When Words Are Not What Someone Says They Are

If there ever was a desire for fantasy, one could not get more of it than listening today as Congress holds one hearing after another over subjects in which the public has little interest.  The public silently suspects Congress doesn’t know or care what they are actually doing or saying.

Benghazi, the IRS 501(c)(3) process, and the Associated Press record collections are examples that seem for the moment to have taken prominence above Obamacare, the Deficit, and Jobs. I wonder why?  Hmmm.

Representative Darrell Issa is leading the Benghazi hearings.  His interest appears not about learning and preventing a repeat.  If he were, he could work to restore funding for our Diplomats security.  Issa’s interest appears, instead, more about finding some potentially politically embarrassing “after the fact” detail which once revealed will make the Administration look bad (and presumably hurt Democrats in the 2014 mid-terms.

The IRS situation is potential far more serious and what really happened and why must be established.  You might not guess that by early Congressional questioning.

The IRS extra investigation of certain groups seeking 501(c)(3) status crossed a line in traditional American fair play sensibility and that is a serious matter.  It is important to know whether political appointees in the IRS influenced this behavior.  But it is also possible and we should not be a surprise that these groups would draw extra attention.  The rules are murky.   The difference between “issue advocacy” and “political advocacy” can be wafer thin.

And the most fundamental question is why should either, issue or political advocacy receive any tax advantageous status?

Representative Dave Camp asked a number of reasonable questions and then landed on his conclusion… the entire tax code needs to be reformed.  Others Congress members took the opportunity to polish their “election is just around the corner” medals and asked strictly partisan questions.

The Associated Press issue on its own merits has little traction in Congress other than as a method for Republicans to impugn the reputation of Attorney General Holder.  But this issue has potentially more education value for the American public than both of the other issues.

The entire press establishment is up in arms over records of AP telephone communications, even though they were legally obtained.  The first Amendment flag has been raised and the public is being warned of the potential loss of our liberty if the news media can be so assaulted.  Hmmm.

If hearings do follow, the public may be surprised to learn how routine the flow of information is between government officials and the “press”.  Leaks and quotable comments are the life blood of the media.  We now frequently read quotes attributed to someone who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the subject.  Hmmm.

What should words mean?

Benghazi has meaning in the greater context of how the US will conduct its foreign affairs in a new lawless world such as is emerging in the Middle East.  It also highlights the quandary surrounding budget reductions and the expectations of government.  How can the US carry the flag when there is no money (or too little) to protect it?

The IRS is important for both the need to keep politics out of IRS bowels, AND, the ridiculous nature of the current tax code.

The AP situation is far more nuanced.  The subpoenaed records were done legally (remember the Bush years and records were taken secretly without due process).  The real issue may not be about freedom of the press or the work of whistle blowers.  It is about the cottage industry which produces a steady flow of rumors and insider information to a hungry, waiting news media that live off this flow.  The AP situation is about “degrees” and not absolutes.  The cultivation of sources for the 7/24 news media is the issue that will almost assuredly not be investigated.



Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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