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Archive for the ‘Crisis’ Category

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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With a government based on the rule of law becoming increasingly lawless with every passing day, I find the subject of rebellion on my mind more and more.  I don’t mean rebellion in the sense of the contumacious response that many of our forebears reserved for those who disregarded the notions of individual rights and liberty in favor of a distant sovereign.  I mean a deliberate and conscious effort to hinder the designs of those who “rule” without understanding, and who turn the notion of consent of the governed around so that the governed must seek the consent of the government.  Indeed, when we are burdened with a President who has voiced criticism of the Constitution that characterizes it as a “charter of Negative Liberties”, and laments the fact that it has in the past prevented government from working a top down, fundamental change, including redistribution of wealth, as a means to work “social justice” upon the country, and without a trace of understanding that this has been a feature and not a bug, reasonable men and women will observe that these are not normal times.

It is hard to maintain a fealty and respect for the offices of government when its scrutiny and muscle render so little of it those it was intended to serve.  And as the single biggest usurpation of power ever devised by man, the cruelly and ironically titled “Affordable Care Act” continues to harm Americans in greater numbers than it “helps”, despite the Administration’s near constant extra-Constitutional efforts to delay implementation of some of its more onerous provisions, I suspect that I am not the only one considering rebellion, in a myriad degrees.

I fear the disruption and chaos that would come with an open insurrection.  But with a government that disregards any semblance of limitation upon its power, or any regard for ours, I find it difficult to believe that things will improve of their own accord.  As corruption becomes the norm, and as government wears less tolerant of competitors and critics, I suspect that acts of rebellion, large and small, will become commonplace.  Lawlessness begets lawlessness.  Selective enforcement is no different from arbitrary and capricious fiat, save for the window dressing of legitimacy conferred by the fact that what is being selectively enforce having actually once been enacted by a legislature.  Without a common moral compass to act as a moderating influence, I have little faith that once contempt for the rule of law is shared equally by those charged with enforcing it, and those meant to live under it, that bloody retribution will not be a fatiguing fixture of daily life.  And still, it comes, along with the day when each person will have to decide how far is too far, what trespasses are too offensive, and what intrusions are intolerable.  As that decision is arrived at, the legitimacy of government will evaporate like morning fog on a summer lake, because once those charged with maintaining the peace have abrogated the birthright of our citizens, the social compact will be swept away, leaving those with no understanding of the philosophy and history of our legal tradition to make the laws.

25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 21:25

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I had an interesting conversation this week with another businessman who has had enough.

The topic came up when he learned that I am business attorney, and he started to talk to me about the never-ending stream of regulations and taxes, and how he wondered if government didn’t do some of it just to find out how much we would let it get away with.  I smiled, I nodded, and then I told him about my recent odyssey with the Census Bureau.  We both got a laugh out of that, especially when we talked about how long the survey was, and how they just presumed that I would be willing to surrender that time to the government without a peep.  This lead to a discussion about how it doesn’t take very many agencies, bureaus, and offices making “insignificant” demands on you time, and on your earnings before it really starts to add up.  And of course, none of them ever take into consideration that their “insignificant” demands are coming along with all the other “insignificant” demands…not that it would matter, of course, since their demands are important, and must be responded to.

Then he said “I’ll go you one better.  A few years back, I got one of those forms where they wanted me to pretty much inventory EVERY item in my business, then compute the tax and send it to them.”

“Ok…” I said.

“Yeah.  I thought about it for a minute, realized how many HOURS that would take to do, hours that I wouldn’t be using to earn money, and so I looked at the form, and saw that it was a $40.00 fine to not fill out the form and send it back.  I wrote on it “I’m not going to take the HOURS necessary to do this.  Bill me for your fine.”  And I never heard anything more.  They send a new form every couple of years, I answer the same way.  And I’ve never been contacted by anyone looking for their fine.”

We both laughed.  And for a few minutes, I was glad.  It makes me happy to see even small acts of defiance against an out of control government.

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I was introduced to a new song last night.  And it made me very, very happy to know that there are people willing to be the nail that stands up, at a time when so many allow themselves to be intimidated by a tyranny of political correctness, and small-minded thugs who keep finding new ways to take what doesn’t belong to them.

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A friend of mine let loose today with a good rant on Facebook today on the chronic misuse of the word “tolerance” and how the ones who use it most clearly don’t understand it based on their intolerance of those they disagree with.  I’m proud to count her, and others like her, as friends.

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As our President continues to hamfistedly attempt to gaslight the nation about his blatant lies, and as he sets the tone from the top down of a government culture that pays lip service to accountability, yet remains blissfully consequence-free in light of its mendacity and failure, there is a rising anger that will eventually remind our public “servants” that service and employment both come with accountability, and that we will not let those who serve us continue to enjoy good fortune at our expense, and a cushy sinecure that none of us could ever hope to dream of.  The fact that they continue to let this attitude build, while flaunting their disrespect and lack of self-awareness in our faces demonstrates the kind of bad judgement that converts dismay due to lack of respect to a desire to instill fear.  I don’t think it will be pretty, but I do think it will be instructive, and occasionally, “pour l’encourage les autres” has its place.

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“All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.” —Mahatma Gandhi

So I’ve been listening to the Republican Party’s more “enlightened” and “moderate” voices over the last year.  To say I am unimpressed with a strategery that says it’s ok to call voters “Hobbits” and their preferred candidates and elected officials “wacko birds” would be putting it mildly.

But when the elected officials who are willing to compromise and accept the permanence of a unprecidented” and “historic” expansion of government (repeal and replace) everyone, and are willing to let legislation that cannot be squared with the Constitution’s enumerated powers, and the Bill of Rights’ strict prohibitions on the infringement of rights by government with mushy promises that they will fight “next time”, and that they “do something” when they have the Senate and the White House, when history shows us that there was little in evidence to differentiate them the last time when they had both, I get the disgust evident among the “hobbits” of the country because I share it.

I reject the notion that Congress is so “complex” and difficult that we need to keep electing the same people.  I reject the notion that these “experts” just understand the issues better than we do…a notion that is difficult to accept given the fact that so many of them admit to not reading what they vote on, but even if it is true, that is a better reason to replace them, since they seem to be ok with this being the status quo, and of course, the power that comes with it.

But most of all, I am disgusted with the willingness to accept a generous taxpayer subsidy, sheltering them from onerous effects of what they chose for us, and the scorn and derision that they heaped on their members who were willing to stand and fight for the fundamentals.  Compromise on ObamaDoesn’tCare doesn’t respect the Constitution.  It doesn’t respect freedom.  It doesn’t respect liberty.  And their capitulation without even bothering to fight to defend a Constitutional and ethical legislative process, will cause people’s deaths. “First Do No Harm” would have been a good guiding principle for those who stood on the sidelines and muttered derisive comments about those who did something if they couldn’t stand for the other things that this doesn’t respect.  I think more than a few of them have been there long enough that they no longer can differentiate between that which can be compromised and that which is not theirs to give…or take.

I think there is a “war” going on, but if the GOP starts losing elections because of it, it won’t because of those damn, unreasonable “wacko birds” and their unreasonable unwillingness to compromise that which should never be contemplated.  It will be because the “reasonable” and “moderate” Republicans offer no substantive differences from the other party.

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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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Remember when Rush Limbaugh had forever tainted the reputation of professional activist and rabble-rouser Sandra Fluke when he called her an unflattering name when she demanded that a nominally catholic institution, Georgetown University, supply THOUSANDS of dollars to individual female students annually?  This was another major engagement in the “War on Women”, which forever proved that those eeeeeeeevvvvviiiiiillllll conservatives really hate women because they aren’t willing to accept the idea that a religious-based institution should be compelled to go against its conscience and guiding principles to supply contraceptives to students who voluntarily chose to attend the institution, knowing that this “demand” would be controversial, and frankly reveal those making the demand to be unreasonable, sniveling ingrates.  And when Rush happened to suggest that a law student at a top-tier law school who is obsessed with extorting THOUSANDS of dollars worth of contraceptives for individual students annually might be working toward a career in the wrong profession, an entire segment of society that would not recognize shame if it walked up to them, beat them up, and stole their money suddenly rediscovered the concept and, with all the outrage they could muster, rushed to her defense, claiming it was he who had sullied her reputation, while breathing fire, and sipping on kitten and puppy shakes.  It never once occurred to these stalwart defenders of Ms. Fluke’s virtue that perhaps it was she who had accomplished that with her dubious, attention-grabbing demands.

Flash forward a year, and we have the aftermath of a trial of an abortion “doctor” (yeah, Mengle went by that appellation also, and look what HE did) which the media had to be shamed into covering at all, despite the fact that his clinic was found to be filthy, not just unsanitary, filled with all manner of gruesome trophies collected over a lifetime of murdering both the not-yet-born, and the newly born, while largely not giving a damn about the health and welfare of his “patients”, leading to death for some of them.  Yet, like committed party members who were taken to the concentration camps and still denied the atrocities committed in them, the hardcore abortion proponents, in the face of undeniable evidence, maintained that this “right” was sacrosanct, and NO regulation of the “industry” would be tolerated. (Thus voiding the second of the three prongs of their decades-old battle cry “Safe, Rare, and Legal”.)  Against this backdrop, the state of Texas decided that some regulations should be put in place to maintain minimum safe conditions, so that women who decided to kill their unborn children might not have to be butchered by the incompetent, or contract deadly infections from unsanitary conditions and unwashed instruments.  Oh, and they decided that late-term abortion really shouldn’t be allowed either, so they inserted a provision in the bill banning abortions after 20 weeks.  (For the math-challenged among you, 20 weeks is 5 Months. )

The bloodthirsty harpie lobby remained true to their word, and attacked the law, bizarrely concluding that being prevented from killing your unborn child after you have carried him or her around in your womb for FIVE MONTHS is somehow a government seizure of your body, the rescission of an important constitutional right, and probably involuntary servitude as well.  On the night the legislature was to vote, one of their allies in the legislature filibustered until she could hold out no longer, then smiled as her co-conspirators in the galleries made a voice vote under normal circumstances impossible, and the time for passing the bill expired. 

The legislature has again taken up the bill, and the blood money lobby and its useful idiots have lost their collective minds.  Protests with these women using CHILDREN, carrying signs with coat-hangers (to protest a bill that would require SAFER conditions), replacing the Texas Longhorns logo with a uterus, reading a ridiculous “If My Vagina Was A Gun” poem, and protesting with a number of signs that can only lead a reasonable witness to believe that not only are these poor, put-upon women nothing more than the sum of their lady parts, but that they proudly think so little of themselves that they refer to themselves as “Hoes”.  Then the articles from the “bro-choicers“, who think that the unrestricted right to abortion is crucial, because otherwise, they might have to actually face the consequences of their animalistic, instinctual sport screwing.  (I knew that not all men in favor of unrestricted abortions were whiney, sniveling beta males…I just never expected the alpha douches to be so open in their support, or that these women would think so little of themselves that they would gladly accept it.)

The Sum of Her Lad

Which brings me to today, where these civil paragons of the pro-death movement discussed plans to attend today’s session and hurl body waste at legislators and at counter-demonstrators, which is yet more evidence of the depths that the “tolerant” left is willing to sink to in order to insure that the rest of us will do and allow only what THEY are tolerant of.  And then I saw this:

Dignity, Always Dignity

And this:

Dignity 2

To the adults who are throwing away every principle previously claimed as part of this private right to murder in the single-minded pursuit to retain the right to kill your children regardless of not just the hazard to them, but also to yourselves, that’s fine. I have no qualms with the world seeing you frantically rally around the only thing in life that you will squander everything to keep…your principles, the moral high ground you always claimed but never occupied, and finally, your dignity, in a way that makes it unmistakable that you always expected and demanded that everyone else think more of you than you obviously thought of yourself. Some of us knew that was the only bottom line that mattered to you, and the rest was for show anyway, even as we always accepted the idea that you could be more than the sum of your lady parts, and that it should be secondary to your identity as a person, rather than the beginning and end of your personal and collective raison d’etre.

But when you subvert children (and let’s be honest, the girls in the previous two pictures are CHILDREN), and convince them to debase themselves by embracing vulgarity and barbarity, so that your blood lust can continue to fund an industry that kills girls and boys indescriminately FOR MONEY, you have taken what was never yours to have, from children who could no more give their informed consent to be used in such a crass and callous manner than they could to having surgery performed without the consent of someone older and wiser, usually a parent or guardian. Unless she elects to have an abortion. In which case, she undoubtedly could be whisked away in the company of strangers to snuff her child without her parents’ knowledge or consent.

You are detestable, and will be a byword to future generations, to whom your madness and fatal self-absorption will be painfully obvious.

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First, from the snoops who have announced themselves and expect me to help them:

I got a call from an employee of the Department of Commerce this evening, who was calling regarding their intrusive survey that they generously provided a shotgun invitation to.  She confirmed the phone number and address, and wanted to speak to the man or lady of the home.  I advised her that she was speaking to the man of the home, but that I had NO intention of answering their survey.  She asked me why that was.

I informed her that it was because their intrusive questions include ones that a prospective employer could not ask me, that some of them would be in violation of HIPPA laws if my doctor revealed the answers, and because some of them asked sensitive information that could be used to my detriment by identity thieves.  She started to say something, and I cut her off, saying, “Don’t try to tell me about how the information is “confidential” and would never be misused.  The revelations coming out of Washington D.C. over the last couple weeks are enough to dissuade me from ever believing that.

She said that she understood that some of the questions could be construed as personal, and that I could always decline to answer specific questions on that basis.  I responded by telling her that it wasn’t just about the questions being intrusive, but that they had clearly exceeded the statutory grant of authority which they felt empowered them to ask the questions in the first place.  Her response was that she understood, but it was Congress that gave them that authority so it could get the answers to those questions.  I told her that I didn’t doubt that they wanted the answers; no doubt they could be used to buy a lot of votes with taxpayer money.  She responded again that it was Congress who wrote the law.  I responded by telling her she just didn’t get it.  “I’m an attorney.  I’ve read the law that your agency relies on as its authority to ask me these questions.  The scope and the nature of these questions clearly exceed that.  It isn’t even a question.  You can’t blame that on Congress, they aren’t the ones sending the surveys and threatening me if I don’t play along.”  She assured me that it was not her agency’s intention to make anyone feel threatened.  I looked at the envelope with its bold-lined box on the front stating in bold all capital letters “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW”, and mentally uttered thanks that she had cleared that up.  I again repeated that the questions exceeded their authority. 

She responded, “I can certainly see your point.  But the fact is that Congress is who decided that they wanted the answers to these questions before the next decennial census, and that’s why they wrote the law.” For a second, I mulled over asking her how it is that Congress could decide that they could require a census more often than the decennial measure set forth in Article I, Section 2* of the Constitution without an AMENDMENT permitting them to do so, and then decided against it, since she clearly wasn’t equipped to have that discussion. 

She then suggested that I do the online survey, and simply refuse to answer the questions I felt were too personal.  I asked her who was going to pay me to do it.  She laughed.  I said “I’m serious.  I bill out at $200.00 an hour, and I don’t appreciate my government thinking that it has the right to essentially directly stick me with an unfunded mandate requiring me to give it an hour of my time I’ll never get back for something no reasonable person who believes in limited government would have any intention of participating with in the first place.”  She was almost at the point of pleading me to just fill out the survey, even if I only answered one question, and again invited me to do it online.  I told her that I would think about it, but if I do, I’m filling out the paper survey, and sending a letter that they won’t like very much with it.  She laughed and told me that they always welcome opinions.  I advised her that I’ll fix that, and she just laughed again before saying good night and hanging up.

…which brings me to the snoops who don’t announce themselves, and apparently have the ability to read every word I type online…

I kicked myself after hanging up for not saying that the survey was redundant, given the revelations today about PRISM.  I mean, why bother asking me when the NSA can (and probably does) monitor everything I do online.  I know, they want me to believe that the information would never be misused or illegally shared with other parties, but let’s be honest:

What’s stopping them from misusing or abusing the data that they never should have had in the first place?   

We all know the answer to that question. 

Nothing. 

 Which is why the data will flow to whoever finds it politically useful.  It isn’t like this Administration has any interest in actually going after real terrorists…the ones who actually kill people, and hate America, not the average Americans alarmed and enraged by the excesses, lawlessness, and tyrannies enjoyed by the Federal government, who it pretends are the terrorists.  After all, its ok if a few flunkies are sacrificed to quench the rage of the taxpayers.  It’s a very small price to pay for keeping the right people in power, and those who oppose them struggling to get a government boot off of their necks.  It provides the illusion of accountability without ever putting any of our self-appointed betters in any real jeopardy of having to answer to us.

From the Slate story on PRISM:

The Washington Post disclosed Thursday that it had obtained classified PowerPoint slides detailing the program, codenamed PRISM, from a career intelligence officer who felt “horror” over its privacy-invading capabilities. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the source told the newspaper.

Participating in the PRISM program, according to a selection of the leaked slides, are Internet titans including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. It was established in 2007 and is used by NSA analysts to spy on Internet communications as part of the agency’s foreign intelligence-gathering work. The analysts use PRISM by keying in search terms supposedly designed to “produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s ‘foreignness’.” However, the Post notes, training materials for the program instruct new analysts to submit “accidentally collected” U.S. content for a quarterly report, “but it’s nothing to worry about.”

According to the Post, the system enables NSA spies to monitor Google’s Gmail, voice and video chat, Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), photo libraries, and live surveillance of searches. If agents believe a target is engaged in “terrorism, espionage or nuclear proliferation,” they can use the spy system to exploit Facebook’s “extensive search and surveillance capabilities.  And PRISM can monitor Skype, the Post notes, “when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of ‘audio, video, chat, and file transfers’ when Skype users connect by computer alone.” In order to receive immunity from lawsuits, the participating companies are obliged to accept a directive from the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to “open their servers to the FBI’s Data Intercept Technology Unit, which handles liaison to U.S. companies from the NSA.”

Sure, sure.  That sounds like something that would never, ever, ever be abused by the federal government.  Especially under this Administration.  Just ask James Rosen or his parents.  Or the Tea Party groups whose First Amendment rights were treated by the IRS with all the care and concern one might give to a used kleenex.
Had Enough Yet?

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Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

[The underlined portion was modified by Section 2 of the 14th Amendment; the rest has never been altered by Amendment.]

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As Washington DC stews in the mix of several scandals, several of which demonstrate little or no regard to the rule of law, I’ve been thinking about “What It REALLY Means™”, and as per usual, I expect that my conclusions won’t be very well received.

Consider: 

1.  Ample evidence to suggest not only that the Administration left Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans to die in Benghazi, knowing they were under attack, but it participated in crafting deliberate lies then shopped to the American public about that attack on our consulate there.

2.  HHS Secretary Kathy “I never met a baby I didn’t have a plan to kill” Sebelius making phone calls to health care companies…companies that will be regulated by her agency when ObamaCare reaches its full killing potential…to solicit funds to help pay for this usurpation of authority.  From inside her agency.

3.  The IRS conducting targeted harassment and investigations of conservative Americans trying to obtain 501(c)(3) status for their groups.   And the more that is revealed, the more it seems that this harassment intruded on First Amendment rights, and spilled over in the private lives and businesses of some of these individuals.   And in an agency that has regulations for how its agents are supposed to sit at their desk or how they are to drink coffee, those in supervisory positions would have us believe that this was the work of a few improperly supervised low-level employees in just a few offices, despite the growing evidence that it was anything but, and invocations of the Fifth Amendment by those in a position to know better.  Never mind the hundreds of visits to the White House by Commissioner Doug Schulman during this time.  This isn’t the gross and systematic abuse of power you’re looking for.

4.  Eric Holder’s DOJ wiretapping 20 AP phones in an effort to get to the bottom of a leak that revealed what was obvious to anyone who has mocked the North Koreans at any time in the last 20 years.  But he didn’t know anything about it, because he recused himself.  He just can’t say when he did it, he didn’t put it in writing so subordinates could KNOW that he recused himself, and not report to him on the matter, and avoiding this unnecessary and redundant step would be standard operating procedure for an attorney professional enough to be appointed Attorney General of the United States.  If the United States was a banana republic.

5.  Eric Holder’s DOJ made allegations of criminal activity by FOX reporter James Rosen in order to tap his phones, private emails, and those of his parents, too.   But again, AG Holder claims to have recused himself, and that he knows “nussink…NUSSINK” about any of this.  I can only assume that he did this AFTER he signed the documents seeking the warrants.

So to recap, we have an Administration venial enough to let Americans die when they didn’t have to, as there were multiple resources available to mount a rescue mission.  Then this Administration, and the State Department meticulously edit and re-edit the “talking points” until the only thing true in them was that the Ambassador and his 3 companions were killed.  They then picked a State Department flack who had no trouble selling a lie, and sent her out to peddle the story.

Then we have a Cabinet Secretary extorting money from those that she is to be regulating, and doing it on government time, with government resources.

We have the most brutal collection agency on the planet, and the only part of the US Government that gets to proceed under the presumption that you are guilty until you prove your innocence targeting Americans who have a political philosophy that is at odds with the political philosophy of the Administration, while the Commissioner of the IRS is meeting with the White House more than 100 times.

And we have a Department of Justice run by a second-rate attorney and thug who has proven to indulge excess and disregard for the Constitution he is sworn to uphold, who also has no problem perjuring himself when he is asked about it under oath.

So tell me, when you consider all of this, are you so silly to think that government can be entrusted with the decision to kill US Citizens abroad?  I have been thinking about this off and on for about a week now, and I think back to my previous post on the DOJ White Paper that outlined the government’s guidelines for making the decision to kill citizens abroad with drones.

And I specifically considered the test set forth by the DOJ:

“In the view of these interests and practical considerations, the United States would be able to use lethal force against a U.S. citizen, who is located outside the United States and is an operational leader continually planning attacks against U.S. persons and interests, in at least the following circumstances:

(1) where an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States;

(2) where a capture operation would be infeasible—and where those conducting the operation continue to monitor whether a capture operation becomes feasible; and

(3) where such an operation would be conducted with applicable law of war principles.”

Given what we’ve heard over the last few weeks, I’m not sure we have a high-level official of the U.S. government who is “informed” about anything.  And the fact that the “test” has a checklist of circumstances isn’t particularly reassuring, seeing as there are laws and rules and regulations that are in place NOW that government officials and employees can’t seem to be bothered with following when doing so would crimp their attempts to advance their ideology.  If there is nothing wrong with using your office to shake down companies and bring the force of the IRS to bear on American citizens trying to exercise their Constitutional rights, then why would any thinking person believe that it would be wrong to indiscriminately target Americans abroad if they were of the wrong political persuasion?  And to all of those who were filled with snark over the delayed answer from Attorney General Holder on the DOJ’s position on the use of drones to kill citizens here at home…it shouldn’t see quite so silly anymore, nor should you be as trusting of his answer as you were before.

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Two weeks ago, I was reading on a professional list serv hosted through the state bar association about a new case that applied Washington’s Consumer Protection Act in a manner in which it had not been applied before, that would be useful to elder law practitioners state-wide.  About a day later, one of the older attorneys on the list serv (I’m in my 40s) posted a comment about our shameful treatment of the “greatest generation”, and how awful it is that they have to become paupers before the can make the rest of us pay for their nursing home/end-of-life care, and how they can’t leave their wealth to their kids and grandkids like we promised them in our “contract” with them, and carrying on about the immorality of it, and how awful it was that we were now contemplating cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid programs put in place in the sixties.

I was gobsmacked.  Here was an officer of the court, someone who is supposed to understand the law, and to think logically, proposing that it was immoral to expect people to pay for their own care if they had the means to do so, and suggesting that they had every right to pass their accumulated wealth on to their kids and grandkids, and make the peers of those kids and grandkids pay for their care.  As one of the people stuck with the bill according to this plan, and as someone with children whose own expectations are considerably diminished by this kind of thinking, I was angry.  As a practitioner, who can clearly see that the logic of this doesn’t work anyway, because those kids and grandkids will still be paying for the care of grandpa and grandma’s peers, I was livid.  I had to ask about the morality of presuming that this was owed to anyone, and how the mortgaging of future generations was in anyway a moral way to pay for it.  I then went on to ask how it was that the federal government had the lawful authority to engage in such largesse to begin with. 

To my relief, there were a few responses that were supportive of this view.  There were a few older members who, to their discredit, avoided the question of legal authority, and instead, somewhat condescendingly, waxed poetic about the views they held when they were “the masters of the world” back in the sixties, when they tried to change the world for the better.  I have been guilty in the past of joking about aging hippies behaving badly when discussing certain people in politics, but I had never seen generational hubris so baldly manifested.

Finally, a lawyer took up my question of the legal authority for the federal government’s largesse in this matter.  She assured me that it was found in the general welfare clause…of the preamble of the Constitution (and not in Article I, Section 8!).  I pointed out to her that it was her own unique translation, but Madison, who was one of the principal architects had a very different take which he articulated in the Federalist 41, in part in answer to the Anti-Federalist Brutus, in his paper, VI, in which he warned that its inclusion would lead to men of lesser character in succeeding generations deciding that anything and everything was “general welfare”, to the detriment of society as a whole.

Her response back to me asked “So what do we do in the alternative?”

At this point, I decided to learn more about her.  Among other things, she had been an aide to Senator George Mitchell for a very long time, and had written legislation here in Washington as well.  No doubt, she had been firmly indoctrinated to the idea that there is nothing that the federal government could not and should not do.  Therefore, while I could say “Gee, I dunno.  How about a return to limited government, in which we get its boot off our necks and its hand out of our back pockets?”, I felt reasonably certain that given her belief in the “Good and Plenty Clause” interpretation of the Constitution, it would have simply registered like a whale popping up in front of her, speaking in Russian and Mandarin.  Instead, between the utter disappointment I felt at such a manifest failure to understand our organic law in too many of my fellow lawyers, and the size of my workload, I simply chose to not respond at all, and I simply quit keeping track of the thread.

The head of that state bar section finally commented late this week about the “political” discussion that arose in that thread, and how she had been informed by the state bar that membership in that list serv fell off sharply due to the number of comments and the nature of the opinions discussed, and she asked that the thread be declared “over”, and that such “political” discussions be avoided in the future.

For my part, I didn’t see any reason to continue.  I saw a lot of supposedly intelligent people who are focused on treating symptoms, and who couldn’t be bothered with the idea of actually treating the disease, largely because they refuse to comprehend that there are limits to the compassion that they can engage in with other people’s money.  I’m afraid that we are sailing this ship of state right over the rocks and the falls beyond them, and that too many aboard are in denial about the whitewater ahead.

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Obama declared, “Emergency responders like the ones who are here today, their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded. Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.”

Let’s put aside the issue the sequester was the OBAMA Administration’s proposal for a minute.

Let’s talk about numbers.

The sequester will cut about $85 Billion from Federal Spending (I’d say from the budget, but it’s been years since we’ve had one of those).

Total Federal Spending for FY 2013 is approximately $3.8 Trillion.

By my math, that is a cut of about 2%.

The budgeted Federal Deficit for this year is $901 Billion.

By my math, that means a cut of about 9% of spending of money that the government doesn’t have to begin with.

Washington is engaged in an argument about whether to hold the plane straight while flying full speed into the ground, or whether to just let it spiral in.

But keep in mind, the roughly $2.9 Trillion in tax money isn’t enough.   It isn’t a spending problem.  It’s a revenue problem.

Government is whistling past the graveyard.

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