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Thread: IRS and the DOJ

  1. #21
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Other ave's of communication were used. The bosses in the State dept and and intelligence community (of whom many were appointed by this administration) had every incentive to color the situation in Benghazi in a light that most benefited the WH. Those down the chain of command like keeping their jobs and thus keeping the bosses happy. In an election year that means lying to the public about the cause for the attack.

    Everyone knew what was going on, but thought winning reelection, and keeping the administration (and the bosses in the State dept and intelligence community) happy was more important that telling the public what was actually happening. God forbid government actions reflecting poorly on Obama in an election year.
    You may be correct, but I'm not aware of hard evidence to that effect. Regardless, it's a scandal about talking points, so much less concerning than the other two.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    It's definitely important for those reasons, and as a civil libertarian I'm sympathetic to all the concerns you raise. But for now I'm analyzing the situation in more partisan terms, and to be honest many on our side don't give two shits how reporters (who aren't really known for treating conservatives fairly) are treated by the gov't. For that reason the DOJ scandal doesn't get much play on the right. Obviously some very important constitutional concerns are raised by this situation, but the victims are widely viewed (besides Rosen) as being on the other side of the isle. Yes I know this is hypocritical for a party claiming to care about constitutional rights, but thats politics.
    I'm perfectly willing to criticize Obama when I think he's wrong as a liberal (and he has been a disappointment as far as civil liberties go), and I don't think I'm alone in that. Of course, my biases still have an effect (as those of others do on them).

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    You make no mention of the fact that conservatives were targeted in an unwarranted (given the level of scrutiny given to liberal groups received) partisan fashion.

    The scrutiny increasingly seems to have been coming from the top down.
    I haven't seen any evidence yet of WH involvement, but it's possible some could come to light during the investigation. If so, that would be a huge WH scandal. Time will tell.

    I would love to see a complete list of search terms used (I tried googling for such yesterday, but I couldn't find evidence of a complete list being released) to see if all their terms were biased, or if it was a few out of many. I agree that it's absolutely wrong to target groups based on political affiliation, and those responsible should be fired, based on the results of the investigation.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Sure money in politics sucks, but if you are going to raise that argument, what about 501(c)(5)'s aka Union (who started this whole business in the first place)?

    As long as campaigns cost $$$$$, getting money out of politics will pretty much be a pipe dream.

    Given that both sides enjoy spending in the dark with no donor accountability, I don't see any huge rewrites coming along the lines of McCain Feingold anytime soon.

    I would be satisfied, if all groups had to disclose all donors regardless. And I think it's politically doable to get a bill through congress asking for that.
    That would at least be a good start. At least being to identify the funding parties would make it a bit easier to tell how grassroots and local different organizations are (or aren't).

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    All those who had knowledge of the targeting are culpable and should be immediately dismissed without pay or any sort of severance package.

    This went on for several years and apparently no one raised an eyebrow. That reflects a culture where its ok to act unconstitutionally as long as it's against those horrible conservatives.

    The left wont always hold the WH or the Senate, and should think through the consequences of these actions and the permissiveness required for them to come about.

    Given the way we've been treated, I won't fault us for looking for payback when we're back in power.

    What the IRS did was wrong regardless of ones stance on campaign finance.
    I agree that the IRS targeting any group based on where they fall on the political spectrum is wrong (I don't think anyone would argue otherwise). I just thing the current situation (lack of firm, objective guidelines) means that bias will inevitably arise, one way or the other. It does not excuse those responsible, but does point out the need for objective guidelines and procedures (and periodic, transparent review of same).

    I am not defending the IRS, but pointing out that their job became both murkier and more fraught thanks to Citizen's United, and a real long-term solution requires more than just firing the individuals responsible.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    You may be correct, but I'm not aware of hard evidence to that effect. Regardless, it's a scandal about talking points, so much less concerning than the other two.
    It's a scandal about lying to the public (for political gain) about the cause of death of Ambassador Stevens and three others.

    Let's not paint an overly pretty picture here.

    I'm perfectly willing to criticize Obama when I think he's wrong as a liberal (and he has been a disappointment as far as civil liberties go), and I don't think I'm alone in that. Of course, my biases still have an effect (as those of others do on them).
    Are you angry that the level of inequality has increased since he's been in office?

    I haven't seen any evidence yet of WH involvement, but it's possible some could come to light during the investigation. If so, that would be a huge WH scandal. Time will tell.

    I would love to see a complete list of search terms used (I tried googling for such yesterday, but I couldn't find evidence of a complete list being released) to see if all their terms were biased, or if it was a few out of many. I agree that it's absolutely wrong to target groups based on political affiliation, and those responsible should be fired, based on the results of the investigation.
    Politicians (especially those savvy enough to get into the White House) are usually smart enough to realize when it is better for them to "not know" about certain goings on beneath them. There won't be any evidence leading to Obama. At worst it will lead to a senior official who will subsequently fall on their sword and everyone will move on. While I'm certain Obama had some inkling of what was going on, I'm not so naive as to assume the Obama administration is that bad at covering its tracks.

    The bigger crime here is that people felt so comfortable targeting conservatives that no one raised a stink about this earlier. The fact that everyone just kind of went along with this is the most frightening issue with the IRS scandal.

    Has the left so effectively vilified us that no one in the IRS cares that they are unequally applying the laws so as to disadvantage Republicans in an election year?

    That would at least be a good start. At least being to identify the funding parties would make it a bit easier to tell how grassroots and local different organizations are (or aren't).
    I don't care how local or grassroots an organization is. The US chamber of commerce has every right to organize and influence that Save the snails of nassau county does.

    But choosing to influence the political system with donations should not be an anonymous act. That goes for whether one donates $1 or $100,000

    I agree that the IRS targeting any group based on where they fall on the political spectrum is wrong (I don't think anyone would argue otherwise). I just thing the current situation (lack of firm, objective guidelines) means that bias will inevitably arise, one way or the other. It does not excuse those responsible, but does point out the need for objective guidelines and procedures (and periodic, transparent review of same).
    That's all well and good, but the need for better IRS guidelines isn't at issue here.

    What is at issue, is how far up the food chain (that we can prove) did the order to use the IRS to hamper GOP funding in an election cycle go?

    That is an answer that I would think people of any political stripe would want to know.

    I am not defending the IRS, but pointing out that their job became both murkier and more fraught thanks to Citizen's United, and a real long-term solution requires more than just firing the individuals responsible.
    No you're not defending them, but you are attempting to change the subject.

  3. #23
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    It's a scandal about lying to the public (for political gain) about the cause of death of Ambassador Stevens and three others.

    Let's not paint an overly pretty picture here.
    Again, it's questionable whether the Al Qaeda connection was redacted by the intelligence agencies, or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Are you angry that the level of inequality has increased since he's been in office?
    I'm extremely concerned about income inequality (which is far worse if one factors in unearned income, of course). Obama has pushed for increased taxes for the wealthy, which would help somewhat (although I know you wouldn't approve, personally). At least some of the rising inequality has to do with technological changes, but other parts definitely have to do with rent seeking and the influence of money in politics (such that policy changes tend to benefit the wealthy). Once reason I think that transparency about political donations and lobbying are important is that it makes the influence of money more obvious. (And, in the last cycle, did show the limits of political advertising spending in some races, which was semi-reassuring.)

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Politicians (especially those savvy enough to get into the White House) are usually smart enough to realize when it is better for them to "not know" about certain goings on beneath them. There won't be any evidence leading to Obama. At worst it will lead to a senior official who will subsequently fall on their sword and everyone will move on. While I'm certain Obama had some inkling of what was going on, I'm not so naive as to assume the Obama administration is that bad at covering its tracks.

    The bigger crime here is that people felt so comfortable targeting conservatives that no one raised a stink about this earlier. The fact that everyone just kind of went along with this is the most frightening issue with the IRS scandal.

    Has the left so effectively vilified us that no one in the IRS cares that they are unequally applying the laws so as to disadvantage Republicans in an election year?
    I think what the iRS was wrong, and I'm glad their behavior is being investigated. I think it's wrong to target groups based on their affiliation. In general, however, I would be all for increasing scrutiny in the year or so leading up to an election, because that's a time when short-term political organizations are formed. However, such scrutiny needs to be applied in a consistent, unbiased fashion. It clearly was not, in this case, hence my support for the ongoing investigation.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I don't care how local or grassroots an organization is. The US chamber of commerce has every right to organize and influence that Save the snails of nassau county does.
    If it has "grassroots" in its name (for example), then I do care who the donors are. I'm fine with the chamber of commerce (or whomever) supporting who they like, but I'd like to know who is funding which groups.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    But choosing to influence the political system with donations should not be an anonymous act. That goes for whether one donates $1 or $100,000
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    That's all well and good, but the need for better IRS guidelines isn't at issue here.

    What is at issue, is how far up the food chain (that we can prove) did the order to use the IRS to hamper GOP funding in an election cycle go?

    That is an answer that I would think people of any political stripe would want to know.
    I would like to know. If Obama ordered it (which I find unlikely, but possible) that would be a Nixon-level scandal. However, currently we don't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by IRS
    Soon thereafter, according to the IRS, a Determinations Unit specialist was asked to search for applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in the organization’s name as well as other “political-sounding” names. EO [Exempt Organizations] function officials stated that, in May 2010, the Determinations Unit began developing a spreadsheet that would become known as the “Be On the Look Out” listing (hereafter referred to as the BOLO listing),[15] which included the emerging issue of Tea Party applications.

    And, it's worth pointing out, of the 21 501(c)(4) organizations that received rulings from the IRS after January 1, 2010, and filed FEC reports in 2010 or 2012, 13 were conservative. Conservative groups outspent the liberal groups in that category by a factor of nearly 34-to-1, the Center for Responsive Politics analysis shows. Most that of disparity comes from American Action Network, which shares office space with American Crossroads.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    No you're not defending them, but you are attempting to change the subject.
    I was attempting to contextualize the problem. I do think vague guidelines without objective measures lead to bias, pretty much inevitably. It does sound like someone gave guidelines that targeted conservatives. That was wrong, should be investigated, and the appropriate punishment meted out. Not sure what else you want me to say.

    The IRS audit report is interesting, although no doubt it represents some butt-covering, as well. Apparently the standards were changed multiple times, as people become aware of the political biase, removed it, and then it got re-introduced later.

    Personally, I think that too many 501(c)(4) that are CLEARLY primarily political get authorized (on both sides), and I would like for more scrutiny to be applied to all groups. Searching for something like "Tea Party" is clearly stupid, since it's both biased and easily avoided. I suspect funding proper, objective, and timely determination of 501(c)(4) status would pay for itself, and that's the systematic long term solution.

    Otherwise, vagueness plus bias will re-introduce this problem, perhaps in invisible ways. I guarantee that the vague standards are not applied consistently now, even without a "Tea Party" search... and that's an ongoing scandal even without explicit orders.

  4. #24
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    ^ Before I respond to anything more...

    Obama got his tax increase.

  5. #25
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    You know, in complaining about the republicans overplaying their hand it is possible to overplay your hand.

    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  6. #26
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    More of that wonderful CHANGE from the bush administration.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...rail:Position1
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    I would like to know. If Obama ordered it (which I find unlikely, but possible) that would be a Nixon-level scandal. However, currently we don't know.
    The measure of culpability probably goes something like this, Obama knowingly created a situation (fostered a culture within gov't) wherein this sort of targeting was likely to happen. Going into the situation he realized all he had to do was hire the right people who would care more about partisan advantage than doing their jobs correctly and they would turn a blind eye to unequal enforcement.

    Given that higher ups caught wind of the targeting several times, stopped it, and later it returned, it seems like those in control were dead set against alerting anyone about the problem. One would think that the first time anyone caught wind of the targeting that they would be worried about their job enough to run it up the food chain and get it fixed. But for whatever reason (partisan preference) that didn't happen.


    I worked for the American Action Network (and the American Action Forum) under their head of fundraising Pete Meachum (used to work in Majority Whip McCarthy's office). The AAN is as center right as can be. When I was there we were focusing mostly on Hispanic outreach, and policy papers.

    And I'm sure you guys outspent us 100 to 1 with 501(c)(5)'s. Not too mention our presidents never started a super PAC to force their agenda on the public like OFA.


    I was attempting to contextualize the problem. I do think vague guidelines without objective measures lead to bias, pretty much inevitably. It does sound like someone gave guidelines that targeted conservatives. That was wrong, should be investigated, and the appropriate punishment meted out. Not sure what else you want me to say.

    The IRS audit report is interesting, although no doubt it represents some butt-covering, as well. Apparently the standards were changed multiple times, as people become aware of the political biase, removed it, and then it got re-introduced later.

    Personally, I think that too many 501(c)(4) that are CLEARLY primarily political get authorized (on both sides), and I would like for more scrutiny to be applied to all groups. Searching for something like "Tea Party" is clearly stupid, since it's both biased and easily avoided. I suspect funding proper, objective, and timely determination of 501(c)(4) status would pay for itself, and that's the systematic long term solution.

    Otherwise, vagueness plus bias will re-introduce this problem, perhaps in invisible ways. I guarantee that the vague standards are not applied consistently now, even without a "Tea Party" search... and that's an ongoing scandal even without explicit orders.
    As long as there's total donor transparency, I think many of the problems work themselves out.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    The IRS "scandal" is nothing compared to this:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/veriz...3#.UbIV50C1E2U

    I don't want to be an American anymore. This country is tumbling into an Orwellian nightmare where the government and those who call the shots are never held accountable, but whistleblowers are.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    The IRS "scandal" is nothing compared to this:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/veriz...3#.UbIV50C1E2U

    I don't want to be an American anymore. This country is tumbling into an Orwellian nightmare where the government (and those who call the shots) is never held accountable, but whistleblowers are.
    As screwed up as DC is, there are so many other awesome things about America that totally outweigh our current political dysfunction.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    As screwed up as DC is, there are so many other awesome things about America that totally outweigh our current political dysfunction.
    There's nothing here that can't be found elsewhere. And this isn't mere political dysfunction. The government has the technology to monitor everything we do, and the movement to stop it is far to weak to have any impact. We're done. Privacy, the 4th amendment, the 5th amendment, the 1st amendment...they're all history.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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