When you live and work inside the D.C. bubble you get insulated as to the impact of big government on your life. You aren’t a small business dealing with OSHA or the EPA. You aren’t a political group waging a battle against the Progressive agenda. You aren’t a regular Joe asking questions of a candidate and finding your life being investigated by state employees sympathetic to that candidate. So understanding why Noonan and the rest just don’t get it is understandable.
Sometimes when you’re writing part of a column you keep getting close to the meaning of what you want to say but you don’t quite get there, the full formulation of the idea eludes you. Then two days later, relaxing in conversation with friends, the thought comes to you whole, and you think: That’s what I meant to say. That’s what I was trying to get.
This week I had one of those moments. I kept trying, the paragraph kept not quite working, the deadline came.
I got an email last night that had the effect of a clarifying conversation. It was from a smart friend who works in government. He understood the point I was trying to make about how the current IRS scandal is different from previous ones and more threatening to the American arrangement. I had written that this scandal isn’t a discrete event in which a president picks up a phone and tells someone in the White House to look into the finances of some steel industry executives, or to check out the returns of some guy on an enemies list.
But my friend got to the essence. He wrote, “The left likes to say, ‘Watergate was worse!’ Watergate was bad—don’t get me wrong. But it was elites using the machinery of government to spy on elites. . . . It’s something quite different when elites use the machinery of government against ordinary people. It’s a whole different ball game.”
That’s exactly what I meant.
In previous IRS scandals it was the powerful abusing the powerful—a White House moving against prominent financial or journalistic figures who, because of their own particular status or the machineries at their disposal, could pretty much take care of themselves. A scandal erupts, there are headlines, and then people go on their way. The dreadful thing about this scandal, what makes it ominous, is that this is the elites versus regular citizens. It’s the mighty versus normal people. It’s the all-powerful directors of the administrative state training their eyes and moving on uppity and relatively undefended Americans.
That’s what makes this scandal different, and why if it’s not stopped now it will never stop. Because every four years you can get yourself a new president and a new White House, but you won’t easily get yourself a whole new administrative state. It’s there, it’s not going away, not anytime soon. If it isn’t forced back into its cage now, and definitively, it will prowl the land hungrily forever.
Good girl, welcome to the club. Better late than never. Someday, when the conservatives get back in power, I hope they take the power of the administrative government and stick a probe up the keister of Chris Matthews until he screams in protest, THEN tap him on the forehead and say, “NOW you get it too!”
The employees of the administrative government felt threatened by citizens who wanted to shrink their power and size. So as a reaction to that threat they used the power and the weight and the authority of government to crush those citizens, and it isn’t illegal.
Think about that for a second. Noonan did and she’s not happy at all.
Look, I hate to be right more than wrong, sounds arrogant, and Lord knows I’m wrong too many times to be that. BUT in this case, I saw it coming twenty years ago. It had to go this way. Long ago Congress started pushing big ticket items as ways to gander votes. But none of the people in Congress were smart enough to actually design and manage the programs beyond the concept phase. For example, they want to expand Social Security and Medicare. So they stand up and claim it must happen. Much like John Luke Picard who stand on the bridge of the Enterprise and say “make it so.”
However, HOW that command was implemented was beyond them, so they turned over their power and authority to bureaucrats…HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BUREAUCRATS who were being paid a good deal of money (and benefits) to manage the task. The corruptive nature of the assignment was as long as the program ran those bureaucrats had jobs, raises, security and retirement packages. There is no incentive for them to give it up. In reverse, the incentive is to keep it going and to use their power to run over anybody who disagrees or threatens them. Which is why we have the IRS/EPA/DHS/ATF/FBI/OSHA scandals.
I actually understand why the fed employees are worried. I get it. Nobody wants to get laid off or fired or shut down. However, the difference between my experience in police work and what I see today is that we had some pretty bright lines we could not cross. God help us if we used our police powers to harass a citizen openly complaining about wanting to limit our careers! Imagine the uproar if the police started writing the citizen tickets and code violations and parking in his driveway as a way to rattle him. We’d all get fired, justifiably so! Not to mention if the victim were black or a female or gay or had a religious position! The feds would be all over us for civil rights violations!
Ironically, those are the same feds who are whacking citizens as we speak. I know, sometimes you can’t make it up.
It is appropriate that the worst scandal of the Obama administration — the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives — is a scandal of administrators and bureaucrats, of otherwise faceless people endowed with immense power over their fellow citizens and running free of serious oversight from elected officials.
They are the shock troops of the vast bureaucratic apparatus of the federal government. President Barack Obama has greatly enhanced their influence and reach by augmenting the power of regulatory agencies that are an inherent offense against self-government, even when they aren’t enforcing the law in a biased way.
The administration’s corruption isn’t bags of cash or lies about interns; it is the distortion of our form of government by sidestepping democratic procedures and accountability and vesting authority in bureaucrats. The administrative state is, fundamentally, the Lois Lerner state.
In an excellent essay in the journal National Affairs, Chris DeMuth calls the regulatory agency “the most potent institutional innovation in American government since the Constitution.” He notes that the regulatory state has three hallmarks. One, Congress delegates lawmaking to the agencies by giving them massive discretion in implementing the vaguest of mandates. Two, there are no constraints on their effective spending power, since the costs of their rules “are borne almost entirely by the private sector.” Third, they enjoy “relative insulation from public debate and criticism.”
Needless to say, this is not how American government is supposed to work. “The Constitution was designed to make lawmaking cumbersome, representative, and consensual; the regulatory agency was a workaround, designed to make lawmaking efficient, specialized, and purposeful,” DeMuth writes. “It was a way to accommodate growing demands for government intervention in the face of the constitutional bias for limited government.”
The administrative state is an open invitation to high-handedness. Bloomberg View columnist Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a piece on Obama’s lawlessness. Most of the examples he cites have to do with the administration’s ignoring or distorting the laws via the bureaucracy. Obamacare says that states have to set up exchanges before the subsidies and penalties in the law apply? No matter. The IRS says it will pay out subsidies and impose penalties regardless of whether states set up exchanges. We have immigration laws such that providing an amnesty for so-called DREAM kids would require a new statute? Not to worry. The president simply directed his agencies to ignore the laws.
What was it I said back in 2008? “A bad man in a powerful position can do great harm.” Not by his actions alone but by him green lighting everyone around him to do harm. Recently it was revealed that the head of the IRS visited the President 157 times. In GWB’s era the commissioner visited like once a year. When asked what they talked about, Shulman mumbled something about an Easter egg hunt. No shit.
Why is this important? Shulman ran the IRS when the targeting and harassing of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status began in March 2010 and extended through mid-2012. Shulman testified twice before Congress in March 2012 that no targeting was taking place. After the scandal broke, Shulman refused to take responsibility for it in Congressional testimony this week and claimed that no White House coordination took place in this effort. The only White House visit Shulman could recall in detail was taking his kids to the Easter egg roll.
So what are some bad acts. Drudge highlights several seemingly unrelated stories, but all connected if you look at them through the prism of unaccountable acts by bureaucrats using their authority to promote their agenda. First the IRS. Seems the effort was far far FAR wider ranging than first admitted.
A group of anti-abortion activists in Iowa had to promise the Internal Revenue Service it wouldn’t picket in front of Planned Parenthood.
Catherine Engelbrecht’s family and business in Texas were audited by the government after her voting-rights group sought tax-exempt status from the IRS.
Retired military veteran Mark Drabik of Nebraska became active in and donated to conservative causes, then found the IRS challenging his church donations.
While the developing scandal over the targeting of conservatives by the tax agency has largely focused to date on its scrutiny of groups with words such as “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, these examples suggest the government was looking at a broader array of conservative groups and perhaps individuals. Their collective experiences at a minimum could spread skepticism about the fairness of a powerful agency that should be above reproach and at worst could point to a secret political vendetta within the government against conservatives.
The emerging stories from real people raise questions about whether the IRS scrutiny extended beyond applicants for tax-exempt status and whether individuals who donated to these tax-exempt organizations or to conservative causes also were targeted.
Duh, you think! Let’s dispense with the faked outrage and just accept that this abuse was far and wide and deep. The green light spread through the entire IRS and every swinging Tom Dick or Harry jumped on board, including some who were grammatically challenged it appears.
The IRS asked it, too, about protest plans. The IRS also asked for copies of grants and contracts. “I was quite surprised to see that our application wasn’t just immediately accepted,” said Marie McCoy, the group’s executive director.
In March 2011, an IRS employee in El Monte, Calif., asked in a grammatically challenged letter whether the group protested in front of medical facilities.
“In your educational program, do you education on both sides of the issues in your program?” IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Tyrone Thomas asked in the letter, a copy of which was provided by the Thomas More Society.
Thomas also asked, “do you try to block people to enter a building, e. medical clinic, or any other facility?”
The IRS hasn’t said who originally authored or authorized any of the questions that it now says were part of inappropriate criteria applied to conservative groups.
The real question is now that Congress gave up its authority what is it going to do to punish those who abused it? I’ll be happy when I see some perp walks. Not resignations alone, but losses in pensions and benefits too. Trust me, you want to turn that green light into a red one, hammer their jobs. You’ll see some low level employee go, “Oh HELL no, I’m not losing what I got so you can forget me doing that!”
But is it just the IRS? Oh, no. We and our kids have been subjected to abuse for a long time. Often we just go along. Locally, School Boards are great violators. They claim “ownership” of your kids during the time they have them, and through that ownership put your kids through some very strange changes. Here is one of the latest. By the way, after you read it, don’t think security, think attendance. The schools get paid by the feds for how many kids are there during the day. Caring about your kids just isn’t the issue anymore at the bureaucratic level.
Parents in Polk County, Florida are outraged after learning that students in area schools had their irises scanned as part of a new security program without obtaining proper permission.
Students at three facilities — an elementary school, a grade school and a high school — had their eyeballs scanned earlier this month as part of a ‘student safety’ pilot program being carried out by Stanley Convergent Security Solutions.
“It simply takes a picture of the iris, which is unique to every individual,” Rob Davis, the school board’s senior director of support services, wrote home to parents in a letter dated May 23. “With this program, we will be able to identify when and where a student gets on the bus, when they arrive at their school location, when and what bus the student boards and disembarks in the afternoon. This is an effort to further enhance the safety of our students.The EyeSwipe-Nano is an ideal replacement for the card based system since your child will not have to be responsible for carrying an identification card,” he added.
Parents at Daniel Jenkins Academy, Bephune Academy and the Davenport School of the Arts received the letter from the school board on May 24 informing them of the EyeSwipe-Nano program and that their child’s principal should be notified if they don’t want their son or daughter to participate.
But elsewhere in the letter, the board explained that the program would begin last Monday, May 20. By the time the letter was received on Friday, iris scans had already been completed at the three area schools without a single student opting out, Angel Clark wrote for The Examiner this week.
Because Memorial Day landed on May 27, parents were unable to receive confirmation from the school until this Tuesday, nearly one week after the scans began.
In the letter, Davis described the scanning as a safe and noninvasive way of collecting students’ biometric data as a way of ensuring the safety of pupils in the Polk County school district. Parents are appalled that they weren’t informed of the program ahead of time, though, and are calling it an invasion of privacy.
Riiight. Getting kids used to iris scans and not telling their parents is a security issue. A parent should walk right in with a lawyer and sue the school and make them destroy the records. They won’t be destroyed at all levels, because you know and I know once in the system it never goes away. But at least the next school won’t get so excited about the idea.
Kids are being taught guns are bad. Kids are being taught it is okay to tell on others. Kids are being taught that getting your biometric data scanned and stored it okay. Think back to when you were a kid and ask yourself if you ever thought this was possible. But this is the natural extension of bureaucrats demanding more and more from you. It is the natural order of things.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/05/30/192616/irs-may-have-targeted-conservatives.html#storylink=cpy
This is bad. As the Left swears up and down it won’t seize guns if registered- and make no mistake about it background checks ARE registration- there are examples coming forward in real time showing us the Left is flat lying.
And as we see this, we see Republicans trying to be too cute by half and offer up a bill that improves background checks. All this proves is we’ve lost the battle over the issue.
Here is why.
1. How did we get to a point where having background checks was part of the Second Amendment? Do we have background checks for free speech? Warrantless searches? The right to assemble? A background check on your race or color or sexual orientation? Do we have background checks done on the politicians before they serve? Or the judges? Or the policy makers?
No. But as sheep we have accepted background checks as proper and needed.
One battle lost.
2. Now examples are rolling in, some quite disturbing, about how “background checks” will become confiscation tools. New York is a classic example and should be paid attention to. First and foremost people have to accept NOTHING is private anymore. And they also have to accept NOTHING is thrown away, including lists of people who have completed background checks. So Toomey’s too cute by half bullcrap about only the gunshop owner having the list is a lie. I repeat a LIE!
3. What is the Left doing now? Well, they have asked and received a list of CCW owners in Missouri to check against they list THEY HAVE of people who are mentally unstable. The acquiring of the list is illegal. Is anyone in jail yet? No. Will anyone go to jail? No. That means the law is useless. What is more spooky is the ATF’s statement they need the list to compare to the list of who is unstable. What list?
I repeat…What list do they have…and how did they get it?
And the New York State police sending out notices to local police that certain permits they issued should be rescinded AND FIREARMS SEIZED because the permit holder was on some kind of apparently now “bad” medication. They wanted the local police to seize the guns for them (i.e. you do our heavy lifting without any real questions asked). Now that act alone begs a dozen questions. How did the State police get a list of people on doctor prescribed medication? HIPAA laws anyone? Then we need to ask which politician or bureaucrat decided which drug met that threshold? The guy in question had been on medication for one year and then off. That denies him is Constitutional right? Let’s pull the medical records of the columnists at the New York times, who do influence thousands if not millions of people, and see if they are on any drugs. If so, I can demand they quite exercising their First Amendment?
4. The government is like a large untamed Rottweiler you let into your house for the first time. Sure, he might be content to lay on the rug for a bit, but sooner or later he’ll spot the couch and take it over. Then he’ll realize the bed is even nicer and take it over- after chewing the couch into a pile of stuffing and splintered wood. And you won’t be able to stop him because he’s too big. Government is a beast that must eat and sees you and all that you have as a source of food. The sooner you realize that the quicker we’ll be able to solve the problem facing us.
5. The end goal of all levels of government is to disarm the populace. They fear an armed populace may some day refuse to comply with yet another abuse. This means the government intends to continue to abuse. They just don’t want to be stopped and they will find ways to limit our ability to say “enough.” Let’s take the VA for instance. In the Toomey bill, the veteran targeted has the right to a hearing. Now understand, someone (who) in the VA applies some rule (again who made the rule) that has determined a veteran can no longer exercise one of his Constitutional rights. He is notified and given the chance to have a hearing (in front of whom) to determine if the bureaucracy that thought him unstable, which is the same bureaucracy that is running the hearing, was wrong. Anyone for the fox guarding the hen house comment here? Worse, do you think the bureaucrat won’t follow the political winds? Do you think he or she will buck the system, the system that pays them and either promotes them or not? Of course not. So now Toomey is just trying to be cute. Further, who carries the expense of the hearing? The man’s Constitutional rights have been violated, is he going to cover the cost of trying to get them back? All because of a political agenda? Even the people pushing the bill admit has will have no impact on what they claim is the motive for the bill. Seriously, you can’t make it up.
6. The trick within a trick. Background checks tell the government you have a gun. All the government has to do is pass a law (Diane’s little jewel she keeps in her back pocket for example.) that prevents transfers of that weapon to anyone without notification to the government. Now, you have it, you can’t sell it without it being tracked, so one day the local police come to your house and say “Let me see your gun.” You say, “Don’t have it.” “Where did it go?” Well if you say sold it, you go to jail. If you say lost it or it was stolen and didn’t notify the police, you go to jail. If you say they can’t see it…well you will have a SWAT team kicking in your door and throwing tear gas in on top of your family. Sooner or later you’ll either fight back and die. Or you will give up owning guns. (Good bad or indifferent, think about the methods employed by the local police- willingly against the citizen. Turns out the “tip” was wrong but he’s still in jail and his guns are gone.)
The worst part is the people who started it, who will benefit over the citizens being disarmed, will never be at the front lines of the battle. They will send some poor order following rookie and a weight lifting knucklehead to do the dirty work and take the risk. Only good people trying to keep their Constitutional right fighting with good people just trying to follow orders and earn a paycheck, while Obama and his Leftie friends party with Beyonce and JT.
Seriously, as we watch Toomey try to keep the job he’s been working to get for a decade, I wonder if cooler heads over at the House will simply shut this down. We are not sheep, we are not subjects and in my opinion until I see the government seizing journalists like Krugman and Dowd over first amendment free speech, or rounding up pro-choice protestors because they didn’t get their proper background checks done, I’m saying leaving ALL of the Constitution alone.
Remember my principle. “Just because you can, does not mean you should.” Toomey needs to leave this alone. Like I said even the supporters of it admit it won’t make a difference.
I read this the other day and thought just how appropriate it is. Do you think the millions upon millions Obama is sacking away now and after he leaves will be limited by some future administration? No, of course not. This is becoming more and more a “Them vs Us” society.
—We’ve already had some chatter about President Obama’s new “blow your mind” budget proposal. As Erika pointed out, there’s still plenty of taxy goodness in it, but more details are beginning to emerge. The Hill has latched on to one of the really insulting ones which, unlike in Obamacare, we may actually read and find out about before we vote on it.
President Obama’s budget, to be released next week, will limit how much wealthy individuals – like Mitt Romney – can keep in IRAs and other retirement accounts.
The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the tax code.
The senior administration official said that wealthy taxpayers can currently “accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.”
I don’t know about you, but I think this is simply fabulous. It’s got almost everything you could want in an example of liberal tax theory. You see, some people will be able to stash away as much cash toward retirement as they can manage, assuming they somehow still have a job. But not everyone. So how do you draw that line in the sand as to who gets to plan for their golden years and how much you really need for retirement? Don’t worry your pretty little head about it, sweetheart. Uncle Sam will make the call for you!
I will say this about that. After watching Bill Ayers prance around mocking our reaction to his violent history- WHILE getting paid by an university or that other chick making it into Columbia after killing three good men, And THEN seeing so many others make money, take advantage of others who cannot protect themselves all the while laughing at our good manners, it is all I can do think how lucky they are to live here and not in some Middle Eastern nation which has a population far less forgiving of offensive leaders, say like Libya or Syria or Egypt. Imagine if our leaders did what they do in front of everyone here in a place like that?
It is sad that we’ve allowed for “leaders” like Bloomberg to rule like a little king. He may have good intentions or he may just be a tad bit around the bend, but his efforts are insulting and offensive to many decent people who take the offense in the teeth and respond with only a “Please leave us alone.”
I am glad we try to resolve our differences peacefully. But I wish those in charge would recognize how lucky they are and respect the people under them a little more. Arrogance, as I told one such person years ago, is NOT a virtue.
To have people inside an administration tell us what we can save and what is a good life after we retire is an insult beyond description because we all know the unspoken ending to that statement is “…and we (the government) keep the rest.” Just like in estate taxes.
Remember, government is a beast and it will eat you and all you love to survive if only for one more day.