David Thompson
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May 20, 2013

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sk60

All hail Mark Steyn:

"Speaking at Ohio State University earlier this month, Barack Obama urged students to pay no attention to those paranoid types who "incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity." Oddly enough, in recent days the most compelling testimony for this view of government has come from the president himself, who insists with a straight face that he had no idea that the Internal Revenue Service had spent two years targeting his political enemies until he "learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this." Like you, all he knows is what he reads in the papers. Which is odd, because his Justice Department is bugging those same papers, so you'd think he'd at least get a bit of a heads-up. But no doubt the fact that he's wiretapping the Associated Press was also entirely unknown to him until he read about it in the Associated Press."

rxc

Someone needs to ask Obama the question that progressives aften sk bureaucrats that they don't like - "You say you didn't know about this, even though you are supposed to be in charge - are you lying to me or are you just incompetent?"

David

I quite like this bit:

Mr VanderSloot is big enough, just about, to see off the most powerful government on the planet. Most of those who’ve caught the eye of the IRS share nothing in common with him other than his political preferences. They’re nobodies — ordinary American citizens guilty of no crime except that of disagreeing with the ruling party. Yet they were asked, under “penalty of perjury,” to disclose the names of books they were reading and provide the names and addresses of relatives who might be planning to run for public office — a kind of pre-enemies list. Is that banana-republic enough for you yet?

Because the government needs to know what you’re reading. And what you’re posting on Facebook. And the content of your prayers.

Watcher

Obama is a curious phenomenon; no one really knows how he climbed the greasy pole of political power so quickly and with whose money or backing, nor how he continues to keep the media so entranced even when he appears to be in the dark about so much and so helpless when confronted when a light is shone. He may well go down as one of the worst presidents in US history, though we haven't seen Hillary in action yet (I am presuming that the Republicans, having discovered that trying to tell the truth about the economy does no good at all, will not be able to put someone forward who can promise more free stuff than the Democrats)

But Obama has the gun he can point at Americans over taxation. The old line of "I am proud to pay my taxes but I'd be even more proud if I paid less" doesn't apply when the state has the army and the prisons.

Oh by the way, I have paid taxes to the Obama administration. Not much to be honest, but if I publish an e-book via a US located and registered company and that 'book' is sold to an American citizen then a few pence of my payment is 'withheld' and finds its way to Washington's pockets. Now, I admit that £1.35 won't ease their deficit much, but I'd rather have it if it's all the same.

DensityDuck

Odd as it is, I think it's the honest truth when Obama says that he didn't know and wouldn't have consented if he did. I think the issue is, though, that his concept of "government" was one that made such actions and attitudes as we see from the IRS seem like the way government was supposed to work. That is, the idea of law enforcement as punitive behavior control--it is not that the President said flat-out "audit these people because they're annoying", but that he made "audit the bad ones until they agree to be good" seem like an acceptable thing to do.

Sam Duncan

Watcher, this is hardly the whole story of Obama's rise, but it's certainly enlightening. And, as the PJ Media piece where I found it points out, that kind of thing could be his downfall. Nobody seems to have told him to be nice to people on the way up in case he meets them again on the way down.

Mind you, for a second-term President there is no way down. With one notable exception. I suppose it's still possible he could end up as the next Nixon, but then I thought Clinton would too.

Trimegistus

I actually agree that Obama probably didn't order this or know it was happening.

That makes it worse, not better. That means that the apparatus of government is so monolithically partisan that no liberal President needs to order bureaucrats to sabotage and harass conservatives. They do it entirely on their own.

We've been worrying about Nazi-style top-down fascism, but apparently the Democrats have instead duplicated the Japanese-style bottom-up fascism of the 1930s and 1940s -- even if the leaders try to stop the madness, the underlings are fanatics and will happily keep fighting.

I now think civil war in America is inevitable.

Watcher

Sam Duncan, thanks for the links. interesting stuff.

I have long thought that Obama may be a very successful experiment in taking someone with the right appearance and, given a few promises and back-scratches, elevating them rapidly up the hierarchy. It didn't matter if he was the best or not; he looked the best bet. It counted for a lot. The machine that shoved him up that greasy pole may well turn on him, but that is always the way with politics. More than one 'saviour' has been removed from office when others thought it time. Certainly there are movers and shakers behind the scenes who profit from any figurehead while pretending loyalty. I don't see why Washington is any different.

There are a lot of questions about Obama which, to some degree, have added to his aura of mystery. But the aggressive tax issue is clear indication that either he doesn't know what's going on or he can't do anything to stop it. That equates to being powerless, which doesn't look good for arguably the most powerful position in the world. Years ago Obama once said something was "above his pay grade" and he continues to give that impression. It would be hard to see where his leadership skills would help the US if there was another 9/11. Hopefully that will never happen.

I am inclined to agree with Trimegistus that some form civil war is inevitable in the States, given that there are moves by those in power to stay all powerful, come what may, and they have already started to fire the first shots across the bows of the populous.

John D

Because the government needs to know what you’re reading. And what you’re posting on Facebook. And the content of your prayers.

These guys do know '1984' wasn't meant to be a blueprint, right?

carbon based lifeform

"Head of IRS Employees Union Met With President Obama the Day Before Tea Party Targeting Began."

http://theothermccain.com/2013/05/20/portrait-of-a-thug-irs-union-boss/

Another coincidence, obviously.

David

A few more.

Guido Fawkes and Tim Blair note the superb leftwing credentials of the BBC’s latest Newsnight editor.

Peter Robinson interviews Thomas Sowell about his book Intellectuals and Race.

And Tim Worstall explains (once again) why you shouldn’t rely on the Guardian for economic insight.

Rafi

the superb leftwing credentials of the BBC’s latest Newsnight editor

The Guardian and the Beeb should just amalgamate.

AC1

http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/21/rahn-cheer-up-righties-were-all-victims-now/

dicentra

I actually agree that Obama probably didn't order this or know it was happening.

Like hell he didn't know: he ordered it. Never give that man the benefit of the doubt. NEVER.

As CBL notes, the president of the union for IRS employees visited him THE DAY BEFORE the targeting began. Obama's been doing stuff like this his whole career, else he doesn't make it in Chicago or beyond. You cannot seriously believe he was the only virgin in the whorehouse.

Unfortunately, there's a long history of politicians asking the IRS to harass their enemies, and I've no doubt the GOP is plenty guilty. But the O-ministration has turned it up to 11, because this is the Fundamental Transformation of America, and he knew the press would cover for him.

Oh, by the way, it's not only the IRS he's used as a blunt weapon against his enemies: This woman was harassed by the FBI, ATF, and OSHA: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/348756/true-scandal-jillian-kay-melchior

Obama and his crew are malicious, punitive, lawless, and arrogant.

It's who they are; it's what they do.

dicentra

even if the leaders try to stop the madness, the underlings are fanatics and will happily keep fighting

No, no, no, no, no, no, no...

NO.

You've got it 180° backwards. Any civil war in the U.S. (which I cannot rule out, alas) will be between the cultural elites and the heartland. The best place to see this rift is in the conflict between the Tea Party and the GOP Establicans: The establishment Republicans hate their base with their whole souls because it embarrasses them terribly to represent such backwards hicks. Politicians tend to value other people's opinions overmuch, so the mockery that their base gets from the sophisticates cuts these moral pygmies to the core.

Furthermore, the heartland has this annoying tic of expecting their representatives to (a) represent their interests (b) hew to the Constitution's insistence that the federal government's powers be severely restricted — which at this late date means pruned back hard — and the Republicans are loath to vote themselves less power, same as any politician.

In the country as a whole, we have the Coastal Elites on the one hand: NYC liberals, Washington DC's political power, Hollywood, the Pacific Northwest (hippies, hipsters, and more hipsters), and Chicago (the very embodiment of corrupt machine politics).

And on the other hand are the unsophisticated, the uncredentialed, the people who work the soil and start businesses in their garages and go to church and read the Bible and unashamedly own guns. The contempt the elites feel for the heartlanders is as profound as it is relentless. They're not ashamed to say that "they're not even human to me anymore," and their tribal identity as Morally and Intellectually Superior to Those People commands a fanatical loyalty unseen since Nazi Germany.

The fish rots from the head down: Obama and his Chicago crew have spent their whole lives marinating in The Chicago Way, which very much DOES involve using bureaucracies and other instruments of power to destroy their enemies. The Chicago Way is many things, but subtle is not one of them.

There's nothing stopping them except sunlight and prison. And often times, not even that.

David

Also, Franklin Einspruch on Molly Norris Day.

rabbit

The Tea Party movement is a disparate movement of loosely related organizations. The one thing they have in common is antipathy towards big government.

The irony is that the IRS could not have made their case better for them. I bet membership is booming.

dicentra

I bet membership is booming.

Yup.

Up in the ratings: http://weaselzippers.us/2013/05/20/cnn-poll-tea-party-approval-rating-jump-to-one-point-shy-of-all-time-high-in-wake-of-irs-scandal/

Nationwide IRS protests: http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/169298/

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/169302/

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/169306/

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/169313/


antipathy towards big government.

The left is citing this as justification for the IRS's actions: of course they had to investigate these awful beings who "scream that taxes are theft." To the idiot on Twitter who asserted this I asked what you do with people who scream that "private property is theft."

No answer.

David

dicentra,

Up in the ratings.

And unlike at certain other protests, I’ve yet to hear of anyone slashing the hands and faces of police officers with razor blades, or throwing urine at onlookers, or crapping in the street. No children placed on train tracks, no people blocking fire escapes or smashing shop windows, no trapping and taunting of women in wheelchairs. And as yet there have been no outbreaks of tuberculosis, ringworm and lice. In fact, they don’t seem to be having any of the “teething problems” of some other, more favourably-covered movements.

Why, it’s inexplicable.

Jonathan

"I actually agree that Obama probably didn't order this or know it was happening."

No doubt. Just as Henry II didn't order or know about those Knights killing Thomas Becket.

Reed

Even Joh Stewart is starting to see the light...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7bejjpWH4I

dicentra

I’ve yet to hear of [list of sundry bits of filth found at OWS protests]

There was no way they could: Homeland Security Cops were standing over them.

David

Homeland Security Cops were standing over them.

Because the gravest threats to society are those bourgeois people who would like to be taxed a little less.

Henry

"Thomas Sowell on words that replace thought"

Sowell is very good at putting deep observations into simple language.

Political groups will oft find a buzzword (equality, diversity etc) and be happy with it precisely because it doesn't mean very much, and obviates the need for introspective thought about the mad complexity of human interactions.

David Aaronovitch is full of this 'diversity' nonsense in the Times (& in his comments underneath his articles in the online version) He explains to us thickies that 'we need the talents of the world here', and not answering when I ask him whether he thinks our 2.5 million unemployed have talents (perhaps he's just written me down as another xenophobe)

Patrick Brown

You know what frightens me? The US has a government of the left, and the right-wingers are talking with a straight face about civil war. The UK has a government of the right, and comment threads at the Guardian are full of lefties talking about revolution.

It's democracy. Sometimes you get government you don't like, but just hold on a few years, there'll be another one that might be more to your taste. None of them are perfect and all of them need to be held to account and opposed when they try to do unacceptable things. Democracy, like a free press, isn't perfect and can be abused and subverted by those in power, but it's still better than its absence.

WTP

Patrick Brown better stop talking sense or we're gonna have to show him what-for.

What is interesting is that those who talk so enthusiastically and "realistically" about the prospect of civil war and/or revolution, have likely never experience real war, spoken intimately with those who have been there, nor studied it seriously, or they would never think to visit such physical and psychological pain and misery upon one's own people, and potentially one's self.

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