The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Supreme Court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Supreme Court. Show all posts

Friday, September 28, 2018

As Trump's World Turns: SCOTUS Justice Temperament

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Oh, how our word has changed. Yesterday as I watched parts of the Kavanaugh Senate Hearing, I was struck by a few displays of personal traits (either coached, natural or both) from Trump's nominee.

A couple of points emerge. If Kavanaugh actually wrote the words you are about to hear (and see), he doesn't fit the SCOTUS profile delineated in the 2005 blog post.  Another point.  If the comment was written for the nominee. it is obvious he is little more than a judicial activist vying to enhance conservative America's grip on the US SCOTUS. Either scenario is frightful.

Watch as Kavanaugh clearly denotes to trump and conservative America the level to which he is immersed in conservatism.

In 2005, Melinda Penner posted an opinion on the Stand for Reason web page. The option related to the temperament of SCOTUS Justices and the critical nature of Justices who will uphold the US Constitution Vs serving as an activist from either political lean. Remember what follows is an opinion piece, but we feel it offers a cogent treatise on Judicial temperament at the SCOTUS level. We identified one glowing misuse of a word but left other grammatical punctuation use as originally posted. 

Stand for Reason

SCOTUS Temperament

What kind of temperament best serves a justice of the Supreme Court - and lower courts? There's an important difference between being an originalist/activist justice and being a conservative/liberal (or whatever synonym you want to use). The former are descriptions of Constitutional philosophy, the later (SIC latter) are political opinions or views. Judges are to have neutral temperaments. They are not to substitute their personal political opinions for the judgment of the electorate expressed through legitimate democratic processes when the law is not un-Constitutional. Some laws may not be wise, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are un-Constitutional. We don't need activist judges who too often don't respect the democratic process - whether they are politically conservative or liberal. Neither personal opinion should be expressed in judicial findings.
What we need are judges who are temperamentally originalist, who base their findings on the principles expressed in the Constitution, and who respect the judgment of the people. Originalists might be politically conservative or liberal, but because of their temperament their personal opinions are irrelevant. That's why it's inappropriate to inquire about their views ahead of time. And with originalists it doesn't matter, because what matters is interpreting the principles of the Constitution.
I'll say one other thing about judicial temperament. We need judges with a humble and accurate assessment of their role in government. The judiciary is a third equal branch of government, with its own important role. But because justices are appointed rather than elected, we leave much of the checks and balance of this branch to their own temperament. So we need to know they recognize their role as interpreting the Constitution, rather than substituting their own judgment for other democratic processes.

Kavanaugh clearly fails the parameters delineated in the Penner post.  But, does it matter?  A full half of American voters opted out of the 2016 Genera Election thus offering up our nation to what seems an authoritarian candidate. A man who once elected quickly embarked on placing his stamp on or molding a nation which in many ways appears like Putin's Russia.  

For an audience of one.

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It is also critical to recall, authoritarian states are propped up by judicial systems which facilitate and support the wishes and whims of the leader.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mario Piperni...Scores On Scalia's Hate And Ignorance

As Scalia Knows, Hate Needs To Be Carefully Taught

Antonin Scalia - hate-and-ignorance   :
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!
~lyrics from South Pacific’s ‘Carefully Taught’
 Indeed, teach them well.
Almost a month after the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in favor of marriage equality were handed down, one son of dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia will speak in front of Courage, an organization that believes gays and lesbians should never have sex.
Overshadowed by his father for years, the similarly anti-gay opinions of Scalia’s son Paul, however, are beginning to attract attention as well. An important tenet of the younger Scalia’s position on homosexuality is his belief that being gay is not an immutable characteristic or identity.
In 2005, Scalia espoused this view in an article for the magazine First Things, where he warned about high school clubs that encourage tolerance of homosexuality, and readily label themselves or others “gay” or “homosexual.”
“[Labels] presume that a person is his inclinations or attractions; he is a ‘gay’ or is a ‘homosexual,’” Paul Scalia wrote. “At some point adults have to admit that a fifteen-year-old who claims to be ‘a questioning transgendered bisexual’ is really just confused.”
 Scalia’s general thought process is perhaps best summed up, however, in a 2012 article written for Humanum: Issues in Family, Culture & Science.
“In short, we should not predicate ‘homosexual’ of any person. That does a disservice to the dignity of the human person by collapsing personhood into sexual inclinations,” Scalia writes. “Indeed, the Church is still trying to find the right vocabulary to speak about this modern phenomenon … Either our sexuality is oriented in a certain direction (i.e. toward the one-flesh union of marriage), or it is not. We cannot speak of more than one sexual ‘orientation’ any more than we can think of the sun rising in more than one place (i.e. the orient).”
As one person noted, the bigot did not fall far from the tree.
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Addictinginfo On The SCOTUS Striking 1965 VRA Section 4

According To New Poll The American People Despise Supreme Court Decision To Gut Voting Rights Act

Author July 3, 2013 7:20 pm

When the Supreme Court decided to gut the Voting Rights Act last week, America lost a landmark piece of legislation that was pivotal in the fight against discrimination across the country. The ruling instantly became one of the single worst in American judicial history, and most Americans could not agree more.
According to the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll, over half of Americans disagree with the high court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act. That number includes a whopping 71% of African-Americans, who initially fought for and achieved the passage of the act during the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Only 33% of Americans actually agree with the court’s decision.
For over 40 years, the Voting Rights Act prevented states, mostly in the South, from discriminating against people of color to keep them from voting. The teeth of the law, known as Section 4, required states with a history of discriminatory policies to obtain pre-clearance from the Justice Department before any new laws could take effect. 

Read more (Visit Addictinginfo to finish this piece...and read a few more "Addicting" pieces at )

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The SCOTUS Consistently Rules For Business Over the Individual


Our position about the Robert's SCOTUS will not come as news to any reader of the TPI.  The Court is decidedly conservative in its rulings with favorable rulings for business disproportionate to rulings for citizens (plantiffs) who are able to have their cases accepted by the SCOTUS.   Decisions critical to conservative America have been favorable, with a recent exception for LGBT Rights cases and the ruling which validated the Affordable Care Act as constitutional.  Decisions in the realm of Civil Rights are serious "crap shoots" whenever they reach the Court. We also feel the Court will strike down Affirmative Programs with the very first opportunity via a case that allows for sweeping interpretation and judicial activism.  Social conservatism is without doubt safe under the robes of Robert's, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy.  As stated at the beginning of this piece, the real benefactor of the Robert's Court is "big business."

The US Chamber of Commerce is undeniably a conservative shell of chapters in every major city in the nation.  In fact, the Chamber of  Commerce has as many as 3000 chapters "well planted" across the nation.  Answers Encyclopedia provides data about the extent to which the conservative organization fissures across the nation and the world. 
Question: How many members does the chamber of commerce have in the United States?
Answer: Its membership includes 3 million companies, 3,000 state and local chapters, and 830 business associations; American chambers are located in 82 foreign countries, and those of other countries have offices in the United States.
How has the Chamber faired via the Robert's Court?

The Constitutional Accountability Center


The Supreme Court's support of the Chamber Of Commerce has also increased under the current Supreme Court, according to a report by liberal judicial group the Constitutional Accountability Center. The chamber has won almost 70 percent of the cases it has gotten involved with during the Roberts Court. This compares to the chamber's 56 percent success rate during the Rehnquist court from 1994 to 2005.
The Chamber and the Roberts Court: An Update

All told, the Chamber of Commerce has filed a whopping 18 amicus briefs this Term – just below its record number of 21 in October Term 2010. Overall, the Court will likely decide 76 cases this Term, meaning that the Chamber will have participated in roughly 24% of the Court’s decided cases.

This in itself is an important story. For instance, during the final five years of the Burger Court – just before the first member of the current conservative bloc (Justice Antonin Scalia) assumed his seat – the Justices were hearing twice as many cases (between 153 and 160 per Term) as they are now. At the same time, the Chamber was filing in an average of seven cases per Term, or approximately 4% of the Court’s cases overall. Therefore, even as the Court is now hearing far fewer cases, the Chamber is participating in a greater number of them. Over the past thirty years, the Chamber’s participation rate has increased six-fold, from 4% in the early 1980s to 24% today.

This dramatic increase in participation is a reflection, in part, of the Chamber’s success in shaping the Court’s docket. As SCOTUS blog reported in early April, the Chamber remains “the country’s preeminent petition-pusher,” as it filed the greatest number of amicus briefs at the cert. stage of any private organization during SCOTUS blog’s three-year study period (running from May 2009 to August 2012).[1] Importantly, the Chamber also has the highest success rate of any of the ten most active organizations during this period – with the Court granting 32% of the Chamber’s cases overall. Therefore, the Chamber is not just participating in cases that the Court decides to hear, but it’s also aggressively and successfully working to shape the Court’s docket.

In May 2013, People For the American Way (PFAW) published a piece that frames a compelling case for a Court unsurpassed in its corporate leanings over a period of the past 65 years. The PFAW used the following verbiage to depict an overwhelming lean in favor of corporations: "...extraordinarily pro-corporate leanings of the current Supreme Court." 
....The New York Times reported on a new study from the Minnesota Law Review that found that the current Supreme Court’s five conservative justices have sided with corporate interests at a greater rate than most justices since World War II. In fact, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both George W. Bush nominees, are the two most pro-corporate Supreme Court justices to sit in the past 65 years:

Former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration believes the Court is so decided in its GOP 'lean' he feels it is a judicial wing of the party. A judicial wing that would find high scorn by the Framers of the US Constitution. 

Reich illustrates his specific point while making a convincing case about the extent the Court has advanced the economic well being of the nation's top earners. It should be noted the advance has taken place simultaneous to decline (or at least not kept pace with the nation's top earners) for people in middle America. (see charts below)

Huffington Post 07.02.2013

The Republicans of the Supreme Court

First, wealthy Republicans have to be able to spend as much money as possible to bribe lawmakers to do their bidding, tell their version of history, and promulgate several big lies (the poor are "takers not makers," government keeps them "dependent," the wealthy are "job-creators" so cutting their taxes creates more jobs, unions are bad, regulations reduce economic growth, and so on). 
The five Republicans on the Supreme Court have obliged by eviscerating campaign finance laws. Their 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, along with the broad interpretations given it by several appellate judges (also Republican appointees), has opened the money floodgates. 
Second, wealthy Republicans want to quietly reduce the impact of any laws that might limit their profits, even though they may help struggling whites as consumers or employees. The easiest way to execute this delicate maneuver is to make it harder to sue under such laws. 
Here, too, the five Republicans on the Court have been eager to oblige by tightening requirements for class actions and limiting standing to sue. In their recent Comcast Corp. v. Behrenddecision, for example, they threw out $875 million in damages that a group of Philadelphia-area subscribers had sought from the cable giant, reasoning that the subscriber plaintiffs hadn't proven they constituted a "class" for the purpose of a class action. 
Third and finally, wealthy Republicans want to minimize the votes of poor and minority citizens -- and further propagate the myth that these people are responsible for the economic problems of struggling whites -- through state redistricting and gerrymandering, voter-identification requirements at polling stations, and the use of almost any pretext to purge minority voters from voting lists.

The words and comment take a backstage to a few images of Reich's point. (images linked to sources). 
American Pie Corporate Profits and Labor Income

Over the period of 1970 through the Bush Great Recession (2007-2009), income growth of the nation's top earners has grown exponentially.  While we cannot make an absolute and all encompassing case that favorable SCOTUS decisions contributed to the deep income and earnings disparity, the data seems to certainly indicate a favorable climate for business and top earners that is beyond coincidence. We posit the favorable legal climate most assuredly contributes when combined with GOP policies that favor the wealthy over the middle and lower income citizens. 

Robert Reich's piece is yet another poignant screed focused on the dangers of a Supreme Court with overwhelming leaning towards conservative America and Business in general.

We take the point a step farther. We believe the clear inclination away from rights of the individual conjures danger for groups (minorities and women) who often suffer under the stifling and oppressive policies of conservative (corporate) America. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Open Secrets: 501 (c) (4) A Serious Problem Fom A Liberal Perspective Also

If you have some time and are one who likes to read investigative articles, Open Secrets has begun to publish a series you may find interesting.  we have previously linked to the Open Secrets Shadow Money series, so we will not repeat the link. Also, Open Secrets has linked the series in the piece that follows.

The piece is a bit intricate in detail. It is as relevant as any news of today, as it addresses the business of how money has complete infiltrated our politics and via the Supreme Court has allowed crafty political operatives opportunity to avoid paying taxes as they collect millions form donors.  We do not even know it millions are being funneled into our politics from other countries of uber wealthy in other countries. 

Open Secrets uses a couple of liberal organisation as examples to illustrate the intricacy and nuances of 'shadow' money. If you read this piece and follow some of the links, think as you read if you actually can believe some of the money is not finding its way into the pockets of politicians, operatives, and Political power wielders.
OpenSecrets Blog

Shape-Shifting by Liberal Dark Money Groups Seems Meant to Confuse

IRS employees who sent overly detailed questionnaires to some groups applying for tax-exempt status in recent years used words like "tea party" and "patriot" to try to filter out those that planned to be heavily involved in politics (a big no-no).
As it turns out, not only was that improper; it's not even very effective. For instance, two liberal groups that have faded in and out of the political scene mysteriously and repeatedly over several years bear names that few would associate, at first glance, with progressive causes: Citizens for Strength and Security, and Patriot Majority.

As we've laid out in our Shadow Money Trail stories over more than a year, tax-exempt 501(c)(4)s are hard to track: They don't have to disclose their donors, they don't have to file tax forms until nearly a year after the close of their fiscal years, and those tax forms require very little detailed information. 

It's far worse when the paper trail is full of dead ends -- by design.

Here's what we've learned about the evolving identity of the first group, Citizens for Strength and Security:

  • 2009: A liberal 501(c)(4) group, Americans for Stable Quality Health Care (ASQHC), is established, raising and spending nearly $47 million that year. Included in that is a grant to another 501(c)(4), the Foundation for Patients Rights, which had no other source of income.
  • 2010: Foundation for Patients Rights is terminated. It gives what's left of its funds to an arm of ASQHC that is not a 501(c)(4), but a 527 group. And it's not called ASQHC, but Citizens for Strength and Security Action Fund. It's housed at a different address from the first organization, but is run by the same consultants.
  • 2011: Citizens for Strength and Security, the 501(c)(4), shuts down, having spent more than $50 million on "media buys" in 2009 and 2010.
  • Also 2011: The consultants who ran the 527 create a new 501(c)(4): Citizens for Strength and Security Fund (no "Action"). CSSF then starts a super PAC simply called Citizens for Strength and Security.  
Through it all, the various groups seemed to have many of the same addresses and board members in common.

Here's another way to look at it:

To elaborate: In its first year, Citizens for Strength and Security (then ASQHC) raised $47 million with a staff of only two people. The pair -- who appear to have been employees of the consulting firm Hilltop Public Solutions -- worked an average of two hours a week. They drew no salary from the group, but two firms that share an address with Hilltop -- SA Productions and Data  and S&B Public Solutions LLC -- were paid more than $3.4 million for "issue advocacy" and "coalition management" in 2009 and 2010.  
In 2009, the vast majority of ASQHC's spending went toward media production and airtime -- with at least $40 million being paid to the shadowy consulting firm Waterfront Strategies, a unit of the big media firm GMMB, which did work for President Obama's campaign, among others. Waterfront was one of twelve contractors, other than SA Productions, to receive at least $100,000 from ASQHC. Since tax-exempt groups are required to list only their top five contractors, we don't know who else is on the list.  

One of the only non-advocacy expenditures made by ASQHC came in the form of a $1.24 million grant to another "social welfare" organization called Foundation for Patients Rights -- not to be confused with Center to Protect Patient Rights. That grant made up the entirety of FPRs 2009 revenues, and most of that money ($1.1 million) subsequently went right out the door as spending on media. (FPR never filed any reports with the FEC, but it's possible the organization ran "issue ads" that it didn't have to report to the election agency.)

The Foundation for Patients Rights terminated the following year, after only 15 months in existence -- entirely funded by ASQHC's grants. But before shutting down, it spent more than $800,000 on ads and production." It also gave $180,000 to ASQHC's union- and industry-backed 527, not its 501(c)(4) -- the latter being where all the money had come from to begin with. The "Health Care" component of the groups' name was gone by this time, though. The 527 receiving the money was called Citizens for Strength and Security. Grantor and grantee shared the same address -- a UPS store in Washington, D.C.

Thus, money that had begun in a social welfare group's account wound its way through another 501(c)(4) and ended up with an arm of the originating group that had fewer restrictions on its political spending. And in fact, the CSS 527 raised and spent close to $10 million, most of it in 2010. One of its top contributors was the Democratic Governors Association, which gave it $3.3 million that year.

That same year, 2010, Americans for Stable Quality Care changed its name to Citizens for Strength and Security Action Fund and filed its first spending reports with the FEC -- using the M St. address of another group, Patriot Majority USA (about which we'll have more later). It reported $1.4 million in spending to the FEC, but the group told the IRS it spent $9.3 million on media buys and production expenses -- most of it going once again to Waterfront Strategies. (As before, some of it may have been used for issue ads not reported to election authorities, but the IRS doesn't require detailed spending reports.)
Like other (c)(4)s, CSS Action Fund can keep its donors' identities secret. But one surprising benefactor has come to light: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association.  Its $2.5 million grant -- first reported by the Center for Public Integrity -- made up about 19 percent of CSS Action Funds's total revenues in 2010.  

In 2011, CSS Action Fund shut its doors. But the same year, a 501(c)(4) called Citizens for Strength and Security Fund (minus the "Action") set up shop at the old Foundation for Patients Rights address -- which a recent Frontline documentary revealed to be a UPS store. And its board members are the same as those of the old CSS 527, Lora Haggard and Jeremy Van Ess. The latter is connected with Hilltop. The new (c)(4) went on to fund its own super PAC, called simply Citizens for Strength and Security.

The new (c)(4) group had a new address and a new employer identification number (the IRS assigns a unique EIN to every distinct organization that has employees) but it was still linked to figures close to the old organization. Its mission, too, was the same, except for the deletion of "health care" from the description -- the Affordable Care Act having already been signed into law.  

Neither of the two 501(c)(4) groups in the Citizens for Strength and Security family appear to have sought exempt status from the IRS -- or if they did, they don't appear to have received it, something that would have been highly unusual. Still, more than $60 million flowed through these organizations, much of it going into the political arena. 

Patriot Majority

Citizens for Strength and Security is not alone in the process of surreptitious rebirth. Another liberal group, Patriot Majority USA -- some of whose activities OpenSecrets Blog first reported last year -- has been engaged in a similar evolution, employing some of the same tactics that seem designed to mask the doings of the complicated constellation of organizations known as Patriot Majority.

The network includes multiple 527s, a super PAC, and a 501(c)(4). Its 501(c)(4) arm has been killed off twice, each time rising anew. 

The first iteration of the group, Patriot Majority for a Stronger America, began as the 501(c)(4) Midwest Alliance for Better Government? in 2006. It shut its doors in 2009. Meanwhile, though, another (c)(4), American Alliance for Economic Development, had been formed in 2008 with the same employees -- none of whom drew a salary -- at the same address. (It was also the same address that Citizens for Strength and Security Action Fund, the group discussed above, would use in later FEC filings.)

In 2010, American Alliance changed its name to Patriot Majority USA. Then, as OpenSecrets Blog reported last year, Patriot Majority USA gave large sums of money to two politically active, liberal 501(c)(4)s -- America Votes and VoteVets. Both of these groups then gave large grants to Patriot Majority's own political 527 account. In essence, money appears to have gone from Patriot Majority USA's nondisclosing social welfare account through two other social welfare groups, ultimately making its way into Patriot Majority's 527 account. 


In 2011, Patriot Majority USA began using a P.O. box as its mailing address, then filed a termination report. The same year, another 501(c)(4) called Patriot Majority USA -- housed at that very same P.O. box, boasting the same board, and even listing the terminated Patriot Majority USA as an affiliate -- filed its initial tax return. It would be Patriot Majority USA version 3.0 that would end up being the first to report to the FEC making direct, political expenditures -- rather than passing the money first through a super PAC or 527.  

The latest iteration of Patriot Majority USA was very active in the 2012 campaign season, telling the FEC it spent $7 million on ads. Yet despite the fact that it is not supposed to be primarily a political organization, it doesn't appear to have done much since the elections. Its YouTube page has not been updated in the six months since early November, and its homepage -- which, structurally, has been virtually unchanged through the last two versions of the organization -- has been stripped down to bare-bones auto-updating content such as a sidebar of "this day in history" facts. 

IRS Oversight 

No one affiliated with Patriot Majority or Citizens for Strength and Security responded to our repeated requests to explain why they engage in this complicated process of reincarnation and money shuffling. We tried all of the phone numbers listed on the Citizens for Strength & Security documents, and we contacted Hilltop Public Solutions. Nobody would comment. Craig Varoga, who has overseen the Patriot Majority groups, also did not respond to calls or emails. (Varoga is not anxious to be found; year after year, he lists "no@email" in the email address field on IRS forms for his organization.)

Nonprofit experts contacted by OpenSecrets Blog could not think of a practical motivation for their actions. "It?s hard to tell what is going on here," said Marcus Owens, former head of the Internal Revenue Service's Exempt Organizations division, "but starting and terminating organizations makes it more difficult for the IRS to identify who did what when."  

Ellen Aprill, professor of tax law at Loyola University in Los Angeles, speculated that the groups might have feared they'd violated a tax rule and decided it was better to dissolve "either to be good going forward or, if we were to take a cynical, Machiavellian view, to continue to ignore rules by operating briefly and then dissolving to do the same thing again."

irs logo.jpg
What we do know is that the IRS is not an agency built for political oversight or transparency, and these groups could very well be using the agency's weaknesses as an added layer of cover for their activities.   

The IRS's primary legal responsibility is to protect information, rather than disclose it, and that is reflected in almost every aspect of the nonprofit infrastructure.  Groups are not required to get the agency's blessing to claim 501(c)(4) status, and if they don't they aren't included in the IRS summary data listing all the tax-exempt organizations it oversees. Annual tax filings are submitted long after they are relevant; even after they're filed, the IRS doesn't provide them  -- nor any of the relevant data -- online or in machine-readable format.  

On the rare occasion that an organization's exempt status is revoked or denied, little to nothing about it is public. As we described in part five of our recent Shadow Money Magic report, the IRS doesn't tell the FEC or the public that the group might be required to disclose its donors. Rather, most groups could simply pay their federal income taxes and fade away, except in cases of prominent organizations like Crossroads GPS -- which applied for exempt status nearly three years ago and has yet to receive it. (This week a Crossroads spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that his group may have been a victim of the IRS' heightened scrutiny of conservative groups.) Denial letters are made public only after they are scrubbed of all identifying information. Furthermore, formal denials are often unnecessary because, according to Lois Lerner, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations, "many organizations withdraw their application for exemption when they learn that a denial is forthcoming."

For its part, Citizens for Strength and Security doesn't appear to ever have sought exempt status for either of its 501(c)(4) incarnations. Patriot Majority USA, on the other hand, applied for, and received, exempt status at least twice, according to its most recent letter granting exempt status, obtained by OpenSecrets Blog. In that letter and the accompanying documents, Patriot Majority USA acknowledged that it had "substantially similar activities and goals" as the old Patriot Majority USA, which it refers to in the filing by its previous name, Alliance for Economic Development.

In the document, it also explains that it had no intentions of hiring employees, opting instead to depend on "a large base of volunteers who will be responsible for contributing to, developing, and disseminating the organization's message."  At the time it filed its first annual filing, the organization boasted about $2.9 million in revenues, but no volunteers.  

In the course of their evaluation of Patriot Majority USA's request for exempt status, IRS staffers don't appear ever to have inquired about Patriot Majority USA's previous two iterations, and the third incarnation was granted exempt status once again, after a wait of only three months. That was in 2011, a time when many other organizations waited far longer to receive approval as IRS staffers screened (often inappropriately) applicants for hidden political agendas. Ironically, this group's application sailed through though its name contained the word "patriot," one of the terms the IRS supposedly looked for, according to the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration.

However, in a final twist, it now appears that the IRS might have revoked the tax exempt status of the last two versions of Patriot Majority USA. The IRS data that includes listings of all exempt organizations no longer contains records for the group. Washington, D.C.'s Corporations Division still lists Patriot Majority as "active," and there are few other explanations for its absence from the list. "It could mean that their status was revoked after an audit and for cause," tax attorney Owens says.

But that's between Patriot Majority USA and the IRS. The public won't be told anything, and the FEC won't be notified. The donors behind the millions spent by Patriot Majority in the 2012 election will remain safely on the dark side of Section 6103 of the US Code.   

Reporting intern Janie Boschma contributed to this post.

Image: Ball of tangled wire via

Friday, May 3, 2013

The GOP Daily Ignominious: Clarence Thomas, George H. W. Bush's Shame To The US

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas ponders a question from The Honorable Thomas M. Hardiman during a program at the Duquesne University School of Law on Tuesday April 9, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Tribune Review, Sidney Davis)
This man was placed on the SCOTUS by a Bush to replace the historic Justice Thurgood Marshall.  Ever wonder why Barbara Bush said , "no more Bushes."  Bush'd!

Talking Points Memo

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas expected to see an African-American president in his lifetime — as long as the candidate abided by standards for blacks that are prescribed by “elites and the media,” he said in little-noticed remarks last month. And he suggested that Barack Obama fits the mold.

If you just completed watching 3:11 minutes of that video, you have seen the reason that the Supreme Court is not the Judicial body it once was and certainly not the body envisioned by framers of the US Constitution.

....And The Band Plays On......

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Think about It. What if Bush Vs. Gore Never Happened?

Reposted from Mario Piperni Dot Com..... Sandra day O'Connor piped-in on the reality of the SCOTUS blunders regarding Bush V. Gore in 2000, did you think Mario was not going to pipe-in also?

What if Bush v. Gore Never Happened?

Supreme Court - Unequal Justice   :
Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, ponders Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 presidential election.
Looking back, O’Connor said, she isn’t sure the high court should have taken the case.
“It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,” O’Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. “Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’”
The case, she said, “stirred up the public” and “gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation.”
“Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision,” she said. “It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn’t done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that O’Connor’s regret has less to do with the court having accepted the case (which it should not have) as it has to do with her voting with the other four conservatives on the bench in the 5-4 decision. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether 9-11 would have happened under a Gore presidency. It would be nice to think that Gore would have taken seriously the August 6 intelligence briefing titled, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S.” instead of dismissing it as Bush did by telling the briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.
We can’t know for sure what would have happened with 9-11…but you sure as hell know that had O’Connor not cast her vote with the other Republican-appointed judges in Bush v. Gore, there would have been no Dick Cheney in the administration. No Cheney to bring his neocon fantasies to life would have meant no Iraq war. No Iraq war would have meant no trillion dollar deficit added to the debt. No 4500 dead Americans. No 100,000 to 500,000 dead Iraqis. No added reason to fuel worldwide contempt for America thereby giving rise to more acts of terrorism.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that Sandra Day O’Connor now understands all this and is rational enough to understand that she had a hand in unleashing on to a country and an unsuspecting world, George W. Bush – a simple-minded man of low intellect who was in way over his head from the get-go. The O’Connor decision to stop the ballot count in Florida in 2000 resulted in – quite literally – death, destruction and economic collapse.
O’Connor’s regret is too little, too late. Bush broke the country…and the conservative wing of the Supreme Court is as much to blame as any other single factor.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anatomy of a Murder: The Legislative Dissection

As a multi-firearm owner and as a one who possess a concealed carry permit, I must say the murder of Trayvon Martin provides a terrible parable of how Right-wing agendas, lobbyist, and powerful right-wing organizations (corporations) cast a dangerous overshadow the United States.  I use the overshadow metaphor to illustrate, the unshakable and non-shedding dynamic of terrors that come with passage of laws like "Stand Your Ground" laws.

First an image that is as telling as the Nine-Millimeter firearm Trayvon Martin's murder wore on his waist.
Yes, another Bush etches his legacy on the United States of America, while joined by major NRA lobbyist. (2005)
If you have followed the story of the murder of Trayvon Martin, you know the following:

* his killer's name
* his killer's self-appointed role in community
* his killer's obvious biases against (As a minimum the young black male who was slain)
* his killer's complete disregard for law enforcement commands to stand-down
* his killer stalking (including following, exiting his vehicle, and approaching) the shooting victim
* and, you know only one person in the tragic killing had possession of a gun.