May 17, 2013

"Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers."

Information the IRS demanded from the Coalition for Life of Iowa. Asked if that's an appropriate question to a 501(c)(3) applicant, IRS commissioner Steven Miller says he's pained at his inability to answer.



What an awful witness! (And I say that after watching much of today's testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.)

ADDED: To help you think about what might be an appropriate question read this ("Exemption requirements") and this ("Exempt purposes"). Miller seemed to actively resist giving us any idea how the requested details might have been anything but harassment, even as he squirmed away from a simple denouncement of the request.

277 comments:

1 – 200 of 277   Newer›   Newest»
Paul Zrimsek said...

While the list of questions you could appropriately ask a 501(c)(3) applicant is considerably longer than the list you could ask a 501(c)(4) applicant, I've a hunch that this particular question ain't on it.

Sheridan said...

What comes next, religious badging of people? Stars of David, the Crescent, the Cross?

Will self-identification move the IRS processes forward, faster?

"Moving Towards the Leader"?

Despicable, especially for an arm of the government of the United States.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

From the article

Nearly ten months of interrogation about the group’s opposition to Planned Parenthood included a demand by a Ms. Richards from the IRS’ Cincinnati office unlawfully insisted that all board members sign a sworn declaration promising not to picket/protest Planned Parenthood.

Holy crap! This was from 2008. The IRS has been out of control for years. Its not just Obama's term.

Aridog said...

I cannot comment any more on this IRS subject, and maybe even reference Benghazi. The witness today, Steven Miller, exemplifies the kind of senior executive I despise...no, actually hate is a better word for the emotion. There are hundreds of them in government and they move from administration to administration without a hiccup.

These institutionalized people, those I referred to in the past here, are all exactly like Steven Miller. They will not be defeated short of revolution.

Today you finally got to witness one of the chosen ones literally spit at you and dare you to ask further questions. They will answer questions only as they define them, and you can go to hell waiting for anything more.

Revolution.

wyo sis said...

Can't say whether it's an inappropriate question or not! Apparently being in the Obama administration renders people unable to think clearly.

Pogo said...

Just get it over with and put up giant Shepard Fariey Obama posters that say OBEY, all over town.

That's the point we've reached.

Lem said...

The content of my prayers are as follows.

1 percent gratitude
99 percent give-me-tude

wyo sis said...

Wrote that before reading the other comments.
If this is institutionalized thinking it's time to clear the place out with a flame thrower.

Bob said...

The quote by Treasury Department IG J. Russell George, "It is not illegal, but it was inappropriate," sounds eerily similar to Richard Nixon's "When the President does it, that means it is not illegal."

bpm4532 said...

Can't these fucking government lawyers clearly answer whether something is legal or illegal?! There is no middle ground.

Lem said...

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


It goes way back.

bagoh20 said...

Yea, he was pretty bad, but I bet nobody else at the IRS could do any better. A lot of what was done is just indefensible. You either start copping to it, which mean heads must roll including prison time, or you do what he did. I don't see any other option. I assume he has some people he knows very well that he doesn't want to send to prison.

bagoh20 said...

So I wonder what happens if you send back the form with the answer: "I pray you get caught and go to jail for asking me this."

CEO-MMP said...

Ari says "revolution".

Keep in mind, that's quite possibly Obama's (or whoever's in charge of him) end game.

LilyBart said...


Can't you just see the IRS employees laughing as they get together and write those questions?

Because that's what I see when I hear and read what questions were asked of those conservative groups.

Jeff Teal said...

Iwatched the whole thing.Totally unprepared witness.Does this man have a lawyer?Does he want to stay out of jail?It was apparent that his laxk of candor and preparation totally frustrated the lawyerly and law enforcement veterans on the GOP side.That is not a good thing.As to why that might be.My only rational conclusion is absolute power corrupts absolutely.He has been at the rarefied air of the most powerful US organization-in terms of sheer ability to make your life unlivable-for years.Arrogant just plain arrogant.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I remember reading a few months ago that death is the number one reason a federal worker leaves employment. That was startling finding. No wonder these people in justice, HHS, EPA, TSA, Treasury, etc are so damn arrogant.

The employees know thay can do anything and there are no repercussions. It is time for these agencies to be cleaned out. Reduce their budgets by 5% a year for the next 5-10 years.

St. George said...

I spent a little time on the Hill. I saw things getting out of hand. I guess they always will. One way or another, this darkness got to end.

Mad bull lost its way.

Let me ask you one question:
"Is your money that good? Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it could?"

Now it's time for you and me to got to revolution.

Aridog said...

Understand something, damnit ... people like Steve Miller are NOT *employees* in the sense of civil service. They ARE mother fucking dick licking ass sucking appointed senior executives and have less functional skills than a WG-02 wage grade janitor, and far less moral dignity.

You saw it in Miller's eyes today ... on your knees bitches, worship your rulers.

Mark said...

"I got yer separation of Church and State right here."

SteveR said...

At least with elected officials there's a chance you can vote them out of office, slight as it is and there is also a possibility they will pretend to care. Senior executive service federal employees are the worst thing possible. Overpaid, unreal benefits, extreme power and totally secured employment. This was not the exception, he's the rule. I am not wrong.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

ADDED: To help you think about what might be an appropriate question read this ("Exemption requirements") and this ("Exempt purposes"). Miller seemed to actively resist giving us any idea how the requested details might have been anything but harassment

Look at Althouse trying to troll her commentators. That's so cute.

sydney said...

What would happen if you just refused to answer these IRS questions? It wouldn't be perjury, since you aren't lying. I suppose you just wouldn't get your special tax status.

But what if you were audited and you refused to submit to unreasonable demands? For example, this woman was told she had to come to her audit alone. What if you showed up with your lawyer or your accountant, or even better, both? What could they do to you?

garage mahal said...

The plot thickens:

Under questioning by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Miller pointed out that though progressive groups were not identified by name, the IRS actually collected more information on left-leaning groups than Tea Party groups

The Drill SGT said...

Are these worms vulnerable by abusing their authority with those intrusive demands under penalty of perjury?

The Supreme Court has interpreted the United States Constitution to construct laws regulating the actions of the law enforcement community. Under "color of law", it is a crime for one or more persons using power given to him or her by a governmental agency (local, state or federal), to willfully deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Criminal acts under color of law include acts within and beyond the bounds or limits of lawful authority.

edutcher said...

My God, 230 years of American history has fought against people like this.

I think the Space Cowboy really is a Joker.

(maybe a Smoker, too)

Jeff Teal said...

Iwatched the whole thing.Totally unprepared witness.Does this man have a lawyer?Does he want to stay out of jail?

I think this guy is intended as a sacrificial goat, someone so obnoxious, the Choom Gang figures if they throw him to the country, that's it.

Problem is, he's no different from the slug who was talking about how the Romans subdued subject people with crucifixions.

pauldar said...

Dear IRS to answer your questions. The name of my Kitty is "Sparky". I put the toilet paper over the top and not under. No, I do not watch Beavis and Butthead on Tuesdays, anymore. There is 6 keys on my key ring. Yes, I am ashamed to admit, my crops on Farmville has withered more than once.

Lem said...

Here is an interesting 'prayer'.

"the game is not over until we win".

bagoh20 said...

"Can't you just see the IRS employees laughing as they get together and write those questions?"

That's exactly what I imagine every time I hear one of these questions, and I also think that an embarrassing number of lefties would do the same thing with the opportunity.

This might end up being an incredible miracle that I never thought possible before: an end to the income tax or the IRS as we know it. A very long shot, but at least people are seeing it's not something that belongs in this country.

Conservatives could not have asked for a better gift. It has little to do with Obama except that he is just one of millions of the type who think this is how you run a government and treat your enemies. That's quite enough for the American public to see.

Thank you, sweet Jesus!

pm317 said...

Where are all the Republican or R leaning citizens working for the government? If there are more of them there, wouldn't that serve the purpose of checking these idiots? You don't have to publicize your politics but you could leak something as egregious as this. Where are such people in the govt?

The Drill SGT said...

pm317 said...
Where are all the Republican or R leaning citizens working for the government? ... Where are such people in the govt?


It would be bad press to roll up to the Ohio IRS office in M1A2 tanks, but I think that in 1-66 Armor, there is more than one Republican :)

Derek Brown said...

I'm not sure Nixon wasn't right at least so far as you are talking about behavior in the process of official business. I mean yes the president would be commiting an illegal act if he rapes or kills someone personally but in his role as president he is policed not by law enforcement but by Congress. Nixon didn't say if the president does it its not unconstitutional (although vis-a-vis defying the War Powers Act he probally believed it.) One of the political aspects of liberalism was the seperation of the personal and professional sphere the constitution reflects that. Admittedly it is implicit in America rather than explicit such as in France. I guess for me the concept of illegal wire tapping always seemed sillier than illegal alien so admittedly I could be out on a very weak limb.

edutcher said...

The Drill SGT said...

Are these worms vulnerable by abusing their authority with those intrusive demands under penalty of perjury?

The Supreme Court has interpreted the United States Constitution to construct laws regulating the actions of the law enforcement community. Under "color of law", it is a crime for one or more persons using power given to him or her by a governmental agency (local, state or federal), to willfully deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Criminal acts under color of law include acts within and beyond the bounds or limits of lawful authority.


Sure sounds like it.

chrisnavin.com said...

Maybe Sandra Fluke can replace him. She really stayed on message. A loyal foot soldier who fought in the trenches at that Nevada Sak N Save.

phx said...

"And God, please give the head of the IRS cancer."

dreams said...

The liberal media is already spinning the scandals as Republicans over reaching. If a Republican was in office, the liberal media, the Dems and even some Republicans would be calling for the president to resign.

pm317 said...

So I am reading that the question asked of that IRS woman Lois Lerner was a planted one so that this scandal could come to light. I don't understand that, do you? Why did they decide to come out now? What is auspicious about now?

Pogo said...

What Althouse and the other SSM proponents don't get (or are hiding for now) is that this is exactly how they will destroy American Catholics and other religions that don't bow to the Magic Gay Elves.

Count on it.

dreams said...

"Where are all the Republican or R leaning citizens working for the government? If there are more of them there, wouldn't that serve the purpose of checking these idiots? You don't have to publicize your politics but you could leak something as egregious as this. Where are such people in the govt?"

Its a fact that more Dems work for the government than Republicans but its because Dems are more inclined to game the system as in food stamps, welfare, and government jobs.

Pogo said...

"What is auspicious about now?"

Benghazi distraction?

The Drill SGT said...

pm317 said...
Why did they decide to come out now? What is auspicious about now?

- Friday afternoon
- 2 days before the IG report damned them
- this way they could control the msg for the first news cycle

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Pogo said...
"What is auspicious about now?"

Benghazi distraction?

5/17/13, 9:14 PM

I don't think so. The IG report was set to be released this week. I think time forced their hand. They wanted to get out ahead of the story with their version of events.

Of course, like Benghazi, they lied through their teeth.

Scientific Socialist said...

To maximize objectivity and save $ on an independent counsel,Obama can hunt for Nicole's killer while OJ investigates the IRS.

pm317 said...

Pogo, I thought about distraction angle when ti first came out. But this is way serious for it to be just a distraction. In fact it will have all kinds of repercussions once Obamacare gets fully associated with IRS. So why out this at all especially when there was no leak, nothing?

Pogo said...

Ah. PR.
Typical.

pm317 said...

The IG report was set to be released this week.

OK.. that was it. I didn't know.

dreams said...

"So I am reading that the question asked of that IRS woman Lois Lerner was a planted one so that this scandal could come to light. I don't understand that, do you? Why did they decide to come out now? What is auspicious about now?"

Because it was going to come out anyway and they thought it would look better for them if they did it first. Remember they were ask by congress before the election if they were harassing tea party groups and the IRS knew that they were but withheld that info from congress which is a crime and is why Lerner has lawyered up.

phx said...

Benghazi distraction?

You mean...it's Obama's fault?

phx said...

Magic Gay Elves

Oh, I get it. It's the Magic Gay Elves fault.

wyo sis said...

phx

Of course it's not Obama's fault. Are you a racist or something? What a maroon.

Crimso said...

"What is auspicious about now?"

They can try to claim they aren't covering anything up, that they voluntarily came clean. They knew the dirt was coming out anyway, so go ahead and take a bite of the giant shit sandwich. They miscalculated when they thought a bite would be enough. They're going to have to clean the plate.

I expect what we will see is an explosion of Tea Party organizations raising hell, getting in their faces and punching back twice as hard (this sort of rhetoric is acceptable now, isn't it?). They raised hell in 2009-2010, but this time they will rightfully see the Federal government as willing to go to any length to silence them. When the full force of the building rage gets focused (I think we're still months from that), there will be massive demonstrations the likes of which this country hasn't seen in a long time, and that will scare the shit out of any politician with any sense.

Or not.

phx said...

Okay, I got it right the first time.

chrisnavin.com said...

Pogo. I agree about gay marriage. Too many people have ideological, money, career, and political investments in the support of this tiny minority at some expense of a larger majority, that they don't realize at what cost to traditional religion, custom, family and even broader politics and social capital this support could come.

More and more change and we'll worry about the bill later.

I don't have all the answers, and we can't go back to 1962, but following the rights and freedom train out to include gays and whoever's next to be included has already used up political and social capital and the goodwill of many.

I have genuine sympathy for the limited freedoms and opportunities of gays, the dangers of the closet and the suffering therein, but few are talking about at what cost these changes will come.

They'll be bedfellows to the progs and all the other isms if they can ride that train to freedom, but that's just the beginning of the changes and demands.

I suspect capitalism, catholicism, and conservatism, will all have to regroup and decide how much they will compromise their core principles in order to move with the mainstream and those who seek to control public sentiment who are hostile to their core principles.

wyo sis said...

The content of prayers!

Aha! It's God's fault.

phx said...

Of course it's not Obama's fault. Are you a racist or something? What a maroon.

Excuse me. I know I'm the moron but the do keep talking like it's gay marriage's fault.

"Pogo. I agree about gay marriage..."

Fr Martin Fox said...

This--interrogating Americans about how they pray--is the harassment "progressives" are defending.

Cedarford said...

From a past thread, worth repeating:

Brad Bonar said...
Leftists believe that W was the dumbest dumb that ever dumbed, but at the same time he *knew* that Iraq had no operational WMDS. At the same time, Leftists believe that Obama is the smartest smart that ever smarted, yet was totally ignorant of the IRS, AP, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, EPA, NLRB happenings.

It really is amazing ...


Yes, and past Bush's Iraq blunders that were largely the responsibility of vile neocon manipulators, not Bush - in his days the Left held him responsible for everything, and when he clearly didn't know...he should have.
Plamegate, Katrina, Euroweenie hatred, Muslim hatred of Us, The Terri Schiavo Fiasco..the buck was supposed to stop with Bush, brayed the liberals and progressive jews in Media, academia, and the Dem opposition.

Mark O said...

Hello. I'm from the IRS. What did you wish for on your 10th birthday?

Have you even had lustful thoughts about a statue?

Are you now or have you ever been . . ..

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

phx said...
Benghazi distraction?

You mean...it's Obama's fault?

5/17/13, 9:23 PM

No it's Bush's fault. These questions were sent in 2008.

It's not any one Presidents' fault it is a systemic problem. I know Democrats believe in protecting the little guys from large businesses and government abuse.

What do liberals/progressives believe in?

chrisnavin.com said...

It's not in any way gay marriage's fault.

It's a gross abuse of power that resulted from the kinds of political and ideological coalitions that are, essentially, Obama's base.

These idealists and ideologues seem perfectly willing to pursue their aims and further erode public trust in our institutions.

Those who've been paying attention to Obama's policies, cronies, and bedfellows suspected this kind of thing would come out eventually.

Our politics is behind the times, and the end of an era is being ushered in, I suspect, the boomer greatness model.

I see Obama's greens, reds, unions, civil rights cronies, feminists and 60's ideologues and true-believers as fighting over the scraps a la Walter Russell Mead.

I'm not sure what comes next, but prudence, reason, common sense and good faith will be harder to come by.

The less people have, the more they fight over it.

wyo sis said...

Let's play the dueling scandal game.

Think up a scandal and throw it out there. It's clear that the side with the most scandals loses.

It's completely within the new rules to make one up.

phx said...

It's not any one Presidents' fault it is a systemic problem. I know Democrats believe in protecting the little guys from large businesses and government abuse.

Good points.

What do liberals/progressives believe in?

Do they have to answer?


yashu said...

Cedarford, don't forget Abu Ghraib.

Bush & Cheney were personally responsible for what went on there.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Cedarford don't forget about Abu Grab. Bush was held responsible for the shaninagans of a bunch of enlisted personnel.

phx said...

What do liberals/progressives believe in?

Is this another one of those IRS religious questions?

chrisnavin.com said...

Obama always was a Man Of The Left shilling as a moderate, as down the center, and as competent. He's competent at times.

In my opinion, he's genuinely concerned about the welfare of certain members of our society, but his political model is so deeply flawed that it will take a longer time to repair the damage, especially to race relations.

He probably did really think in his mind that reelection meant gun control and that the country was voting his ideas (the real ones) back in.

Not so. They were voting on hope that things could keep on as they were, including the greatness model, and that their wasn't as much turbulence and change roiling through our society

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

phx said...


What do liberals/progressives believe in?

Do they have to answer?




5/17/13, 9:39 PM

yes. What do they believe? are they just apparatchiks and as long as their side is doing the abusing it is OK? Or do they stand for something more than pure power politics?

chrisnavin.com said...

'there'

phx said...

yes. What do they believe? are they just apparatchiks and as long as their side is doing the abusing it is OK? Or do they stand for something more than pure power politics?

I don't know. What are they saying? I seriously don't know.

Writ Small said...

I'm praying for prison time for IRS commissioners.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Watching clips like this make me think that the tree of liberty is looking a little thirsty.

If this douchebag gets to retire with a fat pension and a teaching position in academia instead of getting going to pound me in the ass federal prison then its time for the people to start taking matters into their own hands.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

phx said...
yes. What do they believe? are they just apparatchiks and as long as their side is doing the abusing it is OK? Or do they stand for something more than pure power politics?

I don't know. What are they saying? I seriously don't know.

5/17/13, 9:45 PM

Fair enough. What about you? You OK with these abuses?

phx said...

Writ Small has a similar idea.

Anybody who did wrong ought to be punished.

Pogo said...

Phx either defends the indefensible or pretends like he doesn't know.
Bullshit.

yashu said...

I know Democrats believe in protecting the little guys from large businesses and government abuse.

Oh, really?

And especially the second part-- protecting "the little guys" from government abuse?

Uh huh.

I'd qualify that generalization, to say the least.

phx said...

No, Bill. Absolutely not. The extent of my pure power politics is letting the Tea Party speak for GOP.

If people break the law they should be treated that way. They should also be up front about what they do, not that I ever them to be so.

phx said...

"ever expect them to be"

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

hx said...
Writ Small has a similar idea.

Anybody who did wrong ought to be punished.

5/17/13, 9:50 PM

Nothing else? You're not interested in getting to the larger issues and finding resolutions that will prevent these things from happening in the future?

chrisnavin.com said...

My projection onto Obama is that he genuinely believes in some amalgam of social justice, liberation theology, spreading the wealth through redistribution, and that foreign policy wise, 'the arc of history bends towards justice.'

He's a man of the left, generally, operating partially on the community organizer constant campaign playbook, because that's what he cut his teeth on.

He had little executive experience and little time playing national politics.

He's chosen a civil rights Justice Department, feuding like it's 1968 in the deep South, feminists and excessive egalitarians seeking baskets of goodies, union support, Hyde Park environmentalism and green control of the economy.

He would really fit in in Seattle, or the Bay Area, but his ambition is greater than that.

...and he loves giving speeches because he wrote two autobiographies before the Presidency.

He rode his waves as far as they would take him, and he sees himself as a transformational figure.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

yashu said...
I know Democrats believe in protecting the little guys from large businesses and government abuse.

Oh, really?

And especially the second part-- protecting "the little guys" from government abuse?

Uh huh.

I'd qualify that generalization, to say the least.

5/17/13, 9:50 PM

It's true. If the Democrats do not stand for protecting the vulnerable and less well off they have no purpose.If they lose sight of their reason for being, they will cease to exist.

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...

Nothing else? You're not interested in getting to the larger issues and finding resolutions that will prevent these things from happening in the future?

I'm not taking part in any of that. I have no idea what would fix that. I'd like the guys who are smarter and more moderate to fix that stuff but I know they probably won't. That will probably be left to the extremists. You know how vacuums get filled? Same thing I think.

Tell me when you find out whose fault it was. I might trust someone like you. Maybe.

Pogo said...

Christ, phx, what pusillanimous know-nothing nincompoopery.

phx said...

Geez Pogo, what would you like from me? Is there something I owe you personally?

phx said...

Don't tell me. It's my fault.

wildswan said...

Mr. Nobel Peace prize launched 2,000 drone attacks where Bush launched 11; Mr. Good Guy is keeping Guantanamo open where there is a hunger strike going on, and Mr. African-American star is allowing massive unemployment among African-Americans while enriching the stock market. It's really just as destructive for the Democrats to be led by someone like that who totally ignores their values as it is for Republicans to be assaulted by government forces led the President.
But Republicans can get mad. We still have that. The government has to lie to us and try and destroy our reform movements through the IRS. At least the government does want to destroy us. The Democrats are just left in place wearing old clothes from the Thirties like scarecrows and spinning in the wind and turning their heads and pretending they just don't see.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Damn Blogger just ate a really long post. I couldn't redo it if I tried.

Shorter version. Phx -- you are helping the Republicans and Tea Parties. The left needs trust in government to accom[plish their goals.

Republicans need cynicism. Your my team rah rah rah schtick is not helping.

Pogo said...

You're lukewarm. Even Christ spits that out.

gk1 said...

Perhaps this is why Big Sis Napoleon was so worried about the tea party types and them red state fellahs stock piling ammo, because they know they are going to reap the whirlwind once this got out. Ruby Ridge and Waco lead to Oklahoma City bombing. What do they think will happen when these IRS underlings get off with a wrist slap and some sacrificial resignations (no jail time) and the MSM shields team blue again. These are scary times.

AJ Lynch said...

Flat tax is the answer to this outrage. It serves to eliminate subjective decision makers from the tax enforcement equation.

edutcher said...

wyo sis said...

Let's play the dueling scandal game.

Think up a scandal and throw it out there. It's clear that the side with the most scandals loses.

It's completely within the new rules to make one up.


They figure they can always change the rules.

The rules said nobody with his numbers could be re-elected.

Because that was true, they got out the vote fraud machine.

The problem now is the rules still apply, but they can't count on 100% turnouts in the ghetto, voters shipped in from out of state, or voting machines that will flip the opposition's votes.

phx said...

You know Bill, I don't think I ever go "My team rah rah rah."

I think I pretty much almost always go "Your team blah blah blah." or "Ha ha ha."

I don't know if Republicans need cynicism. I'm good with skepticism. Cynicism is a dead end for me.

phx said...

You're lukewarm. Even Christ spits that out.

I'm sure I'm an offense to God.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

That is true Phx. You love poking conservatives and it their reactons are funny.

But when something big and important is happening its important to step out of the gamemanship and lay it on the line. Especially if you truely believe.

Your last few responses were very honest (I know you don't need my approval) but at least it takes the steam out of the conservatives.

phx said...

Your last few responses were very honest (I know you don't need my approval) but at least it takes the steam out of the conservatives.

That's where I'm coming from, Bill. I think that's where I've always been coming from. I'll stand up for a full accounting of myself here, anytime.

yashu said...

It's true. If the Democrats do not stand for protecting the vulnerable and less well off they have no purpose.If they lose sight of their reason for being, they will cease to exist.

I'd say what they "stand for" (or represent themselves as standing for) and what they "believe" are to be considered distinct things. (And both of those are distinct from the actual empirical effects of their policies or actions.)

Or perhaps the ambiguity comes in when you parse the meaning of "little guys" and what constitutes "abuse."

E.g., perhaps "racist" "bigoted" "bitter clingers" "Koch astroturf" "Christianist" "gun nut" "teabaggers" or (to go back) plumbers who ask inconvenient questions, don't fall under the category of "little guys."

Or maybe it doesn't count as "abuse" if it's just "what we (the government) know is good for you-- or good for the country-- even if you don't."

Those IRS officials, the current IRS culture in which what they did seemed something natural & appropriate to do-- those were Democrats under a Democratic administration.

Are the targeted not to be considered "little guys," or is it not to be considered "abuse"?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Good night Phx. Now I got you to admit to disappointment and expectation of corrections, I'll let you go back to poking the cons.

yashu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...

I'll let you go back to poking the cons.

I do it out of love.

yashu said...

I commended phx earlier today as one of the few dems here at Althouse-- an exception to the rule-- who's demonstrated any good faith & honesty on the topic of the IRS & Benghazi scandals recently.

Yeah, he often exasperates me & all too often (seems to me) plays disingenuous, but he's evinced a lot more honesty & good faith than others here.

(Hey, phx. I was gonna say, "please don't disappoint me," but yeah, obviously you don't owe me anything.)

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

@ Yashu said "Those IRS officials, the current IRS culture in which what they did seemed something natural & appropriate to do-- those were Democrats under a Democratic administration."

That's not true. These questions (in the video) were sent in 2008 under a Republican president, Republican Treasury Sec and Republican IRS director.

This is a systemic problem and it needs a systemic solution. If you are a Democrat or leftist you should be in the forefront of denouncing these abuses and seeking resolutions.

This will not bring down Obama. He's not stupid enough to have written down instructions to destroy the Tea Party.

But the entire Democratic paarty and its philosophy is in danger of being destroyed. If the perception becomes that big government is not able to be controlled then Democrats have a big problem.

I believe the country is slowly becoming more libertarian. If the Democrats are on the wrong side, they will be left behind.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...

That's really nice, yashu. Thank you.

This is a time when I think conservatives would feel very justified in being critical of the left. And at Althouse, I completely understand them being very critical of me.

I admire a lot of people here regardless of their ideology. I say it pretty often that I like you guys.

That includes my friend and nemesis edutcher, wherever you are tonight.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I know Phx and Garage get a lot of crap on here. But when they drop the gamemanship they are really interesting and make a lot of important points.

I don't know why but this scandal has really affected me. It just goes against so much I believe and fought for.

I've never been a good Democrat. I've always despised the left's softness on communism and their attraction to control. I've been trending away from the Democrats and becoming more libertarian. But now I feel a sadness that this type of thing can really hurt the Dems.

And I really believe that the poor, working people and vulnerable need a champion.

I just wish the Democrats could shake off the elists leftys and get back to its core values of liberty, good govenment and help for the downtrodden.

God we need one party that is not beholden to Wall Street. The working people are getting crushed out here.

yashu said...

These questions (in the video) were sent in 2008 under a Republican president, Republican Treasury Sec and Republican IRS director.

I thought the purview of the IRS IG report were actions that took place 2009-2011.

I believe the country is slowly becoming more libertarian. If the Democrats are on the wrong side, they will be left behind.

I certainly hope that's true (especially your first sentence). I'd be a very happy camper if I saw both parties move in a more libertarian (or classical liberal) direction.

I'm not optimistic. But I'm not completely despairing, either.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

The article said the pro-life group applied in 2008. Maybe the Congressman was asking about news reports. That may be why the commisioner said he didn't know about that specific case.

David said...

"What an awful witness!"

Well, he's an awful man.

phx said...

Here's what I think about the weakening of the Democratic Party in the wake of all this.

The Republicans were pretty much weakened in the last few years themselves. That's a theme I've been playing on. I thought the Republicans might even get so weakened it would be dangerous to the country. I was thinking Obama and the Dems might see that and give in on something pretty big, like abortion, just to right a balance.

Well it turns out this might be another way of righting the balance. Repubs weakened and Dems weakened too. Maybe it's not such a bad situation for the country right at this moment.

In chess I heard someone make a joke while we watching a game. "Both players have a slight advantage."

David said...

He's simply trying to avoid a perjury prosecution. For his prior testimony.

phx said...

Maybe this is a time for the moderates and independents to come out.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I've got to go to bed. But

Phx that is such an interesting theory. Am I reading this right. You think the parties actively manipulate the situation so they stay in equal balance?

God I thought I was cynical about government!

You may be right. I thought and still do, that the Republican days are numbered. Maybe the powers that be want to keep the status quo. Interesting.

phx said...

You may be right. I thought and still do, that the Republican days are numbered. Maybe the powers that be want to keep the status quo. Interesting.

I don't know what I think. But it occurred to me a couple / few months ago when there was talk of the Dems conceding ground on some key abortion issues. I thought the Repubs were completely reeling and it would be in the best interest of the country to get them back on their feet with the public.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Fair notice Phx. I'm stealing that theory. Look when this all came out. The Market is way way up. The deficit is way way down.

If the employment situation turns around and Ocare works out. Obama and the Dems would be riding high. Maybe too high . . ?

phx said...

Maybe this crisis will balance things out though. I'm not sure if it's the Powers That Be or if it's some sort of historical determinism.

Maybe it's just a chimera but it's good to be hopeful, too.

Inga said...

So Dema need to throw a bone to the Republicans to make them feel better about themselves? Hmmmm, interesting theory.

edutcher said...

phx said...

The Republicans were pretty much weakened in the last few years themselves. That's a theme I've been playing on. I thought the Republicans might even get so weakened it would be dangerous to the country. I was thinking Obama and the Dems might see that and give in on something pretty big, like abortion, just to right a balance.

That's the mind game the Lefties (especially the media - including the pollsters) have been pushing.

Resistance Is Futile.

You Will Be Assimilated.

I think it's a crock and will be proven so eventually.

Maybe this is a time for the moderates and independents to come out.

I don't think they're coming down on the Demos' side in any of this.

Particularly if Ann's right and hardball turns them off.

Unless hardball is excused if the demos do it.

Inga said...

"Dems"

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Dude why did you throw this out so late in a thread and so late at night? Us old people gotta sleep.

Bring this up tomorrow so it gets a wider audience. i think Althouse should frontpage the theory. It would be great fodder for commentators.

phx said...

LOL! Bill you're great! Have a good night Dude.

furious_a said...

I have no idea what would fix that.

Here's a start on phx's demand "fix, not repeal, Obamacare":

Remove the IRS entirely from any enforcement, data-gathering, or any other role in adminstrating Obamamcare. They've proven they can't be trusted.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

On second thought, Don't bring it up tomorrow during the day. I have to replace the brakes on the wife's car before she returns.

A lot of people left and right think the system is rigged and I don't want to miss the fireworks.

phx said...

Remove the IRS entirely from any enforcement, data-gathering, or any other role in adminstrating Obamamcare. They've proven they can't be trusted.

Sounds entirely reasonable to me. I'd just want anyone with objections to get a full airing, too. Maybe there are reasonable objections?

phx said...

A lot of people left and right think the system is rigged

Even if the system is rigged I'm still responsible for myself though.

Inga said...

I think Phx might be an agent provocateur.

phx said...

One of my favorite novels was The Secret Agent.

yashu said...

Phx,

One problem with your theory is you're too sharply dichotomizing (thereby distorting) political reality.

You assume Dems "conceding ground" on some issues (abortion, gun control, etc.) = conceding ground to Republicans.

When in fact those concessions are not directed at Republicans, but centrist/ moderate Democrats (or Democratic-voting independents). They're made for the benefit not of Republicans but Democratic politicians (outside of ultra-liberal enclaves) worried about their own re-election.

El Pollo Raylan said...

I was thinking Obama and the Dems might see that and give in on something pretty big, like abortion, just to right a balance.

Utter nonsense. Who in the Administration? I see Inga "weakening," I don't see you weakening: and I especially don't see Obama or any Dems "weakening." The general opinion in the country may be shifting in a conservative direction, but this has little to do with Democratic policy. Have you forgotten their 2012 platform?

phx said...

When in fact those concessions are not directed at Republicans, but centrist/ moderate Democrats (or Democratic-voting independents). They're made for the benefit not of Republicans but Democratic politicians (outside of ultra-liberal enclaves) worried about their own re-election.

Yeah but it does tend to get some oxygen to the Republicans/the right. The idea that anyone can actually successfully control something like that for any extended period isn't reasonable to me.

Sometimes the wind just blows the way it does.

El Pollo Raylan said...

I see a huge narcissist at play here who "thinks" that his/her opinion acts as some kind of public rudder.

phx said...

My daddy used to say to me "That's a why question. You'll never know the answer to that." He was a simple man who didn't leave me much.

yashu said...

Maybe this is a time for the moderates and independents to come out.

And small-l-libertarians, classical liberals.

The upside to the IRS & other scandals is (I hope) that these would be moderates & independents disabused & disillusioned with Obama's utopian big-government fantasy, moderates & independents who are now more cynical (in Althouse's positive sense of the term), moderates & independents who no longer blindly trust a seemingly benign, well-intentioned Big Government.

phx said...

I see a huge narcissist at play here who "thinks" that his/her opinion acts as some kind of public rudder.

That chimera I was talking about?

El Pollo Raylan said...

@phx: Unless of course that you thought/meant that the Democrat's 2012 platform was intended to be so repulsive as to shift support away from Dems.

Is that what you really meant?

Chip S. said...

I think life is like a box of chocolates.

I think tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives.

I think the moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on.

I think shit happens.

But I don't think that any political party intentionally fucks things up for itself out of concern for the good of the country.

El Pollo Raylan said...

That chimera I was talking about?

Sorry, malakas--I don't savvy Greek-style well.

phx said...

But I don't think that any political party intentionally fucks things up for itself out of concern for the good of the country.

Well I'm not sure they did that. I was thinking they should with the abortion concessions.

phx said...

But then they never conceded the abortion issues.

phx said...

This came up and it seems like something that happens to right the balance a little bit.

I don't know where it came from. A plague in the IRS office maybe. Or Obama has the disease.

Whatever. Maybe it's not entirely bad. Maybe there's reason to be hopeful and not cynical.

Not that I'm cynical. I prefer skeptical.

Chip S. said...

I believe it's called hubris.

phx said...

Hubris it could very well be.

yashu said...

I believe it's called hubris.

Hubris and Nemesis.

phx said...

You mean it's edutcher's fault?

Chip S. said...

Let's hope so, yashu.

I'm not so optimistic, tho I'd like to be.

bagoh20 said...

The poor weakened Republicans control the majority of the Governorships in the nation and have a healthy majority in the House of Representatives at what could be considered a weak point in the their recent history, so I think they are doing just fine.

This week's clear demonstrations of what's wrong and dangerous about the very heart of Democrat ideology and policy is an unimaginable gift to the GOP.

All I can say is: "Excellent!"

El Pollo Raylan said...

You mean it's edutcher's fault?

edutcher never has "faults" in the equestrian sense. He never refuses a leap.

Inga said...

Phx is a nematode? :)

Chip S. said...

I knew you'd show up as soon as bagoh20 arrived.

Inga said...

Who? Me?

bagoh20 said...

I most hope that libertarians continue to benefit from the failures of the left. It's been a great week for all Americans who respect this nation and its ideals. The power hungry abusers took heavy losses from friendly fire.

People of all stripes should be happy about that.

bagoh20 said...

I keep her on a short leash.

Chip S. said...

A short leash is nice, but a ball gag would be better.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Chip S. said...
I knew you'd show up as soon as bagoh20 arrived.

I think that Inga, as single female, should pursue or be receptive to bagoh20, a single male. What's not to like?

Inga said...

Where's my diamond studded collar?

Chip S. said...

Don't ask for diamonds until you've gotten a few pearl necklaces.

Inga said...

What pearls of wisdom from Chip?

chrisnavin.com said...

I believe we're going through a time of real turbulence, and it will still get worse before it gets any better. It's up to us to remain the kinds of people in these days we'd like to see our leaders be, and become. Vigilance is just one price of freedom.

I remain skeptical of idealists, collectivists, and the top down rationalists. I remain somewhere between an atheist and an agnostic, and want to see a smaller government and freedom of religion not under such assault.

You learn much more about what you believe by being around those who are different.

Of course, no one asked.

chrisnavin.com said...

It's getting too hot around the collar for me, here around these sick, sick people.

I often wish I went the Zrimsek route. Brief, witty, and responding to the point.

phx said...

I think this is good time to state what you stand for, particularly if you are willing to play well with others.

El Pollo Raylan said...

I think that Inga, as single female, should pursue or be receptive to bagoh20, a single male. What's not to like?

Except that the romance should be done privately online in a chatty fashion or on the phone and not here in the comment section.

It's like like the panty exchange you two did earlier--it wasn't necessary for us all to feel and sniff the package.

Chip S. said...

That right there is what makes El Pollo one of the truly great commenters. Who else can argue w/ himself so persuasively?

Inga said...

My dear Chickie, no one is being romantic tonight but you, quit trying to play Cupid and no one's panties gets mentioned Ok? Back to the serious discussion at hand, thank you very much.

bagoh20 said...

I let Whoresoftheinternet do all my romantic talking. He's got that shit down.

El Pollo Raylan said...

@Lieber Inga:

The "panties" incident was was days or weeks old. Don't make me look for it--it's in the court of Althouse opinion record. I seek detent with you not eternal confrontation.

Chip S. said...

Since Baron Zemo isn't here, I'll post his comment for him.

[quote] Who else can argue w/ himself so persuasively?

Well, phx contradicts himself a lot, but he's not persuasive either way. [/quote]

Inga said...

Gute Nacht, Chickielein. Sweet dreams Baggy, you big ol' dream boat.

kcom said...

"Can't you just see the IRS employees laughing as they get together and write those questions?

Because that's what I see when I hear and read what questions were asked of those conservative groups."


That's exactly what I was thinking. It sounds like they were getting more and more comfortable asking increasingly intrusive and obnoxious questions and that one day they were sitting around bullshitting the stupidest, most outrageous questions they could think of. Then, almost for a laugh, they went ahead and included them because they'd gotten away with so much already. Their intention was to drag things out as long as possible and that was a fun way to do it. They didn't have to worry since their victims couldn't touch them and no one above their pay grade seemed interested in touching them. Of course, this scenario lends support to the idea that they were rogue employees because it's hard to imagine that even if their bosses wanted them to put the brakes on all these applications they would want them to do it this way. (But I guess it's not impossible to imagine it.)

phx said...

Of course, this scenario lends support to the idea that they were rogue employees because it's hard to imagine that even if their bosses wanted them to put the brakes on all these applications they would want them to do it this way.

They were Mobies! Ha ha ha.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Schlaf gut, Inga.

phx said...

Of course, this scenario lends support to the idea that they were rogue employees because it's hard to imagine that even if their bosses wanted them to put the brakes on all these applications they would want them to do it this way.

Right. The theory they weren't doing it for political advantage but some sort of hipster mockery of people who they don't like. Not because they support the left necessarily. Hipsters want to laugh at the most political people, like the Tea Party.

phx said...

Hipsterism today is pretty cruel sometimes.

phx said...

It's not like Norman Mailer's hipster or White Negro.

phx said...

Then, almost for a laugh, they went ahead and included them because they'd gotten away with so much already.

Hipsters.

phx said...

Poor angsty blue-haired hipsters all over the country have no idea how the Dems are going to succeed at blaming all this on them!

Just kidding of course. It's not about hipsters. A fun theory about two guys at the heart of the crisis though.

bagoh20 said...

I don't think it matters if it was rogue employees or not. The point is that the system is so huge, Byzantine and tangled that it's impossible to police at any level. The power granted to the IRS is so overreaching and unassailable to a normal citizen, even one of means, that it's nothing short of the king's tax man burning down your hut, or a mafia wiseguy demanding protection money as soon as one bad apple gets a job there at almost any level. Even without any employees at all the code itself is abusive both on purpose and inadvertently.

It needs to be demolished and replaced with something suitable to a nation of free people.

bagoh20 said...

Like a lot of people I purposely pay more taxes than I have too. I don't take every deduction I'm allowed to the tune of thousands of dollars. Some are just too much work to document, and anyway I want to have a buffer of over-payment if I ever get audited. I don't trust the IRS to be fair.

Despite that, for the last few years I have been getting demands for a few hundred dollars every year for tax returns usually about 3 - 4 years old. This amount is not worth going back and reviewing my old returns which are pretty complicated, and I would have to go through a process of requesting info and filling forms, etc. It's just not worth it, so I pay it and move on.

I am very suspicious of this. It's never enough money to be worth the work of disputing, and it's always years-old returns. The demand never identifies the mistake so you can quickly check it out. It's just a demand for an amount. I wonder how many people are getting charged this nice little convenience fee.

grackle said...

Under questioning by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Miller pointed out that though progressive groups were not identified by name, the IRS actually collected more information on left-leaning groups than Tea Party groups.

A meaningless statement. Larger numbers of left-leaning groups applying = more raw information gathered. And how would he know this unless they were paying inappropriately close attention to the ideological make-up of the groups? If the process were neutral, like it's supposed to be, he would not be able to make such a claim.

The real story are factors such as the length of the application process – years for conservatives, weeks for lefties. Minutely detailed, unauthorized, expensive to comply with, intrusive questions for conservatives as opposed to simplified cursory requirements for lefties.

Largo said...

Pogo,

I like your comments here. But when you call someone to make a claim on what that one claims to be ignorant, I wonder when I might be next.

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Diogenes of Sinope said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diogenes of Sinope said...

Mark my words: It will turn out Obama knew about the IRS abuse and suppression of Conservative groups well BEFORE the presidential election. AND there will be irrefutable hard evidence proofing this fact and making Obama's knowledge undeniable.

Obama will argue these IRS actions were necessary, not abuse of power, were legal and ethical due to Citizens United and Conservative groups on the edge of the law. This is why we are now hearing the absurd claims that the IRS did nothing wrong. Democrats are laying the ground work for Obama's only possible defense.

Dante said...

I agree the IRS is too powerful, but I do not agree there ought to be some "Flat Tax" put in place.

The reasons are simple. First, Social Security is already at flat tax @14.3%. That's a big chunk, and in 2010 it was only a few percentage point off from the income tax. These funds are being raided for SSDI, paying off lawyers, and who in their right mind thinks it's going to be around in 2040, or so.

Second, the net return on Social Security for a single person retiring in 2027 is less than 50 cents on the real dollar.

Third, a lot of that money was used to fund government, AKA the welfare state.

If we are going to have a welfare state like we do, those who can best afford to pay for it should pay with more as a percentage of their discretionary $. Or at least the same percentage as the average Joe. A married filing jointly making $216K in 2010 no deductions paid a whopping 36% of their income to Federal taxes alone. Meanwhile, the top 400 taxpayers paid 17%.

Doing anything else pulls down more people into the "dependency" position.

It also makes it more difficult to climb the ladder (i.e. accumulate wealth).

AprilApple said...

What do you call progressives who lie?

A progressive.

AprilApple said...

I notice the MSN news page doesn't consider any of Obama's scandal as news.

Will the pro-democrat hack media cover this horrible testimony? Like they would if this guy were a non-progressive?

Pogo said...

@Largo,
Phx has a long history of seeming to play the middle of the road, yet only ever being able to (1) find fault with the GOP and (2) dismiss Dem wrongdoing as just the usual folderol.

We are witnessing a blatant example of government tyranny both awful and dangerous, and any reaction other than anger or horror or fear is in my mind unacceptable.

It is, I admit now an extreme position, that most Americans seem ready to bow supine before the IRS as our true masters.

Because that's what all this really means.

So I cannot see any neutral position here. And phx has done this ho-hum let's all get along act when the Dems are at fault over and over again.

Renee said...

Is it Obama or someone in the DNC?

If I was controlling a political party (with money I assume), I would make sure I would protect the President/Presidential Candidate from even knowing what was going on.

Pogo said...

In my view, if we cannot easily agree that if the government EVER asks, or rather demands: "Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers." is completely wrong, wholly inappropriate, and probably illegal, then I believe all is lost for this nation.

I am completely serious.
If we have hit this point, then the Constituion is dead, dead, dead. We are just another modern totalitarian country.

Hence my ire.

Dante said...

Garage:

Under questioning by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Miller pointed out that though progressive groups were not identified by name, the IRS actually collected more information on left-leaning groups than Tea Party groups

Argue with the IRS if you think the IRS has been fair. They don't think so, which is such a huge departure for an organization with such power and clout as the IRS. It's not as if the government is going to get rid of the IRS, you know.

Renee said...

@chrisnavin.com

"Pogo. I agree about gay marriage. Too many people have ideological, money, career, and political investments in the support of this tiny minority at some expense of a larger majority, that they don't realize at what cost to traditional religion, custom, family and even broader politics and social capital this support could come."

Yesterday, Obama spoke up on the issue of fatherless in Baltimore.

"“You know, one of the biggest challenges – I grew up without a father,” Obama said at the Center for Urban Families, which serves fathers and their families. A man named Marcus Dixon had just told him about the center's key role in helping him learn to provide for his family after being released from jail.

"You know, I always tell people that, as great and heroic a job as moms do, particularly for boys, that’s a hard situation," the president said of not having a father.

“For your sons to see you taking this path, that’s going to make all the difference in the world,” he told Dixon. "And in some ways, the fact that you started off a little rocky helps” because it shows how far Dixon's been able to progress.


--------

We can talk about boys needed their father, unless he father is a sperm donor and he is raised by two women. Then apparently a boy doesn't need a father at all, and that should be celebrated to the fullest extent in the media.

Dante said...

Pogo:

You don't know if the guy agrees or not. It's probably an honest answer that there could be some circumstance where it is warranted, though I'm having a very hard time conceiving of one.

I suspect there are criminal violations by the IRS in this scandal, and at this point it is probably important to leave as little on the record as possible.

It's a problem in this modern world of Lawyers pushing the law this way and that a person can't stand up and be completely honest.

Note, I'm with you on this. I find it very difficult to believe this was not partisan. But, there are stranger things in the world.

phx said...

We are witnessing a blatant example of government tyranny both awful and dangerous, and any reaction other than anger or horror or fear is in my mind unacceptable.


The right wing police will tell you how you must respond.

Pogo said...

See what I mean?

phx said...

"When the Administration's crimes were exposed you admit you didn't evince anger, horror or fear. And yet we are supposed to believe you are a loyal American?" - Pogo's Trial

phx said...

See what I mean?

Pogo said...

Complicit with government tyranny.
More, cheerleading.
Just as I was pointing out.

Now comes the post that claims the median.

phx said...

Complicit with government tyranny.
More, cheerleading.
Just as I was pointing out.


You really need to get a job as a volunteer judge and jury in your retirement. The Cause will be grateful for your service.

phx said...

More, cheerleading.

Leading what cheer? The one mocking your foolishness? You bet.

phx said...

I think you can almost always tell who the Denouncers will be in a SHTF scenario. The ones leading us up to the Ox Bow.

phx said...

Complicit with government tyranny.

Boy does that fall off your mouth easily.

Pogo said...

Interesting that you find IRS abuse just some "foolishness".

Just as I claimed.

phx said...

I should say leading others up to the Ox Bow. I'll never go there as part of a mob. The mob can bring me there behind people like Pogo.

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