Government Tyranny? Where Would We Get That Idea

Drew M who blogs at Ace of Spades put together this video compilation.

Of course you have to be some kind of paranoid loon to think that the ever-expanding size of  our government poses some kind of threat to the liberty of American citizens. I mean it’s not like the government is tapping not only the phones of reporters who dare question the regime, but those reporters’ parents as well.  Ummmmm . . .

Well, you know how it is. When a reporter misbehaves, an administration sometimes has to call his parents…or, just seize their phone logs.

Bret Baier revealed Tuesday that, according to Department of Justice documents, one of the numbers listed in DOJ’s demands “also relate to James’ parents’ home in Staten Island.” I can’t yet find a Fox follow-up story on the revelation, but the Staten Island area code, 718, shows up twice in DOJ’s filing in the Stephen Jin-Woo Kim case. The documents are posted here by the New Yorker.

There’s more video at the link, where you can also find this post from Kirsten Powers.

Turns out it’s a fairly swift sojourn from a president pushing to “delegitimize” a news organization to threatening criminal prosecution for journalistic activity by a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, to spying on Associated Press reporters. In between, the Obama administration found time to relentlessly persecute government whistleblowers and publicly harass and condemn a private American citizen for expressing his constitutionally protected speech in the form of an anti-Islam YouTube video.

Where were the media when all this began happening? With a few exceptions, they were acting as quiet enablers.

As Powers goes on to elaborate, it’s not as though Obama and his team didn’t send out early warnings that media questioning of the One would not be  . . . appreciated.

“What I think is fair to say about Fox … is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party,” said Anita Dunn, White House communications director, on CNN. “[L]et’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.” On ABC’s “This Week” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Fox is “not really a news station.” It wasn’t just that Fox News was “not a news organization,” White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel told CNN’s John King, but, “more [important], is [to] not have the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization …”

These series of “warnings” to the Fourth Estate were what you might expect to hear from some third-rate dictator, not from the senior staff of Hope and Change, Inc

Yet only one mainstream media reporter—Jake Tapper, then of ABC News—ever raised a serious objection to the White House’s egregious and chilling behavior. Tapper asked future MSNBC commentator and then White House press secretary Robert Gibbs: “[W]hy is [it] appropriate for the White House to say” that “thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a ‘news organization’?” The spokesman for the president of the United States was unrepentant, saying: “That’s our opinion.

Trashing reporters comes easy in Obama-land. Behind the scenes, Obama-centric Democratic operatives brand any reporter who questions the administration as a closet conservative, because what other explanation could there be for a reporter critically reporting on the government?

Now if you listen to certain doyens of the left, there is only one man to blame for the administration’s slippery behavior. That’s right, it all starts at the top, and the man who really is to blame for all of this misconduct is”


Oh, did you think that because George Bush has been out of office for five years and has no earthly link to any of the scandals that have broken in recent weeks that somehow, someway the left wouldn’t find ways to pin the blame on Bush? Listening to the Michael Medved show today I listened to a string of callers sputter “B-b-but what about Bush?” If you merely chant the words “Bush, Cheney, and Iraq” together that magically clears Barack Obama of all wrong-doing. Nothing to see here. Carry on.

What I find most humorous is that Barack Obama’s presidency embodies all of the caricatures of what the Bush presidency was thought to be. Bush was derided as a simple-minded cowboy who brooked no dissent. In reality, Bush actually relished and encouraged disagreement between his advisers, yet it is President Obama who has by all accounts surrounded himself with sycophantic yes-men (and women). And while the Bush administration supposedly drove us to the brink in terms of civil liberties, under the current administration journalists are being wiretapped, entire news networks are being targeted, Catholic groups are being asked about the content of their prayers,  and groups holding opposing views are being harassed by multiple government entities. And the saddest part of all is that the best case scenario is one in which the administration is monstrously incompetent and not simply corrupt. As Bookworm puts it:

As for those who say that the whole IRS affair becomes irrelevant if no one can prove that Obama is not directly involved, that’s completely wrong. Of course, if the president was involved, it shows that he is the most corrupt, tyrannical leader in American history, and that every branch of the executive division in our government has been tainted and must be cleaned out. And as far as Obama is concerned, if he wasn’t involved, he is a man too incompetent and weak to hold the job of national chief executive.

But think about what it means if Obama wasn’t involved, and the IRS, an agency that has the power to destroy every person in America, did all of this on its own initiative. What we’re seeing in that case is the fall-out of a complete Leftist takeover of American institutions. We will have become a tyranny by bureaucracy (in no small part due to the fact that federal agencies are heavily unionized, and always with a Leftist slant), with the entire federal government irredeemably corrupt.

Don’t you feel so much better now?

More to explorer


  1. The use of the term “tyranny” is rather florid.

    Of course you have to be some kind of paranoid loon to think that the ever-expanding size of our government poses some kind of threat to the liberty of American citizens.

    Your concern is mis-directed.

    The ratio of public expenditure to domestic product was fairly stable between 1974 and 2009. The role of the public sector has tended toward step-wise expansions driven by external events – the Depression, the 2d World War, and the reconfiguration of international relations just after. The Democratic caucus attempting to replicate the period running from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, when you did have a general upward trajectory. There are a portfolio of reasons why this is a bad idea and why a great many innovations in political economy over the last 80 years are best killed and buried. Abuse of the citizenry is seldom one of them.

    The real abuse of the citizenry arises from federal prosecutors, the complicit judiciary, and regulatory agencies, to which are conjoined the federal police and tax collectors. The thing is, they contribute relatively little to the “size” of the government. The largest civil regulatory agency is the Food and Drug Administration, which has a budget of about $3 bn. (The Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Communications Commission have larger budgets, but over 80% of their budgets are allocated to patronage and pork, not regulatory determination and enforcement). Conrad Black and Lewis Libby were tyrannized; the Obamaphone lady was not.

    Your real problem here is the culture of the Democratic Party and the associated social nexus – including and especially the legal profession. They simply do not recognize the legitimacy of political opposition anymore, nor that there is any sphere of human activity not properly the subject of second-guessing by claques of attorneys. Eliminating Social Security or the Federal Reserve Banks is perfectly non sequitur in addressing this problem.

  2. Of course you have to be some kind of paranoid loon to think that the ever-expanding size of our government poses some kind of threat to the liberty of American citizens.

    Your concern is mis-directed.

    Well . . .

    The real abuse of the citizenry arises from federal prosecutors, the complicit judiciary, and regulatory agencies, to which are conjoined the federal police and tax collectors.

    I think you’re being a bit too narrow in how you define the growth of the size of government.

  3. No, I’m not. There is a distinction between dimensions and scope of authority and also a distinction between scope of authority and the culture of people making use of that discretion. I do not think there were many structural changes to the operations of the federal judiciary between 1925 and 1975 other than the Administrative Procedure Act. What changed was the willingness of appellate judges to engage in acts of misfeasance (and the kudos they got from the elite bar for so doing). You need structural changes to address that problem (which may or may not mean spending more money).

    We have a problem with the I.R.S. One address to that would be to re-compose the tax laws to reduce the discretion exercised by I.R.S. agents. That is not going to make the government any ‘smaller’. It would also require that a bill be able to get through the legislative process without being festooned with special favors for pet clients of various members of Congress – which never happens. Part of the reason it never happens is a cumbersome set of institutions (which defenders of liberty tell us is a feature and not a bug).

  4. The right is great at finding the sins of the left and pointing their hippocracy. Then what? Wake me when the ball is actually moving forward. The left moves the ball forward even when they lose. Example: Dodd-Frank. I wish the right and GOP were so adept.

  5. “The right is great at finding the sins of the left and pointing their hypocrisy. Then what? Wake me when the ball is actually moving forward. The left moves the ball forward even when they lose. Example: Dodd-Frank. I wish the right and GOP were so adept.”

    Psalm 146:3-4

    Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.

    John 18:36

    My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.

  6. Sorry Paul. My post must have sounded too hopeful. I was trying to express my doubt conservatives or the GOP will get the job done.

    Your citations are true in the grand scheme of things, our life in enternity. But until that time, I would like to see some sincere and fruitful efforts to build God’s kindgom on earth to the best of our abilities.

    J. Christian,

    The ball is, but not limited to, the righteous principles upon which America was built, a respect for the unalienables rights. Moving the ball forward means returning to these ideals and rolling back the govermental and societal decay caused by the spread of liberalism, which stands antithetical to the aforementioned.

    Who says it needs to move forward? Other than me and like minded individuals, the U.S. Constitution, “in order to form a more perfect union.” It’s a pursuit, a journey. We’ve been marching in the opposite direction politically and culturally.

  7. “The use of the term “tyranny” is rather florid.”

    yeah. I am wary of attempts to lump all Obama admin. policies into a unified “Big Government run amok” narrative. Liberals are not going to stop wanting universal healthcare, stimulus during economic slumps etc. because of this. they’re policy disagreements and they aren’t effectively rebutted by generic liberty rhetoric IMO.

    “They simply do not recognize the legitimacy of political opposition anymore”

    yeah. I dunno if it was always this way and I’ve just been naive, or if this increased in the ’00s.


    Also, we have learned in the last day or so that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue visited the White House 118x over a two-year period. There is only one person in the Commissioner of Internal Revenue’s chain of command employed by the Executive Office of the President.

    The erstwhile Commissioner of Internal Revenue was evasive and condescending, his acting successor cannot recall who is responsible for anything, and this Lerner woman pleads the fifth. This is getting real smelly.

  9. J. Christian,

    If you want to see an example of moving the ball forward, see how the left has done so by pressuring the Boy Scouts to allow homosexual scouts. Another victory.

  10. the corrupt and unscrupulous have spent over two hundred years identifying and exploiting the weaknesses in the u.s. constitution. we are now facing the consequences of their success in doing this.

    we need a constitutional convention.

    one of the most egregious overreaches of government is its decision to control the education of future generations. this is de facto a direct and egregious violation of the first amendment. the government is favoring some systems of belief over other systems of belief.

  11. I mean.


    They haven’t started rounding up conservatives . . . yet.

    Quoted by Instapundit:

    “In December 2010 the FBI came to ask about a person who’d attended a King Street Patriots function. In January 2011 the FBI had more questions. The same month the IRS audited her business tax returns. In May 2011 the FBI called again for a general inquiry about King Street Patriots. In June 2011 Engelbrecht’s personal tax returns were audited and the FBI called again. In October 2011 a round of questions on True the Vote. In November 2011 another call from the FBI. The next month, more questions from the FBI. In February 2012 a third round of IRS questions on True the Vote. In February 2012 a first round of questions on King Street Patriots. The same month the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms did an unscheduled audit of her business. (It had a license to make firearms but didn’t make them.) In July 2012 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did an unscheduled audit. In November 2012 more IRS questions on True the Vote. In March 2013, more questions. In April 2013 a second ATF audit.

    “All this because she requested tax-exempt status for a local conservative group and for one that registers voters and tries to get dead people off the rolls. Her attorney, Cleta Mitchell, who provided the timeline above, told me: ‘These people, they are just regular Americans. They try to get dead people off the voter rolls, you would think that they are serial killers’.”

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