, Gloucester, MA

May 17, 2013

Letter: IRS oversteps bounds on Tea Party checks

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

I never thought I would say this, but I actually agree with members of the tea party movement regarding revelations that the Internal Revenue Service went “above and beyond” the call of duty, so to speak, in scrutinizing the financial records of numerous tea party organizations around the country.

What I don’t share is the belief of many tea partyers, or their allies at Fox News and on right wing talk radio, that this revelation is yet another example of some insidious and nefarious plot by our un-American president to steal our freedoms, along with our guns, in the name of some global socialist, U.N.-controlled cabal seeking to destroy America and the corporate-run, crony capitalist system that the big banks, large corporations, and their bipartisan puppets in the political arena have successfully conned the American people into believing is a legitimate example of a democratic republic.

I say that for numerous reasons.

One is that, despite all the wild claims from the right that President Obama is a frothing at the mouth socialist, the reality is Barack Obama is every bit the corporatist George W. Bush was. Obama is just more skilled at looking like a “kinder, gentler” corporatist than “W” was.

Anyone who doubts that should look at several things.

One is where the Obama administration has stood on fishing issues. The Obama administration has repeatedly acquiesced to the wishes and recommendations of NOAA and the Environmental Defense Fund, both of which have an undeniable bias in favor of large corporate fishing fleets over the small family fishermen who have been the mainstays of economies in communities like Gloucester.

Another is in regards to health care. How much the Affordable Care Act will really help hard-working Americans struggling with ever-increasing health care premiums remains to be seen. But one thing was clear from the moment the ACA was signed into law — it was a huge financial gift to the health insurance industry.

But back to the IRS and the tea party. Various government agencies have, through the years, overreached in their monitoring of citizens’ groups and organizations that, for whatever reason, caught the eyes of those agencies. People seem to forget, for example, that in 2004, after then executive director of the NAACP, Julian Bond, publicly criticized the Bush administration over the war in Iraq, the IRS undertook an aggressive audit of the NAACP’s finances.

In the early years of the Bush administration, the IRS also went after Greenpeace and several other “liberal” or “left-leaning” groups and organizations. There was, however, little outcry from any politician or media outlet, and none at all from the overwhelmingly white, far right, types who are now outraged at the latest example of IRS overreach.

The IRS clearly overstepped its bounds in its investigation of various tea party factions’ finances. It is a good thing it was revealed and the agency called to the carpet for doing so.

But to turn that into yet another bizarre conspiracy theory directly involving President Obama is, to put it bluntly, nuts — but, sadly, not at all unexpected.