I really have great trepidation over where we are headed… We are creating a new system here. . . . The center of gravity is shifting, and that makes it unstable. Within that system you have a rise of an uber-presidency. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. And I really think that the Framers would be horrified by that shift.”
George Washington University Law Professor, Dr. Jonathan Turley describing the evolving Executive Branch during the Bush Administration
Andrew’s Note: Many folks I talk with day-to-day forget that this increasing concentration of power in the Executive Branch and the Bureaucracy predate the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. One can only imagine how much potentially tyrannical power our Executive will have in 20 years if we don’t start opposing Executive power expansions and rolling back the extra-Constitutional powers that have already been usurped.
The New York Times reports that last March Henry Chao of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which superintended creation of the HealthCare.gov Web site, told a conference that he had worries: “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.” When such an embarrassing experience occurred, [President] Obama responded like a ruler of a banana republic unfettered by constitutionalism and the rule of law. Although no president has even a line-item veto power (which 44 governors have), this president asserts the power to revise the language of laws by “enforcement discretion,” and suggests no limiting principle.
But even this is a crisis only if Congress makes it so by supine acquiescence. Congressional Democrats are White House poodles. They also are progressives and therefore disposed to favor unfettered executive power.
Journalist David Frost: “Would you say that there are certain situations . . . where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation . . . and do something illegal?”
President Richard M. Nixon: ”Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”
Frost: “By definition.”
Nixon: “Exactly, exactly.”
Andrew’s Note: Sometimes it feels like 1977 all over again…
If you can keep it to a ‘nudge’ maybe it can be beneficial…but nudges can turn into shoves pretty quickly.
Dr. Jerry Ellig, Mercatus Center economist commenting on a new White House program designed at ‘nudging’ people to perform actions or adopt behaviors deemed ‘good’ via Gov’t Knows Best? White House creates ‘nudge squad’ to shape behavior
The art of leadership… consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention.
Andrew’s Note: Never forget that Hitler was an elected leader. Beware any leader that follows Hitler’s advice and uses his or her elevated position to incite devicsiveness, jealousy or hate.
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.
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
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.
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.
We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve gotta have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded [as the U.S. military].
Then Candidate Barack Obama in 2008
I must say, even in my most direst predictions in this [European] parliament over the years over the way the EU bosses were behaving, never did I think that they would, in a completely unprecedented manner, resort to stealing money from people’s bank accounts [referring to the EU proposal that Cyprus seize 6.7 to 9.9% of all deposits in Cypriot banks]… once one country goes, the whole deck of cards will come tumbling down…
The message that sends to people who’ve got savings in banks in those countries, certainly if I was them, is get your money out while you can…
British Politician & Leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage via British Politician’s Warning to Europeans With Cash in the Bank: ‘Get Your Money Out While You Can’ | Video | TheBlaze.com.
Andrew’s Note: This story is rapidly developing and the government of Cyprus has rejected this measure…but the EU’s demand is no less alarming for it’s defeat.
One reason most conservatives are very concerned about universal background checks [for firearms] is that’s the beginning of the end of government controlling every aspect of our lives…
Andrew’s Note: This is a bit longer than the typical Quote of the Day but I thought that it was important to hear from a crime victim, someone with firsthand experience of what it’s like to be at the mercy of a murderous criminal. The author is a survivor of the attack on Columbine High School. Here’s the opinion of a Columbine survivor on gun control and how effective the proposed gun control schemes might be…
As a student who was shot and wounded during the Columbine massacre, I have a few thoughts on the current gun debate. In regards to your gun control initiatives:
Universal Background Checks
First, a universal background check will have many devastating effects. It will arguably have the opposite impact of what you propose. If adopted, criminals will know that they can not pass a background check legally, so they will resort to other avenues. With the conditions being set by this initiative, it will create a large black market for weapons and will support more criminal activity and funnel additional money into the hands of thugs, criminals, and people who will do harm to American citizens.
Second, universal background checks will create a huge bureaucracy that will cost an enormous amount of tax payers dollars and will straddle us with more debt. We cannot afford it now, let alone create another function of government that will have a huge monthly bill attached to it.
Third, is a universal background check system possible without universal gun registration? If so, please define it for us. Universal registration can easily be used for universal confiscation. I am not at all implying that you, sir, would try such a measure, but we do need to think about our actions through the lens of time.
It is not impossible to think that a tyrant, to the likes of Mao, Castro, Che, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and others, could possibly rise to power in America. It could be five, ten, twenty, or one hundred years from now — but future generations have the natural right to protect themselves from tyrannical government just as much as we currently do. It is safe to assume that this liberty that our forefathers secured has been a thorn in the side of would-be tyrants ever since the Second Amendment was adopted.
Ban on Military-Style Assault Weapons
The evidence is very clear pertaining to the inadequacies of the assault weapons ban. It had little to no effect when it was in place from 1994 until 2004. It was during this time that I personally witnessed two fellow students murder twelve of my classmates and one teacher. The assault weapons ban did not deter these two murderers, nor did the other thirty-something laws that they broke.
Gun ownership is at an all time high. And although tragedies like Columbine and Newtown are exploited by ideologues and special-interest lobbying groups, crime is at an all time low. The people have spoken. Gun store shelves have been emptied. Gun shows are breaking attendance records. Gun manufacturers are sold out and back ordered. Shortages on ammo and firearms are countrywide. The American people have spoken and are telling you that our Second Amendment shall not be infringed.
10-Round Limit for Magazines
Virginia Tech was the site of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Seung-Hui Cho used two of the smallest caliber hand guns manufactured and a handful of ten round magazines. There are no substantial facts that prove that limited magazines would make any difference at all.
Second, this is just another law that endangers law-abiding citizens. I’ve heard you ask, “why does someone need 30 bullets to kill a deer?”
Let me ask you this: Why would you prefer criminals to have the ability to out-gun law-abiding citizens? Under this policy, criminals will still have their 30-round magazines, but the average American will not. Whose side are you on?
Lastly, when did they government get into the business of regulating “needs?” This is yet another example of government overreaching and straying from its intended purpose.
Selling to Criminals
Mr. President, these are your words: “And finally, Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job. We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this.”
Why don’t we start with Eric Holder and thoroughly investigate the Fast and Furious program?
Furthermore, the vast majority of these mass murderers bought their weapons legally and jumped through all the hoops — because they were determined to murder. Adding more hoops and red tape will not stop these types of people. It doesn’t now — so what makes you think it will in the future? Criminals who cannot buy guns legally just resort to the black market.
Criminals and murderers will always find a way.
Mr. President, in theory, your initiatives and proposals sound warm and fuzzy — but in reality they are far from what we need. Your initiatives seem to punish law-abiding American citizens and enable the murderers, thugs, and other lowlifes who wish to do harm to others.
Let me be clear: These ideas are the worst possible initiatives if you seriously care about saving lives and also upholding your oath of office. There is no dictate, law, or regulation that will stop bad things from happening — and you know that. Yet you continue to push the rhetoric. Why?
You said, “If we can save just one person it is worth it.” Well here are a few ideas that will save more that one individual:
First, forget all of your current initiatives and 23 purposed executive orders. They will do nothing more than impede law-abiding citizens and breach the intent of the Constitution. Each initiative steals freedom, grants more power to an already-overreaching government, and empowers and enables criminals to run amok.
Second, press Congress to repeal the “Gun Free Zone Act.” Don’t allow America’s teachers and students to be endangered one-day more. These parents and teachers have the natural right to defend themselves and not be looked at as criminals. There is no reason teachers must disarm themselves to perform their jobs. There is also no reason a parent or volunteer should be disarmed when they cross the school line.
This is your chance to correct history and restore liberty. This simple act of restoring freedom will deter would-be murderers and for those who try, they will be met with resistance.
Mr. President, do the right thing, restore freedom, and save lives. Show the American people that you stand with them and not with thugs and criminals.
Severely Concerned Citizen, Evan M. Todd
Think mandatory police inspections of firearms in your home aren’t on the table…think again if you live in Washington State.
You: “Who’s there?”
Deputy Sheriff: “Open Up, deputy sheriff here to inspect your firearms!”
You: “Go away unless you have a warrant!”
Deputy Sheriff: “Sir, failure to comply will land you in jail for up to a year! No warrant is required per State law.”
You: “@#$#%$ $@!#%^%”
…there are an estimated 300,000-400,000 environmental laws, statutes and mandates believed to be in circulation nationally. Many can land a person in prison, regardless of whether another person, plant or animal is harmed.
I have a good friend who I deployed with who was fond of reminding me (and everyone else that would listen) that ‘words matter.’ I took his admonition to heart and have since made a hobby of listening to how our language is evolving and is often manipulated to achieve one political agenda or another. It’s amazing how a little language tweak can hide the complexities of an issue, get folks to ride an emotional wave in a new direction or even stand an argument on its head. What’s particularly troubling is when language is purposefully manipulated to make the abridgement of freedoms more acceptable or reduce self reliance.
I’ve written previously about George Orwell’s admonitions against collectivism and specifically the premise behind what Orwell called ‘Newspeak’ in his classic book 1984. Newspeak was a modification to the language so that ‘Big Brother’ could exert greater control and change the way people think. By modifying the language, Big Brother hoped to eliminate ‘thoughtcrime’ and the drive for freedom.
While we are fortunate enough to live in a society that is still ruled more by law than by man, there is a potential tyranny to such language manipulation and even some language changes made under the cover of ‘political correctness.’ While these manipulations aren’t centralized (as in from Big Brother’s government) in their origin they still represent our own version of Newspeak.
One recent example of this phenomena was when Rep. John Conyers Jr. admonished the House Judiciary Committee: