Saturday, December 14, 2013

The War on Constitutional Rights

The war on the Tea Party, much more than a rhetorical offensive, continues unabated months after the putatively non-partisan Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – the guys and gals that audit you to make sure you are paying your “fair share” to support your president, your U.S. Congress and your federal courts – had targeted tea party political groups for punitive audits.

The same “death to the Bill of Rights” progressives at the U.S. Treasury Department have now promulgated rules that will, they hope, insure the extinction of the political sons and daughters of Sam Adams, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and – coming closer to Connecticut  -- Roger Sherman, William Samuel Johnson, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, Lyman Hall and the authors of Connecticut’s 1818 “Declaration of Rights,” Governor Oliver Wolcott Jr. among them, which declares in section 4:

“Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.”

And in section 5:

“No law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech or of the press.”

And in section 9

“No person shall be arrested, detained or punished, except in cases clearly warranted by law.”

And in section 14:

“The citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government, for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.”

No one in Connecticut surrendered such rights and immunities, many of which are also mentioned in the U.S. Bill of Rights, when the state moved into the 21st century, which has turned out to be far less liberating than the 18th, the crucible of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For some reason, a muscular federal agency, this time the U.S. Treasury Department, now feels comfortable in abolishing such rights through administrative edict.

Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal tells us how the MS functioning IRS assault on the liberties of Americans is to be accomplished:

“In the media blackout of Thanksgiving week, the Treasury Department dumped a new proposal to govern the political activity of 501(c)(4) groups.”

U.S.  House Ways and Means Committee investigators are concerned that the new regulation “was reverse-engineered—designed to isolate and shut down the same tea party groups victimized in the first targeting round. Treasury appears to have combed through those tea party applications, compiled all the groups' main activities, and then restricted those activities in the new rule.”

Here’s how the constitutionally dubious attempt by Barack Obama’s White House and Tea Party averse Democratic Congressmen to overthrow commonly accepted constitutional immunities will work:

“To get or keep tax-exempt status, 501(c)(4) organizations must devote a majority of their work to their "primary" social-welfare purpose. Most tea party groups were set up with a primary purpose of educating Americans on pressing problems—the size of government, the erosion of the Constitution—and did so mainly via nonpartisan voter guides, speakers forums, pamphlets or voter-registration drives.

“What the proposed Treasury/IRS regulation would do is to re-categorize all these efforts as "political activity"—thereby making it all but impossible for tea party groups to qualify for 501(c)(4) status. Say an outfit's primary purpose is educating voters on our unsustainable debt, which it does mainly with a guide explaining the problem and politicians' voting records. Under the new rule, that guide is now "political activity" (rather than "social welfare"), which likely loses the group tax-exempt status.”

Here is a question that ought to be put to every citizen of the “Constitution State,” not excluding the state’s governor, members of the General Assembly, jurists, members of the state’s media and little children studying, one hopes, the once proud history of Connecticut: Are were really prepared in this brand spanking new century to allow a poorly administered federal bureaucracy to deprive, through an ill-conceived administrative regulation, the people of this state of rights and immunities in defense of which all the political heroes mentioned in this column were willing to give their last drop of blood?

Well… are we?

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