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Posts Tagged ‘Abuse’

I’m ashamed to admit that I was amused for a bit.  When the Hobby Lobby decision was first handed down, the deluge of butthurt and really bad analysis from the Left was entertaining.  It offered a glimpse into a mindset that has been wrongly conditioned to think that religion was something confined to various buildings dotting the landscape of the country for a few hours a week…a diversion for people not smart enough to take advantage of an opportunity to sleep in, rather than a deeply held conviction that guides the actions of those who believe, and that as such, will be expressed in the actions taken by the holders of those beliefs, including what they do, and what government may try to force them to do, with their own property.

But the howls continued.  The vitriol continued.  And expressions of hatred were aired without restraint or condemnation, once again giving lie to the Left’s own sermonizing about civility and tolerance.

As a student of history, I wasn’t disturbed by the Hobby Lobby ruling, because it brought about the correct result.  I was disturbed by the fact that it wasn’t a unanimous ruling, which in and of itself shows just how far we have strayed from first principles.  And as the wailing and gnashing of teeth continued to grow into a low roar, fueled by ignorance and indigence that someone should be allowed to dissent and not participate in the high holy sacrament of killing unborn children, I saw yet more confirmation of a clash of beliefs being perpetrated by a creed that is still inexplicably permitted to masquerade as value neutral, when it is nothing of the sort.  Secularism as practiced today has death at its heart, and as such it can be nothing but a cancer that is embraced and nurtured by too many in society until the tumor in our collective head has grown so large that it threatens the very nature of who we are as a people.  Our society still utters the expressions of freedom, but does so in contradiction to the convictions that inform our actions.  These soulless supplications are offered both as ruse, and rebuke, intended to convince the less vigilant among us that there is no cause for alarm, and to portray the watchmen as hysterical and ridiculous.  And in this climate, usurpations and entitlements are magically and mystically transmogrified into “rights”,while real rights, which government is obligated to protect and defend, are consigned to wither and fade in the shadow of the “rights” “given” (and protected by nothing other than) by the artifice and caprice of government, which is more interested in redistributing private property and the bounty earned by it, than in defending it.

A healthy society is one that understands that morality is a cultural necessity.  No society has long lasted when every man has done right in his own eyes, without a common frame of reference to which everyone can refer.  Government works best when it accepts and codifies those guard rails which delineate the boundaries between what is acceptable and what is not.  It is an unhealthy society which rejects what has been shown to have value, and provide a framework that allows society to grow and thrive, in favor of a government that assumes the mantle of moral authority based on what it determines is true, is right, and is acceptable, because there is no anchor for any of these determinations other than the desires of 50% +1.  Some may say that this sickness is a product of the 20th Century.  I’ve come to understand that the body politic has been infected with this particular hubris from much longer, but I do think that it accelerated, at an exponential rate, in the 20th Century.

The standing complaint of human degeneracy remains against us.  Causes have been operating—and of late years with fearful rapidity and strength—to produce a state of moral obliquity and practical atheism among us, appalling in magnitude and of alarming consequence.  It has become of late quite customary to sneer at the Puritanism of our fathers, and to speak with contempt of the severity of their manners and the bigotry of their faith.  This impious treatment, by the present corrupters of society, of a generation of men whose lofty principles and illustrious virtues they seem utterly unable to comprehend, is well adapted to not only arouse the deepest indignation, but to excite the most lively concern.  There are two quarters from which these evil influences chiefly proceed.  A class of men without conscience, and reckless of all moral restraint, have gained ascendancy in the public favor, and assume from their prominent position to mould and direct the public sentiment of the nation.  Their general influence upon the public morals has been like the wind of the desert, –poisonous, withering, and destructive.  Another and very large class of men moving in the lower walks of life form a significant element of our American population, whose hard and vicious instincts , gratified without compunction and paraded everywhere in the most offensive manner, would seem to render them well-nigh incapable of reformation.  Apparently insensible to all the nobler sentiments of public morality and virtue, and ever ready to perform their congenial part in the general demoralization the demand that all the higher classes shall pander to their depraved appetites, as the price of their patronage and support.  In this reciprocal play of the baser passions the common principles of morality are daily sacrificed, and the strong and the weak join hands in carrying down the nation to the very verge of ruin.  No man can observe the conditions of society in our country, and the obvious impulses of human conduct, without feeling that the perils against which the fathers warned us, and which have so faithfully and constantly pointed out ministers of religion, have, not withstanding, increased at a fearful rate, without seeing the most alarming departures from the standard of individual rectitude and social integrity have occurred among us within the century that is past.
Byron Sunderland, Washington D.C., April 14, 1863.

And now we have come to a point where a vocal segment of society have decided that a recognition that someone else’s right to not participate in the use of a substance or device that they personally find repugnant to their faith should be subordinate to government’s “ability” to make them pay for another’s choice to use such substance or device.  We have come to that point where a recognition of the right of conscience is considered to be a “denial of access” and abridgement of the recipient’s “right to choose” with their benefactors money.  And those who protest loudest because they see in this recognition a threat to a river of blood money so long and casually extorted from the taxpayer feel absolutely no guilt in their perversion of terms and concepts in their efforts to gin up outrage against the affirmation of the obvious, which is still obviously stated, and has remained such in a more than a century’s worth of a campaign of deception and subversion by their own design, because honesty in their intentions never would have obtained the support they otherwise enjoyed.

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Normally, I’d be fine with “leaders” who make declarations demonstrating their unfitness for office, but we aren’t living in “normal”, and haven’t been for sometime now.   Now, when it happens, it is as much an indictment of us as it is of the one doing the declaring.

The latest example?  Jeb Bush.

From this piece in Breitbart:

“I’m going to say this and it will be on tape, and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their family’s dad who loves their children was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table, and they wanted to make sure their family was intact. And they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. it’s kind of — it’s a — it’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that’s a different kind of crime that should be, there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t be — it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families. And the idea that we’re not going to fix this but with with comprehensive reform ends up trapping these people, when they could make a great contribution for their own their families but also for us.

So I think we need to get beyond the harsh political rhetoric to a better place. The great number of people who come to this country come because they have no opportunities in other places. They may love their country, but they come here because they want to provide for their families. And they can make a contribution to our country if we actually organized ourselves in a better way.”

Jeb is fully infected with the politician’s disease…that horrible malady which declares that there can be no limit on generosity and compassion, when rendering both with other people’s money.

Jeb sees future voters, and is willing to look past their willingness to break our laws, and take what a select few profit from offering.    And “an act of love”?  Really?  “I love you so much I’ll break another nation’s laws in order to take from that country and society as much as I can for you.  I love you so much that I’ll risk the separation of our family.” is not an expression of love that is cognizable to those familiar with the concept.   But then I don’t believe that breaking the law to come here sets a good example for my family anyway.

And “They may love their country, but they come here because they want to provide for their families.” is a line that should forever shame this man.  I love my family, and I love my country.  That’s why I live here.  And Jeb should love his countrymen and his country enough to understand why borders matter.  Why immigration matters.  And why the integrity of both matters.   And I’m ashamed that anyone even being discussed as a future Presidential candidate refuses to see this as a cultural and a national security imperative.  The fact that he’s a Bush in a post-9/11 world only makes this that much more problematic.

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No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get away from the legalized marijuana issues.

I was talking with an acquaintance this week about idiocy of Washington’s tax scheme for legalized marijuana.  He’s a numbers guy and is well-versed in tax bureaucracies, and their miraculously functional illogic.  We had started out by discussing how the measure was sold in this state, which focused almost exclusively on “new tax revenue” and “being able to focus law enforcement on other matters other than marijuana-related offenses”.  (I’ve lived in this state for 13 years, and I can say I was aware of any great law enforcement push to enforce the laws when it comes to marijuana.  But then, that may be influenced by the fact that police departments pass out munchies to those openly defying the law, so there’s that…)  It also flies in the face of data which is pretty clear that we don’t have an epidemic of incarceration solely because of marijuana possession and use.

The dual-mindedness of the people in this state on this issue simply boggles the mind.  The state has undergone a crusade against smoking in which some counties decided that bad second-hand smoke studies were a good basis for banning smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants specifically set up to cater to smoking customers, and the state legislature followed shortly after with a ban on smoking in all public places, including within 25 feet of any doorway.  This was followed by local authorities moving to ban people from smoking in their own residences if they live in public housing.  The legislature, not to be out done, came back with a proposal to ban smoking in an automobile if there are children present.  And yet these very same tyrant wannabes needed a drool rag to wipe up after their tax lust.  I have yet to hear how all but banning the smoking of tobacco products can be an imperative for public health, and yet pot smoking doesn’t create some of the very same harms we’re preventing with the anti-smoking crusade.  The utter dishonesty of it sickens me.  Putting aside the addiction issue.  Putting aside the evidence (yes, I know that the studies are mixed) regarding how much longer marijuana impairs you than alcohol does, I defy anyone in the public health community to tell me that smoking tobacco is a public health threat that requires increasing restrictions on liberty, but that lighting up a joint is something that the government should be cool with.  But then, if there was any honesty, it would require an admission that the government is ok with harm to its citizens, as long as it is getting paid.

But then the police being able to concentrate on “other offenses” is really a poor argument too.  It isn’t an accident that as part of the move to legalize recreational marijuana use, the state legislature had to set limits for legal impairment for drivers with regard to their use of marijuana…meaning that they knew what everyone knew, and didn’t want to discuss.  That as with alcohol, there would be people who would not be able to stop themselves from using, and driving, and that like with alcohol, people would be harmed as a result.

And now, in the fashion we have come to expect in this country, it appears that even toking up isn’t immune to forces of entitlement and the playing of race cards, as this story in The Root demonstrates.

When I read this story earlier this week, I realized that if the Earth was going to have an extinction-level collision with an asteroid, I’d probably be up on the roof, writing “Hit Here First”.  Just the very idea that white people will get all the good weed is a fair condensed version of everything that is wrong with this country today.   I read the headline, and thought to myself that I would give my last dollar to be able to go back in time, and be right there to respond to Rodney King’s famous question with an emphatic “NO!”

We aren’t even fiddling while Rome burns any more.  We’re sitting in the ashes, and blaming each other because it is too hot.  With stratospheric “real” unemployment numbers, a government addicted to spending what it doesn’t have, and an educational system that would have made Ponzi blanch at its brazenness, people now want to worry that someone might get a better buzz than they did, simply because of their skin color.  And the people who are most worried don’t seem to care that each of those problems with society are magnified in “their communities”…a problem which the community organizer in chief is unable or unwilling to solve, opting instead to use race as a wedge, and pursue redistribution.  But then, smart people realize that the “If a man is hungry, take someone else’s fish at gunpoint and give it to him” is a plan that simply discourages fishing.

Then there is the “WHAT?” factor to the underlying logic.  I grew up next to a large urban center(and went to college in it) that was living under similar economic conditions before Obama and the Democrats took them nationwide.  It didn’t seem to affect the ability of persons of color to obtain Hennessy, Couvoisier, Tanqueray, etc.  In fact, I never once heard a concern uttered about the white people getting all the good booze.  The article suggests that we had to have Obama as President to get us to the point of seriously considering marijuana legalization.  It seems only fair that since he is intent on limiting the economy so that everything but the amounts we spend on his vacations and golf is a finite resource, that someone could now publish a piece about the fear of segregation of pot based on race and NOT do so as a work of satire.

Things like this almost make me want to root for the collapse of our civilization.  But instead, it may prove more profitable for those in power to simply let us fade away in a cloud of smoke and mellowness…as long as someone with a different skin color doesn’t get a better class of weed.  Maybe we could get Philip Morris to come up with a couple of premium blends.  Then we could solve the problem, AND make an evil corporation cool again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We all know the answer to that question. 

Nothing. 

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

From the Slate story on PRISM:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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