The greatest threat to the future of our nation — to our freedom — is not foreign military aggression … but the growing dependence of the people on a paternalistic government. A nation is no stronger than its people and the best measure of their strength is how they accept responsibility. There will never be a great society unless the materialism of the welfare state is replaced by individual initiative and responsibility.
- Ludwig von Mises, Human Action 
As a former backcountry ranger, I am ashamed of men like National Park Service (NPS) Director Jarvis, and the NPS personnel who barred access to national parks during the government shutdown.
In the video that I’ve included below, Rep. Trey Gowdy nails a key issue with the park closures. Gowdy asks why the NPS allowed Occupy protestors to “descend on McPherson Square” for over 100 days without so much as a peep, and certainly not a citation, closure sign, or barricade in sight. From October 2011, to February 2012 Occupy protestors defecated on police cars and vandalized public and private property; there were regular reports of robberies, rapes, and assaults in the Occupy camps. However, for more than three months NPS personnel did almost nothing to bar or remove their impromptu edifices and camps.
In contrast, on the very day that President Obama ordered the government shutdown, NPS Director Jarvis (or people in his organization) gave the orders to “make life as difficult for people” as they could. Jarvis ordered the “barrycades” rushed out and began threatening 90-year old WWII veterans with fines and legal action for even approaching the WWII memorial in DC.
It’s bad enough that Rangers played along with the closure orders and barred access to our national parks for the average, taxpaying citizen. Now I am fully aware that bureaucrats hate to hear this, but the citizens who were barred from parks across the country do pay the ranger’s salaries and pay—every day—for the maintenance and upkeep of those parks. Despite this reality, taxpayers were still ordered to stay out of national parks.
It is much worse, however, for park rangers and for people like Mr. Jarvis to bar access to veterans who (as Rep. Trey Gowdy notes in the video below) helped build the monuments they were trying to visit. The reality is that those veterans not only paid for the parks with their taxes, they paid for them with their sweat, their tears, their blood, and their lives. The veterans own those monuments in a way that few others can understand, and Mr. Jarvis’ and NPS personnels’ attempts to “barrycade” them is a disgusting and indecent affront.
If this video and Mr. Jarvis’ responses don’t make your blood boil, it’s time for you to wake up and begin to take part. For those who watch this video and still refuse to wake up or who might actually think Mr. Jarvis was justified, go back to your reality TV and your government check, I’m beginning to believe you’re not worth the effort anymore.
“If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
— Samuel Adams
The Fraser Institute and Cato Institute (along with many other free-market think tanks) have republished their economic freedom ranking for various countries around the world. Sadly, the United States has fallen further in their ranking and free-market thinkers are now justified in questioning whether Canada should start referring to the U.S. as their “socialist neighbour to the south.”
Americans have long dismissed Canadians as “our socialist neighbors to the north.” But since 2005 Canada has been more economically free than the supposed laissez-faire wonderland of the United States—and the gap is widening. …
Economic freedom is defined by the Fraser Institute as “the extent to which you can pursue economic activity without interference from government, as long as your actions don’t violate the identical rights of others.” This ideal is difficult to define, much less quantify, so the index breaks each country’s score into five broad categories: size of government, legal structure and property rights, access to sound money, international free trade, and regulation of credit, labor, and business.
Every country is ranked on a scale of one to ten, with ten being most free. In 2013 the report ranked 152 countries and territories. The Index has data on most going back to 1980. This allows for long-term analyses of what policies caused countries to catch up, or in the case of the United States, fall behind, in economic freedom.
Canada’s policies can serve as an example for policy makers looking to jumpstart U.S. growth. Canada has a federal corporate tax rate of just 15 percent whereas the United States has a top rate of 35 percent, the highest among OECD countries. Canada’s federal debt-to-GDP ratio is 35 percent. It is targeting a ratio of 25 percent by 2021 thanks to a strong commitment to spending cuts from Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The U.S. ratio is 73 percent and rising. Mr. Harper has publicly pushed for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would benefit the economies of both countries, while President Obama has done all he can to block the State Department’s permit. Canada also has an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, lower than America’s.
The increasing gap in economic freedom, the rapid growth of public debt, the push toward socialized health care, increasing burdens of extreme regulatory pressure, and many other factors are a shameful and destructive attack on what once was the most free country on the planet.
It is becoming increasingly clear that true patriots, conservatives, and libertarians need to push to return government to a far more states-oriented, federalist view as a means of returning the country to its founding principles. We need to use the rights of states to act as a constitutional circuit breaker on the growing power of the federal government. Check out the work of groups like the Goldwater Institute for more information on how that can be achieved.
“It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that the nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it, nay that absolute monarchs, will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for purposes and objects merely personal.”
–John Jay, Federalist No. 4, 1787
Today and tomorrow will mark the 44th anniversary of Senator Ted Kennedy’s very active and personal role in the death of Mary Jane Kopechne. Although I haven’t posted this in a few years, I believe it is still worthwhile remembering how the senior Senator from Massachusetts did everything in his power to cover up the facts and to protect himself, after having fled the scene of the accident that he had caused, abandoning Kopechne to die a horrific and prolonged death in his overturned car.
In this post we also continue to recognize how money, power, and the family name allowed Senator Kennedy to avoid any responsibility for his actions. Any other person involved in a similar accident would have been charged with numerous crimes and would have spent several years in jail. Senator Kennedy, however, not only remained free, he continued to posses — over several decades — a level of influence and power that many can only imagine. When he passed, he was remembered as “a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the U.S. Senate.”
So we don’t forget how this revered and respected “Lion of the Senate” was able to escape culpability for his role in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, here once again, is the text of my original post from nine years ago.
35 years ago today, Ted Kennedy’s self-absorbed and self-protective actions ensured that the life of one Mary Jo Kopechne was ended. Ted Kennedy fled the scene of an accident that he caused. and in doing so, he left that woman to drown.
Ted Kennedy was too great a coward to help her. He was more worried about his political career and his reputation, so he helped himself, ran away and tried to cover up his actions while she struggled to stay alive by breathing from the rapidly dwindling air pocket in the backseat of the car.
Anyone else would have been jailed for this crime, but thanks to the Kennedy fortune and friends in high places, Teddy not only stayed out of jail, he has been re-elected several times since then.
Teddy’s question a few years later seems especially pertinent at this time
Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?– Senator Ted Kennedy, 1973
Trey Gowdy is rocking the questioning in this video.
Former IRS Commissioner Shulman demonstrates clearly that he is at the (very) best a completely incompetent moron and at worst was criminally negligent in the performance of his duties at the IRS.
Peggy Noonan‘s latest WSJ blog post is a blistering attack on the Obama administration’s use of the IRS as a bludgeon to intimidate, censor, and silence political opponents. It is an essential read for anyone interested in policy and politics.
The IRS scandal has two parts. The first is the obviously deliberate and targeted abuse, harassment and attempted suppression of conservative groups. The second is the auditing of the taxes of political activists. …
This is not about the usual partisan slugfest. This is about the integrity of our system of government and our ability to trust, which is to say our ability to function.
This video is classic Chicago-style politics. Pass the buck, blame someone else, don’t look behind the curtain, just focus on the spin and everything will be fine.
Sad thing for David Axelrod is that he apparently doesn’t even realize he has just given the Libertarians and the Tea Party their winning 2014 election soundbite. Watch the video; you’ll see.
Yes, you did just hear Axelrod argue that that President Obama can’t possibly be to blame for the IRS scandal (and by logical extension – Benghazi, Fast & Furious, the Justice Department seizing two months of AP phone records, the brewing EPA scandal, etc., etc., etc.) because the government is “so vast” that it is impossible to track what happens in these diverse and sundry bureaucracies.
“So vast” were his words – e’nuf said.
But for those who might have missed the obvious … THAT”S THE WHOLE POINT!!! That’s exactly why supporters of limited government are pushing to have all of this addressed, taxes cut, the bureaucracy limited. Government has passed the point of accountability and effective, efficient, Constitutional service to “we the people.” By Axelrod’s own admission government has become a massive, gaping hole, where responsibility and accountability go to die – along with multiple trillions of our tax dollars.
When pro-big government socialists like Axelrod are openly admitting government is “so vast” that no one can know what it is doing, it really is time to cut budgets on a massive scale.
“Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.”
I posted yesterday about the gross miscarriages of justice by the “Justice” Department, the IRS, and the State Department. (Of course, I forgot to include the even more overt criminal acts carried out by the Justice Department as part of their Fast and Furious scandal where the federal government effectively supplied thousands of firearms to drug cartels. Those firearms were then directly involved in the death of US Border Guard, Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens.)
Today we are learning that the EPA routinely played politics in their handling of fee waivers for environmental groups and politically conservative groups. The Competitive Enterprise Institute noted today that,
It’s not just the IRS that treats groups on the right differently from the rest. According to documents obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency is in on it too.
Public records produced by EPA in response to a lawsuit filed by CEI under the Freedom of Information Act illustrate a pattern of making it far more difficult for limited-government groups – in particular those who argue for more freedom and less EPA – to access public records. …
EPA routinely grants … fee waivers to its favored left-wing groups who demand a more intrusive and powerful EPA, but systematically denies waivers for groups on the right, according to research compiled by CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner, author of “The Liberal War on Transparency.”
In a review of letters granting or denying fee waivers granted at the “initial determination” stage from January 2012 to this Spring, Horner found green groups, such as the National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and EarthJustice, had their fees waived in 75 out of 82 cases. Meanwhile, EPA effectively or expressly denied Horner’s request for fee waivers in 14 of 15 FOIA requests over this same time.
It seems that many of the federal government bureaucracies are now infested with career employees who feel quite comfortable playing political games with citizens and taxpayers. The actions of these government employees necessarily lead reasonable people to believe that government is working hand in glove with left-wing political and environmental groups to further so-called progressive world views.
When even John Stewart is saying that the partisan, corrupt, and possibly even criminal behavior of these government employees is encouraging the very anti-government mindset that so many progressives have derided as lunatic fringe, you know that it is well past time for Congress to step in and clear up this mess.
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Barack Trek: Into Darkness|
Investigations, firings, fines/loss of pensions, and jail time need to become real possibilities for government employees and managers that refuse to follow the Constitution, legislation, and regulations.
I don’t care who you are, who you voted for, what you believe … etc. When you start adding these reports together, it’s time for reasonable people to start asking some serious questions about what is going on in our federal government.
The IRS has admitted to targeting conservative non-profits, and now this article indicates that the IRS may have released the unapproved applications from conservative groups to Propublica, a generally left-leaning news organization. Propublica admits to having published redacted examples of those applications.
Furthermore, the Obama administration abandoned consulate staff in Benghazi and then repeatedly edited their reports and talking points about the Benghazi attack for several weeks, prompting House investigations into their actions. Those investigations are ongoing, while the Obama administration claims they are politically motivated “circus.”
To top off the questionable performance of this current administration, we learned today that the Justice Department secretly collected two months of phone records for more than 20 separate Associated Press telephone lines last year.
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.
In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
Of course no one should miss the sick irony of this all coming to light a short time after the President told Ohio State students that they should “reject the voices” that warn of government tyranny.
Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.
The worst of this ever growing cancer of Statism is its moral effect. The country is rich enough to stand its frightful economic wastage for a long time yet, and still prosper, but it is already so poverty-stricken in its moral resources that the present drain will quickly run them out.
Set aside justice, then, and what are kingdoms but great bands of brigands? For what are brigands’ bands but little kingdoms? For in brigandage the hands of the underlings are directed by the commander, the confederacy of them is sworn together, and the pillage is shared by law among them. And if those ragamuffins grow up to be able enough to keep forts, build habitations, possess cities, and conquer adjoining nations, then their government is no longer called brigandage, but graced with the eminent name of a kingdom, given and gotten not because they have left their practices but because they use them without danger of law. Elegant and excellent was that pirate’s answer to the great Macedonian Alexander, who had taken him; the king asking him how he durst molest the seas so, he replied with a free spirit: “How darest thou molest the whole earth? But because I do it only with a little ship, I am called brigand: thou doing it with a great navy art called emperor.”
“There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore needs elucidation than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong…. In fact it is only reestablishing under another name and a more specious form, force as the measure of right.”
–James Madison, letter to James Monroe, 1786
This testimony from the head of the CDC demonstrates clearly how brazenly this White House and senior administration officials will use the health and welfare of children to advance their political goals.
In his questions to the head of the CDC, Rep. Andy Harris demonstrates that President Obama’s suggested budget projected spending cuts in the CDC’s 317 program of over $58 million. The CDC believed that, despite those cuts, they would be able to maintain current levels of vaccination. However, cuts of $30 million, brought on by sequestration-based spending limitations, caused CDC officials to state that they would have to cease providing vaccinations to over 2,000 children in the state of Maryland.
I’ll restate in simpler language so the math-deficient among us can understand. The CDC says it could weather a $58 million cut, if President Obama was the one making the cut. However, since the Obama administration wants to reinforce the idea that sequestration cuts are the Republican’s fault and that they are going make the sequestration as painful as possible for the average person on the street, Obama administration employees in the CDC were willing to let $30 million in sequestration cuts decimate Maryland’s vaccination program.
So, which side is playing politics with the health of children?
Under laissez-faire peaceful coexistence of a multitude of sovereign nations is possible. Under government control of business it is impossible.
It’s becoming tiring listening to the allegedly green – but in reality just anti-domestic energy – agenda. We’re supposed to believe the lie that domestic energy producers are all money-grubbing rapers of the natural environment. However, since the green industry so often questions the underlying motives of industry actions with the question, “how were you funded,” it makes sense for those who support our domestic energy industry to ask the same question of their multi-million dollar NIMBY and anti-energy campaigns.
A perfect example exists in the new Matt Damon movie “Promised Land,” an anti-domestic energy screed that is reported to go to “absurd lengths to vilify oil and gas companies.”
Word on the street is that “Promised Land” has been bankrolled in part by the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, an OPEC member that would benefit greatly if American oil/natural gas production were limited. The reality is that as the U.S. moves further into the export market for our growing natural gas and oil production, we begin to impact on market share for other oil producers, like the UAE.
Is anyone out there at all surprised that the attacks on our domestic energy industries may not all be quite so grass roots and green in origin?
Amazing to see MSNBC once again editing and misrepresenting news in a transparent effort to defame and detract from conservative candidates. (Remember the edits to Romney’s sandwich making comment and their equally odious edits to the Zimmerman 911 call? Note that I would be equally concerned if the editing and outright lies were being done in a manner that attacked and defamed liberal/progressive candidates.)
I have heard and read first hand accounts from more than one person who was at this campaign event and they are all saying that the crowd was yelling “Romney, Romney, Romney” and Mr. Romney stopped them and asked them to include Ryan in their chant. If one actually listens to the crowd, you can clearly hear that they are chanting “Romney.” However, that chanting is cut short by MSNBC audio techs. So they have deliberately misrepresented the crowd’s chant as “Ryan, Ryan, Ryan”. That way, when Romney stopped and asked them to chant both names, he appears weak and ineffective – having to remind the crowd who is leading the ticket. Instead Romney was lowering himself and raising up his running mate.
MSNBC apparently couldn’t stand to have Romney appear as a humble or self-effacing candidate, so they chose to smear the conservative in the story by editing the audio and reporting a lie.
Tell me again why anyone watches this channel? They’re not even doing a good job as a paid wing of the Democrat party because their attempts to smear the other side are so transparent that they become almost comical.
In March 2011, Obama clearly stated that he could not just go around Congress on the issue of immigration-related executive orders. He took great pains to explain the roles and responsibilities of each branch of government to the people listening to this speech. But last week, he just ignored those sentiments and did the very thing he said was illegal, just 15 months ago.
So … I’m left wondering what changed over the past year?
Of course it appears that the electoral ‘love’ he might have gained from ignoring his own words with his Dream Act-related executive order, has been effectively quashed with this little number.
¡Cuidado! No Forks Allowed at Obama’s Latino Luncheon
Judging from Obama’s actions at this years National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) luncheon, Obama’s newest fear is Latinos with forks. Obama had the Secret Service confiscate all the dinner forks from the participants at the June 22 event held in Orlando, Florida.
Several participants Tweeted that butter knives were banned outright and forks were confiscated as soon as the diners finished eating and before the President entered the room to speak.
The attendees were elected officials and their staffs, not just the average Jose off the street. Nevertheless, Obama took away their forks as if they were inmates at a prison. Many of these elected officials are probably wondering why the president was concerned for his safety.