There has been a lot said lately about the unfairness of targeting certain applications against tax exempt status. There is a bigger 501 c 4 scandal.
Tax exempt status has traditionally been granted to organizations that provided service to the community at large, such as providing food for the needy. An organization that only provided a service for their members was not granted such an exemption. The law for 501(c)(4)’s states that the purpose of such organizations must primarily be for the promotion of social welfare. A weakness is that “social welfare” is not clearly defined. It also allows the organization to take donations without disclosing who the donors are.
These organizations use money to support political candidates, and to lobby for various causes. Since they can hide who is contributing to their support it makes it very difficult to figure out who is supporting their efforts. The difference between PACs and Super PACs and 501(c)(4 s is that the 501’s do not have to publicly disclose their donors.
These organizations should not be granted tax-exempt status for a number of reasons. They are not providing for the common good of the community. They only provide aid for their own special interests. They may claim that they are educational. The reality is they are propaganda machines. They actually spent more money on political ads than the super PACs.
The relationship between these organizations and our politicians is nothing less than legalized corruption. The way to put political power back into the hands of the citizens and out of the moneyed power brokers is to enact a constitutional amendment to undo the effects of Citizens United. Encourage your congressmen and senators to support such an amendment.
Re: “We’re Losing Dairy Farmers to Industrial Combines,” by Margot Ford McMillen (4/15/13 TPP). Have we evolved over millions of years, only to become merciless humans? How else can we describe ourselves when we are growing food to keep machines running — instead of growing food for people to eat?
Even in my darkest nightmares, I never imagined the day would come when, at the same time that thousands of people are dying of starvation each year, and millions are going to bed with empty stomachs every night – our farmers would be in the business of growing their corn for the purpose of converting it into ethanol!
A popular story tells of a compassionate man, many years ago, who miraculously fed thousands of people with only five loaves of bread and two fish.
I’m sure that, even if motor vehicles had existed back then, that man would not have used his miraculous powers to turn food into fuel to keep the cars and trucks running.
When I saw your “Letter from the Devil” in the 5/15/13 TPP, I felt relieved and excited that finally someone has the courage to expose the great evil in our country.
Some churches (the newspeople call them “extreme right-wing churches”) are spreading judgment and hatred in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in opposition to His teachings. They claim to be chosen by Him. Nobody seems to be upset by the blasphemy. Please keep up the good work. I hope other papers will reprint your article.
Gisele M. Brown
This letter concerns itself with local and state governments’ involvement in the new health care bill.
It is very simple to me.
Either the states create exchanges, or the federal government will create them and run them.
Now what does that do? The common citizens will hopefully feel more secure knowing that no matter what health issue they encounter they won’t have to worry about that matter.
It sounds good on paper, but tell it to the working people, the single-parent people and the unemployed people. And yet the forces of greed are out there still hoping and conniving to get whatever money one has.
The health care bill is not in effect yet [Editor’s Note: Much of the bill has taken effect, see below] and yes, people will be helped. But others will not be and the producers and the agents and commissioners are not fighting hard enough for the average Joe, and the price of getting into the program goes up and other costs go up and the premiums go up and up. ...
There are many forces arrayed against those who believe in health care for all. And it was seen in California and Oregon. They barely beat us back but the force of change and universal health care will come as surely as an apple falls.
Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to help all people. Should we accept less?
Editor’s Note: Many of the provisions of the bill have taken effect, including a Patient’s Bill of Rights, cost-free preventive services, prohibition against denying coverage of children due to pre-existing conditions, limits on insurance company profits and rebates to customers for excessive profits, provision for parents to keep children on their family insurance policy until age 26, discounts on prescription drugs for seniors and tax credits for small businesses that provide health coverage (see healthcare.gov for details). Enrollment in health exchanges, which are designed to create competitive statewide markets for health insurance, will start in October, and in 2014 Medicaid expansion and a prohibition against denying coverage of adults due to pre-existing conditions and elimination of annual limits on insurance coverage will be implemented and tax credits will be available for people with income up to 400% of the poverty level ($43,000 for an individual or $88,000 for a family of four) to help them buy insurance.
The health insurance companies are destroying the economy and destroying the country. They are worthless parasites who drain money out of the health care market, while contributing nothing to anyone’s health. They are not doctors or nurses or medical technicians or therapists of any kind. They do not operate hospitals or clinics. They sell insurance to fools, suckers and gullible victims, insurance which they do their best to welsh on. The money that goes to them, that is drained away and wasted, should be going to pay for health care for the many millions of people, men, women and children, who need it and cannot afford it. This is a disaster, a tragedy and a monstrous depraved perversion of economic activity. It is big enough to completely destroy the entire economy and the entire country. The train wreck is on the way!
Meanwhile, the psychopaths and morons and cretinous dwarves in Congress who call themselves “senator” and “the Honorable Congressman from Montana,” etc. are passing more laws to forcibly expand the coverage of insurance to more people, but not health care! They are treasonous enemies of the USA and enemies of the American people. They should be deported, not the immigrants.
This letter is addressed to Prof. Robert Reich. I read your article in the 4/15/13 edition and agree with all you wrote. However, I was startled by the parenthetic statement “(of which I am proud)” regarding your service in the Clinton administration. Really? You’re proud of repealing Glass-Steagall? You’re proud of working with that Wall Street toady, Robert Rubin? How about NAFTA and all its evil spawn? Oh and how about “changing welfare as we know it? According to Hank Kalet, same issue, Tent City in Lakewood, N.J., first appeared in the late 1990s. Remember those years? Proud of all of them, huh?
You may have had an epiphany lately, but it doesn’t change your complicity with that skirt-chasing bum. Had you had the spine, you would have resigned in protest, Mr. Sec’y of Labor! Instead, you were rewarded with a professorship. How cozy! As Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
Although I voted for Clinton twice (my bad), if I encountered him today, I’d spit in his face for his actions.
Joseph F. DiBlanca
Editor’s Note: Clinton still has Secret Service protection, so a strongly worded letter with no threats of violence should suffice.
Several weeks ago I dropped you a line about Secretary of State Kerry showering Egypt with billions of dollars more in military aid. You’ll be happy to know your tax dollar immediately went to work in the form of a $2.5 billion sale of American-made tear gas canisters to Egypt’s military. As future civil rights demonstrators are fleeing, crying and gagging from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, they will now have an appreciation of what aid from the land of the free is all about. America’s annual military aid to Egypt is $1.5 billion — Kerry’s gift added $1.7 billion in additional aid — total $3.2 billion.
Also since my recent rendering, Secretary of Defense Hagel is facilitating Israel’s killing capabilities by pushing forward an additional $10 billion arms package to that country. Presently our annual stipend to Israel is $3.5 billion, totaling $13.5 billion.
Consequently, a total of $16.7 billion is flowing from the US Treasury to the land of the Pharaohs and the Holy Land.
The irony of these tax dollars is they are literally the sweat off the brows of America’s work force. More irony is that the Republican budget hawks who are fighting hard to ax all entitlement programs raised nary a protest over President Obama’s gifting these two countries with public money.
America’s military aid to Israel and Egypt has only one purpose — killing and maiming men, women and children of the Middle East, along with the often brutal subjugation of five million Palestinians. How a country that boasts it is the most Christian nation in the world can sit idly by as our tax dollars are used for such horrific purposes is a national shame. That speaks to our calloused indifference towards the people of-other nations.
Editor Notes: In the Mideast, as the late, great songwriter Townes Van Zandt said of college fraternities, if you want friends, they’re going to cost you.
Populists who believe in democracy must hold their politicians to account. If they do not, they make a mockery of their beliefs in populism and democracy!
In 2008 the American people thought they were voting for a Democrat when they voted for Barack Obama. We need to realize that a Democrat is not necessarily a person who believes in “DEMOCRACY.” What the American people actually got was the GW Bush-Republican Party policies from Obama. These policies included hands-off from big banks and hands-on to wars, old and new. These policies included “Do not Disturb” the rich, and “disturb” Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid for the common people that the Republican Party demand.
Obama promised to close Guantánamo in his first run for the presidency in 2008. Here we are 100 days into his second term, after the 1,461 days of his first term as President of the US. There are still 166 prisoners in Guantánamo who have been there more than 11 years since their original imprisonment and on-going torture for NO D***ED REASON! Those were the G.W. Bush policies adopted wholesale by Obama.
This was after Obama collected a gratuitous Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, in 2009, for no single heroic act to promote Peace, as Alfred Nobel stipulated in his last Will: Obama was given that Peace Prize for NO D***ed Reason! He should return that undeserved prize, including the medal and the money.
Please join in a monthly write-in to Obama with the following demand:
Release all the remaining prisoners that the US is holding at the US prison in Guantanamo and close that prison!
Send a copy of each of your letters to your senators and representative. Be a REAL democratic Populist!
It is ironic that “conservatives” claim that President Obama is capable of any perfidy, and make all sorts of crazy accusations about his activities before, during and after the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, but they are willing to overlook the history of Republican political interference in foreign policy in the months leading up to past presidential elections.
We know that Republican operatives of Richard Nixon conspired to prevent a peace accord in the Vietnam war in 1968 that might have derailed Nixon’s presidential ambitions; President Nixon’s operatives later burglarized Democratic headquarters in 1972 to look for partisan advantages as Nixon prepared to run for re-election; Ronald Reagan’s operatives conspired with Iranian leaders in 1980 to delay the release of American hostages who had been seized from the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 until after Reagan was elected and inaugurated; and George W. Bush’s operatives used the al Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 as an excuse to invade Iraq in 2003 and accused Democratic critics as unpatriotic.
Right-wing conspiracy-mongers Alex Jones and Glenn Beck accused Obama of running a “false flag” operation in the Boston Marathon bombing in April, but non-partisan Americans might wonder whether the new generation of GOP operatives, who were clearly counting on Obama to stumble on foreign policy in the closing months before the 2012 election, might have had some foreknowledge that al Qaeda wannabes were behind the attack on the US mission in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign certainly was quick to issue a press release a few hours after the attack condemning the Obama administration’s response to the attacks in Benghazi. Almost as if he knew it was coming.
O. Leo Leahy
From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2013
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