Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Totalitarianism at the Heart of Obama's Scandals

The Obama administration’s legs are wobbling under the weight of so many scandals lately that whole chunks of the edifice – the IRS, the NSA, the DOJ – are threatening to implode, particularly without support from the normally adoring media. Even the New York Times – the New York Times! – is no longer willing to bolster an administration whose totalitarian urges have been exposed to the light.

Let’s begin with the Internal Revenue Service’s thuggish targeting of conservative groups. From April 2010 to April 2012, the IRS placed on hold the processing of applications for tax-exempt status received from organizations with such presumably conservative indicators as “Tea Party,” “patriots,” or “9/12” in their names, approving only four while green-lighting applications from several dozen organizations whose names included the likely left-leaning terms “progressive,” “progress,” “liberal,” or “equality.” It demanded from some conservative organizations unwieldy amounts of documentation and private information, such as what books their members were reading or what they had posted on social networking sites. The Coalition for Life of Iowa was actually asked to detail the content of their prayers at meetings. The Cincinnati office of the IRS leaked confidential donor information from some conservative applications to an investigative reporting organization. Even some conservative individuals are now alleging that they were personally targeted by the IRS for political reasons. Mark Steyn correctly labeled this abuse “a scale of depravity hitherto unknown to the tax authorities of the United States.

Then Obama’s sycophantic press itself discovered to their dismay that Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department secretly collected telephone records for April and May of 2012 from as many as twenty of the Associated Press wire service’s reporters and editors, in relation to an apparent leak to the AP about an al Qaeda plot in Yemen. For the first time, Obama’s fanboys among the media found themselves on the wrong end of his political bullying, and they didn’t like how it feels.

In further persecution of media figures who aren’t sufficiently obsequious, Holder signed off on a search warrant identifying Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act. The warrant authorized seizure of Rosen’s private emails. Holder and Obama later half-heartedly reassured the press that reporters would never be arrested for “doing their job” (meaning they’ll be fine as long as they continue to provide cover for the Obama regime), but the media got the intimidating subtext.

Let’s not forget the ongoing saga of the Benghazi cover-up, although certainly the Obama administration would like for us to do so. “What difference at this point does it make?” Hillary Clinton snarled in response to questions about her involvement. “Benghazi happened a long time ago,” Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney said dismissively when pressed about whistleblowers being prevented from testifying. This administration would prefer, in true totalitarian fashion, for the whole embarrassing debacle to simply disappear down the “memory hole” George Orwell wrote about in 1984.

Then of course the National Security Agency was caught recently collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers. But the intrusive secret data-mining didn’t end there. Through a top-secret communications surveillance program called PRISM, instituted during the War on Terror years of the Bush administration, the U.S. intelligence community can access the servers of nine internet behemoths such as Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype and Facebook for a wide range of digital data. That NSA service has grown exponentially under Obama, which is curious since he declared the War on Terror to be over.

And most recently, it has come to light that the Environmental Protection Agency displayed political bias when charging fees to groups seeking information via Freedom of Information Act requests. Research by a conservative think tank showed that the EPA waived fees for documents requested by left-leaning groups about 90 percent of the time, while denying fee waivers to conservative counterparts about 90 percent of the time.

So much for the administration that promised transparency. But such behavior is entirely consistent with the power-hungry nature of Obama and his cronies. Remember, this is a cabal of Alinskyites who possess an open resentment of and frustration with the Constitution, the “flawed,” “living document” that throws up roadblocks to their totalitarian agenda. They have made no secret of their lack of respect for the First Amendment, working as they have in concert with the Muslim Brotherhood to criminalize criticism of Islam. They have made no secret of their lack of respect for the Second Amendment, working as they are toward the de facto banning of private gun ownership.

What lies at the heart of these scandals – actually, “scandal,” implying merely naughty behavior, doesn’t adequately describe what these transgressions are: criminal and politically abusive activities – is that they confirm the totalitarian mindset of this supposedly “liberal” administration and reflect the validity of our recent motto at FrontPage Magazine: “Inside every ‘liberal’ is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” The Obama White House is brimming with political bullies who secretly and illegally surveil and target opponents among the media and “average” American citizens. That is the totalitarian way.

Let’s be clear about the misnomer “liberal,” which implies a political philosophy advocating personal freedom. But self-proclaimed liberals are actually very uncomfortable with the notion of individual freedom. After all, if people free to make their own choices in life, they will very likely make ones that the left doesn’t agree with; better to have an authoritarian government to step in and make the correct choices for you that you can’t be trusted to make for yourself.

From Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s obsession with eliminating choice from the lives of New Yorkers, to the IRS punishing people for their politics, “liberals” have a very illiberal compulsion to control every aspect of your existence, not too dissimilar from the way in which sharia dictates every aspect of a fundamentalist Muslim’s life. Our side needs to be as conscious of the power of language as the left has been for the past several decades. Terminology matters. The left is not liberal, it’s totalitarian, and it’s time we call it like it is and do so relentlessly.

(This article originally appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 6/10/13)