Free Markets, Free People


Obama probably didn’t overtly order the IRS Tea Party targeting–and that makes it worse

Obama’s shills have settled in on a long-term talking point concerning the IRS scandal. They say something along the lines of “Obama didn’t tell the IRS to target anyone for political reasons. That’s just crazy. And, since you can’t pin anything on Obama, there’s no scandal here.”

There are two clear logical fallacies in this position.

First, it’s a strawman argument. I don’t know anyone anywhere on the political spectrum who is saying that Obama actually issued any directives to anyone to start the targeting. In one of my previous posts about it, I explicitly said

Even if Obama isn’t directly involved (and he would have to be sand-poundingly stupid to have issued actual directives that resulted in this) his rhetoric towards these groups was a contributing factor, so he bears some responsibility.

Along the same lines, one of our commenters (jpm100) wrote this morning:

…these orders didn’t necessarily have to come from the Whitehouse.  The organization is corrupted by years democratic nepotism and recent leadership influenced by Team Obama and the tone of non-accountability set by the Whitehouse.  Team Obama knew the kind of people they were appointing.  These people knew what Team Obama wants.  And they knew the worst consequence for them would be a job change to some Democrat Party position or some job with a Democrat benefactor.  So they just did it.

The Whitehouse could be involved, but other than ensuring no serious consequences after the fact, it doesn’t have to be.

These comments also point up the second logical fallacy. Big-government fanciers really don’t want to face up to the possibility that the federal government is just as out of control as those on the right have been saying for years (or decades). They would very much like to pretend that there’s no scandal here.

So they use a complete non sequitur. “Obama didn’t give the directive” –> “There’s no scandal.”

This is stupid even by standards of leftist argument. Political targeting by the IRS is a serious and scandalous problem no matter how it started.

We know the political targeting is there. The attempted leftist misdirection that it wasn’t politically motivated and that “progressive groups were targeted too” failed just as badly as the “doctored emails” Benghazi talking point.

Two senior IRS bureaucrats have now taken the 5th. The FBI is stonewalling an investigation that Congress ordered. It’s possible, or even likely, that the targeting affected the outcome of the 2012 elections.

So we have a serious, serious scandal. I said in the earlier post that

The IRS scandal is bigger than Watergate, bigger than Benghazi, bigger than Fast and Furious, bigger than Iran-Contra, bigger than Monicagate – bigger than any other scandal for the federal government in my lifetime.

The reason I believe that is what the scandal says about the federal bureaucracy. The one agency that is supposed to be scrupulously non-partisan is revealed as having chosen sides in the partisan debate.

It doesn’t matter if Obama ordered it.* All he had to to was put forth enough “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” rhetoric for the IRS bureaucracy to know they likely would not be punished by him for doing it.**

It would only take one other essential ingredient – an IRS bureaucracy sympathetic to the Obama administration and hostile to his political opponents. That’s what the scandal shows us – that the supposedly non-partisan bureaucracy, the one we all have to deal with whether we like it or not, is now a de facto arm of political leftism.

We have additional evidence for this. We know that the IRS favors Obama in political contributions:

While IRS employees generally donated to Obama by a 4-to-1 ratio, the lawyers for that particular federal agency donated to Obama by an astounding 20-to-1 ratio, according to Robert Anderson, associate professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law.

Lawyers are relevant because they are the ones taking the lead in writing regulations, litigating cases, and making delicate legal judgment calls in borderline cases.

The result is a solvent that is eating away at our civil society. Once half the country no longer trusts the government bureaucracy to even carry out it’s most basic functions in a non-partisan way, the seeds are sown for a terrible reckoning.

That’s what makes it even worse that the targeting probably was not ordered by Obama. Assuming he didn’t overtly order it, and the IRS bureaucrats came up with it on their own, means we are getting much closer to that reckoning that we thought.

* I’m not completely dismissing the possibility that someone in the White House did start the ball rolling. Probably not Obama, though – at most his role might have been some casual musing about how those Tea Party groups were getting pretty uppity, and someone should check into them. I’d be flabbergasted if any hard evidence turned up that he directly ordered the targeting.

** There is ample evidence that the Obama administration will cover for its allies reflexively. See the Black Panther voter intimidation case for an example. 

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62 Responses to Obama probably didn’t overtly order the IRS Tea Party targeting–and that makes it worse

  • Collectivists all understand the assumptions they live by.  They don’t need to be on a trunk call every morning.  They will reliably go out and do the things we have all seen them reflexively do, at every opportunity.

  • Americans should want to know why the IRS Director met at the White House 196 times since Obamacare was passed.  The Administration claims it was due to Obamacare.  If that were true, one would expect the Secretary of HHS to have met with the White House at a very similar rate.  However, she was at the White House only 25-30 times.  This smells almost as fishy as the video that the President, Hillary and Susan Rice blamed on causing the killing of four Americans in Benghazi.

    • Those visits are one of the reasons I think it possible someone below Obama started the ball rolling with the IRS targeting. There was plenty of opportunity to communicate some wink, wink, nudge, nudge about what the White House would like done.

      But even that far downstream, I don’t think it would be necessary to explicitly say “target Tea Parties to help us win the next election”. It would be more along the lines of commenting to an IRS exec “Wow, look at how fast this Tea Party thing is growing. I wonder if there might be some hanky-panky going on with them, being political amateurs and all.” Given the statist predilections of bureaucrats, that’s about all that would be needed.

      • I can also readily see it starting out with a few ying-yangs in a regional office, getting up the management chain, and some certified smart-asses in DC saying….”Mmmmm…  This has some POTENTIAL!”.
        I don’t think Mafia chieftains sat down one day and said, “Hey, this drug thing…it’s gonna be BIG.  Let’s give the boys on the street a personal directive to start moving that stuff in the neighborhoods”.

      • Watch the mob bosses who can have entire conversations without uttering a single word. Look up, tap their throat, roll their eyes, look down at their shoes, rub their arm…and a guy gets whacked.
        Even better than a 3rd Base coach!

        • Makes me think of that scene in the Godfather.

          Senator Pat Geary: Mr. Cici, was there always a buffer involved?

          Willi Cici: A what?

          Senator Pat Geary: A buffer. Someone in between you and your possible superiors who passed on to you the actual order to kill someone.

          Willi Cici: Oh yeah, a buffer. The family had a lot of buffers!

  • We shouldn’t stop just at asking why the IRS Director met with Obama in the White House 196. How about all the other union leaders, radicals and former members of the defunct Weathermen group met with him?

    • SUCH a raaaaaaacist…!!!!  /sarc/

    • I think union leaders are a good place to start.  You can find them all at nteu.org.

    • Perhaps we should start by finding out if there actually is an investigation into IRS abuses being conducted by the FBI.
      I’ve seen no sign that makes me believe there actually is one.

  • It’s system wide…Don’t forget about personal information being made public about Joe the Plumber that only was available to a government employee.

  • Adolph Hitler did not sign the execution order for 6,000,000 Jews, either.
    The last Democrat president to possess a semblance of decency had a famous sign on his desk indicated exactly where the buck stopped.

  • The Treasury Department on Wednesday refused to confirm or deny the existence of an inspector general report investigating whether or not former White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee illegally accessed tax information on the Koch brothers.
    The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Washington Free Beacon, declined to acknowledge the existence of the report.
    “With regard to your request for documents pertaining to a third party, TIGTA can neither admit nor deny the existence of responsive records,” said in its response. “Your request seeks access to the types of documents for which there is no public interest that outweighs the privacy interests established and protected by the FOIA (5 U.S.C. §§ 552(b)(7)(C) and (b)(6)).”
    Former White House Council of Economic Advisers chairman Austan Goolsbee sparked a mini-scandal in 2010 when he told reporters during a background press briefing that Koch Industries-the company of libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch-paid no income taxes.
    The American public deserves answers on this potentially serious scandal.”
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/07/potentially_explosive_development_in_irs_scandals.html

    Yes.  Yes, we DO.

  • I read Arnold Kling’s short book on political language, so here’s my attempt to communicate this scandal to lefties:
    Imagine the IRS was a police force, and that you found out this police force had been accused of beating up black suspects that were falsely accused of resisting arrest. Would you want an investigation? What if someone then said, well, they beat up 292 black people but they also beat up 6 white people. Would you then conclude there was no problem, and no need for an investigation? How about if someone said “but the mayor didn’t order these beatings, so there really is no scandal here.”
    No. You would laugh at such shameful rationalizations and demand an investigation, and rightly so.
     

    • You left out a few items:

      Prior to the incidents of racially-motivated police brutality, those in the mayor’s camp, from him down to the pro-mayor loudmouth on the street, had all portrayed black people as dangerous, traitorous, malevolent, etc. in an attempt to discredit them and keep them out of power.
      Months after the successful reelection of the mayor, the police department craftily leaked the admission that there was racially police brutality.
      The mayor and his advisors condemned the brutality.
      The first defense was to blame “a few bad apples” in one precinct, who were never given orders.
      After the first defense fell apart under scrutiny, the chief of police was called before the city council, upon which she declared she did nothing wrong then plead the fifth.

      Most people would, rightfully, be demanding a thorough investigation, and for “heads to roll”, clearing out the police department of those with racial biases.

  • IIRC Reagan never directly ordered North to have the Israelis sell arms to the Iranians and have the profits given to the Contras either. It was simply “do what we can” to help the Contras. No direct order didn’t matter the the libs then. So if Obama said something as simple as “See what you can do to mute these Tea Party groups”, then by Democrat standards he should be held fully responsible for any actions taken to implement it.

    • The idea of plausibility deniability isn’t new.

      We’re just assigning it to the IRS scandal and the deep corruption of the federal bureaucracy as a tool against internal foes.  I don’t recall North was conducting raids on Democrats.  And additionally the big difference with North is that he had his day in court.  The Point here, is that likely no one involved in the IRS scandal ever will.

  • Yes, the 9th amendment gets no respect.

  • I note nobody has been punished for the IRS scandal either.  The FBI investigator doesn’t know what’s going on. Nobody has spoken to Tea Party groups victimized. And nobody seems much interested in investigating the actual LEAKS of confidential materials to leftist organizations.

    I don’t want this fixed. Not anymore. Capture the govt, clean house, install cronies in the IRS, destroy the left with it. That’s all.

  • The right won’t do that. That is the problem. Only when the right does stuff then the Left wakes up.
    Also, I am not so sure we will have any more GOP presidents. LIV + Data mining + MSM = Dem presidents as far as the eye can see.
    Funniest thing was a story about how its Ageist to attack Hillary in 2016….LOL…the media made fun of McCain being an old man, but now its ageist to use that argument against Hillary.

    • You really think the right wouldn’t do it if pushed hard enough? Dude, I seriously accept the premise that its going to come to shooting within the next 25-50 years.

  • The reason I believe that is what the scandal says about the federal bureaucracy. The one agency that is supposed to be scrupulously non-partisan is revealed as having chosen sides in the partisan debate.

    We purportedly got rid of the “Spoils” system over 150 years ago. Evidently not.

    • In some (limited) respects the spoils system was better.  Under it, every change in executives meant a sea-change in the bureaucracy, too.
      Now, we have essentially a careerist…and very homogenized…set of Collectivists dominating the bureaus.

      • From Mark Steyn on Oct. 27, 2010

        The Republic of Paperwork

        Steyn on America
        Wednesday, 27 October 2010

        Liberalism, as the political scientist Theodore Lowi wrote, “is hostile to law”, and has a preference for “policy without law”. The law itself doesn’t really matter so much as the process it sets in motion – or, as Nancy Pelosi famously put it, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” When Lowi was writing in the Seventies, he noted that both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission were set up by a Congress that didn’t identify a single policy goal for these agencies and “provided no standards whatsoever” for their conduct. So they made it up as they went along.
        Where do you go to vote out the CPSC? Or OSHA? Or the EPA?

        Quoted at http://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2010/10/27/mark-steynthe-republic-of-paperwork/ (the original link doesn’t work as Steyn is a poophead about linking to original articles)

  • Seems “The Buck Stops Here” applies to every administration since Harry Truman – except this one!

  • Will no one rid me of these turbulent protestors!

    • Who my Collective calls “terrorists”, and we all hate.  But I never told you what to do…

      • Sorta like G. Gordon Liddy – he KNOWS what needs to be done without you saying anything.

        Valerie Jarrett won’t look good shaving her head though.

        • Liddy, for all his faults, also served his nation honorable in several roles.  Jarrett has served the Chicago machine, both at home and in DC.
          To my knowledge, Liddy never got people killed, or supported the undermining of the rights of the entire nation.
          Readily distinguishable.

  • Not only is there clearly no scandal (it’s become a dead story), but it’s proof the government is NOT out of control.  Word came out, Congress looked into it, there was an internal investigation, Obama ordered any such targeting to stop (left or right) and there was accountability.   What’s laughable is that given the horrific scandals of the Bush years – going to war on false intelligence, etc. – the right has faux indignation about something they have to stretch their imagination to even consider it a scandal.   The sad thing is, I think you’ve talked yourselves into believing something is there – and that the fact others don’t see it proves you right.   I guess that’s one way to avoid cognitive dissonance!

    • Run along and snuggle up with the new missus Scotty.

      More than a month and a half after it was announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would launch an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups, the groups and their legal representatives are still waiting to hear from the FBI. – See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/joe-schoffstall/fbi-still-hasnt-contacted-irs-targeted-tea-party-groups-about-investigation#sthash.9IovQ2j3.dpuf
      More than a month and a half after it was announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would launch an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups, the groups and their legal representatives are still waiting to hear from the FBI. – See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/joe-schoffstall/fbi-still-hasnt-contacted-irs-targeted-tea-party-groups-about-investigation#sthash.9IovQ2j3.dpuf
       

    • Actually the Bush administration was remarkably free of scandal, unlike gunrunner Obama.

      • Actually the Bush administration was remarkably free of scandal, unlike gunrunner Obama.

        You’d have to look at Alberto Gonzales, Scooter Libby, and the like for the sort of scandals that Scott considers “real”, i.e., they resulted in a conviction, resignation, or political defeat.
        Even after invading Iraq for dubious reasons, Bush was reelected.  By Scott’s immoral standards, that means Bush didn’t do anything wrong.  It can’t qualify as a scandal, because the investigations failed to result in any accountability.  No one was convicted or fired.  In the end, it was buried and people moved on.  To an unprincipled propagandist like Scott, that means nothing unethical happened.  Facts are irrelevant.  Only election results, court rulings, and the like.
        Such is the consequence of abandoning an evaluation of right and wrong based upon facts, and looking solely at political victories and image.

        • Oh, I know about Scott. He will play the “reasonable moderate” part, but the mask always slips.

          • On Usenet, he earned the name “Disingenuous Fraud”.  His mask has not been effective for many years.

    • Please, Erp, cite us to your moonbattery sources for that set of lies.
      Please.
      Also, since you are here…where are my models, where are responses to MY models, and where are your historical citations?
      HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmm….????

    • Word came out, Congress looked into it, there was an internal investigation, Obama ordered any such targeting to stop (left or right) and there was accountability.

      Lois Lerner plead the Fifth and she is still drawing a salary.  Sarah Hall Ingram moved over to the ObamaCare division of the IRS.  Others involved either retired with full benefits or were given different positions.
      Who has been held accountable?  Who held them accountable?  What was the punishment?

      The sad thing is, I think you’ve talked yourselves into believing something is there….

      The IRS admitted it.  Obama condemned it.  Lois Lerner plead the Fifth.  And, idiot Scott declares it is all a fantasy of political opponents to the immaculate one.
      What do you get out of playing the Baghdad Bob game?  Do you simply need for people to respond to you, not caring what they say?  When you look in the mirror, don’t you feel some semblance of shame?  Or, are you just numb to it all, resigned to being an unpaid liar and shill, a nobody without power who has sacrificed any reputation he might have had by serving those who couldn’t care less about him?

      • Just a few days ago, Lerner said she would not testify until she had been granted immunity.

        Immunity for not doing anything wrong? Even a lying, dogmatic Collectivist tool like Erp can come up with the correct answer to that poser.

        • Even a lying, dogmatic Collectivist tool like Erp can come up with the correct answer to that poser.

          Besides being a liar, I doubt that Scott is very intelligent.  Don’t assume he can reason that out, even in the privacy of his own mind, hidden away behind his propagandist façade.
          The most obvious conclusion, form his long record of Internet missives, is that he is stupid and dishonest.

          • I don’t think he’s stupid. I think he’s a dedicated leftist who is shameless. He will tell obvious lies to support the left.

          • I don’t think he’s stupid.

            Then I don’t think you’ve read enough of what he has written.

    • I see no point in feeding this troll. This was the same thing he said last time – “no scandal, yada, yada, yada” with nothing to support it, with only some generic Bush bashing added. Nothing to suggest he even read the post, same as last time. 

      He just gets some kind of sick thrill out of yanking people’s chains by parroting leftist talking points that he himself doesn’t even understand. He just knows some leftie pundit somewhere said it, so it must be right. I’m with Elliot – nothing he posts here suggests that he has any intelligence, just parroting skills.

      • Insulting Parrots now!  I shall round up the crew and dispatch a Parrot(t) rifle to your location post haste sir! Parrots are our friends! This shall not stand!
         

  • http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/08/anti-terror-activist-security-of-the-benghazi-embassy-was-farmed-out-to-an-al-qaeda-front-group-video/
    Now, I have no idea if that is true or not.  But I would like to know.
    I would like to hear from people who were there that night, too.  Any thinking person would.  And knows there is STILL a coverup in place.

    • No, no, Rags, you don’t understand. The left uses the Reverse Peter Pan Principle on scandals. If one just refuses to believe in them, they go away.

      Yet more evidence of magical thinking by the left. Some of them are only a half-step away from sticking pins in clay dolls to deal with their enemies.

  • Erb cannot enter the discussion on this blog without doing one of two things:1) Claim everyone here is a Neanderthal for even thinking anything other than what he believes2) Defending Obama no matter how egregious the offense (Like claiming there is no scandal when there is)He might as well just write “Neener Neener Neener” instead of the BS he does write.  It would create the same effect!

    • “He might as well just write “Neener Neener Neener”

      Well, it would certainly have essentially the same meaning as most of his posts.

      I admit though, I see Scott as more of a “Nanny Nanny Boo Boo” guy, rather than a “Neener Neener Neener” guy.

      • LOL!  Just having fun.  You guys don’t take other perspectives seriously.  You don’t engage an opinion different than yours without ridiculing it.  If you did, respectfully, I’d respond in kind.  But you’re playing a good vs. evil game where you define the players by their ideological views.  Cute, but not very persuasive.

        • Can’t speak for others, but you are a demonstrated liar, Erp.  That is a “bad vs. good” thing for me, and it is not a game.
          And you are a coward, but that goes with being a liar, generally.  I have no respect for you.

          • Can’t speak for others, but you are a demonstrated liar, Erp.  That is a “bad vs. good” thing for me...”

            His dishonesty makes debate pointless.  All he has to do is to lie and claim he is “not persuaded”.  He has also attempted to impugn the reputation of good people with such lies.
            But even more, his propaganda attempts to hide the harm to individuals that his ideological beliefs cause, when put into practice.  For example, ObamaCare is a train wreck before it kicks in–so much so that Obama unilaterally delays the implementation to limit political fallout.  It is, predictably, causing increased prices all around, and will cause economic calamity when enforced.  And yet, Scott, who pretends to be a “decentralized government” guy, even a “left libertarian”, defends it like a zealot.

            .”..and it is not a game.

            Indeed, when pressed on such basic things as honesty, Scott denies, denies, denies, then when confronted with incontrovertible evidence, falls back in retreat and then makes a weak stand by declaring that we are taking these things “too seriously”.  It is, after all, the Internet, so he can write any nonsense and, according to his fallback attitude, all that matters is whether you get upset, whether a party wins a vote, etc..  Or, he declares that no one can really be sure of anything, and that certainty is a sign of “extremism”.  Such a declaration is, of course, exempted (see: Stolen Concept Fallacy), and Scott is exempted in all his babbling about power differentials and what not (see: Special Pleading Fallacy).
            No, politics is not a game.  Real people are harmed when policies are implemented.  It would be one thing to participate in an on-line forum about pop culture, bragging about one’s favorite sports team, and other such things, and to declare that people shouldn’t take such things too seriously.  But people get killed, go to prison, lose rights when government abuses power.  And, as those in power put the federal budget on track to complete collapse, by any honest accounting (i.e., federal unfunded liabilities), engaging in whimsical diversions means not averting such disasters.  I take that subject deadly seriously.

        • ” I see Scott as more of a “Nanny Nanny Boo Boo” guy, rather than a “Neener Neener Neener” guy.”
          And this sums up my view of what you do and how much respect I have for it.  I’ve seen your ‘educated’ responses, and I can manage nicely without that ‘in kind’.

          You’re the poster boy for Lenin’s “useful idiots”.
           

        • You don’t engage an opinion different than yours without ridiculing it.

          False.  People ridicule you because of your arrogance and silly attempts to get weak propaganda by a discerning audience.
          And, it isn’t just “an opinion different than” mine.  It is a bad opinion, particularly one which results in harm to others, to which I respond negatively. There are a number of people at least as smart as I am, so I always consider the possibility that their ideas make more sense than mine. I don’t claim to have perfect information, or to be infallible. But you’re nowhere near that category, given your inferior skills at logical debate. Your arguments are one long string of logical fallacies.

          But you’re playing a good vs. evil game where you define the players by their ideological views.

          People who stick to an ideology which harms others are supporting evil.  Those who push white supremacist ideas, Marxism, radical Islamist violence are, properly, categorized as pushing evil, for the simple fact that such ideas are the root of atrocities.
          When you respect the rights of others, we can have debates about how to approach various problems, but the fact that you’re not doing harm to others in your approach means you are not behaving in an evil fashion.  That doesn’t mean that anyone who is not evil is “good”, part of some monolithic army.  It just means you’re part of those who are civilized.

          Cute, but not very persuasive.

          You never, ever acknowledge that an argument which opposes your ideological point of view is “persuasive” to you.  So, a declaration from Scott Erb that Scott Erb is not persuaded is of no value to me, and, I wager, to most rational people who attempt to persuade you, only to get the propagandist’s “not persuasive” response.  All you have to do is to lie and pretend that a rational argument doesn’t “persuade” you.
          Who cares?  You’re a liar, so your assessment is of no account.  You don’t matter.