Posts filed under ‘Our Tax Dollars’

Closed for Business

The Teabaggers got their way overnight and shut the government down.

This NY Daily News front page pretty much captures the mood of everyone else this morning:

NY Daily News Turds 10-1-13(Via.)

 

October 1, 2013 at 8:32 AM Leave a comment

Republicans Whine That Obama Hasn’t Called

This afternoon we learned that President Obama had a 15 minute conversation this morning with the new Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani.  (15 minutes?  I guess that’s better than nothing but I wouldn’t get too excited about a 15-minute phone conversation.)

This is what Republicans are saying in retort:

Russert Tweet of the Day 9-27-13

They’re doing two things here:  (1) Implying Obama favors “terrorists” over folks in his own country, and (2) implying that he isn’t serious about avoiding a government shutdown. If he were, he’d be working his butt off to avoid it.

The thing is, passing a Continuing Resolution (CR), which needs to be done by October 1, is congress’s responsibility.  Congress is charged with spending money and paying the bills.  Passing a CR means that Congress authorizes Treasury to write the checks to pay the bills congress has already authorized; to pay for things it has effectively already purchased.

So hey, why does Obama need to call Boehner to get Boehner to get that job done?  That’s his job for God’s sake.  He’s a big boy.  Not only that but there’s this:  Boehner Tells GOP He’s Through Negotiating One-on-One With Obama.  And now the GOP’s whining that Obama hasn’t called?

Adorable.

John Boehner Crying 12-22-10

September 27, 2013 at 4:31 PM Leave a comment

Colorado Republicans Support Local Flood Relief After Voting No on Help for Hurricane Sandy

Ah yes, fickle Republicans strike again.  Ethics?  Morality?  Character?  Doing what’s just plain right to help their fellow humans?  Nah.  It’s all about what will get them re-elected:

Colo Republican Committee via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia.com)

Colorado House Republicans Unanimously Support Flood Relief, Unanimously Opposed Sandy Aid

As historic floods of “biblical” proportions continue to ravage Colorado, President Obama signed an emergency declaration on Sunday — a move that was encouraged by a bipartisan letter last week from the state’s nine-member Congressional delegation. But the four Republican Congressmen who are now supporting disaster relief for their own state were among those voting earlier this year against the emergency aid funding for Superstorm Sandy victims on the East Coast.

Colorado Republican Reps. Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton joined their delegation in asking the president to send emergency funds to help their constituents combat and recover from the more than 14 inches of rain that have flooded Colorado this month.

More…

The next time you hear a Republican say he or she wants to “cut the deficit” laugh and tell them about this. What they bloviate about to their Fox & Friends has nothing to do with their convictions.  It has everything to do with sticking one’s finger in the air and deciding which way the wind is blowing.Turning that upside down, both of Colorado’s Democratic senators voted for Sandy relief earlier this year, despite the fact that that that relief didn’t go to their state.  Hello!

In a 62-36 vote, the Senate on Monday approved legislation providing $50.7 billion to help New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Hurricane Sandy.

All 36 “no” votes came from Republicans.

More…

 

September 19, 2013 at 7:48 PM 4 comments

War Dollars Spent on Love

If we did more stuff like this with the money we spend on bombs we might actually win hearts and minds:

Rescuing a Dog from Flood 9-16-13

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault/Released) Public Domain)

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith Bart, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, carries an animal to safety during flood rescue and recovery operations in Boulder, Colo., Sept. 16, 2013. Colorado and Wyoming National Guard units were activated to provide assistance to people affected by massive flooding along Colorado’s Front Range. 

(Via.)

 

September 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM Leave a comment

America’s “Humanitarian” History — What a Bunch of Crap

Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.

What a bunch of crap.

Show me another country who’s launched significant humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.

I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe.  I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.

Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality.  Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:

Image via wikipedia Agent orange deformed babies

(Babies deformed by Agent Orange via Wikipedia)

  • 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
  • 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
  • 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
  • 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
  • 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
  • 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
  • 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
  • 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
  • 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
  • 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
  • 2003: Iraq.
  • 2011: Libya.
  • 2013: Syria
  • More…

September 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM Leave a comment

John McCain Plays Poker on his iPhone During Hearing About Bombing Syria

Here’s a photo of John McCain playing poker on his iPhone during John Kerry and Chuck Hagel’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today on bombing Syria, via the Washington Post’s Melina Mara:

McCain Plays Poker on iPhone 9-3-13

(Image via the WashingtonPost.com / Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

I guess the “debate” was just a side show to ol’ John.  But no doubt, we’ll see him on the “news” shows a million times in the coming weeks / months because he’s supposedly such a serious person when it comes to war(s).

Geezus.

September 3, 2013 at 6:07 PM Leave a comment

If The United States Wants to Help The Syrian People…

If the United States wants to help the Syrian people, it might try this instead of bombing them:

Swedish Flag

Sweden Grants Blanket Asylum to Syrian Refugees

Swedish government announces it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply, because it does not expect violence in Syria will end ‘in the near future’

———————————–

Sweden on Tuesday became the first European Union country to announce it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply.

“All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it,” Annie Hoernblad, the spokeswoman for Sweden’s migration agency, told AFP.

“The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future.”

The decision, which will give refugees permanent resident status, is valid until further notice, added Hoernblad.

More…

 

September 3, 2013 at 3:34 PM 2 comments

American Scientists Considering Moving Overseas Due to Budget Cuts

We are watching the United States collapse from within:

Scientists via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

A new, eye-opening study shows that the United States is not only falling behind in scientific research, but now we are in danger of losing our scientists, too.

In a study called, “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity,” The American Society For Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) surveyed nearly 4,000 scientists from nearly all fields of research about the effects of budget cuts and sequestration on scientific research. The results are quite disturbing for anyone who cares about the future of science in our country.

In its press release summarizing its findings, the ASBMB wrote that the cuts are “tearing at the fabric of the nation’s scientific enterprise” while having a “minimal impact” on our national debt and deficit. Also, “The overwhelming majority of scientists in all fields believes the U.S. has lost its position as the global leader in scientific research.”

Sam Stein, at the Huffington Post, dug through the weeds and found, “Nearly one-fifth of scientists are considering going overseas to continue their research because of the poor funding climate in America.”

More…

Sigh.
Maybe Republicans will get their way after all and arrange life here in the United States such that the only “science” we rely on is the Bible.

August 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM Leave a comment

Missouri Banker Bought $381,487 Florida Condo with Bank Bailout Money

Lowest of the low:

Greed via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Darryl Layne Woods, the former CEO of a Missouri bank, admitted in court yesterday to using financial crisis bailout funds to purchase a luxury waterfront condo in Florida…

In November 2008, Woods, 48, who was the head of Mainstreet Bank and the bank’s holding company Calvert Financial Corporation, applied for TARP money on behalf of his bank…

In January 2009, his bank received $1,037,000.  A month later, he used $381,487 of it to buy a place in Fort Myers, Florida.

[...]

Woods is no longer allowed to work in the banking industry, according to the release.  He also faces a sentence of up to one year in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $100,000 plus restitution.

More…
Excuse me.  What about the condo?  Does he get to keep that?  And why isn’t the fine equivalent to the money he stole from US taxpayers?

August 27, 2013 at 6:34 PM Leave a comment

From the Department of I’ll Believe it When I See It

Eric Holder via justice.gov:ag:

(Image via Justice.gov./ag/)

Eric Holder Vows ‘Significant’ Financial Crisis Prosecutions Against Banks

Wall Street should brace for “significant” civil or criminal charges from the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to Attorney General Eric Holder. The promise comes amid intensifying criticism of the DOJ’s financial enforcement decisions.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, the nation’s top law enforcement official refused to give specifics about what sort of charges his department will be filing and would not discuss the number or type of cases he expects to pursue.

More…

What?  Is Obama suddenly worried about this legacy?

August 21, 2013 at 3:06 PM Leave a comment

We the People Subsidizing Airport Used by Walmart Jet Fleet in Arkansas

Yo, Americans, guess what?  Thanks to our corporate-owned lawmakers, our tax dollars are being used to subsidize a little airport in Arkansas that just happens to be home to, and used primarily by, the 20-jet corporate fleet of jets belonging to Walmart.

Walmart Smiley Face

U.S. taxpayers are increasingly picking up the tab for the control tower at an airport that’s home to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)’s corporate fleet, at a time lawmakers say they want to ban perks for hometown interests.

Language inserted into a spending bill two years ago spared the world’s biggest company by revenue from losing taxpayer-funded controllers to guide its approximately 20 jets based in Rogers, Arkansas, near its Bentonville headquarters.

The measure was championed by two Arkansas lawmakers — Republican Representative Steve Womack and Democratic Senator Mark Pryor — whose biggest donors include Wal-Mart employees. Taxpayers were left responsible for a higher share of costs of operating the Rogers tower than called for by U.S. guidelines for low-traffic airports.

More…

August 14, 2013 at 11:25 AM 2 comments

The Police, Who Work for Us, Protect the Corporatocracy

There was a march against Chevron and fracking in Richmond, California today:

8-213 via JoshuaKahnRussell

(Image via JoshuaKahnRussell on Twitter)

The police, who we pay, with our tax dollars, protected Chevron:

Cops Protecting Chevron via mrdavyd on twitter -3-13

(Image via MrDavyD on Twitter)

Look at those Darth Vader-like guys.

This is what the militarization of America’s police force looks like.

August 3, 2013 at 7:16 PM Leave a comment

Be Careful When Googling “Pressure Cooker”

Google LogoThis is what total information awareness surveillance on you and me looks like:

It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history.

Most of it was innocent enough. I had researched pressure cookers. My husband was looking for a backpack.

[...]

What happened was this: At about 9:00 am, my husband, who happened to be home yesterday, was sitting in the living room with our two dogs when he heard a couple of cars pull up outside. He looked out the window and saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband’s Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving.

Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door.

Read the rest of it here.

Bottom line, six FBI agents went to an average American couple’s home (with two dogs and a young son) because the woman had been looking online at pressure cookers and her husband was doing research on backpacks and that meant they were potential repeat Boston bombers. The six agents looked through the house, and left after about 45 minutes, saying they take similar action roughly “100 times a week.”

So, this is where we’re at folks.

 

 

August 1, 2013 at 12:07 PM Leave a comment

Obama’s About to Break a Big, Big Promise

Barack Obama, February 12, 2013:

News breaking out of D.C. this afternoon:

The United States and Afghanistan have resolved most issues and are nearing completion of an agreement that paves the way for an American military presence after 2014 that will include a limited U.S. counterterrorism force and military advisers.

“We’re at the point now where we concluded the text,” said a senior State Department official familiar with the negotiations. “We’re in a period of endgame.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is not official.

[...]

After 2014, the Afghan security forces “will still require substantial training, advising and assistance — including financial support — to address ongoing shortcomings,” according to a Pentagon report released this week.

The agreement spells out two missions for the U.S. military after 2014: assisting Afghan security forces and establishing a U.S. counterterrorism force that will be limited to pursuing al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

More…

Three words:  Our.  Tax.  Dollars.

July 31, 2013 at 4:06 PM Leave a comment

Hey, I Thought Detroit Was Bankrupt

So, Detroit filed for bankruptcy on Monday, right?  Then what the f’ing hell is going on here:

Detroit Red Wing Logo

A state board on Wednesday unanimously gave the go-ahead for a new Red Wings hockey arena in downtown Detroit to be paid for in part with $284 million in tax dollars even as the broke city works through bankruptcy proceedings.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and others defended against criticism that the $650 million project should be financed entirely with private money because the city currently can’t provide basic services and retirees are facing cuts in their pensions.

Really?  Since when are economic development taxes [where do tax revenues come from people?] “private money:”

The Michigan Strategic Fund Board approved the Detroit Downtown Development Authority’s request to use economic development taxes for the project. The board also took a preliminary step toward issuing $450 million in bonds to build the arena, to be paid off in no more than 30 years by the Red Wings’ owner and the city.

More…

You’d think Snyder would at least, at least, wait a few weeks before letting this happen but no.  He apparently doesn’t care  how bad the optics look of doing this 36 hours after the city filed for bankruptcy.  Arrogance and callousness at a level that is truly stunning.

 

July 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM Leave a comment

The U.S. Could Keep Corporations and the Rich From Parking Their Money Overseas if it Wanted To

Dean Baker over at the Center for Economic and Policy Research makes a great point here:

Corporate Flag

In the last few weeks Edward Snowden has been holed [sic] in Moscow’s airport trying to negotiate terms of asylum with various countries around the world. Thus far it doesn’t seem that Snowden has been able to find any acceptable offers.

Part of the reason is that the United States government has been openly threatening governments that are considering offering asylum, warning of dire consequences. Governments throughout the world take these threats seriously.

In fact, governments take threats from the United States very seriously. France and Portugal both broke with international conventions a few weeks back and refused to allow Bolivia President Evo Morales to use their airspace because the Obama administration had heard rumors that Snowden was on board his plane.

Clearly when something matters to the United States government, it is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get what it wants. And even relatively powerful countries like France quickly bow to its wishes, even when it means breaking with well-established international protocols.

[...]

Now let’s get back to Edward Snowden’s efforts to get asylum. Apparently there is a lot that the United States can and will do to prevent sovereign countries from granting him asylum. Does anyone really believe that if the United States used just a fraction of the same power to persuade the Cayman Islands or some other country not to set itself up as a tax haven, that it would be met with a stonewall?

This is absurd. If countries are allowed to act as tax havens against a financial speculation tax or any other measure it is because the administration in Washington is content to let them act as tax havens. When it actually wants something to happen, the Obama administration, like its predecessors, is prepared to do a full Snowden.  And in nearly every case, it will get what it wants.

More…

So, through its silence, the U.S. government condones the use of overseas tax havens by the corporatocracy and the rich.

 

July 22, 2013 at 10:45 AM Leave a comment

This is What Small Government Looks Like

You may have heard about the Black Forest fire burning just outside Colorado Springs.  It started yesterday.  It has burned roughly 8,000 acres and as of this morning it’s still out of control. An estimated 40-60 homes have been destroyed.  We’ll know more when the El Paso County Sheriff holds a press conference this morning at 9:00 a.m. local time.

The Black Forest area is just outside Colorado Springs, one of the most conservative “small government” areas of the state (and the country for that matter) despite the fact that the Air Force Academy and NORAD are located there and government money pours in.

My husband and I watched live images like this yesterday afternoon of million dollar homes catching fire and collapsing in a matter of seven or eight minutes.

Black Forest Fire via TheDenverChannel.com 6-12-13

(Image via TheDenverChannel.com)

This morning, of course, all three local news outlets are covering the story wall-to-wall and the big news at the heart of it is that, according to CBS4 at 5:00 a.m., there are “not enough crews to fight the fire.”

So here’s a shout out to “small government” lovers everywhere.  This is small government in action.

 

June 12, 2013 at 7:30 AM Leave a comment

Five Wildfires Burn in Colorado — the Forest Service Has ONE Air Tanker to Fight Them

I live in Boulder, Colorado, 30 miles northwest of Denver in an area that is tinder dry and ready to burst into flames at any minute.  As I write, there are five uncontrolled wildfires burning here.  The humidity is roughly 4%, the winds are blowing out of the west at 20 to 30 mph and the temperature is 100 degrees, the highest temperature recorded on this date since record-keeping began in 1878.

Colo Wildfires 6-11-13

(Image via 9News.com)

So, natch, this makes me feel a whole lot better:

Only 1 of 7 New Forest Service Air Tankers Flying as Wildfires Burn

Five wildfires in Colorado in one day, never mind what might be happening in SoCal or Arizona, and the Fores Service has ONE air tanker ready to help?

Oh. My.  F–king. God.

I’m really tired of my tax dollars going to wars and defense contractors.

June 11, 2013 at 7:42 PM 1 comment

The United States’ Screwed Up Priorities

News like this is precisely why I created an “Outrage Overload” category:

Prisons via avert.org

(Image via Avert.org)

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is defending his city’s decision to close 23 schools and lay off thousands of workers in the face of a $304 million deficit—all while Pennsylvania is investing in a $400 million state prison in suburban Philly.

More…

Geezus.  We’ve gone insane.

 

June 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM Leave a comment

Amen

My Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 6-11-13

June 11, 2013 at 9:31 AM 1 comment

It’s Broken But No One Dares to Fix It

To understand how broken spending on the military is, read this:  Plan to Shut Military Supermarkets Shows Difficulty of Cutting Defense Spending.

Here’s a taste:

Commissary via commissaries.com

(Image via Commissaries.com)

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Motion sensors and razor-wire coils ring the ammunition depot on this vast Marine Corps base. Sentries stand watch in the lobby of the headquarters complex. Military police officers patrol the barracks every few hours. But no building here boasts the defenses of the giant, government-run supermarket, whose bright, wide aisles are stocked with seemingly every brand of every food product available in America — Heinz ketchup, Oscar Mayer bacon, Lay’s chips — all sold at close to wholesale prices.

The cost of ordering the goods, filling the shelves and checking out customers is all borne by the American taxpayer.

Three summers ago, Richard V. Spencer, a retired investment banker who serves on a Pentagon advisory board, proposed shutting down the commissary at Camp Lejeune and every other domestic military base, a step that would save taxpayers about $1 billion a year.

He called several large retailers to see if they would be willing to take over the markets. None were, but Wal-Mart, which has stores within 10 miles of most U.S. bases, proposed offering equivalent discounts to troops, their spouses and their retired brethren. He figured other national chains would follow suit.

When the Defense Department bureaucracy that runs the commissaries learned of Spencer’s plan, it sounded an alarm among allies in industry and in Congress. A trade group whose mission is to represent companies that sell goods in military stores fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, warning him it would be “ill-advised” to make major changes. Senators and representatives dispatched similar missives. So did veterans groups. As the correspondence stacked up in his inbox, Gates summoned Spencer and other members of the Defense Business Board.

“Richard, my fax machine is vomiting letters of complaint,” Spencer recalled Gates telling him. Worried that congressional anger would doom other Pentagon cost-cutting initiatives, Gates told Spencer to drop his commissary plan.

[...]

“Nobody up here [in congress] wants to be tarred as anti-military, and they don’t want to say no to the veterans groups,” said a senior aide to a Republican representative on the House Armed Services Committee who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the subject candidly. “Those guys are organized — and they vote.”

[...]

The commissary proposal, as envisaged by Spencer, actually would have provided a greater benefit to retirees. They would have received the same commissary discount at large retailers closer to their homes, saving them from driving onto bases. “Nobody was going to have to pay more,” he said. “It was just a more efficient way to deliver the service.”

The story of how the plan was developed — and how it died — is instructive, Punaro said, because “it shows just how broken the system has become.”

I don’t see how we get out from under this.

June 2, 2013 at 8:59 AM Leave a comment

Get Ready for More Collapsing Bridges

Have you seen this headline yet?

Cars, Drivers Plunge Into River After Wash. I-5 Bridge Collapse

Three people were rescued from water after a bridge along Interstate-5 in Washington State collapsed on Thursday evening, plunging cars into Skagit River below, according to Washington State Patrol.

This could be just the beginning.  Check out the collapse in public infrastructure spending over the last five or six years:

Infrastructure spending via businessinsider.com

(Image via BusinessInsider.com)

This is the reality of putting two wars on the credit card and cutting taxes on the rich (thanks George).  I.e., we don’t have money to make sure our bridges are safe.

What a way to run a country, huh?

May 24, 2013 at 7:08 AM Leave a comment

Republicans Asked the IRS to Investigate AARP — Because? Politics

Geezus.  Republicans are going nuts over the IRS investigating Tea Party organizations — claiming political harassment — yet  in April, 2011 they asked the IRS to investigate AARP because?  Politics:

AARP Logo

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee asked federal tax authorities Friday to look into AARP’s finances.

The request was widely expected after the committee released a report last week raising questions about the hundreds of millions of dollars the nonprofit seniors’ lobby gets for endorsing insurance products.

“The facts laid out in our report strongly suggest that AARP, Inc., and its affiliates may no longer qualify as a tax-exempt organization,” said the letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.

AARP says all its revenue supports its mission of helping seniors.

And Democrats say Republicans are simply trying to punish the seniors’ lobby for putting its considerable weight behind healthcare reform.

More…

May 14, 2013 at 4:05 PM 1 comment

Remember When the Bush IRS Went After a Liberal Minister for One Sermon?

Just sayin’ folks.  Let’s not forget that the Bush administration did some pretty reprehensible things with the IRS too:

Rev. Ed Bacon via Oprah.com

(Rev. Ed Bacon via Oprah.com)

Stepping up its probe of allegedly improper campaigning by churches, the Internal Revenue Service on Friday ordered a liberal Pasadena parish to turn over all the documents and e-mails it produced during the 2004 election year with references to political candidates.

All Saints Episcopal Church and its rector, the Rev. Ed Bacon, have until Sept. 29 to present the sermons, newsletters and electronic communications.

The IRS investigation was triggered by an antiwar sermon delivered by its former rector, the Rev. George F. Regas, at the church two days before the 2004 presidential election. The summons even requests utility bills to establish costs associated with hosting Regas’ speech. Bacon was ordered to testify before IRS officials Oct. 11.

The tax code bars nonprofits, including churches, from endorsing or campaigning against candidates in an election.

Facing the possible loss of his church’s tax-exempt status, Bacon said he plans to inform his roughly 3,500 active congregants about the investigation during Sunday’s services. Then he plans to seek their advice on whether to comply.

“There is a lot at stake here,” Bacon said in an interview. “If the IRS prevails, it will have a chilling effect on the practice of religion in America.”

[...]

In July, the IRS warned 15,000 tax-exempt groups across the nation, including churches and nonprofit organizations, to stay neutral on politics.

At the time, IRS officials said the agency also began expediting investigations into charges of improper campaigning under a new enforcement program, the Political Activity Compliance Initiative. Under it, the IRS will no longer wait for an annual tax return to be filed or for the tax year to end before investigating allegations of wrongful campaigning.

Since 2004, the IRS has investigated more than 200 organizations nationwide.

More…

 

May 14, 2013 at 3:13 PM Leave a comment

Drone Lobbyists Making a Killing in D.C.

Geezus.  All I can say is (1) the dronemaker lobby is obviously spending a whole hell of a lot of money and time in Washington, and (2) the life of my neighbor’s 3-year-old grandson, Noah, is going to be indescribably different than mine was.  Oh, and I’ve heard stories about how people in Afghanistan hear a near-constant buzz of U.S. drones overhead.  Is that where we’re headed?  You know, we sit outside on a summer’s evening and hear a never-ending whurr?  And what happens when they crash into each other or into private planes or jets and the debris rains down?

Yeehah!  Our tax dollars at work…against us.

There Could Be As Many As 10,000 Drones Above

US Skies By 2020

 

April 29, 2013 at 6:59 PM Leave a comment

America’s Dirty Wars

You may have heard about the documentary film, Dirty Wars.  It’s based on the book by the same title written by one of the U.S.’s bravest and most patriotic journalists, Jeremy Scahill.

It’s on my must-see list.

The trailer was released today. Here it is:

April 22, 2013 at 4:18 PM Leave a comment

Heads Up California Taxpayers

Yo, Californians:  Your tax dollars at work.  I mean really?

Kardashian Sheriff Escort via DailyMail

Kim Kardashian leaving the Los Angeles County Courthouse Friday, April 12, 2013 after attending a settlement conference in her divorce proceeding. (Image via DailyMail.co.uk)

 

April 13, 2013 at 8:30 AM Leave a comment

GOP Head Slams Obama Over Chained CPI

Gosh, who could have seen this coming?

Here’s Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, who chairs the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), talking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer:

Greg Walden via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

“His budget kind of lays out a shocking attack on seniors, if you will,” says Walden. “I’ll tell ya, when you’re already going after seniors, the way he’s already done with Obamacare, taking $700 million out of Medicare to put into Obamacare, and now coming back at seniors again, I think he’s crossing that line.” Prodded by Wolf Blitzer, who (wrongly) says that Paul Ryan’s budget also reforms Social Security (it actually just cuts taxes and expects more revenue to flow in), Walden says again that Obama is “trying to balance this budget on the back of seniors.

More…

Shocking, isn’t it?

Then again, if Obama hadn’t come out in favor of Chained CPI, they’d slam him for that too.

 

April 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM Leave a comment

Obama Gives Republicans What they Asked For, Now They Want More

Here’s my Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the day 4-10-13The moral of the story:  Republican know if they just dig in, fold their arms across their chest, stick their nose in the air and walk away, Obama will cave.  Then they’ll ask for more.  Obama will say absolutely not but they’ll turn and walk away again; they’ll wait a few months until Obama cave and gives them all the new stuff they asked for.

Geezus.

As an aside, there’s this about Obama hosting a dozen Republican Senators for dinner at the White House tonight but as for progressive Democrats having face-time with him?   The invitation has apparently been lost in the mail.

April 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM Leave a comment

Debtors’ Prison: Ohio Throwing People Who Can’t Pay Court Fees in Prison

Debtors Prison via Members.virtualtourist.com

(Image via Members.VirtualTourist.com)

When I think of debtors’ prison, I think of Medieval Europe and the poorest of the poor being snatched out of grimy, rat-infested alleys and thrown in jail because — being dirt poor — they couldn’t pay their debts.  And I always wondered about that logic.  How in the world is someone who’s sitting in a jail cell supposed to earn money to pay a debt that landed them in jail in the first place?  Made. Zero. Sense.

But here we are, it’s 2013 in the United States of America and the Republican-controlled state of Ohio is doing the exact same thing:

The Outskirts of Hope: How Ohio’s Debtors’ Prisons are Ruining Lives and Costing Communities

They are unconstitutional. They are against state law. And yet, debtors’ prisons – jailing people because they are too poor to pay their court fines – are common across Ohio, according to a report released today by the ACLU of Ohio.

Most people who receive a traffic ticket or a fine related to a criminal conviction simply pay it and move on with their lives. But for the poor, court fines and fees may be completely unaffordable. Thirty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to imprison debtors simply because they cannot pay court fines or fees. State law in Ohio also requires that a judge determine whether a person can pay a fine before she is jailed. Nonetheless, many courts throughout the state are simply ignoring the law and routinely incarcerating people multiple times for failing to pay their fines.

Over the past several months, I have traveled across the state meeting with people who were tossed in jail because they could not afford to pay court fines, which were sometimes as low as $200. While the details of their stories are different, I kept hearing the same, sad refrain: debtors’ prison has ruined my life and I cannot escape.

[...]

Today, in addition to releasing a report highlighting stories of people trapped in the debtors’ prison cycle, the ACLU contacted seven courts that are violating the law by jailing low-income people who cannot pay their fines and urged them to stop immediately.

Those seven courts are merely the tip of the iceberg. The ACLU has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to issue guidelines forcing courts to obey the law and hold accountable judges who engage in debtors’ prison practices. We have also asked people concerned about debtors’ prison to take action and contact the state Supreme Court.

More…

A more apt title for the article, instead of “Outskirts of Hope…” would be “No Hope.”  Click on the link (More, immediately above) and read the story of John Bundren and Samantha Reed, two kids in their early 20s who have a nine month old baby.  They’re about as down and out as two people can be yet they’re trapped in the debtors’ prison cycle and it’s hard to imagine how they’ll ever get out.

It’s unbelievable we treat people this way.  Why not give them a job and let them work off their debt?  I mean, this makes no sense.  Say one of them owes $200 in court fines which they literally can’t pay.  We throw them in jail at taxpayer’s expense at who-knows-how-much-per-day.  There they rot and no matter how long they stay they still won’t be able to pay.  That’s insane.

April 4, 2013 at 2:37 PM 3 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts


Follow Me On Twitter

Categories


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,158 other followers