If it discriminated against tea party groups that attempted to register as 501(c)4 social welfare organizations, then that’s a grave offense, and it needs to be investigated thoroughly and dealt with severely.
But the particular bias people are angry about is the opposite of the bias they should be angry about. The problem wasn’t that the IRS was skeptical of tea party groups registering as 501(c)4s. It’s that it hasn’t been skeptical of Organizing for America, Crossroads GPS, Priorities USA and Heritage Action Fund registering as 501(c)4s. The IRS should be treating all these groups equally and appropriately — which would mean much more harshly.
What the world needs is less shootings and more mothers, I think. Sunday afternoon, gunmen fired into a crowd watching a Mother's Day parade, injuring 19 people. CNN:
Abdul Aziz believes he was standing right next to a shooter Sunday when gunmen opened fire at a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans, injuring 19 people.
"Everyone around me, except me, was shot," he said. "I was pretty fortunate to get away."
Aziz, 33, a photojournalist, was at the second-line parade when gunfire broke out at the corner of Frenchman Street and North Villere Street.
Second-line parades, which involve dancing and brass bands, are a New Orleans tradition. They happen most every Sunday, except during the hottest months in summer, according to Aziz.
"We turned off of a main thoroughfare to a smaller residential street, and that's when the shots rang out. I was standing, I believe, right next to the shooter. I saw muzzle flash, but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see who the shooter was," he said.
I realize people were out taking Mom to brunch and so on, but still, you'd think there might be more concern over an incident like this, no? I'm not sure if I'm more shocked about gunmen shooting up a Mother's Day parade or the uneasy silence over it.
(Spoiler Alert: I will be recapping this episode so don't read on if you haven't seen it yet.)
Happy Mother's Day to all! Tonight's episode is another strong one as we wind down to the season finale in about three more weeks. The Bear and the Maiden Fair focuses its attention on some of the strong willed women of GOTs and although many women are used for unpleasant things in this world, there are others that have the power to shape the course of history.
Beyond The Wall.
Jon Snow and Ygritte have scaled to the other side of the wall with Tormund, Orell and a few other wildlings and are about a week away from Castle Black. Snow is still pissed at Orell for almost killing him and his girl and confronts him over it. For the first time we realize that Orell is jealous of Jon and tells Snow to get over it because that's the way the world works. You like, love, leave and kill people only when it suits you and Ygritte is going to leave him because she understands this.
Later on Orell reveals to Ygritte how much he loves her and tells her that she only loves Snow because he's a pretty boy. (A pretty boy with a master tongue.) Orell is a warg who can link his mind with animals, but he can't make a simple connection with the ladies. This isn't going to end well. Watch your back Jon Snow or you won't know anything ever again.
Romance of the week: Jon Snow and Ygritte's love is getting stronger as they march towards Castle Black and it's a welcome addition to this season.
There is more truth in this seven minute segment of the Melissa Harris-Perry show than you will see in the eleven hours of Sunday morning news shows programming and highlights a few of my personal bugaboos about the dishonesty of the state of American media.
There are legitimate issues that affect this country. In the wealthiest nation in the world, there is no reason that we should see the level of poverty that we see. And poverty touches on so many other areas as well: the cost of health care, food insecurity, social development, social safety nets, jobs, housing, etc.
And yet who do we see discussing poverty and solutions? Nominally, it's Republicans like Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan, who sneer and smear those living in poverty, employing the well-trod myths of the welfare queen and the lazy looking for a hand out. It's the same people, week after week, framing the debate.
But you know who never gets a seat at the table? Actual people living in poverty. People who have struggled with homelessness, food insecurity, health care affordability and the rest of the struggles that come with poverty.
Meet Tiana Gaines-Turner, a mother of three children and member of the advocacy group Witnesses to Hunger. Twice homeless, Tiana now points out that these lawmakers (and Democratic politicians are not immune to this, either, their silence is complicity) are making judgments and laws without knowing the real world impact:
“Invite me to the table, invite my brothers and sisters to the table,” she said. “Don’t assume you know what it’s like.”[..]
People who have waited for years for Section 8 housing, who have used government food benefits, Gaines-Turner told Harris-Perry, “know the solutions” and act as “mythbusters,” who can counter assumptions many people have about who lives in poverty.
“Until we can all sit at more tables like this, nothing is going to happen,” Gaines-Turner said.
The entire show was an amazing and sadly rare intelligent and honest discussion. If you missed MHP, you can watch segments via the MSNBC homepage.
After the unquestionably tragic (but not entirely unprecedented) events in Benghazi, former ambassador Thomas Pickering was named to chair an accountability panel to investigate the event. Pickering is hardly someone who could be characterized as partisan, having served under presidents of both parties and in multiple "hot" zones, such as El Salvador, Israel and Russia. He has spent his more recent, post-retirement years focusing on national security for different think tanks. So he comes to the task with no political agenda, but an ongoing concern for the importance of the diplomatic corps and the safety and security of American interests in a decidedly bipartisan fashion.
Pickering's board findings are available to everyone online. In it, the board found systemic failures throughout the State Department and inadequate allowances for security. But what they did not find is any evidence of a conspiracy to cover up or politically spin the attack, or of an overt attempt to make or let the attack happen nor did they find then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally culpable for failures in the State Department. The fault lay, according to the report, with bureaucratic levels far below the Secretary level.
But Republicans never let facts get in the way of a good ol' witch hunt which has the double effect of keeping the sitting President on the defense as well as getting in some potentially fatal licks on the 2016 frontrunner. So Oversight Committee Chairman and Chief Witch Hunter Darrell Issa (R-CA) keeps droning on and on his conspiracy talking points to mouthpiece cypher David Gregory until Thomas Pickering can take it no longer.
After Issa asserted that Pickering had refused to testify in front of his committee, Pickering breaks his silence and off camera interrupts with a "That's not true." Watch Issa's face as the camera goes wide, revealing Pickering sitting right next to him. Pickering then reveals that he was told his testimony was 'not welcome', leaving Issa sputtering about protocols (how ironic!) and how the minority party could have called Pickering as a witness, proving once again that the goal is not fact finding, but a witch hunt.
Pickering will end up testifying in front of the committee this week. However, I don't think that Issa should feel confident that this will at all help his cause, as Pickering has been quite clear about his disgust about this politicking:
“Let me say that I hope the chairman has read our report,” the co-chairman of State Department Accountability Review Board on Benghazi aid on NBC's “Meet the Press.” “Our report has 29 recommendations. The bulk of them concern the insufficiency of the State Department's preparation of that post to deal with the security challenges. I don't think that there is any other explanation. And I can't believe that, in fact, he still sits here and makes those charges.”
On April 25 - Thursday evening - American icon and humble hero George W Bush took one small step for man, one slip-and-fall for humanity - as he re-entered a spotlight until-recently blissful to have been abandoned by him, for the dedication of his presidential library. Put aside for the moment that having an actual structure that houses things you read dedicated to him is like honouring Chris Christie with a gluten-free restaurant or naming a Bar Mitzvah after Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Hell, I half expected him to don his trusty flight suit and declare "all major combat operations over in Iraq", you know, just for the memories.
But really, he did not have to do anything of the sort. For it was perfect timing for the My Pet Goat Athenaeum to emerge from the steamy Sun Belt hydrofluorocarbons just as one disaster after another befell the country, a helpful reminder of the eight torturous (in more ways than one) years he and his corrupted West Texas ideology made the rest of the United States resemble, well, West, Texas.
From the explosion at the fertiliser plant due to flagrant flouting of environmental regulations to the attack in Boston, the rejection of common sense gun safety to the square dance around sequestration; this was shaping up to be a Bush Legacy week whether he stayed home to paint nude portraits of Jeb or chose to step out and try to defend a presidency many Americans must be still convinced was just one long phantasm brought on by a bad batch of Peyote.
Michael Lind points out in, Made In Texas, that we have had conservative presidents over the past century and southern presidents. We have not had the combination. And it is an important distinction. As Lind put it in an interview with BuzzFlash (2002), "His [Bush's] political values - ranging from aggressive militarism in foreign policy to small-government ideology and fervent support for laissez-faire economics" have come to define much of our political culture in Washington - hence last week.
First, we had the Festrunk Brothers launch an attack on the Boston Marathon two weeks ago, and just about everything involved had Bush's West Texas political culture written all over it. Because of the NRA, which "worked out of his White House", there is no way to track where gun powder was bought as there is with plastic explosives. Because... freedom! (And defence contractor profits!).
There was the fact that these two clowns apparently committed these atrocities because of anger over Iraq - for which I hope the younger brother (I refuse to give them attention by using their names) spends a nice, long, pain-enveloped life carving rocks into chess pieces at Shawshank. Ahh yes, Iraq. Remember that war? The one that George W Bush lied us into with tales of yellowcake and "curveball", that has now cost up to about $2 trillion?
It is because of this war, unpaid for tax cuts and Big Pharma boondoggles that we apparently have to eliminate Medicare, according to the Pied Piper of granny starving, Congressman and former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. But let us eliminate, post haste, the part of our silly self-created "sequestration" - flight delays! - that causes inconveniences to wealthy members of the Congress on their way to the next Ladybank-single-malt-festooned, campaign contributor bribe-fests.
We were also recently treated to the West Texas answer to allowing weapons of war on our streets to blow apart toddlers in schools. Nothing. Unless you count Congress' finding ways to allow itself to insider trade again. Because... freedom!
Finally, there is the tragedy in West, Texas. A fertiliser-plant explosion near Waco (just like the Crawford pseudo-ranch!) that engulfed the neighbourhood, due to an understaffed and barely functioning Chemical Safety Board (by Congressional design), a lack of common-sense zoning requirements and the no-follow-ups rule we like to impose on the Environmental Protection Agency when they find that a plant like say, this one, had no risk management plan in 2006. But hey, the plant self-reported (is that like self-deporting?) that it posed "no risk" of fire, and why would they lie?
You may remember that a certain convict-Congressman named Tom DeLay - of West Texas - compared the EPA to the "Gestapo" and current lunkhead Texas Governor Rick Perry attacks the very same EPA for its "misguided and job-killing policies", as opposed to his people-killing ones. And then there is, once again, George W Bush. The Decider decided as President that, as dictated by his West Texas ideology, he would assault the EPA by any means necessary, short of naming the former Arabian Horse Association guy to run it (he saved that for FEMA... phew!).
So, in a way, it was fitting to see the George W Bush library opening this past week. It is his West Texas world. We are just stuck living in it.