Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"I Am A Born-Free American" 

Today the House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony from Americans victimized by the heavy-handed tactics of the IRS. One of the most moving statements came from Becky Gerritson,president of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama. This excerpt of her remarks should be read by every American who cares about preserving our liberties: 

"In Wetumpka, we are patriotic Americans; we peacefully assemble; we petition our government; we exercise our right to free speech. We don't understand why the government tried to stop us. 

"I'm not here as a serf or a vassal. I'm not begging my lord for mercy. I'm a born-free American woman, wife, mother, and citizen, and I'm telling my government that you've forgotten your place. …

"I'm not interested in scoring political points. I want to preserve and protect the America that I grew up in. The America that people crossed oceans and risked their lives to become a part of, and I'm terrified it's slipping away."

That is a powerful statement. I am sure Mrs. Gerritson was speaking rhetorically when she said she did not understand why the government tried to stop the Wetumpka Tea Party. The bureaucratic defenders of Big Government were trying to punish Tea Party conservatives and prevent them from fighting the march toward socialism! 

The committee also heard from John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Eastman claimed that the IRS had leaked confidential information about NOMs donors, which turned up on the website of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest homosexual rights lobbying group.

Asked by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) whether he could prove that charge, Eastman said that NOM had hired forensic specialists who were able to determine that "the original document that was posted [online] had originated from within the IRS" due to "internal IRS stamps." 

Unbelievably, the IRS is refusing to acknowledge it has even investigated this leak of confidential tax information. According to Mr. Eastman, the IRS is claiming that "the same statute which prohibits the disclosure of a taxpayer's confidential tax return information prevents any disclosure of the culprit of that felony." 

The IRS scandal is gaining traction and is now breaking into the popular culture. It is never good news for any administration when it becomes the butt of jokes by late-night comedians. Last night Jay Leno got thunderous applause when he said: 

"President Obama says he's renewing his efforts to close Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo Bay? How about closing the IRS? Why don't we do that? …How about shipping the IRS to Guantanamo Bay?"

Obama's Shadow Government 

When Barack Obama took office in 2009, he promised his administration would be "the most open and transparent in history." In fact, his administration has proven to be anything but open and transparent. You don't have to take my word for it. 

Katherine Meyer is a Washington, D.C., lawyer who specializes in Freedom of Information Act law. Here's what she said last year about Obama's transparency pledge: 

"Obama is the sixth administration that's been in office since I've been doing Freedom of Information Act work. …It's kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There's just no question about it. This administration is raising one barrier after another. …It's gotten to the point where I'm stunned -- I'm really stunned."

As James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." While we trust government to protect our rights, it is also necessary to police the government. And because men are not angels, transparency in government is an essential element to prevent abuse and corruption. 

With that in mind, there is news today that may become yet another scandal for the already scandal-plagued Obama Administration. We have known that former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was using secret email accounts and even had one with the alias "Richard Windsor." According to the Associated Press the practice is relatively widespread throughout the Obama Administration. 

The Associated Press has tried for months to obtain email addresses for political appointees at various federal agencies. The Labor Department demanded more than $1 million for searching thousands of records. 

The Interior Department, for example, provided a list of 100 addresses, but not one for former Secretary Ken Salazar. A spokesman would not disclose Salazar's address and suggested the AP file a Freedom of Information Request. But as we know the administration has made that a very tortuous and time-consuming process.

The problem with this gross lack of transparency is obvious. How do you police a shadow government? 

As the AP notes, there are "laws requiring that most federal records be preserved." That way, when Congress is trying to investigate abuse and corruption -- like the IRS' targeting of the administration's political opponents -- it knows where to look. But if top political appointees and cabinet secretaries are using secret accounts or fake names, it makes investigations virtually impossible. 

Fort Hood Killer To Confront Wounded Soldiers 

In 2009, Major Nidal Hasan burst into a medical building at Fort Hood, Texas, and murdered 14 individuals as he yelled, "Allahu Akbar!" For three years, left-wing political correctness has tied the court in knots. 

Yesterday the judge dispensed with another of Hasan's delaying tactics after ruling he could defend himself. But victims and legal experts predict Hasan will simply abuse this right, using his time in court as a platform for jihadist tirades, just as Zacarias Moussaoui did at his trial. One expert predicted, "He's hoping to inspire other would-be jihadists [who] are in our nation." Under the ruling, Hasan will even be able to cross-examine the very soldiers he tried to murder! 

Hasan's trial has been one travesty of justice after another. Believe it or not, his trial has been delayed over his beard. And while we are still paying Hasan's salary, the victims have been denied Purple Hearts and needed medical treatments because this administration has classified his attack as "workplace violence." 

In contrast, two four-man teams of German saboteurs were arrested on U.S. soil in late June 1942. They were tried in a military tribunal in Washington, D.C. Six of them were executed six weeks later. That is how a serious country deals with its enemies.