Today, Thursday, I'll be keeping my weekly date with Hugh Hewitt, coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific, discussing Benghazi and other matters,
~As I've said before, American government is corrupt. Lots of countries have, alas, Big Government, but, unlike, say, Sweden or Germany, America has corrupt Big Government. Here is merely the latest example.
As you know, the IRS demanded that Tea Party groups provide lists of their donors. This was (in the absurdly measured word of investigators) "inappropriate". The IRS then assured Congress that all these donor lists had been destroyed. It now turns out that they weren't. Can you guess, boys and girls, what happened next?
Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, asked the IRS to review the names on those lists to see whether any had been audited. The IRS reported back that 10 percent were audited — substantially higher than the average rate of 1 percent of average Americans who are audited each year.
So, if you want to stay un-audited, make sure you're "average". Don't do anything un-average - like supporting groups from one particular side of the political spectrum. If you've got a spare forty bucks, give it to Organizing for America rather than the Tea Party: that's the way to have a quiet life.
When a country's revenue agency is systemically corrupt, it doesn't really matter if everything else is clean as a whistle. For a year now, I've been calling for the abolition of the IRS and its replacement by a far more circumscribed agency with limited powers commensurate with a free society. From my column twelve months ago:
I am an immigrant to this great land, and I love it, but I will make a small observation from my years in the United States which I hope won't be taken the wrong way: Like citizens of almost all Western democracies in the 21st century, Americans are overly deferential to bureaucracy, but, in my observation, they are uniquely fearful of the state's tax collectors to a degree I have never seen with Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs in London or equivalent agencies in Paris, Ottawa, Rome, Canberra. The IRS has, in American terms, extraordinary powers.
When it abuses those powers to torment the President's political enemies, it should lose them. Letting the IRS choose its audit victims is one of those "inappropriate" powers. At the North-east Republican Leadership Conference down in southern New Hampshire a few weeks ago, I wondered where GOP legislators and incumbents were on this issue. How bad does it have to get for them to say enough? Do one in five conservative activists have to be audited into submission? One in three?
~More corruption. The easiest kind of donors are forced conscripts. My old friend Jillian Melchior reports that the Healthcare Michigan branch of the Service Employees International Union has seen its membership plummet 80 per cent in the last year. How did this happen? A sudden exodus from the state? An ebola outbreak? No. It turns out the bulk of the SEIU's "donors" were family members of elderly and disabled people involuntarily designated as "public employees" and forced to pony up to the union heavies:
Melissa and Kevin Haynes were born with hypertonic cerebral palsy, a severe disability that impaired their cognitive development, leaving them functioning as infants. For more than 30 years, their devoted parents, Robert and Patricia, have cared for them in their home in Macomb Township, Mich. The two disabled adults received Medicaid checks each month, money that went toward their care. But in 2006, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) began collecting 2.75 percent from each of these checks, claiming that Robert and Patricia were employees — not only of their own children but also of the Michigan state government.
I've always had a bit of a soft spot for for Michigan's former Democrat governor Jennifer Granholm - not because she's kinda cute and a fellow Canadian, but because back in the old country her brother was a loyal reader of mine. But Governor Granholm's facilitation of this racket is absolutely appalling: In 2005 she essentially created a dummy "employer" for Michigan "home health workers" in order to provide a mechanism by which her party's union buddies could shakedown the most vulnerable of the state's citizens.
That's now ended - for the moment. But again, if your Republican candidate is not talking about public-sector union reform - and privatization - he's not serious.
Any chance of the IRS examining the SEIU's "donor lists"? Or do they fall into that blessedly "average" category?
~If any congressman is invited to talk about the IRS or SEIU on "Meet The Press", "Face The Nation" or the other Sunday snoozefests, I hope they'll consider taking a leaf out of Saker al-Johari and Mohammad al-Jayousi's book when asked to discuss the Syrian conflict on Jordanian TV. The two gentlemen disagreed, and wound up demolishing the set.
I had the opposite experience on Steve Paikin's TVO show "The Agenda" a few years ago, when I found out at the last minute that the duplicitous skunks of his production team had cosied up with the Canadian Islamic Congress sock puppets to stitch me up. The Socks had spent the last six months telling every newspaper in Canada that they were only taking Maclean's and me to the "human rights" commissions because they wanted to "start a debate". Fine. So, finding that they were booked on the same show as me, I said let's have that debate you claim to want.
The Socks then refused, and the TVO skunks allowed them to set the "agenda".
I was in a bad mood when I got to the studio. There was me on one side, supposedly having a one-on-one interview with Paikin, and over on the other side were the Socks, refusing to debate me. So I said:
I'm not scary, I don't eat Muslims for breakfast. I'm just one big, flabby, overweight islamophobe and they're three fit young people. It shouldn't be threatening or menacing to them.
Steve Paikin explained that they didn't have enough chairs for us all to debate, to which I responded, "This isn't a chair issue."
Well, they eventually found a chair from somewhere, and we had that debate. But, if we hadn't, I would have done to Paikin's insufficient chairs and the rest of the set what Messrs al-Johari and al-Jayousi did to that anchor desk in Amman.