“A bad man in a powerful position can do great harm. Not just for what he can do, but what others will be encouraged do in his name.”
I said this back in 2008 when my partner and I were discussing the election results. He felt the Republicans would keep Obama in check. I understood human nature a little better than him and disagree.
You see, it is always the same. People with evil intent and weak souls are drawn to certain types of employment. The arrogant and narcissist are also drawn to this certain type of work. Government employment allows for a person of questionable quality, ethics, work habits and goals to gain an employment where they have great power and influence and few constraints on their behavior. (Not all employees are like this, but those who are usually work their way into position of authority and let’s be honest, even if a good guy disagrees, he or she isn’t going to sacrifice their job on a principle. Their kids can’t eat a principle or go to college on a righteous stand. Just is.)
Over the years, this phenomenon has become so apparent and frankly appalling that most citizens are nearly in a revolt. Watching the IRS actually playing “Catch me if you can” while destroying evidence in the face of their pursuers is the the last in a long line of actions that offend the sensibilities of the remaining few free thinkers in America.
But this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Bill Whittle gives us a lesson in history.
So, is there a scandal? In twenty years of police work, I can tell you when there is a HUGE amount of smoke, there is at least a little fire. Realistically, there is usually a lot of fire! Powerline gives us the least offensive and criminal version of this. I’ll add something later.
Here are the Findings in the June 16 House Oversight Committee report cited by Cleta in the interview:
• The President’s political rhetoric in opposition to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and conservative nonprofits engaged in political speech led to the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tax-exempt applicants.
• Beginning in January 2010 and continuing through the November 2010 midterm election, President Obama orchestrated a sustained public campaign against Citizens United and nonprofit political speech critical of the President’s policies. This rhetorical campaign reached a crescendo in October 2010 as the President made almost daily public statements denouncing Citizens United and conservative groups with “benign-sounding” names “posing” as nonprofits. The President even singled out one so-called “shadowy” group, Americans for Prosperity, by name.
• The White House and congressional Democrats opposed Citizens United in part because it allowed nonprofits to engage directly in political speech critical of the Administration’s policies. The anonymity afforded to nonprofit contributors prevented the Administration and its allies from retaliating. As the President complained to a group of Democratic donors: “Nobody knows who they are. . . . [N]obody knows where the money is coming from.”
• Senior White House officials, Democratic Members of Congress, and other left-wing political figures and commentators echoed the President’s rhetoric. The Democrat-led Congress convened hearings to examine Citizens United and considered legislation to require disclosure of contributors to nonprofits engaged in political speech. The White House and left-leaning commentators supported these measures.
• Democratic Members of Congress, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and liberal advocacy organizations urged the IRS to investigate conservative nonprofits engaged in political speech.
• The IRS was acutely aware through articles in the national news media of the prevailing political rhetoric condemning Citizens United and the influence of nonprofits in the midterm election. One senior IRS official even cited the President’s “salvo” against Citizens United in telling her colleagues to expect continued media attention surrounding the issue of anonymous contributors to nonprofits engaged in political speech.
• The IRS internalized the political pressure urging the tax agency to take action on nonprofit political speech. In response to a news article about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s complaint against Americans for Prosperity, Lois Lerner wrote to her boss: “We won’t be able to stay out of this – we need a plan!” Lerner later initiated a project to examine 501(c)(4) political speech in response to an article in a tax-law journal.
• The IRS was attuned to political pressure exerted by congressional Democrats to address the shortcomings of Citizens United. Lerner expressed her support for the DISCLOSE Act’s donor disclosure requirements for nonprofits, writing: “Wouldn’t that be great?”
• As Democratic Members of Congress urged the IRS to investigate a conservative group, Crossroads GPS, Lerner asked a subordinate to look at the group. Echoing themes from the President’s rhetorical campaign and acknowledging the media attention on nonprofit political speech, Lerner wrote: “The organization at issue is Crossroads GPS, which is on the top of the list of c4 spenders in the last two elections. It is in the news regularly as an organization that is not really a c4, rather it is only doing political activity – taking in money from large contributors who wish to remain anonymous and funneling it into tight electoral races.”
• During a speech on October 19, 2010 – in the midst of the President’s rhetorical barrage – Lerner articulated the immense political pressure on the IRS to “fix the problem” posed by Citizens United. Echoing the President’s State of the Union Address, Lerner said that the Supreme Court overturned a hundred-year precedent and “everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it.” She continued: “So everybody is screaming at us right now: ‘Fix it now before the election. Can’t you see how much these people are spending?’”
• Lerner’s concern about the Citizens United decision caused her to order Tea Party applications to proceed through an unprecedented multi-tier review. As she wrote: “Tea Party Matter very dangerous. This could be the vehicle to go to court on the issue of whether Citizen’s [sic] United overturning ban on corporate spending applies to tax exempt rule.”
• The Justice Department arranged a meeting with Lerner on October 8, 2010, after Jack Smith, Chief of the Department’s Public Integrity Section, read an article in the New York Times about the influence of nonprofits in the midterm election. The IRS sent 21 disks containing 1.1 million pages of nonprofit tax-return information – including confidential taxpayer information – to the FBI in advance of this meeting. The Justice Department and the FBI have continued a “dialogue” about potential criminal investigations of nonprofits engaged in political speech.
• The IRS enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship with congressional Democrats. The IRS received tips from Democratic sources about upcoming actions concerning nonprofit political speech, and the IRS even assisted Senator Carl Levin (D- MI) in preparing letters to the agency criticizing nonprofit political speech.
Okay, that is certainly bad enough. But let’s pull it back just another layer. What we know is what we know- but that is because what we SHOULD know has been destroyed or hidden by Lerner and others. There is no way the head of the IRS is meeting in the White House dozens of times, and can’t remember what about. There is far more DIRECT contact between Holder, the White House and the campaign. Lerner is just the guy going out to execute her part of a more complicated plan. In essence, she is the shooter on the grassy knoll, NOT the group who sent her there (if I may use an old conspiracy theme).
In truth, Lerner, and Sarah Hall Ingram (who I identified as one of the main players early on after reading her speech- liberals LOVE to boast when they are secure in their jobs) are the people sent out to do the dirty work, and sadly the ones who would have found their heads on the chopping block had Romney won. In their minds, their loyal duty is to the theology they follow- big government wins- so the risk as worth it. In addition, Lerner understood the inherent weakness in our system of government. If the AG is corrupt, your chances of getting in trouble for official misconduct is greatly reduced. Congress and the courts could only do so much, especially if their guy lost the election.
Now ask yourself why the entrenched government workers were so set against the TEA party. Simple- greed. The recession had put in place a salary freeze. Government workers NEVER get salary freezes! Worse, the threat of the TEA party electing politicians, who may make that freeze permanent, was simply not going to be allowed to happen.
The government worker of today makes a good deal of money and has great benefits compared to the rest of us. I’m not denying some workers need that kind of coverage, like the soldiers and police. That’s a hard job with great risk, but Lois Lerner and Ingram? The IRS workers in Dallas with Obama stickers on their desk? What do they bring to the party that allows them to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in salary and benefits AND a lifetime of retirement benefits stretching beyond anything the private sector worker gets? I argue very little, especially if you add they feel entitled to abuse their trusted positions of power in order to enrich themselves. (The VA manager scandal is another examples. The abuse is entrenched and government wide!)
Not to make this a big deal by comparing it to the USSR, but as a way to point out these personalities have always existed, let me introduce you to Stalin’s Lois Lerner- Andrey Vyshinsky, a man you should take the time to get to know, because there are more than one of his type in our government at all levels.
So how dedicated to this cause were they? See if this doesn’t sound familiar- from Wiki on Vyshinsky.
…In 1935 he became Prosecutor General of the USSR, the legal mastermind of Joseph Stalin‘s Great Purge. Although he acted as a judge, he encouraged investigators to procure confessions from the accused. In some cases, he prepared the indictments before the “investigation” was concluded. He is widely cited for the principle that “confession of the accused is the queen of evidence” despite his monograph Theory of Judicial Proofs in Soviet Justice (which was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1947) stating directly the opposite, nor did he coin the phrase, which originated in Ancient Rome. Stalin personally gave direction on the use of confessions and the use of the death penalty. Furthermore, he edited some of Vyshinsky’s speeches.
He first became a nationally known public figure as a result of the Semenchuk case of 1936. Konstantin Semenchuk was the head of the Glavsevmorput station on Wrangel Island. He was accused of oppressing and starving the local Yupik and of ordering his subordinate, the sled driver Stepan Startsev, to murder Dr. Nikolai Vulfson, who had attempted to stand up to Semenchuk, on 27 December 1934 (though there were also rumors that Startsev had fallen in love with Vulfson’s wife, Dr. Gita Feldman, and killed him out of jealousy). The case came to trial before the Supreme Court of the RSFSR in May 1936; both defendants, attacked by Vyshinsky as “human waste,” were found guilty and shot, and “the most publicized result of the trial was the joy of the liberated Eskimos.”
In 1936, Vyshinsky achieved international infamy as the prosecutor at the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial (this trial had 9 other defendants), the first of the Moscow Trials during the Great Purge, lashing its defenseless victims with vituperative rhetoric:
Shoot these rabid dogs. Death to this gang who hide their ferocious teeth, their eagle claws, from the people! Down with that vulture Trotsky, from whose mouth a bloody venom drips, putrefying the great ideals of Marxism!… Down with these abject animals! Let’s put an end once and for all to these miserable hybrids of foxes and pigs, these stinking corpses! Let’s exterminate the mad dogs of capitalism, who want to tear to pieces the flower of our new Soviet nation! Let’s push the bestial hatred they bear our leaders back down their own throats!
He often punctuated speeches with phrases like “Dogs of the Fascist bourgeoisie,” “mad dogs of Trotskyism,” “dregs of society,” “decayed people,” “terrorist thugs and degenerates,” and “accursed vermin.” This dehumanization aided in what historian Arkady Vaksberg calls “a hiterto unknown type of trial where there was not the slightest need for evidence: what evidence did you need when you were dealing with ‘stinking carrion’ and ‘mad dogs’?”
Read Ingram’s speech and the comments made by Lerner. It was like they are at war with the citizens they are supposed to serve. That is not the point behind government employment. You are there to serve the citizens. Not abuse them or plot with others to use the power of your position to abuse them, just because you disagree with them. Jeeezz.. Tom Jefferson and George Washington would have had the trial, found them guilty and set them upon a wall for the sentence to be carried out! They had a far shorter fuse when it came to acts like this back then.
But Congress dithers. Partially because more than a few Congressmen are neck deep in this mess! Why are Lerner’s emails missing from the time she was coordinating with others? It can be argued that more than one was probably to the White House and to certain members of Congress. Has the investigating committee asked Schumer and Cummings to give up their email? Durbin? Pelosi? I know, it is a gentleman’s deal in Congress. They don’t want to give up their information if someday the shoe is on the other foot. But folks, this has gone too far. The lazy DMV worker is one thing. Thinking of putting citizens in jail for speaking their minds by using the FBI is far more insidious. And it must be dealt with.
I think Lois knows this as she mentioned she felt threatened and wanted immunity before she talked. We aren’t threatening her, so it has to be the OTHER side. All we want is her to tell the truth, point a few fingers and go away. I would take her retirement and if she didn’t cooperate, take her freedom for about five years too. But I’m with that old school where Tom and George attended. When we let people work for government, we give people the opportunity for a great career in a great job, secure in their retirement and life. Them thinking of us as cattle and abusing us the same way, is certainly not the way to say thanks. (I see how they think about us little people and I get that whiff of fascism, not the classic stuff we have seen historically, but still a little of the “They are worth less than us.” attitude is unmistakable.)
And somebody needs to be punished for their criminal behavior. But not just Lerner, somebody a tad higher up the chain to make the right impression.