Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 ... 10
The IRS Just Made It Easier for Powerful Political Nonprofits to Conceal Who Donates to Them

IRS drops ?dark money? rule, will no longer require disclosure of donors to political nonprofits

President Donald Trump has just removed an old IRS rule that required specific types of nonprofit organizations to disclose the identities of their large donors.

As the Department of Treasury explained on its website:

The Treasury Department and IRS announced today that the IRS will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations to file personally-identifiable information about their donors as part of their annual return.  The revenue procedure released today does not affect the statutory reporting requirements that apply to tax-exempt groups organized under section 501(c)(3) or section 527, but it relieves other tax-exempt organizations of an unnecessary reporting requirement that was previously added by the IRS.

Nearly fifty years ago, Congress directed the IRS to collect donor information from charities that accept tax-deductible contributions.  That statutory requirement applies to the majority of tax-exempt organizations, known as section 501(c)(3) organizations, receiving contributions that can be claimed by donors as charitable deductions.  This policy provided the IRS information that could be used to confirm contributions to those organizations.

By regulation, however, the IRS extended the donor reporting requirement to all other tax-exempt organizations?labor unions and volunteer fire departments, issue-advocacy groups and local chambers of commerce, veterans groups and community service clubs.  These groups do not generally receive tax deductible contributions, yet they have been required to list the names and addresses of their donors on Schedule B of their annual returns (Form 990).

As The New York Times reported, "the change, which has been long sought by conservatives and Republicans in Congress, will affect labor unions, social clubs and, most notably, many political groups like the National Rifle Association and the Koch network?s Americans for Prosperity, which collect what is known as 'dark money."?

Treasury officials said the reporting change would protect privacy and reduce compliance costs for nonprofits, and that the IRS could still request donor information from groups in the rare event that it was needed for tax scrutiny.

?Americans shouldn?t be required to send the I.R.S. information that it doesn?t need to effectively enforce our tax laws, and the IRS simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this area,? Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in a statement on Monday evening.

"Treasury Secretary Mnuchin?s announcement is a thinly-veiled attack on transparency in political campaigns," Adav Noti, senior director at the Campaign Legal Center and a former associate general at the Federal Election Commission (FEC), told Salon by email. "The information that he is allowing organizations to withhold from the IRS was one of the very few remaining protections for voters against the influence of foreign dark money in elections. So the administration has made a choice to deprive law enforcement agencies of the information they need to detect and deter illegal campaign spending by foreign powers."

Noti's concerns were echoed by Steven Rosenthal from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

"There?s a lot to this administrative rule under the semblance of reducing paperwork," Rosenthal told the Times. "It adds another layer of opaqueness to the tax-exempt funding."

By contrast, Republican lawmakers ? many of whom claimed that the existing laws had allowed the IRS to inappropriately target various political groups during the administrations of President George W. Bush and Barack Obama ? celebrated the new policy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that it was "particularly welcome news to those of us who intently are focused on defending the First Amendment, for those of us who over the years have raised concerns during the last administration about activist regulators punishing free speech and free association. It?s a straightforward, common sense policy decision."

Similarly, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, declared that "for years, Members of the Ways and Means Committee have fought for an I.R.S. that is accountable to the taxpayer and does not target or single-out any person or entity based on their political beliefs."

The Wall Street Journal also lauded the decision in an editorial on Tuesday:

Presidents swear an oath to ?protect and defend the Constitution,? and that includes guarding against restrictions on political speech. So congratulations to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter for advancing that cause on the controversial issue of donor privacy.

Treasury announced Monday evening that the Internal Revenue Service will no longer require most 501(c) organizations to include donor names and addresses on their tax Form 990 Schedule B. Nonprofits have had to divulge those sensitive details for donations above $5,000. From now on, only 501(c)(3)s that receive a tax deductible benefit will have to provide such donor information. This new IRS revenue procedure will exempt some 45,000 nonprofits from the reporting rule, including unions and social-welfare groups.

Donor names are supposed to remain private, but the government has inadvertently revealed donor lists. IRS employees also used donor-information demands as part of their harassment of Tea Party organizations during the Obama Administration. State Attorneys General have even sought to require nonprofits to release Schedule B details to state regulators, with a goal of requiring public disclosure that could tee up donors for political harassment?a threat to free speech. The new IRS policy means states won?t be able to exploit this donor information as easily.

By contrast, Democrats condemned the decision as one that would only help the rich continue to remain unaccountable, with Sen. Jon Tester of Montana describing it as "the swampiest, darkest, dirtiest decision."

This doesn't mean that nonprofits are completely off the hook.

"Organizations still need to keep the identities of donors on file, and the IRS has the power to request that information," Noti told Salon by email. "If there is reason to believe that an organization is illegally funneling foreign funds into U.S. elections, the Department of Justice or the Federal Election Commission could open an investigation."

Source: The IRS Just Made It Easier for Powerful Political Nonprofits to Conceal Who Donates to Them
AlterNet / Trump's Anti-Women Directives Are Even More Extreme Than Reagan's ? And the Puritans
« Last post by AlterNet on Yesterday at 06:00:58 AM »
Trump's Anti-Women Directives Are Even More Extreme Than Reagan's ? And the Puritans

What the ?gag rule? on abortion means for human rights organizations and the world.

Unable (yet) to get a ban on abortions or family planning in the United States, the Trump administration has reached back to 17th-century Puritan culture and banned American aid to any international organization that provides abortions or even just talks about the procedure.

Not satisfied with that, the administration has cut off funds to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), using ?alternative facts? to claim falsely that the agency supported abortion in China. And most recently, the administration struggled unsuccessfully to prevent the World Health Organization from declaring that women?s breast milk, not formula (produced by friends of the administration), was best for infants.

Barbara Crossette, writing for PassBlue, an independent digital publication covering the United Nations, noticed that State Department ?documents reflecting universal values of human rights are being... [altered] to fit the Trump agenda. On April 20, in the most recent annual global human-rights report to Congress, which legislators have required by law, the phrase ?reproductive rights? for women has been excised and replaced by a section on ?coercion.??

?That word fits nicely into the (long proven false) claim by anti-abortion activists that the UN Population Fund supports forced abortion in China,? continued Crossette, a former New York Times UN correspondent. ?This claim has cost the Fund, which is the most extensive global provider of family planning, all of its official US financial support.?

The United States cut some $70 million from its contribution to UNFPA, which promotes maternal health in 150 countries and does yeoman?s research on women around the globe. The agency is funded through voluntary contributions.

Most recently, the Trump administration campaigned strongly, if unsuccessfully, against a resolution by the World Health Organization at UN headquarters in Geneva. According to the New York Times, the administration threatened Ecuador with retribution on trade and military aid if it did not drop the resolution. The U.S. position aligned with formula manufacturers, the Times said. Ecuador withdrew its name, but Russia stepped in as a sponsor.

What Is the Global Gag Rule?

Republican administrations have always had a soft spot for the global gag rule or the ?Mexico City policy? adopted by the Reagan administration in 1984 after an international conference on population in the Mexican capital. While GOP administrations have banned using foreign aid for abortion-related activities, the Trump administration goes much further. Now before foreign aid groups get any U.S. funds, they have to certify they do not provide abortions, counsel patients on abortions or advocate liberalizing abortion laws, among other requirements.

The United Nations does not advocate abortion in any country where it is illegal. But in horrific situations of rape and plunder, the ?morning after pill? can be a viable solution (one of many contraception methods not available during Puritan or pilgrim times).

While the Mexico City policy applied strictly to family planning funds, the Trump administration has broadened it to global health assistance amounting to some $8.8 billion, according to Human Rights Watch.

Now also included are U.S. funds for HIV-AIDS, nutrition, malaria, maternal and child health and others, HRW said. Like Planned Parenthood, many of these programs and agencies screen for diseases as well as try to prevent unsafe abortions.

Horrific accounts of gang rape, killings and torture in South Sudan are disclosed in the latest United Nations report on the troubled country. At the same time the United Nations and other groups watch the results of Myanmar military?s campaign to obliterate the Rohingya minority through massacres and gang rapes.

Margaret Atwood, in her 2017 introduction to The Handmaid?s Tale, wrote that women were not an afterthought: ?Without women capable of giving birth, human populations would die out. That is why the mass rape and murder of women, girls and children has long been a feature of genocidal wars, and other campaigns meant to subdue and exploit a population.?

?The control of women and babies has been a feature of every repressive regime on the planet. ? Of those promoting enforced childbirth, it should be asked: Cui bono? Who profits by it? Sometimes this sector, sometimes that. Never no one," Atwood said.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.


Related Stories

Source: Trump's Anti-Women Directives Are Even More Extreme Than Reagan's ? And the Puritans
Fervent Trump Supporter Cancels CNN Appearance Because 'He's Not Going to Defend' Putin Summit


"You can't defend the indefensible."


CNN's Erin Burnett revealed Monday that a major supporter of President Donald Trump canceled an appearance on her show because he couldn't defend the president's actions at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Michael Anton became well-known as a Trump supporter during the campaign for penning an essay in defense of electing Trump called "The Flight 93 Election." He became a national security spokesman at the White House under Trump before leaving earlier this year. 

"He was scheduled to be on the show, and he's not on because he said he's not going to defend what [Trump] did today," Burnett said.

Trump was widely criticized Monday for a press conference he held with Putin. Trump essentially agreed with Putin's claims that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election, despite the intelligence community's decisive conclusion and the ongoing special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into the efforts. He also blamed the United States for its poor relationship with Russia, while refusing to hold Putin or Moscow responsible for anything.

John Avlon, a CNN analyst, told Burnett, "You can't defend the indefensible. And today was indefensible."

"Let me tell you the significance of this," said author Amanda Carpenter on Twitter. "'The Flight 93' was the single most influential piece of rhetoric to make reluctant Republicans get on board for Trump."

She continued:


Related Stories

Source: Fervent Trump Supporter Cancels CNN Appearance Because 'He's Not Going to Defend' Putin Summit
Inter Press Service - Labour / Japan: the Land of the Rising Robots
« Last post by Inter Press Service on July 17, 2018, 06:26:14 PM »
Japan: the Land of the Rising Robots

Todd Schneider is deputy division chief, Gee Hee Hong is an economist, and Anh Van Le is a research assistant, in the IMF?s Asia and Pacific Department.

The post Japan: the Land of the Rising Robots appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: Japan: the Land of the Rising Robots
Sacha Baron Cohen Dupes Former GOP Congressmen Into Declaring Support for Arming Toddlers With Guns to Prevent School Shootings

"A three-year old cannot defend itself from a [sic] assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case."


Comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen has pulled off a remarkable feat: exposing the real inner beliefs of Republican U.S. Congressmen on guns, and it's beyond disturbing.

In a clip for his new Showtime series "Who Is America?", Baron Cohen speaks with right wing Republican lawmakers, including Dana Rohrabacher of California, Joe Wilson of South Carolina, former U.S. Congressman turned far right wing radio host Joe Walsh, and disgraced former Senate Minority Leader turned lobbyist Trent Lott.

Baron Cohen, posing as an Israeli "anti-terror expert," introduces them to his fake ?Kinderguardians? program that purportedly "trains" toddlers as young as three and four to shoot guns.

To get their buy-in, he first goes to two right wing extremists and pro-gun activists, then takes those endorsements to the current and former lawmakers.

It works, and in the clip below, Lott advocates for putting guns in the hands of "highly-trained preschoolers."

Rep. Joe Wilson (of "you lie!" infamy) looks in the camera and says, "a three-year old cannot defend itself from a [sic] assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case."

And former Rep. Joe Walsh, known for his outrageous remarks, does not disappoint.

"The intensive three-week kinder-guardians course introduces specially selected children from 12 to 4 years old to pistols, rifles, semiautomatics and a rudimentary knowledge of mortars in less than a month." He adds that in "less than month, a first-grader can become a first-grenader."

And Larry Pratt, head of Gun Owners of America ? an even more far right version of the NRA, declares, "Toddlers are pure, uncorrupted by fake news or homosexuality."

It gets worse from there.

Pratt rattles off a load of nonsensical "science," including this:

?Children under five also have elevated levels of the pheromone Blink-182, produced by the part of the liver known as the Rita Ora,? Pratt says. ?This allows nerve reflexes to travel along the Cardi B neural pathway to the Wiz Khalifa 40% faster, saving time and saving lives.?

Here's a short 2-minute clip:

They're mad the "KinderGuardians" aren't real

? Danarchy Productions (@DJDanarchy) July 16, 2018

And the full 10-minute clip that will leave your mouth open in shock.?c

Source: Sacha Baron Cohen Dupes Former GOP Congressmen Into Declaring Support for Arming Toddlers With Guns to Prevent School Shootings
Richard Mellor / A Comment on France World Cup Victory
« Last post by Richard Mellor on July 16, 2018, 06:00:16 PM »
A Comment on France World Cup Victory

 From Tokunbo Oke

I have no interest in football but I rejoice with the African players  that are wearing the French Jersey. The victory of Africans in France is  a slap in the face to all supremacists  world-wide including the block head who is currently golfing in  Scotland. The beautiful game is the consummate combination of theory and  practice, of thinking and doing. If the combination of thinking and  doing is an indication of cultural level, then these Africans are truly  cultured.
 But we must reject any attempt by the French  establishment, especially the current occupant of the Élysées palace, a  Napoleon with dandruff, to use this to buttress their anti-racist  pedigree. Too many Africans are still dying trying to cross the  Mediterranean. Furthermore, we must highlight the fact that the  prosperity of Western Europe is based on its control of African  resources. We must also highlight the parasitical relationship that  France has with Africa: a relationship with the African ruling class  that contributes to keeping Africa poor, backward and dependent......

Source: A Comment on France World Cup Victory
Infoshop News / Sport may be an opium of the people ? but it matters
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on July 16, 2018, 06:00:12 PM »
Sport may be an opium of the people ? but it matters

via The Conversation by Jon Dart Many on the political left, including the linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, view sport as serving the interests of capitalism, in part by entertaining, pacifying and disciplining the working class. The French academic Marc Perelman abhors sport for the same reason Karl Marx disliked religion ? that it is […]
Source: Sport may be an opium of the people ? but it matters
AlterNet / Yes, Trump Is a Narcissist ? But It's Literally A Million Times Worse Than That
« Last post by AlterNet on July 16, 2018, 06:00:09 PM »
Yes, Trump Is a Narcissist ? But It's Literally A Million Times Worse Than That

It?s not just Trump who is a narcissist beyond help, it?s everyone who still follows him.

Yes, the hallmarks of narcissism are painfully obvious in the president of the United States. The endless projection. The delusion of grandeur masking a paper-thin skin that punctures under the most benign criticisms. The nonstop gaslighting. But you know who else every single one of these attributes describes?

His base.

Trump?s deplorable, unmovable base are cult-like followers who could watch him shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and still follow him, who give no shits that he is a serial sexual assaulter and defender of molesters, who get fleeced by his tariffs, by his family?s blatant disregard for the emoluments clause, and yet continue to vote for him even when it seemingly serves no interest of their own. Kool-Aid drinkers in the most macabre sense of the metaphor, they will follow him right to hell and never look back. None of it makes any logical sense, until you realize they are serving their own interests. Because none of the details matter if you see yourself in the narcissist delivering the rhetoric that feeds your own sense of narcissism.

Trump?s base is nothing more than a collection of narcissists, and I find this a lot more interesting than the fact that Trump himself is a narcissist. Trump simply represents the abhorrent qualities of his entire base.

All these qualities listed under the narcissistic personality could not only describe Trump, but the party that props him up, and let us count the ways. (The list was compiled from the traits listed in this article from Psychology Today on ?Understanding the Mind of a Narcissist?; the parentheticals are my own.)

*Has a grandiose sense of self-importance and exaggerates achievements and talents. (White supremacy. Patriarchy. Rulers of every uterus everywhere. Neo-Confederates who still see the South as heroes of the Civil War.)

*Dreams of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. (The great Steinbeck paraphrased quote about the poor seeing themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires comes to mind. Even the slogan ?Make America Great Again? smacks of a nostalgic, over-idealized dream of what this country should strive towards.)

*Believes he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions. (cough literal Nazis are winning primaries cough)

*Requires excessive admiration. (Ever notice how white Republican men need constant validation they aren?t being repressed in some way, and how our media happily obliges, writing puff piece after puff piece over poor, misunderstood Trump voters?)

*Unreasonably expects special, favorable treatment or compliance with his or her wishes. (An unwillingness to compromise on even the most inarguable of issues?gun control?s a great example. Because, you know, a Republican?s freedom is more important than your children being safe from massacres that may or may not happen in their classrooms.)

*Exploits and takes advantage of others to achieve personal ends. (They support deregulation of everything, at the expense of human health and life.)

*Lacks empathy for the feelings and needs of others. (Racism, homophobia, xenophobia, bigotry, bullying, straight-up hate crimes.)

*Envies others or believes they?re envious of him or her. (Paranoid views of immigrants, people of color, feminists, etc. ?They?re taking our jobs!? ?We?re the minority now!?)

*Has arrogant behaviors or attitudes. (?Fuck your feelings!? ?Snowflakes!?)

After having this revelation, I consulted Dr. Google and realized, like most revelations, this was not an unprecedented thought. In fact, there is an entire, fascinating entry on Wikipedia on something called ?Collective narcissism? that describes Trump?s base to a T. 

In an article from Washington Post, co-author and researcher Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, who has highlighted and studied collective narcissism,defines it as such:    

Collective narcissism is a lot like individual narcissism in that it involves emotional dependence on others? admiration. The difference is that collective narcissists seek privilege and recognition for groups they belong to. They constantly monitor their environment for validation and are hypersensitive to threats to the in-group?s image.

Collective narcissists? default reaction to having the in-group image threatened is intergroup aggression. When the in-group is, in their view, criticized or insufficiently recognized, collective narcissists attack back and rejoice in the out-group?s misfortunes.

Collective narcissists are also prejudiced toward groups they perceive as threatening. For instance, Polish collective narcissists who endorsed conspiracy theories about Jewish efforts to undermine Poland evaluated Jews more negatively.

Agnieszka Golec de Zavala?s article was written in 2017, and there, through a fascinating study and its analysis, she links Trump?s followers to this concept of ?collective narcissism.? 

Political psychologist Jerrold Post coined the idea of a symbiotic relationship between narcissist and this group:

An important characteristic of the leader follower-relationship are the manifestations of narcissism by both the leader and follower of a group.[18] Within this relationship there are two categories of narcissists: the mirror-hungry narcissist, and the ideal-hungry narcissist?the leader and the followers respectively.[18]The mirror-hungry personality typically seeks a continuous flow of admiration and respect from his followers. Conversely, the ideal-hungry narcissist takes comfort in the charisma and confidence of his mirror-hungry leader. The relationship is somewhat symbiotic; for while the followers provide the continuous admiration needed by the mirror-hungry leader, the leader's charisma provides the followers with the sense of security and purpose that their ideal-hungry narcissism seeks.[18] Fundamentally both the leader and the followers exhibit strong collectively narcissistic sentiments?both parties are seeking greater justification and reason to love their group as much as possible.

Sound familiar? 

I?ve been pondering this, though, from an individual point of view. How are people encouraged to deal with narcissists? You can?t treat them. You can?t teach empathy. You can?t cure them. While many suggestions from many psychologists and self-help experts exist, one of them I come across time and time again in both anecdotes and the interwebs is to sever ties with them. Do not play into their delusions. Do not attempt to argue with them. Call them out, sure?and sever all ties. That, to me, seems like really the only way forward with an entire group of narcissists.

And guess what? We?re seeing that plan in action already, and it works.Government-employed kleptomaniac Scott Pruitt cited attacks on him as a reason he stepped down as head of the EPA, only days after being publicly confronted by a brave mama holding her child. Manboys with MAGA hats cry into their pillows because nobody wants to date gross Trump supporters. Dead-inside Sarah Huckabee Sanders boo-hoos because she was asked to leave the Red Hen, human-shaped ghoul Kirstjen Nielsen is shocked protesters would chase her from her Mexican food, and all Trump?s minions whine about civility (for me, not for thee, of course). And news broke today that Stephen Miller threw 80 bucks? worth of sushi in the garbage because a bartender at the restaurant displayed his two middle fingers at him. Why is ?they don?t like me and my feelings are hurt? BS from Trumpians even news? Because underneath their tough, braggadocious exteriors, they are marshmallows and they are hurt by even the tiniest bit of criticism. Resistance, protest?it works, folks, and it?s all we have. So call them out. Shun them. Sever all ties. Don?t give them your business. Don?t serve them food. Don?t reward their behaviors and their abhorrent beliefs with anything except ridicule and absolute rejection.

There?s no use for logic or empathy when you?re dealing with a delusional sect of a country that is sprinting toward a fascist ?Merica. It?s not just Trump who is a narcissist beyond help, it?s everyone who still follows him. Do yourself a favor and give them all a view of your gorgeous middle fingers.

Source: Yes, Trump Is a Narcissist ? But It's Literally A Million Times Worse Than That
India to US: Class or Caste. It's all About Social Control.

This woman grew up in what is called the world's largest democracy. But then, we are taught of the greatness of Athenian or Greek Democracy are we not. But Greek Democracy was a democracy for slave owners. Slaves could not vote.  We are now in the grasp of bourgeois democracy, capitalist democracy. Workers won universal suffrage from them but vote for the public ownership of the corporations with compensation on proven need and you'll see how democratic bourgeois democracy is.

As the women explains here, the caste system is all about economic power and is backed by religious claptrap. Imagine how this type of brutal oppression damages the human character.
Source: India to US: Class or Caste. It's all About Social Control.
Infoshop News / World Cup 2018: The Moral Clarity of Pussy Riot?s Protest
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on July 16, 2018, 06:00:30 AM »
World Cup 2018: The Moral Clarity of Pussy Riot?s Protest

On Sunday, in the fifty-second minute of the final game of the World Cup, four women dressed in Russian-police uniforms charged the field, briefly disrupting the match. They were members of the Russian protest-art group Pussy Riot.
Source: World Cup 2018: The Moral Clarity of Pussy Riot?s Protest
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 ... 10