The IRS Scandal: Worse Than Watergate

Watergate was an egregious attempt by some Nixon staffers to steal strategy intel from Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign. If successful, it would have given the Nixon people insight into how to conduct their campaign to defeat George McGovern. It was an attempt to influence an election. For the record, it was spectacularly unsuccessful. Nothing was taken and no one who broke into the Democrat headquarters even resisted arrest.

Moreover, it was entirely unnecessary; McGovern effectively defeated himself, losing 49 states. As I tell my students, not only was the attempt to steal documents immoral, it was unbelievably stupid, as there was no way Nixon was going to lose that election. Those who carried out the deed were prosecuted, as they should have been. Nixon ended up resigning as a result of his actions to cover up what happened. His resignation also was appropriate, given his desire to obstruct justice.

Any attempt to influence an election unfairly should be viewed with the utmost concern, and anyone involved in doing so should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. When the perpetrators of such injustice are Republicans, the media’s long knives come out. During Watergate, it was the Washington Post that led the charge.

IRSWe have a situation today that is, in fact, far worse than anything that occurred in the Watergate fiasco, yet neither the Post nor any of the mainstream media cares. The IRS targeting of conservative groups leading up to the 2012 presidential election should be garnering even more attention than Watergate did in the Nixon era.

There’s even a big difference between the two cases: the IRS was successful in its endeavor to silence those organizations prior to 2012 by harassing them with endless questions and denying or stalling their tax-exempt status applications until after the election had passed. Freedom of political speech was stifled through this unconstitutional means. And it probably had an effect on that election’s outcome.

Yet the only major news outlet bothering to report on this continuing scandal (and the coverup that has become rather obvious) is Fox. Talk radio keeps attention on it, as do various conservative websites, but the mass of the public has been kept in the dark regarding these unlawful actions.

Lois Lerner 2At the center of the controversy is Lois Lerner, the IRS official who spearheaded the stalling tactics. She has a history of trying to undermine conservatives, and her refusal to testify before Congress regarding her actions only lends credence to accusations that she did this for political purposes, perhaps at the behest of the White House. E-mails have surfaced making it clear she knew what she was doing. The House of Representatives is going forward with contempt charges, and is pressing the Justice Department to prosecute her for criminality.

The only problem is that Eric Holder continues to hold the reins as attorney general. He will ensure that any attempt at prosecution is squashed. What we have here is something far more serious than Watergate. The administration, though, feels it has no reason to worry—the media has its back.

What does this portend for conservative groups as we go forward?

Harass Our Group

Republicans need to continue to apply the pressure. Election fraud needs to be addressed. Government corruption must be exposed, even if the investigation leads to the White House. Some Democrats are declaring, in outraged tones, that this is not Watergate. They are correct: Watergate pales in comparison.

Polls, the Media, & Bad Principles

President Obama’s approval ratings are in later George W. Bush territory, still hovering above those of Richard Nixon right before his resignation. It’s doesn’t matter which poll you look at, he’s in the tank. The trust factor is almost gone, at least for an effective presidency. One might hope these numbers would make him rethink his entire philosophy of government, but all he ever does is double-down on his fundamentals:

Disapproval Rating

Ordinarily, I would respect someone who abides by his principles, but not when the principles are as bankrupt as his. They don’t deserve the name “principles”; they are false philosophies.

One might also expect the media to do its own rethinking, since both the news and entertainment segments have been his chief cheerleaders and apologists. That expectation, sad to say, is not to be realized:

Duty to Report

Another indication that the mainstream networks haven’t shifted gears into doing their job honestly is the resignation of CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson. She was determined to get to the bottom of some of the Obama scandals, but was hindered and/or thwarted at almost every step. She finally had enough and left an employer that didn’t really want her to do her job well:

Gold Watch

This is another black eye for CBS news, but there should be an outlet somewhere for Attkisson to continue her investigations.

What we are are seeing is a rather unholy alliance between government and the supposedly free press to advance a common goal. The collusion has led to massive deception and an electorate largely in the dark about this administration’s aims and its reprehensible actions. Although those opinion polls are now beginning to go against Obama, they are five years too late. Only the continuing bad economy and the Obamacare debacle have awakened the people. I wish they had been awakened much earlier simply by the knowledge of our current leader’s overall goals. Thinking about principles, though, is not the norm; people respond more to bad prospects for jobs and healthcare. I’ll take what we can get, but I want to keep pointing to the false foundation on which Obama promised “hope and change.”

The Media & the IRS Scandal

I have to comment on this before it becomes too old news. Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa tried to hold another hearing into the IRS scandal. Once again, the primary suspect in this abuse of conservative organizations, Lois Lerner, was supposed to testify. She’s the one, in case your memory needs a jog, who took the Fifth last time after making statements that she was innocent. By doing so, she might have voided her right to take the Fifth, but who cares anymore about following the law. Certainly not the IRS. Certainly not the DOJ, which is responsible for investigating these misdeeds.

Lerner repeated her earlier performance. Issa asked her seven questions; she took the Fifth on each. Clearly, this hearing was going nowhere, so Issa officially adjourned. After doing so, the minority leader, Rep. Elijah Cummings, said he had a procedural question. Issa, even though the hearing was over, gave him liberty to ask his question. There was no question. Instead, Cummings launched into a denunciation of Issa and the committee for holding biased hearings. At that point, Issa called for his microphone to be cut; the hearing was over.

That led to an eruption from Cummings, who went nearly apoplectic over his supposed ill treatment. All of this was caught on camera. His outburst made the news. And later, he made an accusation against Issa that he was . . . ready for it . . . racist. Of course. The last refuge of modern scoundrels.

Issa’s decision to end the hearing, his cutoff of the microphone, and the charge of racism were the highlight of the mainstream media’s coverage. Never mind that Cummings was out of bounds and that racism played no role here. Ignore the actual issue—the political sabotage by the IRS—and emphasize the false accusations against Issa instead.

Won't Talk

This is the usual media ploy: make the Republican into the bad guy, even though all he’s trying to do is get to the truth about a clear abuse of power.

Being Rude

Almost from the start, the media have tried to derail the IRS story. Evidence shows, beyond any genuine doubt, that only conservative organizations were targeted, yet that doesn’t seem to bother them. There are always other things more important on which to focus:

Worried Sick

Again, the only network that has stayed on the IRS story consistently is Fox, which naturally makes this network the recipient of criticism from those who want the scandal to go away. There is a pattern here:

Another Story

The mainstream media doesn’t like to be reminded of its total lack of objectivity in reporting the news.

Eternal Vigilance . . .

A few follow-ups today on topics I’ve mentioned recently. Yesterday I commented on Secretary of State John Kerry’s insistence that global warming is settled science and that anyone who questions it belongs to the Flat Earth Society. Never mind, of course, that no one of learning ever really believed the earth was flat; to point that out would be inappropriate. I came across what I consider to be a fine rejoinder to Kerry’s rather smug assertion:

Early Denier

Our modern-day skeptics of global warming science find themselves in the same place as Galileo did five centuries ago. And they are subject to the same ridicule and threats from authority that he was.

Then there was my post a few days ago about the FCC studying how to monitor newsrooms, a clear violation of First Amendment free speech protection. This was an unprecedented attempt to stifle criticism of the administration. But it’s not that this administration hasn’t had practice doing some stifling:

You're Next

Now, supposedly, all the uproar over this “study” has caused the FCC to back down. For that, we can be grateful. Yet we need to stay alert; sometimes a backdown like this can be just a feint, and they find a new way to accomplish the same goal. What’s that motto? Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty?

Another topic I refuse to let go of is the continuing abuse of conservative groups by the IRS. Even though there has been much publicity about the targeting of conservatives, IRS officials are unbowed, apparently. Despite new evidence revealing that only conservative groups were singled out, the IRS presses forward, seeking to limit further what tax-exempt organizations can do during election cycles. Where will this end?

Give Your Opinion

No, I’m not paranoid; I’m simply paying attention to what’s actually happening.

Tyranny Comes Packaged with Good Intentions

Imagine you’re a journalist working for a news organization where you are free to investigate any story you choose, follow any lead, and make decisions as to what is significant and/or newsworthy. Now imagine a government official coming into your organization and investigating you as to whether you are focusing on the types of stories the government deems appropriate. Have you given enough emphasis to the environment? Have you stressed income inequality adequately? Are you promoting equal rights by offering the government-approved new definition of marriage? Are you ensuring that the public understands that gay rights trumps religious liberty?

FCCFar-fetched? I would have thought so before the news this week that the Federal Communications Commission, with a Democrat majority, is studying that very scenario. Is it at all possible to violate the First Amendment in a more egregious fashion than this?

That important Amendment is already under fire with respect to its religious liberty provisions; now freedom of the press may soon be threatened.

Who would have the gall to make such a frontal attack?

Welcome to Obamaworld.

The “study” has identified eight specific areas where citizens need to be informed: emergencies and risks; health and welfare [Obamacare, anyone?]; education [Common Core?]; transportation; economic opportunities [income inequality?]; the environment [global warming or climate change—depending on the trend of the month?]; civic information; and political information [that last one is a truly loaded term].

One of the two Republicans on the FCC board—where a vote never even was taken about a study being done—commented, “An enterprising regulator could run wild with a lot of these topics. The implicit message to the newsroom is they need to start covering these eight categories in a certain way or otherwise the FCC will go after them.”

How does the FCC go after broadcast entities? It can shut them down.

This is not yet a reality, only a study. But those have a tendency to become real. If this one does, it will be chilling. Dictators always take over the media so that they can propagandize and silence any opposing view.

Budding tyranny has been a theme this week on this blog. It wasn’t my intent to focus on it, but circumstances have made it necessary. Tyrants never announce that they are going to tyrannize; they are always taking action for the benefit of their citizens. Tyranny nearly always comes packaged with good intentions. Yet it is tyranny nevertheless.

An Incipient Tryanny

While Obamacare, or the remnants of it, at least,  remains a top news story, the rising theme, which is even making its way into the mainstream media, is the budding tyranny of all things Obama. I want to be careful when I use a word like tyranny; it can be overused and/or misused by those who have always seen it everywhere. But there comes a time when one must point out patterns.

Yul BrynnerI’ve commented regularly about Obama’s belief that he can merely declare things from his perch as president. That’s not what the Constitution says. Some commentators have even noted that his abuse of executive orders has now been surpassed by simple declarations, as if he doesn’t even need to make something look official. Just say it, and it will be done. It kind of reminds me of Yul Brynner playing Pharaoh in the classic film The Ten Commandments, who kept repeating, “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Do we now have our own pharaoh?

The media has carried the water for this president in so many ways. If not for Fox, there would be no mention anymore of the IRS abuses, nor of the ongoing investigation, an investigation that put Obama cronies in charge. The man who did that is Eric Holder, another Obama crony. Now we find out, despite the outcry over the targeting of conservative groups, a proposed IRS regulation seeks to limit further the free speech of tax-exempt organizations. There is an effort in Congress to stop that regulation from going into effect. We’ll see how that fares. Suppressing the vote worked for Obama in 2012:

For the Record

If that proposed regulation becomes law—or what passes for law anymore—we can expect more of the same:

Help the Dems

And if you dare to become a public critic of the president, especially if your criticism is well received by a large audience, you may find yourself in the position that filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza currently finds himself. D’Souza, for a relatively minor offense of trying to find ways to send more funds to a political campaign (and we’re not talking large amounts here; nothing like the Obama “bundlers” who then get ambassadorships to countries they’ve never visited and about which they know virtually nothing), was handcuffed, threatened with a 5-7-year prison sentence, and given a $500,000 bail. Others who broke campaign laws in a similar fashion were never “perp-walked,” given any prison time, or saddled with such a high bail amount. What’s the lesson here?

Coincidence

The oppressive nature of this regime is manifesting itself with increasing regularity. I haven’t even touched on the moral issues of parental rights, the right of businesses to operate without being forced to violate their religious convictions, and the attempt to shove same-sex marriage into the mainstream of society. Entire blog posts, even books, could now be written on the multiplication of such cases in this administration.

Is this what it has come to?

Govt of Obama

This has gone beyond amusing or annoying. This is an incipient tyranny.

Obama’s Inconvenient Problems

I know President Obama wants all the problems he and his minions have created just to go away; they’re too inconvenient to his goals. He’s doing his best to act as if they’re inconsequential, but the news doesn’t really get better for him as time passes. Take Obamacare, for instance. This past week, the Congressional Budget Office—always referred to in the news as the nonpartisan CBO—revised its figures of the impact of Obamacare on jobs. It seems it will be instrumental in the loss of about 2.3 million fulltime jobs in the next few years. That’s not what the CBO said when the legislation was pending. Have you noticed how economic and jobs figures are seemingly in constant revision?

Let’s review the myriad disruptions to normal life caused by Obamacare:

Side Effects

But when these side effects are presented to the president, he makes light of them and declares his signature legislation to be a resounding success:

Light Dusting

Then there’s the IRS controversy, the ongoing investigation into the unfair targeting of conservative groups, representatives of whom testified yesterday in Congress as to the strains and pressures they have faced from that federal agency. Obama’s claim that there’s not even a smidgen of corruption connected to the scandal is becoming as infamous as Bill Clinton’s “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.” Will this fly with the informed part of the public?

Not Even a Smidgen

The president’s constant fallback when confronted with these issues is to blame others. For years, he has solemnly asserted most of his economic hiccups were caused by George Bush. Now, five years into his presidency, that’s got to be wearing thin with anyone who possesses even a smidgen of brain power. Another favorite scapegoat has been Fox News, which is merely following the evidence on these various scandals and not allowing them to be swept under the rug. Obama’s tendency to blame Fox surfaced again this week in his interview with Bill O’Reilly:

Fox News

And then there’s the always-reliable excuse of racism. Who can ever counter that one? Well, perhaps Martin Luther King, were he still with us today, might have a few choice words about using that excuse:

Content of Character

Amidst all the controversy, though, Obama has one faithful ally that will always do its best to come to his rescue:

Swan

And that’s what makes it so difficult to have an informed public.