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Hissyspit

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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 43,690

Journal Archives

Judge Dismisses Two Tea Party Lawsuits Against IRS

Source: USA Today

Judge dismisses two Tea Party lawsuits against IRS

Gregory Korte, USA TODAY
18 minutes ago

WASHINGTON -- A federal court dismissed two lawsuits against the Internal Revenue Service Thursday, ruling that the tax agency is no longer targeting conservative tax-exempt groups for greater scrutiny.

"Unless an actual, ongoing controversy exists in this case, this court is without power to decide it," U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled, dismissing one lawsuit brought by True the Vote, a conservative vote-monitoring organization.
True the Vote, an offshoot of the Tea Party-affiliated King Street Patriots, had its application as a social welfare group help up because the IRS suspected it was engaging in direct political election campaigning, which is forbidden under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. IRS agents found that its web site contained "Democratic attacks and Republican/conservative response," according to confidential IRS documents obtained by USA TODAY.

USA TODAY
IRS list reveals concerns over Tea Party 'propaganda'

Walton said the IRS has assured the public that they're no longer screening applications for tax exemptions based on its political leanings, a practice that led to the dismissal of several top IRS officials when it was disclosed by Treasury inspectors last year.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/23/tea-party-lawsuits-against-irs-dismissed/17780557

Jury Convicts 4 Former Blackwater Guards Charged in Baghdad Shootings

Source: CBS News / AP

Jury convicts 4 former Blackwater guards charged in Baghdad shootings

CBS/AP
Oct 22, 2014 12:14 PM EDT

A federal jury has returned guilty verdicts for all four former Blackwater security guards on trial in the shootings of more than 30 Iraqi citizens in Baghdad.

The Sept. 16, 2007 shootings triggered an international uproar over the role of defense contractors in urban warfare. Blackwater had been hired by the State Department to protect American diplomats in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. Blackwater convoys of four heavily armored vehicles operated in risky environments where car bombs and attacks by insurgents were commonplace.

On trial were Paul Slough, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and Nicholas Slatten. Slatten was charged with first-degree murder, the others with voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and gun charges.

CBS News' Paula Reid reports that the verdict sheet asked the jury to make more than 100 separate findings pertaining to 33 counts against the four defendants.

- snip -

"She started screaming 'My son' and she held on to him," he said. "I opened the door and I found that he has been shot three times in the head."

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/blackwater-case-former-guards-convicted-in-baghdad-mass-shootings

Breaking: Jury Returns GUILTY Verdicts for All 4 Former Blackwater Guards Charged in Iraq Shootings

@BreakingNews: Jury returns guilty verdicts for all 4 former Blackwater guards charged in Iraq shootings - @AP http://t.co/V41yyP9uZB

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/blackwater-case-former-guards-convicted-in-baghdad-mass-shootings

Jury convicts 4 former Blackwater guards charged in Baghdad shootings

CBS/AP
Oct 22, 2014 12:14 PM EDT

A federal jury has returned guilty verdicts for all four former Blackwater security guards on trial in the shootings of more than 30 Iraqi citizens in Baghdad.

The Sept. 16, 2007 shootings triggered an international uproar over the role of defense contractors in urban warfare. Blackwater had been hired by the State Department to protect American diplomats in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. Blackwater convoys of four heavily armored vehicles operated in risky environments where car bombs and attacks by insurgents were commonplace.

On trial were Paul Slough, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and Nicholas Slatten. Slatten was charged with first-degree murder, the others with voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and gun charges.

CBS News' Paula Reid reports that the verdict sheet asked the jury to make more than 100 separate findings pertaining to 33 counts against the four defendants.

MORE

Whistleblowers: IRS Officials Behind ‘Fraudulent’ Multi-Billion Dollar Corporate Tax Giveaways

Source: Raw Story

Whistleblowers: IRS officials behind ‘fraudulent’ multi-billion dollar corporate tax giveaways

Nafeez Ahmed
22 Oct 2014 at 07:46 ET

A 10-year veteran Internal Revenue Service (IRS) attorney has demanded a Congressional audit of the IRS to investigate the agency’s alleged role in allowing American corporations to illegally avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes at the same time the agency is cracking down on individuals and small businesses.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, IRS commissioner John A. Koskinen, and IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, Jane J. Kim, an attorney in the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel in New York, accused IRS executives of “deliberately” facilitating multi-billion dollar tax giveaways. The letter, dated October 19, will add further pressure on the agency, which is under fire for allegedly targeting conservative and Tea Party groups.

Kim, who has previously blown the whistle on “gross waste of government resources” in the IRS New York field offices, wrote in her new letter that senior IRS officials have “intentionally undermined the authority of the IRS Whistleblower Office” to avoid taking action “in cases involving billions in corporate taxes due.” The IRS also refuses to enforce laws for “large corporate taxpayers,” resulting in giveaways of further billions, despite applying the same laws with “draconian strictness to small business, the self-employed, and wage-earning individuals.”

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/whistleblowers-irs-officials-behind-fraudulent-multi-billion-dollar-corporate-tax-giveaways/

Pistorius Sentenced to 5-Year Jail Term for Killing Girlfriend

Source: Reuters

@Reuters: RT @LukeReuters: #OscarPistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison for shooting dead his girlfriend - @Reuters

Pistorius sentenced to five-year jail term for killing girlfriend

Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:42am EDT

PRETORIA (Reuters) - A South African court on Tuesday sentenced Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year.

(Reporting by Joe Brock; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0IA0L720141021

TOM TOMORROW: The Right-Wing House of FEEEAAAARRRR!



DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/20/1337239/-Cartoon-The-house-of-feeeaaaarrrr

"What shocks me about neoliberalism is how utterly unapologetic it is about the misery it produces."

"What shocks me about neoliberalism in all of its forms is how utterly unapologetic it is about the misery it produces."

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26885-henry-giroux-on-the-rise-of-neoliberalism

Henry Giroux on the Rise of Neoliberalism

Sunday, 19 October 2014 00:00
By Michael Nevradakis, Truthout | Interview

Henry Giroux discusses the increasingly negative impact of neoliberalism across the world, politically, socially, economically and in terms of education, and he offers some suggestions for what we must do now.

An interview with Henry Giroux:

Michael Nevradakis for Dialogics: Let's begin with a discussion about some topics you've spoken and written extensively about ... neoliberalism and what you have described as "casino capitalism." How have these ideas taken hold politically and intellectually across the world in recent years?

Henry Giroux: I think since the 1970s it's been the predominant ideology, certainly in Western Europe and North America. As is well known, it raised havoc in Latin America, especially in Argentina and Chile and other states. It first gained momentum in Chile as a result of the Chicago Boys. Milton Friedman and that group went down there and basically used the Pinochet regime as a type of petri dish to produce a whole series of policies. But I think if we look at this very specifically, we're talking about a lot of things.

We're talking about an ideology marked by the selling off of public goods to private interests; the attack on social provisions; the rise of the corporate state organized around privatization, free trade, and deregulation; the celebration of self interests over social needs; the celebration of profit-making as the essence of democracy coupled with the utterly reductionist notion that consumption is the only applicable form of citizenship. But even more than that, it upholds the notion that the market serves as a model for structuring all social relations: not just the economy, but the governing of all of social life.

I think that as a mode of governance, it is really quite dreadful because it tends to produce identities, subjects and ways of life driven by a kind of "survival of the fittest" ethic, grounded in the notion of the free, possessive individual and committed to the right of individual and ruling groups to accrue wealth removed from matters of ethics and social cost.

That's a key issue. I mean, this is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility, that these things get in the way. And I think the consequences of these policies across the globe have caused massive suffering, misery, and the spread of a massive inequalities in wealth, power, and income. Moreover, increasingly, we are witnessing a number of people who are committing suicide because they have lost their pensions, jobs and dignity. We see the attack on the welfare state; we see the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection between private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, deregulations, an unchecked emphasis on self-interest, the refusal to tax the rich, and really the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes to the ruling class, the elite class, what the Occupy movement called the one percent. It really has created a very bleak emotional and economic landscape for the 99 percent of the population throughout the world.

And having mentioned this impact on the social state and the 99%, would you go as far as to say that these ideologies have been the direct cause of the economic crisis the world is presently experiencing?

Oh, absolutely. I think when you look at the crisis in 2007, what are you looking at? You're looking at the merging of unchecked financial power and a pathological notion of greed that implemented banking policies and deregulated the financial world and allowed the financial elite, the one percent, to pursue a series of policies, particularly the selling of junk bonds and the illegality of what we call subprime mortgages to people who couldn't pay for them. This created a bubble and it exploded. This is directly related to the assumption that the market should drive all aspects of political, economic, and social life and that the ruling elite can exercise their ruthless power and financial tools in ways that defy accountability. And what we saw is that it failed, and it not only failed, but it caused an enormous amount of cruelty and hardship across the world. More importantly, it emerged from the crisis not only entirely unapologetic about what it did, but reinvented itself, particularly in the United States under the Rubin boys along with Larry Summers and others, by attempting to prevent any policies from being implemented that would have overturned this massively failed policy of deregulation.

It gets worse. In the aftermath of this sordid crisis produced by the banks and financial elite, we have also learned that the feudal politics of the rich was legitimated by the false notion that they were too big to fail, an irrational conceit that gave way to the notion that they were too big to jail, which is a more realistic measure of the criminogenic/zombie culture that nourishes casino capitalism.

- snip -

What shocks me about neoliberalism in all of its forms is how utterly unapologetic it is about the misery it produces. And it's unapologetic not just in that it says "we don't care," because we have a punishing state that will actually take care of young black kids and dissenting college students and dissenting professors who basically don't believe in this stuff. It also blames the very victims that suffer under these policies.

- snip -

How have neoliberalism and casino capitalism impacted the quality of education and also access to education?

That's a terrific question. Regarding the quality, it's dumbed-down education to the point where it literally behaves in a way that's hard to fathom or understand. Education has become a site of policies that devalue learning, collapse education into training, or they are viewed as potential sites for neoliberal modes of governance and in some cases to be privatized. The radical and critical imagination is under assault in most neoliberal societies because it poses a threat as does the idea that the mission of education should have something to do with creating critically thoughtful, engaged young people who have a sense of their own agency and integrity and possibility to really believe they can make a difference in the world. Neoliberals believe that the curriculum should be organized around testing, creating passive students, and enforcing a pedagogy of repression. Most importantly, the attack on communal relationships is also an attack on democratic values and the public spaces that nourish them. These spaces are dangerous because they harbor the possibility of speaking the unspeakable, uttering critical thoughts, producing dissent, and creating critically engaged citizens.

What is at stake here is the notion that thinking is dangerous. It's a policy that suggests that education is not about creating critically informed young people…

MORE AT LINK

Henry Giroux (born September 18, 1943), is an American scholar and cultural critic. One of the founding theorists of critical pedagogy in the United States, he is best known for his pioneering work in public pedagogy, cultural studies, youth studies, higher education, media studies, and critical theory. In 2002 Routledge named Giroux as one of the top fifty educational thinkers of the modern period.

Remains Found in Search for Missing UVA Student Hannah Graham

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Police say they've found human remains that could be those of UVa. student missing since Sept.

Remains Found in Search for Missing UVA Student Hannah Graham

Human remains were found Saturday on an abandoned property during the search for University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, who has been missing for more than a month, authorities said. The remains were found around noon near Old Lynchburg Road in Albemarle County, said Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo. The area is less than 10 miles from where Graham, 18, was last seen. Longo said he “made a very difficult phone call” to Graham’s parents to share the discovery with them, but forensic tests need to be conducted to determine the identity of the remains.

Search coordinator Mark Eggeman appealed to anyone who lives near Old Lynchburg Road to report anything suspicious they might have seen the night Graham went missing. Eggeman said that investigators had canvassed the area where the remains were found for any evidence related to the case.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/remains-found-search-missing-uva-student-hannah-graham-n228901

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Texas to Enforce New Voter ID Law for November Election

Source: Associated Press / USA Today

@AP: BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court allows Texas to enforce new voter ID law for November election

Supreme Court rules Texas can enforce voter ID law

Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court allowed Texas on Saturday to enforce its photo identification law at the polls in the upcoming elections, reaching the opposite conclusion from a similar Wisconsin case a week earlier.

The order, coming two days before early voting is set to begin, completes a series of voting rights challenges that had come before the court on an emergency basis. The justices also upheld new restrictions on voting in North Carolina and Ohio that did not include photo ID requirements.

The order was not signed, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a six-page dissent, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
"The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters," Ginsburg said.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/18/texas-voter-id-law-supreme-court/17494191/

Federal Judge Overturns Wyoming Gay Marriage Ban

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Alert: Federal judge orders Wyoming to allow same-sex marriage but stays until next Thursday.

Federal judge overturns Wyoming gay marriage ban

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered Wyoming to allow same-sex marriage but has stayed his decision so that the state can appeal if it wants.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled Friday that the state must comply with a ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that permits same-sex marriage.

But he says his ruling will not take effect until next Thursday in order to allow time for the state to appeal.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to review several federal court rulings that upheld gay marriage as a constitutional right. The rulings include the one from the 10th Circuit, which covers Wyoming and five other states.

This follows Arizona earlier today: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014921331

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/2440e269c28641d8bab323f97d1ab6db/federal-judge-overturns-wyoming-gay-marriage-ban
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