Free Markets, Free People

Common thread in all of these scandals? Abuse of power

That’s the conclusion Insty comes too in his USA Today column:

The NSA spying scandal goes deep, and the Obama administration’s only upside is that the furor over its poking into Americans’ private business on a wholesale basis will distract people from the furor over the use of the IRS and other federal agencies to target political enemies — and even donors to Republican causes — and the furor over the Benghazi screwup and subsequent lies (scapegoated filmmaker Nakoula is still in jail), the furor over the “Fast And Furious” gunrunning scandal that left literally scores of Mexicans dead, the scandal over the DOJ’s poking into phone records of journalists (and their parents), HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ shakedown of companies she regulates for “donations” to pay for ObamaCare implementation that Congress has refused to fund, the Pigford scandal where the Treasury Department’s “Judgment Fund” appears to have been raided for political purposes — well, it’s getting to where you need a scorecard to keep up.

But, in fact, there’s a common theme in all of these scandals: Abuse of power. And, what’s more, that abuse-of-power theme is what makes the NSA snooping story bigger than it otherwise would be. It all comes down to trust.

Anyone who, in fact, trusts government these days is simply not paying attention or is a part of it.  As Reynolds outlines above, each and every one of the scandals mentioned do, in some degree or another, involve an abuse of power.  And an abuse of power is always an abuse of trust.  This administration has been just about as abusive of both power and trust as any in our history.

What should bother you is they don’t seem to care.   To me that points to a culture that has come to accept the fact – at least in their world – that government is all powerful and can do no real wrong.  It’s “for the people”, after all, that they commit these abuses.  It is also in the name of “security” – that all-purpose reason to grind away at the freedoms we enjoy and put us under more and more government control.

One of those old dead white men who helped found this country saw the possibility of the latter long ago.  In fact, he’d seen it in his lifetime and had done all in his power to escape it and to build a system that wouldn’t tolerate the types of abuses of power we do today:

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” – James Madison

Bottom line, we’re saddled with an arrogant and abusive, totally out of control goverment that badly needs reigning in.  The problem – we need statesmen who can do that.  And we all know where we are in that particular case. Without, that’s where. We’re stuck with self-serving politicians.

By the way, are we really any safer since the draconian security measures have been implemented?

Anonymous government sources quoted in news reports say yes, but we know that all that snooping didn’t catch the Tsarnaev brothers before they bombed the Boston Marathon — even though they made extensive use of email and the Internet, and even though Russian security officials had warned us that they were a threat. The snooping didn’t catch Major Nidal Hasan before he perpetrated the Fort Hood Massacre, though he should have been spotted easily enough. It didn’t, apparently, warn us of the Benghazi attacks — though perhaps it explains how administration flacks were able to find and scapegoat a YouTube filmmaker so quickly . But in terms of keeping us safe, the snooping doesn’t look so great.

And it remains “snooping” regardless whether it great or not.

Is this the the type of country in which we really want to live?  Where we’re afraid of our own shadow and our government to boot?


19 Responses to Common thread in all of these scandals? Abuse of power

  • By the way, are we really any safer since the draconian security measures have been implemented?

    Let’s ask that question a different way: did the Bush era measures prevent any terror attacks?
    Hard to know with certainty, since it is imprudent to advertise our successes, if any.
    A SEPARATE question: is there any demonstrable advantage in the wholesale Obamic intel vacuuming over the Bush methods that would justify the change?
    My answer would be there COULD NOT BE.

    • Any NSA analyst “at any time can target anyone, any selector, anywhere,” Snowden told the Guardian. “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email.”
      Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the NSA and CIA, called the claim a “complete and utter” falsehood.
      “First of all it’s illegal,” he said. “There is enormous oversight. They have keystroke auditing. There are, from time to time, cases in which some analyst is [angry] at his ex-wife and looks at the wrong thing and he is caught and fired,” he said.

      I love the defense here. “It’s absurd because it’s illegal”.
      Snowden never said he could do it “legally”
      If somebody told you they could blow your head off, you really aren’t going to quibble if it’s legal.

      • I dunno.  There is really nothing in Houston, Texas I figure I could not steal if I cared to.
        And I’d have little fear of the legal consequences.
        I don’t steal anything because that would be wrong.
        Who could you NOT kill if you wanted?

      • But it’s the same frame of mind that says criminals are suddenly going to stop using fire arms to commit rapes, robberies and other socially misguided activities because there will be MORE laws against committing those crimes with fire arms.
        Or that murdering you for your sneakers, and calling you “cracker” while I do it, is worse than just quietly murdering you for your sneakers.

  • Is this the the type of country in which we really want to live?  Where we’re afraid of our own shadow and our government to boot?
    >>>>No! But there’s not gonna be any rollbacks here- I think we all understand that. The public simply does not care. Or they only care when they get five minutes between celeb nip slips and twitter rants.

    Get power by any means necessary, hold onto it by any means necessary, use the machinery of the state to settle scores.
    THAT’S how the game is gonna be played by all sides soon enough. History and human nature are pretty clear on that.

    Why yes I am quite the pessimist.

  • But the snooping, she is very useful when you need someone to either shut up, or do your bidding, and you have snooped them.
    People always say “he must have pictures of someone” when someone in authority seems to get away with all kinds of malfeasance.  Well, yeah, Obama probably does, pictures, conversations, other information.
    And it goes to explaining why they do what they do with no visible fear of repercussion.

  • Stephen Green ‏@VodkaPundit 54m
    So @LindseyGrahamSC is going to need a bigger Sharpie to if he ever wants to censor all the “Fuck Lindsey Graham” out of my mail.

  • I don’t know about you, but I was think about forming my own 501(c)4 but after hearing horror stories about Tea Parties trying to get their 501(c) 4-s, I decided to hold off.

    That said … how about a settlement of Tea Party v IRS modeled on the Pigford settlement

  • What makes anyone think this is all about fighting terrorists when the Administration is sleeping with Islamic (CAIR, etc) snotballs? Seems more like they’re fighting INSURRECTION, not terrorism.

    • They’re trying to weed out illegal voters and campaign contributors.
      Since they are fond of redefining what words mean, Illegal in this regard means “anyone who opposes what King Barack wants”.

  • In my view, government doesn’t need to have its reputation rehabilitated.  It needs to be halved.
    In exchange for cutting the workforce of the IRS by 50%, wouldn’t you grant them the right to throw a $5 million party every year, complete with as many stupid skits as they want?  It would be an extraordinary bargain, in my view.
    Here’s another deal that I’ve proposed on other occasions.  I would be willing to double (or even triple) the salaries of US Senators, Congressmen and their staff members if they would agree to only work January through May of each year.  It seems to me that if they were only allowed to work five months each year, they would limit their activities to those that had a clearer constitutional authorization, rather than engaging in all the nonsense that they currently do.

  • The results for the IRS were striking. Of the IRS lawyers who made contributions in the 2012 election, 95% contributed to Obama rather than to Romney. So among IRS lawyers, the ratio of Obama contributors to Romney contributors was not merely 4-to-1 as previously reported, but more like 20-to-1. The ratio of funds to Obama was even more lopsided, with about 32 times as much money going to Obama as to Romney from IRS lawyers.
    So has the IRS gone off the rails into hyper-partisanship, leaving behind other more balanced federal agencies? … The data show, however, that the partisanship of the lawyers in the IRS is not unusual or even particularly extreme among federal agencies. In fact, the lawyers in every single federal government agency–from the Department of Education [100%] to the Department of Defense [68%] — contributed overwhelmingly to Obama compared to Romney. The table below shows the results for all agencies with at least 20 employees who contributed to either Obama or Romney. . . .
    Yep. As noted: this will be the hardest of all Obamic Decline legacies to root out.

    • This isn’t an Obama legacy, although he did add to it.  This is Washington DC.  The place that didn’t notice the “Great Recession” because local spending actually went up.  They don’t feel America’s pain.
      My solution is to move the US Capitol to … Dodge City Kansas.  It even sounds American.

      • I nominate Gun Barrel City Texas…..

      • I think you’re wrong, both as to quantity and quality.  The administrative state has exploded under Pres. Snoop-Dog, and has been carefully homogenized in favor of the Collective.

    • Well, think of it this way: What sort of person joins the IRS or Gestapo? Statist, that’s who!
      Thought: The left “described” the Tea Party as Nazis – but anyone with even an iota of knowledge of history knows the Nazis were totalitarian. Typical Orwellian/post-modernist (hat tio to Billy Hollis) inversion of reality.

  • … but it’s so easy to agree with Obama … when he speaks out of both sides of his mouth as well as his ass