The government is Obama's private army:
Even this pales in comparison to the example shown by the National Parks Service during the shutdown. There is nothing new about the Washington Monument strategy, of course, which dates back to a 1969 attempt to trim the NPS budget. George Hartzog, then director of the NPS, closed the Washington Monument and the Grand Canyon National Park ostensibly as a cost-saving measure, but really to force the public to pressure Congress to restore NPS funding. Congress relented two weeks later, but Hartzog resigned.
When the shutdown went into effect last week, NPS reacted not by going off the job or closing national parks alone, but by actively blocking access to areas normally accessible 24/7 without impediment. That included putting up signs and guards at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, despite the fact that (a) the memorial was built with private funds, and (b) there are no gates or barriers under normal conditions at the memorial – nor at the Lincoln Memorial, nor at the Martin Luther King Memorial, both of which were similarly shut down by the National Parks Service.
When people simply moved the barricades to access the memorials, the supposedly shut down NPS arrived on scene to wire them together . When people gathered anyway, the US Park Police arrived on horseback to disperse them. Stephen Hayes asked an NPS spokesperson who ordered these actions, and was told that the Office of Management and Budget – a White House agency – ordered them to barricade the memorials.
It gets even worse than that. Unknown at the time but reported this week, the National Parks Service chased down a group of senior citizens at Yellowstone National Park when the shutdown commenced on October 1st. After informing the busload of tourists, some of whom were tourists from other countries, that the park was no longer accessible, the rangers locked them into a closed hotel for several hours with armed guards posted at the exits. When finally allowed to get back on the bus and leave Yellowstone, rangers stopped the tourists from pausing to take pictures, chasing after them for “recreating.”
That arguably constitutes kidnapping or false arrest, especially conducted under color of authority for no other reason than to score political points in the shutdown. One of the tourists called it “Gestapo tactics,” and an NPS ranger anonymously confirmed this as a deliberate strategy by NPS. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” the anonymous ranger told The Washington Times. “It’s disgusting.”
It certainly is, and it’s part of a disturbing pattern emerging in the second term of Barack Obama. When law enforcement and tax enforcement become rankly political, Americans can no longer trust in their federal government, even when it’s not shut down – and that won’t stop after Obama leaves office, either. We are getting a clear lesson on the risks of larger government and regulatory overreach, and those risks go far beyond incompetence. Let’s hope this serves as a wake-up call – and let’s demand that Congress hold those accountable in the IRS and National Parks Service for their uncivil service.