Posts Tagged ‘tea party’

Obama Ready to Declare Martial Law

October 6, 2014

I criticize and make fun of the hysterical emails I get from liberal groups, so it seems only fair that I should criticize and make fun of the hysterical emails I get from conservatives. I actually have less patience with idiocy from conservatives since they ought to know better. I expect conservatives to be at least somewhat more rational and sensible than liberals, though we do have our idiots on our team.

Anyway, here is an email I recently received.

Dear Fellow Patriot,

Our country is in trouble. We need you.

President Obama and the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington care more about power, wealth and their own selfish desires than they do about our country and its citizens.
The Washington Establishment has created the worst recession since the Great Depression … cut $700 Billion from Medicare under Obamacare … destroyed our privacy rights by spying on every phone call, email and fax communication … endangered our Constitutional rights under the First, Second, Fourth, and other amendments…and much more. They’ve even threatened to nationalize whole industries by Executive Order alone.

And there’s something else. On Friday, March 16, 2012 America ceased being a Republic and became a dictatorship in one swipe of a pen. That dark day Obama committed the boldest assault on America since the Revolutionary War—while Americans weren’t looking.

Barack Hussein Obama quietly gave himself the power to impose Martial Law, bypassing both the Constitution and Congress through Executive Order.

Executive Order No. 13603—Obama’s National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order—gives Barack Hussein Obama unprecedented power to bring about socialism in America and create a regime so powerful, so vile, it is Soviet-like in nature.

Martial Law can and will happen whenever he chooses. It may happen one fateful night while we sleep—he can manufacture a crisis to make it happen.

And when it does, we will find ourselves waking up to a complete police state and news that Obama has declared himself supreme dictator over all the land.

This is very serious my fellow Patriot.

How can we stop this power grab destined to tear the heart out of America, leaving us with little but the clothes on our backs?

For starters, I’m writing to urge you to donate today so we can DERAIL OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDER TO IMPLEMENT MARTIAL LAW!

As a full-fledged, active member of the Tea Party I fully support this movement.

Please, there’s no time to wait. Please make a contribution to the Tea Party in support of their efforts to fight government tyranny.

The Tea Party represents the best, perhaps the only, hope for our nation.

We have to stand up and fight this shocking power grab. If we do not, we’re destined for Martial Law.

Obama’s Executive Order “National Defense Preparedness” No. 13603 gives Obama a free pass to unrestricted, unprecedented power held only by those deemed “dictator.”

This Executive Order allows Obama to hijack our country, run roughshod over Congress and stick it to Patriots. It’s a frightening abuse of power that must be stopped—that’s why we need you to support the Tea Party with a donation without delay.

It goes on and on but is basically a plea for money, with dire consequences if Obama is allowed to get away with his nefarious plan.  The only really important part of this message is the reference to Executive Order 13603, which apparently allows President Obama to declare martial law and suspend the constitution.

President Barack Obama signs the executive ord...

President Barack Obama signs the executive order declaring himself Maximum Leader and Grand Poobah.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This Executive Order allows Obama to hijack our country, run roughshod over Congress and stick it to Patriots. It’s a frightening abuse of power that must be stopped—that’s why we need you to support the Tea Party with a donation without delay.

This is a violent assault on our personal liberty, privacy rights and the rule-of-law. I’d like to give you a few examples of what this means to you, to me, our children, grandchildren and loved ones.

With the stroke of his pen Obama gave himself the power to:

✔   Bailout any person or company he wants
✔   Break existing labor contracts
✔   Cut back health care for citizens
✔   Fix food prices
✔   Force the production of electric cars
✔   Halt consumer production and replace it with government work
✔   Increase airfares
✔   Raise gas prices to any level
✔   Reduce our pay and dictate pay scales to employers

There’s so much more, too. Don’t you see? This is Obama’s communist utopia—the dreams of his father. Those dreams were meant to kill capitalism, create a society of “fair share” and income equality no matter whether or not you are deserving of it or whether you earned it. Patriots, this is oppression at its worst.

Sounds serious, doesn’t it? Is any of it true? Well, there really is an Executive Order 13603 and the language of the order might lend itself to the interpretation above, but this isn’t something that Barack Obama came up with. According to snopes.com, this executive order is nothing more than an update of similar orders issued by President Clinton, which was an update of previous such orders.

On 16 March 2012, President Barack Obama issued an executive order (EO) covering National Defense Resources Preparedness, prompting Congresswoman Kay Granger to pen the (since-removed) missive quoted above. Despite claims that the executive order provided the President with unprecedented new powers such as declaring martial law, seizing private property, implementing the rationing of food, gasoline, and drugs, restarting peacetime conscription, and nationalizing America industry, merely by declaring a national emergency, the National Defense Resources Preparedness EO issued by President Obama was simply a minor updating of a similar order issued by President Bill Clinton in 1994 (which itself had decades-old predecessors) and amended several times since.

If you think that snopes.com has a liberal bias, they cite a post from the conservative blog hotair.com.

We’re getting a lot of e-mail this weekend about an executive order issued on Friday afternoon by President Obama titled “National Defense Resources Preparedness.”  While the timing of the EO is curious — why send it out on a Friday afternoon when an administration is usually trying to sneak bad news past the media? — the general impact of it is negligible.  This EO simply updates another EO (12919) that had been in place since June 1994, and amended several times since.

Why the update?  If one takes a look at EO 12919, the big change is in the Cabinet itself.  In 1994, we didn’t have a Department of Homeland Security, for instance, and some of these functions would naturally fall to DHS.  In EO 12919, the FEMA director had those responsibilities, and the biggest change between the two is the removal of several references to FEMA (ten in all).   Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of changes between the two EOs, which looks mainly like boilerplate.

In fact, that’s almost entirely what it is.  The original EO dealing with national defense resources preparedness was issued in 1939 (EO 8248) according to the National Archives.  It has been superseded a number of times, starting in 1951 by nearly every President through Bill Clinton, and amended twice by George W. Bush.

Barack Obama may be arrogant, and the timing of this release might have looked a little strange, but this is really nothing to worry about at all.

So basically, this is nothing more than a routine update of a policy that was put into place at the beginning of the Cold War to ensure that the government could still function if the Russians nuked us. And, if you look at the date of the posts at snopes and hot air, you will notice that this particular rumor has been going around since 2012. If President Obama is really planning to make himself a dictator, he is taking his time about it.

Frantic messages about martial law like this one only distract from the real dangers to our freedom. I don’t think the danger to our liberties is that President Barack Obama is going to announce that he is a dictator tomorrow morning. It is the precedents he is setting that worry me, this steady increase of the power of the presidency and the federal bureaucracy at the expense of our elected representatives. President Obama didn’t begin this process. It has been a bipartisan effort. Even our history books are part of it. Have you ever noticed that it is the presidents who increased the powers of their office that get the most praise from historians, whether the circumstances warranted extraordinary action or not. Presidents who minded their own business and let the country run itself are forgotten or derided as do-nothings.

What I fear, is that this process will continue until eventually we end up with something like an elected dictator, a Caesar ruling over us. A ruler who governs arbitrarily and is himself above any law or restraint. This is the real danger, and being one that grows very gradually, over the decades, and is reinforced by the natural human desire to look to a Leader, is one that is a lot more difficult to fight against than the fantasies of martial law invoked by this email.

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Don’t Tread on Me

March 25, 2014

Organizing for Action wants to give me a free bumper sticker.

tread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a parody of the Gadsden flag often seen at Tea Party rallies.

250px-Gadsden_flag.svg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gadsden flag dates from the Revolutionary War. It was designed by Christopher Gadsden in 1775 and was one of the first flags used by Americans until the Stars and Stripes. Benjamin Franklin explained the significance of using a rattlesnake as a symbol for the American spirit.

I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?

It makes a lot more sense than his proposal that the new nation’s national bird be the turkey.

Notice the difference in significance of the two symbols. The one, the Gadsden Flag, shows nothing more than a desire to be left alone, with the implied threat to those that meddle. The other, the Obamacare Sticker shows a desire for services paid for by other people. Has the American character really degenerated so far?

Perhaps this image from the People’s Cube might work better.

Tread_Obamacare_Hammer_Sickle

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John Boehner’s Snit

December 13, 2013
Official portrait of United States House Speak...

RINO? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

House Speaker John Boehner is not too happy with conservative groups that insist that he,well, actually govern as a conservative. He finally let the world know how he really felt the other day. I read about his remarks in various places but here is what the Hill had to say.

In a remarkable year-end press conference, Boehner repeatedly, and at times angrily, denounced and mocked the organizations that have dogged him throughout his Speakership, accusing them of “misleading their followers” while defending his own conservative credentials.

“I think they’re pushing our members in places where they don’t want to be, and frankly, I just think that they’ve lost all credibility,” Boehner said.

The Speaker didn’t cite any organizations by name, but he was clearly referring to a collection of Tea Party and conservative groups that have opposed nearly every significant piece of fiscal legislation he has presented to his members. They include Heritage Action, the political arm of the influential think tank, as well as the Tea Party-aligned FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.

Boehner grew more animated as he recalled the government shutdown in October, blaming the activists who he said “pushed us into this fight to defund ObamaCare and shut down the government.”

The day before the government reopened, he said, “one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work.”

“Are you kidding me?!” Boehner asked loudly.

Boehner and his leadership team have privately seethed at groups like Heritage for months, but the groups’ decision to oppose the budget agreement in advance prompted the Speaker to denounce them in public. His venting follows that of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who, earlier this fall, called out the groups for launching primaries against him and his members.

The Speaker strongly defended the two-year budget agreement that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), saying that, while it is not everything Republicans want, it “takes giant steps in the right direction.”

“This budget bill gets us more deficit reduction than what we have under the Budget Control Act,” he said. “I came here to cut the size of government. That’s exactly what this bill does, and why conservatives wouldn’t vote for this, or [would] criticize the bill is beyond any recognition I could come up with.”

But the press conference turned to a broader defense of Boehner’s three-year tenure as Speaker.

“I’m as conservative as anybody around this place,” he said. “And all the things that we’ve done in the three years that I’ve been Speaker have not violated any conservative principle. Not once.”

Asked whether he wanted the conservative groups to “stand down,” Boehner scoffed. “I don’t care what they do,” he replied.

Conservative groups had fired back at Boehner’s initial denunciation on Wednesday, but they held back on Thursday.

 

I really like Mitch McConnell’s attitude. How dare these uppity peasants actually think they should have a choice in choosing their elected officials. They should support me no matter how many times I stab them in the back. Meanwhile, the Democrats are happy with Boehner’s new attitude.

 

Democrats, however, praised his comments.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) weighed in on the feud Thursday, saying she “was encouraged” by Boehner’s remarks but isn’t yet banking on the notion that they foreshadow a new era of bipartisan cooperation.

“We’ll see what happens today,” she said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called them “a breath of fresh air.”

 

Just what we need. I have one question to ask Mr. Boehner. How does he expect his party to win elections if the leaders openly despise their most active grassroots supporters? Perhaps he has bought into the mainstream media theme that the Tea Party is just a few extreme wackos and that he should cooperate with the Democrats in supporting an ever growing government. If this is the case, he and others like him could be unpleasantly surprised next November.

 

 

 

 

Blaming Rush Again

August 27, 2013
Rush Limbaugh booking photo from his arrest in...

More powerful than the President? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I was reading this column by Rush Limbaugh‘s younger (and smarter) brother David Limbaugh at Townhall.com and a couple of things stuck me. First of all is the unpresidential spectacle of Obama blaming Rush for his inability to get his legislation passed.

 

Once again, President Obama is personally attacking my brother, Rush,
this time to shamelessly blame him for congressional gridlock. Nice
try, Mr. President, but what really bothers you is that Rush has your
number and daily shares it with his vast audience.

In an interview last week with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Obama charged
that most congressional Republicans oppose the move to defund Obamacare
but are afraid of saying so publicly for fear of Rush’s public
condemnation. Obama made the same type of charge prior to the 2012
elections.

Obama also glibly blames congressional Republicans for any impasse
with him on budgetary policy, saying the least they can do is to pass a
budget. “Congress doesn’t have a whole lot of core responsibilities,” he
said, as if to suggest that passing a budget is a mere ministerial
function.

 

Despite the fact that Rush Limbaugh has a large platform with which to present his views, he is still only a private citizen. He has no power to enact or block legislation and it is beneath the dignity of any president to personally attack a private citizen. This sort of thing only makes Obama look petty and probably helps Limbaugh maintain his ratings. The second thing that struck me was this remark by Obama.

 

But Obama continued to dig a deeper hole of deceit in his interview, telling Cuomo that sometimes his Republican friends (who are these creatures, by the way?) tell him privately that they would support his agenda but for their fear of a primary challenge from a tea party member, or they’re “worried about what Rush Limbaugh is going to say about me on radio.”

I seriously doubt that any such conversations took place between Republican congressmen and Obama, but if they did, it shows the type of Republican who would befriend Obama — the type who is dishonest with his constituency.

 

I wouldn’t doubt that many such conversations have occurred. But the point is that isn’t this how democracy is supposed to work? These people in Congress are supposed to be representing their constituents. If their constituents are opposed to Obama’s agenda, then shouldn’t they be representing such opposition? One gets the idea that President Obama would rather rule by decree with a rubber stamp Congress giving some fiction of constitutionality. Probably all presidents have felt that way from time to time, but Obama seems less able to conceal it.

 

One of the greatest frustration that conservatives have had is politicians who talk conservative while campaigning but then vote liberal as soon as they get to Washington. Until recently these spineless wonders have been more afraid of the New York Times saying something bad about them than the reaction of the people back home. If fear of the Tea Party has caused these people to actually start expressing the will of the people they actually represent, than the Tea Party has been a very good thing for this country.

 

 

 

Is Our Children Learning?

June 2, 2013

Not about important stuff like the concepts of freedom, our constitutional rights, and respect for the opinions of people you don’t happen to agree with. At least not if this story at Breitbart.com is typical of the way college students think.

On Thursday, the Centennial Institute released a video from Caleb Bonham, a conservative pundit, touring a local college campus and asking the students to sign a thank you card to the IRS for targeting tea party groups. Predictably, the geniuses that represent the future of our country were quick to sign off on IRS discrimination against conservatives.

“I think it’s a fake scandal and it makes sense to prosecute the 501(c)3s or whatever it is,” says one bike-riding, bearded, long-haired torch-bearer for American values. “I think this is pretty rad,” says another Phi Beta Kappa member. “I read about that, I thought it was pretty funny because the IRS is actually doing the right thing but the wrong thing at the same time, you know what I mean?” babbles one behatted female student.

“I love discrimination!” says one student. “Support Obama, target the tea party!” says another.

A huge number of student loans are subsidized by taxpayers.

And the taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth.

Here is the video

 

This doesn’t surprise me. Part of the reason I detest Leftists as the worse sort of intolerant bullies is because of the sort of things I witnessed while attending Indiana University twenty years ago. One episode I remember in particular involved a pro-life activist who the student pro-life organization invited to speak on the campus. I don’t remember name. I wish I did. Anyway, the local Left were not about to let anyone get away with expressing unorthodox opinions in public, so a crowd attended the meeting solely in order to shut him up. Every time the man tried to speak, they would wave coat hangers around and scream as loudly as they could so no one could hear him. Finally the situation became so volatile that the police escorted the speaker out of the room.

The student newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student, published an editorial condemning the hecklers, stating that even if you disagree with someone, you should still respect his right to speak. The newspaper received and published letters from these people saying that they were not the least bit ashamed of how they behaved as it was the right thing to do. The speaker was an anti-choice religious fanatic, and so had no right to to speak at a bastion of learning and tolerance such as Indiana University.

That is why I hate these people. I really hate these totalitarian wannabees because the only reason they aren’t shipping millions of people off to concentration camps is because they do not currently have any opportunity to do so. If some dictator came to power here in America, the idiots I saw shouting down the speaker and the idiots who signed this card would happily join whatever equivalent of the SS he might establish.

 

Worried Democrats

May 31, 2013

From the e-mails I have received today and yesterday, either the Democrats are worried about their chances in 2014 or there is another FEC fund raising deadline coming up.

Friend — The Republicans are reorganizing, fast.

Mitch McConnell just released another ad attacking President Obama, and Tea Party rallies are popping up all over the country.

The Republicans need only six seats to take over the Senate, own the entire Congress, and repeal President Obama’s agenda. And in this fight to stop the extreme right wing, every single day matters.

The FEC deadline is in just 12 hours, and we need you in the fight again today — can you help with a $3 contribution? The Republicans certainly aren’t stopping. They’re on the attack every day.

This year grassroots supporters like you have helped us raise an incredible $17,400,000 — leaving us only $100,000 to raise with 12 hours to go.

We’re so close! Will you pitch in $3 before the FEC deadline in just 12 hours?

Raised thru 5/30 $17.4 million
Left to raise by midnight $100,000
Your contribution $3 click here

Thanks so much for your urgent support,
Democratic Headquarters

 We can’t have Tea Party rallies popping up everywhere, and imagine the gall of Mitch McConnell attacking Obama. Only Barack Obama has the right to demonize his political enemies.

 

Friend — The cold, hard truth:

Only six Senate seats separate Mitch McConnell and the Republicans from taking the Senate, completely owning Congress, and repealing President Obama’s entire agenda.

That’s why the Republicans are reorganizing, quickly. This is their chance to destroy all of our progress. Mitch McConnell just launched a new ad slamming the President. And the Tea Party just reported a spike in fundraising.

To stop the Republicans, we’ve got to answer every attack they wage against us. Every single day matters.  And tonight’s FEC deadline in just 8 hours is a huge test of our strength — can you pitch in $3?

We’re very close to hitting our goal, but we aren’t there yet. Grassroots supporters like you have helped us raise an incredible $17,450,000 this year alone!

But to hit our goal tonight, we need just $50,000 more in grassroots support.

Will you help us cross the finish line? Pitch in $3 before the FEC deadline in just 8 hours.

Thanks for stepping up,

 

Democratic Victory

 

I wonder why the Tea Party reported a spike in find raising. There haven’t been any stories in the news lately that seem to confirm what the Tea Party has been saying all along, has there?

DEADLINE: FIVE Hours

Friend — It’s been a lightning-quick turnaround:

In a week, we’ve seen the Republicans regroup, gain momentum with a spike in Tea Party fundraising, and attack with a new anti-Obama ad from Mitch McConnell.

They know they can’t waste time. By winning just six Senate seats, they can take over the Senate, own Congress entirely, and completely repeal President Obama’s agenda.

To stop them, we must come together by answering every attack they wage. Can you join in the fight? Every day matters!

The FEC deadline hits in five hours. Please pitch in $3 right away to fight off Republican attacks.

Thanks,
Guy Cecil
Executive Director

Repealing Obama’s entire agenda sounds good to me.

I wonder if they are really worried or just want more money. It is too early to tell what will happen next November, I suppose.

 

Trumped Up Scandal

May 15, 2013

Well, I must say I feel like a fool. I actually thought that the IRS targeting Tea Party and conservative organizations was an example of the improper use of a government agency to intimidate and harass people with dissenting viewpoints. Lucky for me, I read Noam Scheiber‘s piece in the New Republic. Mr. Scheiber has explained everything and straightened me out.

Democrats can’t say it; Barack Obama can’t say it; and the IRS certainly can’t say it, so here goes: The only real sin the IRS committed in its ostensible targeting of conservatives is the sin of political incorrectness—that is, of not pretending it needed to vet all the new groups that wanted tax-exempt status, even though it mostly just needed to vet right-wing groups.

How do we know this? Because, for one thing, the people submitting the questionable applications were overwhelmingly right-wingers. As others have pointed out, the early Obama era was a boom time for conservative activists, who were forming groups faster than NBC burns through “Today Show” hosts. This coincided with a series of court rulings that made it possible for these groups to claim tax-exempt status without disclosing their donors under section 501c4 of the tax code.1 As a result, there were suddenly way more non-disclosing political groups trying to claim tax-exempt status than there ever had been, and the vast majority were right-leaning. No surprise, then, that the IRS would focus on whether these groups actually qualified for that status—something that was questionable since the law said their primary activity needed to be “social welfare,” not politicking.

But, in fact, the IRS’s great conservative crackdown is even more innocent than that. It turns out that the applications the conservative groups submitted to the IRS—the ones the agency subsequently combed over, provoking nonstop howling—were unnecessary. The IRS doesn’t require so-called 501c4 organizations to apply for tax-exempt status. If anyone wants to start a social welfare group, they can just do it, then submit the corresponding tax return (form 990) at the end of the year. To be sure, the IRS certainly allows groups to apply for tax-exempt status if they want to make their status official. But the application is completely voluntary, making it a strange basis for an alleged witch hunt.

So why would so many Tea Party groups subject themselves to a lengthy and needless application process? Mostly it had to do with anxiety—the fear that they could run afoul of the law once they started raising and spending money. “Our business experience was that we had to pay taxes once there was money coming through here,” says Tom Zawistowski, the recent president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, which tangled with the IRS over its tax status. “We felt we were under a microscope. … We were on pins and needles at all times.” In other words, the groups submitted their applications because they perceived themselves to be persecuted, not because they actually were.

So you see. There were just so many shady Tea Party groups forming that of course the IRS had to be very careful vetting all the applications. Oh but wait. According to USA Today, liberal groups had very little trouble getting tax exempt status.

In the 27 months that the Internal Revenue Service put a hold on all Tea Party applications for non-profit status, it approved applications from similar liberal groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.

As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with obviously liberal names were approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” these groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.

The controversial, 3-year-old strategy to manage the increasing number of political groups seeking tax-exempt status came under fire Tuesday. The agency’s own inspector general blamed IRS leadership for “ineffective management.”

The Justice Department wants to know if that was more than just mismanagement. Calling the IRS’ actions “outrageous and unacceptable,” Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that he has asked the FBI to investigate. “We’re examining the facts to see if there were any criminal violations,” he said.

A federal official who has been briefed on the matter said the investigation could focus on potential violations of civil rights law, including targeting groups based on political affiliation and infringing free speech. The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said authorities could consider possible violations of the Hatch Act, which restricts political activities of government workers.

There goes that narrative.

Mr. Scheiber wonders why the Tea Party organizations might be anxious to make sure all their paperwork was in order. For many organizers of the Tea Party, this was their first actual experience with political activism. Despite the liberal talking point that the Tea Party is Astroturf, most Tea Partiers are not the sort of professional protesters found in Soros funded Left wing political pressure groups. Quite a few of these people owned their own businesses and most were used to the idea of obeying the laws and regulations they were subject to. Also, Tea Party activists knew full well that liberal politicians from the President on down and the mainstream media hated them. The Tea Party has been called racist, bigoted, fascist, Nazis, and worse by tolerant, compassionate liberals.No slander was too outrageous to fabricate about the Tea Party. They had good reason to want to make sure everything was in order.

Fine—there’s no law against neurosis. But, to borrow a thought experiment from my colleague Alec MacGillis, consider all this from the perspective of the IRS’s Cincinnati office, which handles tax-exempt groups. You’re minding your own business in 2009 when you start to receive dozens of applications from right-leaning groups, applications you didn’t solicit and don’t require. You peruse a few of the applications and it looks like many of the groups, while claiming to be “social welfare” organizations, have an overtly political purpose, like backing candidates with specific ideological agendas. Suffice it to say, you don’t need an inquisitorial mind to decide the applications deserve careful vetting. One Tea Party activist from Waco, Texas, has complained that an IRS official told her he was “sitting on a stack of tea party applications and they were awaiting word from higher-ups as to how to process them.” The quote is intended to sound nefarious—an outtake from some vast left-wing conspiracy—but it’s actually perfectly straight-forward: The IRS was unexpectedly flooded by dodgy 501c4 applications and was at a loss over how to manage them.

Why did they have to wait for word from higher up? Did they not have a standardized procedure for processing 501c (4) applications? Why are conservative applicants somehow more dodgy than liberal ones. According to USA Today, the vetting only applied to groups with names like “Tea Party”.

Let’s try a thought experiment of our own. Suppose a Republican administration were caught giving extra attention to liberal groups that were active in protesting against the President’s policies. Would Noam Scheiber have such a blase attitude about the matter? I think it is more likely that every liberal columnist and pundit in the country would be screaming bloody murder.

So the crime here had nothing to do with “targeting” conservatives. The targeting was effectively done by the conservative groups themselves, when they filed their gratuitous applications. The crime, such as it is, was twofold. First, in the course of legitimately vetting questionable applications, the IRS appears to have been more intrusive than justified, asking for information about donors whose privacy it should have respected. This is unfortunate and intolerable, but not quite a threat to democracy.

Second, the IRS was tone deaf to how its scrutiny would look to the people being scrutinized, given that they all subscribed to the same worldview, and that they were already nursing a healthy persecution complex. Which is to say, the IRS didn’t go about its otherwise legitimate vetting in a very politically-correct way. “It’s part of their job to look for organizations that may be more likely to have too much campaign intervention,” a law professor named Ellen Aprill told The Washington Post. “But it is important to try to make these criteria as politically neutral as possible.”

Again, according to USA Today, the crime had everything to do with targeting conservatives. The people who work for the IRS must have a good idea of the anxiety even a routine inquiry produces in most Americans. Getting official letters demanding to know details about donors, books read, personal lives of board members and their families must be a terrifying experience, even for people who do not have an anti-government world view. The people behind all this were counting on that.

The article goes on about profiling and implies that conservatives are hypocrites for supporting profiling Muslims as potential terrorists while opposing the idea of conservative groups being profiled as engaging in fraud for requesting tax exempt status. There are some interesting reader comments, though. I will omit the names of the people who made the comments.

Considering how right-wing conservatives beginning with Newt Gingrich have targeted the IRS for crippling budget cuts and rigamarole that prevent it from effectively auditing tax returns (“… the average person [has] a one-in-200 chance of an audit, which is down from one-in-112 in 1999, and one-in-60 in 1996, according to new data from the IRS”) I would say this sounds like a case of turnabout-is-fair-play.

I am down on democracy these days because the right wing has abandoned its responsibility to govern. Very well then: if they will not govern, they will damn well be ruled.

Don’t you think an organization named after a famous tax refusal protest MIGHT deserve a little extra scrutiny, especially if they are claiming to be a “social welfare” organization? As far as I know, the members of the Boston Tea Party didn’t claim they were the Boston United Way.

So, these people believe that a proper function of government is to punish people who are against high taxes. Interesting. Also, why do we right wingers have to choose between being rulers or being ruled. Personally, I don’t want to rule anyone. I want to be left alone.

 

 

Auditing the Tea Party

May 14, 2013

It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you. During the last election cycle some Tea Party and conservative groups noticed that the IRS was unusually curious about their tax exempt status. This might be dismissed as anti-government paranoia, except that last Friday an official from the IRS admitted to doing just that.

An IRS official apologized on Friday to tea party organizations and other conservative groups for inappropriately targeting them during the 2012 election, the Associated Press reports.

The groups, which enjoyed tax-exempt status under the internal revenue code, were singled out for additional scrutiny of their tax exemption if their names included the words “tea party” or “patriot.” In several cases, the groups were asked to provide a list of donors for review, usually a violation of IRS policy.

“That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive, and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases,” said Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. “The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

Lerner said the additional scrutiny was initiated by lower-level employees working out of Cincinnati, and that the practice was not a product of political bias. She told the Associated Press that high-level officials were not informed of the practice. On a conference call on Friday, IRS officials said they did not know whether any administration officials at the White House or Treasury Department were aware of the practice.

During the election, several conservative groups cried foul over what they saw as undue pressure justify their tax-exempt status, accusing the IRS of sending arduous questionnaires seeking information about their members’ political activities.

The story that it was just a few low level employees didn’t last long.

Higher-level Internal Revenue Service officials took part in discussions as far back as August 2011 about targeting by lower-level tax agents of “Tea Party” and other conservative groups, according to documents reviewed by Reuters on Monday.

The documents show the offices of the IRS’s chief counsel and deputy commissioner for services and enforcement communicated about the targeting with lower-level officials on August 4, 2011, and March 8, 2012, respectively.

The two communications occurred weeks and months before Doug Shulman, then the commissioner of the IRS, told congressional panels in late March 2012 that no groups were being targeted for extra scrutiny by the tax agency.

The IRS has maintained that its senior leadership did not know for some time that lower-level agents were applying extra scrutiny to applications for tax-exempt status from groups with key words in their names, such as “Tea Party” and “Patriot.

The agency said in a statement on Monday that Steven Miller, who is now acting IRS commissioner, was first informed in early May 2012 that some groups seeking tax-exempt status had been “improperly identified by name” and subjected to extra scrutiny.

Late on Monday, Senate Finance Committee Republicans said Shulman was briefed on the targeting in May 2012, a date not previously disclosed. An aide said committee staff learned this on Monday from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), an independent IRS watchdog.

It keeps getting worse and worse. The Tea Party weren’t the only ones selected for special attention by the IRS.

The Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of conservative groups went beyond those with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names—as the agency admitted Friday—to also include ones worried about government spending, debt or taxes, and even ones that lobbied to “make America a better place to live,” according to new details of a government probe.

The investigation also revealed that a high-ranking IRS official knew as early as mid-2011 that conservative groups were being inappropriately targeted—nearly a year before then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told a congressional committee the agency wasn’t targeting conservative groups.

The new disclosures are likely to inflame a widening controversy over IRS handling of dozens of applications by tea-party, patriot and other conservative groups for tax-exempt status.

The details emerged from disclosures to congressional investigators by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The findings, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, don’t make clear who came up with the idea to give extra scrutiny to the conservative groups.

The inspector general’s office has been conducting an audit of the IRS’s handling of the applications process and is expected to release a report this week. The audit follows complaints last year by numerous tea-party and other conservative groups that they had been singled out and subjected to excessive and inappropriate questioning. Many groups say they were asked for lists of their donors and other sensitive information.

On Sunday, a government official said the report will note that IRS officials told investigators that no one outside the IRS was involved in developing the criteria the agency now acknowledges were flawed.

In my opinion this is worse than the scandal regarding the Benghazi attacks last September 11. It is regrettable and unfortunate that four Americans lost their lives and an investigation is in order to determine what went wrong, but the worst that the Obama administration can be charged with there, is gross incompetence and negligence, and a coverup to ensure that the narrative that al-Qaeda was in retreat not be challenged. The issue with the IRS is the deliberate use of the federal government’s power to harass people and organizations opposed to the administration.

Is President Obama responsible for the questionable activities of the IRS? Probably not directly. Richard Nixon almost certainly neither knew of or authorized the break in at Watergate. He was still responsible for the scandal because the President sets the tone for his administration. The Nixon administration became one in which the suggestion that someone break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters and install listening devices was not instantly dismissed as illegal and insane, but was approved and acted upon. President Obama probably never suggested that the IRS should investigate Tea Party organizations, but the employees at the IRS must have suspected that such activity would be condoned by President, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” and “punish our enemies in the voting booth“. Barack Obama has never seemed to be especially interested in getting along with his opponents. Perhaps it is a legacy of his days as a community organizer, but Obama seems to be more interested in destroying those who oppose his policies, which makes this whole affair all the more chilling.

 

 

Riots After the Election?

October 14, 2012

The Drudge Report linked to this article on infowars which asks the question whether political tensions in the United States have risen so much that rioting by disappointed followers of either Obama or Romney is likely.

Will the most divisive campaign in modern American history culminate in massive riots in our major cities?  Right now, supporters of Barack Obama and supporters of Mitt Romney are both pinning all of their hopes on a victory on November 6th.  The race for the presidency is extremely tight, and obviously the side that loses is going to be extremely disappointed when the election results are finalized.  But could this actually lead to violence?  Could we actually see rioting in communities all over America?  Well, the conditions are certainly ripe for it.

A whole host of surveys over the past few years have shown that Americans are very angry and very frustrated right now.  In fact, a Pew Research Center poll from late last year found that 86 percent of all Americans are either angry or frustrated with the federal government.  We have seen this frustration manifest in protest movements such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, but right now things are fairly calm as liberals and conservatives both look forward to November 6th.  Many Republicans started the countdown to the next election literally the day after John McCain lost back in 2008.

All of their hopes of getting Obama out of the White House are riding on a Romney victory.  For many Democrats, Barack Obama is a “once in a generation” icon.  Just the thought of Mitt Romney replacing Obama in the White House is enough to push many of them to the brink of insanity.  In recent years we have seen horrible rioting erupt in cities after major sports championship games.  How much worse could the rioting potentially be if this bitterly contested election is decided by a very narrow margin – especially if there are allegations that the election is “stolen”?

First of all, this is not the most divisive election in history. However this election turns out, it is not likely that any of the principal candidates will end up in a duel, as in the election of 1800. I am certain that one of the candidates will get a majority in the Electoral College, unlike the election of 1824. I highly doubt any state will secede from the Union, as they did in 1860.  So far, neither side has descended to the depths of character assassination of some previous elections, though there is still time.

I notice that the writer of this piece, Michael Snyder, tries to imply that both Republicans and Democrats are equally angry and frustrated and so are equally prone to violence. That isn’t the case, as the article makes clear a little further on.

The election is nearly four weeks away, and many Obama supporters are already threatening to riot if Obama loses.  The following are some very disturbing messages that were posted on Twitter recently that have been reposted on Twitchy.com….

“If Romney wins I’m Starting a Riot….Who’s WIT ME???”

“I Hope The USA Is Well Aware That If In The Event This Character Romney Wins The Election, The People Will Start A Country Wide Riot! #Power”

“If Romney is elected president, its gon be a riot its gon be a riot.”

“If ROMNEY GETS IN THE WHITE HOUSE …U MIGHT AS WELL KILL ME NOW …..CAUSE ITS GONNA BE A ************ RIOT !!!”

“If Romney became President and took away welfare Downtown Cincinnati would become a riot”

“If Romney takes away food stamps 2 Chainzz in this bit IMMA START A RIOT”

“If Romney wins. (which i highly doubt) THERE WILL BE A RIOT—”

The following are a few more tweets that I found which threaten a potential riot if Obama loses the election….

From @joecools_world….

“Need 2 come up wit a game plan if Romney win…. Riot all thru Newark”

From @killacate….

“I swear on everything I love if Romney wins ima riot. I don’t even care if its just me.

Some of these people seem to be saying, “continue to support us, or we will riot”. That must be the 47%. The most incoherent tweet is the one saying that the “People” will start a country-wide riot if Romney wins. If Romney wins the election by a majority in both the popular and electoral votes, doesn’t that mean that he is the choice of the majority of the people in the country? Are the People going to riot against themselves.

Meanwhile, the best Snyder can come up with on the other side are vague threats to leave the country.

Romney supporters are not really threatening to riot, but many of them are proclaiming that they may leave the country if Obama wins.  Here are some examples….

From @BrentskiTheBoss….

“If Obama gets reelected I may leave the country”

From @AbbieFickes….

“im sorry but if obama were to win again, i might as well leave the country and live in zimbabwe”

I think the author of that second tweet is not so much threatening to move to Zimbabwe as making the point that four more years of Obama’s policies could leave the US becoming indistinguishable from Zimbabwe.

There may be despicable acts being committed by despicable people on both sides, but there is far, far more anger, hatred, and bad behavior on the Left. There are angry and hateful Conservatives, but Conservatives seem to have less tolerance for bad behavior in their ranks. Words and acts that are immediately denounced by the Right seem to be celebrated on the Left. If Paul Ryan had acted as boorishly as Joe Biden had in the last debate, most Conservatives would have immediately distanced themselves from him and there would be calls for Romney to pick a new running mate. So far, the majority of Democrats have seemed to praise his behavior.

Rush Limbaugh and other Right-wing talk radio hosts are supposed to be full of hate and anger, but I have never heard it in all the years that I have been listening to Rush and others on and off. As far as I have seen, none of them have fantasied on-air about the deaths of their political opponents. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street have been compared to each other, but if the Tea Partiers are angry, it is the righteous anger that causes one to try to improve the community. The Tea Party has gotten involved in politics and taken steps to really make a difference. The anger of the Occupy movement is more the nihilistic hatred that only results in smashed windows. The two sides, Left and Right, are simply not equivalent. The Left is based more on anger and envy and appeals to the worst in human nature.

I don’t really think that there will be massive riots after this election. There may be some violence, if Obama loses, but I have a feeling that most of these tweeters may like to think of themselves as being “bad” and they may able to bully children,  but experience has shown they are no good against people willing to stand up to them.

The New Civility

August 24, 2012

 

 

It seems hardly different from the old incivility. I doubt that this election cycle will get as nasty as the election of 1800, or of the election of 1824, but it still looks as if even the minimal level of courtesy between the parties has completely broken down. Consider this story I read in The Hill.

Bucking protocol, President Obama and the Democrats are planning a full-scale assault on Republicans next week during their convention.

Presidential candidates have traditionally kept a low profile during their opponent’s nominating celebration, but Democrats are throwing those rules out the window in an attempt to spoil Mitt Romney’s coronation as the GOP nominee.

President Obama, Vice President Biden and leading congressional Democrats have all scheduled high-profile events next week to counter-program the Republican gathering in Tampa, Fla.

Even first lady Michelle Obama is in on the act, scheduling an appearance on the “David Letterman Show” smack in the middle of Romney’s nominating bash.

Political historians say the high stakes of this year’s elections — combined with the rise of today’s 24/7 media culture — have forced leaders on both sides of the aisle to get more aggressive.

“Traditionally, there was a kind of courtesy extended to the party having the convention — the [other] party would basically stay out of the public eye,” said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University.

But that “gentlemen’s agreement,” Baker said, has been largely abandoned as “a consequence of the polarization of American politics.” He characterized the old tradition as a “quaint code of etiquette” destined to become a “remnant of the 20th century.”

Or, it could be the result of a win-at-all-costs mentality that has pervaded American politics in recent decades. I don’t really know what the Democrats are thinking with this. To start with, I would have thought that they would be doing everything they could to keep Joe Biden out of the public eye. Also, have they not considered that this makes them look a little desperate and uncertain of their chances this November? This is one of those little signs I have been noticing that makes me think that Barack Obama will not be reelected.

Then there are the protestors. Political conventions naturally attract protestors in much the same way that rotting meat attracts flies. Mostly they are harmless, except for the anarchists and nihilists of all types. According to FoxNews, the anarchists and Occupy losers are planning on making a big show.

Federal authorities are urging law enforcement agencies across the country to watch out for signs that extremists might be planning to wreak havoc at the upcoming political conventions — by blocking roads, shutting down transit systems and even employing what were described as acid-filled eggs.

The warning came in a joint FBI-Department of Homeland Security bulletin issued Wednesday.

The bulletin specifically warned about a group of anarchists from New York City who could be planning to travel to the convention sites to disrupt the events by blockading bridges.

Anarchists “see both parties as the problem,” so both conventions are prime targets for them, a federal law enforcement official told Fox News.

The Republican National Convention is set to open Monday in Tampa, Fla., and the Democratic National Convention gets underway a week later in Charlotte, N.C.

The joint bulletin, titled “Potential For Violent or Criminal Action By Anarchist Extremists During The 2012 National Political Conventions,” says anarchist extremists likely don’t have the capability to overcome heightened security measures set up by the conventions themselves. In addition, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said Tuesday that fences have been established around “some of the more attractive government targets.”

Instead, extremists could target nearby infrastructure, including businesses and transit systems, according to Wednesday’s bulletin.

The bulletin mentions possible violent tactics anarchist extremists could employ, including the use of molotov cocktails or acid-filled eggs.

I think that no convention is complete without molotov cocktails. Seriously, what exactly are these people trying to accomplish? They are not going to overthrow the government. No one looking at the news coverage is likely to be impressed with their acts of street violence. All they are going to do is hurt people and end up in jail. Maybe that is the point.

One of the major differences between the Tea Party and the OWS crowd, aside from political ideology and economic principles is that the Tea Party people have been able to move beyond the protest stage with the people in colonial costume and waving those don’t tread on me flags and have, by entering local politics have actually been able to have an effect. The OWS group never did move beyond the campouts and I suppose these protestors are the frustrated die hards.

And, just to be even handed, I read about this sign which was put up in Elkhart Indiana.

 

I feel I have to say it over and over. Barack Obama is not Hitler. He is not Osama bin Laden. You may disagree with his policies and you may think that is he a terrible president, but comparing him to truly evil men is outrageous and more than a little silly.

 


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