Deroy Murdock: A bloated state necessarily bullies, as the IRS did
If Obama's Rose Parade of scandals gives you a headache, here's why: This is your brain on Big Government.
The deteriorating developments on Benghazi, the IRS, and the Justice Department's Associated Press probe all offer a vivid, daily tutorial on the pitfalls of unlimited government. The dangers of America's bloated, bullying state are inescapable.
• Big Government often hammers its foes.
As horrified Americans have learned, the IRS targeted at least 471 conservative organizations for tough treatment. As the IRS' inspector general explained, these included self-identified "Tea Party" and "patriot" groups and those "focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to 'make America a better place to live.'" IRS reportedly approved zero Tea Party tax-exemption applications between February 2010 and May 2012. Across 27 months of malign neglect, some applicants abandoned their ambitions.
Meanwhile, IRS inappropriately asked these groups for donors' lists, public-policy opinions, and the names of board members' relatives who might seek public office.
A chilling Politico.com story explains that a "special unit" at IRS has scrutinized Jewish institutions. It asked one: "Describe your organization's religious belief system towards the land of Israel." A pro-Israel group called Z Street complains that IRS inquired whether its activities "contradict the Administration's public policies."
• Big Government usually helps its friends
"As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with obviously liberal names were approved in as little as nine months," USA Today reported.
According to the Daily Caller's Charles C. Johnson, the Barack H. Obama Foundation — directed by Abongo Malik Obama, the president's half-brother and best man at his wedding — filed IRS Form 990s for 2008 through 2010 in May 2011. It then scored 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status on June 26, 2011, retroactive to April 30, 2008. The reputedly Virginia-based foundation won this valuable designation without registering with state authorities. Evidently, IRS officials did not care that, as the Daily Caller stated, Abongo Obama "was accused of being a wife beater and seducing the newest of his twelve wives while she was a 17-year-old school girl."
IRS also sent ProPublica, a liberal news organization, the confidential, unapproved non-profit applications of nine conservative groups. It redacted financial information and then published six of these forms.
• Big Government overreaches.
On national security grounds, the Justice Department justifies snatching two months of phone records associated with the Associated Press. This includes 20 office, home and cell numbers. Justice appears to be investigating a leak related to al-Qaida's attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound plane in 2012. However, Justice is using a paint roller where a fine brush might do. It evidently ran roughshod over its own guidelines, which require a more limited search, and only after requesting such records.
• Big Government lies through its teeth.
Once public servants conclude that the public serves them, they soon hold the people in contempt. At that point, why bother to tell them the truth?
Thus, Obama stood before the White House press corps on May 13 and declared about Benghazi: "The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism."
However, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler noted that Obama broadly denounced "terror" just after Benghazi, but refused to call that attack an act of terrorism. Then, over the next two weeks — on 60 Minutes, Univision, The View, Late Show with David Letterman, and before the United Nations — Obama cited that now clearly irrelevant anti-Muslim video as well as his uncertainty in light of ongoing investigations. But he did not pin Benghazi on an act of terrorism.
This earned Obama four out of four Pinocchios, the Washington Post's distinction for big-time lies.
"What we see emerging here is a pattern, a culture, a culture of intimidation, of hardball politics that we saw both on the campaign trail and now through the apparatus of government," Marco Rubio, R–Fla., told the Senate. "These are the tactics of the Third World."
Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.