Sunday, June 28, 2015

SCOTUS Schmotus

If you are scratching your head trying to figure out why The Supreme Court consistently defies the language of the Constitution, you are in good company.  If you are further scratching your head trying to figure out how the same court can defy the language of statutory law, you are also not alone. But don't despair, help is on the way.

In a case of perfect timing, Charles Murray's new book "By the People" is a great read for the head scratchers.  The book explains why the "Madisonian" structures that got us here are in ruins and how we can use new tools to counterbalance the metastatic government those structures were designed to thwart.  It's important to know that those structures are long gone and that looking to their remnants for salvation is a fools errand.  Railing against a President, a Legislature, or even the Court is a waste of energy.  Nothing within government can reverse the growth of government no matter who's in charge.  But that doesn't mean there's nothing that can be done.  Murray offers some hopeful solutions for a possible counter-insurgency strategy.

On the subject of gay marriage, I'm one of a rare breed who actually supports gay marriage while at the same time deplore that it was enacted by the SCOTUS.  On the ObamaCare decision, I oppose both the law and the decision.  Ditto on the disparate impact decision.  It was a rough week made a bit easier thanks to Murray's book.


Here's what I wrote a couple of years ago (2013) about gay marriage:

I'm sorry, I find the marriage equality symbol particularly annoying.  Personally, I don't give a whit who marries who as long as it's consensual and between adults.  But I can't abide hypocrisy.   Gay and straight proponents of this new "right" are almost uniformly opposed to plural marriage.  These sanctimonious hypocrites are the same folks who just spent the last year dragging Mormonism through the mud behind their Priuses ridiculing the faith and its plural marriage history.  These are the tolerant ones who want equality?  I call bullshit.  Why not a right for all marriages?  With that in mind, I offer the plural marriage equality symbol above.  (or more accurately, the any marriage congruence symbol.)
Also this from 2013:
Gay marriage is usually thought of as a cultural issue or a human rights issue and of course it is on some level.  But there is not a single state in the union in which it is not possible for gay couples to legally and openly live together as a couple.  Moreover, turn on a TV today and gay characters are everywhere, attesting to their complete acceptance and ordinariness in pop culture. 
Yet there is still a huge issue separating gay and straight couples and in most cases it boils down to money.   Here is a partial list of the legal and financial entitlements which currently are not available to gay couples:
  • Social Security Survivor Benefits
  • Estate Tax Exemptions
  • Inheritance Exemptions
  • Tax Free Transfers To Spouses
  • Joint Filing (which can lower taxes)
  • Health Insurance Rates
  • Government Employee Spousal Benefits
  • Workman's Compensation
  • Preferential Standing in Wrongful Death
  • Miscellaneous Federal and State Benefits
  • Approx. 1,138 Legal Rights (according to GLAD)
Most of the above list are areas which the Federal Government was not intended by the founders to be involved in in the first place.  But now it is in an ever expanding role, and the financial fate of gay and straight couples alike relies on it's laws and re-distributional largesse.   Despite losing consistently at the polls, big money is flowing the other way because even bigger money is at stake in the gay marriage debate.  It is for this reason that a federal law endorsing gay marriage is inevitable.   Just follow the money.   

And here's what I wrote about a possible counter insurgency strategy also in 2013:

Impeach Obama?  Ain't gonna happen.  I don't care how bad these scandals are, and they are really bad, we are stuck with Obama for the duration.  Practically everyone in media, entertainment, and academia voted for Obama.  If you voted for Obama you most likely: a) don't know about the scandals, b) would never admit you screwed-up,  c) say, "what difference does it make?", d) think it's all Bush's fault, or e) all the above.  This makes impeachment and removal impossible. 
There is another way to act decisively; just avoid paying taxes!  If you are among the informed and intelligent minority who believe Obama should be removed, if you believe he used the IRS like a Gestapo to kill dissent, if you believe he abused his power, if you believe he used the DOJ like a KGB to spy on his detractors, if you believe he lied when he knowingly blamed the Benghazi attack on an innocent videographer who still sits in jail to this day, then you should defund him.  Go Galt, invest in tax free municipal bonds, barter, live off your assets, go off the grid, start a non-profit (you may want to think about that last one), tell your Congressman to defund him.  Do everything you can to legally avoid federal taxes and defund Obama.  That's the only way. 
BTW, break no laws!  We can defund Obama legally if we work together.  You will never eliminate all your taxes, but you can certainly avoid a bunch if you make changes.    Remember, GE pays no taxes and breaks no laws.  Of course, you will never have the advantages of government access and legal advice that Obama's friend GE has, but you can probably cut your tax liability with some effort.  Make the effort.  Defund Obama.  It's all you can do, unless you're content with just fuming.             

Friday, June 26, 2015

Another Day, Another Entitlement

The Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare and gay marriage are interesting and controversial on many levels.  But what many are missing is the fact that these rulings are essentially about the same thing: entitlements.  And once that is understood, it helps predict future court rulings and the direction of our country.

Entitlements are like the universe - always expanding.  There's physics behind this.  The beneficiaries of entitlements have an acute interest in them, while the benefactors (those paying) have a diffuse interest.  The math is simple.  For a beneficiary to get $1, each benefactor (every inhabitant) must provide only $.00000000033.    

The Obamacare case was obviously about entitlements.  The issue was should the federal government provide entitlement subsidies to people who purchased insurance on a federal exchange, despite the law explicitly stating the opposite.  The court ruled in favor of those getting $1.  

The gay marriage case was not as obvious. Gay marriage is usually thought of as a cultural or human rights issue.  But there is not a single state or city in the US in which it is not possible for gay couples to legally and openly live together. Moreover, turn on a TV or watch a movie and gay characters are everywhere attesting to their complete acceptance in our culture.  

Yet there is still a huge issue separating gay and straight couples, and it boils down to entitlements.  Here is a partial list of the financial and legal entitlements which currently are not available to gay couples:

  • Social Security survivor benefits
  • Estate tax exemptions
  • Inheritance exemptions
  • Tax free transfers to spouses
  • Joint filing (which can lower taxes)
  • Health insurance rates for spouses
  • Government employee spousal benefits
  • Workman's compensation
  • Preferential standing in wrongful death
  • Miscellaneous federal and state benefits
  • Approx. 1,138 legal rights (according to GLAD) which mostly boil down to money

We didn't start out as an entitlement state. But we are one now, and the financial fate of gay and straight couples alike relies on government redistribution largess.   Despite losing consistently at the polls, big money was at stake in the gay marriage debate.  It is for this reason that a federal law endorsing gay marriage was inevitable.  It was not about love.  It was about money.  

And so it will go in the future with SCOTUS rulings and presidential elections.  Mitt Romney got into trouble when he said 47% were automatic votes for the Democrat party because they are dependent on entitlements.  I'd say we are now closer to 57%.       

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shorter SCUTUS

Apparently,the federal government is not a state, but it identifies as one.

In this Caitlyn Jenner / Rachael Dolezal world, why not?

If laws can mean anything, regardless of what they say in writing, why have written laws at all?
Beats me.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Scientology and The Clintons?

The Daily Caller ran a piece on 6/21 on the Clinton's connections with Scientology.  More of the same we've come to expect:  big money for the Clintons in exchange for big favors from the US Government.  Yawn.  What difference does it make?

Funny thing is, I had no idea any of this was going on when I made this video about Scientology and Hillary!  Watch, laugh, and enjoy:

Here's the Daily Caller piece in its entirety:    
The Church of Scientology started a big-money lobbying relationship with the U.S. State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
What do you think?
Greg Mitchell, proprietor of The Mitchell Firm, is Scientology’s official Washington lobbyist. A church member, Mitchell works to help the church gain mainstream credibility and to lobby on behalf of issues the church cares about, like criminal justice reform and religious freedom in foreign countries.
Mitchell features a photograph on his firm’s website that shows him posing with Bill and Hillary Clinton.
What do you think?

The Mitchell Firm
What do you think?
Church of Scientology International spent $80,000 over three quarters to have Mitchell lobby the State Department in 2011, during Clinton’s tenure as the head of the agency. The church had never lobbied the State Department before the second quarter of that year.
What do you think?
The church’s lobbying continued in 2012, as it spent a total of $80,000 ($20,000 per quarter) to lobby Clinton’s State Department.
What do you think?
Scientology lobbied for religious freedom issues, opposing efforts by foreign governments to stifle minority religions like Scientology.
What do you think?

Mitchell fought against a new religion law in Hungary that legally de-registers minority religions in the country, and “urged the Secretary to raise this issue with the Hungarian Prime Minister and with leaders of the Hungarian Parliament,” according to lobbying disclosure forms.
What do you think?
Mitchell also circulated a letter to the secretary of state and others “to express our deep concern about rising government restrictions on religion in France” and to fight a religious extremism law in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, among other similar issues.
What do you think?
Scientology continued to lobby John Kerry’s State Department in each quarter of 2013 and 2014 after Clinton left office.
What do you think?
Scientology’s links to the Clintons predate Hillary’s term at the State Department.
What do you think?
The Clinton administration’s Internal Revenue Service granted Scientology its status as a tax-exempt church within Clinton’s first year in office in 1993.
What do you think?
Actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise personally called Bill Clinton to get him to influence his friend, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to help Scientology’s charity status in Great Britain, according to former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun.
What do you think?
Actor and Scientologist John Travolta once received “an unsolicited offer of presidential help” from Clinton as Scientology fought the German government on issues of religious persecution, according to The Los Angeles Times. Clinton administration national security advisor Sandy Berger personally talked to Travolta about the issue and the administration’s efforts to resolve it.
What do you think?
As TheDC reported, Mitchell also lobbied President Obama’s White House four times during Obama’s first term, in 2009 and 2012.
What do you think?
The State Department and the Church of Scientology did not return requests for comment by press time.
What do you think?
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Charleston, Guns, and Obama

The Charleston massacre was bad enough.  Barack Obama made it even worse.  Within 24 hours of the event, he got in front of the cameras and politicized the tragedy, making it all about the tool used by the killer.  That would be like blaming the holocaust on gas chambers, 9/11 on box cutters, and ISIS on daggers and matches.

There is a "first law of Obama", much like there is a first law of physics:  "for every negative event, there is a politically convenient scapegoat to attack, which is designed to rally the liberal base but solve nothing. " For Charleston it's guns.

Not only did Obama attack guns as the culprit, he also attacked the country he leads as being the only developed country that experiences mass murders.  He must not consider England, France, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Finland, Germany, or Canada developed.

He may really believe our legal right to own guns makes us more violent.  He seems blissfully unaware that we've always had guns, but we didn't always have this kind of violence.  He's also blissfully unaware that some of the highest homicide rates, 1000% higher than ours, are in Central American countries that have no 2nd amendment and very few guns.  Countries like Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico are some of the most violent in the world.   Good thing Obama is not importing illegals from these countries.  Oh wait, that's exactly what he's doing!

Look, I could talk about how Obama's disregard for life (ie: late term abortions) has contributed to a cheapening of the value of life and led to more violence, but that would be theoretical.   What's not theoretical is that in Obama's first term, he and the Democrats had filibuster proof control of the entire government. They could have passed a total ban on guns if they wanted to.  They did not, because even most Democrats know legal guns are not the problem.

The fact is we have some violent and insane people in our country, and their violence will not magically disappear if guns magically do.  They will find another tool.  They always have. Ironically, the best way to minimize gun violence is to deregulate them.  It is not a coincidence that killers like the Charleston guy, the Batman guy, the military base guy, and the school guy, all sought out gun-free zones to accomplish their evil.      

Obama knows this but sees a political opportunity.  The damage that this cynical, petulant, arrogant, and divisive man is inflicting on our nation proceeds apace.

(At the time of this writing, the gun that the Charleston shooter used appears to have been illegal.)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hillary is Awesome!

Friends discuss Scientology and Hillary Clinton.  
(Had to post this on the occasion of Hillary's big rollout show on Roosevelt Island, NY yesterday.  Please share it if you enjoy it!)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The TSA is Perfect!*

This week it was revealed that 95% of the really bad stuff (bombs, guns, knives) that inspectors tried to sneak past TSA security made it through and onto airplanes! (Cue boilerplate outrage from politicians, etc.)  We've seen this movie before folks, and frankly it's boring.  And tragic.

TSA is doing exactly what it was designed to do!  Sure, some of the votes for nationalizing airport security were naively made with good intentions.   And George W Bush, bless his progressive naive heart, may have actually believed the federal government could do a better job than the airlines. (Never-mind that on 9/11, the only people who actually did their jobs perfectly were the private airport security folks!  They were instructed by federal regulations to allow box cutters onto planes, and that's what they did.)  But that's all water under the totalitarian bridge.  Today, the TSA has almost nothing to do with providing security; it is just another cog in the Democrat Party union jobs program and kickback machine.  

Add it to the list.  TSA is just like The VA, IRS, Postal Service, Amtrak, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.  Every one of these agencies is an abject failure at their ostensible mission, but they are performing exactly as designed for their true purposes; political power and money for Democrats.    

You would think the VA is a healthcare system for veterans.  You would be wrong.  The VA is first and foremost a jobs program and a union money machine for Democrats.  Sure, it was originally set-up to treat veterans, but now does so only as an afterthought.  You might think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were mortgage companies for the poor.  You would be wrong.  Fannie and Freddie are first and foremost political operations that were originally set-up to provide mortgages for the poor, but now do so only as an afterthought.  This goes for the IRS, Amtrak, USPS, and every other agency and corner of the federal government - except for the uniformed military who are not yet unionized.  (see my related piece on the recent Amtrak accident here.)  

The sad thing is that naive Republican "progressives" have too often bought into this scheme.  The essence of progressivism is to view the constitution as an impediment to "progress".  Progressives seek to move past those pesky constitutional limits and exert total power wherever they can.  Limited power just doesn't cut it.  Progressives want it all.        

The framers of our constitution knew this could happen.  They knew totalitarianism and all-powerful government would politicize everything and turn it into a horror show.  That’s precisely why they gave us a “charter of negative liberties”, (to borrow Barack Obama’s derisive words) which says “what the federal government can’t do to you…”.  The constitution specifically limits federal power for a reason.  It was a check on totalitarianism and a wall against nationalizing and politicizing everything.  Well, it used to do that anyway.  Not so much anymore. 

Next time a story comes out about some federal agency miserably failing at it's core mission, remember:  its true mission is votes, power, and money for the Democrat Party, and for that it is perfect. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ramadi, Baltimore, and the Obama Power Vacuum

Sometimes events are just events.  Sometimes they are related and show a trend.  But sometimes events are so linked, they paint a vivid picture worth well more than a thousand words.  So it is with Ramadi and Baltimore.
Ramadi and Baltimore are just the latest manifestations of the Obama power vacuum.  (No, the Obama power vacuum is not like a Hoover or Dyson.  It won’t help you clean your house.  The Obama power vacuum is actually quite deadly and claims lives on an hourly basis..)   All the ISIS chaos, Putin’s imperialism, Iran’s aggression, as well as the chaos befalling cities across America essentially share the same pathology as Ramadi and Baltimore.  And Obama’s hand in all of it is undeniable.  (For a black Democrat president with a Muslim name who identifies as a Christian, he sure is presiding over the death and suffering of a lot of blacks, Democrats, Muslims, and Christians!) 
In Ramadi, and Iraq in general, Obama’s precipitous withdrawal of all US forces left a power vacuum which ISIS has filled with tragic effect.  When George W Bush turned things over, US soldiers were no longer fighting in Iraq.  Our role was as a stabilizing force.  Serving in Iraq in 2009 was actually safer than walking the streets of Baltimore is today!  Now, just a few years into the Obama power vacuum, and the whole place is a tragic mess.  We fought, died, and prevailed in a bi-partisan effort, only to have it squandered by an irresponsible, arrogant, and petulant pol.
In Baltimore, and cities across America, the Obama power vacuum resulted from the same kind of behavior. Again there was a long effort which had largely prevailed against rising inner-city crime and murder.  Enter Obama.  Instead of using his bully pulpit to encourage the rule of law and allow the criminal justice system to play-out, he jumped in and inserted himself into every high profile case implying the police and criminal justice system were racist and criminal.  He deployed his de-facto race czar, Al Sharpton, to stir animosity.  He deployed his Department of Justice to charge police departments with civil rights violations and impose onerous restrictions.  In every high profile case so far he’s been proven wrong.   Nevertheless, Obama’s assault on local police and criminal justice systems persists.  Cops have realized that being pro-active is not worth the effort.  They have stopped doing what works and left a power vacuum into which chaos and murder have flooded.

A vacuum is not a thing.  It’s the absence of things.  Obama’s principles are also not things.  They are the absence of things.  Obama’s approach to foreign affairs can best be described as “not Bush’.  In domestic affairs it can be best described as “not the Constitution”.

“Not Bush” is how we get a troop surge and a tripling of casualties in Afghanistan, a complete withdrawal from Iraq, appeasement with Putin, Nukes for Iran, intervention in Libya, an overrun embassy, and chaos in Ramadi.  “Not the Constitution” is how we get a virtual takeover of local police departments, criminalization of routine police work, federalization of everything, executive takeover of the legislative function, and chaos in Baltimore.

Ramadi and Baltimore are just the latest examples of the Obama power vacuum from “not Bush” and “not the Constitution”.  Into those vacuums have rushed ISIS and inner-city mayhem across America.