Sunday, May 19, 2013

Obama’s Connecticut Praetorian Guard

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” -- George Orwell

George Orwell, like Jonathan Swift before him, is one of those large writers who simply straddle ideological categories. He was fortunate enough – or unfortunate enough, depending on one’s point of view – to have been born in what the ancient Chinese call “interesting times,” the bloody and totalitarian 20th century.

The revolutionist speaking truth to power often appears among us with a rope braided by the reigning powers draped about his neck. He steps towards gallows with a wan smile on his face.

Such was the case with Gregory Hicks, the friend and compatriot of slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens who, testifying before Congress, said he was stunned and embarrassed when he first heard U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice attribute the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi to a crowd of protestors agitated by a video that defamed Mohammed. One expects that Mr. Hick’s many years of honorable service will soon crash on the rocks of modern politics.

The Obama administration had hoped to put the Benghazi affair to bed early, and then direct witnesses to the murder of the Libyan ambassador showed up at the Congressional doorstep. The unwelcomed visitations were followed by an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal involving unaccountable delays of Tea Party applications for tax exempt status, which in turn was followed by yet another scandal involving phone taps placed by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) on Associated Press reporters. The IRS has since apologized for having politicized what should have been a routine review of applications.

Of the three scandals, only the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups for punitive treatment and the overbroad tapping of AP phone lines have been unreservedly condemned by Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional delegation. The condemnations by Connecticut Congresspersons of the IRS conform to a script adopted by the Obama administration, which unreservedly denounced what appeared to be an IRS enemies' list drawn up by as yet unknown persons who perhaps had been overstimulated by Mr. Obama’s frequently expressed condemnations of Tea Party Patriots.           

U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, for more than 20 years Connecticut’s crusading attorney general, was outraged at the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for federal tax scrutiny and “deeply troubled” concerning reports that the DOJ had collected phone records from the Associated Press. U.S. Senator Chis Murphy’s reliance on the DOJ received a blow and he hopes “the leadership there is working steadfastly” to accomplish its mission. U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty ventured further out than either of the state’s senators; the IRS allegations, she thought, “should concern all Americans. It’s completely unacceptable for the IRS to target groups or individuals based on their political views. A full Congressional investigation is warranted, and anyone who acted inappropriately or abused power must be held fully accountable.” U.S. Representative John Larson, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee that oversees the IRS, thought the IRS action were “absolutely inexcusable." U.S. Rep Rosa DeLauro entertained the hope “that those who participated in inappropriate activities are held fully accountable,” and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney was moved to tweet, “The actions taken by the IRS should alarm all Americans. A full investigation is warranted.”

The person in charge of the IRS unit that so disappointed Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation, it should be mentioned, was given a promotion of sorts; she has been put in charge of the many hundreds of workers in the IRS who, as part of the implementation of Obamacare, will be rifling through health care records in an attempt to weed out frauds. Provided the frauds are not conservative, few insuperable obstacles may be put in their way – if the IRS processes are unreformed.

ABC News was among the first mainstream news outlets to report that “the Internal Revenue Service official in charge of overseeing tax-exempt organizations — an operation now under fire for targeting Tea Party groups and other right-wing entities — is now in charge of IRS accounting for President Obama’s health-care overhaul initiative, or Obamacare. Sarah Hall Ingram oversaw tax-exempt organizations for the IRS from 2009 to 2012. The misdeeds allegedly occurred at the IRS from 2010 to 2012.”

It is not known at this point how many of the distressed members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation oppose Mr. Obama’s stunningly inept appointment or what form their opposition to the appointment of Ms. Ingrahm might take. While Peter Weber of The Week has speculated that Ms. Ingram’s head may roll, it is a safe bet that it will not land in Mr. Blumenthal’s lap. Both Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Murphy, since their fairly recent elevations to the U.S. Senate, have been stout supporters of all things Obama, and the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation is part of the vast Beltway Praetorian Guard charged with protecting the president’s idiocies.
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