March 25, 2017

The Party of Failure Strikes Again

Are you still not convinced the Republicans are nothing more than a semi-organized group of frauds and liars? Not to mention a bunch of petulant self-important cry babies?

At a press conference following the failure of the GOP healthcare bill, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said:

I don't know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land. It's going to remain the law of the land until it's replaced. So, yeah, we're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it will take us to replace this law.

Translation: I'm taking my ball and going home because you didn't let me win.

The bill failed Mr. Ryan because it was awful and deserved to fail. For years Republicans campaigned and fundraised on the promise of "Repeal and Replace." The Republican House passed bill after bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act knowing they would never make it past the Senate and if they did they would be vetoed by President Obama. And when they finally had the opportunity to make good on their promise to Repeal and Replace, they gave us Modify and Maintain. They put forth a bill that maintained the essential premise of ObamaCare, that the role of government is to make sure that everyone has health insurance, and changed a few details of its implementation. Instead of vanilla flavored statism they offered us strawberry. 

But that was the plan all along.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) admitted as much as he left the meeting Friday. Reporters asked why, after Republicans held dozens of nearly-unanimous votes to repeal Obamacare under President Obama, they were getting cold feet now that they control the levers of power.

"Sometimes you’re playing Fantasy Football and sometimes you’re in the real game,” he said. "We knew the president, if we could get a repeal bill to his desk, would almost certainly veto it. This time we knew if it got to the president’s desk it would be signed."

Translation: They never intended to get rid of federal control over health insurance. 

They just used that lie to get the power to control it their way. You often hear GOP politicians who don't mouth the proper conservative platitudes derided as RINOs - Republicans In Name Only. The truth is big government statism IS the Republican Party.

And as for the choice they offer between vanilla flavored statism and strawberry flavored statism, I'm lactose intolerant.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:14 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 22, 2017

Big Pizza is Watching You

We have a family food tradition that is probably outside the norm. It all started when the daughter was in a choir that had rehearsals on Wednesday nights so dinner was a bit of a fire drill. So while for most people take out night is probably something you do on the weekend, for us take out night is still Wednesday.

The daughter is off at college but the son and I maintain the tradition with the added twist that I let him pick what we're getting. Usually this works out just fine, but every once in a while, for reasons I don't understand, he will pick Domino's. I am not a fan of Domino's pizza. I think there are many better options available - some of which are in our grocer's freezer.

I just don't like the crust.

They do have a chicken habeñero sandwich that I tolerate so tonight when he picked Domino's "because we hadn't had it for a long time" I got the sandwich.

I also downloaded their app to place the order and so I could use the handy tracker to time my trip to pick it up. Domino's is not worth the extra cost of the delivery charge and the tip. I had the app open to their tracker - a progress bar that tells you how close your order is to ready - and there was button that said "Track Your Order." I thought I was already looking at the tracking so I pushed the button.

An alert popped up that said (quoting from memory) "We have detected a Samsung Smart TV on your network. Enter this code '55555' and track your order on your TV."

Excuse me - pizza guy. Get the hell off my network. What other information are you collecting while you snoop for smart TVs?

That app has been deleted, but I guess Domino's already knows that. Hopefully it will be a long time before my son feels nostalgic for mediocre pizza.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:08 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 15, 2017

MSNBC Blinded by Hatred

What I don't understand about the whole MSNBC Trump Tax form circus is how it happened. Not how MSNBC and Rachel Maddow got their hands on Trump's 2005 tax return, but how it actually got on the air.

Did they read them first? Did they do any basic research to see how Trump's tax rate compared to the rates paid by other prominent politicians? I think five minutes of Google time and the tiniest bit of common sense should have told them that not only was this a nothing story but in the end it was going to make Trump look better.

Trump paid taxes at almost double the rate of Socialist Crank Bernie Sanders. He also paid a much higher effective rate than Obama who spoke constantly about "asking" the rich to "pay their fair share." The returns that Maddow and company shared with world show that in 2005 Trump paid $38,000,000 in federal taxes. I wonder if Obama and Sanders consider that a fair share or not enough?

I'd like to think that Trump is some sort of genius super troll and that this was all part of some carefully crafted plan. That he would refuse to release his tax returns knowing that the democrats and their media partners would eventually get their hands on them. He had to be counting on the refusal to spark all kinds of speculation and innuendo to designed smear him and derail his campaign. He had to do all of this with the belief that when the media would eventually get them they would rush to make them public. And of course he had to know what the result would be.

I'd like to think it was part of his plan. But at his hollow core Trump is a range of the moment pragmatist. Instead Trump is the unwitting beneficiary of the media's blinding hatred that lead Maddow to hold up his tax returns in a moment of what she and her network perceive as triumph. They were speaking truth to power, and that truth is that Trump paid a lot of tax. Now they have learned that the paper the forms are printed on is not useful for wiping the egg off their faces.

On a side note. Trump claims to be a managerial genius who surrounds himself with the best people. Really the best people? And he paid 25% of his income in taxes? I hope he fired his accountant.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 08, 2017

Neither one is likeable

Remember when Hillary lost the election to Donald and we were assured that the only reason she lost is because knuckle-dragging misogynists would never vote for a woman? It seems like only yesterday.

An associate professor of economics and political science at INSEAD, Maria Guadalupe go the idea to flip the gender roles in the Clinton/Trump debates. She wanted to see how an audience would perceive Clinton's debate performance coming from a man and Trump's coming from a woman.

Guadalupe began the project assuming that the gender inversion would confirm what they’d each suspected watching the real-life debates: that Trump’s aggression—his tendency to interrupt and attack—would never be tolerated in a woman, and that Clinton’s competence and preparedness would seem even more convincing coming from a man.

It didn't quite turn out that way for Guadalupe or the standing room only audiences. You should read the whole thing because the details are fascinating. People were not put out by seeing a woman exhibiting Trumps behavior, and they were put off by seeing Hillary's performance from a male.

So maybe everyone should take a breath and stop complaining that this election was decided based on genitalia.

The money quote?

Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was "really punchable” because of all the smiling.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:40 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 01, 2017

Watch the World Burn

If I had a list of people I really don't care about - which I don't because I don't care enough to make a list, Milo Yianopoulos would be somewhere near the top. But I was listening to a podcast today on which he was discussed at length. The host, Yaron Brook, referred to Milo as an engine of chaos - he may have been quoting Milo's description of himself.

But that reminded me of something that I'm not sure Brook intended, but which fits perfectly and makes perfect sense. Milo is the Joker.

I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!

Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. 

Milo doesn't use drums of gas and bullets, he throws verbal bombs, but he throws them for the same purpose, destruction for the sake of destruction. The negation of value and values. Milo seeks to tear down the left, and based on how he goes about it, to take the right down with it.

It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message. Everything burns!

I don't have understanding of the pathology of a committed nihilist like Milo, but I know that Alfred got it right:

Some men aren't looking for anything logical. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:06 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

Same Shit Different Statist

President Trump {{{shudder}}} gave a speech before a joint session of Congress last night. A sort of unofficial State of the Union Address. So he did what presidents always do, he proposed some big ticket legislation.

Trump proposed a massive Make American Infrastructure Great Again package.

"I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States."

We've been down this federally build road before. The only surprise is that he didn't actually refer to "shovel ready projects." I can't wait to see what he calls his "Summer of Recovery." If he really wants to continue trolling the Democrats he could go with "Summer of Reconstruction."

This will work in exactly the same corrupt way it worked when Obama and the Democrats did the exact same thing. The money will go to Trump & GOP cronies who will turn around and donate a portion of the proceeds to Republican candidates and PACs. 

Just don't lose sight of where the money for this comes from. This money will be taken by force from you and me and our children and their children.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:32 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 26, 2017

Focusing on What Mtaters

Ann Althouse has posted an interesting thought experiment.
  1. Imagine a President Trump whose policies all accord with your own…
  2. Imagine a President Trump with all of the substantive policies of the real Donald Trump — all of them, exactly the same. But this Donald Trump meets your stylistic ideal…

Essentially she is try to get to the question of if it is Trump's style or Trump's substance that has so many people losing their sanity. 

Where I land on question one is, if everything a president did was exactly what I would want, the individual's personality, race, gender, whatever other category you wish to define, would not matter in the least. 

Question 2 is slightly more problematic as so far I have very mixed feelings about Trumps actual policy decisions. To the extent that he has taken actions to reduce federal authority and interference in our lives (see undoing Obama's Bathroom Rules) I'm pleased. His immigration policies seem to be a mish-mash of  almost-decent policy and knee-jerk stupidity and it's hard to tell which side is going to win on that one.

On the overall objective of the questions, I am entirely about substance. None of the rest of it matters.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:07 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 23, 2017

The Left's Paid Goons

First, my apologies for the language in the image above. What you are seeing is a rant from one of the American Left's paid thugs. Aside from the excessive F-bombs it's quite revealing.

The goon starts by outlining their standard formula for "protest."

"Show up, 'F' up fascist faces, break some random shit"

It should be noted that "fascist faces" means "any person we think might possibly not agree with us." And the random shit they break often seems to be Starbuck's windows and ATM machines. Maybe it's just that there are just a lot of those available.

But it's ok. They are getting paid and the really lucky ones get bailed out by their "backers." It would be interesting to know which organizations and which people are financially backing messing up faces and breaking stuff.

Because this violent criminal then goes on to complain that it is not fair that he and his fellow travelers are facing court dates and ten years in prison. Whining that you face jail time for willful premeditated assault and destruction of property is pretty pathetic.

What would be truly fair is if your backers were in the cell next to you.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:29 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 19, 2017

One Step Foreward

I have been critical, and justifiably so, of GOP Congressional Leadership. They seem at times to be to eager to go along to get along at the expense of what they claimed as their principals. I'm not sure if their recent actions are just more of the same (most likely) but at least I can give them credit for the result.

The House of Representatives and the Senate have been busily passing legislation under the Congressional Review Act which gives congress the authority to nullify regulations put in place by federal agencies.

So far of the three that have made it through the legislative process, President Trump has signed two. Both rescinding regulations targeting the energy industry. It's a step in the right direction.

In the first days of his administration, Trump issued an executive order saying that for every new regulation put in place an agency must eliminate two. This is an entirely symbolic gesture. An agency could put in place a highly restrictive regulation today and eliminate two regulations that have been on the books and unenforced for decades. Given the nature of the Washington DC bureaucratic state it is inevitable that result will be an increase in regulation.

But combined with the recent Congressional Review Act legislations, Trump's order can be seen as pointing in the right direction. Like everything Trump, and everything Congressional, I'm not assuming the existence of principal. I'm just going to watch and see if their range of the moment pragmatism accidentally produces a half-decent outcome.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:03 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 12, 2017

Taking it Elswhere

Here's a brief summary of a Facebook interaction with a liberal feminist. It of course resulted in standard liberal feminist debate procedure of name calling, insults, deleting the thread and blocking me from commenting.

I commented on this post that a meme comparing the senate majority action against Elizabeth Warten to the civil rights movement was a bit of stretch.

I also noted that this kind of absurd hyperbole likely contributed the electoral rebuke of the Democrat at all levels in 2016.

In a follow up comment - the one that resulted in the insults quoted above - I observed that you could equally use the same meme about the protesters attempting to block the Secretary of Education from entering a school.

I did not note above that in the comment calling me "misogynistic racist" it was also mentioned that Devos bought and paid for her position. I resisted the temptation to snark about how Warren got a senate seat without spending a dime. I wonder what insults that would have caused!

One final comment was added before the whole thread was deleted and I was banned: 

"This is a battle cry for women. McConnell perfectly summed up what women have been doing for decades. Pointing out your misogyny and racism isn't name calling. Again, take it elsewhere."

This is elsewhere.

Whomever this VoteShawnee person is, she has clearly shown herself to be dishonest and a coward. SInce I don't resort to mere name calling, here are the supporting facts. 

She most certainly did not point out how my comments were in any way misogynistic or racist. She did not because she could not. She said "You're no more than a misogynistic racist." To say that is not name calling is a lie. 

Then rather than than continue the debate she deleted the comment thread and blocked me from commenting. That is the Cowardice.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:14 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 09, 2017

Breaking Rule 19

I have to confess to being slightly amused when Senator Elizabeth Warren was essentially told to sit down and shut up. I am not a fan of her collectivist "you didn't build that" politics to say the least.

During Senate debate on the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next Attorney General, Senator Warren's comments vered into personal attacks. Senate Rule 19 discusses the rules and procedures of debate on the floor of the Senate. Section 2 of the rule reads:

No senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.

Warren was quoting a letter written in 1986 by Senator Ted Kennedy and Coretta Scott King when Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge. The Kennedy and King letter described Sessions as racist and a "disgrace to the Justice Department." 

I think that clearly qualifies as indirectly imputing conduct unworthy of a senator. The left however disagrees and argues that this "rarely enforced" rule was used only because Warren is a woman (or at least self-identifies as one).

The second best argument against the left's gender card nonsense is probably this quote:

"It’s very unfortunate. I know emotions run high on issues in the Senate, and those are the times when I think we have to take special care to abide by the rules of the Senate, particularly Rule 19, which is very clear that no senator is to impugn the integrity of another senator.”

Senator Susan Collins discussing Senator Ted Cruz calling Senator Mitch McConnell a liar on the floor of the Senate in July of 2015.

Which brings me to what is always best argument against the left's gender card nonsense, basic logic. Perhaps what happened with Senator Warren had nothing to do with her genitalia and it is simply the case that Rule 19 is rarely enforced because Rule 19 is rarely broken.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 08, 2017

Destroying the Environment in Order to Save it

It's kind of a familiar tale. Large left wing protest. Huge pile of garbage. It is is slightly more galling when the protest is done in the name of protecting the environment.

But it's not their fault. According to one commenter on You Tube:

Wow, look at all of that garbage at the DAPL protest site. Look at all of that hippie trash that built up. Look at all of that unsanitary refuse that the protesters might have been able to throw away normally if Energy Transfer Partners; the Morton County Sheriff's Department; and the State of North Dakota hadn't waged a siege and closed the highways in and out of the camp. Now it's just a photo-op for the oppressors, part of their B.S. narrative being prosecuted by Fox News and other MSM news outlets that the protesters don't really care about the environment; that they are being paid by George Soros; and that they are really just lawless liberal anarchists with nothing better to do with their lazy, anti-establishment lives.

You have to give Paul Ronco points for creativity - but then immediately deduct twice as many for basic failures of logic. All of that stuff that became month's worth of garbage, had to get there somehow. Apparently the siege of the camp wasn't very effective. Stuff and people were getting in, they just didn't care enough to take the trash out.

"Hey, we're saving the world over here. Pile the trash and feces over there.

I do hope the organizers of this environmental disaster are going to be sent the bill for the cleanup.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:50 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 06, 2017

Minority Report

Betsy DeVos is going to be the next Secretary of Education.

GOP leadership gave permission to two senators who need to keep getting donations from teacher's unions to vote no. If no Democrats vote yes, this will result in a 50 50 tie with Vice President Pence casting the deciding vote.

There is essentially nothing the minority party can do to stop this or any other Trump nomination because the Democrats short-sightedly eliminated the filibuster when they were the majority.

All you people who want to eliminate the Electoral College because you think a majority rule democracy is better that a Representative republic - how do you like it now?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:20 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 15, 2016

If I were Majority Leader

If I were the Senate Majority Leader...

The issue of an Obama appointee replacing Scalia on the Supreme Court would not only not be a matter of discussion it is a question that wouldn't even have to be asked.

But the Republicans have Mitch McConnell so it's something that needs to be discussed, asked about and worried about. So if I could tell McConnell what to do, this is what it would be.

  1. Get unanimous support of the GOP Senate for an immediate floor vote on Obama's nominee.
  2. Get unanimous support of the GOP Senate to vote for cloture.
  3. Get unanimous support of the GOP Senate to vote against the nominee.

The Democrats are insisting that an Obama nominee be considered, so give them what they want. A vote on the nominee.

The problem is, when the Democrats removed the 60 vote requirement for cloture for most judicial nominees they left it in place for nominees to the Supreme Court. Thus 54 republicans voting for cloture on Obama's SCOTUS nominee would not be enough to get the nomination to an up or down vote in the Senate. The cloture vote would require support from at least six democrats.

So the Democrat leadership would have to chose between allowing cloture and losing the vote, or blocking cloture and filibustering Obama's nominee.

Of course if McConnell were capable of playing this kind of hardball he wouldn't need my advice.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:28 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:04 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

October 10, 2015

Lactose Intollerance

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. 

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:41 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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 Clintonfeminist totalitarian pandering its accusation, then sentencing.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

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.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:54 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

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.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:40 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:45 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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