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I know, I know…since the dawn of the Obama Era, irony has become as ubiquitous as the sunrise, and through its cumulative effect, toxic to the Republic, which I’m sure is all part of the plan.  Nonetheless, after a week like this one, I can only conclude that our self-appointed betters and “thought leaders (now there’s an irony for you)” have decided that they have succeeded in creating a climate of apathy and ignorance so strong that no statement, and no circumstance is too outrageous to tumble from their lips.  The sad thing is, I think that they might be right, as this week seems to prove…

First on this week is the “Reverend” Al Sharpton.  Yes, the “drug informant” Al Sharpton, who brought us this spectacularly polished turd:

“I think that the message is, no matter what the world may do to unfairly, no matter how your crucified, nailed to the cross at home, or in your personal relationships, or on the job that you can rise if you don’t lose yourself during the hard times and the challenges.["]

Put aside the garbage where he’s trying to link the meaning of Easter to Barack Obama.

This is really, really bad theology.  Easter is about sin, a price that mankind would never be able to pay for redemption, and the willing sacrifice of God’s son to pay that price for ALL OF US, and to conquer death.  That doesn’t happen without Christ, no matter how much those who worship government try to convince us that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  An awful lot of rhetorical sulphur he’s preaching.  I think he might want to study up on what the book says about that kind of behavior.

Next up are the usual suspects with regard to Chelsea Clinton’s announcement  at the “Girls No Ceilings Conversation” event in New York City:

“One more thing to say very quickly,” the 34-year-old addressed the crowd. “Mark and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year. I certainly feel all the better whether it’s a girl or a boy that they’ll grow up in a world with so many strong female leaders…”

Now, given the positive reaction from the crowd, one can only assume that they believe that she will be going to a store and purchasing a baby when she thinks that the time is right, because otherwise, she would be referring to a lump of cells that she has a sacrosanct right to terminate at anytime because it isn’t a “child” or “baby”…at least that’s what wymyn’s groups and blood money grubbers like Planned Parenthood keep telling us.

Hillary couldn’t help but to also chime in:

“I’m expecting a grand child which I’m very excited about. We’re very excited about what’s happening in our family but we’re also very excited about what we’re doing.”

Congratulations, kid.  Grams needs a political prop, so you get to be born!

And our final entry on this week’s hit parade.  Fresh off of questions regarding his son’s motivations for wanting the land that Clive Bundy ranches on in Nevada, and scrutiny of the connections between himself and the head of the Bureau of Land Management (and after previously being in the news for diverting campaign funds to his grand-daughter), Harry had this to say about the Federal Government’s aborted attempt to “shock and awe” the prickly rancher in to submission to his Federal betters:

 “Well, it’s not over. We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over,” Reid said.

Given Harry’s misappropriation of campaign money and his apparent intimate knowledge of private citizen’s Federal tax returns, such as Mitt Romney, the Koch Brothers, and Clive Bundy, I guess that means that we’ll soon be treated to the sight of Harry “I-Never-Met-A-Budget-I’d-Pass” Reid being marched out of the Senate in handcuffs.

Yeah, I know.  The law is only for little people, and those who happen to not be Democrats.   Yea for “fundamental change”.

 

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For a while now, some conservative pundits and individuals have portrayed our current political predicament as being akin to the “zombie apocalypse”.  It is an easy comparison to make, and it isn’t even a new one, as demonstrated by our friend, Packy East, in this clip:

But ask I drove to work this morning, listing to a discussion about the ridiculous and costly nature of public sector unions, and how government, led by the EPA, was standing in the way of what should be a very simple infrastructure improvement that would allow American businesses to remain competitive moving forward into the 21st Century, and this story about the Bureau of Land Management harassing a rancher in southern Nevada, I realized that the zombie analogy wasn’t entirely accurate.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think the zombies are still out there, shuffling along, and multiplying quickly, but I realized this morning that there is a better analogy of the relationship between our government and its citizens:

facehugger

I trust no further explanation is necessary.

Those who are paying attention will get it.

Those accustomed to stupid government tricks will get it.

The zombies will engage in ad hominems to prevent others from getting it.

The grievance pimps will take to their fainting couches with wicked, crippling cases of the vapors.

And it will still be true.

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An expectation of accountability is RACIST.

An expectation of responsibility is RACIST.

Opposition to the policies and ideals of a “person of color” is RACIST.

None of these things is true, and yet each of them is the reality of discourse today.

We are surrounded by shrinking violets, who have successfully peddled the idea that saying the wrong thing makes the speaker “Worse than HITLER!”.  These delicate flowers pretend that they have elevated discourse by creating a de facto right not be offended, when in actuality, they have simply created a means to shut down any discourse they don’t like by invoking the horror of being offended.  Like suckers, the rest of us play along, even in the face of the fact that this “right” is only available to some people, and to those who decide that it is necessary to be offended on behalf of members of these select groups.  You can find this practice applied to virtually anything, but no where is this standard most glaringly hypocritical than the dreaded “N-WORD”.

I make my living with words.  I am acutely aware of why speech matters, and why fettering what was meant to be UNfettered is a bad idea.  Because of this, I feel like an ass even saying “the N-Word”.  It’s stupid.  It could be lifted from the pages of Harry Potter, and the fear that caused so many to refer to the Villain as “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.”  And the irony of how the “offense” of the word, and how it causes the word to not be said actually infuses the word with even MORE power in the event the wrong person should say it isn’t lost on me.

I don’t like what society’s almost reverent circumvention of this word says about us.  While it’s sure to cause fainting spells, an epidemic of the vapors, and, in some quarters, OUTRAGE!!!111!!!Eleventy!! of the finest water, I find the general deference and genuflection to be paternalistic, and condescending to those that these linguistic gymnastics are supposed to “protect”.  And on the other hand, I find those who are quickest to express their OUTRAGE!!!11!! do so not out of and deep and abiding wound to their very existence, but because it gives them power.

And so I have been watching the discussions this week regarding the NFL’s proposal to punish the utterance of “the N-Word” with a penalty and a loss of yardage with some amusement.  After all, everyone knows that the problem isn’t because the word is uttered by evil white racists, but because black players toss it around with impunity.  So when communications major and Seattle Cornerback Richard Sherman spoke his mind on the proposal, I paid it some attention.

“It’s an atrocious idea,” Sherman, theSeattle Seahawks‘ star cornerback, told the website. “It’s almost racist to me. It’s weird they’re targeting one specific word. Why wouldn’t all curse words be banned then?”

Now I’m just spitballing here, but I think it’s a safe bet that Sherm would be bristling with objections if a white player said it, which means that I have to ask, “Why is it racist if HE can’t say it?”  Seriously.   Language belongs to everyone, or it belongs to no one.  And if we accept the premise that the wrong person uttering a specific word is an unforgivable sin that justifies outrage, the end of the speaker’s career, and the expectation of a public penance that must be done regardless of the fact that the offender will ALWAYS be remembered for it, while at the same time those who are “injured” by it are unharmed by their own reckless abandon in using this same dreaded word with each other, then we are selling ourselves short.

The reaction to THIS word, more than any other, causes an almost reflexive response in people, and I think this has contributed more to the concept of Political Correctness than any other thing that a person can say.  Once gasps and winces (or sputtering indignance)  became the expected reaction to this word, it threw the door open to every other abuse perpetrated with the underlying intent of stifling or preventing discourse.

I know this goes against the conventional wisdom, which says that we make a more civil society by making this word taboo for some, and that it should be aggressively enforced, to the degree that those who can’t say it MUST condemn others who can’t say it, but do, but this approach PERPETUATES racism.  It makes it ok for white people to assume that black people cannot deal with hearing a WORD.  Spare me the drama about all the “baggage” and “connotations” that come with it.  I’m not buying it.  If you let a WORD hold you back, if you let a WORD define you, and your potential and your worth, then it is YOU who is empowering the one who speaks it.  It is YOU who is giving your consent to have your dignity taken from you.  But the fact is, in America today, it allows the recipient a tremendous degree of power as well.  If you can’t defend your positions, invoke racism.  If someone expresses a view you don’t like, invoke racism.  If someone opposes what you have to say, invoke racism.  If you want to deflect attention from something, invoke racism.

As long as we persist in this madness, the “honest conversation” that Eric Holder chided us about simply isn’t possible…but then, he knew that.

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I saw a post today on Facebook talking about how wrong it is that the Presstitute Corpse was all over the story about a top Chris Christie aid and a childhood friend of his colluding to snarl up traffic for the city of Fort Lee, New Jersey getting on the George Washington Bridge. [Apparently, they decided to "punish" the mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat, for refusing to endorse Christie in his campaign for governor, so multiple lanes leading to the bridge were shut down for a "traffic study".]  Basically, this post took the position that the same media that was fairly disinterested in the IRS being used to target the Administration’s critics, and really cannot be persuaded to dig very hard into Benghazi shouldn’t be making a big deal about this abuse of power, because it shows that Christie can be a badass.

It’s right and it’s wrong.

First, the attitude of the Presstitute Corpse with regard to the abuses of power and scandals of the Obama Administration is contemptible, and the logic is laid bare in this exchange between DNC Chair Debbie Wassermann-Schultz and CNN’s Don Lemon.  The sad truth is that both deserve a great deal of scrutiny and criticism.

I don’t want a Presidential Candidate (I wouldn’t have chosen Christie anyway) who establishes his “badass” creds by abusing power, or allowing those close to him to do so without his knowledge *winkwink*.  And it isn’t ok when one of “ours” does it, simply because it has become second nature to the Executive Branch in Washington DC.

Abuse of power is the worst abuse of the public trust because it takes something that exists for the benefit of citizens, and turns it against them.  And when it is used to specifically punish or deter the exercise of freedom of speech and freedom of association, it becomes particularly repugnant.  While we have an undercurrent in society today that finds retaliation against the exercise of these rights acceptable, especially if the retaliator was “offended”, this concept is anti-American, and belies a weakness in those finding such “offense”.  If your ideals are so delicate that you cannot adequately defend them, and instead must “punish” those who believe differently, you’re the one with a problem.  If you cannot convince those who believe differently than you to see it your way, and you believe that the appropriate response is to “punish” them, you’re the one with a problem.   And if you are so “offended” by a differing opinion that you must squelch it, you’re the one with a problem.

You want a candidate who is a badass?  Find one who isn’t afraid to be unapologetically conservative.  Find one who isn’t afraid to go to those places where conservatives “dare not walk”, and plainly and patiently explain why conservative principles, especially smaller government, create opportunity and an economic climate in which the limitations on people’s accomplishments and standard of living are up to them, and not simply reduced to what government let’s them have.  Find one who will not retreat, and will not compromise freedom…but most of all, find one who is a good enough leader that he or she will not be “surprised” by a close aid or staffer who believes it ok to use the offices of government to punish people who disagree with them.

If Christie knew about this, he isn’t worthy of the nation’s trust in Federal office.  If he didn’t know, then he isn’t ready to be trusted with this kind of authority.  But if the Presstitute Corpse believes that it is appropriate to turn this into the biggest scandal since Watergate when it couldn’t be bothered to turn the same scrutiny on the IRS, on Benghazi, on Solyndra and other “green energy” graft, they are committing malpractice, and need to be held to account, too.

 

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So I was just in the car and heard that a “Federal Study” on the Joplin tornado has concluded that stronger building codes and a better detection and early warning system could have saved lives.

Now back in the 80s when we heard stories on mohair subsidies, $500 hammers and toilet seats, and federal studies on katchup flow rates, the fact that the Feds were setting $100 bills on fire, stacks at a time, for “NO DUH!” moments like this was slightly amusing. But now that we have a debt approaching $20 TRILLION DOLLARS, there isn’t anything to smile about.

But even worse than that is the idea that this kind of thing should even be something the Feds are involved with. Any single process that can be performed by man can be made SAFER. The question is “At what point does the cost in doing so become prohibitive?”, and let’s face it. The same government that spent 3/4s of a Billion on a healthcare insurance portal website that doesn’t work nearly as well as ecommerce sites put together for a FRACTION of the taxpayer dollars pissed away on Healthcare.gov shouldn’t be the ones you trust to make that decision, even IF it had the authority to do so.

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Mr. President:

Up until now, I have decided against writing about your astonishing lies you told to the American people over and over and over again to sell your signature piece of legislation, ObamaCare, to the American people, because I numbered among the roughly 49% of Americans who KNEW you were lying when you told the lies, and despite how brazenly you presumed at authority you never had.

I was part of the 49% of Americans asking where you got the authority to make the unilateral changes to the implementation of this law when Congress had not been dissolved or disbanded, and therefore still held their constitutional legislative powers.

I was one of many people who listened to your recent apology/attempt to gaslight the entire nation about what we all heard you say to us over and over and over again about “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.  Period”, and like so many others, I was disturbed by the otherworldliness of it.

But upon watching this testimony today,

and reading the transcript of your remarks at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Meeting, especially this gem :

And it was that what was already going to be hard was operating within a very difficult political environment and we should have anticipated that that would create a rockier rollout than if Democrats and Republicans were both invested in success.

One of the problems we’ve had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure and — and that makes, I think, the — the kind of iterative process of fixing glitches as they come up and finetuning the law more challenging.

I let both sink in.

First, while your pathological avoidance of accepting any responsibility for anything that goes wrong on your watch, and the army of drones willing to sacrifice their own credibility to help maintain that fragile illusion will no doubt object to me saying it this way, YOUR ADMINISTRATION KNEW that despite having passed a law that requires people to purchase a product, and yet the portal YOUR ADMINISTRATION created to help people purchase those products was deliberately made live, despite the fact that there was absolutely no chance of it EVER being able to accept a payment, because NO payment or accounting system had been built into the software.  NONE.  Even by government standards of incompetency and failure, this is a monumental lowering of the bar.  Now I’m sure that if we were in a forum where you would actually HAVE to respond to me, you would tell me how you didn’t know, it never came up in the meetings, the dog ate your homework, but it would all avoid a salient and undeniable fact:

You ASKED us for the job Mr. President.

While I’m sure Harry S. Truman’s desk sign got lost somewhere, the fact is that the buck DOES stop with you, no matter how much you try to worm and weasel your way out of that reality.  It is your responsibility because you are the leader, and as such are tasked with the responsibility of making it work.  And even if this were not true, as the head of the entity doing (or in this case failing) at the work, there is the matter of not just what you knew, but what you should have known, a legal concept you would be familiar with if you ever actually had to do work as a lawyer.  If the people YOU put in charge of this weren’t informing you of just how woefully unprepared they were, then as the leader, that doesn’t speak well of your judgement.

However, based on your remarks today, especially the excerpt above, and your previous statements and yes, lies, I can just as easily assume that you DID know and either your ego wouldn’t allow you to admit that government’s ambitions have finally outstripped its competence, or that you are so delusional that you cannot contemplate the thought that opposition to this mammoth usurpation of personal sovereignty is actually against the interests of the people who you claim to be helping, and therefore, the opposition doesn’t HAVE to be invested in your failure.

While we’re on that subject, a great many of us are bone-weary of hearing nothing but excuses and blaming others from the person we hired to sit in the big chair after he campaigned for the job.  Frankly, I’m not sure how a group of CEOs, people who understand the demands and responsibilities of leadership, and the consequences of failure, could even stand to be in the same room with you today.  But since your attention has undoubtedly strayed to ways you can improve your short game, I’ll cut to the chase.

I’m not alone when I say I’m not interested in your half-hearted apologies when yours lies were finally so obvious even Helen Keller asked “REALLY???”.  And strapping the lukewarm apology to another lie when delivering it was an act of a man person unworthy to occupy the office of President.  We don’t want anymore apologies.  We don’t want any more excuses.  No more executive orders; no more imperial edicts further warping and disfiguring the law you made your top priority so that you and your associates can escape the consequences of it.

We want your resignation,  and the resignations of everyone you enlisted in this repulsive power grab.  We want you to go play on the beach in Hawaii, and eat your waffle, play even more golf (is such a thing possible?) and stop trying to continue to drive the car further into the ditch.  We don’t want you to pick up a mop, since your attempt at cleaning this mess up has only made the stain larger.  In fact, the biggest favor your could do this nation in retirement, aside from building houses with Jimmy Carter and keeping your wishcasting to yourself is to eschew any use of the honorific “Mr. President”  in your ignominious retirement, just to save the rest of us the embarrassment of having lived in a country dumb enough to elect you twice, despite your extraordinary lack of experience, and inability to perform any of the tasks of the job we gave you.

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A friend of mine posted a link to an article this morning he prefaced with the question “Is sacrificing your religious liberty the price of market participation?”  The article, by Benjamin Wiker, entitled “The Religious-Liberty Quagmire to Come” discusses a recent Slate article sympathetic with the current HHS mandate overreach in which government attempts to abrogate the rights of people to exercise their religious liberty with their property, specifically duly chartered legal business entities.

The article’s author opposes the viewpoints expressed in the Slate article, by author Dalia Lithwick.  I oppose them also, but on grounds originating not just in my studies, but also by practical experience and logic.

The first point raised is this:

Lithwick argues, first of all, that corporations are distinct entities from individuals.

This is true in a literal sense.  Corporations have a legal identity that are separate from their owners in the same way that I have a legal identity that is separate from my oldest son.  You’ll note that I did not use my wife in that example.  It was not an accident.  While she is indeed an entity that is distinct from myself, we happen to live in a community property state, so we “enjoy” the dual status of having distinct legal identities, while legally being considered as having the same legal identity for legal, and more to the point, commercial, purposes.  This reality is imposed upon us by the state, which applies this status based upon an action we took based on a shared religious conviction, and retain based upon that same shared religious conviction.  We are each “owners” of that resultant fictional legal entity known as a “marital community”, which, at least in our case, exists and acts in both personal and commercial transactions in ways that express or are the result of our individual religious beliefs.

While individuals can have religious beliefs, corporations can’t. Once you establish a corporation, it is automatically a secular corporation.

This is what we called in law school a “false starting premise”.  The reason is simple.  The state’s blessing to act as a corporate entity does not automatically confer a “secular” (like the author of the piece, I also object to the common use of the word “secular”, and for the same reasons, however, for the purpose of this essay, I will use it in the context of the incorrectly presumed “neutrality” in which it is often used) status on the resulting entity.  The reason for this is simple.  State enabling statutes almost always permit corporations and limited liability companies to be established “for any lawful purpose”, which by its nature would include the conducting of any lawful business in a manner consistent with the religious faith of the owners of the entity in question.  In fact, thanks to the First Amendment, and its extension to the individual states, the states would be legally prohibited from restricting individuals from forming entities for such purposes.

The other obvious weakness in this rather remarkable assertion from Ms. Lithwick would be the fact that churches often incorporate as non-profit corporations in order to apply for Section 501(c)(3) status so that donations, gifts, and tithes maybe tax deductible to the donor. (Contrary to popular opinion, churches do not have to apply for this status to be tax-free.  They are already tax-free, as they should be, as a result of the First Amendment.)

Wiker states that Lithwick’s assertion is rooted in the decision in the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. decision.  The corporation is owned by a Mennonite Family which employs 950 people.  The family opposes the HHS mandates regarding abortion on religious grounds.  The Federal Judge hearing the case concluded:

“We simply cannot understand how a for-profit, secular corporation — apart from its owners — can exercise religion,” circuit Judge Robert Cowen wrote. “A holding to the contrary … would eviscerate the fundamental principle that a corporation is a legally distinct entity from its owners.”

Aside from the naked and unsupported (and unsupportable) conclusion that a corporation is secular, there are a few other weaknesses.  State law would rightfully permit me to draft and file for a client Articles of Incorporation or a Certificate of Formation establishing that the entity is “being formed for the express purpose of selling ice cream, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, and any other lawful purpose,”, and there is nothing that the state or the Federal government could Constitutionally do to prevent me from doing so. Being a distinct legal entity doesn’t mean that a corporation cannot express or conduct itself based upon a specific political or religious viewpoint.  And while there are instances in which government may lawfully restrict what an owner does with its private property in certain balancing of the equities situations, at this time, I can think of none which directly conflict with the right of conscience.

The assertion of an automatic secular nature of corporations based on a theory of complete segregation between a legal entity and those that own them faces other philosophical and logical difficulties aside from being an assumption of a fact not in evidence.  First among them is the fact that one of the pillars the good Judge rests his opinion on is the notion that that an individual can exercise religious freedom, but a corporation cannot.  This point ignores the fact that corporations ARE allowed to exercise other First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech, and Freedom of Association, which is the main principle underlying the freedom to enter into contracts with people of your choosing, or the freedom to hire people who you think make a good fit with your corporation, and will make a good employee.  Recognizing this, there is no logical or legal basis to presume that these freedoms can be exercised by a corporation or an LLC, but that those same entities can or should be barred from exercising religious freedom to act in a manner consistent with the religious beliefs of its owner.

The second weakness with this assertion is the fact that the income from many of these “separate, distinct legal entities” is reported not on a separate tax form for that entity, but on the personal tax forms for those who own those entities, which would hardly make sense if these were indeed separate and distinct from their owners.

The third weakness of this viewpoint is that our economy would be in much worse shape without corporations and LLCs because they make it possible for more people to provide goods and services at prices and in quantities that the risk that they would necessarily have to bear individually would either make prohibitively expensive, or practically impossible to provide.  While the very word “corporation” often evokes the image of boardrooms filled with grey suits making decisions that impact the livelihood of hundreds or thousands, or more, the fact is that the majority of corporations are closely-held businesses, where the ownership consists of a individuals, or small numbers of people, often members of the same family, or of one or two families. And in some instances, this is also true of those large corporations that I previously spoke of.  Ford is one example that comes to mind.  However, even if it wasn’t for the fact that a majority of these entities are small, closely held corporations or LLCs that permit individuals to offer products or services because of the risk management that the law permits through the use of these entities, there is also the fact that the law DOES allow certain individuals who offer goods and services through corporations and LLCs to refuse to offer those goods and services based on the individual owner’s right of conscience and/or religious beliefs, among other factors.  Doctors, who can refuse to perform abortions, and attorneys, who can refuse representation based on any factor at all, are two that come to mind.  While competence or having the requisite skill are among the reasons for these rights of refusal, they are not the ONLY ones.  And while it might be tempting to say that the personal nature of services rendered by these professions support such an exemption, the fact is that for nearly all closely-held business entities, the nature of what those individuals do is personal.  For such individuals, their business is at the forefront of their thinking.  It is the first thing they think of in the morning, it is what they contemplate as they drift off to sleep at night.  Their businesses ARE an expression of who they are, and  that “separate legal entity” invariably becomes associated with the individuals who own them.  The manner in which they conduct their business often expresses an opinion or a philosophy held dear to the owner of that business.  It is not reasonable or logical to suggest or expect that these individuals segregate their religious and spiritual identity and activity from the profession or career that they otherwise breathe and eat; to do so would be a denial of the very essence of the person that the law and society would find morally objectionable and repugnant if any other belief or activity was being discussed instead of the free exercise of religion. This is no less true for a baker of wedding cakes, or a photographer than it is for a doctor or a lawyer who has incorporated so they can ply their trade without risking the loss of everything they own and have worked for to one lawsuit.

Another logical weakness in this assertion is that many of these entities often are operated day-to-day in accordance with various codes of ethics voluntarily committed to by the owners and employees of the corporations and LLCs.  For an entity to be, even indirectly, conducted according to such a code of ethics, but presumably not capable of exercising a religious point of view is facially absurd.

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I’d like to think that things will get better, but the current prevailing prejudice against religion in some of the most litigious groups in our society leads me to believe that we’re in for a lengthy fight to preserve our first liberties.  Especially if examples such as the New Mexico photographer, and the pink swastika philosophy that seeks to punish those who do not wish to participate in their activities, regardless of whether not it makes any logical sense to compel those who object with their beliefs to provide a personal service or product is any indication.  But then, with a federal government that is engaging in similar unconstitutional behavior as a guide, there really is no reason to be surprised at the bold entitlement demonstrated in this strategy, which is why legal interest groups such as the ADF are going to become increasingly important and need our help in the coming years.

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In the wake of the Republican Party’s ambivalence and contempt for conservative, small-government ideals, and a complete unwillingness to fight any of the battles that matter, I’m thinking it is time for a new political party, founded upon the ideals of a small and limited government, and a ruthless disdain for all things “progressive”, including the ubiquitous but erroneous belief that the individual is simply not competent to determine how to spend their money, their time, and their labor, because they will invariably make the “wrong” decisions, and that government can, and should better decide for you how to spend these possessions of ours, along with the belief that government has a duty to protect you from the consequences of your decisions, even if it must first enslave you to do it.

Power based on the spending of a shrinking pool of other people’s money is a zero sum game, and for far too long, government has been expanding into areas and spheres of influence in which it has not traditionally had ANY authority, while treating small business as a cash register till to be dipped into whenever it wants more money to fund welfare masquerading as “charity” and setting its sights on the wallets of individual taxpayers, using compulsion and decrying any protest as a “lack of generosity” because we’re sick of letting government “be generous” with our money, preventing us from doing so in a way that would require accountability from the recipients.

Government is broke, and regardless of the extraordinary proposition propounded by Congressman Keith Ellison and others, it has NO right to simply confiscate more money from those who actually earn it, and who by virtue of their status as producers in society, already bear an ever-increasing burden of supporting a profligate leviathan that spends its days issuing regulations and rules like a king of old issuing edicts and proclamations that only serve to discourage ambition and yoke entrepreneurialism to a stultifying collar of mediocrity, ensuring that instead of a rising tide to lift all boats, we’re dropped to a muddy and rocky bottom, with the rest of the broken wreckage of dreams and industriousness.  Those in Washington D.C. who are ostensibly there to represent our interests have lost sight of what those interests are, and have become part of a leviathan which is diligent in ensuring that its cogs never get sullied by the indignity of having to live under the same laws, rules, and regulations that it makes for us, while at the same time, turning a blind eye to the blatant lawlessness being practiced by its various components.

As government swells, it increasingly forces its way into the minutiae of the average person’s daily life, until the only right to privacy that it is willing to recognize is the right of a mother to snuff her child in utero; all else must be yielded to the state upon its demand, whether it is wage data, or the number of toilets in your home.  You cannot be forced to quarter troops in your home, but none the less, government believes it can compel you to disclose information about that could be gleaned from such an act.

Enough.

The time has come for the “Nunya Damn Business” Party.  A party that will not compromise on removing government from the performance of tasks it had no business doing in the first place.  A party that will shrink the current bloatocracy by eliminating laws and regulations that have long ago advanced beyond anything resembling a reasonable safeguard, and have turned into a rolling juggernaut that gets heavier, slower, and more intrusive with every attempt to bubble wrap people in an attempt to save them from themselves.  The Nunya Damn Business Party recognizes the concept of curtilage, and will not intrude upon individuals’ quiet enjoyment of their residences unless to  stop a crime.  It will not make increasing demands on the individual citizens’ time, in essence confiscating even more from those it is supposed to serve, not be served by.

Our society is on a collision course with itself, navigated there by a government that increasingly rejects any limitation on its scope or reach, that has created a class of dependents who are incapable of recognizing their chains, paid for more and more by a class that cannot help but to feel its chains.

Freedom is the answer for both, and the satisfaction of honest labor will do more to refresh American Exceptionalism and national solvency than any government entitlement or program.  Join me.

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So I got a letter from my friends at the Census Bureau.

Frankly, after my last phone conversation with them, I’m shocked.  But after reading the letter, I’m appalled.  The Census Bureau’s dedication to finding more ways for my government to spend other people’s money buying votes is almost…heroic.  But I’m getting very tired of the idea that I should be an unpaid information gatherer who needs to cheerfully and dutifully provide to them information that can be used to aid identity theft AND target us for more government “dedication”, and that their assurances that our information will be kept confidential and not be misused should be trusted.  In the immortal words of Brother Theo, “I can only assume someone has been spray painting “IDIOT” on my forehead again.”

Dear Resident:

Recently, a U.S. Census Bureau telephone interviewer contacted your household on behalf of the American Community Survey (ACS).  The Census Bureau is conducting this survey under the authority of Title 13, Section 141, 193, 221, of the United States Code, and response to this survey is required by law.  I understand that you have some concerns about participating in this survey, but your household’s participation is important to the success of this survey.

The American Community Survey contains questions about your household characteristics including such topics as education, employment, and housing.  The primary goal of this survey is to provide the information each year about the social, economic, and housing characteristics of the United States.  Your participation helps provide the information needed by your community, county, state, and nation to plan and fund programs at all levels.  The ACS will provide detailed information updated every year.  Before the ACS, such information was only available from the census which is done every 10 years.

We want to emphasize that any information that you give to our interviewer will be kept confidential.  By law, the Census Bureau cannot publish or release to anyone any information that would identify you or your household (Title 13, Section 9).  The information you can provide can be used only for statistical purposes.

We hope that you participate in this survey to help us improve the information that you and others provide about your community.  If you have any questions, call us at 1-888-817-2153.  We will be pleased to help you.

Sincerely,

James B. Treat

Chief, American Community Survey Office

Let’s brake it down, shall we?

Dear Resident:

Recently, a U.S. Census Bureau telephone interviewer contacted your household on behalf of the American Community Survey (ACS).

More than one, actually.  I made the mistake of being polite to the first one.  As the second one learned, I am not amused by unwarranted intrusions on my privacy and my time.

The Census Bureau is conducting this survey under the authority of Title 12, Section 141193221, of the United States Code, and response to this survey is required by law.  I understand that you have some concerns about participating in this survey, but your household’s participation is important to the success of this survey.

1.  I’m tired of the passive-aggressive bullshit.  Seriously, you set the wrong tone sending an attorney a fat envelope with the words “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW” on the outside.  And the “Pretty please, participate please?” offered in the same sentence as a reminder that my response is required by law isn’t convincing, it is embarrassing, as I try to keep from laughing out loud at this hamfisted approach.  Knock it off.

2.  I have a law degree.  Continuing to tell me that 13 USC 141, 193, and 221 “gives you the authority” to seize my time, and make me an unpaid gatherer of information that you have no authority to demand of me isn’t very convincing.   You are empowered to ask questions that would tend to aid in the apportionment of Congressional representation.  Nowhere in the three sections you cite are you granted authority to ask me about my education level, my employer, my wages, my commute, my residence and the amenities in it, or the health of the people who live under my roof.  These have as much to do with Congressional apportionment as a goldfish has to do with a delivery truck, and even if the authority to ask such things was clearly spelled out, which it is not, I’m not some vassal or serf to be bullied into coughing up my papers, and letting you know what goes on behind my closed doors simply because Congress wants to know.  Perhaps you have heard of the penumbras and emminations of privacy rights in the Constitution, at least those not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights?  If “privacy” means enough that a woman can hire a doctor to snuff her child in utero, then it certainly would permit me to tell a nosy government that still works for me to go pound sand when it starts asking me to spend significant amounts of my time sharing information with it which is none of its business.

3.  I don’t “have some concerns about participating in this survey” (did you learn condescension on our dime as well?) ; I DON’T TRUST YOU.  I read the pretty pamphlet you included with the survey, which outlined how your employees are prohibited by law from disclosing or misusing my confidential information.  It might have even been reassuring, had I not been paying attention to recent news, but given the fact that the IRS is subject to laws and regulations more specific and strict regarding the treatment of citizens’ personal data, and the late revelations demonstrating that IRS employees weren’t deterred one whit by these laws and regulations, you’ll just have to understand that we both know I’d have to be three days dead to trust your agency with that data.  No thank you.

The American Community Survey contains questions about your household characteristics including such topics as education, employment, and housing.  The primary goal of this survey is to provide the information each year about the social, economic, and housing characteristics of the United States.  Your participation helps provide the information needed by your community, county, state, and nation to plan and fund programs at all levels.  The ACS will provide detailed information updated every year.  Before the ACS, such information was only available from the census which is done every 10 years.

1.  Those household characteristics are as related to the topic of the census as a goldfish is related to a delivery truck.

2.  So, as I correctly discerned from the outset, the purpose of this survey is to get information that will allow our elected officials to go shopping with our money and buy votes.

3.  Every year?  I definitely didn’t see the authority to conduct a survey annually in 13 USC 141.  In fact, it was very specific about surveys in addition to the decennial census, but it did NOT authorize the taking of a survey annually.

We want to emphasize that any information that you give to our interviewer will be kept confidential.  By law, the Census Bureau cannot publish or release to anyone any information that would identify you or your household (Title 13, Section 9).  The information you can provide can be used only for statistical purposes.

I want to emphasize that I don’t trust you, no one with three functioning brain cells has any reason to trust you, and you are asking for information that is none of your business.  If I can’t be forced to quarter troops in my home, then I can’t be compelled to reveal to a Census Bureau employee information about amenities in it, or the people who live in it.  And I do not appreciate the presumption that my free time is yours to hijack for purposes of me reporting on myself and my family so that Congress can go on a vote-buying shopping trip with even more of other people’s money.  I realize that you think that the 40 minutes you estimated would be necessary for me to fill out your survey was an innocuous demand on my time.  But you’re only one of many agencies which think that they are making innocent and de minimus demands on my time.  And it is starting to add up.

The fact is that I am citizen of a nation founded on the unique recognition of the rights of the individual…a concept we felt so strongly about that we drafted a Bill of Rights to ensure that the power of government would be limited and subservient to the individual.  This hasn’t been revoked, nor have these rights been surrendered…a fact that many federal employees and elected officials are on the cusp of being very deliberately and unpleasantly reminded of.

The law you cite doesn’t give you the authority to ask the questions you have asked, and even if it did, it is an unwarranted and intrusive invasion of my privacy.  I answered the only questions that the statute can be reasonably said to allow, and they are the only ones I have any intention of answering.  Your time might be better served harassing someone who doesn’t understand the difference between a citizen and a subject.

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Apparently, the sequester hasn’t affected the Census Bureau, because they CONTINUE to call my home.

Last night, to their bad fortune, they did so when I was actually here.
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I got another call from the Census Bureau last night.

It didn’t even register with the flunky attempting to intimidate me into giving them a host of information that is none of their business that telling me “Congress passed a law giving us the authority to collect data for them.” wouldn’t even be the slightest bit convincing to an attorney who has read the relevant sections of 13 USC and can’t find ANY authority for the scope of the questions they were asking, and she got very upset when I told her that they need to quit calling my home, as it is starting to border on harrassment.

Fed Flunky: Sir, if you do not answer the questions, I’ll have to make you as a “refusal”.

Me: You can mark me as a refusal, but that would not be true. The law says I can be fined if I willfully refuse to fill out any portion of the survey. I filled out the first page, and then wrote “None of your damn business” on the remaning 35 pages. Therefore I didn’t fail to fill out any portion of the survey, only the parts that are none of your business. Besides, I’d be seventeen different kinds of idiot to give you that information considering the federal government’s recent treack record with confidential data.

Fed Flunky: Sir, THAT’S not what the law means.

Me: Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware I was speaking to another attorney. It must suck having to work a Friday evening for minimum wage.

Fed Flunky: If you have a law degree, you can defend yourself at the hearing.

Me: Is that supposed to scare me?

*click*

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If we can pay for this kind of idiotic pursuit of American citizens, and NOT enforce current immigration law, and not allow the government to perform the functions that it is SUPPOSED to be doing, like training for military units, then this government’s legitimacy should be loudly and frequently questioned.  Daily.

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