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Archive for the ‘Institutional Stupidity’ Category

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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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Economics and Statistics Administration
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
1201 East 10th Street
Jeffersonville IN 47132-0001

Re: American Community Survey

Dear Sirs:

I am writing to thank you for your gracious requests that I take part in your American Community Survey…the requests that also prominently contained the admonition that “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.”   However, despite your shotgun “invitations” to take the survey, I’m afraid I must respectfully decline.

You see, while the Census is mentioned in the Constitution, it exists for the purpose figuring out the population of the country, and where people live, so that Congressional delegation size and apportionment may be determined for the states. As a citizen, I am happy to truthfully and accurately report to you how many people reside in my home. Unfortunately, that is as much of an intrusion into my privacy and my time as I am willing to tolerate from your agency, as I already informed you when I received the “long form” in the last census.

I appreciate your efforts to be as appealing as possible, however, the disclosure that filling out the paper questionnaire, that you sent to me unsolicited, should only take me about 40 minutes really doesn’t move me to comply with your attempts at information gathering. I am a busy attorney and a full-time parent. Spending the better part of an hour revealing not just information you have absolutely no business asking me to give you, but information that is of a sensitive nature, and could be abused to my detriment, and then expecting me to simply do it for free is truly unacceptable. If you were serious, you should be offering to pay me for an hour of my time, which I bill out at $200.00 an hour, by the way. You still wouldn’t be likely to get my cooperation, but at least I wouldn’t get the distinct impression that you all sit around laughing at what rubes the people you send these coercive “requests” to must be.

I’m going to be frank with you. I’m not going to give you the names, ages, birthdate, race, and relationships to each other of everyone who lives under my roof. As I’m sure you are aware, such information would be very useful to identity thieves, and while I might voluntarily share at least some of that information with other entities, such as banks or credit card companies, I would do so with the expectation of an exchange of value.

Likewise, I am not going to tell you what kind of home I reside in, when it was built, and when each of us came to live here. Nor am I interested in telling you the acreage. Much of that information can be gleaned online from county records, and I have no interest in doing that work for you. It is also none of your business whether or not I operate a business out of any part of the property, or how much was earned in the last 12 months from the agricultural sales on the property. You could learn the answer to either of those questions from the IRS, and regardless of unequivocal rules prohibiting them from sharing taxpayer information outside of the agency, recent events have proven them all too willing to do so.

It is none of the federal government’s business if I have hot and cold running water, a flush toilet, a bathtub or a shower, a sink with a faucet, a stove or a range, a refrigerator, or a computer, let alone what kind of computer or the number of computers. You don’t need to know if I have internet access, or what kind of access I have.

I’m not telling you how many automobiles are owned by members of this household, how we heat our home, the amount of our monthly electric bill, our monthly gas bill, our sewer and water bill, or the cost of fuels used in our home.

I’m not going to tell you if we have used SNAP benefits in the last 12 months, if we have a condo fee, or if we rent. I’m not going to tell you what I think my residence is worth, what my annual property taxes cost, or the cost of fire, hazard, and flood insurance for our home. I’m not going to tell you if I have a Deed of Trust on the property, or whether my property taxes, or homeowners insurance are included in my house payment. I’m not going to tell you if I have a second mortgage on the property, or how much I pay altogether for both if I do. All of this information is already known to other governmental entities, and again, I have no interest in becoming an unpaid data collector.

I absolutely will not tell you the education level for every person in my home. It is also none of your business what kind of health insurance we may or may not have. You don’t need to know if any of us has trouble hearing or seeing, if we have trouble remembering or making decisions, if we have trouble walking or climbing the stairs, or difficulty bathing or dressing ourselves. I’m not going to tell you if any of us have trouble with daily errands because of some infirmity.

Our marital status is none of your business. Nor is whether or not any of us has ever been divorced, how many times we’ve been married, or if anyone has given birth in the last 12 months. If any of us was currently in the armed forces, or had previously served, the federal government would already know, as it would also know if anyone here was receiving disability, and for what degree.

You don’t need to know if anyone here worked for pay last week, where we worked, including address, how we got to work, whether or not we shared a ride, how long it took any of us to get to work or to get home. You don’t need to know what kind of work I do, who I work for, the industry I work in, what kind of work I do, or what my duties are. You don’t need to know my income, or the sources of my income.

While I’m sure that knowing all of this information would undoubtedly be useful to Congress in their never-ending shopping trip to buy votes with the public fisc, the fact of the matter is that the federal government continues to expand far outside of the spheres of influence that it was intended to occupy, and as I pointed out, much of this information is known already to state and local authorities, who can at least claim with a shred of honesty and a straight face that they need to know as part of the exercise of their lawful authority. Conversely, the federal government has serious trouble delivering the mail, securing the borders, maintaining the interstate highway system, and running the military, let alone responsibly budgeting the taxpayers’ money…and those are all things that it actually has the lawful authority to do. When you start requesting data that state and local governments need to have, I can only conclude that it is a precursor to yet another usurpation of power or authority that was not specifically delegated to the federal government. While this information is desirable for these purposes, as well as other more innocuous purposes which I’m sure you would be quick to cite if we were discussing this face-to-face, the fact is I can glean the “real” purpose, and I don’t trust you with the information. Yes, I know that you included a nice pamphlet assuring me that all information that I give you won’t be shared, and that it will be kept strictly confidential. Given the recent goings on at the Internal Revenue Service, you really will have to forgive me for not relying on these assurances.  And yes, I took note of the stick you made sure I could see you dangling.  I understand that 13 U.S.C 193 states that ” the Secretary may make surveys and collect such preliminary and supplementary statistics related to the main topic of the census as are necessary to the initiation, taking, or completion thereof.”  However, the information you are attempting to gather is either (a) readily available by other means; (b) information that no other individual or entity would have a right to ask me, and I could sue if they did; and (c) I’m not persuaded that the requested data is preliminary OR supplementary statistics related to the main topic of the census, the purpose of which is clearly delineated in both the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 2, Paragraph 3, and 13 U.S.C. 141.  I’ve read 13 U.S.C. 221, by which the federal government means to compel its citizens to participate in this invasion of privacy.  The fine is not overly large, and I have no intention of paying such a fine when you are requesting information that is none of your business, and cannot be reasonably said to comport with the parameters which are imposed on the scope of your data collection to begin with.

In closing, I would like to remind you of a salient fact that you, and your sister agencies in the federal government seem to have lost sight of:  Americans do not like a bully

As an attorney, I have become accustomed to the federal government finding new ways to waste time with various forms, demands, and entire redundant bureaucracies which delight in making citizens, the people for which it ostensibly answers to, dance like trained monkeys, and act under the mistaken belief that they have to simply accept this treatment from an entity which is out of control, and increasingly imposing burdens on the productivity and creativity of a nation while this same government insults, undermines, and lavishly lives off of these very same citizens.  Because I am used to this, I almost let it slide by me without comment, but the passive-aggressive nature of your correspondence regarding this survey was really just too much, especially in light of recent developments showing that the IRS and the Justice Department are out of control.  I hope by publishing this letter, other Americans will also resist your intrusion and presumption, at least that is my hope. 

Sincerely,
An American Citizen Fed Up With Federal Overreach, Presumption, and Arrogance.

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Screw Them.

No.  I mean that.  Seriously.

Screw Them.

They REFUSED to see this America-hating empty suit for what he has ALWAYS been.  He told us who he was in lectures, and interviews.  He told us who he is in presumptive and conceited “memoirs” and autobiographies that were in and of themselves, audacious in the belief that a life marked with so little accomplishment in such a short period was somehow worthy of not one, but two tomes dedicated to his self-important navel gazing and intellectual lily-gilding.

And now when he turns the apparatus of Fedzilla loose upon the very people who abdicated their duty to make sure that the electorate knew about the man asking to be made their leader, we’re supposed to share in their outrage?   They were simply late to a party they never thought they’d be invited to. 

I can be happy that they can finally bring themselves to point out their Emperor’s nakedness, but that doesn’t mean that I should or will forgive them for their complacency when it was *only* people like me being targeted by the apparatus of big government lead by a narcissistic popinjay with tyrannical tendencies… or for their refusal to see a pattern of selective enforcement and arbitrary and capricious application of coercion and intimidation.  Or for their ridiculous and insulting focus on people like me who understand the threat to basic Constitutional liberties posed by a government that makes a concerted effort to blame those who oppose overreach combined with a lack of accountability for its failure to completely fulfill its promises to give until it hurts to some from the earnings of others.  Or for their constant attempts to vilify those whose only “offense” was to oppose a government big enough to give them everything they want, because such a government would be big enough to take all we have.

No.  In the face of all the evidence they needed to see this President, and his agenda, and his administration for what it is, and has always been, they chose him anyway, happy to blame those like me for what ails the nation, because they never believed that they would be fed to the alligator.  Welcome to the country you chose.

*walks off whistling Elvis Costello’s ‘Welcome to the Working Week’*

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When some people started pushing back against the Official Gun Control Narrative after Sandy Hook with the seemingly obvious retort that instead of more laws that would be ignored by those determined to do bad things, it might be time to revisit the issue of Crazy People Control instead, I was …unsettled with the idea… in part because I know the history of the Soviet Union, and I know that the political prisoners who weren’t shipped to the gulags were institutionalized in asylums after being diagnosed by the state-run medical system as “mentally ill”. With ObamaCare looming, along with its cadre of experts ready to guide diagnosis and treatment on political and financial considerations first, this should be enough to give anyone who is thinking two or three moves ahead some pause.

But for a while now, something else about the idea has been nagging at me, much like a yippy little dog tugging at my pant leg, and this week, an errant turn of phrase allowed me to see this concern for what it really is. 

As as society, we are no longer sane ourselves.

Sane people do not believe in the existence of a “private” right to murder, as long as it is exercised by a woman against her unborn child (with the assistance of a medical doctor).

Sane people do not ignore or attempt to cover up the astonishing story of one of these “doctors” snipping spines of children who survive abortion attempts, then keeping their feet in jars like trophies.

Sane governments do not foster the belief that such a “right” is for them to grant, and moreover subsidize, while at the same time indignantly defending the practice as a woman’s “right to choose”.

Sane people do not repeatedly elect government officials who spend more than the government takes in, and then spends a great deal of this borrowed money on offering services and benefits to people who have no lawful right to be in this country in the first place, or on foreigners, who make no secret of their contempt of us.

Sane governments do not invite foreigners inside their borders, make them citizens, and give them welfare without a care to the inclinations, intentions, or activities of these “guests”.

Sane governments do not conclude that the way to curtail crime in neighboring countries is to significantly curtail the freedoms of their own citizens, instead of acting to secure a border so porous that it is a threat to the national security of both countries, even when determining not to do so aids and abets an ongoing slow-motion invasion in exchange for the votes and political power the blind eye delivers, because it would be foolish to assume that the same government will benefit from the final result.

Sane people don’t mindlessly echo the mantra that “Something must be done about gun violence”, even “If it only saves one child”, and yet get whipped into an outrage because a private foundation choses to no longer spend money subsidizing the murder of unborn children.

Sane people do not accept the idea that their 15-year-old cannot take an aspirin to school, but can purchase a powerful and dangerous abortifacient over the counter, or be transported by school officials to obtain an abortion without the parents’ knowledge or consent.

Sane people do not chain themselves to trees to stop loggers, or ram whaling ships to prevent whales from being slaughtered, but turn a blind eye to the actions of Kermit Gosnell, and other abortion doctors operating human abbotoirs with little or no oversight by governments charged with licensing and monitoring of medical professionals for the public safety.

Sane people do not stand by quietly or meekly as governments dilute the nature and benefits of citizenship by encouraging or allowing illegal immigration, and then passing laws that allow these same people who do not respect our laws to vote and to serve on juries.

Sane people do not quietly accept the notion that passing bills that have not yet been fully written or that no one could have possibly read is in any way acceptable behavior for those who were elected to represent their interests.

Sane people do not subscribe to the notion that it is in any way, shape, or form, the purview of government to dictate to them what they may eat, portion size, or salt and trans fat content of what they chose to eat, and sane people know that if such intrusions are justified by government’s expanding role in delivering and overseeing their health care, then that is an excellent object lesson in why government has no business in our health care.

Sane people do not immerse themselves in a self-centered and single-minded devotion to the fulfillment of their own desires and self-gratification to the degree that they abandon the dignity inherent in the liberty of accorded by God to the individual, and sane governments would not foster such practices, because sooner or later, they will run out of the material possessions and bounty of others used by governments to create such terrifying and locust-like dependents.

I could go on, citing news story after news story, where the new normal is getting reality backwards, or indulging in a number of ridiculous fictions which we are being forced to go along with, and treated as if we’re the insane ones when we question their gaslighting of us on any number of topics, but the point is, I’m reluctant to rally for Crazy People Control, because I’m no longer certain that our society recognizes insanity any more.   But I am sure that the wrong people would be only too happy to politicize it, and that even if we could implement it correctly, the inmates would outnumber the orderlies…by perhaps as much as three-to-one.  It’s like C.M. Kornbluth’s ‘The Marching Morons’ on steroids, and it rapidly appears that we have two options: Embrace the Madness, or Resist Until We Are Overcome.

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“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” —Albert Einstein

“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” —Winston Churchill

“What you perceive, your observations, feelings, interpretations, are all your truth.  Your truth is important.  Yet it is not The Truth.” —Linda Elinor

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of the truth.” —Albert Einstein.

The events of the last two weeks have again allowed a harsh and difficult to believe truth to come into cuttingly sharp focus for anyone willing to see it: Our government isn’t serious about defeating terrorism.

I can hear you, gentle reader, stammering a “B-b-b-but it felt pretty serious when the TSA was fondling my undercarriage before the flight to Albuquerque last week!” or “They shut down an entire city in a search for one man last week!”  Both are true, but both show the distinction that goes unnoticed most of the time.  The government will combat terrorism, it just isn’t serious about defeating it.  It has no problem creating a brand new agency (and then allowing it to unionize), in part to probe the willingness of Americans to endure indignities, and warrantless searches of their person in the name of safety, but in truth, the execution of this plan has been to take a finely tuned supercar, and giving it to a little old lady who has no idea how to use a clutch.   It isn’t the little old lady’s fault; the person buying the car did it deliberately, knowing that if the American public saw that supercar parked out in front, they would buy into the idea that they were getting the best.

With the revelations that the FBI was made to remove Islam from its training materials, and the longstanding knowledge people of a certain religious persuasion aren’t searched in the same manner as the rest of the flying public, coupled with the leaking of memos showing that the DHS is perfectly ok with profiling Americans who rightfully mistrust government, while refusing to profile those who have the same common trait as those who commit acts of terrorism all over the world, the “secret” that seems to evade so many points to itself.

While our press struggles, trying to determine the motivation for Speedbump and Flashbang, and other acts of terrorism (government dare not speak its name),  while our government spins and tries to find the “right” explanation for not acting on the warnings it received, and the warning signs that it no longer permits itself to see, the credibility of both is in flames.

Until the government and the media are ready to see Islam as the same caliber of threat that both deeply desire the Tea Party and other “right-wing fanatics” to be, this madness will continue.  American children will continue to die because of political correctness, and freedom for law-abiding Americans will be reduced…atrophied so that the largest threat can thrive, unmolested by a scrutiny that has been purposely misdirected in the service of those who dislike freedom and distrust liberty.

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Assualt Pressure Cooker

With the news stories starting to filter out about the bombs used in Boston on Monday, specifically bombs made from pressure cookers filled with nails and ball bearings, it seems like a good time to call attention to a particularly salient point:  The government’s ability to make you “safe” is limited.  

Most conservatives know this, if only because they more readily understand that there are consequences in life, and they have never bought into the idea that yet another law being passed in the wake of a horrific, already illegal act will somehow be the magic solution, like a government-issued coat of bubble wrap to prevent you from suffering any harm.  After all, the idea that making something that is already illegal more illegal is absurd on its face.  And yet we have a whole class of people who decide whenever a shooter goes into a psychopath’s hunting preserve gun-free zone, where they know they will meet no immediate resistance and kills people, that the answer is to criminalize lawful activity, i.e. pass another law, in the vain hope that the crazy person/deliberate murderer who sets out to do mayhem will somehow be dissuaded by the fact that government has determined that owning or possessing a firearm should be illegal.  The mere fact that these events occur in psychopath’s hunting preserves gun-free zones should serve as blatant testimony to that flawed logic.

Yesterday’s tragic bombing proves that:

(1)  The police cannot keep you safe, and surrendering your right to a firearm, unless you are a law enforcement officer will not make you safer; and

(2)  If someone is determined to kill and maim, it can be done effectively with any number of items that are not guns.

With regard to the first, we have news stories that have noted a sizable police presence at the finish line, including bomb sniffing dogs.  While Steny Hoyer,(D)imwit would like to pretend that the carnage was a direct result a very small cut in the rate of growth of government spending of money it doesn’t have, and Bwarney Fwanks would argue that this is why we peasants have render even more unto Caesar, the truth is that at some point, it becomes a zero sum game.  Security can be tightened even more, until the words “freedom” and “liberty” become just a cruel joke, and the people who would do these things win, just like they did when we were blessed with the TSA farce for domestic air travel.  And in many cases, “security” is achieved through greater surveillance.  Cameras don’t do much to prevent such acts; they are merely the 21st Century equivalent of law enforcement standing over your cooling body, writing their report.  With regard to the second, a lot more people were made casualties yesterday than in any recent mass shooting, and yet I don’t hear Diane Feinstein or Joe Biden talking into the nearest open mic about background checks to buy pressure cookers, or state politicians talking about registering them.  I don’t hear the hand-wringing entreaties to limit the number of ball bearings or nails that can be purchased at any given time, or having to justify the “NEED” for purchasing any of these things.

“Well, of course not.  Your example is ridiculous.” I can hear you saying.  But is it?  No matter how much the Brady campaign winces when I say it, gun ownership isn’t just legal, it is Constitutionally protected.  I can’t say the same for owning a pressure cooker, nails, or ball bearings.  If the government chose to, it simply doesn’t have the same burden to overcome if it chooses to regulate these things.  And considering how many people were hospitalized yesterday, the argument cannot be made that you are safer banning guns than you are banning pressure cookers, ball bearings, and nails. 

Some perils simply cannot be avoided.  There just isn’t enough bubble wrap in the world for nanny government to make you safe.  Some can be avoided, or mitigated, but government isn’t aways going to be able to make that happen.  And neither are you if you buy into the myth that more laws and fewer freedoms will make you safer.

*****UPDATED*****NOW WITH EVEN MORE MEDIA MALPRACTICE!****

CNN is reporting that pressure cooker bombs are a “right-wing signature”, doesn’t give any substantiation for their slanderous claim.

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What do you get for the kleptocratic statist who has everything?

Your children.

MSNBC host and whackjob (BIRM) Melissa Harris-Perry wants you to know that we don’t spend enough on education because we just don’t realize that our children belong to everyone.

http://www.mrctv.org/videos/shorter-melissa-harris-perry-all-your-kids-are-belong-us

Of course, when you are aligned with a mindset that thinks it acceptable to kill your own children, it was probably inevitable to look upon other people’s kids as a resource for redistribution.  Afterall, it’s hard work maintaining a culture of filth, stupidity, and subservience when those most in favor of it have fewer children than those who oppose it.  And the idea that we need to pay even more to a system that already is failing and giving us dumb kids is precious.  But than, government is the only place where incompetence, illogical, and failure is rewarded.  The saddest part of this is that the majority of the people on the receiving end of this pitch are the product of …public schools, and will likely accept the opinions of the “experts” on this matter.  All it typically takes is saying that “IT’S FOR THE CHHHHIIIIIIIILLDREN!!!111!!!”

Next, who can forget that classic Obama knee-slapper “I do think that at a certain point, you’ve made enough money.”?

Well, it was probably only a matter of time before our great father Obama would let us know that “At some point, you’ve saved enough money.” too.  And thankfully, under his watch, government is right there to tell us when that is.

From The Hill:

President Obama’s budget, to be released next week, will limit how much wealthy individuals – like Mitt Romney – can keep in IRAs and other retirement accounts.

And remember, comrade, the government has NEVER arbitrarily changed the definition of “wealthy” when there was money to be confiscated taxed.  Like when the 16th Amendment was passed to tax only “the wealthy”.

The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the tax code.

The magic of government accounting…that fantastic world where taking someone else’s earnings, levying a not-insignificant handling charge, then distributing it to some one who didn’t earn it, or spending it on such profound endeavors as alcoholism rates among Chinese hookers, and federally funded sex-education classes for Kindergarteners is “bringing fairness to the tax code”. It should go without saying that what is being “saved” is the government’s ability to buy votes with someone else’s money.

The senior administration official said that wealthy taxpayers can currently “accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.”

Ahh, yes. That new benchmark of “fairness”, an arbitrary determination of the OWNER’S “needs”, decided entirely by a government that refuses to live within our means…meaning that it is really talking about ITS needs. (Those lavish vacations and hookers and blow for the Secret Service don’t come cheap, doncha know) While this same mantra has met with limited success among people who refuse take responsibility for their own safety, and don’t want YOU to either, I think it’s safe to say that government’s determination of “need” in this matter will meet with even less success than the drumbeat about not “needing” a Sig or a Glock or an AR for hunting.

Under the plan, a taxpayer’s tax-preferred retirement account, like an IRA, could not finance more than $205,000 per year of retirement – or right around $3 million this year.

I can remember when $250,000 a year was the government’s benchmark for “rich”. Can you?

Romney, Obama’s 2012 opponent, had an IRA several to many times that amount, leading to questions about how the former Massachusetts governor was able to squirrel away so much money in that sort of retirement account.

The problem is not everyone donates money to the President like the heads of Solyndra, Sun Power, and other “green energy” graft schemes. Sometimes, they actually earn it through hard work. And this is why this Administration is clueless about finances. Because it NEVER occurs to them that while you might be limited in annual contributions to IRAs, not all IRAs are simply glorified bank accounts. Some are managed investments, that take risks with the money in order to get increased returns. But again, unless you made your fortune from government or your association with it, all these people see is money that they want.

And for your last thought…

I was eating lunch today and reading about another gun manufacturer that made the decision to leave one of the states that has gone full retard after Sandy Hook and passed blatantly unconstitutional gun “control” laws.  As this had been going on for a few weeks now, I have had a certain measure of amusement in watching this, but then I thought “If I were totalitarian narcissist with delusions of adequacy who chaffed at the restraints that the Constitution necessarily placed on me, and I might want to resort to a desperate ultra vires act against an industry that could be a threat to me realizing my aspirations of power, would I want to have to “seize” facilities scattered across states in all regions of the country, or would I want to only have to concentrate on one region?

Suddenly, it was less amusing than it had been a few minutes before.

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Gun-fearing wussies and overbearing government control freaks continue to see an asterisk where none exists, in a determined effort to make the Constitution their own personal stumbling block like the living stone Peter wrote about in the second chapter of his first epistle.

First, we have New Jersey Police and CPS officials who executed a late-night, warrantless raid on the home of Shawn Moore, an NRA-Certified firearms instructor and range safety officer, who also teaches hunter education courses for the state of New Jersey this past Saturday night.   What could warrant such extraordinary action?  He posted a picture of his 11-year-old son, posing with a .22 caliber hunting rifle on Facebook.  His son has a New Jersey hunting license.  The authority’s excuse for trampling on Mr. Moore’s Fourth Amendment rights was an anonymous call to CPS as a result of the photo.  Apparently this was such a great indicator of child abuse that it caused the authorities to run out on a Saturday night to conduct this raid in such a hurry, that they forgot to get a warrant!  Thankfully, Mr. Moore’s attorney didn’t forget about the Fourth Amendment, and when the authorities demanded to get inside Mr. Moore’s gun safe “to see if all his weapons were properly registered” (registration isn’t required in New Jersey), Mr. Moore’s attorney reminded them that if they didn’t have a warrant, they could go pound sand.  The authorities were undeterred, attempting their typical “if you don’t cooperate with us, it looks suspicious” coercion, but Mr. Moore was having none of it.  It is reported that the Moores are considering suing the authorities.  I suggest a Section 1983 Civil Rights suit…the kind that carries personal liability for the offenders.  It’s well-past time to send a message to these people that they do not get to intimidate and harass law-abiding citizens who are simply exercising their rights.

Second is this “opinion” piece from the Los Angeles Times posted on Facebook by my friend and fellow patriot, Gary Graham.  It contains the same tired leftist lily-guilding casting people who believe that rights worth having are rights worth defending as “belligerently ignorant” and “filled with intractable hatred”, despite the fact that people who spout such nonsense in attempts to infringe or restrict the legitimate Constitutional rights of others are the ones most often proving themselves “belligerently ignorant” and so full of hate for others who engage in activity that they do not approve of…a trait so serendipitously displayed by this line from the story:

What can be done to reverse this tide of belligerent ignorance? Not much. The typical patriot acts within his free-speech and 2nd Amendment rights, and in fact most patriot activity consists of venting steam by meeting with like-minded Neanderthals and firing off blog posts threatening civil war. Yet such blather tends to get under the skin of the Timothy McVeighs of the world. These groups should be closely monitored, with resources adequate to the task, even if it means shifting some homeland security money from the hunt for foreign terrorists.

The contempt they have for the document drips off of the statement I bolded there.  And the bit about “getting under the skin of the Timothy McVeighs of the world” strikes me as a dangerous and determined flirtation with irony poisoning, considering that they are the local paper for an industry that makes its money from peddling all manner of violence, with firearms and without, and studiously deflecting any suggestion that its product might in some way contribute to the senseless violence that some claim is epidemic in our society.  But again, to the minds of these rocket surgeons, this is but another problem to be solved by an expansion of domestic government surveillance, because everyone knows that the way to save a free society is to curtail its freedoms whenever possible.

Some days, there is NEVER enough facepalm for the inconsistencies and illogical pontificating that pass for thinking.  Ambassador Soval would certainly raise an eyebrow.

Ambassador Soval

 

 

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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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