Category Archives: Government Overreach

Mike Maharrey: While You Were Obsessing Over Impeachment

by Mike Maharrey

Well, they did it!

The House impeachment hearings were little more than political theater — a partisan fistfight with the majority party coming out the “winner.” In the process, it created the illusion of deep division and disagreement. Devoted Democrats and Republicans are both convinced that their team is fighting for their interests against a determined foe on the other side of the aisle.

But while everybody obsessed over the political theater playing out on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, they completely missed the sideshow that could actually impact their lives. Even as Democrats and Republicans engaged in a contentious public spectacle in the media spotlight, they worked in concert behind the scenes to steal your liberty and your wealth.

While you argued over the gory details of impeachment with your friends on Facebook, Congress passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The nearly 3,500-page bill authorizes $738 billion in defense spending in Fiscal Year 2020. It creates a “Space Force,” so the U.S. can expand its empire into the cosmos. And Congress rejected a provision that would have made it just slightly harder for the president to unilaterally send American troops into combat. In other words, Congress agreed that it would not bother to do its job and declare war before sending the U.S. military to conduct offensive combat operations as required by the Constitution. It will continue to let the president make that call on his own. You know – the president the House just impeached.

Even worse, the current iteration of the NDAA extended provisions written into the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that effectively authorize government kidnapping. The vaguely worded sections purport to authorize the arrest and “indefinite detention” of anybody the president decides might be associated with “terrorism” and subject them to the law of war. In effect, the government can deem you a terrorist and lock you away without due process. Government kidnapping may sound like hyperbole, but that’s exactly what the NDAA authorizes in effect.

Speaking of war, while all eyes were glued to the three-ring circus in D.C., the Washington Post released documents revealing that the U.S. government has been lying to us about the war in Afghanistan for decades.

“A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”

As one three-star general put it, “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking. If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction .?.?. 2,400 lives lost.”

This seems, maybe, just a tiny bit, significant. But the news barely saw the light of day. It was completely buried under an avalanche of impeachment reporting.

The sad truth is that these papers that have been mostly ignored provide legitimate grounds for impeachment – not just of Donald Trump, but Barack Obama and George W. Bush to boot. But when it comes to war, Congress maintains a bipartisan consensus supporting the endless, unconstitutional foreign interventions and the presidents who run them. And the media is complicit, focusing on the fake wrestling matches on Capitol Hill instead of reporting on real wars

And while we’re on the subject of bipartisan consensus, let me remind you that Congress reauthorized sections of the Patriot Act in the latest stopgap spending bill. This means the federal government will be able to continue to spy on you without a warrant and in complete disregard of the Fourth Amendment. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) predicted it would happen.

Today, while everyone is distracted by the impeachment drama, Congress will vote to extend warrantless data collection provisions of the #PatriotAct, by hiding this language on page 25 of the Continuing Resolution (CR) that temporarily funds the government. To sneak this through, Congress will first vote to suspend the rule which otherwise gives us (and the people) 72 hours to consider a bill. The scam here is that Democrats are alleging abuse of Presidential power, while simultaneously reauthorizing warrantless power to spy on citizens that no President should have… in a bill that continues to fund EVERYTHING the President does… and waiving their own rules to do it. I predict Democrats will vote on a party line to suspend the 72 hour rule. But after the rule is suspended, I suspect many Republicans will join most Democrats to pass the CR with the Patriot Act extension embedded in it.

And indeed they did.

And finally, while Congress-critters battled it out on the House floor, behind the scenes, congressional leaders worked with the Trump administration to hammer out a $1.4 trillion spending agreement. According to an Associated Press report, the deal “fills in the details of a bipartisan framework from July that delivered about $100 billion in agency spending increases over the coming two years instead of automatic spending cuts that would have sharply slashed both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.”

So, let’s review. While America was mesmerized by the pro-wrestling event on Capitol Hill, Congress agreed to maintain the government’s “authority” to kidnap you, to keep spying on you without a warrant, to continue unconstitutional wars, and to spend you deeper into debt.

Political theater makes for splashy headlines and heated debates, but it really has very little impact on your life. The political class, including the mainstream media, would prefer you pay attention to the fluff, not to the things that really matter. Perhaps instead of obsessing over impeachment or the latest debate over a Trump tweet, you would be better served to pay attention to what they don’t want you to pay attention to.

TAC: https://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2019/12/20/while-you-were-obsessing-over-impeachment/


Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center. He is from the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky and currently resides in northern Florida. See his blog archive here and his article archive here. He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at MichaelMaharrey.com and like him on Facebook HERE

Kathleen Marquardt: Freedom Cannot Exist In an Administrative Form of Government

Freedom Cannot Exist In an Administrative Form of Government “All of the aspects of central planning are scary, but the carbon neutral addition is really scary.”

by Kathleen Marquardt

Freedom cannot exist in an administrative form of government. -H. Lamb

Because so many of us who are trying to stop the theft of our private property and the destruction of local control of our communities have been in this battle for so long, we forget that it is only recently that many American citizens have begun learning of some of the tactics being used just for that.

A few months ago, I took over answering phone and email questions on policy for APC. One of the first emails I responded to was from a couple in Hermosa Beach, California. Hermosa Beach is in the process of finalizing their so-called unique community plan for 2031. I just skimmed over it at first because I am sick of looking at these ‘unique’ community plans that have all the same details, other than maybe one has a beach, one has mountains, and one is pretty much urban. But then I saw the words ‘carbon neutral.’ This is new, but should not have been unexpected.

From their website

You can read for yourself both about the new addition of carbon neutrality and also note that, while the Hermosa Beach plan is not a carbon copy (no pun intended) of every other ‘visioning plan’ across the nation, you’d have a hard time telling them apart if they didn’t put in the little idiosyncrasies of the local terrain.

Some of the goals:

Goal 2. Hermosa Beach is a Carbon Neutral Community by 2040. Climate change, often cited as the environmental crisis of our generation, poses a threat to the safety, health and welfare of the community. The City of Hermosa Beach is committed to being a leader of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has engaged in a number of innovative efforts to move toward carbon neutrality.

Policies 2.1 State targets and goals. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with State targets and goals, and achieve carbon neutrality as a community no later than 2040.

2.3 Diversify GHG reduction strategies. Pursue a diverse mixture of greenhouse gas reduction strategies across the transportation, energy, waste sectors, commensurate with their share of the community’s greenhouse gas emissions.

2.4 Land use and transportation investments. Promote land use and transportation investments that support greater transportation choice, greater local economic opportunity, and reduced number and length of automobile trips.

2.5 Carbon offsets as needed. When necessary, purchase carbon offsets to achieve the community carbon neutral goal.

2.7 Discretionary projects. Require discretionary projects to substantially mitigate all feasible greenhouse gas emissions, and offset the remainder of greenhouse gas emissions produced to meet annual thresholds.

2.8 Ministerial projects. Encourage ministerial projects to directly offset potential greenhouse gas emissions generated.

The City Council accepted the Municipal Carbon Neutral Plan and adopted a goal to be carbon neutral by 2020 for municipal facilities and operations. The Plan identifies a pathway to achieve this goal through a combination of implementation measures and offset purchases.

PLAN Hermosa will set the city on a trajectory for a more sustainable future. To do so, this Plan informs and is implemented by the City’s various ordinances, specific plans, programs, and ongoing activities. It sets the City’s overall policies and priorities for how to use and manage its physical, social, and economic resources.

Hermosa Beach residents will utilize the Plan to understand the predominant community consensus regarding how, when, and where the City should develop and change as a place to live, to work, and to invest. Current and potential business owners can utilize the Plan to understand economic development priorities and available resources, while developers use it to understand the City’s development needs, preferences, and desired physical parameters.  P 9

This is pretty much the same in every consensus plan devised today:
The community’s desire to advance sustainability, enhance economic vitality, and preserve the eclectic beach character, was further reinforced through the Community Dialogue process in 2013 and 2014. The community engaged in setting the vision and defining the unique qualities for Hermosa Beach.

The Community Dialogue process culminated in the creation of a Decision-Making tool that aims to: 1. Enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our government. 2. Identify and optimize opportunities for residents and businesses to improve our quality of life in Hermosa Beach. 3. Create a culture of innovation, so that our challenges become our opportunities and our opportunities enhance our community brand. 4. Ensure the values and priorities of all residents and business owners are considered during the analysis and deliberation of actions. 5. Deliver transparency to the decision-making process so that the public can make informed decisions.

Thus, PLAN Hermosa was developed under a broad sustainability framework that aims to: • Link environmental performance with economic vitality; • Enhance coastal protection and sea level rise best practices; • Leverage collaborative partnerships; and • Advance implementation of sustainability and greenhouse gas reduction legislation. Once adopted by the City Council, PLAN Hermosa will form the City’s overarching framework for decisionmaking, with subsequent plans, programs, and activities designed to carry out the community’s vision, goals and policies.

The updated Plan will guide how the City should develop and change, and where funds and resources for infrastructure, services and programs should be directed in a manner that most effectively achieves the community vision.  P 16

I used the Hermosa Beach plan as an example because it has the added carbon neutral aspect. All of the aspects of central planning are scary, but the carbon neutral addition is really scary. You cannot legislate invention, yet government keeps trying. What Hermosa Beach is doing is getting rid of gas before there are viable, economical replacements. This is insane. Given time, this might work; when this is feasible, communities can move forward with this kind of planning.
An important thing to understand about these ‘visioning’ plans for our communities is that they encompass numerous counties in the plan. Perhaps, like here in Knoxville, TN (planET), they started out with a small number of counties, here 5 Counties, One Vision. After the plan was presented and then supposedly it went away, the powers that be added 11 counties that never had a say-so in the visioning (perhaps I should say, they never had a ‘blue smoke and mirrors’ audition). This is the precursor to declaring the regional planning in the area. What’s wrong with regional planning? Wouldn’t it save money and add benefits to areas?

Let the late Henry Lamb explain it succinctly:

So what’s wrong with regional governance? Nothing – unless you value the republican form of government and individual freedom – and detest autocracy in all its forms. Regional governance evolved as a way to get around the obstacles presented by multiple local governments, all of which may have a stake in the region, but often disagree on what the region needs.

Regional governments, and their initiatives, are driven by government, not by the people. Government, by its very nature, seeks to increase its power and overcome any obstacle of disagreement. Once successful method is Regional Governance, which diminishes the power of local governments by conferring increasing levels of authority on the executive branch, which implements its authority through appointed bureaucrats.
In very short order, it is the unelected bureaucrats who wield the power; elected officials become little more than a rubber stamp whose approval provides “official” respectability to the bureaucracy.

(Citizens) . . . across the nation, should realize that once these regional (plans) are in place, there will be no way to return to the republican form of government that allows citizens to expect their city councilman or county commissioner to consider their wishes. The consent of the governed will no longer be a factor in public policy. Virtually all human activity will be subject to the approval of a professional bureaucracy that first creates a plan it thinks is a utopian community, and then requires every person to live when the plan dictates; to travel in a vehicle approved by the plan, to a job allowed by the plan – whether you like it or not. From Sustainable Development Manual (DeWeese).

To watch an enjoyable and elucidating video on how Hermosa Beach residents responded and how other communities might want to respond: https://youtu.be/Isa5HyLiHwk

APC: http://americanpolicy.org/2017/03/06/freedom-cannot-exist-in-an-administrative-form-of-government/

Read Kathleen Marquardt’s Biography