As the flow of details in the "IRS scandal" continue to emerge, I think it's worth taking a look at exactly what all the fuss is about: The 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization.
That last link, from the Internal Revenue Service, has this under "Statutory Provisions":
- "Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare."
- "Local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes."
Question: How and why would a "Tea Party"-type organization be better defined or classified as a 501(c)(4) organization, rather than a 527 organization?
“Relationships - of all kinds - are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is.The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.”
― Kaleel Jamison, The Nibble Theory and the Kernel of Power: A Book about Leadership, Self-Empowerment, and Personal Growth
Control is like this, too. The harder you try to control something... the quicker you actually lose control.
Anybody else notice that trend lately?
Does the Internet seem a bit slower today? Don't be surprised--we're in the middle of a war, after all. There's a cyber war, a gang war, of sorts, going on, and we're in the crossfire. According to the BBC, the main combatants are Spamhaus, a group that claims to fight spam on the internet... and Cyberbunker, a Dutch hosting company that says it will host anything except child porn and terrorism-related materials.
"Spamhaus"... "Spamhaus"... Why does that name sound so familiar?
Interesting that "suddenly" both Spamhaus and several of the spam Blocklist sites are all under a large-scale and sustained DDOS attack. Probably the same one that Nick Danger was threatening to undertake (with help from others.) Could this be "the treatment" he had in mind?... A reader posted in a comment on my previous posting that Nick Danger ... is now being lambasted by his fellow comment-posters on ljworld.com.
He walks again by night!
No, this is not a joke. House Bill 2183--officially known as "Substitute HB 2183 by Committee on Health and Human Services - - designation and control of infectious and contagious diseases"--is a measure aimed at quarantining persons infected with infectious diseases, specifically HIV and AIDS.
Why would you need to quarantine people for a disease that cannot be spread through casual contact?
So far, the story has been picked up by a couple of LGBT magazines and blogs--the mainstream media is still focused on other issues.
In his farewell address, outgoing president George Washington gave our fledgling nation a fair amount of advice. One area in particular was a warning about the dangers of political parties. Here is a reprint of that section--the full text of the address can be found here.
"I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
"This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
"Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
"It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
"There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume."
As of this writing, neoconservative blogger/citizen journalist Andrew Breitbart has been dead less than 24 hours. Quite predictably, the interwebs are filling up with a plethora of crackpot conspiracy theories, centered around one even-more-predictable theme: "Obama did it."
I'm only starting this page to serve as a collecting point... a net, of sorts, that will catch the various conspiratorial flotsam and jetsam in all its nascent, reactionary, hand-wringing glory.
Only if you've been living on a different planet for the past two decades could you not know that this issue was going to come around.
That's it? Really? Intense patriotism breeds intense arousal? So, in a fit of passion--when teenage boys reach for the box of tissues and the hand lotion--Gingrich reached for the flag? And perhaps found wife #3, as well?
If nothing else, you have to give Newt Gingrich applause for original thinking. He married Bisek back in 2000--he had to have known this issue would come around sooner or later. He's had time to think, plan, research. If it flies, and if the voters buy into it, Newt could be the savior of both his country and his colleagues. Imagine how many current and future public servants are crossing their fingers right now--"hall pass," indeed! Perhaps Jefferson was only half right: Perhaps the tree of liberty must also be occasionally be refreshed with the excretions of patriots and philanderers.
This passion is nothing new, when you think about it. The world of art is chock full of artists who, driven by passion, turned to the release of one thing or another. Dylan Thomas had his booze, Charlie Parker had his heroin, Rush Limbaugh had/has his oxycontin. Just think: If Newt had only opened up that age gap a little bit more, he and movie director Roman Polanski would have a few things to talk about.
So, what comes next? Obviously, Newt is looking for another kind of release--the spiritual, metaphysical release. He's received an annulment of marriage #2 from the Roman Catholic Church--surely a sign that God has forgiven him! Now, flag in one hand and... and... flag in one hand, the Horny Patriot is ready to wage holy war on the "secular socialist agenda." These liberals, these Communists, these traitors. Turning their backs on America with their organic tofu and Toyota Prii (official plural of "Prius," as decided by a recent vote of Toyota customers). Betraying the Stars and Stripes with their gun-free homes, their tolerance of, even participation in flag burning and protesting. Spitting on the Constitution, and in the face of God, with their children, pets and--most grievous of all--one marriage. How dare they!! Working through the problems, the rocky patches that every marriage must occasionally navigate, rather than taking the easy way and upgrading to a newer model. The nerve of those secular liberals! What could that wannabe-Marxist dictator, Barack Obama, be thinking? Bringing his beautiful, even "hot" First Wife in the White House! A First Lady who is also a First Wife! The nerve!
This country needs a savior; if anybody can do it, the Horny Patriot can. He has the blessing and forgiveness of the church, along with television and radio evangelists everywhere. He has the agenda. And most importantly of all, he has his third wife.
After all... somebody has to take care of all that tissue!
[Most of this is at least four years old--I just decided to make it into a blog post, so I wouldn't have to dig through my archives every time this issue came up.]
Outlawing abortion at any level--municipal, state, or federal--will ultimately prove to be ineffective. The abortion trade will simply be driven to other areas. Tour buses will offer "medical tour packages" that will take women over the Canadian and Mexican borders to have abortions. Or maybe some rich doctors will pony up the money for a small yacht or cruise ship... load it up, cruise out into international waters... and come back to shore a few days later. And then, of course, there's the old favorite, the "back alley" approach... mail-order concoctions of all times, "herbal remedies" forgotten in the 19th century will return to the back pages of "Rolling Stone" magazine.
The only truly effective way to reduce abortions (and I mean "reduce" [realistic and logical], not "eliminate" [unrealistic and illogical]) is to reduce the number of women who need abortions.
Following that line of thought... pre-pubescent girls and older women who have been through menopause generally don't seek out abortions. Most doctors would agree that the women who seek out abortions are exclusively of "childbearing age." These same doctors would probably also agree that the women of childbearing age who seek out abortions... do so because they are pregnant. Women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, generally do not seek out abortions.
It is also my understanding that abortions generally terminate pregnancies. Women who are pregnant, and want to stay pregnant... generally do not seek out abortions.
Therefore... I hope we can all agree on the following:
Most, if not all, of the women who seek abortions, are of childbearing age, and are pregnant.
To my knowledge... there are currently no effective means of keeping a pre-pubescent girl "young" for a longer amount of time; that is, to stave off puberty, maturity. Likewise, there are currently no effective means of hastening a woman's advancement into menopause, ending her "childbearing years." So, women have no control over this, and neither do their partners (male or female). So... maybe we can also agree on the following:
Women of childbearing age that do not wish to risk getting pregnant, should probably abstain from sexual activity. If they can't or won't abstain from sexual activity, they should probably employ some means of birth control, and/or insist that their male partners employ some means of birth control.
Why? Well, I suppose that we can agree...
If we can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, we will reduce the need for abortion providers and methods of all kinds.
I feel the best way to accomplish this reduction of unwanted pregnancies is through a series of "safety nets." No single solution works for everyone; there is no "one-size-fits-all" cure. So, I would propose the following series of three "safety nets":
- Promotion of Abstention
Abstaining from sexual activity is the only, truly 100% effective way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy--there's simply no way to deny this. Abstention should be promoted not only to girls, but boys as well. There are a myriad of reasons, lessons, ideas etc. that can be taught and promoted to our young people, when it comes to abstaining from sex; many of these reasons and ideas are secular, non-religious. It should be very easy to promote abstention in our public schools, without relying on one religious doctrine or another. Religious and/or spiritual reasons for abstention can be taught in private schools, churches, synagogues and other religious gathering places... and of course, the private home.
I think it's important to realize that we must also be very clear about what we are recommending these folks abstain FROM. As tough as it might be for some of the more "uptight" parents, you will have to address things such as: oral sex... mutual masturbation or "heavy petting"... same-sex relationships... and even anal sex. All of these things carry risks with them ("disease" being just one of them) and yet provide little or no opportunities for unwanted pregnancies. Agreed?
The biggest problem with only promoting abstention, however, is that it has proven to be largely ineffective at curbing sexual activity (not necessarily intercourse).
For some youngsters, teaching and promoting sexual abstention will be enough; for others, it will not. So for those youngersters, we need...
- Access to Birth Control
Some youngsters--and adults, as well--choose to engage in sexual activity for reasons other than procreation. If these people employ some means of birth control it will reduce their risk of unwanted pregnancy... and in turn, reduce the risk that somebody will need an abortion. So, logically, ensuring that these folks have access to birth control, and know how to use it properly, will reduce the number of women seeking out abortions.
I think it is important that condoms be available in our public schools, through the school nurse or nurse practitioner. I don't think this needs to be promoted--there's no need for the nurse to keep a bucket of condoms outside her office door. We're talking about schoolkids here; if only three or four kids are handed a condom by the school nurse during the first day of the school year, the entire student body will be spreading the news over lunch that same day. I also think a way should be devised to bring parents into the discussion. Maybe a discreet email or phone call from the school nurse?
In any case, regular use of birth control, by those that choose not to abstain from sexual activity, will reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Sadly, no method of birth control is 100% effective, which makes it wise to have available...
- Access to Emergency Contraceptives, Abortifacients, etc.
Condoms break. Women/girls may forget to take their birth control pills. And really--what are the chances that a woman who is about to be sexually assaulted will tell her assailant, "Look, if you're gonna do this, can you at least put on a condom so I don't get pregnant?!?" (That's actually happened once, that I know of!)
RU-486, "Plan B," whatever you choose to call it... provides a relatively safe, quick, and easy way to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. It's just as safe--if not safer--than Viagra. Viagra-related deaths have since been demystified, but the numbers haven't really changed.
People have tried all sorts of things to put George Tiller out of business--most of them legal, a few of them were illegal and even immoral. The only strategy that's never been tried is eliminating his market, his customer base. Cut into that heavily enough, and he'll find something more lucrative to do.
I've just given you three great ways to do that!