Category Archives: Constitutional Issues

A Smarter Form Of Marxism: Less Work Sets Us Free!

I remember when we moved back stateside back in early 2009, and I learned about TARP.  I realized that my country had passed a very important milestone, without me even knowing. (Yes, yes, I didn’t follow politics during our overseas duty station. I was a very bad citizen.  In my defense, I still voted in federal elections.  Our military absentee ballots didn’t show up until three weeks before the 2008 election, and who knows whether my “R” vote arrived in time.)

Back in the USSA (post-Obama-ascendency), I realized that most people still hadn’t noticed this important milestone: an American foray into the nationalization of industry and finance.

Nationalization!  Even if partial, it was still an important step toward socialism.  Socialism!  My public school education may have been substandard, but it was not yet completely propagandized.  So I knew how closely related Socialism is to Communism.

We hit another big milestone, didn’t we, when the Wealth-Spreader-in-Chief got re-elected in 2012?

Yep.

Well it’s been over a year since that time, and we’ve hit another major milestone.

Do you know what it is?

There’s a lot of news to choose from.

Most of it bad.

But this one is particularly important.  Yes, it’s also bad:

Obama has once again unilaterally and unlawfully delayed Obamacare’s mandate, regarding the requirement that businesses employing 50 to 100 employees offer “affordable healthcare coverage” or face a tax.

What’s that you say?  These unlawful delays have been going on for a while now?  This latest one can’t be more important than the rest?

Wrong.

The latest delay comes with some wicked regulatory finesse.  The IRS says that if your business wants to decrease its size and then apply for this unlawful waiver, then it has to swear allegiance to the regime:

“Company officials will be trapped in a catch-22. They can lay off as many people as they want because of Obamacare. But because they’ll have to swear to the IRS that their decisions had nothing to do with Obamacare, they can’t speak publicly about what’s happening. What a great way to silence the people who are on the front lines of dealing with Obamacare’s horrific effects.”

Let Soopermexican explain further:

“what the Republicans said would happen under the simplest, most easily understandable laws of free market economics is so likely to happen that the administration has to threaten businesses to shut up about it, or face the wrath of the highly partisan IRS.”

Yes, the Republicans said businesses would lay off employees in order to avoid the punitive taxation of Obamacare.  And yes, the Democrats were dishonest enough to disagree.

I have paid close attention to politics ever since 2009.  Yet, somehow, I didn’t see this latest milestone coming.  I didn’t imagine the point at which Federal Government feels comfortable dictating to Small Business which business decisions Are Not Appropriate.

Notice, it’s not a question of which business decisions Are Not Legal.

Illegality would not be a milestone.  Telling business, and even individuals, what actions are and are not legal is a long-standing and perfectly appropriate role of government–even in the opinion of “crazy” large “L” Libertarians.  It’s something we Tea Party Extremists like to call The Rule of Law.

The Obama Administration is dictating to private business what “should not be done” even though it is perfectly legal

Let Judge Learned Hand explain:

 “a transaction, otherwise within an exception of the tax law, does not lose its immunity, because it is actuated by a desire to avoid, or if one chose, to evade, taxation. Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose the pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”

Oh, but Learned Hand’s reasoning means little to our Constitutional-Scholar-in-Chief, I reckon.  Other than an obstacle to work around.

Guys, this is a gigantic milestone.  It is also a milestone which is likely to go largely unnoticed.  Sure, business-minded citizens are quick to notice the insanity.  This National Review commenter puts it better than I ever could:

“So, you need an additional line worker. You intend to pay that person $15/hr ($30k per year). You expect that person to generate incremental production worth $60k per year. So, under a rational analysis, you hire that person and increase your profit.

But under this law, hiring that person would result in a sharp loss. Instead of adding $30k to the bottom line, you would lose $180,000 ($30k in added profits minus $210k in new fines). So hiring that person goes from being a smart business decision to being completely ridiculous. No sane person would do it.

So you don’t make the hire. And the act of not hiring that person becomes criminal unless you swear to the IRS that the draconian fine you avoided had nothing to do with your decision….which is to say you have to swear to the IRS that O’Brien is holding up five fingers when plainly the correct answer is four.”

Sure, the usual suspects will squawk.  But will that mean any more than the squawking after Fast and Furious?  Benghazi?  After IRS corruption was revealed?

I noticed in my research:  the prominent MSM article about this latest Obamacare tweak didn’t even mention the IRS certification requirementA professional article about this latest Obamacare tweak did mention it, but in as milk toast a manner as possible:

“Those that claim the exemption for 2015 will need to certify under penalty of perjury that they did not reduce their workforce to fewer than 100 employees in order to qualify.”

No mention about how this strong-arming is illegal.  Unlawful.  Dictatorial.  Totalitarian.

No.  It’s all normal.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

Okay.  The truth is, that is exactly what I will do:  move along.  Isn’t that what most of us do, every time a new constitutional violation is introduced into our lifestyle?

As I move along, however, I remember something I learned from Sitting On The Edge Of The Sandbox.  I cannot find the specific post (maybe you can help me with that, Missy).  But I remember how, in her parents’ experience in the USSR, work was not just a right but an obligation.  The right to a job meant that you were legally required to work.

And I wonder.  If under Obamacare, a business does not have the right to fire you unless approved by the IRS, does an employee have the right to quit?  Logically, there is no difference between the employer who wants to decrease the number of employees for tax reasons, and the employee that wants to quit working for tax reasons.

I wonder further, how did the USSR treat this problem when businesses wanted to lay off employees in order to maximize profit?

Derp.  A quick Google search reminds me that businesses were not in charge in the USSR.  Decreased profit was not a concern, because all businesses had been completely nationalized.

How diabolically clever our modern statists have become.

In the earlier stages of the Communist Revolution, Communists thought that the workers would simply fall in line with their view of Utopia, once the Capitalist Pigs were dethroned.  It turned out, of course, that reality did not fall in line with their view of Utopia.  It turned out, the right to a job turned into the creation of the “letun,” “rvach,” “bezdel’nik,” “lentyaj,” “lodyr,” and “progul’shchik.”  Those are all terms for folks who could work but chose to be lazy instead.

By 1940, Stalin imposed criminal penalties for workers quitting their job.

Wouldn’t be a winning platform for the Democrats in this day and age, would it?

That’s why they are now so clever.  The Left has learned that nothing is to be gained by taking over the means of production, and then cracking the whip on the workers who don’t comply with the latest production plan.

How much better, to let those Dirty Capitalists retain ownership in name only, while forcing them to do the dirty work of The State.

How much better, to let those workers be as lazy as they wish, and proclaim such behavior to be a virtue.

We are well and truly doomed.

Miracles Used to be Common in America

That’s what Citizen Tom told me when he linked my Miracles post.

He brilliantly positioned my latest homeschooling post into a cultural and historical perspective.  You should go read the whole thing, but here is the gist:

“We have lost so many of our freedoms so gradually and so slowly, we don’t know, understand, or appreciate what the founders created. . . .

Nonetheless, occasionally a miracle still occurs, and some citizen takes it upon herself or himself to do what needs to be done without waiting for the government to do it. . . .

When Alexis De Tocqueville visited America in 1831-32, he found our people doing something so remarkable he had to study it. He found of nation of self-starters, people who took it upon themselves to fix what needed to be fixed.”

I told him what a great point that was, and then Tom answered with a comment that warrants a whole post of its own.  Here’s an abridged version:

Linda, when you expressed reluctance to blog on homeschool issues, I was disappointed. I think you should write about homeschooling, and I wrote this post to help you understand why.

. . . . As a homeschooling mom, you have an unusual perspective. Please share it with others.

. . . [L]etting politicians educate our children is destroying our republic. That’s why I believe we must make school choice this generation’s civil rights issue. The public school system will never teach children how they can get things done without the soft tyranny of government.

. . . . Did Jefferson accuse King George III of not providing the American colonists with happiness? Was Jefferson campaigning for a welfare state?  Of course not. . . . Ultimately, the Pursuit of Happiness is about freedom of religion, and that is the freedom power-hungry politicians most hate.

To protect our children’s God-given right to the Pursuit of Happiness, we need school choice.

You are right, Tom.  I serve as a potential window for others who may be trying to decide whether to homeschool.  I should pull the shades back further.  It’s just hard.  I worry about whether my words are actually helping matters or just putting people off with an appearance of being ‘better than thou.’

At this point I’m wondering what exactly ‘school choice’ even means.  (Or, as our political opponents probably see it, what form of The Destructor do we choose?)

I used to think that education could be fixed through two complementary avenues: a) vouchers and b) parent-initiated change from within, starting at the school board level.  Frequent relocation sidelined me from pursuing those avenues, though.

It was for mostly personal reasons that I ended up abandoning the whole system for the short-term.  Older Son had such a tough time in 3rd grade.  I’ve never posted much detail, in an effort to maintain privacy–another aspect that makes blogging difficult.

Now, we’ve been settled in Tampa for a year.  As I read Tom’s wise words and ponder my old “a and b” solution to education, I feel a little lost.  I’m not so sure the public school situation can be improved, given the current state of our culture.

In the short-term, vouchers would help a ton of children who are otherwise imprisoned in failing schools.  I am still pro-voucher.

But in the long run, I’m not so sure vouchers are a solution either.  Couldn’t they end up providing another way for government to dictate how kids are educated?  To make sure we are using that voucher money in an authorized manner, of course.  Or, if folks get dependent on voucher money, will that lead to the same situation states are now in, i.e., agreeing to certain curricula in order to keep the funds flowing?

The only sure way to give taxpayers “school choice” is to not tax them for schools in the first place, or at least drastically reduce the amount of government spending on schools.

What are my chances of successfully selling that one to the public at large?

Alright everybody.  Guess I’m done.  Please do share your thoughts.

The Tragedy of The Commons, Children’s Edition

The whole “the kids don’t belong to you; they belong to the community” bit is just a less cagey way of saying “it takes a village,” so at least Melissa Harris-Perry gets points for honesty.

My favorite part of the “All Your Children Are Belong To Us” MSNBC Promo comes at the end:

“Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.”

I marvel at the sheer act of willful blindness required in order to believe such a complete load of male bovine manure.  I mean, let’s all apply this to our front yards, shall we, and then hold our breath while we wait for the neighbors to come mow ours?

You know, corporations are a kind of microcosm of the larger society.  Corporate-y type folks who make their living ensuring that a corporation “makes better investments” have noticed that the truth is exactly inverse to Ms. Harris-Perry’s statement:

When everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.

And haven’t the sociological/psychological types done study after study and pretty much come up with the same truth regarding human nature?

I wonder if Ms. Harris-Perry, being a good collectivist and all, would respect Garrett Hardin‘s belief that human overpopulation is a serious global threat?  If so, maybe she could also put some merit into his concept of The Tragedy of the Commons:

“In 1974 the general public got a graphic illustration of the “tragedy of the commons” in satellite photos of the earth. Pictures of northern Africa showed an irregular dark patch 390 square miles in area. Ground-level investigation revealed a fenced area inside of which there was plenty of grass. Outside, the ground cover had been devastated.

The explanation was simple. The fenced area was private property . . . .”

Yeah.  Let’s all ignore a truth so obvious that even a Malthusian human ecologist with totalitarian tendencies can see it, and let’s “break through” the private idea that kids belong to their parents.  Let’s engage in an experiment called The Tragedy of the Commonly Cared-for Children, because Miss MSNBC Lady says things’ll turn out just peachy.

Good grief.

I haven’t seen a more sure sign of the decline of our society since I first saw somebody pushing one of those dog strollers through the park.

Yeah, that's right.  I'm hating on the cute dog's stroller.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m hating on the cute dog’s stroller.

Spam, Spam, Eggs and Ham

Twitter is a wild and dangerous place.  I fell into one particular rabbit hole called #WeDemandAVote several days ago.  The seeds of this hashtag were sown in the State of the Union Address:

Next came a follow-up call-to-arms:  We Demand A Vote (but not a vote on actually amending the Constitution properly, mind you).

After that, I was alerted to the apparent use of spamming by gun control advocates using fake accounts to tweet on the WeDemandAVote hashtag.  I’ve been scanning and responding to these tweets ever since.

Many of the #WeDemandAVote tweets are clearly from real people; these folks may be Obamabots but they are not spambots.  Still, the excess of egg-avatar spam was too obvious to be ignored:

Twitter ‘eggs’ scramble to push Obama’s “We Demand A Vote” Gun Control Effort

Hey, Nice Try With The #DemandAVote Spambots

GOP lawmaker: Obama using fake Twitter messages in fight over gun control

I have tweeted an “are you real or spam” message to dozens of suspicious #WeDemandAVote tweeters, and so far exactly zero have responded to my inquiries.  A few real Twitter users have noticed my inquiries and vehemently denied the existence of spam, using that special unicorn logic: “well I’m real therefore all accounts are real.”

Uh-huh.  One of the “spam deniers” actually deleted his tweet after I sent a couple of examples his way and asked if he had verified them as authentic.  (I guess that meant no.)

After a few days, the egg avatars became less prominent on the #WeDemandAVote string, but the spam didn’t go away.  The spammers just got more elaborate, using older accounts and/or actual photographs.  Here is a likely candidate:

thomaschatman

And another:

NormaSithbornondate

The good news is, as of today this spamming appears to have mercifully ended.  The only folks left on #WeDemandAVote are die-hard Keepers of the Faith, as well as some #TCOT patriots itching for argument.

Oh, bonus:  My diligent responses to the suspected spam tweets in the #WeDemandAVote string really really really annoyed one of those die-hards.  You know, every time a leftist is annoyed an angel gets his wings.

The bad news is, the agitators responsible for this astroturfing fakery have probably not quit.  The spam isn’t really gone.  It has just been redirected to new hashtags.

Like the hashtags promoting MSNBC shows.

On the Homeschool Battleground of the Culture War

Via Lady Liberty 1885 comes homeschooling news I’m rather embarrassed I didn’t know:  one of the German families persecuted for homeschooling has petitioned for asylum in the United States, and Eric Holder’s DOJ is fighting this grant of asylum in federal court.

Eric Holder thinks there is no fundamental right to homeschool.  So if all Germans are banned from homeschooling, no grounds for political asylum exist.

Wow.

Maybe I’m not so surprised.  Eric Holder and his ilk don’t really believe in natural rights generally, do they?  To top it off, homeschooling is a right-wing-extremist-bitter-clinging-Bible-thumper’s issue, so combating it would be instinctual.

Caffeinated Thoughts lays out all the details, quoting generously from homeschool pioneer and HLSDA founder Michael Farris.  DOJ makes additional legal arguments, all of them horrifying.

You know, when I pulled the boys out of brick-and-mortar school, part of me was actually looking forward to playing the rebel’s part.  Disappointingly, the typical response of the everyday person has been respect, even encouragement, rather than the skepticism or derision I was looking forward to refuting.  Articles like Glenn Reynolds‘ and Paul Elie’s lend further support to the idea that homeschooling is becoming an accepted, mainstream concept (or, as the Professor quotes Buffy, “not just for scary religious people anymore.”)

Our ruling class may hate homeschooling and try to get rid of it, or more likely try to provide some oh-so-reasonable federal regulation and oversight “for the children.”  Attempts to regulate are already popping up and needing a whack-a-mole-smackdown on the state level, like in post-Newtown Connecticut or in South Carolina.  Their attempts will fail, however, if they don’t succeed in “othering” the homeschooling population as something suspicious and dangerous.

They are trying it.  Check out the title of this news article linked over at Lady Liberty’s, about a murdering homeschooled teen, for example. But this is one battle of the culture war the left is currently losing.  Homeschooling is growing steadily, and in my anecdotal experience people just aren’t scandalized by the idea anymore.  Everybody knows somebody who does or did it successfully.

“Oh, you are homeschooling.  That is so great, but I could never do that,” is probably the most common response I get.  It makes me uncomfortable.  It also tells me that the next hurdle in normalizing the concept of homeschooling is to convince the average parent that they can do it, too.

Not that they must homeschool, but that they could if they wanted.  I worry that too many parents don’t trust themselves to educate their own children.  Those that feel they couldn’t get along without a  public school are at the mercy of the government benevolent to provide it.  The “experts” certainly encourage this kind of mentality, using impenetrable academia-speak to build their intimidating field of expertise.

Imagine the decrease in governmental coercive power, if every parent with public school-attending children woke up tomorrow and decided, not that they are going to pull their kids out.  Just that they could pull their kids out, if pushed hard enough.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Finding Post-Election Peace

I’ve been needing to find peace in the aftermath of the election.  I’ve written countless posts in my head, usually while driving to the myriad classes and activities in which the boys currently participate.  That’s as far as the writing gets, however.

The reelection of President Obama has so fundamentally transformed (nice reference huh?) my view of this nation and my role within it, that I hardly know what’s worth posting anymore.  “What’s the point?” is the basic question, now that I realize that a few Davidian foot soldiers like me might not be enough to quickly influence the American culture, after all.

This fact will not stop me from blogging, though.  Writing is pretty much the awesomest.  I’m so grateful for every single reader, and I hope that my words have substantively helped or maybe even inspired a person or two.

At this juncture of our political history, Freedom By The Way has the right idea:  it’s time to prepare.  Our culture didn’t turn stupid overnight, and it won’t experience a period of enlightenment overnight, either.  I don’t pretend to know whether things will go into total crisis mode, as in dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.  Maybe the likelihood is overstated.

Seriously, though:  QE3?  More bubbles on the horizonThe possibility of hyperinflationUnfunded liabilities of 86.8 trillion dollars?  The examples could go on forever.

What do the Boy Scouts advocate?  Being always prepared?  And anyway, better safe than sorry.  Also, a bit of Murphy’s Law:  what can go wrong, will.

So, I’m focusing on more concrete changes.  The funny thing is, most of this preparation is already complete.  We have gone as far Galt as possible:  becoming a single income household, getting out of debt, homeschooling our children, and getting rid of cable TV.

Pretty much the only thing left is getting trained and comfortable with firearms.  My basic safety class is on Sunday.  Owning some land of our own would be helpful, too, but that will just have to wait.

If you can take some of these steps, please do so.  Also, give yourself some peace by shutting out as much liberal noise as you can.  I can only imagine how hard it was for conservatives to return to work and school amongst the gloating socialists and general know-nothings after November 6th.  For me, being surrounded by like-minded, supportive peers after the election was worth more than money could ever buy.

The Last Four Years

Skimming the political spam in my email this morning, I prepared to delete the latest from Stephanie Cutter (subject line “The last four years”), but part of it caught my eye:

“When he accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president four years ago, then-Senator Obama promised change — on issues ranging from health care, to strengthening the middle class, to fighting for greater equality for all Americans — and he has delivered on that promise.”

You may be saying to yourself, that there is a sentence chock-full of newspeaky goodness, but what exactly is so eye-catching about it?

Greater equality.  Now, clearly this phrase refers to those Democrat dog and pony shows which pander to women, minorities, homosexuals, and any other various and sundry groups and classes I’m missing.

Nevermind what was meant by that phrase, though, and think about what those words actually mean.  “Greater” is more, bigger, or better, right?  “Equality” is the state of being the same in quantity or value.

It’s a great oxymoron.  As I chewed on the mathematical impossibility of this phrase, my thoughts went something like this:

If demonstrably large swathes of Americans were treated unequally today, then she would just say “Obama is fighting for equality.”  But she put the “greater” in there.  Now how does that work?  If something is already equal in status, then one can’t possibly make it even more equal, or an even better equal because there’s no such thing as more or better equal, lady!

And then I realized why the phrase caught my eye.  It’s from Animal Farm.  You probably noticed quicker than me.  Anyway, I had great laugh when I thought about Stephanie Cutter managing to quote the pig in Animal Farm whilst trying to sell us on four more years of Obama.

Ha!

On second thought, maybe it’s not so funny.  Suddenly, I’m remembering all the people who won’t get the joke.

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