So went to my once a year get-together/reunion with my old college buddies which we do in beautiful Gilbert, AR (population 33) on the banks of the Buffalo river. We golf, fish, float, etc (well yes, of course there are adult beverages involved) and just enjoy the quiet and commune with nature.
Unless the government is out of money and then, apparently, they just shut down rivers with Barrycades. As the guys said, we’ve seen more Wildlife Dept. people there to stop people from using the river than they’ve ever seen when it was open. I thought they were having funding problems.
Oh, by the way, we couldn’t have floated it even if we’d have walked around the Barrycades (which we obviously did to know this) – the flow to the river had been shut down at the dam as well.
All in the service of government.
And there’s a reason for this – it’s called a tantrum:
National Park Service officials cited the government shutdown as the reason for ordering an elderly Nevada couple out of their home, which sits on federal land.
“Unfortunately overnight stays are not permitted until a budget is passed and the park can reopen,” an NPS spokesman explained to KTNV.
Ralph and Joyce Spencer, aged 80 and 77, respectively, own their home, but the government owns the land on which it sits.
“I had to be sure and get his walker and his scooter that he has to go in,” Joyce Spencer told the local news outlet. “We’re not hurt in any way except it might cost me if I have to go buy more pants.”
Similarly, the NPS forced privately-operated inns on the Blue Ridge Parkway to close during the shut down.
“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” an unnamed park ranger told the Washington Times. “It’s disgusting.”
It is indeed disgusting. And, it just goes to illustrate how much we’ve let government control our lives.
There’s a backlash in all of this. I’m not sure exactly how it will play out, but I can say that normally mellow men of my acquaintence who don’t particularly pay attention to politics were highly incensed this weekend. “How”, one of them demanded, “can government shut down a river that was here before man existed!?”
Some interesting things are happening for this government shutdown. The most interesting thing about them is that they’re entirely unnecessary.
For instance, the National World War II Memorial is in the middle of the Mall in Washington DC. Like the Korean and Vietnam memorials, it is an open-air monument that consists mainly of a oval arrangement of stone plinths, with a fountain in the center. It is unmanned by government personnel. Yet, for some reason, the Administration has set up fences around it—and other open-air monuments, with festooned with signs declaring the monument “closed”. In other words, the Administration intentionally spent the time and money to close off open-air monuments that aren’t manned by government personnel anyway. They’ve even tried to prevent actual WWII veterans from entering this unmanned, open-air memorial. These vets didn’t like that, and essentially ignored the barricade. I suppose that using unmanned, portable fencing to try and intimidate the guys who landed on Omaha Beach in the teeth of withering machine gun fire is not an optimally effective strategy. Apparently, not even the threat of arrest was particularly effective.
Happily, others are resisting these shutdowns, too, as on the Great Appalachian Trail, where the public ignored the barricades put up by the National Park Service and went to the park anyway. But the park service is serious about doing what they can to ensure that the public can’t use any national parks, going so far as to order the closure of the nation’s only privately-run park.
Let’s be very clear about what’s happening here. None of these things are unfortunate consequences of the government shutting down. These things are nothing more than intentional attempts to make the shutdown as inconvenient as possible. This is shutdown theater, and nothing more. It is enraging, because it is just a cynical PR move to make the shutdown seem more inconvenient than it actually is.
Not that it should come as any surprise to those familiar with our president. Nile Gardiner hits the sore spot:
The American Left’s hatred for all things conservative has been on full display in Washington in recent days, with the White House and its allies in Congress heaving with anger and indignation over mounting opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and growing calls to defund it. President Obama has blamed Tea Party Republicans for what he calls a right-wing “ideological crusade” prompting the federal government shutdown. As the president put it in his Rose Garden press conference, “they’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.” Obama allies have used similar inflammatory language over the past week, aimed at demonising anyone who disagrees with their approach. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has railed against Tea Party “anarchists,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has attacked what she calls “legislative arsonists.” Even former Vice President Al Gore has jumped in to the fray, accusing the GOP of “political terrorism.”
The harsh invective flowing from Washington’s liberal establishment has been nasty, juvenile and petty. This should be a moment for humility for the White House over its hugely unpopular Obamacare reforms, which are opposed by a significant majority of the American people. Ironically President Obama turns the other cheek on the world stage when it comes to challenges to US global power, and has made the appeasement of America’s enemies and strategic competitors into a form of art. But he acts in a truly imperial fashion at home, refusing to listen to the slightest hint of criticism domestically. This is a president who happily apologises for his country’s past when he travels abroad, in thoroughly humiliating fashion for the United States, but cannot bring himself to acknowledge that his own policies might be wrong.
That’s exactly right. And he makes it clear he’s not going to take a leadership role – like a petulant child, he’ll just refuse to deal with others. Fred Barnes points out the obvious:
Presidents have two roles. In the current impasse, Mr. Obama emphasizes his partisan role as leader of the Democratic Party. It’s a legitimate role. But as president, he’s the only national leader elected by the entire nation. He alone represents all the people. And this second, nonpartisan role takes precedence in times of trouble, division or dangerous stalemate. A president is expected to take command. Mr. Obama hasn’t done that.
The extent to which he has abdicated this role shows up in his speeches. On the eve of the shutdown, he warned that a government closure “will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away.” Defunding or delaying his health-care program—the goal of Republicans—would have even worse consequences, he suggested. “Tens of thousands of Americans die every single year because they don’t have access to affordable health care,” Mr. Obama said.
In an appearance in the White House pressroom, he said that “military personnel—including those risking their lives overseas for us right now—will not get paid on time” should Republicans force a shutdown. At an appearance in Largo, Md., the president accused Republicans of “threatening steps that would actually badly hurt our economy . . . Even if you believe that ObamaCare somehow was going to hurt the economy, it won’t hurt the economy as bad as a government shutdown.”
Yet as he was predicting widespread suffering, Mr. Obama steadfastly refused to negotiate with Republicans. He told House Speaker John Boehner in a phone call that he wouldn’t be talking to him anymore. With the shutdown hours away, he called Mr. Boehner again. He still didn’t negotiate and said he wouldn’t on the debt limit either.
Mr. Obama has made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid his surrogate in the conflict with Republicans. Mr. Reid has also declined to negotiate. In fact, Politico reported that when the president considered meeting with Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, along with the two Democratic congressional leaders, Mr. Reid said he wouldn’t attend and urged Mr. Obama to abandon the idea. The president did just that.
The man is a presidential bust – and I don’t mean the type that sits on a pedestal. He’s never had it, he will never have it and we’re going to continue to suffer because instead of any leadership qualities the only thing this man can boast is petty partisanship. He’s a master at that. He’s essentially said that he’ll not negotiate and he’ll use his bully pulpit to insult and degrade his opposition.
Until he steps up and assumes that role – this is his shutdown.
The sun is out, the birds are chirping, the day is beautiful and … the government is shut down. I’m not sure, but that may be adding to the beauty of the day.
Meanwhile this is ObamaCare’s first day. Unfortunately, ObamaCare isn’t quite ready.
On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pleaded for patience during a briefing with reporters, acknowledging there would probably be some site issues in the coming days and weeks as the administration moves forward on the sweeping program known as Obamacare. She likened the inevitable fixes to software updates on Apple products such as the iPhone or iPad.
“No one is calling on Apple to not sell devices for a year or to get out of the business because the whole thing is a failure,” she said. “Everyone just assumes there’s a problem, they’ll fix it, let’s move on. . . . Hopefully, they’ll give us the same slack as they give Apple.”
Apple. She dares to compare this monstrosity to Apple? Really?
Here’s the reason that comparison doesn’t even begin to hold water:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has had since March 2010 to prepare for open enrollment’s October 2013 rollout. Besides churning out thousands of pages of regulations, what have she and her army been doing?
Someone performing as Sebelius has in the private sector would have been fired at least a year ago, when it become obvious that her implementation plan — having already missed critical deadlines almost two years ago – was still hopelessly behind.
However, this would have been an admission of failure during an election year.
Instead, Sebelius and the administration unilaterally, and illegally, delayed imposing the employer mandate requiring companies to cover “full-time” employees — defined as any employee who works an average of 30 hours per week — for one year. The political motivation behind this cop-out is so transparent, one wonders if the delay wasn’t hard-coded in the plan. There has been no change in the individual mandate, which requires individuals and families to have health insurance coverage beginning next year or face a fine. So the employer mandate delay combined with the still-present individual mandate will force more Americans into the state health insurance exchanges. The administration is likely intent on making the process of undoing the exchanges as difficult as possible.
Apple would a) meet their deadline and b) have the product ready for the launch or c) some heads would roll.
So why is Sebelius still at HHS?
Oh, that’s right … because we don’t hold people in government accountable for anything, do we?
Which, of course, is a big part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in today.
Frogs marching or heads rolling (figuratively speaking) might begin to change a culture that know no matter how inept or incompetent they are, nothing of significance will happen to them. And after all, it’s your money they’re wasting, isn’t it?
Apparently our laws are arbitrary if you’re in a favored group. All you have to do is appeal to the King for an exemption:
Back in 2009, when Democrats were writing the massive new national health care scheme, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley offered an amendment. Obamacare created exchanges through which millions of Americans would purchase “affordable” health coverage. Grassley’s amendment simply required lawmakers, staff, and some in the executive branch to get their insurance through the exchanges, too.
To every Republican’s amazement, Democrats accepted the amendment. It’s never been fully clear why; the best theory is they intended to take the provision out in conference committee, but couldn’t do so because they lost their filibuster-proof 60-vote majority. In any event, Obamacare — the law of the land, as supporters like to say — now requires Congress to buy its health care coverage through the exchanges.
That has caused Democratic panic as the formal arrival of Obamacare nears. Right now, all lawmakers and staff are entitled to enjoy generously-subsidized coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan. Why give up that subsidy and go on the exchanges like any average American?
But that’s the law. It could be amended, but Democrats, who voted unanimously for Obamacare, couldn’t very well expect much help from Republicans, who voted unanimously against it. So over the summer Democrats asked President Obama to simply create an Obamacare exception for Capitol Hill.
And the King, looking down upon his faithful minions waved his hand and came up with a “solution” by executive fiat that uses tax dollars to circumvent the law:
Not long after — presto! — the Office of Personnel Management unveiled a proposed rule to allow members of Congress, their staff, and some executive branch employees to continue receiving their generous federal subsidy even as they purchase coverage on the exchanges. No ordinary American would be allowed such an advantage.
However, a rebellion was cooking:
Vitter watched the maneuvering that led to the OPM decision. He began work on what became the Vitter Amendment, which he likes to call “No Washington Exemption from Obamacare,” that would reverse the OPM ruling. It specifies that members of Congress, staff, the president, vice president and all the administration’s political appointees buy health coverage through Obamacare exchanges. If any of them earn incomes low enough to qualify for regular Obamacare subsidies, they will receive them — just like any other American. But those with higher incomes will have to pay for their coverage on the exchanges — just like everybody else.
Vitter hasn’t exactly thrilled his colleagues. “There has been a lot of pushback behind the scenes, including from many Republicans,” he says. Political types have complained that the requirement will cause “brain drain” on the Hill as staffers escape the burden of paying for their own coverage. “My response is, first of all, it’s the law,” says Vitter. “Look, this is a disruption. It’s exactly what’s happening across America, to people who are going to the exchanges against their will. To me, that’s the point.”
Ron Johnson, the Republican senator from Wisconsin, is one colleague delighted by Vitter’s move. The idea of equal Obamacare treatment for Washington is enormously popular around the country, Johnson points out, which means even lawmakers who don’t like it will be afraid to oppose it.
“I think most members don’t want to vote to reject the OPM ruling,” Johnson says. “But I think most members would vote to do that, if they were forced to, because it is so politically unpopular to have special treatment for members of Congress and their staff.”
Seems it should be unnecessary to again make it clear that Congress should have to obey the law – to the letter – just like everyone else. That was what the original law said, no? Yet they managed a workaround that defeated the intent of the law, didn’t they?
So now another amendment is now necessary?
And here I thought that these folks were servants of the people and not a ruling elite (by the way, the big excuse is there’ll be a huge “brain drain” if the law is left in place. Let me be the first to say, given the shape our country and government are in at the moment, I’d welcome the ‘brain drain’).
Make ‘em obey the law. Make them navigate the same atrocity they foisted on the public. No exemptions, no exceptions. And that goes for every law they pass.
While I took issue with John McCain’s refusal to do anything about defunding ObamaCare, my issue was with the refusal more than anything. McCain had no alternative. He just refused to do anything.
There is an alternative however. And Daniel Henninger, in today’s Wall Street Journal, articulates it:
As its Oct. 1 implementation date arrives, ObamaCare is the biggest bet that American liberalism has made in 80 years on its foundational beliefs. This thing called “ObamaCare” carries on its back all the justifications, hopes and dreams of the entitlement state. The chance is at hand to let its political underpinnings collapse, perhaps permanently.
If ObamaCare fails, or seriously falters, the entitlement state will suffer a historic loss of credibility with the American people. It will finally be vulnerable to challenge and fundamental change. But no mere congressional vote can achieve that. Only the American people can kill ObamaCare.
No matter what Sen. Ted Cruz and his allies do, ObamaCare won’t die. It would return another day in some other incarnation. The Democrats would argue, rightly, that the ideas inside ObamaCare weren’t defeated. What the Democrats would lose is a vote in Congress, nothing more.
He’s right. Defunding it simply leaves the question “would it have worked if you inbred Republicans hadn’t stopped it? All indications are this abomination will collapse under it’s own fetid weight. Why? Because, as I said, it’s an abomination.
Consider this from Megan McArdle:
During the design and passage of the Affordable Care Act, its architects and supporters described a fantastic new system for buying insurance. You would go onto a website and enter some simple information about yourself. The computer system would fetch data about you from various places — it would verify income with the Internal Revenue Service, check with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that you were a citizen or legal resident, and tap a database of employer coverage to make sure that you were not already being offered affordable coverage (defined as 9.5 percent of your income or less) by your employer. Provided you passed all those tests, it would calculate what subsidies you were eligible for, and then apply that discount automatically to the hundreds of possible policies being offered on the exchange. You would see the neatly listed prices and choose one, buying it as easily as you buy an airline ticket on Travelocity.
Before I went to business school, I used to work in an IT consultancy, and setting up this system sounded like an enormous job to me — a five- to eight-year job, given government procurement rules, not a three-year rush special. But Obamacare’s stewards seemed very confident, so I assumed that they must have it covered.
As time wore on, the administration has steadily stripped major components out of the exchanges and the data hub behind them as it became clear that they couldn’t possibly make the Oct. 1 deadline when all of this was supposed to be ready. The employer mandate was delayed, and then it was announced that at least some of the exchanges would be relying on self-reporting of income, rather than verifying with the IRS. . . .
How did we get to this point? The exchanges were the core selling point of Obamacare. (The Medicaid expansion was actually a bigger part of the coverage expansion, at least until the Supreme Court ruled that the administration couldn’t force states to take part, but it tended to be downplayed, because no one’s exactly a huge fan of Medicaid.) They were going to introduce competition to a fragmented and distorted marketplace, and make it easy for middle-class people to buy affordable coverage from a bevy of insurers. How can it be that one week before the deadline for opening, no one’s really sure the exchanges are going to work?
No exchanges, no ObamaCare.
Oh, and be amazed by the usual government planning:
I work for one of the largest Telecom providers in the country. I’m an engineer who designs dedicated data links (DS3s, OC3s, etc…) for major companies across the US.
For background, some of these circuits can be put up fairly quickly, but not the ones that I work on. The ones I design can take up to 90 business days to install.
Anyways, a few weeks ago, we got deluged with orders for circuits that needed to be installed by October 1st. These were circuits to support Obamacare.
Needless to say, they aren’t going to make that deadline. Some of the circuits are being held up due to construction builds that won’t be complete until the end of November. The others won’t make the deadline due to the complexity and the number of various companies involved.
Yes, these are the same people you handed your health care too.
Soooo … what will the administration do? Well, delay it of course. But again I point you to McArdle’s point. We’re not simply talking about a simple IT project here. It may never work.
Henninger’s point is very valid. So I officially sanction Dale’s point of view in this case and say “let ‘em have it (good and hard)”. Let them have the bureaucracy, frustration, increased cost and incompetence that has been the hallmark of the Democrats and this administration. Then:
An established political idea is like a vampire. Facts, opinions, votes, garlic: Nothing can make it die.
But there is one thing that can kill an established political idea. It will die if the public that embraced it abandons it.
Six months ago, that didn’t seem likely. Now it does.
The public’s dislike of ObamaCare isn’t growing with every new poll for reasons of philosophical attachment to notions of liberty and choice. Fear of ObamaCare is growing because a cascade of news suggests that ObamaCare is an impending catastrophe.
And catastrophe it is. Let is burn. Let it crash, burn and kill this nonsense once and for all.
It is your wallet which is going to need “conditioning” for this “improved” health care system:
Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men.
Of course you’ve seen the lies smoke that HHS has been putting out about how cost will be down, right? By 16%. But they never really tell you down from what, do they?
“Premiums nationwide will also be around 16 percent lower than originally expected,” HHS cheerfully announces in its press release. But that’s a ruse. HHS compared what the Congressional Budget Office projected rates might look like—in 2016—to its own findings. Neither of those numbers tells you the stat that really matters: how much rates will go up next year, under Obamacare, relative to this year, prior to the law taking effect.
That’s right, they’ve apparently learned from Congress about “spending cuts”. You know, when they spend less than they projected they’d spend but more than they did last year? Yeah, “spending cuts”.
Instead, the travesty that is called ObamaCare will be adding on to everyone’s bill (to include those getting a subsidy). Those below 40 get hammered. And those at 40? Not so good either:
The cheapest exchange plan for the average enrollee, compared to what a 40-year-old would pay today, will cost an average of 99 percent more for men, and 62 percent for women.
For this cohort, men fared worst in North Carolina, with rate increases of 305 percent. Women got hammered in Nebraska, where rates will increase by a national high of 237 percent. Again, Colorado and New Hampshire fared best, with 17 percent and 5-8 percent declines, respectively.
Remember that here, we aren’t conducting an exact comparison. Instead we’re comparing the lowest-cost bronze plan offered to the average participant in the exchanges, to the cheapest plan offered to 40-year-olds today. This approach artificially flatters Obamacare, because the median age of an exchange participant is, in most states, below the age of 40.
I’ve always wondered how making everyone get insurance, subsidizing those who can’t “afford” it, and adding layer upon layer of bureaucracy could make health care “more affordable”. Common sense tells you it won’t.
Common sense is right.
Six in 10 Americans (60%) believe the federal government has too much power, one percentage point above the previous high recorded in September 2010. At least half of Americans since 2005 have said the government has too much power. Thirty-two percent now say the government has the right amount of power. Few say it has too little power.
Is this a partisan view? Yes and no.
As you’d expect, Republicans and Democrats pretty much switch positions depending on who is in the White House. But the telling line is the Independent line. It is higher now than it was in the Bush years.
Of course, the pregnant question is, “so what are you going to do about it?”
The answer, if the recent past is any indication, is “not much”. Probably change the Senate over to the GOP, and possibly, in the next presidential election, change parties again.
And then what? Again, look at the trend on the graph above. We’ve changed parties before and yet we still see the power of government continuing to grow. Will another party change really make any difference?
One other thing to note in passing, take a look at the Democrat line in the last year. Democrats who think government has too much power are up 13 points. If I had to guess that is a direct result of the IRS and NSA scandals, ObamaCare and the EPA and other regulatory agencies over-reach. Anyone who thinks those scandals, new regulations and abuse of power haven’t been significant is living in a dream world or, alternately Maine, which is about the same thing.
There are among politicians, certain ones who think you’ll believe this:
“Now, this debt ceiling — I just want to remind people in case you haven’t been keeping up – raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress. It’s a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved.”
Obama went on to suggest that “the average person” mistakenly thinks that raising the debt ceiling means the U.S. is racking up more debt: “It’s always a tough vote because the average person thinks raising the debt ceiling must mean that we’re running up our debt, so people don’t like to vote on it, and, typically, there’s some gamesmanship in terms of making the President’s party shoulder the burden of raising the — taking the vote.”
First – what is it called?
Oh, a debt ceiling.
Anyone – what is the purpose of raising the debt ceiling?
To allow more debt.
If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, then the government can’t do what?
Increase our debt. Correct?
They can’t borrow (commonly known as going into debt) more money to pay those “bills” they’ve already “racked up”, can they?
So when “the average person” thinks that raising the debt ceiling means”running up more debt“, they’re absolutely dead-on right. Unless you plan on “running up more debt“, there is no reason to raise the debt ceiling, is there?
It’s called a “debt ceiling” for a reason.
Government abuse: not surprising, not unexpected, but certainly something that needs to be stopped – now!
This has been in the news recently and now it is getting some Congressional attention. It has to do with possible illegal activities involving the NSA and DEA. As you know, the NSA’s job is to focus outside the US, not inside, and primarily on enemies of the United States, not it’s citizens:
Eight Democratic senators and congressmen have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about a Reuters report that the National Security Agency supplies the Drug Enforcement Administration with intelligence information used to make non-terrorism cases against American citizens.
The August report revealed that a secretive DEA unit passes the NSA information to agents in the field, including those from the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Homeland Security, with instructions to never disclose the original source, even in court. In most cases, the NSA tips involve drugs, money laundering and organized crime, not terrorism.
Five Democrats in the Senate and three senior Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee submitted questions to Holder about the NSA-DEA relationship, joining two prominent Republicans who have expressed concerns. The matter will be discussed during classified briefings scheduled for September, Republican and Democratic aides said.
“These allegations raise serious concerns that gaps in the policy and law are allowing overreach by the federal government’s intelligence gathering apparatus,” wrote the senators – Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Why, other than the fact that the NSA has no charter or permission to pass its information about American citizens on to other agencies, is this important?
The Reuters reports cited internal documents that show how DEA’s Special Operations Division funnels information from overseas NSA intercepts, domestic wiretaps, informants and a large DEA database of telephone records to authorities nationwide to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
The documents show that agents have been trained to conceal how such investigations truly begin – to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up the original source of the information, raising questions about whether exculpatory information might be withheld from defendants at trial.
The internal documents describe the process of recreating the evidence trail to omit any reference to the Special Operations Division as “parallel construction.” For example, agents said in interviews, they act as if a drug investigation began with a traffic stop for speeding or a broken taillight, instead of a tip passed from the NSA. An IRS document describes a similar process for tax agency investigators.
Emphasis mine. So not only is passing such information to these agencies unauthorized, the government then instructs its agents on how to lie about the source of their information (a lie of omission). And, of course, it is also legitimate to ask whether or not exculpatory evidence could also have been available but not passed to these agencies.
Is this really the type government we want? One that spies on us, intercepts our electronic messages and phone calls and uses them secretly by passing what should be private to various other government agencies and then lies about it? Peggy Noonan addresses those questions quite directly today:
If the citizens of the United States don’t put up a halting hand, the government can’t be expected to. It is in the nature of security professionals to always want more, and since their mission is worthy they’re less likely to have constitutional qualms, to dwell on such abstractions as abuse of the Fourth Amendment and the impact of that abuse on the First.
If you assume all the information that can and will be gleaned will be confined to NSA and national security purposes, you are not sufficiently imaginative or informed. If you believe the information will never be used wrongly or recklessly, you are touchingly innocent.
If you assume you can trust the administration on this issue you are not following the bouncing ball, from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who told Congress under oath the NSA didn’t gather “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans” (he later had to apologize) to President Obama, who told Jay Leno: “We don’t have a domestic program.” What we do have, the president said, is “some mechanism that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack.”
Oh, we have more than that.
Almost every politician in America lives in fear of one big thing: a terrorist attack they can later be accused of not having done everything to stop. And so they’ll do anything. They are looking to preserve their political viability and historical standing. We, as citizens, must keep other things in mind, such as the rights we are born with as Americans, one of which is privacy.
Lord Acton nailed it when he said “Power corrupts …”. We’re currently in the midst of watching exactly that happen to an even greater degree than in the past. If you give government power, it will do everything it can to expand that power – whether legitimately or illegitimately. It is the nature of the beast. And we have to put up a hand to stop it.
If you’re wondering why the Tea Party is characterized in such nasty ways by the establishment of both parties, it is because it does indeed attempt to put up a hand to stop these sorts of abuses and remove power from the abusers. They threaten the very base of power the political establishment has worked so hard to build over the years.