10 Things the GOP Doesn’t Want You to Know for Tax Day

found online by Raymond

From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:

Tax Day 2016 arrives a few days late on Monday, April 18th. But the toxic talking points from the GOP are right on schedule. The usual Republican broadsides about “Gestapo-like tactics” from the Internal Revenue Service and its “armed personnel in flak jackets” have been joined by new sound bites from the GOP’s best and brightest. At an Americans for Tax Reform conference hosted by Grover Norquist, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch warned that the Internal Revenue Service “is the most feared federal agency in the country.” Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, declared the IRS is “ineffective, it’s inept, it is crooked and it’s vindictive.” Meanwhile, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce apparently placed identical newspaper op-eds in all 50 states lamenting, “This year, Washington, D.C., is expected to rake in a record-breaking $3.36 trillion in tax revenue, $115 billion more than it did last year.”

But while the Republicans are only too happy to remind you about the horrors of taxation in general and the IRS in particular, they’d prefer to stay silent on about their roles in gutting the agency, starving the U.S. Treasury of tax revenue and redirecting trillions of dollars to the very richest among us. Here, then, are 10 helpful Tax Day reminders the Republican Party want you to ignore.

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European Dismay at Trump’s Triumph in New York

found online by Raymond

From The Moderate Voice:

Europeans stared transfixed as in an unfolding horror movie as Donald Trump declared victory in the New York Republican Presidential primary.

Trump elicits dismay in any case because of his sheer ignorance of Europe and anywhere else in the world but the New York triumph has brought new causes for apprehension because the GOP primary confirmed the worst fears of traditionally loyal friends of the US.

There is consternation at the sight of voters in America’s most cosmopolitan city and state with such close historic ties to Europe and parts of Asia being so enthralled by Trump.

The point is that Trump as an individual is not important here. The power lies with the mass of voters who support him so unconditionally as to have raised him to the current pedestal and put him in sight of the Oval Office.

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Larry Alex Taunton, Ghoulish on Christopher Hitchens

found online by Raymond

From PZ Myers at Pharyngula:

Another Christian has written a book to lie about Christopher Hitchens. This one is claiming that he and Hitchens were great good buddies, that Hitchens was sympathetic to Christianity, and that he may have converted on his deathbed (he doesn’t know for sure — he wasn’t there — but he’s going to sell a book with that claim).

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Why Ted Cruz Is Even Scarier Than Donald Trump

found online by Raymond

From Marc McDonald at BeggarsCanBeChoosers.com:

I’ve always thought Bill Maher is one of the most astute observers of U.S. politics and society. But recently, he said something that I have to strongly disagree with: that, as bad a GOP nominee as Ted Cruz would be, he’d actually be preferable to Donald Trump. I suppose it’s a moot point, as Hillary Clinton would likely defeat either candidate. But if I had to choose, I’d take Trump as president over Cruz any day.

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Conventional Fairness

I’ve brought people into this party by the millions. You understand that. They voted by the millions more. It’s one of the biggest stories in all of politics.

And what do I have? I have a guy going around trying to steal people’s delegates.

This is supposed to be America, a free America.

This is supposed to be a system of votes.

Donald Trump, March 27, 2016,    interviewed on ABC

It is a familiar argument. The candidate who has earned it in rallies and voting booths may lose the political nomination he is seeking. Backroom deals and shady maneuvers are taking a toll.

I think back to the famous political riots in Chicago in 1968, what George Will called God’s gift to conservatives. The protests against the Vietnam war focused on the candidate who was seen as supporting that war. Hubert Humphrey had not campaigned in even one primary. He had not won a single vote.

Divergence from the democratic ideal probably goes to the beginnings of representative government. The rise of Julius Caesar was due, at least in part, to popular reaction against the Roman oligarchy that called itself a republic.

In Democratic Party politics, 1972 was the offspring of 1968. Democracy would rule in the Democratic Party. Backroom deals would be diminished. Primaries would determine which candidates had delegates, and how many. George McGovern knew the rules. He and his staff worked to help make them fair. And that knowledge paid off. Senator McGovern and his growing band of true believers worked the streets and got the votes.

But the McGovern convention of 1972 was not without controversy. He had won the California primary without winning a majority. The opposition was divided among other candidates. The rules said California was winner-take-all, even if that winner did not win a majority. Other candidates said the rules were wrong. They tried to get the rules changed. The leader of the winning delegation, Willie Brown, was for McGovern.

Like Donald Trump decades later, he did not want to be cheated out of the delegates he deserved.

I deserve no less. Give me back my delegation!

Willie Brown, July 10, 1972

After George McGovern lost spectacularly to Richard Nixon that November, party officials spoke up. The McGovern process of primary victories and popular democracy had kept many loyalists out of the convention. Excluding those who had served the party for years was inherently unfair.

And the result had been horrific. George McGovern had won two places. It was a curious sort of bellwether. As Massachusetts goes, so goes the District of Columbia. He had lost everywhere else. Everywhere.

And so the path of history was paved with efforts to be fair, to win. Vietnam begat 1968. 1968 begat 1972. 1972 begat super delegates.

44 years later, we have controversy that spans party lines.

Bernie Sanders defended by, of all people, conservative Joe Scarborough:

Bernie Sanders wins 56 to 44 percent in Wyoming. The delegates rewarded – Hillary Clinton elevin, Bernie Sanders seven.

Why does the Democratic Party even have voting booths? This system is so rigged.

Joe Scarborough, April 11, 2016

Steve Griffin of Tulane University Law School discusses with New Orleans WDSU News the Republican delegate system that may watch as Donald Trump wins solidly in Louisiana and then award most of Louisiana’s delegates to Ted Cruz.

As a candidate, he’s got rights. And if for some reason, the Louisiana Republican Party hasn’t been conforming with its own rules, then he might — I stress the word might — he might have a basis for a lawsuit.

Louisiana GOP Secretary Louis S. Gurvich explains basic fairness to WDSU. Rules are rules.

Those are uncommitted delegates. Mr. Trump is as free to reach out to them as is anyone else.

Ted Cruz responds to the Trump outrage.

I’m always amused when Donald doesn’t know what to do and so threatens lawsuits.

Political pundits are not without opinions.

This is really pathetic. The guy who promised us he’d give us winning until we were tired of winning is, as I noted earlier in the week, being out hustled and out organized by Ted Cruz. The problem isn’t a broken system. The system was well known to everyone before the primary started.

streiff writing for Red State, March 27, 2016

By convention time, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. She will have the delegates, and will have won the popular vote. It is likely that Donald Trump will have won the popular vote and will be the Republican nominee.

And so the arguments about electoral fairness will fade until the next election year.

Trying to steal people’s delegates

This system is so rigged

The tenuous tie between the primary votes and the results of the two conventions carries with it a deeper, more profound, injustice than that experienced by any candidate

As a candidate he has rights

or any delegate.

I deserve no less

The neglected issue is not what is fair to political parties or to those who would seek their nominations.

The issue is, and should always have been, what is fair to voters. The greatest number of votes will influence, but will not with certainty determine, who wins.

Those who showed up at the polls may have expected, reasonably expected, that their ballots would have an effect that would be more than coincidence.

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On Prince-His Royal Badness

found online by Raymond

From Patrick Diehl at MadMikesAmerica:

I saw Prince and the Revolution perform live at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit back in 1982 when he was just becoming the superstar that he is/was. I didn’t pay as much attention as I wish I did now. And last year I needed money so I sold all my records – including Prince’s Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain and Around the World in a Day albums – which adds to the already-deep sadness I feel today.

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10 Rock Solid Reasons Obama a Far Better President Than Reagan

found online by Raymond

From Tommy Christopher at the Daily Banter:

As happens from time to time, the late Ronald Reagan was trotted out the other day to show just how much better he was than our current President, but since history is hard for conservatives, we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the ways Ronald Reagan was WAY better than Barack Obama (and by better, we mean much worse).

Earlier this week, we learned that while Obama attended fundraisers during crises involving an airliner shot down by a Russian missile and a violent conflagration in the Middle East, Reagan stayed on his vacation through an airliner shot down by a Russian missile and a violent conflagration in the Middle East, and a hurricane that killed 21 Americans, while also leaving his ranch to do fundraisers. That’s at least a 4-2 advantage for Reagan, because that’s just math. It doesn’t end there, though. Here are some of the complaints that conservatives have made against President Obama, and how Ronald Reagan was way better than NOBAMA in every single way.

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Feinstein-Burr, Encryption and the “Rule of Law”

found online by Raymond

From Julian Sanchez of the libertarian Cato Institute:

There’s a lot to say about the substance of the misguided anti-encryption legislation sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr, which was recently released as a “discussion draft” after a nearly-identical version leaked earlier this month. I hope to do just that in subsequent posts. But it’s also worth spending a little time on the proposal’s lengthy pre-amble, which echoes the rhetorical tropes frequently deployed by advocates for mandating government access to secure communications and stored data.

The bill is somewhat misleadingly titled the “Compliance With Court Orders Act of 2016”—which you’d think would be a matter for the Judiciary Committee, not the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence—and begins with the high minded declaration that “no person or entity is above the law.” Communication services and software developers, we are told, must “respect the rule of law and comply with all legal requirements and court orders.” In order to “uphold the rule of law,” then, those persons and entities must be able to provide law enforcement with the plaintext—the original, un-garbled contents—of any encrypted message or file when so ordered by a court.

The politest way I can think of to characterize this way of framing the issue is: Nonsense.

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Could it be Cruz after all?

found online by Raymond

From Infidel753:

In all the speculation that the Republican party leadership might pull some kind of trickery to deny Trump the nomination, conventional wisdom has had it that the nominee crowned in his place would not be Ted Cruz, the man running a fairly close second to Trump in the primary race. He’s even more hated by the party leadership than Trump is, and would be almost equally sure to lose big in November. But what if Cruz himself is in the process of outmaneuvering both Trump and the party bosses?

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