Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

05/31/2010 (11:54 am)

Memorial

Here Rests In Honored Glory
An American Soldier
Known But To God

The Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, contains the remains of three unidentified American military servicemen. The first was buried on November 21, 1921, to represent all the missing and unidentified casualties from World War I. On Memorial Day, 1958, two additional unidentified soldiers were interred in the tomb, one from World War II, one from the Korean war. A fourth unknown was interred there in 1968 to represent the Vietnam war, but later investigation determined the identity of that soldier, so he was removed and buried in a marked grave. Modern DNA identification may prevent any further casualties from ever being added to the tomb.

A military guard has protected the site for every minute of every day since 1937, regardless of weather, time of day, or circumstance. This takes discipline and fortitude on the part of the individual guard, and a wholehearted commitment on the part of the American military that maintains the guard. In this manner, a grateful nation acknowledges the sacrifice offered by ordinary men and women in extraordinary circumstances, defending our ability to live safely in our own homes.

They died an ugly death, in pain and misery, a long way from home. They probably died afraid. Most likely, though, they had some opportunity to be somewhere else, and refused it to do what they and the nation decided was necessary. There’s nothing unique about dead soldiers; they’ve existed so long as humans have gathered into clans. These solders, however, died defending a self-governing nation, and died defending our right to continue to govern ourselves. That makes their sacrifice as great as the sacrifice of the most highly honored Homeric hero, or that of the greatest king ever to die in battle. The fact of self-government makes the sacrifice of each American soldier personal; he died defending his own. We do well to remember them, even those we did not know.

Happy Memorial Day, 2010.

03/28/2010 (5:57 pm)

Make It Plain

gunshot

The leftist propaganda machine has been running full-tilt this week, attempting to paint opposition to the Democrats’ usurpation of power under the guise of reforming health care as violent, extreme, and dangerous. That effort is producing the expected effect among conservative opponents to the unconstitutional abuse of power; they are denouncing violence in all forms and declaring their devotion to the democratic process.

I believe this to be a serious mistake, and one that violates our mission. The mission is to provide new and sufficient guards for our liberty and security. The tactic of violence to achieve that end was established by Sam Adams and Company as a viable tool within the American system back in 1774. It would be foolish to rule it out so soon. It should be a last resort, yes, but it must remain a resort, and we should say so now.

So far, none of the incidents over which the left is getting so agitated have been traced back to any conservative of any stripe, let alone Tea Party activists. The left has a record of manufacturing such incidents out of whole cloth, or even at times sending their own operatives to engage in vandalism or hateful talk while pretending to be one of us. If some of the bricks have been thrown by conservatives, they should stop throwing them. Vandalism has no point.

But sometimes organized violence does.

Barack Obama intends to alter the American system and establish a new order. He knows that his new order does not comport well with the notion of individual liberty that most Americans cherish, so he has to impose it from outside the system. He is executing a plan that will accomplish this in a relatively short period of time. It’s an effective plan; he’s been thinking about it for a long time. The thing he fears the most, the thing that could most completely wreck his plan, is for the people of the United States to simply revolt and throw him out. He fears stiff, resolute opposition. So long as the American people continue to operate completely within the rules of the system, and — pay attention, this is important — so long as his opponents perceive that he, himself, is operating completely within the rules of the system, his execution of his plan can proceed.

He is not operating within the rules of the system. The first principle of American government is that all participants must agree to protect and uphold the rules of the existing system, and to effect change using those rules. That is why the authors of the US Constitution included an oath of office, and required members of all three branches of government and all office-holders in state governments to take the oath. They understood what I’ve been saying for years — if a major party decides to break the constitutional system, it can do it, and there is nothing other parties can do to stop it. By attempting to institute a new system in a manner not prescribed in the Constitution, Obama is violating his oath of office; and likewise, every progressive who holds office but intends to alter the system into a permanent, progressive state is violating his or her oath of office. They are sworn to uphold a different system than the one they are trying to create. They are trying to create it without following the prescribed path to change.

We believe in the rule of law; it is the rule of law that protects citizens from the arbitrary whims of the powerful. But whose law? If the powerful are powerful enough, they can just alter the laws in such a way that the law favors them; such laws protect nobody’s liberty. The Declaration of Independence indicates that ultimately, the law that protects liberty is the law of God — what Jefferson called Natural Law. The Natural Law sits above all three branches of government, and demands that they all pay it obeisance. The law of the land has to reflect it, or it is not legitimate law: “…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.” The law of the land cannot favor one group over another, cannot rob a man of his life or property without moral reason, cannot empower the strong over the helpless; if it does, whether it was created by a legislature or signed by a President, it is an oppressive law, and lacks the authority of the law that we mean when we speak of “the rule of law.”

dallasteaparty_protestbabe_1It’s a curious and disturbing feature of the American system of government that violent revolution is, in fact, a legitimate option for change, and an appropriate tool for enforcing the rule of law. It is also a sensible feature, and a necessary one. American political philosophy recognizes the possibility that a government, even a properly constituted government of the people, can overstep its bounds and become tyrannical; the entire system was built assuming that such was the natural tendency of human governments. When a government has become tyrannical and its laws are no longer congruent with Nature’s Law, it may be necessary to overthrow it and start over. When such is the case, it is not the revolutionaries who have violated the rule of law; it is the government that has.

Barack Obama is a tyrant in the making. His minions are busy painting those who oppose him as violent criminals. One of their purposes is simply to turn people against Obama’s opponents; but another is to shame opponents into avoiding tactics that really could be effective in stopping the tyranny. By renouncing violence, we take a legitimate tool out of our own hands — and that’s what he’s hoping for.

We must not do this. President Obama needs to be told, loudly and clearly, that violent opposition is a morally acceptable possibility if he proceeds to remove the protections on the liberties of free citizens. We must not rule out violence. Quite the contrary; we need to make the case for violence long before we get there.

I have been advocating partition of the union since I started writing this blog, because I want to avoid civil war, and I think it’s nearly inevitable if we do not separate. I have also advocated using the legislature, the courts, impeachment, and public advocacy. I haven’t participated in a fistfight since I was 14. I deplore brick-throwing and mob bullying. I’m a peaceful man, and a law-abiding man.

But I have a message for President Obama and his friends in the so-called progressive movement. That message is this: you do not have the right to dictate my life. I am free, not by the laws of Massachusetts, nor by the laws of the United States, but by the laws of God. You think you know better than I how I should live my life. You do not (that’s an understatement); but even if you did, you lack the right to enforce your choices on me. And if you attempt to change the system to give yourselves that right, I, and a very, very large number of other peaceful, law-abiding citizens, reserve the right to rise up militarily and throw you the hell out of our lives, and out of our free country. We’re not saying this because we don’t hold a proper regard for the rule of law, but because we do. It is you, President Obama, and it is you, progressives, who lack that proper regard. I am not a political extremist. You are. That’s what makes our opposition moral.

03/23/2010 (6:12 pm)

Bureaucratic Privilege and the Rule of Law

Charles Kessler makes an interesting distinction between law and privilege in his March 10 editorial at RealClearPolitics.com entitled The Tea Party Spirit. Invoking Locke’s definition of law, he observes that the health care reform act is not really a law at all, but the empowerment of bureaucrats to make arbitrary decisions. According to Kessler, this utterly defeats the rule of law, and constitutes the very definition of despotism.

Listen:

When our founders thought about law, they often thought along the lines of John Locke, who described law as a community’s “settled standing rules, indifferent, and the same to all parties,” emphasizing that to be legitimate a statute must be “received and allowed by common consent to be the standard of right and wrong, and the common measure to decide all controversies” between citizens.

This phonebook-sized law that would control a sixth of the U.S. economy cannot be a law by that definition. If you rummage through the text of, say, the House of Representatives’ version of the bill, you find scores of places where power is delegated to administrative agencies and special boards, which are charged to fill the gaps in the written legislation by promulgating thousands, if not tens of thousands, of new pages of regulations that will then be applied to individual cases. Voters sometimes complain that legislators don’t read the laws they enact. Why would they, in this case? You could read this leviathan until your eyeballs popped out and still not find any “settled, standing rules” or a meaning that is “indifferent, and the same to all parties.”

In fact, that’s the point of such promiscuous laws. They operate not by setting up fences to protect each man’s liberty. They start not from equal rights but from equal (and often unequal) privileges, the favors or benefits that government may bestow on or withhold from its clients. The whole point is to empower government officials, usually unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, to bless or curse your petitions as they see fit, guided, of course, by their expertness in a law so vast, so intricate, and so capricious that it could justify a hundred different outcomes in the same case. Faster than one might think, a government of equal laws turns into a regime of arbitrary privileges.

A “privilege” is literally a private law. When law ceases to be a common “standard of right and wrong” and a “common measure to decide all controversies,” then the rule of law ceases to be republican and becomes despotic.

That’s the core of it, but he also makes a nifty comparison between the proximate cause of the original Tea Party in Boston and the modern movement that goes by the same name. It’s worth a look.

Hat tip goes to PowerLineBlog.

03/21/2010 (10:47 pm)

A Major Battle Lost

The House voted to accept the fixes to the Senate bill, and by doing so deemed the Senate bill having been passed by the House. The bill now returns to the Senate, where Republicans will attempt to kill the bill by way of procedural hurdles. They will not succeed. Perhaps the bill will be declared unconstitutional by some court in a few years.

The health care “reform” bill is the most irresponsible legislative act of my lifetime. It will tie the nation in knots of litigation for years. It will destroy the medical profession. It will destroy the health insurance industry, a perfectly legal industry that had the misfortune of being a handy demon for Democratic party scare-mongers. It will haphazardly gut Medicare, a program that needed to be reformed intelligently, and leave the bulk of my generation without appropriate medical care coverage in our old age. It will put the finishing touches on the utter demolition of the dollar, which will in turn demolish the world’s economy, causing the death by starvation or neglect of millions of the world’s poor; such is the inevitable result of the hubris we call “progressivism,” a belief system dictated by demons. It will end government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The government of the United States no longer governs with my consent. It is a tyrant, and illegitimate. I will commence measures to persuade as many states as possible to remove themselves from the Union, which is a sinking ship. I will move to one of those as soon as I can.

Some of the lessons learned along the way:

The Democratic party no longer has any regard for the people of the United States, nor for legitimate governance, nor for truth, nor for decency. No act of theirs in this year-long process has been decent or honorable. God damn them.

Bart Stupak (D. MI) and the so-called “pro-life Democrats” clearly are Democrats before they are pro-life, which means they are not pro-life at all. They caved at the last minute for a promise of an Executive Order that will have no effect. Executive Orders cannot override acts of the legislature, and Stupak knows it; he was just looking for an excuse to end the pressure, and Obama read him like a book. All pro-life organizations should immediately remove their endorsements from any Democrat who voted for this bill. It was foolish to count on them; Democrats cannot be trusted.

Citizen self-government cannot survive with a populace that has been robbed of a sound education, including an education in moral virtue and sound theology. Liberty requires faith.

We need to consider ways to make Alinsky tactics illegal. Citizen self-government did not survive the assault by amoral disciples of Alinsky. These tactics are deeply immoral, and should be against the law.

David Frum is carping “I told you so” like a spoiled teenage girl, blaming this defeat on Republicans who insisted on defending citizen self-government resolutely. He thinks we should have given up our liberties gradually; he thinks it is possible to strike deals with demons. Forget him; he’s a mindless idiot. We stood on the right ground, and fought as hard as we could. We lost. We will now retreat to our next line of defense and fight the next battle. The appropriate line of defense is a separate, conservative nation. The Democrats set their hearts on demolishing self-government, and they have succeeded. Let us leave, and let them collapse into the barbarism that they carry in their hearts. Their nation will not last 20 years with the Republicans gone.

I will never again refrain from an act because I fear it will demolish the structure of the nation. This nation needs to be demolished. If the Republicans gain control of the Senate in the fall, I say “Go nuclear, and take no prisoners.” Destroy every tradition of civility. Discover the most devious tactics possible. Run roughshod over Democrats. Ignore their wishes. Embarrass them at every opportunity. They have proved themselves enemies of civility; they no longer deserve the protection of civility.

03/19/2010 (9:04 am)

Why a Christian Base Matters

I was on Amazon.com this morning examining a book written in 1864 that recounts the Christian underpinnings of the American constitutional system, entitled The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, by Benjamin Morris. My routine, when I’m interested in a book, is to read through the customer reviews. I deliberately seek out both positive and negative reviews, with particular attention to those who have given the book fewer than 5 stars but more than 1. In my experience, most of the 1-star and 5-star reviewers are ideologues who think that the rating of the book is not so much about the quality of the book as it is about how much or how little they agree with its premise. However, I do read some 1-star and 5-star reviews to see what the ideologues are complaining or crowing about.

One of the 1-star reviews asked an uncharacteristically relevant question, and in the 16 comments that followed this review, I only heard the faintest echo of a correct answer to his question. Here’s the question:

So what if some of the Founders were Christian? So what if so-called ‘Christian principles’ were incorporated in the founding documents? …Is the goal to make Christianity the official religion? I suppose some insecure Christians might gain some comfort from the reinforcement of their belief, but the premise was never really in doubt. It might be useful as a collection of historical trivia, but any deeper significance is unclear to me…

That’s the gist of it. Here’s my answer:

The reason it matters that the founders were Christian in their thinking is that ideas have practical consequences. The liberty and prosperity that we enjoy here in America is the consequence of a system that was based on Christian concepts. If we develop laws and practices based on different concepts arising from a different system of belief or thought, we will obtain different results.

This is why examining the history of the 20th century is so important. The 20th century gave us several, clear instances of attempts to build nations on thinking that deliberately and systematically excluded God, allegedly building instead a technocratic state on scientific principles. What became clear in the 20th century is that attempts to build states without God result in states unrestrained by morality. This is the source of the flood of state-sponsored murders: 70 million murdered by the Soviets, 60 million by the Chinese communists, 20 million by the Nazis, 3 million by the Khmer Rouge, 1.5 million by the Vietnamese, Lord knows how many by the Romanians, Albanians, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Cubans, etc. The routine incompetence and corruption of technocrats is the source of the abject poverty experienced by the citizens of these states in every case. These are the consequence of technocratic statism, attempts at Utopia from thought systems divorced from religion.

Meanwhile, the system built on Christian principles, during the 20th century, produced prosperity and activism sufficient to lift billions of the poor of the world out of their poverty, and liberate millions from tyranny and murder. Quite the contrast, eh?

The key concept seems to be the one that recognizes the innate sinfulness of man. Statist systems presuppose the good will and expertise of the State, the Party, or the Collective. The American constitutional system presupposes the good will of nobody, and asserts that the rights of man are inviolable by the state because they come from God. This is a distinctly Christian (and Jewish) notion; if we as a nation dismiss Christianity, we’ll find that the notion of inherent rights that supersede the power of the state will be dismissed soon thereafter.

Actually, let me put that in the past tense. We as a nation generally have dismissed Christianity; and that is why we as a nation are seeing a rise in the power of the state to coerce individuals to live according to some expert-recommended standard. We are fools; having seen the disaster of the technocratic state played out over the 20th century, we are repeating its excesses as though we were somehow immune from them. We’re not immune, and the American version of the holocaust, if it comes about, will be just as bad as all the others. If we do obtain different results, it will have been because we remembered the principles on which the nation was founded — distinctly Christian principles — and applied them to limit the power of government.

That is why it matters that the founders were Christian. It matters because it tells us where we need to look for ideas that produce humane and acceptable results. It matters because if we understand that the benefits of the 20th century were produced by a system based on Christian thinking, and that the horrors of the 20th century were produced by systems that explicitly abandoned Christian thinking, then we know that we need to think like Christians, too.

03/07/2010 (4:58 pm)

Steyn's Warning: A Permanent Bureaucracy

Mark Steyn wrote one of his incisive rants for his syndicated column Friday that illustrates the genuine danger arising from the Democrats’ health care throat-jamming suicide, and explains why they’re willing to engage in Kamikaze tactics to get it passed. It has nothing to do with health care, nor with costs, and everything to do with creating a permanent, one-party state. Give the government enough power, and it does not matter which party sits atop it; the universal state has a momentum of its own.

Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever-expanding number of government jobs will be statists – sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily “compassionate” statists, but always statists. The short history of the post-war welfare state is that you don’t need a president-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life…

A bigtime GOP consultant was on TV, crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass Obamacare because it’s so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November.

OK, then what? You’ll roll it back – like you’ve rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago? Like you’ve undone the federal Department of Education and of Energy and all the other nickel’n’dime novelties of even a universally reviled one-term loser like Jimmy Carter? Andrew McCarthy concluded a shrewd analysis of the political realities thus:

“Health care is a loser for the Left only if the Right has the steel to undo it. The Left is banking on an absence of steel. Why is that a bad bet?”

Tactically, there’s a lot we can say about what’s gone wrong to this point. Republicans gave in to Democrats on the need early on, so that today everybody is acknowledging that “we need to do something.” It’s crap. Eighty-five percent of Americans who are covered are satisfied with their health care, a statistic that no government system can touch. Most of those who are not covered are in no danger, and have chosen not to be covered. Things can be improved, sure, but there was no outcry for health care reform before the Democrats manufactured it, just as there was no outcry for health care reform before Democrats manufactured it in 1992; the public is concerned about immigration and Islamic terrorism. Controlling health care is a perennial desire of Democrats, who want it because of the permanent power it gives to government over crucial elements of life, like child-rearing. Democrats know instinctively that if a government bureaucracy controls a thing, Democrats control it — permanently.

Steyn and Andy McCarthy hit the right note: if it passes, we need the steel to roll this back. This, and all the other unsustainable entitlements that are choking the economy to death, and robbing our nation of strength. We need politicians willing to serve for one, unpopular term while they fix what the Democrats have been deliberately breaking for the last 80 years.

02/27/2010 (11:22 am)

Patriot Act Renewal Highlights Dem Duplicity

Both the Senate and the House covertly passed legislation this week extending the Patriot Act for a full year, Politico reported Thursday. Already withering before the wrath of an endangered public over the Ft. Hood massacre, the KnickerBomber, and the attempt to try Khalid Sheik Mohammad in New York City, Congressional Democrats lacked the cojones to publicly dismantle yet another mechanism that protects the American public from violence. The quiet capitulation signals a disconnect between Congressional Democrats and their base, which consistently regards the Patriot act as an assault on their liberty.

The Senate passed the extension bill in a late-night session by unanimous voice vote, which allows Senators to obscure from their constituents the fact that they voted for the bill. The House passed their version as part of a bundle of extensions grouped under a Medicare reform act. The press release by Congressional Democrats mentioned only the failure of the Congress to adopt some additional privacy protections proposed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, comments around the Internet from Democrats continue to demonstrate how well the DNC sold its opposition to the Patriot Act — after voting for it almost unanimously in the wake of the 9/11 attack. The base hates the Patriot Act, mostly for invalid reasons. Here are a few comments from yesterday’s discussions at CNN and Democratic Underground (R-rated for language and for incomprehensibly odd thinking):

Pedro: Funny that so many GOP respondents think the government is a threat given that it was the Bush administration that tried to do away with Habeas Corpus and had the military and NSA listening in on the phone conversations of American citizens without having to secure a warrant.

Yeah, I for one feel much safer with the government now.

Why now? Why didn’t all these whiners take to the streets when George WWWWW Bush was in the process of eroding our civil rights, having telecom companies spying on us, capturing our data, and tightening our ability to move freely in the country and to Canada?

Why now? WHAT? What are these people talking about? Whine to the Republicans who TOOK YOUR FREEDOMS AWAY!

You’re all a bunch of looney-tune wackos!

I swear, they have mountains of evidence that it really isn’t effective and that in actuality, it’s illegal .. you have to wonder, who makes the big bucks by continuing this? Greed again rears its ugly head.

Yes, yes, but its DEMOCRATS taking away your rights. They only uphold the Republican status quo.

They don’t invent devious new shit. If you don’t vote for Democrats then Republicans will come in and invent more devious shit that Democrats will have to uphold. Of course, sometimes Democrats also have to invent devious new shit–like destroying public education and forcing Americans to buy shitty, overpriced insurance policies. But those are devious shits that Republicans could never get away with, so the Democrats must take on those issues.

Bipartisanship: Now Everyone’s Fucking You Over.

I discussed at length the legality of the wiretapping authorized under the Patriot Act back when it was a relevant topic. You can review that discussion here, if you like. However, it may not be necessary to do that, as it appears that leaders of the Democratic party agree that the Patriot Act is essential. In discussing this week’s action with Politico, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I, CT), who chairs the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate, very quietly observed that the Patriot Act does not deserve its bad reputation:

“In the end, it became non-controversial,” Senate Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) told POLITICO. “[There was] the growing concern about increase on the pace of attacks on the homeland… and frankly, I think the Patriot [Act] got a bad name under the Bush Administration.”

Lieberman said FBI Director Robert Mueller and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano emphasized to his committee the importance of extending the three renewed provisions: authorizing court-approved roving wiretaps that cover multiple phones or computers a suspect may use, court-approved search and seizures, and allowing surveillance of “lone wolf” non-U.S. citizens not affiliated with organized terrorist groups.

What comes through loud and clear is that many, responsible Democrats consider the Patriot Act both necessary and legal. They obviously do not want to try to make that case to their base, however. That makes their continued support of the Patriot Act worse than merely cowardly; it makes it duplicitous. They love the agitation of the base, but they also need the utility of the bill if they’re going to prevent an attack on their watch.

Of course, part of the reason they prefer to keep the Patriot Act in place could be because they intend to use it on American citizens. The Obama administration has not said as much, but some of the comments from the base suggest that the thought may have occurred to them:

Absolutely necessary to keep an eye on the Teabaggers

Now Obama, not Bush, can get you! Be very afraid racists!

They’re against (imagined) violations of liberty, except when it’s the liberty of their opponents. How noble.

If you’re curious, here’s a reasonably thorough (if somewhat negatively biased) discussion of which provisions of the Patriot Act need periodic renewal. In general, the portions of the Act that require periodic renewal extend the ability of the FBI to surveil agents of foreign governments without probable cause of a crime, allow the FBI to obtain and view the sort of information contained in email headers and caller ID, grant the FBI leave to obtain warrants in cases possibly involving chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and in cases involving computer fraud, allow the FBI to share grand jury and surveillance information with national security operatives when necessary (breaching the famous “wall” between foreign and domestic surveillance,) allow for surveillance of all communications of a suspect without requiring a warrant for each specific phone number (called “roving wiretaps”,) give the FBI power to obtain a warrant to examine business and library records, allow the FBI to track the communications of “computer trespassers” without alerting the trespasser, and a few other details.

This is not the first time the Democrats have signaled the inconsistency between their vocal, public advocacy and their actual recognition of the need for sound protective measures. I wrote about the same disconnect when the Democrats renewed the FISA law two years ago. This sort of duplicity is not an occasional thing for Democrats, it’s the normal pattern.

02/25/2010 (10:31 am)

Two Videos We All Need to Watch

I’ll do the easiest one first.

Democrats are contemplating unmaking Senate rules allowing for filibuster, because the Republican minority has been using the filibuster effectively to impede the progressive agenda in Congress. Naked Emperor News produced a superb video reminding leading Democrats of the things they said back in 2005, when they were the minority and the Republican majority was considering a similar rule change. The topic then was Democratic obstruction of Bush judicial nominations. Republicans decided, for whatever reason, not to change the existing Senate rules. Let’s hope the Democrats decide similarly.

The key point is made by, of all people, Sen. Joe Biden, at around the 3:42 mark. “You may own the field right now, but you won’t own it forever.” He then prays that Democrats won’t make the sort of power grab that Republicans were contemplating but did not make. Wonder what he’s praying now?

This next video is a bit more troubling, because it involves sober consideration of civil disobedience, and it does so at a point where the danger of the governmental action is not immediately obvious — the census. An accurate count of citizens is mandated by the Constitution, and is essential for proper apportionment of representatives. However, the 2010 census asks for a flood of personal information for which the government has no Constitutionally-legitimate need. Given the hyper-partisanship of the Obama administration, and given his apparent proclivity for asserting government’s power to control individual decisions, it is crucial that we ask precisely what he intends to do with the information, and that we refuse to comply if we do not like the answer. And by the way, the information is said to include the GPS coordinates of your front door — whether you want them to have it or not.

There exist reasonable-sounding explanations for the census as it is being done in 2010. The questions to which this video refers occur in the American Community Survey, ACS-1, which is not directed to every citizen, but rather to 1 out of 10. The information is the sort that people give out to pollsters and researchers, and sometimes publish on facebook. I can see a reason why the local Fire Department might like to have the GPS fix on my address. The government needs valid statistics for the sake of regulation-making and policy evaluation.

However, all of these facts, which I’ve heard or read in defense of the current census, speak of information given voluntarily to those who have legitimate need of the information. The ACS-1 is information gathered by force of law, with statutory penalties for non-compliance, by an entity that has no legitimate need for it beyond the Constitutionally-mandated head count. If the government needs survey data for regulation-setting purposes, they can commission a survey that does not have the force of law, that can be answered anonymously, and with which citizens can choose whether or not to participate. The census is the wrong place for this sort of data-gathering.

So I’m saying, listen to Jerry Day’s questions, consider them carefully, and take the time to decide in advance whether you’ll cooperate with the ACS if you’re chosen to answer it.

There exists a separate question regarding President Obama’s attempts to bias the census in order to create a perpetual Democratic majority. That’s actually a separate topic. It occurs to me that by refusing to participate in the ACS, we could actually be aiding that effort; what if the Census Bureau decides to discard counts from houses that refuse to participate? Haven’t we self-selected a conservative cadre to be removed from apportionment considerations? I think it would be a violation of Census Bureau procedure to discard counts for that reason, but I would not put it past the progressive-activist volunteers that the government has commissioned to help with the census this year; in fact, I have to imagine that that’s the very reason he partnered with all those activist groups. We need to be on the watch for indications of fraud and mishandling of data with respect to the census.

A tip of the cap to Cal Twitty, a friend and one of my readers, for bringing the Jerry Day vid to my attention.

12/29/2009 (8:40 pm)

Interpol Gets Full Diplomatic Immunity. Beware.

BlackHoleTextBoxTonight’s story begins in 1983, with Ronald Reagan signing Executive Order 12425, making Interpol, the international cooperative between national police forces, a recognized international organization under the International Organization Immunities Act, with a couple of limitations: representatives of Interpol were to be treated as foreign diplomats, but were subject to taxes, import duties, and customs duties, and were refused diplomatic privacy — the files and papers of Interpol here in the US were subject to FBI inspection, inspection by other law enforcement agencies, and Freedom of Information requests.

Here is the original Executive Order, signed by Ronald Reagan in 1983:

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, including Section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (59 Stat. 669, 22 U.S.C. 288), it is hereby ordered that the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), in which the United States participates pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 263a, is hereby designated as a public international organization entitled to enjoy the privileges, exemptions and immunities conferred by the International Organizations Immunities Act; except those provided by Section 2(c), the portions of Section 2(d) and Section 3 relating to customs duties and federal internal-revenue importation taxes, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act. This designation is not intended to abridge in any respect the privileges, exemptions or immunities which such organization may have acquired or may acquire by international agreement or by Congressional action.

The limits were in Sections 2(c), 3, 4, and 5 of the International Organizations Immunties Act (IOIA). You can read the text of the act here.

On December 17, 2009, President Barack Obama modified Executive Order 12425 to remove those limits. Here is the new Executive Order:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words “except those provided by Section 2(c), Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act” and the semicolon that immediately precedes them.

I have been warning since the 90s, after watching President Clinton’s moves at Kyoto and his testing of the waters using NATO to interfere in Yugoslavia’s internal affairs, that the next Democrat to be elected President would cede US sovereignty on several fronts, including environmental oversight, elections, and world courts. We’ve already seen President Obama’s aims regarding internationalizing carbon taxes. Now we’re seeing a genuine incursion into US sovereignty regarding law enforcement and international law.

In a word, this action gives Interpol authority over the US Constitution. They are already free, via diplomatic status, to conduct investigations here in the US. Now their activities can be carried out behind an impenetrable veil of secrecy. Neither the courts, nor the FBI, nor the military, nor private citizens can force access to their work. Section 2(c) of the IOIA reads as follows:

Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable.

This actually does more than give Inspector Clouseau the right to keep his papers secret while flatfooting around the United States. There is no uniformed police force called “Interpol.” It’s actually a cooperative venture of law enforcement officials of each of the signatory nations, of which we are one. The US connection to Interpol exists within the Justice Department. As of December 17, the President has created a Black Hole in the middle of the Justice Department. Any activity carried out under auspices of Interpol by Justice Department personnel can be hidden behind that same, impenetrable wall of secrecy. By calling any action of theirs “international,” they create a wall of secrecy that no citizen, no law enforcement agency, no court can penetrate.

InternationalTextBoxIf you think they won’t finagle things to make them “international,” just recall what’s been done to make any commerce “interstate,” so it can be regulated by the federal government under the auspices of the Commerce clause.

Diplomatic immunity makes sense for diplomats. If diplomats were subject to the laws of the nations to which they were sent, they would be at risk from any hostile government that wanted to pass a law targeting them. Diplomats are not in the countries where they’re stationed because they want to be citizens; they’re there representing their own nations. Therefore, nations have agreed to treat diplomatic missions as though they were the territory of the nation being represented, and granted the representatives immunity from their laws.

Interpol is a different story. It’s an investigative body, investigating international crimes. It needs cooperation from member nations, and it needs access, but it does not need immunity. Quite the contrary; it is the limits on police powers that protect US citizens from tyranny. Police within the US have unusual access, but are not immune from laws, and are properly subject to scrutiny. International investigators should be treated the same. With full diplomatic immunity, US investigators operating under the auspices of Interpol can do whatever they like, and nobody has any recourse.

I’ll state this as plainly as I can: what consent I have granted to the United States government to operate in my behalf, as a citizen of the United States, I remove in its entirety as soon as the United States government cedes sovereignty in any manner to any international organization, agency, board, or group. I am not a citizen of the world; I am a citizen of the United States. No international organization has any right to threaten my life, liberty, or property, and any actions I take against individuals representing international organizations are to be considered acts of self-defense, not lawless acts against a properly constituted government. I grant not the slightest authority to any international organization over my liberties.

Andy McCarthy, the former US Attorney who prosecuted the Blind Sheik, explains the act clearly on NRO, and asks the appropriate question: why does Interpol need immunity from American law? Steve Schippert and Clyde Middleton examine the action very throughly at ThreatsWatch; read it all. Schippert also discusses the matter at some length on his radio program, which is available as streaming audio, in which attorney Melissa Clothier asks another question that badly needs an answer: What, exactly, did President Obama need that prompted this unacceptable action? Teresa Monroe-Hamilton adds some ugly facts about the history of Interpol at NoisyRoom.net.

Read all of it, then start the email circuit and get this out to your friends. This needs a very bright searchlight trained on it, and a very loud loudspeaker shouting the question “With what authority do you give away our sovereignty?” This is too far, and we must not permit it to stand.

Toldja. We are so screwed…

12/26/2009 (8:46 am)

Secede

The outcome of the Senate vote regarding the Democrats’ health care monstrosity is actually moot. The fate of the dollar is already sealed; even without the new, dead weight of yet another unfunded and unfundable ball on the end of our fiscal chain, the collapse will come sooner rather than later. The massive debt accumulations, the rising mandatory spending, the inability of the government to find lenders, the unwillingness of government to even begin to address the easily recognizable fiscal disaster, and the abandonment of free enterprise and the rule of law, have all worked their corrosion; it seems unlikely to me that the nation will be able to provide even the first dollar of the new health care regime. The outcome of this “debate” does not matter.

What matters is what the incident says about the Democratic party.

We’ve just witnessed a massive assault on individual liberty. Every word produced by the Democratic party during the “debate” was a lie; not a single claim from the party was true. At no time did they participate in the system in good faith; at every point they made every effort to hide their intentions, to bury the true effect of the bill under mountains of opaque verbage. They passed their measures hurriedly, in the dead of night, knowing that they lacked the support of the nation, knowing that their own Senatorial support would evaporate if permitted exposure to the folks back home. Even the few who supported the measure are misled. None of the alleged goals of the new system have been met in the new bill. It is not cheaper. It does not increase access. It does not reduce claim assessments from unfriendly adjusters. It does not improve health care in any way; it simply adds power to the Democratic control machine. That was the goal: power to the Democratic party. And less liberty for you.

They used a technique I’m calling the Kamikaze Ratchet. They know perfectly well that there will be a voter reaction in 2010, and that many who supported this measure will face opposition that might not have had any force except for anger over the health bill. Some will lose their seats. They know this; that’s the Kamikaze part. The Ratchet part is that they’re betting that the new Congress in 2010 will not have the numbers, or the guts, to substantially change the new health regime. They may lose their seats, but the new Masters in Washington will have acquired their authority permanently.

The point is that the Democratic party is not a participant in the American experiment in liberty. It has not been, in fact, at any time since the beginning of the 20th century. At all points in time, the Democratic party has represented the element in American culture that wants to throw off the cumbersome engine of compromise required to keep the nation free, and replace it with a sleek, streamlined autocracy run by experts, an oligarchy of the scientifically-minded elite. They believe that they, and they alone, know how to make the trains run on time, how to usher in the Age of Aquarius, how to build a new and more perfect world. They’ve been hankering after the power to do what they have in their minds, unmolested. Their every move, from 1914 onward, has been to acquire that power in order to end Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.

Laura Ingraham groused last week, during a moment of disgust regarding the health bill in the Senate, that there are no moderate Democrats. This is the meaningful take from the incident. She is correct. The party itself is not moderate; it aims at ending citizen government, and replacing it with an oligarchy of the elite.

I took a lesson from incidents in my childhood when I attempted to play a game with someone who cheated, not just once, but repeatedly. I could catch them at it part of the time, but there would always be times that I did not catch them, and they’d get away with something and skew the game. I learned that there is no point in playing a game with somebody who is intent on cheating. The only sane response to learning that your opponent cheats repeatedly and will continue to try to cheat, is to quit the game.

Why would it ever make sense to participate in self-government when one party in the two-party system intends to bring self-government to an end? The very exercise of attempting to participate with such people is systemic suicide. Every time they gain a little power, they will use that power to break something permanently, and ratchet the entire system in the direction of oligarchy. The only reason we should ever participate in such an exercise is if we have no choice.

But we do have a choice.

The beauty of the American system is that it rests on voluntary participation. We all have the right to leave the system if we choose. It is time to exercise that choice. Come January 1, I will be writing to the governors of every state where it appears that the majority of the citizens retain belief in citizen government, asking them to consider seceding from the United States. I will find secession movements in those states and contribute to those that sanely defend human liberty. I will commit this blog to the goal of separating the Union, and creating a new, separate country that actually believes in the ideals written into our original Constitution.

It’s the only plausible solution. Washington is corrupt beyond redemption. Electing a new Congress will not correct even the most recent mistake, let alone the 20th century’s serial legacy of mistakes. The Democrats do not believe in the system, and will institute their Fascist oligarchy at the first opportunity. Let’s take our ball and go home.

The American Constitution describes a government that cannot threaten the inherent rights of the people. The political system created by this Constitution works to defend the people’s rights so long as all participants in the political system agree to the fundamental rules of the system. The Democrats do not believe in this system, and have not for almost 100 years. We see the outcome — a government bloated and out of control, fiscal collapse, economic misery, corrupted education, corrupted justice, corrupted news and entertainment. Let them have it. We’ll start a proper government elsewhere, and let them have their failed, socialist state. The world will quickly see which is the saner course.

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