Category Archives: Creepy Big Brother Stuff

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Hi!

I found a particularly egregious error in the social studies textbook used in Hillsborough County’s sixth grade classes. You know how much fun I have picking on educators and their horrible textbooks, so click to share the mirth.

I found a spam email in my inbox that used Obamacare in its sales pitch.  You know how much fun I have picking on leftists and their horrible policies, so click to share the mirth.

I found a humorous phrase that feminists use to sound academic, and you know how much I enjoy offending feminists, so click here to share the fun.

I found another layer of Orwellian doublespeak that may go into usage now that the shine is wearing off the old Common Core lingo.   You know how much I enjoy picking on the academic sounding, but ridiculously empty Common Core Standards, so click here to share the joy.

Okay, I’ll see you when I see you.  Hopefully soon, I really need to post about my garden.

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.

All In All You’re Just A . . .

As you may already know, homeschooling is with rare exception illegal in Germany, as well as many other countries.  Over the last few years Sweden and Germany have become more tyrannical over the issue, even raiding homes SWAT-style, removing children and putting parents in jail.

Since learning of the Romeikes’ quest for political asylum here in the United States, all I’ve done so far is look up the basic criteria for granting asylum:

“a well-founded fear of persecution based on at least one of five internationally recognized grounds:  race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”

and briefly attempt to debate a commenter over at Tom’s who, unsurprisingly, didn’t stick around for much of my argumentative stylings:

The criteria to which you refer are race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and social group.  I could reasonably argue that social group and political opinion apply, but the most obvious criterion is religion.

Want to take another stab at your argument that their decision to homeschool is not religiously based?

He did not want to take another stab.

The 6th Circuit ruled several weeks ago that the German homeschooling-and-evangelical-Christian family is not eligible for refugee status and should be deported.  The Romeikes appealed for a rehearing en banc. The DOJ responded on the 26th of June.  At this point, the parties are waiting to see if the 6th Circuit will grant the rehearing.  If they do not, the Romeikes’ next step will be to appeal directly to SCOTUS.

Now I’ve had a peek at the two latest briefs.  They aren’t long or complicated.  Basically, the Petitioners said the 6th Circuit panel did not follow precedent for evaluating asylum claims, and further that the panel’s new rule is flawed and the decision erroneous.

The United States responded first with the obligatory standard of proof argument that every party not bearing heightened scrutiny uses in the hopes of winning without getting to the merits of the case.  Then they basically said nuh-uh, they did too decide correctly.

The arguments are mainly legal, but the DOJ also disagrees on a crucial point of fact: whether the German government uses its compulsory attendance law in order to prevent Christians from homeschooling their children for religious reasons.

Appellate courts give deference to trial-level findings of fact.  Since this was an administrative case, the trial level wasn’t in a federal district court, but rather before an administrative judge, who granted the Romeikes’ request for asylum.  In order to rule in their favor, the judge must have made factual findings in favor of the Romeikes.  Yet, the only reference to findings of fact is in a DOJ reference to the “Board.” How that relates to the administrative judge’s decision, I do not know.

Anyhow, in the latest brief the Petitioners used a quote from a high-level German court to demonstrate intent to prevent religiously motivated homeschooling:

Home-schoolers are prosecuted . . . because “[t]he general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religious or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ and in integrating minorities in this area.”

Konrad, Bundesver-fassungsgericht [Federal Constitutional Court] April 29, 2003, 1 BvR 436/03 (F.R.G.). A.R. 760.

Got that?  The public is justified in counteracting minority religious groups.  Hilariously, the DOJ expands the very same quote, arguing that the context disproves the quote’s own plain meaning:

Romeike continues to make much of a single line in a German court’s opinion upholding the law here, indicating that the public has an interest in counteracting the development of religious or philosophically motivated “parallel societies.” . . . But one need look no further than the same paragraph from which the “offending” line is drawn to determine that . . . the law has nothing to do with marginalizing Romeike based on any protected status.

The subtle misuse of quotation marks is a nice touch–using them only for the “parallel society,” which should really be a quote within a quote, then coupling it with “offending,” which isn’t a quote at all but a sly way to say yeah right.  The impression is that the “parallel society” phrase might merely be the Petitioners’ over-dramatization, rather than, you know, the actual words used by the German court to describe homeschoolers.

If you are still reading this getting-longer-by-the-minute post, you must be ready to see how the expanded quote shows that counteracting is by no means marginalizing, let alone persecuting:

“The general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ and in integrating minorities in this area.  Integration does not only require that the majority of the population does not exclude religious or ideological minorities, but, in fact, that these minorities do not segregate themselves and that they do not close themselves off to a dialogue with dissenters and people of other beliefs.  Dialogue with such minorities is an enrichment for an open pluralistic society.  The learning and practicing of this in the sense of the experienced tolerance is an important lesson right from the elementary school stage.  The presence of a broad spectrum of convictions in a classroom can sustainably develop the ability of all pupils in being tolerant and exercising the dialogue that is a basic requirement of democratic decision-making process.”

For anyone whose eyes keep sliding off this formidable bulwark of progressive platitude (dialog with dissenters! experienced tolerance! sustainably develop!), let me rephrase:  we have to be intolerant of you in order to teach your children tolerance.

I can’t help but admire this reasoning.  It’s a perfect example of Orwellian doublespeak–a work of art, assuming you can buy the idea that lying is an art.

Now, I’m no fancy German judge nor United States attorney, but I’m pretty sure that a “religiously motivated ‘parallel society’” is a social group.  You know, one of those little criterion for being granted asylum in the United States if you have a well-grounded fear of being persecuted for membership in it.

Interestingly, social groups to whom the United States has granted asylum in the past include parents of Burmese student dissidents, Mexican men who identify themselves as women and are sexually attracted to other men, and former members of a Salvadoran street gang.  Yet religiously motivated homeschoolers aren’t a social group within the context of asylum?

And threats of jail and loss of your children defo isn’t persecution.

This post has grown too long, the hour has grown too late, and I just used “defoin a sentence.  I need to wrap things up.

You can read more on this case here, and here.  You can sign up for the latest updates on the Romeike case and sign a petition here.  Or you can bang your head in frustration right here, on this handy-dandy visual representation of what children are to those who believe natural rights do not include the right to educate your own kids:

brick wall

UPDATE:  Wow, another Instalanche!  Thank you Glenn Reynolds!

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.

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