End of the rule of law in America? 4

It is bad that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is corrupt. It is worse that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is corrupt. But worst of all is the corruption of the Department of Justice.

When the government agency in charge of seeing that the rule of law is enforced gives up that responsibility, and takes upon itself instead to protect law-breakers and assist corruption, the rule of law is at an end.

Under the Obama administration, that is what has happened. The Department of Justice, first headed by Eric Holder who made it his solemn duty to protect black law-breakers, and subsequently by Loretta Lynch who is manifestly the obedient servant of the corrupt Clintons, is now nothing but a tool of the Democratic Party dictatorship.

Mike Adams, who sadly expects Crooked Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States but hopes that she might be impeached, writes at Townhall:

[Hillary] Clinton is guilty of more serious crimes than those of her husband prior to his impeachment. Next year she will have been placed in office by accepting a series of bribes – some of which have been funneled through her private “charitable” foundation and illegally used to fund her campaign for the presidency. If that is not an impeachable offense then no offense is impeachable.

None of this should come as a surprise. The Clintons began accepting bribes from corporations long before Bill even got out of office. In May of 1999, bankruptcy attorney William Brandt gave $1 million to the Clinton Presidential Library. Three months later, the Clinton Justice Department dropped charges against him for lying under oath about illegal lobbying of federal officials. The same year Anheuser-Busch kicked in $1 million after the Clinton administration dropped a bid to regulate beer advertisements aimed at minors.

It only got worse the following year when Denise Rich paid three bribes to the Clintons in exchange for the pardon of her husband Marc Rich. One bribe was $100,000 to Hillary’s 2000 Senate campaign. Another was $450,000 to the Clinton presidential library. A final bribe was for $1 million to the Democratic Party. Rich was pardoned on Clinton’s last day in office.

Things have only gotten worse since Hillary became the Secretary of State. The Clinton Foundation has been collecting money from foreign-owned businesses …  The foundation has also failed to disclose millions of dollars of gifts (bribes) from foreign entities seeking Hillary’s help to approve of transactions with serious national security implications. Speaking of serious national security implications, it is interesting to observe the change in policy toward India since Bill left office in 2001. India had never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and was hit with sanctions for refusing to do so. India attempted to have those sanctions lifted by having Indian entities with a direct financial interest in lifting the sanctions pay Bill Clinton large speaking fees. Indians who could legally do so also made donations to Hillary’s senate and presidential campaigns. Additionally, millions were poured directly into the Clinton Foundation. After the bribes were deposited, Bill and Hillary went to work lifting the sanctions that Bill had imposed as president.

The activities of the Clinton Foundation deserve heightened scrutiny because foreign governments cannot contribute to American political campaigns. But they can donate to a “charity” like the foundation. They are also allowed to pay exorbitant fees for speeches. Americans of all political persuasions should be troubled by the fact that corporations benefiting from State Department actions while Hillary was Secretary of State have funded Clinton speeches. Notably, affiliates of companies funding Clinton speeches have been the direct recipients of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Predictably, the Clintons never disclosed any of the obvious conflicts of interests.

After the initial years following Bill Clinton’s presidency, his income from speeches started to dwindle. Then, when Hillary became Secretary of State in 2009 his high-paying overseas speeches suddenly started to increase in frequency. Of the thirteen speeches Bill Clinton has given for over half a million dollars, eleven occurred when his wife was Secretary of State.

Nigeria, which is one of the most corrupt nations on the planet, has been one of the biggest moneymakers for Bill Clinton. In his first eight years out of office, Bill never spoke in Nigeria. After Hillary became Secretary of State, Bill pulled in two of his top three speeches ever ($700,000 each) speaking in Nigeria.

Despite its record of corruption, Hillary granted Nigeria a waiver so it could continue to receive US assistance.  This is despite the fact that in 2006 $1 million from a poverty alleviation fund was funneled into an organization run by Nduka Obaigbena in order to bring Beyonce to Nigeria. Obaigbena is also the alleged underwriter of Bill Clinton’s $700,000 speeches.

Clinton benefactor Gilbert Chagoury has been implicated in numerous bribery and corruption schemes in Nigeria. He has built a financial empire with the help of Sani Abacha, a Nigerian dictator whose time in office was known for brutality, bribery, and corruption. Abacha is also tied to Mark Rich who helped obtain oil assets in Nigeria and sell them for the benefit of General Abacha. During the same time frame, Abacha funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance into European bank accounts.

Chagoury also funneled money into the 1996 Clinton reelection campaign and to the Democratic National Committee. He donated nearly half a million dollars to a voter registration group tied to the DNC. Even the Washington Post had the good sense to recognize that it was done to curry favor with the Clinton administration on behalf of the Abacha dictatorship.

In 2000, Chagoury was convicted in Switzerland of money laundering and of “aiding a criminal organization in connection with billions of dollars stolen from Nigeria”. Since his conviction he has donated millions to the Clinton Foundation. In 2009, after Hillary became Secretary of State, he pledged a whopping billion dollars to the Clintons

Every story of the Clintons’ corruption – of which there are many, though none can ever be complete – requires a mention of their hypocrisy. 

Mike Adam duly recalls:

In December of 2009, Hillary Clinton gave a speech as a part of “International Anti-Corruption Day”, in which she praised the work of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in combatting bribery. In fact, she would go on to chair the group two years later. This is the same woman who began her political career with a controversy over turning a $1000 investment in cattle futures into $100,000. Throughout her career, the biggest payments into her coffers have not come from countries like England and Germany. They have flowed from nations rife with corruption and bribery. Nonetheless, in 2012 Hillary stated that fighting corruption is an “integral part of national security” adding that “our credibility depends on practicing what we preach”. She even said that bribery is “morally wrong – and far too common”. 

Indeed. Screwing your country with bribes is far more serious than screwing your intern with cigars. Let the [impeachment] proceedings begin.

But they won’t begin, of course. Even if the Republicans retain their majorities in the House and the Senate, it is very unlikely that they will dare to impeach Hillary Clinton. 

Why? Because everyone accepts now that the Clintons are above the law.  

And the Department of Justice is owned by them.

Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:

The highly politicized Department of Justice swatted down pesky FBI requests to investigate the Clinton Foundation earlier this year, CNN reported yesterday.

CNN buried the lede, as it frequently does on news stories that make Democrats look bad. The online version bears the innocuous-sounding headline, “Newly released Clinton emails shed light on relationship between State Dept. and Clinton Foundation.”

It is not until the 25th paragraph that the article states that an unidentified law enforcement official gave CNN a heads-up earlier this year. As the probe of Clinton’s private email servers was ramping up “several FBI field offices approached the Justice Department asking to open a case regarding the relationship between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation”. 

At that time, the article continues, the Justice Department “declined because it had looked into allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation around a year earlier and found there wasn’t sufficient evidence to open a case”.

Not even enough evidence to look into the foundation’s affairs?

Not more than a year after the publication of Peter Schweizer’s blockbuster book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, opened the floodgates for investigative reporters to dig into the matter. …

Lawyers have told me there is already a strong legal case against Mrs. Clinton. The fact that she destroyed email evidence – evidence subject to a congressional subpoena, no less — is already evidence in itself that she obstructed justice through spoliation of evidence. Spoliation means you can take as evidence the fact that evidence has been destroyed. Courts are entitled to draw spoliation inferences and convict an accused person on that basis alone.

The only reason FBI Director James Comey didn’t recommend she be prosecuted is because, well, he lacks a spine and he’s corrupt. He said there was no evidence of Clinton’s “efforts to obstruct justice”,  a requirement that does not actually appear in the Espionage Act.

Evidence of corruption at the Clinton Foundation is everywhere, yet CNN and much of the mainstream media are still doing everything they can to ignore, misrepresent, or downplay the questionable things Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did through the foundation.

The congenitally corrupt Clintons created their private email system to frustrate Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requesters, shield Hillary’s correspondence from congressional oversight, and steer money to their corrupt foundation, which, amazingly enough, still enjoys tax-exempt status.

These illegal, insecure private email servers Clinton used while at the State Department are at the heart of the scandal over her mishandling of an Islamic terrorist attack in militant-infested Benghazi, Libya on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 that left four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, dead. Even now, four years after the assault, the Obama administration has failed to provide an autopsy report about Stevens who was initially reported to have been ritualistically sodomized before being murdered by Muslim terrorists.

Every few days Judicial Watch has been releasing emails obtained under FoIA that may ultimately lead to evidence of political interference at the highest levels that provided cover for the anticipatory presidential bribe processing vehicle known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. …

May lead to … ? No. As long as there is a Democrat in the White House there will be no prosecution of the Clintons.

But Hillary Clinton is intent on finding cause to prosecute Trump “for corruption”!

A high-profile watchdog group controlled by Hillary Clinton ally David Brock is demanding the IRS investigate Donald Trump’s personal foundation for allegedly aiding his presidential campaign.

The call by CREW, or Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has to be the most obvious political hit job of this election cycle.

CREW is a member of what some in the conservative think tank community call the “Brocktopus”, that is, the network of groups the disgraced former journalist runs, which spends oodles of money defending all things Clinton. An admitted serial liar, Brock’s empire of sleaze also includes “conservative misinformation” watchdog Media Matters for America, pro-Hillary disaster-control spin site Correct the Record, and American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC that promotes Hillary and attacks her critics.

CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder asked the IRS to investigate the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a tiny nonprofit founded by Trump decades ago to give away profits from his book, The Art of the Deal.

How the foundation, which ranked 4,347th in the FoundationSearch “Top Foundations by Assets for the state of New York” list would help the Trump campaign isn’t clear. “The Trump Foundation has no full-time staff, and gave away just $591,000 in 2014 — the last year for which records are available,” the Washington Post reports. …

Even if the IRS takes up this piddling little case not much is likely to come of it. It’s a political stunt by CREW, a nakedly partisan group under the boot of one of Hillary’s biggest backers.

It’s the wheeling and dealing Clinton Foundation with its involvement in billion-dollar transactions, its ties to shady figures, and the debt it owes to the unsavory governments of countries around the world that needs to be properly and thoroughly examined.

But as it won’t be examined, because (we repeat) the misnamed Department of Justice is owned by the Clintons –

Should those of us give up hope, who –

  • Want to live under the rule of law, with nobody being above it?
  • Value, above all else, individual freedom protected by the law?
  • Want government to be the servant, not the master, of the people?

If Hillary Clinton is elected to the presidency, then the answer to that question is YES.

The spreading rot 6

How corrupt the executive branch of the US federal government has become under the rule of the Democratic Party!  Or let’s say – since it’s unlikely that there was no corruption before that – how much more visible its corruption has become.

Taking only one of the scandals (all of them “phony” according to Obama), you can see the size of the rot in the childishly transparent attempt the Internal Revenue Service is making to cover up its abuse of  power.

We quote from an IBD editorial:

An internationally accredited information-technology asset-management firm says the IRS has some explaining to do as our patience is taxed with tales of even more convenient computer crashes.

Private-sector organizations as vast as the Internal Revenue Service typically have redundancy built into their information technology systems, as secure record keeping is the key to managing their businesses and staying in business. Such records … are often required to be kept by law, and often by the IRS itself.

As we have noted, Lois Lerner’s lost emails from the critical period when the IRS was serving as a political arm of the Obama administration and targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups suggest by themselves a conspiracy to obstruct justice as well as being a violation of the Federal Records Act, which requires paper copies of such critical emails to be printed and stored just in case of computer problems.

This conspiracy to obstruct justice is further suggested by some Lerner emails that she and the Obama administration wished had been lost — especially one sent by Lerner to a Maria Hooke.

“I had a question today about OCS,” Lerner stated in the email. “I was cautioning folks about email, how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”

OCS is the IRS’s Office Communications Server, a form of online chat system that circumvents email.

When she learned that OCS messages were not set to automatically save, Lerner wrote, “Perfect.”

Clearly Lerner had a keen interest in keeping her communications from Congress and the American people.

Lerner’s hard drive allegedly crashed, which cannot be verified because her hard drive has since been destroyed and/or recycled. That questionable hard-drive direction came just 10 days after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, the Republican from Michigan, first wrote a letter asking if the IRS was targeting nonprofit groups. …

On Monday, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers [IAITAM], which deals with such technical questions regarding computer hardware and record retention on a regular basis and which has reacted with the same incredulity as the rest of us, released a list of six basic questions the IRS needs to answer.

1. First, what happened to the IRS’s IT asset managers who seemingly vanished during this critical period? IAITAM , which runs the only worldwide certification program for IT asset managers, says its records show that at least three IRS IT asset managers were moved out of their positions at the time of the May 2013 inspector general’s report that detailed the agency’s targeting practices. What can they tell us?

2. The hard drives in question are federal property and cannot be destroyed or recycled without proper documentation. … Where are these records?

3. IAITAM asks if the drives were destroyed by an outside IT asset destruction unit, a not-unusual practice among federal agencies. If so, it adds an entire second layer of documentation of the destruction of these assets, including who approved it.

4. What are the IRS’ specific policies and procedures on document retention when hard drives are damaged or destroyed? In most large private-sector organizations, hard drives and computers are just not tossed in the dumpster or dropped off at the local recycling center until recovery of the lost data is assured.

5. What is the disaster recovery policy at the IRS, an agency responsible for our most sensitive tax information, particularly in light of its statistically implausible number of hard drive crashes?

6. Where are Lerner’s emails from her BlackBerry device and what is on the enterprise server? Some have even suggested Lerner may have off-loaded her emails to what is known as a USB flash drive and still has them in her possession, another federal offense.

The IRS is counting on the general public’s relative ignorance of computer technology to believe its smoke-and-mirror cover-up.

But in the age of the iPad and iPhone, even a child knows that something does not compute here.

Conspiracies seldom work, because conspirators betray them. This is a huge conspiracy. Surely sooner or later some of those who know about the plot, those shabbily-treated IT asset managers, or the ones who can’t keep a secret, or the ones with a conscience (if they exist), will spill the beans?  Or the ones without a conscience but an ability to perceive and seize a golden opportunity, will sell what they know for a big bag of greenbacks? Hasn’t that idea occurred to any of them? They just might get enough to compensate them for losing their job.

The rule of men, not law 3

Undoing what America was founded to be –  a free nation ruled by law and not men – the present administration is becoming more and more arbitrary, arrogant, and despotic.

This is from an Investor’s Business Daily editorial:

The FBI says it won’t prosecute anyone at the IRS for its admitted targeting of the president’s political foes. This just as the agency claims the law is no longer its main mission. So it’s a political goon squad now.

According to a leak to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation “didn’t find the kind of political bias or ‘enemy hunting’ that would amount to a violation of criminal law.” And so, nobody was likely to be prosecuted for the most blatant politicization of a federal agency within memory.

All the Bureau found was a “mismanaged” agency that enforced rules “it didn’t understand.” In other words, nothing to see here, move along.

That’s strange stuff for an agency whose most implicated regulator, Lois Lerner, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination in congressional testimony last year. That she came to congressional attention was only because of her calculated announcement that the IRS had in fact targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny — that’s right, admitted to breaking the law — in a preemptive attempt to paint her abuse of power as a customer service problem.

Her minions lied that it was only the work of low-level bureaucratic bumblers in Cincinnati. And after that sleazy string of favors that coincidentally benefited her president, she was permitted to retire on a full pension.

The reality is, the acts reeked of political targeting, the most illegal of acts, a corrupt use of government power, and a worthy target of checks and balances provided by the FBI in the name of law and order.

But for some reason, the FBI has neither interviewed the Tea Party activists targeted for intrusive scrutiny, nor has it noticed anything amiss in light of the White House’s rabid attacks on Tea Party activists. It hasn’t noticed the Tea Party’s demonstrable political strength in its large gatherings during the most intense period of its political targeting, nor noted the president’s record of “joking” about investigating political opponents.

And it hasn’t picked up the clue from the Center for Responsive Politics showing that IRS employees donated to Obama’s campaign by more than 2 to 1 over Tea Party-tied Republicans — let alone that the prosecutor chosen by the president to look into this case is a fat-cat donor to Obama.

If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can be criticized for a traffic jam, then the White House’s attacks on political opponents are in a league with what goes on in Venezuela. That the FBI won’t get involved in this and is willing to wreck its reputation for apolitical probity suggests this investigation is leading to a place the bureau would rather not go — namely, the White House.

It’s interesting to note that Rep. Darrell Issa of California announced Tuesday that a top FBI official suddenly won’t cooperate with the House Oversight Committee after meeting with a top Justice Department political appointee. Issa says the FBI is stonewalling. The FBI … was once was known for its squeaky clean image and willingness to enforce the law without fear or favor. Today, it’s slid so far into the Washington morass it no longer considers law enforcement its prime mission. About a week ago, it quite questionably declared its top mission “national security” — an abrogation of its congressionally mandated mission.

Can the public now trust the FBI or the IRS? …

If the FBI won’t enforce the law anymore, who will?

Posted under Commentary, Law, tyranny, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 18, 2014

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Land of the unfree 7

The Leftist fascists now in charge of America declare individual liberty, the ideal on which and for which the USA was founded, dangerously “extremist”.

Their aim is to make Leftist ideology the norm.

This comes from Investor’s Business Daily:

Once more, military training has become an Orwellian re-education camp where a radical transformation of the truth depicts the Founding Fathers as extremists and conservative groups as “hate groups.”

Saying “Give me liberty or give me death” qualifies Patrick Henry as an extremist, according to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute training guide … And so were the rest of those who took up arms against the British Crown and pledged their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor for a shot at liberty and democracy.

Under a section titled “Extremist Ideologies,” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”

We would not lump the two together necessarily, but the Pentagon does. …

“Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place,” the Pentagon guide advises.

Which provides us with an opportunity to recall the fact that those who dressed up in sheets to terrify Blacks, those who lynched and murdered them, which is to say the members of the Ku Klux Klan, were Democrats.

This is from Free Republic, quoting David Bartonand his book Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White:

Republicans often led the efforts to pass federal anti-lynching laws and their platforms consistently called for a ban on lynching. Democrats successfully blocked those bills and their platforms never did condemn lynchings. …

Further, the first grand wizard of the KKK was honored at the 1868 Democratic National Convention, no Democrats voted for the 14th Amendment to grant citizenship to former slaves and, to this day, the party website ignores those decades of racism

Although it is relatively unreported today, historical documents are unequivocal that the Klan was established by Democrats and that the Klan played a prominent role in the Democratic Party … A 13-volume set of congressional investigations from 1872 conclusively and irrefutably documents that fact.

The Klan terrorized black Americans through murders and public floggings; relief was granted only if individuals promised not to vote for Republican tickets, and violation of this oath was punishable by death … Since the Klan targeted Republicans in general, it did not limit its violence simply to black Republicans; white Republicans were also included.

The IBD article continues about those designated “extremists” by the Pentagon:

They might even form groups with “tea party,” “patriot” or “9-12” in their name, like the groups targeted for political harassment and intimidation by the IRS.

“The Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And now, in a document full of claptrap, its Defense Department suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military.

“And it is striking,” he added, “that some of the language in this new document echoes the IRS targeting language of conservative and tea party investigations.

Indeed, it also echoes the 2009 document issued by Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that … are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

The guide makes no mention of Nidal Hasan, the Army major who worked his way up through the ranks amid politically correct indifference to kill 13 people, including a pregnant soldier, and shoot 32 others in a Nov. 5, 2009, rampage at the base in Killeen, Texas, while shouting “Allahu Akhbar!”

But then he was defending the Taliban, not seeking freedom from the British.

Somewhat less distressing – though wrong both factually and morally – is the information that the guide calls Catholics, Evangelicals, [religious] Jews, Mormons “extremists” – just like al-Qaeda.

So it labels al-Qaeda “extremist”, but not Muslims as such? The article doesn’t say, but we very much doubt that the guide has a word to say against Islam.

This is from PowerLine, by Paul Mirengoff:

The Chaplain Alliance has issued a press release alleging, based on a review of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that in training materials, the Department of Defense classified Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, and Mormons as religious “extremists” similar to Al Qaeda. The Chaplain Alliance also claims that the military deemed the [far left] Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” list a “reliable source” for this conclusion. …

There was never any reason to suppose that the left’s long march through our institutions would not encompass the U.S. military. And we’ve seen plenty of evidence of the success of this portion of the long march.

So now the mighty Pentagon is helping the Obama regime turn the USA into the land of the unfree, and the home of the politically correct.

The growing power of the fourth branch of government 1

The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself: It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter. Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.

We take these extracts from an article in the Washington Post by Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University. If he is right, America is being governed by a bureaucracy accountable to no other branch of government or to the people. The rule of the bureaucrats is arbitrary and tyrannical.

For much of our nation’s history, the federal government was quite small. In 1790, it had just 1,000 nonmilitary workers. In 1962, there were 2,515,000 federal employees. Today, we have 2,840,000 federal workers in 15 departments, 69 agencies and 383 nonmilitary sub-agencies.

This exponential growth has led to increasing power and independence for agencies. The shift of authority has been staggering. The fourth branch now has a larger practical impact on the lives of citizens than all the other branches combined.

The rise of the fourth branch has been at the expense of Congress’s lawmaking authority. In fact, the vast majority of “laws” governing the United States are not passed by Congress but are issued as regulations, crafted largely by thousands of unnamed, unreachable bureaucrats. One study found that in 2007, Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules, including 61 major regulations.

This rulemaking comes with little accountability. It’s often impossible to know, absent a major scandal, whom to blame for rules that are abusive or nonsensical. Of course, agencies owe their creation and underlying legal authority to Congress, and Congress holds the purse strings. But Capitol Hill’s relatively small staff is incapable of exerting oversight on more than a small percentage of agency actions. And the threat of cutting funds is a blunt instrument to control a massive administrative state — like running a locomotive with an on/off switch.

The autonomy was magnified when the Supreme Court ruled in 1984 that agencies are entitled to heavy deference in their interpretations of laws. The court went even further this past week, ruling that agencies should get the same heavy deference in determining their own jurisdictions — a power that was previously believed to rest with Congress. In his dissent in Arlington v. FCC, Chief Justice John Roberts warned: “It would be a bit much to describe the result as ‘the very definition of tyranny,’ but the danger posed by the growing power of the administrative state cannot be dismissed.”

The judiciary, too, has seen its authority diminished by the rise of the fourth branch. Under Article III of the Constitution, citizens facing charges and fines are entitled to due process in our court system. As the number of federal regulations increased, however, Congress decided to relieve the judiciary of most regulatory cases and create administrative courts tied to individual agencies. The result is that a citizen is 10 times more likely to be tried by an agency than by an actual court. In a given year, federal judges conduct roughly 95,000 adjudicatory proceedings, including trials, while federal agencies complete more than 939,000.

These agency proceedings are often mockeries of due process, with one-sided presumptions and procedural rules favoring the agency. And agencies increasingly seem to chafe at being denied their judicial authority. … A 50-year-old technology consultant … charged with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure when he stripped at Portland International Airport last year in protest of invasive security measures by the Transportation Security Administration, … was cleared by a federal judge who ruled that his stripping was a form of free speech, … but was pulled [by the TSA] into its own agency courts under administrative charges.

The rise of the fourth branch has occurred alongside an unprecedented increase in presidential powers — from the power to determine when to go to war to the power to decide when it’s reasonable to vaporize a U.S. citizen in a drone strike. In this new order, information is jealously guarded and transparency has declined sharply. That trend, in turn, has given the fourth branch even greater insularity and independence. When Congress tries to respond to cases of agency abuse, it often finds officials walled off by claims of expanding executive privilege.

But while the agencies can sometimes be protected by the president, they can also protect themselves from him. Their power is independent of the president just as it is, in practice, independent of Congress and the judiciary.

Of course, federal agencies officially report to the White House under the umbrella of the executive branch. But in practice, the agencies have evolved into largely independent entities over which the president has very limited control. Only 1 percent of federal positions are filled by political appointees, as opposed to career officials, and on average appointees serve only two years. At an individual level, career officials are insulated from political pressure by civil service rules. There are also entire agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — that are protected from White House interference.

Some agencies have gone so far as to refuse to comply with presidential orders. For example, in 1992 President George H.W. Bush ordered the U.S. Postal Service to withdraw a lawsuit against the Postal Rate Commission, and he threatened to sack members of the Postal Service’s Board of Governors who denied him. The courts ruled in favor of the independence of the agency.

Only “a small percentage of agency matters… rise to the level of presidential notice”. The rest remain “the sole concern of agency discretion”. For instance, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the Department of the Interior (DOI) force people into poverty by depriving them of their land or their water or their jobs in order to preserve some animal, bird or fish instead, there seems to be no recourse to any higher authority for the human victims to appeal to for arbitration. (See for example our post The environmentalists’ tyrannical drive against civilization, January 19, 2013.)

The marginalization Congress feels is magnified for citizens, who are routinely pulled into the vortex of an administrative state that allows little challenge or appeal. The IRS scandal is the rare case in which internal agency priorities are forced into the public eye. Most of the time, such internal policies are hidden from public view and congressional oversight. While public participation in the promulgation of new regulations is allowed, and often required, the process is generally perfunctory and dismissive.

Professor Turley speaks of “the new regulatory age“, in which –

Presidents and Congress can still change the government’s priorities, but the agencies effectively run the show based on their interpretations and discretion.

The importance of this development, he stresses, cannot be overestimated. It is a huge, momentous change in the US system of government.

The rise of this fourth branch represents perhaps the single greatest change in our system of government since the founding.

And he ends with a warning:

We cannot long protect liberty if our leaders continue to act like mere bystanders to the work of government.

Does the independent power of the bureaucracies mean that President Obama is off the hook for the scandals of Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status, the Department of Justice secretly investigating journalists? That he could have done nothing much about them one way or the other even if he’d wanted to?

If so, is that why the Washington Post published Professor Turley’s article?

Interesting questions, but of passing concern.

What matters is that Americans are no longer living in the free democratic republic they think they are.

The deadliest tool of the tyrant 0

A libertarian’s wish list: small government; no welfare; simple tax laws; a low flat rate of income tax; no capital gains tax; no estate tax.

But what America has is big government getting bigger, more intrusive, more controlling. The main instrument of its tyranny is the IRS, which the socialist regime is making ever more powerful.

This IBD editorial announces that within three years it will be illegal for anyone to help you prepare your taxes unless that person has been licensed by the federal government.

As if the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t have enough power, the agency says it will regulate tax preparers. And ObamaCare gives it even more clout.

Eric Hoffer, the great working class scourge of statist power, noted in his 1955 book, “The Passionate State of Mind,” that “There is a large measure of totalitarianism even in the freest of free societies.”

In America, the power to tax has always been recognized as the deadliest tool of the tyrant. Edmund Burke, the great British parliamentarian, in 1775 said the American colonies’ “love of liberty” was “fixed and attached on this specific point of taxing.”

According to this early sympathizer to the American cause, “Liberty might be safe or might be endangered in twenty other particulars without their being much pleased or alarmed.” But on taxes, “Here they felt its pulse, and as they found that beat they thought themselves sick or sound.”

Considering Americans’ innate sense of the relationship between taxation and freedom, it’s startling to read international taxation expert and legal historian Charles Adams’ account of the evolution of income tax collection.

As Adams points out in his history of taxes from antiquity to the modern era, “For Good and Evil,” “in the tax system of the 1950s no bank informed the IRS about customers’ affairs. Interest was not reported, withdrawals of cash were not reported” and neither were real estate sales, stock and dividend transactions, nor independent work now required by the 1099 form.

“Only wages were reported,” Adams points out, “and that was for the taxpayer’s benefit in order to claim a refund.” An IRS official would routinely “begin an audit with the comment that ours was an honor system, which is required in a free society.”

The honor is long gone — because the American people have felt the system’s pulse, diagnosing it sick as massive government wields illegitimate powers.

Enter IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, who announced Monday that within three years it will cease being legal to have your taxes prepared by someone unlicensed by the federal government.

This comes when the Democrats’ health reform will be giving the IRS unprecedented new powers, such as judging which health plans are legal and tracking down those who try going without health coverage.

Most of us want to believe we enjoy the freest free society in history. But why is it that while we want the tax collector to have less power, the march of time always seems to give him more?