Category Archive 'Partisan Politics'
03 Oct 2013
Claude Moore Colonial Farm, McLean, Virginia
The Obama Administration sent the National Park Service out to shut down McLean, Virginia’s 1771 Claude Moore Colonial Farm, a privately funded and operated park, which is federally-owned, but which has received no federal monies since 1980 and which is not actually costing the federal government a dime.
The park’s managing director writes:
The first casualty of this arbitrary action was the McLean Chamber of Commerce who were having a large annual event at the Pavilions on Tuesday evening. The NPS sent the Park Police over to remove the Pavilions staff and Chamber volunteers from the property while they were trying to set up for their event. Fortunately, the Chamber has friends and they were able to move to another location and salvage what was left of their party. You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they donâ€™t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money.
Every appeal our Board of Directors made to the NPS administration was denied. They feel that as â€œlandlordâ€ they have absolute control of their property. The NPS is quoted today in the Washington Post saying â€œThe monuments are closed because, during a shutdown, there is no money to pay the rangers who staff themâ€, said the Park Service spokeswoman, Carol Bradley Johnson.â€ And the agency is worried about the security of the memorials and the safety of visitors at unstaffed sites. â€œIt is not something we enjoy doing,â€ Johnson said. â€œBut itâ€™s important that we protect and preserve our monuments for future generations.â€
We have operated the Farm successfully for 32 years after the NPS cut the Farm from its budget in 1980 and are fully staffed and prepared to open today. But there are barricades at the Pavilions and entrance to the Farm. And if you were to park on the grass and visit on your own, you run the risk of being arrested. Of course, that will cost the NPS staff salaries to police the Farm against intruders while leaving it open will cost them nothing. …
In all the years I have worked with the National Park Service, first as a volunteer for 6 years in Richmond where I grew up, then as an NPS employee at the for 8 very long years and now enjoyably as managing director for the last 32 years â€“ I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group representing the NPS.
22 Feb 2011
The latest obsession of the political left, represented by a series of indignant New York Times stories and left-wing blog exposÃ©es about the Koch Brothers or other donors to conservative groups and think tanks, seems really to constitute a convenient denial mechanism for our friends on the progressive side.
It is not that the policies advocated by the progressive wing have had untoward effects or that a majority of American voters do not like the way Obamacare was rammed through Congress or that a genuine groundswell of opposition to progressive fiscal policy, redistributionism, and coercion has manifested itself across the country. All the opponents of the democrat party, Barack Obama, and the socialist left are really just corrupt hirelings of right-wing billionaires and corporate interests.
The fact that the democrat party is really, in truth, the party of the rich in the United States, the party representing the American establishment, the party with by far the best ties to Wall Street and corporate interests is entirely overlooked. The left cries out constantly in outrage at the existence of any opponents and dissent.
It is not enough that they possess a predominant share of all of the mainstream media. The existence of Rush Limbaugh and AM radio and Fox News drives them crazy. They have George Soros, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and a list of liberal donors as long as your arm, but the existence of a tiny number of wealthy donors providing funding to Republicans and to organizations on the right is deemed by them to be an absolute outrage.
John Hinderaker, at Power-Line, was moved to respond to one of the most recent left-wing rants which attempts to connect opposition to the power of unionized government employees in Madison, Wisconsin today to the John Birch Society and a fellow who passed away in 1965.
What is the sum and substance of Think Progress’s expose? Governor Walker’s position is endorsed by a majority of Wisconsin voters, as well as several conservative groups, some of which have gotten modest amounts of support from conservative philanthropists. In what world is that some kind of scandal?
Certainly not in the world of Think Progress, which is entirely a creature of the billionaire left. One curious feature of today’s left is its obsession with “astroturf.” There is a reason why lefties who work for billionaire-funded web sites like Think Progress constantly talk about astroturf: it is the world they live in. They are paid by rich liberals, and the demonstrators who are bused in to left-wing protests are generally union members who are paid to attend. No one on the left does much for free. So lefties find it hard to understand that ordinary citizens (“Tea Partiers”) will turn out at rallies without being paid, that conservative voters vote on principle, not financial self-interest, and that conservative activists act out of conviction, not because they are subsidized by a sugar daddy. Failing to understand that conservatism–unlike liberalism–is a movement of principle, not self-interest, they are constantly looking for the elusive, non-existent money trail.
19 Jul 2009
Richard A. Clarke, in the Wall Street Journal, discusses, from a professional’s perspective, the political wars over US Intelligence Operations, describing recent events as “part of a 60-year historical pattern of manic swings of opinion in Washington about the efficacy of covert action.”
Most Americans might not think it was a big secret that CIA agents were trying to kill al Qaeda members, but in the weird world of Washington intelligence, it was.
For over a decade, in three different presidencies, there has been an ongoing debate about whether and how to kill al Qaeda terrorists and what part of the U.S. government should have the mission. The 9-11 Commission report details how President Clinton decided that killing Osama bin Laden and his supporters was not a violation of the ban on assassinations, how he authorized attacks, and how the CIA failed successfully to use that authority. Several media accounts this week indicate that after 9-11, the CIA put together a more serious effort to take out terrorists, but that the program was variously activated, deactivated, and put on hold by the four directors the CIA has had since 9-11. Senior CIA officers have been reluctant for years to create hit squads, fearing that a wave of CIA assassinations of terrorists would provoke a major al Qaeda retaliation against U.S. intelligence officers worldwide. They have also, with good reason, doubted the ability of their own agency to successfully kill the right people and then escape. Some have pointed to the Israeli terrorist targeting effort as evidence that such killings can be counter-productive, providing the terrorist groups with propaganda victories. Israeli experts are themselves split on the effectiveness of their killings, but it does seem likely that it has made it harder for terrorist leaders to operate.
It is puzzling that some people object to U.S. personnel killing terrorists with sniper rifles or car bombs, but have little apparent problem with CIA and Department of Defense personnel tracking down specific terrorist leaders with Predator drones and then killing those leaders with the unmanned aircraftâ€™s Hellfire missiles. The terrorist groups probably see little difference in how we choose to kill their leaders.
Clarke is perfectly right. Outside the nation’s capital and beyond the circles of the chattering class elite, no one in America would ever understand why there is (supposedly) some kind of a legal and moral problem with US covert intelligence killing al Qaeda terrorists. You need elite education, real sophistication, and a habit of reading important publications to understand these things.
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