Obama's Mid-term (Spring 2014) Report Card — Protecting the Personal Freedom of Americans!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Obama's Report Card 2014A week or so ago we discussed Obama's Mid-term Report Card on foreign policy. It was the opinion of most readers of GOPUSA that the sitting President received a solid "F, " failing grade. Today, we look at his job of protecting the civil liberties and personal freedom of Americans; in other words, his observance of the Bill of Rights and constitutional rights. Once again, it is not a pretty picture, but in all fairness, Obama is not solely at fault here. The Democratic Party, which he heads with Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. House of Representatives and Harry Reid in the U.S. Senate — and more than a few accommodating Republicans, particularly in the Senate — are probably as much to blame for the erosion of freedom in this country and President Obama's consequent report card grade in this area.

Promulgation of Socialism at the Expense of Economic Freedom

Profligate government spending (with record budget deficits and the  astronomical increase in the national debt) has taken place with loss of economic freedom, increased taxation, and welfarism — all hallmarks of socialism and authoritarianism. ThiGovernment Spendings should count in the area of loss of civil liberties because citizens are entitled to the fruits of their labor and taxation should be minimal to run a constitutional government in which all citizens pay their fair share. Today nearly 50 percent of Americans pay no federal taxes, while the other 50 percent pay 97 percent, and the top 25 percent pay 86 percent of all taxes. This form of income wealth-redistribution should certainly fall under loss of economic freedom, and should also be discussed under domestic socialism.

As to further empower government at the expense of the liquidity of American entrepreneurs and taxpayers, in 2012, Obama recruited 15,000 new IRS agents to enforce compliance provisions in ObamaCare. This is reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson's complaint in the Declaration of Independence of the swarms of Officers sent by King George and the British Parliament to sap out our substance. Wealth redistribution and government largesse continue to keep those mired in the liberal plantation, as well as to entrap more Americans and enroll them into the folds of government dependency.

Attempt at Circumventing the Second Amendment with Unlawful Gun Control

It is no secret that Obama and his allies in the Senate have attempted to use the UN, the UN Small Arms Treaty, and the treaty power under the U.S. Constitution to circumvent the Second Amendment. The U.S. Senate, led by conservative Republican senators, has done its duty and blocked this attempted usurpation of power at the expense of the UN Small Arms Treatyright to keep and bear arms. This UN treaty was a backdoor attempt to bring about massive restrictions on U.S gun rights (e.g., registration of all and banning of certain firearms, licensure, mandatory destruction of certain guns and ammunition, etc.) relying on the abuse of the treaty power of the U.S Constitution.

The UN Small Arms Treaty was not the only scheme used to attempt to restrict the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and bring about gun control. The Justice Department used the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to conduct the infamous "Fast and Furious Operation" to sell guns to Mexican drug lords, and then to use the excuse of the increase in gun violence across the border to bring about gun control in America by yet another route.

Infringement Upon Freedom of the Press and the Electronic Media

Earlier this year in February 2014 , the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), currying favor with the Obama White House, also attempted to pressure media organizations into covering certain politically correct stories, study perceived bias in media coverage, and plainly immerse itself into newsrooms across the country. According to the Wall Street Journal, the purpose of the FCC wading into the newsrooms was to "ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about 'the process by which stories are seNewsroomlected' and how often stations cover 'critical information needs,' along with 'perceived station bias' and 'perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.' "

This FCC attempt at infringing on the electronic press ultimately failed in response to mounting criticism. Last year, Obama also responded to equally mounting criticism of the Justice Department's seizure of news reporters' phone records. In May 2013, Fox News reported: "Not only did the department secretly obtain two months of phone records from the Associated Press, but it seized phone records from several Fox News lines — and labeled one correspondent a criminal 'co-conspirator' in its successful effort to seize his personal emails." Obama once again had to backpedal, claiming he was "troubled" and ordered Eric Holder "to review guidelines" in response to the controversy. Following all of these shenanigans, Americans must wonder about the Obama administration's sincerity and adherence to the freedom of the press most liberals revere (at least when it is in their interest to do so).

Erosion of the Civil Liberties and "the Right of the People to be Secure in Their Persons..."

Americans have the right of privacy as well as those guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment. We must recognize the necessity to protect and preserve our national security but we must balance it with the need to also preserve individual freedom and personal privacy. We have the U.S. Constitution as a guide; for example, the Fourth Amendment reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, NSA protestshall not be violated...." If we were to tilt slightly one way or the other, we must tilt the balance in the direction of preserving personal freedom and privacy. The alternative is government tyranny.

Domestic surveillance in the form of the NSA wiretapping of citizens smacks of a police state, and needs to be curtailed, but not dismantled completely, as it is necessary against foreign enemies.
In the case of Edward Snowden, frankly, I believe he committed treason — by his own admission divulging national security secrets to the world, secrets that could harm the U.S. and endanger Americans throughout the world. Snowden then shamefully sought and obtained sanctuary in a foreign country, a country which has not been too keen to preserve the civil liberties of its own citizens! Nevertheless, eavesdropping on private conversations and wiretapping are not constitutional prerogatives the federal government can use with impunity against American citizens, particularly in their own country.

Obama has wanted to have it both ways, sending mixed signals, denying government violations of citizen civil liberties, doing little to defend the actions of the NSA, and yet in July 2012, Obama quietly signed an Executive Order allowing the White House to control private communications in the country in the name of national security. There is no doubt he has been aware of the NSA activities but he has made no serious effort to clarify the issue. Perhaps a better explanation is that Obama is afflicted with troublesome ambiguity about America's friends and foes. The American middle class seems to be Obama's punching bag, while America's foreign adversaries, such as Iran and Russia, are treated with kid gloves. (See my GOPUSA article, Obama's Mid-term Report Card — Foreign Policy at a glance!)

Infringement Upon Freedom of Speech and Intimidation of Political OpponentsNDAA protest

Let's also not forget Obama supported and orchestrated (all the while denying it) the infamous Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), mandating detention of U.S. citizens as suspects by the military, increasing government oversight of the Internet, and other policies that undermine the personal freedom and privacy of Americans.

Years ago during the administration of President Bill Clinton and the corrupt reign of his Attorney General, Janet Reno, I wrote an article entitled, "Are We the Enemy?" It seems in the last two decades, when Democrat presidents are in office, the American middle class becomes the enemy. For the Clinton administration, it was the nefarious "militia" and those who refused to be shaken down, for ostensibly not wanting to contribute "their fair share." For Obama, the enemy seems to be "suspected Americans," who continue "to cling to guns and religion." These "suspected Americans" are then subject to spying by the NSA and possible detention by the powers granted by the NDAA.

Another penchant of liberal Democrat presidents is that of using the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against political opponents. This was used by the Clinton administration to intimidate Republicans and conservatives, and now the Obama administration is doing the same. Tea Party activists, the distinguished academic Dinesh D'Souza, the eminent neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, and many other individuals or political groups in the opposite side of the IRS targeting by Obama Administrationpolitical spectrum — have all been subjected to this treatment in attempts to silence their voices or to punish them for their political opinions. Like Janet Reno before him, Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice has not been too keen in protecting the civil liberties of the opposition or to enforce "equal protection under the law."

In conclusion, the Obama presidency has done little to protect the American people and much to advance collectivism, ignoring Thomas Jefferson's admonition (when he wrote to E. Carrington in 1788), "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." Thus, we as Americans are ending up with less liberty and more oppressive government. The president should be graded accordingly by the readers of GOPUSA in Obama's Mid-term (Spring 2014) Report Card on the subject of personal freedom!

Note: As before, this early mid-term report card is obviously incomplete, but it can be added to and amended as needed by the alert and vigilant readers of GOPUSA by adding comments at the end of this article about other Obama infractions in personal freedom that I may not have mentioned or neglected to bring forth. Hopefully, we will also have an Obama Report Card on domestic issues soon!

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International. He is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.), Mercer University School of Medicine. Dr. Faria is the author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). Dr Faria has written numerous articles on Stalin, communism, and the Soviet Union, all posted at the author’s website: www.haciendapub.com & www.drmiguelfaria.com

Copyright ©2014 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

The photographs used to illustrate this commentary came from a variety of sources and do not appear in the GOPUSA.com article.

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Income inequality and unequal taxation?

In this article Dr. Miguel Faria, referring to 2013 figures, stated: "Today nearly 50 percent of Americans pay no federal taxes, while the other 50 percent pay 97 percent, and the top 25 percent pay 86 percent of all taxes. This form of income wealth-redistribution should certainly fall under loss of economic freedom, and should also be discussed under domestic socialism."

The new 2014 figures cited in the Wall Street Journal financial discussion are very similar as summarized below:

Progressive Income Tax

Again in 2014: The top 20% of Earners pay 84% of all Income Taxes!

And for those who think that the Earners in the top bracket have incomes in the millions, here is a reality check:

For the top 1/5, that is the top 20%, their income starts at $134,000!

The graduated Marxist income tax is more progressive than ever, which means the burden falls again on those pulling the cart. Speaking of helping to dig a hole for "the super rich," who purportedly do not pay their "fair share," it should be noted that even the middle class itself fell victim to the politics of envy and class warfare rhetoric of the Democrats!

Idleness continues to be rewarded and the extra load falls on the top 50% of the middle class, because there are not enough "super rich" to pull the cart, in which nearly 50% of the other half are riding!

Finally: income inequality = competition and free enterprise
income equality = communism and equal mediocrity

Disdain for who?

In attempting to place Obama in the best and the GOP Congress in the worst possible light, a recent editorial in the Macon Telegraph, January 22, 2015, reads in part:

"…Aside from the dislike of Obama -- the man and his policies -- the midterm elections also laid bare the American public’s disdain for Congress. Let’s hope all sides see the light and get something accomplished for the American people."

America's purported "disdain for Congress" as documented in so many polls in the last several years has been used by the establishment media and their supportive liberal pundits to hammer at the Republican House in the last decade, and I suspect the U.S. Senate as well, now that the GOP also took over the upper chamber this past November.

This alleged "disdain" and negativity for the Congress belies two basic facts well known and understood by the same pundits:

1. The editorial itself claims President Obama to be "the poster child Republicans used to sweep to victory and take control of the Senate and widen the gap between Republicans and Democrats in the Republican-led House." The claim of Obama as "poster child" and the GOP victory are both well deserved.

But the rejection of the liberal Democratic Party and Obama and the resulting negative polling numbers are the result of the failed and disastrous policies of the President and his administration backed by the Democratic party — as expressed by a majority of Americans in November. The dissatisfaction in this case is expressed by all at the national level, all voters, both those who voted for and against the President!

2. That was not the case with voting for districts and Senate seats at the state level. The purported disdain of "Congress" is not for the misdeeds, commissions, or omissions of their own Congressmen, but for everybody else's Congressmen! The people are satisfied, certainly, with their own representatives, who get elected and re-elected! The disdain if for the other Congressmen representing everybody else, but not my own interest! This is reflected by the high rate of retention of incumbents in both chambers. The disdain for Congress statistically is impressive but specious when it comes for each individual representative! Media Jokers

Lesson: Pundits should quit using "disdain of Congress" as a weapon against GOP Congressional conservative policies to get this country back on track. The media mantra is reflecting their own liberal media bias as well as sour grapes for the rejection of the liberal policies they espouse, detrimental socialistic policies that have failed to produce the utopia of their collectivist dream! ---MAF

"I am Spartacus!"

GOA: "Thousands of Gun Owners Stand and Say “I’m Larry Pratt”-- Groundswell movement blasts Rep. Maloney for attacking Gun Owners of America"

"In case you missed it, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) attacked your Gun Owners of America late last week.

"In doing so, Maloney called for Capitol Hill law enforcement to investigate GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt for saying that the Second Amendment is “for restraining tyrannical tendencies in government … especially those in the liberal, tyrannical end of the spectrum.”

"In turn, author David Codrea of the Gun Rights Examiner blasted Maloney for her ignorance of the Constitution and for spurning our founding documents. He even went so far as to say that if Maloney is going to investigate Pratt, then she’d better start investigating other gun owners, too.

“Remember the ‘I’m Spartacus!’ scene from the Kubrick movie?” asked Codrea. “In this case, I’m Larry Pratt.

“If the Capitol Police are going to investigate him, they’re going to have to investigate me, too, because I agree with everything he said about the Second Amendment being a last-resort protection against tyranny,” Codrea said.

"Over the weekend, thousands upon thousands of gun owners joined Codrea in saying “I’m Larry Pratt,” and they called on Maloney to stop playing partisan politics...

"Not a GOA member yet? Make sure to join Gun Owners of America! http://gunowners.org

While the U.S. burns!

Speaking of the promulgation of socialism via ObamaCare at the expense of economic freedom (individual and small business), here are some sobering statistics. According to a Forbes.com article [4/7/14] by Scott Gottlieb, health insurance premiums are skyrocketing!

"For the individual insurance market (plans sold directly to consumers); among the ten states seeing some of the sharpest average increases are: Delaware at 100%, New Hampshire 90%, Indiana 54%, California 53%, Connecticut 45%, Michigan 36%, Florida 37%, Georgia 29%, Kentucky 29%, and Pennsylvania 28%.

"For the small group market, among the ten states seeing the biggest increases are: Washington 588%, Pennsylvania 66%, California 37%, Indiana 34%, Kentucky 30%, Colorado 29%, Michigan 27%, Maryland 25%, Missouri 25%, and Nevada 23%."

Democrats and liberals are ruining our nation!Obama Fiddles

VA Hospital Woes!

MT Letter to the Editor, June 2, 2014

Election issue — The problems with the Veterans Administration goes back decades to the Vietnam War era. The news media is only concerned with the last five years (it’s pretty obvious why). The problems highlighted within the VA concern the maltreatment of military veterans and is not a partisan political issue. Unfortunately, with this being an election year that is what it will become.-- William D. Carter, Bonaire, Georgia

Ben Damron: For those who wish for Bush to blame much of the fault for the current VA health care (if you can call it that) problems, here're some interesting data that show, in fact, VA Hospital medical care began to improve under President George H. W. Bush and then Ronald Reagan:

"The Department of Veterans Affairs Act of 1988 (Pub.L. 100-527) changed the former Veterans Administration, an independent government agency established in 1930, primarily to see to the needs of World War I veterans, into a Cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on October 25, 1988, but actually came into effect under the term of his successor, George H. W. Bush, on March 15, 1989.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs was created due to nearly one third of the population being eligible for veterans benefits. Its proponents argued that due to the large number of Americans affected by the VA, it needed an administrator who had direct access to the president

"In their major reform period of 1995–2000, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) implemented universal primary care, closed 55% of their acute care hospital beds, increased patients treated by 24%, had a 48% increase in ambulatory care visits, and decreased staffing by 12%. By 2000, the VHA had 10,000 fewer employees than in 1995 and a 104% increase in patients treated since 1995, and had managed to maintain the same cost per patient-day, while all other facilities' costs had risen over 30% to 40% during the same period."

It was not until Obama that problems began in earnest, but was not until 2014, they were made public:

"In May 2014, major problems with scheduling timely access to medical care became public. As of May 2014, at least 40 United States Armed Forces veterans died waiting for care at the Phoenix, Arizona Veterans Health Administration facilities, and an investigation of delays in treatment throughout the Veterans Health Administration system is being conducted by the Veterans Affairs Inspector General..." — United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Administration Scandal!

A Message from GOA:

GOA Calls for Resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki
Within the past week, Gun Owners of America received an e-mail from a member being treated by the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs).  The member was also receiving Social Security benefits, and Social Security had appointed a guardian to manage his financial affairs.
The member wrote us because the VA, based on the Social Security guardian, was moving to take his guns away. 
Although it is Standard Operating Procedure for the VA to appoint its own guardians and use this to justify its gun ban on more than 175,000 veterans, it now appears to us that the VA is searching for new “gun ban excuses” to strip even more veterans of their constitutional rights. 

Which brings us to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.  It appears that the Obama administration is so busy using the VA to strip veterans of their gun rights that it doesn't have time to provide them with medical treatment.Shinseki was dragged before a Senate hearing Thursday to explain massive waiting lists for treatment.  High level executives at the VA ignored warnings that these lists existed, and agency officials issued falsified letters to conceal them. Altogether, these delays may have resulted in the deaths of 40 or more veterans at the Phoenix location alone.  The scandal has now spread to at least 10 states, and seems to reflect an endemic problem with the VA.

Shinseki's response?  He is pushing an Inspector General investigation which will be completed in August.  But even liberal Democrats have questioned how many veterans will die between now and then as a result of the department's misplaced priorities. As a result, the American Legion has called to Shinseki's removal. Why does this matter to gun owners? The answer is this:  The VA appears to be too busy with gun bans to do its job. “We’ve known that combat veterans are being systematically stripped of their rights for some time now,” says Dan Cannon, the founder and editor of GunsSaveLives.net. “There have been numerous reports of veterans losing their gun rights due to seeking counseling or help with depression, PTSD, or for simply not having their financial affairs in perfect order.”

We're sure that the Obama administration will counter that it doesn't take much time at all to take away a veteran's constitutional rights.  But no matter how many personnel or how much time it takes to promote Obama's anti-gun agenda, it is too much!

This is another example of a phenomenon which is pervasive in the Obama administration:  Politics over performance. 
And it's not going to stop until someone loses his job for pursuing Obama's anti-gun agenda, at the expense of his department's mission. 

Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151 703-321-8585

Obama: Any misconduct at VA will be punished
by Matthew Daly, 5/21/14, Associated Press

President Barack Obama spoke in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, following his meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. The White House moved Wednesday to address the growing furor over allegations of misconduct at the Department of Veterans Affairs, summoning VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to an Oval Office meeting, hours before the House was scheduled to vote on a bill that would grant the secretary more authority to fire or demote senior executives...