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THOMAS: Tyranny is no longer 'lurking'

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas

Given last week's revelation that the IRS targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, it's worth recalling President Obama's Ohio State University commencement address. The president decried "voices" warning "that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner."

It's no longer lurking. It's here.

Testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee by the outgoing acting IRS commissioner, Steve Miller, as well as numerous statements by individuals claiming they have been harassed and intimidated by IRS agents, reveal a government agency out of control, or more precisely, under the control of political hacks. It's doubtful this was a freelance operation. J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, testified he knew as early as June 2012 that the IRS was targeting conservatives, but did nothing to stop it during the presidential campaign. Who else knew?

The delay in tax exemption approval prevented some conservative groups from donating money to the Romney campaign or to groups supporting his candidacy. The IRS even asked one tea party group in Richmond to identify all of their financial donors and volunteers.

There is a simple way to restrain the IRS so this type of intrusion doesn't happen again: get rid of it. That's what Steve Forbes proposed in his run for president in 1996 and 2000. So did former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Forbes proposed a flat tax of 17 percent and a simple tax code. Individuals could file their tax returns on a post card.

"In the late 1800s, when Congress first attempted to impose an income tax, the notion of taxing a citizen's hard work was considered radical," Paul wrote in 2001. "Public outcry ensued; more importantly, the Supreme Court ruled the income tax unconstitutional. Only with passage of the 16th Amendment did Congress gain the ability to tax the productive endeavors of its citizens." And tax it did. And waste it did.

Paul contends the income tax amounts to only about one-third of federal revenue. I'm willing to wager that if nonessential government agencies and programs were eliminated and those remaining were reformed, or privatized, the savings would more than make up for the revenue loss.

Congressional Democrats -- and some Republicans -- will be reluctant to propose such a "radical" solution, because too many focus on revenue and not enough on misspending and dysfunctional agencies and programs.

The testimony that came out of the recent House Ways and Means Committee hearing is just a part of what constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead writes about in his new book, "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State." It sounds alarmist, but reading it should sound an alarm for every American.

The summary on the book jacket says Whitehead "paints a chilling portrait of a nation in the final stages of transformation into a police state." Examples include the growing number of "surveillance cameras, drug-sniffing dogs, SWAT raids, roadside strip searches, blood draws at DUI checkpoints, drones, GPS tracking devices, zero tolerance policies, over-criminalization, and free speech zones."

In his introduction to the book, writer and First Amendment authority Nat Hentoff says: "... I believe we are in a worse state now than ever before in this country. With the surveillance state closing in on us, we are fighting to keep our country free from our own government."

Like most tyrannies, this one is being ushered in with a smile. The public is told it is for our "security" and that it's good for us. With taxation, we are told the government "needs" our money and if we complain they are taking too much and wasting it, we're thought to be "greedy" and "unfair."

Thomas Jefferson foresaw what can happen when power corrupts: "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."

Jefferson would see the IRS scandal and Whitehead's warnings as prime examples. Repeal the 16th Amendment, eliminate the IRS, put the government back within its constitutional boundaries and tyranny will be defeated.Email nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/calthomas.

Comments

kevin 11 months ago

and the "other side" wonders why we want bigger weapons! Just read the 2nd Amendment. The word "tyranny" is included folks. Don't think it won't happen, especially under a Liberal run government.

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trooper59 11 months ago

You may want to take your own advice and read the 2nd Amendment. It's not very long and any form of 'tyranny' is not present in it.

I'm not debating the importance of the 2nd Amendment, but if you're going to beat your chest over it you should at least know what it says.

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FordGalaxy 11 months ago

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.


That's the second amendment. Now, you can say that the founders placed it there for the direct purpose of allowing the people a way to fight tyranny, both foreign and domestic, but that goes to interpretation.

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kevin 11 months ago

thanks for the clarification. Most folks wouldn't know how to interpret the word "tyranny" government if it bit them in the rear.

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Why_not 11 months ago

Has anyone ever consider the real meaning of a "well regulated militia"? Could it possible be that the true meaning is our military? I don't think the founding fathers ever invisioned a group of renegade citizens threatening our government leaders using our second amendment. I am a gun owner and always have been but maybe my views are more in line with what our constitution actually says. All I see now are half-cocked wingnuts leaning toward an overthrow.....it's sad.

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FordGalaxy 11 months ago

In the Declaration of Independence, we are given a long list of abuses by the reigning government of the time. The author goes so far as to say that if a govenrment becomes destructive of the rights and liberties of the people, then it is the duty of the people to throw off that government and establish a new one. We have a system that allows us to do that by voting, but we also have to be aware that our own federal government is not immune from becoming the tyrannical beast that Britain had become. The military answers to the government, and unless you have military commanders willing to disobey orders and turn on their superiors, then it's unlikely that the military would be of much help in the situation described.


I don't believe the 2nd Amendment refers to the national military for a number of reasons, some of which date to after the writing of the Constitution. For one, each state had its own militia during the early days. A national military force came later. Currently, the military cannot be used within the national borders to enforce state or federal laws, thanks to the Posse Comitatus Act. So if a state government became tyrannical, we'd be hard-pressed to find Constitutionally authorized means of using the American military to make a change.


Our founders didn't envision a lot of things, like the level of technology we have now. Since they did not foresee it, does that mean that the Constitution does not protect it? I hope not, because that opens the door for some sneaky and shady dealings that would be harmful to the citizens of this country.

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JV 11 months ago

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)

The Supreme Court held

(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.

(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.

(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.

(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.

(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.

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Jan 11 months ago

But note that you had to go to a 2008 case settled by a conservative court in a narrow decision and previous courts chose not to ignore the "well regulated". Even this opinion specifically allows for some regulations, such as background checks and weapon design limitations. This court did not clearly define the limits of regulation allowed.

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BufordGuy 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Regulations (infringements) are not allowed by the 2A. Background checks are a violation of the Constitution. Weapon type/design regulations are violations as well. The only reason any of these have stood is because law-abiding citizens have allowed it. They have allowed it because they have always felt they have a remedy at the ballot box. Once the realization sets in that that no longer exists and the government oversteps its bounds the People will "throw off that government" and replace it with a new one.

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JV 11 months ago

The make up of the current supreme court has the same numbers of conservatives and liberals as the one in 2008. And some of the same judges. The same current court that ruled in favor of Obama care. What does that have to do with what we are discussing? Nothing. Just like background checks.

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notblind 11 months ago

I find it amusing that libs always want to base any discussion on a modern definition of the word militia. They NEVER want to discuss "...the right of the PEOPLE to KEEP and BEAR arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED".

It doesn't say 'the people in a militia' because at the time of it's writing ALL the people were the militia.

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Why_not 11 months ago

As I stated earlier, I have always been a gun owner and do not feel that anyone is threatening to take my guns away. It's just amazing that when the prospect of enhanced background checks came up, many people started screaming that they will not give up their guns. I have not seen anyone proposing to take guns away from anyone. Even the assault weapon ban in the 90s didn't draw this much criticism. If I go out and buy even a .22 caliber rifle, I am required to submit to a check....why then shouldn't everyone have to do the same?

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RedDawn 11 months ago

Nice try. Thanks for playing though. New York Governor Cuomo has talked about gun confiscation. A hot mic in the New Jersey State Senate picked up a senator or staffer saying, we need a bill that is going to "Confiscate, Confiscate, Confiscate." These are but a few of the available quotes. You may remember that after Hurricane Katrina guns were confiscated without warrants.

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bigorangejungle 11 months ago

Are these comments supposed to go with another article about gun control? Thomas is writing about the IRS and income tax reform. Did I miss the announcement that the IRS wants to collect our guns in addition to a chunk of our income?

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Why_not 11 months ago

As usual, the first post got the everything off-topic and it stayed that way. Someone is sneaking around in the dark taking everyone's guns...haha

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