Friday, June 29, 2012

Act of War, Revisited

Representative Darrell Issa read the contents of one of the Wiretap Applications linked with Operation Fast and Furious into the Congressional Record.  In the application, it provided great detail regarding the tactics being used in Fast and Furious, including the fact that the plan, from the beginning, was to allow the guns to be used in crimes (hint: you don't typically rob a store with an AK-47) and to be traced after recovery at crime scenes.

The ATF was planning on getting people murdered.  It's there in black and white, and it is now part of the Congressional Record.

The ATF was planning on getting people murdered.

That needs to sink in.  It needs to sink in because the people who would be getting murdered would be Mexican citizens and Mexican law enforcement.

And Barack Obama invoked Executive Privilege, indicating he at least knew about, and probably approved the operation.  For good measure, let's point out that the Secretary of State probably knew about the operation as well.

Yes, you read that right:  Barack Obama and his senior administration officials colluded to engage in covert acts of war against an allied foreign power.

The ATF was planning on getting people murdered.
Watergate did not have a body count.

The Growing Police State: Enabling Domestic Terror Edition

Remember when I talked about some authorities wanting to arm the drones they want to have up in the air 24/7 spying on US Citizens who are not even suspected of any crime?

Yeah, some students the University of Texas had some concerns that way, too.  They challenged DHS, claiming they could take over a Drone.  DHS did not believe them, and dared them to succeed.

For a little less than $1000.00, they did just that.

Now, the lead researcher in that article talks about how these drones could all be flying missiles.  That's bad enough, but if we start arming domestic drones, they're not flying missiles, they're flying weapons platforms which can be taken over by terrorists.

This simply  highlights, once again, why giving the State any further authority and power is folly.  This is especially true with this particular power.  There is no way to guarantee that drones which, by definition, use remote control, will not be remotely controlled by the bad guys.  Add weapons to that mix, and you've armed the bad guys with weapons they can use from half-way across the globe.  Yeah, that's a good idea.

Don't Lose Your Situational Awareness

It is said that one of the worst things you can do in combat is to focus so much on one thing, on one target, that you forget about others.

Yesterday, our Liberty was removed by the Supreme Court.  There are things we can do to fight that.  But if we focus only on that, we risk missing other usurpations of our Liberty, or further growth of Tyranny.

So, today, with the exception of my Axiom Report post (still not up, yet, will update the companion post here when it is), I will not be blogging about health care.  There are other things we need to keep our eyes on as well.

Just Kill It, Already: Guaranteed Issue

So, today's offering at the Axiom Report will cover Guaranteed Issue.  In light of yesterday's horrendous decision on Obamacare, this is, if anything, even more important.  Already there are Republicans who want to repeal most of the law, but want to leave in these "popular provisions" we've been discussing.

Guaranteed Issue is poison.  Apparently no one in Washington, DC has ever heard the term "Moral Hazard."  Guaranteed Issue, without a mandate (which any repeal bill would remove), will kill the private insurance industry.

I'll update this post when the new article is up.

Sick and Depressed is No Way to Blog, Son

Yes, yesterday's Obamacare decision was bad.  On top of that, I was already sick.

We'll resume our regularly scheduled blogging today.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In Defense of Liberty

The Honorable Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Dear Governor,

As you are no doubt aware, the United States Supreme Court just upheld one of the most egregious usurpations of State and Individual Liberty in American History.  By declaring the Individual Mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Act) a tax, they did not merely uphold this tyrannical statute, they did so while directly contradicting themselves (if it were really a tax, rules state they cannot rule on the law until the tax has gone into effect) as well as the law itself (the word “tax” never occurs regarding the Mandate).

By upholding the Act, the Supreme Court has effectively decided that it is within the purview of the Federal Government to levy a tax on breathing.  The individual mandate, as you know, is not a tax on voluntary economic activity.  Rather it is a tax on voluntary economic inactivity.  Simply being alive and choosing not to carry an insurance policy is enough to force you to pay the tax.  This is not true of any other tax.  Income taxes are not owed if you make no income; they tax economic activity, not economic inactivity.  Sales taxes are not owed if you do not purchase anything; they tax economic activity, not economic inactivity.  Cigarette taxes and gasoline taxes are similar examples; to avoid the taxes, do not engage in the proscribed economic activity.

This is a perversion of everything our forefathers fought to achieve.  It is tyrannical and unjust.  The Act is blatantly unconstitutional, and the Court has ignored the constitution in deference to its precious “precedent.”

Mr. Governor, we, the people of Texas, have nowhere else to turn.  Our congressional leaders have failed us.  The Courts of the United States have failed us.  I humbly beseech that the State of Texas defend us from this tyrannical overreach.

To that end, I would ask that the State of Texas act in the following ways:

1)      That no State resources be used to enforce this act of tyranny.
2)      That the State would officially affirm, via legislation, the same.
3)      That the State act to shield those persons who refuse to comply with this tyranny from the Federal Authority.

Mr. Governor, I understand what I’m asking.  I understand that this would be a huge and possibly irreversible step.  I understand that it is a gamble and, to some extent, “asking for trouble.”  Nevertheless, I believe it to be the right course.  I believe that the Natural Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are not outmoded ideas.  I believe the rights upheld in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights are not antiquated notions.  And I believe that they must be vigorously defended.

With Sincere Respect,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Growing Police State: Weight Loss Edition

Whatever happened to "get your hands off my body?"

In the June 25 LA Times, there is this article which discusses a government panel (empowered by Obamacare) which recommends that doctors "identify patients with a body mass index of 30 or more" and either counsel them or refer them to a weight loss program.  The article then goes on to point out that Obamacare would force insurers to pay for this treatment, something most private insurers do not currently do (which is not 100% correct). 

The article talks about some options, and has a little back-and-forth on the efficacy of weight loss programs.  At least one "expert" cited talks about what this would mean for the insurance agency.  The panel weighs in saying that there are no studies showing that intensive weight loss programs have beneficial long term effects.

What is never asked?  Why on earth Government would think your weight is in their purview.  Certainly doctors should talk to you about your weight.  You pay them to help keep you healthy, after all.  But that "should" is a professional ethics kind of "should," not a governmental "or else" kind of should.  And why should insurance companies pay for it at all?  You weight is your business, and you should be responsible enough to take care of it.  If you're one of the few people who really have a medical condition that causes obesity, that medical condition will be covered for treatment, but just being fat? 

And, again, here is the answer: Obamacare.  Because, just as conservatives have been saying, and as I have said, once the Government is in charge of your health care, the Government is in charge of you.  Obamacare not only grants the government the authority, but tasks it with the responsibility, to oversee your health. 

Conservatives have been mocked for pointing out there is no philosophical difference between a governmental mandate to purchase health insurance and a governmental mandate to buy broccoli.  Yet, here, the government is, in a sense, mandating exactly that.  They are mandating action from everyone: the doctor must counsel you or refer you for treatment, you must accede to treatment, and the insurance company must pay for it.

Conservatives, especially those of us with roots in health care, tried to warn the nation.  In our defense, I believe we did a fairly good job; Obamacare was wildly unpopular when it passed, and is not significantly more popular now.  But the law was passed anyway, and now we begin to see the hidden costs.  We begin to see that we are no longer citizens, but subjects.

As You Might Guess, Fortune Is Full of Crap

So Fortune Magazine has a piece out on an investigation regarding Fast & Furious in which it basically decides Fast & Furious never actually happened.  Never mind the numerous whistle blowers.  Never mind the fact that the Department of Justice admits that guns were allowed to walk.  Never mind that their primary sources are subjects of the House Oversight Committee's investigation.  No, they have found the Truth!

Except they haven't.  New Republic Online, posted this response which (by the time I found it) included this update:
UPDATE: A spokesman from the House Oversight Committee sends along this response to the story:
Fortune’s story is a fantasy made up almost entirely from the accounts of individuals involved in the reckless tactics that took place in Operation Fast and Furious.  It contains factual errors — including the false statement that Chairman Issa has called for Attorney General Holder’s resignation — and multiple distortions. It also hides critical information from readers — including a report in the Wall Street Journal — indicating that its primary sources may be facing criminal charges. Congressional staff gave Fortune Magazine numerous examples of false statements made by the story’s primary source and the magazine did not dispute this information. It did not, however, explain this material to its readers. The one point of agreement the Committee has with this story is its emphasis on the role Justice Department prosecutors, not just ATF agents, played in guns being transferred to drug cartels in Mexico. The allegations made in the story have been examined and rejected by congressional Republicans, Democrats, and the Justice Department.
But that's not what I'm going to focus on.  Of course their story is false, there is no way the Obama Administration would have spent this much political capitol and allowed this to become so big a scandal if there really was no "there" there.

No, I think it's enlightening to look at the beginning of the story.  You see, to someone who is paying attention, it's easy to see what they were going to 'discover,' just from reading their introduction.  It's such anti-gun drivel, I almost expected to read about how many accidental shooting deaths there were in Arizona last year (as though that would have had anything to do with Fast & Furious- but that's the kind of "logic" they're using).

Early on they set up the piece as anti-gun.
No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws.
Again, in the same paragraph:
The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.
The two paragraphs on:
Voth's mandate was to stop gun traffickers in Arizona, the state ranked by the gun-control advocacy group Legal Community Against Violence as having the nation's "weakest gun violence prevention laws." Just 200 miles from Mexico, which prohibits gun sales, the Phoenix area is home to 853 federally licensed firearms dealers. Billboards advertise volume discounts for multiple purchases.
And the next:
Customers can legally buy as many weapons as they want in Arizona as long as they're 18 or older and pass a criminal background check.
And it continues from there.  It is quite obvious that the author has an anti-gun agenda, and is unlikely to allow mere facts to get in his way.

The problem?  The very premise on which he basis his article is the basis for Fast and Furious:
The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico.
And it's one for which no one has ever actually found any evidence. Indeed, it is more expensive and problematic to purchase guns in the United States and smuggle them to Mexico than it is to purchase them on the black market.  For one thing, your black market gun dealer will deliver to you- they're the Dominoes of firearms.  For another, a black market gun dealer can provide automatic weapons, whereas smuggling guns in from the United States limits you to semi-automatic weapons.

Why would I pay more for a gun that I had to go pick up that would not be as effective? 

The answer:  I wouldn't.  Indeed, from what we think we know (much of this is still hidden) it appears that the US Government not only allowed the guns to walk without taking any steps to track or interdict them, but that they actually subsidized the purchases to convince the Cartels to buy the weapons.

This was not a gun trafficking operation.  It was not even really about the Second Amendment.  Fast and Furious was an Act of War against the government of Mexico.

At This Rate, The Convetion Could Be Held In An Apartment

And not a very big one.

Over the last week or so, numerous Democrats -most notably those from North Carolina- have indicated they will not be attending the Democrat National Convention in (wait for it): North Carolina.  They give excuses like "needing to be with their constituents," and such.  Let me assure you, if Barack Obama were popular in their districts, they'd be going.

He's not.  In fact, Barack Obama is apparently so toxic, that Rep. Steve Israel, current chairman of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee, has suggested that all Democrat Representatives skip the convention.

Has this ever happened?  I can only imagine the ridicule and mockery in the Mainstream Media if Republicans were refusing, in droves, to attend their convention.  This is especially true if they were giving the political equivalent of the excuse, "I have to wash my hair."

Add this to UT Representative Jim Matheson deciding to support the Contempt Citation against Eric Holder, and the picture seems to be rather bleak for the President.

To which I say: pass the popcorn.

Barack Obama has been a tyrant from day one of his Presidency.  He refuses to enforce laws he doesn't like, he implements law by the fiat of Executive Order, he has appointed officers with Cabinet Level powers without the Advice and Consent of the US Senate, he has attempted to bully media outlets and the Supreme Court, and the list continues.  With any luck, the Democrats will realize that he doesn't merely share their opposition to Republicans, but that he actively hates what America stands for.

Once they do that, they'll have a choice- support America, or stand with their Party.

What's Your Plan?

Last night, my wife and I had "The Talk."

No, not that one.  We had the talk about what she and the kids should do if bad people try to do bad things to them at our house.  Here's the short form of our plan:

The Emergency Plan

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my Springfield XD-9 in my Gun-Vault bed-side case.  The rounds currently in the magazines are just target rounds; at some point I'll shell out for a specific "In Case of Emergency" magazine and put better self defense rounds in it, but those should do in a pinch.

We are blessed to have my wife staying at home with our kids.  However, ever since someone tried (and failed, thank God) to kick down our door late last year, I've been a little more concerned with the safety of my neighborhood.  I certainly don't expect anything to happen, but I also didn't expect anyone to try to kick down my front door.

You should have a similar plan.  Maybe not a pistol, maybe no firearm at all, but you owe it to yourself to consider what happens when/if the bad guys decide to target you.  As the Boy Scouts say, "be prepared," and remember: "When seconds count, the police are just minutes away."

It is my devout hope that I never have to use this weapon for anything other than shooting paper targets or the occasional tin can.  Nevertheless, it helps settle my nerves when my wife is home with my kids, since I'm usually more than an hour away.

What's your plan?

Just Kill It, Already: Pre-Existing Conditions

A couple of days ago at the Ace of Spades HQ, we got into a discussion about the provision of Obamacare which would require immediate coverage of pre-existing conditions.  On one side were myself and friend-of-the-blog tsrblke, on the other were AoSHQ commenter 'rockmom' and maybe one or two others.

The problem with this provision is that it seems so necessary.  Those evil insurance companies "wrote the bill" after all, and they must have been okay with this provision being in there.

That is a misconception of what happened.  Yes, the health insurance companies saw that some national health care bill was going to be passed.  Yes, they provided their input, in the form of pre-written provisions that would screw them over the least.  Yes, they eventually backed Obamacare.  None of them wanted it, and they would all have been much happier had it not passed.

People look at Barack Obama today, against a highly antagonistic House, and forget how much power the Democrats wielded in 2009 and 2010.  Some form of Federal health care bill was going to be passed; it only made sense for the insurance companies to help craft the bill.  For one thing, few people know health insurance like the health insurance companies.  For another, they would really like to survive.

When combined with Guaranteed Issue, and separated from an Individual Mandate, the immediate coverage of pre-existing conditions will kill private insurance.  My more-or-less educated guess is that they would not survive a decade.  Today's offering at The Axiom Report (to be linked when posted there update: linked) explains what pre-existing conditions really are, how they're covered today, and why immediate coverage of all pre-existing conditions is so bad.

Click over and read the whole thing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Update: Info Received from TWC

As the IAM strike against Lockheed appears to come to a close (I still haven't seen the details, but from radio reports it sounds like the union more-or-less caved), I feel compelled to continue the coverage I began.

When I find details of the new deal, and when results of Thursday's vote are known, I'll post.  However, I believe I owe a "Thank You" to the Texas Workforce Commission.  The Unemployment Division Director responded, today, to my open letter.

The short version is: yes, it is completely legal for striking workers to apply for assistance.  No, they almost certainly won't be approved.  I say "almost certainly" because there is a specific exclusion for striking workers which, per the email, "continues until the worker no longer has any part in the dispute."

The full explanation was quite professional, and I respect the information given and the TWC for taking the time to respond to me (I'm so used to receiving pure form letters or no response at all, I was actually surprised to receive this communication).

So, thank you, to LaShae Lenzy of the TWC for taking the time to respond.

The Growing Police State: Petty Tyrants

In case you needed your daily does of "ragestroke," here's a wonderful article from the Daily Mail.*

A grandson carrying his grandfather's ashes through Airport security had them desecrated and spilled on the floor.  The TSA Agent who committed this atrocious act reportedly mocked and laughed at him as he attempted to retrieve the spilled ashes and return the to the container- one which had been clearly marked "human remains," and which could have been examined without ever opening it, if there had been a real security concern.

No, this is simply more petty Tyranny from the the TSA.  They are despicable, every one of them.

Now, many people would say, "Oh, there are good men and women working for the TSA..."  I call bull manure.  Good men and women could not have watched that without intervening.  Good men and women could not work in an environment that enabled that sort of behavior.  Good men and women could not stand by as grannies in wheel-chairs or young children were molested by their coworkers.

Any TSA agent who does not stand up for the human dignity of the people they are supposed to be serving is, at best, enabling such behavior.  More accurately, they're complicit in it.  By not standing against it, they have chosen to stand for it.  I cannot whitewash it for them.

The TSA must hold these agents accountable- and, by "accountable" I mean: fire them.  The other TSA agents must refuse to work with them.  Neither of those will happen, because the entire organization is evil.  As is anyone who supports them.

*- On a completely different note, why am I reading this from British News?

Barack Obama is *still* a Stuttering Flustercluck of a Miserable Tyrant

From the Declaration of Independence:
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: 

 President Obama wants to do this on two fronts:  first is the Law of the Sea Treaty which would deny our sovereignty over our Navy.  Second is an International Trade Tribunal which would deny our sovereignty over corporations operating in the United States.

In 2008, Then Candidate Obama promised to "fundamentally transform America."  This is what he meant.  Others have blogged about his desire to destroy America before, and I will not reproduce all their work here, but I believe a continued cataloging of his acts will bear more than enough evidence for that proposition.

From Czars to over-riding Bankruptcy Law, from ignoring Congress's instructions regarding foreign spending to declaring them null and void, from LOST to this new trade agreement, Barack Obama has been attempting to "fundamentally transform America" from the Constitutionally established Representative Republic our forefathers founded into a new Socialist (dare I say: Communist) Utopia.  Because of his background, because of his friends (like Bill Ayers, and Reverend Wright), Barack Obama hates this country.  He hates what America has stood for for more than two centuries.  He hates that America is the leader of the world.  He hates that our commitment to Liberty makes us the most powerful nation on earth.

Barack Obama is not the man who would be king; he is not the man who would be emperor.  He is the man who would destroy this nation in the name of "fairness."

This Needs To Stop

This needs to stop, or someone is going to die.  In all likelihood, the victim will be a citizen guilty of nothing more than engaging in God Granted and Constitutionally Protected Free Speech.  There is an outside chance that the victim will be a police officer simply responding to a call to give it due diligence.  There is even the possibility that the victim will be someone calling 911 for real, but that the police will not respond quickly enough due to too many incidents like this.

Aaron Walker (AKA Aaron Worthing) was SWATed last night.  This came on the same day he won an important victory for Free Speech against convicted domestic terrorist, perjurer, and all-around-scum-bag Brett Kimberlin in court.  While no one believes the caller to have been Mr. Kimberlin himself, Mr. Walker believes he knows who the attacker (and that this was an attack is not really even up for debate) was.

The longer this goes on, the more I wonder what it is, exactly, that Brett Kimberlin, Neal Rauhauser, and their other associates and minions are so dead-set on hiding.  Brett Kimberlin should be a nobody.  He should be an afterthought.  His claims to fame are bombing the Indianapolis Suburb of Speedway, and claiming to be Dan Quayle's drug-dealer.  He runs two "non-profit" (it is to laugh) organizations supporting the Occupy Movement and other Liberal causes.  With the exception that his past suggests he may not be completely honest with the money donors are giving him, he should be ignored.

Yet, for some reason, Brett Kimberlin, Neal Rauhauser, and their associates have taken to "lawfare" tactics, SWATing, and other attempts at intimidation to prevent people from writing about them.  It's as though they don't realize that they're making news by attacking the bloggers.  And the escalation is disturbing.

The FBI must investigate these crimes with the full resources at their disposal.  Someone is going to die.  Most likely a blogger, but possibly a cop or an otherwise innocent victim.  The person or persons making the phone calls must be caught, and they must go to jail for a long, long time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

He Has Refused His Assent

With the provision in the Arizona Illegal Immigration law that allowed for checks of immigration status being upheld this morning, Barack Obama has, once again, allowed his mask to slip to show the tyrant beneath.

From the Washington Times (H/T: Ace of Spades) comes this article detailing Obama's decision to suspend existing agreements with AZ police over immigration enforcement.  He has issued a policy which will result in either continuous detention of possible illegals (if ICE officials simply do not answer or respond to requests), or will allow illegal immigrants to avoid the just consequences of their crime.  First the EO granting amnesty to illegal aliens who came as minors, and now this.

Indeed, these are far from the only examples of love of tyranny.  From ignoring Congress (on multiple occasions) to berating or threatening (however obliquely) the Supreme court, to- today- defying the Supreme court, in spirit if not in letter.

Barack Obama is a tyrant.  He is a would-be dictator who believes that you live to serve him.  He wants you as a subject, not a citizen.

The time has come for our elected representatives to protect us from his tyranny.

If the US Congress will not intervene, then the States must.  It must stop, or the country willed to us by our forefathers, that was entrusted to us for our posterity, will die.

The Growing Police State: Sunburn Edition

Leave it to Liberal La-La land to come up with something this stupid.  In Tacoma, Washington, two girls were at an all day school function (presumably outside).  The day had been rainy, but the sun decided to come out and play later.  However- due to a school policy (the school claims it is a state wide policy) the girls we neither allowed to apply sunscreen, nor have a teacher do the same.

Yes.  Really.

Apparently, our teachers are so untrustworthy that they might rape our children at any moment, and the temptation of putting sunscreen on their faces and shoulders is simply too much.  Similarly, it is apparent that our children are too irresponsible to put on sunscreen themselves.

From the article:
Their mother said seeing her girls walk through the door was a moment she'll never forget. “It was horrifying to see (Violet’s) bright red face. There were welts, she was swollen and then I saw Zoe's shoulders. It was absolutely painful and gut-wrenching to look at. I was horrified.”

The school said that the state-wide policy was "because the additives in lotions and sunscreens can cause an allergic reaction in children, and sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug."

Okay, let's break down this stupidity.  The girls were 9 & 12 at the time.  By 9 years old, my brother (who had allergies bad enough he had to get regular shots) knew the things to which he was allergic.  Had someone asked him to, say, dig through a pile of cut grass, he would have known enough to tell them he was allergic.  I sincerely doubt that any child who was allergic to common sunscreens would not know- and therefore they would not be stupid enough to handle the sunscreen.

I've had a few sunburns in my time.  Indeed, just last summer I had one so bad that it left my back itching so badly that I literally could not sleep.  Now, I got mine because I was stupid.  But from the mom's description, one of the girls had one nearly as bad- and maybe worse- than mine, and she got it because the school was stupid.

The original article goes on to say that the school is changing its policy under a "new law."  I rather suspect they were blowing smoke about the "state law" in the first place.  However, whatever the reason, the policy is changing, and apparently for the better.

I am still amazed that it took something like this for those Nanny-Staters to realize that preventing someone from putting on sunscreen might be a bad plan.

h/t to @tsrblke on Twitter.

Juan Williams Knows It Was An Act of War

So why aren't Republicans hammering on the War Powers Act?  I'd hate to think it's just because of "politics" but I'm pretty sure that's what's up.

First: this was from Juan Williams on Fox News (I believe on Friday the 22nd, but I missed the segment, myself):

Did you catch that?  In case you didn't, here's a partial transcript (via Gateway Pundit, via Right Scoop)

WILLIAMS: Hey, people die in war! People died...


Now maybe I'm crazy for chasing this particular angle, but I think it's terribly important.  And let's review why- debunking a Liberal talking point in the process.

Under George W Bush, a distinctly different gun tracking program: Operation Wide Receiver was run.  In this operation, RFID tags were placed in guns which were allowed to be sold, the ATF attempted to intercept them before they crossed the border.  This was a less-than-successful operation (for technical reasons, not conceptual), and was stopped as soon as it became clear that it was not working.  Another major difference between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious is that WR was conducted with full knowledge and cooperation with the Mexican Government.  Also- no one died due to this operation.

Fast and Furious, on the other hand, made no attempt to track or intercept the weapons, was done without knowledge or consent (let alone cooperation) with the Mexican Government, and is responsible for more than 300 deaths.

Now, if someone were supplying a domestic terrorist group with weapons with which they were attacking the US Government (remember: the Drug Cartels have engaged in open combat with the Federales) and murdering US Citizens, we would be outraged.  I cannot think of anyone who would deny that War, if necessary, would be a valid option for dealing with that problem.  This is because whoever was doing that supplying would be engaging in a war against us.

So, now, the United States Government has engaged in an act of war- acknowledged by their own side- against Mexico- an allied foreign power.  This is a power the Executive Branch does not have on its own.  Are they going to claim that the Mexican Government posed a "clear and present danger" to the United States?  Are they going to claim that arming Narco-Terrorists was designed to remove that danger?

This is a major scandal.  Eric Holder should resign or be impeached.  Janet Napolitano should resign or be impeached.  Hillary Clinton should resign or be impeached.  And that's only if Barack Obama is really as ignorant of the goings on of his administration as he claims (hey, that much golf takes a lot of time).  If Barack Obama was aware (I believe he was), he should resign or be impeached.

All of them are responsible for that shed blood.

So Now They Can Issue a 'Sternly Worded Letter?'

Today, the Supreme Court released their decision on the Arizona Illegal Immigration law.  The part of the law that got the most press was the provision where Arizona police could request immigration documents in the course of "legal contact" (traffic stops, mainly, but also criminal investigations and such) and all departments were required to request immigration information before allowing any arrested person for whom there was cause to believe they were in the country illegally.  Other provisions, though, specified exactly what the police were supposed to do if they did, indeed, find an illegal alien.

Per the Supreme Court decision, all the enforcement provisions were "preceded" by current Federal Provisions.  The documentation check provision was left in place, pending some future challenge.  So, the police in Arizona can check your immigration status, but if you're an illegal alien, they can't actually do anything about it.

I'm not going to discuss whether the decision was right or wrong Constitutionally.  I tend to think it's right, on paper, but wrong based on facts on the ground.  What I want to look at, though, is why it was necessary in the first place.

It is simply true that border states have bigger trouble with illegal immigration than non-border states.  This is especially true along the southern border, meaning Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  These illegal aliens often really are just looking for opportunity, but any job they take is one that could have been filled by a legal resident.  Any housing they occupy, any medical or other social service they receive drains resources that could have been used by a legal resident.  Whatever your "empathy" for illegals, you have to see that allowing them in is detrimental to those who play by the rules.

Additionally, many of these illegals are criminals.  Well, they're all criminals; that's what "illegal" means.  But, more specifically, these are criminals in the sense of committing other active crimes- robbery, murder, kidnapping, smuggling, slavery, and so forth.  These people are not only here illegally, but they are actively preying on others here and most of their victims are legally here.

All of this is to say that our Federal Government has a responsibility to control the border as much as possible, and to punish those who violate it.  Even the best behaved illegal alien is drawing from a limited pool of resources which would be better spent on legal residents.  For the Federal Government to do nothing, or, worse, to grant amnesty and a "path to citizenship" is a betrayal of that responsibility, and a blow against those who would follow the law.  It encourages illegals while discouraging legal immigration.

The States are writing laws, like the one in Arizona, because the Federal Government has decided to do nothing.  This is real harm from which citizens and resident aliens deserve protection, and the Federal Government is not protecting them as it should.  States like Arizona and Texas believe they have little or no choice; they must do something because someone has to, and the Federal Government isn't.

It is my hope that Arizona will go back to the drawing-board and find a way to re-write the enforcement provisions of their law to pass Supreme Court muster.  Until then, I guess they'll have to be satisfied with issuing the illegals in their state Strongly Worded Letters.

Just Kill It, Already: Dependent Coverage

The next post in my continuing series: Just Kill It Already, should be up sometime this morning on The Axiom Report.  In today's column, we'll be talking about Dependent Coverage. (update: up already.  That was fast)

This is really a hard one for some people to accept as being "bad."  Most States already mandated coverage of Dependents to some extent, for one thing, and they just don't see how that's bad for the insurance companies for another.  The short version is: the people you want to be insured probably still won't be, and more of the people you don't want to be insured probably will.  That's going to affect what everyone pays in premiums, as well as the benefits offered by the insurance companies.

Some, though, go further.  They blame the insurance companies for the mess we're in.  First off, I do not accept that we're in any "mess" at all.  As I've said in this space before: You Have No Right To What Someone Else Must Provide.  Secondly, however, blaming the insurance companies for doing what makes the most sense so they can make a buck is hardly justified.  If you want to "blame" someone, blame FDR and the wage controls of the late 30's and 40's.  If you want to "blame" someone, blame government for their ever more intrusive coverage mandates.

But no matter who you blame, you cannot change the fact that, today, the vast majority of Americans rely on a Third Party Payer (that would be "health insurance company" for any Liberal readers) to pay their medical bills.  Anything that threatens that paradigm without having something solid in place to replace it is going to cause a great deal of misery, and simply open the door for another attempt at socialized, or even Single Payer, health care.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Creepy" Does Not Even Begin To Describe

H/T Weasel Zippers

Barack Obama believes he should be the most important person in your life.  You owe everything to him.  You should love him.  You should adore him.  You should have your family members give him gifts for your wedding or birthday.

What is wrong with this man?  I mean, besides the fact he's a stuttering clusterf*ck of a miserable tyrant?

This is so far beyond "creepy" I can't even find a good word.  He doesn't merely believe he should be king; he seems to believe he should be your God-King, and that you should bow down and worship him.  Any day now, he's going to construct a giant statue of himself, and you'll be required to bow down and worship it when the trumpets sound.

That's not "Anti-Government." That's "Mommy Issues."

Earlier this week, a man nearly blew himself up while trying to sabotage an Atmos Energy natural gas line.  The Police and FBI quickly got warrants and searched his home.  There they found additional bomb-making materials.  Something they found was worrisome enough that they took it to a secure location, buried, and detonated it.

For several days, law enforcement would not provide the man's name, age, or any other demographic information.  Today they have.  His name is Anson Chi, and acording to radio news reports he is "Anti-Government."

Now, normally "Anti-Government" is used to indicate Conservative- at least since 2009 when the Tea Parties started to form and fought for more limited government.  Since then, at least, "Anti-Government" was used liberally in conjunction with the Tea Parties and other Conservative groups- so that, now, "Anti-Government" can be used to imply "Conservative" without actually having to say that.

Why is that important?  Because, from this report in the Dallas Morning News, his own self-published book (available at that link) and his Facebook page, Mr. Chi is not Conservative in the least.  He appears to be mostly just a nut-job, but, where he has political leanings, they are very Liberal.  In his bio for said self-published book, he says he is "an author, politician, model, activist -environmental,social,political- and retired engineer."  His Facebook page shows that he follows WikiLeaks.  In short, he's not exactly on the Right hand side of the aisle.

More important, though, is that he seems, mostly, to have mommy and daddy issues.  His book, which he says is partially based on his life, starts off this way:
Doctor or lawyer — my only two options. These would be your only two options if you had Asian parents. You would think that you would be able to pick your own career, since you know, it is your own damn life. But not when you have Asian parents. So my only two options:doctor or lawyer. I wonder if my parents even know why I should become a doctor or a lawyer.

He says, in the introductory synopsis:
Why do Asians really get straight A's? Why do Asians really become doctors and lawyers? Why do Asians really play the piano? Many people believe that the reason has to do with the pressure to perform and the pressure to conform, however, it goes much deeper than that much, much deeper!

So it's safe to say, "Anti-Government," while perhaps correct, using that as the primary descriptor, as the radio broadcasts this morning did, is less than accurate.

And there is only one purpose to it: to attempt to smear conservatives, as they have so unsuccessfully in the past, with the actions of some wacko.  Remember the "anti-government" man who flew his plane into a building in Texas?  Remember Jared Laughner?  Remember James J Lee, who took over the Discovery Network building? All of these men were painted as "anti-government," with heavy emphasis that they were probably conservatives.  Indeed, the media would have had you believe that Jared Laughner was a bosom buddy with Sarah Palin, and that her "target map" is what convinced him to shoot Gabrielle Giffords.  In those cases, as in this, it turns out that "Conservative" is probably the least accurate descriptor.

Just Kill It Already

Beginning my new series of posts about the popular provisions of Obamacare, you should find the first up on The Axiom Report (see my side bar) today.  I'll update this post when it goes live. Update- It's Live

The first post is fairly information dense and it sets up a lot of things you'll need to know for the rest of the posts to make sense.  So here's the Reader's Digest version, but really do click over and read the whole thing.

1- There are essentially 3 kinds of Health Insurance Plans: Fully Funded Group, Fully Insured Group, and Personal.

2- The only two that insurance companies get to use to spread their own risk are the Fully Insured Group and Personal policies.

3- Group insurance is often subsidized, partially or fully, while you pay 100% of any Personal policy premiums.

Now, you may be asking why I feel qualified to talk about these things.  I worked for BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, processing claims and then providing phone and written customer service for the Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool for about three years.  After that, I stayed in Health Care IT until about 18 months ago. I've worked at a Claims Clearing House, assisting doctors and hospitals with getting their claims billed and submitted properly so they could be paid more quickly, and at a COBRA and FSA administrator.  I know health care.  Specifically, I know health insurance, how it works, and how it does not work.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Better Headline: People Who Received Mortgage Mods Still High Mortgage Risks

This article (ht @IrishTea1 on Twitter) says a great deal about what's wrong with the economy, as well as with journalism.

TransUnion ran a study which found that more than 50% of "borrowers who had received mortgage modifications were behind in payments again 18 months later."  It also found that they are more likely to keep current on debt they obtained after falling behind on their mortgages. 

Stunner, right?  Choosing not to pay your mortgage makes it much easier to keep up with your (new) car payment and your (new) credit cards.  Steve Chaouki, group VP for financial services with the credit reporting agency said that (from the article) "the analysis showed that some borrowers were still able to handle new credit, even after falling behind on a mortgage loan and obtaining a modification."

No it didn't, idiot.  It showed that people had figured out that Government Sugar Daddy would make sure that mean bank wouldn't take their house away, so, instead of keeping current on their mortgage, even after a loan modification, they decided to buy a new car, and run up some more credit card debt.

Summing up this idiocy comes this line:
The data also showed that people who fell behind on their mortgage alone remain much better credit risks than those who fell behind on their mortgage and other types of debt." (emphasis mine).

No, really?  If I only fall behind on one loan, I'm a better risk than someone who is behind on seven?  Wow, what stunning insight.  What a razor intellect.

Let's be clear on this.  TransUnion exists only to evaluate your FICO score, better known as your Credit Score, or, as Dave Ramsey likes to call it, your "I love debt score."  Therefore, it behooves TransUnion to have as many people as possible with decent FICO scores.  If everyone had bad scores, fewer people would use credit, making fewer requests for credit scores, meaning less money for TransUnion.  That does not make the study wholly flawed or irrelevant, but it does mean you should be careful when you read the analysis of the study.

One thing the article says I agree with:
In contrast with the past, he said, people are more likely to let their mortgage loan become delinquent so they can stay current on credit cards and auto loans. That's probably because people usually need their cars to get to work, he said, and because car values are currently high - unlike many people's homes, which have lost value. "People are making different choices," he said.

I just disagree that those "different choices" are a good thing.  Maybe, instead of those different choices, they could make different different choices.  Choices that don't involved taking out additional debt when you just had to have your mortgage modified, for instance.

An Act of War

Barack Obama is covering up an act of war.  What did he know, and when did he know it?  What did Secretary Clinton know, and when did she know it?  Why did the Administration decide it was a good idea to arm the domestic enemies of an allied foreign power?

These are questions the answers to which we will never know, if Barack Obama gets his way.  When the President claimed Executive Privilege regarding Fast and Furious, he claimed, in essence, that he knew about it.  At minimum he claimed to know about the cover-up.

And what a doozy of a cover-up it is.  I'm not exaggerating in the least when I call it an act of war.  Imagine, if you will, a terrorist organization setting up shop in the United States, directly in opposition to the US Government.  This terrorist organization would be armed, decently well trained, and very violent.  They would engage in the worst sorts of terrorism, over and above direct conflict with US domestic forces.  And then imagine we found out that one of our putative allies was supplying them with weapons.

We would be outraged.  We would demand that this erstwhile ally cease.  We would probably threaten to go to war with them, if they didn't provide a very good explanation and probably some reparations of one kind or another.  And we would be fully justified in so doing: they would have been fomenting rebellion here.

That is exactly what this Administration did in Operation Fast and Furious.  They specifically armed the Drug Cartels, who were known to be in open rebellion against the Mexican Government.  They coerced US Gun Shop Owners to sell guns to known straw-purchasers.  They then refused to track the movements of those weapons; they even went so far as to reprimand the ATF Agent who objected to letting the guns walk.

When this was discovered, they first lied about the existence of the operation.  Only when the evidence of its existence was overwhelming did DoJ change its story.  And that pattern has repeated several times over the course of the House investigation into Fast and Furious.

Now Barack Obama owns all of it.  By claiming Executive Privilege, he is claiming that the cover-up of this operation is so important to his administration that it should be exempt from oversight.  He is claiming that this Act of War, or, at least, the cover-up of it, is a privileged operation: either the product of his deliberations with his cabinet, or necessary so that he can get the best advice from them.  In either case, he has, essentially, admitted to breaking international law and engaging in war crimes.

That's Not What They Said: AP Headline Misrepresents SCOTUS Ruling in FCC v Fox

One of the neat things about actually paying attention to what's going on, is you can know when other people aren't.  For instance, when the AP posts a headline that says "Supreme Court Throws Out FCC Policy on curse words and nudity on TV" (note: Headline has changed since originally posted to Twitter), they're completely misrepresenting what the Supreme Court actually said.

If you read the article (most people won't) you'll get the real story.  In the case FCC v Fox, the FCC had fined Fox TV (not Fox News) (among others) based on its Decency policy.  Fox maintained that such a fine was unwarranted, and that the policy itself is unconstitutional.

What the Court actually decided was that, since Fox was not given enough prior warning about the policy, the fine was not valid.  The fine was thrown out.  That's it.  The court refused to even look at any larger aspects of the case.

Now, I could turn this into a "misleading headline" post, and blast the AP for it, but I'm, instead, going to turn this into a "why would they" post.

In the Age of Twitter, news agencies have to get stories out fast.  I'm sure this means they have editing issues, and all sorts of problems.  They're afraid of being scooped, so they run a story faster with fewer checks, instead of being very sure of their content.  What's interesting is that they persist in doing this, no matter how many times they have to issue updates, corrections, and retractions.  Why?

I believe there are two things going on here.  One is the common Conservative complaint of "the Narrative."  That is, the predominately Liberal Media wants to push its world-view that Conservatives are icky and Liberals are nice, and whatever other mushy-headed ideas they have.  In pursuit of that, they rush out attention grabbing, and often misleading, headlines, sure in the knowledge that the vast majority of people won't read past the headline.

A classic (as in: old) example of this was in Texas when Ann Richards ran against Mark White for the Democrat nomination for Governor.  The article is not available on line, and it was long ago, but a paraphrase of the title of the article was "Mark White Paid No Taxes in [Year] (1988?)"  The point of the title, obviously, is to make people believe that Mr. White had avoided his taxes in that year.  However, if one read the article, they would find out that he paid no taxes because he owed no taxes.  The business he owned and operated (in oil, I think) had suffered a loss in the year in question- meaning he had no income to tax.

The other is just plain sloppiness.  Anyone paying even passing attention (as I was) to the SCOTUS decisions knew this had nothing to do with the FCC Policy.  They stayed very far away from that, in fact.  However, I suspect the actual reporter was not paying passing attention to the decisions, and simply saw that FCC v Fox had been decided against the FCC.  He (or she) then assumed that meant the whole policy had been thrown out, and rushed out a headline.

That is inexcusable.  The Associated Press is one of only two major news-wires left.  They provide news and leads to the rest of the media world-wide.  With this primacy of place comes an incredible responsibility to get it right.  A delay of a few minutes to double-check what was actually decided would not have cost anything, and would have avoided such a misleading headline.

Now, this is a fairly minor issue, really.  I didn't even know about the case, let alone its subject, until today.  But if this is what passes for journalistic integrity at the AP, all of their stories, and all of their headlines are suspect.  The owe themselves better, let alone us.

A New Series, With a Twist

As many of you know, I actually also write for an online newspaper of sorts: The Axiom Report (conveniently linked in my side-bar).  So, I'm going to try something a little new.

With Obamacare on everyone's minds, all too many Republicans seem to be getting themselves up in a lather to protect "the most popular provisions."  Besides being pure populist pandering, this is stupid: it is precisely the "most popular provisions" which are the worst for health care in the United States.

So I'm going to be taking a look at them, one by one.  Here, at the Dedicated Tenther, you'll find some quick takes and possibly excessive snark.  Then, over on the Axiom Report, you'll be able to find more in depth posts covering the same topics.  With any luck, I'll fulfill the dual goals of posting quality and unique content to both sites, while being able to really get my point across in a way that's somewhat difficult in a blog format (since I don't want to drop 10,000 word epics on you).

Look for the first in the series tomorrow.

And, by the way, don't worry that I won't post anything else here.  My normal day-to-day posts will keep coming.

Radical Christians? What, Are They Going To Pray You To Death?

I know, as a southern male reared in a Christian home, that the worst curse that can be laid upon you is when some silver haired old lady says, "Bless your heart."  I'm not thinking that's what Texas Democrat Al Green had in mind though.

In House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday, June 19, the Representative apparently decided that no hearing on radicalization was complete without discussing the "radicalization of Christianity."

Pull quote: "If you agree that radicalization exists within all religions to some extent, would you kindly extend a hand into the air?"  He then noted "all the hands are raised."

This is so chock-full of fail, I may not have time for any other quotes.  Let's start with the idea that radicalization exists within all religions "to some extent."  First off: no.  To date, I have never heard of a "Radical" Hindu.  At least, not in the United States.  So if they do exist, they're hardly an appropriate topic for a US Congress Committee hearing.  And you know those darn Radical Unitarians and Lutherans are just itching to force you to a Church Social.

Which brings up the next point.  When he says, "to some extent," that's a cop-out line.  It's a line that says, "I know what I just said is complete cow manure, but I can plug in this little phrase and anyone who disagrees with me will look out of touch."  So let's be clear, here.  To what "extent" does Radicalization exist within Christianity?

Oh, certainly you can point to actually deranged people like Tim McVeigh and say "They're radical Christians!"  Except they aren't.  You could point to people who bomb abortion clinics or kill abortion providers and say, "They're radical Christians!"  Except they aren't.

Suppose a Muslim, crying "Allahu Akbar!" blew up an empty mosque- or one in which one of the five daily prayers was being said.  Could you really call that "Radical Islam?"  Not without some stretching.  That's just barbaric, probably sectarian, violence.

However, when Muslim screams "Allahu Akbar!" and proceeds to shoot the predominately Christian crowd which is around him, you can make a better case.  It's made easier by the fact that Islam teaches conversion by the sword and to kill all "Infidels."  Christianity makes no such claim.

To date, I have no knowledge of someone screaming, "God Loves You, and Jesus Died for all your Sins!" and proceeding to blow up a bomb.  Maybe I just missed it somewhere.

The difference between "Islamic Radicalization" and "Christian Radicalization" is in what it means to be a "Radical" Muslim or Christian.  A Radical Christian is going to annoy you because they'll often seem so syrupy and "nice."  They'll say things like "God Bless You" for no readily ascertainable reason.  They'll say, out of the blue, "I'm praying for you."  In short, a Radical Christian, if you notice their Radicalization at all, will mostly just seem to be socially awkward.

A Radical Muslim, on the other hand, is likely to try to kill you.  A Radical Muslim is liable to strap a bomb to his chest and blow it up in as crowded a location as possible.  Radical Islam is responsible for the deaths of more than 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001, as well as the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, among other atrocities.  Radical Islam believes that Israel has no right to exist, and that it is an Islamic Religious duty to either convert or kill every non-Muslim in the world.

Enough of the moral equivalency crap.  The reason the House Homeland Security Committee doesn't hold hearings on Radical Christianity is the same as why they don't hold hearings on Radical Hinduism, or Radical Budhism: such people may exist, but not in enough numbers to be an existential threat to US National Security.  Radical Islamists, however, are gaining a foot-hold in actual governments in the Middle East, which is much more worrisome.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reasoned Request, or Veiled Threat? Holder's Letter Requesting Executive Privilege

Today, as has been covered in many places, Attorney General Eric Holder requested that President Barack Obama invoke Executive Privilege so that Mr. Holder could refrain from providing documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee.  The President granted that request, in essence taking ownership of Operation Fast and Furious (Watergate did not have a body count).

You can find the letter here.

No fewer than six times does Mr. Holder mention the 1974 case US v Nixon.  For those who believe history started in 1980, that was the case wherein Nixon attempted to shield documents relating to the Watergate break-in (which did not have a body count) from Congressional Review.  Nixon lost.

Now, I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but I'm pretty sure it's not normal to cite a case where the argument that supports your position is the side that lost.  You would think Mr. Holder would have sought a precedent that supported his position where his position won.

Now, this makes me think two things.  First: there is no such precedent, and Executive Privilege should not have been invoked.

More important, though, I wonder about Mr. Holder's motives.  First, his reasoning in his letter is rambling and barely coherent.  It tries to use lies already debunked about Operation Fast and Furious, which, unlike Watergate, has a body count of at least 302.  Also, as mentioned, it frequently references US v Nixon.

So, why?  Why that case?  Why use one of the most infamous cases of scandal in US History?

At this point, I go into wild speculation- I have no evidence to back this up, I could be far wrong here.  But I'm a blogger, so I get to speculate wildly.  So there.

I'm pretty well convinced that Barack Obama knew about Operation Fast and Furious from the beginning.  In fact, I'm pretty sure he signed off on it before it began.  I think he's neck-deep in this.

I think Eric Holder was not so much requesting Executive Privilege as threatening the President.  "See," the letter says, "The last time this happened, the President resigned in disgrace.  Do you think you'll be allowed merely to resign?  No, if I go down, you're going with me, so you'd better do everything you can to make sure I don't go down."

Remember, it was his loss in US v Nixon that lead Nixon to resign as President.  I believe that the documents will show exactly how involved Barack Obama was, and that he'll be lucky if all that happens is that he has to resign.

Watergate Did Not Have A Body Count

Alternative Title: "Can We Impeach Him, NOW?"

In 2009, the Department of Justice began a drug running operation called "Fast and Furious," which- whatever its aims- funneled guns to the Mexican Drug Cartels which were then used to murder over 300 Mexican civilians and two American Citizens; one of those was Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

In 2010, a DoJ Whistle-blower went to Congress about the operation.  Since then, anyone paying attention has been horrified at what happened.  They've been just as horrified at the lengths to which Eric Holder and his Department of Justice have gone to avoid oversight.  Whistle-blowers have been retaliated against, Congress has been stonewalled, and- today- Barack Obama invoked Executive Privilege.

Wait- Did I just say Barack Obama?  Yes, yes I did.  Did he invoke Executive Privilege?  Yes, yes he did.  Does that mean that he was aware of this operation, and it proceeded under his authority?  Yes.  Yes it does.

Barack Obama has just accepted responsibility for the operation which weakened the government of a foreign power (we call that "an act of war,").  Moreover, that foreign power is a putative ally.  He just accepted responsibility for an operation that murdered hundreds of foreign nationals and two American citizens.  He just accepted responsibility for hampering Congress in pursuit of its duty to oversee the government and hold the Executive Branch accountable.

Barack Obama just admitted to crimes far in excess of any previous president.  Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace over Watergate.  Watergate did not have a body count. 

I'll say that again:  Watergate.  Did.  Not.  Have.  A.  Body.  Count.

It is time to hold Barack Obama responsible.  He must be impeached.

Watergate did not have a body count.

Kate Upton Should Tide You Over

It's a "Bleh" kind of day for me.  Maybe I'll see something interesting later.

Until then, let Kate Upton sooth your sorrows.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Growing Police State: Policing For Profit Leads to Corruption Edition

I've already covered the horrible civil rights violation that is policing for profit.  I discussed in that previous post why it is bad, and why it should end immediately.  As if we needed it, here's more proof.

In March, a Mesquite, TX, police officer was arrested by the FBI for stealing money.  The article from Fox makes a point to try to draw a line between what happened here and drug busts, but their facts do not support that correlation.  This is a problem with policing for profit, not with the Narcotics division.

According to the article, the FBI baited a car with money, and then drove into Mesquite.  There, the under-cover agent was pulled over, and his car searched.  No mention is made of drugs, nor of drugs or drug paraphernalia being planted: only the money.  Sargent McAllister confiscated the cash- again, with no mention of any kind of criminal charges or complaint.

Policing for profit begs for this kind of corruption.  It does not merely "enable," or "encourage" it.  Once a police department is in the habbit of depriving a citizen of their legally owned goods without a criminal complaint, it only makes sense that the officers themselves will begin to think "well, what's wrong with it?"  They're stealing on behalf of the Government; now the government is surprised that they're stealing from it?

Newsflash: when you encourage unethical behavior in the police, the police will behave unethically.

But Remember, There's Just Nothing Funny About Barack Obama

Full Disclosure: I don't watch the night time comedy shows.  I probably haven't seen one in the last several months.

Apparently, it's becoming something of "a thing," to make fun of Mitt Romney's wealth.  And, indeed, there are things to make fun of there.  He once tied his dog (in its kennel) to the roof of the family station wagon (Obama ate a dog).  He is (or was?) reportedly going to have an elevator installed in his garage (Obama ate a DOG).  All in all, he's a presidential candidate and therefore "fair game" for the late night comedians.

However, it seems striking to me that, with very, very few exceptions, no one is willing to make fun of Barack Obama.  He may be the first sitting president in history not to be poked fun at on a regular basis.  Heck, it made news when Saturday Night Live finally got around to making fun of him- and even that was a kind of lame, "man, I wish we didn't have to do this" kind of thing.

Even worse, there are apparently those in the industry who say he's just "too cool," and "there's nothing to make fun of."  RightThat's itNothing to make fun of.

C'mon, guys.  Either be political activists and pundits- and take the same hits the others in that profession do- or be comedians and make fun of stuff that's funny.   Alternative number 3, of course, would be to show the same deference to Mitt Romney as you do the President, but no one is expecting that: nor should they.

Comedy holds a special place in our culture.  It is through comedy that we can often address, and even begin to understand, some of the most difficult issues of our time.  Archie Bunker made us laugh at bigots- while helping us understand exactly why such bigotry was wrong.  For decades, SNL and the night time comedians have used the absurd to help us gain perspective on what's going on in the real world. 

Comedians have incredible power to explain the inexplicable.  They have the ability, some of them a gift, to make the complex simple.  But, as a certain wall-crawling superhero might say, with that power comes a responsibility.  Part of that responsibility is to use that power, that ability, and that gift.  Part of that responsibility is to be evenhanded when using said power, ability, and gift. 

So, please, continue making fun of Mitt Romney.  Goodness knows there's plenty of fodder there.  But remember, when you do, that Barack Obama has left you more fodder.  You might consider using it.

GOP Professionals, Can We Talk?

Please, sit down.  Make yourselves comfortable.   No, no, I'm not going to yell at you.  No, you're not in trouble.  Yet.

You see, it appears that living inside the Government bubble, you're losing touch with the things we, the voters find important.  Take this article from the Texas Tribune.  Yes, I know, it's "just Texas," but I'm relatively certain we'd find the same kind of thing if we went state-by-state or even nation-wide.

See, we have things we think are important.  Among those are immigration, the economy, taxation, and so forth.  You, too, have things you think are important.  They seem to include... education funding and the water supply.  You do realize those barely register with us, your base, right?

See, we would like you to focus on things like securing the border and fixing the immigration process.  We would like you focus on the economy (hint: we think the best bet is for you to get out of the way).   These are the things that important to us, and to our families.  Quite frankly, we think that if you'd focus on those, the rest would more-or-less take care of itself.

Yes, we understand that education is important.  We also understand that the water supply is important.  But, really, the most important issues?  Come on, you can't possibly actually believe that, can you? 

Yes, we get it.  The Education Lobby, even in Texas, is pretty powerful.  When the teachers get their backs up about something, they can mobilize a lot of votes.  They also don't really mind using up sick days and leaving their kids to a substitute when it's time to protest on the steps of the Capitol.  Their lobbyists are there every day, and, well, we can't be.

You see, we have jobs, or would like to.  We have budgets to keep.  We have to worry about getting hit by uninsured drivers, the majority of whom are illegal immigrants.  We don't really worry about the schools.  For the most part, we'll handle the education part, anyway.  Not necessarily by home schooling or private schools, but just by being concerned, involved parents.  As for water supply?  Hey, we understand drought conditions.  We understand wildfires.  We get it; but the municipalities and cooperative water districts are already handling that.  It's not like they need your special supervision.

What it comes down to, though, is this.  We elected you for a purpose.  That purpose was to fix the economy (yes, by actively getting government out of the way), and to fix border and immigration enforcement.  Everything else is kind of secondary.  If you won't address what we want addressed, be assured you will face opposition.

We don't want to spend our time fighting you.  We'd rather fight the Liberals.  But we can only do that if we're not busy forcing you to pay attention to our priorities.  If you want to be left alone, show we can trust you to be left alone.  Trust has to be earned, and it is all too easily squandered.

DREAM? More Like a Recurring Nightmare

It's time for Republicans to wake up, and take a look at the political landscape.  The Establishment (or "Party Leaders" or "Insiders" or whatever you want to call them) are whistling past the graveyard on an issue which has already bitten them more than once.  You'd think they'd learn.

On Friday, June 15, Barack Obama announced that he was providing de facto amnesty for illegals under the age of 30 who had come here as minors.  He used the talking point, little questioned, that these were all precious little angels who had come here as small children and didn't know their country of origin as home.  Republicans quickly bought into these talking points, indeed, I'm not immune to them, and started talking about how the goal was good, but the method was wrong.

For some reason, no Republican was willing to dig into the actual directive issued by the President, but Mickey Kaus was.  It turns out this isn't about precious snowflakes brought over as wee tykes.  No, the only requirement here is "continuous residence for the last 5 years."  Now, let's do some math.  If you can be upto 30 years old, and you've only been here five years, that would mean you could have been 25 when you came across.  That's hardly a minor, but with the definition of "dependent child" continually being revised upward- as it is with Obamacare- that may not matter.

Let's assume, though, that you were a minor when you came over.  All that means is that you were 16.  A sixteen year old knows his or her country of origin.  Indeed, he or she probably still has friends there.  Deportation may be a lifestyle setback, but it's hardly casting them out of the only home they've ever known.

And it gets worse from there.  You see, "continuous residence" actually only means living in America for 6 months out of every year, by current precedent.  So that kid who came over at 16 could have spent only a total of 2.5 years out of the last 5 here and still be granted this de facto amnesty.

And where are Republican Insiders on this?  Well, Marco Rubio is talking up the DREAM act itself, while complaining about the "way it was accomplished."  His complaint is not that it was done, but that he worries that the extra-constitutional nature of the President's move will make the effects only temporary.  Mitt Romney seems to back him on this issue.  Indeed, in the State of Texas, according to the Texas Tribune, only 1% of GOP Insiders -in Texas!- view Immigration as the most important problem government is facing.  That's opposed to 12% of the general public, and 18% of self-identified GOP voters.

I'll have more on the disconnect between the party and the voters in a future post, but this is an important issue.  The Party Insiders must figure out that the voters oppose this move on multiple levels.  Yes, the extra-constitutional move is a problem.  It should be addressed (frankly, Obama should be impeached for myriad offenses).  But the policy itself is also bad.  Even if passed legislatively, the current policy is bad policy.  It does not just protect those who were brought here as small children.  Even about that I'm ambivalent.  It also protects those who came as near adults.  Indeed, many of those came here on their own, without their parents.  Why should they receive any special treatment?

Immigration law is a matter of National Sovereignty, of National Security, and it impacts the economy.  Illegal immigration hurts all three of those things.  Anything that rewards illegal behavior should be avoided; it should be anathematic to Republicans.

Moreover, the Federal Government has been told, in no uncertain terms, that the American People do not want amnesty of any variety, and we especially don't want it before real border enforcement is in place.  Twice the Congress under George W Bush tried for some version of amnesty; twice President Bush and Congress were swamped with phone calls and letters saying, "No."

Republicans, take this warning to heart.  You were not elected because we think you are special.  You were not elected because we believe you know better than we do what needs to be done.  You were elected because you made specific promises about upholding the Constitution and looking after the country's legal residents.  If you push this issue you will be opposed again.  If you do not learn from the past and support true immigration enforcement, you will squander the public trust as surely as if you return to your ways of profligate spending.  We have no patience for you any more.

Really, DFW Media? Do your jobs.

I don't normally rail at "the media" or complain about double standards.  For one thing "the media" isn't one cohesive group, so complaining about "the media" generally does no good.  For another, double standards are a fact of life- you may as well complain about the fact it get hot in summer.

However, every so often there is a uniformity so pervasive that to believe there is not some kind of agenda or collusion stretches credulity.  The case of the Lockheed Martin Machinists' Strike is one of those.

Since bringing you the information, last Wednesday night, that Union Workers were seeking charitable assistance and even unemployment benefits, I have been attempting to contact various members of the Dallas/Fort Worth Media who pay attention to such things.  I have gotten no response.  Now, that, alone, doesn't really bother me.  I'm some no-name blogger on a free-hosted blog.  It's not like I have a big voice.

However, when I see articles like this, from the Star Telegram, I begin to believe the reason they are not covering this gross violation of any decent ethical standard is that they are cheer-leading for the union.  It seems that, from the beginning, the Dallas/Fort Worth media complex has had a conspiracy of silence regarding any misdeeds of the union (not least of which is urging its members to apply for unemployment).  When they do report, they go into contortions to paint the union in a good light, and as some powerful organization.

Lockheed said an additional 34 workers crossed the picket line in Fort Worth on Monday, bringing the total to 295 since the strike began.  That's less than 10 percent of the local union membership.

Now, considering 3,600 (by this article's count, I'd heard 4,200 previously) workers were striking, 295 is "less than 10 percent."  It's only 55 workers, less, but it is "less than 10 percent."  But why even bring that up?  What does the percentage matter, except to make it seem like those 295 workers are somehow less honorable than their brothers and sisters for having crossed the picket line?  "See, the majority still support harming National Security, you don't have to worry about those 295 honorable patriots."

Further Example:
The union said the changes would have forced workers into a "high-deductible, high-cost healthcare plan with no cap on annual out-of-pocket expenses."

Something's missing here... what is it... Oh.  No word from Lockheed or even any mention that Lockheed was asked about what the changes would have done.  Of course the union is going to paint the changes in as bad a light as possible.  Indeed, the article itself highlights only 2 of six pure benefit increases, and 7 total changes that would probably be beneficial, and the two weakest at that.  All without even mentioning that Lockheed might have a different take than the union.

For now, Lockheed and the Union have agreed to Federal Mediation (one report I heard said Arbitration, which would be different) to get the striking machinists back to work.  That's good.  Anything that gets these men and women back to work and gets the F-35 built properly and on-time is a good thing.

I just wish the Media would quit cheer-leading for the side that wanted to harm our Country's security, for once.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Maybe what the Obama Campaign Needs is a New Candidate

In this article, titled "The Obama Campaign Needs an Intervention," the author, Albert R. Hunt, submits (as so many have) that Obama needs to recast his campaign to more starkly contrast with Republicans.  He explains how the President could have better handled the "doing fine" comment, for instance.

With all respect, Mr. Hunt, and intervention isn't going to help.  He needs a new candidate.  He needs new facts.

Let's take the idea that he could have fixed the "doing fine" comment.  Certainly, with enough spinning, he could have claimed he wasn't saying what he was saying.  But let's be honest about what he was saying- his claim, tacked on to "the private sector is doing fine," was that the public sector is not "doing fine."  A part of his comment I see you missed in your article.  You see, it doesn't matter if he goes back, per your suggestion, and says "Oh, well, obviously I meant the wealthy and big businesses, they're doing fine but the middle class is hurting," because it ignores the biggest fallacy of his original statement: that the public sector is not doing fine.

Then you take on the idea of "better surrogates."  Seriously?  This is the President who was elected on his "soaring rhetoric."  He needs better spokespeople?  And who, exactly, would you suggest?  Multi-billionaire cum Political Hack Warren Buffet?  The man who so disingenuously claimed that the rich should pay more taxes because his secretary pays more in taxes than he does?  How about Convicted Felon and Nazi Collaborator George Soros?  That would be the man who made his fortune off of destabilizing other countries' currencies.

This is not about arguments.  It's not about "distinctions" in any purely rhetorical sense.  Barack Obama has a record, and it's not very pretty.  He joined the socialist New Party- and lied about it.  He was close friends with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers- and lied about it.  As President his record isn't even mixed, it's just terrible.  Such successes as have occurred under his watch were simply continuations of policies enacted by the much demonized George W. Bush.  His economic policy is a joke, his foreign policy is beyond pathetic, and he's been reduced to pandering to his own base.

If Democrats want to have a chance in November, their best bet is to eject Barack Obama (they can claim they're rejecting is white half, if that makes them feel better) and go with someone who is not such a light weight.  You'll excuse me if I don't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Hmmm... Who's Missing, Here?

Via '' (the DFW Fox Affiliate) comes this article titled "4 Groups that win if Obamacare is repealed."  It lists: Small Business, Doctors, 'The Wealthy,' and Big Business.  I think they missed a group: the middle class.

Now it's possible that the author simply believed that to be self evident, but, to Liberals, it seems not to be.  Let me lay it out.  I wouldn't want there to be any confusion.

Small Businesses are often the opitome of "Middle Class."  Sure, the owner may file taxes that say they brought in $250,000+ in income this year.  That's mostly because most small businesses file taxes on their personal taxes.  In many cases, once everything is sorted out, the actual "income" for the family is a much more mundane amount.  It's often short of six figures.  So, when Small Businesses do well, the middle class do well.

The people who are most pressured by changes in health care costs are the Middle Class.  So when doctor's costs go down, or when there is more competition among doctors, it stands to reason that the Middle Class will benefit.  The poor are so heavily subsidized that they mostly don't notice changes in health care costs.  The rich can often shrug off the increased costs.  The Middle Class, however, are not subsidized by tax dollars, and they can often feel the sting of increased costs quite sharply.

First off, the article's definition of "the wealthy," is similar to Small Business.  Simply making over $250,000 per year is often an indicator that you operate a small business.  Even outside that, though, is the fact that capital gains and dividend taxes do not simply target "the wealthy."  They target anyone who makes enough in capital gains or dividends to pay taxes on them.  Many Middle Class families who have bothered to save for their own retirement will be hit by these increased taxes.

Finally, Big Companies are a major wellspring of the Middle Class.  When they do well, their employees do well.  Their employees, especially among the "professional class" are middle class workers.  In workplaces that are union shops, this is even more true, but it applies to all businesses.  Either the success of the business will lead to more people being hired, which adds to the number of those in the Middle Class, or those already working there make more money.  Often, both occur.

Now, I don't normally like the term "Middle Class," anyway.  It's a collectivist term that exists only to stoke class warfare.  However, given its common usage, it is useful whatever my personal opinion.  That said, the shorter version is this:  Obamacare being struck down would be good for everyone.  Everyone benefits when Small Business, Doctors, The Wealthy, and Big Business benefit.  Rooting against them is the same as rooting against yourself.

Union Members: It's Not About You or Lockheed, It's About the Union

Around the time IAM District Lodge 776 voted to strike rather than accept Lockheed Martin's more than fair offer, they also filed suit with the National Labor Relations Board regarding Lockheed.  Three suits were filed, but the primary one was that Lockheed violated "fair labor practice" by (gasp) attempting to "negotiate directly with employees."  How dastardly!  And how did they conduct this negotiation?  By putting up the details (bullet points, really) of their "best and final offer" on their website.  Yep, that's real one-on one negotiation, there.  I know everyone visits the public-facing website of the company for which they work with religious fervor.

A second suit claimed that Lockheed was intimidating workers by keeping surveillance on the union headquarters.  The union headquarters are located directly across the street from the Lockheed Martin assembly plant.

On Friday, the NRLB regional board in Fort Worth dismissed the suits.

Now, I could say a great deal about the NRLB, very little of it nice, but that's not the point here.  I want to draw your attention to that first suit.  Allowing the mask to slip, the Union is admitting that it may not be negotiating in good faith on behalf of its members.  Indeed, why else would they care if the plan negotiated directly with the workers?  If the Union is negotiating in good faith, and is truly trying to get the best deal they can realistically get, then any "direct negotiation" on the part of Management will not meet or beat what the Union is going for, nor what they have already rejected.  So why is there a problem there?

There is only one logical reason: the union is not, in fact, negotiating in good faith on behalf of its members.  The union knows that its demands are unreasonable and unrealistic.  However, rather than urge its members to take a very good pay and benefits package, they would rather sacrifice the well being of their members in service to themselves.

So, in what is probably a futile message to the IAM workers: decertify your union.  Negotiate directly with Lockheed Martin.  Go back to work.  As it is you are threatening your own livelihood, as well as National Security.  Worse, many of you are also turning into moochers, as you request charitable assistance and Unemployment Benefits.  To those who have the honor and character to feel revulsion over such behavior, the only way you can make it stop is to cross the picket line, return to work, and decertify the union.  It does not represent you or your interests.

Friday, June 15, 2012

This is Disgusting: AP Uses TX Killer to Indict George Zimmerman

In 2010, Raul Rodriguez confronted his neighbor and friends over a loud party.  He took a gun, a phone, and a video camera.  He called the police and documented pretty well the whole thing.  During the discussion, he used all the "right words."  That is, he claimed to be fearing for his life, felt he was threatened, and so forth.  Then he shot three of them, killing one.

He attempted to use the Castle Doctrine in his defense.  Note: UR Doing it Wrong.  You don't get to go to your neighbor's driveway and claim "castle doctrine!"  You also don't get to "throw the first punch" (or, in this case, fire the first bullet) and claim "self defense!"  He murdered one man and seriously injured two.  He was rightfully convicted recently.

If that were all, this wouldn't be very newsworthy, but Juan Lozano with the Associated Press doesn't let that stop him.  No, this completely unrelated case is used to indict George Zimmerman and Florida's Stand-Your-Ground law.

So, let's play "whack-a-mole" with the fallacies and false comparisons.

1) Stand-Your-Ground had anything to do with the George Zimmerman case.  It didn't.  George Zimmerman claimed straight self defense: that is, the altercation had already begun, he was being physically assaulted.  Stand-Your-Ground has nothing to do with it.

1a) The Castle Doctrine is 'Texas' version of a stand-your-ground law.  No, it isn't.  It's the castle doctrine as understood in virtually every state in the nation.  If someone comes onto your property, or attempts to enter your car, you get to assume they mean you harm and defend yourself.  And, again, it doesn't even apply in this case (thus the conviction.) 

2) "Rodriguez's reference to standing his ground is similar to the claim made by George Zimmerman..."  Again, no, it's not.  Zimmerman claimed straight self-defense.  It was race baiters and the perpetual grievance lobby who made that claim.

So, we know this is wrong on every particular as it relates to the George Zimmerman case.  So why make the comparisons?  Why draw these lines, if they're so easily shown broken?  The purpose is to further defame George Zimmerman.  Not defame in the legal, I can sue you for this, sense, but nevertheless to further hurt his image and reputation.  Also to harm the public image of both the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground (which are both very popular).  Indeed, the only reason the media is so fixated on George Zimmerman is they believe his case can further the crusade against guns.

See, if these laws (SYG and Castle Doctrine) are "making vigilantes," then the laws must obviously be bad, and should be changed.  Then, when gun crime does not drop (hint: people will still shoot each other, and Zimmerman's use of his gun wasn't a crime), they can claim that the problem wasn't the laws, but the guns themselves.  It's hardly new that getting rid of guns is the Holy Grail of a certain class of Liberal.  Recall the cries of the anti-gun lobby in the wake of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.

And, to prove that the laws are "making vigilantes," you have to show a lot of bad actors using them as a justification for murder.  Thus, they must draw the correlation, however false, between Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Zimmerman, and the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground.  The facts that Mr. Rodriguez was not acting under the auspices of the Castle Doctrine, and Mr. Zimmerman was not acting under the auspices of SYG can't be brought up, because they'd expose the game.