Lessons In Tyranny

Photo credit: SwedishCarina (Creative Commons)

FRONT ROYAL, VA — In January 2009, two newly-elected Republican governors took the oath of office.

Immediately, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell were touted as two of the GOP’s hottest future presidential prospects.

Today, they are fallen idols.

The feds are investigating Christie. McDonnell and his wife have actually been indicted on federal charges ranging from conspiracy to “giving a false statement to a credit union.”

Yes, when he’s trying to nail Al Capone, a federal prosecutor can review all of your tax returns, your college loan applications, and even your conversations with congressional staffers to find “inconsistencies” and “misstatements.”

So it’s not hard to nail Al Capone these days.

In The Tyranny of Good Intentions, Paul Craig Roberts, a senior Treasury official in the Reagan Administration, catalogues numerous instances of outrageous prosecutorial misconduct.

As icing on the cake, Boston lawyer Harvey Silvergate has written Three Felonies a Day, describing the nature and number of crimes that the average citizen commits daily without even knowing it.

Given all that discretionary power, many Republicans are seething today at what they see as politicized prosecutors.

After all, Obama’s NSA Director James Clapper blatantly lied in testifying to Congress, and he isn’t in jail. He hasn’t even been fired.

IRS official Lois Lerner, who shared confidential tax information with Obama’s political cronies, pleaded the Fifth months ago; but she hasn’t yet been indicted.

The Attorney General only recently assigned a prominent Obama donor to “investigate” Ms. Lerner.

Which brings us to Eric Holder himself, the poster boy of selective non-prosecution.

Twenty years ago, when Holder was U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Federal Judge Royce Lamberth referred to Holder’s office the case of Ira Magaziner.

The outraged Lamberth wanted Magaziner prosecuted for committing perjury in Lamberth’s court.

But Holder refused to prosecute Magaziner, leaving Magaziner free to continue working in the Clinton White House (he now works for the Clinton Foundation).

The Crony Club prospers, and Holder has been using his office to protect them ever since.

When criticized, he cries “racist!”

“It Can’t Happen Here”

The Rubble recalls the title of a 1935 novel by Sinclair Lewis: It Can’t Happen Here.

In the Rubble’s view, the most prophetic work of the genre that includes Brave New World and 1984 is Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World - a favorite of Pope Francis.

All those authors knew their Aristotle.

“Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all,” Aristotle observed in his Politics.

And when those in power are separated from law and justice, he adds, the result is tyranny.

Father James Schall, S.J., longtime professor of political philosophy at Georgetown, offers us a perceptive view of the tyrant:

“He is not an ugly, deformed brute. Callicles is not repulsive, but sophisticated, a college man. Alcibiades is among the most charming of young Greeks. The tyrant is in fact quite clever, witty, usually handsome and affable, always eloquent.”

Sound familiar?

And yet, we wonder in bewilderment, “how can this happen here?”

We might be loath to hear it, says Father Schall, but “the tyrant almost invariably arises out of a democracy. Democracy breeds tyrants.”

That might not sound so familiar. After all, America is a democracy, isn’t it?

Democracy? Republic? Mixed regime? Who knows?

Not today’s college grads.

They’ve been had.

Does Democracy Breed Ignorance, Too?

For decades, colleges have drowned their students in slave narratives and fawning feminism.

No time for studying history, literature, or philosophy.

At George Mason University in 2009, an adjunct professor teaching the required American History course told her startled students, “You learned all this in high school, so we’re going to talk about Obama.”

And so she did, for the entire semester.

Meanwhile, the once-prestigious University of North Carolina now admits that over 200 of its courses in Afro-American Studies were “academically deficient.”

Which really means that the courses were “barely taught, if at all.”

Alas, those thousands of students (primarily athletes) who took those “courses” over the years were deprived of even the semblance of an education.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, right?

Alas, too few have been vigilant.

And that’s why it can happen here.

According to the PC crowd, the only tyrant around is the husband who keeps his wife trapped in the home raising their children.

But Father Schall knows better.

“The tyrant wants to be loved,” he continues.

“He craves public admiration. He arranges many public appearances. He wants people to tell him that he is nobly serving them.”

It stands to reason that the budding tyrant will hide his lust for power over us.

He longs for love, not justice.

Some conservatives are not immune to the tyrant’s siren song.

In fact, they can be among the most ardent defenders of a more powerful government – as long as they, their friends, or their party are in power.

They fail to realize that, when it comes to dealing with the temptations and vices that arise in man’s fallen nature, Americans are hardly “exceptional.”

Alas, as sinners, we are no different from anyone else.

Plato and Politics

Many of Father Schall’s students at Georgetown came to Washington in order to enter politics and to improve the world.

Well, says the professor, Plato was no different. He used well-placed relatives and friends to enter the public life of Athens.

“I thought they were going to lead the city out of the unjust life she had been living and establish her in the path of justice,” Plato wrote in his Seventh Letter.

Changing the world is easy, you see: one needs only good intentions.

But when Plato was in his twenties – not much older than today’s college students, Father Schall writes – “Socrates, the most just of men, was convictedŠ They put to death a man who refused to take part in civil injustice as if to say that there is no final justice in any existing city, even Athens.”

Perfect politics are beyond the reach of this world. “We have here no lasting city,” (Hebrews 13:14), Father Schall writes.

Even if it’s ruled by Republicans.

Pity The Poor Dictator

Obama has defied the law, perverted justice, and corrupted the government.

Yet, amidst all the cronies and the glitz, he’s miserable.

He even looks miserable.

Socrates knows why.

At the end of the Republic, writes Father Schall, “we see that the tyrant, who uses everyone else for his own purposes, turns out to be, not the happiest of men, but the unhappiest. He can trust no one. Every relationship with him is tainted with fear or false adulation.”

And Obama?

He has sapped our national spirit, desecrated our laws, and divided our people.

As Pope Francis pointed out last week, “the worm of jealousy and envy” is destructive. These vices “divide the community” and stir “the broth of bitterness.”

They are deadly: “A person under the influence of jealousy and envy kills,” he said.

Yes, Obama has stoked the deadly fires of jealousy and envy in the land.

But no Christian can respond in kind.


From Under the Rubble is copyright (c) 2014 by Christopher Manion. All rights reserved. This column is sponsored by the Bellarmine Forum, and distributed by Griffin Internet Syndicate and FGF Books, www.fgfBooks.com.

Christopher Manion, Ph.D., is Director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae , a project of the Bellarmine Forum. See his biographical sketch and photo.


Photo credit: SwedishCarina (Creative Commons)

Video: WATCH Fox News Host DESTROY Obama…Again!

“I hate traffic, and I hate traffic jams. I hate them because they slow me down. SLOW is not my speed. But what I hate even more is the hypocrisy of the OBAMA administration; especially when it comes to JUSTICE.”

Video: Hannity: Impeach Christie? Then Impeach Obama!

Sean Hannity, on his radio show, talks about how NJ Gov. Chris Christie may be facing impeachment after the “Bridgegate” scandal. If that happens, then the GOP better start impeachment proceedings against Obama.

Media Bias On Full Display with Christie Coverage

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commoms)

The duplicity and hypocrisy of the mainstream media coverage of politicians, based on party affiliation, could not have been more in evidence than it was this past week. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s scandal was trumpeted across the headlines this week as if it were a five alarm fire, while much more serious scandals with national implications are often hardly reported at all.

It was revealed this week that members of Christie’s staff had intentionally closed four lanes of George Washington Bridge, connecting Manhattan to Fort Lee, New Jersey. Christie’s staff closed the lanes for four days to create a traffic quagmire to punish Fort Lee’s mayor, Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing Christie in his bid for reelection as New Jersey’s governor.

In a two hour, nationally televised press conference, Christie admitted he was “blind sided” by the revelation, and had no prior knowledge of the scheme. Ensuring that someone was held accountable, Christie fired his two aides complicit in the plan.

There are two aspects of this narrative that are immensely disturbing. The first is the media reaction to the story. According to Media Research Center, “In less than 24 hours, the three networks have devoted 17 times more coverage to a traffic scandal involving Chris Christie than they allowed on Barack Obama’s Internal Revenue Service controversy.” MRC documented 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage by ABC, CBS, and NBC dedicated to the Christie scandal, versus a scant “two minutes and eight seconds for the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups” over the past six months.

To a reasonable person, the story of potential political bullying by a governor, closing lanes on a bridge, can in nowise be 17 times more significant than a president who uses the most onerous agency of the federal government to do his bullying against his political enemies. To a reasonable and rational electorate, the obvious bias in reporting would cause a mass exodus from the mainstream media until they started reporting accurately and with equitability, without regard for party affiliation.

The media have been raising the question whether Christie can be believed when he claims he knew nothing about it. Yet they are unsurprisingly reticent when it comes to Obama’s inexorable “I didn’t know about it until I read it in the paper” soliloquies he employs to excuse his and his administration’s irresponsibility.

In fact, the mainstream media have been AWOL in reporting just the few foibles and lies listed here: “I will have the most transparent administration in history”; “The stimulus will fund shovel-ready jobs”; “I am focused like a laser on creating jobs”; “The IRS is not targeting anyone”; “It was a spontaneous riot about a movie”; “The public will have five days to look at every bill that lands on my desk”; “It’s the previous president’s fault”; “Whistle blowers will be protected in my administration”; “I am not spying on American citizens”; “It’s just like shopping at Amazon”; “I knew nothing about ‘Fast and Furious’”; “I knew nothing about what happened in Benghazi”; and perhaps the best of all, “I will restore trust in government.” If any of these claims had been uttered by our previous president, the press would still be harping on them.

After the copious media coverage of this event, the second most disturbing element is the public reaction. A resident of Fort Lee and one of Christie’s constituents, Robert Tessaro, raised a valid point. He said, “I hope this continues to haunt him. No matter what he knew and didn’t know, these were his people and the culture he created in the state, and it’s not right.”

If that principle applies to Christie, a state executive, shouldn’t it apply even more aptly with the executive leader of our nation? Why are so few of Obama’s constituents raising the same question? Why is Obama exempted from culpability in the creation of a culture of corruption and incompetence in the executive branch?

It was refreshing to actually see someone held accountable for something in government, as Christie dismissed those involved with what is now being dubbed “Bridgegate.” We have witnessed so many faux pas, blunders, mistakes, and outright lies over the past five years at the national level; and there has been little accountability. When people are hired, especially for the public good, and they, by their actions, tarnish the people’s trust in their integrity and competence, they should be held accountable.

Here are just a few of those who have contributed to the culture of corruption at the national level, by deceit and obfuscation, and have not been held accountable: Eric Holder, Timothy Geithner, Van Jones, Susan Rice, Lois Lerner, Hillary Clinton, and Kathleen Sibelius. In fact, books have been written documenting the culture of corruption in the White House. If Christie is to be responsible for the culture in his administration, shouldn’t Obama be held accountable for his, especially considering the gravity, breadth, and impact of the latter?

Holding a position of public trust requires responsibility and accountability. Not only has very little been shouldered by this administration, but also the media have done little to hold them accountable. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for the media to be equitable and fair in their coverage of elected officials, irrespective of party affiliation. And we, the people, should demand it of them!


Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration.  He can be reached at rlarsenen@cableone.net.


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commoms)

Bounty Placed On Chris Christie’s Head

Staff Annoucement

The media gets under my skin. They trumpet and boast about honesty and truth; but in reality, they’re about as dishonest as the politicians.

Compare, for instance, the way they’ve handled Obama’s scandals to Chris Christie’s latest debacle.

The latter, “Bridge-gate,” has given Big Media a scandal they can really sink their teeth into. Bridge-gate is being blasted from coast to coast in above-the-fold banner headlines.

The coverage on cable TV and even the network news shows is so detailed, it’s nauseating. (And I say that as a seasoned critic of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the media’s primary target.)

In fact, according to a report from the Media Research Center, Bridge-gate has received approximately 17 times more coverage in one day than the Obama IRS scandal received in months.

RINO on the Loose!

Bridge-gate centers on allegations that, during the month of September 2013, Governor Christie’s staff encouraged the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to close several lanes of the George Washington Bridge leading out of Ft. Lee, N.J.

Now, as I said above, I’m no fan of Christie. There are plenty of reasons to dislike him, including his status as the darling of a GOP establishment that’s betrayed the American middle class time and time again. They want Christie as the GOP candidate precisely because they know he won’t change things in D.C.

Additionally, he’s a RINO (Republican in Name Only) who helped Barack Obama win the last presidential election by locking arms in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Christie was at Obama’s side during a critical news cycle, and Obama’s support soared during the run-up to the presidential balloting.

Christie has also been a critic of Congressional and Tea Party initiatives to reign in out-of-control government spending and growth, which are initiatives close to my heart.

But Christie did exactly what should be done when a scandal erupts. He’s disclosed all that he knows, apologized, and fired the offending aides for lying to him. He labeled the incident as “stupid” and “deceitful.” He denied any knowledge of it, and he took responsibility for falling short.

Additionally, Christie announced that he asked Bill Stepien to withdraw his nomination to lead the New Jersey Republican Party. He also asked Stepien to resign his consultancy with the Republican Governors Association, which Christie runs.

Finally, during Governor Christie’s 107-minute news conference, he was honest and contrite. I’ve never seen Obama be contrite about anything.

The Obama-Friendly Media

In fact, in dealing with his own scandals, Obama has done the complete opposite of Christie at every juncture. And the president has a list of scandals that are much more serious than Bridge-gate.

Sadly, the media has continually whitewashed and pooh-poohed Obama’s crimes.

Take the Benghazi cover-up, which was followed with an intense media barrage to convince America that our Libyan ambassador was murdered over a Youtube.com video. Meanwhile, the source of most of the lies, Susan Rice, was given a big promotion for her spin doctoring.

With Fast and Furious, the scandal in which the U.S. Department of Justice put guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, well… nothing has happened. Attorney General Eric Holder lied about his involvement, yet he still has a job. I guess the repeated calls for his removal fell on deaf ears.

So when it comes to Christie’s scandal, the media is showing its true colors. It will happily go to bat for Obama but won’t pull any punches for the Governor of New Jersey.

Personally, I won’t lose any sleep if Christie’s political career ends here in a traffic jam on the roads to New York City.

I just wish the news media would be honest enough to hold Obama to the same standards.


This commentary originally appeared at CapitolHillDaily.com and is reprinted with permission.