The Great Christmas Takeover (Part 2)

When we last left our heroes, Santa and company were being inundated with orders from the NSA and other US government agencies bent on taking over Christmas. You can read Part 1 here. And now, part 2 of…

Has Santa had enough? Will the paperwork arrive in time? What about the factories being shut down? What nefarious regulations await the jolly old elf? Who will save Christmas? Find out in the third and final installment…read it now!

The Great Christmas Takeover (Part 1)

View Part 2 here.

Book Review: Emily Gets Her Gun…But Barack Obama Wants to Take Yours by Emily Miller

Emily Gets Her Gun: But Barack Obama Wants To Take Yours (Regnery Publishing) is the story of Emily Miller’s personal experience and observations in navigating the convoluted, hostile, and even incompetent District of Columbia bureaucracy in order to secure her constitutional right to legally own a firearm in her home of Washington, D.C. The book is definitely worth your time, especially if you value your Second Amendment rights to own firearms.  You’ll learn a lot of “need to know” facts about legal gun ownership and information needed to effectively defend your right to “keep and bear arms” when dealing with political figures and “reasonable gun control” advocates who propose policies that are anything but reasonable.

Emily Miller is a journalist and a resident of Washington, D.C. One day she found herself defenseless as criminals broke into a friend’s home as she was house-sitting. Emily decided to follow the District’s process for purchasing and possessing a legal firearm in Washington, D.C., which turned out to be no small feat. The book is a nonfiction account of her journey (of several months) to navigate the city’s red-tape aimed at making legal handgun possession too difficult for most people to achieve.

The narrative is told in alternating chapters. Miller alternates retelling her personal journey for firearm possession with commentary on recent incidents involving politicians and the media, many of whom seem to be aimed at grabbing the guns of law-abiding Americans. Emily’s writing style is easy to understand—it’s almost as if she’s sitting down with you for a one-on-one chat about her experiences. The speeches, laws, and documents she cites are extensively documented, so it’s easy to do further research on any of the points she makes and references she uses.

As an example, here are some statistics she provides in her book:

  • 1 of 4 registered voters believes stricter gun control laws will reduce firearm-related violence. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans owns a gun. There are also 8 million concealed-carry permit holders in the U.S., according to a Government Accountability Office study released in July 2012. (p. 19)
  • Rank and file law enforcement do not support more gun-control laws. PoliceOne did an extensive survey of 15,000 active and retired law enforcement officers across the country in March 2013. When asked what kind of effect a ban on “assault weapons” would have on crime, 71% said “none.” Another 21% said such a ban on guns based on cosmetic appearance would make crime worsen (p. 45)
  • All rifles, whether or not they have the cosmetic features, accounted for only 323 of the 12,664 homicides in the United States in 2011.…Twice as many people—728—were killed by attackers using hands and feet as by all types of rifles. Yet no one is calling for an assault-fist ban. (pp. 46-47)
  • The CDC task force concluded that “evidence was insufficient to determine the effectiveness” of the “high-capacity magazine” ban. According to a Justice Department study released in May 2013, the number of criminal shootings (fatal and nonfatal) has decreased 7% since the decade-long federal ban on “high-capacity” ammunition devices expired in 2004. (p. 65)100 million gun owners own 300 million firearms in our nation. 47% of Americans self-report having a gun in the home, according to a Gallup poll released in October 2011. That number was up from 41% a year earlier and the highest Gallup has recorded since 1993. (pp.155-156)
  • Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s stock was $5.29 on the day Obama was elected in 2008.  On June 3, 2013, the Ruger stock was at $51.02. That is a jaw-dropping 864% increase. Don’t you wish you’d bought that stock? (p.159)
  • About 30,000 people are killed by firearms a year—two-thirds are suicides—while guns are used to prevent crimes as often as two million times a year. (p. 193)
  • The two cities with the stiffest gun control laws—D.C. and Chicago—had increasing crime. Murders in the Windy City were up 16 percent in 2012 to 506 people. And there were 2,460 shooting incidents—a 10 percent increase from the previous year. (p. 199)
  • By a 2 to 1 margin, Americans favor armed security guards and police in more schools, according to the Pew Research Center. (p. 275)
  • 2 out of 3 voters say the Second Amendment was, in fact, intended to protect them from tyranny, according to a Rasmussen poll. Only 17% disagreed. (p. 276)
I met Emily Miller at a book signing earlier this fall. I was amazed by how crowded her signing was!

We met Emily Miller at a book signing earlier this fall. We were amazed by how crowded her signing was!

Her personal journey to legally register a gun is frustrating, to say the least. She had to spend hundreds of dollars in fees (not counting the purchase of the actual gun), take time off work, navigate through a web of city officials ignorant of the actual laws and regulations, and jump through many hoops—when in the very same city, criminals and non-criminals alike refuse to register their guns. Emily proves time and again, that only the law-abiding citizens are being punished by strict gun-control measures.

But the focus isn’t just about guns. The last paragraph summarizes Emily’s primary purpose for writing the book. While the main topic is her fight for personal gun rights, the last line (and our favorite!) is, “A gun is just a tool. The fight is for freedom.” Before experiencing the frightening break-in at her friend’s house, Miller had never shot or even held a gun before. Her motive throughout the book is emphasized as wanting to help law-abiding citizens secure the same rights that criminals seem to have—the ability to own a firearm. She notes how anti-gun legislation doesn’t make anyone safer; it simply removes freedoms.

Throughout the book, she also explains how many of the politicians and “anti-gun” advocates seem to know little, if anything, about guns. For instance, many anti-gun lobbyists seem to believe that Americans can still purchase automatic weapons (think: Rambo). She reminds the reader that the most “dangerous” weapons Americans can possess are semi-automatic, meaning one trigger pull equals one bullet.

She also points out that many gun laws seem arbitrary. For instance, when legislation was recently passed in New York, politicians mandated that residents could possess magazines able to hold no more than seven bullets. Had they done their research, they would have seen that seven-bullet magazines generally don’t exist for most handgun caliber models. The law was amended to allow residents to legally possess magazines that hold ten rounds, but lawmakers still restricted law-abiding citizens to only filling the magazine with no more than seven bullets. As she points out—a criminal will not abide by the law and will (a) secure even higher-capacity magazines by any means possible and (b) will not think twice about placing more than seven bullets in the magazine.

This point, that laws restricting gun rights only hurt law-abiding citizens, is a common theme running through the book. Emily provides examples to illustrate this point time and again in her book.

She also discusses the arbitrary nature of some of the “assault weapons” legislation aimed at limiting the types of weapons people may purchase. But non-functional, even completely cosmetic features of some guns are sometimes enough to earn them a place on an “assault weapon” ban list as defined in some state or city laws.

The gun Emily chose to purchase, for instance, is permitted in the District of Columbia in all black, or in black with a silver accent. But the same exact model was not allowed in the “Scorpion” version. The difference is cosmetic. The “outlawed” version is earth-toned tan. Imagine going to a car dealership to purchase a car, but finding out that you can only buy a white or gray one–red, and black, forget it–too dangerous!

The same is true for rifles. Many assault weapons are banned simply for having one or more cosmetic features. The type of grip, for instance, could make one gun outlawed but another, of the same exact caliber and functionality, would be legal. Adjustable stocks are also a big “no no” when it comes to a weapon’s legal status. It’s ironic that an adjustable stock simply makes it easier for a smaller person—such as a female—to comfortably hold the gun. Things like adjustable stocks and variable grip positions do not give criminals any advantage. Rather, they help people most in need of protection—such as petite women—hold the gun more safely and effectively if the weapon has to be used against a criminal. Once again, the people creating the laws seem to have no practical knowledge of guns, or what specifically makes them dangerous.

As is proven many times in the book, none of the laws deter criminals from possessing or using guns. The point is—criminals are criminals. Murder and theft are already illegal. Criminals ignore those laws. Even police officers surveyed admit that gun bans and stricter gun laws have little impact on criminals using guns. In fact, politicians usually ignore the most important points, which is that there already is a background system check in place for gun purchasers. The “gun show loophole” only actually allows an extremely small percentage of people to buy guns without a background check. Mental health checks—largely ignored, as states fail to upload important mental health data into a  national background check system that already exists—are the most important factor of keeping guns out of the hands of people who would most likely misuse them.

There’s also the argument that gun-free zones become like a playground for criminals. Knowing they won’t be confronted by any citizens who can lawfully conceal-carry a handgun, criminals feel free to shoot as many people as they like without fearing consequences. Just look at the crime rates in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Miller also makes the point that even though gun sales have skyrocketed lately (with the threat of gun bans), crime has been steadily decreasing. Increased gun ownership has not increased gun-related crime.

The examples go on and on. (Someone could write a book! Oh wait, someone has!)

Toward the end of the book, Miller cites examples of seemingly arbitrary and capricious enforcement of gun laws, some aimed at veterans arrested for arbitrary reasons—one for having three unregistered guns in the city, one for having several loose rounds in the bottom of a backpack (but having no weapon). She also demonstrates how celebrities and people with political connections do not have to go through the same scrutiny. For both examples above, veterans were subjected to extensive legal fees, undue stress, even jail time though they committed no actual crimes and were eventually cleared of (most of) the charges.

Miller notes that she could easily move to Virginia, where gun laws are much more fair to law-abiding citizens, but she chooses not to: she wants to stay in Washington, D.C., and continue her fight for gun rights. She notes that, although she is allowed to keep her gun in her home, she is not allowed to carry it outside, even into the lobby of her apartment building. Along her journey to become legally armed, she has met many people who have confided in her, and her goal continues to be helping others exercise their Second Amendment Rights without unnecessary restrictions. Emily is truly a freedom fighter, and one worthy of two thumbs up from Freedom Forge Press.

Published by Regnery Publishing.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million

Cover Courtesy of Regnery Publishing

Happy Thanksgiving from Freedom Forge Press

Today the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday that is shared as a national holiday only by our Canadian friends to the north.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that encourages us to be thankful for what and who we have in our lives. It is also a holiday that celebrates, through the symbol of a feast, the fruits of labor. Production, the rewards of dedicated labor and ambition, was the reward the pilgrims reaped as a result of their work colonizing an untamed land.

Today, we can look at the feast as a metaphor, celebrating a uniquely American idea–the idea behind the original American Dream. Embrace a goal in life, work hard toward that goal in everything you do, and success will follow. The bountiful feast we enjoy is a reminder of that American ideal. Shortcuts and handouts will not produce such a feast–only hard work and dedication.

Much of what we have to be thankful for comes to us because of the freedoms secured to us by our government’s recognition of our natural right to those freedoms. As we recognize all we have to be thankful for, it’s important to remember the freedoms we enjoy, to appreciate them, to not take them for granted, and to defend them when necessary.

The first “Thanksgiving proclamation” was requested by Congress in 1789. It asked the president to recommend a day to the people for observing a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” that acknowledges the many favors that Americans received from Almighty God “especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

So much of what we advocate is illustrated in this proclamation: That rights do not come from the government, that they are not enjoyed because they are tolerated by a benevolent Congress, court, king, or president. Freedom and our rights come from nature. We are born with them intact, gifts from our Creator–whoever you envision that to be. Our constitution, our concept of a government exercising limited powers, and the idea that people create government in order to preserve their freedoms and rights is also on display.

Sadly these ideas are fading from our national memory. Schools seem to do their best to gloss over or omit this part of history so that future citizens at a young age are left ignorant of their claim to a birthright of freedom.

It is our job to keep this flame of freedom burning. To that end, we’re reprinting below the original text of George Washington’s first Thanksgiving Address.

(Library of Congress Archived Text)
(Library of Congress Archived Image)

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Thirty Straight Years of Thanksgiving Dinner!?!

The American Farm Bureau Federation reported that the average cost of feeding 10 people at a “typical” Thanksgiving dinner is approximately $49.04, a decrease of 44 cents over last year.

This week, total federal government borrowing closed in on $17.2 TRILLION.

Thanks to the federal government’s gross negligence of managing the country’s finances, our current national debt could have paid for each and every American man, woman, and child living today to have Thanksgiving dinners, every single day for 30 years and 4 months! We’re talking about some serious left overs…

But the real turkeys still occupy the Capitol Building in Washington DC, and they’re still spending like there’s no tomorrow–thereby robbing future generations of Americans of their tomorrows.

Photo Credit: “Sliced Turkey Dinner” by Justin Smith “diettogo1“.

Contributor Spotlight: Bobbie Shafer

We have the pleasure of featuring “Early Fourth of July” in our anthology, Forging Freedom. The story appears in the section, Ancestors & Inspirations.


Tell us about yourself.

I am a mother, wife, grandmother, great-grandmother, author, and love to help aspiring authors.

Tell us about your story in Forging Freedom.

When my husband was stationed in Guam, I was the manager of the base child care center. I had served in the Air Force and had a Top Secret Clearance at that time. Due to the fact I still held the clearance, I was called to attend a high priority meeting and was requested to assist in the evacuation of Vietnam which was in the beginning stages. Having had firsthand knowledge and experience on the flight line, I was asked to board the arriving planes and escort the refugees to the hangar where they would be processed in. It was a humbling and moving experience that awoke the heart to appreciation and gratefulness to be an American.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I always thought about it, but for so many years, life got in the way.

What is your “day job”?

I am retired and writing is now my “day job”.

Who is your favorite character in your book, and why?

One of my favorite characters is in a work in progress. Her name is Roxie and she lives life on her terms.

Are any elements of your story autobiographical or inspired by elements of your life?

Not really, although many of my characters are based on close family members.

What’s the strangest place you’ve ever been?

I lived in a haunted house in Texarkana, Texas.

Tell us about your writing routine or space.

My personal bedroom is my “space” shared by three small furbabies and visited often by a couple of cats.

What’s your favorite scene or location in the work you’re currently promoting, and why?

My latest release, has my favorite scene on the front lawn of Eagle Creek Manor since that’s where the most dramatic action takes place.

What book or author has been most inspirational for you, and why?

J. K. Rowling and Stephanie Myer since they persevered and didn’t allow life to stop them.

If you were to be stranded on a desert island, what non-survival item would you bring along that you couldn’t live without?

My laptop.

Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

I am always working on projects and I have two “almost”-ready-to-submit manuscripts that I work on daily when I’m not editing for DWB Publishing.

Take any two of your favorite stories, what interesting mashups could you see (hero/villain hero/hero cooperation villain/villain domination)?

I can see my little Professor allowing the Shadow Army to assist the The White Light Army in destroying the world of Elemental.

Finally, where can we find you? (blogs, website, facebook, twitter, etc.)

You can find me at www.bobbieshafer.com, Dancing With Bear Publishing Site, Twitter, FB. Amazonauthorpage.com,  Amazonbooks, Caliburn Books, and Malachite Quills Publishing.

Forging Freedom was published September 17 on Constitution Day. The book features fiction and non-fiction stories from authors around the world.

Written by veterans, entrepreneurs, citizens, and writers from all walks of life, the book contains fictional tales of freedoms lost and won, essays on the current state of freedom throughout the world, and stories of freedoms imagined in a distant future or whimsical world. 

“The contributors of Forging Freedom come from all walks of life, but are bound by their burning passion for liberty,” Michelle Malkin, author, blogger, and small business owner, “Read this book. Share these stories with your children. Keep the flame burning!”

Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward called the anthology, “A fun, fast, and fascinating read for anyone who loves liberty.”

Forging Freedom is available on Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), BarnesandNoble.com, and from the Freedom Forge Press publisher direct store.

Enter the Scary Thankful Writing Contest!


From now until November 30th, send us your best story (fiction or non-fiction) or essay discussing ONE of the following topics:

The SCARIEST thing government could do; or

The freedom you are most THANKFUL for.

 

Stories can be fiction or non-fiction and draw on the stylings of any genre.

Essays must be engaging, accessible to a general audience, and not rely on academic jargon.

 

ALL SUBMISSIONS:

1. Must be submitted with subject line “Scary Thankful Contest Submission – [Title]” as an attachment (PDF, RTF, DOC, or DOCX) to submissions [at] freedomforgepress [dot] com.
2. Must be AT LEAST 1,000 words.

3. Must NOT EXCEED 5,000 words.

4. Must be engaging and responsive to either the SCARY or THANKFUL prompt above.

5. Must be ORIGINAL and UNPUBLISHED elsewhere. (No reprints)
We will:

1. Evaluate the submissions and select one, both, or none of the category winner(s).  These winners will receive a $25 Amazon.com gift card or PayPal payment.
2. Category winner(s) MAY be offered a slot in our 2nd freedom-themed anthology, slated for release in 2014. Being the contest winner will not exclude you from the contracted payment terms offered to other anthology contributors (e.g., royalties).

3. We may arbitrarily recognize honorable mentions, or create some other ranking/placement scheme if there are a cornucopia of quality submissions.

4. If warranted, we MAY also offer a slot in our anthology to any submissions that were worthy of honorable mentions.

Winners will be contacted at the email address we receive the contest entry from. We will ask winners (and possibly honorable mentions) for a promotional photo or high quality “selfie”, short bio, and any web addresses you would like to plug for your writing endeavors. We’ll also release your first name, last initial, and your current location (city/state or province/country) on the announcement post.
Have fun!

Contributor Spotlight: Tracy Doering

We have the pleasure of featuring “Montaku” in our anthology, Forging Freedom. The story appears in the section, Freedom Speculated: Fantasy, Whimsy, and Science Fiction.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a creative soul with OCD, which makes for a very interesting combination. I always have to be doing something creative, whether it’s writing, painting, crocheting, singing, or crafting. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Stories and poetry mostly. I won a few poetry contests in my youth. In high school and college I thrived on writing 10+ page papers. I live in Southern California where I write a nerdy blog called hotnerdgirl.com in my spare time.

Tell us about your story in Forging Freedom.

I’ve always been a huge fan of science fiction and I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from it over the years. I love stories about strong, independent women so it was only natural for the protagonist to be female. I also really identify with outsiders, people who are just beyond the bubble of what is considered “normal” (if there even is such a thing). So Maggie needed to be different and unique. Strong and vulnerable at the same time.

I come from a military background and can trace my family’s military pedigree back to several individuals who fought, and even died, in the Civil War. Andersonville, in particular, always held a deep fascination for me. I wrote a research paper on it, have read several books and even went to visit it with my Dad. I found out just a couple of years ago from my maternal grandfather that a member of our family was imprisoned and died there. I think we’re connected to the people in our pasts and they speak to us in mysterious ways. I think that Maggie is in the same situation with her ancestors. In some ways she’s trying to avenge them, in other ways she’s trying to honor them and be a stepping stone so that the Montaku who come after her will be better off than her generation is. It’s also a commentary on how history is a vicious cycle that, tragically, never stops repeating.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been a writer in some form my whole life but I don’t think I ever thought I could do it as a career. “Writer” seemed like one of those magical jobs like “actor” or “astronaut” that very few people can ever make a living at. I remember writing short stories very soon after I learned how to read and write. Even before that I was always making up stories in my head. We moved around a lot so I had to entertain myself and creating imaginary worlds was one of my great escapes. I have books full of teen angst poetry just waiting to be published posthumously. Some of it’s actually pretty good; it’s just too embarrassing to be published during my lifetime. I’ll probably eat those words someday.

What’s the strangest place you’ve ever been?

There’s a shield volcano on Maui called Haleakalā Crater. I spent a day walking all the way down it, then all the way back up. I barely made it back before the sun set. If it had set, I would have been stuck in complete darkness. The best way I can think to describe it is that it’s probably what Mars looks like. It’s red, orange, and brown as far as the eye can see. You’re walking in sand that is very fine powder in parts. My hiking boots will always have remnants of Haleakalā in them. I truly felt like I was experiencing a whole different planet. When I think of the Montaku homeworld, Haleakalā is what I picture.

What book or author has been most inspirational for you, and why?

I grew up reading Robert Service. He’s my Dad’s favorite poet and he had me memorize the beginning of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” when I was very small. He tests me every once in a while to make sure I still remember it. I’m 100% positive that I’ll remember it until the day I die. I did a couple of speech contests growing up. The 2nd time I performed “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and I won the whole thing. I love how Service tells stories that are both humorous and heartbreaking. The fact that he tells these amazing stories while rhyming leaves me awestruck every time. Every so often I meet someone who is just as passionate about Robert Service as I am and we have an instant connection. I once spent the better part of a wedding cocktail hour taking turns reciting his poetry with the father of the groom. Not many people my age know about Robert Service and that’s a shame.

If you were to be stranded on a desert island, what non-survival item would you bring along that you couldn’t live without?

Some kind of portable, solar-powered TV device stocked with every Star Trek episode and film. If I have that, I’m set.

Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

About 10 years ago I started writing a fantasy book that I’ve been working on in bits and pieces ever since. I go in waves where I’ll write 5 chapters in 3 days and then nothing for a year. It’s a planned trilogy. If I didn’t have to work a day job I probably would have finished it 8 years ago..Finally, where can we find you? (blogs, website, facebook, twitter, etc.)

I can be found at:

Website: www.hotnerdgirl.com
Facebook: facebook.com/hotnerdgirl
Twitter: @hot_nerd_girl
Pinterest: pinterest.com/hotnerdgirl/

Forging Freedom was published September 17 on Constitution Day. The book features fiction and non-fiction stories from authors around the world.

Written by veterans, entrepreneurs, citizens, and writers from all walks of life, the book contains fictional tales of freedoms lost and won, essays on the current state of freedom throughout the world, and stories of freedoms imagined in a distant future or whimsical world. 

“The contributors of Forging Freedom come from all walks of life, but are bound by their burning passion for liberty,” Michelle Malkin, author, blogger, and small business owner, “Read this book. Share these stories with your children. Keep the flame burning!”

Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward called the anthology, “A fun, fast, and fascinating read for anyone who loves liberty.”

Forging Freedom is available on Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), BarnesandNoble.com, and from the Freedom Forge Press publisher direct store.


 

Government Shutdown Illustrates Media Bias

BY HOLLY BATCHELDER

 

 

 

 

 


Act I
Partial Government Shutdown

The tone on television and in the newspapers is very familiar. During the weeks leading up the Sequester, we were constantly told how our lives would be negatively impacted. The media reinforced these scare tactics then and are doing it now. From the countdown clocks on television screens, to the dramatic playback of Washingtons talking points, one might very well believe that the apocalypse is upon usagain.

After more than a week of the scary partial federal government shutdown, most people are finding that their lives have not really been impacted. The fact that roughly 83 percent of the federal government remains open is typically glossed over, buried or not mentioned at all. Funding priorities are also rarely challenged. Youd be hard-pressed to find a major headline that sheds light on the fact that the Presidents preferred golf course remains open along with Congress gym and cafeteria, while on-base grocery stores are closed, senior citizens are being evicted from their privately-owned homes on federal land and park rangers are being told to inflict the maximum consequences on trespassers.

Just as the media put no pressure on the necessity of petty cuts such as White House tours to the public after the Sequester, there is no pressure to understand why the administration is wasting resources to close open-air memorials at what is most likely a greater expense than to keep them open. Or why an immigration rally on the National Mall was allowed to continue while veterans were initially told to keep out of the WWII memorial.

Reported examples of the pain inflicted on the American people as a result of the partial government shutdown are chosen based on what fits the blame Republicans narrative. Most news outlets focus on what House Republicans arent doing rather than giving anything other than a passing mention to what they are doing. For example, lack of funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the cancer treatment they provide children was a hot topic until Republicans approved a measure to fund the program. When Harry Reid rejected that and lambasted a CNN reporter for bringing it up, other reporters quickly backed off the issue.

Most reporters from major news organizations also have yet to ask why President Obama and the Democrats wont give up congressional subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, compromise on the Medical Device Tax, or give individuals the same delay that has been granted to big business new points of contention and negotiation for Republicans regarding healthcare.

Act II The Debt Ceiling

Mainstream media is shifting their focus to the doom and gloom of the October 17 debt ceiling deadline, failing to point out that the federal government takes in more than $2 trillion in tax revenue every year (CBO), which covers interest payments on the national debt along with other vital government functions and responsibilities such as social security. No one with a public microphone stops to analyze whether we would be in this situation at all if the federal government hadnt operated without a budget for four years.

Media personalities largely focus on the Democrats talking point that the White House and Senate wont negotiate on what is the congressional responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. Reporters dont challenge this narrative with the question of congressional responsibility to also rein in growing federal expenditure in an effort to minimize the long-term consequences of continual deficit spending. They echo the demand for a clean spending bill while ignoring (as they have largely done since 2009) the complexities and exceptions throughout the more than 9,000 pages of the Affordable Care Act.

Major news outlets are passing on the opportunity to bring up a broader conversation on the growing reach of the federal government that multiple administrations are responsible for. With power and posturing for the 2014 elections at stake, reporters are missing the point that the economic well being of our country should not be so dependent on federal government. While there are valid points to the lefts arguments regarding blame for the partial government shutdown, Americans will not see the other side of the story unless they listen carefully and actively seek it out.

Holly Batchelder is Colorado native currently residing in Denver. She received her B.S. in Business and B.A. in Journalism from Colorado State University and has particular interest in observing media coverage and how news outlets shape the national debate on various issues. Holly is a marketing communications professional and enjoys freelance work in a variety of industries. Writing samples and sporadic blog entries can be found at www.hollybatchelder.com.

Photo Credit: “Liberal Media Bias” by TK.

Shutdown Shows Why Independence Matters

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” -George Washington 

Government is often the best and most effective argument against itself.

If we as citizens learn one thing from the present government shutdown, it should be this: that the government ought to do less and remove its burdensome presence from the private sector’s ability to more efficiently serve peoples’ wants and needs.

In the current shutdown, we saw an administration act, with arbitrary and sadistic intent, to inflict pain on the American people in a way never considered by previous administrations. The pain was necessary to show the people the great harm that would befall them if they did not adopt the administration’s preferred way of thinking.

The administration would have us believe that the Affordable Care Act should be left intact. That it should maintain big business exemptions not offered to small businesses or individuals–not even part of the original law–only recently unilaterally added to it by the Executive branch, which we note does NOT have legislative authority.  That the ACA should extend a subsidy for Members of Congress, also specifically not permitted by the original text of the law and unilaterally enacted by the President‘s administration.

Republicans disagree with the administration on special treatment for the government and exemptions not available for individuals. Democrats support these special treatments and exemptions. Republicans control the House of Representatives. Democrats control the Senate. And there you have the mechanics behind the current government shutdown.

Enter the stories reported since the shut down began: paying government employees to erect barricades from open-air memorials (including the World War II and Vietnam Memorials, granite wall with a sidewalk); closing unmanned scenic pull offs, shutting down the Amber Alert website (not the system) but not the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” website; closing grocery stores on military bases but not the president’s favorite golf course at Andrews Air Force Base; attempting to force privately funded parks to close.

And moving from malicious annoyance to outright thuggish behavior: forcing homeowners at Lake Meade to leave their homes, forcibly closing private businesses that operate on leased property, and threatening to arrest Catholic priests who (volunteering on their own time) defy administration orders to enter a military base in order to celebrate mass with Catholic soldiers.

And to top it all off, the federal government “shutdown” represents only 17 percent of the government–leading us to think that the government can’t even close itself down effectively. But if it can cause this much havoc by only closing less than one-fifth of itself down, what greater damage will it do when it controls more healthcare operations?

Would a future government shutdown lead to people on a cancer screening wait list not being approved to see a doctor, get a test, or enter a treatment study? Think it’s not possible? It’s already happening. The government also has injected itself into approving US exports of liquefied natural gas–holding up exports during the shut down as projects requiring review by Department of Energy bureaucrats sit on empty desks.

As the federal government claims more and more power for itself, it creates dependency. Dependency in turn grants more power to those in government over those who are dependent. Control becomes a lasting side effect. If there’s a more insidious way to destroy one’s freedom, it would be difficult to beat this one.

What if people became dependent on government (via a single payer healthcare system as some political statists advocate)? Do they become dependent pawns of the political party in power? What if people depended on the government for energy? Food? Shelter? Transportation? All aspects of life become levers of control by which a political scoundrel can hold your life and freedom hostage in order to ensure acquiescence and compliance with his agenda.

Americans must reconnect with our past. Our birthright of rugged individualism and a pioneer spirit are not completely gone–even if they are alien to many products of a progressive education system. If people demand that their federal government stay out of their lives, return lands to the states, and allow problems to be solved at state and local levels, then we can let political elites in Washington DC play whatever games they would like, for however long they care to play them. Instead, we have our own lives to run and our own future to shape. And a federal government diminished to its core functions of providing a national defense, foreign affairs, and the only absolutely necessary intrusion on the private economy would not play such a central role.