May 21, 2013

Report Your Miscarriage So "The Limited Government" Crowd Doesn't Send You To Jail

Virginia State Senator and Republican nominee for Attorney General Mark D. Obenshain sponsored SB 962 Fetal deaths; when occurs without medical attendance, mother, etc., must report within 24 hours. This atrocious legislation thankfully died in committee in January 2009, but the candidate for top prosecutor is far from ashamed of the overreach into the private lives of Virginia's citizens. Instead his campaign responded to (the left of center news organization that initially reported on the story), but the response pointed to a local news story from WVIR about an incident of a college woman disposing a stillbirth child. The woman received 30 days in jail and a year probation for not getting the permission of the private landfill before disposing the body; the crime is a class 1 misdemeanor exactly the same classification of Republican candidate for Attorney General Obenshain's SB 962.

What possibly could be the purpose of the additional crime that he alleged to be the impetus for legislation when a stillbirth occurred and was punished? In Obenshain's response to inquiry, it was explained that the legislation was to wide in scope, and that there was no means to narrow the scope to avoid unintended consequences. The life of the legislation began January 12th and was stricken at the request of Obenshain on January 29th. For a politician that proudly and repeated claims 'that government is best that governs the least', it is odd to jump to legislation for a solution for such an intimate personal tragedy. Limited government is only between conception and birth, at least in Obenshain's eyes.

May 20, 2013

Moore, OK Tornadoes Destroyed Hundreds of Homes

My heart goes out to the town of Moore, OK that suffered devastating tornadoes.

IRS so called scandal

George Will said on ABC's This Week "A Tennessee group was told your entitlement to this status was contingent upon telling us the names of the high school and college students that you trained to participate in politics." The status that Mr. Will has his undies in a twist over is the nonprofit apolitical 501c4 organizations having their tax exempt status being delayed. If the Tennessee organization had nothing to hide, they could have sought out a 527 status and avoided the delay, instead decided to avoid contributors disclosures and obfuscate where their money is coming from denying the American public their right to know who is attempting to persuade public policy. 

There is a common theme in the conservatives' response across internet forums and social media, that liberals would not stand for the same actions if IRS used the same scrutiny on liberal nonprofits. No one needs to imagine what would occur if a Republican administration used the IRS to harass and audit liberal nonprofits; since it occurred under Bush against the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, and others. The right-wing complains about delays in being granted tax-exempt status; what conservative organization was denied 501c4 status? I can tell you which progressive organization was denied, Emerge America as they transformed their 527 organizations to 501c4 was denied the only benefit of avoiding to disclosing their contributors. The Tea Party and Patriot movement creating nonprofit organizations explicitly for politically purposes were still able to retain financial contributors anonymity despite that is neither the letter of the law or the spirit of the law to grant the status to such poltical organizations.

Much can be understood by the modus operandi, if tax-exempt 501c4 organizations intended for apolitical purposes to promote the general welfare in comparison to tax-exempt 527 organizations intended for purely political purposes, then the reason for political organizations seeking out 501c4 does so for the only distinction between 527 an 501c4: not disclosing political contributions.

Stephen Colbert famously and poignantly mocked the tax statuses of Super PACs and their deceiptive partners in crime by creating Colbert Super PAC and 501c4 Colbert Super PAC SHH! to hide who contributed to the his fund. Unlike the Tea Party and Patriot movement 501c4, Stephen Colbert actually had apolitical purposes  to educate and entertain the public about the absurdity of the campaign finance and the tax code.

May 17, 2013

Tea Party is making satirists jobs that much easier.

Ironic that the Tea Partiers' non-profit 501c4 organizations are illegal if used for political purposes seem to escape the mainstream media's attention. So why are political conservatives complaining that in there attempt to get tax-exempt status for their evidently purely political organizations that were under extensive scrutiny? They still erroneously received tax-exempt status and proceeded to use the status for purely political purpose.

Tea Party groups kvetching that the IRS granting tax-exempt status for purely political intended organizations took to long and and were politically motivated is akin to a bank robber complaining that the bank cashier is taking too long while he/she is cordially handing over all the money, even offering immunity for the crime that is being committed. Hypothetical bank robber's response: "How dare this bank teller after offering me immunity slow my roll!"

May 15, 2013

John Boehner: Who is going to jail over this scandal? Which of the plethora of scandals?

John Boehner stated in a press conference today: "Who is going to jail over this scandal?" Which scandal? LIBOR? House GOP gutting diplomatic security a year before the Benghazi attacks? Banks auto-signing foreclosing on homes that were already paid off? HSBC money laundering for drug cartels and Al-Qaeda affiliates? Director of the SEC Mary Jo White being paid by financial industry defense law firm $500,000 a year bribe (ahem... I mean retirement plan)? Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas obvious conflict of interest for his wife being paid by plaintiffs that appear in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, such as Citizens United Vs. FEC that created a new legal channel to affect elections and public policy with excessive and obtuse dark money?

No, none of that, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was instead referring to Internal Revenue Service bringing extra scrutiny to non-profit 501c4 organizations whose legal intended purpose was to "promote the general welfare" but public statements were to oppose taxes in all there forms. The scrutiny started back in 2010, after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Citizens United, and the anti-government movement flooded the IRS with requests most with newly named organizations with "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in them. As I wrote yesterday that the of the non-profit organizations that the IRS provided extra scrutiny to, 25% had conservative leanings with telling anti-tax terms in their names. All of whom were non-profit organizations that were the children of the Super PACs and the Citizen United decision, whose sole purpose was to make their finances opaque as possible and hiding the contributors before they went off to run deceptive political ads for the upcoming 2010 midterm elections. The actions of the IRS were far from adroit but it was equally distance from being illegal; it was equally legal to the Bush administration auditing Planned Parenthood, NAACP, Greenpeace, National Organization of Women and other left from center non-profits that existed before the Bush administration, and continue long after the shot callers of their political harassment have left office (unlike a majority of the non-profit organizations that were targeted). Mark Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation sparking this controversy, after 8 years of promoting the politicization of the IRS under the Bush administration, brought this to national attention after a 13 month effort. So has it become common wisdom that audits and extra scrutiny are only a tools to be used against the left without repercussions? Could there be any possibility that the same standards of behavior be for both sides of the aisle not leniency for those calling for uncompassionate market forces to mete out "justice" and rigid higher standards for proponents of universal forgiveness?

Please comment what you think about the situation, and of course share and forward this to your social network.

May 14, 2013

IRS taking a double look at conservatives who oppose paying taxes-- is like Child Services taking a double look at NAMBLA week it was discovered that the IRS performed extra scrutiny on 25% of the 501c4 non-profit organizations if they had "tea party", "patriot", or other conservative identifier within their name; the double check was limited to the Cincinnati regional IRS office. This extra scrutiny was in response to the Citizen United decision that allowed Super PACs and the follow up of the 501c4 to hide the contributors from the public. It doesn’t come to anyone’s surprise that a burst of newly formed tax-free organizations created with the of tax avoidance should come under closer examination by the agency that is responsible for regulating such organizations. This is in comparison to pacifists and non-violent activists coming under extra scrutiny of the FBI from 2001 to 2006, under the premise that they were dangerous to the security of the nation.

The facetious shock that the right wing pundits responds to this story comes from the same mindset that believes if government revenues can be shrunk small enough then the government can be small enough to be drowned in a bath tub. So those organizations that are advocating against taxes altogether warrant the double check by the IRS.

"Just imagine, Donna Brazile, if you will that the George W. Bush administration had IRS underlings saying we are going to target organizations with the word 'progressive' in their name, we would have all hell breaking loose."
-George Will on ABC's This Week

The kabuki that is being slung by conservative pundits regarding this story wholly ignores the recent history, and the administration’s defense is devoid of assertiveness (no surprise there).

May 13, 2013

What would a Libertarian/private market's response to Cleveland's House of Horrors be?

As certainly anyone with a beating heart in their chest, there is nothing but disgust and anger towards the evil Ariel Castro who kept three girls for ten years in his basement after snatching them up off the street. Two of the three victims (Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus) being returned to their families and justice will mete out to Castro, a scenario that even the most libertarian acolyte can admit still within the assumed role for government, but what of the third victim that had already been estranged from her family before being kidnapped? Libertarians not wanting the government to provide social workers to Michelle Knight, whom has no means to adjust after surviving such a tragic ordeal nor any support mechanisms since the her family (mother Barbara Knight was in an abusive relationship that endangered Michelle Knight's son) was the cause to her losing her child to the Child Welfare Services, would likely depend on charity to delivery such charity in a world with a negligible level of government service. In a high profile case such as Michelle Knight, there would be charities that would step up, but on the out of the spotlight tragedies such as Michelle's son being abused by Barbara's live-in boyfriend there is not enough charitable infrastructure to supply services to all of the victims of abuse on a daily basis.

In the Libertarian fantasy world, businesses unencumbered by any regulations and government interventions will rise and fall as new competitors creating market pressures on providing profitable services and products to the beck and call of consumers. Monopolies would be held at bay by individuals starting new firms all the time and magically having access to markets through hard work and gumption. But what is to be done to the victims of their circumstances, or victims of crime? Government would continue to dole out punishment to the perpetrators while the victims would just need to suck-it-up and get back to their job or start that Goliath succumbing start-up. Adjusting to life after suffer tragedy, someone out there could offer up for profit service, so that would be available if you could afford it, otherwise you would be out of luck. Who's responsibility for the injustices in the world, who is to make the effort to make things right? Only if you can afford to pay for justice and you consumer that is of a large enough market with dispensable income would you get assistance. Victims of violent crime, being an market that was serviced by a vibrant market of for-profit social workers would have an incentive to create more victims to continue their enterprise. World peace will never be provided when military contractors depend on continued war to profit; violence will always be with us as long as there is systemic incentives to continue servicing the aftermath of violence or selling implements of violence as products; poverty and starvation will end when it is no longer common place to privatize profits while socializing individual risk and liabilities on the least powerful of our society.

There is no market-driven solutions that prevents domestic abuse or child abuse, and dependency on charity to deliver such services when no social safety net is available is fraught with danger. Involuntary taxes paid to provide services, such as social workers to victims of their circumstances, regardless of the end user's ability to pay creates the possibility that a solution can be reached. A solution being reached is often the ideal for government solution (ex. a bridge is built), while a for-profit's ideal is never ending (ex. ferry service across a river); the ideal for the government is rarely met but it is better than the private market's ideal that is to turn the masses into Sisyphus eternally pushing the stone of profits up the hill every fiscal quarter. Though our social safety is the worse solution, it still is far better than all the other solutions.

May 7, 2013

NRA: Please put away the Obama target mannequin, but lone female target "the EX" keep selling those

This past weekend at the NRA national conference in Houston, TX had hundreds of vendors sell their wares from guns, hunting accessories, gun related books, clothing, and practice targets. One of the vendors that sells practice targets that bleed when you shoot them, named Bleeding Zombie Targets by Zombie Industries. The NRA requested that take the Bleeding Zombie Target model named "Rocky" (which has user submitted videos on their website referring to it as "Barry") off display due to it's obvious resemblance to President Barack "Barry" Obama. They were free to continue to sell the less than respectful depiction of the Commander-in-Chief, the vendor was just not allowed to put it up front on display. This decision was in reaction to news reporting about the product, what strikes me is that no mention to the other model that clearly plays out on a fantasy of violence towards women named "the EX" and the only female target.

So it is okay to carry out violence on exes effigy that bleeds faux blood, but it is beyond the pale to claim that conservatives have a war against women.

So it is okay to carry out violence on the president effigy if he is a Democrat, but if Code Pink interrupts public appearances and calls judicial process being initiated to prove whether or not war crimes have been committed in our name-- that is demeaning to Office of the President.

So moral relativism is an abomination when discussing public policy, unless it is American Exceptionlism because all countries are equal just some countries are more equal than others.