Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Cerberus at the White House Gates

In Greek mythology Cerberus is the ferocious three-headed dog who guards the gates of hell. In current Republican folklore, the dog has been replaced by the Justice Department, State Department and Internal Revenue Service, who defend the White House gates and the devil who lives behind them. Now that Congress’s vigilant and moral majority has neutered the modern Cerberus, we can all sleep better at night. It is the IRS scandal, in which federal agents stand accused of screening “politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions,” that really has Republicans salivating. "Is this still America?” Kevin Brady of Texas demanded. “Is this government so drunk on power that it would turn its full force, its full might, to harass and intimidate and threaten an average American who only wants her voice and their voices heard?"

Whoa there, Congressman, isn’t it the IRS’s job to vet organizations seeking tax exemptions? Otherwise, heaven forbid, groups might take advantage of a loophole.

Ah, but didn’t the agents target “conservative” organizations? No, they targeted groups with “tea party” and “patriot” in their names.

Whatever gave them the notion that those organizations are not “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare” as the law requires? Perhaps they read the same news accounts the rest of us do.

And what benefit does the 501(c)(4) exemption confer on them? Only one: they get to keep their donor lists secret. Just like Karl Rove’s somehow-exempt Crossroads GPS, which raised hundreds of millions from anonymous donors in the last election. That’s the real scandal.

Theorem of Toxic Attraction

Is That a Skeleton in My Closet?