Jason Hayes

Libertarian thought, policy, religion, the environment, tech, coffee, and Tabasco – the stuff of life
This is my personal blog - the thoughts and ideas expressed here are posted on my own time and are mine and mine alone.

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Mr. Jarvis – you are an embarrassment to all Park Rangers

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

Veteran’s Day / Remembrance Day

As I do every year on Musing, I like to take a few moments on November 11th to remember the lives and the sacrifices of the men and women who have served this country. Their bravery has allowed me and my family to pursue the dreams we hold dear. Their willingness to sacrifice has made it possible for people around the globe to enjoy the freedom to speak out on our blogs, in our media, in our churches, and on our streets. Their service has been a reminder, a conviction, a motivation, an example, and a blessing.

To those who have served their country in the armed forces, to those who have and will put their lives on the line for our sakes, to those who bravely tread where others fear to go, I offer you my humble thanks. We all owe you more than we could ever repay.

Lest We Forget In Flanders Fields
     In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

     We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

     Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Napolitano doesn’t think Vets are extremists, just stupid

Janet Napolitano is trying to dig herself out from the political fallout from the egregious and offensive DHS report that labeled conservatives and veterans as rightwing extremists.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Sunday portrayed veterans as victims – not perpetrators – of right-wing extremism as she sought to combat the political controversy arising out of an April 14 Homeland Security memo warning that returning soldiers could be ripe for domestic terrorism participation.

“The report is not saying that veterans are extremists. Far from it,” Napolitano said on CNN’s State of the Union. “What it is saying is returning veterans are targets of right-wing extremist groups that are trying to recruit those to commit violent acts within the country. We want to do all we can to prevent that.”

Translation: Napolitano doesn’t think that our veterans would willingly become terrorists or violent extremists. It’s just that they’re a bunch of helpless victims, and too stupid to know that they’re being led astray by other rightwing extremists. They need their hands held and decisions made for them by more intelligent and worldly wise people like you, right Ms. Napolitano?

That, folks, is an Obama administration apology! Honest, we respect and honor the veterans. After all, it’s not their fault they were born stupid and gullible.

Napolitano clearly doesn’t know when to shut her yap.

Napolitano said she regretted the politicization of the report, but defended it as another in a series – from her department and others – that have reached the same conclusion.

“I regret that in the politicization of everything that happens in Washington D.C., some took offense,” Napolitano said. “But when you read the report, what it was saying was, look, we have a threat of terrorism within our own shores, and one of the groups being targeted to see if they would be aligned with that are some of our veterans.”

More of the same Obama administration apologies. I’m sorry if you were offended when my Department called conservatives and veterans “rightwing extremists,” but I stand by the report. More to the point, I think I’ll now start telling veterans that their just plain ol’ dumb too. Sorry if that offends you, but I still stand by the report.

Of course this assessment is coming from the woman who labled islamist terrorism as “man-caused disasters” and the same administration that now refers to the war on terror as an “overseas contingency operation.” They will bend over backwards and twist themselves into any pretzel-like shape to avoid having to deal with the millions of terrorists around the world. But they’re scared to death of the domestic terrorism they think is sneaking around in every church, gun club, legion, and VA hospital.

Obama’s DHS sees conservatives as the enemy

Amazing! Truly today our founding fathers are spinning in their graves.

While Iran is openly declaring that the U.S. is an enemy of the Islamic Republic, the Obama DHS is more interested in targeting conservatives.

On Feb. 20, 2009, Missouri’s Department of Public Safety issued a report to all law enforcement in the state entitled “Missouri Information Analysis Center Strategic Report: The Modern Militia Movement.”

The report linked people holding conservative views on immigration, abortion, the U.N., the New World Order, etc., to dangerous and violent “militias” that Missouri law enforcement were instructed to be on guard against. Conservative opinions were demonized and made the subject of law enforcement scrutiny.

… The substance of the report is back, this time distributed to “federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials …” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an “assessment” dated April 7, 2009, entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” …

The assessment states it was “prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division” and “coordinated with the FBI.”

It admits that “The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic right wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.” Nonetheless, it states that “right wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about … the economic downturn and the election of the first African-American President …”

The report elaborates that …”right wing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms and use.”

One of the more egregious and offensive aspects of the report is its focus on and lack of trust in our returning veterans.

Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.

I thought we had moved beyond spitting on the veterans when they returned from their service, but I guess the ‘baby killer’ mindset is still alive and well in some sectors of the government service.

Michelle Malkin reviews the report and her efforts to get answers from the DHS here.

The Liberty Papers describes more of their findings on the report, here.

Coming this closely on the heels of the “Missouri Information Analysis Center Strategic Report: The Modern Militia Movement,” the clear implication of of this report is that if you’re involved in any way with the TEA Parties, defending the Second Amendment, expecting immigration law to be enforced, or opposing any of Obama’s policies, the government likely has reason to suspect you’re a potentially-violent, racist who is involved with the so-called rightwing militia movement. Of course, to protect the country from your imminent and impending violent outbreak, it is essential for some of the country’s 850,000 law enforcement officers to keep a close watch on you, your family, your place of work, your friends, and any other people or places you might encounter.

This brings to mind the overreaction of the Canadian federal government to the peaceful protests by Canadian firearms owners against what was then called “Bill C-68″ (the federal firearms registration bill).

Now we understand a much more clearly the long-term problems of having passed the Patriot Act. In the wrong hands, it quickly becomes a tool of threats, intimidation, violence, and oppression.

Taxing health care benefits: Obama was against it, before he was for it

Anyone else remember how Obama railed against McCain’s plans to tax employer-provided health care benefits? Anyone else remember how he attacked McCain during the debates as supporting a “multi-trillion dollar tax hike” on the middle class when he included that plan in his platform?

Well we can forget all of those strong words and high-sounding campaign rhetoric, because Obama is apparently OK with the idea of taxing our health benefits now.

You may recall that this tax-health-benefits scheme is the exact same idea Senator McCain proposed and was vilified for. To be clear, this is a new income tax on “ghost income” of the middle class. The income is in benefits provided by the employer, but no money has moved from employer to employee. However, the value of those benefits is to be taxed as income, requiring that employee to dip into his pocket and hand over cash to the government.

During the campaign, an Obama advertisement called this “a multi-trillion dollar tax hike.” It would almost certainly be the largest tax increase on the middle class ever by any honest measurement. At least, that’s what President Obama called it when he was against it during his campaign, and since he’s the smartest president ever, he must have been right about that.

About 70 percent of the 253-million people who do have health insurance get some or all of it provided by employers, and employer-provided health care benefits 3/5ths of the population under age 65. But didn’t Obama claim he was only going to increase taxes on the filthy rich five percent with incomes over $250,000? Wasn’t that the target group the president promised to tax into oblivion, to pay for everything he’s promised to everybody else?

Beware the politician bearing gifts. Especially one with a big, toothy grin.

All his promises about only raising taxes on the obscenely “rich” top 5% … well that was just campaign talk. The president has to find a way to pay for his multi-trillion dollar spending spree and since he couldn’t sneak his attack on veteran’s health care benefits through, your health care benefits are the next obvious place to look.

Veteran’s Day / Remembrance Day

As is our tradition at Musing, we take a few moments on this day to remember the sacrifices of those who have served in our armed forces.To those who have/are/will put their lives on the line for our sakes, to those who bravely tread where others fear to go, I offer you my humble thanks. We all owe you more than we could ever repay.

Lest We Forget In Flanders Fields
     In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

     We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

     Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Steelcar.com – Honouring our vets

In a world that has most companies scared to death to utter the “c” word around the winter festive season and wetting their shorts for fear of offending a non-Christian, the international community, the anti-war crowd, or some other politically correct special interest group. I was surprised and very impressed to see a company that actually referred to the creator as “God” then used the phrase, “duty, honour, country” in a Remembrance Day salute to Canadian veterans.

It’s not often that people actually show enough courage and fortitude to remember why people have fought and died — and continue to fight and die — in wars. Freedom’s not free and the more people that are willing to admit this and to take up the torch, as National Steel Car has done, the better.

Kudos to National Steel Car. Thank you for recognizing the sacrifices of the men and women that have kept this country free. Thank you for your willingness to support those National Steel Car employees that have gone to war. Thank you also for setting yourself apart from the typically spineless examples of so many other companies who would rather just forget or gloss over the freedoms our vets have won.

If only I needed a railcar right now …

Nod to Nicholas at Quotulatiousness

Dems use veterans as political toy

I’m not really surprised to read that the Democrats are tying spending on veterans programs to their hugely unpopular budget programs. They’re trying desperately to push through spending increases that will make Bush’s profligate squandering of our taxes look like child’s play. Problem is that they know that the rest of the country doesn’t want their spending and the constitution doesn’t allow for it. So they think that using the well-being of our veterans as a political stepping stool will help them get their way.

A massive spending bill with increases long sought by Democrats for education, health and job training programs passed the Senate on Wednesday despite a promised veto. …

The upcoming veto would be the first skirmish in a fight promised by Bush over Democrats’ efforts to add about $23 billion for domestic programs to his $933 billion cap for agency budgets that are passed by Congress each year.

The $606 billion House-Senate compromise measure passed the Senate after Republicans used procedural tactics to remove $65 billion for veterans’ programs and military base construction. The legislation contains $151 billion in discretionary money directly under lawmakers’ control.

Democrats had attached the $65 billion for politically sacrosanct veterans’ programs to the education and health measure in hopes in winning enough GOP votes to override Bush’s veto.

They have no moral compunctions against using children as political pawns in their attempts to expand their power and authority over our lives and wallets, so why would they hesitate to use veterans?

For those who thought they would “teach neo-cons a lesson” about their love for big government while voting in the ’06 election, this article should help demonstrate how short-sighted the ‘cut your nose off to spite your face’ policy is.

More than any other spending bill, the education and health measure defines the differences between Bush and majority Democrats.

Since winning re-election, Bush has sought to cut the labor, health and education measure below the prior year level. But lawmakers have rejected the cuts. The budget that Bush presented in February sought almost $4 billion in cuts to this year’s bill.

Democrats responded by adding $10 billion to Bush’s request for the 2008 bill. The increases cover a broad spectrum of social programs, including:

_a 20 percent increase over Bush’s request for job training programs.

_$1.4 billion more than Bush’s request for health research at the National Institutes of Health, a 5 percent increase.

_$2.4 billion for heating subsidies for the poor, $480 million more than Bush requested.

_$665 million for grants to community action agencies; Bush sought to kill the program outright.

_$63.6 billion for the Education Department, a 5 percent increase over 2007 spending and 8 percent more than Bush asked for.

_a $225 million increase for community health centers.

Bush’s veto promise, said Sen. Tom Harkin, “shows how isolated President Bush has become.

“Every additional dime that we have put in here go to bedrock, essential programs and services that this Congress and this president and other presidents have always supported,” said Harkin, D-Iowa.

Leave it to the Democrats to argue that every dime of additional spending in a $600 billion spending bill — a bill that literally makes Bush look a piker when it comes to lavishing tax dollars around the country — is an absolute “bedrock essential.” Reducing the size of ANY government program is anathema to the Dems; once they have that money in their paws, they will never let it go.

If you ever wanted to see the outcomes of voting Democrat, here you have it — tax and spend.