Proving the wrong point

The June 16 News and Sentinel contained a letter (“Reading about it in the newspaper”) from a Davisville resident all worked up about several alleged “scandals” he claims “prove” President Barack Obama is either “corrupt” or “incompetent.” All the gentleman “proves” is he is woefully ignorant about these issues.

Since January 2009, Republican extremists in Congress have put the “people’s business” on hold while concentrating almost exclusively upon a variety of “fishing” expeditions they hope might “bring down” the Obama administration. These efforts have been spearheaded by “Witchfinder-General” Darrell Issa, whose tactics of using unproven innuendo resemble those of Joe McCarthy or the old House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1950s. Thus far, all of Issa’s efforts to link the Oval Office with wrongdoing have been costly (and often embarrassing) failures.

Look at the IRS business! No one doubts this nation’s tax laws are both murky and unfair. If some IRS officials in Cincinnati “flagged” certain tea party groups that requested a 501(c)4 tax-exemption (while giving groups on the left a pass) they were out-of-line and certainly should be held accountable.

But here’s the catch! While Issa refuses to release complete transcripts of the House IRS hearings, it has been revealed all of the “tea party” groups in question were eventually awarded their 501(c)4 status, while at least two “progressive” groups were turned down. The original tax law passed by Congress in 1913 specifies groups receiving 501(c) exemptions should be “exclusively” non-political and concerned only with charity or “social-welfare.” In 1959 (for some unknown reason) the word “exclusively” was changed to “primarily,” enabling some blatantly political groups (i.e. the old John Birch Society) to masquerade as “educational” or “informational” entities and receive tax-breaks. If the “9-12 Project” (founded in 2010 by huckster/pundit Glenn Beck) is a “social-welfare” organization, Rush Limbaugh is Mother Teresa!

But today’s rightwing extremists don’t mind this kind of cheating. It might be remembered some of these suddenly “righteous” folks supported Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover auditing NAACP tax records in the ’60s, enthusiastically embraced abuses associated with the Bush-Cheney “Patriot Act” in 2002, and tried to deny voting rights to minorities in 2012. By attempting to pass their own sins off onto President Obama, these extremists have elevated hypocrisy to the level of art – and bad art at that!

Fred O’Neill