, as the IRS swears, or rogue agents were carrying out a political vendetta, the effect was to politicize the IRS's filtering process. That's a huge problem.[...]
The problem wasn't that the IRS closely scrutinized questionable applications from tea party groups. It's that they didn't closely scrutinized the applications from other questionable groups as well. The scrutiny was the part they did right. The targeting was the part they did wrong.
Everyone agrees that it's a "huge problem" if the IRS is scrutinizing conservative groups and not progressive groups, which is what the IG report suggested. The right-wing media, with their typical tendency to vastly overreach, claimed absent evidence that the IRS targeting had been directed by the White House or initiated by officials in Washington, D.C. and demanded the appointment of a special prosecutor.
But now reports indicate that "[t]erms including 'Israel,' 'Progressive' and 'Occupy' were used by agency workers to help pick groups for closer examination." And the reason we are only learning about this now is because a Republican member of Congress asked that an investigation only review the targeting of conservative groups, not progressive ones.
This leaves a new question. The revelation of Issa's role in the slanting of the IG report follows months of the California congressman apparently leaking out-of-context statements to credulous media to drum up controversy over both the IRS story and the Obama administration's response to the September attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Will the media continue to take Issa seriously, or will they begin to treat him as a partisan actor who is using his position to attack the Obama administration rather than seeking legitimate investigations?
We'll find out soon. Mere hours after the news broke that the IRS had also targeted liberal groups for scrutiny, Issa's committee announced that it had subpoenaed four State Department witnesses as part of their Benghazi investigation.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Texas Legislator Claims Rape Kits Are A Form Of Abortion


In the midst of all the chaos on Sunday night as the Texas legislature pushed through a series of stringent restrictions on abortion and women’s health, it was easy to miss what might have been the most inaccurate and dangerous claim of the evening: One state representative tried to argue on the State House floor that rape kits are a form of abortion.

Texas Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R) sponsored several anti-abortion measures currently making their way to the Governor’s desk. Taken together, they would shut down the vast majority of the state’s women’s health clinics and criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. But in reasoning out why she did not support an exemption for rape victims in the 20-week ban, Laubenberg betrayed a woeful lack of information on the procedures a victim of rape undergoes — namely, the “rape kit,” which is used to collect data on the assailant and in no way relates to pregnancy:

When Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, called for an exemption for women who were victims of rape and incest, Rep. Jody Laubenberg, R-Parker, explained why she felt it was unnecessary.
“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out,” she said, comparing the procedure to an abortion. “The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development.”

The remark about rape kits, which is not accurate, sparked widespread ridicule on social media sites. Laubenberg, who has difficulty debating bills, then simply rejected all proposed changes to her bill without speaking until the end of the debate.....................

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice Alleges NSA Wiretapped Barack Obama as Senate Candidate

Virginia Republican pleads guilty to dozens of counts of voter fraud


A Virginia Republican and supporter of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) pleaded guilty on Tuesday to perjury and 36 counts of voter fraud.
Adam Ward, 28, claimed he collected more than 11,000 petition signatures for Gingrich during the Republican presidential primaries, in an effort to ensure the candidate’s embattled campaign had a spot on the state’s ballot. Over 4,000 of those petition signatures turned out to be fake, according to NBC News affiliate WVIR-TV.
Gingrich ultimately failed to qualify for his own party’s primary in Virginia and instead campaigned in the state as a write-in candidate.
The failed presidential candidate fell short of the 10,000 signatures needed to appear on the statewide ballot because the local Republican Party officials double-checked the signatures to ensure they were valid.
Ward’s fraudulent acts could have given Gingrich enough to close that gap and appear on the ballot, which could have potentially changed the outcome of the Republican presidential primaries.
The only other mainstream GOP candidate in 2011 to fail at signature gathering in Virginia was Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). Nearly half of the 11,900 signatures his campaign turned in were unable to be verified by party officials. However, unlike Gingrich, none of Perry’s organizers have faced criminal charges.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

1 in 9 U.S. bridges in need of repair


More than one in nine bridges in the USA — at least 66,405, or 11% of the total — are structurally deficient, according to a new report.
These are not rarely used, out-of-the way structures: Each day, Americans take 260 million trips over structurally deficient bridges, says the report from Transportation for America, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition that works to improve transportation.
The report comes less than a month after the May 23 collapse of a span of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state. Part of the bridge collapsed when it was struck by a truck with an oversize load. That bridge, built in 1955, was not structurally deficient.
The structurally deficient bridges are 65 years old on average, and the Federal Highway Administration estimates that repairing them would cost $76 billion.
A structurally deficient bridge isn't necessarily one that's dangerous or about to collapse; rather, they are bridges that require significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement.....................

Report: Full Transcripts Suggest IRS Targeting Not Tied To White House


Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday released a full transcript of testimony from a witness in the IRS targeting investigation, which appears to confirm that the initial activity originated with a low-level employee in the agency's Cincinnati office, according to the Washington Post.
The transcript shows a key witness, a self-described conservative Republican and IRS manager who supervised the screens of applications for tax exempt status, claiming that he had no communication with the White House or senior IRS officials about the targeting.
His testimony contradicts House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) previous suggestion that the order to target conservative groups came from Washington. Issa has since refused to release the full testimony transcripts, prompting Democrats on the committee to do so on their own.
The full transcript is available in two parts, part one here and part two here.
Update: Rep. Issa issued a statement about the full release of the transcripts.

Congressman’s Bizarre Argument For Banning Abortion: Fetuses Masturbate


As the House of Representatives prepares on Tuesday to consider huge legislative restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, one GOP congressman is using the idea that fetuses can masturbate to argue for more abortion restrictions.
On Monday evening, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), an Ob/Gyn by trade, told his colleagues to, “Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful”:
They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?
The House’s bill uses the scientifically disputed idea that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks as the basis for effectively ban all abortions after that time. Several state legislatures have passed similar bans, though just last month an appeals court struck down a ‘fetal pain’ bill in Arizona, finding that the law was unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Murdoch Divorce Stuns Satan

HELL (The Borowitz Report)—Word that the News Corporation chief executive Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife, Wendi Deng, came as a “total surprise” to longtime Murdoch confidant Satan, the Lord of the Underworld said today.
“I am totally blindsided by this,” Satan told reporters. “He and I talk every day.”
Citing his long history with the media titan, the Hound of Hell said, “We go way back. I gave him the idea for Fox News. I told him to hire Roger Ailes. That’s why this is such a shock.”
A frequent dining companion of the Murdochs, Satan said he “didn’t have a clue that they were having problems.”

“I’ve had dozens of dinners with them in the Hamptons,” he said. “Did they bicker? No more than other couples. But they seemed to be on the same page about all the important things, like creating corrupt media monopolies and buying politicians. I thought they were for keeps.”
Adding that he “cares deeply about his friends,” Satan said the news about the Murdochs had hit him especially hard: “I was just starting to get over the Putins.”
The Prince of Darkness said he first got word of the Murdoch divorce about an hour before the official announcement: “My banker at Goldman Sachs called and told me to sell my News Corp. stock right away.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

With Nothing Better To Do, Republicans Try to Ban Abortion Some More

Ah, lazy summer days. Fresh-squeezed lemonade, barbecues, bills to ban abortion for reasons that make absolutely zero sense and will never actually become law anyway, but who cares, congressional Republicans have their priorities, you know, and even though you might think “jobs” or “The War on Terra” or “naming post offices” might be more important, you would be wrong because nothing — nothing!!!! — is more important than preserving the sanctity of fetuses, until those fetuses get borned and might need medical care or, say, food, in which case, fuck ‘em because they are now takers, but hey, that’s not the point, shut up, sanctity of life, bitchez! READ MORE »

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mean IRS Manager Who Picked On Innocent Conservatives Is A Conservative, Not Trying to Holocaust America

Oh for the love of Moses, are we still rending our garments about the fauxspiracy that is IRSghazigate? That is sooooo last month. Despite all the super-earnest attempts by Republicans to make it A Thing — a we-must-impeach-Obama-thing, an Obama = Nixon thing, a this-is-why-we-should-repeal-Obamacare-but-seriously-you-guys-for-reals-this-time thing — it is so not a thing and never really was, except in the fevered imaginations of conservatives. And hey, look, here’s yet another story, this time from the Chicago Tribune, demonstrating just how not-a-thing this dumb thing is:
A U.S. Internal Revenue Service manager, who described himself as a conservative Republican, told congressional investigators that he and a local colleague decided to give conservative groups the extra scrutiny that has prompted weeks of political controversy.
In an official interview transcript released on Sunday by Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, the manager said he and an underling set aside “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups that had applied for tax-exempt status because the organizations appeared to pose a new precedent that could affect future IRS filings.
Ohhhhhh. So the eeeeeeeevil librul Obama hack who was persecuting teabaggers by not telling them, “You want to not pay your taxes? Okay then!” was actually a conservative Republican? But but but but … fury and outrage and stuff! READ MORE »

What You Should Know About The Intelligence Community’s Contractors


The Sunday afternoon revelation that former Booz Allen Hamilton employee Edward Snowden was behind the leaks that set off the last week’s string of stories on potential overreach on the part of the National Security Agency (NSA) has led to many questions about the world he inhabited. Why would a contractor have access to such highly secret materials? What was a contractor doing at the NSA in any event? Who is Booz Allen Hamilton and why do they have such reach? Here’s what you need to know:
Number of private contractors exploded since 2001. After 9/11, the budgets of the Pentagon and intelligence community grew to almost double their 1998 rates. To keep pace with this expansion, without bringing more federal workers into the fold, federal contractors were signed up to provide the labor instead.
Private contractors may be more expensive than government employees. Many former government employees make the switch into private contracting, which can serve to drive up the amount they wind up costing the American taxpayer. A 2007 report to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found that the average government employee working as an intelligence analyst cost $126,500, while the same work performed by a contractor would cost the government an average $250,000 including overhead. The total annual budget of the intelligence community is itself secret; only the top line is reported to the public. For Fiscal Year 2014, the Obama administration requested $48.2 billion for the National Intelligence Program, encompassing “six Federal departments, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.” Of that amount, according to a 2007 article, an amazing 70 percent goes towards private contractors.
There are thousands of companies in the game. Of the more than one thousand contracting firms competing for federal dollars, Booz Allen Hamilton is just one of the largest, earning $1.3 billion, 23 percent of their total revenue, from intelligence contracts over the last fiscal year. Booz Allen shares that tier with names like Northrup Grumman and Science Applications International Corporation. It also includes companies like Lockheed Martin, which in addition to selling airplanes and missiles to the government, also provides staffers to man the programs the various departments set up.
Contractors are prevalent in the intelligence sector. Analysts looking for patterns among information, technology staffers building IT systems and making sure the networks stay functioning, front office administrative workers, sometimes even the intelligence collection specialists themselves are all positions contractors fill. This takes place across the range of intelligence collection including signals intelligence (SIGINT), of the sort that the NSA performs and has led to the current scrutiny, as well as human intelligence gained directly from sources and geographic intelligence gathered from spy satellites.
Contract work extends throughout the government. Outside of the intelligence sphere, contractors fill positions in nearly every part of the federal government. From the Department of Defense, to the Department of Homeland Security, to the Department of Health and Human Services, private contractors are in the business of actually executing a large portion of what the government is lawfully obligated to do. These positions exist for even the most shadowy of operations, including openings for human targeting analysts, who help the military and intelligence community determine who to place in the cross-hairs of drone strikes.
More than half a million private contractors can access the country’s secrets. A large degree of surprise also was related to the fact that Snowden had access to many of the documents he obtained so soon after beginning to work for Booz Allen. Once obtained, a clearance is a relatively hard thing to lose, so long as you remain employed by a company that does work requiring you to hold one. These clearances also only need to be renewed every five years while active. According to a 2013 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a total of 483,263 contractors held Top Secret clearances in 2012, the highest level one can obtain, with another 582,524 holding them at the Confidential and Secret levels.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Obamacare Nullification Dies A Quiet Death In South Carolina Senate


The spirit of John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina U.S. senator who nearly triggered a civil war in the 1830s, lives in South Carolina’s house — which passed a bill that would transform Obamacare into a mechanism to destroy much of the state’s health insurance system last April. Earlier this week, however, Calhoun’s spirit quietly died in the state senate. The senate adjourned Thursday without taking action on this bill.
Labeled a “nullification” bill because it declares that “provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 grossly exceed the powers delegated to the federal government in the Constitution” and then offers several measures intended to undermine this federal law, the bill is part of a larger trend of conservative state lawmakers claiming that their state can simply wipe away federal laws that they disagree with. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) recently signed a bill purporting to nullify various federal gun laws, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) relied on a nullification bill as part of his lawsuit challenging Obamacare (the federal appeals court that heard his case did not bite).
Nullification also conflicts with the unambiguous language of the Constitution, which provides that duly enacted federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” Yet, despite clear constitutional language and Supreme Court precedents stretching as far back as 1819 establishing that states cannot enforce laws contrary to federal laws, nullification bills began to spring up shortly after a conservative writer named Tom Woods published a 2010 book entitled “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.” Some lawmakers have even openly cited Woods’ book to justify their views.
Woods is an odd source for lawmakers to rely upon. Among other things, he once published an article entitled “Christendom’s Last Stand,” which claims that the Civil War was a battle between “atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, jacobins on the one side and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other.” In Woods’ words, “[t]he real watershed from which we can trace many of the destructive trends that continue to ravage our civilization today, was the defeat of the Confederate States of America in 1865.”
The Confederacy was defeated, and the vision of states rights that drove that act of treason shares many of the same roots as the nullification bills under consideration today. But America’s rejection of nullification has roots far deeper than Lincoln’s triumph over slave holders and traitors. If South Carolina has the power to nullify the Affordable Care Act, then it also has the power to nullify federal taxes, or to forbid military recruitment within its borders during war time. Similar fears that the United States Congress could not collect taxes or provide for an army drove America’s rejection of the Articles of Confederation, and eventually led to the much stronger Constitution we live under today.
As James Madison once warned, nullification will “speedily put an end to the Union itself.” The United States of America cannot function if each individual state can exempt itself and its citizens from any law they do not feel like following by passing a bill declaring that law unconstitutional.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Losers and Quitters Whine About President, Not Because They Are Sore Losers Or Anything

Just when you’ve grown tired of loser Republicans giving all kinds of advice to the GOP on how not to lose, it’s suddenly time for different loser Republicans to blargh and whine about the President some more, because that worked so well to get them elected. The reason (as if they need one): they don’t like who he is appointing to advise him. Who are the loveable voluble losers this time around? None other than 2012 loser Mittens W. Romneyvanworthington VII and 2008 vice-loser Sarah Palin! They are clearly not at all sore losers turning to the media for just one more hit of that sweet sweet media spotlight. They just want to make sure we all know that Our Guiding Star of Socialism and Great Sun of Communism Barack H. Obama is the real losingest loser, despite pesky things like votes and the Electoral College and un-American things like that.
First up, the 2012 loser was asked by CNN about Pres. Obama’s appointment of Susan Rice to be his next national security advisor:
I find that a disappointing appointment on the part of the president. I think what she did was to very seriously mislead the American people about what happened in Benghazi. My greatest concern about the Benghazi events was the fact there was not a rescue effort attempted and that is very troubling to me.
Really, President Governor Romney? You are disappointed about Susan Rice because of Benghazi? Let’s roll out the recent history timeline, shall we?  READ MORE »

British Idiot On Fox Knows What Is Wrong With America (Hint: It Is The Poors, Old Chap)

What is with all these worthless British dilettantes befouling our fair American shores? Did we not drive the lobsterbacks twice unto the angry sea with our muskets of virtue a-cracking? Niall Ferguson and Piers Morgan are six too many, but the worst of all may be Stuart Varney, who is on the Fox Business Channel all the time being a bloated bourgeois dick toward poor people. He isn’t even pretending otherwise! No, he just flat out said, “I am being mean to poor people. Frankly, I am.” Frankly, sir, a parcel of rodent genitalia, divorc’d from their corporeal hosts and seasoned just so, would look well upon and within your stupid fucking face. But why is Stuart Varney being mean to poor people, aside from he is a fucking dick? READ MORE »

Thursday, June 06, 2013

‘Fox & Friends’ suddenly against wiretapping they supported under Bush


Thursday morning on the Fox News Channel’s morning show “Fox and Friends,” the three hosts responded with alarm to news that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone records of millions of cell phone customers wholesale and with no regard to accusations of wrongdoing.
The trio were clearly alarmed about the spying, saying that it might be a violation of the PATRIOT Act.
“What is the objective of getting these numbers and collecting all these numbers from all the millions of Americans?” asked co-host Brian Kilmeade. “Are they overseas calls? Is there terror activity? Is there reason to be suspicious? Or is this abuse of the PATRIOT Act?”
Steve Doocy, suddenly a legal expert of PATRIOT Act violations, said that this kind of data seizure is a violation of the Act’s section 215, which “said that you could go after people based on individual investigations,” but forbids data collection from average citizens. He went on to call it a “gigantic overreach” on the Obama administration’s part.
However, in 2006, Doocy and other Fox hosts were saying the exact opposite about NSA wiretaps.
Media Matters reported that in the wake of revelations that the NSA might be conducting wholesale data-mining on U.S. citizens, the hosts of “Fox and Friends” openly nixed the term “warrantless wiretapping” in favor of calling the spying “the terrorist surveillance program” and went out of their way to justify the practice.
On January 25, 2006, Kilmeade said, “Let’s call it the terrorist surveillance program. That would be a lot easier.”
Doocy concurred, “And more accurate.”
“Yeah, more accurate too,” Kilmeade said. “If you’re for the NSA wiretapping without going to the FISA court, I guess warrantless, then most likely you’re Republican. If you are against it, you most likely are a Democrat.”

Oh, Hey, Looks Like IRS Didn’t Scrutinize Only Conservative Groups. Imagine That!

As we all know, the mean old IRS targeted tea party groups in the Worst Scandal Since Watergate (May 2013 edition), and then America was Over for the 768,926th time since January 2009. But here is a thing! Turns out that the IRS also targeted a whole bunch of other groups trying to get a tax subsidy for being political, too! And a whole bunch of the groups that got a close look were, you know, political in ways that really warranted a closer look! Could someone please hand Captain Renault his winnings now? READ MORE »

Virginia yoga enthusiasts be warned about the GOP’s Lt. Gov candidate


Top story: Our favorite new GOP bomb-thrower, E.W. Jackson, is anti-yoga and anti-evolution, but he believes in trickle-up — yes, up — economics
  • National Review’s Betsy Woodruff reports that The Man Who Would Be VA Lt. Gov. says yoga puts you at risk of Satanic possession. (National Review)
  • Jackson: Satan “is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it.” (Byron Tau)
  • Jackson also doesn’t belive in evolution. Why? Because monkeys can’t talk. Defeat that with your so-called “logic.” (Evan McMorris-Santoro)
  • Seriously, though, read the passage from his book. It’s creationism at its finest. (Buzzfeed Politics)
  • But what may be more of interest is that Jackson suggests attendees of his church — he’s a bishop — donate money to him. To quote his book: “While giving to the poor is important, the most powerful giving for wealth building is upward giving.” And, yes, that’s trickle-up economics — but at least he’s owning it. (National Review)
  • Of course, as Woodruff points out, the reason Jackson is significant isn’t his solid gold sound bites for cable news. It’s because “the Virginia Senate is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, and the lieutenant governor casts the deciding vote if there’s a tie.” (National Review)
  • The result of Jackson’s views so far? Well, at least one GOP congressman in Virginia refuses to endorse him. Vote for him, yes. (The Huffington Post)

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Nine Inch Nails - Down In It

Nine Inch Nails - Came Back Haunted

Rep. McDermott wonders why tea party groups applied for taxpayer-funded subsidies


Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) on Tuesday questioned why tea party groups were seeking to be subsidized by the government.

At a House hearing on IRS misconduct, McDermott acknowledged the federal tax agency had inappropriately used political criteria to locate nonprofit applications that needed extra review.
“But as I listen to this discussion, I’d like to remind everyone what we are talking about here,” he continued. “None of your organizations were kept from organizing or silenced. We are talking about whether or not the American taxpayers would subsidize your work. We are talking about a tax break.”
The tea party groups in question were applying to become tax exempt 501(c)4 groups, also known as social welfare organizations. McDermott noted the purpose of such groups was to advance the common good and general welfare a community. Political organizations, on the other hand, are categorized under section 527 of the federal tax code.

“Each of your groups is highly political,” the congressman said. “From opposing the President’s healthcare reform, to abortion restrictions, to gay marriage, you’re all entrenched in some of the most controversial political issues in this country – and with your applications you are asking the American public to pay for that work. Many of you host and endorse candidates. The line between permitted political activity and non-permitted political activity can be very fine, and it’s important that tax payers know which side you fall on.”
McDermott’s remarks angered Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who accused the congressman of blaming the victim.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Chambliss blames military rapes on ‘the hormone level created by nature’


Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) on Tuesday suggested that the “hormone level created by nature” was to blame for rapes in the military and that all pregnant servicewomen should be investigated to make sure their condition was the result of consensual sex.
At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assaults within the military, Chambliss opined that the Pentagon’s decision to allow women in combat roles was only going to make the problem worse. 

The Georgia Republican recalled that “several years ago when we had the first females go out on an aircraft carrier, when they returned to port, a significant percentage of those females were pregnant.”
“Was any investigation made by the Navy following that incident to determine whether or not all of those pregnancies occurred as a result of consensual acts?” he asked Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert.
The admiral replied that he did not have details of the incident immediately available, but he pledged to follow up. 

Chambliss noted that Democratic proposals to modify the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and take sexual assault reporting outside of the victim’s chain of command might not work because young servicemen were being driven by their “nature.”
“The young folks coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23,” he pointed out. “Gee-whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So, we’ve got to be very careful on our side.”

Texas tea party leader: GOP doesn’t want black people to vote


A tea party leader in Dallas is facing a backlash after saying the Republican Party doesn’t want African-American voters to show up at the polls.
“I’m going to be real honest with you,” Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson said at a Dallas County Republican Party event on May 20. “The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”
An audio recording of his comments were published online Tuesday by the pro-Democrat group Battleground Texas.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Emanuelson said he misspoke during the meeting. He said he shouldn’t have spoken on behalf of the Republican Party.
“What I meant, and should have said, is that it is not, in my personal opinion, in the interests of the Republican Party to spend its own time and energy working to generally increase the number of Democratic voters at the polls, and at this point in time, nine of every ten African American voters cast their votes for the Democratic Party,” he wrote.

“That said, I’ve been very clear, time and time again, that the Republican Party absolutely must expand and build bridges into all communities,” Emanuelson added. “I reiterated that same opinion at the same meeting.”
Republicans across the country have pushed for stricter voting regulations, such as voter ID laws, to protect against alleged voter fraud. A federal court last year blocked Texas from implementing its own voter ID law, ruling it would have a disproportionately negative impact on poor and minority voters.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Blackburn opposes equal pay laws because women just want to be ‘recognized


Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Sunday said that Washington should stay out of the business of ensuring equal pay because “what women want” is just to be “recognized.”
During a panel discussion on NBC about a recent Pew report that found women had become the primary source of income in 40 percent of U.S. households, Blackburn said that it was “up to companies to make sure there is a level playing field and that women are not shortchanged as they try to get on that ladder to success.”

“How about pay equity laws to ensure that women are treated fairly in the workplace?” former White House senior adviser David Axelrod asked the Tennessee Republican.
“I think that more important than that is making certain that women are recognized by those companies,” Blackburn replied. “You know, I’ve always said that I didn’t want to be given a job because I was a female, I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job.”
“And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein — that is what women want,” she added. “They don’t want the decisions made in Washington.”

According to the White House, President Barack Obama and Democrats are pushing for a Paycheck Fairness Act because the average women makes only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for doing the same job.