Patriots' Day 2013 — Liberty in the Balance
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
“Very many and very meritorious were the worthy patriots who assisted in bringing back our government to its republican tack. To preserve it in that, will require unremitting vigilance.” –Thomas Jefferson (1822)
Patriots’ Day (April 19th), though not widely celebrated, commemorates the substance of the eternal fight for Liberty as “endowed by our Creator.” More than just the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Patriots’ Day embodies the spirit of the first American Revolution and the original Sons of Liberty.
This week in which we observe with reverence the sacrifices of our Founding Fathers and successive generations of American Patriots who defended Essential Liberty, there was notable news of the good, the bad and the very ugly.
First, the good news: Guns
“… The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” –Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled Senate failed to advance Barack Obama’s prized “sensible gun control measure” to expand background checks for gun transfers – legislation which ranked second only to ObamaCare in his list of policy priorities. Senate Democrats then blocked a vote on Obama’s so-called “assault weapons” ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines, effectively tabling those measures for “more opportune timing.”
Responding to the vote, Obama declared, “The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill [claiming it would create] some sort of Big Brother gun registry. It came down to politics. All in all, today was a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
As for “lies,” the BIG lie in the so-called “gun loophole” legislation is that none of the sociopaths in any of the mass murders that Obama shamelessly exploits acquired the weapons they used through any loophole. As Charles Krauthammer wrote, “If you’re going to make all of these emotional appeals you’ve gotta show that if this had been law, it would have stopped Newtown. It would not have. It’s irrelevant. … [I]t’s emotional blackmail to say, ‘You have to do it for the children.’”
Regarding “Big Brother,” if you believe that the central government does not maintain a database of the background checks now required for gun purchases, then you’re a candidate for our Non Compos Mentis award. That database may not exist as one complete record, but I can assure you that a master list of all background checks for gun purchases in recent decades can be reconstituted from its component parts maintained on government servers.
And “shameful politics”? That more aptly describes the way Obama has paraded around like political puppets the grieving parents of murdered children, and used the caskets of those children as a political soapbox. Using that heart-wrenching grief to stir the sentiments of the nation in hopes of passing statist gun control measures is beyond disgraceful. In truth, this “shameful politics” is simply the “new politic norm” of the Hope-and-Change president.
Notably, Obama added, “I see this as just round one. The fight is not over.”
In other words, he and his NeoCom cadres await the next opportunity to politicize a mass murder, take the ready-to-go Senate legislation off the shelf and pass it before raw public emotions once again give way to reason. In the interim, Joe Biden asserted that Obama “is already lining up some additional executive actions he’s going to be taking later this week.” And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi added, “[W]e’re just not taking no for an answer.”
For the record, the results of the most comprehensive gun control legislation survey of American law enforcement officers ever conducted were released last week. When Obama embarks on one of his gun-grabbing tours, he usually surrounds himself with uniformed officers – “prop cops” as we in our humble shop call them – for his press remarks. (And when he isn’t using prop cops, he’s using prop children as “human shields” for this same purpose.) This is notable, because more than 95 percent of law enforcement officers believe that Obama’s weapons ban will have NO impact on crime reduction.
Not only do the vast majority of law enforcement officers reject Obama’s gun control mandates, but apparently, despite months of heavy lobbying by Obama, only four percent of Americans actually believe that guns are the most important problem facing our nation.
Many more Americans rank the economy, unemployment, dissatisfaction with government and the federal budget debt as top priorities. Obama’s policies have, of course, failed miserably in each of those concerns, so it’s no surprise that he attempts to change the subject.
Now for the bad news: Taxes
“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” –Justice John Marshall (1819)
Monday, April 15th, was Income Redistribution Day. This week sadly marked the 100th anniversary of the advent of the income tax, signed into law as the Revenue Act of 1913 by Woodrow Wilson, a statist forerunner of Obama. From a small populist tax on the original “One Percenters,” now every American is burdened with the cost of taxation to the tune of $2.7 trillion this year alone.
The income tax was passed as a “temporary” measure, with the highest marginal rate of seven percent and the 1040 form was one page. The current tax code has almost 74,000 pages, the instruction for the 1040 alone has 190 pages and the top marginal tax rate is 39.6 percent.
With national debt approaching $17 trillion, Obama’s current budget calls for additional income redistribution, while making no budget cuts in spending.
As Voltaire wrote in 1770, “In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.”
Today, April 18th, is Tax Freedom Day. For the average American taxpayer, every dollar earned from January 1 until today – 108 days of work – will be confiscated by the government in the form of taxes.
Not only is “an unlimited power to tax, necessarily, a power to destroy,” but the power to tax is also the only real power of the state. The only way to diminish that power is to institute either a flat or national sales tax, or a combination thereof, and eliminate any tax withholding. When all Americans share in the burden of taxation, especially if they must actually write a check to the IRS once a year and see what’s really taken from them, then the congressional big spenders will be history.
In the inimitable words of Mark Twain, “The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”
And finally, the ugliest news: Boston Bombs
“They who can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin
Patriots’ Day is celebrated in Massachusetts on the third Monday of April, and it always coincides with the running of the famed Boston Marathon.
The detonation of two bombs near the Marathon’s finish line took the life of two American citizens and a Chinese student. The blasts also critically wounded more than two dozen others, and wounded approximately 150 more spectators. This deadly assault on our citizenry, this Second Boston Massacre, reminds us that life is both precious and fragile, and that Liberty is always the target of barbarians, be they domestic anarchists or foreign fanatics.
Tuesday Obama finally declared the incident a “terrorist attack,” something that was evident to the rest of the nation when the first videos were released Monday.
The FBI is leading the investigation to determine who detonated those bombs, but at present it is not known whether they were homegrown anarchists of some political stripe or Jihadists. An FBI circular I received in 2010, after the Times Square bombing was thwarted and an Islamic jihadist arrested, detailed similar pressure cooker bombs. And pressure cookers have often been used to construct anti-personnel IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, anyone with Internet access and a well full of hate can construct and detonate such a device. Given the potential of these devices, I am thankful that the number of casualties in Boston was not much higher.
Further speculation about who perpetrated this act of terror, and whether letters sent to Obama and Republican Senator Roger Wicker were, in fact, ricin laced, is wasted bandwidth.
But there is an indictment that must be issued now.
While I pray for the victims and families of this cowardly attack, we should all strongly condemn the endless and hyper-dramatized 24-hour news cycle coverage of this incident. It is an insult to the dead and injured and amounts to nothing more than a disgraceful media competition for market share and advertising revenues. Unfortunately, this is probably the “new MSM norm” for crisis commentary.
When considering this coverage, I’m reminded of a classified 2005 cable from Osama bin Laden’s former chief lieutenant, Sheikh Ayman Muhammad al-Zawahiri, to another al-Qa'ida lieutenant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In that cable, al-Zawahiri, who now heads al-Qa'ida, writes, “I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.”
In other words, terrorists understand how to use mass media to advance their agenda, which is why the Boston bombs were placed at the marathon finish line, where the detonations would be assured media coverage.
Predictably, the media’s 24/7 exploitation of this assault was an effective amplifier of the attack, as undoubtedly the perpetrators anticipated it would be – so much so that one might conclude the media coverage was and remains tantamount to collaboration and critical to the perpetrators’ intended objective.
Yes, the Boston attack is an important news story, not only because of the tragic deaths and injuries but also because of its intent to terrorize the public. However, on average, there are more than 40 murders in the U.S. every day, and those murders are apparently not committed in a way that garners national media attention to promote a political agenda.
Within an hour of the Boston bombing, major cable media outlets not only had videos of this incident on endless replay, but also had embellished them with dramatic music themes, as if they were promoting an action movie clip. The network hosts wildly speculated about the perpetrators and the type of bombs, and interviewed a long line of “experts” who knew little more about terrorism than the talkingheads who were interviewing them.
One commentator had the audacity to say, “We should not draw premature conclusions about this incident” … this said five hours into a litany of premature conclusions drawn by her network.
Even the FBI took the unusual step of issuing a public condemnation of the media coverage.
And I must say that the ubiquitous reference to those rendering aid to the injured as “heroes” is yet another over-dramatization. I spent my early years as a law enforcement first responder, and if anyone referred to my rendering of aid to the injured as “heroic,” I would smack them down. Giving aid no more constitutes heroics than civilians fleeing the area constitutes cowardice.
I have known men who have done truly heroic things, and I have read the Medal of Honor citations for others who did not survive their heroic acts. Shame on any talkinghead who labels the Boston acts of care and kindness “heroic,” and equal shame on all who rendered assistance who allow themselves to be so labeled.
The degree of the reprehensible media coverage was bested only by the Demo-gogue Leftists who quickly attempted to convert the tragedy into political capital. Demo House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer suggested that the Republican sequester contributed to a lack of security in Boston: “[We shouldn’t] pursue an irrational, across-the-board policy of cutting the highest priorities and the lowest priorities essentially the same percentage … I think this [act of terrorism] is another proof of that.” Apparently Hoyer figured that if Obama can use the caskets of murdered Newtown children as a political soapbox to promote his agenda, then he himself could use the death and dismemberment of citizens in Boston for the same.
And former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) added this political spin before the blood had dried. “I never was … one of the cheerleaders for less government, lower taxes. No tax cut would have helped us deal with this [terrorist attack].”
I am quite certain, given his penchant and record for exploiting tragedy as fodder for his political agenda, Obama will use the attacks in Boston to compromise liberty for “a little temporary safety.”
Fact is, however, soft targets are indefensible, and the first line of defense against violence of any type – as was the case in Times Square, when two street vendors reported the bomber’s car to police – is citizen vigilance. And despite the fact it is politically incorrect, when it comes to Jihadists, terrorist profiling works.
(Patriots’ Day Footnote: A quick search of the current White House website reveals not a single reference to Patriots’ Day, this iconic day in the formation of our Republic – not that I expected to find any acknowledgment of such. I’m certain that the current statist regime occupying the Executive Branch would not want to promote this formative event distinguished by a call to arms to turn back a growing tide of tyranny.)