Government Bullies

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Bully. (bul-ly) Noun.  A person who uses strength or power to harm, intimidate or manipulate those who are weaker.

In society, people run across all kinds of bullies.  There’s the traditional bully in grade school who pushes around the smaller kids.   There’s the punk in high school who picks on other people to get his way.  There’s the neighborhood thug or gang member who wants to control the local territory.   There’s the company creep who lies and cheats his way up the company ladder, and the big corporation that intimidates others for its own gain.  And then there’s the government bully.

To me, the government bullies are the worst.

Under the threat of violence, they tell you what kind of light bulb you can buy, what size your toilet can be, what kind of plant you can grow and consume, and what kind of tax penalty you’ll have to  pay for doing absolutely nothing.  They read your emails, monitor your bank accounts, fly drones everywhere imaginable, drop bombs on people around the world and claim the power to indefinitely detain you without due process.

Even the worst bullies in all the other categories can’t get away with these kinds of things on such a grand scale.

These politicians are nothing more than the mafia – with tax revenue to pay their expenses – which actually makes them worse.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has written a pretty good book about this kind of power.  It’s appropriately named “Government bullies.”  Here’s a bit from the description:

Government regulations are out of control. They dictate how much water goes into your commode, and how much water comes out of your showerhead. They determine how hot the water needs to be in your washing machine, and how many miles to the gallon your car must achieve. Since the Patriot Act, your banking records, your gun registration, and your phone bill are easily accessible by government snoops. Mothers are arrested for buying raw milk. Families are fined for selling bunny rabbits without a license. Home and property owners are strapped with obscene fines, entangled in costly legal messes, and sent to federal prison, all for moving dirt from one end of their land to another. Unelected bureaucrats, armed with arbitrary rules and no need to back them up, stonewall and attack American citizens at every turn. The damage can be overwhelmingly taxing—financially, emotionally and even physically.

These stories are of everyday Americans badgered and harassed by their own government—the very institution that is supposed to serve us all. This gross breach of our constitution is as frightening as it is real, and GOVERNMENT BULLIES is a call to action against it.

Paul is certainly on the money with these examples.  He shares with us stories of the negative results of unrestrained power – and how limits to that power are absolutely necessary.

That’s why the word “hypocrite” came to mind when I was reading some press releases from the Senator recently.  Here’s what’s going on…

Rand Paul has been making a bit of a PR splash of late by calling for an end to foreign aid to countries like Pakistan, Egypt and Libya.  I absolutely concur with this view.  And not only because I consider such “aid” to be an unconstitutional expansion of federal power, but because the so-called “help” that’s been given to foreign countries over the years always seems to have strings attached.  Or, it comes with a bigger price tag, blowback.

Think about all the “foreign aid” that was once given to Saddam Hussein.  Billions of dollars of money from US taxpayers went to his coffers.  He received weapons, training, and even biological research materials that were used for Iraq’s chemical weapons program.

That didn’t work out too well, did it.  But then again, all those people who are getting rich and powerful off the$1-2 trillion dollars of direct and indirect Iraq war costs are probably cheering this insanity on.

Anyway, back to Rand Paul.

So he’s been pushing hard to supposedly eliminate foreign aid to these countries.  On its face, it sure sounds like a good plan to me.  But, all you need to do is read through his press releases and statements – and not just the subject lines.

Here’s one, for example – from a letter he sent to members of the House:

“I urge you to take immediate action to pass a much-needed bill demanding cooperation and accountability from the countries involved in the recent violence directed at our embassies and consulates.  The bill should send a strong clear message to these entities: You do not get foreign aid unless you are an unwavering ally of the United States.”

hmmmm.  Interesting.  There’s more:

“If Pakistan wants to be our ally—and receive foreign aid for being one—then they should act like it, and they must start by releasing Dr. Afridi.”

Dr. Afridi is the guy who provided intel to the CIA which helped find Bin Laden.  He was arrested, tortured, and treated horribly by the Pakistani government.  I think it’s awful how he’s being treated.

If an American citizen provided another country with intel which resulted in a raid on George Bush’s home, that American would likely get the same treatment – arrest, torture, and a very long imprisonment.

I think it’s the height of hypocrisy for a country that claims the power to torture people, to indefinitely detain people, and to spy on people – to lambast another country for doing the same.

In this equation, the governments of both Pakistan and the United States are enemies to liberty.

And that’s my problem with Rand Paul and his phony opposition to foreign aid.  He’s not opposing it on principle.  Rand Paul isn’t calling for an end to foreign aid.  He just wants other countries to act the way he wants them to act in order to continue receiving your money.  He’s using billions of dollars to pressure weaker countries into acting the way he thinks they should.

To me, that’s the definition of a government bully.

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In fact, that’s exactly what the Federal government has been doing to state governments for a long time.  They take money from you and use that money as a carrot – and a stick – to pressure state governments into doing all kinds of things.   The result?  An almost-complete destruction of the Constitution.

So, what should be done in this foreign-aid situation?  End foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya – no matter what they do.  It also needs to be ended to Russia, Israel, Colombia, Kenya, and everywhere else in the world

Like the unconstitutional power to force you to buy a health insurance product, this forced buying of foreign friends needs to end – completely.

If you want to send your money to help other people or causes that fit your personal beliefs and goals – whether in the US or around the world – that should be your decision.  Not Rand Paul’s – and not any politician’s.  Your choice, and yours alone.

Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter - @michaelboldin, on LinkedIn, and onFacebook.

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