German theologian Martin Niemöller is enjoying a mini-renaissance. In the last 24 hours, his famous exhortation to rise up against tyranny before it’s too late (“When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out”) has appeared in two columns. Yesterday, the verse from which the line came was rehearsed in its entirety by James Taranto. Today, it is the lead-in to a report by The Daily Beast’s Kirtsen Powers on the revelation that the Obama Justice Department “spied” on Fox News Channel’s chief Washington correspondent James Rosen.
During today’s House Ways and Means Committee hearings on the ever-growing Internal Revenue Service scandal, it was revealed that the IRS demanded that an Iowa pro-life group surrender the content of its prayers.
Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock asked the still-serving Acting Commissioner Steven Miller specifically about the Iowa-based Campaign for Life of Iowa letter from the IRS 2009:
Several columns this morning probe the question of the president’s involvement in the burgeoning IRS scandal. Jonah Goldberg at Townhall delivers a typically compelling argument that the IRS was following Obama’s example (more on which below), but the article opens with a disclaimer: “Yes, it’s extremely unlikely he ordered the IRS to discriminate against tea party, pro-life or Jewish groups opposed to his agenda.”
In an attempt to stem the tide of an ever-growing chorus of outrage from both Republicans and Democrats, Barack Obama informed the nation and the world that he has accepted the resignation of the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Steven Miller, as reported by the Chicago Tribune via Google News.
What happens when a fundamentally flawed entitlement program that threatens to usurp one sixth of the U.S. economy runs up against a scandal involving the government’s second most powerful enforcement agency? The answer is a class-action lawsuit filed by a California HMO alleging that 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by the IRS.
The IRS didn’t just investigate groups based on their perceived political views, but also targeted groups for “educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights” or advocating limits on government or deficit spending, reports the Washington Post. Meanwhile, the Obama Justice Department is demanding that colleges adopt sweeping unconstitutional speech codes that ban even speech that would not offend a “reasonable person,” but only hypersensitive people, notes a prominent law professor. The Post describes the additional groups targeted by the IRS:
The Justice Department and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights have now effectively defined dating and flirting as “sexual harassment,” in addition to demanding that colleges adopt unconstitutional speech codes.
Can websites be forced to change to accommodate the disabled — by using “simpler language” to appeal to the “intellectually disabled,” or by making them accessible to the blind and deaf at considerable expense?
Generally, the First Amendment gives you the right to choose whom to talk to and how, without government interference. There is no obligation to make your message accessible to the whole world, and the government can’t force you to make your speech accessible to everyone, much less appealing to them.
Whether or not you believe that instituting background checks on prospective gun owners will cut down on gun violence, you’ll probably find a similar requirement on owners of specific dog breeds to be perhaps a bridge too far.
We should all have been paying closer attention to the Obama White House’s noodling around with the work requirements for welfare eligibility last summer. Apparently, the forms of “gainful employment” under the administration directive were extended not only to include bed rest and journal writing but homemade bomb making.