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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  – Hebrews 11:1, NKJV

Today, was the second of two sermons on Isaiah 40.  As we started today’s portion, I reflected on the remarkable nature of the message of the Chapter.  Prospectively, the nation of Israel was headed for the seventy-years long Babylonian Captivity, and the first message God had for them was “Comfort!”

I pondered that as the Pastor started with today’s message.  Isaiah knew that Babylon was coming to take all that Israel had…its riches, its livelihood, and its people.  And still his word for them was “Comfort!”, knowing that there would be 70 years of bondage.  My mind kneaded this message in the face of what was coming to them, and in light of portents that seem all too frequent, such as the modern harbinger of bondage that I read about this morning, in which a Virginia lawmaker has floated the idea of making doctors accept Medicaid and Medicare patients.  The commonality was striking.  The common denominator of both is the concept of bondage…the centuries-old nemesis of freedom.  Putting aside the cruel irony of a nation that will still recoil with an obvious shock and horror from things even remotely associated with a past regarding slavery based on the color of skin, and the belief in the ability to own everything about another human being, but almost enthusiastically advocate for government to own the labor of a person, without any corresponding responsibility to them, I think that we, like Isaiah’s Israel are heading for dark times.

So much of what the world knows about bondage is rooted in the physical.  I suppose that is to be expected, as with the nihilism that comes with it.  When all you have is only what you can see, it gets very easy to believe that it is all there is, and more importantly, to become very hopeless about it.  But the truth is that bondage is first a spiritual condition.  And often, those so deeply held in the grips of it spiritually are the least able to recognize it.  This also makes it ok to urge it on others.  We see this at work in a culture that preaches tolerance, but holds its darkest contempt and hatred in reserve for those who do not see the world as they do.  We see it in a culture that creates grand designs on the idea of diversity, but ruthlessly hounds those who do not believe as the majority does.  It works overtime in a culture that exhorts a private right to murder the most innocent among us as the ultimate expression of “choice”, when only one choice is given any consideration.  In such a culture, the leap to the “right” to that which your neighbor has worked for isn’t as much a leap as it is a slow inevitability.

Still, by the time we get to the end of the chapter, we have the reminder that we too can be brought up on the wings of eagles.  And as I considered that, and 2 Kings 6:16-17, I found a calmness in the idea of trust…even when not all is revealed, enough already has been to know that bondage is what Christ came to break, and while we may have to suffer it for a time, it will not be eternal.

16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  –2 Kings 6:16-17 NKJV

 

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Re: The Washington Redskins and the Thinskins screaming for a name change.

1. Bob Costas is obviously a frustrated Keith Olberman wannabe, who needs to stick to football and leave political commentary to the Sunday talk shows.

2. When I heard President Petulant weighing in on it this morning, I realized that having an opportunity to swing the sword of victimhood, on behalf of people who are largely not offended, rated as a much higher priority than actually accepting the GOP’s shameful surrender on Friday that would have given him his CR, with funding for ObamaDoesn’tCare, and a temporary raise in the debt ceiling. Frankly, I didn’t know whether to cry or scream…especially since the bottom of the hour news report lead with a headline screaming about “DEFAULT!!111!!!” on Thursday, despite the fact that a default isn’t necessary, since as the chief executive, he can chose to task the revenue that comes in regardless of the debt ceiling to servicing the debt and thus avoiding “DEFAULT!!!11!!!Eleventy!!11”.

But the given the particularly nasty nature of his latest temper tantrum, the headline may be right. I can see President Petulant deciding that making sure illegal immigrants getting a mint on the pillow of their taxpayer-funded beds should be a higher priority than servicing the debt.

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It’s Columbus Day, a federal holiday which means that MORE than 17% percent affected by the SHUTNADO!!11!!! will be shut down. I don’t see pundits wringing their hands about this larger “interruption” of government. Or the lack of progress on Benghazi. Or the lack of frog marching administration and IRS officials over the IRS scandals. Or talking about what a crashing and criminally expensive failure the ObamaDoesn’tCare website is.

Nope. Instead, we’re all gonna die because of an inevitable and completely avoidable default on the nation’s debt because President Petulant doesn’t wanna prioritize spending.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are being lead by a 13 year old who needs to be taken over someone’s knee.

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

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

The first point raised is this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Resident:

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

James B. Treat

Chief, American Community Survey Office

Let’s brake it down, shall we?

Dear Resident:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: Is that supposed to scare me?

*click*

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

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We have illegal immigrant farmworkers going on strike to protest farmers bringing in migrant farmworkers legally:

The striking farm workers, mostly indigenous Mixteco and Trique Mexicans who migrate each year from California, had made repeated demands over wages, working conditions and other issues.

But at the core of their angst is the pending arrival early next month of some 160 guest workers from Mexico to prop up the farm’s existing workforce.

“There’ve been rumblings … (over guest workers) in the past, but I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” said Alberto Isiordia, state monitor advocate for the state Department of Employment Security.

While growers in Eastern Washington have used the federal government’s H-2A program over the last five years to legally bring guest workers into the country, this is the first year Sakuma or any Western Washington fruit grower will use it.

Many of the Sakuma farmworkers — who don’t speak English or Spanish —

say they are in the country unlawfully.[Emphasis Added]

Of course they are. And if you haven’t completely surrendered your ability to think to the rampant idiocy and pro-amnesty nonsense, you’re probably thinking “Why is this a thing? If you’re illegal, the last thing you should be doing is calling attention that fact by protesting over your employer using workers who have been brought in legally. But seeing as our society and our government have been actively undermining the law for some time now, I not only expect people to support these illegal immigrants doing the striking and protesting that Americans just won’t do, I expect that before long, the NLRB will be investigating and going after the farm for not “bargaining in good faith” and “undermining their labor organizing activities”. I sure am glad that in a labor climate where many Americans are unemployed and many more are underemployed, community organizing, and “improving” labor conditions for people who are breaking the law in the first place simply by being here is a priority.

But then, I’ve learned to not count out the native ability to mix stupidity and audaciousness into a big ol’ pot and serve up heaping helpings to the neighbors either. Case in point? Seattle fast food workers demanding “a living wage” for saying “You want fries with that?” and failing to firmly secure the lid on the cutomers’ sodas.

The minimum wage in Washington state is $9.19 per hour. The organization “Good Jobs Seattle” says the strike is part of a nationwide effort to raise the pay for fast food workers to $15 per hour and to give them the right to organize without retaliation.

Now, I’ve heard a few of this group’s spokespersons on the radio, and as someone who has worked from age 15, I get the impression that many of these folks just don’t get it. It’s a cinch that none of them has taken an economics class, or had a lemonade stand as a child. When I hear a 23-year-old whining that she can’t afford an apartment all to herself, and has trouble making ends meet, my first reaction is “And why do you think that fast food is a CAREER?” With the exception of managers, it was never intended to be a career. It was a place for people to learn work skills (especially teenagers) that they could continually build on, and move on to jobs that can and should be careers. But frankly, when I hear them talk about how they would have more money to put into the economy if they made more money, it doesn’t take too long to realize that they have never considered that the prices their employers have to charge in order to pay their wages have limits on their elasticity. Whenever I’m in Seattle, I try to avoid eating in fast food establishments because the prices reflect the already-higher costs of doing business that are imposed upon their employers. If you increase wages (which are already frequently above minimum wage) to $15 an hour, and the Quarter Pounder Meal goes up to $8, it shouldn’t take a rock surgeon to understand that McDonalds is going to sell a lot fewer of them, which in turn means that they will employ fewer people. Yeah, if they get their way, a few of these strikers may get a significant raise. And several more will get pink slips. And that says nothing about what those increases in costs might do to other products and services they buy; it is foolish to believe that all other costs and prices will remain static, especially in a city where the Mayor is silly enough to attack a potential employer, Whole Foods, for not paying its workers enough, when they have consistently been named one of America’s best places to work, and when the bicycle-riding, granola-munching tool in the mayor’s office has failed to calculate all benefits offered to those employees into his dubious calculations to make his assertion.

But stupidity is pernicious. Like rust, it never sleeps. And this morning, I was treated to the story of a ballot initiative in the City of SeaTac (where our major airport this side of the mountains is located) to raise the wages of some workers who work at the airport. One of the people favoring it was a gentleman who works for one of the contractors at the airport that fuels the aircraft. His rationale went like this:
Many of the jobs being performed by contractors and their employees at the airport used to be done directly through the airlines, which, when adjusted for inflation, paid wages about a third higher to the employees doing the work as they do now, and that just isn’t right. The host rightfully discussed deregulation, and the very competitive nature of the business. His guest countered by alleging that he’d “heard” that the airlines still pay the same dollar amount to the contractors to do the work, and that the difference is being held up there. The host went on to point out that if the costs have to be raised, it may drive some of the carriers away from the airport, or make it so expensive that consumers will go elsewhere. The guest than said that he didn’t believe that they would have to raise prices to make up the difference, because “all businesses put money away to deal with emergencies”. The host pointed out that this isn’t a one-time charge, this would be an ongoing increase in expense. They went to a break, and when the host came back, a caller phoned in, and asked how it is a city has the authority to identify certain workers as being worthy of a higher minimum wage than other people. I thought it was a fair question, especially since the idea is being championed by people who seem to think that others can simply make more money out of thin air to pay for them. On the other hand, these people vote, and when you ponder that for a second, some of the things Congress does in terms of spending start to make a perverse sense.

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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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“It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that just aren’t so.” —Ronald Reagan

Sadly, when it comes to liberals’ idiot cousins, progressives, this no longer holds true, which is why there are few things packed with more “FAIL!” than sites like “The Christian Left” and “Forward Progressives”, which publish childlike indictments of the evvvvvvvvvvviiiiiillll Republicans and conservatives, which often claim that both groups are hypocritical for their profession of Christianity, which these not-clever-by-half artists and authors repeatedly claim doesn’t match up with their facile understanding of Christ and Christianity. They usually root this claim in the fact that Republicans and conservatives do not favor, and are often openly opposed to “compassion by government”, which these deep thinkers somehow believe is supported by the Bible and would have been favored by Christ, who, in no translation of the Bible I have ever read once openly stated, implied, or in any way led anyone to believe that we can or should fulfill our duties and obligations to others by being compelled to “give” the fruits of our labors to government, so that it may decide who may be “helped”, what “help” should be given, or how much “help” will be rendered.

But truth, and the utter lack of any evidentiary support for such remarkable propositions are not something that these learned scholars will let get in the way of their wishcasting, as displayed in this simple-minded dreck “imagining” (no doubt in the fine and storied tradition of John Lennon) about a “Republican Jesus”.

The stereotypes are right out of pot-fueled “OCCUPY!” drum circle (either that, or read verbatim from a Democratic caucus meeting), and are layered with all the cleverness and care of a 3-year-old trying to be nonchalant about a pathetic attempt to be clever, only the 3-year-old would be more self-aware about their utter failure to achieve their objective. I was introduced to this rhetorical snot sample when it was posted in a Facebook group I frequent. I won’t waste your time talking about the crayon-rendered one-dimensional caricature the ham-fisted propagandist treats the reader to. Anyone who has been reading its like for very long could probably write it themselves, cover each of the major bullet points, and do so more convincingly.

Instead, I’d like to talk about the “theology” (I’m being generous…work with me here) leading into the clichéd portrait offer up for our edification. Specifically, this pull quote, interspersed with my responses to each point, which I find missed by a whole lot more than “that much“.

“The Jesus I’ve learned about throughout my life was a man who stood against greed.”

And maybe if you did some more reading, you’d understand that he wouldn’t be in favor of the greed that makes government steal on your behalf either. (Or with you believing not only that it is ok for government to do so, but that anyone, let alone those you deem “worthy” of such redistribution should feel entitled to such largesse. But don’t take my word for it. That book that you’ve either read or didn’t grok was pretty clear about the generosity of others not being a hammock for the recipient in both the Old Testament [Deuteronomy 24:19—a concept put into practice by a young widow struggling to provide for herself and her bitter mother-in-law in the book of Ruth], and the New Testament [2 Thessalonians 3:8, 3:10].

“He was someone who helped the helpless, cared for the sick and needy and didn’t judge others.”

He helped and cured the sick not so he could point to himself, but because it was what he expected of us and because it made people LISTEN to what he was saying. His example was INDIVIDUAL and VOLUNTARY collective aid (i.e. the church), not that compelled by government, which also determines WHO to help, HOW to help them, and in WHAT degree, in a manner that removes all accountability for what is done with your “contribution”.

And as for the “judging”, it might be instructive to read ALL that he said on the matter in each of the gospels, and consider his actions as well. I doubt the adulteress at the well would conclude that there was no judgement in what he said. Or the man he cured and told to take up his bed and walk. But then, “Go forth, and sin no more.” doesn’t count, because he didn’t use the word “judgement”, amirite?

“He taught compassion, forgiveness, love, hope, giving and kindness.”

Yes, but he didn’t check his brain at the door when he did it. Freely giving of yourself with the heart of a servant is not the same thing as being a doormat or a sucker, nor is it a license to be a sponge, or to continually avoid making changes to yourself, so you can always be taking what others give.

“He spoke out against those who manipulate God for their own selfish purposes”

Close. It was more about those who thought that they could be holy and righteous based upon the law alone, without the other characteristics he demonstrated, and without understanding that none of us could ever meet the requirements of the law without the grace he brought with his sacrifice at Calvary.

Still, I wonder how exactly he would have addressed Fauxahontas Warren for her dubious use of scripture at the last DNC convention, or Barack Obama claiming a “partnership” with him in his efforts to get the Great Healthcare Takeover passed.

and never once spoke about abortion or homosexuality

Both of which were against the law (abortion indirectly, as you read references to “womb” in the Old Testament, and Luke 1:44 make it clear that they did not question that what was in the womb was indeed an actual person, and murder was frowned upon)…the same law that he told us that he did not come to change…not a jot or a tittle, but he came to fulfill. Seriously, this is the single dumbest argument these spiritual pettifoggers can propagate. Why would he talk about homosexuality? He was a RABBI for crying out loud. It was condemned under jewish law. He had a limited time here, why would he spend anytime speaking about something like that?

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What this boils down to is the author’s stunning lack of self-awareness, railing against people “manipulating God for their own selfish purposes” as he is either unaware, or dishonest about the contents of the Bible being contrary to his own shallow and politically motivated invocation of a God that he clearly has never taken the time to get to know himself, preferring to either be content with what others have told him, or simply to assume and expertise untainted by the burden of evidence to support his assumptions and the knowledge that his “truth”, isn’t. It was never clever, only amusing for a short-time, and has grown to become very tiresome.

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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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