Empirical news

The secret's out: Bush is overtaken by events—and overwhelmed

"Records showing how thoroughly the Internal Revenue Service audits big corporations and the rich, and how much it discounts the additional taxes assessed after audits, are being withheld from the public despite a 1976 court order requiring their disclosure, according to a legal motion filed last week in federal court in Seattle."

First, the IRS insisted no such court order existed. How could that be? The IRS has been providing the litigant, Syracuse University professor Susan B. Long, with this very data for many years at no charge, based on the court order. (She makes the data available to the public on the Internet at trac.syr.edu.). She provided the IRS with a copy of the document. It doesn't matter, the IRS spokesman responded, we're denying the data anyway. Could it be that the rich-leaning Bush administration doesn't want the public to have access anymore to the proof of this giveaway? For the record, the president's speech was also silent on this news item. Johnston will need a lawyer too.

The proverbial man in the street can draw no other conclusion: The clandestine Bush administration is so afraid of letting the public see what it's doing that it has denied the president himself all access to outside information except for the sports pages and religious news. You read it here first.

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