Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Is U.S. Now on a Slippery Slope to Tyranny?
By THOMAS SOWELL
When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.
Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler's rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.
"Useful idiots" was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.
Put differently, a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive.
In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.
The president's poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies.
Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.
And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Many among the public and in the media may think that the issue is simply whether BP's oil spill has damaged many people, who ought to be compensated.
But our government is supposed to be "a government of laws and not of men."
If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion — or $50 billion or $100 billion — then so be it.
But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without "due process of law."
Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.
With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.
If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don't believe in constitutional government.
And, without constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a "crisis" — which, as the president's chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to "go to waste" as an opportunity to expand the government's power.
That power will of course not be confined to BP or to the particular period of crisis that gave rise to the use of that power, much less to the particular issues.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt arbitrarily took the United States off the gold standard, he cited a law passed during the First World War to prevent trading with the country's wartime enemies. But there was no war when FDR ended the gold standard's restrictions on the printing of money.
At about the same time, during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law "for the relief of the German people."
That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people — indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others.
If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.
The man appointed by President Obama to dispense BP's money as the administration sees fit, to whomever it sees fit, is only the latest in a long line of presidentially appointed "czars" controlling different parts of the economy, without even having to be confirmed by the Senate, as Cabinet members are.
Those who cannot see beyond the immediate events to the issues of arbitrary power — vs. the rule of law and the preservation of freedom — are the "useful idiots" of our time. But useful to whom?
Confessions of a Tea Party Consultant
I am not sure how much of the article excerpted below is fact and how much is fantasy but I rate the fantasy component as fairly high, possibly 100%. The article does come from a fantasy source -- JR
Everything I know about being a good consultant comes from Fight Club. Discretion is everything. Rule number one is you don’t talk about consulting for the Tea Party. Rule number two is you don’t talk about consulting for the Tea Party. The story about the wild characters who are shaping this campaign cycle is worth telling, but please excuse my anonymity.
I hold as many meetings as possible over Tanqueray and tonics at the St. Regis hotel on K Street in Washington, D.C. The bar is dark and private, with comfortable couches. Even the gin tastes better there. On weekday afternoons the only people in the bar are foreigners and political consultants long past caring about who actually wins.
"You’re going to see something spectacular," an old friend who has a knack for black-bag operations said as he proudly downed his vodka. "About a month from now you’ll see ACORN explode from within." Right on schedule a video was released that showed undercover conservative activists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles getting advice from employees at the Baltimore office of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now on how to smuggle underage El Salvadoran girls into a fictitious brothel.
That’s when I realized this isn’t an average fringe movement. This one is credible, legit and—for the first time in a decade—scaring the crap out of the left. In my years as a campaign hack and then as a consultant, I’ve created more than my share of fake grassroots organizations. Some were downright evil but effective beyond expectations. Did you get an automated call from the sister of a 9/11 victim asking you to reelect President Bush in 2004? That was me. Did you get a piece of mail with the phrase supports abortion on demand as a means of birth control? That may have been me too.
Conservatives had been trying to take down ACORN for three decades. Where they failed, BigGovernment.com and my friends succeeded. In one magnificent explosion, a loose group of troublemakers, libertarians and Republicans took its first scalp. Sonja Merchant-Jones, former co-chair of ACORN’s Maryland chapter, told The New York Times in March, "That 20-minute video ruined 40 years of good work."
The ACORN blood tasted good. Shortly after, a core group of about 30 of us convened for the first time. It was the kind of conference call during which no one, except the handful with nothing to lose, offered last names. But it didn’t matter. I’d been around long enough to know many of the people by voice. Most of our talk was devoted to rants about the K Street lobbyists who are ruining the GOP. There I sat, in the quiet corner of a coffee shop on K Street, listening to a conference call beating the shit out of the people who keep me in business.
The cynical among us think it’s a group of peasants with pitchforks controlled by an underground cabal of Glenn Beck, wealthy donors and the guys who killed JFK. But the worst thing I can say about the Tea Party I work for is that it can make lots of noise but can’t win without professional help. I love the irony of helping run this organization from the St. Regis Bar.
This cause is worthier and more real than anything I’ve done in the past. I’m all in. When I met the colorful characters behind the organization, I was really all in. None of them were prom king, none went to college east of the Appalachians (even the Jews), and a lot of them smoke a pack a day just because they’re not supposed to. Unlike most of the tired, airbrushed conservatives living in D.C., the homegrown activists I work with are the real deal. They may not read much, but they all know their Ayn Rand. Backcountry rubes they are not. They have tattoos, even tramp stamps. My favorite is on Katie O’Malley, the executive director of Ensuring Liberty Corporation: Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1911–2004.
I get out of Washington whenever possible, especially during tourist season. In late spring I visited a Tea Party rally in suburban St. Louis. It was what you would imagine: angst-ridden Caucasians sitting in lawn chairs with signs such as My daughter is nine and already $41,000 in debt. It was not an angry crowd, and in all candor I never heard a racist word uttered.
The speeches went on for hours. The sun was shining. It was the kind of day when you could take a nap under a tree. The organizer had personally delivered about a thousand activists. It was her big day. Two hours into the speeches she sat down on the warm grass next to me at the back of the rally and said, "This is the perfect day. Now all I need is a joint." That tells you everything you need to know about my friends.
We are tremendously plugged in to BigGovernment.com and its stable of writers. Our news cycle is measured in minutes, not days. Combine the DNA of a flash mob, a news addict and a conservative who feels betrayed by the spending excesses of George W. Bush, sprinkle in some anxiety and you’ve got my people.
The campaign plan for one of the organizations I help uses the phrase black arts when talking about how we’ll win in the fall. It’s not a document filled with dirty tricks but a plan to create a nonprofit organization called Ensuring Liberty Corporation. It uses unconventional methods to get our message out and support grassroots conservatives: "Ensuring Liberty’s relationships run deep into the new media and use of cloud computing and innovation along with the black arts of campaign management.
That is not to say that [we] will undertake actions that contravene any legal or ethical principles; however, the use of surprise, investigative journalism and other key experience will allow for rapid deployment of strategies that many candidates simply do not understand or take advantage of during their actual election campaign."
Of course, the Tea Party is not as cohesive as anyone thinks. It’s not a party or even an organization. You have to understand the state of the Republican Party to understand how there can still be oxygen in the room for the Tea Party. Bush mangled the GOP brand into a grotesque form that conservatives haven’t recognized in five years.
Conservatives now live in the political-party equivalent of Mad Max. Law and order inside the Republican Party has deteriorated, leaving regional warlords to scavenge over what’s left. The trouble is that some of the regional warlords are nuts or crooks. Among the better-known scavengers is Eric Odom’s Tea Party-related PAC, Liberty First, which I believe will be able to raise and spend millions this fall.
Is Planned Parenthood just another crooked "charity" that exists mainly for the benefit of those who run it?
A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on federal tax money funneled into Planned Parenthood and similar organizations raises more questions than it answers about the nation's largest abortion chain.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America's (PPFA) audits show the organization spent just $657.1 million between 2002 and 2008 from federal government grants and programs, but the abortion behemoth's own annual reports show that it took in $2.3 billion from government grants and programs during the same time period.
That's not pocket change. Why the discrepancy?
The report (the first of its kind since 2002) was released in response to a request from 31 U.S. senators and representatives and in an atmosphere increasingly hostile to abortion. Not surprisingly. then, its findings are fueling an escalating outcry to defund Planned Parenthood.
Since 2009, at least five nationwide polls have confirmed that a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life.
Someone, then, needs to explain to all those people why $2.3 billion in tax dollars have been doled out to an organization that admits to systematically having killed more than 1.8 million pre-born babies between 2002 and 2008 and then reports it only spent $657.1 million in federal dollars.
Democrats afraid to face a financial reckoning: "House Democrats will not pass a budget blueprint in 2010, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will confirm in a speech on Tuesday. But Hoyer will vow to crack down on government spending, saying Democrats will enforce spending limits that are lower than what President Barack Obama has called for. In the scheduled address to the progressive think tank The Third Way, Hoyer will acknowledge that the lower chamber will do things differently this election year. The House has never failed to pass an annual budget resolution since the current budget rules were put into place in 1974."
On how to really solve Britain's economic problems: "I think we’re all aware of what we really need to do to get out from under our current economics woes, yes? We need to cut spending, but not so much that we crater the economy while doing so. We also need to grow the economy so that the debt burden is a percentage of a larger economy: and thus easier to bear/pay off. I don’t think there’s anyone at all who would disagree with that little thumbnail sketch, from the most dedicated Keynesian to the most ferociously Austrian of my colleagues. There will be disagreement about what ‘too much’ means in reference to cutting spending of course, but the two basic points aren’t, I think, argued about by anyone. So, I argue that we leave the EU and adopt unilateral free trade as a solution.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 11:08 PM