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Government ‘In Action’, Again

(from Wirecutter)

The IRS is struggling to ensure that illegal immigrants are able to illegally use Social Security numbers for legitimate purposes, the agency’s head told senators on Tuesday, without allowing the numbers to be used for “bad” reasons.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made the statement in response to a question from Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., during a session of the Senate Finance Committee about why the IRS appears to be collaborating with taxpayers who file tax returns using fraudulent information. Coats said that his staff had discovered the practice after looking into agency procedures.

“What we learned is that … the IRS continues to process tax returns with false W-2 information and issue refunds as if they were routine tax returns, and say that’s not really our job,” Coats said. “We also learned the IRS ignores notifications from the Social Security Administration that a name does not match a Social Security number, and you use your own system to determine whether a number is valid.”
MORE

SERIOUSLY?

Well, this explains how someone using a dead Connecticut guys SSN could advance in politics all these years.

REALLY advance…

How Tough ARE You?

I’m more tough than I used to be – but hardly a marathon-running spec ops guy.  I’ve beaten cancer (2x) and a serious car wreck.

Frankly, most days just walking is a challenge. 😦

But, I read about these bubble-wrapped snowflakes in colleges, demanding safe spaces to share their feelings, because they say a chalk writing on the pavement in support of a presidential candidate with whom they disagree distresses them!

And that makes me sick!

THEN, I read about THIS guy (courtesy of my friend Borepatch)

Badass of the year

Russian Special Forces officer surrounded by ISIS calls in airstrike on himself.

Hat tip: Chris Lynch.

Why is it I keep reading about Russians and Ghurkas and other furrin’ folk who are TOUGH – but no ‘Mericans?  Enquiring minds want to know…?

The Panama Papers

(As stolen borrowed from Counting Cats in Zanzibar)

The Panama Papers - Mossack Fonseca

 

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ then shared them with a large network of international partners, including the Guardian and the BBC.

What do they reveal?
The documents show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.

A $2bn trail leads all the way to Vladimir Putin. The Russian president’s best friend – a cellist called Sergei Roldugin – is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore. Some of it ends up in a ski resort where in 2013 Putin’s daughter Katerina got married.

Among national leaders with offshore wealth are Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president; and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.

An offshore investment fund run by the father of British prime minister David Cameron avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents to sign its paperwork. The fund has been registered with HM Revenue and Customs since its inception and has filed detailed tax returns every year.

The Grauniad – What are the Panama papers?

As a libertarian and someone who believes that all tax is theft, I have some measure of sympathy and indeed support for those who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid taxation and government meddling in the private affairs of citizens, for example Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin who paid a 15% exit tax on his US assets to expatriate to Singapore in 2011.

Those who are unworthy of such libertarian acclaim are those who use illegal means to hide wealth arising from bribery and corruption or who enforce taxation on the little people, but evade it themselves.  (Agree – Guffaw)

Traditionally, this has been 3rd world dictators or the governors of oil rich provinces in Nigeria and such places who essentially steal the wealth of their own populace / electorate. So it was not surprising to find these “usual suspects” in the Panama papers.

Even Vladimir Putin is not someone that I am particularly surprised at given that he has ruled Russia as President and proxy for nearly 20 years.

The sorts of names that you don’t expect are the legislators of modern Western countries such as Iceland’s PM (but not I suspect for long), Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. Bastards like this who illustrate Leona Helmsley’s view that “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes”* should face the full force of the law.

[EDIT: and as predicted, less than a day later he’s quit]

For UK politicians and business leaders, it is not just tax evasion that the Panama papers might reveal, but also crimes committed under the Bribery Act 2010 and earlier criminal statutes. For example, those cosy little 3rd world arms deals so recently brought to life in the BBC’s adaptation of John Le Carre’s “The Night Manager”.

I suspect that quite a few of the worlds elite will be having sleepless nights over the revelations and since the papers go back 40-years, I expect we will be pissing on the graves of quite a few ex politicians and members of the elite as well. GOOD!

* – Leona Helmsley disputes that she ever said this.

Why should we as Americans care?

Bilton, Richard (April 4, 2016). “Panama Papers: How a British man, 90, covered for a US millionaire”. BBC News. Retrieved April 4, 2016.

Hall, Kevin G.; Taylor, Marisa (April 4, 2016). “Americans, including a Bellevue man, show up in Panama Papers”. Seattle Times. Retrieved April 5, 2016.

Is this just the tip of the iceberg?  Or has malfeasance at the highest level of someone other than Americans made the papers for a change?

Interesting that in the list of those nations investigating this matter the United States is absent*

 

HIPAA, Schmippa!

Texas: Med Board lets DEA sneak peeks at patient records

By

Courtesy of U.S. Department of Justice.

It’s such a hassle getting information this way, when you can just pretend to be a state regulator.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been sifting through hundreds of supposedly private medical files, looking for Texas doctors and patients to prosecute without the use of warrants.

Instead, the agents are tricking doctors and nurses into thinking they’re with the Texas Medical Board. When that doesn’t work, they’re sending doctors subpoenas demanding medical records without court approval.

The DEA can’t even count how many times it has resorted to the practice nationwide. A spokesman estimated it was in the thousands.

But, as a legal brief filed last week points out, lawyers for the federal government can’t find a single case in which a court has “authorized the use of such a broad array of patient information with such a sparse record as to why it needs such information.”

Earlier this year, a federal judge in Texas did just that, setting up a showdown in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals over whether the DEA needs a reason to go rummaging through private medical records in search of pill mills and prescription drug abusers.

Without the legalese, the issue is simple: How good a reason does the DEA need to get access to medical records? The DEA doesn’t think it needs much of one.

Attorneys for Dallas-area doctors Joseph and Abbas Zadeh argue “the DEA should not be allowed to circumvent the requirements of a warrant, and should be required to show probable cause.” Failing that, they should at least have to justify their intrusions to a judge who’s acting as more than a rubber stamp.

The DEA’s practice of avoiding warrant requirements has produced this absurdity: If you have a prescription for Adderall or OxyContin, you might be safer getting your drugs on the street than through your own doctor.

Street dealers, after all, don’t keep patient records, and they’re afforded more constitutional protections than medical practitioners. That is, cops still need a warrant to search them.

In Texas, the DEA’s criminal investigators do an end run around the Constitution’s warrant requirements by getting the Texas Medical Board to order doctors to open their records.

In that 5th Circuit case that’s about to set an important precedent, DEA agents spent hours examining private medical records after tricking a nurse into believing they were with the Medical Board.

The trick was easy. Three DEA agents showed up at a Dallas doctor’s office accompanied by a medical board investigator who told the nurse “they were with the Texas State Medical Board,” according to a deposition in the case. “The other three persons along with her kept silent.”

Mari Robinson, the medical board’s executive director, testified last year in a legislative hearing that her agency does that sort of thing 20 to 40 times a year, but it took some grilling by state Rep. Bill Zedler, R – Arlington, to get that out of her.

“How many times do you show up (at a doctor’s office) with the DEA and not tell ‘em that the DEA is with you,” Zedler asked Robinson at a Sept. 24 hearing.

“I’m not sure what you mean by that,” Robinson said.

“Well, I mean that when they show up, they say, ‘We’re with the Texas Medical Board.’ Period.”

“That is what we do for our part,” Robinson said. “The DEA has its own responsibility.”

Zedler gave an example almost identical to the facts in the Zadeh lawsuit: Medical board investigators got the DEA two hours’ access to confidential medical records through misrepresenting who they were; when the doctor’s lawyer showed up demanding to see some ID’s, the party ended.

“You don’t find that an unconstitutional search through fraudulent non-disclosure,” Zedler demanded. “Did your investigators not know that they had DEA agents with them?”

There wasn’t “anything that we did” that could be unconsidered unconstitutional, Robinson answered, but she couldn’t speak for the DEA.

It turned out that each of the 20 to 40 times a year medical investigators turn up unannounced demanding to see records they’re actually working with the DEA.

The problem is this: The medical board has authority to issue “administrative subpoenas,” as they’re called, because it’s in the business of administering the medical industry. The DEA isn’t. It’s in the business of criminal investigations, which can be hindered by the Fourth Amendment.

The entire apparatus of administrative law is something of a shadow government grafted onto a constitutional system back in the New Deal era, and this shadow government has few safeguards. Rather than checks and balances, the regulatory state is characterized by agencies that handle all the investigation, prosecution, adjudication and appeals in-house, with little interference from other bodies.

The DEA has noticed how convenient it is simply to write a letter demanding all the evidence one might need. So in some cases, such as the Zadeh’s, where the initial subterfuge fails, the DEA simply writes the doctors its own administrative subpoena, even though, by its own admission, it’s looking for evidence in potential criminal cases against doctors and patients.

All too often, the doctors behave much like the telecom companies who were pressured by the National Security Administration to share customer records.

In fact, there are so few cases of doctors actually fighting back the government’s lawyers are building their argument on a case from 1950 in which regulators got access to the financial records of the Morton Salt Co.

RELATED: Texas Medical Board considers arming itself

In 2014, a federal court in Oregon agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union that a database of prescriptions was protected by medical privacy rights, and the DEA would need a warrant to access it.

That expectation of privacy will also factor into the decision before the 5th Circuit. Unlike some privacy rights, this one is no novelty.

Arguing on behalf of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, attorney Andrew Schlafly points out that patient privacy dates back 2,500 years to the Hippocratic Oath, which states, “All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession… which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and never reveal.”

The 5th Circuit may not decide to impose a standard of “probable cause” on law enforcement, but any standard of evidence would be an improvement on nothing, which is what investigators apparently have on the Zadehs.

Zedler has examined volumes of secret Medical Board records under his legislative privilege, and although he’s sworn to secrecy about them, he said during the hearing the medical board had confirmed the Zadehs weren’t running pill mills, and that there was “zero evidence of non-therapeutic prescribing.”

Yet a federal court upheld the subpoenas based on vague testimony from a DEA investigator that “(i)nformation developed in that investigation indicated (that) Dr. Joseph Zadeh (and Dr. Abbas Zadeh)… may have violated” the law.

That little phrase illustrates the difference between typical law enforcement and whatever the DEA is up to here.

Cops don’t swear that “information developed.” They tell the judge what it is if they want their warrant signed.

Contact Jon Cassidy at jon@watchdog.org or @jpcassidy000.

This story was initially reported last fall, but I thought it bore repetition when I saw it.  Many folks are fond of lampooning States like Massachusetts, New York and California about their progressive politics, policies and politicians.

But, even though Texas is of a more individualist, rights-loving nature, it is still a STATE!  And State and federal entities therein are still made up of people, many of whom want nothing more to control and spy on individuals.

And I’m not even factoring in the whole mental health/gun ownership part of the equation!

Stupid America

(as seen in SHTFplan.com)

Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog.

Ten years ago, a major Hollywood film entitled “Idiocracy” was released, and it was an excellent metaphor for what would happen to America over the course of the next decade.  In the movie, an “average American” wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that he suddenly finds himself in.  Sadly, I truly believe that if people of average intellect from the 1950s and 1960s were transported to 2016, they would likely be considered mental giants compared to the rest of us.  We have a country where criminals are being paid $1000 a month not to shoot people, and the highest paid public employee in more than half the states is a football coach.  Hardly anyone takes time to read a book anymore, and yet the average American spends 302 minutes a day watching television. 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East, but they sure know how to find smut on the Internet.  It may be hard to believe, but there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet today, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

What in the world has happened to us?  How is it possible that we have become so stupid?  According to a brand new report that was recently released, almost 10 percent of our college graduates believe that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court…

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni publishes occasional reports on what college students know.

Nearly 10 percent of the college graduates surveyed thought Judith Sheindlin, TV’s “Judge Judy,” is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Less than 20 percent of the college graduates knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than a quarter of the college graduates did not know Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during World War II; one-third did not know he was the president who spearheaded the New Deal.

It can be tempting to laugh at numbers like these until you realize that survey after survey has come up with similar results.

Just consider what Newsweek found a few years ago…

When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

Even worse were the extremely depressing results of a study conducted a few years ago by Common Core…

*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.

*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.

*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.

Of course survey results can be skewed, and much hinges on how the questions are asked.

However, even studies that are scientifically conducted confirm how stupid America has become.  In fact, a report from the Educational Testing Service found that Americans are falling way behind much of the rest of the industrialized world.  The following comes from CBS News

Americans born after 1980 are lagging their peers in countries ranging from Australia to Estonia, according to a new report from researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The study looked at scores for literacy and numeracy from a test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the abilities of people in 22 countries.

The results are sobering, with dire implications for America. It hints that students may be falling behind not only in their early educational years but at the college level. Even though more Americans between the ages of 20 to 34 are achieving higher levels of education, they’re still falling behind their cohorts in other countries. In Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees, the report said.

Out of 22 countries that were part of the study, the Educational Testing Service found that Americans were dead last in tech proficiency, dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

So why has this happened?

Why have we become such an extremely stupid nation?

Well, at least a portion of the blame must be directed at our system of education.  The following is an excerpt from an article written by reporter Mark Morford.  In this article, he shared how one of his friends which had served for a very long time as a high school teacher in Oakland, California was considering moving out of the country when he retired due to the relentless “dumb-ification of the American brain”

It’s gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.

Now, you may think he’s merely a curmudgeon, a tired old teacher who stopped caring long ago. Not true. Teaching is his life. He says he loves his students, loves education and learning and watching young minds awaken. Problem is, he is seeing much less of it.

And of course things don’t get much better when it comes to our college students.  In a previous article, I shared some statistics from USA Today about the rapidly declining state of college education in the United States…

-“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago”

-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”

-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages”

-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

I spent eight years studying at some of the finest public universities in the country, and I can tell you from personal experience that even our most challenging college courses have been pathetically dumbed down.

And at our “less than finest” public universities, the level of education can be something of a bad joke.  In another previous article, I shared some examples of actual courses that have been taught at U.S. universities in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

-“Philosophy And Star Trek

-“Learning From YouTube

-“How To Watch Television

Could you imagine getting actual college credit for a course entitled “What If Harry Potter Is Real?”

This is why many of our college graduates can barely put two sentences together.  They aren’t being challenged, and the quality of the education most of them are receiving is incredibly poor.

But even though they aren’t being challenged, students are taking longer to get through college than ever.  Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of all full-time students receive a bachelor’s degree within four years, and only 77 percent of all full-time students have earned a bachelor’s degree by the end of six years.

Of course our system of education is not entirely to blame.  The truth is that young Americans spend far more time consuming media than they do hitting the books, and what passes for “entertainment” these days is rapidly turning their brains to mush.

According to a report put out by Nielsen, this is how much time the average American spends consuming media on various devices each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add it all up, the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged into some form of media.

And if you allow anyone to pump “programming” into your mind for 10 hours a day, it is going to have a dramatic impact.

In the end, I truly believe that we all greatly underestimate the influence that the mainstream media has on all of us.  We willingly plug into “the Matrix” for endless hours, but then somehow we still expect “to think for ourselves”.

There are very few of us that can say that we have not been exposed to thousands upon thousands of hours of conditioning.  And all of that garbage can make it very, very difficult to think clearly.

It is not because of a lack of input that we have become so stupid as a society.  The big problem is what we are putting into our minds.

If we continue to put garbage in, we are going to continue to get garbage out, and that is the cold, hard reality of the matter.

We have an election coming up.  And many of these folks vote.

I weep for our Nation.

 

h/t Doc in Yuma

The Ferguson Effect Gets Worse

(from Bayou Renaissance Man)

At the end of last year we discussed ‘Terrorism, thug culture and the entitlement society‘.  In that and other articles we mentioned the so-called ‘Ferguson Effect‘ – the chilling effect on police and policing of the largely unwarranted (you should pardon the expression) accusations of deliberate police brutality against the black community.

PJ Media claims that the ‘Ferguson Effect’ is getting worse by the day.

As crime soars in Chicago, the city’s police officers are burdened with further disincentives to respond. An Illinois state law that took effect this year requires all police officers to complete a report on every person stopped for any reason and to give the person a receipt. In Chicago, the requirement is even more onerous: the form used by Chicago P.D. is two full pages, this owing to an agreement between the city and the ACLU. And now Rahm Emanuel claims to be surprised that his officers are making fewer stops. If you want cops to do less of something, make them write more paper about it.

There are similar developments in Los Angeles, where as of March 6, murders were up 27 percent and arrests down 10 percent when compared to the same period last year. The LAPD’s rank and file had already lost faith in the department’s command, and a decision by the police commission on Tuesday will only worsen matters. In a unanimous vote, the five commissioners adopted a recommendation to change the LAPD’s use-of-force guidelines in such a way that officers involved in shootings will be judged on whether or not they did enough to avoid using deadly force.

. . .

… the result will be higher crime when officers choose to disengage rather than take action that will be judged according to the naïve, utopian standards of the police commission’s social justice warriors. There is the further danger … that cops will end up dead or wounded when, rather than defend themselves, they pause for the type of reflection these proposed changes would seem to require.

Already this year, twelve police officers have been shot to death in the United States, including one on her very first day on patrol.   That’s three times as many as at this time in 2015. Yes, there is a violence problem in this country, but it’s not the police that are causing it. Things will get much worse before they get better.

There’s more at the link.

I’ve already pointed out that police misconduct is a very real issue, and sometimes justifies distrust of, greater scrutiny over and more stringent restrictions on actions by law enforcement personnel.  Nevertheless, when such distrust, scrutiny and restrictions actually impede normal policing to the point that public safety is impaired, they become a liability rather than an asset.  There has to be a balance, but at the moment there appears to be little or no effort being made to find one.  The pendulum isn’t just swinging from side to side:  it’s being pushed – sometimes violently – from one extreme to the other.  This makes for very unstable policing, which contributes to the worsening instability in society.

The article mentions the Los Angeles “police commission’s social justice warriors”.  The same naivety is visible in many other centers.  I encountered it in Nashville not long ago, when Black Lives Matter protesters shut down a major interstate highway running through the city center.  Instead of clearing them out of the way, as happened yesterday (the other day-Ed.) in Arizona, Metro PD provided them with water and portable toilets while they ‘negotiated’ with them.  Many, including myself, were outraged at such over-the-top, bending-over-backwards political correctness.  I don’t believe that law and order can survive such pandering, and I believe it’s almost always out of place.  If I were a typical Nashville police officer, I’d have been disgusted at the moral spinelessness of my leaders . . . but I’d also have received and understood the message, loud and clear, that if I enforced the law no matter what (even if I did so impartially and fairly), those leaders would not ‘have my back‘.  They’d hang me out to dry in a skinny minute if it benefited their department and themselves to do so.

That’s a very uncomfortable place for any police officer to be.

Peter

“Characteristics of the Armed Individual” Secret Service Training

usssThis is probably brule’ for those of us who are ‘gunnies’ and carry with regularity, but is still interesting with regard to how those in the federal law enforcement circle views such things.

It IS nice edged weapons are included!

(from The Firearms Blog)

The guide itself is rather basic, mostly written word of generally common-sense spotting techniques that most law enforcement would look for during any encounter.

The first and basic step is to “determine (the) strong side” which can be determined by looking for cues such as watches, writing, smoking, and other daily tasks.

Then, according to the Secret Service “An individual who carries a gun on their person will periodically touch that gun both consciously and unconsciously.” (I disagree with this, carrying on a regular basis and with training, many concealed carriers will not touch their firearm, but can see how for MOST encounters, this is true).

Perhaps the most interesting nugget (At least to me) is that the “the majority of right-handed people that carry handguns illegally carry them in the right front waist band, loose.” The document then explains that its because doing so is “cool”, seen in the movies” and “where it is most secure and accessible.”

You can see the whole document here, courtesy of Public Intelligence. (6 pages PDF)

I was reminded of walking through downtown Scottsdale (many years ago) after the Az CCW law initially passed.  In a couple of hours, I spotted at least nine persons carrying concealed weapons.  I’m certain part of the observation was this was a relatively new legal behavior and folks weren’t used to doing so yet.  But people tugging up on there waist bands on the right side under their overshirts, and wearing overshirts were a good beginning!

Most cops or plainclothes agents aren’t that concerned with concealment, and get accustomed to carrying many hour a day, and have done so for years.

Having done so, myself, for many years, I’ve the same comfort and familiarity.

And hope you have it, as well!

bianchi

Nothing To See Here – Move Along! (Part IV)

(from Brock Townsend)

Black Lives Matter Organizer Posts Guide To Riotwear…In Arabic

Via sauced07

BLM advice

A Black Lives Matter activist who was part of the Ferguson riots posted a visual guide to urban riot wear in both English and Arabic on Twitter.

The tweet is significant because it was posted by Ashley Yates, who uses the handle @BrownBlaze on Twitter. Yates is a prominent protest organizer in the Black Lives Matter movement who is an advocate for violence. The Guardian quoted her in 2014 during her involvement with the Ferguson protest:

More @ Breitbart
Yeah, I’m sure this means nothing.  Pay no attention to the protester in the hoodie – to pay attention would undoubtedly be racist or in-the-very-least religious discrimination!
Sheesh!

Illegal Tender

cashSometimes, there is a meme ‘under the radar’.  It doesn’t make the national news, but keeps peaking out from behind the curtain on the Internet.

Something I’ve been noticing in my electronic travels of late is government(s) not only want to know how much money you have, and be able to tax it or steal it, as they deem necessary, but also THIS:

(in part from Travis McGee)

(…)

It’s about the war on cash, of course, the exchange medium which permits a citizen to exercise a little of whatever privacy remains in a world gone mad with surveillance. Put a pack of Trojans and a copy of  Esquire on your card and you’ve given any government cop with a sympathetic judge enough to peg you as a sex maniac and, therefore,  probably hot for trafficked humans. Charge a Colt 1873  at an antique sale and get on the no-fly list.

The latest comes to us from Europe where the central bank has just snuffed the 500-Euro note because — it says — Bin Laden used them.  (So do, I’ll bet, European Central Bank bigwigs when they are fooling around with Roman bimbos, but that’s beside the point.)

Enter the United States of America and one of it’s leading gadabout economists, Larry Summers, the guy who almost became secretary of the treasury under Obama and is undoubtedly on the Hillary and Bernie short lists for the same job.

He wants to kill the $100 Federal Reserve Cartoon because bad guys like drug dealers  use them. And what a brilliant idea based on astute observation, there, Larry. I can’t imagine Jalisco Cartello, in Tijuana to make a buy, would ever think to fill two brief cases with 50s when it becomes illegal to have one brief case with 100s.

‘course, then you can outlaw 50s, then 20s, etc., then, presto! 24/7/365 Mr. Orwell’s Telescreen is in your wallet.

And there you have it.  The CASH AS MALUM PROHIBITUM meme!  No need for governments to monitor paper money transactions when  everything is to be mandated electronically, and Euro-notes and the (former) greenbacks are no longer allowed!

So much for the thousands I’ve stored in my mattress, the phony compartments in the top of my hollow-core doors and Ziplocked in the freezer!  Soon, it’ll all be worthless.

And readily accessible by governments (electronically) whenever they want!

Of course, it’s worthless, so I’ve fooled them!  :-)

(and truth is I have nothing – and am barely able to make rent and I drive a barely-running year 2000 Oldsmobile!) :-)

Homeland Insecurity

From Wirecutter:

Hundreds of badges, credentials, cell phones and guns belonging to Department of Homeland Security employees have been lost or stolen in recent years — raising serious security concerns about the potential damage these missing items could do in the wrong hands.

Inventory reports, obtained by the news site Complete Colorado and shared with FoxNews.com, show that over 1,300 badges, 165 firearms and 589 cell phones were lost or stolen over the span of 31 months between 2012 and 2015.
MORE

Nothing like having the umbrella agency named for this Republic’s security not-so-secure. Makes one feel all warm, doesn’t it?

I remember back-in-the-day (pre-9/11) reading in Hoover’s FBI, if you lost your creds, you were fired.  Obviously, times have changed.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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