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  • Abuse of Power

    Posted by David Foster on May 16th, 2013 (All posts by )

    Professor Anne Hendershot, a sociologist, was targeted for an IRS audit in 2010 after she wrote a series of articles, mostly in Catholic publications, that were critical of Obamacare. The IRS summoned Professor Hendershott to a meeting to discuss the “business expenses” associated with her writing. Hendershott reports that the IRS agent wanted to know “who was paying her” and barred her husband from attending the inquiry, even though the Hendershotts file joint returns. Hendershott says that she was so traumatized by the experience that she stopped writing about political topics, which presumably was the intended effect.

    “It was clear they didn’t like me criticizing the people who helped pass Obamacare,” she said of the audit,” later adding, ”The IRS is very frightening.”

    In addition to creating stress and fear, Hendershott said that the experience came at a great emotional and financial expense for the family, noting that even after the audit the government sought more information from her.

    (excerpted from PowerLine and The Blaze)

    Of course, she can’t prove that she was targeted politically (or couldn’t until now, when subpoenas directed against the IRS may force the revelation of such information.) And that is precisely what makes the power wielded by the IRS and other Federal agencies so frightening. An individual can be sentenced to a Kafkaeqsue subterranean passage of indefinite duration, at the discretion of low-level officials in a local office, Cabinet officials in Washington, or mid-level bureaucrats anywhere in between. Hence, the maintenance of individual freedom requires that Federal Government activities be conducted with a high degree of integrity and respect for law.

    What apparently happened to Professor Hendershott should not be happening to anyone in America.

    Obama says he is “angry” about the IRS political activities that have been revealed. Sure, he’s angry about the political impact of the revelations on his administration. But is he angry that the activities occurred in the first place?

     

    There seem to be a few possibilities. One is that Obama directly ordered these activities–in which case he is a criminal. The second is that he is truly, genuinely appalled by such things, but had no idea that they were occurring–on a large scale–under his watch. If this should be the case, it would provide still more evidence that he is a failure at the executive responsibilities for which he is being paid.

    The third possibility, and by far the most likely, is that while being too cunning to give direct orders about tax audits, Obama created an organizational climate in which subordinates were encouraged to go to great lengths in order to harm the administration’s political enemies. Certainly, the politicization of all aspects of the Presidency and of all aspects of government operations has gone very far under this administration. Even on NBC…a network with a record of slanting heavily toward Obama and Democrats in general…reporter Lisa Myers says that the Obama administration has a history of intimidation of reporters and their sources inside the administration.

    Here’s an interesting historical parallel. The English king Henry II, circa 1170, was increasingly angered by the political non-cooperation of archbishop Thomas Becket, and spoke words that were interpreted by his men as a wish to have Becket killed. “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” is what the King said according to oral tradition…a contemporary biographer has Henry’s statement as slightly more ambiguous: “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?”

    Shortly thereafter, four knights murdered Archbishop Becket inside Canterbury Cathedral.

    The relationship between Henry and the murder of Becket by the knights seems quite parallel to the relationship between Obama and the attempted murder of American liberties by the IRS.

    After Becket’s murder, Henry did public penance for his part in the affair. To what degree his penance was motivated by the factors of sincere horror at what had happened, religious fear of his own fate in the afterlife, and/or strictly political factors involving the need to minimize the hostility of the church and maintain the allegiance of believers, we cannot know.

    Will Obama ever reach the moral and intellectual level at which he will feel penitent for his role in undercutting individual freedom in America? It seems most unlikely.

     

     

    26 Responses to “Abuse of Power”

    1. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Obama is not responsible. This has been going on for almost a century, FDR, LBJ, RMN, etc. The only way to fix it is to repeal the 16th amendment and replace it with an amendment that allows the federal government to impose a sales tax not to exceed 20% with no exemptions for any good, service or person.

    2. Joe Wooten Says:

      I hate to tell you this Mrs. Davis, but he IS responsible for this round of federal power abuses. It was on his watch, and he is ultimately responsible for everything that goes on under him. In the recent past he has ‘joked” about siccing the IRS on his opponents and made other statements about “We’re watching you”, and “We’re keeping count”.

    3. VXXC Says:

      Mrs. Davis is correct, this climate was created by FDR.

      This is the New Deal. This is how it was under him.

      If Nixon had been a liberal democrat he would have retired known as a great President. He was in fact a liberal Republican.

      Mrs. Davis – pace Madam – is incorrect that changing the mechanism by which we pay for our own ruin changes our ruin at their hands.

      The players are the game. They must end or the game goes on.

    4. David Foster Says:

      Obama’s views on the role of the Federal Government in society are far more extreme than those of prior Presidents; hence, the % of the population who are political targets of his administration is much greater.

      His belief in the American Constitution and the values represented therein, as something that needs to be preserved and carried forward, is weaker than prior Presidents (with the possible exception of Woodrow Wilson.)

      Also, anti-civil-liberties behaviors on the part of this administration are more dangerous than any similar actions of prior administrations, due to the 95% support and sycophancy of the media and of academia.

    5. David Foster Says:

      See Richard Fernandez, A Degree of Malevolence:

      “The most striking characteristic emerging from accounts of the IRS audits of the administration’s political enemies is the sheer, unbridled malevolence of them….The IRS inquisitors even demanded printouts of Facebook pages, the minutes of meeting back to whenever, a detailed description of every statement, political or otherwise, under penalty of perjury.

      Some of the letters asked for copies of the groups’ Web pages, blog posts and social media postings — making some tea party members worry they’d be punished for their tweets or Facebook comments by their followers…. And each letter had a stern warning about “penalties of perjury” — which became intimidating for groups that were being asked about future activities, like future donations or endorsements…Someone at the IRS was even passing the content of conservative application forms to liberal NGOs.”

      and

      “About two chews through the slice of pizza, it occurred to me that we were witnessing the uncovering of an entire parallel network, a kind of shadow operation that ran outside the normal channels. Somehow the atmosphere made certain people feel so empowered, so unaccountable, so free of restraint it was almost as if they had ingested the fictional drug Valkyr. They were invincible, and they could fly!

      “And by so doing,” I blurted out, “they’ve left the square empty. The public spaces aren’t where it happens any more. The regular meetings where things are supposed to happen are now Potemkin processes.”

      That is probably the single most disturbing thing about these scandals. The Valkyr-fueled rage has undermined the political mechanisms and trashed the processes through which persons of disparate political persuasions of the nation are supposed to come to an understanding. America is a diverse place — and not necessarily diverse in the way some people insist on regarding it — and it works only when no one goes around intimidating people from the shadows.”

    6. Bill Brandt Says:

      It is frighting what they have been doing – and I am hearing yesterday that Kathleen Sebelius , Secretary of “Health and Human Services” – as needed to raise $150 million to have an ad campaign next year telling us how great Obamacare is.

      Problem?

      There isn’t any in the budget.

      So she has been leaning on, er, asking, these Health Care Companies that come under regulation from her dept for donations – getting $10 million from one – on and on

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/14/house-committee-to-probe-sebelius-soliciting-money-for-obamacare-sign-ups/

      Then you have the EPA threatening businesses “what you are doing isn;’t illegal but we would like you to change”…

    7. Veryretired Says:

      All these scandals are the natural activities of an autocratic oligarchy, which is the form our government has been devolving into for most of the last century. The current regime is merely a figurehead fronted by an empty suit who does what he is told, reads the speeches he is given to perform, and runs around raising money and schmozing the players.

      None of what any of them say matters at all, except for those moments when the mask slips and they blurt out something candid instead of canned. One must concentrate on what they actually do, and, as usual, what they ar e doing in all these cases is consolidating their grip on power, lining their own pockets, and dancing around any rule they can use to accomplish the first two main objectives.

      We need a flat tax, no exemptions, no deductions, everybody pays a certain rate at each level of government, and the state cannot borrow money without a supermajority agreeing.

      To accomplish such a program, we must throw most, if not all, of the current bunch of bums out, and elect a citizen legislature at all levels with as few lawyers as possible to ram the bills through and then decline further office.

    8. David Foster Says:

      Speaking of autocratic oligarchs…

      St Louis reporter Larry Connors asked Obama some tough questions during an April 2012 interview, and Obama evidently didn’t like it very much:

      “The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending. I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he’s “out of touch” because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis.

      The President’s face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite … suddenly went cold.”

      http://danaloeschradio.com/reporter-claims-irs-harassment-after-tough-obama-interview/

      Soon after the interview, Connors started having problems with the IRS.

    9. ErisGuy Says:

      The American people approved of the creation of this tyrannical institution over 100 years ago. Despite decades of documented abuses, it exists. It will not cease to exist, though it (and the income tax) are incompatible with liberty.

      “a sales tax not to exceed 20%”

      You seem to have a typo in that sentence: a missing decimal point: 2.0%.

    10. Smock Puppet, "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

      }}} The American people approved of the creation of this tyrannical institution over 100 years ago. Despite decades of documented abuses, it exists. It will not cease to exist, though it (and the income tax) are incompatible with liberty.

      “a sales tax not to exceed 20%”

      You seem to have a typo in that sentence: a missing decimal point: 2.0%.

      No, he’s speaking of the Fair Tax, essentially. It’s a roughly 20% sales tax with few to no exemptions designed to supplant all taxation currently received by the Fed. It’s got several measures to reduce the effect of it on the poor, ones I suspect most would consider reasonable.

      As long as it explicitly cannot be applied prior to the full and complete repeal of the Income Tax ***AMENDMENT*** I can get behind it as I understand it. It often is only asked for in terms of repeal of all the current laws, which is utterly wrong. If you don’t repeal the entire power to implement an income tax, then it is only a matter of time and circumstance before there’s some fiscal crisis during which they’ll claim a need to implement an income tax “as well”… “only for the duration of the current problem”… after which you can guarantee people will henceforward be saddled with both.

      Look up “Fair Tax”, not to be confused with a similarly (probably intentionally confusingly) named tax project.

      As I say, it sounds IMNSHO workable as long as you tie it to the full and complete repeal of the income tax **amendment**.

    11. IAintAfraidOfNoGhosts Says:

      Sure, he’s angry about the political impact of the revelations on his administration. But is he angry that the activities occurred in the first place?

      Probably, he’s indifferent. Likely, as you mention, he’s peeved at the overtness and heavy-handedness of these people.

    12. Bob Says:

      This isn’t much of a surprise to any of the reader’s especially since I imagine a number of us have direct experience living in the actual city of Chicago as well. I have said that the Democrat party is a criminal enterprise and I actually do mean that quite literally. Seemingly every city (or suburban area of said city) I’ve lived in has had people of questionable backgrounds (organized crime) be a part of the political power structure. A good example of the synergy of organized crime and progressive politics is medicaid fraud. Want to try and clampdown on fraud? You are hurting poor people you evil Republican!!!! Never mind that one estimate had 20% of Medicaid dollars in California being lost to fraud. Lord knows a government program ever being held accountable for how it spends its money is a right wing fascist plot to disband the government and hurt poor minorities!!

    13. VXXC Says:

      @ Bob-What is your yardstick of organized crime, and how does this government systemically not measure up?

      @National Sales taxers – don’t worry, it’s coming. As a supplement to the income tax.

      Anyone else realize why the IRS is the lead agency on Obamacare yet? MONEY.

    14. VXXC Says:

      And this isn’t the abuse of power.

      It’s power, period, in the raw.

    15. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      David Foster Says:
      May 16th, 2013 at 10:56 am

      See Richard Fernandez, A Degree of Malevolence:

      At the risk of self-promotion, I did make a rather lengthy comment at that post that is on point for this discussion also.

      And I would note that today the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals became the second Circuit to have ruled against Obama on the subject of recess appointments. After the initial Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the appointment was invalid, that the NLRB therefore did not have a quorum, and therefore all its rulings were invalid; Obama told the courts to FOAD. And at his order, they still operated. Now we have a second ruling. Given what we have learned from their own mouths this week about the absolute abhorrence the administration has for operating under the law and Constitution; what good will a second ruling do?

      Obama will ignore the Constitution, the law and the courts. Again.

      The actions of the regime against Obama’s political enemies currently in the news involve the IRS, FBI, HHS, EEOC, and the NLRB. That is a curiously broad and deep swathe of “rogue” [and frequently highly placed] employees working towards the same coordinated ends.

      As jarring as it is, it seems appropriate to quote Jon Stewart [*gag,retch*] from a day or so ago. As best I remember, it was along the line of:

      How come when the government is trying to do good, it has all the competence of a kitten chasing a laser pointer. And when it is working to malevolent ends, it is [expletive deleted by me]Iron Man ??!!!

      This is not an accident. It is a rolling coup d’ etat.

      Please, somebody explain again the concept of governmental legitimacy as applied to the United States.

      Subotai Bahadur

    16. Mike K Says:

      “Anyone else realize why the IRS is the lead agency on Obamacare yet? MONEY.”

      I’m sure you will be surprised to learn that the woman who headed the Tea Party applications in the IRS is now in charge of Obamacare .

      Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.

      Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and cuddly ?

    17. Grurray Says:

      I would say CONTROL is the more motivating factor (although obviously money is in the mix too).

      The IRS has accumulated unprecedented, unchecked power over the years and demonstrated ruthless efficiency wielding it. It was the natural choice to spearhead the new system.

    18. Mrs. Davis Says:

      If you’ll recall, Republican Chief Justice Roberts found the ACAPPA constitutional because it is a tax. The IRS administers taxes. Seems reasonable to me.

    19. VXXC Says:

      Here’s the formula for winning elections forever, see Detroit. Or Chicago.

      “The Duvalier Formula” where political security = maximum economic development = zero. A minimum subsistence level of income per capita combined with a quite small margin of income above minimal subsistence make up disposable income. The rest is taxation distribution among (in order) Ton Ton Macouts, Army, Propaganda, (Duvalierville palaces etc.), Health/Education and lastly Development].”

      http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/the-economics-of-repression/

      The author is borrowing from Edward Luttwak’s classic “Coup De’Etat”.

    20. PenGun Says:

      Awesome, so am I the only one who reads these aside links?

      So Anne Hendershot attempts to do a public audit on a progressive she does not like and the IRS does a private one on her. I guess I am the only one who finds this funny.

      You understand that all they can do is audit you? Well I guess there is pressure from this that can affect you as well so a weak person will have a rougher time than a monster like me.

      Still the popular right wing saw that states “if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide” seems not apply here as I guess that’s just for the progressives.

    21. grey eagle Says:

      Millions of people risk their lives to immigrate to the US in hopes of gaining a better life and freedom. There are 2 ways to stop this immigration.

      1. Rebuild the nations the immigrants fled so that ordinary people can prosper and not be hassled in governmemt thugs.

      or

      2. Obama’s solution which is to transform the US government into a 3rd world dictatorship. Then no immigrants will come. Indeed, those who came will probably leave.

      Cuba does not have an illegal immigrant problem, nor does Venezuela, nor China, nor N Korea, nor any islamic country.

    22. Mike K Says:

      More PenGun “wisdom.”

      “You understand that all they can do is audit you? Well I guess there is pressure from this that can affect you as well so a weak person will have a rougher time than a monster like me. ”

      No, they can harass your friends and spouse and supporters if you are trying to raise funds. They can ask you what you are thinking and add a mention of perjury penalties (which they might need to consider themselves).

      You would be Scot free because you have “progressive” written all over you. They didn’t bother progressives.

    23. Sgt. Mom Says:

      “You understand that all they can do is audit you? Well I guess there is pressure from this that can affect you as well so a weak person will have a rougher time than a monster like me. ”

      Oh, you dear sweet innocent little Canadian lib, you. No, being audited by the IRS is kind of like being interviewed by the Spanish Inquisition. Every answer you give is grounds for additional suspicion, no matter how innocent your explaination might sound to a disinterested observer. (Historically, the Spanish Inquisition may not have been quite as painful as the Black Legend has it. The IRS doesn’t have a rack, or a stake with a stack of firewood … yet.) It’s bad enough when your economic activities have excited their interest, but it is several magnitudes of worse, happening to representatives of a community-based orginization, innocently supposing that their application for 501 status will be treated with the same consideration as a progg organization.

      Dear little Canadian proggy – this amounts to heinous abuse of citizens by the Federal bureaucracy. Everyone hates the IRS, for one reason or another, across the board. This is a given in American society. Formerly, one assumed that their notorious dickishness was non-denominational and politically ecumenical. That is supportable, and why that Americans (heretofore) have been generally cooperative about paying taxes owed. But (and a very big but) has it become that political affiliation and opinion are a matter for preferential treatment by the IRS? Or now additional and possibly-politically oriented scrutiny is pplied to the dis-favored? Even questions which seem to indicate that the minions of the IRS are interested in personal information above and beyond – is that now required?

      This is why the contributors and commenters of this blog are so concerned, Pengunny. Using the powers of the State to hamper your political foes and assist your political friends is something rather dissaproved of among the Chicago Boyz and possibly among the citizens at large. The suble danger is that when common American citizens no longer trust the IRS to administer the tax collection fairly and without political favor, they might very well begin to view the tax-collection apparatus of the State as a challenge. Will tax evasion become the national sport that it appears to be in other low-trust nations?

      Stay tuned, dear little Canadian proggy.

    24. Bob Says:

      “@ Bob-What is your yardstick of organized crime, and how does this government systemically not measure up?”

      This story:

      http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jul/01/news/mn-51916

      I went into work one morning on the CBOT and this is what was stewing. One of the guys was very good friends with the deceased and from the neighborhood. It was a cover up by the political class of Chicago of a mob murder plain and simple. But it’s not just Barack Obama, the whole party is sleazy. Look at the recent Mayor of Las Vegas. Being a Lawyer for the mob should be a a disqualifying qualification for office. In San Francisco, prominent and politically connected lawyer is murdered in questionable circumstances. He made a living defending connected people. Central LA is extremely mobbed up. All of the card clubs were started by them. It’s not just the mob though. The fact that these obviously terrible things happen and some people get elected are just a blaring sign of a party and ideology that has no problem looking the other way for one of its own.

    25. PenGun Says:

      I have been there. They audited me once and since I am an honest man they threw me back in the pond.

      It was a demand for $3500 for not doing my taxes quite how they wanted them done. No questions, we have decided you owe us that much and we are going to audit you. So I trek downtown to the Black Tower, really it’s black and a tower that houses the Canadian version of the IRS in Vancouver, find the public desk and throw myself on their mercy. It’s an old trick you can use when you have done nothing wrong, works well. I get John Bull, no kidding, to help with my problem. I walk out 1/2 hour later with a $550 bill which I paid right away.

      Government does not scare me. It’s huge and slow and I have few conflicts with it. I am a bit of a ‘Stainless Steel Rat’ so it’s just fun for me. Got a speeder running for the ferry the other day. The cop said he did not think they were going to catch me, 20 years of playing in traffic for money, but I noticed their presence and pulled her over. He was very friendly ticketed me quickly so i would not miss my boat and let me go with a minimum charge. Why? Because I was nice to him and treated him like a guy doing his job. Works wonders when everyone else they pull over has personal power issues and acts upset and pissed off.

    26. Dan from Madison Says:

      @Sgt. Mom – that is a good comment, but wasted pixels on trolls like PenGun. Like Mike K. said, at least he is good for getting an idea of what the anti-American left is thinking.