“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.
“The president has put in place an organization that contains the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life. That’s going to be very, very powerful. That database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.” Rep. Maxine Waters
Who expected that 1984 has arrived? I recall that in the actual year of 1984, a great many commenters in the political arena rejoiced that the whole Big Brother thing had not arrived, but it looks like such rejoicing was premature. Now we have the NSA collecting telephone records from Verizon wholesale for the ostensible purpose of security reasons … not so much for tracking specific suspected terrorists, but rather for data-mining … and very likely for opposition research. The revelations of the IRS stalling Tea Party groups’ applications for 501 status? Almost certainly this distracted or discouraged those groups from going all-out in last year’s election season, which I believe was the primary purpose.
Back in the early days of starting the San Antonio Tea Party in 2009, one of our board members – a very thoughtful corporate lawyer and businessman – did have a warning for us who were in leadership positions; as soon as we began to make waves, he pointed out that those of us with embarrassing skeletons in our personal closets should adjust to the reality that those skeletons might magically appear, thanks to oppo research efforts directed against us. As it eventually turned out, several of those people did have rather substantial dark marks on their personal record; I might have been assumed to be one also, but I had gone to the extent of blogging and writing about them all; my life was essentially an open book, available on Amazon for a modest fee.
Our lawyer member had the right idea, but I don’t think we fully grasped that we would be running into a danger from a politicized IRS. I believe he was not quite so cynical as to see that twist coming. But such was the tenor of the very invasive questions asked by the IRS of those later Tea Party groups – asking for information about group leaders and contributors, one might suspect also that this was part of a massive opposition research operation. Map the groups and their connections, get information about individuals; it worked very well in Iraq, in tracking down Al Qaida operators. Now I suppose it is being done wholesale on half the country who doesn’t think Obama is the greatest thing since canned date-nut bread – and this will not end well. The Tea Party group that I am still in connection with sent out an email last week, explaining that they had never applied for 501 status and so could assure anyone contributing toward or participating in their activities that their names were never confided to the tender mercies and the leaky data files of the IRS. Which certainly must have come as a relief to anyone who made big donations … because, curiously enough, information about big donors to various right-of-center causes and politicians just seemed to leak out all over during the last election season; how very curious was that, eh? Up to this very minute, I believe most Americans disliked and dreaded having to do anything with the IRS, but assumed that the revenue-collecting agency delivered their abuse of members of the public on a fair and ecumenical basis. And now to find out that such abuses were not just the actions of a few rogue agents, but directed and controlled from near to if not actually the top?
Congratulations; now at least half the taxpayers in the country have even better reason to dislike and dread the IRS.
So, this IRS thing is one shoe dropping; I wonder if the EPA accidental-on-purpose releasing a wide range of personal information about farmers and ranchers – which they just happened to have accumulated – to a whole range of environmental groups, many of whom seem to be opposed to the whole concept of farming and ranching. Trotting around afterwards and asking for the information back is like shutting the barn door after the horse is gone, to use an agricultural metaphor. It is almost as if … I don’t know … someone is laying the ground work for a campaign akin to radical animal rights activists targeting research facilities which use animal testing. Would the ecological crazies start harassing farmers and their families in flyover country? I wouldn’t have thought so a couple of years ago, but times change. Congratulations, however – a great many food producers in our blessed nation now may have cause to fear and dread agents of the federal government from more than one agency.
This being a Friday afternoon, I confidently expect some other exciting confession from the Ruling Class to be dropped into the news cycle, in the fond hopes that it will die the death over the weekend, and be old news by Monday.
(Crossposted at www.ncobrief.com)