Bill USA's Journal
Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 3,466
Number of posts: 3,466
Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that
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"New Records: IRS Targeted Progressive Groups More Extensively Than Tea Party"
Elijah Cummings, Darrell ("the Reptilian"_B USA) Issa
A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.” The 22 “Be On the Look Out” keywords lists, distributed to staff reviewing applications between August 12, 2010 and April 19, 2013, included more explicit references to progressive groups, ACORN successors, and medical marijuana organizations than to Tea Party entities.
The IRS provided the heavily-redacted lists to ThinkProgress, after nearly a year-long search. From the earliest lists through 2012, the “historical” section of the lists encouraged reviewers to watch out for “progressive” groups with names like “blue,” as their requests for 501(c)(3) charitable status might be inappropriate. Their inclusion in this section suggests that the concern predates the initial 2010 list.
Explicit references to “Tea Party,” included in the “emerging issues” section of the lists, also began in August 2010 — but stopped appearing after the May 10, 2011 list. From that point on, the lists instructed agents to flag all political advocacy groups of any stripe. The documents instructed the agents to forward any “organization involved with political, lobbying, or advocacy” applying for 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status be forwarded to “group 7822″ for additional review. Groups under both categories are limited in the amount of of lobbying and political activity each can undertake.
Other types of groups received explicit scrutiny for longer than “progressive” or “Tea Party” organizations. These included applicants involved with “medical marijuana” but not “exclusively education” (19 appearances in the “watch list” section of the lists), which were to be forwarded to a “group 7888″ and groups believed to be possible successor-groups to ACORN, the now-shuttered Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (12 appearances on the “watch list” section). Those applications were also to be elevated to managers for further review. All 22 documents also flagged applicants with Puerto Rico addresses and certain types of “Testamentary Trusts.”
Debunking the Myth that the IRS Targeted Progressives: How the IRS and Congressional Democrats Misled America about Disparate Treatment
Posted by Bill USA | Fri May 16, 2014, 03:05 PM (4 replies)
So Republicans want a #Benghazi freak show? Give them a freak show. (hint: it involves Alan Grayson)
The idea started out as a bit of a gag on twitter and on the blogs: Rather than legitimize the new House GOP select committee on #Benghazi by sending a full slate of Dems to participate, Dems should instead send a single lawmaker who is well schooled in mixing it up with Republican crazy. In other words: Why not just turn Dem Rep. Alan Grayson loose?
It now appears that the Draft Grayson movement is gaining a bit of traction, with two major liberal groups giving some thought to pushing it.
A petition on the Credo Mobilize site calling on House Democrats to send only Grayson has now garnered 17,000 signatures. Credo officials say they think it’s possible the signatures could soon pass the 50,000 mark.
Meanwhile, a source at MoveOn tells me the group “has taken notice and is looking into the idea as a way of exposing the committee as the kangaroo court that it is.”
Alan Grayson: The perfect Democrat to fight back against Republicans' Benghazi witch hunt
To: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
We urge you to appoint Florida Representative Alan Grayson as the sole Democratic member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Benghazi, or appoint no one at all.
Why is this important?
Speaker Boehner bowed to the most paranoid elements of the right-wing by appointing a Select Committee to Investigate Benghazi to conduct yet another fishing expedition around the tragic 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This Committee is being pursued after bi-partisan committees in both the House and Senate have already generated tens of thousands of documents about the causes and events surrounding that day.
In protest of Republican rules granting Chairman Trey Gowdy unilateral subpoena power, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has yet to appoint minority members. Democrats received no guarantee they will be allowed access to interview witnesses before public testimony is given.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu May 15, 2014, 08:53 PM (6 replies)
Reid Remarks On Constitutional Amendment To Stop Koch Brothers’ Unlimited Campaign Spending To Buy Our Democracy
“The Kochs’ bid for a hostile takeover of the American democracy is calculated to make themselves even richer. Yet, the Kochs and their Republican followers in Congress continue to assert that these hundreds of millions of dollars are free speech.”
“There should not be a million-dollar entry fee for participating in our democracy.”
“I oppose the notion that a big bank account should give billionaires, corporations or special interest groups a greater place in government than American voters. That is why I support the constitutional amendment proposed by two Senate Democrats, Senators Tom Udall and Michael Bennet, that curbs unlimited campaign spending.”
Washington, DC – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today on the need for a constitutional amendment to curb unlimited campaign spending and the Koch brothers’ financing of shadowy political organizations. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
A memo from the Koch-funded political organization, Americans for Prosperity, found its way into the national press last week. The memo details Americans for Prosperity’s plan to spend at least $125 million ensuring the Koch brothers’ hand-picked candidates win elections this November. The memo was sent to a select group – the ultra-radical, mega-rich men and women who fund Americans for Prosperity. The memo was titled: “Confidential Investor Update.” How fitting a title for the Koch brothers’ hostile takeover of the American electoral system.
You see, for the billionaires and millionaires who are dumping unseemly sums of money into shadowy political organizations, their donation is an investment in an America rigged to benefit themselves at the expense of the middle class. The Kochs’ political expenditures are investments, much like any other that is listed in their financial portfolios. And they absolutely expect monetary returns on their investments. The Koch’s bid for a hostile takeover of the American democracy is calculated to make themselves even richer. Yet, the Kochs and their Republican followers in Congress continue to assert that these hundreds of millions of dollars are free speech.
For evidence of that, look no further than the Republican Leader, who has flat out said “In our society, spending is speech.” Let me pose the question to the Republican Leader: If this unprecedented spending is free speech, where does that leave your middle-class constituents? How could everyday, working American families afford to make their voices heard, if money equals free speech? Should voters mortgage their homes if they are worried about climate change? If they are concerned about their children’s education, should they max out their credit cards making political contributions? Is our involvement in government completely dependent on our financial resources? The answer, of course, is ‘no.’ There should not be a million-dollar entry fee for participating in our democracy.
As retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens noted before a Senate panel just two weeks ago, “money is not speech.” Justice Stevens went on to say that: “Speech is only one of the activities that are financed by campaign contributions and expenditures. Those financial activities should not receive the same constitutional protection as speech itself. After all, campaign funds were used to finance the Watergate burglaries – actions that clearly were not protected by the First Amendment.”
Posted by Bill USA | Thu May 15, 2014, 07:43 PM (2 replies)
The top Republican leading the House Select Committee on Benghazi is urging his colleagues against using the issue as a fundraising ploy, but the congressman has himself discussed the supposed Benghazi scandal at fundraisers and campaign events.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last week finally relented to the House GOP caucus’s right wing and agreed to appoint a special committee to launch more investigations into the Obama administration’s handling of the September, 2012 attack, and tasked Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to lead the panel.
Gowdy on Wednesday called on other Republicans to refrain from fundraising off Benghazi because he said the issue “transcends politics.” Yet just minutes prior to his comments, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) sent out a fundraising email using Gowdy and his committee as the hook. “You’re now a Benghazi Watchdog. Let’s go after Obama and Hillary Clinton,” it says, offering readers an opportunity to donate.
Gowdy later said the NRCC should stop the campaign. “I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Posted by Bill USA | Fri May 9, 2014, 04:00 PM (2 replies)
At a news conference denouncing the committee’s formation on Friday, however, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters that family members of two of the four Americans who died the night of the attack had reached out to oppose the formation of the committee. “(They) have called us and said: Please don’t take us down this path again,” the former Speaker said. She did not offer further details on which of the families had contacted Congress.
One of those, ThinkProgress has learned, is the family of former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods. “A family member from the maternal side of Tyrone Woods’ family called Rep. Slaughter yesterday while she was on the floor to express support for the Congresswoman’s position,” a member of Rep. Louise Slaughter’s office confirmed to ThinkProgress. Slaughter’s office declined to offer more details out of respect for the family. Woods was present the night of the attack in the Central Intelligence Agency’s annex in Benghazi and was one of the security forces that responded to the original attack against the diplomatic outpost. Woods, along with fellow CIA security contractor Glen Doherty, died under mortar fire the night of the attack.
The speech that was Woods’ relative supported was delivered on the House floor on Thursday, when the New York Democrat said that Congress has “bottomed-out on Benghazi.” In lamenting the Republican politicizing of the issue, and recent fundraising initiatives, Slaughter asked why more wasn’t being done to prevent the next tragedy on Benghazi’s scale. “What the families of the victims and Americans want is to ensure it never happens again,” she said. “But we’re doing nothing in to ensure that.”
That it was the maternal side of Woods’ family who reached out is notable as Woods’ father has been active in speaking out on conservative media outlets about the administration’s handling of the attack since the days after his son was killed. Charles Woods early on repeated the claim that “the White House Situation Room was watching our people die in real time, as this was happening,” which he first heard on right-wing media and has since been debunked.
Posted by Bill USA | Fri May 9, 2014, 03:58 PM (1 replies)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) Friday calling the GOP's select committee on Benghazi "fundamentally unfair."
She lamented to Boehner that he didn't fulfill her request to give Democrats have an equal voice in terms of issuing subpoenas and other procedural matters on the committee.
"Regrettably, the proposal does not prevent the unacceptable and repeated abuses committed by Chairman Issa in any meaningful way, and we find it fundamentally unfair," Pelosi wrote.
The Democratic leader is juggling several different goals when determining whether or not her party will boycott the panel. She's facing internal dissent from some members who want to participate, while leadership prefers to boycott. And she wants her party to appear reasonable in order to persuade the public that Republicans have ulterior motives in setting up the panel -- namely to attack the Obama administration and tarnish Hillary Clinton ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run.
Pelosi letter to Boehner - 5/9/2014
I wish she just would have included in the letter the following: "The conclusions of this committee are already known by anybody who is familiar with the Republican war on Obama and now former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and your penchant for character assassination and creating pseudo scandals. You could make the announcement this committee's conclusion of guilt of.. whatever right now, since as we all know, that decision has already been made regardless of the facts that do not support any such conclusion. But you won't do that, as that would deny you the benefit of creating sound bites for broadcast on the evening newscasts - and large hoped for contributions from the GOP's 'anti anything constructive' faithful."
Posted by Bill USA | Fri May 9, 2014, 03:51 PM (3 replies)
One day after a federal judge dramatically shut down the secret "John Doe" probe investigating Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) 2012 recall election, a federal appeals court on Wednesday stayed the lower judge's ruling.
As The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit provides a way for District Judge Rudolph Randa to reissue his preliminary injunction halting the investigation. But the higher court said the part of Randa's ruling that ordered state prosecutors to destroy or return all material obtained during the investigation will remain stayed "as long as proceedings continue in this court."
The John Doe investigation, a type of proceeding prosecutors in Wisconsin use to determine whether or not to charge a criminal offense, was focused on campaign coordination between Walker's campaign and outside conservative groups. One of the groups targeted by the investigation, Wisconsin Club for Growth, filed a lawsuit to stop the probe -- and Randa ruled heavily in the group's favor on Tuesday.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu May 8, 2014, 04:09 PM (0 replies)
Apple CEO Tim Cook waved a magic wand in front of America on Tuesday, vanishing our outrage over how shamelessly companies avoid paying taxes, leaving the rest of us to foot the bill. As a public service to you, here is a chart that should enrage you about corporate tax rates all over again! (Story continues below chart of RAGE.)
Notice the beige stripe that is shrinking steadily? That stripe is the percentage corporate taxes contribute to total federal revenue. And notice the olive-green stripe that has swollen to be larger than the beige stripe used to be? That is the contribution of payroll taxes to federal revenue.
What this shows is how dramatically corporate tax contributions have shrunk in the past several decades, and how our personal taxes have risen to fill the gap. Payroll taxes now make up 35 percent of all federal government tax receipts, up from 11 percent in 1950. Corporate income taxes, meanwhile, now make up less than 10 percent of federal revenue, down from about 26 percent in 1950.
To 'splain those numbers a little more clearly: We who are on the payrolls of companies now bear way more of a tax burden than those companies bore decades ago. Those companies, meanwhile, bear less of a burden than we ever did.
And this doesn't include individual income tax, which accounts for about 46 percent of total federal tax receipts, roughly the same as 60 years ago.
Posted by Bill USA | Wed May 7, 2014, 07:47 PM (1 replies)
In fiscal year 2013, the federal government spent $3.5 trillion on the services it provides, such as national defense, health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security benefits for the elderly and disabled, and investments in infrastructure and education, in addition to interest on the debt (see our related Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?). Federal revenues financed close to $2.8 trillion of that $3.5 trillion. Borrowing financed the remaining amount ($680 billion); future taxpayers will ultimately pay this deficit.
The three main sources of federal tax revenue are individual income taxes, payroll taxes, and corporate income taxes; other sources of tax revenue include excise taxes, the estate tax, and other taxes and fees.
Almost half of all federal revenue (47 percent) comes from individual income taxes. The income tax is generally progressive: higher-income households pay a larger share of their income in income taxes than lower-income households do.
Another 34 percent of revenue comes from payroll taxes, which are assessed on the wage or salary paychecks of almost all workers and used to fund Social Security, Medicare Hospital Insurance, and unemployment insurance. By law, employers and employees split the cost of payroll taxes, but research has shown that employers pass their portion of the cost on to workers in the form of lower wages.
Posted by Bill USA | Wed May 7, 2014, 07:07 PM (1 replies)
Krugman Responds To Claim That Corporate Taxes Are The Highest In The World: "Nothing You Said About Business Taxes Is Actually True." On the April 29 edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, former Republican senatorial candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO claimed that the United States has "the single highest business tax rate the in the world," and that high taxes cause job losses and stalls economic growth. Krugman responded that none of Fiorina's claims was "actually true":
KRUGMAN: Nothing you said about business taxes is actually true.
FIORINA: Everything I said about business taxes is true.
KRUGMAN: We can have that discussion in one place, but it's not true.
FIORINA: This isn't an academic discussion, it's clear here.
KRUGMAN: If you look at the actual tax collections in the United States on business, they're lower than other advanced countries. And if you look at the alleged finding that high business taxes cause job losses in states, it goes way on even the -- kick the tires even slightly and the whole thing falls apart. It's just not true.
Studies Support Krugman: U.S. Corporate Tax Rates Are Similar To Other Countries
CRS: U.S. Has A Slightly Lower "GDP Weighted Average" Corporate Tax Rate Than Other OECD Countries. A March 31, 2011, Congressional Research Service (CRS) report titled "International Corporate Tax Rate Comparisons and Policy Implications," compared the weighted average of corporate tax rates in the United States and in other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It found that the United States has an effective corporate tax rate of 27.1%, compared to the OECD (excluding the United States) average of 27.7%. From the report:
If tax rates are not weighted, then a small economy, such as Iceland, can have the same effect on the average of international rates as a large economy, such as Germany or Japan. In general, smaller countries tend to have lower tax rates and thus unweighted averages are lower than weighted averages in most cases. In the results presented in this report, both weighted and unweighted averages are reported, but weighted averages are more relevant to making comparisons of measures of the tax burden on capital deployed around the world.
Posted by Bill USA | Wed May 7, 2014, 06:34 PM (0 replies)