Conservatives who favor federal “wars” on drugs, gambling and other behaviors should understand the damage they have done to the constitutional underpinnings of limited government.
Andrew’s Note: I never cease to be amazed by the fact that in many places the government protects the people from the ‘evils’ of gambling by granting itself the sole concession in the form of State run lotteries or from the ‘evils’ of drinking by only offering alcohol through State owned ‘ABC’ stores. How can anything be a crime when there is no victim? In the land of the free we should even be free to make poor decisions.
Because of my background I’ve received a number of questions recently from friends and readers regarding the allegations of improper use of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) capabilities. While I’m an Intelligence Officer by training and began my career as a Signals Intelligence Officer (the NSA is the Department of Defense’s signals intelligence agency) I’ve been out of the game for several years but the rules we follow as intelligence professionals haven’t changed and if properly followed they assure that our Intelligence Services do not become tools of tyranny or lead to the types of abuses we saw during the Vietnam/Antiwar Movement years. I have also been fortunate enough to work with the NSA and a number of other signals intelligence agencies and have been impressed with their professionalism and patriotism. I know that the interpretations of these regulations have loosened somewhat since the 9/11 attacks but if we hold strictly to these regulations we can balance privacy for ‘U.S. persons’ and security for our nation.
Reprinted below are the ’15 Procedures’ of DOD Directive 5240.1-R. This directive applies to 8 of the 17 members of the U.S. Intelligence community including:
The following agencies aren’t covered by DOD Directive 5240.1-R but are covered by Executive Order 12333 which is also referenced below.
DOD Directive 5240.1-R explains which intelligence related activities are allowable and which activities aren’t (human testing for example). As mentioned above, this regulation governs the NSA and the other Intelligence community members within the Department of Defense.
The NSA’s been getting a lot of unwanted press lately and it’s important to know that if followed properly these regulations place restrictions on the NSA that assure that it won’t become a tool of tyranny. A robust intelligence community is essential to a secure nation but in a free society the intelligence community must be focused on external threats and leave internal threats to law enforcement.
Note: this regulation only governs DOD Intelligence activities and not Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies.
Individually, Americans do not deserve to be subservient to such a fear-mongering, intimidating and powerful agency as the Internal Revenue Service; but collectively, we do…
In order to squeeze out of us half of what we produce [taxes and regulatory burden], a government tax collection agency must be ruthless and able to put the fear of God into its citizens. The IRS has mastered that task. Congress has given it powers that would be deemed criminal if used by others…
The bottom line is that members of Congress need such a ruthless tax collection agency as the IRS because of the charge we Americans have given them. We want what the IRS does — namely, to take the earnings of one American so Congress can create a benefit for some other American. Don’t get angry with IRS agents. They are just following orders.
The president’s decision to circumvent the American people by installing his appointees at a powerful federal agency while the Senate was continuing to hold sessions [with a recess appointment], and without obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate, is an unprecedented power grab… We will demonstrate to the Court how the president’s unconstitutional actions fundamentally endanger the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell via GOP senators urge Supreme Court to rein in Obama on recess appointments | Fox News
Today we introduce the first of a periodic series looking at current and recent events in the U.S. that shouldn’t have happened…but did. This isn’t some third world country with a dictator leading through a cult of personality, intimidation and force…this is the United States of America…but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it can’t happen here (it being all those things that aren’t supposed to happen in the Home of the Free) because thinking that it can’t happen here will lull you into a false sense of security that will mean that it does happen here…and occasionally does.
Unfortunately, many of our fellow citizens are more interested in what the Kardashians are up to than in government corruption, our potential slide into socialism… the erosion of our rights and their replacement with obligations that masquerade as rights.
I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t break any laws so I plead the 5th Amendment because if I tell you what I did I might incriminate myself…
IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner… paraphrased while testifying on the IRS’ targeting of the Administration’s political opponents leading up to the election.
One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.
Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed (1886)
The Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy estimates that it costs Americans $1.75 trillion to comply with federal regulations each year. To put $1.75 trillion into perspective, that amount is larger than all but eight economies in the world. It also means that over 10% of the U.S. economy is spent on trying to satisfy rules issued by Washington bureaucrats. That doesn’t even include federal, state, and local taxes.
This heavy regulatory burden diverts resources from innovation to compliance, discourages business investment, and chills job creation. It is no accident that as Washington adds new regulations, more and more Americans are unemployed and underemployed.
…Elected leaders need to carefully consider the costs and negative unintended consequences of unnecessary federal regulations. They need to remember that real people must comply with these regulations and that making them overly burdensome stifles American growth. This blog features just some of the victims of government.
Senator Ron Johnson’s Victims of Government Blog
So in the span of four days, [there were] three major revelations about the use of government power to intimidate those who are doing things that the government doesn’t like. These are the tactics of the third world. These are the tactics of places that don’t have the freedoms and the independence that we have here in this country. And it is shocking to Americans that this would come to light in the way that it has. I would submit to you, however, that none of this is new. That what we see emerging here is a pattern, a culture, a culture of intimidation, of hardball politics that we saw both on the campaign trail and now through the apparatus of government.
If we don’t want a future U.S. government to become tyrannical we must work every day to limit the creation of government powers, laws, regulations and departments with the potential to be used as tools of tyranny. The tax collector has been an unfortunate but necessary fixture in society for thousands of years and will continue to be so. The power to tax is necessary (but certainly not at the levels we’ve chosen the past few years) but is also ripe for abuse and is definitely a potential tool of tyranny. Let’s not forget that one of the rallying cries that created our nation was tax related… “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”
I must admit that when the cries of unfair treatment from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by conservative nonprofits was raised during the election I discounted them as oversensitivity encouraged by election year politics but as it turns out there was preferential treatment for non-profits which espoused views similar to President Obama’s. It seems that organizations ‘friendly’ to the incumbent President weren’t selected for additional scrutiny but organizations with ‘patriot’ or ‘tea party’ in the title were.
Taxes are necessary to fund the constitutionally mandated functions of the federal government. If Congress spent according to its authority under Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution, taxes wouldn’t be any more than 5 percent of the gross domestic product, as it was between 1787 and 1920, as opposed to today’s 20 percent.
Isn’t it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool’s Day and ends with cries of “Mayday!”
Andrew’s Note: Think about it for a minute or follow the link… I know you expected a comment on communism or socialism today…not a tax quote…just so that I don’t disappoint…here’s a little graphic to get your capitalist blood pressure up!
Creating a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country is essential. The way we treat our friends and neighbors who are undocumented – by creating a mechanism for them to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows – transcends the issue of immigration status. This is a matter of civil and human rights. It is about who we are as a nation. And it goes to the core of our treasured American principle of equal opportunity.”
Attorney General Eric Holder via Holder Calls Amnesty a ‘Civil Right’
Andrew’s Note: Maybe policies that secure our borders and reward those that follow, not break our laws should be our civil right instead…just say’n.
Let’s play make believe for a moment so that we can understand the Internet Tax Madness that is going on in the Senate right now… with the aptly misnamed Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 743.
Pretend you own a successful specialty store in Vail, Colorado selling the world’s best widgets (or maybe prepper supplies). Everything’s going along swimmingly until there’s a convention of State and local politicians and bureaucrats from all over the country in town. Several of the conference attendees, let’s call them Larry, Moe & Curly decide to skip out of their taxpayer funded educational opportunity and stop by your store. While they’re browsing your store they notice a couple of their neighbors, let’s call them Joe and Shemp from back home buying your wonderful widgets with their hard earned money.
When you ring up Joe and Shemp’s sale you follow all local laws including collecting applicable local taxes. When Larry, Moe & Curly notice Joe & Shemp’s purchases they turn green with envy. You notice them whip out a couple of slide rules and start calculating something. What they are calculating is all the ‘lost’ tax revenue that they could have made if Joe, Shemp and everyone else would have purchased their widgets back home…so that Larry, Moe & Curly’s various levels of state and local government could have taken their ‘fair share.’
The government expands at will, based on what might be charitably called flimsy constitutional reasoning and less charitably and more accurately called arrogant judicial tyranny. Government authority these days rarely comes from the Constitution as written but from the last carefully crafted misinterpretation of it. This is called legal precedent.
The regulatory, administrative state, which progressives champion, is generally a servant of the strong, for two reasons. It responds to financially powerful and politically sophisticated factions. And it encourages rent-seekers to exploit opportunities for concentrated benefits and dispersed costs (e.g., agriculture subsidies confer sums on large agribusinesses by imposing small costs on 316 million Americans).
Such government inevitably means executive government and the derogation of the legislative branch, both of which produce exploding government debt. By explaining these perverse effects of progressivism, the Hudson Institute’s Christopher DeMuth explains contemporary government’s cascading and reinforcing failures.
Executive growth fuels borrowing growth because of the relationship between what DeMuth, in a recent address at George Mason University, called “regulatory insouciance and freewheeling finance.” Government power is increasingly concentrated in Washington, Washington power is increasingly concentrated in the executive branch, and executive-branch power is increasingly concentrated in agencies that are unconstrained by legislative control. Debt and regulation are, DeMuth discerns, “political kin”: Both are legitimate government functions, but both are now perverted to evade democratic accountability, which is a nuisance, and transparent taxation, which is politically dangerous.
Today’s government uses regulation to achieve policy goals by imposing on the private sector burdens less obvious than taxation would be, burdens that become visible only indirectly, in higher prices. Often the goals government pursues by surreptitious indirection are goals that could not win legislative majorities — e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases following Congress’s refusal to approve such policies. And deficit spending — borrowing — is, DeMuth says, “a complementary means of taxation evasion”: It enables the political class to provide today’s voters with significantly more government benefits than current taxes can finance, leaving the difference to be paid by voters too young to vote or not yet born.
…High affluence and new technologies have, DeMuth believes, “led to unhealthy political practices.” Time was, the three basic resources required for effective political action — discretionary time, the ability to acquire and communicate information and persuasion skills — were scarce and possessed only by elites. But in our wealthy and educated society, interest groups can pressure government without being filtered by congressional hierarchies…
Pretend you’re in high school for a minute and let’s have a party. Let’s invite our friends and the kids our age in the neighborhood. We’re going to be careful though and just invite people we know are level headed and won’t make trouble because we don’t want any police calls to the house. Also, we have to limit the number of party goers so that we have enough bratwursts, beverages and party favors for everyone.
Unfortunately, because we’re having the party in our backyard it’s just too easy for party crashers to waltz in and help themselves to our limited number of bratwursts, beverages and party favors so let’s get together a group, oh let’s say a gang of eight of our friends to develop a plan for dealing with the party crashers.
Our little gang of eight friends that we’ll let all the party crashers stay in exchange for a promise that they won’t break any more rules in the future (just because they broke rules to crash the party doesn’t mean they won’t follow our other party rules now that they’re here, right?) and an agreement that we’ll really, truly secure the property to keep any additional party crashers from coming in at some point in the near future (at this point all the party crashers get on their cell phones and tell their buddies not to wait and crash the party before it’s too late).