If you are near despair about the divisiveness of our body politic, take cheer in the rare bipartisanship demonstrated by the “Taxpayer First Act.” The 2019 measure, introduced by John Lewis (D-GA), co-sponsored by Mike Kelly (R-PA) and nine other Republicans and twenty-eight Democrats, passed the House unanimously by voice vote and now awaits action by the Senate. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had already introduced similar legislation in the Senate.
Legislators from both parties are boasting that this Act safeguards innocent taxpayers from abuse by the Internal Revenue Service. And, oh yeah, it also permanently prohibits the IRS from developing a free tax-filing service for taxpayers with low-to-moderate incomes, as some other developed countries do. H&R Block and Intuit (TurboTax) spent $6.6 million last year lobbying for this outcome. Coincidentally, sponsors of the ironically-named bill received campaign contributions from them.
H&R Block and TurboTax, part of the “Free File Alliance,” offer – and lightly promote – free-filing services. They mostly use it as a come-on to leverage clients into fee-for-service products.
The IRS, with taxpayers’ income information already supplied by employers and banks, could easily send out pre-filled forms for taxpayers with simple returns to make corrections or adjustments to and sign and return, and probably at less expense than the current system. But that would be socialism and we can’t have that.
I keep reminding myself to not write about politics. With 24-hour cable news and social media inundating us with politics, there’s no point in adding more to the pile. But, jeeez…
News flash: the federal deficit increased by 77% in the past year. A favorite conservative trope has been that Barack Obama increased the federal debt more than all previous presidents combined. Well, okay, but in fact the deficit went down each year Obama was in office. (You do know the difference between debt and deficit, don’t you?)
If your memory is good, you may remember CNN as Jon Stewart’s favorite punching bag. Cable News Network, has had its ups and downs since Ted Turner founded it in 1980. Turner said the first all-news network and the first 24-hour news network was “my greatest career achievement.” (Marrying Jane Fonda was a personal achievement.)
Turner sold his greatest achievement, as part of Turner Broadcasting, to Time Warner in 1996 for $7.3 billion in stock. After Time Warner purchased AOL in 2001 Turner’s net worth sank along with T-W’s stock price.
CNN made its reputation with its coverage of the first Gulf War in 1991 and burnished it with reporting on 9/11. The network lost much of its reputation with incessant dubious reporting on plane crashes and disappeared young blonde women.
The renamed WarnerMedia is now owned by AT&T; CNN is now the favorite punching bag of the current occupant of the White House.
Although not in the same class as the above video, CNN recently performed a public service by publishing an interactive graphic charting the White House’s ever-changing answers to various issues:
In its relentless effort to make the common good even gooder, the White House has proposed a Presidential Committee on Climate Security to determine what, if any, threat to national security is posed by climate change. The panel, to be established by executive order, will be headed by William Happer, a senior director of the National Security Council. He is an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University. Happer is on record that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.
Not to worry, though. Even if you think CO2 is a pollutant, the Environmental Protection Agency is adopting Hormesis, the belief that certain levels of pollution are actually good for us. Hormesis will replace LNT, the “linear no-threshold” mode that posits any level of pollution is bad.
Ed Calabrese is the person responsible for junkscience.com, the favorite web site of the willfully ignorant. He made his name in the 1980s, doing purported research financed by tobacco companies. Calabrese’s crackpot ideas were considered crackpot until the current occupant of the White House decided the EPA should be filled with energy-company lobbyists and climate-change deniers.
Goodloe Sutton, editor of the weekly Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Arkansas (60 miles west of Selma, population 2,123) has made national news resulting from his editorial calling for the Ku Klux Klan to ride again. He advocates lynching Democrats – ironic considering his paper’s name.
Reveling in the attention, Sutton is doubling down, “… It’s not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist-communists we’re talking about. Do you know what socialism and communism is?”
The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Communication reacted by removing him from their Hall of Fame. The quality of his writing makes one wonder how Goodloe Sutton got into the Hall of Fame in the first place.