Margaret's Musings: The rule of law?
You never know what might come across your path. On a recent trip to visit family and friends these are some of the statements that were made: "The Koch Brothers are evil. They are Nazis."; "Our government is two hundred years old. It will collapse and something else will take its place."; "Capitalism is an evil and corrupt system."; "The market will collapse and changes in the system by Greenspan are the reason."; "You can't say God anymore."
Only the person making the last statement expressed any concern about the recent scandals, IRS, Benghazi, DOJ targeting the free press, National Labor Relations Board, Organizing for Action, HHS secretary soliciting private funds from those she regulates or selective application of EPA fines and fake employees.
Some of you might think I would be overjoyed at the recent developments, many of which I have already touched on in previous columns. My reaction is one of sadness really. The revelations should be chilling to every person in America. Transparency, the rule of law, freedom of speech and the truth are all under attack and apparently meaningless to those in Washington including the administration and some members of Congress.
Benghazi: Oh my, if you can't call it a lie, what is it? What about the U.S. spending $70,000 to air public service announcement ads on Pakistani television featuring President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton denouncing the "video" that sparked the riot?
IRS: History shows this practice is not uncommon, with previous administrations of both parties attempting to target opponents. However, this time is different. For the first time the agency specifically targeted a large section of the population, not specific individuals, as was the case in Nixon's abuse. The fact that some of these groups and individuals were targeted by more than one agency indicates a coordinated interagency effort. Salt in the wound includes the post-dating of an application by President Obama's half-brother Malik Obama and approval in 28 days by none other than Lois Lerner herself for his Barack H. Obama Foundation, named for his father, not the president.
DOJ: Maybe now, the mainstream media might temper their love affair with the president. Or they will claim the threat of criminalizing what is a common practice is okay because it was a reporter from a network that has received utter scorn from Obama. More likely, it is that if the leaks are in the best interest of the administration (some even leaked by them) it is okay. Otherwise?
NRLB: Even though it has been ruled that President Obama's recess appointments were illegal earlier this year, they have carried on with business as usual. This month a second court agreed that the appointments were unconstitutional and that all actions taken by the board since they were originally appointed in January of 2012 are null and void.
OFA: Last time I wrote about this, the organization claimed it would name every donor giving over $250 dollars in a good faith effort for transparency even though it is not required by law. The ink was barely dry on that column before it was announced they would not be doing that.
Health Care Reform: It was announced in April that the department of HHS would pay public relations firm Weber Shandwick eight million dollars (of your money) to promote enrollment in Obamacare's exchanges. More recently the HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has taken to soliciting private money on behalf of Enroll America. According to the group's website is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to maximize the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act.
EPA: When Lisa Jackson left as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, she left in her wake an ocean of new regulations which did nothing to help job creation. This week it was revealed, that her email alias, Richard Windsor, which was created, in my opinion so vital communication could be hidden, was certified by EPA for three years running as a "scholar of ethical behavior." The jokes on all of us. Citizens and rule of law be "damned." Regulation is one sure way around the system of checks and balances set up by the founding fathers. The use of secret email addresses to do business is not limited to Lisa Jackson. The Associated Press, using the Freedom of Information Act, has requested emails from ten other agencies and at one point the Labor Department responded that they would have to pay $1 million dollars for their list of email addresses.
As to the pesky idea that laws should apply to all violators: The Associated Press reported that the administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing a bird." An estimated 573,000 birds were killed last year in the U.S. by wind turbines, the AP reported. About 83,000 of those were estimated to have been raptors." The reported continued; "each death is federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law."
We truly need to get our heads out of the sand and continue to talk, share and help inform. All of the people making the statements I opened my column with agreed on one thing: the system is broke and being abused by those in power. We cannot tolerate the rule of law being selectively applied.
In a speech near the start of his first term President Barack Obama clearly stated his commitment to transparency and following the rule of law. Apparently he and members of his administration have a different definition of those two basics tenents of governing.
I leave you with a few quotes by Thomas Jefferson.
"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."
"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."
"To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
"The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."