Tag Archives: Tea

Kos’ Abbreviated pundit roundup: Analyzing the Tea Party

Daily Kos

Jon Favreau at The Daily Beast:

The Tea Party is the problem.The Tea Party is the most destructive force in American politics today. Over the last few weeks, it has demonstrated again that its intent is not to shake up the establishment but to burn down the village. As a Democrat, I disagree with its policy positions, but its policy positions alone are not what make the Tea Party so dangerous. What makes the Tea Party dangerous is its members’ willful disregard for the most basic tenets of American democracy. They do not believe in the legitimacy of our president. They do not believe in the legitimacy of decisions handed down by our Supreme Court. Unlike President Obama, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, or a host of other Democratic and Republican lawmakers who grasp the basic reality of politics, they have never, not once shown a willingness to compromise on anything. Merely uttering the word is enough to draw a primary challenge.

All this, despite the fact that the Tea Party represents the views of a small, ever-shrinking fraction of Americans. Even within the Republican Party, its members’ favorability hovers around 50 percent, the lowest of all time. Their recent legislative strategy, a word that can be used only in its loosest sense, led to 144 Tea Party House members voting against a bipartisan compromise simply to open the government and avert default. But when Reuters polled people who weren’t satisfied with last week’s outcome, only 2 percent said it was because the House passed the Senate’s bipartisan bill. Only 5 percent said it was because Republicans compromised. Only 3 percent said it was because default would have taught our government an important lesson. Most people said their main dissatisfaction was with the ugly process the Tea Party dragged us all through.

And yet, somehow, this small minority of Tea Party House members, who represent less than one half of one legislative body in one branch of government, has been given enormous influence over the national agenda—a situation without precedent in American political history. It’s insanity.

Maria Cardona at CNN:

The problem for Boehner as a leader of a fractured caucus is that he is listening to only a small but loud fraction of the American electorate. The voices of this America are vengeful if they don’t get their way. [...] [G]oing to the mat for the tea party might enable Boehner to push them hard to avoid this destructive path next time. It might give him the backbone he will need to stand up to them in the coming months and listen to the other “America” that represents more reasonable middle-of-the-road voices. These also happen to be a majority of the country — Republicans, Democrats and independents. They are the voters that decide presidential elections and are precisely the ones the tea party is alienating. [...]The bigger problem for moderate and pragmatic Republicans is that the tea party doesn’t care about the Republican Party’s shrinking White House prospects. But it does care about its own and about keeping control of the House of Representatives. This could be enough to get the tea party to rethink its strategy.

Americans have had it. The most recent CNN poll shows 54% of Americans think it is a bad thing for the country that the GOP controls Congress. For the first time ever, polls show 60% of voters are ready to boot all of Congress out — including their own representatives.

Jules Witcover at The Baltimore Sun:

Today, Mr. Cruz’ one-man assault on President Obama and more significantly on the leadership of his own party, both in the Senate and across the Capitol in the House, personifies a new McCarthyism on the Hill. It requires a similar intervention by the moderate voices among the congressional Republicans if the party is to restore its own reputation as a partner in responsible governance.Some will argue that Mr. Obama, as president, should remain above any personal confrontation with a single senator low on the totem pole as a freshman, leaving it to the Republicans to deal with Mr. Cruz. Such a presidential intervention, it will be said, will only elevate the brash Texan in the national spotlight, encouraging him to engage with Mr. Obama as a political equal.

But in the 1950s, Eisenhower learned the hard way that trying to ignore Joe McCarthy only encouraged him to press on with his phony attacks on communist infiltration of the Eisenhower State Department and elsewhere. Cruzism has not yet sunk to similar depths today. But the looks and smell of it are all too familiar to any observers of the era of McCarthyism still around.

Peter Schweitzer at The New York Times writes about how our campaign contribution system is essentially legalized extortion:

Consider this: of the thousands of bills introduced in Congress each year, only roughly 5 percent become law. Why do legislators bother proposing so many bills? What if many of those bills are written not to be passed but to pressure people into forking over cash?This is exactly what is happening. Politicians have developed a dizzying array of legislative tactics to bring in money.

Take the maneuver known inside the Beltway as the “tollbooth.” Here the speaker of the House or a powerful committee chairperson will create a procedural obstruction or postponement on the eve of an important vote. Campaign contributions are then implicitly solicited. If the tribute offered by those in favor of the bill’s passage is too small (or if the money from opponents is sufficiently high), the bill is delayed and does not proceed down the legislative highway.

Speaking of money, Juan Williams profiles the money war in the GOP:

As a very high-ranking Republican told me last week: “We have a total split between people who give us $30 and the people who give us $30,000.”The $30 donors are the Tea Party donors. The $30,000 donors are business groups. [...]
It has long been obvious there is money to be made in catering to right-wing anger by demonizing liberals in general and President Obama in particular. But, as Cruz and Palin demonstrate, the new whipping boy for the Tea Party is the current set of Republican leaders.

It is now Republican against Republican. Specifically, Tea Party Republicans against non-Tea Party Republicans.

The only force available to counter Tea Party dollars is big bucks from big business.

Finally, on the Healthcare.gov rollout, Chris Jennings, deputy assistant to the president for Health Policy, cuts through the media frenzy and lays out the facts:

The core of the law — health insurance — works just fine.These plans will not sell out. The prices will not change. We’re only three weeks into a six-month open enrollment period. And while the website will ultimately be the easiest way to buy insurance, it isn’t the only way.

You can call 1-800-318-2596 to apply. You can download an application on HealthCare.gov and mail it in. Or you can check out LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov to find out where you can apply in person. We’re confident you’ll find the new way of buying health insurance much easier than the old way.

The president did not fight so hard for this reform just to build a website. He did it to make health care more secure for people who have it, and more affordable and accessible for people who don’t. That’s what the Affordable Care Act does.

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Filed under Kos' Abbreviated Pundit Roundup

The Right’s Blind Hate

Republican depravity – http://mariopiperni.com/

Mario Piperni

This is one of the hot stories of the day so you’ve probably come across it already. I’m posting it here in the event that I ever forget why I loathe the tea party and Republican politicians as much as I do. I’ll just come back to this story, read the first sentence below, and instantly know that every ounce of repulsion I feel for these people is justified.

A Tennessee tea party Republican congressman told a frightened little girl at a town hall meeting on Thursday in Murfreesboro, TN that laws are laws and that her undocumented father is going to have to be deported. According to ProgressivePopulist.org, 11-year-old Josie Molina told Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R) that she has papers but her father does not.

During a question and answer session at the meeting, Molina stepped up to the microphone and, with a quavering voice, asked, “Mr. DesJarlais, I have papers, but I have a dad who’s undocumented. What can I do to have him stay with me?”

Rather than make any attempt to assuage the girl’s fears, Desjarlais said, “Thank you for being here and thank you for coming forward and speaking,” but “the answer still kind of remains the same, that we have laws and we need to follow those laws and that’s where we’re at.”

Disgusting, right? But what would you expect from a former doctor who had a number of adulterous affairs with female patients. Desjarlais had run on a strict anti-choice platform although he insisted that one of his mistresses have an abortion after discovering that she was pregnant with his child. That’s how it works with pigs like Desjarlais. In front of a microphone, they’re anti-choice conservatives preaching family values. Away from the stage, they’re screwing around like rabbits on Viagra and setting up abortions for their daughters and mistresses. And if they get caught, they know that simply informing the pea-brained baggers who will vote for them that God has forgiven them for their unfortunate act of indiscretion is all that is required to make the pain go away.

In case you think this story could not get any uglier, there’s this. After Desjarlais destroyed a little girl’s dream of keeping her family together – and doing so without a single word of compassion or concern for her impending and tragic loss – here’s what happened.

The tea party crowd whooped and applauded wildly as the little girl took her seat, head down. Progressive Populist reported that Josie Molina’s father is currently in the process of being deported and that the girl is seeing a child psychologist in order to cope with the stress and anxiety.

Is there any doubt that blind hate is at the core of tea party politics?

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Filed under GOP Hubris

GOP and Tea Partiers: it’s like deja vu all over again

The Maddow Blog

There was a certain irony to the timing. Yesterday, the House Republican leadership began a new outreach effort to leaders of the Latino community, trying to repair years of damage. And during their discussions, and assurances about the GOP’s sincerity, a far-right rally was underway on the national mall featuring anti-immigrant speeches from one Republican after another.

As Kate Nocera reported, Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) “was prepared to talk about immigration for six hours all by himself if he had to,” but it didn’t come to that.

But King didn’t have to talk by himself. Crowds showed up in droves. One member of Congress after another showed up to give speeches. The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector dropped by to talk about his widely criticized study that the Senate’s immigration bill would cost $6 trillion (though there was no criticism from this crowd).

For King the outpouring of support from Tea Party groups and like-minded members of Congress was proof that his efforts to stall, and hopefully kill, the Senate’s immigration bill in the House were working. If party leaders had hoped King would sit this fight out, by day’s end on Wednesday he had made it abundantly clear he wasn’t going anywhere. [...]

“This bill is at its core amnesty,” King said to cheers. “We’re here to today … to take this debate outside the halls of Congress. If it’s not going to be good enough inside, we’ll take it outside!”

To help underscore the larger problem, consider the fact that Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) appeared at the event, spoke briefly in Spanish, and was heckled.

It’s true that immigration wasn’t the only subject discussed yesterday — the legion of far-right lawmakers were also eager to talk about the IRS. Imagine that.

But the point of the gathering was to condemn the bipartisan immigration legislation pending in the Senate: “Protesters wore T-shirts emblazoned with American flags and tea party slogans, and they waved homemade signs that read, ‘John Boehner: no amnesty, get a backbone,’ ‘Boehner: go home,’ ‘exporting illegals = importing jobs for Americans, stop socialism,’ and ‘if we lose rule of law we become Mexico.’”

And for a moment, if you lost track of the calendar, you might even think it was 2010, which isn’t exactly the Republican Party’s goal right now.

Indeed, consider yesterday’s event in the larger context: what have Republicans shown the nation lately? There was a Tea Party rally this week, which followed a big fight over an anti-abortion bill that can’t pass. In the states, we see a focus on culture-war issues, including state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds. On Capitol Hill, most Republican lawmakers are running around talking about “amnesty” and “illegals,” which is every bit as insulting as theirrhetoric about women.

Yesterday, we even heard talk about “takers,” as if the “47 percent” video never happened.

And on the horizon, many in the GOP are already planning another debt-ceiling crisis.

argued a week ago that the Republican Party’s “rebranding” effort had gone off the rails, but in retrospect, I probably understated matters. Party leaders hoped to apply some lessons from 2012 and move the party forward, but half-way through 2013, it’s clear Republicans are moving backwards.

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Filed under Tea Partiers, U.S. Politics

Tea Party Whining Backfires as All Political Groups Could Lose Tax Exempt Status

Dave Camp greets Becky Gerritson (right) of the Wetumpka, Ala., Tea Party on June 4. | AP Photo

Dave Camp greets Becky Gerritson (right) of the Wetumpka, Ala., Tea Party on June 4. | AP Photo

Irony, thy name is the Tea Party…

PoliticusUSA

More lawmakers are beginning to call out the fact that social welfare groups should not be subsidized by the American taxpayers if they are violating the law with political activity.

Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) excoriated Republicans for failing to understand the basic language of the laws governing 501(c) 4s. He explained that the statue says they shouldn’t have any political activity, and so the real scandal is why aren’t Republicans even bringing the statute up in their hearings and why isn’t the IRS following the law.

Appearing Tuesday night on the Last Word, Blumenauer said, “They shouldn’t be shielded from public disclosure by the 501(c)4 status where they get millions of dollars and not required to disclose…. They shouldn’t disguise political action behind the guise of social welfare. It is not healthy, it’s not right, it’s not legal, we should stop it.”

Watch here via NBC news:

[...]

Republicans paraded Tea Partiers in front of the cameras Tuesday to decry the “jackboot” of tyranny descending upon them via the IRS, never realizing that they are all in violation of the law. Tea Partiers put on an embarrassing display of ignorance combined with a staggering sense of entitlement with the following hyperbolic claims:

“This is about tyranny on the field of our founding documents.”
“I feel our country turned a corner into tyranny.”
“I am not here as a vessel, I am not begging the lords for mercy.”

Republicans made a huge miscalculation in bringing national attention to the blatant abuse of the statute by some social welfare groups. The law is very clear: The group must be engaged exclusively in social welfare.

Lawrence O’Donnell was pleased to report that more lawmakers are now talking about that scandal — the real scandal of the IRS, which is that the law is not being upheld in regards to social welfare groups. In the hearings Monday, the IRS auditors explained that one of the troubling things they found was a failure to review groups that were intervening in political campaigns.

Continue reading here…

 

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Filed under IRS Scandal

CNN Host Corners Darrell Issa Over Claim That Obama Conspired To Target Tea Party

Think Progress

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) claimed on Sunday that political officials in the Obama administration directed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents in Cincinnati to target conservative groups applying for 501 (c)(4) status, but his charge fell apart when probed by CNN host Candy Crowley.

Relying on interviews the Committee staff conducted with IRS officers who applied the additional scrutiny to Tea Party and patriot groups, Issa claimed “the indication is they were directly being ordered from Washington.” “The reason Lois Lerner tried to take the Fifth [Amendment], it’s because this was a problem coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters and we’re getting to proving it,” Issa told Crowley, referring to the the embattled head of the IRS’ exempt organizations division who refused to testify before Congress and has since been placed on administrative leave.

To substantiate his claim, Issa provided CNN with selected excerpts from his staff’s interviews with IRS agents. But as Crowley quickly pointed out, the portion Issa cherry picked did not definitely prove that officials in Washington D.C. directed IRS officers to target conservative groups. In fact, after hearing Crowley read the transcript of an interview, Issa himself admitted that he has yet to uncover evidence that demonstrates IRS coordination with Washington:

CROWLEY: The investigator said “So is it your perspective that ultimately the responsible parties for the decisions reported by the [Inspector General] that is the decision that target tea party and patriot applications, are not in the Cincinnati office?

The employee says, ‘I don’t know how to answer that question. I mean, from an agent standpoint, we didn’t do anything wrong. We followed directions based on other people telling us what to do.’

Investigator, ‘And you ultimately followed directions from Washington, is that correct?

The employee, ‘if direction had come down from Washington, yes.’

The investigator, ‘But with respect to the particular scrutiny that was given to tea party applications, those directions emanated from Washington, is that right?’

The employee answers, ‘I believe so.’ It’s totally not definitive.

ISSA: This one isn’t. But I will tell you, one of the agents asked for and got a transfer because that person was so uncomfortable that they wanted out of it.

Watch it:

“You don’t have that direct link,” Crowley continued. “You have the frontline agents going, yeah, we figured it was from Washington or I believe it was, but as of yet you don’t have that definitive, yeah, this guy called me and said, people, go look for tea party and patriot applications.” Issa claimed his investigation would eventually turn up direct evidence of his charges and described White House Press Secretary Jay Carney as a “paid liar” for claiming that Washington officials did not direct IRS agents.

The Inspector General’s report into the matter concluded that the IRS relied on “inappropriate criteria” while vetting groups applying for nonprofit status by using a BOLO—”Be On the Look Out”—list and blamed IRS officials in Washington, DC, for “insufficient oversight” of lower-level staffers. However, it specifically concluded that “All of these officials stated that the criteria were not influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS.”

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Filed under Rep. Darrell Issa, U.S. Politics

List of Companies Supporting Right-Wing and Tea Party Causes and Candidates

FYI…

Liberals Unite

As we discussed in our recent article, 4 Effective Ways to Fight the Tea Party, there are many things we can do to combat their agenda.  We can work to advocate truthfulness, avoid television stations that air conservative Super PAC propaganda.  WE can support candidates facing elections against Tea Party candidates…

And we can boycott companies whose products and services help fund the Tea Party agenda and candidates.

For your convenience, here is a list of but a few of those companies we should avoid.  Be sure to share with your family and friends. This is by no means a fully comprehensive list, but it is a good beginning.

Also, change.org has a petition you can sign telling “Cannon Pharmacy, Quicken Loans, Angie’s List, & 37 Limbaugh Sponsors – We’re Not Buying”.

NEWS CORP

Be sure not to watch:

  • 20th Century Fox Television programs on other networks (24, Married with Children, etc.)
  • Big Ten Network (49%)
  • Fox Business Network;
  • Fox College Sports
  • Fox Movie Channel
  • Fox News
  • Fox News Channel
  • Fox Reality Channel
  • Fox Soccer Channel
  • Fox Sports en Español
  • Fox Sports Enterprises
  • Fox Sports Net
  • Fox-branded local television stations
  • Foxtel (25%)
  • FUEL TV
  • FX Networks
  • National Geographic Channel (International) (50%)
  • National Geographic Channel (US) (67%)
  • Speed Channel
  • Sport South

Do not watch movies produced by these studios:

  • 20th Century Fox Español
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • 20th Century Fox International
  • 20th Century Fox movies;
  • Blue Sky Studios pictures;
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures;

On the web, avoid:

  • AmericanIdol.com
  • AskMen.com
  • Authonomy via HarperCollins
  • Fox Interactive Media
  • Fox.com
  • Foxsports.com
  • GameSpy
  • Hulu.com
  • IGN
  • MyNetworktv.com
  • MySpace (5%)
  • News Digital Media
  • Scout.com
  • TheSimpsons.com
  • TheXFactorUSA.com
  • WhatIfSports

Do not buy/subscribe to magazine/print publications or read books from:

  • Alpha
  • Barron’s – weekly financial markets magazine.
  • Big League
  • Chopper
  • Country Style
  • Financial News
  • Harper Collins
  • Lifestyle Pools + outdoor design
  • Live to Ride
  • Marketwatch – Financial news and information website.
  • MasterChef Magazine
  • Modern Boating
  • Modern Fishing
  • New York Post
  • Overlander 4WD
  • SmartSource Magazine
  • Super Food Ideas
  • Tattoo
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Truck & Trailer Australia
  • Truckin’ Life
  • Two Wheels
  • Two Wheels Scooter
  • Vogue Entertaining + Travel
  • Zondervan Publishing

THE KOCH BROTHERS

  • ADI-Pure ®
  • Antron ®
  • Brawny brand paper towels and other products;
  • Chemical products including: •Sure Sol ® products
  • Comforel® fiberfill
  • CoolMax ®
  • Cordura ® fabric
  • DACRON ®
  • DBE ® dibasic esters
  • Delica ®
  • Demak’Up ®
  • Dixie® Brand cups plates, and other products;
  • European brands: •Colhogar ®
  • Georgia-Pacific lumber and paper products;
  • Inversoft ®
  • Kitten Soft ®
  • Koch Agricultural – Operates cattle ranches
  • Koch Fertilizers
  • Lotus ®
  • Man-made fabrics and fibers including: •LYCRA ®
  • Mardi Gras brand paper goods;
  • Matador Ranch – Hunting ranch.
  • Moltonel ®
  • Northern brand toilet paper;
  • Nouvelle ®
  • Okay
  • Oxyclear ™
  • Performa ®
  • Polarguard ®
  • Polyclear ®
  • Polyshield ®
  • Soft-n-Gentle® brand toilet paper;
  • SolarMax ®
  • Somerelle ® Bedding
  • Sparkle brand paper goods;
  • Sparkle brand paper napkins;
  • Stainmaster® carpet and fabric care products;
  • Supplex ® Fabric
  • Tactel®
  • Tactesse ® Carpet Fibers
  • Tenderly ®
  • Terathane
  • Thermolite ®
  • Tutto ®
  • Vanity Fair brand paper napkins;
  • Zee brand paper goods

THE DeVOS FAMILY

  • AMWAY products (much of which are made in China) including: •Nutrilite ®
  • Artistry make-up and skin care products
  • Body Series personal products;
  • DITTO Delivery
  • eSpring laundry and cleaning products;
  • Fulton Street Market products;
  • Glister oral care products;
  • Hi-Gear automotive products
  • iCook
  • Legacy of Clean;
  • Miss America make-up and skin care products
  • NUTRIPET ® products
  • Nutriplant agricultural products;
  • Perfect Empowered drinking water
  • Personal Accents ® scents;
  • Satinique bath products;
  • The Creme LuXury Collection make-up and skin care products
  • The NBA ® Orlando Magic
  • Trend Collection make-up and skin care products
  • XLP automotive products
  • XS energy drinks

 

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Filed under Fox News, Koch Industries

Former NAACP Chair Says The IRS Was Right To Target Tea Party Groups (VIDEO)

Julian Bond; photo: Nikki Khan, The Washington Post;@PBS

I absolutely agree with former NAACP Chair, Julian Bond.  This entire faux outrage fiasco is designed to make the president look bad.  That has been the objective of the GOP since Tuesday, January 20th, 2009.

Addicting Info

As my colleague Egberto Willies wrote on Tuesday, this whole tempest in a teacup over the IRS scrutiny of groups who used “tea party” or “patriot” in their names is foolish. He is correct in stating that the IRS was well within its boundaries and, indeed, was doing exactly what it should have been doing. The granting of a 501(c) status is a very big deal. When I was on the staff of the one of the largest Pagan churches in the country, it took us years to be approved for that tax-free status. The IRS doesn’t hand those exemptions out like candy: you must prove that you fit the qualifications. Most of the Tea Party groups most certainly did not, not if they were engaged in politics.

We are not the only ones who think that the IRS was doing its job, either. Former NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond, told Thomas Roberts of MSNBC:

 

“I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the tea party. Here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who’ve tried as best they can to harm President Obama in every way they can.”

Mr. Bond found himself in a similar situation back in 2004 when, after a speech he’d given criticizing then-President George Bush, he received a letter from the IRS advising him that the NAACP was being investigated because of what he said. He thought that he was exercising his right to free speech but, as some of us know, criticism of Bush was not covered by that right.

But criticism of Obama? Well, that’s an entirely different matter. We’ve seen it time and again: Tea Party “patriots” with outrageous signs saying horrible things about a duly elected president. And these are most definitely not non-political groups. As Mr. Bond noted:

“They are the Taliban wing of American politics. We all ought to be a little worried about them.”

When Roberts asked Bond if that wasn’t a bit harsh – calling the TP the “Taliban wing” of American politics – Bond replied that it wasn’t at all too harsh and that we should all be concerned about their influence. He did say that it was wrong of the IRS to be so heavy-handed and chided them for not explaining their actions better. But Bond was adamant that this situation has no parallel to the targeting of the NAACP in 2004.

Now a liberal group called Progress Texas has come forward saying that they received the same level of scrutiny that the Tea Party groups did. Their executive director, Ed Espinoza, said in a statement:

“Progress Texas and the Tea Party strongly disagree on the role of government. Yet, when we applied for tax-exempt status, Progress Texas received the same type of additional scrutiny that Tea Party groups are complaining about. The similar treatment indicates the IRS was likely addressing a flood of 501(c)4 applications after Citizens United, and undermines the paranoid notion that Tea Party groups were singled out.”

Exactly. This entire “scandal” is being blown up out of all proportion. The IRS, the agency that collects the taxes for the American people to run our government, should be wary of groups that apply for 501(c) status. Even more so when the applicants have been so brazen about its involvement in politics. This faux outrage is silly. The IRS was just doing its job and the Tea Party groups are doing what they do: blame the government and whine about taxes. Same as it ever was.

Here’s the video of Bond’s appearance:

 

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Filed under GOP Obstructionism, Julian Bond

4 key findings from the Inspector General’s report on the IRS scandal

An internal report says the White House had no hand in the IRS scandal.

This has been a heck of a week for the Obama Administration.

The  GOP has several gripes with Obama over Benghazi details. Then there’s the Tea Party who feel victimized for being flagged by the IRS (they blame Obama of course.)  Finally, the newest scandal over  someone ordering  specific reporters from Associated Press targeted to have their phones tapped over national security leaks.

The following report details with the IRS scandal…

The Week

The agency used “inappropriate criteria” to flag Tea Party groups for scrutiny

The Obama administration this week has been beset by a spate of scandals, one of which was the revelation that the IRS targeted conservative political groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Now, a much-anticipated internal report has found that the agency erred in singling out those groups over an 18-month period starting in 2010. The report, conducted by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and delivered to Congress on Tuesday, offered new insight into the developing scandal.

In response, President Obama said in a statement that he had instructed Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew “to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again.”

Here, four key findings:

1. Staffers developed “inappropriate criteria” to flag applications
According to the report, the IRS office in Cincinnati that processes all applications for tax-exempt status deliberately targeted Tea Party groups for further review — though the report did not go so far as to say that the targeting was politically motivated. While the IRS admitted as much last week, and even offered a mea culpa for the practice, the report is the first independent verification of its existence.

“The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention,” the report states.

The IG report reviewed 296 applications as of last December, of which 108 had been approved, while another 160 had been left pending. About one-third of the applications flagged for further review contained “tea party,” “patriots,” or “9/12″ in their names, the report found.

2. BOLO: “Be on the lookout”
According to the report, the Determinations Unit within the IRS in May 2010 began developing criteria for singling out applications with “Tea Party,” “Patriots,”  “9/12,” or other “political sounding” names for added scrutiny. The unit then drafted a spreadsheet of groups flagged under this criteria, which came to be known as the “Be on the Lookout” list, or BOLO.

The department distributed the first BOLO list in August 2010, but the criteria for flagging an organization in the spreadsheet quickly broadened. By mid-2011, the criteria had expanded to include groups focused on “government spending, government debt, or taxes,” as well as groups critical of how the government was being run, and those that sought to educate the public about how to “make America a better place to live.”

The IRS insisted that the guidelines were “shorthand” that could be used to flag all overtly political groups — not only Tea Party ones — that were trying to receive tax-exempt status as “social welfare” organizations. Yet the IG report disagreed with that assessment.

“Whether the inappropriate criterion was shorthand for all potential political cases or not, developing and using criteria that focuses on organization names and policy positions instead of the activities permitted under the Treasury Regulations does not promote public confidence that tax-exempt laws are being adhered to impartially,” the report states.

3. The review process led to “substantial delays”
The increased scrutiny resulted in “substantial delays” for flagged applications, with some left pending for up to 1,138 days. According to the report, some applications sat open through the last two election cycles due to “ineffective management oversight” that left unclear how specialists should process applications.

The report says that agency management “did not ensure that there was a formal process in place for initiating, tracking, or monitoring requests for assistance,” and that guidelines for processing pending applications often changed, leaving lower-level staffers unsure how to proceed. In the most egregious instance, the Determinations Unit stopped working on applications entirely for a 13-month period while awaiting further guidance.

“Although the processing of some applications with potential significant political campaign intervention was started soon after receipt, no work was completed on the majority of these applications for 13 months,” the report said.

Some 170 groups received requests for additional information from the IRS. According to the report, 98 of those requests, or nearly 60 percent, were later found to be unnecessary. Those requests sought a range of information, including the names of donors, the size of their donations, and details on how those contributions were used. Other requests asked about organizations’ political affiliation and outside activities.

4. Some political cover for the White House
Republicans have demanded to know whether anyone in the Obama administration had a hand in ordering the extended reviews. Yet the report appears to have cleared government higher-ups, determining that the program was limited to “first-line management” within the agency, and that it was not “influenced by any individual outside of the IRS.”

Instead, the report pins much of the blame on the agency’s management structure, saying that “insufficient oversight provided by management” allowed the program to go on as long as it did.

According to the report, agency executives immediately demanded that the criteria for flagging applications be changed when it came to their attention in June 2011. The requested changes rolled back the program’s focus to cover activity simply deemed to be “political, lobbying, or [general] advocacy,” with no mention of political affiliation. However, agency specialists charged with flagging applications changed the language back six months later, in January 2012, with no approval from IRS executives because they thought the new guidelines were too vague. Those criteria would stay in place until May, when executives once again ordered that they be changed.

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Filed under U.S. Politics

John Boehner Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot, and Insults The Troops In Spectacular Fashion

I think we need to look at John Boehner as an inanimate Howdy Doody type puppet and his puppet masters are the Tea Party in Congress.  Not that Boehner was ever an astute majority leader anyway…but the new crop of 2012 Tea Partiers have him on strict lock-down.  Anything John Boehner says is not his own thought.

PoliticusUSA

John Boehner opened mouth and inserted foot in a spectacular fashion when he told Bloomberg that paying back China was a higher priority than paying the troops.

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Sam Donaldson to tea party: ‘It’s not your country anymore – it’s our country’

Sam Donaldson

Clearly no one of any prominence in the political media or in congress has spoken out against the Tea Party before.  This is why former ABC News anchor man, Sam Donaldson is in the news…

The Raw Story

During an appearance on Chris Matthews‘ syndicated weekend talk show, ABC News contributor and analyst Sam Donaldson criticized the tea party and argued that the movement and the Republican party were becoming increasingly in danger of irrelevancy.

“It’s the Tea Party and thinking of the Tea Party and people like that that are driving the Republicans out of contention as a national party,” he said.

Donaldson said that he had a particular aversion to the campaign slogan “We want to take back our country.”

“Guys, it’s not your country anymore – it’s our country and you’re part of it, but that thinking is going to defeat Republicans nationally if they don’t get rid of it,” he said.

Watch the video, via Newsbusters, below.

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Filed under Sam Donaldson, Tea Party Rhetoric