April 20, 2012
Eric Peters reports:
After a certain point, it’s not paranoia.
The latest brick in the wall is the predictably named “Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century Act,” also known as Senate Bill 1813. (See here for the full text of the bill itself; the relevant section is 31406.) This legislation – already passed by the Senate and likely to be passed by the House – will impose a legal requirement that all new cars made beginning with the 2015 models be fitted with so-called Event Data Recorders (EDRs). These are the “black boxes” you may have read about that store data about how you drive – including whether you wear a seat belt and how fast you drive – ostensibly for purposes of post-accident investigation.
Read the rest.
If the feds fit together your driving patterns with all of your purchases (which will be tracked in the coming cashless society) and all of your emails and phone conversations, what won’t the government know about you?
April 20, 2012
Helicopters filled with heavily armed soldiers fly in formation over the Chicago skyline. Apparently, they’re preparing for the coming NATO summit that’s set to meet in the city and the “feisty protesters” sure to show up. The local Fox affiliate reports:
In all totalitarian regimes, the presence of fully-armed soldiers operating in civilian society becomes common place. That’s the direction we’re heading.
April 3, 2012
And explains to E.J. Dionne that founding fathers were not funded by the Kochs:
Flabbergasted that several justices of the U.S. Supreme Court think it appropriate to question the constitutionality of Obamacare’s individual mandate, E.J. Dionne tries to dismiss those justices by saying that they “repeatedly spouted views closely resembling the tweets and talking points issued by organizations of the sort funded by the Koch brothers” (“The right’s stealthy coup,” April 2).
A less inflammatory and far more accurate description of last week’s oral arguments is that those justices repeatedly spouted views closely resembling the statements and analysis issued by the founding fathers.
The “tweets and talking points” of 200 years ago are found mostly in written letters, such as a February 13, 1829, note from James Madison (who, I believe, was not funded by the Kochs) to Joseph Cabell, in which Madison said of the Commerce clause: “Yet it is very certain that it grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government.”
This statement (and others) by the Father of the Constitution makes clear that questioning the constitutionality of the individual mandate is perfectly proper.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
The establishment left is indeed flabbergasted that a growing pro-freedom movement is challenging the hegemony it has enjoyed for the past century. Their response has been, effectively, to assure their readers of their own intellectual superiority and to call their political opponents stupid. (Didn’t you know that Steven Pearlstein “won a certain prize” for his contradictory reporting on the financial crisis? How dare you question him?!) Fortunately, their monopoly on “respectable ” political discourse continues to rapidly disintegrate. And if they want to continue to convince people that America’s bankrupt corporatist state is really a good and just political arrangement, they’ll have to do more than mockingly disparage their opponents’ intelligence.
April 1, 2012
On the Today Show this past Tuesday, NBC aired an edited version of George Zimmerman’s 911 call, just before he killed Trayvon Martin.
In the NBC segment, Zimmerman says: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
The full version, however, happened like this:
Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”
911 operator: “Okay. And this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic?”
Zimmerman: “He looks black.”
In other words, Zimmerman only mentions Martin’s race after he was asked about it. The NBC version makes it seem like Zimmerman equates being black with being “up to no good.”
As Lew Rockwell notes, “typical MSM.”
April 1, 2012
Steven Pearlstein is upset with the conservative Supreme Court justices. He hoped “to see the best and the brightest engage in a reasoned debate on the limits of federal power.” But instead he saw “political posturing, Jesuitical hair-splitting and absurd hypotheticals.”
He is particularly upset about those “absurd hypotheticals,” that tendency of Scalia and Alito to “to latch on to an opposing argument and take it to its illogical extreme in order to show how silly it is.” If the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the conservatives argued, couldn’t the government make people eat broccoli or join a gym, since those mandates could also lower health care costs?
Of course giving Congress the power to force people to buy health insurance implicitly gives it the power to force people to eat broccoli, Pearlstein concedes, but the latter law would just be “stupid.” So Congress wouldn’t pass such a law. And if it did, that’s why we have elections.
But if you accept Pearlstein’s premises–that the free market is to blame for the high cost of health care and that Congress has the right and the responsibility to fix these problems by forcing people to buy things–why would forcing people to eat broccoli be a stupid law? Congress could create jobs by employing federal health officers to search the nation for people not getting their recommended daily intake of vegetables and imposing on the rest of us with their poor health. It could fund these new positions with punitive taxes on sugar and fast food. Meanwhile, the Department of Education could issue new rules that force cafeterias to serve healthy fare (as defined by the government) and forbid students from bringing their own lunches with them to school, as some schools have already done. Would these laws be stupid?
Well, yes. But there are a lot of people who think otherwise.
Fortunately, the constitution delegates no power to the federal government that would allow it to engage in such futile and tyrannical attempts at the central planning of the American diet. But unfortunately, people like Pearlstein are engaged in a never-ending attempt to render the constitution “a blank paper by construction.”
March 31, 2012
In a victory for the principles embedded in the Magna Carta, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has signed into law the bill that would allow citizens to resist government employees engaged in illegal activity. This means that a citizen who uses reasonable force against a police officer either in self-defense or in order to resist an illegal search will not (or should not) be prosecuted.
The new law is a response to the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision in Barnes v. State of Indiana, which established the principle that “there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.”
Opponents are worried that the new law (which really just reaffirms an old principle) will lead to an outbreak of violence against police. But the law is hardly a blank check for citizens to attack cops. It simply recognizes that the right to self-defense does not go away if the assailant is wearing a government uniform.