An Open Letter To All Republican Office Holders And Candidates For Office:

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posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 05:27 AM
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Just wanted to say "thanks for contributing" one more time.

And, goodnight ATS!

~Heff



CX

posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 05:47 AM
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Hi Heff,

I always enjoy reading your threads, very informative, i always learn something from them.


One thing that always springs to mind though when i read these "open letters to the establishment" type threads, do you ever send them anywhere else but ATS?

Do you ever forward them onto congress or the specific people you are hoping to address? I ask because whilst the letter is great, i doubt it is much use stuck in ATS where most of congress probably will never set foot?

Even if you don't post it to those who matter, i see it as a good learning tool for people like myself who are not as aware of certain issues, so it is certainly of use either way.

I'd just love to see this kind of thing mass emailed to most of Washington.


Thanks again for the thread.


CX.



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 05:55 AM
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Originally posted by sonnny1
I wonder what the equivalent is, to the Democratic Party?

Lobbiests. Unions. Accepting Soros money with all the strings attached. Etc.
Same type of corruptioin but under different names and differently worded rhetoric.
(R) or (D) .... They all suck.



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 06:03 AM
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Originally posted by sonnny1
reply to post by Hefficide
 


Yeah.

I see he even had a few Democrats sign the Pledge.


Crazy.


yup... they are called blue dog democrats, or DINOs...(democrats in name only)



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 06:23 AM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan

Originally posted by sonnny1
I wonder what the equivalent is, to the Democratic Party?

Lobbiests. Unions. Accepting Soros money with all the strings attached. Etc.
Same type of corruptioin but under different names and differently worded rhetoric.
(R) or (D) .... They all suck.



geez...soros again?....it's so nice to have one billionaire support every tom, dick, and harry democrat, and cause, and organization on th left....but c'mon...he does have other interests.
it's like solyndra....the right finds one solar power comapny that went bust, and you would think that ever single democrat had a hand in doing it, and the entire sector is a sham
there are several right-wing billionaires that throw hundreds of millions of dollars into the republicans cause and elections...but soros is the real problem
edit on 2-10-2012 by jimmyx because: spell



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 06:44 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 





So. How is it that the vast majority of you are beholden, contractually to Grover Norquist who is the President of a private ( 501(c)(4) — Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees ) non-profit called Americans For Tax Reform and its subsidiary ( 501(c)(3) — Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations ) branch, Americans For Tax Reform Foundation. Both tax exempt lobbying groups?


They are simply not.

The pledge is not a legally binding contract whatsoever. And it is a promise to a NON PROFIT organisation that wants to lower taxes.




And, yet, Mr. Norquist is by the very definition of the word partisan. Therefore his involvement in a supposedly nonpartisan entity is very suspect. And your association with this man is therefore suspect as well.


No it is not.


The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. CFR carries out its mission by: Maintaining a diverse membership, including special programs to promote interest and develop expertise in the next generation of foreign policy leaders;


The organisation claims to be independant, its membership is diverse, so it contains people that support different parties naturally. A non partisan person does hardly exist. I see no value in this argument. It also has nothing to do with the topic at hand.




Many of you signed a pledge to Mr. Norquist and his two corporations.


They are not corporations and the pledge is not to Norquist himself.


Americans for Tax Reform is a 501(c)(4) organization with 14 employees, finances of $3,912,958, and a membership of 60,000 (as of 2004).[1] It was founded by Grover Norquist in 1985.[2] The associated educational wing is the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, which is classified as a 501c(3) research and educational organization. The purpose of both entities is to educate and/or lobby against all tax increases.


So they basically lobby against tax increase. What an evil bunch.


I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. [So help me God.]



14. A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not, with the intent to influence on the basis of partisan political affiliation an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity– (a) take or withhold, or offer or threaten to take or withhold, an official act; or (b) influence, or offer or threaten to influence, the official act of another.



4. No Member, officer, or employee shall knowingly use his official position to introduce or aid the progress or passage of legislation, a principal purpose of which is to further only his pecuniary interest, only the pecuniary interest of his immediate family, or only the pecuniary interest of a limited class of persons or enterprises, when he, or his immediate family, or enterprises controlled by them, are members of the affected class.


I don´t know why you posted these, because they are not relevant.

Can you tell us how these rules are broken by those members that might support the organisation For Tax Reform?

Also, do you think there is an evil conspiracy to lower taxes, that we should fight against?

And what's with the "open letter" title?

We all know none of them will ever read this if you only post this here.

But, hey it's a nice overly dramatic title that suggests there is more to this than there actually is.

If you wanted to show corruption and malevolent lobbyism, you sure picked a wrong example.

Those evil lobbyists trying to lower taxes.......











edit on 2-10-2012 by ButtahFlyFX because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 11:49 AM
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Strange, I kind of thought this thread would at least spark some debate.....

The fact that 95% of republicans sign pledges to a privately owned Corporation (non profit or not and regardless of content ) that contractually obligates HOW they govern doesn't strike chords with folks?

~Heff
edit on 10/2/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 01:27 PM
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Normally I would not reply to a banned member as, well, they are banned and cannot reply. But there are at least two things in the post from this member that need addressing - as they are factually inaccurate and misleading.

First the assertion that these are not corporations:


501(c)(4) refers to a section of the U.S. federal income tax code. Corporations that have been granted 501(c)(4) status by the Internal Revenue Service may engage in political lobbying. This includes donations to political committees that support or oppose ballot measures, bond issues, recalls or referenda.

emphasis mine
Source

And very interestingly:


501(c)(3) refers to a section of the U.S. federal income tax code. Organizations that have been granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service may only conduct non-partisan activities. 501(c)(3) groups are sometimes referred to as "non-profits." This can be a source of confusion, since all U.S. states allow certain corporations to register as "not-for-profit" corporations. A corporation may be a not-for-profit corporation under the laws of the state in which it is incorporated, but not have federal 501(c)(3) status.
Donations to 501(c)(3) groups are tax deductible for the individual who makes the donation.

Some non-profit groups have two related corporations -- a 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4). Under IRS tax code, it is legal to transfer funds from a 501(c)(3) to a 501(c)(4), but the restrictions on how the money is spend carry over on any such transferred funds.

again, emphasis mine
Source

So, not only are they Corporations, but one of them receives tax exempt status if they are NON-PARTISAN.

As for shocking titles? "An Open Letter To All Republican Office Holders And Candidates For Office" is shocking???


Glad I didn't go with my first choice... HEY, TYRANTS, THE NATION IS FAILING!

Oh and some related information to the topic in general.






On, and did we mention that Grover Norquist happens to be rich? And, in his own words...


Q. INCOME INEQUALITY
Thank you for taking some time to chat with readers today. I find a lot of your writing very interesting even though I disagree with much of it. I am curious, though, about how you think about income inequality in terms of the America you wish to bring about. A country with no mechanism to redistribute some of the income that amasses among top earners to people who are simply born into difficult economic circumstances will quickly become a nation starkly divided between a small, very rich population, and a vast, extremely poor one. I'd like to hear your argument about why this sketch of a low-tax society is wrong. Many kind thanks.
– July 13, 2011 11:49 AM
A.
GROVER NORQUIST :
– July 13, 2011 1:00 PM

Source A
Source B



plu·toc·ra·cy
n. pl. plu·toc·ra·cies
1. Government by the wealthy.
2. A wealthy class that controls a government.
3. A government or state in which the wealthy rule.

Source

Shucks... and they've got us all thinking it's a Democratic Republic....

And, just to help with context.... A Washington Post article. Just to provide information I have not commented upon - and which the reader can use for clarity and non-biased or influenced input.

~Heff



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 04:16 PM
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The more I dig, the more I find:


No Taxes, No Disclosure: Secret Donors Fund Norquist's Crusade



Norquist is the inimitable helmsman of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the architect of a phenomenally successful effort to get lawmakers and candidates to pledge never to raise taxes. During last summer's debt ceiling debates, the number of Republican lawmakers who wouldn't budge on taxes led former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson to call Norquist "the most powerful man in America."

But Norquist doesn't have to worry much about his own group's tax bill. ATR is a 501(c)(4) organization under the internal revenue code, and thus tax-exempt.

And while ATR retains that tax status by agreeing not to operate primarily as a political group, it is nevertheless extremely active on that front.

In fact, while ATR has been a fixture in Washington for more than two decades, a review of its tax filings and reports to the Federal Election Commission by OpenSecrets Blog suggests that the organization's fundraising and spending ramped up dramatically in the 2010 midterm elections.

From 2008 to 2010, contributions to ATR increased 124 percent, from $5.5 million to $12.4 million. ATR's expenditures totaled nearly $11.4 million in 2010, more than doubling the $5.7 million it spent two years earlier.

The increased spending was reflected in its payments to vendors: In 2008, ATR paid over $100,000 to only two contractors, HSP Direct and Meridian Strategies LLC, for fundraising services and advertising, respectively, according to its Form 990. In 2010, nine companies crested that mark, totaling at least $8.2 million. The top five were all reported as providing "advertising" services.

"Advertising," for ATR, refers to political advertising. That's not a foreign concept for the group, but a fundamental change took place in 2010: For the first time, ATR ran ads explicitly opposing and supporting candidates in their campaigns for the House and Senate.

ATR's rapid growth in 2010 receipts and expenditures was shared, even outpaced, by other 501(c)(4) groups, especially ones that favored conservatives. Americans for Prosperity, for instance, the group started by conservative billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries, increased its receipts in 2010 by 214 percent over 2008, to $22.1 million, and boosted its expenditures by a nearly identical percentage

Its tax return for 2010, however, shows nothing on the page where such groups are supposed to record any political expenditures. On a different part of the return, though, ATR lists $1.9 million as political expenditures.

And in yet another section of the filing, a supplemental note on "Advertising and Promotion," ATR says that in 2010, it "spent over $8 million in election related advertisements. Over $4 million of the advertisements supported specific legislation or candidates. The remaining advertisements were program-related advertisements."

The discrepancies in the numbers on ATR's Form 990 filing and its reports to the FEC were the basis for a complaint in March by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, asking the IRS to investigate ATR.


A March 30 federal court ruling in the case Van Hollen v. FEC could require all groups, including 501(c)(4)s, that run electioneering communications -- those within the 30-and-60-day windows -- to disclose donors, but the case will likely be considered by an appellate court before that requirement would go into effect.

Source

A lot more information in the above link as well.

~Continued...



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 04:24 PM
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Regarding that complaint filed by Citizens for Responsiblity and Ethics in Washington:


Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate whether Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and its president Grover Norquist violated federal law by filing a tax return that left out more than half the political activity ATR conducted in 2010. ATR disclosed more than $4.2 million in independent expenditures to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), but asserted on its 2010 tax return that it spent only $1.85 million on political activities.

“Grover Norquist’s numbers just don’t add up,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Americans for Tax Reform spent millions of dollars in 2010 trying to defeat candidates who disagreed with its agenda, then left most of that spending off its own tax return. Perhaps Mr. Norquist should sign a pledge that he won’t lie to the IRS about his group’s political activity.”

Tax-exempt organizations such as ATR are required to report on their annual tax returns the amount they spent on political activities. This information helps the IRS determine whether a tax-exempt organization is complying with its tax-exempt status and provides at least some transparency for groups involved in politics. Reporting inaccurate information can result in civil penalties and criminal prosecution. CREW previously filed a complaint with the IRS against ATR in 2006.


So... this guy is running a supposedly non-profit industry that uses peer pressure to extort conservatives into making pledges to an entity other than their office - and is claiming that it is a social welfare organization ( based upon the 501(c)4 status... and then he's apparently funneling that money into political advertisements???

A one man lobby/Superpac ( FTR his organization has only 14 employees and yet you see the amount of money they are dealing with )????

And he's possibly cheating on his own taxes? A guy who makes a career out of getting politicians to sign contracts ABOUT taxes???

How many conflicts of interest does it take before the laws of physics break down and the universe implodes? I ask because this guy is dangerously close to that number.

~Heff



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 04:32 PM
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It seems to me that this Norquist character is an enemy of the state and, as such, I believe that any government official that has pledged their allegiance to Norquist have committed an act of treason. I say how about Norquist and his pledges be rounded up and tired for treason (we could do it all in a single trial under the RICO Act). If found guilty, then they should all be hung from the gallows right there on the steps of Capitol Hill.



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 04:42 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


Actually, A lot of people around here think I'm an evil, baby killing, white male hating Democrat, but I've actually been registered as a Republican for 12 years. I got ran out of the party during the Bush years over my opposition to the wars and my reluctance to support what you just mentioned. Grover pulls strings in almost every race and if you don't go with you are going to get kicked out of the party.



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 08:35 PM
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I too voted Republican until the Bush Jr era, which totally soured me.

I think it's more appropriate to say that one day I was an average Republican and then, one morning, I woke to find out that the party had shifted to the right and I was now a dirty, socialist, commie, hippie.

Funny thing is I never changed my clothes or the way I thought. So I was the only hippie in a Perry Ellis linen shirt for awhile - apparently.

I think ole' Grover is absolutely one of the major factors in that sharp shift to the right. Which is why I am becoming a bit surprised that this thread is getting as little input as it has....

Maybe those of us who posted here are the last people in America who haven't signed a pledge to Grover???


I can see him in a situation room saying "Those eight we didn't sign yet? Darnit... they're online talking about us right now!"



~Heff



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 08:51 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 





I think ole' Grover is absolutely one of the major factors in that sharp shift to the right. Which is why I am becoming a bit surprised that this thread is getting as little input as it has...


I'm not surprised. Most people don't know why the guy is. Those who do know him are likely to just defend him as they see it as defending the GOP. I don't know, I'm fairly similar to you in that I just found everything had moved pretty far to the right when I wasn't looking. I actually used to work elections too. It just came to a point where there was not place for me in the party. I was too liberal for the GOP and too conservative for the DNC. C'est Le vie.
edit on 2-10-2012 by antonia because: opps



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 09:09 PM
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I too was a member of the GOP until the Religious Right became powerful enough to sway local elections from the pulpit.

There is no separation of church and state!



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 09:11 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 

Dear Hefficide,

You know that I'm willing to take a different side from yours in a discussion, but in this case I don't know what the different side is.

Norquist is a major force pushing people rightward? OK, I'll accept that, even though I don't know what "major" means. In a more lighthearted mood, I might suggest that Obama is a more significant force pushing people to the right.

That his group, ATR, tries to pressure politicians into voting their way? I'll agree with that, too. Along with hundreds of other groups and lobbyists.

That there's a lot of peer pressure to sign up? Sure. Out of the House and Senate, 13 Republicans have not signed, and 3 Democrats have.

The only place I can see, offhand, where we differ is whether there is a contract, or anything absolutely binding on the politician to vote a certain way. I would guess, that in the next election, a Republican breaking the pledge once would still be supported over a Democrat who announces he wants to raise taxes.

So, Hefficide, tell me what the other side is, and if it's not too goofy I'll try to defend it. (But that's not a pledge, because I might just go to sleep.)

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 09:20 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


Charles, my friend, what it comes down to is undo influence. Disproportionate peer pressure. Behavioral modification by means of implied acquiescence to a non binding contract. Manipulation.

Let's say that you U2U me, right now, and ask me to do something ATS related for you.... find a thread you saw once but cannot now locate, edit one of your posts somewhere... whatever. And I reply that I will.

I have no legal or binding obligation to do so. ATS will not take away my moderator status if I fail to live up to my statement ( promise ). But I will feel obligated to follow through on what I promise because I am hard wired to keep my word.

Norquist exploits this human trait. This desire to adhere to promises. I am sure that somebody will say no politician has any such qualm. But they do. They're just narcissistic enough to put profit before promises. Everyone ( except for true sociopaths ) wants to be seen as honest.

Norquist takes that aspect of a human mind, and then adds to it insane levels of peer pressure. Everybody else signed it.... we've spent a fortune convincing your voters to want you to sign it.... if you don't sign it, I'll do the Sunday morning talk circuit and out you on national TV for having NOT signed it....

Grover Norquist has every right to vote. And to lobby. But what he's done is taking lobbying, masquerading it as a non profit - and then used it as a social engineering tool.

~Heff



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 10:15 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 

Dear Hefficide,

Thank you, you have thrown an entirely different light on the matter for me. I wish I could argue with you, but I'm not in significant disagreement. I hope I'm not disappointing you.

I understand you to be saying that Norquist is more clever than most lobbyists in applying pressure to force politicians into positions they would not otherwise take. A better manipulator, if you will. I will agree. I'm not sure he's the tops, though. (No, I don't know who would be.)

You're right about the social engineering role of lobbying. Money seems to have declined in it's effectiveness, at least in the form of bribes. Now, I believe it's more of the lobbyist gaining influence over the staff and providing research and policy papers, etc. for the politicians they think may be swayed to their side.

It may be clearer, and easier, for Norquist. Republicans are naturally inclined to go with lower taxes, so Norquist is intensifying and firming up their existing beliefs by using those techniques you described with such insight. Further, they were probably elected by people who want lower taxes, so that adds to the pressure.

Would Norquist have done as well with a pledge to support all wildlife preservation bills? I don't think he would have.

Eventually I come to one of my most constant questions, born of a mind with little imagination, What is to be done? I don't know what law could be passed to stop this. Since he's not supporting a particular party (in principle, but we know the effects) I don't know how he could lose tax-exempt status. And I don't know how else to stop it.

With respect,
Charles1952

P.s. On that other thread, where your dicussing with Burd something or other? Can we use your idea of incentivizing the public to provide the needed safety net? That was the original purpose for granting tax-exemptions to charity. And the Salvation Army (among others) is miles more effective than the Feds. I think it was Confucious (apparently he's said everything) that said a good society is one which encourages it citizens to be good. Maybe instead of a refundable tax credit for children . . .? - C -



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 10:18 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


Have you come across any similar pledges signed by elected officials in other countries?

I just spent about 10 minutes on google looking, and haven't found anything yet. Not an extensive search so far, but I figured you've spent more time on this and might have found something.

It would speak for how unorthodox this is if there is no other similar example internationally.

Also, last night there was some questions about whether there was a democratic version of this, I said no but mentioned social security as an issue where it might exist. Turns out my inclination was right, just found this.


More than 200 Democrats have signed onto a pledge to protect Social Security from any interference, amid some Republican calls for partial privatization of the entitlement program.
Politico 2010


The Progressive Change Campaign Committee circulated the petition and set up the web site socialsecurityprotectors.com to promote it.



Seventy five Democratic House candidates, 11 Senate candidates, and 133 congressional incumbents signed the pledge. Democratic House leaders touted their support of the program last week, even as seniors learned they won’t get an increase in their benefits for the second year in a row because of low inflation.


This site says 123 members of congress have signed the pledge to date. socialsecurityprotectors.com...

Also, this website lists all Senators and Pledges that they've signed. www.nolabels.org...

There is another pledge called the Cut, Cap, and Balance Coalition Pledge, which relates to cutting spending, capping the deficit, and balancing the budget. It is generally supported by Republicans.

www.cutcapandbalanceact.com...



Pledges are gimmicks. Their meaning can be distorted. Signing one is the equivalent of voluntarily slipping on a straitjacket; it denies politicians the flexibility needed to meet unforeseen challenges. As Politico reports, plenty of lawmakers who willingly bound their hands are now regretting it, and leery of signing onto any more:

“I think I’ve kind of supported enough pledges,” freshman Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told POLITICO. “I’ve restricted myself too much this Congress.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), one of Sarah Palin’s conservative “Mama Grizzlies” who signed Norquist’s anti-tax pledge while running for election last year, said she wouldn’t ink her name to the new pledge. And she’s not certain she’ll sign any others in the future.

“I support the concepts in their pledge, but what matters most is my pledge to uphold the United States Constitution,” Ayotte told POLITICO. “I’m looking very carefully at all pledges because I want to make sure I support the underlying concepts. People who draft pledges tend to define what they mean differently.”

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, Republican Conference chairman, said much the same: “My only pledge is to the United States of America.”
Time.com article



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 10:28 PM
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reply to post by PatrickGarrow17
 


I think the difference here is Norquist has power most of the Democrat pledge pushers never will. He can get almost anyone run out of an election if he doesn't like them. I don't know of any Democrat who can pull that off. Not even Obama can do it. He does enforce adherence to the pledge by actively campaigning against perceived "violators" and cutting them off from funding.





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