Creating Chaos to Facilitate Failure

It’s a hallmark of the progressive Left: create chaos on a smaller scale, so as to foment the sentiments that will allow for the implementation of changes on a macro level that would otherwise not have been palatable due to the obvious risk of absolute failure.

We see that hallmark in a nutshell in ObamaCare.  The push from the progressive Left is for a single-payer, government-run health care system.  However, as such a system is simply not palatable due to the established risk of rationing and diminishing of care, the surrounding health care environment must be rife with chaos in order for such an otherwise undesirable change to be implemented.

With regard to health care, said chaos comes from the wholesale increase of insurance premiums and the effect that such an increase would have upon employers, families and individuals from coast to coast, resulting in public clamor for a government solution.  The wholesale increase of insurance premiums is guaranteed by sweeping legislation–the Affordable Care Act–that cuts to the heart of our insurer-based system: the ability of insurers to assess risk.  By mandating coverage of preexisting conditions and setting artificial thresholds for the insurers’ ratio of premium revenue to benefits, that ability is abridged to the extent that premiums must be increased.

In essence, in order to accomplish its goal–a single-payer system–the progressive Left is creating its own problem in order to offer a solution that will, in the long run, make things much, much worse.  In other words, they’re creating chaos to facilitate failure.

Ever since the Fast & Furious scandal broke a few months ago, I’ve been talking about how the notoriously anti-gun Attorney General Eric Holder was using the program not to crack down on drug cartels or otherwise temper drug activity along and south of the border, but rather as a nefarious, back-handed way to ensure that gun violence derived from guns purchased in the United States increased on both sides of the non-existent fence.

For a long time, the anti-gun Left has inflated statistics and made the argument that but for the sales practices of firearms in the States, violence along the border would not be as strikingly bad.  The problem, however, is that a good look at the statistics never worked in their favor — Fast & Furious, a program that had its foundations under the Bush administration only to be halted due to ineffectiveness, provided Holder with a way to increase that violence under the name of investigation.

The chaos was increased gun violence.  The unpalatable solution would be the implementation of more strict gun laws that would further abridge Americans’ freedom and pave the way toward increased violent crime from coast to coast.

Well, as it so happens, recent documents uncovered by CBS News support exactly that theory:

ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called “Demand Letter 3″. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.”

On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as “(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue.” And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: “Bill–well done yesterday… (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case.”

This revelation angers gun rights advocates. Larry Keane, a spokesman for National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, calls the discussion of Fast and Furious to argue for Demand Letter 3 “disappointing and ironic.” Keane says it’s “deeply troubling” if sales made by gun dealers “voluntarily cooperating with ATF’s flawed ‘Operation Fast & Furious’ were going to be used by some individuals within ATF to justify imposing a multiple sales reporting requirement for rifles.”

More over, it paints a distressing picture with regard to exactly how the ATF and Justice Department was prepared to blame not only existing gun laws but gun dealers used as pawns to help facilitate a program destined to fail.

Several gun dealers who cooperated with ATF told CBS News and Congressional investigators they only went through with suspicious sales because ATF asked them to.

Sometimes it was against the gun dealer’s own best judgment.

Read the email

In April, 2010 a licensed gun dealer cooperating with ATF was increasingly concerned about selling so many guns. “We just want to make sure we are cooperating with ATF and that we are not viewed as selling to the bad guys,” writes the gun dealer to ATF Phoenix officials, “(W)e were hoping to put together something like a letter of understanding to alleviate concerns of some type of recourse against us down the road for selling these items.”

Read the email

ATF’s group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there’s nothing to worry about. “We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail.”

Two months later, the same gun dealer grew more agitated.

“I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands…I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country.”

“It’s like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it and pat themselves on the back,” says one law enforcement source familiar with the facts. “It’s a circular way of thinking.”

Look, I’m not enough of a true-blue libertarian that I am oblivious to the usefulness of some government regulation, so long as said regulations are weighed in terms of efficacy and cost.  Any and all regulations should be within the scope of the power granted to Congress by the United States Constitution, and should not be used as an extralegislative mechanism to control aspects of American life that could not otherwise be controlled without passage of unpalatable laws.  The EPA’s characterization of coal ash as a hazardous material, for example, provides for remedies unable to be achieved through legislative efforts.

So, the question remains: how do we ensure that federal regulations are appropriate?  Well, as it so happens, I saw something on the Facebook page belonging to Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita today that might be a step in the right direction.  If I were as plugged-in now as I were two years ago, I would have seen it coming; still, even being late to the party, I like it.  It’s called the REINS Act, and while I understand the irony of reining in government through new legislation, I like what I see so far.  From Rokita’s own Web page:

Today Rep. Todd Rokita released this statement after voting for H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, legislation Rokita co-authored that requires Congressional approval for any regulation with $100 million or more in economic impact:

The REINS Act is a critical step in preventing out-of-control federal regulations from standing as a roadblock to economic growth and job creation,” Rokita said.  “America’s small businesses are responsible for about 70 percent of all jobs created in the last 30 years.  If we want to get the economy growing again and put 14 million Americans back to work, we must create conditions where small businesses are able to hire. Rolling back out-of-control federal regulations is critical to this effort,” Rokita said.

According to the Small Business Administration, federal regulations cost the US economy $1.75 trillion per year.  The Obama administration’s own report on regulations catalogued more than 4,200 regulations under development by federal agencies.  This year the Obama administration is expected to propose more than 200 regulations costing over $100 million each.  Seven of those new regulations will cost the economy more than $1 billion each.

“Given the explosion of federal regulations under the Obama administration, it is no surprise that Americans continue to suffer through the longest period of economic stagnation and unemployment since the Great Depression.

If the economy is to recover, Congress must rein in federal regulations.  It will take a combination of actions like the REINS Act, aggressive oversight hearings and programs like Red Tape Rollback, an initiative I launched earlier this year in partnership with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, to repeal and prevent regulatory overreach.  Bringing the federal bureaucracy under control will be a long battle, but a battle critical to rebuilding our economy and creating the jobs millions of Americans desperately need,” Rokita said.

The REINS Act requires Congress to take an up-or-down vote on regulations that have an economic impact of $100 million or more before they can be imposed on the American people and businesses.

H.R. 10 passed the House by a vote of 241-184.

Of course, this legislation is designed to eliminate unnecessary regulatory roadblocks to economic growth.  Still, the idea is a valid one.  Now, the question is whether the REINS Act can pass through the same Democrat-controlled Senate that hasn’t passed a budget in nearly 1,000 days.

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  1. [...] Unfortunately, with Attorney General Eric Holder and his Justice Department, everything is either politically motivated (i.e. the raid on Gibson Guitars) or racially motivated (i.e. dropping charges against the New Black Panthers).  This, frankly, appears to be a little of both.  Further, there seems to be more at work here than just racial or political bias — in this, I see a continuation of the left’s longstanding tradition of Chaos-To-Change progressive political reform, of the same variety I wrote about in the context of the Fast And Furious scandal a few weeks ago. [...]

  2. [...] The problem with Holder’s statement, the latter part at least, is that while the statement itself is fairly innocuous–let the people decide whether or not they want to carry a gun–the actions on the part of the Department of Justice and federal government have been anything but.  Holder has used his position and his agencies to attempt the orchestration of a progressive course of action on the gun issue. [...]

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