Government has met the enemy and it is us
By Michael R Shannon
web posted October 14, 2013
Americans are learning to their great surprise that Smokey the Bear has big, sharp teeth.
Formerly warm and cuddly branches of government — the Park Service, Forest Service and other granola–based management teams — have suddenly turned on innocent taxpayers who only wanted to scratch behind their ears.
You're no doubt familiar with the WWII veterans who removed barriers the US Park Police erected to block the formerly law enforcement–free WWII Monument on the Mall. (Best sign of the Shutdown: "Normandy was closed when we got there, too.") But that's only one of many incidents.
The Washington Post interviewed a visitor from San Antonio who "expressed indignation at the petty ways that officials prevented people from enjoying national landmarks." Her family had no problem looking at the cemetery itself since putting barriers in front of each tombstone was too much for even Smokey Bear. But they were unable to peek inside Arlington House because "they put black plastic in the windows so we couldn't look in."
If the reporter could have found a spokesperson not literally manning the barricades, I'm sure the response would have been the plastic was simply part of the annual preparations for the ‘Old Virginny Haunted House of Slavery' that takes place in the mansion every October.
(SEE ‘Marse' Robert with blood on his hands! GASP as Stonewall Jackson sleeps during Christian services, dreaming of denying women the right to fight on the front line! SCREAM as Virginia terrorist Col. John Mosby provides inspiration for modern TEA party insurgents while he works for a TOTAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN!)
Any intimation that plastic–covered windows are a Glad bag thumb in the eye to conservatives is simply more delusional ranting from a party on Cruz control.
As the shutdown continues it's obvious there is an air of desperation surrounding this whole petty, vindictive exercise on the part of the Obama Administration. The illegality, over reaction and simply hateful response of "public servants" to the actual public is so obvious even the media can no longer ignore it.
The question is why the federal tantrum? The answer is the Spite House (thank you Michelle Malkin) can't afford to lose this fight like they did the sequester. Instead of being "the end of life as we knew it," the sequester has become an accepted fact of life. Sequester was designed to be so destructive to defense that responsible Republicans would rescue the Pentagon, even if it meant more deficit spending on social programs.
The calculation failed. Setting a spending cut precedent was so important Republicans decided the 2,666 miles separating China from the USA would have to defend the country for now. In the event of a Chinese invasion, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–LaRaza) would remove any hostile intent by putting them on the fast track to citizenship.
Budget talks now start with the sequester cuts as the baseline, and not an extraordinary one–time nick to the budget. Obamacrats can't risk the public leaning they can function without 100 percent of the federal government.
Which is why duplicitous, politically motivated "public servants" are working hand–in–hand with the White House to provide the maximum inconvenience with the least blame for the administration. A painless 5 percent sequester, followed by a 17 percent government shutdown that isn't a disaster for someone might create a climate where rolling back the size of government becomes a reality.
Hence the no–knock shutdowns. The Washington Times found Bruce O'Connell, the owner of the Pisgah Inn located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, fighting the arbitrary shutdown of his business. According to the story, "O'Connell said his workers are not federal employees, and his fire, police and rescue services all come from the county, so he isn't drawing any federal funds."
Uncle Sam's only role before the shutdown was taking money from him in the form of fees. In the light of the nation's budget situation, staying open would make money and possibly prevent that sequester–enabled Chinese invasion. Instead Obama spends money to prevent income after O'Connell refused to close. That act of defiance won him a visit from park rangers who were suddenly stationed in his driveway turning away paying customers.
Under the rule of law, as opposed to the rule of bureaucratic whim, if the Park Service thought it had the authority to close the inn it would have requested an injunction from a federal judge. O'Connell's failure to close is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. There is no threat to public safety, only a threat to Big Government collectivists. Since time and the law were not on its side, the Obama administration used implied force to perform an arbitrary seizure.
Here in the Washington area, our rulers dispatched Park Police to close Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. Once again the facts don't support federal action. Mount Vernon is owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, the only investment the Park Service has is shared ownership of a parking lot.
The service could have posted a sign on their half of the lot warning drivers to park at their own risk and beware of paint chips stirred up by passing motorists. Instead the Park Service closed the entire facility, which is simply illegal, until the doughty Ladies Association fought back and reopened.
The feds tried the same shuffle with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, instructing him to close several parks. Gov. Walker not only refused to close any parks, he also ordered state officials to remove barricades the feds had installed to prevent taxpayers from using their own facilities.
(This act of courage could backfire, as federal memories are long. If Wisconsin sometime in the future suffers a hurricane or the glaciers return I predict federal response will be very slow.)
Walker has the advantage of controlling his own law enforcement resources and in a pinch, the Wisconsin National Guard. So he can prevent illegal attempts at seizures by having his people intimidate their people.
Unfortunately, the rest of us don't have that option when "public servants" stop serving the will of the people and start imposing their will on the people.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of the forthcoming book: "Funny Conservative" Is Not an Oxymoron. (Or any other type of moron).