Dysfunctional, unaccountable government
June 14, 2013
Recent government scandals, going as far back as last year, have revealed that we have a dysfunctional federal government, an atmosphere of deception and lack of accountability where non-supervision has become the accepted norm. The rule of law is ignored, and no one seems to be accountable. Examples from the past few months demonstrate how an ever-expanding unsupervised government can get so out of control.
Americans were misled for more than 10 months about "Fast and Furious," the controversial gun-walking operation by Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in which ATF lost track of 1,700 guns. The operation resulted in the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry, and many guns appeared in a variety of crime scenes. The Justice Department was given countless warnings and yet did nothing to stop it. Attorney General Eric Holder stated he wasn't aware of the operation. A top justice official plead the Fifth Amendment when he was subpoenaed, a significant indictment of the department's integrity. President Obama finally issued an executive order to prevent more Congressionally subpoenaed material from coming to light, avoiding more embarrassment and preventing any criminal charges. Will we ever find out who was responsible, and will there be justice for Brian Terry and his family?
On September 11, 2012, the attack in Benghazi was followed by nine months of stonewalling. The American people and Congress still have unanswered questions: Why was Ambassador Stevens denied extra protection? Why was nothing done while the compound was under attack? Who denied air cover and told Special Forces to stand down? Why were the talking points edited? Why isn't anyone being prosecuted? It appears the administration wanted us to forget, as Press Secretary Jay Carney stated during a press conference about Benghazi, "That was a long time ago." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated in her Congressional testimony, "What difference at this point does it make?"
It makes a lot of difference! Americans want justice for four dead Americans who gave up their lives in service of their country. We can surmise that no one was paying attention to a volatile situation. Those in charge acted as bystanders, and when caught off guard, key players decided to deflect blame. Inexplicably, the president decided to travel to Las Vegas for a campaign rally rather than monitor events.
Citizens guilty of no crime are running into the coercive power of the state, and the principle that only criminals should fear government power is no longer the case.
The most egregious situation is the abuse of power by the IRS, harassing and hindering conservative groups as well as religious and pro-Israel groups. No matter what political party you are affiliated with, this is a dangerous path for our country. This type of intimidation and fear tactics are something we expect to see in communist countries. The president stated that he was not aware the Tea Party and other groups were targeted; however, by his history of rhetoric and rancor toward political opponents, is it a wonder that some in the IRS might not be following his lead? He was quoted as saying at one event, "…punish your enemies and reward your friends." Tea Party groups waited as long as 27 months to get their 501-C4 status approved (if it ever was), hampering fundraising and suppressing their free speech. Lois Lerner, the person who was in charge of the IRS tax exempt operation, plead the fifth at a recent Congressional hearing. The administration must have felt she was doing a good job as she was rewarded with bonuses and appointed to direct implementation of Obamacare. Since taking the fifth, she has refused to resign and been put on paid administrative leave. An alarming thought is that this powerful agency will have access to every aspect of our lives as they are charged with managing Obamacare.
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The Justice Department's secret seizure of months of AP records as well as individual reporters' records raises immediate concerns and questions about the aggression the administration is taking to capture reporter-source conversations, some having nothing to do with the lead investigation.
The more power government has, the more it seems to abuse it. The more money it spends, the more it demands. As dysfunction and corruption grow, so does our inability to control it. Citizens guilty of no crime are running into the coercive power of the state, and the principle that only criminals should fear government power is no longer the case.
Our freedoms are slowly eroding away and this will continue if Americans don't start demanding a transparent functional government responsible to the people it serves. Apathy has killed many nations and societies. Will we be next?
Nancy Brost lives in Nevada City.
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