What kind of country?

Do you want to live where your children are singled out for their beliefs?

The following is a stark statement of fact, not opinion:

The Obama administration has been spying on journalists and using the government to impede, if not punish, its conservative opponents.

That’s not open to question or interpretation, either. It’s incontrovertible now.

The only questions are 1) how extensive are the blatant abuses of power, 2) how far up the chain they go and 3) what are we going to do about it?

The ominous and un-American targeting of conservative groups and individuals by the IRS, in particular, is a fact that was well known within the administration prior to last year’s presidential election.

We’re supposed to believe that top Treasury and White House officials knew about it, and never said a word to a president that was in the midst of a close and crucial election. Right.

In addition, if the scandal had been known by the public, the election outcome surely would’ve been different.

We also now know that the Obama Justice Department secretly obtained a wide swath of phone records from the Associated Press and Fox News, in a carpet bombing of privacy and press freedom.

It was reported late last week that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the spying on a Fox News reporter and the reporter’s parents..

“They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser ... They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails,” the Washington Post reported.

The problem with the IRS and Department of Justice scandals – the IRS one in particular – is that they’re almost becoming too big to comprehend. In the IRS scandal, as many as 500 groups and individuals may have been targeted for delays, harassment and audits – some for the mere act of publicly supporting Mitt Romney for president in 2012.

Other groups and individuals have been targeted for punishing IRS treatment for being religious or for touting the Constitution.

If it’s not a crime, punishable by long prison terms, to use the tax code to harass and intimidate groups and individuals based on their political or religious beliefs, it needs to be.

It’s an interesting contrast: This president comes from a background of “community organizing” for liberal causes; yet, his administration has systematically attempted to prevent conservatives from organizing – delaying their applications for nonprofit status with onerous and arbitrary – sometimes ludicrous – requirements for information, including, in one case, a book report.

These tactics were clearly designed to demoralize conservatives and reduce their ability to raise funds and organize in advance of the election.

These actions are something out of the Iron Curtain, or a banana republic – where the method of governing is to destroy your opposition and control the media.

It strains credulity not to believe such widespread and nefarious actions were directed at a very high level.

This is one reason why we have a two-party system – so one can act as a check on the other. Republicans in Congress need to get to the bottom of these things, particularly the IRS scandal. Let’s hear from as many victims as possible. We haven’t begun to hear all that has gone on.

Meanwhile, we urge any IRS employees with knowledge of this wrongdoing to come forward and willingly share what they know. They need to understand that they serve this country, not any particular leaders.

A new wave of patriotism and citizenship needs to wash over the IRS.

For that matter, that sense of patriotism and citizenship needs to splash the rest of the country in the face.

What kind of country do you want for you and your children? One in which they will be punished for their beliefs?

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Thu, 12/08/2016 - 23:05

And the award begrudgingly goes to …

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 11:13

Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon