News & Current Affairs
by Alex Newman
Congress to Probe Govt. Attacks on Homeowners, Businesses During Shutdown
As outrage and defiance against the Obama administration's shutdown antics continue to escalate, lawmakers in Congress plan to investigate growing numbers of reports on the eviction of homeowners and the shuttering of businesses that sit on public lands. The uproar comes in the wake of media accounts and comments from public servants suggesting that the executive branch is trying to make the bogus shutdown most of the federal government is still up and running feel as painful as possible in an effort to extort taxpayer money to fund ObamaCare.
All across the country, business owners and residents on federal property, in other words, land that taxpayers are supposed own, are reportedly being ordered by armed bureaucrats to get out until the supposed shutdown ends. From elderly homeowners near Lake Mead to businesses in North Carolina that do not cost taxpayers anything, the number of victims of the administration's lawless efforts to make Americans submit to ObamaCare continues to grow. Citizens and their representatives, though, have had just about enough.
In Congress, Republicans expressed outrage. Many of these non-federally funded sites exist throughout the United States and operate with no staff or resources from the National Park Service, said a statement issued by GOP lawmakers on the House Natural Resources Committee, who plan to investigate. This is yet another example of the Obama administration attempting to make the government shutdown as painful as possible and forcing closures of private and nonprofit operators that did not happen during previous government shutdowns.
Spokesperson Mallory Micetich for Republicans on the committee confirmed to Fox News that lawmakers planned to investigate the schemes as part of a widening probe into the National Park Service's response to the partial government suspension. According to Micetich, the committee is receiving a lot of reports about businesses being shut down, too, citing as one example a privately run inn along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
In a letter sent last week to National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, who has been accused even by his own staff of trying to make the pseudo-shutdown as difficult for people as we can, committee leaders said the agency should keep all correspondence surrounding decisions about what to close down. The committee plans to investigate, among other issues, “the staff time and costs associated with the transport, erection, and maintenance of the barriers ... [and] the staff time and costs associated with patrolling and securing these sites prior to and during their closure.
Separately, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is also demanding answers about the administration's shenanigans. In a letter to the National Parks Service from Committee Chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Government Operations Subcommittee Chair John Mica (R, Fla.), the senior Republicans demanded to know by October 17 why the open-air World War II memorial (shown) and other monuments were needlessly barricaded during the partial shutdown — apparently at an additional cost to taxpayers.
The Committee is concerned with NPS's allocation of resources during this time of lapsed funding. Our concerns are heightened due to NPS's suspicious decisions during the lead-up to the sequester, the lawmakers explained. This past spring the Committee uncovered evidence that NPS's budgetary decisions were designed to intentionally cause the most disruption to the public in a time of reduced funding.... Specifically, the Committee received information that proposed budget adjustments submitted by an NPS official in the field to deal with sequestration impacts were rejected by NPS superiors in favor of cuts that would be more visible and disruptive.
Many of the people and businesses targeted by the Obama administration's shutdown antics have submitted, leaving their houses or shuttering their businesses after being ordered to do so under threat of arrest. One of the stories that has attracted the most attention thus far involves an elderly couple 77-year-old Joyce Spencer and her husband Ralph, 80 who own a lake-side cabin near Las Vegas.
Despite owning the home since the 1970s, federal agents ordered them to leave. Unfortunately overnight stays are not permitted until a budget is passed and the park can reopen, park officials told KTNV in a statement. The couple is spending most of their time at the family ice cream store and with relatives until they can return, according to media reports.
I had to go to town today and buy Ralph undershirts and jeans because I forgot his pants, Joyce Spencer told the local media outlet in comments that have since become national news, adding that it was a lot to handle for a senior citizen. I had to be sure and get his walker and his scooter that he has to go in. We're not hurt in any way except it might cost me if I have to go buy more pants. The Spencers also said the house was their property and they should be allowed in regardless of whether or not there is a shutdown.
Another local resident noted that they were not ordered to leave during the last shutdown, confirming once again that the administration is going out of its way and squandering additional taxpayer resources to make Americans suffer for demanding that their representatives in Congress refuse to fund the federal healthcare takeover. In all, some 60 families were reportedly kicked out of their houses.
However, as bureaucrats keep pushing, some Americans are starting to fight back, too. ABC News, for example, labeled them shut-down rebels. Inspired by the World War II veterans who recently defied the administration's effort to shut down their open-air memorial, they simply moved the barricades, or 'Barrycades', as they are being called to ridicule Obama's antics. Increasing numbers of citizens are just saying no to the bullying and extortion tactics aimed at extracting taxpayer funds for ObamaCare.
In North Carolina, park officials ordered Bruce O'Connell to shut down his inn and restaurant because they sit on taxpayer-owned land, making many of his employees jobless and homeless at the same time. At first, O'Connell complied with the orders. But then, outraged, he changed his mind and decided to open up for business in defiance of the administration's decrees.
I've witnessed first-hand the process getting more and more dysfunctional over the decades, he told ABC, adding that his business would have paid $30,000 to the federal government for October if it had been allowed to remain open. I'd just reached my breaking point. If not now, when; and if not me, who?
Federal bureaucrats, though, were not pleased with the defiance. So, they sent a swarm of armed functionaries to terrorize O'Connell and his elderly mother into submission. Over the weekend, exasperated, there was nothing left for the productive business owners to do but comply with the demands. However, in another act of defiance, O'Connell posted a message on Facebook letting people know what was going on and blasting the machinations.
We have ceased operations. I am furious all over again, O'Connell wrote. Rangers are guarding our parking lot 24/7 keeping visitors out. It is downright scary. What the heck is going on and how are we all allowing it? I call for action now. Enough is enough. Supporters from around the world are sending e-mails urging him to fight tyranny, he told ABC.
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, City Tavern, which opened in 1773 and once served America's Founding Fathers, has also been ordered shut by authorities because it is inside the Independence National Historical Park. Booked parties were cancelled, the restaurant could end up losing huge sums of money, and employees may even have to look for other work, according to news reports.
The situation is similar in Virginia, where federal bureaucrats forced the non-profit Claude Moore Colonial Farm to shut down, despite the fact that it has paid its own way without taxpayer funds for more than three decades. We have had to cancel every event at the Farm this week so we have already lost more than $15,000 in operating income because October is the busiest month of the year for us, said Anna Eberly, the managing director, adding that while the government may be funded by everyone, the non-profit may have to close down if the costly federal antics continue.
The Farm may never reopen again if we cannot open soon because we don't have any other source of revenue except that which we earn for ourselves, Eberly explained. The staff has been here all week in spite of being threatened with arrest because we feel our cause is just and the Farm is worth protecting. And many of our volunteers are Federal employees that now have time on their hands. They could be here volunteering but are banned from the Farm. What an incredibly stupid waste of time and talent.
According to figures cited by the Daily Caller, the Obama administration's ham-handed decision to deploy federal agents to block off private businesses is costing the tourism industry more than $75 million per day. Homeowners on federal land are being hit hard, too. Despite the fact that the White House sits on federal land, it does not appear that the Obama family will be evicted during the supposed shutdown. Regular Americans who pay the government's bills, however, apparently must be made to suffer until their representatives submit to the president’s demand to fund ObamaCare.
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...