Opinion » Ted Rall

Investigating the Investi-gations

IRS targeting a scandal, CIA targeting business as usual


"We're fighting for you!" That's what the Democratic Party tells Democratic voters and what the Republican Party tells Republicans. But even their "battles" reveal how similar the two parties really are.

Case study: what gets investigated.

Less than a week after the news broke that the IRS engaged in ideological profiling in 2011 and 2012--targeting Tea Party-related nonprofits for checks into whether they were violating the terms of their tax-exempt status by spending donor money on political ads--top Democrats joined their GOP counterparts to demand a Congressional investigation. That's lightening quick for government work--and yet not fast for some.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called for Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller to resign immediately. President Barack Obama called the IRS' actions "outrageous" and "contrary to our traditions." The IRS has already apologized.

This all goes to show that the federal government can turn on a dime when it wants to do something. It's a matter of priorities. Millions of Americans whose homes were stolen by banks in illegal foreclosures waited five years for $600 settlement checks that bounced.

Thrown under the bus in a matter of days, the IRS is already getting ground to mincemeat. Meanwhile, a spectacular panorama of Bush-era abuses have yet to draw the attention of a single Congressional subcommittee.

The 2000 stolen presidential election fiasco? Still no investigation. There still hasn't been an independent investigation of 9/11.

No one has ever been questioned, much less held accountable, for the invasion of Afghanistan, the installation by the United States of the unpopular Hamid Karzai as a U.S. puppet, huge cash bribes paid to Karzai, or the lies about Saddam's WMDs used to con the public into war against Iraq.

People outraged by George W. Bush's torture program, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition and indefinite detention of innocent people, including children, at post-9/11 gulags at places like Guantanamo hoped that Obama would make good on his campaign promises to investigate these horrific crimes against international law, U.S. law and common decency. Instead, he obstructed justice, issuing a directive to his Justice Department and other law enforcement agencies to ignore them.

"We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards," he told a TV interviewer on Jan. 12, 2009, eight days before taking office.

"At the CIA, you've got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe," he said. "I don't want them to suddenly feel like they've got to spend their all their time looking over their shoulders."

And, now a flashback to April 14, 2008. Candidate Obama told The Philadelphia Inquirer: "If I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in cover-ups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobodyis above the law."

Except the CIA, the military, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney, John Yoo and, of course, Bush, who explicitly authorized the torture and other high crimes and is now an elder statesman with his own library and everything.

Both parties think it's bad bad bad for the IRS to target right-wing pseudo-nonprofits for audits. Both parties think it's perfectly fine A-OK doubleplusgood to target the buttholes of random Muslims you kidnapped from Afghanistan or Yemen or wherever.

Both parties also agree that if there's ever been something that doesn't need investigating by anyone, ever, it's drones. Yes, a whopping 1.8 percent of Congress recently held an "unofficial hearing" and politely requested that Obama provide "further clarification of the legal justifications behind drone strikes."

But no one has called for an investigation into a drone war that ridiculously remains "classified," a secret to everyone but the dead, the maimed and their survivors. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster merely demanded whether Obama planned to drone any U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

I'm not Suze Orman, but please let me help you save a few bucks. Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, the next time you get a campaign mailer asking you to support them because they're "fighting hard for you," chuck that sucker into the recycler. The truth is, the two major parties are on the same page on just about everything.

They're not fighting for you. They're fighting for themselves.