Sunday, May 12, 2013

Last Call

Nobody likes the IRS, folks.  Republicans especially loathe it, because if the IRS doesn't collect federal taxes, there is no federal government.  That's fine with a lot of them, frankly.  (Medicare and Social Security of course come from some other place, so government better keep their hands off of it, derp.)

But if you want to know why the wingers are full tilt bloodthirsty over the IRS specifically, keep in mind these guys think an army of tens of thousands of IRS agents are going to kick doors down over enforcing Obamacare regulations.  In actuality, it's a form.

Of course, a form is reason enough alone for folks like PJ Media's Rick Moran to advocate violence against the Obama administration.

How many millions of Americans will think the new form junk mail and toss it? How many millions won’t understand they have to file the form with their tax return and be assessed the penalty? How many millions will refuse to fill out some of the information — and probably be penalized?

I am trying to imagine colonial Americans (or Americans of just about any generation prior to WW II) being faced with a government that demands such compulsory behavior in such an intrusive manner. It’s not hard to think that the tar, feathers, and pitchforks would come out and government workers would be subjected to a storm of protests and even attacks.

Most of modern America, however, is not made of such stern stuff. Most will submit to our masters at the IRS — meekly and with hardly a whimper — grateful for this beneficence from Daddy Government and willing to fill the data banks in Washington with our most personal, private information.

Yes, it's too bad the Tea Party folks aren't ready to violently attack government workers.  I'm sure they're just waiting for Rick here to go burn down an IRS office, and then armies of mobility scooters will blitzkrieg the DMV while their at it, because DON'T TREAD ON ME.

I understand assault and battery of a federal worker is one of those federal crime things, enforced by courts and people with guns.  But I'm sure Rick is ready to take them on in the name of watering the tree of Liberderp.

How about it, Ricky?

And The Things That We Fear Are A Weapon To Be Held Against Us

And speaking of rampant paranoia and wingers on epistemic closure vindication highs over this IRS nonsense, I wonder what our friends on the right would make of the fact that, unlike the current case of extra scrutiny of Tea Party organizations for non-political tax-exempt status that resulted in zero actual investigations, when a liberal Episcopal church in Pasadena said some critical anti-war things about Dubya before the 2004 election, well that resulted in the church being targeted by the IRS in a two-year long probe that eventually resulted in the church being cleared but the IRS saying the church was guilty anyway.

Somehow, this failed to rise to the level of anyone giving a damn about impeachment at the time, nor did it raise the question by the administrations supporters about the tax-exempt status of organizations of all political stripes engaging in political business.  Somehow we're supposed to ignore this, and the whole US Attorney scandal where political enemies of the Bush administration really were being targeted by the executive branch.

Instead we're supposed to believe that the Tea Party groups were being unfairly singled out as political groups dedicated to the end of the Democrats.  Sure.

"Maybe churches and 501(c)3 political groups shouldn't be tax-exempt at all," would be the thinking person's response.  Instead, it's Clinton Rules time.

Instead of going after all the awful things Bush/Cheney did and President Obama instead chose to turn the other cheek and move forward, the Republicans decide to repay him by making everything an impeachable offense until something sticks.

The cartoon soundtrack continues.   Or as David Waldman reminds us:

But Obama did it, so Worse Than Space Hitler.

Douthat's Revisionist His Story

Don't worry, white Christian male conservatives.  Ross Douthat sees your freedom right around the corner and declares that your decades-long nightmare of oppression at the hands of liberals, minorities, non-Christians and women is almost over as the IRS vs. Tea Party fight is the bridge too far that will allow you to throw off your shackles and finally assume your rightful position in American society...

Where might an enterprising, public-spirited I.R.S. agent get the idea that a Tea Party group deserved more scrutiny from the government than the typical band of activists seeking tax-exempt status? Oh, I don’t know: why, maybe from all the prominent voices who spent the first two years of the Obama era worrying that the Tea Party wasn’t just a typically messy expression of citizen activism, but something much darker — an expression of crypto-fascist, crypto-racist rage, part Timothy McVeigh and part Bull Connor, potentially carrying a wave of terrorist violence in its wings. 

You see, the massive spike in white supremacist activity and sovereign citizen groups, the major jump in Secret Service investigations of people making threats against the President, the folks screaming that Obama is the Kenyan Usurper, the Republican party officials sending racist emails about the President and his wife and kids,the accusations that Obama is a Socialist/Communist/Terrorist Muslim plant here to destroy our way of life...that has nothing to do whatsoever with conservatives or the Tea Party movement, because Ross Douthat says so.  And you should be ashamed for thinking otherwise.

The historical term for this kind of anxiety is “Brown Scare” — an inordinate fear of a vast far-right conspiracy, which resembles the anti-Communist panics of our past. As the historian Philip Jenkins wrote in 2009, Brown Scares no less than Red Scares recur throughout American history. They fasten on real-enough phenomena, from homegrown fascist sympathizers in the 1930s to the militia movements in the 1990s, but then wildly exaggerate both the danger these extremists pose and their ties to the conservative mainstream. 

See, liberals are the conspiracy freaks and nutjobs!  You all think there's a concerted effort to criminalize women making medical decisions about their bodies, to roll back voting eligibility among the poor, minorities, and the elderly, to criminalize the enforcement of and to nullify federal gun control laws at the state level, to criminalize LGBTQ Americans as second-class citizens who cannot marry those whom they love, and that the fringe elements that Douthat disavows aren't being completely embraced by potential 2016 presidential candidates in the GOP.  All of those things are filthy lies being told to you by the mainstream liberal media, clearly.

But moods and prejudices linger even after panics recede. The I.R.S. and the conservative movement have never been on the best of terms, and perhaps the recent abuses just reflect that longstanding tension. But I suspect it’s more than that, and that this episode will be remembered as one of the last embarrassments produced by our era’s Brown Scare. 

Years from now we'll all have a good laugh after these sane, not-insane, not-bigoted, completely average Republican conservatives impeach the President over the events of this week and eventually liberals will learn that they brought this upon themselves by going after white male conservatives, and then everything (and everyone) will be in their rightful place.  Just like 2001-2008.

You'll thank Ross for showing you the way.  And finally, white male conservatives will know the freedom they've always been entitled to.
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