March 29, 2010
Big Brother Becomes Big BullyBy Ed Lasky
The government in the Age of Obama has gone beyond the big brother that watches out and cares for us. Instead, it has becomes the big brother that torments and bullies us and then takes what is rightfully ours: our savings, our freedom, and our futures.
Liberals are often labeled as wanting to bring out the nanny state (the feminine version of a big brother). This is wrong. A nanny cares for her wards so that they can mature into responsible adults able to take care of themselves.
But a bully has other desires. A bully cares only about himself and his own greedy will to power. A bully taunts and threatens. A bully holds others in contempt. A bully disregards not only the wishes of those around him, but also the rules that may his restrain his power. A bully takes what is not his.
A bully will not stop until people rise up and put an end to him.
Has our government become a big bully? Let us count the ways.
Very early in 2009, the troika of Pelosi-Reid-Obama sought to expand the power of the federal government over states, businesses, and us. They all but nationalized the American auto industry (save Ford), overriding debtor rights and decades of law. They have also taken over chunks of the financial industry and, via their control over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, much of the housing industry. Many salaries will be set by the White House. Education, a local matter, is increasingly becoming a federal one. The student loan industry has also been brought in-house -- the White House, that is. That was merely a warm-up.
The smash-and-grab style of governing has since run rampant: rules, regulations, taxes, and mandates; the proliferation of unelected czars; the orders and commands; the abuse of power; the diktats-all stuffed down our throats.
Does it feel like we are all being waterboarded?
The Department of Justice has hired a legion of lawyers for its Civil Rights Division. They will be busy investigating businesses across America for violations of civil rights laws. Fine -- but they will be using what is called a "disparate impact" standard. Under that criterion, any business that has job standards -- even legitimate ones -- that happen to result in fewer minorities being hired than the DOJ sees fit will be hit with the full might of the Justice Department, which has been staffed with a coven of radical lawyers. Not to be outdone, the Education Department will also be sending out investigators to ensure that schools do not discriminate, either. Discrimination is often in the eye of the beholder, and under Eric Holder, I can guarantee you that those eyes will see racism across the breadth of America (because, after all, we are a nation of racists). Businesses, local government, schools -- all will be bullied in the years ahead.
But wait...there's more.
The Environmental Protection Agency has gone mental -- off the deep end.
Eager to expand its power to bully businesses, the EPA is busy trying to regulate every carbon molecule out of existence (except those burned by Al Gore, John Edwards, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and their friends and allies, what with those massive homes, private flights, and hothouse White House), even if it means circumventing Congress to do so. The climate con is being used to seize sweeping power over much of the economy.
Cap-and-tax is coming, as are shortages and price increases -- even though climate change (fictitious or not) is dead last in a list of public priorities in a recent Pews survey.
The Interior Department has all but killed drilling offshore and in vast parts of onshore America, despite Americans' overwhelming desire to tap our nation's bounty of our concerns and of us. Adding insult to injury, the feds now may seek to seize vast swaths of land via "presidential proclamation."
The old smash-and-grab.
The bullies running our country don't care. They care only about themselves.
One could go on and on.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is on a hiring binge to make sure the height of the steps in your business is centimeter-correct.
The Federal Communication Commission has become a playpen for those who want the airwaves filled with even more liberal claptrap than we have now. Obama and company have declared war -- not on Osama bin Laden or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but on Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch. And remember when they wanted our friends and neighbors to report "fishy" stories about Obama's agenda?
Bullies want only their own voices heard.
The Labor Department has been outsourced to allies of the Service Employees International Union -- and these people know how to bully.
Obama will use his executive power to coerce businesses that receive government contracts to pay its workers what he in his imperial wisdom decides satisfies him and his union pals and promoters. He enjoys issuing executive orders -- skirting the legislative branch and quaint notions such as the separation of powers. He has also used signing statements to "sidestep" new laws passed by (a Democratic) Congress. Why should Congress and the little people tie him down? He will also reportedly circumvent the Senate confirmation process by naming Craig Becker (a leftist union ally) to the National Labor Relations Board via a recess appointment.
A bully fights in underhanded ways.
How will they know when is "enough"? There is no such word in their vocabulary. These are people who have never had to meet a payroll, in the words of Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln, and are strikingly lacking in real-world business experience.
But who cares? It's not their money, but ours. Bullies take and give to satisfy their whims and not our needs. They want to pay off their allies, not our debts. (Can we console ourselves that it will all be funny money issued by a Banana Republic by the time they get done with us?)
Pelosi-to-Reid-to-Obama then moved into the major leagues: paving the way to the nationalization of health care.
Americans don't want ObamaCare, and the more they know, the more they rebel against it. The bullies that rule over us do not care. When they want our opinion, they will give it to us.
So why did Obama make health care reform the focus of the past year in the face of a struggling economy and poor job numbers (not helped by the hyped-up so-called stimulus)? A crisis was just too good to waste (ask Rahm Emanuel), as was the filibuster-proof Democratic majority in Congress. Therefore, the massive redistribution of wealth that was a goal of Barack Obama all along (the "spread the wealth" gaffe that was one of the few truthful sentences Barack Obama uttered in 2008) has been done behind the façade of health care. What a charade.
We have been subjected to a year-long spectacle that can best be described as a Congressional Grand Guignol -- a grotesque theatre of the absurd where arm-twisting, bribes, payoffs, job offers, reconciliation trickery, loopholes, and thuggery are substituted for genuine bipartisanship or even much discussion among Democrats themselves regarding the monstrosity of the so-called "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (euphemism alert). Voters don't want ObamaCare, and they don't want it done through strong-arm tactics that mock our democratic principles.
The three-headed hydra (Pelosi, Reid, Obama) just bullied it through, overcoming opposition among not just Republicans and some Democrats, but also most Americans. They engaged in financial gimmickry that makes Bernie Madoff look like a piker .
They misused parliamentary procedures and customs, broke promises and rules.
So what? Nannies obey rules; bullies don't.
Or as Congressman Alcee Hastings of the House Rules Committee summed it up, "There are no rules here; we make ‘em up as we go along." (And he knows how to break rules; he was impeached as a federal judge for breaking them himself -- hence his spot on the House Rules Committee. Make sense?)
Now we (but not congressmen or their staffers) are forced to buy health insurance. But that is just a relatively small loss of our freedom because the goal, according to Congressman Dingell, is for Obamacare to eventually "control the people."
The Constitution is just so much fish wrap to these Democratic leaders. Smash and grab.
Barack Obama himself admitted that he saw it as an obstacle -- some Constitutional Law professor (lecturer, part-time) he must have been. No wonder he fled from conversations with other law professors.
So we have what may very well be an unconstitutional abuse of power in the form of the health care act. The mandates will be piled on us, as will the micromanagement of health care. There are at least twenty ways in which ObamaCare will take away our freedom, writes David Hogberg in Investor's Business Daily.
Will there be much freedom for us left after this takeover? Not freedom to earn, save, invest, and spend as we see fit.
We have already seen local governments grasping for our money. Police are swarming the streets to raise cash via an epidemic of ticketing, traffic cams are proliferating, tax refunds are being held, and states are mining IRS data as never before to extract money from citizens. Big brother/big bully wants to take or tax candy and soda pop from us, too.
But these are picayune. Wait 'til the IRS gets into the game.
The Internal Revenue Service is yet another growth area of government. Even before the health care bill was on its way to passage and signing, the IRS was busy hiring more people. Now at least 17,000 more people will be hired not to watch out for you, but to watch you (at the additional cost of one billion dollars per year and with reams of personal information about you at their fingertips).
Thank you, Mr. President, Madame Speaker, and Mr. Majority Leader!
Recall that Barack Obama joked about unleashing the IRS on people before. He wasn't joking.
A bully does not care about your money, except insofar as he schemes to make it his money.
Smash and grab.
We should have known how he would govern by how he campaigned. His focus group slogan may have been "Yes we can!" but that was for the yahoos. When he was off script, he revealed his true style in taunting that if his opponents "bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." He echoed these comments when he was president and confronted a Democrat who resisted the health care takeover with the warning, "Don't think we're not keeping score, brother." In one generation, the Democrats have gone from "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country" to "Think about what I can do to you." Bully for him!
We should get used to these types of thrashings since, in the wake of the health care coup d'etat, Speaker Pelosi has promised that the passage (or as Pelosi put it, "the kick through the door") of the health "reform" act will empower the Democrats to push through more such "reform." Wonderful!
But in the end, bullies become hated figures.
We have reached that point.
Congress is held in very low esteem, and generic Democrats poll badly. A recent poll found that Pelosi has an 11% favorability rating, which beats the pants off of Harry Reid's 8% (and of the two, she wears the pants -- or designer pantsuits). Barack Obama himself is listing as well; his job disapproval rating tops his approval rating. His ratings have gone down and down and down. We just don't believe much of what he says anymore, and we now recognize him for what he is: a bully who rules but does not govern.
Have we had enough of the bullying from big brother, and are we prepared to defend ourselves from "the mugging of personal freedom"?
Will Howard Beale's cry -- "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" -- become this year's "Yes We can!"?
We may be there.
A CNN poll found that 56 percent of Americans believe that the government has become so powerful that it constitutes an immediate threat to the freedom and rights of citizens.
But it gets worse for the Democrats. A Rasmussen poll reveals that "only 21 percent of the people believe the US government is governing with our consent." Have any of our Democratic politicians ever read the Declaration of Independence? Such thoughts and righteous rage give rise to revolutions.
These are the leading indicators that the Democrats are in for a bad fall season.
How can the little people show the tyrants the door? How do people get rid of bullies who stomp all over us? We come together as we always have.
Hence, the Tea Party movement has emerged at this time and place in our nation's history and why the "Don't Tread On Me" flags are now flapping in the wind.
People are willing to fight to protect the freedoms and futures for themselves and generations to come.
Come November 2010 and 2012, they will be heard, loud and clear.
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.