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October 25, 2013

IRS Flagged Groups Using "Anti-Obama Rhetoric"

...and the saga continues:

ABC, CBS and NBC have so far refused to report the latest bombshell in the IRS scandal - a newly released list from the agency that showed it flagged political groups for "anti-Obama rhetoric." On September 18 USA Today, in a front page story, reported the following: "Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about 'anti-Obama rhetoric,' inflammatory language and 'emotional' statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status."

Not only have ABC, CBS and NBC not reported this story they've flat out stopped covering the IRS scandal on their evening and morning shows. It's been 85 days since ABC last touched the story on June 26. NBC hasn't done a report for 84 days and CBS last mentioned the IRS scandal 56 days ago on July 24.

The article by Gregory Korte went on to report: "The internal 2011 documents, obtained by USA TODAY, list 162 groups by name, with comments by Internal Revenue Service lawyers in Washington raising issues about their political, lobbying and advocacy activities. In 21 cases, those activities were characterized as 'propaganda.'

Never attribute to malice what can be easily explained by ... incompetence?

...the larger failure of public administration that has been endemic in the Obama White House... is probably the president’s most significant weakness

Obama failed to fill the key post of IRS commissioner for FIVE YEARS. A savvy commissioner, in place early on, would have understood the potential train wreck ahead over the long-term IRS mishandling of 501(c)4 and (c)6 applications, and would have set up a process to create a bright line both to eliminate or ameliorate the political abuses of the tax code by groups like American Crossroads GPS and to give the career staff the clear guidelines they needed. And an experienced executive-branch veteran and public-management expert inside the White House would have seen the problems emerging with HealthCare.gov and begun the urgent management repair work earlier…

Or lack of interest:

And there is the enduring mystery of why the president, who in his career has attempted to persuade the American people to have greater faith in and reliance on the federal government’s ability to help, continues to go forward with an astounding lack of interest in the [actual effectiveness?] of government.

He talks but he doesn’t implement, never makes it work. He allows the IRS under his watch to be humiliated by scandal, waste, ill judgments prompted by ideological assumptions. He allows his signature program, the one that will make his name in the history books, to debut in failure. In response he says bland, rounded words that leave you wondering what just got said.

...or perhaps just the unbearable ennui of boooooring national security briefings:

... at the State Department, some officials were fuming about what they felt was a broken process and a lack of strategy... The administration took more than a year to nominate a replacement for Jeffrey D. Feltman, a veteran Arabic-speaking diplomat who had coordinated the State Department’s Middle East policy...

...Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum...

Whatever happened to the candidate who earnestly informed us that the American people expect the buck to stop at the Oval Office?

Please pay no attention to the man in the ginormous white house where the buck used to (as recently as the end of July) stop. Yes, he's technically in charge of the country. And the State Department is technically part of the Executive branch. But Obama can't be held responsible, you see. It's not his fault that embassy staff in a turbulent nation with troubled relations with the West can't be trusted to obey direct orders. Or that - apparently - they had not been instructed to consult with the White House on matters of this delicacy. Or that Libyan diplomatic staff were working in an insecure environment...

One could be forgiven for sensing a pattern here.

Posted by Cassandra at October 25, 2013 07:12 AM

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If I’ve learned anything over the years it’s none of the following should ever be allowed to run a country: Muslims, utopians, intellectuals, economists, professors, theorists, ex-corporals, and affirmative action stars.

Please note: I'm not making allowances for exotics with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), pretensions of legitimacy, lovers of humanity, champions of the poor and trod upon, or maleficent spirits with obsidian souls.

I consider ourselves as having been twice warned: first by the parable of President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho; and a second time by the advent of President Barack ShapeShifting Transformer Barry Hussein Soetoro Obama.

It's up to us now to disestablish that the only thing to be learned from history is nothing is learned from it.

Posted by: George Pal at October 25, 2013 10:16 AM

I got your "'anti-Obama rhetoric,' inflammatory language and 'emotional' statements" right here. I'm feeling quite inflamed and emotional. I have rarely been so angry.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 25, 2013 12:44 PM

Not only have ABC, CBS and NBC not reported this story they've flat out stopped covering the IRS scandal on their evening and morning shows. It's been 85 days since ABC last touched the story on June 26. NBC hasn't done a report for 84 days and CBS last mentioned the IRS scandal 56 days ago on July 24.

And they won't. It makes their guy look bad and it was those terrorist Tea Parties that were the victims. So no s***s are given.

I mean, those troublesome Priests had it coming, after all.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 25, 2013 02:24 PM

it is abominable that the IRS has been so casually politicized. That MSM went batshit screaming crazy when they thought Nixon *might* have targeted a few *very* liberal groups; Obama's gov't minions have already been shown to have targeted hundreds (? more?) of groups and individuals for nothing more than having differing views.
> that strikes at the heart of free speech

Posted by: CAPT Mike at October 25, 2013 09:44 PM

Posted by: Grim at October 26, 2013 06:41 PM

I think that story needs to be taken with a grain of salt, Grim.

The common thread in all these stories has been personnel supplementing official training materials with stuff they find on the Internet. People can and do insert their own beliefs into all sorts of official occasions (like the proselytizing CO and battery commanders I have talked about before). When that happens it should be corrected, and it appears that is happening. I'm not really sure why stories like this make national news - I actually saw a headline on Friday that said, "Local waiter doesn't receive tip, gets anti-gay message on bill".


Posted by: Cass at October 28, 2013 09:05 AM

From the description, it wouldn't surprise me if the pre-deployment briefer in the article Grim linked got his "extremist group" information from the Southern Poverty Law Center. They've been somewhat infamous lately for identifying, among others, any group opposing gay marriage (or insufficiently leftist in other ways) as a hate group in the same category as the KKK. The guy who shot up the Family Research Council office in DC while carrying a backpack full of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches back in Aug 2012 got his info from them. SPLC has been accused of casting an overly wide net searching for hate groups so as to keep themselves relevant and keep the donations rolling in; couple this with SPLC providing training for law enforcement and sharing hate group info with the FBI (thus giving their identification of organizations or movements as hate groups the appearance of official government credibility), and you've got a recipe for more incidents like this.

Of course, it's also possible that someone watching the briefing just drew connections that the briefer never stated or intended. We'll probably never know the full story.

Posted by: Matt at October 28, 2013 12:15 PM


I think there may be some truth to the story Grim linked to. Seems that is coming from the actual Pentagon EO training manual.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 2, 2013 09:25 PM