Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DISMAY

For the past ten days, I have been deeply involved in preparing a series of volumes of my collected papers for e-publication, while also taking care of an endless series of chores attendant upon getting ready for a six week trip to Paris.  But it has been impossible to ignore the appalling incompetence of the Obama White House response to the series of flaps and genuine scandals that have broken over its walls like a tsunami.  The Benghazi matter is no scandal at all, and the attempts by the Republicans to blacken Hillary Clinton's name three and a half years before she obliterates them in the 2016 presidential election will fail.  But the political slant of the IRS investigations of 501(c)(4) applications and the sweeping searches of the phone records of AP reporters are genuine scandals, violating the most fundamental constitutional protections.  Neither of them is exactly surprising, of course.  The Federal Government has been using its power to intimidate, harass, investigate, and prosecute citizens for their legitimate political actions since roughly forever.  The only oddity in the current IRS misbehavior is that, uncharacteristically, it has apparently been directed against those on the right rather than against those on the left.

In the face of these matters, the White House, which is to say the president, has been so feckless and ineffective as to be guilty of genuine malpractice.  All of this I find utterly incomprehensible.  Obama twice ran the best presidential political campaigns of modern times, exhibiting a level of efficiency, intelligence, and ruthless concentration that was truly unprecedented.  How the very same man can manage to handle routine political flaps so badly is a mystery to me.

5 comments:

Chris said...

None of this is "new." They've been doing this same bullshit to muslims communities, and radical leftist since Obama first got in office. Only now have his targets had actual political power and the ability to voice their grievances on the world stage. Otherwise, the dragnet accumulation of private information against AP is old hat in the Obama admin. One of the many things I was trying to warn you about when you suggested we elect this criminal-in-chief...

David Auerbach said...

If I were vetting applications for tax-free status that mandated limited political activism, I would use "Tea Party" and other buzz words like that as a marker for further investigation. If that's what they were doing (and that description of it is consistent with what I've read) then I don't see the problem.

Adam said...

These are all manufactured scandals. Whatever happened with respect to Benghazi, it is at worst the same thing the Bush admin. did for eight years. Regarding the Tea Party, I agree with Auerbach. As for the AP, journalists are for all intents and purposes a branch of the entertainment industry, so who cares? Republicans are desperate, realizing that their best shot at the presidency is to hope for a watergate/lewinsky type scandal. They are so terrified of a Clinton presidential run that they have been trying to smear her with this Libya stuff for months.

Bill Glenn Jr. said...

I understand leftists who are conflicted about the so-called IRS scandal. If I put myself in the organizational shoes of an IRS agent charged with enforcing tax law, tax protest groups (like the Tea Party) that often challenge the moral and legal legitimacy of all taxation would seem like a right and reasonable target for increased scrutiny. If claiming that the government has no rightful claim to my money does not affect the likelihood of me paying (or failing to pay) my taxes, I can't imagine what would.

I know that from time to time people pop up on the internet and the talk radio circuit peddling the idea that the income tax is unconstitutional. Inevitably the IRS takes a closer look at them and finds that they have, in fact, acted on that belief and failed to pay their taxes. Again, it seems like the content of their ideas constitute the reasonable grounds for the IRS treating them with increased scrutiny.

That being said, insisting that the IRS act with neutrality towards political ideas seems like a no-brainer to ensure that its power is not used as a weapon to punish unpopular (or stupid) political speech. So even though it seems reasonable to regard the Tea Party as more likely to violate tax law, it also seems proper to insist that the IRS be forbidden to act based on that suspicion alone.

It also merits notice that tax avoidance/dodging by corporations and the very rich, as well as tax law that very often codifies their class-interest, seems a much larger issue and a more profitable target for addressing issues of tax fairness than targeting Tea Party groups.

Chris said...

Adam, just because it was bad was worse when Bush did it six times (or so), over 8 years, doesn't mean it's bad when Obama does it once!? Yes it's bad that politics is partisan, but to brush off scandals as "the other guy did it more" is equally partisan!