The media has been in a virtual orgasmic frenzy for the past 24 hours as reports come out about troubling behavior by government agencies. Make no mistake, what appears to have been done by individuals in the IRS and the Justice Department is of enormous concern to Americans who are justifiably suspicious of the potential for abuse of government power. There is good reason to be outraged by recent events and it is clear that there is such outrage from across the political spectrum.
An equal amount of outrage must also be directed at the idiotic people at the IRS who thought that what they were doing was helpful to progressive affairs. Not only does that sort of behavior contradict the most basic principles of liberalism, the high risk of discovery and subsequent scandal ought to have brought anyone whose common sense had lapsed straight back to reality. The damage done by this stupidity could not have been more successfully achieved if it were a deliberate plot by GOP plants in the agencies.
That is why the exasperation expressed by Jon Stewart last night (video below) was so appropriate. By committing some obviously nefarious acts of abuse, these miscreants have also made it harder to advance the rational and necessary legislative initiatives aimed at restoring jobs and economic growth, fixing the immigration system, implementing healthcare, battling terrorism, etc. It was bad enough when all we had to deal with was obsessively obstructionist Tea-publicans in congress, but now, as Stewart put it so well…
“This has, in one seismic moment, shifted the burden of proof from the tin-foil behatted to the government.”
Indeed. Now, along with wingnuts like Michelle Bachmann, Louis Gohmert, and Ted Cruz, we have every psychotic from Alex Jones to Glenn Beck to Ted Nugent insisting that they were right all along when they said that Obama was a reptilian space alien sent here to breed. Never mind that their delusions are just as schizoid today as they were yesterday, they are basking in the limelight created by a few low-level dumb-asses who have nothing to do with the bigger agenda our nation needs to pursue.
Not to be left out, Fox News is all over these wannabe scandals. They are interviewing Darrell Issa about the AP phone records without disclosing that Issa voted against the bill that would have made such seizures unlawful. They hosted Dick Cheney on Sean Hannity’s program to say that Benghazi is “one of the worst incidents, frankly, that I can recall in my career.” And remember, his career encompasses Nazi concentration camps and nuclear bombings in Japan, as well as those for which he bears some personal responsibility, like 9/11.
Some news outlets have made the effort to demonstrate that these sort of IRS transgressions were not invented last week. During the Bush administration there were abuses like these on multiple occasions. Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon has enumerated a few: The IRS threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status of the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena following an anti-war sermon; The IRS audited the NAACP after its chairman criticized President Bush; The IRS audited and threatened to revoke Greenpeace’s tax-exempt status.
As for Fox News, they also did a report on the over-reaching of past presidents. And look at who they identified as violators:
Fox managed to find two Democratic presidents (Kennedy and Clinton), who were never found to have done anything unlawful or even unethical via the IRS, and matched them up with one of histories most flagrant criminals (Nixon) whose abuse of IRS power is well documented and even recorded on tape. And somehow, George W. Bush, despite the cases noted above, was left out of Fox’s report entirely. Fair and What the Fuck?
Later in the day, Fox moved on to the story about Bloomberg News snooping on the users of their financial terminals. What could be more unsettling than the prospect of a powerful media institution secretly monitoring your private Internet and telecommunications activities?
Perhaps it might be a private media institution secretly hacking into the phones of thousands of individuals, including politicians, celebrities, and even a murdered schoolgirl. That, of course, is what Rupert Murdoch’s enterprise has admitted doing, but was never covered with the enthusiasm as Fox is now covering the story about their competitor, Bloomberg.
So for the foreseeable future, American news viewers are going to be bombarded with a flurry of sensationalistic stories bursting with speculation and hyperbole. We are already seeing reports that crunch together some of these affairs into conspiracies that assume a role by President Obama that no one has yet proven exists. Fox’s Neil Cavuto devoted a segment of his program to imply that the malfeasance in the IRS’s tax-exempt division will somehow spill over to the group that audits elements of ObamaCare, although they are not even remotely affiliated. The upshot of this conspiracy dementia is that if anyone in any agency does something untoward, then everyone in every agency is guilty.
What’s truly unfortunate is that the investigations into the failings that led to these abuses at the IRS and elsewhere, investigations that are warranted and could be beneficial, will undoubtedly distract both the media and the political class from working to resolve the many serious issues our nation is facing. So instead of creating jobs, protecting and educating children, addressing immigration, or pursuing terrorists, we will be inundated with ever more stories about Benghazi, the IRS, and Jodie Arias-style crime dramas.
If and when we get back to more substantive matters that affect the lives of real people, the scent of scandal will linger and further hamper progress. Consequently, without efficient and effective management of recent events, the nation may have to accept a period of stagnation, which is not what we need right now. And those jerkwads at the IRS are largely responsible for screwing over every citizen who had hoped that the country could move forward just a little bit. I hope they (figuratively) fry.
7 thoughts on “Obama’s IRS Probes Tax-Exempt Status Of Abortion Doctor’s Benghazi Tea Party”
The republicans will overplay this as they always do and it may backfire on them in 2014!
Ok, I’m a little confused about this IRS thing. First off, what does ‘extra scrutiny’ mean? It’s their job to investigate these things, isn’t it? Secondly, they approved pretty much all of these 501c4’s, right? Thirdly, 501c4’s are shady as fuck. They’re a means of legal money laundering. They are the sketchiest part of modern politics, allowing people to take inconceivable amounts of money and do literally whatever the fuck they want with it. Without restriction, none at all. Whatever the fuck they want. And what do we think right wing groups like to do with huge amounts of secret money? I honestly don’t care about this, I’m not outraged at all. All 501c4’s are shady, secret organizations that use vast amounts of cash to manipulate people. They’re responsible for the dissemination of lies. Does anybody really think that a massive influx of right wing 501c4’s doesn’t deserve ‘extra scrutiny’? Honestly, I couldn’t care less about this ‘scandal’. 501c4’s can suck a fat cock, I don’t care what ever happens to them. This, to me, seems like right wingers yet again bitching about being the victim where nothing actually happened.
You’re right about 501(c) 3,4’s being scams, but if you’re gonna investigate them you cannot select them with terms like “Tea Party.” That’s just too blatantly biased. If the IRS had simply targeted groups with political operations, the Tea Party orgs would still have come up in the search, along with others.
The problem with demonstrating bias is that it discredits everything else you do, even the things that are legit.
I agree with you on the bias thing. Even the appearance of profiling should be avoided. However Des is right. It’s their job to investigate, they ARE shady and if any organization is looking for tax exemptions, they should be scrutinized. Period.
I also think for those already up and running, the ones who generate the most donations should be given first priority for investigation.
OK, here is possibility but what could be what happened. You have the GOP/conservative movement great at propaganda by using the same phrases and wording to make anything they say is truth because, you know multiple people are saying the same thing. Now, you take say 80 groups, all formed prob about same time, give them 4-5 words for a name and a nearly or identical mission/goal statement, and what you an IRS agent see… big red flag. Many groups of nearly same name and mission/goal. Would that not red flag for you as well? Now if they “targeted” ALL groups with “Tea Party” in their names, OK, maybe something shady. But when you have say 80 groups all nearly the same in many ways all wanting “secret squirrel” status to hide their donors names, would you not put those for “extra scrutiny”? I mean if 80 groups had nearly the same names and mission/goal statements and used word like Progressive, or Liberal… would these people all be yelling like they are now? Until they provide NUMBER of groups, and ALL the group names, setup/request dates and such done in a that period of time, then I will side with IRS doing their bloody job normally. Not thinking it’s tin foiled hat BS.
I don’t say many nice things, but nicely state. Your response to moronic comments like the one just above yours is exactly how everyone should look at it – especially left leaning people (ie believers in the state). This is, of course, no surprise to me as I believe this is just the nature of government. To build on your comment, I’m going to look on the bright side, this will hurt attempts to expand programs like the back ground check bill that lost last month due to the questions this episode will create.
I say, circle the wagons and never, ever let ’em see you sweat.
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