Saturday, May 18, 2013

The IRS, George W and John Boehner

This is Part 3 on the so-called White House scandals.  The purported scandals are actually disappearing faster than I can write about them, which is just fine because, as I've said earlier, they aren't really scandals.  Except for one.  And none of them have anything to do with Obama.

We've already looked at the Libya and AP brouhahas.  Now what about the IRS supposedly persecuting the Tea Party-type groups that sought special tax status?

The big thing here is staring the blind media in its collective face:  the alleged IRS sins occurred entirely under the control of a Republican appointee, a hold-over appointment from George W. Bush.  The office of IRS Commissioner has a five-year term as fixed by law.  Obama couldn't replace the Commissioner until last November.  By then the practices of the IRS regarding the Tea Party groups had been stopped by the IRS itself.

This is why it's nutty to lay this "scandal" at the door of the Obama White House and thus try to turn the affair into a Nixonian use of the IRS for political purposes.  Are the GOP screamers and the news-starved media suggesting that George W wanted the far right to be maltreated?  It was Georgie's boy who was in charge of the agency.  It has nothing to do with Obama.  In fact, a president is  supposed to be "hands off" the agency BECAUSE of the political use Nixon made of it.  The fact that George Bush's appointee was in charge of the IRS is, as we say in law, dispositive of the case, i.e., over and out, case closed, no Obama scandal.

(If any scandal at all, it's actually a GOP Congressional scandal, and it's also the Tea Party's own fault, but more on that in a subsequent posting.)

What remains of the four scandals that riled the media last week is the only true one: the pig-headed male chauvinist refusal of the military brass to put an end to sexual abuse of women in the military.  This scandalous defiance of law and decency has been going on ever since women have been admitted to the military.  Thus it's been going on for decades.  And it has got to stop.  Now.  No more refusing to prosecute sex abuse charges.  No more reversing convictions.  Do the right thing NOW.  It's not just because one of my grand-daughters is a West Point cadet.  It's not just because it is criminal and anti-women to tolerate abuse of women.  It's also because it's bad for the military and bad for the country.

We need women in the military as warriors.  Ask Congresswoman Duckworth, who lost her legs in Iraq.  We need women in the military beyond the need for their courage.  We need them not for just their sacrifice but for the same reason we need diversity in all fields:  ALL people have something to contribute, no matter their race, gender, religion, etc.  We must not cut ourselves off from the talents of women by driving them away from the military, by allowing abuse to triumph.

Further, we are not fundamentalist extremist Muslims.  Among such as the Taliban the abuse of women is too commonplace.  When they stone a woman to death, we gasp in horror at their "primitive" ways.  Yet if we tolerate women being sexually abused in our military  -  the force that is supposedly holding the line against the violence of fundamentalist extremism  -  how can we claim any credibility in anyone's eyes, including our own?

President Obama is not responsible for the prior deficiencies of the military brass in this matter.  At least not until now.  From this point on, however, he and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel must fire generals under whose command things do not improve.  Up until now we thought the military was prosecuting and punishing men who attack their female comrades in arms.  Now we know that the military has been flagrantly tolerant of such abuses.  Tolerance amounts to an endorsement in the eyes of the male ranks.

John Boehner said of the supposed-scandals that someone should be behind bars  He was talking about the IRS thingy and was hopeful of hanging a jail rap on some top Democrats in the White House.  He was speaking nonsense.  But if he had applied that to the military abuse scandal he would have been correct.  Some generals and other officers should go to jail for tolerating crime and obstructing the course of justice.    



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