The Incredible Shrinking Scandal

Locally much of our news is taken up with three major stories.

We have the Aaron Hernandez case, the details of which would be a comedy of errors if a man wasn’t dead. Kill a man near your house after letting him text where he was and with whom; forget you and your neighbors have security cameras all over your houses recording everything you did when you got home; have multiple guns in your house; forget to check under your rental car’s seats to make sure you retrieved all the spent shells before returning the car; and spit out you DNA laden gum in the car and not out the window. Oh, and when the police show up to your house to ask some questions, be rude and arrogant with them, and piss them off.

There is the Whitey Bulger case which has everyone wondering about what the defense’s case actually is. It would appear that the killings are just being taken for granted as done deals, and the crux of the case is whether or not Whitey is a “rat”. It too has its comedic moments as when two ex-mobsters curse at each other in the court room calling each other to go outside and settle things in classic middle school style.

Then, of course, there is all the current activity in Egypt for which, somehow, President Obama is responsible. If only he had not had his operatives off King Tut, Egyptian history would have unfolded so differently.

So, perhaps it is excusable that we have forgotten about following the details of the supposed IRS Scandal, being satisfied that, since the accusations of direction from the White house have been spoken about repeatedly in loud angry voices, the accusations are unassailable.

Or maybe we are very happy to ignore it because it turned out not to be what some people were really hoping it was.

It started strong enough. There was a kernel of a story that brought on conservative outrage, the media added its own outrage, while both groups demanded that the president come clean, and then the report on the actual investigation came out. It was all in reverse order.

A conclusion was drawn, accepted, and then promoted before anyone knew what they were talking about.

Of course, when you want desperately to find the big scandal that you can say is worse than Watergate, you’ll grab at any potential scandal that may come up.

The reason things have quieted down is that it has been established, in spite of the yelling and demonstrations, that the IRS targeted lots of different kinds of groups, not just conservative ones.

It also turned out that, although the tea Party groups and other conservative organizations played the loud martyr role, the organizations whose tax-exempt statuses were actually denied were progressive ones.

Beyond that, it was found that many groups who had applied for tax exempt status had actually misapplied and did not fall into the proper category.  The law had been followed, the law, that is that these groups either ignored and hoped to get around, or of which they weren't completely versed.

And the biggest piece of information that came out was that the reason the Tea Party groups and other conservative groups assumed they were the only ones targeted was because the Investigator General had been directed by Republicans to see if any of those two types of groups had been looked at. Had the I.G. been directed to see what groups had been investigated, a wider picture, a complete list of all groups investigated would have developed.

The favorite mantra that this scandal went all the way to the white House was also debunked.

There was nothing there except a method that could be used to further obstruct any positive plans by the president, something the republicans not only continue to do, but had earlier stated was their goal.

Has any of this gotten as much attention as the false scandal did? No.

The facts were not as exciting as the fiction of the scandal.

The initial salivation over a huge scandal crumbled as the investigation and facts began to come out after all the pundits had already told the American people what the “facts” were.

When it came to the whole IRS thing happening at the behest of the white house and being comparable to the Watergate scandal, Carl Bernstein, who broke the actual Watergate scandal, cautioned, “We have no evidence of that whatsoever”.

And people accused him of becoming soft.

By the end of May, as the facts came out, even Darrel Issa became scarce after weeks of pontificating on all the news shows. He had gone too far and needed to pull back.

He made his big mistake when, after all his accusations and predictions that investigations would back up the scandal, he refused to release the full transcript of the I.G.’s investigation. If the information in it would solidify his scandal accusations, why not release them?

When Democratic Representative, Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of Issa’s oversight committee, released the transcripts himself, it revealed that a self-described conservative Republican ordered the investigation's limited targeting.

So facts killed the scandal, but there will be those who will hold to it, looking for a scandal to explain why the facts did not match the narrative they so enjoyed.

And what have we not heard about as the republicans trumpet one soon to die scandal after another?

The deficit is down by over 30%, the stock market and corporate profits are at record highs, new home sales are rising to the point that locally there are more buyers than sellers, the unemployment rate is falling, and consumer confidence is at a six year high.

No wonder the republicans are creating distractions.

Next up? The far right's latest fantasy that President Obama bankrolled the demonstrations back when Mr. Zimmerman had shot Mr. Martin, and no arrest had been made.
 

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