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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?

♫ 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.

Nasty Statist(tics)

See what I did there?

Regular readers (thank you!) know I am pro-law enforcement.  However, just as I promote the entire history of the United States (warts and all), I believe in reviewing all efforts by the police (good and bad).

A Washington Post article regarding the police came to my attention.

Pursuing drugs and guns on scant evidence, D.C. police sometimes raid wrong homes — terrifying the innocent

For the time constrained, here’s the juicy part…

A Washington Post review of 2,000 warrants served by D.C. police between January 2013 and January 2015 found that 284 — about 14 percent — shared the characteristics of the one executed at Taylor’s apartment. In every case, after arresting someone on the street for possession of drugs or a weapon, police invoked their training and experience to justify a search of a residence without observing criminal activity there. The language of the warrants gave officers broad leeway to search for drugs and guns in areas saturated by them and to seize phones, computers and personal records.

In about 60 percent of the 284 cases, police executing the warrants found illegal items, ranging from drug paraphernalia to guns, The Post found. The amounts of drugs recovered were usually small, ranging from residue to marijuana cigarettes to rocks of cocaine. About 40 percent of the time — in 115 cases — police left empty-handed.

Ah, The War on Drugs (and Guns) strikes again.  How many folks are incarcerated for possession of a joint, and how many cops are employed to locate and incarcerated such folks?

And if The Second Amendment is indeed an individual right (as the Supreme Court has stated)…yatta, yatta, yatta.

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” – English jurist William Blackstone

h/t Jeffery

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!) :-)

DHS Has A Secret Plan To Disable Cell Phones During “Emergencies”

(Yeah, I pretty much assumed so.  Because I SO trust government.  –  Guffaw)

The Supreme Court was asked in a petition to force the government to disclose the US clandestine plan to disable cell service during emergencies.

The case concerns Standard Operating Procedure 303. A federal appeals court in May said the government did not have to release its full contents because the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows the authorities to withhold records if they would “endanger” public safety.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center told the high court’s justices Tuesday that the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s decision created a new “catchall provision that can be used in any case involving records related to domestic and national security programs.” (PDF)

The privacy group had demanded the documents from the Department of Homeland Security in 2011 following the shuttering of cell service in the San Francisco Bay Area subway system to quell a protest. The Department of Homeland Security refused to divulge the documents associated with SOP 303, which the appeals court described as a “unified voluntary process for the orderly shut-down and restoration of wireless services during critical emergencies such as the threat of radio-activated improvised explosive devices.”

Under the direction of the so-called National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, SOP 303 allows for the shuttering of wireless networks “within a localized area, such as a tunnel or bridge, and within an entire metropolitan area.”

The telecoms have agreed to shutter service when SOP 303 is invoked, but there are no publicly disclosed instances of the measure ever being invoked.

I’m guessing the Internet is included, as well.  Guess it’s back to smoke signals for us!

(Is it only me, but did ‘Rule 303’ pop into your head when you read this?)

h/t Ars Technica

“Stratfor? What’s A Stratfor?”

…to cook in!  NO – that’s a potfor!  :-)

This is no children’s joke…

NO, this is about STRATFOR

Earlier this year, private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, published its Decade Forecast, in which it projects the next 10 years of global political and economic developments.

While international analysts often try their hand at predicting the major events of the coming year, Stratfor believes that it’s identified the major trends of the next 10.

In many ways, Stratfor thinks the world a decade from now will be more dangerous place, with US power waning and other prominent countries experiencing a period of chaos and decline.

An interest part of all this (which, in order to read, must be emailed free to you – if you are not a Stratfor subscriber) is little mention is made of the United States.  And the increase in ongoing, government-imposed tyranny.
We’ve a tendency, as participants in the American Experiment, to think ‘we’ will go on forever – I’m certain the Romans thought the same…
Still an interesting read.
(I’m not a subscriber – cannot afford it!)
h/t Brock Townsend

Gov’t Just CAN’T Leave Well Enough Alone!

As recently posted by the lovely and talented Tamara

The .gov giveth and the .gov taketh away…

So, with the brewing industry having finally (mostly) bounced back from Prohibition, and small craft breweries having sprung up all over, you just knew there was some way the feds could screw up a good thing, didn’t you?

Small breweries will have to spend hundreds of dollars per beer to analyze the nutritional value of each type sold.

“A good analysis [will cost] probably somewhere between the $500-$1,000 range of what I’ve seen. Then multiply it across the styles that you have,” said Lawinski.

And at a thousand dollars a pop, that could keep unique and seasonal brews from making it to your favorite watering hole.

I’m thinking the BATFE is seeing the handwriting on the wall, and we’ll see a sharp upturn in revenooers chasing moonshiners as well!  After all, Eliot Ness & Co. wants to keep their jobs!

Yep.  Government.

It continues to be all about control…

Now WHOM Should We Arrest?

as stolen from Wirecutter:

Between 1989 and 2010, U.S. attorneys seized an estimated $12.6 billion in asset forfeiture cases. The growth rate during that time averaged +19.4% annually.

In 2010 alone, the value of assets seized grew by +52.8% from 2009 and was six times greater than the total for 1989.

Then by 2014, that number had ballooned to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making this 35% of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year.

Now, according to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses. This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals.
MORE

Now, assuming these statistics are close to accurate (and we all know about assuming), this is a sobering statistic!

Does ANYONE remember their American History?  Life, Liberty, Property?  Bueller?  Bueller?

“I’ll Have A Che’se Burger With Everything!

Hold the Freedom Fries…

Via Iver

https://i1.wp.com/sandiegofreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Che-Cafe-UCSD1.jpg

It may offer the best political science course on campus, but the lessons are lost on bureaucrats: UC-San Diego’s fabled “Che Cafe” is awash in red ink and in need of a bailout.

Students have run the restaurant, named for Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, for 34 years, but they’ve steered it into the ground. Boasting of “exorbitantly low” prices, the vegan co-op and concert venue that once hosted an up-and-coming Nirvana has cost the student body nearly $1 million over the years, and isn’t kept up to fire or safety codes. The ragtag band of volunteer staffers, who call themselves a “collective,” faced eviction in March, but have persuaded the school to save their beloved stronghold.

More @ Fox
Hey!  Income redistribution, man!
I want to go to the local university here, and open an unsanitary, unprofitable, collectivist health-food hole, and name it after another mass murderer! It’s certain to be a loss leader and on the government teat.  Maybe I can keep it going 34 years, too!
Let’s see – Stalin’s Vegan Steakburgers?  Mao’s Tongue (containing no animal products)?
I KNOW – Castro’s Playa Giron!  Pork BBQ!
We can reproduce The Stanford Prison Experiment in the back!
And if the staff goes on strike, we can just kill them.
I don’t know what is the most sad – that they exist at all, or that ‘educated’ college folk (and the gov’t) have supported them for 34 years!!
h/t Brock Townsend

Just When You Thought It Was Safe, Part III…

jawsor maybe IV, I forget. (courtesy of Old NFO,)

(aka, an extreme overuse of film icons…)

About that privacy…

You ‘thought’ you had…

Remember how criminal fingerprint bases were kept separate from military and civil (e.g. fingerprinted for a job)?

Yeah, not so much anymore…

I completely missed this one, but it came out in a discussion of the latest release of the ever increasing scope of the OPM hack (an additional 6 million files hacked, PLUS all fingerprints).

This from the EFF-

FBI Combines Civil and Criminal Fingerprints into One Fully Searchable Database

Being a job seeker isn’t a crime. But the FBI has made a big change in how it deals with fingerprints that might make it seem that way. For the first time, fingerprints and biographical information sent to the FBI for a background check will be stored and searched right along with fingerprints taken for criminal purposes.

The change, which the FBI revealed quietly in a February 2015 Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), means that if you ever have your fingerprints taken for licensing or for a background check, they will most likely end up living indefinitely in the FBI’s NGI database. They’ll be searched thousands of times a day by law enforcement agencies across the country—even if your prints didn’t match any criminal records when they were first submitted to the system.

Full article HERE. What isn’t clear, but is included are ALL the military fingerprints, which we were told were always to be kept separately for security reasons…

Yeah, right… Shoulda known better…

You can read the Fibbies Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) HERE.

Think about it… How many doors, objects, etc. do you touch on a daily basis when getting too/from work… The grab bar on the Metro, the bus, the door to the elevator, handrails? Bathroom doors? Restaurant doors at lunch?

Suppose there is an incident at a location you’ve been to, they dust and lo an behold your fingerprints show up…

You have a high security job, now how are you going to explain to YOUR security people why the cops just hauled you downtown for an ‘interview’…

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

But wait… It is going to get even better! For certain values of better…

Specifically, in 2012, Deputy Assistant Director Jerome Pender stated:

Only criminal mug shot photos are used to populate the national repository. Query photos and photos obtained from social networking sites, surveillance cameras, and similar sources are not used to populate the national repository.

But the new RFQ contradicts this because it appears the desired software would allow officers to submit non-mug shot photos to NGI. The RFQ says the FBI is looking for a mobile biometrics tool that would, “at a minimum . . . include fingerprints and facial photographs for submission and receipt of a response.” Photographs taken in the field are clearly not “mug shot photos” because they’re taken before booking and possibly even before arrest. And it’s hard to see how a mobile tool that allows officers to collect these non-mug shot photos and “submit” them to a database is not also “populating the national repository.”

The article from EFF is HERE. And HERE’s the link to the FedBizOps page for the biometric system…

Yep, kiss that whole privacy thing good by… As if we had any to start with…

h/t Lawdog

Yeah.  Thanks, Jim (and Lawdog)! (groan)

And, of course, we know the BATFE is not continuing to add to a database involving NICS check data, because it would be a violation of criminal law…

Yeah, right…

Ya think some enterprising young attorney at the DOJ isn’t conspiring to meld these databases together, along with Homeland Security?  For our safety, of course.

Yeah, right…

Pick one…

hal9000terminator

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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