The Danger Of An Overly Powerful Government

The Founding Fathers attempted to create a government that included checks and balances to prevent one branch of government from becoming too powerful. Unfortunately they did not prepare for a powerful bureaucracy that would do anything it could to protect itself.

In October I posted an article about problems within the Secret Service. Various scandals have been or are being investigated by Congress. The Washington Post posted a story today about the actions taken by some employees of the Secret Service in retaliation for the investigation.

The article reports:

The Secret Service’s assistant director urged that unflattering information the agency had in its files about a congressman critical of the service should be made public, according to a government watchdog report released Wednesday.

“Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Assistant Director Edward Lowery wrote in an e-mail to a fellow director on March 31, commenting on an internal file that was being widely circulated inside the service. “Just to be fair.”

Two days later, a news Web site reported that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, had applied to be a Secret Service agent in 2003 and been rejected.

That information was part of Chaffetz’s personnel file stored in a restricted Secret Service database and required by law to be kept private.

The House Oversight Committee is there to investigate misconduct by government agencies. It is unfortunate that the Secret Service chose to respond to an investigation into their misbehavior in this manner.

The thuggery that one associates with Chicago politics has been given free rein in Washington since the Obama Administration came to town. We have a chance to change the culture in Washington in 2016. Our freedom is at stake.

More Thuggery In The Obama Administration

Anyone who even tries to look into the activities of the Obama Administration can expect some sort of retaliation or intimidation. We have seen that pattern in the six years of this administration. The Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service, to name two, are among the agencies used by the government to silence dissent, intimidate any opposition, or sidetrack investigations into corruption. Recently there has been a new example.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a recent leak from the Secret Service that House Oversight chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) had been rejected when he attempted to join the Secret Service. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and acting Secret Service chief Joseph Clancy have both apologized for the leak, but that doesn’t change the fact that the leak occurred. I am sure that the fact that Representative Chaffetz is investigating the Secret Service for its recent failures has nothing to do with the leak. Yeah, right.

The article reports:

Senior staffers for a House committee overseeing the Secret Service have asked the Obama administration to investigate complaints that agency employees circulated private personnel information revealing that the panel’s chairman was once rejected for a job as an agent, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The committee staff referred the issue Thursday to the Department of Homeland Security after receiving whistleblower complaints that Secret Service staff at agency headquarters had circulated potentially unflattering information about Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). He has been an outspoken critic of Secret Service managers after a string of security lapses.

Chicago politics has truly come to Washington.

Even the Democrats are beginning to be embarrassed. The article reports:

“I won’t be intimidated, but I’m sure that’s what it’s intended to do,” [Chaffetz] said.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking Democratic member of the committee, called the allegations “disturbing” and agreed with Johnson that they must be thoroughly investigated.

“If that’s true, I find it appalling,” Cummings said. “There is absolutely no room for this kind of activity in the Secret Service… If true, it simply continues to erode the credibility of one of our most important agencies.”

If this sort of behavior continues, we will become a banana republic. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has already refused to let Secret Service members testify before the Committee investigating them (makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?).

Congress needs to develop some backbone and stand up to the bullying and intimidation tactics of the Obama Administration. It sounds as if Representative Chaffetz is willing to do just that.

Someone Finally Takes Responsibility

Fox News reported yesterday that Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned. Her resignation comes after a number of security breaches have been made public.

The article reports:

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced the resignation in a written statement, and the White House confirmed her decision shortly afterward. President Obama “concluded new leadership of that agency was required,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Johnson said: “Today Julia Pierson, the Director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it. I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation.”

A source familiar with the situation told Fox News that Johnson told Pierson the resignation would be effective immediately, after she offered.

The fact that an intruder was able to enter the White House is troubling. Many of us, myself included, have home security systems that would prevent that–not to mention the simple step of locking the doors.

It is time to take another look at the entire Homeland Security Department.  As is historically typical of government agencies, it has grown very large and very inefficient. It is time to streamline the department and separate it into manageable entities. I am sure there would also be some financial savings in that reorganization.

Abuse Of Power As A Way Of Life

Yesterday the Examiner posted an interview with Tom Francois. “Who is Tom Francois?” you ask. Tom Francois is a carpenter who has been making cabinets for 38 years. When his business declined during the Obama recession, Mr. Francois began making twitter and facebook posts critical of the Obama Administration. That’s not all that unusual–I’m not on twitter, but there are a lot of people on facebook who are not fond of President Obama. To be fair, there are also a lot of people who like the President and think he is doing a good job.

However, the Secret Service chose to visit Mr. Francois. They also visited his daughter and ex-wife.

The article reports:

In an exclusive interview with the Examiner, Tom Francois said that the Secret Service acknowledged that there was no threat, but were concerned over Tom’s ‘large Twitter following.’ The bizarre rationale leads one to believe that Tom must be holding something back. But in speaking with this gentleman personally, he comes across as an articulate and rational person who simply dared to voice his outrage about the Obama administration over social media.

…The Secret Service agents asked Tom about his weapons, and whether they were loaded. This law-abiding gun owner was then delivered a thinly veiled threat that they might be taken in the future. The agents told Tom that they would hand over his ‘file’ to Eric Holder. Tom said, ‘I have been critical of Holder, as well!’

Please note that the story says that the Secret Service acknowledged that there was no threat. Then why were they visiting this person and talking about taking his guns away? I have no problem with the Secret Service following up on a possible threat, but this is simply harassing political opposition–similar to the misuse of the IRS.

This is simply wrong. So what is the solution? We have an election next year. The only way to stop this sort of abuse of power is to elect people who will hold the Obama Administration accountable. Any Democrat who does not protest this behavior should be resoundingly voted out of office. That is the only way this behavior will be stopped.

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It’s Hard To Be A Successful Liar In The Internet World

One of the side effects of the Internet is that it is very easy to check to see what people have said in the past and it is also relatively easy to find people who have knowledge of specific situations. It is also very easy for people who have knowledge of specific situations to share their knowledge with the public.

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article quoting Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino on the cancellation of the White House tours. “The president’s absolutely not telling the truth when he said the Secret Service made that decision to cut [the White House] tours,” Bongino said. “That’s the core of it: he is not telling the truth.”

The article reports:

“The Secret Service does not make political decisions,” Bongino said. “The Secret Service makes security decisions. His statement that it was a Secret Service decision internal budget decision–and keep in mind, I’m not speaking for the Secret Service, I’m speaking from experience of being with them. All he’d have to do is cancel one or two of his political trips and his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, which two years ago I was on and helped coordinate, he would save that money times ten. There was just no way this was a sound decision. To insinuate this is the first administration where the White House social office and the Executive Office of the President had no role in cancelling public tours at the White House, that he was the first president who was left out of the decision, is absolute nonsense.”

President Obama is rapidly destroying any credibility that he might have had when he took office. It is a small lie, but it is a lie. It would be nice if President Obama would at least admit that he made the decision.Enhanced by Zemanta

About Those Budget Cuts…

Yesterday I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about the three White House calligraphers with a total salary of $277,050. Their jobs are not impacted in any way by the sequester budget cuts. Today White House Dossier is reporting that stopping tours of the White House saves about $18,000 per week.

The article reports:

ABC calculates that the White House is open for visits for about 20 hours per week and the tours require around 30 Secret Service agents at $30 per hour.

ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who filed the report, ran into House Speaker John Boehner on Capitol Hill. Boehner commented, “We’re open.”

Does anyone doubt that the choice of where to make these budget cuts is political?

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Playing Games With Taxpayer Money

No, this isn’t about the Secret Service scandal or the GSA scandal–it’s about using taxpayer money intended for other things to prevent voters from feeling the impact of Obamacare and voting against President Obama because of it.

Yesterday’s New York Post posted a story about how some of the money intended to implement Obamacare is being spent.

The article states:

It’s hard to imagine a bigger electoral disaster for a president than seniors in crucial states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio discovering that he’s taken away their beloved Medicare Advantage just weeks before an election.

This political ticking time bomb could become the biggest “October Surprise” in US political history.

But the administration’s devised a way to postpone the pain one more year, getting Obama past his last election; it plans to spend $8 billion to temporarily restore Medicare Advantage funds so that seniors in key markets don’t lose their trusted insurance program in the middle of Obama’s re-election bid.

The money is to come from funds that Health and Human Services is allowed to use for “demonstration projects.” But to make it legal, HHS has to pretend that it’s doing an “experiment” to study the effect of this money on the insurance market.

That is, to “study” what happens when the government doesn’t change anything but merely continues a program that’s been going on for years.

Obama can temporarily prop up Medicare Advantage long enough to get re-elected by exploiting an obscure bit of federal law. Under a 1967 statute, the HHS secretary can spend money without specific approval by Congress on “experiments” directly aimed at “increasing the efficiency and economy of health services.”

I think this should be included on the list of reasons why the federal budget needs to be cut drastically. The taxpayers’ money is being spent irresponsibly, and we need to make sure Washington has less money to spend.

 

 
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There Really Is A Double Standard

 

Nugent in concert in Naples, Italy, June 1, 2004

Nugent in concert in Naples, Italy, June 1, 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the recent comments by Ted Nugent which have resulted in his being asked to have a chat with the Secret Service. Ted Nugent is a bit outrageous in style in anything he does, and his political speeches tend to be direct and somewhat colorful. The Secret Service is concerned (lately, it seems to me, they have more important things to be concerned about).

The article reports:

Attempting to rally fellow NRA members already agitated by the administration’s push for gun control and its disregard for life and law in Operation Fast and Furious, Nugent told fellow Second Amendment devotees that “we are patriots, we are ‘Braveheart.'” He also said, “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

Maybe I just don’t understand how things work, but I don’t think that means he will be riding a horse down Pennsylvania Avenue in November.

The article reminds of us some recent statements by those on the left side of the political spectrum:

Did anyone in the liberal universe or administration take note when Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said at Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tenn., Saturday that “people tomorrow, maybe in a few days, are gonna kill their leaders who’ve been selling them out”?

The Justice Department threw out the case against the New Black Panthers who actually were intimidating voters in Philadelphia with real billy clubs. Why are they so concerned about Ted Nugent’s words. He is a rather flamboyant character to begin with and expresses his political ideas and philosophy in his own style. It would be very interesting to be a fly on the wall when the ‘chat’ with the Secret Service occurs.

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Exploiting The Office Of The American Presidency

Martha's Vineyard - Massachusetts

Martha's Vineyard - Massachusetts (Photo credit: Dougtone)

We hear a lot of attacks on the rich these days–they are accused of not paying their fair share of taxes, of being uncaring, and of just generally being bad people. It’s just awful that we have to live with them. However, I would like to point out a few things about the rich men who recently held the office of American President. When George Bush was President, he gave up golf while our soldiers were overseas fighting–he just felt that it was not appropriate for him to be on the golf course when soldiers were dying overseas. When George Bush went on vacation, he went to his ranch in Texas or his father’s house in Maine. What happens when we elect a President who grew up in the Middle Class? When President Clinton and President Obama were in office, the taxpayers paid for extravagant vacations on Martha’s Vineyard. During the Obama Presidency, taxpayers have financed expensive Hawaiian vacations, vacations in Spain for the first lady, ski vacations for the first lady, and now spring break in Mexico for Malia. Nevermind that Americans are still struggling financially and can’t afford vacations–off they go!

It does seem that the Obama Administration is becoming aware that this is a public relations problem.

Big Government reports:

An AFP story, linked at the Huffington Post and elsewhere, reported on Malia Obama’s visit to Mexico despite a Texas public safety warning, she’s reportedly accompanied by 12 friends and 25 Secret Service agents. The Huffington Post story link now directs to the main page and the AFP item is fast disappearing from view. 

The Yahoo News link now diverts to a completely different story, in contrast to the url: http://news.yahoo.com/obamas-daughter-spends-springbreak-mexico-145031176.html. The headline now reads: Senegal music star Youssou Ndour hits campaign trail.

The story was also reported in the International Business Times, but is no longer there. Aside from the cost of the trip, the fact that the warning was ignored is troubling. Malia is thirteen years old. I realize that 25 Secret Service agents provide serious security, but there is no insurance against being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a parent, I know that even if they were traveling in a tank with an armed platoon as an escort, I would not allow any of my daughters to ignore a travel advisory.

It’s a shame that the President and his family believe that travel advisories and economic restraint in choosing vacations simply don’t apply to them.

UPDATE:

A website called media bistro is reporting the following:

Politico reports several websites have scrubbed stories about the trip from their websites after being asked to do so. A White House spokesperson says:

From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.

This is ridiculous. The taxpayers are paying for the vacation and the secret service protection. There is a vital interest–the President is sending his daughter to a place with a travel advisory and possibly putting members of the secret service at unnecessary risk in the process. If the President’s daughter had chosen to go to Florida or any place but Mexico, the story would not have been news.

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Sometimes The Double Standard Is Just Obvious

 
South Lawn of the White House

Image via Wikipedia

I started this blog in 2008 during the Presidential primary campaign. I started it so that I wouldn’t throw shoes at the television set when I was watching the news. It seemed as if there was a lot of basic information I knew from the Internet and talk radio that the major media just wasn’t reporting. I also knew from some events I had attended in the past that even when an event was reported, the report might not accurately reflect what had actually happened. Well, I am back there again.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reported today on the smoke bomb that protesters threw over the fence at the White House. This is not getting a lot a play in the media. Jonah Goldberg pointed out, “Remember when the Tea Party threw smoke bombs at the White House?  Me neither.” Had the Tea Party done anything remotely like this, it would have made Page One of all the major newspapers.

The article at Hot Air states:

The crowds were dispersed Tuesday night and the White House was all clear. U.S. Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie says there were no arrests in the incident.

This is a serious matter. Throwing any sort of bomb on the White House lawn should result in an arrest. You can get arrested for littering–shouldn’t you get arrested for throwing a smoke bomb at the White House?

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The Dangers Of Telling The Truth

On Wednesday the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that the Secret Service had paid a visit to Bill Looman, the owner of U. S. Cranes, LLC.

The article reports:

A Waco, Ga., businessman has stirred up a load of controversy due to signs he posted on his company’s trucks that say: “New Company Policy: We are not hiring until Obama is gone,” reports Atlanta Business Chronicle broadcast partner WXIA-TV.

When Mr. Looman was asked why he was not hiring, he stated, “Can’t afford it.” Someone reported him as a threat to national security, and the secret service paid him a visit. The signs have been on his trucks for six months, but the pictures of them he posted on the internet went viral this week. Unfortunately, he represents the realities of doing business in America under the Obama administration.

According the Mr. Looman, the visit from the Secret Service seemed to end on a positive note. Mr. Looman is a former Marine who served ten years in the corps, and I am sure the Secret Service realized very quickly that his honesty was not a threat to national security.

Mr. Looman stated that he does not plan to take the signs down.

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