Friday, October 25, 2013

Concerns, Part II

We started this two-part post about concerns, in Part I, with a look at The Book Thief, a novel about a young girl in Nazi Germany in the early 1940s. The main questions we’re looking at are:
How does a free, civilized people become subject, in a rather short time-frame, to undeniable tyranny? And how many in the population are willing to submit before even the unwilling are also subjected?
Today we’re looking at America, present day, concerned about what's happening, because we ought to know better.
* The other day I referred to a Bill Whittle Afterburner video. About halfway through, Whittle says this:
Now, some people have said that Obama is being petty and adolescent by deploying the new gestapo, that Smoky the Bear hat wearing National Park Service, as his primary weapon in making things hurt for the American people. It’s not just barricades erected by supposedly furloughed rangers in order to keep the American patriots that kept this country free from freely walking through the monuments erected to their dead friends and to they themselves. It’s things like keeping people on buses to keep them from even taking photographs of the national parks that we the people, not King Obama, actually own. It’s things like removing the handles from taps on hiking trails so that people can’t get a drink, and a list of shameful, shocking, eye-opening jackboot tactics to make sure his pain is felt—not allow it to be felt, but to make it be felt—goes on and on and on. And of all the things I’ve seen that have worried, depressed, and angered me since this hope and change huckster came to the Oval Office, nothing has disgusted and worried me so much as the willingness, the ease—in fact, in many cases the relish and the joy—at which formerly innocuous seeming people like park rangers have taken to kicking the American people in the groin. I will never forget this—not ever. And while I used to wonder where a dictator’s private army would come from among formerly free people—well, I wonder no more.
That use of regular, friendly neighborhood park rangers—who are willing to do as they’re told when they’re asked to do something obviously wrong—is disturbing. It’s a concern. No panic yet. We’re not expecting park rangers to beat any of us for sharing bread with a hungry stranger. But how far would they go, just doing what they’re told, before saying, “No, I won’t do that?” We don’t know.
photo from here
* Here’s another story that is cause for concern. Police took a flag from a veteran during a visit to the WWII Memorial. It looks like the veteran carrying the flag was in a wheelchair. But was he waving it, possibly risking hitting those around him? According to this report, no: he wasn’t doing anything but holding it. So police, who in pretty much my whole lifetime, have been considered the friend of law-abiding citizens, look here like recruits of an anti-freedom tyrannical overlord. At this point just the DC park police, and maybe only some specific bad apple. Still, cause for concern, though not yet panic.
* Here’s yet another puzzling piece: Veterans are being told that someone who doesn’t know them, some unknown Veterans Administration government bureaucrat, will determine their mental/emotional/physical competence. If this stranger determines you are not competent, you may be deprived of your ability to make your own financial decisions, and/or you may no longer have your second amendment right to own/purchase/use guns and ammo. The link will lead you do an actual letter sample. There have been thousands sent out. Some of the recipients can guess that it is because they sought help for PTSD, or temporary depression, or something else they sought help coping with. But these aren’t individuals who consider their problem disabling—or even still currently relevant. And many recipients can’t identify any conceivable reason for the notice. Their being a veteran seems to be the only contributing factor.
I know you can’t always believe everything you find on the internet (even here, despite my efforts at finding and revealing truth). But when I look at this story, it appears credible. The piece is written by Michael Connelly, Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation, who writes a blog and teaches on constitutional issues. At this point I haven’t evaluated the reliability of the story. But if it is true, and it’s kept quiet so we aren't told elsewhere, this is more than just a minor concern. It’s the kind of thing a conspiracy theorist would come up with: government is determined to disarm the very citizens best trained and experienced in defense against enemies foreign and domestic.
* Another story this week was about a woman working for the government, taking calls to help people navigate the impossibly flawed (“glitchy”) Obamacare website. She had the misfortune of taking a friendly call from Sean Hannity from his radio show. He was kind to her and thanked her for how nice she was. But she apparently made a fatal error by admitting (in a job where she takes complaints) that a lot of calls she takes are from people who don’t like Obamacare. She was fired. As Bryan Preston of PJ Media put it,

This firing makes Erling Davis, not Kathleen Sebelius or any of the contractors who messed up the website, the first person held accountable for any problems with The first person held accountable by the Obama administration is a person at the very bottom of the regime, who makes no decisions that impact the implementation of the law at all.
Just let that sink in.
Who fired her? How far up the chain was the decision to fire her made? What reasons were given for her firing?
Those are among the questions that the most secretive administration we’ve ever had will never answer.
Saying something the government doesn’t approve of is enough to get you fired; messing up the finances and health care of millions of Americans is just doing the job. Sean Hannity stepped in, by the way, to offer the woman a year’s salary to get her by until she gets a job, because he felt bad for getting her in trouble.
* The president gave a speech shortly after the government reopened in which he gave this warning:
And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio, and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do.
Who are the villains? Well, of course lobbyists—people who sway government; the very cronies this president gives favors to but doesn’t want you to believe he’s in bed with. Then there are bloggers. He has just warned you about me; I’m not to be heeded. Neither are radio hosts, flippantly referred to as talking heads, even though on radio you don’t see their heads, while on TV news, which is much more aligned with his propaganda, you do see talking heads. Then he mentions “professional activists,” as if that isn’t the only kind of job he himself ever had. So, translate that to “evil conservative patriot activists,” like the ones the IRS targeted—not the actual paid professional ones like ACORN and subsidiaries that this president got paid to train in their tactics.
This is a little like the Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Translation: “Don’t notice evidence of truth; only notice and believe what I tell you to notice and believe.” As a blogger, my role in the story is Toto, the little dog pulling back the curtain on truth. That’s not an ignoble character to play. Even though we might not be “in Kansas anymore”—in the American freedom world we grew up assuming was our home—Toto is still perfectly capable of sniffing around and pulling back the curtain.
At this point, the president’s call for avoiding unsanctioned information sources doesn’t actually stop someone like me from posting. So his anti-conservative-voices rhetoric is a concern, but not yet a reason to panic. So far this still sounds like paranoia, but if voices like mine ever get shut down—then we’re beyond concern and into reason for panic. Just saying, while I can.

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