Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

The Serfs Who Pay the Piper   Leave a comment

Becky Akers

Found on Lew Rockwell

Source: The Serfs Who Pay the Piper

Image result for image of edward snowdenLast week, the “House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence” (talk about an oxymoron!) proved yet again that though its members live in the most fragile of glass houses, they throw stones with gusto. These mass murderers, thieves and congenital liars slandered Edward Snowden as a “criminal” as well as a “serial exaggerator and fabricator” with a “pattern of intentional lying.” If that doesn’t describe Our Rulers rather than their nemesis to the proverbial T, I’ll vote for Hitlary this November.

We all know why the Feds viciously hate poor Ed: he outsmarted, outwitted, and shamed them before the world. A lone, principled, 29-year-old geek revealed beyond a shadow of any doubt DC’s criminality, despotism, double-dealing, hypocrisy, and unspeakable arrogance. It’s as though the six-year-old kid next door not only caught you in flagrante with his five-year-old sister but filmed your predation so quietly you never suspected. Then, with simple brilliance, he posted his video to Facebook. (Yeah, I know: the analogy doesn’t hold since you’d be doing serious time while not a single federal sociopath suffered so much as a slap on the wrist.) 

Predictably, then, the Committee released its smear a mere two days before Oliver Stone’s “biopic” of Heroic Ed debuted at theaters. Even more predictably, most of Our Rulers’ hit-job, which they dignified as “an investigative report” and “the result of a two-year inquiry,” is “classified,” i.e., withheld from us chumps who paid for it.

Product DetailsWhy? Where else but the State does such perversity reign? “Hello, Bankster? I want 3 trillion dollars but I’m not saying for what.” “Yeah, Boss, I’ll work for you, but it’s a secret, OK? Just give me my paycheck without knowing what I did.” “Honey? You got a spare billion? Nope, I won’t say why I need it. You should trust me.”

Only lunatics give or lend money—and stunning amounts of it, too—under such circumstances. Yet the Feds for decades have cloaked the atrocities they commit on our dime in deepest darkness.

Even an “investigative report” as silly, false and petty as the committees is reserved for “members of the House of Representatives”; they alone may peruse its 36 pages and 230 footnotes. We peasants must content ourselves with “an unclassified executive summary” of this trash. I daresay said “summary” contains every juvenile insult launched at Ed. Nice try, but their target probably isn’t too worried: in America’s celebrity-obsessed, “I-saw-it-in-a-movie,-so-it-must-be-true” popular culture, a dry précis in Congressional doublespeak will never even come close to trumping Hollywood’s hagiography.

Meanwhile, the Committee’s reasoning about Heroic Ed and our reaction to him shows how out-of-touch and absurd its tyrants are. They seem to think that we, too, will hate our benefactor if we realize that he “stole…documents…pertain[ing]” to “national security,” not just to the NSA’s trashing of our privacy: “Mr. Snowden stole 1.5 million classified documents from National Security Agency networks. The vast majority of the documents had nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests, but instead pertain to the military, defense, and intelligence programs of great interest to America’s enemies.”

Product DetailsTo be fair, the Committee—and the rest of the central government—aren’t alone in this supposition. Many of Leviathan’s lovers, especially “conservative” ones, claim to despise our hero because he disclosed “national security secrets.” Even the Washington Post, which not only published Snowden’s revelations but won Pulitzers for doing so, now condemns him in one of the most craven, staggeringly hypocritical betrayals in journalism (be sure to catch the readers’ comments on this editorial. They’ll renew your faith in your fellow man).

Yet Ed’s exposure of “national security secrets” should endear him to us even more.

First, search the Constitution over, but nowhere does it authorize the Feds to create or keep secrets from the peons footing the bills. If we’re paying for it, we have an inviolable right to know.

Furthermore, given DC’s penchant for designating everything from “airport Screening Management SOPs” (translated from the Jargon, that’s “the TSA’s gate-rape”) to the BATF’s control of our guns as “sensitive security information,” most of what the government does either to us or in our name remains obscure. How, then, can the citizenry inform itself as a Constitutional republic requires?

Second, the secrets of which the Amerikan Empire is inordinately fond are without exception horrifically evil: experiments in mind-control; barbaric medical “research” on unwitting patients; “black sites” and torture; assassinations, both at home and overseas; false-flag attacks, again both at home and overseas; etc., ad infinitum.

“National security” is a handy cover for such wickedness and skullduggery. It implies that the “secrets” protect us, that if Al Qaeda or the Chinese discovered them, they’d immediately exploit them to attack the ol’ Homeland. In reality, “national security secrets” have nothing to do with protecting us and everything to do with advancing government’s interests and those of its cronies at our expense; no wonder, then, that the Feds dub such assaults on the Constitution, liberty and us as the NSA’s PRISM a “national security secret.” We should never permit government at any level, local, state, or federal, to hide even the smallest of its details or proceedings.

“Even when we’re actively at war?” you minarchists, libertarians and conservatives out there are protesting. Especially then! Think of all the unjust, unconstitutional conflicts we’d have avoided by prohibiting bureaucrats and politicians from suppressing any of their machinations. For starters, if Franklin Roosevelt’s administration hadn’t clandestinely manipulated the country from its pacifism, Pearl Harbor’s nearly 2500 American casualties might have survived, let alone the additional 416,800 Americans sacrificed on Word War II’s battlefields. Ditto for the “military actions” in Korea, Vietnam, and so many other killing fields.

The only just war—and, by happy coincidence, the only sort most taxpayers are willing to fight—is defensive. A government whose people refuse to countenance its secrecy cannot embroil them in offensive wars of conquest.

Ergo, we owe Heroic Ed another huge debt of gratitude. May he and a multitude of patriots continue leaking each and every one of Leviathan’s “national security secrets.” 

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What the Swiss Can Teach NYC   Leave a comment

What The Swiss Can Teach New York City

NEW YORK CITY – America is falling apart.  Anyone who travels in this great land knows it.

This great city is crumbling.  I’m scared to take the underwater tunnels to Long Island or New Jersey. Our local airport, LaGuardia, should be in Zimbabwe.

The American Society of Civil Engineers warns that crumbling roads, rusting bridges, decaying railroads and transit systems are costing the nation $129 billion each year, and that crumbling infrastructure adds $97 billion annually and caused travel delays of $28 billion annually.

I raise this scandalous  issue because Switzerland, a tiny nation of only 8.2 million, just opened the remarkable Gothard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest rail and road tunnel drilled right through the highest Alps.

Source: What the Swiss Can Teach NYC

 

 

I have not traveled in Switzerland and, being from Alaska where federal highway standards cannot stand up to permafrost, I tend to see the Lower 48 highways as LOVELY, but the argument is essentially a good one … except highways really need to be taken care of by states, not the federal government, and privatized if possible. Think about it. The State of Alaska does not actually build the highways. Private contractors do the actual work. So why not cut out the middle man and make roads a whole lot less expensive to build? Lela

It’s About Time   Leave a comment

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hjres21/text

Congress has proposed an amendment to the federal constitution that would limit Congressional terms to two Senate terms and six House terms.

It will never pass Congress, but it shows that this particular Congress is aware that we the people expect change and not the odd, insubstantial change that Obama promised us.

GOP – Please Don’t Prove You Can Govern   Leave a comment

I wasn’t going to post anytihing on political philosophy while continuing my talk to Christians, but listening to television news at a friend’s house last night changed my mind.

The Republicans won big this week in a repudiation of Democratic politics. Voters gave Republicans control of the Senate, a deeper control of the House, and more governors across the country. Look at the electoral map and it’s a sea of red with a few tiny patches of blue … and they don’t know what to do with Alaska because we apparently elected a non-affiliated governor.

For the record, I voted for only one party politician – Don Young and then only because the Libertarian candidate against him and Forest Dunbar ran such a stealth campaign that I didn’t know he existed until I got into the voting booth and I don’t vote for pigs in a poke. I went looking for this alternative candidate and never found him. As I couldn’t vote for Forest Dunbar, I voted for Don Young. Still hoping he will come to his senses and retire and allow Governor Walker to appoint a good replacement. I am not writing this in support of the Republicans. I am writing this in hopes that one of them will read it and  resist the urge to act like a Democrat now that they’re in control of Congress.

The pundits on CNN and an NPR report featuring a likeminded Republican Senator were very grave last night, offering the advice that now the Republicans must “prove they can govern”. They suggested various ways to do that – mostly involving the people’s money being spent on very “essentials” like trade-promotion authority, comprehensive immigration reform and corporate tax reform.

STOP! Please don’t go haring off after new ideas for a moment and think about what the GOP base –mostly employed and retired conservatives –have been demandiing for more than five years … and do that first.

What is the one thing conservatives have been demanding since April 2009? Right! Stop Obamacare. I get that the Republicans couldn’t do that at the time. They lacked the power because the people stupidly gave all the power to the Democrats. What did you folks expect – for the Democrats to not immediately enact the agenda they were working on when they lost control of Congress in 1994? Of course not. They did exactly what they had been promising voters they would do if they ever regained power.

But it was an ill-conceived idea and it has saddled the nation with a mountain of debt and a looming catastrophy in the health care field. Everybody has coverage now, but few will have actual health care if we stay this course.

Unfortunately, ObamaCare did become a reality and there is no way to completely get rid of it. I think the American people are ready to consider a patient-centered, market-driven alternative to what has gone before. My expert on these things – my cousin the research doctor who gets paid a salary, so this debate doesn’t affect him at all financially – supports the Coburn Plan. He supports market driven approaches to health care because he believes they are more flexible to the individual than a government-centered approach that limits choice and increases costs. Of course, Rick’s ideal system is universal castrophic coverage with health savings accounts that can be rolled over from year to year and given to one’s heirs, but the American public has been so brainwashed into believing they need health insurance to cover every little sniffle that we can’t go back to a completely free market system as existed before the 1950s, where my parents negotiated with their doctor (or their billing representative) for what they wanted to pay and the doctor wanted to earn. I could do that quite happily. But that’s not likely to happen before the Collapse comes, so what do we do in the interim? What should Republicans do to prove they can govern? Take care of the big issue first.

Repeal and replace ObamaCare with something less unwieldy and disasterous and then work on how to empower the free market to replace it entirely. If they do nothing else for the next two years, they will have done enough.

Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Orrin Hatch of Utah put forth a contructive replacement plan in 2014. It won’t substantially reduce the debt or deficit spending, but they believe it won’t add to it either. It may modestly reduce the amount of federeal spending and taxation.  It would preserve some of the law’s most popular features, such as its ban on lifetime limits on insurer payouts and its requirement hat insurers cover adult children young than 27.

It would replace ObamaCare’s premium hike on young people (the so-called age-based community rating) with a more tradition 5:1 rating band. It would discontinue ObamaCare’s individual mandate and its requirement that insurers offer coverage to everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions. Instead, the plan would require insurers to make offers to everyone who has maintained “continuous coverage” while aiding states in restoring the high-risk pools that served those who insurers would not otherwise cover. Subsidy-eligible individuals who failed to sign up for a plan would be auto-enrolled in one priced at the same level as the subsidy for which they qualified.

It would encourage medical malpractice reform by “adopting or incentivizing states to adopt a range of solutions to tackle the problem of junk lawsuits and defensive medicine” and it would strive to expand price transparency and the supply of physicians.

Most importantly, the Coburn-Burr-Hatch bill plan would make substantial changes to tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage. It would cap the tax exclusion for employee health coverage at 65% of an average plan’s cost (tied to the Consumer Price Index) and use that cap to offer tax credits for the uninsured, so long as their incomes were below 300% of the federal poverty level. These subsidies would be on a sliding scale so that they would adjust with income over time. They would also increase as you get older, taking pressure off Medicare. This is a substantial improvement from previous “repeal and replace” plans that offered uniform tax credits regardless of prior health or wealth.

Younger, healthier people would pay lower premiums, but be subsidized at a lower level as well. The subsidy would be means-tested.

The plan would also reform Medicaid using per-capita caps. The federal government would give states a fixed amount of money per person enrolled in Medicaid and then let the states decide how best to use that money to provide cost-efficient health care. In some states, that might mean a regular private-sector insurance plan.

Of course, this plan won’t satisfy my desire to get rid of health insurance altogether, but it would make a good stop-gap while we figure out a better way to do this. One thing it does that is highly attractive for me is the substantial deregulation of the health insurance market.

Oh My! Yes, I’m one of those! And with good reason!

Deregulation lowers costs and less costly health insurance will reduce federal spending on health insurance over time. And, whether or not I believe people should get health coverage they haven’t paid for, this replacement plan coveres approximately the same number of people as ObamaCare, meaning that Republicans wouldn’t create a crisis before they’re prepared to deal with it.

So, get to it, GOP. Get  rid of ObamaCare. It is what you were elected to do. Please do it using Constitutional means and not the insane system that was used to put it in place in the first place. Yes, Obama will veto it. Go back and override his veto. Do it until he has a Bill Clinton moment and decides to cooperate.

The second thing the GOP Congress should do is pass a companion act allowing a test of national insurance coverage. Allow indiividual plans to be purchased across state lines. I believe we would see a reduction in individual premiums and then allow group insurance to be purchased similarly and watch the cost of health insurance drop substantially.

Competition is a good thing, in pretty much anything.

Since When is Significant Risk Ordinary?   Leave a comment

My Turn: Regressing to a new normal | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper.

Rich Moniak | For the Juneau Empire  The writer, who I often disagree with, does a great job of explaining what he means and of asking questions about why this system exists and if it is necessary or should we be doing something else.

I believe the federal government uses the alert system to control American sentiment. We’re more comfortable with armed guards invading our personal space before we get on a plane. We object, but do very little about the NSA spying on our phone calls and emails. Have you had your bag checked while going into a public venue, ladies?

All of these violations of our natural right to privacy and security in our person and property seem “okay” to many Americans because of the “risks” we face from terrorism. We have to be “safe” and take “proper precautions”.

And American liberty dies with hardly a wimper because we traded it in for an illusion of safety.

Posted June 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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Understanding Liberty   Leave a comment

Perhaps you’ve heard that America is a “free” nation. Really?

I don’t feel very free when I’m told that if I heat my home with wood, I can be fined because my neighbor objects, but if I object to his diesel furnace, I can’t complain and he won’t be fined. There is something inherently not-free about such a system.

The word freedom implies that individuals can act in any manner they wish, that there are no limits on human actions and you have obligation to no one.

I think we can agree that you can’t live like that in the company of others. Society requires boundaries. Thus we use the word liberty to describe specific freedoms of action without required obligations toward others, but recognizing that voluntary obligations might exist.

This was the understanding of liberty that most of the Founders held. It was a voluntary system of individual self-governance that formed into cooperative governments for the purposes of accomplishing what the individual could not easily do by himself.

When Alexander d’Toqueville toured the United States in the 1830s, he was fascinated that our government really had so little power and most of it existed at the local level. If the local authorities became abusive, people could appeal to their state or the federal government for redress, but mostly they just fired their abusive local public servants through the ballot box or confronted them face-to-face. He warned us that if we drifted from that method, we would pay a price in the loss of liberty.

His book is still around. Perhaps we should read it.

 

Trimming Congressional Authority   Leave a comment

What would you say if an Article V convention proposed an amendment that stripped Congress of its law-making authority?

  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of increasing the number of representatives so that representation would be based on populations of around 50,000 — maybe up to 100,000, but no more than that because Congress can’t effectively represent huge Congressional districts.
  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of term limits for Congress and the Senate.
  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of repeal of the 17th amendment to return control of the Senate to the states.

I would like to see an immediate repeal of all legislative laws in the United States and henceforth, all laws that Congress proposes must be signed off by the legislatures of the states — at least three-quarters of them. Once ratified, they would sunset after 10 years if not resubmitted to the states.

Does that seem drastic? What do you think would be the outcome?

Posted April 8, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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Governance by Idiots   1 comment

What is wrong with the American system of government?

Nothing and everything!

On the surface, the idea of self-governance is a wonderful one. I own myself, I should be allowed to make decisions for my community and my state and my nation. I believe that … in theory.

The problem with self-governance in the United States is that we rely too much on democracy, which is exercised by idiots, who think they want government services or laws that reduce the liberty of others (never themselves!) and then put despots into collective power which they then use to take away the very self-governance we were exercising.

There is nothing wrong with self-governance. There is nothing wrong with a certain degree of democracy. There is emphatically nothing wrong with liberty.

There is everything wrong with the misuse of self-governance, the tyranny of democracy and the redefining of liberty. In seeking to come together as communities within states within a nation, we have somehow lost our way.

Democracy puts everyone in control over everyone else’s liberty. When exercised by intelligent people in a strictly limited way, democracy might work, but the United States of America of the 21st century does not embody strictly limited representation by thoughtful people who recognize the rights of others. Democracy in the 21st century USA is rule by idiots and when idiots are in control, you can’t really be surprised when everything goes haywire.

Posted April 7, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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IRS agents conduct operation at Fairbanks post office – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Local News   Leave a comment

IRS agents conduct operation at Fairbanks post office – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Local News.

Apparently the IRS is now arresting people in the Fairbanks area. We’re unlikely to ever hear about what this was actually about, but maybe it will be like the Chicken-area raid by the EPA, where the miners felt intimidated and abused, no citations were issued (because there were no violations of the Clean Water Act), but the government — having conducted a “fair” evaluation of its own personnel — will announce that there was nothing for folks to be upset about because the federal brown-shirts were just doing their jobs.

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH US THAT WE ARE NOT STANDING UP ENMASS AND DEMANDING THIS STOPS????

Don’t Vote   3 comments

My anarchist friends insist that the solution to our governance problem is just to stop voting. They see voting as force. If 51% of the voters (which may only be a tiny fraction of the population) votes for something or someone, it forces the 49% (and how every many didn’t vote) to accept the outcome of the election. They don’t consider that to be freedom.

To a certain extent they are right. When 63% of the Fairbanks community (in an election where almost 70% of registered voters actually showed up) voted to deny the borough (like a county) the authority to regulate home heating devices, we were forcing our opinions on the 37% of those who disagreed. A slim number of that 37% went to the State of Alaska to demand that it clean up the air quality in Fairbanks (which, by the way, is not that bad) and now we’re looking at the same SOA restrictions on home heating as the borough wanted to institute. Democracy isn’t working too well here in Fairbanks this fall. The majority won the election, but the minority controls the administrative state. I’m burning wood anyway.

Yes, I’m a rebel … a domesticated rebel.

Which is completely in keeping with anarcho-anarchist thinking. I will choose to exercise my liberty regardless of the regulations. The Borough/State may fine me, but I’ll refuse to pay the fines and this will end up in court. The hope is that enough of us will do this that it will become a class-action suit that pushes back against the Borough, the State and, ultimately, the EPA. Electoral politics failed, so now we have to do something else.

We have to get away from the idea that the only way to change our government is to vote for one of two political parties. Other ways may hold more risks, but they’re equally valid.

My coffee shop friends suggest that if all of us who care about liberty didn’t show up for the next several elections, the government would become much more dysfunctional and liable to collapse. It would no longer be able to claim authority as derived from the people.

Again, there’s wisdom there. When the Democrats were in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they really pissed off the country and created the ‘tea party’ movement. Had they remained in power for a bit longer, they might have hammered a final nail in the coffin of the Democratic Party. But, what if wasn’t, which leaves us with what is.

The utter tyranny that flowed from both houses of Congress and the White House voting in lock-step convinced people that divided government was better, but it wasn’t enough to convince folks to vote sensibly when Obama came up for reelection or to toss out the incumbents whose entrenched interests are driving the growth of government. Maybe a substantial percentage of liberty-loving Americans not voting for several election cycles would so concentrate disgust with the results that when we finally did return to the polls we’d vote for sweeping change.

Or maybe we’d just give the statists the power to take the vote away from us permanently.

Anarchists say we should just not vote, but I think they’re naive. The government you didn’t vote for will still have a powerful influence on your lives. I do believe it would eventually collapse, but what follows it — because some form of social contract always replaces a fallen government — will affect our lives either negatively or positively. You can try to hide from it, but it’s a whole lot better to be in control of it. That’s what our Founders understood. We the people are either in control of our government or a government is in control of us. At least with the Constitution of the United States, we the people have the opportunity to be in control of the government. I don’t think China or Mexico is going to give their slave colony the same opportunity.

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