Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Obama Era And The Crushing Of Dissent

From Larwyn's Links:

Now Prohibited: calling your congressman to bitch about the spendulus

Well, this should tamp down anyone with a bad attitude that might have the nerve to call their congressman or senator about some aspect of the spendulus.

[previously]...barred registered lobbyists from having oral communications with government officials about specific Recovery Act projects or applications and instead required those communications to be in writing; and also required those written communications to be posted on the Internet. ...
...we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists. For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program...
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posted by Purple Avenger at 02:28 PM | 

From WH WEBSITE.....

Update on Recovery Act Lobbying Rules: New Limits on Special Interest Influence

Another update from Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, in the spirit of transparency as always:

I am writing with an update on the President’s March 20, 2009 Memorandum on Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds. Section 3 of the Memorandum required all oral communications between federally registered lobbyists and government officials concerning Recovery Act policy to be disclosed on the Internet; barred registered lobbyists from having oral communications with government officials about specific Recovery Act projects or applications and instead required those communications to be in writing; and also required those written communications to be posted on the Internet.  That Memorandum instructed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review the initial 60 days of implementation of the stimulus lobbying restrictions, to evaluate the data, and to recommend modifications.  

Following OMB’s review, the Administration has decided to make a number of changes to the rules that we think make them even tougher on special interests and more focused on merits-based decision making. 

First, we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists.  For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process.  We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.

Second, we will focus the restriction on oral communications to target the scenario where concerns about merit-based decision-making are greatest –after competitive grant applications are submitted and before awards are made.  Once such applications are on file, the competition should be strictly on the merits.  To that end, comments (unless initiated by an agency official) must be in writing and will be posted on the Internet for every American to see.

Third, we will continue to require immediate internet disclosure of all other communications with registered lobbyists.  If registered lobbyists have conversations or meetings before an application is filed, a form must be completed and posted to each agency’s website documenting the contact. 

OMB will be consulting with agencies, outside experts and others about these principles and will publish detailed guidance, but we wanted to update interested parties on the outcome of the initial review.  We consulted very broadly both within and outside of government (including as reflected in previous posts on the White House blog) and we are grateful to all those who participated in the process. 

But please IGNORE THAT and don't say NASTY THINGS like those MEAN RUDE CONSERVATIVES.  Doug Ross puts up a sample of MEANNESS & NASTINESS .....

"As close to a dictatorship as this country has ever seen" 

Mark Levin made that statement on Thursday evening. Was he overstating things? Consider the following steps taken by the Obama administration and then judge for yourself:

Silencing Dissent: The SEIU, Organizing for America and ACORN have coordinated a campaign that pillories broadcast networks who are considering airing ads that oppose Obama's socialized medicine agenda. Consider this message, painting any dissent against single-payer, socialized medicine as "swiftboating".

As Sweetness & Light observes, "just in case there was ever any doubt as to who is calling the tune here, these groups are [all] using the exact language that was dictated to them by the Obama administration."

The group "Organizing for America" is Obama's personal political organization, completely outside the confines of the Democrat Party. And it uses that same creepy logo -- the Obama evil eye -- that reminds me of something out of the 1930s. Has any other President in history had his own cadre of brownshirts -- yes, I said brownshirts! -- that do his bidding outside the control of his political party? Or his own special symbol?

Encouraging Voter Intimidation: Remember the case where several "New Black Panthers" intimidated Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian voters at a polling place in Philadelphia? They flaunted billy clubs at at the polls until the police showed up. One of the defendants, Jerry Jackson, is an elected member of the local Democratic Committee and, at the time of the incident, was a "credentialed poll watcher for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party".

Guess what? Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice (i.e., the Obama administration) is attempting to kill a civil complaint related to the incident. A prominent 1960s civil rights activitist called the case "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" he'd ever seen, including the Mississippi voting rights crisis. A former commissioner at the Federal Election Commission stated, "In my experience, I have never heard of the department refusing to take a default judgment." 

When it comes to voter intimidation, the Obama administration chooses to look away. This invites further incidents of voter intimidation by pro-Obama supporters in future elections. 

Encouraging and Supporting Voter Registration Fraud: do I really need to describe all of the skulduggery with which ACORN is associated? Despite its claims of non-partisanship, it is inarguably partisan. The organization is under investigation in 15 states with dozens of indictments and allegations of hundreds of thousands of fraudulent voter registrations.

Despite all of the legal issues swirling around the organization, ACORN affiliates in just 11 states are reported to have received more than $31 million in taxpayer funding. And ACORN has plenty of affiliates. Hundreds, in fact. ACORN founder Wade Rathke also founded the huge public sector union, the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), which also happens to funnel funds to ACORN. Other ACORN affiliates, like the American Institute for Social Justice, also send millions directly to its parent. Worse, ACORN is competing for $8 billion in Stimulus funding and is likely to get a good percentage of it, given the predilections of the Obama administration.

By supporting a legally troubled group with taxpayer dollars, the administration is tacitly encouraging vote fraud and undermining the rule of law.

Suppressing Criticism: the massive "Stimulus" package and deficit spending bills passed by Democrats and the Obama administration appears to be nothing more than a gargantuan boondoggle. Experts like theCongressional Budget Office and the Comptroller General have criticized the approach, calling it "unsustainable".

A new White House policy, which dictates permissible lobbying on the Stimulus package, directly attacks the First Amendment by shielding the spending plan from criticism. The Washington Examiner reports on language proferred by the White House itself

...we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists. For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.

In other words, the first rule of Stimulus Package is: you do not talk about Stimulus Package.

Abrogating the Rule of Law: Much has been written about the bizarre activities of the federal government related to Chrysler's bankruptcy. Giving junior creditors (i.e., the UAW) precedence over senior creditors and "[s]elling Chrysler to a shell corporation for the purpose of divesting lenders of their rights [are] a stunning abuse of U.S. bankruptcy laws."

Furthermore, it guarantees that Chrysler and GM, because they've been spared from a true bankruptcy reorganization, will remain ineffective and uncompetitive for they will not have instituted the deep reforms required in the current situation.

And it deeply wounds unions: what investor will deal with any unionized company, knowing that their rights as a secured creditor could be shredded at the whim of an administration with its own social and political agenda?

As Andrew M. Grossman testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee "The bankruptcies of Chrysler and soon General Motors are a microcosm of the lawlessness that threatens our freedom and our prosperity."

And coming soon: We will soon see talk radio silenced, which is truly nothing less than a direct assault on the First Amendment. It will be presented under the innocent-sounding principles of "localism" and "diversity". Note that newspapers, which have had little in the way of localism or diversity over the years (e.g., Associated Press wire stories that dominate content) are under no such scrutiny.

Is this, then, as Levin claims, "as close to a dictatorship as this country has ever seen"?

We're only four months in.

I will let the readers consider the facts and judge for themselves.


Anonymous said...

I dunno - under Wilson and FDR it was pretty fascistic. No one has gone to jail yet for pricing dry cleaning services five cents less than the government decreed.

I love Levin's book, but I wonder if he has read "Liberal Fascism"?

It can get lots, lots worse before it gets better (IF it gets better, I should say).


Pastorius said...

It is pretty horrible to send someone to jail for pricing dry cleaning lower by five cents.

But, is it not worse to take the profitable business away from a person who is not only profiting themselves, but also profiting the company they represent, and profiting the employees who work for them, AND profiting the local economy?

For God's sake, could it really get a lot worse than that.

789 dealerships were closed, and apparently the decision was made to punish political opponents with these closings.

Imagines the economic impact of closing 789 car dealerships. All the people out of work. All the money not being made. All the families who suddenly will have trouble paying bills, sending their children to lessons, soccer, Little League, etc.

One person arrested over dry cleaning prices, or that? Which is worse?

midnight rider said...

Pasto -- I understand your sentiment here but yes, it can get much worse than that. Far far worse and you realize it as well.

All those dealers could have been arrested instead. not under our current law but we've gone beyond that now and are talking about where things may be headed. Especially if Obama continues to scoff at teh laws themselves, find ways to get around them.

We've admitted he's worse than we imagined. Now we need to worry about imagining how bad he can really be and head that off before it arrives.

Pastorius said...

That wasn't really my point. My point is that, while it seems horrible that one person was arrested for pricing something too low, it is much worse, in terms of total impact, to put 789 businesses out of business. I mean, which would you rather have?

And, really, which one is more fascistic?

midnight rider said...

Ok. I took the wrong point from the comments. Sorry about that.

So then, taking your line of thinking to it's extreme (and I don't disagree with you here), I'd say we've stepped beyond fascism, or are about to.

Punish many for the actions of one.

In America, put many out of work because their dealership owner chose to contribute to McCain, or not contribute at all.

In Poland, if one German soldier was killed, how many Poles were punished?

In France, if one German soldier was killed, how many French were punished?

Now, no one in America has been killed for this kind of thing, but the core concept is the same.

Rule by fear. Fear that the government will make you truly suffer, one way or another, if you step out of line.

And in Germany it wasn't called fascism.

Anonymous said...

My point was that people were jailed for infringing price controls. Jailed. Under Woodrow Wilson, there were a number of people in prison for their political views. US citizens. I do not remember how many, but it was not trivial.

The book is superbly researched and shows that liberals and liberal thought hatched fascism.

I think the dealership thing is criminal, myself. But to my knowledge, no one is yet in jail merely for their beliefs. It is not, however, far off in my opinion.

I believe US citizens will be incarcerated for nothing more than their beliefs in what we would consider the normal Constitutional government we thought we had.

I think it will happen within the next two years, the way things are going. And no one will read about it here, because this site, and others like it, will have been shut down as "dangerous" and "hateful."

I have been writing, calling, e-mailing my reps, senators, etc. since February. None of them really seem to respond. None of them seem to even notice our government is becoming actively hostile to the rights set forth in the Bill of Rights.

Or maybe they are just too scared to say or do anything. I just don't know anymore. But we do know that the only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

Well, I (along with many, many others) have been doing all I can for a while now, and it seems to have made no difference at all.

So maybe the converse is just not true - maybe evil flourishes even if good men do something. Perhaps it is a necessary but not sufficient condition (good men doing something). Maybe something else is needed. God knows I wish I knew what it was.


Pastorius said...

Certainly, Ro, you and I are not on different sides. However, my point is, the destruction of 789 businesses is far worse than the arrest of one, or even ten, person/persons for what amount to petty crimes.

789 businesses deleted from the face of the Earth destroys the life of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people.

I hope I am being clear.

Think of how many people are employed by your average car dealership.

There are Sales Managers, sales people, mechanics, estimators, drivers, car washers, secretaries, accounts payable people, account receivable people, Controllers, VP's, CEO's, marketing and advertising people, etc. etc.

That's a lot of people whose lives are being severely effected by one fascistic decision.

For my MONEY, that is much worse than what you are describing as having happened under Roosevelt or Wilson.

Anonymous said...

I would rather have my property taken than be incarcerated for my political beliefs, personally.

This adminstration will do both before it is all over (if it ever is over).

I do suggest picking up a copy of Liberal Fascism if your summer reading list is not too full already. I read Levin's book and it was very good. Goldberg's book, which I read in April 08, I think, really explains why and how liberal thought(or "progressive" thought) has always been at the root of modern totalitarian movements.

Including the repressive regimes of FDR and Wilson.

Oh, and the non-prosecution of the voter intimidation squad? I bet you a shot of MR's Wild Turkey stash (!!) that the New BPs are the "core" of the new "Obama Youth Brigade."

Pastorius said...

As per your suggestion, I will read Liberal Fascism.

However, you and I simply disagree. My property comes before my time on this. If someone steals my property, I will will give my life for it. That is more than my time.

I think stealing a person's business is one of the worst things you can do.

But, hey, I'm an entrepreneur at heart. So, I guess I'm biased.

Pastorius said...

The only things one could do to me that would be conceivably worse than stealing my business would be to rape my wife or daughters, or to kill me, my wife, or my daughters.

Prison pales in comparison, if it is for a limited period of time.

Even a lifetime would be conceivable for me, if I could write, and have my writing preserved.

midnight rider said...

Alright goddangit now you've gone too dang far.

Stealing my Wild Turkey!

Heck, all you got to do is drop by & I'll share some :)

So what do either of you (or anyone else for that matter)(Yeah, I know that's asking for it) think of this idea that we've stepped beyond, or are about to step beyond, fascism?

Anonymous said...

I think we need your WT more than ever.

Meet you in the bunker.


midnight rider said...

I'll be there waiting. Guns knives ammo plenty of Wild Turkey.

I think I may have an old MRE or two down there. . .

SamenoKami said...

Anonymous said...I would rather have my property taken than be incarcerated for my political beliefs, personally.
Either way they have taken a part of your life.

Epaminondas said...

The mechanism ..."That Memorandum instructed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review the initial 60 days of implementation of the stimulus lobbying restrictions, to evaluate the data, and to recommend modifications. "

Where are the people with standing (lobbyists and those who support them) to battle this?

Someone who is going to be screwed anyway needs to take this to court. Someone like ... the American Pharmaceutical Association. No way they come out ahead in the next 4-8 years no matter what. But by having the recovery acts declared unconstitutional for restraint of free speech, they can not only put dent in their own potential demise, they can do a great patriotic service. I mean what good is Eli Lilly in a nationlaized single payor health system with fixed prices for their products, in which THEY paid for the research? Why would they pay for any more? Why not manufacture it in, say, Uruguay, or Goa, or Burkina Faso, or anywhere decreased labor costs can give them more profiit for a year till the loophole closes ..

Someone like that has NOTHING to lose.

Maybe the closed dealers should band, hire lobbyists and violate this executive fiat on lobbying then challenge.

Always On Watch said...

If GWB had, in essence, forced the closure of car dealerships, would the media have given him a pass? Wouldn't they have cried "Hitler!" or something?

I note that the media speak so offhandedly about what's happening to GM and Chrysler. For pity's sake, GM has been nationalized.