Tyranny and the 5th Amendment

To the extent this implies that the government itself is hiding behind the Bill of Rights, this poster isn’t quite right. An individual in the government, rather than the government itself, is pleading the 5th. Just because one works for the government doesn’t mean one gives up ones rights as a citizen.

Nevertheless, I liked the poster because it’s a reminder that we currently have an exceptionally corrupt administration in Washington. Should we be able to switch to a Republican administration, Lerner will be followed by a long line of 5th pleaders:

Tyranny and the 5th

Hat tip: Caped Crusader

Friday afternoon round up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of good stuff today, so I’m going to dive right in.  As always, these aren’t in any particular order, so you may find interesting things buried halfway down the list.

I’ve made the same point before, but I still like to see it come from Daniel Hannan and Jonah Goldberg:  Nazis came from the Left, not from the right.  Incidentally, I still like the way I phrased it, which was that we should get rid of the archaic Left/Right or Fascist/Communist/Capitalist language and, instead, look at political systems in terms of Statist versus Individualist forms of government.  The world’s most famous bad guys, no matter the name they gave themselves, land on the statist side.  America, before Obama, was more individualists, as she was when she went around the world freeing people from statists calling themselves Communists, Fascists, Nazis, Military Juntas, Muslim Fundamentalists, etc.

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One of the things that distinguished George Bush was that he was a good manager — proving that he got something useful out of his stint in Harvard Business School. He surrounded himself by efficient, knowledgeable people who reflected well on this country’s competence, even if one didn’t agree with its policies. The opposite is true for Obama. He is a terrible manager who surrounds himself with people who know as little as he does.

Obama’s conduct is typical for an insecure person. He needs to surround himself with ineffective sycophants who say nice things to him and who don’t threaten him with their greater talents and skills. Obama gave the game away a long time ago when he announced, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Genuinely smart — and mentally healthy — people don’t actually say things like that.

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One of the things that drives me crazy about the Left’s insistence on bypassing parents to give young girls access to the birth control pill is the fact that it’s not just about sex (and the Left uses sex to bribe girls away from the nuclear family). It’s also about how high risk pills are. California kids can’t get their ears pierced without permission, but girls can easily get pills that are associated with strokes, blood clots, breast cancer and, now, multiple sclerosis. The Pill is a very dangerous medicine, but it’s so wrapped up in Leftist feminist politics, no one is willing to say “no” simply on safety grounds.  The fight about the Pill on moral grounds is a good fight.  The fight about the Pill on health grounds should be a winning fight — but nobody’s doing battle there.

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Two excellent views about Putin’s escapades: Terresa, at Noisy Room, harks back to the Nazi notion of Lebensraum.  Paul Rahe, at Ricochet, thinks Putin is a fool, trying to relive the glory days of the Cold War but, in fact, reaching far beyond Russia’s actual, very limited, economic abilities, not to mention exposing Russia to the very real risk of a Chinese takeover. Fool or madman, the one thing we know with certainty is that Putin’s policies will destroy many lives, both inside and outside of Russia.

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My sister lives in Oregon. After the millions it spent on its Obamacare exchange, she ended up signing up the old-fashioned way: by paper. The only question is how long the media can keep the prestidigitation going, so that people don’t realize that they’re on the losing end of a shell game.

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Colleges across America: “Due process? We ain’t got no due process. We don’t need no due process! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ due process!”

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Jonah Goldberg nicely analyzes something that we’ve been talking about here, which is the speed with which the gay marriage debate has gone from the fringe to “you’d better accept it or else.” As many famous people have learned to their cost, one of the most effective techniques for moving the debate forward without regard to the merits is the GLAAD & Friends tactic of “nice little place/career/life you’ve got here. . . . Shame if something happened to it.”

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Roger L. Simon issues a call to arms: Take back Hollywood. It drives culture and, to the extent conservatives jumped off the entertainment bus, we’ve left the lunatics in the driver’s seat.

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The IRS scandal continues unabated. Those who think it’s been addressed and repaired have been flim-flammed yet again. Moreover, if you follow the money to public servant corruption, that may go a long way to explaining why our bureaucracy, which is supposed to be studiously apolitical, has thrown its immense power to the Democrats, the political party owned by the government workers’ unions.

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I really, really like Allen West. Here he is with a vivid, but emotion-free, summation about both Common Core’s academic weaknesses and the madness of Obamacare mathematics.

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My bet without doing any research is that, if you studied political identity in the military, you’d see that the military is still more conservative than the population as a whole. What you’d also see, though, is that every subsequent new batch of enlistees is more liberal than the one that came before. Remember, the new enlistees are young and Democrats have marketed themselves successfully to the young.

We know that young people in the general population are souring on Obama as job prospects dim.  Military enlistees have a job, but there’s still the possibility that they too will sour.  To the extent that Senate Democrats refused to increase veteran’s benefits, the very minimal chatter I’ve seen amongst the few young enlistees who are Facebook friends is that they are feeling hostile to the Dems right about now.

Thursday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesFor reasons that make no sense to me, in the past week my daily readership has almost trebled. I suspect a bot has targeted my site but, when I allow myself to pretend that it’s actual people checking out my site, I feel really quite good. And now let’s see if I can make all of my real and robotic readers feel good with some interesting links:

It turns out that I’m not the only one who has noticed that the only thing exciting the Left right now, from Obama on down to the most insignificant Facebook user, is gay marriage. Syria? Sad, but boring. Ukraine? A little scary, so best ignored. North Korea? Really scary, so best ignored. Economy? We have a Democrat president, so we pretend it’s good. But gay marriage? Wow! That’s a hot issue, so hot that it should be the administration’s most pressing issue, the states’ most pressing issue, and social media’s most pressing issue.

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Putting gay marriage aside, what sensible people should be excited about is the fact that the current administration has deliberately chosen to subvert the law and to use supposedly non-partisan administrative agencies (most notably the IRS) to destroy the current administration’s political opponents. Bradley A. Smith spells it out, and there are smoking guns everywhere. Unfortunately, true believers on the Left are just going to look at that evidence and say, “Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” They’d do that even if Lois Lerner got her immunity and spilled the beans.

Few on the Left have Democrat Prof. Jonathan Turley’s insight or integrity:

And what we’ve been seeing is the shift of gravity within that system in a very dangerous way that makes it unstable, and I think that’s what the president is doing. I think that we’ve become a nation of enablers. We are turning a blind eye to a fundamental change in our system. I think many people will come to loathe that they remained silent during this period.

Incidentally, I wonder if Mr. Smith has been reading my blog. To conclude his masterful summary demonstrating administration complicity with the IRS, he wrote this:

In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.

If that seems familiar to some of you, I wrote the same thing (although at greater length) back in May 2013.

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Hillary Clinton spoke in Florida yesterday to defend Obamacare. For a good analysis, go here. The short version is that she’s adopting the Democrat party line, which is that Obamacare is slightly flawed, but should be fixed, not undone. I’ll just chime in quickly with a little extra info that may explain why many people will be inclined to save, not jettison it: the venue at which she spoke was a massive annual medical technology convention. The wealth concentrated there — wealth created because Obamacare has mandated computerizing all medical records — probably equals the wealth of several small and mid-sized countries. Exhibitors weren’t just giving away pens and mouse pads. They were giving away Kindle Fires and other fancy swag. Follow the money….

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I love it when my politics and my dieting efforts converge: No Girl Scout cookies for me this year. The Girl Scouts are absolutely free to continue their leftward drift. I just don’t have to help fund it. If I had my own personal Marine Sergeant Major monitoring my diet, none of this would be an issue.

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Just a reminder that if you want a bird’s eye view of probable election results, check out Scott Elliott’s Election Projection. Working on a state-by-state basis, he has amassed a vast and highly accurate database of predicted election outcomes.

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North Korea is one seriously scary place. It’s scary inside, because it is a vast, brutal concentration camp. I mean, think about it: It’s so bad that the UN has actually taken time off from persecuting Israel to castigate North Korea for a few days.

It’s also scary outside because it’s got a vast armory of conventional weapons aimed at South Korea, and a probable armory of nuclear weapons aimed at God knows where. Andrew Keller recommends actually enforcing sanctions against it, so that the West is no longer complicit in propping up this government. (Our excuse for propping it up, starting with Madeleine Albright, is always that we’re preventing mass starvation. We haven’t done anything of the sort.  The NoKo government just takes the money, buys caviar, and lets the people starve anyway.) My only worry with Keller’s recommendation is that North Korea is not the kind of country that will go down easy. It seems to me that one of its last gasp efforts will be to take large parts of the world, or Asia, down with it.

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I don’t understand why people are so fussed about reliably Left-leaning Ronan Farrow winning a journalism award after only two days on air at MSNBC. After all, Barack Obama won the once-prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, not because he actually did anything on the job, but simply because he got hired. Eric Wemple illustrates that in the modern journalism world, everyone is good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, entitled to endless accolades and awards.

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Eric Holder was briefly hospitalized for chest pains, but seems to be okay. I wonder if he had a panic attack, which can mimic a heart attack. He’s got a lot of balls in the air now, and it must be nerve-wracking to keep them spinning. You know what I mean: Urging state Attorney General’s to refuse to enforce their own state laws regarding gay marriage; arranging for gun-running into Mexico, and then having to cover it all up; hiding administration documents about everything from the IRS to Benghazi; working to turn felons and illegal aliens into registered voters; and so on. I’d be stressed too with all of that on my plate.

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In a typically thoughtful, detailed post, Daniel Greenfield examines Obama’s decision to put America into a forced retreat from the world stage. His last paragraph reads like the final epitaph for a once great nation:

Post-American America exists to destroy itself. Until that changes, it has nothing to offer the world except membership in a suicide pact.

Obama’s despicable role in the Ukraine (or, rather, his absence of any role, other than some meaningless Kabuki theater) perfectly illustrates how he’s got America crawling away on her hands and knees, with her national butt nicely poised in the air for some final kicking.

The Left assured us in 2008 that the world would be a better place without all that nasty American influence. The world’s citizens are discovering what you and I already knew: The world is a much less nice, stable, safe place without an American influence. Moreover, the Left’s talk of compassion was a fake.  For example, even as apocalyptic scenes play out in Syria, the Left manifestly doesn’t care.

Thursday thoughts (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesPower corrupts; and when the IRS has absolute power, it’s corrupted absolutely.

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Three headlines at The Weekly Standard: (1) CBO Director: Obamacare ‘Creates a Disincentive for People to Work’; (2) AOL CEO: ‘Obamacare Is an Additional $7.1 Million Expense For Us’; (3) WSJ: ‘Limited Choices of Doctors and Hospitals’ Under Obamacare.

And one great punchline from Keith Koffler.

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Obama’s blithe dismissal of the IRS scandal wasn’t just unethical (he shouldn’t be opining during an ongoing — albeit barely there — investigation), but was also just flat-out wrong.

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Yesterday, I noted that the Budweiser “Welcome home, soldier” ad was astroturfed patriotism, which I found unpleasant. I heard from someone in the military that the people he knows are uniform in their dislike of the ad (no pun intended). The American Spectator now chimes in, chiding Budweiser and other companies for commercializing the military.

Old Hollywood movies also used to commercialize the military:  they’d make supportive movies about the military to sell tickets.  Back then, though, because patriotism was the name of the game throughout America, that commercialism seemed less sleazy than the Vaseline-smeared lenses that characterizes 1-minute long commercials that use the military as a backdrop to sell a product.

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When it comes to principled conservativism, PM Tony Abbott of Australia seems to be the real deal. That’s not the only heartening thing. If he is indeed the real deal, we should take comfort in knowing that a former British colony that was following Britain’s PC lead was able to recognize how damaging its policies were and to vote in the other direction. Maybe there’s hope for another former British colony that seems determined to follow Britain’s PC lead, even as Britain is falling into the abyss.

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As an example of the British abyss, there’s news out today that a British court has demanded that Thomas Monson, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (i.e., Mormons), report to London immediately to defend his faith against fraud charges with regard to some of its central tenets.

I’d originally written snarkily that the judge seems unable to distinguish faith from science. I then realized that the snark was misplaced.  What we’re seeing here is another byproduct of global warming: Because global warming has become an unfalsifiable doctrine it has turned science into faith. Why then, should a British judge, who I am 100% certain believes in global warming, have the ability any longer to distinguish between science and faith? She’s going to apply tests to them, not according to their nature (with science getting evidence and hypothesis based tests, and religion being left alone on faith grounds), but according to her own belief system, one that probably worships Gaia and rejects more traditional religions.

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If you like proof, David Horovitz provides ample proof that John Kerry is a fool, and a dangerous one at that.

Monday Mish-Mash (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesIt rained here yesterday, an event that was much more exciting even than the Super Bowl.  We probably got just a quarter inch of rain, but for a drought-stricken region, even that is thrilling.  There are storms lined up along the California coast . . . but that damned high pressure system refuses to let them pass.  The lizard part of my brain, the one taken up with magical thinking, keeps hoping that one of these storms will batter the high pressure system so hard that it breaks.  I know weather doesn’t work that way, but most days lately that fantasy is the best that I can do.

Still, and thankfully, there’s always blogging.  I’m sadly lacking in original thought at the moment, but others do have interesting stuff to say:

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Apropos yesterday’s Super Bowl blowout, I learned two things about Seahawk’s coach Pete Carroll:  He’s quite possibly a 9/11 Truther and he graduated from Redwood High School in the heart of Marin County.  Hmmm.  I wonder if the two are related?

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The IRS is planning on formalizing its persecution of conservative and Tea Party groups.  Until February 27, however, you can have a say in the matter.  At American Thinker, Sylvia Bokor mourns the fact that only slightly more than 20,000 people have weighed in, out of an American population greater than 300 million.  I’m not surprised.  First, most people truly don’t care; second, those who do care now have reason to worry that if they comment on the proposal, they’re basically signing on to the IRS’ future target list.  Chilling, that’s what it is.

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Daniel Greenfield, aka Sultan Knish, takes on the belief fostered in every school child since about 1968 that, by signing on to the right (er, Left) charity, you too can save the world.  To him, this is the idiot stepchild of free enterprise and Leftism:

The West can’t fix Africa no matter how much of the price of a cup of coffee it donates. By attempting to fix it,  Africa and the West become entangled in each other’s problems, each worsening the problems of the other instead of solving them.

No one can save Africa except Africans. No one can fix Detroit except the majority of the people who live there. Social problems aren’t solved by nationalizing them or internationalizing them. They aren’t solved by engaging and guilt tripping those who have already solved those problems and live thousands of miles away but by engaging the people who live right there and are part of the problem.

If a man is drowning, you can toss him a rope. But if a man jumps into the water, tossing him a rope doesn’t accomplish anything. A physical problem can be solved by applying the right resources, but a human problem can’t be solved except when the affected humans change their attitudes or behaviors.

I am grateful to him for articulating something I’ve always felt in my bones, but couldn’t put into words.

When “little jokes” became real life tyrannies *UPDATED*

Robin Williams Johnny CarsonLast night, I spent a few minutes watching Robin Williams’ 1981 appearance (his first) on Johnny Carson’s tonight show.  It was very weird to look at it over a distance of 33 years.  I remember watching it in real-time back in 1981, and thinking Williams was the funniest man I’d ever seen.  This time, while still admiring his great talent, my knowledge about the past few decades got in my way and prevented me from laughing very much.

There were several creepy things about the appearance (creepy in retrospect, I mean).  Despite Williams’ ostentatious riff about the fact that he didn’t do drugs, it was clear that Williams was coked up to the gills.  Knowing that he was chemically augmented made the laughter come less easily this time around.  He also made a joke about being herpes free, which was ironic given that, in 1986, a woman sued him because, in 1984, he infected her with herpes — while cheating on his wife.  Whoops!

What struck me most, though, was that Williams made a little joke about Ronald Reagan.  (That wasn’t the surprising thing.  Robins has made jokes about Republican presidents since 1981.  Indeed, when I saw him some years into the Obama administration, he was still making Bush jokes.)  Then, immediately after his very little joke, he made another joke about the fact that he was now worried that the IRS would be knocking on his door.  Indeed, he made that little IRS joke twice.  As far as I know, the IRS never did knock on Williams’ door during those administrations in which he slammed Republican presidents.

Things are different now.  In 2009, it was the President himself, not a comedian, who made a joke about the IRS stifling dissent.  And voila!the IRS goes after dissenters in a brutal way that would have delighted any head of a modern bureaucratic tyranny.  Suddenly, Williams’ little IRS joke isn’t so funny anymore.

UPDATE:  And in the same vein, Tom Elia asks if there’s even more administration thuggery going on than the headlines would suggest.

If you find the subject interesting, you can also check out two Noisy Room posts, since Terresa is masterful at gathering data:

The persecution of conservatives in Hollywood

The new Progressive McCarthyism

Understanding scandals — it’s not what’s done, it’s who’s done it that counts

His Girl FridayI haven’t been much of a Chris Christie supporter lately.  In the beginning, I admired his ability to stand up to the teacher’s unions.  Since then, I’ve decided that this was less a principled position and more a reflection of a highly aggressive personality.  Outside of the unions, he’s too much of a RINO, and I’m suspicious about his Saudi ties.  He’d be a better president than Obama, but that’s a low bar.  If he ended up on top of the Republican ticket opposite Hillary, I’d vote for him, but primarily because Hillary would finish the job Obama’s done, and anything is (I think) better than that.  So that’s my view about Chris Christie.

What I want to talk about here is the scandal.  It seems that nothing has ever happened before that’s been as thrilling as the fact that a Republican governor’s employee had a nearly unspoken agreement with another of the governor’s employees that, if a Democrat mayor ticked them off, they’d use their power to create traffic havoc in his town.  (For punsters, we finally have a “toll-gate” scandal.)  A 91-year-old lady whose ambulance got stuck the traffic jam died later, and her death could be attributed to the delay.  (Only God knows for sure.)  The whole affair is nasty, unprincipled, and petty.  The employees deserved to be fired, and Christie fired them.  The media is having what Matt Drudge describes as a feeding frenzy.  Fine.  It’s their job to sell the news.

But what about a few other scandals that probably could have sold news too?

A Secretary of State, despite repeated pleas from an ambassador in one of the world’s most dangerous areas, refuses to heighten security.  The ambassador and three others die.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s diplomatic mission in a foreign country is attacked.  Four people die and unknown numbers of confidential documents vanish.  The besieged nation’s President Secretary of State speak once and then both refuse to explain their whereabouts.  Rumors are that the president went to bed early to prepare for a campaign event.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A president deputizes one of his employees to go on Sunday talk shows to explain that an attack on its diplomatic mission, which left four dead, including an ambassador, occurred because of a 10-minute YouTube video that was perceived as being uncomplimentary to Islam.  To add an air of verisimilitude to this otherwise unconvincing narrative, the administration trumps up charges to arrest the video’s maker, in what many see as a blatant attack on free speech in the service of Islam.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

An Attorney General arranges to have hundreds of guns smuggled into Mexico.  There are two theories about this, neither good. The first is that the guns were supposed to be traceable, so as to track gun and drug crime coming out of Mexico, but that the AG’s incompetent employees forgot to add the necessary electronics.  The second is that the AG deliberately released weapons into Mexico to support his anti-gun campaign.  “See,” he would say.  “We told you that our nation’s guns are despoiling the world.”  In any event, the guns with the AG’s name on them killed one of his own border agent as well as hundreds of Mexican civilians.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s troops, most notably its Marines, sweat, and bleed, and die in a terrorist-ridden town in Iraq.  Their success there helps turn a years’ long war around, paving the way for a simulacrum of democracy in a country whose people lived for decades at the mercy of a sadistic tyrant.  It’s not true democracy, but it’s close enough; people are experiencing relative freedom for the first time in their lives; and the government is relatively friendly the liberating western nation.  At the end of WWII, faced with this situation, the victorious nation stuck around for another 60+ years to hang onto that victory.  This time, though, the president walked away without a second glance and without any effort to secure hard-won gains.  Two years after the president declared, not victory, but “war over,” that same town has once again fallen to the terrorists.  The president is silent.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s people learn that the government is spying on their every communication.  It started before the current president, but has escalated madly during his administration.  Even some media outlets learn that the government has been spying on their telephone calls.  One would think that this outrage would encourage them to reconsider their blind faith in the current administration.  It does not.  After a few huffs and puffs, the media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s tax-collecting agency, which is it’s most feared and powerful agency, turns out to have been engaged in a systematic effort to silence all conservative and pro-Israel speech.  The timing shows that the effort was manifestly intended to disrupt the 2012 presidential election, and it may well have done so, giving a squeaker of an election to the candidate from the Democrat-party.  All people of good will, regardless of party, should be horrified by this type of partisan overreach from a nation’s most powerful agency.  The media, however, is unperturbed.  It does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

Beginning in 2009, a president tells his people a series of bald-faced lies.  The documentary evidence shows that he knew that they were lies when he told them.  That is, it wasn’t ignorance or wishful thinking on his part.  Instead, he was running a scam.  This giant fraud begins to unravel on October 1, 2013, and with every passing day, the public learns more about the administration’s lies, incompetence, and cronyism.  This knowledge is made manifest in the most painful of ways, as millions of people lose the security of insurance plans, doctors, and hospitals, even as they are being forced to pay more money for fewer benefits.  Although the media dutifully points out the problems in the first month, by the second month, it returns to lap dog status, crowing about thousands of sign-ups, with scant attention to the fact that it’s unknown whether those who signed up have actually paid  for new policies.  The same media downplays the certain fact that more people have lost beloved policies than gained lousy ones under the new system.

Yes, I tried to keep that nation’s identity anonymous, but you’ve figured it out.  The nation in which a president and his administration, through a combination of fraud, lies, and incompetence, have caused people’s deaths, wasted military deaths, destroyed a functioning health care system, spied on its citizens, and possibly corrupted election outcomes, routinely gets a pass from the media.  Our MSM does just enough reporting to lay claim to some credibility as a “news” outlet, and then ignores as hard as possible whatever issue could hurt a Democrat president.  The whole thing is declared “over” after Jon Stewart, through selective clips, announces that Fox News is insane.  The media heaves a sigh of relief, and goes back to guarding the administration.  That system, of course, doesn’t apply when a vaguely Republican governor is tied to a traffic jam (admittedly, a malicious, unprincipled traffic jam).  In that case, the 24-hour news cycle kicks into overtime.

Looking at today’s headlines, I’d have to say that the biggest scandal of them isn’t either Christie’s toll-gate or Obama’s just-about-everything-gate.  Instead, it is the fact that we have a Democrat lap-dog media that still has the temerity to call itself a “free press.”

Throwing links at you before I head to lunch with conservative friends

Quick Link and Open Thread imageI’m off to lunch with two conservative friends (one I knew for years without either of us realizing the other was conservative), so I’m just going to throw these links at you.  Take a deep breath, ’cause here goes:

The 1950s study saying most Americans are mindless, Nazi-esque sadists was a fraud.

The IRS is issuing rules that retroactively and proactively enable it to shut down Tea Party organizations — and only Tea Party organizations.

Charles Krauthammer reams Obama’s incompetence and absence from governing, even as David Brooks insists that this is why now is a perfect time to increase executive power.  Brooks even has a two-liner that will become a classic of sycophantic stupidity:  “This is a good moment to advocate greater executive branch power because we’ve just seen a monumental example of executive branch incompetence: the botched Obamacare rollout. It’s important to advocate greater executive branch power in a chastened mood.”

I think Brooks is delusional to think that the lying-ist administration ever will suddenly become honest and effective.

England, the land that gave us the entire notion of freedom and self-sufficiency, sinks ever deeper into the abyss of political correctness and bureaucratic tyranny.

A weak leader makes our country look like the equivalent of a wounded wildebeest.  No wonder the jackals are running up and taking painful nips at our downed carcase, curious as to whether we’ve still got some fight in us.  The answer, sadly, is no.  No wonder the jackals in Libya are geared up for a second bite.  After all the administration’s response to their first attack was to pretend that it really hadn’t happened.

And then there’s this, which I thought was a hoax, kind of like Ted Cruz’s pwning an Obama tweet, only to learn that it’s real:

 

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people has perished in America

Sometimes distance provides perspective.  My travels meant that, rather than being enveloped by news as I usually am, I read it only intermittently, and often through the New York Times’ filter, since that was the only news to which I had access for many days at a time.  The few stories I was able to follow put me strongly in mind of the Gettysburg Address, and how far away from those principles our current government has come.  Some of this is directly attributable to the current Democrat presidency, and some is an unpleasant by-product of a bureaucracy that has taken on a life of its own, independent of its creators’ ideas and energies.

Lincoln’s genius was that he was able to reduce to the smallest number of words the revolutionary principles that drove the Founding Fathers, as expressed in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution:  “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Do we still have a government “of the people, by the people [and] for the people?”  No.  Our political and bureaucratic classes no longer believe that the people have anything to do with their continued existence (that is, they do not view themselves as parts of a government “by the people”); they do not believe that they have anything in common with the people whose lives they dictate (in other words, they are not part of a government “of the people”); and nothing they do benefits the people who are trapped in their web of laws and regulations (so that they are not part of a government “for the people”).

America has ceased to be a representative democracy and has, instead, become an oligarchy:  We, the People, are controlled by a proportionately small number of people who claim all entitlement to themselves and who, through laws, lawlessness, and unbridled bureaucracy (with a bureaucracy made up of people entirely beholden to the oligarchy for their continued well-being), control every aspect of our lives.  This oligarchy is separate from and unrelated to the constitutional, representative democracy Lincoln believed was the necessary underpinning for a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

A handful of stories upon my return forcefully brought home the vast chasm that has formed between “we, the People” and those who no longer represent us but who, instead, simply govern us.

1.  The people have long loathed ObamaCare, and by a significant and unchanging percentage too.  Even the President’s water carriers are getting nervous.  Those charged with enforcing it against us will not use it for themselves, nor will those who imposed it upon us.  It is a product of the oligarchy, with the benefits, but not the burdens, flowing solely to the oligarchy.  It was imposed upon the People, not through a true democratic process, but through dirty political dealing.  This is neither government by the people nor for the people.

2.  Despite the stagnant economy, the high unemployment, the rise of part-time jobs (i.e., no living wage), the number of young people stuck at home, and the continuing bankruptcy of our country’s business and economy, our President and his family continue to live like Nero or Marie Antoinette.  The Nero analogy was most recently demonstrated with the story that Obama is golfing while the world burns down around us.  The Marie Antoinette analogy can be seen in the endless round of A-list partying and multi-millionaire style vacations the Obamas enjoy, using our money (White House facilities for parties, taxpayer-funded air transport and security for offsite pleasures), even as ordinary citizens struggling to make ends meet.  Obama, however, is worse than either Nero or Marie Antoinette, or any other analogous political figures (both historic and present day) who rob from the people to fund their lavish personal lifestyles.  This is because Obama is the only one of these figures who is — in theory, at least, an elected representative who is supposed to be only first among equals.  Obama’s grandiosity, however, shows that he no longer considers himself one of the people.  Worse, he is abetted in this historic break from a constitutional presidency by a ruling political and media class that has a vested economic and social interest in breaking with a constitutional republican democracy.

3.  The current government has abandoned the notion that government belongs to the people (“of, by, and for”) and holds, instead, the belief that the people and everything that they possess belong to the government.  Rep. Keith Ellison, a black, Muslim convert who is a darling of the Left, articulated this sentiment with startling clarity:  “The bottom line is we’re not broke, there’s plenty of money, it’s just the government doesn’t have it. . . . The government has a right, the government and the people of the United States have a right to run the programs of the United States. Health, welfare, housing – all these things.”  Government unions are a subset of this mindset.  In private industries, both management and the unions are negotiating with real money, real products, and real labor.  In the government sector, they negotiate with other people’s money regarding intangible products and services that are of dubious value.  (Think about the fact that California alone has more than 500 different agencies, a spectacular percentage of which are duplicative, and an even larger number of which do not serve the California taxpayers, but instead are directed at steering special interest groups into the government fold.)

4.  The bureaucracy has become an entity of itself.  It is no longer a subset of American government.  It is its own special interest group, and it advances its own agenda.  This fact can be attributed in significant part to government unions which, as noted above, sever government employees from the Peoples’ economic and practical needs.  Moreover, as the IRS scandal shows, the government bureaucracies no longer need political guidance to go after citizens who have the potential to disrupt their bureaucratic livelihood.  With little or no prompting from the political class, the bureaucracies abandoned their obligation to impose the law impartially and, instead, attacked what they perceived as threats.  If this seems familiar to you, you have only to think of innumerable science fiction books or movies (e.g., Terminator III), in which robots become sentient and turn on their human creators.

5.  Our next election is already predetermined.  Sadly, Myrna Adams makes the best argument for why Hillary Clinton will win in 2016 — and you’ll notice that none of her points have anything whatsoever to do with the will of the people or the state of America and the world, either now or in 2016.  Instead, Adams points to the political machinery which has broken down, with the dial perpetually set to “Democrat.”  Neither Hillary’s and her teams’ lack of any accomplishments to speak of nor the fact that Hillary herself is an undistinguished and inspiring human being will matter.  The oligarchy, made up of politicians, monied interests, government bureaucracies, media players, and academics, has spoken.  It’s Hillary’s turn now. After all, in 2008 and again in 2012, Obama was a candidate without accomplishments or, when off the teleprompter, charisma.  The robots — er, oligarchs . . . er, political class . . . er, media — anointed him and he won.  “We, the People” — our needs, desires, and existence — have become entirely expendable.

In the next election, democracy will be just as meaningful as it was in the old Soviet Union when 100% of the voters “freely” cast their votes for the Communist party candidate.  The Soviet Union was a nominal democracy in that the people “voted,” but it totally by-passed Lincoln’s requirement that a government worth saving must be “of the people, by the people, [and] for the people” in order to ensure that a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” shall not “perish from the earth.”

 

Lois Lerner’s demand for immunity before she’ll testify before Congress

The IRS’s Lois Lerner, who bungled taking the Fifth the last time she appeared before Congress, is now set to return to Congress.  Her lawyer has announced, however, that she’ll testify only in return for immunity, otherwise her lips are sealed.

It seems to me that whether Congress takes her up on that offer depends on how much information she has.  If she’s a criminal pipsqueak, giving her immunity means she gets away with a crime, while offering nothing in return.  However, since she is a highly placed IRS functionary, if the agrees to sing like a birdie, it may well be worth it simply to get information on everyone else.  Having said that, I suspect that there are people in government who will not be thrilled if she talks.  Am I being overwrought if I think that she might actually find herself at risk if her testimony has the potential to send high government officials to jail?

I deeply disrespect the Obama administration, from the top down, but it’s a big step from disliking them to considering them capable of turning to violence or even murder.  It seems to me that Lerner, who knows the administration better than I do, assumes that they will not hurt her, or else she wouldn’t have made the offer.  Even if the whole administration doesn’t go rogue, though, there may still be some lone fruit-loop out there who will stop at nothing to avoid jail or just the end of a career.  If I were Lerner, I’d look very carefully before crossing any streets.

What’s your take on this?  Would you offer her immunity in exchange for information?

Marriage’s open frontiers in America

A few days ago, I commented about a profound problem with the Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA:  before DOMA, we had a societal consensus that marriage was between one man and one woman.  During DOMA, we had a law that said marriage was between one man and one woman, even as the societal consensus broke down.  Post-DOMA, we have nothing.  There are no boundaries, and there is nothing to stop a “loving” marriage based upon bestiality, incest, pedophilia, polyamory, etc.  The boundaries are gone.

In addition, the demands on government will change substantially with this “new frontier” approach to marriage.  A friend of mine who knows all things military sent me this email:

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is how recent Supreme Court decisions have rendered marriage and family meaningless. For instance, if I were a young private or PFC in the military I would find another guy to get married to (contract marriages between service members are nothing new. It’s a great way for two otherwise unattached people to get free money for being married). Getting married is often the best way for service members to get themselves out of crappy barracks life so I could marry a male service member from another unit and move into my new house. We would not even have to be gay to do it. Then we could run around with as many women as we wanted and essentially be room mates and get paid a basic housing allowance (x2) for being married. If I were caught in some kind of adultery situation (hard to prove usually) I would simply state that I and my life partner are straight and though we are married we do not sleep together. Further, who is to judge how we choose to run our family/household? Anything goes according to the Supreme Court and if two gay men can get married why can’t two straight ones?

So that’s two of us figuring out that Anthony Kennedy’s decision creates tremendous societal problems.  Can we add three of us or four of us?  Yes, we can!

I don’t want to tread upon copyrights, so let me just direct you to Michael Ramirez’s post-DOMA cartoon and Terminal Lance’s post-DOMA cartoon (warning:  ever so slightly risque).  They both make the point perfectly, one with regard to society at large and the other with special focus on the military.

Andrew Klavan is right that we need to view this as a Democrat “squirrel” moment, one in which the Democrat powers that be distract their sometimes mindless constituents from more important issues such as the economy, or the fact that Syria is imploding, Egypt is on the verge of imploding, and Turkey is working towards imploding.  However, we cannot ignore the legal ramifications flowing from the Supreme Court’s rulings, because these ramifications can become very expensive very quickly.

If nothing else, the end of DOMA is one more reason that the tax code and IRS should be done away with and a flat tax instituted.  After all, the current tax code gives married couples distinct benefits, with an eye to advancing a stable, two-parent family.  Since that’s now out the window, we better revisit where all those tax benefits are flowing.

Mark Steyn tackles the administration’s game of “I spy” on the American people

The one good thing about bad news is that it brings out the best in good writers.  You really must read Mark Steyn’s whole column about Obama’s East German spy state, but I can resist cherry-picking for the best of it:

So we know the IRS is corrupt. What happens then when an ambitious government understands it can yoke that corruption to its political needs? What’s striking as the revelations multiply and metastasize is that at no point does any IRS official appear to have raised objections. If any of them understood that what they were doing was wrong, they kept it to themselves. When Nixon tried to sic the IRS on a few powerful political enemies, the IRS told him to take a hike. When Obama’s courtiers tried to sic the IRS on thousands of ordinary American citizens, the agency went along, and very enthusiastically. This is a scale of depravity hitherto unknown to the tax authorities of the United States, and for that reason alone they should be disarmed and disbanded — and rebuilt from scratch with far more circumscribed powers.

[snip]

Holder had another great contribution to the epitaph of the Republic this week. He went on TV to explain that he didn’t really regard Fox News’s James Rosen as a “co-conspirator” but had to pretend he did to the judge in order to get the judge to cough up the warrant. So rest easy, America! Your chief law officer was telling the truth when he said he hadn’t lied to Congress because in fact he’d been lying when he said he told the truth to the judge.

[snip]

When the state has the power to know everything about everyone, the integrity of the civil service is the only bulwark against men like Holder. Instead, the ruling party and the non-partisan bureaucracy seem to be converging. In August 2010, President Obama began railing publicly against “groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity” (August 9th, a speech in Texas) and “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names” (August 21st, radio address). And whaddayaknow, that self-same month the IRS obligingly issued its first BOLO (Be On the Look-Out) for groups with harmless-sounding names, like “tea party,” “patriot,” and “constitution.”

Read it all.  Post it on your blogs.  Email it to your friends.  Distribute it through social media.  Steyn is right about something fundamental here which is that, even if what the administration did is legal, it’s still profoundly wrong and the laws are badly drafted if they can allow government to listen in on the minutiae of every American’s life.

Using the tax code and tax authorities as Leftist sledge hammers

I’ve written before that the IRS’s aggression towards conservative groups and individuals is the worst presidential scandal in American history because it represents the first time a government agency, which falls under the executive’s control, has used its vast power to target people and groups that oppose the administration’s agenda.  Before the IRS started doing this, taxes had to come through a legislative process which was, in theory, vox populi.  Legislators were at least somewhat sensitive to voter concerns — they can, after all, get kicked out of office.  Administrative agencies with a partisan agenda feel that they’re untouchable and nothing can stop them.

Earl has now alerted me to the fact that the California legislature, which is so overwhelmingly Democrat as to make California a one-party state, has decided to copy the IRS’s behavior and use taxes to destroy political opponents:

What the IRS was doing behind closed doors may soon be official policy in California. Last week, the State Senate voted to revoke the nonprofit status of any group within the state that does not allow full participation of homosexuals, a move aimed directly at the Boy Scouts of America. According to the Associated Press, the bill “would require those organizations to pay corporate taxes on donations, membership dues, camp fees and other sources of income, and to obtain sellers permits and pay sales taxes on food, beverages and homemade items sold at fundraisers.” Groups that sponsor troops would also have their tax returns and membership policies scrutinized by the Franchise Tax Board, California’s version of the IRS.

If further proof was needed that the BSA’s partial surrender on the homosexual issue only emboldened their opponents, here it is. Compromise is not in the left’s vocabulary. Not until Dan Savage is taking your son camping will they be happy, and probably not even then.

Read the rest here.

It used to be that, if the Boy Scouts (or any other private organization) wouldn’t have you, you’d start your own organization and it would be so successful people would be knocking down your door and the Boy Scouts (or whatever) would be copying your model.  Or perhaps you’d start your own organization and it would fail, because the Boy Scouts (or whatever) actually had a good idea and were doing things right.

Nowadays, you don’t take your marbles and go play with other, more friendly people.  Instead, you stand there and kick the other side’s marbles all over the place and, if a few remain, you stomp them into dust.  My way or the highway — and I don’t care if my way destroys your essential essence, so long as you bow down before me.

The Progressive version of Martin Niemoeller’s famous “First they came” poem

Can I do some serious boasting about the quality people who come to this site?  Yes, yes I can .  (Or as Obama’s fans say, Si, se puede!)  With every post I write, I get the ball rolling and you all take off, combining your erudition, humor, and insights into a fabulous melange of intellectual wonderfulness.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I’m always honored that you chose Bookworm Room as an intellectual hang-out.

So, a little more boasting about my readers?  I’ve been referencing Pastor Martin Niemoeller lately, he of “First they came” fame.  This is because I believe that the IRS attack on political groups that Democrats don’t like is the first link in that chain.  We have to stand up and fight now, even if we weren’t specifically a conservative organization applying for tax-exempt status or a conservative millionaire demonized by Obama’s campaign machine.

One of my wonderful readers wrote a satirical version of Niemoeller’s poem, straight out of the mouth’s of Progressives.  As with all good satires, it works perfectly because it exposes an ugly truth about an ideology that drapes itself in hypocritical piety.

Some random factoids about Lois Lerner, the gal who was the head of the IRS exempt organization’s division

Lois Lerner

A little more than a week ago, no one had heard of Lois Lerner.  Now she is the poster child for government machinery run amok.  She first thrust herself into our awareness with her clumsily staged revelation that, “Oh, by the way, the IRS persecuted conservatives, but really, there’s nothing to worry about….”  Since then, it’s only gotten worse, with Lois being exposed as a serial liar.  Finally, today, she announced in advance that, if called before Congress, she would plead the Fifth, so please don’t embarrass her by calling her.  I say “Call away” and, so far, Committee Head Issa agrees.

Now that Lois has emblazoned herself as a household name, people are starting to look at her very closely.  It turns out that her hostility towards conservatives predates her tenure at the IRS, and goes back to her FEC days.  She may have failed math, but she gets an “A” in harassment.

Conservatives are doing the logical thing, which is to try to link her to Obama.  As Walter Olson at Overlawyered points out, however, the only linkage currently available is truly a link bridge to far — it’s so tenuous as to be silly.

One of my friends, who does not want to be known as a conspiracy theorist (and I can vouch that this friend wouldn’t be seen near a tin-foil hat), wondered if Lois’ anti-conservative propensities put her in an orbit other than the Obama’s.  My friend sent me this email, and assures me, as I assure you, that it’s idle speculation rather than a breaking story:

Listening to Michael Savage the other day, he brought up the intriguing questions about the IRS scandal: “Why now?” and “Who leaked it?”

One caller raised the possible theory that Hillary Clinton was behind it trying to deflect Benghazi criticism that was beginning to zoom in on her, to an Obama-centric scandal.

I was intrigued.  Here is what a quick Google search has taught me so far:

  1. The official who brought up the scandal is Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS Exempt Organizations unit
  2. Lois Lerner husband, is Michael R. Miles, a partner at the law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.
  3. I saw some articles linking Sutherland Asbill & Brennan to hosting an Obama campaign event, but…
  4. What has not been reported is that in 1993 Bill Clinton appointed Hillary’s good friend, Margaret “Peggy” Richardon, as IRS Commissioner (http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/24/business/clinton-picks-lawyer-to-be-irs-chief.html). 
  5. This is where it gets a bit interesting.  Peggy Richardson was also a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.  (Oddly enough, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan had one other partner as IRS Commissioner – Randolph Thrower, appointed by Nixon…).
  6. Peggy Richardson, is (allegedly) no stranger to quashing inconvenient investigations against the Clintons (http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2006/01/hillary-silent-clinton-presidencys-latest-cover/)
  7. This is where it turns highly speculative.  I could not find, in the limited time I searched, a link between Peggy Richardson and Lois Lerner or her husband.  But one would think that partners in the same very illustrious law firm would know each other and would know a lot about each other.
  8. This is all capped by the just breaking news that Lois Lerner is going to take the Fifth in her (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/05/21/irs-official-lois-lerner-to-plead-the-fifth/) and choose not to testify before the House Oversight Committee.

Conspiracy theories or not my favorites, but when it comes to the Clintons I am less reluctant to explore them.

No answers, but some awfully good questions.

I also have a little (a very little) of my own information to add.  Since my brain instantly shuts down even at the word “taxes,” I have no idea if I’ve found smoking guns or death rays of irrelevant boredom.  Nevertheless, here are my two contributions to the Lois Lerner saga:

Item The First is a transcript of the prepared remarks Lois Lerner gave in April 12 at Georgetown University Law School.  It makes no sense to me (tax stuff, you know), but some of you may be able to glean some pearls of wisdom.

Item The Second is a lawyer’s analysis of a question-and-answer period with Lerner at the ABA’s Tax Section meeting in September 2012.  The lawyer who asked the questions posted the transcript on his firm’s website, along with his interlineations.  Again, I would be delighted if the tax savvy amongst you could translate it into normal people talk.  (Incidentally, I came across that transcript at the website for The Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch website.  The Center for Media and Democracy is, as you may know, a very Left activist organization, fat with George Soros funds.)

Meanwhile, the view of the scandals from the Left

I really love Facebook.  It helps me hone my epigrammatic skills, since I believe it demands some brevity; it allows me, in sneaky fashion, to expose my liberal friends to articles and ideas that don’t normally appear on their horizons; and it allows me to get a window into what ordinary liberals (as opposed to internet activist liberals) are thinking.

For the past week, as scandal after scandal emerged — Benghazi, AP, IRS — my friends have been conspicuously silent.  They’re starting to re-group, as the memes beginning to flow.  I’m not seeing the overwhelming deluge of posters that they latched onto after Todd Akin opened his mouth, but they’re definitely headed somewhere.

On the Benghazi scandal, we have this one:

Trying to relitigate Iraq

Who cares that the intelligence leading up to the Iraq War was the best available at the time? Who cares that much of it proved to be true? Who cares that Plame and Wilson were inveterate liars and self-promoters?

For the Left, Bush is the magic inoculation: Because Bush was once president, there is nothing Obama can do wrong because no matter his culpability or wrongdoing, Bush was worse.  Nyah!  The fact that the Benghazi incident reveals politically-motivated failures, lies, and negligence simply doesn’t matter, because Bush was worse.

Even if one accepts, solely for the sake of argument, that Bush indeed was exactly as morally culpable for carelessness and cover-ups, that’s a dreadful standard.  “Hey, I know I killed those two guys, but you can’t arrest or imprison me, because Charles Manson was worse.”  “Yeah, okay, so I killed millions of my own countrymen, but what are you going to do?  Mao killed more.”

The fact is, though, that Bush was never guilty of anything more than relying on bad intelligence — or for making bad decisions based upon good intelligence.  Nothing he did was done behind the scenes, nor did he walk away during the night, leaving Americans to die.  And there’s no evidence whatsoever of a cover-up.  After all, post-Watergate, it’s been received wisdom that it’s not the act, it’s the cover-up that’s the problem.

The other thing my Leftist friends are finally catching up with is the umbrella thing.  This poster is now making the rounds:

Umbrellas and presidents

When one of my Facebook friends posted that image, and repeated the question (“What’s the difference?”) I politely pointed out several differences:  First, the other umbrella holders are not Marines. They’re Army or aides, and they’re clearly along to lend a hand, not stand guard. Second, Marines do not carry umbrellas, and for the Commander in Chief to demand that they violate standing orders is bad. Third, Marines only carry umbrellas for women, which makes the president look wussy in the midst of scandals that have even his acolytes questioning his leadership abilities (because he’s either ineffective or corrupt, so they’ve chose ineffective). And fourth, the President’s own words were dreadful: “They’re going to look good next to us.”

(Incidentally, after Hillary’s famous, dishonest, prevaricating, cover-up question “what difference at this point does it make?” I would suggest that Democrats/Progressives henceforth avoid that question entirely.  It invariably means that it makes a big difference, and not one that looks good for them.)

Those words yield themselves to two interpretations, both dreadful. Either Obama thinks of the Marines as props (which is entirely possible given how Michelle framed herself with troops in dress uniform when she handed out the Best Picture Oscar) or he actually thinks that his overwhelming God-like-ness will make the Marines — the Marines! — look better. Or, as some wit showed in a poster:

Obama the Marines and an umbrella

The one thing that none of my liberal Facebook friends has dared to touch is the IRS scandal. I know why, too. Doing so would force them to admit one of two unpalatable things: (1) either they think it’s okay for the IRS to be used for partisan purposes or (2) they would have to acknowledge that conservatives were right that Obama’s administration is corrupt and that big government is a dangerous infringement on individual liberties. They choose silence.

Is the IRS scandal the worst political scandal in American history? I say “yes.”

Internal Revenue Service

When it comes to the IRS’s ongoing, repressive behavior against conservative groups, you’re likely to hear different verdicts:  The hard Left says, of course, that this is a molehill that the Republicans are scandalously trying to turn into a scandal.  (The New York Times perfectly exemplifies this line of thinking.)  Others on the Left admit incompetence, but refuse to assign moral blame.  Conservatives are willing to assign moral blame but think that no one really cares.

I believe that everyone should care because what we’re seeing now is a new type of scandal in American history, and the biggest crime a sitting administration has ever committed against the American people.  I wrote about it at Mr. Conservative, although the headline there focuses on the IRS’s probing into people’s prayers.  (Thinking about that, its worth remembering that Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled in an age when church and state were one, refused to “make windows into men’s souls.”  The IRS is not so doctrinally picky.)

Anyway, here’s the post I wrote for Mr. Conservative:

**************

There’s been a lot of debate swirling amongst the pundits lately. Is the Watergate cover-up worse than the Benghazi cover-up or vice versa? Is the only scandal that matters the Justice Department’s decision to tap Associated Press phones, because that’s the only one that the media will care about? What did Obama know and when did he know it?

Ignore all that. The absolute worst scandal that’s emerged lately, and the worst administration scandal in American history is the IRS scandal. Why? Because you, the People, became the targets of a comprehensive federal government effort to stifle dissent, one made using the government’s overwhelming and disproportionate policing and taxing powers.

All of the other scandals, going back to Andrew Johnson’s post-Civil War scandals, Warren G. Harding’s 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, and Clinton’s Oval Office sexcapades have actually been narrowly focused acts of cronyism, garden-variety political chicanery, or personal failings. It’s been insider stuff.

The IRS scandal, by contrast, is a direct attack on the American people. Right now, Progressives throughout America are pretending that this scandal doesn’t matter: “Obama wasn’t involved.” “Tea Partiers had it coming because they’re all corrupt.” “Obama would have won the election anyway.” “It was just a coincidence that the only groups that had their applications scrutinized, sometimes for years, were politically conservative. It means nothing that, when one group changed its name to sound Progressive, its application was approved in only three weeks.” “This is just a bureaucratic snafu.” “It’s a few rogue agents in Ohio.”

Those who offer these excuses are either morally flawed themselves or delusional idiots. Pastor Martin Niemoller, who once supported the Nazi party, finally and famously figured things out after World War II:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Once a government gets the bit between its teeth and starts targeting special interest groups, that is the end of freedom, not just for those first groups targeted, but for everyone.

Okay, that was the throat-clearing. Now it’s time to add the latest chapter in the long list of examples showing that the IRS engaged in a politically motivated witch-hunt against people who don’t toe the Progressive/Democrat party line:

The Thomas More Society (a Catholic organization) says that an IRS office in California ordered a group called “Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, Texas” to detail the meaning and content of the prayers they offered. That was not an isolated event. IRS agents demanded the same information from “Coalition of Life of Iowa,” which was required to explain what went on at the group’s prayer meetings.

When Rep. Aaron Schock (R., Ill.) asked outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller whether these were appropriate questions, Miller didn’t even have the courage to say “no.” Instead, he said meaninglessly that “It pains me to say I can’t speak to that one either.”

Here’s thumbnail sketch of just a few of the other politically-motivated attacks the IRS has made against American citizens. We can expect many more revelations to come:

1. The IRS official who over saw the agency’s effort to stifle political dissent is now in charge of enforcing ObamaCare, which will account for up to one-sixth of the American economy.

2. The IRS gave confidential financial documents from conservative non-profit organizations to a far-Left political activist group.

3. The IRS (which will police ObamaCare) stole 10 million medical records, including the records for all California judges.

4. The IRS blocked applications for or otherwise harassed almost 500 conservative non-profit groups – and there’s every reason to believe that this number will continue to rise.

5. The IRS insisted that, for a pro-Life group to obtain tax-exempt status, it would have to promote abortion.

6. The IRS has been mining Facebook for private data about people who dissent from Obama’s party line.

7. The IRS tried to force a conservative non-profit education group to turn over the names of students (mostly minors) who benefited from its services.

As for those who say that the whole IRS affair becomes irrelevant if no one can prove that Obama is not directly involved, that’s completely wrong. Of course, if the president was involved, it shows that he is the most corrupt, tyrannical leader in American history, and that every branch of the executive division in our government has been tainted and must be cleaned out. And as far as Obama is concerned, if he wasn’t involved, he is a man too incompetent and weak to hold the job of national chief executive.

But think about what it means if Obama wasn’t involved, and the IRS, an agency that has the power to destroy every person in America, did all of this on its own initiative. What we’re seeing in that case is the fall-out of a complete Leftist takeover of American institutions. We will have become a tyranny by bureaucracy (in no small part due to the fact that federal agencies are heavily unionized, and always with a Leftist slant), with the entire federal government irredeemably corrupt.

Here’s one last thought for you about an American president who, wittingly or unwittingly, presided over the single worst scandal in American history:

On May 5, at Ohio State University (the same state in which the IRS scandal was headquartered), Obama gave a speech that was viewed then as yet another in the endless list of examples showing Obama painting his political opponents as loony paranoids:

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

Reading those same words now, it’s clear that, like the rattlesnake’s warning, Obama was previewing the reality of a Leftist government’s total control over the people who have naively consigned themselves to its care.

photo by: saturnism

Is Obama’s puppet master to blame for all the scandals?

Barack Obama -- small and helpless

Scandals, scandals, and more scandals.  My list so far includes:

1.  Benghazi:  politics before, politics and apathy during, and politics and a wall of lies and cover-ups afterwards.

2.  Fast & Furious:  a completely bungled effort to track cartels in Mexico or a deliberate attempt to gin up gun crime as a way to feed anti-gun fervor.

3.  IRS:  Deliberate targeting of conservative groups and individuals in order to disable them in the lead-up to a tight election.

4.  AP:  Justice Department eavesdrops on media, with recent news indicating that this wasn’t about national security but was a tit-for-tat step taken because the AP mis-timed releasing a story about a thwarted terrorism plot.

I feel as if I’ve forgotten something. I’m sure there’s something else, but I’ve reached the outer limits of my brain’s capacity for the scary, sordid, disgusting, and illegal.

Anyway, the above is a starter list, which shows a distinct trend-line:  the Obama government is about politics before country, revenge before law and morality, and cover-ups above and beyond everything.  That’s why the New York Times’ desperate attempt to blame Republicans for all these things makes for amusing reading.  Although the Times was absolutely outraged by the AP scandal (and I agree with their outrage), everything else is just business as usual.  Nothing to see here.  Just move along:

The Internal Revenue Service, according to an inspector general’s report, was not reacting to political pressure or ideology when it singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny in evaluating requests for tax exemptions. It acted inappropriately because employees couldn’t understand inadequate guidelines. The tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, never a scandal to begin with, has devolved into a turf-protection spat between government agencies, and the e-mail messages Republicans long demanded made clear that there was no White House cover-up.

The only example of true government overreach was the seizure of The Associated Press’s telephone records, the latest episode in the Obama administration’s Javert-like obsession with leakers in its midst.

(A total aside here.  The myth is that reporters are, at heart, curious people who want to know what’s going on.  Although they’ve been temporarily blinded by ideology, once they catch the scent, they’ll be like the crazed reporters in His Girl Friday.  That’s just wrong.  Today’s reporters signed on, not because they like sniffing out information, but because they’re ideologues who want to pursue an agenda.  The Times perfectly exemplifies this.  It does not report on all the news fit to print.  It doesn’t report at all.  It simply works like a Leftist propaganda arm, reporting all the spin necessary to advance an agenda.  It’s utterly incurious and cares only when it, personally, gets poked.  And now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.)

Wow.  Just wow.  For one thing, it’s clear that the New York Times wrote this editorial before the head of the IRS went before Congress and confessed that the IRS denied what was going on before the election (a lie) and that it timed the release of information to bury it in the news cycle.  And then there’s all that other fascinating stuff that’s been oozing out from the single most powerful coercive entity in the federal government.

In every single statement she made, Lois Lerner, the IRS official who every so casually broke the story, lied.  Just some examples are the fact that the IRS didn’t target, maybe, 75 groups.  It targeted at least 470 groups.  And it wasn’t just wacky Tea Party groups that got caught it the cross hairs, it was any group that appeared even vaguely to oppose Obama’s policies.  The targeting wasn’t just confined to a rogue Ohio office, it went to the top.  And, indeed, the very top person got over $100,000 in bonuses and was promoted to head the — ahem — nonpartisan branch of the IRS in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

We also know that the IRS illegally leaked information about Obama’s political opponents — which definitely has a kind of mirror-like Watergate quality to it.  Nixon’s henchmen stole data directly from his political opponents; Obama’s henchmen release data about Obama’s political opponents to Obama’s supporters.  And of course, speaking of stealing things, it appears that the IRS stole tens of thousands of medical records — this would be, of course, the same IRS that’s in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

Worried yet?  I know I am.

Despite all this, Obama remains perched precariously atop ignorance mountain.  His line is consistent:

Either Obama’s lying, which is entirely possible, because he’s a compulsive liar, or he was as ignorant as he seems.  Those Leftist media figures who are not in total denial have latched on this as the excuse to protect their idol, now that they know there’s a lot of clay mixed in with his feet.  He’s a little too disengaged, he’s not a micro-manager, he’s too pure to know what evil lurks in the heart of men, etc.

John Fund, however, has a very different idea, and I think he may be on the right track.  His version of events posits that Obama has never actually been president.  We’ve been operating, instead, under the shadow presidency of consigliere Valerie Jarrett:

So if Obama is not fully engaged, who does wield influence in the White House? A lot of Democrats know firsthand that Jarrett, a Chicago mentor to both Barack and Michelle Obama and now officially a senior White House adviser, has enormous influence. She is the only White House staffer in anyone’s memory, other than the chief of staff or national security adviser, to have an around-the-clock Secret Service detail of up to six agents. According to terrorism expert Richard Miniter’s recent book, Leading from Behind: “At the urging of Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving” the mission for May 2, 2011. She was instrumental in overriding then–chief of staff Rahm Emanuel when he opposed the Obamacare push, and she was key in steamrolling the bill to passage in 2010. Obama may rue the day, as its chaotic implementation could become the biggest political liability Democrats will face in next year’s midterm elections.

A senior Republican congressional leader tells me that he had come to trust that he could detect the real lines of authority in any White House, since he’s worked for five presidents. “But this one baffles me,” he says. “I do know that when I ask Obama for something, there is often no answer. But when I ask Valerie Jarrett, there’s always an answer or something happens.”

You really should read the whole thing.  That theory explains so much….

When it rains it pours (and that’s bad for the Obamites)

Obama sweating

In the past four years, conservatives have felt disheartened by the Obama deluge.  Since he first took office, conservatives have been playing defense on so many things:  ObamaCare, changes in the military to allow gays to serve openly and women to serve in combat roles, attacks on Israel, a non-declared war in Libya, caving in to Iran, announcing defeat in advance in Afghanistan, attacks on Second Amendment rights, far-Left political appointees, etc., etc.  You know that I’ve frequently blogged about feeling disheartened and overwhelmed.  The only victories that have come down the pike are Obama’s having to retreat from his attacks against Israel (but a little more on that later) and the Democrats’ recent gun control loss.  The first came about, not because of anything conservatives did, but because reality interfered with Obama’s grand plans.  The second seemed to come about because of conservative efforts, but it also happened because it turns out that Obama’s second term is not going to be as shiny as the first.

This time around, Obama is on the receiving end of the “if it rains, it pours” expression.  In the last week, all the straws he thought he’d gathered neatly in his hands have been scattered to the winds.  Here’s my list of the last two week’s worth of scandals and mishaps.

1.  The most recent round of Benghazi hearings revealed that Obama’s hand-picked Secretary of State bungled affairs in Libya so badly that four men, including an American ambassador, died on a teeny plot of U.S. soil, at the hands of terrorists affiliated with al Qaeda.

2.  Those same hearings revealed that a significant part of Hillary’s failure resulted from her need to align with Obama’s officially stated policy position on al Qaeda:  It was decapitated when Barack Obama, practically single-handedly except for a small assist from some expendable Navy SEALS, killed Osama bin Laden.

3. Those same hearings revealed that, while the attack was going on, both the President and the Secretary of State got some much-needed sleep to prepare for the next day’s campaigning.

4.  Those same hearings revealed that Obama absolutely refused to send help, whether because it would have interfered with his political narrative, or because he was afraid of “coming on to strong” in the Muslim world, or because that would have interfered with his beauty rest.  We don’t know the motive; we just know the fact.

5.  Those same hearings revealed that Obama and Hillary (and by using that term I mean the entire chain of command that ends with them at the top of the heap) worked frantically to create a cover-up pinning the attack, not on al Qaeda, but on an obscure, slightly shady Christian film-maker, who languishes in prison even today.

6.  Obama’s Justice Department, headed by Eric “Fast & Furious” Holder, tapped 40 different phone lines at Associated Press, including it’s official line in the House of Representatives.  Associated Press, which has been an untiring water carrier for the administration — touting its agenda, hiding its troubles, attacking its enemies — might just have been mugged by reality.

7.  The families of the 17 SEAL Team 6 members who died on August 6, 2011, when a Taliban rocket took out their insufficiently-armed helicopter (and killed 21 other military personnel) are on the warpath.  They claim that it was Obama’s and Biden’s boasting about SEAL Team 6′s role in the Osama bin Laden killing that paint a target on their sons’ (and brothers’ and husbands’ and fathers’) backs.  To rub salt in the wound of seeing their brave men die, not in the service of their country, but as necessary sacrifices to Obama’s political ambitions, Obama’s Pentagon, when it conducted the official memorial service at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, refused to allow these men’s Judeo-Christian God even to be mentioned, but invited a Muslim Imam whose invocation, of necessity since it was an Islamic prayer, cursed them for being infidels.

8.  News broke that the IRS deliberately audited conservative groups who were seeking tax exempt status because their primary goal was education.  Any groups with giveaway words in their names such as “Tea Party,” or “Patriot” or “Constitution” were swept up in the effort.  In addition to audits, the IRS also asked intrusive questions aimed at eliciting information about donors. Although the IRS tried to claim that the problem was a local office, it quickly became clear that the directive came from Washington and that the IRS has known for years what was going on and denied it.

9.  The dust had scarcely settled on this IRS revelation when it emerged that the IRS had also targeted pro-Israel groups, who advocated policies different from Obama’s “get Israel at all costs” approach to foreign affairs.

10.  And the dust was still floating on the IRS’s attack on pro-Israel groups (and do keep in mind that Israel is America’s ally), when it emerged that the IRS had leaked to a Leftist advocacy group tax information about organizations on Obama’s political enemies’ list.

11.  Obama’s EPA granted almost all waiver requests from friends of Obama and denied almost all waiver requests from Obama’s political opponents.  Coincidence?  I think not.  This isn’t a huge scandal — yet — but it could develop in interesting ways.  I mean, we all understand that the EPA is filled with far-Left political hacks.  That’s why it’s not as shocking as the IRS scandal.  We’ve always assumed that the IRS is an equal opportunity money grabber.

11.5  It’s not really an administration scandal, but the verdict against Kermit Gosnell, which came from a jury that was 3/4 pro-Choice, shows that the Leftist pretenses about late-term abortion, and life-birth baby care (which Obama opposed) is starting to float into the public awareness.

I haven’t looked at the headlines in the past half-hour, but I suspect that more sordid scandals are popping up now that the dam is breaking.  Conservatives find all four corners of these scandals (Benghazi, IRS, Navy SEALS, and AP intimidation) disturbing.  Leftists, predictably, care only about the IRS and the AP intimidation.  Whatever.  As long as the media starts taking corruption in the Obama administration seriously, it’s all good.

Here are some good links for more information about the scandals.  (You’ve probably noticed that I was too lazy to hyperlink any specific facts, because I had opted for this end-of-the post data dump.)

Richard Baehr talks about the President’s silence as his lies are revealed.

Leftists may be right to pretend Benghazi is not a problem, because the public doesn’t care.

Barry Rubin explains why Obama will not be getting any further mileage out of attacking Israel.

The Anchoress has a perfect visual to explain Jay Carney’s role in life right now.

Richard Fernandez asks whether the breaking wave of scandals is just a cosmic coincidence or if we’re witnessing a breaking p0int.  I think it depends on how angry the media is about the AP story, and how fearful they are about a politicized IRS.

Bryan Preston helpfully sums up the four major scandals (no, make that five major scandals) currently plaguing the administration.

Michael Ramirez has the perfect cartoon.

And my friend Wolf Howling has two great posts summing up precisely what’s wrong with the whole Benghazi debacle:  the lack of a military response (which goes straight to Obama) and the reason, contra Obama, that there is a “there there.”

Obama and Henry II; Obama and Martin Niemöller; and Obama and Al Capone

Congratulations, folks!  When it comes to the IRS audit scandal, you are about to get three apt historical comparisons in a single post.

The background, of course, is the cascading downpour of news stories revealing that the IRS deliberately audited Tea Party groups, patriot groups, small government groups, and pro-Israel groups.  The auditing started in 2010, but reached a crescendo during Obama’s campaign for re-election.  The result was that several groups hostile to Obama and his policies were completely broken or rendered paralyzed during key moments in the Obama administration.  Obama’s responsibility, and the reaction to this true witch-hunt made me think of three historic parallels.

1.  Obama and Henry II.  I’m willing to bet you never thought of Obama in connection with Henry II (1133-1189).  Henry was the lusty, rowdy, all-conquering (at least initially) 12th century English king who married Eleanor of Aquitaine, the richest, most beautiful woman in Europe; ruled large sections of France; fathered sons who went off on crusades and set put a signature to the first “rights” document ever written; and generally set the stage for England’s prominent role on the world stage for so many centuries.

Obama is the exact opposite — not lusty, not rowdy, terrified of conquest, married to a woman whose primary claim to beauty is her arms, etc.  And yet, there’s a thread that binds them.  I thought of it when I read about the defense Obama-ites are offering when it comes to the really horrible scandal about the IRS targeting conservative groups and Jewish groups, essentially disabling them during Obama’s first term and, especially, in the lead-up to the election.

According to Obama’s defenders, even if one concedes that what the IRS did was a bad thing, Obama shouldn’t be touched by the scandal.  It was not Barack’s fault.  Leave Barack alone!!  The IRS’s version of events is that  “low level” employees committed these tyrannical acts.  The New York Times goes so far as to blame the whole thing on the GOP (and certainly wins the George Orwell “1984″ Reporting Award for doing so).  Message:  this is not Obama’s fault.  Barack Obama himself has gone on record as being surprised and dismayed.

You know what?  This may be true.  I’m perfectly willing to believe that Obama didn’t personally order these audits.  But I can’t help thinking of Henry II.  Once upon a time, early in his reign, Thomas Becket was Henry II’s closest friend.  The relationship lasted right up until Henry elevated Becket to be Archbishop of Canterbury.  It was then that Becket, who had been a priest for years, finally had his “come to Jesus” moment.  He began opposing Henry vigorously on government policies that affected the Church, so much so that he became a thorn in Henry’s side.

Eventually, goaded beyond bearing, Henry cried out rhetorically “Will no one rid me of this turbulent (or meddling) priest?” (or, perhaps, the wordier “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?”).  It’s important to note that Henry never ordered Becket’s death.  He just whined about the fact that Becket’s existence interfered with his goals.  Four of Henry’s knights heard these words and decided to help out.  They rode to Canterbury and stabbed Thomas to death inside the Cathedral itself.

Although the facts made it impossible to hold Henry guilty for having ordered Becket’s death, everyone understood that his attitude caused it.  Henry was castigated throughout Europe.  Four years after Becket’s death, he donned a sack-cloth and walked barefoot through Canterbury’s streets as eighty monks flogged him with branches. Henry then spent the night in the martyr’s crypt.  Henry also promised the Papacy that he’d go crusading in Becket’s memory, although never did so.  As it happened, Richard I, Henry’s oldest son, more than made up for his father’s broken promise.

Obama has made it plain in almost every speech he’s given that Republicans must be destroyed.  He has not treated them as partners in governing America.  Through straw men arguments, slanders, and insults, he has painted them as the other and made it clear that the only way for him to achieve full greatness is for his enemy to be wiped out.  Small wonder that party loyalists, whether at the upper level of the IRS or in the Ohio office too him seriously.

Even if Obama is not practically culpable, he is morally culpable, just as Henry was for Becket’s death.

2.  Obama and Martin Niemöller.  The IRS scandal has been brewing for a long time.  Conservative bloggers and pro-Israel groups have been complaining for years about their targeting.  The mainstream media completely ignored these complaints, or, alternatively, contended that they occurred because the GOP politicized everything, so every conservative organization was political.  The media and the White House would have happily continued along this path if Lois Lerner, for reasons that are still unclear, hadn’t blown the story wide-open by admitting that targeting happened.

The Obama administration’s and the media’s responses, reminded me forcefully of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous statement after WWII, when he was strongly regretting his Nazi past:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

3.  Obama and Al Cap0ne The press has been ignoring Benghazi as much as possible.  They’re starting to wake up a little bit to the fact that they were played (or rather, they let themselves be played), but it’s been a slow boil, one that took eight months and enormous pressure from the GOP, conservatives generally, and the families of those who died.  Even the recent hearing haven’t gotten them too excited, as they try to exculpate Hillary and Obama, downplay the credentials of the whistle-blowers, and generally hew to their “nothing to see here; move along” attitude.  Most reasonable thinkers admit that, while embarrassing for Obama, nothing that has yet been revealed about his defalcation and cover-up will justify legal action or impeachment claims against him.

It’s been different with the IRS scandal.  Once it couldn’t deny the story any more, the media has really gone after it.  Even Morning Joe, one of the normally complacent Obama Administration shows on MSNBC, was upset by this tyranny.  We now know what really puts the fear of Gaia into Leftists:  They’re not worried about terrorist attacks; they’re afraid of an IRS audit.  That’s pathetic, of course, but there’s a good side.  If the IRS audit scandal exposes the corruption running deep and wide through the Obama administration, I guess that’s good, with the end (the administration’s downfall) mattering more than the means to achieve it.

All of which made me think of Al Capone.  He was the biggest mob boss in the 1920s.  In addition to the direct hits he ordered, one cannot count the numbers of lives lost to the moral degeneration and violence that flowed throughout American society because of Capone’s rum running and prostitution businesses.  The problem for the Feds was that Capone kept his fingerprints off these grossly illegal and immoral activities.  Everybody knew he was involved, but prosecutors couldn’t prove it.  What they could prove, though, was that Al Capone lied on his tax returns — and that’s how he ended up spending years in federal prison.  Capone emerged from Alcatraz broken, broke, and rotting inside from the syphilis that eventually killed him.

Thinking of Al Capone, there is some irony to the fact that it might be taxes that bring down one of the most corrupt administrations in American history.

(This post has been updated to clear away a totally embarrassing typo that saw me confuse Richard I’s and Richard III’s numerical designator.)

Your PC, supportive IRS at work

Many of us view the IRS with a certain amount of suspicion.  Being fair-minded people, we know that all societies need some mechanism to collect revenue to pay for basic government services (with the fault lying with Congress if those revenue demands are excessive).  We also know that our family and friends may work for it, and that they do so in an honorable capacity.

Nevertheless, there’s no getting past the fact that the IRS is a huge government bureaucracy that can, and will, destroy you if you cross it. It’s also unnerving that the current Congress is using the IRS, not just as a collection agency, but as a cudgel to force citizens to comply with coercive government policies that violate fundamental constitutional rights.

Given the IRS’s vast power, which Congress has recently put to a nefarious use, will it comfort you at all to know that the IRS has a touchie-feelie side?  How else to explain this email, which circulated to large numbers of IRS employees, before ultimately making its way to my inbox.

You can draw your own conclusions about what’s happening within the IRS.  I’ll just say that I view with suspicion any email that begins with a bathetic quotation from the execrable Jimmy Carter:

Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 9:38 AM
To: ******
Subject: Creating a beautiful mosaic

We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. – Jimmy Carter

I am constantly amazed by the contribution so many of you make to the IRS, your co-workers, and your communities through your memberships in any of more than a dozen IRS employee groups.

From the oldest organization, the Association for the Improvement of Minorities in the IRS, founded in 1969, to the newest group formed just this year, the Interactive Spiritual Partners for Internal Revenue Employees – these clubs work to fulfill significant missions. They typically serve their members and communities by supporting equal opportunities for all, while alerting leaders to trends and new issues. Most employee organizations meet regularly, raise funds to help fulfill their organization’s mission and assist within the community. Many groups offer scholarships and educate their members through local and national conferences, e-mail and social media.

***** and I thank all of you who improve your communities and help make the IRS the best place to work. You not only help others, you also learn new skills and meet people who can support you in your career. ***** and I know the value of employee groups because we often attend the national conferences and see the “magic” happen firsthand.

I encourage you to visit the Employee Organizations Web page. Ask questions, attend a meeting and join one – or more – groups. Be assured you can join any of them. Your political, ethnic or religious background is unimportant to these groups as long as you support their shared mission – to make the IRS employee “mosaic” even more beautiful to behold.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News