Stupid government – Theft by government : “Shutdown”
Nathan: Okay, we’ve now been in the so-called “Shutdown” for a full week. Every time I think I’ve said the last thing I want to about it, another news story comes along that screams for a comment. So here is some more screaming at the White House and the idiots in that big domed building at the other end of Pennsylvania.
Welcome, once again, to “UnAmerica” the bizarro country that replaced the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. While overall the “Shutdown” is bogus (come on, 87% of normal spending is taking place, 75% of ALL civilian federal employees are still working and 100% of ALL military personnel (except for National Guard technicians, apparently) are working), the Shutdown is REAL for some people, like this group out in Wyoming and Montana:
Wyoming: Gestapo Tactics meet Seniors at Yellowstone NP
(Newbury Port News, via Freedom’s Phoenix) A busload of senior tourists, including visitors from overseas, are held at gunpoint by Park Rangers in a Yellowstone National Park hotel for two days, not even allowed to see Old Faithful, then escorted nonstop for 2.5 hours to the gate, not even allowed to stop and use the toilets at a private facility. Those with poor English skills have to have it explained to them that they are NOT under arrest.
Nathan: Well, being detained for 48 hours in a hotel and not even allowed to go outside surely sounds like “arrest” to me, and despite protestations in some of the comments, it seems that “Gestapo” is a reasonable word to use. These Park Rangers do NOT have to obey their orders, which are clearly unconstitutional and unlawful. They can and should (especially if they are “under oath”) refuse to do so, and make public exactly what these orders are, coming from the Park Service, Department of Interior, and obviously, the White House. The following commentary explains a wee bit.
Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior under President George W. Bush in an interview to the National Review Online summarized the problems the NPS has had with staying out of politics.
“The National Parks Service has a long history of dramatizing budget issues by inconveniencing the public… They often choose the most dramatic type of action in order to get their message across. It’s something I had to guard against when I was secretary — not letting them play budget games. I can see why there are places that need to be closed — historic areas that need to be protected. But when you’re talking about open-air memorials, or scenic, natural areas – those types of areas can be open to the public without the need for much monitoring… NPS has a choice to make between amplifying the political message, and making commonsense arrangements to avoid inconveniencing visitors. I don’t see many commonsense solutions. Given the fact that they have closed so much, and acted so broadly, I imagine that decision was made at the highest levels of park service leadership, in cooperation with department leadership and the White House.” Read more here.
Nathan: Norton is no doubt right. The objective of the National Park Service is to make as many people as possible as miserable as possible. It does not matter to them if it is tourists that paid thousands of dollars and came thousands of miles, or the employees of concessionaires in the parks or of the businesses that all too often have been surrounded by parks but are still on private land, and privately owned, or of the businesses who sprang up to meet the demand of tourists coming to these sites decades ago, and their employees. The NPS personnel “furloughed” have a 90-95% chance of getting their back pay – and usually, their pay is so much higher than the private workers around them that, unless they have extraordinary circumstances or are incredibly wasteful spendthrifts, they can survive a week, two, or three without their pay. (And many banks are willing to lend them money against that back pay, to boot.) For many people in the private sector, that is not the case. But it is MORE than just money at stake here (I’ve been accused of being too concerned with money), it is liberty and tradition and the fabric of our society that is at stake. Here are some more examples, starting with one near (and dear) to me:
South Dakota: Lay-bys near Mount Rushmore closed illegally by Park Service to bar viewing of Memorial
(Argus Leader) Over the past seven days, event after event has been marked: closing of the privately-funded, privately-owned and operated parking structure, followed by using cones to prevent people from stopping along US-16A and SD-244 (both State-owned highways), and to prevent them from using scenic overlooks on those roads, followed by a refusal to an offer by SD Governor Daugaard to have the state pay for the cost of operating Mount Rushmore, and then the impact of a massive, early-season snowstorm.
Nathan: Thousands of people’s jobs are threatened, directly and indirectly. There are the contract vendors and their employees in the visitation complex at Mount Rushmore, the gatekeepers at the parking structure (built and operated by a private Foundation), the workers at tourist facilities in Keystone, Hill City, and even 30 miles away in Rapid City, and more. The photo montages (RapidCityJournal.com and ArgusLeader.com and KOTARadio.com) show the faces VERY clearly of the Rangers who COULD have refused orders but instead are seen bullying travelers and visitors and being jackbooted thugs in all but clothing. They may want to find other employment or get reassigned to someplace else a LONG LONG ways away. Black Hillers have long memories, especially when neighbors turn against them. There are places where you can see the faces and NOT be on Park Service or Forest Service lands, but because for more than a century these lands could NOT be homesteaded or purchased by private cities and companies. These and other government agencies have been actively buying back the land instead, or in some cases outright stealing it.
Every day, I am reading another dozen or more stories of the shutdown and the selective nature of the shutdown. There is now a very good list at Breitbart. The majority of these are National Park and National Forest lands, but there are some that are just plain cruel and stupid. For example, the commissaries on military bases stateside were closed for a week (most reopened yesterday or today): this is insane because while the buildings are government owned, the bases on which they are located are operating, and the operating costs (salaries, wages, utilities, etc.) are paid for by surcharges – NOT by Congressional funds. And to do this on a payday (1 OCT) meant disaster for many families. Another example of stupidity was arbitrarily ending experimental cancer treatments IN PROGRESS and shutting down the Amber Alert site. All these things are clearly intended to make life as miserable as possible for as many opponents of the current regime as possible.
The range is instructive: from WW2 and Vietnam veterans not being allowed to visit open air monuments in DC itself, normally open 24-7-365, to agencies being told NOT to allow contract chaplains even to volunteer to conduct services for soldiers, to refusal to allow access to privately owned activities (such as Mount Vernon and private homes along Lake Mead, the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge, and Cliff House in San Francisco, among others) to locking up tourists in a motel. Meanwhile, foreign aid gets paid, prisoners at a federal pen in Arkansas get paid (although the guards do not), and Michelle Obama’s website remain open. It seems that all sorts of things get bought with the “broke” government’s money (stolen from taxpayers), even if that money wasn’t appropriated yet, while other small companies who are OWED money which WAS appropriated over a year ago and DID the work, aren’t getting paid (because of the shutdown – according to a very good source very close to me, who is suffering as a result).
Of course, who could have guessed a couple of years ago that the face of open tyranny in this nation would NOT be an FBI agent or a DEA agent or TSA thug, but someone in the green and gray uniform of a Park Ranger? I always figured that it would be some new federal agency (perhaps the “Federal Law Enforcement Administration” – always liked that acronym). Instead, the “messiah’s” front-line goons are the folks who have been folk heroes for decades.
ONE LAST mention, from Breitbart:
Shutdown Denies Death Benefits to Families of Fallen Soldiers – “The families of five U.S. service members who were killed over the weekend in Afghanistan have been notified that they won’t be receiving the $100,000 benefit normally wired to relatives within 36 hours of the death. The “death gratuity” is intended to help cover funeral costs and help with immediate living expenses until survivor benefits typically begin.”
Nathan: Adding insult to injury, he uses these troops for his own evil purposes, lying to them about how they are protecting freedom and this nation while expanding the Imperium, but uses the $100K of their death benefits to try and make the GOP look bad, and to use as an excuse to not only not compromise, but to demand that they give in completely. Words fail me.
This is a gauntlet thrown down in front of people who already dislike the government, and want it to go away. Of course, if the government REALLY shut down, most of these things would get done by private people just doing the best they can to do what they are supposed to do: serve people, care for people, respect the land, and so much more.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
It is time to retaliate by refusing service to Federal agencies and Federal workers – especially those deemed “essential” (like the White House chefs, the workers at the golf course used by the “messiah,” the NSA spies, the drone operators, and especially the Park and Forest Rangers who are carrying out their thuggish orders). Refuse to let them use government credit cards, refuse to let them buy ANYthing at stores and gas stations and movie houses and hotels and motels. I know we won’t be able to get the airlines to refuse to sell them plane tickets, but I’d LOVE to see the flight attendants refuse to serve them. Ask to see IDs and if they show a government employee credit card, tell them “Sorry, I can’t serve you, you might not be able to pay me, because you are furloughed or going to get furloughed, and I can’t call your bank to see if you really can pay me.” “And because you are part of a bunch of idiots working for the criminally insane in BOTH parties in Congress and the White House.”
Mama’s Note: For those truly interested in “doing something,” take a look at the Knappster” blog.
When it comes to negative social preferencing, the more the merrier: It should be crowd-sourced. If I refuse to have anything to do with you, no biggie. But if you can’t get a sandwich at your favorite deli, receive communion at your church of choice, etc. because everyone thinks you’re an asshole and doesn’t want to have anything to do with you, you’ve got a real incentive to stop initiating force against others, apologize for initiating force against others, and make restitution to those you’ve harmed.