June 2, 2013

Humanizing the IRS.

This latest effort at extending the outrage at the IRS scandal is — in my opinion — backfiring.

These nameless, faceless bureaucrats are subjected to inane activities that look like something from "The Office." It doesn't look like profligate spending. It looks like sad and misguided morale-boosting.

Don't make me empathize with the taxman, you hapless scandalmongers!

What am I doing?! Simultaneously empathizing with the taxman and the scandalmongers?

Finding everyone here far too human, I will return to the mountaintop retreat I call Cruel Neutrality.

73 comments:

edutcher said...

It is, after all, our tax money being used.

It's still the arrogance of these people that's the issue.

pm317 said...

I know, going after those stupid videos is playing into IRS's hands. The fact that that is one of the first things they release should be a clue. I guess some in GoP are too stupid to learn.

Mary Beth said...

Team building! Learning to work together so they can more efficiently gang up against those Tea Party people.

betamax3000 said...

OCD Robot says:

Even on the "mountaintop retreat I call Cruel Neutrality" there are mites Everywhere. The Bedding is not Suspect: it is Guilty. Do Not put me in Repeat Mode about the Kitchen and the Bathroom again: High Altitude Changes Little.

You Cannot Escape The Big Four: Death, Taxes, Bugs, Germs.

And baby Spiders.

madAsHell said...

Rogue employees!!

AprilApple said...

Isn't it odd that the IRS unionists all give contributions to one political party?

Tim said...

Oh Lord Jesus, someone feeling sorry for IRS employees?

Ain't nobody got time for that!

edutcher said...

The problem is that these people can't even pass the hat for something as lame as this.

Everything has to be done with the slaves' money.

If it makes anybody feel better, the real story today is that the number of people working on the Tea Party project has jumped.

No longer 2 guys in Cincinnati, the number was 88. And the scope has widened to include Jewish, anti-abortion, and other groups.

Could be that's worth some time considering.

AprilApple said...

@edutcher

The problem is that these people can't even pass the hat for something as lame as this.

Everything has to be done with the slaves' money.


This.

EMD said...

This needs a "women are dumb" tag. Pronto!

Gahrie said...

Althouse consistently proves two things.

The Left really can fool most of the people, most of the time.

The 19th Amendment should be immediately repealed.

cubanbob said...

Ann while on top of the mountain of cruel neutrality surveying all that is below just take a moment to contemplate the fact that a number of people worked hard for a year to pay the taxes used to make those videos.

It's hard to work up sympathy for the poor IRS drones when funding for essential services are being cut to free up funds for things like this.

ricpic said...

It takes effort to extend the outrage at the use of the IRS to make the Tea Party shut up? Only in the halls of academe, baby.

Stanley Smith said...

My company used to do the same sort of lame "team building" exercises. The difference is, when they did it, they used their OWN money. I have no problem with "team building," per se, I have a problem with the government doing it with OUR MONEY.

pm317 said...

Mock the bastards for their stupid video. Don't make a big deal of the few thousands spent on making it. That takes away the seriousness of their scandalous acts. (which is why they released the video, to distract).

Pogo said...

The IRS is evil and has shitty dancers.

More reasons to dismantle it.

Rusty said...

You Cannot Escape The Big Four: Death, Taxes, Bugs, Germs.

And baby Spiders.

The big five: death, taxes, bugs, germs and baby spiders.

And ticks.

AJ Lynch said...

Subtitles may help the Nutty Professor understand the waste.

Perhaps one could read "$49 Million in Taxpayer Money Goes to IRS shindigs"

AJ Lynch said...

Or "$49 Million Could Have been used to pay 500 teachers"!

Sam L. said...

Rusty, NO one expects the Spanish INQUISITION!

Chase said...

So Ann, the fact that some people in the IRS, for whatever reason, ordered several groups - UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNEMENT - to detail their associates, provide the wording of prayers, make promises to not picket Planned Parenthood, and dozens of other similar questions, doesn't bother your cruel neutrality?

Like your cruel neutrality towards, say, Mel Gibson, Ann?

Hypocrite.



AllenS said...

Cruel Neutrality, because thinking is too hard.

David said...

$1600 is bargain waste.

But was all this during office hours?

Inquiring minds want to know.

SGT Ted said...

Chase is right, Althouse.

virgil xenophon said...

"I will not be neutral as between the fire and the fire-brigade.!"

------Winston S. Churchill

Jeff Teal said...

Back in high school my lefty English teacher who was chair of her department and the schools union rep brought in one of these team building people to our class and we were made to do one of her little team building exercises.My teacher and the grad psych student who instructed us really didn't like it when I informed them that I considered their psychological manipulaton of teenagers unethical.It sure was not Adcanced English they were trying to teach us. Similarly what the IRS was attempting to do is psychologically reduce resistance to authority.It works on employees by making them feel good about being on the team.So when a suggestion from on high comes down and is couched as just helping ou the team there is pressure to conform.Using it on adults is just as horrific.But it just looks silly.It is not.But it is evil.

Becon said...

You would not believe how often my attempted neutrality is deemed cruel by progressives.

Remember gun control. If it saves only one child's life, it's cruel not to try. Cost/benefit analysis be damned.

Jeff Teal said...

This was the same teacher who graded my paper on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar a C for concluding that Octavian was a megalomaniac.(You know the first Roman Emperor to claim Godhood).I simultaneously credit this union boss for my love for Roman history and my contempt for public employee unions.

bbkingfish said...

The GOP Outrage Machine will keep billowing smoke because its all they have left.

Did you know the IRS chief Bush appointed visited the White House 4,375 times since 2010? Oh. It was only 11? Gee, guess we were wrong.

sydney said...

And so it goes. The government abuses its power in a ways it has never done before and the nation yawns. This is how tyranny happens.

Illuninati said...

Althouse said:
"Finding everyone here far too human, I will return to the mountaintop retreat I call Cruel Neutrality."

So, I gather that for Althouse a silly video trumps all other evidence. If Althouse were a judge at a murder trial, after the prosecution presented overwhelming evidence of the suspects guilt, all the defense attorney would have to do is show her a video showing the human side of the murder suspect and she would tell the jury they had to acquit? I'm glad she is an academic and not a judge.

Evil is often banal. This picture is from a collection taken by the SS from Auschwitz-Birkenau. Look at them Althouse, so normal looking. Nothing to see here is there? http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/ssalbum/auschwitz_album/

Oso Negro said...

If you happen to be a small business owner who is a vocal politically and you end up audited for your exercise of free speech you won't stay cruelly neutral for long. Are you fucking endorsing the IRS abuses with your passive acquiescence?

phx said...

What am I doing?! Simultaneously empathizing with the taxman and the scandalmongers?

In my tradition our empathy extends to both the oppressor and the oppressed.

Hagar said...

They are Democrats. "Team building," TQM ("Total Quality Management), and similar faddish scams are endemic in the Federal Government, and they also force these things onto the States, and in fact also anybody else they do business with.
This is not a new thing. It has been going on for decades.

edutcher said...

bbkingfish said...

The GOP Outrage Machine will keep billowing smoke because its all they have left.

Did you know the IRS chief Bush appointed visited the White House 4,375 times since 2010? Oh. It was only 11? Gee, guess we were wrong.


No, we already established 157 times.

(God, I hate it when they have to call up the stupid trolls)

Even the Daily Beast agrees.

PS and OT: In addition to paying off his campaign debts, Willie was bought off by the Choom Gang with a promise to support Hillary! in '16.

That should be fun, as they still hate each other.

Michael K said...

"You Cannot Escape The Big Four: Death, Taxes, Bugs, Germs."

More than half of the Earth's biomass is bacteria and related microorganisms. It may be much more as we find new species of Archaea deep in the earth and deep in the ocean.

Death and taxes you can escape for a while. Microorganisms are always with us.

Michael K said...

" Blogger bbkingfish said...

The GOP Outrage Machine will keep billowing smoke because its all they have left.

Did you know the IRS chief Bush appointed visited the White House 4,375 times since 2010? Oh. It was only 11? Gee, guess we were wrong."

Thank you for pointing out that Bush did not consider politics in appointing civil servants, unlike the present crowd.

Oh, and it was 157 times. He visited the Bush White House once, probably when he was appointed.

The Godfather said...

They look silly, not evil. Which is what most of them are. We should concentrate attention on the evil that some of them do.

Mary Beth said...

The "Star Trek" one they did is obviously wrong. Since it's the IRS, Spock should have had a beard.

Hagar said...

It is evil. Does a lot of damage. And if you propose on Government work, it will be part of the Contract that you participate.

These things add a lot of direct costs plus time lost, not to mention dissension in the ranks of those told to attend these sessions, and with a smile, or seek other employment.

Hagar said...

Very good, Mary Beth!

And Uhura should be carrying a wicked looking knife!

david7134 said...

What do you think the enemy looks like? It is the person next door. It is the individuals that can't seem to get the logic of what is happening to them despite having all the information that you possess. I was at a cafe and heard a converstion at the next table. A woman, well dressed and looking similar to my wife had just announced that she was for Obamacare. I marked her down as the enemy and know that the only way we can change our country will be to silence her voice and ability to vote. We are no longer in a situation where we can "compromise". We can not view those that desire socialism/communism as our neighbors or fellow citizens. People at the other table were talking about the coming revolution. So what are you going to do, talk big, complain, threaten to vote different? Or will you actually do something?

edutcher said...

And the midsection of her uniform should be missing.

bbkingfish said...

By all means, more IRS, more Benghazi, more Solyndra, more Fast and Furious, more Obama's a muslim, more Kenyan anti-colonialist, more socialism, more communism, more Chicago-style politics, More guns, more NRA, more Mitch McConnell, more Ted Cruz, more Louie Gohmert, more Paul Paul and more Ryan Rand. Please more GOP...Pump up the outrage, because your tactics are working so perfectly.

AprilApple said...

Bill and Barry hate each other, but they will sacrifice anything for their religion.

AprilApple said...

How dare the GOP be offended. Scnadlamongers! The Progressives have every right to their unconstitutional criminal activity.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You can do all the idiotic team building exercises you want...ON YOUR OWN MONEY. The 46 million dollars that they spent on this bullshit is OUR MONEY.

I have spent many hours in corporate retreats with the broker dealer firms that I have been affiliated with in my career as a financial advisor and planner doing 'team building exercises'. They are a complete and stupid waste of time. BUT!! they were a waste of time and money that was privately owned. In my business it was really a waste of time because stock brokers do NOT work as a team. It is each man or woman for themselves.

It will not backfire.

People are tired of seeing government waste. Government using the hard earned money of the taxpayers to throw fun events for themselves.

While I have personally known and dealt professionally with IRS agents, who have been nice people, the public face of the IRS is ugly, mean, vindictive, rapacious, greedy, unrelenting. No amount of watching people with lampshades on their heads doing a Conga dance....with OUR money is going to change that.

Illuninati said...

bbkingfish said...

"By all means, more IRS, more Benghazi, more Solyndra, more Fast and Furious,...Please more GOP...Pump up the outrage, because your tactics are working so perfectly."

You are right. Because of people who support their criminal activities, the left has discovered much more effective tactics that the Republicans are unwilling to use. Because they know people like you will rally to their support, using the IRS as a political arm of the Democrat party, giving money to politicaL cronies, illegal gun running to Mexican Cartels etc. have been very effective for the Democrat party. Naked force is much more effective than investigations into the criminal activity when half the population believe that the end justifies the means. Banana rupublic here we come.

DinobotPrime said...

The problem with hiding behind Cruel Neutrality is this, everyone else gets to vote. Unfortunately for you, your Cruel Neutrality will not exempt you from the consequences of their votes nor protect you from the scorn from all sides of the argument.

You can hide to your theoretical mountain all you want, but there is not guarantee that reality won't get there first to bite your ass in the end.

Chip S. said...

I guess if Althouse had been around during WWII she'd have been forced into Cruel Neutrality™ by that mean song about Hitler having only one ball.

Emil Blatz said...

I saw that sad and misguided morale-boosting video clip and realized how it would be impossible for me to do anything other than be self-employed for the rest of my life. No HR department, no business fad-du-jour, no diversity training or team building crapola. I've worked for state government (WI), Fortune 50 corporations, and in the international consulting realm before working for myself. There is no going back to that nonsense.

Aridog said...

Cruel Neutrality

Utter and complete horse crap. You've been had again...the IRS released those *just folks* videos for the reason @pm317 said: "distraction."

If you think that the majority of those people dancing like idiots on that stage are there willingly, guess again. Somebody set it up to pose as a leader , and thus be given a bonus or award for being exceptional in leadership by senior know-nothings.

Problem: Line dancing has no functional relationship to the actual work done by those people...in short, leadership at nothing productive. It is barely short of mesmerism.

Illuminati, Jeff Teal, Hagar and David7134 have it right. At least my time as a "Fed" informs me that they do. I'd guess edutcher also agrees.



bagoh20 said...

I don't see how learning that the people who take half my income are a bunch of fools would make me sympathize with them. I got a letter the other day from them that threatened to ruin my credit and thus blow a multi-million dollar deal that many people's lives depend on because they thought I owed them $350 from 2009, which I paid two month ago without even challenging the assessment (ain't nobody got time for that). I finally got it cleared up by calling for two days to get through an hour and 45 minute wait before showing the genius that she could simply go on line and see that the payment had been made.

It may not be any particular IRS fool's fault, but that doesn't lead me to sympathize than they shouldn't all be out of a job. The entire system is badly broken, and un-American. The people running that machine will not get my sympathy. I would refuse to work there myself just out of principle. They should too. As should have Gosnell's employees, and bunch of Obama's underlings.

Achilles said...

Cruel Neutrality should not be the same as Cowardice.

Our tax system is based on voluntary compliance. If even 10% of our population decided to stop complying our budgets would crumble. Europe is failing because they have 20-50% non-compliance rates. Why do people stop complying? Maybe because they get the feeling that more than two thirds of the money they pay goes to someone else to buy votes? Or the system is unfair to some groups? As soon as the general public or a significant percentage thereof decides the government doesn't serve them or treat them fairly it is done.

If you were actually practicing Cruel Neutrality you would see the damage the actions of the IRS have inflicted on our system. Even in the brightest scenario where you ignore the fact that most of these people donated money to the DNC or affiliates, a scenario that presumes they were just following orders or incompetent, they have damaged the trust of the people they "serve."

Even if you support what they are doing they are destroying the foundations of a representative republic.

bagoh20 said...

What it is is cruel stupidity acting here, and there is a vast lack appreciation for the level of cruelty involved, how much is stolen, and from who. It's also mostly unappreciated how badly that stolen money is used, how much goes to either undeserving rich assholes or undeserving lazy thieves all scamming a system that drains hardworking people without the time or inclination to game a system as a way of making a living.

There is unlikely any system other than maybe slavery in world history that has taken so much from good people and given it to the undeserved. We support it. We need to to stop supporting it. It's flat out evil. There is no place for neutrality with such a level of cruelty involved. Get on the right side of things, or accept what you are part of, and stop pretending it's just politics. Real people are being hurt.

Bruce Hayden said...

IRS employees are human. Some are hard working, and even a small number are out to give taxpayers all the breaks that they deserve. But, mostly, they are faceless bureaucrats who get into the system because it is low risk work with decent pay and good benefits. As we have found with Lois Lerner, it is all but impossible to fire them, even if they take the 5th before Congress. I think that a lot of them may come in motivated, but after awhile, that is lost. After seeing what it takes to rise through the ranks, and for many of them, they hit the top grade they will likely ever hit in less than a decade, and then ultimately take on-the-job retirement until real retirement 20 years later.

But, what you also have to keep in mind is that they are mostly Democrats, because they believe in the government bureaucratic state enough to spend their lives there. And, growing it increases their chances of advancement, which, in a static system, are determined by longevity and who retires or dies.

I went to work almost 40 years ago as a programmer for the Decennial Census, because it was one of the few federal programs that I could justify to myself working for. And, I found that a lot of the entry level people were motivated and hard working. It was just the older ones, who had been there 20 years or so, who weren't. There were a number who were both incompetent and unmotivated. Found the same thing in the other agencies I worked for as a contractor over the next 15 years.

gk1 said...

I think this deserves a "sequestering" tag as you know this horseshit continues to go on in every govt. department while at the same time the Obama regime complains about having to do with out meat inspection, insulin testing, proper funding levels for diplomatic outposts etc. They seem to have plenty of money for this shit but not doing their jobs properly.

AprilApple said...

Peggy Noonan: Scladmonster

What does it mean when half the country—literally half the country—understands that the revenue-gathering arm of its federal government is politically corrupt, sees them as targets, and will shoot at them if they try to raise their heads? That is the kind of thing that can kill a country, letting half its citizens believe that they no longer have full political rights.”

Aridog said...

Bruce Hayden said ...

As we have found with Lois Lerner, it is all but impossible to fire them, ....

No, that is what they want you to think. The reason Lerner is not fired is because no one above her has the guts, pure and simple. She obviously knows things they'd like kept quiet.

The Senior Executive Service and the even more senior executives have contrived their own little civil service fan dance since 1979 ... with many protections, blah blah...but they are all appointed and can be fired, outright, or demoted, for cause. It just takes guts to do it.

The system is built to discourage it and to encourage political obedience which in the SES they call "executive qualifications."

pm317 said...

I would like Ann to use her critical thinking and cruel neutrality to analyze and provide exposure to articles like these. It is frustrating to see her cautiously tip toe around what is obvious about Obama, the brand and the man. She likes to pretend there is no elephant in the room. You know, the genteel citizen, respecting and even liking her president even as he pulls wool over her eyes and people like her.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

So forgive me if I'm being dim, Althouse, but am I to understand that the argument you are making is, "People will cease to care that the IRS is demonstrably corrupt and has carried out a deliberate campaign to punish citizens for exercising their Constitutional rights because they will feel sorry for employees being roped into stupid human tricks by HR?" Are you saying that with a straight face? If so, you need 100% to get your head out of your ass.

Bruce Hayden said...

The Senior Executive Service and the even more senior executives have contrived their own little civil service fan dance since 1979 ... with many protections, blah blah...but they are all appointed and can be fired, outright, or demoted, for cause. It just takes guts to do it.

Does this differ from regular civil service? I was such an employee right before the SES, and then it did take a lot of work to fire someone. As I noted above, I worked as a programmer on the Decennial Census, and we had several GS-12 programmers, and, I think a GS-13 supervisor, who had taken on-the-job retirement. In one case, one of these worked on a program for maybe 6 months, then went on vacation right as it was being put into operation. It, of course, failed miserably, having been horribly written. Two of us GS-9 programmers rewrote it from scratch in about two days, and it worked.

I asked someone why they couldn't fire employees like that, and the answer was that they needed to be shown to be unable to do the work of a GS-12 programmer, and were never assigned anything more challenging than a GS-7 entry level programmer would write, because they couldn't risk depending on them. And, without failing at grade level, they couldn't be fired.

What was tragic was that the dead wood was apparently collected into a dead-wood branch during the Census, and then the branch was eliminated after the Census. Fine, but they had bumping rights, and bumped a number of the younger programmers who had made the Census work.

I had left by then, because I wanted to get into systems programming, and the systems programming branch was told that they couldn't hire me until after the Decennial processing was complete. So, I jumped to the vendor who supplied their computers, and worked as a government contractor for over a decade after that, working for a number of agencies - mostly in Commerce, Agriculture, and Energy, but also including the IRS. Earned enough as a subcontractor to an 8A (minority) contractor to pay for law school.

And, after all that, I have to say that the worst place to work was the IRS (in Detroit). Best was the Dept of Agriculture Data Center in Fort Collins, CO. At one point, I had a huge private office off the computer room floor, that required key card access to get in. It wasn't supposed to be an office, which is why it was so big.

30yearProf said...

As a tax lawyer, I always found these facts interesting.

1. The IRS has more legal power, even over non-criminals, than any other civilian government agency.

2. The IRS has more than 2500 ARMED Special Agents who never arrest anyone.

3. Revenue Agents regularly let their * * *

Sorry about #3 but #1 has chilled my speech.

Jourtegrity said...

These lame, dance-challenged peons simply bear out the premise that their bosses demanding illegal activities against conservative groups are the real villans here. We don't care about these "normal" tools of the Obama establishment. We care about their overlords and we will find out who they are. All the way to the top.

phx said...

If you get this angry at your tax collector, I wonder how angry you are going to get when your death comes to get you.

phx said...

Wait until a guy from the east comes to fire you. Or someone steals from your business.

Rusty said...

phx said...
If you get this angry at your tax collector, I wonder how angry you are going to get when your death comes to get you.

6/2/13, 10:28 PM
phx said...
Wait until a guy from the east comes to fire you. Or someone steals from your business.



You'd be a really funny guy if you had a sense of humor.

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

Bruce Hayden asked ...

Does this [SES and above] differ from regular civil service? I was such an employee right before the SES, and then it did take a lot of work to fire someone.

Yes. Very different. Here are some references to be utilized when insomnia strikes late at night ...

http://careers.bpa.gov/ses/OPMSESGUIDE.pdf

http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/senior-executive-service/reference-materials/guidetosesquals_2010.pdf

http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/senior-executive-service/executive-core-qualifications/

http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/senior-executive-service/reference-materials/

The Senior Executive Service, and the even more senior executives [above SES...it is a perpetually morphing and growing phenomena] have contrived their own little civil service fan dance since 1979 [creation of SES out of top 3 civil service grades]...but can be fired, for cause, by management with guts, because they are all *appointed.* The "fandango* I refer to is a civil-service-like set of protections never intended when SES was established in 1979, under Carter I believe. I should never have been established at all, starting with GS-grades 16, 17, & 18 initially, because it removed the technical isolation between civil servants and political and favoritism. The argument was they had to do this to assure *executive skills* and bit by bit they removed technical skills....and added clones of civil service protections for SES personnel without the protection FOR the SES personnel from political extortion.

Note: GS graded civil servants can be fired for cause, it is a myth that they cannot. It takes a manager with guts who is not afraid for his own skin. SES and higher levels are all appointed, however they've managed to create quasi-civil service hidey holes, and they can be fired at will. Because they are all appointed...that can burn a chief who does so, however...and there you go...Mz Lerner is covered by what she knows about those above her.

PS: sorry for the urls instead of links...many of my html entries are not being accepted lately....it is hit or miss and I'm out of patience.

Aridog said...

Bruce...note if you read the core qualifications for SES piece, note that none of the core qualifications includes technical capability, only vague awareness of a technology's existence. Sound familiar? Vis a vis your GS-12 programmers?

This was by design for the SES and above from the beginning....they claim they want "executive skills" but really mean political malleability....those who know nothing can be persuaded to reflect almost anything. And here we are today.

bbkingfish said...

I can't think of anyone in Washington better suited to create sympathy for the IRS than Darrell "The Torch" Issa.

Amartel said...

So the Corrupt Bureaucrats need to twirl their mustaches and drink baby blood out of champagne flutes while toasting to world domination or your going to feel sorry for them? Feh. What if one of those line-dancing mundane face of evil shlubs was targeting you for an audit?

Amartel said...

You've got scandal fatigue and the scandals are only just coming to light.