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The Republic

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More Government Statistics

snoring(courtesy of Joel, in part)

Here’s a little something to pressure-test those cerebral arteries*:

20,642 New Regulations Added in the Obama Presidency

The tide of red tape that threatens to drown U.S. consumers and businesses surged yet again in 2015, according to a Heritage Foundation study we released on Monday.More than $22 billion per year in new regulatory costs were imposed on Americans last year, pushing the total burden for the Obama years to exceed $100 billion annually.

After spelling out (this tiny piece of) the problem of overregulation, the writer goes and spoils it all by offering a plan for “reform” …

Congress needs to take immediate action to control the continued expansion of the administrative state, prevent further harm to the economy, and stem the erosion of individual liberty.

Right. Good. While we’ve got their attention, we should force the congress critters to promise to slow the earth’s rising sea levels and heal the planet, too. Then all our problems will be fixed.

Anyone who still thinks there’s a constituency in congress actually in favor of reducing the size and influence of government – or even ‘controlling its continued expansion’ – has not been paying the slightest bit of attention.

©Tam

Personally, I see this as not just petty power and control (or even Grand power and control) but as yet another addition to the whole Cloward & Piven strategy.  Just keep adding stressors to the bureaucracy of government until the whole thing collapses under it’s own weight.

Then, some savior will step forward to save us from the cataclysmic mire, involving controls we’ve dared not yet imagined, complete with the largest showers ever!

Waxing Philosophical

…or your mustache or surfboard.  Your choice.  :-)

(from Free North Carolina)

David Hume, Republicanism, and the Human Scale of Political Order

Hume 2

Aristotle taught that “To the size of states there is a limit, as there is to other things, plants, animals, implements, for none of these things retain their natural power when they are too large or too small.”1 In this paper I want to explore Hume’s views on the proper size and scale of political order.

Size and scale are not the same thing. The scale of a thing is the size appropriate to its function. Scale for human things is the human body and its capacities. Classical architects have longed explored the relation between the human frame, its sensory capacities, and the proper size of doors, windows, courtyards, gardens, the width of streets, plazas, and so forth.

What is the proper size and scale of political order? The answer depends on what we think the function of political order is. Plato and Aristotle thought the function of political association is to achieve human excellence. Since virtue is acquired through emulation of character, face to face knowledge is required of political participants, and this places a limit on the size of the polity.

Aristotle said it should contain “the largest number which suffices for the conduct of life, and can be taken in at a single view.”2 Another classical measure was that one should be able to walk across the polity in a single day. The ancient Greek republics were of this human size and scale.

I’ve asked this question previously.  What is the function of political order? (government?)  Is it to ‘nanny’ the population into some pre-determined ideal – pre-determined by the (almighty, all-knowing) government?  Or is it to allow individuals to be FREE; free to make their own choices and mistakes, and perhaps learn from them?  Or not?  THEIR choice?
And allow them to follow whatever path they choose, as long as it doesn’t impinge on the ability of others to follow THEIR path?
Sadly, I believe most Americans are so fed-up by the ongoing political machine that they don’t care.  And, anyway, they are too busy trying to eke out an existence for themselves and their families, with the ever-present demon of surveillance and taxation wolves at the door.  Or already inside.
How many different taxes and fees are you forced to pay?  And how many agencies are recording your movements, actions and attitudes, through direct physical surveillance, monitoring email, cell phones and social media?  Information many times given up by you voluntarily.
What kind of political order do YOU want?
And do you even have a choice, anymore?

The Politically-Incorrect On Television

I’ve gotten used to seeing political correctness on TV.  Not that I like it, but have come to the realization that most of the TV show writers, producers and networks foster an agenda.  Nowhere near that of a constitutional republic.

And many times, it’s not based in fact – it’s based on what is perceived as popular and liberal.

An aside on a sitcom about the prevalence of global warming; the presence of a gun – in and of itself – shown as evil and dangerous.  The whole BLM agenda, as well.

But, occasionally, some differing opinions slip through the cracks!

Last Man Standing – a sitcom with Tim Allen as a beleaguered conservative business owner, surrounded by liberals and mostly conservative females.  Making statements against The President’s policies and Secretary Clinton’s lack-of-action about Benghazi.  And, still remaining a comedy!

Blue Bloods – a Tom Selleck (a Gunsite graduate) cop family vehicle including Catholicism, proper gun handling instruction, and the difficult balancing of policing with civil liberties.  Tom plays the current police commissioner.

Criminal Minds – The FBI against serial killers, with Joe Mantegna (another Gunsite graduate) showing off many his many skills.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders – Another FBI vehicle, this time offshore, with Gary Sinise (a champion for the American Veteran).  In a recent episode, they helped capture a duo of American mass murderers in Cuba (!)  Sinise gave a passionate spiel about the Communist propaganda prevalent on our college campuses, and the ubiquitiousness of that vile t-shirt celebrating a murdering bigot Che’!

So, there IS hope…

Sadly, watching Blue Bloods, with Mr. Selleck as the Police Commissioner, I’m reminded of watching the movie Air Force One (in the 80’s), wherein Harrison Ford plays a President who had been a Green Beret (I remember).  He stands up to terrorists and kicks a**!

I left the theater feeling good.  Until I remembered Bill Clinton was (then) the actual President!

And the current P.C. of NYC is no Tom Selleck!  :-(

♫ Let’s Talk About WAR, Ba-bee ♫

Much like interaction between neighbors, I believe interaction between nations is similar.  In short, politics is like the rules of the street.

If you encounter someone out-and-about trying to rob/rape/burn a third party not known to you, you may choose to walk away, or engage.

If a nation takes force against another, you can make the same choice.  Or not.

HOWEVER…we don’t exist in a vacuum, either as members of society or as a Republic!

(from Mike @ Cold Fury)

War is the health of the State.

Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police. Unlike the countries of the European continent, the state did not require its citizens to perform military service. An Englishman could enlist, if he chose, in the regular army, the navy, or the territorials. He could also ignore, if he chose, the demands of national defence. Substantial householders were occasionally called on for jury service. Otherwise, only those helped the state who wished to do so. The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale: nearly £200 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8 per cent. of the national income. The state intervened to prevent the citizen from eating adulterated food or contracting certain infectious diseases. It imposed safety rules in factories, and prevented women, and adult males in some industries, from working excessive hours. The state saw to it that children received education up to the age of 13. Since 1 January 1909, it provided a meagre pension for the needy over the age of 70. Since 1911, it helped to insure certain classes of workers against sickness and unemployment. This tendency towards more state action was increasing. Expenditure on the social services had roughly doubled since the Liberals took office in 1905. Still, broadly speaking, the state acted only to help those who could not help themselves. It left the adult citizen alone.

All this was changed by the impact of the Great War. The mass of the people became, for the first time, active citizens. Their lives were shaped by orders from above; they were required to serve the state instead of pursuing exclusively their own affairs. Five million men entered the armed forces, many of them (though a minority) under compulsion. The Englishman’s food was limited, and its quality changed, by government order. His freedom of movement was restricted; his conditions of work prescribed. Some industries were reduced or closed, others artificially fostered. The publication of news was fettered. Street lights were dimmed. The sacred freedom of drinking was tampered with: licensed hours were cut down, and the beer watered by order. The very time on the clocks was changed. From 1916 onwards, every Englishman got up an hour earlier in summer than he would otherwise have done, thanks to an act of parliament. The state established a hold over its citizens which, though relaxed in peacetime, was never to be removed and which the second World war was again to increase. The history of the English state and of the English people merged for the first time.

Funny how so many “temporary” wartime measures turn out to be anything but. But the truth is that power glommed by the government, and liberty stolen from the people, are two of the most permanent things in existence.

(Via Jay Nordlinger)

Do no-knock warrants (The War On Drugs), or sobriety checkpoints (Alcohol), or metal detectors @ airports (Hijacking) have a ring?  Or The Patriot Act or the NDAA, the TSA, Homeland Security (or any of their bastard children) post 9/11?

Don’t you see?  EVERYTHING is countenanced as a WAR by government!  And, as such, demands these extreme measures for the government to combat them.

And the only way they relinquish any of their ill-gotten power is through long, hard-fought legal battles.  Like courts now requiring warrants for cell-phone access.

Or, I suppose, through another choice.

Also to be hard fought.

A Right Is A Right Is A Right, Part Dos

Social Security moves to block mentally impaired from owning guns

– The Washington Times – Thursday, May 5, 2016

People who get Social Security disability payments by dint of mental impairment and who need help to manage their finances are so dangerous they shouldn’t be able to buy firearms, the Obama administration said in a new proposal published Thursday that could add millions of people to the lists of banned gun owners.

Disability and gun rights advocates said it was a dangerous proposal that threatened to strip constitutional rights from a large number of people, and they vowed to fight it.

But the Social Security Administration said it has a duty under a 2007 law to start sending information from its files to the list of banned purchasers.

Under the new scheme, those who get disability payments because of mental impairment, and who also have someone designated to handle their finances because of their mental impairment, will be deemed too unstable to buy a gun. Their names will be listed in the National Instant Background Check System, which every licensed firearms dealer must check before selling a gun to a customer.

Social Security didn’t provide an estimate of how many people would be affected, but independent calculations suggest there are millions of people receiving benefits who have a “representative payee” managing their affairs.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the rule, and then Social Security will take those comments into account.

It’s already drawing strong opposition from a powerful mix of groups, particularly disability advocates, who called the move “extremely offensive” and based on broad generalizations.

Cheryl Bates-Harris at the National Disability Rights Network said there’s no evidence connecting someone’s ability to manage finances with being a dangerous gun owner. She said drawing that connection was stigmatizing and stereotyping those with disabilities.

Just as troubling is that Social Security isn’t very good at deciding who should get a representative payee, she said. That means government will be denying the gun-buying rights of people who never should have been on the list in the first place.

“We come across beneficiaries all the time who have rep-payees and don’t need them,” she said.

Gun-rights groups have also vowed to register their objections.

“They are set to strip away your constitutional rights just because you meet a set of criteria established by a group of faceless bureaucrats you’ll never meet,” said Jennifer Baker, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “That puts thousands of Americans in the terrible position of choosing whether to pay their bills or give up their constitutional rights.”

She said there’s no requirement that the government ever make any individual determination on those it strips of gun rights.

Instead, the administration says it will create an appeal after the fact, so those who have already ended up on the banned-purchaser list can ask to be taken off it. Those on the list could also challenge the situation in court, Social Security said in its proposal.

In its proposal, the Social Security Administration signaled it won’t go back and apply the rule retroactively to people already deemed disabled, but will apply it to everyone going forward — including those cases where Social Security conducts a re-review of a previous decision.

Story Continues →

At least this Administration is consistent.  It keeps trying, through all avenues, to restrict the natural rights of law-abiding citizens, by any means necessary.

We have 60 days to comment to the SS Administration.  It may be a lost cause, but, I would suggest we do so.

SOCIAL SECURITY RULE CHANGE COMMENTS PAGE (link)

Cellular Telephone Security

Remember the old adage, “Never put anything into email you don’t want someone else to read.”

(Secretary Clinton, are you listening?)

Of course, with modern security software and pass codes (etc.) we needn’t worry about that with our smartphones, right?

(from Bayou Renaissance Man)

So you think your smartphone is secure?

Not according to CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ program.

Hering is a hacker himself, he’s the 30-something whiz who cofounded the mobile security company “Lookout” when he was 23. Lookout has developed a free app that scans your mobile phone for malware and alerts the user to an attack.

Sharyn Alfonsi: How likely is it that somebody’s phone has been hacked?

John Hering: In today’s world there’s really only — two types of companies or two types of people which are those who have been hacked and realize it and those who have been hacked and haven’t.

Sharyn Alfonsi: How much do you think people have been kind of ignoring the security of their cellphones, thinking, “I’ve got a passcode, I must be fine?”

John Hering: I think that most people have not really thought about their phones as computers. And that’s really starting to shift.

Sharyn Alfonsi: And that’s what you think– it’s like having a laptop now?

John Hering: Oh absolutely. I mean, your mobile phone is effectively a supercomputer in your pocket. There’s more technology in your mobile phone than was in, you know, the space craft that took man to the moon. I mean, it’s — it’s really unbelievable.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Is everything hackable?

John Hering: Yes.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Everything?

John Hering: Yes.

Sharyn Alfonsi: If somebody tells you, “You can’t do it.”

John Hering: I don’t believe it.

There’s much more at the link.  Highly recommended – and disturbing – reading.

Peter

So, about that porn you’ve been sneaking a peek at on your lunch hour…
PS – I saw a recent interview with Jim Caviezel, John Reese of Person of Interest (Season 5 – probably the last – starts TONIGHT 05/03/2016!).  He was asked if he changed any of his habits in real life, having done a political science fiction TV series about rampant surveillance.  He responded he is thoughtful regarding what he says in cellular telephone calls, and ELIMINATED THE INTERNET FROM HIS HOME!  Said he doesn’t need it!  Food for thought…

The American Police State

(from The Ron Paul Institute , in part)

The following activities are guaranteed to get you censored, surveilled, eventually placed on a government watch list, possibly detained and potentially killed.

Laugh at your own peril.

Use harmless trigger words like cloud, pork and pirates: The Department of Homeland Security has an expansive list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats such as SWAT, lockdown, police, cloud, food poisoning, pork, flu, Subway, smart, delays, cancelled, la familia, pirates, hurricane, forest fire, storm, flood, help, ice, snow, worm, warning or social media.

Use a cell phone: Simply by using a cell phone, you make yourself an easy target for government agents—working closely with corporations—who can listen in on your phone calls, read your text messages and emails, and track your movements based on the data transferred from, received by, and stored in your cell phone. Mention any of the so-called “trigger” words in a conversation or text message, and you’ll get flagged for sure.

Drive a car: Unless you’ve got an old junkyard heap without any of the gadgets and gizmos that are so attractive to today’s car buyers (GPS, satellite radio, electrical everything, smart systems, etc.), driving a car today is like wearing a homing device: you’ll be tracked from the moment you open that car door thanks to black box recorders and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems that can monitor your speed, direction, location, the number of miles traveled, and even your seatbelt use. Once you add satellites, GPS devices, license plate readers, and real-time traffic cameras to the mix, there’s nowhere you can go on our nation’s highways and byways that you can’t be followed.

Attend a political rally: Enacted in the wake of 9/11, the Patriot Act redefined terrorism so broadly that many non-terrorist political activities such as protest marches, demonstrations and civil disobedience were considered potential terrorist acts, thereby rendering anyone desiring to engage in protected First Amendment expressive activities as suspects of the surveillance state.

Express yourself on social media: The FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies are investing in and relying on corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior.

Serve in the militaryOperation Vigilant Eagle, the brainchild of the Dept. of Homeland Security, calls for surveillance of military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, characterizing them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.”

Disagree with a law enforcement official: A growing number of government programs are aimed at identifying, monitoring and locking up anyone considered potentially “dangerous” or mentally ill (according to government standards, of course). For instance, a homeless man in New York City who reportedly had a history of violence but no signs of mental illness was forcibly detained in a psych ward for a week after arguing with shelter police.

Call in sick to work: In Virginia, a so-called police “welfare check” instigated by a 58-year-old man’s employer after he called in sick resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck and a 72-hour mental health hold. All of this was done despite the fact that police acknowledged they had no legal basis nor probable cause for detaining the man, given that he had not threatened to harm anyone and was not mentally ill.

Limp or stutter: As a result of a nationwide push to certify a broad spectrum of government officials in mental health first-aid training (a 12-hour course comprised of PowerPoint presentations, videos, discussions, role playing and other interactive activities), more Americans are going to run the risk of being reported for having mental health issues by non-medical personnel. For instance, one 37-year-old disabled man was arrested, diagnosed by police and an unlicensed mental health screener as having “mental health issues,” apparently because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait.

Appear confused or nervous, fidget, whistle or smell bad: According to the Transportation Security Administration’s 92-point secret behavior watch list for spotting terrorists, these are among some of the telling signs of suspicious behavior: fidgeting, whistling, bad body odor, yawning, clearing your throat, having a pale face from recently shaving your beard, covering your mouth with your hand when speaking and blinking your eyes fast.

Allow yourself to be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun, such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane, for instance: No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later. John Crawford was shot by police in an Ohio Wal-Mart for holding an air rifle sold in the store that he may have intended to buy. Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez Cruz was shot 7 times in 10 seconds by a California police officer who mistook the boy’s toy gun for an assault rifle. Christopher Roupe, 17, was shot and killed after opening the door to a police officer. The officer, mistaking the Wii remote control in Roupe’s hand for a gun, shot him in the chest. Another police officer repeatedly shot 70-year-old Bobby Canipe during a traffic stop. The cop saw the man reaching for his cane and, believing the cane to be a rifle, opened fire.

Appear to be pro-gun, pro-freedom or anti-government: You might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you: express libertarian philosophies; exhibit Second Amendment-oriented views; read survivalist literature, including apocalyptic fictional books; show signs of self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies); fear an economic collapse; buy gold and barter items; voice fears about Big Brother or big government; or expound about constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Attend a public school: Microcosms of the police state, America’s public schools contain almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.” Additionally, as part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the FBI—the nation’s de facto secret police force—is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist” as part of its “Don’t Be a Puppet” campaign.

Speak truth to power: Long before Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon who were being singled out for daring to speak truth to power. These men and others like them had their phone calls monitored and data files collected on their activities and associations. For a little while, at least, they became enemy number one in the eyes of the US government.

There’s always a price to pay for standing up to the powers-that-be.

Yet as this list shows, you don’t even have to be a dissident to get flagged by the government for surveillance, censorship and detention.

All you really need to be is a citizen of the American police state.

Have we EVER been this ‘Free’ Republic of which many of us often speak?  Or is that just the goal we never reach? And seem to be drifting even further away from?

police state

h/t Bullets, Beans and Bullion

Political Correctness @ Arlington

(from Free North Carolina)
confed arlington

The PC police have found a new target.  Not satisfied with monuments and flags, the Maryland general assembly recently voted to alter the lyrics to the official State song, James Ryder Randall’s “Maryland, My Maryland.”  Lincoln apologist Christian McWhirter penned a piece for Time magazine that labeled the song “dissident.”  This is true if using the standard definition of the word, opposition to official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.  Anti-Hitler Germans were dissidents.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, and the rest of the founding generation were dissidents.  Anti-Lenin and anti-Stalin Russians were dissidents.  Demonstrators at Tiananmen Square were dissidents.  It seems dissidents are those usually on the right side of history.  Obviously McWhirter disagrees.

Gee.  Time magazine.  Who knew?

American Industrial Ingenuity

Brought to you by the PRC (Communist China)

Via Billy and Free North Carolina

Cadillac XTS China REUTERSKim Kyung-Hoon.

General Motors is hiring Chinese workers to build Cadillac autos that will be sold to the American taxpayers who bailed the company out in 2008.

The plug-in hybrid version of the CT6, which is already manufactured in China, will be available in American showrooms this summer, according to Bloomberg News.
There is growing criticism about General Motors’ decision to hire Chinese workers for manufacturing jobs after accepting a huge bailout from American taxpayers. “America invested in GM and GM turned around and stabbed America in the back,” Rick Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government, told Breitbart News.   
Breitbart has already reported on GM’s plan to sell the made-in-China Buick Envision in the United States. 
Business mogul Donald Trump has made U.S. trade policies with countries like China a central theme of his populist campaign.
More @ Breitbart
Hey, we GAVE them the money, right?  So whose fault is it that more American jobs are moving offshore?
(In the interest of full disclosure, I own a pre-bailout GM car.  The bad news she’s a 2000 Olds Intrigue, with over 140k miles on her.  The good news is in spite of the fact I cannot afford to maintain her, she still runs.  Kind-of.)

Barely A Peep…

(from Joe @ The View From North Central Idaho)

Quote of the day—Paul Craig Roberts

An attack on abortion rights, for example, produces a far greater outcry and resistance than the successful attack on habeas corpus and due process. President Obama was able to declare his power to execute citizens by executive branch decision alone without due process and conviction in court, and it produced barely audible protest.

*Historically, a government that can, without due process, throw a citizen into a dungeon or summarily execute him is considered to be a tyranny, not a democracy.  By any historical definition, the United States today is a tyranny.

Paul Craig Roberts
Does The United States Still Exist?
An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida
[Interesting points.

Remember: Why Boomershoot? Insurance against tyranny.—Joe]

Re: *Historically (above)

SOMEONE had to say it!  –  Guffaw

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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