Reflections on Veterans Day

One of my duties as Music Associate at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL, is to play the organ for the annual Veterans Day service. The first of these for me was one year ago. The one part of the service that really struck me was the reading of the names of all U.S. military personnel who had died in all wars during the past year. A staggering 336 names were printed in the program and read, amidst the background of a snare drum roll, with the ominous boom of a bass drum after each name. With each boom of that drum, a penetrating, sinking feeling came over me as I thought of how the loss of that one life impacted so many loved ones. It was the longest part of the service, and it went on and on, for some 45 or 50 minutes.

Patriots expose Big Brother and shake up the status quo, and that’s exactly what Edward Snowden did

NBC Snowden Interview

In an hour-long primetime interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, former Booz Allen contractor and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden entered living rooms for his first-ever interview on American television. He answered a wide range of questions about his role in leaking classified government documents to the press and the subsequent public revelations that the American government was spying on millions of Americans.

In conjunction with its interview, NBC asked Americans whether they thought Edward Snowden was a #Traitor or #Patriot on Twitter:

Tracking the two terms on Twitter over a 36-hour window (from 2 p.m. ET Tuesday through 2 a.m. Thursday), they were extremely close until Snowden spoke in the hour-long interview, his first with a U.S. television network, and #Patriot spiked. During the broadcast, tweets mentioning #Patriot outnumbered #Traitor nearly two to one.

Overall through 9 a.m. ET Thursday, 59% of Twitter users are calling Snowden a #Patriot versus 41% #Traitor.

You can see the entire timeline here.

Snowden agreed with the online consensus. When asked whether he was a patriot or traitor, Snowden confidently answered that he felt he was a patriot:

IRS Scandal Deepens, Agency Boss Knew of Tea Party Targets

The targeting of Tea Party groups just got a lot worse. While an IRS official admitted on Fridy to what we already knew — that it had singled out groups with “Tea Party,” “patriot,” and “9/12” for additional scrutiny — the Washington Post reports that the concerted effort to target these groups reached the highest levels of the agency:

Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups, the documents show.
details of the IRS’s efforts to target conservative groups reached the highest levels of the agency in May 2012, far earlier than has been disclosed, according to Republican congressional aides briefed by the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration ­(TIGTA) on the details of their reviews.

IRS Admits to Targeting Tea Party, Patriot Groups

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is perhaps the most hated bureaucratic institution in the country, admitted that it had targeted organizations for extra scrutiny last year simply because they had the terms “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names:

The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney declared it was indeed inappropriate for the IRS to target tea party groups. But he brushed aside questions about whether the White House itself would investigate.

Instead, Carney said the administration expects a thorough investigation by the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration. The inspector general has been looking into the issue since last summer, and his report is expected to come out next week, the IG’s office said Friday.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.