November 26, 2015
The Spread of Authoritarianism
I was going to take off from reality today and relax - but just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in.
What happened is I read this statement from Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard:
I need to be VERY clear here: we are not talking the merely insulting, rude, offensive commentary that trolls and various other lowlifes seem free to spew, willy nilly, although there has been plenty of that, too. No, this was hate speech.
These are likely crimes in my view (and in the view of those in the criminal justice system we immediately involved).
Now it may be possible that this is referring to actual credible threats of violence - but that is not made clear. What bothers me is the content of the statement on its face.
Let's start with his first statement "merely insulting, rude, offensive commentary that trolls and various other lowlifes seem free to spew." (emphasis added)
This us a university president who entirely fails to grasp the concepts of freedom in general and free speech in particular. The reality is, Mr. Shepard, that they are free to spew whatever nonsense they wish. Your statement indicating that you find this troubling is an enlightening glimpse into the totalitarian mind.
The rest of the statement takes appalling to a whole new level. "Hate Speech" is not a crime. Saying something that hurts someone's feelings is not a crime. Speech, unless it rises to the level of specific and credible threat of or incitement to violence is not a crime.
When people point to Hate Crime statutes and observe that it is a short step from separating the hate from the crime and just punishing the thought we are called paranoid and ridiculous. Here you see it in action.
People like Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard need to be called out as the authoritarians they are and they need to be stopped.
October 10, 2015
I was apparently born without the genes for hyper sensitivity and the associated moral outrage that so often manifests as a symptom.
I don't often admit this publicly but I am one of the 65% of the global population that is lactose intolerant. Admidedly my condition is not too severe. I can eat a cheese burger or a slice or two of pizza usually without trouble but a glass of milk is out of the question. A delicious cream sauce at dinner and I'll be calling in sick the next day.
It is not a fun problem to have and it is constantly fodder for jokes and mocking.
One of the television shows we watch regularly is Big Bang Theory. A generally smart and funny show that mixes a little actual science with routine banal sitcom humor. One running joke on the show is that one of the characters, Leonard, suffers from lactose Intollerance. This is a source of routine mocking and jokes.
I should be offended. I should be outraged. I should be manning the baricades of social media demanding an end to this discrimination.
The show should be rewritten or taken off the air and all the past episodes destroyed. Someone should be held responsible and fired.
But I'm too busy laughing at the jokes and even at myself to be offended.
There must be something seriously wrong with me, beyond difficulty digest in dairy.
September 17, 2015
Wrong on Rights
Hillary Clinton is a totalitarian feminist who shouldn’t be allowed on Pennsylvania Avenue let alone back in the White House. She clearly has no conception of what individual rights are and would undoubtedly be more interested in trampling them than protecting them.
Speaking on the subject of sexual assault at the University of Northern Iowa, Clinton said:
"I want to send a message to all of the survivors,” she said.
"Don’t let anyone silence your voice, you have the right to be heard, the right be believed, and we are with you as you go forward.”
Leaving aside the question of whether or not this standard applies to the various women who have accused her husband of sexual assault, this is a frighteningly dangerous idea.
What Clinton is saying is that to be accused of sexual assault is to be proven guilty beyond all doubt. A right, by definition is unalienable. It cannot be taken away. If an accuser has a right to be believed, an accuser cannot be doubted and a accuser cannot be questioned.
The accused cannot defend themselves. By the right of the accuser to be believed they are guilty because by right there can be no doubt of the accusation.
This is a standard of justice that no doubt even the Queen of Hearts would find troubling. At least she was willing to allow for a trial after the verdict. With Clinton’s feminist totalitarian pandering it’s accusation, then sentencing.
July 29, 2015
I Am A Partisan
Political partisanship in American politics has traditionally been Democrats vs Republicans. If the one party wanted something the other opposed it. Often times just because it was a the other side's idea, regardless of the merits.
And there is a constant drumbeat from politicians and political pundits alike that partisanship has gotten worse. That it’s meaner, nastier and more vicious than ever before. The civility is gone from our politics they wail.
I was always a fan of partisanship. Usually if both sides agreed it meant that We The People were going to get it good and hard.
Partisanship is changing. Not becoming just a more antagonistic version of what was, but becoming something new and potentially even more dangerous. Partisanship is evolving from Democrats vs Republicans to Politicians vs Citizens.
Increasingly people don’t view thew political parties as separate entities with competing governing philosophies and different ideas about the proper role of government in people’s lives. They are no longer organizations based on differing views of how best to serve the people, but different factions with increasingly small differences in their views of how best to serve the government and how best to serve themselves.
They have no respect for the rule of law. They disregard the Constitution. They ignore the will of the people. A recent poll conducted by CNN shows that only 30% of registered voters feel their views are well represented in government. Think of the 70% in the context of "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
There are still generations living that remember what it was like to be mostly free. You’ve probably seen the Facebook meme about surviving a childhood riding in the back of a pickup truck and drinking water from a hose etc. You may remember a decent shower and a toilet that worked with one flush. You may be old enough to remember a myriad of things large and small that you used to be free to do without fear of regulatory consequences.
There are generations growing up who don’t know any better. They don’t know anything other than the over regulated lives we now live. It astounds me that there is such a thing a "Free Range Kids” movement. A movement centered around trying to make it legal for kids to do what we used to call "go out and play.” A movement trying to undo regulations that have child protective services swooping in and taking kids away from families because they were out in public on their own. When partisanship becomes citizens vs the government, which side will these kids be on?
Have we reached our "sunset years?"
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.” – Ronald Reagan
I Am A Partisan. I know which side I am on.
May 31, 2015
Dennis the Menace?
"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”
Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged
I have been peripherally following the story of the indictment of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on charges of "structuring." Hastert was apparently withdrawing HIS money from HIS bank account in amounts that fall under federal banking reporting requirements. He was doing this in order to pay a blackmailer.
Paying a blackmailer is not a crime and I do not know if the extortion being used by the blackmailer (which is a crime) was based on a criminal action or just something personally embarrassing to Hastert. Since Hastert had not been charged with any crime that is serving as the basis for the blackmail, I have to assume it is the later.
As of this time, the blackmailer has not been charged.
The only crime for which any charges have been filed is the crime of withdrawing money from personal bank account in a manner such that the accused does not have to tell the government how he plans to use it.
I have no comment to add other than the quote at the top of the post.
I have no comment to add other than the quote at the top of the post.
May 24, 2015
The Debate Debate
There's a lot of debate on the political "right" about network plans to limit the number of declared Republican candidates on stage for the presidential primary debates. All I can think of is "so what."
The debates don't matter, the primaries don't matter, and based on recent evidence the elections don't matter.
The American people elected sweeping Republican majorities to Congress to stop the Democrats extreme left wing agenda. To halt Obama's "fundamental transformation" of the country. Have they done it? Have they stopped anything?
Executive amnesty - they caved.
Unconstitutional treaty with Iran - they caved.
Expanded trade negotiation powers - they caved.
Illegal Obamacare subsidies - they're planning to cave if the SCOTUS strikes them down.
The re-authorization of PATRIOT Act surveillance that is currently blocked in the Senate - they'll find a way to make a deal and cave on that too. They cannot and will not allow the size, scope and power of government to be reduced.
It doesn't matter who holds the power in Washington, their end game is the same - more power.
February 20, 2015
The Greater Offense Sometimes I find if difficult to understand why Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) has a radio show. So often when I tune in to his show on the drive home I hear him interviewing some guest brought on to give the opposing view and he misses the obvious question. He keeps repeating the same things over an over and never seems to follow up with a question based on what the guest has said.
Today, for instance, he had a spokesperson for an Islamic organization on to discuss the problem of radical Islamic terrorism. Specifically he was badgering the guest about which specific verses in the Koran justify violence and killing infidels.
This spokesperson - I missed his introduction so I don't have his name - insisted that violence, terrorism and the killing of infidels is actually against the teachings of the Koran and Mohammed.
What Hannity should have asked, and didn't was something like:
When a Danish newspaper published cartoons of Mohammed, angry and offended Muslims around the world marched in protest.
When a group of Muslims killed 3,000 people in New York in the name of Mohammed there were no marches. When a group of Muslims burned a Jordanian pilot alive on video, there were no marches. A group of Muslims beheaded 21 Christians in the name of Allah and there will be no marches.
What is the greater offense to Islam and the Prophet: violence and terrorism, that you say are against the teachings of Islam, done in the name of Mohammed or drawing a cartoon?
If you want to paint your opposition guest into a corner this is how you do it. He cannot answer that the cartoon is the greater offense because that invalidates his message or calls killing in the name of the Prophet a lesser evil than drawing a cartoon. Hardly a reasonable position. He cannot answer that the violence is the greater offense to the Prophet, because there is ample evidence proving otherwise.
Another missed opportunity to prove your point missed Mr. Hannity.
February 18, 2015
Obama administration spokes person Marie Harf had this to say regarding Radical Islamic Terrorists durring an interview with Chris Matthews:
I would say that this nonsense falls under the category of wishful thinking, but I can't really imagine that any thought went into it at all."We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs."
"We’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime or 50 lifetimes,” Matthews interrupted. "There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join. We can’t stop that, can we?”
In return, Harf suggested a soft power-like approach: "We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance,” she said. "We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people."
Consider this statement: "We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance." Will we convince them to respect individual rights like freedom of speech and religion? Will we talk them into acknowledging those rights for women? They are talking about countries where the basic principles of governance are set down in the words of their prophet. How are we going to help them improve on the word of their god?
Then there is this bold statement: "We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people." They can't even do that here in a first-world semi-free republic. What makes them think they can do it in a religiously authoritarian underdeveloped nation?
February 13, 2015
Go Ahead And Try The FCC and the FEC are making moves to regulate and control the internet. They are doing this because this is what the fascist in the Oval Office wants. And if you think they are not going to try to regulate content, you are a delusional idiot.
The bottom line is I don't give a rat's ass what they try to do.
I WILL NOT OBEY.
Not only will I not obey, but this dusty barely used blog will come back to life.
"They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!"
December 17, 2014
Is there a doctor in the house? Obamacare is hurting doctors. I can say this with absolute certainty because my story is not unique.
We used to have a really great medical benefit through my employer. It wasn't really insurance in the traditional sense of a hedge against disaster, it was a medical or healthcare benefit.
A couple of times a year one of the kids would develop a sore throat, runny nose and maybe a slight fever. We would bundle them up and bring them to the see the doctor. They would get a basic exam and most likely a throat culture to rule out strep throat. We'd make our $20 co-pay and be on our way. The rest of the $200+ cost of the visit was paid for by the medical plan. The next day we'd get a call from the doctor's office telling us that the throat culture was negative and the kid has a cold and will get over it in a few days. We paid $20 for that peace of mind and the doctor collected $200+.
The new benefit plan thanks to the federal government comes with a $4,000 deductible - and a nice premium increase. Now if one of the kids complains of a sore throat and runny nose we look at them with kindness and compassion and say, "You've got a cold. Take this. You'll get over it in a few days." No trip to the doctor. No $20 copay. No reimbursement from the insurance company. The doctor loses.
The insurance company collects the increased premium and pays out nothing.
They call this the Affordable Care Act?
December 03, 2014
Leading By Example If you have a president who has sworn to uphold the Constitution and to see that the laws are faithfully executed who:
- Refuses to defend laws he doesn't like in court
- Changes statutory deadlines for political expedience
- Refuses to enforce laws because he disagrees with them
- Rewrites Constitutionally passed statutes via executive order
- Uses the IRS to harass political opponents
Is it any wonder that the response to a decision of the justice system is met with vandalism, arson, robbery and murder?
When the President of the United States shows a complete lack of respect for the rule of law, why is anyone surprised by anything that is happening or has happened in Ferguson?
November 22, 2014
Imagine Liberty Imagine for a moment that in 2016 we elect a strongly free market libertarian as president and this person takes office with all of the tools and powers used by Obama. What could this president do?
Let's start this thought experiment with health care.
The first thing to do is employ the Obama non-enforcement rules and issue an executive order instructing the Internal Revenue Service to not spend any resources enforcing the penalties for the individual or employer insurance mandates. This would probably bring the whole fascistic enterprise to it's knees, but it's not enough.
Our president would also have to employ the Obama non-defense strategy a la the Defense of Marriage Act. You may recall that the Obama administration did not support the Clinton administration's law and decided that it would not defend it in court. The new president should instruct their new Attorney General to not even show up in court for hearings on the ACA.
That pretty much does it for health care. There may be a few peripheral federal regulations lingering and the president could decide to either wipe those out by non-enforcement or let the courts eliminate them.
This two pronged Obama approach can be taken in any number of areas to great effect.
If our libertarian president wanted to eliminate the federal Department of Education and return control of education to state and local government where it belongs it could be done the same way. A few executive orders to neuter No Child Left Behind and the god-awful school lunch rules, and non defense of any legal action against Common Core etc.
Federal employee unions would be toast. Implement by executive order the reforms Scott Walker put in place legislatively in Wisconsin and they're done.
Want to force some serious congressional action on tax reform? Use an executive order to end payroll withholding for federal income taxes. Once people have to start writing checks to the treasury public support for limited government would be off the charts.
Then start in on the EPA, the DOE the DOD the DEA, ATF, SSI, HHS anything the president doesn't like the president can kill with Non Enforcement and No Defense.
Our libertarian president could even bring back toilets that flush effectively, decent showers and the incandescent light bulb.
November 20, 2014
A Republic. If you can keep it.
Tonight the President of the United States will exercise unprecedented power and issue executive orders re-writing immigration law that was passed in accordance with United States Constitution.
What do I expect from the Congress whose Constitutional authority he is usurping?
From the Democrats in Congress I expect applause.
From the Republicans I expect sound and fury signifying nothing.
November 19, 2014
Throwing in the Towell The Democrat Party has for all intents and purposes conceded that incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu will loose the upcoming run-off election in Louisiana.
The Senate held a vote on a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that was put forward by Landrieu in a somewhat transparently desperate attempt to appear pro energy to voters.
The bill, which would have been vetoed by the president anyway, was defeated by a vote of 59 - 41 failing to clear the 60 vote cloture hurdle.
The failure means that Landrieu can't even go back to her home state and blame the result on the GOP. All 45 Republicans in the current Senate voted for the bill. The bill was defeated by her party.
Make no mistake about it, if the party leadership and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted the bill to pass the final tally would have been 61 - 39. The political calculation was that Landrieu is going to lose and it's not worth upsetting environmental special interest supporters to try to save her.
Landrieu has been thrown under the bus. 41 of her fellow Democrats were comfortably seated passengers.
November 17, 2014
Identifying the Problem Democrat Senator Al Franken attempting to make the case in favor of Obama's Net Neutrality initiative did a pretty good job of explaining the precise problem with Net Neutrality:
This would keep things exactly the same that they've been.
Innovation killing regulation designed to protect the interest of the content providers that use the largest percentage of internet bandwidth. Content providers who reliably contribute to progressive causes. Content providers who don't want to pay for the bandwidth their product requires.
The biggest beneficiaries of Net Neutrality will be Google and Netflix.
November 15, 2014
And the Lies Continue Presidential spokesman Josh Earnest (Did the pick him for the name?) was questioned recently about the video showing ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber stating that the stupidity of the American voter was essential to getting the law passed.
During a press briefing held in Myanmar Thursday, Henry immediately questioned Earnest on comments made by Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare consultant who suggested that the "stupidity of the American voter” contributed to the passing of the bill.
"[Gruber] went on to say, quote, ‘A lack of transparency was a huge political advantage for the President,’ in terms of selling it to the American people,” Henry said. "I thought it was just the opposite. Didn’t the President promise unprecedented transparency. Why would one of the architects of the law suggest that you were misleading people?”
"Well, again, it sounds like you may have watched the video a few more times than I have,” Earnest replied, adding that he wasn’t "going to quibble with what he actually said.”
Henry then asked if the White House felt "bad” about Gruber’s comments.
"I disagree vigorously with that assessment, I think is what I would say.I think the fact of the matter is this is a — this was a very difficult undertaking, but ultimately this is a law that has had significant benefits for millions of people that have been able to sign up through the marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act,” Earnest replied.
Again, as with so much of what this administration says, I call bullshit.
Let's take a closer look at what Earnest had to say.
First he replied that he wasn't "going to quibble with what he actually said." That's fine Josh. No one was asking you to to. It's on video. It's clear as a bell. There is no debate about what he said.
Then he said that he disagreed vigorously with Gruber's assessment that lack of transparency was an asset. So Earnest is telling us there was transparency in the process? Transparency in a complex 3,000 page bill that was not even read by the Democrats who voted for it using every parliamentary procedural trick they could think of to get it passed? They're calling that transparency? It's almost like they think we're stupid.
Just after crediting the stupidity of the American voter for helping to pass the Affordable Care Act, Gruber explains transparency would have been nice but in the end he would rather have the law passed than not.
The ends justified the means.
Speaking on behalf of President Obama, Earnest said:
This was a very difficult undertaking, but ultimately this is a law that has had significant benefits for millions of people that have been able to sign up through the marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act.
In other words, the ends justified the means he vigorously denies they used.
November 13, 2014
It Never Ends You are aware aren't you that the Mid-Term Congressional Election is not over yet? There is still the matter of the run-off election in Louisiana between Democrat incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. Conventional wisdom is that Cassidy is likely to win.
One campaign strategy in support of Landrieu is that Harry Reid is going to finally hold a vote in the Senate on legislation authorizing the Keystone Pipeline. Every current Senate Republican is likely to vote in favor and Harry will no doubt give permission for Landrieu and a few others to vote in favor so it passes.
President Obama has already signaled that he will veto the legislation because he sees this as Congress interfering with the State Department's infinite review process that has enabled him to avoid making a decision on the project for years.
I find it extremely unlikely that Harry Reid will bring up a vote to override the veto, let alone give any Senate Democrats permission to vote to override.
The whole purpose of this sham is to convince voters in Louisiana that Landrieu is pro-energy and willing to go against environmentalist special interests and her party's leadership to do what is right for her constituents.
But it's all bullshit.
They are doing this knowing that it will be vetoed by President Obama. They are doing this knowing that the Senate will not be challenging that veto. They are doing this knowing that it is meaningless. They are doing this to try to fool the voters in Louisiana who they think are too stupid to know better.
They are pulling a Gruber.
November 12, 2014
No Denying It MIT Economics Professor and ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber went to the friendly socialist studios of MSNBC to attempt a little damage control.
"The comments in the video were made at an academic conference,” Gruber said on "Ronan Farrow Daily.” "I was speaking off the cuff. I basically spoke inappropriately. I regret having made those comments.”
He regrets and feels in was inappropriate to publicly expose the lies used to pass the Affordable care Act. What he did not do, is to claim the statements he made were false.
The comments in the video were made at an academic conference
So what? Does this mean that nothing he said should be take seriously because it was just an academic conference?
I was speaking off the cuff.
Again, so what? It's not like he used a wrong word. The comments he is referring to were several connected sentences around a consistent and cohesive theme. How they wrote the ACA to dupe the Congressional Budget Office and the American people.
I basically spoke inappropriately.
Notice he does not say incorrectly, inaccurately or mistakenly. The inappropriateness of his comments was that they exposed the more of the lies of ObamaCare. I'm sure the administration feels he spoke inappropriately too.
I regret having made those comments.
I'm sure he does. These may be the most honest words of his non-denial.
Ends and Means
An Obama Administration consultant and one of the people who helped craft the Affordable Care Act has been shown on video tape saying that the Individual Mandate was deliberately written so that the Congressional Budget Office would not count it as a tax. Because if it was a tax it wouldn't be passed.
He also said the bill was written to disguise the fact that young healthy people will be forced to pay more for healthcare to subsidize others. He said they had to hide that fact because otherwise the bill could not have been passed.
He touted the lack of transparency as necessary and possible due to the stupidity of the American Voters.
We can add this to the lie about if you like your plan you can keep your plan; and the lie about keeping your doctor; and the lie about your costs going down; the lies about the number of people who actually bought insurance through the ACA; the dishonest, politically motivated, and unconstitutional rewriting of the law by the executive branch to push troublesome deadlines pas elections; the lie that ObamaCare would not add to the federal deficit.
This is what happens when the government is run by people who believe their ends justify any means. But when their end is the abrogation of individual liberty it justifies only their recent electoral failure.
November 05, 2014
Stuff The dust hasn't even begun to settle on the Republican rout of the Democrats and both Democrats and the Republican leadership are making noises about a new age of bipartisanship.
The most rigid ideologue of the bunch, Barack Obama, said "they want me to push hard to close some of these divisions, break through some of the gridlock, and just get stuff done.”
The presumptive new Senate Majority Leader and the outgoing leader who has been ruthlessly partisan are both talking about working together to get stuff done.
This, they say, is the message the American people sent with their votes in this election.
I cannot speak for the American people, only for one American, but I don't want the Democrats and the Republicans working together to "get stuff done." When the Democrats and Republicans cooperate to get stuff done the stuff is almost always taking away another chunk of our liberty.
If they want to cooperate in getting stuff undone, I'd be all for that. But since both parties are fundamentally interested in increasing the scope and power of the federal government, that's not going to happen.
So I'll settle for a couple of years of hardcore partisan squabbling as long as it results in no stuff getting done.
That's what I voted for.
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