And the whole IRS Tea Party thing ends in a wimper

The Tea Party affair started with a Feb. 25, 2010 e-mail from Cincinnati-based IRS agent Jack Koester to his boss, Screening Group Manager John Shafer. Shafer, in turn, sent it to his superiors, including some Washington staff, elevating it as a “high profile case.”

The Cincinnati employees weren’t quite sure what the Tea Party was, but they knew it was politically sensitive. “This case will be sent to inventory for further development. Political campaigns on behalf (of) or in opposition to any political candidate do not promote social welfare,” Shafer wrote to his bosses. The Tea Party groups were seeking tax exempt status as “social welfare” groups.

Banks Reap Profits From Overdraft Fees, Consumers Lose

Consumer advocates have called for an outright ban on banks’ permitting customers to withdraw more than they have available in their accounts.

The median overdraft fee was $34 at the 33 largest financial institutions, and $30 at 800 smaller banks and credit unions in 2012, according to the CFPB’s white paper with data from Informa Research Services.

Not surprisingly, consumers who did not opt in to spend more than they had in their accounts saved more money than those who did.

The CFPB found that previous heavy overdrafters who declined to opt in reduced their overdraft and insufficient fund fees, on average, by more than $450 in the second half of 2010. The CFPB studied large banks, with total assets of $10 billion or more, and found a variety of practices in regard to transaction posting orders from high to low and opt-in requirements. Beginning in 2010, the Federal Reserve required banks to ask consumers to opt in to overdrafts.

This is a direct result of Dodd-Frank, which banned the practice of forcing people to “opt-in” (which is in itself contradictory) for overdraft protection.

This was such a scam….

The CFPB found that 61 percent of bank profits from consumer checking accounts come from overdraft and insufficient funds fees, which are prompted when customers withdraw, make a debit card payment or make or attempt to make another type of payment for more than what is available in their accounts. Only 14.4 percent of net overdraft revenue goes toward the cost of covering unpaid overdrafts.

Lawmakers Who Pushed For Mental Health Focus After Newtown Are Blocking Millions From Getting Help

In the wake of last December’s shooting massacre in Newtown, CT, many conservative lawmakers and state leaders called for strengthening America’s broken mental health care system. But now, the GOP’s stubborn opposition to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is preventing 1.2 million poor and mentally ill Americans from getting basic mental services, according to an analysis by the National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI.

Republican politicians have argued extensively for shoring up the U.S. mental health regimen to prevent future shootings. Rep. Louie Gohmert R-TX said that mental health issues have “languished” for decades, and that the two parties can easily come together to fix them. Sen. Ted Cruz R-TX voted against the compromise Manchin-Toomey background check bill, offering alternative legislation focused on school security and mental health resources. Florida Rep. Ander Crenshaw R also cited mental health services as an important part of addressing gun violence, as did Sen. Marco Rubio R-FL, who signed onto Cruz’s gun safety bill.

Despite their professed zeal for making the U.S. mental health regimen stronger, however, these members of Congress don’t support the programs like Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion that could actually help ensure Americans’ access to those benefits.

via Lawmakers Who Pushed For Mental Health Focus After Newtown Are Blocking Millions From Getting Help | ThinkProgress.

Yet another datapoint regarding the endemic hypocrisy of the GOP.  After the Newtown massacres, these same people claimed that limiting guns wasn’t the answser, expanding access to mental health services was a better way to go.

And now…they are trying to stop any funding going to their own “better” solution.  That’s hypocrisy on a very high level.  GOP-level.

Republican IRS agent says Cincinnati began ‘Tea Party’ inquiries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Internal Revenue Service manager, who described himself as a conservative Republican, told congressional investigators that he and a local colleague decided to give conservative groups the extra scrutiny that has prompted weeks of political controversy.

In an official interview transcript released on Sunday by Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, the manager said he and an underling set aside “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups that had applied for tax-exempt status because the organizations appeared to pose a new precedent that could affect future IRS filings.

The stupid part of the article is later, when the Republican Issa tries to claim finding the guy at the center of it all and hearing his explanation (it wasn’t political it was because tax law), doesn’t count and Issa is going to keep investigating until he finds what he wants.

And Today’s Mass Shooting with an Assault Weapon that killed more people than an F5 Tornado is brought to you by California

Witnesses describe seeing a man all in black SWAT-gear waving and shooting an AR-15 rifle, the same style of weapon used by shooters in recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. Some witnesses thought the man was a policeman because of his confident gestures in stopping cars, while others described a calm, methodical attack where the shooter casually took aim and fired at targets ranging from people to buses to police cars.

Eyewitness Joe Orcutt told the Associated Press that the shooter “was just standing there, like he’s modeling for some ammo magazine. He was very calm … panning around, seeing who he could shoot, one bullet at a time, like target practice.”

House Republicans Defend Russians For Jailing Pussy Riot

Rohrabacher disagreed, but King went further. King, who recently attempted to “prove” America was a Christian nation, celebrated Russia’s crackdown. “If anyone came into my church … and did that, it would be difficult for me to stand up and say they had a human right to do that,” King said. The lawmaker suggested that the church “had been desecrated by those riots,” perhaps being unaware that Pussy Riot is the name of the band, not the activity they were jailed for which was performing a song.

via House Republicans Defend Russians For Jailing Pussy Riot | ThinkProgress.

There’s no “perhaps”.   These folks work off a “just read the headline” understanding of the world.