Ordinary Americans have been thrust into a nightmarish Orwellian daze.
I see tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists waiving their hands about in joyful affirmation, and it feels plain unnatural.
Yet, people are starting to ask strange questions which only the tinfoil hat-wearers were willing to entertain before.
And it turns out the answers to those questions are frightening.
Citizens are being spied on, bullied, and punished because their opinions differ from reigning political agendas.
In fact, a litany of cases recently uncovered shows that the IRS has targeted the free speech of vocal Obama opponents, including conservative non-profits, tea party activists and other individuals and businesses.
If you speak out against the president's agenda, there's a good chance the IRS will audit you. Or if you organize a grass-roots tea party group…the IRS will refuse to grant it tax-exempt status. But if you're left-wing, not only will the IRS rubber stamp your tax status, it'll leak to you the donor list of conservative groups for you to attack.
Keep quiet or else…
The IRS has levied the new hidden tax business owners must pay for free speech.
People are unsure if expressing themselves will strike the wrong chord with the wrong people.
Just ask Gibson Guitar.
The IRS raided Gibson for its use of a protected type of wood in its products. Gibson stressed that its wood was obtained legally via a Forest Stewardship Council-certified supplier, but nevertheless, the investigation and its aftermath ended up costing Gibson several million dollars.
Consequently, the same wood is used by virtually every other guitar company, including Gibson's biggest competitor, C.F. Martin & Co. Martin was not investigated by the IRS.
The difference is Gibson's CEO donated to Republican candidates over the past few years, while Martin's CEO is a long-time Democratic contributor.
But the Gibson guitar raid is just the tip of the ice burg.
The Obama administration appears to have a hit list, garnered by cataloguing data on whether you have a differing political perspective from its own. And it seems that no medium is safe:
The spoken word as well, via phone records of hundreds of millions of calls.
Even activities – the way we spend our time and money – have been compiled and examined by the Internal Revenue Service.
This data isn't just gathered and put away. Get noticed by the wrong people and there are real consequences.
This shocking governmental abuse of power has created a chilling effect on free speech.
Business owners face a choice: to avoid IRS harassment by keeping their opinions to themselves, or alternatively, go ahead and stand up for their principles, but risk harming their business.
Each path has its own merit.
It's laudable to choose the welfare of potentially many over the voice of one. Then again, it's also laudable to have the courage to voice an opinion despite the consequence.
Either way, the idea of persecuting American business owners for supporting values not shared by Obama flies in the face of what this country stands for.
And the fact that the "public servants" of supposedly neutral government agencies did the dirty work is inexcusable.
Related Articles and News:
- Money Morning:
Go Long, Scandal! Keep'Em Coming, Obama!
- Money Morning:
Will the IRS Scandal Rock the Markets?
- Money Morning:
IRS Scandal Exposes a Long History of Outrageous Abuses
- The Guardian:
NSA scandal: Twitter and Microsoft join calls to disclose data requests
- ABC News:
Monumental Phone-Records Monitoring Is Laid Bare
- The Washington Post:
IRS stalled conservative groups, but gave speedy approval to Obama foundation
- The Daily Caller:
Gibson Guitar raids may be another case of Obama administration targeting