The thing to remember about the Tea Party/IRS Fauxtrage is that nobody was persecuted, as all the whiny babies of the reactionary right pretend to believe. They were perhaps (it’s still early to tell) inconvenienced, or at worst discriminated against – doubtless the first actual discrimination the average Tea Partier has ever experienced. Discrimination is wrong, and should result in disciplinary action against its perpetrators. But it seems that no group was denied their tax-exempt status (however appropriate such a denial usually was), though they may have been hassled a little extra in pursuit of it.
Here is what I don’t get about the IRS/Tea Party pseudo-scandal – isn’t truth a strong defense here? Why can’t the lawyers for the IRS say that since these groups identified themselves with a “party,” the IRS assumed that their reason for being would be primarily political, and so not tax exempt. Also since that party, “Taxed Enough Already,” was fundamentally anti-tax, the IRS felt there was an elevated likelihood that such groups would interpret tax-exempt criteria in an excessively broad manner, because avoiding tax is one of their main preoccupations.
Today’s column by Jim Dwyer takes up the cause of Central Park Five Prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer and, in seeking to defend her from her detractors, accomplishes perhaps a world record in false equivalence. Dwyer concludes ultimately that the people who think Ms. Lederer unfit to groom future prosecutors at Columbia are “repeating the very mistake of the injustice” visited upon the Central Park Five. I object to that characterization.
The truth sometimes seems preposterous, (e.g. the September 11th Plot; the manifold, profound, and unanimous evil of the Bushies; the gutless naivety of Obama, et cetera), but part of being a grown-up is the ability to distinguish preposterous, self-serving bullshit, from statements of fact. This is called ‘judgment’ and we need to bring it to cases like the George Zimmerman’s.
Charlie Rose, always in contention with Joe Lieberman, Newt Ginhrich, and David Brooks for the World's Smuggest title, carried all sorts of water today for the Zimmerman camp, lobbing softball questions at the shooter's pair of pasty, dimwitted attorneys -- who didn't have the slightest scruple about the lies and distortions they were being paid to amplify. CBS essentially provided them a megaphone to broadcast their client's alibi nationwide, and apparently promised them that no questions would be asked about say, the slurs on the 911 call, Zimmerman's clear lack of injury on the police statio video, how they can credit their client's story when they haven't even met with him, et cetera. Nice work Charlie, you're a credit to the profession!
See the whitewash here!
It's just an idea, but it's got real possibilities. Why not create a WPA-style army to clean up the Gulf of Mexico beaches and marshlands? There are millions of able-bodied folks crying for work, and years' worth of work that will basically need to get done by hand, with shovels, bags, wheelbarrows et cetera. This is work that can't be outsourced to Inda. It'll be hot, hard, buggy, smelly work so even if we pay a real wage, (like, say $20 an hour) nobody will be said to be getting a handout. I envision a real corps, with barracks or trailer camp bases being thrown up quickly. Recruits, should be by quota drawn from all over America (with some allowance for relief of those directly affected, fishermen etc) to maximize support for the program.
A little jet-lagged maybe, I woke up suddenly last night, jolted with a terrible thought: suppose Martha Coakley's campaign wasn't really so awful. Suppose it had been, like Al Gore's, sandbagged from the getgo by a hostile press-corps, a group that isn't really Republican (except in the eager to worship stern Daddy aspect) but, above all, wants a story and a horse race. Thus, front-runner Coakley's every minor gaffe was turned into Big News whereas the butally obvious fact that Scott Brown (like George Bush) is a preening sociopath unfit for power of any sort was ignored with a force that transcends mere denial and skews through to hsyterical blindness, negative hallucination.
The putative flagship of liberal media The New York Times, always seems curiously happy to plant big wet kisses on the anus of a brownshirt, and today they reach new depths of French dipping with the biggest asshole of them all, Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Talk about stenography! – the whole thing reads like Ailes himself dictated it.whole thing
Perhaps if, responding to Gore Vidal’s calling him a "crypto-Nazi", William Buckley had said, "If you call me a Nazi again I will tattoo, gas and cremate you," then perhaps Michael Gerson would understand just how little Buckley’s response exonerated himself of the charge. Instead, in today’s Post Gerson seems to plump with admiration for the Buckley’s comeback, which he quotes as, "Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face and you'll stay plastered." Of course Gerson elides the Buckley’s bigoted preface to this threat, "Now listen you queer...," and he seems to have forgotten the unflappable, even bitchily gleeful derision with which Vidal responds to the pundit’s rather prissy threat, "Oh Bill."
Some seem to think that Eugene Robinson trumped Liz Cheney yesterday on Morning Joe, but I think she thrashed him (in TV terms) – perhaps not surprising, given that she was apparently allowed to engage him in an unscheduled debate. Still, even given all this, Robinson gave an astonishingly flat-footed performance. It’s kind of infuriating to look at parts of the exchange; rather like watching glib idiot David Brooks debate the pitiful dumbass Mark Shields. I almost find myself shouting at the screen, something like "If you can’t do better than that, stay off the goddamn TV!"
I’d like to offer some talking points to Mr. Robinson and anyone who finds himself or herself debating the torture issue with Cheney’s defenders.
Back in 1985 and 1986, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Ollie North and various others illegally and secretly sold over 2000 surface-to-surface missiles to the same Iranian Islamists who blew up our Marines in Beruit and used the loot from these sales to illegally fund the Contras, their pet right-wing terrorists in Nicaraugua. Ron Reagan's Solicitor General at the time of Iran-Contra was Charles Fried, whom even Supreme Court conservatives thought besmirched his office with his partisanship. Fried was recently billed only as 'Harvard law professor' in the New York Times, though he has clearly been a lifelong mouthpiece for the Republican racist/sexist talking points, and advocate for the imperial powers of Republicans in the White House. In his recent New York Times Op-Ed he serves as defender of the Bush Syndicate, and in that capacity argues that there should be no accountability whatsoever for the war crimes committed by the Bushies.
New York Times
The Washington Post continues to smear itself with feces, somewhat in the manner of the terminally insane -- witness the latest from Ruth Marcus, wherein she reminisces, on the occasion of Mark Felts' death about her heady days as cub hack:
I happened, as a young reporter, to cover some of the Felt and Miller trial and remember feeling torn about the case -- revolted by their actions but sorry at some level for the actors.
In the current unspooling, I unexpectedly find myself more in the camp of Reagan than Nields. I understand -- I even share -- Nields's anger over the insult to the rule of law. Yet I'm coming to the conclusion that what's most crucial here is ensuring that these mistakes are not repeated. In the end, that may be more important than punishing those who acted wrongly in pursuit of what they thought was right.
Having covered "some" of the trial she feels qualified to tell us that Ron Reagan's pardon of the F.B.I. Agents Miller and Felts, for breaking the laws they were sworn to uphold was, on balance, a good thing.
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