Dear Prof. Terry: We Miss You!

Prof. Terry: Your absence during the tumultuous event sin Washington is felt, I am sure by others than me. This is an invitation to contribute. I wish you would deal with a couple of questions:

Are the IRS doings that are and have been the object of Congressional investigation in connection with its examination of tax-exempt status destructive of democracy?

If the answer is to any degree positive, who is responsible?

There will be no editing of whatever you send, of course.

Reminder: You have already addressed alleged Republican precedents in misuse of the IRS on this blog. I have addressed the many Democratic Party precedents. It’s all a dead horse. I am interested only in the here and now.

Note to readers: Prof Terry really exists. I know him. I have seen him in the flesh. He is not a liberal foil I invented to make myself look good.

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About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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32 Responses to Dear Prof. Terry: We Miss You!

  1. Terry Amburgey says:

    “Are the IRS doings that are and have been the object of Congressional investigation in connection with its examination of tax-exempt status destructive of democracy?”

    Yes. I suppose I could come up with a more pernicious set of shenanigans if I tried very hard but I’d really have to work at it.

    “If the answer is to any degree positive, who is responsible?”

    It’s not yet clear to me. I saw some of the testimony of the Inspector General and the [now fired] temporary head of the IRS before the House Ways & Means Committee. The now fired commissioner was unimpressive to say the least. If I had to guess, no head higher than Lois Lerner, director of the IRS tax exempt division will roll. Apparently she didn’t come up with the screening terms but she seems to have totally mismanaged her unit. If by ‘responsible’ you mean who decided to screen applications based on ideological position then people in the tax exempt division lower than the director. If you also include incredibly poor managers whose incompetence enabled the activities I’d include Mr. Miller the temporay commissioner that was fired.

    • Thank you but I was hoping you could write a whole piece about the current events from a progressive/liberal perspective.

      All you have to do is grade at random for a while, to save time!

  2. Terry: I share your inclination regarding sheer incompetence. I believe popular opinion and the media in general don’t
    give incompetence its due and tend to jump to malefaction explanations and conspiracies too quickly.

    In this case, I think the revelations show a political will on the part of the administration to coverup. It’s not “socialist” as many conservatives persist in characterizing president Obama. It’s pure Chicago. It drives American democracy in the direction of a banana republic.

    This does not exclude incompetence.

    I think you are avoiding the institutional side of the problem.

  3. Bruce says:

    I grew up in Chicago, and everyone knows the kind of politics that made my home town infamous. When you work for a Chicago style political boss you don’t ask what you need to do to get promoted. If he had to tell you to put the squeeze on that would be evidence. Evidence is what prosecutors present to grand juries to get indictments. If something goes wrong someone else takes the fall. Whether they fall because they’re incompetent bunglers or because they’re dishonest or immoral does not matter. The job has certain risks, they knew that when they signed up. What I’m not sure about is how well some of the Washington bureaucrats will bend over and take it. Right now when you fail in a job you get promoted to another position in government. Even in Chicago things get ugly and the top thugs have been historically well represented at the federal iron bar hotel. The Feds get involved and find enough dirt, often tax evasion, to put them away. What happens when the these same Feds work for you and rely on you for the next job? Now that’s a game changer. Add to this, his general pardon from being held accountable, and you have a tricky situation. He is privileged and protected. Kind of like royalty.That he told someone at the IRS to do, what he did, and where he was is not to be questioned. Besides, we’re told, it does not really matter anyway. It’s interesting how the media and the left is now reacting to dream leader of their creation. The IRS is a hot button for a lot of people (47% that pay taxes anyway). I hope they are forced to do the right thing when it starts cutting into the bone. Their bone.

    • Bruce: You are ahead of me. Can put this up as an article? (It will take me a little while.)

      • Thanks for telling me. I did not know this. I will check in the future. Isn’t it the case though that older copies of the WSJ are easy to find for free? (That would be especially true around business schools where the faculty subscribe but don’t read.)

        The article describes exemplarily bad social science. It shows that the Pentagon used methods that would get you booted out of a B-list graduate program.

      • Cultural context matters. It can be established through testimonies (plural).

        The idea that only 47% PAY TAXES IS FALSE. It is false. It does conservatives no honor to keep repeating it. No one is perfect. Some repeat an untruth; others merely use the armed power of the state to repress and to reduce free speech.

      • Bruce says:

        Of course! I will add the more evidence that surfaces about the scandals in Washington the more I think it’s our congress that owns them. Congress created the IRS, Homeland Security, the FBI, in fact all the rest of the thousands of government institutions that regulate our freedoms. Why did the Republicans not demand hearings into Benghazi and withholding of tax exempt status for conservative and Christian organizations BEFORE the election? They had enough information to do it, they chose not to. Now I’m supposed to get all wound up and cut them a check so they can go up against the Democrats in 2014? I feel more than a little used. I don’t know what happens to people after they have been in Washington for a while. Even Marco Rubio is singing a different tune after just a couple of years. Fact- If we grant citizenship to 20 million illegal aliens there will never be another conservative president and it’s likely the Democrats will enjoy one party rule at the federal level forever. Show me a welfare state that has open borders and can survive long. The Tea Party principles are not embraced by the old guard country club Republicans like McCain and Boehner. It seems like a game to them. I’m also amazed how ill prepared they are for the job. Example- Lois Lerner delivers a prepared statement saying she broke no laws and did nothing wrong and then pleads the Fifth. If the brilliant members of the committee had ben prepared they would have told her that after she made delivered a speech denying specific guilt that she had waved her right to remain silent. Instead, the dog and pony show will continue, and it will be painted like they’re picking on the poor woman. In the business world I live in every day people get fired for not being prepared. In my former career I would just say they were not ready for sea!

      • Bruce: A comment about spelling (that used to apply to me as well). When you write “Tea Party,” with caps, it encourages the chronically ill-informed, such as Prof Terry here, to believe that there is actually as political party instead of the existing grass-root movement.

        Besides, they hate the idea that “grass-root” is not exclusively leftitistish. It gets under their skin; it undermines their claim to exclusive legitimacy ( a cold leftover from poorly understood Marxism).

    • Terry Amburgey says:

      Nice anecdote about your childhood. Nothing at all close to any sort of evidence of anything about anyone but a good story. BTW, care to back up your claim that only 47% of Americans pay taxes? I think you’ll be surprised and I look forward to you trying to weasle out of your rash assertion.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        “If the brilliant members of the committee had ben prepared they would have told her that after she made delivered a speech denying specific guilt that she had waved her right to remain silent.”

        Not true, she can invoke her privilege at any time.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        @Bruce
        “Fact- If we grant citizenship to 20 million illegal aliens there will never be another conservative president and it’s likely the Democrats will enjoy one party rule at the federal level forever.”

        Looks like Ronald Reagan started the ball rolling. That damn liberal. BTW when Rep. King says ‘conservative’ estimate he means that it’s a total fabrication made up by teapublicans. Now that brown people are replacing black people as the villain du jour, yellow people should get in the ‘on deck’ circle. How long before the yellow peril makes a comeback?

        “Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that President Obama would not be president if it weren’t for the 1986 amnesty bill that Ronald Reagan signed into law. […]

        In an effort to dissuade Republicans, King argued that the 1986 immigration bill that Reagan signed into law is estimated to have brought amnesty to three million illegal immigrants.

        He said conservative estimates show that, on average, each of these people brought in five others, leading to 15 million more people in the country, most of whom voted for Obama.

        “[T]hey have to admit that Ronald Reagan’s signature on the ’86 amnesty act brought about Barack Obama’s election,” King concluded on the House floor.”

  4. Terry Amburgey says:

    The irs conspiracy is broader than I realized; it includes Republicans! The Bush-appointed head of the irs and the republican chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are involved. The political harassment started under a Republican commissioner and the Republican chair kept the investigation under wraps for close to a year.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/former-irs-commissioner-heads-hill-amid-scandal
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/05/republicans-informed-of-irs-investigation-last-year/

    • Dr A,

      Just two things: first, if you post more than one link at a time wordpress’s spam filter puts it in a ‘pending’ slot on the blog’s dashboard, so if you don’t see your post right away have no fear because it just has to be manually approved first.

      Second, I don’t think anybody here is blaming solely the Democrats for the authoritarian and deeply immoral position that the IRS holds in our society. The civil liberty of the American people has been under threat from the IRS since its inception. James Bovard has recently written a great article on this in the Wall Street Journal titled “A Brief History of IRS Political Targeting.”

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        Interesting read Brandon. I think the reason the IRS is such a sore point is that, aside from any use as a political tool, it is an authoritarian and agressive bureaucracy in it’s normal operations.

      • Exactly: in its normal operations.

        Reading this blog is beginning to do you good.

      • I blame the Democrats more. (See my posting). The Republican Party is not innocent but it does not have that veritable passion for large government organizations that cost enormously and that are worse when they are efficient than when they are not. Those are a Democrat’s heart’s deep love.

  5. Terry Amburgey says:

    “Thousands of documents obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy show how Homeland Security and local law enforcement were obsessed with the Occupy movement and other activists. They treated Occupy activists as potential terrorists. They infiltrated Occupy meetings. They tracked Occupy activists online.”

    Are the Homeland Security doings destructive of democracy?

    If the answer is to any degree positive, who is responsible?

    • Not much.
      The power to tax is the power to destroy.
      The power to spy on is unpleasant as hell; it’s not the power to destroy.

      Do you see a difference, Terry? (YOU) Yes/No

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        Both the power to tax and the power to spy are legitimate state functions. In both cases what is illegitimate is the use of the organs of the state against citizens based on politics. I can see the difference, it’s tragic that you can’t. Why don’t you tally up the constitutional rights violated by the IRS in the current scandal and I’ll do the same for Homeland Security. BTW don’t bother with the teapublican rant about income tax that’s a settled issue.

      • Terry: I thought it was you who did not see the difference. Again: the Homeland bureaucracy (whose very existence I deplore) is guilty of thousands of small violations of democratic process . The Obama administration encouraged an already predisposed IRS to strangle democratic dissent on the eve of an election.

        The second is much worse. He may have stolen the election (Remember that he won by a small margin.)

        I wish you would do the comparison you propose. I would be glad to post it here.

        The income tax is not a “settled” issue. Nothing is eve settled in a democracy. See the right to unconditional abortion go down in flame after the recent verdict against the baby killer. (I mean the guy who was just convicted of this by a jury of his peers.)

  6. Terry Amburgey says:

    “The Obama administration encouraged an already predisposed IRS to strangle democratic dissent on the eve of an election.”

    Lol. An assertion not based on the slightest shred of evidence. Yet again I’m forced to point out the irony that in a blog entitled Facts Matter, facts matter not a whit to the owner.

  7. Terry: The President names a media personality as a significant obstacle to his policies. That’s not a signal to his underlings ?

    What could possibly be the meaning of a high/midlevel administrator taking the Fifth when it would be so easy for her to make a deal protecting her from prison and even from administrative sanctions? Who in the world in Congress wants her skin? That’s obviously not who they are after! (Here I go again, speculating!)

    Terry: I think you confuse a blog with a court of law. I don’t have the power to send people to jail (fortunately for some I could name). So, I am allowed to speculate as long as it’s obvious Not all speculations are equal. Ex: This lion may be hungry (I can’t be sure); I had better give it a wide berth. vs
    Here is a nice lion, I am not the one that threw rocks at him last week anyway; I am sure he won’t bother me.

    The great merit of the blog form is that it makes mindless denial obvious after a while.

    This administration practices cover up on a scale not seen since (Republican President) Nixon.. He may have stolen the election with the combination of Benghazi and IRS cover ups. That’s a SPECULATION. It’s also known as thinking.

  8. Terry Amburgey says:

    “The Obama administration encouraged an already predisposed IRS to strangle democratic dissent on the eve of an election.”

    There is nothing in that sentence to indicate that it is anything other than a simple declarative sentence…a statement of fact. There is no ‘in my opinion’, ‘I speculate’, ‘I believe that’. No qualifiers at all. Either your writing skills are declining precipitously or you’ve spent so much time in the teapublican echo chamber that you can no longer distinquish between speculation and fact. I speculate that it is the later.

    “This administration practices cover up on a scale not seen since (Republican President) Nixon.. ”

    Is this speculation or a statement of fact?

    • Terry: It’s an opinion. Almost anyone who reads this blog more than once will recognize the statement as an opinion. You may be the only exception.

      This opinion results from a distillation of what I learn, reading the Wall Street Journal every day, Atlantic Monthly every month, listening to both Rush Limbaugh and NPR almost every day, watching Fox News almost every day, being subjected to MSNBC (while at the gym) three times a week, watching news on TV5, the French language channel, and reading the French daily Le Figaro most days.

      What I write need no more be referenced than what you teach in class.

      When I make a mistake of fact, I count on readers to correct me. I think I make few such mistakes because I don’t range far and wide and I avoid the free use of epithets. (Reliance on epithets tends to separate one’s mind from facts) Do you know anyone who often does not exercise such discipline?

      Repeating myself: I have trouble imagining that anyone chancing on this blog will fail to recognize that it contains opinions and will fail to distinguish between my opinions and hard fact.

      I think, you personally are often angry at what I write not because its absurd but because it’s not. It makes so much sense, so often, to you mind that it disturbs your tribal loyalties. I mean loyalties to the boring liberal /progressive unexamined consensus that passes for a political culture in North American universities.

      The whole above paragraph is speculation. I cannot affirm that its’ true. I am only 85/15% sure.

      About my assertion that the administration is largely responsible for sicking an already predisposed IRS on dissenters to muffle them, do you believe that President Obama declared that some conservative groups were a threat to democracy?

      Do you think he named the radio personality Rush Limbaugh as one source of his inability to pass legislation?

      Did I make up either or both of these behaviors?

  9. Terry Amburgey says:

    Is writing opinion as a statement of fact an option for all commentators here? I look forward to availing myself of this option but I want to make sure I understand the ‘rules of the game’ so to speak.

    • Terry:

      Simple: You have to write opinions in such a way that the above-average individuals who visit this blog understand you are stating opinion. It’s not a matter of rules but a matter of taste.

      Thus, when I say: “Obama is not a would-be socialist dictator, he is only an empty suit.”

      I would guess all of my readers understand that I am not stating a fact like: “The sun rises in the East. ” (Or, does it?)

      We look forward to your announced effort.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        Excellent. Since the visitors here are, like Lake Woebegone, all above average there should be no misunderstandings. This is liberating! I can make stuff up as I go along just like the talking heads at Fox News.

    • Terry Amburgey says:

      Ah, I long for the days of the Republican Party of Bob Dole. Back before it became the Teapublican party, home of the theocons, neocons, and wingnuts. We’ve already had Rep. Steve King (Teapublican-Iowa) blame Reagan for Obama’s win (he let in all those brown people) so Dole knows what he’s talking about….

      “National Republicans have shifted so drastically in the past decade that the party’s most vaunted figure – former President Ronald Reagan – would no longer find a home in the GOP, former Sen. Bob Dole claimed Sunday.

      “Reagan couldn’t have made it,” Dole said, adding he too would also have faced challenges in today’s Republican Party.

      Instead of operating day-to-day in a nonelection year, the national party should focus on broader plans to rehabilitate itself after the losses of 2012, the former Kansas lawmaker said.

      “I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says ‘Closed for repairs’ until New Year’s Day next year. Spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas,” Dole, who was the Republican nominee for president in 1996, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

  10. Terry: I think this is a lie right now. I don’t believe you have watched Fox News for months, if ever. The hatred you express is so virulent that I am quite sure you would not have the patience to do what you implicitly claim to do. You are just repeating trash put n the internet by a guy with pimples named “Moe” who lives in his parents’ basement. (This is a SPECULATION.)

    In my observation, liberals make up little lies habitually to round up their positions, to sound better, if only to their own ears. They do it without noticing much. It’s in the nature of habits, like brushing teeth after breakfast. They don’t feel guilty because they hardly know they are doing it. It’s also a tribal custom, like pouring a little beverage on the ground to propitiate the gods before dinner. They think it can’ do much harm and it makes you feel good.

    Terry: You are making up things to distract yourself in order to avoid having to react honorably to the horrors unfolding before our eyes, at CNN as well as in Fox News .

    Don’t you have anything to say about:

    The persecution of conservative groups by a government agency;
    The misrepresentation to the media by a highly placed government spokesperson of the causes of the Benghazi assassinations (to cover gross government incompetence in handling the attack itself).
    The attempt of another federal agency to curb free speech in universities in the name of suppressing “sexual harassment.”
    The Attorney General* spying on journalists doing their job.
    The historically extraordinary declared intention of the government to charge a journalist for espionage?

    * That’s the federal Minister of Justice.
    ——–

    Is this all Fox News “talking heads'” made up stories?
    Yes ?No?

    Only some?

    Which?

    If it’s all invention, what do you have to say as a “progressive” to explain the wave of media attention to so many (alleged) doings of the Obama administration?

    Go ahead, don’t be shy. I am soliciting your OPINION?

    Also: Do you have any idea to what happened to the millions of German leftists after Hitler took over (besides a few hundreds that were in fact sent to camps)?

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