Did I Say Tax The Churches?

Politicians are such scum. They can’t do the hard business of balancing their budgets (not that I think this is the time to balance budgets) so they are now looking for new tax victims. The New York Times reports today that in many states nonprofits are the new victims.

Hawaii has a bill that would slap a one percent excise tax on charities, and Kansas has a proposal to make them subject to sales tax. Charities now have to pay the street light fee in Minneapolis.

The sheer stupidity of these policies is obvious. Nonprofits feed the poor, train the unemployed, provide health care and generally do the good deeds that need to be done to keep the poor and crazy together in tough times. They mostly operate through donations, or other public sources like state and federal grants. Is it not counterproductive to take with one hand the money we give them with another?

What is really idiotic about this in all cases is that they have exempted the churches from these taxes. While I will concede that there are some churches that do real charitable work, most of them are useless. They spend their money to hire preachers and support their palaces of worship. They harbor pedofiles and obstruct health reform legislation. They promote hatred of gay and lesbian citizens. Few if any feed the poor, provide health care or do anything else useful.

Let me suggest a constructive solution. Tax the churches. Grant them reasonable deductions for actual charitable works, but tax them on any money they collect to support the rest of their substantial infrastructure. Perhaps this new tax structure will provide an incentive to them to perform actual works of charity.


There are like a thousand lies going around in the punditsphere these days regarding health care reform. Let’s have a look at one now.

They’re saying that there is no public support for health care reform. They’re saying that nobody has protested in support of health care reform. Not true.

Or don’t we count May 2009, when doctors and nurses showed up at the initial hearings, demanding to heard on single payer and were tossed out summarily on their asses? This lady sure was a protestor for single payer. So is this lady.

Beside that, such statements, as none other than David Gregarious made this morning on “Meat the Press,” give credence to a “protest” “movement” that was largely funded by the insurance industry itself but claimed inexplicably to be “grass roots,” that also vigorously promoted and utilized racism regarding the President of the United States, and that also was cheer-led strongly by the ongoing propaganda concern known as Fox “News.” It is unfathomable to me that now that the shitty corporate media is bowing to the conventional wisdom that these “protests” had any credence whatsoever. What an incredible load of bullshit.

Americans want reform. They just don’t want this bullshit.

You Choose

I am surprised I have not run into Angie the Anti-Theist on Twitter before. But she is awesome.

Angie’s backstory is interesting enough, reared as a fundamentalist, now an advocate of atheism. But her latest stand, her decision to talk about her RU-486-aided abortion on YouTube and Twitter and such, is a hell of a thing. I am a fan.

Listen to Angie Jackson explain her choice—as if she owes anyone such—and then tell her you’d force her to carry a pregnancy to term. I think both she and her family will be very pleased that she made the decision to end her pregnancy.

This is something we don’t hear very often—testimony from the women. To most people on either side of this issue, the women are faceless; it’s just a bunch of slogans and protest signs. Well. Here’s a face. And she chose to lose a zygote rather than to risk not being there for the kid she’s already got.

It was the right choice. More important, though: It was her choice. And that is the way things need to stay.

Thanks, Angie.

What It's Really All About

I want to take a moment to remind everyone what the “health care” “reform” “debate” is really all about.

Because it’s not actually about health care. It’s not about doctors or hospitals or insurance or insurance companies or Steven Hemsley or pre-existing conditions or anti-trust or socialism or a government takeover or any of that. It’s not even about you or me.

This is about which political party will be in power for the next fifty years.

Republigoats have baldly admitted this. You must recall in July 2009 when South Carolina GOOPer Jim Demented said this:

If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.

The fact is that universal health care is a good idea. The Republigoats know this. They know that universal health care is such a good idea that if the Democrats were to deliver on it, the Democrats would have a lock on the nation’s political power for generations.

It would be nice, of course, if all of our Democratic legislators were hip to this. But, you can’t have everything, I guess.

About That Unconstitutional Mandate

The GOOP contention that a mandate for every citizen to have health insurance is unconstitutional is, like everything else the GOOP says, complete bullshit. What is amazing is that anyone, even the teabagger morons, can’t see through this. There are, after all, other, very similar mandates.

Everyone is required to pay taxes. Everyone is mandated to participate in Social Security. Nearly every state mandates that car owners have car insurance. Some states, notably Massachusetts, mandate that every citizen have health insurance. (Scott Brown, the until-recently messiah of the whacky right, voted for mandatory health insurance in Massachusetts).

And, as I may have pointed out here before, anyone who lives in a flood plain is mandated by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to have flood insurance. Only one company underwrites flood insurance in the USA. It’s called the Federal Flood Insurance Program… yep. Uncle Sam.

Maybe someone should remind Sen. Chuck Gassey (GOOP- IA) of that next time he starts raving about unconstitutionality of the federal mandate. (Which, by the way, was first proposed in the United States Senate in 1993 by… THE GOOP, in particular by Chuck Gassey.)

Drat. Kentucky Wins, 82-61

The Huffington Post reports that Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky is an asshole.


Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.

As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.

And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Politico reports, Bunning replied: “Tough shit.”

Actually, I kind of like him.

Bunning says he doesn’t oppose extending benefits—he just doesn’t want the money that’s required added to the deficit. He proposes paying for the 30-day extension with stimulus funds. The Senate’s GOP leadership did not support him in his objections.

Again, where the fuck was Jim Bunning and the rest of these defecit “hawks” (this term is especially offensive to the greatest junior welterweight boxer in the world) when Gorge Dubya Boosh was Preznit?

And at one point during the debate, which dragged on till nearly midnight, Bunning complained of missing a basketball game.

Okay, that I can totally understand dude. Totally.

“I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00,” he said, “and it’s the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they’re the only team that has beat Kentucky this year.

Not that it matters anyway because eventually your Wildcats may have to face the Jayhawks, so, you know. Tough shit.

The unemployment rate in Kentucky is 10.7 percent.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Kentucky sucks.

That is all.

Health Care Summit Blues

I cannot begin to say how disappointed I am with the Health Care Summit. Not that I expected any real compromises and resolution to happen. But I did not expect the GOOP to be allowed to run rough shod over PODUS and use the opportunity to shine up their stupid mantra on health care, and that’s what happened.

The White House was unprepared, or unwilling, to challenge the GOOP talking points. “Lets start with a blank sheet of paper,” was an easy one to knock down. We started with a blank sheet of paper a year ago. Max Baucus sat down with a team of GOOP and right wing Democrats to write a health care bill. The result was the abortion we have today. What makes the GOOP think we can do any better by starting over again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Do they think we are crazy?

John McCaine got a wonderful opportunity to preach his mantra about the evils of pork barrels and compromise precisely because the Senate Bill is a Christmas Tree covered with pork chops. There is an answer to McCaine and the President never made it. John McCaine campaigned for president on health care reform and offered a plan that represented at least a step forward on the subject. Where was John McCaine when the Senate needed one vote to make the deal work? The pork and the compromises were necessary to get the votes the senate needed. Why wasn’t McCaine in the mix instead of on the sidelines saying no?

The singular most disappointing performance I saw was Hairy Reed talking out of both sides of his mouth on the subject of reconciliation. With an aghast Steney Hoyer looking on, Reed explained that we were not gong to use the “controversial” reconciliation method of getting the bill passed. Then he said we were.

It is hard to understand how this happened. The best case scenario is that the President naïvely believed that we would go in there, take their best shots, and prove to the American people that they are idiots. Sort of a political rope a dope. If that’s true, then the President has a lot more to learn than he should have to learn at this juncture in his career. It should also mean that if his staff is any good, they lost a fight to get him to do otherwise.

Maybe his staff is incompetent. Maybe they advised him that the rope a dope is the best way to go.

Maybe, and this is the scary part, POTUS is a process-based ideologue who really has a tin ear for political nuance and believes totally that the process, if left to its own devices, will produce the correct result. If that is true, then a sure sign is that he is not listening to his advisors (who sat ominously silent during the entire summit), or at least not listening to them when they say things he does not agree with.

The truth is that process does not produce correct results on its own. It requires a kick in the head from time to time. It has t0 be led by a person who knows where he or she is going and is not going to be deterred by nuisance opposition. That’s the kind of leader we need. Do we have one?