The First Amendment marks out three areas in which the federal government is limited: no “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion, no “abridging the freedom of speech or of press,” no impeding the “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Obama administration has compiled a sorry record in all three categories. But anyone who bothered to notice was dismissed by the elite media as paranoid and alarmist. Until now. Suddenly it is acceptable to complain about Obama’s “appalling” approach to the First Amendment. Obama’s “living” Constitution now looks considerably less enlightened to reporters whose phone calls have been traced. The First Amendment has long been crumbling under slipshod jurisprudence. Obama is just giving it a final kick. A “living” Constitution obviously lends itself to an unlimited and abusive federal government, as it renders all written protections passé. There is no quicker way to kill a constitution than to say it is alive. That just means the federal government is freed up to do whatever it wants. The Constitution has no meaning except what those in power give it at any particular moment. Journalists didn’t mind this fashionable travesty when it meant religious freedom was squashed in the name of “women’s health” or political speech curtailed in the name of “campaign finance reform.” But now that the living-constitutionalists are snooping on phone records and hacking into e-mails in the name of national security, they balk. This is “chilling,” they say. We’re told that press freedom is sacred, often from the same pundits who cast complaints about the HHS mandate as partisan carping. Yet to anyone paying attention, the Obama administration’s slippery treatment of the First Amendment should come as no surprise. The James Rosen incident, much in the news this week, reflects a pattern that was already on display in the rollout of the HHS mandate. Recall that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius denied that she was violating the religious freedom of Christian organizations as those organizations weren’t “religious” (according to a new Orwellian criterion she had concocted, which defined only purely sectarian organizations as religious). Similarly, the Justice Department argued that it wasn’t violating the press freedom of James Rosen as he wasn’t press. He was rather an “aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in a spy ring for having receiving classified information about North Korea from an intelligence analyst. That appeared in a May 2010 affidavit. It was well known that the Obama administration didn’t consider Fox News a real “news” organization. But who knew they would make the view official before a judge? Editorialists at the Wall Street Journal point out that evidence for Rosen’s spying consisted of saying in an e-mail to his source that he wanted to break “news ahead of my competitors” and that they could “expose muddle-headed policy when we see it—or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible.” The editorialists note that “if working with a source who uses an alias is now a crime, we’ve come a long way from the celebration of Bob Woodward and ‘Deep Throat.’” Redefining journalists as spies and religious organizations as nonreligious instruments of state mandates are the tricks of totalitarian countries. Obama’s America is moving in that direction. The end point of liberalism is a coercive state in which the “law” is indistinguishable from the will of whoever holds power. A “living Constitution” sounds better than totalitarianism, but in principle it is no different.
Few Americans dread anything more than receiving a letter from the IRS. But imagine a full field audit, with intrusive questions about your activities and spending habits. From suspicious agents convinced that you’ve violated the law. That’s essentially what political activists on the Right have been enjoying recently, courtesy the Obama administration. Who knew what when is the question du jour, but political abuse by the IRS is not new. As investigative journalist Jim Bovard has detailed , Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy did not let their public-spirited rhetoric interfere with their use of public institutions for partisan benefit. Richard Nixon more recently directed the agency to target his enemies. As White House Counsel John Dean explained, the objective was to “use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.” President Barack Obama undoubtedly remembers the latter example — as well as Nixon’s fate — and is not so stupid to similarly set himself up for criminal charges. The scandal likely will claim a few mid-level scalps and divert the administration’s attention from some of its more harmful initiatives. But the crisis will be wasted, to paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, if it is not used to advance the cause of liberty.
Obamacare has not made the health insurance market more transparent, despite its attempt to create “exchanges” in every state. The Affordable Care Act foresaw challenges in registration for millions of uninsured Americans; that’s why it required each state to enlist nonprofits, professional associations, and unions to educate new enrollees as so-called “navigators.” The states were supposed to pay for these services, of course! Where else would the federal government extract the funds necessary for this behemoth of a law? Alas, 34 states are now relying on federal exchanges. Which means that the federal government has to hire the “navigators” with money it never allocated. The Departments of Health and Homeland Security scrounged up $54 million for 34 states with 28 million to insure. Easy, right? Actually, it turns out that insurance companies already employ a large number of people for this very job: brokers! You know, the people educated to inform consumers on separate plans, the ones who handle your confidential medical and legal information.
Billionaire Frank VanderSloot made headlines last week when he said he faced two audits from the IRS and one from the Labor Department after donating to Mitt Romney’s campaign. VanderSloot has been talking about this since it happened, and Kimberely Strassel told his story in the Wall Street Journal in July: Mr. VanderSloot, who is 63 and has been working since his teens, says neither he nor his accountants recall his being subject to a federal tax audit before. He was once required to send documents on a line item inquiry into his charitable donations, which resulted in no changes to his taxes. But nothing more—that is until now, shortly after he wrote a big check to a Romney-supporting Super PAC. Two weeks after receiving the IRS letter, Mr. VanderSloot received another—this one from the Department of Labor. He was informed it would be doing an audit of workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers. Little attention was paid to VanderSloot’s story when it first came out, but that’s all changed with the recent spate of scandals that have emerged from the IRS. And more of these stories are coming out of the woodwork. Wayne Allen Root spoke on the Bill Cunningham Show about how he recently faced two audits after donating to Romney. Worse than that, he says he knows at least 15 people who were audited within 90 days of donating to Romney. This scandal seems to be reaching further and further with every day. Individual conservatives have been talking about these issues for years, but people are starting to pay attention now and the evidence against the IRS is piling up.
Follow this link:
Romney Donors Targeted by IRS?