I’ve posted about the bane of my existence – BUREAUCRATIZILLA – 9 times previously! And, they’ve not picked up the hint!
Not coincidentally, in today’s quote:
“Millions are fascinated by the plan to transform the whole world into a bureau, to make everybody a bureaucrat, and to wipe out any private initiative. The paradise of the future is visualized as an all-embracing bureaucratic apparatus. . . . Streams of blood have been shed for the realization of this ideal.” – Ludwig von Mises
(Please, let me preface this to state my roommate and I are barely scraping by. Me on my disability benefits, her on survivor’s benefits. She can work some, when her infirmities allow. NO, this is NOT a bleg! – Guffaw)
Last week, my roommate received a letter regarding her Survivor’s Benefits from The Social Security Administration. In short, because she reached a certain age, and changed her supplemental insurance, they decided to deduct previously gov’t paid insurance premiums for two months (essentially cutting her modest benefit in HALF!) then begin repaying her the Survivor’s Benefit (at a lower rate!) the third month. She only began receiving her Survivor’s Benefit last year, and could have been receiving it for the previous three years, but did not know it was available.
And this, just when she has been working less due to illness (she is a contract employee), and is preparing to have surgery next month!
It couldn’t have come at a worse time…
BUT, there was a mention on the Social Security letter of an appeal process. As NO ONE was reachable by phone without an extension(!), we had to go into the Social Security satellite office, take a number, and wait about 20 minutes to get the required appeal form. (After disarming, of course!)
Easy peasy, right?
The surprisingly helpful Social Security employee reviewed the letter, and advised us that the appeal needed to be made with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, not Social Security!! It was Medicare who became aware of the insurance change, and notified AZDES, who contacted Social Security to send the letter(?!)
He provided us with the number to call. And as it was late Friday afternoon, the call would have to be the NEXT BUSINESS DAY. AFTER PRESIDENT’S DAY.
People ask me why I distrust government. The above is a prime example. First, they provide you with a benefit. Then, after you become accustomed to it, they screw with it, and take part of it away.
“The government strong enough to give you what you want is strong enough to take it all away.” – Barry Goldwater
(forgetting, for a moment, one cost me a job-unfairly, I think, back-in-the-day!)
The polygraph is an instrument which measures things like heart rate, perspiration, breathing and sometimes other body activity over which the person measured has little or no control. A skilled operator (who should also be a skilled interrogator) uses these measurements to determine if a subject is telling the truth to certain, carefully worded questions. It is not a lie detector, but a truth verifier.
Prior to 1988, many private companies utilized a pre-employment polygraph test, to determine if a subject was generally honest before hiring. Some also used polygraphs post-employment, at random intervals, to see if anything had changed. In 1988, Congress passed legislation limiting the use of pre-employment tests, with the exclusion of persons in certain sensitive positions, security, police and a few other jobs. Some States followed suit.
Many private companies were put out of business.
Having worked for a private investigations/polygraph firm for a number of years, it was an interesting experience.
First, some of the polygraphers (many of whom were retired law enforcement) thought themselves superior to the lowly civilian private investigators.
Second, I observed on numerous occasions, polygraphers watching job applicants arriving for a test, and making disparaging remarks, even before the interview or test began!
“This guy has liar written all over him!”
Hardly a lack of bias going in.
There was also a polygraph school adjacent to and affiliated with the investigations/polygraph company. When I was first employed as an investigator, I was considering signing up for the school, thinking it might be an important addition to my investigative skills. After observing and hearing the polygraphers, my interest waned.
This is not an indictment of all polygraphers, but just an observation based on some of those with whom I had negative encounters.
I suspect some of the laws have changed post 911, what with more agencies tasked with protection of the Republic from terrorists and spies.
I hope the current crop of polygraph examiners are more professional than some I encountered back-in-the-day.
We need all the help we can get.
I like speaking and writing correctly. Sometimes, I even succeed at so doing. 🙂
Perhaps a better title for this post would be Word Pet Peeves.
I loathe the use of this instead of the correct word, REGARDLESS. Sadly, the O.E.D. (Oxford English Dictionary) has added this variant as a real word, because it is in common use.
My guess is people were trying to pronounce SUPPOSEDLY, and stumbled. Or mis-heard. Then adopted it as correct. It’s not.
I used to work with an investigator. An educated man, I can only surmise he mis-heard VERBATIM, and ran with it.
(One from my roommate) FORTE
When one is good at something. You may notice an accent is missing. It is NOT FORTE’ ! And is pronounced fort. Again, something done wrong in common usage. Look it up. I had to.
And don’t get me started on mis-heard song lyrics! I blame overly loud speakers, concert noise and the tinny AM radios of my youth. Any suggestion that over indulgence in alcohol or other chemicals does not apply – to me, anyway! 😛
There have been books written about them.
Doughnuts make my brown eyes blue
There’s a bathroom on the right.
Hold me closer Tony Danza
‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.
I’m certain you can add to the list(?)
(a sequel, as it were, to Lincoln Lenin, as President’s Day is fast upon us…)
(from Free North Carolina)
These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.
—Abraham Lincoln, from his first speech as an Illinois state legislator, 1837
Everyone now is more or less a Socialist.
—Charles Dana, managing editor of the New YorkTribune, and Lincoln’s assistant secretary of war, 1848
The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world.
—Karl Marx and the First International Workingmen’s Association to Lincoln, 1864
ON DECEMBER 3, 1861, a former one-term congressman, who had spent most of the past dozen years studying dissident economic theories, mounting challenges to the existing political order and proposing ever more radical responses to the American crisis, delivered his first State of the Union address as the sixteenth president of the United States.
Preserver of the Union, or one of the first Progressives? Or both?
If you think progressive presidents began with Woodrow Wilson (ptui!) (forgetting Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest President after an ‘anarchist’ shot McKinley) perhaps you should revisit history?
Fabians Socialists Communists Progressives have been around, even before Marx, constantly eating away at the Republic.
We need to continually ‘check our six’.
And no, I’m not a reincarnation of Joe McCarthy.
Peter, of The Bayou Renaissance Man, brings us this:
The inimitable Victor Davis Hanson sees many parallels between California today and the antebellum South.
In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in furor over the election of Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln did not receive 50 percent of the popular vote. He espoused values the state insisted did not reflect its own.
In eerie irony, liberal California is now mirror-imaging the arguments of reactionary South Carolina and other Southern states that vowed to go it alone in 1860 and 1861.
. . .
Of course, this is 2017, not 1860, and California is super-liberal, not an antebellum slave-owning society.
Nonetheless, what is driving California’s current efforts to nullify federal law and the state’s vows to secede from the U.S. are some deeper — and creepy — similarities to the arrogant and blinkered Old South.
. . .
California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. The California elite, wishing to keep the natural environment unchanged, opposes internal improvements and sues to stop pipelines, aqueducts, reservoirs, freeways, and affordable housing for the coastal poor.
California’s crumbling roads and bridges sometimes resemble those of the old rural South. The state’s public schools remain among the nation’s poorest. Private academies are booming for the offspring of the coastal privileged, just as they did among the plantation class of the South.
California, for all its braggadocio, cannot leave the U.S. or continue its states’-rights violations of federal law. It will eventually see that the new president is not its sickness, nor are secession and nullification its cures.
Instead, California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. No wonder the state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy’s secession and nullification.
But such reactionary Confederate obstructionism is still quite an irony given California’s self-righteous liberal preening.
There’s much more at the link. Recommended reading.
I think Mr. Hanson is right. The current frothing-at-the-mouth hysteria in California over President Trump’s policies reminds me of George Wallace’s inaugural address as Governor of Alabama on January 14th, 1963.
- Insistence on doing things as Alabama wants them? Check.
- Refusal to kowtow to federal authority? Check.
- Warning Washington that the next President would be determined by voters who shared Wallace’s and Alabama’s views? Check.
Well, guess who won that fight? (Hint: see the outcome at Appomattox. Wash, rinse, repeat.)
California might want to think about that . . .
I’m torn on this issue. States should be free to separate from the Republic as they wish. Certainly California has been one of the leaders in thinking and acting different from the Constitutional Republic in which I was raised.
But, secession? Calexit?
It is interesting how in one week they ‘rattle their sabers’ for becoming a separate entity. Then beg for federal help when their infrastructure continues to crumble.
I’m thinking you cannot have it both ways.
(not to be confused with The Mouse On The Moon, or other Duchy of Grand Fenwick tales!)
“Welcome to the drain, gentlemen!” 😛
My roommate and I share both household upkeep and maintenance. To the best of our abilities. Between disabilities, health conditions, arthritis, age, pain and shared whining, sometimes things are not as pristine as either of us would like.
(The fact we both have an over-sufficient amount of ‘stuff’ doesn’t help, either!)
Of course, this had little to do with today’s story…
Being the male in the house, many (not all) of the yuckier tasks fall to me. And sometimes, it’s just the “luck of the draw”.
Today was one of those days.
The past couple of days while visiting the shower, I noticed what we always called when I was married (back in the 80’s) the mouse on the drain. That is, a disc of hair jetsam on top of the drain grate, starting to inhibit shower drainage.
Back in the 80’s, it was roughly the size of a half dollar, and easily disposed of.
And, of course, not wearing my corrective lenses in the shower, it could have been something else – as in this case it was, a small round grey plastic comb. (My roomie and I share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.)
And she does many hair-related things in there, with a multitude of chemicals and preparations. I have shampoo and conditioner.
Fast forward to this morning. Having picked up the plastic comb, I thought I’d be free of the ‘mouse on the drain’.
Not so fast, there, bucko!
The real mouse on the drain – or, in this case the rat or nutria(!), had wrapped itself into the workings of the grate, and was hanging (yuch!) down into the drain proper!! And the shower floor was beginning to fill with water!
Fortunately, my hair is in need of cutting and is maybe a third of an inch long. So, I’m thinking I’m not the main culprit. (ignoring body hair additions here for discretion).
I was able to complete my shower and listened to the slow-but-inevitable noisy drainage, fortunately before it crested into the bathroom proper. Then, I picked up a proper tool to remove the drain cover (a long hemostat that is left in the bath for this very purpose – what earlier functions it may have had I can only imagine! 🙂 )
And took it upon myself to remove the long, tangled, fist-sized wet hair clumps from the grate and dispose of them.
After having done that, I policed the opening of the drain pipe for any additional hair/soap remnant escapees.
And replaced the grate.
I washed my hands and exited the bath.
I’m hoping next time I will notice the impending crest a day or so sooner. And be able leave the mouse on the drain for someone else…
(from Judicial Watch)
JW Files Suit For ‘Refugee Travel Loans’ Information
Tightening our immigration and refugee programs is a matter of national security (despite what some out-of-control judges may think), and it is also a matter of cost.
In this regard, we have filed a lawsuit against the State Department for records on the number of “Refugee Travel Loans” issued by State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration to the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration from 2010 to the present.
We are also seeking the number of loans defaulted upon and the amount of money written off on each defaulted loan. We filed the suit on January 24, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:17-cv-00157)).
Judicial Watch filed the suit after the State Department failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on February 5, 2016, seeking the following:
- All records reflecting the number of Refugee Travel Loans furnished by the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) per year; the number of travel loans that are defaulted upon per year; and the amount of money written off per defaulted loan.
The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration provides funding for aid and relief work abroad and the bureau’s admissions office handles settling refugees in the United States. According to the agency’s website, it spent nearly $545 million “to provide new beginnings to the world’s most vulnerable refugees” in 2016 and more than $2.8 billion to “humanitarian assistance overseas.” It provided $103 million directly to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
The International Organization for Migration, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, has an annual budget of $1.4 billion and (as of 2014) a staff of 9,000 throughout the world. According to the International Organization for Migration website, the organization provides interest-free loans “furnished by the Department of State” to “all refugees arriving in the United States:”
All refugees arriving in the United States are offered interest-free travel loans by IOM. Refugees who accept these travel loans are required to sign a promissory note prior to departure, committing themselves to repayment of the debt within 46 months after arrival in the United States.
IOM arranges for refugee travel using funds furnished by the Department of State, and is mandated to subsequently effect collections on behalf of the Department of State. Repayments made by refugees toward their loans are returned to the Department of State for use by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to defray the cost of future refugee travel.
In July 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution making the International Organization for Migration part of the UN.
Even The Washington Post reported that the nine resettlement agencies contracted by the State Department to help resettle refugees in the U.S. actually make more than $5 million a year in commissions on refugee debt collection.
The State Department has stonewalled our request for refugee loan information and associated taxpayer losses for a year – an unlawful delay that screams “cover up.” This is an opportunity for the Trump State Department to come clean and clean up this refugee welfare program.
And there’s a lot more for the Trump administration to clean up when it comes to “refugee loans.” In June 2016, Judicial Watch reported:
The U.S. government gives refugees on public assistance special “loans” of up to $15,000 to start a business but fails to keep track of defaults that could translate into huge losses for American taxpayers, records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal. The cash is distributed through a program called Microenterprise Development run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement.
HHS is not the only government agency doling out huge sums of cash for this cause, though its focus on refugees appears to be unique. Others, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) also dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars to various microenterprise causes. For instance, in one recent year alone USAID spent $223 million on microenterprise development activities, according to figures released by the agency. The USDA also allocates large sums to provide loans and grants to microenterprise development through a special “Rural Microloan Revolving Fund” and the DOL regularly pours lots of money into various microenterprise projects that are promoted as workforce investments in areas with high rates of poverty.
So the debate about refugees is more than about keeping dangerous refugees out, but there is also the matter of asking just how much it costs to make politicians to feel good about themselves by using our tax dollars to provide special assistance to these foreign nationals.
I have no problem with legitimate, vetted refugees or immigrants following protocols for legal residency and eventually even citizenship. I used to know a guy who, with his family, escaped Saddam Hussein and Chemical Ali’s tyranny, to arrive here, become a citizen, and open a liquor store. He practically hugged every customer who walked in!
And I remember wondering where Lee Harvey Oswald got the ‘Traveler’s Aid'(CIA) funds of $200, after renouncing his U.S. citizenship and living in the Soviet Union. And was allowed to return back to the United States after purportedly giving away military secrets to the Russians. With nary a hitch.
Much has changed since the 1960’s.
And not for the better.
I received two emails yesterday from two (one would think) like-minded entities. One, the NRA (full disclosure, I am long time Life Member), the second, Gun Talk Media, an Internet blog and media source.
I have posted on this blog regarding the NRAs push to contact Congress regarding the last administration’s efforts to restrict gun rights to those who may have mental limitations (by their view mental illness). And I have supported their efforts to reverse this measure.
Now comes these emails. The NRAs requesting immediate action on a pending Senate vote to stop this travesty.
And this from Gun Talk Media:
FAKE NEWS ALERT
Social Security Administration Gets Into Gun Ban Business
As he left office, President Obama screwed American seniors who own or want to own guns by issuing an executive order directing the Social Security Administration to treat seniors in the same miserable way the Veterans Administration does our vets. That is, the SSA now reports to the FBI anyone who prefers to have someone else handle their finances, and the FBI puts that person on the list that is a LIFETIME BAN on owning firearms.
Naturally, the general media portrayed this as keeping guns out of the hands of those with serious mental defects, and when the House of Representatives voted 235 to 180 to repeal this gun confiscation move, the howls from the fourth estate nearly drowned out the facts. Nearly.
As a Gun Talk Truth Squad member, you have the opportunity to push back on these bogus reports, and to answer friends who offer that this ban “seems reasonable.” Here are the facts.
The media said that the SSA would be providing the information to the FBI so these people could
be included in a “background check database.” Well … doesn’t that sound reasonable? The fact is that this move actually puts these people on a list that bans firearms ownership for life.
Who would oppose putting those with “serious mental defects” into a “background check database?” The NRA, of course. But wait. Another vocal opponent is the ACLU. Yes, the American Civil Liberties Union. Groups supporting and providing aid to those who actually do suffer from mental handicaps also opposed the “I’m outta here” move by the departing “vertical pronoun” President to ban tens of thousand of Americans from owning guns, and all without due process.
Here’s an example of the media coverage of the House vote to repeal this rule. This is from Politico.
Democrats ripped the move as an effort by Republicans to undermine background checks for gun purchasers. After the House vote, Sen. Dianne Feinstein pleaded with supporters to rally against the move in the Senate. “Senate may vote today to weaken background checks on gun purchases. Call your Senator to oppose this change — ensure your voice is heard!” she wrote.
Tell your friends that there has been a law in effect for decades that prohibits the truly mentally incompetent from owning guns, and this law provides for due process. Under current law, if one has been adjudicated mentally incompetent, he or she can’t own a gun. “Adjudicated.” As in, a judge and a court room. Where you can defend yourself. Not a bureaucrat who checks a box and places your name on the banned-for-life list. ~ Tom
So, has the NRA been waving a false flag (creating FAKE NEWS) to feather it’s own nest? Or is it simply rubber stamping additional efforts to let the government know we are no longer allowing our civil rights to be curtailed without due process?
What do YOU think?
(in part from TFB)
There are some bold issues being addressed. One of which is point 5, the use of a stabilizing brace.
5. Firearm Arm or Stabilizing Brace:
Manufacturers have produced an arm brace or stabilizing brace which is designed to strap a handgun to a forearm to allow a disabled shooter to fire the firearm. ATF determined that the brace was not a stock, and therefore its attachment to a handgun
did not constitute the making of a short-barreled rifle or “any other firearm” under the
National Firearms Act (NFA). (NFA classification subjects the product to a tax and registration requirement.) In the determination letter, however, ATF indicated that if the brace was held to the shoulder and used as a stock, such use would constitute a “redesign” that would result in classification of the brace/handgun combination as
an NFA firearm (i.e., the “use” would be a “redesign” and making of a short – barreled rifle). ATF has not made an other NFA determination where a shooter’s use alone was deemed be a “redesign” of the product/firearm resulting in an NFA classification. This ruling has caused confusion and concern among firearm manufacturers, dealers, and consumers about the extent to which unintended use of a product may be a basis for NFA classification. To mitigate this confusion and concern, ATF could amend the determination letter to remove the language indicating that simple use of a product for a purpose other than intended by the manufacturer – without additional proof or redesign – may result in re-classification as an NFA weapon.
While many at ATF are concerned about manufacturing processes continuing to push
the boundaries between a Gun Control Act (GCA) and an NFA firearm, ATF has a
relatively consistent history of what crosses the line between GCA and NFA firearms
with which to draw from, and still maintains the ability to exercise good judgement with
future requests based upon the firearm’s individual characteristics
This could change their determination that came out back in 2015 that using a brace could constitute a redesign. As Adam Kraut had explained, misusing a product is not the same as redesigning or manufacturing.
If that got you excited wait until you see what else they got cooking.
Next up is the point about Slencers.
Silencers: Current Federal law requires ATF to regulate silencers under the NFA. This
requires a Federal tax payment of $200 for transfers, ATF approval, and entry of the
silencer into a national NFA database. In the past several years, opinions about silencers
have changed across the United States. Their use to reduce noise at shooting ranges
and applications within the sporting and hunting industry are now well recognized.
At present, 42 states generally allow silencers to be used for sporting purposes. The
wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created
substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF
to have a significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is
now approximately 8 months. ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses, and dedicating over 33 additional full-time and contract positions since 2011 to support NFA processing. Despite these efforts, NFA processing times are widely viewed by applicants and the industry as far too long, resulting in numerous complaints to Congress. Since silencers account for the vast majority of NFA applications, the most direct way to reduce processing times is to reduce the number of silencer applications. In light of the expanding demand and acceptance of silencers, however, that volume is unlikely to diminish unless they are removed from the NFA. While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated. ATF’s experience with the criminal use of silencers also supports reassessing their inclusion in the NFA. On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendants a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately 6 of the defendants had prior felony convictions. Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings. Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the GCA.
If such a change were to be considered, a revision in the definition of a silencer
would be important. The current definition of a silencer extends to “any combination of
[silencer] parts, ” as well as “any part intended only for use in” a silencer. Compared to
the definition of a firearm, which specifies the frame or receiver is the key regulated
part, any individual silencer part is generally regulated just as if it were a completed
silencer. Revising the definition could eliminate many of the current issues encountered
by silencer manufacturers and their parts suppliers. Specifically, clarifying when a part
or combination of parts meets a minimum threshold requiring serialization would be
These two points are huge. There are other great points addressed in the White Paper and I encourage you to read it all.
The conclusion of the White Paper addresses it nicely:
There are many regulatory changes or modifications that can be made by or through ATF that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATFs mission or adversely affecting public safety.
There are also areas where adjustments to policy or processes could improve ATF operations. Alleviating some of these concerns would continue to support
ATF’s relationships across the firearms and sporting industry, and allow ATF to further focus precious personnel and resources on the mission to combat gun violence.
The future looks bright and I hope the ATF accepts these issues and solutions.
I wonder if this ‘reversal’ of some contentious regulations has anything to do with the rumor that the President, in his consolidation and streamlining of government bureaucracy, wants to eliminate the BATFE and create a division of the FBI to handle such matters? (Fast & Furious come to mind?) Are they trying to appear more ‘user friendly’ to their constituency to keep their agency and their jobs?
Naw, not possible…
Data Science,Climate and satellites Consultant John J Bates, who blew the whistle to the Mail on Sunday The Mail on Sunday can reveal a landmark paper exaggerated global warming
It was rushed through and timed to influence the Paris agreement on climate change
America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration broke its own rules
The report claimed the pause in global warming never existed, but it was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data
Funny how the Left is inexorably tied to
global warming climate change, regardless the evidence that continues to surface that man-made global warming was always a phony idea, designed to punish industrialization and governments, in the name of a new world order.
Could it be the Left wants to be at the helm of this new order?