Profound Disappointment in the Obama Administration

It’s hard to take in these two scandals rocking the Obama Administration right now.

First, on Friday, the news that the IRS specifically targeted conservative groups. Tea Party Groups

Today, the news that the Department of Justice had been surveilling  the phones of Associated Press reporters.

There is certainly no love lost for me when it comes to Tea Party Groups. I find them dangerous and politically unhelpful to our democratic process.

Also, I believe that the IRS is right to crack down on groups that are misusing the 501c4 designation as “social welfare groups.” You may recall, this is the kind of group that Stephen Colbert set up last year, during the campaign, to highlight just how ridiculous the “soft money” groups had become.

Having said both those things –that I have no real love for Tea Party groups, that I do think the IRS should crack down on abuse of “social welfare” Superpacs– this story is very very disturbing.

No group should ever be flagged simply because of their affiliation with a political movement, right or left. Profiling by politics, age, gender, race, sexual orientation…this should never be done.

It’s a troubling, troubling story.

But today, I’m even more troubled by the DOJ spying on Associated Press Reporters.

As usual, Morning Joe had a great discussion of these issues this morning. So, rather than rehash it here, I’d just invite you to watch:


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Of course Bernstein knows a bit about these things, doesn’t he?

I agree with everybody around the table. The real chilling effect here is on sources and their willingness to talk to news outlets. This kind of surveillance will “chill” sources everywhere, and may have already put people in danger.

Terrible terrible news on both these fronts.

People might say, “But Obama didn’t know about these things.”

And in both scandals, I am sure that is true. But, ultimately, as people used to say about President Bush related to the Iraq War, the “buck stops” at the president’s desk.

So,  I don’t know what he’ll end up saying about these things, or what he even can. It’s troubling.

Conservatives: If for years you’ve felt that the press was in the back pocket of the Obama Administration (something I’ve never been convinced was true), the good news for you is that the honeymoon is officially over. My training as a journalist training teaches me that the White House has gotten its last “softball question” between now and 2016.
But, beyond this, you conservatives should be concerned about any targeting of journalist anywhere.

Liberals: If you’re somehow happy about Tea Party Groups being targeted, how happy will you be when it’s groups that are pro gun safety, or LGBT rights, or pro-immigration? And, you know how much paranoia there is on the Right.
 Now it will be said, “Just because you’re paranoid…SEE! They ARE out to get us!!”
This ain’t gonna help.

This DOL targeting should be condemned by everyone too.

All the way around, whomever you are, and where ever you fall out on the Purpleland spectrum, there is little to rejoice about today.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

3 thoughts on “Profound Disappointment in the Obama Administration

  1. I am very, very tired of "plausible deniability". The thought that Eric Holder's DOJ has done all of the over the top things it has pulled over the past 4+ years without the complicity of my President is either (a) an absurdity or (b) a frightening case of functional isolation. And no, I do not rejoice in it. Neither do I think the IRS tactics were "absolutely appropriate" because "they are admittedly racist… the Taliban of American politics" (quoting Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP from an earlier MSNBC interview. It is wrong – "police state tactics" are not confined to one side of the political scale.I'd urge my President to take responsibility by taking action. He should remove Eric Holder, swiftly, to show he's serious about the cleanup of the DOJ and serious about holding his leaders accountable. THAT will do more than anything to send a message that these actions are not acceptable – not another speech, not a press conference, not a one on one with Katie… I hope he knows that he can inspire hope by not *saying* he won't tolerate such behavior… but by letting his actions *show* he is not tolerating such behavior.

  2. I thought it was telling last week when Carl Bernstein compared the Obama administration to the Nixon administration. In that conversation, he was talking about Benghazi. There are actually three current thunderstorms over the administration.

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