We the Democrats of Shelby County, Iowa--from the great towns of Defiance, Earling, Elk Horn, Harlan, Irwin, Kirkman, Panama, Portsmouth, Shelby, Tennant, Westphalia and all points in between--are glad you're here! Come on in! Join us. Participate in the ongoing story that is the Democratic Party. There's room for all. We turn nobody away. The Future awaits!
MONDAY MAY 20TH, 2013
Republicans. What can be done for them? They have a virus for which there is no anti-viral. The virus compels them toward irrational behavior. It causes them to ignore facts and to fabricate falsehoods. It has infected the entire party to the point that our legislative government in Washington has ground to a halt.
It's been a rough stretch of late for President Obama and his Administration. From Benghazi to the IRS matter to the AP investigation, Republicans, with the help of the Washington media, have been stomping their feet in faux outrage.
I don't believe a word of it. The more Republicans cry foul and try to whip up a frenzy, the more I suspect they have nothing to stand on. The White House needs to avoid over-reacting. Remember Shirley Sherrod.
The IRS story seems to be the flavor du jour for the moment. It's almost laughable. Republicans scream outrage that tea party groups may have been targeted by the IRS when those groups starting back in 2010 sought tax-exempt status as 501 (c) (4) groups. First of all, lost in all the coverage of this matter is something I find amazing. Nobody is bothering to remind folks about something that's in plain sight.
Does anyone remember why the term "tea party" was chosen? Oh, sure, it was a supposed to be a sort of homage to the original Boston Tea Party and that act of defiance against the British Crown, but it was much more than that. The term "tea" in "tea party" was an acronymn. The "tea" in "tea party" stood for Taxed Enough Already. Tea party groups were quite adamant about that. They proudly pointed out that they were against more taxes as a general rule.
So, imagine working for the IRS, and suddenly out of the blue all of these organizations with the term "tea party," i.e. Taxed Enough Already, in their names start applying for tax-exempt status. What were IRS officials supposed to think? Groups that have the term "Taxed Enough Already" as a part of their name want to have tax-exempt status. Groups that have a definite anti-tax mantra as part of their DNA want to be free from paying taxes. And Republicans are wondering why tea party groups may have been singled out? Are they kidding? Well, duh, look at your name. What did tea partiers expect? It's like those commercials for Jack Links beef jerky, the Messing-with-Sasquatch commercials wherein humans with questionable intelligence tease a Sasquatch and pay the consequences. Well, here groups that flaunted their blatant anti-tax rhetoric apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status and then act so surprised when the IRS singles them out for scrutiny.
In the end, all the groups that applied for tax exempt status received that status. No claims were denied. So, what's the problem here? Who go hurt? What laws were broken? Lawrence O'Donnell on his show The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell has been an excellent source of clarity on this matter. Check out that site, and while there, make sure you watch Mr. O'Donnell's interview from May 14th with the Watertown police officers. It's a riveting interview.
The AP phone records case is also out there, but here again I'm not convinced it's that big of a deal. No phones were actually tapped. No phone conversations were actually listened to, ala Gene Hackman in The Conversation. Only phone records of AP reporters and editors were subpoenaed by the Department of Justice in their leak investigation probe. A complaint I have been hearing is that the dragnet the DOJ cast was too vast and extensive.
Here again, pundits are forgetting something. What's the nature of the AP? The Associated Press supplies news stories to virtually every big-city newspaper in this country. They also supply news stories to nearly 5000 broadcast outlets. They have 243 news bureaus with 3400 employees. They're big and rather monolithic.
They're also fairly anonymous. They could, in fact, be called the Anonymous Press. Look at any newspaper. Check the byline on any AP story. Know any AP reporters by name? It seems to follow that any leak investigation involving an AP story that concerned a national security matter would by necessity have to be rather extensive and a bit far-reaching. Are there 1st Amendment issues to be concerned with? Of course, but the full story of this matter has yet to be revealed. We do not know the full motivations behind the DOJ investigation. It's also important that we do not allow the rightwing media machine to establish the parameters of the story or set the tone. They have only one goal in doing so... bringing down President Obama.
Don't fall for it. Democrats need to unite. Stand strong. There are important issues out there that we need to resolve. Unemployment. Climate change. Poverty. Carbon dioxide content in our air has now reached 400 parts per million, a threshold that scientists say is a harbinger of serious climate change. These are real problems that affect all Americans, yet Republicans are attempting to overwhelm the country with the trivial. We need to ignore their tantrums. Scandal-mongering is their pastime. It should not be ours.
In the Media Center I have posted President Obama's Sunday commencement address to the graduates at Morehouse University. I managed to see it live. It was a profoundly moving address worth watching if you have the time. I have also posted his latest internet address from May 18th.
And finally, being the lifelong Star Trek fan that I am, I need to put in a plug for Star Trek - Into Darkness. It's the best movie I have ever seen. No politics, just a rousing, good adventure. Go see it.
Go Forth and Democrat!
Shelby County Co-Chair
Current Candidates & Office Holders