American tyranny 2

The government of the United States was intended by the Founding Fathers to be the servant of the people. But it has become the master of the people. The tyrannical master of the people.

And it is not only the statist, collectivist, Democratic administrations that have exercised and hardened the tyranny. Republicans, who oppose tyranny in principle, have done it too.

This is from PJ Media by Michael Walsh:

It was during the first Nixon administration that the hideous monstrosity of the Environmental Protection Agency came into being by executive order, along with its ugly twin, the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned at the time, both agencies have metastasized, their original missions completed and now forever on the prowl for something else to meddle with. They’re both unconstitutional, of course, but what’s even worse is that they’ve turned into rogue agencies, issuing edicts, orders and regulations largely devoid of congressional scrutiny – pure instruments of executive power, with none to gainsay them. …

This week a young rancher in Wyoming, Andy Johnson, won a battle for private property rights against one of the bureaucratic entities that strikes fear in the hearts of farmers and ranchers nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency. …

Johnson fought back against a mandate from the EPA to dismantle a pond that he had built on his own land with the required state permits. Fines totaling $16 million were imposed before they were finally overturned in the wake of his court victory. …

[He had]  obtained a state permit before building the stock pond in 2012 on his sprawling nine-acre farm for a small herd of livestock. [Yet] not long after construction, the EPA threatened Johnson with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $37,500-a-day fine – claiming he needed the agency’s permission before building the 40-by-300 foot pond, which is filled by a natural stream. … You can read all about the Johnson case, which ought to outrage every real American, here.

And another case:

To get an idea of just how obnoxious and intrusive these do-gooder agencies have become, get a load of this from Lou Ann Rieley, who owns a farm in Delaware:

A few years ago we received a notice that there was suspicious material piled behind our commercial poultry houses that looked like it may be illegally piled manure. Airplane surveillance photos showed large piles of material and had to be investigated by the powers-that-be. We got a letter informing us that inspectors would be coming on our farm and we could not refuse to extend our hospitality to them. We complied and they discovered, as we had told them, it was piles of dirt. Our sons were practicing moving dirt with the new front-end loader. After having gained entrance to our property they insisted on being granted complete access to every part of the farm even though there were no violations.

I looked outside one day to see two men that I did not recognize poking around our barn area. I watched them for a few minutes then went outside to question what they were doing. They informed me they were from the SPCA and had received an anonymous tip that someone in the area had a horse that was limping and it might be us. I told them there was none that I was aware of but they could look at the horses if they wished. They inspected the horses and found nothing wrong.

I asked who had made the complaint but was denied the information … I quoted the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and my right to be secure from unreasonable searches. Needless to say, that did not go over well and the investigators began to look for other things that could be violations of animal welfare since I dared to question their authority. I asked again who made the complaint that instigated their investigation and they told me that I could never know unless I was charged with something and went to court. I demanded that they charge me so I could have my day in court but they refused since they could find no violations, but not before threatening my property. These men demanded my vet records, which by law they had no right to access. It did not matter, they were the voice of government authority and I had to comply … or else.

…  Faceless bureaucrats with guns arriving one fine day in order to investigate a citizen who is not even under suspicion. The Constitution doesn’t matter to them, nor do legalistic protestations, nor simple human decency. No … agents from EPA or OSHA or any other federal agency with a SWAT team (which is most of them) can simply make demands on citizens in the name of “regulations”.

This is the inevitable result of ceding representative government to cabals of empowered clerks. Recall that while Republicans talk a good game about “limited government”,  in fact they’re almost as big proponents of Big Government as the Democrats, and promises to the contrary are just a ruse to sucker the rubes into voting for the junior wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, so we all can pretend to believe in democracy.

But democracy is null and void in the face of faceless tyranny like the EPA, which cannot reform itself, and will never stop until it is put out of business, dismantled and its buildings pulled down around its ears.

The IRS  not only penalizes conservative organizations and assists leftists, its also seizes large sums of money belonging to innocent people and keeps it.

This is from the Daily Signal, by Melissa Quinn:

For more than four years, Maryland dairy farmer Randy Sowers has been fighting the federal government, asking it to right what many say was a wrong.

In Feb. 2012, two federal agents told Sowers, who owns South Mountain Creamery in Frederick, Md. that the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] was seizing more than $60,000 from his farm’s bank account under a subset of civil forfeiture laws governing cash transactions.

According to the IRS, Sowers had committed structuring violations. Structuring is the act of making consistent cash deposits or withdrawals of under $10,000 to avoid government reporting requirements.

But the dairy farmer didn’t know he was doing anything wrong, and because Sowers and his wife sold milk at local farmer’s markets — where customers paid primarily in cash — they frequently made cash deposits into the business’s bank account.

Sowers and his wife tried to fight the government to get their money back, but ultimately decided to settle.

The IRS returned $33,436 to the Sowers and kept $29,500.

On Wednesday, Sowers and his lawyer, Robert Johnson of the Institute for Justice, will appear before a panel of lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee to detail Sowers’ lengthy battle with the federal government and discuss broader issues with how the IRS is using civil forfeiture.

“One of the main issues that’s going to come out of this hearing is the IRS still is holding tens of millions of dollars that it seized from people that it wouldn’t have seized under its policies today,” Johnson told The Daily Signal. “Those people deserve to get their money back, and Randy Sowers deserves to get his money back.” …

Civil forfeiture and structuring laws were put in place to curb drug trafficking and money laundering. However, in recent years, the government has taken money and property from innocent property owners who were never charged with a crime and were unaware they were breaking the law.

In the last two years, the IRS and Justice Department changed their internal policies regarding structuring, allowing the agencies to pursue structuring cases only in instances where the money stems from criminal activity. Under the policy changes, a number of business owners, including Sowers, wouldn’t have had their money taken.

So a small beginning has been made to curb the arrogant powers of the IRS.

There’s still a long way to go to restore – or initiate? – government of the people, by the people,  for the people.

Atheism: a private conclusion 1

Here is a Christian conservative‘s statement about atheists:

It’s often remarked that atheism is simply religion by another name (as the officially atheist, now deceased Soviet Union demonstrated). Else why would atheists be so adamant and aggressive about their beliefs? Not only do they choose not to believe in God, or even a god, but they demand that their fellow citizens submit to their ideology and purge all evidence of the (Christian) religion from the public square.

The passage comes from The Devil’s Pleasure Palace by Michael Walsh.*

Commentary:

It may be “often remarked that atheism is simply religion by another name”, but the frequency with which the remark is passed doesn’t make it either true or intelligent. NOT believing is not believing-in-another-way, any more than NOT smoking is smoking-in-another-way.

We would agree that Communism is a kind of religion. We would also agree that the dogma of Communism often excludes belief in a divine being.(Not always.”Liberation theology” is Communism taught by Christian priests who have married St. Paul to Karl Marx.) But it does NOT follow that the non-belief is identical with the Communist faith, or is the essence of it, the vital active ingredient that generated all that was wrong with the Soviet Union.

Though all atheists might be “adamant” about their non-belief  (just as all believers are adamant about their belief), very few are aggressive about it. Of the millions of non-believers in the free world, how many “demand that their fellow citizens submit to their ideology”? I’ve never met or heard of one who does. And “submit” to what “ideology”? There are some in America who demand that public displays of Christianity be removed from the public square. And a very silly demand it is too. A small number of silly atheists in America insist that if crosses or Christmas “nativity” scenes are placed on public sites, they should have the right to put some atheist symbol or tableau beside them. A symbol or tableau is then hastily invented, having meaning only for the inventors, none whatever to other atheists.

Because: Atheism is NOT a religion, or an ideology, or a system, or a tradition. It has no symbols or rituals. It has no orthodoxy or heterodoxy.

Atheism is a decision, made by individuals. A private conclusion they draw from thought. It’s a denial of dogmatic claims that they find have never been proved, seem to them unprovable, absurd on their face, and ever more absurd the more they test them against observation, experience, learning, coherence, intuition, taste, and common sense.

 

*Encounter Books, New York, 2015. Our quotation comes from page 136.

Why Benghazi matters 7

Benghazi matters because it was and is a matter of national honor. And the men and women currently in charge in Washington have no honor.

We quote from an article at PJ Media, by Michael Walsh:

Honorable people do not let American diplomats twist slowly in the wind while they attend “debate prep” and rest up for a shakedown meeting with the One Percent. Honorable people do not suddenly go AWOL while American soil is under attack. Honorable people do not fail to mobilize the formidable resources of the American military, even if it might not be possible for them to get there in time. Honorable people, under questioning by Congress, do not lose their temper and start shouting. Honorable people do not look the bereaved in the eye and lie about who and what killed their loved ones.

Further: honorable people do not go before the public on the Sunday talk shows and knowingly transmit a bald-faced lie. Honorable people do not continue to lie about what took place. Honorable people do not say “We are Americans; we hold our head high,” and then hang their heads in shame as they cut and run at the first sign of trouble. Honorable people do not continue to reward the dishonorable with ever-higher posts. Honorable people resign.

And until honorable people are restored to Washington — not credentialed Ivy League lawyers with high name recognition steeped in cheap Marxism and fashionable anti-American contempt, but genuine patriots who understand that something has gone terribly wrong with America and needs to be redressed — there will be no justice for the victims of Benghazi.

And Andrew C. McCarthy writes at the National Review Online:

Dereliction of duty and fraud on the nation are not just serious matters; they are impeachable offenses, and I’ve argued for many months that the president and his underlings are guilty of both. …

Benghazi is not an ordinary scandal — it involves an act of war in which our ambassador, the representative of the United States in Libya, was murdered (along with three other Americans) under circumstances where security was appallingly inadequate for political reasons, and where the administration did not just lie about what happened but actually trumped up a prosecution that violated the First Amendment in order to bolster the lie. …

The reason for pursuing Benghazi is not to remind people of Mrs. Clinton’s disgraceful performance; it is to establish how and why our people were killed in order to reverse the government policies that led to the empowerment of Islamic supremacists; it is to hold accountable the government officials who designed those policies and then abused their power in covering up the foreseeable results.

Let’s hope it will also serve to remind people of Mrs. Clinton’s disgraceful performance.

Posted under Commentary, Islam, jihad, Libya, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, May 7, 2014

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Democratic elites torn between their principles and their pocketbooks 3

Wealthy New York Democrats who adored the idea of Obamacare, are shocked to find their own health care arrangements are adversely affected by it.

This is from PowerLine, by Steven Hayward:

Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.

They are part of an unusual, informal health insurance system that has developed in New York, in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.

But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage.

In pondering the case of the overwhelmingly pro-Obama New York “artistic and professional community”, I’m reminded of H.L. Mencken’s remark that “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want—and deserve to get it good and hard.”

Oh, and let’s not overlook Obama-loving California either:

An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state’s Obamacare health insurance exchange and won’t participate, the head of the state’s largest medical association said.

It’s epic fail all the way down.

And this is from PJMedia, by Michael Walsh:

Has there been a more heart-rending story recently than this piece from theNew York Times? …

It carries the news of how flabbergasted “New York’s professional and cultural elite” are at finding that Obamacare will cost them dear, and includes “quotes from rock-ribbed liberals who are suddenly rethinking their allegiance to Leftism now that it has real-world consequences”.

“I couldn’t sleep because of it,” said Barbara Meinwald, a solo practitioner lawyer in Manhattan. …

It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people — liberal, concerned with social justice — who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. Ms. Meinwald, the lawyer, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.

It is an uncomfortable position for many members of the creative classes to be in.

“We are the Obama people,” said Camille Sweeney, a New York writer and member of the Authors Guild. Her insurance is being canceled, and she is dismayed that neither her pediatrician nor her general practitioner appears to be on the exchange plans. What to do has become a hot topic on Facebook and at dinner parties frequented by her fellow writers and artists.

“I’m for it,” she said. “But what is the reality of it?”

She means she was for it, but now resents “the reality of it”.

The reality of it is that … one can only postpone the Consequences of No Consequences for so long before ugly reality finally arrives. This puts the Left in the terrible position of being forced to choose between its principles and its pocketbook, a life situation for which they are almost wholly unprepared.

It had to come eventually. Reality, whether acknowledged or not, accrues its consequences. Which must affect everyone. Even New York lefty intellectuals.

Let us not pity them too much. Rather, we confidently assure our readers that an outburst of Schadenfreude on hearing this news would not be in bad taste.

Why the ambassador died 3

Did someone inside the Obama Administration send Ambassador Stevens to his death at the hands of Arab Muslim terrorists? 

Was he lured to Benghazi to be captured or killed?

Why might the possibility that that is what happened be more than a conspiracy theory?

Michael Walsh, in his PJ Media column, surmises that “someone in State, or its Bureau of Intelligence and Research, or in the IC (and most likely the CIA) very likely burned Chris Stevens and sent him to his death.”

He writes:

Last month’s Benghazi fiasco saw four Americans — including our ambassador to Libya — murdered by elements of al Qaeda in a military-style assault timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

The weeks afterward saw the administration blaming a video that, even the White House now admits, had nothing to do with it. And the months before the attack saw Washington adamantly reducing security in Benghazi — despite pleas for reinforcements from the folks on the ground.

Yet President Obama’s top spokesman — and Vice President Joe Biden, in last week’s debate — have been busy pointing fingers of blame at State and the Intelligence Community.

It won’t work. Neither Foggy Bottom nor the intel community’s legion of spooks, analysts and secret-keepers is likely to go quietly.

And that’s an understatement. Behind the scenes — in Langley, Fort Meade, Anacostia, and elsewhere in the Intelligence Community — spooks and analysts are sharpening their knives for the Obama administration, which, having chosen to pick a fight both with the IC and the Clintons, apparently has some sort of death wish.

The national media’s still doing its level best to keep Benghazi off the front pages, but its effort is doomed to failure.

It’s worth repeating: our ambassador to Libya was (it now seems) lured to Benghazi and assassinated.

[And] that night, Barack Hussein Obama, evincing not the slightest interest in or sympathy for Chris Stevens’ fate, flew off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser. Instead, his increasingly desperate administration issued a squid-ink fog of confusion, blaming an obscure YouTube video for what the IC knew almost immediately was a terrorist assault on American soil. And then, when that legend collapsed, blamed the State Department and the IC for letting it down.

They knew it because … there may have been double agents within State or the IC itself who lured Stevens back to Benghazi with a false sense of security, and thus to his death.

This shouldn’t surprise anybody; after all, in Afghanistan, trusted locals shoot our troops in the back on a near-weekly basis. And it certainly explains the comment, which went largely unremarked by incurious newspaper stenographers and DNC media flunkies, by a State Department regional security officer, Eric Nordstrom, that “the Taliban is on the inside of the building” — by which he meant Foggy Bottom.

The real question is not political — what did the president know and when did he know it? — but geo-political. Someone in State, or its Bureau of Intelligence and Research, or in the IC (and most likely the CIA) very likely burned Chris Stevens and sent him to his death.

Considering that the Obama administration, including the State Department and the IC, are now thoroughly infiltrated by jihadists, his conjectures don’t seem to us to be too far-fetched or merely paranoid. (See our posts: Can it be treason, October 5, 2010; A man with a mission, February 9, 2011; National insecurity, November 16, 2011; Spreading darkness, November 19, 2011; Obama gang submits to America’s enemy, October 5, 2010; The State-whisperer, August 16, 2012; Whom the president praises, August 16, 2012; How Obama enormously assists the jihad, August 20, 2012.)

But even if there was no actual plot within the administration against Ambassador Stevens, it can be reasonably asserted that the story of his murder begins in Washington.

Robert Spencer explains how. He writes at PJ Media:

The Obama administration is approaching full meltdown over the steady stream of revelations concerning its inaction and lies over the massacre of Ambassador Chris Stevens and other U.S. personnel in Libya. Obama and Biden are lining up against Hillary Clinton and the State Department, claiming that they weren’t told about Stevens’ requests for additional security.

Meanwhile, administration officials are denying that they ever linked the attack on the consulate to the Muhammad video that has been blamed for worldwide Muslim riots, despite abundant evidence to the contrary. One fact, however, is as clear as it is little noted: the entire incident demonstrates the abject failure of the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, and its analysis of the jihad threat in general.

Speaking about the Libyan revolution in March 2011, Obama warmly praised the dawning in Libya of “the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny.” After providing military aid to the anti-Gaddafi rebels despite evidence of their al-Qaeda links, the administration – whether the call really came from the White House or the State Department or both –had every reason to ignore the request from Benghazi for more security, and to pretend that the whole thing was just a spontaneous uprising over a video, not the carefully planned September 11 jihad attack that it proved to be.

To have acknowledged what was really happening would have been to admit that the Allahu-akbaring mob besieging the Benghazi consulate was nothing remotely close to a responsible citizenry enjoying their rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and self-determination. It would have been to admit that the jihad against the United States would not be turned away from its goal by hearts-and-minds gestures, even if those gestures included the removal of a brutal dictator. The people of Benghazi were no more inclined to welcome the Americans as liberators – and Ambassador Stevens had attempted to play exactly that role, sneaking into Libya during the most difficult days of the uprising and doing everything he could to aid the rebels – than were the people of Iraq when Saddam Hussein was toppled.

The reason in both cases was the same: the rebels against both Saddam and Gaddafi were largely Islamic supremacists who wanted a Sharia state, disdained democracy, and considered the United States to be their enemy not primarily because of various aspects of its foreign policy, but because it is the world’s foremost infidel polity, against whom the mujahedin believe they have a sacred duty to wage war  …

But the White House and State Department not only do not acknowledge this fact – they have done all they can to deny and obfuscate it. The one cardinal proposition that accepted analysts must repeat is that the present conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims have absolutely nothing to do with Islam; indeed, Obama administration officials are expressly forbidden to link Islam with terrorism, as if Islamic terrorists weren’t busy linking the two on a daily basis.

The errors of analysis and wrong decisions that cost lives all follow from this initial false premise.

This was the willful blindness that killed Chris Stevens, and is the real scandal of Benghazi.

The politically correct fantasies that characterize the Washington establishment’s views on Islam and jihad not only make for bad policy; they also kill.

Drumming Akin out 3

There was a man lived on the moon

on the moon, on the moon.

There was a man lived on the moon

and his name was Akindrum.

And he played upon a lady,

a lady, a lady.

And he played upon a lady,

and his name was Akindrum.

So goes the grand old Scottish song. Or something like that.

Hum it as you read  this uproarious commentary on Todd Akin by Michael Walsh (and Charles Dickens). Akin is the Missouri Republican who announced that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape”  – whatever that might be – natural processes in women’s bodies reacted by blocking their ability to conceive. As a result of making up such a whopper on a highly emotive subject he is likely to lose his electoral race against a weak Democratic candidate for a Senate seat the Republican Party badly needs and had considered a sure win. The question is, will GOP leaders force Akin to stand down, or won’t they?

Here’s a sample:

So Todd Akin — against the urging of just about every Republican with an IQ higher than room temperature — has decided to stay in the race against the former sure loser, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. …

And yet all is not lost. Akin still has until Sept. 25 to do the right thing, or to be subjected to a little friendly persuasion and be replaced by a remarkably lifelike cardboard box, or even a live human being, should it come to that. And then the focus can be back on the ethically challenged McCaskill, where it rightfully belongs.

That’s something that only Romney can make happen, indirectly. Much more pressure can be brought to bear on the hapless Akin, including a discreet phone call from Mitch McConnell explaining that, in the unlikely event of an Akin victory, he will be heading up the new Senate Select Committee on KP and Latrine Duty in perpetuity, which will operate out of a subterranean broom closet at an undisclosed but dangerous location somewhere in Anacostia with a staff budget of approximately $2.47 per annum.

 

Posted under Humor by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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Cold civil war 2

We often hear it said that the coming election is as raw a clash of political philosophies as can be imagined — the most important election since 1860. And in a sense, that’s true. The national divide over the issue of slavery and its expansion into the rapidly settling territories was a constitutional crisis of the first order. It took the Civil War to sort out an issue that the Framers had partially punted, at a dreadful cost of lives and treasure. Now we are engaged in a great Cold Civil War.

So Michael Walsh writes at PJ Media.

The decision American voters will make in November is far more than merely an ideological clash about what the Constitution meant or means. For that supposes that both sides are playing by the same rules, and have a shared interest in the outcome. That presumes that both sides accept the foundational idea of the American experiment, and that the argument is over how best to adhere to it.

That is false.

For some, this is a difficult notion to grasp. … The idea that one party — and you know which one I mean — is actively working against its own country as it was founded seems unbelievable.

But that is true.

Don’t take it from me, take it from Barack Hussein Obama who famously said on the stump in 2008: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” …

“Fundamental transformation” is the Holy Grail of the modern Left — I do not say “American Left,” since much of its inspiration and sustenance is most definitely not American — and by “fundamental transformation” they mean the utter destruction of the founding principles of limited government, individual self-reliance and personal freedom. In their place, they bring the poisoned gifts of fascism, central planning and rule by a credentialed aristocracy of like-minded fellow travelers.

And when they say “by any means necessary,” you had better believe they mean it.

Election 2012 is not a clash of political parties but an existential struggle for the soul of America. To treat it as anything but that is both willful blindness and arrant foolishness.

We’ll accept the word “soul” in this context. He means the principles by which this nation lives. They must continue to be freedom and self-reliance, the principles on which this nation was founded, and which served it so well that it became the strongest and most prosperous in all history.

Until everyone on the Right fully grasps this, our country will remain under siege. It’s a siege that’s been ongoing, in one form or another, since the Wilson administration, with one side (and you know which one) “fundamentally” rejecting the Constitution — they’re getting bold enough to admit it now — and explicitly denigrating America’s history in order to prepare the way for their new progressive order.

The long march through the institutions has left a terrible trail of cultural destruction in its wake — which, of course, was precisely the intention.

This is why it’s crucial, when dealing with the Left, to reject the premises of their arguments, since those premises must necessarily posit that there is something “fundamentally” wrong with the American system, and that they are the cure.

By rejecting their premises, you do more than simply level the playing field: you also force them out of hiding and either cause them to flee or, more rarely, actually admit their true intentions — something that is almost impossible for them to do. For they [conceal] their destructive purposes under the rubrics of “Fairness,” “Tolerance,” “Compassion,” etc.

We think his description of the present intense clash between collectivism on the one side and liberty on the other as “cold civil war”  is no exaggeration.

He concludes:

It’s a choice we have to make next November, and we’re only going to have one last chance to get it right.

Yes.