Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Boehner Uses “J” Word—But Not For Bush-era IRS Abuses

Speaker John Boehner, speaking today, uses the "J" word—JAIL!—to describe what punishment he feels is appropriate for any IRS agents who targeted Tea-Party organizations. However, Boehner and his fellow Republicans were mostly silent on Bush-era IRS harassment of liberal groups, including churches.
While Republicans are putting on a show of great upset over revelations that the IRS targeted Tea Party groups for special attention and investigation of their tax exempt applications, these same Republicans were mostly quiet as contented little rats when George W. Bush’s IRS went after liberal organizations for criticizing his disastrous Iraq war.

For example, today GOP Speaker of the House, John Boehner, called for IRS agents to go to jail—do they get a trial first, or straight to Gitmo?—for targeting conservative groups. What did Boehner have to say back when the Bush regime’s used the IRS to target liberal groups? Nothing, of course.

Let’s look at one famous example of how Bush’s IRS went after uppity liberals who dared to criticize Bush’s policies.

On Halloween Sunday, 2004, days before the election that would disgustingly affirm the ghastly Bush to another term as American war-crimes perpetrator, the Reverend Doctor George F. Regas, stood up before the congregation at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, and preached the words of Jesus Christ.

Regas also repeatedly implored his congregation to vote ALL their Christian values in the upcoming election. Regas argued that Jesus would reject seeking vengeance for the “tragic losses of Sept. 11th [2001].” And he said something that no doubt infuriated that Satanic Bush and his demons:

“How Jesus mourns the death of those 3,000 people killed on September 11th. But Jesus also mourns the death, devastation, and loss in Afghanistan and Iraq and Sudan and Israel/Palestine and in so many other parts of the world. They too are part of God’s precious human family.”

AND

“Jesus confronts both Senator Kerry and President Bush: “I will tell you what I think of your war—The sin at the heart of this war against Iraq is your belief that an American life is of more value than an Iraqi life. That an American child is more precious than an Iraqi baby.”

That was enough for Bush’s IRS.

Despite the fact that Regas began his sermon announcing that his sermon was about Christian values, and not politics, and despite the fact that Regas, in an act of questionable generosity, referred to George W. Bush as a “devout Christian”, the IRS accused All Saints Church of having violated its tax exempt status by preaching about politics in a partisan fashion.

Essentially, the IRS equated asking Christians to vote all their values with an endorsement to vote AGAINST George W Bush. Yet, right-wing churches were regularly making similar appeals, with even more explicit recommendations about whom to vote for—i.e. FOR Bush—with no challenge being issued by the IRS.

Indeed, the Bush regime in the summer of 2004 declared its intention to flood what it identified as Republican churches with campaign literature, and to use voter registration drives in the churches to solidify Bush’s support. Bush strategist Steve Schmidt (now an msnbc analyst) said at the time that “people of faith have as much right to participate in the political process as any other community.” Of course Schmidt meant people of pro-Bush faith.

Eventually the IRS agreed to drop its purely politically motivated war against All Saints Episcopal Church, in return for the Church admitting that it was guilty of playing anti-Bush politics. The Church refused, and demanded the IRS meet in court to resolve the case. The IRS backed down, ending its two-year investigation in 2007, without revoking the church’s tax-exempt status, but the IRS continued to insist the church had violated the law with the 2004 sermon.

All Saints demanded an apology from the IRS. It never came.

The church asked for an investigation of IRS over the matter. It never happened.

A few US House of Representatives members, including Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), had in fact asked for a GAO investigation of the IRS over the All Saints Episcopal matter back on December 8, 2005. The request went nowhere.

Evidence gathered by the church’s lawyers revealed that the investigation of All Saints Episcopal may have begun in Bush’s Justice Department, not in the IRS. The suggestion was that at some point Bush’s team were considering a show trial of the liberal church to make an example of them to cool anti-war rhetoric being voiced by the Christian left or any anti-war religious group.

Did John Boehner call for anybody at IRS to be tossed into jail about that?

You know the answer.

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