Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Section 5


The Supreme Courts decision in the case, Shelby County v. Holder will go down as one of this court’s absolute worst.  It was an act of judicial activism in which a 5-justice majority ruled a key provision of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

Section 5 is often referred to as the heart of the Voting Rights Act, because it requires what’s known as preclearance of any changes to the way elections are run in certain parts of our country.

Before the Voting Rights Act, some racist locality would enact new voting rule to make it harder or impossible for black people to vote.  They could sue, but it might be a year, before the lawsuit was heard.  Meanwhile, the election would have taken place and the damage would have been done.  This happened all the time.  Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was designed to be preemptive, and stop those types of discriminatory rules from being enacted.

The question became, which parts of the country should be subjected to extra scrutiny, to look at every rule that previous violators of the Voting Rights Act wanted to change?

That issue was handled by a formula, that is laid out in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.  Basically it targets state and localities that were using special tests to restrict voting rights when the act was passed.  Things like literacy tests and places where voter turnout or registration is below or was below 50% when the Act was last reauthorized.  Most of the jurisdictions targeted under that formula are states of the old confederacy, states with a history of racial terrorism, oppression, domination and exploitation.  It also includes some localities and states you wouldn’t necessarily expect such as a couple counties in South Dakota and California, and the borough of Brooklyn.  Those parts of the country aren’t allowed to enact restrictive voting rules whenever they want.

Congress has reauthorized the Voting Rights Act four times, most recently in 2006 by huge bipartisan margins.  Now by a 5-4 majority decision, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, it has been decided that the formula Congress passed is unconstitutional.

Despite the fact that the 15th Amendment explicitly gives Congress the authority to enforce right to vote laws, 5 justices struck it down.  They told Congress, if you want to keep that law, then fix it in a way that we like. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Climate Change


The following excerpt is from President Obama’s recent speech on climate change.
“Scientists had known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat, and that burning fossil fuels release those gases into the air.  That wasn’t news. But in the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable.  And what they’ve found, year after year, is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have increased dramatically. 
“That science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind. 
“The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years.  Last year, temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached record highs, and ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record -- faster than most models had predicted it would.  These are facts. 
“Now, we know that no single weather event is caused solely by climate change.  Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times.  But we also know that in a world that’s warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet.  The fact that sea level in New York, in New York Harbor, are now a foot higher than a century ago -- that didn’t cause Hurricane Sandy, but it certainly contributed to the destruction that left large parts of our mightiest city dark and underwater.
“The potential impacts go beyond rising sea levels.  Here at home, 2012 was the warmest year in our history.  Midwest farms were parched by the worst drought since the Dust Bowl, and then drenched by the wettest spring on record.  Western wildfires scorched an area larger than the state of Maryland.  Just last week, a heat wave in Alaska shot temperatures into the 90s. 
“And we know that the costs of these events can be measured in lost lives and lost livelihoods, lost homes, lost businesses, hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief.  In fact, those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it -- they’re busy dealing with it.  Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons, and states and federal governments have to figure out how to budget for that.  I had to sit on a meeting with the Department of Interior and Agriculture and some of the rest of my team just to figure out how we're going to pay for more and more expensive fire seasons.
“Farmers see crops wilted one year, washed away the next; and the higher food prices get passed on to you, the American consumer.  Mountain communities worry about what smaller snowpacks will mean for tourism -- and then, families at the bottom of the mountains wonder what it will mean for their drinking water.  Americans across the country are already paying the price of inaction in insurance premiums, state and local taxes, and the costs of rebuilding and disaster relief.
“So the question is not whether we need to act.  The overwhelming judgment of science -- of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements -- has put all that to rest.  Ninety-seven percent of scientists, including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data, have now put that to rest.  They've acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it. 
“So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.  And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren.”

Friday, June 28, 2013

New Information


Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell claimed: “A coordinated campaign to use the levers of government to target conservatives and stifle speech has been in full swing and in open view for all of us to see for years.”

Congressman Elijah Cummings released transcripts that directly contradict all of those IRS conspiracy accusations, and the inspector general report provided no evidence of a conspiracy.

The new IRS chief, Daniel Werfel provided evidence that contradicts the GOP conspiracy argument.  His report found that the inappropriate tax scrutiny was due to management and judgment failures, not political bias.  Werfel found no evidence of any outside involvement, and none from the White House.  No evidence of intentional wrongdoing was found.

New documents made public by the Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee show that IRS officials were also targeting liberal groups.  Indeed, they were going after “patriot” and Tea Party groups, but they also were investigating groups with names like "progressive" or "blue," or anti-Republican.

We may not know everything, but what we do know suggests that the alleged scandal wasn’t a tempest in a teapot.  There wasn’t a tempest or a teapot, because there was no intentional wrongdoing.

The revelations were ground-breaking, because for the first time, internal IRS documents were made public, which listed progressive groups, groups that advocated for medical marijuana, and other groups on the political left, who were also targeted for scrutiny on the lists that the IRS put together.  They were applying for tax-exempt status, like the Tea Party organizations, and IRS officials wanted to categorize them for extra scrutiny, so they flagged them by their names.

The whole conspiracy scandal that people had been led to believe that the Obama administration had used the IRS to go after political enemies is untrue.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Corker/Holden Amendment


According to "The Washington Post," in 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.

Our country has had a vast labor market of unauthorized immigrant workers, who have been using a Social Security number tied to a made up name or a name that belonged to a relative or someone deceased.  Some enter this country under a temporary work visa, in that case, they can obtain a legal Social Security card and can continue to use that number even if they ended up overstaying visa.

Most unauthorized immigrant workers have Social Security numbers, and they’ve been paying payroll taxes.  Unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for Social Security benefits even though they’re required to pay the same taxes as the other workers.  

And, if any of them were to become citizens, they would have the opportunity to benefit from their actually work record.  Those who overstayed a visa would have to shown proof to the Social Security administration of their prior work record and have their Social Security account credited with the wages they paid in.

On 6/24/13, the Senate voted to approve the new amended version of comprehensive immigration reform bill, which includes the Corker/Holden amendment, that’s designed to win more Republican votes.  The language in the amendment instructs our  government to confiscate the Social Security taxes paid by all unauthorized workers between 2004 and 2014 even after they gain citizenship status.  It won’t matter, if they paid in like everyone else. 

The details, of the Corker/Holden amendment also includes doubling the number of border patrol agents from 20,000 to 40,000.  That means an agent for every 1,000 feet of our southern border.  Senator Corker wants to construct 700 miles of additional fencing, which is twice as much as authorized in the original version of the bill.  Furthermore, the amendment changes the bill so border patrol agents will be able to search vehicles within a reasonable distance of the southern border which is defined as 100 miles.

Taxpayers will be paying twice as much money for fencing, armed agents on the border, and all sorts of high-tech surveillance.  These border security measures will almost certainly be contracted out to private companies, who will make sure that our southern border is one of the most militarized places in this country.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Farm Bill Defeated

House Speaker Boehner failed to pass a farm bill, which is the pieces of legislation that’s generally passed without controversy.

The defeat of the 2013 farm bill demonstrates the ideological divide between the more conservative, anti-spending Republican lawmakers and their leadership, who failed to garner sufficient votes from their caucus as well as from Democrats.  The vote against the bill, 234 to 195, with sixty-two Republicans voting with Democrats to defeat the bill.  The bill was rejected by the Democrats who thought it didn’t spend enough on food stamps, and rejected by Republicans who thought it spent too much on food stamps.

Sixty-two Republicans thought it didn’t cut our feed the hungry program enough.  The bill would have cut $20 billion over ten years from the federal food stamp program, which would have affected 2 million people.  The bill didn’t just advocate taking food away from the hungry.  It would’ve also handed over billions in the form of farm subsidies to the same people calling for billions of dollars in food stamp cuts.

No one better represents the hypocrisy of the bill, than Republican Congressman Steve Fincher.   He decided that poor people on food stamps needed a bible lesson.  Last month,  preached: “The poor will always be with us.  It also says if you don’t work, you don’t eat.” 

Between 1999 and 2012, the righteous Republican congressman received payments totaling more than $3 million in taxpayer money in the form of farm subsidies.  Furthermore, last year fifteen members of Congress or their spouses benefitted from a total of more than $200,000 in taxpayer funded farm subsidy payments.  To makes matters worse, an amendment to stop lawmakers from receiving farm subsidies was voted down.  That’s in addition to defeating an amendment to stop crop insurance subsidies for those who make more than $250,000 a year. 

It wasn’t enough that Republicans wanted to cut $20 billion from food stamps, but they went on to defeat any opportunity to stop the ridiculous cash giveaway to people who don’t need it including themselves.  The bill was aimed at taking food out of the mouths of hungry people in order to give money to members of Congress with farms.  Essentially, the bill was socialism for the rich, or Robin Hood in reverse.  It was an attempt to redistribution tax dollars from the poor to the rich.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Farm Bill


The bulk of every farm bill is the country’s food stamp program, that is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.  Congress created food stamps as part of the farm bill in the 1960s when the shrinking population in rural areas translated into fewer farm state representatives in the House and fewer votes for the farm bill.

The program was designed to connect the fortune of the urban poor to farmers, thereby creating a much larger constituency for the farm bill’s passage.  As our country cut back on its social safety net, food stamps have remained the most successful social safety net program we’ve had during the great recession.

In 2012, more than 46 million people received SNAP benefits, a 76% increase since recession began in 2007.   Many congressional Republicans look at that increase, and decided we’ve got to cut food stamps.  Republicans have become obsessed with the growth of the food stamp program, and view it as an indicator of Obama’s subversive plan to seduce a nation of takers into permanent indolence and handouts.

Actually, the right wing "Wall Street Journal" reported: "the food stamp boom began with the George W. Bush Republicans who expanded benefits in the appalling 2002 farm bill."   Now with Obama in the White House, they’ve proposed a farm bill that would cut food stamps by $20 billion over 10 years, which means that under the House proposal 2 million people would lose benefits.  The President had threatened to veto the entire bill if Congress passed the House version.

The sequester cuts are costing government jobs and shrinking paychecks while wages stagnate.  Most new job creation happens in the low-wage service sector.  There are almost 12 million people out of work, but all House Republicans are able to do is pass an unconstitutional abortion bans.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Edward Snowden


Jefferson, Madison, and Washington expected the Constitution would, and should, be regularly revised each generation to reflect our country’s changing needs.  Apart from the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, it has only been amended seventeen times. 

George Washington wrote: “The warmest friends and best supporters the Constitution has, do not contend that it is free from imperfections; but they found them unavoidable and are sensible, if evil is likely to arise there from, the remedy must come hereafter; for in the present moment, it is not to be obtained; as there is a Constitutional door open for it, I think the People (for it is with them to Judge) can as they will have the advantage of experience on their Side, decide with as much propriety on the alterations and amendments which are necessary as ourselves. I do not think we are more inspired, have more wisdom, or possess more virtue, than those who will come after us.”

We must change the Constitution, and our laws to protect our citizens, especially those living in Manhattan and Washington D.C.  Those are the most likely targets where terrorist may eventually set off a nuclear device.  Edward Snowden doesn’t share that fear, but it’s a very real possibility.  Snowden is charged with espionage, and has left Hong Kong, and is now in Russia. 

The National Security Agency has been collecting information on our phone calls to determine, who’s calling who, and for how long.  This an important debate, but we need to be vigilant about what kind of information our government is collecting and decide if it’s helpful in catching terrorists before or after they attack.  We need to find a balance between doing too much and not doing what should be done to protect ourselves.

If we are attacked again and it’s revealed that President Obama had the authority to take action that could have prevented the attack, what would the critics say then?  What would they say if everyone knew that any president had failed to do something they could have done and didn’t?

Obama announced: “When I came into this office, I made two commitments that are more important than any commitment I made:  Number one, to keep the American people safe; and number two, to uphold the Constitution.  And that includes what I consider to be a constitutional right to privacy and an observance of civil liberties.”  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Food Stamps


Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee admitted: “In the early ‘70s, I had some difficult times.  I was raising two small children as a single mother.  Of course, I wanted to get a good paying job.  I wanted to get through school.  There was nowhere to turn, but thank God for the food stamp program.  And I am deeply grateful to the American people for extending that helping hand.  Everyone has hard times every now and then. 

“I know for a fact as a former public assistance recipient and a food stamp recipient that no one wants to be on food stamps.  Everyone wants a job.  They want a living wage so they can take care of their families and live the American dream.  So it’s a very difficult period and let me tell you, right now going through the food stamp challenge again.  Really reminds me of what it takes, the weariness, the hassle, how do you do this on $4.50 a day.  Think of the millions of people who see no end in sight and so that is the tragedy about this.”

Regarding the motivation of her colleagues in Congress, who were trying to cut the food stamp program, Rep. Lee said: “First, many Republicans said that people are gaming the system.  Well, you know, the food stamps, the snap program, is one of the fewest gamed government support programs ever, very little waste, fraud and abuse.  If you want to look at waste, fraud and abuse, you look at the Pentagon.  You look at the billions of dollars, the trillions of dollars that have gone out in these useless and unnecessary wars.

And so when you look at waste, fraud and abuse, that’s part of their argument that people are gaming the system.  That is not the case.”

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Espionage and Theft


According to a criminal complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in Virginia, federal prosecutors have charged Edward Snowden, who admitted leaking top-secret details about U.S. surveillance programs, with espionage and theft of government property.

Our government asked Hong Kong, where Snowden is believed to be in hiding, to detain the former National Security Agency contract analyst on a provisional arrest warrant.

The complaint charges Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and the willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person.  Those last two allegations amount to espionage under the federal Espionage Act, which was passed in 1917.

Snowden admitted in interviews that he was the source behind the leak of classified documents about the NSA's surveillance programs.  Those leaks were the basis of recent reports in Britain's Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post.  The Guardian revealed Snowden's identify at his request.

The documents revealed the existence of top-secret surveillance programs that collect records of domestic telephone calls in the United States and monitor the Internet activity of overseas residents.

Those revelation have raise questions about the secret operations of the NSA and whether it’s infringing on American civil liberties.

Obama, members of Congress and national security officials defend the surveillance programs as necessary to combat terrorism and argue that some privacy must be sacrificed in a balanced approach.  They insist the law allows collection of metadata, such as the time and numbers of phone calls, and that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, that was established in 1978, must approve listening to a specific call.

Snowden is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong, where he fled with over 1,000 classified documents after taking a leave of absence from his job as an intelligence analyst for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamiliton. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

General Keith Alexander


When General Alexander recently testified before the House Select Committee on Intelligence, its chairman, Republican congressman Mike Rogers said: “I also want to take this moment to thank General Alexander who has been extended as national security adviser in one way or another three different times. 

“Thank you for your patriotism.  Thank you for continuing to serve to protect the United States.  Thank you on behalf of America for your service to your country.  General Alexander, please convey our thanks to your team.”

General Keith Alexander is a man whose name, most of us have never heard before.  In 2003, under George W. Bush, he was named the Army’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence.  The next year, he would be called to testify about the units he supervised that were involved in the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.  He was promotion by the Bush administration in 2005 to be director of the NSA where he oversaw warrantless wiretapping.

In 2010, he was appointed under the Obama administration to head the newly created U.S. Cyber Command.  Over the past decade, Keith Alexander has risen to command an awesome arsenal of power with very little public notice or oversight.

NSA historian James Bamford authored a book about General Alexander, "The Secret War."  Bamford attributes Keith Alexander’s rise to  power to the length of time he’s been there.  There’s never been a person in the history of the American intelligence community that has served in that high capacity that long.  And the longer you serve in a position like that, the more power you acquire.  In addition to that, he’s been given enormous responsibility, greater than anybody else has been given because he runs not only the most secret and largest intelligence agency in the world, but also he runs the cyber command.

Alexander is a four-star general.  The NSA has ever been headed by a four stars general, which is the highest you can go in the military.  He runs a cyber command, which is an enormous organization dedicated to both spying on foreign governments in terms of their computers and so forth, but also launching wars.

General Alexander’s Cyber Command attacked Iran with their centrifuges.  They destroyed the centrifuges using cyber, just basically sending viruses into these machines.

NSA’s cyber command’s job is to protect the U.S. government communication and to focus their cyber warfare capabilities on foreign countries.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Sequester


Obama signed an order triggering mandatory, government-wide spending cuts.  The cuts were included in a 2011 deal to raise the federal borrowing limit as an undesirable outcome if Congress failed to agree on a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan.  Congress failed to reach an agreement.

Starting on 3/2/13, our government initiated a set of arbitrary budget cuts that will hurt the economy, make life harder for middle-class families, and threaten our national security.  The cuts amount to roughly 9% for a broad range of non-defense programs and 13% for the Pentagon over the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30.  That's what our government means when it uses the term sequester.

A report by the Congressional Budget Office indicates that the Health Care Act is the most significant effort to reduce our deficits since the Balanced Budget Act of the 1990s.

In the summer of 2011, Obama signed a law that will cut nearly $1 trillion of spending over the next ten years.  Part of that law also required Congress to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion by the end of 2012.  In September 2012, Obama sent Congress a detailed plan that would have gone above and beyond that goal.  That plan would have reduce the deficit by an additional $3 trillion, by cutting spending, slowing the growth in Medicare and Medicaid, and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.

To their credit, many congressional Democrats were willing to put politics aside and commit to reasonable adjustments that would have reduced the cost of Medicare, as long as they were part of a balanced approach.

Congressional Republicans refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise.  They’ve claim that they want to close tax loopholes, but have refused to name a single loophole.

There was a consensus in Congress to fixing the FAA problem, so that members of Congress, and their wealthy contributors wouldn’t be waiting in long lines at airport.  But people and organizations, that are taking the brunt of the sequester’s arbitrary across the board spending cuts aren’t being given any consideration.  The most vulnerable among us are taking the hardest hits.  Homebound seniors are getting fewer hot meals because of the cuts to meals on wheels.  Cuts to Head Start programs for to disadvantaged preschoolers continue and could result in 70,000 children shut out of the program.  Cuts to National Institutes of Health funding could curtail critical medial research in cancer that only affects all of us.

The shelters and domestic violence programs are taking a $20 million cut due to the sequester, that’s on top of years of cuts that left many programs operating on a shoestring budget.  Already, an estimated 70,000 fewer victims could have access to shelters.

Congressional Democrats have searched for tax revenue that would improve the economy, but not fall on the backs of middle class working people.  They’ve considered taxing financial transaction tax in the range of one-tenth of a penny to half a penny on the transfer or sale of bonds, stocks, credit default swaps, or any similar financial transactions.  The tax wouldn’t affect trades for retirement, health, or education savings or mutual funds accounts.  A 2008 study by the Center for Economic Policy Research estimated it could conservatively raise about $100 billion a year. The industry, since Wall Street handles at least $50 trillion in transactions every year.
 
Democratic, Congressman Chris Van Hollen asked Speaker Boehner for a simple vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, to let members vote on a plan that would avoid the sequester, by replacing it with a mix of targeted cuts and revenues.   The cuts would be to excessive agriculture subsidies, and the increased revenues would be achieved by closing tax breaks for very profitable oil companies and applying the Buffett Rule to people who earn more than $2 million a year, so that they would pay at least 30 percent.  That plan was never allowed to be considered in the House.
Obama asked the American people: “Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers?  Because we can’t afford to do both.  Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires?  Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs?  Right now, we can’t afford to do both... This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math.”

One in four profitable corporations don't pay any taxes.  Oil industry subsidies were originally meant to bolster an “emerging” industry a 100 years ago.  Cumulatively, oil companies have benefitted from trillions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies over the last century.  Today, these subsidies are insignificant for a corporation like ExxonMobil, who earned 31 billion in the first quarter of 2011.  The subsidies amount to about 1% of oil company profits.  Those profits amounted to 900 billion in the last two years.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ultrasound Bills


Recently, Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate passed a mandatory ultrasound bill.  They believe that they should be trusted more than the patient with the sensitive questions of what kind of medical procedures pregnant women should have. 

Just like the Republicans in Virginia and Texas, Wisconsin Republicans passed a bill that orders women by law to have a medical procedure against their will, and against their doctor’s advice, if they want to have an abortion in the state.

The bill will go to the Republican controlled House, where it’s expected to pass because it’s controlled by Republicans, and then to the Republican governor, who is looking forward to signing it.

Democrats in Wisconsin can’t stop Republicans from doing this, but there will be political repercussions, because when it passes, Wisconsin women will be forced by their state government to have a medically unnecessary procedures against their will.  

Furthermore, that same bill is expected to close more of the states’ health centers for women.  Half of the women health centers have already shut down, and there’s only four clinics in the entire state that presently provide abortions. 

Virginia was one of the first states to decided they would force women to have medically unnecessary procedures as a price for getting an abortion.

Virginia has their statewide elections in off years, their 2013 election is like other states 2012.  Statewide job openings in this election year in Virginia include governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

The Republican Party of Virginia handpicked their candidates for this year.  They scrapped the primary vote and used a convention to select their candidates.  That resulted in a very far right slate of Republican nominees.

Political scientist, Dr. Larry Sabato says this is the most right wing slate of Republican candidates to ever run for office in Virginia.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

National Rifle Association


The following excerpt is from a letter of resignation was sent by former President George H.W. Bush to the National Rifle Association on May 3, 1995.
“I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of N.R.A., defended his attack on federal agents as ‘jack-booted thugs.’  To attack Secret Service agents or A.T.F. people or any government law enforcement people as ‘wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms’ wanting to ‘attack law abiding citizens’ is a vicious slander on good people.

“Al Whicher, who served on my United States Secret Service detail when I was Vice President and President, was killed in Oklahoma City.  He was no Nazi.  He was a kind man, a loving parent, a man dedicated to serving his country -- and serve it well he did.

“In 1993, I attended the wake for A.T.F. agent Steve Willis, another dedicated officer who did his duty.  I can assure you that this honorable man, killed by weird cultists, was no Nazi.”
 
The new leader of the NRA is Alabama attorney James Porter has called President Barack Obama a "fake president," Attorney General Eric Holder "rabidly un-American" and the U.S. Civil War the "War of Northern Aggression.  He has repeatedly call for training every America citizen in the use of standard military firearms, to allow them to defend themselves against tyranny.”
In a short speech to about 300 people at a grass roots organizing meeting, James Porter announced: “This is not a battle about gun rights, it’s a culture war.  You here in this room are the fighters for freedom.  We are the protectors.” 
NRA President Porter insists: “One of our most brightest charges that we can have today is to train the civilian in the use of the standard military firearm so when they have to fight for their country, they’re ready to do it.  Also, when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they’re ready to do it.  Also, when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they have the wherewithal and the weapons to do it.”

A new citizen paramilitary force is a great business model, and would sells a lot more guns and that means a bigger NRA budget, but they’d be up against Apache attack helicopters.  Self anointed patriots might want to consider sticking with democracy and the ballot box.   

Efforts in gun education and safety don't necessarily save lives.  Adam Lanza went on a killing rampage that claimed the lives of 20 children and six teachers and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary school.
Lanza fired 154 bullets, killing all of those innocent people in less than five minutes. He was able to fired roughly one bullet every two seconds.  Investigators have reported, that he brought nine 30-round magazines with him and three completely full magazines were found on Lanza after he killed himself.   
Adam Lanza’s mother had taken him to the shooting range to be sure that he was properly educated in the use of guns.  In the home he shared with her, investigators found his mother dead, and also a holiday card from her with a check in it for her son to buy a gun.
Some people like the NRA because it never backs down, and never compromises. 

Radio talk show host, Alex Jones ranted on CNN: “And I’m here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!  Doesn’t matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street begging for them to have their guns taken!  We will not relinquish them!  Do you understand?”

The Second Amendment was not designed to allow citizens to use violence to overthrow our government.  The legislative history of the Second Amendment supports the concept that gun ownership was intended to defend our government against a slave rebellion and foreign invasions.

Our founding fathers carefully designed a Constitution with checks and balances to limit the power of the Executive branch of government.  Tea Party Republicans would have you believe that compromise is not a dirty word.   

Our Civil War resulted in 618,000 Americans being killed.  We best honor those dead by solving our disagreements at the ballot box, and with compromise in Congress instead of with bullets. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Congressional Response


Republican Congressman Mike Rogers is the chairman of the House intelligence committee.  He insists, that the National Security Agency “is not listening to Americans’ phone calls” or monitoring their e-mails, under U.S. surveillance programs, and any statements suggesting differently amount to “misinformation.”
He added: “Some think there's this mass surveillance of what you're saying on your phone call and what you're typing in your e-mails.  That is just not happening.”
Chairman Rogers pushed back on the question of whether anyone in the U.S. government was listening to the phone calls.  He pointed out: “there is all this misinformation about what these programs are,” and he hopes the public will soon come to better understand how the programs disrupted terrorist plots.”
During a House judiciary committee hearing, Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler told FBI Director Robert Mueller, that he was told, that NSA analysts were capable of obtaining specific information from phone calls without a warrant.
Regarding his exchange with Mueller at the hearing, Nadler subsequently said: “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant."
The NSA has repeatedly said that it collects only metadata such as phone numbers and duration of those phone calls, but not the actual conversations.  If it needs to listen to a conversation, it must first obtain an order from the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Recently, the intelligence community provided additional counterterrorism justification, by releasing a document to members of Congress and media, that NSA officials searched the phone record database fewer than 300 times last year.
PRISM, the online surveillance program, and the information gathering data base has reportedly helped disrupt dozens of plots in the U.S and in more than 20 countries.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Smallest Budget Deficit

An improving fiscal outlook is one reason that Standard & Poor’s recently raised its U.S. credit rating outlook to “stable” from “negative.”

According to Jeffrey Sparshott: “The U.S. government remains on track to post its smallest budget deficit in five years as higher taxes and an improving economy boost revenue.”

The Treasury Department reported, that for the first eight months of the fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, the budget deficit totaled $626.33 billion, down about 26% from the same period last year.

According to Congressional Budget Office projections under current policies, the deficit is expected to fall to $642 billion for the full fiscal year and get as low as $378 billion in 2015.  The last time the deficit was under $1 trillion was 2008, when spending outpaced revenue by $458.55 billion.

For the month of May, the budget deficit was $138.73 billion, compared with $124.64 billion a year earlier.  Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a $130 billion deficit for the month.

May receipts climbed to $197.18 billion from $180.71 billion, and outlays rose to $335.91 billion from $305.35 billion.

Our government isn’t spending less, because outlays totaled $2.427 trillion from October through May, compared with $2.408 trillion a year earlier.

Instead, revenues have jumped about 15% to $1.801 trillion, due to higher payroll taxes, higher tax rates for households making more than $450,000 and increased incomes.

Unfortunately, there is less pressure on lawmakers to fix long-term problems, including unsustainable spending on Social Security and health-care programs.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at High Frequency Economics pointed out: “Indeed, the main source of upward pressure on the deficit in the long run–entitlement spending–has not been addressed at all.”

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Heritage Foundation


The conservative Heritage Action for America, an offshoot of the Heritage Foundation, has urged Republicans to stay on the scandals.  In letters to House Leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor, they wrote: "It would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference.  To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference."

The focus of Tea Party Republicans will continue to be on civil liberties, the IRS, the FBI investigating the Associated Press and Benghazi.  They won’t allow an immigration reform, or a jobs bill to come up, because those issues appear to be very divisive within the Republican Party.

The 112th, Congress was a culmination of trends, that we’ve been seeing over the last 40 or 50 years as an ideological sorting out of the two parties.  The composition of the Congress was a Speaker from the Republican majority in the House, and a slim Democratic majority in the Senate that was subject to perpetual filibusters.  And, congressional Republicans,who were trying to defeat a Democratic president.  Those dynamics resulted in paralysis and polarization.

"The National Journal" has been taking the ideological temperature of Congress for the last 30 years, and they’ve found that every Democrat in the Senate is more liberal than every Republican, and that every Republican is more conservative than every Democrat. That hasn’t always been the case?  If you go back to the 1980’s, 60% of the Senate was somewhere in the middle. 

Political analist Nate Silver pointed out on his 538 blog, that of the 435 congressional districts in the House, only 35 of them are truly competitive, and the rest are hyperpartician districts.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chicago’s Approach


This year, Chicago homicides down 34% compared to the same period in 2012, and shootings of children 16 and younger down are 46%.

As many as 400 police officers a day working overtime have been dispatched to the 3% of Chicago’s geography that accounts for 20% of its worst crimes.  It has been done at a cost of nearly $32 million of the city’s $38 million total overtime budget and it’s only June.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants the city to continue staffing police in those hotspot, while working regular hours, not overtime. 

Mary Mitchell, columnist and editorial board member at "The Chicago Sun-Times" points out: “And we talk about a 34% reduction.  That sounds good because it’s a statistic, but the headlines say that since Friday, 28 people in Chicago have been shot and three of them have been killed by gunfire.  If you live in a neighborhood where you’re hearing shots fired, that statistic doesn’t mean anything to you.  

“I think we have a long way to go.  I don’t think it’s time to celebrate yet.  I think in August, we need to come back and look at this and see if we can sustain the reduction in the shootings.”

Historically, Chicago is a tale of two cities, since the violence is concentrated in certain areas and largely absent in other areas.  This goes back to its history of racial segregation, that made it possible for mayors to overlook very high levels of violence that would be unacceptable, if it were encroaching on the kinds of people that held the most power in the city.

The south side of Chicago lacks recreational facilities, jobs, and stores.  It lacks many of the kind of resources that you find on the north side.

More people on the north side are employed, and fewer are hanging out on corners.  They have a place to go and something to do.  In communities where there’s nothing to do, where there is a lack of resources and you have a lot of young people doing nothing, you’re going to have many more problems.

Nationally 21% of African-American teenagers are unemployed.  They can’t find a job so they’re standing on corners.  The Chicago Police Dept. is trying to build trust, but still has a long way to go before it gets to a point that anyone can breathe a sigh of relief.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Balance


The National Security Agency has been collecting information on our phone calls to determine, who’s calling who, and for how long.  This an important debate, but we need to be vigilant about what kind of information our government is collecting and decide if it’s helpful in catching terrorists before or after they attack.  We need to find a balance between doing too much and not doing what should be done to protect ourselves.

If we are attacked again and it’s revealed that President Obama had the authority to take action that could have prevented the attack, what would the critics say then?  What would they say if everyone knew that any president had failed to do something they could have done and didn’t?

Most members of Congress will admit, that this has been going on for at least the past seven years.  Our government has ordered the phone companies to turn over data to the NSA, on all the numbers that are in America that have called any other numbers in the U.S. or overseas.  That’s a huge amount of data, and it’s gathered every day and turned over to the National Security Agency’s enormous database.

The NSA has to demonstrate to the FISA court what procedures they’re going to use, and that if they get a telephone number that`s found overseas, for example, or that comes up in an investigation, and they want to check into.  If it’s a suspected terrorist, they can run it through the database to see if that suspected terrorist number has called other numbers in the U.S. and what numbers have been called.

Nothing is healthier in our country than a never ending debate on what we believe is necessary for our defense and what is necessary to protecting our civil liberty.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Two Commitments


President Obama announced: “When I came into this office, I made two commitments that are more important than any commitment I made:  Number one, to keep the American people safe; and number two, to uphold the Constitution.  And
that includes what I consider to be a constitutional right to privacy and an observance of civil liberties.                                               

“Now, the programs that have been discussed over the last couple days in the press are secret in the sense that they're classified.  But they’re not secret in the sense that when it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program.  With respect to all these programs, the relevant intelligence committees are fully briefed on these programs.  These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006.                                                                                                
“And so, I think at the outset, it's important to understand that your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we're doing.   Now, let me take the two issues separately.                                                                                                                  

“When it comes to telephone calls, no one is listening to your telephone calls.  Thats’ not what this program is about.  As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and duration of calls.  They are not looking at people’s names and they’re not looking at content.  But by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism.  If the intelligence committee then actually wants to listen to a phone call, they’ve got to go back to a federal judge, just like they would in a criminal investigation.
“So, I want to be very clear, some of the hype that we’ve been hearing over the last day or so, nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls.  This program, by the way, is fully overseen, not just by Congress, but by the FISA court -- a court especially put together to evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch or
government generally is not abusing them and that it’s being carried out consistent with the Constitution, and rule of law.                                                                                                          
“And so, not only does that court authorize the initial gathering of data, but -- I want to repeat -- if anybody in government wanted to go further than just that top-line data and want to, for example, listen to Jackie Calmes' phone call, they would have to go back to a federal judge and indicate why, in fact, they were doing further probing. 
“Now, with respect to the Internet and emails -- this does not apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States.  And again, in this instance, not only is Congress fully apprised of it, but what is also true is that the FISA Court has to authorize it.                                                                                                                                                                                            

“So in summary, what you've got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress, bipartisan majorities have approved on them, Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted.  There are a whole range of safeguards involved, and federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.  We're also setting up -- we've also set up an audit process, when I came into office, to make sure that we're, after the fact, making absolutely certain that all the safeguards are being properly observed.                                                                                                            

“Now, having said all that, you'll remember when I made that speech a couple of weeks ago about the need for us to shift out of a perpetual war mindset, I specifically said that one of the things that we're going to have to discuss and debate is how are we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy?  Because there are some tradeoffs involved.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

“I welcome this debate.  And I think it's healthy for our democracy.  I think it's a sign of maturity, because probably five years ago, six years ago, we might not have been having this debate.   And I think it's interesting that there are some folks on the left but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it who weren't very worried about it when there was a Republican President.  I think that's good that we're having this discussion.”
“But I think it's important for everybody to understand -- and I think the American people understand -- that there are some tradeoffs involved.  I came in with a healthy skepticism about these programs.  My team evaluated them.  We scrubbed them thoroughly.  We actually expanded some of the oversight, increased some of safeguards.  But my assessment and my team's assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks.  And the modest encroachments on the privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration without a name attached and not looking at content, that on net, it was worth us doing.  Some other folks may have a different assessment on that.
“But I think it's important to recognize that you can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.  We're going to have to make some choices as a society.  And what I can say is that in evaluating these programs, they make a difference in our capacity to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity.  And the fact that they’re under very strict supervision by all three branches of government and that they do not involve listening to people's phone calls, do not involve reading the emails of U.S. citizens or U.S. residents absent further action by a federal court that is entirely consistent with what we would do, for example, in a criminal investigation -- I think on balance, we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about. 
“But, again, these programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate.  And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up.  And we're happy to have that debate.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Doing the Job

President Obama noted: “Time and again, congressional Republicans cynically used Senate rules and procedures to delay and even block qualified nominees from coming to a full vote.  This is not about principled opposition.  This is about political obstruction.  I recognize that neither party has a perfect track record here.  You know, Democrats weren’t completely blameless when I was in the Senate.  But what’s happening now is unprecedented.  For the good of the American people, it has to stop.  Too much of the people’s business is at stake.

The Congressional Research Service calculated the average wait for circuit court nominees from the first committee report to the confirmation.  For Reagan the average wait was under 10 days.  Obama’s average wait has been 138 days from the time the committee reports to the time the nominees were confirmed.  

Obama has picked two women, and an African-American.  They’re qualified, moderate jurists, and he’s daring Senate Republicans to filibuster them.

Senate Minority Leader McConnell claimed: “They want to use the nuclear option to pack the D.C. circuit so it can rubber stamp the president’s big government agenda.”  

Packing the court refers to what FDR attempted in the late’30s.  He tried to add six justices on top of the nine.  He wanted 15 justices so he could get some liberal opinions out of the court.  Obama is just filling 3 of the 11 seats in the judicial branch at the appellate level.  

Obama explained: “Some Republicans recently have suggested that by nominating these three individual, I’m somehow engaging in ‘court packing.’  I didn’t just wake up one day and say, let’s add three seats to the district court of appeals.  These are open seats.  And the Constitution demands that I nominate qualified individuals to fill those seats.  What I’m doing today is my job.”

Monday, June 10, 2013

Focus on Jobs


A new poll shows that 73 percent of Americans think that job creation is the most important thing, rather than investigating the alleged Obama administration scandals. 

America has seen 38 months of private sector job growth, and 6.8 million jobs.  Congress should be focused on enhancing those numbers.  

Most Americans don’t care about the Internal Revenue Service, because everybody that gets audited feel they’re being targeted.

We’re re-hashing the same conversation we had back in the Bush years concerning the Patriot Act.  Do conservatives want to protect the country at all costs or do they just want to criticize Obama?

House Republicans will continue to be obsessed with trying to repeal Obamacare for the 40th time and less on the economy.  Health care costs make up roughly 18 percent of our GDP.  Since 1999, health care costs in this country have gone up three times the rate of inflation, and congressional Republicans did nothing to turn that number around.  The Republican agenda is to  focused on taking away health care from 30 million Americans. 

Under Obamacare you can’t get dropped by your insurance company, if you get sick.  Your coverage can’t be capped.  Seventeen million children are protected because of a pre-existing condition clauses, and 2.5 million students are now on their parent’s plan.

Infrastructure spending has always a bipartisan idea until Republicans suddenly turned against it when Obama became president.  Even the dreaded individual mandate for health care came from the conservative Heritage Foundation.  It was put forward as the Republican answer to Hillary Clinton’s health care proposal.

Our lawmakers in Congress should be focused on the American workers and investing in our infrastructure.  You won’t find a single Democrat in the House or Senate that will complain that we’re spending too much money on infrastructure projects. 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Agricultural Subsidies


Tennessee’s Republican Congressman, Steven Fincher has received over $3.5 million directly from the government in socialistic agriculture subsidies.  He insists that he hates socialism, but he and his family have been living off millions of agricultural subsidy dollars for generations.

No socialist program gets more bipartisan support than agriculture socialism, which is the most inefficient and cruelest form of socialism in America.  Agriculture is a global market, and we subsidize our farmers at the competitive expense of farmers in Mexico, and then complain that Mexicans are crossing our border illegally to find work.

There is no law against conflict of interest in the Congress.  A judge wouldn’t be allowed to preside over a trial in which he had a financial interest in the outcome.  However, if you’re in the agriculture business and get elected to Congress, everyone understands why you want to get on the agriculture committee and nobody has a problem with that.
If you’re in the agriculture business, and get elected to Congress, you should not be allowed to serve on is the agriculture committee.  

Fincher was allowed to enrich himself and his family in order to continue to vote for a bill that would cut food stamps for the neediest people among us.  Forty-five percent of the beneficiaries of food stamps are children. 

He finds his justification in the bible: “I looked at second Thessalonians, 3:10.  For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule, the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Stephen Fincher is willing to take food out of the mouths of children as long as he can still use government money to enrich himself.  Congress has made sure that conflict of interests in Congress is perfectly legal.  And no Republican in Washington thinks that’s a scandal.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Ignoring the Jackals


On the House floor, Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine claimed: “Mr. Speaker, the president’s dishonesty, incompetence, vengefulness and lack of moral compass lead many to suggest that he is not fit to lead.  The only problem is that his vice president is equally unfit and even more embarrassing.”

Because of divisions within the party, Republicans have nothing else they want to talk about.  Their party has put all its eggs into the scandal basket, and the game of scandal politics seems to be backfiring on them. 

Benghazi, the Department of Justice, and the IRS scandals won’t determines the political fate of the Republican Party.  Instead, it’s most likely to be the issue of their not showing leadership on the economy or foreign policy.

After fighting Obama’s economic policies for four years, congressional Republicans may have no better option than to focus on scandal now that the economy is rebounding.  So the big question is, will Democrats see the political benefits from the economy if it really takes off?"

Last month, employers added 175,00 jobs at a pace slightly ahead of forecasts.  Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected the report to show 158,000 jobs would be added for the month.
Apparently, President Obama has also decided just ignore them and to pursue his own vision of foreign policy.  He gave a speech where he talked about a post war on terror age.  He picked Susan Rice and Samantha Power, two advisers that go way back to the beginning of his national campaign, who believe his vision of how to proceed in the world.

Basically Obama is saying, the heck with the right-wing hard-core base.  I’m going to pursue my vision of foreign policy the way I enunciated it in Cairo in 2009.  I’m going to go try and do it.

Friday, June 07, 2013

National Security Adviser


People expected that secretary of state nominee was going to be the U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Ambassador Rice appeared to be the front-runner for secretary of state, until Senator John McCain claimed: “She’s not qualified.  This isn’t a select committee.  If appointed clears her of any wrongdoing, besides being not being very bright.”

Senator Lindsay Graham added: “I’m not going to promote somebody who has misled the country or is either incompetent.  That’s my idea of Susan Rice.”

Obama responded: “If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.  For them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.  When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me.

“And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity of the State Department, then I will nominate her.”

Ambassador Rice withdrew her name, saying that the confirmation process would be too lengthy, disruptive, and costly.  Instead of Susan Rice, John Kerry became Secretary of State, and Susan Rice stayed on as our nation’s U.N. ambassador.
Obama has given Susan Rice a very powerful new job, for which no Senate confirmation process is required.

Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for secretary of state. However, the political significance of her becoming the national security adviser means that former Ambassador Rice is going to be the gate keeper for all the national security and foreign policy teams, and John Kerry will have to go through Rice for access to the president.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Unsubstantiated Accusations


I can’t remember a time in American politics when anything that happens becomes a chance to throw unsubstantiated accusations at the president of the United States. Whether it’s the attack in Benghazi or a screwup at the IRS centralized operation in Cincinnati, it has become the president’s wrongdoing.  Republicans insist that Obama has assembled an enemies list for the IRS, and his spokesman is a “paid liar.”

It’s about the total hatred by a group of Americans who cannot accept the fact that Barack Obama was elected leader of this country by solid majorities of his fellow citizens.  

Instead of Reince Priebus and the party he runs debating policies and engaging in clean politics, they throw unsubstantiated accusations, because that’s the only thing that seems to work for the Republican Party.

The IRS has been set up in a way that’s supposed insulate it from political influence.  A president can only nominate for appointment the two top officials.  Why would Obama allow Doug Shulman, the Republican appointee, stay in as the head if the IRS for so long if he was able to manipulate that operation?

The party, that put Richard Nixon on its national ticket five times in every election but one for 20 years, from 1952 to 1972, is using Nixon’s name to smear President Obama.

Congressional Republicans have claimed, that the IRS in Cincinnati was working off an enemies list coming from the White House, but there is no evidence to prove that accusation.

Self-styled prosecutor, Rep. Darrell Issa made accusations against Obama and then said: “We’re getting to proving that.”  He made accusations and then admitted, that he hasn’t any prove.  Politics has been polluted, by so much hatred of Obama that all it takes to make a charge is the obsession to do it.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Dark Money Groups


The IRS flagged applications from conservative nonprofits for extra review because of their political activity has fallen through the cracks.  Social welfare nonprofits are known as dark money groups, because they don’t have to disclose their donors, poured more than $256 million into the 2012 federal elections.
Congress created a tax exemption for social welfare nonprofits.  The statute defining those groups says they’re supposed to be “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”  But in 1959, IRS regulators interpreted the “exclusively” part of the statute to mean groups had to be “primarily” engaged in enhancing social welfare.  That change opened the door to political spending.  It’s not clear what “primarily” means.  The IRS has claimed, that it uses a “facts and circumstances” test to determine whether a group mostly works to benefit the community or not.  
That deliberate vagueness has led some groups to claim that “primarily” means they must spend 51% of their money on a social welfare projects such as “education,” which could include issue ads criticizing politicians.  Other groups insist that they’re allowed to spend as much as 49% of its expenditures on ads directly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate for office.
Some lawyers for social welfare nonprofit have argued that the IRS should set hard limits for these groups, for instance, that they cannot spend more than 20% of their money on election ads or limit spending to no more than $250,000.
Unlike donors who give directly to politicians, donors who give to social welfare nonprofits can stay anonymous.  This ruling came about in the 1950s, after Alabama attempted to force the NAACP, then a social welfare nonprofit, to disclose its donors.  In 1958, the Supreme Court sided with the NAACP, saying that public identification of its members made them at risk of reprisal and threats.
In April of 2012, Karl Rove, the GOP strategist behind Crossroads GPS, invoked the NAACP decision to defend his organization against attempts to reveal donors.  Rove’s organization has spent more money on elections than any other social welfare nonprofit. 
The Federal Election Commission could push for some disclosure from social welfare nonprofits, but it has been paralyzed by a 3-3 partisan split.
New rulings indicate that higher courts favor disclosure for political ads.  During the 2012 elections, courts in Montana and Idaho ruled that two nonprofits engaged in state campaigns needed to disclose donors.