Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s audience got steamed reading our coverage of what the EPA did to an elderly veteran in Montana. Some of those responses lead off this week’s mailbag. Don’t forget to write us at [email protected]—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: This guy Joe Robertson got screwed by his government and overzealous bureaucrats, as Kevin Mooney reports (“This Veteran, Who Supplied Water to Firefighters, Went to Prison for Digging Ponds”). He really did nothing wrong. He owned the property.
And Robertson certainly didn’t get any breaks, like that Jussie Smollett guy in Chicago.
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act has resulted in a huge land grab by the federal government and the erosion of the rights of the property owner.
In most cases where the government decides it needs the rights to a property, or wants to restrict the use of a property for public good, the landowner is bought out or paid for the use. They go through a process of eminent domain.
In the case of wetlands, however, since the areas grabbed were huge, the government failed to compensate the owners for the loss of rights to the property.
My father bought farmland that backed up to a harbor off Lake Erie well before it was declared to be wetland. Then the government decided that area should be wetland, and thus my father could not develop the property unless he were to donate another property to be wetland in this piece’s stead. Really?
So those with financial backing bought up all kinds of swamp away from development and donated that, then built their housing developments and marinas along the shores of Lake Erie where the property values were truly high.
I am not blaming the developers, but was that really fair? And if you could trade for pieces of land in the next county, then, really, how vital were all these “wetlands” that the Environmental Protection Agency declared?
To add insult to injury, my father’s land was taxed as waterfront and lake accessible even though he could not launch a boat from it. He got no break on any score and no compensation, and he was not grandfathered even though he owned the land before the government grabbed his rights.
The government decided, the government took away his rights. If the government is all about needing wetlands, then buy the property and pay for it at market rates. Let’s share the cost of this wonderful program with everyone who might benefit.
That’s what they are supposed to do and what they do when they build a new road or put a new building: They buy the land.—Timothy Dayton
Does what happened to Joe Robertson not sound familiar? Once again, the federal government stomps all over states’ rights.
Democrats want a much larger government, the more people to back them up when they run rampant over our liberties. The bigger the government, the more corrupt it becomes. Self-perpetuating greed for more power.—Raymond Hudson
A stream 12 inches deep on Joe Robertson’s own property constitutes “navigable” waters? “Navigable” by what, inner tubes?
This is the kind of crap and harassment that make people hold the EPA in contempt. It’s comparable to when some government bureaucrat comes out and puts a stop to kids selling lemonade in front of their home, demanding permits, licenses, and government oversight.
Where the hell have common sense and common decency gone?—Drew Page
Joe Robertson got screwed by the Environmental Protection Agency when it was led by two Obama hacks: Lisa Jackson and then Gina McCarthy.
As EPA commissioner, Jackson used the alias Richard Windsor when communicating by email, to skirt the Federal Records Act. McCarthy was EPA commissioner when a contractor starting poking a plug that held back the contents of the abandoned Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado. The plug blew out and the mine’s contents discharged into the Animas River and basically killed it.
Neither Jackson nor McCarthy ever was held accountable.
As old as he was, Joe Robertson should have put up a fight, a real fight. He might have died in the process, but in my opinion that outcome would have been preferable to the 18-month jail sentence he received, which probably killed him anyway.
Jason Brennan, author of “When All Else Fails: The Ethics of Resistance to State Injustice,” said: “When governments violate our rights, we may resist. We may even have a moral duty to do so. We have every right to react with acts of ‘uncivil disobedience.'”—Charles F. Heimerdinger, Edinburg, N.Y.
The EPA has exceeded its original charter and mandate to encroach upon landowners and private citizens. It has become a land-grab organization controlled and run by fools who don’t know land management nor organization.
The government is responsible for the majority of forest fires each year by preventing proper forest and land management by removing dead trees and brush that feed fires after they start.
Their restrictive nature would have us living in caves without having access to fire to warm ourselves and cook our food. They need to be investigated to see who is profiting by their corrupt land practices and who is paying them to spoil the use of our lands.—James Maxwell, Porter, Texas
President Trump should step up and return this man’s money as well as pay for defamation of character. Then the real perps who filed the charges should be fired.—James Stevens
This has been going on for well over 50 years. Government bureaucrats are liars. They will threaten if you do not pay them what they tell you.
Fines are at the pleasure of some desk clerk who could care less about the rights of the individual. They will fine you, put a lean on you, put you in jail, and steal everything you think you own.
The police will back them up. Make no mistake. This is our very own Gestapo. California, Oregon, and Washington state are excellent examples.—Rexford O. Ames, Surprise, Ariz.
Under Obama, the EPA became a Nazi-like dictatorship with way too much power and authority.
In more than one state near California, it’s “illegal” for you to collect rainwater that falls on your own roof because of regs. For any purpose, be it watering your garden, firefighting, reserve water, drinking, bathing. No legal use of the water off your own roof.
Of course, only the pretense of “protecting the environment” was the reason for all this b.s. regulation, the real reason being to hobble Americans and their businesses as much as possible.—Silas Longshot
Investigating the FBI and Justice Department
Dear Daily Signal: U.S. Attorney John Huber has done nothing, although Fred Lucas reports that Huber has been investigating Justice Department and FBI abuses for a year (“Amid Calls for New Special Counsel, Silence on Internal Probe of FBI, DOJ Abuses”). His appointment by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was to appease the conservative base.
We desperately need a special counsel to investigate the Obama Justice Department and FBI. Without the appointment of a special counsel, generations of conservatives will distrust their government and judicial system.
What the Obama DOJ and FBI did was to enforce the law selectively. Unequal application of the law is the very definition of tyranny.—David Merrifield
When James Comey was still director of the FBI, then-House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, delivered a written request to Comey to investigate Hillary Clinton for lying under oath before a Senate hearing.
Clinton said she never sent or received classified and top secret State Department information on her personal computer, and Comey testified under oath that she did send and receive such classified and top secret information on her personal computer.
That written request still remains in the possession of the FBI, presumably waiting to be prioritized. What’s up with that, FBI Director Christopher Wray?
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz reportedly has been investigating FISA court abuses and charges of money laundering, extortion, and bribery involved in the sale of American uranium to Russia. Those who benefited from that sale showed their gratitude by donating $145 million to the Clinton Foundation and paying Bill Clinton $500,000 to deliver a one-hour speech in Moscow.
Perhaps Horowitz needs more time to issue a report, but waiting for that report is like “Waiting for Godot.”—Drew Page
From what we’ve heard of what went on with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and certain agencies and their employees, I certainly believe that we have ample evidence that would warrant a full-scale probe.
At its worst, it was an attempted coup, and at the least it was special favors to partisan interests. In either case, it should not be allowed to just pass by without consequences and penalties.—Timothy Dayton
Former CIA Director John Brennan, the subject of the report by Fred Lucas, was a key part of the conspiracy that sought to bring down our president in a silent coup d’état (“John Brennan Recalibrates Anti-Trump Broadsides After Russia Findings”). Brennan and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch are key players, and are likely a path to Obama’s being implicated.
This was the absolute worst case of abuse of power ever recorded in our national history. It must be investigated and the guilty forced to pay for their crimes.
If not, it will happen again and our system of justice will have been irreparably damaged. We cannot tolerate a two-tiered system of justice, one for the left and elites and another for the rest of us. That would destroy respect for the rule of law and lead to anarchy.
As a side note, the news media are complicit in this coup and also must be compelled to face justice.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas
Paying for a Popular Vote for President
Dear Daily Signal: As soon as I read the headline on Fred Lucas’ story, I knew the Soros cartel had its fingerprints all over it (“EXCLUSIVE: Who’s Bankrolling the National Popular Vote Movement”). Hey, Justice Department, maybe you could go after the real criminals in our society?
Doing away with the Electoral College renders the smaller states useless in choosing the leader of all 50 states. The Democrats would need only to go to New York and California, in theory, to be elected.
That’s not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they came up with the idea.—Marco Beeman
Let’s see. California keeps flirting with secession. Either let them secede or let the rest of us secede.
Let California and New York fund their own socialist, illegal alien welfare states. And see how long that lasts.—Paul Bunce
A way you could improve the Electoral College is to give one electoral vote to each county (or parish in Louisiana’s case) regardless of population, and it goes to the presidential candidate who wins that county’s vote.
In 2016, Trump won nearly 2,600 counties and Clinton 500. Try that on your popular-vote friends and colleagues and see them howl in agony.—Bert Chapman
When and if the USA goes to the popular vote to elect presidents, every state would need to vote at the same time.
The election would rotate around a few of the states with the larger populations, which would make it so that six to seven states would control the vote and the smaller ones wouldn’t matter.
All voters would have to follow one set of rules. States would have to hold state elections at a different time than the national election. Candidates would have about six states, possible eight, to work. The votes of those states would override all the other states.
We have enough crooked voting under our present system, and technically all states would lose their independence. The most populous states would get the federal funding while the smaller ones limped along on whatever the larger states would allow.
Think about it. Do we really want this way of electing our leaders?—Rex Whitmer, Elfrida, Ariz.
We need to keep the Electoral College. Who wants California and New York telling the rest of the country what they can do?
States like Vermont and Wyoming would have no say in an election with the popular vote.
Our Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they set up the electoral system. We’ve got to start educating people on the Electoral College. It is not taught in schools anymore.—Elizabeth Craine
We must keep all of the checks and balances in place that prevent democracy from going to its otherwise-inevitable extreme: mob rule.
Repeal the 17th Amendment while you’re at it, so that the Senate shall no longer be under the control of the mob population centers in the states.
Having the state governments themselves elect our senators shall ensure that each state is properly and directly represented in the Senate again, per our original Constitution. Let us never forget what the Great Compromise was all about.—Joseph O. Morrow
It boils down to buying elections by changing the rules, and there is no doubt that liberals have more billionaires with deep pockets than conservatives and Republicans.
We must fight back when they want to allow Illegal immigrants and 16-year-olds to vote. We must combat voter fraud by strengthening voter ID laws and educating the public on how government works and how important a vote is.—Helga Miller
Our Founding Fathers were very smart, unlike the willfully stupid corrupt politicians in office today. The Founding Fathers must have foreseen conniving, crooked politicians.
Another example, other than the Electoral College, of their genius: Putting checks and balances in the Constitution.
Such checks and balances show that claims by some in Congress that they control the purse and President Trump’s declaring a national emergency infringes on the Constitution is invalid and total b.s. And they know it.—Andy Ruby
The movement to change the nation from a republic to a democracy is being financed by millions of dollars from left-leaning groups who want to silence the voice of Middle America and put control in the hands of the largely populated states on the coasts.
This would insure the progressive left would run the country and turn us into a socialist country. Open borders and centralized control in Washington.—Wes Potts
After a sufficient number of states statutorily enter the National Popular Vote Compact, attempted implementation certainly will generate lawsuits and eventually make its way to the Supreme Court.
If a realistic 80% of the voters in Hawaii vote Democrat, and the national popular vote is Republican, Hawaii, as a signatory, would be obligated to cast its electoral votes for the Republican candidate. Those “disenfranchised” Hawaii voters would file lawsuits out the wazoo.
Given the language of the Constitution in Article I, Section 1, and its original intent, it certainly would appear that the Supreme Court would find this agreement among the states unconstitutional.—Steven Crain
Democrats don’t give a rip about plenty of popular votes: No to Obamacare, no to gay marriage, no to unrestricted abortion, no to … —Paul Johnson
This and That
Dear Daily Signal: What this country needs are more people like Maj Toure, an activist who was interviewed on your podcast (“Founder of Black Guns Matter Speaks Out: ‘Gun Control Is About People Control’”).
Maj is on the front lines educating people about their rights in areas that are being inundated with messages twisted in favor of the progressive left and socialism.
He is right: People need to be educated by liaisons from their own communities. I am a 58-year-old widow living in suburbia. I cannot be a liaison to a predominantly black urban community, but many from the growing black conservative movement can.
I encourage others to contact Maj, to meet up with him, to be educated by him, to become a liaison to your own communities, and then attract other people to do the same in their communities.
Let the word spread like wildfire, and we will take back our country from the crazies in Washington. —Marion E. Daniels-Price
Big surprise, is my reaction to Rachel del Guidice’s story on the Senate’s action on the Green New Deal (“Democrats Refuse to Vote for Green New Deal They Endorsed”). I thought after the House Democrat majority’s first three days in office that there would be some really weird thinking that would generate problems. That is how they do everything.
Climate change? Yep, four times a year.
Children voting? I really do not think that 16-year-olds think.
Stack the Supreme Court? Yeah, that worked all the other times it was tried. If at first you do not succeed, just change one thing and see if it makes a difference.
Eliminate the Electoral College? Not without a full constitutional amendment. And I doubt that three-quarters of the states will go for it.—Karin Callaway
About Elizabeth Slattery’s commentary on the case of retired Marine James Kisor, “This Case Could Finally Rein in Federal Agencies”:
Restoring the Supreme Court with justices that make decisions based on the Constitution already is having a transformational effect on the anti-American leftist decisions made by previous courts stacked with leftist justices.
Keep up the good work and aggressively go after those terrible past decisions.— Jimmy Philipp, Mililani, Hawaii
Sarah Sleem and Courtney Joyner helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”