Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). New York: Center Street, 2012. 280 pp.
Most Americans have read or heard about some aspect of our intrusive federal government, be it invasive screenings by TSA at the airport or the nonsensical raids on Gibson Guitar in recent years. In Government Bullies, Senator Rand Paul provides more than a dozen individual examples of government overreach and abuse, usually under the auspices of some vague regulation established by unelected bureaucrats or in the name of “safety.”
In organizing Government Bullies, Senator Paul gives these expansive government regulations four headlines: (1) Property Wrongs – EPA Bullies, (2) The Lacey Act – An Open License for Government Bullying, (3) Enemies Foreign and Domestic – The TSA and Bullies Abroad, and (4) Keeping Us Safe? FDA and USDA Bullies.
Paul details outrageous stories like that of Hungarian immigrant John Pozsgai, who allegedly violated EPA regulations concerning “wetlands” (a vague and largely undefined term) when he sought to clean up a dump and construct an automotive garage on his property. After a costly legal battle, Mr. Pozsgai was sentenced to three years in prison and fined more than $200,000 – all for removing old tires and moving dirt from one part of his property to another!
Senator Paul details nine stories about EPA and property rights violations alone. Most of the victims of this form of government intrusion spent years in prison and had to pay thousands of dollars in fines, leaving their families bankrupt. The ones who fought back and won proved to be the exception.
Under the Lacey Act, government regulators have applied and enforced foreign laws within our own borders. In the case of Gibson Guitar, federal Fish and Wildlife agents, dressed in full SWAT gear, raided offices and factories in Nashville and Memphis and seized millions of dollars in materials for allegedly violating a foreign law regarding the production process of the type of wood used to make guitar frets.
Gibson’s CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, fought back by taking his case directly to Congress. The Department of Justice suggested Gibson could comply with the foreign law by simply “improving” the wood in its country of origin. The DOJ wanted Gibson to ship guitar production overseas.
Federal overreach doesn’t end there.
Want to exercise your right to travel by plane? There’s a federal agency that will poke, prod, and violate you in the name of “security” before you can board.
Want to produce and sell raw milk or breed and sell rabbits? There’s an agency for that.
Want to catch and sell lobsters? There are agents who want to measure the length of those lobster’s tails.
The fact is, somewhere there’s a bureaucrat who can and will find a rule to stop you from doing whatever it is that you’re doing. And Rand Paul is on what appears to be a one-man crusade in Washington to stop these guys and to restore property rights and individual liberty.
Senator Paul doesn’t only provide readers with the problems (as demonstrated by specific cases of state and federal agencies implementing these rules); he also provides concrete solutions, oftentimes in the form of legislation that he is currently sponsoring.
And at 280 pages, it’s a manageable read. While choppy at first, Senator Paul finds his voice through the stories of more than a dozen Americans who have been harassed, abused, and imprisoned by our out-of-control government.
Government Bullies personalizes those “job-killing regulations” about which politicians in Washington are always talking. These destructive regulations and intrusive policies have real, tangible consequences that affect hardworking men and women, families, and communities.
If Senator Paul continues to take on the leviathan in Washington, he will no doubt need more people, both in Congress and throughout the United States, to stand up and speak out with him.
Matthew Hurtt is a libertarian activist, hell-bent on exposing ridiculous government regulations. Follow him on Twitter @matthewhurtt.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Emma Elliott Freire