You’d think that the devil admitting that he’s been up to deviltry would merit banner headlines on Fox News, but looking there this morning, the story that the IRS singled out the Tea Party for scrutiny gets a pretty perfunctory mention, buried under the billionth swipe against Obamacare, and well under Boehner and Benghazi.
I was surprised at first, and maybe Fox just hasn’t decided exactly how to play it, but perhaps it isn’t the slam-dunk for the right that it appears at first glance. It does bring up the Tea Party, which Fox would rather forget. And, as much as singling out one set of taxpayers for apparently political scrutiny is wrong, the notion that Tea Party groups were non-political is a fucking joke, and the real shame here is that the IRS didn’t turn up the heat on all of these supposedly non-political, but completely political, non-profits (liberal or conservative). So, perhaps Fox is afraid that the full Benghazi treatment for the IRS would endanger groups like Crossroads GPS.
Still, I was expecting more. Satan is in their sights. Why hasn’t the witchhunt commmenced?
As I was saying in the previous thread, congress had already seen the emails Karl released, but Republicans didn’t say a word about them.
Did Karl know Republicans had already seen the emails? If so, why did he treat them as some sort of revelation in his reporting? If not, why didn’t he ask his source?
Also too, according to ThinkProgress, the wingnuts’ star witness, Gregory Hicks, was relieved of his duties because he was a horrendous manager; not for political retribution.
Still takes second place to the Bush Justice Department conducting investigations of Democratic challengers at the whims of Republican loyalists.
@debbie: The Bush Justice Department firing US Attorneys for not bringing bogus voter fraud cases against ACORN was also a real feather in Dubya’s dunce cap.
These guys remind me of the Belushi character on SNL who would start complaining about something, escalate to ranting, and then become so outraged about something that he’d implode and keel over. With about two and half years to go until the next presidential election, I hope our health system is prepared to handle all of the aneurysms.
It what possible sense were Tea Party groups non-political? I thought politics was the sole reason for their existence. What am I missing here?
Sebelius is under-appreciated.
The roll out of the health care law is an enormous job. When they wrote the law, the funding for enrolling people was tied to establishing a state-run exchange. But Republicans fought the state-run exchanges, because they’re full of shit on federalism, as on
So now we’re left with a situation where blue states who established state exchanges have enough funding to enroll-explain the law to people, while states like Texas, millions uninsured, will have very little funding.
I think.most people in Texas will end up being enrolled when they show up at the emergency room, because of course providers want to get paid.
Fortunately, the IRS scandal is non-partisan and non-political, because the tea party organizations themselves claim to be just that. (Okay, no one expects consistency from tea party organizers…)
I can’t recall where just now, but I think I read where the folks involved in the IRS thing were, at least in part, hired during the Bush Administration. Is it at all possible they were Republicans trying to spike the teabaggers, who were at least as dangerous–and maybe more–for establishment GOP candidates than they were for Dems? This inquiring mind would like to know…
Also too, none of the Tea Party groups had their applications denied. The IRS remedied the problem, and subsequently admitted it publicly.
Benghazi is failing outside the Wingnut Bubble because it doesn’t make sense as a scandal. But the IRS scandal makes sense: Obama targeted Tea Party groups with the IRA, just like Nixon did with his enemies. It’s short and sweet (and wrong, but when did that stop them).
I too am surprised they aren’t beating the IRS drum louder.
They will, at some point, beat this drum. They are just saving it for the next lull in OMG SCANDALS. Busy with BENGHAZI now.
I don’t think it’s fair to smear Mr. Hicks. He has worked for the State Department for 22 years. This makes him a political football.
This is what the wingnuts do. They tarnish someone and there’s no reason for it.
The real shame of it is how many people are working extra-hard to undermine Obamacare.
Republicans are basically forcing people to suffer in the hopes of getting a political victory.
Hopefully enough people will benefit from Obamacare that opposition to it can be made a damning issue for Republicans in 2016.
Though with all the sabotage red states are doing to it, I don’t think red state voters will get to appreciate the full benefits of the program and it won’t trigger a backlash against the GOP.
“Republicans are basically forcing people to suffer in the hopes of getting a political victory.”
This. It is so plain to see and yet our media never say it and scurry around pretending “both sides do it” and that if the President just got the Congress drunk and blinded them with leadership everything would be groovy.
His demotion as a manager sounds like the Peter principle at work.
In 22 years of service, I’m sure he held multiple positions that he was good at, with his latest not being one of them.
Big business doesn’t like Obamacare. It allows employees to leave and start their own businesses.
Now they’re saying it will hurt small businesses. That’s a common refrain.
@Maude: It’s Mr. Hicks doing the smearing. He claims his removal was political retribution, and hired noted wingnut Victoria Toensing to represent him.
But the ThinkProgress story claims, to a person, the staff wanted him gone(after only being on the job for a few months); and told Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones as much when she met with them last Oct.
@wvng: Precisely. Benghazi was eight months ago, and they’re jabbering about it louder than they ever have.
There’s a non-election summer coming up. That means three months of no real news coming out of Washington. But the cable networks still have 24 hours a day to fill.
Every year, Republicans have fake scandals and fake news to drum up to fill in that gap. And we are caught flat-footed. Every. Single. Time.
Look for the IRS “story” to blow up in July or so. The key will be whether Our Media Stars go with the Tea Party spin of “WAAAAH! THEY TARGETED US!” or the reality, which is “WAAAAH! THEY ACTUALLY CHECKED OUT OUR CLAIMS!” Unfortunately, we all know where the smart money is.
The law shifts a lot of the costs for funding onto businesses. It basically doubled down on employer sponsored coverage and will assess penalties for businesses, who do not have a certain percentage of full-time equivalent people covered, unless those employees have spousal waivers, i.e. the spouse is covering health insurance.
There’s a $3,000 penalty per person above the cut-off that businesses will have to pay and for a small business owner, who pays taxes out of personal income that would be a significant hit.
Keep in mind, if you have young healthy employees, who get better deals on their own, this doesn’t absolve the business from not enrolling its employees. Only a spousal waiver will absolve the business for not enrolling employees.
I’m for Obamacare, because something had to be done to fix our health care system and this is a good a start as any, but the law is going to have its teething/growing pains and it will stick additional costs to some small/medium sized businesses.
Also, the tax on “Cadillac plans” is going to push more companies into offering only HRA/HSA type plans.
You’ll probably see an uptick in self-funding plans, as well, as they offer some relief from the mandatory additional things that have to be covered under fully insured plans and that will drive up the costs for full insured group plans.
I think the benefit of people needing medical care, who are able to get it will out weigh the added costs to businesses, from an over all societal perspective and in the long run will help to get health care costs in line, which will help businesses.
In the short run, there will be added costs for businesses to be compliant.
The problem with the critics is the fail to realize the status quo for health care wasn’t sustainable. So despite having added costs, Obamacare will eventually start to fix the dysfunctional health care system in this country.
The truth is the biggest beneficiaries of the PPACA vote at something like 15%. I don’t think it will ever be a political windfall except with perhaps Asians and Latinos, who support it with large margins.
The truth is most people who vote had health insurance and most if them were “happy” with it (compared to..nothing) which is why Democrats spent so much time reassuring white college graduates “they could keep their plan and their doctor”.
If poor and working class people voted, we’d have a shot at a much more equitable country, and we’d be BETTER represented, because the leaders would better reflect the real country.
For whatever reason the media is scared of Republicans.
After the ass-whooping they got in 2008, the media was asking questions to Republicans like, “after doubling the debt, why do you think we should trust you as the party of fiscal responsibility?”
That lasted till about mid-to-late February 2009, as Republicans were howling about how the stimulus bill was unaffordable and the media somehow stopped pushing that line of questioning, as Republicans became more obstinate.
I really think the media has a daddy issue with Republicans and they are scared daddy will be mad at them, if they get out of line.
This IRS thing is like the stop and frisk policy in NYC. Fox has long wanted those that “look wrong” to be checked. Tea Party/Patriot is a political word. Not non-profit. To be upset at the IRS for doing a policy that Fox supports is a tough sell.
I think both policies are problematic. Racial profiling or political profiling are probably not the most effective filters for identifying possible wrong doers, just easy for lazy investigators.
Hicks seems to have an agenda when he says stuff like this:
He’s pulling that stuff about a show of force and “decisive air power” out of his ass. Anyway, that’s the DoD’s call, not his.
There are a few basic problems with ginning up a scandal:
First, Commissioner Douglas Shulman was a Bush appointee.
Second, they haven’t found anybody improperly denied status
Third, do they really want people combing through the lists of political groups abusing their non-profit status? I can see Heritage all over that.
@Hoodie: this is a silly question. But if it is true that the jet fighters were 2 hours away but still out of range because there were no refueling capability, what the hell have we spent all of or treasure on, planes that can’t fly for more than 4 hours at a time?
OTOH, the PPACA aligns with the Democrats courting new voters, which Obama perfected but Kerry started.
The Clinton people had an entirely different approach to new voters. James Carville seemed to.enjoy saying “if you’re counting on new voters, you’re losing” which has proved to be totally wrong.
So, maybe the PPACA WILL prove politically beneficial, because Democrats (now) focus on registering and reaching new voters, instead of the Carville approach, which was “get back our old voters” the near-mythical Reagan Democrats, who haven’t been Democrats for 30 years.
Maybe the media are scared of Republicans because they are owned by them.
@gene108: I believe former Bush Treasury Sec. Paul O’Neil mentioned the “very mean people” that have nefarious ways of silencing critics.
As O’Neil was cowed by the PTB, so is the media.
@Suffern ACE: Fighter planes can be refueled by air tankers to extend their range.
That makes sense. Although Carville may have been right for his time. Who knows if Clinton would have been successful in 92 and 96 with the Obama strategy?
Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS)
@Baud: To be fair, Clinton couldn’t have done the Obama strategy in the 90s. It relied heavily on social network effects that just didn’t work in the dawning of the web.
And yes, I grant there were a lot of “boots on the ground,” but those efforts were influenced heavily by many of the digital tools that came about through the web.
That’s fucked up. politicization is the exact disqualifier from tax exemption.
I think Clinton had a real shot at getting back some Reagan Democrats and improving the Democratic brand in the South, because back then the political realignment hadn’t taken hold.
Despite the “shining city on a hill” that was America, in the 1980’s, where people learned to love America again, some subset of the people were so disgusted with the politics of the day that 20% of Americans voted for an eccentric rich guy self-funding a vanity campaign in 1992.
Bush, Sr. had won PA and CA in 1988, for example.
California was a real battle ground state in 1992.
Clinton and Gore easily carried Arkansas and Tennessee, in 1992, as well as Louisiana and few other Southern states that would be considered impossible for a Democrat to win in 2016.
I think the realization that Clinton could’ve really hurt whatever gains Republicans had had in the 1980’s made them attack him with extra vigor, rather than just play the role of loyal opposition that Tip O’Neil did with Reagan.
@Suffern ACE: Jet fighters are basically airborne race cars, engines with wings and a pilot attached. They burn incredible amounts of fuel, especially when going somewhere fast at low altitudes. We’re talking hundreds of pounds of fuel per minute for an F-16, which can carry 6000-7000 pounds of fuel and is relatively efficient. Jet fuel only has so much energy content. That’s why we have tankers. You could fly smaller or lower-performance planes, but they would take longer to get there and could be more vulnerable. The asshats criticizing the decision not to scramble fighters watch too many Tom Clancy movies.
Forum Transmitted Disease
I don’t get this. I mean, I think it’s great and the kind of dirty tricks Dems should have been doing for years to the GOP, but damn, it isn’t something you admit to – it is legitimately outrageous. To make matters worse the explanation the IRS gave was beyond lame. I woke up this morning expecting the GOP Outrage/Hate Machine to be fired up, wall-to-wall media coverage and calls for impeachment from all quarters. Instead…crickets.
Don’t get it. Have more Republicans than I thought blamed the last election loss on the Tea Party, and I just never got the memo or what?
Forum Transmitted Disease
@Suffern ACE: Range has always been a problem for fighters since WWII. It’s one reason we took such huge losses in the Army Air Force during the first years of the war – the bombers could get to their targets but the escort fighters could not.
The current F-18 can barely make the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and that’s a one-way trip. The F-15 and F-35 are much better, but still can’t make it even halfway across the United States. Bottom line is that planes are like cars – you can make them fast or you can make them get good gas mileage, but you can’t get both.
Aaron S. Veenstra
“It was Barack Obama, Agent Kujan — I mean, the Devil himself. How do you shoot the Devil in the back? What if you miss?”
Here’s what I don’t get: The Tea Party is a political organizing organization; it merits IRS review. I don’t understand why the IRS even issued an apology. Why didn’t they say what is obvious, rather than apologize?
Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. The GOP is no good at governing, but it really is good at manufacturing false outrage and conflating minor issues into giant scandals. Whitewater worked incredibly well for them, and they’re following the same blueprint.
The Special Prosecutor law no longer exists, but Boehner has established a precedent for doing essentially the same thing without one. The House GOP directly-hired a legal team to defend DOMA. They can do the same thing to mount a Whitewater-style “investigation.”
Whitewater II, here we come.
@Forum Transmitted Disease: It’s not being followed for the reason presented in the post – putting the spotlight on giving tax deductions to political contributions by millionaires and billionaires and political operatives getting rich off the same. They’d rather talk about Bengazi because it is meaningless.
Villago Delenda Est
Well, given the griftolicious nature of the entire TeaTard genre, who can blame the IRS for looking at them more carefully?
Villago Delenda Est
This is ALWAYS a problem with amateur analysis of military operations. They know all about the gee whiz stuff, but bupkis about logistics.
Two reasons: first, the activities of such groups are already the subject of litigation in the US District Courts, and second, these acts occurred under a Republican (Bush) appointee as IRS commissioner. Ort of loses its “punch” when the current administration can simply say “hey, our team didn’t appoint this guy. THEIR team did so if there is any blame….”
@CaseyL: I agree. The IRS should simply have said “We have a mandate to make sure that the tax code is not abused by anyone. New entities always receive extra scrutiny to prevent misuse of the statutes and to protect organizations that are claiming new tax status from making mistakes that can be costly to them, in the long run. If people can show that they were harmed by a wrongful application of the statute they are welcome to come forward with their lawyers and appeal.”
I looked into this IRS situation yesterday after someone on Facebook asked, “So what do you liberals think of this?” What was going on involved applications for 501 (c) (4) status. That status is intended for “Social Welfare Organizations”, which are permitted to some degree of political advocacy related to their activities, and to have undisclosed contributors. The Citizens United decision opened the floodgates for this category, and since 2010 the number of applications have doubled. The IRS tasked one team to work on processing this workload, and coming up with practices that were consistent with post-Citizens United law.
Here’s the IRS information about the 501 (c) (4) classification:
One of the factors for approving 501 (c) (4) status is the degree and nature of political activity by the group. It sounds like the IRS team dealing with this workload put together a list of political keywords to flag when found in applications, in order to focus on the applications most likely to be inappropriate for this status. Among those keywords were “tea party” and “patriot”. The full list hasn’t been disclosed, but I think it a safe guess that words such as “republican”, “democratic”, “progressive”, “liberal” were among the searches.
Out of about 3000 applications, about 300 were flagged. The IRS asked those groups to fill out a more detailed questionnaire that would help them determine if 501 (c) (4) status was appropriate. Of those 300, the IRS admitted that a third of them had included “tea party” or “patriot” in the application. That leaves two-thirds of the groups asked for information for other reasons.
Ultimately, no groups were rejected, though about 25 didn’t pursue the status further after the request for more information. Part of the problem the IRS was dealing with is that the Citizen’s United decision made it very difficult to draw a clear line about political activity by these groups.
Here’s a much more developed story from Associated Press than the initial report, which said little more than that the IRS gave an apology to Tea Party groups. There’s a lot more to the story than that soundbite, but that’s probably all you’re hearing from right-wing sources.
Evidence that they’re completely out of touch and have no idea what does and doesn’t resonate anymore?
@Kay: Sebelius is criminally underrated. Listen to the 2nd symphony. Pure genius, as is Finlandia.
Big media tends to be disproportionately made up of white, male and affluent people, in other words, the Republican demographic. Same’s true of most of our elites.
The answer to this question, by the way, is none. None of the applications for tax exempt status were denied. It’s yet another big nothingburger that the leadership should have kept their fool mouths shut about.
I’ve never understood Ross Perot’s demographic (I’m too young to remember the election). The Dixiecrats, I get – white racists disillusioned with the Democrats. The Bull Moose Party, I get – liberals disillusioned with the Republicans. The Know Nothings, I get – nativists hyperventilating about the Irish “threat.” But what the hell was Perot’s third party about that it drew 20% of the vote?
Perot was an odd duck, my recall of the polling was that despite the “conventional wisdom” he pulled more votes from Clinton than Bush.
IIRC my father who was in the army in the late 60s and early 70s thought perot was of the nixonian wing of the party and not a fan of Bush, but not a Democrat by any means.
his big talking point was “the giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the US via NAFTA
he also picked one of the most past his prime VP candidates ever.
JR in WV
in their mind’s eye, editors and such are convincedthe media’s editors and middle managers are mainly selected by Republicans in upper management. These bureau chiefs and page editors assign stories and edit those stories with an inside-the-beltway Republican slant, without fail.
This is a tragic corruption of the 4th estate, which was intended to keep the other 3 estates (legislative, executive, judiciary) honest. Without an honest and unbiased press, the 1st amendment’s rule about press freedom isn’t very useful, is it?
ETA: Maybe some day people will learn the difference between “sound and fury signifying nothing” and real journalism. We’ve been loaded up with Yellow Journalism before, and got through it somehow. Here’s hoping!
JR in WV
The Republicans prove they aren’t a loyal opposition every time they refuse to confirm an appointment, or allow a vote, or attempt to use a backdoor and underhanded method to stymie the ACA legislation.
They would drive the country into bankruptcy and disarray in a minute if they thought it would result in their election to a permanent majority. They’re willing to lie, cheat and steal in every election everywhere to gain any advantage.
Not loyal even to their oaths!