Protecting The Wrong People

The following article from Richard Rahn is one of those great ideas that are needed in our Constitution. He proposes that Congress just provide the legislation. I don’t believe Congress would ever do it. (Unless the TLR were threatening their lives.)
But recently I heard Mark R. Levin describe his book Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic on FOX News. Levin believes we need a Constitutional Convention for the purpose of reigning in our political aristocracy with a series of amendments which he proposes. His book is high on my to-read list. But the important issue is how do we get the Constitutional Convention and what makes us think it could pass the needed amendments? As Levin puts it: how is described in the Constitution. And then he points out that if we don’t attempt it we are certain to fail as a republic and as a nation. We must override our political aristocracy. It won’t be easy but it can be done.
I think Rahns proposal should be the first item on the amendment list. It would be an easy sell to the American public but a hard sell to the entrenched bureaucracy and political aristocracy.
Protecting the Wrong People
By Richard W. Rahn
Published August 13, 2013
The government mobilizes to defeat the president’s enemies, not the nation’s.
The Obama administration has a penchant for not safeguarding agents of the U.S. government that it ought to protect, while at the same time protecting errant civil servants, some of whom belong in jail. Almost everyone is now aware of the U.S. government’s failure to protect our ambassador and others in Benghazi, Libya, and the refusal to properly characterize mass killing at Fort Hood, Texas, as terrorism, thus denying benefits to many of the victims. There is another case — that of Robert Seldon Lady — which is equally outrageous, but has received little publicity.
Bob Lady has worked in undercover capacities for the U.S. government for 24 years. His last assignment was in Italy, where, as a consular official, he worked with the Italian police to protect the Italian and American people from terrorists, probably saving many Italian and American lives. In exchange for his good work, an Italian court convicted him in absentia of allegedly kidnapping a terrorist leader off the streets of Milan and rendering him for questioning. Because of the nature of his work and U.S. secrecy laws that he upheld, he was not able to give a public defense — and was forced to flee Italy. An Italian court has issued an Interpol warrant for Mr. Lady, who was carrying out his duties as instructed by officials of the Obama administration. America has a tradition of not leaving wounded soldiers in the field: We do not abandon those who protect us. However, President Obama has yet to insist that our Italian allies pardon Mr. Lady and withdraw the warrant for his arrest.
Contrast these actions with the treatment given to those in the Internal Revenue Service and regulatory agencies who have broken U.S. law. When the IRS scandals first broke, the president assured us that the wrongdoers would be punished. Instead, no one has been fired or penalized, and some of those accused of engaging in illegal activities have been given raises and promotions. The law is clear. The IRS may not share taxpayer information with any other government agency (certain exceptions involving national security are permitted). We now know that the IRS leaked taxpayer information to officials of the Federal Election Commission and other agencies, and even to those involved in the Obama re-election effort so that Mitt Romney’s campaign donors could be harassed.
The IRS’ stonewalling of Tea Party and other conservative-leaning groups, denying them the ability to obtain donations, was nothing less than an attempt to steal an election. Using the IRS against one’s political enemies is the essence of political corruption, and undermines the democratic process.
At the moment, citizens can do little about such abuses, because the Justice Department of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has become so politically corrupt that opponents of the president are prosecuted, but (for the most part) not his supporters, in or out of government. In essence, government bureaucrats get a free pass no matter how much they violate the law.
What can be done? When someone outside of government damages your property, person or reputation, you can bring a civil suit against them, and often recover damages. Government employees who commit illegal actions that hurt people and even the democratic process are protected, in most cases, under the doctrine of sovereign immunity.
Part of the solution is for Congress to severely limit “sovereign immunity” (which is necessary in some national security and policymaking cases). Citizens should be given the right to sue government employees as individuals when their illegal decisions or actions harm them. A number of Tea Party and other groups were harmed by individuals in the IRS who, for political reasons, delayed or rejected their applications for tax-exempt status. If the folks submitting the applications were allowed to sue those IRS workers and officials involved in the illegal activity, I would expect most of it would quickly stop.
There are many people working in regulatory agencies who ignore the law or constitutional protections (such as the “takings clause”) when issuing regulations. They, too, should be subject to individual lawsuit. For such lawsuits to have a corrective effect, Congress should prevent government agencies such as the IRS from covering the cost of lawyers and fines if the government employee is found guilty.
We are now in an age of “big data,” where the collection and storage of data by the National Security Agency, IRS or other government agencies is easy and inexpensive — and this genie is not going to be put back in the bottle. The only protection we have is to make sure that those who misuse, inappropriately share, or leak data are held strictly accountable — as individuals — and subject to both criminal and civil prosecution.
Too many in the political class — from the president down to low-level government employees — act as if the laws and rules apply to everyone else, but not to themselves. They need to be reeled in.
Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.

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5 Responses to Protecting The Wrong People

  1. Brett says:

    Term limits, baby. It all starts with breaking the chain of political fatcats being bought by lobbyists.

  2. Norm says:

    “I think Rahns proposal should be the first item on the amendment list. It would be an easy sell to the American public but a hard sell to the entrenched bureaucracy and political aristocracy.” We Libertarians continue to be far too idealistic about what will motivate the American public to action. People should be judged by their actions and the American people continue to not only lack the action but I think most of them believe any criticism is because one of our two primary parties is attacking the other. Nothing will change until a majority of citizens fear for the demise of our Republic. Thanks for trying Erne but I am still depressed.

    • Agree, Norm –Rahn’s amendment should be the first one AFTER the Term Limit Amendment which is Levin’s first choice. Term limits have to come first to have any chance of getting any of them going in Congress. btw, there is already a proposed term limit amendment in the Senate with a dozen co-sponsors and also in the House. See http://termlimits.org/term-limits/

  3. Anne Bright says:

    As a Senior Citizen and finally really awake (thanks to the internet and blogs and books such as Mr. Lewis has written), I am NOT encouraged that America will recover the freedoms it knew existed a 100 or even 50 years ago. In the mid-60’s I discovered Ayn Rand and became a Student of Objectivism. The many conservative/libertarian websites I visit has opened my eyes further, as well as reading the works of Lysander Spooner, the Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine, etc. I realize that where America is now is result of generations of avowed Socialists, Fascists, Communists often disguised as “just good folks in Government – at all levels – trying to “help” us.” They have thoroughly infiltrated Academia! I highly recommend Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s 1982 book “The Ominous Parallels” where he so rightly lays out how America is devolving into Nazi Germany. Here we are 30+ years later and almost there. Most of the Bill of Rights are ignored. Most Americans just want “beer and circuses” as did the Romans! The SHEEPLE – which is 90% of Americans. Debt in the developed world is hundreds of trillions of dollars – no one really knows when you factor in Derivatives and can NEVER be paid off. Result – the economic collapse, chaos, hunger, riots until hopefully nations recover their freedoms. Most will NOT! The only certain thing is the KNOWLEDGE of how to survive that is in your head and making preparations. I use the example of Greece. Those in the cities that lost their jobs, but their little family farms in the countryside are still owned by them, have moved back. They are growing olives, etc. to barter with, to sell, and at least feeding themselves. Knowing how to garden, having HEIRLOOM seeds in a seed vault, freeze dried or dehydrated long dated food, supplies of all kinds and knowing how to FIX things, have items to barter, have some precious metals but do NOT put them in a bank, being aware and moving AWAY from cities. During a Banking Holiday, the boxes may well be opened by Government and items stolen. Does this sound like a DARK picture? You bet! American police are often not at all like Sheriff Andy Taylor in Mayberry but have become militarized. No knock warrants and home invasions by SWAT teams are common, and sometimes mistakes are made. Political correctness has stifled free speech. I remember as a child saying “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” The CONTROL from local, state, federal government, the TAXES, the RULES and REGULATIONS – all under the guise of HELPING citizens is often just a CONTROL mechanism. Young folks who can, learn some skills to be self-sufficient and go somewhere and try and live off the land, off the grid, somewhere with no zoning, work from home, HOME SCHOOL your children as the Public Education system has dumbed down and is a corrupting influence, raise your food, and hope the heck that when the SHTF you will come out ok. Sorry for the DARK picture, but my “memories” – the stories of my early Yankee ancestors dates back to the early 1800’s and passed down thru grandparents and parents. I KNOW what America used to be. My Dad – long passed on – was a self-made man and thrived during the Great Depression and he taught us well. Do for yourself, and leave other people alone. Help those that deserve it. Work hard, be dependable, NEVER take welfare. Dig ditches if you have to. Such people are becoming a rarity. As Dr. Thomas Sowell said several years ago “I am glad I am old and soon to die”. By the way, I highly recommend his many books, as well as Judge Andrew Napolitano, and Mark Levin’s new book which I just downloaded on my Kindle. Looking forward to Mr. Lewis’ next novel as I so loved his first novel.

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