VDH is generally well worth reading, but this post pulls together a lot of material, and notices some patterns:
There is currently a climate of fear growing throughout the United States. Millions of Americans are terrified of the IRS, the Department of Justice, the EPA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and even perhaps the FBI, CIA, and State Department.
These government agencies have never been bigger, more powerful, and more ideologically driven. Citizens fear them for understandable reasons: those who do nothing wrong, whether in filing tax forms or trying to buy a rifle, are considered suspect and deserving to be the target of either federal scrutiny or presidential slurs. But those who do a great deal of wrong, either by illegally entering the country, disrupting polling, trafficking in weapons in Mexico, eavesdropping on American citizens, pulling tax information for partisan purposes, subverting a government agency, or lying to the public about government activity, seem exempt from punishment — and, more chillingly, sense that they are so exempt.
Ask who now is sitting in prison — a shyster video-maker who had nothing to do with the deaths of four Americans, or their five known terrorist killers lounging about in North Africa? Apparently, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, like EPA director Lisa Jackson, was guilty of creating a fake persona. Like Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, he had a lien on his business. Like former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, he had some unpaid taxes. Like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he had been visited by government investigators. Like Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, he lied to federal authorities — although they were not quite as high as those in the U.S. Congress. And unlike all of the above, he was therefore jailed.
USA Today actually has been doing a very good job keeping up with the IRS scandal, and here's an article that shows the agency is having a little bit of trouble keeping their story straight. Holly Paz has a lot of excuses. She says that the agency used the term "TEA Party" generically to mean any organization that might be a little too political for the 501(c)(4) designation, the way that someone might use Coke to cover all forms of soft drink, or Kleenex for tissues, and regardless of political orientation. The argument has elsewhere been that TEA Party-style organizations were all placed in a single grouping, to ensure that all of those within that grouping got equal treatment . . . no matter how much the treatment of that grouping might have differed from other organizations or other possible groupings. So, that was consistency, see? Paz also states that the folks in DC were just confused about what was going on in Cincinnati, because communications weren't very good, although agents in Cincinnati have reported that they repeatedly requested guidance from their superiors in DC. Also, she was sometimes on maternity leave and stuff. And they may have denied a liberal organization tax-exempt status, though Paz can't seem to name it. That's all blown out of the water by Elizabeth Hofacre, who worked under Paz and Paz's supervisor, Lois Lerner, but USA Today wasn't having any of it anyway:
But Elizabeth Hofacre, the agency's emerging issues coordinator in Cincinnati when the targeting began, has told investigators that she kicked out any progressive groups that other agents tried to put in with the Tea Party cases. She said she understood the term to mean conservative or Republican groups. "I was tasked to do Tea Parties, and I wasn't — I wasn't equipped or set up to do anything else."
A USA TODAY analysis of IRS data shows that dozens of liberal groups received tax-exempt approval in the 27 months that Tea Party groups sat in limbo, even though the liberal groups were engaging in similar kids of activity. Groups applying for the exemption are supposed to be primarily focusing on social welfare, not political activity.
USA Today also did a piece on all the special deals tucked away in the Gang of 8 immigration monstrosity that you should read, if you're keeping an eye on that . . . as you should. Related: Byron York's piece on how the Gang of 8 bill actually treats immigrants with criminal records, despite all the tough talk. The takeaway is that Napolitan has the right to confer citizenship on anyone she wants to, for whatever reasons she likes. Oh, and USA Today also has a great interview with three guys who tried to go through those approved channels that most congressmen think Snowden should have used, and got stiff-armed, when the tried to alert people to those NSA hoovering programs. Court ruled NSA spying violated Constitution, got caved anyway. More on how information about those programs was suppressed back in 2006.
Bob Belvedere turned me on to this piece in The American Spectator, about the ways in which Mad Men panders to proggie sensibilities by showing what cavemen people like Don Draper were back in the Sixties, to flatter all of us who are so much more evolved. I've not watched the show, and Bob says he ditched it midway through the second season, but you might find it interesting, anyway, because this paradigm is so pervasive, even if particularly well illustrated by that show.
John Hawkins has the outlandish story about how conservative Arizona blogger Rachel Alexander has been hounded out of the law profession on trumped up charges from the Arizona Bar, all because she and her boss tried to expose some corruption. This is an important story, and I urge you to support her. Speaking of people who have lost their employment as the result of the machinations of vicious lefty douchebags, Aaron Walker has a fascinating piece on the ways that convicted domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin may have used Bill Schmalfeldt, aka Neckless Feckless, to try to entrap him.
Orson Welles was a much more interesting kind of looney toons than Schmalfeldt. San Francisco Court of Appeals says it's okay for prisoner to have lycanthrope erotica, holding forth on the innate artistic merit, which is Tolstoyesque, particularly thematically. From that same blog, a piece on the way the 'epidemic' of 'scare quotes' is 'threatening' to 'kill' our 'civil society.'
President Jackass went to Belfast and opined that Catholic schools might sow social division and sectarian strife, threatens to veto legislation to ban late-term abortion. That will teach the Pope not to mention the Armenian genocide, Oh, hey, another horrible truth teller. I guess. Irish-born Samantha Power cravenly wept in apology to pro-Israel lobbyists designed to save her career.
You can read about the latest hideous State Department scandal here, and you probably should.