4.18.2014

Once Bosworth Meets Her Farewell, Her Followers Will Cry Out for Another

I've been thinking about what Cory Heidelberger said in his comment on this post.  Perhaps I should make more of an effort to find out who the misguided sheep are that Dr. Bosworth is fleecing.

What comes to mind though, is a verse from the Eagles' song Learn to Be Still


We are like sheep without a shepherd  
We don't know how to be alone 
So we wander 'round this desert 
And wind up following the wrong gods home 
But the flock cries out for another 
And they keep answering that bell 
And one more starry-eyed messiah 
Meets a violent farewell- 
Learn to be still 
Learn to be still

There are a lot of Christians who get involved in politics looking for a messiah.  Find a candidate who professes Christ, who is open and bold about that profession.  Somebody who seems to be a true believer.  If we can just get that person into office, then everything will be well.  The world will be saved.  Life will be wonderful.  Jimmy Carter roped people in that way.  Mike Huckabee played to that audience, too.  Pat Robertson toys with them.  James Dobson encourages them.

Some don't want the messiah figure in politics.  Some just want him as a preacher.  He'll tell me what I need to know.  He'll save me.  Robert Schuller, Jimmy Baker, and many, many others have played this game to lead people not to Christ, but to themselves.

Sooner or later, though, just like Dr. Bosworth, they turn out to be mere mortals after all.  Finding they've followed the wrong god home - one who is no god at all, their supporters abandon them in disgust, but they do not learn to be still, trusting the messiah who's resurrection we celebrate this weekend.  Instead, they wander around this desert a while, crying out for another.  And there will be another - they keep answering the bell.

I suppose I should make the effort, though.  In a way, this blog is part of the effort.  I want people to see it is possible to be Christian, engaged in politics, and not act as if every opinion I hold, no matter how much I believe it to be true, defines the boundaries of Christian faithfulness.  I want people to see in what I write here what is, frankly, a fairly strident political conservativism that nevertheless acknowledges the tentativeness and temporary quality of all human opinions.  I don't want people to think I've got some inside track on the mind of God.  I even want people to see at the outset enough of my faults that, no matter how much they may concur with my opinions, they have no delusions about me.  I am mere man, no more, no less.  The messiah is someone else, not me.

If I can figure out a way to publish a bit further abroad, in areas where Dr. Bosworth is playing her messianic schtick, I will.  But I fear most of those so reached will only look for - and find - another to fleece them.

Dr. Bosworth in Trouble, But Not as Much as She Ought

For those of you who read my blog but don't follow South Dakota politics, there's been a bit of a brouhaha over the last several weeks since Dr. Bosworth submitted her nominating petitions.  As you may recall from an earlier post, Mr. Heidelberger over at Madville Times noted that she had signed an oath indicating she personally had witnessed the signatures on several sheets whose dates coincided with her highly publicized trip to the Philippines.

In other words, she lied under oath.  The short word for that is "perjury."  Whether this was done because she is careless and didn't really read the oath (which is what I suspect) or with malice aforethought is, frankly, irrelevant.  The facts are not in dispute.  She signed on to the oath and dated it.  A notary confirmed it was her signing it.  The dates in which she supposedly was here collecting signatures coincide with her trip to the Philippines.

When this was brought to the attention of our illustrious Secretary of State, he said that wasn't his bailiwick.  He probably said some other things, too - at least to himself - things like "Oh s**t. What am I supposed to do with this steaming pile of excrement?"  Since it was a question of violating the law - misdemeanor perjury - he figured he could pass that warm feeling over to the Attorney General.  The AG, not being born yesterday, tossed it back to the Sec State on the grounds that the law makes him the only one able to determine validity of petitions.

Meanwhile, Republican state Representative Steve Hickey filed suit to force a ruling on the validity of those petitions on which Dr. Bosworth lied under oath.  He later withdrew the suit when it became clear that the court, the Sec State, and the AG were going to toss this pile back and forth until it was too late and the primary vote had occurred.

A local talk radio guy - Greg Belfrage - who likes to portray himself as conservative, decided to invite Rep. Hickey on his show to get his take on Dr. Bosworth and why he filed the suit.  Dr. Bosworth, playing the high school drama queen role to the hilt, hit the studio during the Hickey interview demanding equal time.  Belfrage gave it to her, but not until the following day.  By all accounts, Dr. Bosworth would have done far better to stay off the airwaves, but that's not how drama queens see it.  Opposition to her is satanic in its origins - after all, it's only because an atheist communist liberal blogger (that would be Mr. Heidelberger over at Madville) said something.  She didn't do anything wrong.  Something about dead Indians that nobody has been able to figure out.  She's just a poor, picked-on little Christian girl.  She had legal counsel before she signed.

Oops.  That got the attention of her legal counsel.  So today we find, over at SD War College (where a fair bit of back & forth has been going on over this - just check the comments sections of several posts) that she issued a correction.  She didn't get legal advice before signing.  Her lawyer confirmed it was her signature (notarized it) and that is all he did.

Personally, what bothers me most about Dr. Bosworth is her claim that her nomination is a mandate from heaven, that being Christian means supporting her, that she and God are in perfect sync.  What is more, she is using that claim to excuse her taking short cuts with the truth, as if rules that apply to others shouldn't apply to her.  It is bad enough to claim that God requires us to vote for her.  It is far worse to use her profession of Christianity as justification for dishonesty - that crosses into blasphemy for it profanes the name of Christ.

Bundy Is Wrong, But That Doesn't Mean the Feds Are Right

Lest there be any confusion on my stance regarding Mr. Bundy of Nevada, let me state categorically, I am not supporting his actions.  I think the confrontation highlights the problems in the way our federal government currently functions - to the extent it can be said to function at all, anyway.

I also think the question raised by certain Republicans in Montana, as reported by Travis Kavulla over at National Review Online, is pertinent: What kind of landowner lets a tenant go 20 years without collecting rent?

Bundy only owns a quarter section (160 acres).  The rest of the land he uses belongs to the federal government which has let him use it for 20 years without collecting rent.

There is - as someone noted in a comment on an earlier post - a mechanism by which the bureaucrats at the Bureau of Land Management set the rent and collect it.  I think that mechanism is part of the problem, but that there is a mechanism is incontrovertible.  Yet for 20 years that has not been enforced in Bundy's case.  It's rather like the immigration mess we face - we have not been serious about enforcing the law for decades.  Doing so now is unavoidably problematic.

Congress doing its duty and holding to its own authority as a coequal branch of government would go a long way towards avoiding such confrontations in the future.  When the rents (and taxes) are set by elected representatives, there is far less sympathy for those who resist them.

The federal government selling off the vast swaths of land it owns but does not need for military purposes would also go a long way towards avoiding such confrontations.  I would go so far as to have the federal government turn over all national parks, monuments, etc. that do not cross state boundaries or lie within the borders of tribal lands to the individual states.  And I would have them negotiate with the several tribes regarding the parks or monuments within their territory as tenants of the tribes.  The argument wouldn't happen if the feds didn't own so much land in the first place.

And consistent, early enforcement of all the laws would also go a long way towards avoiding such confrontations.  When enforcement is sketchy, late, and arbitrary, it is easy to portray one's self as the victim of political machinations rather than simply a law-breaker.  This also puts considerable pressure on the government to keep the scope of laws within the scope of their actual ability to enforce them.  Fewer laws uniformly enforced will do far more to create respect for the law than do the multitudinous, contradictory, byzantine, morass of regulatory bureaucracies that beset us in all areas of life.

Bundy is wrong.  But somebody like Bundy is inevitable under our current dysfunctional federal government.  There will be another, and probably in the not-too-distant future, and he may have a leg to stand on.

4.16.2014

Congressional Dereliction of Duty Underlies Bundy Confrontation

If you regularly peruse the South Dakota War College, you'll see a lot of press releases from Senator Thune and Congresswoman Noem.  These tend to fall into three categories - event announcements, information about bills they want passed, and correspondence with regulators in the executive branch.  Interestingly, Noem's are more often about bills she wants passed or other actions the House is taking.  Thune's are more often correspondence with regulators, but that's because the Senate is run by Democrats, so legislative accomplishments are few and far between for Republicans.

The thing is, even Noem's are often focused on proposed legislation directing regulators to act in certain ways, as a quick perusal of SDWC's Noem posts reveals - well, that and other feel-good things ("Yeah! Moms!" or "Yeah! Farmers!" and such like).

Here are a few of Thune's.

But, whether in Thune's letters or Noem's legislation, it all sounds as if we, through our elected representatives, are coming on bended knee to beg and scrape before our betters in hopes they will hear our pleas and have mercy upon us.

And that's exactly bass ackwards.  But that attitude is behind the Bundy confrontation and why so many rallied to what is, in reality, a rather poor place to stand and fight for freedom.

Bundy's comments and statements as far as I can see reveal a curmudgeonly crackpot.  For decades his family has used land to graze cattle without owning it and paying taxes on it.  When the government started levying grazing fees, and then changed those fees, he balked.  His legal defense was silly, although I'm sure it made sense to him.

So why did so many flock to his side to defend his lunacy?

Because so many of our representatives don't function as legislators but as highly paid supplicants to bureaucrats to whom those same representatives have, over the last 80 years or so, increasingly ceded the authority that is supposed to be theirs.

Did Congress set the grazing fee?  No.  The BLM did, because Congress told them to take that on.  Did Congress decide whatever silly turtle is supposedly "endangered" was threatened?  Nope.  Bureaucrats decide what species are and are not endangered - because Congress told them to take that on.  So we have a United States Senator writing to some bureaucrat over at some agency begging him to temporarily alter some regulation so we can get propane for less money.  Excuse me, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot???  Or we get a United States Representative gushing her thanks because another bureaucrat gave some money to some farmers after their cattle froze.  Huh?  These are not the statements of powerful legislators who have authority.  These are the statements of humble supplicants begging their betters for attention.

Now, I rail against these unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats and I don't retract anything I've said about them recently, but it is important to note, they are only doing the job Congress told them to do.  How is it possible that an anonymous - until excrement hit fan - functionary in the IRS could stymie so effectively the people of this country as they tried to petition their government for a redress of grievances?  Because Congress ceded that power to the IRS through its byzantine tax code, just as they ceded authority over health care regulation to HHS with Obamacare.

People are tired of that.  Bundy flashed, people responded - not because they really think Bundy is a great civil rights leader.  He isn't.  He's a crackpot.  But because people are tired of having to just take it from nameless, faceless, distant, authorities they cannot know, cannot understand, and cannot throw out of office, they saw this as a chance to stand up to them, so they did.

It won't last.  Bundy will lose this fight and I think that's probably right.  But it is a harbinger of things to come if our legislators - Democrat and Republican - don't start trimming the bureaucracy they've created, taking up the mantle of authority they've ceded to the executive branch, and pull back the reach of the federal government.  Another flashpoint will arise, one with far greater merit, and in a situation where all sides are far less willing to listen to cooler heads.  Don't know when, but it will happen - just a matter of time.

4.15.2014

Nevada Stand-Off - Bundy Violating a Law That Should Not Exist Imposed By an Agency That Should Not Exist

Been brushing up on the whole deal in Nevada surrounding rancher C. Bundy.

I come away with a couple impressions.

1) Bundy is clearly in violation of the law.

2) The law changed suddenly and arbitrarily, without regard to any impact it might have on him and without any opportunity for input by him because it was not changed through legislators, but bureaucrats.  Bundy's protest is thus akin to "no taxation without representation."

3) The president and his administration seem more concerned with protecting turtles than protecting U.S. borders, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or freedom of the press.

4) The president is more interested in enforcing the letter of the law here than he is in enforcing the letter of the Obamacare law - a law he has routinely ignored and rewritten on the fly as needed to suit his political requirements.

5) Far too much of Nevada is owned by the federal government.

6) Obama has made the law arbitrary, capricious, unpredictable, and whimsical by his arbitrary, capricious, unpredictable, and whimsical decisions on enforcement.  This is not an approach conducive to respect for the law.

The ceding of legislative authority to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats - and they are unaccountable as Lois Lerner and others amply demonstrate - along with the president's own example of disregard for the law are primary causes of the dispute.  The dispute is rendered more likely by the fact the federal government now reaches into every nook and cranny of our lives to manipulate and control via the regulatory power granted those unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.

Bundy is violating the law, but the law should not exist, nor the agency that established the law, nor should the government own the land that is in dispute in the first place.

4.14.2014

Losing the Argument? Just Shout "Racist!"

I do get tired of it - this accusation of racism, that is.

I find Obama's policies and tyrannical proclivities repugnant.  According to Democrat leaders, this must be because I am at heart a racist.  It cannot be that Obama's policies and proclivities are a threat to freedom and ordered liberty.  It cannot be that Obama has consistently ignored constitutional and statutory limits on his authority with the active collusion of Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives as well as the national media.  It cannot be that I simply have a different philosophy of governance or a radically different understanding of human nature and its limitations.

Nope.  Rational opposition to leftist statism is, in the minds of people like Holder, Obama, and too many other Democrats and liberals, simply impossible.  Therefore opposition must be irrational, and in the minds of many of these Democrats, not a misguided unreason, but an unreason guided by evil.  Thus the accusation of racism.

But we are not racists - not more, and in many ways, considerably less so than our leftist opponents who seem to think everyone of a certain race must think the same way.  This is why, in their efforts to seek "diversity," they think they've achieved it when they have achieved pigment diversity, despite the fact that they have done so while insisting on ideological, political, and philosophical conformity.  It is also why so many react so vehemently when they find a prominent Black person to be conservative in his (or her) politics and ideology.  This is why you find such visceral reactions to Condoleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Alan West, and others who want diversity to entail more than pigmentation.

There is also the fact that the left is losing the argument on its merits.  Big government statism does not provide - it has not made health care more affordable.  It hasn't made it easier to access health care.  It does not end poverty or provide jobs or cure cancer.  It can get a large dam built, but then, getting in the way of things that flow is a government specialty - they dam rivers, ideas, trade, health care, and everything else under the sun.  I'll grant that sometimes dams are useful, but government seems to be a one-trick pony.

I wonder if that's why people so often refer to it as "the dam government."

The more the government takes over, though, the more this damming tendency is in evidence, and the less popular government becomes.  As the party of big government, Democrats are having a hard time arguing that all their policies actually work - because mostly they don't.  So they resort to ad hominem accusations.  You must be racist.

4.11.2014

The Leftist Fascism Continues - Even Without Sebelius

Sebelius is resigning.  Good riddance.  Won't change anything for the Little Sisters of the Poor or Hobby Lobby - her boss is still there.
 
Eric Holder is getting touchy, threatening a congressman ("Don't go there, buddy."), but then he always was such a hyper-sensitive thug.  He has so thoroughly perverted justice during his tenure as Attorney General it will take the better part of a decade to clean up the mess, if then.
 
Congress has referred Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution due to her abuse of the Internal Revenue Service - an abuse that continues, by the way, just not from her.  It's laughable to think Holder's department will do anything about it.  It's far more likely they'd hire her.
 
Harry Reid - he whose wealth is the product so many shady deals he needs NVGs to read his bank statements - continues to attack the Koch brothers, as if Buffett, Soros, Steyer, and other big money donors don't exist on the left.
 
A popular leftwing pundit (Adam Weinstein at Gawker) thinks people who disagree with him should be imprisoned - a view, no doubt, shared by the current President of the United States and his Attorney General.  Leftwing columnist Thomas Friedman at (where else?) the New York Times has oft lamented the fact that Obama doesn't have the dictatorial powers of the Chinese politburo.
 
Yet, because these people are all Democrats, they get to claim the mantle of "champion of civil liberties" even as they trample on those same, basic civil liberties.
 
Freedom of religion?  Nope.  Can't have that.  Might not be willing to fund abortion or endorse gay "marriage."
 
Freedom of speech?  Nope.  Can't have that, either.  Might have to produce facts and win an argument.  Let's just imprison them or make it impossible for them to find a job.  Better yet, let's label those views a psychiatric disorder! (Yes, there are those who want to label conservative views a mental illness - which is what Soviet communists did, too.)
 
Property rights?  What?  Are you crazy?  Might disappoint some duckling somewhere or, God forbid, kill a minnow.  Worse, you might dig for oil or produce something else the government doesn't want produced, and then use the profits to fund Republicans.  Use the EPA to shut 'em down.
 
Freedom of association?  Hah!  Don't make me laugh.  Can't have those Tea Party people associating - we might lose an election.  Sic the IRS on 'em!
 
Freedom of the press?  No way.  The list of reporters harassed, charged, attacked (via lawfare), intimidated, and even assaulted by this administration is lengthy.
 
Fascism is not a rightwing phenomenon.  It arises out of socialist economic and political theory and its primary concern is enforced conformity in order to enhance the ability of central authorities to control.  The infinite variety of humanity defies central management, as Hayek and many others have pointed out.  The answer our leftist friends have come up with, therefore, is not to give up on central management, but to stamp out variety.  The irony is, they stamp out this variety using the slogan of "diversity."  In any event, Mussolini was not a conservative, and neither were the National Socialists of Germany.  They were both nationalists, but nationalism is not an exclusive characteristic of either right or left when it comes to political economics.  It is a populist characteristic that almost every politician tries to tap into because populist becomes popular and popular translates into votes.