Showing posts with label Tea party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tea party. Show all posts

May 16, 2013

The Real IRS Scandal—AstroTurf Schemes Using 501(c)(4) Foul-up

Astroturf front, Americans for Prosperity
Clare Kim and Lawrence O'Donnell have the story on what's up with the IRS.

And it's not persecuted Tea Baggers.

It's the AstroTurf schemes using 501(c)(4) status resulting from a 1959 screw-up that lets the Koch brothers and Karl Rove funnel money ripping off taxpayers.

From The Last Word:

Internal Revenue Service agents have been struggling to do their jobs–which have been made essentially impossible by an incorrect interpretation of the law that the IRS made in 1959. It was then that the IRS changed the language of the law without any authority to do so. Here is how the tax law was written in its latest update in 1954 on 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. The 501(c)(4) designation was to apply only to: “Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”

But a 1959 interpretation guideline written by the IRS says that: ”To be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare…”

With absolutely no legal oversight, the IRS changed the world “exclusively” to mean “primarily” and then the IRS never defined what it meant by primarily. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explains that the tax code must be enforced with the word “exclusively” so that no political organizations would ever be able to get 501(c)(4) status. “No Tea Party organizations, no Democratic party organizations, no Republican party organizations, no Libertarian party organizations, no party organizations of any kind should ever get 501(c)(4) status and that is exactly what the law already says,” O’Donnell said Wednesday night.
On a related note, see Hey, Mitch McConnell. Let me see if I got this right: "When the IRS hassles Tea Party groups, it's wrong. When they hassle the NAACP and environmental groups, it's OK."


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Mar 28, 2013

The Face of Fear—The Republican Party

Richard (RJ) Eskow in Alternet offers what should be a parody to any mind with an IQ above 90.

But as Eskow notes, "Attendees at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were reportedly thrilled by a short sci-fi video depicting a dictatorial near-future government and the underground 'Movement on Fire that springs up to resist it." Tea Party thinking, GOP thinking:

Jul 22, 2012

Scott Walker Grabs Prominent Scenes in The Newsroom

Jeff Daniels stars in Aaron Sorkin's
HBO drama, "The Newsroom"
Scott Walker and his Tea Party-Koch brothers underground movement have an ongoing role in Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama, "The Newsroom."

A fascinating new television experience, Sorkin explores what would happen if the news product of a nightly cable news show were driven by facts, truth and logic as guiding journalistic principles, encouraging thought rather than controlling it.

The process of shaping opinion, attitudes, and perceptions was termed the “engineering of consent" by one of the founders of the modern public relations industry, Edward Bernays. - Noam Chomsky in Destroying the Commons -How the Magna Carta Became a Minor Carta
Set in 2010-11, the dramatization takes direct aim at the Tea Party with the intelligence, insight and rigor that one would expect if Edward Murrow and Robert Jackson were alive as cable news journalists and covering a period of American history where elements of fascism, unorganized and incoherent as yet, have animated the rise of the Republican Party.

Scott Walker does not come off well in Sorkin's presentation of this news outlet reporting on the corporate-religious right coalition that has catapulted Walker to fame in GOP-Tea Party circles.

Sunday's, July 22 "Amen" episode opens with "news of unrest in Wisconsin in February 2011 in response to the governor's call for budget cuts bubbl(ing) up during coverage of the ousting of President Mubarak in Egypt."

As Walker even today still cannot appear anywhere in public in Wisconsin without protests, one of Sorkin's characters, a news producer, reports that as Walker is at a newspaper in Appleton, Wisconsin, 100s of teachers and demonstrators gathered to protest outside the newspaper, as dramatized in this March 2011 Appleton Post Crescent piece by J.E. Espino.

The coverage in the show's episode is a composite of real-life events, but the show's audience in Wisconsin recognizes the protests, if not the urgency of the protests reported by the zombie-like Wisconsin media.

Can local broadcast media in Wisconsin, and the giant media conglomerate, Gannett, which owns some 11 corporate newspapers in Wisconsin, make a news product driven by facts, truth and logic?

It doesn't today and certainly not during the Recall campaign burying coverage of the John Doe criminal probe of Walker's top aides in his 2010 campaign as well.

Rural Wisconsin which voted overwhelmingly and unusually high for Scott Walker, or perhaps not, is seen by many as Walker's base, though Walker's extremist positions are kept well-concealed by his flacks and criminal defense team.

The ideological and political effects of quasi-news broadcast media, Gannett newspapers and Party propaganda sheets like the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal are unclear.

Contra this propaganda product on the local and national media fronts, The Newsroom proposes dramatizing the product of a cable news show driven by a commitment to truth in the tradition of Murrow, Cronkite, Erwin Knoll and I.F. Stone.

I don't think Sorkin knows yet where he is going to go with the show after just five episodes but this Sunday night drama has so far stood towering over the crap that floods our airwaves.



- Full disclosure by MAL: I have written in a freelance capacity for the Gannett-owned Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune and the Fond du Lac Reporter.

Nov 7, 2011

Ohio Set to Reject Rove and Kasich in Working Families' Win, Wisconsin Next

Photo: Carolyn Tiry / Flickr
Working families are just trying to make it. Sell their labor product at a fair price. Raise families. Maybe even have a home for their children. But not if Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and John Kasich have their way.

Now, working families are fighting back.

A new poll in Ohio shows overwhelming hostility to the Rove-Koch-Kasich anti-working family bill, Senate Bill 5 [Issue 2], that citizens of Ohio look to reject in a binding election Tuesday, just one week before the start of the recall of fellow anti-family governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin for his signing a similarly unpopular law with support from anti-family billionaires.

Senate Bill 5 targets health care, collective bargaining, pensions, and is seen as effort to continue the enterprise of attacking private working families by moving the attack against those families working in the public sphere.

As Mike Lofgren, who retired on June 17 after 28 years as a Republican Congressional staffer, said in September 2010,

I left as an act of rational self-interest. Having gutted private-sector pensions and health benefits as a result of their embrace of outsourcing, union busting and ‘shareholder value’ the GOP now thinks it is only fair that public-sector workers give up their pensions and benefits, too. Hence the intensification of the GOP’s decades-long campaign of scorn against government workers. Under the circumstances, it is simply safer to be a current retiree rather than a prospective one.

If you think Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-worshipping colleagues aren’t after your Social Security and Medicare, I am here to disabuse you of your naiveté. They will move heaven and earth to force through tax cuts that will so starve the government of revenue that they will be ‘forced’ to make ‘hard choices’ – and that doesn’t mean repealing those very same tax cuts, it means cutting the benefits for which you worked.