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Chris Stewart: The deficit of trust between America and our government

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  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    May 23, 2014 9:20 p.m.

    The American Federal Government is totally corrupt and self serving from the White House to the congress to the thousands of federal judges and agencies. I honestly feel the Federal Govt is the enemy of the middle class in this country. Actions speak loud for anyone willing to listen. Unfortunately we have far too many in this country who are like the monkey - hear no evil see no evil.

  • Kindred Mesa, AZ
    May 21, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    Do you know all the ways you could break the law where you live? The number of laws has increased incredibly over the decades such that there are now so many, no person could possibly be sure they are not breaking a law at any given moment. When we don't know the laws that govern us, then how can we avoid breaking them? If there are enough laws, then we are all criminals. When we are all criminals, then we are no longer a nation of laws, but a country ruled by those who can grant clemency. This isn't an issue for finger pointing about who is or was in the White House. This is about federal government troops breaking down doors over relatively trivial matters.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    May 20, 2014 2:22 p.m.

    This op-ed piece is (not surprisingly) classic Congressman Stewart. He has a habit of boiling down complex, nuanced issues into simplistic, black-and-white ones that are long on dogmatic sensationalism, and short on reason (or real information, other than cherry-picked anecdotal evidence to support his position). It is also condescending for him to expect his audience to accept whatever he has to say as the final word on the matter, without employing any critical thinking skills of their own.

    What his article really reminds me of is "Professor" Harold Hill telling the good folks of River City that they "got trouble, with a capital 'T', and that rhymes with 'P', and that stands for Pool!!"

    Does the federal government sometimes abuse its power, and occasionally use excessive force in enforcing the law? Absolutely, and that should be cause for concern; but how prevalent is it, relative to the good work that is done daily? Arguing that federal agencies should be stripped of their police-like law enforcement ability because of occasional abuses is sort of like arguing that the Second Amendment should be repealed because of instances of extreme gun violence.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 20, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    "or shipping lobsters in plastic instead of cardboard boxes."

    Congressman Stewart shows himself to be an misinformed lackey for the tea party. Our Utah Congressional representatives are an embarrassment.

    The case Congressman Stewart must be talking about (although, for some reason he is externally vauge about exactly what incidents he is talking about in all of his examples. Is he afraid people might actually look them up?) is the McNab, Blanford, Schoenwetter case. Needless to say, congressman Stewart is grossly misrepresenting the case. They were convicted of conspiracy, smuggling, money laundering, and Lacey Act violations by a jury. Their convictions were upheld on appeal.

    But of course Congressman Stewart probably doesn't know this. He probably is just repeating what he heard from some right wing talk show.

    What an embarrassment.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 20, 2014 8:02 a.m.

    Positions such as this is why the tea party candidates cannot govern and are ideologically bound to dogmatic unworkable positions.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    May 20, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    This is ridiculous --

    A supposed law "maker",
    supporting a law "breaker".

    And we think spending is "the" problem with our Congressmen?

  • Global Warner Provo, UT
    May 19, 2014 9:42 p.m.

    Mr. Stewart is confused. Every night I go to bed I thank God for Pres. Obama, a guy who inherited the worst decade of the past century, & in spite of GOP racism & terrible leadership, has brought into being the greatest civil rights legislation in half a century, the ACA. He’s rebuilt the economy so that business thrives, the Dow Jones is record high, & unemployment is gradually dropping. My research when our new president entered office predicted that since it took Republicans 8 years to destroy Clinton’s success, it would take at least 15 years to rebuild our economy. But he’s turned it around in half the time. While GOP vision is merely a squint, our president has had a long term view, with coherent strategies to move us forward. While Right Wingers vowed to “do anything possible” to ensure Obama would fail, he has exceeded our greatest expectations. All the while, he has done so with class, reason, & patience. Long after Stewart, Lee, Chaffetz and their ilk are buried in the dustbin of history, American will remember with pride the greatness of our friend who cared, Barack Obama.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 19, 2014 2:32 p.m.

    "People now fear that if they speak out against the President the IRS will be coming through the door."

    evan, only stupid people fear this.

    "What happened to people speaking their mind and not worrying about the government coming down on them?"

    I don't worry about this one bit, and apparently not very many people that comment here do either.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    May 19, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    This whole thread is a LOL experience. All the justification for private armies to carry out the job which belongs to local law enforcement agencies.

    The BLM can get the local authorities involved, Other than having an armed agent along for protection in an IRS the established FBI can deal with major issues. Department of education, EPA, and other agencies needing an armed army, really. It would help if the IRS tax cheat geitner had not just revealed the Administration told him to lie and he did.

    Then of course it must be ok by the progressives supporting the current administration if we say Bush did it to. Folks that is the problem Bush did it Clinton did it and Obama is still doing it. Trust the government? We are about to have a Schutzstaffel moment.

    I love what is happening in the UK, the people are realizing they gave up representation to the EU. They are about to have their 1776 moment.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 19, 2014 1:32 p.m.

    This is a radical position advocated to appease the radical tea party that is moving to a separatist philosophy. This congressman should resign and wait for the new Republic of Utah, Arizona and Texas to be formed.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    May 19, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    Wow -- I just know where to begin.

    Our U.S. Congressman is advocating the armed confrontation of criminals?

    If Cliven Bundy was INNOCENT, I might listen,
    But the guy is breaking the law and evading taxes.

    If anyone else didn’t pay taxes, we could – we SHOULED expect going to jail.
    At yet, here is a sitting U.S. Congressman sticking up for criminal – amazing.

    BTW – I supposed the BLM wouldn’t need to justify that SWAT team, or armed service men IF they didn’t keep running into the armed criminals like Cliven Bundy’s in this Country.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    May 19, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    This thread is the quintessential example of the devolution of republican political thought over the past 30 years. The paranoia would be funny if it weren't so scary and the downright nastiness is embarrassing.

    This left wing administration is wielding unprecedented power. Really? Think about it. What modern administration has come in and said...ahhh I think we should get rid of this federal power, and this federal program, and oh yea let's get rid of this surveillance tool.

    Every administration has unprecedented power. That's why it's so easy to point back to Bush, and why it's so disingenuous for the right to scream unprecedented.

    However, private militias, stockpiling of weapons, accusations of personal involvement in murders. That's all just embarrassing.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2014 11:02 p.m.

    @JCS
    The only group the IRS denied tax exempt status to was a liberal one. Reports indicate they used words like "progressive" in their filters too and had extensive reviews of liberal groups as well. Why didn't you hear about that? Well, that's not convenient to mention for your news sources I take it. Issa's report about investigating right-wing groups, the reason why it doesn't include their actions against liberal groups is because the report demanded only the information about right-wing groups. Useful I suppose for a chairman of an oversight committee that has no sense of duty and is just looking for made up scandals when the real scandal is sitting right there... pretty much none of these groups, left or right, should be getting tax exempt status. The law says these groups have to "exclusively" be working for social benefit, and it has been interpreted for 50 years as "primarily". These political action committees meet neither of those definitions and yet they have tax exempt status anyway. .

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2014 9:12 p.m.

    Re: Star Bright "I appreciate Chris Stewart for trying to stop this scary army that's being put together by every department. A million bullets? " Yes, and here come the black U N helicopters. Been there done that.

    Seriously, power is always a threat to individual liberty. But power comes from all directions. It also comes from powerful corporate interests who are creating global conglomerates which dictate to the laboring masses. We have to figure these things out, but we won't succeed by just look at pieces of the puzzle.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 18, 2014 6:49 p.m.

    "Have you thought that it just might be because of how the current administration is using and abusing power to control every aspect of your life, to control and silence opposition, to grow and increase its own power at a a rate never before seen?"

    Are you talking about Obama or republicans?

    Look at how repubs want to control women, minorities, education, health care, economy (via bailouts, big oil subsidies, and tax cuts for the rich), foreign countries, and our politics? Remember, the 5 justices who ruled that bribery is free speech weren't liberal, but conservatives!

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    May 18, 2014 6:47 p.m.

    "It all stated under Bush!" Gee everything did! Yes, the Patriot Act, that a lot of people railed against including Republicans/Conservatives.
    But this has been taken to a new high. How would you like to run against a dem now that the nsa has all the information on us including taxes and health reports and apparently feeds it to the dem administration?
    Remember reid? Yep he said he had someone call him about Romney's tax return? I know they were trying to goad Romney into releasing all his tax returns so they could laugh and make sure everyone knew how much he made and how much he donated to his Church. Reid knew he paid taxes on it. He's been audited for years.
    I appreciate Chris Stewart for trying to stop this scary army that's being put together by every department. A million bullets? Why? Especially since our military has come up short on them.
    BTW, I don't think Chris said anything about Bundy except how it escalated.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    May 18, 2014 6:36 p.m.

    So Called "Informed voter"

    I merely commented on the fact that this particular Congressman found a bogeyman in the current administration, as do many of his fellow government haters.

    I freely admit that this administration has continued some really awful policies that started under a Bush or a Reagan, and maybe even Clinton.

    However, all I have ever heard from most conservatives is the sound of crickets when confronted with proof of the misdeeds of past Republican actions. Remember Reagan permitting the sale of drugs so he could give someone some arms? What about Bush's initiation of the super surveillance programs? All bad stuff, but still cricket sounds over this and other incidents of mis-government and violation of our civil rights.

  • Jazzsmack Holladay, UT
    May 18, 2014 5:30 p.m.

    @DanO

    Have you thought that it just might be because of how the current administration is using and abusing power to control every aspect of your life, to control and silence opposition, to grow and increase its own power at a a rate never before seen?

  • Martin Blank Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2014 3:10 p.m.

    I'd be a lot more accepting of this argument if it didn't come from a certain Air Force Major Chris Stewart (ret'd.). His belief is that many if not most of these security duties would be best left to local law enforcement. Are you saying, then, Congressman, that you'd replace the Air Force Security Services that protect Hill AFB with Davis County deputies? And when (not if) a local sheriff decides that a particular federal law he's asked to enforce isn't "legal," then what? Call out the National Guard to remove Governor Wallace from the schoolroom door?

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    May 18, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    “ ... If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that abhorrence, anger, pride, and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice, and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little - even at the risk of being heroes...” [Thomas More, “A Man for All Seasons]. Henry VIII’s society sounds like our society today. It's not just the government.; it is big business, small business, education, drug dealers, gangs, gays, gay haters, racists, religious hypocrites, the health industry, insurance companies, etc., etc., etc. Selfishness, greed, dishonesty, carnality, pride, power, laziness, etc. permeate our society and no set of laws or law enforcers can change that; only a change of heart and I doubt that will happen. I fear that our society is going to implode because decent people can’t carry the heavy weight of ‘winked at” corruption.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2014 2:51 p.m.

    RE: John Charity Spring "The irrefutable fact is that the public cannot trust the current left-wing administration because the current left-wing administration has proven that it is untrustworthy."

    Mr. Spring, you should watch the 2 part "United States of Surveillance" PBS Frontline. This surveillance started under Bush (left wing?). These are tough issues. Their history is complex. Watch the Frontline piece.

  • Utah Skeptic Salt Lake, UT
    May 18, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    Congressman Stewart,

    The "California father" that you want us to empathize with was later convicted and sentenced (along with his wife) for identity theft and fraud in excess of $285,000. In fact, many of the news agencies (including the Washington Post) that originally reported the "student loan collection" angle, issued retractions.

    Can you provide us with another example from your list of "countless others" that hasn't been debunked?

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    We have paid taxes to run our government and are then met with incidences of gross waste too numerous to list, negligence (Benghazi, IRS, VA hospitals, Fast and Furious, NSA, but to mention a few) and the unhinging of reason due to partisan blindness (blaming everything on Republicans or Democrats). We expect value and accountability from a government that takes much of our wages. It is a fair expectation that has not been met.

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    May 18, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    So the fallacy of this article and most of the arguments in the comments is the belief the current administration is to blame for all these issues. Somehow this country magically started on Jan 20, 2009. These policies that Stewart decry have been in place for a long time now. Many were enacted under Republican administrations. But now, all of a sudden people have issues with them.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    May 18, 2014 12:56 p.m.

    Just how, then, do you propose to enforce Federal laws if there are no enforcement capabilities, Rep. Stewart? Unpasteurized milk can kill people. It's illegal to transport it without certification. Should the FDA simply stand by and say tsk tsk, please don't? Should an FDA official show up at the crook's door and plead with him not to do this terrible thing? Then wait while the crook shoots him down? Again, how do you propose to enforce the laws of Congress, Congressman?

  • Tumbleweed Centerville, UT
    May 18, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    Thank Goodness for courageous men like Chris Stewart, Jason Chaffetz and Mike Lee who are not afraid to shake things up in Washington.

  • Tumbleweed Centerville, UT
    May 18, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    Some civil liberties lawyers estimate that the average adult US citizen commits some obscure federal felony every single day because of the number of laws Congress has passed. These include postal laws, securities laws, tax laws, gun laws, on and on. If this is true, all the federal government needs to do to eliminate opposition is to assign a federal agent (or the NSA) to tail or monitor the rabble rouser for a short period of time, charge him or her with the obscure crime, conduct forfeiture proceedings to confiscate his or her assets, what assets are not confiscated need to be sold cheap to afford defense attorneys, and in the end, imprison the person. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and co-star of the show Shark Tank talked about how the feds targeted him for some federal offense he didn't commit, offered him a plea bargain if he would admit guilt. Fortunately, he had the money to fight to clear his name. 8 million dollars in attorney fees later he was found not guilty. How many Americans have that kind of money to fight a federal indictment. Wake up folks!

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    May 18, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    The author uses great license when he invokes "America" and, as I interpret it, implies a collective "we". If anything, there is greater trust issue among citizens and the dysfunctionality now on display in Washington is merely mirroring "Americans" if we truly have a representative democracy. If this is not so, the system is corrupted. If so, the elementary school who, what, when, where, why and how research needs to be performed. But maybe we need to separate true Americans from posers (a "who" question). Please, Chris ... do enlighten us!

  • BYR West Bountiful, UT
    May 18, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    Our gov't is broken and cannot be fixed. It is too late. The oligarchy rules. When the cow has been milked entirely, we will move on, but not until then.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 18, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    Anyone else find it ironic that a sleazy tea party Congressmen who collected his paycheck when he helped to shut down the government (while millions suffered) is talking about the public's distrust of the government?

    Maybe Mr. Stewart should look at himself?
    Maybe people distrust the government because of Mr. Stewart's actions?
    Maybe people actually trust the government but distrust sleaze balls like Mr. Stewart?

    I love it when folks like Mr. Stewart talk about the distrust of the government... So what are you doing to fix that Mr. Stewart? Or when he talks about hating the government... So if you hate it so much, why are you a part of it?

    It appears that Mr. Stewart doesn't have any solutions. All he wants to do is play political games of trying to convince the public to "hate Washington" but love "your Congressmen." Even though, it's sleazy Swallow-like Congressmen who are bought off and beholden to special interest which causes the public's distrust of its elected officials.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    May 18, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    The heart of the problem is that the federal government no longer trusts the American people. When all of us feel that we are no longer seen as citizens but as potential suspects — a relationship of trust is impossible."

    Our government leaders treat Iran's crazies better than they treat our own citizens, especially our veterans.

    Yes, move all those enforcement agency funds to our military, the real defense of our country, and to the veterans administration, after you have house-cleaned the corruption in it. But then we can't count on this administration to out corruption anywhere in the government, not the NSA, not the IRS, not the VA, not anywhere.

    Yeah, we can't trust them at all.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    May 18, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    People trust those who see things like they do.

    Many in Utah don't trust Washington. A lot of others in Utah don't trust the Utah Legislature. There is some overlap in these groups, but not a lot.

    Representative Stewart seems to be saying here that it's OK to disregard federal laws you don't like, and if you owe 20 years in fees to the US, that's OK, there should never be any enforcement.

    I would trust Representative Stewart a little more if he agreed that Cliven Bundy needs to be held to account for owing the citizens of the US over a $1 Million, and that Cliven's son needs to be held to account for illegally entering areas that have been closed, on land owned by all Americans.

    If Stewart can't agree on these two points, he is to be trusted less than he is now.

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    May 18, 2014 9:31 a.m.

    Stevo123 & Ordinary Folks illustrate the larger problem in America. They ignore the reality that government agencies are abusing their power and have no business having paramilitary/SWAT enforcers. Rather, Stevo & Ordinary People take the position that this is about something else, I.e., Bush or Bundy's action. Do they not know that the federal agencies have stockpiled hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition and purchased armored vehicles. And at the risk of being accused as hating Obama, have they forgotten that he called for an armed civilian force funded as much as the military and as well organized? An uniformed or uncaring electorate ready to justify and accept federal policies over ruling personal liberties and armed agencies bullying citizens is a greater danger to Americans than the act of an individual such as Bundy.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    May 18, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    "...The simple reality is that Americans will never trust Washington...who can trust a government that believes it is OK to lie to you, spy on you, target you and then arm its agencies against you?...".

    Exactly.

    "...The heart of the problem is that the federal government no longer trusts the American people....we are no longer seen as citizens but as potential suspects...".

    Ok.

    BTW...

    A complete failure to protect America while Republicans controlled the government (9-11) have anything to do with this breach of trust?

    Two wars started on Republican talking points have anything to do with this breach of trust?

    Medicare Part D shoved down the throats of Americans by a Republican controlled government have anything to do with this breach of trust?

    Republican policies shoved down the throats of Americans leading up to an economic meltdown have anything to do with this breach of trust?

    A Republican controlled SCOTUS have anything to do with this breach of trust?

    Until Republican Kingmakers and the Republican Political Machine address these realities...

    Americans will never trust Republicans again.

  • evansrichdm west jordan , UT
    May 18, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    Amen

    This country has changed so much just in the past few years and not for the better. One example is that gay have come out of the closet, which I am fine with, but it seems christians have been shoved into that closet now and if you speak your mind on gay getting married you are deemed a racist and can lose your job and be pretty much an outcast. People now fear that if they speak out against the President the IRS will be coming through the door. What happened to people speaking their mind and not worrying about the government coming down on them? Serving in the military I would like to beleive I defend peoples right to the 1st Amendment and it is looking more and more like people do not have those rigths any more.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    May 18, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    The irrefutable fact is that the public cannot trust the current left-wing administration because the current left-wing administration has proven that it is untrustworthy.

    The left has misled the public about Benghazi and the IRS's role in silencing conservative organizations, to name just two examples. Then, when caught, the left seeks to obfuscate and hide what has really happened.

    Thomas F. Meagher once said that "sunlight is the best disinfectant." This is what is required for trust: open and transparent dealing by the government.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    May 18, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    The people the author talks about have broken the law. Transporting illegal milk across state lines surely breaks all kinds of laws. Say what you will about the benefits of un-pasturized milk, it's still illegal. Like pot. As for federal snipers for the rancher, the well-armed response of Mr. Bundy and his supporters justifies the belt and suspenders approach.

    Yes, Americans do distrust their government. Both parties. The reason lies behind the heavy corruption caused by unlimited spending by the uber wealthy and large corporations. Free speech is for sale, as is the freedoms our founding fathers fought for. The wealthy new royals in America don't pay their fair share, they take and keep more than they need, and they put their money offshore, export jobs and they don't shed their blood for our country. No, they let the poor do that ... in defense of their financial interests.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    May 18, 2014 7:23 a.m.

    How is it possible to reconcile this dilemma of trust between our government and the general public when the extreme elements of the general public are the ones making the agenda?

    Mr Bundy in Nevada seemed to generate more support for his rebellion against paying his legitimately owed fees to the American public than did the efforts of the government to enforce a legitimate law? Was it legitimate to jail the polygamist who terrorized the RLDS communities and forced children to marry old codgers? Climate change deniers lack any semblance of credibility, yet it is dogma of one our political parties. These extremes and others are manipulated for the public sympathies by so-called conservative commentators to garner sympathies for their bizarre thinking.

    I know that this piece would never have been written by this author if G W Bush was in office. I know that conservative voices would not constantly harangue and delegitimize the current President (show me the Birth Certificate!!!). This is just another attempt to tear apart the fabric of our democracy for political gain.

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    May 18, 2014 6:55 a.m.

    Representative Stewart, I would like to ask you one question. Do you support Clive Bundy and his very well armed followers? A simple yes or no will suffice.

  • theSkeptic CLEARFIELD, UT
    May 18, 2014 6:16 a.m.

    I think it's great you want to defund the policing units, but the legislatures need to go a step further and forbid them to exist, immediately. Also, any abuse needs to be punished swiftly to the actors and to those in charge. Not investigate, eliminate.

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    May 18, 2014 1:54 a.m.

    Wow...a bit startling to learn the extent to which our current administration is arming the "non-military" departments of the federal government. Thank you Congressman for bringing this to our attention! With the proliferation of laws at both the federal and state level, we are rapidly approaching the point where the federal government can justify interrogating, detaining and arresting just about anyone. While that would not be alarming were we to trust the government to not cross the line, as Rep. Stewart points out, most of us do not trust the government to respect our rights. Not a good situation, to be sure.

  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    May 18, 2014 1:02 a.m.

    "When all of us feel that we are no longer seen as citizens but as potential suspects — a relationship of trust is impossible."

    Have to agree, all levels of government are quickly becoming the all-controlling overlords predicted in so many dystopian novels. Overlords where laws and powers are continually expanded to control every aspect of life.

    Don't you dare step of out lines you don't even know about!

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    May 18, 2014 1:02 a.m.

    Hear... hear... vote for that guy.