16 October 2013

Did Occupy Wall Street Protestors Receive Preferential Treatment Over Military Veterans?

UPDATE: From National Review's Morning Jolt email blast:
"On the very first day of the closure, I implemented a closure order for all 401 national parks in compliance with the Anti-Deficiency Act," Jarvis replied. "And immediately, that day, also included, as a part of that order, that First Amendment activities would be permitted on the National Mall." …
Jarvis then claimed that the veterans would have been permitted to enter the war memorials if they "declared" they were exercising their First Amendment rights.
"Who were they to declare it to? A barricade?" Gowdy responded sarcastically. "Mr. Chairman, I want the record to reflect that no statute or code of the federal regulation was cited to justify the erection of barricades."
ADDENDUM: Ah, the perfect ending to the government shutdown: "In a bizarre end to the House vote to reopen the federal government late Wednesday night, a stenographer was escorted off the House floor after yelling into a microphone about God, Freemasons and a divided government, aides and members said."
Just think, of all the people who work for the U.S. government, she avoided furlough!
End of Update.
Congressman Trey Gowdy asks National Park Service Director Jarvis why Occupy Wall Street protestors received "discretionary" preferential treatment over military veterans:

So, what do you think - was Gowdy too tough on Jarvis or was he simply representing his constituency, asking questions others have asked (and no one has answered) and performing legitimate oversight duties? 

Gowdy is definitely a "good" prosecutor and good at making witnesses squirm. So was he just "grandstanding" or pursuing a legitimate line of questioning? I actually don't have a lot of "love" for prosecutors. That comes from working as a Virginia magistrate for 12 years. The meat grinder that is our judicial system doesn't always serve up justice. Prosecutors are sometimes more interested in notches on their belt than they are in getting to the truth, causing them to be over-zealous and ruining the lives of the innocent. I've seen it up close.

That being acknowledged, I don't believe Gowdy is "vilifying" NPS park rangers and lower level employees here. He's questioning the person who is responsible (at least as far as the NPS goes) for the directives and telling those employees what to do - which is exactly what he should be doing. So I have mixed feelings about this. But someone needs to provide answers and not generalizations, which is all that I've seen offered thus far; other than some touchy-feely videos which don't answer or explain some of the more outrageous things we've heard of in recent days.

Regardless, accusing those who have legitimate questions and concerns over the things we've seen transpire over the last few weeks involving the NPS of something nefarious isn't helpful - or honest. As I've stated before, the NPS is not sacred and they are answerable to American citizens and taxpayers.

From Gowdy's website:
For 6 years as a federal prosecutor, Trey prosecuted the full range of federal crimes including narcotics trafficking rings, bank robberies, child pornography cases, and the murder of a federal witness. He was awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for the successful prosecution of J. Mark Allen, one of “America’s Most Wanted” suspects. He also received the highest performance rating a federal prosecutor can receive – two years in a row. 

As 7th Circuit Solicitor, Trey led an office of 25 attorneys and 65 total employees. During his tenure, he started a Violence Against Women Task Force and a Worthless Check Program, enhanced and expanded Drug Court, and implemented a Drug Mother Protocol designed to assist expectant mothers break the cycle of addiction. 

He has been recognized statewide for his commitment to victim’s rights and drunken driving enforcement and nationally for excellence in death penalty prosecutions. 
And just for general information, this isn't the first time the NPS has been accused of politicization. All the drama being offered by some bloggers is a bit much and comes off as an attempt to distract from legitimate concerns and accusations which have come from diverse sources - not just "right-wing media."

The last Bush administration also faced charges of politicizing the NPS and furthermore, a university press published a book highly critical of the NPS back in 1991. So does this mean that the author and the University of Arizona Press is guilty of "vilifying" the NPS? No, not any more so than are the critics of the NPS today. 


Ralph Steel said...

Sounds like a playground bully to me.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Doing his job - nothing unique about his demeanor if you've ever watched other similar congressional hearings. What little I saw here, Jarvis's answers came off as unconvincing to me.

What about his giving the OWS folks a pass - no problem with that?