The difference between truth and fiction is that fiction has to make sense.
The system guarantees the survival of the (bad guys) because it needs them to survive.
Now that everyone understands the reach of the Republican criminals in all facets of American life, and that the emails quoted as having been seen by Jonathan Karl of ABC News have been revealed not to have existed except in some notes written by his Republithug source, we remember anew what the real scandal about the IRS regarding taxpayers is.
By Robert Reich
Robert Reich's Blog
18 May 13
"his systematic abuse cannot be fixed with just one resignation, or two," said David Camp, the Republican chairman of the House tax-writing committee, at an oversight hearing Friday morning dealing with the IRS. "This is not a personnel problem. This is a problem of the IRS being too large, too intrusive, too abusive."
David Camp has it wrong. There has been a "systematic" abuse of power, but it's not what Camp has in mind. The real scandal is that:
The IRS has interpreted our tax laws to allow big corporations and wealthy individuals to make unlimited secret campaign donations through sham political fronts called "social welfare organizations," like Karl Rove's "Crossroads," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and "Priorites USA."
This campaign money has been used to bribe Congress to keep in place tax loopholes like the "carried interest" rule that allows the managers of hedge funds and private equity funds to treat their income as capital gains, subject only to low capital gains taxes rather than ordinary income taxes, and other loopholes that allow CEOs to get special tax treatment on giant compensation packages that now average $10 million a year.
Despite a growing number of billionaires and multi-millionaires using every tax dodge imaginable - laundering their money through phantom corporations and tax havens - the IRS's budget has been cut by 17 percent since 2002, adjusted for inflation. To manage the $594.5 million in additional cuts required by the sequester, the agency will furlough each of its more than 89,000 employees for at least five days this year.
Finally, all of this, coming at a time when the Supreme Court has deemed corporations "people" under the First Amendment and when income and wealth are more concentrated at the top than they've been in over a hundred years, has enabled America's financial elite to further entrench their wealth and power and thereby take over much of American democracy.
This is the real scandal and the real abuse, Congressman Camp. Your indignation over the IRS's alleged "targeting" of conservative groups is a distraction from the main event.
(Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.)
Chris Floyd reminds us of the collusion course the machinations of the double-headed beast have victimized us all by.
Who would have thought that oil barons - of all people! - would be involved in dirty back-room dealings to gorge their gobs with even more swill from the trough? From the Guardian:
The London offices of BP and Shell have been raided by European regulators investigating allegations they have "colluded" to rig oil prices for more than a decade. The European commission said its officers carried out "unannounced inspections" at several oil companies in London, the Netherlands and Norway to investigate claims they may have "colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency [PRA] to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products" . . . It warned: "Even small distortions of assessed prices may have a huge impact on the prices of crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels purchases and sales, potentially harming final consumers."
. . . So while continuing a fierce vigilance against the relentless encroachments of an unhinged, unrestrained and openly murderous government, let us also recognize that the "free market" - often posited as some kind of purer alternative to the state, a mystic realm where the free play of individual desires and activities combine ineffably to produce the best of all possible worlds - is, and always has been, a rigged game where vicious predators seek tyrannical control, by hook, crook and vast corruption, shackling the 'free play of individual desires and activities' in every way possible to squeeze out more unjust advantage for themselves.
Of course, the 'state' and the 'free market' are simply two halves of the same rough beast. The modern 'free market' is the result of massive, continual and pervasive state intervention on its behalf - that is, on behalf of the vicious predators exercising tyrannical control of economic activity - while the state is in practice little more than a vehicle for elite aggrandizement.
You might think that having so many troops injured as a result of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that veterans' cases might finally be treated with great care and alacrity by the department now under the knowledgeable guidance of the Obama administration. You might. I'm sure this is all a mistake. Perhaps more Cheney/Bush appointees still in charge? I can't help wondering how these voters don't immediately move against these guys, but they always just move against the government, don't they?
Nearly 600,000 Wounded Vets Claims for Disability Suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars "backlogged" for Months
By Dave Lefcourt
There's a big controversy concerning the Dep't of Veterans Affairs where nearly 600,000 wounded vets of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars are having their claims for disability compensation "backlogged" for over 125 days. These wounded vets don't want to hear about the antiquated system now overwhelmed by their claims. They expect their claims be acted on swiftly and without red tape. They are right.
And one more march occurs abroad calling for job creation: this one union led! As fragmented as the Italian government is now, it's quite a shot in the arm to see thousands in the street for this issue affecting so many people worldwide. Imagine thousands in the street in the USA. But no. We'd never hear about it probably as it wouldn't fit the correct story on the mainstream news, now would it?
May 18, 12:46 PM (ET)
ROME (AP) - A union of Italian metal workers has led thousands of people in a march through the heart of Rome to press the new government for measures to spur job creation.
FIOM union leader Maurizio Landini said Saturday's protest was held because Italy is "going nowhere" in terms of signs of economic growth amid a stubborn recession. The union is aligned with a left-wing labor confederation.
After weeks of political paralysis following inconclusive elections in February, Italy now has a "grand coalition" government, including bitter rivals from the center-left and center-right blocs in Parliament.
Unemployment for young people is at about 39 percent, while the overall jobless rate is 11.5 percent.
The previous government used spending cuts and higher taxes to battle Italy's debt. Italians are demanding job creation measures soon.