Fair Exposure


UNITED STATES—The IRS is in hot water these days for targeting a lot of Tea Party/Conservative groups. The right-wing pundits are heating up the airwaves with claims of unfairness and oppression. If this wasn’t so ridiculous it would be hilarious.  When did you ever hear a hue and cry in the national media because the FBI was infiltrating and harassing peace groups? Why doesn’t the IRS go after those groups?

It’s so elementary, it shouldn’t need to asked. The last subversive peace group I know about that was a target of an FBI investigation was a little group in San Diego that was comprised largely of a few elderly people and the odd college adjunct professor. The group was targeted and infiltrated by an undercover agent. The FBI spent more than $1.5 million dollars keeping us safe from a group that did little more than drink tea and knit. The total assets of the organization?  Around $145. Do you think that this group would be of any interest to the IRS?

A conservative group with Tea in its name in Arizona contributed more than $1.5 million of its own money to political causes. Apparently, this was not of any interest to the FBI, but it was of some interest to the IRS. Can you think of any reason why the group in Arizona was of interest and the group in California wasn’t? No, it wasn’t politics. No it wasn’t geography.

It was money. The Arizona group had money and lots of it. The IRS likes to investigate money. Their job is collect it, by all legal means, to fund government. They don’t waste time on people who subsist on Social Security and a little savings. They like to go after people from whom they can extract a significant amount of money, but not too much money, because people with too much money have really good lawyers and accountants, not to mention publicists and press agents.

And that is without even mentioning the serious double standard that ignores the Bush Administration’s use of the IRS as punative weapon against groups that it disliked, like the NAACP and the ACLU. The Bush administration used the CIA and Secret Service, in addition to the IRS and FBI to conduct a two year long investigation of a church whose pastor had been critical of the war in Iraq. The media was almost entirely silent about abuses of power against liberal groups, but turns up the full blown outrage meter to 11 when it is conservative groups that are allegedly targeted.

This whole issue is so idiotic. It’s as bad as the Benghazi “controversy.” There isn’t any controversy there, any more than there is in the IRS going after people with enough money to make an investigation pay for itself. Benghazi was another instance of an intelligence failure that has consequences. Want to look at another comparable intelligence failure that cost American lives in the Middle East?  How about the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut under President Reagan? There’s lots and lots of others, but it is instructive to look at the differences between Beirut and Benghazi in the press.

The GOP leadership has been trying for several years now to turn Benghazi into the scandal equivalent for President Obama that Monica Lewinsky’s dress was for President Clinton.They want him to suffer and they want to prove him to have been incompetent, and for their own party to come off looking better in comparison – yes, elections are coming around again. What a surprise. This is the same old hack party politics that solves nothing, enlightens nobody and only benefits the loser who shouts the loudest in the mainstream media.

This is not the first non-issue that has been inflated artificially by the GOP spin artists. The whole birther fiasco is a good example of partisanship that didn’t work. You see, that is the really important factor in any spin campaign: it doesn’t need truth behind it to be damaging, expensive and a tremendous waste of time and resources. It doesn’t need much of anything but people who are riled about something and are looking for somebody to blame

The American people have been getting a really raw deal since the 1970’s and its getting worse and worse as time progresses. The spin doctors have been working overtime to manufacture chimera after chimera for us to hate, fear, and blame. A lot of their work would be a credit to Josef Goebbels. He was fairly unimaginative. He picked traditional scapegoats and manufactured a rather amateurish red scare in Germany. We have all of Madison Avenue – a whole industry based on spin and hot air.

The American middle class has been shrinking as their assets have been bled off into the coffers of the really wealthy. The middle class is coming to grips with the idea that they will be unable to live as well as their parents lived and that their children are probably going to be peasants in everything but name. They are mad as hell about this, but they don’t really know who to blame. And who have the spin artists been weaving their webs of deception to benefit? The very people who have profited by this exploitation: the capitalist elite. Who are the exploited mass of the middle class being schooled to hate and fear? The very people who represent the only ideas that could produce meaningful change and actually benefit the mass of the middle class: the socialists.

So while the national press wails and moans about the heinous crimes of people who were doing their job on a rational basis: the IRS. The national press is entirely mute about the great anger and fear that is upwelling in this nation. We make scandals out of normal events (Benghazi) and we ignore crimes and scandals of such incredible scope that they’re too big to talk about (Wealth concentration or environmental catastrophe). Occasionally you hear a whisper of a statistic: the ratio of CEO pay to working wage is now more than 1:1400 in this land of the free, where nothing and nobody is free anymore.

Are the powers that be ignorant of the pressure vessel their patrons are making of this country?  Not at all. Evidence the militarization of almost all law enforcement. Evidence the stockpiling of weapons and material sufficient to fight a considerable war, right here at home, in almost every city of any size. And who will they be fighting? They will be putting down insurrection: that means you and me. Not only will our children be worse off than we are: a goodly number of them will be in jail.

By Henry Meyerding